Learning! Attack of the Emotionally Smart Delinquent Girls

File this one under C for Counterintuitive: turns out that teen girls with higher emotional intelligence have an increased likelihood of delinquent behaviour.  For boys, not so much.

Emotional Intelligence refers to a person's empathy towards the emotions of others and control over their own, so you would think it would calm a person down, right?  After all, we assume the delinquent behaviour comes from a desire for attention, validation, or simply sensation-seeking.  So a person who's in tune with their emotions should be less needy for these things, right?

Turns out, for girls, that's not the case.

The best reason the researchers could come up with is that teen girls are more likely than boys to engage in social/subtle forms of bullying that require more emotional intelligence to execute well, and that girls who like to get their bully on might also like to get their drink on or their staying-out-way-too-late-with-boys on.

Ultimately, though, that's just a guess, the research was purely correlational.

Source: BPS Research Digest

Inspiration! 99 famous movie quotes as graphics

This is a fun little/big graphic representation of 99 famous movie quotes made by Flowing Data. Definitely worth looking at it in its original context here.  You can even order it as a poster for your wall!

I love how clever graphics help us see familiar things in a new way!

Cute! Cats and Dogs Can Be Friends

A couple of weeks ago I introduced Gertie to my friend's dog, Benji. I'm not going to say that they became friends... yet. This time we got them into a state of co-existence. Next time, who knows? I smell slumber parties!

Singalong! May Queen by Kate Nash

I like Kate Nash a lot. I learned about her years and years ago when I was searching for Kate Bush music and somehow came across her. I remember a badly-recorded EP that was playing on Myspace and it captured my heart, but I don't even remember what it was. I have since purchased her Death Proof EP and truly enjoyed the mix of punky alt grrrrl rock and nice folksiness. This is the softer song on that album, and it gives me feelings.

by Kate Nash

I'm no May Queen
I'm no day dream
Validate me
Please take me

I'm no May Queen
I'm no day dream
Validate me
Please take me

Touch, touch, touch, touching
Touch, touch, touching each other
Touch, touch, touch, touching
Touch, touch, touching each other

Bird is on
Don't tell me
Smell, face, mouth

I'm no May Queen
I'm no day dream
Validate me
Please take me

I'm no May Queen
I'm no day dream
Validate me
Please take me

Touch, touch, touch, touching
Touch, touch, touching each other
Touch, touch, touch, touching
Touch, touch, touching each other

Bird is on
Don't tell me
Smell, face, mouth

Learning! Zooooombies (and science)

A scientific exploration of how zombies might work, including parasites that mind-control their hosts, through the lens of the TV show Walking Dead. While this may be talking about something (currently) fictional, he brings some real science and public health into the mix. Hence, it's a post for Learning!

Inspiration! You don't get to decide the truth

"You don't get to decide the truth." -Frank Chimera

Remember? We are not the centre of the universe? Not even close.

Such a relief!

Cute! Cat Sitting for Pharaoh

Last week I got to do some cat sitting for my friend and did my usual trick of photographing their cat the entire time I was there. He's just so darn cute! Here's Pharaoh, all curled up on his retro green chair.

Singalong! She Don't Use Jelly by The Flaming Lips

This song is just funny. I suspect they had a grand ol' time while writing it, and I have a grand ol' time listening to it.

by The Flaming Lips

I know a girl who thinks of ghosts
She'll make ya breakfast
She'll make ya toast
She don't use butter
She don't use cheese
She don't use jelly
Or any of these
She uses vaseline

I know a guy who goes to shows
When he's at home and he blows his nose
He don't use tissues or his sleeve
He don't use napkins or any of these
He uses magazines

I know a girl who reminds me of cher
She's always changing
The colour of her hair
She don't use nothing
That ya buy at the store
She likes her hair to be real orange
She uses tangerines

Learning! Objectification vs. Appreciation

Objectification is a word that gets thrown around a lot from time to time, and I think a lot of people don't quite know what it refers to.  It has to do with sex, usually.  It usually gets talked about in the context of women and their bodies and advertising or pornography.  It's definitely a bad thing.  But what exactly is it?  What's the difference between objectification and appreciation of a person's physical beauty?  How do you know which is being done to you?

This is a great article in The World of Psychology that breaks down what objectification really is and how to tell if it's happening to you in a real-life.

I've gathered a few take-away quotes, in case you are not into reading entire articles.  All emphasis was added by me.

On objectification in general:

"A new study shows that objectification can be linked to sexual coercion in romantic relationships. This is not surprising, for several reasons. More alarmingly, objectification is also statistically linked to sexual violence. This is also not surprising."

"A man or a woman who sees another individual as an object is seeing them through the lens of being able to satisfy a particular need — period. They do not have the capacity to think about the whole person or consequently a healthy, mature relationship — especially a romantic or sexual one."

Signs of objectification in relationships:

"A healthy attraction does not tend to focus overwhelmingly on a body part or a specific look, for instance a specific outfit."

"A mature individual will reflect back to you their attraction to subtleties or abstract qualities and less exclusively on concrete details that can be experienced as separate from the whole personality."

"A mature individual will also talk about other people as whole individuals. They will not tend to see the world in black or white."

"Someone who objectifies will tend to have a lesser capacity for true empathy."

"Objectified pleasure does not extend into true appreciation that can lead to appreciation and pleasure in the subtler dimensions of your body or an intimate experience."

Read more detail in the original article here.

Inspiration! Yes Means Yes

Now THIS is inspiring!  California is the first US state, and possibly first place ever, to adopt a "yes means yes" law.  That means that if you don't get a clear "yes" for sexy times, you don't have sexy times.

The difference between "yes means yes" and "no means no" in consent may seem nit-picky, but it's actually huge.  If the law states that you have to stop if a person says "no" and the person you're with is, for some reason, incapable of saying "no", it becomes a legal grey area where the aggressor is much more likely to have zero consequences for their actions.

A law that instead requires "an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity", means that you can't argue that "they were into it" when they were passed out or too afraid to push you away.  It puts the onus on the pursuer to get consent first, not to go until someone says stop.  BIG difference.  As this article in The Guardian puts it, "silence or lack of resistance does not constitute consent."

I am so happy and inspired to see politicians stepping in to protect victims of sexual assault.  Let's all take a cue from them.

Read more about it here.

Me & Ryan Gosling when he got jealous of me hugging someone else

Ryan's a pretty secure guy, but once and a while he gets kind of jealous. Like this one time, when I was doing a show with my friend Stuart.  As you can see there are a lot of dynamics in this photo: Stuart has his arms crossed in front of him, as if to close off from the hug I am giving him, but his face is pleasant.  I am actively hugging him, but my face looks unpleasant.  Ryan is sneaking in along the side and looks pretty unimpressed with everything.

So what's the story? Easy:

Stuart was posing for a photo all on his own, trying to look broody and artistic with his arms crossed in front of him.  I swooped in for a hug and was smiling, but then Ryan edged in there and I got a little annoyed that he was stealing our moment.  I mean, come on Ryan, I know you were having an insecure night but I can still hug another man!  (Sometimes we squabble, but we sorted it out that night.  Don't worry, our relationship is not on the rocks.)

Cute! Tiny Baby Feet and Hands

My good friends Christie and Derek just had a baby.  He is the cutest little thing and I am so excited to have met him.  I won't post photos of his face because I'm too lazy to ask their permission, but look at his tiny little feet and hands!  LOOK AT HOW CUTE AND TINY THEY ARE!

Also, it's Thanksgiving!  So give thanks for something that makes you feel all warm and squishy inside, like holding this little guy with his tiny hands and feet did for me.

Singalong! Put a Little Love in Your Heart by Annie Lennox and Al Green

The first encounter I had with Annie Lennox (that I know of) was with her song No More I Love Yous. It would show up in those commercials for Time Warner music compilations and they would have a clip of the music video with the ballerinas and their hairy armpits. Not yet being liberated from the shackles of gender expectations, my sister, cousin, and I found them endlessly hilarious. Now I no longer think it's hilarious to have hairy armpits, should that be your choice, and I like Annie Lennox's sweet tunes. Despite this entire introduction being about No More I Love Yous, I actually want to sing along to Put a Little Love in Your Heart today, continuing the positivity train from earlier this week with my love-on for Vancouver.

Annie Lennox and Al Green

Think of your fellow man
Lend him a helping hand
Put a little love in your heart
You see it's getting late
Oh, please don't hesitate
Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see

Another day goes by
And still the children cry
Put a little love in your heart
If you want the world to know
We won't let hatred grow
Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see, wait and see

Take a good look around
And if you're lookin' down
Put a little love in your heart
And I hope when you decide
Kindness will be your guide
Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see
Put a little love in your heart
Each and every day
Put a little love in your heart
There's got to be a better way
Put a little love in your heart
Don't you think it's time we start
Put a little love in your heart

Learning! How Sugar Affects the Brain

I've been considering going on another No Sugar November, and at the same time came across this video on the affect sugar has on our brains.  It breaks it down pretty well, if you ask me.  Of course, I could use a little more on the impact of sugar on our bodies as well (I know it's basically poison, at least in the amounts we consume it, but that's about it).

If you don't like watching videos (I hear you, friend), the basic is this: sugar releases dopamine in the brain. That's why it feels so good. We also get dopamine released when we eat a healthy, balanced meal, but that dopamine is dependent on novelty. If we're eating the same healthy food, the dopamine levels fade over time. Sugar, on the other hand, remains constant. So we never get sick of it. Wooooo! Delicious poison.

Oh, and if you're wondering, "umami" is savoury. I may have had to look that up.

Inspiration! Pedants Gotta Be Pedantic (another Seth Godin quote)

This week, I am yet again inspired by a quote from Seth Godin.  Haters gotta hate, pedants gotta be pedantic.  No worries, I'll just keep making stuff.

I Love Vancouver: a response to #iHateVan

I am generally loathe to encourage the haters by shining a spotlight on them, because, ultimately, a hater's gotta hate, and they are probably sad bunnies looking for attention, which is sad.  However, I keep mentally composing retorts to the anonymous typist behind the #iHateVan Tumblr, so I decided to respond in writing.

If you haven't heard, #iHateVan a blog that shouts a lot of (surprise!) hatred and generalized judgements.  Some of it is about some things that are unique to Vancouver, and some of it is about things that are unique to humans everywhere.

Apparently, no one ever responds to this man's vitriol by sharing the things they love about Vancouver.  This might be because they don't feel like listening to their favourite things get ripped to shreds by a narrow-minded angry person who makes generalized assumptions about everything that they say and then makes it personal by trying intentionally to make them feel bad for no good reason, instead of engaging in actual discourse with them, but who am I to assume their motives?  Instead, I'll take a risk and give him some more fodder.

I love Vancouver.  Always have.  May not be better than other cities, but it's the place I chose to live.  Here's what I love about this city:

The environment.

Yes, I realize that I cannot, in any way, take credit for the environment surrounding Vancouver.  It was here long before I showed up and will be there long after I die.  It is appropriated land, and that sucks in more ways than I can begin to meaningfully acknowledge, especially in a blog post.  It can't be made better, not really.

This in no way undermines the beauty of our surroundings or their allure.  Living under mountains and over the ocean is a wonderful gift, and I feel lucky to do so.

It's also the most temperate climate in Canada, which is great because I like living in Canada and I don't like snow.

The neighbourhoods.

I love the neighbourhoods in Vancouver.  They are, sadly, beginning to homogenize as glass towers overtake the city, but they haven't melted into one giant shiny tower yet.  I always enjoy walking through any one of them, from the West End to Gastown to Kits to Mt Pleasant to The Drive to Chinatown to Gastown to the DTES or Kingsway.  It's just plain fun.

The arts.

