Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pretty cool!

Especially at the 1:10 mark ...

Paul Dateh began studying classical violin at the age of four. However, on his first day at The University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, Dateh suddenly dropped his major in Violin Performance and enrolled in the Jazz Studies program instead. The move shocked his colleagues as it was hard to understand why anyone would walk away from fourteen years of classical training to begin learning an entirely new musical discipline. Today, as a singer, an award-winning songwriter, and an instrumentalist, his work can be heard on releases by various artists within both mainstream and underground hip hop circles, and he can currently be seen performing throughout the United States with his band “The Live Movement”.

More on violins in hip-hop here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Deep thought on a windy night

Sometimes, when the dictionary in Facebook Scrabble is taking a really long time to tell me if the letter combination that I've typed is actually a word, I imagine there is a little 1 or 0 taking my submission back to some room to laugh about it with all the other 1s and 0s.


Friday, December 26, 2008

A song for you to check out

I downloaded a free song a while ago that is really good that I want to share (sorry, the free download offer is now over). The band is 6 Day Riot. Click on the link and then select "The Last Stand" from the music player on the right side.

It's eclectic, fun, and a bit raucous. GREAT drums and some unusual instruments (yes, a ukelele! But don't worry - it really works in the song!!!).

You can also check it out at iTunes.

My favourite part about yesterday

Yesterday I hosted a Christmas potluck, attended by 13 other people. Several people brought meat-based dishes that I as a vegetarian chose not to eat, but there was still so much good stuff to consume that I was groaning from a full belly. I need to tell you about this food because it was SO. DAMN. GOOD.

The first thing that hit my system was some bubbly rose by the Australian winemaker Yellow Tail. Basically it's champagne, but not from France so technically it's not. It was refreshing and tasty and I drank a bit too much of it. LOL

Erik made an extraordinarily yummy veggie chili. He is a devoted carnivore, so his making veggie chili was an act of supreme consideration and thoughtfulness. He's a great guy, as his girlfriend Linda would agree. :)

David made an outstanding bean salad, and has promised me the recipe. Must send him a reminder e-mail!

His sister Anita made incredible chocolate chip cookies with pecans and walnuts. I ate more than a few of those, as did we all. Must ask her for the recipe.

Katherine brought the most amazing French Camembert cheese I've ever had. Seriously, this stuff goes beyond food - it is an experience. There are some leftovers in my fridge, and I started craving it around 9:15 this morning - !!!!

Even the garden salad that Pete brought was really, really good! Especially with the dijon mustard salad dressing ... it totally rocked. Pierre brought some wholesome bread, and the artisan multigrain loaf was fresh and soft and mouthwatering.

I heard excellent things about Teresa's Peruvian chicken and rice dishes, and there was nothing left of Perkin's panchetta and green bean casserole, so it must have been good! :) Sabrina's chicken pieces got a little burned in the oven, sadly, but the pies brought by Kim and Daniel finished off whatever sweet cravings might have remained after this feast.

Unfortunately, Barry's salmon salad was left forgotten in my fridge until everyone else had gone home. Hopefully I can find a home for it while it's still good .... :-S

A great Christmas day. Now I need to waddle to the gym to burn off all those calories!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Waterboarding as torture

This essay is over a year old (and President-Elect Barack Obama has already said he will ban torture by American personnel), but it's still well worth reading. Some excerpts:

As a former Master Instructor and Chief of Training at the US Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) in San Diego, California I know the waterboard personally and intimately. SERE staff were required undergo the waterboard at its fullest. I was no exception. I have personally led, witnessed and supervised waterboarding of hundreds of people. It has been reported that both the Army and Navy SERE school’s interrogation manuals were used to form the interrogation techniques used by the US army and the CIA for its terror suspects. What was not mentioned in most articles was that SERE was designed to show how an evil totalitarian, enemy would use torture at the slightest whim. If this is the case, then waterboarding is unquestionably being used as torture technique.
Who will complain about the new world-wide embrace of torture? America has justified it legally at the highest levels of government. Even worse, the administration has selectively leaked supposed successes of the water board such as the alleged Khalid Sheik Mohammed confessions. However, in the same breath the CIA sources for the Washington Post noted that in Mohammed’s case they got information but "not all of it reliable." Of course, when you waterboard you get all the magic answers you want -because remember, the subject will talk. They all talk! Anyone strapped down will say anything, absolutely anything to get the torture to stop. Torture. Does. Not. Work.
What next if the waterboarding on a critical the captive doesn’t work and you have a timetable to stop the “ticking bomb” scenario? Electric shock to the genitals? Taking a pregnant woman and electrocuting the fetus inside her? Executing a captive’s children in front of him? Dropping live people from an airplane over the ocean? It has all been done by governments seeking information. All claimed the same need to stop the ticking bomb. It is not a far leap from torture to murder, especially if the subject is defiant. Are we willing to trade our nation’s soul for tactical intelligence?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

Never too late, after all

I guess it's not too late for my mom to give me that sister I've always wanted ... LOL


See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

But how does Neil Patrick Harris keep singing even as he does a somersault???? :-D

Kittens playing on a slide

Laugh-out-loud funny, especially with the music. Make sure your speakers are on!

I never would have believed that kittens would do this, at least as long as they've done in this video. I have to conclude that these kittens in particular are not very smart. LOL

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Profound truth

I saw this today and wanted to share ...

The mother of all updates

So it’s about time I posted a serious update here. There’s been a lot going on!

But first, a side note. Over the years, I’ve had people comment about how much I share on this blog. I never know whether to tilt my head to the side in puzzlement when someone says that, or to laugh. Because there is so much – SO MUCH – in my life and in my brain that I don’t air out in this blog, for any number of reasons. On the other hand, though, I think it’s important to be open and maybe even a little brave about one’s struggles; if we all pretended everything was always okay, how lonely would each of us feel? Wouldn’t each of us feel uniquely inadequate, if no one else was honest enough to admit their fears or challenges?

Trust me, I don’t choose to write about my sleep apnea or any other challenge because I think it will get me attention! LOL But I will be very honest about the last few months because someday – maybe even today – someone else will be able to relate, and won’t feel so alone, or maybe I’ll even have some nugget of wisdom to share that might help someone else. So here goes.

