Monday, March 22, 2010

Memphis + Graceland = I'm all shook up

I'd never been to Graceland, or Memphis for that matter. But my Mom is/was a huge fan of Elvis and when I was in Memphis for research recently I decided to extend my stay and drop by. I remember when I was a young girl we went to visit a friend of hers- she had a hat or some sort of something that a friend of a friend had gotten from an Elvis concert- that Elvis himself had worn/owned/touched (I was reaeeealy young- hence the fuzzy memories).

This is the sort of passion that this man incites. I didn't appreciate his impact. The breadth of his work. How he has influenced and shaped modern day music and pop culture. For a man that never toured off of US soil- it's phenomenal he is one of the top selling artists- right behind the Beatles and ahead of Michael Jackson with hundreds of million albums sold. Keeping in mind a record goes gold when it has sold 1,000,000 copies. He has 100's of those. On top of this he did about 30 hit movies. A point of comparison? Leo DiCaprio has less than 30 under his belt.

Let's tour his home shall we?

The one thing that struck me about the main house is how small it was. We weren't allowed upstairs as that was Elvis' private area when he was alive. The main level was 5 main rooms, with the basement housing 3- with very low ceilings. He lived in the house for 22 years. I have to tell you- from the outside it was a stately southern colonial home, from the inside it was hideous. Like really seriously ugly. This was a house decorated by a man with a lot of money at the peak of the disastrous decade known as the 70s. Fascinating.

You're greeted at the entrance by what once was a grand lobby and staircase- I'm not lying when I say that I have a friend in Calgary, Alberta who has a house with a grander front entrance.

Next to the foyer is the main living room- in all of it's white and gaudy glory.

Beside his fancy dining room was the home's 'hotbed' - the kitchen.

"Down in the jungle room"- you had to go up a stairway that was wall/ceiling/floor green shag carpet to get to the jungle room.

The room where he used to play pool with his buddies was in the basement. It was literally covered floor/ceiling and wall with this pink/red paisley fabric. Where does the couch start and the ceiling/floor end?

He has a couple of gold and platinum records. TCB indeed.

I didn't really give Elvis much thought before seeing his home & estate. But now I count myself among the millions who call themselves fans. I'm going to have to ask my Mom again what sort of garment/thing we saw when I was younger.

Friday, March 19, 2010

This will change your life

A little tip :
When you go to hi-five someone else you should look at their elbow. And they should look at yours. And you will NEVER MISS.

Think of it- never again will you have the embarrassment of by passing that waiting hand, and slapping dead air. The blush that creeps up when you both look away and laugh about it -then try to forget it ever happened.

You will be hi-fiving everyone. Your friends, your colleagues, strangers on the street. You'll be hosting hi-fiving parties (ok- maybe not and if you are then you are a loser).

But really- for this little portion of your life this tip will be very helpful.

Go on, spread the word.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Purple Rain

When I was in Guatemala it was the rainy season. It would rain everyday at around 2pm- a torrential downpour that would flood the streets. It was like the heavens opened up and poured buckets of water down- for about 20 minutes- and then it would stop. Like a dam in the sky had slammed shut. The gutters would be full and people would be drenched. But then in an hours time under the hot sun things would dry up.

It's raining like that in New York city. Only we're into day 2. Accompanied by gale force winds that rattle cars as they're driving. I walked 6 blocks to the gym today and my pants were soaked from the sideways rain.

I suppose this is what it's like in Hurricane territory. But I kind of love the weather extremes, because I'm fortunate enough to still have power, not drive a car, and be able to stay in my cozy, sturdy, little apartment.

If anything it's the perfect excuse to stay home and read or watch movies. So maybe I don't want it to stop. I'd like it to stay until Monday morning. Then please clear up so that I can walk to work wearing my purple hunter rainboots and splash in the puddles like I'm 6.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Making a Difference

I've recently learned about an organization in Canada that provides scholarships to disadvantaged people for professional post-secondary education (such as engineering, law, medicine etc).

It was a very interesting concept to me, as I'd never thought about assistance for minority or low income students beyond University. I felt like that in itself was an accomplishment. Here's someone who overcame obstacles, worked hard, and triumphed. They have a degree- well done. It's still a story of success and who wants more than that right?

But why? Why couldn't or shouldn't that person go on to even higher education? Just because I never had such aspirations (sorry Mom!) doesn't mean that everyone shouldn't have the opportunity to realize their ultimate potential. And if the desire is there I'd hate to think of someone not being able to pursue it.

Maybe you feel the same way. And maybe you want to learn more about this organization. And maybe you want to contribute to their scholarship fund.

Maybe. (I'm going to make it easier for you to learn/read/donate by putting a link right here. Just click through. See how easy that was?)

Cape Scholarship

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Meet Monty

Every year for Christmas my stepDad gets my Mom a piece of folk art. It's my favourite part of the morning as you never know what crazy thing he's going to come up with. We've got polar bears, penguins, ducks and one year a giraffe. His name is Jerome.

When Jerome first arrived we were all a bit shocked- he was 5 feet tall and carved of wood. But he soon found a home in the kitchen nook and has been there ever since. He's a great talking piece.

Yesterday I went to Pier 1 for an area rug- but instead fell in love with my own 5ft tall giraffe. My home is far too small to have a piece of art like this- I barely have enough floor space for furniture- but he came home with me anyway. He's black instead of brown. He's metal instead of wood. And his name is Monty.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Burning the Midnight Oil

It was my second year at Ogilvy. I was a fresh young innocent who had my whole life in front of me. I remember working late with my colleagues (and now good friends) Leigh and Eric. We were clustered around my desk laughing about something when my boss strolled in. She paused, and adopted a very proud expression: "Look at you guys... burning the midnight oil!".

It was 6:30PM.

Fast forward a few years (no need to call out how many) and I find myself again at the office, surrounded by take out boxes of poorly prepared Thai. I'm in a new city, a little less innocent, but with the same company, and again sitting with a bunch of colleagues, "burning the midnight oil".

Only it's nearing 10pm. And we'll be here later still.

Maybe I should move back to Calgary...