There's an incredibly diverse, adventurous arts industry here.  Theatre has got everything from super-safe pseudo-Broadway to rip-your-guts-out intimate drama to adventurous site-specific works.  Yep, some of it's wanky, some of it's boring, and some of it's lame, but that's what happens when you have people taking risks in art.  Same goes for the visual arts, dance, and music.  There's always a ton happening.

The diversity.

Like any urban centre, Vancouver is a place where you can encounter a person with any lifestyle or background.  Which means that most of us learn to be not so judgey of others' choices, and I like that.

The nerd community.

All the nerd stuff that happens in this city is awesome and makes me really happy.  Strom Crow!  Nerd Nite!  Geeks vs. Nerds!  Simpsons Trivia!  Drexoll Games!  Etc!

The bicycling.

I know a lot of people get annoyed with all the bicyclists, and I get it, but I also like riding my bike around places and not being afraid of getting sidelined by a B-Line.

The people.

From the cashiers that get chatty while ringing up my bill to the guys who joined my game of Cards Against Humanity last weekend to lasting friends, the people I meet here are generally friendly, smart, generous, and interesting with wicked senses of humour.  We laugh, we cry, we party, and we generally enjoy life together.

Also, fun fact, the people who complain most about Vancouverites being flaky tend to be the flakiest people I know.  Sorry.

What could be better?

It would be nice if people would spend less time worrying about what other people are wearing or making generalized judgements assuming they know what's going on in other peoples' heads.  I would like cheaper rent.  I would appreciate a place to go dancing that plays 90's music and isn't a Donnelly bar.  We could do with less glass towers.  More people should go see theatre and stretch and more buildings should allow pets.

Singalong! Clumsy by Our Lady Peace

This song came out when I was in grade 7. I remember singing it to myself in class at one point, and then my best friend told on me for singing a song about drowning someone. Clearly, nobody understood me.

by Our Lady Peace

throw away the radio suitcase
that keeps you awake
hide the telephone in case, you
realize that sometimes you're not okay
you level off but its not all right now
you need to understand
there's nothing strange about this
you need to know your friends
I'll be waving my hand watching you
watching you scream
quiet or loud
maybe you should sleep
maybe you just need a friend
as clumsy as you've been
there's no one laughing
you will be safe in here

Throw away this very old shoelace
that tripped you again
try and shrug it off
it's only skin now
you need to understand
there's nothing fake about this
you need to let me in
I'm watching you

Learning! Fruits + Veg = Happiness

I often like to say that deep fried foods, chips, buttery popcorn, and anything piled with cheese exists for the sake of happiness, but apparently I am wrong.  A recent study shows that people who eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables have better mental well-being than those who don't.  Now, before this sounds way too obvious, stick with me a second: we all know that fruits and veggies make us physically healthier.  That's painfully obvious by, you know, looking at the world.  But this is talking about mental health.  About happiness.  People who eat healthy foods are happier people.

In fact, they balanced against other health-related activities and found that the only ones associated with mental well-being were eating plants and smoking (smoking having an inverse effect on happiness).

This was 100% correlational, but the isolation of the variable makes it seem like there is potential for it to be causal as well.

Source: Medical News Today.

Me & Ryan Gosling Having a Picnic with Childhood Friends

Ryan showed up halfway through a lovely picnic in the park with a few of my bestest long-term friends. We were just posing for a "girls" picture when Ryan sauntered into the shot and distracted Libby. It's okay, though. He had been on set and came as quickly as he could (you can tell he was rushing because his shirt is kind of sweaty and clingy). I forgave him.

Inspiration! WomanAgainstFeminism Takes On Women Against Feminism

If you've heard about the Women Against Feminism movement and aren't ridiculous (showing my bias?) then you know the movement is a sad and strange and infuriating demonstration of women (and some men, because why not) showing that they have no idea what feminism is about.

Luckily, there is an antidote!  The WomanAgainstFeminism Twitter feed is glorious and inspiring.  What better way to point out how absolutely batpoo crazy something is than pretending to take its side?  I like to imagine the neighbours/roommates/partner of this clever woman hearing constant, low-level laughter coming from her room every evening while she sits down with an artisanal G&T to compose some tweets.

Some of my favourites: