Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Evidently this blog is the number one return when people google, "date Scottish men".

I'm not sure which is stranger: the fact that people are looking to specifically date men by nationality or that they're taking to the internet to find dating advice when it comes to Scottish men.

Do you want to know what it's like to date Scottish men? I'll tell you: it's like dating any other kind of Western dude! Except that some Scottish dudes are obsessed with soccer and have weird accents.

In pop culture, Scottish men are often portrayed as kilt-wearing, haggis-eating, rugged and tough penny-pinching drunks. Alas, dear readers, most of these are not true. Scottish men usually only wear kilts to weddings and formal functions and they eat haggis about once a year. Whether or not they're "rugged" and "tough" is objective. As well, I'm not sure what being "rugged" and "tough" entails (hairy beards and street fighting?) but what I think women really mean by "rugged" and "tough" is actually confidence.

What I can confirm, after living in Glasgow for almost three years and dating a weegie for almost two, is that a lot of Glaswegian men:

(a) like to drink

(b) are temperamental (even more so than me)

(c) obsessed with football (so much so that their team losing a match can ruin their day)

(d) have hot accents (even after two years, I sometimes am at a loss as to what my boyfriend is saying)

(e) create a facade of confidence (although some may well be genuinely confident, which kinda makes them a wanker)

Obviously the above list does not apply to all Glaswegian men and certainly not Scottish men in general. I think the West of Scotland is unique onto itself and the "macho" stereotype of it is still pervasive to this day unfortunately.

So, if the above list appeals to you, by all means I suggest dating a nice working class weegie - but just remember to never ever dare schedule something on an old firm day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, Mom!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Crossing Continents: Islam and Canada

Bill Law returns to his homeland of Canada, to the most ethnically diverse city, Toronto, to investigate how real the threats of Islamic extremism is.

Listen here
Photo from ardenstreet

You know when I really miss Canada and get homesick? The time leading up to Christmas.

I love nothing more than a white Christmas and the reassuring smell of a huge Christmas tree. I miss the big chunky snowflakes; eggnog; people getting snow tires put on their cars; skating in Nathan Phillips Square; and sadly, those Canadian Tire Christmas commercials.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's quite strange to wake up in the West end of Glasgow one morning, and go to bed in a new flat on the South side but here we are; officially in our new digs in Shawlands.

I love the new flat but to be honest, it still doesn't feel like "mine". I love the enormous minimal kitchen, which overlooks a back yard and downtown Glasgow. I love the photographs which came with the place (pictures from all over the world - from Cambodia to Toronto to new Zealand). I'm looking forward to exploring the new area and have already found an awesome cafe which serves excellent coffee (like I said before, finding decent coffee in this city is tough).

Part of me misses the familiarity of the west end: going to my favourite restaurants, running around the park, seeing members of Franz Ferdinand and Billy Boyd. I'm sure I will grow to love Shawlands.

For all you Torontonians out there: in a way, Shawlands feels like the new West Queen West; where the West end of Glasgow was once hip and affordable, it's now expensive and overrun with out-of-towners out for a night on the tiles. Shawlands is more affordable and seems more "bohemian" (i.e. polite way of saying scruffy round the edges)!

Anyway, after this last move (my 4th!) my new mantra is, the next place I live in, "I am buying it and dying in it"; I hate moving!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

If you live outside the UK, you've probably never heard of Boyzone - I know I hadn't until I moved over here. Apparently, they were a huge boy band in the 1990s from Ireland and recently regrouped. Check out their first TV appearance - one of the funniest things I've seen in a while.

It should be noted that the dude in the brown vest, Stephen, came out as being gay. After watching him dance, it is clearly evident that he's an experienced circuit queen.

Also, since it's that time of year, check out the Irn Bru Christmas commercial - their take on the Snowman:

Monday, December 08, 2008


One of the many things I love about living in Scotland - specifically Glasgow - is that not only do I live in one of the most exciting and trendiest cities in the world, but I'm also only twenty minutes away from gorgeous scenery and wilderness.

There wasn't a cloud in the sky on Saturday, so after breakfast Paul offered to show me some of his glorious homeland. We decided to head towards the Campsies, to one of Paul's Grandfathers most treasured walks: the walk up Dumgoyne. Before we headed out for the day, we weren't really certain as to where and what we were going to do and as such, weren't really prepared for a hike. However, once we set off, it was just too gorgeous out to not partake in a little hill walking. Besides, what's a little mud, sweat and tears in wool coats and jeans for us hard weegies?

Paul, hard weegie that he is, loves the smell of burning peat in the morning.

Me, struggling up the hill, in my jeans and trainers.

Highland cows!

Can you see the snowy munros in the background?

Friday, December 05, 2008

So the creepy bastard managed to stay in office for a little while longer. I am so disappointed in the Governor-General and her decision to allow Harper to suspend parliament.

