Tag Archives: humour

Love and Life Lessons Gleaned From 90s Songs

Perhaps I have a biased opinion – I was born in the early 90s and got to experience most of the gloriousness that the music from the day has to offer – but don’t those catchy poppy little gems from the 90s and early 2000s offer great nuggets of wisdom? Let me share these life hacks with you now.

“One Week” by the Barenaked Ladies

Half autobiography half clusterfuck of words, this song taught us what it really means to listen. If you don’t pay close attention you will A) miss out on the juicy details of a romantic squabble between the narrator and his partner and B) your cue to yell out the words you actually can pick out (“…BACK-SWING!”).

Most of the lessons that we can actually make out from this song, besides the skill of speed singing, are mostly facts about the narrator of the song but some other seemingly small but highly-relevant life lessons we can learn include:

1. Romantic fights can last for a long time. Jeez, forgive the guy!
2. Sushi never touches a frying pan.
3. Vanilla is the finest of the flavours.
4. Vertigo-inducing activities require a waiver.
5. When you eat a drumstick from the Chinese Chicken your brain stops ticking.
6. If your golf clubs have big nubs they will always fly off your back-swing.
7. Birchmount Stadium is home of the Robbie.

“No Scrubs” by TLC

This song is a helpful mix of relationship advice, new vocabulary words, and a glimpse into history. Right of the hop, TLC kindly explains what, in fact, a ‘scrub’ actually is. If you were not previously aware, here is the Official Definition of the term “scrub.”

Scrub (n.) [scuh-rub]
1. A guy that thinks he’s fly.
2. A guy who always talks about what he wants and just sits on his broke ass.
3. A guy that can get no love from TLC.
4. A guy that is hanging out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride trying to holla at girls.
5. A guy who doesn’t have a car and is walking.
6. A guy who lives at home with his momma.
7. A guy that has a shorty that he doesn’t show love to.
8. Also known as a “buster.”

As we can see here, ladies and gentlemen, is that there are many ways to be a Scrub. According to TLC a male can be a Scrub but research has yet to determine if this is a two-way street that includes females. The wide-reaching definition of Scrub would also ensnare environmentalists and those who perhaps are paying off outrageous students debts. This is an unfortunate side-effect of such a precise definition but those who fall under those categories must simply work a little harder to gain the affections of a lady according to TLC.

With the updated dictionary fresh in our minds, what else can we learn from this informative piece of 90s music? Well in short, one does not want to be a Scrub. To do so would be lethal to one’s dating game. Become a Scrub and you might as well swallow romantic bleach. She will not want your number, no, and she will not want to give you hers. This will make it very difficult to continue communicating with the object of your affection.

But do not lose hope! In today’s technologically advanced society, one does not always need a phone number to pursue the fair lady. This is where “No Scrubs” shows us what life was back in the olden days. Today, although you may be without a phone number, you are not without options. Stalking on social media is always a good plan. People love when randoms who hang out in cars that are not their own poke them, tweet them, direct message them, like their Instagrammed photos, and check up on their FourSquare. User beware: if you have time to all that for a person who hardly gave you their time of day you may indeed be a Scrub. And a Creep (Creep).

“Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera 

(I don’t know why the videos aren’t loading here for this and the next song but I’m working on it. The link should be working though. Sorry!)

There are two very important lessons we can learn from this song.

Number one is that Christina Aguilera is, as we all have long-suspected, a genie. She lives in a bottle and there is a price to pay for her services. Not that I can blame her. She’s got some terrific talent that can keep you up all night. You do know I’m talking about her powerhouse singing voice right? (Pervs.) Everyone has spent at least one night in their lives dancing in their room well into the night belting out “WHAT A GIRL WANTS! WHAT A GIRL NEEDS!!!” without a care in the world. This is a prime example of Christina’s magic.

The second lesson here is that there is actually a technique to rubbing genie lamps. Who knew?! Apparently you can’t just rub them willy-nilly and expect magical wishes in return. I don’t know if Aladdin knew this or if he simply got lucky but I feel I have been living a lie up until I learned this vital information.  If you have been aimlessly rubbing lamps in hopes of some wishes you might want to give the song more attention and brush up on your technique.

