You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2009.

I am still here, it’s just been an incredibly busy week, with people visiting and my new resolution to say “Yes” to more things – I’ve been running a bit ragged – things are backed up to within a half an hour of each other. But it is fun. And it’s teaching me that I have a lot of things I can do, most of the time. Sometimes, too many things.

I’ll be back either tomorrow or the next day. See you soon!

Did you ever think to yourself, “Hey, I’m sure glad I’m alive, but I can’t wait to ditch this body?”  Philosophically, of course. Once in a while, I look at some part of me and think, “Man, I’ve invested a lot of time in you!”. My hands, for example, have changed over the years, and I have expended an enormous amount of energy producing all kinds of cells in order to keep my hands. And feet. And everything else.

It’s comforting and also disconcerting to think of our bodies as a machine, but that is pretty much what it is. I consume a certain amount of calories, and I expend them in various ways, whether it’s in growth, activities, or simply renewing this body of mine. And, hell, it’s a heckuvalotta fun to have a body!! But my essence isn’t fueled by calories…

The most confusing thing in the world is to be human. We are stranded somewhere between animal and God.  We are something greater wrapped in something lesser. Except for David Bowie and Basquiat, and a few others.

See? This type of literature… I tell ya. Anyways, I’m off to feed myself some calories (spanakopita!) and otherwise misbehave, because it’s Emily’s birthday, and I am due to paint some kids’ faces at a festival which (inadvertently) inspired this post.

Kalinihta to Plato, Aristotle, and Paul!

Christa

Please refer to the Post entitled “Morning Pages”, if you’d like to read this in sequential order. I know it’s confusing, since blogs run the latest post first, and I am running through my morning pages backwards… but if you start and “Morning pages” and then move from that post to the most current, you will be reading my morning pages in order. SO!

April 26, 2009 6:30am (note: this post did have drawings with it, but you’ll have to suffer without them)

Last night I built a bridge and aqueduct by myself. I have the feeling it was part of a job I was doing, but that it was extra. The inside of the bridge had a covered portion, and the statue at the middle of the river stood bravely. The bridge itself spanned a wide river, about 800 metres, but the riber was slow, and shallow. In places the ground came up so that the water ran around it.

The bridge was made from perfectly straight bricks, which had somehow come from an old Roman aqueduct. I hadn’t used any mortar, but that was ok because today a team was going to mortar it.

I took someone out on the bridge to show them my work, and I noticed that in a couple of places, the bridge had fallen into the water. Inconsequential places – the railing, for instance, but nothing structural. I felt like I should be safe, but also as if the bridge might slide back and forth because it hadn’t be mortared.

Looking from the starting point of the bridge down to the ending point, you would see a single bridge, which, at the middle, swelled to house a statue, and a covered browsing space.When we got to the centre, the  covered portion, I went out onto the walkway and realized that I had run out of bricks, and so, what I had done was build from the riverbed, up, in turrets which could be carefully traveresed; this was not a place where you would be bringing a cart anyways, but just a viewing area… It was, though, the highest point of the river. Don’t ask me how that saved bricks, it just did.

Now, this seems a bit more right… at the centre, you would be standing on a series of 1’x4′ platforms, built straight up from the riverbed, so close you could walk across them comfortably, but far enough apart that the river could run through them.

So, as I stood out on the middle, one of the platforms began to slide with the current of the water; it couldn’t stand without mortar as well as the pressure of someone moving across it with kinetic force, and it slid into it’s neighbour. I yelled “it’s like dominoes – get out!”

It was the only part of the bridge that collapsed and now had two separate parts of a bridge, both going to the middle of nothing, with the most spectacular part swept away by the current, because I hadn’t used mortar.

Metaphorical or WHAT? My dreams are usually strange, but usually I can’t give a dream reader such obvious clues. This is one of the times that Freud might just be right… but just ONE of the times. Stupid Freud.

Pene.

Please refer to the Post entitled “Morning Pages”, if you’d like to read this in sequential order. I know it’s confusing, since blogs run the latest post first, and I am running through my morning pages backwards… but if you start and “Morning pages” and then move from that post to the most current, you will be reading my morning pages in order. SO!

You are about to read the SECOND morning post. All of the same *, [], and “excuse my grammar/punctuation” sidebars continue from the last post…

April 22, 2009, 6:30am.

I just tried again to submit a resume to Kasian and discovered that they don’t take PDF or JPEG. So much for that. Guess I’ll email them. I still need to send out three resumes this morning and three more after work – I’m behind in my promises. Right now I’d rather be: sleeping, creeping facebook, reading my own blog, making breakfast, or in the shower. I’m a bit grouchy this morning didn’t sleep too well last night or the night before. Student loans student loans . How long can I stay away from collections? And then there is the CIBC account, too – gotta do domething about that. I volunteered to paint kid’s faces at the Greek Festival this year – that should be interesting. As part of my excercises yesterday I threw out my old diary! I read through some of the entries and boy oh boy do I spend a lot of time being unhappy! Either because of people in my life or because of my financial situation – I  really need to get those resumes out. I have been coasting for so long and every month that I am not working a “real job” is another month it will take me to pay off the loans.

I wonder about sending a resume to EA for working only Sundays, Mondays and Saturdays – I know they would take me, it’s been mentioned several times, but I didn’t like it there.

I have about $__ in the bank until payday. Nine days, not including today. I had to tell Wendy that I can pay half of my rent on each payday, because I just can’t do the full amount each mont. It’s embarassing and sad. Paying full rent will give me less to live off of for half a month… I hate living paycheque to paycheque. And I have still promised myself to put $40/month towards a vacation. I guess I could use some of that in a pinch, but it’s nice knowing it’s there to escape with. Or to go to Washington with… I need to do my taxes, too…

Haha, is it strange to wonder what you have that you can sell? How often does that enter most people’s minds? It comes into mine, often. When I was waitressing I had excess money… partially because my lifestyle wasn’t affluent, and partially because I made better moeny… but I SO sososososo hated waitressing that I am willing to take the brunt of it – which, sometimes, I think is ridiculous, because I WAS good at it, and made decent money… and realistically, I could be doing that again and be living better than I do, now… But, it seems like a huge step down to take a waitressing job when I have EIGHT YEARS of school behind me… maybe I am being a snobby B*^@# [sorry, parents!]. I might have to suck it up.