Hopefully the coalition between the Liberals and NDP (with backing from the Bloc), will bring him and his party down in January. One thing to always remember is that the majority of Canadians DID NOT vote for the Conservatives in the past two elections; let that be your mantra.

Some people may think that Harper isn't that bad and want "stability" in a time of financial crisis and therefore think he should remain as Prime Minister. But merely pointing to the economy as an excuse to keep this man in power is bullshit. Absolute bullshit, people, and stop repeating such trite you read in the National Post.

I mean, did you not see the Finance Minister's (Jim Flaherty) economic proposal, which was the catalyst for this whole Liberal and NDP coalition!? Let me break it down for you:

The Conservatives, under Harper, proposed:

1. To cut back public service pay (when, honestly, it's shite as it is and needs not be tampered with).

2. Suspend the right to strike for federal employees even as the country enters a slump in which such strikes are highly unlikely. I mean, that shit is just illegal. What is this? China?!

3. Cut pay equity, a program that requires Ottawa to pay women equal wages for work of equal value. Please bear in mind that currently, Canadian women earn 72 cents for every dollar a man earns.

It's already well established that Harper and his cronies are pretty much against supporting women and any group that aims to help women - especially vulnerable women (i.e. from poorer backgrounds, single mothers, minorities and so forth).

If those aren't reasons enough for you to be pissed off, well you're not human then; you're probably Harper.

Read more here and here

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I know it seems improbable but it's exciting times in Canadian politics!

Get Stephen Harper out now!

How weird is it that Glasgow is currently colder than Toronto?

Scotland is in the midst of a cold snap and to be honest, I don't mind; I like the cold and snow. Indeed, I love winter and snow - but only when countries/ cities can properly deal with the dip in temperature. For example, note the above pictures taken this morning on my way to work. The sidewalks are covered in a thin layer of ice - and have been since yesterday - and have yet to be sanded/ salted. In fact, last night I slipped on some ice while walking home from work and let out a loud audible, "WOAAAAH!" much to my own embarrassment and to the amusement of the dude walking behind me.

Nope, I don't mind all this crisp and cold wintery weather. The only part that I DO mind about it all is when the whole fucking city acts like the end of the world is neigh and we're about to enveloped by deathly sheets of snow. Watching the weather bulletins this morning on TV, you would think that it's absolutely Baltic outside when the reality is, it's only about 0C with an expected DUSTING of snow over night.

THIS is proper snow:

So, listen up, Glaswegians. You think this is cold and snowy? Puh-lease. Try snowy blizzard conditions. Try exposing your nose in -25C temperature and having your nose hair freeze (which happened to me in Toronto a couple years ago). Try walking to work on unplowed sidewalks. In fact, try driving to work on unplowed snowy streets! Try being evacuated from your apartment because the power went out (due to an ice storm) and it's well below freezing and you're surrounded by live electricity wires! I lived through the ice storm of 1998 in Kingston, Ontario, and that looked more like death and the end of the world then anything I've seen before.

So, yeah suck it up, weegies.

Check out more of what the ice storm was like here

Monday, December 01, 2008


I found another "Tim Hortons" in Glasgow! I don't think I can quite grasp how bizarre it is and yet, also depressing because the coffee and donuts are nothing like the ones found in Canada. This one is located in the Spar near Caledonia University.

However, one thing that is totally better in Scotland? candy!

Paul and I went to Glickman's, the oldest "sweetie" shop in Glasgow (where I was told for the first time ever, that I have a "lovely accent") and was also featured in a great Observer article back in May 2006:

Glickman's sits on the edge of Glasgow's Calton district, once a proud working-class neighbourhood that thrived in Glasgow's boom years in the 19th and early 20th century. Sweets helped Glasgow become the industrial giant it was. Sugar from the West Indies colonies came on ships built in the Clyde to be processed in refineries beside the river - and cheap, easily available sugar is the historical key to the Scots amazing sweets and sugared-drinks habit. The Calton is sad now, no longer famous for anything except as the place in the UK with the lowest life expectancy (53.9 years, which is seven years less than male life expectancy is in Iraq) and sugar is certainly not the most lethal of the addictions that shorten the lives of the people there. Yet it is of enormous concern to Scotland's health agencies. The grim statistics on obesity and tooth decay are a huge embarrassment - they are the unarguable evidence of ingrained poverty and poor education in a country that prides itself on the standard of its schools and its newly devolved prosperity....

