Tag Archives: for your information

Oh, Wait …..

Dammit, Gary, why ya gotta be so smart all the time?!?

In my scattershot search for more Teengirl Fantasy info, I found no trace of this interview. Gary just passed it along to me. It’s from some obscure music blog called, what is it again? Rake? Corn Broom? The Hoe? ….

… Pitchfork. Sigh. That’s embarassing.

– SC

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Bonnabyeeeee!

Goodbye, goodbye, I’m sailing away to Tennessee to see some bands, knock off a few brain cells, and commune with my furry brethren. See?

It was at Bonnaroo last year that Sylvia and I first fell in love. The drive down was a daisy chain of laughter and fun, and our whole experience at the Farm was vibrantly coloured by our newfound infatuation: each other. Thus it is with greatest sadness that I part from my beloved Syl for a whole week; she simply shan’t be coming to Roo this year! After all, someone has to earn some money around here!

So in honour of my friendiversary with Syl, I thought I’d share some honeymoon pics. These are all from Roo 2011. More to follow upon my return. For now my darlings, feast your eyes on these beauts …..

 

Syl messing around with Gary. I’m not sure it’s water in that Camelbak.

 

Sometimes what you need to stumble upon at seven am is an impromptu dubstep party!

 

Now that I think of it, this was the first time I’d ever encountered a Spirit Hood. Funny how much things change in a year, non? PS: I still love you Tim. You, and your moustache.

 

Gary about to go shank a bitch.

 

Some Roo freaks and geeks.

Love you all and promise to keep you at least sporadically informed of my … activities …
xoxo,
Sar
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Feed Me.

SO. Last night I went to that talk I was telling you about — thereby braving both the rush hour bike traffic on King West, and the nervous feeling that comes when you show up to something and realize you stick out like a sore thumb. In my case a soft, pasty, meat-eating thumb, slightly tipsy on cider. I don’t think anyone at Patagonia liked my eyelet lace crop top, or my mullet skirt. But in I went.

My earlier hunch about snacks being provided was correct: there were apples and bowls of trail mix on offer. Yay, dinner! I manged away, and the talk began …

First we watched a video about Foodshare, a program that works with schools to teach kids how to feed themselves. Community gardens, cooking classes, food ed … they do all kinds of cool stuff. Then Chef Brad Long began to speak. He was wonderful to listen to, instructive, pragmatic, and calm. He described his upbringing in the 60’s, a time when humans were really divorced from food — where it came from, what it was made of — and believed that cooking was women’s work, and that farming was dirty work. Isn’t it funny how things change? My generation absolutely fetishizes food and farming; we want to know the name of the pig whose belly we’re eating, whose grandmother pickled those peppers, and where that wooden bar top was reclaimed from.  To us there’s nothing more noble and worthy than farming, nothing sexier and more glamourous than cooking. That’s why big food corporations now use terms like “hand-crafted,” “homestyle,” “artisanal,” and “natural” to sell the same bullshit processed food Chef Brad was surrounded by in his childhood. Back then, artificial was a good thing, and processed meant safe. Now they’ve got to stretch their marketing muscles to keep us shopping for their products.

But Chef Brad is in no way an alarmist or an extremist. When he said, “You don’t have to stop shopping at Loblaws,” I breathed a sigh of relief. He advocates balance, buying seasonally, forming relationships with farmers/vendors, but also being reasonable. Food is fuel, and sometimes you just have to eat what’s at hand. That is, he reminded us, why fast food was invented.

Next, Debbie Field spoke. She’s the executive director of Foodshare, and comes at things from that perspective. She spoke a lot about the health (read: obsesity) crisis in North America, and made a very salient point which is that as much as we’d all love to live in a food utopia, many people can’t afford to buy organic or free-range anything. Having said that, it’s important to teach kids how to nourish themselves. According to her, she’s just tapping into the excitement about food that kids already have, and that she’s “never met a kid who didn’t like cherry tomatoes.” I found this a bit hard to believe, since my relationship with fresh vegetables essentially began at age 18, but maybe if I’d been gardening at school and had had the chance to taste the veggies of my labour, things would’ve been different.

