John Arbuckle is a StruggleBot

Unless you’ve been living in a land without internet for the last 3 years, you most likely know about the genius idea of Garfield Minus Garfield. If you don’t, stop reading this post and go to the website.

I found this strip today and felt that it was a perfect reflection of both Nomes and I. If you get it, you’re probably a StruggleBot yourself.

Garfield Minus Garfield

copyright Garfield Minus Garfield and Jim Davis

And to end off this Monday, here are 2 of my favourites! 

Garfield Minus Garfield

copyright Garfield Minus Garfield and Jim Davis

Garfield Minus Garfield

copyright Garfield Minus Garfield and Jim Davis

Peace out!

Ugh! Mondays!

Garfield Monday

copyright Jim Davis

It’s Monday! Monday is the start of a new week, which could mean the beginning of new and great things! It can also mean the beginning of new and unfortunate struggles. I’ve only been at work for an hour and already I can feel the weight of Monday coming down on me.

I set my alarm clock this morning to 9am in the hopes of motivating myself to go out for a quick 30min run before work. Turns out, I heard the alarm, pressed the button to turn it off, and went back to bed for 45 minutes. FAIL! After a weekend of mostly eating and sitting, a run would have done me some good. I will at least give myself some props for walking most of the way back home from the Toronto downtown airport.

As usual, the elevator in my highrise apartment building this morning was struggling just to work. I got to work 8 minutes late as a result. At least the walk over was pleasant. Just as I took a seat and was ready to put on a smile and power through this Monday with optimism, I discovered that something just wasn’t right. It turns out that I was scheduled to come into work an hour earlier than usual for some training. Clearly, I had completely forgotten about it and strolled in 1 hour and 8 minutes late instead. Gueee!

Since the training session was over (and to my relief, I wasn’t the only one who forgot/didn’t show up), I continued with my morning rituals by pouring myself some lichee black tea for enjoyment. Over the weekend in Ottawa, I bought a very cute duck tea infuser that I was excited to use.

Photo courtesy of Dream Tea Boutique

Unfortunately, that became another morning fail. I failed to put the duck on the infuser properly, therefor I got a cup of tea with loose leaves floating everywhere. This was followed by using a plastic spoon and carefully scooping out the leaves while draining the water to stay in my mug. I haven’t gotten it all out, but most of it at least. I was momentarily frustrated since I felt like it had to work better than that. Upon careful inspection, I discovered that there is a very specific way to lining up the notches allowing you to then twist it on. The twist is key to keeping the infuser and duck together in harmony and unison.

My very last “struggle” (it’s not really, but why not call it that), is the fact that I already miss my friends from Ottawa. The trip was SO FAST (I was there for less than 48 hours) and I didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have liked to with some people – Douggy Fresh was 10 minutes, my cutest of the cutest little niece Mango was 3 hours – but it was still a good trip. The highlights, my friend Hollykin’s wedding shower/Halloween party, Gretchen‘s visit from Washington D.C., Ukelucas’ sweet breakdance moves, beavertails, brunch (as always), and the most Whasian pumpkin you’ll ever see.

Team PenRei, Gretchen, Ukelucas, and M-Dog (photo courtesy of Gretchen)

During the weekend, I gave Gretchen a hand by shooting guerilla style a few things for her Vlog. If you would like to check out this most entertaining blogger who is facing her own struggle of weightloss, as well as my struggles with the camera over the weekend, click here.

Happy Hallowe’en!

NB: It took me about 30 minutes just to successfully add this pumpkin picture in the post. A Monday WordPress struggle!

A Classic PenRei Moment

by PenRei

Scene from an outsider’s perspective

PenRei walks through the prop and costume area of the studio. She bumps into her friend Josie and they exchange the following conversation.

PenRei: Hey!

Josie: Hey! You didn’t dress up today (in French: Tu ne t’es pas habillée).

PenRei looks down at what she’s wearing then looks back up at Josée.

PenRei: No, I guess I didn’t.

They both continue towards their separate destinations.

