What I Hate Most About Winter

I haven’t written anything in quite a while.  I’d love to blame work and overtime and having an active and fulfilling life, but for the most part, I’m really just a boring and sometimes very lazy person.  In the last few months, this has massively intensified and I just didn’t have the motivation to write something.

So when I sat down tonight and decided to actually write a blog post for once, I decided to go with the topic that is becoming more and more relevant to me lately: the things that I can’t stand about winter.

Now don’t get me wrong, I actually quite like winter.  I don’t mind the cold and I think the snow is beautiful.  I love my Snuggie and cups of warm tea while I watch movies and snow days are always awesome.  But like any person, there are always two sides to the same story and there are certainly things I can’t stand about winter.

1. Deceptively cold steering wheel: Frankenbob has a steering wheel that is so very innocent looking.  This is a lie.  In the cold weather, unsuspecting me will get into my car, put my seat belt on, turn my key and then, to my sudden shock and dismay, I’ll put my hands on the steering wheel and instantly feel as if they’ve frozen there, never to be removed again.  I HATE cold steering wheels.  Therefore, I have a very nice pair of red woolly mittens to keep this from happening.  The crappy thing is, sometimes I forget my mittens and I have to drive somewhere with hands that feel as if they’re numb all the way to the bones.

cold steering wheel

2. A Whiney Boyfriend: as soon as it starts to get cold, The Boyfriend immediately starts to protest this fact.  Out loud.  Constantly.  I know very well he doesn’t like the cold and that many people don’t.  I don’t like it when it’s especially cold out either, so I understand.  However, we live in freaking Canada and it gets cold here every year.  I don’t understand how it seems appropriate to whine about something that happens every year around the same time.  That’s why we have winter clothing and boots and coats.  To stay warm.  I find these items quite effective if they are adorned properly.

3. People who forget how to drive the instant snow hits the ground.  I grew up in a very small town.  This means I had to learn how to drive in a very small town and that included dirt roads with drifts of a foot or more of snow crossing the road at random intervals.  It means huge gusts of wind creating whiteout conditions on the roads where there was nothing to block the snow and it meant that winter driving was always a little bit of a trial.  Then I moved to the city and it was great.  The buildings block the wind so there aren’t any drifts across the road and whiteout conditions are pretty much non-existent.  However, it seems that people who learned to drive in the city think things are a little more dangerous than they actually are.  As soon is it snows here, people freak out.  They either drive twenty kilometers below the speed limit or twenty over it.  They’re hesitant when they shouldn’t be and way too ballsy when the weather is horrible.  It’s like driving through a gauntlet of morons who forget that it snows every year and yes, they have driving in this mystery substance before.

stupid drivers

4. Girls who wear mini skirts and tiny tank tops to the bar…and then bitch about it being so cold out: This is something I simply cannot stand.  I don’t go to the bar very often anymore (again, because I’m lazy and not often all that motivated) but it was one of the things I hated the most about it when I did go.  Standing in line or walking down the street and hearing tiny little girls whine and bitch about how cold it was.  Then I would turn and see them standing in the snow and sleet, in temperatures that were below zero and they were wearing extremely short skirts, shirts that left nothing to the imagination and tiny little shoes.  Now, I have no problem if people want to wear something so revealing, it’s none of my business.  However, they are either too stupid to be out and about on the streets without a guardian or too stubborn to realize that cold weather warrants warm clothes.  So either way, I have no sympathy for them and never let them cut in line when they asked.  Because they should have dressed more appropriately.

stupid girls with no clothes

Bob the Car is Now…FrankenBob!

So I’ve already conveyed the Woeful Tale of Bob the Car to you a while ago.  As an update to that, after the steering column was repaired, Bob the Car had been running absolutely perfectly with no problems at all.  In fact, I was starting to think that I was in the clear for any problems at all with my nice little car.

Boy was I wrong.

About two months ago, my sister called me and asked if I could watch my nephew while she ran out to get groceries.  She also asked if she could borrow my car because her boyfriend had to use theirs for something or other.  I of course said yes because I love to watch my nephew and I like to be helpful.  So I went there after work and chatted for a bit before she headed out in Bob the Car to get some food.  Her boyfriend was still there getting ready and I was playing in the living room with the baby when I heard his cell phone ring.  I then heard him say, “Are you okay?”

The first words that went through my mind were, “That’s so not good” and after I heard him ask, “What about the other girl?” my suspicions were confirmed.  My sister had been involved in an accident not even two blocks from her apartment.  He came out to tell me what was going on and asked me if I could stay with the baby while he went to go see what was going on.  I agreed and he left me to pace back and forth while carrying the baby, worrying about my sister and whomever else was in the accident.

About twenty minutes later my sister called me and I was relieved to find out that she was alright and so was the other girl.  After that it was a blur of having the car towed somewhere to store, talking to the insurance company, talking to the appraiser, deciding which body shop to send it to once it was decided it could be fixed, talking to the rental car people, renting a car and then waiting to see whether my sister was at fault or the other girl

Thankfully for us, the other girl admitted liability and her insurance company paid for everything including my rental and the $9000.00 it cost to fix my car.  It was in the shop for almost a month and I had to drive around the city in a freaking TWO-DOOR Hyundai Accent (it was lime green, which was awesome) with none of the awesome features that my own car had.

I went to get the stuff out of my car before they fixed it and this is what my poor car looked like:

1311024288157frankenbob

After waiting for what seemed like forever to get my car back and riding around in a stupid two-door (for the record, i HATE two-door cars because they SUCK), I finally got the call that my car was finished and I could pick it up.  I think they did a great job.

It looks perfect on both sides and it runs beautifully.  However, I just had to take it in to get the ignition coils 1313010433139replaces (thankfully under warranty) because they were misfiring and causing my engine to run rough.  So I have renamed my car to FrankenBob because there are hardly any original parts left on the car.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Comfort

This photo represents comfort for me for a few different reasons.  For one thing, it’s comforting to know my kitty Mr. Peep enjoys gaming as much as The Boyfriend and I do (he stole this while I was in the middle of a game of Fallout: New Vegas) and for another thing, he just looks so cozy cuddled right up to the PS3 controller.  As soon as I put it down to go get a drink he jumped up on the couch and snuggled right down on it.  I didn’t have the heart to wake him up so I turned the game off.

DSCF3228  DSCF3229

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sunset

DSCF1643

I took this when wandering around on the edge of a farmer’s field last November.  It’s a harvested corn field and I remember thinking that it seemed almost fitting with the cold air because the setting sun didn’t look like it was providing any warmth at all.

DSCF2628

This one happened after a HUGE storm in our city this summer.  A few days later, a co-worker of mine was telling us how her brother called to ask if the city was on fire because it looked really orange.  This was funny for the silliness of the statement and almost believable because the sky was so very orange.  However, with the lack of smoke in said sky, it was still a pretty dumb statement.

Fashion Trends Drive Me CRAZY!

Most people who know me (and probably many who don’t and simply pass me on the street) would definitely not call me a fashionista.  I’ve never understood the different fashion trends that have been in style during my almost 30 years on this Earth.  I was born in the 80’s so I’ve definitely seen some of the weirder ones and I’ve spent my twenties in the new millennium and I’ve spent the entire time completely confused by what people were wearing around me.

The three most recent fashion trends that absolutely baffle me are as follows: Uggs

Uggs: I can’t freaking stand these boots.  I don’t understand why people think these are appropriate winter footwear as they seem to get wet and let water in very easily and don’t have very good tread for walking on ice.  Couple that with giant grey track pants stuffed down into the boots with an arbitrary saying written across the ass of the co-ed stupid enough to wear them and it makes for a very sloppy look indeed.

skinny jeansSkinny Jeans: As a bigger larger okay, okay…fat person, skinny jeans aren’t really an option for me so you may be saying, “Why do you hate something you can’t even wear?”  I’ll tell you folks…because they don’t look like anyone should wear them…ever.  They look uncomfortable, unbending and generally like they would chafe in some very tender areas (this goes double for guys whom it boggles the mind that they could even shove their bits into those things).  Remember, I was a child of the 80’s; I swore I would never put those darn things on and I still have not to this day.  I’ve heard rumours that flares are coming back and I’m giddy with anticipation and excitement to say goodbye to skinny jeans…making everyone look anorexic since their invention.

Rubber Boots: I cannot stress enough how much these are not a fashion item people.  They are footwear designed rubber bootsfor walking around in copious amounts of filth and animal droppings.  Suddenly, they’re trendy and pretty and people are wearing them on nice days to look cool.  Meanwhile, I can’t understand why someone would pay upwards of $70 to walk around in something designed to walk through shit in.  This has to stop, people…or next you’ll be telling me that insulated overalls are all the rage and there will be people walking about looking like they just came out of the barn but they spent over $200 dollars on the outfit.

Some other honourable mentions are: giant sunglasses that obscure the entire face, Ed Hardy things, and hats in which the beaks are not bent appropriately and are turned sideways and massively askew.  I still stick to the timeless fashion that I’ve always worn since I was but a wee little tot…a t-shirt and jeans with running shoes and in the summer, a tank top and shorts with flip flops.  This always seems to be at least acceptable style-wise and always easy to find in the store.  Also, I never look back at pictures of myself and thing, “What the hell was I thinking”, because I know that I was thinking I looked pretty good in my normal jeans and a tee.

Rock the Park 2011

I’d like to start off by saying that I should have been a teenager in the 70’s.  Musically at least.  Perhaps from the mid 70’s to the mid 80’s.  I grew up on my parents’ music and it never really left me.  When I was little, my mom got me to clean the house by putting on albums by Bon Jovi, Meat Loaf, and Joan Jett.  These were some of my favourites but there were so many others that lace the memories of my childhood Saturdays as I helped my mother vacuum, dust, declutter and various other chores.

My parents are huge music fans of any kind and I took this personality trait to heart.  I almost always have music of some kind playing wherever I am and I love all different genres.  I re-purchased a great deal of my parent’s albums/tapes on CD when I got older and I now have all these songs on my trusty mp3 player as well.

As you can imagine, because of how much I love music, I’ve been to a lot of concerts.   A few years ago, I had to put myself on a concert/hockey game embargo for a year because I added it up and had spend almost a two grand on them in a little over two years.  For me, that’s a hell of a lot of cash.  So I went a year without concerts and as soon as that was over, I was right back at it.  I saw Three Days Grace and Our Lady Peace (for the third time) almost right away.

One annual concert/festival that my fair city does every year is something that, in my opinion, is really very awesome.  It’s called Rock the Park and it takes place over three days every summer with 12 bands or so participating.  It was started in 2004 to support the Bethany’s Hope Foundation and if I heard it right this year, it has raised over a million dollars for this charity.  Some of my favourite bands have played this concert over the years, such as Journey, Def Leppard, and Alice Cooper.

In the previous 6 years, I’ve always wanted to to go Rock the Park.  My parents went for a lot of the shows and the summer that my sister was working with the RCMP, she worked the beer tent so she got to see the concert for free.  I was always either busy or didn’t have enough money to go and never was able to partake.

This year though, when they announced the line up, I was all over it.  The first night there weren’t a whole lot of bands that I desperately wanted to see but the Friday night was headlined by Meat Loaf and the Saturday had Our Lady Peace performing.  It’s hard to get the opportunity to see bands that were at their massive peak in 10-20 years ago so the opportunity to see Meat Loaf doesn’t come around often and I try to see Our Lady Peace whenever I can because they always put on an amazing show.

As the concert came closer, however, I didn’t manage to get around to getting any tickets.  However, my friend and I ended up with free tickets for the Thursday night show, featuring Trooper, Loverboy, Steppenwolf, and Poison.  Despite the fact that it was the second hottest day ever recorded here in the city of London, we totally went.  It was great.  All kinds of fun people, great music, beer and fun times.

Trooper

Loverboy

Steppenwolf

The most epic thing happened right before Steppenwolf took the stage.  I was waiting for my friend to use the porta-potty (don’t even get me started on these things) when a man came up to me and said, “Do you have fifty bucks?”  Being slightly suspicious, I cautiously inquired as the the reason he would as me such a question.

What he said next had me tingling all over and jumping around in excitement.  He looked at me and said, “I have two tickets to tomorrow night’s show and I can’t use them.  I’ll go as low as $40.00.”  I immediately pulled out my wallet and saw that I $30 left and told him my friend was in the washroom and could he wait a couple minutes.  When she returned I hopped up and down and asked if she had ten bucks.  SHE DID!

We scored two $60 tickets to the Meat Loaf concert for $40.  A savings of $80 to see the concert I most desperately wanted to see.

We didn’t end up staying for Poison because it was freaking 44 degrees with the humidex and we were melting.  We reasoned that we had tickets to the preferred show for both of us and we could deal without seeing Brett Michaels in concert.

We went again the next night, thankfully a much cooler night with more misting stations set up for us to prance through and cool down in.  We got to see Blue Oyster Cult (a little bit of Don’t Fear the Reaper) and Cheap Trick which was just awesome but nothing compared to finally getting to see Meat Loaf live in concert.  It was so cool.  I had been dying to see this concert since I was a little kid with a broom in my hands, belting out Bat Out of Hell even though I didn’t understand what the lyrics meant at all.

The Loaf!!

Patricia could really belt out the female parts to the songs, she was AMAZING!

When he sang Bat Out of Hell, I danced my butt off all over Harris Park!

So in summary, I have now been able to cross another old school yet epic concert off my list.  It’s getting down to the wire, people…some of these bands are getting hard to track down in concerts nearby.  I may have to start travelling more.

I (Used To) Totally Hate Dresses

For those of you that don’t know me very well, as anyone who does could attest, I NEVER wear dresses.  I believe up until this summer, I owned one skirt that was black in case of funerals or other potentially slightly more dressy occasions and a (small) variety of somewhat dressy shirts.

So, if you hadn’t guessed from the first paragraph of this post, I really dislike dressing up.  I didn’t like it when I was a little kid and I really didn’t like it as I got older.  I didn’t have the ability to be very graceful in a dress (despite almost 15 years of ballet lessons) nor did I have the desire to learn.  I’m constantly afraid that I will flash someone while wearing an dress or a skirt and have mostly word silky boxer shorts under them if the occasion arose where I did have to wear one.  That way, someone only got a flash of Sponge Bob or Homer Simpson instead of my underwear.

Me jumping up and down on a dress...I disliked them this much

So I have gotten away with purchasing perhaps four dresses in the last nine years of my life, including my prom dress.  This was paid for by my mother and to this day, I have a feeling she offered to do so because she couldn’t stand for me to go to prom in a pair of jeans and a tank top.  On a side note, she was disappointed that my hair wasn’t done in an lovely up do with hanging, curly tendrils like all my friends.  I went with what suited me best and had the stylist do a twisty updo that was sticking out every which way and it was dyed kind of purple-ish to match my dress.

Aside from that dress, I’ve purchased a few for weddings here and there and one for being a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding, which was actually quite flattering on me.

That is, until this year.  You may not know it, but where I live in Canada is freaking hot in the summer.  With the humidex (someday, I will meet the man that invented this and kick him in the shins), temperatures have been reaching the mid-forties in degrees Celcius with air that feels like you’re walking through a hot sauna and breathing in water.  It’s HOT here in Southwestern Ontario and it doesn’t ever really seem to be relieving when it rains.  It just creates more moisture for the humidity to play with.  I used to deal with it better, but I hate being hot and I tend to feel like I’m going to fall down on the sidewalk and melt under the sun:

This is me, lying on the sidewalk in the melty Southwestern Ontario sun...

