living in the moment

I just realized that the idea of living in the moment is kind of a crock. It's like, living in the moment is an okay notion, but those moments start piling up and next thing you know you're living in the future that you haven't planned for because you were too busy living in the moment. Maybe living in the moment is for things like skydiving... since that moment could be your last.

That was going to be the end of this post, but it sounds a little gloomy. I don't want this post to be confused for my suicide note or something. Take it as this -- I'm reserving my living-in-the-moment moments for a cool beer on a downtown patio on a summer day. But since it's raining, I'm making plans for the future.


CoCo has got to Go Go

My friends and I were recently discussing the merits of Cougar Town and my position was that the biggest problem is Courtney Cox. The neighbours - great. Busy Philipps - gotta love her. Paper buddy - take your shirt off. But Courtney Cox's character Jules is loud, pushy, annoying, and mostly not funny. Is this what Botox does to Monica Geller?

Take tonight's episode. She's going out with this hot younger guy and she doesn't like the way he kisses. Great premise - I've had my own bad experiences with the "Toronto Tongue", as we rowdy girls used to call it. But she's openly criticizing him, going so far as to demonstrate with an apple what he should be doing. The whole thing was so unappealing that I find it hard to believe that he would even want to kiss her after that. I could have wanted to kiss a guy for 10 years and if he did that all the desire would scoot right out of me. This guy has known her for like 10 days, all of which she made him wait to have sex with her. I think he would be so horrified by that Public Display of Insanity that he would run for the hills. I mean, seriously -- She's dragging him around like a puppy, making him sit in on an intervention for her ex-husband, and then forcing him to kiss her while her best friend rates his technique. Is there anything less sexy than that?

For the purposes of my higher education, I may continue to watch this show. But since my classmates and I have taken to writing unexpected deaths of main characters into our beat sheets, I have a feeling that Coco will be falling down an elevator shaft very soon.

P.S. What am I doing awake at this hour?
love sbg

Is this what people do in the mornings?

Having been awoken by the sound of a jackhammer drilling through the ceiling over my bed -- oh wait, that was the blender -- I decided to take this opportunity of being awake an hour before my alarm was set to go off to give an update on the new life plan. I must warn you that I might be a little grumpy (as evidenced by the opening sentence of this post).

So it's Week 2 of school and it already seems like an eternity. Ha, ha. But truly, it is difficult getting used to have 3-hour classes morning and afternoon with just an hour lunch break. As for the instructors, they're all great. Funny, smart, interesting and cool. So far, Terry is my favourite (because he gives us two 15-minute breaks) and Dennis is my least favourite (because he didn't give us a break at all). Just kidding - did I mention I'm tired?

For those of you who are interested, there are a lot of different classes - a few on writing, TV production, TV directing, and TV critique. As you might imagine, in TV critique we get to watch TV and critique it. So evidently, I've been preparing for this class my whole life. Assignment 1 is to watch a new fall show and write a review. Perhaps I will channel my morning grumpiness into a particularly scathing review (Mischa Barton and The Beautiful Life better watch their backs).

I had an interesting conversation yesterday. I was having lunch with four girls and we were talking about being graded. I said that I didn't feel the need to get grades because regardless of what anyone else is doing, I'm going to try to do my best work. And really, if anyone is going to fuck off and do nothing, it will only help me in the end because that's one less person with whom to compete. So one of the girls says, "Wow, that's really cutthroat." Ha! Apparently in my new life plan I am a cutthroat person, which is the clearly the antithesis of what I've been in basically every other experience in my life. I think I like it.

Now if I can just channel that into my Scrabble game, I'll be a winner all around.

love sbg

Why Tim Hortons is Ruining My New Life

So this is the first week of school, and in keeping with my new life resolve, I have been leaving myself a minimum of half an hour to get to school, even though it's only 15 minutes away. With my extra time this morning, I decided to stop and get a tea from Tim Hortons. Apparently, the rocket scientists who work there cannot distinguish between tea and coffee, a fact I did not realize until I was pulling out of the parking lot and the coffee aroma began to fill the car. Because of this error, I had to stop at Williams for a latte before class, which then made me late for class.

In the spirit of a friend's letter to a scissors-packaging manufacturer, I have drafted this plea to the big guy himself:

Dear Mr. Tim Horton,

In my extensive Tim Hortons experience in the Southwestern Ontario region, I have determined that approximately 50% of the time that I place an order for steeped tea I receive coffee instead. Now, I know you didn't achieve global domination of the coffee shop market with that standard in mind, so I feel it is my duty to inform you that your order-taking process may be too complicated for some of the employees at the Tim Hortons franchises.

In your defense, I'm sure you felt that typing an order into the computer as someone places it, and then having a second person read that order and fulfill it, would be straightforward enough. Sadly, this is not the case. I have not yet identified if the problem is the listening, the typing, or the reading, but one or all are clearly too challenging for some of the employees.

I attempted to come up with a new order-taking process for you, but when I tested your current process with a roomful of chimps, they were largely able to get it right. So instead, I suggest more rigorous screening for potential Tim Hortons employees. Exercises such as repeating a sentence you have just spoken, or perhaps reading a few words you have written down (might I suggest words like 'tea' or 'coffee'?) might be a stepping stone to finding that elusive model employee.

I assume you will want to address this problem immediately, especially since the general population is already none-too-pleased at the recent price increase. I look forward to your timely solution and also to receiving the steeped tea I did, in fact, order.


