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The Best Birthday

Posted by melagee on February 25, 2013

I wanted to write some of this down, because I want to remember it as best I can. It’s not going to be pretty, but that’s okay because it’s not for you, it’s for me.

I was on a week long cruise in the Caribbean for an event called JoCoCruiseCrazy. Attendees of this crazy water house music convention are called Sea Monkeys. My birthday happened to fall within the cruise and maybe MAYBE it was the best birthday ever.

On the morning of my birthday I had lots of bacon and sausages. I had horrible coffee, but decent tea. I went with friends to see That Yoda Guy, and basked in the warm sun and the panicked chattering of Sea Monkeys who may or may not have been lost. Afterward, I ate pizza with friends and demanded birthday hugs.

The demanding of birthday hugs was an all-day event, really.

In the afternoon I got a birthday card with monkeys on it (but no poop, thank god), which was signed by many many people, both famous and not. I also received a Captain Marvel dogtag, which I LOVE. I put it on right away, even though it did not match my outfit.

bday1

At a ninja concert by Molly Lewis, I reminded people that it is my birthday. I didn’t want anyone to feel bad about missing it. Lar deSouza loudly acclaimed his surprise at my being another year older, and Molly sang happy birthday to me. THIS IS A TRUE THING THAT HAPPENED TO ME. I then struggled not to fall asleep during Molly’s show, and felt like SUCH A JERK for being so sleepy after she had sung to me. I’m sorry, Molly! I was the most tired fan in the world!

That evening I had a buffet dinner with wonderful people. I ate so much food, you guys. I wore my favourite dress, which is brown with pink polka dots. I had two different trifles, and a banger. Those are just food highlights. A waiter brought me a piece of peanut butter chocolate cake with a candle in it, and I made a wish. I always wish for the same thing, and it usually comes true. Sea Monkeys sang happy birthday to me in multiple languages. A couple celebrating valentines day stopped by and gave me an ADORABLE stuffed monkey and some chocolate. I named the monkey Lil’ Storm.

lil-storm

That evening was Open Mic night, which meant I got to cheer on the most amazing and talented people. On the way to the venue I saw John Roderick. “JOHN RODERICK!” I yelled, “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!” I don’t remember what he said, but he hugged me. I legit did not want to let go. A handsome man with a beautiful voice enveloped me in birthday hugs. THIS HAPPENED TO ME.

At Open Mic I heard so many wonderful songs and jokes and recitations. It was beautiful. At the end of the show I approached Mike Phirman and told him it was my birthday. He made the room sing happy birthday to me. He also hugged me. TWICE.

On my way back to my room I stopped and had a tiny sandwich with friends. One beautiful lovely lady stole a rose from the cupcake shop and gave it to me. She committed a crime for my birthday, you guys.

The next day I thought it was over, but it was not. At the Doubleclicks show that afternoon, Angela and Aubrey sang the Birthday Song for ME. MEEEEEEEEEEEE!! AND IT WAS RECORDED ON VIDEO!

 

Missing from the end of this video is the fact that I kept clapping for like 20 seconds after everyone else had stopped. I was so elated, you guys, you don’t even know. They deserved all the applause.

This was my birthday. And it was maybe the best birthday ever, except for the one where I was born which is kind of responsible for starting this whole crazy thing off.

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Posted in Buds, Essential Melanie, Nerd Talk, Plans of Fun | 2 Comments »

I’m not saying too much.

Posted by melagee on September 15, 2011

Sometimes it bothers me that I don’t blog as much as I used to. I would like to blame my lack of writing on the fact that I am so very busy lately, or that I don’t have anything interesting to say, but the truth is I have always felt busy and I never have anything interesting to say. Neither of these things has ever stopped me from blogging in the past, so why do I have so little to say lately?

Well, duh: it’s Twitter. Now that I can so quickly and so easily drop one-liners on the internet, I have little-to-no patience for several paragraphs of blogging. I can rarely be bothered to take the time to open up a browser and compose a more in-depth commentary on my thoughts than 140 characters would allow. Sometimes I will begin to compose a blog post in my head, and by the time I have my hands on a computer that is suitable for typing, I am bored and already wondering if there are any new cat pictures on the internet. Twitter has ruined blogging for me. Worse than that, Twitter has ruined the reading of other people’s blogs.

