Friday, July 30, 2010

When A Grilled Cheese Isn't Just A Grilled Cheese

let me count the calories of love for thee

After confession post about my adoration for processed cheese I came across a simple study published in Food and Nutrition Research.  It looks at the differences between whole foods and processed foods and the calories the body utilizes to metabolize them (something called diet induced thermogenesis and also known as the thermic effect of food).

18 subjects were enrolled in a cross-over study (meaning they each ate both test meals) where the thermic effect of food was measured following the ingestion of two different grilled cheese sandwiches.

One cheese sandwich was made with real cheddar cheese on multi-grain bread containing whole sunflower seeds and whole-grain kernels, while the other cheese sandwich was made with white bread and processed cheese.

Both sandwiches contained the same number of calories.

The results?

While subjects reported that the whole food sandwich was tastier (obviously test subjects were not 9 year old children), both sandwiches conferred equal levels of satiety, and in a not completely surprising, but ultimately fascinating result, eating the whole food sandwich led to roughly double the thermic effect of food than the processed sandwich and that effect lasted nearly an hour longer than the processed meals.

Why wasn't this surprising?

Whole grains take longer to digest due to the protective fibrous sheath that processing removes. We also would expect the whole grain sandwich to have more protein and fat (which it did) which in turn delays the speed with which the body is able to break down its accompanying carbohydrates.

Calorically what does this mean?

It takes more energy to release the nutrients of the whole food sandwich with the differences between meals resulting in a 9.7% increase in the net energy gain of the processed food meal.


Eat processed crap and you're effectively consuming 10% more calories than you would be were you eating healthier whole food alternatives.

Now this is a small study and certainly it's too soon to extrapolate this across the board, but were it to be true for all processed foods, given their viral spread across the developed world these past 30 years, and given that a 10% net energy gain is huge, this might be another great reason to ditch the Wonder Bread and Velveeta.

Barr, S., & Wright, J. (2010). Postprandial energy expenditure in whole-food and processed-food meals: implications for daily energy expenditure Food & Nutrition Research, 53 DOI: 10.3402/fnr.v54i0.5144

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Wednesday night right after work I registered for dance classes. There is a well respected studio across the street from where I live so I popped in and signed up for Funk Fusion in August. What is Funk Fusion you ask? Well, it's right up my alley is what it is.

Funk Fusions:
This class is an energetic fusion of groovy funky styles comprised of influences from African, Afro-Cuban, jazz, hip-hop, house and funk dance.

Sounds fun doesn't it? That starts on Thursday and I have no idea what to wear. They told me comfortable workout clothing with clean, indoor runners. That means no rubber boots.

I'm just going to wear what I would usually wear to yoga and throw some shoes on- that should be good enough, agreed?

I'm really excited to do this- I've been meaning to take some type of dance lessons for a while. No one is going with me so this will be a solo adventure. Exciting!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Confession: I Love Processed Cheese

Look at the endless possibilities! Like Shrimp with Cheez Whiz on Toast!

I can't help it, I can't justify it, I can't explain it. I just love it. It's gross, I know- I use to turn my nose up at it until one day I had it. Now I can't get enough of it. Sure, I like my fancy dancy stinky french cheeses but damn if I don't also love some toasted sour dough cheese bread with a healthy spread of Cheez Whiz and butter. Blood pressure and Cholesterol on it's way up but so is my happiness and the smile on my face.

PS: just so you know, processed cheese does include real cheese. According to Wikipedia:

"Cheez Whiz is one of a number of "processed cheese foods", a category including some types of individually-wrapped cheese slices. These products contain regular cheese that has been reprocessed along with additional ingredients such as emulsifiers and stabilizing agents, such as xanthan gum or carrageenan. These products derive their tanginess and flavor from additional ingredients such as citric acid and flavoring compounds. Annatto is used for coloring."

I like the spread kind. It's the naughties of all the processed cheeses- I think.

So, what are your thoughts on processed cheese? Do you like it? Do you love it? Do you turn your nose up at it in public but then at home you have it stashed away in the back of the fridge where no one can see it and you eat it by the spoonful in the middle of the night... (for the record I do not do that but I imagine that someone out there does. Some snobby foodie having a secret affair with processed cheese and white Wonder Bread.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Big Brother 12- Week Two

Nothing ruins the mood of a sexy haircut like a Jewish Foot Doctor cleaning up after you.

Okay, truth be told... with the chaos of this weekend I didn't watch Sunday's episode of Big Brother until last night. Friday's episode was watched after midnight and I kind of fell a sleep and to be 100% honest- this season is kind of boring. SO FAR- I've been told to hold on, that it should get better once the first eviction happen and the drama starts. All that stuff has happened and all they keep showing is the stupid, disgusting "gross-mance" between Fun Bags and her boy toy Brendon the Swim Coach (which we found on has bug clumsy feet). Yetch! I swear... and now with Kristen and that Hayden guy who looks like a Hanson brother (Am I showing my age now?). Big Brother- please. At least we see a little risky game skill coming from Matt the Smart Mensa Guy, even though I don't really like that guy.

So really all that we saw this week was a lot of making out between the showmances, Fun Bags Rachel giggling, catty girl fights and crying. Monet and Britney the small town back stabbing blond were up on the block but then Brit got the power of Veto by getting tired at just the right moment. Which in turn Matt the Smart Mensa Guy volunteered to be put up in her place as a "pawn". This kind of blew up in his face but not really... he still ended up staying and Monet was sent-a-walking.

I must admit, Andrew the Jewish foot doctor is really growing on me. He is my favorite House Guest so far with his geeky composer and ability to make a potentially sexy situation awkward- love him! I do suspect right now though that Brendon the Swim Coach and Andrew the Jewish Foot Doctor might know each other. They might be the secret alliance that "the saboteur" exposed and no seems to care about anymore.

Cookies of the Week

  • *Gold Star* Andrew the Jewish Foot Doctor for being so awesome
  • anyone NOT involved in the Der Bergade's alliance or a showmance
  • Monet for think 60 x 60 is 1200 (yes, she gets a cookie for that one even though she was SO wrong  but it was SO funny)

Mud Puddles of the Week
  • Matt the Smart Mensa Guy for lying about a "condition" his wife has.
  • Monet, Britney the small town back stabbing blond , and Fun Bags all for crying and being so catty
  • Anyone involved in the Der Bergade's alliance or a showmance

Not much else to say, here's hoping that week three gets a little more interesting.
I'd like to see more of Britney the small town back stabbing blond, I think she has a pretty sharp personality that would be fun. I'd just like to see less of Fun Bags. Period. And that is on all levels.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Need A Folk Fest Nap

Mental note: I should take the Monday after Folk Festival off from work- not just Friday.

Can you see me? I'm the one dancing and waving my arms like a crazy woman.

I'm pooped from my 4 day weekend of music, dancing, eating, laughing, playing, standing, sitting, sunning, running, skipping, climbing, walking, fanning, meeting, hugging, tickling, chasing, loving, crying (happy tears), carrying, reading, talking, drinking, watching, helping and singing.

I acted, played and felt like a child. Running barefoot through the fields without a care in the world. That isn't a hard thing for me to be but it's nice to be able to share that with thousands of other people all from different walks of life. And to share it with my best friend.

I had an amazing weekend and though I'm beyond tired today, I'm content with a warm fuzzy buzz humming in my heart.

Picture borrowed from the CFMF Flickrstream 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Folk Fest Friday

Today is day 2 of The Calgary Folk Festival. For the first time EVER Friday gates will be opening at - wait for it-.... 3pm! Usually it takes to the same tune at Thursday but this year, no! Gates open at 3pm with 3 stages going. 2 smaller side stages with artist collaborations and then the main stage. Just think, you and 3 other bands, together, jamming on the same stage. No rhyme or reason just pure music... Magic happens on the smaller stages.

The Main Stage Acts are a bunch of people I have no idea who they are. Aside from Swell Season

Frank Turner
The Folk Fest page says the following about him "(UK) Folk, Indie, Punk, Singer-Songwriter.
Folk-punk strummery from a post-millennial troubadour who vociferously preaches the gospel of action."

He looks cute enough. I'll give him a listen
Joe Henry
Again, another unknown in my little world. The site says the following about him...
"(USA) Americana, Roots, Singer-Songwriter. Producer extraordinaire and the creator of memorable, intelligent lullabies that detail the lives of heroes and ordinary folks." I like lullabies about heroes and ordinary folks.

Shakura S'Aida
"(Switzerland / Canada) Blues, Funk, Soul/Gospel. Gives life to ‘40s and ‘50s blues, performs original, funky, boundary-pushing songs and acts in films and theatre". Who doesn't like the sound of that?

(USA) Folk, Indie, Roots, Singer-Songwriter
I don't even need to go into detail because I did already. The highlight of my night!
Favorite Songs:
The Moon
When Your Minds Made Up
All The Way Down
Low Rising
I Have Loved You Wrong

Oh gosh darn, just the whole batch! So excited...

Michael Franti and Spearhead
(USA) Funk, Hip Hop. All I know about this guy is Laura doesn't like him. I'm not sure why... I guess I'll have to find out the story later. Folk Fest says "A global troubadour who moves hearts, minds and limbs with his passionate soulful and funky protest music."

This is going to be my Friday night-but better. I'm so excited...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Folk Fest Thursday

Today is the first day of The Calgary Folk Music Festival Gates open tonight at 5pm so I'm hoping that I can get out of work for 4pm- rush home, get my stuff together and then boogie on over to Laura's place to meet her. Tonight, they just have the main stage going- almost like a warm up to the rest of the weekend.

The Bands playing today will be:

(Canada-SK) Art-Rock, Indie, Pop. "Sophisticated hooks and melodies plus complex harmonies and anthemic choruses"
Favorite Songs:
Drinking Games- sweet little melody with a clapping course I can follow.
Bookish- try not to move to this song 

I don't know anything about this woman other then what the folk fest page tells me "Electronic beats meet North African and Arabic sounds, often in collaboration with a diversity of international artists."
Sounds pretty interesting to me!

(Canada-QC) Alternative, Indie, Pop. "Loved for their knack for creating melodic, literate, sophisticated pop songs in a natural, off-the-cuff manner."
Where do I start with them? I am most excited to see them tonight- a long time favorite of mine. Songs of bitter sweet words that are made to be listened too. They encase so much that I love about the Canadian Indie Music Scene. According to my iTunes my favorite STARS song are:
Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
The Beginning After the End
Calendar Girl- those who have followed me around for one Internet home to another might remember this

USA) Acoustic, Alt-Country, Americana, Bluegrass, Roots. "Known for their rowdy, infectious stage shows, the high-flying ensemble tears through tunes with unbridled energy, popping banjo and guitar strings right and left while inciting stomping audience singalongs"
Favorite Song:
I and Love and You-  the ideal slow dance song of the night.

It's going to be a good  night and even if the weather doesn't hold out it isn't anything a little Sangria, good company and a rain suit can't fix.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wild Flowers: Early Spring in Alberta

It happens in the spring when the green starts to pop through the snow and life started to come the the hills of south western Alberta. Every weekend I'd wander out and take pictures as color started to grow. My goal was to take as many pictures of difference species of wild flowers and identify them (geeky, I know but I don't care).

I can't decided if I want to do a whole big post or identify each flower individually. I guess I will start with the 3 early blooms of spring and see where that takes me.

The Prairie Crocus
As soon as the snow melts these are the first blooms you will see. A sure sign that spring is finally on the way. Large mauve flowers with bright yellow centers are always a welcome site because they tend to decorate the undisturbed land with much appreciated color. There is a legend about how the Prairie Crocus got its fur from the Blackfoot First Nations Tribe. The poisonous properties of the prairie crocus were used to advantage by First Nations Peoples. A poultice made from the plant was used as a counter-irritant to treat rheumatism or other muscular pains. Prairie crocus was also used to stop nosebleeds and draw out infection in cuts and boils. First Peoples knew the plant was dangerous if taken internally. The blooms open during the day and close at night.


Bearberry or Kinnikinnick
Another welcomed sign of green come from the easy to find Bearberry of Kinnikinnick. The tiny little soft pink bell shaped blooms usually arrive between May and June. Eventually they turn into little red berries which bears love (hence the name BearBerry). The berries stay on the branches almost year round and are loaded with carbohydrates which is vital to the survival of many animals in the forest. The name Kinnikinnick means "mixture" in Algonkian languages and is used to refer to any of several plants mixed with tobacco as extenders. Dry, ground leaves of bearberry were mixed with the reddish bark of red-osier dogwood and smoked as a tobacco substitute by First Nations People. The leaves were mixed with commercial tobacco once tobacco became available. Although the berries are too dry to eat alone, several northwest First Nations tribes mixed them with fat or boiled them in soups.

Golden Bean or Buffalo Bean
Generally this flower is called a Golden Bean but I grew up calling it Buffalo Bean. The name 'buffalo bean' shows us the First Nations Peoples' knowledge of phenology. They used its flowering time to indicate that buffalo bulls were ready for the spring hunt. Though a member of the pea family Golden bean contains poisonous alkaloids that may cause children to become very ill and is suspected of causing death in livestock. You can look but don't eat! Blooms arrive in May and last through June. An early blooming plant, with the dandelion it helps to keep fields and sunny slopes of roads and cut-banks predominantly yellow until buttercups and other flowers take over in June.