Scene within PenRei’s head

PenRei walks through the prop and costume area, barely awake as she grumbles in her head about waking up early for work. Josie walks in.

PenRei: Hey!

Josie: Hey! You didn’t get dressed today (in French: “Tu ne t’es pas habillée” can mean both “not dressing up” and “not getting dressed”).

PenRei goes into panic mode. She wonders if she’s even awake or if she’s still dreaming. She’s wondering: “If this is a dream, than as soon as I look down at myself, I’ll be naked. But this is still embarrassing.I also don’t usually have naked work or school dreams. I really hope I’m wearing clothes when I look down.” PenRei looks down and sees that she is wearing clothes. Unsure of what Josie was talking about, PenRei looks up, confused.

PenRei: No, I guess I didn’t.

PenRei leaves the prop area and walks towards the bathroom. She keeps asking herself what Josie meant, since she was clearly dressed. As she examines herself in the mirror (still only barely awake) to make sure that she is IN FACT wearing clothes, her eyes wander to a poster on the wall. The poster indicates that today is the Halloween work party.

PenRei is now convinced that she is awake and understands what Josie meant: PenRei was not wearing a costume.

PenRei (to herself): I really need to sleep.

Homer and Marge hiding

Homer and Marge hiding while naked.

Just to clarify: A response to “Inappropriate moments at Brickworks”

BWAHAHHA! PenRei… So to clarify a couple of things in the previous post:

Those pictures were inspired by PenRei, saying: “Alright so now we’re gonna do fashionista shots.”

Me: Uuuuuh ok, yay!

PenRei: Do you know what I mean? (she can detect my lies)

PenRei: Well.. not really sure…no.

PenRei: Like in America’s Next Top Model!

Me: Yeah… No… I’ve never watched that show. But I saw one episode of Canada’s Next Top Model once!!!

PenRei: *sigh…* Well it’s just like “work it girl, yeah”

And then PenRei proceeds to do a bunch of sultry faces…fashionista style.

Me: OHHH LIKE THIS? : *I do those poses which which appear in previous post.*


And as for my changing in a corner outside whilst she covers me with her coat… for a second time that day. I believe the exact exchange was:

Me: Ahhh. PenRei! You always have my back. Where would I be without you?…

PenRei: This is why I love you!

Me: Ummmm.. I think that’s my line.

PenRei: Uhhh… *proceeds to do the aforementioned speech (see previous post)*

Just goes to show, we are so much the same person that she beats me to my own thought. 🙂

Other humourous moments involving struggle #12496, 12497 and 12499: PenRei’s precarious positions as she tries to back up to get a better shot. Higher and higher each time. First time, she fell off a little hill. Then she almost fell the second time off a strange cement round thing which stood an easy 2 feet off the ground, on a slant, on a hill…with small rocks to break her fall. Luckily that was an almost.The things that girl does for her art….

In any case, we left Brickworks mostly intacts… although I can’t say much for the state that it was in when we left…



PENREI UPDATE: Nomes has a FAR better memory of my inappropriate moments. Her dialogue is closer to reality. Apparently, my embarrassment takes over and my memory decides to block it PERMANENTLY!

Innapropriate Moments at the Brickworks

by PenRei


PENREI UPDATE: Read Nomes’ post up top to get a better sense of the actual conversations. She actually remembers what happened.

This last (and very late) weekend update is brought to you by:

Struggling: it’s everywhere all the time, so get use to it!

Now we return to our regular scheduled programming.

After a few failed days and weekend attempts, Nomes and I finally managed to go out and take some of her headshots for her portflio. Of course, taking photos of Nomes is always a pleasure since she is such an easy person to photograph. Seriously! Just tell her to do something and magic will happen, like those two photos up there. During that day, there was some innapropriate behaviour all around.

Innapropriate moment #1276
PenRei is taking pictures of Nomes with a sultry expression. As she tries to explain to Nomes what she is looking for, the following words escape her mouth.
PenRei : It needs to be different; this isn’t what we’re going for. I need you to look less like a high-class hooker with herpes and more like… Samantha Jones (Sex & the City).
Nomes : What? (insert laughter) Did you say herpes?
PenRei : Uh… yeah, I think I did.
A couple of children walk by and stare at us.
PenRei: Do you get what I mean though?
Nomes: Yeah I do.
PenRei: Awesome! So less herpes, more Samantha!