All of the things I just said about writing blogs? That goes for reading them, too. When I can quickly scroll through my friends’ tweets while sitting on the bus, I feel less of a need or desire to read their more drawn-out thoughts. Entertain and inform me, but please do it in the 5-10 seconds it takes me to scroll past your name! It’s horrible, and I end up missing out on a lot. Only today I found out via Facebook status update (almost as cool as Twitter) that a friend of mine had ended a long-term relationship a couple of months ago and just recently begun a new one. My friend had been blogging about the events of her life as they unfolded, but they didn’t tweet about it so I didn’t know. People are trying to tell me (and, well, everyone) about their lives, and I’m not listening. I feel like an ass.

This blog post is less about solutions and more about me identifying the problem for myself. I didn’t even know I was going to write about this when I started typing. I thought I would ramble on about my day and try to be funny and all the usual wotnot that I used to do. Instead I am realizing that I miss writing and reading and I resent being part of the YOU’RE NOT GIVING IT TO ME FAST ENOUGH demographic. I will have a think on how (or if) I can change this.

Posted in Buds, Essential Melanie | 1 Comment »

Fuck That

Posted by melagee on August 5, 2011

I went for a bra-fitting today. My bras always tend to feel snug, and I’ve heard enough stories of revelation from other women who went for a fitting and found out they’ve been wearing the wrong bra for years. I’ve never been fit before, so I was prepared for a revelation of my own. And I got one: I’ve been wearing the wrong size. But that’s not what this is about.

A woman took me back into the fitting room and measured under my bust. She eyeballed my cup size and brought me a couple of bras to try on. The fitting room was small and there was no one else there when I started my fitting. The stall I was in had no door, just a curtain, and no matter how much I tugged on it I couldn’t get the curtain to close all the way.  Not that it mattered all that much since half the time I was there the curtain was open so the woman fitting me could tug at and adjust my bra.

I am not a thin woman. I have rolls and bulges and extra chin. I am not used to being partially clothed in front of people I’m not planning to sleep with. Yet several women saw me in my bra today. I was mortified. I wanted to hide behind the curtain. I wanted to leave the store and resign myself to painful, ill-fitting bras. I felt like nothing more than a disgusting lump of fat, and I wanted to hide.

And then I thought, fuck that. This is my body. It’s not the greatest body, but it’s mine and I love who I am. Who gives one flying fuck if my belly protrudes? Who cares if my inner-thighs rub together when I walk? Certainly not the woman who was politely and kindly adjusting my straps. Certainly not the woman in the next stall who was exclaiming over how large her cup size was. Not a single person in that shop even looked at me funny, and why would they? I was a woman in a bra in a lingerie store. I was in no way special to anyone there, and any body issues were my own.

I go through a minor version of this every morning. I get dressed, notice that my belly fat is still showing through whatever I’m wearing, wonder if I should wear something else, and think, fuck it. I know women who refuse to wear tank tops because they think their arms are too fat. Fuck that. If it’s hot, I’m wearing a tank top. I know women who refuse to wear skirts because they think their knees are too ugly. Fuck that. Skirts are pretty and I’m wearing them. I will wear bathing suits and yoga pants and knee socks and corsets and dresses both long and short and when I feel myself starting to worry that people will notice how dark my armpits are, I will say, Fuck that. My hope is that someday I will skip over the self-doubt completely, stop cursing so much, and get the hell on with my day.

Posted in Essential Melanie | 1 Comment »

You Feel What You Eat

Posted by melagee on March 31, 2011

Earlier this week I felt miserable. I felt both mentally and physically slow. In spite of the fact that there’s nothing really wrong with my life right now, I felt weighed down simply by existing. In short, I felt the dull sludge of depression.

I mean, I thought I did. Then I ate some vegetables.

Last Friday I ate potato chips and McDonalds. On Saturday Ihad KFC and popcorn. Sunday, more chips. Each of these food items came accompanied by soft drinks. The weirdest part about this junk-foodathon is that I don’t even know why I did it. I had excuses for all of this junk, but they were flimsy and none of this food even tasted all that good. Okay, that’s a lie, it all tasted pretty fucking delicious. But still! Junk food is not a thing I do a lot of anymore.

Ever since I went back to library work, I’ve been making progressively less and less money. Suddenly saving money wasn’t just something that might be nice to do, so I could buy some more comic books – saving money was essential if I wanted to keep paying my rent. It didn’t take me long to discover that buying a bunch of carrots and grapes at the corner market was cheaper and more convenient than going to the supermarket and buying chips. Soda, even when it only costs $1 for a 2ltr bottle, was more expensive than water, so I stopped buying soda. Fast food was way more expensive than rice and veggies, so I stopped buying fast food. Basically, I started eating way healthier because I was too poor to eat like crap. And even then only because I am lucky enough to live super close to a wonderful produce market.

