Thursday, March 31, 2005


Anyone want a sacriligious practical joke that you'll have to wait a year to play?

Next Easter, find one of those things where a bunch of church people act out Easter. Then follow them around singing the appropriate songs from Jesus Christ Superstar.

Nightingales: the Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale by Gillian Gill

This book tells the story of Florence Nightingale's life and work by providing the background of her family and social circle. While she was from a rather progressive family for the Victorian era, she also had to deal with old-fashioned concepts like entails. The author uses the large corpus of extant family letters to draw a vivid picture of the thoughts, feelings and personalities of everyone involved.

It was all very interesting. Her parents took the time and effort to educate her in an era where general education for women was just beginning, and she took up nursing because she felt she had been sent by God. Although Nightingale could be quite the social butterfly when she put her mind to it, I think she was inherently an introvert and, after living in close quarters with all the other nurses in Crimea, she became a recluse and spent the last several decades of her life at home, living as an invalid with a disease that had not yet been diagnosed, but still working to develop a public health system in Great Britain.

The book is thick (~500 pages) and, because it is an academic biography, slow reading, but it's all terribly interesting and paints a vivid portrait of upper middle class Victorian life. Reading about how hard Florence Nightingale had to work - both in the Crimea and in the crazy social life that her parents organized, temporarily inpsired me to work harder myself.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Ways I humiliated myself today

1. Early this morning, as I was eating breakfast in my bathrobe, I heard a key fumbling in my door. I thought it was mi cielito unexpectedly dropping by, but when I looked through the peephole I saw it was a creepy older man with a beard. Not knowing what to do, I called the supers, slightly freaked out. Turns out this guy had been hired to clean the empty apartment across from me, and he had the wrong door.

2. The security-card-scanner-thing in one of the doors to our office wasn't working. Then I noticed the cleaning lady was in our office. I asked her if she had used her security card to come in (which would mean the door was working again), and she reacted like I was carding her (which does happen around our building for security reasons). I tried to clarify, but it turns out she spoke only Spanish. So I tried to clarify in Spanish, but as I reached into the "foreign language" section of my brain, stuff kept coming out in Polish!!! Which is weird because I don't even know the Polish for what I was trying to say! Luckily a co-worker came over and helped me with the Spanish, or I'd still be there now with this cleaning lady half my size all freaked out because she thinks I'm questioning her security credentials! I'm so embarrassed though that I couldn't speak Spanish! I honestly thought I could!

3. I was walking down the crowded stairs from the Yonge line to the Bloor line in St. George station. I saw my train had just pulled in, so I was focusing on the train instead of where I was going. Suddenly, the lady in front of me spilled some stuff out of her bag onto the stairs. I was still focused on the train, and I accidentally stepped on a container of expensive-looking makeup, breaking the container and spilling makeup everywhere! GAH! I was so embarrassed I didn't even think to help her clean up or anything, I just apologized profusely and ran off.

Today was not such a good day.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Recurring dreams

I keep having this dream where I made some administrative error and didn't finish high school. Like I didn't take all the required courses or forgot to fill out a form or something, and then it's too late to do anything about it. Then as I pass through lucidity into wakefulness, I'm counting OACs and thinking that surely Mr. Foreman would have told me if I was missing something, and hey, haven't I already been accepted into university?

Then I wake up and realize that I did finish high school, and university, and I have a job. Then I feel relieved and get on with my day.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

What if...

This idea started with a discussion about Terri Schiavo that quickly ventured off into the absurd...

Suppose that in your living will you designate your spouse to have complete medical, financial, legal etc. power of attorney. You clearly and specifically state that your spouse is to make all decisions on your behalf should you be incapacitated.

Suppose you then become incapacitated.

Suppose your spouse then decides to divorce you.

Could your spouse sign the divorce papers on your behalf?

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Religion and self-loathing

I've been reading Going Jesus for a while. I know it seems strange for me to be reading such a blatently xian blog, but Sara really interesting and not at all trying to evangalize and convert, so it's kind of interesting to watch someone for whom there actually is a god.

Recently, she responded to a comment by a reader who said that xianity creates self-loathing. She said:
Actually, I think my particular brand of self-loathing has more to do with the twenty-plus years of messed-up secular life I lived before coming to faith. It's not really rooted in the life I have now, it's more old...stuff


Jesus doesn't cause the self-hate; Jesus is a way out of the self-hate, but the only way out is through. Forgiveness is not just a bitch to give, it's a bitch to accept.
Now I have no doubt that this is Sara's reality, but I find it very interesting that her reality is the complete opposite of mine. I'm going to try to explain this by describing how religion created self-loathing in me, and atheism freed me from it.

Let's start with the fact that I have always wanted to "be good", in the sense in which one tells a child to be good. I've always strived for behaviour that would earn me praise, or at least look impeccable and beyond reproach on paper. The problem is that what religion told me was "being good" was, for me, self-contradictory. I firmly believed that to be good I had to do what parents and religion told me, but I could not do some of these things without blatently not doing others.

It all comes down to the fact that, for me, there is no god. There simply is not. No deity has every made itself known to me. I have had people tell me that there is a god, and I know that some people actually have a god and aren't just saying, but none of these higher powers have ever stepped up and made their presence known to me. If we assume that a god is omnipotent (which I think is the basic qualification for being a god), any god that wants me to believe in it should be able to present itself to me in a way that would be convincing to me; none of the many attempts in my lifetime to convince me of the presence of a god have been effective, or have even been enough to think twice.

So when I was as small child, I was told that there was a god. I could accept this, because what grownups tell you is the truth. Say please and thank-you, don't run with scissors, and there is a god. That's fine. However, religion required more than me saying "Yes, there is a god." Religion required me to actually have faith in this god. Where belief can be more passive, faith has to be more active. That's where I started running into trouble. When I started reaching out to god in the stronger way that having faith requires, there was nothing there. I could take the existence of a god as an abstract fact, like there's one proton and one electron in a hydrogen molecule, but I could not have faith, pour love and prayer and spirituality, into this void. It wasn't even a void like a black hole - it was like when you scroll off the edge of a Sims neighbourhood and there's just grey. It wasn't even cold and bleak - there was quite simply nothing there.

Now remember, I wanted to be good. A good girl says her prayers. But I had noticed that saying my prayers didn't work. It's like talking into a telephone that isn't connected to anything. So I felt hypocritical about saying my prayers - I didn't know the word hypocritical yet, but I felt like I was putting on a show so people would tell me I was being good, and I felt in my gut that that was being bad. But if I didn't say my prayers, I would also be being bad.

