February 4

Attending the Opera: The Teenage Dream

At first, going to the opera in 2016 felt like going to a Nickelback concert, well, any time after 2005. Presented with the opportunity to get two free tickets to Die Tote Stadt, a German opera currently playing at the Jubilee, my initial pique in interest can be mostly attributed to the sheer randomness of the idea, as well as their use of the word “free.” Still, it was enough to prompt me to “just do it”, “seize the day”, or some equivalent German proverb, and this is how I found myself posting the following status on my Facebook page:


If I am being honest (an honesty that, of course, excludes my link to a disappointingly non-existent webpage), I did have a specific person in mind when I was writing this post. Some part of me held out hope that said person would notice me soliciting companionship to a show in which all of the dialogue is sung in German and think, “That is exactly where I want to be on Saturday night.” Where did I get these unrealistic expectations of reality? I blame Disney.

And while these hopes were never validated, I did get several responses to my Facebook advertisement; I had managed to find an opera buddy without the help of operabuddies.com! (Which, again, is not a real site. Sorry to get your hopes up like that.) When the two of us arrived at the Jubilee the next day, sporting heels and formal wear, I couldn’t decide whether we were overdressed, underdressed, or simply not sporting enough feathered hats and theatre binoculars to fit in with the aging opera-going population. But as we found our way to our seats, I spotted several audience members who appeared to be under the age of 30, some who were even younger than my friend and I. There were even a handful of women wearing… pants! Yes, pants! To the opera!

Just before the show began, it was announced that the granddaughter of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, creator of Die Tote Stadt, was watching in the audience that evening. Many patrons chose to find and chat with her at intermission or after the show, but I vowed to find her later on Tinder. At the opening of the first act, my friend and I were surprised to discover English subtitles, which were projected above the stage. Having mentally prepared myself for three hours of having no idea what was happening, this was a total game-changer.

When the lights came up for intermission, neither of us quite knew what to say; there was no mistaking the immense talent and resources that had gone into the production, and the storyline itself was quite engaging, its music captivating. But how do two teenagers with no background knowledge on the subject speak about an opera without sounding totally ignorant? So, we avoided mis-using any fancy terms and lingo, trying not to sound as malapropic in that theatre as we did in our English exam, and instead made predictions about which characters we thought would die in the last half of the show.

In what seemed to be the middle of the second act of the show, the lights went up, and all of the women in the audience dashed off toward the only set of washrooms. It was at this moment that my friend and I discovered that intermissions are not always isolated incidents, and that what I had assumed was a two-act opera was in fact three full acts long.

When the opera finished at 11:00 pm, we still had an hour’s drive back to Okotoks, so we did what any two sane people would do; we hit Peter’s Drive-In. And I know that the whole point of this post was to talk about how cool the opera is (and, seriously, you  should really go see one), but I feel like it’s important that I take a second to talk about what kind of milkshakes we got. You’ll never see me post any sort of “look book” on here, so this is basically as good as it gets. Call it my “milkshake of the day” or something. After three hours of German opera music, I was feeling pretty adventurous, so I opted for the flavour combination orange-vanilla-marshmallow. This was a high-risk choice, even by $5 milkshake standards, but it ended up paying off. My friend ordered a mint-oreo milkshake, which I am told is a classic, but I simply must condemn it on account of my being opposed to mint-chocolate combinations on moral grounds.

^This is what happens when I try to write a blog post when I’m tired: I complain about how Disney wrecked me for real life, and end with an entire paragraph on milkshake flavours. If you got anything out of it, though, hopefully it’s the importance of incorporating milkshakes into a balanced diet and not that the opera is an under-appreciated art form, although the latter is equally valid.

So thanks for reading.


Category: culture | 5 Comments
December 26

Trigger Warning: Christianity vs. Islam

So I have been writing for a local youth blog for the past few months, and have subsequently neglected to post anything on this page. However, four months of lavishing in the internet fame that accompanies blogging for a website with readers in the double figures has caused me to realize the true, modest beauty of a site on which I can post something, absolutely anything, and be passive-aggressively confident that no-one will read it.

To be fair, I constantly test the limits of what I can get away with on this other, rather “vanilla” youth webpage, and am yet to see one of my articles rejected- it’s a game of chicken I seem to be losing consistently, and thus I will begin to discuss some of the more “controversial” topics on this forum, as to avoid further personal embarrassment. Basically, I am opting to perform for my stuffed animals instead of a live audience. To flirt with the mirror, instead of doing something reminiscent of flirting with an actual person. I’m opting for literary masturbation.

Now that I’ve got you excited about the idea, I’ll bring you back down to “comfortably confused and offended.”

Disclaimer: I barely know anything, my views are likely an exaggeration of actual truths, and I will probably make stark generalizations about such intimate things as God, faith, and religion. But here I go anyhow, clambering on with my highly problematic opinion. Well, here it is: on a practical level, I think that there are more similarities between Catholicism and Islam than there are between Catholicism and Protestant Christianity.

Let me try to explain; I attend a Catholic school, and have a deep, albeit objective, respect for Catholic practices and teachings. And obviously, as far as monotheistic religions go, there is one HUGE difference between Islam and other Christian religions, and that is, well, Christ. Muslims view Jesus as another prophet, while he is regarded in Catholicism and Protestantism as not only God’s son, but God. That’s another thing that Muslims don’t understand about Christianity- which I think is pretty understandable. At first, the concept of the Trinity actually appears rather blasphemous.

“So you pray to… three gods? And you call yourself a monotheistic religion? Oh, okay, so one God. Three gods… but just the one.”

However, I think that a lot of us don’t realize how similar Christianity is to the Islamic doctrine. I certainly didn’t, until, fed up with people who had probably never once spoken to a Muslim person about Islam quoting the Quran, grossly out of context, to support their misguided prejudices, I decided to read this Islamic book of faith. Here are a few of the things that surprised me-

1. It’s the same God. Maybe this isn’t a surprise to people who grew up in a non-Christian environment, but I went to a Christian private school where we were taught about Islam as if it was a weird and alien practice.  A lot of people seem to think that because Muslims say “Allah” and we as Christians say “God” or “Yahweh” that the God of Islam is somehow different from ours, and that praying to him is blasphemous. I think that this uninformed idea is further propagated by the fact that Middle Eastern culture is just so different from our North American experience, and thus a lot of the traditions that have developed around these two religions make them appear even more different on the outside.

2. Muslims believe in the Bible. Much like Judaism, they actively follow the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch. But instead of completely disregarding the New Testament, as in Jewish tradition, Muslims simply believe that certain parts of it have been mistranslated or corrupted over time, similarly to Mormons.

3.  Islam is far more accepting of other belief systems than Catholicism. Feel free to dispute this, but despite what people like to believe about Muslims wanting to “do away” with the infidels, the Quran explains that Jews, Catholics, and people from all other God-seeking religions will go to heaven. And the different levels of heaven in their theology have nothing to do with what religion one follows- only with righteousness and closeness to God. (To me, their belief in multiple levels of heaven is somewhat reminiscent of the Catholic doctrine of purgatory.)

As far as Catholicism is concerned, the church has been historically unaccepting of other religions. Until Vatican II in 1964, the official church teaching was that only Catholics could go to heaven. And I know what you’re thinking: “There are no radical Catholic terrorist attacks! It must be a far more peaceful religion.” But anyone who feels that Islam is the only religion that can be twisted to promote violence obviously doesn’t remember the crusades.

4. The Quran barely mentions anything about women wearing a niqab. Here is the verse that is often cited in support of the niqab:

     “You who Believe, do not enter the prophet’s apartments for a meal unless you are given permission to do so; do not linger until [a meal] is ready. When you are invited, go in; then, when you have taken your meal, leave. Do not stay on and talk, for that would offend the prophet, though he would shrink from asking you to leave. Allah does not shrink from the truth. When you ask his wives for something, do so from behind a barrier: that is purer for your hearts and theirs. It is not right for you to offend Allah’s messenger, just as you should never marry his wives after him: that would be grievous in Allah’s eyes. Allah has full knowledge of all things, whether you reveal them or not.” (Qur’an 33:53-54).

Obviously, I don’t have the historical or religious context to accurately interpret such a passage, but it seems like it could be applied in any number of ways. Actually, it seems that the Islamic practice of wearing of a niqab has come about more as a result of social and cultural factors than of any actual religious teaching. And while there are definitely verses in the Quran that refer to women as “lesser” than men, it’s important to remember that we’re talking about a book that was published in 632 CE.

And here are a few parallels to Catholicism that I was not expecting to find:

  • Unlike Protestantism, both Catholicism and Islam believe that good deeds, not just faith in God, are necessary to enter into heaven. (But at the same time, true faith is accompanied by works; it’s a tricky subject, and people from every denomination tend to be divided on it. So, on that note, never mind.)
  • Islam believes in a prophet and Imams to whom God continues to reveal important truths that affect Islamic teaching; the Catholic pope is said to have similar divine authority.
  • In both Islam and Catholicism, there are many acts and rituals that must be performed. Catholics are expected to follow the 7 sacraments. They must take communion at least once every year to become intrinsically united with Jesus Christ. Muslims follow the 5 pillars of Islam. They must fast during the month of Ramadan, and pray to God 5 times a day facing Mecca.

Of course, there are many fundamental differences between the two belief systems. Obviously, I am picking and choosing verses and teachings that help to support my opinion, and someone with enough writing prowess could probably write an equally biased yet equally compelling article comparing tiny armadillos to Joseph Stalin. And if it helps, this is probably offensive to everybody- Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, AND atheists- so you may all proceed to slam me in the comments.

All zero of you.



December 25

The Christmas Story

     Each year around the holidays, my parents have a party for a bunch of highly conservative middle-aged people. As per tradition, I have written a “Christmas story” for the occasion. Typically, my story includes each of the guests as different characters, but I decided to change it up this time around; in light of the recent provincial and federal elections, I thought it would be funny to make it into a “Politically Correct” Holiday Tale- and, in being surrounded by several anti-liberals, I was able to take such liberties without worry of offending our rather right-wing crowd. As for me, I’m Bi- in the political sense, anyway. It’s times like these that it’s fun to swing both ways. So here it is- a politically correct Christmas tale.

T’was the night before Solstice, and in the duplex

An interracial, gay couple was about to have- coffee

Their children were all snuggled in for the night

And plugged into the wall was their eco-night light

They had no decorations, tasteful or eccentric

For a holiday they found downright ethno-centric

Save Rachel Notley’s picture, which hung over the mantle

Surrounded by several a’ non-toxic candle

Their home roasted beans lined the grinder with care

They were locally sourced, from a trade that was fair

But while coffee was brewing, there rose a great quarrel

Over whether the beans said “organic” on the label

And while this was happening, they didn’t take note

Of a rather large stranger in red fuzzy coat

Tromping through their kale garden and into their place

Almost knocking their philosophy books off the case

Now they noticed the man, who was awfully plump

In a bellowing voice he said, “The name’s Donald Trump

I am here to bring Christmas to this empty house

Because Christmas is what America’s all about

Not Channukah, not Qurannukah, or whatever they say

All those left-ist communists, try as I may.

After all, I think Christmas means a little bit more,

What other holiday can you buy from a store?”

The couple, uncomfortable, looked at the floor.

What is it? He asked? Am I some kind of rogue?

Have my snide comments put me no longer in vogue?

The partners looked all ‘round their new- furnished space

Lit stylishly by a non-fossil-fuelled fireplace

And noted with pride: they had no Christmas tree

No garlands, mistletoe, nutcracker or wreath

That symbolized their conformity to a culture

That they felt caused minority groups to suffer

That is, until Trump, a flash of yellow hair

Had converted their home to his own Christmas lair

There were gingerbread cookies, surely GMOs

several sexist toys- revealed by their pink bows

There was even a turkey- Trump wasn’t just bluffing

I’ll bet, said one man, it’s not gluten-free stuffing!

The pair was quite skeptical, perhaps the reason

Was the intruder imposed their whole holiday season

In fact, he was so loud he woke up their kids

Paltrow and Blossom, well, right in they slid

Upon seeing the spread, both their faces lit up

They ran right to the eggnog, and each had a cup

Both their dads exclaimed, my daughter! My son!

Haven’t we drilled in their heads dairy’s poison?

Come on, Blossom, don’t you know what’s right?

And Paltrow, you’re intolerant to egg white!

Mr. Trump only laughed, deep, jolly, and evil

All the while, his true aim had been social upheaval

So he went on his way, his work here was done

Although being the president might have been fun

And the kids, with their toys, smiled the deep toothy smiles

That consumerism brings about once in a while

And their dads exchanged glances, and gave up the fuss

Saying “Not everyone likes Christmas, but it can still be for us.”


Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment
June 23

The End of an Era…Ser. Why one Professor Wants to Ban them from Schools

Although it would have been a career-topping interview for me, someone else sat down with scientist and professor Guy Claxton to tackle the subject of erasers and their role in the lives of students.

I know what you’re thinking: “What new insight into the rubber industry could anyone possibly have at this point? It’s 2015.” Certainly, I once shared your same sentiment about eraser manufacturing being probably the most boring career in the world. But now, I have been informed, the job is up there with voodoo doll marketing and Satanic throat singing; according to Claxton, erasers are “an instrument of the devil.” Why? Well, the deceitful little demons make it seem like nobody makes mistakes, and that everyone gets it right the first time. Frankly, rubber is a gateway material to the more hard-core synthetic substances that make it seem as if we’ve got our lives together, like the ones used in plastic surgery, polyester wigs, and prosthetic legs.

If Claxton wanted to talk about a product that reflects the impossible standards set on children in our society, I feel perhaps Barbie or Vogue magazine would have been a more “straight and narrow” approach, but I commend the effort.


I sure will miss those little guys, though. But then, it was a simpler time. A time of not having to be paranoid of making the tiniest mistake, because you knew that your rubber buddy would be there to bail you out. A time of running out of paper, and sacrificing your doodles and musings to fit another chapter of notes. A time of raw exploration, of trying out words to see how they fit on the page, all the while knowing that you were not condemned to them. A time of filling in a bubble on a multiple choice exam as a placeholder, with the intention of going back to evaluate its merit more critically.

To celebrate 245 years of service, I have composed the following ode:

Office Max, Pentel, Staedtler, too

Silver-sleev’d aback my #2

I will never forget you


You never judged, for what I’d write

You don’t see colour; pink or white

You make Satan laugh with delight


It’s time to go, I am afraid

They’re on to your hellish crusade

We’ll keep the legacy you made

oh, eraser


I look forward to the day Guy Claxton’s toddler scribbles all over his white walls with a #2 pencil; perhaps, then, I will finally meet up with him at Staples, in the eraser section.


May 19


So I created my friend’s presidency campaign video, after I was assured that she was running unopposed and that my job did not make a single difference.

For those of you who have not seen Napoleon Dynamite, I deeply resent you.




Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment
March 11

Dwindling Unicorn Populations: We are the Problem

To paraphrase the concluding lines of every episode of every children’s television show, it is astounding what a group of people can accomplish when they work together; as we see in international politics, workers’ strikes, and synchronized swimming, unity is powerful. Unfortunately, both innate fear of powerful things and innate hatred for the things we fear are key symptoms of our humanity: “unity” is no exception. It is no surprise, then, that we look upon such things as unibrows and uniboobs with regrettable contempt. Our 12 year-old selves weren’t seen riding around on unicycles, not because of our gangly limbs and balance bad enough to rival that of a taco shell before Ol Del Paso released its flat-bottomed model, but because of a collective, subconscious embargo on all uni-made objects. Unicorns, it seems, are the only entity to have escaped our condescension. Even then, their state of esteem is so precarious that they must live away from humans for their own protection.

So next time someone tells you to “go pluck your unibrow”, simply inform him that a deep-rooted insecurity regarding his power and status in society is clouding his ability to admire your united facial conglomeration. And he will certainly ask you to prom.


March 2

Apple’s newest emoticon

In our tech-savvy and tech-reliant day and age, we’re always finding new ways to do the things we’ve always done, online. Albert Einstein said, “I fear that technology will surpass our human interaction.”

Well guess what, Einstein? You’ve never heard of emojis.

This saviour of face, this paschal lamb of binary code, acts as a profound emotional reservoir to infuse lifeblood into our black-and-white 140 characters.

And now that technology is helping us through our most awkward, human encounters, emoticons have also monopolized our most unavoidable, most cringe-y conversations.

Enter: religion.

If you’ve ever sat down next to a Schizophrenic on public transit, talked to your uncle, Pastor Larry, at an Easter barbecue, or seen a Tibetan monk ever, even in a photo, you will be familiar with the following phenomenon: the “I want to convert you” face.

I have recently discovered this phenomenon- rather late in my development, admittedly. This is because, as your resident Jesus freak, I am usually the emoter, and not the emotee. But now that I am attending a Catholic youth group, the disparities between my denomination of protestant Christianity and Catholicism seem all the more prominent. And as I open my mouth to defend my views on praying to saints and the seven sacraments from a beanbag chair in a converted garage, my cries are muffled by twelve similarly-passioned youth, looking at me with a hybrid expression of near-impatient resolution and sympathy.

“In time,” they think. “She will be one of us, in time.”

And when I am added to the youth group Facebook page before 10 pm that same evening (how did they know my last name…?), and bombarded with very loving, very forward messages about how they hope I will come back next week and how they are praying for me, they might as well spare all those the words and send that one emoji. Believe me, I will catch their drift.

So, apple, I put it on your shoulders; the world is ready for a new emoji. One it can use to push its religion on its friends in the same indirect and subtle way it does in person. Or to assert the relative dominance of a certain band/brand/ice cream flavour. One it can use, perhaps, to convince Android fans that the iPhone reigns supreme.

Just think it over.


February 22

He loves it when I call him “beautiful”…

It is true that, through the past couple of millennia, women have received the historical “short end of the stick”- that is to say, power is often unequally shared between the two genders. So is it only fair, then, that we should continue to enable the unequal sharing of adjectives?

Here is what I mean-

I’m in an awesome relationship with an awesome guy. There are feelings and proclamations and sentiments and feelings again. Sure, all of these take place within the confines of the Catholic high school education system, a fishbowl-municipality, and our narrow scope of experience. And, yes, high school relationships, operating within the quintessential height of teenage bullshittery, do involve a lot of mindless words, which like the limbs of an infant are used blindly… but out of necessity. How else are we supposed to figure out a way to express things when it matters? (That is, when we become “experienced adults” and society finally decides to validate our feelings and convictions.)

And while the “sweet nothings” uttered by teenagers do little to make up the meaning of metaphysics, or even, arguably, to impress themselves on our memories in such a way that they outlast our 3-week relationships, they do have a way of making themselves “the essence of importance” in the eyes of a 16 year-old boy. Which is most unfortunate for him, considering that he can call his girlfriend “beautiful, pretty, glamorous, elegant, gorgeous, stunning, and lovely”, when “….Handsome?” is her sole, antiquated means of reciprocation.

You could argue that “hot” or “sexy” would work as a suitable replacement in these situations, but the passion and poeticism in such empty phrases is simply unequal to that of the adjectives above. And for me, someone who intends to abstain from sex until marriage, calling a guy “sexy” in the heat of the moment is a little counter-intuitive. Not to mention, calling him “cute” or “adorable” could be perceived as an attack on his “manliness”, an area many guys are sensitive about.

It’s interesting, because many other languages have both masculine and feminine endings for adjectives, which would seem to allow these words greater freedom to describe either gender. Am I right, second-language speakers? Is there a greater abundance of words by which to call a man “attractive” in Spanish? French? Italian? Punjabi? If so, I see why gender-neutral dialects aren’t considered “romance languages”…

Maybe this reflects the rigidity that exists within our perceptions of each gender’s characteristics, one which has persisted, with the staunch of a metre stick, through all of the “feminism” and “equality” movements our Western society has endured.

Or, maybe, such longstanding word delegation is the root cause of some of our lingering social problems, problems that are further exacerbated by the introduction of new social norms regarding sexual orientation and gender identification?

I suppose this is a classic “chicken or egg” situation. And all this deliberation does nothing to solve my “lover’s block.”

So what is to be done? Should I simply call it quits, being as I am at an age of insecurity, where words are the relational  be-all, end-all? Should I say, “English-speaking teens: don’t date!” After all, I’ve talked to quite a few senior citizens who, forgetting what it’s like to be this age, would hastily agree with the sentiment.

Perhaps not.

All I’m saying is that, speaking on behalf of all of the infatuated Anglophone women out there, we simply don’t have enough words to express the sheer awesomeness of our partners. And that, mon cher, is a damn shame.


February 18

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!

I’ll bet you’ve always considered Valentine’s Day to be one of those tacky Hallmark holidays that must be endured for 24 hours and then boxed up and relievedly cast aside until next year.

Luckily, I’m here to do a little Valentine’s Day validation, bringing it up to “legitimate celebration status” by making reference to it after-the-fact; for most others, it is simply “too soon” or rather too unpleasant to talk about the holiday again ever.

It is understandable then that, for many of us, Valentine’s Day evokes similar feelings as Holocaust Remembrance Day.


You’d think that I would be old enough to know that WWII jokes are generally uncool… Anyway, here’s a quirky clip to distract from that little faux pas; I used to love these videos in grade 4, and I’ve found that I’ve done little maturing since. The line “She likes cloth… That’s a good band name” also inspired my grade nine Computers project, which I have included after the video link below!



February 15

50 Shades: All Everything But the Kitchen Sink is Talking About

The popular erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey has, at long last, been adapted into a film, the very thought of which is sparking controversy all over the globe for its being so mainstream, so acceptable, as to dare to exist. It seems that, regardless of their stance on the movie’s Valentine’s Day debut, people are turning 50 shades of red over this movie; I, myself, would fall somewhere between a blushing, pinkish hue and a fully scarlet rage.

Obviously, it’s ridiculous. Obviously, it’s not the thing you want to admit to using to keep a spark in your 20-something year-old marriage. And obviously, it’s a little obscure to show a movie with such pornographic content in a theatre where, next door, kids are watching the newest Madagascar movie.

And yet, isn’t most everyone that is getting upset about this movie a woman, namely a feminist, to whom the movie was supposed to provide empowerment and pleasure? Isn’t this what women have wanted for so long?

Not exactly.

And why are some women angry about this movie, while others make up the population of excited movie-goers standing in line with their girlfriends and significant others, happily fuelling its success?

Yikes. I mean, I’m into equality. But I am not someone who typically identifies as a feminist because of the stigma associated with it. However, I believe that this is one of those cases where feminism is pretty helpful.

Feminism stopped being about men vs. women back even before the B52s took some pretty serious narcotics and were inspired to write “Rock Lobster.” For one thing, feminism doesn’t just help women; it helps men who are shamed for wearing pink, ordering a martini, or being a stay-at-home dad. It also helps to unite women in cases like this one, where people like the creators of the 50 Shades movie try to exploit and normalize our “rape fantasies” for a profit.

The rough sex described in this movie suits the sexual imaginations of many women. These fantasies have been repressed and made to seem so shameful in the past that, from the surface, the movie appears to liberate women to express their sexual desires and, by extension, get more joy out of sex. But such an explanation glazes over why so many women should have this fantasy in the first place, and it also does nothing to solve the unequal, unhealthy perceptions of relationships that arise from its inclusion into the societal norm.

Could it be that, historically, women have been shamed for wanting sex to such a degree that the idea of being forced into a sexual encounter allows them to imagine sex without feelings of guilt or “whorishness”? This way, we can enjoy sex and not label ourselves as a “loose woman” or a “skank.”

I wouldn’t say that’s healthy.

