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    If you still can’t see the positives, then you’re not looking my way


    2011 - 12.30

    As 2011 wraps up, I see more and more YEAR IN REVIEW posts. People make lists of best albums, best movies, most annoying events… I am not current enough in movies to make a top 10, though I’m sure my inclusion of Sucker Punch would be prime comment fodder.
    (Yes, I enjoyed Sucker Punch a lot and I think most people are missing a key interpretation)

    I could make a list of my favourite albums of the year, but the top spots are going to go to Sloan, Brigitte Boisjoli and Timber Timbre and I will absolutely not try to justify them.

    I actually hate reading art reviews online – songs, albums, films, books, cafés. Either I want to see something/eat somewhere/go see a show or I don’t. So someone whose tastes are probably way different from mine writing as if they’re an expert is not going to sway me. I never understood the point at all, even when I wrote concert reviews semi-professionally! I always found it difficult to separate my experience from the sum of all concertgoers, so I’d have to write as if I’m a complete outsider. The only one I was ever particularly proud of can be found here.

    Concert reviews are especially bizarre to me – I just don’t see the point. As I see it, there are only 2.5 types of people who read them.
    1) The reader was there and has their own memories and opinions formed about the sound, the set and the audience. Why does she need someone else’s? To justify her own opinions? My favourite concerts of the year are not going to be everyone else’s, because I enjoyed them for my own reasons. How many other people would include Sloan’s June 22 show at the Mod Club as the best? It won’t be because Chris Murphy bought them nachos afterwards. That’s my experience and it powers my view of the gig. Someone who has a bad concert experience because of the audience is going to have a different opinion from someone who was in another section of the crowd.

    2) People who weren’t at the show. Sure, there’s some masochism in wanting to know what you’ve missed, but what good would it really do? Performances vary wildly night by night. It’s FOMO at its worst. It’s publicity, but after the fact. Do I want to read about how I missed every single night of Jason Collett’s Basement Revue? No, because it’s too late and it’s only going to make my weep that I missed Matt Murphy singing more Guy Terrifico.

    3) The artist himself. But really, what are the odds that someone like Jeff Tweedy is going to read 150 tumblr reviews of Wilco’s Massey Hall show?

    Document your experiences for yourself, but know that they are YOURS. “Best of” lists are misnomers and I would actually think less of someone who could make a difinitive BEST OF list as if they were the world’s expert. Recaps are another thing entirely – listing your favourite movies of the year is fine, but it is according to your taste only.

    That said, these are my favourite concert experiences of 2011:

    10) Steven Wilson @ Opera House
    9 ) Cheap Speakers @ Various venues everywhere.
    8 ) Sloan @ Mod Club (night #2)
    7 ) Ellie Goulding @ the Phoenix
    6 ) Joel Plaskett @ Luminato
    5 ) Matthew Barber @ Great Hall
    4 ) Sloan @ Great Hall
    3 ) Dwayne Gretzky’s Dakota residency
    2 ) Heart @ Massey Hall
    1 ) Elvis Costello in NYC

    Mostly what I’ll remember about 2011, though, is how many people came into (and came back into) my life: New friends with whom I’ve become really close; friends-of-friends whom I’ve stolen as my own; casual acquaintances who make me smile every time I see them; most importantly, though, are the people from my past with whom I’ve reconnected in such a meaningful way. 2011 was the year of forging lifelong bonds with some truly wonderful people and severing ties with a few who were making me miserable.

    2011 brought me to new parts of the world, including Scotland, where my family came from. I met my Scottish relatives and feel great knowing that I’m related to such smart, kind-hearted people who made the Canadian clan feel welcome in light of the occasion. This year also brought my immediate family closer than ever.

    I don’t know if 2012 can improve on 2011 as much as 2011 did on 2010, but I am all about facing it head on with more confidence, wisdom, and experience.

