31 December 2011

Happy New Year's Eve

Crap! I've got less than 9 hours to come up with my resolutions. Um, I'm drawing a blank. I've already reached Captain Hammer-levels of perfection. What else can I do to improve?

30 December 2011

I didn't sleep last night, and this seemingly city-wide alarm at 1:30am is just one reason (you might need to up the volume):

The upside is that I found this video. It's Christmas-themed, but Downton Abbey fans will forgive me. The rest of you won't appreciate it as much.

While we're on the topic of Materpiece Theatre, their winter schedule is looking good. New Sherlock! New Dickens adaptation with Gillian Anderson! 2012 is looking up my friends.

27 December 2011

Not-so-merry post-Christmas depression

It's all over. No more Christmas.

The Bailey's and candy canes are all gone, so now we must fill that void with 43-inch hi-def 3D TVs.

25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

This is the best gift I got this year. If you can't read it, it says "She wears glasses", "Nice", "Playful","Pretty", and "Smart".

24 December 2011

Chances of me becoming alcoholic just got smaller.

It started off a lunch time like any other. I was browsing the internet, this particular day I was looking at recipes. I would never actually make any of them, but it's fun to pretend I'm the kind of person who would make her own seitan just to make seitan medallions smothered in wild mushroom sauce. Anyway, I came across an article on wine and read it. It was a life-changing moment. Or, at least, life-complicating.

Apparently the production process for wine, beer, and liquor often involves animal products and by-products. Things like gelatin, eggs, and something called isinglass can all be used in wine and/or beer. Now, as a lacto-ovo vegetarian I'm not overly perturbed by egg or milk ingredients in my drinks (so I can still drink Baileys), but I would be concerned about gelatin or things made from animals. Some companies say these things are used, but then filtered out, so the final product doesn't actually contain gelatin, for example. But does that matter, really? It was used to make the product, and I know that (now), so I shouldn't drink it. I mean, if the tofu production process involved the use of animal meat that was later removed, I totally wouldn't eat it, you know?

Isinglass, I was mortified to find out,

23 December 2011

Vast wasteland

I was watching this little video clip of Santa flying around the world last year (well, it was a video of Santa flying around the world's landmarks, but presumably he stopped at some residences along the way). At the end, (around 1:16) he flies around what I'm pretty sure is the CN tower. In the background is not Lake Ontario, or the city of Toronto, but a vast, snow-covered expanse of nothing. Is that really how they think of Canada? One tall iconic building sitting in the middle of a flat, snowy wasteland? Or did they just run out of money for the animation and couldn't afford to give Toronto buildings?


Winter's here. And she brought snow. I say, we let her stay until she becomes tiresome.

22 December 2011

“You can’t hit the carolers.” ~ Mom: She may be crazy, but sometimes she’s right.

Once upon a time, I don’t know how old I was, it was Christmas Eve and my family was sitting at home after church. Chances are us kids were desperately begging to open just one present (for all her permissive tendencies, my mom was really strict about the no-presents-before-Christmas-morning rule), and to distract us mom suggested we watch a movie. What movie, we asked. Why, a Christmas movie, of course. I think we had a few Christmas-y things to choose from. In the end, we watched Die Hard. Mom’s argument being that a) it has the song Let It Snow in it, and b) it takes place on Christmas Eve.  Now, we don’t watch Die Hard every Christmas, sometimes we watch Gone with the Wind, or White Christmas. But it is, by our standards, a Christmas movie. This fact is usually looked upon oddly by some people who don’t regard it as such. All I have to say to them is: stop this unending war on Christmas!
"Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho."
This year we’ve been vindicated in our thinking by four separate sources that also consider Die Hard not just a Christmas movie, but a Christmas action classic! My sources are:
Sir Sandford Fleming didn't invent standardised time zones just so you can flout them all willy-nilly Oz!

18 December 2011

Shamelessly Good Timing

My Scotiabank branch has a sign in the window, an official sign by the looks of it (that is, not hand written or just done up in powerpoint) that says:

"Did you recently receive severance pay from the federal government?"

It's politely worded and all, but it might as well say "Did you loose your job, you big loser? Looks like your public sector job wasn't so great after all. Serves you right for taking 40-minute coffee breaks every day. Jerk." I mean, this sign was up before some federal departments even handed out notices to their employees. I assume it was done to take advantage of the vivisection of Environment Canada, since this particular branch is mere blocks away from the Dartmouth EC office where people were cut in the fall. But they left the sign up to catch all the other people to be affected.

17 December 2011

I know this sounds insane, but...

I swear, Elton John was standing outside my apartment building this morning when I got back from the gym. Really, this guy looked just like him. He was just standing there with a cab driver, waiting for someone, I guess. 

