Take Care

Let's take a moment to talk about why I hate Drake's new record.

I've tried, okay? I really enjoy Drake. I do. I think he's awesome. It's not like Canada's overflowing with great rappers who've had a ton of international success. He's pretty much the only one, actually. (Okay, Kardi, but it's not even the same level.) It's part of that weird Canadian pride thing when someone makes it big elsewhere and we're all like, "HE'S CANADIAN!" any time someone mentions his name. Just in case they didn't know, or whatever.

(Except for Nickelback. With them we're all, "Well, yeah, but they're from Vancouver, which is practically Seattle. And everyone hates Nickelback here, too, so don't blame that shit on us.")

But honestly, Drake is good. So Far Gone was ridiculous (in a good way) and Thank Me Later was, as a true first record, excellent. I honestly thought it was a good and bad thing that his first album was as good as it was, because I figured it would be hard to follow, and I was right. I mean, if we're really going to say that Take Care is his sophomore album. Can it be considered as such if the guy has a bunch of mixtapes? I don't know.

What I do know is that it's disappointing. For a few reasons.

One? I don't buy rap albums for lullabies.

What the hell? It's like it takes seven songs on this album to even get a fucking beat. The tracks are laid back and smooth and not bad, really, but like, it's boring. If I wanted something to fall asleep to, or to have something playing that's unobtrusive, I'd go for some Joni Mitchell, you know?

Why isn't he even rapping? Know how other rappers have 'ft. Chris Brown or Trey Songz or John Legend or whateverothersingerwhocanactuallysing'? Drake should do that. (Rihanna doesn't count, so don't even try to tell me that.) He's not a bad singer, I guess? I just don't want to listen to him. I don't buy a Drake record so I can hear his vocal stylings, let's put it that way. While we're on the topic, why the hell isn't Drake spitting? We know he can. He's done it before.

So there's that. Disappointing.

My other problem is that when he does actually get around to rapping, he's talking about how awesome he is. Over and over again. On just about every song. Which, okay, is part of being a rapper, I guess? I get it. Having an ego helps you sell records and/or not go crazy. Cool.

But dude, this is your second album.

You are not Jay-Z. You are not Kanye. You are not Lil Wayne.

Step back and take a look at who you're saying you're better than. Because no.

I would go into great detail about how hypocritical his lyrics are, too, but it'd just annoy me to point them all out.

Basically, I wish this album was half the length. If he'd cut at least half the slower songs and made this an EP or a mixtape, I'd get it. But as it is a full length record, I just don't. I don't understand what he was going for. Usually when I don't like an album, I can at least say I understand the thing they were trying to create, and whether or not it missed the mark completely, or just missed the mark for me.

I honestly don't have a clue what Drake's trying to do here, but if this is who he's going to continue to be as an artist on all his future projects, we might have to have a little chat.

Top Five

I was asked what my top five must-listen R&B/Hip Hop records are. I figured I'd cross-post here because this blog is predominantly about music and lists.

1. Voodoo - D'Angelo. Okay, look. D'Lo is arguably the best neosoul singer of our time. His musicianship is incredible, and Voodoo, as an album, is one of the best examples of when an album feels like it sounds. The music fills your head when you listen to it. And the album came out in 2001 and still feels current; you could put any of those songs on the radio today and people would go nuts.

2. Aaliyah - Aaliyah. Baby Girl. I mean, I think most people who follow me understand how much I love her, but in case there's any doubt, it's a fucking lot, okay? Aaliyah was working with Timbaland before working with Timbaland was cool. Her songs are catchy and empowering. They're provocative in a subtle way (kind of like she was) and sexy as hell without trying. There's not a thing I'd change about this album, other than the fact that it was her last.

3. Food and Liquor - Lupe Fiasco. I have always been a rap fan, and I've always gravitated more towards rappers who have things to say, rather than ones who are boasting about...okay, anything. The first song I heard off this album was Kick, Push, and I was basically like, 'Wait, this guy has an entire song about skateboarding? I must hear more'. The lyrical content on this record is a little staggering (same for all Lupe's records). I single this one out just because it's the one that made me fall in love with him. But you should probably listen to Lasers, too.

