Monday, August 30, 2010

Canadian Identity crisis

In the giant "family" of the international community, Canada is still a teenager, finding its place on the stage. As a result, Canadians are still trying to connect to a unified identity, distinct from similar nations. Following the "family" dynamic, it can occasionally feel like Canada is stuck between its rowdy younger sibling, America, and its older siblings, Europe, etc.
Canadians often feel ignored on the international stage, with the younger United States barging around being reckless. Struggling to break out from under its shadow, Canadians often find themselves attracted to anything that mentions Canada, occasionallly even fighting for attention.
Much like middle children, Canada is not an overachiever, preferring to watch the United States try things first before dipping its toes in. It occasionally starts long projects, but rarely follows through.
Canada's army must usually make due with the "hand-me-downs" from the older countries, and can rarely afford new items.
Finally, middle children are usually described as having "no sense of direction", and that's why Canada is so large; the explorers got lost.

Keeping all these gloomy revelations in mind, I turned to the primary source of "coming of age country" information available!
Some things that the internet recommends to "counteract" middle child syndrome;
1. Have a special day just for the child: Canada Day- Check!
2. Find unique talents: Training other countries' air forces - Check!
3. Expect individuality: Canada's U.N involvement as a peacekeeper - Check!
4. Praise works wonders: If we keep following the US around, they'll notice us eventually! - Eventual Check!
5. Spend "me" time with parents: Canada's vast wilderness and open skies- Check!
6. No competitions: ...Crap...

Well, using these simple steps, soon we should be on our way through the "emo" phase of our teeenage years, past the soul-searching, peace-corps-joining, granola-eating youth stage, and on to the mature, savvy adult phase! Huzzah!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Odd threats, er, thoughts

Alberta Premiere Ed Stelmach says "there will be no Provincial sales tax as long as [he's] around." Although it is couched as a promise, it reads more like a threat. Especially when he followed it up with a statement that it may be necessary in twenty to thirty years.

I've obviously engaged "student mode" in anticipation of this September's return to post-secondary; I noticed the cottage cheese expired a week ago, but still smelled it, just in case. When it smelled sour, I still checked for mold. (Threw it out, Dear Reader, worry not)

The dogs have followed mommy's unhealthy eating example however, I caught Faith the Husky with her head in the cat's litter box...eating... and now I have to come up with a punishment that is worse than eating poop.

A group of 33 Chilean miners has been trapped underground since a mine collapsed back on August 5th. No joke here, there are reports that if they began digging now, it would still take them until Christmas to free them, such is the depth of the emergency shelter they reside in. Please send your thoughts to these people.

I found this article in the New York Times, about language and how it shapes our thinking, focusing on a language called Guugu Yimithirr where they do not use directions like "forward" or "backward", but instead use north, south, east, or west:
"In order to speak a language like Guugu Yimithirr, you need to know where the cardinal directions are at each and every moment of your waking life. You need to have a compass in your mind that operates all the time, day and night, without lunch breaks or weekends off, since otherwise you would not be able to impart the most basic information or understand what people around you are saying. Indeed, speakers of geographic languages seem to have an almost-superhuman sense of orientation. Regardless of visibility conditions, regardless of whether they are in thick forest or on an open plain, whether outside or indoors or even in caves, whether stationary or moving, they have a spot-on sense of direction. They don’t look at the sun and pause for a moment of calculation before they say, “There’s an ant just north of your foot.” They simply feel where north, south, west and east are, just as people with perfect pitch feel what each note is without having to calculate intervals. There is a wealth of stories about what to us may seem like incredible feats of orientation but for speakers of geographic languages are just a matter of course. One report relates how a speaker of Tzeltal from southern Mexico was blindfolded and spun around more than 20 times in a darkened house. Still blindfolded and dizzy, he pointed without hesitation at the geographic directions."

I also found this article, which should also be read, but it is ten pages, so here is my favorite excerpt:
"KENISTON CALLED IT youth, Arnett calls it emerging adulthood; whatever it’s called, the delayed transition has been observed for years. But it can be in fullest flower only when the young person has some other, nontraditional means of support — which would seem to make the delay something of a luxury item. That’s the impression you get reading Arnett’s case histories in his books and articles, or the essays in “20 Something Manifesto,” an anthology edited by a Los Angeles writer named Christine Hassler. “It’s somewhat terrifying,” writes a 25-year-old named Jennifer, “to think about all the things I’m supposed to be doing in order to ‘get somewhere’ successful: ‘Follow your passions, live your dreams, take risks, network with the right people, find mentors, be financially responsible, volunteer, work, think about or go to grad school, fall in love and maintain personal well-being, mental health and nutrition.’ When is there time to just be and enjoy?” Adds a 24-year-old from Virginia: “There is pressure to make decisions that will form the foundation for the rest of your life in your 20s. It’s almost as if having a range of limited options would be easier.”
The most compelling line in the article: "Is it only a grim pessimist like me who sees how many roadblocks there will be on the way to achieving those dreams and who wonders what kind of freewheeling emerging adulthood she is supposed to be having?"

