Refuse to be Passive

Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page

When Bookstore meets Insane

In Life in General on June 30, 2010 at 9:03 am

When you walk into John W. Doull, a used bookstore in downtown Halifax, you can’t help but be amazed. I don’t think I’ve seen so many books in a space that size in my life. It’s organized chaos, and the walking area is limited. If you ever get over your initial amazement, you’ll discover a friendly and helpful staff who know about good literature. When I was there, one of the staff was chatting with a customer about how Halifax’s library system was going downhill. I loved overhearing their conversation while I perused the piles of books, because it was easy to tell that their passion for the written word was real.
The day that I walked in, I was looking for a read that was easy, but not thoughtless or vapid. I asked the man behind the counter for his suggestions, and after inquiring as to my tastes, he pulled out a number of books I might be interested in. I was impressed not only with the service he gave, but also how he knew where everything was. While the store is split into genre, once you look at the pictures below, you’ll realize why his knowledge of book location was so amazing. I could have spent hours in that store. It’s the type of place you wander into and feel like you hit the jackpot. So if you’re ever in Halifax this place is not to be missed. Head to the intersection of Barrington and Prince and you’ll be happy you did.

Poll of the Week

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2010 at 10:59 am

Question:
What was your favourite song in elementary school?

Me?

“Stand Out” from the A Goofy Movie soundtrack

What you’ve been waiting for…

In Life in General on June 29, 2010 at 9:11 am

Many of you have been asking to see pictures of my time in Halifax. Now that I’ve been back for two weeks, you’re finally in luck!
My first day in Halifax I checked into my hostel, Halifax Backpackers, and then headed out to see the town. I was exhausted from traveling, but took in the Citadel, a fort made to defend Halifax from attack, but was never actually put to use. It was fascinating to hear about this history that caused the Citadel to be built, and was a nice way for me to ease into being in Halifax. The evening I spent in. There were lots of single travelers, and six of us had no desire to go out that night, so we sat around reading Trivial Pursuit cards to one another. We did really well, as we had a Kiwi, Brit, two Canadians, and two Germans playing. But we bombed all of the American political history questions. After having two questions where President Ford was the answer, he became our go-to answer for questions on which we were clueless.
I met some really cool people at the Halifax hostel, and two of them will be coming through Edmonton later this summer, so hopefully that means we’ll get to catch up. And while I forgot to take pictures of the Halifax Backpackers, I can safely say that it was one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed at. Friendly staff and travelers. Free internet. A decently stocked kitchen. Enough bathrooms and showers (clean enough too, but there was one clean freak who decided she couldn’t stay there– it’s a hostel, not a hotel lady!). Anyway, here are some pics from my first day in Halifax.

A New Week and Leonardo DiCaprio

In Life in General, Movies with a bit of TV on June 28, 2010 at 10:07 am

I skipped swimming this morning after a restless night due to car alarms, police sirens, ambulances, and all sorts of noises coming in through my window. I don’t think it quieted down until 2 am, which was annoying.  In a rare move, I got out of bed only half and hour before I had to leave for work, but I still managed to be the first one into the office. My weekend was excellent, consisting of brunch with friends on Saturday, Jazz in the Park in the afternoon, some time hanging with my sister, looking at a basement suite for Fall, as my sublet is up in two months, and then watching Shutter Island in the evening.

I really love Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese movies, because you expect those brilliant twists and turns, but there’s usually an extra one at the end that makes you unsure if the ending is “right” or not. I love it. I also like the suspense without the guts and gore or promiscuity. DiCaprio has really chosen some great films to do in the past few years. From Revolutionary Road, to Blood Diamond, to Shutter Island, you always come out with a feeling that it wasn’t just entertainment, but you learned something. That’s what makes a truly good movie. Fluff movies are a dime a dozen, but one that keeps you enthralled while making you think? That’s worth it’s weight in gold. It’s interesting to me that the guy who did Titanic and The Beach (neither of which are my favourite movies) is now putting out quality. And he’s never plastered in the gossip columns. It’s like the guy grew up (I suppose he is 36, so maybe that makes sense) and decided that a life in Hollywood could be a life where he could make a difference, while keeping the drama on screen and not off. Granted, I really don’t know that much about the guy, but that’s the general gist of what I think about him, and I can’t wait for his next film Inception. DiCaprio and Christopher Nolan? It’s bound to be brilliant.

A Total Sham?

In Life in General on June 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm

We all know of them, strength assessment tests. Are they a total sham? I’ve done a few of these over my life, from grids, to colours, to personality types, to strengths.
The latest test I did was the StrengthsQuest through Clifton. It’s an updated version of Strengths Finder 2.0, but has the same 34 strengths that they quiz you on. They say that people who wind up taking this test more than once over a period of time will have a 75% match to the first time they took it. Apparently I’m not a person.
I took the Strengths Finder 2.0 test last year and got these as my top 5 strengths:
– Adaptability
– Maximizer
– Command
– Belief
– Responsibility

Fair enough. While I see some of these in myself more than others, I don’t thing any of them are completely wrong.
Now, a week ago, I took the StrengthsQuest assessment. My top 5 results?
– Futuristic
– Communication
– Belief
– Ideation
– Restorative

Notice anything strange? Only one is the same. I’m starting to think that maybe what this test actually discovers is what “strengths” you’re using the most at a given time. The only reason I say this is that one of my co-workers read that second set of “strengths” and said, “Sounds like you’d be a perfect youth pastor.” Ironic, seeing as last year I took on the youth ministry in my church, and am putting it through a bit of an overhaul right now.
The thing that is really unfortunate about StrengthsQuest is that you only discover your top five, and that you could have four more coming in close behind those five, and you’d never know. That may be what happened between the two times I took this test, but I don’t know. The second time I took the test I would say is much more accurate for me as a complete person, and so I won’t write it off completely. What do you think?