Anyway, once I realized that there was probably a link between the food I’d eaten all weekend, and the miserable mood I was in, I went back to my water and my carrots, and I felt better within a couple of days. The only reason any of this is noteworthy is because it surprised me to see real physical effects resulting from my poor eating habits – I mean other than just me being fat. People have been saying for years that eating crappy food will make you feel crappy, but I had no idea how true it was. Having dealt with depression before, I am astonished at how much the effects of my weekend-diet felt like depression. It certainly puts my entire childhood, where chips and soda were often considered dinner, into a new light.

 

Posted in Essential Melanie, Rants | Leave a Comment »

I’ll do what I can.

Posted by melagee on February 27, 2011

Last night a fellow I had just met seemed surprised that I have a blog. I guess he doesn’t meet a lot of bloggers. More than once he exclaimed “You have a blog?!” and I didn’t really know what to say because, well yes, technically, I have three blogs, but I don’t really do much blogging anymore. Ever since I moved into the world of Twitter I’ve given up on blogging.

Most of the time when I had something I wanted to write about, it was pretty irrelevant and pointless – just something cute or funny – and Twitter has been able to fill that need quite nicely. I didn’t see any reason to keep blogging, really. But last night, when I realized that I could not safely say “Yes, I am a blogger!” anymore, I realized how much I missed it.

So, here’s something else I’m going to add to the list of Stuff I Want To Do. This, in addition to working and studying and a half-dozen other little hobbies I’m trying to break in to.

What the hell. I can do this, right? If nothing else it’s a good opportunity for me to adjust to the practice of leaving one space after a period. I’ve done two spaces my whole life, so this is a hard habit to break.

I think I just digressed. I do that.

Posted in Essential Melanie | 3 Comments »

I don’t have time for this.

Posted by melagee on July 3, 2010

I’m going to tell you something private.  Something private and embarrassing.  Sometimes I like to fantasize about what it would be like to live in my favourite tv shows.

It’s a habit I developed as a child, when I was pretty lonely.  It’s not something I do a lot (any more), but every now and then I still get a kick out of wondering what it would be like to ride with the A-Team, or have an affair with Young Indiana Jones.  I”m sorry, but have you seen young Sean Patrick Flanery?  I can hardly be blamed.

 

I'm pretty sure this scene in Boondock Saints was written as a gift from the universe to me.

One of my favourite ridiculous tv-inspired fantasy’s is Star Trek: The Next Generation.  I like to think about what it would be like to hang out with Worf, replicate lots of ice cream, and maybe fight a little alien-bad-guy ass.

The other day I was day dreaming about ST:TNG and half-thinking about the controversy over Wonder Woman’s new costume redesign and how I have a little catching up to do with my Wonder Woman comic-reading, and a strange thought struck me:  If I were to suddenly transport myself from the real 21st century to the make-believe 24th century, I would have a HUGE amount of catching up to do in my comic book reading!  Good lord, I would have 3 centuries worth of back issues to read in order to catch up with the current storylines!  I have been reading comics with great regularity in the past several years, and I am still unable to keep up with just the Big Two.

But it’s not just comic books.  What about my favourite tv shows?  How many Doctor’s will have come and gone in that time?  And the books?  How many classics have been written?  How many songs have gone down in history?  How much pop culture have I missed, not just from my own planet but from the hundreds of other civilizations the Federation has made contact with?

For god’s sake, it’s not even just pop culture!  Think about this for a moment:  You’re a regular person, living in the regular (admittedly make-believe) 24th Century depicted in ST:TNG.  How do you imagine you would even begin to keep track of current events?  Most of us here in the real world barely know what’s going on in other countries, much less understand the complexities of situations like what’s been happening in Israel; how would you be able to stay abreast of the political climates of hundreds of cultures, and how they affect each other?  It seems impossible.  It seems like more than a full-time job.  How is anyone in Star Trek in a position of political or military authority able to make an informed decision?

I also kind of wonder what the internet (or equivalent) is like in the 24th century.  It seems like the 24th century version of using wikipedia is just to ask the computer a direct question.  Except if I doubt the information wikipedia gives me, I can always search for other sources.  Is there an alternate computer database that will give you more or different information?  Who feeds the information into the computer, and what are their biases?  What if an asshole gets that job and just starts trolling the federation?

