Sunday, March 29, 2015

Just call it the world’s shittiest hangover

Not too long ago, in the grey drizzly city of Victoria, I was out for coffee on one of my famous “non-date” coffee dates with this guy I met ironically at another coffee shop. Yup it was one of those cute and adorable first encounters that happen while you are waiting for your Americano at the coffee bar, minding your own business when BAM! Smoking Hot Guy (SHG) is talking to you out of nowhere.

This is how it went down. I’m waiting for my Americano, browsing the TC (that stack of dead tree that passes for a newspaper in Victoria) and SHG walks over, leans on the coffee bar beside me and says:

“Those are some nice shoes, they are very telling of you.”

I respond “Yeah they are pretty kick ass, just like me.” And yes, I pointed both my thumbs at me simultaneously as I said “just like me.” And of course, I proceeded to make some totally awkward facial expression, which I would call flirtatious but others would definitely call more of a “do you have food poisoning?” look.

Anyways, my awkwardness didn’t seem to concern him, as he asked for my number so we could get together. And normally someone so aggressive with the dating protocol would turn me off but I remembered that I kind of needed more blogging material so I should at the very least interact with this human on one of my non-date coffee dates.

Now, it may seem odd to you, gentle reader, that I would agree to this creepy and totally invasive invite but you need to understand this sounded way less creepy than the time that way older married guy at work invited me over to his house so I could “see his unfinished basement”. Apparently asking someone to “see your unfinished basement” is another way of asking someone to have “kinky ass sex in your basement involving power tools.” I was shocked too. I thought I was being asked to be raped, tortured and murdered with power tools in the soundproof room in the unfinished basement.

Well, you learn something new every day.

Anyways, apparently I am not hip to this 70’s slang for hooking up and never did get to experience the kinky sex with power tools thing that married couples did all the time during the 70s because they didn’t have Netflix and they had to make their own fun.

So I exchanged numbers with the SHG and we agreed to meet for coffee at a later date.

A couple of months later, we finally meet up for coffee. 

He is already at the coffee shop, coffee in hand waiting for me when I walk right by him. Yeah, I hardly recognized SHG because apparently he has radioactive facial hair because he had sprouted a full beard since the last time I saw him. And yes, it took him several minutes to convince me he was the SHG I had agreed to have coffee with (I made him show me his driver’s license, which had a picture of him without a beard).

After I confirm that it is him, I still don’t sit down because I feel the need to interrogate him in an overly dramatic fashion (which I'm best known for). And the conversation went a little like this…

A: Seriously dude What’s with the beard?

SHG: “What? You don’t like this?”

A: No, obviously I don’t.

SHG: I think it is pretty stylish. (strokes his beard lovingly)

A: (scowling) No, not really.

SHG: I’m almost certain this look is in vogue right now. (smiles all authoritative and shit, leaning back in his chair, arms folded)

A:  I don’t know what fashion god you are pledging allegiance to but it looks to me like you get your fashion tips from magazines that run ads for “polish mail order grooms”.

SHG: That sounds cool.

A: I’m saying that non-ironically.

SHG: (Frowns) oh.

A: (points dramatically at his beard) what are you going for here with this beard of yours?!

SHG: (sits up straight all proud and shit) I’m going for that whole trans lumbersexual look.

And that’s when I realize this is the reason I lost the competition to J. I didn’t see any lumbersexuals on the first day of spring because they have mutated into this bullshit sitting down in front of me.

Naturally, I decide not to stay on account of him transforming into this degenerate mutation of a fashion trend for no good reason at all.

And no I was not a complete asshole as I didn’t tell him that I thought he was a degenerate mutation, although it was kind of apparent I thought he was a degenerate mutation from the conversation we just had. Anyways, I didn’t bother to make up an excuse as to why I was leaving, I just kind of walked out, not really saying anything. Honestly, I think I was in some kind of shock over the whole absurdity of this fashion trend situation.

