Thursday, August 15, 2013

On Wife Blogs

Something that has really been bugging me lately is the popularity of what I call "wife blogs."

Normally, I'm a "live and let live" kind of person, but I've noticed in the past year that these blogs are gaining prevalence, and the whole thing rubs me the wrong way.

For the sake of not being an asshole, I'm not going to link to any specific blogs. If you have no idea what I mean by wife blogs, do yourself and a favour and skip reading this post. Close the window. Go on leading the life you're living, because you've already got it under control.

So how do you know you're on a wife blog? Generally it's going to have a custom design with a gigantic title, usually including the girl's first name. Pastels are a dead giveaway. Also prominently displayed will be a photo of the girl, sometimes with the husband, sometimes not. She'll look somewhere between the ages of 19 and 30, and it'll probably be a black and white photo, it'll probably be outside, and she'll probably be beaming this big, phony smile.

The blog will feature such headers as "About the Girl!" "Our Love Story!" "About our Son/Daughter!"

You will have the option of clicking over to their Facebook page created for their blog, Twitter account created for the blog, Pinterest, and Instagram. No wife blog is complete without a million ways to worship the blogger, like she's some kind of celebrity.

Let me cut to the chase. This is what bugs me about these blogs, in no particular order:

1. The vast majority of these blogs are all fluff and no substance. It's all just garbage: ugly filtered photos linked over from Instagram of vacations, meals they ate, drinks they drank, shoes they wore, selfies, pet photos. Maybe I'm crazy, but I want to read about your thoughts. I don't need to see this glamorized version of your life that makes you seem more vain and vapid than you really are. What do you think about? What do you worry about? What scares you? What are your goals in life?

2. Between all the fluff is even more crap. Giveaways, sponsored reviews, link ups. Wow, way to thin out an already thin blog. It's all a big contest for advertising revenue, comments and attention. I feel like I'm looking at a Cosmo magazine written by one person.

3. They reinforce the idea that the only thing interesting about women is their appearance, their marital status and their mommy status. These tend to be the main topics of their blog entries. The wife of an old friend of mine has a terrific blog in which she wrote about this very problem with our society.

Guaran-fucking-teed, the first thing you're going to do when you stumble upon a blog that has an "about me" page is click the "about me" page. It's harmless and it's human nature, of course you're interested. It would just be awesome to actually learn something about that blogger apart from her marital status and number of children (this includes "fur babies"). Also, spare me the cutesy talk. "I'm Jaime. I've been married to my high school sweetheart for five years!! We have a beautiful baby girl named [atrocious name with many superfluous "y"s]. I have an IRRATIONAL LOVE of cheese, H&M socks, and if I won the lottery, I would spend all day cuddling baby pandas! Squeeeeee!"

Blog posts tend to be pretty light topics of absolutely no controversial matter and no deep thoughts. Everything they write about is a harmless, self-congratulatory anecdote of no real substance.

These blogs, and the comments they accumulate, leave me with this ill feeling that all my fellow women care about is weddings, husbands, kids, and looking aesthetically pleasing.

There is one blog that I've been reading regularly for a year now that falls into all of the criteria I listed above. The blogger is very different from me, we share very different values, and I highly doubt we'd be friends "in real life." I've even complained to Anthony in the past that I'm not sure why I read her blog, since it contains all of the garbage in #1 and #2, and I have nothing in common with this person.

Suddenly, on a drive to work the other day, it occurred to me why her blog is so immensely popular: she constantly posts photos of herself and her husband (and now baby). She has made her life extremely public and accessible. For some reason, it's addictive. We always want to see more. What drives this voyeuristic tendency? A need to judge? Insecurity? The need to seek an available role model?

It bothers me reading rows and rows of comments of, "Wow, you look so awesome! I wish I was as pretty as you!" and other comments about these bloggers' personal appearances. It's been blowing my mind progressively more noticing how much value is placed on women's appearances.

