Friday, April 30, 2004

Helpful household hint: the best way to guarantee the laundry room won't be crowded is to do your laundry during a hockey game.

Note to certain Leafs fans out there: please reserve your honking up Yonge St. for when the Leafs have won a game, not just when they have scored a goal.
Add the appropriate tempo? WTF kind of question is that?
My library card number is 14 digits long. It took me under a month to memorize that.

The part of my bank card number that I need to memorize is 12 digits long. I got this bank card in fall 2000, and I still haven't managed to memorize that number.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

American Woman by Susan Choi. Yet another novel that is a good book, but I am not the best audience for it. It's the story of the daughter of a wealthy family who is kidnapped by a group of radicals in 1970s America, and eventually turns to their cause. The story is told from the perspective of another radical who is in hiding but gets drawn into this incident.

I think it's a novel better appreciated by someone who lived through that time, especially since it's apparently based on a real event (which I wouldn't have known about without Google). There's a good deal of indirect commentary on things like gender, race, and sexuality, but again those aren't Issues in my life like they were at the time. It works if you read it from a historical perspective, but I don't know if it's intended that way.

The story itself is quite good, although it fizzles out at the end. I think the author was going for Meaningful and Symbolic at the end, but it didn't quite work for me. Still worth reading from the library though.
I'm not actively involved in academia at the moment so I don't know how much my opinion on this matter counts, but I've decided I don't like

It seems to me that there is a finite amount of things that can be said on any given topic, and there is an even more finite (can there be degrees of finiteness?) amount of things that the typical undergrad would be inclined to say on any given topic. There is also a finite number of ways that any given idea can be expressed in a particular language.

If you have every student run every paper through, and you compare all papers to all previous papers, eventually there are going to be some matches that are pure coincidence. I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of using this particular thesis with these particular supporting points in my first essay for first-year English Lit, and someone else writing on the exact same topic might use one or two of the same turns of phrase as I do. The mroe papers are added to the database, the greater the chance of a coincidental match?

So what will happen to the first student who dilligently writes an essay in their own words, but it ends up getting flagged by How will they convince the prof that they are being honest? Will their academic career be ruined?

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

This is a hugely useful tool for deciding whom to vote for when there's a federal election.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004


Does anyone here say whilst? If so, do you also say while? If so, what's the difference?

Monday, April 26, 2004

[Disclaimer: The following post is about semantics and branding. It also happens to mention abortion. However, it is not intended as commentary on abortion, or to invite commentary on abortion. It is intended only to comment on linguistic issues.]

The problem, from a branding point of view, with the label "pro-choice" is that "choice" is not a very strong word, especially considering that the opposite lobby calls itself "pro-life". "Life" is very strong, meaningful word. It is a Big Important Concept. If you were doing some kind of layout or design thing incorporating words that represent Big Important Universal Concepts, the word "life" would be on there. The word "Choice" probably would not. If we momentarily forgot all knowledge of the significance of these words to the abortion issue and asked, "What is more important, Life or Choice?" most people would probably choose the word "life".

Consider the ubiquitous phrase "a woman's right to choose". Again, if we remove all familiarity with this phrase's significance to the abortion issue, it sounds rather weak. Choosing is a banal everyday activity. Coffee or tea? Apple or orange? "Right to life" sounds much stronger than "right to choose", especially since it would be very easy to argue that even if a person cannot choose whether to terminate a pregnancy, they still have the right to choose many many other things.

The keyword for a label like this should be selected with the target audience in mind. Who is the target audience for the pro-abortion movement? People who don't believe that a woman should be allowed to terminate her pregnancy if she feels it necessary to do so. That's right, people who would consider an abortion are NOT the target audience, people who are unilaterially opposed to abortion ARE. The phrases "pro-choice" and "a woman's right to choose" were doubtless created with respect for the complexity of the issues and the many many factors involved in a decision of whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, as well as respect for the fact that only those directly involved can be fully qualified to make such a monumental decision, and then only for their specific situation. They are very careful, respectful phrases, created with those who could not say they would never get an abortion in mind. The problem is that this is not the target audience. The target audience is much less likely to see it as a complex problem, much less likely to see it as a set of factors to be carefully weighed. The target audience is more likely to see abortion as Something You Don't Do. Period.

