Saturday, November 29, 2014

Singalong! Move Over by The Spice Girls

I'm moving this weekend!  So my singalong is all about moving over... to a new home, 'cause I'm ready to fly and I'm ready to go!  Okay, technically this song is about advertising for Pepsi, but I've always liked it.  So, good job marketing execs and professional songwriting team!


MOVE OVER
by The Spice Girls

Generation next, generation next
(Ah, generation next)
Generation next, generation next
(Generation)
Generation next, generation next
(Generation yeah)
Generation next, generation next

Let me tell you 'bout a thing, gotta put it to the test,
It's a celebration, motivation generation next
Well sow me the seed, every colour every creed,
Teach never preach, listen up take heed
Take the heat, feel the flow
Cause you're ready to fly and we're ready to go
Take the heat, feel the flow
Cause you're ready to fly and we're ready to go

Move over yeah, don't do it over
(Yeah yeah yeah)
Cause it's over (yeah yeah yeah)
Move over, don't do it over (yeah yeah yeah)
Cause it's over yeah yeah yeah
(Don't do it over)
Generation next
(yeah yeah a generation yeah)
Next phase, next stage, next grade, next wave

Let me tell you 'bout a thing, gotta put it to the test,
It's a celebration, motivation generation next
Well sow me the seed, every colour every creed,
Teach never preach, listen up take heed
Hold it down, feel the noise
Let me know if it's a fight, pick it up it's alive
Hold it down, feel the noise
Let me know if it's a fight, pick it up it's alive
Move over yeah, don't do it over
(Yeah yeah yeah)
Cause it's over (yeah yeah yeah)
Move over, don't do it over (yeah yeah yeah)
Cause it's over yeah yeah yeah
(Don't do it over)
Generation next

Dedication, celebration, anonimation, good vibration,
Motivation, domination, baby nation, recreation,
imagination, crazy nation

Move over yeah, don't do it over
(Yeah yeah yeah)
Cause it's over yeah yeah yeah
(Don't do it over)
Move over, don't do it over (yeah)
Cause it's over yeah yeah yeah
Generation next, generation next
(Ah, generation next)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Learning! When Your Age Makes You Go Running


If you're anything like me, the answer to the question "when will you run your first marathon" is simply "never."  I mean, I guess technically we can never say never but I will say that it's pretty darn unlikely that I will ever run for anything other than saving my life or catching a bus.

However, if I were to run a marathon, research shows that I am most likely to do it when I'm at an age that ends in 9.

Makes sense - as a recent 30-year-old, with many friends also in the 29-31 age range, I have noticed a sudden uptick in making things happen, trying new things, and personal challenges in myself and my friends.  This is because even though the difference between 29 and 30 are minimal, changing of decades feels like a significant milestone.  The first number in your age changes, after all!  So we reflect on our lives, what we want, what we're doing, what we've accomplished, and we decide, "daggum it, I'm going to run a marathon!"

Or, maybe you do.  I have no desire to run anything except a dishwasher.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Inspiration! Working Dogs of New Zealand Photo Series


I was originally going to post this under "Cute!", but then I had to stop myself. Sure, these are dogs and dogs are animals and animals are generally pretty freaking adorable. But there's something else to these dogs... they look proud. Fierce. On top of it. These are working dogs and they are kind of inspirational to look at, especially as they appear to be the dons of New Zealand's epic landscapes.

See the series of photographs taken by Andrew Fladeboe on Feature Shoot.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cute! This Purring Cat Will Warm Your Heart


I've already posted about the health benefits of a purring cat, and while you won't get the healing vibrations through this video, you will get the sweet relaxation of the sound of a happy cat purring her heart out.

The video itself isn't great quality - my phone had a hard time focusing on Gertie's furry face (and she didn't stay still), but the sound is all that matters here!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Singalong! In My Life by The Beatles

I've mentioned before how I have a mini-catalogue of songs in my mind that at one point or another I've thought "that would be a nice song to dance to at a wedding." This is one of them. While it might be considered ill-advised or unromantic to reference past lovers, I kind of love how this song is about recognizing and accepting your past, while choosing to love someone. The whole song is such a simple and pure statement of love, it wins me over every time I hear it.


IN MY LIFE
by The Beatles

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Friday, November 21, 2014

Learning! People Are Online

Ever wonder how many people are on the internet right now?  Like, how many internet users are there in the entire world?  And what countries they come from?  Well, now you can know!

As I write this the number is 3,012,668,191 and growing.


That means that I am currently connected to about half the world's population.  This number is staggering in two ways: one because that's a lot of people.  Two, because that's a lot of people who aren't on the internet.  From the perspective of a privileged westerner who doesn't know anyone who doesn't have access to the internet (except maybe my grandma, except that's by choice and we show her things online all the time), it's bizarre to realize that more than half the people in the world are not connected to this thing I carry around with me almost 24 hours a day.

Find out how many people are online now at Internet Live Stats.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Inspiration! Bad Jokes by Kids


Comedy is a difficult art to master.  Ask any comedian and they'll tell you, it's a lot of work.  A big part of comedy is setting up an expectation and then twisting it.  Then there's another genre of comedy: the "this doesn't make any sense and you think it's funny which makes it funny" genre.  That's an even more difficult line to walk.

Enter Bad Kids Jokes.  An editor for a kids jokes website takes the jokes that are unpublishable, for whatever reason, and posts them on his Tumblr.  The result is a sort of abstract, dadaist expression of comedy.  Basically, unbeknownst to them, these children have walked the line of "this doesn't make any sense and you think it's funny which makes it funny" expertly.

Here are some samples:

This one has a solid understanding of vegetarianism, but maybe not free choice:
crocodiles might be vegitarians because when they open their mouths, we could easily put in vegetables!
This child understands the connection between existence and humour:
have you seen a red zebra

they do not exist
This kid understands subtle differences:
Q:What do you call a dog that can walk?

A:A HUMAN.
This author may be a future filmmaker:
why did the cow go to the movies?

because movies
This one is just kind of creepy:
well well well. your JUST IN TIME
This one could be a future debater:
is hermione in harry potter hot?
no
yes she is
This child shows a strong understanding of both math and the ingredients of a joke:
5+5=6
-5+6=-12
10+10=200

no joke
This kid could be having an existential crisis:
HOW DO YOU MAKE NOTHING

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Me & Ryan Gosling being economical with chairs

A couple years ago my roommate had a birthday party.  Our tiny little basement suite didn't have enough chairs, but luckily Ryan and I were able to share.



Monday, November 17, 2014

Cute! A Cat-tastic Homecoming

I was gone for the weekend, and coming home to this gal was so very sweet.  She purrs like the dickens.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Singalong! Don't Dream it's Over by Crowded House

I like this song.


DON'T DREAM IT'S OVER
by Crowded House

There is freedom within
there is freedom without
Try to catch a deluge in a paper cup
There's a battle ahead
many battles are lost
But you'll never see the end of the road
While you're traveling with me

[CHORUS]
Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won't win

Now I'm towing my car
there's a hole in the roof
my possessions are causing me suspicion but there's no proof
in the paper today
tales of war and of waste
but you turn right over to the T.V. page

[CHORUS]
Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won't win

Now I'm walking again
to the beat of a drum
And I'm counting the steps to the door of your heart
Only shadows ahead
barely clearing the roof
Get to know the feeling of liberation and relief

Hey now, Hey now
Don't dream it's over
Hey now, Hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
You know they won't win

Don't let them win
Hey now, Hey now

Hey now, Hey now

Friday, November 14, 2014

Learning! Cross-Cultural Idioms

Now here is a FUN FACT if I ever saw one! Or, more accurately, a series of fun facts. In the form of graphics. What could be better?

Okay, so what these actually are: a series of graphics representing idiomatic expressions from around the world, created by Matt Lindey of Hotel Club.


My favourite is the French expression for a mid-life crisis: to have a midday demon. Also Germany's katzensprung, or "a cat's jump" (indicating a short distance). Partially because the word is just so fun to say, and partially because you know and I know that cats are glorious.

It's well worth clicking through to the source at Hotel Club, they have broken each one down with a little explanation of the cultural background.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Inspiration! A Real, Live Superhuman

Oh my word. This woman should be radioactive! Watch this and then scoff at any superhero who requires fancy tools or spider bites to climb buildings or fling themselves across alleys.



The caption on this video is "Real Girl Power" which, while true, is too narrow a point. This is real HUMAN power. It's incredible!

Excuse me while I go try to scale a building and then fall. Don't worry, I won't get nearly high enough to hurt anything.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cute! Lap-Sitting Dogs

I don't feature puppies very often on my blog, mostly because I have a cat and so I have steady access to an adorable creature to take pictures of, but don't be fooled: I think dogs are super great. Like this one. This is my friend Marc's dog Mocha and every time I come over he runs around like crazy for a few minutes and then plops himself down on my lap. SO CUTE!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Singalong! Shake it Off by Taylor Swift

Yes, I am one of those people playing Shake it Off all the time.  To the point where I was standing on a corner with my hood up in the rain by myself, singing it in alternating falsetto and super-deep-chest-voice, when the light turned and I realized that I wasn't alone.  People had been standing behind me that whole time.  So now I am making this my singlaong of the week, partially because I am still riding the T-Swift Train and partially because my friend thought she was saying "bakers gotta bake bake bake bake bake", and so we need a public education in the actual lyrics.

Once you're done with the song, you might enjoy this SNL video to help you deal with your sudden love for young Taylor.


SHAKE IT OFF
by Taylor Swift

I stay out too late
Got nothing in my brain
That's what people say, mmm-mmm
That's what people say, mmm-mmm

I go on too many dates [chuckle]
But I can't make them stay
At least that's what people say, mmm-mmm
That's what people say, mmm-mmm

But I keep cruising
Can't stop, won't stop moving
It's like I got this music
In my mind
Saying, "It's gonna be alright."

'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

I never miss a beat
I'm lightning on my feet
And that's what they don't see, mmm-mmm
That's what they don't see, mmm-mmm

I'm dancing on my own (dancing on my own)
I make the moves up as I go (moves up as I go)
And that's what they don't know, mmm-mmm
That's what they don't know, mmm-mmm

But I keep cruising
Can't stop, won't stop grooving
It's like I got this music
In my mind
Saying, "It's gonna be alright."

'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

Shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off

Hey, hey, hey
Just think while you've been getting down and out about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world,
You could've been getting down to this sick beat.

My ex-man brought his new girlfriend
She's like "Oh, my god!" but I'm just gonna shake.
And to the fella over there with the hella good hair
Won't you come on over, baby? We can shake, shake, shake

Yeah ohhh

'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate (haters gonna hate)
I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break (mmmm)
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake (and fake, and fake, and fake)
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

Shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off

Friday, November 7, 2014

Leaning! Back to the Future: How Asimov Imagined 2014 in 1964


Isaac Asimov is known to nerds as one of the "big three" science fiction authors who got the genre going.  He was also a scientist.  In 1964 he wrote predictions of what life would be like in 2014, and hey!  It's 2014.  Sure, he predicted the old chestnut that we were all disappointed to do without: hover cars.  But he also predicted driverless cars (we're on our way), "glowing walls" in public spaces where "electroluminescent panels" would glow softly and change colours (hello, LED everywhere), robots, not in "common order", but existing (yep), online education, and automation of jobs.

Overall, the guy was pretty accurate in his predictions!

Read them all, accompanied by fun, retro graphics, here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Inspiration! Something out of nothing.

Some weeks I have a hard time coming up with something that inspires me. Not because I'm feeling down or hating life, but because I'm busy and distracted and nothing has cropped up that week that was particularly inspiring. This is one of those weeks. I am posting not only at the eleventh hour, but at the eleven-and-a-half-th hour, because I just couldn't really think of something to post about.

So that's this week's inspiration: honesty. Instead of searching for something and posting for the sake of it, I'm going to be honest about where I'm at. Not uninspired. Not down. Not bleh or sad or anything negative. Just not able to think of something inspiring to post about at the moment.

Of course, now that I've had this moment of honesty, some things are popping into my head: this afternoon I hosted my first Kraft Dinner Wednesday lunch with my coworkers and it was awesome, which makes me think of nostalgia and the joy of sharing; I just saw a really funny musical (Urinetown at the Firehall, check it out) the expertly parodies the genre and had some truly awesome choreography, which makes me think of dancing more myself and gave me a funny idea for a script; my cat is really cute, which just makes me feel good; I took my Mom's car in to get serviced today and the dealership shuttled me home and then picked me up again when it was done and that was awesome and convenient and considerate, which makes me think of ways I could help my place of work offer those feelings to customers; I just turned and saw and awesome hooch bottle my friend made for me sitting on a shelf among my sewing supplies and other memorabilia, which makes me think of imagination, craftiness, and generosity.

So there you go, I am still inspired after all!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

More Responding: iHateVan takes me down a peg


A while back I posted a rebuttal of positivity to the #ihatevan Tumblr, and realized recently that he actually responded.  Besides dismissing the things I like with snarky comments, which I expected him to do (as if people aren't allowed to like different things than he does), here's his final shot:
This shit is about “me, me, me” and your want for creature comforts to make your apparently OK life even more OK. This blog’s hate is pointed at all the systematic bull shit that is buried right underneath the surface of Vannie culture. While you touch on some of these issues as basically a bit of an apology, your dismissal of anger towards these issues as non-productive IS SERIOUSLY PRIVILEGED.
Dang it.  I think he's got a point.

My first response was basic defensiveness: "I was not being privileged! That's not what I was trying to do!"

Then I remembered a simple fact: what a person tries to do and what a person actually does are two very different things. The fact is, I am privileged. This isn't a new revelation. I was raised middle class by parents who love me. I am white, able bodied, educated, decent-looking, and work in my chosen field, which is the arts. All of these are things that lead to, or are the result of, privilege in our society.

As a woman, I feel unsafe more often than a person should, and if there's one thing I learned from #yesallwomen, it's that I'd like men to listen and believe women when we say there's a problem. So maybe I should also listen and believe other people when they say there's a problem.

So, the guy's got a point. While don't really feel bad about bringing positivity to the fore, by doing so and glossing over the real problems, I also shoved them under a rug.  Something I got to do because I'm lucky and don't generally have to face those issues.

What I thought I was doing/was trying to do:

I saw the posts about Vancouver's racism and other systemic issues as likely valid, and so I figured they could stand on their own.  At the time I wrote my post, however, the majority of posts were attacking people for not being fashionable enough or spending enough on their jeans or eating meat or going on dates with him or having enough parties.

There were also a lot of blanket statements about the basic character of the humans of Vancouver, which will always get me on the defense.  He claims Vancouverites lack curiosity, generosity, empathy, and senses of humour, and that's just not what I've seen, so I wanted to defend the good people I know and love.

Finally, he claimed that no one ever responds by showing them "why it's not shit" or offering to change things. Since the majority of the complaints up to that point appeared superficial, I wasn't going to offer to stop being a vegetarian or whip Vancouverites into dressing to his particular fashion sense. So I thought I'd respond by offering some evidence for why I think Vancouver is "not shit." I expected them to get shot down, and they were.

What I actually did:

I did do what I thought I was doing - I spouted some positivity and watched it get shut down. I defended the character of the Vancouverites I know and love. HOWEVER, I also demonstrated a lot of privilege.

Since I thought the racism claims were likely valid, on the whole, or at the very least recognized that I don't have the experience to comment on them, I just let them be. I figured that by not engaging with them I was letting them stand on their own. What I did instead was ignore them and by ignoring them, I shut them down. I just did the happy version of what he did - he shut me down with anger, I shut him down with positive glossiness.

Ignoring the unpleasant parts of the system is very much a privileged thing to do, and doing it made me part of the problem.

So here's the back and forth where I have an imaginary conversation with myself:

The generalized anger and wide-ranging vitriol shut me down and put me on the defensive. I am low-hanging-fruit on this one and would have responded better to the issues being posed more openly, with questions and an invitation for dialogue.

