Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sausage Rock n Rolla


So I started my blog this time last year, and in the most cyclical move of 2010 just as I started the year I shall end it talking about sausage rolls.


Everyone ate a lot of sausage rolls this Christmas and it is for two reasons, 1.because they are delicious flaky puffs of happiness and 2. They are the savoury alternative to the ridiculous amount of chocolate and candy on offer.

It is sausage rolls that led to me saving Christmas.... Obviously by saving Christmas I don’t mean saving Christmas, really I mean I saved the sausage roll portion of Christmas, but you got to create your own spin on these things, plus I want to see how many Grinch references come up in the advertisements on bloggywog. I’m going to guess at least 3.

It’s not a long story, although that hasn’t stopped me from weaving a lovely yarn before (country reference, nice). To be brief, we ran out of sausage rolls, and to remedy this, my mother sent me to get more. It didn’t take me long to locate them at the local No Frills and as I reached for the last box in the freezer I didn’t imagine there would be any real further complications to the task, until the lady behind me claimed she had got the sausage rolls first.

It took me a second to comprehend the accusation, I did after all have the box of sausage rolls under my arm and she didn’t. How could she possibly be claiming she had reached them first, when they were in fact in my possession? Unlike me this reasoning didn’t prevent her from pursuing the issue. She explained that she had seen them a few minutes ago, and was just grabbing some other things before she was coming back to get them.

This follows very few social etiquette rulings, although to be honest they are always slightly vague, perhaps one can place dibs on a food entree even if it still remains within the confines of its frozen ice house. Worried that I was committing some sort of social faux pas I hesitated but at no point did this negate the huge amount of pressure placed on me to retrieve more sausage rolls. Letting greed and heroism win out, I let the Lady know in no uncertain terms that the Sausage rolls belong to me. Ok I may have said ´Well they’re mine now´ before running off giggling. Shouting expletives at me while I walked away, although deserved, was highly un-Christmassy.

Whatever you think, I came out of that gorgeous yellowy grocery store with a box of 60 sausage rolls and two bottles of coke, and the whos began to sing, it was pretty darn special.

On a less exciting note:

I would like to apologize for my absence the last few weeks, I have a brand new job and a brand new project I’m working on and poor old bloggywog got moved to the backburner. On the subject of backburners (excellent Segue) for Christmas I got a SLOW COOKER, more on that later.

Back on topic..I will try and keep up to date with the blog, I love it so much at very least I will reduce the amount of distance between posts.

Now back to the Slow Cooker. I love it! I literally cut up a tonne of veggies, threw them in the pot with some beef broth, some water and some diced tomatoes (apparently the backbone of any Crockpot recipe???)and some beef and turned it on. All night it laboured away cooking and stewing. Of course I haven’t tried what I made yet, but it smells delicious! Thank you Olie and Jenny it’s amazing!

The box said it was a set and forget cooker, and seeing as my general attitude towards cooking has always been set and forget this was the perfect gift.

I did really well for gifts this year, so thank you to everyone! I hope you all having a fantastic winter holiday and that you are all happy and successful in this coming year....THE YEAR OF THE RABBIT! It’s supposed to be a lot calmer than the YEAR OF THE TIGER that just went by (why the CAPS meryl? – I don’t know animal years feel like they should be capitalized don’t they?)

Ok love and kisses to everyone...

Meryl xx

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Potter

So as a self confessed Harry Potter addict this was a big weekend for me. My friend Katrine couldn’t go to see the film until Sunday, and although my inner nerd wanted to be at the midnight showing my grown up persona was able to take control and book tickets for Sunday at 7:30pm.


To be honest it was the books I fell in love with. The films are fantastic and visually wondrous, and you can tell that the splitting of the last film was more a desire to get it right than a money grab, but the books are where it started and ended for me. J K Rowling was the reason I wanted to write, she was the reason I wanted to read, for the 12th and 13th years of my life she helped me realize the power of words, the transformability of sentencing. She showed me that even though I couldn’t craft, or draw, or make a bloody money box in tech. I could still be wonderfully creative. She taught me that I could paint with people’s imaginations instead of with a paintbrush.

That being said, the movie was great. I think we take for granted how much of a film is taken up by establishing characters and that in this, the 7th film in a series, they don’t even have to devote the first few minutes to who these people are or what they are up to. They haven’t had to draw an audience in, or pander to those not in the know. They whole heartedly exclude those who haven’t seen the previous films or read the books simply because they are far and few between. Their theatre seats are filled with fans ready to both adore and abhor the material. They are about to be judged on every aspect of the translation from book to film, their work will be reveled for its similarities but scolded for its change, no matter how integral it may be to telling the story via a different medium.

All in all their seats are filled with people who feel connected to this story, who like myself have invested themselves in Harry Potter since they were also 11 years old. The successes of the films aren’t simply due to the huge fan following of the books, the success of the films are in the films themselves. J K Rowling wrote intelligent, plot driven, exquisitely told tales of three young people facing a world of danger and so it is no surprise that the films become magical, mystical blockbuster sellers. Nothing J.K.Rowling wrote was fluff, nothing had no purpose, so much so that in order to do her final book justice the movie moguls had to split this one two ways.

They were right; the first one encompasses everything it needs to. Better yet it does the book justice by pausing on the banality of trying to fulfill a mission when you have no idea where to start. Even when I read the book I felt the frustration of trying to embark on a huge mission when you don’t know what to do, and rather than run from one huge battle scene to the next, the movie makers (now given the luxury of two films) were able to rest on how helpless and useless the unlikely heroes must have felt.

I was surprised at my sadness at loosing characters, that even the knowledge of what was about to occur couldn’t stop me feeling some sort of loss as these characters give their lives for one another. Rowling was never afraid of loosing a character, because by the end they were all so three dimensional and important. You felt the hurt and the pain but you were also able to watch these characters survive the losses and move on. I once heard JK Rowling say in an interview, it is so easy to kill of a character because everything for them is done and it is over, that it is so much harder to suffer their loss and continue your life. That rebuilding one’s life takes more courage than ending it. She, as always, was right.

To bring the sycophantic rant to an end, go watch the film, or better yet go re-read the book. It is worth the money, it is worth the time, and it’s sure as hell is worth the effort.

Love to you all

Meryl xx


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sci- Finally


So people always say that necessity is the mother of invention, which is very true, but if necessity is the mother of invention then imagination has got to be its maternal aunt or at very least its second cousin.


The coolest thing about being around in the present (as opposed to living in the past) is that all the crazy sci fi inventions that people dreamed up in fiction are being brought into actuality.

I have composed a list of a few that just seem mindbogglingly cool.

The Invisibility Cloak. - Harry Potter managed to get his hands on one of these bad boys, in fact he had in his possession the only real invisibility cloak in the world, well perhaps until now.

‘Scientists in the UK have demonstrated a flexible film that represents a big step toward the "invisibility cloak" made famous by Harry Potter.The film contains tiny structures that together form a "metamaterial", which can, among other tricks, manipulate light to render objects invisible.’

Self Tying Shoelaces – Marty Mcfly was mostly concerned about getting himself back to the future before he paradoxically was never born, but he was able to stop long enough to try on the Doc’s self tying, auto adjusting Nike Trainers and now Nike are patenting a pair that do exactly that.

Teleportation – So ok you might now believe me on this one, and we aren’t exactly close to beaming up Scottie but teleportation does exist.

‘The leaps in teleportation technology lie in the transfer of quantum information: where information is transferred (or teleported) from one quantum system to another. For example, take a pair of photons that have identical spin, and separate them. If you adjust the spin of one, the other, through the teleportation of quantum information, will simultaneously adopt the adjustment. The maximum teleportation distance achieved so far is 16km’

Hologram messaging – ‘Help me OB-Wan’ It worked for princess Leia and in the not to distant future it will work for you too, hopefully you won’t need a slightly retro beeping garbage-can robot to deliver it for you.

‘At its heart is a new plastic screen material that will record 3D holographic images time and time again, every two seconds. In the set up described in Nature, 16 cameras recorded 2D images of objects and people from multiple angles That information was then sent to another location using a computer connection.
At the remote site, a laser was used to "print" the visual information on to the new photosensitive polymer. The 3D image composed of the 16 perspectives decays naturally, but the laser can write the next "frame" before it completely disappears.’

I find it all very cool, but to be fair I am both a Sci-Fi fan and a techno-geek. It’s amazing how anyone can just dream something up and someone out there will figure out a way to make it work. There is just no way of knowing how amazingly cool the future is going to look. It’s very exciting

Hope you are all well

Much Love Meryl x

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Striking News

They have replaced Paul the octopus - with Paul the octopus II (that's right, the second).

Here is the article my mum sent me

Cheeky right, replace old Paul with a younger and to be fair cuter looking octo-baby.

Is nothing sacred?

November

So yesterday I wrote about toast, which at first seems silly but at a second glance, well I guess at a second glance seems pretty silly too.

I am trying to get as much material up here as possible but I am finding myself delightfully busy writing for some other projects that are hopefully up and coming soon. I did also watch the entire box set of the boosh, so as you can imagine a hectic week.

Seeing as November is upon us, the inevitable ‘where did the year go’ talks have begun, and to be honest I find myself a little overwhelmed with it all. Can you even believe 2011 looms, it sounds positively space age. 

2011 is going to be a fun year because there are actually a tonne of predictions that it’s when the world will end. Of course the Hollywood film suggested 2012 was the dreaded due date, but all the bible pushers are dead set that it is going to be next year.

I love the apocalyptic predictions because they always manage to find some excuse for why the world hasn’t crumbled, but really how many times can you claim you calculated it wrong. It would be like trying to add 3 butterflies to 4 oranges, there just isn’t a definitive answer.

I still am not sure why people need to claim that the world is going to end abruptly, we are doing such an excellent job of destroying it slowly through pollution and apathy. You would think that in fact we would suggest there was going to be some sort of smog-age where everyone has to walk around with gas masks trying to run from their self inflicted mess, but this apparently isn’t box office enough so we still believe the earth will crack in half and engulf people, or more evangelistically the skies will rain down with blood.

Either way I’m looking forward to it, to the next year that is, not the arrival of the four horsemen. Or more importantly I’m looking forward to the rest of 2010. November does sound like the end of the year, but in the 58 days we have left, a whole bunch of stuff can happen, look at lost, the had discovered the hatch by that point.

Alright love you all chicas will try and blog something of interest next time

Meryl x

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Toast

Toast is the equalizer of all breads.

A sentiment I have actually always believed (and apparantly thought about) since I was very young.
Bread in itself tastes good -mostly, but people will happily debate the pro's and cons, the white vs brown of bread till the cows come home.

I personally like flax bread, it is the equivalent of crunchy peanut butter in a bread-like format, it's got a nice soft white bready texture with the added bonus of tiny little nuts reminding you are almost being healthy.

When it comes down to it white bread is the best. I should stress this is not an opinion even though most people would suggest it is subjective, white bread tastes the best but it unquestionably the worst type for the human body to try and digest

Then comes flax bread - ok fine this is an opinion, most people are partial to a pumpernickle and I would happily tip my hat to them, pumpernickle bread is a fine choice for a second.

The rest end up being equal - multi-grain, five grain, tomato infused, and plan old brown, somebody could steal my sandwhich from my hand and replace the bread with any of these kinds and I would be none the wiser.

The only other bread worth any mention is raisin bread - which I am discounting because it is two steps up from nornmal bread but only one step down from cake. It belongs in it's own breadish cake hybrid catagory, and like dogs judged at crufts it can't really be considered a purebread stream of either cake or bread along with the others.

(I should point out my two seperate uses of the word bread in that last paragraph was purely accidental, proving only that even I am unable to keep up with my own extravagent use of vocabulary)

All in all, there is a definite bread hierachy that seems rather universal. (feel free to disagree, I can't hear you anyway) People definitely have a preference, but chuck any type of bread under a grill and they loose any bread-like definition and become simply 'toast'.

It's a good metaphor for life, like comparing individual personality traits to the over-arching fact that we are all human. If all type of bread end up being just toast, then all type of people end up just being human kind.

You may have surmised that I ate some toast today, I just can't imagine what gave it away and yes I did hold it up into the sky to phisically demonstrate that I believe it is representative of an ideology, that's just the kind of person I am.

Of course i really should branch out and talk about bagels, or wraps, or even french bread but if I think anymore about toast I may find myself standing over the over like a all seeing bread god judging when each slice of uncrisped bread can officially be given it's title of toast, and that may finally be the proof that I'm insane.

Instead I will wish you good night and ask you to stop, just for a moment next time you are about to slide those slices into the toaster and realize what a big moment for it, it really will  be

Over and Out Meryl

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween


There are certain advantages to now living in North America and forefront of those is Halloween. People go crazy for it here; they even close off the street and just let people parade themselves up and down in their extravagant costumes.

This year four of the group dressed as sugar skulls, one of us went as autumn and then Brandy was quite literally ‘hot pink’. I shouldn’t say it, as it’s vain, but we looked awesome. Not one of us looked like we hadn’t gone all out, I was proud of us as a troupe and we got the appropriate reaction when walking into the various parties we stopped in on.

Of course we then got completely trashed, which to be fair has become a real Halloween tradition of mine. I am not sure what it is about Halloween but I swear the same amount of alcohol as you normally drink will make you go berserk. It is my belief that with all the costumes around you added with the reaction you are getting to your own costume, you actually feel drunk before you have had your first drink, hence that first drink feels like the fifth, and the fifth drink feels like the twenty fifth.

In an equation it would look like this

Halloween Drunk = Drink x 5

So the fifth drink would be

Halloween = Drink (5) x 5
Therefore,
Halloween Drunk = 15 Drinks

It’s all very mathematical.

Church Street on Sunday night was so much fun. Some on my favorite costumes included.

Gargamel – complete with a net full of surfs

Double Rainbow – If you don’t know you should

Phillip and Terrance
– Who before I came to Canada made me wonder if Canadians really did have big slits in their mouths.

Beetle Juice – A really good one.

The Entire Disney Troupe – Mickey was there, little mermaid, buzz light-year, Pinocchio. Pinocchio was the best!

The whole thing filled me with Halloween style Christmas spirit, and just for a moment it was nice to be part of a larger group of people all dressing up and being nice to each other and sharing an experience. All felt right with the world…. and then it snowed.

The snow certainly gave it the Christmassy edge, I just still can’t believe how subject to change Canadian weather is. It may rain all the time in England but at least there is little chance the temperature will change 20 degrees in one evening.  It was one of those Halloween nights where you wished you had opted for the full body furry dog suit, just so you could be huddled up nice and warm and still go to the party.

All in all, this year I’m giving Halloween a full thumbs up! Even my parents got into the spirit and went as Dexter and his latest victim, they sent me a picture, and they definitely looked cool!

I hope you all had a great night, and weren’t one of the slew of girls wearing teeny tiny costumes in the minus degree weather!

Boo to all of you!

Meryl x

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

RIP Paul the Octopus


Paul the Octopus is dead . I’m actually feeling a little sentimental, three blog posts this lovely Octopus provided me, as well as enchanting a generation with his uncanny ability to predict football matches. Some times the things we love are taken before their time.

I think the sentiment is best summarized by his agent (yes agent) when he said

"It's a sad day. Paul was rather special but we managed to film Paul before he left this mortal earth,"

It’s a very weird world we live in isn’t it!

Meryl xx

Full story here

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rob Ford



 Things that Mayor Rob Ford has said:

On the Homeless


While berating an anti-poverty activist - "Do you have a job, sir? I'll give you a newspaper to find a job, like everyone else has to do between 9 and 5

On Aids

Ford argued against the city spending $1.5 million on AIDS prevention programs. Ford stated that - "(AIDS) is very preventable," and that "if you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn't get AIDS probably, that's bottom line."

What about women you ask?


With respect to the increasing rates of women contracting the disease, Ford said; "How are women getting it? Maybe they are sleeping with bisexual men."

On being racist (ok fine on work ethic)


Those Oriental people work like dogs. They work their hearts out ... that's why they're successful in life. ... I'm telling you, Oriental people, they're slowly taking over, because there's no excuses for them. They're hard, hard workers."

On Cyclists

Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day.

So it is always the cyclists fault?

Ford was arrested in Miami for driving under the influence (DUI) and marijuana possession charges

How has this happened? How has Rob Ford won Major of Toronto? I didn’t vote for him, I imagine normal, forward thinking people didn’t vote for him so I am going to have to conclude that they counted the votes in bizarro land where up is down and left it right.

What is worse than any of this is that I realize the majority of people in Toronto right now will be offended by this? Because for some reason the majority of people in Toronto decided that it didn’t matter that the man is completely bigoted idiot arsehole with a insistently red face and asked him to run the city anyway?! I honestly feel I could change the top sentence of this blog to things you’d say if you were an arse and all of them would still apply.

It all makes me really sad, really really really sad

Meryl

Paranormal Activity 2 - eek


So it is scaaary. No I haven’t misspelled it, it is so scary that it actually needs those extras a’s just to clarify it is in a class all of its own. I don’t know how impartial I can be in terms of reviewing this film because poltergeists and things jumping out at me have always been on my list of things that keep me awake at night.  I was a mess after the first film and it kept me up for a good three days. Sleep deprived I managed to convince myself the local cat was following me and told my roommate it was throwing malicious looks my way as if it knew something I didn’t. 

Everyone that saw me in the aftermath of Paranormal Activity 1 could not understand why I would want to go and see the follow up film. To answer them, I like to imagine it’s a similar notion to lining up for a rollercoaster ride, every time you go on it scares you but somehow this doesn’t prevent you from going on again. I managed to rope my friend Katrine in to going with me last night but gave her ample warning that I would going to be a pathetic mess and a bit of a liability while I was at the theatre. Strangely she still agreed to go and at 7pm we found ourselves walking down to the Magic Lantern wishing farewell to regular sleep and peace of mind.

As if I needed any help being completely freaked out we walked into the little theatre and noticed the place was pretty empty. Standing ready to great us was a young happy looking fellow who sold us our tickets and laughed brazenly at us as we quipped about our new form of self harm. As we paid for our concessions (yes Katrine decided to buy popcorn for the horror film?) I noticed he double backed around us, and when we walked to towards the screening rooms, there he was waiting to take the tickets he had just sold to us.  Having eerie flashbacks to the shinning I wondered if perhaps this gentlemen was going to play every role at the theatre and be every staff member we met and I kept my eye on him as we walked towards theatre number 9.

The theatre was empty when we walked in, which was strange as we hadn’t arrived early. Minutes later the lights dimmed and I wondered how on earth I’d ended up watching a movie that was about to screw with my head in an empty theatre with a job morphing, slightly psycho looking theatre worker as my only reassurance that help was near by. Nevertheless we persevered.

The film lulls you into a lovely sense of calm for the first twenty minutes or so, but immediately informs you that the events you are seeing happen before those shown in Paranormal Activity 1. The characters are introduced immediately starting with footage of baby Hunter fresh from the hospital looking slightly squishy and being welcomed to his new home.  His doting parents Kristi and Dan as well as Dan’s daughter from a previous marriage run around the house excited by the new addition to the family. Hunter is introduced to his new nanny Martine and the family dog Abby and all in all you get the sense that this is a very normal, very ‘people next door’ family. 

The cameras you see in all the trailers get installed in the house after an apparent break-in at the home, although nothing is actually stolen and it from these monitors that you get to see the rest of the film unfold. The big shocker comes when Kristi’s sister Katie comes over and you realize that this is Katie, as in ‘scary I’m possessed by a demon monster and go missing’ Katie from the first film.  I think it was at this point my eyes opened wide enough to swallow my face, it was a great way to tell the audience things were going to be crazy. I won’t say very much more as I wouldn’t want to ruin the film for those that haven’t seen it, but they intertwine the two stories really really well.

The film slowly begins to escalate and the director Tod Williams manages to make every creak and every movement bone tinglingly scary. Slamming doors make your heart want to stop, and Hunters continued concentration on things behind the camera filming him make shivers run up and down your spine like the proverbial blind mice.

There are about three moments where you think you are going to die, like you literally wonder if your heart can take this much stress without just giving up and killing you and I think there was an equal three moments when I asked Katrine to hold my hand. It turns out that being in the theatre alone has its advantages and we were squeaking a squealing without threat of embarrassment or judgement. Of course when I say ‘we’ I mean me, but there were a couple of moments where I think Katrine joined me on the ‘I’m never going to sleep again’ train.  The ending is brilliant and unexpected right up until it happens, and at no point did you feel the usual this is all a bit silly feeling that most horror films finish up with. 

Trembling we walked out the theatre but it wasn’t long until I regained some composure. The film is scary but I was more prepared for that this time, so afterwards I felt more relieved it was over than panicked something was going to get me. Don’t get me wrong the sequel is as scary as it predecessor I just think my management of it is more adept.

I would highly recommend watching the film, especially as Halloween is upon us. It’s a proper chiller, no real gore or guts just good old fashioned things that go bump in the night but if you do go I would not recommend doing it alone.

Hope you are all well

Love and Kisses

Meryl

PS: In a more reality based kind of scary…Rob Ford is mayor?!?! How could this of happened? More on that tomorrow.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Algonquin Park


So I must have made over a hundred jokes about dying in the forest yesterday but strangely enough we all made it out of there alive.  Jean, my new favorite photographer took some members of her photography class out to Algonquin Park on Sunday and even though I only have a slightly pathetic looking digital camera, the long lensed, light metered real photographers let me come along.

It was a little cold, but I can see why people head up to Algonquin at this time of the year, the colours are spectacular. Rapidly changing trees look as if they contain tiny fires crackling the length of their branches. Golds, browns, burnt oranges and reds litter themselves among the evergreens, creating a plethora of colour just ready to be captured on film. It’s strange, as you pass them in the car the trees look as if they are spinning revealing layer upon layer of delicious autumn hue. It was intoxicating and I was ready to give up my life in the city and stay among the foliage.

Of course then I got hungry and cold and as pointed out by the class there are no Tim Horton’s in the woods. We went on a 5.9k hike which I insist should actually be considered 6K considering we had to double back to the huge muddy bog to find Jen’s sunglasses, but even slime covered feet and shoes couldn’t damper my excitement to see such spectacular sights.

It was like slipping into a painting, brushstrokes of colour surrounded us the whole day, even the mushrooms joined in stretching from bright white (which are the ones that will kill you) to red toadstools complete with fairy like white dots. Katrine, my non photog buddy bought a mushroom book from the park store which provided us entertainment both identifying the mushrooms and forcing each other to take on some of the more ridiculous mushroom names, although her ability to track mushrooms with such aplomb earnt her the name truffle pig, which kind of stuck for most of the day.

Autumn has got to be my favorite season; it is so magnificent a canvas for the weather. Even as the leaves die and cascade from the trees they are picked up by the wind and swirled all around us, I got such Pocahontas flashbacks I think I may have started greeting people with Wingupo instead of hello – of course by ‘may have’, I mean I definitely did do it.

I would like to take this moment to say thankyou to Amy, Katrine, Jose, Jen and most of all our lovely guide Jean for what can only be described as a magical day. I’m excited to see all the photographs from the day especially from our more advanced photographers but I’ve put one of mine up for now so you guys can see how beautiful the place really is

Happy Monday

Meryl xx

Friday, October 1, 2010

Carpe Diem

My top five films are always changing, and why shouldn't they the world keeps putting them out and constant re-evaluation of one's top five lists is a necessary part of keeping up with the new. But no matter how many films they put out there the one film to remain steadfast even as I grow and learn is the Dead Poets Society. Does this resign me to the Robin Williams films are for girls catagory? Maybe, but it is a small price to pay to be able to shout YAWP at the top of my lungs and understand it is the very underpinnings of non-conformity.

For years I worried about being different, I worried that my over active mind and underactive filter system would forever make me a freak, it kind of did but here was a film that told me most men lived lives of quiet desperation and I'd rather be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.

I always imagine Carpe Diem to be the sentiment of a generation, of course our newest group of young people are more likely to subscripe to phases like 'that's hot' or 'just do it'. Carpe Diem is a marketing exec's dream come true. A phrase that represents the underlying fear that we will run out of time to do the things we want. If people are afraid of death it can only be because they feel it will come too soon, but if we make the most of everyday surely we can keep that fear at bay, at least long enough to realize that death is only scary because we love life.

The Dead Poets Society is so sad because it represents the dispair of wanting to do something and being unable to do it, but in actuality are the people keeping us from our dreams mearly ourselves? There are so many barriers to being a free thinker and not small ones either, fear, life, isolation why would you want to think outside the box if everyone relatable is sitting inside. It is impossible not to worry what others think of us, ok it isn't, but it is damn hard and rejection is always a good reminder that putting all your hopes and dreams into one thing can lead to dissapointment.

I have come to believe that being strong comes from working through disapointment and from enjoying the bad as much as you can from worrying less about what people think of you and more what what you think of yourself. Strength comes from pushing forward when all you want to do is retreat. Carpe Diem, sieze the day, it doesn't mean that if you do it will end well, it just means you did it anyway. Or more elequently put 'to gather ye rosebuds while you may'.

Perhaps this is just the poet in me struggling to get free, the elequent rearrangement of words to give them more meaning. I refuse to live a life of quiet desperation and if the only way to do that is to be loud about it, then that is what I will do. People always talk about not wanting to put their thoughts into words and I understand why, as a race we are continuously looking to save face. If we leave our hopes and dreams in our heads no-one will know if they don't come true.

When Niel's father asks him what it is he feels it is the one chance he has to verbalize what he wants to do, and he backs down because in the end he doesn't feel like it could ever happen. If there was ever a message to learn from Mr Keating it was that anything is possible that you can't let anyone tell you that it's not.

O'Captin my Captin

Meryl

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Third Star on The Right and Straight on Till Morning


The foray into adulthood is so unceremonious that I think it takes people a long time to realize that they have ventured into it. For me, I realized there would be no defining moment and no sense of achievement while I was walking down the road in a business suit and sensible high healed shoes. Here I was dressed like the very adults I had admired while heading to school in London. I looked like an adult, I was presenting myself as an adult but I felt very much like a child playing dress up.

There aren't really any defined parameters to being an adult, other than the obvious achievement of living for over eighteen years. I have always thought, to consider yourself an adult you have to be living on your own, and making enough money to pay your bills, but I certainly understand that there are exceptions to these clauses.

I think when I was younger I was under the impression that everything in life just falls into place once you get older, that being an adult would be one of those milestones in your life that are marked by celebrations and certificates. What I failed to realize is that growing up and growing old is all about learning who you are and where you want to be.

Socailly we are kind of told that getting a great job is tip top most important, number one priority in life, which to an extent can be true. But as I learn more about the world, I keep thinking that perhaps being an adult is more about turning childhood dreams into functional realities. It is easy to get lost in a need for money and status but I think the two things prohibit our ability to really think about things. I know that a lot of my thoughts are obscured by an instant need to make money to live, and really how could they not. It is easy to be adventurous, care free and spontaneous when you have the money to back it all up. Finding a balance between the two is what is hard

I have talked about balance so much in my blog, and so I worry I am becoming a little cliche. Perhaps my blog entries are becoming a little too self endulgent. I write about these things because I truly wonder if people have the same conflicts running inside their own minds. If there is no marker to tell you you have become and adult how do you really know that you have?

My biggest fear is that being an adult is accepting that life is essentially treading the same steps as those before you. Living a hugely similar but slightly differing life to the social norm. It makes me feel like peter pan, running away from adulthood because it seems so incredibly dull. Unfortunately there is no never never land, but perhaps I can try and bring a little of it's ideology here. Maybe I have it all wrong and growing up doesn't mean assimilation instead it is a practical aplication of ones abilities to meet one's dreams.

Seeing as I have no answer I shall just have to put every ounce of effort I have into doing what I love, which is writting and have enough determination to not give up on it until I succeed. Maybe I will have to put aside my desire for some concrete congratulations on growing up, and worry more about who I am than where I am at. Whatever happens if I really get in trouble all I have to do is follow the third star on the right and straight on till morning and then my biggest problem will simply be pirates.

Love to all of you out there.

Meryl

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spice Up Your Life


It was the mid nineties and the entire population of England was unashamedly enthralled by two words that would change the face of feminism forever….Girl Power.

I was 9 years old when the Spice Girls first released Wannabe and it was from that moment that I realized that girls could be loud, brash and naughty and people would still love you for it. So the Spice Girls were of course a manufactured, well researched, mostly auto tuned pop band, complete with five distinct personalities that different girls could relate to, but they were an inspiration to millions of young girls, and boys all around the world.

The spice girls get a lot of flack for the rise of girl gangs in England at the time, and not the ‘lets all braid each others hair’ type, the let’s go down the high street and mug people kind. I don’t think that is what the Spice Girls represented at all. They were a group of friends who were having a laugh, who didn’t need men to make them happy and who would put each other first.  

If you want to be my lover you gotta get with my friends, wasn’t a beautifully written lyric line no, but it was a great message none the less.

The Spice Girls had a resounding effect on young ladies everywhere. Yes we all bought into the merchandise, and if I remember rightly very few desks weren’t littered with spice girl rulers and pencil cases that year, but more than that we bought into the idea that perhaps girls did have power, that we could zig a zig ah without transgressing any socially dictated conventions.

For me it was ginger spice…funnily enough it also was for my brother. She was giggly and mouthy and kissed Nelson Mandela on the cheek when she met him. I thought she was brilliant and glamorous and amazing and when she left the group I was devastated.  I actually got to meet her once when I went swimming with my brother, and he’ll hate me for saying it but he was just as excited about it as me. We also walked to Emma Bunton’s house to drop a note asking for tickets to the Spice Girls tour, something that makes my cheeks go red when I think about it now.

But the reason I bring up the Spice Girls is because my birthday made me realize how lucky I am to have these strong independent ladies around me now. I still find myself being inspired and changed by these great role models who look after each other and me everyday. I doubt all of us have the Spice Girls to thank for not being meek, gentile and unadventurous people, and perhaps they were just a product of changing times. What I do know is having the confidence to find happiness in ourselves and not expecting to find it in other people is definitely what Girl Power was all about

Over and Out

Meryl

PS: If you are wondering if I went to see the reunion tour then the answer is yes. Me and my sister put our hair in pigtails covered ourselves in glitter and sang every word of every song until neither of us could talk...twas magical xxx

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Tale of Two Cookies.


So yesterday was my birthday, and it was a truly fantastic day! Birthdays are both special and a bit weird, there is no real difference between that day and any other but even the sight of the date makes it feel foreign and exciting. September the 16th to me always looks different from every other date because in its own strange way it represents me. Obviously it only does this to me, and maybe my family. No one else see’s the 16th of September and have me pop into their brain….or do they.

Fade to black

Fade in.

(Exciting)

[At the office, early morning, interior shot]

So I got a great gift from my friend Grace yesterday in the early morning, and I get to see all these lovely messages on facebook through out the day, but all in all I’m trying to get through my large pile of paperwork so the day feels like most others end up feeling. All of a sudden the doorbell at work rings and there is a man standing with a box that has my name on it, he looks at me and in a rather unenthusiastic singsong tone he says ‘Cookie Gram’.

Low and behold there in the box is a massive cookie (pizza sized at best guess) with Happy Birthday SMAGE written on it. Now to quickly explain, my friend Sian has called me Smagel for years due to an unfortunate bagel misunderstanding that the Ivers family will never let me forget, but Smage is a new name and I was laughing at the mistake while feeling lovely and warm inside that Sian would work out a way to get a cookie delivered in Canada to me on my birthday all the way from England. It was a great surprise and a great gift beat only by one event.

Cookie number 2. About an hour, and fifty bbm’s of thanks later there is another ring on the doorbell, and standing there as if there were a glitch in the matrix is another gentlemen with a white box in his hands who smiles at me and says, cookie gram.

Two cookies ladies and gentlemen, for one birthday.

Turns out while Sian was trying to book cookies from England her confirmation hadn’t come through and worried that it wouldn’t turn up, her and her brother Kieran had scowered the internet to find another company that made cookie grams and ordered it through them.  The second cookie gram was beautifully wrapped and when I opened it, it was really well decorated. There in the center of it written in Capital letters was HAPPY BIRTHDAY SMEGAL.  Two cookies and neither could manage an accurate spelling, not to mention the slack I got from my co-workers about being named after a character from Lord of the Rings. Either way cookie grams are amazing, as is Sian. Thank you so much for making my birthday so very special and delicious. For the first time ever I really understood the psyche of the cookie monster. I became cookie centric. 

Big thankyou’s to everyone that made my birthday so special. For my gifts and for my messages, they were amazing.  I must be the luckiest person alive to have the friends that I have, which is not what I was thinking when they devoured my cookies in less than an hour. No I’m just kidding you are all beautiful!

I hope you all have exciting plans for the weekend! It’s my birthday party on Saturday and I intend to post pictures and blog about the event. If I can remember it, and don’t drunkly loose my camera…at this point what could happen is anyone’s guess.

All my love to those of you also celebrating your birthday this month, including my good friend Caressa who I adore and cannot wait to see on Saturday!

Love and kisses as always

Meryl x

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's like they made it just for me

If this wasn't made for my blog then it should have been

Click here

M x

Thursday, September 9, 2010

TTC Blog

I’m back on the TTC. After almost a year of being driven to work moving has left me right back at square one taking the subway every morning and afternoon during rush hour.  It’s not so bad really, it’s a bit squishy and smells bad but it is certainly a great way to get to work without harming the environment. It is delays that get to me.

Having spent a majority of my life taking London transport to school I am no stranger to delays, but London has a million different lines to accommodate your sudden route change, Toronto has two.  It was this morning, as I stood pressed up against the glass trying to find some personal space while the train lingered in the dark tunnel that I realized I have spent a lot of my life holding hands with a subway pole.

It’s not a big deal really, but the familiar sight of a silver subway pole between my fingers makes me realize how much of your life just slips away right before your eyes. I won’t be the first person to observe that you spend more time with your work colleagues than anyone else in your life. Or that you walk the same piece of pavement or sidewalk everyday until you leave some sort of physical mark there. I used to let my imagination run wild as I walked to the subway, trying to imagine what the area would look like if every step I had taken in it was highlighted blue. If I could retrace my steps over the last year, yes they would take me to India but then they would bring me right back to the very area I walk around like a caged animal pacing.

When I first came to Canada I was far more adventurous. I would get off at different subway stations just to have a little look around. It also helped me get to grips with the city a little quicker. Now that I have moved I get a whole new area to discover which is exciting, although I am sure it won’t even be a month before I’ve devised a standardized route to get to all the things I need.  Routine shouldn’t really be mocked though; I think I may be too hard on it. We create routine out of both necessity and enjoyment. We return to the places we liked and we find efficient way to get to places we need.  That’s hardly a bad thing is it? I guess if I were to give myself advice it would be to try and mix up the two. To appreciate routine for the necessary part of life it is, but also to try and find new and exciting things to do and to see. 

On the topic of breaking routine, Happy New Year to all the lovely Jewish people out there, I hope you have year filled with Happiness, Excitement and Success

Love to all of you xxx

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thirty days has September

September is my favorite month of the year. It is a little self serving because September happens to be my birthday month too but that is not the reason I love it so much. Lots of things happen in September. The weather changes, the kids go back to school, drinking starts happening inside and new television shows are premiered. This predominantly is why I love September. Ever since I was young I had knack for making my imaginary successes accurate, and when I imagine having my television show on the box it would always be premiered in September along with the rest. September makes me feel inspired because I know with a little (or a lot) of hard work it could be my turn to see my script come to life.

September for the last six years has also been my month for moving. Once you get locked into moving in September it is not uncommon to continue doing so. This happens because you sign a year lease and are moving again the same time only a year later. I have stressed how much I dislike moving in September because all the students are trying to do the same only more aggravatingly and expensively and they get in my way, but overall it means September has become the start of something new, and pairing this with new shows and new opportunities I slide into the more introspective and philosophical Meryl I hide away for the rest of the year.

Talking of which the apartment is coming along really nicely. Nearly everything is in place. My kind, loving and sympathetic parents bought me a new netbook for my birthday and more importantly Charlie is back in town. I had asked my parents to look after the dog for a week, just so I could get everything packed up and moved without freaking him out, and he has spent a week in a big house with a big yard eating chicken my mother cooked for him. I missed him a lot while he was away. I think he is settling in, but my new place is a lot smaller than the old one and I think he feels a little peeved that I have downsized especially after spending a week in a dog equivalent all inclusive. Unfortunately for him he is a tiny little dog, so his options are rather limited and I am sure he will be used to it in no time.

I am going to keep this blog short because I am working on an ending to a story I found while clearing out data from my old netbook. It’s just a short story but I can see where I was going with it and feel I need closure by ending it right. If you are really good I will post it for you to read, fine if you are bad I probably will too.

I hope you had a great weekend, I went to second city on Saturday for the new show and it is hilarious, check it out if you can! I also watched a couple of newly released movies. The Runaways, which was poor and had very little happen for most of the film. I will say Dakota Fanning is really a great actress and brought a lot too it, but that was the only real positive to the whole thing. I would skip it if I had a do-over. I also watched Happy Tears, which is one of the weirdest films I’ve ever seen. For some reason I liked it, but it is hard to remember why, hmm if you have seen it let me know what you thought because to be honest I’m not quite sure.


Ok my pretties. Speak to you all real soon xxxx

Friday, September 3, 2010

Why I love Ricky Gervais, Steven Merchant and Karl Pilkington

For lots of reasons, most predominantly this.

Change

If I close my eyes really tight and wish on a shooting star, do you think there is a possibility the rest of the boxes in my house will unpack themselves…yeah I didn’t think so.

If I was Matilda this wouldn’t be a problem.

Anyway onto brighter things, today I want to talk about change (I know, how Obama of me right). Change is really important in life and yet it is one of the things that make us panic more than anything else. As a western civilization nearly everything we do works around routine, we are quick to ‘settle in’ and feel weird before we do. I am trying very hard to do the opposite, to use this change of address as an opening to change all the other things I wanted to but didn’t.

Ok so not all the other things, but lots of them. When Obama talked about change he promised a lot of things he himself may not be able to deliver and I know there are lots of people who are disappointed that he hasn’t really followed through on a lot of his policies, but for me Obama talking about change was more about mental state. For the first time in a long time the American population recognized that perhaps what they had going on wasn’t working for them, that proceeding in a both needless and endless war didn’t make any sense. American’s can be so great, but they are also blindly patriotic believing that being American is supporting everything the government decides to do, even if they think it is wrong. For the first time they had a leader saying, we need change, we need to grow and get better and re-evaluate.

And that is how I feel. I absolutely loved my time in Ossington, I have had a great last two years and met lots of people who I adore and are so important to me.  I got to live with great people and have lots of fun but it changed my focus and allowed me to enjoy routine and procrastination.  I’m ready for a new adventure. I’ve got my own place, I’m downtown in the city and I’m ready to spotlight my focus and write my arse off.  This coming year is going to be different, because like Obama I want change.

So after re-reading this perhaps my comparisons between one of the most powerful men in the world running a country and me moving house are a little presumptuous, but I’m going to stand by them because that’s the kind of arrogant tosser I am.

Love to all of you x

PS: A big shout out to my Grandma and Grandpa on their 56th Wedding anniversary, and to my Uncle J and Aunti S on theirs too! 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Box City


Hello Bloggywoggers

So I’m moved in.  I can’t believe it’s all moved in, well I can because of the 6 hours I spent in the 33 degree weather shifting boxes and beds around.  All in all it was a bit of a nightmare.  It was stiflingly hot which is awful moving temperature and there was just the two of us moving everything. I will never do it again ever. Next time I want 10 strong men packing and moving my stuff while I lay leisurely on a soft chair eating grapes. On the plus side we managed to move for a whopping 30 dollars each, which is quite a saving.

Or is it?

No it isn’t.

Why?

Because I managed to smash my computer the night before we were due to move.

Let me set the scene for you readers. It is nine o’clock the night before moving day and I’m trying to stuff the last of my rubbish into boxes and bags.  My brain is trying to concentrate only on packing, but it is being distracted by worry that I won’t be able to move the heavy boxes I have now packed. I’m running around the house like a bit of a loon concerned I’m going to leave something behind.  I grab one of the lighter boxes and lay it on top of a pile of clothes and it slowly slides sideways and onto the floor hitting a hanger which unearths another box which causes my bed side table to collapse sending my computer flying and with a smash it hits the hardwood floor.

The worst part is that the screen was facing down when it fell, so I have to walk over to it not sure if it is going to be dead. As I turn the poor thing over I’m silently praying to the god I don’t believe in to make it be ok, and unsurprisingly after no divine intervention three quarters of the screen has gone black.  On the plus side one quarter of the screen is functioning perfectly so I know the actual computer is still working and all my info isn’t lost.  This will be my fifth computer in three years so I’m starting to think it is me and not them. 

By the end of moving day, I was sweaty and hot, I looked like crap and my arms were aching, and the after effects today are kind of worse. I can barely lift my arms up and I’m covered in bruises and of course now don’t have a computer to write my blog on. Again you will have to put up with the spelling mistakes associated with writing blog entries on a blackberry.  I do feel happy and calm though. My new apartment is all mine, and although it looks like box city right now, I can see how it is all going to take shape and I’m going to love it. I can’t wait to get it in order.

I want to say thank you to my room mate Mike who really took the lions share in moving stuff, I like to think I did as much as I could but all in all he was the hero of the day. I would also like to thank Dave for driving that huge truck and not taking out any lampposts on the way (scraping one doesn’t count). Oh talking of which how strange is this, while in the middle of moving we had our photo taken yesterday. We had decided to take a break because we were just getting so hot and Dave ran and got us all icecaps from Tim Horton’s. We all took a seat on the end of the truck, feet dangling boxes and chairs scattered in and around us. All of a sudden we see a flash and some man is taking photos of us. To be fair we probably looked like a Tim Horton’s commercial, all ‘stressful day, take a break and cool of with an icecap’ like, but it was a little strange none the less.

While I am doing thankyous, I would like to thank everyone who checked in on me throughout the day, although it was all very hectic it was nice that people were thinking of how horrible I must be feeling moving in the heat. A massive thank you goes out to Jen for feeding me dinner and letting me sit in her air-conditioned apartment she is the best neighbour ever.

Also if any of you want to donate a computer to me, don’t even bother I wouldn’t take it if it was free. Yes I would, yes I would, somebody? anybody?

Meryl

Monday, August 30, 2010

Brain Dust

So if I am being honest today I am a little frazzled. I’m generally a really calm person, well unless you sneak up on me in the house to which I will jump as if you are a ninja.  I know moving does that to people so I’m not overly worried it is abnormal but I have a bunch of other little things to sort out that make me feel like I am trying to juggle fire sticks (not technically the right name for them).

The best thing to do when really stressed out is to take a moment to breathe. There is very little in this life that cannot be sorted out and taking a second to think everything through will stop you from panicking or feeling overwhelmed.  I am breathing lots and lots today, all the time in…out…in…out and so forth. Ok so I would be doing it anyway so I could stay alive but this breathing is focused, it’s special breathing I promise.

Due to the insane amount of packing and sorting out I have to do, this is where this blog ends. …
..................
..................
.................
.................
................
......

Haha ok, all my special breathing has caused dust to go into my brain and its making me silly. Today's picture is how I want my new apartment to look ...........It won’t :(
Love you all

Meryl xxx

Friday, August 27, 2010

New Chocolate News

So anyone that read my blog when it was brand new will know I was a little obsessed with consistency when I first started. For some reason I was truly worried that my, all over the place, topic choices would put people off continuing reading. To remedy this I decided as long as I reported sporadically on chocolate related news stories I could pretend that my blog was chocolate centric with other topics thrown in. I should point out I now see this is the thought process of a mental patient but have come to terms with it and have a brand new chocolate related story for you today.

Chocolate covered iPads. Yes it sounds mental but it is true. You can now get your iPad coated in chocolate and wrapped in nice looking chocolate wrapping to confuse and surprise the recipient of this cool new piece of technology.  So I wasn’t sure if I thought this was cool or not so I shopped the idea around the office, and I am not going to lie it split the crowd.

There were three main argument strains.

1.    That’s pretty cool I want one
2.    What’s the point?
3.    There are starving people in the world and we are putting iPads into chocolate really?

I have to admit I’m a little on the fence. It is cool, if someone gave me an iPad covered in chocolate I would just die. It would literally be the coolest thing ever, but on the scale of unnecessary indulgences it is hitting the big 1, 0. It goes along with gold plated iPods and Swarovski covered blackberry’s it is just an extravagant amount of money to spend on something so superfluous. (big word)

This is the time I wish I knew how to create a poll on blogspot. It would be cool to have one of those bar chart things which show what you guys think on the matter. I personally think the best thing to do is believe in number three and secretly hope you get one. That way you can be a good person and a person with a chocolate covered iPad, it’s a win win all round.

Alright hope you all have very exciting weekends planned, mine will consist almost entirely of packing so I can imagine yours will be somewhat less humdrum. 5 days till moving day…move-y move-y.

Meryl xxx

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Frozen Vegetables

Obviously frozen vegetables are somewhat of a second class to the fresh vegetables that parade themselves pompously among the vegetable section of the supermarket, but they last a long time, they are all ready cut and you don’t have to worry that a bug might be living inside them.

Also when I was buying fresh vegetables I found that some went bad almost instantly, and they end up being quite expensive. When I switched to frozen vegetables I thought I had found my solution, the vegetables of my dreams if you will, and I am still of the same mind, except… runner beans.

I was trying to make vegetables sound somewhat sinister there and I don’t think I succeeded, but something that has started to irritate me is how difficult it is to buy mixed frozen vegetables without there being a somewhat majority of runner beans thrown into the mix.

It’s just like when you open a pack of starburst and you’ve got five green ones, what is the point? People live for the red and purple ones, green are just filler that you eat first before savoring the good once. In this analogy baby corn count as red and water chestnuts as purple, god I love a water chestnut.

You are probably wondering why I don’t just buy a pack of frozen baby corn, or invest in a bag of water chestnuts to cook up with my beef, but it doesn’t work like that. If I really just mixed in one type of vegetable the whole meal looks a little sad, not to mention individual packaged vegetables are almost double the cost.

I have thankfully found the solution. All too often do I present to you, dear readers, nuisances of life and then leave it at that, but no more. I don’t like runner beans fresh, and I certainly don’t like the water filled chewy version that are frozen but I have been introduced to a new kind of vegetable called stir fry mix. Now the creators of ‘stir fry mix’ have done a very clever thing and switched up the runner beans for sugar snap peas (everyone’s favorite green vegetable) and the results are delicious if I were you I’d run out and by some right now.

This makes me think of a great show called Archer, it is an animated show released by adult swim and it is truly hilarious.  This poor employee is chopping vegetables at work for a stir fry to serve to his girlfriend later and when he tells archer they have special name for Friday’s stir fry night Archer replies ‘is it stirfriday?’ to which Cyril looking glum says ‘wow, that’s way better that what I had’

I guess the whole world is talking about Stir fry related things and I’m on the forefront. Reporting to you from my bedroom side table I’ve been Meryl have yourself a great evening.

xxx

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Triple Decker Sandwhich

Je suis tres desole pour my absence yesterday. Look at that, starting my blog in some strange French to English mix, how Canadian am I? I have been trying so hard to keep up with my blog but yesterday just got away from me.

More importantly today I wanted to talk about triple decker sandwiches.  You may have heard of triple decker buses (Harry Potter Reference anybody) or triple decker trains (Go Canadian Transport) but triple decker sandwiches is a phrase that makes sense only to my grandpa, my siblings and me.

Triple Decker sandwiches are exactly as they sound, a sandwich with three layers.  My grandpa used to make them for me, my sister and my brother when we stayed round their house. Most commonly they would run like this. Piece of bread (preferably toast) sardines (probably two) piece of bread (again toasted) egg (hopefully scrambled) piece of toast, tomato, piece of toast. Done. 

Now of course when you are 8 years old and you have a sandwich the size of your face in front of you it becomes somewhat of a challenge, but my grandpa didn’t mind if we ate them, I think he just liked that we liked them.

Other than triple decker sandwich breakfasts it was my grandma that made the food in that household, and she is an absolutely incredible chef! She would make lasagna from scratch, amazing porridge (which looking back was probably ready brek with honey) and the best cheesecake in the land! There was no way you were coming back from G&G’s household hungry. We used to have so much fun there!

In other news, excitingly I have been asked to be a bridesmaid by my very good friend Grace!!! I am so excited for her and so excited that I get to be part of her special day and her life in general! Congrats again grace-la, this is going to be amazing!

This week may be a little blog light but only because I am moving to a new apartment next week and have a crazy amount of packing to do, still exciting to be moving, change always brings new excitements, as well as massive amounts of stress and panic…right?

Meryl x


PS – I could not find a picture of a triple decker sandwich that met with my high standards, so I drew one. It didn’t all pan out like I thought it would.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gregg's Bakery

So my mum sent me an article about Gregg’s bakery. The English people reading this know exactly what Gregg’s is but for you Canadians I will take a minute to explain.
Greggs, or Gregg’s bakery is like a fast food bakery shop. You will find them everywhere in England and they sell cheap lardy food like sausage rolls in flaky pastry. They also specialize in all these different types of pasty and every donut or sweet treat you can even think of and for the older folk they sell fresh bread that we will cut there.  It was also where I had my very first job. I was 14 or 15 around that age, and I started at Gregg’s doing weekends to make a little bit of cash. 

Gregg’s take their stuff seriously, and I dreaded every second I had to spend there. In England sausage rolls are the perfect hangover, or drunken binge snack.  In fact I am sure all of you out there can appreciate how delicious a hot sausage roll would be after a heavy night out. What you can also understand is that being a 15 year old girl having to serve drunken lads sausage rolls at all hours of the night was far from an enjoyable experience.

I think I would still take drunken customers over preparing the food. There were always the fun jobs, like sugaring the donuts or icing the pastries where you could eat your wages in sweet treats, but I was also in charge of mixing the tuna mayonnaise, which has a surprisingly small amount of tuna in it, and scraping the burnt pork mince off the oven.

Those ovens. Not only did they make the back area of the store unbearably hot, they would beep two minutes before the pasties were ready, one minute before they were ready, and then every ten seconds until they were done. This was followed by one very long beep that persisted until you took the tray out the oven even if you did have a line of customers that you were serving. Sometimes I would hear the beeping in my dreams, just a sort of distant reminder that I would have to go back to work at some point.

On the plus side, Gregg’s Bakery treats their employees very well, even as a part timer I got a reasonable wage and an hour break. Plus the people were really nice. Management were kind of crazy though, they were just so into their jobs. In the article my mum sent they quoted an employee talking about Gregg’s recipe for Jam Donuts, and he replied 'We're re-evaluating it because we believe we can improve the mouth feel and flavor attached,’ It is weird isn’t it? Mouth feel, that does make me laugh.

I think everybody’s first job sucks, but it is an important milestone in becoming an adult. Unless you are babysitting, best job I ever had. You get paid lots of money to sit and watch television with someone else’s kids, in fact once I got a job looking after a dog.  Gregg’s was a typical first job, I learnt how to manage my time, how to run cash, how to talk to customers and how use a bread cutting machine without chopping off my fingers so all in all it was a great step for me and I look back on it fondly. Would I go back, never, but I would definitely stop in for a sausage roll.

Anyway, take a moment to read the article, it’s funny to see how serious they are about pleasing the customer and about what they feel the can improve. Hope all your Mondays go well!

Meryl xxx

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Question and Answer



So I was sent a bunch of questions over the last few months to answer but I feel really weird doing a Q and A because it looks a bit pompous and tosser-ish (new word) but now that I have 11 of them sitting in my inbox I thought maybe if I do them really quickly it won’t feel so odd – like ripping off a Q and A band aid

1. What are you afraid off?

Ok easy one, birds. Its not so much a fear as a dislike, when I was very little my dad took me up to Trafalgar square to feed the birds and lots of them landed on me and I ended up with three on my arm knocking each other over and scratching me up.  City pigeons are the worst because they fear nothing, not even being trodden on but the ones in the country aren’t so bad. The only time I really got in trouble was in Venice when a million them took off at once and I ended up rolling in a ball on the floor while my friends laughingly picked me up.

2. What else do you write other than your blog?

Right now I am working on writing a television Sitcom, it’s so good that if I even shared a bit of it the universe would collapse on itself and we would all die. Although the peoples in suits seem unaffected by this and are happy to have me write it and rewrite it while they pitch it out for me.  I am also particularly good at writing lists

3. Why does every blog entry come up twice on facebook?

It is a very slow process making people check out a website, so I have my facebook set to import each one and show it as a note as well, that way if you can’t be bothered to click you can just read it there…lazy bastards

4. How much do you earn from your blog

You cheeky thing you asking about money, but if you must know, very little. As I have demonstrated I love to play with the algorithms for the advertisements along the sides of my entries and if people click them I get paid for it. Please don’t feel you have to click on them to help me make money, really don’t, but if you see something that interests you go crazy! I started my blog as a great way to showcase my writing, and when I do go to meetings for my sitcom I am able to present them with a website to show them my style, plus I have a feeling they are dying for new writers with detailed knowledge of the conker championships

5. If you were stranded on an island what three things would you take with me.

Easy – Jack, Sawyer and Desmond (he is my constant)

6. What is your favorite TV show?
Impossible question, there are too many good ones, not to mention I change my mind daily. I guess if it came down to the wire and I had to pick to save a baby Kawala from being shot I would say Gavin and Stacey. I think because it felt so real and sweet.  I didn’t pick Doctor Who, which came as a shock to me as much as it did to you. It is amazing and excellent and funny and clever and smart, but Gavin and Stacy is similar to something I would write, it is what I aspire to.

7. Pirates or Ninjas

This one was sent anonymously, which is so sad because it is my favorite question of the bunch, and I gave it some real thought.  I think Ninjas, it is because they could be anywhere, literally you could turn around and there would be ninja standing silently behind you. Of course you would then be dead, but you last thought would be ‘Oh my God a ninja’. Pirates are mostly at sea, you are less likely to see one and if you did you may be able to get away.

8. Do you have any secrets?

Lots and lots and lots and lots.

9. When do you normally write your blogs?

Sometimes I write them in my mind first while I am walking somewhere, and then write down as much as I can remember once I get to the computer. This is my favorite way of writing anything because I feel like you allow your thoughts to come to completion without being interrupted by getting it all down. If I do write them off the cusp it will normally be late at night, or on my break at work all depending on whether something has sparked my interest. I’m a little like a goldfish though, so I have a short period of time before I forget what I am thinking of have moved onto something else.

10. Is everything you write true?

I worry from this question that Danka (from Persia) you are assuming what I have written is so manic it might be made up. Unfortunately everything that I write actually happened or is happening or I think may happen. I don’t imagine my life to be any weirder than anyone elses but I do realize the way I write is. Introspection can be a blessing or a curse but I am off the belief that if you can laugh about anything that happens to you life is a little more enjoyable and a lot more fun. I should add that my entire blog about being afraid of padlocks wasn’t true but I hope from the tone of it you realized I was purposely lying to you readers to get out of trouble for not blogging in a while.

11. Do you want to become an internet star?

I would love a hundred billion people to read my website everyday but it isn’t why I write. I once heard an interview with David Sedaris and he said that everybody has an idea to write about but only very few people put pen to paper. I wanted to make sure I didn’t fall into that category and started a blog to force myself to write, it worked. As long as I get to write all the time and keep my focus I’d be happy even if no one read it.


Ok and we are done, feel free to send me anymore questions you have, or just leave them in the comments box. In fact I demand more comments, my special counter of page impressions is up to about 100 a day now and if you all leave a message it will make me happier than a kitten in a cat nip castle.

Love to all of you

Meryl xxx

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Facebook Friends

This topic was actually a suggestion by my very intelligent friend Zina, and when intelligent friends offer you blog topics you bloody well better take ‘em. What she was saying is something I have heard a lot of people discuss which is what exactly it means to be someone’s facebook friend.

From previous blogs you probably know that I’m very pro facebook, this is partially because I moved country and it is a very convenient way to keep up with long distance friends but it is also because I personally believe it encourages social interaction.

This is a sticking point for people, turning genuine social interaction or ‘face time’ into technological interaction or ‘facebook’ (see what I did there) is really a reduction in human interconnectivity or mingling.  The best example that I’ve seen of this is a commercial for a phone. They have a gentleman sitting in a cafĂ© and opposite him keep flashing different people who he is talking to, in the end you see in fact he is having a cup of coffee by himself texting away on his phone, the resounding message being ‘keep up with your friends’. It is difficult to know if that is what you are actually doing, or if in fact you are isolating yourself from the real life human beings sitting around you. Being on your phone certainly isn’t going to result in meeting someone new or feeling part of society so maybe technology is inhibiting social networking?!

Why do I think facebook is different from this?  I think facebook is different from this because your friend list tends to keep growing. Normally when you meet people at a party you don’t get to know them well enough to ask for a number or to suggest another meeting time, but adding someone to facebook allows you to explore the possibility that a new friendship could be forged. Zina said it best when she says it allows someone who is interested in finding out about you, to, well, find out about you. 

I really believe it is also useful for finding a relationship. By no means do I think facebook is a dating website, nor do I allow the lovely gentlemen from Egypt to add me after telling me ‘I have nice picture’. What facebook does do is eliminate moments such as those described by James Blunt where you meet someone you really like and then they are gone. Facebook enables people to stay connected after that first glance, reducing the crazy statistic that proximity is a discriminator for relationships. Socially it allows us to get to know more people, to reduce acquaintances and add more friends.

Facebook does a tonne of other crap too, like let people know what you are thinking about 24/7, share with others your likes and dislikes. It also sells most of your information to marketing companies for lots and lots of money. I guess sometimes you have to take the bad with the good, and marketing companies have always managed to get their hands on your stats way before facebook took off.  You have to be careful what you put up in a public domain but I have no sympathy for those who complain about it. If you pinned a picture of yourself onto a cork notice board in a community center and it was gone you would realize that it was a risk you were taking, posting stuff up on the internet is really the same deal.

I have this great link you guys should check out, it is from a hilarious show called the IT crowd, they do a whole episode on a new social networking website called ‘Friend Face’ and here is the clip. If you have time check out the whole episode here.


Anyway I must dash, things to do people to see, mostly on facebook in the farm I’m cultivating…just kidding I’m a nerd not a loser. (debatably)

Meryl xx

Monday, August 16, 2010

Shot – A – Palooza

When my friend decided to throw an event based around drinking many many shots I think we were all aware it may end a little sloppy. We were right it did. It was however huge amounts of fun. There were pudding shots and root beer float shots, and peanut butter and Jam shots, the rest of them kind of all blurred together in my mind, I can’t imagine why? See that wasn’t sarcasm the shots literally have decayed the part of my brain in charge of imagination. Only kidding, three quarters of my brain is taken up by imagination hence why I woke up yesterday morning laughing because of the dream I had.

It isn’t always easy to describe a dream but this one was so clear I wonder if perhaps it happened. It didn’t. In my drunken haze I fell fast asleep and dreamed I was in an elevator. It was pretty standard but had two full length mirrors on either side. The elevator stopped at the first floor and in walked this little round monster with one large blinky eye. It was actually very cute and it turned and looked at me give me a blink and turned back towards the door. The elevator continued to go up and on each floor more and more of these little monsters started clambering in. Now as anyone who has stood between two full length mirrors know when you look in one you see it’s reflection in the reflection of the mirror and inside that you see the reflection of the other mirror (you’re still following right) anyway it creates this endless hallway effect which goes on forever.
Once there were about 25 eye blinking monsters and me reflected in the mirrors we looked like a small monster army and for some reason they all kept blinking in perfect unison. It got too much for my drunken brain and I started laughing so hard in my dream I fully work up disorientated and a little disappointed. I was missing my blinky friends.

I actually re-told this dream to Jen the next day and she asked if the monsters were green. I should point out they were not, they were rainbow coloured, like skittles. Actually more like iPod colours. They were rainbow iPod monsters.

As a special treat I have drawn a picture of the dream – please note it is a reconstruction and I cannot draw.




They are cute aren’t they! I also want to wish my brother HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Today is his birthday, and it is the first one in which he will be married yay!! I am very lucky to have him and I hope that this year is amazing and exciting and full of successes!! Love you lots.

And to everyone else happy Monday, thanks for reading, I am a grateful grapefruit. If you need cheering up click here

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Superbug

So remember SARS? and bird flu, and swine flu. Yes mostly because they are reminder of what happens when the whole western world gets itself into a flap about nothing. It is also a great way for an economy to make money. Scared people will buy lots of things to make themselves feel safe including investing in vaccines.

So today I read about the new ‘superbug’ that has made it’s way from India and Pakistan, which ironically I could have brought back with me when I was there in January. Not only is it immune to our usual antibiotics it is also able to spread very quickly from person to person, which is weird because that would be exactly the same as bird flu, SARS and swine flu. Spooky coincidence. Obviously one shouldn’t be flippant when lives are at stake but scare mongering has become clichĂ© and creating general panic to generate income seems to be a common strategy the government employs. 

I guess we will just have to see how things progress, but I would slap a couple brown skins down (I’m so Canadian) that the whole thing spirals out of control. At the end of the day you just got to accept that we are very rarely in control of what is about to happen, so relax enjoy knowing there is very little you can do.

Alright, short and sweet today!

Be good

Meryl

PS Gustav – contact me by owl, it’s the only way I can see of communicating. Unless you have any better suggestions?!

xxxx

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tennis

I wish I could say I was exaggeration when I tell you me and my friend Katrine spent the entire tennis match admiring Rafael Nadal’s bottom but I’m not. I don’t really think we were to blame, it’s a perfect arse made better by some perfectly fitting trousers.

Anyway, to find myself in the gold seats of the Rogers Cup center court watching the world’s number one tennis player was pretty amazing. We also got to see Peter Polanski play, or POPO as we affectionately nicknamed him and really the Canadians took the night.

It is always good to see a country come behind its athletes and to say the Canadians had the crowd last night was an understatement. It must be great to have the home advantage but it doesn’t take away from the fact that two of Canada’s most excellent Tennis players took down the world’s number 1 and number 2 in the doubles opener. Tennis is lots more fun that I had thought.

Ok so doubles is a lot more fun than I thought. Singles was kind of what I expected, lots of head turning, but doubles is lightning fast and really exciting, it makes you want to shout things out and cheer people along, which you can’t because tennis is posh. Yes ladies and gentlemens there is no cat calling or heckling in tennis, you are allowed to clap and you have to wait for a point to be over before you leave your seat to go pee.  It’s all very civilized and nice but I think part of sport is being allowed to shout mean things at the opposing team. Well it didn’t faze us too much and after a few drinks we weren’t exactly adhering to the no shouting policy.

I also had the pleasure of going to the Black Keys last week and they were just wicked. Plus the morning benders opened so all my dreams came true in one show. I love love love the morning benders but the black keys totally blew them out of the water. My roommate said it best when he sauntered up to me wide eyed with a big smile on his face ‘Dan Auerbach eh? He is just such a showman’. And he was right, there were a couple of truly magical moments where the crowd were totally into the show, they are brilliant live. The only downside to the show was the venue. I like Kool house, it’s really big and the sound is good but by George was it hot. If we had been in a cartoon we could have watched a thermometer’s level rise to the top and have it burst open, it just got hotter and hotter and hotter until you couldn’t move let alone dance. For a venue called Kool House they should really invest in a better AC system

Ok peoples onwards and upwards. I hope the week is treating you well. Here is a little treat for you just because it’s Tuesday. I’ve found a bigger Doctor Who nerd than myself…check him out here :)