On October 1st, my job was terminated.

It was a pretty good job by most standards. I was paid well, and got a great bonus just this summer. I worked with a group of outstanding people. I had a boss whom I still consider one of my dearest and closest friends, as well as a wonderful father figure.

There were reasons why I was unhappy there, too, but I won’t go into those. But as far back as last January, I was starting to ask myself if this job (and the information technology industry in general) was the right place for me to be.

I wanted to feel that what I was doing was meaningful, and really making a difference in the world. I briefly had a chance to work on a process improvement project, which I had thought for a couple of years was the direction for the future of my career. It was a fortuitous window into a job that seemed, to me, to involve a lot of work writing documentation that no one wanted to read. Back to the drawing board.

I felt drawn to a career in alternative medicine. I agonized about this for MONTHS. (I didn’t blog about it at all, as there were co-workers whom I knew were reading, and I wasn’t ready to make any kind of announcement.) I did my research, found a program, and registered for a biochemistry course that I needed as a prerequisite for the program. I told myself that I would do this so I could at least have the option of entering the program, should I make that choice. The program is several years, expensive, and full-time, so I experienced a tremendous amount of angst about it. But I was serious enough about it that for several months I raised the possibility of a career change with my friends and eventually my family.

Finally, in September, totally frustrated and desperate for change, I decided that I would go for it. Sensing some inexplicable urgency, I completed my application to enter this program on September 30th. The next day, my job was terminated.

I need to tell you that I wasn’t let go for performance reasons. I’d done well at my job and worked hard to maintain the quality of my work even as I was contemplating my exit.

People often ask me if I was surprised by my employer’s decision. The answer, honestly, is yes and no. There were a lot of organizational changes taking place, and yet I felt that I’d filled a unique and valuable role there. Enough said.

Was I upset when I received the news? Not really. As part of the termination, I received a severance package (and payout for unused vacation time) that in essence paid me my salary until the middle of January. So basically I was getting a bit more income than I would have if I’d worked until the last day of December and then quit to go back to school! AND I would have the time to rest and be refreshed before starting this very intense training program. It was as if the Universe had rented out a flashing neon sign pointing the direction to my future. And brought out a cot so I could have a nap while on my journey there. :)

The same day that my job was terminated, I hustled my application to the school I’ll be attending and arranged for all the transcripts to be sent. Honestly, I don’t think I would have had the presence of mind to WRITE the application and its various essay components if I’d had to, but fortunately I’d listened to that voice of intuition the night before and the weeks prior, and so it was pretty much ready to go.

The next day was harder. A week or so prior, I had organized an after-work get-together in honour of my dear friend and co-worker Nancy, who was moving on to a new job. I met my now-former co-workers at the bar as planned and felt very sad about the way that I was parting company with them (rather than the school send-off that I’d fantasized about on a daily basis just to get me through my workday frustrations), and also knowing I’d truly miss working as part of a team with these amazing and wonderful people. But I had no choice but to move on …

Of course, the time of my job’s sudden end coincided with some severe news regarding the world economy. I couldn’t stop reading the dire articles and columns, but I suffered significant anxiety on a daily basis those first few weeks. I can wholeheartedly recommend the following products: Rescue Remedy and Traditional Medicinal’s Easy Now herbal tea. They didn’t alleviate the anxiety, but allayed it significantly and helped me to deal with it.

One of the things that really, truly helped me in the month that followed was the career counseling I received from a wonderful person named Maggie. We had regular one-on-one sessions in which we discussed my talents, my interests, and the decisions I had to make. She listened to my self-doubts – both recycled and fresh – and refuted them in a way that I couldn’t resist. She believed in me, and caused me to believe in myself. May all of you have such a person in your lives. She also had the life experience to help me feel comfortable with and confident in my career change, and in the forgiving plasticity of life when met with the resourcefulness of an intelligent, networked person.

Another thing that helped was my friends. I can say I’ve truly been surprised at who happened to be there for me; some people I truly hadn’t anticipated were pivotal in keeping me grounded and sane. So to those of you who shared a meal with me or sent me an encouraging e-mail or took me out for a long walk and listened to me or just chatted with me on Facebook without knowing anything was wrong, thank you. You know who you are. Some of you never received a response from me after you sent me an e-mail. I apologize for that, and hope for your forgiveness. It is surprising how busy one can be even when one is only marginally employed.

Along the way, I got a part-time job at a clothing store. That’s another post, but I have to remark here that it almost fell into my lap. After the last few months, I’ve become a firm believer in divine guidance.

And finally, there was the biochemistry course. I started it a few weeks after my job ended, and the first class was a revelation. I knew – KNEW – I belonged at that school and in that program. I no longer have the anxiety that had been a daily companion.

To be sure, there are many things to be worked out yet. And there will be a great deal of work and sacrifice involved in launching my new career. But I truly feel that I am doing what I’m meant to do, and that I am not alone. And that is simply priceless.

There’s a lot more to share, and maybe I’ll write more about it again soon, but for now it’s time for bed, and tomorrow there will be work at the clothing store, and some studying for my biochem final. I figure you might need some time to read this update anyway. :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cool footage of asteroid "falling"

Taken from the dashboard cam of a police car in Edmonton last week:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What leadership looks like

... and not a moment too soon ...

A Trucker's Perspective on Safe Driving

A ***MUST*** read for anyone who drives a vehicle. It is a post written by someone who has been driving large trucks for 15 years, with suggestions on how to avoid accidents. Very well-written, a little shocking, but well worth your time. PLEASE READ. You might learn something (I know I did!) and adjust your driving behaviours. Reading it might even save a life.

Note: Thanks to Pete, this post is now updated with links that work. :->

Friday, November 21, 2008


I just watched this movie on dvd and LOVED it. Highly recommended. Honestly, the trailer doesn't do this movie justice - it is funny and dramatic and creative and very, very well-done. Kudos to my brother for recommending it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I am too soft

I actually feel sorry for the S.O.B.

