Wondering what the difference is between the airport in Vancouver and the airport in Phoenix? I'll tell you:

The airport in Phoenix is ugly. The airport in Vancouver is not.

I feel so elitist being here.

A case of the Mondays

Is it bad that I watch myself in this and think that I'm probably the funniest person in the world? (With the assistance of Alison and Brad of course - even the funniest person in the world needs a support and inspiration network).

Back story: this video was inspired by Brad who posted a video from 30 Rock on my wall that ends with a teeny tiny clip of Liz Lemon walking kinda like that down the hall. I commented that I loved her walk. Brad suggested I test it out at the office (where I was at the time). I did it. Reported back that it was a success. Brad wanted evidence. Alison took a video of me doing it again. We posted it online. Hilarity ensued FOR THE REST OF TIME.

kyoto or bust!

Okay, I know that the government breaking their promises is pretty much the norm, but it still gets my ire up.  This morning I sat down at my computer to see the headline "Peter Kent pulls Canada out of Kyoto" and I felt that burst of fire in my belly.  My government's idiocy when it comes to the environment is just as frustrating for me as their indifference when it comes to the arts.  So, in the true spirit of this modern age, I wrote an email to Mr. Kent, CC'ing my MP, and am now posting it here for "the world" to read.

Dear Minister Kent,

I just read the unfortunate news that you have decided to pull Canada out of the Kyoto Agreement. I am very dismayed by this news.

It is my understanding that you never really tried to meet Canada's Kyoto targets (although, to be fair, your predecessors, the Liberals, never did either), and now you are walking away because it is too hard. That is the worst kind of defeatism I have ever heard and sends a horrible lesson to the citizens of our country that we should set goals, make promises, make no effort to keep them, and then abandon them.

It is also my understanding that you don't want to participate in an agreement to reduce greenhouse gases that doesn't include other nations that are major contributors to global pollution. The idea that it's only worth making an effort if other countries are doing the same tells me that I shouldn't bother trying to follow the laws because there are career criminals out there breaking more laws than I ever would. It also tells me that children shouldn't bother standing up to bullies because every other child on the playground isn't making an effort.

Your government speaks often of Canada being a world leader. You do realize that leaders do things FIRST - they don't wait for everyone else to agree to a course of action before they do it.

The message you are sending, not only to Canadians, but to the world is that you should only do the right thing if it's easy and if everyone else is doing it. Fighting climate change is not only the right thing to do, it is the necessary thing to do. It is possible that the Kyoto Protocol is not the best way to fight global warming. If you feel that is the case, then I trust you are ready to announce a new, improved plan that is both realistic and actionable, and I look forward to hearing it.

the "oil method" sounds gross, is great

I have exciting news for everyone!  I have discovered the best gosh darn skin care regimen on the planet!  It's grossly named "The Oil Method" because it (grossly sounding) involves rubbing oil all over your face.

Disclaimer: I have always had terrible skin.  Oily, shiny, bumpy, and spotty, my teenage years were full of visits to the doctor to find a way to wipe my filmy face clean.  Apparently this means I will have less wrinkly skin when I get older, but for the time being it is inconvenient.  I have been encouraged to try oil for skin care in the past and flat out rejected it because, DUH, a shortage of oil is not my problem!

Then my dear friend with porcelain skin told me she was trying the Oil Method of skin care and loving the results.  I was skeptical, but she explained to me how it worked (something past proponents of oil could never do):

  • It's a mixture of castor oil and a second "carrier oil" (she uses almond, I use extra virgin olive)
  • The castor oil is the key - it is the ingredient that binds to oil and draws it out of your skin
  • Unlike the hoo-has who told me to use oil in the past, this does not involve slathering oil on your skin and leaving it there, but massaging oil into your skin and then steaming it off which has the benefit of actually pulling oil and ickiness out of your skin
  • It follows the principle that "like attracts like" - oil based products will better adhere to oil and remove it, something I remember as true from grade 11 chemistry (Hey Mr. Ianone!  You were right!  Chemistry is helping me in my adulthood!)
I was convinced!  I tried it!  IT WORKS!

Admission: I do not yet have porcelain skin.  I still have some little breakouts, but I know that those are at least in part due to the fact that I keep sitting at my desk with my face in my hands and hands are gross and should never touch your face.  What has changed is that the quality of my feels much nicer, the colouring seems to be evening out, AND the little breakouts I do have stay small, manageable, and much less noticeable, as opposed to stubborn red eruptions all over my face.  I am confident that it will slowly turn my in to the porcelain skinned goddess I have always dreamed of being and that my life will become perfect.

HOW DO YOU DO IT YOU ASK?  (Yes, you are yelling, because you are excited like me.)
  1. Go buy some castor oil.  You can find it at a drug store.
  2. Choose your carrier oil.  Like I said, I like extra virgin olive oil mostly because it's easy to find and cheap.  Other options include almond oil and sunflower seed oil.  Canola and other cooking oils are nicht good (that means bad).
  3. Work out your formulation.  Castor oil is the active ingredient, and the proportions of castor to carrier oil depend on your skin quality.  I have about 30% castor oil for my oily skin.  Dry skinned types are recommended to go down to about 10%.  You may have to play around to find your variation.
  4. Consider adding Tea Tree Oil if you have acne issues (like moi [sorry, just watched the Muppets movie and Miss Piggy is influencing my writing])
  5. USE IT!  
    1. Rub a generous amount all over your face.  Really massage it in.  This website recommends meditating on how beautiful your skin will be while you rub that oil in.  I don't do that because it takes too long and is silly.
    2. Let it sit and soak in.  I usually massage in the oil, then rub the excess oil into my hands and cuticles (because, you know, "waste not") and then brush and floss my teeth to give it time to soak nice and deep.
    3. Steam it off!  To do this, get a face cloth, soak it in hot water, and place the cloth over your face.  Let it sit until it cools.  Repeat.  Maybe massage the cloth gently into your face a little (but don't scrub!). Do this a few times.
    4. Sometimes I then splash my face with water to flush everything out.
    5. If you're feeling a little tight and dry after this, rub a tiny amount of oil onto your face and leave it there.
PS: I just read the end part of the article on that website I linked to, and it says you shouldn't do this every day.  So far I have been with no problems, so... liars?

to name brand or not to name brand?

Living on the cheap means sometimes (or often) buying crappy store-brand versions of your favourite products.  Or at least those necessary products that you don't really like but have to buy.  Sometimes you get a product that is just as good for way less money.  Sometimes you get crap that will hang around in your make up bag, cupboard, and under the bathroom sink for the rest of your life, clinging to you like the residue on your glasses.  This creates an aisle dilemma: to name brand or not to name brand?

Here is my own personal, easy to use guide on what products you should really jump the wallet and go name brand for:
  1. Q-Tips (The name brand has become synonymous with the product for a reason.  These little sticks with cotton on the tips are harder to make than one might initially imagine.  Problems with the dollar store version: they only seam to put enough cotton on one side of the stick, so you will stab your ear if you start with the wrong side.  Also, the little stick part is super weak and will bend/break faster than I would in an interrogation.)
  2. Honey Nut Cheerios (Nutty-O's or whatever they call the off-brand versions of this are gross and don't provide any happiness whatsoever.)
  3. Nail Polish Remover (The cheap stuff doesn't even work at all!  It just smudges your nail polish around without removing any!)
  4. Pantyliners  (First let me apologize for using the word "panty", as it's gross.  Second, the glue/sticky bottom on the cheap version just doesn't work at all.  These guys bunch like none other.  Spring for the Kotex or Always.  It's so very worth it.)
So now you have it.  Learn from my mistakes.  Save yourselves from stabbed ears, unhappy breakfasts, smudgey toe nail polish, and bunchy pantyliners, and live better lives than I do, now that I have these cheap, crappy Q-Tips in my life that I can't throw out.  Oh, sorry, I mean "two-sided cotton swabs", because Q-Tip is the name brand, and I can't throw them out because that would be just wasteful, so I will use them and be annoyed every morning for the next million years because there are SO MANY Q-Tips (I mean two-sided cotton swabs, ARGH!) in a box!

Happiness: it's science!

Science says that you'll be happier if you spend your money on experiences over material goods*.

Case in point: every cell phone I have ever bought made me unendingly happy when I first bought it.  I always referred to my new phones as "sexy".  How long did it take for them to be annoying and lame?  (HINT: not very long).  Now, this might have something to do with the fact that I mostly get the cheapest phones that have decent reviews online, but still.

