Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Is This Thing On?

*taps mic*

Uh, hello.

*feedback through the speakers*

I didn't mean to go an entire month and six days without blogging, but here we are. It took me three weeks to get over my jetlag. Three weeks! For the first couple of days, I was in bed by 4:30pm - I get home from work at 4:20 - and then waking up at 3am. After that, I just had to take a nap every day at 5pm. When I was finally able to stay awake until 8pm without a nap, I felt like I had succeeded in hiking Everest. Crazy times when you can stay up to 8pm.

Once I was out of that fog of slumber, it was straight into the holiday festivities.

And here we are, one month and six days later.


I have been working on some more 'travel advice for Tanzania' centred blog posts over at A Rambling Nerd and am planning on posting those in January and February. I will (once again) link up to them over here so if Tanzania is on your travel list, you can check them out.

For now, Merry Christmas. Enjoy this Inuktitut version of 'Silent Night'.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Almost Home

I'm sitting in the Calgary airport, drinking Timmy's and waiting for my last leg of my trip home to Victoria. I managed to get a post up about my last few days in Stone Town.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

A Few Thoughts

First, new post about Nungwi, Zanzibar on the other blog.

Second, a few thoughts about the US election because I need to put them somewhere and the other blog isn't the right place.

I am not American, but I can see it from a park five blocks from my house. You can see it from all over my city.

I am currently on an island where the Muslim population is 99% in a country where they are the largest majority overall with 45%. Out of all of the countries I have had the privilege to travel to or live in, this is generally been the friendliest one - especially when you get away from the tourist trail. Donald Trump has said some pretty horrible things about Muslims. These were the people I had to look in the eye as we learned of the results on Monday morning. Beyond that, because of my time here, these people are friends, coworkers, and travel saviours.

I spent Wednesday lost in a What-The-Fuck fog, which was added to by the fact that I saw kofias and hijabs everywhere I looked. I couldn't make sense of where the election had gone so horribly wrong that a man with no political experience beat a woman who has dedicated her life to public service. A man who has spoken ill of pretty much every minority you can name.

I knew that racism and sexism and all those wonderful 'isms' used to describe his vile rhetoric existed in the world, I just didn't know how much of it existed.

Wednesday night, I watched the sun set from a cafe that overlooked a popular beach. Dhows passed by, palm trees waved, and local young men played a game of pick-up soccer. In the corner of all this, shortly after sunset, a young man wearing a kofia led his three friends in Maghrib, the evening prayer. Watching them was incredibly peaceful and calming. I began to feel that the world may be broken but we can fix it.

I also took solace in the words of Jack Layton, which I've shared on here before but I'm going to share them again.

To all my loving, hopeful, and optimistic peeps out there, may we stand up in the coming days, weeks, months, and years to protect those that need protecting and to change the world so this orange asshat doesn't get another four year term,

Did I just call him an asshat? Hmm, guess I'll have to work on that 'loving' part.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Humidity and Island Hopping

I have less than a week left of my trip. I can hardly believe it!

Two updates on A Rambling Nerd: Coastal Humidity and Island Hopping to Pemba.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I see a beer and a beach chair, both with my name on them!

Friday, 4 November 2016

Hiking in Lushoto

Posting has slowed down due to a lack of reliable Wifi. New post over at A Rambling Nerd about a day trip to Ngongongare and hiking in Lushoto.

On a whim, I headed to Pemba Island which has turned out to be a fantastic decision and I wish I could stay a little bit longer.

It's late here but if I get ambitious, I might get my Pangani and Tanga scheduled while I have relatively decent Wifi. If I do, I won't be cross-posting.

Which reminds me, safari post is up. Pretty animal pictures!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Leaving Ngongongare and Being a Tourist

New post up on A Rambling Nerd about leaving Ngongongare and heading to Kondoa.

I have another blog over there queued to be posted on Wednesday. I don't know if I'll be able to crosspost at that time (and I can't do it before that blog is up), but you'll want to check it out because it's safari photos.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Thanksgiving Away From Home

It's Thanksgiving in Canada. I didn't get my turkey, but I got a beer on a patio while I wore a t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. That would never happen back home so... I'm kind of okay with it.

Besides, I got Frida's amazing fried chicken. I feel like it was a fair trade.

New post up on A Rambling Nerd.

Thursday, 6 October 2016


I made it to Ngongongare and am loving the relaxed pace of life I'm living now that I'm out of Arusha!

Post over on A Rambling Nerd.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

So Close, So Far

Still in Arusha, but I have an exit strategy set up!

Well, I do if Immigration puts another stamp in my passport. Read all about my Friday joys here.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Sunday, 25 September 2016

On My Way

I am sitting at the Sea-Tac airport just killing time on my way to Kili. I wrote a little post over on the travel blog, and you can see it by clicking here.

Long story short, I successfully got on my first plane. If boredom doesn't get me, I'm sitting pretty to make my connection in Seattle.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Safari Njema Rafiki!

I was hoping to get another post up here before I left, but there's about a 0.000000001% chance that's going to happen at this point.

As I mentioned in my last post, I will cross-post my Tanzania blogs here. Speaking of which... a blog post in which I point out the email subscription feature.

They will get better. I promise!

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Ups, Downs, and Oh Fucks of Life

You know that moment where you look at your 'to-do' list and the time you have to do it in and all you can think is

I leave in just under two weeks and I feel like I have done nothing to prepare myself. On the upside, I'm a list maker and already wrote my packing list in July. I made it that early so I could start looking for clothing items I needed, but I'm so grateful for it now because my mind has been all over the place lately. If I tried to write a list right now, I'm sure I'd end up in Tanzania without the essentials and with lots of unnecessary items. (As an aside, I met a girl when I was backpacking in Europe who brought 8 pairs of shoes with her. EIGHT! Whenever I feel like I'm being ridiculous with my packing items, I remember her and laugh. FYI, you don't need knee boots in case you go to the club when you're travelling. You just don't.)

