Learning! Roundup: Blink naps, mixed emotions, alzheimer's, legal segregation, Alan Alda's empathy lessons, and more!

Catch a Few Blinks

You know how we turn our phones and computers off and then on again when they start acting weird? Well, apparently blinking is basically a mini-reset (or a small nap) for the brain.

So Happy You're Mad

One of my best friends frowns whenever she sees something that's too cute. I remember, as a child, holding a delicate young kitten and feeling its fragile ribs under my hands and thinking it was so cute I wanted to crush it. (I didn't and would never, I swear!) So what's up with this "so good it makes me mad" phenomenon? Researchers have been looking into the various emotional reactions behind our contradictory emotional responses.

Alzheimer's Warning Signs

After analyzing ten years of research data, it appears there is a pre-symptom of alzheimer's: amyloid plaque. If you've never heard of it, that's because you're not a brain researcher. These are a protein buildup that happens outside of nerve cells that have been compared to cholesterol building in the brain.

Read Your Toddler an eBook

Most parents are incredibly aware of how much their toddlers love electronics. Well, it turns out that you can feel less guilty about that! (If you were feeling guilty in the first place, which you definitely don't have to.) New research shows that ebooks may help book comprehension in toddlers.

Fast Food Diets

On a strict diet, but still want to eat out once in a while? Here's a guide to fast food items at a host of restaurants that fit low-carb, mediterranean, pescatarian, vegan, and vegetarian diets.

The Color of Law

Most of us know that racial segregation in housing is a very real problem, both in America and around the world. The book Color of Law teaches how government policies in the U.S. not only supported, but drove this segregation. Housing projects were actually built in designated white and black neighbourhoods, segregating communities, and FHA support to middle-class renters to buy homes only existed for explicitly white neighbourhoods. I'd love it if some similar research was done for Canada and other countries. We need to better understand these histories.

Learn Empathy

Is it just me, or is Alan Alda one of the most likeable actors on the face of the earth? I'll probably listen to anything he has to say. Luckily, he talks about smart things! Here he is, discussing a technique for increasing empathy - all you have to do is pay attention to other people.

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This Week in Church: If/then statements, David Brooks, love, and screwing up.

Welcome to the series wherein I share my take-aways from church. The things that, I think, are beneficial to all of us to know or think about, whether or not we believe in any church-related things.

I think that church can teach things that are beneficial to everyone, whether or not we believe in church-related things.

This week in church we talked about if/then statements.

If I want to bike 80km, then I need to start with 2.

If I want to eat healthier, then I should buy more vegetables.

If I want a rich inner life, then ______?

If I want to be a follower of Jesus, then _______?

I am a person who, whatever my official religious beliefs, wants to follow the example of Jesus. Whenever I think about the if/then statements that come out of that, of course, I get terrified. Jesus lived his life a wandering homeless man who let himself get murdered and pretty much gave everything to others.

Of course, not all of his followers did that, and he seemed to be okay with that. Some had homes and fed him. So am I supposed to feed everyone then? Or just some people? Because there are a lot of people who I encounter every day in Vancouver that need food, and I haven't learned how to multiply bread and fish yet.

What's your "if" statement?

This week in church we talked about David Brooks.

David Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times who asked the question "if I want a rich inner life, then what must I do?" The result is his article The Moral Bucket List, which details his key learnings from . A key concept in the sermon was this concept of resume virtues vs. eulogy virtues. The virtues that get us jobs and awards and money vs. the virtues that people talk about in our eulogies, like our capacity for love or faithfulness.

He concludes, from studying people with rich and deep inner lives that you can become a wonderful person through the choices you make in life. He goes on to list them - it's a great read and I recommend checking it out if you want to give yourself some moral homework. I know I do!

This week in church we talked about love.

There's one terrifying if/then statement in the Bible, which is "if you love me, follow my commands." Ugh! What? That's so... hierarchical. And also, what are these commands? There are a lot in the Bible. Then you realize that the entirety of the command is to love one other. That's not so bad. But THEN you realize what loving others truly entails and it becomes kind of terrifying again.

We took the 1 Corinthians 13 love passage (you know, "love is patient, love is kind...", that everyone reads at weddings) and considered what that really means as a map for life. That was scary, but also inspiring. It's specific enough that I could actually try to follow it, as opposed to this amorphous "love each other", that could mean all sorts of things.

This week in church we talked about not always getting it right.

Here's a catch phrase for living a life of love: "70% is the new 100%."

As someone who likes to get straight A's, I can set pretty high standards for myself. But since the context here is trying to show perfect love to others all the time, 70% is even a challenge. But maybe a more achievable challenge?

Oh, and according to David Brook's research, one of the keys to living a richer life is being open and honest about those times you get it wrong. So that presupposes getting stuff wrong, so I guess I'm doing it wrong if I get it all right!

Also, this did not come up in church, but it really, really made me laugh and is kind of related:

Who doesn't love some renaissance art and feminist humour?
Find it on Imgur

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How to stay young and hip

Sometimes, just to try to keep up with the times, I'll listen to the Top 40 playlist in Spotify. It doesn't usually take very long before I say, "Ugh, what am I listening to?" and turn that noise off.

This is because I am no longer hip. This is a simple fact, evidenced not only by the fact that I consider much of the new music to be "noise", but also by my 9:30pm bed time and the fact that going to concerts where I have to stand the whole night sounds loud and exhausting.

Still, I like to keep on top of the world of cool things that I don't understand.

Luckily, my job brings in apprentices every year, and they are almost always new university grads. This gives me access to youthful insights as my body and brain insist on continually ageing. Basically, I get to feed off of their youth, year in and year out.

Recent examples:

I learned what "basic" means and that PSL stands for pumpkin spiced latte (these two items are related).

I downloaded Snapchat and then asked them what the heck this was for and what I should be doing with it and then deleted it.

I ask them what music they like and then hope hope hope that I've heard of it! (Sometimes I have!)

The thing is, I only really want to stay in the loop so that I know what people are talking about and to keep my brain from atrophy as I age. In many years, I want to be the grandma who's using hollodecks and not afraid to teleport*, which means that I need to make an incremental effort to check out whatever it is the kids are into throughout my life.

In the meantime, I really just want to listen to the music of my youth and watch old episodes of Murphy Brown and Friends.

*This is, of course, assuming that we haven't had a climate change-related apocalypse and have to support ourselves without electricity on a coastal desert. Then the young and hip thing won't be so important and I should be working on my "squeezing water from a rock" skills instead.

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Inspiration! Roundup: Everyone you meet, kellie and pete comics, a new pride flag, and more!

This week's "I want to go to there": I'm kind of obsessed with goats these days. And these ones are BABIES!
Photo credit: lwolfartist via Foter.com / CC BY

Everyone You Meet

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”
– Bill Nye

Every single person. Good point, Bill.

Kellie and Pete

Pete has been drawing comics of his life with girlfriend/wife Kellie since they started dating. They are adorable and hilarious looks at everyday life between two people (now three).

Jaime Molina's Carvings

I seriously love these carvings by Jaime Molina. The guitar-playing, bike-riding skeleton? BEAUT!

A New Pride Flag

The city of Philadelphia unveiled a new Pride flag that includes black and brown stripes to recognize LGBTQ people of colour. What a great example of an achievable inclusivity measure that will remind everyone who sees it to consider the intersection of those identities.

Scientific Art

If someone wanted to buy me some of Kelsey Oseid's drawings, depicting classifications of life in the natural world, I'd be cool with that.

Time to Think

"One of the most valuable lessons I have learned over the years, and that I have observed many senior leaders struggle with, is the ability to set aside multiple hours per week to think."
-Mia Blume

Read the rest of Mia Blume's advice for startup design leaders (that really we could all use). I mean, who doesn't need more time to think, dream, plan, and imagine?

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One magic trick to remove doubt and make all your dreams come true!

Photo credit: squant via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Here's my latest trick for living life and achieving my dreams: I just pretend everything is going to work out.

Before you even BEGIN to go there, NO! This is not The Secret! I absolutely do NOT think that just by believing something is going to happen I will somehow manipulate the universe into giving it to me. The universe isn't a vending machine and I have no idea how much cash would be required to make my dreams come true even if it was. Probably a lot.

Nope, this is just a way to trick myself out of holding myself back.

It's easy!

Step 1: Think about a thing that you want in your life.

Step 2: Imagine that it's definitely going to work out eventually, you just have to do the work to get it there.

Step 3: Magically find that you have stopped getting in your own way and start doing the things that will get you there.

Step 4: When it seems like it's not working out, remember that it will, and this is all just part of the story of how you got there.


Another way to look at it is to ask yourself one simple question, over and over again: "If I really believed this was going to work out, what would I be doing to make it happen?"


Seriously though, it's not that all the doubts are gone, but it really made it easier for me to move forward on some goals that I was making insurmountable thanks to fear and insecurity. It is so much easier to think about next steps and to act on them if I think about them in the context of future success.

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Cute! Roundup: A cat in a dish, kangaroo hug, round animals, and fun with bellies.

Generally I keep the piano lid closed, but the other day I left it open and Gertie spent about five minutes walking across it very, very slowly. She seemed pretty confused by what was happening with the relationship between her steps and the noise. It was so cute it made up for the horrible sounds!


Cat in a dish.

Breaking news: kitten regrets ignoring order to not climb on the couch.

A hug from a kangaroo.

A collection of cats high on catnip.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if animals were round?

This little girl playing with her belly is the greatest. Let's all do it!

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Singalong! Sleeping Satellite by Tasmin Archer

This song somehow slipped into my subconscious in the 90s. I have no explicit memories of it, and yet when it came up on Spotify, my heart KNEW it, even though my brain didn't know the words. So now I need to catch my brain up with my heart and learn the words to Tasmin Archer's Sleeping Satellite.

by Tasmin Archer

I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died
With the eagles' flights
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why
Are the seas still dry
Don't blame this sleeping satellite

Did we fly to the moon too soon?
Did we squander the chance?
In the rush of the race
The reason we chase is lost in romance
And still we try
To justify the waste
For a taste of man's greatest adventure

I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died
With the eagles' flights
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why
Are the seas still dry
Don't blame this sleeping satellite

Have we got what it takes to advance?
Have we peaked too soon?
If the world is so great
Then why does it scream under a blue moon?
We wonder why
If the earth's sacrificed
For the price of its greatest treasure

I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died
With the eagles' flights
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why
Are the seas still dry
Don't blame this sleeping satellite

And when we shoot for the stars
What a giant step
Have we got what it takes
To carry the weight of this concept?
Or pass it by
Like a shot in the dark
Miss the mark with a sense of adventure

I blame you sleeping satellite

I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died
With the eagles' flights
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why
Are the seas still dry
Don't blame this sleeping satellite

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Learning! Roundup: Some proven benefits of acupuncture, fancy vegetables, bigotry for all, broccoli pills, and more!

Learning! Roundup: More scientifically proven benefits of acupuncture, fancy vegetables are more appealing than healthy ones, fish can recognize the faces of their peers, and more!
Photo by Xhienne

Benefits of Acupuncture

While they might not understand why it works, scientists are finding mounting evidence that the ancient practice of acupuncture works for chronic pain, headaches, and osteoarthritis. New research is also showing it to be an effective complementary (not alternative) cancer treatment by aiding with pain and chemotherapy symptoms.

Fancy Vegetables

Here's something restauranteurs have known for a long time: give your dish a fancy-sounding name, and it's more appealing. Researchers have now shown that healthy veg-based meals given gourmet-sounding names are more appealing to us than healthy-sounding names. Who do you need to trick into eating better?

Bigotry For All

A couple years ago I had a debate with some friends about a world devoid of gender. They believed that if we banished gender, and all the concepts that go along with it, humanity would instantly be better. I argued that we would just then go on to discriminate based on some other random category, and we would be better off working with what we've got and trying to be better people instead of just shifting the categories. Well, research has vindicated me! A new study (on racism, not gender roles) shows that non-racists are just as bigoted as racists, because we all think about the world as people who are "one of us" and "outsiders".

Broccoli Pills

Sulfurophane is a key ingredient to broccoli's ability to reduce our blood glucose levels, and now it appears that taking a pill with concentrated sulfurophane can reduce blood glucose levels by up to ten percent.

Fish Facial Recognition

Fish may all look the same to us, but the cichlid, a little fish found in East Africa, recognizes the faces of friends and foes. It has been shown to look at the patterns of stripes around other fish's eyes to identify if they are familiar or not, keeping a wary eye on strangers who may be dangerous.

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This Week in Church: Sin

Welcome to the series wherein I share my take-aways from church. The things that, I think, are beneficial to all of us to know or think about, whether or not we believe in any church-related things.

I think that church can teach things that are beneficial to everyone, whether or not we believe in church-related things.

This week in church we talked about sin.

I dislike the word "sin." So much so, that when I typed it, my fingers made it into "sing" and I had to go back and fix it. It's too bad, because while we did sing in church this week, we didn't talk about singing. We talked about sinning.

First, the definition of sin, which could be so many things. Many were offered, and I liked this one best as something I could get behind: sin is the vandalizing of shalom. So basically, sin is anything that vandalizes (covers up, gets in the way of, or otherwise ruins or mars) peace and wholeness.

The next question was what we do with our sin. Do we conceal it or do we confess it? The right answer is very obvious: confession. Of course it is! We all know that covering up something we've done wrong just leads to fear and deception and a slow poison that creeps into our minds and hearts and relationships. After an extended time dealing with the guilt of something we've done wrong, confessing and dealing with the consequences can be a HUGE relief to our little burdened hearts.

Now, turns out there's another sneaky form of concealment that's basically hiding in plain sight: when we just try to move on without dealing with something. It's not that we lie or cover it up, and maybe we even apologize for it, but we don't really deal with it. We just sort of move on and forget it ever happened.