So this is all I have to say today, mostly because I was pulled from my Work-nest and put on a truck where I had to actually work to be paid. Strange sensation. Anyway, in the words of Pat Benetar, "Hit me with your pet shark! C'mon! Hit me with your pet shark!"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Failbook: Too funny to unfriend

I trolled through the depths of Failblog to find my Dear Reader horrible status updates from facebook. Enjoy.

see more Failbook

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sylvestor Stallone is older than dirt.

I hit 300 posts with my last post; I was going to mark the occasion, got too distracted, so here I am marking it late. 9/10. Marked.

So we finally had a day off, and went to go see the Expendables, which Vic wanted to see because it's guns and fists and explosions of awesome, and I wanted to go see it because it's Jason Statham and last time we saw him he was half-naked sliding around in oil so...

Unfortunately I didn't realize a) it was directed by Sylvester Stallone b) it is starring Sylvester Stallone and c) Sylvester Stallone wouldn't understand a joke if it was aimed at him. Not to say the movie was bad. There were explosions. There was a cool plane. There was Dexter's Detective Batista trying to be serious, tough, and dictatory. There was an attractive lady who had a personality trait. Guns, bikes, tattoos and height jokes.

Unfortunately they were stuck between the need for a simple script in order to hang so many diverse yet fascinating actors off, and someone's apparent desire to just hang them off his massive, aged, biceps. A movie with this many big names really needs to space them so we don't all suffer star shock, but they were almost so spaced it was unwieldy, never really gaining speed. Perhaps if it had been paired down a touch, and hung on something like a "mission: impossible" framework? Then again, ocean's eleven has already been done.

The downside is that you never develop enough empathy that you care about the good guys winning; not always a problem, but typically the visual effects are incredible enough you don't care that the characters are about as interesting as a hairball. In this case, however, you have two big holes (How many stunts can you really have when the main character is this old, but no one is allowed to top him?) and no distracting lump of glittery awesome. (That's a really uncomfortable statement)

So in closing, it's sort of sad I'm even trying to assess this so much, because it's really like critiquing the food at McDonald's, you aren't there for home-made or haut cuisine, you're there because it's pretty cheap, and you used to love it as a kid, but I'm trying anyway, because, gosh-darnit, we need to start demanding more from our movies. The last "epic saga" we had was based on some blue guys that didn't want to give up their tree. Yes, yes, it was pretty, but so was "gone with the wind" and it still said something.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Time to come out of the closet. I've been living a lie for far too long, and I need to walk in the sun. I realize this may provoke horror, confusions, maybe even disgust, from my closest associates but it needs to be said. So I guess I'll just let go and let God, as they say. Besides, I've had this post in my head for a while, and it seems like a good way to send off for my weekend. I've also thought about the best way to say this for a while and the best way seems to be just blurting it out so here goes:
I don't wash my hair.

WAA! Hoo-AH! Got that out in one! Just like the band-aid method, which I actually hate. I've spent over an hour freezing my tuchis off in glacial water just easing myself in while everyone else had fun and contemplates leaving as I insist "I'll be there in a minute!" but I suppose that's not the big thing is it? It did kill enough time for Dear Reader to get over the shock and start wondering if a) this is a tasteless joke or b) I've lost my mind. Let me offer assurance, it is neither.

Some years ago I made a misguided attempt to see if blonde's really do have more fun and bleached my much loved hair. This would be the perfect time for an inclusionary photo if I didn't think it would reduce all my readers to stone. Needless to say, it was only a moderate success. the first couple colours were heavily selected from the "orange" side of the blonde scale, and the last few were lovely colored (Dark-haired ladies going blonde? Tip one: get it done professionally the first time at least. It is worth the expense. Tip two: select anything called "ashy", it helps neutralize the brassiness to give it a more natural look.) but were layered on top of hair so fried, frizzled, and damaged it gave me more of a hobo-meth-model vibe than Monroe.

Finally, after a solid year of research I had to conclude that bald women have the most fun. (Science is science, don't argue) Unfortunately, hair does not simply snap back to your lustrous color after your mind has snapped back to the reality that God made you brunette for a reason, and neither are you gifted with your healthy hair (you didn't do it any good the first time, now you have to earn it back!), and instead are issued the "loaner" hair that is dead and lifeless, much like the courtesy car for most shops. One thing people note about me is I pull my hair. Stressed, tired, angry, thinking, nervous, sleepy, hungry, or bored, I tug at my hair like it's the pull start for my brain; have done so since I was about 14 and someone gave me silly putty to spare my tresses. Nothing doin', said my fingers, and they were back at it within a month. Even when I shaved my head, I assumed I would learn other habits and stop, but I even remember the day it became long enough again and my hands went wabbling back up, just to see, just to try it, see if it was long enough, and I "came to" about a year and half later saying, "Wasn't I going to stop this?"