Tonight's epiphany

... while working out at the gym (my favourite place to meditate), is that:

pride does not equal confidence


insecurity does not equal humility.

I'm not really prepared to discuss what this means to me (at least right now), but I wanted to share it as it is. Hopefully it'll mean something to someone else.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Robot Vacuums

People, today I was not too impressed with my Roomba. I needed it to work because I had a potential roommate coming over, but the damn thing would just aggregate lint and cat hair in various locations and totally overlook dirt in other places. I think we can rest assured that robots will NOT be taking over the planet any time soon. (But if they do, they might even make the Bush administration seem competent in comparison.)

And what do you know, a Roomba video! Please watch and laugh aloud as I did:

Procrastinating with another questionnaire

I'm also stealing this one from JennP (missed numbers are repeat questions from yesterday's questionnaire):

1.Your ex is on the side of the road, on fire. What do you do?
Help. I’m trained in first aid and come armed with a cell phone. To do anything else would be a violation of everything I believe in. Besides, despite certain character flaws, he really is a great guy and we had some wonderful times together. I would never, EVER want to see him hurt.

2.Your best friend tells you she's pregnant. What is your reaction?
Considering that I consider myself to be my own best friend, I would freak the f--k out. I mean, I *love* kids but pregnancy’s not for me right now …

4.Congratulations! You just had a son. What's his name?
Simon, after my mom (Simone).

5.Congratulations! You just had a daughter. What's her name
Charlotte. I don’t know why. I knew a Charlotte once, and she was a piece of work. But I like the name.

6.What are you craving right now?
A nap.

7.What was the last thing you cried about?
Oh, it was probably some short-lived “poor me” thing.

8.When you buy something and your change is a penny. Do you keep it?
You betcha!

9.What color is your tissue box?
I have several, but the nearest one has a green bamboo pattern on it. Kinda masculine; I bought it for my office where I would routinely offer tissues to the guys on my team who didn’t think ahead about things like tissues.

10.Do you have a ceiling fan in your room, and if so, is there dust on that fan?
I have a standing fan, and yes it is a little dusty.

11.What is the last voicemail you received about?
Probably a library book.

12.Scariest thing you've experienced in the last year?
My dad gave us a health scare in September. Also, the career change has been nerve-wracking at times. The first was a little more intense but shorter-lived, and I was reassured by the excellent care he received.

13.Have you ever had a garage sale?

14.What is the last alcoholic beverage you had?
A half-pint of Rickert’s red last night with some friends after watching “Quantum of Solace”.

15.Are you happy right now?
I’m at peace. Or too tired to care. I need a nap, but my bed is covered with stuff at the moment. :)

16.Who came over last?
A classmate and potential roommate was just here.

17.Do you drink beer?
In a limited fashion. The half-pint I drank last night made me feel a little woozy.

18.Have your brothers or sisters ever told you that you were adopted?
See, this is the one bright spot of a genetic disorder – you know you are their biological offspring even when you wonder how you could possibly be related to your parents otherwise. LOL

19.Dark or light jeans?
Medium – dark.

20.What was the last movie you watched at home?
"Casino Royale". Apparently it was good that I did, as the others with whom I watched "Quantum of Solace" felt a little lost without fresh knowledge of what happened in the last Bond movie.

21.What is in your pocket?
My hopes.

22.Who introduced you to your boyfriend/girlfriend

23.Where do you hurt?
My throat’s a little raspy. Fighting another cold.

24.What is your favorite aisle at Wal-Mart?
Like Jenn, I dislike Walmart, haven't been in 2 or 3 years

26.What are you going to do after this?
Clean my room, which is full of the crap that I moved from the spare bedroom so I could show it to the potential roommate.

27.Who was the last person you went shopping with?
Mel, at St. Lawrence Market.

28.What about your favorite dessert?
Blueberry pie, cherry pie, cheesecake, chocolate cake. Don’t ask me to pick.

29.Do you have the same name as one of your relatives?
YES! TWO of my cousins have the same first name as me. (They are both older.) One of them even had the same last name as me until she got married. Once, in my hometown, I went to the doctor and they brought in the wrong chart. Fortunately they figured that one out pretty quickly. LOL

30.Do you like pickles?
They’re okay, but not really my thing. Sweet pickles with a grilled cheese sandwich are good, though.

31.Is someone in love with you?
I highly doubt it.

32.What color is your couch?
Sage green.

33.Has anyone ever mistaken you for a family member?
When I was 16, I spent a summer living with my older cousin Marlene as a nanny for her two kids. When our mothers called the house, neither of them could tell my voice apart from Marlene’s.

Also, when I was very young, someone called the house asking for me. I don’t think I’d ever received a phone call before, and I remember feeling very excited and special. But it turned out that it was some high school kid calling for my cousin who had the same name as me. LOL

34.Does someone like you right now?
I hope lots of people like me.

35.Do you know anyone in jail/prison?
My parents used to be foster parents, and some of those kids were messed up. Maybe one of them is now in prison. I know one of them was killed years ago.

37.How many hours did you sleep for last night?
not enough. I had to get up earlier than I wanted to clean my apartment.

38.Do you swear at your parents?
I sometimes use swear words when speaking with my parents, but I try not to, and they’re not aimed at them.

39.Do you think someone is thinking about you right now?
Possibly. I know a lot of people.

40.What is the last thing you spent money on?
Food at the pub last night after the movie. Perkin bought my beer because he owed me one and I reminded him. ;->

41.Name one thing no one can ever take away from you?
My intrinsic value as a human being.

42.What is the last thing you ate that had onions in it?
Soup, probably.

43.Crunchy or Puffy Cheetos?
Puffy. Evil, addictive creations. I try to stay away from them.

44.The first person on your friends list just called you a bitch. What do you have to say to them?
Nothing, I would just assume it was her pregnancy hormones.

45.Have you ever blocked someone on Myspace before?
Yes, he was just trying too damn hard.

46.Do you wear a name tag at work?

47.What color is your iPod?

