Never Having the Right Ingredients

This sounds like I’m about to construct a super-weak metaphor, but I mean that headline in a literal sense.

Ever since I left university, I’ve struggled with food. Not in the unhealthy eating way–I do have some bad habits for sure–but in terms of what is readily available to me.

It doesn't take much to make me happy #shakeshack

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At uni, I was on a meal plan and the options at the different dining establishments around campus offered loads of healthy options with occasional indulgences. I was at my healthiest in college due to my constant access to healthier food and a pool 100 yards from my dorm.

My mother keeps a full pantry. She always has just what she needs, and on the rare occasion she was caught off guard or needed something a uncommon for a special event we were fortunate to live a five-minute drive from a supermarket. For me, the observer, she seems to somehow track it all in her head. She has shopping lists for sure–one for each store in fact–but she always seems to know what to do, what she needs, what to get at the store. I guess it is just years of experience.

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Harry Potter: A Love Letter and a Takedown

One of the things I most appreciate about the Harry Potter series (and by extension, JK Rowling’s writing style)  is the equal attention paid to the sacred and the profane, the big questions and the mundane. Harry Potter was the first book I read that had me questioning ideas like mortality, morality, and tolerance, but boy she did not skimp on the details when describing a dinner at the Great Hall, or how squishy and wonderful the armchairs in the Gryffindor common room must be. She didn’t miss opportunities for small character moments, whether it was Neville being attacked by a plant in the background, or enormous arcs like Neville’s defeat of a Horcrux.

It’s amazing how a story so, so universal has affected so many so personally (which of course is the massive achievement of the series). It’s your classic Hero’s Journey straight out of Campbell’s playbook, but it’s so much more, it’s so full and alive and thriving.

Maybe thriving a little too much, says the bitter 20-something-year-old.

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Mice, Pee, and Sleep Deprivation

That title sounds a lot more interesting than this post will be, but here we go.

I’ve been struggling for some reason, struggling to fall asleep. I guess I probably have to blame the holiday we had in the US at the start of the month…though even when I think about that, I was in another country and was still managing to go to sleep at a decent time. And it was only to Montreal (Canada) which is the same time zone as me. So that’s a pretty debunked theory. To be honest, there was probably some night where I was out all day, either from watching a movie or recording a podcast and didn’t get home until midnight and then still needed to unwind and decompress and so I stayed up late and I haven’t been able to kick the habit and now it’s 1:40am.

I tried to just go to sleep, but even before I welcomed the blue light of death from my laptop I was wide awake. The boyfriend and I enjoyed a day where we left work at a normal time and…then I dragged us to the library. He’s got homework from an online class and I have a script for Animation Complex that I’ve been working on for literally like two months that I’ve finally had a breakthrough of sorts on. So we powered through. Library closes at 9, headed home and cooked one of our Blue Apron meals1 2 and by then it was 10. Still a solid 1.5 hours to work (factoring .5 for hygiene and whatnot, y’all)  before 12, when I usually go to sleep. I’m pretty good about switching off electronics a half hour before bed, trying to get it up to an hour, but again, it sort of sucks when you only just get home past 11 and there’s still stuff you want to do as well as boring domestic stuff you need to do.

I’ve been way better at managing the time I have…when I have it…which isn’t often…which is fine until it’s not fine. It’s fine until you grow resentful. Which is why I cling to my weekends so desperately, and tend to consider weeknights a loss. I really do need to rework that. Part of it are little things that are unavoidable like my slightly-longer-than-wanted commute, which is a compromise to live in a city that I both adore and can afford.

What does this have to do with mice and pee?

As I was leaving the library today, I made my way back to the parking garage a block away. When I rounded the corner to enter the concrete labyrinth, I was startled by a small mouse running past my feet–practically on top of them–from a patch of grass to a small hole where two slabs of sidewalk overlapped to create a perfect mouse hole tucked away. Mice don’t freak me out. I used to have a pet mouse actually. But any sort of wildlife excites me.3 I’d much rather explore a cove filled with snails, crabs, oysters, and hermit crabs than go hiking, or walk around a swamp looking for turtles and egrets. The highlight of being dragged hiking to Bear Mountain is the small zoo with animals that are either in rehab or permanently unable to return to the wild, like the adorable 3-legged fox.4

I stopped dead in my tracks and followed the mouse until it disappeared. I was SO excited, like, sincerely thrilled to see a small sampling of wildlife in a populous downtown, especially in a dang parking garage. I was so impressed with the little one, but my Eliza Thornberry bubble was immediately popped by my less than enthused boyfriend. This is not a dig at him though. I get it–it was late, his brain was fried from the day job followed by more work, and we hadn’t eaten in eight hours. BUT A MOUSE!!!

