Let me take you back, if I may. Early 1997. January or February ish. I would’ve just turned 15 the previous November. That particular time of year my family and I, which included Mom, Dad and 2 younger brothers who would’ve been 12 and 10 at the time, were taking a vacay in Florida, where my grandparents were in full snowbird mode and had a trailer down there for the winter. We drove down, drove back and drove everywhere while in the state. And we had the radio on…
And there was one song, one song, that was in CONSTANT rotation on the radio down in Florida in the winter of 1997. This was on often enough that it drove my Dad absolutely NUTS… much to my amusement. I liked the song myself. So much so that when we got back to Ontario I got a copy of the album, and it proceeded to define a lot of my music tastes in my teens.
And I wasn’t the only one. That album, and the group behind it, had a level of fame comparable to Beatlemania. That debut became the WORLD’S top-selling album of 1997, peaking at number 1 in 17 countries and selling 31 million copies worldwide.
So what am I talking about? You might’ve guessed already… or maybe you just scrolled down to this part of the post and found out (cheaters!). If not, here ya go…
First of all, DON’T JUDGE US! I think we can all safely agree the 90s were a weird time.
Secondly, catchy no? I was hooked! I loved the Spice Girls! Girl Power all the way! I had the albums Spiceand Spiceworld, and you know I owned a copy of their movie Spiceworld (I can’t remember if it was on VHS or DVD… probably VHS). It was actually a pretty good movie, all things considered. And the music videos! They were super fun!
So why am I bringing this up and going all “When I was a kid…” on you guys? Well, in the grand tradition of “Everything old is new again”, this week a group called The Global Goals decided to take “Wannabe” and give it a more socially conscious spin. And the results are retro but timely and awesome. Check it out!
So a blast from the past and a call for change. I like! What do you guys think? Have I convinced any of you to Spice up your life? Do you think Global Goals has an awesome vid here? Post away.
And remember; at some point you guys are going to be telling young people about how things are now. Mark my words.
There is something to be said about adventuring. Despite what you may think, you come to the stark and unsettling realization that you really don’t knowwho you are or what you arecapable ofuntil you find yourself in a situation that tests you beyond your limits.
Indeed. It would appear that we have arrived at the trial by fire part of our venturous tale. An adventure is all well and good at the start when things are amiable and everyone is in fine spirits. Excitement of the unknown will do that to you. But do not be fooled. This does not last. No matter how strong of limb or stout of spirit you may be at some point on the journey things will start to wear you down. Tempers fray, irritations arise, obstacles appear and the next thing you know you are muttering to yourself that maybe this was not the best idea you have ever had.
Winter had come to Middle Earth and with it came the rain. With the Southern Alps creating the most fantastical backdrop you could imagine our trek through the South Island was nothing short of incredible sights as well as danger. Mordor is an actual place (Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Ruapehu) where hikers are warned to stay away due to the active nature of its volcano. Deadly rock slides are a common occurrence during the winter months and the aftermath could take months or even years to clear. High winds through the mountain passes makes driving a near hazard, especially since the roads are only two narrow lanes that wrap around cliff faces and sheer drops into the ocean. With no one around for miles any mishap on the roadways could spell disaster for the unwary traveler.
Then there are the bridges. Bridges in the South Island are an entirely other terrifying matter. One lane. Narrow. Prone to being washed out in flash floods or rock slides. If a bridge goes entire communities could be left stranded until help arrives. So when the rains come and don’t let up for weeks at a time even the locals have cause for concern.
Now if there is one thing that I cannot stand it is rain. More specifically, the creeping damp and marrow-chilling cold that accompanies an endless torrential downpour of Biblical proportions. There was no shortage of that I can tell you. In New Zealand the rain tends to get into everything. Everything you possess somehow becomes damp and no amount of drying will get rid of it. One minute the day may seem decent enough for a mountain hike but then the next thing you know the skies grow a murky grey as the winds pick up and then a thick cloying mist comes creeping down from the mountains. Now I know why Peter Jackson used these mountains as the Misty Mountains in his films. If the shoe fits and all that.
In the North Island the sun shone brightly, the birds sang, and clouds were lovely puffs of cotton on a clear blue sky. Perfectly wonderful. The further south you go is a different matter all together. It didn’t take me long to realize why the locals dress in more layers than I would ever think necessary. Dry socks suddenly become a rare and precious commodity while a new set of winter gear ends up claiming a fair share of your limited travel funds.
