05 – Instant Crush

Photographer: Jean-Baptiste Mondino 

Someone asked me once if I get tired of walking around listening to music all day.The truth is, yeah. Sometimes I do.

Realistically? I have small ear holes, and after awhile the ear buds make my ears ache.

But aside from that, no I honestly do not. To me it offers a backdrop that mimics a double-hinged door capable of swinging both ways. On one hand it can serve my mood, whether it be a moment of self-pity or an aimless meander through the city. A fact especially true given that I am free and perfectly capable of picking my own songs. After all, I made the playlist – I can push the door whichever way I want. But then there’s that one moment where you forget that the door swings back, and you’re hit unexpectedly.

This probably just sounds like a load shit, but give it a moment to contextualize. Like any other normal easily impressionable person, shit happens and your emotional cues respond accordingly. In fact, what I’ve come to realize is that somethings are generalizable to the entire population, and it is because of this that people can write love ballads, create rom-coms (romantic comedies for all you abbreviating noobs), or talk about heartbreak in the same “demolishing-the-world-of-kleenex-with-a-tub-of-ben-and-jerrys” way. Everyone rides the love coaster, and everyone’s advice is nearly identical. So when dealing with depressing shit, you plug in to depressing music (cause that’s just what you do, just flip to any montage of any movie where the protagonist is dealing with some sort of epic lost love) – which to me has been ridden with the likes of death cab, the postal service and the XX.

So, you’ve picked your poison. You want to wallow? Go ahead. Push the door in that direction, I mean you’ve perfectly catered your playlist for that exact reason. Just be aware, that when it swings back you’ll get hit with the likes of track 05 – instant crush. And although this song is about some sort of demented love triangle, the name itself and the uppity beat of the song gives you a fleeting reminder of what it was like to have that moment of connection brought on by the slightest inadvertent brush of arm hairs, the childish but not so childish peripheral side stare; or that sudden increase in heart rate when  it feels like you only have five seconds to perfectly (and seemingly effortlessly) craft something both parts intriguing and indifferent to say. This is where you become an overplayed cliche, and know that everything will be okay while hoping it’ll come again: an instant crush.

Do my ears hurt? Yes. But getting hit by that door, damn can it be refreshing.

On a city gallivanting note – my thing this summer has been free outdoor films. Entertainment for those living under the poverty line. I think my love for outdoor films came to fruition during last years open roof festival which was a combination of a local band and a documentary (which is still on by the way). I must also be subconsciously emotionally sadistic in nature, because I have made it my thing to catch the romance themed TIFF in the park series at David Pecaut Square every Wednesday. The selection was just too perfect I couldn’t resist, with the likes of young Cher and Nicholas Cage in “Moonstruck”, the  classic Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks duo in “Sleepless in Seattle” and who could turn down Robert Redford in “The Way We Were”.

FYI: There are free movies playing almost everyday of the week (i.e. Sundays at Christie Pits, every second Friday at the Junction, Tuesdays at Yonge and Dundas). This Wednesday there will be a screening of “Triplets of Belleville” at Harbourfront, which I highly recommend and is a total must see.  Plus it’s pretty sitting outside, and the ambience is always nice.

Donnie Yen on screen @ Reel Asian Film Festival (there is still a free exhibit at the TIFF bell lightbox)

Donnie Yen on screen @ Reel Asian Film Festival (there is still a free exhibit at the TIFF bell lightbox)

Watching a movie with shoes on is so overrated.

Watching a movie with shoes on is so overrated.

TIFF in the park

TIFF in the park + CN tower



“if your not busy being born, your busy dying” – bob 



Dear world, you know what I’d really like right now? I would really like to sleep.

I have been trying to for the last two hours, and no matter how hard I will my eyes close… I just can’t.

My head hurts, feels like there’s too many things going on right now. Which is crazy.

Cause all I wanna do is dance.

Wait on me: Clara C

Been trying not to be conned
By your sleight of hand
Been trying not to be tricked
By your sleight of hand

But you smile, then you prowl
Then you go for the kill
And you open my eyes
Just to keep me nearsighted
Your waves they are holding
My head by its mouth
Peace flows through my veins
‘Cause I know
I’ll come up for a breath

So wait on me
Wait on me
Wait I’m being tossed to and fro
But I’ll be a polished stone

I, I’ve been broken in
But I sure ain’t been broken down
I, I’ve been broken in
But I sure ain’t been broken down



Autumn trees, a leather jacket and The Beatles.

Charm Magazine – March 1959; vintage fashion photograph

I saw a baby being born today, it was pretty cool. She was premature, and so it was actually not a typical vagina delivery but a C-section. She was tiny, and looked like an alien, but she made it. Kind of offsets the whole death thing.

