Monday, May 30, 2016

Cute! Kitty gets a new home

My friend's mom passed away, and she inherited her two cats. These poor kitties not only lost their momma, but had a very traumatic flight over to Vancouver. The night they came into town I helped her get them set up, and this poor little guy refused to come out of his travel box for the whole night. Don't worry, though, eventually he came out and he is now getting to know his new momma.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Singalong! Jane Says by Jane's Addiction

My first real job was in our local movie theatre. There was a girl on staff who was a grade ahead of me and who generally seemed like the coolest person in the world: she was sort of punk, sort of goth, sort of emo, and sort of just whatever her thing was. She was really into Jane's Addiction, and would talk about them all the time. This was right around the very early of the days of downloading music (remember Napster, anyone?), and Jane Says by Jane's Addiction was one of the first songs I downloaded. It was awesome! For whatever reason I have never listened to a single other song by Jane's Addiction, but I figure since the song is about Jane and Jane is in their band name, it's pretty much their flagship song.


JANE SAYS
by Jane's Addiction

Jane says
I'm done with Sergio
He treats me like a ragdoll
She hides
The television
Says I don't owe him nothing,
But if he comes back again
Tell him to wait right here for me
Or just
Try again tomorrow
I'm gonna kick tomorrow
Gonna kick tomorrow

Jane says
Have you seen my wig around?
I feel naked without it
She knows
They all want her to go
But that's O.K. man
She dont like them anyway
Jane says
She's goin away to spain
When she gets my money saved
I'm gonna start tomorrow
I'm gonna kick tomorrow
Gonna kick tomorrow

She gets mad
Starts to cry
She takes a swing but
She cant hit
She don't mean no harm
She just don't know
What else to do about it

Jane goes
To the store at 8:00
She walk up on St. Andrews
She waits
And gets her dinner there
She pulls her dinner
From her pocket
Jane says
I've never been in love
I don't know what it is
Only knows if someone wants her
I want them if they want me
I only know they want me

She gets mad
And she starts to cry
She takes a swing man
She can hit!
She don't mean no harm
She just don't know
What else to do about it

Jane says
Jane says

Friday, May 27, 2016

Learning! What's the deal with hangovers?


It's always fun to find out about everyday things that scientists still can't really explain.  One of these things is the ubiquitous hangover.

Now, chances are you're already mentally correcting me: "no, Andrea, hangovers are not a mystery - they are caused by dehydration!"  If you are more caught up with the research, you may have replaced dehydration with acetaldehyde, a byproduct our bodies create when they process alcohol.

Well, you'd both be sort of, maybe, kind of, probably right.

The current, most favourite theory is the acetaldehyde theory.  When our bodies process alcohol, the first byproduct is acetaldehyde, a compound more toxic than alcohol itself that causes things like nausea, vomiting, and the sweats.

Other theories include the famous dehydration theory as well as an imbalance of the enzymes NAD+ and NADH.  NADH is used to process alcohol, and when our bodies convert NAD+ into NADH for such a purpose, our cells lose some of their functioning.

Sadly, both the dehydration and enzyme theories have been shown insufficient in studies.

One more promising theory is that it's an immune response, and that our bodies are producing excess cytokines in response to the alcohol we have consumed.  Since cytokines are used to fight infection by producing inflammatory responses, they could very well be making us feel like junk after a night of drinking.

Of course, this doesn't help us prevent hangovers, unless you avoid setting off all these poison-responses in your body by just not drinking at all.

Source: Smithsonian Mag

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Me & Ryan Gosling at Thanksgiving Dinner

A few years ago, Ryan happened to be in town over Thanksgiving!  A good friend of mine hosts an "orphans" Thanksgiving dinner every year and even though I have family nearby and don't count as an orphan, I still got to attend.  Probably only because I was bringing Ryan, but that's okay, he's pretty much my ticket into all my friends' parties.

If something looks awkward in this photo, it's because yes, Ryan is sitting on the lap of the girl next to me.  It's cool, we were just playing a game of pass the Ry Ry.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Inspiration! Africans are tweeting beautiful pictures of their lives to fight "poverty-porn"

While I'm not sure I love the use of the word "porn" to describe anything other than actual porn, I love what is happening on Twitter right now with the hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou.

To fight the completely one-dimensional image the media is perpetuating about Africa, African people are sharing images on twitter of their beautiful lives.

From these incredible, colourful outfits...



To these incredible landscapes...



These awesome celebrations of love...




And this stunning collection of images shared by @decorsecrets:

Photo shared by @decorsecrets

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Be Really Prepared: Taking Chris Hadfield too far

Boy Scouts and Chris Hadfield: always ready.  Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

I just read Chris Hadfield's book where he talks about always being mega-prepared for every possible situation, planning for every detail, and practicing until you can execute a task with your eyes closed (or floating in space with zero gravity when the slightest mistake could kill you and everyone else).

This is great advice for academic and workplace success, as well as other practical endeavours like climbing mountains or learning how to repair cars or surviving in space.

I wonder, though, about other applications of is advice.  Take his example of being totally ready to jump on stage at a David Bowie concert and play Space Odyssey.  Could we go a little further down that path of being absolutely ready to make something happen, should someone else flip the switch on an event, to a place that's a bit socially uncomfortable?

What are some situations where we could take Chris Hadfield's advice a bit too far?

Getting Engaged

What if you are thinking you might get proposed to at some point in the near future?  Well, if you're Chris Hadfield, you realize that you can't control when this happens, but you can make sure you are totally ready for it.

First of all, practice your reactions in the mirror.  These days there is almost always someone secretly filming the whole thing and you don't want to be ugly crying if it goes viral.  Practice to the point where the phrase "will you marry me?" starts to sound a bit funny and meaningless.

Think about what you are wearing every time you see them: will it photograph well?

Start imagining every possible way they might propose and be ready for it.  What if they want to surprise you with a beach picnic?  Can you slip the shoes off easily?  Bring a few layers just in case it winds up being on a mountaintop where it's chillier.  Bone up on the history of your relationship - some people do extravagant scavenger hunts where you visit important places from your collective past.  Do you remember your major moments?  You might want to start going to bed fully dressed, with make up and hair done, in case they might want to do some kind of midnight kidnapping surprise.

If you are the one who might do the proposing, get ready with all your reasons why they should want to marry you, should they seem uncertain.  Be ready for both celebration and total, crushing heartbreak the night you ask the question.

Remember, preparation is what allows you to relax in the moment and enjoy life while knowing that you will be able to react perfectly in the moment.

Getting Hitched

Again, you can't necessarily control when you are in a situation when you are ready to marry someone, but you can be completely and utterly prepared to execute the perfect wedding the moment you get engaged.

Pick a selection of dates that will work depending on what time of year you get engaged, price out venues, budget, pick colour schemes, attire, decor, guest list, food, and photo booth styles.  What will be beautifully hand-crafted to look rustic-yet-picturesque?  Who will do make up?  Is there a theme?  How will you announce your engagement on social media?

"Okay, honey, we're engaged.  I've got a hold on these venues for these dates, scattered throughout the year.  Here is a list of vendors for the decor cross-referenced with price (how much is your side of the family willing to throw in?  Mine will give this much, and I figure we can spend about this much more).  I picked out three dresses for you to choose from that best suit the Magical Garden of Love theme.  Here are some sample hairstyle ideas.  My guest list options are either 30 people if we're keeping it small or 100 if we're going big.  The tux and groomsmen suits are on hold, I just need to pull the trigger!"

The Death of a Loved One

Sometimes people die suddenly, and sometimes they die in a long, drawn-out way that you see coming.  Either way, you should be prepared!

If you will be in charge of cleaning out their home, start throwing things away now.  Get rid of anything that won't be wanted as a valuable or souvenir.  Nobody is going to want that toaster, so chuck it.  If they keep buying new ones, explain that they are being very inconsiderate to your future self who will have to deal with their remains.

If you might be asked to speak or play a song at their funeral, get that ready.  In fact, just start asking everyone in your life what song they would want you to sing at their funeral.

You will have emotions to process and the only thing that helps with those is time, so you might as well start now.  Every time you see them, choke up a bit, touch their cheek gently, and say "this might be the last time I see you, so I want you to know that I love you."  When they're not around say things like, "I just can't believe they're gone."  This will help prepare you for the real thing.

Spontaneous Travel

You never know when your friend will propose a spontaneous trip to Hawaii or you'll suddenly need to go away to a conference.  Heck, being ready to jump on a plane is also part of being prepared for the death of a loved one.

How do you do it?  Easy.

Always have at least three suitcases packed: one for a colder place, one for a hotter place, and one with a bit of a mix.  Actually, you'll need at least six: a "fun" one and a "work" one for each of these circumstances.  How about, instead of a closet or dresser for organizing your clothes, just have a system of suitcases, all packed for different types of travel (maybe colour-code them so you can keep track of where different items of clothing are).

Of course, you'll need to buy multiples of most of your clothes so that your favourite or most versatile items can be in all the suitcases, and I hope I don't have to remind you to keep your passport up to date and use only travel-sized toiletries.

A Friend Moving Away

Sometimes friends move away.  This can be very upsetting to your life if you aren't ready for it.  The easiest way to prepare is to treat all your friends like they already live far away.  This means you mostly communicate with them via email, Facebook, and WhatsApp.

If you're like me, your communications will start off pretty strong and then taper off to the occasional post on each others' walls or Instagram tagging.  This is perfectly natural!

Then every time they contact you to hang out, exclaim "You're in town?!??!" and assure them you will make it work to see them whenever they want.  When you say goodbye, give them big, big hugs and say that it was so nice to see them and you are so glad they called, and you'll be sure to be in touch if you're ever near them.

A Friend Moving Back Into Town

Just as quickly as one friend will announce they are moving away, another will announce they are coming back into town.  Friends moving back can mean many things: they may need a place to crash for a few days (or weeks) before finding their own home.  They may need a lot of emotional support if they are returning due to a bad circumstance.  They may want to hang out a ton to make up for lost time.  They may be broke or have come into money.  They may need help moving or finding a place.  The possibilities are endless!

Make sure you're constantly aware of what's out there for new rental apartments.  Scour Craigslist in your free time, and contact the occasional landlord to check about things like pets, so you can let your friends know exactly what their options are when they return.

Keep your schedule pretty loose and free so that you can cancel or move things around to help them out as needed.  Of course, this won't be too hard because you're treating all your local friends as if they live far away, so you probably don't really have any plans.

A Break Up

Sometimes people dump you, completely out of the blue.  Be Chris Hadfield: be prepared!

Whatever stage your relationship is in will determine what other practical means you need to have prepared.  If you've just started dating, have a pint of ice cream, a bag of chips, and make sure you have a few friends always ready to jump in and watch a distracting movie with you (this will be tricky because all your friends live far away, but I heard one might be moving back soon!)

If you're cohabiting, then good thing you're keeping your eye on all the Craigslist apartment listings in your city and have all your things in suitcases.  Moving out should be pretty easy.  Alternatively, practice throwing all their things out onto the sidewalk.  The key is to throw them hard enough they land right in the middle of the sidewalk and get in everyone's way, but not so hard they land in the street.  That's a hazard.

Of course, there are the emotional walls to put up so that you don't risk actually having your heart broken, but most of us do this fairly naturally.  No explanation necessary.

Sure, it's possible that being constantly prepared to get dumped and proposed to at once will be tricky, but I believe in you!  Work hard!  Plan for every detail!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Cute! Gertie keeps it classy

You know how cats are so refined and elegant, sitting on silk pillows and keeping themselves perfectly clean?  Yeah.  Not so much with Gertie.  Here she is, licking an old, dry dish cloth that definitely should have been put in the wash a few days ago.

She is the very picture of class.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Singalong! Sunny Came Home by Shawn Colvin

Here's another sweet one from the late 90s! I never had any idea what this song meant, but I loved the tune and was intrigued by a song by someone named Shawn who was a lady about someone named Sunny who was also given female pronouns. I still can't really tell what it's about except a gal named Sunny who comes home and is perhaps on a mission of vengeance? I think it may be a bit more symbolic than that...  Still fun to sing along to, though!


SUNNY CAME HOME
by Shawn Colvin

Sunny came home to her favorite room
Sunny sat down in the kitchen
She opened a book and a box of tools
Sunny came home with a mission

She says "Days go by, I'm hypnotized
I'm walking on a wire
I close my eyes and fly out of my mind
Into the fire"

Sunny came home with a list of names
She didn't believe in transcendence
And it's time for a few small repairs, she said
Sunny came home with a vengeance

She says "Days go by, I don't know why
I'm walking on a wire
I close my eyes and fly out of my mind
Into the fire"

Get the kids and bring a sweater
Dry is good and wind is better
Count the years, you always knew it
Strike a match, go on and do it

Oh, days go by, I'm hypnotized
I'm walking on a wire
I close my eyes and fly out of my mind
Into the fire

Oh, light the sky and hold on tight
The world is burning down
She's out there on her own, and she's all right
Sunny came home

Sunny came home
Came home
Home

Friday, May 20, 2016

Learning! Does the moon affect our actions?

does the full moon affect our behaviour?