This, coupled with the fact that I’ve been on a new and very effective meal plan and have joined a gym in the last few months, thereby making me smaller in size, have somehow led to something I never thought would happen.

I started wearing dresses on a regular basis.

It started with the Old Navy 75% off summerwear sale.  I couldn’t resist a green summer dress that was originally $35 and marked down to $8.  My reasoning?  It was damn hot out and dresses were cooler.  It looked cute on me due to my recent weight loss and I couldn’t pass it up, so I purchased it.

When I wore it to work the following day, so many people commented on the fact that they’d never seen me wear a dress before that I was incredibly amused.  Since then I have purchased one more summery dress, brought another one out of storage that I wore to a wedding a while ago and fits me better now than it did then and brought yet another dress home from my parents’ house that I wore to a wedding even before I met the boyfriend.

So yes, a person’s preference in clothing types can change, all it takes is extreme weather.

Weird Things Seen In Stores: All Video Game Edition

I’m always on the lookout when wandering around in stores for things that seem odd or funny to me.  I can’t help but snap a picture for later amusement and sharing with my friends.  Lately, I’ve spotted a few different things that seemed quirky or odd to me, all in relation to video games.

Wii Baby

I was shopping at Costco, one of my favourite stores to wander around aimlessly in.  I never miss the section with all the books and video games because they’re always at least five bucks cheaper than anywhere else.  I was in the gaming section when I frowned, seeing a stuffed doll and thinking it was out of place.  I was wrong.  This is an interactive baby that’s also a video game.  Yes folks, that’s right.  As far as I can tell, you shove a Wii-mote up inside the baby and it becomes a video game.  Not only does that sound like something that really didn’t need to be made into a video game, but also the concept of putting the Wii-mote into the baby to make it a video game controller just isn’t right.

Bioshock 2: New vs. Used

I’ve been curious about Bioshock for a long time, but was never able to play it until recently when we got an HD television.  I tried on the boyfriend’s PC once and almost threw up because of the first person perspective.  We were checking out EB games one day and as always, I checked the prices on the used PS3 games.  Bioshock 2 used was priced as $17.99.  On a whim, I checked to see what it was priced as new.  I stared dumbfounded at the price sticker on the new copy that told me it was only $9.99.  I picked them both up and looked at them in shock and then smiled happily to myself as I put the used one back and purchased a brand new copy for myself.  I sincerely hope it was a pricing error and I got to stick it to EB games that day because the prices on their used games generally suck.

Mary-Kate and Ashley's Sweet 16

I remember when these two were on Full House and they were funny and cute and we all learned good moral, family values every Sunday night.  I also remember when I stopped caring about them.  This was in the used PS2 game section at EB and honestly, it kind of ticked me off.  for one thing, the price is $14.99.  Who the hell is going to pay $14.99 for a game about a sweet 16 birthday party…even if it does have Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen in it?  The part that really irked me, however, was written near the bottom right  of the cover.  It says, and I quote, “Real Games for Real Girls”.  Really?  Last time I checked, I was a girl.  I can’t really see myself playing this and haven’t really missed its presence on my shelf beside games like Call of Duty: Black Ops or Resident Evil 5…both of which are MY games.  I get that there are girls that would enjoy this game, to each her own.  I have no problems with that.  What I have a problem is them making it seem like girls have been sitting around forever, waiting for a game to come along that was all about girly pink birthday parties and turning sweet 16.  Finally the day has come.  It’s almost as bad as the stupid Wii Baby.

Dirty Dancing for PC

I loved Dirty Dancing when I was a kid.  I still love it.  It’s one of my favourite movies of all time.  But I can’t understand who would think it would ever make a good video game.  The concept of the movie lends nothing to a video game whatsoever.  In fact, as far as I could tell from reading the back of the case, the premise of the game was that you were staying at the resort in the movie and all you do is play little mini games.  It is like a million other pieces of shovelware out there and they decided to slap a classic movie title on it, hoping to sell more copies.

