Sunday, January 27, 2008


Worst Holiday Ever?

I haven't been able to update this past week because ever since Tuesday evening, I have been bedridden with the flu and a brutal chest cold. Getting the flu while on holiday pretty much sucks and I've been reduced to watching really bad tv in between marathon sleeping / sweating sessions. Totally gross. I don't think I've slept this much since I was a toddler.

Anyway, I'm off to waste more of my holiday time sleeping and sweating in Bombo's bed.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Newsflash: Canada is Cold, the Sky is Blue, and Other Obvious Statements

I have been in Kingston and Napanee, the past couple of days, visiting family all in the midst of a cold snap. It has been so cold, I have had to get my huge goose down coat out of storage because the flimsy wool coat I have been wearing in Glasgow, just doesn't cut it. I don't eat fowl but damn, it's pretty sweet to wear. It's not the most flattering of coats and I somewhat resemble a confused baby that's been rolled and tucked into a duvet and left out on a snowbank.

Speaking of snow, there's been quite a bit of it here.

Alas, I don't have the appropriate footwear with me (still in storage). Behold, my trainers that are almost lethal to walk over ice in:

Witness, said ice - Yes, this is the sidewalk, COVERED in ice:

A bunch of crazy Canadians ice skating in downtown Kingston:

In some ways, you almost forget just how cold it can get here. Otherwise, you might just not be able to cope come winter. It's all about preparation and more importantly, layers. And of course, the all important touque. I, however, seem to have lost my immunity to the cold because my face and skin are dry and itchy, and I swear to god, the cold weather seems to only highlight my wrinkles and pasty white face:
Oh man, my skin is so dry and itchy, I feel like dipping myself in a vat of Vaseline.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Paul, my boyfriend, and I have been dating about 11 months now and during that time, we have never been apart for longer than two nights. And so, it's nearing the end of my second night in Toronto, and I am desperately missing him. Yes, I know we are sad and borderline Paul and Linda McCartney (who reportedly only spent ten nights apart when Paul was in jail for possession of weed in Tokyo) with our mutual separation anxiety.

Nevertheless, I just wish he was here to suffer in the cold with me. It's good, however, to see friends and family and finally eat some decent nachos (something that Glasgow just can't seem to produce decently). Toronto, meanwhile, has changed quite drastically in some areas - namely my old hood, Parkdale.

Where Parkdale was once a haven for poor artists/ recent immigrants/ drug dealers/ prostitutes/ crack addicts and other social pariahs (i.e. weirdos with sometime anti-social tendencies like myself), Parkdale is now an obnoxious cesspool of....well, Torontonians. Everyone is just too damn cool, you know? Before you could just walk to the local roti joint in your pajama bottoms and it was all cool 'cause people were too drunk/ high to notice you.

Such is gentrification, I guess. Long live capitalism.

And that's why I love Glasgow. Glaswegians just keep it real, you know? They're not out to impress anyone and understand that it's their God given right to get completely pished in public. Glaswegians aren't afraid of a good time - even if it means having to go to work the next day with a throbbing headache and 5 hours of sleep. Glaswegians have a long history of being staunchly labour/ left-leaning and that totally appeals to my inner vegetarian hippie. Of course, Glasgow also has it's own downfalls: classism, sectarian violence, rampant staggering poverty, drug abuse - just to name a few.

Similarly, Toronto has its own upsides: nachos, rotis, cheap goods, Tim Hortons coffee, Toronto Maple Leafs, family, customer service, Mitzi's Sister (restaurant), cheap booze, multiculturalism that actually works, and of course, my friend, Coco/Bobby/ Bombo/ Cha Cha and his dog, Seymour- just to name a few!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Photo from Alfred Ng

I'm in Toronto. I arrived this morning - or this afternoon depending on the time zone. Despite having flown the Toronto - Glasgow route at least a dozen times now, I arrived in Toronto feeling somewhat disoriented. I suppose it was the hurried and frenzied state I arrived at Glasgow airport in. Or perhaps it was the seven hour flight in a tiny cramped plane where I was, of course, seated behind a behemoth mound of flesh that only slightly resembled a human. 

See, his face melted into his neck and his torso appeared to be constructed out of cheese barrels. His "fingers" vaguely resembled human flesh and looked more like sausages. I know this because once every hour, he would fling his hands up and over the top of his chair - inches away from my face. 