Also, I do feel the need to make a disclaimer that I realize getting married and having kids is a big part of people's lives, I'm not diminishing that. My entire point is that there's more to life than just these things, and it's sad when these institutions seem to comprise 100% of people's lives to the point where they no longer have an identity. You're more than just a wife, a mom, a brunette. You are a person with thoughts and opinions, and our world would be a better place if you shared those thoughts, rather than drown them out with shitty Instagram photos of your breakfast.

I've been on the lookout for more cerebral blogs written by women, or really anyone for that matter. Sorry to sound harsh, but I don't give a shit about your Pinterest-inspired house, your recent purchases, your anniversary vacation, or any other meaningless crap other 20-something women sadly seem to care about. I want food for thought, damn it. If you know of some good blogs, please, by all means, link me up.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dear Sirius XM Classical Pops

Dear Sirius XM Channel 75 - Classical Pops,

I know it's really early on in our relationship, but we have a small problem. You see, before I met you, I used to listen to those other stations. You know, the ones that play Billboard Top 40 stuff, the 90s one, and the alternative rock one. In other words, the stations that replay the same music over and over.

I know you couldn't hear me, but I used to frequently yell at those stations. Sometimes I was even sarcastic. "Oh thanks, Sirius XM. I hadn't yet heard The Lumineers 'Ho Hey' for the 30th time today, thanks for making sure I did." Sometimes I pleaded and begged for somebody to hear that I was tired of Mumford and Sons, and everything else that I've heard so many times, my ears would practically bleed.

But then I met you, Pops, as you like to be called. You were my light in the dark. Your soothing classical tunes cured what ailed me. You seemed to never play the same thing twice. Your DJs provided interesting trivia about composers. And I know you can't hear me, but I never even yelled at you.

Until today, that is. You see, you and I have been close friends for over a month now. The only time I ever cheat on you is to listen to your sister station, Symphony Hall.

Pops, I have something to tell you. Please bear with me as this news may be hard to hear. I think you have amnesia. For the past few days, I've been hearing repeats. I know, I know, but please just listen until the end. Pops, you're not even replaying more obscure songs, you're replaying the most played-out music in the classical genre. I'm still a baby at all this but even I've heard Vivaldi's The 4 Seasons enough times, and let's not forget about your ill-timed replaying of Tchaichovsky's The Nutcracker. Pops, what month is it? No. It's August, Pops. Christmas isn't for another 4 months.

Worst of all, Pops, you played The 4 Seasons twice today. Were you aware of this? I realize in your condition it may be tough, but please try to rise above all those other stations like Sirius Hits 1 and The Pulse. Please, please.

This is so hard for me to talk about, Pops. I left all those other stations to be with you. You promised me more relaxing commutes, you promised me variety, and now you're kind of letting me down.

Think it over. If you decide not to change, I may have to break up with you. We'll still be friends, of course, but I may need to start seeing other stations. You understand, right?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

4 Years in Photos

Today would have been my 7th anniversary in Nunavut had I not left. Seven years ago, I woke up at the crack of dawn, said goodbye to Ontario, and got on a plane (for the first time ever). It's a day I won't soon forget.

In honour of my unanniversary, here are 7 of my favourite Nunavut memories, in no particular order: chronological order:

1. Being driven around Rankin Inlet after arriving. For starters, it was 4C that day in Rankin, and we had left a humidex of 45C in Ontario.

Rankin Inlet looked something like this:

Rankin Inlet, August 2006

It looked so dirty (as in, lots of dirt) and rustic. I had seen many photos on the Internet prior to moving but nothing can really prepare you for the first time you set foot in Nunavut. I remember thinking something cliché like, "We're not in Kansas anymore!" I felt impossibly far away from everything I'd ever known, and even though I was excited, I was also scared shitless that first night. Not only did my new home look like Mars, but we couldn't even afford to leave if we wanted to.

