5 Lazy Halloween Costumes You Can Pull Together Today

If you woke up this morning and thought, “Oh crap, it’s Halloween. I guess I should dress up like something” then this post’s for you!

I find myself in a stage of life where I could care less about Halloween. I don’t have kids and I have no desire to dress up and go to a bar. Granted, I’ve never cared that much about Halloween. You know what I love? November 1st, the day candy goes on sale. (I also love February 15th.)

But maybe you have a job where you might want to dress up. Or you want to throw on a costume before people start ringing your doorbell.

So here are my ideas for Halloween costumes you can dress up as tonight.

1) Someone you live with. This is definitely the easiest. Borrow some clothes from your husband/roommate/mom and wear them. Tell people you are your husband/roommate/mom. If you are at a party where a lot of people know your husband/roommate/mom this will probably be funny, especially if the person you are dressed up as talks in a particular way or has a certain tic, like squinting a lot. Also, if you are a female, nothing gets rid of men at parties or bars faster than telling them you are dressed as your own fiance. Trust me.

OK, the scarf and slippers are mine.

2) Frat boy at a toga party. Use a sheet to make yourself a toga. White is preferable but, let’s be honest, frat boys aren’t too concerned. Drink terrible beer. Generally be annoying. If anyone asks you about Roman history, act like you’ve never heard of it.

Alternately, you can be a girl at a toga party. Get yourself some wine coolers and hike that toga up above your knees. Put some leaves in your hair and show a shocking ignorance about Roman history in general.

3) Someone from the 80s/early 90s. This is my personal favourite go-to. The idea here is that you’re not anyone specific, you’re just a person from the 1980s. That’s basically shorthand for a person with terrible fashion taste. If you’re female, shoulder pads are a must. Tapered jeans and neon colours are great. If you have a slap bracelet, throw (slap?) it on! A side ponytail or lots of hairspray and, of course, blue eyeshadow.

4) Mister Rogers. What you need: slacks, a light-coloured button-up dress shirt (preferably a light blue or white), a dark-coloured tie, a red cardigan. Add some gray (flour or baby powder works) to your hair and keep a smile on your face and you’re ready! Bonus points if you change your shoes when you arrive at the party/bar!

5) A chameleon. This is definitely my favourite on this list but also the one that requires the most commitment. I can’t take credit either – this is something my husband actually did at a Halloween party 4 years ago.

Throw a lot of clothes in a duffel bag. The more, the better. Make sure you have lots of different colours and fabrics. Hats are good too. Paint your face green. You know, because chameleons, or something.

At the party, every time you stand beside someone, quickly pull together an outfit like theirs from your duffel bag of clothes. It won’t be exact of course but try to match the colours or style as closely as possible. Be creative! Then stand very still beside this person and bug out your eyes.

You can also try blending in with furniture.

Practically invisible!

Bonus: If you’re a black man, put on a suit and talk like President Obama. When people ask if you’re Barack Obama, act offended. “What? You think Obama is the only successful black man in the world?” Then tell them that you’re Kenneth Frazier, the first African-American CEO of a pharmaceutical company.

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Scenes From a Sunday

After a few days of rain and a tsunami warning* last night, a day of sun came as a surprise.

This morning before church.

Afternoon on the beach.

I’ve heard people from eastern Canada (Please note: I consider anything east of the Rockies to be eastern Canada but usually when I say “eastern Canada” I mean Ontario and beyond.) complain that we don’t have a “real fall” here on the west coast. Personally, I don’t think that’s true at all and what does “real fall” mean anyway? Our seasons definitely change, though the change may look different. I love fall on the west coast because a) it’s the only fall I really know and as such I’ve spent years learning its signs and intricacies and little beauties and b) it’s a perfect combination. Let me explain. See, here on the west coast of B.C. it rains. A lot. Many people see this as a downside but the huge perk of it is that it’s almost always green around here. Add to that the fact that this land is covered with coniferous evergreens and we get to look at a lot of green. I love the fact that even as leaves change colour and drop, the world around here still looks thriving and alive. The deciduous trees are sparks of colour, something unique, scattered in among our steadfast pines and cedars and firs.