There was a question period during which this super-annoying girl said she was concerned about buying local because local things are often not organic, and she was worried that even with the organic certification, chemicals might still be getting into her food, especially apples because they’re so thin-skinned, and she was frightened of GM foods … finally Chef Brad looked at her and said, “What are you so afraid of?” I could’ve leapt up and cheered. We live in a dirty, dirty world, and pesticides are pretty low on the list of Things That Are In the World That Will Kill You. Chef also made a great point, which is that if anyone should be concerned about the long-term effects of pesticides, it’s the farmers who breathe them in all day.

The man next to me raised his hand, and told us that he has one of the healthiest diets on earth, and everyone in the world should eat like him. His two superfoods of choice? Chia seeds and grasshoppers. I actually read a feature in the New Yorker last year about how insects could be the solution to global hunger, so the idea of eating bugs isn’t completely foreign to me. However I still had a bit of a giggle as I imagined this guy grinning self-righteously as he ate his delicious daily dose of crickets.

In the end, attending this event reinforced what I already knew, which is that critical thinking and moderation are my BFFs. No one is going to map out the correct route for me, at the grocery store or anywhere else. I left with two good new bits of info, as well. One is Debbie Field’s hearty recommendation of the Dufferin Grove farmer’s market. I live really close to it but have never gone to check it out. I resolve to do so as soon as this abysmal flood abates. The other thing I learned is that there’s a plan afoot to uproot the Ontario Food Terminal in favour of — you guessed it — CONDOS. Come onnnnnn. Can you say short-sighted and money-grubbing?? So I’m going to write a letter to someone. My MP perhaps? I’ll keep ya posted.

Happy happy Friday afternoon to all,

Sar

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World War Z

In light of the recent Miami based zombie attack, I thought it important to do some research about guns and weaponry, more specifically where one eager Torontonian could purchase such things in preparation for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. These things are important; you never want to be caught with your proverbial pants around your ankles when it comes to zombies. They don’t give a sweet fanny-anny fuck if your face is organic, free-range, dolphin friendly, preservative/nitrate free etc.

Enjoy another video on The Globe and Mail Dot Com.

So after typing into Google: “where to buy guns Toronto”, this is what I came up with:

You can purchase them from Kijiji and Craiglist (of course!), but this would not be ideal if suddenly one morning you woke up to a complete shit-show zombie take over. There is a small privately owned ‘husband/wife’ outfit located at Wilson and Dufferin called, “Giovanni’s Gun Shop”. This would be the best bet probably, but they may sell out fast.  There appears to be lots of places to purchase air guns, but those are useless.

I have to say that when it comes to guns, it really sucks to live in Canada. There is no where to purchase anything easily. Who knew that one day I would curse the gun control laws of our country, those laws that at one point I so vehemently supported. Alas… There is no right or wrong, left or right, when it comes to the flesh-eating undead, just survival.

At the very least stock up on big kitchen knives, apparently you’re gonna need something.

Sylvia “Is-Ordering-Her-Machete-From-Craiglist” Stout

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Eat Yrself Clean

I don’t buy a lot of groceries, but when I do buy groceries, I want them to be ETHICAL GROCERIES. Local …. organic …. sustainable …. dolphin-friendly …. fair-trade …. albatross-friendly …. ocean-wise …. WTF. There are so many things to consider when shopping for food that sometimes I just freeze, right there in the aisle, then grab a box of cereal and bolt. I guess the thing about all of these enviroethical concerns is that once you become aware of them and decide to care, you can’t just de-aware and un-care. Knowledge is power, but it’s also responsibility, and once I really learn what goes into some of the foods I eat, I feel morally compelled to stop buying them. Or, (truth), I keep buying them, and feel terrible about it. For a long time, I’ve been intending to do some research and find out what’s up with some of my favourite foods*, but now I don’t have to because Brad Long of Veritas and Cafe Belong is going to tell me!

He’ll be at Patagonia (500 King St W) this Thursday, along with food educator Debbie Field, to discuss these dilemmas, and hopefully advise attendees (me) how we can “vote” with our grocery dollars/sleep well at night knowing we’re not supporting people who chop the beaks off of chickens. The event begins at six and is free to attend, although they do recommend RSVPing via Facebook, as space is limited. And hey … maybe there’ll be snacks??

Hope to see ya there!

SC

* coffee, cereal, poutine, orange juice, honey, Caesars, yogurt, peanut butter, bananas, Steam Whistle, ice cream, hummus, apples, eggs, Ezekiel bread, and whiskey

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Durumi & Chocolate Shoes

Toronto is chock-full of cool-ass shit.

