Archive for June, 2011


Lights Out

And just as soon as it looks like I’m back in town, I’m leaving again. This time, my destination lies across the Atlantic.

Spain, ladies and gentlemen.

It’ll be an interesting trip, to be sure. Nothing like Cuba or Jamaica or any of those other fabulous trips from years past. Equally great, I hope, but certainly very different.

But before I get there, I’ve got one hell of a trip ahead of me:

I leave Toronto at 9:45 tomorrow night and take a seven and a half hour flight to Madrid. Then I’ve got a seven hour layover in Madrid, during which I have to get from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2. Then I’ve got an hour flight to Alicante, followed by a three and a half hour wait for the family who will be looking after me, as my flight gets in before theirs.

And I’m doing this all by myself.

So, even though I’m leaving tomorrow, I’m not really jumping up and down with excitement. I’m not nervous either, really. I just know that I’ve got 20 odd hours of hell ahead of me before I get to enjoy myself. Once that’s over with, I’ll be very excited indeed.

See you all in two weeks.

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A Look Ahead

It’s been quiet here lately, hasn’t it?

That’s the thing about this place. I like to whine and bitch about things a lot here, and when life is going well, I don’t have as much to bitch about. Consequently, blogs only get posted three or four times a month instead of twice weekly.

I mean, look at the blogs per month stat on the right side of the home page. Look at the numbers for September 2009 to April 2010, the months that I was at Queen’s. Every month in that span had five or above. Compare that with September 2010 to April 2011, where only one month had more than five. Interesting stuff.

To be honest, I’m still sort of riding the high from the most excellent year that I just had. Even though class ended over a month and a half ago, I still sort of feel like I’m on Floor 12.  Maybe that’s because I’ve spoken to my floormates quite regularly since the year ended. Maybe I’m just nuts. Who knows.

The good news is that, for the first time in three years, the beginning of the school year won’t be a time of adjusting to a new environment. In 2009 I found myself in unfamiliar territory in Kingston, and in 2010 I found myself in unfamiliar territory in Toronto. Next year, however, I won’t be going anywhere new. I’ll still be in Toronto, I’ll still be at U of T, and I’ll still be living at Chestnut. If fortune favours me, I’ll actually have the exact same room as I had last year.

The only unfortunate thing is that there are a number of people who won’t be back at Chestnut next year. Some have switched schools, some have fucked off across the Atlantic, some have just decided to rent houses instead of living in residence.

And that’s really unfortunate. The thing that made Floor 12 so awesome was the variety of people who inhabited it. Every person – even the nerd that we mocked mercilessly – was an integral piece of this beautiful puzzle, and next year, with some of those pieces missing, it’ll be like an incomplete puzzle. Nice, but just not the same.

Still, it’s a heck of a lot better than nothing.

But you know what? We’re not even halfway through June. What the hell am I doing, looking ahead to school? Let summer ’11 roll on!

RANT #18: Blogs And Bloggers

It’s probably happened to you before where a friend tosses you a URL and says “Read my blog!”

Your first thought might be along the lines of “Oh wow, Juliet has a blog? I had no idea!” So you go to check it out.

When you get there… It’s awful.You remember that scene from Daddy Day Care where Eddie Murphy ventures into his washroom after that kid has used it and finds piss everywhere? It’s like that. Run-on sentences, awful phrasing, emoticons everywhere, butchered grammar structures… The works.

And then the person finds you later on and asks you “Did you read my blog?”, and you’re forced to choke out between gritted teeth “Yeah, it was really interesting!”

For my part, I hate blogs.

Actually, let me qualify that: I hate most blogs other than this one.

There’s a simple reason for this: Most blogs suck. By and large, blogs are poorly written pieces of crap on the outermost edges of the Internet that are self-indulgent, overly dramatic, poorly written, painful to read, and just plain boring. I would rather spend an afternoon watching paint dry than going through most blogs.

I feel slightly guilty saying that, but it’s just how I feel. And if you think that’s hypocritical, stop reading now, because it gets worse.

I think that the main reason that I hate blogs is not because of the blogs themselves, but because of the people who write them. They’re fine people and all (for the most part), but they all seem to share one tiny flaw.

See, the problem with bloggers is that they think that they’re writers. They don’t recognize that there’s a distinct difference between writing and being a writer.

Anyone can write, just as anyone can paint or dance. But even though I have painted and danced before, I don’t call myself a painter or a dancer. If you’ve seen my skills on the canvas or on the dance floor, you know why. I can dance and paint, but I can’t do either well.

In the same way, most people who write blogs can write, but they can’t write well. And the problem is that they think they can write well, when really they’re spewing out unreadable garbage.

It should be noted that good spelling and grammar does not equal good writing. As an example, I’ll show you an entry from a blog that I was recently asked to read. I hesitate in posting this, due to the meanness factor, but I will anyhow to illustrate my point. Without further ado, here’s an entry entitled “I Love Sneezes.”:

“I sneezed out a fountain of memories. They were pleasant and unpleasant, in liquid and solid form. Some memories were from recent history or a long time ago. Yet they were all successful and very comforting. I glared at the memories which were gross and felt embaressed. And smiles when I saw ones that lasted long and endured obstacles. It was a good sneeze, I feel satisfied and comforted. Even a bit relieved.”

How are you supposed to react when someone asks you to read such a thing? The spelling and grammar is more or less spot on, but it’s garbage. Absolute garbage. This is what I mean when I say that although everyone can write, not everyone can write well.

You might be thinking “Mike, you asshole! What gives you the right to determine what is good writing and what isn’t?”

Well, I can write, and I can write well. And sure, that may sound arrogant, but it’s true. Look, in the nearly six years that I’ve been running this place, I’ve learned a thing or two. I know how to put words together so that they sound good. Even though the subject matter that I deal with isn’t always interesting, I can usually make it sound interesting anyhow.

In short, my blog doesn’t suck, which gives me the authority to call out people whose blogs suck balls.

You don’t like it? Start up a blog and complain.