Thursday, 28 April 2011

Tim Minchin is coming to town!!!

This has made me very happy. Tim Minchin is coming back to Toronto after being away for less than a year. I do have to hug the man... again.

For those of you who somehow don't know Tim Minchin despite knowing me in person, shame on you. If there's anyone I haven't met who reads this, then please follow me with a Google account and I will be very happy someone other than my friends reads this blog.

Anyways, he's a brilliant musical comedian, musical theatre writer, and actor. You really do have to YouTube "Dark Side" and "Rock and Roll Nerd" (note: there's swearing in the 2nd one). I've traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to see him. He's that good.

Anyways, he's playing at the Winter Garden Theatre on June 3rd, and I've got tickets to go with 3 friends and 2 family members (who are also loyal Tim Minchin fans). It's gonna be fantastic.

I've also found my online friends Sarah K and Alison Danger S are going! Sarah K is a neuroscientist who loves British comedy (her blog is absolutely great, if you want to check it out..., and Alison is a semi-punk arts student and proud ginger. I'm very excited to see them both. 

After all, look how happy I was last time! Surely it'll be at least as good seeing her again, PLUS Alison. Plus Tim. Plus 5 awesome people.

And LOOK at the venue. Such a beautiful theatre... it's like being in a very elegant forest.

I was appalled at how fast tickets went though... it's the presale and more than 13 rows are gone. The PRESALE. Only 2 days in. And the presale requires an exclusive password (that's ginger by the way. Ginger is the best possible password. Ever). So he's at least selling well, but this means the best seats I could get were 3rd row center in the Mezzanine (3rd row of the balcony. They just call it mezzanine cos it sounds fancy).

Tim Minchin is going to have one incredibly packed house. 
Julianna xoxo 

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

A Load of Fancy Words

Ok. Here it goes.
Proliferate- To produce, reproduce.
Fatuous- Silly.
Binnacle- The holder of a ship's compass.
Usurp- To take something away from someone wrongly.
Deployment- The spreading of something (e.g. the deployment of troops in a war).
Impromptu- Having to do with spontaneous improvisation.
AGA- A British cooking appliance store.
Ghee- A type of clarified butter made in countries like India and Bangladesh.
Chicken Tikka Bhuna- Indian Chicken Curry dish that looks like this...
Peas Pilau- Peas and cooked rice
Enamel- Coating to protect metal
Humbrol- A sort of arts/paint store, which sells enamel paint
GPO- General Post Office
Norweigian Cheese Slicer- This thing.
Horlicks- Malted milk substance thing. It comes in a jar and is made for UK, India, Jamaica, and a lot of other places other than North America.

Rawlplugs- Those weird plastic things used to put together Ikea furniture.

