Nashville

6th April
2009
written by Steph

Yes, we realize these are traditionally wedding bands, but we exchanged them in honor of our engagement

Yes, we realize these are wedding bands for most, but not for us!

Who: Steph & Tony

What: Got engaged

When: April 2nd, 2009

Where: Racquetball Court #1, at the Downtown YMCA (Seriously.)

Why: Because we love each other! (Awwww)

Lots of people have asked if it was surprise, and while in a way it was, it also wasn't.  I've always thought it was weird when people said they never saw the proposal coming, because it's a pretty big step, and it seems to me like spending the rest of your lives together would be something you'd want to talk about and make sure you're on the same page, but to each her own.  I certainly didn't expect to be proposed to on a racquetball court, but it's nice to find the romance in every day life (plus, not many people have that story, I'm betting).  It would have been nice if Tony had managed to work in a little Pride and Prejudice into his proposal ("You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you..."), but I'm not really complaining! 😉

We thought long and hard about the right way for us to symbolize this step forward and ultimately decided that we wanted to wear matching bands during our engagement, which we will customize/engrave when we actually get married.  For now we still don't have a date or any specifics set.  We're just going to take some time to enjoy this special time and revel in being engaged!

Squeee!

By the lake at Centennial Park

By the lake at Centennial Park

25th March
2009
written by Tony
Is this about Jesus in Australia? Or is this a message to Australia?

Is this about Jesus in Australia? Or is this a message to Australia?

Recently my company did some work for the Nashville Advertising Federation for their 2009 Addy Awards ceremony. Unfortunately for Nashville, there aren't that many agencies, let alone good agencies, doing ad work. Let's just put this in perspective by saying that Bohan Agency won around 50% of the 213 gold and silver Addys awarded. Literally. I designed the artwork placards, so I know. Also, every time the announcer said "Gold Addy Award" we all thought he said "Go Daddy Award" (who knew this was an internet/hepcat event?). Anyway, there were a couple of standouts that both won Gold Addys that I wanted to share (see above, left, for number one) and are the reason I am starting a new category for the blog: the Bad Design Award. I've got nothing against Jesus, he sounds like a nice guy, but why is he in Australia? Why do I need to follow him there? I hope he flew coach, those tickets are pricey. Bring a camera? Or is this supposed to be read as "It all comes back to Jesus: Follow Him Australia" where the message is directed at the country itself? There was a whole campaign of these advertising Jesus doing various things in various countries (and parts of Australia) and not one of them made sense. But the real highlight of the night was this little chestnut: (more…)
24th March
2009
written by Tony
Fare thee well, beast.

Fare thee well, beast.

Yes, we name our cars. So what? Wanna fight about it? Anyway, doesn't everyone name their car? Ahem. It was becoming apparent that getting rid of my former "dream car" was the wise move, based on its declining trade-in value, increasing miles and rather painful repair costs incurred of late. It had new tires and brakes (as well as some other things) so it seemed like the best time to get the most money for it and get into a car that is a little more responsible (in some ways, like gas and maintenance) and a little less... gigantic. I will say this: I did love Urglegrüe, quite a lot actually. She was a blast to drive and was quite possibly the poshest car I'll ever own. So we part ways with a bit of sadness, but also with some happiness, as we love our new car, so, so much. Behold: (more…)
18th March
2009
written by Tony

The end is near, I can sense it.

The end is near, I can sense it.

Steph and I were out at one of the malls in Nashville the other night wandering around aimlessly (as we do) when Steph said she would like to stop in BCBG and see what's the what. We were immediately off-put by the rather garish, 80s inspired window dressings, but decided to press on... until we came to the front entrance and saw the sight above. DEAR GOD what is this? Max Azria really, really thinks women will, or even should, wear this? If women start wearing these at all, even once, I'm going to lose my shit. Seriously. And these would be the perfect pants to be wearing if that were to happen.

I mean, maybe, if I was 70 years old and required an enormous adult diaper to contain the vast amounts of incontinence that wearing these pants would cause me to have all the time (from shame) then perhaps I would consider these mutated hospital bottoms as outerwear.

Apparently these $88.00 pants of shame are known as the Jersey Harem Pant. There aren't enough capital letters on the Internet to describe how much I hate these extra-ugly sweat pants. If you really want to throw up all over yourself, you can go check them out. You could pair them with this, and then change into this for the weekend. And then you could throw yourself into a ravine full of rabid weasels.

Normally I try to minimize obscenity in my posts (for all you sensitive souls out there) but...

Fuck you Max Azria.

p.s. I apologize for the quality of the camera phone image, I didn't have my nice camera with me because I never expected to see THIS at the mall. Or ever. JESUS.
7th February
2009
written by Steph
Aren't we cute?