Hmmm… I see a few things that I may be stressed about… and it always comes down to money… I invest less time worrying about important personal relationships than I do about money – it’s ridiculous!

Four minutes to go…

I need to start investing some more time in relationships with these people:

1. Mumsy and Neil

2. Granny

3. Grandma and Papa [there is a note here about Papa’s limited time]

4. Dad

5. Tracy and Elizabeth

[reading this just made me feel like a jerk, because I can’t honestly say I have done ANY of this]

Phone calls, visits, letter, anything I can add them to my “things to do”, or something that won’t let me forget. Should mail Gram and Gramps, too.

Also, Bruce and Betty. Man, am I ever adding to my “to do” list this morning! Yeesh.

Gotta Bounce.

C

Ok, so today I was allowed to read the first week’s worth of my morning pages. I’m going to share the non-incriminating parts with you, in case you’ve just been killing yourself wondering what, exactly, was churning through my brain at 6:30 am, immediately upon waking. Bear in mind that this is a stream of consciousness, so it isn’t always a direct route between thoughts! Also, I wasn’t really all that focused on punctuation or proper grammar, so don’t judge me! But I think it’s kind of funny how I slip in and out of automatic writing, like I just can’t let it go… and then eventually I just stop writing in full sentences – so be prepared. Also, [aksdjfakjsdkjfh] = comment from today, and names with asterisks have been changed. 🙂

April 21/09, 7:00am

Well, here I am for the first stream of consciousness excercise. I bet I can write a lot in half an hour although I’m going to cheat because I’m boilingwater for coffe so I’ll have to leave. I’m pretty proud of myself for getting up, although it is 1/2 hour later than I said I’d get up. I guess I should hide this somewhere private just in case.

Oof, I just got fired up and now it’s time to go and make coffee. Be back!

I know this is about automatic writing but I keep stressing that I am doing something wrong – I should be listening to music etc etc etc. I remember doing these kinds of excercises in Mr. Grinberg’s class in grade 8 or so, and he would have us listen to Bob Dylan. I always thought it was strange that Nirvana was completely OFF LIMITS to us as students, but we could sit and listen to what was basically a pirated version of Bob Dylan songs (in one place, you could hear a screen door open and close and a dog bark – I’m pretty sure it was recorded NOT in a studio setting), but even Aerosmith was evil – until “Something Wrong with the World Today” or whatever it was called came out, and then THAT song was used in a school production… ahhhh I loved that school but it could be pretty messed up sometimes. I remember going to Chapel, and there was some kind of hullaballloooo about the Barenaked Ladies and one of their songs… I can’t remember if the issue was that the song was about drugs, or sex, or what… but I remember thinking “WHAT?”… I couldn’t believe that we were wasting time being preached to about something, which, if we had a good sense of values, and felt like we were being compromised, we would avoid anyway…. anyway… well, that came a long way from nowhere, didn’t it? Thanks, Mr. Grinberg!

It’s going to be hard not to come back and read these – I guess I really need self-discipline for that – ha ha. I always read whatever I’ve written at least twice to check for grammatical errors and redundancies, among others. Oh well, I guess that’s really the root of these excercizes.

I didn’t get my resume submitted but I refuse to believe it’s my fault. I had to tweak the resume and then the file was too large to upload. I have to remember to print out some copies to mail to my favourite places. That list is so long and each place on it seems scary. I am looking forward to this. Getting up earlier should help me feel better, too – gotta go to bed earlier! Poor Biggs hasn’t been getting out in the mornings no excuses just lazy probably destroying his bladder/colon – must correct that! Can start going over to the park again – that was efficient poop pickup. Not entirely sure I want to start riding my bike to work again – I always have to F*#&$ [sorry parents!] race for 15 minutes and get there sweaty [sidebar = I have since started leaving my house one-half hour before work, on my bike, and find the ride very enjoyable, and only slightly sweaty]. Maybe if I left earlier I could take my time – that’d be ok. Glad I’ve been reading again, but you know I really wish I had a bathtub. And windows. Maybe I can hijack someones’ bathtub sometime. I hate waiting. It makes me grouchy and unpredictable. I wonder how Zak is doing? his kid is about a year… wait… more… old? Don’t know. Miss BC. I say it all the time and don’t do anything. Even being able to afford weekend visits here and there would help. Gotta find a job. Need to change my mentality. I’m smart and good at what I do. I’m actually excited to get home after work today. Oh man I only have $ ____ [haha you think I’d tell you how much I have in my bank account? It’s embarrassingly low, so NO!] S-bomb S-bomb S-bomb!!! [ok, I didn’t actually write “s-bomb”, either…] Student loans crawling up on me too. I should call them back. Maybe a resolution. Can’t squeeze water from a stone, right? I have nothing for them to take, so I need to ask for relief. Dull. Am I a good person? I used to be. Sometimes I don’t know. I’ve done some not so good things. Poor Eric*. I wish he would just go away. I think Glenn may be the only person I really have ever felt completely comfortable with – isn’t that strange. I can’t really trust anyone – not that they aren’t trustworthy, but I just can’t. So weird to think of sentiments being returned, freely, not fighting for them or fighting against them. Still embarrassed around Shane* alot, though. Sometimes he’s cute and it makes me want to barf. Totally lost train of thought – alarm went off 30 min already. Uuuuuummmm. Can’t remember now. Oh yeah I don’t like know it alls. I am one. Maybe I am but I don’t spout S&*$ [sorry, parents] do I? Do I say things I can’t properly back up? Gotta think on that one and correct behaviour if so – start watching myself a bit. Well, time’s up see you tomorrow. That felt good but the lack of punctuation is killing me.

Hahaha… well, I was typing that as I was re-reading it, so it’s kind of funny that I apologized for the punctuation twice, both at the time of writing and then well after, as well.

That actually turned out to be a bit of reading, so I will leave it to one post, and do each of them separately (remember, I am doing this for an entire week’s worth of random thoughts!) Each of the following posts will have a reference to start at this post, “Morning Pages”, in case you are following closely [parents!] haha.

BIGSBY!

biggs Bisby’s full name is actually “Bigsby, Lord of Glamorgan”, and he has a Dogbook page. He currently has 13 friends on Facebook, one of whom is a dog, and one of whom is a cat. The rest are humans. If you do a Facebook Search for “Bigsby”, you get over 500 results, so he needs to add you. He’s very selective.

bigsby guitar Bigsby is a random name I chose, just because he looked like a “Bigsby” to me. It turns out that Bigsby is also synonymous with electric guitars. A man named Paul A. Bigsby invented the vibrato tailpiece (called a Bigsby for short) in the 1950’s. The Bigsby is used by electric guitarists to bend the pitch of notes and chords with their pick hand. It was pretty much the first whammy bar. It works when the tailpiece is pushed toward the guitar, which rocks the bridge forward and loosens the strings, creating a lower pitch, or when it is lifted, which rocks the bridge back and tightens the strings, creating a higher pitch. You can get a Bigsby vibrato on factory-made electric guitars by Epiphone, Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, Guild, and Hamer. There’s even a Bigsby electric guitar (http://www.bigsbyguitars.com/). I have a guitarist friend named Christophe with a guitar inscribed with the name “Bigsby”. That makes two Chris’ with two types of Bigsbys.

bigsby's foot The only place dogs sweat from is from the glands between the pads on their feet. That’s why I think Bigg’s feet smell like crackers when he is sleeping.

AD32F695-9666-1D87-677CA0DB8063328B Speaking of cooling systems, the longer a dog’s nose, the more effective it’s internal cooling system. http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/29036-a-dogs-life-a-dogs-cooling-system-video.htm (Incidentally, that was the first time I’ve bothered to find out how to make a link work on this blog. Big pat on the back for me!) I guess that explains Greyhounds!

greyhounds See how much of that tongue is exposed to air? Probably a good thing – like a German-engineered race car.

JohnsonBeagles Lyndon Johnson, America’s 36th president, had two beagles named Him and Her. Him was a female and Her was a male (just kidding!)

Chocolate02 It’s the theobromine (similar to caffeine) in chocolate that can make him sick. Theobromine is a myocardial stimulant as well as a vasodilator (makes blood vessels wider), which causes a reduced blood pressure in humans. Dogs metabolize theobromine more slowly than humans though, so between 50 and 400 grams can kill your dog, depending on it’s size. A dog’s heart beats up to 120 times per minute, or 50% faster than the average human heartbeat of 80 times per minute – a myocardial stimulant for them is a big deal. Over consumption of theobromine can cause dogs to have digestive issues (cramps, diarrhea), become hyper and dehydrated, have slow heartbeats, and seizures resembling those of epileptics’. Interestingly, cats are affected the same way by theobromine, but they don’t have sweet taste receptors, so they’re not likely to go on a chocolate binge.  Theobromine causes gene mutations in simple-celled organisms like bacteria, so they should probably avoid chocolate, too.

angeldogIf Bigsby does die of a chocolate overdose, I probably won’t be reuniting with him in heaven, according to Dr. Duncan MacDougall, who, in April 1907 published a paper in American Medicine which later inspired the 2003 movie “21 Grams”. What he did was take six dying people, and balance their beds on very sensitive scales. At the moment of their death, they were observed to lose about 21 grams of their weight. Dr. MacD hypothesized that this was the weight of the soul leaving the body, after ruling out air loss and urine and fetal… expulsion, as they didn’t result in a weight loss. After this miraculous find, he tried the same experiment on 15 dying dogs, none of whom were observed to lose weight at the moment of their deaths. Excuse me, I need to go and watch the movie “All Dogs go to Heaven” now.

dial_a_pressure not exactly thrilled, is he His jaws can exert between 150-350 pounds of pressure per square inch! Atmospheric pressure at sea level is about 14.7 psi. If your tire pressure on your car reads over 32 psi, you may want to let some air out, because you won’t be getting proper traction with the road, which would be a problem in wet or slippery conditions. Bike tire pressure is about 65 psi, and workshop garage tools use only about 90 psi. Air brakes on cars operate between 90 and 120 psi, which, according to Biggs, is child’s play. Steam locomotive fire tube boilers from the 20th century produced between 150 and 225 psi, still not that impressive. The one psi reference that I found which blew Biggs out of the water was the Airbus A380 hydraulic system, which requires about 5000 psi. No wonder his chewing bones never last long.

my, what big teeth you have! His nose print is as unique as a person’s fingerprint, and could be used to ID him. The Ottawa police suggest that parents have their children fingerprinted, to help in the event that a child is kidnapped or goes missing. In some European countries, such as Belgium, France, and Italy, elementary-level school children are fingerprinted. This is not optional and has given rise to the ethical controversy in privacy issues. Parents who object to having their children fingerprinted are not asked for consent, and can only object through individual complaints. I know there’s already some hooplah about me not being Bigsby’s “owner”, but rather his “legal guardian” or “human companion”… I wonder what would happen if I had him nose-printed?

from the dogamerican-rottweiler-customizable-my-dog-votes-holiday 70% of people sign their pet’s name on greeting and holiday cards, and 58% put pets in family and holiday portraits – I’m one of these freaks. I even get cards from Bigsby (thanks, Mumsy). Also, if anyone knows where to get this sticker (below) I would love to have one to give to my Mum!

bone_grandog_250

ProstateAnat2 He has a prostate gland, something only dogs, in all of creation, share with human beings, but he doesn’t have an appendix… hey! Neither do I!

tomarctus1He’s descended from a creature called a “Tomarctus” . It looks kind of like a cat. Don’t tell him.

beagles3 Modern beagles were first bred in Britain in about 1830 from the Talbot Hound, the North Country Beagle, the Southern Hound, and probably the Harrier. The Harrier was bred from a Terrier. Was it really harrier? Sometimes history is funny. Sometimes I’m a huge dork.

The Harrier is to Beagles what Supermodels are to me; taller, thinner, and more expensive.

harrier-4 This is a Harrier.

heidi-klum0602 This is Heidi Klum.

hunt Edward III had a pack of 120 hare hounds (either beagles or the ancestors of beagles) with him on the battlefield during the Hundred Years’ War. One hundred and twenty is the sum of four consecutive prime numbers (23 + 29 + 31 + 37), four consecutive powers of 2 (8 + 16 + 32 + 64) and four consecutive powers of 3 (3 + 9 + 27 + 81). It is the smallest multiple of 6 with no adjacent prime number. It is two hours’ worth of minutes. The Temple building in II Chronicles 3:4 is 120 cubits high, and Moses died when he was 120 (Deuteronomy 34:7). It is the maximum number of power stars you can get in Super Mario 64.  Batman and The Muppet Show both ran for 120 episodes. The 120th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (1996) was not won by a beagle, but by a Clumber Spaniel, but on February 12, 2008, a brave little hound named Uno became the first beagle to win. Fox News dubbed him “noisiest in show” when he was declared the winner, because he responded to the crowd’s applause with a typical beagle “AOOOOOOOO”. See? You didn’t think I was going anywhere with the 120 thing, did you?

bible2 Speaking of Biblical things, The Holy Tome mentions dogs (ok, not specifically Bigsby) 34 times (seriously, I counted, and some of them are nasty. Most of them are in the King’s chapters, where God is reportedly threatening all these people that dogs are either going to feast on their carcasses or drink their blood – seriously, you don’t want to get on his bad side). Here are some of the less gory quotes :

1. Proverbs 26:11. As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.

2. Proverbs 26:17. A passerby who meddles in a quarrel that’s not his is like one who grabs a dog by the ears.

3. Ecclesiastes 9:4. But there is hope for whoever is joined with all the living, since a live dog is better than a dead lion.

4. Matthew 7:6. Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.

best buds Beagles are known to “sulk” when they are ridiculed or laughed at, sometimes for days. Biggs definitely does this!

snoopy06 Snoopy from Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz has been promoted as “the world’s most famous beagle”.  There were 17,897 Peanuts strips published in all, making it “arguably the longest story ever told by one human being”, according to Prof. Robert Thompson of Syracuse University. Peanuts ran in over 2,600 newspapers, with a readership of 355 million in 75 countries, and was translated into 21 languages. More cartoon beagles include Odie, from the Garfield comic strips, Beegle Beagle from Grape Ape (Hanna-Barbera), the Beagle Boys (Walt Disney), and Gromit, of Wallace and Gromit.

odie_bd1 beeglegrape beagle-boys wallacegromit

barry manilow loves beagles Barry Manilow loves beagles, but sometimes it’s hard to tell. Except for when he wears his “I love Beagles” t-shirt. BMANILOW

dog skeleton He has 321 bones and 42 permanent teeth, compared to my 208 and 32, respectively. Human babies have 300 to 350 bones. Only really scary human babies have teeth. The earliest dog fossil dates back to nearly 10,000 B.C. National Geographic claims that the earliest human fossils are 195,000 years old, so at least we beat our canine compatriots there.

Bigg's amazing ears He has two times as many muscles to move his ears as I do. I can wiggle my ears in one direction, and I always thought that was pretty neat. But Biggs has radar dishes attached to his head. To boot, his  sense of hearing is more than ten times more acute than a human’s (Humans can detect sounds at 20,000 times per second, while dogs can sense frequencies of 30,000 times per second)! This means it’s a really good thing that dogs can’t talk, because they’re probably privy to some seriously sensitive conversations. It also explains why “dog whistles” can’t be heard by humans.

beatles-the-the-beatles-1192706 Reportedly, at the end of the song “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles (of which the final chord is sustained for over forty seconds by increasing the recording sound level as the vibration faded out – the first time this was done), there is a dog whistle. I’ve heard two different legends for this; one is that John Lennon put it in there so that if your record player didn’t have auto-return for the arm, it would play over and over again, making your dog howl when the record ended;  legend number two is that Paul McCartney put it in there for his Old English Sheepdog, Martha. He also was supposed to have written the song “Martha My Dear” for her, although he said he wrote it for Jane Ashner, his longtime girlfriend, who promptly dumped him after finding him in bed with an Apple employee.

flight-of-the-conchords Some dogs have epilepsy (ok, it’s not about Bigsby, but I went on a tangent with the hearing thing, since epileptics sometimes have auditory hallucinations). Canine epilepsy can be hereditary (idiomatic) or due to toxins in the dog’s diet or environment. In episode 6 of season 2 of the Flight of the Conchords, Jermaine and Bret meet and fall in love with a woman who has lost her epileptic dog. They write a song to raise awareness of Canine Epilepsy, with disastrous results. Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlCoBra6PfU

HMS Beagle Painting The HMS Beagle, which was named after Bigsby’s ancestors, was a Cherokee class 10-gun brig-sloop of the Royal Navy. She was kept “in reserve” for five years after taking part in a celebration for the coronation of King George IV, after which she was used for survey voyages. It was her second and third survey voyages, with Charles Darwin aboard, which made her one of history’s most famous boats.

beagle 2 small The Beagle 2 was named after the HMS Beagle. It was a British spacecraft which went out of contact in six days before it’s scheduled entry into the Martian atmosphere in 2003. It may have missed the planet, entered an orbit around the sun, burned up in the atmosphere, or it may currently be used as a camera by Martians.

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Maybe I can unleash some of my useless information here, before I subject people at work to more of it… also, this is what happens when I didn’t have a blog subject for the day, but I had the day off work.

PS. This was hugely entertaining!

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So! Some things I find particularly weird and amazing about some of my favourite things in the world:

PINEAPPLES! 

Pineapple Fresh pineapple juice has an enzyme in it called bromelain. Bromelain breaks down proteins in flesh. It’s so strong that meat marinated in fresh pineapple juice almost disintegrates. Workers who pick pineapples have to wear rubber gloves. You can’t put fresh pineapple into Jell-O because it breaks down the protein gelatin. It’s also what gives your tongue that “numb” or “prickly” feeling when you have a great chunk of fresh pineapple in your mouth.

jello

pineapple_saigon_redEarlyPineappleBlossom-small 180px-Pineapple1 Pineapple is not technically a fruit, it’s multiple fruits called a sorosis. A hundred or more flowers grow on the plant spike, and those flowers swell with juice and pulp to become fruit until they are tightly packed.

To pick a particularly delicious pineapple at the store, pull on the leaves at the centre of the top of the fruit – if they pull out easily, the pineapple is ripe and juicy! 🙂

louis-xiv-of-france King Louis XIV of France was so eager to try a pineapple when it was presented to him that he bit into it without peeling it first and cut his mouth on the sharp skin. Silly King!

images La Cour, a French merchant, created a glass house where he successfully grew a pineapple to maturity, making greenhouses the rage as a hobby and status symbol in the early 1700s.

3032880672_1ff192ec58 Since pineapples were so rare in Europe, they often served double duty, first as a table decoration for affluent parties and then as a dessert. In less classy Nyotaimori restaurants, the same thing is done, but with women instead of pineapple. Nyotaimori is the practice of eating sashimi or sushi off of a naked woman. This results in the food being closer to body temperature, which is desireable for really good sushi.

Nyotaimori_Front

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VINEGAR!

vinegar_325 Chemically: Vinegar is about 5% acetic acid and 95% water – except for pickling vinegar, which can be up to 18% acetic acid. Acetic acid freezes at 16.7  degrees celcius.

pickle_001

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chicken-tudeIf you put a chicken bone in vinegar for a few days (I remember doing this in grade school, but didn’t understand what was going on at the time) it will remove the calcium and leave elastin and collagen, which are the proteins on which the calcium was originally deposited. The acetic acid in the vinegar turns the calcium phosphate in the bone to calcium acetate, which is soluble in the waterin the vinegar, which means that the bone’s calcium is chemically changed and then essentially stripped away.

bendy-chicken

egyptian-wall-painting-5 Egyptians boiled copper in vinegar to make copper acetate (verdigris – which was also the pigment used up until the 19th century to create green paint) to treat eye infections. Greek philosopher Theophrastus recorded how it could react with lead to create lead carbonate, a white pigment used for paints.

white BLOOD cell Today we use it as an industrial solvent. In medicine, acetic acid is used to destroy the cellular membrane of red blood cells so that manual white blood cell counts can be done.

box-jellyfish-22916-ga It disables the stinging cells released by the box jellyfish, which can be deadly if not treated. It is used as a preservative for livestock silage because it inhibits bacterial and fungal growth, and it can be used as a wart remover.

rat1229487545 I think with the amount of vinegar I consume, I am probably about 20% acetic acid, which is potentially good for me, because a 2006 study concluded that a test group of rats fed with acetic acid had “significantly lower values for serum total chloresterol and triacylglycerol. Rats fed vinegar or acetic acid have lower blood pressure than controls, and a reduced risk of fatal ischemic heart disease was observed among participants in a trial who frequently ate vinegar and oil salad dressings. Maybe that’ll help combat the amount of chips I eat! 😉

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I love the show “Flight of the Conchords” for their off-beat humour and near-genius songs. It’s a show by two very smart lads from New Zealand about two pretty stupid guys from New Zealand struggling to make it as second-rate musicians with their equally stupid and second-rate manager, Murray, who hates Australians. But I digress… The reason for this post is a song in the second episode, “Inner City Pressure”. I could go on and on about all of their songs, but this one always kind of speaks to me. It’s hilariously depressing, just like life can be.

Here you go, the lyrics:

Inner city life.
Inner city pressure.
The concrete world is starting to get ya.
The city is alive, the city is expanding.
Living in the city can be demanding.
You pawned everything, everything you owned.
Your tooth brush jar and a camera phone.
You don’t know where you’re going.
You cross the street, you don’t know why you did.
You walk back across the street.
Standing in the sitting room.
Totally stint. And your favorite jersey is covered in lint.
You want to sit down but you sold your chair.
So you just stand there. You just stand there…
(YOU JUST STAND THERE!)

Inner. Inner city. Inner city pressure.

Counting coins on the counter of the 7/11.
From a quarter past six til a quarter to seven.
The manager, Bevin, starts to abuse me.
Hey man, I just want some muselix.
Neon signs, hidden messages.
Questions, answers, fetishes.
You know you’re not in high finance.
Considering second hand underpants.
Check your mind, how’d it get so bad?
What happened to those other underpants you had?
Look in your pockets, haven’t found a cent yet.
Tenants on your balls, “have you payed your rent yet?”

Inner. Inner city. Inner city pressure.
Inner. Inner city. Inner city pressure.

So you think maybe you’ll be a prostitute.
Just to pay for your lessons, you’re learning the flute.
Ladies wouldn’t pay you very much for this.
Looks like you’ll never be a concert flutist.

You don’t measure up to the expectation.
When you’re unemployed, there’s no vacation.
No one cares, no one sympathizes.
You just stay home and play synthesizers.

Inner. Inner city. Inner city pressure.
Inner. Inner city. Inner city pressure.

And, the link to see the song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wqfcwgT0Ds

I need to set a little precursor to this: I’m not trying to say my life was awful – it truly wasn’t. I’ve always felt loved by my family and secure in that love. I wasn’t always unhappy, but I did go through some teenage angst. This is an exercise to find out what I missed in my past, and what I can do, now, to correct some of the bad habits that I developed. Actually, I am writing this after I wrote the rest of this post, because I had no idea what was going to come out, and I don’t want anyone reading this to feel attacked in any way. The following paragraphs are me finishing the following sentences:

1. As a kid, I missed the chance to ________

2. As a kid, I lacked ____________

3. As a kid, I could have used ___________

4. As a kid, I dreamed of being ___________

5. As a kid, I wanted a __________

6. As a kid, I needed more ___________

7. I am sorry I will never again see ________

8. In my house, we never had enough __________

9. For years, I have missed and wondered about _________

10. I beat myself up about the loss of ____________

Here we go…

………………………………………………………………………………….

As a kid, I missed the chance to do more social things – I lacked the motivation to get out and do things with youth groups; I mom would force me to go, and I always ended up having fun, after the initial awkward embarrassment I always went through. I’ve always had a social phobia, and it sticks to me now, too. That’s what this little exercise has taught me. I need to find a way to work on this…

I could have used a few more really good, long-term friends. We moved around so much that I never did grow up with anyone. I am actually very sad that I will probably never see my best friend from grades one through three, Evangeline, again. I used to imagine, after we moved away from Regina, the kinds of things we would do if we were still together. Evangeline was like me – she liked to shape wood, polish rocks, collect things, and she had glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling in her bedroom. I thought she was the coolest. I never had another friend like her, not in any of the places we lived or any of the schools I went to after that. I strove mightily to fit in, but I always felt like I was running behind everyone, trying to keep up. Evangeline and I are in touch, now (Facebook, of course) and once in a while we comment on each other’s status, but she is in Germany and our lives are vastly different. I still think she was the closest friend I have had, though, which makes me sad for myself.

It was always really difficult for me to join existing cliques, because I never fell into any single category. I wasn’t a “princess-y” type. I wasn’t exactly a jock, because that would have meant joining a team, which I essentially saw as another clique. I wasn’t a nerd – I was smart and got good grades, but I didn’t make it my life. I was a tomboy, and had a hard time (and still do) getting really girly, and by the time I hit highschool, I didn’t really fit in with the girls, and I had ceased to really blend with the guys. I was a tall, shy girl who didn’t care about clothes, or makeup, or any of those things, and I always felt like other girls were these light little delicate creatures. I wasn’t six feet tall or anything, but I might as well have been, for how different I felt.

I didn’t care about what was cool – I didn’t read fashion magazines; I didn’t watch TV, and couldn’t even talk about the latest episode of the Simpsons; I didn’t know what to order at Subway, and so I always just got the same thing that I ordered the first time, so that I wouldn’t be embarrassed by openly not knowing what I was doing. The first time a friend told me I was “so funny” I became immediately self-conscious, wondering if I had gotten carried away and let too much of myself show. From then on I carefully moderated everything I said, never disagreeing with my much “cooler” friends, until much, much later, after years of college.

Back then, I dreamed of being an artist, an embryologist, or an English teacher. My interests were wide and varied, and I just knew that I was going to college right after I graduated. That separated me from the flock, too. I’m not too sure what other girls in my highschool really wanted to do, but I don’t think a lot of them had plans past graduation that didn’t involve marriage and kids. That wasn’t on the plate for me; it still isn’t, really. I feel like I need to fulfill some kind of career dream before kids, at least. I want to be settled, prepared. That was reinforced in me years later, just after graduation, when my best friend got pregnant. The one time I touched her burgeoning belly, nearly nine months into her pregnancy, I burst into tears. It was too much, too soon, and I thought it was foolish. I knew more certainly than anything, that if it were my belly, I would resent that baby, no matter how much I loved it.

When I was a kid, I desperately wanted a dog. From my earliest memory, I knew I wanted a dog. I would look at pictures of dogs, and my heart would literally ache in a way that I’ve only experienced twice since – when my first dog died, and when my boyfriend, who I loved absolutely, left me and moved away for school. I didn’t know what it was, then, but I recognize the feeling, now. Every time anyone asked me what I wanted for birthdays, Christmas, etc., the answer was a dog. If I couldn’t have a dog, I wanted a toy dog. I didn’t carry around a teddy bear as a child, I carried Mutsy, my beloved Labrador (so I imagined) Gund from my Granny. I still have Mutsy.

My mom didn’t seem to either oppose or encourage this passion, but my dad didn’t want a four-legged family member. It took years of constant pressure from me, but finally, my dad took me for a walk, and said “Christa, I’ve been thinking about what you will be like in the future if you don’t get a dog… “. I jumped on that in about a nano-second, excitedly saying “So I can have a dog?” He assured me that this was not what he had said, but I don’t think I heard another word after that. That same afternoon, I was on my bike and over to the SPCA, to eyeball the prospective candidates. I had money saved up from my allowance, and I couldn’t get enough chores to do for a quarter.. eventually I had enough for an adoption and the dog essentials like food dishes, a leash, a brush.

I went to the SPCA every afternoon, sometimes even twice a day. Finally, after being dissuaded from a little beagle-daschund puppy by my mom, whose limits were “no puppies, and nothing big”, I settled on a sweet, quiet little cocker spaniel, who never shook the name “Cuddles” which some mercilessly cruel person had tagged her with four years before. Cuddles was my constant companion. She fell asleep with her head in my lap on the ride home, and I didn’t need to waste all of the time I did worrying that she would be frightened, or need time to adjust. We were seamlessly integrated from day one. I rarely even used a leash to walk her, she was that faithful.

Now, when I think of it, I remember my dad saying those words, though. “I’ve been thinking about what you will be like if you don’t get a dog.” Was it only because I so desperately wanted a dog? Or because I so desperately needed a companion? Did he see me as his solitary, sometimes brooding daughter? The child who wandered fearlessly by herself around the desert scrub, but rarely brought friends home? The girl who climbed up into the apple trees to read, because she was less likely to be bothered?

In my house, we never had enough family time, at least as I remember it in the later years. This could be just my memory – I know that I distanced myself a lot of the time. I know that we spent a great deal of time together when I was very young, but it seemed to taper off after we moved to BC. I don’t know if that’s exactly when the family started to disintegrate, but I have a very few select memories of spending time together after that.

We had dinner on Sunday nights, but the older I got, the more I was out of the house during meals. We had devotions, but I don’t remember it ever being a truly steady thing; it was more of something that was suddenly started in our house, and then just as suddenly stopped. My dad would come home from work, and have more work to do, or he would go and play the guitar. I remember his singing voice more clearly than his speaking voice. And after the divorce, all family time became painful, whether it was sitting and watching a movie with my mom, or visiting my dad for an afternoon. Every contact I had with them just screamed out how lonely we all were.

And so I stopped spending time with any of my family – I was always out of the house, usually walking miles and miles with Cuddles to nowhere, just to not be somewhere. I’d take apples to the horses at the RCMP horse park, brush them off, getting the dirt out from deep in their hides. I’d climb the trees, and Cuddles and I would swim in the river. I’d walk through the deep grass with my dog bounding ahead of me, throwing grasshoppers into a frenzy, feeling their hard bodies bounce off of my legs and hearing them crick-crick-cricking past my ears. We’d walk for miles down the railroad tracks, past the golf course and the eerie, deserted Tuberculosis hospital, all the way to wide, flat Kamloops Lake, and we’d chase the seagulls. We climbed the beacon hill behind our house, sat on the graffiti-covered rock at the top, both of us panting, and look at the city before bounding down the gravel side, leaping metres out into open air, and landing with a soft spray and slide of rocks beneath our feet. These were things I didn’t share with my friends; I never felt that I could. They wanted to go to the mall, or hang out, and those just didn’t appeal to me. I shared those things with that first, perfect little dog, and I was happy.

When we moved into a house with a pool, I was in heaven. Although the pool got used fairly frequently by my friends and other neighbourhood kids, I think I used it more than anyone. I could and did spend hours grazing the bottom of the deep end, pretending to be an eel, or a turtle, or a mermaid. I inspected the dead insect carcasses at the bottom as if they were discovered treasures. It was dead quiet at the bottom of the pool, with my eardrums pressed in so hard by the pressure that they actually sang, and no one could see me. I would launch off the sides of the pool, doing one, one and a half, two laps completely under the water. I did deep-water spins, twirls. My lungs and eyes burned. It was freedom.

Shortly after that, I discovered boys for the first time. I only noticed my first boyfriend, a rebellious and wonderful pastor’s son, when he told a friend of his that I had nice legs, which of course, immediately made its way to me. I had never considered myself as any kind of sexual creature before that. I was behind in this, as in so many things. It really didn’t occur to me that a boy might be attracted to me.

Makeup happened to me in the same way. I got back to school at 13, after a summer of dry, dusty trekking with my dog, and all of the boys were a foot taller, and all of the girls were wearing makeup. I went home, nearly in tears, and my mom took me to a department store and asked the woman at the counter to help us pick out some makeup. I was mortified. I thought this woman must surely know that I was being forced into wearing makeup by much cooler friends simply because I was so obviously not ready for it. I still had the hint of a unibrow bristling between two untamed, dark arches over my eyes. I was covered in scrapes and my nails were chewed to the quick. My hairstyle was simply long. I felt like a wild child in the department store, telling the woman that my favourite colour was purple, and knowing that I would never wear the purple eyeshadow she brought over to me. I went to school, feeling like I was wearing a mask; it was something else I just couldn’t do well, the way the other girls could. It felt wrong.

I was always like this: I was 11 the first time I secretly shaved my legs. I had been in gym class, and my friend, Jamie, suddenly pointed at me and said “Eeeew! Christa! Don’t you ever shave?” When my mom saw my bloodied ankle, she asked me “Did you shave your legs?” and I vehemently denied it. “Good”, she said “You shouldn’t shave until you have to, and you can’t even see your leg hair.” I don’t remember how long I secretly shaved my legs, and I don’t know, to this day, if my mom truly believed I hadn’t shaved, or if she had just let it go.

Similarly, I never seriously considered wearing a bra, until, when I was about 12, my dad pointed out that I probably should, which, of course, made my face burn with shame. I just didn’t and haven’t cared enough about these things to keep up with all of the other girls. I still feel the same way today when I go to meet up with girlfriends, and they are all wearing something nice, with makeup on, and I show up in a not-quite-clean hoodie and hadn’t bothered to touch up my makeup since I left for work in the morning. This is definitely something I need to work on! AND I need to stop cutting my own hair. Every time I see a nicely trimmed ‘do, I feel a measure of shame, and don’t know what mine really looks like, or if people might be laughing at me. But five minutes later, I’ve stopped caring.

I promise this is almost over!

When I was halfway through this post, I was considering the last phrase I am supposed to complete. I haven’t tackled them in order, but it seems like a natural finish. “I beat myself up about the loss of ________”. I realized that it was probably a measure of myself I which lost. Somewhere in my shyness, I built up a shell around myself which became my cozy little world. I buried that girl who, when she is comfortable, is actually funny and fun. I only let my closest friends and family really see this part of me. Everyone else gets to see “Christa” – the same girl who carefully took over in highschool; who is putting up a cool front; who is embarrassed any time a little bit of inappropriate Christa pops out and says hello. I really hate that bitch. 

I think what I’ve gotten out of writing all of this are the following “resolutions”, if I can call them that:

1. I need to foster my friendships and spend more time with people and less time just chillin’ with myself at home – but I need to do it as myself, with people who genuinely like me, for me. And keep some “me time” too. 😉

2. I need to take a greater interest in some type of activity. Whether it’s getting back into reading, a habit I’ve fallen out of over the last months, or becoming someone who jogs (in public, instead of running alone, in my house), or hangs out at a coffee shop, or plays badminton at the park, or camps on the weekends or … anything, really! I don’t tromp around on exploration missions with my dog anymore, and I loved doing that! These are all things I like to do – all things I fairly regularly imagine myself doing, but never really do.

3. I need to get better at being up-front. Whether it’s calling back the dadgum Student Loan Services person instead of dodging them, or telling someone flat-out that no, I disagree.

4. I need to take better care of myself. I don’t mean my health – I feel in decent shape at the moment. But I need to get my hair cut, and maybe even coloured. I need to buy a decent pair of pants and some shoes that don’t have holes the size of quarters in the bottom for while I’m at work (mine actually do – it’s pretty gross). I need to not chew my nails, and give myself more time to put on my makeup, instead of taking a swipe at my face on the way out the door.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I think that if I do these things, I will feel more confident, professional, attractive, and just more calm in general.

Phew! It’s late, now!

The End!

1. My Dream

In a perfect world, I would love to be a renowned and respected interior designer. I would also love to illustrate a series of children’s books, like the guy who did the Series of Unfortunate Events.Series of Unfortunate Events

2. One Concrete Goal

I’d love to have a restaurant or house I designed get rave reviews in a respected magazine or book. roche bobois

3. In a Perfect World in Five Years

I would like to be living back in BC, near-ish to some water, and making a decent salary as a designer, no longer a juniour designer.

bc

4. What I Can Do This Year

Get that job that is going to be my first step towards a great resume and recognition.

5. What I Can Do This Month

Keep pumping out those resumes!

6. One Role Model

Douglas Kridland. I can’t decide if I want a role model on a higher plateau, because he is really a “decorator” more than a designer… but he does have enough business on referrals to keep operating indefinitely, and he is well known in a wide radius. He gets to do what he wants to do, because for his clients, it’s not worth questioning his judgement – he knows what he’s dong, and he does it well.

7.  Colour Scheme seulment vert

I am green. I am vibrant, and fresh and new. I have many shades from cool and calming to bright and exciting. I am grass and trees and deep shade. I am youth and love and vigor.

My favourite colour is green, but I don’t have that much of it in my life. I don’t really have the option to paint my surroundings, because I don’t own them. I do have a green duvet cover, and a green hoodie. I can’t grow plants in my basement. Maybe I should get more green!

8. Five Things I Am NOT Allowed to Do (but sometimes want to) nudist-beach_682_647734a

one : bugger off and go back to Europe

two : go outside naked

three : skip an entire week of work

four : spend the day telling everyone exactly what I think. “Get out of my way!” “You look dumb!” “I don’t CARE about this at all – just shut up!”

five : spend all of my next paycheque on clothes and a haircut/dye

9. THIRTY Things I Like to Do (in no particular order) lorway

Raft down the river; read; doodle; do things on my computer (sketchup, photoshop, internet browsing); sit in the sun; swim; learn; go for cheap wings/ribs; ride my bike; kayak; get dressed up (either fancy or silly); go clothes shopping; spend time with my family; run; doing simple, silly crafts; writing; collaborating on design; hanging out with some good girlfriends; go to plays/the symphony; visit museums;  go on road trips; camping; hitting up Europe! (or anywhere that’s not here); renting movies and ordering a pizza;  re-decorating (wouldn’t it be nice to do it from scratch!);  be in airports(coming, going, or recieving); dream (I have really fantastic ones); cook; find new music.graph

I should mention that the above graph is my own and reflects my own current balance, not something I pulled off the internet – so analyze, please! It in no way reflects any kind of ideal. And, I don’t think that everything should be equal, but if you see a desperate imbalance… I would be glad to know of it! Unless, of course, you think I may be a psycho killer, in which case, if you comment, you may be dead already. Muahaha.

10. Those Thirty Things

Cost money (including, for example, making a lunch to go rafting) : 50%

Are free : 50%

Are EXPENSIVE (over $15/experience) : 43%

Are CHEAP (under $15/experience) : 57%

Can be done alone: 83%

Are usually done alone : 37%

Can be done with someone: 97%

Are usually done with someone : 60%

Are (current) job related: 10%

Have a physical risk: 23%

Are fast-paced: 23%

Are slow-paced: 33%

Have to do with bettering my mind: 30%

Have to do with bettering my body/health: 20%

Have to do with bettering my spirit: 50%

11. My Ideal Day for Tomorrow

Someone or some company calls me up, and they want to (finally) hire me. It’s not a job as a CAD monkey, or someone who does the same thing day in and day out… they want me because I am creative, and smart… because (finally) I am exactly what they are looking for!!

12. CELEBRATION!

I am not doing exactly what I want to do, yet, and I am not making the kind of money that would afford me to buy some new things, but for one single day this month, I am allowed to take 10% of my total income for the month and do whatever the heck I want with it! This isn’t a lot, mind you, but it does require some serious thought.. clothes, haircut, shoes.. wait… those are all work-related… chillin’ with my girls? It’s probably going to end up being something at least semi-practical, but let’s see!

PS… Actually, it’s probably going to bills, except for possibly the haircut, which I desperately need – it’s been three years, and two years ago a hairdresser accused me of doing my own hair with pinking shears, so… forgive me… but I’m currently the Shaggy MOD (Manager On Duty) as opposed to the Shaggy DA… say, I wonder if he’s single?