A good girl says grace. If I didn't say grace, I would be defying my parents and my catechism and being bad. But the fact of the matter was that I wasn't thankful to god for my food. I wasn't thankful to god because god hadn't even come up and said to me "Hi, I'll be your god this lifetime," and, to be perfectly blunt, sometimes I wasn't even thankful for the food. I knew that I was supposed to be thankful, but I wasn't, and saying I was thankful wouldn't make me thankful. So saying grace would be lying, which is bad and wrong. But not saying grace would be defying my parents and religious teachings, which was also bad and wrong.

In Catholicism, you have to go to confession before receiving communion. So I went to confession like I was told because I wanted to be a good girl. However, I couldn't think of anything to confess. The only sin I could even think of having committed was having said grace when I didn't believe what I was saying. But that couldn't possibly have been a sin, because my parents and my religious teachers told me to do it. So I made stuff up. The priest gave me a couple of Hail Marys and Our Fathers. I left feeling dirty and never went to confession again.

However, I still continued to go to church every week because that's what you do to be good. I also continued to take communion because that's what you do to be good. But I knew I wasn't doing it properly so I was inherently being bad, but if I refused to go to church or communion I would also be being bad. It then occurred to me that throughout the mass I was lying. I didn't believe any of the refrains, I did not believe in one god the powerful almighty the creator of heaven and earth of all that is seen and unseen, and I didn't even wish peace upon the random strangers whom I had to shake hands with. Now, as an atheist, I would be able to honestly wish peace upon them, but at that point I simply did not, for whatever reason, care if they had peace or not.

This process of realizing that there is not a god for me began around the age of six, when I started studying catechism. I didn't have the EQ to process what I was feeling or the vocabulary to describe it. All I felt was these constant conflicting messages about how to be good - by obeying my parents and religious leaders, or by being true to myself and not lying? No matter what I did, I could not be good - and I HATED myself for it! I started having recurring dreams of going to hell - I was falling and falling and it was getting hotter and hotter - pretty scary when you're six!

Believing in god would have made things so much simpler, but I am unable to just start believing in something on command. Everyone was telling me god was there, but it simply was not. It's like that episode of Star Trek where Captain Picard is being tortured and told there are five lights when there are really four. To be good you must not lie, you must be true to yourself, and you must fervently and passionately believe that there are five lights, base your life around the fact that there are five lights, and, on various appropriate occasions loudly affirm that there are five lights. I wanted to believe there were five lights so that I could be good. I kept counting them over and over and looking closely with a magnifying glass in case there was one I missed, and trying to convince myself that perhaps that speck of dust could be counted as a light, but no matter how hard I tried there were four. And as long as there were four lights, I could not succeed at being good.

Around the age of 10-12, I decided that I would go through the motions of pretending there was a god, pretending there were five lights. I tried to convince myself that I was being a good obedient child by going through the hypocritical motions, but I still felt guilty about it. I knew that sometimes it was appropriate to put on a show of being respectable for the sake of other people, but I also knew that a deity would be able to see through that. Again, I didn't yet have the words for this, but I knew that pretending to believe was disrespectful to the people who did believe, and I felt guilty every time I tried to obey my parents by making a false show of piety.

Around the age of 14 or 15, I saw the movie Schindler's List. Afterwards, I was moved and horrified and frightened that such great evil can exist in the world. I suddenly felt this great need to pray. Every other time I've ever prayed was because I thought I was supposed to. This time I needed to. I prayed and prayed, but nothing happened. It was still like talking into a disconnected phone. It was still like the grey void outside the Sims neighbourhood. It wasn't like talking to someone who's pretending not to listen. It wasn't like talking to someone who can't hear you. It wasn't like talking to an empty room. It was like trying to talk, but you don't make a sound - jumping up and down and waving only to realize that you're invisible.

This led me to realize that I was an atheist.

I announced that I would no longer be going to church or saying grace at dinner. In our house we had a rule that you can't open your xmas presents until you've gone to church, so I flummoxed the grown-ups by saying that if that was the case, I would simply not take any presents. By all appearances I was being bad, but I felt at peace. I knew I was being honest and true, and coming as close as I possibly could to truly being good. The dreams of going to hell stopped. Now that I was no longer caught up in this pattern of self-loathing, I was able to actually become compassionate. I started putting time and money into helping others because I cared, not because I was obligated to put something on the collection tray. I was able to put all the energy I had been spending on hating myself into actually becoming a better person. I can look myself in the eye and respect myself because I am no longer trying to live a lie of someone else's creation.

I'm sure that people who do have a god benefit greatly from it and are able to use whatever it is they get from it towards improving themselves. I'm sure they greatly appreciate having that fifth light to help illuminate things for them. But over here in my corner of the world, I'm proud to announce that I have four lights, and I can see just fine.

Personal space

There has only been one time when I've felt unsafe on the subway, and there's only been one time when I've felt unsafe in my building. Both times have been when someone was invading my personal space.

In the subway, there were fewer than 10 people in the car, several benches with no one sitting in them, but this old man sat down right next to me. Unfortunately I was on a forward-facing bench seat and I was in the window seat, so I couldn't just stand up and move. I pretended that I was getting off on the next stop, then waited for the next train.

The incident in my building happened just today. The elevator showed up with just this one guy standing in it, all thugged out. Thug gear doesn't usually intimidate me in and of itself, but this guy was standing right in the middle of the elevator with a wide stance, like he's trying to look intimidating. I get in and greet him civilly, but he doesn't move! Usually one person stands in one corner and the other person stands in the diagonally opposite corner, but he was standing in the very centre of the elevator and didn't move at all, so wherever I stood in the elevator I would have been in his personal space. He didn't say anything, we just stood there like a normal elevator ride, but he didn't move at all.

I know that in some cultures personal space rules are different, but I can't imagine any culture where the norm is to be as close to another person as possible when there is plenty of empty space. I also know some people with mental/intellectual disabilities don't quite grasp personal space. What I'm wondering now is whether anyone has done a study of inappropriate use of personal space. I can imagine that someone might get in someone else's personal space in an attempt to actively intimidate them, but I don't understand why elevator dude would want to actively intimidate me - most people find me surprisingly non-offensive. Why on earth would someone want to get into some random stranger's personal space for no reason, thus losing some of their own personal space? It reminds me of some petty childish turf war. Is taking up other people's personal space just for the hell of it a sign of a psychopath?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Things They Should Invent: an effective pants-alteration system for women

Apparently in some higher-end men's clothing stores, all the pants are originally too long, and an in-store alteration service will hem them to just the right length for the customer.

