Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Picture Perfect?

It's hard for me to rifle through the articles about the reflubican convention. I'm at fatigue level at hearing their bullshit. But thank buddha for reporters who can tolerate it and allow me to quote their articles in my blog. So here we go. This from Huffington Post writer Ryan Grim. The sad part is that, Ryan's speech was written deliberate, IMHO, and their PR folks are trusting that their listeners, their "buyers", are gullible enough to heed their propaganda. It's how Dubya worked. So here's the article: Paul Ryan Address: Convention Speech Built On Demonstrably Misleading Assertions
The Wisconsin congressman and GOP vice presidential candidate repeatedly chided President Barack Obama for blaming the jobs and housing crises on his predecessor, saying that his habit of "forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old. The man assumed office almost four years ago -– isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?"
...
Ryan then noted that Obama, while campaigning for president, promised that a GM plant in Wisconsin would not shut down. "That plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight," Ryan said.
THE TRUTH:
Except Obama didn't promise that. And the plant closed in December 2008 -- while George W. Bush was president.
It was just one of several striking and demonstrably misleading elements of Ryan's much-anticipated acceptance speech. And it comes just days after Romney pollster Neil Newhouse warned, defending the campaign's demonstrably false ads claiming Obama removed work requirements from welfare, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."
Did you have to reread that last line? Or did you miss it? Or did you skim it that you didn't really read it? It says "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." That statement was made by Neil Newhouse, a Romney pollster, when asked about the FACT that the Romney campaign is falsely accusing Obama of doing things, or WILL be doing things, that he has never done, or plans to never do. So Romney/Ryan - a campaign built on lies and taking freedom away from women. And yet, the gullible will succumb. And women will vote for the pretty boy Ryan (no, he's not pretty, he's the ugliest MFer I've see because, BTW, he recently announced that he is SO ANTI-ABORTION...yes, yes, as we know, even in the case of rape, because RAPE IS JUST ANOTHER METHOD OF CONCEPTION. HOLY MOTHER OF CHRIST. What is fucking wrong with these people?) Back to the article...
He also made a cornerstone of his argument the claim that Obama "funneled" $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare. But he didn't mention that his own budget plan relies on those very same savings.
Ryan also put responsibility for Standard & Poor's downgrade of U.S. government debt at Obama's doorstep. But he didn't mention that S&P itself, in explaining its downgrade, referred to the debt ceiling standoff. That process of raising the debt ceiling was only politicized in the last Congress, driven by House Republicans, led in the charge by Paul Ryan.
This is just one article. There are numerous articles on PolitiFact, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and so on, pointing out the misstatements (on purpose!!) to get the American people to buy into this bullshit. I hope it doesn't work.

But the fact checking aside, those people (who will vote for thing1 and thing2) have made their decision. And it has everything to do with getting Obama out of office and nothing to do with saving women's rights, taking care of our children, our people, and making this country better for all of us, no matter what race or religion we are.

If you're poor, you deserved it because you didn't work hard enough.

If you're a woman, keep your legs closed unless you're married to one of these assholes and then pop out as many babies as he wants. Forget your independence and live under his shadow.

If you're not a christian, and specifically, a christian that believes what we believe: that abortion is a sin, that sex before marriage is a sin, that drinking is a sin, that homosexuality is a sin, then you're not welcomed to anything we have to offer and we'll make sure you know it.

If you're an immigrant, go back to where you came from. See above. We don't welcome you and we'll make sure you know it too.

If you're old, don't worry about health care and prescriptions to help you feel better. You're gonna die soon anyway.

If you're an embryo, we'll do everything we can to save you. Even kill your mother. But if you grow up to be a non-christian, or poor, a faggot, then you're on your own. We don't want your kind around us. 

We, the Republicans of the United States of America, want a perfect society.

Sound familiar?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Run the World (Girls)!

I saw this article on my friend Julie's timeline and it just pissed me off.

Not so much that, yet again, I learn more shit about how fucked up religion is making our nation, our politics, but how someone in the midst of reporting these pundits is seeing/learning more than the average jane (moi and toi) and *she* is fatigued. As I say below, I'm not there yet. I'm just PISSED OFF. SICK. And just OUTRAGED that there are still WOMEN who are out there LIKING Paul Ryan (on Facebook). WHAT THE FUCK is wrong with these people?

I had to move a slew of my FB friends to my restricted group. Family and people I play games with were not included. Sorry. But feel free to do that to me. I won't be offended. I mainly did it because I know what I post and I know it's offensive to them/you (if you are even reading this). What you do when you LIKE Mitt Romney is not so offensive. It's disappointing. But when you LIKE Paul Ryan? That's offensive. Because he's a fuck up and supports everything I abhor about religious fanatics who can't understand that there are other religious and non-religious people that exist in this world that don't believe in their god and making their rules according to their beliefs is 100% WRONG.

Anyway, this is the second of my posts I commented on, on FB that I'm reposting on my blog.

The article I pulled quotes from is titled Rape Fatigue and You: When There's No Anger Left by Erin Gloria Ryan. I suggest you read the articles that she links in the "here", "here", "here". They are quite shocking.

---
I'm not there yet but my bill.is.god!, women out there - aren't you just sick of these men making decisions for you? I am just DUMBFOUNDED that any woman can support the GOP and these individuals. I never thought of myself as a feminazi but  maybe it's time to proudly wear that badge.