2. Summer 2006 was all about exploring Rankin Inlet (on foot, no quad yet). It was a lifelong dream of mine to one day see Hudson Bay. I felt immensely happy to be able to see it everyday. I wasn't working yet and would sometimes go for walks during the day, staring at everything and trying to soak in Rankin Inlet. I will always have a special spot in my heart for Rankin Inlet; it took a long time to stop missing it once I'd left in 2008.

3. Summer 2007. It was a great summer, to put it mildly. I had started my job and made several friends in town. It was a summer full of quad rides on the land, bonfires, messy Legion nights, and mosquitos. My best friend Erin and I still laugh ourselves silly at all the crazy stories from that summer.

After a night of drinking, we'd hop on over to Kativik for some frozen boxes of fish and chips. Then we'd head to one of our apartments and shove the stuff into a barely preheated oven. Sometimes we wouldn't even wait for the food to cook all the way through before digging in. We'd bitch and moan that we wished we lived in Iqaluit, where you can just call up The Snack and they bring you junk food!

4. My 22nd Birthday. I had moved to Iqaluit (alone) just a month prior and hadn't really made any friends besides a coworker or two. I love celebrating my birthday and was dreading spending it at home alone. The one friend I'd made, without really realizing what a big deal it would be to me, planned a birthday party for me and invited people over. She cooked me dinner, and made not one but two cakes, and fed me chocolate martinis all night. What I thought would be a sad and depressing birthday ended up being one of the best birthdays I've ever had.

5. Summer 2008. Are you sensing a trend with me and my Nunavut summers? This was a quiet summer, I still didn't know too many people. I had a good friend at this point and we'd drive around in my new-used Suzuki XL-7, pigging out on the Snack and drinking at the Store House. I spent a lot of time reflecting on the past and started to break out of the depression I'd been in for a while.

The day I got the Suzuki, my first car vehicle. August 2008.

I cannot think of summer 2008 without thinking of Death Cab for Cutie's Narrow Stairs album. The two go hand in hand for me, that album was my anthem during summer 2008. When I listen to that album now, I can feel the same simultaneous sadness and excitement I felt during that summer.

6. Tori's and Anthony's visits.

My lifelong "BFF" Tori came up for a visit in December 2008, and Anthony came up twice in 2010. It was totally awesome getting to show my southern people around my home. What northerner can resist taking a visitor to the grocery store to see prices? It may sound odd, but I'm grateful and thankful that my close friend and my boyfriend got to see what my life was like for 4 years, and to experience it themselves, albeit on a smaller scale.

7. I was looking through my Facebook photos and I realized I missed a whole ton of memorable times, so #7 is devoted to every other great memory. Here are some photos, hopefully you're not viewing this on slow Internet!

Cape Dorset, April 2009

Erin and Jaime, Iqaluit, July 2010

Anthony and Jaime, Iqaluit, April 2010

Iglulik, November 2009

Morning sunset, Iglulik, November 2009

Iglulik, November 2009

My first (and last) sealift, summer 2009

The midnight sunshine view from my apartment, Iqaluit, June 2009

Yikes! Cape Dorset, April 2009

Erin's long weekend in Iqaluit, summer 2008

Red Iqaluit sunset, summer 2008

Meeting Jen!, Iqaluit, summer 2008

Typical night in Rankin Inlet, winter 2007

Nunavut friends are forever friends. Rankin Inlet, June 2007

My uniform for 4 years, day one. Rankin Inlet, winter 2006

The only proof I was ever a college student. Rankin Inlet...late 2006? early 2007?

Deciding to make a hot tub out of that quad wheel-barrow thing. Rankin Inlet, July 2007

One of my favourite photos of all time. The cabin, Rankin Inlet 2007 (RIP Paul)

Toonik Tyme Igloo, Iqaluit, April 2010

Trusty steed, Iqaluit, April 2010

My first time driving a snowmobile. Outside Iqaluit, April 2010

IQ Day, somewhere outside Iqaluit, April 2010

Chesterfield Inlet, November 2009

Repulse Bay, November 2009

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