Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lum


Hello, my name is Lum

On Saturday I played a new computer game with JP called Terraria. It all started because he got me hooked on this other game called Minecraft. Damn, if that man of mine doesn't know how to keep me seated and entertained for.. umm... 13 hours straight. That's right. He hacked into that part of my personality. The obsessive, addictive part of me.

Anyway, as we know from my playtime with Fate ,  I do enjoy a good computer game. Something that isn't too intense but enough that I remain challenged. Well... with Terraria there is a lot of simple stuff to do like mine and find stuff and all the little noises are satisfying. I get to be a girl (not a huge deal but I like to be able to pick my character) and so she's pale with dark hair and green eyes. Her name is Lum. I often use the name Lum in gaming situations because of a character in an old Japanese manga and animi series called Urusei Yatsura.

"Lum Invader (ラム・インベーダー, Ramu Inbēdā?) is a fictional character and the female protagonist from Rumiko Takahashi's manga and anime series Urusei Yatsura. She is often believed to be the main protagonist of the series due to her iconic status. However, Takahashi has stated that Ataru Moroboshi is the main character.[3] She is named Lamu in Animax's English-language dub of the series, and in the Italian anime dub as well. Her name comes from popular 1980s swimsuit model Agnes Lum, as well as Rumiko Takahashi's nickname of "Rum" or "Lum" (from the interchangeable sound of the R's and L's in Japanese).

Lum is considered a magical girlfriend, though significantly different from others such as Belldandy of Oh! My Goddess and Ai of Video Girl Ai. While the latter two are openly considered "ideal" women by the protagonists of their respective series, Ataru often indicates publicly that Lum is the opposite of ideal."

The personality she embodies is one that was a struggle at the time for Japanese women which is enduring. Trying to be independent but also maintain all that is expected of a traditional Japanese woman. I can relate to this, though not Japanese, I like the idea of being both my own independent person but also being a little old fashioned. Deep down I'm just a girly girl with horns, a little alien, often misunderstood but my intentions are in the right place. I have enough back bone to be able to look after myself and stand up for what I believe but I like the idea of a traditional house hold- within balance.

oh my goodness, it's almost lunch time. I'm craving pumpkin pie... Mmmmm...

[Exert borrowed from Wikipedia]

Wonder What She's Doing Now


Summer Lovin' bitches

The intoxication of summer love, it's wonderful. The days are long and the nights are warm, the layers of downy clothing have been stuffed to the back of the closet and naked skin starts peaking out from skirts and shirts. The sun places freckled kisses across noses and the air is swimming with the sweet fragrance of lilacs and apple blossoms.

By this point, the men have simmered down from the site of skin and the art of walking down the street becomes much easier. Souls have been thawed from winter and everyone is friendly, wanting to talk, to meet and make connections.

Summer is a good time to fall in love, like REALLY fall in love because the best time to be in love is winter.

Just ask Sandy and Danny, they were so inspired they got the whole school to sing about it:



(this always reminds me that in high school, I spent most of my time at Jen Wilks house, skipping school and dancing to Grease)

Vancouver Pizza


Doesn't change how the pizza tastes though.

As of yesterday, 62 Boston Pizzas in BC have temporarily changed their name to "Vancouver Pizza" in honour of their home team making it to the finals. Talk about pressure!

The irony is that Boston Pizza is neither from Boston nor Vancouver, as stated in this article, but the company actually started in Edmonton, AB as per the company's own website.

I guess "Edmonton Pizza" just doesn't have the same ring to it?

Apparently, I'm all about pizza these last few days.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Feeling Good

I was on some medication to help me sleep for the last 3 years and due to my concerns with the drug, I quit taking it last weekend. It was prescribed to me by a doctor at a sleep clinic but I think I'm done using it so why not try life without it for a while. I was only taking 0.25mg's each night and never once did I increase it but it was time.

Well, it's as though an iron curtain was lifted and I have unlimited amounts of energy. I'm just buzzing with good vibrations and even in some sleep deprived states, I'm still just feeling good. It hit me 6 days after I last took it and  I just keep feeling better.

My sleep is still a little inconsistent but I know in time I'll work it out. My sleep always works its self out. The best thing I can do is pick a time and go to bed and keep that up for 21 days and my body will be loving life.

This is just me sharing how good I feel. Yaaaay!

No Longer on Facebook

I stopped the import of this blog to Facebook today. Reason is because I just don't like everyone I know being able to read this and find me. I'm very selective about who my friends are on Facebook but I'm just done with censoring this. I've been able to track where most of my traffic comes from and none of it is coming from Facebook. Almost 99% of it is just people Googling stuff and stumbling across my blog.  So, I am free to go back to talking a little more personally.  Hardly any of the people who spend any time on this blog are even from Canada. Most of them are from Europe (no idea why).

So, maybe you won't notice that much of a change when you read the stuff I write but I will feel it. There will be less of a concern in the back of my mind of if I'm talking about something that might upset someone and more freedom to write more candidly.

And really, no one is going to care.

Oh yea..

Cuddle Slut

I'm sure everyone in the world (aside from me until now) has seen this video:

Cat Mum hugs Kitten

I love cuddles too, they make me purrrrrr..