Sugar is part of modern Scots history. Every Scot over a certain age gets the same rosy glow when they talk of the sweets of their childhood, of how a quarter-pound of small mint imperials got you 52 sweets. And a glance at the old cookbooks show that sugar has long been a key to Scottish cooking - as garlic was to the people of the Mediterranean, or chilli to the Thais. Shops like Glickman's in Glasgow or the fabulous Candy Box in the seaside resort town of Largs, which stocks an amazing 250 varieties of traditional sweet shops in jars, are testaments to that proud culture and those traditions. And if there's one thing all those Scots sweet-lovers will tell you, after lovingly naming their favourites, it's how happy the sweets made them, even in the hardest times.

Read more here

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm gutted.

I am truly disheartened to learn that Woolworths has gone into administration, putting thousands of jobs at risk:

Hundreds of Woolworths stores across the country are expected to close, causing thousands of redundancies. The store chain employs 25,000 people, with another 5,000 on Entertainment UK's payroll.

I love(d?) Woolworths for it's cheap housewares, clothes and most importantly, it's pick n' mix.

R.I.P. Woolies...
Scenes From a Transatlantic Relationship #2

SCENE: At Paul's Grandmother's house with his family and wee brother, James, who is celebrating his 7th birthday.

Paul's Uncle: "So, James, did you get the dumps at school today?"

Me, astonished at the question, look at Paul, who is ignoring my bewildered look of plea for some understanding.

Paul: "I remember getting the dumps at school on my birthday!"

Finding it hard to remain composed, the couch begins shaking from my contained mirth.

Paul, turning to look at the source of the shaking, starts laughing, "No, you numpty. It isn't what you think it is!"

I start cackling and his family look at me.

Paul explains: "Jennifer thinks you mean something else. Something nasty."

They all start laughing along.

Paul and his family try to explain - the dumps, apparently called the "bumps" in England, is a ritual wherein kids at school punch you on your back or butt when it's your birthday, and not the side effects of eating too many dried prunes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In a west end town, a dead end world
The east end boys and west end girls

We're moving. Again.

I have moved flats many times in the last two and a half years but two things have always remained the same: no matter where I lived, I had to stay in a traditional tenement flat and it had to be located in the west end.

As obnoxious as it may sound, I've always been a west end type a gal. Whether it was sheer nostalgia from living on Park Terrace as a student in 1999/2000, I absolutely had to be within walking distance of Gibson street, a park, Ashton Lane (although, Lord knows, it ain't what it used to be) and a decent cafe selling good coffee (which is rare in this city). It was just one of those things. If the flat was outside the west end, forget it; it was a deal breaker. I was cutting close the first time, when I lived on Garrioch Road because it hovered between North Kelvinside and Maryhill (bandit town).

My current flat is located between a precarious state of being in the west end AND city centre. It's perfect because I can walk anywhere and more importantly, my work is a mere 15 minute walk away. I was happy enough in my quaint and ancient flat...until things started falling apart. First it was the ceilings, then the lights, and then finally, the gas fireplace. It seemed to quickly reduce to a modern take on the Money Pit.

Well, perhaps I've matured because I am moving to the Southside. Shawlands to be exact. Some would say that Shawlands is the "poor man's version of the west end" and I'd say, I guess so because I'm pretty poor from paying west end rent rates. Besides, Shawlands ain't that bad and some of my former west end residing friends live there (albeit they own their flats while I just rent). Hey, it even has a couple of awesome cafes.

Nevertheless, I will now be further from my work but I'm determined to try and avoid taking the bus - not because of any environmental concerns I may have, but mainly due to the fact that some buses are just....spectacles of unearthly creatures.

More and more bus drivers in Glasgow are Polish and I've often wondered what they must make of Glaswegians because, no doubt, they probably conclude their opinions based on the people that ride their buses.

So, despite the fact that cycling in Glasgow is a near death wish, I've been thinking of buying a bike. The only thing, however, is that there aren't any second-hand bike shops in Glasgow, as far as I've seen. Perhaps with all that money saved from no longer paying west end rent, I can buy this beauty:Hey, it's on sale too (for a mere £367)! Oi vey.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Napanee District Secondary School Drama Club, 1995 (I think?)

Last Wednesday I received horrible news.

My friend from high school, Nancy, passed away in her sleep on Sunday night/ Monday morning.

Although it was absolutely shocking news, I knew that Nancy had been fighting inflammatory breast cancer even before I moved to Scotland. What made it shocking was how sudden and unjust it was; a young mother with two young daughters. Life is truly unfair.

I know some people can embellish a person once they pass away but genuinely, Nancy was one of the sweetest and most caring people I have ever met. She did not have a malicious bone in her. If anything, I'll forever be indebted to her for introducing me to Ben Folds Five and inviting me out to her farm when I was having a particularly hard time in high school.

Condolences to her family, her sister, and our friends - especially Sara D.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Loch Lomond

Another reason why I love Glasgow?

Only at a Glaswegian gym would a bunch of weegies whoop and holler when a favourite dance song comes on during a gruelling aerobics class.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The thing about coming from a dysfunctional and fractured family, is that I don't really know a lot of my relatives or our history.