* The tsunami warning was not that serious where we are, thankfully, though it is a reminder of a possible danger. I’m thankful to hear this morning that the damage from Canada’s 3rd largest recorded earthquake has been minimal.

Book Review – The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

I feel prepared to make the argument that The Fault in Our Stars is not a young adult book. It’s a book about young adults. I think there are books, written for a young adult audience, or any particular audience, that are well-written enough and important enough that they become greater than their intended audience. So let’s say, this is a good book, with young adult characters.

I brought The Fault in Our Stars home from the library. I sat down on the couch to read. I didn’t get up until I finished reading it. And that isn’t because it’s an easy read or I’m a good reader or blah blah blah. It’s simply because this is an engaging and powerful story. I cared about the characters and I wanted to know what would happen.

The story is told from the perspective of Hazel, a 16-year-old girl whose cancer has been stopped but not cured. She meets a boy named Augustus Waters. I really don’t want to tell you anything else about the plot. The story is told as a retrospective but has a sort of immediacy that feels like Hazel is telling you about her life almost as she is living it.

The Fault in Our Stars is funnier than you’d think a book about teenagers with cancer could be. It’s sad too but it’s not a sad book. It’s a hopeful book rather than a tragedy, yet an entirely realistic one too. Green clearly takes this story, the lives of his characters, seriously. There is little attempt to romanticize cancer or those who suffer from it. One of the overarching messages of the novel (and there are a few, I think) is that cancer does not make saints. Dying of cancer (or, arguably, any disease) can be a long, lingering, painful, horrifying experience. And while death is something that each of us will face, not many of us have to face it at such a young age.

Really though, this is a love story. Not in a cheesy, Harlequin way or in an eye-rolling teen romance kind of way but in a “this is what falling in love is like” way. So often in books or movies where teenagers fall in love I am screaming in my head at them that love isn’t like that, that their expectations and relationships are totally unrealistic. The Fault in Our Stars knows that falling in love is really, truly amazing and terrifying, all mixed together. It’s the best thing that will ever happen to you and yet the moment you fall in love you are giving someone the power to hurt you, or you will be the one to hurt them. Hazel struggles with this in a way that I thought was really honest and realistic. I thought this little exchange between Hazel and a friend was perfect:

“Sometimes people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them,” I said.

Isaac shot me a look. “Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.”

I read that and thought, “That’s precisely what I think my marriage vows are.”

I’m impressed with John Green’s writing, which is deceptively simple. I’m equally impressed with the fact that he writes convincingly from the perspective of a teenage girl something, I’m assuming, he has never been. There is an element of Hazel and Augustus being just a little wittier, a little quicker with the smart responses than real people but, after all, the story is told from Hazel’s perspective. And isn’t that what we all sound like in our own heads?

Find out more about John Green at his website: johngreenbooks.com There’s a really interesting FAQ section where Green answers questions about the book. I would strongly recommend not reading these questions until you’ve read the book because they are full of spoilers.

Also, Green and his brother have a youtube channel where they are funny and nerdy.

I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.

The Bachelor Canada – Episode 4

We are zooming through the first season of the Canadian Bachelor. If you thought the regular Bachelor was a fast way to “find love”, we Canadians are even speedier apparently. Next week is hometown dates already. I can’t even keep track of all the ladies’ names yet!

This was not a super exciting episode but here it goes.