Inappropriate moment #1277
Nomes is stripping in a corner outside. PenRei comes over and uses her coat to act as a visual shield. I can’t entirely remember how the conversation went, but somewhere between her stripping her shirt and changing her bra, she thanked me for the cover and I replied with: “I love you! Uh… because… clearly I apparently love to cover up my friends who are proned to public nudity… which you obviously do all the time (sarcasm)… so I love you for letting me cover you up.. ?” Let’s just say that what was suppose to be a friendly sentiment turned into a strange moment of me sarcastically digging a hole.

Inappropriate moment #1278
PenRei and Nomes are hanging out in the washroom while Nomes puts on regular clothes. PenRei, wearing her jeans with a hole in the crotch, wondered if it was the same or ripped into something bigger during the day. This led to PenRei lifting her leg up like a dog in front of a mirror and asking “I wonder how my hole is doing.” Nomes laughed. PenRei was slightly embarassed.

Those are all of the moments of note I can remember from the weekend. If there are others, I will update.


Rain inspires… covers.

…or rather parodies.

A good walk home after a beautiful concert inspires me, always. A walk home in the rain after a beautiful concert inspires. Illness. A slight chill. And a smidgeon of a twitch in my right eye. As well as a song. Based on “Why God” from Boulbil and Schönberg’s Miss Saigon. Hmm.. you’d think I’d have picked a song from Singing in the Rain. I mean. Gene Kelly inspires many things for me, all of them wonderful. But this more dramatic approach fits the situation much better….

Why. Rain. Why tonight? Why’d your water take its flight? I’ve walked through storms that were so strong, I’ve never been as cold as now!

*chord progression into key change*

WHY RAIN?! WHY MY BOOTS!? WHY’D I WEAR THOSE, ON MY FOOOOOTS? I’ve brought umbrellas with me to school, why today was I a FOOL!?

Lyrics: fun but hard to RHYME!!!!

struggle number 2 749: Rhyming without sounding laaaame.

Nomes – out.

Hunger Induced Struggles

by PenRei

After a long work week and too much time spent in front of the computer, I wanted to get out of my apartment and find a place to meander about. On Saturday, I was seduced by the idea of shopping (since I’ve recently discovered many of my clothes are old, stained, and have holes in them), but I opted to go for something that didn’t involve spending money: hiking. One of my absolute favourite things in Toronto are the ravines. You can access them quite easily from a few subway stations and can easily spend hours in them. It’s the best way to feel like you’re leaving Toronto without actually leaving it.

On this specific Saturday, my feet, by the sheer will of their own, walked me straight to the Brickworks. Having lived in Toronto for 6 years, I felt a little ashamed that I never made the effort to visit before. Luckily, it’s never too late! I had a great time wandering around, checking out the old buildings, walking the trails, taking in the sound of the wind blowing through the leaves, ect. Before I knew it, 4 hours had passed since I left the house. Despite all the fun that was had, my stomach was in a particlarly angry place. (Context: my eatings habits involve eating about 5 small meals a day, preventing my genetically slow metabolism from storing too much food in the reserves.)

Enter main struggle of the day.

I was FAMISHED! Before leaving the Brickworks, I stopped by their cafe to grab a snack, but the cheapest thing they had left were a few 9$ sandwhiches, and there was nothing too special about their content or their size. I decided to tough it out, believing that I could hold out before meeting Nomes for some chicken wings. Boy was I mistaken! The 30 minutes it took me to get back home never seemed l-o-n-g-e-r. Every step became an effort as that annoying feeling of weakness crept in from my deepening hunger. The world was spinning, and not in the fun way.