So you can see then that feminists, men and women alike, are frustrated by this movie, not because it glorifies sex, but because it glorifies rape culture? It is frustrating watching others buy unknowingly into a story with such an unjust undertone.

In brief, I’m not here to spoil your fun. I don’t want to control everyone. I just want you to know the irony of your decision to go to the theatre on Valentine’s Day, and how you are only furthering unhealthy perceptions of sex in girls’ minds, and worsening our collective case of Stockholm syndrome.


January 19

Why Fad Diets Suck (significantly more than has already been proven)

(Make sure to also take a look at the new poem, “The Tomato” on my Disjointed, Grammar-Neglecting, Thematic Statements page.)


It’s simply a fact that restrictive diets, under the guise of fake glasses, moustaches, and the term “empowerment”, are not all that good for you. We already know that our body responds to a drop in calories by entering “starvation mode”, clinging to each precious glucose molecule as you thrash about on a Stairclimber. We already know that as soon as it’s over, God willing we make it through those 10, 11, 17, 28, or 30 days, the unnecessary face-cramming and general orifice-stuffing begins. And somehow, all of this information doesn’t hinder us from taking another crack of the whip at old Spirit, who, judging by the accumulation of maggots in her jaw, isn’t planning to get up any time soon.


I, myself, have woken up every day for the past 6 months with the intention of following some eating plan or the other. Here is what I’ve found:

What is most similar between all fad diets is their claim to be completely different than all other fad diets. A good one will not even use the word “diet” at all; a really good one will use it, but only as an acronym for something totally contradictory, like “Don’t Itemize Every Thing”, or “Did I Eat Today?”

And unless a vague and fragile feeling of self-empowerment is not enough, they tend to include slogans that combine a word involving your goal, and a generic feel-good word, like “thingenious”, “slimpactful,” or “thindulge.” These of course, are followed obsequiously by a ™, ®, or relevant credit-hashing #.

For me, these diets worked well for the first month, but after the initial shock wore off, and I was again able to move my hands in a popcorn-like motion, every day became another opportunity for failure.

This did nothing to stop me, however, from pre-making jars of lentil salads and chicken curries, each one more obscure and more “healthy” than the last, only to be abandoned in lieu of marshmallows and pop tarts; our kitchen looks like if Martha Stewart had a schizophrenic episode.

And still each morning, without fail, I woke up with the unwavering ideals of a Neo-Nazi. It got to the point where packing a sandwich for lunch was not simply distasteful, it was punishable by death in 32 states: Premeditated carb consumption, of the first degree.

So far, these diets have done nothing to improve my health, and left me instead with a rather unhealthy perception of food in general. So my advice? Stay away! I hope this post can thinspire™ you all to eat normally, and healthily, as this will have a better slimpact® on your overall health. #Hanaden2015


What is your experience with dieting? Let me know in the comment section below!

Bye for now,



January 10

I’ll Pay in Monthly Nickel Installments

It has been a long time in the making, but the original Pink Sparkly Notebook, the 75-cent assemblage of paper bound between glitter-drowned, magenta plastic covers, has been surreptitiously filled with my poignant, albeit cliche and whiny, account of 2014.

So now, it is time again for me to stroll into the nearest Dollar Giant or Shoppers Drug Mart, find the best and brightest high-school dropout, and explain:

“I’m in the market for an extremely gaudy notebook. Pink is obviously a non-negotiable- but leopard print is also a huge selling point, faux fur highly encouraged. I’m willing to offer double your retail price for something that smells like cotton candy, or plastic. You guys sell glitter here, right?”

^ All this to continue the brand.

For those who have not read my first post, Hot Pink, and Sparkly, in which I explain my risky, if not entirely godawful, choice of domain name, I will simply state that I fell prey to a sensation known for making asses out of so many others from Generation Z: I was trying to be ironic. 

But though I’m not crazy about the stereotypical facet of teenage diary-keeping, I would highly recommend to anyone, especially to someone as emotionally mangled as me, that he/she keep a journal. I have always been quite utilitarian, so the biggest draw for me is the writing experience gained from such constant practice. The more I blog, and the more I jot down in a journal, the easier it becomes to articulate my complex thoughts and ideas. I’ve found that this has improved my academic performance as well as my ability to communicate in relationships. But in a more touchy-feely way, it also helps with my anxiety and stress, and with understanding and sorting through my feelings in a healthy, non-disruptive way. Even when I’m not feeling stressed or conflicted, journaling helps me to become proactive about my own happiness by allowing me to recognize patterns in my thoughts and behaviours that could be harmful if left unsupervised. It also helps me to understand myself better, which is invaluable for when I’m trying to make major life decisions.

I went to therapy for a binge-eating disorder a few months ago, where they overwhelmed me with written techniques to “affirm” and “enlighten” and “empower”, but I found the only way that I could follow through with any of it was by sneaking it into my regular journaling; hiding affirmations in something I will actually read is like putting my medicine in a massive glob of peanut butter. And who doesn’t like peanut butter?

Not someone with a binge eating disorder, that’s for sure!

Bye for now,




January 7


The only word with the two-dot accent that one may use to describe something other than yoghurt. (I have just learned that this outlandish inflection is called a “diaeresis”, but don’t worry- no-one has kidney failure. Particularly not an immigrant from Japan.)

And as I would fall under the category of “something other than yoghurt”, I planned to use the word “naive” to describe myself. It’s funny how, as I mature and extend the boundaries of my experience, some pieces of information that are considered “common knowledge” remain as uncharted islands, protected by little pockets of circumstance. And I don’t believe I am alone in this; all the time, I hear my classmates say things like “apart of society” instead of “a part of society”, and “phlegm” cake instead of “flan”. It seems, as high school students, we spend our time absorbing the utmost of perverse idioms and facts, and the next 80 years of our lives filling in the gaps.  Honestly, it’s surprising that any of us have an overlap at all! Maybe that’s what we mean when we say, “No-one understands me.” …Or maybe we’re just moody.

^ All this to try to explain why, today, I learned the phrase “heavy petting” from a fictional 10 year-old.

Oskar Schell, the boy from the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, apparently knows more about sexuality than I do; somewhere between french kissing and tea bagging, I missed this one not-so-convoluted idea, and did not happen to discover it  for another 7 or 8 years.

And isn’t it interesting how our childhood perceptions of reality are so distorted! Only when confronted with the present-day manifestation of whatever-makes-you-so-nostalgic does one realize how different and underwhelming it is!

I was just at the mall on Saturday with Denver and another girl, Alice- me, exercising my right as a teenage girl to wear leggings as pants, they, unleashing their mechanized metabolisms upon an extra-large bag of caramel popcorn. Feeling seven, we stopped into the “Build-a-Bear” store to rub our faces on the different-colored furs. That was when Alice spotted a “Captain America” outfit from across the room. and, in the words of Stephanie Meyer, “imprinted.”

Alice is graduating this year, and plans to study Biology.

Alice loves art, and is sad because she cares too much.

Alice’s primary method of relating to the world is by being in love with Captain America.

Her birthday is in February, so I decided to buy her a bear and the outfit, as well as a pair of camo-coloured boxer shorts to suit the well-loved army veteran. After we stuffed the bear, kissed his heart, added a “bubblegum” scent diffuser, and filled out his birth certificate, I went to pay. The total caught me completely off-guard.

I can’t say exactly how much I was expecting, but a ballpark figure would have been around what the United Stated paid for Alaska in 1867, not counting for inflation. As a kid, I remember buying a stuffed animal from build-a-bear and thinking “That’s 6 months’ allowance!” because it was; if, back then, I had followed the convention of spending one month’s salary on an engagement ring, I would have spent $8.50. By comparison, the actual price of the bear made it seem as if the employees were giving it to me for free. And then offering me their shoes.

I may have yelled for Alice to “Start the car!”



And sometimes, we are naive because our parents have purposefully kept us in the dark. Perhaps a worse anecdote than that of a child who believes faithfully in Old Saint Nick until middle school is that of my friend Jakkob, who grew up surrounded by parent-promoted Anti-santa propaganda.

The dorky Jewish xmas virgin had never been “Chrissed”, and I felt it my responsibility to lead him gently into experiencing the magic of the season. As we decorated our Christmas tree and sang carols, he admitted that his parents always tried to make Christmas seem lame, and at times even creepy, wherever possible. I get it, though; Christmas gets to be the most popular holiday, while awkward Chanukah looks on and frets, “Is it my nose?” At least, this way,  it is easier for Hebrews than it is for Christians to appreciate the true meaning of the celebration, and to not get lost in its commercialization. And the Hebrew children are better off, too,  because they end up sitting on exponentially fewer grown men’s laps.

But don’t think Jakkob didn’t get his share of lies; he was convinced that there was a Chanukah spirit who drinks from a glass of wine on the table until 9th grade!

After all, what are the holidays without a healthy dose of deception?






December 5

Who Dat, Who do Dat?

My assignment: to write a brief summary for each of the five chapters in our “Human Systems and Homeostasis” unit. This is around the time when I discovered that there is something deeply, pathologically wrong with me.

Generic class assignments like this prove to be ideal litmus tests for a person’s social ability; admittedly, in past grades I chose to ignore their sobering results. And though I have not consciously worked against an urge to be completely odd and bizarre in high school, I believe that the socially unaware part of me and the part of me that has some sense of decency came to a mutual understanding that normalcy is probably the best policy.

Or, maybe, struck by the bright lights of big people school, I was just too stunned to revert quickly to my wacky ways. And this is how I have come to pass as “normal”.

Neither inhibition kept me in check today, however, while I submitted an audio file to my Biology teacher entitled “I Clearly Have no Concept of this Assignment”, under the description “There are no words to explain why I felt this to be an idea worth pursuing”.

I have included the file below.



November 29

I’m… allergic to my perfume.

Good news! With minimal precision editing, makeup, and special effects, I was able to take my first hickey from “extremely obvious” to “could possibly be mistaken for a rash,” all thanks to my father’s freaky ability to stride into Sephora with $10 and emerge with half their inventory and an IOU from the franchise owner. We’ve christened him “The Extreme Couponer”, much to his chagrin. (I would tack on “from hell” if it wasn’t so redundant.)

Based on the fact that I chose to share this dating milestone with a panel of strangers on the internet, you can gather that Jonah and I are, admittedly, in a little over our heads with the whole “dating” thing. All of our talks about physical boundaries resemble a speed race, the first person to bring the conversation to a close becoming the undisputed winner.

But here’s the thing: as a Christian, I have decided not to have sex before I get married. That is, if I get married. (That includes all sorts of genital-to-anything contact.) But that is not the problem. The problem is me, not wanting to seem cold or uptight, and he, just being a teenage boy with urges and inclinations and muscle spasms, both of us existing in a world where chastity is viewed as prudish and traditional and ironically anti-feminist.

The hickey scared me, not because it meant that we had gone too far, but because I have never wanted to be in a relationship that involves any sort of deception, makeup tricks or otherwise. Hiding aspects of a casual dating relationship from other people seems to me to be the start of an unhealthy trend, full of control and sneakiness and jealously; one where the physical side of the relationship becomes the focus.

After the neck-blemishing incident, we both realized that we cannot continue to think of “hanging out alone in a room” as a date, and using words like  ***sheepishly gestures to lower torso***  in terms of outlining physical boundaries, all the while expecting to have a satisfying non-sexual relationship. I realized that Jonah and I have, albeit unwittingly, set up our relationship to make premarital sex easy and inevitable by blindly following the “norms” of dating in society, expressed in pop culture and reflected by the other couples at our school.

What are we thinking? Truly, we cannot expect to follow the same recipe as everyone else and end up baking a different muffin. (I admit that I, too, immediately imagined these metaphorical celibate pastries to be bran. But hey! Fibre!) If we want to stay pure in our sexual relationship, then sometimes we’re going to have to be crazy oddballs to the rest of the world. And that’s okay! I guess we’ll just have to decide what works for us, whether it’s what people expect or not. I’ve decided that I don’t care what anyone thinks!