So … we are implementing something new around here. Once a week we are going to share a business card belonging to either an inspirational individual or a local Toronto based business with the intent of highlighting  some of our city’s unique offerings. For example, just the other day I was angrily cursing the city’s west side parking ‘situation,’ as I was attempting an eight point turn on Sudbury Street in my mother’s hideous beast of a car aptly named “Bess,” aka the PT Bruiser. I did, however notice that 99 Sudbury offers a Sunday market of fresh local produce, wildflowers, meats, cheeses, so on and so forth. I can’t wait to return and peruse, obviously on foot.

This week we are featuring Durumi & Chocolate Shoes, two separate business entities sharing a collective space located at 416 Queen West, because as Hyeon Moon, owner of Chocolate Shoes says: “Our shoes and clothes go well together.” I went in today to gander about and inject some pretty into my already over-stimulated brain, and was mighty impressed by the selection, quality, and overall decor of the shop. Everything is imported from Korea and is relatively inexpensive for the designs, even if the largest sized shoe they carry looked hopelessly small for my unfortunate gunboats. If you also love to look at aesthetically pleasing things, click on the link above to be redirected to their blog.

(Original photos by Toronto based photog Dennis Marciniak and pulled from BlogTO.)

Also have a look at this article published on BlogTO, for some more pictures and info about this awesome already-noticed-by-s0me-but-not-all gem.

– Sylvia “Why Can’t My Feet Be a Size 8?” Stout

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Oil Pulling

A new work friend and I had a long conversation about alternative medicine the other day. He introduced me to a process known as oil pulling, and while I have yet to try this for myself, I am intrigued by the benefits.

According to the interweb, oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic medicinal practice, an alternative form of Hindu medicine predominately practiced in India. The oil puller will take a teaspoon of raw, unrefined oil (WF mentioned that sesame or sunflower are the best types), on an empty stomach, once or twice a day and swish it around for about 15-20 minutes. In this time, the oil will be pulled through the teeth and will mix completely with the user’s saliva, eventually transforming from its thick consistency actually turning quite viscous and white.

There are many proposed benefits of doing this, aside from the obvious which pertains to oral hygiene and cavity prevention. Supposedly it can also alleviate pesky ailments such as headaches, thrombosis, ulcers, bronchitis, and eczema, to name a few. The theory rests on this idea that toxins and chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream through the blood vessels in your mouth. The swishing of oil causes us to secrete saliva which is rich with water, electrolytes, digestive enzymes, and anti bacterial/fungal/viral agents, and this heterogeneous mixture actually helps to pull unwanted toxins out of the bloodstream, and therefore the body. You can read more about the practice here.

Voodoo? Witch-doctory? Perhaps… I know my father would think so! Mind you the man thinks a single Tylenol represents ‘Voodoo’ medicine, so I think I will give it a try and form my own opinion.

Stay Tuned.

SS.

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Red Wigglers

Sounds dirty… and it is! Dirt is dirty by it’s very nature after all.

The dirt (super-nutrient rich soil, really) in question, is that produced by my brand spankin’ new Dumptown Worm Condo. I purchased this inventive recycled ice cream container turned composter, at the Mutts & Co. travelling market this weekend past. Dumptown, an ongoing urban ‘garbage’ reclamation project started by Mel Sinclair and Warren Ounjian, proves that one person’s trash can most certainly be another person’s treasure. These two next level, enviro-entrpeneurs create new uses for old things. They turn pop bottles into mini mountable herb gardens, old windows into desks and picture frames, milk crates into hanging shelves, and dog hair sheddings into paintbrushes… Rubbish to rubies! Refreshing in a world that seemingly values ‘newness’ and needless wasting.

The Worm Condo is fabricated from three reused commercial sized ice cream containers, and fits comfortably under my kitchen sink. Due to it’s size, it can not feasibly act as a stand alone method for composting, and I will continue to make good use of my green bin in conjunction with my little red wigglers, but I love that this option is relatively odourless and produces the, “gold standard of natural fertilizers” for my new garden.

The worm condo houses a generous smattering of red wigglers, shredded news paper, and kitchen scraps. It employs the stacking system of two hole poked containers resting in a third solid container, as to make easy the process of separating  the wormies from their castings (poop!!!). Once separated, the worm castings can be mixed in with existing soils as a form of nutrient enrichment; you can even soak it in water to “make an energizing fertilizer tea that you pour over crops”.