Once I got back in my neighbourhood, I stopped by Shoppers DrugMart to pick up some kind of snack. Unfortunately, almost everything in the store made me sick. Even a small bag of original ruffles had 0 appeal to me. Then, it hit me. There was only one on the planet that I wanted at that very moment. Only one thing that would allow me to eat, but still have enough room for dinner. One thing that was on the way. A WENDY’S JUNIOR BACON CHEESEBURGER!!!

Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger

looks nice and waxy

I couldn’t wait any longer! Mama needed that small burger and she needed it NOW. I was so impatient that I didn’t even want to walk all the way to the Wendy’s; I became ultra lazy and took out my bike. That’s right, I biked the 4 blocks it took to get to the Wendy’s, locked it to a pole, impatiently waited in line as I fought every urge not to faint, and ordered the burger.

It tasted SOOOO GOOD! I often have trouble bringing myself to eating a normal burger in a fast food place. Prime reason: the JBCB is already 400 calories, and that’s a kid sized burger. Yowzah! Still, my calorie intake of the day was far too low, resulting in my present painful predicament. After the little buger, I felt better, but I could still eat a cow.

As I walked my bike to the restaurant for dinner, my worst enemy started happening: a migraine. It did not rank amongst the worst ones I’ve had, but it was there, creeping, and being a jerk! I decided to wait until I had more food in me before deciding that drugs could be the answer.

Nomes got to the restaurant and we caught up on the last two ridiculous weeks of our lives. The migraine however didn’t flinch. It remained true to its cause of aggravating me. We stopped by Starbucks afterwards to grab me some coffee.
NB: Depending on what kind of migraine or headache you get, caffeine can actually help to alleviate the pain, especially when the cause is high blood pressure. However, this won’t work if you’re a daily drinker.

There wasn’t enough room left in the cup for added soy milk, so for a while, the coffee just tasted bitter, but I took it anyway since the pounding in my head was starting to decrease. By the time we got back to my place, there was enough room left in the cup for me to add my own soy milk. I opened the door of my fridge, but there was no soy milk. However, there was one kind of soy drink there, and I decided to mix the two to see what happens.

So, this:

Starbucks cup

Bolthouse Vanilla Chai Tea
Bolthouse Vanilla Chai Tea
 + this:
= AMAZING!!!!!
It was like the flavours were dancing in my mouth in harmony. The migraine quickly vanished as the caffeine took hold and the taste took over. At the end of the cup, I was sad that it was all gone.
Nomes left late after our Ringer mini-marathon. It was past midnight and time to go to bed, especially with our plans for the next day.
Then, somewhere between 3am and complete frustration, I remembered why I never drank coffee after 6pm… BECAUSE I CAN NEVER SLEEP OTHERWISE. As I laid down in bed, one of my main thoughts was “if you just brought something to eat to the Brickworks, or bought that 9$ sandwhich, we wouldn’t have been starving, we wouldn’t have gotten a migraine, we wouldn’t have drank coffee, and we wouldn’t be lying awake in bed looking at the day in hindsight“.
All of the day’s struggles just because I skipped a meal. Bullocks!

Ringer… Sarah Is Back

by PenRei

Hello fellow readers! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and took advantage of the sunny and warm weather we had in Southern Ontario. Saturday was not THAT sunny, but it was still a good day to get out and meander about. I had a pretty great weekend. If only it didn’t end so soon! Since there is quite a bit to share with you, I shall write about the weekend in installments. This first one: a new tv show.

Ringer title card

This weekend, I started watching a new CW show starring Sarah Michelle Gellar called Ringer. There was definite enjoyment of the show as I tore through the first 6 episodes with fellow strugglebot Nomes in a single day, but the show is not without its flaws.

First off, the show seems to be in a sort of strange style limbo. It’s trying to be an adult show, but with teenage stylistic nuances throughout. One of the main obvious CW presences is the choice of music. I remember back when the show was being announced that it would be a mystery/thriller full of twists with some film-noir undertones. Well, that kind of goes out the window when you play teenage hits like “Everything” by Lifehouse. Don’t get me wrong! I love that song, but putting it next to others like “Glory Box” by Portishead and “Televised” by Calla just creates a strange mismatch of music that leads to an incoherent musical style. Another problem I have with the music is the overuse of it. The show appears to be using it as a crutch, not giving the actors enough room on the screen to really play their roles. I noticed quite a few instances where the actors were doing a great job and the moment could have been so strong, if it wasn’t for some popular teenage song that came in out of nowhere. I would love to hope that the non-original use of music will tone down substantially, but considering this is a CW show, I highly doubt it.