Speaking of, does anyone remember what it used to be like to buy things before every product was extensively reviewed online?  Because I don't, even though it seems I used to do it all the time.

*I am assuming that they are assuming you've already spent some money on, you know, food.

Some artists are smarter than me

I would have never thought of doing this.  Neither would you have.  This is why we need artists.  This particular artist is named Sergei Larenkov and I found him in a really old Boing Boing post that I starred a couple years ago in my Google Reader (pro tip: sometimes it's fun to look back at things you saved for yourself to look at!)

Smart guy, smart quote

"Children need to go to the theatre as much as they need to run about in the fresh air. They need to hear real music played by real musicians on real instruments as much as they need food and drink. They need to read and listen to proper stories as much as they need to be loved and cared for."
-Philip Pullman

Strong Female Characters

This comes from my favourite web comic of all time: Hark! A Vagrant.  The brain on the lady who writes/draws this stuff is amazing and just like mine (but smarter/funnier).  I love her.  Turns out she was recently in Vancouver and I missed her, which makes me want to claw my eyes out, but instead I will share with you one of my favourite of her comics.  If you have trouble reading it because I might not be able to get it to post big enough, view it on her website.  If you don't have trouble reading it here, go to her website anyways, we all need a new web comic to obsess over.

I love my cat.

That's all.  I just love her and felt like writing a blog post so I thought I'd write about that.
I just went to my iGoogle reader to get an inspiration for a blog post, and this was the first thing I read:

Di Natale keeps Udinese one point behind Juventus

What the HECK does that mean?  I mean, I know writing headlines is a difficult art, but aren't they supposed to draw a person in to read the article out of a reason other than sheer confusion?

PS: I opened the article and it's a sports story, which provides an excellent level of context for understanding the headline even though most of the words still don't make sense to me.

Halloween, sexy?

I've never been one to rock the sexy Halloween costume.  I mean, sometimes my costumes may wind up being sexy but only because I ooze so much raw sex* that it can't be helped.  I am actually super uncomfortable and awkward about the idea of trying to intentionally be sexy, because it almost always means that you have to show at least part of your boobs and that's not fun at all**.

I've always thought the "Halloween as an excuse for girls to dress slutty" was more of a cultural joke than a true reality.  Sure, the girls who go to club nights on Halloween will dress like a "Slutty ____" for Halloween, but that's just because they dress kind of like a "Slutty Girl" in real life, so they don't really count***.

Then I started hearing girls who I am friends with talk about this phenomenon in a "take it seriously" kind of way.  Almost as if they feel obligated to dress like a slutty (or sexy to sound less judgey) version of something this weekend.  Some talked about how they don't really like dressing straight-up sexy, because of the cliche, so they do something that's sexy with a bit of a twist to make it also creepy.

Well, if that's you, I just found the perfect Sexy-But-Really-Not-Sexy-Because-Oh-My-Goodness-That's-Just-Wrong costume:

I don't know if this is serious or a joke, but I love it either way.  Somehow the bottom of those boobs look incredibly manly, don't they?

*I do not ooze raw sex.

**It's really not fun for me, if any part of my boobs are showing (which does happen occasionally because my ladies are just large enough that wearing a v-neck or a scoop-neck shirt is mildly revealing and sometimes I'll like the shirt so much for its other merits I will wear it anyways) then I feel instantly like there is a spotlight on my chest and beacon lights shining around me, telling everyone to LOOK RIGHT HERE BECAUSE THERE ARE BOOBIES and that makes me feel strange.  This might be a good explanation for why I do not ooze raw sex.

***Not that girls who dress slutty don't count in life or as human beings.  THEY DO COUNT, IT IS UNFAIR TO SAY SOMEONE DOESN'T COUNT AS A HUMAN BEING JUST BECAUSE THEY LIKE TO SHOW THEIR BOOBIES EVEN THOUGH I'M UNCOMFORTABLE WITH IT - that kind of thinking just contributes to objectification of women and people like Robert Pickton killing prostitutes.  I meant that the normally slutty-dressing girls don't count towards the numbers of girls dressing slutty for Halloween specifically.

A problem for the environment is a problem for my heart

Here's a scenario for the environmentally-minded folks of the world: I get thirsty a lot, but I don't want to use icky plastic, disposable water bottles.  Solution: obtain a nice, metal water bottle.  Everybody wins, right?  I remain hydrated at will and don't have to kill the earth.  I do wind up having to carry around a bottle with me all the time which is annoying, but a sacrifice I'm willing to make (I know, I know, I'm a martyr.  They should write plays about me.)

Then, of course, reality struck: I lost the cap to the water bottle, rendering it not-completely-but-pretty-much-useless.

DILEMMA: what do I do with it?  If I throw it out that's probably even worse than just using a plastic bottle a few times and then recycling it.  I don't think these things can be recycled though, can they?

It's occurred to me to keep it for use as a vase, but with such a small opening it's a pretty impractical vase, and unless my imaginary suitors start stepping up their game, I'm not really in the business of receiving a lot of flowers anyways.

Are there other creative uses for a defunct metal water bottle?  What do I do with it?  INTERNET, PLEASE SAVE ME AND THE ENVIRONMENT!


I don't know how to write this without sounding kind of really conceited, so I'm just going to say it and let you judge me as you see fit: today I was walking down the street, enjoying the wonderful, sunny afternoon, while a human being of the male persuasion walked towards me from the other direction.  I noticed him in the way you notice the only other person walking down the street, and mentally decided against the standard Vancouver-style "avert your eyes and keep walking"*, in favour of a smile-and-nod greeting.  Then as we passed he said "You're very pretty!" and I, taken aback, responded with what basically amounts to a "gee, thanks!", my already bright day effectively brightened.

Then it hit me: this is what we're all missing in life.  Not smile and nod greetings, although those are nice, but compliments paid without agenda.  I know there was no agenda here because this gentleman (and I think he truly deserves that title because not only was he kindly but he was wearing a dapper hat) didn't break his stride as he paid the compliment.  It was equivalent to the way people in old English movies said "Top of the morning to you!" as they rode past on their horses.  There was no slow down, no attempt to get me to stop and engage me in conversation, and thus no agenda.  He wasn't trying to get anything out of me.  It was a drive-by (or rather, walk-by) compliment, and it felt great.

So I am issuing a challenge to myself and everyone else in the world: if you see someone and appreciate something about them, be it their looks, wardrobe, sidewalk dance moves, or whatever, give them a drive-by (or walk-by) compliment.  In fact, let's just make a point of trying to find something to appreciate in every single person we encounter, whether or not we tell them about it.  Then, one good thought/compliment at a time, we will bring about world peace.

Think about it: if, before a drive-by shooting, the shooters took a moment to observe their shootees and pay some drive-by compliments like, "dang, that guy's got great style, do you see the way he's pulling off that brightly coloured jacket?  Not everyone can do that.  And that girl, she just looks so happy and at peace with the world, plus her hair is really pretty.  Good for her!", they might be less inclined to shoot.

If the Wall Streeters looked at their Occupants and said, "You are clearly full of spunk, dedication, and resourcefulness, and also have very nice hands - all qualities that I admire", while the Occupants looked at the Wall Streeters and said "And you, co-human, have great hair and killer style - you obviously know have a lot of attention to detail and are good at tying together disparate elements into a cohesive whole", they might then be able to listen to each other a little more and yell at each other a little less.

Just sayin'.

*Vancouver gets accused of this kind of thing all the time, and while it's sort of true, I also think it's really not.  I both smile at and am smiled at by strangers on the street all the time.  It might be because my default facial expression is kind of smiley**, but still.

**When I was young I realized that when my face is just totally neutral I look really angry/stoned/dead and I think I purposefully cultivated a habit of having a touch of a smile on my lips at all times to avoid that less-than-flattering look.

This is how I know I am a different person now than I used to be

Okay, so I'm totally an anti-establishment West Coast hippie, right?  Well, depending on what sets of data you look at anyways:

Pro-Hippie Data:
-I go to protests when I believe in the cause
-I have several personal boycotts against large corporations that I refuse to budge on
-I regularly shop thrift (not consignment/fancy second hand, but thrift)
-I make my own stuff including jam and clothing
-I live in a crappy basement street on Main Street
-I live/work in the arts
-I teach yoga, (not in the big, fancy studios)
-I like to have long philosophical conversations about life, spirituality, politics, and feminism
-For deodorant I use a crystal thing that only kind of works but I don't really care
-I don't shave my legs

Anti-Hippie Data:
-Today I was driving my car up Main, saw a sign that a Shopper's Drug Mart is coming to my neighbourhood, and literally cheered and clapped my hands.