And off I went never to see that ugly beard again. And not because I never saw SHG again, it was just the next time I saw him he had shaved off the beard (thankfully).

So in the end he saved himself; however, he could never save our potential theoretical relationship because he insisted on being a stupid douchebag hipster.

And Andrea lived happily ever after,
The End

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Prelude: something to meditate on

This past week I thought I would get all fancy with my vegetable cutting. Yes, i thought why not pull out that mandolin I haven't used in 2 years and make very thin slices of beet with it. And in typical Andrea fashion, I ended up slicing the top of my finger off.

An ER trip and tetanus shot later, turns out I don't need stitches; however, it is difficult to type right now so this week will be a short post. Consider this a prelude to next week's post...

Separation bends the back of hope
cruelty ties the hands of longing 
yet the lover never despairs.
For a committed heart
everything is possible.
~ Rumi

So I've been thinking about the heart. That impenetrable fortress that resides in my chest. It makes it possible for me to run, on account of it pumping blood around and such, so from a biological perspective all is good inside me. From an emotional POV, not so much I think. 

In meditation, I'm at a point in my practice where I'm stuck. I can't meditate from my heart. I'm not still stuck in my head, like when I first started the practice, I'm able to get into my body, I just can't seem to get inside my heart.

So, feeling frustrated with that, I've been trying to sort out what the issue is that is preventing this progression in my practice. And I'm almost certain it has something to do with being able to be open to trust, patience and love. 

As we are well aware, I'm a bit challenged when it comes to being open to patience or love and as for trust...well, I don't think anyone would be surprised I had challenges in that department. Anyways, more on this later, but for now just think about those 3 concepts or in mediation better referred to as, energies. 

Trust, patience and love.

If I'm not embracing those three energies, how could I possibly ever expect to meditate from the heart. 

And when I look up at the Rumi quote above and think of these three energies, I'm almost certain the absence of them is what leaves us humans with pain and suffering.

So let's conduct a little experiment...

I want you to think about what is irritating you right now in your life. What is the major issue in your life? What is causing you so much grief? What are you always upset about or complaining about? What is the cause of your suffering? 

Now think of those three energies. Are you open to them right now? Can you make yourself open to them? Try for a moment to be open to them. 

For a minute just feel those three energies. What is it like to feel trust, patience and love?

Once you do that, I want you to look back at the cause of your the answer still the same?

Love this stoned fleur de lis tattoo design (source)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Greetings from Leriki, Latvia!

It's another rainy Sunday afternoon in Victoria, BC, and I'm just hanging out marathoning Community on Netflix while savoring what likely may be the last pomelo of the season (wipe tear away), when I remember I haven't checked my mail this week. Ok, it was more like I haven't checked my mail this month.

Picture on the latest Telus flyer I got in the mail. Not sure what it is trying to sell me.
Anyways, not wanting to miss out on a bill or even better a flyer for something I will never buy, I head down the stairs to my mailbox. As expected, a credit card bill (that one is kind of thick!), some important documents I will need to fill out my taxes (don't lose those!!), a Telus flyer (I don't care if you throw in a free tv I still don't want your cable package!! I have Netflix you dumb asses!) and a postcard.

A postcard from Leriki, Latvia. "Greetings from Leriki, Latvia" it screams at me in a jarring shade of burnt orange but in sweet vintage font type.

And this greeting is sprawled across the picture of an ass.

No, not a donkey. But the ass of a man who is (thankfully) lying on his stomach spread eagle on a headboard-less bed (likely located in Leriki, Latvia, I'm guessing).

WTF?! Obviously this pornography was sent to the wrong person!! Acting all self-righteous, I quickly turn over the postcard to find out what pervert this was sent to. Ha!

Turns out the pervert is me. (not as funny) Oh yes, this postcard was in fact delivered to the right person.