Another major problem I have with the show is the fact that they treat the viewers like forgetful idiots. There are far TOO MANY flashback-cuts and it gets annoying, fast. The absolute worst is when they flashback-cut to a scene that happened previously in the episode less than 30 minutes ago. We’re watching the show! We’re with you! Let’s keep going. On the subject of flashbacks, there are also a few “real” flashbacks in the show that just aren’t all that useful. I remember a time when a character’s entire backstory wasn’t explained to the viewer, but they discovered bits and pieces of it along the way with subtle hints. One of the prime examples of this would be Faith from Buffy. In the show, they never discuss what happened to her before coming into the show (aside from a small story leading to the episode’s main antagaonist). However, through her behaviour, we could safely assume that she never had a father, lived with an abusive (maybe even alcoholic) mother, and was never respected by anyone of the opposite sex. In Ringer, the relationship between the 2 sisters, although central to the story, gets overly explained despite the fact that we get the tension between them in the first two episodes.

Despite these annoyances in the show, I must say that Saturday, I was hooked. At the end of every episode, I just wanted to know what was going to happen. I give a lot of props to Sarah Michelle Gellar who is doing a good job of stepping out of Buffy’s shoes (a most difficult task). It is so incredibly clear that Siobhan and Bridgette are two completely different characters, and Sarah makes it clear to us which one she is playing and when. Bridgette is a great character as she steps into her sister Siobhan’s shoes and tries to right the wrongs that were done, just like she previously did as a recovering drug addict. I’ll admit, the juxtaposition is very well done. Bridgette never really understands what’s going on and faces many very dangerous threats, but in no way would I consider her to be a passive weak female character.

Final concensus: The twists have provided enough intrigue to keep me going, however, I worry that this show will leave behind its tension and mystery to become another daytime (but during primetime) soap opera. Only time will tell, but hopefully “the plan” we keep hearing about will have more depth than just another web of lies involving cheating spouses and rich white people who aren’t happy despite their incredible wealth. May there be a payoff!

If you’re interested in the show, I suggest that it would be best to jump in without knowing anything about the story. However, if you are looking to get your hands on the trailer, here it is!

TO Sightings Part 2.5: A mini streetcar tale.

So I’m on the streetcar home, ’round about midnight (-Thelonious Monk), struggling to keep my eyes open in order to read as much as possible of this book for school, when I hear a medium to large sized whooping sneeze behind me (wrong expression, I know… or is it the perfect one?). I lift my head, acknowledging internally the struggle that is illness and its symptoms… and also making sure that those germs didn’t by any chance find their way on me as I already have enough of those to handle myself. Mind you, my germs could give that woman’s germs a pretty damn good fight. One for the history books. BRING IT! There’d be a battlefield in my larynx, countless wounded…blood… everywhere…germ families torn to pieces…. enemy germs sacking the invaded town of Lymphnode…


So this woman sneezes and from above, and what seemed like all around me at once,  comes this deep voice which says, calmly and sincerely. “….bless you.”.

Methinks: “…God?… Ghandi?”

…But no. In fact the streetcar driver had used the intercom to bless the lady! Hah! Why I’ll be darned. Us Canadians and our manners, just warms my heart every time.

And so all of the passengers shared a smile or a small chuckle. It was really quite humourous (and very Joan of Arc-y moment). Thanks streetcar driver! You make up for all the angries which tend to rule the night ‘cars.

And another thought: I love the concept of saying “Bless you”, or “Gesundheit!” or “À tes(vos) souhaits!” or whichever. It’s just a way of interacting with people, being nice to them, without having to cross any boundaries people don’t want to. It’s like a temporary visa into a person’s day. It can even be a bit of an ice breaker if you want it to. It’s just darned swell.