Unassailable- Undefeatable.
Emulsion- The mixture of two unblendable liquids.
Terrazzo- Speckled rock flooring originally used in churches. Now used in malls alot.
Monastic- Relating to religion (nuns, monks etc.).
Moto Guzzi- A gorgeous motorcycle company.
John Lewis- They sell everything, like a deluxe version of Wal-Mart. British. 
Redolent- Reminiscent (e.g. The artist's painting was redolent of their childhood).
Bemoan- Moan. Often humourous.
Manqué- Failed to live up to expectations. (pronounced Mun-kah)
Obsolescent- When something is not used, although it is in perfect working order. 
Bespoke- Suggests or shows evidence. Past tense. (e.g. His writing bespoke that he wasn't very organized).
Antimacasser- That thing on a train seat that guards the head rest from dirt. Yes, there's a WORD for it. Also used as a name for when you have a piece of cloth on a chair or something do protect the fabric.
Wantonly- Childish.
Concertina- Accordion-like instrument.
Zealous- Enthusiastic.
Malodorous- Bad smelling.
Samovar- Metal container for hot drinks.
Maglev- Magnetic train system.
Eponymous- When something is named after something (e.g. The Pythagorean Theorem was named after Pythagorus).
Visceral- Adjective relating to the guts & nervous system. (e.g. Visceral pain).
Coevals- To be the near the same time as (e.g. The Beatles were coeval with the Vietnam War).
Chassis- Base frame of anything that rolls on wheels.
Atrophy- To waste away. Often refers to senior degeneration, in my experience. 
Jacquesie- This is a name, I think. It sounded like another word, so James May put it in with his rant. 
Inexorable- Impossible to stop.
Drubbing- Hit or beat repeatedly.
Exodus- Massive load of immigration (e.g. The exodus of the Pioneers).
Contraflow- Traffic flows that are opposite each other.
Menial- Mundane chores. Associated with everyday life.
Obfuscate-  To make something unclear.
Ephemeral- Adjective for something that lasts a very small amount of time.
Placate- To make someone less angry.
Chunter- To mutter. British.
Despatch- Dispatch. To send someone or something off for a purpose.
Instigate- Initiate.
Gauntlet- A glove with a long, loose wrist.
Phat- Excellent.
Helm- The steering device of a boat.
Thrum- Monotonal drone of noise.
Slovenly- Habitually messy and careless.
Garner- To gather or collect.
Lament- A passionate expression of grief and sorrow.
Banal- Lacking in originality, boring.
Perusal- The reading or examination of something (e.g. the perusal of a document).
Abject- Extremely bad, degrading.
Spectre- A ghost (American: specter).
Cloy- Sickening with sweetness (e.g. The syrupy voice in the ad was extremely cloying.) 
Barney- To argue.
Orvieto- Small town in Italy. Makes wine.
Camaraderie- Mutual trust/friendship between people who spend lots of time around each other.
Crockery- Plates, dishes, cups etc. Especially if they're made of earthenware or china. 
Balked- Hesitate at a task.
Oche- The line dart players have to stand behind to throw the dart.
Burnished- Polish by rubbing. Past tense.
Flagrant- Obviously offensive (e.g. A flagrant bad fashion sense).
Fuselage- Main body of an aircraft.
Crofter- One who owns a small rented farm (especially in Scotland).
Magnate-A wealthy and influential person.
Stagnate- To cease the flow of a liquid.
Bollards- A short thick post on a ship to which the rope is tied.
Poncey- Pompous, extravagant.
Thorax- The bit of body between the neck and the abdomen.
Proxy- The authority to represent someone else (The Governor General is a proxy for the Queen of England). 
Po-faced- Humorless and disapproving.
The AA- Car service.
Blackballed- Rejected
Crankshaft- A shaft driven by a crank. I feel stupid now.
Irrevocably- Unchangeably.
Dissent- To express an opinion not held by the majority (e.g. John dissented from the group when he said he didn't believe in gravity).
Presaged- Foreshadowed (typically for bad luck).
Irrefutable- Impossible to deny or disprove (e.g. It is irrefutable that Henry the 8th is now dead).
Prevailing- To prove more powerful than opposing forces. 
Effrontery- Insolence.
Rectitude- Morally correct behaviour. Noun.
Hackneyed- Lack of significance through being overused. Unoriginal and trite (e.g. Life is like a box of chocolates is a hackneyed quote). 
Mangle- To mutilate, disfigure or damage.
Pillock- A stupid person. British.
Brogues- Strong outdoor leather shoes with ornamental patterns.
Provenance- The earliest known place of origin of something.
Gauche- Unsophisticated and socially awkward.
Feral- Wild, especially after escape from captivity.
Contravention- An action that violates the law. 
Adage- A truthful proverb (e.g. Out of side out of mind is an adage).
Tenet- Principle or belief.
Ordure- Poo.
Squalor- The state of being extremely dirty and unpleasant as a result of poverty.
Drudge- A person who does menial work (e.g. She was a drudge around the house).  
Denouement- The final resolution of the intricacies of a plot in a drama or novel.
Biffer- Attacking batsman in Cricket.
Missives- Letters, especially long or official ones (e.g. The student wrote a missive to the Senate).
Temerity- Excessive confidence. Audacity.
Chicanery- The use of trickery to achieve a political, financial, or legal purpose.
Treatise- A written work dealing formally and systematically with a subject.
Undulate- Waving motion.
Fallibility- The ability to make mistakes. 
Blight- A plant disease, especially one caused by fungi.
Mire- A stretch of swampy or boggy ground.
Ostensibly- Apparently, but perhaps not actually.
Sartorial- Relating to tailoring, clothing, or style of dress.
Virile- Strong, slightly horny.
Adherance- Stick to.
Chicane- An artificial narrowing or turn on a road or auto-racing course.
Carburretors-A device in an internal combustion engine for mixing air with a fine spray of liquid fuel.
Ergonomics- Study of the efficiency of people in their work environments.
Austere- Strict in manner.
Facade- Face of a building, or a deceptive front.
Vestibule- A hall or lobby next to the outer door of a building. 