4. Mama's Gun - Erykah Badu. The first time I heard E.Badu I was at a dinner party in college (what even?) and ...& On was playing and I basically camped out by the stereo all night and wouldn't let anyone change the CD. I feel like Erykah has this vision in her head of what she wants her music to look like (yes, look like) and she gives you just enough, then keeps the rest for herself. It's like she doesn't really want you to see it all. That probably makes no sense to anyone but me. Mama's Gun is her best record (in my opinion) and one I still listen to often, even though it came out over 10 years ago.

5. The Evolution of Robin Thicke - Robin Thicke. When people talk about blue eyed soul, this is what they're referring to, just FYI. Robin Thicke makes good fucking music and I feel like he doesn't get enough credit for it. All his albums are amazing, but this one is kind of overwhelming, actually. Vocally staggering, but the musicality and the writing are incredible, as well. There is not a song on this album that I don't enjoy, and there are so many lovely lyrics. This is the record that gave us Lost Without U, which is arguably one of the sexiest songs ever. People need to listen to more Robin Thicke.

Honourable Mentions (generally because they're popular enough that you've already heard them...)

The College Dropout - Kanye West
The Diary of Alicia Keys - Alicia Keys
Confessions - Usher
The Black Album - Jay-Z
II - Boyz II Men
Be - Common
Get Lifted - John Legend
Now - Maxwell

Excuse me while I rant

Fun fact about me: I hate Cosmopolitan magazine. If you ask me, it's just about the most silly, useless magazine title on the stands these days. Of course, there are a ton of magazines whose pages are filled with trite, recycled articles which hold no actual information or stimulating content. My hatred (not an understatement) of this magazine started in high school when my friends would read Cosmo on our free period and I wondered why the hell I should care about '52 Ways to Please My Man' rather than, say, doing my damn homework, which is what free periods are for. Not only that, but why is the biggest coverline on the front of Cosmo almost always something to do with men? Isn't this a womens' magazine?

As I get older (and remain single), I start to notice more and more of these 'articles' that are obviously geared towards women of my age group, and they're all about getting men to notice you. There are so many reasons why this is wrong. Not the least of which is that it feels like every time an editor slips one of these stories into print or online, we're setting feminism (which is not a dirty word and I hate that some people still think it is) back by years. Women are not here solely to be noticed or recognized by men, nor should we give too much of a damn what they think of what we're wearing or how we've done our makeup.

And this is coming from someone who likes the idea of taking care of another person and being in a healthy relationship. A healthy relationship, to me, will never include a guy who thinks he has any say whatsoever in what clothes I put on my own body. (Taking care of my partner will never include being his maid, catering to his every need or whim, either.)

I frequently (several times a day) check Yahoo.com for news, sports scores, articles, breaking news, etc. Often times there are decent things on there that keep people abreast of what's going on in the world. At this point I'm mostly convinced that if sites like this one didn't exist, a lot of people would know a lot less about current events.

But still, Yahoo always seems to have these ridiculous articles that might as well be titled 'How To Snag A Man, Because You're A Woman And That Is All You Should Want'.

For instance (this is just from today): 10 Beauty Tricks That Make Guys Melt, The 5 Outfits Guys Secretly Hope You'll Wear. Then from there you can click such handy links as: 10 Things He's Thinking When You're Naked, Help! It's Been 6 Months and My Boyfriend Hasn't Changed His Status On Facebook to 'In A Relationship'!, Sex Tip From a Guy: Tickle Him Hello!. In fact, there's a whole section titled 'More About What Men Want'.

If a man is thinking anything other than, "Wow, I'm lucky this beautiful woman chose me," when you're naked, here's a hint: Put your clothes back on and leave. (There are obvious exceptions; I mean, you're naked, so he's bound to have some other thoughts.)

You'll note that a lot of the content here comes from Glamour.com. Apparently it's glamourous to be so self-conscious that instead of doing your makeup how you want, you should check that article and consider what he wants to see.

I'm clearly not against a woman putting effort into her appearance and perhaps taking into consideration what her partner might enjoy, but there's a line between that and dressing for someone.

It really irritates me most of all what these articles make women think. 'Should I care more about how I dress around him?' 'Should I make him change his status on Facebook after x amount of weeks?' (The insinuation that the measure of how serious a relationship is, is whether or not it's on Facebook is just mind-boggling to me. Two words: Grow up. If you're worried about him not being serious enough, suck it up and have a conversation.)

So, great. Magazines and media that make like they're 'empowering' women and encouraging them to be fearless are publishing articles which just create doubt and portray women as being paranoid and/or neurotic when it comes to relationships. Be a fearless woman, except make sure it's okay with your boyfriend, first.

Maybe I'm taking it too seriously, but you know what? It is serious.

Another thing that bothers me about these articles is that they completely disregard the LGBT community. All these articles are about women and men, no substitutions, and I can guarantee these media outlets are missing out on a lot of readership by ignoring such a large group of people. (I remember working for a magazine and one of the feature articles we published was a profile of the home of a lesbian couple. Our editor considered pulling the article before print, worrying about alienating our 'traditional readers'. Things got heated in the boardroom that day.)

I believe that if these magazines want to say they're for women, they should include all women. That includes ones who don't give a shit what any man (or any person) thinks of them. It should include women who like other women; women who don't want babies; women who do want babies; women who want babies but not husbands; women who are married to their work; women of every colour, shape and size; women who don't want to exercise and ones who do; women who love food and drink; women who play and watch sports; women from every economic bracket.

See what I'm getting at here?

Too many magazines and websites are all about 'how to look pretty and get a boyfriend', and I honestly can't think of one example of how that's getting us anywhere.

I Voted

I honestly wasn't going to. This election has been infuriating me for weeks leading up to today and I honestly don't believe any of the candidates are worthy of my support.

But I went and voted anyway.

Because I am a firm believer that those who do not exercise their right to vote should not get to complain about the way the government runs. Why should they? If one does not care enough to go to a polling station, one’s level of ‘care’ should not increase when something affects them.

I am not a fan of the way things in this province have been going. The status quo is not acceptable to me, or to many (I’d almost dare to say most) people my age, in my position. I am not optimistic, even if a new party is elected. I know that every vote counts, but I also know a great deal about the mindset and priorities of the people in the area where I live, and areas like it. If someone new is elected (that is a very, very big if) I’m afraid a lot of the policies of the party for which I’m voting will not be made a priority, with the intention of not rocking the boat.

But you know what? Why not rock the boat? People my age are interested in politics. We’re interested in politics that make sense for us, just like middle-aged people are interested in politics that make sense for them, and lower-class people are interested in the politics that make sense for them. A 25 year old buried beneath student loans is not going to give much of a damn about (more) policies which benefit baby boomers.

What is on the docket for us?

Politics as a ‘thing’ are not all that accessible to people our age. Sure, the party lines are that young people are the future, are the change, and that we matter. This does not often come through in party policies. That doesn’t mean it’s not true.

So if everyone my age who is not completely thrilled with the candidates running or even the parties as a whole chose not to vote, we’re completely giving up on politics all together. We're giving the impression that we don't care, even if that's not necessarily the case. Hopelessness and not caring are two very different things. Unfortunately, they're often confused for one another.

Change is gradual, but we should at least be trying to accelerate it. We can’t do that if we don’t take the opportunities given to us.

I'm not one of those people who lives by the adage 'Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it'.

I think it's more like 'Those who constantly focus on how things have been in the past will never understand what's important or realistic for the future'.

We've been told from the time we were children that we could have it all, and maybe that's true, or maybe it's not, but as a generation, we are smart, educated, and we care, deeply, about issues older generations haven't or do not. It is a powerful thing, we just have to do something with it.

I'm not one of those people who believes that my vote is going to change the world - I'm far, far too cynical (and realistic) for that - but if young people grab onto politics and force the government to see that we are here and we are interested and we are not okay with being ignored? That's where the change is going to happen.

I'm sorry. Sometimes I have political feelings and things like this happen.

There's a Meaning

Let's have a little chat about words, shall we?

It seems every few months the tides change in the world of internet insanity and a new word becomes the 'it' thing. It's just the way it goes - one person likely starts it and 100 more follow and 100 more follow each of those 100, and so on and so forth. The internet is like a giant spider web or vortex or something else things get trapped in. We're all guilty of it. (See: Epic.)

Right. Epic. There's one that was around for a while, as 'the' thing to say/type. And most people did not use it the way it was meant. 

ep·ic  (pk)
1. An extended narrative poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the feats of a legendary or traditional hero.
2. A literary or dramatic composition that resembles an extended narrative poem celebrating heroic feats.
3. A series of events considered appropriate to an epic: the epic of the Old West.
Okay, so a series of events considered appropriate to an epic. Not exactly applicable to that episode of whatever show, or that party you went to on the weekend. Just pointing that out.

Then we have awkward. This one is my favourite. And by that, I mean my favourite thing that I hate and makes me want to smack people in the face with a dictionary.
awk·ward  (ôkwrd)
1. Not graceful; ungainly.
2. a. Not dexterous; clumsy.
    b. Clumsily or unskillfully performed: The opera was marred by an awkward aria.
3. a. Difficult to handle or manage: an awkward bundle to carry.
    b. Difficult to effect; uncomfortable: an awkward pose.
4. a. Marked by or causing embarrassment or discomfort: an awkward remark; an awkward silence.
    b. Requiring great tact, ingenuity, skill, and discretion: An awkward situation arose during the peace talks.
 So no. 'That awkward moment when your alarm clock goes off' is not correct and will incite rage in anyone with half a brain.

Then of course we have things like literally ('I literally died!' Right. Explains how you're still typing, then.), legitimately (okay, I use this one too, but I use it correctly, which is the key difference), and the most vulgar and disgusting response to photos of attractive people, 'I came'. Right up there with that is 'I'm pregnant'. I know these are meant to be jokes, but, well, it's kind of gross. There are other ways to express your enjoyment of something, or say how attractive you find someone.

The new one I'm seeing all the time is probably the one which bothers me the most.

Flawless. See, as a word, it's pretty, right? It flows rather nicely and it's meaning is pleasant.

The thing is? It's also complete bullshit.
flaw·less  (flôls)

Being entirely without flaw or imperfection.
So, um, why is this a word? Because nothing is without flaw or imperfection. Nothing at all. I'm sure people have other opinions on this, and they are more than welcome to, but I think perfection or 'flawlessness' is a complete and utter impossibility.

It bothers me when I see people using the word 'flawless' to describe an actress, actor or musician. Sure, they're attractive, talented and popular, but that doesn't mean they're perfect and I'm sure they'd be the first to admit as much. (And if they don't, they are not flawless. See how that works?). I think the media does a good enough job of creating a whole culture of hero-worship as it is. We should not take to our own blogs and perpetuate the belief that celebrities are more perfect than they are.

I know, I know. 'Flawless' is just a word and a way of expressing one's opinion. I will always encourage people to say how they feel, especially (well, really only) when it's not to tear someone else down or bully. However, I don't think there's a reason to go to such extremes as to call someone 'flawless', or 'perfect'. Frankly, if someone called me perfect I'd likely accuse them of blowing smoke. Or ask if they were blind. Because no one is perfect! I'd much rather hear someone say I'm talented, or lovely, or kind. Why not call that actress beautiful when she wears a pretty dress on the red carpet? At least you're being accurate.

Part of me is afraid this generation is turning into the one who'll use any word they can to incite a reaction. Sure, people use words like 'flawless' or 'perfect' or even 'epic' to express positive opinions which they are serious about, but there lies the problem. If you are serious about your opinion, why not search for the appropriate word with which to explain it? Maybe I'm just an old cynic, but if someone comes to me and says something is 'flawless', I'm just going to assume hyperbole and probably not take this person - or whatever they're talking about - all that seriously.

