Friday, August 28, 2009

The not so subtle art of persuasion

Lately I've spent weekends inventing things to do while sitting around, nursing a longstanding drinking habit. Game nights, dinner parties, amateur Olympics, you get the idea. While those ideas sound pretty awesome, last night DKM and I stayed in, drank a lot and essentially stared at each other until 3 in the morning. 

Two Canadians getting drunk? Shocking. A waste of time and blog space, you say? Repent, ye of little faith. Something good may have actually come out of an otherwise worthless night. Something that benefits you, dear reader! I know you visit Hack the Bone and think, “what's in it for me? What could Meredith possibly do or say to enlighten my world today?” Most of the time I'm sure you leave, bitterly disappointed that no cat videos were posted that day. I knows how you rolls. Well, here's a treat, reader. I may have found another author to contribute. That's right, I'm this close to convincing DKM to share his world on Hack the Bone.

I think you'd like to hear from him. He's been to Africa. He's interesting!

I've been chipping away at this idea for months. And he's almost sold. While he sleeps off a hangover, I'll perform a selfless act and take one more wild stab at this for your benefit (I do so much for you thankless people). Here we go. 
When trying to ignite DKM's literary aspirations, I usually say something along the lines of, “A blog is like a really long story. On Hack the Bone you're a crucial main character. You could make the blog so much more. So much more than a bored twenty-something taking shots at her defenseless boyfriend in her spare time. You could meta the shit of out this and blow my seven readers' minds. Break the fourth wall, DKM. Bust through it!” 

In this case, one main character in the story (granted, a meandering, undisciplined and hastily written story) has the opportunity and capacity to speak for themselves. It's a fascinating experiment. Wouldn't the world be a different place if characters from your favourite novel could tell their side of the story? If, for example, Voldemort penned a novel and it turned out Harry Potter was the one doing the tormenting? Would we think him a monster then? Well, would we?? Probably. 

Wait, DKM hasn't read Harry Potter. This desperate stretch of the imagination is for naught. I can't think of any relevant sports references that apply here. I think my insides are rotting. 

DKM's portrayal on this blog always reminds me of a favourite Simpsons episode. You know the one -The Simpsons clan (and Milhouse) head up to the Flanderseseses' beach house for Fourth of July weekend. During a hurting game of Mystery Date, Bart wins an evening with the stereotypical nerd who looks just like Milhouse. 
Homer: You got the dud! Hahahah He looks just like you! Hahahaha. Stand up for yourself, poindexter.
True to character, lame duck Milhouse does nothing. Similarly, when DKM's actions are taken to task online, he stays mute. There's nary a comment from him. I'm free to take liberties with his words and actions and portray myself in a flattering light, as his better half. It happens a lot more than you'd think. 

It is high time DKM stood up for himself, wouldn't you say?

If Homer and I can't convince him, maybe Hemingway can:

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. 

Word, Papa.

If DKM decides not to use this opportunity to jump off the page and into your hearts, it would be an detriment to the written word. To the entire literary community! Hyperbole!

Besides, he lives in Qatar. It's not like he has better things to do.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tiger Woods '10

I bought DKM an early birthday present the other day – a Tiger Woods golf game. He’s no gamer (THANK GOD) but he’s addicted to this one, which is fine by me. While he plays Tiger, I’m freed up to do the solitary activities I’m so fond of doing. 

Last night however, because I’m nice, I played a few rounds with him. First, I created a golfer modeled after myself (which means she’s totally hot in a completely unrealistic computer babe way), which was all right. My golfer avatar has a serious temper and throws/breaks her clubs when she misses an easy shot. I guess that’s something I can relate to. If she goes to the bathroom and cries between rounds she’s most definitely a girl after my own heart.
Hot Meredith golfer aside, the thing I really like about this game is that you can play as professional golfers. It was fun flipping through my options last night – who should I be? 

Tiger Woods? Retief Goosen? Colin Montgomerie?
Rory McIlroy…..? Oh snap. 
Rory McIlroy - the boy fuggo I once made fun of. Hack the Bone scapegoat.

