Having had the year to settle into Toronto, it’s time to finally get back to some summer adventures while I still can. At least get out of the city a bit more. Some camping trips to the north will be in order, but I’ve yet to setup plans for those. I have, however, set some up for south of the border, back in the United States later this summer.

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The holiday drive home to North Dakota will likely not be coming to fruition. Discovering a bulge on one of my car tires, I probably need that addressed before I take it on a 1300+ mile road trip. I don’t quite have the dispensable cash on hand for an entire new set of tires, since they’re all ~2/3–3/4 worn at this point (in the event the bulge’s origination isn’t reparable). So, driving isn’t an option right now.

Being that new tires aren’t exactly affordable right now, nor are plane tickets. Flying around Christmas is rather much a nightmare, anyways, so I guess my best option is to forego the trip (for now), and just hang low in Toronto. Conveniently, this at least ensures I can make a Christmas party in a couple weeks down in Buffalo, so at least I’ll have that!

I can’t wait to hear the bemoaning from (most of) my Fargo friends who were anxious to see me again for a change. Ironically, they’re the ones who precipitated my ire over neglectful friends, and needing to do something about them. Thankfully, my strongest network is clearly the Buffalo crowd (who I’ve known half as long), with a few choice individuals in the midwest still. I keep hoping to finally incorporate a person or two from Toronto, but it feels like a game of whack-a-mole: as soon as I’m about to get a hold of one, it disappears for a while. Along that same analogy, I’ve got more “moles” rearing their heads, but with equal uncertainty. Running around trying to catch them just isn’t working; maybe I need to take an old stratagem from my college dating days.

Quit trying, and just let life happen.

I found Holly during that period, and a few more good friends, and it was great. Between my frantic mental attempts to try & make time for things in the hopes I can interest another person or three to go, and the ever distracting workload of my postdoc, I’m probably better off just not trying. Pull my head & neck back in, stick to my own, and just trod on. Don’t neglect to be engaging when prompted, but definitely no need to try and “put myself out there.”

Would it really be the end of the world coming out of a three year postdoc here with just one friend, and a bunch of professional acquaintances? Probably not. Especially if I end up moving elsewhere afterwards for my next step professionally. If I don’t end up moving out of Toronto? Well. I’ll just be that much better at enjoying what the city has to offer as a lone individual; nothing to hold back my interests, and no one to judge my idiosyncrasies (amusingly or crassly).

Sounds slightly depressing, but the better I can make the end result look, the better I can be in accepting the plan.

So. I wonder what the hell there is to do in Toronto as a one-man show on Christmas day?

December 22 – Travel. How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

Travel really wasn’t terribly exciting over the past year. A few drives down to Maryland and back, a roadtrip to Toronto for a pre-season Bills game, a roadtrip to see the Bills playing in Cincinnati, and a flight back to North Dakota to take a mini-vacation to see family and friends. I had considered a drive back to be with the family for Christmas, but I was kind of driven out by that point (and I’m really not a huge fan of flying back into Minot, to be honest).

My itinerary for 2011 is basically where I didn’t get to this year, time and funds permitting. I still would like to take a train ride up over and up to Montreal before I leave western NY. There is supposed to be a lot of lovely scenery going up the Adirondacks, along the Hudson Valley. And along that route, I wouldn’t mind stopping over to see Rob and his wife on the other side of Lake Champlain, in Burlington, VT.

I wouldn’t mind taking a road trip to Chicago and actually seeing the city for a change, instead of always trying to race through it as quickly as possible when returning to North Dakota or Minnesota. I hear there’s a lot to do downtown near the lakeshore, and I’d like to check that out at some point. It’s also a relatively cheap hop if I would rather fly, however, I’m not the most keen on being left without a vehicle until I find some other adequate means of getting around.

In line with the cheap hops, I need to take a trip back to Minneapolis to visit some of my friends I didn’t get to drop in on during my last excursion to the Midwest. Hopefully I’ll be able to pull that off within the next couple months, while there is still some winter there to enjoy!

The long-shot trip I’d like to take is flying out to Seattle. I have some relatives that live out there, and I’m dying to see the city after being in Vancouver during the summer of 2009. I’m not sure if I can afford that trip, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out on ticket prices if it becomes feasible at all.

I disappeared down to Baltimore, MD, just over a week ago on a completely short-notice lark. I’ll detail that more later with a beaming review of Art Brut‘s second to last concert of their tour. I’m falling behind on this blog, so I need to step it up a notch!

Lookit the pretty pictures! Okay, so *I* think they’re pretty. Go take a look if you’re curious. I took a few while I was in Cunningham Falls State Park before I left Maryland. Here’s one with Adrienne (my good friend from the Midwest, and delightful host for my stay) on our way back down the mountain.

Big Hunting Creek

So my ten year reunion is coming up at the end of this July. I’m really unsure of whether or not I really want to attend this, mostly because of the precarious predicaments currently going on in my life right now. Regardless of if I attend it or not, I will be driving back to Minot to at least see my family, and maybe discretely coax/coerce/beg them for a few choice items to help me out after I get moved into my new place (a toaster oven would be fantastic!.

As with every trip I have taken back to the Midwest, I will be stopping in and seeing my remaining friend in Fargo. Albeit, I had a wonderful weekend in Buffalo, MN, last weekend with Adrienne and company, she’s unfortunately one of my closer friends that I don’t get to see nearly enough. That, and I have some others that I haven’t seen in nearly three years (e.g. Brenda in Valley City), so I have some catching up to do if I can manage it. Between that, and probably taking three to four days of relaxation in Minot to decompress and maybe see the North Dakota State Fair (it’s been years since I’ve been to that), hopefully I can clear my head of some things that have preoccupied my thoughts as of late.

Better yet is coming at the end of September. Over the weekend, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Andrew Bird is playing at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis on September 29th. That’s cool and all, I thought. It might be neat to see, but that was looking like a long trip just to hear him live. What I noticed second was the accompanying group below his name on the ad that I saw: St. Vincent. Holy crap! Bird and Vincent, both, live, $28…I think I started to drool at the thought! I have been listening to Andrew Bird ever since Sarah spoiled me into his realm of musical wonder a little over a year ago. Even more so, I’ve been captivated by St. Vincent’s latest album, Actor, since it came out and have been listening to some of her older stuff as well (just Marry Me at the present). I really want to get a listen of Blue Angel, Stairwell and Oh Oh Love as well, but so far I just love her stuff. I really miss finding music with all these unique melodies that my ears just love to eat up! Just look at my Last.fm history for the past three months if you don’t believe me!

Needless to say, I jumped on buying these tickets as soon as possible. I was up at (a woefully late) 8:30am on the day the tickets went on sale (they officially started selling at 7am) and picked up a four-pack of tickets at $28 each. So, if any of friends reading this think they would like to join me in Indianapolis on September 29th to go see these two amazing musicians live, let me know! I offered one to my brother since I will likely crash at his place in Bloomington when I drive down, so I have at least two tickets available (so far). If he declines it, I will have three. Regardless, I’m looking to get someone to take each one, ’cause I know this should be an amazing concert!

On that note of amazing concerts, is anyone interested in coming out to see any off the following at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, ON, Canada?