“I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys

First and foremost, this song is a prime How-To get people singing. And not just sing, the Backstreet Boys taught us how to perform. One cannot simply listen to this song without dramatically extending their arms, singing with their eyes closed, and genuinely, even if just for a moment, wanting it that way

If you’re a struggling songwriter and want to get a song that literally stops traffic when it comes on just so the people can sing, this is the song for you. Rumour is the Backstreet Boys, upon the release of this song, wrote a book with Celine Dion entitled “Power Ballads: Why Our Hearts Will Go On and Why We Want it That Way”.

Now to break it down further, we learn that couples who struggle with heartache, mistakes, or never wanting to hear the person say “I want it that way” should simply start asking each other key questions to really get into each other’s craniums. Questions like “am I your fire? Your one desire?” will help the asking party determine what makes their significant other tick. Communication is essential to any sort of relationship whether it be romantic, professional, sexual, platonic or all of the above (especially if its ‘all of the above’) and BSB does a great job at suggesting the questions you should be asking.

Life can be complicated and hard. “I Want It That Way” tells us this. Distance and the inability to reach to the other’s heart are obstacles many of us will face in the game of love. Things get particularly tricky when you never want to them say ‘I want it that way’ but deep down you actually want it that way.  Please be clear about this or no one will understand what you’re talking about.

Discovering which way is the Official That Way is also an ongoing research project that I have been conducting since the song’s release in 1998. I will inform you all of my findings when they emerge. I’m sure the results will also be full of lessons.

“Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy

Did you get caught cheating? Well first, you should really ensure that you haven’t given your (official) boo any keys to your house as we learned that doing so can lead to these awkward situations. Should you in fact get caught red-handed simply deny everything! It doesn’t matter if s/he claims to have caught ‘you’ on the counter, banging on the sofa, even having them in the shower, or heaven forbid she caught you on camera – DENY DENY DENY! Sees the marks on your shoulder? Wasn’t you. Heard the words you told them? Wasn’t you. The logic here is flawless. 

Shaggy doesn’t offer much insight into what you should do after you deny freaking with the girl next door or what to do if they don’t believe that it was in fact your long-lost twin with a key to your apartment that she caught in the act but this is not his problem. He has spun you a web so perfect, it was probably you who messed up the execution of the plan.

Let’s sum up: You don’t know what to do? Say it wasn’t you.

“The Macarena” by Los Del Rio

This song taught you the most recognizable dance in the world.  Some schools in Latin America actually implemented Macarena exams that you had to successfully pass before entering the workforce. While I can only speculate as to the validity of that statement, I can promise you that you have danced The Macarena. If not, your only other option was to be That Guy at your uncle’s wedding when everyone is laughing as they dance and you sit in your chair looking like a stick in the fun-squashing mud. 

The Macarena is always socially acceptable. It is truly a life hack for dancing. Just because none of us know the name of the band off-hand does not mean you don’t know the dance. It can just be applied to so many scenarios. Say you were just born for the dance floor: you’ll thrive at the chance to get your twinkle toes moving. For those who do not know how to dance, well you don’t exactly need rhythm do you? If you can  physically move your arms and even somewhat remotely twist your hips, you’re golden in the eyes of Los Del Rio.

You can even dance the Macarena ironically. Say you’re at a club and the ladies just aren’t feeling your fist pumping in their faces. Start doing the Macarena and soon you’ll have a different set of hands on your hips.

It boils down to this: you need to know this dance. For better or for worse, it has stood the test of time. Don’t believe me? Do you really think people will still know Soulja Boy’s dance to “Crank That” in 20 years? False. Do you even know it now? MACARENA FOR THE WIN!

“Wannabe” by the Spice Girls

Ahhh the classic. The epitome of what was great about the 1990s – the Spice Girls. We’ve learned much from these girls but “Wannabe” of all their songs offers some great relationship or pickup advice.

Is your game just not quite what it used to be? Well let the Spice Girls tell you what they want (what they really really want) and you’ll be beating chicks away with a stick. This song is a manual of love’s Dos and Don’ts.

While this list will not do it justice, here is a brief sum of information that we ladies wish all men knew when trying to approach us.