    Just for fun, here are some resolutions:

  • Blog more
  • Travel more (leave the province at least three times)
  • Read 100 graphic novels
  • Get my girl abs back to 2010 standard (*Sigh*)
  • Sing 100 karaoke songs in a row without a repeat
  • Listen to one 2012-released album per week; actually keep up with current music.
  • Institute a one-in-one-out rule for possessions and stick to it.
  • Earn at least one A in a class and be well on track to graduate in 2013.
  • Wear my friggin’ night guard. Ugh.
  • Find a creative way to organize my 4703623067387 pairs of earrings.
  • Cross an artist or song off of my musical bucketlist (preferably Marie-Mai, Springsteen, “Dreaming of You,” or “I Want You”)
  • Finish my awesome needlepoint fractal, which will look like this upon completion:

  • Be happy and healthy and stay positive. Life is much better that way.

    Here’s to a happy 2012! I know who my first, second and third kisses will be.

  • She’s aware it’s all been done before…


    2011 - 12.28

    The past week has been absolutely incredible. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say I’ve had the best week of my life – which is saying something, because my life is pretty okay.

    Tuesday was the first day of Hanukkah, which was very exciting. My half-Jewish boo had never celebrated before, so I decided to surprise him. Thanks to Aidan and Dan for helping a shiksa out. The variations on the classic dreidle games were particularly fun!

    We’d given each other a bunch of hints about each other’s presents, but he was still super pleased. Day one was cookies and a mixed CD (because no one had ever given him one before?!) He was pretty ecstatic…

    Wednesday was the second night, and my gift was a little self-serving – I took him to the Sloan charity show with Ohbijou and the RAA. I had to work until 8:00, so I missed Bonjay’s set and most of Ohbijou by the time I got down there, but it was really nice to have a reunion with all the ghosts of Sloanies Past. So many people from the message boards were there – Martina, Maddie, Cameron, Sideburns Dave, Adam, Nick, Alicia, Ruhee, Nat… plus people like Rochelle and Jess who were there purely for nostalgia. It was Harold’s first Sloan show and his first time meeting a lot of my Sloan people, and I was really anxious. Sharing a life-defining music experience with someone is a lot of pressure, and I was hoping so much that I hadn’t hyped them too much.

    As if seeing everyone who made high school bearable for me wasn’t enough, Sloan – my favourite band for most of my life – played their album One Chord To Another all the way through. I’ve seen Sloan 39 times now (you could say it’s borderline fanatic) and Wednesday was still my first time hearing some of my favourite tunes – G Turns To D and Take The Bench caused particular fangirling with Maddie. Much to my delight, they had a horn section (!!!) playing on Everything You’ve Done Wrong and Take The Bench. It was unreal. They also brought Leslie Feist up to play on She Says What She Means. I’m kinda glad they emphasized that it’s 1996 and not anytime after that, because Feist playing on any of the breakup songs Chris wrote about her might have been awkward.

    Harold had a good time – he said that the trumpet parts would actually be somewhat challenging to play, and that Sloan were an ideal mix of tight musicianship and relaxed attitudes. It’s his first real rock show in four years (jazz kids, amirite?) and I am pretty thrilled he enjoyed himself. Not understanding my Sloan love has been a dealbreaker in the past.

    Thursday was our weekly #loserkaraoke (Jess’s first! AWWW!) and it was Y week – the regulars do this thing called #ABCKaraoke, which means that each week means a new letter. I sang “Your Song,” (the Ellie Goulding version) and that actually seemed to go well – better, at least, than my attempt at “Guns and Horses” last year. Harold finally sang “Best I Ever Had” by Drake after his Y song. Pretty okay? Pretty okay! Gabriel was a complete sweetheart and gave me a vegan baking cookbook for Christmas, which means that he will get to sample everything. I want to learn to cook and bake more in the new year, so that’s perfect.

    Post-karaoke, we did our third night and proper gift exchange. We’d given little hints, and I guessed mine properly – he’s taking me to Halifax for reading week! I have waxed poetic on my Halilove before, and this will be my first time returning to the promised land since 2008. I’ve also never been during the winter – at least we miss hurricane season! I want to find a place to rent skates and visit Java Blend and spend a whole paycheque at Strange Adventures. We’re also fulfilling a longtime fantasy of mine: we’re taking VIA rail to get there. I’ve always had a not-so-secret fascination with eastbound trains (in part thanks to Suzanne Vega) and to finally take one is a dream. We’re flying back four days later via Porter. I am not a good flyer, so a friggin’ prop plane isn’t the ideal, but it’s hard to resist their boxing day sale!

    Oh, and we made it facebook official. Such a thing, you guise.

    Friday was Zaira’s birthday party in the deepest, darkest Etobicoke, wherein Paul (whose blog is one of my favourites and makes me green with envy at his workstation), Zaira, Harold, Sean Ward and I watched Home Alones 1 and 4. Sean went off on a rampage at YTV for cutting off the emotional climax of the first movie to play a Justin Bieber song in its entirety for no reason, and Zaira’s sister was kind enough to give us a lift back to the subway. Harold opened his fourth gift (underwear – heh heh heh) and we discussed our impending trip out east in more detail.

    Saturday was Christmas eve, and I got to spend it with my mother, brother, Harold, his mom and a puppy. Gift #5 was two ties, both skinny. As much as I love a good fondue, it’s obvious from my smile that the puppy was my favourite part.

    After dinner, my mother and I took part in my favourite holiday tradition: the Late Christmas Eve Shoppers Drug Mart Run. On Christmas Eve every year, we visit the 24-hour drug store and watch as all the drunk losers remember last minute to buy a gift for their ladytypes. There is nothing as SMH-worthy as seeing a thirty year old Jesse Pinkman type grabbing a bottle of Shania perfume and an extra-large box of condoms with the smuggest grin in the world. Ugh.

    This year, though, was disappointing – most of the customers were women who looked like they were there because they didn’t have anything better to do. That was a little sobering, because Mom and I definitely fell into that category… yet another tradition potentially ruined? C’mon!

    Christmas itself was better – we slept in, opened our stockings and gifts (we toned down the consumerism this year, which is great. I really don’t have room for actual stuff). Mom and Brian-Sean made breakfast (which included an Epic Meal Time-inspired dish called Jack Daniels candied Fake-on that all but glued my insides together).

    Brian-Sean’s girlfriend came over and we gave her the gifts we’d gotten for her, and she helped clear out my Goodwill/junk jewelry box. Yay! I really am trying to clear out everything I don’t need. I’ve got a move out deadline and ~2 years is going to come faster than I think. (Yay for being grownass?) Harold joined us for dinner at the Delta Chelsea, where the food was okay. Buffets in general aren’t inclined to deal with my fleshless diet. Still, it was nice being able to spend Christmas dinner with so many of my favourite people. I got back to Harold’s place, where we celebrated the sixth night. I gave him a frame for the fractal print I made him for his birthday, as well as the offer to put it up for him (so handy, you guys).

    On Monday, I went and saw The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo with my lady Samantha. I read the novel two years ago and only remembered the most basic of details, but I didn’t hate the adaptation. At this point, Fincher is the only one I’d trust to adapt any novel, especially if it’s dark and not particularly deep. Daniel Craig was yet again an intelligent, well-dressed man who fights evil while drinking expensive alcohol and seducing every woman on-screen. I guess there are worse reasons to be typecast. I do like Salander as a character and it did make me want to give the trilogy another go.

    And yesterday? Well, everything is back to normal. I have a few things coming up for which I’m pretty psyched, but the holidays are coming to an end. School resumes in less than a week and I’m only kind of looking forward to all my new classes. Still, with Halifax on the horizon and both jobs picking up? Everything is coming up Allegra.

    We move like caged tigers – we couldn’t get closer than this


    2011 - 11.14

    Saturday was Worn Fashion Journal‘s Black Cat Ball. I was particularly excited for about a hundred reasons. I got to dress up, see friends I hadn’t seen in FOREVER, dance with a well-dressed man… admittedly, though, I was more excited than I should have been to cover my first cool party since the blog launched.

    The party didn’t disappoint at all! The Wornettes threw a classy, unpretentious and genuinely fun ball. Everyone was pretty and dressed in theme, booze was plentiful and inexpensive (not for me, though – No Drink-November), and the music flowed really nicely. I don’t think any of the smiles I saw all night were faked.

    I talked to a few people about their fabulous glasses (just confirming that I NEED to visit Rapp Optical ASAP) but mostly Harold and I danced ourselves into a frenzy, enjoyed the people-watching and saved a few pretty blondes from one creepy old man who clearly didn’t belong.

    I got to catch up with a few friends from high school, too. I hadn’t seen Cayley or Vix in forever, and they both look like they’re happy and doing what they love. Cayley is working at Worn now, which is really appropriate. I remember wanting to do clothing swaps with her in grade 10 – if you’d seen how High School Allegra dressed, you’d understand why Cayley always found nice ways to say no.

    There was a wall of shame – we could write our fashion faux-pas on a post-it and confess our sins. Mine involved socks. Harold’s had everything to do with his unironic appreciation of dark brown corduroy. Doesn’t he know that cords are back in a big way? There was also a raffle, from which I won a prize pack courtesy of Nathalie-Roze:


    (Arm warmers, winky kitty hair pins, fishnet tights)

    I was going to wait until the official pictures were posted before writing the post (Dan Levy told me at a party once that waiting for pictures is one of the worst things about blogging), but She Does The City has some really nice ones up on Facebook already – though none of us.


    I wore my Vaudeville & Burlesque dress I bought in Scotland in September (I remember being hesitant to spend £40 on it, and I am SO GLAD that I did) and my favourite black bell hat (which was a gift from my mother).


    I really wish we’d taken more photos. This is the only one I have of the two of us from that night. It just means I’m that much more excited to see the official pictures.

    I loved the party. I would go to anything hosted by the Wornettes at this point. (Aside: PUG THEME?). The best part of any party, though, is the company. It’s so refreshing to be with someone who is up for any event, is willing to dress the part (see: Fake Prom) and will dance with me. My dudes are always down to shake a tail, but I’ve never dated anyone (guys or ladies) who was willing to hold me close and sway to the music. I always said, “SOMEDAY I’LL FIND SOMEONE WHO’LL DANCE!” to myself after each breakup, and it really is as good as I thought it would be. When Harold agreed to fill in as a last-minute Fake Prom date in August (my then-girlfriend was sick), I knew. I’m pretty happy, you guys.

    In other news:

  • Today I go to pick up a DVD copy of an infomercial I filmed when I was sixteen. I reserve the right to watch it and then burn it forever.
  • Also today I get to have dinner with my favourite Natalia.
  • Ke$ha, whom I love unironically, announced her next single. I am VERY pleased. Then again, I may be biased.
  • Also, hey, Christmas is coming soon (if you don’t know what to get the Allegra in your life)
  • I met my love at Pizza Corner


    2011 - 11.10

    I’ve never been much of a traveller. I took my first trip when I was 18 and had an unfortunate time. Somehow the beauty of Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco were all shadowed by family drama, poor planning and being surrounded by people who obviously didn’t like each other very much. The flights (six in all) were so rough that I vowed never to fly again. Saying that seemed a lot more doable than vowing never to talk to half of my family again…

    As soon as I got back, I met a dude and fell in love (he won’t be named, but he’s in my blogroll). Though he was living in Toronto for school, he was a born and raised Nova Scotian. He knew I always wanted to visit Halifax, so he whisked me away to meet his family for our six-month. Halifax was everything I’d ever imagined it to be. For a nineteen year old girl, in love for the first time, nothing was more magical than the salty atlantic air. I felt like I was in a Joel Plaskett song as I found all the landmarks made famous by Murderecords artists. To his credit, the boy put up with my fangirling and was an adequate tour guide. Sure, I couldn’t eat anything at the Chickenburger and the weather alternated hourly between -5 and 40 degrees, but I WAS IN HALIFAX. TRUE LOVE IN CITY FORM. THE PROMISED LAND. THE MOTHERLAND OF EVERYTHING I LOVE AND HOLD DEAR. HOME OF DOUBLE BRIDGES, FERRIES AND THE HIGHEST-GRADE TAPWATER EVAR.