The phrase "a woman's right to choose" alienate the target audience in two ways. First, it gives the impression that they mean "right to choose whether to have an abortion", which, to someone who is opposed to abortion, would give the impression that they trivialize the importance of abortion. "Choosing" might make it sound like they're eeny-meeny-miny-moing rather than weighing a complex set of factors. After all, we also "choose" whether to have a bagel or a muffin for breakfast. Upon further reflection it becomes clear that "Right to choose" means "right to choose whether to be pregnant, whether to be a parent for the rest of my life, whether to burden an innocent human being with this set of problems", choosing one's path in life more than choosing one single action, but people aren't likely to put this much analysis into something they firmly believe is unconditionally wrong. To the target audience, "choice" would seem rather trival compared with the other factors at play.

The other way the phrase "woman's right to choose" alienates its target audience is by its reference to a woman's right. Of course, we all know that, as of this writing, only women can become pregnant so therefore only women can have abortions, but the emphasis on the concept of women serves to alienate men from the pro-choice lobby. The pro-life lobby has no such alienating phrases. Now I know that there are a great many men who are pro-choice even though it doesn't involve them as directly, just as a great many people everywhere in the world campaign for causes that do not involve them directly. But I'm sure there are also some men who perceive pro-choice as A Women's Issue, and therefore do not pay it as much attention. This isn't because of misogyny or bigotry or ignorance, but rather a sort of mundane everyday selfishness that we all have. For example, I think having the option to send one's child to daycare or to stay home and raise one's child oneself is important, but I'm not about to get up and march at a demonstration about it because it simply does not affect my life. Similarly, marking pro-choice as A Woman's Issue probably makes some men, even if the fully believe that it is important for abortion to be available, less inclined to actively do something about it.

So how should pro-choice brand itself? I don't have an answer to that. But to compete with the Big Idea of "LIFE", they need a word that's stronger than "choice". Something freedom-esque perhaps. But the most important thing in such a rebranding would be to keep in mind that their target audience is NOT the people who are already on their side.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

The weird cartoonish/videogamish stuff that's going on on the Simpsons right now - what's it an allusion to?
How the fuck am I supposed to know what key it's in when the key signature isn't even a key that's related to the key in the title, and the final chord makes no sense with any of the keys in question, and I don't have any musical instruments so I can't just fucking play it and hear what it sounds and feels like, and I'm sorry but I was trained as an instrumentalist and can't sight sing????

Perhaps it's reasonable to assume that a theory student might have access to an instrument, but you can't bring instruments into the exams (or start singing in the middle of an exam) and this book does say it's for exam preparation, so they should provide us with the tools to work out the example without an instrument! GAH!
From the Cool Ideas That Would Be Impossible To Implement file:

Countries should decide whether to get involved in any particular military action through a secret-ballot referendum of all the members of its armed forces. The members of the armed forces are given all the information available, even that which is not available to the general public (because that's what security clearance is for), and then they decide for themselves whether it's a worthwhile cause.

Possible variation: votes are weighted based on how close to the action the voter would be (although that does take away some of the secrecy of the secret ballot). So the votes of people whose job is to be cannon fodder would be worth more than the votes of people whose job is to sit in an office in another continent.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

A weird thing about The Sims is that the option to tickle people shows up quite often. IRL, why on earth would one adult tickle another adult? Possibly within a very intimate context, but it's hardly a standard social interaction like "talk" or "joke".
OMFG. The Toronto Star is spelling the word "grey" as "gray". I don't know if this is new or if I just noticed it today, but it's SACRILIGE!!!! This is disgusting and obscene! Grey is spelled with an E in Canada, and that's final! Get a CANADIAN style guide already!

Friday, April 23, 2004

Sometimes it's quite handy to have a simple, clear, one-word job title.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I don't know how it does it, but this sportsbra I bought (of which I'm not going to mention the name because it's been discontinued and I don't know that there aren't people my size reading this) a) prevents anything from moving around, at all, ever, even while kickboxing (yes, I tried a slightly toned-down form of kickboxing in the dressing room), b) makes my breasts point upward, hence making my whole torso look slimmer, and c) looks completely smooth under a tight t-shirt. So obviously they have to discontinue it. I found one in my size, but I really want a second so I can have one for exercising and one for normal wear, rather than having to wear a sweaty bra whenever I want to wear an unforgiving top.
Two unrelated items of note:

1. Charmin Ultra trumps all other toilet paper sampled to date.

2. Rosemont Estates Diamond Chardonnay trumps all other white wines sampled to date.

It's a break, it's in the winter, why is this an issue? Why do they have to even have a big meeting about it? I'll bet if they just quietly printed "winter break" on the calendar, no one would even notice.