Needless to say, I have a lot of experience with how my hair feels at its best and worst. Over time my hair grew back and was nice again, releasing me from the almost clinical addiction to conditioner that I had cultivated to give my hair some semblance of life. I could even skip a few days of shampooing and not feel like snuffulupagus. Eventually the days got longer, and I started to dislike shampooing it because for the few days afterwards it was always dry and frizzy, regardless of what shampoo or conditioner I used.

The big change came when I was forwarded an email on a phenomenon called "No-poo" which I had assumed was some new radical diet method, but turned out to be what I had been looking for. A whole culture of people who didn't washt their hair. I tried it for a while, and I've never looked back (Wow. Pithy Phrase day is in full swing.)

The intergral part is in still "washing" your hair, just not using soaps or shampoos. I just rinse and brush in the shower (I've found that's best). The only downside I've noticed is my hair holds onto water like its in the sahara. If I'm blowdrying it, which I can do now without looking like a failed electrocution patient, I've got to bring a chair. If I'm ever dying of thirst, I can just soak my hair and subsist for years, if it wasn't for the fact that the evaporting water would give me heat stroke in about 6.5 seconds. Many sites report using baking soda or apple cider vinegar (One girl thought it was apple cider, so she reported back that it made her hair "sticky". I laughed until I snorted.) to clean off hair products about once a week or month, depending, but so far I just don't use hair products so there's been no buildup to rid myself of. My hair never seems to need product anymore, anyhow, its more lively and holds its shape fantastically.

The toughest part, of course, is getting throught the initial week. It seems that the scalp is used to producing extra oil to accomadate for the oil stripped off your hair, but without the stripping, your scalp overproduces oil until it realizes what's going on and slows it down. For the first week, or sometimes two, most people have to just stay indoors, or wear hats. Afterwards, however, most people adore their hair.

The other downside is rinsing my hair after the gym is no longer optional. It used to be that I could get away with it, sometimes wash at the end of the day, but now, the sweat just hangs around, and doesn't feel good at all, and my hair has become so smooth it just clumps with the moisture.

I am going to assume that I don't smell, of course, that being what most would consider the biggest downside, but I've rarely ever had serious body odor issues. On the other hand, how would you tell someone that, and the people I trust most to tell me either love me too much to mention (Vic and my family) have literally no sense of smell (Kirk) or don't spend enough time physically near me to know it's a trend (Andreanna, Joe). So I guess I'll just assume for now until someone dumps a cooler of gatorade over my head and forces me to shampoo.

So there we have it. I've been shampoo free for almost two months and I don't ever anticipate going back. Now, it's not for everyone, but it's good to know there are other options out there, isn't it? Besides, it's not the worst thing I've done to my hair.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sudden brain f(r)og and memory impairment

I didn't have a post today. My brain is fried from studying calculus and political science, typing up my macroeconomic notes, and searching for trash on the internet. (Funny trash, but trash none-the-less)

I had resigned myself to not posting anything of value (Ah ha ha! This implies my other posts are of value! Ah Ha Ha Ha!), until just a few seconds ago, when I looked out the turret window, which stands around 5 and half feet above the ground, with a large roof overhang, blocked from wind and rain, and a two inch ledge recessed into the wall, to see a small frog. A little green frog, the size of my thumb, sitting, peering with one eye into my space. I could not have been more shocked.
You're making this up.
Oh! Dear Reader is a skeptic! But I swear, as I live and breath, (always wanted to say that) that he was sitting out there on this window ledge, looking at me. He gamely crawled the length of the ledge with a dignified wander, before disappearing as I tried to focus through my phone's camera. I am somewhat heartbroken to report that there are no visible photos of the event in question. I had failed to push the button firmly enough to indicate to my phone that yes, I would like to take a picture, please, yes NOW, and so it simply flashed and ignored what I was pointing it at, leading to my belief that I had two excellently aimed photos. When I searched my file to see them, they were nowhere to be found, and I tried to take another as he darted off, but succeeded in only capturing the reflection of some cables in the window.
It's tragic how photogenic life can be when we are ill-equipped.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pol(IT)ical Science

I have a crazy idea. Well, I usually have those about two or three an hour, but this one is special. It came when I was studying my Political Science text (which is going average so far)
The definition for a Nation is a group of people who share a sense of common identity and who typically believe they should be self-governing within their homeland.

I got to thinking and it occured to me, this sounds familiar. Where could we use this principle to simplify struggles and difficulties? To define boundaries and ensure everyone is on the same page to maximize a resource potential?
Answer? On the internet!