Aren't we cute?

Earlier this week I celebrated my 26th birthday.  I’ve been so busy with work stuff lately that I have to admit this birthday kind of snuck up on me.  It felt like pretty much any other day (maybe this is what happens when your birthday happens mid-week?), which might having something to do with the fact that for the past year or so, Tony & I have tried to mark each birthday with a nice little vacation get-away.  Last year we went to the Smokey Mountains and rented a really nice cabin for a long weekend, which was really lovely and relaxing.  This year, however, we decided to forgo that option since we were just up in the mountains over Christmas.  Instead, we decided to stay in Nashville and Tony did all that he could to make sure my birthday was in fact a special day.  I’m happy to report that it was! (more…)
6th December
2008
written by Steph
We went out for dinner last night with a good friend of ours who this past week both successfully defended his PhD thesis and turned 30.  To celebrate him being both older and wiser, Tony & I asked if we could take him out for dinner and drinks yesterday.  His choice of restaurant was not a place either of us would have suggested had it been up to us, but seeing as it was his night, we went along with it.  I had mentioned in passing a few days earlier when speaking to this friend’s girlfriend that I didn’t know why anyone would ever go to this restaurant by choice as I didn’t like it very much, only to find out that apparently it was one of our friend’s favorites. In the end, although there wasn’t much on the menu to tempt me, both Tony & I found options that we were satisfied with and that ended up being quite delicious.  Unfortunately, this morning I received an email from my friend (who, being a grad student (although no more!), suffers from intense-guilt complex) saying his significant other had told him I didn’t like the restaurant, but thanking me for going anyway.  I was really upset that he had been told this, because even if we had agreed to go to the restaurant out of respect for him, I certainly didn’t want to feel as though we hadn’t enjoyed the evening or that we had sacrificed ourselves on the altar of his celebrations.  I shot him back a quick email saying that in the past I hadn’t necessarily been a big fan, but we both had a great time last night (food included), so he shouldn’t fret about it at all. Mostly, I’m peeved that his girlfriend shared this information with him, as I don’t really see the point in doing so.  We had already had dinner, so it’s not like we could go back and select a different restaurant.  I feel like sharing that type of information with him, even if it is true, only served to be hurtful as well as unhelpful.  I dislike this idea that seems to be embraced more and more often that so long as you’re telling the truth, then that is the only accountability you need for what you say.  I do not think that truth need always trump tact.  Sometimes it is more important to be kind than it is to be honest.  Of course, I don’t mean that one should avoid telling others things that may be painful for the other party to hear simply to avoid an uncomfortable situation, but I really wish more people would consider the ends they hope to achieve when speaking. As an aside, one of our dining party last night (the birthday boy had invited another friend to the festivities) is forever in my bad books for showing up an hour and forty minutes late without an explanation or even a genuine apology.  I understand not everyone is as adamant about punctuality as I am, and am willing to forgive unexplained lateness up to about 20 minutes.  If you’re going to be much later than that, I think you are obligated to get in touch with the other party if you can and inform them of this.  We showed up at the restaurant at 7, were told we had about a 40-minute wait for a table, and were seated at 7:45.  We phoned our dining companion, who was at this point 45 minutes late.  She said she would be there in about 20 – 25 minutes.  She showed up at 8:45.  I think this is especially egregious given that we were at a restaurant for dinner (a busy one at that), so no one felt comfortable ordering anything other than drinks until she had shown up.  Given how late she was, a courtesy phone call telling us it would be ok to go ahead and order without her would have been nice.  I know some girls like to be late to make an entrance, but maybe they ought to strive to do so before other people have made an exit!
2nd December
2008
written by Steph