WTF?! Who do I know in Latvia?! Seriously though, up until  this moment I thought Latvia was the brand name of that espresso blend you sometimes find served in cheap European themed cafes in Canada. Turns out that is actually spelled Lativa coffee. But whatever, you know what I'm trying to say, right?!
Lativa - the coffee

If I think the name of one's country is a coffee company it is highly unlikely I know anyone who lives there.

Which makes me wonder maybe it is one of my friends (read: Paulo) who sent it to me during their travels. Well then I read what it says, and things get even more mysterious:

I feel we should probably talk in person why I've not been around since November but that is hard to do since I now reside in Leriki now. I guess I felt I could never fully trust you and then December and January passed where all I did was talk to lawyers and then I forgot about you because you aren't really a priority to me. And then February happened and then I moved and here we are. Hope you are doing well.
Love always, Trevor

Ok. So confused right now, I head back up stairs to eat some food. Clearly I need some carbohydrates to crack this case. So I toss back a few Hi-Ro's; a disgustingly awesome white sugary goo filled chocolate covered cookie sandwiches. Hi-Ro!!
Hi-Ro! Not the one I ate but a picture none the less.

And now to start breaking down the case. Q & A time bitches!

Q: So do I know any Trevors?
A: I don't think so...could be an alias given the male ass on the front of the postcard.

Q: Is there anyone I stopped talking to as of last November?
A: Well fuck, I don't even know what happened last week, how the fuck am I expected to remember what happened 4 months ago?! This is ridiculous. This Trevor person clearly doesn't know me at all! Hello ADHD!! Stupid Trevor!!

And the Q & A kind of breaks down after this:

Q: is there anyone I've stopped talking to recently who would have reason not to trust me?!
A: No. Next question!

Q: Is there anyone who I've stopped talking to, in general just stopped talking to? (Don't bother trying to remember why you aren't talking to them, just answer the question)
A: We are going to have to narrow that down, that's way too many fucking people.

Q: Anyone I know into porn?
A: Seriously?! I don't think these questions are getting me any closer to the truth.

The book I just bought yesterday at the bookstore and now I've lost interest in it.
Q: Anyone I know into gay porn?
A: Who am I kidding?! We are all like at least 10% gay, so this is like everyone I know. Way too many people.

I suppose at some point during my life I met a Trevor. It's likely, I suppose...I probably just forgot his name, same way I forgot what I did last week. And the same way I forgot, very shortly after all of this Q & A with myself, that I was trying to figure out who sent me this postcard.

Let's face it, it's Sunday and I'm bored (I don't have cable!!), and this seemed like a good mystery to engage in (I kind of lost interest in the book I was reading) but now I just want to know what is going to happen on Season 2 of Community, and I want to eat the rest of my pomelo. Probably the last pomelo of 2015! the postcard is hanging on my fridge by cute little fridge magnets shaped like tiny corn on the cobs. Because who doesn't want to look at a nicely defined male ass in the morning?! The irony is delicious.

A painting of horses, not from Leriki, Latvia.

Me being a cute and adorable hipster :)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

One way to celebrate International Women's Day

You are in the town of Davidson. In an area referred to as Colonial Square. You wonder why this area is called Colonial Square when there is no "square" and merely a burned out gazebo with police tape wrapped around it? Well back in the day, 1867, when the township of Davidson was founded, this was the gathering spot for all the townsfolk. And for lack of creativity of the Davidson townsfolk, they named it Colonial Square. According to the plaque, which stands erect and unscathed beside the dilapidated gazebo, this was the place to be if you wanted to watch gunslingers have duels to the death. It was the place to be seen. People will always like to watch a good fight.

As you wonder how many people were killed right where you're standing you think back to what got you here, to this moment. How is it that you are standing right here, right now in this place of historic bloodshed?

Simple answer. You started dating again that's what started all this. One day you were living your single, independent life as a strong, fearless woman- complete all on your own-and then, you met him. And yeah, he was a really good match for you. He was nice, he respected your opinions, he didn't sexually abuse you. Yup he was able to give you the intimacy you needed in your life. That unconditional love you craved and never had. The type of love that is warm, that you snuggle up to, the no strings attached type of love. He genuinely cared about you. Also, he was really good in bed. You are a woman after all, you have needs too.

Anyways, so you had a good year.  Seriously, it was pretty fucking awesome. You had fun together, you shared your stories with each other, you had mind blowing sex with each other, you were both in love with each other. And then it happened. Not all at once, it wasn't exactly gradual but more insidious, like hiding underneath the surface the whole time, waiting to slowly rise out of the depths and make itself known. That completeness you had on your own had become redefined, your conceptualization of completeness now included him.

You came to this revelation earlier that morning when you both were eating breakfast together in that roadside diner bordering the township of Davidson. That roadside diner where you ordered the "traditional breakfast".

Yes, you chose that generic menu item because you were sure that even the most incompetent of humans couldn't fuck up a traditional breakfast. After all, it's eggs, toast and some sort of meat product. How hard is that to throw on a plate and serve to a customer in a timely manner?!

You think of the work it will take to make this meal (which turns out isn't a lot, as apparently the cook made an extra traditional breakfast 10 minutes before you arrived and then decided to serve you that thinking you wouldn't notice if he just threw it in the microwave for 30 seconds beforehand). You then contemplate the numerous health code violations you noted as you followed the waitress as she led you and your boyfriend to your table.

Yes it is never a good sign when the menu they give you is actually two because it is stuck to another menu and the staff can't even be bothered to separate them. Actually stickiness anywhere in a restaurant is never a good sign. For instance, it's never a good sign if after you order you move your arm that was resting on the table and instead of silence you hear a sound that resembles the noise one makes when ripping tape off a cardboard box. It's loud and you kind of feel like gagging. You look up at your waitress, who snaps her bubble gum in response to such uncleanliness, and then says she will go wipe that down for you, only to never return with that promise of proper sanitation.

You look across at your boyfriend, how long have you been with him? One year. That's 365 days where this guy has been linked to you. And you stop and think about that fact for one moment and then you feel the urge to gag. And not gag in a fun sexy "put a cock in your mouth" kind of way but in a "what the fuck was on this table to make it so sticky and why the fuck can't I peal it off my arm?!" kind of way.

You feel your chest tighten and your breath get rapid and shallow, you think you are hyperventilating and are about to have a panic attack when he says:

It's going to be really nice to be able to spend this weekend with you. No outside world, no distractions, just you and me alone for a full three days.

It's fair for him to say this, you rarely make yourself available to him. You're always doing something, like working, going to school, training for marathons, etc. And really, these words should be music to your ears but instead they sound like a death sentence. Actually it's worse than that because you don't actually get to die you have to be alive for every moment of this experience.

Your response:

What do you think the plural word for moose is?

He laughs. He loves your tangents. He accepts you for who you are, not for who he would like you to be. He doesn't answer you, just smiles at you.

You say:

I'm serious what is it?

You discuss the possibilities for a bit while you wait for your food. But nothing is sounding remotely plausible (e.g., moosi?!). And of course this frustrates you because you really want to know what the plural of moose is. So you announce that you are going to find out by checking your iPhone, which you left in the car, so you have to leave but you assure him, that you will be right back.

You almost knock your chair over as you make your exit. When you get outside to the parking lot, you look around and observe a ring of mountains that should look majestic but feel instead suffocating to you. The air is crisp and fresh not like the city air, the city air that you secretly prefer but feel somewhat ashamed admitting to because you are surrounded by all this natural beauty. Shouldn't you prefer nature?! But you don't, you like the city, you like its logic, its process, the control it has over the environment. Out here, it's every man for himself! It's wild and untamed and it scares the fuck out of you and you want to crush it.

