Monday, March 30, 2015

Cute! Attack of the Box-Crushing Cat

Gertie is absolutely perfect in every way.  When she sits on a cardboard box, the top collapses because it was structurally flawed, not because of her size.  Which is perfect.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Singalong! Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

Today I'm going hiking for the first time in a very long time.  Well, not really.  The first time I went on a hike in a very long time was when I hiked Dog Mountain in the fall (remember, Ryan was there).  But that's one little blip in a many-year stint where my only times walking on mountains was the paved roads around my parents' house.  This, combined with the fact that I posted about mountains yesterday, makes me want to keep the theme going and do a mountain-related singalong.  I considered the obvious choices: Ain't No Mountain High Enough or perhaps River Deep, Mountain High, but I'm just not feeling that vibe today.

Instead, in honour of mountains, I'm sharing another Arcade Fire favourite - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains).  This may seem completely nonsensical.  After all, the mountains beyond mountains they refer to are the piles of rejected shopping malls that surround suburban sprawl.

This song reminds me that I need to go where the city lights don't exist.  Spend some time in nature, in the actual mountains.  I hardly ever do it, but whenever I leave the city behind it feels like heaven.  Don't get me wrong, I am 100% a City Girl. That's where I found my kind. But there's also a significant part of me that wants to run away, grow my own food, and dance in the forest.


SPRAWL II (MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS)

They heard me singing and they told me to stop
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock
These days my life, I feel it has no purpose
But late at night the feelings swim to the surface

'Cause on the surface the city lights shine
They're calling at me, come and find your kind
Sometimes I wonder if the World's so small
That we can never get away from the sprawl
Living in the sprawl
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains
And there's no end in sight
I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights

We rode our bikes to the nearest park
Sat under the swings and kissed in the dark
We shield our eyes from the police lights
We run away, but we don't know why
Black river, your city lights shine
They're screaming at us, we don't need your kind
Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small
That we can never get away from the sprawl
Living in the sprawl
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains
And there's no end in sight
I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights

They heard me singing and they told me to stop
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock
Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small
Can we ever get away from the sprawl?
Living in the sprawl
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains
And there's no end in sight
I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights

Friday, March 27, 2015

Learning! Introverts Love Their Mountains


A recent study shows that there is a link between personality traits and what kind of nature you like to hang out in.  Turns out that introverts tend to prefer mountains and extroverts prefer open terrain/ocean.

A possible outcrop of this is that introverts might be more likely to choose to live on or near mountains - like, say, in the city of Vancouver.  Food for thought!

Source.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Inspiration! Leading the Big Picture

I find myself in leadership-type positions with some regularity, which is a strange thing for someone who doesn't really consider herself a natural leader.  In my mind, it happens because I like to be involved, and if you're involved with something for long enough, you wind up up being in charge of it.  But of course, that's not the case.  There are a lot of people out there who like to be involved in things, and they don't all wind up as leaders.

Now, when I'm a leader, I generally see myself as a basic support to everyone else.  I'm not special or important, I'm just the one who makes sure everyone can get their stuff done and the one who sets the general course of action.  I often remind myself that my role is to serve everyone else.

Recently I had to lead a big, potentially-super-contentious meeting for a board I'm the chair of, and I was pretty nervous.  I suddenly felt quite out of my depth, leadership-wise.  I sent out a few "I need support!" texts, and my Dad responded with this gem:


First of all, I love Dad Texts.  They are always a mixture of practical details and super supportive, encouraging language.

That aside, what great advice!  Sure, I got it after the meeting was already done, but still - as the leader, your job is always to re-orient the conversation around the big picture.  Everyone else's jobs are specific.  They are getting things done and that matters, but it's very easy to get caught up in a rabbit trail and forget why you're doing something in the first place.  The leader's job is to remind you.

I like that.  I can do that.

What's more inspiring than something that makes you say "Yes, I can do that."?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pedals and Feet and Engines, Oh My! (5 Steps to Harmony on the Road)


My name is Andrea, and I ride my bike.  I also have, at a different point, traversed through life behind the wheel of a car.  At another point I was all about feet and transit to get around.  I have even ridden in planes and on the backs of horses!  I have conquered transportation!

Because I am such a Renaissance Woman of Getting Places, I am here to solve the eternal issue on modern city roads: the battle of resentment between drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.  I think we can all just get along!

Here is the secret: the anger, yelling, inappropriate gesturing, and annoyance generally boils down to fear and entitlement.  Fear happens when you feel like you almost got killed or because you feel like you almost killed someone.  Nobody wants to be involved in killing, it's unpleasant.  It gets our hearts racing and our ires standing on end.

Either that or you are being entitled or perceive the other person to be entitled because they got in your way or didn't follow a rule.

So... you're a human who needs to get somewhere, are you?


1) Remember! You are not the only person trying to get somewhere for a reason.

When I got annoyed at drivers being speedy jerks as a teenager, my mom would often suggest that maybe it was someone whose wife was in labour and they were rushing to the hospital.  If that were the case, I would be cheering them on as they hopped lanes and got there as quickly as possible.

Most people are not men whose wives have just gone into labour (or women whose wives have just gone into labour!  Or people whose significant other they are not married to... oh phooey, just assume inclusivity on this, okay?), but people often drive like jerks for a reason and that reason is probably not just that they are actually a jerk.  Something is happening that they perceive as urgent and they need to get their butts somewhere else.

Very few people are in motion between two points for no reason at all.  Their important thing is probably as important to them as your important thing is to you. Also, what if they are BATMAN? Do you want to get in the way of Batman?


2) Nobody wants to be involved in killing, but sometimes people make mistakes because of their humanness.

Just because someone cuts you off or takes your right of way or steps into the street or whatever doesn't mean they are a jerk or an idiot or trying to kill you or trying to get killed.  They probably just weren't paying proper attention in that moment because they were distracted by a bird or remembering to pick up their grandma from the hospital or wondering if they locked their door or worrying about their friend or stressing about their demanding job or remembering the last time they had sex.

I know you have no idea what that's like because you are always fully alert and aware of everything that is going on around you and never have a wayward thought enter your mind and distract you, but it would be great if you could have compassion on the rest of us mere mortals.

SUMMARY THUS FAR: If someone does something jerky it's probably because they either have something urgent going on and need to rush or because they got distracted which is something all humans do.  Don't fall prey to the fundamental attribution error!


3) Follow the Rules!

Rules are more than just a way for The Man to oppress us.  They are also tools for harmony, safety, and reasonable traffic flow in an overpopulated city.

Of course, I am a believer in the spirit, rather than the letter, of the rules.  So yes, cyclists don't belong on sidewalks.  Except maybe if you are going to a coffee shop halfway down the block and there aren't any pedestrians and it's not very safe to just stop on the street right in front of the coffee shop and lift your bike onto the sidewalk because there's no cutaway there.  Pedestrians should only cross at crosswalks.  Unless there are zero cars around, then it's just silly.  Drivers should always stop at stop signs.  Unless you slow down considerably and you have really good visibility and can see that there are no cars or bikes or people around.

BUT!  An important rule to always follow is keeping your right of way when you have it!  Drivers, I'm looking at you.  I know you're trying to be nice when you stop in the middle of the street to let a pedestrian or cyclist pass, but you are just throwing the whole system into disarray.  We'll wait.  Thanks.


4) Safety is sexy.

Not in the sense that there is anything sexy at all about safety gear, but that being alive is FAR MORE SEXY than being dead.

Cyclists!  Get those flashy lights, reflectors, helmets, and dingy bells!  They will help keep you alive, I promise.  Pedestrians!  Your main safety mechanisms are to wear clothes of some kind (not a great defence) and to stay on the sidewalk.  I know walking in the middle of the road in the middle of the night wearing dark clothing sounds fun and carefree, but it means that I almost hit you with my bike last night.

Drivers!  You may think that wearing a seatbelt affects only you, but what if your body shoots out the windshield and lands on a nearby pedestrian, hmmmm?  Do you really want that involuntary manslaughter on your record when you reach the pearly gates?


5) BE PREDICTABLE!

This is the final answer that will save us all!  I fully believe that most of our problems on the road can be solved by predictability.  If I can predict what you're going to do, then I can go where I need to go without anyone getting hurt, and vice versa!

So far my mind reading abilities are very limited, and so until they get better, I can only guess what you are going to do from what you are currently doing.  I assume you will continue at the same basic trajectory until I have a clear indication you will not.

Keep doing whatever you're doing and use whatever signalling devices are at your disposal to let people know if that is going to change.  COMMUNICATION IS KEY - in relationships and on the roads/sidewalks.

Now enjoy the rest of these gifs I found of a 1963 bike safety video:





Saturday, March 21, 2015

Singalong! Dinosaur Sex by Emmy the Great

My dear friend Libby introduced me to Emmy the Great many years ago, but it took me a while to start actually listening to her.  Which is silly, because she is GREAT.  It's right there in her name!  Dinosaur Sex was on of the first of her songs that I listened to on my own and I just love it.  Musically it's sweet and sad and lyrically it's simple and evocative and reminds us that we are not a very big deal, but that we still have somewhere to go.  So keep on keeping on, but don't get too caught up in yourself.


DINOSAUR SEX
by Emmy the Great

These roads, they lead as far as they can lead
That's why they're called the ways that make you feed
Cranes are lifting cargo to the sea
They are the size the dinosaurs would be.

Power station shivers, then it leaks
Bleeds onto the fields and kills the wheat
Harvest comes but will we ever eat?
Power station shivers, then it leaks.

And dinosaur sex led to nothing
And maybe we will lead to nothing
And dinosaur sex led to nothing
But we will lead as far as we can lead

These days I watch the screen for what I need
I take my food on trays across my knee
Leaves are always falling from the trees
I think I see my future in the leaves.

And dinosaur sex led to nothing
And maybe I will lead to nothing
And dinosaur sex led to nothing
But I will lead as far as I can lead

I think I see the future when I sleep
The sky splits like an almond under feet
Skin is peeling off of us in sheets
I think I see the future when I sleep

And power stations shiver and they leak
They bleed onto the fields and kill the wheat
A sea of clouds is billowing in heat
Oh, harvest comes and babies born with teeth.
And skin is peeling off of us in sheets
I think I see the future when I sleep.

And dinosaur sex led to nothing
And maybe you will lead to nothing
And dinosaur sex led to nothing
But you will lead as far as you can lead.

And dinosaur sex led to nothing
And maybe you will lead to nothing
And dinosaur sex led to nothing
But you will lead as far as we can lead.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Learning! Are You Peaking?


If you are not 20 years old, you no longer have to live in the knowledge that your mind is slowly fading into oblivion with each moment that passes you by!  New research shows that different mental abilities peak at different times in life, all the way up to our 60s or 70s.

Here's your handy guide to age and peak abilities:

18 years: mental agility
25 years: visual working memory
30-35 years: working memory for numbers
40-60 years: ability to identify other peoples' emotions
65-75 years: vocabulary

So, sure, you might not be quite as quick on your mental feet as you were when you were 18, but you'll keep learning new words until you're an actual senior citizen!

Source: BPS Research Digest

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Inspiration! Pushing and Hugging with Seth Godin

Surprise!  Seth Godin said something inspiring!  Also, this one is just kind of adorable and makes me think of a kids book with a slug that likes to hug.  (Note: if you search "slug that likes to hug" the google images will bring you some adorable gifts.  Go try!)


"When push comes to hug.

This is a much more stable response than pushing coming to shoving, because shoving often leads to something unsustainable.

Hugging is a surprising and difficult response to pushing, but it changes the trajectory, doesn't it?"

-Seth Godin

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cute! Sea Otters HOLDING HANDS!



What is it about animals doing human things that just kills me?  These sea otters are holding hands.  Wayyy too cute.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Me & Ryan Gosling at an 80s Prom

If you like me on Facebook or have paid attention to my little avatar on Blogger, you might recognize this Me & Ryan Gosling photo.  My friend was hosting a big ol' 80's prom party, and I showed up dressed like a member of the yearbook staff.  I was posing for a picture by myself, when Ryan snuck in for the second take.  He wasn't even dressed 80's, but I forgave him.  Who can stay mad at that face?


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Singalong! Word Crimes by Weird Al

Today is the stagette of one of my nearest and dearest friends!  Alison and I have spent almost every single day together for the past 6 years (working in the same tiny office will do that).  She is my work husband and usually the first person to hear about anything happening in my life.  Today I am super excited to have co-planned to best stagette ever in her honour.  We're keeping most of it a secret, but it's no secret that Alison loves Weird Al so we're going to be listening to some Weird Al at some point.

This is one of my favourite Weird Al songs because it takes the worst song ever and makes it about something fantastic: grammar. And no, I am not linking to the "worst song ever" because I don't want to give it more attention than its already getting from this. If you don't know what song I'm talking about after listening to Word Crimes, you lead a charmed life.


WORD CRIMES
by Weird Al

Everybody shut up, WOO!
Everyone listen up!
Hey, hey, hey, uh

If you can't write in the proper way
If you don't know how to conjugate
Maybe you flunked that class
And maybe now you find
That people mock you online

Okay, now here's the deal
I'll try to educate ya
Gonna familiarize
You with the nomenclature
You'll learn the definitions
Of nouns and prepositions
Literacy's your mission
And that's why I think it's a

Good time
To learn some grammar
Now, did I stammer
Work on that grammar
You should know when
It's "less" or it's "fewer"
Like people who were
Never raised in a sewer

I hate these word crimes
Like I could care less
That means you do care
At least a little
Don't be a moron
You'd better slow down
And use the right pronoun
Show the world you're no clown
Everybody wise up!

Say you got an "I","T"
Followed by apostrophe, "s"
Now what does that mean?
You would not use "it's" in this case
As a possessive
It's a contraction
What's a contraction?
Well, it's the shortening of a word, or a group of words
By the omission of a sound or letter

Okay, now here's some notes
Syntax you're always mangling
No "x" in "espresso"
Your participle's danglin'
But I don't want your drama
If you really wanna
Leave out that Oxford comma
Just keep in mind

That "be", "see", "are", "you"
Are words, not letters
Get it together
Use your spellchecker
You should never
Write words using numbers
Unless you're seven
Or your name is Prince

I hate these word crimes
You really need a
Full time proofreader
You dumb mouth-breather
Well, you should hire
Some cunning linguist
To help you distinguish
What is proper English

One thing I ask of you
Time to learn your homophones is past due
Learn to diagram a sentence too
Always say "to whom"
Don't ever say "to who"
And listen up when I tell you this
I hope you never use quotation marks for emphasis
You finished second grade
I hope you can tell
If you're doing good or doing well
About better figure out the difference
Irony is not coincidence
And I thought that you'd gotten it through your skull
What's figurative and what's literal
Oh but, just now, you said
You literally couldn't get out of bed
That really makes me want to literally
Smack a crowbar upside your stupid head

I read your e-mail
It's quite apparent
Your grammar's errant
You're incoherent
Saw your blog post
It's really fantastic
That was sarcastic (Oh, psych!)
'Cause you write like a spastic

I hate these Word Crimes
Your prose is dopey
Think you should only
Write in emoji
Oh, you're a lost cause
Go back to pre-school
Get out of the gene pool
Try your best to not drool

Never mind I give up
Really now I give up
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Go Away!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Learning! Vi Hart is the Coolest (and so is math)

I have said it before, and I'll say it again: I don't really like watching videos on the internet. Constantly streaming a TV show in the background so that I start to feel like I actually am a staff writer for TGS with Tracy Jordan or that I am a silent member of the Parks and Recreation department of Pawnee? Sure. Stopping whatever I'm doing, turning off my music, and watching a 3 minute video? Nope. For some reason, that really annoys me. But Vi Hart might help change my online video-watching lifestyle. She is so cool! And smart!

Vi Hart makes videos about math. Funny, smart, and entertaining videos about math. My fellah is a math geek and introduced me to her, and I couldn't be more grateful. He started me off with her three videos on spirals and plants, and so now I think that's where everyone should start.

So, without any further ado, may I present, VI HART! (Wild applause, high fives, high kicks, leaps, and spins ensue.)




You're welcome.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What One Date Taught Me About Consent (and 4 Misconceptions About Boundaries)


Consent.  It's a super hot topic right now, and since I am a fairly outspoken feminist-type, I figured I had the lockdown on what it meant and how I understood it.  Then I went on a date that showed me otherwise.

The date was a good one.  It was with a guy who I'm going to call Bo.  I met Bo online.  We had already gone for the "check and see if you look anything like your photos and have any personality in real life" coffee, and were proceeding to the second date/actual first real date.  We had the perfect Vancouver-style night out: a walk along the seawall, sitting on the beach to watch the sunset, and dinner at a local pub.  (In February!  Isn't life grand?)

Then we went back to his place.

Sidebar: I have to say that I feel super uncomfortable writing about this.  While I'm perfectly fine discussing insanely intimate details of my dating life with friends, writing on the internet for family, acquaintances, and random strangers to read feels like a whole different thing.  It's weird and awful to think about and I don't want to do it.  But I think this is part of a broader and very important discussion, and so I'm going to.

Obviously, when we got back to his place, the kissing started to happen.  It was good kissing, and we both were enjoying it, so it kept happening.  After some time, he suggested we "go somewhere more comfortable" at which point I did what I always do in these moments: state in a way that is, I hope, not too awkward, that I like to take things pretty slow and so not much more would happen than was already happening between us.*

My experience doing that has pretty much always been fine.  Guys hear that and are understanding and non-pushy.  Well, sort of.  We'll get to that later.  For now, let's go back to Bo.

Bo reacted in a way I didn't expect.  Not only was Bo completely understanding and completely non-pushy, he proceeded, throughout the evening, to check in.  To clarify the boundaries and make sure we were within them.  I made a comment at one point that he had fantastic communication skills, and Bo replied, "Well consent is super important."

Later that night I realized that this was the first time I'd been in this kind of situation with a guy and felt completely safe and at ease.

This took me by surprise.  I mean, it was a great sign for my date, but had terrible overall implications.  It reflected a discomfort I hadn't even realized was there in the past - like when you've had chronic pain for so long that you don't even notice it's there anymore until all of a sudden it's better and a constraint you didn't even know you felt is lifted.  The freedom is surprising and shows you that life wasn't healthy when you thought it was healthy.

At the end of the night we were doing the whole "I had a good time, let's hang out more" thing, and at one point I thanked him for being so great about my boundaries.  He paused and then said, "you're welcome?  For not raping you?"

I then realized that, yep, I had literally just thanked him for not raping me.  And I had felt like it was a totally reasonable thing to be thanking him for.

What the heck?

Usually, I realized, when I'm seeing someone and in whatever phase of "taking it slow" I happen to be in, I need to be completely on my guard the entire time anything physical is happening.  Except for the occasions when I'm ready to progress things faster than the other person, I find myself having to be constantly vigilant**.

Why is this?  It goes back to Bo's comment about consent.  Now, I can pretty much guarantee you that all the guys I've dated would, if asked, agree that consent is, indeed, super important.  None of them would want a girl to do anything with them if she didn't want to.  Their actions, however, reveal a slight variation in their interpretation of consent.

This is not to say what all guys are like.  I can only tell you my experience of the guys I've dated and what their actions communicated.  And I know some people are just going to read this and say "wow, she's dated a lot of jerks."  I assure you, this is not the case.  I have dated one guy who I would classify as kind of a douche, and otherwise they have all been caring, considerate men.  This is not an indictment of them as people, but of overall misconceptions about what it means to have and respect boundaries in sex in our super-messed-up-when-it-comes-to-gender-and-sex society.

What usually happens.

Here is a basic template of what I experience on dates when physical things are happening, defining "physical things" as anything beyond a nice, friendly kiss (I don't think I need to get too detailed for you to know what I mean):

We start kissing and eventually, they start trying things.  My response, once they approach a boundary, will be some combination of physically stopping him and using my words to communicate the whole slow-pace thing.  Now, just because I don't want things to go further doesn't mean either of us want to stop everything, so we usually keep on with the kissing.

They always (well, mostly) respond well to the boundary (and if they don't, that tells me all I need to know about them and everything stops, forever), showing that on the surface, they agree that consent is, indeed, super important.

Then what happens?  Five minutes will pass.  Maybe ten.  After some period time, they figure they should probably find out if that boundary is still there.  So they try again.  Then, a little later, they try again.  And again.

Sometimes they take a different path to get there, and I get the feeling that they're hoping I won't notice somehow, which is super weird and gross.  (Guys, do you really want to touch a girl's junk because you "tricked" her by going at it from a different angle?  Is that really the kind of booty that makes you feel good?  You're better than that.)

So basically what this means is that, because I'm not ready to have sex right away, I have to be forever vigilant.  I don't get to just enjoy making out because making out is fun and we've both agreed that we're just going to make out.  I have to be on guard, ready to reinforce my limit at any moment, because it's going to be tested.  Multiple times.  I'm not a super confrontational person, and my default response in any uncomfortable situation generally is to take on the discomfort myself before putting anything on the other person, so it's actually incredibly difficult for me to do this.

This all points to a few key misconceptions about what it means for a person to have boundaries in sex:

Misconception #1: Because I have a sexual boundary that means I don't want to have sex.

There is not even a grain of truth to this.  My boundaries have nothing to do with desire.  Just because I recognize and honour the fact that I'm not ready to have sex with you doesn't mean I don't want to.  I might even be pretty frustrated with the whole situation - sometimes I wish my brain and heart would just shut up and let me get on with it.  They don't.

I realize that not everyone worries about these things.  If they want it, they ignore the brain and heart and go for it.  Or their brain and heart never really have issues with sex happening.  That is more than fine.  So long as you're doing what feels right for yourself and both parties are on the same page about what's happening, have at it!

Misconception #2: That it's up to you to move my boundary.

Sexual boundaries are removed from the inside, not the outside.  You testing or pushing at them only fortifies their inner resolve, because you are acting in direct violation of what they are there for: some form of protection.

Sure, you might exhaust my defensive resources enough to nudge it a bit that one instant, or you might catch me off guard and "benefit" from however long it takes me to process what is going on before I stop you, but is that really what you want?  To get a little further than you would have because I got tired of stopping you?  Plus, you have now significantly reduced your chances of me feeling safe enough to want to lift the boundary ever in the future.

Also, it's worth noting the important factor of physical size and strength.  I do believe that, even subconsciously, there is a survival strategy at play in appeasing someone bigger and stronger than you.  I may not be actually afraid that you're going to dominate me and just take what you want, but somewhere deep down I know that you could.  This means that every time you go for it after I've expressed that I'm not ready, you are ratcheting up my concern and making me a bit weary of continually opposing you.

At the end of the day, the boundary isn't even really about you, it's about me.  It's about me feeling safe and respected and like I actually know the person I'm with and that they know me.  For another person it might be about something else entirely, but I can tell you that it's never up to you to make the change.  Because you know what doesn't communicate respect and safety?  Constantly being pushed in a direction I am not ready to go.

Misconception #3: That I'm not going to let you know when things have changed.

Hand-in-hand with the previous misconceptions is the idea that you need to keep testing because I'm not going to let you know when I'm ready to move forward.  Trust me.  I will.  As has already been established, most people with boundaries still want to have sex.  We just have things we need to see in place before it's a safe and fun thing to do.  Once we're ready, we aren't going to sit around and hope you go for it.  If we have been communicating a boundary, why on earth would we keep it a secret once it's lifted?

Misconception #4: That it's about gender.

This misconception goes both ways.  I know that it seems like generally girls are the ones with the boundaries and guys are the ones going for it (maybe because, despite all our advancements, girls still bear the brunt of the consequences to sex), but it's thoroughly silly and dangerous to fully accept those generalizations across the board.  In fact, I think I'm a bit of an anomaly in how consistent my boundaries are.

For most of my friends - male and female - boundaries seem vary greatly depending on a whole host of factors, including, but not limited to: their mood, how long it's been since they last had sex, how much alcohol they've had, how much they actually like the other person, if they may have eaten something funky, if they recently were dumped, and what their friends are doing.

Thinking that boundaries are about gender lead to all the crap we all know and resent: guys think it's up to them to make things happen and girls think that guys are going to always be good to go.  Anyone who's been in a relationship probably knows that neither of those are true and both lead to major problems.

The TL;DR of what I learned after my date with Bo:

It was very shocking to suddenly realize that I had spent a decent portion of my dating life feeling a little unsafe.  Especially considering that the guys I've dated have not been pushy or scary people.  They, I'm sure, believe wholeheartedly in the importance of consent.  They just learned the wrong approach.

There is a mighty significant difference between having to communicate a boundary once versus constantly monitoring it.  It's the difference between being actually respected as a human person with agency over her life and being assumed to not know what I want.  Between perceiving consent as an absence of resistance and as an invitation.  Between "no means no" and "yes means yes".  Between feeling safe and feeling, well, unsafe.

*Important Note: in no way do I think that there is a moral imperative for anyone else to take things at the same speed that I do.  Some people might think I move too fast, others too slow.  Everyone should do what is right for them.  I don't take things slow because I think it's "right" or have rules about how far I'll go on different dates.  I just know that I need to feel a certain level of safety, respect, and comfort with the person to feel good about going places physically.  I also need to have uncomfortable sexual health conversations that are easier to do once you know a person a bit better.  I listen to my heart and my mind and my body, because it knows what is right for me.  As Amy Poehler puts it, if your boundaries are different, or non-existent, "good for you, not for me."