This should be extended to women - but not just hemming! The most difficult part of finding pants that fit, in my experience and in the experience of the few women to whom I'm close enough to discuss the fit of our pants, is the way they fit around the waist-hips-pelvis-tummy-buttocks region. Every woman's curves wax and wane slightly differently, and it's hard to find pants that adapt perfectly to the finicky details of this area of one's body.

So what they should do is have the top of all the pants (i.e. the non-leg portion) be perfectly cylindrical, the circumference of the widest part of the hips. Then, when the customer finds a pair she likes, she gets fitted by the alteration service, who will insert darts into her pants to make them fit her curves appropriately. No more gapping in the back while pinching in the tummy, no more big pouches of extra fabric on the sides of the hips, no more fitting only the largest part of one's buttocks and being too big everywhere else. Darts aren't that hard to do for someone who is moderately skilled with a needle - my mother has done them for me in about 10 minutes, and I would even venture to do it myself on, say, a pair of thrift-store pants whose fabric wasn't too fussy.

So what do we need to get clothing stores to implement this service?

Pearls in Vinegar: The Pillow Book of Heather Mallick

This was a fun book to read. It's an almost blog-like collection of thoughts and anecdotes by Globe and Mail columnist Heather Mallick. It's a friendly format and quite an enjoyable read. It could have used a bit less name-dropping of foreign cities and brand names of luxury goods, but apart from the name-dropping I really like her writing style - it's what I strive for and fail to achieve here every day.

Rules xianity should have

It varies widely from denomination to denomination, but in general xianity has some people going to heaven because their sins have been forgiven for various reasons, or going to hell because their sins have not been forgiven for various reasons. I know that in any particular denomination the rules are less arbitrary-sounding, but there are so many denominations with so many different rules that this is the most accurate overview that I can give.

They should introduce a rule where, if you are killed by another person, and that person is more of a sinner than you by whatever the standard definition is, you get to go to heaven automatically. Then people don't have to worry about being murdered without receiving the last rites or whatever.

Things that amuse me but really shouldn't

On the TV news, they were talking about that lady who was charged with spreading HIV around CFB Borden.

They showed what appeared to be videos of her wedding.

I'm not entirely certain, but I really do thing she was wearing her tiara upside-down.

I don't know why, but this amuses me greatly. Unfortunately I can't find a picture online.

When TV news anchors are absent

When one of the two TV news anchors is absent, the other one starts the newscast with "Good morning, I'm Anchor One. Anchor Two is off today."

On a one-anchor show when someone is substituting for the usual anchor, they start with "Good morning, I'm Substitute Anchor filling in for Usual Anchor."

(Of course, they use real names in all cases.)

I wonder if there's something in the usual anchors' contracts stipulating that their names must be mentioned on air every day? Or do viewers call in and complain when the usual guy isn't there?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A Public Service Announcement from the Usage Police

Attention world:

In the English language, a woman CANNOT "sire" a child. The verb to sire is a specifically male verb - it means to provide the sperm in the biological act of procreation (at least for mammals - I have no idea what kinds of verbs are used for other animals).

A woman can bear a child. If it's some kind of surrogacy situation, a woman can be the mother of a child or the biological mother of a child or mother a child or raise a child. But, unless science has advanced greatly since I read the morning papers, a woman absolutely cannot sire a child. To sire means to father*. Period.

This has been a public service announcement!

*Aside: I just realized that the verb "to father" means simply to contribute genetic material, without any implication of active involvement in the child's life. However, "to mother" and "to parent" both imply active involvement. Interesting.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Things that scare me about the Terri Schiavo case

1. They disconnect her feeding tube to put her out of her misery. It's rather disgusting that the most humane way they're allowed to end her life is to starve her to death - this in a place where murderers and rapists on death row get a lethal injection!

2. The courts are even considering taking her parents' wishes over her husband's wishes. To me, a large part of the purpose of being married is to make one's spouse one's official legal next-of-kin. If a person wanted their parents to be their next-of-kin, they could simply not get married. The act of marriage is a very deliberate choice to give one's spouse precedence, no matter what. This is an issue about which I feel rather strongly, as my parents and I disagree on some fundamental aspects, while mi cielito's feelings on the matter are closer to my own. Even if my wishes weren't respected, I would not mind that much being kept alive if mi cielito needed me to be, because I love him that much. But, to be perfectly blunt, I don't love my parents that much, and I wouldn't want them to be allowed to override my wishes when I've taken specific measures to avoid allowing them to do so.

I would be interested in seeing a wide-ranging poll with both general results and results broken down into demographic categories, asking the two following questions:

1. If you were in Terri Schiavo's position, would you want to live or die?
2. If you found yourself incapacitated and no one knew what your wishes were, would you rather your spouse or your parents make the decisions?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Things J.K. Rowling should do

Without announcing ahead of time that she is going to do so, J.K. Rowling should award a prize to the fanfic that most accurately predicted any elements of the series that were unknown at the time the fic was written.

Half-formed thought of the day

It occurred to me today that I sub-consciously make many of my personal life decisions in order to become what I shall call my "ideal self". My ideal self is the best possible version of me that I can be. She's the kind of grown-up I thought I was going to be when I was about nine and idolized the idea of being a grown-up. She would be my Mary Sue protagonist if I wrote fanfic. She's everything I want to be able to say when someone says to me "Tell me about yourself."

I became vegetarian because my ideal self is. I became an atheist because my ideal self did not go in for the hypocritical false piety of calling herself a Catholic when she didn't believe in any of it. I started blogging because my ideal self has a website where she write her thoughts and ideas. I attempt to get up early every day to exercise because my ideal self starts every day with a workout.

Obviously, not every decision I make is focused on ideal self, and not every aspect of my life reflects my ideal self because not every decision I make works out, but I just find it interesting that I think this way. I haven't decided yet whether it's a good thing or a bad thing.

Help me make minor life decisions

My original plan was to take the day of my exam off, so I can have a relaxing day, write the exam, then go out for a drink afterwards as is traditional without having to worry about work that day. Turns out my exam is on a weekday, from 7pm to 10pm. So does it make more sense to take the day of my exam off (so I can relax and study, even though I would probably have time to study before the exam even if I went to work), or to take the day after the exam off (so I can write the exam and then go for a drink afterwards)?

