Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The end of an era

Hey everyone,

I've been doing a lot of thinking about these challenges and the blog in general. It has definitely been a fun eight weeks, but I feel like I might have moved on. When I started this, I was in need of something different, but now I'm getting busier with work and with various classes that I'm taking and there doesn't seem to be a place for this blog anymore. I don't want this to turn into something I don't enjoy doing and it has been starting to go down that road lately, so I think I'm going to call it quits for a bit. I might do the odd challenge here and there, but this isn't going to be a weekly blog anymore.

Thank you so much for following over the past few weeks! It was really fun to share this with you.

Love you all!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Being nice really pays

And by pays, I mean gives you free stuff. I was in the vegan grocery store, Panacea on Bloor today and I ended up talking to the owner for like 20 minutes. She was super nice and gave me a free Chocolate Amaranth Bar, which I happen to love! It's not like I was being nice so that I would get free stuff, but I know for a fact that if I wasn't just as nice to her as she was to me, I would not currently be eating the delicious combination of chocolate and Amaranth!

Yay kindess!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Hey everyone,

Sorry for my laziness this week. I guess No Internet Week got me out of blogging mode.

Speaking of last week, I can't figure out my scanner, so I've taken pictures of last week's posts. Here they are!

So Kindness Week is going full force. I'm busting out my best Prairie niceness this week. I don't want to toot my proverbial horn, so I won't regale you all with the niceties of this week, haha. Much too awkward. I'll just say that lots of doors have been opened for people, several directions have been given, and I've smiled at A LOT of strangers.


Tell me something nice/helpful you did this week. The person with the nicest story wins! I haven't decided on a prize, but you win!

Ta ta!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Back online!

Hey everyone,

I'm back!! It was a great week in many ways, but I am very glad to be back. I wrote my blog by hand this week, so I'll try to figure out my scanner and post those later today. If I can't figure it out (very likely) I'll take a picture or something, haha. Stay tuned!

On to this week. It's getting increasingly harder to come up with new challenges. If you think of anything that would be good for a challenge, please let me know! The past few challenges have been focused solely on me, so this week I want to do focus my challenge on other people. It's going to be a week of going out of my way to help or do something nice for other people. Whether that's helping someone who is lost on the street or helping someone move or anything else. I don't really know how this week is going to play out. Everyday will be different, but that's a good thing.

Any suggestions? Feel free to comment on this post.

Pip pip cheerio!

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'm too old for this

Concert week is over. It's been great, but man am I tired. I've had late nights every night of this week. I'm going to bed at nine tomorrow, ha.

This afternoon was the Bloor Street Festival where Bloor Street, from Bathurst to Spadina, was filled with performers and local vendors selling food and an assortment of other things. I watched a great band from Mexico. They were from Veracruz, where I visited with Up With People. It was a really fun show. I was transported back to Veracruz, minus the humidity.

Tonight, I saw the band Peggy Sue at Sneaky Dee's. I wasn't too keen on going at first because I was tired and had already seen a concert today, but I'm so glad I did. They're from London, England. There is no one named Peggy Sue in the band. They are Katy Young, Rosa Slade, and Olly Joyce. It was a fabulous show. I'm too tired to articulate my thoughts about the concert, other than that I really enjoyed it. Check them out!

This has been a great week. I love live music! This was a very social week, but I feel like next week will be quite different. It's No Internet Week. Drop me a line so I'm not too bored. I'm going to write my blog on paper and then scan them to post next Monday. Don't miss me too much!

Love you!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Such a good week!

Hey everyone,

Sorry for not blogging this week. My mind has just recovered from being blown by all of the amazing concerts this week. This has been such a great week!

On Thursday, I saw the Choir of St. Chad's College from Durham, England. Oh how I love choral music. I forgot how much I love it. They sounded great. Actually I think it would be hard to sound bad with the amazing acoustics at the Metropolitan United Church, so then they sounded especially good. I learned that there are free concerts at the Met every Thursday at noon, so I will likely be taking advantage of that. It was a nice little break in the middle of the day. I was really glad to have an afternoon show because I was already getting tired from going out the past three nights and I knew I had three more to go.

On Friday, I went with some friends to see a band from our very own York University, The East End Lovelies. It's funk/hip hop/pop (according to their Myspace) and really energetic. It was quite a fun show!

And then came last night. One of the best musical nights of my life. I went to see one of my all time favorite bands, First Aid Kit. I'll start with their opening acts and leave the glory that is First Aid Kit for last.

The first act was a girl whose name I never did catch, so this is kind of a pointless review. She had a bit of a rocky start; there were some problems with the sound, but she ended up recovering and gave a great show.

The next act was Samantha Crain and her band from Oklahoma. They were a pleasant surprise. Samantha had such a beautiful, unique voice and they were such a treat to watch/hear. I would definitely see them again if I had the chance! One song had a kazoo. Clearly amazing. As I said in my first concert post, I love discovering new bands when they open for bands I already love. Here are some videos of Samantha Crain. Enjoy!

