Book Club

March 30, 2010 § 4 Comments

It turns out the easiest resolution to keep that I made for the new year is the “must read 10 new books” goal. This is not surprising as 1) I love to read and 2) I have been stuck in Canada without a real job for months now. Having all this time to read is most definitely an upside to my situation.

The five books I’ve completed so far are:

Tracy Morgan “I am the New Black”

Nick bought me this for Christmas because he knew it’d be funny and I love 30 Rock. It’s a pretty light and quick read as it’s basically Tracy telling us all his life story, with a very good editor to prevent any “You know – that guy – the actor… Jack Human!” moments. I loved finding out that most of the plot involving Tracy on 30 Rock was non fiction.

Kurt Vonnegut “Breakfast of Champions”

I don’t know why it took me so long to get into Kurt Vonnegut! Nick and I have attempted to read novels together while we’re apart before and none have ever worked out as well as this did. It provided a lot of discussions without getting too heavy or philosophical; we’d end up giggling about certain parts on the phone later that night after reading a chapter. I love Vonnegut’s humour and his view on humankind. Must read more Vonnegut!

Junot Diaz “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”

Once you get through the first chapter, and realize you don’t need to know Spanish to understand the book, it’s great. The character development and the dynamic of the family is amazing. I also appreciated the jumps from narrating character to character and back and forth in time with a fairly smooth transition.

Don Delillo “White Noise”

My least favourite book so far this year. It’s deemed a Penguin classic, but I’m not sure why. It aims to look deep into the fears and frailties of people, but doesn’t quite make it. It also boasts a disaster story, but that portion of the book is only a few chapters long.

Jonathan Lethem “Motherless Brooklyn”

My favourite book of the year so far! I originally picked up because it had Brooklyn in the title, but it exceeded my expectations of simply an imaginary visit to that city I presently miss – it was a great story. The protagonist is a mediocre detective at a crooked detective agency masquerading as a car service who has Tourette’s syndrome and is trying to solve the murder of his boss and mentor. You come to care deeply about Lionel Essrog and root for that weirdo until the very end. I could easily see this becoming a movie. Also, it makes me want to read old detective novels and watch Bored To Death.

What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

Happy birthday, Mom

March 26, 2010 § 3 Comments

My mom is a beautiful, strong, youthful lady who is wonderful company, an amazing mom and grandma, and can stay on par with my dad when it comes to drinking scotch. Since I’ve been back in Canada for the last couple months, we have spent a ton of time together. We love to eat and cook the same things and share a passion for goat cheese. I will miss her very much when I’m back in New York!

Head to the Point

March 26, 2010 § 2 Comments

Hey Sophie Donelson of Canada’s the Globe & Mail, why aren’t we best friends? You just wrote an interesting and very informative article on Greenpoint, Brooklyn and I think anyone planning to visit New York in the next little while should check this out and make the trip across the river to visit this fine area of the borough. Also, if you see Sophie, tell her I’m looking for her.

Visa interview date secured!

March 25, 2010 § 1 Comment

Thank you very much to the people in charge of karma, as I finally received my visa interview date yesterday!

It’s not until the end of May, a mere 7 days before my fiancee petition expires (the American government really likes to keep me on my toes), so I am having my lawyer look into getting me back to New York in a couple weeks to spend just over a month with my sweetie, enjoying NYC in the Spring, and drinking beer at baseball games. The wait will go by much faster there, as I have used up all my patience in Canada. If everything works out as planned, Nick & I plan to fly back from New York straight to Montreal for the appointment.

I love progress! It’s not over yet though, so those of you who have had your fingers crossed for us, please retain the position!

(photo: Christina Miller – Wonderwheel @ Coney Island, July 2009)

The East Side

March 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

I visited Toronto on Friday, not only to pick up the x-rays from my visa medical, but also to enjoy the amazingly unseasonal weather. Instead of venturing towards central or western downtown as I usually do, I headed east instead. I had lunch at the St. Lawrence Market and endured what was probably the busiest lunch hour I’d ever seen there! It’s nice parents are thinking of more creative places to bring their kids on March break.

The east side of downtown, around the St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District, is where I spent a lot of my time when I lived in Toronto, but mostly because that’s where my office was. It’s interesting to spend some leisurely time in that area because there really are a lot of great shops and eye-pleasing architecture. Also, very tasty restaurants, cafes, and even chocolate shops.

Get off of Queen Street and head east for some nice surprises!

(all photos taken by Christina Miller on Fri. March 19)

Chatroulette’s getting funnier, a little more intelligent

March 21, 2010 § 2 Comments

For those of you not yet in the know, Chatroulette is a website that pairs random strangers for webcam-based conversations. Visitors to the website randomly begin an online chat (video, audio and text) with another visitor. At any point, either user may leave the current chat by initiating another random connection. The anonymity and lack of responsibility is what makes it so funny and of course, the funniest thing on it until now was seeing random penises and laughing at them or hoping to see a cast member of the Jersey Shore.

Now Chatroulette seems to be the new Myspace; the new venue artists (or wannabe artists) are using to share their music, make fans, and gain a following.

Check out the actually very talented Merton as he plays songs for the random people he chats with, brightening up their mundane online lives. But wait – does he remind you of someone? A little like that Ben Folds Five dude? Well check out Ben Folds’ response here, where he uses Chatroulette at a live concert and actually impersonates Merton. Who’s the celebrity here?

I’m sure this is only the beginning.

Material Pleasure: Spring is (almost) here!

March 18, 2010 § 4 Comments

Spring is only a few days away from officially being here and although it’s kind of frustrating me that another season is starting I’m still in Canada and not in New York, it’s also getting me excited for new clothes and lighter coats! I have been wearing the same parka for months now and the thought of having a few spring coats to choose from is incredibly appealing.

I hit up H&M’s coat sale on Saturday and picked up a very cute lil number. They have so many adorable spring items, it was very hard to contain myself and not buy more! Although if you’re going to spring for a new wardrobe, H&M is a great place to do it.

I also treated myself a pair of Fred Perry flats like the ones shown above, but in solid red. Peep toes!

Anthropologie always has the best dresses, like the airplane detailed above, sometimes even on sale! I’m looking forward to spending my strong Canadian dollars on sale items there once I get back to NY.

Smythe has some amazing blazers! No, I haven’t indulged yet, but I might need to add something like the grey one pictured above to my wardrobe of light jackets!

Target is hosting Jean Paul Gauthier’s line of spring collaborations – yet another reason to get back to America! The trench pictured above adds a sexy private detective flare to the green dress.

A crash course in how to use Twitter

March 14, 2010 § 8 Comments

Before I begin, let me say I am by no means a Twitter expert. I signed up for an account for the sole purpose of getting free Tasti-Delite coupons almost a year ago and it was not until recently that I attended a Social Media conference where my eyes were opened to the relevance of the website. I hope this entry can help those of you who are either Twitter haters and/or new to the site and/or just don’t quite understand the purpose of one of the internet’s latest phenomenons.

The biggest misconception about Twitter is that it’s meant for anyone to use to “tweet” about their every move – “I am making toast”. “My plane just landed”. “O man, I’m soooo hungover! BEERZ 4EVA!#$!” – FALSE. Sure, it’s nice to add a human quality to your account by posting about your life, but when you have nothing to offer your readers other than a recount of your daily meals or what your cat’s up to, why should people follow you? Try your best to be useful, original, and contributive. Funny tweets are also a favorite of mine. Put yourself in your followers’ shoes – why would they want to follow you? What sets you apart from other people with Twitter accounts?

Twitter is a great source for receiving and sharing the latest news on anything from flight/transit delays, weather warnings, and news on your city to the newest fonts available and latest concerts announced. Feel free to “retweet” any of this information you come across to those you think would be interested.

A great way to meet new people and network is by using Twitter. You can search by trends or topics to find those discussing and involved and see who they’re following. You thought Facebook was good for lurking? Well once you get into it on Twitter, who knows what you’ll find or how deep you’ll go. And best of all, it’s pure information! No silly apps, dumb photos, or game invitations, this is pure, 140 characters or less information sharing.

Much more can be said on the subject of Twitter (just google “how to twitter” and see what you find), but for those of you who didn’t come here to polish your Twitter skills in the first place, I don’t want to piss you off. One last thing: In my opinion, I think Twitter accounts are best used for promoting businesses or services, but I believe the individual, if Twitter-savvy, can create and manage an extremely interesting account worth following and reading on a regular basis.

Some of my favorite Twitterers:
Eli Klein
Color Me Katie
Pitchfork Media
Shit My Dad Says
Ben Pobjoy
Tom Waits (doesn’t Tweet enough, but he’s 61 for godsakes)
Conan O’Brien definitely the new KING of Twitter

Would you rather (“get me back to my fiance!” edition)

March 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

Nick & I at Coney Island, 2007

I am so tired of not being with Nick every day that I want to go back to “visit” again, even though I originally thought I could stick it out and wait to go back for good, whenever that is supposed to be.

To tempt the gods of luck, knocking on wood, and jinx, I will perform any one of these tasks if I can get back to New York by the end of March:

1. I will learn all the American states and their capitals

2. I will take a picture of myself every day for a year, and make some kind of weird, slowly aging, creepy photo diary

3. I will attempt to learn some Spanish, as I think that’s what a good portion of NYC speaks (Sorry, Greenpoint, I’m not touching Polish)

4. Not only will I make a point to explore parts of Manhattan I’ve yet to see, I will also try to reach more (non-scary) areas of Brooklyn and/or Queens

5. I will try some kind of meat that I’ve always been scared to try (squaw, octopus, horse, as long as it’s not enough to make me gag)

Okay, Chance Gods, what’s my assignment?

Crazy kids

March 11, 2010 § 6 Comments

Now that I’m 28, I have reached the age where when I see a group of rowdy, excitable kids in their early twenties, almost definitely in their first or second years of college, I cringe and contemplate leaving the immediate vicinity. This usually happens in Toronto, places like Sneaky Dees or most recently, Sadie’s Diner. When this happens, I need to remember that I once was one of these kids. When I was 23-25ish, I traveled in a pack of 10-20 people every Friday and Saturday night. We did ridiculous things like have planned food fights, played on an organized dodgeball team, declared a random day in May to be “everyone’s birthday”, and my old apartment used to be host to every birthday party of all of my friends. I wish I had my iPhoto on this computer, but I don’t so check out some pictures that brought all this on as I read through my oldest comments on myspace. (The only reason I haven’t deleted my account, it’s worth saving for the inside jokes alone!)

The Dirtballs

I think this was somehow work-related?

Chad & Julia go all out for Halloween

Angela had me play dress up to make me feel better when I almost missed a party because I was coming down with a cold. It worked like a charm.

Did you have a group of friends as close-knit and crazy as mine? Leave me a comment about it, and if you’re brave, a photo!

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