You take several deep breaths trying to tap into your meditation practice to help you calm down and get out of your rising panic.

Two words keep floating in your mind: Keeper's Hideaway

That is the name of the place you will be spending the weekend at. A lovely rustic cabin nestled in the mountains surrounded by trails for you to run on, and hot springs for you to soak in. It sounds perfect. Like the perfect place to torture, rape and murder someone. A place where no one will hear your screams.

Then you think, 2001 a space odyssey, wasn't that the tag line for that movie?

You stop your meditation and look around the parking lot. You see a liquor store and contemplate taking up drinking again, if only to give yourself the option of drinking to blackout if you feel uncomfortable this weekend. And then you see it, a store named: Fast toys for boys. And you laugh and walk over to check it out.

Of course you think it's probably only going to sell the usual selection of male-centric commodities but instead it surprises you when you find out it is a sex shop for men, specializing in homosexual themed products. And you think, how progressive, you should support this local business. So you purchase some vanilla lubricants (aimed to make sucking dick more tasty?!) and a strap on (because wouldn't it be fun to fuck your boyfriend for a change?!) and you head back to the restaurant with a smile on your face. 

Your boyfriend looks up at you with adoration. And you feel elated, powerful even, and most importantly the panic is gone. He notes your happy exterior and how he was worried about you earlier because things seemed off with you.

You sit down and you say:

Moose. That is the plural.

Things to think about...

The World Health Organization estimates globally:
Happy International Women's Day!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hanks Untraditional BBQ: Why this vegan non-vegan goes for the food

Note: This blog post is a graphic and extremely long winded example of why @TheCesspit writes the restaurants reviews and I just go to restaurants and eat the food.

This is what a restaurant review looks like when I write it:

Hanks Untraditional BBQ - in one word: yum

Hanks BBQ and I have a strange relationship that only makes sense to neurotic people like me. The first time I saw the restaurant I decided I didn't like it.

The restaurant is located on busy, loud and garish Douglas street in downtown Victoria. Douglas Street is a street I generally avoid unless I'm having to cross it to visit the Running Room to buy some running item that is likely unnecessary but to me is critical to my existence at that very moment, yeah, I have some impulse compulsion issues, so what?!).

Best BBQ in Victoria!
Anyways, back to Hanks. So based on it's unfortunate location and perhaps because I didn't like the look of the tile that coated the bottom half of the outside of the restaurant, as it reminded me of tile that would be in a bathroom of of moderately upscale brothel in Amsterdam's red light district, I decided I was NEVER going to eat there.

Now I know you are thinking why wouldn't I mention me being a vegan as a reason for not wanting to eat at a restaurant that specializes in the art of preparing delicious meat ensembles. Well, because I'm not vegan, that's why. I know that is confusing to people because 99.9% of the time I do not eat meat...but i do make exceptions for lovely local organic well prepared meat products (Spoiler Alert! Hanks is the one exception to my non-vegan vegan diet because it is so damn delicious!!).

So after deciding I would never EVER eat at Hank's, I decided to pretend I would consider eating there (e.g., "Let's look at the menu"). Why would I pretend to do this? Well, I was on a date and was trying to avoid looking completely high maintenance and unreasonable right out of the gate (I generally like to save crazyland for 3rd dates!!). And that's when it happened. I went from pretending to consider eating there to over enthusiastically agreeing to try it out. How does one change their mind so quickly? Well I have ADHD. And the other reason (which actually pertains to the restaurant I am reviewing) I read the story of Hank's. Yup beside that meat filled menu I barely looked at (all meat looks the same to me) was a lovely narrative explaining the impetus for the lovely establishment I was about to dine in. And all I can say is that any story that mentions ninjas is an automatic win!
Francois (1 of 2 owners of Hank's) making even more food for me.

So the date continued on into Hank's and I continued to portray myself as a reasonable human being that maybe you may consider going on a subsequent date with.