Think about it! If we identified the internet as a seperate sovereign nation-state, we could have a defined set of laws, regardless of the origninating country, a police force operating across the world, in union with domestic police forces, a set of buisness policies, regulations and systems which would be universal across the data-space. It could work in concert with the U.N on global issues, spreading awareness, invited into foreign countries on informative missions, work in union with the Red Cross, even streamline all forms of media and information to get around problems of censureship. To say nothing of the research and development potential! Using the internet as a seperate state to tabulate and collaborate multiple countries' worth of individual's research is staggering, to say the least.

But why bother? Interjects my faithful Dear Reader.
The reason is perfectly logical. As the internet's power and noteriety grows, it is going to be harder and more complicated for countries to police and investigate each individual person and entity on the 'net, not to mention the political scandals and international struggles that will invariably arise from extradition orders, and each countries' beliefs about right and wrong. If there was a government head directing traffic on the internet, it could free up many resources for the individual countries dealing with things.

Serious Michelle?
Okay DR, but the problem that I feel most executive branches of government have always struggled with is the tendancy to REACT to things, as opposed to plan for things, to set up systems to deal with things that have the potential for world-changing issues. Especially when it comes to issues of a legal nature; we wait until someone does something that does not seem to fit into our current legal boxes, then we sit around and debate about it, until we decide something, which then becomes a precident for future issues. Now, that's not a real safe system. (Har har, we don't even have a system for our systems). We need to focus more on problems that may arise; there's a whole career path occupied with studying trends and predicting the future actions, consequences, problems, and solutions. The people are called futurists (and this post is getting more and more hebephrenic as I go). As an amateur futurist, I believe one of the most pro-active steps we as a global community could take to prepare for the shiny new future is to turn the Internet into a nation-state.

Netopia: Thee Glorious Future

P.s. Holy smokes, we could assume that robots and even A.I are automatically citizens of Netopia! It could eventually become self-sufficient, and would appease them enough that when Skynet rolls around, they'd love their sovereignity too much to kill us all! They could even build a new land mass and claim it in the name of Netopia!

P.p.s. The dominant government could be Communism! It might be one of the few places where it could actually work well! We could see how it works and model ourselves after it!

P.p.p.s.s. No more exclamation marks for me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Goodness wages, great balls of fire!

From the previous post, I began to do a little research into the gender wage gap, and was floored by what I discovered.
A woman, working full time, earns on average eighty three percent what a man working the same job does.
Don't get me wrong; we're bringing it back up from the dark ages of the '60s, which I had assumed stood for the 1960's, but now it appears it also stands for what percent women earned of men's salaries. (%60) Although constant improvment has been recorded since then, we have lost the tremendous growth we saw in the years 1990-1994, where the average jumped a full 7 percent before easing back down over the next few years.

This statistic is the median weekly earning from wage and salaried positions, which of course might mean there is a smaller group of men skewing the statistics by having exorbitant salaries, but when salaries of the highest educated professionals were compared (master's, Professional, and above) the percent fell to %66. This is what I can look forward to by earning a PhD. (Oh, and also that "fulfilling job" stuff, but that's not the point) When the highest decile (tenth percentile) for median weekly earning was compared , men topped out at 1,971, women at 1,498, with a difference of 10, 000 men in this percentile.

This study was controlled for things like overtime, but there are many unresolved factors. Benefits were not considered, time off, vacations, and also the complicating factor of the difference in sex's ability to ask for a raise. We can only hope that this disparity is due to the speed at which society accepts new developments (On a societal scale, women's suffrage is still shiny and smells like leather), which is slow, but eventually we can expect progress. The gap is predicted to close with the next twenty years, but I do find one thing strange; The gap between black men and black women, is only about 7%. Black women earn about 92% of what black men earn. Other non-white races typically follow the same pattern, men and women earning close to similar amounts, but not close to white male earnings.
It is possible, then, that what we are observing is not a loss of earning for women and non-white races, but an overinflation of white men's earnings, that once this is adressed and equalized, we'll all be on the same field.


Oh. Boy.
I thought of this post on my way home and I darn near didn't make it through the door before chucking down my bag and typing to get this little rant out. I'm still wearing my shoes, I haven't eaten, and I might be hyperventilating a little. That's how critical this post is.

But first; I've been thinking of using pictures for my blog. Certainly it would spice it up a bit, I guess. Not personal ones, obviously, giving the internet your personal likeness is a recipe for photo-shop related hi-jinks and great jimminy-jilkers I want to run for Prime Ministress one day. But perhaps some random pictures would spruce the place up. I suppose I would have to host them online somehow, though, which leads me to my question: What type of wine would you serve to pictures? I really should consult Martha Stewart's Hostess handbook but she only covers a few anthropomorphic niceties and I really need the full manual. Still, you can't go wrong with an Australian Red, and if they don't like it, then I don't need their low-class taste stinking up my blog, har har.