48.What is your favorite key chain on your keys?
My Canada key chain. It is long and narrow, and fits perfectly in my fist. You know, for those days when I’m fighting crime and beating up the bad guys. :)

50.What were you doing at midnight last night?
Writing an e-mail. I need to start going to bed earlier.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My best find Internet dating

Want to read something truly witty and funny and well-written? Click here. Honestly.

I actually dated this guy briefly, and we still keep in touch. He's hysterically funny.

Paul Krugman rocks

I love how George Will certainly can't argue with Krugman now that the latter now has A NOBEL PRIZE IN ECONOMICS. :-D

Questions and answers

My friend and reader JennP posted this list of questions on her Facebook page, so I thought I'd provide my own answers:

This time last November, who were you dating?
Ah, longest dry spell ever.

Last person to make you smile?
A neighbour.

Who/what can you blame for your bad mood today?
I’m not in a bad mood at all, but if I were, I would hold myself responsible. Attitude is so important.

Do you wash your hair in the shower?
As opposed to having it washed for me at a salon on a daily basis?

Do you care what others think about you?
Sometimes too much, other times not so much. Generally if I know what’s right in my heart, I’ll follow it and damn the torpedoes.

How was last night?
Okay. HARD midterm, followed by major reorganization of my apartment and my storage closet in the creepy basement, in preparation for possibly showing my apartment to a potential roommate! (The second bedroom had become a large storage closet.) PRAY HARD, PEOPLE.

If you're being extremely quiet, what does it mean?
I’m hurt/withdrawn, or perhaps tired.

What did you do on Saturday?
Studied and …??? If I did anything else, I truly can't remember it.

Have you ever liked anyone that treated you like crap?
Unfortunately, yes.

Do you believe in celebrating anniversaries?
Yes, without getting crazy about it.

Where would you like to be right now?
Travelling through Europe, or hanging out in Seattle with my niece and nephew.

Have you ever been cheated on?
Nope! I’ve watched someone make a play for my boyfriend at the time, which was interesting. My friends were outraged at her behaviour, but I had complete trust in him. It was great. I learned that I am not a jealous person. And that I would never seriously date anyone whom I thought would cheat on me.

Are you a bigger fan of snowstorms or thunderstorms?
As long as I don’t have to shovel snow or bail out a basement, I like either!

Name a lyric from the last song you listened to
I’ve only listened to instrumental music so far today, so I will share some of my favourite lyrics ever, from 5 Days in May by Blue Rodeo:

… Somehow they stayed that way
For those 5 days in May
Made all the stars around them shine
Funny how you can look in vain
Living on nerves and such sweet pain
The loneliness that cuts so fine
To find the face you've seen a thousand times

Sometimes the world begins
To set you up on your feet again
It wipes the tears from your eyes
How will you ever know
The way that circumstances go
Always going to hit you by surprise
I know my past
You were there
In everything I've done
You are the one

Looking back it's hard to tell
Why they stood while others fell
Spend your life working it out …

The whole song is pure poetry. I love it so very much.

Will the last person you kissed, be the next person you kiss?
Not at this rate … LOL

Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom?
Yes, many many years ago. Fortunately, life for me keeps getting better since then.

Is there any emotion you are trying to hide?
There are certainly things that I don’t consider healthy for public airing. But lately I’m engaged in facing my own emotions fully, which is quite scary and weirdly liberating.

You go into target and have twenty dollars to spend, what do you buy?
School supplies, like paper (recycled, please!)

Would your parents be mad at you if you came home smashed?
I think they would be a bit concerned, since it would be very much out of character for me to arrive at their place liquored up. Especially since I would normally drive to get there.

Do you have trust issues?
Trusting myself, absolutely. With others, I have a pretty good sense of people and can be really loving and open quite quickly with the good ones*, which can be misinterpreted or celebrated by the other person involved. Then there’s the other 90% who see varying degrees of guardedness from me.

*Sometimes I connect with someone and it's just like "Oh THERE you are! I've been waiting for you without even realizing it!" This usually happens for me with certain female friends. It is very cool.

Was this weekend a good one?
Absolutely! I studied a lot, but I am very blessed.

Were you happy when you woke up today?
I was more peaceful than I was last night. Last night I was overtired and became a bit emotional. Thankfully, I have enough experience to know I should just go to bed when I feel like that.

Do you own guns?
I don’t even own a glue gun.

What do you think of hot dogs?
Veggie ones are okay. They hit the spot sometimes, but they’re hardly good food.

Can you do push ups?
Nope. I need to work on my upper body strength, but I have some neck/shoulder issues, so I need to go slooooowly.

What's one trait that you hate about yourself?
Just one??? My insecurity.

Name 3 things you bought yesterday
banana bread (with chocolate chips!), fruit smoothie, yummy dinner of chickpea stew and quinoa salad.

Name 3 drinks you drink regularly:
water, herbal teas, and …? I don't drink juice, wine, or beer "regularly".

What will you be doing in a year from now?
Hopefully living as a full-time student.

Best toy as a child?
Kittens! (Not that they are really toys ... don't get all SPCA on me!!! LOL)

Worst injury you've ever had?
When I was very young (5 years old?), a large, wide piece of plywood got picked up by a very strong wind and smacked me down into the gravel of our yard. Half of my sweet little face was a scabbed-up mess. I remember a day or two later, my little friend Carolyn told our other friend Theresa - in my hearing - that they HAD to play with me because I was ugly. LOL The only evidence I have of this experience now is a tiny purple scar beside my eye.

Do you think you'll be married in 10 years?
I honestly couldn’t say. I’m not at all hung up on marriage. But I do hope to be in a loving, committed relationship ten years from now.

Would you go in public looking like you do right now?
I just did.

Do you dance while getting ready for whatever?
Inside, perhaps. :)

Favorite Sports Team?
I don’t watch sports, generally.

Do you like your life?
It gets better all the time – crazy, unpredictable, breathtaking, frustrating – always an opportunity to learn and grow.

Are you happy?
Happiness is transient, and I think unhappiness serves to drive us to new achievements and discoveries. But it’s conversely also important to be content in the present moment.

But I'm sure the Dalai Lama has defined happiness and its role in our lives much better than I could:

I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.