Less nice is a possible explanation as to why this societal standard began: Apparently it’s because when you sneezed, back in ye olde bubonic plague days (round 590 AD?), it was considered a symptom of said plague. So Pope Gregory I had asked(? Now, did popes in those days really ask or…?) that people pray as much as possible to stop its rampage. So you blessed the person who sneezed, hoping they’d thus avoid ze black death.

That’s nice.

On the other hand apparently Tibetan Buddhists believe that sneezing gives you a moment of clarity and opens you to greater understanding. That, too, is nice.

And thank you Wikipedia for your endless amounts of questionably reliable knowledge! Every day.


TO Sightings Part Deux: Zombie edition

Ahhhh! It is a crisp autumn afternoon on the streets of Toronto and the leaves are falling… well somewhere they are. Back in Ottawa they are. There must be a live tree SOMEWHERE around here! *sigh*. But no matter. I am on my way back from sketchily meeting my financial advisor man to hand him a form. (Funny story: the meetup was to be in his car which he ended up parking in front of the Hard Rock Café in Dundas Square. It was sketchy. It felt like a drug deal or a sleezy hookup. It was neither but nevertheless… I’m a strugglebot on a sketchboat to somewhere…and proud.)

And then I run into the Zombie Walk.

Now this was no surprise by any means. I had in fact returned BRIGHT AND EARLY that morning (sidebar: 1am bus from Ottawa-Toronto = surprisingly popular!) to do my aunt and her friend’s makeup for said walk/lurch. So I knew it was happening and al. Nevertheless. Hello. Lots. Of. People. All. Over. Mah. Sidewalk.

It gave me an appreciation for the normal level of crowdedness found downtown, which normally frustrates me but today I found myself longing for its simplicity, a little, as I trudged through the wall of un-undead and their onlooking tourists/photographs….grrrrrrrr I LOVE HUMANS! LA LALA LALAAA!!.

It actually wasn’t so bad and the entertainment made up for any kind of frustration I might have had (at least I wasn’t the guy in a car trying to get onto his street through a never-ceasing flow of painted mummers.)

Favourite and most baffling sights:

The dogs. One in particualr dragging its supposedly “previous dead master’s arm” behind him at the end of a leash. Clever.

Though not as elaborate as this, maybe…



Dog costumes: Hilarious or pathetic? An ongoing debate.
Next came a whole viking zombie clan. And zombie mariachi band. Zombie hipsters. Zombie hotdog(wait. what?). Then the slutty nurse zombie (sorry? sexy zombie? Possible? Something about your flesh rotting off make me want to not procreate with you. Sorry.  Let’s just be friends. … )
Then came the CLASSIC hommage to current times: protesting zombies. In the spirit of Occupy Wall Street and other such financial districts in major cities in the world, a few lurchers had some banners which offered such witty banther as : “Hungry? Eat a Banker!” or “Occupy the Living” or the simple yet effective “Occupy braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains“. Oh, well done. Well done I say.
Other amusing festive people were a dad+son team of undead Naruto characters:

The top 2 guys specifically. Zombied. ...Less scary when in cute matching daddy and son outfits.

As well as Zombie Cookie Monster, zombie GIANT lego man, zombie mario+luigi (though I actually didn’t recognize them at first even with full costume and facial hair… because they were tall as opposed to their usual fun sizedness. Weird huh?). And many many others.
Interesting and somewhat offputting moment: one homeless man was walking in the middle of zombie people and he…I hate to say… kind of fit in. No makeup made it easier to spot him but he had the haggard look and attire. One onlooker standing next to me smiles and says, almost completely seriously: “Best costume so far.” I cried a little.
I feel a debate coming on: Why do we dress up in things we are not? And not just better versions of ourselves but horrible things such as … ourselves dead and hooked on flesh/brains. 
Troubled race, the human race? Or just open minded to the idea of our inevitable demise?
Anyway, Nomes-out and on my way to wings with PenRei
keep on lurching on. *grrroooooannnnn*