  1. if you want her future, forget her past.
  2. If you wanna get with her, you better make it fast because sometimes girls just want to know what’s up. You don’t always need to take it slow, says the girl group.
  3. If you have your act together you will be just fine. Much like TLC, these ladies want a man with maturity and a general sense of togetherness.
  4. But DO NOT go wasting her precious time because if you really bug her then she’ll say goodbye.
  5. And most importantly – gentlemen write this down – if you want to be her lover, you gotta get with her friends. I’m just going to assume she means that she wants you to  talk to and hang out with her friends. The semantics of this advice may be implying a different activity with her friends but chances are this is not what she meant. You enter at your own risk (hehe) if you actually get with her friends.

Well there you have it ladies and gentlemen. Consider yourselves much more learned, wise, and love-savvy. If I do a part two, what songs would you want to learn about?

I also apologize for putting together a list of the most catchy songs in the world. I can only imagine the mash up of 90s pop that’s now stuck in your head.


Hot Yoga: A Timeline of Thoughts

Before Arriving at the Studio

11:15 – Oh man I need to hurry up if I want to get there on time! Where are my towels?!

11:17 – Okay, do I have everything? Towels? Check. Water: Check. Mat: Check. Let’s gooooo.

11:25 – Am I the only one who knows how to drive?! Don’t other drivers know I have relaxation time to get to? Gawd.

11:26 – This attitude can’t be good for my practice. Let’s rehearse breathing nicely while singing happy songs.


At the Studio

11:40 – Alright I made it. Time to be blissful.

11:41 – How much is that Ying Yang tank top? Its really cute. $35?! I can’t. The struggle is real today.

11:45 – Everyone here looks like they just stepped out of a Lululemon catalogue. Is my outfit yoga-y enough? Is that a word? No one judge me. I feel like MCHammer in these shorts.

11:46  – Well let’s go in. Nothing I can do about my outfit. They just can’t touch this.

In the Classroom

11:47 – Oh this isn’t too bad! I can work with this temperature.

11:48 – Where should I put my mat? Hmm not the front of the class. I kinda wanted that corner but would that lady think I’m weird? If I snuggle up next to Miss Corner Thief she will think I’m a little odd. I know I would judge me.

11:49 – Corner close to the door it is. Ooh maybe I’ll be able to feel the cool breezes when the door opens. Muahahaha!

11:50 – Alright, we’re lying down now. Let’s get comfy.

11:51 – Do I look weird with my eyes closed? I don’t know what to with my hands! How do I normally have my hands when lying down?! Omg and then there’s feet. That’s a whole different issue.

11:52 – Am I starting to sweat already? Jeez. Alright, well now that we’re comfy let’s empty our head of thoughts and get ready for getting our yoga on! I’m totally going to go HAM on this no-thinking thing! I’ll be one of those good yogis with the quiet brains.

11:54 – Do pigeons have feelings?


11:56 – I can justify $35 for the tank top right? It would really bring out my calm and blissful personality whenever I wear it. Or I could wear it to my next class. Hmm would that be weird seeing as they sell it here? Would that look like I was trying too hard?

11:57 – This isn’t a quiet brain. That lasted for like 30 seconds which was pretty good for me. Let’s try again.

11:58 – Not thinking…not thinking…just breathing…

12:00 – And we have lift-off! But I was comfy lying down…Well, we’re not going to get abs lying down!

12:01 – God I want some abs. Do you think all these Sun Salutations will bring them out? Like if I really stretch will they just appear and stay there?

12:05 – Well hello legs…why are you so hairy?! Is this real or is it because my nose is practically touching my knees?! Oh dear. When’s the last time I shaved?

12:06 – I probably should’ve shaved before I came. I look like a yeti. Has anyone noticed? The lights are dim but who knows. Maybe someone here has laser vision?

12:07 – Hahahahahahaha imagine a yeti doing yoga!

12:08 – Don’t smile or you’ll look like a crazy person. Miss Corner Thief will definitely think you’re nuts.

12:09 – But a yeti in Dancer’s Pose would be so funny!

12:20 – Dude, I just held Crow Pose for like 7 seconds! New record!

12:21 – K we’re definitely getting our sweat on now. I feel like a racetrack for beads of sweat. My body is officially the Grand Prix of Perspiration. COOL.

12:27 – Man, look at that chick. She’s like a pretzel. Or a cooked spaghetti noodle.

12:28 – I’m hungry.

12:30 – Oh my God I’m so sweaty. Let’s take a look around to make sure I’m not the only standing in their own self-created Great Lake.

12:31 – What the eff? Why isn’t that chick sweating? She has a nice glisten while I might as well grow some gills and just accept that I’ll be swimming in my own sweat soon. With my luck I’d get gills instead of abs.

12:35 – What would I wear with that Ying Yang tank top?

12:38 – Quick transition into Baby Cobra you say?  Non-chalent face wipe onto the towel it is!

12:40 – This is getting hard. How am I supposed to do Eagle Pose when I’m so slippery and tired? Maybe my leg hair will bind together and help me hold the pose. Is that possible?

12:41 – What the Hell am I talking about? Its getting weird up in here and I’m blaming the heat.

12:52 – Please tell me we’re going to sit soon! Why do I put myself through this torture?

12:57 – Oh my goodness sitting rocks. Lying down is even better. This is the best part of class. Shavasna is my best friend.

1:00 – I survived! I am flexible! I am strong! I AM WOMAN!

1:01 – I don’t even know what that means. Obviously I am a woman. Ugh, whatever, I’m too tired to care. Let’s lie here in bliss for a little longer.

Questionable “Harry Potter”-inspired Parenting Advice

 Perhaps it is time to shake up your mundane Muggle parenting techniques or you just simply feel as though you were Obliviated and have absolutely no idea what you’re doing. Whatever your reason,why not teach your children with advice that is inspired by the Wizarding World? Its just your children’s future, how bad can it be? 

1) Sort your kids into Houses once they reach the age of eleven. To do this, buy a hat, place it upon their heads, and based upon their characteristics and qualities, sort them into one of the mighty houses of Hogwarts. Prior to their sorting you can encourage good behaviour by reminding them that they don’t want to end up in Slytherin. Or worse – Durmstrang!

Tip: Decorate their bedrooms according to their house’s colours and symbology! What fun!


2) You could also allocate or take away House Points as your children complete chores, do their homework, and based upon other good or bad deeds.


3) When kids misbehave, put them in time-out and hand them a Time-Turner. Ask them what they did wrong and how they should’ve handled the situation. After taking away House Points for naughty behaviour, points can then be earned back according to the quality of their answer.

"No, Harry, that was wrong. Let's try again."
“No, Harry, that was wrong. Let’s try again.”

4) Your little Hinky Punk won’t eat their dinner? Tell them how sad the house elves will be when they see how much of the food they so lovingly prepared is left over. When Dobby sees how much asparagus is left on that plate Dobby will be very sad and nobody wants a sad Dobby. As long as the kid doesn’t threaten to call S.P.E.W. you’re alright.

If this doesn't make you sad, you're a Dementor!
If this doesn’t make you sad, you’re a Dementor!

5) While you should never force your children to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs, you don’t want to go all Dursley on your Dudley. That kid was spoiled rotten and his attitude and chins showed it. Be sure not to reach a stage where the kid rules over your household and you become their personal house elf. There isn’t enough birthday presents or birthday cakes to keep those kids happy.

Every time you spoil a child, Dudley grows a chin
Every time you spoil a child, Dudley grows a chin

6) Teach your kidlets not to share information that will jeopardize their safety and security by telling them what happened when Hagrid told the stranger in the hood about how to get Fluffy to snooze or when Neville lost the list of Gryffindor passwords.

Don't be this guy, kids.
Don’t be this guy, kids.

7) Teach your knee-biters about saving money by telling them about how they can get their own vault at a place like Gringotts. Whether you actually want to take them to a place filled with mean little goblins is your choice but I’m sure Griphook would be proud of your little saver.

Looks like a trustworthy face
Looks like a trustworthy face

8) Uh oh, there’s a death in the family. Take this time to teach your child about that while death is sad, it is also inevitable. So many of our beloved magical friends did not make it to see Voldemort’s end but even then the Deathly Hallows won’t bring them back to a happy life. Even Nicholas Flammel had a chat with Dumbledore and called it quits so live like Fred Weasley (may he rest in a laughing peace) and make sure every moment is full of laughter.


9) Your little spawn still won’t eat those veggies? It might be time to make a non-chalent comment about how Flitwick also never ate his greens and now he’s too small to play sports. Or have dessert.


10) If your little guy has no interest in a subject or their teacher keeps making a Trelawney of it, simply hire a centaur to teach it. Everything just got instantly cooler. Also a good time to tell your children about respect and equality!! We don’t want them going to the way of Umbridge.

