Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Top 5 Unfortunate Typos

People make mistakes in their writing all the time.  I understand that.  I make mistakes too.  But after my beg bug post I decided to dig a little deeper into the world of typos, and found that a missed letter or number here and there can be really quite catastrophic.  Here are five of the best (or worst):

1.  The Crowne Plaza Quarto D'Altino hotel in Venice, Italy, decided to honor reservations made on August 9th, 2009 after its rooms were advertised online for 1 cent per night.  Although the mistake was quickly rectified, the hotel lost over $129,000 in revenue.  (Meanwhile, yours truly was on vacation in Texas at that time and paying $89.95 to stay at a Motel 6.  Life is so unfair.)

2.  This is a picture of the Mariner 1 launch on July 22, 1962.

Its purpose was to fly past Venus and I suppose collect some sort of complicated space data (I skipped that paragraph).  Instead, the Mariner 1 began behaving erratically and was sent into the ocean.  The cause?  A NASA employee had missed a hyphen while writing the computer code for the mission.  The cost?  $18.5 million dollars.  I bet that guy felt bad.  I dropped an entire tray of coffee mugs once when I was a waitress, so I can relate.

3.  Note to self:  If I ever get anything indelibly inked on my skin,  it will only be from someone who can satisfactorily pass an impromptu spelling test. 

No.  Actually, you're not awesome at all.

4.  This is a blunder of epic proportions.  Not only must the engraver have spent hundreds of hours creating the mold for the 2008 issue of the Chilean 50 peso coin, but I'm sure the odd person must have checked it over before minting several thousand of them and sending them into circulation.

Chiie?  Really. 
Even I would have caught that one.

5.  And finally, the most horrendous of all typos.  Earlier this year Penguin Books Australia issued an apology for a recipe in the Pasta Bible cookbook which called for "salt and freshly ground black people."  Ouch.  7000 copies of the book were destroyed, although those that had already been shipped to retailers were not recalled.  Hmmm...just goes to show that spell check isn't always your friend.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

That's Life!

Last night I watched the first two episodes of the BBC series Life.   If you haven't seen it, it's about the lengths to which animals will go to survive.

My friend Shannon had warned me about the program.  She said that every segment tells a little story.  First, they make you fall in love with an animal, and then they kill it.

Two boxes of kleenex later, I realize she was right.

Take the Chinstrap penguin for example.  It's my favorite penguin, probably because it's the underdog in a world that seems fascinated by the super-boring Emperor penguin.  (If I have to hear about male Emperor penguins balancing eggs on their toes one more time....)

Super adorable Chinstrap penguin (taken from
In the program, they showed the Chinstrap mothers leaving their babies after feeding them for the last time.  The baby penguins, now alone, know that their only chance of survival is to make it out to open water.  So off they waddle towards the ocean.  Of course, BBC is careful to show the most adorable ones - the penguins with a bit of baby down still attached to the top of their heads, or the particularly uncoordinated ones whose mishaps warm your heart, just a little. 

Bravely they stand at the ocean's edge and plop sweetly into the water.  Ahead of them is some pack ice which they must navigate first before they reach the relative safety of the open water.  One of the fluffiest Chinstraps decides to lead the way, innocently bobbing along in the ice floe.

But danger is lurking just ahead.

This is the leopard seal, and it's got a face only a mother could love.

(Image taken from
Quick as lightning, the leopard seal appears out of nowhere.  The baby Chinstrap doesn't have a chance.  It flaps furiously, but it's awkward little wings are no match for the gaping jaws of the seal. 

(Image taken from
I would like to say that the horrible ordeal is over with quickly, but it appears the leopard seal likes to play with its food.  For the next minute the chinstrap penguin is tossed back and forth, until finally it succumbs.  The last we see of the penguin is its half-eaten carcass falling to the bottom of the ocean bed. 

Meanwhile I'm a blubbering idiot, and seriously considering an expedition to Antarctica to club some seals.

BBC's Life is beautifully filmed and very informative.  But it's hardly upbeat and fun.  So, to end this post on a positive note, I'm including a clip from one of my other favorite documentaries, Animals Are Beautiful People, by Jamie Uys.

Until next time,

Friday, September 24, 2010

If I Could Turn Back Time...