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Things They Should Invent: centralized repository of questions for advice columnists

There are three main parties with different needs that must be met by advice columns:

1. The columnists' need for material
2. The "askers'" need for advice
3. The readers' need for interesting columns

All three of these needs could be met more effectively by centralizing all the advice columns in the world. Askers would need only to submit their question once to a central database. Then all the columnists in the world (or, if they're big like Dear Abby, their assistants) would go through the database looking for the questions that they are best able to give productive and interesting answers to. Once a columnist accepts a question, it would be removed from the database and the asker would get an automated email that says something like "Your question has been accepted by [columnist name]. It will be answered in their column within x weeks." If a question isn't accepted within a certain period of time, it is automatically deleted from the database.

This way, askers don't have to guess which columnists would be most likely to answer their questions, columnists can pick the most interesting questions and the ones that they are best qualified to answer, and readers get all the above benefits plus avoid the annoyance of seeing the same question asked in several columns.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Cosmetics you never thought you needed

I recently discovered two very lovely products that I'd never even heard of a few days ago. Both products are by Quo: one is called Eye Primer, and the other is called Lip Scrub.

Eye Primer is a tan-coloured cream that goes on your eyelids before you apply eye makeup. I don't know exactly how it works, but it prevents makeup from settling in the creases of my eyelids (which is very ageing) and otherwise straying, and when I use it I'm not nearly so desperate to get out of my makeup at the end of the day.

Lip Scrub looks like a lipstick, except it's silver with gritty brown bits in it. You apply it like a lipstick and rub your lips together, but then you wipe it off and apply your normal lipstick. It exfoliates the dead skin from your lips, so your lip colour looks better and lasts longer. My lips have been much less likely to get stupid-looking since I started using it. I think they're softer and plumper, but I'll have to get mi cielito to test them out just to make sure.

I do know that I look noticeably more attractive and pulled-together since I started using these products!

Zen through Harry Potter

I was reading this letter in Salon, and I realized that I get my spiritual centre through Harry Potter.

Spiritual isn't exactly the right word. Harry Potter doesn't tell me about the meaning of life or why I'm on this planet or what happens after death, but that's okay because I am quite comfortable with the fact that all of these are just random flukes of biology. What Harry Potter does is give me, as the letter-writer says, "a centered, warm, safe place that makes the rest of this crazy world seem tolerable." When I'm stressed or tired or grumpy or can't sleep, when I want to cry or panic or drink more wine than is strictly appropriate, when I just can't concentrate on my work, I go into the Potterverse. I read fic, theorize, watch my favourite bits of Prisoner of Azkaban, or just bury myself in Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw, and then I emerge calm and centred and ready to deal with stuff again.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

This is one of those books that you read to watch the author work his art. The plots are perfectly good too, but really the way the book is crafted is what stands out.

It's a set of six interlocking stories, set one inside another like matruyshka dolls. It gave me the feeling of looking at an atom and then zooming out, seeing molecules, cells, matter, organisms, ecosystems, planets, only to zoom out into space and see a planetary system, which looks like an atom again.

I really don't want to describe too much of the plots here because part of the pleasure of this book is discovering how they interlock for yourself, so I'll just give a few thoughts about various aspects.

I liked the way the various plots, and the novel as a whole, ended. I felt that they all ended with something of a positive feeling, even, somehow, when there was a death - AND the author managed to do this without getting cheesy! The ending of the whole book really seems like it should be cheesy, but it didn't feel cheesy to me.

The author uses various language patterns to represent different characters and places in time and space, including, in one section, that peevish habit of using misspelling to convey dialect and accent. This does make the book more difficult to read, but I would say it's worth it for the effect. I didn't like this effect in Mark Twain's writing and I do tend to skim over Hagrid's speeches in Harry Potter, but I think the effect was put to good use here.

It took me longer than usual to get into this book, but I happily fell into its universe after about 120 pages. If you do undertake to read it and find you aren't so very into it, I'd give it at least 150 pages before giving up.

Finally, because I like to be warned of these things, there is one scene of rape in this book. It is not really necessary to the plot, but I've certainly seen more gratuitous rape in literature. It is not experienced in first person - it is narrated by a helpless bystander - and karma is balanced out in the end. It caused me to wince and cringe, but not cry or have nightmares.

Overall, I think this is a love or hate kind of book, but I would recommend reading it because I have a feeling it will be turning up in English classes in a few decades. It's full of symbolism and shit that I'm just not good at, so I'm sure kids will be bullshitting essays about it for years to come!

Equal opportunity puppy raising

To raise a guide dog puppy, you have to have a house with a relatively large backyard. This makes sense because guide dogs are large breeds who like to run around.

But what happens when a doggie raised in a big house with a big yard gets assigned to a person who lives in a small apartment? Maybe the adjustment would be easier if some puppies were raised in apartments from the beginning?

(Yes, this is just a ploy to get me an adorable widdle guide dog puppy like the one in the Eukanuba commercial).


There was a gentleman in front of me in the grocery store with two small children. He was being very kind and calm and patient with them, asking them nicely to do whatever he wanted them to do and explaining why. "Melissa, could you come over here so you're out of that lady's way so she can put her groceries on the conveyer belt?" "Johnny, can you take this bag please? We have too many bags for just me to carry, so everyone has to carry something."

I was standing in line behind him admiring his parenting style, when suddenly it occurred to me: he has to be like this ALL THE TIME!!!! He has to be calm and uber-patient every single moment of every single day!

If I wasn't already a non-breeder, that would put me off having children!

An interesting take on the Sorting Hat

This Sorting Hat quiz is interesting. The questions are very different and you can't always tell which choice goes with which House.

One of the questions is "Which House do you want to be in?" As I've mentioned in the past, I think I'm halfway between Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, and I'm not sure which house I'd prefer [I was going to say "in real life", but this is a fictional universe...]. So first I took it saying that I want to be in Hufflepuff, and I got:
You scored 12% Slytherin, 24% Ravenclaw, 20% Gryffindor, and 40% Hufflepuff!
Are you sure that you belong at Hogwarts? You show no defined personal characteristics and therefore no house preference. Perhaps you should seriously consider a lucrative career in dentistry or tax preparation -- or allow the Sorting Hat to redetermine your place at a later date.
Then I took it saying taht I want to be in Ravenclaw, and I got:
You scored 12% Slytherin, 60% Ravenclaw, 28% Gryffindor, and 36% Hufflepuff!
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind.

Ravenclaws are known for their intelligence, ingenuity, and lifelong thirst for knowledge.
I guess this means that I'm more of a Ravenclaw than a Hufflepuff, so my 11-year-old self would be sorted correctly even if the Sorting Had DID listen to her!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Help me with my petty makeup problems!

I am looking for a pale pink eyeshadow that is NOT frosted - just matte! I bought one by Maybelline that looked okay, but it turned out to be frosted. Anyone know of any pink eyeshadows that are not frosted at all?

Monday, March 14, 2005

I am allergic to Walmart

I went to Walmart today, and in the middle of the store my eyes suddenly started watering like crazy. They're still going, although not as badly. I haven't had this happen since I was in a house with five cats! It's very annoying! And now I have to write a test this evening with my eyes freaking out. Not fun!

Layout poll

See the picture of my little cartoon doppleganger over to the right there? See the words directly under her picture? Think they should be in a smaller font? If so, what size (use any other design element on this page for comparison purposes).

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Foiling attempts to live vicariously through me since 2000

As most people reading this know, I'm very shy and introverted. I don't enjoy attention from strangers (or even being the centre of attention among friends) or large group situations where I don't know everyone there. As a result, I rarely go to parties or clubs unless I have mi cielito by my side, and I even tend to avoid bars unless I'm with a safe group of people and no one is out to pick up. (And even then, I do try very hard to avoid any situation where my presence might imply that I'm willing to be hit on). It's not something moral or ethical or puritan, it's just that these situations are simply not fun for me, and I'd rather be at home with a book or chatting quietly with one or two close friends.

The problem is that Certain Relatives have Certain Assumptions about what I do with my private life based on my demographics, and ask me to tell them about all the wild times I've had out enjoying the nightlife and the men I've picked up etc. Then when I tell them I don't really go out that often, they think I'm just not telling them because they are Relatives and I'm really hiding some (by their standards) fabulous life behind my perfectly respectable exterior. Meanwhile, I'm just sitting here looking forward to a quiet evening in with ICQ, a novel and a Merlot, and cowering from invitations to go clubbing with my undergrad classmates. Such is the life of an introvert...

The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy conspiracy

Conspiracy theory: the real methodology behind Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is not to make men look more attractive by being stylish or meterosexual or whatnot. The real intent to to make it easier for them to approach women by making them look gay, and therefore harmless. And after the Queer-Eyed man manages to successfully approach a woman, maybe he doesn't even let on straight away that he's straight. He instead works to gain her trust masquerading as a gay man, and then once he has earned enough trust to gain her friendship, THEN he pounces!

Wherein karma comes and bites me on the ass

I woke up at 6 am this morning. I had not completely finished sleeping, but I felt more awake than I do on the average weekday morning and felt generally healthy and alert. The angel on one shoulder told me to get up, do a bit of yoga, and get on with my day, taking advantage of all the extra hours that I don't usually find in a weekend. The devil on the other shoulder told me to go back to sleep, it's the weekend and I'm entitled to sleep in for as long as I want. So I decided to lie in bed, and if I didn't fall asleep within one hour (or got bored of lying in bed) I'd get up.

I lay in bed, fell asleep, and woke up around noon. When I woke up I felt grumpy, shitty and dessicated. I should have listened to the angel.

This angel/devil on the shoulder thing raises a question: suppose you've got your angel and devil on your shoulders. Which one is on which shoulder? Is there a standard in cartoons etc?

Saturday, March 12, 2005


You know how societal convention is to walk on the right side of whatever sidewalk or staircase or hallway you might be in? I have evidence that, despite those annoying standing-on-the-left-of-the-escalator people, the general population of Toronto still adheres to this convention.

How do I know this?

Go to a subway entrance on a snowy day. You will see that the side of the steps that is the right-hand-side for people going down the stairs is wet, and the other side is dry. This means that the majority of people coming in from outside (therefore with wet shoes) are going down their right-hand side, and the majority of people heading out from inside (therefore with dry shoes) are going up their right-hand side.

Watch me turn to mushy mushy mush

Cutest puppy ever! No, really!

Things They Should Invent: Sample Airline Seats

Different airlines and different classes have different sizes of seats, so you don't always know what you're going to get. I was once on an airplane where the length from the front of the back of my seat (i.e. as far back as my buttocks can go) to the back of the seat in front of me (i.e. the end of my legroom) was exactly the same length as my femur, hip to kneecap. If I were an inch taller I wouldn't have fit in this seat - and I'm only 5'7"! So someone shorter could probably sit comfortably in this seat, while someone taller would have a lot of trouble. It would be helpful to know this ahead of time.

So what they should do is set up sample seats representing realistic legroom in airports and travel agencies, and before you buy you could sit down and see if you fit in the seat! Who knows - this could result in happier passengers and more first-class seats being sold!

Things that just sound funnier in French

"Ai-je déjà mangé tous mes oeufs?" (i.e. "Have I already eaten all my eggs?"

Look at me, I'm a Buddhist

I took the Belief-O-Matic test, and my top result was 98% Theravada Buddhist. (Unfortunately, while looking to see what exactly this form of Buddhism IS, I lost my full results). I did notice that I was only 7% Roman Catholic, which is the religion that I was raised with, but unfortunately I lost my results before I could see what percentage atheist I am.

There are a few flaws in this test, including the assumption that one must have religion and the assumption that one's moral convictions are the result of one's religion, but I did find the Buddhist result rather interesting. There are some things in Buddhism I just can't believe in - I find the idea of rebirth rather unappealing, and I believe karma comes back within one's own lifetime rather than in a future life when one can no longer remember what one did to earn good/bad karma. However, if an outsider looked at my life just on the surface, without examining my thoughts, feelings and inner life, I am currently living exactly as I would if I did believe in Theravada Buddhism. The only difference is that I am not involved in any religious community, but I think one can be a Buddhist without the help of others.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Baby yawns

Today I sat next to a baby for like 1/2 hour on the subway. I made friends with the baby, talked, made faces, let it hold my finger, and then decided to do some experiments on it. You know how if you see someone else yawn you can't help but yawn yourself? I decided to see if this works on babies. I yawned several different times while the baby was watching me, but the baby never yawned back. Which raises the question: at what age to people start yawning back?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I actually have an answer to a Workplace Ethics question!