I know the internet can be (or at least feel like) an entirely different life, separate from 'reality', and speaking of taking things seriously, I probably am putting far too much thought into this. It's simply a word people have clutched onto so they may pay compliments to beautiful, talented people. That is a gorgeous thing, at the heart of it.

But you know what else is gorgeous? Words themselves, and they're infinitely more intriguing when they're used properly.


I went to an auction today for the first time. I've been to dumb auctions where they were selling off five pieces of farm equipment in a crowd of 20 people, but this was different. This was an estate sale in an auction house with a crowd of about 100. There was everything from dishes, china, antiques, furniture and linens, to lawn and garden tools, a snowblower, a lawn mower, etc.

It was interesting to see which items went for what. Let me tell you, a Saturday morning bidding war over a leaf blower is actually really exciting. People take these things seriously. Complete sets of china went for $12 (my mom got one) and a really ugly serving platter went for $120. Insane.

I didn't care about most of this stuff. I spent a good portion of the first hour in awe of the auctioneer, though, thinking about the direct relation between rhythm and the art of being an auctioneer. It was almost musical, listening to this guy. He had a very specific tone and timbre. When the bidding went up, so did his pitch. When the bidding was low the rhythm of his words almost hypnotized you into action. It was amazing to watch, for someone like myself who's a nerd and notes those types of things.

Anyway, I bought things. Books. Really old books. All of them for $20 total.

Here's the list:

  • Tennyson's Poetical Works (pub. 1899)
  • Scott's Poetical Works (pub. 1913)
  • The Complete Works of Shakespeare (pub. 1911)
  • Early Tudor Poetry (pub. 1920)
  • Pemaquid Point and Other Poems by Melville Arthur Shafer (pub. 1941)
  • Tennyson's The Princess (pub. 1904)
  • Caesar's Gallic War (pub. 1897)
  • Freytag's Soll und Haben (pub. 1902 and printed completely in German)
Plus a few random pamphlets, such as a booklet on the statues of Boston from 1946, an illustrated book of Bible stories from 1937, and some other little booklets on Maine commercial and lobster fisheries, and a guide to the soils of Eastern Ontario from 1955.

I'd like to go to more auctions, but I know it'd just mean bad things for my bank account and good things for my book collection.

I Legitimately Am Too Old For This

I live in a small town. Actually, I live in a rural area outside of a small town. There are two liquor stores in my area (see, here in this part of Canada you can only buy liquor at a designated store and not at like, the gas station). One of these stores is closer to the other, so that is the one I always go to. Note the always there.

I am 27 years old. Legal drinking age in my province is 19. The sign on the door says that if you look under 25, you can expect to be carded. I understand this policy and have no problem with it, and frankly, it bothers me when people get all annoyed over being ID'd when they're buying alcohol. It takes two seconds to take your license out of your wallet. Not a big deal.


I know I look younger than I am, and hell yes, I am okay with that. My problem is that every time I go to the same liquor store I always go to, they ask for my ID. Small town, remember? The woman who works there most frequently remembers where I bought my wallet (she asked one time and has since told me she went to the store and got one for herself) but can't remember that she's asked me for my ID 10 times before?

And since turning 27, they go ahead and ask for a second piece of ID, since they don't believe the date on my license and figure it's a fake. This has happened twice in two weeks. I know I might look slightly under 25, but I don't look under 19. And if I was under 19, I'm smart enough that I wouldn't have an ID that said I'm twenty seven.

So, lady at the liquor store today, thank you for saying, "Well, jeez, you look way younger than you are!" while an incredibly attractive guy stood behind me in line with his bottle of expensive whiskey. I'm sure you thought my deadpan reply of, "Yeah, I know," was bitchy and unnecessary.

I'm old enough that I can be bitchy if I want to. I have the ID to prove it.