Date #1: The group date

  • Britany, Gabrielle, Kara and Ana are chosen for a fashion shoot with LOULOU magazine. (I had to look up the name to make sure I got it right. I’ve never heard of this magazine.)
  • It’s pretty obvious this is all about product placement and advertising. It’s not just a coincidence that they’re doing the ladies up with Rimmel make-up and every commercial break has an ad for Rimmel.
  • Britany tells us she’s a small town girl about 130 times. I believe she’s from Swift Current, which has a population of 15,000. (I looked it up. I don’t know Saskatchewan population stats off the top of my head.) Well, Brit, I live in a smaller town. I am not a small town girl though.
  • Anyway, Britany’s freaking out about having her picture taken and worrying that she’s not as pretty as the other girls. And, you know what, that’s a really normal concern of women. Sadly, many women feel that way. I thought it was fairly perceptive of Brad to realize this (maybe a producer told him) and take the time to take to Britany. I wish he could have been a little more enthusiastic in building her up but it’s also pretty obvious that she’s not one of his top picks.

Brad and Britany pose for the camera. What are some “BR” names they could call their kids?

  • Later in the date Britany takes time to explain to Brad that her father has struggled with depression and alcoholism. Honestly, I felt uncomfortable with the fact that she had to share something like that on TV to a guy she barely knew. Did she really want to share all that? Sure, in the real world, if you were about to bring a guy home to meet your parents, you’d want him to know all that. But you’d obviously be at a much more serious point in your relationship.

Next we have the obligatory contestant-sneaks-out-to-see-the-lead. This seems to happen every season. This time it’s Whitney. Of course they make it seem like, oh no, she might get in trouble! Really? There is a camera crew following her. Obviously those in charge know she is there. How else do you think she found your room, Brad? Also, as my husband pointed out, they are adults. In the real world, adults don’t get in trouble for seeing another adult that they’re dating.

Brad, unfortunately, is happy that Whitney is here. Maybe it’s just the edit she’s getting but Whitney scares me. Brad tells her about the deaths of two of his closest friends and begins to cry as he does so. I don’t know if Whitney felt uncomfortable or what but she didn’t move or change expressions while he cried. She doesn’t reach out to hold his hand or give him a hug. And at the end, she tells him, “I better get that one-on-one date.”

Brad is making a classic mistake here. He thinks he and Whitney are closer now because he shared something intimate with her. He doesn’t seem to realize that she hasn’t shared anything with him. Their intimacy is not a two-way deal here.

Date #2: The 2-on-1 date

  • Bianka and Laura go to Paris! Yes, Paris. For a couple of days. Would that be really cool or would it kind of suck?
  • Format’s a bit different than we’re used to with the American version. Rather than a single, super awkward date with one guy and two girls, Brad has two separate dates and then chooses between the ladies.
  • It’s less awkward to watch but still kind of weird when you realize that Brad is wearing the same clothes and the dates seem to occur back to back.
  • Laura’s date is first. Brad is concerned that she is not emotionally mature enough.
  • Brad tells her that kissing under the Eiffel Tower is good luck. Uh, really? Is that a thing? I have never ever heard that. I think Brad made that up. Our friend who watched the episode with us says that he will go to France and try to use this line. Good luck!
  • They walk around in the rain and then they’re somewhere wearing white robes? It makes me uncomfortable.
  • On Brad’s date with Bianka we learn that Brad is not good at sharing umbrellas. Seriously, Bianka even tells him so and he does little to improve. As a girl from the wet West Coast, this is important to me.
  • We see Brad use his Quebecois French at a Parisian cafe. The waitress doesn’t spit at him even with his Canadian accent!
  • Brad thinks that Bianka is the most realistic and he tells her he loves being with her. Yeah, she’s gonna win this date-off.
  • Brad changes into a bright pink shirt and then puts on a baby blue jacket. I did not make that up. It looks Terrible. 80stastic.
  • Brad makes his choice between Laura and Bianka while they are standing at the side of the road. There are cars passing by and a ton of background noise. It really seems like they could have chosen a better spot to film this.

Laura, Brad, and Bianka in Paris. Many cars drive past them.

  • Bianka gets the rose and Laura watches while Brad and Bianka ride off in a carriage together.

Date #3: 1-on-1

  • From Paris to Penticton. So romantic!
  • Whitney gets this one-on-one rose, which sort of seems unfair because she already spent time with him.
  • Wait, Whitney’s 24? That’s gotta be a lie, right? I mean, she looks much older. I would have guessed 32. She can’t be younger than me.
  • Whitney and Brad rappel off the side of a cliff. It’s pretty boring.
  • They have dinner at a vineyard (of course, it’s the Okanagan) and Whitney gets a rose.

Brad and Whitney rappel down a cliff. It’s like love or something.

We cut back to the mansion on Bear Mountain to see Chantelle receive a phone call from home. Her grandfather has died. I don’t know if the producers knew beforehand what this phone call would contain but it really seems inappropriate to film Chantelle’s reaction to the news of her grandfather’s death. If it were me, the last thing I would want is a camera in my face while I deal with that kind of loss.

Chantelle opts to leave for the funeral and to be with her family. Which is totally reasonable and admirable. It did seem odd though that her returning didn’t even seem to be an option. I don’t know if that was her choice or Brad’s. Maybe she’ll be the one to return in one of the last episodes. (There’s always someone.)

The Rose Ceremony:

  • Whitney and Bianka already have roses and therefore guaranteed hometown dates.
  • The last two roses go to Kara and Gabrielle.
  • Gabrielle was a surprise as I don’t see what she and Brad have in common. I predict that she’ll go home next episode.
  • Final predictions? Either Bianka or Kara. Kara seems like perhaps the smarter choice but Brad seems to have more chemistry with Bianka.

New Pants!

This story begins with my desire for a pair of coloured pants. You know what I’m talking about, right? Yellow pants, purple pants, red pants, blue pants. It’s a Dr. Seuss story in the fashion world right now. Pants come in many different colours and that’s exciting.

It’s also scary though. Because I’ve worn coloured pants before. It wasn’t cool. It was the 90s. There is a school photo of me, in 1994, wearing purple jeans, a shirt in a different shade of purple, and a vest with a purplish-paisley design. If I had a copy of it now I would share it with you because I was nine years old and I’m not embarrassed that I wore an outfit like that when I was a kid. I’m also not embarassed that I thought it was acceptable to wear the same pink sweatpants every day of the week in the second grade.

However…I’m not nine anymore. Surely, coloured pants should stay in the 90s where they belong. And yet…I was tempted. I kept seeing them on blogs and in commercials, and then on real people who didn’t look ridiculous. Finally, I took to the internet.

See, I wanted a pair of coloured pants yet, at the same time, this has trend written all over it and so I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that I might only wear this year. I find a good deal on-line (from a site where I could return them for free, if necessary) and they arrived yesterday.

Here’s a picture so you can see the colour:

I wear blue jeans all the time so I’m looking forward to mixing and matching with a new colour. Plus, no matter how much I try to avoid it, I always end up with a lot of blue shirts. I love blue but wearing a blue shirt with blue pants is a little, well, 4th grade, right?

Has anybody else out there jumped on board with the coloured pants trend? Did anybody else wear coloured pants in the 90s?

Book Review – Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

This summer I read Jane Eyre for the first time and greatly enjoyed it. So it made sense to read Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (who is not a French man like I presumed for some reason). Wide Sargasso Sea is an unofficial prequel to the famous novel and has since become fairly famous in its own right.

Wide Sargasso Sea tells the story of the other Mrs. Rochester. Not Jane but Bertha Mason, Mr. Rochester’s first wife. In Jane Eyre, Bertha Mason is a shadowy figure. She’s almost more of a prop than a person. Although she creates some action in the novel she primarily seems to exist as a barrier to be overcome by Jane and Rochester. Rhys explores the beginnings of Bertha’s (known in this novel as Antoinette Cosway) life and her marriage to a young Mr. Rochester. The first part of the novel is told from Antoinette’s perspective, preceding her marriage. The second part is told from the point of view of her new husband, who is never named.  Other characters from Jane Eyre make brief appearances, such as Richard Mason and Grace Poole.