However, expecting his issues to be phrased in a way that I like is pretty freaking privileged.

But when you shut people down you kill dialogue.

Yeah, but was I really engaging in dialogue either?

But there was so much focus on the surface - sure, people probably shouldn't spend $100 on yoga pants, but is it fair to claim they should spend $100 on jeans either and write them off as human beings because they don't understand fashion even though they were buying clothes that are sold in stores generally considered fashionable and featured in fashion magazines? That's privilege.

Maybe, but we're all at least a little bit hypocritical from time to time.  So this guy is a snob about fashion and judges vegetarians.  I'm an artsy fartsy know-it-all.  Also, if someone has a spare $100 to spend on pants, it's a fair point that they should just invest that money in actual pants and not yoga tights.

Or maybe they should spend that money on something useful to the world.

Maybe, but they probably won't.

What about the arrogance of assuming you know someone else's motives for their behaviour and pigeon-holing/writing them off based on one or two traits?

That's pretty much exactly what I did.

Oh, right. Dang it.

I still love Vancouver, but am also open to talking about the things that could make it better for everyone.

UPDATE: I just realized I never actually apologized, which was my intention. I am sorry for ignoring the wider issues because of my privilege. It was a crappy thing to do. I'll try to listen better next time. 

PS: If you must know, YES, a thriving arts scene does mean that people occasionally produce "lame boring shit", because when people take risks in art it's a freaking RISK and they don't know how it's going to turn out until they do it.  Sometimes it's amazing and sometimes it's wanky and lame but it's worth it because they tried something and will probably learn to make it better next time or inspire someone else to do something awesome.  And Vancouver is NOT like New York in the 50's.  It's bloody well like Vancouver in the 2010's.  We're not trying to be New York.  There's no need, we are doing our own thing, and it's awesome. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cute! Havana is the Prettiest of all Pretty Cats

Meet Havana. Havana is my friend's cat, who just happens to be constantly posing like a fashion cat. Isn't she CUTE?


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Me & Ryan Gosling that time I ate half a donut in Portland

This is another one from our trip to Portland. I was sad because my Voodoo Donuts donut was almost all gone, and he mourned with me.  What a guy.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

No Fun November 2014: Booze and Junk Food


It's happening again!  No Fun November is upon us.  Or, upon me anyways.  Last year I gave up sugar and alcohol (alcohol reinstated halfway through the month due to break ups).  This year I am going back off alcohol, and this time instead of sugar I am shunning packaged junk food.

Packaged junk food is defined in the obvious way: chips, candy, chocolate bars.  Basically manufactured happiness in a wrapper.

This hiatus will take a leave the weekend of my staff retreat, because I want it to.

Singalong! Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen

I have to admit, I first heard this song in the Gap ad circa 2000.  I still kind of love the dancing in the ad, but also love the song.  And Queen.  I had no idea that they were actually so awesome until embarrassingly late in life (I blame my childhood diet of Amy Grant and Sandi Patti - glorious on their own, but somewhat incomplete).


CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE
by Queen

This thing called love I just can't handle it
this thing called love I must get round to it
I ain't ready
Crazy little thing called love
This (This Thing) called love
(Called Love)
It cries (Like a baby)
In a cradle all night
It swings (Woo Woo)
It jives (Woo Woo)
It shakes all over like a jelly fish,
I kinda like it
Crazy little thing called love

There goes my baby
She knows how to Rock n' roll
She drives me crazy
She gives me hot and cold fever
Then she leaves me in a cool cool sweat

I gotta be cool relax, get hip
Get on my track's
Take a back seat, hitch-hike
And take a long ride on my motor bike
Until I'm ready
Crazy little thing called love

I gotta be cool relax, get hip
Get on my track's
Take a back seat, hitch-hike
And take a long ride on my motor bike
Until I'm ready (Ready Freddie)
Crazy little thing called love

This thing called love I just can't handle it
this thing called love I must get round to it
I ain't ready
Crazy little thing called love