Allusion- Talking about something subtly without actually saying what it is blatantly, or an unnoticed reference (e.g. An allusion to a song) 
Adversary- Opponent.
Baled- Bail (as in "to bail someone out of jail").
Nacelle- A separate streamlined enclosure on an aircraft for sheltering the crew or cargo or housing an engine.
Cowlings- A removable cover for an aircraft or vehicle engine.
Rabble- A disorderly crowd.
Taper- A slender candle, or a gradual narrowing.
Lumbar- Relating to the lower part of the back.
Assimilated- Take in and understand fully (e.g. Assimilate a culture).
Disseminated- Spread and dispersed widely.
Ambience- The character and atmosphere of a place.
Disincentive- Something that discourages.
Castor- A reddish-brown substance secreted from beavers used in medicine and beavers.
Telemetry- The apparatus for recording the readings of an instrument and transmitting them by radio.
Cosset- Care for and protect in an overindulgent way.
Plinth- A heavy base supporting a large statue or vase.
Camber- The slightly arched shape of a road or other horizontal surface.
Encumber- Burden to the point of restricting movement.
Ancillaries- People that provide extra support for an organization (e.g. Ancillaries help the psych ward of the hospital). 
Pinion- The outer part of a bird's wing including the flight feathers.
Tumult- A loud, confused noise. Also confusion and disaster.
Bung- Stopper (for closing containers).
Levied- Imposed, forced.
Palpably- Touchably, noticeably.
Sleight- Cunning, dexterity, especially when talking about logic (e.g. The sleight of Occam's Razor).
Rostrum- A platform for a speaker to stand on. 
Sundry- Assorted (e.g. tomatoes and sundry herbs).
Paddock- A small field used to contain horses.
Immutable- Unchanging or unable to be changed over time.
Fetid- Extremely unpleasant smelling.
Microcosm- A small area within a place that sums up the characteristics of the entire place (e.g. Berlin is a microcosm or Germany).
Harbinger- a person who goes ahead and makes known the approach of another; herald.
Layby- A paved area beside a main road where cars can stop temporarily.
Peasouper- A brand of dry-smoke machine.
Integral-1. Necessary 2. Built in 3. Comprehensive, Complete.
Wield- To hold or handle (e.g. Wield a sword, or Wield power).
Errant- Offending, disobedient.
Proffer- To hold out something to someone.
Enroachment- Intrusion.
Reputedly- The general opinion held of something or someone (e.g. Donald Trump is a reputedly terrible man).
Bolstered- Part of a vehicle or tool to provide structural support.
Edifices- Large imposing buildings.
Omnipotently- Adverb of to be able to have unlimited power.
Vaned- When a wheel-like machine part has blades (e.g. propeller, windmill etc.).
Bezel- A grooved ring holding the glass or plastic cover of a watch face or other instrument in position.
Clandestine- Done secretly, especially when done illegally.
Derelict- In very poor condition due to neglect or abuse.
Affluence- An abundant flow or supply.
Aggrieved- Feeling resentment after being treated unfairly.
Gaffer- Chief electrician in a TV production or an old man.
Posterity- All future generations of people (e.g. The results of hurricanes are recorded for posterity).
Astern- Towards or behind the rear of a ship or aircraft.
Platoon- A subdivision of a company of soldiers, usually forming a tactical unit that is commanded by a lieutenant and divided into several sections.
Auxiliary- Providing addition support.
Winch- A winch is a mechanical device that is used to pull in or let out or otherwise adjust the "tension" of a cable. In its simplest form it consists of a spool and attached hand crank
Flay- Peel the skin off of (especially if it's a corpse or carcass).
Indomitably- Adjective version of undefeatable.
Ingress- The entrance or integration of something. In British, the introduction of unwanted things such as toxins, foreign bodies, etc. Noun.
Silty- Adjective of something that is like fine sand or clay that is carried through water to become sediment.
Parlance- A particular way of speaking.
Extraneous- Adjective version of the word irrelevant.
Devoid- Entirely lacking or free from (e.g. devoid of chicken pox).
Ignominy- Disgrace.
Flog- To strike. But in Britain, it's a slang for sell (e.g. To flog more tickets to my concerts).
Portent- A warning that something momentous and/or terrible is going to happen.
Environ- To surround. 
Parp- British slang for fart.
Repatriation- The sending of someone back to their own country.
Folly- Foolish. Noun.
Expedient- An action that is convenient, but possibly improper or immoral. 
Hovel- A small simply constructed dwelling. 
Imbue- Inspire or pervade a certain feeling.
Pukka- Genuine.
Dour- Relentlessly severe, stern, or gloomy in manner or appearance.
Puffa Jacket- A proper puffy jacket. 
Albatross- Turns out they look like this...
Earmarked- When you mark an animal on the ear for ownership or identity purposes.
Evocative- Brings strong images or feelings to mind.
Ford- Verb. To cross a body of water at a shallow place.
Contention- Heated disagreement.
Timorous- Suffering from timidness, fear, lack of self confidence.
Hapless- Unfortunate.
Squiffy- British. Slightly drunk.
Geyser- A hot spring in which water intermittently boils, sending a tall column of water and steam into the air.
Foray- A sudden attack into enemy territory.
Intrepid- Fearless, adventurous.
Harmonium- Keyboard instrument. Like a mini organ.
Primaeval- Resembling the earliest ages of time.
Hamlet- A small settlement (smaller than a village).
Leitmotif- A recurring theme throughout a literary or musical composition associated with a particular person, idea, or situation.
Renegade- Someone who deserts and betrays an organization.
Sump- A pit to collect liquid.
Purport- Falsely claim to be or do something (e.g. He purports that he is far younger than he is). 
Raffishly- Unconventional and slightly unrespectable, especially in an attractive manner (e.g. Dylan Moran is raffish).

