The Big Dream and The Get-me-out-of-here

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There is a pandemic sweeping the lives of the late-twenty-early-thirty-something year olds who don’t have children, might have fur-babies and wake up one day asking themselves WHAT THE FUCK.

If you are reading this and taking a big deep breath because you realize you are not alone, you are welcome. If this awakens a long dormant sleeping dragon of thought that you suspected existed but you couldn’t fully recognize, then I apologize – because shiiiiit I am about to justify every niggle you ever felt.

We, the unsettled settled are out there and we are hungry, we are stubborn, we are restless and we are bursting out of our skins. Indulge me in self indulgence all you traditionalists.

Over countless coffee’s and beers, I’ve had the same conversation over and over again. The “I am stuck in a rut and I don’t even know how to get out because I’m too damn tired” one, where educated, hardworking, passionate people, lament the thought bubble we are stuck in. We were told we could have it all. So where is it? Cookie please!

The new normal is that we want to have jobs we like, we want to travel the world, have a couple babies, maybe get married and be able to afford it all while the job market around us is like “JK bae, 10+ years experience, no benefits, $38k pa and you cool with working unpaid overtime and weekends? Holla at me!” and the dating scene is a revolving door of fuckboys and girls who can’t make eye contact with anything but their phones. The news is going: Don’t even THINK about getting on a train/plane or congregating anywhere in public in case of shootings/bombings/knife attacks and our parents are getting older and more dependent. That isn’t depressing. No siree.

Believe me, I’m aware of how lucky I am. I’m writing this to you from a first world country that I am allowed to live in because my parents were born in the right place and got me a “good” passport. If I sound articulate or intelligent by any stretch, it’s because I am also educated thanks to that same birth place, and the guidance of two excellent people who poured money into my brain (via the veins of formal instructional institutions). I’m white, which means I hopefully wont get shot for no reason in my car, and I’m female, which puts me at an advantage or a disadvantage depending on who you talk to, and so long as I’m not running for president.

And listen, I’m the first person to call people out on #firstworldproblems. Believe me. I’ve walked on the sidelines of poverty, I know that there are deeper issues at play in our world than the demented cries of a person who can’t afford the new iPhone.

But if there is one thing I have learned over the last few months of the ups and downs, it is that you can’t just push away things that you feel, and you can’t panic or beat yourself up because you feel them (thanks Mum) or because you are so preoccupied with keeping up the pretences that you have your shit together on social media. We know you don’t have your shit together…we’ve been to your apartment.

I feel it and I’m calling it out. The transition from hopefully graduate to slightly more jaded adult is not that fun at the moment. It’s not cute any more that we feel directionless. This isn’t Sex and the City where our lack of partners is because there is just too much dick to choose from. Our parents are sitting us down telling us they’d “like to see us get on the property ladder” and we’re agreeing with them whole heartedly as we open another letter about our student loans and wondering if we’ll get scurvy if we eat no-brand frosted flakes five nights a week for dinner.

We all started out with such big dreams! We went to school and we played along and we were encouraged to day-dream about what we “wanted to be” when we grew up. And then half of us fell off the wagon somewhere after high school and shrugged and realized that our job’s maybe don’t have to be our careers. Then we split up again when some of us realized that we’d give up that dream job for the security of that paycheck, or the option to travel with work. Those of us that have stayed the course  are more often than not slamming our faces into our laptops in the public library when we are on the hunt for the next job or big break AGAIN, thinking about escaping through English teaching in Asia or “how much DOES selling your *insert body part or fluid* really pay?”

I don’t have the solution to the twentythirtysomething malaise, and no matter how I google it (or Bing it… just kidding The Bing is dead, long live the Bing), no advice post or computer filtered answer can make my decisions for me (though I’d invest in the app that could).

All I know is that personally, I live happiest in the carnage and constant movement of work and sensory overload – when there are TOO many plates spinning in the air (because when that happens, how could I possibly have time to turn inwards). That lifestyle doesn’t really jive-turkey with the expiring “rising-of-the-ladder” career trajectory theory, and I’m tired of trying to be a square peg in a round hole.

Success is measured in many different ways, which is a topic for another day.

But for today – for those this resonates with, just know that you are not alone, and I’ve come to know, for myself anyway, that is the door doesn’t open, I’m just going to have to buy a sledge hammer. The coffee is on me when it comes to these conversations, because maybe if we stack our thoughts and idea’s one on top of each other, we’ll find a way to climb out of these ruts.

 

Sweetpea is Dead

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My name is Paris, and I am not your “Sweetie”, “Sweetpea” or your “Honey”. I am a twenty seven year old adult (as far as you know) that works near you.

There is only one man who is allowed to call me Sweetie, and he wears ugly crocks, speaks bad french and gave me half of my last name (love you Dad).

So why is it, that I find myself being pet-named on frequent occasions, by dudes (and its 99% of the time dudes) I barely know? It is beyond frustrating, rude and very very unprofessional. Haven’t these fuckers watched Mad Men? We don’t want to be cute-sied, we want us to be taken FUCKING seriously. EVERY time some rent-a-suit calls me “Sweetie” I feel my Spice-Girl raised Girl Power soul shrivel and cringe inside. I am woman hear me ROAR.

Why is this happening?

I look down at myself today. Black jeans, black top, side braid, wedges. Nope, as I suspected, not wearing something that could have me be mistaken for a small child on a swing with a broken ice cream cone.

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My attitude? Friendly, bubbly, outgoing. Not ditzy.

Okay. Maybe I’m being sensitive, maybe I should be careful not to fall town the Tumblrina rabbit hole of getting everyone to check their privilege (BOW TO THE POWER OF MY ALL ENCOMPASSING OVARIAN FEMALE MIGHT) but really, I mean really.

Do I look like a Sweetie? Does Madonna get called fucking Sweetpea before she opens a jar of jam with her brickhard thighs? Does Hilary Clinton get “Honey”?

Obama: Hi Honey, just letting you know I’m going to endorse you for president okay pumpkin?

How come I never hear blokes I’ve worked with getting pet names (unless you work in Australia and count ‘Cunt’ as an affectionate pet name)?

It boggles my mind that a man would think its totally fine to call me sweetie, but would NEVER EVER call someone of the same age, and position, different gender, a cute-sy name.

And I wish I could say, “oh its just the older generation, they don’t know any better” but no. No it isn’t. Guys very barely my senior do this. Have they forgotten my name? Is it like when you call someone “Buddy” because you can’t remember and it has been too long and you are afraid to ask?

Thankfully I am not alone in my frustrations. There are plenty of articles online claiming that these “terms of endearment” are actually subtle ways of belittling or condescending strong women in the work force, and urging professional ladies to put their foot down.

Suggestions for combating Sweetie-itis seem to run along the “just say politely do you mind not calling me that” lines, which seems way less dramatic than what I was thinking: morphing into a huge psychotic bitch that no one would dare condescend to and spritzing people with bear mace until they learn.

Sweetpea is dead people. Now, there is only Zuul… I mean Paris.

 

 

5 things I thought would be different when I left home

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It has been almost 10 years since I left home and went out into the wild, scary, unknown world of adulthood living. I feel like I was truly and utterly underprepared for what was out there, and had I known, I’d have pulled a jew-dude (TM) and stayed at home until I was thirty.

But just like with black, there’s really no going back once you have fled the familial nest.

I just had so many misconceptions on what I thought living away from my parents would look like.

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  1. “I can eat whatever I want!”
    Oh, oh…ohhh how I dream of the lovingly prepared home cooked meals of yesteryear. So angry and angsty was I, when a meal was NOT EXACTLY what I felt like eating, but instead an equal measure of vegetables, meat and grains. MEAT! Do you know how expensive that shit is?! What I would give, to have two middle aged people cooking for me three times a day…
  2. “I can stay up SO late”
    Want to know what I did Friday, Saturday and Sunday night this past weekend? Binge watched The Wire (because I’m about 15 years behind in my television programming at this point). I am a morning person, so around 10/10.30pm I start to fade fast. I used to think living away from my parents would be sooooooo wicked because I could just drink and party and watch movies all night long…Turns out my favourite thing these days is sleep. Yeah. I’m pretty cool actually.

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  3. “I do what I want!”
    So long as it doesn’t cost money. Seriously. Sometimes over the last few years I have had all of the freedom and none of the money (funemployed/between contracts) and other times I have had some of the money and none of the time (J.O.B). When can I have all of the money and all of the freedom? (right…right…when I rob a bank Oceans Eleven style…got it…have you guys SEEN that movie? It just came out recently in 2001)
  4. “I can date whoever I choose!”
    Remember when your parents hated that guy you were dating in High School and you were like IHATEYOUWEAREINLOVEyoudon’tunderstandmeGETOUTOFMYROOM! Yeah well. Turns out they were right. Man when I was single, I would have given my left ovary (she’s the gimpy one I suspect) for my parents to be hovering over my shoulder as I swiped like: “No. No. No. Yes Paris. No he will have a weird thing for feet. No. No. What about that nice boy from the coffee shop?” It turns out I just wanna date guys that my parents will like and not weirdo’s with spider-man face tattoo’s. Go figure.
  5. “I’m going to get a creative job and YOU CAN’T STOP ME!”
    In grade 12 when picking degree time came, my mother said to me: “Do a degree with the name of a job in it” and I laughed in her face as I applied for my Bachelor of Arts. I guess, if you were to squint your eyes, choke yourself a bit until no oxygen went to your brain and then smoked some meth – you could really consider my whole life one elaborate “Art”. “So what do you do Paris?” oh me? I’m Art. Yeah I studied it at University. In reality, life has been interesting in the working world (#noregrets) but I definitely find myself veering more towards the corporate world as I see all my fellow creatives struggling and think fucccckthatshit. Oh you live in a basement apartment with your sibling, sister and co-business partners and you work in a deli 3 days a week but your new album just dropped on myspace? Cool dude, Imma go over here and work on my excel skills though….

So many people I know have babies now. Literally holding an infant a week ago and thinking: “this adorable squishy baby girl is going to slam a door in your face some day.”

I wish I could go back ten years and slap some sense into my 17 year old self. Eat my free meals, get my free laundry, and remind myself that unfortunately…your parents were right. Uh! Gross.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…or maims you horrifically for life

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I like that saying: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”(WDKYMYS). It sounds good, it’s inspirational. It makes you think “Heck, things were tough/awful/soul destroying – but I’m still here!!”

People have appropriated that saying into songs (looking at you Kelly Clarkson), put it on T-shirts, tattooed it on their bodies, put it over pictures of sunsets and posted it on each others walls when their friends have been dumped by jerk’s named Derrick (fuck you Derrick you meanie!)

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I like the expression, but I don’t know if I always agree with it.

Because sometimes things kill you a little bit inside and they make you feel weaker, they throw off your game.

Was Leo’s character stronger at the end of the Revenant after he got fucked up by a bear, watched his son get murdered, was left for dead and then had to crawl through the snow and shit of 1800’s Canada to Murder my future ex-husband/baby-daddy Tom Hardy’s character? (Oh yeah, spoiler alert… but seriously if you haven’t seen that movie yet get your shit together – it was nominated for and lost best picture like 5 months ago).

I mean…I guess he was stronger – like how calluses get stronger on the tops of your feet. But he was also weaker because he had lost his humanity, and he was a murderer murderer and he was gross (like a callus – see how I tied all that together? Yay Creative Writing Masters degree)

I wonder if people use WDKYMYS as a way to excuse awful situations they don’t know how to extricate themselves from?

I’d consider myself a strong person who has faced some challenges. Would I exchange them for an easy life where some of the shitty things didn’t happen to me? Yes of course! I’m not insane. Faced with two choices: an easy road and a hard, bush-basher of a path, I think most of us would choose the easy option.

But life doesn’t work like that, and there are plenty of things that will try to throw you off the plans you’ve made, a death in the family, a financial set-back, a painful divorce, an unexpected illness.

