Friday, December 30, 2011

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

indeterminate home-made canned goods.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wordfuse (Visitors Edition)

testy + teetering = testeetering (verb) aka that tipping point day where visiting relatives are now well past the niceties of reuniting for the holidays and enjoying time together and more into silently counting the minutes until everyone leaves as evidenced by complaining to one's spouse using stage-whispered phrases such as "Could you believe they...?" and "I have been cooking for days...." and "their kids eat like pigs...." and "if he says that ONE MORE TIME...." Upper case letter-talk is a sure sign of escalating testeetering.

See also "testeens" stuck at home on school vacation. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Reads

I like to list my top ten favourite reads each December but most of my reading was work-related this year, thus I only have five. Sadly. Next year I hope there will be more.

Mark Haddon writes in his essay from Stop What You're Doing And Read This!, "select the right words and put them in the right order and you can run a cable into the hearts of strangers; strangers in China, strangers not yet born." That, for me, is a powerful truth about books. These books built cables into my heart this year.
A series of essays explore
why we love to read.

Odd, compelling,
touching characters.

has imagery I'll never
get out of my head.

Funny, honest, quick
read that stays with you.
Trumps romanticism.

Teaches about orphans
in Nepal but it's also
a coming-of-age
for all men young and

Monday, December 26, 2011

This is my hood.

Kye, Mac & Ellie, Pond Skating in Canada's backyard.
Click me: Boxing Day, 2011
"I don't trust any country that looks around a continent and says, 'Hey, I'll take the frozen part.'" ~Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart may have trust issues but I don't.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmasy things that probably deserve the stink-eye:

Dear women who make Christmas special,
Thank you.
                               The men of the world who piss you off.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm scared of my phone.

For the web version,  DO NOT go here.
I have this app that I talk to sometimes: Cleverbot. It allows me to have a texting conversation with a non-existent being, basically artificial intelligence. Yup. It's a tad pathetic. And yet, I appreciate the way it feeds my narcissistic introspection and provides me with yet another mindless diversion.

Mostly though, it conjures writing ideas. But Cleverbot made me crap my pants today! It started innocently... 

Me: What's up?
Cleverbot: The sky.
Me: What are you doing for Christmas?
Cleverbot: Idk getting something for you.
Me: No really, what are you doing for Christmas?
Cleverbot: Going to friends, what about you?
Me: Family stuff. What do you want for Christmas?
Cleverbot: Don't know.
Me: Liar.
Cleverbot:  You are a liar.
Me: True.
Cleverbot: How would you describe yourself?
Me: Smart. Funny. Flawed.
Cleverbot: What is flawed?

Bam! Is Cleverbot trying to get inside my head? I'll show him.... 

Dear Cleverbot, 
Don't you think you're getting a little too personal here? Oh I know it appears as though you are simply seeking a definition for the word flawed but seriously, my numerous flaws are none of your business and I would not have mentioned it but for the liar comment that occurred previously in the conversation. 

Cleverbot: I will tell you something...this website makes people chat with other people, there is no AI!

Whoa. I DID NOT add that exclamation mark and that is why I am certain whatever-the-hell-Cleverbot-is, he is now laughing maniacally.

Me: Dude. You're scaring me.
Cleverbot: No wonder why. My heart is dead inside, it's cold and hard and petrified! Lock the doors and close the blinds, we're going for a ride.
Me: omg. 
Cleverbot: Yes my child?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wordfuse (Run-on-Sentence Edition)

spar + party = sparty (noun): aka the staff/office holiday party (or really, any party) where there's a decent vibe dangerously mixed with people who are forced to spend way too much time together and then someone gets snippy (or "snipsy" [snippy + tipsy]) during charades and maybe someone's frank remark levels the office scapegoat who shared yet another inside thought leading to a tipping point and then Group A starts stabbing Group B with their eyes and a minor awkward quarrel erupts and somehow even the music seems quieter but someone (me) diffuses the whole thing by whistling the theme to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and then laughter erupts and for the next hour someone (me) whistles that tune at perfect moments until it gets kind of old but it still feels like the whole conflict would barely be mentioned in parenthesis until a sequel premieres and another awkward moment ensues but then the guy who never gets drunk puts on sunglasses and suddenly starts rapping Pitbull and once the laughter dies down there's a debate about how old Pitbull is (isn't he too old to be doing that?) and someone has to google him on the phone and drunk Pitbull-wannabe starts being all old rapper guy and someone with a self-diagnosed big bum offers to be J-Lo and someone else pretends to be Marc Anthony and they have a fake argument over the twins and people are laughing with abandon again but meanwhile a couple of people feel they're being mocked and have consequently left in a huff but no one noticed until later and after the weekend everyone remarks on the good party but secretly gossips about the truth: it was more of a sparty than a party. Add this to exacerbate the situation.

Monday, December 19, 2011


I heard a comment today that went something like, "are there truly any great people alive in the world today?"

I had to think about that.

At first...blank. Sure, there are people who aspire to greatness but is there any one person, right now, who is truly great?