Now for some Oligochaetology: Red wigglers (aka, panfish worms, trout worms, tiger worms, and red Californian earth worms) are commonly used for vermicomposting due to their adaptability to decaying organic material. These worms like to eat vegan scrappings, so no fats, diary, meat, or related table scraps, but feeding them a crushed egg shell (or a Tums) once a month will provide them with the calcium they need to procreate. They thrive in small spaces, in close proximity to other wigglers, and they prefer warmth and darkness. Sounds like my kind of worm!

I am both excited and intrigued to make use of my new worm condo. I will post pictures in a couple of months when I plant something with the first batch of castings. Stay tuned for any worm related mishaps (Gary is coming over this week), although I hope that doesn’t happen, because it would mean my precious new friends aren’t happy and thriving. In the meantime, check out Dumptown’s tumblr for some reclaimed rubbish eye-candy. Great stuff!

– Sylvia and her Wigglaz.

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Mutts & Co.

Our dear friends and proprietors of Muttonhead Collective, a unique and enviro-friendly fashion label hailing out of Toronto, are hosting yet another pop-up shoppe and this time are aptly naming it a ‘traveling market’. Who doesn’t love the impermanence, intrigue, and mystery of venues that travel? Think circuses, freak-shows, and carnivals: There is always something to see, eat, drink, point at, and in this case – most certainly to purchase!

On the agenda this time around:

Wednesday- Raw food cooking demo by foodie Gillian Young (5-7)
Thursday – Craft Brewing 101 + Beer tasting (5-7)
Friday – Urban Gardening installation (all day)
Saturday/Sunday – Maverick (from Crown Shaving Co.) is providing gentlemanly shaves + cuts 50% off (11-5)

Check out the poster below for more details, take a wander on over to College at Crawford to get yer magpie on and show your support for local designers, artists, and entrepreneurs. Fun on a hotdawg bun!

– Syl.

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Vomitous

What is up with puking? The act of barfing must be one of the most (momentarily) unpleasant side effects of being a human.Wikipedia describes vomiting in the following way: “Vomiting (known medically as emesis and informally as throwing up and by a number of other terms) is the forceful expulsion of the contents of one’s stomach through the mouth and sometimes the nose.” SOMETIMES THE NOSE!!?? Fuck. Things are pretty fucking dire if puke is coming through your nostrils. You can’t clean that mess up with a toothbrush and toothpaste, that’s for damn sure.

Some people claim not to mind vomiting; we have all heard ‘those people’ posit that tossing cookies is not the worst thing in the world; “Ohhhhh!! But it is wayyyyyy worse to avoid it, you feel so much better when you just get rid of what ever is ailing your guts!” No. Disagree. I mean okay… yes theoretically, I have had those pukes where it happens and I do feel much better in the time following. Those rare few that take very little from your overall well being and  only manage to slow you down for a brief period of time, (“because you have strong stomach”, “a strong will to continue”, etc),  BUT – what about with the flu? How about then? You feel awful, your temperature is elevated, your normally well functioning body can’t decide whether it is really hot or really cold, you shake through incessant boughts of chills and nausea only to ultimately concede to that watery feeling on the back of your tongue. You rush to the closest vestibule (or lean over the edge of the bed, if it is THAT bad), and wretch and gag until you puke up that evenings meal, or acid laden bile, only to lay sweaty and broken, shaken and disturbed, on the cool washroom floor to await your next puke, which is coming down the pipe at you faster than what seems reasonable.You never feel better, only slightly less malaised until you just feel horrible again.

Drinking alcoholic bevies to a point where your stomach responds with an, “unh-uh, no fucking way, my blood is polluted, I can’t fight this battle alone, expel… EXPEL!”, is also terribly unpleasant; not as bad as flu-pukes, but bad nonetheless. You have the spins (the devil created the spins FYI), one foot resting on the floor, watery mouth, you are a hot mess really. You pray at the alter of the porcelin god, or the garbage can on the road, or the road, or all over your freshly washed sheets, in space,  brush your teeth, and then fall into bed, now able to at least burn the evenings libations off to headache status.

All in all I absolutely loathe and deplore throwing up. Throwing up due to the flu (or some equally body taxing ailment like food poisoning) is the worst, but throwing up sober or drunk suck, in equal measure,  balls of a gross and abnormal size.