So I propose a re-word. “What doesn’t kill you makes you different” – because not all things make you stronger, and thats okay too.

You are not a failure if you come out of a near-death-esque experience and think: “well that fucking sucked” and you’re not stronger.

End of Thought.

 

8 observations for 8 days in LA

“Bus” is a bad word
The bus in LA is incredibly affordable. If you are fortunate to be near a major bus route (which I am) then the $1.25 USD price tag is very reasonable when you consider that this mode of transit covers a serious stretch of space. In Toronto where the Buses/Streetcars/Train is the same price ($3CAD) whether you are going 16 stops or 2 – I appreciate this.

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And yet, everybody seems to hate on the bus. The ones I have taken have not been dirty or (too) full of crazy people. As someone who has primarily lived in 3 major cities with awesome Public Transit, I’m kind of stubborn when it comes to a city that deliberately spreads itself out and doesn’t provide an easy, cheap way to get around.

It’s like you WANT me to have to drive man, and I now I have to do the opposite.

Streets to not walk down
LA is somewhere that has places you can walk, but you definitely need to drive to those places. Like the Griffith Observatory, or cute neighbourhoods. But if you are a clueless visitor like me, you might be under the impression that you can just walk where ever, from point A to point B.

Turns out, LA is a city where a nice street you are walking on, can turn into a scary street just by turning a corner or walking the wrong direction. And its not like you can google: “way home that will be murder and rape free” or “dangerous streets of LA” (Oh shit you totally can for neighbourhoods…maybe that could be an app? Like Google maps but for women just walking minding their clueless bizness?)

Neighbourhood City
Where you live in LA can say a lot of things about you…how rich you are, how cool you are, how artistic you are, if you have a family…and people can tell this simply by the way you answer the question: “So which part of LA are you in?” (By the way my answer tells people that I definitely found my place on craigslist and had no idea about this neighbourhood elitism)

Can I get that Vegan, Gluten-free, Skinny, Non-soy, Organic, Homogenous, Air-Free, Non GMO, and can you tap-it-gently-three-times-with-your-two-index-fingers and whisper “Nancy Noooo!” into the cup before you it?
Do you have a food thing? Like, you can only eat plants that come from a field planted on the west side of a mountain? Good news, LA will cater to you – no matter how ridiculous your request (you weirdo).

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The traffic is the new weather
In other major cities, the weather is a nice safe topic to chat about with strangers. Hong Kong and Sydney:  “So hot today” or “Crazy rain!”, Toronto: snow (lack there of, the crazy amount, the consistency, texture) but here in LA where the temperature remains fairly consistent (not a great conversation starter…”still perfect out there!” “yep”) the Los Angeleans talk about how busy the roads are/were and how crazy traffic is.

We get it, its bad.

And to that I say, “yeah well… maybe if more people took the bus…”

You can survive without a car
The rise of ride sharing companies Uber and Lyft make it super easy to not have a car here, so long as you have a phone with the internet and the app, and a credit card. Parking is a bitch anyway (it takes five minutes to understand the signs themselves) and although I can drive (in theory: passed my test, haven’t driven since) I honestly think having less cars on the roads will also ease traffic issues (also I am terrified of the aggressive driving, but also the noble thing). Plus with Uber Pool and Lyft Line, (carpooling) its very very economical so you can save your dollars for Gluten and Fun free beer (barf).

Everybody wants to tell you their story
Ride sharing these past 8 days have introduced me to people I would never have a ten minute conversation with. And everybody out here seems to have an interesting story. Maybe its because it is a city built on overnight fortunes and aspirational living, but no one has yet said “oh i do this one thing and i’m pretty comfortable” nope. Everyone gives you their headline “I am a song writer but I want to get into modelling” “I work at a country club but I want to get a union job at Frito-Lay” “I work for a startup that is manufacturing Hemp pain relief for Dogs and Horses” (seriously…seriously)

And Last but not least:

The Homeless Situation
I hate to get all serious at the end of this frivolous blog but with the good, sometimes you get the bad, and here it goes…

I’ve travelled all over the world and I have never seen a worse homeless situation than I have in Los Angeles. I had heard of “Skid Row” or “Tent City” but I was not mentally prepared for the reality – which is, there is a population of people living on the streets of one of America’s largest Cities, with views of the millionaires living up in the “hills”. According to this article, the population of the homeless has grown by 12%… Forty Four thousand homeless people living in the city. That figure is gobsmacking, and when I have asked people living here (immigrants and born&breaders) what the ACTUAL fuck is going on, there has been a general shrugging of shoulders, or a gentle shaking of the head and light tsk-ing. Apparently it is well known that psychiatric hospitals discharge patients with one-way bus tickets to LA/California AND there are red tape laws that prevent young homeless people from staying in shelters that house adults.

It is all kinds of fucked up that I’ve seen gold bentley’s cruising down the streets and walked past homes that look like they are bigger than every house I’ve ever lived in put together ever (aka OBSCENE wealth), and then walked past people with wheelie bags and trolleys living under a tarp on a street corner.

Maybe, maybe I could ignore it if I was in any other foreign country. But I can’t because this is America. This is the “land of the free and the home of the brave”. This is (traditionally) the country that everybody looks at, to get a piece of that “American dream”.

And the reality is stark. It is in your face aggressively there. And it isn’t easy for me to understand how anyone can get to the point in their mind where this is normal.

There are so many wonderful things about LA, and I am having such a great time in California, but the Homeless situation is something that you may never know about unless you come here and see it with your own eyes. It is very, very distressing, I don’t know how it can be addressed or fixed in a country that seems to be so angrily against the “socialist ideas” of somewhere like: Canada or Australia say.

Being new to a place gives you a unique perspective – things that become every day, or things that you don’t notice after a while are still very obvious, and funny or sad to me.

LA is like no where I have ever been before – it is a city of 18.5 MILLION PEOPLE, 270,000 Millionaires and 44,000 homeless people.

So far, I’m not too sure what to think – it seems like the kind of place you might fall in love with passionately, or hate with a vengeance.

Time will tell.

 

Cool guys don’t look at explosions

This weekend in Ontario was a long one (thank you commonwealth) and because I am lazy and the weather is nice, I decided to have a movie marathon inside, rather than venture out into the sunshine.

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I’ve had a bit of a hunger for Action Movies since Saturday night’s visual expolgasm in the form of Mad Max Fury Road. Talk about edge of your seat action. That is the first movie I have seen since Avatar (which I saw 3 times in the cinema, fuck off haters – that shit was excellent) where I have walked out and thought, I need to see that on the big screen again…like right now.

But I’m poor and cheap tuesday is around the corner, so instead I turned to the library of movies available to me. I threw some popcorn on the stove (because I’m vintage like that) and settled down to the following movies (none of which I had seen before):

Die Hard with a Vengeance
Reservoir Dogs
Terminator 2

I like to pretend that there is only one guy out there who makes those movie bullet exploding packs (which google tells me are called Squibs – which is incidentally also the name of non-magical people born into wizarding families according to JK Rowlings Harry Potter….)

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And the guy who makes the squibs is like, “okay, how many bad guys you got getting shot?” and the Director goes… I dunno maybe… like 50? And so the Squibs guy is like “uhuh. And how many good guys you got getting shot?” And the Director scratches his head and then flicks through the script to see if there is a well-meaning black guy somewhere in there that gets shot in the line of duty and he goes: um… maybe like 3…4 tops?”

So the Squibs expert goes into his stock room and pulls out 3000 of the fake bullet suckers and goes “ok, these are for the bad guys” and then he pulls out 3 more and he goes “and these are for the good guys”.

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What I’m alluding to with my horrifically written dialogue above is that in all three of the movies I saw today and to some extent Mad Max on Saturday, the ratio of bad guy bullets and the amount of bullets our hero’s take, seem to be like 1000:1. I get that it’s an action movie, it is a bit of suspended disbelief, but honest to Betsy! I’ve never shot a gun in my life and I’m pretttttty sure I could have killed Bruce or Sarah Connors at some point with all the chances I had.

Another thing that really got to me today was how easily things exploded. Okay not Reservoir dogs which is a lot of talking in a warehouse, but Die Hard and Terminator Two?! I swear to god Bruce or Arnie so much as looked at a thing and it exploded. How much did they spend on pyrotechnics on those films? A bucket load I bet. Mad Max also had a lot of gratuitous fire and explosions, I suppose that is to be expected in a 2.5 hour long car chase through the desert. An utterly ridiculous and yet popular part of Mad Max was the guitarist propped by cables on the front of a vehicle in his red onesie, shredding a guitar that randomly spouted fire. There I was thinking: you’re telling me gasoline is extremely valuable in this apocalyptic world and that guy gets to shoot fire out of his guitar?! Okay… I guess… I mean… I’m no warlord so…

And the final thing that struck me, and it is something that the makers of Austin Powers joked about in The Spy who Loved me, why, oh whyohwhyohwhyohwhy must they always tell each other how they are going to kill each other. Why does John McClane tell the Germans when he’s coming up the tunnel behind them? Why would you do that knucklehead? Now they’re going to run, you dumb idiot?! Why does Vic Vega talk to the captured policeman. I didn’t know what was going to happen… But I knew somebody was going to stop him. Such ARROGANCE enjoying the moment, talking it out… just do it already!

I love action movies, don’t get me wrong. Maybe my brain was scrambled by watching too many in a row. They sort of started to feel formulaic, like you knew the explosions were going to happen, someone was going to end up looking bloody and beaten, and a character you liked a lot was going to fall into some dire situations.

But the part where I suddenly thought…okay well thats enough of that genre for a while, was The Terminator…being lowered into a pit of boiling… metal I guess? Giving the thumbs up as his final gesture…. Are you serious right now?

Bye bye – just kill me even though I admit I feel pain, and I got here from the future, but Nah, don’t send me back. It’s cool. Just melt me up. And the kids crying, and the mum looks distraught…. I just… hmmm.

Time for some Family Guy

4 Reasons my iPhone 4 and I need to break up

I was late to the world of smart phones.
Blame technology illiteracy, blame laziness, blame fear of the new. When I left Australia in 2011 I was rocking a a sweet Samsung Slide phone

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And when I arrived in Canada I went with another shitty phone: a Huweiwei or somethiiiiing.

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It was only after a year with this phone – (which while not a cool touch screen phone, did have the internet on it – so I could check facebook on the run – game changer) that I decided to join the realm of smart phones.

The iPhone 5 was about to drop so I figured I’d go for an iPhone 4, which 3 years ago was pretty cheap (by Canadian phone-plan ridiculous standards).

We’ve been together 3 years now, and with an upgrade up for grabs, I think it is time my iPhone 4 and I broke up.

Here are 4 reasons

1. You never listen to me

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Whenever I ask you to go to instagram or to answer a skype call, your response is to freeze and then do the opposite of what I asked. Are you listening to me iPhone?! Because… I feel like you are not. This is why, first love, I think we need to break up.

2. You’re mean to my friends
You are always getting between me and my friends. Whether it’s when they call or text me, or when they send me something funny via social media. Facebook? Forget it, I had to delete that shit months ago because of your interfering ways. You’re ruining my (social) life. How will I know how Ashlea’s day was?! iPhone 4… It’s not working out. I think I should see other phones and you should see the inside of a bin.

3. I don’t find you attractive anymore

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I’m sorry, but I find myself checking out Androids. You just aren’t that hot any more. No there’s nothing you can do. No I don’t think updating my iOS is going to help. Please stop iPhone 4… you’re embarrassing yourself.

4. I can do better
Listen iPhone 4. We had our good times. But I came into this knowing it wasn’t forever. To be honest… I never thought we’d make it three years. I thought I’d drop you (on the ground) long before we reached this point. Don’t cry because it’s over, laugh that you outlasted most of your friends. Even if I don’t decide to go and bat for another team for a while (lesbian joke), I can still upgrade that shit to… an iPhone 5 at least (lets get real – I’m not money bags o’er here). No there’s nothing you can do. No I don’t want one last app upgrade for “old times sake”.