Part of the fun brain times comes from getting some documents submitted for work. There's a lot of media around a project we're working on so every i dotted, every t crossed, and then reviewed 8 separate times. The good news: they were done on time and now I have a week of work to do in two weeks. The bad news: I was so forgetful during the last two weeks of the document writing that I may have missed my friend's wedding.

I wish I was joking about that last sentence. When I went to add the wedding to my calendar, I didn't have the invite on hand and put it on the following weekend which was on my mind because it was the anniversary of another friend's wedding and one of the work documents. *sigh*

But it hasn't been all doom and gloom and missed weddings.

I spent part of the long weekend with Noah and Rachel. He was able to come home for the weekend, so he looked after the niblet while Rachel and I did yard work. He's doing... better? Let's put it this way, he's not worse. At any rate, it was wonderful to spend some time with both of them and to feel like I was being helpful.

I mentioned I was going to see Rodriguez in a recent post. Just to follow up, it was a wonderful concert. I'd say he's legally blind given how he moved around the stage, and he definitely was showing his age, but I would have gladly paid more than I did to attend. It was just him on stage and it felt like sitting in the backyard with 1400 friends while one of them played the guitar. He played his hits and some covers, people shouted songs from the audience, he chatted away like he was having a conversation with all of us. Most importantly, he played my favourite song.

I'm blogging my Tanzania trip over here: A Rambling Nerd It wasn't my intention to start a separate blog from travel but I have a few coworkers and friends-of-friends who want to follow along. While I have no problem defending anything I wrote on this page, I like that it's my little corner of the Internets which is only read by a handful of people - almost all of whom I know in real life - and I can swear in a post if I want to. (I give myself five posts before I probably swear on the other blog as well.) I will post links to my posts over here, so you don't have to follow it as well. I just wanted to make you aware of why there won't be any proper posts on here for Tanzania.

Down time in Stone City, Zanzibar thanks to the rain.
(My haircut in this picture: I got frustrated having long hair while I was there
and cut it myself... with my Swiss Army Knife scissors and no mirror.)
I am done with training sessions at the gym until I'm back from my trip. I have too many things to do between now and departure to not be getting home until 7:00 pm at night. On the downside, I really enjoy my sessions with Larissa, and I'm going to miss chatting with her three times a week. I'm really going to miss my Portuguese lessons ;)

I discovered that my coworker is going to Kenya to visit his family and our time in East Africa is overlapping by 10 days. We are going to be a half-day's drive away from each other but because of his family commitments when he's there - he gets to see his baby girl for the first time (!!!) - he can't come south, and because of my commitments when I first arrive, I can't go north. Ack! We should have planned this better! We joked that we'd set a time to climb the tallest buildings in our respective cities and wave at each other.

The coworker in question is actually (South) Sudanese but his family fled Sudan (now South Sudan) when he was young, and he spent his teen years in a refugee camp in northern Kenya. His family has since been able to relocate permanently to Kenya while he was accepted to a Canadian study program. His wife and new daughter (again !!!!) are still in Kenya. I bring this up because, while the Syrian refugee crisis is very serious, refugees exist in pretty much every corner of the globe. As of 2015, there are roughly 15.5 million refugees in camps. There are also 37.5 million Internally Displaced People (IDP - people forced into refugee camps within the borders of their own country) Currently, out of the 10 largest refugee camps in the world, seven of them are in Africa. If you want to support efforts with refugees, please consider an organisation like the United Nations High Commission for Refugees where your donation goes to helping refugees all across the globe.

Remember when I ended up in the ER because of my teeth? Initial check said two root canals and a crown immediately, and two more crowns in the next 18 to 24 months. The initial check was wrong. I ended up with three root canals and two crowns immediately, with one more crown in 18 to 24 months. It all went off as smoothly as that much work can and I was feeling much better about my teeth situation as I prepared to head of to Tanzania.

Until tonight.

While writing this blog post, a small piece of dinner was stuck between my teeth and driving me nuts so I decided to floss them. My reward? I popped out one of the crowns they put in back in July.

I should have gone the route of my Uncle Matt who had all his teeth pulled at the age of 36. Dentures are less hassle, right?

Ugh. If you need me, I'll be in the corner softly weeping.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

It's September!

September is here. Who can believe August is over? Yada, yada, yada.


In preparation for tomorrow, I've been rewatching Season One over the past 10 days. Just finished the last episode and I am so pumped.

I've made plans to be social because it's a long weekend but that doesn't mean I won't be binge watching as much of this season as I can before I head back to work on Tuesday.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

I have so many things to talk about and catch you up on. Random nonsensical post?

On my Endgame in Ireland post, Carolyn pointed out there was another Irish documentary on Netflix called “The Irish Pub” which is a look at the (mostly) rural pubs in Ireland. Carolyn will be happy to know that I watched the documentary and I’ve been in two of the pubs they featured. It does suffer a wee bit from rose-coloured glasses, but it was still enjoyable. Sadly, pub culture is dying out in rural Ireland thanks in part to a zero-tolerance drinking and driving policy. Still, if you find yourself in Ireland, make sure you plan a night in a smaller community (preferably off the tourist trail) and park yourself in the local pub. You will not regret it.

Nine-year-old me in front of a pub in Kilkenny.
I've blanked it out but that's our family name above the door!
Learning that the Star Trek cast love Dubsmash was one of the highlights of my past week.

Star Trek was my gateway nerd so this brings me so much joy on multiple levels.