Now, to pull out some quotes:

"Along with scores of other women, I watched, agape, when Congressman Darrell Issa hosted a panel on birth control featuring all religious men whining about how allowing women to purchase birth control with their health care plans violated the men's religious freedom."

"And when Virginia lawmakers pushing for mandatory transvaginal ultrasound laws were quoted saying, basically, that pregnant women had already been penetrated vaginally once, so it makes perfect sense for the state to require they be penetrated again, I winced so hard I think I strained something."

"Remember the time when Terry England of Georgia justified his support of a bill that would force women pregnant with nonviable fetuses to carry them to term with the fact that he was a farmer and sometimes livestock delivered stillborn baby farm animals and it was very, very sad?"

Is that not the most horrible things you could read about women coming from men of official ranks? How the hell do these assholes get elected?

And the worst part is this:
"Rep. Todd Akin still leads Claire McCaskill in the polls by a point and refuses to drop out of the race. Voters — millions and millions of them — will still cast their ballots for people like Akin and Iowa Rep. Steve King this election, even though they've made it their business to deregulate the hell out of banks and regulate the shit out of women."

Because I didn't include the bit about Steve King, here's what you need to know about this ignorant MFer:
"...Iowa Rep. Steve King backed Akin up, telling another local news outlet that he'd never heard of a child getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest."

Oh, and he sponsored a bill to make English the official US language (as in, removing language interpreters, etc.) because ""The argument that diversity is our strength has really never been backed up by logic," King told The Huffington Post." Sigh.

I love this writer's analogy:
"This story and the garbage avalanche that has followed feels like stepping outside of my apartment one morning and realizing that I had traveled through time to 1955. Or 1200. I feel like a teacher who just gave a long division test only to discover that most of her students don't know how to subtract."

The last line especially because that's how I see it too. Seemingly intelligent people who became seemingly STUPID at biblical proportions. There is NO EXCUSE for that kind of behavior. 

"As President Obama said earlier this week, "Rape is rape." Seems like a pretty simple concept that a human being possessing a basic level of empathy should understand. But so many people don't."

And the best paragraph of all:
"Akin, King, and the rest of the GOP that supported a WIRE HANGERS ALWAYS! constitutional amendment aren't simply destructive assholes — they're actively harmful, ill-intentioned. Evil. And before you condemn me for being overdramatic and premenstrual for choosing the word "evil" to describe guys who wear suits and America flag pins, consider what that word means — profoundly immoral and malevolent. People who truly believe that rape cannot lead to pregnancy because of *~uTeRuS mAgIc~* or that women who become pregnant under any circumstances must stay pregnant are using information that they know to be wrong in order to promote laws that cause bodily harm, physical punishment, and distress to women. Doesn't get much eviler than that without getting weapons and uniforms involved."

You got that? In the name of your f'ing god, you all are the very opposite and doing the opposite, with your head full of ego that you are doing so great for mankind (not womankind). You are the worst of the worst. You are evil and it's a shame that you have so many biblethumpers out there who are following your evil ways. 

There is no God, whether you believe in one or not, that abides what you folks are doing to this world.

Unicorns and the GOP

This was originally posted on Facebook but I have a few non-Facebook readers and I surely didn't want to deny them my fury. :) This is one of two posts I did against the idiot GOPers. I'm sure there will be more because they just can't help themselves with their stupidity.

It all started with this article from Bill Maher:  My New Rule for Todd Akin and the Republican Party.


---


There is a god and his name is bill. That's why my gmail account is bill.is.god. :) Here are some great quotes I am pulling out of this article:

"Here's the only thing you need to know about Todd Akin and human anatomy: he's an asshole. What I want to talk about is how it's not a coincidence that the party of fundamentalism is also the party of fantasy. When I say religion is a mental illness, this is what I mean: it corrodes your mental faculties to the point where you can believe in tiny ninja warriors who hide in vaginas and lie in wait for bad people's sperm."

Can I hear an AMEN?

"Republicans are united in their fervent desire to reduce the deficit, but they want to do it in some magical fashion that doesn't involve raising taxes or cutting any spending.

...

Or as it's known on Capitol Hill, supply-side economics. Remember that magic beans theory? That you actually bring in more revenue by bringing in less? Ronald Reagan believed it. But at least back in the '80's it was new. The thing is, we tried it, and it doesn't work. Yet, Paul Ryan, who every shit-for-brains pundit in America keeps telling us is a "serious" guy, still believes in the supply-side theory. All the Republicans do. They all believe in something that both science and history have shown to be pure fantasy. The symbol for their party shouldn't be an elephant -- it should be a unicorn."

A UNICORN. Yes. I love it.

"Republicans are for all the popular things, like covering people with pre-existing conditions, but they're not for the part where you pay for it, like the mandate. Just like they were for our recent wars, but not for paying for them. For the prescription drug bill, but not for paying for it."

"How do they get away with it? They know that, because we're already such a religious country, our minds are primed for magical, fantasy thinking. The gullibility comes factory-installed."

"If rape babies throw a monkey wrench into the whole right-to-life pitch, just make believe rape babies don't exist. If you want to cut down on teen pregnancy, just tell curious kids with raging hormones to practice abstinence. Until they get married. Because everyone knows, that's when the fucking never stops. Health care? Not a problem if you just keep repeating, "We have the greatest health care in the world." Even though the U.N. ranks it 37th."

Last but not least:

"Republicans also believe if they kick all the Mexicans out of the country, the strawberries will pick themselves, and that if they cut the safety net all the poor blacks are "resting" in, they will fall gently to the ground, stand up, dust themselves off, and get good-paying jobs as Olympic gymnasts."