Have you ever not been able to get someone off your mind?
Hello, I am a girl. It seems to be part of our circuitry, dammit.

Is it okay if you kiss people when you're single?
I love Jenn’s answer: “How else would you get to the not single part” But in general I am not a kissy person. Even the European style of kissing a friend on both cheeks. It's the glasses - I'm always afraid of gouging someone with the corner of my glasses. However, like Bull Durham, I do believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. :)

Who is your last text from?

Whats your current favorite color?
Blue, as per usual.

What is your current mood?

When is your birthday?
in the spring

What color shirt are you wearing?

If you were going on a reality TV show, which one would it be?
I would love someday to have enough knowledge and experience someday to be on the news as an “expert”. Except I've been in a TV studio before, and the bright lights are really super uncomfortable.

Something you do a lot?

How many piercings?
4, but two have grown in.

When was the last time you cried?
Oh, I’ve probably cried a tear or two of self-pity recently, but the last major cry was while watching my dad kiss my niece and nephew goodbye at the end of their visit in September. It was one of the most heart-wrenching things I’ve ever seen.

Who would you do anything for?
Well, I would like to think that I am generous with most of my friends and family. But if it came to donating a kidney, that circle would be a little smaller. :)

American Pie or Superbad?
I have seen neither.

What’s your biggest fear?

Where is your ex?
Probably here in Toronto somewhere. Don’t know for sure, though. Although I think I saw his dad at my subway stop last week, which was a little weird.

What was the first thing you said this morning?
I probably asked the cats if they were hungry.

Whats your favorite smell?
Freshly-laundered clothes on a sexy man. Yum!

Have you ever been kissed in the rain?
I don't think so.

Do you like rain?
Oh yes.

Whats your favorite memory?
This afternoon:

Then this moment:

(I was crying at the time, but this is the precise moment I fell in love with my niece.)

What are you listening to?
Oops, started listening to music with lyrics, so now it’s “1973” by James Blunt.

Favorite soda pop?
Coke Classic, though I RARELY indulge. I miss my rum n’ cokes.

Who was the last person you yelled at?
A couple of years ago, I had just gotten off the subway and was climbing the stairs to leave the station when an elderly gentleman riding the escalator beside me started to lose his balance. Several of us moved to help him (I remember desperately holding his hand to the handrail), but he couldn't seem to get his feet under him. I realized that there were people at the bottom of the escalator just standing there watching in fascination, and so I yelled at them to push the button to stop the escalator. They finally snapped out of it and stopped the escalator, and the elderly gentleman immediately recovered his balance and was able to walk out of the subway station without further assistance. I, on the other hand, had a surge of adrenaline to deal with, and the anger I felt towards the people at the bottom of the escalator frightened me. Thankfully, there have been no such repeats.

Otherwise, I am not into yelling at people.

Who is the last person you told "I love you' to?
My mom.

Would it be hard seeing someone else kiss the last person you kissed?
I think it would be very human of me to have some mixed feelings, but I would try to be happy for him. I believe in love and think our world needs more of it.

If someone liked you right now, would you want them to tell you?
Mmm depends. I tend to attract significantly older, unhappily-married men, which is totally not cool.

Have you heard a song that reminds you of anyone today?
I just listened to “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield, which makes me think about how much my brother enjoyed that song when it first came out. :)

When was the last time you felt like your heart was actually breaking?
See the one above about the last time I cried.

Do you believe that you can change for someone?
Like Jenn, I think the only person you can change for is yourself.

Is there someone you don't ever want to be out of your life?
So many.

Do you give out second chances too easily?
It depends on what happened with the first chance.

The last person you kissed needs you at 3 am, would you go?
Absolutely, without question. He was a wonderful friend who really listened to me when I needed someone to talk to, and a person I deeply respect and admire.

When was the last time you wanted to punch someone in their face?
An ex many many moons ago.

Do you believe ex's can be friends?
Depends. I read somewhere ("How to Make an American Quilt", perhaps?) once that lovers can't be friends if one loved the other in a way that the other didn’t return, but that they could be friends only if neither loved the other, or they both loved each other still. I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that.

Do you find it in your heart to forgive?
Depends on what is to be forgiven. But often what happens with me is that I can't care enough to hold onto the details of what happened, just that the person is no longer to be trusted.

Write whatever comes to mind first

1. I need a cigarette: yuck

2. Sex: rrrrrowllllll

3. Relationships: hard

4. Your Last Ex: [something not very nice about his appearance; I need to be a better person]

5. Power: owning myself

6. Marijuana: why?

7. Crack: butt

8. Food: nutrition

9. This President: don’t let the door hit your a$$ on the way out

10. War: poppy

11. Cars: wheels (ingenious, I know)

12. Gas Prices: cheaper now, but for how long?

13. Halloween: over

14. Bon Jovi: wild hair

15. Religion: it’s complicated

16. Facebook: network

17. Worst Fear: gut-clenching anxiety

18. Marriage: the few amazing ones make everyone try hard for their own

19.Fashion: kinda dumb

20. Brunettes: smart

21. Redheads: classy

22: Work: dignity

23: Football: please don’t get hurt

24: One night stands: disappointing

26: Pixie Stix: Pixies? on sticks??? That seems rather cruel, or at least like the M.O. of a 18th-century biologist.

27: Vanilla Ice: too long ago

29: Porta Potties: Honey Pot (that’s a company that makes them in the Northwest)

30: High school: learning

31: Pajamas: flannel

32. Wood: wonder of nature

33. Surfers: stupid (unfair, I know)

34. Pictures: I need to take more

1. Eclecta
2. My first name (two variations; the less formal one is now generally only used by family and very close friends)
3. My dad's nickname for me is "Puss", because I've always liked cats. I once suggested that this was not an appropriate nickname, and he became very offended. LOL

1. eyes
2. arms
3. tenderness

1. writing
2. photography
3. reading

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Etch-a-Sketch fantasy

Sometimes I wish that people or relationships could be shaken and given a clean slate again, like with an Etch-a-Sketch or the reboot of a computer. No baggage, no messed-up assumptions or miscommunications, maybe even a chance to make a different decision. Starting over would be so great, I think. At least in certain cases.