Any weight-loss progress I was making has well and truly stalled. You could even say it’s backed up a bit, although, thankfully, not all the way back to the starting line. There are no excuses to give and now claims of “I don’t know why.” I know exactly why and it’s my fault. I haven’t been paying attention when it comes to what I’ve been eating since about mid-June. Funny how two months of eat-all-the-things can muck up weight loss. Shocking!

My gym attendance has been consistent and I have noticed that my cardio endurance has continued to increase so that’s a tick in the win column. As for the eating, I’ve been paying closer attention the past week and plan to continue with it until I leave, but it’s a low priority at the moment so if I find myself getting home at 7:30 pm with no leftovers or food prepared in the fridge, I’m not going to beat myself up about ordering takeout.

The Independent has somehow able to cobble together “Top Great Reasons to Visit Monaghan”. I was surprised there were 10 reasons to visit Monaghan!

Nine-year-old me took this picture! Just kidding. Monaghan Town in 2011.
My uncle was all proud that they finally had a stop light. A STOP LIGHT! Just one.
I love you, Monaghan. Never change. Well, maybe one more stop light.
The Royal Family is coming to BC and the Yukon for the last week of September which has a lot of people excited. I’m best described as apathetic about the monarchy. If I was to wake up tomorrow to the news that they had been removed from Canada’s Head of State status, I wouldn’t shed a tear. On the other hand, getting rid of them doesn’t save us money as we’d then have to invest in the creation of a political entity to replace our current system of Governor General and Lieutenant Governors.

A lot of their time will be spent in Victoria because we have Government House. Government House is more commonly known as the home of BC’s Lieutenant Governor, but it is also the residence of the Royal Family when they’re in BC.

To help Cely you imagine their visit, they will sit at this table to eat their meals.
To be honest, I love visiting Government House... I'm just indifferent to the Royals.
Hopefully, that won't hurt my chances to land the Lieutenant Governor gig. ;)
It’s also 5 blocks from my house.

Not going to lie, I’m happy I won’t be here for all the added people milling about when I try to go for an evening walk.

Friday night, I am going to a Rodriguez concert. If you haven't seen "Searching for Sugar Man" then that name probably means nothing to you, but if you have seen "Searching for Sugar Man"... I'M GOING TO A RODRIGUEZ CONCERT!!

Finally, the one month countdown to Tanzania has begun! To celebrate, my two favourite Tanzanian musicians. The first video is X Plastaz, a hip-hop group from Arusha. The second is Z.Anto, who was big in the BongaFlava scene when I was there.

Tusker beer, here I come!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

It's Been a Pleasure Doing Business With You

Yesterday, the Tragically Hip performed their last concert of their summer tour and potentially their last concert ever as Gord Downie, lead singer, has terminal brain cancer. To ensure that every Canadian could spend the evening crying, CBC broadcast the concert on all their channels as well as streamed it. Live, no commercials, no commentators.

I had considered going to a few of the public events at various pubs and parks around town, but settled instead on a girls night at Katie's. We sang, we danced, and we cried. Oh my goodness, there was so much crying. The Hip are Canada's band. Even Canadians who aren't Hip fans know their songs and can share memories about them. This concert was their swan song. Three hours of uninterrupted Hip.

It was glorious.

This morning, I wander through the Hip tag on Twitter and cried some more because, hey. In for a penny, in for a pound!

Then this evening, CBC Sports created a montage of the best moments of the Rio Olympics and set it to the Hip's "Ahead By a Century" because we obviously needed to cry more tear. (You may need to be logged into Facebook to see the video. I couldn't find it on the CBC YouTube channel.)

CBC needs to stop it.

(The title comes from a line in their song "Scared")

Friday, 12 August 2016

Endgame in Ireland

I was clicking around on YouTube tonight when I stumbled upon "Endgame in Ireland", a four-part documentary about the Peace Process in Northern Ireland. The documentary had been on PBS years ago. My dad had taped it and passed it on to me to watch. Taped it. As in, VHS tapes. Remember those, kids?

I haven't seen it 15 years but I remember it for being a fantastic documentary and for providing a very balanced view on the issue. My dad credits that to the fact that it was produced by both BBC and RTE. You probably know the BBC, but RTE (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) is the national broadcaster of Ireland. (Psst, want to listen to spoken Irish? And I mean more than the few words I might yell at you when we're out together. Follow this link and click the 'RnaG Beo' in the top menu bar. Yes, it does kind of sound like you're listening to a record in reverse. But I digress... like always.)

At any rate, I couldn't watch "Endgame in Ireland" tonight because it was too late and I still have to work tomorrow but I think that's my weekend plans sorted. If you are interested in watching the series yourself - which I highly recommend if you have an interest in contemporary Irish history - then you can find them by following the links below:

Episode One

Episode Two

Episode Three

Episode Four

Once you've watched these, you might understand better why I was so flabbergasted when in the wake of the Brexit vote, Ian Paisley, Jr encouraged his constituents to apply for an Irish passport if they were eligible for it. His father must be absolutely writhing in the afterlife.

While I'm on the topic of documentaries on Irish history, Netflix (well, the Canada one, at least) recently added "Tales of Irish Castles".

It deals with history a little further back than the recent Troubles, but also worth checking out. If you watch it and find yourself with an urge to buy and refurbish an Irish castle of your own, it is not my fault.

And can I stay in your guest chambers next time I'm back?

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Third Time Lucky

As you read this, I am nearing the end of Gishwhes: the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. It's my 3rd time participating and it's my 3rd time having an absolute blast. I wish I could tell you more about the antics my group and I have gotten up this week, but we're not allowed to publically post our items until after the hunt is over (save for the items that require public posting to be completed).

While I can't talk about this year, I can tell you that past years have seen me try to cross the US-Canada border in a swimsuit and snorkel gear, have newspaper boat races complete with gambling, deliver baked goods to an office staffed by volunteers, send a note of thanks to a teacher who inspired me, have a drink named after Gishwhes at my local coffee shop, write ridiculous short stories, sing mistranslated songs in public, and just generally remember that life is more enjoyable when you take a moment for joy in the every day.

