Food A Love Story – Jim Gaffigan

This weekend was kind of a bust for me – I have a migraine that just won’t quit. Instead of spending the weekend catching up on… well anything, I laid on the couch in darkness.

Lucky for me, I had a couple audiobooks that I’ve been meaning to listen to. The lack of visual stimuli combined with actual entertainment created a perfect distraction from my throbbing head.

food a love story Jim Gaffigan

The first book – Jim Gaffigan’s “Food a Love Story” – has been on my list to read since completing his previous release “Dad is Fat”. I enjoy Gaffigan’s light-hearted comedy, which usually features stories of food, his five children, and growing up as a super white Catholic. I particularly enjoy his audiobooks because the narration is really a part of the charm – the voices, inflection, and accents bring the book to life.

Food a Love Story delves into Gaffigan’s favorite topic – food. He talks about all forms of foods, from specific descriptions of different fast food chains, to describing the foods of his past, and includes amusing asides to describe how these generally-accepted foods came to be. For example, what’s the deal with breakfast foods being so terrible? Bacon, pancakes, syrup, sausage, and sugar-filled juice – these wouldn’t fly any other time of the day. The book was an enjoyable listen, though I much preferred his previous depiction of life with five young kids.

One of my favourite parts of this book was Gaffigan’s description of everyone’s least favourite food chain – McDonald’s. He notes that while not everyone eats at McDonalds, everyone has their own McDonalds – be it bad fast food, mindless gossip magazines, or ridiculous “Real Housewife” shows – we all have some kind of embarrassing garbage that we can’t help but ingest. There’s no sense in trying to act superior.

Five Years After University – My Greatest Gain from my Undergrad

Last night I realized something very weird…

It’s already been five years since my last undergraduate class!

I can’t help but wonder where the time has gone. But I am glad to say one thing – I can measure each period of my life in blogs or artistic projects. Grad school was spent on my comic “Tiger Pearl”, and my under-employment years were spent writing my blog Transitionelle (now ellefeeney).  But undergrad… well those were the days!

One of my first shared projects is still one that I hold closest to my heart – a comic written with my best friend that still makes me giggle at its ridiculousness: Vicoodles – by Tiana and the Hick. (Clearly, I was the Hick – though for the life of me I still can’t figure out why).

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For some reason this is the only edition that I could find this afternoon, although I know that we have them all saved somewhere.

Vicoodles was Tiana’s brain-child, but when she invited me to participate I couldn’t say no! We would have our bi-weekly meetings, usually in the dining hall over copious cups of tea and triple-helpings of dessert, and we’d dream up ridiculous inside-joke that just HAD to become comics. We’d go back and forth for days, sometimes weeks, and then Tee would draw up the comic and it would be forever immortalized in print. In our student newspaper, of course.

This small, silly comic started me on a road that I am so thankful to have gone down. Before Vicoodles, I was just a girl with a lot of ideas and a dream about sharing my writing with others. But Vicoodles gave me the confidence to put my words out there. Silly words and happy words, which turned to doodle, inspiration, and reviews. My words were no longer hidden away.

I suppose I never really considered the impact that one silly comic could have on a person’s life, but sharing brought me confidence that can’t be learned. Of all of things I gained from my undergraduate degree, the confidence to share my opinions and my humour has brought me the most joy and accomplishment. Not just in writing, but in every part of my life.

So put yourself out there – and seek out friendships where you encourage each other to do so. You never know where one tiny step will take you.

My pet photography addiction

I was scrolling through my cell phone photo gallery and I came across an entertaining trend that I’d like to share.

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My super scary long-haired Chihuahua

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My best friend and research partner - Pearl

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My very first pet and the laziest cat alive, Tigger

I take a lot of photos of pets. And almost all of them are super close up.

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Snow chihuahua

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An interrupted nap

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The best sleeping position of all time

If that’s not strange enough,  apparently I do it to other people’s pets too.

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Hey buddy, smile for the camera...

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This guy was totally up for posing with me.

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The cutest dog in EVER. Just a pile of fluff :)

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Not even sure when I took this one...

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One of my favourite kitties to snuggle with <3

I really can’t explain this close-up-pet-photographing phenomenon. I’m definitely an animal lover, although it would seem that I lean toward photographing cats. I guess that’s just because they’re so easy to catch. And maybe I’m a cat-woman in the making… ;)

I hope you enjoyed this most random of photo album posts.

Elle

Another Look Inside my Wreck This Journal: Dragons, Fish, and Greyfriar’s Bobby??

As promised, here is another look inside my Wreck this Journal

Also, Happy Chinese New Year…

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An inkblot heart made of DRAGONS?! Perfect for Chinese New Year :)

I spent a year studying abroad in Scotland under the pretense of discovering my true calling and finding myself – all that 20-something nonsense that sounds super profound at the time.  While I was there I documented the time artistically in my Wreck This Journal (for more examples, see here and here).

I had the best time ever making a heart-shaped inkblot that immediately reminded me of two dragons (or legendary Pokemon).  I’m sure that speaks volumes about my personality… I’m really just a huge geek.

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Write one word over and over... Well you can see what I chose!