Rhys creates a fully fleshed woman out of the madwoman of Jane Eyre. Our author clearly has sympathy for this first wife, briefly loved and then discarded. We see her as a young girl, growing up in a secluded and dangerous atmosphere, watching her mother possibly go mad. We see her as a beautiful young woman, someone to catch Mr. Rochester’s eye. We witness the quick disintegration of a marriage without love or trust.

Rhys’ novel was published in 1966 and its style differs vastly from that of Jane Eyre. There is no neat conclusion such as so often found in Victorian novels. There are few answers. We witness a vast change in both of our main characters but no single person is to blame. Rhys also brings to the fore the racial tensions that are barely mentioned in Jane Eyre. Antoinette is the child of a white father and a Caribbean mother and unaccepted by either race. How much does this have to do with Rochester’s ultimate denial of her?

The Caribbean location is beautifully described. Rhys seems to use the surroundings of Antoinette’s home as a means to further describe her character and her beauty. By the time Antoinette is forced to leave the Caribbean and live in England (which any reader of Jane Eyre will know is coming) it feels like a far crueller punishment than Rochester can know. In part two, as we witness the place through his eyes, Rhys lets it chill us, imbuing every description with a sense of danger and showing us Rochester’s growing discomfort with his surroundings.

I thought the words of one character perfectly summarized the purpose of Wide Sargasso Sea. Speaking to Rochester, a servant girl tells him, “‘Yes,’ she said, ‘I am sorry for you. But I find it in my heart to be sorry for her too.'” This, I believe, is what Rhys attempted, and accomplished with her novel. Where Jane Eyre left a problem to be surmounted, Rhys created a woman.

Rainforest Living

Yesterday evening Peter and I sat down to dinner and Pete immediately jumped up to grab the camera. “Don’t you want to talk a picture of this meal?” he asked.

So, here it is:

That’s chicken pot pie and butternut squash soup. And a glass of wine. I made everything but the wine! I think the fact my husband wanted to take a picture of this meal should tell you that I’m hardly this domestic every day. This was my second time making chicken pot pie from scratch and I love it! It’s really not as hard as it might seem and it’s so, so yummy. Plus, once you start making it, it’s easy to make extra and freeze. Yesterday I added apples from our yard for a little extra crunch.

Also, a golf ball we found on the beach.

The weather has changed. Autumn is definitely here. We’ve had a couple of nights of rain so heavy that it’s woken me. And I’m a deep sleeper. It was easy to forget over the summer that we live in a rainforest. Now it’s hard to forget. Fortunately, I have spent the majority of my life on the West Coast and I kind of love the rain. (Most days.)

Once the weather changed I pulled all my clothes out of storage and unpacked. It was way more exciting than I thought it would be. Since we left Chilliwack in June and spent the summer housesitting and in a state of uncertainty about our future, I was living with a smaller, strictly summer wardrobe. Seeing old favourites again was almost as much fun as buying new clothes! Plus, I gave away a whole bunch of clothes and couldn’t remember some of what I’d kept or gotten rid of. So there were some nice surprises too.

I’m also delving into the world of on-line shopping. I’ve never really bought clothes on-line, just jewellery and books. But now that I live in the remote wild, I have fewer options. (Actually, that’s only partly true. There’s a few clothing stores in Sechelt that I like, as well as some good thrift stores.) In an effort to find some good deals though I braved the internet. If my new arrivals looks good, I might share them with you!

That’s a storm coming across from Vancouver Island (we face Nanaimo).

The Bachelor Canada – Episode 3

This past week has been busy/exhausting, hence the recent blog neglect. Obviously, you’ve all been waiting on the edge of your seats for my thoughts on the most recent episode of The Bachelor. Well, here it is (non-Bachelor related blogness will come soon!)

The episode opens with host Tyler Harcott (I think that’s his name) coming in and telling the ladies, “And then there were twelve.” Which is not something people say, ever. Our host Tyler seems to do even less than American Host Chris Harrison. And Chris is notorious for having the easiest hosting job ever.