Now then: stereotypes. One in particular, to be exact; Ladies and the spending. I'm not entirely sure what "Sex and the City" has been teaching people but if I have to dodge one more joke about "spending my boyfriend's paycheck" I might have to have some strong words. Carved onto the side of a cleaver (the knife, not the kitschy American family). I'm fully aware how futile it is to try and refute a dearly held notion with one anecdotal argument, but I have few other options. Usually the situation goes the same way, myself and my boyfriend are loitering around the shop (just hoping to be useful; our favorite past-time) mid-conversation with someone else, when the discussion will amble over to finances, and someone will elbow Vic, hurr hurr, and ask how he manages to support my voracious shoe habit, or some such. It is always crouched in the form of a joke (Aren't they always?) and there is no polite way of correcting the joker without lowering the tone of the discussion several degrees and incurring the most hated phrase of accuracy-lovers everywhere: "I'm just kidding!!" Well Hardy-har-har chuckles! This phrase is the sneaky, self-serving, degenerate low-life phrase of the idiom family, and is usually delivered with a hurt infliction, occcasionally even with upraised hands. It exonerates the joker, who's just a fun-loving scamp, and places all responsibility for social niceness and further conversation-tone on the jokee. Any offense gathered from the "joke" instantly turns the jokee into a "self-righteous prig with (the worst charge) NO SENSE OF HUMOR". Worse, I don't think well on my feet, so of course my response is never witty or clever (which as every conversational fencer knows, lends more credit to your point than an actual argument) so my response is invariably something sputtered and denial-filled. The result? I look incredibly guilty, while my coworkers stare at me wondering how I can spend all Vic's money and still look so shamefully tacky when arriving at work everyday. (The answer, dear reader, is that I don't care to look good entering work. I wear those clothes for about 5 minutes in public view; I literally spend more time naked in the ladies change room, which is why, proportionally, more of my money goes to the gym and health food, than clothes.) The real truth, however poorly I make the point, is that Vic is more impulsive than myself. It is true. I'm frugal to almost a fault. Having decided to buy a netbook for classes and this very same blog, I spent over a month hemming, hawing, and finding the cheapest alternative, finally settling for "offensively cheap" because it had been returned already. Over the course of our relationship Victor has spent more on clothes, shoes, and hobbies, than I have. Now here's where I must back off, and hope that some small spark of trust will be lit in the reader, since to belabor my point (my fondest indulgence) would embarrass Victor, which I've no mind to do (I even tried to consider how to write the post without involving him, but it would be darn near impossible). He is thrifty, and not reckless with his money, my only point is that I'm much more frugal (again, almost to a fault), and I hate being labeled as a "loose-woman" because I'm a lady, therefore obviously I have no idea how to handle money. That's so wrong!
"Seriously though, Michelle, It's just some light ribbing!" I know, I know. (Dear Reader has had so much contribution to the blog, as of late, it may merit authoring credit) I should really learn to let it go. Laugh with the joke, content in my knowledge that I'm not some fluff-bunny, but sometimes virtue is not it's own reward. Sometimes a stand should be made. Women still don't make as much as men, even in the highest professions, and we're still gamely invading the higher echelons of career opportunities. We've won all our large battles, we have the vote, equal rights and no woman may be denied a position based on her gender. But there are still small problems, small fights that crop up, and if we don't talk about them, we're doomed to suffer them alone. I'm not saying we should whip out our bras and light 'em up every time someone makes a quip, but gentle pressure over time should slowly erode the dominant stereotype here. Besides, I'm a blogger, I'm meant to over-react.

P.S. This is the most current and unbiased of my sources. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Canadian Tired

I had a flat the other day. Right when I came out to get my car to go to work, I did a walk-around on impulse and discovered it laying there like a sad poodle. Fortunately I had a jack and spare tire in the trunk and took less than 10 minutes to change that sucker, even though I had to jack it up using my fingers and a spare appropriately-sized twig. Wasn't even late for work.
I dropped the tire off at the canadian tire near my girlfriend's place and they said it would take a full day to patch. How it was flat is even more curious.
Vic and I park differently, I pull in, he backs in. His new tracker had a flat tire on the front left, the farthest tire from the house, caused by a nail dug in. My car had a flat right, rear tire, again the farthest from the house, caused by a nail. Now, we did drive in from Calgary, going over the same roads the whole way, but I can't help but wonder if some of the patrons of the nearby bar maybe thought it would be funny to punch holes in our tires. Excuse me a second, my tinfoil hat needs tape.
The next day, I arrived at the Canadian tire, in a bit of a rush because I was on my way to my sister's place where my mom's cooking (Joy!) and my new baby nephew (Glee!) awaited me. I paid for the patch, and the older man behind the counter asked if I needed it installed (which was weird because they asked when I dropped it off and I said no) and I said no, he could just bring it round, and I'd change it in the parking lot (I jacked a car up with a twig, aren't I radiating competence?). He told me to walk through the shop to leave, but when I went in, no one brought me my tire. The older man told me to pull my car in, and I shrugged and thought, shop jack ought to be faster. So I brought my car round, but when I pulled in, some other mechanic said he would change it for me. "Whatever" I thought, "maybe they'll be faster". It should be noted I also could not find my tire. The mechanic dissappeared and I waited, and waited. Checked my oil and waited...loosened the lug nuts....and waited.

