Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Inspiration! Roundup: Life goes on, yoga for the win, #WWDD

This week's Inspiration! Roundup includes life going on, yoga saving a granny's spine, and Dolly Parton's excellent advice
This week's "I want to go to there": Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London.
Anyone want to fly me over?
Photo Source: Flickr by Counse

Life Doesn't Stop
"And now we're supposed to go back to our normal lives. That's what people do. They have these amazing experiences with another person, and then they just go home and clean the bathroom or whatever."
- Susane Colasanti
Does the fact that regular life never stops make you feel better or worse about things? In some ways, it's a relief - no matter what else is happening, life goes on. It's a bit weird, though, to think that while your life is changing over here, there is laundry to be done at home, and it isn't going anywhere.

How Granny Got Her Spine Back

Yoga! Not only is it a great way for middle class white ladies like myself to find some sense of completeness sin our lives, but it can actually transform your body. I'm not talking the "get your hot yoga body" transformation, but the "straighten out your hunchback and let you walk again" transformation.

What Would Dolly Do?

Apparently for a while there has been a "What Would Dolly Do?" thing going around. Reese Witherspoon has a bag with that phrase across the front (and then someone wrote an ARTICLE about it, because that's news now), and Kristin Chenoweth sings a song by the same name. Well, now Dolly is dispensing actual What Would Dolly Do advice, and it is GOOD.



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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Do the kneel and yell

You know in movies and TV shows when a person is so overcome with emotion that they fall to their knees and yell at the sky?


I think this needs to happen more in real life.

Here are situations where I think falling to your knees and yelling at the sky is completely justified:

Dropping your ice cream.

Dropping your Jello.

Dropping a bottle of wine on the street and seeing it smash.

Okay, for simplicity, let's just say dropping food that is any kind of delicious treat that is soft, sticky, liquid, shatter-able, or otherwise malleable enough that it is instantly ruined by contact with the floor.

Stubbing your toe (or breaking it, like Viggo did when shooting the above scene).

Missing the bus by mere seconds.

Your coworker showing up late for a meeting.

The ice cream shop being out of your favourite flavour of ice cream, when you know they had it earlier that day. (Okay, the last food-related one, I swear.)

Getting invited to do something really fun but you already have plans and you can't flake out on someone just because something awesome came along because you have been trying to get together with them for three weeks and are a better person than that and being a better person is HARD and then you see posts on Instagram of your friends all going for a fun hike without you when you were just plain old hanging out with this other person LIKE A FOOL.

Coming home to see that your roommate has moved where you last put down the book you are reading and you have to look for it and why can't things just stay where you left them???? (Bonus yelling points if you are one of those people who cares about their books looking pristine and unread and they cracked the spine or dog-eared a page).

The internet being slow. THE INTERNET BEING SLOW.

When you could really use a cuddle, but instead of curling up in your lap with you, your cat walks just out of reach and sits on a plastic bag on the hard floor, making the distinct point that he/she would rather sit on a plastic bag on the floor than touch you.

Finishing a book that was really good and now you're sitting on the bus and you don't have another book to read and you're going to be alone on the bus with your own thoughts for at least 10 more minutes. (Please note the multi-layered issue of both being finished a good book and getting shunted back out into the world AND having nothing else to read.)

When a sidewalk is really crowded and your in a hurry and you just want to get past, but people keep shifting so they are just in front of you and you are completely powerless to do anything about it.

The thing you were just working on didn't save and the computer did something weird and now it's gone.

Printers and/or photocopiers. Anything with printers and/or photocopiers.


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Have productivity systems gone too far?

I love productivity as much as the next Virgo, but let's just chill a bit, shall we?
Source: Wikimedia Commons. By Rob and Stephanie Levy.

I love a good productivity system as much as any natural-born Virgo. Give me a new app or task management program and I will pour my life into it to see how it all shakes down. It's fun, it's like organizing and re-organizing your life over and over, and who doesn't like that, right?

The internet probably agrees. If you read the right blogs (coughLifehackercough), you can find a new productivity system every week. How fun!

Unfortunately, I think we have gone too far.

It's not to do list tattoos (although that joke might fade over time). The straw that broke me was Autofocus.

Autofocus is a "system" where you literally just write a list of the things you need to do, and then doing them in whatever order you feel like, crossing them off when you're done.

THAT IS A REGULAR OLD TO DO LIST!

Okay, sure, they've formalized it a bit with rules about how you read the list over in a meditative trance to see what jumps out to you most as the thing you will be most motivated to do, and then you work until your motivation wanes before crossing it out and rewriting at the bottom of the list. Now it's fancy.

No! Enough is enough, guys! Do we really need a website and tutorials for this? Have we become so lost that we can't even think to write down the things we need to do on a piece of paper?

Guys. Let's check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.


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Monday, August 29, 2016

Cute! Roundup: Gertie and the DinoKitty, googly eyes, and bowl beds

This week's Cute! Roundup features Gertie making friends with a dinosaur. Now... get ready for a puke-in-your-mouth couple thing: my fellah and I call ourselves DinoKitty because he loves dinosaurs and I love cats, and so this picture is basically the real-life representation of our grossness.

Cute pictures of cats and more!

Other Cute Things:

Turns out hairless cats can be seen as adorable, if you think of them as baby aliens

Someone put googly eyes on this cuttlefish!

Guys... kitty anxiety is a THING! Should we put them on Paxil?

The adorable Channel Island foxes are no longer endangered!

Kiwi bird makes like Lady Gaga and dances in the dark

She outgrew the bowl a long time ago but refuses to sleep anywhere else


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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Singalong! You Don't Own Me by Grace ft. G-Eazy

Oh man, you guys, remember how good I said the music was in the beginning of Suicide Squad? This was one of the best. I am allllll over this song right now. (And yes, I know that the original was by Lesley Gore, and yes, that was great too, especially because the "you don't own me" message was even more relevant then, but this one is just so... damn, you know? And it's the PERFECT intro to the perfection of Harley Quinn.)

Too bad this video is boring and is also a girl singing "you don't own me" in a recording studio with a man literally controlling her sound her from the booth... But let's be honest, this song is about Harley Quinn, not Grace. So just scroll down past the music video and look at the HQ gifs I posted at the bottom.


YOU DON'T OWN ME
by Grace ft. G-Eazy

You don't own me
You don't own me

[G-Eazy:]
Well, let's go
But I'm Gerald and I can always have just what I want
She's that baddest I would love to flaunt
Take her shopping, you know Yves Saint Laurent
But nope, she ain't with it though
All because she got her own dough
Boss bossed if you don't know
She could never ever be a broke hoe

You don't own me
I'm not just one of your many toys
You don't own me
Don't say I can't go with other boys

Don't tell me what to do
And don't tell me what to say
Please, when I go out with you
Don't put me on display

You don't own me
Don't try to change me in any way
You don't own me
Don't tie me down cause I'd never stay

Don't tell me what to do
And don't tell me what to say
Please, when I go out with you
Don't put me on display

[G-Eazy:]
Re-really though, honestly
I get bored of basic (No)
She's the baddest, straight up vicious, texting her asking her
If she's alone and if she'd sent some pictures, she said no (what)
Well goddamn, she said come over and see it for yourself
Never asking for your help, independent woman
She ain't for the shelf
Nah, she's the one
Smoke with her till the (Ahh)
Stayin' up until we see the sun
Baddest ever, I swear she do it better than I've ever seen it done
Never borrow, she ain't ever loan
That's when she told me she ain't never ever ever ever gonna be owned

I don't tell you what to say
I don't tell you what to do
So just let me be myself
That's all I ask of you
I'm young and I love to be young
And I'm free and I love to be free
To live my life the way I want
To say and do whatever I please

Huh! Hey!
Ohh-oh noo
Ohh Noo no-oh
Ohhh No no no-ooh
Don't, do don't
Hey!
(You don't own me)
But just know, you never met somebody like me before tho
(Nah nah nah nah nah nah)
(You don't own me)
Easy.

You don't own me





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Friday, August 26, 2016

Learning! Roundup: Delicious salty goodness, generosity revealed, and the origin of bums upended

Learning! Roundup: Delicious salt fights headaches, brain scans for generosity, more benefits to exercise, and the origin of bums
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons. By Steven G. Johnson

Salt is good for more than just the earth

Okay, I know salt isn't actually good for the earth - people salt the earth to destroy it so that invading forces can't grow food and die. But there's also the saying "salt of the earth" and that means that the person in question was good to have around, doesn't it?

Regardless of either of these things, there is now correlational evidence that people who eat a lot of salt have fewer migraines and headaches. First, let's all recite the scientific mantra together: "correlation does not equal causation." Second, let's get excited, because eating salt is DELICIOUS and at least now when people give us sideways looks for putting too much salt on things because we're "going to give ourselves heart attacks", we can rebut that at least we won't have migraines in the meantime.

Brain scans for generosity

Now we can scan your brain and find out if you are actually kind and generous, or faking it. (Although really, if you are faking generosity, is the outcome the same?)

Two studies on exercise

Study one: people discuss anecdotally a lot how keeping in shape is good for your brain. Recent research shows that, indeed, physical fitness does improve mental performance and speculates as to the reason (perhaps it has something to do with circulating blood that happens to be full of nutrients up into the ol' brain hole or increased neurogenesis.)

Study two: turns out the placebo effect applies to exercise. The more you believe exercise will be good for you, the better it will be.

So this means we've got to keep exercising no matter how much we hate it, and just like with faith healers, we have to really believe it's going to work. Come on, guys! Let's do this!

Share memories, share lives

You know that annoying thing couples do where they seem incapable of remembering things on their own and they need to remind each other of their shared memories and you want to shout at them, "Are you an individual human or not??? Do you even have your own brain???"

Turns out that this is called "interconnected memories" and that in couples and friendships alike, this shared memory increases closeness and helps people have stronger relationships.

The origin of bums upended

Bet you never thought you'd watch a video of a comb jelly pooping, did you? Well, now you can, and you will be watching evidence that we got the origin of bum holes all wrong. We used to think that life evolved from blob-like creatures with one hole that they used for both intake and output into elongated creatures with mouths and anuses.

The original comb jelly has been placed very early in the evolution cycle of life - they should be one-hold eating-pooping machines. And yet, scientists JUST witnessed it poop for the first time ever - not through its mouth hole. NOW WHAT, SCIENCE???


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Thursday, August 25, 2016

How to throw an awesome stag(ette) party

Some stagettes involve going out and drinking, others involve sleep overs and lip sync competitions

This past weekend I co-hosted my (quickly counts in her head) ninth stagette party. Because of this, my friends and I not-so-humbly consider ourselves to be a stagette planning pros, and we are seriously (but not so seriously) considering starting a party planning business where we give you all the ideas and then you do the work, because we don't want to do the work no matter how much you pay us.

That's not true. We would do it for a suitcase so full of money it glows.

So here I offer you my party planning services for FREE.

Here is how you plan the bestest party for your bestest friend.

One: Forget everything you thought you knew about stag(ette)s.

Two: Now remind yourself of the key factor that the whole point of a stag(ette) is for the bride or groom to have a sweet, sweet party.

Three: Ask yourself not what you think would be a sweet, sweet party, but what your FRIEND thinks would be a sweet, sweet party. (Consider this a variation on asking yourself what you can do for your country, à la JFK.)

Four: Ask yourself, your co-planners, and possibly your friend, five thousand questions: do they like surprises? Do they have a particular style or personal flair? What is the theme of the wedding? Do they like bars and drinking and dancing? Do they like quiet times with close friends? Do they like challenges and/or games? Who do they want to invite? What is their favourite drink? What is their favourite dessert? What is their favourite thing to do? Do they have a favourite spot to have fun? Are they active, outdoorsy-types? Are they gamers? Bar stars? Exhibitionists? Quiet? Fancy?

Five: Think about the answers to these questions, and then make those answers into a party.

Five(b): Remember that a good theme goes a long way to make a party go from regular to awesome. Sure, you may be playing poker in a basement all night, but with a bit of decor, a themed playlist, and some sweet smoking jackets, the whole thing feels like an experience. An experience!

Six: Because we live in the age of Instagram, the pressure is on for cool photo ops. There must be cool photo ops. Think about the cool photo ops. Even if your bestie is anti-social media, they probably like having cool photos of themselves with their friends (although what on earth they do with them beyond sharing them on social media, I have no idea.) Consider making gifs. I am currently really into making gifs. Like this one:


Seven: Rest on the seventh day. You are done. Just kidding! Chances are there is now a lot of work to do to actually pull off the party you planned. Get thee to the internet. You know that some overachieving blogger has done everything to perfection and will have additional ideas to make the party extra special.

Examples!

In one we stayed in and played Mario Party all night. In another we rented hotel rooms and ran around town doing an elaborate series of challenges and dares. In another we did karaoke and went dancing. In another we had a girly sleepover and lip sync competition. In yet another we literally just chilled at the beach for the day. In many we slept over and had cake the next morning. The options are ENDLESS. Well, they aren't quite endless, but they are plentiful.


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Me & Ryan Gosling trying out couples' therapy

When you're in a lifelong relationship with a celebrity, you get access to things you would never normally get, like therapy with Sigmund Freud. Yes. THE Sigmund Freud. He's only dead if you're not famous.

Documenting my totally real, lifelong relationship with Ryan Gosling

Just kidding! This is actually a shot from a play called Freud's Last Session. After the performance, they let you come down on stage and take photos with the actor playing Freud.


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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Inspiration! Roundup: Dancing on the moonlight, bannock stories, and minimalist brains

Inspiration! Roundup: Dancing on the moonlight, bannock stories, and minimalist brains, among other things
This week's "I want to go to there": weird robot fun.

Dancing on the moonlight

There's a stunning photo series of three dancers doing ballet on the surface of the moon (okay, fine, it's not the real moon, it's a set) that I just love. There is an alleged mystery attached to it - it was taken on the set of an old film called Destination Moon, but wasn't a part of the film itself.

Now, people are treating this like some crazy conundrum, when I can think of three fantastic explanations: 1) the actors were goofing around between takes and someone took photos, 2) it was meant to go over the title sequence at the end (or something like that) and got cut, or 3) this is actually the moon and they all teleported there for a photoshoot and then sworn to secrecy about it (but were allowed to release the images).

Regardless of where the photos came from, they are gorgeous and otherworldly (pun not intended, but recognized).

tea&bannock

The blog tea&bannock should be read by everyone! It is made up of photographs and stories by Indigenous women and it is beautiful. The images are beautiful. The stories are beautiful. Its creator describes how it began, and the story is beautiful:
“I want a community, a group of women I can talk to about editing, and writing, and art, and what it means processing all of that through Indigenous eyes,” I said. “I want a place where we lift each other up, and support one another.“

“So start it,” my friend said.
Check it out. My favourite stories so far are No Wave Feminism and Epic Summer Road Trips: #auntiesdoportlandia2015. What are yours?

Like Lady Gaga, Just Dance

I am a HUGE advocate of dancing it out. There is something in the act of moving to music that can solve a world of ills. Here is a letter of recommendation in the NY Times for the video game Just Dance as a brilliant dance and workout option: "I am elevating my heart rate, but I am also sidestepping the self."

She's got a point. When you dance - and I mean really dance, as in, the-music-moves-you-arms-akimbo-feet-flailing-everything-is-free dance - you let yourself go. Self-consciousness, self-awareness, and basically all concept of self must be set aside. You are a body and some music, and that's it.

Try it! Use the video game or DIY the thing with music and a bit of floor. Either way, just dance!

Minimalist Mantras

Minimalism is all the rage right now (she says, sitting in her apartment filled with books, mementos, and now multiple shelves of fossils). Apartment Therapy has put together a collection of mantras to help us keep our brains and lives as minimal as our homes are supposed to be: this too shall pass; just say no; don't borrow trouble; less is more.

This too shall pass: one of my favourite lessons from my yoga teacher training is the reminder that everything changes. This too shall pass applies to the bad and the good. Live in the moment that is happening and don't worry too much about holding onto it or pushing it away. This is not easy.

Just say no: this is too hard. I don't know how to do this.

Don't borrow trouble: also hard. I feel other peoples' feelings quite a lot. One of my psych profs called me "a high empathy person", which I like because it makes me sound like a kindness superhero, but in reality sometimes I borrow someone else's trouble.

Less is more: you mean I don't have to do everything? I can do less, and do it well, and that will be worth more?

Get in there and do something
“It is not the critic who counts; not the [person] who points out how the strong [one] stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the [person] who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends [themselves] in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if [they] fail, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt (edited for gender neutrality, so that I could feel included)
Ever since reading Brené Brown's Daring Greatly, I see variations on this quote all the time.

Question is: what is the relationship between "less is more" and getting into the arena? I suppose it has something to do with not getting into every single arena. And perhaps refraining from commenting on the activity in other arenas.


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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Watermelon Sangria: Reality vs. the lifestyle bloggers

Sometimes you see something beautiful online, and then you try to make it...

A little while ago I came across this magical-looking DIY for watermelon sangria! Of course, it was dreamy and picturesque on the blog, like a hipster cooking show with a sweet little baby (by the by, I kind of love the prominence of the baby in this post where, I choose to imagine, the mama went on to drink an entire bottle of wine out of a watermelon. That kind of attention to detail really brings the retro vibe to life.)

It seemed beautiful AND remarkably easy: just hollow out a mini watermelon and blend it up with some mint and lime, strain the mixture, and pour it back in the hollow watermelon with some wine. Done! Summertime bliss!

Since I don't have a man to fan me with a giant palm leaf while I sip luxurious beverages, I invited a few friends over to partake in my summertime fancy and got to work.

Needless to say, my execution looked nothing like this fine lady's.

Here are some shots from what it looks like to make watermelon sangria in a normal, human kitchen:

Step One: Cut the watermelon in half and hollow it out, then blend it with mint and lime.

This is easy enough, and at first I felt like a lifestyle blogger goddess! I was only missing the adorable baby gnawing on watermelon chunks.

Here's the tricky bit: one mini watermelon is just a tiny bit too much for my food processor, so it kept leaking down the sides. I took to blending a bit, scooping some out, and then doing it bit by bit. So the task was technically easy, but slow and methodical to do without making a huge ol' mess, and even then, it was messy. I even tidied up a bit before taking this picture of the mess:

This is actually a somewhat tidied-up version of what the work area looked like. I had to do one watermelon at a time, and even then, it didn't quite fit in the food processor.

Here you can see the watermelon junk all stuck around the top of the food processor from past blending. The pink and green look pretty together though, don't you think?

This is what it looks like to blend up a bunch of watermelon sangria. One mini watermelon didn't quite fit in my food processor, and dang did it get messy quick.

Step Two: Strain the mixture.

This was harder than I expected. I had to pour it bit by bit into the strainer and really squeeze it through, otherwise I got barely a dribble of watermelon juice.

This gorgeous mint sludge was left behind:

Straining the watermelon-mint mixture was harder than expected. I had to really squeeze it through, and was left with this delicious-looking stuff.

Step Three: Mix in wine and pour into watermelon halves to drink.

More (mostly expected) challenges! Watermelon halves are round and squat. This shape is ideal for tipping and spilling, making it less than perfect as a drinking vessel. Of course, half the fun of watermelon sangria is drinking out of a watermelon, so this was a non-negotiable. Instead of pouring them into glasses like a total chump, I put the watermelon halves into bowls for stability. The problem was solved, but it wasn't very picturesque.

The watermelons are also very tippy and spilly, so bowls were essential to hold them steady.

Step Four: Enjoy!

This was the easiest part, and is best achieved with some people to help you drink yours.


Oh, and you don't have to leave your pregnant friend out of Watermelon Sangria night! Instead of mixing it all up together, mix individual drinks and then she gets watermelon and fizzy water. Still good.

In fact, I wound up mixing a little soda water into everyone's watermelon sangria to make them a bit lighter and add some bubbles.


Finally, I may not have had an adorable baby to lend to the domestic goddess-ness of my experiment, but I did have a cat who desperately wanted to drink out of our watermelons. I can confirm that she did, indeed, get some watermelon sangria spilled on her.


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Have you seen all these Abbey Road gifs?

Join with me for the simple, but gleeful, entertainment that comes from random people animating The Beatles crossing Abbey Road.

The Beatles Abbey Road crossing gifs animated

I love these Beatles Abbey Road crossing animated gifs!

This gif of The Beatles doing a silly walk across Abbey Road is hilarious.

Here they only get one step into Abbey Road before they reset, Groundhog Day-style.

The Beatles do one, epic slow-motion walk across Abbey Road

This one The Beatles cross Abbey Road backwards, just to mix things up a bit.


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Monday, August 22, 2016

Cute! Roundup: Caged Gertie, surprise owls, forced cuddles, and house hippos

This will hopefully be my last reference ever to The Big Move. We decided to give away this old Ikea wire drawer set, and so to make it more enticing, we photographed it with Gertie inside. Turns out, it's a remarkably comfortable cat bed. (Naturally, it's much more comfortable than the actual cat bed we got for her.)


Help is on the way

An adorable surprise

This cat wants snuggles and SNUGGLES IT WILL GET

Does this baby hippo make anyone else think of those cruel House Hippo commercials?

(The commercials were cruel because they make you want house hippos to be real SO BADLY and they aren't and it's just mean. Okay, here, let's just watch it. Get ready to be sad:)


I know. Now you are heartbroken because the house hippo is not real. That voice over at the end talking about how it seemed real but you knew it couldn't be? They didn't take into account the great power of my brain to convince myself that something so sweet and adorable HAS to be real, no matter how implausible.

Canadian PSA advertisers: creating and destroying the dreams of children every single day.


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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Animals on Tinder - The Tenthiversary!

And by "Tenthiversary", of course, I mean the tenth edition of Animals on Tinder! What else can these poor, innocent animals be forced to say from our Tinder profiles.

Animals on Tinder: Putting the words of Tinder profiles into the mouths of innocent animals

This little piggy went to Tinder and tried to impress us all with his job! Luckily he got documented by Animals on Tinder

People say the best things in their Tinder profiles! This is what is supposed to help me choose you as a mate, right?



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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Singalong! She Blinded Me with Science by Thomas Dolby

I would like to submit the hit song "She Blinded Me With Science" as the perfect example of the weirdness of the eighties.


SHE BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE
by Thomas Dolby

It's poetry in motion
She turned her tender eyes to me
As deep as any ocean
As sweet as any harmony
Mm, but she blinded me with science
"She blinded me with science!"
And failed me in biology
When I'm dancing close to her
"Blinding me with science, science!"
I can smell the chemicals
"Blinding me with science, science!"
"Science!"
"Science!"
Mm, but it's poetry in motion
And when she turned her eyes to me
As deep as any ocean
As sweet as any harmony
Mm, but she blinded me with science
And failed me in geometry
When she's dancing next to me
"Blinding me with science, science!"
"Science!"
I can hear machinery
"Blinding me with science, science!"
"Science!"
It's poetry in motion
And now she's making love to me
The spheres're in commotion
The elements in harmony
She blinded me with science
"She blinded me with science!"
And hit me with technology
"Good heavens Miss Sakamoto, you're beautiful!"

I don't believe it!
There she goes again!
She's tidied up, and I can't find anything!
All my tubes and wires
And careful notes
And antiquated notions
But! It's poetry in motion
And when she turned her eyes to me
As deep as any ocean
As sweet as any harmony
Mm, but she blinded me with science
"She blinded me with, with science!"



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Friday, August 19, 2016

Learning! Roundup: The intelligence of the lazy, white supremacy, the actual joys of single life, and more

Is he the smartest of them all?

It's smart to be lazy

A new study has shown that people who are "thinkers" tend to be more sedentary than those who are not. Now, before you get all excited that your Netflix binging is a sign of great intelligence, remember, this is correlation only. Repeat after me: correlation does not imply causation. The effect was only notable during the week, which might just mean that people who enjoy thinking through problems took jobs that involve, you know, sitting and thinking through problems.

Still, if you want to use this to justify your laziness, go for it.

A handy guide to white supremacy


(This image has been reposted all over the place without credit, but if it's yours or you know whose it is, please let me know! I'll take it down or credit, as the owner desires.)

Chickens against Zika!

Turns out that mosquitos don't like chickens. When in the wild, they feed on pretty much anything around (sheep, cattle, goats), but they avoid chickens despite the fact that there are a ton of them. Time to develop a chicken-based mosquito repellant! Vegetarians like myself will be forced to face a horrible decision.

The actual joys of single life

Perhaps prompted by elderly women who credit being single with their long lives, researchers are now looking into singlehood as a potentially desirable life state. I know, I know, we are meant as a society to shun and be generally confused by those who do not mate, yet it turns out they do more meaningful work, have better relationships with family and friends, and have a greater sense of self-determination and personal growth than those walking two-by-two.

Basically, science have proven what we all knew: the lives of smug married people slowly become more and more insular and boring while single people rock the world.

Your car is poisoning you

Not really. Well, probably it is in some way, it is a travelling carton of explosive gasses, after all. But what I'm talking about here is research showing that this is what our brains think is happening when we get carsick.

Okay, that's kind of an exaggeration, too. Our brains do not think that our cars are trying to poison us. Carsickness is the result of our brains thinking we are being poisoned, though.


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Thursday, August 18, 2016

People can be divided into two categories

Those who must go in the water when they are at a lake or ocean, and those who are cool to hang on the beach.

Those who can't stand cilantro, and those who think it is delicious.

Those who wake up when their alarm first goes off and those who lie there and wish they were dead.

Those who can dunk a basketball in one leap from the other side of the court and those who claim this is an impossible request.

Those who collect fossils and those who do not.

Those who run for fun and those who are sane.

Those who drink tea and those who drink lava.

Those who eat breakfast every day and those who are constantly miserable.

Those who put in the effort to decorate their homes and those who pretend they are living in the witness protection program.

Those who love Harry Potter deeply and those who are very confusing to me as a person.



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When Books Fail You: The Isaac Asimov Edition


I used to force myself to finish every book I started no matter how much I wasn't liking it. It seemed like it was important to my integrity as a book lover, I think.

Then one day I realized that life is short. It's one thing to sit through a movie you're not loving, but a book? Reading a book is a time investment, and reading is something I do for fun. What do I get out of forcing myself to finish a book I am hating except for some weird pride of always finishing what I begin (a highly overrated principle)?

So recently I stopped reading Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov.

This is the first Isaac Asimov book I have ever read. All I knew of him leading up to this is that he is considered a foundational (no pun intended) writer in sci fi, and that he wrote about robots.

Now I just have questions:

Are all of Isaac Asimov's characters secretly robots?

I can't help but think that if I had read through to the end, I would have learned that this society is made up of robots. Think about it: he is best known for writing about robots and the characters' dialogue sounds like it was generated by a machine.
"Good. I shall remain informal then. For instance, the instinct for formality, if there is such a thing, would cause me to ask permission to sit down. Informally, however, I shall just sit."
Are we sure this woman isn't from the Totally Not Robots subreddit?

Is Asimov himself a light misogynist, or is that just his characters?

While Seldon, the protagonist in Prelude to Foundation, does heroically defend the right of a woman to speak without having been spoken to (how progressive!), he is also "disappointed" when women around him aren't wearing revealing clothing and begrudgingly allows a woman to lead the way, only because he knows the actually does know the way better than he does.

Oh, and it's worth noting that he'll defend his female colleague's right to speak whenever she wants, but is raises no complaints with the notion of her being expected to do the cooking and cleaning for the both of them.

Is Asimov a complete turd of a human, or is that just his characters?

Not only is Seldon a bit of a sexist, but he is kind of a turd, overall. They visit another city that, while backwards in its ways (they are the ones that don't allow women to speak unless spoken to), has deeply held values and practices. He is openly disgusted by them all, only complying under extreme pressure and continually yelling at them that he is "an honoured guest!" whenever he meets with opposition.

Ugh. I'll try reading Foundation, just in case this prelude is an anomaly, but yikes. If these are the kinds of people Asimov writes about, he is not my kind of writer.

Do you force yourself to finish books you aren't enjoying? Tell me about it! Have you felt really glad you did it, or is it usual just a great relief to be finally done?


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Me & Ryan Gosling meeting Baby E

A friend of mine had a baby! Ryan and I got to pop over and say hi while they were hanging out in the park to meet little Baby E and have a snack together. Ry Ry didn't even get upset that his hotness was overshadowed by the baby's adorableness.

(Sometimes it's not about you, Ry Ry. Rarely, but sometimes.)




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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Inspiration! Roundup: Just say no to racist dress codes, children against materialism, twelve actual heroes, and puppeteering the Golden Girls

Inspiration! Roundup: Employee revenge against racist dress code, puppet Golden Girls, a child speaks out against materialism, twelve feminist heroes, and the oldest woman in the world recommends we remain single.
This week's "I want to go to there": a tea party with an ELEPHANT? Yes, please!

Employee revenge against racist dress code

June J Rivas' workplace had no dress code - they were simply required to dress in clean and pressed clothing - until she showed up with her hair in a ponytail and then in a headscarf. Then a dress code came in banning "cultural headscarves."

So like any good employee, she followed the exact letter of the law while brilliantly defying its spirit: she dressed in costume as a character from Star Trek, a fast food worker (hair nets are allowed in the dress code, turns out), and X-Men heroine Storm.

Children against materialism

This kid's rant against materialism is incredible.


Secrets to a long life

According to Emma Morano, the world's oldest woman at 116 years old, the secret to a long life is to eat eggs and stay single.

Twelve actual heroes

This list of twelve women who are working to make the world a safe place for women is incredible. From Asieh Amini who is working to end honour killing in Iran to Liya Kebede who is providing education and care to decrease death in childbirth in Ethiopia to Melina Laboucan-Massimo who is fighting for Indigenous rights in Canada, these ladies are incredible!

The Golden Girls are back!

...and they're PUPPETS!

It's kind of incredible to think that a show about four senior women living together in Flordia was a) conceived of, b) pitched, c) green lit, and then d) a huge it, but it was! (Let's pause for a moment to reflect on whether we were more highly evolved in the 80s than we are now...)

Regardless, the ladies are BACK! As a PUPPET SHOW! Sadly, it's a live show, which means that most of us will never get to see it, but if you live in Toronto, you're in luck!




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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ugh: French cities ban the burqini

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons. By Giorgio Montersino.

In Cannes, Villeneuve-Loubet and Corsican village Sisco, women are no longer allowed to wear burqinis (colloquial term for full-body covering beach wear that leaves only the face showing).

The best (worst) part is that this isn't even a part of France's war on people showing religion in general, but is actually just equating Muslims with terrorists: "We are not talking about banning the wearing of religious symbols on the beach... but ostentatious clothing which refers to an allegiance to terrorist movements which are at war with us," says Thierry Migoule, Cannes' Head of Municipal Services.

Come on, guys. You can be so much better. Or maybe you can't, because you refuse to be.

Of course, this also steps into feminist territory because it is specifically dealing with clothing a woman is allowed to wear. Unsurprisingly, many Western feminists are not speaking out against this because they find the burqa sexist on its own.

When it comes to religious garb, women are disproportionately targeted for modesty and control. Many sects of Christianity mandate head coverings and long skirts for women in the same way many Muslim groups mandate burqas.

Do I think this is at least a little bit sexist? Without a doubt. As someone who was raised being told not to "lead my brothers into sin" by wearing tempting clothing, I think religious dress codes for women generally stem from a spiritualization of rape culture. I just don't think sexist religious dress codes (that exist in most religions) are fixed by banning women from participating in them, since you're basically preventing her from participating in her religion of choice.

Okay, so I get that when it comes to women's freedom of choice over what we do with our bodies, it can easily become confusing for people who think they know better than that woman what she really wants. Are women who wear burkas really making a free and informed choice? What about women who show cleavage all the time? Is their choice truly theirs or has it been foisted upon them by the patriarchy?

Here's a thought: let's not assume we know things we don't have any way of actually knowing, and let's give women (at the very least adult women) the benefit of the doubt that their brains work and that they are making choices on their own and that they feel good with what they are doing and that if they realize later that they don't, they will change on their own.


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Now you don't have to read boring "classic" books

I always intend to read those giant old classic books - I even download some of the free ones onto my Kobo. Then I never, ever read them. Turns out, I just want to be a person who has read classics, not a person who sits down and reads them when they could be reading a feminist essays or sci fi/fantasy novel aimed at teenagers.

So from now on I'll just steal cartoonist John Atkinson's witty summaries and sound really really smart at parties. The key, I believe, is to wait for someone else to mention the book and then write it off with a biting summary.

Example dialogue:

Other person: "I just started reading The Odyssey, it is captivating. I am brilliant for reading and enjoying it."
Me: "Oh, that's just about war vet who takes forever to get home and then kills everyone. PTSD, much?"

(See how I added the PTSD thing, so that it has the flavour of my own personal interpretation?)



See more at John Atkinson's site Wrong Hands.


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Monday, August 15, 2016

Cute! Roundup: Gertie helps with the move, chick magnets, and more

Gertie was very helpful this week with moving the man into my apartment. She kept our boxes warm and helped us not be lazy by forcing us to move her out of the way every time we wanted to unpack a book. Thanks, Gert!



This kitty is a chick magnet

Kitten or kiwi?

This crab is so fancy!

This cat is human sized, and I'm not sure how I feel about it

Finally, sometimes you just want to curl up in a cozy nook and nap...







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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Animals on Tinder 9

These animals, they keep saying silly things from random strangers' Tinder profiles!

Putting the words of Tinder profiles into the mouths of innocent animals

This bunny has skills to rival Napoleon (Dynamite, that is).

Animal drawings with Tinder profiles - comic glory!

Drawing of a dog saying something from a Tinder profile. It's funny!


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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Singalong! I'll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy (ft. Faith Evans & 122)

I was in grade 8 (I think?) when Notorious B.I.G. died. I'll admit, I wasn't really into his music and didn't know much of anything about him, but this farewell song really touched me then and it still does today. It's one that played a lot at our high school dances, and it always felt a bit weird to be dancing around in our baby doll dresses and low rise jeans to a song lamenting the passing of a dear friend.


