Thursday, 23 January 2014

"Ear" Is Weird

"Ear" is a stupid word.

It's lazy! It's a lazy word. Like, think about it. It's actually just a sound that we could make accidentally. It's a sound that you could potentially hear coming from the bathroom stall next to you or something. (Sorry, too much?) Really, there are words like, "alphabet" and "onomatopoeia" that are working SO hard at being words, you know? Like, they're really just going for it! Syllables! Multiple consonants! "Ear" is NOTHING compared to those words. "Ear" is like the burnout kid smoking pot under the bleachers while "alphabet" and "onomatopoeia" are the captain of the football team and head cheerleader at the big game.

Do you know the history of the word "ear?" Probably not. DON'T GOOGLE IT! I'll tell you... Some cavemen were sitting around talking about what they were going to call stuff, when one caveman was stung by a bee right on the lobe! So he exclaims, "eeeeeeaaaaaaaaar!" and he grabbed his ear and all the other guys were like "Oog" and "Ahh" and they looked at each other and stuff (because for some reason they hadn't come up with a word for "yes" yet.) They thought he was naming the ear, and it was getting kind of late, so they just went with it. And that's where that word came from. I did a bunch of research on this, I promise. Don't worry about looking it up. 

While we're talking about body part names... What about "eye?" Are we supposed to read into the word more than we do? Are we supposed to look at the fact that they're homophones and assume that eyes are named because our true selves are found in the eyes or something lame like that? Whatever.

Anyways, this isn't a particularly important thing to write about, but it is something that I thought about pretty hard on the bus earlier today.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Five Dumbest Things Humans Do With Water

So, I think everyone is aware at this point that the world is running out of clean drinking water. And, if you didn't know about it, I'm sorry for drastically changing the way you brush your teeth (Hint: Turn the tap OFF when your toothbrush isn't under the water.)

So, let's talk about H20. Here are two water-related things I wrote to myself. I have no idea where I was going with either of them and this seems like as good a time as any to reveal them to the internet.
  • During summer, a man came into my place of employment and asked me if we had any distilled water or if we only carried spring water. Since I have no idea what the hell(o kitty) distilled water is, I said, "I don't think I know the difference." Then he started going on about how distilled water is fully evaporated and then unevaporated or whatever the word for that is. Then he said, I kid you not, "I'm probably going to get in trouble for getting the wrong kind." Pardon? The wrong kind of WATER? That's close to the dumbest thing I've ever heard. (Note: Since I wrote this I have discovered that there are some breathing machines (or something rather, I don't know technical terms) that only take distilled water, but come on, science. Please. My apologies for being annoyed at this guy when more than likely this is all science's fault, as usual.)
  • As a child, I ate a large amount of snow, which parents and teachers insist you do not do. But guess what? I'm fine, and all my friends who did the same are fine. And we were always very hydrated during the winter.
There, that was pointless. Now, let's turn this post into a list!

The Five Dumbest Things Humans Do With Water

Clearly this snow has
yet to be shoved into a pile.
That is a road, by the way.
5. Shovel it into huge, dirty piles. Yep, there's some precious frozen water, arguably the most important element on Earth, just shoved into a big pile mixed with gravel and mud. I don't really have a solution to this. Like, I'm assuming it's pretty pointless to ship snow across the world to countries that need water. And besides, snow is "dirty" apparently even though it's beautiful and white and sparkly. I mean, I know, we have to get it out of the way so we can drive and stuff, but is there NOTHING else we can do with it? It just seems like a huge waste, knowhatimsayin'?

4. Let children run through it/Slip N Slide on it/squirt it out of guns. I think there are people in this world who would weep to see the way that we waste water in the summer. I'm not saying that some of the best times of my life didn't involve a sprinkler or a squirt gun. I'm just saying that when it comes down to it, using fresh tap water to get revenge on your cousin for throwing you in the pool is pretty selfish and wasteful, in the grand scheme of things.

I didn't think a photo of me in the
shower would be appropriate,
so here's my adorable dog taking a bath.
3. Shower in it. A shower might not be so so bad if it was just an in and out sort of deal. I like to think that if you can use less water during your shower than it takes to fill up a bath tub, then maybe you've saved some. However, this doesn't count if you think about the fact that, as Laura Ingalls Wilder went into WAY too much detail about (I swear she was ALWAYS talking about bath water, jeez) there are times and places where people shared and reused bath water. Therefore, letting it all go down the drain, when most of it barely even touched you in the first place is actually a little bit crazy. This, plus the fact that, if you're like me, a shower is a time to contemplate all the world's problems and come up with good tweets. Why is a shower a better time for thinking than just sitting in a chair doing nothing? (Actually, it's because your brain is slightly preoccupied with something else. It's not really trying so hard to think about things, so you can come up with genius ideas. This is all accurate, I just don't have any real terms or definitions to back it up.)

2. Put it in plastic bottles and charge a ton of money for it. Ugh, this is where the thing about distilled water kind of comes back into the picture. Sometimes it's difficult for me to even wrap my head around the fact that people are allowed to sell water. It comes right out of the Earth, but even people who have access to it choose instead to buy it in a store for a stupid price. And there are all these different kinds(?!?) of water. There's classic spring water, which everyone believes to be just tap water, but I assume we'll never know the truth about that. Then there's distilled water. And this summer I started seeing oxygenated water, which is supposedly better for athletes because it prevents any bloating from drinking water or something like that (Personally, I think it's a trick to make people THINK regular water makes them bloated and less capable of doing athletic things, but what do I know, I don't do much more than walk and occasionally jog to catch the bus.) Then of course, there's carbonated water, which is all they drink in Europe and if you've ever read any of my Europe blogs you would know that I HATE IT. And I'm sure I missed a lot of other kinds(?!?), but come on people. Water is water.

Blurry, yes, sorry.
That's the risk you take when
you're a wildlife photographer.
1. Go to the bathroom in it. I talked about this in my Peeing In The Shower post earlier this year and again in Let's Save The Environment. Basically, what I said was WHY DO WE EXCRETE OUR WASTE INTO PERFECTLY CLEAN DRINKING WATER?!? It seems like cats and dogs have been hinting at us forever that we should be drinking out of there because they freaking love it. Like, I know cats who are excited when the toilet is flushed because they're reminded that there is delicious, cold water to be had in that big white thing that their owner sits on sometimes.

So, there you go. The weirdest thing about all this is that what we don't do enough of is actually drink water. Even in Canada where most of the world's fresh water is, a huge portion of the population is clinically dehydrated and they don't even know it. And, there's no way that I avoid doing all of these things. Just a few minutes ago, as I stopped to take a break to pee into some fresh water, I realized that my tap has been on just a little bit since the last time I was in there, probably a few hours ago. I am definitely just as guilty as everyone else, and frankly, until a war over water breaks out, I probably won't stop wasting it, because I'm a human, dam it. (Sea what I did there?)

Monday, 11 November 2013

Stop Being Violent On The Internet

Hi internet readers. I know, it's been a long time since I've posted. It's just that I've been terribly busy (no I haven't.) So, today, I'm supposed to be writing my resume, but instead I'm doing 1000 other unimportant things.

Also, it's Remembrance Day. If you don't know, this is the day that Canadians pay respect to everyone who gave their lives for our freedoms and specifically to this post, our right to free speech. Which, of course, includes my right to blog about whatever I feel like AND to insist that everyone reads it.

Okay, so, there has been some controversy about a "white poppy movement." Here, read this COMPLETELY TERRIBLE ARTICLE by the Toronto Sun which is the worst newspaper ever and displays biases and generalizations like it's its job. Actually, don't read that article. Read this one, because it actually gives you real background information. Please keep your eyes out for the word "alongside." It's important.

So, I'm getting to the point, just hold your horsies. I don't personally have a really strong opinion about the white poppy one way or the other. I personally choose to wear a red one, even though it doesn't really seem like it because I usually lose my poppy within 4 minutes of putting it in my coat. I think I've gone through 6 of them so far. Buuut, my opinion on that isn't really relevant.

So, if you didn't read the articles that I told you to read because you don't do everything that the internet tells you to do, here is a quick rundown of some info that you'll need to understand the rest of this babble. Feel free to skip if you're familiar with the situation.
  1. A group in Ottawa has been trying to bring back the white poppy which is supposed to represent peace and anti-war.
  2. Many people have taken offence to this movement, saying that it is disrespectful to the veterans who fought to ensure our rights to free speech and free lives.
  3. Apparently somewhere along the way someone claimed that the red poppy glorifies war.
  4. The red poppy people have been rage tweeting/commenting/facebooking for like a full week about it.
Okay! So here FINALLY is what annoys me about this situation. I will write it in bold. Just because you don't agree with someone doesn't mean you can threaten to kick them in the face and wish shame upon their entire existence and the existence of their children and their children's children. Seriously, it's kind of funny, because you're trying to argue against the glorification of violence by threatening violence. Wait, what? That doesn't make sense! 