I read the Globe and Mail's Workplace Ethics column every week, but I never actually formulated an answer until today. I'm too shy to write in though, so I'll put it here.

The question from this week's column:
Rumours have been swirling that your CEO has become romantically involved with another senior executive of the company. That would constitute a serious breach of the company's latest and very strict code of conduct. Recently, you have spotted the CEO several times suddenly in the after-hours company of the same executive at restaurants and a nightclub; though they seemed cozy, you can't be sure whether it's business or pleasure. What should you do?
I'm certainly not one to go around making lewd assumptions about other people's private lives. However, if I did find myself feeling it's absolutely imperative to do something, next time I see them out together I would politely wave and greet them both by name as I glide past their table on my way to the ladies' room.

Fast news week

This has been a week for Big Important News to become immediately superceded by other Big Important News.

FOUR MOUNTIES WERE KILLED! OMG! Here's some background on the guy who did it and the issues it raises...but wait...

A MAN THREW HIS DAUGHTER OFF A BRIDGE! OMG! Here's some of their tumultuous family history and how the little girl is doing...but wait...

THEY'RE FILLING QUEEN'S PARK UP WITH TRACTORS!* OMG! It's all tying up traffic and here are what the farmers want...but wait...


And this is where we are right now.

And it's only Wednesday.

*I still think they should do like the French and fill Queen's Park up with sheep or tomatoes or something.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Harry Potter theories (contains spoilers for the book covers, which were released today)

I haven't looked at the fan sites beyond a few comments at Leaky, so I don't know if this has been duplicated or disproven or what, but here are my theories:

I think that what Harry and Dumbledore are looking at in the Pensieve is the lion-like guy described earlier by JKR. I also currently suspect that lion-dude is the Half-Blood Prince, although I can be easily swayed by most of the current fan theories both on HBP and on Mr. Lion.

I also think the potions book is related to the HBP, and the author may well be the HBP/Lion Guy. I do think that Harry will be taking Potions, but I think he'll get in by scraping an E in his OWL, not through any special measures. However, I think the Potions book does not simply indicate that Harry will be taking Potions - it has some further purpose.

And my wildest and most unfounded speculation is that the fire-like spell shown on the British edition is the spell that Harry will use to defeat Voldemort. He will master this spell in HBP. It will be an ancient forgotten spell originating from the HBP, who might be long-dead or exiled from the wizarding world.

And BTW, I haven't checked this myself, but someone at Leaky mentioned that if you want ot read the first five books one chapter at a time and finish in time for HBP, today's the day to start. That makes the release of HBP feel so much closer, doesn't it/

Questions arising from MASH

Is it like illegal for military personnel to take their dogtags off? Because they have them on literally all the time. Right now Hawkeye's naked and he still has his on.

Let's all underestimate the terrorists, shall we?

Apparently al-Qaeda is using the internet to recruit. This is the only article I can find on the topic at this early hour, but the radio was spinning it as "OMG, they know how to use the INTERNET! They have these l33t advanced INTERNET skills! OMG, what do we do now???"

Really, what do they expect? It isn't that hard to use the internet (Exhibit A: I'm blogging) and if this actually is as new and surprising as the radio was making it out to be, I think the intelligence people are either severely underestimating al-Qaeda, or are attempting to give the impression that they are severely underestimating al-Qaeda.

Monday, March 07, 2005

You've already won me over, in spite of me...

Why do I keep hearing Alanis Morissette's Head Over Feet everywhere? I heard it on the radio in stores etc. several times over the weekend (which is especially surprising considering how little time I spend in stores), and just now I accidentally turned the TV to Much, and there was the video for Head Over Feet. Is there a reason why this 10-year-old song is suddenly getting all this airplay, or is it just synchronicity?

Sunday, March 06, 2005

How to Retain Young Professionals

This was originally intended for teachers, but it could really help to retaining young professionals in any field.

Whenever you hire someone just out of university, offer to pay off their student loans. In addition to their salary. Do this every year over a period of four years or five years or 10 years or however long the amortization period for a student loan is, so as long as the employee is working there, their student loan will be paid off for free.

Harry Potter fanfic challenge

Any fanfic writers out there looking for a long-term challenge? I propose an AU that answer the following question:

What if Remus Lupin had never been bitten by a werewolf?

Watching myself type

I have a small mirror on my desk, and I'm watching my hands in it as I type. My hands aren't moving very much - they feel like they're moving more than they really are. When I was a small child watching my father type on his computer, his hands seemed like they were moving more than mine are right now. It's not like playing the piano or something - my hands are basically sitting in the same place and the fingers are just wriggling around bit. Watching myself type is really interesting, but I tend to make more typos while doing so.

Fitness through spendthriftiness

(Why is the word thrift in the word spendthrift anyway?)
(The word thrift sounds really funny!)

Anyway, I've been undermotivated to exercise of late, so I spend about $150 on various pieces of exercise equipment, including a big red yoga ball, which is currently sitting in the middle of my living room and makes me smile whenever I look at it. Hopefully this reckless outlay will motivate me to make good use of this equipment, at least for a little while. And then maybe when it stops motivating me, my higher-htank normal credit card bill wil come in and re-motivate me. Sigh, me and my uber-justifying.

Assessing the credentials of internet pornography

I don't know a whole lot about pornography as I'm not exactly in the market for it. But I do know several things:

1. There is a wide variety of pornography available on the internet.
2. Some of this pornography is "legitimate", i.e. the participants knew and consented to the fact that they were appearing in pornography for general distribution.
3. Some of this pornography is "illegitimate", i.e. the participants did not know about, did not consent to, or did not understand the implications of either the sexual acts themselves, or the fact that the sexual acts were being recorded, or the fact that the recordings were being widely distributed.
4. Pornography is distributed through a wide variety of media of varying degrees of legitimacy, ranging from official websites belonging to official producers of pornography, to usenet, to file-sharing software, to various web communities.
5. As with the sharing of other types of files, perfectly legitimate pornography can be exchanged through illegitimate means, and illegitimate pornography can also be exchanged through the same legitimate means.
6. For some users, it is important that all the pornography participants be willing and consenting. I myself know some individuals for whom pornography is a turn-on, but the thought of people being forced into sex acts or taped without their consents is a turn-off.