I will admit that I was not prepared for this leg of the journey. Not in the slightest. Neither was the company of fellow adventure seekers that I joined up with for a tour of the South Island. Runny noses, sore throats, and chills were now a daily part of the travel experience as was spending the majority of our time stuck on a tour bus being buffeted back and forth by high winds. It felt like being stuck in a barrel and jostled around. Once I made the grave mistake of looking down at the road during a winding drive up a mountain and instantly regretted it. There was no road! None! The lane was so narrow that only a sheer 50 foot drop into flooded scrub brush that reminded me of the Dead Marshes could be seen.
Sometimes the ride got to be so rough, what with the swaying and the bouncing, that everyone became very well acquainted with their breakfasts. Myself and the bus driver included. After that everyone just stopped eating breakfast all together whenever a long drive was what was in store for the day. This is not something they put in the fine print of the travel contracts when you sign up for a trip like this but they should consider doing so. Many a hoodie would have been spared constant laundering if they had. A valuable lesson was learned though. Always bring spare plastic bags, a bar of soap, and laundry detergent with you no matter where you go. You will never regret it.
Now I have done a fair bit of grumbling about some of the unexpected challenges that sprang up. However this is an adventure, not a two-week by the poolside all inclusive stay, so there are always challenges. But those challenges were worth every moment because once you made it through the mountains the island showed off its true personality. Suddenly you realize that you are standing smack dab in Middle Earth and it is everything you could ever imagine it to be.
Queenstown, New Zealandis the adventure capital of the country. It is a place where thrill-seekers, nature lovers, journeymen of all walks of life come together to do the impossible. Want to see the curvature of the earth and jump out of a plane? No problem. Want to swing across canyons and bungee off bridges up to 100 feet? Sure thing. How about jet-boating on four inches of water through canyons where the smallest mishap could send you straight into a rock wall? Why not. Anything and everything death-defying and adrenalin pumping that you can think of can be done here. So what better a place to conquer your fears?
By nature I enjoy the hobbit life. I prefer quiet evenings, good food, good books, and good company. I happen to be stupid terrified of heights. The thought of standing on something tall and looking down is enough to make me curl into a ball and hide under a desk…which is something I want to do right now now that I think about it. But I won’t. Why? Because somewhere along this adventure through Middle Earth I discovered something rather unexpected. My courage. I’ve spent a life-time playing it safe and avoiding risks as much as possible. So much so it started having an adverse reaction on my daily life. To think that I would stand on the narrow ledge of a very old bridge and throw myself out into the unknown is not something people, or myself, would think possible of happening.
Any time the idea of a bungee jump was brought up I went green around the gills and just shake my head. There was no way I would ever willingly do something so dangerous. What if…well…you know. That changed though. Somehow I found myself in a harness waiting to jump and thought that it was a good idea. It was time to conquer fears, be bold, do the unexpected! Yeah right. I spent two minutes clinging to the side of the bridge in mute fear regretting life decisions. When that happens you don’t jump, you get pulled back in for safety reasons. Then I heard it. A voice on the wind. Yelling at me to “just do it”. Well, then I did.
Did I think it was possible? Nope. Did it happen? Yep. Would I do it again? HA! No. But I jumped and for a moment it was the most exciting thing I have ever done. Little did I know then that something even greater was waiting for me just over the next mountain.
In The Host, a parasitic alien known as “souls” have invaded humans by attaching themselves to a person’s brain and then taking control of the body. Melanie, one of the few humans who survives, gets a soul inserted into her brain. The soul, by the name of Wanderer, is given the task of using Melanie’s memories to find the humans who resisted the initial invasion of the souls. Unlike most humans, Melanie fights back, forcing the two to share the body. Soon afterwards, Melanie convinces Wanderer to not expose the human-hideout by showing memories of Melanie’s younger brother, Jamie, and the man she loves, Jared. Together, they begin a quest to find Melanie’s loved ones while avoiding authorities who dislike this act of rebellion. They follow landmarks that lead them to a desert, where they are found by Melanie’s Uncle, Jeb. Once brought to a secret hideout located within a cave, they meet many humans who want her to be killed (excluding Jared, Jamie and Ian [who develops feelings for Wanderer]). Wanderer and Melanie slowly earn the group’s trust by helping with sustaining the community. Wanderer comes across a doctor, who is trying to learn how to extract souls from their host but ends up slaughtering them. She decides to reveal the secret to the doctor in exchange for taking out herself from Melanie’s body. Wanderer gets placed into a new body a couple months later in order to save another host’s life. Together, Wanderer, Melanie and the other humans work together to find a way to allow both species to coexist.
