29.10.15

when the internet says you're a communist

Before our most recent (and very important) election, I was undecided on who to vote for. I mean, I knew I wouldn't be voting for the Conservatives (because noooooooo), but I didn't know which of the other three parties would get my "X." Now that all the hoopla is over, I thought it'd be a funny story to share.

By happenstance, my brother came for a visit about four days before The Big Vote, and we were discussing the concept of strategic voting, which was a relatively new concept to me. In a nutshell strategic voting came out in full-force this year, in a push to kick out Stephen Harper and the Conservatives (who've been running the country for the better part of a decade), and it encouraged people to vote for the non-Conservative candidate who was most likely to win their riding. A strange way to vote, mostly because in some instances (including mine) you're voting for who you don't want, instead of who you do want. Considering I wasn't sure who I even wanted in the first place, though, my brother suggested I take the same political quiz he did, which he found to be very helpful. 

"AWESOME!" I declared. Because I love quizzes. Especially ones that tell me which fantasy character I'd be. Haha!

I diligently read all the questions, choosing thoughtful responses, but after I got my result, I was a bit confused.



Yes, you read that right (both that last part, and the title of this post, haha!). 

I'd scored a solid 90% with the Communist party



Naturally, this left me feeling like I'd fallen down a fascist rabbit hole of political leanings. Don't get me wrong, I've always been a left-leaner when it comes to government. I support social programs and am happy to pay tax in order to support universal healthcare. I also think that we should, as a collective society, make sure that the vulnerable are protected, and I strongly believe in a woman's right to do whatever the hell she wants with her body. Always. 

But had I ever self-identified as a Communist? Of course not. And furthermore, I didn't even know that we had a Communist party, in Canada. We're a democracy, so it'd be democrazy for it to even exist. 

Oh man. See! I find too much humour in dumb fake words to be a Communist. I'd last exactly one second under a Communist regime. Also, I don't like the colour red, like, at all, and I'm pretty sure that all true Communists want an all-red wardrobe, all the time. Add to that my desire for everyone to maintain personal freedom whilst using a hard hand against those who harm others, like violent repeat offenders, white collar dudes who steal money, and people who play Christmas music in the summer, and it just doesn't make sense why I'd identify with 90% of the Canadian Communist party's platforms.

That is, unless the quiz meant that I don't want to be a Communist as much as I want to be in a Dictatorship. Err...with me as the dictator, of course.

Holy crap on a cracker, it's so obvious! What a relief! 


With that decided, I began to think what my term as dictator would look like. For starters, I wouldn't be your run-of-the-mill dictator. That's been done to death. Literally. No, instead of being a no-smiling, hard assed dictator, I'd be a friendly, outgoing one! I mean, when was the last time you saw a dictator crack a joke or give a high-five? Probably never. But I'd change all that: high-fives for awesome people, and karate chops to the throat for the d-bags.

Yes! It all makes so much sense, now! I just want to be in charge! And not to brag, but I'm totally the smartest person ever (according to a recent poll of those present in my office, who are pretty much just me and my two dogs), so it's obvious that I'm more than capable of running an entire country without pesky rules and legal regulations stopping me. By the time I whipped everyone into shape, nobody would even miss a democratic society! Rainbow cake with extra sprinkles for everyone (who I don't imprison for super righteous and totally not personal reasons like selling me something but only telling me it's backordered until after my purchase)!

So thanks, political quiz! Without you, I never would have discovered my new life goal! To become Dictator Jennie! Oh yes, that really does sound nice. Haha!

Here's a draft of my first propaganda poster. I think it's pretty on the money, don't you? 





22.10.15

the time I went to jenny lawson's book tour!

About a month ago (or maybe longer, actually) I got a text from a blogger pal, Daniela, saying that Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess, was coming to Toronto for a book signing event. I freaking love Jenny’s blog, and her two books, so I was all over it. And finally, this Tuesday, it was time!

On my way down to the city, I stopped in at my local Coles to pick up another hardcover copy of LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED. I'd lent my first copy to a friend, and couldn’t get it back in time, but I wasn’t about to let the opportunity of getting two signed books pass me by. Also, I’d spent quite some time painting a tribute mani, one hand for each of Jenny's covers, and it wouldn’t have been nearly as cool to show her without also having both books. However, I was grossly disappointed to find that they didn’t have any in stock.

Yes, I know, I should have prepared earlier. Shut it. 

Anyway, I was explaining my plight to the wonderful staff, some of whom I’ve gotten to know over the last few years of book-buying, when Steph—the staff member who makes THE BEST recommendations ever (seriously, it’s like she’s in my brain and she introduces me to new authors every time we chat)—casually mentioned that she had a copy in her car and that I was welcome to it.

I blinked, not sure if I heard her right. But I had. The store didn’t have any hardcovers, but she did…in her car…and she was going to give it…to me. 

Note: This is when the die-hard bibliophiles are nodding along, because you get it. A paperback novel is great for reading, but when it comes to being signed, it’s hardcover all the way.

So with two hardcover books in hand, and one intense hug later (seriously Indigo, give that woman a raise! Or at least a high-five. She rules!), I was in my car, heading downtown, and feeling more jazzed than ever. 

When I eventually arrived at my baby brother’s condo (thanks, bro!), I was starving and raided his freezer for chicken fingers and fries (err…thanks again, bro!). While they were cooking, Daniela and I were texting and...well...I think it’s best to just let the screenshots speak for themselves. For clarification, I took the screenshots this morning. The texts actually started around 4:15pm, on the day of the signing, which was scheduled for 7:00pm. 


Thankfully, the end of this part of the story is good. Daniela arrived a few minutes later, we both got seats, and my ballet flats didn't get soaked on my way to the signing. Wins all around. Haha! (Well, except for the Jays. They didn't even almost win against the Royals, that night. Let's not talk about it.)

For the next two hours, we chatted away, catching up, while the excitement in the room steadily began to pulsate. But by “room,” I actually mean “children’s section of the bookstore.” Not exactly the place I would’ve put Jenny Lawson, but whatever. Haha! The wait on terribly uncomfortable chairs (I swear my butt’s still sore) went by with a little help from the organizers, including one activity of Tweeting about what made us #furiouslyhappy, for the chance to win a gift card.

This was mine:


And wouldn’t you know it, I won one of the $5 gift cards! WOOT!

But even better? The Bloggess herself RT'd it! INFINITY WOOT!

In the midst of all the Twitter mania, the children’s book section was filling up rapidly with all sorts of interesting people. I must say, between the inflatable sheep, carved armadillo, Elvis head, custom made t-shirts, and feather boas, I very much felt like I’d found my people. It was a very fun wait.

It was about twenty minutes before Jenny was set to take the stage, when I realized that in my haste in leaving my brother’s condo, I may have forgotten to shut of his oven. Luckily, his building has a concierge, but finding the number proved to be quite the challenge. Luckily, Daniela helped and we managed to find the front desk number (from an oddly, non-specific Google search) and therefore saved ourselves (mostly me) from the humiliation of having to tell my baby bro that I burned down his entire building. Haha!

Then, Jenny arrived!!


She read two chapters: "Furiously Happy Dangerously Sad" and "I've Found a Kindred Soul and He Has A Very Healthy Coat," and then answered questions from the audience, which is when I fell even more in love with her. She’s as kind as she is funny, guys. And that's saying something because you know how freaking funny she is.

After the reading, we all lined up for the signing. Again, the vibe in the room was giddy happiness mixed with enthusiastic fandom. And unfortunately, that energy seeped into my pores and suddenly, I found myself getting nervous. It was already super hot in the room children’s section, but as I thought about what I was going to say, I morphed into a total sweat bucket. And with my pale skin, all I could think was: I’m going to look like a tomato in the picture! YOU MUST CALM YOURSELF. Naturally, that internal, repeating concern only served to raise my core temperature even higher, making my sweat very much not of the "glistening" sort, and when I was ushered up to the stage, I kind of lost my mind. Meaning, my brain sprouted wings and fluttered out of my skull, leaving my body standing there stupidly, unsure on what to do, as evidenced by this photo:

Despite seeing multiple people get their book signed FIRST and THEN get a picture, my brainless body decided to reverse the process. So while Jenny was laughing at my shirt (it says "Let's get sheet faced"), attempting to actually meet me, I wasn't even looking at her!! Also, OMG MY RED FACE.

I eventually turned to actually acknowledge Jenny like a real, functioning human, and formally introduced her to Whitney Hooston (my awesome owl purse) while clumsily handing her my books without realizing the one with my name sticky-noted on the flap wasn’t up first, which resulted in no personalization for LET'S PRETEND (you remember how I miraculously got a copy, right? How beyond happy I'd been?!). *headdesk* I was just about done at that point, which was a good thing for everyone involved, but then I sort of yelled, "Oh! I’m the nail girl!" Because, as you've read so far, I’m very eloquent under pressure. 


She did seem to love them, though, which officially increased my body temperature to a level only found on surface of the sun, and honestly, I don’t remember much after that. Haha! I did get a picture with her where we both looked at the camera--a book signing miracle!

What was really nice about the setup was the stage. With Jenny sitting behind it, and a little step for us, it put our heads almost at the same level, instead of having to awkwardly crouch down. Nicely done there, Indigo!

I stepped aside while I attempted to recover my brain from wherever the heck it flew off to, and Daniela got her book signed. Before leaving, we took a picture with the 5' tall Rory cut-out, because that's what you do when there's a 5' tall raccoon photo op. Obviously.

As you can see, we were both still so starstruck that we didn't copy his signature, two-hands-out-wide-mouth smile. Curse our fandom-ness. Haha! And Whitney wasn't all happy with seeing just how tall Rory was. From a distance, he seemed like a more reasonable target.

Oh, and for a better look at my nails, here they are:


So that's the fairly ridiculous story about the very first book signing I attended, although I suspect that Jenny would probably appreciate the insane-ness. Congrats for reading the entire thing! Holy longest post ever, eh? Haha! And thanks again to Daniela, for inviting me! Love your face, girl!!

Have you been to any awesome book signings? Let me know in the comments!






9.10.15

book review (with tribute mani!): library of souls

This is the third book in the Miss Peregrine’s series, and because I don’t want to spoil the amazingness that is this series, my review will focus on why you should totally still read Library of Souls… after you’ve read the first two. Because it’s a series. And that’s how series work best. Haha! As the cover is freaking incredible, I had to do a tribute mani to go along with my review. You know, because that's how my reviews work best. ;)


The synopsis, from Goodreads (which is nice and vague and won't ruin the first two for you--nicely done there, synopsis writer!)

The adventures that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued with Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls.


As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. 

Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography.

___

The coolest thing about the Miss Peregrine’s series is the way it’s written. Yes, there are words strung together in delightful sentences, which are then compiled into paragraphs (like every other book in existence), but what those words are based on is the difference. Throughout all three books, there are old, black-and-white photos. Most are creepy, some even unsettling—a very Nightmare Before Christmas, kind of vibe, if Nightmare Before Christmas included real people. And having the creep-tastic photos to go alongside the story is what puts this series into its own category.

Painting these distressed wings to match the cover photo (which is also in the book itself) was equal parts challenging and super fun. Totally worth it, though! And a matte topcoat gives it just the right amount of vintage flair. I just love it! 

Most of the photos are real, and are indexed in the back of each book. Now, I don’t know how much the photos inspired the story, although I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a huge impact on the plot. They all fit perfectly together, as if they’d been developed for the explicit purpose of ending up in Ransom Riggs’s hands so he could bring them all together to tell a tale that is as engaging as it is original. I mean, I literally cannot think of a single other book I’ve read that uses a similar format.


Photos aside, the story itself is extraordinary. With its enormous cast of characters, I can’t begin to imagine how many storyboards Mr. Riggs would have needed to keep them all straight. Because each character is three-dimensional—almost real enough to touch. Plus, the majority of characters are “peculiar,” which means that they have some kind of power. Not quite to an X-men-ish degree, as most aren’t particularly useful on a day-to-day basis, but heck, I’d take any one of them. Err…except for the bees. I’m not a fan of bees. So I tip my hat to the author, because I legitimately don’t know how he did it. Frankly, I’m even a bit jealous.


If awesomely creepy black-and-white pictures and characters with strange powers aren't enough to hook you, there’s time travel, super high stakes (the state of the world!), deep friendships, mental-face adventures that keep you on the edge of your seat (literally--I was perched on the couch for a large percentage of each book), and a small splash of romance. So if you’re looking for a way to ignore your family/friends/pets for 24 – 48 hours, depending how long it takes for you to read three books, I highly recommend the Miss Peregrine’s series.