Being the end of my first week in the neonatal intensive care unit at Sunnybrook, I came out of the hospital to find the weather was perfect. There was a refreshing breeze, a high and bright sun, and it smelled amazing – like autumn. I actually love this part of Toronto; it’s still big enough to feel like a city, but has enough trees to pretty up your surroundings with fall colours and fresh air. The best part of my morning commutes is travelling across a bridge that spans over some sort of forest with a river thingy. I waited for a whole thirty three seconds at the bus stop before the cheap asian in me decided I was going to enjoy the weather and walk home instead. After all, I’ve been on a health kick lately and have picked up doing the “Insanity” work outs and eating healthy (and by doing the insanity workouts I really mean I’ve done two videos which ended either with vomit or unsuccessful searches for feasible surgically implanted abs). Anyways, the important thing here is I opted to supplement my new lifestyle with some fresh air. Plus, my iPod was fully charged, and I was feeling pretty damn cool in my leather jacket.

It was probably one of my most enjoyable solo walks ever. Like one of those commercials where the protagonist gallivants around with a bounce in his (or her) step, a goofy smile and shoots little finger guns at everyone or air salutes little old men. But this time my life soundtrack alternated between various upbeat Beatle’s tracks like “A hard day’s night”, “I want to hold your hand” and “I will”.

Although I had to cross a road that clearly wasn’t made to encourage crossing, only to get to the entrance of what looked like a highway (I wasn’t even sure I was allowed to walk here), it was worth it. One, because I got to take my time crossing my little bridge of trees, two, they were colourful, and three, I felt like I was in the hunger games.

So, 90 minutes, one broken flat, three pounds, deathly dehydration, a leg cramp and a severe foot blister later – I made it home. And I saved a bus token.

Not too shabby, not too shabby at all.

Dear trees, thank you for keeping my air clean, my skies blue and my clouds wispy.

River thingy… my hunger games campsite.

Exactly how bright is brilliance?

Found this somewhere on the internet, but thought it had a pretty darkness to it.

Day 2 of nostalgic childhood.Except we’re not children anymore, so we’re not playing house. Instead the kitchen table is littered with our all too exuberant MacBooks as we “study”, or for me sift through fashion editorial photographs and various blogs that have snagged my interest these last few months. My little baby cousin is not a baby anymore, instead she’s a grown up. All pretty, and smart, and independent and full of dreams. Shit, I am old.

I love music. When I do absolutely anything that is a “table for one” type activity, I will always plug in. It’s like providing a soundtrack for your life. Perhaps the fault of my compiled playlist, but lately it feels like I have been battling some inner turmoil. It’s one of those things that suck, but you eventually reach that moment of brilliance, that makes things somewhat clearer (until your mind shifts to a tangent and you’re all convoluted again). But if you’re lucky enough, it kind of puts you on the right path, or at least helps you “keep calm, and carry on”.

For me, this is the realization that people come and go. All the new friends I have made this past summer, is testament to how easy it is to bring people into your life if you are open to it. Maintaining relationships is a hell of a lot harder and sometimes, it’s disappointing when the people you think you know… you don’t know at all. Or maybe it’s me that’s different, becoming an outsider when fatigue has made me too apathetic to maintain a social facade.

People disappoint you, but life is disappointing; you lose friends, then you make new ones. Get over it. I’m still not quite sure how bright brilliance is, but I’m starting to feel brighter already.

*(current life soundtrack – all the albums by Stars)

The art of procrastination

I used to wish that I held some sort of superior talent, anything really. Although I was given piano lessons as a child, I was not and currently am not particularly good at it, I can’t sing, dance, draw or sew. I always find that I am envious of people who have that niche in which they can shine. However, I have recently realized, that I do indeed actually have a talent.

I am a master procrastinator.

I have long lists of things to do, and instead of doing them… I will instead go buy a fancy notebook in which I can accumulate all the important life tasks I need to have done (seriously, who can deny the allure of really cool looking stationary). I also have a list of books I need to read, that probably started somewhere in 2007, for which I’m averaging at a rate of maybe two books every five years.

The upside to being a master procrastinator, though, is that I never know when I will uncover something meaningful or interesting. For example, instead of doing some review work so that I don’t need to cram it right before my next 12 hour shift, I decided to upload pictures off my old phone and computer. I mean, really, how long can uploading over 2500 pictures and videos take? But I found a picture, and thus the memory associated with it.