My father is one of ten children; born to my Welsh Grandmother and Canadian Grandfather. While I knew my Welsh Nanny (and love her dearly), I met my Grandfather a total of once in my life and even then, I vaguely recall the circumstances of it (winter and a snowmobile ride at the family farmhouse in Prince Edward County).

You see, after meeting my Nanny during World War Two and bringing her over to a remote part of Canada and having ten kids, my Grandfather left (and eventually divorced) my Nanny, which had a devastating effect on the ten children. This was all before I was born, of course, but I assume my Father remembers it quite clearly because he never took my brother and I to meet his own Father. When my Father called to inform us that our Grandfather had died, I asked if we were to attend the funeral but he replied with a curt "no".

And yet, after he died, I came to know my Grandfather's new family even better then any of my other aunts and uncles. Perhaps this was because he had three other children with his new wife, who were closer in my age then to my Dad's. When I was younger, I always felt a bit guilty and that I was somehow betraying my Nanny by going to visit my Step-Grandmother and half-uncles and aunt. One time, however, I recall my Nanny telling me to not hold my Grandfather's "sins" (hey, she's a Catholic) against the innocent kids and that I shouldn't feel bad about wanting to go hang out and play with my younger half-aunt. I thought that was pretty cool of her.

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that circumstances before my own birth, still have an impact on my life. The actions of my family so many years ago, created a fractured family wherein most of my Father's nine brothers and sisters do not like one another and I don't know the majority of my aunts, uncles and cousins. Who they are, where they live, what they do, what they're like - I haven't the faintest idea, although Facebook has helped me to find some of them.

In fact, only last year did I find out that I have a cousin in London, England. And it was only last month that I was told that I have second-cousins in Belfast (two of whom, apparently, were in the IRA). It sucks to hear that I have relatives only a few hours away (instead of an ocean) but that I don't know the first thing about them.

So, I want to trace my Welsh Nanny's roots. If I can't know my relatives well, I might as well know my roots. It's just....where the hell do you start!?

Ok, confession time.

I'm not really into the whole idolising of footballers and lusting after grown men who kick balls on a pitch for a living, but guys? I seriously have a huge crush on Paul Hartley.

I love Paul Hartley - not just because he plays for Celtic (which appeals to my dirty Irish heritage) - but because of his scruffy beard too. And he's gorgeous. And he doesn't look too intellectually threatening either (sorry, but it's true).

Monday, November 03, 2008

Daily (Hate) Mail

I generally despise the right-wing rag that is the Daily Mail, because of their partisan politics, rabid and irrational fear of immigrants, and constant criticism of the BBC; the Daily Mail is pretty much the print equivalent of Fox News - except the Daily Mail once supported facism and nazis.

In fact, I would go so far as to claim that if you read the Daily Mail for understanding of today's political issues, I probably won't like you.

The Daily Mail seems to constantly harp on about two issues: the BBC and Immigrants - i.e. "the BBC is rubbish nowadays" and "Britain is full of dirty immigrants nowadays, takin' our jobs and council flats!" Unfortunately, these are two issues (and stances) that I take personal offence to.

If you've been fortunate enough not to be bombarded with the Jonathan Ross/ Russell Brand "scandal" of last week, all you need to know is that the Daily Mail is pretty much responsible for whipping up all the "outrage" from people who NEVER EVEN HEARD THE SHOW IN THE FIRST INSTANCE.

You know what enrages me? All the outraged faux-moral idiots who complained but hadn't even heard the show. I won't say anything else but rather, leave it up to Charlie Brooker:

Want a rush of empowerment? Join the angry idiots registering their disgust with Ofcom

The sad, likely outcome of this pitiful gitstorm is an increase in BBC jumpiness

So it's here at last. The dawn of the dumb has broken in earnest. Two mistakes occur - first Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross overstep the mark with an ill-advised bit of juvenilia, then someone decides to broadcast it. Two listeners complained, but that's by the by: it shouldn't have gone out. But then the Daily Mail - not so much a newspaper as an idiot's guidebook issued in bite-size daily instalments - uses the incident as the starting point for a full-blown moral crusade. Suddenly everyone's complaining, whether they heard the broadcast or not, largely on the basis of hysterical, boggle-eyed descriptions of what the pair said. Poor Andrew Sachs, who, having been wronged, graciously accepted their apologies and called for everybody to move on, looked bewildered by the sheer number of cameras stuck in his face. Because, by then, apologies weren't enough.

Read more

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Toronto Maple Leafs vs Anaheim Ducks. Toronto lost in a shoot out.

Pissed off because Leafs are losing.

Montreal Harbour
Jean Drapeau

Old Montreal

Notre Dame Basilica


Napanee. Funny - doesn't look like a shit hole from above.