This all raises the question: how does a user know that pornography acquired through the internet is, in fact, perfectly legitimate and all the participants are consenting? If the pornography is acquired through not-entirely-legitimate means you can never be sure where it came from, and it wouldn't be that hard to make something taped candidly look professional in post-production, even imitating features of well-known professiona pornography producers. I guess I'm surprised that people who are capable of enjoying pornography but incapable of enjoying non-consentual or otherwise "illegitimate" pornography are still able to use and enjoy material gather from "illegitimate" internet sources.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Who'd'a thunk it?

Apparently the guy who played Onslow on Keeping Up Appearances did the voice of Paul McCartney in Yellow Submarine.

What it would take to get me to have children

Margaret Wente proposes that it would take a social revolution to get women to have more children.

I don't know why she's focusing only on women here, and I'm certainly not representative of the average woman, but, just for fun, here is what it would take to get me (a sworn non-breeder) to have children.

This wouldn't be so much a social change as a change in how children operate. What I would need to make breeding desirable is to be responsible only for the infant, not for the child, adolescent or adult. In my breeding-friendly world, I would become pregnant, go through a normal pregnancy, and give birth normally. Then I would take care of the child for as long as it needs to be nursed. Once it has grown up enough to eat solid food, it would, like many animals, leave and never come back, no matter what disaster may befall it.

Being pregnant sounds like something that could be interesting. Caring for an infant sounds like something that could be fun and interesting. However, having to instill moral values, social skills, toilet training, literacy, numeracy, safer sex skills, healthy lifestyle habits, money management skills and employability does not sound at all fun or interesting or desirable. Being ultimately responsible for another human being with the same human rights as I have and thoughts and feelings does not sound at all fun or interesting or desirable. I simply do not want to be permanently and forever bound to some random person who I don't even know yet, because one simply does not know how the baby is going to turn out. The problem with children is they are permanent, and I simply don't want to have to take care of them once they acquire more of a sense of independence and individuality than the average golden retriever. And, of course, this would not be at all fair to the child, so it's a good thing I'm not having kids!

How not to get hit on

As most people reading this know, I have spend the last five years in an ongoing quest to NOT get hit on when riding an elevator or subway or otherwise venturing out in public.

Today I discovered the secret: be near a woman who is more attractive than me.

It's that simple. I don't know why I never thought of it before.

All I have to do is find the most attractive woman in the area, be in her general vincinity, and suddenly I get the luxury of being invisible!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

This book is the story of a professor in Iran who starts an English literature class for some of her best students under the disapproving Islamist regime.

I found the book itself quite interesting, but I didn't much like the author's writing style. Despite the fact that it was non-fiction, she used the literary device of having the protagonist conveniently thinking through the exposition in great detail while doing mundane everyday tasks. I don't mind this device in fiction, but it really grated here. A description of the socio-political context for the Ayatollah's rise to power does not need to be interspersed with mentions of chopping up cucumbers and adding salt and pepper to taste.

However, despite these distractions, the book was quite the food for thought. It was fascinating to see how the appearance of morality was favoured by the powers that be over actual morality itself. It was also interesting the parallels that kept popping to mind between Iran's Islamist regime and certain political factions that can be found in North America.

This book is quite worth reading, but if you do read it, make sure you have read Lolita, Daisy Miller and Pride and Prejudice first, so you can fully appreciate how the author uses literature to frame her stories. I have not read Lolita and it's been almost 10 years since I read Pride and Prejudice, and I think my reading of this book would have benefited from a more current knowledge of all three works.

Rosemount Sauvignon Blanc

The Rosemount Chardonnay is already one of my favourite Chardonnays, and I like its Sauvignon Blanc counterpart too. It's very bright and refreshing - it tastes very much like summer, and not like cat pee at all! The only problem is that it's hard to drink slowly.

Quick question

Anyone know offhand if the Sears at Toronto Eaton Centre sells household items? I know that some/most Sears stores do, but I can't recall ever actually seeing household items at the Eaton Centre location.


It seems four Mounties were killed raiding a marijuana operation. Both my daily newspapers had rather large front-page headlines about this. My first impression, upon seeing the newspapers lying on my doorstep, was "That headline size really looks a bit too sensationalist for this particular newspaper. It makes it look like [a certain other newspaper that I don't read because I find it too sensationalist]."

It then occurred to me that they probably had this very discussion in the newsroom. There were probably a bunch of decision-makers clustered around Layout Guy's computer as he scaled the print size up and down, trying to figure out what it most appropriate. "Come on, Bob! FOUR PEOPLE DIED! You have to make it at least two points bigger than that!"

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Ewww, shorts!

Dear Old Navy:

1. I don't want shorts. It's MARCH! There's SNOW! I want office-appropriate long pants!

2. Those are the fugliest shorts I've ever seen! Why on earth would anyone want to wear, long, tight, hot pink shorts?

A- en Polonaise

I thought my last Polish test was going to be a dictée, but it ended up being a normal test with just a small dictation section. Therefore, I didn't study at all, because you can't study for a dictée.

With my little knowledge of Polish, what answers I could extrapolate from the phrasing of the question on the test, and some creative misinterpretation of the prof's intentions, (Q: When is your birthday? A: In the winter. Q: Where do you live? A: In a house.) I managed to get 82.5% Quite a perfectly respectable mark, especially considering I didn't study at all. The problem is this reduces my motivation for studying in the future...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Grammar-checking problems

I was working on a document that contained the sentence:
This benefit should be paid to all patients who provide a medical certificate signed by the attending physician.
The grammar-check in Word wanted to change it to:
The attending physician should pay this benefit to all patients who provide a medical certificate signed.
Stray "signed" at the end notwithstanding, the suggested sentence changes an innocent bystander to the agent, thereby requiring the attending physician to pay the patient's disability benefits out of his or her own pocket!

Moral of the story (which, of course, we all already know): never, ever accept a grammar-check suggestion without reading it and fully cognating it first!

Childhood food battles

On Metro Morning today they were talking about food battles in parenting. The lady said that children sometimes don't eat what their parents tell them because they want to be in control. The problem was that she presented that as a childish rebellion phase instead of a natural human reaction. Of course they want to be in control of what they eat, because they're human beings, not robots. How would you feel if you ordered a meal in a restaurant and it came with a side of brussel sprouts that you didn't ask for, and then when you ask for the cheque the waiter says "No, you're going to sit here until you eat at least four of your brussel sprouts." How random and arbitrary does that sound? Why do parents do that anyway? What positive result do they expect from having their kid eat four brussel sprouts? What negative result do they anticipate if the kid doesn't eat any brussel sprouts? Why aren't they concerned about trivializing the kid's perfectly valid feelings of being full and/or not liking brussel sprouts? What do they hope to achieve?

