Canada, week 28

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That’s right, folks! I’ve officially done enough Canada-related stuff in the past week (and beyond) to merit another Canada update, at long last! Without further ado:

Pillow fight!¬†I’m not actually sure who organized this, but I heard about it from a friend who was going and I was like “dude, I’m so in.” So yeah, I spent part of my Saturday in Nathan Phillips Square in a crowd of people who were whacking each other with pillows, sometimes half-heartedly and sometimes downright viciously. For my part… well, let’s just say I had a lot of pent-up frustration to express, no thanks to the week I had last week, so anybody who tried to dunk on me got pretty solidly walloped. (If any of you are reading this, perchance, sorry about that ūüėā)

What a beautiful day for a giant pillow battle.

Just more pretty Toronto pictures:¬†in case it wasn’t already painfully obvious how much I love this city.

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(I didn’t actually go looking for Honest Ed’s — I just happened upon it. Funny how that tends to happen to me in Toronto.)

Food:¬†I’ve got several highlights from the last few weeks to make up for the lack of Canada posts.

  • Manna Korean Takeout in Westdale. I’ve been eyeing this place ever since I moved here, but I only tried it recently. I feel like getting ramen takeout, which I did at Manna, is just peak college. Holy crap, though, it was so good. I don’t know what the lady there put in the broth — possibly Sriracha? Whatever it was, it reminded me of the ramen my family had every Monday night when I was a kid, which was augmented with a generous dollop of Ragu. Perfect comfort food. I want to go again, but I’m also kind of irrationally afraid that it won’t be as good the second time.
  • Hosu,¬†at Queen and John in Toronto. The place doesn’t exactly stick out amid the explosion of restaurants on this section of Queen Street, but the wonton soup and avocado salad I got (which was quite literally just a thinly sliced portion of avocado on top of some lettuce) was nevertheless good food for a good price.
  • The Starving Artist, at College and Ossington in Toronto. Everything is waffles here. I’m not kidding — everything.¬†Unfortunately, I went late enough that they were only serving dessert waffles, so I have yet to try their lunch options, but you can bet I’ll be back. The two guys on staff when I was there were incredibly nice, too, so the place gets points for great customer service as well.
  • New York Fries. ¬†Shoutout to this place for having poutine gravy that’s so good I still can’t believe it’s vegetable gravy.
  • Eden’s, on Main Street in Hamilton. My cohort met here for breakfast the last day of our Wednesday morning pro-seminar. I was a little too sleepy to remember much about the place beyond (1) the pancakes I got were fantastic, and (2) the place had a piano I somehow resisted the temptation to play.

Also, I’ve got another episode of Grad School Kitchen for ya! I didn’t actually create the recipe in this episode, but I’ve been using it a lot regardless because it’s probably¬†the easiest bread recipe ever. Yeast-free, takes like ten minutes to mix, makes a really thick country-style bread. Storebought? Screw that.

Coffee: Yeah, sure, I’ve been hitting up Augusta and Tim’s a lot, but I do have a couple other places to highlight as well.

  • Cannon Coffee,¬†at Ottawa and Cannon in Hamilton. This place is right across from the church where Sunset Boulevard rehearsals take place, so I’d probably be going there a lot even if it wasn’t anything special. It is absolutely something special, though. I’ve had quite a few things off their menu by this point — maple latte, some phenomenal tea I don’t remember, apple cider, goat cheese and dill scone — and I’ve never been disappointed. (I have yet to try their waffles; I’ll make it out there during waffling hours someday.)
  • Chocolat on James.¬†This place is a candy store and an ice cream shop as well as a coffee place, but I only got a chai latte. The barista was savvy enough to ask if I wanted cinnamon on top, and I now know that is the absolute best way to consume a chai latte ever, so that barista is kind of my hero.

What I’m reading: I worked my way through Kurt Vonnegut’s Timequake Two¬†this week, while various loaves of bread were baking. Like any other Vonnegut work, it messed me up. In a good way… I think. For example:

Or try this on for size:


Yeah. I’ll just leave that there. ¬†Along those lines, though…

Action items: ¬†As always, pay attention to all the important stuff Celeste Pewter is saying on Twitter. ¬†Also keep an eye on the special senatorial election in Georgia; depending on how big voter turnout it, Jon Ossoff could have a real chance at winning Tom Price’s old seat. ¬†If you live in Georgia or know anybody in Georgia, particularly in that district, go vote or encourage your friends to go vote. ¬†Even if you’re like me and don’t live in Georgia, spread the word.

What I’m watching:¬†Buffy,¬†of course (and there’ll be more of that coming this week!), but also Bomb Girls,¬†for a different class and a different paper. Bomb Girls is so soapy and melodramatic — and surprisingly graphic in a couple places? Maybe I’m just squeamish but I had to look away — but even so, I’m captivated. The main characters are very realistically flawed, they screw up in some really morally gray ways, and the show embraces that ambivalence rather than trying to neatly resolve things. (For the most part, anyway. Gladys, as much as I like her, is a little too perfect.)

Music: 

I’ll probably be back in a couple days with more Buffy livetweeting. Till then, adieu!

Canada, weeks 18 and 19 and 20… I think?

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Man, I’m losing track of time here.

Ugh, anyway, I had a draft all written out here (on mobile, for reasons), and then my app decided to be glitchy so I had to un/re-install, which deleted the local draft, and frankly I’ve had so much technology trouble over the past month that my reaction was pretty much just “oh, of course.” All that to say: I am nonetheless bringing you Content(TM) for the first time in a while. I know I said it wouldn’t ever be this long before I updated again, but this semester has absolutely been eating my lunch. In a good way, mostly, but still.

So, without further ado, here’s some of the stuff I’ve gotten up to in the past, god, almost three weeks:

Data Que/e/ries: I’m taking¬†a class on big data this semester, and a few weeks ago, my classmates and I each gave short presentations at a seminar my professor organized. The topics themselves, while not necessarily in my normal academic wheelhouse, were fascinating (one group talked about data companions, ranging from your average smartphone to BB-8 or Data), and the visiting scholars had so many fascinating things to say about the subjects at hand.

The Mac Dance showoff:¬†I finally got to show off my ballet and tap dances! While performing was fun, though, I’m really feeling the void that Mac dance classes have left in my life and my schedule. Thank goodness for swing dancing class.

Sunset Boulevard rehearsals have officially started!¬†We had our first vocal rehearsal on Sunday. Considering one of the songs we worked on, “Let’s Have Lunch,” is pretty much the worst game of choral Round Robin ever (seriously, Andrew Lloyd Webber, did you have to change the time signature every measure?), things went smashingly well, and I’m super excited for the show. ūüôā

More Toronto sights:

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I GOT TO RIDE A FERRY: Yeah, sure, the ride lasted all of two minutes, but it was still fun and I got some killer views of the Six.

Coffee: Dineen Coffee Co. is at Yonge and Temperance. The interior is the perfect mix of marble and filigreed Gatsby-style metal grills and reclaimed industrial parts… oh, and their iced vanilla chai is pretty good, too.

Food: I haven’t been anywhere special lately, but I did find out recently that 7-Eleven taquitos are comparable to QuikTrip taquitos. Not quite as good, but sufficient. (God, I miss QuikTrip.)

Music:¬†Sorry if these links don’t work like they usually do. I’ll fix them once I get back on Majel.

That’s all I’ve got for now! I’m actually out of town till Saturday for reading week, relishing first Madison and then Chicago, so next week’s post (and there will be one, I promise!) will recap those shenanigans. There will be art museum Snapchats. Get excited. ūüėÄ

Canada, weeks 16 and 17 and sort of 18

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GUYYYYYYSSSSSSSSSS I AM SO SORRY THIS IS SUCH A LONG TIME IN COMING.  I swear there are several good reasons for this:

  • I got sick pretty much right as I got into Pearson on January¬†6th, and I subsequently dragged myself through customs and baggage claim and all the way back to Hamilton while running a fever. ¬†I’d gotten a flu shot the day before, and I’m pretty sure it just straight-up gave me the flu. ¬†So not fair.
  • My first week back was just kinda slow, in part because I was kicking whatever bug I’d picked up.
  • I was going to have a post up last week, but my poor long-suffering computer Majel’s wifi is shot to hell, which I spent a good four days last week figuring out. ¬†Till I can get ahold of a wireless USB doohickey that actually works, which won’t be till sometime next week, I’m pretty much confined to the multimedia lab if I want to get anything done. ¬†Siiiiighhhhhhhhhhhhh

Anyway. ¬†All that to say: ¬†I’m back, ish. ¬†I may not have enough material for another post by next Monday, but I swear I won’t go two and a half weeks without updating y’all ever again. ‚̧

The Yoplait video is¬†online and miraculously not embarrassing. ¬†If for some reason you haven’t heard the story of how Yoplait punked me,¬†here you go.

Women’s March on Toronto: ¬†I went to the march with my friends Charlotte and Robyn, where we were among a crowd of 60,000. ¬†The group pretty much shut down University Avenue for a solid hour. ¬†The energy was fantastic, and I saw so many incredible signs, including a lot of signs evoking Carrie Fisher/Princess Leia. ¬†I wish Carrie could have seen it. ¬†I bet she would have been thrilled.

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The TTC:¬† Yeah, it took me this long to brave the TTC. ¬†I only used the subway on Saturday, but it was actually a lot of fun. ¬†I felt like it was back in London again. ¬†(Side note, does anybody know if the TTC actually uses the same fonts as the Tube? ¬†It looked like it, but I’m not sure.)

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Other Toronto sights:

I finally found bean with bacon soup! ¬†I hadn’t seen the stuff at all since moving up here, until one fateful Sunday trip to Food Basics:

A histrionic reaction? ¬†Perhaps, but what can I say–I missed that stuff. ‚̧

Lindy hop till ya drop: ¬†I’m officially learning swing dancing! ¬†McMaster offers several dance classes through the Pulse Fitness Centre, and the lindy hop class works perfectly with my schedule. ¬†I’m learning the lead part, which is extra fun.

Snakes and Lattes:¬† So after finding the coffee shop listed below, through an extremely fortuitous series of events, I ended up striking a conversation with four super nice girls in a Shoppers* and joining them for board games at Snakes and Lattes. ¬†I’d wanted to go there for ages, but given that it’s a board game caf√©, it’s not necessarily the kind of place you just hit up by yourself. ¬†But I ended up having¬†so¬†much fun playing Cards Against Humanity and some trivia card game that for the life of me I cannot recall the name of with these wonderful people I’d just met. ¬†I have the best Toronto mojo, y’all. ¬†It’s unreal.

*Shoppers Drug Mart, for all you non-Canadians.  Basically like CVS or Walgreens.

Action items: ¬†This is a new section–I figure I might as well make these posts useful. ¬†So here are just a couple suggestions, off the top of my head, for stuff you can do to aid the #resistance. ¬†I’ll include a couple action items in each week’s blog post from here on out.

  • Swing Left is an organization dedicated to connecting volunteers with House districts only narrowly won in their last election. ¬†The site will help you find your closest swing district and get you on the mailing list for volunteering opportunities. ¬†I’ve already signed up to help IA-03 (that and a district in Kansas were my two closest swing districts, haaaaaaaaaa).
  • CALL YOUR REPS! ¬†The linked article specifically refers to defeating the ACA repeal, but it contains a lot of good advice for touching bases with your elected representatives in general. ¬†I know, it’s nerve-wracking. ¬†I stumbled through the first time I called Bridenstine’s office. ¬†But there are multiple sites that will give you call scripts, just a Google away.
  • Along those lines, read Indivisible.
  • Follow Sarah Kendzior and Celeste Pewter on Twitter. ¬†Sarah, a freelance journalist, literally got her PhD studying authoritarian regimes, so she knows what she’s talking about. ¬†Celeste has been a fount of important Congressional news and useful advice and action items.

K, now back to our regularly scheduled rapid-fire travel blogging.

Coffee: ¬†Dave on Twitter (I’m sorry, I don’t remember your handle!!) recommended Empire Espresso to me, so after the Women’s March, I went in search of the place. ¬†It’s a tiny little coffee shop–not much room to really settle down and read or anything–but the Nutella latte I got was lovely, and the interior is still really cute.

Food:  I had brunch with Charlotte at Over Easy before the March.  The Bloor Street location is pretty small, and it was quite busy when I arrived, but the food was nonetheless wonderful.  I had the smoked salmon platter, which was basically like the lox bagel at Einstein Brothers, except I had to construct the bagel myself.  Deeeeeee-lish.

Books: ¬†I’ve been reading a lot of Kurt Vonnegut lately. ¬†It’s therapeutic. ¬†I’ve been recommending¬†A Man Without a Country¬†to pretty much everybody, and at the moment I’m working my way through¬†Palm Sunday.

I’ve also been reading¬†Richard II. ¬†Despite taking four different Shakespeare or Shakespeare-related classes at OU, I can’t say I’ve ever had a favorite history play, but now¬†Richard II¬†may be it. ¬†It starts out intense and it hasn’t let up for a second. ¬†Every time I think someone, just one person in the whole ensemble, might be in the moral right, they do something shady. ¬†I’m riveted.

Music:

That’s all I’ve got for now! ¬†I’ll be back with more news from the Great White North soon!

Canada, week 14

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Hello again! ¬†This will be the penultimate post from Canada for this year, because I’m heading back to Oklahoma on December 14. ¬†I plan to cram as much fun as I can manage into the week between the end of classes and my flight back (in addition to, y’know, actually doing my schoolwork and grading papers and stuff), and all of that will be in next week’s post. ¬†For now, let’s recap the last week:

York University, again: ¬†My research team went to York last Thursday for another archive dive. ¬†The public computer terminals in the library were largely occupied, which meant we got to see even more of the on-occasion-literal concrete jungle that is York. ¬†Unfortunately, my phone battery petered out before I could take more pictures (thanks to all my snapchatting, oops), but I did manage to get this shot of their engineering building…

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Yeah, I’ll admit it, that’s pretty cool.

Whitney Snapchats the Proquest Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive:

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More pretty Hamilton architecture:

Bryan Prince Bookseller:¬† I finally got around to checking out this place, right on the edge of Westdale Village. ¬†It’s a super small bookstore, but the high ceilings and giant shelves make it feel imposing nonetheless.

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The spoils.

And an announcement: ¬†Some of you may know already that I’ve been working on a modern-day retelling of¬†Lady Audley’s Secret for my new media methods class. ¬†I’m telling the story through Alicia Audley’s mostly anonymous Tumblr and her stepmother Lucy Audley’s very much public Instagram. ¬†If you want, you can review my livetweet of the book here¬†(though it’s not strictly necessary), and the posts Alicia makes that directly pertain to the plot are here. ¬†However, I’d encourage you to browse through the rest of her blog–see what sorts of pictures she reblogs, get a better sense of her as a person. ¬†Happy browsing. ūüôā

(Side note, I’m still trying to figure out how to archive the story posts so that they form some sort of coherent narrative after the fact. ¬†If anybody has any suggestions on that front, hit me up. ¬†I’ve tried Storify and it’s absolutely not going to work.)

Coffee: ¬†Ark + Anchor Espresso Bar is blessedly close to my apartment, just a few bus stops and a nice scenic walk past the Freemasons house away. ¬†The bulk of the tables are upstairs, in a lovely high-ceilinged place with a lot of natural light. ¬†This place is a lot like Durand in that their bookshelf is chock-full of stuff I’d love to read if I weren’t, well, a horrifically busy grad student. ¬†The mocha I got there was absolutely killer.

Food: ¬†I’ve been walking past Basilique, right across the street from Bryan Prince Bookseller, for the whole semester now, and tonight I finally decided to stop by there for dinner. ¬†I got the beef shawerma, and yes, that’s how the menu spelled it. ¬†I’m not sure if it’s a misspelling or some sort of regional difference.

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Turns out the last shawarma I had, at the now-sadly-closed Al Sultan Grill and Bakery in Tulsa, misled me a little bit. ¬†Imagine my surprise when the shawarma I was served had lettuce in it rather than French fries. ¬†It was still great, though–very gyro-like, and I actually found the meat easier to chew than gyro meat for some reason. ¬†I definitely want to go back and try their falafel and pizza.

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Music: ¬†WE’RE SO CLOSE TO THE END OF THE SEMESTER I CAN TASTE IT

That’s all for this week. ¬†Next week’s post should be jam-packed, so… till then!

Canada, week 13: special edition!

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Hey all! ¬†It’s been another relatively slow excitement week/fast grad school week, but I’m bringing you another update anyway, because oh my sweet lord you all will not believe what happened to me on Sunday afternoon.

I’d spent the whole day inside, working on a term paper, and I was about fed up of being indoors. ¬†“Hey, self, you know what would be a great idea?” I thought. ¬† “Walking over to the Second Cup in Westdale Village and getting coffee.” ¬†So I got dressed and headed out. ¬†I was on King, approaching Marion, when I noticed there was a weird traffic snarl up ahead and a lot of people on the sidewalk ahead of me. ¬†There was a police officer standing in the middle of the intersection directing traffic, and one of the cars up ahead was at a slightly weird angle, so at first I thought there’d been a car accident. ¬†But as I got closer, it didn’t look like anything was actually damaged. ¬†“Huh,” I thought, “I guess all these people are just doing their holiday shopping. ¬†Supporting small businesses. ¬†That’s so nice of them!”

I made it across the street, still a teensy bit confused as to what was going on, and approached a small knot of people, all of whom were standing behind a dude in a bright safety-orange vest. ¬†This vest had a neon-yellow X on the back, and on one stripe of the X was written “GOOD WITCH.” ¬†As I got closer, I saw that literally everybody was standing still. ¬†The people hanging out behind Mr. Orange Vest were just chillin’, and there were people further down the sidewalk just chillin’. ¬†Nobody was moving at all.

Honestly, this was the point at which I really should have turned tail and gone back home, because clearly I’d stumbled into something. ¬†But unfortunately, three of my several Tragic Flaws(TM) were at play here:

  • I can be singleminded as all get-out. ¬†When I really want something, like coffee, I’m frelling getting it no matter what.
  • I can be PAINFULLY oblivious.
  • To put it charitably, I’m inquisitive. ¬†To put it uncharitably, I love poking my nose into stuff that has nothing to do with me.

Anyway, I sidled up to a nearby couple and said something like, “So this is the holdup, huh?” ¬†I figured they were normal people like me who were temporarily inconvenienced by whatever the heck was going on. ¬†They looked at me a little weirdly, and I don’t remember precisely what their reply was, but I got the distinct feeling I was missing something. ¬†Unfortunately, these folks didn’t have time to disabuse me of any of my half-baked notions as to what the sitch was, because at that moment, somebody (I think it was Mr. Orange Vest) was like “k, y’all can go now.” ¬†So the people around me went, and I went. ¬†And this is the fourth-best part of this whole ridiculous story, because somebody (Mr. Orange Vest again?) called out something like “take your time, don’t be in a hurry.” ¬†AND I JUST ROLLED WITH IT. ¬†It took me about 0.2 seconds to start moseying, easy as you please, even though I literally had no idea what was going on.

I kept moseying down the sidewalk, and it was at this point I noticed one of the shops (don’t remember which one) had been temporarily replaced with a fake shop bearing the marquee “Bell, Book, and Candle.” ¬†There was a rack of really cute jackets on the sidewalk near that shop, which initially got my attention. ¬†There was¬†also¬†a really attractive guy browsing the rack, which was the second thing to get my attention. ¬†I looked through the jackets for a bit and then casually asked him, “So what is this all about?” ¬†He looked confused and asked me if I was actually looking at the jackets, and that’s when it hit me:

Literally everybody else in this entire area was an extra, and I was the utter nincompoop who’d wandered right onto set DURING A TAKE, WHILE THE CAMERA WAS ROLLING.

I completely short-circuited, in part because¬†Jesus Woodrow Wilson Christ what have I DONE, and in part because this guy’s face was distracting me big-time, and I just mumbled something like “oh my god, I’m so sorry, I’m just gonna–” and I didn’t even care, I just strolled right outta there, getting in the way of at least three other people in the process but like heck I was sticking around.

The third-best part of the story is that the full extent of my bumbling came to light in front of this ridiculously attractive man, right? ¬†The second-best part is that I was wearing SWEATPANTS. ¬†I’d almost dressed kind of cute earlier, when I was getting ready to leave the apartment, and then I was like “but sweatpants though.”

And then the best part–guess what else I was wearing?

My deerstalker.

I literally crashed the set of a TV show, in the middle of a take, while wearing sweatpants and my godforsaken DEERSTALKER.

So yeah, that’s pretty much the most embarrassing thing to happen to me since the Klahom face, and if I somehow make it into the background of this show, I’ll ascend to another plane of existence and scream.

Here ends the story.  Till next time!

(P.S. I guess I know what I’m bingewatching over break.)

(P.P.S.  The coffee was still totally worth it.)

Canada, week 12

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Sorry this is late again, y’all–I had a draft of a research proposal due today, so I’ve been working my tail off on that. ¬†(Grad school, where you give yourself crash courses in international relations at 1:30 in the morning. ¬†Yayyyy.)

It’s going to be a short post this time around–this week has been a bit sluggish, much like the week before–but I’ve still got a few things for y’all.

First deerstalker sighting of the season:

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Not exactly the world’s best picture of me, but…

I was at the rally in Toronto on Saturday. ¬†There were some really great speakers, lots of people showed up, nothing got ugly, and now I’m hoarse from all that chanting.

What I’m watching:

  • On a whim, I rewatched¬†Epic, and my observations about it from back in 2013 still hold. ¬†The animation perhaps isn’t as brilliant as Pixar’s, but it was still a really fun movie–save for the sheer baldfaced nature of the antagonist’s villainy. ¬†That felt uncomfortably relevant.
  • On that note, I’ve also rewatched¬†Shrek recently, and my god, I’d forgotten completely about the part where fairy tale creatures are literally being rounded up and sent to “resettlement facilities.” ¬†Y’all, we basically just elected Lord Farquaad. ¬†YIKES.
  • The latest few episodes of¬†The Cate Morland Chronicles are basically perf. ¬†This show is one of only a few things that’s brought me genuine no-holds-barred joy in the last couple weeks. ¬†(Also, cause of death: ¬†Canry. ¬†Gawd.)

Coffee: ¬†I haven’t actually written about Second Cup yet, so let’s give that a go. ¬†Second Cup is a chain here, akin to Starbucks, but it differs in a couple respects. ¬†I’d say the drinks themselves have a little less variety than at Starbucks (though I do¬†love¬†their caramel corretto latte), but the baked goods are markedly fancier, more akin to Crimson and Whipped Cream in Norman or CHOCS in Tulsa. ¬†There’s a Second Cup in Westdale Village, right near my apartment, which makes it an attractive study spot except for the distinct lack of outlets. ¬†I swear, everywhere there should be an outlet, there isn’t one. ¬†It’s mildly irritating.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Second Cup and Starbucks, though, one that’s particularly prominent at the moment, is their holiday cups.

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*gasp*  Can it be?  No mention of Christmas?  Not even red or green???????

(Seriously, nobody tell the Starbucks protestors about this. ¬†I’m pretty sure they’d actually short-circuit.)

Food: ¬†I live right near PhŠĽü RŠĽďng V√†ng, right, and yet somehow I’d never been there till Thursday evening.

OH MY GOD WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME.

The restaurant itself is so avocado-green on the inside that I felt like I’d gone back to the 1970s, but THE FOOD. ¬†SWEET JESUS.

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Full disclosure, my dad is an excellent cook and makes wonderful pho, but even so, what I had at¬†PhŠĽü RŠĽďng V√†ng might actually be the best bowl of pho I’ve ever had. ¬†Maybe. ¬†It’s a close freakin’ call. ¬†It was a huge bowl, too, though I only ordered a medium, and yet I still absolutely inhaled it. ¬†I’m honestly barely exaggerating. ¬†It was HEAVENLY.

I also finally hit up Caribbean Flavah, which is in the same building as¬†PhŠĽü RŠĽďng V√†ng, on Friday. ¬†They have a super cheap lunch special, so I tried my first jerk pork along with rice. ¬†The pork was a teensy bit fatty for my taste, but it was still super good. ¬†The guy who boxed up my meal drizzled some of the pork broth on the rice as well, and I don’t know if that’s what made it so spicy, but¬†dang. ¬†There was actually enough rice in that little box for two meals, so later that day, I cracked an egg into it and nuked the lot. ¬†(#gradschoolkitchen, amirite?)

Music:

That’s it for this week! ¬†I should be back next Monday afternoon. ¬†Toodles!

Canada, weeks 9 and 10

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Hey all! ¬†You may have noticed I didn’t post an update last week. ¬†It was a slow excitement week and a fast grad school week, meaning there wasn’t all that much to report. ¬†So I’m making one post about the past two weeks!

Here are the highlights:

  • York University: ¬†My fellow RAs and I took a day trip up to York for research purposes, not last Thursday but the Thursday before. ¬†The campus itself is a little dreary–OU people, imagine the basement of Dale Hall as an entire campus and you’ll basically be picturing York–but I got pictures of a couple cool spots.
  • Steel City Jazz Fest: ¬†I got to go see Jazz Connection for free on Friday night, and it was AWESOME. ¬†The first tune they played was “Count Bubba,” which I remember playing in my high school jazz band, so that was a trip and a half.
    The venue itself, The Pearl Company, was perfect. ¬†It’s a multilevel theater space; we were on the second floor, which I guess is more for performances like this, readings, the like. ¬†The seating was the biggest mishmash of chairs I’ve ever seen in my life, and the whole place just had such an endearingly rough-hewn vibe. ¬†I really hope I get to attend more events there in the future.
  • HIVEX2016: ¬†On Saturday, I woke up super early and got abnormally dolled up for Hamilton HIVE’s annual young professionals conference, HIVEX. ¬†It was well worth the early alarm; I learned a layered method for pitching an idea, listened to a presentation on storytelling in branding, and got a lot of tips about media relations (how to do interviews, how to interact with reporters, etc.). ¬†And that’s to say nothing of the lunch they provided. ¬†I hadn’t had pulled pork since…….. well, I don’t know how long it had been precisely, but I hadn’t had it since I moved here. ¬†My inner Southerner was very happy.
  • Jackson Square: ¬†Lemme tell ya, being in a mall in an entirely different country is a surreal experience. ¬†The ceilings were so much lower than those in Woodland Hills, back home, and I didn’t know any of the stores. ¬†It felt more like an airport terminal than a mall to me. ¬†With that said, though, this part (which is technically part of Hamilton City Centre, whatever) did remind me of Woodland Hills a little:
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  • I keep forgetting to shout out James Street Bookseller, right near Cafe Augusta. ¬†The place has a great atmosphere and a nice mix of really old and really new books. ¬†Plus, Guillermo del Toro had been in there literally the day before I stopped by. ¬†So there’s that.
  • I saw my first¬†Mountie over the weekend! ¬†Didn’t think to get a picture, unfortunately.

Along those lines, here’s another episode of¬†Minor Differences!

  • I’m pretty sure what Americans call¬†business (in the context of university courses and majors), Canadians call¬†commerce.
  • Here, people call it a¬†washroom¬†rather than a¬†bathroom.
  • Unions¬†are gigantic in Canada, especially in Hamilton because it is/was a steel city. ¬†Apparently TAs, RAs, and sessional (adjunct) faculty have their own union; that was actually one of the first things we learned about at our TA orientation, so I was all like
    I asked one of my professors about it, and he said Reagan basically gutted unionized labor in the States during his administration.
    At any rate, there’s been a lot of fuss over the past couple weeks regarding our own union’s negotiations and a strike vote. ¬†It’ll be interesting to follow what happens with that.
  • Speaking of, what we call¬†adjuncts¬†in the US are¬†sessionals in Canada.
  • Canadians aRE¬†OBSESSED WITH THE ELECTION PLEASE GOD MAKE IT STOP. ¬†(Side note, I’m wildly jealous of Canada’s month-long election cycle. ¬†I’m so tired. ¬†I’m just so tired.)
  • British spellings. ¬†Still not used to those.
  • Toronto versus Hamilton, on the subject of¬†saying thank you to bus drivers. ¬†This debate legit almost tore our class apart last week–it was hysterical to watch. ¬†The Torontonians among us were adamant about not saying thank you to bus drivers, and the Hamiltonians were horrified and insisted that of course you say thank you to bus drivers. ¬†I was just sitting there like
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  • Plum sauce is huge here; people eat it with chicken strips a lot. ¬†I’m not entirely sure why it’s such a big thing, but I’ve been converted.
  • Apparently there are no go-buttons you can press at crosswalks? ¬†I’ve been looking for those pretty much the whole time I’ve been here, and I haven’t found a single one. ¬†Not that the ones in the US are actually super effective, but I’ve realized it’s nice to have that illusion of control.
  • Card readers. ¬†I’m so used to having the cashier swipe my card for me, but in Canada a cashier will literally just hand me the swiper and I have to do everything myself. ¬†Not a bad thing, necessarily, just something to get used to.

On the next episode of Minor Differences, in some future post:  education.

Now for another episode of Gorgeous Hamilton Churches!

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This one is right across from Durand Coffee.

What I’m watching: ¬†Dark Matter¬†season 2.

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I liked the first season a lot, but this season has been absolutely brilliant so far. ¬†To say it leveled up feels like a giant understatement. ¬†The writing is so tight, nobody’s been OOC so far, and they’ve doubled down on the moral complexity from season 1. ¬†(I’m only on episode 5, so no spoilers!)

Coffee:  Mulberry Coffee House, on James Street.

Great atmosphere, fantastic chai, readily available outlets. ¬†They don’t have wifi, which kind of limits the circumstances in which I can actually go here, but I honestly got so much done on my presentation for research methods in the three or so hours I was there.

Food: ¬†Again, I didn’t really have time to go anywhere special this week, but I just want to give a shoutout to Williams again. ¬†They have fairly cheap grilled cheeses, and I had one last week, and it was soul food. ¬†I needed that grilled cheese.

Bonus, though: ¬†it’s time for another episode of¬†Grad School Kitchen!

I haven’t found Hot Pockets here (maybe I haven’t been looking hard enough, but whatever), but when I was at Shoppers a couple weeks ago, I did find “pizza pockets.” ¬†They honestly taste like knockoff Hot Pockets with a weird-flavored crust, but I found out just the other night that if you spread goat cheese on top of ’em, they taste¬†really¬†good.

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Music:

That’s it for this fortnight! ¬†I’ll be back next week, hopefully, and I’ll tell you all about the presentation I’m giving tomorrow in my research methods class… ūüôā