Monday, April 30, 2007

Article: Rights of Women Vs. Multiculturalism

It's a bit black and white. Is this Rights of Women vs. Multiculturalism or Rights of Women vs. Fundamentalism, or yet vs. something else? Anyway, the judges are clearly in the wrong.
Do you believe in the rights of women, or do you believe in multiculturalism? A series of verdicts in the German courts in the past month, have shown with hot, hard logic that you can't back both. You have to choose.

Link

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The Squirrel

I grabbed this footage on our five year-old digital camera (four and a half years old, Trevor argues. He seriously thinks that my embellishment is out of order). Whatever, it still does good work.

It should be noted that this footage was shot an instant before the baby squirrel met Lucky, the neighbour Shepherd cross. I intervened and after it came to, the baby managed to limp away, as its mom screeched from a power line.

(there's only 10 seconds at a time because that's all the camera would film. Di-no-saur)



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Friday, April 27, 2007

Still Thinking About Things

Female Body Shape In The 20th Century

It is very interesting that while the ideal got thinner, the reality got thicker.

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Suzuki Tells the Future

The Federal Government announced an environmental plan based on intensity targets, which I mentioned here. The bottom line is that while emissions will go down per barrel, if overall production goes up, overall emissions will go up. Making the whole thing rather pointless. It's only one planet, people. Emissions are emissions.

Toronto Mayor David Miller says we obviously can't wait for the Federal Government to take the lead; saving the world is in the hands of the cities. He is doing some things.

I'd like think it's a better approach and I will be positive and involved. But if we wait for government to tell us what to do and make us do it, we've already lost. Because they'll never push us hard when the next election is to be considered.

They'll say this is what we Canadians can handle at this point, because we're sensitive to change and hardship. Sitting on our posh arses for too many generations. Our great-grandparents would, and should, laugh at our inability to picture life with less, especially when less would still be considerably more than they ever had. They'd say we've lost a lot of our ability to be creative, buying our every day solutions in excessive packaging.

It's clear to everyone that planet we as know it won't exist for our children, maybe even our aged selves. We screwed up. But we can fix this. It's going to be up to us to show government exactly how much we can buckle down. Let them keep up to us.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Marital iChat

WORKING: The cat bed had slid off the table and halfway down the couch and boomer was still in it, trying to make it work.

TREVOR: too funny

WORKING: It's raining.

TREVOR: guess i don't have to water the grass

WORKING: I have to the pet store today. Charlie's all out.
I'm going to do the grocery shopping, too.

TREVOR: oh ,ok

WORKING: I want to be ROLFED.

TREVOR: I'll do my best

WORKING: Jeeze, it's really pouring.
I think I might save the big shop for tomorrow morning.
I can't picture schlepping it home in this.

TREVOR: no worries

WORKING: I mean, I really want to be rolfed.
TREVOR: my hands get tired very quickly

WORKING: You gotta be kidding me.

TREVOR: that's ridiculous.

WORKING: (Friend) wrote a blog entry saying that the "cheers" salutation is one of her pet peeves. I’ve been cheers’ing for years. I'm so embarrassed.

TREVOR: i wonder why that would bother her.
it's not annoying
of course, look at what bugs me*

(*”irregardless”, “expresso”, “fancy-schmancy”)

WORKING: Your cousin has asked if we want to sponsor her for the WWF climb.

TREVOR: Oh. kinda hard to say no, huh

WORKING: Can we afford something small, I wonder?

TREVOR: has she asked for a specific amount?

WORKING: no, no. She was aiming for $300, has already raised $700

TREVOR: well, then. we'll take $400 off her hands

WORKING: ha!

WORKING: You leaving soon? Charlie's asking.

TREVOR: you tell that little bitch...

WORKING: She's not a bitch. She can't have puppies.

TREVOR: oh right

WORKING: It's a very sensitive topic with her, you know. We didn’t exactly give her a choice. We just took her bitch parts away.

TREVOR: well smoosh her face and tell her daddy's on his way

WORKING: She thinks you're a moron. Honest, she just said that!

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Stop, Look and Listen (1967)

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's Too Quiet Around Here

Sister 2 has come and gone. We had a lovely visit; CN Tower for dinner on the weekend, Hot Fuzz, walks along the Don, tarot readings. She even went off adventuring while I worked (rumor has it she did obscene things to the Stanley Cup).

Bye, sister! Safe travels and come back anytime!

Meanwhile, look at this sweet face! My nephew modeling the latest in fashion eye wear.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Ethics of Seafood

(click image for source)

Excerpt from the Suzuki Foundation's mail-out:
But it was the next slide that really made your jaw drop. It too was taken from space. But instead of being two dots and two lines in a vast ocean, the photo showed dot after dot and line after line, filling the frame so much that it looked like fields of wheat being harvested. This was a trawling fleet off the coast of China, methodically scouring the ocean floor bare.
For sustainable seafood choices, go to Seachoice

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Facebook


I never thought it would happen to me.

I mean, I’ve heard about it, but I scoffed at the whole concept. Bloody college kids.

(Note: I also scoffed at Entourage and Coronation Street. We all know how that turned out.)

Now, it’s Facebook. I know, I know. Late to the party. And chugging it like it's the last six-pack (and friends and family have witnessed how well that turns out).

I’ve only been on for two days but I’ve probably checked it 20 times to see who knows people I know. Suddenly I’m interested in everyone from old classmates to ex-boyfriends.

The upside is that I’ve also hooked up with family and people I’ve worked with. It’s nice to keep in touch. And I think some of the Coronation Street Canuck'ers are on there...

No! Too much work to do today! Must… stay… away… from… facebook….

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hairspray


TREVOR: so i saw the trailer for the movie Hairspray online. the opening shot is precisely the spot where i puked the other week.
WORKING: That's hilarious.
TREVOR: yeah, i looked at it and thought, "yep, i stood right there and puked in a bag."

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Good News

It seems the world is going to hell. That's why I was so pleased to get my monthly horoscope from Rob Brezsny with this excerpt from his book (BTW, if you're offering me a shady money-making opportunity this month, I'm on to you):
* The world has become dramatically more peaceful since 1992. The
number of wars, coup d'etats, and acts of genocide has declined by 40
percent. Weapons sales between countries have dropped 33 percent
during the same time, and the number of refugees has diminished by 45
percent.

* The cause of these shocking developments, according to the Human
Security Report, which did the study, is the unprecedented upsurge of
international activism, spearheaded by the United Nations.

* The violent crime rate has decreased 50 percent since 1993. Crime is
now at its lowest level since it was first officially tracked.

* The average human life expectancy is 30 years more than it was a
century ago, and is still climbing. Many scientists believe there is no
absolute limit to the human life span.

* Levels of literacy and education and political freedom and wealth are
steadily growing all over the world.

* Death rates from cancer are declining.

* Child abduction by strangers has dropped precipitously.

* In 60 years, there hasn't been a lower birth rate among teenage girls
than there is now.

* The world's largest freshwater system, the Great Lakes, is dramatically
purifying itself of the pollutants that human beings dumped into it.

* If forced to decide between having a bigger penis and living in a world
where there was no war, 90 percent of all men would pick universal
peace.

* The number of America's black elected officials has sextupled since
1970.

* Rising rates of intermarriage are helping to dissipate ethnic and religious
strife worldwide.

* The rivers and bays of New York City are reborn, having been cleansed
of raw sewage and industrial pollution in recent years.

* You have at least a million relatives as close as tenth cousin, and no one
on Earth is any farther removed than your 50th cousin.

* The world's largest private bank, Citigroup, has agreed to stop financing
projects that damage sensitive ecosystems.

* The giant timber company, Congolaise Industrielle des Bois, voluntarily
agreed to stop cutting down trees in a virgin rain forest in the Congo.

* The miracle of your breathing transpires about 10 million times a year,
even though you never have to think about it.

* Every second the sun generously transforms four million tons of itself
into energy and bestows it on us free of charge.

* Diamonds rain from the sky on Uranus and Neptune.

* With every dawn, when first light penetrates the sea, many seahorse
colonies perform a dance to the sun.

* The World Health Organization reports that over 100 million acts of
sexual intercourse, involving more than 200 million partners, take place
on the earth every 24 hours.

* Most HMO executives now believe prayer and meditation can expedite
the healing process.

* Vast supplies of frozen natural gas lie beneath the oceans, harboring
more potential energy than all the world's oil reserves, and could be
mined with the right technology.

* Each of the 50 trillion cells in your body can be considered a sentient
being in its own right, and they all act together as a community,
performing an ongoing act of prodigious collaboration.
Source:
"PRONOIA IS THE ANTIDOTE FOR PARANOIA: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings"
Available at http://tinyurl.com/qaj62

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Buthayna Nasser

Also my Hero Of The Day. Via Schmutzie.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Spending

I recently had an hour to kill before a meeting in one of the suburbs. I’d never been there before and didn’t know where to go that wouldn’t take me too far out of my way. I drove around a bit and slowly it dawned on me; the only things I could think to do involved spending.

It’s one of the more powerful effects of being on this ‘spending plan’ (read: strict budget to get out of debt). I now realize how much of my previous spending was just about killing time. Shopper’s is a particularly lucrative trap for me. I could walk into that place and spend $50 without pause. $20 at S’bux because I don’t have to be somewhere for another half hour.

Maybe if I’d found a park or something it would have been different. Instead, I walked into Shopper’s, intending to stand in the magazine section for an hour. I did stand in the Magazine section; I read O and a story out of Stuart McLean’s new book.

Then an employee started adjusting things on the shelves and I felt guilty so I decided to wander around the store. Just to look, though. Y'know, keep up on the new products.

I now have $60 to fit somewhere into the budget. On top of the $100 we’re currently ‘working off” in the budget, $20 at a time. Granted, they were things we needed ← I just realized that was a trick I play on myself. Because they weren't really things we needed. Wow. Lesson learned.

The moral of the story is never go to the suburbs.

Just kidding.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

A Chink in the Armour

Documentary about Chinese stereotypes. Absolutely loved it. via Glacia

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Monday

My Monday is off to a bit of a misstep. I was supposed to get up early and meditate. Instead, I stayed in bed and had dreams centered around CBC news stories (thanks, alarm clock). (Afterthought: If I start having sex dreams about Andy Barrie, the alarm clock GOES).

So I leapt out of bed thinking, “this won’t do!”, threw on my clothes and marched upstairs where I interrupted Trevor’s meditation and proceeded to lecture him on how to do it properly.

I know.

I am the most annoying person in the world.

We had words. No, not words, more like body language that communicated serious annoyance.

Later, he poured me coffee and said, “good morning, Love,” and kissed me on the head. So we’re okay now.

I finally watched “An Inconvenient Truth” on the weekend. I've been avoiding it. With good reason; did anyone else seriously feel like jumping off the planet? Too bad about this v. annoying gravity thing. So, I spent the weekend fuming about 'administrations' and Baby Boomers but it's not like I've gotten off my ass, exactly.

Here's a good place to start. I gotta do something.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Are Cellphones Killing Bees?

The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this up.
Article.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Regarding The Doughnut Story

I have been feelin' this rant all day in regards to this story.

Dear CBC: When I'm in the mood for a doughnut, I'm in the mood for a freakin' Doughnut. Bring on the fatty, sugary goodness because I get a doughnut maybe once a month and the last thing I'm checking is the bloody nutritional content.

I leave that monotony for my day-to-day lentil eating.

Who actually believes doughnuts are part of a nutritionally balanced daily menu? Anyone? Right. So is the fact that doughnuts are bad for you really such a big controversy?

Go after more meaningful targets and leave me in doughnut-savouring peace.

Thank you.