So, now let's apply this to the bigger picture, because that's how we make changes in the world, or something. (There's a piece of life advice there somewhere, I know it.) I'm going to use some more bold font. Why do we think we can say whatever terrible, rude, violent, mean thing we want on the internet? It's actually so dumb. Yes, it's much easier to say whatever you please when you don't have to look someone in the face or hear their reactions. Why do you think I love pizza places that let you order online so much? (Because I'm terrified of the phone.) But is it RIGHT to say whatever mean thing you want to say to a person? No, it is not right. So stop doing it. Unless it's directed at a celebrity, then it's fine.

There are so many other fun things you could be doing on the internet. If being a total a-hole in the comment section of a website is the most fun thing you can come up with, you should probably go talk to a therapist about your childhood. Maybe keep a journal beside your laptop and you can express yourself there. Surely if your opinion is important enough, whatever you write there will be published as part of your memoirs sometime in the future or it'll be discovered post-apocalypse and be interpreted as some sort of religious text.

So, come on everyone. The internet is a place to come together and share happiness, not to call people names and wish them the worst. Life is tough enough without trolls releasing their troll-sorcery and vexing our first born children.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Eating Alone

When I was in first year uni, sitting in the cafeteria, one of my friends commented on a girl sitting near us who was eating by herself. She said something along the lines of, "Oh, that's so sad, I feel like I should go sit with her." I laughed and responded, "I eat lunch here by myself pretty much every day."

Is that what most people think about people in restaurants who are eating by themselves? I eat by myself all the time. There is nothing wrong with it. Answer this: Which is sadder, eating by yourself, or walking around hungry because you're too self-conscious to eat alone?

I don't see anything sad about eating alone, although now I'm constantly concerned that people are watching me and commenting to their friends that I must be so sad and lonely. And maybe I am a bit lonely, but at least I'm not lonely AND hungry, you know what I'm saying? I just don't have time to coordinate my schedule with another person's so that I can get sustenance without looking like I have no friends.

I do thank the technological gods that laptops exist, because when you're eating and using your laptop, it looks like you're doing some real important work and simply had to take a break to eat at some point. But I think a book does the same thing. I used to bring my textbooks to the cafeteria, and that's where I got most of my readings done. (Tip for fellow students.)

Yes, eating has become a social ritual, but it doesn't have to be. Humans plan events around food. Think about it. "Let's watch reruns of Dexter and order pizza." "Let's crack open some wine and feast on this brie." "I  can't wait to get a hot dog at the hockey game tonight." We associate food with everything and that's okay. Just last night I went to the movies and I was more excited for popcorn than I was for the movie. (While we're on that topic, I will say that I am definitely not comfortable enough with myself to go see a movie alone.) So, it makes sense that when we see someone eating all alone, we think that they must be sad about the whole situation. But we have to remember, humans eat because we have to, not because we want to sit around and catch up on all the hot gossip with our friends.

It's actually weird that we eat together. I don't know about everyone else but when I'm by myself I enjoy eating a lot more. This is probably because I can and will act like a disgusting pig and no one knows. I also throw the 10 second rule out the window when I'm eating by myself, but that's a different story.

I don't know if people think about this as much as I think they do, but clearly there are people out there who do. I think the only thing I can really say about it is that it's all about comfort. Some people are uncomfortable being alone. Some people can't go to the bathroom alone, some people can't go shopping alone, some people can't walk home in the dark alone. Is it a self-esteem issue? Or a don't-want-to-get-kidnapped thing? Or an I'm-the-center-of-the-world thing? People always think that everyone is paying attention to everything that they're doing, which is absolutely not the case. But we think it's happening because, hello, who is more interesting to watch than I am?

I guess to end this off, I just have to say that if you have to eat alone (or if you WANT to eat alone, which is a total possibility that a lot of people don't think about) you just have to own it. And stop worrying that people are watching your every move.

Monday, 23 September 2013

The Middle Armrest

This is a classic dilemma that plagues trains, movie theatres and waiting rooms all over the world. It's also an issue I think about for probably a lot longer than necessary every time I'm faced with the problem. Who gets the Middle Armrest?

This situation is easy to resolve if the person in the seat adjacent to you is someone you know. You simply ask, "Hey, can I use this to rest my arm on?" And if they're cool, they'll say, "Yeah, for sure." If they're your sibling though, they will NEVER LET YOU HAVE IT. It's in the Sibling Code of Conduct: Section 15: Paragraph 3: A sibling will under no circumstances voluntarily allow their brother/sister to use the middle armrest without A) Constantly nudging said brother/sister's arm or B) Making a scene.

I don't make up the rules.

I know it's also possible to share the armrest, yes. But only with someone you know. Touching elbows with a person who you don't know is, for lack of any other word that could possibly describe it, awkward. But it's weird that it's so awkward. It's not like the elbow is a particularly erogenous zone. I think it's actually probably the least sexy place on the body. So that can't be the reason. I personally think that we find accidental elbow touching so weird because it's usually so unexpected. And I always panic. Like, should I look at them now? Should I apologise for brushing their body part with my own? Should I ignore it and pretend it didn't happen? Are we better seat-friends now that we've had physical contact? These are all things that go through my head when I experience an accidental elbow-brush.

So who gets the armrest? I usually stick with the opinion that if the other person was there first, they get first dibs. If they seem uninterested after a while, then I take it over, at least for a little bit. That seems reasonable. But the real problem for me occurs when I was there first and someone sits down and immediately claims the armrest. This person is probably a little more up front about things and they're also A HUGE A-HOLE. I'm mostly joking, but I do always get a bit annoyed. Like, this person thinks they're the freaking Roman Empire or something.

Then there's always the "No one uses the armrest just in case," scenario. What if the other person needs to get up to pee and needs to balance themselves with the armrest? What if there is a shoulder cramp and the other person needs more elbow room? What if they're reading a particularly shocking novel and they need to grab the armrest for support? If your arm is there, you're going to impose on their armrest emergency, and no one wants that.

The funny thing is that there is one option that almost no one ever goes for, and it's the easiest one: Ask if your seat-mate minds if you take up the armrest. I think it shows respect and appreciation for your fellow human beings. It says, "I know you're here, and I know this armrest is partially yours, and I welcome your opinion." But I hate talking to people, so this fantastic citizen will never be me.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Everything Is Dirty

I was listening to the radio today and a guy was talking about how gross it is to touch your phone and then eat with your bare hands. Think about all the places you've set your phone down, or how dirty your hands have been while you were holding your phone. Of course, I was listening to this just minutes after I'd held my phone in my teeth for a second while I was looking for my keys. I read something similar about purses and how they're actually the dirtiest things.

But this stuff doesn't really bother me. You can't always think about stuff like that because it just never ends. EVERYTHING IS DIRTY. Examples:

Let's think about eating at the food court in the mall. Maybe you washed your hands before eating, and there's that weird trust we all have in our food preparing associates that they did the same. But is the table you're eating at clean? Is the tray clean? Did those paper plates all fall on the ground but someone picked them up and decided to use them anyways? Did someone sample some food with that fork and then rinse it off and give it to you to use? Did a crazy person dip the plastic forks in the ebola virus while everyone else had their backs turned? The answer to all of these questions: Maybe. You can never be positive that everything is clean. For all you know, the factory that those utensils were made at is crawling with rats and they used the plastic fork boxes as a bathroom. You weren't there, you don't know.

The exact same situation can be applied to straws. Some people won't drink from cans because there might be mouse poop on the tops. How do you know there wasn't a straw accident where hundreds of straws were dropped all over the ground and then people just picked them up and put them in boxes anyways? Employees at Straws Inc. don't give a dingle whether your straws are clean or not, they just want to fix their problem as quickly as possible. And what if the dude who closes all the straw boxes had a runny nose or sneezed or something and got your straws all mucousy? You don't know.

What about in your own house? Is your table clean? I mean, I guess you can clean it and then you'll know it's clean... But is it REALLY clean? You can't see germs. How do you know they're not there? You probably missed only one germ, and it was the one that will kill you. Or something. I know it's not likely at all, but HOW DO YOU KNOW? Is that scary?