I have questions, but I have no answers.

Posted in Essential Melanie, Movies/TV, Nerd Talk | 2 Comments »

What is a feminist?

Posted by melagee on May 26, 2010

I have always been a feminist.  That is to say, I have always felt capable of doing the same things my brothers and male friends did, and I never assumed that my role in life was set based on my sex.  I have always believed that men and women deserve equal status in all cultures, while recognizing that they don’t receive it in most cultures (including my own).  I have often felt defined by the fact that I was a girl and am now a woman, but never felt like that meant much more than that my personality suits my body, and I am “allowed” to wear dresses and be pretty.*

When I look back on my childhood I can recognize that I was raised in a feminist household.  My mother raised me and my siblings on her own, and whatever mistakes she may have made, I am grateful that she taught me just what strength and power a woman is capable of; which is, no more or less than what a man is capable of.  I do not believe that one sex is better, strong, smarter, or more entitled than the other; rather I believe that both (or all) sexes deserve the same opportunities, the same rights, and the same privileges.

What I have just described are, to me, the basic tenants to being a feminist.  If you agree with the above statements, then congratulations: you are a feminist, as far as I am concerned.  Not everyone will agree with that statement, arguing that it takes more (or less) to be labeled a feminist, but that’s okay.  The word “feminist” is not a solid object that can be described to everyone’s mutual satisfaction.  It is a fluid term that changes with time and perspective, and from person to person.

Many people feel that “feminism” is a four-letter-word, either because they do not agree with equality among the sexes, or because they have seen the word co-opted by those they deem “loud” or “crazy” or “man-haters”.  Occasionally I feel the need to distance myself from those people, as though their use of the label will taint my own.  But the truth is, those people have as much right to the label as I do.  If I cannot clearly and precisely define what it means to be a feminist, then I cannot dictate who amongst us is truly entitled to wear the label.  More than that: I am a feminist who has at times been dismissed as too loud or too crazy.  I may not agree with the opinions and perspectives of everyone who identifies as a feminist, but I support most people (see first two paragraphs) in their use of the label, and I do this because sometimes the loud and the crazy are telling us what we need to hear, even if we don’t want to hear it.

 

*please note, boys are also allowed to wear dresses and be pretty, and girls are not required to wear dresses or be pretty. I’m deliberately steriotyping to make a point.

Posted in Essential Melanie, Feminism, Rants | Leave a Comment »

It’s Too Soon to Wuss Out

Posted by melagee on January 21, 2010

I made myself a promise last week.  I promised myself that instead of devoting more of my time to doing volunteer work, I would do something for myself.  It’s a selfish promise, I know, but I am okay with that.  I think it’s good to be selfish sometimes.  I promised myself that I would set aside every Thursday evening to work on getting back into something I used to love more than anything: writing.

When I was a young girl I wrote all the time.  I still have the stories (my favourites are my Star Trek: TNG fan fiction, and the trilogy I wrote about a witch and the boy she loved) and they’re not very good, but I think they were good for my age.  And they were fun.

I felt good when I was writing – I felt like I was home.  It came so naturally to me.  There was never a time when I felt blocked or worried about how my words sounded. I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the way I started to worry about how “good” my writing was.  I worried that I sounded trite and silly, that my ideas were stolen from other, better writers.  As soon as I realized that others might judge me as harshly as I was judging myself, I lost all of the joy I used to get from writing.  It became more about being “good” than about just having fun.  That’s what I want to get back to.

I want to be able to sit down at my computer and just let the words come out, without even thinking about it.  I want to be able to make up a story that pleases and delights me and never have to worry about what anyone else thinks.  I don’t want to be critiqued or edited or made to improve, I just want to write.  I want to create something that is just for me and not worry about how I will be judged.

So here is my project for the year: I will write something at least once a week.  It may be a blog post, it may be a movie review, it may be a short story, hell it might even be a poem.  I don’t know what it will be, but it will be something.  I’m not promising to blog every thursday – I do have other blogs that may be better suited for certain topics – but I promnise myself that I will write something whole (with a beginning, middle, and end) at least once a week, and this will happen on Thursday evenings.  I will do this for one year and see what happens.

This post counts as this Thursday’s offering.  Yes, I am wussing out just a little.