But as soon as I start wearing tin foil to school, take me out behind the gym and shoot.



November 14

5 Tips All Doctors Should Use to Set their Children Up for Success

Recently, I’ve noticed a vast divergence between the priorities of concerned parents and those of the children they want so desperately to succeed. The current doctors, lawyers, and businessmen of our generation have similarly grand career aims for their young “Josh”es and “Spencer”s. But since “success” in the mind of a 5th grader is making girls laugh and logging 500 hours on his Nintendo DS, here are some tips on how the most conscientious doctors may use their professional prosperity to assist their children in achieving a similar feeling of triumph in their own lives:

1. From an early age, keep your child informed about the parts and systems of the human body.

Why wait until Bio 101 for Timothy to learn that the flap of skin on the elbow is called a wenis? He will be much better served to know it now, in elementary school, where funny-sounding words are the panem et circenses of the masses. If you share your child’s fundamental belief that public school is one big popularity contest, then you will certainly not deprive him the joy of telling his fellow schoolmates that Wilson, who slipped in that puddle of chocolate milk in the cafeteria, has really bruised his *cock-cyx.*

2. As a rule, let your child take whatever he pleases from your medical kit to school. 

Essentially, you and your stethoscope are buying him two, maybe three days at the top of the social ladder. This allows him to focus more on his classwork for a short time before having to think of another way to best Billy with the pet bullfrog; this will lead to an increased overall productivity. It is also important to note that becoming proactive about your child’s popularity now will increase his likelihood of being voted Class President later in his academic career. Need I stress how good this looks on a resume?

3. Do not spare any details when speaking about a patient’s problem.

Words like “puss”, “ooze” and “squirt” are all quite positive elementary school trigger words. This is your chance to see your tolerance for the extremely icky vastly appreciated, albeit by 18-26 9 year-olds. If you want your child to make well-bred friends that will be a positive influence on him, just use this simple trick and he will have the pick of the litter.

4. Ensure that your child is dressed as a doctor each year for career day.

Though other children may arrive sporting tutus and boxing gloves on this fated day of 2nd grade, it is important that your child accepts reality now. Such future planning is quite prudent, as it gives her an advantage over the other children, who may wait until high school before they decide to aspire to a position of such economic and social excellence. Not to mention, the costume will reinforce in her own mind who she is, and who she will become. That way, she can skip over the messy self-exploration and rebellion that might have accompanied her teenage years!

Other parents will see this and subtly encourage their children to be friends with your daughter, who looks like she will “bring their child up” more than the kid who wants to be Spiderman. These subliminal messages all but guarantee that she will have friends in spades!

5. Allow your child the pleasure of dressing her own cuts and bruises. 

Why deprive Maya of such a perfect learning opportunity? By negating to dote on her “booboos”, or to enforce such unfounded practices as “kissing it better”, she will soon develop a cool, rational, and unfeeling temperament for dealing with injuries, which befits both a successful doctor and a mysterious crush. Guys will be fascinated by her bluntness and independence! In addition, it will soon wipe out any anxiety or squeamishness she might have regarding the sight or smell of blood, making her a coveted lab partner!


Employ these five tips to your parenting, and watch as the birthday party invitations roll in!


October 23


I have not really spoken about my close friends on this blog, and it is mostly because I do not believe that I could ever do them justice. Each one of them is candidly hilarious, interesting, and unique; together, they form a group whose charisma and social appeal are wholly unexplainable.

My friends’ perceptions of social norms are not quite on par with those of their peers, and I find that my interests and I are often blindly accepted as “cool”, and, with their influence, are constantly evolving to include such unabashed and self-assured activities as Book Club, Students Against Drunk Driving Club, Manage your Stress and Anxiety Club, Student Council, and the curling team.

The main proprietor in this quest for ironic popularity, Denver Macfarlane, is the biggest character of all. She recently came out as “gay” to our entire school (our Catholic school), and went on to secure this information in the minds of her ultra-conservative teachers by toting a homemade mug with her to all her classes, which sports the slogan “Hetero-phobe”. (I have been told that there are 6 similarly-doctored mugs in existence, but I have yet to see the last five. On the only other one I’ve witnessed, she has printed “What the Shrek?”)

Denver is the funniest, most extroverted person I have ever met. She ran for student body president last year and lost by three votes. As a consolation, they bestowed her with the title of “Secretary General.” Humiliation or anger would be a natural response; instead, she reached out to the UN’s secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, on Twitter, and constantly refers to him in casual conversation on a first-name basis.

Once, I even saw her dancing on a table in the middle of the cafeteria to promote a local charity. That girl sets out to do something, and she does it.

And when Denver suggested that all seven of us join Gamma Girls, no-one thought to argue.

Our first meeting was today at lunch, our first order of business, taking personality tests.  The authentic, four-lettered ones that don’t involve placing you in a Hogwarts house. These were all too new to me.

I discovered that my Myers Briggs description should have actually been titled: “Reasons Why Avery’s Relationship Failed.”

My result was “INTJ”- Introverted over extraverted, intuitive over sensing, thinking over feeling, and judging over perceiving. Here are some of the highlights of my personality description, taken from personality page.com:

“INTJs spend a lot of time inside their own minds, and may have little interest in the other people’s thoughts or feelings. Unless their Feeling side is developed, they may have problems giving other people the level of intimacy that is needed.”


“They may see them as aloof and reserved. Indeed, the INTJ is not overly demonstrative of their affections, and is likely to not give as much praise or positive support as others may need or desire.”

Yep, and yep.

“INTJs tend to blame misunderstandings on the limitations of the other party, rather than on their own difficulty in expressing themselves. This tendency may cause the INTJ to dismiss others input too quickly, and to become generally arrogant and elitist.”

Yep. Yep. Ye- wait, so now I am not only incapable of maintaining a healthy relationship, but I’m also an elitist? Really? Low blow, personality page.com, low blow.

The site goes on to claim that INTJ’s are notorious binge-drinkers, but I guess something has to supplement all of that socially isolating behaviour, even if it’s just more socially isolating behaviour.

Well, my future is pretty much carved out for me; does anyone else know their personality type? Were any of the descriptions  scarily accurate for you?

Bye for now! ;)



October 18

Isaac Asimov, Part II

The Foundation book has been returned to its rightful owner; balance in the galaxy has been officially restored! But, as in any decent science fiction thriller, this ending was not achieved without a few bumps and twists in the delivery.  (Concluding with that painful double-negative.)

I arrived at Mrs. Joyce’s classroom 10 minutes before class began, hoping to avoid the few extra students that would soon arrive and constitute a “cluster”, which was not what I had envisioned surrounding Jonah and my first post-break-up exchange. Thus, in my mind, the idea of the book delivery was shrouded in a sort of swaggy secrecy, as though I was about to slip Jonah 10 grams of marijuana.

Yet, with every passing minute, the dim New Jersey street corner of my imagination quickly reverted back to the vinyl composition tiles that line the floor of the English room. And still, my client was nowhere to be found.

So 45 minutes later, when all others had presented and Mrs. Joyce asked if anyone knew the book that Jonah had wanted to share with the class, I impulsively put up my hand. And, as a consequence, was roped into presenting the science-geek’s-saga myself.

Mrs. Joyce ushered me to the front of the classroom with a swift pat on the back. In an instant, I took a breath and set all phasers to bullshit. But as soon as I opened my mouth to speak, I spotted Rosalynd looking up at me from the back of the classroom, long auburn hair draped slyly over one eye.

Her face was all contempt.

My surprise was further ignited by the fact that, other than a name, I didn’t really know her at all. I knew that she and Jonah have been friends since kindergarten, and that last year he asked her to be his girlfriend. She refused.

The only interaction I have ever had with Rosalynd occurred at the Lead Party three weeks ago. She brought Jonah with her, apparently with the intention of using him as a safety net; Rosalynd ended up getting so drunk that she started crying and throwing up into a wastebasket, which she affectionately dubbed “cuppy”, leaving Jonah to take care of her. I saw a flash of her through a half-opened door looking extremely pathetic when Jonah shooed me away gravely, saying, “She doesn’t want you to see her like this.”

At the time, I was surprised by the personal nature of the request. She didn’t want ME to see her like this? She had never even spoken to me before! But now, I think I understand.

As I stood at the front of the room, gesticulating madly about space aliens and the science of psychohistory, I noticed that look on her face. It spoke louder than if she were to come up and actually introduce herself to me. Louder than if she were to tell me, in prose, exactly how she felt about me. Louder still than if she were to read me excerpts from her private journal.

It said, “I am in love with Jonah Mitchell.”



October 16

Isaac Asimov

Sparknotes. That was the overall consensus, which was deducted from a tenuous poll of my extended family.

It was collected in coherence with the stuffing and cranberry sauce that cluttered our green linen tablecloth in so many trays and casserole dishes- a true Island of Misfit Plates. As all 23 of us huddled around the dining room table, like frisky Eskimos in a snowstorm, being physically connected to one another somehow lent its significance to our unseasonable and mountie-muddled cause.

It also made it easier for my grandma to smack me:

“What are you putting all this time into reading some science fiction novel for? YOU ended things with HIM. Be done with the guy!”  She shot me an exasperated look.

“Better yet, just say you’ve read it and give it back to him,” asserted my aunt.

It was my uncle who provided me with a truly cunning solution. “Skim the pages,” was his suggestion.

Yet eventually they all agreed that the best way to solve my problem would be simply to look up a summary of the book online.

Here was my dilemma:

You see, for the past few months I have had a crush on a boy named Jonah Mitchell. Slowly, our relationship escalated from “picture of him hidden in my closet” to “picture of us proudly set as my iphone wallpaper.” And yet, even after such a tentative, gradual lead-up,  everything came to pass with the brilliance and brevity of a dying star.

I do not disillusion myself so far as to believe, as many other girls my age suffering from a break-up where the aftermath outlives the actual relationship, that I was in love with him. Nor do I continue to assert, neglecting the true motives of any present company, that he and I should have had six children and moved to Bangladesh. I mean only that, while the relationship was short, it meant something, and when it was over it sucked.

I ended things with Jonah because certain aspects of the relationship had begun to get on my nerves. For starters, we share three classes and two extra-curriculars. Add in a few group hang out sessions, as well as some one-on-one dates, and we were spending 75% of our waking moments together: simply too much time. Another point of friction is that we are in different stages of life; Jonah does not have a job, a car, or even a driver’s licence; I have all three. Rather than to constructively deal with these issues, however, I chose, in typical ham fashion, to break it off before the relationship became more serious and a separation could do any substantial emotional damage.

It was during the early phases of our brief relationship that Jonah lent me a book. Actually, it was his all-time favourite, sporting so many frays that it appeared more well-loved than the velveteen rabbit. He rather insisted that I read it, this compilation of the three Foundation novels written by sci-fi champ Isaac Asimov, saying that “the book is me. I am the book.”

It was six days after our break-up when all 11 meager AP English students, the herd having been thinned out as a result of flood, famine, and the cruel Ms. Feyre from last year, gathered around the boardroom table as Mrs. Joyce articulated excitedly about the joys of reading.

“It makes me sad to see so many of you who aren’t passionate about literature! When was the last time any of you got excited about a book?”

Blank stares.

“You know what? How about all of you try to remember a book that made you really excited about reading, and bring it in to discuss for Monday?”

As we all began babbling about our favourite novels, a glance to my left confirmed what was already obvious to me.

Jonah started, “I wa-”

“I know.”

He wanted the Asimov book back.

The only problem was that I had never read it, and I somehow got it in my head that the only way to salvage a friendship with Jonah was to finish the book, no matter how long it would take. This is how I managed to sentence myself, over Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, to 36 hours in inter-galactic prison.

Part of me also wanted to finish the book to prove that I was capable of committing to a relationship, even if it was one with paper and ink. Because, when I thought about it, reading a book is a lot like being in one.