Scott Pilgrim at Starbucks

I actually saw this one last fall and it isn’t something I found weird.  I found it to be totally awesome.  I know that the Scott Pilgrim thing is actually a comic book and a movie as well, but it counts as a video game because I own the video game and freaking love it.  It’s also awesome, because I love Pumpkin Spice Latte and was thrilled to see its return with the approaching Thanksgiving/Halloween season.  Whomever drew this rules as a Barrista, a nerd and a human being in general.  My hat off to them.

I Miss Video Games…

For those of you who don’t know me all that well, I’m a gamer.  I love video games and have been playing them since I was small enough to hold the controller for my parents’ Atari.  My most formative childhood years were spent playing Frogger, Donkey Kong, Pacman and of course, Pong.

Then of course, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) arrived.  I still remember the very first time I held that controller.  My uncle rented a system to have at my grandmother’s house for Christmas and I watched in utter fascination as he and my other uncles all played Super Mario Bros., taking turns and getting really excited.  At some point in the evening, my Uncle Kevin looked at me, placed the controller in my hand and said, “Here, why don’t you give it a try?”  That was it.  I was hooked.

I got an NES shortly after, having begged my parents constantly.  They were great about it, since usually we only got stuff like that for Christmas.  That system lasted me for years.  I played it until it literally would not play another single game.  By the end, there was no sound.  I had to wrap the cord around the box tightly to get any colour and I had to stick a VHS tape into the slot to keep the game down.  But I still loved it and mourned its passing when it finally died on me.

After that, my mother got us a Nintendo 64, a joint gift for Christmas for my sister and I.  Again, I played the crap out of that thing.  My sister would watch me play games like Ocarina of Time and my friends would come over for marathon sessions of GoldenEye 007 multiplayer.  A custody battle broke out over the system when I moved out and was only solved when my mother determined we would each get the system a month at a time.  I ended up buying an original NES from a pawn store for the months that I didn’t have the N64.

Over the years I’ve also added an Xbox, a Wii and a PS3 to my collection and gained a whole lot more when I moved in with the boyfriend (including an Atari!!).  I played games so very much over the years and it was one of the things that bonded the boyfriend and I so well when we first started dating.  The very first gift he ever gave me (spontaneously) was a copy of Double Dragon for the NES…a game I had lost years ago when my first system died.

Sadly, however, my life as of late has not been allowing for very much gaming.  I find that I’m missing it terribly.  Work has been crazy for months and if I’m not doing overtime, I’m exhausted when I get home.  It always seems like I have social commitments, I have to go to the gym, or any other thing that pops up and there’s never any time or energy left for gaming.

The most gaming I’ve done in the last month of my life was to play about ten minutes of Mario Kart 64 at the Games Day Summer Pwnage event.  I loved it.  The atmosphere was charged, everyone was social and talking about the games and I had a great time trash talking and shooting blue shells.

So yes, I miss gaming.  I look at my shelf and realize that there are so many games I’ve purchased and started that I haven’t finished.  Some of them I haven’t even started at all.

All our games, siting lonely on the shelf...

The boyfriend is starting to complain that I never game with him anymore and I’m starting to get really annoyed by the lack of gaming presence in my life so I’m going to try and get some more play time in.  Right now we’re working on Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 because it’s a cooperative play game we can do together and also, it’s Harry Potter, so it’s awesome.  Wish my luck in getting back to my gaming roots this summer, it’s been way too long.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sky

It’s been a while since I participated in the Weekly Photo Challenge that the Daily Post has every Friday.  This week, however, the topic is Sky and since I just happened to take a bunch of photos of the sky before a thunderstorm yesterday, I thought it was appropriate.

Storm clouds rolling in

Dark and ominous clouds

Those clouds rolled in and then there was one hell of  a storm with all kinds of wind, thunder and lightening.  It was a long time coming as we haven’t had a storm in a couple of weeks and it’s been pretty hot.  After it was over, the sky was a really awesome orange colour over the trees near my apartment building.

Sunset after the storm