Inspiration in the most unexpected places

I have a day job.

It’s not something super fancy or anything to be proud of, but I make a decent salary, have benefits, and get a few vacation and sick days here and there. It’s pretty comfy.

The problem with my day job is that it’s taking time away from writing (and taking my sanity, bit by bit, with every inane phone call I get from a woman in Minnesota who can’t find her phone’s power on button). This is where it gets a little bit interesting.

Last week, I started taking phone calls for a new area of my company. We do cell phone service and domain name registration – I’m more well versed in the phone side of things, and am still learning how to deal with domain names and email issues. A man called in yesterday trying to get his email started on his Mac, which immediately gave me two problems as a) I’m still learning about email and b) I can’t stand Macs and as a result have no idea how their OS works. (It seems a very strange oversight to me not to have a “home” type launcher or a more accurate search bar.)

This gentleman was on the phone with me for over an hour. We slowly got email to work on his tablet, then his laptop, but at last glance we were still trying to work out getting email onto his desktop. He took the time while we were waiting for downloads or updates to ask a bit about me, and I soon revealed that I’d rather be working in music, and that I’ve started writing songs as a gateway to that ideal. He was very impressed (though he has no proof of whether or not I have any talent!) and regaled me with stories of his Californian friends who knew people who knew people. Apparently the Beach Boys liked to rent out rooms in peoples’ mansions for $20,000 a week and fill them with sand. Whatever gets you going creatively, I guess.

This gentleman and I struggled to get his email working (Safari couldn’t open it, so we downloaded FireFox) to no avail. He sympathised with the difficulty of starting any creative endeavour. “You’re not Elton John,” he said (and I laughed a little as my sister’s nickname for me is, in fact, Kiki Dee), “you can’t write a song in an instant. Candle in the Wind was written in 5 minutes on the back of a napkin. Don’t worry about that. You’re not competing with Elton John. One day, you will be, but by then you’ll be able to write a song in 5 minutes, too. Until then, don’t worry about it.”

I told him I want to write an EP by the end of the year. “How many songs does that entail?” he asked me. “About 8-12.” “Well that’s perfect!” he said, “just write one song a month. That’s all you need. Don’t worry about writing any more than that; even if you have some songs you don’t like, you’ll still have the songs you aimed for.” I couldn’t deny this.

I’ve been worrying lately that I’m not writing enough, or well enough, or fast enough. This anonymous gentleman from California – a lawyer who couldn’t open his email – reassured me that I don’t have to be at that level right now. Baby steps. If you look at a mountaintop right away you’ll miss the basic steps that get you there. I’ll get there.

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I’m picking out a Thermos for you

My brother, Mittens, and I recently watched Steve Martin’s The Jerk, a classic staple of comedic cinematography that our parents would not stop quoting, so we sat down to see why. Now we get it.

The scene that surprised Mittens the most was the romantic walk on the beach that Martin and Bernadette Peters’ characters share, because the song (Tonight You Belong to Me) was actually quite lovely, and went almost uninterrupted by something funny. I had heard the song before while working (briefly) at a bar called Insomnia (before I was fired for sleeping in… sigh) on a CD of ukulele songs, and had fallen quite in love with the vocal harmonies. So now that we’ve had proper inspiration, Mittens and I will join our sister‘s quest to learn to play the ukulele and form the world’s tinniest sounding band. What we really want is to add the almost-ten-year-old sister in on the upright bass to round out the sound.

Please welcome to the stage: Biggie and the Smalls!

Our first song would be Baba O’Riley, because we all agree that is the best song, and also it’s ironic because only one of us is currently a teenager. Also the beginning would sound hella awesome on ukuleles and the bass could possibly be played with a hammer.

EMI GET ON THIS THIS IS SOME GOOD STUFF

Well, now you have it.

Fleshlight likes my blog.

Couldn't be prouder.

So this is what it feels like to hit the top.