The first 1-on-1 date of the night goes to Kara. She played softball or something, right? Some highlights:

  • Kara thinks her denim-on-denim outfit is “fabulous.” Does this fit into some sort of Canadian cliche? Canadian tuxedo and all that? I know that denim-on-denim is sort of in fashion again but I just can’t get onboard. Kara is beautiful but she looks like she’s lost her way from an 80’s country music video.
  • Then again, they are on their way to Alberta. Via helicopter? How long would that take? Is it safe to go over the Rockies on a helicopter?
  • Neither of them have ever been on a horse but for this date they will be riding horses and wrangling cattle. Honestly, I would hate this date. Not because I’m afraid of getting dirty but because I’m a little bit afraid of horses. Yes, I admit it. I would be so busy trying not to fall off a horse that I would not have fun.
  • They have dinner in “a romantic barn”. That’s a direct quote. I feel that if you want a barn to be romantic, you should call it a stable.
  • Kara didn’t know there would be a rose? Has she seen this show?
  • Brad refers to this as a “low key date”. Really? You flew across the Rocky Mountains in a helicopter!

Date #2: The group date

  • Ana, Bianka, Britany, Gabrielle, and Tia are all chosen for the group date. Which will take place in Sayulita, Mexico. It’s almost like, in an effort to prove the Canadian Bachelor isn’t just a low-budget version of the regular Bachelor, they are going overboard.
  • Brad wears a tank top. His board shorts are Vanilla Ice level hideous. (And I say that as someone who has recently watched Cool as Ice.
  • Their date consists of bringing toys and sporting equipment to a children’s home? rec centre? school? and playing with the kids. Hopefully the women did all actually enjoy this experience but really, isn’t this the one date where you absolutely have to pretend you’re having an amazing time, otherwise you’re a pretty awful person?
  • Afterwards they all head to a pool where a mariachi band is hanging out. (Mexican stereotypes!) The ladies are all wearing bikinis and Brad is wearing a neon tanktop and hideous shorts. It makes me uncomfortable.
  • There’s no rose on this group date (another difference) but Brad will choose one lady to have a 1-on-1 date with the next day. He chooses Bianka.
  • Suddenly all the women are holding little pink roses. No one alludes to it.
  • Bianka seems surprisingly normal for someone who used to date Kris Humphries. She says she doesn’t know if she likes Brad yet, which is a completely legitimate thing to say about a man you’ve known for about a week and never spent time alone with. Of course, saying that makes all the other ladies think she “isn’t here for the right reasons”.
  • My feeling is that Bianka is not the type who chases men. Her hard-to-get style seems to work on Brad.

Date #3: The group date…again

  • Back in Victoria, Nicole, Whitney, Laura, Michelle, Sophie, and Chantelle are taken on a group date to Sooke. Ooh, exotic!
  • The date consists of a series of lumberjack-style competitions, the ladies being divided into 2 teams. Obviously they’re competing for who gets to spend more time with Brad and obviously Whitney gets scary competitive and says things that hint at violence.
  • My first reaction to this whole lumberjack thing was that it’s another Canadian stereotype and we’re not all lumberjacks and a Canadian show should know better than to perpetuate this myth. And then I heard the name of the group, which is the West Coast Lumberjack Show and, well, I definitely saw them perform in Gibsons this summer.
  • That’s the group doing an ax-throwing competition. So, yes, it’s a stereotype but I guess it’s part of our culture.
  • Also, I’ve been in a pool jousting competition like the one Sophie and Whitney competed in. I was 12 and I totally won.
  • Chantelle, Laura, and Sophie win the competition and head to the Sooke Harbour House with Brad. I’ve never been but it is supposed to be a lovely restaurant. When they arrive Dean Brody (?) is singing about Canadian girls. I have no idea who this guy is but Chantelle and Laura actually seem to. Which is a step up from the usual fake excitement of the contestants.

The Rose Ceremony

  • Brad throws a curveball (or some type of football equivalent) by sending in Host Tyler to tell the ladies that there will be no cocktail party and that 4 of them will be sent home that night, rather than the expected 2.
  • However, there’s really no drama here because it’s obvious who Brad will keep and who he likes. The show tries to create a false sense of intensity by Whitney receiving the last rose but we know that Brad likes her. For some reason.
  • I have to say, I like that Brad goes for the big kill and wipes 4 ladies of the board. Sure, he isn’t likely to actually find lasting love with anybody here but if he’s going to try then he should try to spend as much time as possible with as few ladies as possible. Plus, he obviously isn’t going to be attracted to every woman who shows up and it’s nice that he doesn’t seem to want to pretend.
  • You know who wouldn’t have ever done this? Newly-single former-bachelor Ben, who would never have given up the chance to make out with as many women as possible.
  • Chantelle, Gabrielle, Britany, Ana, Bianka, Laura, and Whitney all last for another week.

The Bachelor Canada – Episode 2

Last night was our second episode of The Bachelor Canada. I have to say, I love that it’s taking place in Victoria. I lived in this lovely city for eight years and I’m really enjoying spotting some familiar places. Is that very Canadian of me? To be excited that somewhere I’ve been is on TV?

(Side note: This week I watched the movie The Big Year. There’s a scene where Steve Martin heads to Gibsons, British Columbia. Which happens to be about a 20 minute drive away from here on the Sunshine Coast. The scene cuts to Gibsons and immediately we all (me, Peter, and his sister) cried out, “That’s not Gibsons!” I think it was Kitsilano.)

The first group date takes us to New Orleans. (I missed the first few minutes so I’m not sure how that happened. It seems kind of far for one date.) Eight women are on this one. I didn’t see most of it but arrived in time to see Chantelle (the giggly pastor) receive the group date rose. Brad tells her that her “conservative mentality” is ok because she’s “so cute”. Gee, thanks. He tells her that she’s “the cutest person ever”. I don’t think they’re going to get married.

Melissa Marie (the Playboy model) is freaking out that she hasn’t had time with Brad and she misses her daughter. On the one hand, yes, why take time away from your young child if you’re not even sure that you like this random guy? On the other hand, you really can’t complain that it’s “not fair” when you chose to be on a TV show.

Next up, a second group date. Something different from the U.S. version. Brad and 4 ladies head to Las Vegas to race cars at a track. I seem to recall another Brad going on a date like this. The 4 women (Kara, Gabrielle, Whitney, and Sophie) have to race to see who gets to spend some alone time with Brad. They each do their lap around separately. It’s incredibly boring to watch. Whitney wins. Whitney likes winning (she reminds me of a former contestant who liked that word). She doesn’t say this but it’s pretty darn obvious. It’s a lot more obvious than whether or not she even likes Brad.

Laura B. (I can’t remember who the other Laura is) gets the first one-on-one date. This was my favourite one to watch because they spend it in Victoria. They are way more dressed up than the average Victorians. They basically just hang out downtown (but fancier), something I’ve done many, many times.

First they stand around the fountain at the Ledge (the Legislative buildings). They walk along the Inner Harbour (one of my favourite spots where I often spent time over the years) where a caricaturist draws their picture. They have dinner at the Empress. I’ve done that too! Though not on the front verandah like they did. Then they go inside for a private Jill Barber concert. This made me laugh because I’ve also seen Jill Barber in concert in Victoria. Usually I’ve never even heard of the acts they have on The Bachelor. Laura gets a rose.

Next thing we know it’s 5:30am and Brad is sneaking into the ladies mansion. He wants to give Ana a date since they haven’t spent any time together yet. I kind of think this is cute but I also can’t get past the thought that many women would hate this. I don’t know where Ana falls in the spectrum but some girls like to, uh, spend time getting ready for a date. They would not appreciate a guy they were trying to impress seeing them before they were ready.