And that concludes my very long list of fancy words. So there.
Julianna xo

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Notes from the Hard Shoulder by James May

This is a fantastic book. Yes, it's by a host of Top Gear, but that's not the only reason. I actually found James May through his James May: Toy Stories series due to his building an entire house out of lego (with lots of engineers, obviously). I'm only a quarter of the way through, but I'm enjoying it so immensely that after only 43 pages, it feels like the satisfaction of reading an entire book. The vocabulary is very difficult, but the book is so funny that it's completely worth it to sit for hours glancing from the book on one knee, then having the dictionary on the other to flip through and find what a word is every other paragraph. But even that, some of the words are so modern that they weren't in my Mum's dictionary from the 80's. I highly recommend the book.

So I'm here to make a list of all the intelligent words I learn. They're not necessarily in order, but I try. I'll keep coming back to this entry to edit in new words until I finish the book, so watch this page if you're a word nerd.

Get ready for this. It's gonna be a looooooooooong list.
Julianna xo 

Top Gear in Canada

Note: If you don't know what Top Gear is, google it, watch a couple of YouTube clips, and come back here. It's an amazing car show.

When I first saw the ad for Top Gear on the History Channel while driving to see Stephen Fry, I was elated. Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond on my Canadian television??!! I looked forward to it. 

But it seems that although it has the same logo, font, title, even The Stig... there are different hosts??? And a non British audience?? (I can tell it's a non-British audience because the people of the crowd seem to have no qualms about vocalizing their approval or disapproval with oohs, whistles, or redundant applause every time a statement is made about a car). I hadn't even considered this prospect.

The hosts are alright. They know their car stuff, and they can drive a Lambourghini at over 150 miles an hour like a pro should. But there's something about the new show's lack of quirky comedy, nicknames, and height jokes that just... well, disappoints me. 

I'll give them this: The guest was great. It's freaking Buzz Aldrin, the first man to go to the moon. They had a good interview, and I loved that they chose the Suzuki SX4 to drive. 

After all, it is the car that my Mum and I fell in love with when we were shopping to replace our incredibly old, battered, constantly stalling Nissan Axxess (it still didn't have electrically controlled locks or windows either). It was truly in need of replacement. 
I remember enjoying the research about it... poring over Lemon-Aid books, googling images and websites. I was only 10, but oddly fascinated. I remember learning about all the different car brands & finding I could soon easily identify the difference between a Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, Chevrolet, Dodge, and Nissan. I remembered going to all those show rooms, the wily salesman, the new car smell & climbing into assorted different cars, pretending to drive them (even though I couldn't reach any of the pedals).

In short, this made me very happy, as does the prospect of driving 3 Lambourghinis, and racing a red Dodge Viper against a copter. 