It took me a couple tries to finish writing one word over and over enough times to cover these two pages – and I was over halfway through before I realized the true artistic potential of this activity! I chose the word FISH because I was studying to become a fisheries Biologist.  I did my MSc thesis on a species of fish, I honed my electrofishing sampling technique, and I even tried a very British meal of fish and chips. I truly embodied all things fish-related while living in Scotland.

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Writing with the pen in my mouth was not my forte - and drawing was even worse!

So this last picture tells a couple stories – although even I can’t decipher them. I attempted to draw (with the pen in my mouth) a Scottish flag and the statue Greyfriar’s Bobby (it’s a little dog statue in the heart of Edinburgh) without much success. I also wrote about my excitement to visit Portugal, my exam stress, and something about wishing my friend Tiana still had… work? wings? I’m not really sure what that says. But I wish her all the best regardless.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this look inside my journal. :)

Elle

Phantom Editors: fact of fiction

OOoooooOOOOoooooooooo…

I’ve been blogging (consistently) for a month and a half now. During that time a number of things have come to my attention:

  1. Blogging requires a time commitment somewhere between a favourite hobby and a part-time job
  2. Writing one single blog post is sometimes a day-long process if you’re busy jumping between activities (like me)
  3. And… sometimes, no matter how many times you proof-read, you will find the strangest errors in your posts. Ones that you would just never make. Be they formatting, grammar, or spelling, these are the types of errors that hit you from out of the blue – they contradict your obsessive proof-reading ways!
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An approximation of a Phantom Editor hard at work

These, dear readers, are what I have been calling my Phantom Editors.

Don’t bother looking them up on Google (unless you’re a big fan of Star Wars fan-fiction) because you won’t find them. Like their name suggests, a Phantom Editor is a super-natural ghost-like creature brought to life somewhere deep inside your blogging devices. The get their kicks from auto-correcting, format-mangling, and punctuation stealing. They eat apostrophes for lunch, leaving bloggers to explain to their fathers that they do know the difference between “its” and “it’s”. And, worst of all, they chew up formatting, leaving your posts confusing to navigate.

The place of residence of the Phantom Editor has yet to be discovered – they may be inside your mobile telephone, inside your internet browser, or even associated with your blogging host (WordPress, have you looked into this?). Where ever they are, their presence is known by the clues that they leave behind.

What can you do to protect yourself from Phantom Editors?

It’s a good question. Since they are super-natural creatures, there is little you can do to protect yourself. I recommend making use of the preview option when proof-reading your blog posts. This will give you a look at what the phantom editors have in mind for your post. Also, having a friend look over your work using the WordPress “request feedback” option is invaluable. They are often able to catch the edits before your eyes can adjust to the work of the clever phantoms. Finally, try to stick with posting from just one device to avoid changes as your posts gets passed between one set of editors to the next.

I wish you all the best of luck in dealing with your phantom editors!

Elle

6 Quirky Eastern Canadian Holiday Traditions

I’ve been promising to share more about my life in Eastern Canada. 

So here goes.

The holidays last a good full week in Eastern Canada. Christmas eve, Christmas day, and boxing day are all big family days, and most people I know have at least 2-3 family dinners on these. Malls are closed entirely on the 25th and 26th here, and we’re known for actually giving fines to businesses that open their doors on boxing day for sales. I like that a lot.

We carry on celebrating with a little less enthusiasm until New Years Eve, which is another time for big gatherings of friends and family.

As for quirky traditions, here are just a few off the top of my head that I’ve mentioned to my friends in Toronto, only to be met with confused looks. Enjoy :)

1. Watching the World Junior Hockey Tournament. Now I am aware that lots of people watch this, but the holidays in Eastern Canada really revolve around finding a place to watch every game (including exhibition games) with family and friends. And tonnes of food. People that don’t even watch normal hockey are drawn into it. I love it.

Lobster - cooked and ready to go!

2. Lobster dinner. Since we live on the coast, lobster is frequently had for Christmas Eve or New Years Eve dinner. There’s nothing like having a steaming hot lobster dipped in butter sauce as your last meal of the year!

3. Kitchen parties. If you have Eastern Canadian friends, you’ve probably heard this term thrown around.  A kitchen party is kind of a tradition here on the East Coast, and can involve anything from having a few people in to eat, or go as far as having a big group complete with musical instruments and singing. All in your kitchen. Our houses typically have large kitchens, and our parties get pretty loud.

Christmas candy dish. Enough said.

4. Christmas candy dish. This is the type of thing that just sits out on your counter, and is perfect for a day of munching in the kitchen. Usually full to the brim at the beginning of the holidays with chocolate, gummies, and tonnes of nuts – that don’t stand a chance of lasting.

Sponge toffee. Yum.

5. Sponge toffee. Or any kind of toffee really. This is something that shows up every Christmas no matter what. Usually in your stocking.

No house is complete without rustic snowman decorations.

6. Rustic Christmas decorations. I’m not really sure why, but the rustic Christmas style never goes out here in the Maritimes. Also, ornaments and decorations are typically gifts, and rarely match. It’s all part of the charm.

I hope you enjoyed a little look at the holidays in Eastern Canada. If you have any traditions that you’d like to add, feel free to let me know in the comments!

Happy Holidays

Elle