And if I could have this gift just once? I might have started studying for this biochem exam earlier. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Discovery of Sex

This poem made me laugh. And Mom, it is in fact okay for you to read it. I just don't want to think about you reading it. :)


My brain is constipated. Sorry, that's crass, but it's an apt description. I've been memorizing molecular structures of the amino acids for my mid-term on Monday, and there are only so many that I can absorb at a time.

So, for fun (fun! HA!) I've been cleaning out my bookshelves. Making room for the textbooks that I will soon be requiring. And you know what? Over the years, I have made one heckuvan investment in language learning materials. And I can't bear to be parted with any of it, no matter how unlikely it is that one day I will be able to again study French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and Korean. Oh, and German. Two boxes of this stuff! To be banished to the creepy basement ... where's a forklift when I need one???

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

One last review of the election

Very cool, if you're not completely OVER all things election-related ...

It's just beginning

Well, folks, last night was pretty amazing, huh? President. Barack. Obama. I'm finding it hard to believe, like I might wake up from a dream and be crushed with disappointment. And yet I know it's true.

Eight years ago, I despaired at the election of George W. Bush, but I had faith that the elder statesmen and the institutions of the land would keep him from doing too much damage. Boy, was I wrong. They botched up everything from national security to global warming to the economy and as much as they could befoul in between. And in less than three months, the competent adults will finally be back in charge. Do they ever have their work cut out for them.

But considering how hard the Republicans had to work to send everything to shit, I do believe that Obama and his camp can turn things around. Maybe, sadly, not in time for everyone, but overall I think we all stand a fighting chance now. It's going to take a LOT of hard work and cooperation within the United States and around the world, but we have someone we can actually work with now, someone who is determined to serve the interests of all Americans and to do the right thing.

Does this all sound ridiculously naive? You know, I'm a little bit more willing to risk naivete today because I've learned a little bit about hope in the last 12 hours. I've learned how powerful it is. Here's an example, from a story a DailyKos reader shared about someone she briefly met:

As he ushered us into us cab in the morning, he admitted that he was less concerned about whether his taxes go up or down than he was about our standing in the world. It turns out he works part of the year in Ghana, coaching a soccer team.

"You used to drive through the streets and see posters everywhere of Osama bin Laden," he told us. "He was the first person people felt represented them in the world." Now all of the posters have been replaced -- with posters of Obama. "It makes them feel completely differently about America that a half-African black man could be elected president of this country."

Wow. And I'm sure that this is happening all over the world this week. How can this not remarkably change the international landscape???

It has been an incredible learning experience to watch Barack Obama through this election. Despite the egregious lies and slander, he kept his cool, maintained his focus, and insisted on hope and respect for his fellow Americans, regardless of their political affiliations. When the predominant sound from the financial markets was the sound of a toilet flushing, he was calm and steady, and urged his fellow citizens to be resolute and to use the system to defend their rights. In the face of racism, bitter division, and petty attacks, he has called upon Americans to work towards that more perfect union of their country. At times I felt as though, like a father or a mentor, he's actually shown us how to be better people. This guy gets the bigger picture, understands our humanity, and is uniquely gifted for this time.

I believe that the Universe has thrown us a life preserver with this one, as well as reset the bar for how we should behave and the interests we should pursue. The opportunity here cannot be squandered.

I know Obama will be doing his part, but I think we all have a role to play to live up to this historic time. Here are some of the things that I commit to do, inspired by #44:

  • I will seek to help other people. I've been considering a career change for several months, and this past month helped me make that decision. I will be going back to school full-time in January to learn to help people in a health-related profession.
  • I will be disciplined. Obama and his people ran the most disciplined campaign there's probably ever been in U.S. history, and that was a huge part of their success.
  • I will be an engaged, active member of my community. Hello, democracy works!!!
  • I will try very hard to treat everyone with respect and no longer villify those with whom I disagree. Yes, I will even include Stephen Harper in this.
  • I will dare to hope and to dream. I will not be ruled by fear, because it's destructive and limiting. I will still exercise caution, but hope and optimism are powerful in creating a positive future.
  • I will be steady and calm in the face of difficult circumstances. Like Obama, I will gain strength from remembering how previous generations preserved and sacrificed and gave us all a future.

This is a momentous time for us all. The speed and interconnectedness of communications in our society means that none of us can truly understand the impact of our own attitudes and actions. We can choose to inspire, serve, lead, participate in our democracies, make informed decisions, live meaningful lives, and contribute to our communities. We are all important, and we all have a voice and a role to play in shaping our todays and tomorrows. And I for one intend to live mine to the utmost. This doesn't mean that I won't make mistakes or fail along the way, but if Barack Obama can admit that about himself and still serve as President of the United States, I see no reason why I can't press forward too. :)

May this be the only Palin we ever see forevermore

Via Zen, who didn't want to post this yesterday for fear of swaying any votes. :)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

This made me giggle

Don't strew me with roses after I'm dead.
When Death claims the light of my brow,
No flowers of life will cheer me: instead
You may give me my roses now!
- Thomas F. Healey

An emotional announcement

The Republican mayor of San Diego explains why he is breaking a campaign promise to oppose gay marriage:

Beautiful, profound, true

Be sure to read until the very end.

Can a campaign really be this tone-deaf?

I can't believe these Saturday Night Live videos from yesterday. I know I'm biased, but I can't believe that the McCain campaign would believe that these videos do anything but make their candidate look ridiculous. If I were a friend of McCain, I'd advise him to fire and then sue his campaign management.

Opening skit:

Weekend Update skit:

This behind-the-scenes video isn't any better. McCain thinks that SNL appearances humanize him:

So, what do you guys think?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Read this story

... and remember it when you're tempted to be cynical about humanity.