There is little the dogs love more than watching the street... Maybe turkey

The pups literally spent hours staring out at the street on Thursday

This post is a little late, but Tony & I did celebrate American Thanksgiving. In the midst of long workdays as I struggled to revise a manuscript for publication, it was a welcome holiday and day of rest. You could say that this year, I was thankful for Thanksgiving. (more…)
10th November
2008
written by Steph
On the season premier of "30 Rock", Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy have the following exchange:
Jack: “We may not be the best people.” Liz: “But we’re not the worst.” Both, in unison: “Graduate students are the worst.”
Seriously? Is this true? I think graduate students HAVE it the worst, but surely we are not actually the worst. People should feel bad for us! Really! This is more like it (sorry for the sketchy quality at the beginning of the clip): (more…)
5th November
2008
written by Steph
News flash: Obama won! Tony & I stayed up watching various news feeds on the internet, switching between MSNBC, PBS, and yes, even, occasionally FOX (who seemed to be calling states in favor of each candidate well before all the other networks did). I don’t know when exactly it became obvious to us that Barack had it in the bag, but it was pretty fantastic when the west coast polls closed and all of a sudden his tallies skyrocketed well past the magic 270 and the screen flashed that Barack Obama would be the next president. Of course, then we had to wait for another hour so that we could hear his speech, because we all know the man knows how to give a speech. And speaking of speeches, I thought McCain gave a good concession speech, and only wish it had connected with his target audience more than it clearly did with those squarely in the Obama camp. I don’t believe that his speech makes up for the campaign that he ran, which was fractured at best, and well, far worse than that if I’m not being so charitable. I do not believe that McCain is a bad man, but I do think he ran an atrocious campaign, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say his atrocious campaign ran him. I think it was a regrettable way to essentially conclude his political service to his country, as I can’t see his remaining time in the Senate as anything more than a quiet denouement. But hopefully the ideological threads that were woven throughout both McCain’s and Obama’s speeches will ring true, and the first step towards a united America has been taken. I must admit that I do take some issue with the idea that the victory here is that people wanted a black president to show how much America has grown. If we take the stance that the election of Obama shows America saying “No!” to racism, does that mean then that a failure to elect him would have been evidence that Americans felt they were not ready for a black leader? I think we all lose with that type of reasoning. I would find it far more satisfying to hear people say that they voted irrespective of skin color, and that they chose the best person for the job (and just to be clear, I am sure that most people surely did this). Affirmative action has its place, but I do not believe that a presidential race is one of them. Do we celebrate that the black man’s time has come, or that the best man’s time has come? I respect that it can be both, as the two are certainly not mutually exclusive, but let us hope that America can reach a place where superficial qualities are not used to define a man, a nation, and a moment. I believe that Obama has a kind of political verve and acumen that few people possess. I am confident that his accomplishments will be many and great, and when he is remembered in the annals of American history, the color of his skin will merely be a footnote. I believe Obama restores faith in America to her citizens proper as well as the denizens of the world; he provides a new face to the country, one that instills respect and dignity. He reminds all of us, regardless of nationality, that America united really does have the capacity to rise to greatness, that the human spirit when inspired can soar to incredible heights. And so I say: congratulations to Americans everywhere. You didn’t just do good; no, you’ve done something truly great.
4th November
2008
written by Steph
I am completely riveted by the 2008 Election, which if you haven’t heard already, is an election of historic proportions, since either a really old dude (the oldest first-term Commander in Chief ever!) or a black man (the darkest Commander in Chief ever!) will be named the 44th president of the United States. In the past I have been somewhat disdainful of U.S. politics, the Canadian in me recoiling from the smear tactics and aggressive campaigning (we’re so gosh darn polite in Canada), not to mention the fervent religious undercurrent that frequently becomes an overtone. In those respects, this election has had its fair share of alienating this non-voter, but I’ve also seen a lot to admire and respect as well. It has been inspiring to see just how deeply people (on both sides of the ticket) care about their country and its future. I marvel at stories of people volunteering to drive strangers to the polls, just so that everyone gets the opportunity to exercise his or her vote. When Tony & I went out for dinner on Saturday night, our dining companions wore matching Obama swag, and toted along a purse covered in "Yes We Can" pins. [Aside: I have never seen a Steven Harper (American readers: who?) t-shirt, or even a Jack Layton (American readers: huh?) button for that matter (no one wonders why there's no Stéphane Dion (American AND Canadian readers: ???) merch). This might be because as Canadians we only indirectly vote for our national leader, but I would like to attribute it, at least in part, to the lack of catchy slogans.] Granted, if you live in Tennessee as I do, a vote for change will likely not change anything as this state is a burning crimson red, but still! [Another Aside: For the record, while I fully admit that the Canadian election system is not perfect, I really don’t get the Electoral College system… don’t try to explain it to me... it just seems dumb. Why not just have every person’s individual vote count? Tony keeps trying to explain how you win the popular vote but lose at the Electoral College level (this happened to Gore…), which I sort of understand, but doesn’t this outcome seem like a huge flaw in the system if the MAJORITY voice is being sidestepped? Just do away with the Electoral College already, I say!] I hope Obama wins this. He has been slammed for his rhetoric (amongst other things, of course), but he is a great orator, and I applaud his use of inspiration and hope as a means of motivation rather than hatred and fear. When people are weary and apathetic, hope is perhaps the most difficult thing to offer, and yet it is the most vital. I think Obama has the potential to be a great leader, not because he has the wherewithal and the intelligence to deliver the tangible goods the country needs, but because of all of the intangibles he offers. If you have not watched the “Yes We Can” video put together by will.i.am, do yourself a favor and do so, and you will see what I am talking about. Today, not just America, but the entire world, waits with bated breath. Talk about uniting people.
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