Anyway, the radio host said to call in and tell them about food battles that you had with your parents, but I've decided to blog mine instead.

- Peas! Even though they were "really good, fresh from the garden," they're still peas! My parents honestly did not seem to understand that I simply do not like peas!

- Tomatoes! Mom thought the really really red, ripe, juicy tomatoes were the best ones and kept pushing them on me. I prefer the slightly less juicy ones that have a hint of orange. During tomato season, there was nary an orange tomato in the house, but we had a surplus of the juicy red ones and they kept being pushed on me. The result is that now I'm just not too fond of tomatoes at all. I can eat them in something, I can eat tomato sauce, but just by themselves I have tomato fatigue.

- Bread! My parents are obsessed with bread! They make their own, both by hand and with a bread maker. They can seriously eat bread, just bread, for a meal. Without even butter, because butter is fattening! Every time I sat down with some salad or vegetables it would be "Don't you want some bread with that? What? You're going to eat a salad WITHOUT bread?" And they have a think for thick, heavy, coarse, grainy breads, which I can handle as part of a sandwich as an adult, but which were very difficult for me as a child, when white bread was much easier on my undeveloped palate. (Even now, I can't stand rye bread, which my mother was always trying to get me to eat.) With all this, they either refused to believe or belligerently ignored the fact that I would much prefer a piece of white bread with butter to a piece of rye or pumpernickel just plain, (or perhaps even something entirely different that isn't bread at all!) Recently my mother was at my apartment and saw a loaf of white bread, and said "What's that doing here? You don't like white bread!" She seemed genuinely shocked that I have, in fact, preferred white bread my entire life, and she'd just never seen me eating it because they never had it in the house. The other result is, because the bread machine would always be going in the morning, I can't stand the smell of baking bread. I have it mentally associated with early mornings and being coerced to eat coarse grainy bread plain when it's too early for my stomach to handle anything more difficult than fruit, and heading off on a noisy, bumpy schoolbus full of pubescent delinquents to my hellish middle-school.

- Stir-fry! For years, my mother tried to feed us this stir-fry of veggies and tofu in some kind of red sauce. I wasn't too fond of it. This wouldn't have become an issue, except apparently she had several thousand recipes for the same dish, and kept saying it's a new recipe! It's completely different from before! Try it! It's good and new and different! And it always ended up being the exact same thing.

- Milkshakes! My father likes milkshakes. I can't stand them. But whenever we'd go on a long car trip, he'd stop in at Harvey's to get a milkshake. It was always presented as a treat! A dessert! Something really good! Since this started at a very young age, I kept expecting it to actually be something good, and being gravely disappointed when it wasn't.

- Pierogies! Pierogies were always served with sour cream at our house. I can't stand sour cream, so I couldn't stand pierogies. It wasn't until I was about 21 that I realized that I like pierogies without sour cream.

- Beans! This came about after I became vegetarian and the whole entire world became convinced that I was going to DIE if I didn't get some protein or whatever RIGHT NOW! (Seriously - on band tour and stuff people would always offer a lovely beautiful vegetarian pasta or lasagna that was the exact kind of food I'd been fantasizing about all day, all while apologizing for not having any beans or lentils or tofu). So my mother would always try to feed me beans. I don't really like beans. I can tolerate them in a complex dish, but not by themselves. But she'd always try to either give me straight beans, or try to sell me some dish on the merit that it contains beans. I might like things DESPITE the fact that they have beans, but not BECAUSE of it.

- Favourites! As a child I had certain favourites: spaghetti, cheese, peanuts, chicken noodle soup (I didn't start being vegetarian until the age of 13), green salad, garlicky pickles, peaches. If I didn't get these things for a while, I would crave them. Literally. Like a PMSing woman. (Still do, in fact. There must be something in these favourites that my body needs). Now these cravings sometimes last a few days - they can't be satisfied by just one meal. But whenever I'd eat something two days or two meals in a row (unless it was bread), my mother would always pressure me to have something else, something "different", so I could have "variety". I didn't know about variations between different people's levels of novelty-seeking at the time, so I thought that for some reason she was trying to torment me by having beautiful leftovers of the very food my body craves right there in the fridge, but not letting me have them because I already had some. Actually, my parents didn't seem to understand how much having the foods that I craved affected my mood. When we'd go on vacations, they'd try to save money by buying food in a grocery store, which was problematic because our motel rooms wouldn't have cooking facilities or a fridge or even a kettle sometimes, and we didn't have any dishes or utensils or even a can opener. They tried to let us get whatever we wanted from the grocery store, but you try wandering into a supermarket with the knowledge and life experience you had at age 8 and a desperate craving for spaghetti, and find a meal that will satisfy you and doesn't require heating, cooling, dishes or utensils.

- Hydration! For some reason my parents thought we were going to die of dehydration from our normal daily activities, and kept making us drink beverages. Like constantly, beyond the point of comfort. They seemed to believe that we were belligerently not drinking to prove some kind of point instead of just being sated. This was especially problematic when the beverages were caloric (like milkshakes!) and I was well and truly full. Aside story: I once remember my father insisting that I drink my milkshake (in a Harvey's cup) until the water level was "below the bottom of the hamburger". The problem was that I didn't realize the Harvey's logo was supposed to be a hamburger!


And my parents weren't even all that bad, food-wise. They never made us eat everything on our plates or eat fish if we tried some and didn't like it. My father was always ranting about how we were spoiled because we had food other than bread and our chicken was boneless or something, (although I'm sure he still rants about how I'm spoiled when I'm not there to hear, even though I'm supporting myself entirely now) but we didn't actually HAVE to eat a lot of stuff we didn't want to, it was just being constantly presented as something good and special and tasty when I knew full well it wasn't.

But still, that is one of the things I enjoy most about being an adult. I can eat WHATEVER I WANT! I can eat the same thing every day! I can eat nothing but asparagus all day! I can go to a restaurant and order whatever I want, without anyone ruining my meal by ranting through the whole thing about how I'm spoiled! Or I can stay home and cook experimentally and then throw the whole thing out if it doesn't work out! I can eat spaghetti for breakfast and eggs for dinner and no one cares! I haven't eaten beans, rye bread, peas or a milkshake at all in the 21st century! it's all very luxurious.