Silently suffering, I got to thinking about airlines. Now, first of all, I know the following suggestion will be politically incorrect and of course, loaded but hear me out: during my seven hour flight (and oh, how I missed the spacious seats of Thomas Cook), I got to thinking about an airline (or section of a plane) that would be for people ONLY weighing over 300 pounds AND with a bmi OVER 30. Such an airline (or rather, a section of a flight) would have bigger seats and more room AND you wouldn't even have to pay more. You'd just have to be weighed and measured. In public to be allowed entry into the section.

Look, I am by no means tiny myself (but don't worry - I'm working my way up to yet another eating disorder) but jesus, after seven hours of staring at the back of a giant's head and the seat straining under said giant, I was moments away from an anxiety attack. 

So, I propose that airlines start reflecting the demographic of the Western world and create a section for all us fat bastards - who are prepared to undergo a public weigh in and measure. Wherein we can be herded into a corner of an already cramped cabin and every once in a while, thrown bags of crisps and licorice allsorts. 

Please note: this entry was heavily-influenced from reading Charlie Brooker's, Dawn of the Dumb: Dispatches from the Idiotic Front Line, on a seven hour flight. 

Sunday, January 13, 2008


This past weekend, Paul and I took a road trip to Girvan. Actually, Paul had some lawyer business to attend to there and since I'm keen to see ANYTHING and EVERYTHING in Scotland, he invited me along.

Girvan is about an hour and a half south west of Glagsow, on the West coast of Scotland. Girvan is an interesting wee town (population: about 7,000); it feels like a once prosperous fishing nucleus in a slow decline - which may well be the case since fishing stocks are in decline themselves. However, it is still a quaint town with a stunning view of the sea and Ailsa Craig.
Here I am, freezing ma butt off and looking generally miserable (I wasn't - just really cold).
View of the beach.

Look at that Scotch mist!

Here's Paul, freezing, and posing in front of the town/ beach/ Scotch mist.

Ailsa Craig, as seen from the shore of Girvan.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The weather in Glasgow (and most of Scotland) last night, resembled something from the Book of Revelation. When I left work, rain and sleet pummeled the earth without mercy - thankfully Paul picked me up so I didn't have to walk home. When we arrived home, gale force winds started to pick up, thrashing rain against the windows. Into the night, I swear I felt my top-floor flat rattle and strain under the insane winds from outside.

In this mornings news, apparently 20,000 folks are without power due to the end of times weather last night. Apparently the strong winds even flipped five "lorries" (transport trucks) over.

In other UK news, apparently Britons are richer than Americans. According to analyst Oxford Economics, the average UK person will this year have a greater income than their US counterpart for the first time since the 19th Century. According to the study, British workers earn £250 more than Americans.

Eh, that may be the case but can someone please explain to me why shoes, jeans, and just about everything else are still bloody expensive over here?!

And in even better news, a little alcohol combined with a healthy active lifestyle may be the best recipe for a longer life:

"A Danish team found people who led an active lifestyle were less prone to heart disease - but the risk was cut still further if they drank moderately. Overall, they found people who did not drink or take any exercise had the highest risk of heart disease - 49% higher than people who either drank, exercised or did both.

When comparing people who took similar levels of exercise, they found that those who drank moderately - one to 14 units of alcohol a week - were around 30% less likely to develop heart disease than non-drinkers. "

Monday, January 07, 2008

I made it through my first Glaswegian Hogmanay - but just barely. The evening started out great. Paul and I met up with my friends at a pub before heading to another pub to meet up with Paul's friend, J, and J's girlfriend. When that pub closed, we all went back to our flat for more drinks.

To make a long story short: I mixed my drinks throughout the evening (wine and cider; why didn't anyone tell me cider was evil?!) and subsequently passed out on my bed around 1.30am. I was awakened about an hour - or was it two? - later by J and his girlfriend having an argument.

What's New Year's Eve anyway without a lovers quarrel? Paul and I had one as well just for good measure. Fortunately I don't think either of us can remember what it was all about although I have been banned from drinking cider. No argument from me on that order.

One of the highlights of the evening was hearing THIS gem of a song at the pub, just after the bells rang in the new year:

If that doesn't get you rocking out BIG TIME well, then you're simply not Rock n' Roll and I can't hang out with you.

Another highlight was getting half the pub dancing to Lionel Ritchie's, Dancing on the Ceiling. I guess I just inspired them with my own spastic rapture of a dance when the song came on. Seriously, it was pretty awesome.

And finally, Paul and I ended our holiday season with taking down the Christmas tree and watching the entirety of Season 4 of The Wire. Simply put: The Wire is the best television series. Probably ever. I've thought long and hard about this but...I think it's even better than the Sopranos. I will give the Sopranos one thing, however: I do think it has more complex characters. The Wire, however, has intricate and complex plots so the characters appear almost secondary.