Monthly Archives: February 2008

Is that bob Barker or your grandma?

The idea that the longer a couple is together the more and more they start to look alike kind of causes me to consider botox. I’m not even married so that isn’t an insult to anyone I just don’t want to look more like a man as I age and I have never supported matching couples’ outfits (or watches or seadoos or rifles for that matter) so i won’t start supporting matching faces.

Recently I heard a theory (on CBC radio) that couples tend to spend lots of time together (not breaking any ground here) but that they mimic each other’s facial expressions (he laughs, she laughs; she cries, he cries) for so long that they develop the same wrinkles and lines. It is a look of shared experience. Ok, I can buy that.

My theory though reflects something we already know: we are egocentric. I will admit it; I think that all asian people look alike. There, I said it. This is only somewhat true but asian people will say the same about white people and black people and we really just seem to see the major differences which skews our view of the little details. This same principle can be applied here: ALL OLD PEOPLE LOOK ALIKE! Again, only partly true, but think about it. If you aren’t old then people you tend to see on a daily basis are not old either. They don’t tend to have the excessively wrinkly skin, liver spots, hairy ears or, well, you understand. So when we look at an elderly person we see the major differences from our peer reference group and not necessarily the small distinguishing features.

It is a kind of ageism. Plus women tend to keep their hair shorter as they age, that could be a factor. Just like I’m sure asians do with us white folks (“no, it was Dave, the guy with the yellow hair) you need to pick out something distinguishing. Try looking for missing teeth, cataracts, or a walker (this is definitely not fool proof) and you shouldn’t be getting your great aunt Trudy mixed up with Elmer in the next bed. What was my point? Oh right. The Price is Right just isn’t the same without Bob.


haven’t met any Brams lately

Driving home tonight CBC radio had a little treat waiting for me. They played the original ‘Banana Phone’ song by Raffi. Yes, Mr. Baby Beluga himself. My family actually still decorates our Christmas tree (which also hasn’t changed much in 15 years) to his holiday album. I decided to google him and discovered that he was born in Egypt! I always just assumed he was….Caucasian. His ‘down by the bay’ song is so ubiquitous now I hadn’t realized he actually invented it and was shocked when having to actually teach it to a friend from another country (Bermuda, it isn’t that far away–their new slogan, maybe?). She caught on though. If you haven’t listened to him in a while I suggest that maybe you take some time to do so, and really listen to the lyrics. Try playing them backwards.

Kind of speaking of children I was stuck in a small place for a few hours with someone who happens to be a teacher. This person informed me that, although teaching is still what they have always wanted to and want to do, it has become even more challenging due to some not so new policies by the Ontario government (and possibly some trends in society). Pair up classroom integration of students with learning troubles and the recent chain gang of new ‘hip’ diagnoses (“all the kids just have to have one!”) and you get classes in elementary school with over half the students labeled for high needs. These are not only students with mild learning disabilities but autism, ADHD, Down syndrome (I believe, but I’ll double check this one), etc. How can a teacher possibly be giving each of the high needs students enough attention while ensuring that the ‘normal’ children aren’t disadvantaged.

Please don’t misunderstand me: there are definite benefits for everyone when children aren’t segregated from their peers at all times for being different. Socialization can be just as or more important than book learnin’ however this stinks like fund cutting and unwillingness to pay for the proper support these students need. Now this is way up north and so far just one experience but I have a feeling it is more widespread. The integration policies didn’t really begin until the late 80s (I’ll get a better number hopefully) so the reason we didn’t (or at least I didn’t) see this in my own classes growing up is because it has been happening gradually. I could probably continue but I might also be talking out of my rear-end a bit and will try to uncover a bit more definitive information. The end.

When you aren’t sure how to say it

Say it with and e-card.

This ridiculous (and at times crass, beware) set of cards for every possible occurrence from circumcision, apologizing for taking a relationship too quickly (Sorry, I didn’t realize it was too early to fart in front of you) or any other awkward moment you may want to celebrate has become my new form of cheap entertainment.

not just slanted floor

There were twelve leading down into our unfinished basement but on quiet mornings we would skip the last two, that creaked loudly enough to spoil our fun, and tiptoe for the family room to watch cartoons. Made of sturdy, plain wooden boards they were polished and faded from our walking and running feet. With nothing covering the backs we would run up them at night to avoid the ghosts and monsters hiding in the woodpile underneath. My sister fell down them and broke her arm. My brother rolled down and sustained wood chips in his nose. I was secretly jealous of other families that had another set of stairs separating the main floor from all of the bedrooms. Families on TV never lived in bungalows; they always woke up on Christmas morning and trudged down the stairs rubbing their sleepy eyes as they peered over the railing at Santa’s spoils.

Living at university I finally did get my wish however, it really just meant that if a fire started on this magical ‘main floor’ we would have to jump an extra story to avoid crispiness.

I don’t have an eloquent way to end this little memory session about stairs. I’ll just tell you my favourite kind of stairs. I love old stone and marble stairs in big old buildings (I guess big old buildings are the only ones with old marble stairs, I haven’t seen them in private homes too often). Especially when these stairs have dips worn into them from all the traipsing over them taking away the matter a few atoms at a time.

i feel so smart

When I get those little inside political and cultural jokes often found in TV and movies. It doesn’t actually prove smarts but I can have the personal satisfaction.

The latest joke came while i was going through the Friends series. In one of the later episodes Joey falls for Rachel and tells Ross about his feelings. He feels so terrible that he wants to run away to live in another country, which is later revealed to be Vermont. This is funny on its own because, duh, everyone knows that Vermont is in the same country.