**Whenever I say anything to do with being constantly vigilant, I always think of Mad Eye Moody in Harry Potter and giggle a little inside.  Do you?  It's entirely inappropriate given the context of this conversation, but it's still fun.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Inspiration! Old Babies

I'll admit that despite my big talk about accepting yourself and your life and whatever blah blah blah everything is great and you are a gift to the world and don't ever change - I am kind of terrified of aging.

The terror has lessened slightly as I age, which is convenient.  I no longer tear grey hairs out of my head the instant I see them, and instead let those wiry little fellahs fly with a certain level of amusement.  (I will, however, pluck that stupid little grey eyebrow hair if it ever dares to show its face again.)  But still, as much as I know that wrinkles are a beautiful symbol of experience and (hopefully) laughter and that drooping boobs are just a thing that happens eventually, I just really don't want them to be a part of my life.

These babies done up as old people, somehow, help.




See more at Feature Shoot.  Photos by Zachary Scott.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Cute! Closet Kitty

I recently re-arranged the shelving in my closet, and it took Gertie very little time to make herself a home on top of my yoga tights.  It's pretty much the closest she gets to exercising.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Singalong! Neighourhood #1 (Tunnels)

There are a few bands/musicians who I will pretty much just love everything they do.  Sarah Slean, Stars, and The Arcade Fire rank among them.  (Ooooh!  I just realized they're all Canadian!  How patriotic of me.)  "Tunnels" was, if not the first song I ever heard by The Arcade Fire, definitely one of the first. There is something so captivating and evocative about this song, don't you think?  And the image of someone tunnelling through the snow from one home to another is heartbreakingly Romantic.  (Capital "R" indicating not just romantic love but Romanticism in general).


NEIGHBOURHOOD #1 (TUNNELS)
by The Arcade Fire

And if the snow buries my...
My neighborhood

And if my parents are crying,
Then I'll dig a tunnel from my window to yours
Yeah, a tunnel from my window to yours

You climb out the chimney
And meet me in the middle
The middle of the town
And since there's no one else around,
We let our hair grow long and forget all we used to know
Then our skin gets thicker from living out in the snow

You change all the lead sleeping in my head
As the day grows dim, I hear you sing a golden hymn...

Then, we tried to name our babies
But we forgot all the names that,
The names we used to know
But sometimes,
We remember our bedrooms and our parent's bedrooms and the bedrooms of our friends
Then we think of our parents...
Well, whatever happened to them?!

You change all the lead sleeping in my head to gold
As the day grows dim, I hear you sing a golden hymn
It's the song I've been trying to sing...

Purify the colors, purify my mind
Purify the colors, purify my mind
And spread the ashes of the colors over this heart of mine!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Learning! Science vs. Pseudoscience

I love science.  This would be a shocking statement for anyone who knew me during school to hear, seeing as I took the bare minimum of science classes in order to graduate both university and high school.  Partially that was because I had other priorities - like theatre, which is actually my career now, so it was actually useful - and partially that was because I didn't fully understand how awesome science is.  Now, I get it.  Science is discovery.  Discovery is amazing.  Scientists are like artists, except instead of making things up in their heads they seek things out in the world.  They are explorers.  They are the coolest.

Unfortunately, despite all the awesome science that is occurring all around us, we seem to be living in a golden age of pseudoscience.  This, I believe, we can blame squarely on the internet.

When I research anything that people have even remotely strong emotional responses to, it can be very difficult to tell if the source I'm looking at is actual science or pseudoscience, because those pseudoscientists are really good at sounding really science-y.  Luckily, someone made a handy little guide to tell if something you're reading is actual science or pseudoscience:


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Inspiration! Your Face!

One of my favourite comebacks to anything is to just say "your face is..." and then fill it in with whatever the person said to me.  Generally, it works like an awkwardly-phrased charm.  My friend Ian Sheh also likes to talk about faces, but in a different way.  His Love Your Face project features over 100 different faces, shot super close-up, highlighting the diversity and beauty in everyone's faces.


Go and look at all the faces!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cute! Interspecies Flying

I know I didn't do my usual cute post yesterday, and while I will never live down this betrayal of your trust, I hope to make amends by offering you something more than my weekly Gertie pic.  I present you with: a baby weasel riding a hummingbird.

SAY WHAT??!?!?!


According to 102.7 The Peak's Facebook Page this is totally real.  And who am I to doubt?