inspiration! olivia wilde is turning 30

I didn't know who Olivia Wilde was before my friend shared this article, but dang.  This is good stuff.

My favourites:

DON'T freak out about all the brilliant people who accomplished more than you by 30.
This is a biggie for me, I've always been big on comparing and heavily influenced by the "Top 30 Under 30"-type lists.

DON'T propose to the next guy you meet just because you worry he'll be your last chance at lifelong companionship.
I'm sure my current fellah will appreciate this. Sometimes I get a little "time's-a-ticking!" in my head, but I know that part's not real, and it's nice to be reminded that there are lots of people who have done the marriage thing at many different times in their lives and that doesn't impact the sheer awesomeness of their lives.

national cat day!

It's almost over, but technically there's still time to celebrate: it's National Cat Day, people! As my boss pointed out, this is clearly different than every other day of the year when cat photos are posted and loved on the internet. (The key difference being that we are now posting cute cate pictures while talking about the fact that we're posting them for National Cat Day.)

To celebrate, here is an oldie but a goodie. Probably the cutest of all the cute cat videos that have ever existed for all of time: the Mommy cat snuggling her baby.

if i had all the time in the world

I would just stand in my window in extravagant dresses, holding my cat, and staring at people.

I want that to be what people mean when they call me the cat lady.

cute! rolling cat

Fun fact: I tried to become one of "those" cat owners who takes her cat out on a leash.  Not to walk her like a chump, but to let her explore my yard in safety while I would sit and read a book.  It was going to be picturesque.  The first time we went out, she kept lying on her back and rolling around, and I thought she was just loving the outdoors so much she wanted to rub it all over her body.  I now realize she was trying to rub the harness off of her body.  Sigh.  Oh well.

7 ways to get over yourself on facebook

A while back blogger Wait but Why wrote a post 7 Ways to be Insufferable on Facebook that made a lot of rounds (especially after it got reposted to The Huffington Post).

I posted it to my Facebook wall (oh sorry, timeline, because it really changes it to rename it) with this commentary:
Questions raised by this article: why is a relationship status update more valid to share than a major job promotion?  Is seeing someone else's heartfelt happiness really going to make you hate your own life?  Is advertising that you need a subletter while travelling a brag or an efficient way of finding a trustworthy person to live in your home?  What if I'm publicly pointing out my friends' awesomeness in order to shine a spotlight on someone else whom everyone should appreciate?

Finally, how unhappy must this writer be with his own life to interpret all these benign sharings so negatively?
Afterwards in conversation with a friend I was informed that I really "tore a strip off" that article.   I honestly didn't mean to, but I do find some serious flaws in his arguments, some of which I pointed out in that post.  And now I will use my platform here to dig deeper into those flaws and make myself sound as enlightened as possible in the process.

Before it all begins, I will point out that I agree with the fundamental principle of this post.  People should consider whether their update is of any value to its readers, and some of the things people post seem genuinely, stupefyingly, annoying.  However, writing a post with rules about what people can say on a website invented for people to be able to say whatever they want is also kind of annoying.  And writing a lengthy rebuttal is also kind of annoying.  So we're all annoying!  Hooray!

Issue #1: Image Crafting

Image crafting isn't a new thing.  Everything that we do that is both in public and on purpose is image crafting.  How we dress, when we decide we want to use a particular phrase or word more often, books we read on the bus because we want people to see us reading them, books we place with prominence on our bookshelves, the pictures we select to put on our walls, that trendy new bar we visit after work instead of the local one with all the same drinks and cheaper prices, or the point we make of mentioning that our lunch is organic and cruelty-free homemade from scratch with no additives.

The difference between all of our regular image crafting and the internet is that the internet (especially Facebook) is a super-condensed image crafting machine.  It's the place you go the the express purpose of seeing what image your friends, relatives, acquaintances, and exes want the world to see about their lives.  It's also a place to easily send messages, create events, and share ideas, but in some ways that's secondary.  Facebook is the place where you choose what other people will see about you.  That is simply what it is, so no point in getting all up in arms when people do it.

Issue #2: Audience Awareness

The constant complaint Tim (Mr. Wait but Why) makes is that most peoples' updates are of interest to only a small number of close friends or family, not their "800" Facebook friends.  Sure, that's probably true, but, for better or worst, most people don't think of Facebook as the way they communicate with those alleged 800 people.  When people write Facebook posts they are mostly thinking of their friends and family, and maybe a close outer circle of acquaintances, despite the actual larger audience.

Once again, yes, it would be great if people took into account the fact that their status will be read by a lot more people than just their closest friends (or even that it will be read by anyone at all).  But really, if reading life updates from acquaintances really bothers you, then pair down your friends list to your actual friends and save yourself from the posts of the riffraff.  A lot of people do that.

I personally like having a Facebook network that's a little more sizeable, not because I want it to look like I have a zillion friends but because it's useful.   I can ask advice or help of a wide network of people on anything from carpooling to computer issues.  It's a hive mind.  And, of course, I can be of service to that same network if they need help or advice.  I think it's great!  Plus, I kind of like looking at the wedding and baby pictures of my outer circle.  If you don't see it that way, then that's on you, they're your "friends".

Issue #3: The Specifics - Relationships vs. Everything Else

This is a part of the point I was trying to make in my Facebook post. Some of the specific things Tim isolates as "acceptable" or "unacceptable" I find befuddling.  The main one being the strange relationship-centric nature of his rulings: apparently, it's okay to update your relationship status when you start dating someone but not to share that you have a major promotion?

First of all, it's a little funny because most people I know have removed relationship status from their profile all together unless they're in a lifelong companionship.  Once you have to break up with someone and announce it to the world by changing your relationship status back to "single" on Facebook, it kind of sours the joys of advertising your brand-new relationship with the world.

As someone who has spend the vast majority of her life as a singleton, I also just find it a little unfair.  Finding someone to date is something any human being has a limited amount of control over - you really don't know when or how you're going to meet your next "siggy other."  Career, on the other hand, you do have some amount of control over.  Plus, career achievements are really worthwhile.  And at the very least, they are no more braggy than relationship updates.  So for Pete's sake, don't take the work-status update away from the singletons just because you're grumpy today!

Issue #4: The Specifics - The "Acceptance Speech" and other Gratitude

Personally, I think one way to use Facebook status updates for good is sharing positivity and gratitude.   Of all the things you can post about, why not share your thankfulness or shine the spotlight on someone else who deserves a little public affection?  If you are one of the "800" friends who don't know the person I'm posting about, then just ignore it.   Or (if you're like me) read it and feel some reflected joy at the shared positivity.  Because saying nice things makes (most) people (who are able to have some perspective about life) feel nice.

Sure, maybe there's a bit of a backdoor brag imbedded in the post - "look at me, I have friends who do nice things for me!"  But really, who cares?  Tim says that this kind of post is a cry for attention and a desire not to share love but to feel loved, I say, sure maybe, if you want to look at the world while wearing your Cynic Pants.  But I doubt it.  If I was trying to get everyone to gush with love for me, I wouldn't do it by pointing their attention at someone else.  That's just inefficient.

Issue #5: The Acceptable Posts

Interesting, informative, and funny posts are supposed to be okay, but if we're getting down to brass tacks here (or maybe, just for fun, some platinum tacks), when I post an interesting article on Facebook, or a funny comic, or anything else, I am being just as image craft-y, attention-grabby, narcissistic, jealousy inducing, and maybe even lonely as when I post about my bad transit experience.

The only thing that sets "Look at this cool, interesting, intellectual article I read, don't you know that I must also be smarter and better informed than you" apart from "Waaah, I'm having a excrement-filled day", is that you may or may not find that article interesting and get to post a comment on it that shows off how you are even smarter and better informed than me to both of our 800 friends.  Way to go!

Issue #6: Assumption of Motives

Sharing anything, online or in real life, can essentially be named as a narcissistic plea for attention, if you want to see it that way.   Human beings have a need to share our experiences and thoughts and prickly little feelings.   The internet has provided a thoroughly unprecedented platform to do this on a large scale.

If you want to look at humanity as positively as possible, you can see this as a simple fulfillment of our basic need to share that has turned a little annoying by giving it a Super Megaphone with Magical Never-Die Batteries that Hangs Out in Your Home and Wherever You Go if You Have a Smart Phone.

If, on the other hand, you want to keep wearing your cynic pants, then go ahead, call it narcissism and attention-seeking or jealousy-inducing, or any other smart-sounding name for "Look at me!  My life is great, especially compared to yours!"

On Facebook, as with everywhere in life, some people are just following through on their basic human desire to share their thoughts, feelings, and lives while others are consciously or unconsciously trying to make people jealous or broadcast their narcissistic selves for the rest of us mortals to admire.  Heck, I'd bet you that everyone does both from time to time, and even that a lot of posts are take a little motivation from both piles.

Also, I think we often assume in others the motives we secretly have in our hearts.  So maybe the pot is seeing itself reflected in the kettle?  Hmmmm?

Issue #7: Responsibility

You are not a victim.  If the noise on Facebook bugs you, turn it off.  Leave Facebook if you want to, pair down your friend list to people you actually like and care about, or just block the annoying ones from your newsfeed.  People are people and Facebook allows people to be people in a super public way.  If you can't handle it, leave.  I'm not saying this in a mean way - it's a legitimate and empowering option,

There's an old saying parents love to use on their children that someone else can't be annoying, you choose to be annoyed by them.

It's hard sometimes to see only the best in everyone else's lives while you're living with (what appears to be) the poo-stain of your own.  It's like how we all know we're not supposed to let magazine pictures bug us because they're all fake and airbrushed, but they still make us feel like our bodies are wriggling, discoloured sacks of sadness from time to time.  (Or is that just me?)

Yes, sometimes people are guilty of doing things that tend to be annoying, and people should be aware of their actions and how they might be perceived.  But you don't have any control over that.  You chose to join the website that lets people be themselves (or some version of themselves) in front of you at all times.  You can then choose to change how you perceive what they're doing, either through a good ol' fashioned attitude adjustment, or an actual adjustment of your Facebook settings.

You've got the power!

Credit where credit is due: some of this came out of ongoing conversations with my office mate and top-notch friend Alison, who says "get over yourself" all the time and said the thing about other people not being annoying but us choosing to be annoyed by them.

singalong! leader of the pack

In honour of my dear friend Libby, currently being a genius in Japan, I present to you the tragic tale of a motorcycle-riding hottie who gets his heart broken, and then dies.  All because some rich girl's parents make her break up with him.  Parents.

Is she really going out with him? 
Well, there she is. Let's ask her. 
Betty, is that Jimmy's ring you're wearing? 
Gee, it must be great riding with him 
Is he picking you up after school today? 
By the way, where'd you meet him? 

 I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me 
You get the picture? (yes, we see) 
That's when I fell for (the leader of the pack) 

 My folks were always putting him down (down, down) 
They said he came from the wrong side of town 
(whatcha mean when ya say that he came from the wrong side of town?) 
They told me he was bad 
But I knew he was sad 
That's why I fell for (the leader of the pack) 

 One day my dad said, "Find someone new" 
I had to tell my Jimmy we're through
 (whatcha mean when ya say that ya better go find somebody new?) 
He stood there and asked me why 
But all I could do was cry 
I'm sorry I hurt you (the leader of the pack) 

He sort of smiled and kissed me goodbye 
The tears were beginning to show 
As he drove away on that rainy night I begged him to go slow 
But whether he heard, I'll never know 
(crashing sounds) 
Look out! Look out! Look out! Look out! 

 I felt so helpless, what could I do? 
Remembering all the things we'd been through 
In school they all stop and stare 
I can't hide the tears, but I don't care 
I'll never forget him (the leader of the pack) 

 The leader of the pack - now he's gone 
The leader of the pack - now he's gone 
The leader of the pack - now he's gone 
The leader of the pack - now he's gone

learn! the science of rejection

I found this ridiculously cool.  Something that falls a bit into the "duh" category of scientific research, and yet, something I probably wouldn't have given a second thought to: when you're trying to stop yourself from doing something, the way you talk to yourself makes all the difference.

The key?  Use the word "don't".  Say to yourself "I don't eat junk food" instead of "I can't eat junk food" and you'll be way more likely to resist the junk food.

It makes so much sense!  It applies both to your own sense of power (saying "I don't" is way more empowering than "I can't"), as well as other peoples' perceptions (think the difference between a vegetarian saying "I don't eat meat" and someone on a weird fad diet saying "I can't eat anything that brings joy to life").  While other peoples' thoughts of you don't really matter, they also do because if other people feel even a modicum more supportive and understanding of your efforts, they'll be, even subconsciously, that modicum more supportive and understanding of your efforts in some tangible way.

Try it with me, in a unified sing-song voice: "I don't eat junk food", "I don't skip workouts", "I don't leave dishes in the sink for days", "I don't forget to give Andrea presents every time I see her."

Ta-daaaaa!  Goal achieved.


Drop Everything. New Arcade Fire album Reflektor on YouTube

The Arcade Fire just posted their entire new album, Reflektor, to YouTube for free streaming.  Watch.  Now.

Halfway through the first song and it feels so different from The Suburbs. But till so Arcade Fire.

I love them so much.

hashtag "the worst"

One of the best uses of Twitter, aside from sharing 30 animated GIFS that you'll recognize if you were born in the 80's/are an introvert/extrovert/actor/runner/pinterest-user/human person, is observing the incredible entitlement of privileged human beings.  My latest favourite way to explore said entitlement is through the hashtag "the worst."  Now, to be fair, many circumstances hashtagged "the worst" are pretty annoying.  Observe:

Now, to be fair, some of these are legitimately annoying.  Strict dads and wearing pants?  Oh man, totally frustrating?  Underneath it all are the cries of: "I have access to healthcare, wealth, time, and choice but it's being slightly hampered!  Now I think I might die!!!" 

Okay, so maybe this is actually life or death for all of them.  Maybe the breakfast person has a condition where they need to eat breakfast food every 4 hours or they'll die and this is the only restaurant in a 5-hour radius.  Maybe the strict dad is locking her in a tower Rapunzel-style and her hair is too bleached to let her rescuer climb up it.  Maybe the healthcare guy's dentist is the evil Little Shop of Horrors dentist and the girl going to the sale could have only afforded to buy something she really needed at exactly 11% off.

singalong! we don't want your body

Stars are one of my favourite bands ever.  So favourite I'm working on a musical based on their album The Five Ghosts.  One of the songs on The Five Ghosts is We Don't Want Your Body.  It's a funny, sad, interesting song that has been hard to place in the musical.  Their music video, however, is a piece of gold.  For some reason it's this top-secret, only available on Pitchfork thing, so I can't embed it.  But watch, and singalong with this glorious song.


 Lyrics:  "We Don't Want Your Body" - Stars

Knock shop in Oxford Street
One where the vampires meet
Silk purse, pink tie and all of that
Platforms, white teeth, a stupid hat
They really like to see you there
You make them think you really care
I've watched you take your make up off
Your face grows hard
Your eyes grow soft
The window blinds are drawn
You flash your trash to turn me on
I sigh and frown and start to cough
Your hunger starts to turn me off
Lie down and try to talk to me
Sleep now and dream of who you'll be
When you finally become someone.

You tune into my frequency
That don't mean a thing to me
Cause I don't want your body
I don't want your body
You sold me some cheap ecstasy
So you could have some sex with me
I don't want your body
I don't want your body

Face down up on the bar
I always said you'd get far
But you're not the kid you used to be
Someone should call your family
White line that time I called before
Flash bulbs which pop to keep you warm
I've watched you slowly fall away
The colour fade, from blue to grey
The window blind undrawn
You flash your trash to turn me on
Your just a tramp, you're just a trick
Our hunger starts to make us sick
Lie down and try to talk to me
Sleep now and dream of who you'll be
But will you actually be anyone?

You tune into my frequency
That don't mean a thing to me
Cause I don't want your body
I don't want your body
You sold me some cheap ecstasy
So you could have some sex with me
I don't want your body
I don't want your body

 We don't want your body

learn! happiness

Learning how to be happy is kind of zeitgeist-y right now, and while I think it's actually a bit dangerous to lay too much responsibility on the individual for their lifelong well-being, there are some good nuggets. Here we find some habits of happy people.

My favourites:

They surround themselves with happy people.
 (Like the Cosby family!) 
They appreciate simple pleasures. 
(This makes me feel good about the fact that I get super easily excited by things like tea, sunshine, and cheese.) 
They devote some time to giving and spend money on others.
(Because I think one of the main keys to happiness is looking beyond yourself!) 
They look on the bright side. 
(The world is equally full of joyous beauty and terrifying horrors. Looking at the joyous beauty more often makes it appear to grow. Plus, it's just nicer.)

in case you were wondering...

This week is not next week, it is this week.

(Just in case someone else kept mixing that up too, you're welcome.)

inspiration! britney

I know I'm going to lose a lot of respect, posting this as my first-ever Inspiration! post. But there are two things about this song and video that inspire me:

1) It is vintage Britney. That girl has finally swung back around from the very very very hard times she was going through. Sure, it would be nice if her comeback wasn't so closely linked to her hot bod, but more than that, she appears to finally be owning it again. That makes me happy and makes me feel like if she can come back, anyone can. (Also, check out those baggy pants and crop top - so Hit Me Baby, One More Time!

2) The message. I have oft been teased for examining the messages in pop songs, but everything has a message and so does this. What's this message? You want something, go out and work for it. No promises that you'll get it, but it sure ain't going to come to you if you sit around and wait. Go Britney!

cute! paws

Cute! Cat paws. This is Miss Gertie Marie. You will get to know her well as time flies by. #cutemonday #thegerts

changes afoot!

Things are revamping and renewing around here!  I'm getting things going again, with some weekly features and then the occasional thought-bomb from me.

Get ready for Cute! Mondays, Inspire! Wednesdays, Learn! Fridays, and Singalong! Weekends.

All this stuff will go on the twitter and some of it on the Instagram.  There are even hashtags, because that's how we roll.  You can also follow my Pinterest boards, and then you'll probably get some previews to what's coming, because I like to pin stuff that's cute or teaches me things.  So that will be sort of like peeking at your Christmas presents in the back of the closet, but your Christmas presents are nestled among a whole whack of trick Christmas presents that will never be used.  So basically, it's your call.

Anyhoo, all those links are on the side now.  Click on them if you want.

See you next Monday when we get cute together!