Thursday, March 31, 2011

Proven: Kissing Looks Funny

This blog post on Where the Lovely Things Are made me realize something important: people look weird when they kiss.

I don't know about you, but I haven't spent much time looking at people closely in a freeze-framed lip-lock.  It's a totally different thing.

Take, for example, one of my favourite screen kisses of all time:



PS: I could only find lame compilations of Jim and Pam's relationship and not the actual scene, but I'm referring to the Casino Night kiss, starts at 0:04 for like 10 seconds.  Please ignore the rest, as well as the sad and ridiculous song choice.

Okay, so that's an incredibly romantic and beautiful kiss, alive with emotion and wonder and excitement.  I don't know about you, but it makes me feel like I'm being kissed by the person that I've had a secret crush on for two years, and like everything is perfect.  (I actually mean that, I realized halfway through watching it that I was puckering my lips a little bit, which is totally normal, don't you think?)

Now look at a freeze frame of the kiss:


All I see is two people with their faces awkwardly pressed against each other.

It's just kind of sad, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Every girl's dream

As everyone knows, little girls are generally nuts about weddings.  As soon as we're old enough to understand that the main point of getting married is throwing a party where you get the prettiest dress of your life and everyone spends the whole day looking at you and telling you how pretty you are, most of us are hooked.

Well, now we can add a new flavour to that dream: bulk purchasing.  That's right.  Costco sells wedding dresses!  And they're actually not too bad looking, albeit kind of generic.  But then that's part of growing up: realizing that every bride is incredibly generic looking except for you.  You are/will be stunning and unique in your slight variation on a white dress with sparkles on it.

The New Kissing Disease

Cavities are officially contagious.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Yoga THIS!

I am officially a yoga instructor now!  Watch our world, the brain that brings you these blog posts will now be bringing you Warrior 2, Trikonasana, Vrksasana, and of course Prasaritta Padotanasana.  WOO!

Me and my tummy doing headstand
on the last day of yoga school.
Have you ogled my beautiful yoga/theatre website yet?  http://www.andrealoewen.com

Friday, March 25, 2011

Family Photos

A little while ago I was looking for a pick-me-up.  I naturally turned to the first place we all turn when we're bored and looking for "something" to fill our time/the gaping hole in our hearts: facebook.  I came across a friend who has a lot of pictures from their childhood posted on their facebook, and it gave me a lift.  This particular friend is a full-fledged grown up, so a lot of her childhood pictures are black and white and/or have that wonderful retro quality to the colouring that make them look even more innocent and nostalgic than childhood photos already do.

I realized how many photos we have now that are overly posed and processed: so many of our photos are professionally done or attempts at looking like they were professionally done.  Everyone is standing up straight and wearing make up and trying to look as pretty as they can.  Or they're all artistic with a shallow depth of field and people looking off to the side like they don't realize that the camera is there and are just so wrapped up in their own deep thoughts.  BORING.

I decided to go further.  First I googled "childhood photos", but mostly came up with boring professional images of children or pictures from news stories on obesity and diabetes in children.  Not quite the nostalgic romp I was looking for.  I went even further.  I searched "family photos" this time, and got a whole new kind of fun.

Once you scroll past the annoying professional photos that all look the same you get something else: homemade family photos that all look the same.  There is a certain charm to these I had never noticed.

Sometimes they are clearly planned or taken at a fancy event: everyone's dressed nicely with make up or matching colours.  Sometimes it's obvious that everyone was chowing down in the backyard BBQ when someone said "Hey!  We should do a picture!"  And then a painful hour passed where the instigator tried desperately to round everyone up, get them all to stand up straight, convince the Moms that they didn't have to fix their hair, and tried to set up the camera with the auto-timer.

Rows of families standing next to each other, adults in the back, kids in the front, grandparents in the middle.  Even when they were dressed up, there's still a lovely at-home quality to these that is lost in the professional shots.  I was struck by the awesome universality of the lame family photo.

Check it out:







Then I came across this little nugget and thought "Hey, do I know these guys?"


Oh, old friends, how I've missed you.  Let this be a reminder to you, now and forever, that family matters.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pregnancy and the Internet

Did you know that there's an entire stream of results when you type "pregnancy test results" into Youtube? Seriously.  About 1,010 people have taken video of themselves finding out if they're pregnant or not and then posted it on the internet!  Seriously!  (Repeating the same word with an exclamation mark one sentence later makes it important, by the way.)  If you don't believe me, go to Youtube right now and find out for yourself.  I'm not posting a link because I don't want to encourage this phenomenon any more than I already am by writing about it.

Does anyone else feel a mixture of sickness and intrigue with this?

I have watched two videos so far, one with a charming and adorable woman who is waiting with her boyfriend/husband/partner-dude to look at the stick.  In the other I got to see a woman take her sixth pregnancy test, complete with dipping the stick in a cup of her own urine.

Luckily, these two have been of people desperate to confirm their pregnancies, and not the other way around.  I just don't even want to imagine how terrifying it would be to watch a woman find out she's pregnant when she doesn't want to be.  In fact, I'm kind of scared to watch any more videos now, just in case.  Also, the little preview image of the next video in my stream is all night-vision-esque with a woman actually sitting on the toilet.  Good.  The sickness is outweighing the intrigue and I am backing away from the youtube.

On a utilitarian note, I never realized how much useful research there is to be done on Youtube if you're an actor.  Imagine, if you will a scenario: you are cast as a young woman who is trying to become pregnant and finally, it happens.  You have never been pregnant yourself and are having trouble figuring out what it's actually like to suddenly find out that you have successfully procreated.  In the past you might have talked to pregnant women and find out what it was like for them, tried different ways of trying to trick yourself into feeling it, or (if you're really method) gotten pregnant yourself.  Now you can type in "pregnancy test results" to Youtube and watch over a thousand videos of women finding out that they're pregnant.  Totally real women who aren't acting or anything.  Except that maybe some of them are, but if that's the case it's probably really good acting, in which case you're still learning!

PS: Just to clear things up, I was not spontaneously inspired to type "pregnancy test results" into Youtube for fun.  I came across the first video on the lovely women's magazine The Hairpin.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Restauranteurs Beware

A lot of restaurants like to be creative with their signage for bathroom doors.  I get that.  It's kind of nice for a restaurant or pub or other bathroom-having establishment to put their own spin on the traditional "Men" and "Women" titles.  You know, make it their own.

There are some great ways to do this.  They could post a photo of a famous and glamorous lady and a debonair gentleman.  They can do some artistic rendition of the usual silhouette forms of people with or without dresses.  They can use "clever" terms like "Dudes" and "Dudettes" or employ any other option out of the myriad of bathroom door signage options.

I have but one request: don't use words or images that will force your patrons to stop in front of the two doors and consider for more than a second which one they're supposed to choose.

It's awkward to stand in front of any door, unsure if you're supposed to use it while other people bustle by, judging you for your low reading comprehension.  It's more awkward when it's a bathroom door and you don't realize you've been staring at the wrong door until someone from the opposite gender comes through it and you have a horribly uncomfortable moment of eye contact just as they've exited the bathroom and you both know what they were doing in there.  Plus it makes you look creepy.

Just a little tip from your neighbourhood bathroom-goer.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Questionable Flowchart on Image-Posting Ethics

I have Design*Sponge on my google reader, mostly just for something pretty to scan past as I idly flip through the "All Items" section to pass the time/procrastinate.  Today, while flipping, I came across a very cute looking flowchart about the legal/etiquette rules for posting photos that aren't yours on your blog.

I was originally going to post it here to show you all, and I even have it downloaded onto my desktop for that express purpose, but then felt all guilty for posting an image about asking permission to use images without asking permission (even though I totally was going to give credit, and personally I think that should be good enough), and I just plain don't want to go through the effort of asking them permission to post the image.  Especially when I'm asking permission to post the image so I can criticize how poorly-made it is.

So do yourself a favour.  Go to this post on Design*Sponge and check out the flowchart.  Maybe open it in a separate window so that you can read my scathing criticisms while following along yourself.

Let me preface this criticism with the fact that I love a good flow chart.  I mean really, I do.  They make me very happy and every time I come across one on the internet I can't help but follow it, first answering the questions honestly and then over and over again testing different options and seeing what results I get.  Especially because these days it seems flowcharts have become a cool-graphic-design-nerd trend, and are usually very witty and fun, while still being enlightening.  Unfortunately, I am afraid this particular flowchart focused a little too much on the wit and fun and not enough on the enlightenment, and that this was the cause of its downfall.

You try it.  First pretend that the image is yours.  Easy, right?  The flowchart follows without a problem: if the image is yours, it is automatically beautiful and worth thrusting upon the internet for everyone to see.

Now come to a screeching halt in the entire process.  I got halfway through writing out the problems with the next phase of the flowchart (you didn't make the image and know who did) and then I remembered one critical detail: I am very busy today and don't have time to spend an hour writing about the faults with a flowchart.  So you're just going to have to figure this one out for yourselves, kids.

How's that for a half-finished blog post?  Bet you're glad you bothered reading it!

Resolution: Failed

Remember when I made a St. Patrick's Day resolution to learn how to make my own alcohol to bring to the St. Pat's party I would be attending?  Totally didn't do it.  I promised to keep you guys posted, so here I am, reporting my failure!  Because I may not be reliable, but at least I follow through with my secondary promises.

Sorry, Shay, it'll be storebought booze if any that I bring tonight!

Dang, just realized I have to find something green to wear, otherwise everyone will judge me mercilessly!  I honestly can't think of a single green item of clothing that I own.  What is WRONG with me?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today is serious

Advice of the day: If at all possible, I recommend only loving someone else only to the level of loving how they make you feel, with no concern for them or their personal happiness.  Otherwise, once you start to love them as an actual person, you start to actually care about them and that dang personal happiness.  Once you get to this point you are screwed because it gets a lot harder to manipulate them into giving up their dreams to be with you, and you always want to be able to manipulate them into giving up their dreams to be with you.  That's like, step one of the relationship handbook.

Today my fellah is flying to Saskatoon to take the policing tests out there.

I am totally supportive.

I mean, what girlfriend wouldn't be supportive of her boyfriend going through the application procedure for a job that would make him move to one of the few places in her country that feels like a black hole of nothingness, right?

Also, I am incredibly supportive about the fact that the folks at the Saskatoon police department have sped up his application procedure, so he'll be writing the exam, taking the physical test, and doing the interviews and polygraph tests all in one week instead of over the course of months (or even a year) like all the other police forces that he's applied to.  It's so great that they're condensing the entire process, just so that he doesn't have to fly out there multiple times over the course of the year, and definitely doesn't make it more likely that he'll get a job offer out there before he even gets an interview with a local police force, forcing us both to make awesome, fun decisions between things like living where we want to live and having careers that are meaningful to us and being with each other.  I mean, I've only gotten the joy of making that decision once before in my life, and that was with someone who I kind of needed to break up with anyways.  I really need to experience this decision on a much more gut-wrenching level, don't you think?

So yeah.  I am super supportive, and just wanted to share with you all how supportive I am so you can see what a good girlfriend I am.  For real.

PS: As further evidence that Saskatoon is a black hole of nothingness in the middle of Canada, my computer doesn't recognize Saskatoon as a word.  Thanks for backing me up, spell-check!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Your very own Kate Middleton

I've already shared my views on the Royals, which can be summed up at this point in time as mixed.  They are, of course, the closest thing our society has to gods, but they are snubbing my province so you know, not feeling to hot about that.

Still... I might have to buy one of these:


Kate Middleton Barbie.

Okay, I'm not actually going to buy one, because that would be silly.  They're $195, after all!  I mean, I like the monarchy, but I'm not going to spend my hard earned money on a barbie doll that kinda looks like Kate Middleton, who isn't even a royal yet, which means she gives hope that a regular gal like me could one day be a princess too.  Nope, not buying one.  Just... you know... ready to accept one as a gift?

Best. Website. Ever.

I'm not even being sarcastic.  It's called How Fucking Romantic, and I'm embarrassed saying it because I don't use the F word (seriously, I don't), but that's what the website is called.  And the title speaks the truth!  Illustrations of 69 love songs by The Magnetic Fields.

Look at this:


Adorable!

They're not all cutesy-wootsy either, there's some pretty brutal stuff on there.  Because sometimes love is brutal, kids, and that's the truth.  Or so I've heard - my life, of course, is a fairy tale.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dance Pics

Where the Lovely Things Are has posted a collection of photos of people dancing that are... well, just lovely!  I highly recommend you look at them and marvel at how much fun dancing looks.  Then try dancing yourself and remember why it is that you usually refuse to move your body if without a drink or two.

There's just one picture that is driving me nuts:


Can someone please explain to me why it is that photos like this get people all twitterpaited?  Because, sure, from the waste up this girl is an adorable representation of a young ballerina who hasn't yet learned that the life of a dancer is a life of pain.  But could she try for just a second to turn her legs out?  REALLY?  Or is she just too carefree to have anything resembling proper form?

Listen sister, just because you're on pointe doesn't mean you're a good dancer!  The whole reason for being a dancer is to make other people feel bad that they are unable to hold their leg out behind them with their hips facing forward and their knees facing out to the sides!  Yes, it will ruin your body in 5-10 years and you will barely be able to walk like a normal person, but even then, everyone will be so impressed!  Do you understand how you are undermining the entire world of dance by doing this?  You are taking the impossibility out of it!  Anyone can hold their leg behind them if it's all turned IN like that.  DON'T YOU SEE?  You are taking away our POWER!

Oh, and don't hunch your left shoulder, sweety.  It makes you look cheap.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Apples are so last week

Does anyone else go through drastic fruit-appreciation phases?  Lately I've been all about apples.  It's been apples apples apples apples apples.  I couldn't get enough and I didn't want anything else.  Except maybe strawberries because they are the best.

Then suddenly it all ended.  I bought some apples last week at a little produce store, and as I was putting them in my basket, I realized that I didn't really want them.  This is likely because they were one of the softer apple varieties and had lots of bruises, and normally I would have stopped and picked out a preferred, firm genetically modified species of apple, but I was rushing because the store was closing when I got there but the guy let me in anyways.  Now I have these sad little apples, bruising their lives away in the chill drawer of my fridge, and all I can think about is oranges.  These pathetic little fruitlings have spoiled apples for me in general, and I have been forced to move on.

So it's official, oranges are the new apples.  This would all be great and a natural part of the life-fruit cycle, except that now I've got 5 apples that will either sit in my fridge until they rot enough that I feel less guilty about throwing them out, or that I will begrudgingly try to eat and have only 3 bites of before I hit a bruised section and throw them out.

Either way, life is no longer ideal.  First world middle class problems are SO DIFFICULT aren't they?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The British Are Coming! Oh wait, no they're not...

I love the Monarchy.  I really do.  I actually think they should be given back some of their authority over Canada.  I think that if they were in charge of some of the ongoing parts of Canadian life (say, education, the environment, and health care) things would run a lot more smoothly.  Think about it: the job turn over is very infrequent compared to political leaders, so we wouldn't get those sudden changes in policy that come with each election, and they aren't vying for votes so they don't have to please weird yet powerful fringe groups.  They could actually just use they're brains (which I am convinced they have) to come up with plans that will actually work in the long-term, instead of bandying about, insulting their opponents and making drastic changes to policy that will later be reversed and insulted by said opponents when they are in power.

Anyhoo... all that to say, I was very excited to hear that Prince William and Kate Middleton were coming to Canada for a visit.  They are so pretty!  And she will be a brand new princess, which means I'll get to pretend vicariously through her that I am a brand new princess!  I was actively considering dropping by to say hello, along with the millions of other screaming fans.

Then I found out that they are not visiting British Columbia.  I repeat: PRINCE WILLIAM AND KATE MIDDLETON ARE NOT VISITING BRITISH COLUMBIA!!!  Do they not realize that we are the most British of all the Canadians?  I mean, we have BRITISH in our freaking PROVINCE NAME!  What on earth have the Northwest Territories ever done for you, royal couple?  Seriously, what?  What do they offer that we in BRITISH Columbia don't offer?  I mean, I get that you're visiting Prince Edward Island, because it's named after a prince and half of you are a prince, but what's the next logical step here?  I'm pretty sure it's BRITISH Columbia.  Our capitol city is even named after freaking QUEEN VICTORIA!!!  Yep, Victoria, British Columbia.  Then we have all those other royal cities: PRINCE Rupert, PRINCE George, PRINCEton.  (Side note: I am starting to note a patriarchal bias here...)  I mean, could you get any more loyal to the Crown than that?