The second, more politically tasty, layer was revealed in an article I was reading while cycling to nowhere in the Y in my new socially conscious magazine GOOD. Vermont wants to be its own country! There is a small but growing movement to separate themselves from the US and self-govern as a republic. Along with this are equally unlikely separtist groups for an independent California, Washington/Oregon, Texas and the Dixie states. I thought Canada one with all of the internal division, although I do believe that Canada would take a greater blow losing a province than the US would losing a state (except maybe California; Hollywood lives there!).

While the article points out that there is no non-violent option for departure allowed for in the constitution the protesters right now are looking for a way to make the change a bit more Martin Luther King and less Malcolm X. Vermont doesn’t seem to have the clout to make many threats or have much to take away (in economic terms) but this does point to internal instability. Did you know that Vermont banned billboards along its highways? When was the last time a Canadian region gave the one finger’d salute to big business to protect our quality of life?

There you have it: the second level of funny is jabbing at the Vermont-ites (ians?) for fancying themselves just a bit above the American way. Maybe Friends will not only inspire great hair but also turn out to be prophetic.

If it isn’t too much trouble

Please scorn MTV.

Some time, quietly and without my permission, MTV became one of our regular channels. This network (although there are close runners up) seem to blatantly show off pretty much everything that is scary, pathetic and disgusting about our society.

I might have decided to actually watch a show because it had the word ‘fat’ in the title (“return to fat camp”) and was a hideous drama between overweight girls to avoid their exercise. People really are just watching it because they are fat.

My favourite quote “I’m wasting my best teen years waiting for him to commit, and it just isn’t going to happen”. A very flirtatious teen talking about why it was ok to cheat on her boyfriend at camp.

MTV canada is now so generously (definite sarcasm) provided to us for free now due only to the advertisers who will do anything to influence the teen group. One commercial made me particularly angry, although I may be over-reacting. Do not buy neutrogena. The latest ad features the oh-so-clever pitch of making “washing your face fun again”. tingly suds, cool, refreshing bubbles….you will be energized. If a company has to talk down that low to you, be that condescending, please, don’t buy their product!

Cheating myself

out of the best into the mediocre.

I can go two ways when it comes to patience. One extreme where surprises are given the top priority and my self-control becomes a game of will. Or when knowing that waiting for the end is the better part of the process (the anti-climax of Christmas: it is always better before the gifts are opened). Then to the other extreme of unfettered impatience where I would have had a better outcome had I been more rational. Examples of this are paying close to double for hair streaks once in high school because I decided that day I had to have them and could only find one place with an opening….after school, before a birthday party. So I left with decent streaks and wet hair to only be slightly late to the party. Had i been more patient I would have paid less, thought about what I wanted longer and stayed for the blow-dry.

This is a common theme in the little, and sometimes big, things in my life. A little patience appears that it would go a long way.

Another example: i cried when I failed my G2 test, not because I had failed so much as because I had to wait 10 days more. Cried with the tester in the car. It didn’t help.

An explanation

The last blog involving ‘bacon hands’ was in reference to my domestic escapades (oxymoron?) this past week. First it was dinner for my family (but mostly for Mark) as a bit of proof that I can cook if I wanted to. By his request it was something my dad makes that I “really need to learn how to make”. Chicken wrapped in bacon (see previous post), my dad’s mashed potatoes (apparently they really are different than any other mashers) and broccoli. Everything turned out quite well, even if my father was the one who manned the BBQ and the brocco-trees were ready too soon and sat too long in the steam.

The next time it was my choice and it didn’t involve any slaughterhouse produce. Just chickpeas, onions and many spices went into the curry. The look wasn’t much better than the diarrhea-lentil soup I love from PC but tasted fabulous. Although, other than me, the only ones to even try it were Mark and my dad. My dad chickened out from the bit of cayenne pepper but overall I’m calling it a hit. So cheap, so good and goes well on rice.

Why not be vegan?

I loathe touching raw meat. The feeling of clingy fat goo is revolting to me.

Bacon hands. Ew.

environmental pipe dreams

For Christmas I received “Ecoholic” from Mark to teach me how to life a more healthy life and an more environmentally sound existence. While I have been reading it and thinking on the information I officially put it into action on Wednesday; it was fun!

Something about having a snow day erasing my second day back at work (where I worked last summer, but just a bit extended) got me into a cleaning mood. Gathering up the usual armful of chemicals (and a little Brown Cow for me) used to make the bathroom less infectious made me stop and think about what I would soon be inhaling and have seeping into my skin. Then I remembered the cleaning section of my new book (not until after I emptied half a bottle of Dran-O into the sink to unclog it). While waiting the required 30 minutes I read up on bathroom cleaning in the book and traded the chemicals for some vinegar and water. Vinegar does work and doesn’t leave behind much of a smell but is repugnant during the cleaning process meaning I will be making up a mixture of vinegar, water and tea tree oil spray for next time. Straight baking soda on the shower could use a boost and I will likely try something else next. Disappointingly the book had little to offer for the toilet which left me with the blue duck for inside the bowl until I buy some enviro friendly cleaner.

The best tip by far was the drain cleaner. After rinsing the scum buster that had been rotting the pipes for a half hour to find the water still draining like a plugged catheter I turned to the trusty book again. Bit of baking soda (or a lotta bit). Cup vinegar. 15 minutes. Rinse down with boiling water. Repeat as needed.

It could have been the combination of using the caustic method first but that baking soda and vinegar volcano trick did the job and we are enjoying flowing wasted water down our sinks again. By the time I finally have my own place it should be without scary chemicals.