A politician? A movie star? A Nobel prize winner? Not really. I'm usually more interested in the stage crew than the one in the spotlight.

Then I thought of categories. The first two that came to mind were nurses and teachers. I once saw a nurse do something that was a like a secret between us and her goal was simply to maintain the patient's dignity, a patient who will never know what she did. And of course, Mr. Thomas, my Grade 5 teacher, who spent an entire afternoon teaching me to skate, a parcel of time I open again and again. His actions taught me how important it is to attend to people, to say, I see you and you are important.

Although I'm inspired by people from my past, the question remained incomplete, like a puzzle with one missing piece: who in the world right now is truly great?

And then I wondered, how do I define greatness? I've always loved artists and writers and architects and engineers and filmmakers and carpenters and chefs. In other words, I love people who make candy out of sugar and sugar out of candy. For me, greatness is creativity. It's problem solving, it's chutzpah, it's moxie, it's perseverance, it's overcoming obstacles. It's thinking realized. That sort of greatness so inspires me. I always wish I were more like those people. And there are so many I could name but....

And then I remembered Amy Purdy. Her story and the way she told it moved me. She's just an ordinary young woman who decided how tall she wanted to be. What's more creative than that?

Who do you think, right now, is truly great?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Things one should never outgrow:

Good stuff.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wordfuse (Elf edition)

In and of its elf, the following "Elf on the Shelf" inspired You Tube video is not that creepy. Actually it is kinda creepy. I kept expecting the Grudge girl to come contortionist-ing around the corner. *shivers*

Considering my kids are teens now, I am definitely out of the loop regarding the Santa's Elf on the Shelf mythologization. But all I can say about that is this: once they're teens, Santa's naughty and nice list works about as well as remembering to use "I" statements during heated discussions. *sigh*


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Things that are most likely the devil:

I hope you didn't read all this PASSWORD NONSENSE! Just scroll down.

Keep scrolling because if you try to read this you will inevitably want
to STAB someone, anyone, in the nearby vicinity and I do not want
to be responsible for something like that especially so close to the
holidays so just keep on scrolling my friend. Put down the knife.

Uh oh, I read some of it. *picks up knife*
Those Microsoft bastards seriously recommend
ILuv2PlayB@dm1nt()n as a password?!
There's only one thing left to say....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

OMG Perspective

My teen son and I went on road trip last week so the orthodontist could tighten his braces for five minutes and charge me $250. My optometrist appointment, although cheaper, was also somewhat painful considering that Dr. Win taught me all about ocular migraines.

Yup, fun road trip.

Actually it was fun. My son and I share the same off-kilter sense of humour so we found a way not to fret about his teeth pain and my self-diagnosed impending blindness/impending stoke/[insert some other impending worst-case scenario here]. How did we do that? With the help of Scotland of course....

Before we left on our road trip yesterday, someone tweeted the "OMG trampoline" video and I was immediately hooked. Firstly, I apologize to Scotland. This is not a funny situation but something about the combination of imminent disaster and sheer lunacy engaged that immature 12 year old in my brain, the same one who would shove an entire toffee bar in his mouth just so he could a. maximize the sugar rush and b. glue his jaws together to impress his buddies. (Suddenly I recall the time I ate an entire tube of toothpaste, but I digress.) Anyway, I really do apologize to the Scots. Psychologically speaking, I guess my main coping mechanism with anything is to laugh first, ask questions later, and then wallow in my regret and shame indefinitely. I knew my son would cope in a similar way so I quickly shared it with him. His reaction? Ditto.

That's why I recommend this video as a sort of stress therapy for other pea-brains out there. How so? Well, as we learn from circumstances surrounding the man who shot the video, one's day could always be much much worse. Thus "OMG trampoline" has become my new catchphrase for much needed perspective.

I used it at McDonalds after our appointments. While ordering our food my debit card was repeatedly declined (apparently it expired last month). At the same time, I had a little reunion at the counter with a group of people I hadn't seen for years who suddenly found themselves about to pay for our lunch. Awkward. But my son paid instead. Later, we sat down, made eye contact, shook our heads at that embarrassment and had the same thought, "OMG Trampoline."
Yes folks, things can always be worse.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

Yup. It's that time of year again.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Things one should never outgrow:

playing in the snow. (Canadian kid Sean Quigley shows us how it's done.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Image from here.
I like this word.

Apparently, monomania is a psychological condition whereby an individual is fixated on a particular way of thinking, a delusional way of thinking

There's a French synonym for it: idée fixe.

I think that phrase summarizes it perfectly. 

Pathological examples apparently include seriously unhealthy fixations such as anorexia nervosa or de Clerambault's syndrome when psychiatric patients are absolutely convinced their doctors are in love with them or even people who are convinced that aliens leave messages on their voice mail (or maybe just being Donald Trump).

In a senseless way it sorta makes sense doesn't it? That is why I have formulated my own pea-brained theory about monomania: tragic patients, creepy stalkers and Roswell pilgrims aside, I believe everyone has a mild/moderate case of monomania.