That was an easy choice. I thought playing as Rory would endear me to him,  that I would understand what it is really like to be the Rorster, if only just for a few minutes.
Well folks, Rory screwed me. I lost horribly to Adam Scott. Now I hate him even more.
The sad reality of this whole thing is that McIlory is totally going to come to the Qatar Open this year and I will follow him around for three days, hoping for an autograph. 

Ohhhhhhhhh well.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Desperate Nuggets

Are you watching Mad Men?

Chances are, if you consider yourself an elitist intellectual and among the top 1% of all people alive, you are down with the Sterling-Cooper gang. Chances also say that you’re an elitist intellectual if you read Hack the Bone. Ergo, Mad Men and Hack the Bone are mutually exclusive. Tell your friends.

The show has penetrated my psyche. I dream about it almost every night. It's so beautiful and captivating and it makes me feel strange in bad ways. God, television is amazing these days. Accidental rhyme. Holla.

So, here’s a Mad Men nugget I panned from Vanity Fair. It’s a brilliant article on the show’s creator, Matthew Weiner and his OCD-like attention to detail. Good reading.

So maybe I’m a gearbox (that’s a bad thing) for posting the online link. You should go out and buy the print edition. Annie Leibovitz shot the photos and I hear she really needs the money. Pay $6.95 for the September issue (MJ and Farrah Fawcett dual memorial covers!) and support the mainstream liberal media machine while you still can. I’d buy it, but the only magazines I get in Doha are Women Today and Hello! Dubai edition. Blahhhhhh. Canadians don’t know how lucky they are. The Walrus. That’s all.


Stressed? Take a minute and visit the San Diego zoo’s Panda Cam. I like to visit this site when I need to leave my brain for a few minutes. The panda Internet stars sleep most of the time, but when they're awake - oh boy! There's nothing more soothing than watching them mow down a piece of bamboo. Enjoy.


I haven’t heard from my brother since the Pearl Jam show, which means he’s probably still recovering from the rocktastrophy. Judging by the setlist and this review, Eddie and the boys didn’t disappoint, as per usual.

Air Supply is coming to Doha in October. Beat that, Toronto.

My First Ramadan

*Ed Note. Camels have little to do with Ramadan. This photo simply demands to be seen.

On Saturday, Ramadan began in Qatar. Things run differently during The Holy Month. The first, and most obvious change is that Muslims fast during the day. No food is available until after sundown. It’s illegal to eat or drink in public (even water) while the sun is up, with potential jail time for offenders.

Once the sun goes down, you are free to eat and drink as much as you wish. The city comes alive at this point. There are decorative lights on skyscrapers and each of the hotels sets up a Ramadan tent where people go to break their fast and party late into the night. With the lights and festivities it feels a little like Christmas, without snow and caroling.

There is no consumption of alcohol in public at any hour of the day, but the liquor store ups the monthly allowance during Ramadan for non-fasting residents.

Work days end early. Our office closes at 2:30 p.m. - about five hours earlier than usual. My Muslim colleagues told me to enjoy Ramadan as a “vacation” but I’m trying to fast while in the office, out of respect for those around me. It’s tough (it’s been one day, I suck) but weirdly satisfying.

I didn’t know what to expect for my first Ramadan, but the city feels peaceful. Detox month. Hopefully Hack the Bone gets back on track during the next few weeks, with my extra free time and all. Thing is, I’ve felt strapped for ideas of late, especially since Gord doesn’t blog, like, ever (he was a great foil for creative inspiration), and the Jays are too depressing to write about, let alone follow. The Leafs look kind of exciting but I won't care about that until October.

So, loyal reader, how about throwing a few post topics my way? With your silence, I’ll be forced to write a book review of my latest conquest, Shantaram. It’s 1,000 pages long; you don’t want me to even broach the subject. It will be painful for all parties involved.

I would also welcome a guest blog or two, though you’re all lazy bums so my expectations for contributions are extremely low.
Seriously, look at my last seven posts- I write about twitter (geeeeek), my birthday (twice), Pearl Jam (nothing wrong with that), air travel (boring) and jet lag (or something). Someone save me from this drivel!

And for the record, this is not something I’m going to write about, but thanks for trying all the same DKM:
You should blog about how awesome bing photos are and how their creative approach to a background is grasping the attention of ex-googlers worldwide.

Where the hell is CONRAD when you need him?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Things I love about Twitter

It’s no secret that I’m a twitter nerd enthusiast.