One night, while meandering the streets of toronto, I came across a gifted piano player. What caught me most, was not just the music (although that is what caught me first), but was the dissonance of the entire scenario. At the time he was playing classical music, which eventually was transitioned with extreme fluidity to jazz, on an electric keyboard (which I had snobbily always thought wasn’t capable of good music) connected to a worn speaker with some other contraption balanced with great innovation on a shopping basket. His clothes were not torn, but obviously worn and his glasses taped together. As he played, he was both concentrated yet he smiled with pure enjoyment. And to be honest, he played so beautifully, I couldn’t help but stop to tell him. I only had a twenty, no change – so I decided to compliment him instead.

I felt bad for not giving him that twenty, I mean it would have been worth it. He played well enough that I had felt compelled to let him know what a great job he was doing. I had considered it, but true to all starved students, I thought about all the other things that I could buy: coffee, lunch, or maybe if I was lucky a shirt on sale. I thought about the fact that maybe he would use the money towards something like alcohol or drugs, which would not have been something that I’d like to support. Anyways, I realized later, that despite whatever he would use it for; maybe receiving more than spare change for his efforts could make his day.

A few weeks later, I crossed paths with him again. This time he had drawn a bit more of a crowd and once again I found I was changeless with just one twenty. Although initially shy because of the audience, I finally took the chance to speak to him. I discovered he studied music at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and teaches music on the side; but to make ends meet he sometimes plays music on the corner of Bloor and Walmer. I noticed a glass bottle sticking out of his bag, and he admitted that he would play better without a drinking problem. I told him I highly doubted it, and remembering the last time, handed over my twenty.

You never know the people you’ll meet. Sometimes, it just means taking a bit of time to notice.

*Unfortunately photography is also not one of my talents, and my phone sucks.. sorry. But the next time you go grocery shopping, try the Dominion at Bloor and Walmer – and if you’re lucky you’ll be graced with some musical bliss.

My life in boxes

I am going to Nepal.

Four days away, and it still feels completely surreal. As the days fly by and my departure creeps closer, I find that I have mixed emotions – excitement interspersed with urges to vomit.

The latter case is best justified with the ever so popular quote – “so much to do, so little time”. A combination of poor foresight, procrastination and a series of unfortunate events has left my tasks of packing for my five week trip, moving out of my apartment, and tying up loose ends spread over the course of the weekend and the next four days. And here starts my life living out of boxes.

Those who know me know I never go anywhere without my Vogues

Did I mention that I’m still in school up until I fly out? If you take that into account, then I actually have something along the lines of 3 days… and that’s if I don’t sleep, and more importantly, if my subsequent reliance on energy drinks don’t kill me first.

And when I say loose ends, I mean imagine a shoe lace that is so frayed that getting it through a shoe hole is impossible. A total shit show. Four days before and I still need to get my vaccines (which technically should have already been done but there is some debate as to whether or not mefloquine is better than malarone for malaria). Long story short, I initially got mefloquine only to find out that potential side effects is hallucinations.

Um, no thanks.

I still need to exchange money, supposedly Canadian currency isn’t as widely accepted in Nepal. Grab my passport/indian visa. Buy a rain jacket. Hand out items to my silent auction fundraiser. Update my iPod. Compile some sort of school study package. Buy some sort of Nepal/India travel book. There’s that urge to vomit again.

Now this begs the question: why did I leave everything so last minute? Simple, I am a world class procrastinator. The problem is there are just so many things I’d rather be doing. Instead of packing last week, which probably would have made this weekend so much more efficient, I opted for the open roof festival instead.

Open roof festival (http://openrooffestival.com/about/):
A non profit outdoors film and music festival that features local artists and varying independent films and documentaries.

Located at the Amsterdam Brewery (21 Bathurst Street) every Thursday until August 23rd, the festival is a mix of extremely salty popcorn, locally catered food, great movies and beer. Local bands play at 8pm and movies starts at 9, but of course this is all tentative.

The movie this week was China Heavyweight, a movie I’d definitely recommend. With the same director as the chinese documentary Up the Yangtze, the movie focuses on the role and emphasis boxing can have on rural areas of China.

Although last Thursday’s forecast made for a beautiful, not too humid night; what really made the experience in my opinion was the location. Nestled between garbage canisters, tall condo’s and the highway, the eclectic combination of the surroundings and sound of speeding cars made for the perfect backdrop. There’s just something special about enjoying a movie in the middle of a big city.

Plus, the sunset was pretty awesome.

This is what I would consider one of Toronto’s many secret gardens. So if you’re free this Thursday, support your local film and music makers. If independent films aren’t up your alley, just grab a beer with friends, enjoy the scenery and kick it.