Words to Live By

You would probably think that since I am currently enjoying a long Christmas break, I would have nothing better to do and update my blog pretty regularly, but the thing about having nothing to do is that there is nothing really exciting to talk about. This being my immediate predicament, I first thought that I would make up an exciting story about fighting off terrorists in downtown Edmonton, but realized that since there aren’t really any terrorists in Alberta, no one would believe it. Instead, because it is the start of a new year and time for resolutions and such, I will take this time to expound on some of the wisdom that I have learned over the past twelve months. So, I’ve got out my soup box and am perched precariously atop of it and my oversized ego, ready to dole out some good ‘ol fashion learnin:

First off, vacationing in Edmonton during January is not a very good idea, unless you are an inuit who is used to living in a house made of ice, in which case Edmonton might seem to you like a tropical hot spot. For anyone else foolhardy enough to choose this particular city as your next winter getaway, be prepared for a winter blast of -30 degree weather (which, for those of you who think that because I always report my temperatures in Celsius this is not as cold as it seems, coverts to -22 degrees Fahrenheit). I was able to sneak away on one of the warmer days to take in a day of snowboarding and otherwise spend my time in the worlds biggest mall (sorry all you American patriots who think the Mall of America is the biggest, but we hold the Guinness record).

Next, if you are flying out of Dulles airport on the Friday before Christmas, make sure you arrive at least 3 hours early. Either that or cut in front of the entire line like I did.

During my stay in the US of A, I have learned (or rather reaffirmed my previous knowledge) that Americans, not matter what age, race or station in life, love to make fun of Canadians, and, to accomplish this task, have only about 3 jokes to use. So, as a word of advice to all those who think they are Dan Akroyds or Jim Carrys: I’ve heard it all before. Now, I’m not trying to be all whiney because I really don’t care what anyone says about my home and native land, and to prove there are no hard feelings, I will provide to anyone who wishes to continue the Canadian merry-making a short list of potential jokes to keep you going: hockey, the metric system, “Zed”, beer, the loonie, igloos, Mounties, doughnuts, maple syrup, “toques”, Celine Dion, Zambonis, curling, monopoly money, snow, “hoser”, Wayne Gretzky, Marijuana, homosexual marriage, “Eh”, small military, universal health care, no guns, better and cheaper education, clear air, lower crime rate, and top 3 rank on the UN’s ‘Best countries to live in’ list. Oh wait, were there some good things on this list? I guess I forgot what I was writing about.

Speaking of Canada, I wouldn’t be much of an indie rock fan if I did not use my advice post to recommend looking out for the new Arcade Fire Album due out in March. And, by the way, I’m sure all of you other indie-rockers out there will be happy to know that I have finally kicked my nasty little “Dashboard Confessional” habit once and for all. It happened all of a sudden too: one day I was listening to my iPod on random and this Dashboard song came on. Well, about half-way through the song, when Dashboard was taking what seemed like an eternity to singabout which shirt to wear on a date that I just felt like yelling: “Stop your incessant whining, you namby-pamby baby!” And that is when I realized that my disdain for emo is finally total, much to my relief. So, with my newly aquired rise in hipster status, I will attempt to play the part of a music blogger just a little an recommend an album that I think is quite something and am quite sure that most readers have not heard. “Phages,” by The Most Serene Republic is a limited edition EP available on iTunes, emusic and the Arts and Crafts website that is a light and Jazzy indie-rock gem.

Do not try to take any shortcuts while walking in Charlottesville. The last time I tried to cut across the field to get from the law school to the post office in Barracks, I ended up half-jumping-half-falling at least 12 feet down a cliff through thorny bushes and ending up in the UVa bus depot, where I had to descretely brush myself off and pretend that I actually had a purpose in the lot while mechanics were probably laughing under their breath. The good news is that my shins were the only things cut—I probably saved about 3 minutes or so in traveling time.

As for advice pertaining to other forms of travel in Charlottesville, ie driving: just say no. Charlottesville is a small town with big city traffic (plus a police force that is more oversized than Morgan Spurlock after a month at McDonalds, and whose sole purpose seems to be closing the exact roads that you need to use to get home).

Tim Horton’s is a Canadian Gem (which luckily has recently expanded into the USA): I just haven’t found an Apple Fritter in Virginia to match one of Timmy H’s. Old Dutch Jalepeno Chedder Potato chips are another. Sorry Utz, you may have been voted best chip in 1993, but you cant really match the power of the Dutch Crunch.

Now that the whole “I’m LDS” thing is out of the bag, I am in a good position to give this advice that I learned when my friend and his girlfriend came to Charlottesville for a visit; it would be useful for anyone who is having LDS guests over (who are not married). As I’m sure everyone knows, our church believes it is important to remain pure before marriage, so certain steps must be taken when traveling with your girlfriend (or boyfriend). As far as I can tell, these are a few guidelines that I thought were pretty arbitrary, but that Theresa seemed to believe were obvious enough that it was almost laughable and certainly disappointing that I was not already aware of them (and I remind everyone that these ‘rules’ are just a set of observation and in no way reflect official church policy, but may serve as an interesting insight): first off, girlfriends are not supposed to stay in the same house as you when you are visiting your friend who is also single. This means that if you are visiting said friend with your girlfriend, it is customary to find your girlfriend another place to stay, usually one of your friend’s female friends. This was the situation Theresa and I were in when we visited her sister in Calgary to go to a Stars concert. This rule apparently does not apply when the friend you are visiting is married (although separate rooms are still a must). This was the case when my friend, Danny H, visited me. So, as Theresa explained (on the phone), even though I was living by myself AND am younger and much less mature than Theresa’s sister, the same-house-but-different-room sleeping arrangement was acceptable. So, that’s it: if your LDS friend is coming for a visit, follow these guidelines and no one will be offended.

And on that enlightening thought, we will end for today. Don’t worry, I have much more advice to give, but we’ll have to save it for another post.