The social network is a lifeline to the stream of constant information I’ve become accustomed to. While Facebook is making grounds through its integration of real-time search, it will be a while before Facebook catches up. For now (and I’m liable to change my fickle mind at any given moment), twitter is the ish.

Most people I know (in the Luddite world) haven’t exactly embraced the twitter movement. Haters prevail. As such, below are a few examples of why twitter is as exciting as Facebook circa 2005 (read, very exciting)

Maybe some of you will even join me.

First up...

Guilty Pleasure celebrities

I still watch The Hills despite hating everyone on the show. My disdain lies on a continuum from apathy (Audrina: meh) to contempt (Lauren Conrad: nosy busybody) to borderline awe (Speidi: wearing leather chaps and cowboy hats?! I hate you so much; I think I’m in love).
Each of the show's main characters has a twitter account. I know what you’re thinking- oh god, another venue for them to push their fakery all over the Interwebz. BUT, here's a shocker, the best part about The Hills' twitter-ing is that it's glaringly obvious that no one ghostwrites their twitter accounts (unlike their semi-autobiographical novels, here’s looking at you busybody).

Their accounts are filled with shoutouts to Miley Cyrus, pictures of Audrina’s fake boobs and morons proclaiming how much they love Jesus. For someone who appreciates the worst of humankind- these accounts are sacred. I don’t actually follow any of them. Ew God, no. But I hope they never go away so I can creep when no one’s looking.

Toronto Sports People
Twitter is a great place for a sports fan to hang out online. It’s a geeky place where journalists and bloggers and fans connect to disagree. My favourite sports tweeter is Globe and Mail writer Jeff Blair- known to calls out fans, athletes and writers alike for being dumb. I can’t lie – I have been on the receiving end of Blair’s wrath once or twice. Some might feel offended when a crusty journalist chirps them. For me, it was like a rite of passage.

Just don't follow Chris Bosh. He brings the headaches.

Fewer Creeps
On twitter, an average man is almost twice more likely to follow another man than a woman. That’s probably because twitter is a conversation and not a dating site. Is that a reason to love a social network? Sure, why not.

Speaking of Creeps
It’s a venue where I can tell Daryn Jones and George Strombo directly how I feel about them. Not that I do that or anything, but I’m comforted knowing the opportunity exists.

Robert Scoble
The man has an ego/personality as loud as his bright green avatar. People love to hate him and he often responds to his especially vocal haters. Fascinating stuff to watch.

Dolly Parton is on twitter and writes things like: The thing that's always worked for me is the fact that I look so totally artificial, but am so totally real.


Doha People
The twitter Qatar community is a small circle of eclectic people who like to spend a lot of time online. How small is this circle? There are less than 700 twitter accounts registered in the entire country. I’m currently ranked 13th among all users in Qatar and am the highest ranked female. It’s a wonder my head hasn't exploded from the adulation.

My Doha buddies always know what’s going on in the city/region and respond when the rest of the world is sleeping. Selfish, sleeping Canadians with their long weekends and what not.

I could go on. More to come…..

Sunday, August 16, 2009

It's my party...

My Dad, who is probably Hack the Bone’s biggest fan, took exception to the majestic photo of a lion I posted last week. To rectify my gaffe, he sent over some photos of “real” lions he took while on safari in Africa last year (spooooiiiiiled). So here everyone enjoy these awesome photos – my dad went to Africa and thinks he’s better than me. Seriously though, it’s always nice to include real images instead of ones stolen from Bing or Google. They are such beautiful animals, even when feasting on a one tonne snack.

So it’s finally my official birthday. No need to pretend like I did on the weekend. So happy birthday to me, Madonna and the forever handsome George Stroumboulopolous. I wrote that without googling it, if right, am the smartest fan girl alive. If not, you can take a hike- it's my birthday.

I had a great birthday weekend. There were spas and Stella McCartney bags and airfare tickets to Rome (speaking of spoiled) and pillow fights and a black eye and a cake with my name on it (spelled incorrectly – you can call me Meretith), so my first Doha birthday weekend was a success. Today, on the other hand, am completely depressed and homesick. That usually happens on birthday, doesn’t it?