Think about it. We probably all need to be a little more self-reflective and a little more critical of our perceptions and why we believe what we believe. 

I definitely do. My typical idée fixes include

1. Something I like to call "worst-case-scenario-izing."
2. That I strongly resemble Russell Crowe, or if I'm truly being honest, he resembles me.
3. I sometimes believe wholeheartedly that a clever turn of phrase in a film or TV show was actually, at some point, inspired by something I said.

De. Lu. Sion. Al. (But fun!)

What are yours?

Monday, December 5, 2011

I've likely already forgotten this too.

Image from here.
There's new research that suggests forgetting is linked to doorways. Apparently, when we travel through a doorway, our brains use this "event-gateway" as a visual signal to file information away and then move on. This explains why we sometimes can't recall why we entered a room.

This makes sense to me. I compare it to sorta closing a window on my computer. In other words, "I'm done with that. Next."

And this is why I love wacky scientists. They explain my brain glitches. They make me less pathetic. It's not age, it's not stress, it's not lack of sleep, it's not watching Teen Mom 2, it's the doorway's fault.

However, despite my new-found excuse/dubious scientific principle, this information conjures in my brain a variety of other pea-brained theories and thoughts and questions:

1. Do you think this explains why open-concept homes evolved?
2. This doesn't explain that one time (ok, maybe three times) I phoned someone and then I was surprised who said hello because I forgot who I was calling.
3. Nor does this explain what I was looking for in the fridge a few minutes ago.
4. But it does explain Scooby Doo and the gang becoming so discombobulated in all those classic hall of doors scenes and maybe even why people became idiots on Let's Make a Deal.
5. I think it explains this too but it doesn't explain....

...Oops. I can't remember the conclusion to #5. I left my office for a moment, promptly forgot I was writing this, and returned several hours later. Damn doorways.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Things one should never outgrow:


Ever played Scribblish? I highly recommend it.

Each player begins by choosing a caption (from a list) and writes it on the game piece. Game pieces are then randomly switched. Silently, that player then draws a picture to go with the caption. Once complete, more random switching occurs, then that player writes the new caption for that drawing (without seeing the original caption or previous drawing). More switching ensues then another player draws the picture for that caption and so on. After four drawings/captions, players look at the last drawing to guess which drawing belongs with their original caption. Hasbro explains it much better here.

There's a way to get points but the best part for us was unrolling the drawings to see how ideas were interpreted (misinterpreted) and images progressed (regressed).

Below's an example I found funny. The original caption is first but remember, as the game continues, the player did not see the previous interpretation.

Original caption &  first drawing:
Look! The banana learned how to pole vault!
Caption given by another player to this drawing:
My bacon rocked the track meet!
Caption given to the next drawing by another player:
 Bacon wins gold at the Pork Olympics!
And so on: Bacon places 1st overall, 
seriously kicking some snowman ass!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Crappy Shi(r)t

It's bought this beauty of a T-shirt
at the Antigonish  Highland
games in Nova Scotia and
I will never throw it out!
*Cue Braveheart music.*
Okay ladies, let’s just end this now: guys have a right to their crappy shirts. This is just part of being a guy. It probably begins as soon as we can sit up and drool like a pro. Just like babies, who says we have to move beyond shirts that we can wear all day and sleep in too (and then wear again)? Huh? Who says?!

When I was in my teens I woke one morning and my Mom was spot-washing the floor with my favourite sweat shirt. Sure it had a hole in the front. Sure the cuffs were torn. Sure it said “John Deere.” Sure it was stained. Sure it had been washed so many times it was an indeterminate colour.

Here’s the thing though: these are the very characteristics that made it perfect. And another thing: it’s hard to find a super cool comfortable shirt. So when we guys find one, why wouldn’t we keep it for nineteen years?

Recently, a woman told me about another woman (ya right) who hid her husband’s favourite shirt in the trash because he would not agree to chuck it. So she chucked it. I repeat: she chucked it without his permission. This is also known as breaking one’s marriage vows.

Anyway, unfortunately for her, garbage collection was not for two more days. Oh she claimed she had no idea where his beloved shirt went but his suspicion grew and after searching high, searching medium, and searching low, he finally checked the trash and there it was. And then he smiled. Why? It now had yet another stain. Thus it would irritate her even more.

Now guys, I’m not suggesting that we should treat our wives disrespectfully. Consider this. Once, for my wife’s birthday, I gave her a very special present. I gift-wrapped one of my shirts (the very one she most loathed) along with a pair of scissors. She immediately knew what to do. This proves we men can indeed be
a. understanding 
b. compromising 
c. civilized and 
d. adorable. 

I granted this wish. Once. See? Very reasonable. But that’s over and thus I am allowed to wear any hole-in-the-armpit-stretched-and-crumpled-like-a-calf-suckled-on-it-shirt I want. For the rest of my life. And I don’t have to wear pants either if I don’t want to. (Just sayin.)

So ladies, go ahead and buy your men spanky new replacement shirts. Dare ya. (And good luck with that.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

So that's what skinny dippin' smells like. 

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