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Spirit of the West

Posted by melagee on December 13, 2009

The first time I saw Spirit of the West perform live was at a tailgate party for the Toronto Argonauts.  I couldn’t have cared less about football, but I was crazy about the band and the only way to get into the tailgate party was to buy tickets to the football game, so buy them I did.  I sat rather far away and ate pizza.  I don’t remember any of the songs they played, but I remember seeing Tobin Frank on stage and thinking Who is that guy?

In many ways that first show doesn’t feel like a first.  There are so many details I don’t remember, and the entire experience feels flat to me.  A much stronger memory is the second time I saw the band play live.

It wasn’t too long after the tailgate party – maybe a year, maybe less.  It was 1998, and they were coming to play at the Underground at York University.  I bought three tickets and convinced my mother and my sister to come with me.  Before the show I took them to Blueberry Hill and bought them dinner, I was so excited about seeing what was now my favourite band perform live.  I had chicken fingers, and they were hot and delicious.

We got to the Underground early and there weren’t many people there yet.  I was not yet a student at York, but I knew the campus pretty well from having tagged along with my mother when she went to her classes.  I’d never been in the Underground before, though, so I was surprised at how small it was.  We all got a drink and sat down at a table to wait.

I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure Swollen Members opened for my boys, and the whole time they were playing I was getting antsy as the dance floor  filled up with people listening to the music.  I asked my mother and sister if they wanted to go stand near the stage (I remembered being disappointed at the poor view during the tailgate party), but they weren’t interested.  They had only come to the show because I had begged them to, and neither of them had any interest in seeing or hearing the band more clearly.  I sat with them for a while and then got up to move closer to the stage.

When Spirit of the West came out I felt like I was supercharged.  I clasped my hands under my chin in a gesture of awe, and didn’t move from that position the entire night.  I was too overwhelmed to even sing along to the music.  John Mann had a sticker on his guitar that said The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get which would later lead me to discover my love of Morrissey.

At the end of the night, the boys played the song that has become their anthem: Home for a Rest, much to the excitement of the crowd.  As soon as the music started jumping and rocking, everyone else in the room followed suit.  It felt like the whole room was jumping up and down in time to the beat, and for the first time since the band had started playing, I began to move too.  The crowd moved in waves, almost as one, jumping up and down and up and down.  We weren’t dancing, we were pushing our bodies, raging and screaming.  It was thrilling.

After the show was over a woman came up to me.  She said, “You were a pleasure to watch.”

I bought a long-sleeve shirt at the show.  I have it still.  There’s a stain on it from where I accidently spilled bleach.

It was technically the second time I saw Spirit of the West perform live, but it was the first time I really gave myself over to the experience.  I don’t think I’ve been to a show quite like it since.

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My Maple Tree

Posted by melagee on October 16, 2009


Not my maple tree, but one very much like it.

Not my maple tree, but one very much like it.

When I first moved to Vancouver, just over a year ago, one of my favourite things to do was to go outside and sit on a bench during my breaks.  There was a tree just outside the office that was turning the most beautiful shades of red, and every day I would sit there and just admire the tree and feel the passage of time.  It was very peaceful and I felt like I was actually taking time to appreciate my life and my day, which I think is a rare act.

Eventually, as happens in the fall, the leaves on the tree fell off and the branches were bare.  Last winter was an especially harsh one (particularly for Vancouver, I’m told) and I stopped sitting outside on my breaks and eventually started napping on them.  I started to feel more like I was just wasting my time and struggling to get through the day.  Occasionally I would walk by the tree, on my way somewhere else, and remember how pretty it had been in the fall and look forward to seeing the leaves bloom and again and turn red again next fall.

The other day I was walking out of the office, on my way home, and I walked by my maple tree, and noticed that almost all of the leaves had turned red and fallen off.  I was surprised to realize that the tree had been red for a couple of weeks now, and I hadn’t noticed.  I was too busy taking naps and being tired.  The tree that I had been waiting all year for, had come and gone in only a few weeks, and I had missed it.  I was so incredibly disappointed that I hadn’t gotten a photograph, or even noticed.

I have been spending so much time doing things because I have to that I haven’t spent very much time just enjoying myself in the past year.  It’s time for this to change.  I’m going to be radical and insist that it’s time to bring the fun back into my life.  And I know what I want to do first.

As an aside, while googling for pretty pictures of red maples, I came across this painting, which I thought was just beautiful.

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