But they have a nice date regardless of the rushed start. They get on a Harbour Air seaplane (I’ve been on one of those!) and fly to Tofino (I’ve been there!) Ana asks “What’s that?” She’s from Romania so we can forgive her. They walk along the beach and have a picnic, sitting on Hudson’s Bay blankets and drinking Canadian. Oh, Canada!

I have to say I really like the number of one-on-one dates Brad’s getting. He’s gotten 3 one-on-one dates this episode. Sure it’s still a dating show and totally unrealistic but a little better than the typical U.S. version.

Highlights of the Rose Ceremony:

  • Brad says he has feelings for all of the ladies. Really? Feelings like love or feelings like, “I’m hungry”?
  • Melissa Marie may have had too much to drink. She is intense and just seems angry at Brad.
  • I like Tia’s dress and Laura B.’s pockets.
  • Bianca seems very level-headed.
  • Are tiepins fashionable? I thought they were a little dorky now?
  • Whitney has a crazy vein pulsing on the side of her head.
  • Melissa Marie, Laura F. (Oh, there’s the other Laura.), Stephanie, and Michelle V. do not receive roses.

My favourites after this episode are Tia, Sophie, and Bianca. Possibly because those are the ladies we’ve seen the least of.

A Blind Beggar on the Side of the Road

I read this Bible passage this morning:

And [Jesus and His disciples] came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; He is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed Him on the way.”

Mark 10:46-52 (English Standard Version)

This morning I’m able to envision the scene so clearly. Jesus, a great crowd following him, is on His way to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. He knows He is only days away from His crucifixion. He is surrounded by “a great crowd”. His disciples, some followers, some curious bystanders, some people who have simply fallen into the crowd while making their own way to Jerusalem.

Bartimaeus sits near the gates of Jerusalem, probably where he sits many days. In other parts of the New Testament we are told of beggars whose friends bring them to a certain spot each day. There they can make a tiny pittance off of compassionate passers-by. Bartimaeus hears the sound of a large crowd drawing closer. “Who is it? Who’s there?” he asks. This crowd must have been larger and noisier than average to make him wonder. Maybe he had to ask a few times before someone answered, “It’s Jesus!”

Bartimaeus must have had some idea of who Jesus was, he must have heard some stories of miracles and healing. Because as soon as he hears Jesus’ name, he starts yelling. He starts crying out to Jesus at the top of his lungs. Keep in mind that Bartimaeus was blind; he has no idea if Jesus is close to him or a hundred metres down the road in the middle of this crowd. Bartimaeus doesn’t know if Jesus can hear him at all. But he keeps crying out to Him. How often have I given a half-hearted cry to God and given up because I don’t hear anything immediately?

The people around Bartimaeus began to rebuke him, to try to silence him. He doesn’t care, he doesn’t shut up. All Bartimaeus cares about, all he wants in his life is for Jesus to hear him and he will not stop crying out until that happens.

And Jesus hears him. It’s a beautiful moment. In the middle of the noise and the crowd and the commotion, Jesus hears the voice of one blind beggar. Jesus stops and says, “I want to see that man.” Bartimaeus, yelling and maybe weeping at the side of the road, is told, “Get up; He is calling you.” Those may have been the most beautiful words Bartimaeus ever heard.

And his reaction is wonderful. Bartimaeus jumps to his feet, ready to go to Jesus. He doesn’t delay, he doesn’t hesitate, he heads straight to Jesus. And because of his faith, he is healed. In an instant, his whole life is changed. Not just physically but spiritually too. We can see that because Bartimaeus doesn’t simply head back home but instead follows Jesus right then and there.

It’s an amazing story and an inspiring one for me today. I want to be like Bartimaeus. I want to persist in calling out to Jesus. I want to jump to my feet and be ready when Jesus calls back.

“Christianity begins with a personal reaction to Jesus, a reaction of love, an instinctive feeling that here is the one person who can meet our need. Even if we are never able to think things out theologically, that instinctive response and cry of the human heart is enough.”

William Barclay