There are different ‘types’ of pukers. There are the aforementioned non-fussers that don’t seem much bothered by this nightmarish act, and then there are people like me. I will put that shit off. I will try to meditate through it before I will concede to it. I will sip water, pace around, purposefully inhale and exhale, try to focus on something stable, so on and so forth, before I will even consider taking out the trash.

The physiological elements associated with barfing are actually quite fascinating. You should read this wiki article, so at least the next time you puke you will know exactly what is going on inside your vessel. For example: Did you know that the increased salivation production we all experience right before we vomit is the parasympathetic nervous system’s way of protecting the enamel on our teeth? Okay, I had some idea this was the case, but still.

So… What kind of puker are you?

– Sylvia.

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Gawking at Hawker

Today is one of those days just overflowing with positivity and promise… and all that other hippy-dippy crap. But seriously, it started with a delicious albeit gluttonous brunch of caesers, Freedom Toasts, Ossington Massives et al., at The Lakeview; shared with great friends and lots of laughter. Reason 520 why I love my city: It is just the right size, large-ish and metropolitan, yet cozy enough that on any given “brunch day”, you can collide with great friends by happenstance. Especially is the case on a beautiful and warm spring holiday while dining anywhere near Bellwoods.

On our way homeward we decided to pop our heads into the soon to open Hawker Bar on Ossington, the Laliberte brother’s newest venture; a cozy neighbourhood nook specializing in Singapore street food. (Click the link to learn more about the culture behind this unique cuisine). I have seen it in its many phases of development, but now having witnessed it come together in its final stages, I must say I damn near floated away on a cloud of excitement. I dare not give too much away, it is always more fun to see these brand new spaces for oneself, but whatever you do – pay this spot a visit when she launches. There shan’t be an undilated pupil in the joint.

Gawk on these in the meantime:

Early Stages:

Delicious Fishes:

Mood Lighting: * A comment about this: Lighting really can make or break a space, especially in a bar, especially in a small bar. An overlooked nuance to many, I believe it is one of the most important considerations. The Lalibertes have pulled something off here with their choice. My magpie brain approves!

Now off to frolic with the wildlife avec my partner in crime, Sourz Dino Egg in one hand, one hitter in the other.

– Sssssylvia.

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Monogamy?

We were perusing the Hairpin this morning and found this interesting advice column about a couple living in a non- monogamous relationship. Monogamy and the discourse that surrounds it, has become a hot button issue in the past few years. What with the divorce rates soaring and the release of non-fiction literatures such as Sex at Dawn and The Ethical Slut – which stand on occasion to question and challenge what we think we know about the weight of biology and socialization when it comes to monogamy – it is not surprising that more and more people are yearning to discuss these matters. We have included an excerpt from the interview here, but please shove over to The Hairpin to read the full article.

What’s the payoff to avoiding monogamy?

A NON-MONOGAMOUS LADY: Why don’t we start by casting our minds far, far back to the world of monogamy?

A NON-MONOGAMOUS DUDE: Time travel!

ANML: Flashback!

ANMD: Wavy lines!

ANML: Why didn’t monogamy work for you?

ANMD: I liked monogamy! In retrospect, it’s comforting in that it is possible to not discuss a lot of complicated feelings about your relationship, and you can enjoy a comfortable, loving union whilst minimizing territorialness and jealousy.

ANML: “Comfortable” being the operative word.

ANMD: Yes. It’s comfortable. Unfortunately, in my experience, comfortableness often becomes complacency. And as the relationship persists, it becomes unhappier by barely perceptible degrees, and I find myself becoming discontented — though I’m not sure exactly why — and I get to a point where I feel that my relationship is being held together by inertia alone. I take my partner for granted, I get taken for granted, and we’re doomed. I have a feeling that monogamy may play a substantial role in this degradation.

ANML: It may! Is it my turn now?

ANMD: Lay it on me, co-skipper.

ANML: My experience with long-term monogamy was similar to yours. I didn’t hate being monogamous, and I didn’t have a hard time staying faithful or anything. For me, it wasn’t so much that I hated monogamy — it was that I LOVED being single. It was a complete amazement to me, how much I loved being single.

ANMD: You had been in a relationship for a long time, so singledom must have been quite a revelation.

ANML: It was like night and day. I loved flirting. I loved one-night stands. I loved the feeling that life was full of endless possibility, and that on any given day I might have a threesome, or go home with a stranger from a karaoke bar, or hitch a ride on the back of a Vespa and then kiss the driver.