Now onto First Aid Kit. I'm borderline obsessed with them, ha. They were so great live. They are just lovely people. They're Swedish and it's already common knowledge that I love Sweden. Klara and Johanna Söderberg are a sister act from Stockholm. They have created some of the most beautiful and complexly simple harmonies I have ever heard. They have been gathering fans for the past few years mainly from their videos on Youtube and are currently on their first American (and Canadian) tour. A few months ago, I never would have thought I'd be seeing them live, so I'm very happy I got the chance to see them.

Here are a few of their videos. Check them out. Love them. Enjoy!

One more concert tonight! I'll post it when I get home, because starting tomorrow, it's No Internet Week! Scary!

Love ya!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Three cheers for live music!

Hey everyone,

Yes I know, I'm behind by a day. Cool your jets. I've just been so busy seeing shows..

On Tuesday, I went to the Rex with Iris to hear some great jazz. I think the band was called the Chris Gale Quartet. We didn't catch all of them, but after their set was over, there was a jam where anyone could come up and play. That was really cool. This girl who was maybe 18 came up and started singing Bye Bye Blackbird with the most perfect jazz voice ever. I recorded it, but I can't upload it for some reason. Dammit Internet, you fail me again. Just imagine it.

Last night was a real treat. I got to see She & Him at the Sound Academy with a bunch of friends. For those of you who are behind on the times, She & Him is a duo of Zooey Deschanel (She) and M. Ward (Him). You might know Zooey Deschanel from the movie 500 Days of Summer where she starred as Summer. And you might know M. Ward from just being amazing. (M. stands for Matthew, by the way. We were trying to guess this all night.)

They were wonderful. They sounded great live and had tons of energy. I did, however, get a touch of a diva-vibe from them. They made us check our cameras at the door and only talked to us like three times. The first was to ask how to pronounce Toronto, the second was to tell people not to use flash, and the third was to talk about the weather. Their energy and music made up for it.

The opening act was a bit awkward. They were the Chapin Sisters. I wanted to like them. They sang interesting songs with interesting harmonies, which usually I really like and find very ... interesting, but I don't think they achieved it as well as they maybe could. One really weird thing was that Zooey came out and sang back up on one of their songs. I've never seen the main act sing back up for the opening. But it was kind of cute because they sang back up for She & Him.

It was really crowded and super loud, but we were under the speakers for most of it, which didn't help. We somehow managed to get right to the front of the stage. By the end, we were second from the front. I'm impressed that we weaseled our way all the way up there.

Overall, it was a really fun concert and I'm really glad I went. I don't have any documentation of the concert because they checked my camera, but I'll post a few of their music videos. Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ingrid Michaelson!

Hey everyone,

I started Concert Week off with a bang! Last night, Laurel and I went to see the fabulous Ingrid Michaelson at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. It was such a good concert. Probably one of the best I've seen. She's a performer who is so great live. Not only did she sound amazing, she is really friendly and hilarious. She was just being herself and having a great time onstage and the audience loved her for it.

I'm going to post a couple of her songs here. The first one is probably her most famous. It's called "The Way I Am" and it was featured on Grey's Anatomy and in an Old Navy commercial. This video is from Good Morning America and it includes a cute, little interview.

The next one is the hit from her new album, Everybody. It's called "Maybe". Check out all of her music. Every song is as great as the last.

Her opening act, Matt Morris, was a great way to start the night. I really love discovering a new band this way. Ingrid originally opened for Jason Mraz and look at her now.

This promises to be a great week! Bye for now.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Birthday and Horror


Today I'm posting about two movies that couldn't be more different.

I'll start it off on a happy note. Yesterday, in honour of my birthday, I watched Twenty-one Candles, ahem, Sixteen Candles. I've seen it, but ages ago, so I happily watched it again. I only have four words to say about this movie: I love the '80s.

Now today was not so fun. Today's genre was horror. I loathe horror movies. I get nightmares and am paranoid for days. I've virtually seen no horror movies, so I had a lot to choose from. I decided to settle on a classic horror movie: Psycho. Terrifying. As far as movies go, it's well done; the acting is really good, there is a fascinating story, the cinematography is great and the music will raise the hairs on your arms. Who wants to take bets on how long it will take me to fall asleep tonight? This type of horror movie scares me the most. I'm (marginally) less scared by ghosts or zombies or other imagined villains than I am by villains who could be walking by me on the street or running the motel I might stay at on a dark and rainy night. I will now never stay in a motel.

This concludes Movie Week! It was a fun one. I got to see some fantastic films. I'd recommend all of the movies I saw this week.

Next week might be my favorite so far. It's Concert Week, where I'll be seeing a different concert each day. Stay tuned!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Who ever thought I'd like a musical called 'Springtime For Hitler'?"

Hey everyone,

I'm really behind with blogging, sorry! I have been really busy the past couple of days, and today is my birthday, so I wasn't really around to blog.

Yesterday, I watched a comedy: 'The Producers'. The original. I honestly don't know how I managed to not see this movie, as I love Mel Brooks movies, especially when they star Gene Wilder. That said, I'm very happy I chose 'The Producers' as my comedy film. It's such a classic.

For those of you who aren't familiar with 'The Producers', director and accountant, Biyalistok and Bloom, respectively, try to earn a fortune from their new play on Broadway. Biyalistok and Bloom, however, aren't trying to create a hit. Quite the opposite, in fact. They are trying to create the worst musical ever made, entitled Springtime for Hilter. Their plans change when Springtime for Hilter becomes an instant success. As you can clearly tell, hilarity ensues.

Zero Mostel (Biyalistok) and Gene Wilder (Bloom) are so funny to watch. They must have had a ball making this movie. This is such a quotable movie with such gems as "I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast. Where did I go right?" I've seen the 2005 version of 'The Producers' with Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, which is a surprisingly good remake, but the original is by far the champion. See this!

As for today, I switched sci fi/fantasy to birthday movie, in honour of my birthday. I chose '16 Candles', despite turning 21. I've actually seen '16 Candles', but it was so long a go that I really wanted to re-watch it. Unfortunately, I had to stop it because I had a birthday party, and I'm now too tired to finish it. I'll finish it in the morning and blog about that as well as tomorrow's film tomorrow. Thanks for understanding! Any good horror suggestions for tomorrow?? I put it off until the end because horror movies scare me so much! Nothing too terrifying, please!


Friday, June 4, 2010

Romance (and foreign)

Hey everyone,

I watched the romance film sort of by accident. I was just watching it for fun, and it turned out to fit the romance bill perfectly. It could also worked as a foreign film, but I make the rules.

It's a Danish movie called Worlds Apart, or To verdener, and it's based on a true story. Sara is a 17 year old who has spent her whole life as a devout Jehovah's Witness. She goes to a party and meets Teis, an older boy who is not a Witness. Sara falls in love and begins to doubt her faith. She is forced to choose between love, family, and Jehovah.

This honestly one of the best movies I've seen in a while. All of the characters were well fleshed out and the actors were so honest that it felt as though you were watching actual people in their real lives. Rosalinde Mynster, who plays Sara, is a superb young actor. You could see her internal struggle with making such life altering decision. There must have been a lot of chemistry between Mynster and Pilou Asbæk (Teis) as their on screen relationship was very believable.

The director, Niels Arden Oplev, presents an unbiased and nonjudgmental portrayal of Jehovah's Witnesses. This film could have easily become a movie about how Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult or are "bad", so I was pleased that Oplev didn't take this route. This makes Sara's decision seem all the more difficult and real to the audience, because you see the love she has for her family and her community.

I highly recommend seeing Worlds Apart.

What sci fi/fantasy movie should I see? And horror?

Love ya!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I want a dragon! or Animated

Yesterday, my mom and I went to How To Train Your Dragon in 3D. It was the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon. Or any afternoon. Or evening. Or pretty much any time.

Hiccup is not your average Viking teenager. He's weak and skinny and just so happens to be the son of the Viking chief, Stoik the Vast. Hiccup wants, more than anything, to slay a dragon and gain recognition from his village, especially from his father, but because of his size, he is kept away from the dragons. Hiccup befriends the most mysterious and dangerous dragon of all and learns that there is more to these creatures than the vikings think.

I won't tell you any more. See this movie. I laughed. I cried. I wanted a dragon. What more can you ask for? My only qualm is that the teens had American accents and the adults had Scottish accents. Interesting... HTTYD shows you that violence is not always the best answer and proves that love is the most powerful weapon of all.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Documentary AKA Watch This Movie


Sorry I didn't post last night. I watched the movie pretty late and was too tired to consider blogging about it.

The documentary I picked was Born Into Brothels. I've wanted to watch this documentary for a while now and I'm very glad I did.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Born Into Brothels, a British photographer named Zana Briski went to Calcutta, India to photograph the prostitutes in the Red Light District. While there, she fell in love with the children of prostitutes and began teaching them photography to see this world from their eyes. She gave each child a camera and the photographs from the children are both stunning and haunting. Briski tries to help these children get proper education since many schools will not accept children of prostitutes. She raises money for the kids by selling their photographs and succeeds in helping a couple of the children get better education. Throughout the film, you hear about life in the Red Light District from the children who live there and see how Briski's (and the camera's) positive influence changes the children.

I thought this was a really insightful movie. You get to know these children really well because, as kids, they are extremely candid with their thoughts about their lives in the brothels. Born Into Brothels won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary, although there have also been a lot of negative reviews of this movie. Several critics say this was a "self-congratulatory piece created to show the filmmakers' deeds" and there are claims that it left the children worse off than they were before the film was made. The interpreter of the film said that "the children's despair has exacerbated because they'd hoped that with active involvement in Ms Briski's camera project, there would be an opportunity for them to live a better life" and for some of the children, that simply was not possible. Regardless of the negative press, I think it's a very important film to see. It shows how amazing children are and how, with the right tools, they can do something incredible. You see how powerful, and important, art can be. Instead of focusing only on the terrible acts that happen in these brothels, much of the focus shifts to the innocence and hope that these children have for their lives. Hopefully, by exposing this side of the brothels in India, something can be done to help the people living in them.

Have any of you seen Born Into Brothels? I'm curious about your response to this film. Please let me know what you thought about it and your response to the negative criticism.