Monthly Archives: January 2013

Accountability

For those of you who read the title of this post and thought ‘ah, this will be some wisely-written in-depth post delving into responsibility of adulthood’ or some such, sorry. It’s totally not.

The other day some coworkers and I were discussing how shitty it was that, after a bunch of warm weather, we now had—gasp—snow. In January. Can you believe it? The conversation turned to how the snow was a de-motivator for a lot of us to do things—so how were we to stay motivated in this sub-zero environment?

The way I stay motivated is to make myself accountable to people. And by accountable, I mean I tell a bunch of people I’m going to do something so that I feel obligated to do it, lest I feel foolish. Typically this only extends to trivial matters such as going to the gym or something like that. And usually I tell a few people, perhaps the three or four I happen to see walking by my desk when I get the inspiration to do something.

So this time, I’m telling the internet. I have some things I want to do, so I’m going to tell you all in the hopes that, should I break stride, I’ll be guilt-tripped back into line. Hopefully that isn’t the case as I do really want to do these things, but I also have been known to exercise extreme laziness (HA!).

I’m going to audition to be on Amazing Race Canada. This is really exciting, as my brother and I are planning on making a kick-ass team, and we really think we can get on. This is video is due by the end of February.

I’m also going to audition to be MuchMusic’s next VJ. Video also required for this, but that contest isn’t open until the 19th of February.

Finally, I’m going to write a short story for the Toronto Star’s contest, deadline end of February. I’ve got ideas, I just have to write them down.

 

Hopefully February is a busy month, and maybe even a bit successful. Any motivational tips, ideas etc. are more than welcome. Comment here, or tweet at me:

@CamMParkes

That’s it. Short post, I know. But the impact could be big.

Cool. Coolcoolcool.

CP

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No excuse for hate, especially ignorance

In trying to keep up with my claim that I’ll link to Gazette stuff, today I’m going to post an article I wrote that was published in today’s Gazette. Enjoy!

@CamMParkes

Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 12.39.26 PM

If you can’t read this one for some reason, here’s a link to the issue (my column is on page six): Gazette January 23, 2013

CP

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Extending a warm welcome

If you were to peruse the internet—or just take a quick trip over to Google—you’d probably be able to find the statistic of how many people start up a blog each day. I am far too busy to engage in such trivialities, but I assume it’s like a million or so.

Rarely does a new blog start up which causes so much excitement for me, personally. For those of you lucky enough to have experienced true love, think of that feeling, but multiply it by about a billion. For those of you haven’t, just think of sitting down to a savory steak after not eating for a week because you had the flu and, let’s be real, you were barely keeping down apple juice and your mom’s soup.

With little further ado, let me express my excitement in welcome Cameron “Smoth” Smith to the blogosphere. He’s had his site going for a little while, but I only just learned of it literally seconds ago.

Smoth is a connoisseur of everything good. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone more in tune with not only his rugged, testosterone-fueled manly side, but his sensitive, wise, mysteriously baby-faced feminine side as well.

He’s a cigar-smoking, wine-sipping, joke-cracking, beat-boxing feminist. If you looked up “balanced” in some sort of weird dictionary that had pictures, or maybe just Google image-searched it, a picture of Smoth would pop up. Seriously.

Smoth is a member of the Gazette and writes a semi-consistent column called Sipping With Smoth. For anyone who enjoys alcohol beyond just chugging it, it’s a definite must-read. Check it out in the actual paper, or over on his Smoth’s page.

Check out his blog here: Sipping With Smoth

 

Follow me on Twitter, you guys:

@CamMParkes

 

Cheers,

 

CP

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A Memory of Light

amemoryoflight

Warning: this post may contain spoilers for The Wheel of Time: A Memory of Light.

 

Over twelve years ago, I received a $20 gift certificate to Chapters for my birthday. At that time, I pretty much read anything that came into my path, and so didn’t have a specific book in mind when my mother took me over there.

I remember browsing the aisles, not really seeing anything that caught my eye, until—there, on the top shelf! The illustrations on the cover of The Wheel of Time: From Two Rivers were such that it grabbed me and made me take it down from the shelf. The back of the novel didn’t give much insight into what the book was about, so I shrugged and took it home with me.

On Monday, January 7, 2013, the final book of that series, A Memory of Light came out. This was the fourteenth in what was supposed to be a six-book series. It’s hard to explain how I felt about this book. I’ve been reading the series for over half of my life, and for my entire adult life. I’ve reread the series around five times—and this is a feat. The shortest book in the series was around 600 pages probably.

This final epic was 900 and some pages. It took me until Friday evening to finish it, and I’ve been thinking about it non-stop since then, running through what happened, trying to account for all the characters—well, the main ones, there’s more than 1800 named characters in this series—and trying to decide how I feel about the ending.