Finish the full article here.

 

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Whooooooo Are Yoooooou?

Tonight is the night! We’re hosting a party to celebrate all things mennnnh. Poutini’s. 1112 Queen St W. Six till eleven. Be there.

And hey, in view of this event, we thought it might be a good time to introduce ourselves!

We are

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Cynthia

and

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sylvia Stout.

Enchantee ………..

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Waiter Rant?

Last night I stumbled upon The Stained Apron, a website “dedicated to the venting of food servers’ frustrations and a harsh education of the dining public!” A server myself, I was immediately drawn in, and spent over an hour voraciously reading anecdotes from my fellow industry workers. I at first expected to feel a sense of camaraderie and validation from the stories I read. But what I ended up feeling was embarrassment and horror.

Who are these trogs?? I thought, as I clicked through sordid and petty tales. Padding tabs, adding powdered laxatives to a beverage, serving mouldy cheesecake … do people actually do things like this? Well …. padding tabs is one thing … but … deliberately serving nasty shit to your (presumably human being) customers is something else!

It got me thinking about the work that I do, and I felt compelled to share some thoughts on morality and expectations in the service industry.

First, let me state that I work in a nice restaurant. It’s been around for years, the food is superb, and it’s owned by a well-regarded company. I’m blessed — I earn a very good living, and since I work here in Toronto, my job description is nothing to be ashamed of. I have benefits, too. It’s pretty sweet all around. However, that doesn’t mean I love my job all the time. It’s incredibly stressful, physically and emotionally demanding, and completely unpredictable. There are nights (usually Saturdays, when the 905 comes to act a fool in the 416) when I want to remove my (pristine, unstained) apron, ball it up, and force it down someone’s gullet. After-work cocktails are a must.

But I believe that I have the power to determine my own experience as a server. As I’ve grown and matured, I’ve learned that bitching is useless. Blaming is useless. And the sooner you can learn to bask in the positivity, while telling the negativity to go fuck itself, the happier, calmer, richer you will be.

Revenge is a dish best acted out in your head. But, no matter what a customer says or does, you’ve got a couple of stanchions to fall back on and keep steady. One is politeness. Steely, precise, terrifying politeness. Any good server knows how powerful this can be. If I don’t like a customer’s conduct, I do my best impression of Emily Post on blow. It’s really amazing how quickly you can cow and diffuse someone this way.

Humility works, too. I am generous with my apologies. Why? Because people love that shit. If you apologize, then they get to forgive you, and that makes them feel really great. If you can get them laughing, all the better. “Rueful” is what you’re going for with this.

Above all, though, stands professionalism. If I can hold my head up and say, “I’ve done my best,” I feel a lot better about things, no matter how bad things are. That’s why — regardless of how rude, demeaning, or ignorant you may be — I will never spit in your food. I refuse to be anything but awesome. And if you want to leave a lame tip, fine. Yes, you will be mocked. I will absolutely show the credit card slip bearing your paltry gratuity to my colleagues. We’ll have a good (rueful?) laugh. And that’s it. I won’t banish you to the table by the bathroom on your return visit. I won’t prank call you, or refuse to serve you when you come back next week … I won’t use any of the trashy tactics espoused over at The Stained Apron. I will just inhale and exhale deeply as I remind myself that the world is full of people who just don’t get it, and your misfortune at being one of them is far greater than my misfortune in serving you.

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Helltown, Ohio

Every once in a while I like to really creep myself out. I am a scary movie junkie, I enjoy thrillers, and horror novels; the more eerily realistic the better. I am that person that opts to view disturbing videos and imagery when everyone else is turning away or covering their eyes.

Helltown, Ohio… Yes please! I might mention here that this hell-on-earth happens to be located just a short jaunt off route while en route to Tennessee, home of Bonnaroo, and I will be urging my driving buddies this year to take a stop at this (final??!!) destination. Hopefully at dusk.

Formerly named Boston, Ohio, this abandoned settlement got its new moniker after it’s residents were evicted when the area was designated to become a part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and today their houses remain either demolished or boarded up. Rumours started when the land was never properly cleared out, and many of the houses stayed intact, locals claiming that the area had been bought up not to make room for a national park, but rather to cover up a chemical spill. It is said that at any given time parades of ghosts, satanists, KKK members, an escaped mental patient, and even a giant mutated snake can be found looking for their next victim and just generally being creepy. Any takers?