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

this was thoughtful of you

It's sweet when a stranger comes in and waits a half hour just to give you a coffee they picked up for you. Just because. Just because they like how happy and nice you are. Just because they appreciate what you've done for them. I've never met the guy, only talked to him over the phone for work a few times to help him out. I could care less about the nitty gritty parts of my job (the accounting/spreadsheet part. I'm a problem solver and a people lover- not a number cruncher) but I am always here for the Field guys. They are my priority. I want to make sure they are taken care of.

I didn't tell him but I don't drink coffee, I was touched by his kindness but I gave the coffee to my co-worker. I knew it wouldn't go to waste. This was something that I didn't feel right about wasting. It's not about the coffee, it's about the gesture.

It's always nice to be appreciated.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Words Not to Say


When Kurt Andersen took over as editor of New York Magazine, he wrote a list of all the words he found annoying and told his staff not to use them during his tenure. They made me laugh out loud.

Do you agree with this list? What other words do you find annoying? (I refuse to write or say "LOL" *shudders)

[hat tip to Jo]


ps: It's LUNCH TIME!! Yammy yammy yammy!

Health Care in Canada

Canadians are paying into one of the world’s most expensive healthcare systems but aren’t getting full value for that investment, according to a new report from Morneau Shepell that suggests a major overhaul is needed. “The crux of the problem is that our system places too much emphasis on acute care and not enough on prevention,” says Fred Vettese, the company’s chief actuary and author of the Vision Report, Canada’s Health Care System – Time for an Intervention.

The report says Canada spends much more on its elderly than every other country except the U.S., but our elderly are no healthier than those in Europe or Japan. By 2031, the report says, nearly half of our healthcare resources will serve those aged 75 and over, even though they will represent only 1/9th of the population.

According to the report, failure to overhaul the current healthcare system and implement solutions designed to increase return on investment will result in a major increase in taxes or reduction in the quality of healthcare provided. It lists ‘possible fixes’ including:
  • user-based funding, such as a $10 fee per doctor visit, to reduce the number of questionable consultations;
  • health credits to make consumers price-sensitive without restricting access to services; and
  • evidence-based medicine to help direct resources to the most effective treatments and improve overall efficiency.
read the full report HERE

As Canadians, what do you think about our Health Care system?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Maui's Plan


Come swim with us

There is a trip to Maui in my near future- good thing because I've been researching places to stay in Maui like they are going out of style!

I have been talking to this one guy, Mark. He and his family own a jungle cabin on the northern side of the Island (near the famous The Road to Hana). This is a rustic little cabin in the middle of the jungle/rain forest that has a shower outside- OUTSIDE (I'm so excited about that shower... I plan to wear sandals though. I don't want spiders walking on my feet as I soap up!). Mark is the publisher of Maui Guidebook which is actually a pretty informative site. He's been emailing me lots of pointers about the Island which has been great. He's adaptable to the fact that I don't want to spend all my time at a resort sitting by some pool. I want to Zip Line and hike and snorkel and eat stuff!

The food I plan to sink my teeth into are:
Fresh Fruits (duh)
Seafood
a pig roast
road side banana bread (it's supposed to be GOOD)
AND (wait for it...)
donuts on a STICK! Yummy!
all while drinking Mai Tai's and Pineapple Wine (and water- OF COURSE).

So far, I have booked the first place we plan to stay. It will be in Wailea...this is a touristy part of the island that is close to other touristy parts of the island. It will be nice to have sprawling beaches at the foot of our door and I can't turn down a fancy new boutique hotel with a stellar deal (show your birth certificate and get a deal- this is in fun of the Obama birth certificate thingy). We'll be there for a few nights.

Then we embark on the other side of the island for more of a natural homage to the island. This is where I plan to stay at the Cabin. I just can't decide if I want to spend 2 or 3 nights there. It's close enough to the airport that it's not that big of a deal.

These are the plans so far. I don't like the idea of moving around too much but I also don't want to be doing too much driving either. So splitting the island up is a good idea. I think.

It doesn't feel like enough time to do it all though. My main objective is to relax. I need it- big time. I haven't been on a relaxing vacation in years. The last vacation I went on prior to LA was to the BC Coast and there was a day in Tofino where I spent the afternoon cuddled into the couch reading news magazines and eating cookies- that was nice. But it's difficult to disengage from things if you are always the one planning things. It always nice to be a follower- so perhaps I'll get a little of that in Maui. Even if it's just am early morning walk along a vacant beach maybe even arm in arm with my man.

Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings


Tonight I am seeing Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings play at U of C.

Never heard of them and even now, I'm reluctant to listen to things because I have a feeling I'm going to ruin a surprise.

If you wish though, here are some songs (which I have not listened too BTW):

Sharon Jones 100 Days, 100 Nights

and this:


Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - "She Ain't A Child No More" - WOXY Lounge SXSW 2010 from WOXY on Vimeo.

Known for their incredible live shows, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are a part of a revivalist movement for their genre (they even recorded their 2010 album on an eight-track tape machine). I'm excited!

First though, I have to go to the Gastro Clinic and hopefully that doctor isn't late because I want to get my sweet butt home for a nap before the show. I want to be rearing to go later!

The Little Prince

"Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."


 
 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wine

I love this photo that a fellow blogger took while on a trip to Paris.

an over-flowing wine bottle recycling bin.
As Megan said "...overflowing with what were sure to be happy memories." 


[Hat Tip to Bon Bon Rose Girls]

Will Blog for Entry

the worlds largest porgy- FOUND in Alberta

I could do this: Calgary Next Top Travel Blogger. All I need is a short video and maybe a little personality and wit (damn, that's going to be hard to find this time of year). As soon as I have all that then I'll apply. I have 5 days to get my act together (I think, I just glanced at my calendar and didn't actually count the days). Good thing I'm getting my hair done tonight.

What's the worst that can happen?
(I say that and instantly get images of having to spend the night in the Torrington Gopher Hole Museum)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cranky Town

Welcome to Cranky Town. Minimum stay required: 5 days

It's being more sensitive to things. To other peoples words, to their actions, to your own. To touch. To sound. It's being introspective about ones self and it's the time that our really good acne comes out. A woman experiences it but the whole world has to deal with it. Evey month it's different and a woman never knows.


DAY DAWNS IT'S LIGHTS AND NIGHT DAWNS IT'S FRIGHTS
BY FEIST

day dawns it's light and night dons it's frights
my vantage depends on celestial sights
what can I see from behind the red glasses?
inside the sad and beyond the sand castles
broken and hurt one wing crushed and it's flapping
the speed on the moonslide passing but lasting
ever returning, baby not borning
lady dark lording, randomly sorting
through mounts of ungainly
monsters refraining
each time they call me I cry back complaining


Images and Feist poem borrowed from Cranky Town
about the creators of this site

We LET This Happen

and I wonder, was it good back then or was it as silly as it looks now.


David Bowie and Mick Jagger: Dancing in the Streets

I swear, this reminds me of something my best friend LB and I would do together- same quality and everything. To be honest, I think we have made dance videos like this.

Watching it without sound is even better.

It's the End of the World...?

Last Night isn't about last night


I'm usually very on top of all things in the news but for some reason I haven't been with this. Apparently, the end of the world is starting it's progression on May 21st 2011 (yes, I really am going to talk about this) with "judgment day".

The first time I heard about this was just a few weeks ago from JP who seems to have know about this for a while. Everyone seems to have known about this for a while. Except me. I guess they don't talk about this stuff on the CBC. I need to listen to my morning radio show again (I haven't been because I have a new, upgraded, more enjoyable morning routine right now.) I guess. I need to broaden my news sources. Seriously. I can't believe I am so out of the loop on this stuff.

I've been trying to find information but I can't. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough? Why May the 21st? I realise it's "Armed Forces Day" on my calendar...

I just googled it again and found this site that states that it's all based on Christian Numerology. That's interesting.

So I guess what better way to ring in rapture than with a movie called Last Night. It’s about what is essentially supposed to happen tomorrow night, the last night of the world.  It asks one simple question: What would you do?

What’s great about this movie is that it isn’t an action flick with a hero trying to save the world.  Instead it focuses on a society that has essentially accepted that their lives will soon before, so they should cherish what precious hours they have left.  There’s never any mention of what is causing the apocalyptic events, but truth be told, it doesn’t even matter.  The character’s story lines vary from a couple who meet with only a few hours left, a man trying to have sex with as many people as possible and a troubled family saying their goodbyes.  I guess it’s like Love, Actually except they all die.

If you’re planning on spending Saturday night at home, I can’t recommend Last Night enough.  I’ve a done a little research and it might be difficult to track down, but just trust me and know that it is worth the little leg work you might have to do. It’s available on Amazon and probably at a Blockbuster…if you can find one that is still open.  Sadly, Netflix hasn’t picked up this movie yet, but they definitely should. Check out the trailer, if anything, it might give you a few ideas for Saturday night.


Last Night movie Trailer


So, now I ask you.... what would you do if the world were to end in 24 hours?

Best Feeling: empty public bathrooms


Everybody does it, I just want to do mine in peace.

We've all been there at some point in our lives. The time when you just have to use the bathroom and all you want is privacy and your only option is a public bathroom. Walking towards the door you bite your lip just praying that there isn't anyone else in there. You open the door and scan bottom of the stalls with your eyes and see that there are no feet. All the doors are open and you are alone.

That breath of anticipation that you were holding-- you can let it out. You can finally relax. You have your privacy to go about your business however you see fit without any of your efforts meeting another persons ears.

Empty Bathrooms? Best Feeling Ever.

"Making the Movies Jealous"

I'm not sure why I watched this but I did. And it made me cry giant Alligator tears:

Greatest Marriage Proposal EVER

Fantastic. 10 points for creativity. 10 points for making me love love even more. 10 bonus points for getting me to cry over a strangers proposal.

On Edit:
I watched the video without sound so I have no idea what anyone is saying. So maybe it's horrible. Maybe you should watch it without sound to get your preferd imagined effect.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spiders


oh spiders.

Ed the Sock

People of my generation, do you remember Ed the Sock?


Yes, he was a jerk.

Tomorrow Land


The Future accoding to Fry

When I was in Disneyland one of the exhibits I went into was called Tomorrow Land (it was one of the only things that didn't have a line-up). Pretty much it was a giant, interactive advertisements for stuff. I was actually pretty disgusted that people were at Disneyland and spending their time playing video games (and I love games) but that's another story.

The main focus in the exhibit was "up and coming" technological advancements for your everyday life. Things were streamline and touch sensitive (if that- other things were just motion sensitive. Think Wii without the controllers) so when I saw THIS VIDEO <-click the link) I instantly thought about Tomorrow Land.

Another thought I had- the finger prints. I have a touch phone and I don't know if it's because I am eating all day long or I'm a girl and always seem to be putting on hand cream BUT the screen is always a smear of finger prints.

With all that touching (and kids- I don't care if they are wearing private school uniforms) everything is bound to be covered in sticky, greasy finger prints.

Aside from that, it's actually a pretty cool concept. I wonder if 20 years down the road we will look back on stuff like that and laugh at how silly we thought "the future" was going to be OR if it will all seem just outdated and tacky.

Shaka


"Learning the local shaka hand sign (fold first thru ring finger down, stick out thumb and little finger, then pivot it back and forth) as a thank you will endear you to all locals when you pull over, or ask to merge, etc. Just use it sincerely."

To send a shaka: make a fist with either hand. Extend the thumb and pinky while keeping the middle fingers curled under. Face your thumb and pinky away from your body and draw an invisible “j” in the air. Give your shaka a shake and you’re communicating Hawaiian-style!

The shaka is a simple yet powerful way to remind locals and visitors of the way people look out for each other on the islands and strive to spread aloha day in and day out, in keeping with the Hawaiian principle of malama i kekahi i kekahi, - take care of one, take care of all. If you’re new to the islands, don’t be shy about throwing up shakas, just make sure you’ve got the hand gesture down first! Aloha in the Hawaiian language can mean love, hello, goodbye, affection, regards, fondness and compassion. The amazing “shaka” communicates all this and more with just a simple wave of the hand.

Good thing I found this out before going to Hawaii otherwise I might have just signed "bacon" instead.
 
[hat tip to Trip advisor]
 
 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cure for Cancer: from the perspective of someone actually in the field

There has been a resurfacing of an article that was published in 2007 in regards to there being a cure for cancer and that "big pharam" is keeping us from this cure.

Here is a summary and the actual publication of the findings published in Cancer Cell journal. And another summary and publication of further findings published a year later in 2008

My brother is a Geneticist who is currently running a lab at  The University of Oxford in England where his specialty is finding a cure for Leukemia. He has a finger on the pulse of what is accurate and what isn't when it comes to the scientific world and cancer. When I came across this article again I was curious what he thought. If it was just a resurrection of old information or something that might actually be of some truth. If my brother was being paid out by "big pharam" to keep this under wraps, he would be a very rich man- which he isn't.  

You have to agree though that it has a certain psychological appeal (to that little conspiracy theorist inside each of us). There is something compelling about the notion that the powers that be are not acting in our interest. It gives us a (usually false) sense of empowerment to think we are peeking behind the curtain and seeing what’s really going on.

But on close inspection the story makes no sense. The core flaw in this notion is the unstated premise that the medical establishment is a monolithic entity capable of acting with one intent. Rather, like many aspects of our civilization, modern medicine is a complex organism with many independent parts, and no one piece has dominion over all the others. The pharmaceutical industry does not control all of medical research. It does fund a great deal of research, because it has billions of dollars to invest in R&D and it does direct its research funds to developing drugs that will make them money. But there is also billions of dollars in research funding from the government, and from private organizations, patient groups, and other sources. And of course, there are many other countries each with their own medical research infrastructure.

And research is not the only piece of the puzzle either. There are professional organizations, academic institutions, and disease advocacy groups.The notion of “a cure for cancer” is also highly improbable. Cancer is not a single disease, but a category of disease with a great deal of variation. That is why there are numerous treatments for cancer, and treatments need to be specifically tailored to the cancer type, stage, and location, as well as the individual patient.

But what about this specific treatment – dichloroacetate, or DCA? Promoters of science-based medicine deal with many types of health claims. Some are purely magical, others are physical but are clear quackery. DCA is neither. It is a legitimate drug with an interesting mechanism of action and some potential as a treatment for some cancers and other conditions as well (but to be clear up front, it is not a proven and accepted treatment for cancer in humans).

DCA falls under the category of prematurely promoting an experimental drug before it has been adequately studied. It can sound very compelling to hear the story of how DCA works to kill cancer cells. It certainly sounds like it is a cure for cancer. But medical researchers have been here before. Many potential treatments look good in the test tube, but do not eventually work as treatments in humans. Cancer is complex, and biology is complex, and in a living person the net effects may not be what we expect.

There is also safety to consider. Medical decision-making is about risk vs benefit. There is a tendency for naive and sensational reports to hype a treatment by focusing entirely on the potential benefits. But before we can reasonably recommend or give a treatment, we need to know something about the risks as well. We want to make sure we are not doing more harm than good.

Right now the preliminary evidence for DCA is weak but there is still a glimmer of promise. It looks like the ability to kill cancer cells is low, and therefore any clinical effect may be limited. Further, serious side effects are also coming to light. The drug has been linked to serious brain dysfunction and nerve damage. What all of this research also shows is that DCA is being researched. Contrary to the core claim in the article making the rounds, DCA is getting just the research attention it deserves.

DCA is just one of many potential future cancer treatments in the pipeline. It is an interesting approach, focusing on cancer cell metabolism, specifically mitochondrial function, and that may be the most interesting thing about DCA. But in its current form it’s activity seems to be low and its toxicity high. It may still find a role in cancer treatment. There may be specific cancers for which it has high activity, especially when combined with other treatments. There is a lot of research to be done. And we may find derivatives that are even better. Or, it may ultimately fail as a treatment.

A common story in the cancer-treatment world is that a new potential treatment, based upon a novel approach, is sensationalized as a cure for cancer. But then 5-10 years later we still haven’t cured cancer. But what has often happened is that the new treatment works, it just has a limited role in a subset of cancers. It prolongs survival and is being used- it’s just not the “cure” that it was originally hyped to be.

The history of cancer treatment has taught researchers to be humble and realistic. New treatments are great, and they are each contributing to the slowly increasing survival of many cancers. We are making progress with a lot of singles – just not the grand-slam home-runs that the media wants for good headlines.

As wonderful as it would be we can't believe the conspiracy-mongering and the hype. The research is happening. It is being targeted largely to therapies in proportion to their promise. But unfortunately research progresses much more slowly than rumors spread through Facebook and Twitter.

[Hat Tip to T. A. Milne- my brother]

Tell Me What You Know About Maui

Venice Falls, Maui

I'm embarking on an adventure next month to Maui, Hawaii with JP. I've never been before and I'm so excited. Even as the days are getting warmer here in Calgary and every day I see more and more green... there still isn't an ocean. There aren't palm trees and I can't get lei as soon as I get off the plane.

Maui... I'm excited. I want to go hiking. I want to see a volcano. I want to be overwhelmed with natural beauty and good food. I want to come back smelling like coconuts and pineapple. I want to gain 10 lbs from eating too much seafood and macadamia nuts.

So tell me, I'm sure a lot of you have been... what do I need to do? Where do I need to stay? What do I need to eat? What must I keep in mind when going to this tropical mecca?

Best Feeling: cutting through a sheet of construction paper


whoaa oooa ooooaaa, listen to the music.

When you hear scissors cutting through a sheet of construction paper, you just know there’s some fun about to happen. The table is probably covered in glue sticks, felt tip markers, glitter, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes. When you are the one making the sound you revel in the thickness of the paper and the satisfaction of how clean the cut your blunt edged children's scissors make. It's amazing.

A few years ago I was at a New Years party and the table was covered in every kind of nifty crafty thing possible. Our duty (as adults) was to make party hats for ourselves. I was in heaven with my Tab and vodka, a hockey game on the projector and colored paper and far as my eyes could see.

When I was younger there was a weekly children's hobby contest called Cappy Dick. You could  always find it in the colored comics of the Sunday paper. Every week there was a different assignment and I would enter religiously. I'm not sure if I was the only person who entered because I often won. There my name would be in small print "Blanche Milne" and sure enough in about 6-8 weeks I'd receive a yellow envelope with bubble wrap. The vessel of my prize.

Usually my prize was a pen with a pom-pom head on top or a small magic trick or some kind of small toy. One time though, I won my family a complete set of encyclopedias. That was the mother load.

It was never about the prize though, it was always about the creating. About making something from nothing and making it pretty. Making it mine. I remember the blisters I'd get on my fingers from working so hard. I remember the times I'd use too much glue and the paper would become a little soggy and stay wet for days. Yes, the sound of scissors cutting construction paper is the sound of important work about to happen. It’s the sound of creativity bubbling. It’s the sound of ideas blossoming. And it’s the sound of some decent fun on a rainy afternoon.

Best Feeling Ever!

Little Green Frog

Oh-AH went the little green frog one day and we all went Oh-oh-AHHHHH

Friday, May 13, 2011

Talk to me in letters



You know C/ Spaceman Spiff knows me well when he explain things like this:

"Between Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, I think you'd like Spirited Away more *if* you can get
past the love story part of it. Not that it's a stupid hollywood love story or anything, but it is there. Maybe more like the love story in Moulin Rouge, but less so. That's not a good description. I think you'd like Spirited Away more. Though Princess Mononoke is good too--it reminds me of The Last Samurai, but without the Scientologists.

Half way between Moulin Rouge and Ron and Hermione."

I totally get that. Understand it.

I love the email banter I have during work. I have a fantastic group of interesting and engaging people who I chit-chat with all day long (that sounds like bragging, it isn't.. I just adore the people who keep me entertained all day long). I love it. Makes work that much more fun! It's usually just banter about this and that or stuff we've found on the Internet or about sciencey stuff. Or Harry Potter. It's great.

I've always enjoyed writing. I've had many pen pals in my life, written on many blogs and always taken a very active role using my words. Again, I'm not saying I'm any good. I've improved a lot with spelling and grammar check but I'm not in anyway a good writer.. but it's a wonderful way to communicate.

When I use to pen pal everything was attended too. The types of stamps I used, what my writing looked like, the type of stationary I used and how I made my own envelopes. Those were fantastic days of letter exchange. I often wish I had been able to keep it up but life changes and we find that our demand for time changes as well.

Emails have filled that void as best as they can but there is something to be said about dragging a pen across paper and signing your name at end. I hear talk that handwriting is a dying art and I am sad to think that might even be the case. It's never obsolete. We'll always need to know how to write just as we'll always need to know how to walk.

Anyway, that's my ramble on.. It's almost home time and it's Friday. The weather's been nice and I've been looking forward to this weekend for a while (for obvious and not so obvious reasons).

Have a lovely Friday-Saturday-Sunday!

(it's funny to look at my writing samples and see the spelling errors. The cursive was so hard to concentrate on that I made some really basic errors that actually embarrass me- oh well! I am who I am, Love me!)


Best Feeling: sitting in a kiddie pool as a kid


Was there anything better than being 10 and running around on a hot August day with no shoes, lush green grass under foot and mum filling up the kiddie pool with the garden hose in the back. I could spend hours in the pool just playing with buckets, rocks and toy cars. One time I had a pool that had a little spout on it, like a whale. I would take my umbrella and open it up and sit right under that shower of water. I also liked to wear my Jelly Shoes in the pool. Or rubber boots. I'd also take my tricycle and try and ride it in the pool with my umbrella and rubber boots. That was just weird but seemed like such a good idea at the time.

I'd rescue waterlogged bugs from the surface of the water however if a Daddy Long Legs happened to crawl in-- all bets were off. I wanted either my Dad to fish it out or a new batch of water.

Sometimes, in the morning my mum would use warm tap water to fill the tub. She's fill up the kitchen sink and siphon the water down to my little kiddie pool so it would be nice and warm. Almost like a bath.

Now, I don't sit in a kiddie pool- but I would. I might... I still jump through sprinklers if I see them (which is rare downtown) and if there is a place where I can stick my feet in the water... I will.

But nothing will ever come close to replacing those days during summer vacation where I would become a prune from sitting in hose water for 8 hours straight. Best Feeling Ever.



Elephant Bath

Frock


This Alexander McQueen dress is stunning.
It's on exhibit along with many others at the Met Museum in New York.
Yet another reason I'd love to go to New York soon.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Best Feeling: travel spam

let me show you the world...

Everyday I check my emails and hope that I see an email from Travel Alerts. It's my favorite email to get (a side from the notifications that I have a comment that needs to be moderated on my blog- those are pretty awesome). It wasn't until today that I realised that they come on Wednesday! When I see it I feel a little glee jump in my tummy and I open it first, look at the deals, images of exotic vacations dance through my head and calculations of how great those deals really are run through the spreadsheet in my mind.

Like this week, the list is shorter than usual BUT they have this awesome deal to Orlando. As soon as I hear Orlando I think HARRY POTTER LAND! And I dream a little.

Round Trip to Orlando for only $300! Hell YEAH!

Best Feeling in the WORLD- the Wizarding and Muggle World.

Eating at Buffets: 101


this could all be yours!


There you are, standing at the end of the line waiting for the beginning of a buffet to start. You might be out to lunch- at a Chinese Restaurant. You might be at a wedding. You might even be at the Fairmount Banff Springs hotel getting ready for their epic brunch. Regardless of where you are, it's about to begin. If you are smart you will embrace this experience and live to tell about it. If you are stupid, you might die or worse... not be able to get up and end up getting sick from pure gluttony.

Generally, I don't do a lot of buffets. They just aren't my thing. All that food just sitting out, waiting for careless fingers and sneezes to contaminate the morsels (I know. It's the OCD) but one I will do is the brunch (not the breakfast-- that's just gross) buffet at the Banff Springs Hotel. I have a technique:

#1) Get a feel for the lay of the land. What appeals to you.. what looks fresh.. Where is the guy standing with the big hat and meat? Is there also a guy with a hat manning a grill for fresh omelets or other custom made treats? How do you plan to eat? How hungry are you?

WAIT:
The #1 mistake that people tend to make before they even start to load up their plate is ordering something to drink. Yes, a sipping a little water is okay (and I can never turn down a mimosas) but do not fill up on it. Save your belly space for the goods not the liquids.

#2) Now grab your plate. Start by taking small little portions of everything that made the first cut. The stuff that looks fresh and tasty. This is the sample part of the experience. It's important to gage on how you want to fill your belly. I'll generally do this twice at a brunch. Once for the breakfast plate and another for the lunch plate (I'll get into this later). It's important to know that this is just an audition, the show plate is up next.

#3) You have the perfect idea of what exactly you want to eat. Go in and get 'er done! At a brunch I like to have two meals. Start with of breakfast foods and then follow that up (after the sampler) with lunch foods. It's not usually appealing to combine the two unless it's under special circumstances. At this point it is vital to keep your eyes and ears open- watch for fresh stuff… when you go back for more be sure to communicate your findings to the others at your table. It’s a group effort mastering a buffet and you are all sure to have a better time if everyone stays aware and involved.

#4) After the savory has been fully experienced the next step is the dessert plate. This I find is usually a good sharing point. Create a Sampler Plate filled with everything that you think looks amazing and share with the table. This way you don’t run the risk of ruining that delicate sweet tooth (too much sugar can be killer on a full tummy and ruin the whole experience). I usually find that a mouthful or two of even the best desserts (Chocolate Mousse exempt- this is all mine) are all that is needed. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing at a buffet.

#5) Your Victory Plate. This is the last plate.. I usually make it a small one, while I am clearing up the bill… my tummy is settling and I have unbuttoned my pants (or, in a perfect world I’m not wearing pants. Dresses for all!). I usually get a final craving for my “Best of the Best Of’s”. So I grab a small plate and take just a final serving of my favorite item. One year it was Sheppard’s Pie, another year it was Rabbit Stew, the year before—banana bread French toast. You have to be careful, being too greedy can change everything. I remember one year I had to walk really slowly from my table out of the restaurant and then lay on the couches outside for about a half hour till things started to move alone. I couldn’t get into the car. I couldn’t walk.. I couldn’t even talk. I could eat my weight in food and my tummy loved every moment of it. I ache to get back to this point (that’s a whole other blog post… actually I think it already has been).