Finally, on a more personal note, my family shares a special connection to the current Monarchy.  You see, while Princess Di was pregnant with William, my Mom was pregnant with my older sister, and they were born around the same time of year.  Guess what happened when Pri Di was preggo again, this time with Harry?  YEP, there I was, in my Mom's tummy, actively becoming a full-sized human baby, born around the same time of year as a full-sized human baby version of Harry.  So don't you see, royal couple?  We are bonded.  I am practically related to you.  SO GET YOUR FREAKING SOON TO BE NEWLYWED BUTTS OVER TO MY FREAKING PROVINCE!!!

I rest my case.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Chuck E Cheese: Where a kid can be bored.

I have a childhood gripe to share.  It's Chuck E Cheese.

Growing up I was inundated with references to this palace of childhood joy.  TV shows mostly, from Full House to the Disney Afternoon, would spout the name of Chuck E Cheese like some freaking holy grail.  So much so that looking back I wonder if Chuck E Cheese had paid product placements in all those shows.

Example dialogue involving Chuck E Cheese:

"Where are we going for my friend's birthday party?"  "Chuck E Cheese!"

"You are a sad child and I need to make up for faulty parenting?  Let's go to Chuck E Cheese!"

"Can we go to Chuck E Cheese?  PLEEEEASE?????"

"I'm running away from home!  You'll find me at Chuck E Cheese from now on."

And on it goes.  Chuck E Cheese, Chuck E Cheese, Chuck E Cheese.  Everywhere.  I had heard so much about it that it became a pillar of everything that is fun in my mind.  "If only I could go to Chuck E Cheese," I would think, "I would be happy for the rest of my life!"


I never went.  I don't know if it's because my parents hated me (although if that's the case, they did a remarkable job of acting the opposite, despite my rampant middle-child syndrome) or I lived in a suburb that had an imitation Chuck E Cheese.  It was called Wonderland until Canada's Wonderland sued them and they changed the name to Castle Fun Park (for me, it will always be Wonderland).

Excruciatingly slowly, I got older.  I forgot about Chuck E Cheese and only went to Wonderland with groups of friends so we could pretend to play games and practice flirting with boys.

That's when one of my younger cousins had a birthday party at ... you guessed it, Chuck E Cheese.  The child in me welled up once again, I was going to finally visit this land of enchantment and legal underage gambling!  Childhood dreams were finally coming true!

All I remember from that visit was sitting with my family around a picnic table in the middle of one of the game rooms.  We ate cake and I looked around me.  It was sad.  It was just a bigger, older, crappier version of Wonderland (and that is saying something).  Everything was kind of dirty looking, I didn't get to play any of the games, and I was a preteen hanging out with my family in public.

Chuck E Cheese was lame!  Childhood TV lied to me!  Life is the worst!

PS: I googled Chuck E Cheese while writing this and it turns out they're still in operation.  WEIRD how something so disappointing can force itself to continue to exist.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A new kind of resolution

I have decided that every holiday from now on will carry a resolution.  Why should January 1 get all the fun?  (Maybe because it rhymes with fun?  But even still, it also rhymes with 'bun', which might be why Mennonites invented New Year's Cookies that are called cookies but are really deep-fried lumps of dough and thus more closely resemble buns than cookies.)

Anyways, the next holiday belongs to St. Pat, and I'm pre-emptively resolving to try making my own ale for the celebratory day.  Or whatever fermented drink is easiest to make.

So far the only appealing-looking how-to I have found turned out to be a how-to for making cute Irish-looking labels for store bought spirits and had nothing to do with making the spirits themselves.  Looks like this is going more work than I thought, which really isn't surprising since I just came up with this entire idea when I saw a blog post titled "DIY projects: homemade leprechaun spirits" in my Google reader and thought 'Well, I can do that!"

So now it looks like I'll have to do some actual research if I'm going to stick with this whole resolution thing.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Charlie Sheen in the New Yorker. It couldn't get more prestigious than this.

This has probably been around the ol' block of internet for a while, but I just found it so.... TA-DA!  New Yorker cartoons remade with quotes from the Charlie Sheen Rant-o-File!  This is my favourite:


Find 'em all right here.