To view some more info on Helltown, and to brush up on the 10 Most Terrifying Places on Earth visit Listverse.

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Dear Blank Please Blank

I came across these a while ago and had a good giggle. I have posted some pretty versions (originally found here) but also check them out at Dear Blank Please Blank dot com.

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Odyssey for Opportunity

Jill Brennan, Jenny MacLean, and Geneva Winterink are going to bike across Canada this coming June because they are badass.

They are badass because they want to give under-privileged  children across this great nation an opportunity to play sports. They figured that the first way to make this happen was to start a charity and to name it Odyssey for Opportunity. Biking across the country to raise awareness and funds for their cause is the platform. These three chicks could finish a colosseum of enraged minotaurs without breaking a sweat, but alas we don’t live in Rome so pumping the pedals for over 8,000 KMs is the next best thing. Did I mention that they are badass?

The Players:

Roughly three years ago Jenny returned to her hotel after celebrating the end of the World Ball Hockey Tournament in Newfoundland. It was the wee hours of the morning when in walked three cyclists and Jenny jokingly inquired as to whether or not like she, they had been out painting the town. They responded that no, in fact they had just arrived in Newfoundland after having finished cycling across the country. This little nugget of inspiration made a huge impact on Jenny and ever since then she has wanted to herself partake in a gesture so grand.

Geneva it has been said, entered into this world twenty four years ago swathed in sports gear, cleats and all. She spends most of her spare time coaching children in a variety of sports, so to embark upon a charity driven adventure seemed to be a no brainer. It was decided last January 2011 that Jenny and Geneva would undertake the massive challenge of cycling across Canada to raise awareness and support for children who have not had the opportunity to get involved in sports, whether recreationally or competitively.

Jill, another born sports enthusiast, decided to join the ranks because she knew that an opportunity like this simply doesn’t present itself everyday. She has never done anything like this before, and claims that, “it would take more training and discomfort than I have ever known.”  Masochism meets philanthropy, I like it! Before OFO she had no real experience with fundraising, and is overjoyed to be given the chance to affect the lives of others on such a grand scale… that and Peachtree TV discontinued re-runs of Saved By the Bell.

The Plan:

The trip will commence this coming June out of Vancouver, BC. The trio expect to do it in 75 days making roughly 75 stops along the way, barring any unforeseeable delays. That is approximately 8,105 KMs and on some days they will bike for a duration of 8 hours. My gluts ache just thinking about it. They are going to have a small team of drivers accompany them in a donated trailer, so that they will have a mobile kitchen, washroom, and a place to stay, as camping may not always be a viable option. There have been fundraising events planned for some of the stops along the way and they hope to accrue some supportive cyclists for certain legs of the trip, a la Forrest Gump. They will complete the journey in St. Johns Newfoundland mid-August. I hope to be there to greet them with a flurry of back slaps… and beer.

The Sponsors:

Their concept has been incredibly well received so far, and while they are waiting eagerly for feedback from their desired title sponsor, they have quite a few reputable allies on board thus far. These include Napoleon BBQ, Durham Regional Police, Skiis and Bikes, and Toronto based eco-fashion label Muttonhead Collective. OFO holds charity events to further their progress as well. In November they had a Bar Night at Alto in Toronto and at the beginning of March they are holding a charity bowling event in Oshawa… More to follow of course.

How You Can Help:

Check out their website and their blog for more information, their route and stops, to make a donation, or to send it on to spread the good word. We will also be making regular updates during the ride with pictures and videos of their experiences. We are very excited and enthused to support such an amazing group of women, and their epic cause. Get on Board!

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30 Things to stop doing to yourself

I found this article on Marc and Angel Hack Life in a roundabout way, (it is a great Blog previously unknown to me), and realized in a flash that it was exactly what I had been looking for, albeit not consciously. Funny how these things happen to us sometimes. The whole blog offers tidbits of inspirational advice, but this post consists of standards of action all of us really should adhere to everyday and most of us probably could stand to be reminded of. I have included the three that resonate most profoundly with me (written by Marc), but check out the complete list here, it is worth the five minutes.

Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.

Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.

Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.

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All We Wanna Do is Bonnaroo, Roo, Roo!!

MEnNNNNnnNnnNNNnNnnH!!

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