My Sister Looks Like Hilary Swank

In Life in General, Movies with a bit of TV on June 24, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Now, I might be the only one who thinks this, but my sister looks like Hilary Swank. They both have straight brown hair, similar smiles, similar builds, similar face shape and complexion, but I think it might be mannerisms more than anything else. The way they tilt their heads or when they look startled. Sometimes when I’m watching a movie, I actually think I’m seeing my sister.
Those of you who know my sister may completely disagree. But after watching Freedom Writers last night, I’m more convinced than ever that my sister, and by extension me, might be long lost relatives of Swank. How cool would that be?

Sorry I don’t have pictures for you to compare. It’s a shame.

I’m Back!

In Food on June 23, 2010 at 9:02 am

So, once again, it’s taken me forever to write another post. But I’m back at it. Sadly for those of you who are still waiting on Maritime stories and pictures, that is not this post. Maybe I’ll get some of them up tonight.

I’ve started baking again after taking a break for a few months. I’ve got enough muffins to last me for breakfast for the next week, although next time I make them I think I might swap out half the oil for applesauce, so they’re a little bit healthier. If you want to try the recipe, they’re easy as pie and well worth making. They’re called Morning Glory Muffins. Sadly, I don’t have any pictures for you. And then I made a divine Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Streusel. It’s quite rich, and rather sweet, so feel free to cut back a bit on the sugars or the chocolate chips. But delightful and easy to make. Easy to get rid of as well. One of my co-workers probably ate 1/3 of the cake (not all at once, thankfully or I think he’d have been sick).

Lazy Blogger

In Uncategorized on June 16, 2010 at 9:27 am

I’ve become a bit of a lazy blogger, as you may have noticed by my lack of posts. I have a bunch of blogs I intent to write about my holiday, but I’m still playing catch-up on all that stuff that has accumulated and I now have to take care of. Mostly it’s work stuff, but then there’s my garden, that I’m trying to get back up to speed as it looks a little pathetic after two weeks of being mostly ignored and getting snowed on. Yes, I’m replacing some plants. And then there is my church stuff that I’m working on. For example, yesterday night I went and did community kitchen inventory and cleaned the youth room, which was a total mess. Ugh. But at least now it’s all clean. Love that feeling.

Itching for Home

In Uncategorized on June 12, 2010 at 9:30 am

Whenever I go on vacation for a couple of weeks, I find myself itching to get back to life as it comes to an end. After two weeks of sleeping in strange beds, and waking up to unfamiliar noises in the night (no worries, nothing bad), I’m starting to dream of my bed. Also, I’ve got a to-do list that before vacation just seemed daunting, but now that I’m rested up, I’m hankering to get a move on. But I haven’t much longer to wait, 24 hrs and I’ll be home!

There are things yet to be done though. I’m heading out to check out some of the local graveyards, and while I was intending to go to a Rhubarb fesitval tonight, trying to figure out the public transit system here is so daunting, and I have so much food left in the fridge, that I think I’m going to skip.

Tomorrow morining I get up with the sun and catch the shuttle to the airport, and I’ll be back in Edmonton before Noon. Won’t it be glorious. There’s no place like home.

Traveling Light: The Cool Things About Hostels

In Food, Life in General on June 4, 2010 at 6:30 am

Where can you stay for less than 30 bucks a night and still have a bed with a comfortor? Hostels! Where can you meet cool new people from around the world and all sit down and play a game of Trivial Pursuit together? A Hostel! By the way, the international aspect is greatly helpful in Trivial Pursuit, especially if you’re just asking the questions and waiting for people to shout out answers. We had two Germans, one Brit, two Canadians, and one…actually I don’t know where he was from. The only thing we didn’t have was an American, and it’s an American game! After having President Ford as an answer twice in a row, every time a question came up about presidents the first answer shouted was, “Ford!” Even if they answer was really obvious, like Abe Lincoln.

I love the people you meet at hostels, particularly if you get a group of people who are all travelling by themselves. It becomes quite the social situation and is brilliant for making new friends from around the world. The hostel in Halifax seems to be inundated with Brits and Germans right now, but we’ve got a Korean or two as well. These are really fun people, and not really part of the partying crowd, which is pretty sweet, because I’m not part of that crowd at all.

The only sad thing about hostels is moving on. You usally lose a few people a day, but they’re replaced by others, and then there are a few who stay on for weeks. But today, I move on from hostel and I become one of the leavers, and all I can do is pray that the hostel in Fredericton has as great people as this one….and as great coffee. There’s a seriously good coffee shop that fronts the hostel, and thus far its the only decent coffee I’ve found in this dreary rainy city. So one more coffee, and Via rail, here I come!

PS– Once I’m back and have uploaded pictures, I’ll have some more specific posts.