I'm also stuck deep into a project at work. When setting the dates for everything to be completed, my boss suddenly realised that I leave at the end of September and all the mid-October dates she had set would have to be updated. There may have been some swearing. 

This week, despite only being a 4-day work week in BC, has been crazy, busy, a bit stressful, and fun.

On the August Long Weekend, the Victoria Symphony hosts the Symphony Splash. The musicians perform on a barge in the Inner Harbour while the spectators sit on the causeway. I always make a point of heading down for the second half and the finale of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. The best part is that the army is there to fire off anow actual canon. (The 1812 Overture is the only piece of music to actually have a canon score. Granted, it's usually handle by the tympani because, hello, canon in an enclosed building? But it still awesome that Tchaikovsky actually wrote a canon part.) And, of course, fireworks.

You can't have Romans without the roads, and you can't have Symphony Splash without Tchaikovsky and fireworks.

There is also a tradition of the local pipe and drum band opening and closing the Splash. If you ever happen to be in Victoria attending the Splash (without me? How rude!), here's a tip that most locals don't even know: mill about Government St in front of the Empress after the Splash is over. Don't let your friends pressure you into leaving. As the crowd thins, the pipe and drum band will form up. You can follow them as they march and play their way up Government St until they find a pub they like. They will then detour into the pub to march and play.

Until you get to enjoy the Splash in person, here is a video of the 2015 rendition of the 1812 Overture.


P.S. Yes, some people come in canoes, rowboats, kayaks, dragon boats, etc and watch the performance from there.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

It's the Final Countdown

Two months today, I'll be landing in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

During our monthly departmental lunch, my coworkers started asking questions today about what it's like to live in Tanzania. Where will I live? What will I eat? It was fun to relive stories of my last time there and when we returned to the office, I sorted through a few photos of my house in Tanzania.

That's the driveway, front yard, and edge of the house. Behind the house is another small yard and then Arusha National Park. In the mornings, I will watch the sunrise over Kilimanjaro as I drink my coffee. In the evenings, I will watch the sunset behind Mt. Meru as I enjoy a glass of wine.

Two months until I'm back there again.

I can hardly wait.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Friends, Music, BBQs and Summer

This was supposed to be the summer of no plans. Between a work project and a pretty big fall trip planned, my plan for the summer was to prep for my departure.

But then friends were all "let's go here" and "let's have a BBQ" or "I'm coming to visit."

In other words, it has been a summer full of that utmost first-world problem: I need a weekend from my weekends!

I know, totally doesn't suck and I should really just get over myself.

I haven't even had a chance to talk about a friend coming to visit, visiting the bug zoo, hiking out to Mystic Beach (in the rain, with a hangover), attending the Phillip's Backyard Weekender to see A Tribe Called Red, reciting poetry in a pub bathroom, or drinking too much.

Our picnic view
A wee bit wet but no worse for wear!
I completely missed telling you that "Noah" had his kidney transplant earlier this month and his recovery has been going so well, he was out of the hospital almost a full week before doctors projected. Also, I've been sending him awesome photos like this:

EDIT: Noah's recent tests are showing markers for possibly rejecting the kidney so he's back in the hospital. So some parts of this summer aren't as awesome as they could be. Guess I'll have to keep making crappy motivational jokes with my desk toys.

I attended multiple birthday BBQs because that's what you do when you're birthday falls in a summer month, apparently. I'm not complaining, I just didn't know it was an unwritten rule.

Speaking of BBQ, I got a lovely Texas care package in the mail from Cely.


I also saw Ghostbusters. Loved it like Chris Hemsworth's Kevin loved himself.

How saxy! Be still my treble clef!
I spent a day walking around Victoria Snapchatting my version of our local history.

And I wrapped up this weekend by attending a Michael Kaeshammer performance. If you are unfamiliar with Kaeshammer, he's a German-born Canadian pianist known for his jazz and boogie-woogie style. His live shows are very interactive; if the music thing hadn't worked out for him, he could have made it as a comedian.

Have a wonderful week, everyone.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Follow Up to Native Pride Post

When I posted about Native Pride, I expected that the usual suspects would read it and that would be the end of it. But then my mom sent me an email praising the post and asking me "how do you get more people to read it?" Buoyed by her encouragement and perhaps a few drinks with a visiting friend, I shared the entry on my personal Facebook page with the text "I wrote something. My mom wants more people to read it so... yeah... here it is." I then promptly fell asleep.

The next morning, the post had a fairly high number of views and a few friends had left positive comments on my post. I was feeling pretty pleased with the number of people who read it as I headed out for a hike on the Saturday morning. I returned from the hike to find the number had tripled since that morning and friends and friends of friends were sharing it.

This is honestly as "viral" as any post of mine is going to get. More people saw that post than I have friends on FB. (Don't get too excited. I "cull" my FB on a semi-regular basis so it's not like I have a thousand people on there or something.)

If you found your way here because of that post, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.

The point of this blog is mainly a place for me to natter on about whatever I feel like. I'm rarely that clear and concise (or political) with my message (except during the last election), I hardly ever have an actual point to my post, and I'm usually writing about the mundane day-to-day going-ons in my life.

In other words, this blog is sure to disappoint you in about two posts.

But before I lose you forever, I wanted to first say 'thank you' to everyone who did read that post, took time to respond to me on Facebook, and/or felt the writing worthy of sharing. I appreciate it.

For more information on what's being done to promote and share First Nations language and culture in BC, check out First Peoples' Cultural Council and First Peoples' Cultural Foundation. On the First Peoples' Cultural Council site, you can read the Report on the Status of BC First Nations Languages 2014 which gives a great overview of the steps being taken to preserve, record, and share these languages. (In this report, SXIMEȽEȽ is included in the Lekwungen/SENĆOŦEN language family.)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

A Pick-Me-Up

My planned post for tonight will be delayed as the news both at home and abroad hasn't been very jovial today. 

One of my preferred distraction methods is to watch "Whose Line Is It Anyway" and "Mock the Week" videos on YouTube. So, without further ado...

May tomorrow bring a better day.

Love and respect to you all.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

I Support Native Pride

From my parents' house, you can hear the Esquimalt Nation pow wows. For days, the pounding of the drums and droning chants would echo across the water and through our backyard. These summer festivities (we couldn't hear the winter ones because they were inside) were my first introduction to living native culture, and not just something I read about in books or saw in the museum. While pow wows are not my culture and I have never attended one, the sound of a pow wow is comforting to me. It reminds me of summer evenings on the back patio.

I assume that the vast four of you reading this are white, so I will begin by saying we have not done right by the First Nations of Canada.

Yes, even us who were born and raised in a more enlightened, politically-correct time. (I'm being a bit facetious here, just so we're clear.)

But that all happened so long ago!

1. The last federally-run residential school in Canada closed in 1996. That was only 20 years ago. At best (and I use that term very loosely), the schools provided free education in exchange for removing (often forcibly) children from their families, their culture, and their language. At worst, these schools were hives of physical, mental, and sexual abuse.

2. Actions and events have repercussions that ripple down through generations. The Indian Act of 1876 can be boiled down to this: the only good Indian is a white Indian. To allow natives to participate in our society, we wanted them to go to a white church, speak English or French, and dress like Europeans. If they didn't want to do these things, we "gave" them land (reservations), usually on the fringes of their traditional lands, and pretty much hoped that we'd eventually shame them into wanting to change. 

What are the repercussions of this? The Esquimalt Nation has one fluent speaker of SXIMEȽEȽ. Let me repeat that for the people in the back.


The Esquimalt Nation has one fluent speaker of SXIMEȽEȽ.

I'll be honest, that the statement might seem misleading to some people when you learn there are about 80 additional people who speak some SXIMEȽEȽ or are actively learning it; but linguistically, I can also be classified as speaking some Irish. I can say hello, introduce myself, ask how you are doing, tell you to kiss my ass, and say goodbye. While that would be an entire conversation in an Irish pub, it's still a long way from fluent.

3. We are systematically setting them up to fail. A Native offender is 6 times more likely to be incarcerated than his or her white counterpart. Six times! In the past 10 years, Native incarceration has risen by over 50% to where they now make up 23% of the of the inmate population.

And this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. 

All of this is to explain to you why on the weekend of FernFest Car Free YYJ, and Father's Day, it was much more important to me that I attend the Aboriginal Cultural Festival. It's why for National Aboriginal Day, I encouraged my friends to visit Our Living Languages at the Royal BC Museum. It's why I will gladly support First Nations artists in anyway I can, whether it be loading A Tribe Called Red on my music list, buying a print, sharing their pages on social media, or even just simply attending a cultural event.

The least, and I mean least, we can do for First Nations is support them in reclaiming their culture. Allow them the respect and freedom to be proud of who they are. It is their choice if and when we are apart of it.

But they don't pay taxes. But they get federal handouts. But they get [insert special thing here].

There are conditions around everything the governments, Federal and Provincial, do/give/etc for Aboriginal, Metis, and Inuit populations. Yes, some of them don't pay taxes, but neither do churches. I'd argue that religion has done a good deal more to muck up our country than any Native. Yes, Federal money is given to various First Nations tribes, but Federal money is also given to provinces. Yes, they may be exempt from paying for university, but two thirds of reservations don't have continuous clean running water so I'm okay with that. You should be too.

In the words of Chief Dan George:
Let no one forget it. We are a people with special rights guaranteed to us by promises and treaties. We do not beg for these rights, nor do we thank you. We do not thank you for them because we paid for them, and the price we paid was exorbitant. We paid for them with our culture, our dignity and self-respect. We paid until we became a beaten race, poverty-stricken and conquered.

 Just so I don't end on a downer, A Tribe Called Red's newest song, Stadium Pow Wow.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Weekend Summary in Gifs

Northern Ireland lost to Wales and are out of the Euro.

Ireland lost to France and are out of the Euro.

Attended friend's birthday tea party. There were lots of finger sandwiches and desserts.

The season six finale for Game of Thrones aired.

England lost to Iceland and are out of the Euros.

The weekend pretty much broke even. I'd write more but it's late, and I have to go to bed because I'm my boss this week.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Brexit Won

In case you've been living under a rock - in which case, who is your internet provider because I didn't know "under a rock" could get a signal - Thursday was the UK Referendum on whether to stay or leave the EU.

The Leave vote won.

I'm not happy about this for two reasons:

  1. I really hate the word "Brexit".
  2. I believe with every fibre of my being that this is the wrong choice.

Ignoring all the economical reasons why I disagree with the vote, the Leave campaign was run on a platform of racism and it won. I'm not naive enough to think that we ever lived in a world without racism, but it is terrifying to see it so openly displayed. And not just in the UK referendum or the US election going on south of the border, but everywhere.

Also, as someone who's family comes from a border county in Ireland, there is the concern about what this could mean for peace on the island. Town and villages on both sides of the border that have flourished since the border crossings have all spoken out about the economical repercussions of monitoring that border again. While both the Remain and Leave campaigns have said that the border would remain open even in the case of a Leave vote, it's an added uncertainty to an already fragile peace.

Add to that, there is a real (and valid) concern that this Leave vote could see a return of sectarian violence. Both in Ireland and Northern Ireland, this has been pointed out. The EU and the removal of borders between EU countries was a big part of what made the Good Friday Agreement work. Where does that leave Northern Ireland, which voted in favour of staying in the EU, when the dust has cleared on this referendum?


I don't want to go to bed feeling this *meh* about everything, so here's a video from of my favourite Gaelic footballer and some other guys driving around singing. (P.S. The Sunday game they talk about was a huge win for Monaghan. Monaghan Abu!)

Yup. Watching this video puts a smile on my face.

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Ireland and Northern Ireland have made it through the Group Stage and are into the Round of 16 at the Euros.


WHO FUCKING CARES IF WE WIN OUR NEXT GAMES?????!!!!?!?!? WE MADE IT TO THE ROUND OF 16!!!!!!!!!! BOTH OF THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I follow a couple of Irish people (not just Irish family) on the old social medias and the Snapchats, Instagrams, Tweets, Facebook statuses of the Ireland-Italy game were incredible. (That's how Ireland made it through, by the way, beating Italy 1-0. We were third in our group, but we... you know what? You probably don't care.)

To be honest, I didn't have a whole lot of hope that even one of them would make it out of the Group Stage, never mind both of them. I immediately went to the desk of my English coworker and started singing (quietly). There are not a lot of people in my office who would understand my excitement, but he did.

While it might seem like an overreaction to be this excited about teams that still haven't actually won anything, it isn't if you're Irish. Either one of these teams could go on and win Euro 2016 and we probably wouldn't be as excited as we are about this. "Oh great, yeah, won the Euro, BUT WE WEREN'T EVEN SUPPOSED TO MAKE IT OUT OF THE ROUND OF 16!!!!!!" Dare I say it, it is almost as exciting as another unexpected Ireland result 26 years ago...

As my dad said on the phone tonight, "I've never seen so many grown men cry."

Northern Ireland faces Wales on Saturday and then Ireland faces France on Sunday. This will either be the best weekend of my entire life (and that includes any potential future wedding I may have) or it's the weekend that I will spend the rest of my life pretending never happened. (Or they split the difference and I'm both elated and depressed at the same time.)

Regardless of this weekend's outcomes, it is going to su-uck to work with me on Monday.

Sorry, not sorry.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Highs, Lows, and Cremations

I seem to be starting a tradition of posting after watching 'Game of Thrones'... but how could I pass up posting this after tonight's episode?


Ever since reading the books, I've had a soft spot for Sansa because while everyone says they'd be Arya who physically fights their enemy, we know we'd be Sansa who has to trip and fall her way through the political dance.

Other than GoT, I went to see 'Finding Dory' on Friday night. While the story wasn't as good as 'Finding Nemo' (to be expected), I laughed harder at the jokes so there's that.

It was also the Aboriginal Cultural Festival weekend. I went with my mom on Saturday and by myself on Sunday. I have a few extended thoughts but it's late so for now I will leave you with two photos.

Lekwungen Dancer (Songhees Nation)
performing a prayer dance.
Le-La-La Dancer (Kwakwaka'wakw Nation)
performing a dance to bless the stage.
Because I am a big Star Trek fan, I do need to acknowledge that 2016 just doesn't know when to quit. We get it, 2016. You're an asshole!

My dad is memorizing 'The Cremation of Sam McGee' by Robert Service. I memorized this poem in Gr. 5 for some extra marks and Robert Service has been my favourite poet ever since. When my dad told me he was trying to learn it, I recited as much as I could remember. Apparently, my dad was learning this poem because my granddad used to recite it as his party piece. My never-left-Ireland-and-died-in-1954 granddad knew a very Canadian poem.

Why can I recite 'The Cremation of Sam McGee'? It's a family thing!

For my dad (and his dad) on Father's Day, 'The Cremation of Sam McGee' read by Johnny Cash.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Happier Post

I mentioned in Monday's post that the Euros are currently on with France playing host this time round. The event has been marred with the actions of some groups of English and Russian supporters. (Should I even say supporters? If you really support the team, would you go to an event with the intent of fucking shit up?) The sad thing is you know it's a relatively small fraction of the English and Russian "fans" that are doing this. Sadly, their actions may have real world consequences with both teams now having the threat of disqualification hanging over them.

How disheartening that must be for the players. You've possibly played your best soccer in your life... and you're sent home because some asshats don't know how to behave like decent human beings.

Anyway, I said this was a happier post than the last one and it is. Not only are both Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Euros, but the Irish fans are being praised in France for their behaviour during this tournament. Honestly. The French actually like something not-French, and that something is Irish fans!

From pictures of Irish fans helping a French couple change a tire, to singing "Stand Up for the Ulstermen" during the Ireland-Sweden game in memory of a Northern Ireland fan died on the weekend, to reciting "Our Father" to a nun on a train, to singing and dancing with Swedish fans in the streets after their teams tied, to cleaning up their own beer bottles (while singing) after a night of drinking, to singing Boyzone songs in the street... WITH A MEMBER OF BOYZONE, the Irish fans have represented their country with pride.

I am so proud of them!

And the French have been so impressed with them, they went ahead and did this:

Heck yeah! Irish tri-colour on the Eiffel Tower.
Photo originally found here
(In the time it took me to write this, reports have been posted that tensions have risen between English and Russian fans again and the riot police are already on the streets of Lille. The day has barely started there and already they're at it.)

I just want to backtrack for a moment and acknowledge the death of Darren Rodgers who fell to his death Saturday night. After a day of drinking in Nice, he got past a barrier at the edge of a promenade and fell 8 meters. Darren was reported as 24 years old (some reports are now putting him as 25). At the 24 minute mark of the Ireland-Sweden game, Irish supporters sang "Stand Up For The Ulstermen". The song is the cheer for the Ulster Rugby team (as you'll see in the video below), but as an Ulster descendant (just from the other side of the border) I'd be hard pressed to think of a better song to sing. The Northern Ireland team publically thanked the Irish fans for their gesture.