Finally I went out to the front counter and, as murphy's law predicts, right as I asked where the mechanic was, he appeared in the shop behind me so the older counter guy could point to him and tell me to wait, he'd get to me soon, just wait out here.

I wasn't about to leave my baby in the shop by itself so I muttered that I needed to tell him something and fled back into the shop, where the mechanic had jacked up the car. I whipped off the tire and he stuck on the new one, bolting it on with an airgun (so cool). I thanked him and high-tailed it, but I was sort of annoyed. I don't like to make a fuss, but I should have when I first entered the shop, just said, "Where's my tire?" and absconded. Sometimes I am concerned that people assume that as a lady I'd just mess it up; Also there is a difference between "Can't do it myself" and "Don't want to do it myself" because, let's face it, occasionally it's nice to let someone else do things. This was, however, a perfect example of a psychology concept known as "In for a penny" or the commitment-bias. It was never one point where I said "yes change my tire", just a series of small concessions. It's also the same principle as the boiling toad. Put a toad in hot water and it will jump out, but put a toad in cold water and heat it, and it won't notice. (Yah, right, but it illustrates the point). I always get blindsided by this tactic.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Half review, half PSA, all awesome!

I went to go see the movie Inception a while ago, and then always intended to write a review of it, but then I enjoyed telling people about it so much I never ended up writing it. It has recently come to my attention, however, that people should be forewarned about it so they do not suffer the same fate I did. This won't contain any spoilers (like there's anything to spoil...)

This movie has been pushed as a mental-thriller, a headtrip, or a thinking movie. It's not. If you can wrap your mind around the notion that sometimes people run out of ideas for fiction and resort to "But it was all a dream!" and then sometimes that gets overplayed so people say, "No, THAT was a dream" then you have a pretty good basis to watch Inception on. If you can further tax your mental resources and continue one step further to conclude "No, THAT was a dream!"Then congratulations, you've just watched Inception. The movie plot suffers from a form of "Dragonball Z"-kosis where they assume it furthers a script to continually shout "No I'm going down 3 dream levels" and "Well, I'm going down 4 dream levels!" but no one has the ability to go super-sayan.

Not to say it isn't a good movie. There are interesting notions and some cute visual effects (yes, I said "cute"), and a pretty good fight scene in a hallway, but since I had expected thinking, I kept expecting twists, and was sorely disappointed. In fact,my overactive brain came up with several mind-assaulting twists that I debating sending in the direector, even one that plays very heavily on the notion of "it was all a dream!!" that they present, while still, in my opinion, knocking your socks off.

All in all, it's an okay movie. Something you'd go see if the tickets were free, or you could borrow it free of charge from a friend. It does what people expect from movies now; it entertains. It is entertaining. Sometime just recently, I blame "Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali" for this, but that is no longer sufficient for me.

One final note: I do not want to hear "Let's see you do better!" or any variation thereof. My job is not to make movies. If I was given the same resources, heck yah, I'll make a head-case of a movie. But just because I have not made a movie does not mean I can not judge them. I've never raised a child, but I know when I think people are scum.

see more Epic Win FTW

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Here a blog, there a blog

Although I have been aiming at producing more original fare lately, rather than just writing "This is cool, go here!" I do want to tell people about one of the other blogs I've found that is just too hilarious and I want to be just like her except the bad part is I usually console myself by thinking "when I'm as old as (the person I'm admiring) I'll do awesome stuff too" but I'm as old as this other chick and not doing as awesome stuff so I consoled myself by thinking she's ugly (Don't judge me everybody rationalizes like this) but she's posted some pictures and she's pretty cute so now I'm all confused like a semi-retarded dog with a cup and a treat. (Which, when Vic the bf and I read about the dog tests, we gave the doggy IQ tests to our dogs Faith and Pixie and they each shoved the cups across the floor but never tipped them and then Vic took pity on them and tilted the cup over so they could get the treats, then he concluded they were smart and I concluded they were retarded. We chased the cat around for two hours trying to get her to take the test but she refused cause "humans are stupid", then Vic concluded she was retarded and I concluded she was brilliant so stalemate.) Anyway she's smart AND funny, and I've only got one out of two (bet everybody's trying to figure out which one know, which is win-win for me, and my mom thinks I'm modest so win-win-win!) But I guess it's good to have someone to look up to. A goal to shoot for.