I'LL BE MISSING YOU
by Puff Daddy (ft. Faith Evans & 122)

Seems like yesterday we used to rock the show
I lace the track you lock the flow
So far from hanging on the block of dough
Notorious they got to know that
Life ain't always what it seem to be
Words can't express what you mean to me
And though you're gone
We still a team
Through your family I'll fulfill your dreams
In the future can't wait to see
If you'll open up the gates for me
Reminisce sometime
The night they took my friend
Try to black it out but it plays again
When it's weird feelin' it's really hard to conceal
Can't imagine all the pain I feel
Give everything to hear half your breath
I know you still livin' your life after death

Every step I take
Every move I make
Every single day
Every time I pray
I'll be missing you

Thinking of the day
When you went away
What a life to take
What a bond to break
I'll be missing you

It's kind of hard wit you not around
Know you in heaven smilin' down
Watchin' us while we pray for you
Everyday we pray for you
Till the day we meet again
In my heart is where I'll keep you friend
Memories give me the strength I need to proceed
Strength I need to believe
My thoughts big I just can't define
Wish I could turn back the hands of time
Bust in the six
Shop for new clothes and kicks
You and me taking flicks
Making hits stages they receive you on
Still can't believe you're gone
Give anything to hear half your breath
I know you still livin' your life after death

Every step I take
Every move I make
Every single day
Every time I pray
I'll be missing you

Thinking of the day
When you went away
What a life to take
What a bond to break
I'll be missing you

Somebody tell me why
On that morning
When this life is over
I know
I'll see your face

Every night I pray
Every step I take
Every move I make
Every single day
Every night I pray
Every step I take
Every move I make
Every single day
Every time I pray
Every step I take
Every move I make
Every single day
Every night I pray
Every step I take
Every move I make
Every single day
Every time I pray

Every step I take
Every move I make
Every single day
Every time I pray
I'll be missing you

Thinking of the day
When you went away
What a life to take
What a bond to break
I'll be missing you

Every step I take
Every move I make
Every single day
Every time I pray
I'll be missing you

Thinking of the day
When you went away
What a life to take
What a bond to break
I'll be missing you

Every step I take
Every move I make
Every single day
Every time I pray
I'll be missing you

Thinking of the day
When you went away

Puff Daddy's I'll Be Missing You is about Notorious B.I.G.



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Friday, August 12, 2016

Learning! Roundup: Seeing thoughts as shapes, global warming disaster movie inspiration, and more

Seeing thoughts as shapes, global warming, ice bucket challenge, and more
What if your thoughts appeared to you as stars in a constellation?
Photo of Sagittarius by Scott Roy Atwood, Wikimedia Commons

Visualize the Problem

A few weeks ago we learned about a woman who can see colours no one else can see (what a great reminder that there is far more out there than we could even hope to perceive!) Now we learn about a man whose synesthesia takes a new form: he sees thoughts as shapes. He describes the shapes as constellations, with each star made up of a thought, sentence in a book, or decision. Fascinating!

Unexpected threats of global warming

If you were looking for another reason to be afraid of global warming, here is some great news: the melting permafrost is a slow opening of a pandora's box of horrors. Anthrax poisoning from a dead reindeer's thawing body, infectious diseases, and frozen waste seeping into freshwater reserves are just a few of the dangers waiting for us under the permafrost.

It's like a very very slow global disaster movie. Actually, let's take bets on how long it will take for the next disease thriller to be about an ancient illness awakening in the melting permafrost? Hollywood executives! This is gold! (I'll write the script - please pay me!)

Need a new companion?

In happier news, there is new research happening to show that goats make better pets than dogs.

Ice Bucket Challenge success!

More good news: the Ice Bucket Challenge craze of 2014 worked! Okay, this is scientific research and so it's not like they've suddenly cured the disease or anything (nothing happens that fast), but they did find the gene responsible for ALS.

A new treatment for depression

There's a new treatment for depression being tested, and not only is it supposed to be just as effective as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (the current standard), but it's cheaper, easier to administer, and it's even on trend. It's called Behavioural Activation Therapy, and like Power Posing, it's an "outside in" therapy. Instead of identifying damaging thoughts that lead to various beliefs and emotions (the basic tenet of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy), Behavioural Activation Therapy looks at actions that support depression. It's still in the testing phase, but it performed just as well as CBT in this, most recent, study.


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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Have you seen this? Donald and Hobbes

If you want to laugh and be terrified and then laugh some more and then be more terrified because it's funny because it's true, then check out Donald and Hobbes on Reddit.

The premise: take a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon and paste Donald Trump's face onto Calvin. Turns out that Calvin, the hyperactive dictator, is the spitting image of Trump. Yikes doesn't even begin to sum it up.

Submitted by Hulihutu

Submitted by Flemtendo2

Submitted by TheAztek

As an aside, can we pause to appreciate the fact that there is a Reddit user named Flemtendo2, which means that there is more than likely someone who already had the name Flemtendo? I'm sure it's a reference to some obscure internet thing, and I don't care. I will assume it's a Nintendo made of phlegm and that more than one person wanted to associate that with their online identity and then I'm going to quietly enjoy that weirdness.


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