I've been wearing jeans to work a lot lately, mainly because they go well with my Converse shoes which (although horrendously smelly) I love.  But a couple of days ago, I figured I'd wear a pair of dress pants to work.  I found a pair quite easily in the dark (6am is too early for Baz) but didn't seem to be able to find a top to go with it.

Frustrated, I flipped on the light, and started going through my closet.  Not only couldn't I find an appropriate dress top, I couldn't find ANY dress top.  No blouses.  No dress shirts.  Nothing.  My closet is pretty organized, but I pulled everything out in a frantic attempt to find something to wear.  Nada.

I stood there for a minute trying to think where I could have put my clothes.  I checked the laundry room, my underwear drawer, the hall closet and my office closet.  I was about to start going through the kitchen cupboards when it finally dawned on me....

I moved to my new house in July, and while I was packing up my apartment, I filled several black garbage bags with clothes for the Salvation Army and several black garbage bags with clothes I wanted to keep.  It's funny, because I distinctly remember standing there thinking that I should be careful to keep the two piles separate.  Obviously I wasn't careful enough.

I called the Salvation Army immediately with my woeful story, but apparently all their clothes are shipped out within days of being received.  The sales girl told me they were sending quite a few shipments out to Pakistan.  That's great.  I'm all for sending donations to countries ravaged by natural disasters, but I'm unsure how my dress shirts will benefit people with no food or homes. 

I suppose the politically correct response should be that if it puts a smile on someone's face it's worth it, right?   Well, I also discovered that I put all my winter sweaters in the Sally Ann bag as well.  I'm sure it gets chilly in Pakistan, but I'm not sure how generous I'll feel when it's -40 degrees in Winnipeg and I'm trying to fend off hypothermia.

I think I'll go to the Salvation Army tomorrow and do some shopping.

Take care,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How to Make it Rich as a Modern Artist - Part 2

In yesterday's post, I discussed the first three steps you need to take to make your fortune as a modern artist.  If you haven't had chance to read the first post, you'll find it below.

Now, I'm assuming everyone's had time to come up with an artsy-sounding name, created a new persona, moved to a more exotic locale and painted their first masterpiece.  Good.  Now for the last two steps.

4.  Name Your Masterpiece.
You might think this step is easy, but in fact it is much more difficult than creating the artwork itself.  It is vital that the name is thought-provoking.  You want those who see your art to really have to THINK about what it means.  Make up words, use little-known characters from mythology, foreign words, or choose "loaded" names or words with many connotations.    If they have to Google the title of your piece for meaning, it will ultimately mean dollars in your pocket.  Here are some examples:

Onement, 1 (1948)by Barnett Newman
Image taken from
(As an aside, Barnett Newman proclaimed the above painting to be his "artistic breakthrough.")

Abraham (1949) by Barnett Newman
Image taken from

Bacchus by Cy Twombly
Image taken from

I decided to give it a go, and this is what I came up with.

Astghik (2010)
5.  Show Your Work
Once you have a repertoire of work, you'll be ready to show it off in a gallery.  This is essential in getting your work known.  If possible, ensure your canvases are HUGE.  (See Cy Twombly's Bacchus above).  There is an inverse correlation between the size of the canvas and the amount of time you have to spend painting.  Consider Bacchus, and then compare it with Albrecht Durer's A Young Hare, which is only 23cm x 25cm.


Try to find a venue in a large city, if at all possible.  If art galleries are unwilling to let a newcomer showcase their work, rent an old warehouse.  Now for the important bit.  Invite friends, family and acquaintances to your show, and pay them to come daily.  (This is assuming you still have the odd friend after becoming a recluse.)  Ensure they are dressed appropriately each day - preferably eclectic.  Scarves, dangly earrings and Birkenstocks should be encouraged regardless of gender. 

Your friends should now practice some key stances and phrases to be used around actual patrons visiting the show.  Sitting for extended periods of time with the hand supporting the chin is a good idea, as is clasping the hands together and pressing both index fingers against the lips.  If you have a beard, stroke it. 

Now, practice some key phrases which you can throw in at opportune moments.  Things like...
          *...divides and unites the composition...
          *....transformed my understanding of....
          *...intertwines myth and memory....
          *...confronts religious stereotypes....
          *...can almost hear the picture....
          *...tragically ironic....

See if you can apply any of those phrases to the following...

The Keeper of Sheep (1992) by Cy Twombly

And there you have it.  All the steps you need to become a rich and famous artist.  It's 8pm right now, and I'm going to end my post here, because I figure I can knock off about eight masterpieces before bedtime. 

I wish all you budding artists lots of luck!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How to Make it Rich as a Modern Artist

Over the last several weeks, I've been trying to figure out a way to get rich quick.  I mean stinking rich.  Most of my ideas are either illegal or seem to end up with me crocheting winter hats and scarves (which is neither quick nor likely to make me rich) and then yesterday I came up with THE answer.

I'm going to make my millions selling modern art.  And I'm going to show you how to do it too.  In five easy steps.

1.  Invent a new name.
Your name now is almost guaranteed not to be good enough.  It needs to have that certain ring to it, that je ne sais quoi that makes those who appreciate your art feel wildly intelligent just pronouncing it.  It must be at least 25 letters in length (as in Friedensreich Hundertwasser) or so ridiculous sounding that it makes the artist sound like a genius (Cy Twombly).

2. Create a Persona.
This is the most difficult part of becoming a rich and famous artist. Your real life probably won't do.  First of all, you'll have to remove your Facebook profile and any mention of your past.  You have to create an air of mystery, and if there are photos of you from last year's Christmas party with your underwear wrapped around your head, this will not help.

If at all possible, move.  Not to a single detached bungalow in the suburbs either.  If you can afford to move to Belize, or Tasmania or Cameroon, go there now.  If you have to stay where you are, then move to a shack in a rundown area of the city, or an abandoned church, or an old tent in the bush.  American artist Cy Twombly moved to a grimy area of Rome which once burned heretics.  This is an excellent choice of living location.

Become a recluse.  If you're a naturally gregarious person, this might be difficult to achieve, so you might want to get an aggressive dog, or several hundred cats. 

Finally, when out in public, do things that get you noticed.  Once your art is well-known, you want people to see you as "misunderstood" rather than strange.  Hundertwasser was brilliant at this, as can be seen from this speech he gave in 1968.

3.  Create Your Masterpiece
Now for the easy and most fun part of the exercise!  You can use absolutely anything to create your art - Joash Woodrow of Yorkshire, England, used coal sacks, potato bags, cereal boxes and even smashed up his piano to use as pieces for a sculpture.  (This last move, by the way, is brilliant, because it adds to the perplexing persona of the mad artist.)  If you don't have the inclination to sculpt, then splurge on a large canvas and create your art that way.  Incorporate pens, pencils, paint, used engine oil - anything that will stick to the surface is fair game.
Now, what will you draw?  Here is the key.  It does not matter.  Anything is fine.  Here is an example. 

This piece, entitled "No. 5, 1948" by Jackson Pollock sold for $140 million dollars in 2006.  I don't think Pollock even sketched the picture lightly in pencil first.  So, just go for it.  Here's another example from Cy Twombly.

As you can see from this example, if you can't think of anything to draw or paint, just write something.  You don't even have to have a steady hand, and if you need to cross bits out, don't go hunting for that eraser, just let it be part of the art. 

Once you've completed your first work,you're well on your way to becoming a filthy rich modern artist!  In the next installment I will show you the two important final steps needed to ensure success in your new career.

Until then....good luck!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cinderella (not of the Disney variety)

I came across this picture today, and it reminded me of the summer of 1987 when I went to England  to visit  relatives with my best friend Shannon.

We were teenagers at the time and all we cared about were boys and music.  Shannon had bought a walkman and we brought lots of tapes with us and spent hours listening to music.

One afternoon, while we were staying with my two elderly aunts - Auntie Mary and Auntie Marjorie - we relaxed in the downstairs sitting room and listened to Cinderella - one of the quintessential hair metal bands of the 1980's.  Auntie Marjorie, who must have been in her eighties at the time, came into the room and asked what we were listening to.  I was a bit reluctant to give her the headphones but she insisted.  So, I passed them over and turned the music right down, hoping that her deafness would work in my favour.  But no.

"I can't hear it," she said.

"That's ok Auntie Marjorie.  It's probably not really your type of music."

"Turn it up.  I can't hear it!" she replied.  I turned it up slightly.

"Where's the volume?" she yelled. 

I showed her the volume, and was horrified to see her turn the dial right up to the maximum.  I could easily hear lead singer Tom Kiefer's whine through the headphones, and was waiting for poor old Auntie Marjorie to turn it off in disgust.  But to my surprise she started tapping her foot and humming along with the music.

Several minutes passed and the song was over. 

"Ooh, I liked that!" exclaimed Auntie Marjorie.  She reached across me for the cassette case and glanced at the picture of the band on the front.  "And are these the lovely ladies that sing this song?"

Auntie Marjorie was the best.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

All Quiet on the Blog Front

I haven't felt particularly imaginative over the last couple of days.  Maybe it's because there's nothing really going on.  And I don't think it's just me - there doesn't seem to be much happening anywhere.
Case in point.  Yesterday, on CBC Winnipeg radio, one of the news items announced was -

Firefighter taken to hospital after injuries sustained in a blaze. 

Ok.  Fair enough.  Firefighters do an excellent job in this city, so this headline seemed newsworthy.
But then...

A firefighter was taken to hospital today after sustaining an injury to his eye.  This occurred while fighting a house fire early this morning.  Doctors have described the injury as 'a minor eye irritation.'

At the risk of sounding callous, I think they were scraping the bottom of the barrel with that story.  Not that it's not newsworthy to someone.  eg. "Hi honey!  Just wanted to let you know I'll be a little late for lunch.  Got a bit of smoke in my eye this morning and it's kind of itchy, so I'm at the hospital getting it checked out."

I had two minor eye irritations last year and nobody cared.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bad Cat

Here is my golden rule regarding pets:
Only buy a pet that is small enough to flush and/or has a life expectancy of less than one year.  Examples include hamsters, goldfish and small garden-variety insects such as  ladybugs or houseflies.
For many years, my rule served me well, until I bought an adult cat, named Kitten, from a cat rescue six years ago.  He is not flushable, and I have a feeling he will outlive me and my entire family.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Incredibly affectionate and well-behaved, he appeared so grateful to be coming home with us that day.

For a while things went smoothly.

Then, one day, Kitten developed a blockage of crystals in his urinary tract, which resulted in his inability to use the tray.  Surgery was required at a cost of over $1200.00.  I was worried about him, and concerned about my dwindling bank account.  Two days later, I noticed he was having trouble urinating, so I whisked him back to the vet.  I picked him up at the clinic a couple of days later and was presented with a $250.00 bill.  The verdict?  Psychological. 

Psycho-bloody-logical!??  I was incredulous.  And that wasn't all.  From now on, Kitten was to be on a special and very expensive diet called Urinary-SO (sounds tasty, doesn't it?)  I swear he smirked at me from his cat box in the back seat.

I think this was the point Kitten's personality did a complete 180.  He knew I wouldn't abandon him and since then has behaved exactly as he pleases.  All the time.  No longer is Kitten grateful.  Oh, he pretends sometimes, rubbing past my legs, or looking soulfully up at me before biting me hard in the ankles, but he's not.  My cat is a thug. He lies in wait for me when I walk down the stairs and then reaches out from his ledge to swat me in the head.  If I call him to come and sit with me, he refuses, yet when I'm busy on the computer he insists on draping his paws around my shoulders and sucking my earlobes.  It's revolting, and family and friends don't come around much anymore.  Kitten is also the only cat I know with a drooling problem.

In addition to his $150,000 food bill, I have also had to give him a Soft Claws manicure, to stop him scratching the furniture.  He could spend a day at my local wellness spa for less money.  Maybe I should just have his feet would be a lot less pricey, and would solve a whole host of other problems.

But no...I suppose I'll carry on, deal with the terrible abuse and hope that one day he becomes a sedate lap cat.  Because for all his quirks and his dreadful temper, he's more fun than a hamster or a goldfish.

Until next time,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Oprah's Final Season...(Lord Give Me Strength)

I'm tired.  I'm tired and I've had enough. 

Oprah's final season kicked off this week and since then I've heard about little else.  On Monday, she lavishly bestowed a trip to Australia upon her unsuspecting audience.  Except that it didn't cost her a cent.  The Australian government is footing the 2.7 million dollar bill. ( It must be nice to be rich AND get people to pay for gifts on your behalf.)

God help the Australians when these women are turned loose on their country.  And God help us too.   I can see it now.  Images of Oprah mauling koala bears, hugging baby kangaroos, and probably a teary-eyed speech about the Aboriginals while standing with a wallaby in front of  Ayer's Rock.

Oprah is a phony.  She's not "everywoman."  She has built her empire by being the Queen of Trash, which she continues to this day, albeit behind a very thin veneer of civility and decorum.  If you don't believe me, check out her website.  Right now she's looking for people for an upcoming show...

Are you ready to open up about something you may have been too ashamed to share in the past; taboo topics that keep many women suffering in silence? Have you endured a miscarriage, had an abortion, or gotten an STD? Have you been living in shame, fear or anger but feel you're now ready to share your story with others? Are there any other taboo topics you feel women fear discussing publicly?
Right.  I guess that must be all part of "Living Your Best Life."

While looking through her website earlier, I saw something entitled "Oprah-fy Yourself!"  I'd heard of "Oprahfication" which defines as "the ability to apply oprah's favorite doctor, celebrity or personality to your own life to make you a "better" person...only in oprah's eyes..."
but I'd never heard of "Oprah-fy." 

Oh!  What fun!  I get to superimpose my face onto Oprah's head and shoulders.  It doesn't get more exciting than this!

Luckily this is Oprah's final season.  In fact, at the time of writing her show will be officially over in 11 months, 23 days, 13 hours and 17 minutes.  It can't come soon enough for me.

If I'm really lucky, maybe she'll be eaten by a dingo.

Until next time,

Monday, September 13, 2010

Beg Bugs?!

This is what I saw this morning on the front page of Yahoo! news.

Beg bugs!  What fascinating little creatures.  They sound so much more intelligent than their common cousins.  I've never heard of an insect that does tricks.  I wonder if they roll over and play dead as well?  The one on the guy's finger certainly looks alert and willing to learn.

I don't really want beg bugs in my house, but just think of the possibilities.  How about a beg bug circus?  Or Letterman's Stupid Pet Tricks? Youtube videos featuring beg bugs would go viral.  These little guys could be worth their weight in gold.  And, if nothing else, catching them would be a breeze.  Coax them out of their hiding places with flakes of skin and when they get up on their hind legs to beg, capture them by their tiny hands. 

Maybe get someone to proofread your stuff, you yahoos!

Until next time,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

That'll Show 'Em!

It is currently Sunday afternoon at 2.24pm.  Stinky had a friend over last night, and when I got up this morning she told me they had gone to bed at 6am.  Consequently, she has now been asleep on the couch for 4 hours.  Baz is also still asleep.

I like to get up early at weekends and do stuff.  Fun things I have no time for during the rest of the week.  So today has been a bit of a washout.  I'm a teensy bit irritated now, so about an hour ago I decided to get them back.  This is what I've done so far:

     -finished off the tub of their favourite ice cream.
     -eaten the big bag of chips that we were going to have for a snack tonight.
     -had the last freezie pop from the fridge.

If they don't get up soon, I might have some of the pizza I was going to make for supper. 
That will really serve them right.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Let's Celebrate the Fun Terry Jones!

I'm sure you've all heard about Terry Jones, the so-called preacher of a church in Florida.  He's the on-again, off-again Koran burner, who's hoping to send a message to Muslims about plans to build a Islamic community centre near ground zero.

Super boring.  I cannot believe that the media are giving this guy credence or a platform for his hate-filled speeches.  I could not care less whether he goes through with burning the Koran or not.  Why?  Because he's a moron, that's why.  The reason he's doing it is obvious - his 15 minutes of "fame."  Unfortunately the media are not much more intelligent.  It was just the top story on the CBC national news.  Pfft.

So, instead, I would like to take a moment to honor another, much-more-worthy-of-our-attention, Terry Jones.  The guy from Monty Python.  The man who directed The Holy Grail, The Meaning of Life and the Life of Brian.  The guy from the famous Spam sketch, and my personal favourite The Four Yorkshiremen.

So on that note, lets think of the super fun Terry Jones on September 11th, not the Koran burning idiot who doesn't deserve another second of our attention.

Until next time,

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yoga for Skeptics

When I was driving home from work yesterday, I noticed a Yoga studio has opened up in a strip mall near my home.  There was a sign outside offering daily classes for $5 for the next two weeks, so I bounced in there full of enthusiasm to find out more.  I came home armed with a schedule and some other information, and promised the girl at the desk that I would see her at 6pm today for class.

I didn't go.  I'm not saying I won't go at all, in fact I think I might try for Saturday morning's class, but I have to admit Yoga makes me a little uneasy.

There are a couple of reasons for this.  For one thing, my past experiences with Yoga haven't been completely positive.  Last year, while I lay face down and sprawled out on the mat during Hot Yoga I swore I would never again expose myself to such high temperatures unless I was getting a tan.  Another time I made a huge fool of myself when the yoga instructor clasped her hands together and bowed her head slightly towards me.  "Namaste!" she said, to which I replied "Sure. One sugar and a little milk, please."

Namaste...This brings me to the other reason why yoga makes me feel slightly apprehensive.  I'm sure Sanskrit is a beautiful language, but it sounds a little hokey coming from someone whose only enlightened experience has been in the bargain section of Lulu Lemon. 

So, in preparation for class on Saturday, I've decided to break down four of the basic poses into something understandable and meaningful to me.

1.  Tadasana 

Ok, I'm pretty sure I can nail this pose.  In fact, I'll kick butt.  I do this one all the time.  I refer to it as the Waiting Pose.  I usually combine this with folding and unfolding my arms while simultaneously drumming my fingers, but that's probably covered in a more advanced class.

2.  Uttanasana
(These next three poses require you to think carefully about where you will stand in the yoga studio.  Preferably you are in the back row, and someone you know is in front of you.)

I refer to this pose as the Flatulence Pose.  This is because I don't see how you can concentrate on the hamstring stretch without passing gas.  I know I can't, and probably the person in front of me can't either, so I would prefer to be at least on a first name basis with them.

3.  Adho Mukha Svanasana
I refer to this as the Does My Ass Look Fat in these Yoga Pants Pose.

I can proudly say that I have this one pretty much mastered, although I tend to add the popular "fix the wedgie" twist to this one.  This pose is quite fun because you can look between your legs to the person behind you (if you're not in the back row) to see if they are, in fact, checking out the size of your bum.

4.  Ashtanga Namaskara
I refuse to do this pose.  Ever.  I think I'd be embarassed to try it even if I was by myself.   This is the Flatulence II Pose. 
Look at this guy.  He looks as if he's really trying to pass gas.  Maybe he ate too much broccoli the day before, or maybe his colitis is acting up...whatever, I don't want to be the poor sod behind him. 

So, there you have it.  Some beginner yoga poses.  After writing this post, I think I'm even less likely to attend Saturday's class than before, although I read about a new yoga mash-up on this blog which combines pot and yoga.  Although I'm not a marijuana advocate, at this point I think it sounds like a damn good idea.

Until next time,

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back to School Angst

Stinky started Grade 7 today at a new school.  Poor kid. 

As I walked her there this morning, she worried incessantly about doing the wrong thing and making a fool of herself.  "What if they tell us to go and put everything in our lockers?" she said, "I get confused easily without direct instructions."

She certainly hit the nail on the head with that one.  She may be 12, but I still have to remind her to put shoes on before we leave the house. 

Then, she muttered under her breath, "Oh, I hope there's a short fat kid in my class."  You see, Stinky has an uncanny ability to see to the heart of the matter (even if it's not very politically correct), and I guess anyone that could take the heat off her being the new kid in school would be a welcome distraction today.

After I dropped her off, I watched her for a few minutes from behind some bushes, until I became aware that I probably looked like a child molester, and walked home.

I'm going to pick her up in a few minutes, and I hope her day went well.  I also hope there was a short fat kid....because at the end of the day, whatever new situation we're thrown into, isn't that what we all secretly wish for?

Take care,

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cause For Concern??

I just realized something rather disturbing.

The three men I find sexiest on television are Gordon Ramsey, Simon Cowell and Hugh Laurie.
In other words....
     -the obnoxious chef
     -the obnoxious judge
     -the obnoxious doctor

I detect a trend.

Now... you might be inclined to tell me that this is just a coincidence.  But it's not, and I think I can prove it.

I did not find Hugh Laurie in the least bit attractive when he played the father of an orphaned mouse in Stuart Little

Should I be concerned?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tracey Knows For Sure - Things I'm Ungrateful For

I despise Oprah Winfrey, I really do.  I've had just about enough of her to last me a lifetime.  Today, while surfing the internet I came across this preachy article entitled Oprah Knows For Sure.

Here's an excerpt. 

What I know for sure is that every sunrise is like a new page, a chance to right ourselves and receive each day in all its glory. Each day is a wonder....No matter what our troubles, when the earth turns on its axis one more time and we see what appears to be the sun rising, I feel it's the universe calling for a change in ourselves. You have one more day. Rise with it!

Oh shut up Oprah - you know nothing. 

On that note, I've decided to write about the things I'm most ungrateful for.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm a pretty happy person almost all of the time, but a good bitch now and then is good for the soul.  Topping my list today is definitely my greatest genetic misfortune.

My Hair
I wish I was one of those people who could wake up in the morning looking tousled.  You know what I mean?  Jennifer Aniston probably looks tousled when she wakes up in the morning.  My daughter Stinky wakes up in the morning looking tousled.  These are the types of people who get up and (without even brushing) toss their hair into an unruly ponytail and look like a million bucks. 

This was me this morning.

Why do I look like this?  Not only does it look like someone punched me repeatedly in the face last night, but do you think I could really run a hand through this rat's nest, toss on jeans and a t-shirt and go out for brunch?  This is what I look like every morning.  Poor Baz.

And if that's not enough, I've been blessed with the thinnest hair imaginable.  It get this from my father, who was born with a comb over.  (Thanks for this gene, Dad.  Thank you so bloody much.)

When I got pregnant my hair came out by the handfuls.  The doctors assured me it would grow back.  That was 12 years ago, and I'm still waiting.  So, I've broken down, and now I use Nioxin. For you thick-haired people who don't know what that is, I despise you.  Nioxin's main customers are 40-something men with receding hairlines.  And me.  I usually take a large duffel bag when I buy it, so that I can stash it away and slink out of the salon without being noticed. 

My friends try to say comforting things to me.  They'll run their fingers through their hair and say,
"Wow, Tracey you are sooooo lucky! My hair is so thick I can't do a thing with it, and it takes hours to dry."

"Oh I'm sorry," I'll answer. "How unfortunate. I guess I should be happy, because unless I sprint from the shower to the hair dryer in the bedroom, my few strands of hair are already dry by the time I get there."
I want to slap them.

So, there you have it.  My first installment of things I'm ungrateful for.  I feel better already. 

Take care,


Saturday, September 4, 2010

I'm Too Pretty to do Math (or too stupid)

(Over the last few days I've been closely following the mine disaster in Chile.  If you haven't heard much about it, here's a quick recap. Following a massive mine cave-in, thirty-three miners were trapped in a small "room" underground.  They were discovered to be alive after workers at the surface drilled through to them on day eighteen.  Now they have to get them out.  They are drilling a hole 60cm wide and 700 meters deep through incredibly hard rock as an escape passage for the miners. It's going to take months.)

Last night I had the most brilliant post idea.  Calculate the volume of rock Chilean workers will have to remove from the 700 meter long hole they're digging to rescue the miners.  Put it into a perspective that people can comprehend, and then maybe it will be easier to understand why this process is going to take so long.  Another blogger I follow compared the depth of the hole to the height of some famous buildings.  But I bet nobody's thought of my idea!

Excellent.  I get out my calculator.

1.  Calculate volume.  Easy.  I was working on volume with one of my students at work today.  I feel pretty confident.  I'm going to calculate it in cm (cubed).
  • Pi * radius(squared) * height
  • 3.14 * 60cm (squared) * 700meters
  • 3.14*900cm*70000cm
  • = 197820000cm(cubed)
Wow.  That's a lot of centimeters.  But it will be easier to convert it into something more substantial.  Like meters(cubed).  We all know there are 100 centimeters in a meter, so....
  • 197820000/100 = 1978200m(cubed)
That's 1,978,200 meters (cubed).  No wonder it's going to take them so long to dig out that amount of rock.  It's insane - I can't even comprehend that amount.  I'm pretty excited now, because this is going to make a kick-ass post.  Maybe even CNN or the BBC will link to me. 

So, I go on to the internet to see if I can relate this amount to something.  I google "cubic meter facts" and come up with some startling information.
  1. The volume of water that runs over Niagara Falls every minute is 168000 cubic meters.  It would take 11.7 minutes to equal the amount in cubic meters that these guys have to remove from the mine shaft. 
  2. The interior volume of a Boeing 747 is 876 cubed meters.  A few quick calculations and here we go.  This is the equivalent in volume of 2258 Boeing 747's.  This story is getting better by the minute.
  3. The Hoover Dam contains 3.4 million cubic meters of concrete.  The Hoover Dam!  These guys have to remove just over half that amount.
I'm really onto something here.  I wonder about these Chileans.  They must be some hard-working people.  Imagine the scope of a project like this - it boggles the mind.  Imagine shifting the equivalent of 2258 Boeing 747's in a month!  Hats off to them.

But then I have this slight inkling that something isn't quite right.  Almost 2 million cubic meters of rock is an awful lot to come out of a shaft that's 700 meters deep.  I'm quite confident in my math skills, but decide to double check before submitting my findings to CNN.

Did I say 100 centimeters in a meter?  Perhaps something wonky happens when you're dealing with cubic meters.  I'll check.  I google for a volume conversion chart. 


I have to divide by 1000000 not 100.  Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.  Oh well, maybe the number is still impressive and all is not lost.
  • 197820000/1000000 = (drum roll)  197.8 cubic meters.
What?!!!  198 cubic meters? I'm pretty sure I moved that amount of topsoil in my backyard last weekend.

Suddenly my dreams of being discovered by a major news network come crashing down.  The volume amounts to about 50 of these.

Super boring.  What's taking those guys so long?

Until next time...take care,

Friday, September 3, 2010

When Free Isn't Better

I like to think that free is always better.  But it isn't.  In fact that I think there are times when free might be really not that good at all.

As you know, I've been very thrifty lately, saving money where I can by buying from garage sales, second hand stores, Kijiji and even finding the odd gem in the dumpster.

But I do have my limits.  There is some truth to the saying "You get what you pay for," so on that note, here are three things NOT to buy second hand or get from the dumpster.

1.  Mattresses
If I didn't mind mattresses from the dumpster, I'd have a house full of them by now.  It seems to be the number one item found in back alleys or propped up against dilapitated garages.  In order to prove my point, I "drove" down a couple of back alleys on Google Street View.  It took me about 30 seconds to find this one.

Whether in a back alley or a thrift store, somehow the idea of sleeping on someone else's mattress doesn't appeal.  I mean, they tossed it out for a reason, right?  

Or how about this?, I wonder if they're selling it because they bought a different sized bed, or because the smell of urine was too overwhelming?  Whatever, I'm not too keen on the idea of spending my nights with someone else's bodily fluids.

Given the option, I think I'd rather sleep on hot coals.

2.  Upholstered Furniture
I have to admit there have been times when I was tempted.  They often have some lovely old antique armchairs at the thrift store.  And if the price was right and I knew where it came from I might consider buying something upholstered.  But my fear here is bed bugs.   They're everywhere now.  Even in movie theatres.

The thought of bed bugs didn't used to bother me too much.  Not that I would have welcomed them into my home, but I really didn't think about it too much.  That's because they're so tiny.

I figured a bed bug would be about this big     *

But now they have these powerful microscopes and the media are trying to scare us with pictures of these larger-than-life insects. 

Pictures like this give me nightmares.  They look like something out of a 1950's B horror movie....Attack of the Giant Radioactive Bed Bugs.

No thank you. I think I'll pass.

3.  Bathing suits / Lingerie / Underwear
If someone else has worn it next to their skin, then I don't want to wear it next to mine. 

Say no more.

Take care,