Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sleeping with the Enemy

Kyle and I have a big spoon/little spoon arrangement that requires both of us to sleep on our right sides. Last week, Kyle hurt his ribs at soccer and asked if we could switch sides of the bed so that he could lay on his uninjured left side.

Me nattering away:
We can switch.
But I don't want to be close to the alarm clock. The light keeps me awake.
You know what I read? Most people sleep on their right sides and scientists think that it's because sleeping on your right puts less strain on your heart.
Also, you know how people have a "good side" and a "bad side" of their face? I heard somewhere that the bad or ugly side of your face is the one that you squish all night while sleeping on your side.

Kyle interrupting:
So you mainly sleep on your stomach?

Me continuing to natter:
No actually, I prefer to sleep on my side....


Kyle kills himself laughing while Iadminister the beats.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Weird Science

While I was doing my master's degree, I spent a lot of time searching for articles and books in various university libraries. One day in the medical library, I was delighted to find a whole three-foot shelf filled with bound copies of the academic journal "Diseases in Poultry". It blew my mind that there are people out there who devote their working lives to the research of chicken sickness.

My experience in graduate school is that there are a lot of people in academia who become fascinated with a very specific topic and dive deeply into it. More deeply than anyone else could possibly care to go. At research presentations, I usually followed for the first five minutes after which time I blanked out and began hatching various escape plans.

Some people sneer at academics and their whole-hearted pursuit of one microscopic corner of the world. Others resent government money devoted to research, especially research that seems impractical or disconnected from daily life. While I understand these reactions, I love to know that there people who are passionately pursuing knowledge. I appreciate that our society supports the love of learning and diving deeply. And I especially love the ridiculous outcomes...

Each year, Harvard gives out Ig Nobel Prizes, awards for bizarre and funny research. In 2009, prizes were awarded for the following:
Veterinary medicine prize - cows with names give more milk than cows without names
Peace prize - empty beer bottles make better weapons than full ones, being more likely to fracture skulls in bar brawls
Chemistry prize - researchers found a way to make diamonds from tequila
Physics prize - physicists outlined the reasons that pregnant women don't tip over
Biology prize - researchers discovered that kitchen waste can be reduced to 90% of it's weight by exposing it to the bacteria in panda poop
Public health prize - the invention of a bra that in case of emergency, can be converted into two protective face masks, one for the now braless woman and another for a needy bystander. Below is a photo of the inventor accepting her Ig Nobel prize.

Monday, January 11, 2010

At least one wish came true

Someone at work asked me to describe Kyle. Among with many positive adjectives, I used the word "unsentimental" to describe him.

This past summer, we attended the wedding of a lovely couple. After signing the guest book, we were directed to a table that was covered in rocks and sparkly pens. The couple wanted every guest to be involved in the ceremony and had requested that each person write a wish or prayer for the couple on a stone. At a later point in the ceremony, every guest would walk toward the blissful couple and place his or her rock in a vase.

I felt some pressure as considered how I would distill my hopes for them into one power-house of a word. I wanted my word to be unique, meaningful, and not cheesy. I can't remember now but I think that after much deliberation, I settled on "laughter". My choice was disappointingly cheesy and not very unique, considering the fact that a person can buy stones with gold etching of this word in any new-agey bookstore or card shop.

Throughout my agonizing search for the prefect word that would express my soul, I couldn't help but notice that Kyle had quickly finished writing on his stone. Had he had some kind of epiphany? Was writing on rocks the secret key to Kyle's self-expression?

I asked to see his stone and when he handed it over, read the following:

Many rocks

Friday, January 1, 2010

Year of the manatee

I hope all of you had a peace and joy-filled holiday. Kyle and I had a variety of delicious Christmas dinners with many lovely people - Dec 23 stew with Kyle's family, Christmas-eve goose with Kyle's cousins, Christmas day turkey with my clan, and another fabulous boxing day pizza party/80s dance-off at Murray's house.

My family has become very laid-back about presents, which I appreciate immensely. The new rule is that you don't have to buy anybody a present unless you see something that you really want to get for them. And if you get a present from somebody you don't need to reciprocate.

This year my present from my parents was this -

Rosa the Manatee - An Undersea Adventure
: a plush Manatee with cassette tape. It totally cracks me up.The box has a very 1990s liberal feel - allowing consumers to sleep well at night knowing that in addition to buying a plush toy, they have donated money that will "directly help in protecting a manatee and his habitat from endangerment". I haven't listened to the tape yet but I assume it outlines Rosa's idyllic aquatic life as it is interrupted by heinous motor boat propellers. My mom says she found it in a bargain bin somewhere a few years ago.

This morning I stumbled upon a funny post outlining "Ten Words You Need to Stop Misspelling" . What better way is there to start the New Year than with a little grammatical self-improvement? And much to my delight, the author used a manatee to illustrate proper use of it's/its. (click on the picture to enlarge)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Is it over before it begins?

December 6-18, 2009, world leaders and celebrities alike will be meeting in Denmark for the Copenhagen Climate Summit. The goal is to get together to create the Copenhagen protocol - a statement of intent about climate change. Unlike Kyoto, this will not be a "binding agreement".

In my eyes, it's probably a good thing that Canada won't be making any promises that will go unkept. However, after reading this article in the London Telegraph, I think the arrival in Copenhagen makes a more powerful statement of intent than will any document produced at this summit.

The Copenhagen airport is expecting up to 140 private jets during the peak arrival period alone. The airport is so far over its capacity that these planes will have to drop off their passengers and then go park at other Danish and Swedish airports before returning to pick up their VIP passengers.

Car rental companies are having a difficult time supplying enough limousines to meet the demand of those attending the climate summit. There will be over 1200 limos rented over the week. According to rental company manager Majken Friss Jorgensen, "We haven't got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand. We're having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden."


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Let's give this another go...

Over the past months, I've often wondered if I should resurrect the old blog. I miss having a creative outlet and connecting with people this way.

Last week, I dreamt that an old acquaintance angrily told me I should keep blogging. That has motivated me to give it a shot. That same night, I also dreamt that I had pooped in a snow globe...which goes to say that I probably shouldn't take this whole dream-messages thing too seriously.

For those of you who still have links to this blog on your own websites, thanks for your faithful optimism.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Last Thursday, I wore another new shirt without washing it. But don't despair. Even though I don't heed my own advice, I do have the capacity to learn. I sniffed the armpits before I put it on.

Last night I saw a TV news clip about how people should always wash new garments because some of them have been treated with the chemical formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is connected with increased risk of cancer. Shoot.

In non-grubbiness-related news, I spotted some Canada geese hanging out on the river today. Even though they terrify me, Canada geese are a hopeful indicator of spring. Beside the geese there was a flock of smaller birds sleeping on the ice. At first I thought they were ducks and I was super pumped. However, upon closer inspection they turned out to be seagulls...which are not associated with spring but are just a sign of near-by dumpsters.

Background by Jennifer Furlotte / Pixels and IceCream