There are several strikes against my hippie nature in that one point.

A part of me is ashamed of what I've become, and a part of me is just really happy to have a Shopper's Drug Mart in my neighbourhood.

Ada Lovelace - do you love yourself a little lovelace?

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Today's the day that women get to say "yeehaw!  We have a token member of our kind who was a significant figure in the development of technology!  Take THAT world where women still work harder to make less money than men!"

Cynicism aside, however (and that is a hefty sack to set aside), HOORAY FOR ADA LOVELACE!  For the uninitiated, here are some fun facts about the dear lady, starting with a picture (because all reporting on women has to include their appearance):

  1. Ms. Lovelace was the only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the poet who you probably had to learn about in high school.
  2. Her success is not due to her father's influence: he died when she was nine.  I imagine that she became a Pippy Longstocking-style inventive orphan.  Except that she had a Mom and was technically not an orphan and also her Mom was awesome - leaving the cheating, douchey Byron and taking her daughter to raise her alone when the law at the time gave full custody of children to the father.  So maybe they had a more mathematically-oriented version of the Gilmore household?
  3. She made a huge punch in the wall of computer programming by creating the first algorithm designed to be processed by a machine - thus the first ever computer program.
  4. Like a true lady, she saw the possibilities beyond the obvious in everything (or at least in computers) and was among the first to foresee that the would be used for more than just number-crunching.  (Imagine if her and Steve Jobs had lived in the same time!  CRAZY!  They would have probably been serious frenemies, spurring each other on with competitive angst.)
  5. She was dubbed "The Enchantress of Numbers" by Charles Babbage, which is a pretty awesome title, if you ask me.

and the award for creepiest vegetable of all time goes to...


Seriously.  It is like a firm but empty sponge.  Holding a piece of cut off eggplant is like what I imagine it must be like to hold a piece of bone that has gone soft.  Gross.  Who thought it was a good idea to start eating this thing?

lessons learned from the crucible

This past weekend I went to Studio 58's production of The Crucible (thanks Alison!).  In high school this was one of my favourite plays and I was pretty sure that I was born to play the role of Abigail.  Something about the single minded passion and ferocity.

Watching this play now, through my adult eyes, it is the most infuriating thing I have ever watched.  Rarely do I want to jump on stage and shake the actors into reason, but there were a few occasions where it was hard for me to stay in my seat - and that means Arthur Miller's writing did it's job.  There are, however, a few important lessons that I think we could all learn from this play:

  1. The importance of the separation of church and state.  It was really discomforting to watch people's Christianity put on trial.
  2. Leaders should never be above scrutiny - questioning the priest or the judge was treated as on par with blasphemy (probably because they thought they were all buddy-buddy with God and thus could do no wrong) and anyone who did it ended up in jail.
  3. If you are trying to determine how good of a Christian a woman is, it's probably a smarter idea to ask HER the ten commandments, not her husband.
  4. When you tell someone that a confession will save their life you're going to get a whole lot of false confessions.

another problem with cat poo

At the risk of being a person who mentions their cat-baby and her digestive tract twice in a row: I have a problem.  This problem stems from me being a good, environmentally conscious person.

I avoid plastic shopping bags wherever possible.  I use my giant purse and cloth bags to carry as much as I can and if ever forced to use a plastic bag it feels all gross in my hand and I want to yell out to everyone on the street that I am not a plastic bag person, I swear it!  I just didn't plan ahead well enough and bought too many groceries!

Now, this dedication to the well-being of our planet aside, my home has always been rich in plastic bags because of a mixture of my occasional forgetfulness and roommates who are much worse human beings than I am and use plastic bags all the time.  These plastic bags do come in handy for things like cleaning out my cat's litter box, so while I judged my roommates for their horrible use of plastic, I was also benefitting off of it.

My current roomie seems to also be a good person.  While we both slip from time to time, our supply of plastic bags has dwindled down to one or two, and mostly comes from things like the plastic bag my bread came in or the occasional produce bag.

At first I was overjoyed at finally having a roommate whose soul is as pure as mine, but now I realize that there is a new problem: I am running out of bags to use to empty the litter box.  Every few days I scrounge around for something - anything - plastic that I can scoop my cat's poo into.  Because of the added necessity that there not be holes in the bag I use for this important cause, supplies are even more sparse than you might expect.

So now I'm trying to think of plastic-free alternatives for litter box scooping.  What do I do?  I imagine it's possible to scoop the litter onto a big newspaper sheet and throw it out, but we don't get a newspaper. I could get flushable litter, but flushing anything besides human waste makes me nervous for our ancient plumbing.  Tell me, internet, what do I do???

Sure, it's cute now...

My roommate and I were chatting the other day about how dangerous it can be to indulge in destructive cuteness.  We were, of course, speaking directly in relation to our cat-baby and how she may have allowed her to do something kind of less than safe because it was cute without realizing the potential consequences.  Don't worry, no maiming or death occurred, just the ingestion of a foreign object that will eventually make for a very uncomfortable litter box experience.

I likened this to when I got my first cat-baby, Percy.  We got him as a 7-week old little nugget of golden cuteness, so he could do no wrong.  He would attack, bite, scratch, and claw at us and it was just so dang adorable we would coo and reinforce the behaviour with lots of snuggles (because cats love snuggles, right?)  Then all of a sudden he was big and strong and his teeth and claws were sharp and he attacked my Dad's face and trying to kill us in our sleep and there was little to be done about it because we had reinforced the behaviour so much in his adorable infancy.  It was made worse by the fact that he went through a really ugly teenager phase, and so was not cute at all.

Now, because I like to compare relationships with felines to those with humans, I "couldn't help but wonder" (as Carrie Bradshaw used to say) if all dysfunctional relationships start with bad behaviour disguised as cuteness.  I'm thinking specifically about the stalker vs. romantic situation here.  When you're super into another person and they seem all sexy and awesome, then things like them calling and texting you to see where you are, showing up at your house late at night because they just want to see you, coming by your workplace around when you usually get off shift, or commenting on everything you've ever posted online might seem kind of adorable and make you feel like cooing and snuggling.  That is because this person is in the baby kitten phase where their teeth and claws are weak and tickly and you can easily tell yourself that they are giving you a "love bite" and not practicing for when they grow large enough to eat you alive.  BEWARE!  If/when your relationship grows into an ugly teenager phase, this person could lapse very easily into stalking, maybe without realizing it at all, because you have coo- and snuggle-reinforced them into such behaviour.

So the only reasonable thing to do, the next time someone goes out of their way to be romantic for you, is to yell at them to BACK OFF! and GET THEIR OWN SANDWICH! and then run away while they are confused.  Then call them in a couple of days to hang out again, because you don't want to break up with them, you just want to train them to be ambivalent.

There, aren't you glad you read my blog?  Now I've saved your relationship.

it's getting cold in here

For me, Fall is a time of death and mourning because fall is when I have to start wearing warmer clothes.  Most ladies I know love the turn to crisper, cooler weather because there are more fun styling opportunities: sweaters and other long-sleeved layers, tights, etc.  It seems all ladies love the death of summer.  Not this chipmunk.  Planning for cold weather, whether it's putting on a sweater first thing in the morning, or bringing a heavier coat because you know it will be pretty cold later in the evening, makes me sad in the same way fibre makes that guy in that commercial sad.

So to mourn the passing of summer to fall* and the subsequent re-incorporation of jackets, sweaters, tights, and (the worst) socks to my wardrobe, here is a song, see if you can figure out the tune:

I was like, good gracious summer was bodacious
It was tenacious, tryin to show patience
Lookin for the right time to hit the beach
Waitin for the right time to eat an Okanagan peach
Then suddenly it's leavin, and I'm grievin
Oh, while the rest of you heathens
Check it, forgot it already at the store for sweater weavin
Sweaters, jackets, wool - I'm perceivin
No deceivin, don't want no sleeves and, no teasin
I need you to help me if I gotta wear some more
Give that weather what it's askin for (oh)
Cuz I feel like bustin loose and I don't feel like touchin wool (ah, ah)
And cant nobody stop the cold so baby tell me why you scold

(I said)
Its gettin cool in here (so cold)
Let's add one piece of clothing

I am gettin so cold, I wanna put more clothes on

*I have recently spoken of first world problems, and this has GOT to be one.  Whining that I have to start wearing the warm clothes I have stashed away in my closet already?  Yeah, privileged.  Dang it!  Privilege keeps taking away my right to complain.

how to tell the difference between a stalker and a romantic

1) There is no difference.

2) You are attracted to the stalker and thus interpret their actions as romantic.

Happy .... blasphemy? day?

Apparently today is Blasphemy Day.  As a person who believes in some stuff and works at a faith-based company, I personally love me some good natured blasphemy.  Maybe irreverence is the better word than blasphemy, but I'm pretty sure we would all enjoy our lives a little bit more if we could make a joke or two about what we believe in.

Because I can never think of funny things on the spot, I can't come up with any examples of my favourite blasphemous/irreverent jokes, so instead I'll give you this little gem from one of my favourite movies of all time:

Maybe not quite blasphemous, but hilarious.

happy birthday to ME!

Guess what I just got as a belated birthday gift from my Mom?

BAM!  So exciting!

What?  You have no idea why I would be excited about this?  Well, let me give you many many reasons:

  1. I am a Mennonite girl who is supremely lacking in the cooking department.
  2. Not that I am incapable of cooking, I mean, all cooking is is following a recipe until you know it well enough that you can make stuff from your head instead of the recipe, so a more accurate statement might be that I am disinclined towards cooking.
  3. Mennonite food is the best.
  4. One of the recipes is for Butter Soup.  I mean, come on.  AWESOME.
  5. The picture of aprons on the cover makes me happy.
  6. Seeing the word "Mennonite" on the cover of a book, intended in a positive light, makes me happy.
  7. There is so much delicious food in here!  Cheese Cauliflower Soup!  Rolled-p Kielke (Noodles)!  Tacos with mashed potato filling!  More variations of bread and buns than any cookbook realistically needs!  The easiest pie crust recipe in the world!  Doughnuts!
  8. Not to mention all the Menno standards that you can tell are authentic with their German names: Blaetter Torte!  Apfel Kuchen!  Borscht!  Bubbat!  Holupschi!  Kartoffelpuffer!  Kielke!  Paska!  Perishky!  Pfefffernuesse!  Platz!  Portelky!  Rollkuchen!Wareneki!  Zwieback!
  9. They specify the use of Rogers Golden Syrup when eating rollkuchen.  This is very important.  Recently I had my rollkuchen with syrup that was in a Rogers Golden Syrup bottle, but was regular, butter-flavoured syrup.  It was the most disappointing rollkuchen experience of my life.
  10. The authors of this cookbook started off with a blog that got really popular (as so many authors these days - hel-lo, why do you think I'm doing this?  Just kidding!) but they aren't capitalizing on their internet fame to get rich - all their profits are going straight to charity.  Because Mennonite girls are awesome.
So there you go.  Ten reasons why this is the best birthday gift ever.

Thanks, Mom!

An Ode to a Transit Pro

Usually whenever people use the internet to talk about transit users it's all complaints, but the other day I had the pleasure of riding with a real pro.  This an ode to her.

O!  Blonde-haired girl with a backpack.
You sat down beside me on the 99,
And I worried, I worried
You would be annoying to get past
Do that thing people do where they sort of move their legs
And you have to squish past them and their
Giant backpack.

If only I'd known who I was dealing with,
A pro!  O, a pro, yes, a pro you were.

As my stop approached, I began to prepare,
Book in the purse, strap on the shoulder.
Your keen pro senses, they sensed my actions and their meaning,
And your strap, too, made its way to your shoulder.

I saw your body, tense, ready to move,
When the bus stopped at a light, instead of a stop.
I chose to remain seated
Instead of standing by the door like a schmuck.

With anyone else, it could have been awkward:
They would have stood and I would have been forced
To get out of my seat before I desired.
But you, O Pro, could not be fooled -
Your keen senses and quick reaction times saw
That it was not time to stand, and you waited, you waited,
Yes you waited for me to make my move,
And as soon as you saw that I was ready to stand
You leapt out of your seat, and out of the way,
So quick and efficient, I was taken aback!

You, my friend, are a pro, a pro at transit-use,
You should teach classes or maybe just write an article
About how to be a pro like you,

Oh no! I ordered a cappuccino and they gave me a latte!

Here's a fun new game: reframing all those little things that bug you every day through the "first world problems" lens.  For example, here's some things that were bugging me this week:

My friend gave me a free pass to see as many shows in this big theatre festival as I want to and I don't think I have time to see all the ones I want to see!

My laptop charger is finicky and needs to be plugged in at a certain angle to work.

I just got offered more jobs than I can handle teaching yoga classes.

I'm supposed to go to an opening of a play tonight and I just don't really feel like dressing up.

I ate a meal just because I felt like it and now I have to clean up the mess from preparing it.

They're re-releasing The Lion King, one of my favourite Disney movies, but they're making it 3D so I'd have to wear those stupid glasses if I see it.

PS: The subject line is a shout out to my friend Laura, as that's what she says when people are complaining about first world problems.

Planking. Really?

As per usual, I am behind in the "memes".  (I will always insist on putting the word "meme"in quotation marks, mainly because I think know Richard Dawkins is pompous.)  The latest "meme" I have encountered is planking.

I first heard of planking when hanging out with some Australians a couple of months ago.  I had never heard of it, and they told me that it's lying down across two things and taking a picture.

I thought "huh, that's such a boring and lame.  Australians are sure weird for thinking that lying across two things and taking a picture of it merits the title of 'game.'"

But lately planking has been coming up more and more, to the point where I've had to acknowledge that it's not just the Australians.  This is a worldwide phenomena of lameness.

Naturally, being the generous soul that I am, I assumed that there must be more to this "meme" of "planking" than just lying across two things and taking a picture of yourself.  After all, global phenomena are generally fun and cool on some level, right?  If it's an activity that's exciting and dangerous enough to die for (as apparently someone did), it must involve some kind of actual skill and prowess greater than holding your body rigid without support across your stomach, right?

For my answer, I turned to none other than Wikipedia.  What did I find?  I found that there is not more to planking than taking a picture of yourself lying across two things.  There is actually LESS to planking than taking a picture of yourself lying across two things.

It's lying down.

That's it.

Lie down in a funny place.

Take a picture.

You have now planked, congratulations!  You've participated in, wait for it, "the lying down game".

It's a game where you lie down.

So a frustrated parent invented this, right?  "Hey kids, I know what we should do!  No, no, we shouldn't keep throwing pieces of burning brick dipped in poo at Mommy's hair.  Let's play... let's play the lying down game!  Yeah!  Yeah, it's a real game, I swear!  You lie down in a funny place and Mommy will take a picture and post it on the internet and you will be famous!  Here!  Let's all lie down!!!  Yaaaaay!  Okay now Mommy's going to go get the camera - stay lying down until she gets back to take a picture.  Don't come find me, now matter what kind of horrible wailing you hear from the other room, that's just the sound the camera makes when it's turning on.  PLANKING!  HOORAY!"

Those gullible children listened and the world has never been the same.

Here's the photo that accompanied the Wikipedia page:

Does anyone else see anything wrong with this?  This is a game!  A GAME!  Do people remember what games are supposed to be?  This has to be surefire evidence that the internet is destroying our imaginations, because when I was a child our games involved finding Maleficent's horns in the bushes, pretending to be royalty while eating dinner, and dressing up our Barbies for dates. Sure, I tried to convince my cousin that we should play "use your eyes" and watch TV/read comics, but even I knew as I was suggesting it that the idea was lame. I just didn't want to play with the horse figurines again*.

Come on, children of the world!  There is more to life than taking pictures of yourself lying down!  At least imagine that you're a dying worm and act like you're frying to death.

*I'm exaggerating for the sake of the story, cuz! Your horses were rad!

Find a new target market

Does anyone else hate it when companies suddenly decide to market their product to women?  From beer to other stuff, eventually marketers of "male dominated" products realize that women spend money too and that they want some of that money.  Then they start marketing their product towards women.

How do they do that?  They turn it pink.  Or make it fruity.

I DO NOT WANT PINK FRUITY BEER!  I ALREADY LIKE BEER THAT IS BROWN OR REDDISH OR KIND OF A DARK YELLOW COLOUR!  I mean, sure, I bet the pink fruity beer is really good and I will probably have some once and a while, because seriously?  Fruity beer?  Delicious sounding, right?  But guess what I drink more often than that?  Actual, real, brown/reddish/kind of dark yellow beer!  I drink it all the time!  I love beer!  It's delicious and frothy and cools you off in the summer time in a very special way that no other drink can do.

You also get a very high volume of liquid when you order a beer vs. a martini or wine or girly drink, which is good for me because I tend to continuously consume whatever liquid in front of me until it is one at the same rate, regardless of alcohol content.  Beer helps me regulate.  Also, it's usually cheaper.

If you want to get more women to drink beer, how about you try making ads that don't make women into shrews and ho-bags?  How about a commercial with a cool and intelligent woman wearing her awesome sun dress and the cowboy boots she just bought in Portland and having a beer on the patio with her friends?  Or asking her boyfriend to toss her a cold one instead of texting him 30 times to "check up on him" when he's trying to have a "guy's night out"?  Or finishing off the pitcher?  Or suggesting the pitcher?  Or doing one of the many other things that a girl will do when she drinks beer instead of making the product pink and fruity and lower-in-calories and then dangling it in front of her like yarn in front of a cat.

I mean, sure, I'll take the yarn, but then give me some real beer after that, please and thank you.

So you're going to Portland?

Wondering what you should do on your next trip to Portland? Take a tip from me!
  1. Go with a group of awesome friends who never stop bringing the fun.
  2. Voodoo donuts: hit it up around 1-2am. Any other time and there will be a 2 hour lineup.
  3. Wander with no agenda! You may discover that the Pearl District has an art walk full of kind-of-pretty-good and the occasionally really good artwork.
  4. Get your tarot cards read at the Saturday Market (also in the Pearl District). You will leave feeling incredibly hopeful about your future.
  5. Powell's Books. Just go. You will be amazed.
  6. Give yourself a challenge/game. Mine was to take pictures with all of the servers we encountered on the trip.  We had another game of taking photos with the local hipsters without them realizing it, but never actually did it.  Fun fact: there aren't as many hipsters in Portland as one might expect.  Or we were too mainstream to be in their neighbourhoods - we did see the most on Alberta St if you're looking.
  7. Eat eat eat. Restaurants we visited included The Clyde Commons (gourmet-esque food for non-gourmet prices!), The Tin Shed (breakfast! adorable lady-server!), and Daschutes Brew Pub (best grilled cheese ever! really cute male server!).
  8. Drink drink drink. Find that pub we found on Alberta Street that has ping pong tables and Apples to Apples in their backyard area. Or that other pub that also has a great backyard area. I say backyard area because it actually feels like you're in your friend's Mom's awesome backyard and not a fancy patio. Also, find that bar that has a bowling alley.
  9. Don't go to the club your cute server from Daschutes recommended. It looks lame.
  10. Talk to the locals! Everyone is so nice, especially if you're a gaggle of attractive, cool ladies from The Real Vancouver.
  11. If you're wandering around and see a sign for a yard sale, go check it out. The people holding the sale could very well be a group of Vaudeville performers with an amazing double-decker bus they use as a dressing room and stage-backdrop and they will let you walk around the bus and take pictures. They will also have a toy horse covered in mirrors andwill recommend a vintage shop up the street you wouldn't have found where you will buy the cowboy boots you've always wanted for $14, which is next to the other vintage shop where your friend will get the sexiest Betsey Johnson heels of all time for an equally great price that you will forget.
  12. Leave good tips. Apparently they think Canadians are bad tippers there. Let's work together to change that!
  13. Pick a neighbourhood and spend the day there. We did The Pearl on day 1, Alberta/Mississippi on day 2, and then Nordstrom's in the morning of day 3 before hitting the road.
  14. The Doug Fir also has attractive wait staff and cheap concerts.
  15. Use Radio Cabs for all your cabbing needs - their drivers are also attractive and have great senses of humour.
  16. FOOD CARTS! Go to them all. Especially Brunch Box with their grilled PB&J shaped like a dinosaur. Don't worry, you don't even need to look for the food carts, they will find you.
  17. Are you rocking the diet-restricted life?  Never fear!  Every single restaurant has dairy, gluten, and animal-product free options and the servers will be happy to indulge your every request.
  18. Get ready to admire the hugely attractive local population - everyone in Portland is beautiful!

Dreamin' is Free

Another dream post!

You'll have to picture all the events of this dream happening in the style of the movies like Water For Elephants or Big Fish. Keep in mind that I haven't actually seen Water for Elephants, and am making major assumptions based on the aesthetics of the trailer I saw with that awesome Florence + the Machine song playing throughout that was probably the only thing making that movie look good at all. Basically, everything in the dream had sort of a vintage-circus-glam-Tim Burton feel to it. The actual contents of the dream, however, were very un-glamorous.

Plane crashes! Murder! Mystery!

Okay, that actually does sound kind of glam, doesn't it?

In true vintage-circus-glam-Tim Burton fashion, I will present you with snapshots of the most dramatic moments of the dream, punctuated by meaningful flashes of light in lieu of the traditional cross-fades, giving the whole thing a sense of heightened symbolism:


I am rooming with a vintage-circus-glam-Tim Burtonesque elderly couple who have a giant home and a huge backyard surrounded by mountains and water that appear to be from another time. Possibly another world.


We witness a slow-motion plane crash happening in the backyard. So slow-motion, in fact, that I have to look away and look back to actually see the advancement of the crash. The plane does not burn or fall to pieces, but slowly crumples into the ground in a rather artistic manner, with the elevated cockpit left untouched.


One more plane crashes, as well as what I later describe as "flying saucers" to someone else in the dream (although there are no aliens present), adding to the the quirkily artful wreckage.


People from plane no. 2 are some kind of vegabonds on the run and don't want us to call 911. Too late. At least the emergency personnel never show up.


Dream-me wakes up in the middle of the night in my very vintage-circus-glam-a-la-Tim Burton bedroom with a larger-than-life-sized bull staring me down at the end of my bed. It charges. I first jump up and manage to hold it off from crushing my by basically planking between it and the wall. A dramatic bead of sweat runs down my delicate, vintage arm. I am trapped betwixt wall and bull! What will I do?!


I manage a daring escape that involves some kind of roll to the side, but the bull is too quick for me and its hind legs crush my lower body. I witness vintage-circus-glam me (with very lovely hair, by the by) twitch with death.


Turns out it wasn't me! In true dream fashion, the victim switches and the old lady who co-owns this home that was crushed in my stead. I, however, know the truth: one of the evil carnies who crash-landed in this home wants me dead. And now there is no one to protect me and no way for me to escape. Every night when I go to sleep I will know that my life is in danger and there will be nothing I can do about it.


I look at the faces of the growing crowd of vintage-circus-glam carnies from a Tim Burton film and try to figure out which one of them might want me dead.




Note: I am actually posting this the day after my birthday, but am dating the post to the date of my birthday for the sake of lying.


Dream Time 2.0

Last night I had a dream that I had holes in my teeth. It was super disturbing! I was looking in the mirror and my teeth had all these little holes in them that made me think of those commercials for Sensodyne F where they show the little tubules in your teeth that the toothpaste fills so that your teeth don't hurt. I vaguely wondered if I should start using Sensodyne F and if other people would notice the holes in my teeth. I felt like they had just looked so good, why did this have to happen now?!?

So, with the help of my roommate, I have researched the meaning behind this dream and it's not pretty.

Option 1: Holes in teeth mean holes in the family - I am going to lose a family member.
This is from yahoo answers and the person who posted the dream in question replied that indeed, their dog died not long after the dream. I shan't accept this option!

Option 2: Low self confidence.
The thing is, that I've actually been feeling pretty good about myself lately. I find I cannot, in good conscience, accept this option.

Option 3: Upcoming health problems.
I guess I can't really come up with a good reason to reject this option except that I don't want to have health problems.

Option 4: I want to give someone a job.
I don't not want to give someone a job. Could this be it?

Option 5: I have uttered false or foul words that are coming back to haunt me.
Honestly? The only thing I could be haunted by these days are some true words that I held myself back from saying. Ya-huh!

In the true fashion of a self-chosen reality, I'm going to go with Option 4. I totally want to give someone a job. That MUST be it.

Thanks, internet, for interpreting my dream!

Toilet Paper

One thing I have learned from living with roommates is that human beings use SO MUCH TOILET PAPER!

Let me preface this by saying that this is not a specific comment on any of the particular roommates I have had, but on every human being (apparently).

But seriously, when I have had my own bathroom all to myself, I feel like I don't use that much toilet paper. When I share, we sometimes go through an entire roll in one day! Is this normal? Is this possible? Seriously, I am looking for advice here. What is the normal toilet paper usage for the average human being?

Factors that may be influencing my perceptions:

-I am generally not home a whole lot, which obviously reduces the amount of TP I'll use at home
-It is quite possible that doubling the amount of people using a bathroom is simply doubling the amount of TP being used and that's what I'm noticing

Text Dating

Is anyone else even a little bit uncomfortable with the amount of text messaging that goes into the initiation of dating someone these days? I think I might be a bit of a fuddy duddy*, and it's not like I have anything to be nostalgic about: despite being a teenager in the pre-cell phone days, I never really dated at all until cell phones and text messaging were already ubiquitous.

Anyways, I get why it's so prevalent: texting is way less scary than a phone call. I mean, making real phone calls barely ever happens these days anyways. Despite totally resisting and hating text messages for years, when I finally buckled and got unlimited texting including in my cell plan, my ratio of airtime vs. text messaging flipped. I went from using over 1,000 minutes a month to 300-500, and easily go through hundreds of texts. At this point, just phoning a friend feels like kind of a big deal, let alone phoning a potential date.

Still, I feel very strongly that text messaging shouldn't be used for conversation, at least not with someone that you don't really know. Someone you're trying to woo. If you're nailing down plans or trying to find each other in a crowd, then yes! Text away! If you want to send a little "hey I had fun last night" note without launching an entire conversations, then go for it.

In fact, the times I feel good about using texts for an ongoing conversation are as follows:
-Someone lives long-distance and you're keeping in touch in real time
-You are already close friends or in an actual "romantic relationship" and are bored/need to talk about something but one of you is in a situation where you can't actually talk

Otherwise, text me for a purpose and then let's get on with our lives.

All this to say, DUDES: think before you text! What are you trying to do? If it's chit-chatty in the least, just call her. If that's too scary or something you don't want to do, then maybe don't call or text her until you have a concrete reason or are willing to talk.

Also, please take the time to write complete words. Or if you can't do that then at least spell the words you do include properly. Believe it or not, we do judge you based on that, and if you can't be bothered to spell a word correctly in a text to me, then I'm going to assume you can't be bothered to do other things correctly with me. Just sayin'.

*Okay, I know I'm a bit of a fuddy-duddy.

Things Ladies Are Supposed to Care About

Muffin Top: little tufts of fat in the lower-waist area that stick out the top of low-rise pants.

Side Boob: when the side of your boob sticks out of a shirt of a certain cut and looks kind of like an extra roll of arm fat.

Double Boob: when your bra is sized so that it cuts you off mid-boob and it looks like you have four boobs.

Cankles: fat ankles.

Ninkles: knee wrinkles.

Hair (undesirable): armpits, legs, toes, ears, nose, upper lip, between the eyebrows, outside of the currently fashionable eyebrow shape, cheeks, bikini line.

Hair (desirable): head - must be soft and flowy.

Armpits: now need to be soft and pretty (thanks Dove).

Hands: show your age no matter how much plastic surgery you get elsewhere.

Body shapes (desirable): hourglass, very skinny.

Body shapes (undesirable): all of them.

Batwings: flappy skin on the bottom of your biceps.

Teeth: white, straight, now with a sexy gap in the middle.

What did I miss?

Observations from the Online-Date-O-Sphere II

Despite everything I just said about how online dating is a zero-rejection forum for asking people out, I would like to pose the following question to the ladies in the room:

When you send a dude a message and he just doesn't respond, do you ever want to track him down and find out how on earth he could turn down someone so attractive, witty, adorable, clever, funny, and awesome as yourself?  Doesn't he realize who you are?  You are the best!  He is a dude dating on the internet and he just had online-dating-gold jump up onto his laptop and he turned and looked the other way?  SERIOUSLY, MAN, WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?  Because I have looked at the profiles of other girls and they are all boring, single-minded, and kind of skanky.  Ohhhh... wait.  Seriously, is that it?  Boobies?  *sigh*

Observations from the Online-Date-O-Sphere

Online dating is pretty much the easiest, lowest-rejection form of dating there is.  You basically shop for a date, and the only difference is that sometimes the date you want to buy says no.  Okay, that metaphor took a kind of wrong turn, but what I'm trying to say is that worst case scenario, someone doesn't reply to your message or actually says no (very rare).

I realize that a person saying no or not responding is technically rejection, but it is rejection in the form of messages sent back and forth through a third-party dating site.  It's so low-commitment that they don't even have your real email address or phone number to reject you by, and unless you have a really overactive imagination, you aren't all that attached to the person anyways, right?  It's not like they looked you up and down and laughed in your face, or like you are now left standing next to them on this really awkward 30 minute bus ride, or like you've just ruined the only real friendship you've ever had by trying to kiss them.  It's via the internet.  This rejection doesn't even count.  Especially when there are so many factors involved, because we all know people are way pickier about details like religion, industry of work, education, favourite bands, hobbies, car ownership, etc., when it's all laid out for them online.  They don't really know you, you don't really know them.

All this to say, these sites have taken the least-put-yourself-out-there form of dating and made it even easier with all the other features: you can make someone your favourite, click that you want to meet them, give them a star rating, or whatever else that will end up as a little notification in their inbox that you're interested without you even having to take 2 minutes to think of an opening line for an email.  DON'T DO THOSE THINGS.  They are lame cop-outs.  You have now either put all the onus on the other person to make a move, showing your cowardice (not sexy) or are playing this thing like a numbers game (not sexy).  If you're interested, just send the person a freaking message already.

Which brings me to point number two: after sending a couple of messages back and forth, I am of the belief that you will not learn anything more of use until you meet up.  A couple of messages have probably established a few mutual interests and the fact that once you've found them out you're still intrigued by this individual.  This isn't a place for pen pals, no need to keep writing each other letters online, at this point you need to know if you have any chemistry and the ONLY way you can do that is by meeting in person.

Got it?  Send the person a message.  Ask to meet up as soon as you've established a few basics.  If they say no or don't respond at that point, move on.  SO EASY!

Remember: everyone who's on here is at least copping out a little bit.  We want to meet new people with a safe online buffer.  The buffer is there so that you can do the ask-out-on-a-date-thing without heart palpitations.  So just bloody well ask someone out on a date.

Thank you and good night.

On This Day in Canadian History...

1634: Huron Indians supply wild plums to the Jesuits. Yum!

1925: Edward S. Rogers Sr. invents the alternating-current tube, allowing plug-in batteryless radios. Handy!

1957: Rick Hansen is born and goes on to be awesome.

1961: John George Diefenbaker 1895-1979 opens the International Hockey Hall of Fame at the CNE; announces $5 million annual grant for amateur sports in Canada. "Yay hockey!" most Canadians would say.

1978: First Canada Jam Festival opens; with the Doobie Brothers, the Commodores, Kansas, Dave Mason, Atlanta Rhythm Section. "We also love music!" most Canadians would continue.

1981: Vancouver transit workers end 5-week strike. Fostering a society where workers can strike if necessary and then come to an agreement and get back to work so people can get to work - way to be, Vancouverites.

2011: The BC public votes in favour of a tax that is more expensive and will cost them and their children mbillions of dollars just to say "eff you" to their government. Nothing says "eff you" like screwing yourself over in the long term, right?

Dentists Lie

For the past year or so I have been super good about my dental care.  I mean, really super good.  I brush at least twice a day (of course, that's always been a no-brainer for me, and I am sad to learn that it is not the same for many guys), and I floss daily.  Actually daily.  It's at the point now that if I skip a day my mouth feels all gross when I go to bed, which, I feel, is a good place to be when it comes to dental hygiene.

I was kind of looking forward to my last dentist appointment as a result.  No more squirming around when they ask me about flossing, saying things like "I try to as much as I can" or "I used to floss every day..." - nope, I actually can confidently say that I floss every single day (almost) without fail.  Plus, what with my superior dental hygiene skills, the visit was sure to be a breeze, right?

Turns out, wrong.  It all started off well.  I sat down and the hygienist (who I am also sort of friends with because we're both young artist-types and she is good friends with a friend of mine, which results in a lot of attempts at conversation while she's got her hands in my mouth) commented that my teeth looked really great.  "Success!"  I thought.  |-"I have won at dentisting!"

Then she proceeded to poke, scrape, and otherwise torture my poor little gums for 45 minutes, occasionally commented again at how great my teeth were.

It was a confusing and demystifying experience.  No matter how many times she said my teeth looked great, with each stab I felt more and more sure they must be horrible, disgusting, worthless hunks of calcium.