Ignorance, stupidity and fanaticism is not bliss.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

I had to read more by this author after reading The Last Letter for Your Lover, a beautifully written novel about love, love, love.

But Moyes writes different types of love stories and I knew that, after reading Last Letter and I expected the same going into this one.

Let me tell you...this book was not an easy find. I couldn't find it through the library so I requested it through interlibrary loan, to no avail. I decided to order it via Amazon and found one, used, in the UK. It didn't take long and I got it and read it as one of my books while in Canada. I actually finished it on the car ride home but only now am I able to bring myself to finally do some writing.

***Spoiler Alerts***
The books begins with the past, where rich, successful Will Traynor leaves his apartment and beautiful girlfriend to get to work. It's raining so he abandons the motorcycle to take a car to work. He's busy on the phone when he looks up to see a motorcycle headed straight for him before he has a chance to get into the car.

Fast forward to the present and we meet Lou Clark, a young lady in her late 20s who loses her job as a waitress at the local restaurant in her small English touristy town. She has no other skill set and works briefly at a chicken processing plant and hates it. Options are minimal, at best, without a whole lot of extended education but an opportunity to be a carer for a non-elderly person comes in. She takes it because it's short term - six months - and it's well-paid.

It turns out she is a carer for Will Traynor, who, for the past five years, has been a quadriplegic from that tragic accident. He is extremely angry and depressed and gives Lou a hard time. Will's mother hires Lou to be a companion, someone to "cheer" Will up. Will already has a caregiver for his medical needs; Lou is there to take him out, hang out, whatever it takes to at least have Will find something, anything, to find happiness in life again.

Lou tries to stay out of Will's way because it's obvious he doesn't want company. So she cleans. And cleans. And cleans. Eventually, as you can predict, she gets him out of his shell and he does for her. It becomes a sort of pygmalion scenario: he tells her and teaches her, to leave her shell and enjoy life: get out of this town, see the world, find some kind of goal to strive for, go back to school, see Paris, see anything.

She, in turn, helps him smile, laugh, and find happiness again.

But this really isn't chick lit, or a love story. This story is so much more than that. It's about quality of life and how pain: physical and emotional, overcomes what love and those little things that can make happiness not really worth it.

I don't know how Moyes did it but she did it. Once I figured out what happened to Will, I almost dropped this sucker. How can this be summer fluff when there's a quadriplegic? There can't be romance involved? He can't even move!

But this book wasn't about summer fluff and I was so emotionally involved with this story, with the ethics and the morals about it...well, I don't have to think twice. I have no problem with Dr. Krevorkian's ways and the decisions about the right-to-die, which is one of the main points of this novel but written so beautifully with the story of a greater bond between Will and Lou. Yes. Lou falls for Will deeply. She wants to be with him. Always. She searches for ways that she can please him...sexually and proposes this to him, when she pleads for him not to go through with his decision to end his life...

...because her job as a carer for six months was really, to convince Will to change his mind to commit suicide. He gave his parents six more months but that he was done with his life as a quad. He was in pain. There was no cure. And he was only getting worse. Frequent bouts with pneumonia and well, he didn't want to visit the places he had been as an active man only because they were reminders of what he once was.

But he wanted that for Lou. And even though he fell for Lou, he said to her it was no longer enough to want to stay alive. :( Tears galore. But that she had brought him the best six months of his entire life.

So in the end, she was with him as he lay dying. And then he sent her on her way (with an inheritance) to travel the world, to live life to her fullest, to do the things that he could no longer do.

I cried so hard in the car reading the end. In a million years, never would I think I would read such a book but there are just those gifted writers that move you with one book that you trust them and find that they can move you with another.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Another Day in Paradise

I wasn't sure how I'd feel after coming in so late, and so fricking tired, from the night before.

Not only that, it was a ruckus outside of our hotel room. The downside of being in a good location is that all the other people from the concert are here too -- and they bring their obnoxiously loud selves to their rooms, with no regard to the folks around them.

This reminded me soooo much of the company prom we used to have. We often grabbed a room and these assholes would bring the shit to their rooms. LOUD, OBNOXIOUS, and DRUNK as hell. We would call security because, hey, our party was done and the room was to get some sleep.

The thing is: these folks from the company prom were in the 30s, 40s, maybe in their 50s? They had no excuse to behave like dipshits. The kids around us were probably just 18-25, if that. The legal drinking age in Canada is 18, so I'm guessing there's a lot of border crossing from the U.S. to have their party on. I'm not _defending_ their behavior. I'm just saying, their teeny-tiny brains ain't fully developed and they are just plain dumb. Those older people are assholes.

Anyway, the cool thing about our hotel was security didn't take their shit. They came a knockin' with one fair warning: "if we have to come back, you're out of here". I can now understand where these hotels, or homes, don't rent to people under the age of 25 or in groups. It's this obnoxious, drunken behavior that they don't want to rent to.  This would be a scene that would continue through the weekend, with various rooms (unfortunately). At one point, I thought someone was getting murdered it was so loud - like furniture, or bodies, being thrown across the room.

But as I woke up that Saturday morning and we headed out for breakfast and another tour of the city, I felt better than I expected. My calves and feet and thighs were sore but not enough that it would stop me from seeing more of Montreal.

We stopped at the corner cafe and had our breakfast. The staff, again, SO NICE. The waitress politely told us to keep our phones away from the sidewalk-side of outdoor seating arrangement, since it's known that people walk by and help themselves to other people's belongings.

I enjoyed just my eggs and my Americano but Tim had a beautiful chocolate crepe. Crepes seems to be a very popular item in the area.
















It was another beautiful day - sunny and bright and not so hot (now). I made sure not to dress for winter this time. We walked around the area - meaning to go back to Promenades Cathedrale, to see the underground shops.

The buildings are just magnificent everywhere you look. I can see why it is reminiscent of Europe because the architecture is similar. I was trying to think where in our country we had buildings so old and gothic and beautiful?

Before we headed there, we stopped by this church we passed earlier.

The priest (? - he was dressed like one but stated they were a Methodist church) stopped by and spoke to us and gave us the history of the church. I have since forgotten but I loved how he gave us the history and was humbled by the fact that this church was not one of the more beautiful one's the city had to offer.
We made our donation and headed to the underground city or part of it.

It was pretty cool. It reminded me of areas of the trains in Amsterdam, or even some nicer airports. It could pass for any mall but it did feel different.

We hit a few stores. I tried to find a black bra that would push my boobs up because, what we have noticed here is that: black bras and white shirts are definitely THE thing to wear. And every woman seems to have bouncy boobs. There are no silicone ladies out here (well, I'm sure there are but they are not the majority). Tim asked me "how do you get yours to do that?" To which I replied, "I'll need a lot more fat in mine." Or some help from Victoria's Secret. Doesn't matter. I couldn't find one. But wait until you see me at work and I'll be bouncing around in my black bra and white shirt. You'll be like: Are you from Canada or something?

I mentioned in a previous post the bike sharing system they have. Here is a picture of one of the many we passed. It is definitely a biker's place. I would've wrote paradise but I'm not sure it is or isn't. Bike lanes, bikes everywhere, people biking all the time, no ignorant cars honking at bikers because they (car owners) think they own the roads. I guess it is a biker's paradise? There are adverts for biking tours everywhere and Tim said there were over 350km (217.48 miles) of biking paths in Montreal alone.

We head back home for a rest before it's back to Osheaga. I think about how we should've just booked A concert (singular). This musical festival shit is for the young. Endurance test? Bah! This is hard work, physically but more mentally. We have a very long night ahead of us. Snoop Dogg doesn't begin until 9:15PM and we will be heading out to see Young the Giant at 4:30. There might've been someone to see before that...I can't remember now but I just remember the dread of going back. Sad, isn't it?

We're back in the afternoon and it is now extremely hot. The sun is just blazing. It is, of course, PACKED in all the shady areas but we find comfort behind the port-a-johns.

To the right of this picture is a wooded area, so it's not so bad as it seems. The wooded area is packed with people. I watch a few light up. I don't think it's pot but whatever. It's all what I would imagine Woodstock might've been like.

Tim is not in it for getting into the crowds and CJ is now spoiled: she has tasted front of house standing and she will take nothing less. That leaves me to go with her to worm our way through the crowds and find something close. This means having to go early (we have the routine down now) and listening to the band beforehand.

With the two stages, one plays on one stage and when that band finishes, the band on the second stage promptly begins. I have to say, this was organized wonderfully. Until Snoop Dogg, all bands started and ended on time. And if you didn't have a front row view of the band, the big, ginormous screens took care of that - they were the best views of the house.

We had a great view of Young the Giant. Later, we would see pictures of the crowd that were there for them and it was INCREDIBLE. I can't believe I was in that crowd. I knew it had to be pretty big because I would see the faces of each band member just look out into us in awe. People off the side of the stage would also look out and just be like "Holy shit". When YtG took their instagram pic of us (I follow them so I knew this would come up), I made sure to find something to help me find us when I saw it on IG. But once I saw the pic, I realized there would be no way.

This is my view of the crowd from within the crowd. It doesn't look that bad. These are the people behind me.

The guy in the forefront is soaked. It was sooo hot. But that's not why he's soaked. They would hose us down with water so we all got pretty soaked. It felt great. The two girls in front of me and CJ didn't like it at all and would crouch to the ground. I ended up warning them every time it came towards us but really, crouching towards the ground couldn't stop them from getting soaked. The hose would just SET on us and the water would just stream down. WE. WERE. SOAKED.

Here is the picture from Young the Giant from Instagram.






After their set, we head back to where we left Tim and MiMi. They reorient themselves to another area, away from the port-a-johns (but not too far) and now, sit behind the big OSHEAGA sign (like HOLLYWOOD in CA). This is a shot of our view from one of the letters (I have no idea which).








We sit for awhile before Tim says we could leave and eat somewhere for lunch before coming back for Snoop Dogg. We take the tram and get off at the first stop. I _think_ we are in a more non-touristy area because it seems to be more French but, what do I know? I'm a tourist!






















The area is decked out for what, I don't know but it's kitschy.

We head back to the concert but I forgot, we head back to see Feist. But we abandon her quickly to go to the stage where Snoop Dogg will be. We get a prime spot and we have a looong time (this, before we know when he actually makes an appearance) before he appears.

During this long wait, we observe a young american girl make a big fool out of herself. Apparently, she thinks she knows how to score pot and walks up to several people trying to buy marijuana. She says it in some weird I'm-trying-to-speak-English-in-a-way-you-foreigners-might-understand accent. I can't help but watch her the rest of the evening. She flirts with a guy to loan her a lighter. How can you show up and buy pot without a lighter? She already had one joint; wasn't sure why she felt she needed more. 