Wedding Nightmares

It may surprise you to read this, but I actually like weddings. I like when the groom chokes up in the middle of his vows, when his new father-in-law gives a speech and says, "welcome to the family, son", and how the bride really does look more beautiful than she ever has before. But I went to a wedding this weekend that had me giggling in the church and cursing at the reception hall. Here's how it went down:

The Ceremony
The minister hit all the usual highlights - Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, etc. But then, just before the bride and groom exchanged vows, he gave this big speech that started like this: "Marriage has the potential for tremendous pain (long pause) and joy. When you choose to enter into a union like this, you can be hurt so much more than if you were single, because you're putting your happiness into the hands of another person." It went on and on like that, and then he said, "With this in mind, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?" Um, is someone supposed to say "I do" after that? Kudos to the minister for actually making singlehood look attractive at a wedding.

Then the time came to exchange rings. After the best man handed the ring to the groom, the minister said, "Place the ring on the bride's finger... as far as it will go... and repeat after me." Really? A fat comment during the wedding ceremony? I would have punched him in the face.

The Reception
Surprise, surprise, I was the only black person there. Luckily, since I consider assimilating one of my superppowers (is that bad?) I was not worried. But perhaps I should have been. There were five people at the table - two couples and one single guy. The couple to our right and the single guy introduced themselves. The couple to our left refused to meet our eyes and made no moves to introduce themselves. At first, I just chalked it up to bad manners, but then another (white) single girl joined our table and they instantly started chatting her up. And it didn't end there. The whole night, they refused to speak, or even look, in our direction. They wouldn't offer or pass us the bread, they kept the white wine all to themselves - offering it only, of course, to their new single girl BFF. They did occasionally speak to the couple and single guy to our right, unless of course they were talking to us, in which they also were shunned.

But I rose above. I was the bigger person. I did not punch anyone in the face. I did not comment that the wife looked old enough to be the husband's mother. I merely smiled when she mentioned that her son gave her away at their wedding. When the water jug was refreshed on my side of the table, I made it accessible instead of drowning them both in it. And the second that we were able to talk to and congratulate the bride and groom, I got the fuck out of dodge.

love sbg

New Life Plan, Part B

Today was Orientation #2, which was for the TV writing and producing program. This was the opportunity to meet the program directors and see who I will be wowing with my brilliance for the next 8 months (self-esteem - check). True to my word, I arrived at 8:55 am (orientation began at 9). Not late - check.

After a quick survey of the people in the room, I deduced I may be the oldest person. However, I did not wear heels (check) and therefore could not be confused with the teacher. I was also not sweaty (thanks to free trial of clinical strength deodorant, courtesy of Max).

First disturbing sight - the words "Welcome to Humber!" written on the whiteboard. Thankfully, there was only one exclamation mark. Turns out that the program directors had no idea who wrote it on the board and mocked it endlessly - check for both of them.

The orientation was amazing and though there was the distinct absence of chocolate muffins, I am getting more and more excited about this new life plan. I even managed to get a little one-on-two face time with the directors when I stayed back to read a list of shows that would suit spec scripts (brown nosing - check).

There was a barbecue after the orientation that promised food and entertainment. Food - check. Entertainment - Fail. A "DJ" was playing MC Hammer, Hammertime. Um... huh? The plus side is that the DJ was obviously my age or older. Unfortunately, by virtue of having a hotdog and diet coke, I was swarmed by bees and had to leave early. So I guess it's possible that entertainment arrived later, but if that was the preview, I probably didn't miss much. Plus I got my free bag - check.

So that's it. Day 1 of my new life plan starts next Tuesday, so stay tuned.

love sbg

P.S. Random discovery of the day - Only people who aren't fat complain about being fat. Real fat people don't bring it up in the hopes that nobody else brings it up either.

New Life Plan, Part A

Well, I'm back. Back in Toronto, back at school, back to my blog. As you know, I'm a big fan of the new life plans - though in the past, I've tended to like making them more than following through with them. But I finally seem to have come up with one that will stick. For those of you who don't know, I'm renting the basement of a friend's house and starting full-time studies at Humber next week, taking a one year post-graduate course in Television Writing and Producing.

I was invited by Humber to attend a "Mature Students Orientation" today. Apparently, some of my old life seeped into the new one because I arrived 10 minutes late. Note to self: The reason why everyone wears running shoes is because it's a little easier to trek across campus when you're not in 5-inch heels. So I arrive sweaty and disheveled, and have to walk in front of the projection screen to find a seat. Exactly the entrance I planned. And I think everyone was looking at my shoes, but not in a "they're so fabulous" kind of way.

So we're going through a list of anxieties that mature students tend to have when they're returning to school. And while a lot of the items are things I can relate to, I'm fixated on the number of exclamation marks used in the slides. Seriously, does it need to be: Help is available!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But I digress. Of the many interesting points raised, one woman mentioned the challenge of concentrating on one thing for an extended period of time, i.e. a 3-hour lecture. Case in point - the orientation was only an hour and a half, but halfway through I was more interested in the chocolate muffins than the slides.

While my mind was wandering, I also noticed a pair of Luke Perry-esque sideburns... on the woman sitting in front of me. I wanted to take a picture, but it was a "mature" students orientation so it seemed inappropriate.

In the end, I realized there were a lot of people who had more to stress about than me - kids, daycare, mortgages, etc. So it was a good day. And I took a chocolate muffin on the way out.

Tomorrow is the program-specific orientation. I plan to be early, though it's already midnight and it starts at 9 a.m. My old life's insomnia strikes again.

stay tuned,