Canada, week 15/general catching up

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Good Lord.  It’s been a heck of a fortnight (and then some).  I’m writing this post, or at least starting to write it, from CHOCS in Tulsa.  It’s been a little surreal to be back.  I know it’s been about three and a half months, but it almost feels like no time at all.

I may update some more during break–tell all my Canadian readers about Tulsa and stuff–but I’ve also got a lot of catching up to do, with friends and books and research, so I may not.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, here’s a boatload of updates from my last week in Canada/the first half of my winter break.

SNOW SNOW SNOW:

The cohort holiday party:  To celebrate being done with our first semester of grad school, my class hung out at a ping-pong bar called Serve for a couple hours.  Yeah, you read that right.  There, I learned that I’m far too enthusiastic with a paddle to be much use at ping-pong, and therefore that I should probably take up tennis.

Hamilton being pretty and stuff:

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A whirl up and down Ottawa Street:  Apparently Ottawa Street is the antiques street in Hamilton, sort of comparable to Main Street in Jenks.  It was late on a Sunday afternoon when I was checking out the street, so I’ll have to return at some point and actually check out all these stores.  Will report back.

I accidentally found the first Tim Hortons.  I knew it was in Hamilton, but I had no idea where specifically till I found it on my way to the bus stop.

Also, whY DID NONE OF YOU TELL ME THE DUDE’S NAME ISN’T ACTUALLY TIM HORTON.  I FEEL CHEATED, DAG NABIT.

Christmas shopping and slushpile slaloming in Toronto:  I like this city so much that I just had to see it one more time before I left for break.  It ended up working out quite well, because I wasn’t finished with my Christmas shopping.  Blue Banana, in Kensington Market, saved my skin in that regard.

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Also, I almost fell while navigating slush at least six times.  Womp womp.

Sellers and Newel Secondhand Books, on College St.: I know, I know, as if I need more books. But I only got two this time–Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut, aaaaaand whoops, for the life of me I can’t remember the second one.

Oh, also, I’m officially going to be in a musical!  Hammer Entertainment is putting on Sunset Boulevard, and I got cast in the ensemble.  I’m SUPER DUPER excited for this… 🙂

That Lady Audley’s Secret adaptation is a thing…  I wrapped up the first part of the story about a week and a half ago and archived it through Scalar, a project run out of USC that’s being used to create interactive books and expand the model of academic publishing.  Figuring out the interface was a bit of a struggle, but the cool thing about Scalar is that you can create different paths through your content.  With Lucy Audley’s Secret, you can journey through just Alicia’s side of the story or just Lucy’s, or see all their posts in context.

(For the record, I’ve been informed that Scalar doesn’t always want to work with Chrome for some reason.  So if it doesn’t load for you, that may be why.)

TFW you get punked by a yogurt company…

Some of you have heard about this, but here’s the full story.  Back in May, my melodramatic ass tweeted this.

And then I completely forgot about it, till about two weeks ago when my mom and I came home from a day of eating Asian food and chilling at CHOCS (and in my case, working on the 20-page paper I had due the next morning).  I’d been warned told that we were going to have a family picture taken that afternoon, so I figured we were just meeting my dad and sister at home and going to the photographer’s in one car.

I could see my sister sitting on the couch as I walked up to the front door.  When I got inside, she was really happy to see me.  In retrospect, that’s the point at which I really should have gotten suspicious–we have literally never been that demonstrative, ever–but hey, I hadn’t seen my little sister in three months, so I was pretty jazzed myself.  “So I’m really impatient,” Claire said after the initial hellos were over.  “Your Christmas present is upstairs in your room.”

“Oh, okay, cool.”  I walked to the bottom of the stairs and saw this hanging on my door:

“Oh, that’s so nice!”

(Claire:  “No, look on your bed.”)

Then I got to the top of the stairs and saw this, on an easel beside my door:

Yep, it was that tweet I’d forgotten about.

“cLAIRE WHAT DID YOU DO HOW DID YOU PRINT THAT OUT WHAT THE–”

And then I opened my bedroom door.

Turns out Yoplait is bringing back Custard Style yogurt, and as part of their PR push, they’d found people who tweeted about Custard Style and organized surprises for them.  In my case, since I tweeted about my childhood, their idea for me was to recreate, in spirit if not entirely in substance, my childhood bedroom.  They initially DMed my sister on Twitter to ask if they could do this thing, and apparently the conversation went about like this:

YOPLAIT:  Hey, did you know back in May your sister tweeted about how her childhood died when Custard Style yogurt disappeared?

CLAIRE:  That does not surprise me at all.

So the people at Yoplait colluded for two weeks with my parents and sister, behind my back, and I suspected nothing, not even when they followed me on Twitter.

All this to say, when I walked into my bedroom that afternoon… Jesus Herbert Hoover Christ.

My room looked completely different.  It was like my childhood had exploded in there.  I’m talking dinosaurs, dogs, stuffed animals, ballet (including some old dance pictures, and my god, did I ever have stick arms when I was a kid), drawings I barely remembered doing, a harvest of fake sunflowers, and SO MANY YOGURT CUPS.  SO MANY.  But that’s not even what weirded me out the most.  No, no, what really made my brain short-circuit was that there was a dude in the corner with a camera, filming.

MY POOR OVERLOADED INTJ BRAIN:  Man in bedroom.  This never happens.  Does not compute.

ME:  Hi, uh …not to make this weird or anything, but who are you?

And he wasn’t the only one there either.  I heard laughter or something from the next room, backpedaled, and lo and behold, I saw two other people in the room next door.  A couple minutes later, I turned around for some reason and there were about six of them, and I was like “WHERE DID YOU ALL COME FROM?”

So yeah, for the next thirty minutes or so, they filmed me walking around my glo’d-up bedroom, looking at all the stuff in it.  My brain was pretty much a fizzling mess of circuits at this point, but apparently I’m quippy under pressure:

  • “Oh look, a Protoceratops!  Mom, how did you remember that was my favorite dinosaur?… how do I still remember that name?”
  • “Ooh, an Ankylosaurus!  I have no idea how I remember that name, either.”
  • MOM:  Are you surprised I could deceive you this much?
    ME:  Yeah.  I mean, I knew about the eyes in the back of your head, but this is new.
  • *examining a group dance picture* “Oh yeah, we had to make our own masks for this dance, and everybody else had really well-designed masks, and I just put on whatever I found at Hobby Lobby that I thought was cool, and it looked terrible.”
  • And then the perfect encapsulation of my life:  “This is not the first time I’ve been embarrassing on camera.”

At one point, they wanted to get footage of me eating some of the yogurt they’d brought.  So for about five solid minutes, they filmed me sitting cross-legged on my bed, eating yogurt, and then smiling into the camera.  I felt like a stock photo.  “Woman Laughing Alone With Yogurt.”

On the bright side, I’m getting far more out of this than yet another source of public embarrassment and a probable wealth of new reaction images of my face!  A year’s worth of free yogurt, for one thing, which is about the best Christmas present I could have asked for.  I also got a gift card, a picnic blanket, and whatever I wanted to keep from the stuff they got for my room.  Hey, it’s the first time I’ve ever actually made money from being melodramatic on Twitter, so I count it as a win.

(Oh, also, I finished the paper in time.  Just for the record.)

Coffee:  CHOCS is the love of my life and I missed it a lot k bai

Food:  I hit up Smoke’s Poutinerie on Spadina when I was in Toronto.  The cheese curds weren’t quiiiiite melted enough for my taste, but regardless, I’m drooling just from typing this.  Overall, I’m still ridiculously addicted to poutine.  Literally, I got poutine again from the student union the very next day.  It’s a problem.

Music:  Technically I missed my window for posting Vince Guaraldi Christmas music, but see if I care.

See y’all in a little over a week, when I return to Canada!

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