Short answer: no.

Okay, I know that a lot of people already knew/accepted the fact that the moon doesn't affect our actions, but I'm still a little bummed about another new study that has come out confirming this fact.  I don't know, I guess growing up with a mom who worked in a hospital gave me enough stories about people acting crazy on full moons (as well as packed-full maternity wards) to believe that there might be something to this full moon business.

This study looked at kids' sleeping patterns to see if sleep was at all disrupted in different phases of the lunar cycle.  They looked at almost 6,000 kids in many different countries.  The only change they found was that kids slept about 5 mins less (a 1% change) at the full moon, and more likely explained by their sample size and not the moon itself.

Well, phooey.

Fine then.

The researcher, Dr. Jean-Philippe Chaput, did say that, "Folklore and even certain instances of occupational lore suggest that mental health issues or behaviors of humans and animals are affected by lunar phases. Whether there is science behind the myth or not, the moon mystery will continue to fascinate civilizations in the years to come."

So at least I can get my hopes up every once in a while when a new study comes out.

Source: Science Daily

Learning! Does sarcasm make you more creative?

Does sarcasm make you more creative?

Sarcasm is a great way to let someone know you think they're an idiot.  In fact, past research has shown that people perceive sarcastic comments ("Don't work too hard, Pat") as more belittling than a direct criticism ("Hey Pat, stop playing computer games and get back to work").

New research has shown that there is an upside to sarcasm (aside, of course, from hilarity).  It turns out that sarcastic conversations can make both participants more creative.

In the study, participants were provided with scripts that were sarcastic, sincere, or neutral and entered into a conversation with a partner who did not know the script.  In later tests of creative thinking, both people who participated in the sarcastic conversation (even the person who didn't know the script) performed better than those from other groups.

So, next time you are stuck for an idea, maybe call a friend and get a little sarcastic repartee going.  It may hurt their feelings, but it will make you both more creative.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

How much money could you get for the elements in your body, and other fun facts about you and me.


Here is a fun website!  Using your birthdate, gender, height, and weight, the BBC can tell you a whole host of details about your precious little body.

Some fun facts about my soul-cocoon:

It has a magnificent 3.8 million sweat glands (that explains something).

The elements in my body are worth about $2,118.  I'll take it!

Anyone who wants to murder me: you'd only need .005-.05oz of arsenic.

If I were to wear the ant man suit, my atoms could reduce to the size of a red blood cell.

My ovaries weigh .2lbs and about 1 inch cubed in size.

I have "shed my skin" 429 times.

They say I have shed 352 fl oz of tears, but they don't know how easily I cry.

If I weren't keeping on top of it, my armpit hair could have grown 78 inches.  Sweeeeeet.

Try it out!  How much money is your body worth?  Share your favourite results.

Me & Ryan Gosling at Victoria Falls

My first Me & Ryan Gosling post ever came from our trip to Zambia almost 10 years ago.  Here's another shot from that trip, when we visited Victoria Falls.  I walked along the bridge that gets you close enough to be entirely soaked by the spray from the falls, without actually being anywhere near them.  He, of course, did not, but was prepared to give me a jacket if it was required after the experience was through.

Me and Ryan Gosling at Victoria Falls

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Inspiration! The art of Kay Nielsen


I just love this art by Kay Nielsen.  See a whole bunch of it on the Hyperallergic post about her work.

Source: Hyperallergic.

Inspiration! Insects walk on water

I love these images of insects taking off from the surface of water.  A combination of lightweight legs and bodies, surface tension on the water, and the air-water interface keep them afloat.



Don't they sort of make you feel like phoenixes arising from the ashes?  Like your heart could fly away with their tiny, insect bodies?  Just me?  Okay.

Source: Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Book Club: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield


Here's a secret for you: if you are a Canadian, you have an innate need to love any famous Canadian. Or at least the non-embarrassing ones: Michael J. Fox, Terry Fox, Ryan Gosling, Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette, Wayne Gretzky, Diana Krall, Neil Young, Margaret Atwood, Sarah Mclachlan, Mike Meyers, and so the list goes on. We automatically love them and love to say things like, "did you know Elizabeth Arden, the CEO of the make up brand, is Canadian? She totally is. Same with Leonard Cohen.  Also, Canadians invented basketball."

So obviously, I love Chris Hadfield. He was the captain of the International Space Station, he showed us what happens when you wring out a cloth in space, and, most importantly, he made a David Bowie music video in zero gravity.


Also, he wrote a book.  The book is about the lessons he learned that helped him become the coolest astronaut around AND be a better human person.  I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Here are my main takeaways:

Aim to be a Zero

When my friend first told me about Chris Hadfield's "aim to be a zero" philosophy, I inwardly snorted in derision (inwardly because I can't execute something like that very well in real life).  I don't think an astronaut with three degrees "aimed to be a zero" in life.

Now I get it!  It's not about being a loser or not trying.  His idea is that there are three ways to contribute to a project: you can be a minus one by making things worse; a zero by contributing at a competent level without trying to be fantastic about it; or a plus one by really making things great and having everyone see how outstanding your work was.

No one really aims to be a minus one, but if you aim to be a plus one you are more likely to wind up being a minus one by accident because your focus is on showing how great you are instead of contributing to the project.

Aiming to be a zero means that you go into a room, find out what needs to be done, and do the work to your best ability so that you help the project move forward.  A zero operates to the greater good of the team, not themselves.

The special secret is that aiming to be a zero is the best way to wind up being a plus one, because your focus was on the work and not yourself.

Always be Prepared But Have Low Expectations

Part of aiming to be a zero is to be a really dedicated boy scout.  Be prepared for every possible circumstance, because if you're not prepared you can easily become a negative one.

In space this is important because every single possible circumstance wants to kill you.  If you aren't prepared for all of them, you will probably die and maybe cause a bunch of other people to die.

In life, it's about being ready to jump in where needed, no matter what it is, so that you don't bring the team down, while not forcing your way in to grab the glory.  Being really ready to jump in, of course, means you have to prepared.  You've practiced.  You know what the deal is.

An example he gives was when he went to a David Bowie concert.  He knew he had reached just a high enough level of fame that David Bowie might know he was there and know he plays the guitar, and that he might even ask him to come on stage and play a song with him, and that if he did, that song would probably be Space Oddity.

If all that happened and he wasn't prepared it would become a huge bummer: "Hey Chris Hadfield, want to come on stage and play Space Oddity with me?", "Sorry, David Bowie, I don't know the song."

Splat goes all the energy in the room, right?

So he was prepared, just in case.  Sure, there was a little ego involved in the dream of getting called onstage, but it's not like he showed up at the concert with a guitar and demanded he be allowed backstage.  He just practiced the song relentlessly until he felt he could confidently play it on stage, should the opportunity arise.

Then it didn't arise, and according to him, he wasn't even disappointed.  I don't know, I think I would have a moment of "aw shucks" when Bowie started playing Space Oddity and I wasn't on stage with him.  I would get over it, but I would be at least a little sad that my silly dream didn't come true.  But apparently Chris Hadfield is not only a super prepared, dream-oriented, hard working man, he also has no ego.

Focus on Your Mistakes

Unlike current culture which is all about not beating yourself up over your mistakes, astronauts focus on them.  A lot.  Because mistakes will probably kill them.

Every time any of them make a mistake, they inspect it from every angle: why it happened, what choices that astronaut made, what was wrong with them, and what can be done differently next time.

That is so they don't die when they are in space.

So our stakes aren't quite so high in life, but generally I think it's a good thing for us to thoroughly recognize our mistakes, publicly acknowledge them, and go over them with a fine-tooth comb: what, specifically, did we do wrong?  Why?

I mean, sure, we're not going to die, but little compiled mistakes still have consequences like divorce and getting fired from a job and economic collapse and water damage to your floor that is very expensive to fix.  It might be good to look at them.

Try Not to Ruin Everyone Else's Lives with Your Dreams

One thing I thought a few times while reading the book, which Chris Hadfield completely acknowledges, is that his dream of becoming an astronaut made life difficult for his family.  He has four kids and a wife who also has dreams, and yet he was gone a lot (like for most years, for most of the year) and kind of left them all to live in the shadow of being "Chris Hadfield's family."  That is rough.

He didn't compromise on his dream, but he did at least try to make it as good for them as possible.  Once his wife pointed out that he was taking on so many extra curricular projects that he was a stranger to his family, he cut back.  He learned that he couldn't return home and expect them all to drop what they were doing and celebrate him: he needed to focus on fitting back into their world.

The sucky thing is that a family can really only have one person with as big a dream as being an astronaut and stick together.  Everyone else, whether they liked it or not, became "Team Hadfield", because there is a lot of background work that goes into supporting an astronaut.

This is not a reason to not have a dream, but it is a reason to be wary of the impact of your dream on others.  Sure, they are on your team, but are you on theirs?  In a real way?  How?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Cute! Gertie kills the flowers

I've had a few cats in my life, and never one who was so into flowers.  They are never safe with Gertie around.  Here, I was trying to take an arty photo of some flowers I "foraged" (stole) on my way home one sunny afternoon, and Gertie just got right up in there.  The series of photos reminded me of that Arrested Development bit where a sheep invades Buster's photo booth (and then again, later, when Lucille is frightened by a woman in curlers at Quantity Plus).


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Animals on Tinder 4

Time for more Animals on Tinder!  Here's the latest round of things people say on Tinder, put in the mouths of sweet, innocent animals.





Saturday, May 14, 2016

Too old for Snapchat?

old woman joins snapchat, can't handle life

I just joined Snapchat.

Literally the only reason I joined Snapchat is because I'm 31.  That might not sound that old (unless you're under 25), but that means I'm old enough to know what it's like to try to explain to an old person what the internet is for.  When I was a teenager my grandpa would pay me $10 to come over to his house and teach him how to use email, multiple times, while my grandma stayed away from computers for her entire life.

The point here is that I want to be like my grandpa, who was immediately interested in how he could use the internet to look up stories about Mennonites, and not like my grandma, who we had to buy an email-to-fax machine for when she moved into the old folks home so she could receive our pictures without us having to print and mail them, which we never ever did.

So I joined Snapchat.

I joined because I think it's important to at least try new technology-related things before rejecting them, and since Snapchat suddenly transformed from nudie pic-o-gram to a social network, I needed to check out out and avoid becoming a luddy-duddy (that's "luddy" for luddite).

And now... I feel like a total luddy-duddy!

First of all, people have to add you back to be able to communicate with them or see them in your feed - oh, excuse me, it's called a "story" on Snapchat - so my "story" has a whopping THREE PEOPLE in it.  Ugh.  I haven't felt like such a loser on social media since I started a Myspace page.

Second, the whole point is to share stupid things because they disappear in 24 hours so you don't have to worry about looking perfect all the time, but I already post stupid things on the internet.  I think the point is really to take a lot of selfies without having a newsfeed full of selfies that people can judge you by.

Third... I don't know.  It's just a little tiring.  Which probably means I'm too old and not cool enough.

Or maybe I just need to pay a teenager $10 to come over and show me Snapchat?  Do teenagers still do things for $10?  How has inflation impacted the teenagers-helping-their-elders-do-mundane-tasks market?

Questions:  Am I supposed to troll for followers?  Should I be telling you to add me?  My name is andreaxuaxua, so I guess you can?  I know other people just post on Twitter asking strangers to snap them, but that seems... weird?  I mean, I'm not averse to having strangers in my Snapchat feed since it seems like a less-flattering version of Instagram, but it still feels weird. Am I supposed to call it a snap?  A chat?  Do I have to use the whole word every time or is that lame?

Anyways, as my friend Jay said on Facebook last week:
How to feel old:

Step one: Be old.
Step two: Join Snapchat.

Mission accomplished.

Singalong! Zombie by The Cranberries

My main memory of this song is that youthful feeling that there was something really deep and meaningful going on here, but that I had no idea what it was.  I was totally drawn to this song and everything that sense of lurking darkness and meaning, but did not yet have any of the tools to understand what it was about.  In the meantime, I also learned that, while it might seem like a fun idea to do this song at karaoke so that you can yelp and yodel the refrain, you will also be stuck on stage for a really really long musical outro that you were not prepared for.  You have been warned.


ZOMBIE
by The Cranberries

Another head hangs lowly
Child is slowly taken
And the violence caused such silence
Who are we mistaken

But you see it's not me
It's not my family
In your head, in your
Head they are fighting
With their tanks and their bombs
And their bombs and their guns
In your head,
In your head they are cryin'

In your head, in your head
Zombie, zombie, zombie
Hey, hey
What's in your head, in your head
Zombie, zombie, zombie
Hey, hey, hey, oh
Dou, dou, dou, dou
Dou, dou, dou, dou
Dou, dou, dou, dou
Dou, dou, dou, dou

Another mother's breakin'
Heart is taking over
When the violence causes silence
We must be mistaken

It's the same old theme since nineteen-sixteen
In your head,
In your head they're still fightin'
With their tanks and their bombs
And their bombs and their guns
In your head, in your head they are dyin'

In your head, in your head
Zombie, zombie, zombie
Hey, hey
What's in your head, in your head
Zombie, zombie, zombie
Hey, hey, hey
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Hey, oh, ya, ya-a

Friday, May 13, 2016

Learning! Keep working and you'll come up with better ideas

There are hosts of tips to trick your brain into breaking through a creative block, from looking at the problem from a different angle to pretending you are a more successful person and imagining what they would do to going for a run or taking a nap.

But what about: just keep trying?

Sometimes you just have to power though.  Keep thinking of solutions.  Try the idea that seems too stupid.  Whatever.  Don't stop!  Ask yourself "is there anything else?"

New research shows that the longer people work on a problem the more creative their solutions become.


Source: The Science of Us (NY Times)

science of us on how to come up with creative solutions

Learning! These jellyfish make you feel doom is on the horizon


Here's something Sebastien the crab didn't sing about when he extolled the virtues of life under the sea in The Little Mermaid: a jellyfish whose sting brings on "a feeling of impending doom."

Yes, that's right, this jellyfish sting not only gives pain, but causes anxiety and a sense that it's all over.  You're going down.  There is no point in fighting.  Doom is imminent.  And this is before they have started to feel the "relentless nausea and vomiting" and lower back pain "like an electric drill."

Interestingly, the same feeling of impending doom comes from both cardiac arrest and nutmeg overdose.

Guess what part of the world these jellyfish are common?  Did you guess Australia, home to every scary thing from nature?  Then you guessed right.

It's called the Irukandji, and you might just want to avoid that part of the ocean.

Source: The Science of Us.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Beautiful acts of love

This video of humans acting out animal courtships is just lovely.


Ladies, let's start catcalling the men


I have made an observation within my relationship that I would like to generalize to the rest of humanity as a social experiment: what if we lived in a world where men didn't catcall women (wait for it....) and the women catcalled the men?!??

I know, I know.  Say wha?!?  That's too crazy!  I can't even conceive of it!  But seriously guys, I'm kind of serious.

Not to "get revenge" or "show them what it's like" but because, actually, men don't get to feel desirable all that often, whereas most women are kind of done with being treated constantly as sexual beings and would rather maybe be able to go through life without their level of attractiveness being commented on everywhere they go.

(I know, I know, boo hoo, poor men don't feel desirable!  Maybe if they spent less time dolling out sexual harassment we would have an incentive to display our desire for them!  Exactly, my friend.  Exactly.)

I have observed this in the microcosm of my own relationship, and then had it confirmed by something someone said on a podcast, so I figure it must be universally true.

The personal observation that I'm using to generalize to the world is as follows: my boyfriend would often comment on my body when we were doing completely everyday things.  I would open the fridge or brush my teeth or exist on the couch, and he would give me the old once over with his eyes say something about my body.

Listen, I'm not saying that I don't want my boyfriend to like my body.  Obviously, that's a good thing, but also, enough is enough and I was ready to shout, "I am just trying to find the leftover veggies!  Can't I do ONE THING without my body being commented on????  I am not on DISPLAY!!!"

Then we finally talked about it, because communication is key, and I realized that he was saying these things to me because (shocker) he wants me to say them to him.  He was trying to make me feel desirable in the way that he wanted to feel desirable.

Well, for pete's sake.  Is that all it is?  Okay!  So then we made a deal that he would significantly reduce the things he was saying to me, and I would do my best to start verbalizing all the times I noticed his excellent tush.

Done and done.  All world problems solved.

But seriously, I'm not saying that all guys who catcall are just hoping someone will tell them they are pretty, because power dynamics are a thing, but it's a gimme that a society that prioritizes the gaze of the straight man is going to overly sexualize women and desexualize men.  I mean, heaven forbid a straight man recognize the attractiveness of other straight men, am I right?  (Except for Jemaine, of course, when he tells Brett he's got it going on.)

The result?  Women get overrun with the feeling that their bodies are on display, and men rarely get to be taken seriously as anything but bumbling jokes or sexual predators.

Listen, everyone wants to feel attractive, right?  We all want to know that our biological imperative to procreate could be met with success, even if we're not sure that we ever want kids, and if we do, at the very least we should invest in our careers and do more travelling first.

So I offer a social experiment.  We don't have to commit to it for life, but how about for a few months?  Let's spend the summer switching the catcaller/catcallee dynamic, see what happens, and have a little circle debrief and see how we feel after.

Me & Ryan Gosling, the time he insisted on doing my hair for me

Ladies!  You know when your man is all "let me do your hair!", and you let him because it will probably be hilarious, and then this happens?

Sigh.  Oh Ryan.  You think you're so funny.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Inspiration! 10 things that don't require talent or luck


Talent shmalent!  This is as good a reminder as any.

Source: Swiss Miss vis Bill Gross

Inspiration! Listen to Shonda Rhimes: don't dream, do something

Next time someone tells you to dream big and envision your success and all that jazz, it might be worthwhile to pull a Shonda Rhimes and ask yourself whether they are suggesting that you actually DO anything or if they are just telling you to DREAM (and probably making a lot of money off that "dream big" talk to boot). There is a difference between dreaming and doing, after all. Nothing wrong with a dream, but if you don't start acting on it, then what the heck do you think is going to happen?

Of course, I'm putting this down for myself just as much as anyone else.  Shonda Rhimes gave some pretty awesome advice at the Dartmouth Commencement in 2014:
"When people give these kinds of speeches, they usually tell you all kinds of wise and heartfelt things.   When people give these kinds of speeches, they usually tell you all kinds of wise and heartfelt things. They have wisdom to impart. They have lessons to share. They tell you: Follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don't stop dreaming until all of your dreams come true.

I think that's crap.

I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, engaged, powerful people, are busy doing.

The dreamers. They stare at the sky and they make plans and they hope and they talk about it endlessly. And they start a lot of sentences with "I want to be ..." or "I wish."

"I want to be a writer." "I wish I could travel around the world."

And they dream of it. The buttoned-up ones meet for cocktails and they brag about their dreams, and the hippie ones have vision boards and they meditate about their dreams. Maybe you write in journals about your dreams or discuss it endlessly with your best friend or your girlfriend or your mother. And it feels really good. You're talking about it, and you're planning it. Kind of. You are blue-skying your life. And that is what everyone says you should be doing. Right? I mean, that's what Oprah and Bill Gates did to get successful, right?

No.

Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It's hard work that makes things happen. It's hard work that creates change.

-Shonda Rhimes, Dartmouth Commencement Address, 2014


Here is an awesome comic made out of this speech by Zen Pencils:

Read Shonda Rhimes' full speech and check out more from Zen Pencils.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

On Lemonade and learning who Becky really is


I FINALLY WATCHED LEMONADE!!!!

I honestly wasn't expecting to be that into it.  I mean, I am a sane human, and so I know that Queen Bey is all things brilliant, but a visual album sounded kind of ... boring.  Even from BeyoncĂ©.  Well I am happy to report that I was wrong.  So very wrong.  It is amazing.  I was so hypnotized.  It is such a powerful piece of music/visual art/poetry - I was transfixed and, for the first half, basically in tears.

There is so much, obviously, to ask.  Is this about her relationship with Jay Z?  Did he cheat?  Did she somehow manage to mine deep pain into art while forgiving at the same time?  Is she simply speaking into an experience that isn't necessarily her own - you know, as an artist?  Sharing an expression of strength, anger, and forgiveness?  A more widespread experience of Black women?  I DON'T KNOW!  And I probably won't ever get to know, because that's how art works.

In the meantime, I have OBVIOUSLY read about it, and while there are a lot of interesting commentaries, I really loved this article Bump Your 'Becky' Beef by Jacqui Germain in Feministing.

It is always good to be reminded that your view of the world and experience of life is not the same as everyone else's (not even close), and that there are whole cultures and subcultures with dialect, imagery, experiences, and knowledge of the life that exist right alongside yours that you are blind to - and that your blindness does not make them less valid.

So, Becky.  Before I watched Lemonade I heard a lot about Becky.  People were saying she is the girl that Jay Z cheated with and starting to drop guesses about who she is.

Well, according to Germain's article, it's not that simple.

Becky is not a specific woman.  Becky is basically a shorthand name for a pretty white girl who embodies liberal racism.  Or maybe just plain racism?  She may not be one individual, but she is the summary of so many women who Black people encounter on a daily basis who think they "get it" and think they are liberal and open-minded and non-racist, while completely undermining actual equality and supporting systems of oppression.

Of course, Germain says it best:
Although for Black Americans in general, “Becky” is a well-known social trope, for Black women, it carries some emotional weight as well. “Becky” is the white girl specter who has transformed across history. She’s the white feminist who argues that white women and Black women were both oppressed during slavery. She’s the white feminist who champions Miley Cyrus’ “sexual liberation” as sex positivity but goes on multi-paragraph expositions about how Amber Rose’s Slut Walk set a bad example for women. Or how Nicki Minaj is bad for women. Or BeyoncĂ©. Or Rihanna. But Madonna is somehow a feminist icon. She’s Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” philosophy. She’s the white girl putting #AllLivesMatter on everything, swearing she’s part of the human race or a citizen of the world, while planning a mission trip to Africa. None of us know where in Africa, but just Africa. 
-Jacqui Germain, Bump Your 'Becky' Beef
What does this mean?  In terms of Lemonade, I don't know.  It could mean many things and unless I ever get to chat with BeyoncĂ© about what it meant to her in the context of this creation, I won't know.  For me, it means that no matter how specific the inspiration for Lemonade was, it speaks to a much wider experience.

In real life, though, it means something pretty freaking clear.  People don't create shorthand names to sum up experiences that hardly ever happen.  The trope of Becky developed because this girl is real and encountered all the time, and we simply cannot dismiss it.

Read Jacqui Germain's full article on Feministing.


"I shouldn't have to see that."


I've always been interested when people say "I shouldn't have to see that."  It's a funny statement.  It somehow assumes that someone else, through their actions or just by existing, is forcing you to take part in their activity by not hiding it.

The truth is that when we do something in public we are, in a sense, "making" everyone we encounter see it.  If we enter their field of vision while we wear these clothes or juggle these chainsaws or having this body, they will have no choice but to see us.  But are the only two options in life hiding or showing off?  Does it matter whether we are intending to display a thing or just existing in a way that works for us?

So what are the things that people get upset about "having" to see?

People who are too ugly.
People who are too fat.
People who are kissing.
People who are doing more than kissing.
People who are kissing a person who is displaying the wrong gender.
People who are doing drugs.
People who are obviously very poor.
People who are doing yoga on a mountaintop and having their photo taken.
People who are breastfeeding.
People who are changing diapers.
People who are wearing unflattering clothing.
People who are wearing revealing clothing.
People who are wearing revealing clothing on bodies that aren't small and smooth enough.
People who are wearing a style of clothing we don't like.
People who have wounds or sores, especially if they have fluid coming out of them.
People who are too sick.
People who are participating in a habit you are trying to quit.
People who are taking selfies.
People who are eating something gross or unfamiliar.
People who pass out in gutters.
Drunk girls vomiting outside nightclubs in little dresses and no jacket.
Certain body hair.
Violence in real life.
Genitals.

There is more, of course, but that seems like a good start.

As I was writing the list I realized that it all boils down to disgust.  We think we shouldn't have to see things that disgust us.  Makes sense on an evolutionary level - our disgust reaction exists to keep us alive and safe and able to procreate.  It's actually quite useful.  Except now that (in Canada, in Vancouver) most of us are relatively safe, our disgust doesn't necessarily point to actual danger or threats.  But still, there seem to be some categories of "I shouldn't have to see that" disgust.  What are they?

IT-SHOULD-BE-PRIVATE DISGUST

Some things we have decided as a society are too disgusting to be public, and we call those things "private".  Most things associated with sex fall into this category.  Society has agreed that people shouldn't have to see other people being naked, showing genitals, having sex, or doing anything too close to having sex.  Not necessarily that sex itself is disgusting (depending on who you ask), but that displays of sexuality are to be minimized.  Heck, it wasn't that long that seeing a pregnant woman was considered indecent because it was an obvious sign that she had had sex.

This is actually kind of funny, because if our disgust reaction is supposed to help us stay alive and procreate, shouldn't sex be totally non-disgusting?  It's just fulfilling our biological imperative.

Also included in this category are things like breastfeeding (for those who haven't learned they have to be okay with it now because it's happening) and changing diapers, as well as other bathroom-related things like vomiting or, you know, going to the bathroom.

IT-SHOULDN'T-HAPPEN-AT-ALL DISGUST

We also shouldn't have to see violence, but that's more because we've all agreed violence isn't supposed to happen at all.  Unlike sex, violence isn't supposed to be hidden behind closed doors (although if it must happen in some population we've deemed hopeless, then that's better than seeing it), it is supposed to only be simulated in movies.  (Also, unlike sex, if violence is simulated in movies very few parents will freak out, but if sex is, then many parents will be upset.  Thus, fake sex is more disgusting than fake violence.)

Also, things like drug use might fall into this category.  We are perfectly comfortable seeing people guzzle their fifth double espresso or drink beers on a patio, and in Vancouver we are okay with people walking down the sidewalk with a joint.  If we see anything else, however, it assaults our eyes because people just shouldn't be doing that.

BODIES-AREN'T-ALL-PERFECT DISGUST

Then there are things that aren't officially decided by society as forbidden, like public sex, but that everyone hopes they will not "have to see".  This is includes things like rolls of fat.  Of course, no one wants to admit that they're disgusted by fat, because that would make them a bad person, but how else can we interpret the reactions to seeing other peoples' rolls?  Statements that they "shouldn't" be dressing that way or "can't" pull it off are telling, especially because they rarely get shut down, because, while it's impolite to point it out, most people silently agree that, yes, we shouldn't have to see a roll of fat.  That makes it too obvious that this person has a body that isn't perfect and that is horrible.

Also in this category are other situations where people allow their bodies to be visible the way they naturally are, including wearing little to no make up or allowing body hair to grow.

I-AM-BETTER-THAN-THAT DISGUST

Next, there are the individual pet-peeve/holier-than-thou things that people don't want to have to see because they are (or want to be) better than that thing.  This includes things like selfies or people taking photos of themselves doing yoga on mountains or drunk girls wearing small dresses and no jackets or packs of boys with their pants below their bums.  Society as a whole may agree that these are silly or even gross actions, but not enough so that we agree to ban them from sight.  Instead, some of us who feel we are much better than that thing express our disgust to show how much better we are.

"I am not narcissistic at all, I am so not narcissistic that I am disgusted by this narcissistic display of selfie taking and wish to not even see it!" / "I never get too drunk and am so good at not going overboard that I shouldn't have to see other people do it because it hurts me so!" / "I just appreciate well-tailored clothing so much it pains me to observe these low-hanging pants!" / "I respect myself too much to wander around coatless in a tiny dress, and I am disgusted and saddened that anyone else would do that!"

It's like when I asked my friends not to swear around me in high school because I was a good little Christian girl and my pure ears shouldn't have to hear that kind of language.  Let alone that if I really didn't want to hear it I could have hung out with the other Christian kids, and also you shouldn't tell other people what to do.

GUILT/FEAR DISGUST

Finally, there are the "seeing you makes me feel guilty so I don't want to see you" things.  The things that remind us that, if we were better people, we would help in some way, but we don't want to disrupt our lives so we don't want to see it.  Either that or we are afraid we might become like them.  Signs of poverty and illness fall right into this category.  If we really see and recognize that a person near us is suffering, we might feel compelled to help.  If we get too close to that sick person we might catch what they have.  Better to just be grossed out by their existence and avoid seeing them.

So obviously as a society we have decided that there is some validity to the "I shouldn't have to see that" claim, and if enough people feel that way, we make a law to enforce it.  But what of all the things that are legal?  I am big into "good for you, not for me" and "you do you", so long as you aren't hurting anyone.  But therein lies the rub!  People who feel very strongly that they shouldn't have to see something do think they're being hurt by seeing it, and if enough people feel hurt by it, then the rules follow.

Of course, the rules probably go the other way more often: people aren't allowed to do something in public (like, say, be gay) and then they start saying "hey, we're not hurting anyone, we should be allowed to be ourselves in public" and then painfully slowly everyone else figures out that they are right.

So what?  Is it a numbers game?  Is it stupid or bigoted to not want to see something until enough of you don't want to see it?  Then is it reasonable?  I DON'T KNOW, GUYS!  But it's fun to talk about.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Cute! A little snug hug from Gertie

Whenever I see cats lying on someone's arm like this, it makes me think of lions draped across giant tree branches in the Savanna.  Except, of course, that the "tree branch" is my piddly little arm, and the "lion" is my chubby cat.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Animals on Tinder: The Mother's Day Edition

And by "Mother's Day Edition", I mean that it happens to be Mother's Day and I'm posting these. Happy Mother's Day, let's laugh at the things people say on Tinder!





Saturday, May 7, 2016

Singalong! Criminal by Fiona Apple

Remember when this song came out and people were all scandalized because she takes off her clothes in the video, and it's clearly a sexual context but it's not really sexy? It was all confusing - "should we be slut-shaming her? But it's not really turning us on, so does that count as slutty? Should we get mad because she's not being sexy enough? I know, let's accuse her of being too skinny! She's too skinny and heroine chic is passed but she's totally doing heroine chic and that passé. After all, a woman has chosen to reveal skin in a video, we NEED to get upset!" Also, it's a really fun song to sing along with.


CRIMINAL
by Fiona Apple

I've been a bad bad girl
I've been careless
With a delicate man
And it's a sad sad world
When a girl will break a boy
Just because she can
Don't you tell me to deny it
I've done wrong and
I want to
Suffer for my sins
I've come to you
'Cause I need
Guidance to be true
And I just don't know
Where I can begin
What I need is
A good defense
'Cause I'm feelin'
Like a criminal
And I need
To be redeemed
To the one
I've sinned against
Because he's all
I ever knew of love

Heaven help me
For the way I am
Save me from
These evil deeds
Before I get them done
I know tomorrow brings
The consequence at hand
But I keep livin' this day like
The next will never come

Oh help me but
Don't tell me to deny it
I've got to cleanse myself
Of all these lies till
I'm good enough for him
I've got a lot to lose
And I'm bettin' high
So I'm beggin' you
Before it ends
Just tell me where to begin

What I need
Is a good defense
'Cause I'm feelin'
Like a criminal
And I need
To be redeemed
To the one
I've sinned against
Because he's all
I ever knew of love

Let me know the way
Before there's hell to pay
Give me room to lay
The law and let me go
I've got to make a play
To make my lover stay
So what would an angel say
The devil wants to know

What I need
Is a good defense
'Cause I'm feelin'
Like a criminal
And I need
To be redeemed
To the one
I've sinned against
Because he's all
I ever knew of love

What I need is
A good defense
'Cause I'm feelin'
Like a criminal
And I need
To be redeemed
To the one
I've sinned against

Because he's all
I ever knew of love

Photo Source: Flickr

Friday, May 6, 2016

Learning! Black people are more likely to go to prison, not matter their wealth

Source: Wikimedia Commons

When we talk about race and injustice, one thing that inevitably comes up is poverty.  While poverty certainly plays a role in the lives of (for example) black people in the United States, there is more at play than just that.