She also knew all the rap songs - Eminem, Jay-Z and sang them with such flourish that the other girls in front of us would roll their eyes. Not because she (the American "cutie-pie") was something to be jealous of, but because she and her two other friends would sway and bump into everyone as they did their rap song impersonations.
 
Twice she would kiss her friend...her gal pal friend. It wasn't because she was gay. That was obvious in the way she was hitting on the hot guy in front of her who may or may not have been some famous college hockey player. I don't know but he showed a picture of himself (that's not vain) playing and then I overheard him say his friend was drafted...so that means he was not?

Anyway, this made her eyes light up despite the fact that he kept eyeing his buddy next to him like "who is this flake?" but he didn't seem entirely turned off either. So the kissing of the girl was more for a show. I enjoyed it. :)

We waited and waited and waited. Over the past two days and how ever many shows we have stood at, I have learned not to learn people pass in front of you...because they stop. So I had told CJ earlier not to do that. If they want to pass, they can go behind us.

So after hours of standing there, some guy came by and asked CJ if he could pass. I was caught off guard and before I could intervene, CJ shook her head No and just threw the guy off. NO? He asks in amazement. He then asks the two girls (not the American one) next to her if he could pass and they, too, said no. I was amazed. I was flabbergasted that CJ had the balls to do that. She never turned to me for help; she just flat out said no.

So then he came towards me and asked and of course, I said no. Not but ten minutes later, some guy with the biggest zoom lens (he's making up for something) came by and asked if he could get by me). I ignored him. The first guy then said "You'll get nowhere with them" and goes on and on and starts complaining about "us". The man with the small-penis-but-big-lens gets in on the action and starts on about "us".

I should've just remained quiet but I didn't. I turned and asked "What are you even trying to do?" He said something about trying to take three pictures and then he would be done. I then remind him that he has a big lens and he says something about all these people are in his way. Again, I remind him that he's taller THAN ME and maybe he complains more but the first guy is now getting back at me. He's asking me who the hell I think I am 'manning' the crowd. Who am I to block him from moving in front.

I tell him that I'd been standing there all day (I wasn't) and that I'm not about to let someone else pass in front of me and that I thought he was rude to think he could just do that. Oh my god. He was just pissed. He complained and yelled and bitched. Finally, he reached awkwardly between CJ and I and poked a girl in front of us...she turned and he was like THEY WON'T LET ME THROUGH!!! And I look at this beautiful girl and I ask "Oh, is he with you?" and she's like oh yeah! he is. So I turn to him and say "Well, why didn't you just say so?" and 'open the gate" and let him through.
OMG again. This just incensed him more and he complains to his friend how insane that was. She actually agreed and was like "It is rude - you can't just walk around people like that!" HOW AM I RUDE? WHO IS SHE TO NOT ALLOW ME TO PASS? He makes a good point but it's just good manners, IMO. And I wan't letting him pass _by me_. He could have gone around to the people next to me and pass through them.
Anyway, this hippie chick next to us, who is really plastered, starts telling us "please, don't fight. it' snoop dogg! let's be happy and enjoy the show!" It was quite funny.
So now, really-pissed-off-guy-I-wouldn't-let-pass is standing right in front of me, continuing to complain about me. I'm over it. I wasn't really pissed in the first place. I'm still in awe of CJ for stopping him in the first place. But I don't like that he's so upset because, as hippie chick says, enjoy the show and how can he enjoy it if he's so wrapped in anger?
I don't think I'll be able to console him but I give it a try: i put my hand on his shoulder, he turns and I say "I apologize" and he then says "No, I'm sorry. Really. I am soooo sorry." and he give me a hug where my whole face ends up in his neck. Too bad he wasn't hot; I would've enjoyed that. :)
So we talk a bit more. He doesn't even know who Snoop Dogg is! But the whole irony of this is that he apologizes to me again and leaves. He doesn't even stick around for the concert.

Snoop Dogg was supposed to start at 9:15. He didn't come on stage until almost 10PM. I hedged my bet that he was a no-show but he definitely showed up. He wasn't the best and there was *a lot* of pot smoking (both on and off the stage) but I was glad to have seen him up close.

He kept asking us to sing his songs. I figured he forgot his own lyrics over the years.

There was no Snoop Lion stuff. So don't bother telling me he's renamed himself. This was all Snoop Dogg.

As CJ and I walk back to meet up with Tim and MiMi to head back to the hotel, I tell CJ: forget health class and their movies on drugs, huh? She said that all they need to do is take a field trip to a concert. She has seen people smoking like crazy and with little American Pie, try to score. Am I afraid that this is a bad influence? No. She's seen people pass out. In fact, little Miss American Pie got very, very quiet after smoking all that pot. She kept playing with her hair bun too and looking at her friends for reassurance. I know that feeling: paranoia and that no-turning-back feeling.

CJ will have to make her own decisions about this but so far, she isn't impressed and complained about how her lungs felt ripped from the pot and cigarette smoke. But hiding from all of this isn't going to make her NOT want to do it. That all comes with the people (and not her parents) who will influence her in high school, and hopefully, everything else that has influenced her up until now.

We made it back. Exhausted yet again. And we still have one more day of concerts to go.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Exhausted

What a day.

The first day of the Osheaga music festival was incredible.

Incredible and exhausting.

We headed to Parc Jean-Drapeau, which is an island on the St. Lawrence River. We took the metro. This is Tim and the girls in front of the Osheaga advert while we wait for our tram/train/subway. WTF do you call it?