I think about my own house. My dog always sets his chin on the table because he thinks it makes him look cute so we'll give him food. But wait... Did he just go outside and munch on a rotting squirrel carcass? Did he just sniff a little too closely to a pile of coyote excrement? I DON'T KNOW. And even worse is that he sleeps in my bed.

The thing is, all you have to do is touch one unclean surface and then touch a clean surface with the same hand/elbow/wrist/forehead and boom, the clean surface is now unclean. Where am I going with this? Stop thinking about germs so much. It's pointless. But you should probably still wash your hands and shower. Use hand sanitizer and cough into your elbow crease, not onto your hands. There are obviously things we can do to prevent spreading more germs, but there is no way to prevent all germs, so why do we think about things like that so much and why do idiot radio hosts think it's a good idea to point out stupid things like this?

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Standing In Lines

I was thinking about this at the airport a few weeks ago:
Think about how well-trained humans are. Like, we don't have to stand in lines, but here we are, standing in lines. I could just kick the lady in front of me and get my coffee first, but I don't because that's rude, for some reason. It's no longer "fend for yourself," it's "first come, first serve." If our ancestors had lived with that philosophy, we wouldn't even be here. "No, you were here first, you kill the buffalo and take it back to your tribe. I'll wait for the next one." "Oh, you people lived here first? Okay, I'll build my new civilization somewhere else. Thanks for your time, sorry to disturb you. Thanks for teaching us how to make popcorn." (That popcorn thing with Native Americans and Europeans is a lie, it's believed that popcorn was invented in Peru. Fact that you can share next time you're at the movie theatre and you want the cashier to hate you.) I'm not saying I'm against taking turns. I actually enjoy it, especially in situations where I'm first in line. I'm just saying it's so against our nature in some ways, which is why we get so testy once we've been in a line for a while, I assume.

It's just like lines on a road. (It's not really JUST like it.  It's actually a bit of a weird connection but just go with it, okay?) A road line is just paint spilled strategically on asphalt. But we listen to them. And more than that, we trust them, like they're protecting us. Like the person on the other side of the road can't possibly just decide to steer into oncoming traffic because da da da da da da! Solid line to the rescue! NO! It's not like if you go to cross a road line you just smash into an invisible trampoline and pop back to where you're supposed to be. If I want to swerve all over the road, is a line going to stop me? NO! I mean, the police might, but a line can't do anything. It's a line on the ground! I really don't think I have to point that out. But for some reason, we listen to the line, and we trust that other people are going to obey the line too.

Okay, I might have gotten off topic. Standing in lines! I mean, it's so weird that we just automatically do it. Like, since Kindergarten, we've been lining up for stuff. I think 38% of our lives are spent in lines. Fact, maybe.

Let's think about cows. Cows take turns. Wait, do they? Maybe that's just in cartoons. I don't really pay a lot of attention to what cows do. Cats don't take turns. Cats are smart predators who follow their own rules. Cows are dumb animals who are herded and treated like crap and then chopped into food. Does standing in lines makes us dumb like cows? Or smart because we've socialized ourselves and created a more efficient system? Or are we all wasting time standing in lines? Could our lives be more efficient if we ignored queues? Or would we live a lonely life because everyone would hate us for skipping the lines? Have you ever thought about lines this much? Are you even reading anymore?
What about lines on lines on lines? Like, you stand in line to get into a concert, and then you stand in line for coat check, and then you stand in line for beer, and then you stand in line at the merch table, and then you stand in line for beer, and then you stand in line for the bathroom, and then you stand in line for beer, and then disorganized chaos of the pit happens, and then you stand in line for the bathroom, and then you stand in line to get your coat, and then you all push crazily out the door and run to your cars, and then you sit in line to get out of the parking lot. And then the whole driving and staying in the line thing happens. We shouldn't call it "going to a concert," we should call it, "going to the queues." Because that's what most of it is.
Well, hopefully you're standing in a line at this exact moment, reading this and contemplating your life and how many hours you've spent wasting it in line-ups. Or maybe you're thinking that it has improved the human race and proved that we are civilized. Or maybe you're eyeing the guy in front of you and judging whether or not you can take him if he gets mad after you cut in front of him. Or maybe something else. I don't know your life.