And newsflash to Ms. Scott: ceasing to exclude non-xians does not equal excluding xianity. She sounds a tad insecure in her xianity.
They aren't killing off BD, they had him lose a leg. Somehow that's even more poignant...

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Things I pondered buying today (none of which I bought because I don't have time to try on)

- a bright orange peasant/hippy style shirt (justification: I look good in bright red, so why not bright orange?)
- a green skirt, which goes with nothing I own except my rare black and/or white pieces
- a slate/stone grey skirt, which goes with everything I own because my wardrobe is coordinated to black pants. I don't know why it occurred to me that light grey is a good colour for someone who is a) size 14 and b) a total slob
- a red jersey dress, which will either be very flattering or make me look lumpy
- a blue and turquoise dress, which will either be very flattering or make me look old
- a LBD, because I don't actually own one. Actually there are two that I pondered, but I'd only buy one of them.
- various pale green shirts, even though pale colours don't look good on me. My justification is that my eyes are pale green so it should be allowed, but pale for eyes is not the same as pale for clothes
- green pj pants, even though I need a full pj and the top that went with them is stupid
- several other more practical dresses that will either look good on me or look too old for me.

I don't know why I found myself attracted to so many impractical items, I don't know why I found myself attracted to so many clothes, period! I don't know why I felt inclined to buy brightly coloured dresses to wear to work, and I don't know why I'm constantly tempted to stray from the range of Colours That Work. I'm weird today.
The other problem with laundry is it takes up the whole day. It makes that day Laundry Day. At my parents', laundry was my favourite chore because I could throw the stuff in the machine, go about my business, attend to the machines when I heard them stop, and do the folding while watching TV. Here I have to change into Laundry Clothes (at my parents' enough loads of laundry were done that it didn't matter what I wore, it would be washed again by the next time I needed to wear it), find loonies and quarters, lug my stuff downstairs through public hallways, and watch the clock. At my parents', if I was a bit late collecting my laundry, someone would put the machine on air fluff until I could attend to it. Here, people (rightfully) take my clothes out and stack them on top of the machine. It's rapidly becoming one of my least favourite chores. (Taking out the recycling is still my very least favourite, followed closely by dishes). By comparison, vacuuming and washing the floors is nothing.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Toronto Police Services Board chair Norm Gardner was recently suspended for accepting 5,700 rounds of ammunition from the Toronto police force for his personal use.

The question no one has asked, to which I really want to know the answer:

What on earth does one private individual need 5,700 rounds of ammunition for?

I know virtually nothing about firearms, but doesn't posessing 5,700 rounds of ammunition imply that he intends to fire a firearm 5,700 times? Why on earth would anyone need to do that "for personal use"?
Interesting day on the comics page. BD from Doonesbury was wounded in Iraq (and I have a hunch they're going to kill him off), and in Get Fuzzy, Rob's cousin lost a leg in Iraq.
Apparently it's 19 degrees out right now. At 6:30 am! And it's supposed to go up to 24! Whatever do I wear? I've forgotten how to dress for this weather?

Sunday, April 18, 2004

It occurred to me recently why The Phantom Menace is not a good Star Wars movie. (Yes, I realize I'm about five years late on this). The problem is not Jar-Jar Binks or George Lucas' hubris or trade disagreements or favouring showing off their computer fx technology over storytelling. The main, key reason why this is not a good Star Wars movie is because I did not leave the theatre wanting to be a Jedi when I grow up. Every other Star Wars movie, even upon the umpteenth viewing, has left me with fantasies of lightsabre duels and Jedi mind tricks and using the Force to accio* random objects. Just last night I watched Empire Strikes Back on TV, with commercial interruptions, while reading a newspaper and doing the dishes and playing computer games, and it still left me in a mood where if I were 15 years younger I would be spending the rest of the week dressed up in my bathrobe and pretending an old wrapping paper tube is a lightsabre. But Phantom Menace, upon first viewing in the theatre, upon the first time in my life that I've ever seen the words "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." on a big screen, did not leave me wanting to be a Jedi. That is its inherent problem.