I feel good.

When I first read the last sentence, I didn’t know what to think. It’s hard to believe it’s over. I’m happy, sad, relived, disbelieving, but overall, satisfied. The end couldn’t have come about in a better way, except for a cliché happy ending where everyone gets everything they want. And I didn’t want that.

At first, I was a little disappointed with some loose ends. Characters that don’t really resolve their arc. I was sad because they have potential to do so much, but we’ll never know what they do. But this is the intention, I think, as now it’s up to us what they do. There isn’t time or space— in fact, it would take a whole other book—to wrap up every character. So with that, I am happy.

There were a few arcs I felt didn’t get the end they deserved—Padan Fain and Alivia to name the two top—but that’s just picking at minor things.

Some moves, while saddening—or in the case of Birgitte, tear-inducing—were brilliant. How could Birgitte be called by the Horn if she wasn’t dead? Egwene was brilliant. I disliked her through most of the series—she seemed like such a brat!—but she certainly made up for it. I suspected she may die, especially after Gawyn fell. It seemed the deaths were paired nicely, although that did have to do with the Warder bond, of course—Siuan and Gareth, Egwene and Gawyn—and then of course Lord and Lady Bashere, countless others.

That being said, I would have been disappointed if none of the main characters had died. It would have felt unrealistic and kind of a cop out. As each one died, I felt tears in my eyes—even for Bela.

Now, most of you reading this post won’t have a clue what I’m talking about. For this reason I won’t go in-depth. I’ll just try to say what this series meant to me.

Yes, it was a book series. But it was so much more than that. It’s been a part of me for over half of my life, like I said. I grew up with these characters and found myself immersed in their world. I’ve shouted in anger at these books. I’ve laughed out loud with delight. Held back tears. Read with intense alarm, fearing what would happen.

This series has been around as long as me. The first book was published in 1990. After eleven books, the author, Robert Jordan, died. He had left enough notes that the series could be completed, by Brandon Sanderson.

I don’t have a way to properly end this post. I already miss the series. I’ve been thinking about it since I finished. I’ll probably be thinking about it for a long time to come. I’m sad there won’t be any more adventures, but also happy. If any of you readers are also Wheel of Time fans, I’d love to chat with you about it:

@CamMParkes

And if you’re not? Well, I have to recommend it. It’s a long, big-ass endeavour, but it’s worth it. Trust me.

Thank you to Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, and everyone who helped this series make it to the end, and for doing it justice. It’ll be tough to find a new series to delve into—I’m open to suggestions, everyone!—but I know I’ll come back to the Two Rivers eventually.

In the meantime, I’ll take solace in Robert Jordan’s last words:

“There are no endings, and never will be endings, to the turning of the Wheel of Time.

But it was an ending.”

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Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook

For the first time in a while—or perhaps even EVER—I saw a movie on back-to-back nights. Tuesday was This is 40 and last night was Silver Linings Playbook.

I was in London to see some old buddies, and we were trying to figure out what to do—London isn’t really London when all the rowdy-ass students are gone for the holidays—when we decided on catching a flick. We narrowed it down to Jack Reacher or Silver, and my vote was for the former. I ended up getting outvoted, though, so I graciously accepted defeat and went along.

See, my issue was, judging by previews I’d seen, the movie looked like a chick-flick. And lo-and-behold, apparently everyone else thought the same thing, because the theatre was filled with couples. Also some loud, presumably teenage girls behind us.

It wasn’t a chick flick.

Bradley Cooper plays Pat, who has just been released from a mental institution, after he found his wife cheating on him and nearly beat the other guy to death. He’s moved back with his parents and is trying to get his life on track, and reconcile with the wife, for some reason. A chicky named Tiffany, played by the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence (I mean, holy shit, right?), just lost her husband to a traffic accident of sorts, and has some mental issues of her own. They meet, start getting to know each other, then the movie goes from there.

Although the premise is about Pat trying to get back with his wife—Nikki—there are so many side stories going on that it makes for an intriguing, through-provoking two hours. Pat’s dad, played by Robert De Niro, has OCD and a gambling problem. Somehow he keeps sucking Pat into his plans, and they don’t always turn out great. Pat’s friend Ronnie (John Ortiz), who is married to Tiffany’s sister Veronica (Julia Stiles) has his own problems with his marriage, and needs Pat’s help. One aspect of the movie surprised me, as I thought it was only a minor side story, but it turned out to be central to the plot.

I found myself laughing a lot, but also sympathizing, hoping, and feeling extremely nervous at one part. The characters do that to you—while the ending may have been a bit predictable, the events leading up to it could have landed any which way.