Adding insult to injury, Michael “I can’t believe he’s such a butterface” Phelps was totally drinking and driving this weekend and didn’t have to take a sobriety test when he slammed into another car.

And Michael Vick got another chance to play in the NFL.

And hipsters are still wearing hats.

And I can’t get this picture of my dog, as I was leaving Canada, out of my head. Today sucks. I'm going home to put Leslie Gore on repeat and feel sorry for myself. Buy me presents.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It’s almost mah Birthday

Do you have a special person in your life? Is this person more insufferable than usual around late July-mid August? Does this person start dropping hints about their birthday and planning lavish parties weeks before? If yes, you’re probably dating/married to/ friends with a LEO. Lucky you. As the “rulers” of the zodiac, Leos are commonly bossy, arrogant, selfish and insanely proud (we’re also sensitive and fiercely loyal, but don’t tell anyone). Leos crave the spotlight and when it’s on them, bask in it.

I’m a Leo too. Roar.

A Leo birthday is the one day a year when we can unleash all of our personal vices and start demanding things. The spotlight is literally handed to us and I, for one, always make the most of it. I think I’m pretty restrained 364 days a year, but when it’s my birthday – I want the world. Charming.

This year will probably be different. I’m in a new country with new friends and I can’t really force them to wear new party dresses and buy me things like I normally would. Instead, I’ve planned a low key birthday dinner. Nothing fancy. I only hope a cake adorned with sparklers will be brought to my table so everyone in the restaurant can sing for me, while I look appropriately shocked and humbled. Nothing fancy at all.

My family and friends back in Canada are really off the hook for my birthday this year, so they should consider themselves lucky. I guess my Dad did throw me a ridiculous pool party with steak and beer and wine and THREE desserts when I was home, so he’s covered. And Benjamin’s invitation to Pearl Jam would have been a present, had I accepted. My mom should be visiting Qatar in December (oh the adventures we’ll have, but that’s another story) so she’s clear too.

The rest of you are not off the hook, unless you can give me a good reason. Be creative. Lindsay, for example, doesn’t necessarily have to get me anything because I drank three bottles of her wine one night and probably made her really uncomfortable. This is perfectly acceptable.

I can’t wait to unleash my inner brat this weekend.

It’s mah birthday la la la. Buy me presents la la la.

Me me me me me!
Also, Madonna Madonna Madonna. We share a birthday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On Pearl Jam and Family

I posed a question to my twitter flock today (flock > sheep > followers > WORDPLAY!): What’s your favourite band you’ve never seen live?

I asked this because, while riding to work today, as DKM and I listened to Pearl Jam, I realized that I’ve never seen them in concert. In the past years, Pearl Jam has progressively become my favourite band, next to Radiohead (cliche, right?). Vedder and the boys are playing in Toronto on August 21 at the Molson Amphitheatre. I should be there. My older brother is going and invited me. Unfortunately, the amphitheatre is a little far away right now. Are any of you going? If yes, please report back here to me on the levels of rock and or roll.
My brother, Benjamin and I went to Eddie Vedder at Massey Hall last year, and while that was the greatest night ever, it’s not the same as a PJ show. Vedder mainly played songs from the Into the Wild album (which is unreal - go listen to No Ceiling) and a few Pearl Jam and Neil Young covers. Massey Hall is the house that Neil Young built – you have to pay homage where it’s due. Anyway, at this concert we were four rows in front of Eddie, and if you’ve been to Massey Hall, you know how special that is. Eddie got loaded drunk and just rocked out. Incredible.

Please excuse the terrible quality, but here’s one of my favourite YouTube clips of all time. Letterman and Vedder have some kind of special relationship and I want in.

But I digress.

My brother Benjamin’s favourite bands also happen to be Radiohead and Pearl Jam. This is no coincidence, seeing as I’ve been copying his musical tastes prettyyy much forever. Benjamin and I have always shared music- it’s one topic we’re both intensely passionate about. We sometimes compete over who likes music more, if you can imagine. Growing up, when Benjamin learned to play the guitar, he told me he liked music more because he understood it on a deeper level. I remain pissed.

I started mimicking Benjamin’s tastes in about grade five, when he discovered the Smashing Pumpkins, and I um, did too. It was that year that I attended a Smashing Pumpkins concert (my first real concert) and named myself ‘Corgan’ during Laserquest games. After that, Benjamin listened to The Tragically Hip and Dave Matthews Band, and so did I. He always discovered the band first, and I would grow obsessed by association. Once I became attached and thoroughly saturated our house with that particular band’s tunes, he would have already moved on to the next act. He’s hard to keep up with.

Even though Benjamin and I have lived in different cities for the past five+ years, I still always know what he’s listening to. When I saw him this summer, however, it was a regression to the classics – late night Rankin Family sing-along with my mother and dogs. A tried and tested family tradition. Family is important. I swear he likes me.
In other geeky music news

The Interweb rumour mill tells me iTunes might take the leap into social media. Apparently users will be able to broadcast what they’re listening to, buying, etc. on social networks. This is fantastic news. If iTunes social media gives me full access to what my friends are listening to (not what they want people to THINK they’re listening to) it will be creep heaven. “Wow, Lindsay sure listens to a lot of Jonas Brothers.” “Um, Danielley- I didn’t know you were so into Christian Metal and pornographic audio books. You’re a complicated soul.”

Ohhh the possibilities.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Do you like to fly?

I love to fly. For me, there are few things more enjoyable than an international flight. I love the ritual and control of it all – the safety video, the takeoff, the free booze drink and flavoured pretzels, the dinner with another booze drink, the on demand movies, the nap time, the tea, the anding. You always know what’s next.

Some people feel constrained and claustrophobic on a plane, especially if there’s a hairy man next to you creeping over your arm rest. Despite unfamiliar arm hair brushing your own, I always feel cozy and looked after.

Travelling with a buddy is the best way to maximize the joys of air travel. For instance, during nap time, put up your arm rest and lay your head on your buddy’s lap at the expense of their comfort. It’s like two seats in one!

Another perk in travelling with a buddy, (especially a buddy who sleeps through 95% of all meals), is stealing their unclaimed food and drink. DKM is the best for this. When I see the flight attendant heading our way with a trolley full of drinks, I frantically poke him and ask “do you want your drink? The lady is coming. Pay attention to meeeee” and he’s all “slaaaaa blerrr,” which I take to mean NO.

When the flight attendant reaches us, I ask for one bottle of red, then point to a comatose DKM and whisper “and he’ll have one too. For later.” The FA usually shoots me a judgmental look that says, “sure thing. Enjoy your liter of wine, lush.” I shrug off the judgment because movies like Wolverine (Gambit! Tim Riggins!) can only be enjoyed after a three-drink buzz in thin-air. Darn the flight attendant if they can’t understand that.

When DKM wakes up looking for a little refreshment, I usually say, “oh, I slept through the dinner service too.” This way, he’ll never know that I ate two meals. Until now. Ohh shoot.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm baaaaack.

After three weeks and a day in Canada, I'm back in the sandbox. I can't decide which weather is worse – the unexpected typhoon-like thunderstorms in Toronto, or the stifling, debilitating heat and sand in Doha. Tough call. It's probably the sand. At least Canada gets breaks from the rain.

But I am happy to be back, if only because I simply could not handle another week in T.O. at the rate I was going. Nobody could. No body could.

It's 10:30 on a Saturday night. I just took an accidental five hour nap. Work starts again tomorrow, so to say I played the jet lag well this time is laughable. I've played my jet lag about as well as the Jays of late. My stars, they're depressing.

Jet lag makes you so crazy, doesn't it? I woke up at 9:30 this morning, and the plan was to stay up as long as possible, finally going to bed at 9:30 p.m. and setting myself straight. By 4 o'clock I was beginning for a nap. By five, I was out cold. I slept through the dinner I promised to make. Winner!

How does one get back into responsible person mode after three weeks of delinquency? Someone seriously please tell me because I need to know. It's concerning that by 3 p.m. tomorrow I'll probably be asking to ditch out early because it's “drinkin time.”

Hopefully I have more restraint and class than that but honestly, it will be tough not to follow my every whim and desire any longer. Vacation is the best. In fact, here's DKM (at 4 a.m. looking out at the field at the SkyDome) on the benefits of vacation:

That was a glorious night.

Look for future posts involving airplane travel, Canadian stories and the unending joys of wedding planning. And photos of cats. Lots of cat photos.