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Showing posts from 2013

Let Me Tell You A Story

I've started eleven separate blog entries in the past 45 days. Each began with something that struck me as funny, or a moment of enlightenment, or a thought provoking comment.

But they're all sitting unfinished in my blog queue.

I feel a bit paralyzed, I think. I've come to think that my blogs must be meaningful and influential and profound, and so when the words don't fit right on the screen, or if I feel like I'm just writing words I've said before, or that I've read somewhere else, I am frustrated. And that a precarious position to place yourself in.

Firstly, forgive my arrogance. How dare I take up an imaginary mantle that no one gave me to inspire and transform?! I felt that ego in the words I was writing. And they were ugly.

Secondly: I started this blog over two years ago because I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to keep my family and friends updated on my life, so we didn't feel so distant, so I could keep a record of my comings and goings. And…

Giving Thanks

I've given it a lot of thought, and I've decided that Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday.

Thanksgiving is almost a sneaky holiday. While we're all so busy getting everything settled away from the mayhem that is September and prepping for the sugar-coma that is Halloween, Thanksgiving crops up unsuspectingly on the second Monday of October. People always sort of forget that it's coming, and everyone mutters "Oh yeah, Thanksgiving! What date is that this year?" at least twice before the holiday rolls around.

Thanksgiving is not a holiday about presents or decorations or music. No one worries that they haven't bought enough candy or gambles on the last sunny weekend of the fall in order to get the outside lights up in time. We needn't have a moment of silence and wear red poppies pinned to our jackets - a symbolic gesture which no one knows quite the precise politically correct moment to start and stop.

The 25 Thanksgivings I've experienced in my l…

My Recent Reads & Recommendations

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Summer is usually my down time from reading. Throughout the school year, I read a lot of books outside of my course curriculum in order to stay sane, and then summer is dedicated to binge-watching an entire series in a day.

But this summer I've been incredibly fortunate to stumble across some really excellent reads, and I thought I'd post some overdue mini-reviews and recommendations for some fantastic books to read this fall.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)

In case you don't own a TV or a computer or a phone or ever check Facebook or Twitter or the internet ever, I have a surprise for you: J.K. Rowling released a book under a pseudonym this year!

You can only imagine how elated I was when I heard the news. I mean, she gave us The Casual Vacancy not even a year ago, and now another book!? I was in reading heaven.

I have a lot of good news about The Cuckoo's Calling. First: for those who were underwhelmed - or wholeheartedly disliked - The…

The Top 5 British Shows You've Never Seen

A few months ago, I wrote this piece about British shows I loved and tried to get it published across the internet. I didn't have any takers (although it did get me an in to write other things for WhatCulture.com), but I still wanted to share it somewhere. I cannot deny the internet knowledge of fantastic television.
Enjoy! ____________________________________________________________
British television is great. The internet knows that British television is great. It’s practically impossible to scroll through Tumblr or watch a YouTube vlog without seeing a reference to Doctor Who, or hearing a mispronunciation of Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s name, or catching a spoiler for an episode of Misfits that you haven’t yet gotten to in your Netflix queue. There are some great series that have made it across the pond and into North American vernacular – Being Human, The Inbetweeners and The Hour, to name a few.
But there are a slew of other brilliant British series that remain un…

An Open Letter: To The Introvert Fandom

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Dear Introvert Fandom,

Hello. I am an extrovert. There are a lot of us out there, but, ironically, we don't often talk about our needs under the heading of "extroverts."

However, over the past year or two, I've seen a growing discussion around introversion online. And I think it's great. It's important to understand both our own and others' needs, and introverts have definitely been given the short end of the stick for a long time. But the problem is that, like many quest for labels and identity before it, the definition of being an introvert has been corrupted and corroded, and also glorified as this heightened mental state. And to be quite honest, it's alienating, annoying, and wrong.

Here's the most simplistic definition for an extrovert: one who gains energy from being around people.
Here's the most simplistic definition for an introvert: one who gains energy from being alone.

I didn't know I was an extrovert, and I didn't really k…

Exposed: One Week Without Makeup

I've been thinking a lot about makeup lately.

Of course, I often think about makeup. I read upwards of 20 beauty blogs daily, watch makeup hauls and tutorials on YouTube regularly, stroll through Sephora and Shoppers once or twice a week. I give nail polish tips to those who ask (and those who don't), leisurely enjoy applying my makeup in the mornings, frequently try different lip-staining techniques to ensure the longevity of a red pucker, take pictures and write reviews on my own beauty blog about my favourite products.

All of this makeup indulgence is just that: indulgence. It's a hobby for me. Colour and texture and technique. I like playing with and manipulating products to see what they can do, and how they will change my look. Indulgence.

But as much as I claim that makeup is purely fun for me, that's not the whole truth. Makeup is also a crutch.

I've been wearing basic makeup since I was about 12 years old. I didn't experiment with bright lipstick or bo…

Book Review Series: Back Story by David Mitchell

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It's been almost a month since I posted, and for no good reason at all.

Luckily, this massive break in writing has given me lots of time for reading, which in turn gives me reason for writing, so I guess I've rendered my previous sentence moot.

As you know, I have a certain penchant for comedian/writer autobiographies. Sometimes they are terrible (like Ellen Degeneres's Seriously...I'm Kidding); sometimes they are pretty good (like Jon Richardson's It's Not Me, It's You); but rarely are they ever fantastic. Which is why I deeply, unapologetically, and wholeheartedly loved every word of David Mitchell's Back Story.

I've written about David Mitchell (not the fiction author, the other one) before, crediting him as a major influence on my writing style, so I suppose it's no surprise that I enjoyed his book to the full. It was released in October 2012, but I had read a slew of British comedians's autobiographies at the time, all of which were ho-h…

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday.

I love my birthday. From the minute we turned 365 days old, my parents have made a big deal of mine and my twin sister's birthday. Our first birthday was an elaborate affair, with a homemade cake from my grandmother and frilly dresses and balloons and far too many presents. And maybe that first birthday set the tone for the rest of our lives, or maybe because my mother was always very, very keen on making sure that my sister and I had a grandiose celebration that usually lasted about a week to show how happy she was that we were on this earth - whatever the reason, I have come to believe that my birthday is the most important day of the year.
Today I am 26 years old. Last year, on my 25th birthday, I had what can only be described as a quarter-life meltdown. While my parents drove from Mount Pearl to Gander, where I had already spent a few days with my sister, I was sitting on the cusp of a mental breakdown. When my mom called to say she hadn't been able …

I'm Tired of Hating Myself, Mr. Jeffries

If you're anything like me - that is to say, an unemployed 20-something who spends a great deal of time dilly-dallying around social media and pop-culture news sites - you're sure to have seen the interview with Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries where he openly states that he doesn't want fat people wearing his brand.

In case you have more important things to do than derp around the internet, here's a brief summary: Abercrombie & Fitch doesn't sell women's XL or XXL clothing because Jeffries wants "good-looking people" to be the face and bodies of his clothing. He speaks about exclusion and how there are kids who are cool and those who aren't, and only the popular, pretty crowd are idyllic enough to proudly wear A&F garments.

There have been countless outraged reactions to Jeffries' interview: women and men refusing to support a brand with a "creepy, predatory, bug-infested, bigoted, racist" CEO; major news sites offe…

Good Enough, Or Adventures in Plus-Sized Dating

I don't date much. In the span of about 10 months in 2009, I went on about five dates (and two of those were "we didn't really say they were dates but we both knew they were; I could tell by the way smiled an extra 3 seconds at an unfunny joke" type dates). This whirlwind of romantic activity had never happened before, and has not been repeated with such fervour since.

I've often lamented that I hate dating. I get nervous and awkward and, especially if I like the guy, my teeth chatter and feel like I'm going to vomit. My topics of conversation go down weird bunny trails so before I know it, our delightful conversation about some book we mutually enjoy has turned into a systematic recounting of all the ways to effectively poison someone in the 15th century. I adopt a laugh that is not mine, I never like my hair, and I'm too afraid that my lipstick has smudged to even listen to what he's saying.  And who can ever figure out what to do with their hands?!

Book Review: The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes

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You know what? February is a short month. Also, February is a busy time when you are a grad student. Scratch that; every time is a busy time when you are a grad student. So you'll forgive my forgetting that I actually have a blog until this week. A quick recap on what's happened in the past four weeks: I wrote some papers, I presented some of said papers, I went home and marked some other people's papers. There's been a lot of 8 1/2 x 11 in my life this past month.

I've been meaning to post a review of Julian Barnes' 2011 Man Booker Prize winning book The Sense of an Ending since early January when I finished it, but I wanted to let the story settle and when it had, there just wasn't time. But since there will never be time, I'm doing it now, while my coffee is still hot and my fingers are agile.

I've been a devoted Julian Barnes fan since I read England, England in 2008. He is a philosopher first and a writer second, and he is preoccupied with ques…

The Art of Complaining, Or Why I Am Happy And You Don't Know It

This is a fact about me: I complain a lot. I know this to be true. I complain about school and I complain about people and I complain about Facebook. I moan about badly made coffee and how my roommates don't buy milk and how I'll never find love.

I don't know why I do this.

I mean, I sort of know why. Complaining is part of comedy. Most comedians base their standup routines around complaining about something, whether it's racial problems or the weather or their family or politics. And there's nothing I've ever wanted more than for people to think I am funny, and so I mimic (badly) the methods of the masters.

I think I also do it because I find silence terrifying. It's awkward and uncomfortable and signals to me that the people around me are also awkward and uncomfortable, which means they don't like me and everything has gone terribly, terribly wrong. So talking about myself and my "problems" is an easy way to eliminate the silence and is (pre…

Love Never Fails

Sometimes when I'm thinking about my faith and how I live it out, I become overwhelmed with the concept of loving people simply because they exist.

We all know the passage from 1 Corinthians 13 well. It's on posters and in movies and if you've been to as many weddings as I have, you'll know it off by heart.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. When I'm not sobbing in a church pew at the sight of a friend in a beautiful white dress, the times when I seriously ponder this passage of scripture leave me more exhausted than energized to go out and start living this way.

At some point in my teen years when I thought I was deep and profound, I started saying things like "I don't …

The Ones That Stuck

It's been a month since I've blogged. While I had grand intentions of writing during the holidays, I truthfully couldn't be bothered to be pulled from my TV marathons and games of Cards Against Humanity to churn out a thousand or so words. Per entry. The end of last semester came to a triumphant finale with me writing 12,000 words in less than a week, and so I truly needed a break from Microsoft Word.

But now I'm back! It's a new year and a new semester, which means new things for this blog, too. For one, I now have a URL all to myself! Instead of accessing my blog through Blogger, you can go ahead and bookmark www.thebookbully.ca and it'll take you right here! I'm also in the process of trying to add pages and links and all that other good stuff to make life easier for readers while also creating the illusion that I know what I'm doing with the internet. (I don't. For example, I'm not even sure if URL should be capitalized or not.)

So while I&#…