#6) As tempting as it might be, do not guzzle any type of liquid until at least 30 minutes after your last bite. As soon as you add water to the mass in your tummy it instantly expands and you might end up exploding. Give it time and just sip the water. Keep it classy people, keep it classy.

Conclusion:
With these tips you can master the art of eating at an all you can eat buffet- nothing but heart burn can stop you now. The world is your bottomless oyster.

Good Use of Time

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Message

How true is that?

Seasons of Love and Seasons of Michael

One of my favorite musicals RENT is playing in Calgary up till this Saturday. You may reconise this famous little number:


Video: Season of Love from RENT

I was reminded of this song a few weeks ago when I saw one of the last epsidods of The Office that included Steve Carell.


Video: The Office

Fantastic. Oh Office.. how I love thee...

Best Feeling: taking your clothes off when you get in the door

It feels this good


There isn't anything I look forward to more after a long day of work than taking all my clothes off as soon as I get in door. I rush off to my room and peel off my stockings, toss my trendy belts to the side, fling my shirt off and rip off my bra. I scratch around my sock line if I've been wearing sock and put on these airy cotton teddy bear pants and my grey Feist concert t-shirt. My hair gets pulled up off my neck and tied in a bun at the top of my head and I remove any bobby pins that might be keeping it out of my face.

I rub my belly, eat a little chocolate, and then I do some yoga.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fishy Days are a Head

"I'd be surprised if this didn't confuse you"
~Brian Dumbledore

If I were an artist and this were my showing I wouldn't know what to tell you about this picture. It took me 2 minutes to create in Microsoft Paint and the caption doesn't mean anything to me. Actually, I don't even think it makes sense.

I might try and sell it to you for $5 (size) 8x10 but more than likly I'd give it to you for free because I know you. If you work downtown I might even courier it to you and you might not even know it.

I like the look of the orange, blue and green. The green thing is a fish head. I can see it, can you?

Okay, enough of a break. Time to get back to work.

(I think my combo of love and spring fever had finally gotten the best of me)

thing to do...

what a hoot!

I have this little list of things I want to do in the next little while. Some of them big some of them small. Some of them have no meaning at all and some of them have the most meaning of all. But it's just a list and things can change but right now, here are some stops in my life I would like to make:

  • get my scuba diving certification
  • start my own NGO &/or help a community/person/something in need.
  • ride on an elephant
  • start a business that I feel passionate about
  • create happiness for others or help them find it
  • learn another languge
  • see the cherry blossoms in Japan
  • ride a camel
  • go to Iceland
  • learning something new almost everyday (Ryan, where is that blog!)
  • go to Rio Carnaval
  • build a tree house
  • see the salt flats in Bolivia
  • go to Peru
  • travel europe (it's easier just to say this rather than list everything I want to do there)
  • take a cooking or pastery class in france
  • wolf watching and dog sleading
  • see Burning Man
  • go to New Orleans
  • see the wheat feilds in Saskatewan before they are harvested
  • write a book and publish it myself
  • go to a World Cup game
  • see Joni Mitchel play
  • go on a modern day treasure or scavanger hunt ( I need a Gremlin watch for this I think)
  • climb a Mount Kilimanjaro
  • see a volcano
  • keep learning the guitar and one day learn to play The Rain Song
  • see the jungle- go to Costa Ricca
  • skate the cannals in Holland and eat giant meat balls covered in gravy
  • go on a hot air balloon ride/ adventure
  • ride the Canadian Mountianeer
  • see the desert
  • zip-line
  • take pictures all along the way
  • settle down and have a family- whatever that may look like (me and a partner. me and a partner and a pet. me and a partner and a pet and kids).
that's it for now, I don't want to seem too idealistic but these are the things I'd like to do in the next little while.

Do you have a little list of things you'd like to experience and do?

I Always Forget that Paint is my Friend


sometimes I get distracted at work and I go and play in Paint

Compliments



Casanova once simply said "Tell the beautiful that they are smart and the smart that they are beautiful"...

To be showered with compliments is lovely, as long as they are genuine. Give your compliments weight by seeing the person beyond the obvious.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

File-> Print Heart

Sweet heart, Bitter Heart
now I can tell you apart
cozy and cold
put the horse before the cart

One of the topics that interests me the most in science right now is regenerative medicine. Basically taking a patients own cells and creating an organ out of that material for transplant. An ideal situation for any transplant patient.

From what I understand, anti-rejection medications are not fun. At all. Sure, you live longer with a fancy dancy new organ, which is great... but the side effects of these meds are difficult to live with, Fundamentally having a transplanted organ made from one's own cells removes the need for anti-rejection medication because the new organ is not made of foreign cells. The immune system will not attack it.

Here is a video that describes where we are today in the realm of regenerative medicine:
link to video

I really hope that this becomes a reality within the next couple of decades. Or at least before I need that new heart.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Shine On You Crazy Diamond


I used to work in the jewelery industry and as a result I know a lot about all that glitters, all that holds that which glitters, time keepers and flatware.

Obviously, the most talked about thing when I was working in the sales portion of jewelery was diamonds. I was lucky enough to start my career with one of Canada's most reputable jewelry stores, Henry Birks & Sons. So the vast majority of clients that I dealt with were shaky young men wringing their hands at the counter looking for the perfect ring to offer his girl so they can spend the rest of their lives together.

I'd always start with the 4 C's

  • Cut (being the most important and often most neglected when looking for a stone outside of a high end, reputable jewelry store)
  • Color
  • Clarity
  • Carat

The Cut of a diamond is what truly makes a diamond come alive under almost any light. It requires meticulous precision of a highly skilled artisan to ensure that proper proportions and polishing are created to maximise brilliance and scintillation. To really appreciate the importance of  cut one would need to look at two different cut stones side-by-side within similar color, clarity and carat of each other. One being of an "ideal" or an "excellent" cut and the other being a "Good" or "Fair" cut you'll notice an immediate difference in brilliance.


Often, diamonds are cut with focus on maintaining as much of the carat weight of the store as possible. This can often result in stones that are cut too deep or to shallow not allowing the diamond to reflect as much light as it potentially could. I believe that there should be more focus on the cut of the stone rather than the carat size. Who cares if you have a 3.00 ctw stone on your finger. If it's cut poorly it's just going to look like a piece of beach glass anyway.


EX (excellent of ideal)
VG (very good)
GD (good)
FR (fair or poor)

A good rule of thumb should be to stick with excellent/ideal or very good especially when buying a stone over 0.25 ctw.



Color. It's the second most important feature of a diamond you should be aware of when purchasing. The concept of color in a diamond is actually referring to the absence of color (with the exception of fancy color diamonds but we don't get into that) which represents the rarest and highest quality diamond. The less color in the diamond the better. Naturally diamonds tend to be on the brown/yellowish side however most diamonds found in a jewelry store setting tend to be a close to the colorless range as possible.

The scale begins with the letter D and works its way all the way down to Z

a rule of thumb when buying a colorless diamond is stick above am I/J. Anything below that the untrained eye is actually able to pick up color in the stone making the stone look as though it has been sitting in a cup of strong tea. Color is a huge indicator in price of a stone. Though "D" is a very rare and special stone color to find you can usually get a "G" or an "F" that visually looks the same and is much lower in cost.



Clarity is the third most important thing to consider when looking for a diamond. It is the extent in which a diamond is free from inclusions. Though a diamond is said to be flawless when no inclusions or surface blemishes can be seen under a 10x magnification a truly flawless diamond is extremely rare. Of course rarity effects the value of the stone.





Carat represents the gemologist's measure of diamond weight. This is the part of diamonds that gets the most attention but I believe has the least amount of importance when buying a stone. Of course, the larger the stone the more rare it becomes (especially if you are not willing to compromise quality) but a side from that it's all personal preference just as the shape of the stone is as well.


So that's the basics on diamonds. I'm rusty having been out of the industry for so long. I was reminded again of how much I enjoyed working with fine, beautiful things when I saw that Tiffany's & Co. was opening at Chinook mall today (they had a breakfast I believe). A good friend of mine will be working behind the scenes in operations and I think she's really going to enjoy it. I'm excited for her, they paid for her to go to New York for training a few weeks ago. That's fantastic... a week long trip in New York city learning all about Tiffany's. Such a dream!

Now,  maybe next week I'll talk about watches or flatware (table setting 101)


[resources: Pictures borrowed from Birks]

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Daffy Jesus Lizard

I am easily amused. Don't judge me.



Video:The Miracle of the Daffy Jesus Lizard (original narration by Randall)

Ray of Light

finally

Ray is coming to Calgary- finally! I've been waiting for this to happen for years... ever since I picked up a little album of his based purely on the album art, I've been a fan. Since Laura played his songs non-stop for years... I've been a fan.

I'm ready for Ray Lamontagne to come to Calgary.

This has been an expensive year for concerts (thank goodness I'm a little disappointed in the line up for Folk Fest because I don't know if I'm going to be able to do that as well. We'll see... things are different this year. Things are good) but that's okay. I've seen and will be seeing some acts I've been waiting forever to see.

Ray is one of the few new artists on my bucket lists of artists I need to see before either of us die. Thankfully he's playing at the Jack Singer which is a sweet little concert hall downtown. Intimate. Good acoustics- perfect for Ray's sweet, melodious voice.

Presale starts May 5th (??) for Calgary- not sure what the code is yet. I heard somewhere that it might be SLOWDOWN.

*sigh....

(now we just need to get Joni Mitchel feeling better and on tour one last time)



Empty by Ray Lamontagne

She lifts her skirt up to her knees
Walks through the garden rows with her bare feet, laughing
And I never learned to count my blessings
I choose instead to dwell in my disasters

Walk on down the hill
Through grass grown tall and brown
And still it's hard somehow to let go of my pain
On past the busted back
of that old and rusted Cadillac
That sinks into this field collecting rain

Will I always feel this way ‒
So empty, so estranged?

And of these cut-throat busted sunsets,
these cold and damp white mornings
I have grown weary
If through my cracked and dusted dime-store lips
I spoke these words out loud would no one hear me?
Lay your blouse across the chair,
Let fall the flowers from your hair
And kiss me with that country mouth so plain.
Outside the rain is tapping on the leaves
To me it sounds like they're applauding us,
The quiet love we've made.

Will I always feel this way
So empty, so estranged?

Well, I looked my demons in the eyes
laid bare my chest, said "Do your best, destroy me.
You see, I've been to hell and back so many times,
I must admit you kind of bore me."
There's a lot of things that can kill a man
There's a lot of ways to die
Yes, and some already dead that walk beside me
There's a lot of things I don't understand
Why so many people lie
Well, it's the hurt I hide that fuels the fires inside me

Will I always feel this way
So empty, so estranged?