Ending a three-month relationship doesn’t require the same courtesy and explanation as breaking off a real anniversary-churner (I’m not talking week-a-versaries here, people). In the same way, a reader is satisfied with an unsolved mystery at the close of a 200-300 page thriller, but once the author crosses over into the lofty 500+ page range, one demands the details with righteous indignation. By this point in the novel, even the author has usually abandoned his pomp and his poetic devices; after 6 years of marriage, a wife can take a dump in front of her husband without a second thought. In fact, if an author even tried to write an elaborate and roundabout explanation to a concept so late in the novel, I would holler at her to “just come out with it already.” And to “make me a sandwich.”

This is how I felt by the end of the 510-page, size 8 font Foundation series. I needed some sort of award. I needed Asimov, making me a sandwich.

The point is that Isaac Asimov clearly had a lot to say, and that I stupidly volunteered myself to sit for 36 hours as he said it.

More on this later!



October 5

A Shakespearian Dilemma:

To pee, or not to pee? That is the question—

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The pain and bother of a brimming bladder,

Or to depart from a sea of blankets,

And, by your absence, end the warmth withal?

To rise, to sleep—No more—

And through our steps toward the porcelain round

Assuage the aches in th’ distending sac

That litres of Pepsi make it heir to—’tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished! To stay, to sleep.

To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub,

For in waterlogged slumber, dreams may come

Of pregnant waterfalls and rivers’ haste

Or leaky faucets, dripping into sinks

That overlook the bubble-bloated tide

Along an ocean line. There’s the respect

That, as we prolong tending to our needs,

Doth make a weary, weakly bladdered-girl

Submit to her uncertain will and flee

luxurious sleep, upset by one small pea

beneath a slew, a heap, of mattresses.

Who would expose himself to unfleec’d air,

To quake and shiver ‘long his bathroom route,

But for the dread of waking up in damp-

That once-familiar shame of soiled sheets

So well established on his sheepish face?

Yet, silence ‘llows no diversion from pain;

Seclusion in what should be our repose

Renders our conscience vuln’rable to wants

And lets us not sit with our partial take

But urges us, “to toilet!”

Thus wakefulness doth weaken our resolve

And the native stubbornness of our comfort

Is perforated by suff’ring’s pushpins-

Decisions to remain, of great intent

With this regard their currents turn awry,

And go you to the bathroom still and all!


October 2

Lead Party

Last night, to wrap up the school musical after 96 hours of rehearsal, 5 performances, and enough face makeup to clog all the bathtub drains in New Zealand, Mrs. Gerund put out store-bought cake and potato chips. Therefore, it was with much regret and contrition that all ten of us lead actors and some others did slip out of the auditorium at 9:30 pm, giggling and sipping from Solo cups as we piled into a misfit fleet of vehicles suited for the “part-time high school senior” and left thirty less important cast members to plaintively mourn the end of an era over sodium and saturated fats; we were setting out to have a final “hurrah” before the curtain closed on our superiority complexes for another six months.

In school hallways, this party is now referred to in hushed whispers by those privy to such privileged information; I catch snippets of conversations like “Did you hear that he-“, “I was there, she was high on-“, or “I heard he caught them making out on the-“. My friends in senior year refuse to believe that I ever attended the event, and some even dispute its existence; my first and only high school party, it seems, has become the subject of modern-day folklore.

Being the social ham that I am, combined with the fact that my grade 10 status puts me somewhere below grass on the social food chain, I was surprised to find myself invited at all- even if it had been done nonchalantly by a peripheral attendee, 20 minutes before the event. Then, I heard that the only other grade ten in attendance would be the actor who played the title role: Peter. The news sent me into a panic; I have a tendency to not act my species around him- I can pull off “apish” at best. (Little did I know, my stuttering retorts would be the last thing he was aware of.)

All this was forgotten, however, as we crammed ourselves into the back seat of the musical’s murderer’s Mazda and set off for Hayden Doerson’s house. When we pulled up in his driveway 5 minutes later, his dad let us in, sporting the sheepish smile of a divorced parent trying to make up for his absence by allowing his son to throw a party with underaged drinking. Looking like a wounded puppy, he retreated to his upstairs bedroom and I did not see him for the rest of the night.

Immediately, the alcohol was pulled out, and everyone started taking shots. Soon, most people were drunk enough to rectify my social awkwardness, and I began to enjoy myself! We played Cards Against Humanity, watching amusedly as one particular character played a concerto on the piano (which, it was argued, has never happened while he is sober), and telephoned a girl labeled “Drunk Dial” in his contacts, who apparently answers his calls without fail and stays on the line for hours as he performs sonnets in sporadically German, Indian, and Scottish accents after his 5th shot of tequila. After he had reached the full extent of his repertoire (several times over), I left the basement to discover Peter walking, or stumbling, through the door with Lander Willis. Lander is flamboyantly gay, and, aside from his charisma, is known for his connections in the party scene. It did not take a detective to determine that Peter, eyes glistening and face bright pink, was high on marijuana for the first time.

Most of the cast flocked to Peter, laughingly asking him questions as he handled (or, mishandled) the psychoactive drug with awestruck confusion; his eyes widened as he looked for bubbles in a glass of water, the least questionable drink on tap that night. At one point, he stopped speaking to the group of grade 12 girls all hovering around him, looked directly at me, and said calmly, “You have a gentle soul.” He then proceeded to lurch over to the girl next to him and whisper loudly, “She wants me.”

“Who does, Peter?”

“All of them.”

At this, I heard someone behind me scoff. Turning, I discovered that I had been wrong about Peter and me being the only grade tens at the party; here in front of me, with an invitation perhaps even more perplexing and unorthodox than mine, was the boy from my English class who Mrs. Joyce had sent with me to dismantle the apple core/tape structure on her projector screen.

“Jonah, what are you doing here? You aren’t even in the musical!”

His reply was ambiguous, and generic, and altogether not worth noting on the internet. Something like “I have connections,” or, “I have my ways,” or some other vaguely mysterious jargon high school boys are known to use at sweaty parties early in the morning. What happened next, however, was wholly original. Indeed, the hours that followed this encounter were some of the most interesting and pleasant hours of my life, spent objectively observing drunk people with Jonah, and the student from Finland who could not drink on his exchange (nor, it seemed, speak a lick of English). At one point, we all took shots of water, being ritually accurate right down to the little clear glass- lime, salt, and all- to the cheering of a large group that was most likely unaware of how lame the situation truly was.

At the end of the night, Peter had already been put to bed by Lander, who was assisted by a flock of admirers still starstruck from Peter’s performance in the musical. As I sat with the rest of the girls at the party, and Lander, around the kitchen island, we discovered that every single one of us has feelings for Peter. Including Lander; he even admitted that part of his motivation for giving Peter the drugs was to see if he would be interested in “getting with him”.

To mimic the hipsters I so desperately try to shun, I now realize that Peter is over-hyped. I was okay with watching him from afar when I thought I was the only one; he certainly has some good qualities, but not enough to turn me into one of his groupies. The way he treated everyone at that party, like pawns in his play for popularity, was far from attractive. Last night, I realized that Peter is not the amazing guy I once thought him to be. Yet, that guy does exist; he goes to my school. He sits beside me in English. He walks with me to Chem.  How have I managed to remain so perversely ham-like all this time?

I am looking forward to seeing Jonah in first period tomorrow; as you all know, dissecting Hamlet is an undisputed catalyst for romance.

Bye for now!



September 22

Ketchup This?

As I listened, equal parts amused and bemused, to my friends in grade 12 brood about university applications and scholarship programs, it dawned on me that I only have two years left in this comfortable, gated community before I must take to the gluten-free equivalent of “Kraft dinner and a mattress” living. Upon this realization a switch was flipped in my mind, and my eyes opened to all of the amenities that I have access to, which I usually neglect; I have become in my own home something that is comparable to the man who pilfers those little shampoo bottles from three-star hotels! At the moment, my parents are wondering which Malaysian tourist did a body swap with me; in the span of 3 hours, I have gone to the pool, tried to learn a song on our piano, and filled the steam shower with enough eucalyptus oil to rival a seasoned middle-age hot springs enthusiast with monogramed robes and a bald patch. I have also started to pillage through “school memories” albums and boxes of momentos from the Golden Era, back when university was still 4, or 5, or 7 years off…

Looking through my old science notes today, I came across a page from when I had been so bored that I wrote this poem about a suicidal piano player:

Her nimble fingers tied the knot

For they too long had played the tune, the game

and now to quit, while at a moment’s note- ice

collects along divots in the keys

those ivory blacks and whites

are all the colours that she sees

the pianist,

a peony in principle and melody

the piano player


I cannot decide which is more pompous- the fact that I decided to write all of that down along the endoplasmic reticulum of my cell diagram, or the fact that I successively found it, and put it on my blog. However, it lead me to my recent discovery that going back through the vaults of childhood achievement, if one douches all the nostalgia, is not just the unproductive use of time I once believed it to be. As it turns out, it is also detrimental to one’s self-esteem. For example, while leafing through pictures from my grade six year, I noticed that our family’s Canon Rebel XTI had chosen to paint me not as the altruistic hero who shaved her head for cancer, but as the full-faced lesbian with a buzz cut and a polo shirt collection impressive for its quantity, if nothing else. And those school projects I was unjustifiably proud of in grade 7? Apparently, they’re not actually so great! Here’s the audio file I unearthed from the *poignant? clever?* mortifying parody I made of MC Hammer’s “Cant’ Touch This” involving a certain tomato-based substance:

From MC Hamburger’s famous album “Let’s Get it Squirted”, it’s”Ketchup This.”

-When mustard simply doesn’t cut it.

For once, I concurred wholly with my mother’s distrusting view of the internet and unincluded the music video once accompanying the rap, as this sort of humiliation would transcend even the safety of vast URL networks and computer screens that separate me from your horror and scorn. It is not, arguably, necessary to see Avery wearing her father’s Ukrainian dancing pants and a padded neon jacket to understand the true gravity of her social situation- that the thin thread on which her level of popularity hangs today would snap, without a second thought, were it to discover that such a video survives in the underbelly of the internet.

And believe me, I am sparing your eyes!

Bye for now,



September 20

The Apple Core Complex

So, I’ve accumulated so many decorative pillows that it takes actual strategy to figure out their transport arrangements to and from my bed. Does anyone else seem to have this problem? I bear a likeness to Godzilla knocking over buildings as I try to get under the covers each night. Getting home after work today, I was so exhausted that even this task seemed far too daunting, and thus I sat, at the foot of my bed, staring down my plush and tasseled adversaries right in their bladders. (So, pillows have bladders. I actually Googled “pillow jargon”).

And why was my hoarder’s nest of pillows so detrimental to me on this particular night? My lack of energy came courtesy of the common cold: the only modern-day institution in whose dealings I wish some racism still endured, and yet it remains cruelly indiscriminating. It strikes when one least expects it, and the only thing to be done is slap on a cold compress, drink some tea, and try to imagine a world in which sounding like Donald Duck is cause for celebration. Which is also commonly referred to as, “the past five days of my life;” I was so dazed at work today that I walked by the same busbin six times before I remembered that I was looking for it! Forget about taking a “mental health” day; I need a day for “mental retardation”.


And now, we’ve finally arrived at the story behind the my The Big Bang Theory-esque title. (“We’re” not sure why “we’re” talking like the villain in a melodrama, but I guess we’ll just ride this one out.)

Only 11 students chose to take advanced English this year, so the class was relocated to the office boardroom- as if to tell us, “You higher minds are indeed as superior as you feel.” My fabulous teacher Mrs. Joyce is thusly persuaded to bring all of her teaching materials down from her classroom each morning like a sherpa, while teachers with more popular courses settle into her space until lunch.

There are two students who can be relied upon to be first into the boardroom each morning: me, and the guy who I have been particularly frantic and impish around lately (which is NOT AT ALL relevant to the story! … ;) ). I suppose that Mrs. Joyce has picked up on our habitual keenness, because on this particular morning, she stood waiting for the two of us to enter, circa-together, at her usual spot in front of the white board.