Really, they're gorgeous cars, Lambos. Like ghostly darts.

Nevertheless, no matter how beautifully you do these things, both these races can be made a tad less enjoyable by three perfectly average 6 foot tall men who have no sense of proper humour. The oddness of the British Top Gear is what makes it so good. 

The American Top Gear's idea of humour is stopping the car in the middle of a lap (which is done solely to measure SPEED, I remind you) to frantically yip: "Wait a minute! We haven't had lunch!" and then "realize" that, oh yeah, they have to finish the lap. It's done in that very scripted, trying-too-hard-to-be-funny sort of way. Didn't make me laugh. Another example of the humour was when Buzz Aldrin's hand would go close to the camera (the camera was placed on the dashboard) in the video of his lap segment, and the host would say "Well, there goes the big hand again!". So hokey. Also, there was an extremely unnecessary montage scene of sunsets & matadors that they tried to use to replace the impromptu chatting about the car they usually do on the UK one. This is unacceptable. I love the chatter.   

The American hosts each think of races as things to win so they can rub the fact that they won in their competitor's face if they win, and they somehow think how fast their assigned car went is a sign of their own strength, skill and intelligence. They're not doing it for the right reason. Well ok, Jeremy Clarkson does that, but still... at least he's funny, and there aren't 2 more of him.  The original Top Gear hosts (as a whole, at least) do the right thing. They race, then say to the winner: "Good on you, but let's step aside and look at how bloody amazing this car is, and how this speed is a testament to the car and its engineering."

See why this blog is called "Assorted Things..." now? I can't keep to a single subject. I really hope there's someone out there who doesn't absolutely yawn at the idea of a blog about cars from a Canadian girl...
Julianna xo

Friday, 15 April 2011

Day 3 of Crappy Poetry

This is a mash-up poem from a short story, 8 lines long. I forget what it was called. Something about blue...


The loafers belonged to a tall, slender man
Things were slow
He took a sip of coffee
We were both silent for a moment
He shrugged and took another sip of coffee
People had been calling me
Next thing I knew
His face got serious

Dun dun dun...
Julianna xo

Thursday, 14 April 2011


I seem to be battling a homophobe. Can I just say, I really have no respect them. When you do confront them, they back away like an elephant scared by the squeal of a pig. 

I'm 14, and I seem to have brought an Australian Uni student to the raw evidence-less remarks a defenseless drunk teenager would use. That's sad.

The facebook conversation went as follows. I've made it purposely vague, cos I don't want to get anyone involved in drama. But seriously guys, this is ridiculous. The only thing I changed is I put an asterisk in the swear words (e.g. f*ck) . That's how crazy this was. Note the lack of capitalization, apostrophes and punctuation in her writing...

My friend wrote about how she had some sort of sickness.

Homophobe: gay

Me: ^ homophobe?

Homophobe: i mean it sucks, it's 'gay' that she has tonsilitis

Me: So... you're using gay as a negative word... and you seriously couldn't just say "that sucks" or "too bad"? You couldn't just use a normal phrase that doesn't subtly violate people?

Me: It's an innocent mistake, but I think you'll survive if you don't use gay as a synonym for terrible...

Homophobe: wow, get over it, it's just a word

Me: Yeah, but still... I think you could do better. The N word is also just a word. It's all about context. Think about if your name was a synonym for sh*tty. It just doesn't feel good. I'm not gay myself, but I still think it's important.

Homophobe: i think that its none of your business what I say 

Me: I think that it actually is, cos clearly it's public. If you said something that maligns a group of people when you could just use a different word and not malign them, I think there's no truly important reason why you shouldn't change it. Give me a truly good justification for why you said it, I'll be gone.

Homophobe: I don't need to justify f*ck all to you

Me: If that's how you feel, fine. But really, it's too bad you have to be that juvenile to enjoy using a word that so slyly negative towards people just 'cause of who they love. Really, it's too bad you have to make it about prejudice. If you just would say "too bad" or "that sucks" or any other phrase instead, really, I'd congratulate you. There is no good reason to call tonsillitis gay.

My friend: Woah. Guys. Chill. I'm sick. It sucks. Get over it. There's no reason for an argument over fb. Seriously.

Homophobe: oh sweety, if i wanted a moral compass, I'd buy one

They were so egotistical they couldn't consider another view point, let alone counter me with anything other than mean, desperate interjections without evidence to back them up. 