So, these are the heads of color we see first thing when air starts to turn warm, the days get a little longer and the country side starts it great thaw. As I post these pictures it is the middle of summer and they are bland compared to the jewels that are currently peppering the mountain and the hills. But at the time that the pictures were taken they seemed fresh and exciting in amongst the dull dry earth.

Information borrowed from Plant Watch Alberta

If you are viewing this on Facebook becasue it feeds into it from my Blogger Account you may not be able to see the flowers. You will have to click on Original Post.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nelson Mandela

learning from the past

A man who arose from the ashes of his mistakes to live and be something that people associate with good. Something admirable. Someone who has shown us that life doesn't end at 44, 81 or even 92. It ends when we die. And that we should live fully, with purpose and with no regrets- only lessons learnt. 

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
"A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."

Happy 92nd Birthday Mr. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Friday, July 16, 2010

Big Brother 12- Week One

Annie (L) and Fun Bags (R)

Truth be told, I love bad TV... not all bad TV but a fair bit of it. My #1 guilty pleasure if Big Brother which started again for another summer on Sunday.

This year we have 14 house guest, one of them being "the saboteur". In classic Big Brother style we have a plethora of attractive, self involved people who generally have a knack for being two faced and  back stabbing.

Tonight was no different. We had the first eviction night of the season. On the block were two lovely ladies Rachel (or Fun Bags as I like to call her) and Annie (cute bi-girl). Annie wasn't on the block originally because Fun Bags was having a "Showmance" with Brendon (the swim coach) and so they were put up on the block together. But of course, Brendon the Swim Coach won the Power Of Veto and took him self off the block in which Annie was put on.   There is some stupid boy alliance with these three guys that all kind of look the same to me. One of them was Head of House Hold but that doesn't really matter because they all seem rather boring at the moment. One guy, Matt (Smart Mensa guy)  who claims to be in the top 2% of intelligent people and a member of Mensa ... he has some potential for being interesting.

So anyways, it is revealed that Annie is " the saboteur" which kind of sucks because she is also on the block with a good chance of going home. She pulls out all the stops to try and win the votes to stay in the house but for some stupid reason no one goes for it and it's a shut out with 10 votes to evict Annie. Keeping crazy Fun Bags in the house who then goes on to win HOH. Isn't that always how it works? Lame...

They'll regret the decision of evicting Annie, I'm sure... at least until they find out that she was the saboteur.

On a side note, Fun Bags goes a bit nuts over her 10 day showmance and totally pulls a crazy psycho girl on the swim coach demanding that she have 100% of his attention. Ew, some one's a little insecure.

Cookies of the Week
Annie the cute bi girl
Ragan the gay college Prof
Andrew the Jewish foot doctor

Mud Puddles of the Week
Fun Bags Rachel
Brendon the Swim Coach
Britney the small town back stabbing blond

Honorable Mention:
Kathy the cop for getting stuck in vat of caramel for 80 minutes. It's the food challenge, do you want to be on slop? If I was her I would do everything possible to get the heck out of there. I'd take my clothes off if I had to! I am NOT eating any Big Brother Slop!

Sorry to see you go Annie, would have liked to have seen more of your shenanigans

Everyone else, please try to be a bit more interesting and please, no more showmances for the next little while. They are kind of lame...

So that concludes my thoughts for this week. I'm sure by next week I'll be on a totally different team but for now- Go Team Everyone Other Than Fun Bags!

Oh and on a side note... I have a sneaky feeling that because there are only 14 house guests someone who is evicted might get to come back. They have done it in previous seasons and it might happen again. Maybe Annie is off to sequester? Maybe not... I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

What was your take on the first week?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

'This Movie Is Broken'

Falling in love is easy when you doubling on a bike made for one

The film opens with a borrowed trick from the Scorsese school of rock-docs: Begin with the end. The camera pans across legions of bearded hipsters and sun-soaked girls of summer though the opening number. Watching Leslie Feist *swoon* and Emily Haines trade vocals... I get goose bumps.

Directed by Bruce McDonald (Hardcore Logo) and written by Don McKellar (Blindness), This Movie is Broken is half-concert film, half-romance story and all Canadian. It was created in a matter of weeks and I am so excited to see it in theaters:

Trailer for This Movie is Broken
I can't possibly put into words how I feel about this film so I am going to reprint an article I read on CBC News by the fantastic Lee Ferguson:

Review: This Movie Is Broken written by Lee Ferguson
Bruce McDonald crafts a love story set to the music of Broken Social Scene

Director Bruce McDonald is on a roll. First, he turned the zombie movie on its head with Pontypool, and now he’s bringing that same inventive spirit to This Movie Is Broken, his take on the traditional concert film.

Unfolding on one lazy, hazy July day in Toronto, This Movie Is Broken centres on a free outdoor gig in 2009 by indie supergroup Broken Social Scene. The concert footage on display is intimate and pure documentary, but McDonald has chosen to give the audience two movies in one, weaving in a fictional narrative amongst the band’s rousing live numbers

Scripted by Don McKellar — McDonald’s collaborator on the 1989 film Roadkill — the storyline for This Movie Is Broken proves to be gentle as a summer breeze, and every bit as romantic as a Broken Social Scene song. Twentysomething Bruno (Greg Calderone) wakes up in the morning and pinches himself to make sure he really did consummate his relationship with his longtime friend Caroline (a luminous Georgina Reilly ) the night before

The one hitch in this budding affair is that Caroline is heading to school in Paris the next day, leaving Bruno with 24 hours to make a lasting impression by staging the perfect date. Egged on by his savvy buddy Blake (Kerr Hewitt), Bruno promises to score backstage passes for Caroline’s favourite band (i.e. BSS) before the day is through.

This unique blend of concert footage and fictional drama bears a resemblance to Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs, where scenes of a young couple’s sexually charged relationship played out against a backdrop of vibrant performances at London’s famed Brixton Academy. But where Winterbottom’s movie oozed art-house pretension (and had zero emotion), This Movie Is Broken sneaks up on you, gradually growing more affecting. Like its characters, the film seems to merely drift along, which makes it a genuine surprise when a stirring moment arrives (like the passionate kiss that plays out to the sounds of Feist’s Past in Present ).

As the dramatic story builds, there is more than enough concert footage on offer to keep diehard Broken Social Scene fans bouncing in their seats. Shot at a live performance at Toronto’s Harbourfront, these scenes give viewers an all-access look at the band’s dynamic stage show. The camera zeroes in on band members at key moments, capturing frontman Kevin Drew’s tapping feet; Amy Millan glancing sideways at her cohorts before singing her next line; or a band mate leaning over to affectionately adjust drummer Justin Peroff’s glasses mid-show.

This Movie Is Broken is handsomely shot, and as with many of McDonald’s recent pictures, there’s a playful experimentation at work. The movie often feels like a collage, meandering away from its main narrative to savour random images – of Caroline’s feet peeking out from under a bathroom stall, the late-afternoon sunshine on a bike path or light tracing the surfaces of one character’s crinkly skin.

This may sound precious, but This Movie Is Broken never feels that way. McDonald’s artier flourishes are subtle and always serve a purpose – he’s using the images to give an impression of the characters and the music. In one terrific scene, Caroline walks through an underpass while the strains of the show can be heard in the background. As the glow of taillights and the fluorescence overhead moves across her face and dissolves into something abstract, it mirrors what’s happening back at the concert, where BSS’s instruments crash up against each other, colliding into a strange, beautiful cacophony

The movie’s stellar concert footage kicks off with Kevin Drew calling out to the adoring audience, “Toronto, we love you. Let’s hear you scream for yourselves!” — in fact, the entire movie feels like a rallying cry. This Movie Is Broken is an ode to the city that begat BSS, and some of its most loving cinematography is reserved for shots of Kensington Market patios, downtown bike paths and the overflowing trash bins that were a fixture in Hogtown during the garbage strike of 2009.

Some of this scenery is unbelievably hip, but then, so are the movie’s characters. One of the most interesting things in This Movie Is Broken is how attuned it is to the youthful subculture Bruno, Caroline and Blake inhabit. While it would have been easy to take shots at the characters’ carefully selected vintage clothing and perfectly groomed beards, McDonald and McKellar take the trickier route of giving these scenesters their due. They remember what it’s like to be in your twenties — when smoking joints, hearing bands and figuring out relationships are all matters of great urgency.

This warm, respectful tone is what ultimately unites the film. This Movie Is Broken is about Broken Social Scene, but it’s also about its fans. McDonald’s film is for them, and understands what they already know – that while relationships may come and go, the memory of a great gig will remain forever.

-Lee Ferguson writes about the arts for CBC News.

Everything A whole lot of everything that I love, all wrapped up in one little movie. So Excited.

The Official Article can be found HERE

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nostalgia Happens During the Long Dash

Canada Lives Here-  in perfect time.

The National Research Council Time Signal is Canada's longest running but shortest radio programme ever. Heard every day since November 5, 1939  I hear it every morning as I listen to Q on CBC Radio One. The spoken header, as announced by a local on-air talent at each station, is typically of the style,

"Now, the National Research Council time signal. The beginning of the long dash following ten seconds of silence indicates exactly 11 o'clock Mountain Daylight Time."

Followed by silence and then a 15 second tone known as 'the long dash'. The first time I heard it I thought it was a warning on the radio. Though it was the dead of winter, I thought perhaps it was a snow storm warning or something. The next day when I heard it again I realised that it was just a time check. I picture my grandfather who favored routine and predictability listening to the radio every morning and checking his pocket watch to the sound of the long dash. Then listening to the 11 o'clock news and as he bugged my grandmother to start making lunch.

It's not much and I'm sure many people in my generation who don't listen to "real" radio any longer may not even know of it's existence. I suspect that my cell phone provider may not even be on board with it because the time it displays never matches up exactly with the announcement. Always about 30 seconds behind the long dash. Regardless, I like it. I like that it's history, I like that it's accurate and I like that it is dependable. When I hear it my mind goes to a place which includes Eaton catalogues, hand knitted mittens with beaten up hockey skates, and an old style radio tuner.

Nostalgia happens during the long dash.

"Your life would go to pieces, but the time signal would remain. The world might crumble, the oceans might rise, and the bombs might fall, but the National Research Council's official time signal would always follow up ten seconds of silence at the same time every day. Archaeologists would discover it, still ticking. Alien archaeologists. From another universe."

Image and above quote borrowed from a 2005 post on Websnark

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pay Phones

Hello, it's me....

Yesterday I was at my company's Stampede party. While in the ladies room I noticed a pay phone on the wall. You see, Ranchman's (where my party was held) is as old as the hills. It's about as classic and cowboy as any bar in Calgary can get. It's so traditional that it's been used in movies. It's so traditional that it still has a payphone in the vanity area of the ladies room. Impressed when I saw it I pointed it out to Christina, my bathroom buddy (because, girls can't go to the bathroom by themselves) and we marveled at how "vintage" it was. In actuality I think it was one that had been produced in the 1990's- so much for vintage. We both babbled on about how back in the day the payphone was only a quarter or 25¢ but then they bumped it up to 35¢  at the beginning of 2000. Well, as I was chatting and poking and looking at the phone my eyes zoomed in on the tiny little writing up by the coin slot:

Local Calls...........50¢

You read that right, 50¢! When the heck did they change that?! Apparently the change became legal sometimes in June 2007. I'm shocked. I guess I don't really use payphones that often- well ever since June of 2007.
  • Do you still use payphones or do you always have your cell phone with you?
  • Do you carry emergency change with you in case you need to use a payphone?
  • Would we even miss payphones if they were removed completely from our life?

What do you think?

Monday, July 12, 2010

You Might Find This Offensive But I Found It Funny

I found this video today, it made me laugh in a mean evil way. Partly because I enjoy a little sarcastic humor and the other part I do all 3 things she says NOT to do when out in public.

True Story.

The Video:
How to trick people into thinking you're good looking

If you are having trouble viewing this you can go HERE to watch it.

PS: this might offend you.
PPS: Go Rick Ashley!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Slurpee Day

Slurpees: Better then ice cream?

7-Eleven is celebrating it's 83rd birthday today across the US and Canada (Yes, 83rd birthday) as per usual. With free slurpees Mmmmm....


• The frozen, carbonated beverage was first invented in 1959 by a Kansas hamburger stand owner. Using an automobile air conditioner, he created a sophisticated piece of equipment that would freeze a carbonated soft drink and serve it in a sherbet-like form that could be sipped through a straw.

• 7-Eleven began selling Slurpee drinks, then called Icee, in its stores in 1965, and is the only place to buy a Slurpee drink.

• To get that uniquely Slurpee beverage consistency, each Slurpee machine has a compact refrigeration system that mixes syrup, carbon dioxide and water under pressure in a freezing chamber.

• Slurpee drinks are served fountain-style at a frosty 28°F/ -2°C.

• The Slurpee name was created in May 1967 during a brainstorming session of the Stanford Agency, 7-Eleven stores’ in-house agency. While drinking the product through a straw, agency director Bob Stanford commented that it made a “slurp” sound coming through the straw.

• To capitalize on the popularity of the Slurpee beverage, 7-Eleven began introducing Slurpee collectors’ cups in 1972. Through the years, special Slurpee cups have featured monsters, rock ‘n’ roll stars and endangered species. 7-Eleven also offered surprise Slurpee cups with false bottoms, free prizes and peel-off game pieces.

• Cola and Cherry continue to be Slurpee-lovers’ favorite flavors. Other top-selling Slurpee flavors are blue raspberry, Crystal Light Raspberry Ice and Mountain Dew.

• 7-Eleven coined the word BrainFreeze in 1994 to communicate the somewhat painful joy drinking a Slurpee drink brings.

So what if they are high in both sugar and sodium. There are much worse things you could consume- that cost money. So, if you can... go grad yourself a frozen freebie today and have a safe and happy Slurpee Day.

What's your favorite flavour?

(facts from an official press release from 7-Eleven)
Photo borrowed from Yahoo Image Search

Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Scout, Atticus & Boo

Well, this Sunday you'll be turning 50. Though some might argue about your literary merits your story is well known through out the world. Regardless, there is no denying the lessons about courage and compassion that exists between your pages.

Happy Golden 50th Birthday To Kill a Mockingbird

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." - Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Those words have always stuck with me as words to live by. Words that I live by.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hula Hooping

Yesterday, after work I bought a Hula Hoop. I've never had a Hula Hoop before so I thought what better time then now. It's pink, it's sparkly, it's from Walmart and for some strange reason it's filled with water. Oh and it was only $6.00 (score).

I got home at 9PM and after an hour I had the rhythm down. Clockwise and counter clockwise, which ever way you want it I can do it. Sure, there were a few instances when the hoop became air born, flying across the room and hitting the strangest, most breakable things. As well, I'm sure the people who live below me might have been getting annoyed at the sound of the hoop slapping on the ground 7 times a minute as I learned to keep it swiveling on my waist. I stayed up well past midnight playing with it (wearing a scratch and sniff t-shit I bought in the Old Navy kids section- I'm never going to grow up).

This morning as I let the curlers in my hair cool I slipped the hoop around my waist and found:
A) I didn't loose my knack over night (I worried about that when I learnt to knit too)
B) I had bruised my waist and it hurt, I'll have to do something about that.

I'm excited to keep learning. I learnt that I bought a hoop that is too small for my body and that I can actually make one out of tubing. Sort of like the ones the dancers use at Folk Fest. They always look so sultry and gypsy like swaying their hips with a simple hoop around their waist. I wonder what they would think of me with my mass produced, water filled, kids hoop?

Doesn't matter, I'm having fun.

Is there anything that you wishes that you had as a child that you finally bought when you were an adult?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


sing it from the roof top

spon·ta·ne·i·ty (spŏn'tə-nē'ĭ-tē, -nā'-)
n., pl., -ties.
  1. The quality or condition of being spontaneous.
  2. Spontaneous behavior, impulse, or movement.
It was once I turned off the water after washing the dishes that I heard it. The sweet notes of an old familiar song came wafting through the open patio door. It wasn't a neighbours music turned up too loud or a bar down the way- it was a woman. Singing loud, strong and solo. She knew the words and her range well. I stopped and listened, enjoying the invisible show. Finding myself humming along I joined in softly at first then gradually matching her volume in a long distance duet. Within a few moments the we were joined by two other voices coming from a completely different direction down my street. Rough, male voices punched through the course each time we arrived at it grounding our sweetly feminine pitches.

When we finished there were soft applauds from scattered balconies, I peaked my head out the door to see if my street wise choir had shown themselves. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The smokers were smoking, the sock man was watering his plants and the hobos were napping in the last bit of evening sunlight.  

A moment of musical unity. Glee couldn't have done it better.

Spontaneity and Anonymity at its best.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Christmas In July

Last night I had a feast that was fit for Christmas- a British Christmas at that. All that as missing was a loud Italian family and presents (at least that is what my Christmas usually ends up being like).

my nut roast looked better but it was eaten before a picture could be taken

A friend and I made Nut Roast, a tradition Christmas dish with the vegetarian in mind. Pish-posh carnivores, I can hear you all groan at the mere idea of "vegetarian" but trust me, this is one of the few dishes that doesn't taste better when you add meat. It's amazing all on it's own. This recipe comes over the ocean from jolly ol' England directly from Laura's grandmother. It's authentic and simple-

Cashew Nut Roast
1 Large Onion diced
4 tablespoons corn oil
4oz Brazil Nuts
2oz Walnuts
2oz Cashew Nuts
4oz Breadcrumbs
Liquid Vegetable Stock (I use Knorr in a jar but you could use a veggie cube).
big pinches of sage, oregano and basil
salt and pepper
2 eggs (it calls for 1 egg but I find it a bit crumbly so I add another to make it stick better)

1. Turn the oven on to 200°C (about 400/425°F)
2. Heat the oil and fry the onion gently until transparent.
3. While the onions are frying grind the nuts up (I use my Magic Bullet)
You can use any combination of raw, unsalted nuts in whatever quantities you like as long as the
add up to about 8oz (I often put a little more in and use Almonds, Hazelnuts,Walnuts,
Raw Cashews, Brazil Nuts etc..). 
4. Make your breadcrumbs (grind up in your food processor or liquidizer).
5. Once the onions are soft add all remaining ingredients and combine well.
6 Prepare you load tin by lining the bottom and at least 2 sides with baking parchment, it will
come out a lot easier if you use the parchment.
7. Press the mixture firmly into the prepared loaf pan. Use some cling film to push it down.
8. Cover the top with foil. Pop in the middle of a heated over and cook for 30-40 mins.
Have a look after 30 mins. If you have a hot oven keep an eye on the loaf or it will get
overcooked at the edges.
9. Leave for 5 mins to settle and then tip it out and eat it!!

Serve hot with Mushroom Gravy
Feeds about 4 people with big appetites.

So we had a plethora of steamed veggies, baby potato's and nut loaf dressed up to the nines in mushroom gravy. Due to the fact that the recipe is so simple, it only took about an hour before the table was served and we were ready to devour our piping hot feast.

Delicious, I honestly think you should try it.

hat tip to the oh-so-British Barrett Family

Monday, July 5, 2010

Reality Check

the best form of exercise is "play"

Diets, I don't get them. Never really been on one and don't ever plan to be. I joined the gym as something that I thought I should do, that a woman does when she turns 30- pffffft! yeah right! I haven't been in a month. I like my body better when I'm not working out anyway. It's just nicer- not that it looks any different to me. I'm pretty sure my body hasn't changed since I was in High School. I stay active by just participating in life and knowing what my body functions best on.

Here is the reality check:

Don't diet unless it makes you happy. Seriously happy, not tolerable... but happy. Sure we can all improve our lifestyles but to use an extreme example, do you really think you can be a tee-totaling vegan, shut-in, marathon runner forever?

If you can't happily eat less, you're not going to eat less. If you can't happily exercise more, you're not going to exercise more.

Food wise - you can't be regularly battling hunger, it can't be making you feel unwell and your life has to be "normal" meaning you should be able to include food for comfort, food for celebration, with no forbidden foods.

Fitness wise - you can't be running out of time, running out of energy, hurting yourself or hating it.

Your goal should be your personal best recognizing that the best lifestyle you can enjoy and the best lifestyle that you can tolerate are two very different things.

Treat your body with respect.

Side Note: this is of no disrespect to those who have deep rooted food issues. That is a separate entity all together as the relationship with food is compromised and dysfunctional. It's not about food (lack or abundance) and exercise then, it's about something much more personal.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Music Obsession Special: The Swell Season

Today is July 1st (Happy Canada Day fellow Canadians) and do you know what that means? 22 more days till The Calgary Folk Music Festival *enter singing choir of angles that smell like patchouli*

The Calgary Folk Fest happens to be one of the biggest highlights of the summer here in Calgary (aside from The Calgary Stampede but I'm not here to talk about that). This year the line up is a little more subtle with the main stage hosting such acts as Stars, Roberta Flack (yes, the original woman who belted out "Killing Me Softly" amongst other soulful stories), Corb Lund and The Hurting Albertans, and of course...

i love that guitar

"The Swell Season is a folk rock duo formed by Irish musician Glen Hansard and Czech singer and pianist Markéta Irglová. "The Swell Season" name is derived from Hansard's favourite novel by Josef Škvorecký from 1975 bearing the same title. Their debut album goes by the same name."

I'm really excited to see them live. They have become rather popular since the delicious cinematic hit "Once". I recall seeing the movie when it first came out a few years ago. I had gone to the independent theaters to watch it. I was moved to mass amounts of romantic inspiration- my kind of love story mixed with sweet and rustic melodies. Since then I have been delighted to see the swell in popularity of The Swell Season. Even Steven Spielberg was quoted as having said "a little movie called "Once" had given me enough inspiration for the whole year"

When Your Minds Made Up from the movie Once preformed by Swell Season

So with that being said, I am looking forward to seeing them live. Not only are they heating up the main stage but they will also be playing mini gigs at other various stages around the festival with other artists- just jamming. Good times.

And this is just the beginning.