Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thugs Need Hugs

I asked John why the douchebags who are smashing things up during the G20 because they're supposedly anti-capitalist or some such don't go out and do this every night if they feel so strongly about their cause.

"Because they're opportunists," he said.

It got me thinking about the whys of violence, of such rampant and reckless destruction without any real gain. Who are these vigilantes who have decided to commit such heedless acts of thuggery?

It's easy to dismiss them as "losers" who "don't have jobs" and "illiterate, sewer-trekking scum." But there's something else driving their black, soulless, misdirected anger.

After watching an episode of Glee, I realized what that something was. In one of my favorite rip-him-a-new-one moments, Kurt's dad says:

"You live a few years you start seeing the hate in people’s hearts, even the best people."

These people are infected with hate. They have a disease of the heart and mind that causes them to lash out in terrible ways and justify their actions with some flimsy excuse. They only come out at these moments when everyone can see them because they don't really believe in their cause enough to put in the energy or effort into fighting for what they believe in. If they did, they would do so clandestinely, with long-term plans and goals. They'd have systems and structure and funds and means, and they'd have the fervent belief that what they are doing is for the greater good. In other words, they'd be terrorists.

But all these window-smashing, car-burning lunks are are misguided thugs.

They're out there with their masks and their bats and their anger because they are crying out for help. They want to be seen. They want people to see how angry they are, and they want people to stop them, or else look at them and notice they are there. Their pain is invisible to us, so they do anything they can to grab our attention. It's the equivalent of screaming, "Mom! Look at me, Mom! Moooom! You're not looking! MOOOOOMMM!!!"

These people deserve our pity, not our scorn; they need treatment and rehabilitation, not jails.

In other words, thugs need hugs.

Who knows what drove them to this point in their life? Bad upbringing? Abuse? Hard times? Hate is easy, and is easily fed. It consumes one utterly, and spreads like a disease.

So, if ever you are faced with confronting a thug, fight them the way a Care Bear would. Show them love and understanding, use words, and give them a hug. It's likely they haven't ever had one.

Below is a helpful demonstration of how to face off against a thug threatening your car or local business.*

*My many rewatchings of this movie as a child have finally taught me something valuable!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

G20 as explained by animals -OR- Why I Never Became a Journalist

It's true I have a bachelor of journalism degree from Ryerson University. It is also true that I did not want to become a hardcore journalist.

While I was mildly curious about what was going on downtown this weekend, I was also not willing to risk life or limb to actually find out. I've read enough Twitter and Facebook updates, though, to get a sense of the malaise of Torontonians, the sadness and anger and rage coursing through residents and protesters alike.

So to cut through the bitterness on both sides, I present you the G20 protests as I believed they happened, reenacted by cute animals. (No animals were harmed in the making of these pictures. Sadly, I can't say the same for the people involved on either side of the protests.)

1. The perceived problem among some anarchists and anti-capitalist protesters:

2 a) and b): The natural conflict between haves and have nots:

3. How to protest:

4. Why things sometimes get out of hand...

5 a) thru c). Results of provocation:

6. What residents of hosting cities of G20 are all thinking:

All photos are from

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wedding Post Mortem

Now that the photographer's abridged gallery is up, I am starting to recall some of the day now. Check it out here.

Here's a rundown of some of the stuff I remember:

  • John and I stayed over at the Westin Harbour Castle hotel the night before the wedding and the night of the wedding. I had terrible heartburn the night before the wedding--it wasn't jitters, really. The concierge sent me up a glass of soda water served by a guy who looked and sounded exactly like Mr. Sulu from Star Trek (Takei, not Cho). I got Zantac to help me from Aunt Ellen. (Thanks Ellen! Sorry to wake you!)
  • We woke up around 8 a.m. The hairstylist and makeup artist came at 8:30 and did my bridesmaids first while we ordered room service breakfast and watched TV. It was the first time in months that John and I had cable. John stuck around for much of the morning until just a little after Mike the photographer arrived.

  • Mike managed to coax two kinds of smiles out of me: the big toothy smile, and the half-smile, or "Family Guy" smile. (We'd been watching an episode and it made me smirk.) So any picture you see with my lips pressed together, it's because I'm singing "My Black Son" to myself.

  • I didn't know about the Stormtroopers. Fiona bought costumes and got two friends to wear them. They had them on in the taxi on the way over, and continued to wear them--helmet and all--after the ceremony, to the bar, while they walked along the Harbourfront, while relaxing on a restaurant patio, and at the reception. They enjoyed themselves immensely.

  • Our officiant, Mary Jung Scott, told us she'd been practicing her Vulcan Live Long and Prosper hand sign. She couldn't quite make it there, but close enough. And considering everyone was laughing at the "By the Power of Grayskull", I wasn't sure anyone noticed. By the way, the complete last part of the ceremoney was supposed to go: "Therefore, by the authority vested in me by the Province of Ontario and the Marriage Act, and by the Power of Grayskull, it is my honour and delight to pronounce you legally married. Live long and prosper, May the Force be with you, so say we all."

  • We lost the marriage certificate somewhere between the ceremony and the reception. The only proof I have of it is the pictures of me signing and holding it. It was last slipped into a big manila envelope. Has anyone seen it?

  • We spent the next couple of hours taking shots along the lakeshore. The weather really couldn't have been nicer. Mike did a terrific job (on the photos, not on controlling the weather.)

  • At the restaurant, Pearl Restaurant manager Jeffrey Mak greeted me with a plate of noodles. Waiters were on me every minute handing me drinks, taking my empties, giving me napkins, etc. Best. Service. Ever.

  • I managed to eat about 2/3 of each plate of food--I soon discovered that my body had little room to expand within the confines of my dress. About halfway through the night, I Hulked Out and popped the clasp on my dress. It went flying off to parts unknown.

  • Still can't find my WALL-E and EVE cake toppers anywhere. I'd like to think they upped and eloped while no one was looking. On the upside, the Rice Krispie cake was phenomenal and delicious, courtesy of Jenn Woo at Box of Sweets. It was a good thing we had the electric turkey cutter. It worked like a charm.

  • My parents closed the store on my wedding day. I didn't know that until John and I were on our way to the honeymoon. Considering my parents only ever close on Christmas and New Year's, this gesture meant the world to me. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for absolutely everything. The wedding marked the first time I ever told them I loved them. Ever.

  • We were the last to leave, along with most of John's friends, at around 12:45 a.m. I hear the after party went on until 6:00 a.m. John and I wisely retired to our hotel room.

By the numbers:

19: Number of tables.
174: Number of guests
35: Floor we stayed on at the Westin, just one below penthouse.
120: Bottles of wine made for the occasion.
9: Cases of beer left over at the end of the night.
$305: Price of my wedding gown, courtesy of Bridal Image in Mississauga.
$40: Price of my Chinese jacket, courtesy of Pacific Mall
$70: Price of my shoes, courtesy of Nine West Outlets.
$1: Price of my "pearl" necklace, courtesy of Dollarama.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

It's just'll grow back...

So after more than 3 years growing, I've finally made the leap and sliced off my hair to donate to children's cancer wigs. That's 13 inches of braided hairy goodness, my friends.

I was inspired by fellow blogger Heather after she sheared her lovely locks--something she does on a regular basis for this cause. And I thought, hey, I have hair, and someone needs it--why not? So over the next two and a half years, I let my hair go, enduring an entire summer of awkward hair hidden beneath kerchiefs.

It seemed safe to do it right after the wedding. Summer was coming, I'd be free of my drain-clogging, face-eating follicles, cut my shampoo usage by 90%, and, as an added bonus, the excess clippings will be sent to the Gulf of Mexico to help with the oil spill clean up efforts.

I thought it would be freeing, life-changing. I thought I'd look good. My requirements for a haircut were simple: easy to take care of, short, and make sure I don't look like a boy.

Now, when I say I don't want to look like a boy, that description includes Justin Bieber.

Lots of people in the salon assured me it looked good and commended me for being so brave. I thought that was weird statement--it's hair, I had it, someone wanted, have my hair. Nothing really brave about that, unless you shave your head. (No, I will not shave my head.)

I'm sure it's just shock settling in. As soon as I style it the way I'm used to, it'll look pretty much the way it always does--like I just rolled out of bed.

Okay. Well, it's just hair. It'll grow back. (Hope you enjoy this, anonymous bald kid.)

Let's count blessings, then, shall we?
  • I've managed to make some poor bald kid out there happy.
  • I'm saving the world. The stylist cut off enough hair to save at least five rare birds...or one cute seal.
  • I won't have to comb my hair for a few months. It's that short and that thin.
  • It's just hair. It'll grow back.
  • Hats fit now.
  • I can dress up as an Asian version of Justin Bieber for Halloween. Or maybe an Asian version of Starbuck.
  • If I get into a catfight, my opponent won't have anything to grab on to.
  • It's just hair. It'll grow back.

On the topic of the Gulf oil spill, I encourage everyone to get their local salons to gather hair clippings and separate them from the garbage to help with the oil spill efforts. I got mine done at Concepts Day Spa and Salon at Cumberland Terrace. Get your hair cut and save the sea!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Quickie reviews!

The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn

Like Raybourn's Silent in the Grave, Silent in the Sanctuary and Silent on the Moor, TDTF features strong and interesting characters, a likable heroine, an intense, mysterious and brooding hero, and an irresistible Victorian setting with a deliciously Gothic flavor. This book reminds us all of the origins of the current vampire craze and the chill it should bring...without sparkles. If you enjoyed Raybourn's other works, you're sure to like this one.

Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

The first in a new YA trilogy set in Snyder's fantasy world of Sitia, Storm Glass follows the trials and tribulations of Opal, a glass-making magician whose hang ups about being a "one hit wonder" are almost as destructive and thwarting as the bad guys she keeps clashing with. I found it hard to read this book without comparing it to the award-winning Poison Study, Snyder's first work in the worlds of Sitia and Ixia. Though it took me a while to get to like Opal (I couldn't put my finger on why until a character actually pointed her flaws out) the plot carried me along, driving me from location to location in the company of a few interesting fellows. A light but meaty read for lovers of YA fantasy.

Ponyo (film) by Hayao Miyazaki

The latest offering from one of my favorite artists and animators is true to Miyazaki's spirit of innocence. It goes back to Studio Ghibli's tradition of blending mundane suburban/rural Japanese life with childhood fantasy. Similar to My Neighbor Totoro, we follow the adventures of a five-year-old boy named Sasuke and his enduring innocent love for a magical goldfish, Ponyo, who escapes from her magician father to live among humans. While it is loosely based on the Little Mermaid tale, this film is infinitely more child-friendly. Adults won't be treated to the visual and dramatic treat that Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away were--in fact, the animation and art seems to have been deliberately toned down with more primary colors and smoother textures. But if you can allow yourself to remember what it was like to be a kid with dreams, to accept reality for the grand adventure it can be, then Ponyo won't disappoint.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Happiest Blur of My Life

I think this photo pretty much sums up my wedding day.

No, I did not know they were coming. My sister and MC arranged to have these guys here. Suffice to say, we had a blast(er at our side).

Honeymoon was great. Relaxing. Slept +10 hours every day. Wish I could have stayed out there. It was so peaceful.

Thanks to everyone there for making it a fun and special time. When I've gathered my wits about me, I'm sure I'll be able to recall more details.