I'm getting excited now because this ties in with real-life big-time problems like racial justice. Let's pause for a minute and think what a better place Canada might be if, instead of pretending that the cultural genocide against the Indigenous populations never happened, we had confronted, confessed, and dealt with it what was done? Do you think maybe our Indigenous incarceration rates would not be so blatantly skewed or that reserves would have clean water and adequate health care? How about in the United States? What if, when they abolished slavery, they made real attempts at restoring that relationship with black Americans instead of hoping they could forget and go on with life?

These are just two examples of so so so many, and as we know from every movie ever about someone trying to run from their past: you can't.

Oh man, this is not a very inspiring post, is it? Well, I guess sin isn't all that inspiring.

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Be the knowingest of all artsy people you know!

Are you looking to increase your artsy-fartsy, fancy-pantsy street cred? The Guggenheim Museum has your back! They have partnered with The Internet Archive to release a ton of rare and out-of-print art books by the likes of Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Kandinsky, and all the fancy artists you have and haven't heard of.

Screen Shot from The Internet Archive

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Inspiration! Roundup: Being creative for fun, creepy anatomy drawings, expanding stories, and more!

Inspiration! Roundup: being creative just for fun, creepy drawings inspired by anatomy, expanding stories, glow dance, and more!
This Week's "I want to go to there":
If I could get all my sweet advice from artsy neon signs, that would be great.
Photo credit: Foter.com

Just for Fun

This article on A Beautiful Mess about the joy of doing a project just for fun inspired me! I'm not a creative entrepreneur like the ladies of A Beautiful Mess, but the combination of blogging and life time pressure means that almost every "side project" I do has a purpose. It's either for the blog or something to improve my home or something like that. I rarely make something just because I feel like it, but what fun! What freedom! What joy, in just being creative for fun!

Nunzio Paci

Nunzio Paci's drawings combining anatomy and plant life are so creepy and beautiful!

A post shared by Nunzio Paci (@nunziopaci) on

Let this Ring of Light Protect You

I'm not 100% sure this will be effective, but it's a cool idea! Michelin (the tire maker) created a light that projects a circle of light around a bicyclist on the pavement, hopefully helping cars give them enough space on the road.

Expand or Contract

Oof. My heart!
some people
when they hear
your story.
upon hearing
your story.
this is how
– Nayyirah Waheed


This dance video, created by filmmaker Jonah Haber and performed by Niamh Wilson, is hypnotic to watch.

One Word

Here's an interesting idea: by asking for advice instead of feedback, we could unlock the truth about what people think about our work.

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I'm not sure how I feel about this: Dove's "real body" bottles

Dove, champion of making money off of body positivity and commercialized feminism, has taken a step in making the fact that women have differently-shaped bodies more tangible (beyond, you know, the tangibility of actual women's bodies). They have made bottles in six different curvy shapes.

The real question here: do the bottles all have different names so we can all start to categorize ourselves based on what kind of bottle we represent, or do we still all have to compare our bodies to fruit? Where are the articles where you pick your body bottle and then get told the best bikini for your body bottle shape? Should I be aspirational in my bottle choice, or realistic?

PS: After writing this I turned to the google and found that - oh look - the internet beat me to this article a month ago when the bottles were announced, and they were way funnier about it on Twitter. WELL TOO BAD, GUYS! I am behind the times and you'll just have to deal with that!

Photo Source: Mashable.com

Also, Dove responded in the typical "we hear you, but really you misunderstood us so it's all your fault and we're great" way:

Source: @Dove

Uggggghhhhh... Corporate non-apologies are so BORING.

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Cute! Roundup: Bunnies in hats, meerkats, a pile of cheetahs, and more!

There is something about a cat giving its rapt attention to one thing. This time it was a spider, which just freaked me right out, but it could have been a piece of tape that was fluttering in the breeze. Let's pretend it was a piece of tape fluttering in the breeze.


This pair of bunnies in hats is one of the best things I've seen yet on this earth.

Just a couple of meerkats, hanging out.

Eclipse, the bus-riding dog.

I really really really want to be one of those people who somehow comes to adopt a wild cat as a baby. Except that those scenarios always seem to end in instinct taking over and the person dying. But LOOK AT THIS PILE OF CHEETAH BABIES!

I can't decide if this baby snake coming out of its shell is adorable or terrifying.

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Singalong! My Number by Tegan and Sara

Ever since Tegan and Sara started to become superstars of sweet alt-pop, I have been really enjoying listening to their original tunes from This Business of Art. Maybe it's the hipster in me (I loved them way back when!), or maybe I am simply continuing to take refuge in the music of my youth and the nostalgic melancholy that brings, I don't know. Still, here is one of my fave OG Tegan and Sara songs.

Also! I forgot how excited I was to see her wear a Tim Hortons shirt on David Letterman! Also! David Letterman! He was still on TV then!

by Tegan and Sara

Showers pounding out a new beat
I trade my old shoes for new feet
I grab a new seat
I don't like the one I got
The fabric's wearing through
And it's wearing me out
You're wearing me down

Watching old baseball games
And low budget telethons
Ain't like watching you yourself
When you yourself is on
Got time to wander to waste and to whine
But when it comes to you
It seems like I just can't find the time

So watch your head and then watch the ground
It's a silly time to learn to swim
When you start to drown
It's a silly time to learn to swim
On the way down

If I gave you my number
Would it still be the same
If I saved you from drowning
Promise me you'll never go away
Promise me you'll always stay

Closed down the last local zoo
I'm gonna win the endless war
Over who kills the last koala bear
And who in death will love him more then I

He grabs me by the hand
Drags me to the shore
And says maybe you don't love me
But you'll grow to love me even more
And I well I'm not surprised

If I gave you my number
Would it still be the same
If I saved you from drowning
Promise me you'll never go away
Promise me you'll always stay

Photo credit: Joanna Hemingway via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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Learning! Roundup: Bread wars, leaning trees, uptalk, safe shrooms, imagination, and more!

Photo credit: edwardconde via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Bread Wars

Turns out that there is no difference in how our bodies react to factory-made white bread and artisanal, whole grain sourdough. So... eat whatever makes you happy.

Carbs Make You Vindictive?

When I went on keto (an aggressively low-carb diet), I became a less happy person. But apparently, eating a low-carb breakfast makes people more tolerant and less likely to punish behaviour.

Vegetarian Diets are Better for Weight Loss

In further diet-related news, a small study has shown that people on a vegetarian diet lost more weight, more sustainably, than those on a low-calorie diet.

Leaning Trees

You know how, if you're lost in the woods, you're supposed to look at which side of the trees the moss is growing because that's the east side, or the west side, or the north side, or something like that? (I should really look that up... okay, it's the north side, but it's not exclusive, so this is terribly unhelpful for navigation.) Well, if you're in a forrest with Cook pines, you can just look at which way they are leaning. Cook pines lean in to the equator, always. So then all you need to do is know which side of the equator you're on.

The Secret of Uptalk

You know what uptalk is, right? It's one of the many ways we criticize women for how they talk, this time for sending their voices up at the end of the sentence as if it's a question? Well, turns out that this is a technique that comes from trying to stop people from interrupting you (something else that happens a lot to women.) Raising one's voice at the end of a sentence invites more active listening and indicates that there is more to say so the other person should just shut their mouth.

There's Safety in Shrooms

A new study has shown that mushrooms are the safest recreational drug a person could choose to take. This is measured by how many people required medical aid after doing mushrooms versus other drugs, so it's not a measure of overall safety, but it's something, I guess.

Use Your Imagination to Increase Willpower

Next time you're tempted to do something you shouldn't do, imagine the consequences of it. According to new research, that will help increase your willpower to resist the temptation or delay gratification. This could be an especially useful tool when tired, as willpower tends to go down at that time.

Baby Sleep Spaces

Just to add to the mountain of research new parents are supposed to try to keep track of, a new study has shown that babies sleep better after four months in their own room. This goes against the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation to share a room for 6-12 months.

Three Days in Nature

Perhaps there is a magical power to spending three or more days in nature. It may, among other things, increase your creativity.

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Buffy: The first Wonder Woman of my heart

Everyone is getting all excited about Wonder Woman and how mighty and awesome and funny and smart and tough and empowering she is (including me), but I would like to draw everyone's attention to the first Wonder Woman of my heart: Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

(Yes, I realize that Wonder Woman has been around for way longer than Buffy, but Buffy had a special place in my heart long before Wonder Woman entered anything other than the periphery of my consciousness, so deal with it.)

This tweet sums up the role Buffy played in my life:

I didn't start watching Buffy until after university. Like with my other fantasy-world-obsession, Harry Potter, I had to be sat down and forced to partake by someone who knew me better than I knew myself. This time, my friend showed me a few select episodes from the beginning of the series and then sent me home with some DVDs. (Yes, kids! DVDs! Renting and buying DVDs was still the primary way people watched things back then!)

I. Was. Hooked.

I had just graduated university and was in between a trip to Zambia and a 5-week trip stay in Montreal, which should have been a great time in my life, but I was feeling low. I needed somewhere to live, and so I squatted in the den of my cousin's apartment. I desperately needed to make some money, and so I found the only jobs I could for that period of time: handing out free newspapers outside a skytrain station in the morning and handing out promo cards for a pub in the afternoon (wearing an embarrassingly short kilt that they had to special order in my size because they didn't have anything above a size 5 in stock - seriously.)

Buffy was my refuge. Even when she was weakened by life (or because her would-be protector had betrayed and drugged her), she was strong. She was the general of a small army. She ran into the fight and kicked all the butts.

I had to walk through a minorly sketchy couple of blocks to get home, and during that time, I felt STRONG. My mind was filled with images of a woman who could not only defend herself, but who stepped into fights and defended those who could not defend themselves. I was buzzing and ready to release some sweet kicks and head butts. I was confident and powerful and a WARRIOR!

Thank freaking goodness for Buffy for getting me through that month. And thank goodness, now, for Wonder Woman for providing the same service to another realm of girls.

Keep it coming!!!

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Inspiration! Roundup: Dad jokes, plant animations, two secrets, and more!

This week's round up of inspiring things includes dad jokes, sasha katz animations, the secret to happiness, the secret to long-term love, and more
This Week's "I want to go to there":
Let's go fly a kite!
Photo credit: = Foter.com

Nice One Dad

In honour of Father's Day this weekend, let's start things off with a whole website devoted to dad jokes. One-by-one, try not to get addicted to this feed of laugh/groan-worthy puns.

Sasha Katz Animations

Love these animations by Sasha Katz, making nature and technology one. See more on Colossal.

Sasha Katz

The Secret to Effectiveness (And Happiness)

It's okay to stop when you're happy.
-Seth Godin

Read the rest of it here.

The Secret to Long-Lasting Relationships

Yet more secrets! This is another article with advice on having a long-lasting relationship from elders who have run the course. There aren't a whole lot of surprises here, communication and commitment are keys. I was struck by how they framed teamwork, though: “Any difficulty, illness, or setback experienced by one member of the couple is the other partner's responsibility."

Fortuna the Everyday Superhero

A beautiful tale of a superhero-in-reverse, who dons a costume to deal with the mundane tasks of life, The Chronicles of Fortune is a graphic novel about the secrets we hold that keep us going through everyday trials of making friends, cooking dinner, and dealing with a moth infestation that ruined our favourite things. She is the hero we need, and perhaps also deserve.


Let's be captivated together by Marija Tiurina's painting "Eden", shall we?

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Wonder Woman is a spectacular, butt-kicking movie.

Guy! Guys! Guyyyyyyyyyyyyys!

You probably haven't heard anywhere (everywhere), but Wonder Woman is amazing. AMAZING!

I mean, for a superhero movie. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, it's no [insert a film that is full of art and beauty here because of some reason all I can think of at the moment is Citizen Kane and that's actually pretty boring]. But it is a really good superhero movie.

Here's what I loved (no real spoilers but maybe a little, so if you're spoiler-sensitive, back off):

One more think piece on why Wonder Woman is the absolute best.

She is an uncomplicated hero. I know we're all in love with anti-heroes and dark heroes these days, but I kind of love a straightforward, do-the-right-thing hero. She is going to fight because she has a sacred duty to protect humanity. Compassion, hope, and truth are her fuel.

The fight was complicated. She wants to save everybody, but she can't. She has to make choices. She also realizes that humans are not pure beings who were corrupted by Ares, but beings capable of brilliant love and brutal hate who can be nudged in either direction. She almost loses her ideals, but then holds them even tighter.

The movie did not make a show of its feminism. There's nothing I hate more than a flashing arrow of "look at us, we're doing something feminist!" to undermine the value of something. Sure, the marketing was pretty #girlpower, but the movie itself did not make a big deal out of the fact that Wonder Woman is not a man. Her male counterparts didn't try to hold her back or protect her because of her delicate ovaries, but because they had never seen anyone stroll through a hail of bullets and reasonably assumed it would kill her.

Her commentary was golden. Raised in a utopia of enlightened women, her honest reactions to life in London and sexual mores were hilarious. Even more so because they were simple, genuine reactions. She wasn't trying to make a point or be mean, she simply reacted to this new world she found herself in.

The reasons why I cried - or rather, the reason I didn't cry. I often cry in superhero movies. The fight of good vs. evil and standing up together for what's right always gets me. That was here, as well. I also often cry a bit in action movies because of the brutality of the violence. Many directors seem to think that "exciting" and "horrifically graphic" are synonyms, and boy, is that hard to watch. None of my tears in the action scenes had anything to do with the horror of violence.

She discovered her powers on her own. In movies where women have phenomenal powers, it's typical to see them learn who they are and what they are capable of from a man - even if he does not share her powers. Here, she learned what humanity was all about from her male counterpart, but her power was hers alone.

It was just an awesome action movie. The fight scenes were awesome, the story was solid. The writing was middling, but the performances were pretty great and the whole thing kicked butt.

The worst part of the whole thing? They did that annoying thing where a child has special powers but the parent won't tell them "to protect them", and then they go out into the world WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF AND HOW DOES THAT PROTECT ANYONE????

Here is my number one piece of parenting advice: if you have a child with special powers, or skills, or a calling, or whatever, JUST. TELL. THEM. Keeping it a secret did not help Wonder Woman or Harry Potter or anyone else. Teach your super-powered child how to responsibly use their abilities from a young age! Just do it!

Why Wonder Woman is a spectacular movie!

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Cute! Roundup: Standing puppies, snuggly bats, the first feline pilot, and more!

Look at this little guy! He came to visit my friends and I when we were having book club in the park, and loved to show off how he stands like people.

A roundup of the cutest pictures from the internet! Puppies, bats, kitties, and more!


Just a little kissy kiss!

Have you ever seen a bat so snuggly?

This little guy doesn't think he's people, he thinks he's camera gear.

Dreaming big to be the first feline pilot.

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Learning! Roundup: Art in New York, insecure robots, alcohol and baby faces, minimum wage, and more!

Image by Alonsa Guevara Aliaga

New York Art Stats

A new study of New York City's top 45 galleries shows that 80.5% of the artists represented are white. In further disheartening statistics, 30% of the artists were women, and 1.2% were Hispanic.

Insecure Robots

As we continue to advance technology and try to prevent the robot apocalypse at the same time, it turns out that we should be designing our robots to have low levels of confidence. Less-confident robots are more helpful and less likely to take over from us. Interesting!

Baby Faces

There is constant uncertainty about drinking alcohol while pregnant: we all know that "too much" can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, but how much is too much? Some doctors say that having one glass of wine, once in a while, is no big deal. New research has emerged documenting the faces of babies and found that those whose mothers drank small amounts while pregnant had differently-shaped faces than those whose mothers fully abstained. (This did not reflect health problems.)

Raising Boys Right

As per many conversations I've had with my new parent friends about raising their children to be feminist, here are some tips on how to raise a boy to reject sexist stereotypes.

Minimum Wage

As minimum wage debates continue to rage on, stick this in your back pocket: an analysis of the past 78 years of minimum wage raises in the United States, no correlation was found between unemployment and minimum wage raises.

Caffeinated Workouts

Apparently if you drink caffeine right before you workout, your exercise will be more intense and burn more calories. Even if you drink coffee regularly, chug back some caffeine about an hour before you get moving and feel the benefits!

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Someone Invent This: An Instagram "Like" Blocker

Someone please invent an Instagram likes blocker to save me from my likes obsession!

It's started to happen.

I've developed a "liking" problem on Instagram.

The problem is, I don't like them.


That's not true, the real problem is that I like them too much.

My symptoms: I find myself opening Instagram a few minutes after posting a picture and seeing the little number that shows up at the bottom of my screen. Then a few minutes later I open it again. Basically every time I have a "down" moment, my hands reach of my phone (there's nothing new) and they open Instagram. Then the first place my eyes go is that little heart at the bottom of my screen. Then my brain chemicals either boost or drop depending on whether there's a little dot there, indicating that I have received likes.

But that's not all.

I used to open Instagram all the time because I enjoyed scrolling the feed. I would swing through and look at all my friends' pictures and see what was going on in their lives.

Now, I still do that, but my eyes have begun to gravitate just below the picture. I have certain friends that seem to get 50-100 likes every single time they post a photo, no matter what it is. Weird voices in the back of my head ask evil questions: why do their pictures get so many more likes? What is so special about them? Are they more popular than me? Do people like them better in real life?


In the space of a couple of months I have gone from deeply enjoying catching up on my friends' lives on Instagram to feeling bizarre levels of jealousy and loathing for the number beside a little heart under their picture.




Self-control is obviously not my first choice. My first choice was to seek out an app that will have self-control for me. One that lets me view my Instagram account without seeing the likes.

And guess what? I FOUND ONE! It exists! It's called LikeBlockr, and it exists for exactly the reason I desire: to let you enjoy Instagram without seeing the likes.

But it's only available for iPhone and I JUST switched to Android. Blergh.


In the meantime, I guess I'll try out this whole "self control" concept.

PS: In my hunt for a like blocking app, I discovered that a LOT of people on the internet are very concerned with hiding the photos they have liked from the "Following" tab on Instagram. I had no idea people even looked at that tab.

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Inspiration! Roundup: Speaking Mohawk, suppressed emotions, crossing the line, and more!

Inspiration! Roundup: Learn to speak Mohawk, suppressing your feelings and drawing it, what line did Kathy Griffin cross?
This Week's "I want to go to there":
Rainbow waterfalls

Mohawk in Parliament

Quebec Liberal MP Mark Miller quietly learned the Mohawk language so that he could deliver an address in the Indigenous language in parliament. It is believed to be the first time Mohawk has ever been spoken in parliament.

Miller: "It's very odd that we can say hello in 15 languages that aren't Canadian, but we can't say hello in a First Nations language. This is just the tip of iceberg. If you can communicate, you can understand where people are coming from."

Suppressed Emotions

Artist Miles Johnston's drawings seem to reveal suppressed feelings.

A post shared by Miles Johnston (@miles_art) on

Furoshiki Shoes

I'm kind of captivated by these Furoshiki shoes.

The Line is a Dot to You

In the wake of the outrage at Kathy Griffith over her recent line-crossing photoshoot holding a severed head that strangely resembles Donald Tump, Teen Vogue has an interesting question to ask: "Where the hell is the line if Donald Trump gets to be president?"

More: "We’re all well aware that Trump’s list of unforgivable infractions is longer than a Costco receipt, and yet he occupies our highest office, supremely unscathed. Meanwhile, the factionalized mobs slice through even the most irrelevant public figures with brute force. In both conservative condemnation and progressive purity checking, the standards apply to everyone except the man who ought to be held up as the highest example. We’re living in an outrage culture without any sort of enforceable set point."


This cover of Radiohead's Creep by Scary Pockets is a strange mix of dance funk and the deep melancholy of the original. And WOW! That voice.

You Should Do It

I think I should make this into a sticker and put it on my phone, doors, walls, bike, and everywhere else. The artwork is probably by Dallas Clayton, as identified through the commenters on Swiss Miss.

Art by Dallas Clayton (probably)

Crying in Wonder Woman

I haven't seen Wonder Woman yet (going this weekend! YAY!), but I fully expect to cry because everything makes me cry and I often cry in superhero movies. This article on why women are crying in the fight scenes in Wonder Woman makes me feel like I won't be alone. (Although I think I was alone in my tears during the fight scenes of the new all-female Ghostbusters - alas.)

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What is identity, anyways?

I was recently hanging out with a friend who is a mom. It had been a while since we hung out, and I asked her what had been going on in the gaping void of time since I last saw her. She gestured towards her child, toddling his way across a playground, "That's about it," she said. We went on to discuss how she can try to find an identity for herself beyond wife and mother.

This is, of course, an incredibly un-original conversation for two women to have. I've had it with many other child-rearing friends at various stages in their adjustment to motherhood, and expect it will continue throughout my life. (Funny, I don't think I've ever had a guy friend express the same concerns after having a kid...)

I am childless (or childfree or whatever, my cat is my baby but I'll hopefully have human babies one day), but that doesn't make me immune to identity crises. I have often asked myself who I really am, not so much because my entire life has been subsumed by a tiny lump of flesh but because I generally feel like I'm a bumble bee, trying to fly to every pretty flower at once while crazy winds blow in every direction. I get so busy, I don't even know who I am or what is happening to my life.

This all makes me wonder: where the heck does our sense of identity comes from, anyways?

From observation, it seems the answer is that it comes from the things that we do: our jobs, our side-hustles, relationships, and maybe even some of the things we do for fun.

Honestly, that makes me kind of sad. Does it make anyone else kind of sad? Not that we shouldn't have some affinity for the things we spend out lives doing, but that our sense of who we are depends so much on these external factors that can get taken away at any moment.

On one hand, it makes perfect sense. Like Annie Dillard says, "how we spend our days is how we spend our lives." Whether we spend our days shovelling coal, entering data, watching TV, or writing blog posts about identity, that's what we are devoting our lives to.

But if I were to play a game and describe myself in five words, I wouldn't say any of those things. Without stopping to think about it too much, I'd say that I am weird, creative, tall, busy, and proactive.

(Now I desperately want to go back and edit that list - is being tall really so much of my identity that it makes the top 5? Top 3 even?! Why didn't I say feminist? Or independent? Or funny? Or intelligent? Or or or... whatever. Those are the five things that popped into my head and I now must deal with my first impression of myself. At least I didn't put annoying or loud or desperate for validation.)

Chances are I will be all those things, no matter if I lose my job, change industries, lose all my friends, get dumped, become severely injured, or suddenly find my life centred around a squalling infant. And yet, any one of those life changes would leave me feeling, at least temporarily, completely lost and clamouring for some sense of "me".

I'd still be weird, creative, and tall, but if I can't express those things, then what?

Confession time: I have no idea how to end this post. I figured I would work through this identity thing as I wrote and come to a conclusion. There is no conclusion. Identity seems to be bound up in both internal and external factors, and some are more vulnerable to being lost than others, which is just kind of terrifying.

Maybe this is the conclusion: just like everything else, our sense of identity is bound to change over time. The best we can do is roll with the punches, and try to hold onto the core elements that matter most to us, even if we have to find new ways to express them.

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