Then at the end part of the visit when you chat with the actual dentist about the state of your teeth (where last time he saw me he warned me that gingivitis was nigh), he said that my teeth were in such great shape the only thing he could recommend was whitening.


Awesome Infographic

Got it from @KelseyHagglund, originally posted by  Sorry it's so small.

My favourites: Black Friday shopping, deer, and ants.  Those whily ants.

So now they just get to burn us whenever they want?

Is this not the creepiest thing you've ever seen?

Got it off Boing Boing, and um... really? Does anyone want this on their mantle?

Super Sadness

Today I logged into Facebook to see a million posts about one thing: Jack Layton has passed away from his cancer. I totally thought that guy would live forever, yelling and slamming is fist on the table of the official opposition, defending the rights of people who can't stand up for themselves. Turns out, cancer got the best of him. Before it did, however, he wrote this letter to Canadians. What a classy guy. (Read it in its original context on CBC here.

August 20, 2011

Toronto, Ontario

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,

Jack Layton

The Great Legacy of Stanford

When most people think of Stanford they probably think of... I don't know, a fancy school or whatever? Well, when I think of Stanford, the next words that pop into my head are often "prison experiment."

Did you take psych in your undergrad? Then you probably are nodding your head with me. Or groaning inwardly at being reminded of your useless psychology undergrad degree*.

For the uninitiated: the Stanford Prison Experiment happened 40 years ago yesterday (prompting this celebratory post!) and is one of the more controversial studies in psychology's history, from before the days when we had strict ethics committees to make sure we didn't eff people up for life. Basically, they assigned 24 healthy young dudes to roles as prisoners or prison guards randomly, and converted a basement somewhere on campus into a makeshift prison. They were to be there for a week, and the goal was to see what would happen to people in these assigned roles.

Well, they canceled the mothah, because these guys got right out of hand. Within a day the guards were abusing the prisoners and the prisoners were getting all terrified and acting like victims, and NOBODY STOPPED IT. Even Zimbardo, the guy running it, got lost in his role as the prison warden and let the study continue for days after things got bad.

I love this study for two reasons, one of which is incredibly horrible of me:

1. While it is one of the studies that prompted all the stringent ethics policies researchers must now meet, it shows what kind of fascinating things we could find out about human nature when we don't worry about ethics. Of course the ethics we have now are a good thing, but there is a lot we will never know because of their existence. It appeals to the evil scientist in me that just wants to put people in various boxes and see what happens.

2. It allows me to be really pretentious in arguments and say things like "oh, you THINK things like personality, values, and ethics make you a good person, but really you just need to become a prison guard for a couple of days and you'll turn into a monster. IT'S BEEN PROVEN BY SCIENCE."

So, happy 40th, Stanford Prison Experiment. You are awesome. In a really unethical way.

*Fun Fact: Doing a double major in theatre and psychology made my parents feel better about the fact that I was studying something (theatre) that would never give me gainful employment. Little did we all know, a psych undergrad degree is probably MORE useless than a theatre undergrad degree! Life!

How to Improve Your Life

In celebration of my current blah mood - working alone in an office while coworkers are on vacations and at conferences (yes, I do love conferences and am jealous of people who go to them) will do that too you - I am forcing some awesome into my life.

Tactic #1: This moody music they're playing on The Peak right now will NOT be okay. Instead I choose this:

Tactic #2: I don't need a tactic #2. That totally worked.

Life is good.

I should write a book about this. DANG!


I just looked at my last post and realized just how random it must seem to the outside observer. I apologize for suddenly jumping in your face and telling you that there is faecal matter all over your home, completely unprovoked. It was rude of me.

Also, turns out I spelled it wrong ("fecal" should be "faecal" according to my spellchecker) - I am beyond ashamed.

The top places to find germs in your home


That's right, folks. This is a germy world we live in. Guess what else? Some of those germs include fecal matter. Yep. There is literally fecal matter on everything in your home. Also: urine. You want to know why? Because I said so. And because it's there.

So how about we relax a little instead of freaking out and doing news stories about how many germs are on your shower curtain or bathroom sink or kitchen floor or whatever and realize that we have pretty freaking good life spans as it is, and that killing every germ in your house only makes you a) annoying and b) give birth to children with annoying allergies.

Things I learned from OkCupid's matchmaking questionnaire

Dudes who seem to be totally cool and not at all gross think it's totally legit to only brush their teeth once a day.

*sigh* Sometimes the internet really does provide too much information about a person, doesn't it?

Spam-bots get fresh

Maybe the spam-bots are sensing my ongoing singleton status (I mean, it's been something like 5 months already, so you know, the beacons of desperation are starting to fire, right?), because the spam comments are starting to get awfully... familiar with me. I just went through yet another round of deleting spam comments off the website I manage, and check out how the spam-bots are addressing me (emphasis added):

Spouse, this excellent website might be fabolous, i just now like it

Companion, this excellent website is actually fabolous, freezing enjoyed

How much of an significant write-up, preserve composing significant other

Lover, this great site is without a doubt fabolous, i just now fantastic

Sweetheart, this amazing site is fabolous, i simply enjoyed

Mate, this fabulous website is actually fabolous, i enjoy it

Partner, this amazing site is actually fabolous, freezing like it

How much of an intriguing post, preserve crafting special someone

Better half, this url is without a doubt fabolous, we fantastic

Looks like someone programmed their spam-bots to use every term the thesaurus links to "friend" or "partner". Well done, programmer.

If Life Were a Movie

Some key things that would change if my life were a movie*:

  • I would never have to go to the bathroom unless it was comedically inconvenient
  • I would never have to do anything more than run a brush through my hair to look perfect (again, unless being disheveled provided a dose of comedy gold)
  • My Mom would be either way too overbearing or ridiculously free-spirited
  • I would have a regular "girls hang out time" where we would always meet at the same bar or cafe and give each other love advice whilst being constantly hit on by men that we brush aside with sharp rejections
  • There would be way more montages which means I would get really good at a lot more things with much less effort
  • Whenever things would start to get really rough I would either learn a lesson and immediately see my life turn around or be rescued by a man with a grand romantic gesture
  • My friendships would involve a lot more epic fights and tearful reunions
  • I would always have some kind of alcohol in the house
  • Anyone who wronged me would get a swift comeuppance that would probably be kind of awesomely hilarious
*This list assumes a general Hollywood-type movie where I am the protagonist.  Although now that I think about it, maybe it's better to not be the protagonist.  Secondary characters get it way easier: give a little witty banter, stand up for your best-friend-the-protagonist in a stand-uppy kind of way, and wind up making out with another secondary character by the end of the movie (after your best-friend-the-protagonist has had their life sort out, of course).

Fun Fact

You send me one "don't forget about my event!" message and I remove myself from your event.

Exception: if you're an actual friend and planning a party that you haven't invited every single person on your list to and the message says something like "hey, the party time/location is changing, FYI!" or "can you bring dip?"

I love the internet when...

... it invents this:

Thanks to our good friends at xkcd.

I am suddenly struck with curiosity

Something like a year ago, Chris Angel had a TV special where he promised to levitate everyone watching from their homes.  You had to stand up and listen to him and actually believe it was going to happen.  Me and everyone with me stood up and tried to get levitated but it didn't work.

The question is: did it work for anyone?

Life in the 'burbs

Today I am watching The Rick Mercer report for the first time ever with my Dad.

In other news from the suburbs:

  1. Superstore has really cheap stuff!
  2. There are still gas stations where you can't pay at the pump and have to flip up that metal thingy to turn on the gas.
  3. Driving everywhere is a lot faster than bussing everywhere.
Things that are free in the suburbs:
  1. Parking in parking lots that are everywhere
  2. Newspapers delivered straight to your door
  3. Movies (okay, that's not quite true, but the movie theatre I worked at as a teenager now has TWONIE TUESDAYS - that's so cheap it's like they're giving us money to watch movies!)
  4. Food (if you're staying at your parents' house)
Also, did you know that the governor general is a man who rides a scooter?  Very cool!  Is it just me, or did no one care who the new GG was when Mikael Jean stepped down/was fired?  When she was sworn in it was all over the news, and then I sort of heard she was leaving and never heard anything about the new guy taking her place.  Turns out he scoots around with Rick Mercer all day and educates children on parliament and accessibility issues, whilst taking them for rides on his scooter.  This guy should be in the news way more.