Anyway, it just reminds us how badly Raleigh has it: no public transportation. How the hell do you build a subway now? In an established city? But my god, it is so nice to just go anywhere so easily this way. It took two stops to get to a transfer station, then one stop to get to the island. Under water. It's like the miracle of life.








The first scheduled concert, according to CJ's Osheaga app, was LP at 1:30. We walked around to get acquainted with the park.

This is a shot of the two main concert stages. Wait until you see what it looked like by the end of the day. But now, at 12:15 in the afternoon, it's nearly empty.

There are four concert stages: these two, which have big screens that are viewable from outer space. Not really but you can sit way back in the back and still get an excellent view, if the sun is not shining in your eyes.

We walked to the edge of the island, where there were some food stands and had a bite to eat. This was our view. When I approached it, I couldn't believe the view. It looked too good to be true that it looked like a fake. It was just so beautiful.










We headed to one of the concert stages which is furthest from the main entrance, where the two main concert stages were. Even though the official schedule had a band starting at 1:30, there was a band playing at this stage. We sat in the very back, in the shade, because by now - despite starting out with a nice breeze and cool weather - it was sun-shine-sunny and getting hot. The band sounded great until the singer brought out her flute. I'm just not into flute sounds unless they're in an orchestral movement. Sorry to you rock flute players :(. She played well! And she sang great! And the entire song put together was great! Until the flute... It just sounded like all that 60s music with flute playing and, well, me no likey.

Remember this shot, or to come back to it, because later in the day, CJ and I would return to see Of Monsters and Men and this scene would look very different.

We returned back to the main stages in time to catch the last few songs of LP. I've never heard of her but WOW. She was amazing.

She played with a ukelele but this sound was something I could deal with. A ukelele does not sound like a flute and was not reminiscent of some 60's psychedelic, three hour song. Nope. This stuff was really good. I'll be downloading some of it when I get back. As it stands, there is no verizon service in Canada for me (well, there is ROAMING but apparently, we spent over $50 in those charges last night) and no WIFI! at Osheaga. tears. :( )

We were in prime location for fun. No. That's not the end of the sentence. That would be the band, Fun. A band that CJ introduced me to and yet I am the one with the entire album on my iPhone. I was most excited about seeing this band at Osheaga so I was glad to have front row access to the stage.

And when they came out, WOW. I'm not 14 so I don't obsess over bands anymore and, except for the most awesome shirt I bought from their website. They put on a great show, my favorite of the day. Nate Ruess, the lead singer, is flawless live. And they had one cute girl backup player that I loved watching.

They were dressed like some 80s pop band, which just made me laugh. But their music is a mix of pop, Elton John-ish, Queen-ish, and just some of their own made up shit-ish (good shit-ish). Loved it, loved them.

After Fun., CJ and I walked back to where we were for the first concert. Remember when I told you to remember that picture? This is what it looked like when we returned:
Incredible. We sat within the fenced area for a bit but the sun was just blazing and decided to seek out shade. People would pass by this crowd and just gasp at the amount of people they saw there. I sent the picture to Tim and we was like "That's where MGMT is playing later". Uh-oh, I think. This is *the* band that CJ wants to see. The crux of the trip, the Osheaga tickets, everything. 

MGMT is CJ's love. Well, Andrew is and there is no way in hell that we traveled this far to sit far back for CJ to not see Andrew up close. We were going to figure out how to get her up close to that stage, like we did for Fun., who mean NOTHING to her. As I write this, nearly three days later, we've become masters of getting to the front of the stage at a MASSIVE concert festival.

While we sat in the shade, I did notice this oddball:


There was *a lot* of walking. And *a lot* of standing. There are a lot of people here. And a lot of tattoos, pink, purple, blue, orange and blonde hair. A lot of piercings. Not a lot of older people. I'm in the minority. There are a few dads with their daughters, which is sweet. But this is definitely a festival for the young. It's really a great sight to see. It doesn't make me envious or wish for my days as a young person again. It's just like being a voyeur, or a sociologist who studies people: I just enjoy seeing these people enjoy being young and having fun. It's invigorating. It's vastly different than what I've seen at concerts in Raleigh.  
There are a lot of gay people and it's a beautiful thing. There isn't a lot of overt public display of affection from gays or heteros, just a lot of hugging and occasional kissing. Very intimate public displays of affection that warms my heart. There are a lot of warm looks of endearments to MiMi, one of a few sets of very young children that are at the concert. They are free and welcomed. There's even a playground :).

We did find seating up on the hill and watched a bunch of concerts on the main stages, including Franz Ferdinand. 
We roasted a bit in the sun for them. I stayed sober because all they have is beer and canned bourbon and coke, which apparently is pretty weak, according to Tim. I'm not a bourbon fan and while I like beer, with my migraine medication, everything carbonated tastes flat so I can't enjoy it. Wine is not available but if it was, it is not necessarily something that sounds great in such hot weather. Water. That's all I can think about.
Tim forms a plan to get CJ close to Andrew and that's taking her to very early on to get as close to the front, which means missing Florence and the Machine. Of course, I love Florence (CJ does too but loves Andrew more) and so MiMi and I stay behind to get close to Florence. And we do.














We again get close to the stage. The price we pay is we stand to one obnoxious dude. But the other price is we are nearby very nice people. Although at one point, one young girl did pass out behind us.