A great story

Quote of the day

On Elisabeth Hasselbeck:

It must be hard to be both pro-war and pro-life at the same time and still look so perky that early in the morning. It’s as if she doesn’t lose a wink of sleep over it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Priceless - if you know Canadian politics

This video makes me laugh, cringe, and blush

A Brighter Day Will Come

I think this is the best Obama music video I've ever seen:

From the archives

Several weeks ago, I finally added one of my Paul Simon CDs to my iPod. Now, every time I listen to "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover", I think it doesn't get enough play these days. Enjoy:


Jackie and Luc's Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Wendy asked for this recipe, so I thought I'd share it with everyone. It's delicious!

You will need:

  • 2 red peppers
  • 3/4 (three-quarters) of a cup of feta cheese (the fresher the better)
  • 1 tsp red win vinegar
  • pinch of cayenne (or more, depending on your preferences)
  • pinch of salt
Road the red peppers 15 - 20 minutes until they are fairly blackened. (I put them on a tray in the oven at 400F. I cover the tray with aluminum foil because the peppers will drip and the drippings, being high in sugar, will blacken and be hard to remove.)

When the peppers have been roasted, put them in cold water and peel their skins from them. Remove the stem, seeds, and veins. Coarsely chop the peppers and blend them in a food processor with all the other ingredients.

Serve chilled with pita bread that has been cut up into triangles for dipping.

This dip should keep for about a week (if properly refrigerated, of course).


Republicans for Obama

Get the cool backstory on this video here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gasp! Not a political post!!!

This song has become my new favourite in the past week:

UPDATE: Lyrics are here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Holy cow

Look at the picture here. This is in a supposedly "red" state.


Who looks presidential now?

Palin as preznit

Funny website - check it out! Be sure to mouse over various parts of the picture, and click on things when your mouse cursor changes.

All about Biden

So Barack Obama's pretty awesome, isn't he? That guy is as cool as they come, and I cannot wait until he is the president of those United States.

How about Joe Biden? Do you know his story? He's pretty amazing too. If you don't know his story, here's a video of his son Beau introducing him and telling his story:

This short video is about Joe Biden's wife, Jill, but I think it indirectly says a lot of about Biden himself - the way he proudly introduces his wife as having a doctorate in education, and the way his son Beau is brought to tears calling Jill his "Mom":

(You can learn more about Jill Biden here - she is very cool too!)

Biden gets choked up in the VP debate recalling his family's tragedy

The day after his debate with Sarah Palin, Biden attended the deployment ceremony of his son, Beau, who, as a member of the National Guard, is being deployed to Iraq. The photo at the top of this diary pulls at my heartstrings.

These really are remarkable times in which we live, and some amazing people have stepped forward in this time of need. I think Joe Biden is one of the best, and I will be thrilled when he becomes vice president.

Obama/Biden '08!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Hat-tip to ZenDenizen!

A website for you to add to your favourites

Have you heard about Margaret and Helen? They are American octagenarians who blog. Seriously. It is ridiculously awesome, and you should read it.

Exhibit A:

Did any of you watch the news shows this weekend? And I am not talking about Troopergate because everyone saw that coming. I’m talking about the video from the McCain rallies. Clearly we now have proof postive that you shouldn’t sleep with your cousin.

My hat’s off to McCain for trying to set the record straight about Obama not being an Arab, but what does it say about his judgment that he handed a live microphone to Ma and Pa Kettle in the first place? I mean what truck and tractor pull was cancelled to make room for that stop on the Straight Talk Express?

Now THAT'S some straight talkin', my friends ...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Amazing story on the new paradigm of leadership

Almost three years ago, I attended a leadership seminar at which Carly Fiorina was one of the speakers. Yes, she supports John McCain, and was one of his leading surrogates until she admitted on camera that neither Sarah Palin nor John McCain were qualified to be a CEO of a corporation. However, a lot of what she had to say about leadership three years ago made a lot of sense (maybe they were her ideas, maybe they weren't; I don't know). Here are a few points from the notes I made back then:

  • She said that as we’ve entered the 21st Century, we’ve entered unchartered territory.Up to and including the 20th Century, leadership was vertical, or “mechanical.Information went up the vertical chain of command, and orders went back down it.This was inefficient, because it meant that the leader was responsible for knowing everything that was going on among the rank and file, and for arranging for the transfer of information between groups that eventually reported up to him/her.
  • In academia today, the greatest innovations and breakthroughs now come through collaboration between different departments (I forget the example she used, but it was something like biology and mechanical physics).Today’s problems are more complex, and therefore horizontal collaboration (vs. vertical chain of command) is more important.
  • Important questions yet to be answered in the 21st Century: How do we share information/power? How do we enforce accountability?
This perspective on leadership fascinated me because I realized for the first time why the traditional management styles of the organizations in which I'd worked were so limited.

And tonight I've found an inspiring example of how this new paradigm of leadership has been successfully applied. You may not support Barack Obama, but this is really interesting reading. And if you get through the article and see how he's organised his campaign, you just might be converted into believing he should be running the United States.


Monday, October 13, 2008

About farm animals

Do you really think about your food? Wonder about what kind of a life it had before it became a cellophane-wrapped package in your grocery store?

On November 4th, the citizens of California will be voting on a measure to legislate humane treatment of farm animals. This is important stuff, folks. Not just because animals in factory farms must suffer unimaginable levels of hell, but it also makes sense from a food safety perspective:

  • Food animals who are treated well and provided with at least minimum accommodation of their natural behaviors and physical needs are healthier and safer for human consumption.
  • Due to the large numbers of animals confined in close quarters in typical factory farms, there are many opportunities for animals to be infected by several strains of pathogens, leading to increased chance for a strain to emerge that can infect and spread in humans.
  • Practices that restrict natural motion, such as sow gestation crates, induce high levels of stress in the animals and threaten their health, which in turn may threaten human health.

Honestly, watch this video and try to tell me that this isn't the right thing to do in California and all across North America.

I'm a staunch vegetarian partly for animal rights issues. I know there is some irony in asking for farm animals to have a healthy environment in which to grow before they're taken away for slaughter, but I see it as progress. I think it demeans and debases us as a people when we turn a blind eye to the suffering of another animal, regardless of how detached we may feel from agriculture. To do anything else is to be complicit in the abuse.

If you wouldn't allow a dog or a cat to be treated in this way, how is a cow, pig, or chicken any different?

