Wi-Fi for the win!
By Jenny Bundock
It is the end of 2008, which was a fantastic year for me. As I think it is customary to do, I’d like to reflect positively on some things that were important to me this past year, and thank those individuals, groups, and organizations that made these things possible. Coinciding with those thank-yous, I would also like to say to those of you who have yet to be touched by some of these things: “Hey, what are you waiting for — 2009 could so be your year to get on the gravy train and start enjoying the world around you, like I did in 2008.”
1. The anonymous, but oh-so-important person, who wherever I seem to go, leaves their Wi-Fi signal open
I needed to thank you first, because when I’ve been totally high and dry this year, with my laptop or iPod touch, in Italy, China, London, coffee shops on Queen Street that charge for the internet, restaurants, new apartments, red lights at not-so-major intersections… there you’ve been — giving away internet that you no doubt pay for. I don’t care if you are just some weirdo who wants to spend money on internet only to have others use it free of charge, and eat your bandwidth; or if you are some community-level philanthropist. Or perhaps you own an iPod touch, and are annoyed as hell when all your cool features don’t work anywhere but your house, where your computer is, so it’s pointless. You are a saint.
2. The American people for electing Obama
Thanks for that. We, the citizens of the world were a little worried there because an old man with the Sarah Palin brick tied to his waist seemed to be giving Obama a run for his money — somehow?! But you came through in the end and that’s all that counts. Good for you. Next, can you do something about Bill O’Reilly?
3. The Republican Party for nominating Sarah Palin as VP candidate
Now that it is all over, I can look back on that time and think “Fuck that was great TV. No one like that is ever going to slip through the cracks like that again… helicopter hunting, crazy-ass accent, Peggy-Hill hairstyle, demon-exorcising, ‘protect me from witches,’ Iraq is a holy war, droppin’ her g’s, winkin’, maverick — and she looks EXACTLY LIKE TINA FEY (one of the very few remaining talented and refreshing comedians on SNL). How on earth did that happen! Whatever cosmic force gave us those few months, I owe it a beer and a handshake, because now that the threat of her ruling the USA is gone, we can all really soak that miracle in.”
4. The creator of http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com/
Thank you. I put this on my Google homepage about five or six months ago, and it never ever gets old. I love these crazy people. I love that they are attracted to clip art, and I love that I can read these notes from anywhere I am in the world. It’s brilliant.
5. The hamster, on a piano (eating popcorn)
(Found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRzTfgds0UI)
Mute the sound, trust me — and just soak in how awesome it would be to a) love popcorn b) have a piece of it that size in relation to the rest of you c) be so absorbed with eating that you don’t notice jerks are screwing with you, and d) have almost 2 million views on YouTube. Thanks for living the dream.
Because I hadn’t realized the potential for spinning until this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZYuRk1pFO0
7. Dark Horse Espresso Bar
I started going here to study in the fall of 2007, I will admit, but I didn’t really feel like I had truly appreciated this coffee shop until days when it was cold as ice outside, and then inside, unburnt coffee and organic milk… vegan raspberry squares… a huge wooden table for of people more stylish than myself… and totally dewy windows, preventing any passers-by from knowing what a rad establishment lay behind the saliva-produced fog. Gross yes, but I’m thankful nonetheless.
8. Merchants of Green Coffee
Thank you for opening your coffee shop just as Dark Horse got too crowded to study or even sit in, and for having better coffee and nicer staff and a location no one seems to be able to find. Also, I appreciate the presence of a shop cat, and your exclusive use of organic milk, with no additional cost. Thank you more than Dark Horse.
Thank you HBO, for saving TV. I had pretty much given up on liking any TV at all, and then, you made The Sopranos, which was so awesome of you (years ago). Then you made The Wire, which is the best TV show I have ever seen, and which I watched all five seasons of this year and still think about sometimes, when I’m alone and have nothing to watch. And finally, thank you for True Blood. I was really bored watching re-runs of Sex and the City — and True Blood is like Sex in the Country… with vampires… and drugs… and ex-Australian soap-opera stars and girls who won Oscars when they were nine. If it hadn’t have been for you, who knows, I might have broken down and watched an episode of LOST this season — or CSI, for the second time ever — and I never could have lived with myself then.
10. Moronic people
What would I laugh at without you? You make treadmills that you can run on outside, and you say things like “Is France a country?” on international television. You yell things at other stupid people when I am in earshot. You can’t name a single newspaper or magazine you read, during an interview, during an election campaign, that you are in — and you tap dance to kill time. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
11. First-year essays
I have had the pleasure of grading essays this term for the first time ever, and I would just like to thank those students who didn’t really do the work, or know how to be strong in their arguments, so they went for aggressive instead. Those students who spelled the names of two Canadian provinces wrong, at different points, in the same essay. Students who, when writing about environmental studies, used words like “lover,” “rape,” “universe,” “scamper,” “money signs,” and “foresters.” There is nothing more to say except, read your textbook, and please, read the paper aloud, once, to yourself, before you hand it in.
I spent a little time in Beijing this summer, and my boyfriend and I were delighted by all of the English text everywhere. From confusing messages about how to use fire extinguishers, to actresses that talked of laughing butterflies in tattoos on their back; my “milk DELUX” that I bought, and how all our receipts from bank machines were labeled “bank advice.” Only when I found this site (earlier today actually, via the humour page on the NYT website) did all that nostalgia come flooding back. Dec 10th’s Sandwich Dare, and Dec 4th’s Panda Flavor are by far my favorites that I’ve seen since I started devouring this website. Thank you for trying to accommodate me during my travels, and at the same time, being more awesome than the best comedians who speak this language ever could be.
13. The Grad House at the University of Waterloo
The 3 Bean Vegetarian Chili… enough said. <3
14. Documentary film-makers
In a year where almost no fiction grabbed me at all, you were there to help me kill several dozen hours. Thank you.
15. Michael Cera
And the people who make it possible for him to be a working actor. Thank you for making me believe in deadpan humour again. I thought it was lost forever. You are brilliant.