Anyway, Vic and I with a couple of friends went out to Fort Edmonton Park the other day which was really neat because I couldn't remember being there before. We got menaced by loose geese and rode the train, and played in the kids playground, but my favorite part was the blacksmith. Everyone else was in period gear and all "Good day" and "How fare you?" But the blacksmith had in yellow plastic earplugs and acted like his primary job was making metal things, and we were a regretable byproduct, like soot. Hilarious. He griped about the quality of coal they gave him, and spoke to us all very matter-of-fact about the heat of the stove and durability of his iron, so at ease in his environment that I expected him to pull out a "world's best boss" mug of coffee and take a swig. The other bit I liked was seeing the 1920's world and imagining my great grandma living in it. Its amazing how far the world came since then, and even more amazing to imagine where its going (unless the Russians kill us all-more on that later). Finally we settled in for a beer at the old-fashioned bar they had there, and I had a coffee martini. (Cold coffee, vodka, drambuie, and lemon. Ludicrously tasty). True I had only two hours of sleep before work, but that's what makes this new position awesome. It didn't matter.

One final bit of good news, I got into a political science class. Let me paint the scene for everyone; the university of alberta has a program called beartracks that is used fo enrolling and monitoring classes. Since the four poli sci classes were all full, (80 person classes that are a manditory prerequisite for an entire major of classes are high in demand) I put them all on the watch list, which sends me an email when the class space becomes available, and waited for the profit. The first notice came and I saw it four hours late, and of course, the spot was full. I shrugged it off. The second notice came, and I saw an hour later and it was full. I shook it off. The third notice came, and I saw ten minutes later, and it was full, and I began to get annoyed. The fourth notice came, and it took me 5 minutes to log on and it was full. I recruited my brother at this point so we both received notifications. Another notice and in the thirty seconds it took us to log on, it was full. I then noticed that the turn around time from when the message was sent to being delived was about 6 minutes, so obviously I could no longer use the notification system and contented myself to keeping my netbook open, handy and logged in, just in case. I had in my past, laughed at people who just sat online, refreshing their inbox, but now, no more. I sat and reefreshed the beartracks page so often it might be burned into my retinas. But it finally paid off and I have my precious precious course. Just remember this saga when I'm posting in a month about how much I hate my poli sci course. Because irony prevents anemia. heheh.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Hey there, Little Timmy! Why the long face?
Aw shucks, Mister Narrator, I don't know how to do all that cool paperwork origami all the other kids do. Nobody's gonna like me.
Would you like to know a secret,Timmy?
Yah, yah!
All that rolling and crumpling is just a waste of time. All the really cool kids just fold it in half.
Fold it in half?
That's right Timmy, fold it in half. If you lack the manual dexterity to mash your route-sheet into an unintelligible heap, you can achieve fame and power by just folding it in half!
Golly Jeepers! How's that work, mister?
Well, Timmy, you take the top corners and the bottom corners and you put them together.
Yah? Yah?
Yessir. And then you don't touch it.
You don't touch it?
That's right, Timmy! Any further folds, crumpling, rolling, creasing or mangling is unnecessary and contributes to an ulcer in the turret lady.
Wowee! I'm gonna fold my papers in half so I can be cool too!
Well done, Timmy! That's the true Canadian Spirit!

Paperwork: Is your paperwork "one fold cool"?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I'm literally only making this blog post because my boyfriend doesn't read the blog so a)I know he cannot tease me about it later and b)I don't have to roll myself in misery and embarrasment that he knows about it. Now that's settled, let's get down to furry brass tacks.
I have a hair on my face. An errant stray hair on my chin/cheek area. It grows about an inch and a half and it's horribly mortifying. The first time I was made aware of it my sister tried to brush it off my face and when she realized it was attached, her face contorted in the sort of catatonic disgust that I reserve for watching the saw movies, or a new driver parallel park. When I realized what was going on, I pretty much just shut down in complete embarassment and we stood there, in our apartment, marinating in discomfort like a thick curry sauce. We tamped down the hysterical terror pretty quick after that (Thank God for sisters) but I've been pretty paranoid about people finding it ever since, and I tend to check for it periodically. The latest time I found it marked a new chapter in irritation, however. Trying to yank out thin hairs is a trial in itself. Usually you drag your fingers along it, trying to get purchase, and it stings like a gunshot(someone should do a study on the increased nerve endings surrounding embarassing hairs because I'm sure there's a correlation). Usually you desperately resort to gripping it with a nail pressed against a finger pad, but even this is sporadically successful. Once the painful procedure is complete your face usually feels especially swollen and I often wonder if I have some sort of glowing hole, obvious to coworkers, passerbys, and astronauts.
Michelle, you say, this is disgusting, did you have a point to nauseating us all?
Why yes, dear reader, I do. It is to inform. A public service announcment, if you will.
The last time I found it,it was grey. Now, I am a grounded, logical person, who is not prone to jumping for conclusions, so I am afraid there is only one rational explanation: I'm turning into a werewolf. I have finally spent so much time out at night, instead of the day, also neglected shaving my legs, and had only the two pooches for company for so long, that I have, in fact, contracted Lycanthropy. I tell you this because I care about you all and wish you to be prepared. So definately stock up on lint rollers; between my voracious overeating, tendancy to prefer grunts to actual speech, and erratic behavior during the full moon (thanks menstral tides!) the only thing people will notice is the increased shedding.