I agree with Jamie Kilstein's idea to make adamant homophobes have labels. Wherever they go.
Julianna xoxo

Day 2 of Poetry

Notice I removed "Crap" from the title. That's cos I actually like these poems a bit. They make me sound deep. Also, I managed to make the third one basically entirely based on Sweeney Todd. I even fit in a lyric from Pirelli's Miracle Elixir. *cackles*

Mr. Pirelli. He makes an elixir of piss and ink.

So here, I basically took 3 lines and wrote 4 more lines after each one. The lines I chose were:

Belief is a Doorway, Pain is an Ocean, and Jealousy is a Razor.

Now that I think of it, all these poems are about dying. Hmph...

By the way, if people want to do poetry-ish things on their blogs or on their own, go ahead. It makes you feel more intelligent than you really are. Like if you listen to Bach or Mozart by your own volition.

So here are the poems:

Belief is a doorway
A doorway believed to give golden tickets
To send you to a paradise above
But the abuse and misuse of power often leads
To the bloody murder of a peace-bringing dove

Pain is an ocean
Endless in depth, yet from above
It seems shallow and flat
For only once one has drowned and died in the sorrow of the salty waters
Does one know of the anguish pain brings

Jealousy is a razor
Slitting the throats of those who pick it up
For if you slip on the blood of its previous owner
You nick the skin
Beyond repair

Julianna xo

Day 1 of Crap Poetry

Poetry is known as the art form for emo teens, lonely people, and musicians who make it look cool. I half fit into all these categories, so it doesn't surprise me that my teachers always give me an A whenever there is a poetry unit.

So here's my crappy poetry & some creative writing. Some of it isn't bad actually, but overall, let's just say I'm not the next Robert Frost or E. E. Cummings.

Ten Minute Spill: A Poem using all of the 10 words on a list.

Cliff, Lick, A fruit of your choice, Mother, Needle, Cloud, Whirr, Voice. I'll try and find out what it was...

Jamie B. Webb

Jamie B. Webb lived a quiet life on the seventy foot tall cliffs of Nova Scotia
He had just woken up after sleeping two hours too late
So he decided to call in to work sick for the day.

It was too beautiful to be stuck in the stuffy post office in which he usually spent his sullen Sundays
Slowly nibbling at stale bread, celery sticks and strawberries.

Today he would really live.
Live that seaside life from the picture books of his childhood
that inspired him to move here in the first place.
His mother had always told him he should relax more.

How apt it was then
That today was her birthday that dew-dropped dawn of a morning

She would've been seventy six, he pondered.

Still embroidering flowers on his pillows
A stitch at a time
With her needle
and violet thread

Still laughing with that forever resonating voice
When he would foolishly try to lick peanut butter off a teaspoon
Without her catching him.

She couldn't help but make you smile
Cloud watching in the whirr of the wind
As they did when the weather was as clear as it was today.

J xoxo

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Dear Beethoven

Dear Beethoven,

I have spent 3 hours practicing Moonlight Sonata. And I haven't even learned the entire last line cos I'm too tired. It's a gorgeous song, but jeez... why did you have to do so many complicated modulations? It's driven me mad.

(Some kid learning piano)

Friday, 8 April 2011

The QI obsession

Alright, I already loved Stephen Fry. I watched several episodes of QI & Stephen Fry In America before seeing him which I adore and laughed about, and I have beautiful memories of listening to him reading the audiobooks of Harry Potter at the age of 8, vividly picturing the Hungarian Horntail chase after Harry on his Firebolt.

So Stephen Fry was pretty high in my listings.

But then, after seeing Stephen Fry and meeting him and finding out how incredibly kind he is in person, I felt I needed to watch more.

This always happens. Near the time of seeing comedian live, I get obsessed with them. It's understandable.

When I saw Eddie Izzard, I drew a portrait of him from Dress To Kill and watched a clip from every show of his other than Stripped, cos I wanted the material to be completely new live.

When I saw Tim Minchin, I drew a portrait of him. My dedication was further proven by me convincing my Mum to take me out of summer camp for a day to see Tim Minchin (camp was four hours away). I subsequently never stopped talking about him.

Second time I saw Tim Minchin was cos I saved up all my money to go to Stratford-upon-Avon from Toronto (I really wanted to see Matilda and meet my online friends, so I made it happen). I sang Drowned while walking to the bar nearby the gig, bought myself a Tim Minchin t-shirt & CD.