Deep Thought of the Day

If vampires are real, this whole idea that they can't enter a human's home without an invitation is total bunk, invented by scared humans to give themselves some sense of control against an undefeatable foe.

it's just the way god made me

I promise I wasn't doing a self-conscious google search when I came across this puppy...  It is one of those Yahoo! Answers things that come up once and a while when you're searching for something random like songs with your name in the title.  Below is the question and various answers given (with usernames, because anonymity is for losers), edited down for the most hilarious.  I'm posting this without commentary so you can make up your own.  (For any random stumblers-by who don't know me in real life, I am just shy of 6' tall, so I am particularly drawn to this issue.)

QUESTION: How tall is too tall for a woman?

The Godfather
Depends on what you are looking for in your woman. If you wants a "fun size" girl, for doing "fun things" you want someone around 5'2, but if you want a girl that can play basketball with you, you want someone a little taller, like 5'9 or 10.

chez fez ;D
I'm 5'8 & I started seeing this girl that was 5'10...

and god was it odd.. when we had sex it was just... I felt like a midget humping a tree. But I liked her & I guess I saw past the oddness?

But yeah.. it all depends on how tall the guy is.. and the girl hes with??

I personally prefer shorter girls for sure.

Mr. Workin' Out
Any woman tall enough to straddle me on a chair, without her wearing heels, is a fine fine situation. If she's tall enough to straddle me on a barstool... well that might be a little too tall for me to handle.

Totally agree. I couldn't have a woman thats taller than me. 5'8 is a little stretch though. I think any woman over 5'11 is weird cause it's nice to have a tall girl sometimes.

Ok, you know what, go to Russia. The men and women there average between 5'8 and well past 6 feet. A nation of good looking, strong, healthy tall Russians is more ideal than an overweight, average looking, unhelthy bunch of short people, shorty.

i'm a miget wiht LOTS of experice i think over 2'5 is jsut a little odd. i'm sure most fo you will agree. thumbs up me if you do think this guy is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay shallow :P

im 5 ft 7 and i feel like a giant i think 5 ft 10 is huge my friend is that height and omg with heel ridiculous but height doesnt matter if you are into her overlook that and dont worry bout what other people say

I made love to a woman that was 7ft tall and I tell ya when her legs went up I felt like scoring three points instead of two.

well in modeling 5'7 girls are the shortest they would go... they mostly want 5'8 - 5'10 girls
so i think around 5'11 would be "too tall"

i think tall is beautiful ....but somewhere around 13785634678549 feet would be a bit weird don't u think ..

Metal of Rhein
Remember this cult old film: "Attack of the 50ft woman"? That, is too tall!

After this message from our sponsors...

Fun game: reduce each commercial you see down to its basic message.  Then it will be extra fun to see how many directly conflict with each other.  This was inspired by a commercial whose basic message was that being outdoors and living life is better than being online, and the next one whose message was to bring the internet with you EVERYWHERE YOU GO.  Funny, right?

So here we go with the great experiment!

Round 1

Commercial #1: Transformers/Burger King
It's important to be super badass and that includes junk food.

Commercial #2: Yoplait
You need to avoid any food you actually want to have value.

Commercial #3: Maco
Average people are desirable.

Commercial #4: Honey Nut Cheerios
Health goes hand-in-hand with clever irony.

Round 2

Commercial #1: Coke
A carefree summer starts with Coca Cola and weird cans.

Commercial #2: Excel
The only way you're acceptable enough to enter a vehicle with men

Commercial #3: Flexitol Heel Balm
Your feet are gross in their natural state.

Commercial #4: Blistoff
Your feet are gross in their natural state.

Commercial #5: Crest White Toothpaste
Your teeth are gross in their natural colour.

Commercial #6: Hellman's Mayo
Being in tune with nature will make you a better person.

rock those socks

Just gotta say it: life is awesome when you're doing things that you love.  Seems obvious, but I forget it all the time.  Tonight we had the third rehearsal for the play I co-wrote and am "co"-directing.  (I say "co"-directing because I pretty much sit there and laugh all rehearsal, occasionally throwing in a mild suggestion while the veritable Dani Bryant does the actual directing.)

The point is, that I sit there laughing my butt off ALL REHEARSAL LONG.  Every scene is my favourite scene.  I'm laughing at the combination of my writing and brilliantly hilarious actors doing things with it.

So, thank you world.  And by world I mean me, my co-writer/director, actors, and stage manager.

Oh yeah, and come see my play:

stop with the videos, please

Does anyone else get way too annoyed when they come across a blog post/article that looks like it will be really interesting, and then it turns out you have to listen to a podcast or watch a video to get the information?

Why the heck-face do people think these things are better?  They are so CLEARLY inferior.  First of all, if you're going to listen to a podcast or watch a video, you have to stop everything else you're doing, say goodbye to your friend multi-tasking, and throw it out the window.  SECONDLY, if you are, say, at work or anywhere else where there are other people (I'm looking at you coffee-shop-internet-people), then everyone else has to hear what you're doing.

Yeah yeah, a picture is worth a thousand words so a video is worth a bajillion.  I get it.  But it's NOT TRUE.  An online video is good for a finite number of things:

-Attempts at sketch comedy style filmmaking on the cheap
-Animals being adorable or attacking toddlers (in a funny way not a death-y way)
-Other humour
-Documenting the incredible (read: crazy amazing dance moves that will blow your head off its socket like the ballerina who went en pointe on a dudes head - CRAZY!)
-TV shows/movies/trailers
-SOMETIMES instruction but only if it's something that is 100% visual and can't be described in writing
-Personal crap that you're posting online to share with your aunt in Norway so she can pretend she's still a part of the family even though she moved to Norway to get away from you

That's it.

If you're discussing current events in a non-hilarious way, sharing tips on marketing/how to cook a roast, or doing anything that doesn't fall directly into one of the above categories, JUST WRITE IT DOWN FOR PETE'S SAKE!!!  (And yes, Pete was my Grandpa, so obviously this is very important to me).

If you write it down, then I can easily scan for the information I need without disrupting everything else I'm doing and everyone around me.  I can also easily come back to your stupid article for the information at a later date and I don't have to skim through an entire video or podcast to find what I'm looking for.  It just makes life easier for everyone, don't you think?

So stop being a baby and write with words.  Or if you're scared of words, draw pictures and infographics.  EVERYONE loves a good infographic.  Everyone.

Relationship Cost/Benefits

Okay, so I've thought on and off in the past about how funny our dating/love/relationship practices really are when you think about them objectively.  So then I decided to compare the three major relationship options with their pros and cons.  Because why not?


The gist: meet someone, decide you want to be with them in a special kind of way and if they want it too, you get to know each other better and better until they are your "one and only" and you pretty much know everything there is to know about each other and love each other and are among the most important people in each other's lives, if not straight up the most important.  Then one of two things happen: one or both of you decide it's not working anymore and you probably cut them out of your life entirely (except on Facebook, because that would be a little extreme) or maybe you try to be friends, relapse into romantic happenings, and get all hurt again, repeating the process until you finally cut them out of your life all together; or you grow old together until one of you dies.  Then this process repeats with someone else until you die.

The pros: while together there is (ideally) lots of trust and togetherness and that wonderful feeling of exclusivity that makes you all smug and feeling sorry for everyone else, low levels of sexual confusion, autonomy of choice of who you're with, and social understanding of your relationship.

The cons: If you aren't good at talking about lots of random details, you can be with someone for a really long time and get all way-too-close and then find out something vital that means you can't be with that person, unclear roles in a relationship or expectations of what it all means, and the empty horribleness when you have to rip someone out of your life if it doesn't work out.


The gist: You start off with one significant other, then add more as necessary.  Generally in polygamous livin' divorce/break ups aren't really done, so when problems arise, you just add a spouse.

The pros: People who practice polygamy seem to have pretty steady ideas of what's expected from a relationship and their role within it, if you're one of the sister-wives you get a set of people who totally get what you're talking about to complain to/overanalyze the relationship with, and you will not have to deal with the whole gaping hole of losing someone.

The cons: Jealousy, the whole sexist thing that tends to go along polygamy (but doesn't necessarily), and having to share or be shared would be tiresome once and a while.


The gist: Your parents or whoever decide who you should marry and then you do it.  You never divorce.

The pros: Both parties definitely know what their expectations of the relationship, because if you're agreeing to let your parents choose your mate you know exactly what the goal of your relationship is, so you probably won't have to to deal with any terrifying heartbreak, and you might even come to love the person.

The cons: Not knowing the person you're promising to spend the rest of your life with is kind of risky, and while you'll probably avoid terrifying heartbreak, you might be lonely and loveless for the rest of your life.

So... take your pick I guess?