Unlike many critics, I enjoyed the Host (and the movie as well). It was very captivating, seeing that I couldn’t put it down until I was finished. I really enjoyed how the author, Stephanie Meyer, was able to combine both Science Fiction and Romance – two of my favourite genres. There seemed to always be some sort of suspense in it that kept on leaving me with questions. It was such a roller coaster, especially with the never-ending love-triangle (which is more like a love square). Furthermore, the characters have such a strong personality traits, making them really interesting and relatable. In terms of the writing, I think that it is relatively sophisticated and included an extensive vocabulary. I wouldn’t recommend it to those who dislike cheesy romance or a weak female role, but, this book was a great read and was written extremely well.
A Midsummer Night’s Dreambegins with Theseus, the Duke of Athens, who plans to get married to the Amazon queen, Hippolyta. Egeus, an Athenian, approaches the Duke with a problem: her daughter, Hermia, doesn’t want to marry Demetrius. Hermia is, instead, in love with Lysander. To make matters worse, Helena, Hermia’s best friend, is in love with Demetrius because of previous affairs. Theseus gives Hermia the options of accepting the death penalty or becoming a nun and remain a virgin forever. She’s given four days to decide, but she plans to meet in the woods with Lysander and run away. Hermia finds out informs Demetrius who follows them. Meanwhile, a group of actors prepare to perform Pyramus and Thisbe to Theseus and Hippolyta on their wedding day. On a completely different note, the king and queen of the Fairies, Oberon and Titania, argue about raising a human foster son. Oberon wants him to be a personal page while Titania wants to raise the boy as her own. With the help of a trickster fairy named Puck, Oberon plans to enchant Titania with a love potion to make her fall in love with the first creature she sees, which happened to be Bottom, an actor (who got his head turned into that of a donkey). That same evening, the love-square wander into the woods and Helena and Demetrius argue about their relationship. Oberon sees this and tells Puck to not only put the love potion on Titania but Demetrius as well. Unfortunately, Titania wakes up and falls in love with Bottom. Puck also accidentally put the love potion on Lysander, making him fall in love with Helena. At the same time, Oberon puts the potion on Demetrius. The relationships between Lysander, Demetrius, Helena and Hermia get scrambled up, as well as Titania and Bottom’s. Puck and Oberon eventually reverse the spell so that everyone loves who they are supposed to love.
Surprisingly, this book it a total riot. There is so much going on with so many different characters that only appear for a short period of time. There is a lot of back and forth between scenes and characters which makes it quite confusing. In addition, the play is quite short in comparison to other works by Shakespeare. The scenes individually are well written and include a lot of humor and dramatic irony. My class and I laughed at the stupidity of some of the characters and at how illogical it all was. I would recommend it to anyone who is capable of reading Shakespearean plays.
So I know it’s been a rough week. There’s been a lot of news coming out of Orlando and other places. It’s heartbreaking for so many people, from all walks of life, whether they were directly impacted or not.
There’s a lot to say about it, but I don’t feel like I’m any kind of qualified to speak to it as an authority figure. I will say that York and Toronto Pride are this month. And I will say that if you’re feeling discombobulated at all, whether about what happened in Florida or about anything else in your lives please speak to family, friends, your school counselor or try one of the links we have on this very site, including groups like Kids Help Phone and Rainbow Youth York.
What I do feel qualified to do is talk about the library, and all the resources and books we offer. And I feel qualified to offer something just a little fun and nerdy. That’s kinda my thing.
I came across this the other day, and I just love it. An actor, writer and musician named Jimmy Wong took a 12 second song from the show Adventure Timecalled “Bacon Pancakes”…
…and added more music (even harmonizing with himself) and more lyrics to create a full-blown song that stays in your head forever, in the best possible way.
*hee hee!* Love!
This kinda reminds me of an expression that Nerdist takes to heart; “Enjoy your Burrito!”. You can read where that saying comes from here, but, simplified, the phrase is a reminder to enjoy the little things and be in the moment, in between all the rough stuff going on. Easier said than done sometimes, but good to keep in mind. You’d be amazed how much something little can mean.