“I have a mission for you.” she said in her usual offbeat, wry aplomb.

“Shoot.” *Ohmygoshishelookingatmetellmehe’snotlooking* answered.

“You know where my classroom is, right? Well, I need you to get there before the teacher who uses it first block. When you open the door, on your right you’ll see… well, whaddya call it… You know, those screens they use for the projectors… well, on the string that you use to pull it down, you will find an apple core. I need you to cut the string just before the core, and bring the core back to me, no questions asked. Maybe someday I’ll explain.” She handed us the key without another word.

And, sure enough, when we arrived at her upstairs classroom, we discovered the rotting apple core hanging, as-promised, from the string of the projector screen. In one swift motion, I lunged for the scissors on her desk while Dreamboat fumbled to hold out the cord. The mission went without a hitch except for one bewildered freshman, who after witnessing the whole thing could scarcely utter, “…Did that just happen?”

The looks on our classmates’ faces as we burst into the boardroom waving a piece of stale fruit most likely matched our initial confusion at hearing her request. But fortunately for my (and your) curiosity, Mrs. Joyce immediately dropped the act of secrecy; she explained how, upon returning to her classroom after lunch the day before, she had spotted an apple core on her desk. Knowing immediately that the man who had left it has her classroom for 2nd and 4th period, she decided to send him a message. Using enough masking tape to dress a fatal wound, she fixed the apple core to the string of her projector screen, and stuck a fork in it. It was only the next morning that she remembered the apple core, and determined that it “wouldn’t be fair” to the first-year teacher using the classroom for her homeroom to discover an apple core hanging at the front of the classroom with a giant fork in it.

I cannot wait to see if every English class will be this exciting! I get enough heart palpitations sitting next to *smileandlaugh,waitnotsohardhethinksyou’rechoking*; that class is slowly giving me angina.

For the moment, all I have left to do is bludgeon my way through the small village of throw pillows separating me from my bed.

Goodnight for now!




September 6

First Day of School!

As the new school year begins, I am gratefully reminded of the sanity of my fellow high school students. Remember when one’s school status was determined exclusively by the words that rhymed with their name? Some parents legitimately set their children up for failure from day 1. Remember Maddy? Me either. “Fatty” rings a bell, though. How about good ol’ Cooper the Pooper Scooper? Hairy Harry? God forbid any of you went to school with a boy named “Dick.”

As for my experience, elementary-level word association extended so far as to christen me “Avery Slavery.” Now, none of the other kids seemed to mind that “slavery” is many parts more a concept than a specific noun, or even an action verb. This truth resonated with no-one, it seemed, as they shouted “slavery on Avery!” inviting every 1st grader within a 100-ft radius to pile on top of me. Nor did it stop my ascension to the top of the list of beneficiaries from her fellow pupils unloading their colouring books and glue sticks onto her for transport between classes. If kindergarten had superlatives, I definitely would have made “Class Slave.”

For the first time since my mother left her teaching job to stay at home with my brother and me, both of my parents were working on the first day of school. This meant that the event received no greater accentuation than any other day in the calendar year; we had left over butter chicken in the fridge and extra hamburger buns on the counter, and from this we hastily crafted what my dad now refers to as “Sloppy Raheeds.” We did go for a family walk after dinner, but turned back before we had gone half a mile in order to finish up homework and teaching prep before it got dark. At least, it gave us a chance to share about our days.

My highlight was the Catholic School Welcome Assembly. I was seated next to a young man who was stoned out of his mind. It’s actually hilarious, the disparity between the strict religious kids and the “wild” partygoers at my school. It’s binary. Sort of like apartheid, with a lot less social tension. The pot-smokers hang out in certain hallways, take certain classes, and the more studious youth group-goers stick to their own parts of the school. Having friends in both circles, I almost have to inconspicuously flip on a beanie to go from one to the other. I think that the problem is the occasional radical in both groups; the guy that comes to math with red eyes and dilating pupils, and the girl who asked me just yesterday, “What’s your favourite secular band?” I sometimes wonder what would happen if two such people were stuck on a desert island together. It would probably explode.

What was it like at your high school? Any culture-shock experiences similar to mine at the welcome assembly, or were you the one who was doing the shocking? ;)

Bye for now,




August 27

Noodle Boy

Poor Peter had the worst day today! And I totally blew it; he looked like a holocaust victim when I walked into Science class, but I didn’t ask what was wrong because this obsequious and nasally kid Jimmy asks me that every day and it pisses me off. I just didn’t want to make him uncomfortable. Unsurprisingly, Jimmy carried out his same routine on Peter. Only, Peter gratefully obliged and gushed about what a horrible day he was having, and left me completely exasperated.

Peter had woken up sick, but his parents accused him of faking and angrily drove him to school after he missed the bus. This meant that he had a raging headache for his Math unit final and was not exempt from fitness testing in gym. Not to mention, our school musical choreographer has recently been calling him “Noodle Boy” (a reference to his lanky and rather unresponsive arms) and hollering at him to be louder in front of the entire cast. To make things worse I accidentally poked fun at him about the “Noodle Boy” thing, when what I meant to say was “You are SO not a noodle boy.” This is a new record for me; I have befuddled what I was trying to say in the past, but never before has something spewed out as its antithesis! That was a regretful bus ride…

It’s funny, even though I am now equipped with a car and a driver’s license, I still prefer to take the bus on mornings when I don’t have to stay after school. I guess I like having time to reflect on things other than “that semi truck is about to crush my car.” And with proper Ginger Gravol sedation, finishing homework on the bus is not such a fanciful task! Unless, of course, it’s homework from Religious Studies. No amount of sedation can prepare anyone for the breed of subjective “personal reflection” essays that litter the syllabus like gum on the streets of New York.

On that note, I received a perfect grade on my Religious Studies project! Mrs. Guise was impressed with my allusion to Saint Mary in my anti-abortion video; she even asked me how I thought of the idea! (Obviously I didn’t tell her that I brainstormed “things that would please the most radical Catholic on the planet…”) I jest, but I am rather proud of the video. Like, “Pick on someone your own size?” That stuff is genius. Also, my mid-semester report from my Science teacher Mr. Coltaire ended off with “If I only had an army of Averys, life would be so great!” I am not sure if I should be thrilled, or on the lookout for anyone coming at my scalp with tweezers… Mr. Coltaire is a phenomenal teacher- one of my all-time favourites! He gives us two weeks to hand in any assignment, just in case we cannot find time in 332 hours to do a 20-minute lab. pfft! What does he think I do outside of school? Sports?

Speaking of which, our Gym class floor hockey unit is in full swing, and, against all genetic odds, I played well today! Considering I have the hand-eye coordination of the world’s first computer, this development made me rather (way too) excited. But Butch-Of-The-Year nominations are still too far off, so I cannot say anything for sure…

I was definitely joking about our school’s celebration of masculinity, but I suppose that, in some ways, “butch” is a fairly accurate description of me. For instance, I used to wish that I wasn’t a girl just so I could show off my pecs. (And, they are actually pretty massive. They probably account for 60% of my boobs.) I have my childhood weirdness to thank for this; between grades 1 and 4, every Saturday morning would see me up early and completing 300 push-ups in sets of 20, to pump-up music courtesy of “WOW Hits 2002″. (I would also run for 20 minutes on the treadmill; I think what finally brought the tradition to an end was one morning when I thought it would be a good idea to run with my eyes closed, tripped, and slammed into a wall.)  But, alas, “feel my pecs” and “feel my boobs” have two very different implications for two very different genders…


What about you guys? Did you ever wish to belong to the opposite sex? And why?

Bye for now,





August 24

Results M-Avery

As it is nearly November here in Denver, I am reminded of how Remembrance Day is coming up in Canada, and of how much I lament that it is not celebrated in the United States. (Although I do understand why. The whole premise of the holiday is to make up for the other 364 days of the year on which Canadians show absolutely no patriotism.) Mall shoppers across Canada will soon be passively assaulted by nice old people collecting donations in exchange for the universal-grade, built-to-fall-off, velvety red pins worn on jackets or blouses for the weeks surrounding the holiday. All of the money raised goes towards care for veterans and other victims of war. Everything about the celebration lends itself to a joint feeling of community, charity, and respect for our fallen soldiers. We share a moment of silence at 11 o’clock am on November 11th, often during ceremonies put on by schools, churches, and museums that are open to the public. Before I moved to Denver, those Remembrance Day services were the closest I ever came to feeling American.

This year, though, a pacifist organization called Ceasefire.ca is distributing white poppies to boycott Remembrance Day and demonstrate a belief in “peace not war”. How ironic that they are able to make such a publicly disrespectful statement about the soldiers who died for their freedom only because of the soldiers who died for their freedom! For a group to decide that they condemn an action while in the same instant they shamelessly reap its benefits is incredibly hypocritical.

Even if the campaign is not purposefully abrasive and defiant, it is certainly progressing this way. By going against tradition on such a long-standing national holiday, their poppies take attention away from Remembrance Day’s true meaning and upset the feeling of reverence and solidarity that accompanies it. Not to mention, the proceeds from the white poppies go back into the production and distribution of more white poppies, and not to charity. Yeesh.

…Yikes! It’s almost like an alien took over my body for a moment there. Was I just writing about politics? When I started the blog, I never would have imagined that we would end up here. *shudders*.  I guess I am just trying to fill up space at this point; after all, isn’t that the best way to give any spiel a little substance? To throw in some patriotism? ;)

Anyways, how about some relatable teen content? Won’t that be refreshing?

—> I think my boobs are officially the perfect size. I mean, my areolas should get a bit larger, but nobody sees those anyway. I have heard that girls’ breasts typically stop growing at 16, so I am right on track! I guess my hormones finally just got together in a boardroom and said “We’re not leaving until we have a plan to get this done.” Doughnuts and coffee were had by all, surely.


Too much? I think I dove back into the coming-of-age-movie-type genre with a little too much “gusto”… Let’s try this again.

“How was your day, Avery?”

Well, we just got a new vacuum at work, so I got to try it out! After dropping several passive aggressive comments to my employer about our previous vacuum’s state of disrepair, I think he could tell that I was visibly excited by this new development, but he was kind enough not to point out the fact that it is incredibly pathetic to get so fired up over a new workplace appliance, and that I must consequently not have a social life. However, the vacuum is only about a foot tall, and I found that I had to crawl around on my hands and knees to use it! This becomes even more ridiculous when you consider that the restaurant I work at has over 3000 square feet of surface area, and is a minefield of chairs and tables that have to be moved and replaced as I go along. Discrediting the small feeling of nostalgia I experienced at getting to use something that looks like it came straight out of a child’s playhouse, that vacuuming session was the most frustrating experience of my life. An hour later, it was a rather frazzled version of Avery who shuffled into her boss’ office and said, “Please. Never. Again.”

I wish I could stop thinking about Peter. The worst part is that I know it is completely idiotic! I just hope that he and I can be friends, because we have so much in common. In fact, I think my thoughts towards Peter are primarily fuelled by a desire for a friend, not a boyfriend. He is just so thoughtful! On the bus today, he spent 10 minutes trying to position himself so that he wasn’t blocking me from the conversation, even though the bus driver yelled at him a couple of times and the sun was in his eyes. :) Amy Copansky was also on the bus today. I tried to strike up a conversation with her, forgetting just how little we have in common. (And, as my 2nd period teacher always says, history repeats itself when we forget about the past; it was painful.) It’s odd, because she and Peter really hit it off. I think that it is because they have similar temperaments, while Peter and I share similar hobbies. …Hmph. (that’s NOT a humph, and definitely not a harrumph; more of a reflective sigh with a side of “grunt”).

It was awkward when Amy made a casual reference to another guy on our bus, Matthew in my social class, because I completely blanked on the name. Naturally, I had to dig myself into an even deeper hole by finally figuring out who she was talking about and then going on to explain how I typically just refer to him as “Ken” because he looks like a barbie doll. Belly-flopping into a pit of snakes at this point, I also mentioned that he doesn’t know I do that. That he doesn’t even know me at all. *shudders*

Does anybody else experience this when talking to someone they do not connect with? Somehow getting yourself into trouble by rambling on awkwardly as the person stares placidly past you? Just me? Okay. Great.

Bye for now!




August 16

Volkswagen: Das Awkward!

So, I had my very first lead rehearsal today! It was a completely nerve-wracking and humbling experience. Here is what I’ve learned so far:
Drama kids are surprisingly inclusive.
Leads are unofficially and automatically instated into the Gerund tea drinking society.
As demonstrated by Mrs.Gerund’s one-year old daughter, babies will eat anything.
Car doors are funny mechanisms that will never cease to cause me anguish.

The actual rehearsal was fairly generic in its level of innate satisfaction and optimistic aftertaste. What happened afterwards, however, is noteworthy in that it was downright cringe-worthy.

Rehearsal let out around 5:30 PM. As I was leaving, I noticed Peter standing in front of the office doors. Knowing that he lives on my street, and inwardly praising myself for my resourcefulness, I went over to offer him a ride. However, it turned out that Peter was headed to a shift at Dairy Queen, not to his house, and I had just volunteered myself to drive 15 minutes in the wrong direction! Luckily I was too awkward to point this out to him, especially over the puddle of drool that was forming in my subconscious, so the slipshod plan prevailed.

We made fairly quaint small talk during the drive to DQ, an impressive feat considering my struggle even to breathe and drive in the same instant! As we pulled up to our destination, I congratulated myself on taking just two wrong turns during the trip, both of which added mere minutes to our overall travel time.

I wished Peter a quick and easy shift as he got out of the car. Only, the passenger door was still locked, so he could not get out. I quickly fumbled with my key fob to find the “unlock” button. Pressing it, finally and triumphantly, I glanced up and was met with a blank stare from Peter. No dice.
I let out an exasperated grunt, and preceded to spam the “unlock” key on the driver’s side. When that didn’t work, I flopped across him to unlock it manually on the passenger door. The indicator claimed that the door was “unlocked”, and yet it still refused to open. I blushed as a 30-second féaux pas turned into a full-on awkward encounter. And then, I did the only thing that made sense at the time.
I said, “I swear I’m not trying to rape you.”
He let out a surprised laugh, and I nearly cringed in pain. What on earth was I thinking?
After I recovered from that injury, I got out of the car and walked around to open the demonic door from the outside, something that should have occurred to me minutes ago. After that, Peter left without more than a few hasty words of thanks. Can you blame the guy? If I were him, I wouldn’t have lasted even that long in that car; in fact, I probably would have smashed a window around the three minute mark, perhaps even before the casual date-rape comment!
Hopefully I didn’t blow my chances entirely, but I have a sinking suspicion that the nature of Peter and my relationship will be to get all the embarrassing behavior out of my system before I meet a guy who is actually well-suited for me. Here’s hoping that a relationship with that guy goes a little more smoothly!

How about you guys? Any awkward crush stories to share? Hopefully, the wounds are not quite so fresh as mine!
Bye for now,


August 13

Redneck Thanksgiving

Maps that plot my location on a Westjet flight make me question why I didn’t just walk that far…

I mean, I get it. It’s not as though they could make the image of the plane to scale. But really?  According to some of my past live maps, I have travelled in airplanes twice the size of Florida. If the back of the plane is in Washington, and the front half is down in Utah, where am I exactly? Do they expect me to remember my seat number?

Consequently, this development was sparked by a recent trip to Edmonton, Alberta to visit my grandparents. Canadian Thanksgiving takes place in the middle of October (severely displanting the relevance of a Black Friday sale), so I missed two full days of publicly-funded, condom-stomping Catholic school to hang out on my grandpa’s hobby farm, shooting unlicensed guns and racing retired army jeeps from the Second World War. Often by mid-October, Edmonton’s snowy season is already in full swing; one year, I now recall with nostalgia, we used snowmen for shooting practice.
But unlike the snowmen, each year unfailingly we do things like play flick-stick hockey, eat borscht soup, and a have a piñata (in fact, it’s been the same piñata for five years running, sporting more duct tape and looking less recognizable each year; my grandparents are a little cheap!) This year, though, that poor multi-confetti-colored donkey finally met his match in the form of a Winchester 1200. Instead of hanging the piñata so that the younger cousins could try their luck with a stick, we decided instead to blindfold my father, hand him a shotgun, throw the piñata in the air, and run for cover. A shower of bullets hit it on his first try! The only downside was that all the candy inside was subsequently filled with lead fragments. All things considered, a small price to pay for such an awesome occurrence.
Another new development is that, after the piñata, my grandpa surprised me with a green Volkswagon Beetle for my 16th birthday! He collects cars, and has always been determined to buy one for each of his grandkids. His generosity and kind spirit did not stop him from adding a small clause to a pretty sweet deal, however: a “spoiled rotten” license plate must be worn on the front of the car at all times. A prime example of his malevolent sense of humour… ;) I suppose those lovable old saps aren’t so cheap after all!

Most of my Tuesday was eaten up with travel and allowing myself to be rocked slowly to sleep by the discombobulated jostle of a plane and the fuzzy, impassive voice of Sheila our airline hostess over the PA system. It was for this reason that I felt particularly well-rested as I boarded the bus today for my triumphant return to public education. As I had only returned to school this morning, I could barely stifle my startled squawk when I was called out of History before lunch and summoned to the drama room. The last time I had stepped foot in that room was months ago for musical callbacks, and those didn’t quite go as planned (think actual squawking). Now, to understand the sheer intimidation I felt as I walked into that den of arts performers and theatre junkies at 11:45 AM on a Wednesday, it is important to realize that the drama room looks less like a conventional classroom than the gorilla enclosure at Calgary Zoo. Its overhanging spotlights and intricate networks of wire cables and pulleys squinted down at me from three storeys high, while low-lying lamps draped with Boho-chic scarves provided most of the understated lighting. Red velvet curtains had been pulled back far enough to allow students to work and create on the black wooden floors, marked up with tape and peeling paint, but still their muted presence was unwavering; noticed and deliberate. Props from musicals past were placed randomly about the room as if to represent little inside jokes; the ultimate manifestation of this collective’s superior and exclusive nature. It could have been a hoarder’s nest, and yet each item seemed to fit mystically with the others in perfect synergy.
Yet, the atmosphere was not abrasive or standoffish, as one might expect. Rather, everything in the room worked to welcome and excite me as its visitor, leaving me with a profound sense of belonging and adventure.
None of the other drama students acknowledged my presence, as if it “gelled” with what they were doing, and I was thusly absorbed. I made my way over to the Mrs. Gerund, who sat making large, ecstatic hand movements from a cross-legged position on a table in the corner of the room. At first, I thought it was odd that I hadn’t noticed her immediately, as she was speaking loudly and moving her arms about wildly. I now realize that the room had been absorbing her, too.
I was halfway to her table when she saw me and leapt up to greet me. The sullen form I remembered seated conventionally at a table and chair during my musical audition two months ago did not match the fountain of energy now before me. She cupped my hand in two of her dainty ones and pumped it up and down, then led me through the curtain-cloaked doorway of her office to a couple of mismatched chairs.
Her smile was mischievous as she asked me how I was, and why I was still in class.
“Advanced placement.” I said dismissively.
“Ah. You know, I don’t see how they’re allowed to do that. That’s why I could never teach a real class.”
I seemed to recall the lectures I had heard over the years from every other option teacher I knew after their elective was referred to as “not a real class.”
“So anyway, I don’t know you very well, but I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately. As you know, we gave Jakob Holden one of the leads in the musical, and he has not been putting in much effort these past few weeks. Mr.Rachel and I have decided to replace him. Now, when we discussed our options, you kept popping into my head. I know, it’s weird, because I barely know you at all! Anyways the more I thought about it, The more I realized that Jakob’s role could be converted into a girl part without much effort; all his relationships are platonic! We’ve thought about it a lot, and are prepared to offer you the part!” She gave me a long look. “Don’t feel pressured to respond right away! I know it’s a lot to ask. You can let me know on Friday.”
I felt my heart leap up into my throat. I somehow found the words. “Can I say yes right now?”

So, basically, I have one of the lead parts in my school musical! What makes it even better is how deliciously random it is! It must have been my going away for two days that did the trick; after all, absence makes the heart grow fonder. ;)
What’s more is that Peter plays the title role in the musical this year! (If any of you remember him from my pathetic, dreamland rant about his accolades in my first-ever blog post.) He came up to me today to congratulate me, and no-one else knew what was happening. Mrs.Gerund is going to tell the rest of the cast tomorrow at rehearsal, but for now I have the smirk of a private joke semi-permanently plastered across my face.
This is going to be so awesome! I cannot wait to have my first practice on Monday!
Bye for now,


August 9

Can Cookie Please

My past two weeks have been taken up with volunteering at a family summer camp, about 12 hours from home. My cousins, currently out of town, offered to let me stay in their house for a few days as it is nearly halfway between the camp and my home in Denver. This is how I happened to go from sleeping in a 6 by 12 foot trailer with five sweaty girls to reclining alone in a mansion with two swimming pools and a vineyard.

Now, this is the sort of house that has a grand piano even though nobody plays.

It has always bothered me when people complain about houses with pianos and no piano players. I can think of a thousand other uses for a piano than whamming melodically along those ivory blacks and whites (Okay, one of those uses was “paperweight”…) But the fact is, the piano is a beautiful instrument. And as far as accessories are concerned, I can think of a lot of things that are more frivolous and expensive. At least homeowners are equipped if a piano player ever comes to dinner (which seems a whole lot more likely than another world war, and yet we have stores of military weaponry lined up “just in case”). Pianos also help in calling out those friends that exaggerate about everything- It is easy to convince someone who does not play an instrument that you do by prattling on in nonsensical musical jargon, but it is incredibly difficult to bullshit one’s way through Mozart’s first concerto.  But then there is the argument that it seems wasteful to own and not use a piano, what with all the piano players out there who cannot afford their own instrument.

How will one person abstaining from owning a piano somehow get one in the hands of a starving artist? Purchasing a piano is only fuelling the music industry. I see it as ensuring that piano manufacturers stay in business long enough for the people who actually play to finally man up and buy their own baby Grand.

Anyhow, I use the unnecessary existence of the piano to illustrate the enormity and possibility of the house I am currently alone inside. And also, it seems, to foreshadow my ironic decision not to do anything about it. I can do anything I want, and what do I decide to do first?

Sit on the couch and eat all their food.

Now, it could be argued that they were only trying to be polite, but I decided to take the statement: “help yourself to anything in the fridge” to mean “please eat everything in the fridge.” Somewhere in this mad feeding frenzy there may lie a slight binge eating problem, but I see it as pretty inevitable. After all, what more could be expected from a child whose first words literally were, “can cookie please.”

To continue with the theme of wasted opportunities, my second mansion-indulgence so far has been watching Netflix. However, I have always found Netflix to be an extremely personal, intimate experience (this coming from someone who has never explored any of their adult content). I mean only that publicizing the Netflix “recently viewed” sections of the rich and famous would likely cause a huge scandal.Who wants people seeing all the fluff they watch when they are braindead at two in the morning? I don’t think Obama wants his fellow Democrats to know that he has seen all six seasons of Gossip Girl.

In this cynical spirit, I feel awkward watching anything (shamefully) interesting on my cousins’ Netflix account. Thus, I am stuck perusing their “recently viewed” section. This means watching the first three seasons of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

Admittedly, not a bad show. What really makes me laugh is how they stretch the plot and dialogue of a 24-minute episode to include a 5-minute flashback that certainly overstays its welcome. By the end, I forget that it was ever a flashback at all; I just have a super strong sense of dejavu. It reminds me of the watered-down orange juice at church, in that the writers clearly didn’t want to have to write any more material than was absolutely necessary.