Disgusting allegations from a bona fide crackpot

First, let me say that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING MUSLIM. Or an Arab. They are people just like you and me, with families and hopes and dreams.

Nonetheless, there are people like the woman in this video who - in ignorance and due to hateful propaganda - are afraid of Muslims and Arabs. And there are also people who are claiming that Barack Obama is secretly an Arab or a Muslim, and has plans to somehow turn the U.S.A. into a Muslim nation when he is elected president.

Where does this crap come from? And who's pushing it??? The New York Times investigates:

Until this month, the man who is widely credited with starting the cyberwhisper campaign that still dogs Mr. Obama was a secondary character in news reports, with deep explorations of his background largely confined to liberal blogs.

But an appearance in a documentary-style program on the Fox News Channel watched by three million people last week thrust the man, Andy Martin, and his past into the foreground. The program allowed Mr. Martin to assert falsely and without challenge that Mr. Obama had once trained to overthrow the government.

While Andy Martin is definitely the story here, I don't want you to miss the fact that Fox "News" gave this idiot a platform to spew his false information, and did not challenge it. But back to Martin:

He is a law school graduate, but his admission to the Illinois bar was blocked in the 1970s after a psychiatric finding of “moderately severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character.”

Though he is not a lawyer, Mr. Martin went on to become a prodigious filer of lawsuits, and he made unsuccessful attempts to win public office for both parties in three states, as well as for president at least twice, in 1988 and 2000. Based in Chicago, he now identifies himself as a writer who focuses on his anti-Obama Web site and press releases.

Now I know right now you're probably thinking to yourself, "But I thought Republicans hate people who are constantly suing other people!" I guess it depends on whether they feel they have something to gain. But honestly, this man is as repulsive as they come:

In another motion, filed in 1983, Mr. Martin wrote, “I am able to understand how the Holocaust took place, and with every passing day feel less and less sorry that it did.”

In an interview, Mr. Martin denied some statements against Jews attributed to him in court papers, blaming malicious judges for inserting them.

But in his “48 Hours” interview in 1993, he affirmed a different anti-Semitic part of the affidavit that included the line about the Holocaust, saying, “The record speaks for itself.”

So if or when someone sends you an e-mail stating or implying that Barack Obama has some kind of secret Muslim or radical agenda, please think long and hard about who the source may be.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another one just for me

Again, not suggesting you watch this video, as it is kind of long. But I do find it uplifting. My favourite parts are at the 3-minute and 9-minute points.

You don't have to watch this one

I am just putting it here so I can always find it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dangerous times

Betty White is a goddess!

Stories like this

... are why I am still hopeful about this world, and about the U.S. in particular.

Please sign this Avaaz petition for financial crisis response!

Dear [Avaaz] friends,

Over the next 48 hours, the world's leading finance ministers are meeting to thrash out our response to the financial crisis. Instead of bailing out reckless financiers again, we need a buy-in that gives us public ownership and strict new regulations to fix this broken system for good! --

Watching the markets freefall, we know this crisis will utterly change our daily lives -- we're not just spectators any more, and we’re seeing something new –- people and governments directly intervening in the chaos that until now was controlled by reckless and greedy financiers.

Today and all weekend, extraordinary choices will be made by the world’s most powerful finance ministers, meeting to decide our response to the financial crisis. Together, we must make sure that governments don’t just use our money to bail out the banks, but claim a share of public ownership in these institutions for our future, and oversight powers to fundamentally fix the wider system.

We'll deliver our call for a global buy-in package in 36 hours to G7 finance ministers and again to a bigger Global Crisis Summit planned for November -- please sign the petition at the link below, and forward this email to everyone you know. The decisions made this week will shape our lives for years to come:

Three weeks ago our petition to regulate global finance was waved by Denmark's former prime minister as the European Parliament voted.[1] Two weeks ago our US members bombarded Congress with phone calls for a buy-in not a bailout -- investing in the banks so they stop choking off capital, while giving the public a share for their money and the power to fix the system -- and yesterday, as Britain launched a bold buy-in of its own, word is the United States might finally change course.[2]

Only concerted action by the global community can build a better system, and we can't leave it to the financiers -- so today, we're launching an emergency campaign calling on leaders for a global public rescue to save all our economies. This is what's needed -- a 'buy-in' to financial institutions not a reckless 'bailout', massive public investment stimulus to stave off global depression, temporary guarantee of loans/deposits, and strict new regulations to fix this broken system once and for all.[3] It's a sensible and public-spirited package supported by progressives and expert economists alike -- add your name here:

Leading economists now agree that citizens and our governments are the only force powerful enough to solve this crisis -- only the public can mobilise the investment and oversight needed to fix the financiers' failings, get the economy moving and revive things on a sounder basis. The Great Depression of the 1930s teaches us that we cannot address this crisis with each acting alone -- only by acting together can countries head off disaster.

How we respond to this crisis will shape our lives for years to come. We're still a long way from tackling the fundamental problems of the global economy, but the tide is moving in our direction. So let's take control of our future in the interests of people not financiers, and raise a worldwide voice across borders for a global public rescue. 3.4 million of us in every nation of the world will get this email -- that's a start. Click below to sign, forward this email to all your friends and family, and let's raise a voice our leaders can't ignore:

With hope and determination,

Paul, Ricken, Graziela, Pascal, Veronique, Iain, Brett, Milena and the whole Avaaz team

PS Congratulations to all those who supported our phone and email campaign on Europe's climate and energy package this week -- it was a stunning victory, we won 95% of what we wanted and our sources say we made a big difference. More soon!


1. Winning the vote on financial oversight and regulation in the European Parliament with Denmark's Poul Rasmussen:

Rasmussen's Parliament speech:

2. New York Times and NYU economist Paul Krugman on the UK plan and US shift:

"This would essentially be the plan supported by most economists":

3. 18 leading economists from across the political spectrum and around the world -- "Rescuing our jobs and savings: what G7/G8 leaders can do":


ABOUT AVAAZ is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Sydney and Geneva.

Click here to learn more about our largest campaigns.