Jamie Kilstein: After seeing him, I bought his CD, have become a lot more aware both food-wise and in politics, have listened to 50 Citizen Radio podcasts (I previously only had a vague awareness of the show), and been vegan on Citizen Radio-related days (for example, Citizen Radio Host Allison Kilkenny's birthday).

Stephen Fry: I have watched 2 seasons of QI in a week.

That's a fourteenth of my week. That may not sound like much, but it is. I justify it by saying I learn interesting facts like "the universe is actually beige" and "Alsatians were not permitted in the Spanish Army because they had an IQ of 60 and the Spanish Army required an IQ of 70 to be a soldier". They are true facts, and rather fantastic ones at that. Time much better spent than when I used to watch Cake Boss for hours on end. But seriously: I think I'm going through a bit of a Stephen Fry stage now. I have to watch "A Bit With Fry & Laurie" next... I must do that.

Just wanted to chronicle it is all... I'll let you know if he becomes the next Tim Minchin for me. I doubt it, but Mr. Fry has very quickly leaped up my listings of favourite comedians (please don't make me list them, I can't put them in order other than 1. is Tim Minchin! Practically everyone else whose shows I have fully watched online get a 2nd place. I love them all. Tim Minchin is only put ahead cos he introduced me to comedy, does great atheist/logic material, & he plays some damn wicked piano). 

Julianna xo

Friday, 1 April 2011

Stephen Fry & the Glenn Gould Prize

I literally just came back from seeing Stephen Fry (among others) introduce the winner of the Glenn Gould Prize at the Royal Conservatory of Music TELUS building on Bloor Street W. I am extremely happy.

The presentation was at 10:30 am (during school), so it wasn't too easy to convince my Mum to let me off of school for an hour or two. I told her I knew he was never going to come back to Toronto again (seriously, I've never heard of him coming here ever), and that he was an incredible writer, TV presenter and the QI Master (which I watched sooooo much while I was in England & I also watch at home via the internet). Also, I knew I'd only be missing one class, at the most two: Geo (which we do nothing in) and Math (which I can catch up on). She wasn't entirely convinced, but said I could go on my own via TTC, and that she'd give me a ride there.

I excitedly ran down the stairs to find my Mum outside...but it turned out my geo class's clock runs 15 fast (I tried pretending it was an April Fools' joke, only to leave again 15 minutes later after watching every Mighty Boosh crimp on my friend's computer). At 9:58, I ran down the stairs again & jumped into the car, smiling. Then with Techno-Latin music, we went off to 273 Bloor Street West.

The Mighty Boosh crimping

First, let me start off by saying the place is gorgeous. As in glass walls, state-of-the-art architecture with the old building on the inside. Incredibly gorgeous. It reminded of the Royal Shakespeare Company, but with shinier floors.
The ceremony itself was relatively short, but incredibly well done. There were a load of politicians' notes that were read, speeches that were made, and a couple of polite jokes. Incredibly upper class, yet it was a free show. The Glenn Gould Prize is apparently the equivalent to the Nobel Prize for the arts, so definitely a huge deal. It was only 45 minutes long, but really interesting to see something so culturally upper class, but not snobby.

The crowd was both fancy and not. Up in front of me were a bunch of politicians (including Bob Rae) that wore clothes appropriate for a wedding, but behind that were the general  (and slightly liberal) public. The people surrounding me were:
1. A man who looked incredibly like Charles Darwin,
2. Two university students discussing politics and the stress put upon politicians & what they thought of different policies
3. Another university student who never spoke, looked amazingly nerdy, and was almost entirely covered in St. Paddy's Day green clothing. Even his running shoes.
4. A lady that looked oddly like Allison Kilkenny with makeup and a pointier nose.

So with that kind of crowd, you know you're in a good place.

The thing started off with 2 genius prodigy children playing the 8th movement of Beethoven's Spring Sonata (I've no idea how I remember that). The violinist was 11, and the pianist was 12. The piece could not have been played more perfectly. They had increible emotion, precision, and talent that sounded like it belonged on a CD. Insane. I play piano, and believe me when I say the runs up and down the piano sound incredibly difficult. Such fast playing, and it wasn't just your average scale in C major. And the violin was as fast as that. Amazing. I swear, they're child geniuses.