I can't exactly remember what was here before Hank's probably on account of me hardly frequenting this nondescript area of Victoria. However, I'm almost certain it was like one of those sandwich shops that was the lunch time equivalent of one of those $1 slice pizza joints that only caters to really drunk people with no taste at 3 in the morning. I guess what I'm trying to say is, basically until Hank's showed up, that location did not exist in my world (or anyone else s for that matter).

The reason I question the earlier inhabitants of Hank's is due to the layout of the restaurant, which to be honest can get a bit squishy when there is more than 10 people in there. It's basically like bar seating with two alcove window seating areas. Which of course I probably normally would get all snobby about but it actually works for the ambience of the place. It makes it feel like you have come home. Only better than home because you have people waiting on you and making you super amazing food (unless of course you have servants at home then never mind this last part and PS I kind of hate you).
Eating a ridic amount of awesome food at Hank's on my b-day (and no i'm not drunk! just in a food coma)

So we get seated at the bar, I order some store bought "homemade" root beer. Served in a mason jar hipster style. I can't remember what my date ordered but it was probably one of the many craft beers they serve (I think they actually have Tofino Brewery beer there , which is kind of cool, seeing as you typically have to get to Tofinio to get your hands on that stuff). I assume my date was happy with the drink but I can't be certain because I really wasn't paying that much attention to him.

Top 3 reasons you may not want to go to Hank's for a first date (and why I should never):
1. The smell of the meat roasting is overpowering in a non-intrusive way and the smell is intoxicating (my shirt smelled of Hank's for days after and I kept wearing it so I could smell the awesomeness whenever I wanted - instant ticket to happy land every time I smelled my shirt). To a normal person this would not be distracting but to the vegan non-vegan (me) it is bloody distracting, it's like sniffing glue- heavenly.

2. There is a television! I have not owned a tv in over a decade. Anytime the box with the colorful moving pictures is placed in close proximity to me, I'm gone. Doesn't matter what is playing because to me it is really exciting. In this case it was sports. Of course this tangented into me fantasizing about hanging out there, eating BBQ while watching World Cup!

3. The food is fucking amazing. Yeah it's kind of like that scene in When Harry Met Sally, you know the fake orgasm at the restaurant blah blah except I'm not trying to prove a point (i.e., that women are really skilled at faking orgasms and men are too stupid to know they are faking-I think that was the point of the scene? I would probably retort that if you have to fake an orgasm with a man he probably doesn't give a shit whether you orgasm or not but whatever). I'm a very expressive person who does not do well containing their enthusiasm when consuming deliciousness. So yeah, maybe I sound like I'm having an orgasm when I eat yummy food but I assure you I am not, as my orgasms are much much more memorable and exciting than me going on about how great the food is I'm eating.

So what did I have that was so fucking amazing that it made me alienate my date? Easy, I remember it exactly because it was such a magical experience that I've ordered the same thing every time I go there. Why ruin a good thing, right?

Pork belly and pinto beans (reminds me of New Orleans)
Collard greens (reminds me of New Orleans)
Real baked mac and cheese (reminds me of one of my fav roommates from grad school, J), and
Cornbread (reminds me of buttery moist cakey goodness).

What can I say, I like New Orleans cuisine, I love cake and I adore my friends. And that is kind of what the Hank's experience is like. So I'm kind of hooked. I keep going back as it is the only place that really fits with my vegan non-vegan diet. Now if only I could get them to create a Sunday brunch menu...

Oh! The outcome of the date? Well I was super high off my food coma from Hank's and I was feeling pretty good until my date reported that he found the food to be only "ok". WTF?! Needless to say I couldn't go on a second date with him. To be honest every time I see him now I look right through him as if he was a ghost, after all, no one disses Hank's and gets to exist in my world. No one.

For a more traditional (read: informative and relevant to consumers) review of Hank's see:

Tv (showing some sort of sporting event) and root beer fridge at Hank's.