*It's my blog, I can use Harry Potter verbs to describe Star Wars concepts if I want to!
I just finished Life of Pi (yes, I was a tad belated in getting to this book), and the verdict is yes, it does live up to the hype. It didn't make me believe in God, but except for the occasional mention of spiders (not entirely gratuitous, but unnecessary to the plot, and non-panic inducing and non-nightmare inducing but still mildly icky) I have no complaints. However, I don't have anything productive to say either, except that I really enjoyed the book. I'm sure it stands up to all kinds of analysis and symbolism and shit, but that's not my department. Good book, quite enjoyable, made me chuckle out loud on occasion, and made me produce a gamut of facial expressions that I'm sure amused my fellow subway passengers.
In our culture, myths, legends, fairy tales and fantasy, we already have the idea of a prophet. A prophet is a person who can basically foresee and foretell what is going to happen in the future, and no matter how much mere mortals struggle to avoid their prophesied fate, they always end up fulfilling the prophecy because it is their destiny.

What we need to add to our stock of mythical characters is a different kind of pseudo-prophet who, instead of foreseeing what is destined to happen, causes things to happen by the act of foreseeing them. They don't use their magic to make things happen directly, they simply predict them and, by predicting them, cause those things to happen at an unspecified time on the future.

A prophet looks into the Fates and foresees that "You are going to fall off a cliff", and despite the fact that you make every effort to avoid cliffs, you do end up falling off a cliff because it has always been your destiny. A pseudo-prophet, in a moment of malice, says "You are going to fall off a cliff!", and, despite your best efforts to avoid cliffs, you eventually do fall off one because the pseudo-prophet said you would. With the prophet, it has always been your fate; with the pseudo-prophet it only became your fate because the pseudo-prophet said so.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

My Myers-Briggs type today: ISFJ
Other Myers-Briggs types I've had in my life: INFJ, INFP, INTP

Friday, April 16, 2004

When my flax bread gets moldy, the mold is white.

When my flax bagels get moldy, the mold is black.

Yes, I keep them in the same place in the same conditions.
Attention random strangers in the subway and the food court:

See how I'm intently reading a book?

That means I don't want to talk to people.

Not even you.

Not even about the book.

Yes, I know it's a good book.

That's why I want to read it instead of talking to you.

Thank you.
Props to Svend Robinson for either the best crisis management that I've seen in quite a while. A politician steals a piece of jewelry and has the entire country, myself included, on his side. If this is, in fact, entirely Mr. Robinson's doing (as opposed to him following someone else's script), then he can have a lovely career ahead of him as a crisis management consultant.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

You know how they've done studies and established that there are certain talents (like multitasking) that females tend to be better at, and there are certain talents (like spatial perception) that males tend to be better at? I wonder if they've looked into how queerness affects these talents?

I also wonder if people who aren't blind but have service dogs for other purposes are often mistaken for being blind?
Santa Rita Reserve Chardonnay. This wine shattered any illusions that I might have had about having acquired any wine-tasting skills whatsoever. First of all, it didn't taste like Chardonnay to me, it tasted like a slightly acidic Sauv. Blanc. I could not taste any oak, but the label described it as oaky. I guess this is because I'm not sure what oak tastes like - in my mind I associate the taste of oak (and the taste of Chardonnay) with Henry of Pelham Chardonnay, but I don't know if this is actually a legitimate comparison. There was a certain quality to this wine that I would describe as bright, fruity, acidic, and a bit of a "tangy zip". I don't know if this is acidity, or if it's some weird fruitiness like pineapple, or what. I didn't quite like this quality, but pairing the wine with a certain food might eliminate it. Unfortunately I have no idea what food to pair it with. Being vegetarian makes it hard to explore food/wine pairing because most recommended pairings are meat, and if I want to master such a subjective skill (as I'm doing with wine tasting and, to a lesser extent, literature appreciation) I have to start with what is generally accepted as "good".

So from this experience, I've come up with two Things They Should Invent:

1. Wine-tasting Training Shots: A liqueur-like drink (possibly non-alcoholic so as not to interfere with the art of tasting) that tastes like one, and only one, of the standard aspects of wine. Perhaps it should taste like a red or white wine with that aspect. For example "Tannic Cab. Sauv." or "Oaky Chardonnay". Aspiring tasters can drink a shot of just one flavour and master that taste. This would make it much easier than trying to glean the individual tastes from a wine that has seven different aspects. (I don't even know the correct word for what I'm refering to as "aspects").

2. Vegetarian food and wine pairing system. Or a junk food food and wine pairing system, just for fun. Or a website where you type in the wine you have and it recommends foods (or vice versa), and you can set restrictions to the type of food.
Some dreams I had last night:

1. The Creepy Dream: Mi cielito kept breaking into my apartment and vandalizing things when I wasn't home, and he wouldn't explain to me why. Then I found out he had put these things - those round sticky things with wires coming out of them that they sometimes stick to the bodies of people they're doing medical tests on (what are these things called????) - anyway he had put these things on the back of my bookshelf and somehow that was broadcasting my vital signs over the internet. I woke up really creeped out. At this point in the lunar cycle it's normal for me to dream about him, but the dreams have always been more, um, pleasurable, not creepy like this.

2. The Stupid Dream: Someone had installed a new showerhead in the basement of some building, and a great many people were very excited about this, myself among them. We were all standing in a crowd around the showerhead, waiting for our turn to shower. Everyone was showering with their clothes on because of the presence of this crowd. I was growing increasingly impatient with waiting for my turn, and then I realized that I have my very own shower at home that no one else was using. So I walked up a big hill that looked like Lawrence & Vic. Park here in Toronto and also looked like that street that runs in front of University Plaza in Dundas (I don't know that anyone reading this is familiar with both those places, but anyway), and went home to my apartment.

3. The Existential Dilemma Dream: I was in an airplane. (The reason I was in an airplane was because I had taken an elevator I wasn't supposed to and it had landed in the middle of A Very Important Event, and the airplane was airlifting me and some other people out of there so we wouldn't disturb The Event). Anyway, the airplane was going to crash. The crew told us that we would lose consciousness due to the sudden loss of altitude (yes, I know it doesn't work that way) so we should lie down on the floor in the aisles, and then we'd fall asleep and it would all be over when we wake up. The idea of sleeping through the plane crash and not noticing a thing sounded good, so I lay down in the aisle, fell asleep, and woke up in my bed.

It later occurred to me that the possibility exists that this is all a dream and I'm really still on a crashing airplane.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I confess, it's all my fault. Usually I don't watch hockey, I just turn on the TV to see what happened when my neighbours are making a lot of noise. This time, however, I happened to glance at the game on four instances that were unprompted by the neighbours.
Fun with the English language:

emasculate means "to make less masculine".
effeminate means "more feminine".
Things people who are screaming "Revoke the Khadrs' citizenship!" need to keep in mind:

1. Each individual's deeds or misdeeds must be considered, not their family members'. The individuals who have committed misdeeds should face the appropriate consequences, of course, but each family member must be evaluated on their own merits. No one's rights can be revoked because of someone else's actions, even if that someone else does happen to be a blood relative. How would you like to be held responsible for your father's actions and political convictions?

2. At least one, possibly more, of the children are underage. This means that they are obligated to live wherever their parents do. This means that it is not their fault that they lived in an Al-Qaeda facility, any more that it is your fault that you lived in Moncton or Moose Jaw or Prince Rupert when you were a kid.

3. There is nothing unlawful about dissing Canada. There is nothing unlawful about hating Canada. It only becomes unlawful if the words or thoughts are turned into actions. No matter how much a person hates Canada, and no matter how much they profess this publicly, that is still no basis for revoking citizenship.

These are basic rights to which all Canadian citizens are entitled. Even those that we find unpleasant and would rather not have in our country. Now, I'm not saying it wouldn't be prudent for someone to do a bit of investigating and make sure they have caught all the unlawful acts that these individuals might have committed. But if we run around calling for citizenships to be revoked for people who are legally innocent just because of something that their relatives did, and if we forget the basic concept of "innocent until proven guilty", then we are no better than the oppressive countries that my grandparents, and many other people and many other people's ancestors, fled to come here. Rights are for everyone, regardless of who their daddy is.

On a side note, with all this talk of revoking citizenship, I have not found any evidence that the Khadrs hold any other citizenship, but I'm pretty sure you can't leave a person with zero citizenship. Has anyone seen any mention of other citizenship in print, and care to share a link?

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Helpful household hint:

When throwing out dead flowers, put them in the bag stem-first. If you put them in the bag head-first, that will disturb the flowers, which are looking for any opportunity to shed their petals and pollen and stamens and whatnot all over the place.

Monday, April 12, 2004

The uglier an item of lingerie is by itself, the better it will look under clothing, I think.
My apartment smells like felt marker. Which is really weird because I don't own a felt marker.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Tangent: my poor flowers look like they're slowly suffocating. The stems are a healthy green right up to the point where they start looking down, then it becomes a sickly yellowish. It's like the good healthy stuff isn't reaching their heads, like a person in a room without enough oxygen. Poor flowers :(

But that wasn't what I meant to blog here at all. My thesis for this blog entry is that I enjoy being an adult, being an adult is very easy.

There's none of the drama that accompanies adolescence, or the oppression that accompanies childhood. I don't have to dress cool, I don't have to look sexy. My excuse is that I work in the office, but that still gives me the opportunity to look gloriously inadvertently sexy when the mood strikes. I can wear lipstick! Lipstick works on me, lip gloss does not, and I'm finally at a point in my life where lipstick isn't weird! I can retire early and curl up in bed with a novel because I have to work in the morning, or I can stay out late anyway. I can be knowledgeable of politics and grammatical minutiae and quantum physics (although I probably made at least two spelling mistakes in this sentence) and that's perfectly acceptable and only moderately eccentric, and I can still spend my free time gaming and instant messaging.

As a student I'd always feel slightly embarrassed about anything that I do or I like that isn't cool enough. Even though my peers stopped caring about cool years and years ago, this is leftover trauma from middle school. But now, whenever I feel the need to do something staid and frumpy, it's justified because I'm an adult and I work in an office. Yes, that is Bach I'm listening to, and yes, I would like a glass of wine rather than a series of shots. This is a space I've always been comfortable in, and finally I can get away with it.
The Man in my Basement by Walter Mosely. When I started reading, my impression was that I shouldn't like the book. The protagonist is unlikeable but it seemed like he wanted my sympathy, which usually ruins a book for me, and the portrayal of sexuality was not to my taste. Really, I do not need to know every single time the protagonist masturbates when it is not important to the plot or to establishing character. And yet, for reasons I don't understand, I enjoyed this novel. It's complex and psychological, dealing with guilt issues and race issues and probably other things I didn't get out of it during my first read-through. Many reviews have said that it leaves you thinking. It didn't leave me thinking, perhaps because it is a bit far removed from my reality, but I do see how it could leave one thinking. It's probably conducive to literary analysis, but I'm not into that sort of thing.

On the pragmatic side, the hardcover edition is also very small and compact, conducive to being carried in a purse. It's easy to read quickly without skimming, and compelling enough to make you want to keep going (although not so compelling that you stay up past your bedtime reading). The sexuality can border on graphic and gratuitous, but quantitatively it isn't excessive and I'd say it's stilli appropriate for reading in public.

Overall, I'm sure this is a very good book, and I did appreciate it, but I also think I'm not the appropriate audience to appreciate it fully.
Because of the way my feet are messed up, it is very difficult for me to stand on one foot when I don't have shoes on. When a normal person stands on one foot, they keep their balance by pressing the outer edge of their foot into the ground. However, when I stand and walk normally in bare feet, the outer edge of my foot does not touch the ground at all - only the balls of my feet, my toes, and my heels touch the ground. I can easily stand on one foot in tightly laced running shoes, because the laces sort of hold up the inside edge of my foot and force it to pronate normally, but I can't balance on one foot with no shoes on.

Shoes with straps will support my foot the same way shoes with laces do. It isn't enough to play sports in, but I just discovered that it's enough to let me stand on one foot. So it turns out I can easily balance on one foot in three inch heels as long as they have straps, but I still can't balance on one foot barefoot.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

If all goes well, I will be studying Polish starting next September. What will be interesting is to see how my accent turns out. You see, when I was around the key age for acquiring phonemes, my grandmother babysat me every day while my mother was at work, and my grandmother would always speak to me in Polish. When my sister was born and my grandmother was no longer babysitting me (because my mother was home with the new baby) I lost all exposure to Polish and suddenly couldn't understand it any more. So I did acquire the phonemes at one point, and I don't know if a person loses phonemes after having acquired them (as opposed to the normal process of losing phonemes that one never hears).

So the possibility exists that I might speak basic, struggling, tentative Polish with a flawless accent!
Usually, at 10:30pm on the second day of my weekend, I'm either lying in bed stressing that I'm not at all tired enough to fall asleep, or wide awake at the computer feeling guilty about not being in bed.

Today, I'm pouring myself a nice glass of wine and settling in to read and game for a couple of hours, after which I will watch some stupid television on Deja View, and go to bed when I get the urge to do so.

Usually, the day after the second day of my weekend, I'm waking up way too early so I can do yoga in an attempt to energize myself a bit so I can get through the day. Then I'm sleepwalking through work and coming home grumpy.

Tomorrow, I will sleep in until about 11, have a leisurely breakfast, watch some MASH, relax at home, enjoy newspapers and novels, perhaps go for a short walk if it's nice out, then stay up late to watch the Sunday Night Sex Show since I don't have to get up early Monday either.

I love Easter!
The wine: Ernest and Julio Gallo Turning Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon

My thoughts: "Hmm, this is kind of berry-ish and vanilla-ish, with a bit of spicy aftertaste."

The label says: "This complex and rich medium-bodied wine was aged in oack and is balanced with berry, raspberry and vanilla flavours, with spicy hints on the finish."

I think I'm getting better at this!

By the way, this is a non-tannic cab. sauv., so just on that basis it's a good thing.
My shoe dilemma:

The shoes are black closed-toe high-heeled sandals. They are intended to be work with skirts or dresses in situations where I don't want to show my toes. Their wearability with pants is not priority, although, as always, flexibility is preferable. They aren't for daily wear, they're for sitting in my closet and being worn a couple of times a year.

Pair 1: Leather (ie. preferable shoe material), more casual (could not wear it with a formal dress, but could wear it with jeans if I were inclined to do so), heels more difficult to walk in, but heel shape more attractive. $40

Pair 2: Fabric/artificial material (ie. less preferable shoe material), being fabric might make it look a bit funny against black pants (mixing too much black fabric), makes my feet a bit sweaty, dressier (ie. could not wear it with jeans, would look quite nice with a formal dress), easier to walk in, less attractive heel shape. $30.

Both are reasonably comfortable, but still need some definite breaking in. I can't walk fast in either. Both have aspects that make them likely to go out of style: Pair 1 has white stitching, peekabo detailing on the toes, and a slight platform under the toes. Pair 2 has a fabric flower on the toes (reasonable enough to wear now, but might look silly in the future) and one of those heels that looks skinny in profile and chunky from the back. In all other aspects they are virtually identical.

And yes, I hate myself for being the kind of person who has shoe dilemmas.
Stuff that irks me:

- Not one TV channel is showing Jesus Christ Superstar this weekend. It's Easter weekend!

- People who don't think unless absolutely necessary.

- Chick on the GO bus who repeatedly used the word fuck (as a verb) in her cellphone conversation without lowering her voice or attempting to circumlocute, and then lowered her voice to a conspiratal whisper to utter the word drunk.

Also, a ponderance: as we all know, some people from places where same-sex marriage is not legal come here to get married. We can reasonably assume that their home governments currently do not recognize these marriages. But will their home government recognize these marriages when same-sex marriage is legalized there, or will they have to get re-married?

Thursday, April 08, 2004

One of my many deep, dark secrets is that I sing in the elevator when I'm alone therein. Today on the way home I was alone in the elevator, and I got the idea of singing Belleville Rendezvous. I did so, stopping singing at the 10th floor as I always do so my neighbours on my floor won't know that I'm the girl who sings in the elevator. When I got off on my floor, one of my neighbours gets off the next elevator over and gives me this look. Then I realize: the people in the other elevators can probably hear me, not just the people on the floors! GAH!
Ce que j'ai fait:

- I bought some shoes. Two very similar pairs actually, but I'm going to return the pair I like least. Black, closed-toe sandal things with higher-than-I-usually-wear heels. I can't walk fast in at least one pair, I'm about to try the other. Poor downstairs, I'm going to be walking around in heels on my hardwood floor all weekend.

- Spontaneously bought some tulips. Red ones and yellow ones. Now they're all looking pretty in my blue vase.

- Bought a lotto super 7 ticket. I bought two sets of numbers and they gave me six, for reasons that I do not understand. I'm going to give it to my grandmother for her birthday, (we don't really do big presents) because she always wins something, and the jackpot is $20 million.

Big plans for tonight: unwind playing Sorry on, steam some vegetables and eat them with the rest of the lemon dill sauce, test out my shoes, do a hardcore vacuum (in heels, just like June Cleaver), fill out my U of T application, do some Harmony, read a bit, play Sims, and watch MASH. Yummy.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Suppose a person performs a selfish act - purely selfish, not one thought for its effects on others - but as an unintended consequence this act has a positive effect on others. Is it still considered selfish act?

Does it make a difference if the act had foreseeable positive consequences (like calling the fire department solely to get your own ass saved from a burning building, but as an unintended consequence other people got rescued too?) or if the act had forseeable negative consequences but serendipitiously had positive consequences instead (like rudely pushing someone because they were in your way, and you happen to push them out of the path of a falling safe*)?

*As an aside, I wonder if a safe has actually fallen ever in human history, or if that's just a cartoon construct?

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Two quickie book reviews, and a dream:

1. River of the Brokenhearted by David Adams Richard.

The Bad: Far too many characters are difficult to keep track of, so you have to draw a chart or page back "Cassie, who's Cassie again?" (Someone should draw a family tree of this novel and post it on the internet!), confusing narration where the narrator is a descendent of the characters, so you sometimes have him saying "My father" and sometimes "Miles", difficult to keep track the timeline. Also, very dark and hopeless.

The Good: Quite a saga, plot continues at a good pace throughout, it's a world you can fall into and be happy in for a while, fascinating characters, understated narration, somehow made me a wee bit happy despite being dark and hopeless.

2. Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay

The Bad: Run-on sentences, meandering plot with pointless detours (an ape? why?), feels like it's a semi-autobiographical novel in which the author thought all these things were Very Important, but didn't manage to convey to me why they were important. Also, it's about 50 years old and written in a non-specific present, so to my 21st century sensibilities it feels like a historical novel with none of the historical details that make a historical novel fun.

The Good: Very witty (although it would probably be wittier if I knew the distinction between various branches of the Church of England).

3. A dream: I dreamed I was given a bottle of wine that was closed with a sword. You opened the bottle by pulling out the sword (and it was like pulling the sword from the stone, so it was a special procedure). Then I had this spare sword lying around, so I decided to use it as a doorknob, but that didn't work too well. Also, the wine was green, like Mountain Dew. The cool thing is, today I went to the LCBO, and I saw a bottle of wine the same shape as the one in my dream, and the bottle was green so it made the white wine inside look like Mountain Dew. No sword though.

Monday, April 05, 2004

1. You know how the sound of the subway going over the tracks changes just as the train approaches a station? I wonder if they do that on purpose so people know to bookmark their books and gather up their bags?

2. What's up with the people who go to the very very very edge of the platform and lean waaaaaay over to look down the tunnel and see if the train is coming? The train is coming! They're never more than five minutes apart! The train is always coming!

3. Foodland Ontario should come up with a system that emails you whenever a new fruit or vegetable is in season. "BING! It is now peach season!"

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Suppose a person managed to eat food that contained only the nutrients their body needed. There was nothing in the food that the body did not need, and there was no excess of any given nutrient. Would they still have bowel movements?
This is possibly the coolest dream I've ever had!

IRL, the latest topic in my Harmony book is the Pivot Chord. I was having a lot of trouble understanding this topic and felt that I was at an impasse. Well, last night I had a dream where I was talking to my childhood piano teacher, and I asked her about the Pivot Chord, and she gave me some hints as to how to identify them! In the dream she gave me hard and fast rules, and when I look at my Harmony book I can see what she told me isn't hard and fast rules, but it was still helpful!
I bought some good Rimmel eyeliner instead of the Cover Girl crap I was using before, and now that I have eyeliner that will draw a good, well-defined line, I can't seem to make it make my eyes look bigger. I know all the theory behind drawing a line that will make one's eyes look bigger, I know exactly what I should be doing, I have even done it before, but lately I just can't make my hand make the pencil do what I want it to. My previous eyeliner didn't draw as well-defined a line and it wasn't completely opaque, it just made the area behind my lashes look vaguely darker (but I kept using it because cosmetics are expensive and I hate buying stuff and not using it), so throughout the last couple of years I seem to have lost all my eyelining skills, because the line I drew wouldn't actually matter.