Cross border shopping

The great Canadian tradition! Spending our money in another country – and even though it’s currently worth more than American money, prices still haven’t been adjusted to reflect that. Why do we still do this? It’s not even Black Friday…

But on the other hand, their stores carry some products ours don’t. Worth it? Maybe…

(Limping) Life Lessons

Last Monday my left foot decided it’d had enough of this crap and stopped working. More specifically, it developed shooting pain from the fascia to my heel. Naturally, I assumed the worst (plantar fasciitis) and all trips to the clinic and x-rays have so far proved inconclusive. I’ve been limping all week – even Tuesday, when I worked a double – and I’ve learned things about how the world views people. I’m just not sure what the things I’ve learned mean.

For example: With a limp, most people actively ignore me. Panhandlers, buskers, solicitors, those annoying money-gatherers from Sick Kids, even guys who were about to catcall. All silenced when they notice my uneven gait.

The people who don’t ignore me stare at me, as if they’re trying to diagnose me with their eyes. (If only.)

I also learned that if you walk with a limp, with a double-scoop of Honey Crunch on a sugar cone, at 10 p.m. by yourself on a Friday night in February, people are really going to look at you funny.

Good one, me.

So I’m sitting here playing Minesweeper when I come to a section of the grid where I have to fully guess where the bombs are. There is no algorithm, there are no clues, it’s just pure guesswork for about 7 or 8 bombs.

(Yes, this is a post about Minesweeper. Deal with it.)

I made it through the guesswork without a hitch, cleared the whole corner area, and literally thought to myself “Wow, that was a real minefield!”

Then I realised what the game is called.

A few firsts for the year

Happy new year! May 2012 be better than 2o11 (and a day longer too)!

Fun first facts:

– First American baby born this year was Jenna Carly Tudela at Guam Memorial Hospital… wait what??
– First thing I ate this year was rosemary garlic mashed potatoes because we are out of bread and cannot have toast
– First day of spring will be March 20 at 1:14 a.m. Start your countdown now!
– First American album released is set to be Let’s Go Eat the Factory by Guided by Voices 
– First song to get stuck in my head this year is, for some reason, Bowie by Flight of the Conchords
– First billboard hit of 2012 is Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO (how did they decide that already?)
– First thing I’m gonna do tomorrow is sleep through it.

Goodnight! I hope your New Year’s Eve celebration was as wonderful as it could possibly have been. I’ll blog you all later on in 2012!

T’is the season…

…for holiday parties. I feel like I’m too young to be going to potlucks in Hamilton and Mississauga; traveling an hour out of the city bringing a covered dish feels like something my parents should be doing. I guess I’ll know I’m really old when the hosts are able to afford to throw an entire dinner party on their own dime, and all I have to bring is a bottle of wine or some flowers; but still, having dinner parties just feels old. Mature, yes (which is probably why I feel out of place with the idea, ha), but having a sit-down dinner feels oddly formal with the kids with whom I used to just hang out.

Could be worse, I guess. At least none of my friends are playing Santa at a mall yet.

I am just posting like mad today

It’s like Twitter up in here.

I just wanted to point out my lovely new tag cloud, to the right on the sidebar there. My most common tags are buzzing around like little annoyingly compulsively categorising bees.

I love the word bees.

I also love the fact that in the tag cloud, it looks like I often tag “organic pants.” Amazing.

Christmas wish list

Starting with the practical:

  • external hard drive (for when the Blue Screen of Death fully envelops poor Lola Laptop)
  • new archery equipment (specifically, riser and limbs, because my sight is awesome)
  • a new bike (sob)

Next, the unnecessary but nice:

  • Melanie C’s new CD, The Sea
  • Secret Dakota Ring’s Cantarell
  • somewhere to put all this fabric
  • BOOKS
  • Scissor Sisters sheet music
  • rat toys and treats for the three baby boys I’m adopting on Thursday (!!)

Then, the downright ludicrous:

  • an upright grand
  • an electric guitar (why, when I can barely play my acoustic?)
  • tickets to see the Black Keys in March (holy shiznits that’s a spensive)
  • my bike, Rusty, back
  • another tattoo…?
  • a recording contract with a major label
  • a 24-hour oncall personal trainer/chauffeur/cook/shopper/hitman
  • while we’re dreaming big, my own condo with soundproof floors, walls, and ceilings, a separate kitchen with a dishwasher, and a fair sized living room area in a building with an elevator and low condo fees but utilities included and enough space for something bigger than a single bed plus a good view of the city and also a washer and dryer and cable and a real TV. Santa baby?