Florence is beautiful. I love redheads, both male and female. It must have started with seeing a picture of Tim as a kid, with his red hair. Or maybe it was a natural thing because I loved watching Boris Becker. But nonetheless, Florence is gorgeous to me.









She puts on a good show and had everyone with their loved one put them up on their shoulders, which is a big deal since security makes people stop that. But you can't tell Florence what to do!

At one point, a nice gentleman asked MiMi if she wanted to go on his shoulders. Ah, so sweet. Actually, the people around us were trying very hard to accommodate her: do you want to come here to see better? Move here? Such a beautiful thing. I loved the aura of beautiful people around us.

After Florence, MiMi and I take the long trek to the other side, where MGMT will be playing. I know we may not get close to where Tim and CJ have planted themselves but we decide to give it a try. We get close. So close that we are at the gate. The only problem is we are at the _side_ so we don't see the front of the stage. And we see all the special people go _through_ the gate that get to see MGMT from the stage.

I hoped CJ was enjoying seeing them so close. I couldn't see Andrew's face. His head was a mass of hair. I know their music all to well based on CJ's endless playing of it, as well as MiMi, who of course follows in her sister's footsteps and also loves MGMT and Andrew. Their music is sooooo funky, which makes me proud. She's no Bieber fan, nor does she enjoy what hits the top pop charts. I love learning all the alternative music bands from her. Unfortunately, she doesn't share my taste in metal...but she doesn't hate Marilyn Manson. The dude. Not so much the music. :)

It was near impossible to get a decent picture of them. This is as close as possible to a decent picture. Everything else is just a blur of color and outlines of Andrew. I have clear shots of people in the audience. :) No matter. The experience is what matters and it was amazing.

Getting back, after MGMT, was HORRENDOUS. We were way on the other side of the island, which is the opposite end of the exit. We were stuck in a crowd. This is not the place to be if your claustrophobic. And by now, it's well after 10PM and it is DARK. We have to negotiate stairs (37 steps up/37 down) and then we are stuck in a bottleneck to get to the metro. If I really thought about how stuck we were, I could panic.

I am in a lot of pain. I'm so fucking tired. We'd been there since 12:15, not including the time we were up to _get_ there. I've been standing in crowds to watch concerts for god knows how long. And walking back and forth across the park for how long. And now, I'm just relieved that day one is over and I want to sit, especially in the comfort of my hotel room.

Oh, but I haven't eaten since the hot dog and fries at 12:30ish. And did I mention, it is now around 10:45? And I'm still in a mass of too many people, waiting to get to the entrance of a building that holds the key to my way back home.

My feet hurt. My back hurts. I am so, so, so tired. And hungry. I try to think that this will all pass. Endurance. I just have to keep my brain and spirit up because I'll get there.

And once we get through the building, the crowd is not as bad. We get on the metro and make it back relatively easy. We decide to just eat at our hotel's restaurant. Big mistake. They don't do a disservice to terrible hotel food. Bleh.

But, we made it through Day One.



Saturday, August 04, 2012

First Day in Montreal

We are all giddy with excitement that we are in Montreal. I don't really have a bucket list. Really. I don't. Maybe a soup can list. There's not a lot on a list of things I must do in my life. I've never really had that. It's not like I'm not goal-oriented. I really am. I am just content with simple things in life. Like my goal of a sub two hour half marathon, or winning the company wallyball mixed doubles wallyball championship, or hearing my kids tell me "that was the best dinner ever". Those things are goals I strive for. Is that lame? I could care less if anyone thinks that's the case. I just don't have any desire in any single fiber of my body to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, skydive out of an airplane, jetski Lake Ontario (we drove over it!! now THAT made me fucking ecstatic!), or hike the Appalachian Trail.

BUT, in my tin can, I have always wanted to visit Canada. I don't know when it started but it started at a young age. I couldn't care less where in Canada because I didn't really _study_ Canada and I didn't know that Quebec wasn't a city but a province until much later in life, so I had no clue where Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver or Calgary were in relation to where I was. Nonetheless, I'm here now.

My friend Rebecca, who is from Ottawa, gave me a quick course in the area and her mom's # (who is still in Ottawa) in case we got into any trouble. I have some really good friends. :)

Traffic was pretty horrendous and reminiscent of NYC, or even Manila, Philippines, traffic. But we arrived Friday evening so I guess quitting time and arriving time for people like us. But we finally made it to our hotel.

You can see what a beautiful day it was too. We arrived about 4:30ish and the entire drive to get here was beautiful. I will document that later.

The city is beautiful. I LOVE cities. I love the country too. I love everything. But city-life is what I love most. I was in seventh-heaven in NYC; London was a brief but wondrous stay that I hope to go back to one day soon and Amsterdam was a dream too surreal to even believe it truly happened. Montreal is a close second to that stay in Amsterdam and the great thing is that it's much closer. I can see us coming back sooner than that second trip to Amsterdam.


After we settled into our room, we were off to tour our surroundings. We rounded the corner of our street and I saw this building with such a cool name. Of course, it reminds me of The Night Watch from the Song of Ice and Fire guarding The Wall (the obsession is still there...)

It's a great, beautiful, goth-looking building called The Black Watch - Royal Highland Regiment of Canada. I found them on wikipedia and I love their history.




We stopped at this open window cafe to grab a drink. Rebecca warned me that Quebec is French and for the most part, everyone around us was entirely speaking in French. My other friend Sherry mentioned that she felt like her trip to this part of Canada felt very European and I'd have to agree and the French-speaking helps.

And let me just say, on an ugly-American stance, why the fuck we are so obnoxious about our language? Again, the whole redneck-Repfublican-stereotype: learn our language if you come to our country. That attitude just sickens me, especially when I go to countries like THIS (Amsterdam was another one). People greet in their native language and as soon as they realize we are not French-speaking, accommodate, in English, NICELY. There's no rolling-of-the-eyes, exasperated sighs, or any air of 'jeezus-fucking-christ. can't you learn our fucking language?' ESPECIALLY because we are obviously Americans, one of the most arrogantly-reputed nationalities in the world. And may I say FOR GOOD REASON???

Just for added bonus: our national language SHOULD have been some American Indian dialect. But it's not. And I think we should have dual-language. WE SHOULD KNOW SPANISH, mother-fuckers. And it should be _required_ language learning schools. In ALL of the United States. Even the racist ones.

Back to my regular-broadcasting from Montreal...

This cafe was sooooo charming but it was also soooo fucking hot. I was so GD hot! It was a beautiful day but I was HOT.

I try to dress appropriately for a car ride because Tim keeps it freezing cold and I don't want to be freezing cold. So I had a light - like see-through - long-sleeved shirt and jeans in the car. But the fricking sun was on my side of the car ride and just beat down on me so I was slightly in an uncomfortable temperature zone.

Then with the heat of Montreal weather, and walking around, I was just BLAZING. This cafe had no air - just the open windows of its building. Which was quite 'charming' when looking upon it but walking inside was like an oven. But I wanted to enjoy the experience. And some wine.

Everyone around me, including my own family, appeared to deal with the heat just fine.

At one point, a homeless man came to the people that sat at the table in the picture next to the "window". The owner/worker came right out and angrily shooed him away. He just proceeded to the next table and again, was shooed away. That, of course, led to another bleeding heart Cindy discussion about feeling bad for the homeless guy and how I would have given him some of my food.

They sell wine by 1/4 and 1/2 litres. OMG. Restaurants in Raleigh PLEASE DO THIS. Why not????? I ordered a half bottle and the guy that took my order looked at Tim and then me and said "one glass?" And I said yes please...and he finishes with "because it's a very small bottle".

I also had a very small glass so together, it made for a lot of pours. And after all, was unable to finish it as hard as I tried. But the family refused to let me throw down the wine quickly.

Oh. The wine is chilled because it was hot as hell. The guy apologized, poured me the first glass and said "the first will be very, very hot but I will chill the rest for you". And yes, the first was very, very hot but he knew that one cannot wait for the wine to chill when one is ready to drink.

Afterward, CJ wanted to find a 'high-low' dress, so we stopped at a few shops on the walk back to the hotel. She found a great one and it just made me so happy to see her in it. She just looks so grown. But she's glowing and having fun and is excited about the Osheaga concert, which thrills me to bone.

We passed this beautiful cathedral. MiMi wants to see a cathedral. The big, gigantic ones because she finds them creepy :). We hope to see Notre-Dame Basilica while we are here. But we passed several churches like these. I may not be interested in hearing what they have to say but I do appreciate the architecture. And while George R. R. Martin has stolen my heart, The Pillars of the Earth is also one of my favorite books ever and it is about building cathedrals. This building reminds me of that...as well as where we went to eat later in the evening.








We came upon this odd statue, a bit creepy, but then there is another one on the other side. It's an entrance to the Promenades Cathedrale, which is an underground mall. How cool is that?















Another thing for Raleigh, better yet, TRIANGLE residents to see: BIKES. Everywhere. Montreal also has a bicycle sharing system to help with public transportation and reduce traffic congestion. There are bicyclists everywhere and they ride like what you see in NYC movies. They weave around cars in traffic. But you know what else, they have bike lanes like we saw in Amsterdam. REAL BIKE LANES. A respect for the bicyclist.




Before we make it to the hotel, we find this address. Wish it was mine :)

The girls and Tim head over to the hotel swimming pool while I sit back and finish my book (while sipping on more wine - hey, I'm on vacation!). When they get back, we head back out for dinner.

The weather is much nicer now and I'm dressed with less clothing: shorts and my Fun. shirt. It's so beautiful. It's still light out but the traffic, both auto and pedestrian, is much lighter so we can enjoy the scenery at a slightly less hasty mode.

We end up eating at a place we drove by while we were stuck in traffic upon arrival. It was another beautiful, gothic-looking building, with yellow umbrella'd tables peppered around it. I loved the clash of old with new of that look. Plus, it was very European.

It was a beautiful, medieval setting. We ordered a cheese plate and a meat plate. Our poor hostess could not provide English-equivalent descriptions of the meats and cheese to us and I felt bad because I think we made her feel embarrassed. We didn't really care what kinds of cheese and meat was on there, just as long as the cheese plate was really a cheese plate. The first open cafe we went to gave us a cheese plate but it really wasn't one.











This one was indeed a cheese plate and it was wonderful. I have no idea what they were because her friend that came to help us couldn't really explain it any better. Well, she did because her French pronunciations were beautiful to the ears.















The meat plate was also beautiful but it did have foi gras and something made out of rabbit. I had enough wine in me to try it but not enough in me not to think about it and not enjoy it.

So all in all, first day and night in Montreal is wonderful. Just a sneak peek into the second day: we get the olympics LIVE. NBC: you suck. We watched Dong Dong of China win his Gold on the trampoline as it happened.