About to go HAM on teaching Divinity!
About to go HAM on teaching Divinity!

11) When those rug-rats want a pet that is too much responsibility for them, don a moleskin coat, a shaggy and wild hairdo (paired with beard!) an’ explain to yer kids tha’ they need teh know how ter properly care fer Flobberworms before they can care fer tha’  Norwegian Ridgeback.

Listen to the professional, kids!
Listen to the professional, kids!

Video Analysis: Backstreet Boys

Song: Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)

Artist: Backstreet Boys

Year Released: 1997

Level of Awesome: 6/10

Fromage Factor: 9.5/10

Reminds Me Of: Before-school daycare in grade 3

General Comments: How did my least-favourite member of BSB get the best costume?

Analysis: Well it starts off that the BSB’s bus broke down again. Rats! How is that the Backstreet Boys can’t afford a proper bus? Well judging by Howie’s overalls things aren’t going so well for our beloved boy band. Nick can’t even find a football jersey that fits him. Oh well, they should probably seek shelter from the thunderstorm at the creepy abandoned(?) mansion. That always turns out well.

While making themselves at home we can see that the BSB lads have decided to throw themselves a party and invite all their female friends to come dance stiffly with them. The fact that they all pulled this choreography out of nowhere should have given the boys enough of a heads up that creepy things would happen but apparently this wasn’t a big enough sign. Woops, now Brian is a werewolf.

Now instead of dancing women we have a house full of creepy old people, girls who lick coffins, and a chick who seems to control the wind but not do much else. Oh well, might as well take this time to enjoy the rat-infested feast with AJ, the Phantom of the house. Oh dear! After a series of “yee-aaah”s we find out Nick, our little cutie Nick, is actually a mummy! And Kevin – poor Kevin, is half man, half… Aquaman? Half lizard? What the hell is he? Oh well, turns out Howie has become a top-hat loving vampire. At least he showed up looking dapper. Perhaps he’s compensating for the overalls he wore earlier.

Now they’re just going to sing and dance along as their monster-selves for a little bit. But can we just take a moment to appreciate how sincere Nick tries to look when he caresses himself, asking if he’s sexual? And also, why is Brian wearing a fur coat? He’s a f***ing werewolf! Why does he need another coat of fur?! I’m amazed he didn’t overheat after doing all those back-flips around the mansion. Maybe I’ll ease up, it was the 90s after all. We cannot explain what happened in that decade, it just did.

Well that’s a relief, they turn back into their human selves just before the final big dance number. Oh it was a dream!! Thank God. But wait – why did they all have the same dream? Cue the creepy bus driver and the realization that it wasn’t a dream after all! This was definitely the Halloween episode of BSB’s music videos. Terrifying.

Final words: Its good to know the lads could all still get girls, even in their monster forms. Except Kevin. He remained forever alone.

My Top 10 Fav Famous (and Mostly Fictional) Monkeys

In December Toronto gained a new celebrity: a monkey named Darwin. Him and his fancy-dancy coat lit up Ikea and the Toronto media and this, paired with the academic burn out that comes with finals, inspired me to tell you about my favourite monkeys. Granted, this might be the weirdest article I’ve ever written but who doesn’t love a good monkey? Monkeys are everywhere  (in jungles, on your back, in barrels, jumping on your bed) so why not embrace them?

Note: I realize some of these are what we would technically call “apes” but for the sake of simplicity, I’m sticking to calling them monkeys.

10. Donkey Kong

Ahh good ol’ DK. Having grown up in the 1990’s Donkey Kong and I go way back. From the days I would steer him down the correct banana-filled path on my cousin’s Gameboy or to when the tv series took us on our own adventures, its been fun. I think I don’t rate DK higher because I’m mildly intimated by his overly large stature and massive jaw. That jaw can do some serious damage. I don’t care if he only eats bananas – that shit is terrifying.  Honestly though, its his tie that redeems him. You can always trust DK to show up lookin’ classy.

Thumbs up if you too want to get around via barrel!
Thumbs up if you too want to get around via barrel!

9. Diddy Kong

Not to be outdone by his uncle DK, Diddy too had his own game – the appropriately named Diddy Kong Racing. I for one am terrible at the game and am not afraid to admit it. I think it is my resentment of continuously losing that blackens my overall love for little Diddy. He seems to be an alright guy – he even has a woman named Dixie – but I just can’t love him as much as I do the other monkeys on this list.


8. The “Hangover 2” Monkey

This monkey tells the story of the monkey underworld that we often overlook. While she (yes, the monkey is actually named Crystal and wore a pretty pink dress to the movie’s premiere) seems all free-spirited and rock n roll in her Rolling Stones vest, she has the unfortunate habits of being a smoker and drug mule. Despite her illegal employment, she is very well-trained and can get the job done – even alert her ’employers’ when there’s an issue. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I support a monkey’s role in drug trafficking. I mostly just love this monkey for the way Leslie Chow says “you ever see monkey go to jail?”

Aww look at the cutie...oh and there's a monkey too!
Aww look at the cutie…oh and there’s a monkey too!

7. “Grandma’s Boy” Monkey

This monkey has skills. Even Dante in the movie agrees with me by saying “Monkey, you’ve got skills.” The “skills” that this monkey possesses? Well it can drive, use heads as a musical instrument, play video games, and even takes tae kwon do lessons. It is in thanks to this particular character that I will state the philosophical saying “don’t judge me, monkey” when the opportunity presents itself.

Grandma's boy

6. The Evil Monkey from “Family Guy”

While Chris Griffon is perpetually terrorized by the Evil Monkey living in his closet, it would appear that this monkey was simply misunderstood for a long while. There is even a time when Chris and his simian companion become friends. Nonetheless, almost everyone will recognize the terror that is emminent when this monkey points.

God that's terrifying
God that’s terrifying

5. Jack from “Pirates of the Caribbean”

Named after the oddly sexy (Captain!) Jack Sparrow, Jack the monkey is also a pirate. In fact, he’s actually a bad guy and goes around stealing things and getting himself cursed like the rest of his Black Pearl shipmates. Ah well, curses and the life of crime aside, he does have one pretty snazzy outfit.

"You DON'T think Johnny Depp is good-looking?!"
“You DON’T think Johnny Depp is good-looking?!”

4. Curious George

How can you possibly hate on Curious George? He goes on all these awesome adventures and doesn’t even come back all pompous and arrogant. He probably doesn’t even have a mean bone in his body.

Bonus points for his book selection
Bonus points for his book selection

3. Darwin – the Ikea Monkey

The monkey that is responsible for this post. The star of the North York Ikea. Ladies and gentleman, this is Darwin. He hopped into our hearts as his owner shopped for Swedish sleigh beds (or meatballs). Maybe it was his cute face, maybe it was the coat that is probably more than my student budget could afford, but whatever it was let us just hope his custody battle ends with him and his fashion sense finding a good home.

He was sure to have his good side captured
He was sure to have his good side captured

2. Abu from “Aladdin”

Let’s get one thing straight here: Abu is a bit of an asshole. Let me explain! He gives Aladdin grief about helping out Jasmine, he’s a greedy thief, taunts palace guards, and just has a general attitude about him. Asking him for favours is like asking a teenager to help around the house – if they do it, they’ll be sure to tell you all about how helpful they are. Nonetheless, this little vest-wearing mammal stole our hearts early into childhood. He comes through for Aladdin and makes friends with Magic Carpet. For this, he has a special place among the great famous monkeys.

He can't even smile when surrounded by gold
He can’t even smile when surrounded by gold

1. Rafiki from “The Lion King”

Oh Rafiki. Who doesn’t love old Rafiki? We all have impersonated him in that scene where he holds up baby Simba (however we probably have to sub in pets, stuffed animals, and maybe a small child for a lion cub). He sets Simba straight, brings the news to Simba’s posse, and what might be the most impressive feat, gets to act insane and yet maintains being seen as one of the wisest dudes in the kingdom. For all his wisdom and that annoyingly catchy song he sings that none of us know the words to (something about a squashed banana?), he earns himself top spot on my list. Congratulations Rafiki.

If you say you've never struck this pose, you are lying
If you say you’ve never struck this pose, you are lying

What Got Me This Far in University – A Thank You

If you are currently or ever were a post-secondary student you know life can get hard. Like “I have 3 papers, a presentation, an exam, 2 tests, a sports tournament, and a bathroom to re-tile” hard. You know what it’s like to have university kick you right in the jaw and laugh as you lie in your pile of homework and debate why you didn’t just become a professional bohemian. Instead of spending an absurd amount of money to spend an immeasurable amount of time in front of a computer screen you could have been roaming the streets of Europe, spreading the message about peace, love and marijuana. But alas, such is not the path you chose. You chose to be an academic!

It is not an easy life, your peers and fellow classmates know that, but yet you have survived. We all have some sort of family and friends who have supported us, sent us funny emails on nasty days, sent us some “fun money”, or who were even just there to listen when you were 3000 words away from dropping out and becoming a lifer at the retail store you currently work at part-time. I am no exception to this support system, I owe an incredible amount of stress-relief and comfort to my family, friends, and fellow Human Geography pals. I may write them a separate thank you closer to April and graduation but for now, in this spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I would like to take the time to thank those who I may have previously overlooked until this moment, those passing beings who are hardly around for long and do not need much notice. These little things my friends, these also helped us get to where we are today – in my case one semester away from donning the iconic cap and gown shedding my student lifestyle (well, maybe not all of it – we’ll see about that).

*Gift Cards: I would like to thank gift cards for being a part of my student life. Every student knows how cash-strapped we can be and having someone send you $25 to a clothing store is like hitting the retail jackpot – you can buy some new clothes and not feel guilty about it! After paying tuition we as students are forced to live off a very small amount of pennies and a gift card? Well, that’s an escape from our sad financial reality. We can walk into that store and not just salivate over everything – we can buy things! Special Mention: Subway Gift Cards. Those little green bundles of joy allowed me to escape the typical fast food fare when I felt I had no time to make myself dinner. Or when there was no food in the house. Or when I was lazy.

*The Trent Express: Ah good ol’ Trent busses, we’ve had our ups and downs haven’t we? From the times you turned the corner just as I walked up to my stop, to the days you had better things to do than show up, its been an experience. Without your built-into-my-tuition fee I would have had to pay for parking or ride my bike in blizzards. My dear old West Bank, its been you and I almost every day for 3 years now. I don’t know how I would have got to Head of the Trent without you.

*Procrastination: Everyone has that one friend they aren’t sure why they keep around but can’t seem to get rid of. Procrastination, you are that friend. After first year I haven’t been very faithful to you – I’ve stepped up my game and did my best to get essays and papers out of the way at least a day or so before the deadline. Despite our on-again off-again relationship, you have been a part of my university career. I will never forget the experience of writing my Wilderness Resources paper or my 13-page essay with you the day before it was due. I don’t know if “treasured memories” would be too strong but I definitely felt your prescence on those nights.

*Overpriced Drinks and Grimey Clubs: Without the combination of you two, I would have spent much more time and money having fun out along George Street. When friends would invite me out the first step would be to check my wallet and mentally calculate my income. If all was financially sufficient step two would be to ask where we are headed. Sin City you say? Hmm my couch, sweatpants and readings just got a little bit more tempting. Don’t get me wrong! Going out has on occasion been a life-saver and everyone needs those nights where they just say “Eff it – I’m going out!” I’m just saying without the $6 beers and sketchy people, I may have gone out far too often and I may have spent more time with Procrastination (see above).

*iTunes/8Tracks: Alas, music. You might not realize how much you enjoy music until you have had to sit in uncomfortable, tension-filled silence while trying to write an essay or study. Whether you’ve created your own homework playlist or went searching for one on 8tracks, homework just feels a little less lonely when you are taken on a musical journey. Special Mention: Hans Zimmer. I would like to make a quick thank you to Mr Zimmer, the composer of a number of epic movie scores. Your work helped elevate my time writing essays from mundane to magical. I didn’t have to be sitting at my laptop anymore, I could be writing paragraphs while we embarked on a perilous journey.

*Sweatpants: Highly underrated by the rest of society, sweatpants might quite literally be a student’s best friend. My relationship with sweatpants has never waivered. Everyday, without fail, before I went to class or after I got home, I would ditch the jeans and unleash my inner slob. Embracing the sweatpants lifestyle just made homework and all those other tedious tasks just that much better. At the very least, you were comfy.

*Grocery Stores that are Open Late: As a student, life can be unpredictable. Often we find ourselves up late: late classes, late practices, or a mountain of homework. Regardless of the reason for getting ourselves into such a position, we all need to eat. On several occasions I am guilty of heading out to pick up some groceries at times when I know my mom is heading to bed. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in a day to concern yourself with vegetables until you look for a study snack and realize all you have left is olive oil and and half a carrot. Had all local grocery stores closed before 9pm, I would have been a much hungrier person.

*Novels and Sudokus: After reading plenty of dense, fact-based material for my courses, there is often no better feeling than just escaping into someone else’s world. Sudokus, while they lack plot and storyline, when paired with some non-homework-related music can be equalling relaxing, helping us forget about our homework, even if just for a break. Great distractions these have been. Special Mention: Harry Potter. Whether its the books or movies, whenever I get to travel to Hogwarts or Diagon Ally, I just want to stay there.

*Gym Membership:Everybody knows the benefits of exercise: good for the body and good for the mind. Nothing helps take the edge off a hard and stressful day than going to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class and alternating between getting beat up and doing the beating up. You get to leave exhausted and happy. Before I started BJJ though a good hard run or lifting weights would do the trick. If I didn’t have a physical outlet, I probably would have gone crazy by now.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it does cover some of the smaller things that slipped under the radar thus far, being denied the praise it deserved. I’m sure as I’m about to embark on my fall semester exams and complete the last semester of my undergrad I’ll find more to be thankful for and add to the list.

In the mean-time, what underrated things have helped you to get to this point in your university career?

My Steps to Writing a Poem

Originally published October 15th, 2012

Greetings loved ones. Let’s take a journey…

As many of you know, I have recently been blessed with the honour of the “My Mommy Likes It” Award for Poetry. This prestigious award now means I am eligible to give advice so you can write beautiful poetry just like me. To simplify the process I have broken it up into 5 manageable steps.

Step 1: Find Inspiration

Since you made the brave and wonderful decision to write a poem you now need something to write about. To find this magical idea look around yourself. Seriously. Take a quick look right now, I’ll wait. Good? Well if you still haven’t found anything (we can only have so many ”Ode to My Laptop”-themed poems) go for a walk. Drink a coffee, chat up a hot chick – its all good, bro. (Bonus: bitches love poems!) The beauty of finding inspiration is that it comes from anywhere – so get crack-a-lackin!

Step 2: Acquire Something to Write With

To write a poem you need something to write with. Most people nowadays will use a laptop and spew their feelings out into Microsoft Word. I’m a little more old-school. Nothing says “sensitive and artistic poet” quite like a Moleskin notebook and Bic pen. For a really old-school feel (or if you just want to channel your inner Hogwarts student) use a roll of off-white parchment and a long quill. The fluffier the better.

Step 3: Set Up Your Writing Nest

This “nest” can be metaphoric or literal – the choice is yours. The point of your nest is to be comfortable and in a state of mind where the words can flow from the brain to the pen/quill to the paper/parchment without interuption. If you would like some music to accompany your thoughts set that up as well. Maybe even lite some vanilla-scented candles and treat yourself to a sensual date with your own words (you smooth fox you). Your writing nest most likely will vary from time-to-time and this is perfectly acceptable. So what are you waiting for? Hit “play” on that Marvin Gaye album and ease back onto those Moroccan pillows as you move to Step 4.

Step 4: Get Writing

This is pretty self-explanatory. Simply raise your writing utensil and put it to work. Assuming you didn’t skip Step 1 you have something to write about so now’s the time to bring your creation into this world! Deliver each word with care and meaning, weaving enviable euphony with sweet similes and before you know it that poem will be in your arms crying for your attention. Despite the hardships that come with writing poetry, be sure to enjoy yourself – afterall, writing poems is called the Miracle of Life for a reason.

Step 5: Show Your Work Some Love

Now that your masterpiece is fresh out of the metaphoric womb, its time to make like any proud parent and show it off. Whenever it seems mildly relevant, tell a story about your poem. Looking at a friend’s vacation photos? Bombard them with pictures of your poem winning its first award or taking its first praise. Share your poem with the world: post it in your Facebook status, leave illustrated copies on park benches and most importantly be sure to put a copy on your mother’s fridge. Take some time to bask in the warm sunshine of your accomplishment and when you feel ready, return to Step 1.  I’m sure you can muster something close to perfection more than once. I know I can.


Did my advice help you? Did you enjoy this sort of post? Let me know in the comments! Thanks 🙂