This isn’t a movie about people with mental illnesses, per se, but about people who are finally beginning to control them. They’re on the way out of the troubles. That’s not to say there aren’t any—certain things trigger both Pat and Tiffany, and they have to struggle to get past them sometimes. Its light-hearted approach to a potentially-serious topic works well. It doesn’t downplay the importance of good mental health, but doesn’t show it as something that has to run your life, either.

That’s how Pat works through it. By finding the silver lining (get it?) in anything negative he encounters.

I’d say you could see this movie with your special someone, a group of friends, or even on your own, and you’ll enjoy it.

I mean, it’s not too terribly long (compared to the Hobbit, at least) and has a good story, adhesive plot and offers a mix of emotions.

And let’s be real here—crazy or not, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence aren’t too hard on the eyes.

@CamMParkes

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This is 40—a review, of sorts

This is 40

This is 40

Well, I just returned from seeing This is 40. Prior to seeing it, I was informed that it was “not as funny as I wanted it to be” by someone, so I went in with only middling expectations.

I’ll be blunt—I thought this movie was hilarious.

I’ve always been a big Paul Rudd fan, and I like Leslie Mann as well. Throw in Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy and Megan Fox, and you have yourself a grand old time.

For those of you who have seen Knocked Up, you may recall Pete (Rudd) and Debbie (Mann) were having a few problems with their marriage. Well, now it’s a few years later and they’re still together, but of course things are far from smooth.

Now, obviously this is written from the perspective of a 22-year-old. This means, for those who haven’t guessed, that I can’t really comment either way as to whether or not what they go through is in any way accurate to real life. When I hit 40, I’ll let you know.

The movie was believable, though. You have your ups and downs, good times and rough times, family fights and family bonding. Pete’s record label is losing money, while Debbie’s clothing store is barely breaking even. Their kids are growing up and constantly fighting. You know the script—a problem appears, it’s solved, then another one pops up. The typical roller-coaster ride that this sort of movie usually is. No one wants to take responsibility for the deteriorating relationship. They have two hours and 14 minutes to figure it out—will they? I won’t spoil it, since you’re going to want to see it.

I barely stopped laughing through the whole two-plus hours. Rudd and Mann seem to pull humour out of the air, even in theoretically-mundane situations. Add the hilarious McCarthy—albeit only for a few scenes—and I was in stitches. There’s a lot of swearing, and I mean a LOT. Maybe even too much. But most of it was funny.

Oh, Megan Fox is in it too. Basically for the odd scene where we see her in her bra, or bathing suit, or party dress. She looks pretty damn good for someone who had a baby relatively recently.

There are so many funny one-liners in this movie that you won’t remember any of them. But you’ll laugh, oh boy yes you will.

Paul Rudd is, well, Paul Rudd. Handsome, charming, hilarious. Leslie Mann looks better in this movie than in Knocked Up, in my opinion. Total babe.

Oh, and you may or may not get to see her boob.

@CamMParkes

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A new year’s note

Happy new year, everyone!

Alright, enough of the pleasantries.

While this is, in fact, a blog post written on new year’s day, it is not a “new year’s” blog post—or, at least, not one of those ones where I ramble on about everything that happened in 2012, and what I learned from all of it, etc. etc. thank you very much.

Nothing against posts like that, but this just isn’t one of them.

I’ve been slacking on this blog, I know it, you know it, WordPress apparently knows it.  I got an email from them yesterday, kind of summing up all the blog’s stats for 2012. There were a few pretty cool and surprising stats, mostly where people were reading the blog from—Russia and Japan being the most shocking. It got me thinking though—maybe people do actually enjoy reading this? It might be a bit far-fetched of an idea, but who knows, right?

With that in mind, I’m going to try to update more frequently. Let’s call it a new year’s resolution, shall we? One blog post per week.

Look at that, I’ve already accomplished my resolution for the first week.

Other things of note: I applied for a UK Ancestry Visa today. I’ll keep you all updated on how that goes—who knows, by this time next year I may be living in England. That’d be cool, eh?

Other things to watch for:

  • I’m thinking of starting up my YouTube channel again. I just have to think of what would go on it.
  • Expansion of content—what I mean by this is, besides text updates, watch for a variety, such as audio, video, perhaps even graphic updates.
  • Also, I may be linking to more Gazette stuff, so that’s cool.

 

I guess I should thank those of you who read/listened to my blog in 2012. I’ll do my best to be funny and/or witty or whatever for you.

In the meantime, I need more followers. If you follow me, I sometimes post funny things that you might laugh at, maybe.

@CamMParkes

Cool? Coolcoolcool.

(Here’s a video for Community lovers—I’ve had it on repeat all day.)

Cheers to the new year!

CP

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