16 December 2011

More Science That Reinforces Beliefs I’ve Always Held: Sundays are evil, and being veggie is good for you.

A quote from an article on how to critically assess so-called scientific findings (the link on the news site was right next to the headline: “Your Office Chair Will Kill You”): 
 “a closer look at the data reveals that eating more red meat also seemingly raises your risk of accidental death from car crashes and guns.”
Hey, now. If that’s what the data says. Who am I to waste time critically assessing it when it already tells me what I want to hear? I believe it. Looks like I’m going to be living car-crash and bullet-wound free until I die from mouth cancer caused by my toothpaste (assuming my office chair doesn't get me first). 

Also related, but less science-y (as if that's possible) is this article about Sunday Insomnia, which I totally have.  It’s the inability to sleep on Sunday nights. They claim it’s due to the stress of the upcoming work week, but I find mine is so habitual that I even get it on vacation and when I don’t have to work on Mondays.

15 December 2011

Science That Reinforces Beliefs I’ve Always Held: kids are evil, and swearing is good for you.

I’m so in love with science that demonstrates things I’ve always thought were true but that had never been demonstrated. The first is from an article entitled “Kids are Vindictive” (I can’t remember if I read it on CBC or Globe and Mail, and now I can’t find it). Initially, not having read the article, I was all “what else is new?” Having read the article, I know that the headline was way off, and I don’t think the children’s behaviour could be described as vindictive. It’s more that they’re able to recognize bad and good behaviours at very young ages (8-21 months). In my books, this is a really good argument that a lot of our morals are innate and not taught to us by religion. Quirks and Quarks is going to (has already) cover(ed) the study, I believe. 

Second is a study that suggests that swearing actually helps you deal with pain and releases adrenaline. Fuck yeah, swearing is good for you. Who hasn’t been severely stressed out and felt better after belting out some swear words?    

In a related article about swearing, someone made a good point about swear words: “banning words is an arbitrary practice, he says, since what truly offends people aren’t the words themselves, but the thoughts behind them. And thoughts can’t be banned.” For me swearing is okay because there’s no malicious intent. Like when I call my best friend Bitch, it’s not because she’s some heinous woman, it’s a term of endearment because there’s love and 23 years of friendship behind it. However, there are some words I’ll never be comfortable with, no matter how much people try to “own” them or whatever. I think some words have such a history of bad thoughts behind them, there’s no redeeming them.  

10 December 2011

Love and Joy and Waffles Come To You

It's undeniably Christmas. The Christmas spirit takes a little work to generate in Halifax. I know I knock Edmonton a lot, but it's not hard to feel Christmasy in that city, when it's blanketed with snow and all the twinkly lights are reflected in the drifts at night. In Halifax, all the lights are ripped down by windstorms and it's pointless snuggling in front of the fire with mulled wine when it's 12 degress and raining outside. My point being, I tend to throw myself into Christmas-themed things this time of year.

 This year, I started with the Christmas Parade.  The following weekend, Other Auntie and I went to the annual Christmas craft fair at Dalplex. Dalplex is Dalhousie's gym facility. The last time I was inside was 2005, and I was writing an exam. I can't remember which exam. I can't even remember what I took my last term at Dal. Anyway, I was worried I'd suffer location-induced exam stress just from being there, but that didn't happen. After the fair, we met the kids and their parents for the Citadel's Victorian Christmas. I'd never done the Victorian Christmas, and while it's geared more towards kids, I want to go back again next year. I like historical re-creations, especially ones that involve cider and bayonets. Also, the Citadel is a great location, and offers great views of the city.

07 December 2011

Google is way off

This morning, I'd just finished writing an email to Mika about her new baby, when I saw the ad at the top of my Gmail was about baby formula. I tend to find Gmail ads entertaining because mine are usually about U2 tickets or books. Today, for no real reason, I decided to click on the "Why this ad?" link that explains that Google reads your emails to pick out keywords and then tries to sell you stuff. I accept this. I then clicked further to look at their web ads application, which is based on cookies in your browser. They show ads based on the kinds of sites you visit, and on your demographic. The demographic you're assigned in is based on the sites you visit. Upon first glance, I thought: whoa, Google is way off:

Dude, I browse the internet like a 35-44 year old! I need to visit some Justin Bieber sites to get that number down. Then I looked closer, and I thought, holy fuck, Google is way off:

05 December 2011

April is so far away but that's how long we're going to have to wait to see that Joss Whedon horror film that even I forgot about

It was made a while ago and something happened with money or whatever. Who cares. It's on the way and it's got Topher and Whiskey from Dollhouse, Tucker's brother from Buffy, and what looks like The Initiative's bigger, more evil twin. It's gonna be all sorts of salty Whedon goodness. If any of those reference made sense to you, you should see it.Even if they didn't, you should see it. I doubt those references will actually be in the movie.