The actions of the Irish fans? This is what sporting events should be about.

Monday, 13 June 2016

So Many Tears

It's a blogging tradition that when a tragedy happens, a blogger writes a post that makes it all about them. I want to do something a little different; I want to write a post that is mostly about me.

Okay. So not that different.

I read about the tragedy on Sunday morning before heading off to volunteer at my company's big annual charity event. I spent the day waffling between the fun and joy of helping raise over $50,000 for Island Prostate Centre and sadness about what had happened. I hugged my coworkers I saw who are lgbtq and I texted my friends who identify as lgbtq. My heart broke for all of them.

When I heard that the shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS, my heart broke again. There was going to be a litany of social media posts about "those people" and how they are the problem. I have never had to apologize for the actions of the IRA (regardless of your opinion on the actions of the IRA, they fit the criteria for a terrorist group), but the sweetest man I have ever known was going to have to apologize again for the actions of a person pledging allegiance to a group my friend detests.

It's Pride Month.

It's Ramadan.

You could not pick a more symbolic date this year for this to happen.

I made the mistake of reading through some social media posts - I know, I know; silly me - and while the vast majority of them were supportive, there were some of the "those [homosexual slur I refuse to have on this site] got what they deserved" comments. These comments predominantly came from young white men. Not visible minorities, but white men.,, and they will expect Muslims to apologize.

My heart broke again.

Sometimes, this world appears so broken. It needs to be fixed but it is such a big task.

It is overwhelming.

To any lgbtq people who stumble across this blog: I am so sorry for the world you have to live in, where there are still people who believe you to be degenerates, where your relationships are so easily questioned, where people feel comfortable using slurs towards you and as a way to degrade their 'friends'. I will do what I can with my actions and words to help make this world a better place for you. I wish you a better tomorrow and a lifetime of happiness.

To any Muslims who stumble across this blog: I am so sorry any racism you have to face in your life. I read and hear people's opinions on Muslims (and Arabs because lets just lump you all in together), but these people never seem to know any Muslims first hand. My Muslim friends are kind and generous people. They are no more at fault for the actions of the radical sects of their faith than I am. I will do what I can with my actions and words to help make this world a better place for you. I wish you a better tomorrow and a lifetime of happiness.

To everyone who reads here: All I have for you is my love and respect, but isn't that really all we need to start fixing our world? Isn't a lack of love and respect for our fellow humans the cause of so many of our current issues? I think so. I will do what I can with my actions and words to help make this world a better place for you. I wish you a better tomorrow and a lifetime of happiness.

From my little corner of the Internet, hugs and good wishes to you all.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Focusing on the Positive

Note: I'm not ignoring the events of the weekend; I just need to be in a better headspace before I say anything about it. Right now, I would just be screaming incoherently and crying.

The Euros have started. For the first time in... well, in my lifetime (I'm too lazy to go look it up). both Ireland and Northern Ireland are going to the competition. Northern Ireland lost to Poland on Sunday. (And rightly so. They played like a Sunday fun-league team.) Not a great start.

Today, Group E - Ireland, Sweden, Belgium and Italy - start their Round Robin. Given that Belgium and Italy are ranked 2nd and 12th respectively and Ireland is ranked 33rd, I'm not very hopeful about their chances of moving to the next round. Still, if Italia '90 taught me anything, it's that I should never count Ireland out until they're actually out. (We beat Romania on penalties. It was kind of a big deal. You can see a retrospective on the penalties here. If you have a spare 20 minutes, you can watch the penalties in their entirety here. If you want to hear the greatest song ever written about that moment, you can watch it here. I so clearly remember watching this game. I remember how nervous I was during the shoot out. I remember my dad throwing his full glass of red wine against the just-painted white wall when Ireland won. I remember screaming and crying and singing on the phone to the family in Ireland. It will always be one of my favourite memories.)

But we're not here to talk about Ireland's past sporting glories (everyone one reading this "we're not?"), but for the Euro they're currently in. As has become tradition, Ireland has put out a song for the competition. A rallying cry for Irish fans everywhere to get behind.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Irish Roar.

Good luck to the Boys in Green against Sweden tomorrow.

UPDATE: Ireland tied because of an own-goal. Nothing like an uphill battle to spur them on to victory ;)

(I want to take a moment to acknowledge that Irish rugby had a fantastic weekend. The Under-20s beat New Zealand and the National Team beat South Africa. Both are pretty big freakin' deals for us. So proud of the other Boys in Green.)

Monday, 6 June 2016

No One We Cared About in Game of Thrones Died This Week So That's A Plus

I make a comment that 2016 has been a shitty year for celebrities and 2016 was all like "you know what, I think I can out-do myself."


Fuck you, 2016. Keep your hands off Barry McGuigan. I just wouldn't be able to handle that this year. 

While I'm talking about Irish Monaghan sports heroes, I came across an article today on Conor McManus and how he's the best Gaelic Footballer currently playing. I am not the least bit biased (hells yeah, I am) and have no vested interest in seeing a Monaghan player singled out (totally do), but this article is easily the best piece of sports writing ever written. (That may be a slight exaggeration.)

The man himself! (Picture from article linked above.)
Also, Monaghan's new jersey has finally been released and it has a nice big FKM on the back. ;;checks credit card balance;;

My sessions with my trainer have been fantastic. Being a large girl, there are moves that I have to do to the best of my ability and just accept that that's the best I can do. These past two weeks? I have nailed squats. They have been perfect textbook squats. It wasn't just as-low-as-I-can-go-with-good-form, it was as-low-as-you're-supposed-to-go-with-good-form. I was pretty damn proud of myself the first time I did it (and so sore for two days afterwards), but then I did it the next three sessions...

I'm actually - dare I say it?! - looking forward to the gym these days. I think I might be coming down with something.

I haven't stepped on the scale since the last time I mentioned it on here. I'll try to remember to do it some time this week. I feel like it's still moving in the right direction, but there's always that nervous hesitation that maybe my mind's just playing tricks on me.

In reference to the subject of this post, can you believe he's still alive?!? The best part? So many people die in Game of Thrones that I can write that and it's not a spoiler because which 'he' am I talking about?!? You don't know unless you watch!! So happy he's back, but I will say no more or else I will get spoiler-y about it.

Also, these two were back and that makes me happy.

This picture is from Arrested Westeros which blends GoT screen shots with Arrested Development captions.
If you're a fan of both shows, you really should be following this blog. Go. Follow!
Oh, what the heck. One more from Arrested Westeros just because I love it. From a few weeks ago:

Excuse me while I go snort-laugh in the corner. Good night!

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Do-Over for 2016?

If you're Canadian or "Canadian-adjacent" (are super-cool enough to have Canadian friends) then you already know this, but Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer. This news came just over a month after Spirit of the West held their final concert and officially disbanded due to the health of two members. My life's soundtrack is at least 50% these two bands. So far, 2016 has pretty much sucked on the celebrity front.

Granted, none of these people are dead yet but teenage-me is pretty devastated knowing what's coming down the pipeline. 


Other that wonderful news which was a total Downie to read (feel free to groan and tell me how horrible that pun was), things have been going well. I started this week with a root canal because that's how every Monday should start. I am one more appointment away from being done with Phase One of the Great Teeth Fix. Phase Two is 18-24 months away so that's something to look forward to. </sarcasm>

I have also started counting the days until my trip. I take great satisfaction is writing a smaller number each day in my planner. (In this case, planner is a fancy word for the list I make of work tasks each morning.) It's a nice little pick-me-up to add to my large cup of coffee.

After much humming and hawing, and debating of prices, my brother has booked his ticket as well. He'll be joining me for the last part of the trip - also known as the fun part - to go on safari, abandon each other for a few days, and then head to Zanzibar. I'm excited to get to show him around "my" Tanzania. 

My coworkers from 2007. I can't believe I get to see them again soon!

Gym has been steady and regular, and I've had a few people comment that I'm looking thinner. Not going to lie, I enjoy those comments.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to lay in my bed and listen to my favourite Hip song on repeat.

Monday, 23 May 2016


I just finished watching tonight's episode of Game of Thrones. If you want to know my response, click here. It's not really a spoiler but it kind of is so you may not want to click if you haven't seen the episode yet and desire to have your heart ripped from your chest and held, still beating, before your eyes as you die.

I don't know how to handle these emotional episodes of Game of Thrones now that the series is entering territory beyond where the books are at. How did the non-book readers do this for five seasons?

In an attempt to make myself feel better about what happened in a fictional world tonight, I present "Random Things That Have Been Rattling Around in My Head".

First, if you ever need to Rickroll someone but, like, in a classy way (I'm sure that's totally a thing), I present Postmodern Jukebox:

I encourage you to go check out more of their videos on YouTube.

While I was sick with teeth pain, I was up at all hours which meant that I was actually awake when the Hillsborough verdict was announced. I'm guessing that few of the people who actually read this blog - hi Mom! - but I tried to write about it and it turned into this long depressing paragraph and I'm not ready for that after tonight's Game of Thrones. If you want to know more, here are the Google results. What I did want to share was the video of the crowd singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" at the memorial.

I mean, YNWA makes me cry on a good day. I was bawling - but in the best possible way - while watching this. (By the way, 'seeing a LFC game and singing YNWA' is totally on my bucket list. Someday!)

I have seen Captain America Civil War. Seen it more than once, actually.

Hello, my name is Andrea. I'm a little obsessive over movies.

I stand by my original assessment that I like Winter Soldier better, but in the way that I like rashers better than streaky bacon. They're both bacon and I'm not complaining if you put either of them in front of me. Bacon in any form = fantastic. Captain America films = fantastic.

Having said that, I do have a complaint. (Just one, mind you.) The map of the Wakanda people - Blank Panther's tribe. Keep up - clearly shows them in what is South Sudan/Ethiopia. In that region, one of the most predominant languages in Nuer. It is even spoken in Ethiopia. But no. They have T'Challa and his father (T'Chaka) speak Xhosa with each other. Xhosa is spoken in a region of South Africa.

Google Maps says you can drive this in 69 hours.
Google maps is ridiculously optimistic.
I've seen those roads.
Yes, many of the languages spoken in the area of the mythical Wakanda are Bantu (I will note that Nuer is not a Bantu language) and Xhosa falls in the Bantu family, but French and Italy are both Romance languages but speaking one doesn't mean you speak the other. AND THEY SHARE A BORDER!!

Still, I doubt there are many people in the theatre pulling apart the movie because it used a real language that occurs nowhere near the real location that a superhero movie gave to a fake people.

Hello, my name is Andrea. I'm a little obsessive over movies.

I lied, I have another complaint. When [someone] doesn't want to hear [that other person] say [something], why did he try and escape? Why not just, oh I don't know, stick his fingers in his ears and say "la la la, I can't hear you" repeatedly?

Despite this, I did come away from the movie very excited about the Blank Panther movie set for release in 2018.

More of this? Yes, please!
I have signed up for another year of GISHWHES because I have no shame and/or dignity.

My sock monkey hat is ready and raring to go. Bring on August 1st!

I think I've done enough cheering myself up since watching Game of Thrones that I can head to bed. It's a long weekend in Canada so I plan to enjoy my last day off!