It didn’t help that the stairwell inexplicably5 smelled like pee. Human pee. Very strongly. BUT A MOUSE!?!

Hey, if our human noses are absolute shit, imagine how that poor mouse felt. I think that’s what I appreciated about that moment. Well two things.

1. The fact that two people can get two VERY different takes on a moment:

1a. I optimistically saw the mouse’s determination to survive in full force as it flourished in a seeminly unlivable environment. To be honest, I was immediately reminded of my favorite episode of The Magic Schoolbus, a…season four episode, I believe6 where the students are all transformed into animals and they learn about how different animals have adapted to survive in urban environments. To be fair, it was also my favorite because three of the kids turn into foxes and like, foxes are my jam.

Boom found a clip:

1b. The bf on the other hand, was totally skeeved out that this nasty wasteland of a parking garage he had to pay to store his car in had mice AND smelled like pee.

2. Two is the same as point 1a, but it’s my take on the situation and therefore the correct one and thusly I wanted to focus on it. Animals survive with so, so little, especially when you factor in how much humans have taken away from them.

It makes me want to survive better on what little time that I have. If it takes a few minutes in a stinky stairwell looking at a mouse that’s no doubt young, scrappy and hungry7 to remind me of that than GOOD. I’m grateful.

Please enjoy this video clip of an elementary school teacher feeding her students literal garbage:

It’s now 2:15am. Good night.8


Footnotes
1 Delicious shrimp po’ boys
2 I should really do a post about my experience with them…
3 Except squirrels, seagulls, and Canadian geese. Fuck those guys.
4 Car accident
5 Not that I want an explanation, christ.
6 I know it’s season 4 because I re-watched that whole show on Netflix. Fight me.
7 #YayHamlet
8 Told ya this was a shit post. But at least it wasn’t a shitpost. </nerd>

June 2017

If the lateness of this post is any indication, my blogging has been way, way off. The fact that my archives now skip an entire month is really disappointing. The fact that this year I managed to have multiple posts per month and I couldn’t even get a basic recap post out in time is really disappointing. My lack of inconsistency is frustrating to me–I know that I’m doing this for myself, and that this is something I’m doing because I want to, but I do think some more pressure would be good for me. I really need to set up self-imposed deadlines.

Books Read: 1 Ghachar Ghochar was a confusing and short read. Not really sure how I felt about it–it’s definitely a book I’d want to discuss with others who’ve read it.

Blog Posts Written: 0

Videos/Projects: 0

At the Movies: The highlight of my movie-going was seeing Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, which is a wonderful reminder of why both mid-budget movies  and directors actually having control of their films (as opposed to the studios) are dying breeds that need saving. I also saw Cars 3, which was less than stellar.

Lowlights: Between OT at work (which, isn’t in itself a bad thing), moving house, and general obligations, I just didn’t have time. And that sucks. And that’s still my fault. That means I’m not utilizing the pockets of time I do have.

Highlights: Seeing Kingdom Hearts in concert. Without a doubt, that was an absolutely magical evening, and an experience that I enjoyed even more than I did seeing Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings in concert. The format of this concert was select songs played over gorgeous cinematic footage from ALL of the games–even the more obscure mobile ones. Since many of the songs are meant to play on loop as you travel around, I really appreciated how they created segments based on character themes or final boss battles and beautifully went from one piece to the next. They also played the trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3, which had only just been played at E3.

A major part of this that I haven’t mentioned yet was that the composer of Kingdom Hearts (as well as many Final Fantasy’s) was there. She came out at the beginning to introduce the show, and came out towards the end and actually played the piano for the encore song, which was the credit song for the first game. It was absolutely magical, and I cried when I heard Dearly Beloved, among everything others.

Another small highlight was seeing the Ferdinand trailer in theaters (before Cars 3)!

On that note, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the first trailer for Ninjago, which is from Warner Bros. and very much in the same vein as The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie.