Tuesday, December 30

Nothing Better to Do

Mark was kind enough to drive me (through the white white blizzard) tonight to give away my 'lifeblood' (although I prefer to call it just blood). It had been over a year since I had to wait after going to Peru. The heart rate test was on the verge again but I squeaked past just below the cut off. It took some prodding but a vein was found, stabbed, and drained. 12 minutes. A little slow but nothing to worry about.
However, my flawless record of easy giving has been tarnished. I did NOT faint. But I may have been pretty woozy and I guess I looked it because one second I was sitting up and the next my head was down, my feet were up and I had cold cloths coming at me from all angles. A little rest, some orange juice and all was fine. I was very grateful to have Marky Pants there (that is his last name for blogging purposes), especially to drive me home.
Remember those boots from my last post? Yes, just scroll down one post. Everyone LOVED them! I felt like a violated pregnant woman except everyone was stroking my feet without asking and inquiring where I purchased the boots.
Note: drink ridiculous amounts of water two days before giving blood next time.

Sunday, December 28

Christmas 2008

The week of Christmas has been completely relaxed and wonderful. Mark stayed to celebrate with my family and was awoken at 730 Christmas morning by my siblings so we could all open presents. You would think that would stop when your siblings are 21 and 16 but it doesn't. I got my dad two cases of beer for Christmas. Got Mark a sappy photobook. Rockband 2 for the siblings and some camera accessories for my mom.

These boots were a solid take-home for me on Christmas morning. Never will be feet be cold or unstylish again.

I baked 6 loaves of Finnish Coffee bread. It is something my mumu used to make but no one continued. We crushed our own cardamom seeds and made the house smell delicious. It is actually one of the only bread that is actually better the next day, not warm (but not cold). The recipe is surprisingly easy.

Wednesday, December 24

Consumer Alert

Not that you hadn't already guessed but SHAMWOW! is well, a bit of a sham.

See video here.

Does it pick up more water than a a towel of the same size? Yes.

Does it do the trick with the pop on the carpet? No.

My brother and I decided to experiment. A can of Pepsi was dumped (notice the use of passive voice) onto a piece of carpet and given a few seconds to soak in. Without pressing there was little result. With pressing we still had stains. It took lots of pressing and some AWESOME! (best carpet cleaner ever -- it got out the blueberry juice we spilled on the off-white carpet the other day) to get it all out. Careful what you buy from a crazy guy on TV.

Monday, December 22

Were you aware that....?

It has been bitterly cold here. Hibernate-order-groceries-on-the-phone-three-layers-pants cold outside here since I got back. This isn't a complaint, it is a fact needed to explain why my brother discovered that the sounds made by MSN (when you get a msg, when someone comes online, etc) can be changed to just about anything.

So far we have experimented with monotone "message", teen girl squad voices (courtesy of me), Rick Rolling oneself constantly, using only sound bites from Zelda (gamecube edition) "Hey, look over here". The microphone from the Rock Band set is actually quite good quality and works well for creating these sound bites.

A fun activity brought to you by 'nothern ontario cold snap 2008'

Thursday, December 18

The Missing Piece

Even though I don't really take pictures anymore I still see myself self as "into photography". I have the DSLR, the regular SLR, although my favourite was my (now broken) Cannon Elph 1000. It took some of the best pictures and was easy to carry. Some of the lack of passion for me is just not being willing to lug such a conspicuous piece of equipment around very often.

The other one is developing. The digital revolution with cameras is perfect for me since I'm cheap and love to take multiple pictures and test out different settings. But there is something missing and I think that developing the pictures myself was a big part of the connection I felt with photography in high school.

Yesterday I woke up and half day-dreamed, half remembered the calm environment of the darkroom. Only mountains of books can make me feel more tranquil.

The best parts/what I'm missing:
-experimenting and seeing the results
-slapping the wet test strips up on the black board and tracking the changes as the photo emerges
-the grain in the grain finder
-watching it appear (90s developer, 60s stop, 90s filter. Wash)
-making contact sheets of the negatives
-the eerie orange dark and ticking of enlarger timers

At least for now, my own darkroom is a bit unrealistic. I don't have a space of my own (or, let's face it, money). I hope I get to develop again.

Tuesday, December 16

Really not willing to vouch for the accuracy

I took the 43 Things Personality Quiz and found out I'm a
Self-Knowing Traveling Extrovert

Safe & Sleepy

I'm all snuggled in for a long winter's nap back home tonight. First time in a few months and it was taking a toll. I craved being home (maybe seeing Mark too, just maybe)

Today I:
-left way too early for the airport
-spent too much on too little food in the airport (food I barely touched or enjoyed)
-bought Proust & the Squid (a book about how our brains work and why some of us have difficulty learning to read)
-didn't get a chance to read much of it since my second flight included sitting beside a pilot with some interesting stories (try getting a turkey dinner in India!)
-both mom and dad picked me up at the airport
-finally saw Mark and, due to excessive lack of sleep (read: less than 2 hours), we just chilled with my sibs and watched a movie. Anything would have been good, and it was
-going to bed with the promise of cracking open a book about exotic fruits

Thursday, December 11

Songs I can't believe I Like

(in order of "in-my-headness")

Poker Face, Lady Gaga

If I were a Boy, Beyonce (no, I'm not calling her Sasha Fierce)

Womanizer, Britney Spears (possibly my greatest shame)

Tuesday, December 9

One less thing to worry about

Except that --and I was proud of myself for this-- I had already decided days ago not to think about the GREs. I can't lie though, they were contributing to the stressful feelings.

It seemed at first that the weather was reflecting my doom. Multiple cars gave me a good soaking while passing me in the slush created by the rain as I trudged to the testing centre. Taking the test I was fairly relaxed and it went more smoothly than any practice test I had finished. The guy beside me stunk of b.o.

It was a surprise at the end that before my scores were revealed I had the option to cancel them, without ever seeing them, to avoid putting them on my permanent GRE record. I didn't feel especially positive about the tests but I could never just walk away without seeing my marks. To be honest I didn't even know what the scores I received meant but the woman at the testing place encouraged me to submit them (McGill takes GRE marks but does not need them for SLP, no other Canadian schools require them for the program). They have been submitted. I looked up the scores online after. Let's say I had a good stroke of luck and, thank apple pie, I will not be taking them again.

Monday, December 8

Most of my thoughts and stress and thoughts about stress have somehow been focused on grad school applications. I want to be a speech-language pathologist more than anything I have ever wanted to be (except maybe paleontologist from grades 2-6). By nature I am an uncertain person but this I have no doubts about. I have spent years trying to determine what I want to 'be' and now it is up to a bunch of committees to judge my worth based on 3000 characters of intent, transcripts, reference letters and volunteer experience. You know what, I would be an amazing SLP. How do I show them that over the other 300 applicants (for less than 30 spots).

Applications are going out to Western, U of T, McGill and Dal. I'm dropping money like it is hot; burning lava hot. The application fees seem like a money grab but protesting that now won't get me far in my career. Tonight I started biting my nails again for the first time since I decided to quit in September. It isn't the prospect of three more years of school or being away (although those things can be daunting) but the fact that I just don't know what will happen. I can get through more studies if they have a direct purpose, a specific goal I just have to tough out to reach the end goal. None of this education will be pointless but it will be so difficult to see the benefit if I do not get in. I don't yet have a back up plan except applying to colleges in the Communicative Disorders Assistant program to buy myself some experience. How do I stand out?

Friday, December 5

Old Question, New Answers?

An article in Scientific American* postulating the potential reincarnation of neanderthals with a new technology involving either Human or Chimpanzee embryos. The technique isn't what interested me so much as the implications. Bringing one of these creatures to life would be able to answer innumerable questions about how closely they resemble humans and how they interacted with each other. The curiosity in me says 'go for it!'.

Obviously there are way more implications to a move like this. It would challenge what we consider human and what defines us as different from animals. Just the uncanny resemblance to your hairy uncle Hank would make facing one in a zoo uncomfortable. What if they actually have the capacity for language? Do they then gain all of the rights given to humans?

Would it be wrong to keep them captive? We do this to chimps and orangutans in order to study them. Maybe they would be billeted to families, or request their own freedom to live in our world unrestricted. If they are/were self-aware, linguistic beings, where does God fit into this? Would he have created Adam and Eve only to make Gog and Lu in almost the same image?

*the article I attached is not the original one I read. I continue to search for it but the theoretical questions still intrigue me.

Monday, December 1

No humbugs here

This weekend swept past fabulously. The highlight was a visit to the apartment of Miss Mitts & Company to be whisked off to a delightful pub dinner and subsequent soulpepper rendition of 'A Christmas Carol'. A very talented group of actors, an intimate stage setting and wonderful company made my first real theatre experience very positive.

Sunday was spent in Belleville decorating a christmas tree and eating a glorious turkey dinner cooked by the fabulous Mrs. M. One last day of major lazy before the stress of finishing the semester kicks in.

6 more spanish quizzes
2 big exams
and one really scary GRE