And then the jury came out. First announced was Stephen Fry, the man himself. The announcer introduced him as "a writer, director, and actor. My personal favourtie work of his are the Harry Potter Audiobooks. Please welcome, Mr. Stephen Fry".
Let me just say, I think Stephen Fry is the epitome of English culture. He wore a suit with a white shirt with a pink grid pattern & a indigo flowery tie. If that isn't characterful*, I don't know what is. 
He's so incredibly English.

The rest of the panel (in order of seating) were film director Atom Egoyan,  Singer/songwriter Dadawa, pianist Gary Graffman, singer Elaine Overholt, producer Phoebe Greenberg, and recording industry executive Costa Pilavachi. The announcer was Paul Hoffert. 

The winner was a fantastic choice: Mr. Leonard Cohen (who I'm also a fan of, so I flailed about quite a bit trying to see where the heck he was). Sadly, Leonard Cohen was at home because he had only been told that he won within the last 2 days, but still, it was an extremely well deserved award, and I was still very happy.

Every member of the panel did a very meaningful speech, all of them comparing the uncompromising style of Leonard Cohen with the incredibly similar fearless style of Glenn Gould.

Stephen Fry joked that he was very disappointed because he though they were awarding the prize to Justin Bieber (he said the word "Bieber" in his very eloquent Engish accent like no one else can. I grinned my face off).  

After the panel was done, I rushed over to the desk where he was signing someone else's books (she had THREE of them... suddenly I felt like a bad fan). Mum urged me to talk to him, or at least pose with him as background. I went to grab my sketchbook for him to sign, but I was too late.
Stephen Fry signing someone else's books

He walked out literally less than a minute after the announcement was over. I ran to follow him but he went through the doors of the dark theatre too soon.
"Will Mr. Fry be coming out again for fans???" I asked the man at the door frantically, but respectfully.
"He's going to be doing press releases. It'll be a while." 
"I told you to get him while you could!!" My Mum gritted her teeth a bit. 
I was just speechless, then finally said "It's my own fault Mum. It's my own fault."

I then came back after 5 minutes to find a new guard at the door. I asked them to find the disappointing reply of "No. He's not coming out again."

I had absolutely nothing to say.

After another couple of minutes, the doors opened to the public. Inside was a fantastically large, gorgeous theatre. I mean, just look at this place. It looked exactly like this.

I walked around the left aisle a bit, staring up at the ceiling, when Mum noticed a lot of people going in and out of the door on the far left directly beside the stage. She immediately could tell something was going on back there, and said "Follow me". 

After going through at least 4 doors and a few white walled rooms with small corridors (one of them containing a very shiny grand piano), Mum heard talking in the first room on the left. She opened the door, and sure enough, there he was. Stephen Fry, standing beside two white clothed tables which supported several bottles of water, a coffee machine, and a tray of mini-muffins.  

Dialogue (cos I want to remember this...):
S.F.: "Oh, hello..."
Me: "I kinda took the day off school to see you..."
S.F.: "NO you didn't! Come here..." And then he grabbed me to the side which I totally wasn't expecting (hence my confused face). 
I was so surprised I actually stumbled sideways...

He then squatted for a photo. Cos I'm just that short. And I hugged him.

Me: "This is so cool. I love QI..." (I wish I would've told him how I also love Blackadder, Stephen Fry in America etc etc.)
My Mum: "Yeah,  when we went to UK to see Tim Minchin, all she wanted to do was watch your show..."
S.F.: "Yeah, Tim's a good guy. ah, so you like that sort of stuff?" *smiles*
Me: "Hi, um... where's the sketchbook?" *Mum gives it to me* 
S.F.: *flips by Jamie Kilstein's message* So your name's Johanna? 
Me: "Julianna... I hear your incredibly kind, so thank you..." *he signs it*
S.F.: "It's a pleasure."
Me: Thank you!!! *I run away gleefully*

So that's pretty much how it went. In extreme detail. 
Julianna xoxoxo

P.S. After writing this, I went to watch Stephen Fry in America again. Can I just say how incredibly happy it just made me to say: "It's a Stephen Fry day..." and then realize TODAY IS ACTUALLY A FRIDAY?!!! *grins face off at the wittiness of this*

* That was an Adam Hills reference, for those of you who weren't sure... I only just found out that it's actually a word.