If Meg McBlogger can have a signature, why can't I?

Saturday, August 07, 2010

What do dinosaurs and Lady Gaga have in common?

Answer: They're both in this blog post!
When did it stop being cool to work with dinosaur bones? Little kids are still interested in dinosaurs (duh) but being a palaeontologist seems to have faded into the background. Did word get out that it is actually really boring, and also they frown upon stuffing skulls into your pants?
When I was a kid I had this concept of careers that you could be when you grew up; I ranked them in terms of difficulty and awesomeness. Doctor, firefighter, policeman, all factored quite highly, but up there with them was palaeontologist and there’s no logical reason for it. I don’t even know how much they make. I still imagine sometimes that a world-class university will phone me up and some grandiose excuse will result in me gaining a medical license, or some equally improbably situation will result in me working free-lance for the Edmonton Police Service. Hell, I’m even still considering becoming a volunteer firefighter, if I had not recently gained so much weight my belt has become more of a tattoo upon which my gun is slung like an overly expensive torso piercing. Somewhere along the way the more stereotypical professions (ballerina, scientist, inventor) were replaced by more reasonable ones (writer, human resources, loser) but some stayed. I’m sorry to see dino-wrangler left, but it might resurface during my anthropology classes this coming semester because, guess what? I’m going back to class! Yes. Paid my tuition (ouch) and everything! There are a few mandatory courses I’m not that interested in, read: math and economics, but also a few I’m super-keen on like: Biologically coordinated social psychology, classics, political science and anthropology! Hopeful I can post a few interesting summaries of the classes in question!

Oh yes, one quick note to Lady Gaga; Darling, we all love you and are fascinated by you like we are about fireflies and space shuttles, but you should really stop worrying someone will “steal your creativity through your vagina”. Your creativity comes from the most noble of locations, handed to you by a loving God: Rampant Schizophrenia. Go forth and blossom lobsters upon your fanatic audience.

Cher and cher alike

Hello readers. Look at your music video, then to her video, then back to your video, then back to hers. She's on a horse.

Clone High

Sometimes when I get particularly Emo and think back to my high school days I wonder why it never worked out like you see on TV or hear about from other people. I never had a strong group of friends to hang out with, I have few to no memories of strange hijinxs while we should have been in class, just the leftover memories of a surprisingly large portion of my life that I’ve mentally boxed up and shoved to the basement of my brain. It’s sad, in a way, you never can go back, and I’ve missed out on those iconic years.

One thing that always consoles me, however, is the old show clone high. It was perfect. The right balance of strange dark humour, intellectual observations, and reality combined with a soundtrack that was melancholy and yet bright. The opening song is the only song from a show that I listen to on a regular basis and it still puts a lump in my throat. Although 90% of what I say on a regular basis is pulled from some other source, I have yet to find a situation where a clone high quote is inappropriate. It’s usually the case that no-one knows what the hell I’m talking about, but the day that I am deterred by that is the day I hang up my gilded humour pants.

Now It’s not the case that I ever turned to it for problem solving advice, but on multiple occasions it did make me feel a hell of a lot better about whatever I was going through. It was on late at night, and just inappropriate enough that I wasn’t sure I should have been watching it, but I’d turn it down really low, and hold the remote the whole time, just in case (Don’t read that bit, k mom?) and I think that atmosphere contributed to the all-over experience of watching the show. It’s not a show you could watch with other people, it was something sort of consoling to your loneliness.

I even consider it, loosely, the first reality show from television. The actions and motivations were all human and understandable, even when it lost it’s train of thought and became completely ridiculous, it always carried the ridiculousness of everyday existence. Cause real life is ridiculous, and it really helped me realize that. Wish I’d taken more of it’s relationship advice to heart though. There really is no reason to blow them out of proportion.

Anyway the point I’m not making in any way shape or form is that the blog recommended for me recently has become the new clone high of my life. 2birds1blog is written mostly by a 24 year old college graduate who is funnier than a stick in the eye and seems to have the inside track to my brain and the ability to write it humorously, which makes me hate and love her at the same time. It’s just about one of the funniest things to read in the world and validates my life choices because she’s in almost the exact same place I am in life now. Shame her soundtrack is so poop. “I’ve never been to me”? I know she posted it just to mock it, but for crying out loud, really?
I want to be just like her when I age sideways.
Also; first post from mmy new eee pc!