If you ask me, we (privileged white people) use the very real issue of poverty to let ourselves off the hook for our systemic biases and racism.  For example, according to this Pacific Standard article, black people at all levels of wealth are more likely than white people to be incarcerated.

So as much as we felt vindicated watching Fresh Prince when Uncle Phil schooled the racist cop who arrested Will and Carlton for no reason, who only listened to him because he's a wealthy judge (who was backed up by a white man), it turns out that in reality, being a wealthy black man doesn't necessarily protect you the way it does if you are white.


Source: Pacific Standard Magazine.

Learning! Fall for less online nonsense


Last week we talked about cognitive biases and how often we think something is right when it isn't.  Well, hot on the heels of that is some advice on how to fall for less nonsense online, from Science of Us.

The advice actually helps us overcome some of our most basic cognitive biases (especially confirmation bias).  Simply 1) ask yourself if the information satisfies you, 2) think of reasons it could be wrong, and 3) read information on this subject from sources you disagree with.

Why?

Step one helps overcome your confirmation bias.  If you get a warm, fuzzy feeling of "this is right and satisfies me" from the information, there's a good chance it is just confirming your existing beliefs, so you need to delve further.  Thinking of reasons something could be wrong helps you to think like a scientist, examine the information from another perspective, and find holes in their argument.  Finally, reading information from another source - one that doesn't support your bias - will  help you big time!  Not only does it give you another perspective on the issue at hand, but it makes your brain work harder to assimilate the information.  It's also the equivalent of reading news from the BBC and Al Jazeera - somewhere between the two you'll get an accurate picture of what's happening.

Source: Science of Us.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Can we talk about the way you look tonight?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I mean the song, The Way You Look Tonight.  Can we just talk about this song for a minute?  It came up this week on my Discover Weekly Spotify playlist (which, by the way, have been getting more and more into the "adult contemporary" category - something I'm not sure how I feel about, but that's my burden), and I have some questions.  My questions are all variations of "why is it, exactly, that everyone thinks this is some kind of super romantic song?"

Okay, so let's set the scene.  It's a man singing to his lady (although I guess it could easily be reversed, it's famous mostly from dudes) telling her how beautiful she looks (tonight) and how he'll always remember it and (here's the kicker) that he hopes she'll always look like this.

I am going to make some assumptions, and my assumptions might be wrong, but judging from the situations where this song comes up, I think I'm pretty close to the spirit of the song has taken on.

I assume that the woman in the song is not hanging out at home after a long day's work in her leggings with her hair in a messy bun.  I assume that this is on a special date night. One of those nights where you both put a little extra effort in.  Maybe it's an anniversary or a birthday or an attempt to rekindle a little romance, but whatever it is, she's wearing a nice dress, maybe one she bought just for this occasion.  She has put a couple of hours into bathing, exfoliating, and lotioning herself before even starting on the hair and make up, which she also took extra time to perfect.  He is wearing a suit and, because this is how dressing up works, that and shaving is all he had to do to get fancy.

So it's a special night.

They go somewhere nice, like one of those restaurants with candles on the table, cloth napkins, and a jazz band playing with a dance floor in front where couples are actually dancing.  I've only seen these kinds of restaurants in movies, so I assume that if they really exist they are in New York or LA.  This couple is, therefore, in New York or LA.

They start dancing, and he is struck by the beauty and grace of the woman in his arms and how lucky he is to have her.  He wants to tell her how he feels, so he quietly tells her that she is so beautiful.

That's very nice.  She put effort into looking beautiful, so it feels good to know that he appreciates it.

Then he tells her he will never forget this night, how beautiful she looks this night.

That's nice, too.  This moment will be emblazoned on his memory, that's how wonderful it is.  Thanks, honey.

He keeps talking and slowly, she realizes that every time he says that he loves her, he follows it with "and the way you look tonight", and she starts to wonder - wait, does he love me, or does he just love the way I look tonight?  Is his love for me wrapped up only in how I look?  Specifically, how I look on this night when I put in hours of work to look this way?  I kind of hope he loves me otherwise as well.  Okay, okay, don't worry.  He's just trying to be nice and romantic.  Don't read too much into it.

Then, so caught up in her beauty, he keeps going.  He goes on to ask her to never ever change, to keep this "breathless charm", and to "please arrange it", because he loves her, "just the way she looks tonight."

Hold on a second.

She pauses on the dance floor and pulls slightly away from him.  Wait, she wonders to herself, did he just say "never never change"?  Is he actually hoping I'll be like this forever?  Because I'm going to change because a) I will age and that's just a thing that happens and b) this is an impractical amount of time to spend on my looks every day.  The reason my charm is "breathless" is because this dress is a little too tight and I can only take very shallow breaths.  Did he just ask me to "please arrange it" that I am always like THIS because he loves me JUST like this?  Okay, I know he's still trying to be nice, but it's really starting to sound like he expects me to always be effortlessly gorgeous and charming and tender and never have any bad days or let him see me without make up, because I need to always please him like I do tonight.  Because now I am really thinking that his love and admiration for me is, indeed, directly tied to how much work I put into my appearance and that seems not so cool.

Then he repeats a couple of times "just the way you look tonight", making it very clear that, yes, he is mostly just enthralled with her current appearance and hopes he never sees her in sweatpants with her hair in a messy bun again.  While she's at it, could she never be grumpy and always be tender and have that cute nose-wrinkling laugh instead of that loud guffaw that comes out when she watches Kimmy Schmidt?

I mean, maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe that song is really about her on a lazy Saturday morning when they've just woken up and are lounging in bed and she's wearing an oversized t-shirt with her hair all messy and a little bit of make up left over from the night before and is joking about spider farts and he just thinks "yes, this is the woman I love, this is all I want in life."

Except even then, he is kind of being demanding, don't you think, by asking her to always be this ideal version of herself?  Isn't part of the point of having a life partner that you get to sometimes just relax around each other?  Or am I way off base there?

OKAY, FUN FACT!  I just finished writing this and then looked up images, and came across the song in its original context: in the film Swing Time, Fred Astaire sings it to Ginger Rogers to woo her while she is in the other room washing her hair.  She is so touched by the song she come out, mid-wash, to listen.  The joke, of course, is that after he finishes singing this song about how beautiful she looks, he looks at her, and (wait for it...) her hair is all full of shampoo!  She doesn't look beautiful because her hair is no longer coifed!  He is so surprised and she is embarrassed!  HILARIOUS!