I am not saying that they are lazy. This idea is inspired! What a time saver! Heck, it’s genius! In fact, I think I’ll take a page from the Fresh Prince Playbook any time I’m short ideas for a post. Instead of simply cutting it short, you can all bear with me as I ramble on anecdotally about something that happened to me three years ago.

This and more is what there is to look forward to, if you keep reading my blog! (Heck, I might even stop reading, if it were not for the calamity of spelling and grammatical errors that would surely result.)

Bye for now,




July 16

So Here’s the Thing

I don’t have a “thing.” It seems as though everyone I know has “soccer”, or “dance”, or “marching band” (though I really don’t envy that particular high school denomination…).

It’s not that I am not passionate about “things”. Truly, I love all the “things”. More than my fair share of “things.” And, herein lies the problem. It’s the age-old story of the “jack-of-all-trades”; good at everything, great at nothing. It used to be that the local doctor covered everything from bug bites to brain surgery, the mayor also ran the only grocery store in town. In this new age of specialization, being the best in one’s respective field is worth far more than achieving a level above mediocrity in every area. Unfortunately, this leaves me in the dust.

And while we are still blaming things I have no control over for what is, in reality, my blatant laziness, let’s talk about Celiac disease. I will save the long, arduous saga that explains the angst I feel towards my small intestine for making me fall asleep on bathroom floors and lose in arm wrestling competitions with my grandmother for another time, but here is a quick recap. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, essentially a gluten allergy, in January of 2013. Despite being thusly equipped with the knowledge that I was consuming poison, my doctor told me to continue shovelling down cheeseburgers and apple pies until a biopsy could be scheduled to confirm the diagnosis. (It had to be completely certain before the condition could be listed on my official medical record, and before the government could reimburse me for the extra grocery expenses.) The day that I finally did go off gluten, I became “gluten girl” to my parents. At dinner parties, my parents would say, “Well, Quinton is doing hockey right now, and Avery has Celiac disease.” They would brag, “Quinton scored two goals at his last game, and Avery has started baking with sorghum flour!” I believe my dad went so far as to replace my kindergarten picture in his wallet with a picture of a baguette with a big “x” over it.

I have been thinking about taking singing lessons. (This is, of course, completely unrelated to hearing Hannah sing the national anthem today during homeroom over the loudspeakers…) Or maybe swing dancing? Granted, it would be near impossible to find classes in Denver for people who do not still remember the second World War… Or… biathlon? The sport in the Winter Olympics that combines the (already immensely popular) art of target shooting with cross country skiing? That actually sounds sort of awesome. I AM a pretty good shot; my grandpa calls me Annie Oakley (and often it isn’t because he is too senile to remember my actual name). I also have pretty good endurance.

I’ll keep everyone updated on this development, as clearly it is my destiny to unite the warring sports of riflery and skiing to bring home a gold medal for Canada.

Bye for now,




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July 14

To Be, or Not to Be

“Things can either ‘be’, or ‘not be’. Things cannot always ‘be’. Therefore, things that are at some time or other were not. If they were not, it is evident that things that are not cannot generate another thing, or themselves. Thus, there has to be something that is necessary for everything else to ‘be.'”

I thought this explanation of the Catholic faith, as found in my religious studies notes, to be particularly ambiguous. It is impressive that it should stand out for its ambiguity, considering the already massive haze of religious vagueness in which it is competing. I don’t know about you, but I counted 5 “be”‘s and 7 “thing”‘s…

Or how about this perfectly balanced statement?

“Some things are greater than others. Whatever is great gets its greatness from that which is greatest. There is a source of greatness.”

It’s like I am back in the third grade looking up words for English class, investing a good 5 minutes I could be spending eating glue or giving myself a bowl cut with safety scissors hunched over the “T” section in the dictionary. Once I finally find the word “terrorize”, I look and find this definition: “To create terror.” It’s like Noah Webster is personally punching me in the face. Catholicism, you simply cannot circumvent a kid like that.

Based on these sentiments, it may seem as though I am anti-religion or atheistic, when in fact I am a total Jesus freak. I simply feel that the church is not doing itself a favour by answering people’s legitimate concerns about faith with more open-ended questions, especially in an age of scientific discovery. However, I do not want to prattle on blindly about a concept which my limited life experience grants me practically no insight into. So I’ll leave it at that.

Bye for now,



July 12

“Angery” Hanaden

It is nearly October, and first-semester is in full swing; the website which allows students from my school to view their grades online has officially usurped Facebook as my preferred social network. I have a Religious Studies project and a Science paper both due on tuesday (but the former could be accomplished by glueing devil horns to the tip of a condom- Catholic school is rather opinionated.) School does funny things to my brain. I woke up from a weird dream, and my first thought was, “What insight(s) into human nature does this provide?” Well-played, English AP. Well-played.

For science class, my teacher satisfies his urge to “save the planet” by deferring to us the daunting task of printing off  our 80-page notes package. A moment of silence for the trees that lost their lives today serving their country’s education system. May they rest in sheets. But, all witticisms aside, I am loving my new school! The teachers are invested in their students’ well-being, the facility is clean, and they offer rugby, cross country, track, and musical programs- all while boasting a weight room with a sock sweat smell so impressive that I have seen my brother’s hockey bag go green with envy. Or, at least, I hope that that’s why it’s green…

I have been eating “healthy” all week (-For me, this still means gobbling down a meal portion equivalent to that of 6 Siberian men. I am, as of yet, too fearful to calculate exactly what percentage of the grocery bill contributes to my teenage gluttony, but by my family’s estimation it is somewhere close to 60%. My dad calls me “pigpen.”-) and I have also been exercising every day, except for today. Unless a mall venture to Victoria’s Secret counts as a workout! Which reminds me… Change that image of what I look like in your head from a 34 B to a 34 C! You could say that I am… movin’ on cup! Or, you could pretend that I never wrote that. Yes, let’s go with the latter.

My plans for tomorrow are largely dominated by an 8-hour shift at a breakfast restaurant, where I have been working at for over three years. (My old boss was an ex-army captain, so she likes to “hire ‘em young and mould ‘em how she wants”… more than a little disturbing, in retrospect!) When I moved here from Canada, I took a position with the same restaurant chain. My job mostly involves chatting up old people and young families, so it’s not a bad gig! That being said, a man last week came up to the counter to pay, and proceeded to drool all over the cash before placing it in my hands. We exchanged a mutually horrified look before he bolted from the restaurant, leaving his server (but not me) with an incredibly generous tip.

Another (rather one-sided) conversation I had with a customer last Saturday was-

“It’s Avery, huh? Avery… you don’t look ang…ery! *guffaws* Oh, man, oh… That was funny! But I’m sure you hear that all the time.”

No. Never. Not ever.

Despite my current employer’s lack of hardening military experience, I preferred my old boss. Ever since I began working here, it has felt far more hostile than in the laid-back western plains of Alberta. My new supervisor threatened to cancel my month-old cheques. How can I cash them immediately? I do not have a car, or a chauffeur, and bank hours are all but flexible. Not to mention my odd distrust of (and inability to cope with) technology. For someone with their own blog, I bear a surprising likeness to a hermit born in 1937. What happened to burying all of your money in a coffee can out back? Or, but a jump to the left, simply wiring the money into your employees’ bank accounts?

Yikes, having a good rant really takes it out of you! I should really hit the sack; a heavy summons lies like lead upon me. (Got me again, English AP!)

Bye for now,







July 10

Hot Pink, and Sparkly


I have never been the type to keep a journal; in fact, my brain rejects this “pansy” activity with every fibre of its being. Attempting to write a gushy diary entry whilst not imploding from sheer self-disdain has, regrettably, proven too difficult to maintain over the long-term. As a result, several one-page entries detailing trite homework assignments and new crushes dot the vast landscape of my young life.

Now, it is unfortunate that according to my mother, whose indisputable correctness combined with her (lovingly) iron-fisted grip on the happenings in my life would rival those of a brain surgeon and a totalitarian dictator respectively, keeping a journal is “good for your mental health”. The whole idea of adolescent depression has become such a buzzword concept that, against my better judgement, I find myself committing to these near-daily entries in a journal that is, undoubtedly, sure to affirm and rectify everything that I “feel” during these next three years of high school, if it does not single-handedly eliminate my problems altogether.

My silent act of rebellion can be spotted only in my choice of notebook; a tacky, shiny and (best of all) hot pink little number whose spine is fraying and whose corners are peeling. I am sure that if my mother thought long and hard about it, it would be an emotional victory for me. As it happens, the notebook had been previously intended for a 10 year-old version of myself to record the lyrics to self-composed love ballads. It turns out that the prepubescent, pop star me had the notebook upside-down. Thank goodness! It doesn’t take much to spoil a gaudy, hot pink and sparkly notebook, but having the first few pages occupied with such poetic gems as “for all I care/ I could be up in the air”  definitely would have done it. My inclination to write my name in the top left-hand corner of the page is evidence of my calendorical state- my “Septemberisms” all suggest that I’m in too deep to avoid such non-summery behaviour as sprawling my first name atop the page like the nerdy “alpha male” claiming his territory. Why he would want to claim such a pink and shiny document is another issue altogether…

This semester has been quite the adjustment. I am taking Sciences, History, Spanish, and Physical Education/ Religious Studies. While this may not be everyone’s first year of high school, it is mine; I moved here from Hicktown, Alberta last year because of my dad’s work (that’s Canada, for those who didn’t know), and Albertans start high school in grade 10.  But more on that later.

So far, I have gone  to provincials for cross country, signed up for rugby, regretted signing up for rugby, and got a callback for a lead in the school musical.However, I only made the chorus. We are doing a little-known Broadway musical mystery comedy called “Murder for Two”. I currently weigh around 145 lbs, and am 5’4″. Truthfully, I would like to lose about 25 lbs.

I can also bench 120 lbs, which hardly gives me justification to write about myself and expect other people to read it, but is still sort of impressive (and that’s a plateau; estrogen’s a bitch!) Impressive enough, anyway, to validate starting a new paragraph. I still doodle stars all over my homework assignments, and draw the occasional sun in the corner of the page. Right now, my interests are singing, swing dancing, skiing, running, dirt biking, and learning a new language. Oh, and how could I forget about Judy Garland?

Allow me to first explain that I did not intend for this to happen; the whole thing was deeply underway before anyone could think to stop it, and by then it was far too late. My infatuation with the 1930’s child star began last year when, for drama class, each student was made to write and perform a monologue as a famous person who had passed away. While researching famous people from decades past, I came across an actress by the name of Judy Garland, and like most people, asked “Who is this seemingly irrelevant person?” Well, by the time I got up to perform my monologue a few weeks later, her irrelevance had become my reverence, and I have been fangirling over a dead person ever since.

I do not have many friends at the moment, but still sit with a group of other new students that I met at orientation, a habit that has proven very hard to break. So there is Maraiah, Emmy, Faith, Matt, Tyler, and Andrew. There is a distinctive ghetto mentality about sitting with these fellow newbies, however, that I do not really care to indulge much longer. Our conversations are almost all about memories from the orientation weekend, and we tend to victimize ourselves by not reaching out to new people. I also talk to a few people in my Science class; Peter is very smart, built, handsome, athletic, on a triathlon team, in the musical, plays the guitar and the fiddle, has a black belt in Ju Jitsu, likes Spanish music, and is super nice. As indicated by the previous statements, I may be slightly smitten…

There is also Hannah; Hannah is a singer who seems insecure, likely due to (2012-Facebook-history-confirmed) past weight issues. She has latched onto Peter, and is quite possessive. (Think back to Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls comparing the world of high school to the animal kingdom!) I expect that the two of us will maintain a cordial, unspoken “frenemies” status that will only make life all the more exciting.

That is really all my wrist can handle for the moment, so I’ll have to stop now in the hopes that I do not develop arthritis (hopefully, all this journaling will improve my pencil stamina!)

Bye for now,