    I was only there for a long weekend, but in those three days I felt like my life had been leading up to my arrival at Stanfield airport. I didn’t get to go exploring for myself, but I wanted to come back as often as I possibly could. I got to see Sloan play for free; we walked hand-in-hand through the Public Gardens; we climbed cliffs overlooking the bluest water I’d ever seen. I saw the city responsible for producing Chris Murphy and Joel Plaskett and Rob Benvie and Matt Murphy. Everything about it lived up to the hype, which was such a feat considering it was the only city I’d ever wanted to see apart from my hometown. I regret that I didn’t take ANY pictures, but I remember everything so vividly.

    Okay, that was a lie. There’s one photo worth sharing…

    It’s not easy being this cool, even while riding an orange electric bike.

    It was even better the second time I got to visit – the same boy’s family brought the two of us back for an entire week the following August. Armed with my camera this time, I documented everything. We explored more of the nightlife, we tried more food and saw more sights and were just MORE. We weren’t really on a time crunch, so we relaxed and went EVERYWHERE.

    That guy and I broke up over a year and a half after that second trip, and I still haven’t been back. At least once a month I will look at Porter flight prices and sigh wistfully. It wasn’t about him, and it had run deeper than the connection to my favourite musicians. Halifax and I have a connection, and I feel a wanderlust so powerful that it takes all the self-doubt I can find to convince myself I shouldn’t.

    A good friend of mine, Bevka, just moved to the 902 a few months ago for grad school. I’ve been dying to visit her. I just spent a week in Scotland this summer, though, so I can’t justify it to myself yet.

    Sean Ward is not helping the situation at all – he’s in NS covering HalCon and posted this on my facebook wall:

    My wanderlust has officially been reignited. I have to get back to the sea…

    She Says What She Means


    2011 - 11.07

    Goodness, people on the internet sure are being nice to me today!

    When I woke up, I remembered that it’s the birthday of one of my favourite people of all time. Chris Murphy of Sloan (the bassist of my all-time favourite band, for those few who don’t know) turns [redacted] years old today, and historically November 7th is a day of small celebration for me. In the past few years I’ve gotten promotions, good grades and met some life-changing people. November 7th treats me well.

    In addition to hundreds (!!) of blog hits since the launch yesterday, a lot of people have been linking to me through twitter, facebook, and their own websites. I really do know the best people. If I don’t have you in my blogroll, leave a comment and I’ll fix that immediately.

    today has been so productive already. I earned another top mark in my favourite course (a practical, upper-level Institutional writing seminar), owned a quiz, and sorted out some academic and financial issues (Thanks, York Professional Writing Department!). Getting shit done (GSD for short) is one of the best feelings in the world.

    In other awesome famous-on-the-internet news, TheGridTO did a profile on my karaoke crew, and guess who was singled out as a highlight?

    I’m especially excited when a girl—who might as well have been Parker Posey in Spring Breakdown—turns the place into a gay nightclub as she jams out Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R” while the crowd throws their arms up and encloses her in looks like a throwback to MuchMusic’s Electric Circus.

    Dudes. DUDES. I WAS JUST COMPARED TO PARKER POSEY. Let’s ignore that her character in that movie was a thirtysomething uptight office manager who eventually lets loose. Well, I guess I WAS in business attire…

    There are 7.5 hours left in the day. Let’s see what else I can do. Maybe I get to see James this evening after a million months. Maybe I’ll go play with some puppies. Maybe I’ll just watch Sloan videos…