Signed,
Working From Home Today

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BLT's

WORKING: You know I bought sliced turkey breast, right?

TREVOR: yeah

TREVOR: and yet i still made the chicken salad

TREVOR: why?

TREVOR: I don't know

WORKING: I was wondering

WORKING: There's tomato too

TREVOR: tomato?

TREVOR: frack

TREVOR: why do i even try

WORKING: Let's have BLT's for supper.

TREVOR: or better yet, a sandwich that has some bacon, some lettuce and even some tomato. all on the SAME sandwich. if only i could come up with a quicker, more zippy name for it...

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Intensity Targets

Excerpt from the David Suzuki Foundation mail-out:
(...)One type of plan, in theory to reduce global warming, involves something called “intensity” targets. A smiling politician will often stand up and proudly proclaim new intensity-based greenhouse gas targets as the foundation of that government’s plan to fight global warming.

Unfortunately, intensity-based targets will do no such thing. Greenhouse gas intensity refers to the amount of greenhouse gases produced per unit of economic activity (GDP, for example). Right away, you can likely see the problem with such a plan. If targets are tied to economic growth, then actual greenhouse gas emissions can continue to rise, so long as they decrease relative to economic expansion.

Here’s an example: Between 1990 and 2004, Canada’s industries reduced their greenhouse gas emissions intensity by six per cent. Fantastic! Based on this approach we appear to be well on our way to solving the problem. Well, not so fast. Because the economy grew so much during that period, Canadian industries’ actual emissions grew by 13 per cent.

(...)Yet, many politicians love intensity-based targets. That’s because industries love them. It enables them to have their proverbial cake and eat it too. They appear to be reducing global warming pollution, while actually expanding and polluting even more. U.S. president George W. Bush favours intensity targets. As did former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Should We Stay Or Should We Go Now

Trevor and I always thought one of the first things we would do when we're out of debt is use our savings (which are growing very quickly, thanks to Budget Guru) to buy our first house. That’s what a couple does, right?

But where? How? What house? Frankly, the whole idea makes me sweat.

I like my job because I'm invited into people's lives, specifically their finances, and I've learned that buying is more complicated than I thought. The suburb life appears to be an attractive alternative to, say, the half-million dollar homes in my city neighbourhood. People are moving away in droves. We’ve seriously considered it.

The unattractive part is that most people who move to the suburbs seem to end up needing two cars. They spend a lot of time driving place-to-place and commuting for work. They also seem to have more debt than they expected from home improvements and property taxes and huge hydro bills.

Then there’s the newly built suburb communities; houses all squished up together, yards like green postage stamps, scraggly teenager trees. Sure, these houses look like veritable mansions compared to our one-bedroom rental. Then the owners mention these weird problems they're suddenly having with the roof. The plumbing. Mold problems. Five years after being built brand-new.

And now I'm reading that renting is not necessarily throwing money away because you're not wasting any more than a homeowner paying property taxes or condo fees. It takes time to build up equity so buying makes more sense only under certain circumstances, as illustrated here.

I like not owning a car. Not being responsible for fixing the furnace. Jumping on transit and arriving in what feels like a different country. I dunno. I guess we’ll be renting for a while longer until we wrap our heads around this whole thing.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Welsh Towns Take On Peak Oil

I'm 1/4 Welsh (my Grandma and her parents are buried at Trealaw in the Rhondda Valley). And look what they're doing! I'm so proud.

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Significant

Being successful in life is not what really matters. Being significant in life is the core root of what matters.
-- Some guy on Oprah
I would ask how you know when you're significant, but I guess if you have to ask....

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

He Loves It

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Coffee Rant

Dear Councillor:
I am listening to your interview on CBC this morning and I want to send this comment to your attention.

I am a Pape & Danforth resident and have been a dog owner for three years. I am a conscientious dog owner who agrees that other members of my community don't need to stepping around my dog's mess. She is my responsibility and I am more than happy to stoop and scoop. Heck, I'll even clean up after another owner's animal if they happened to miss the deposit.

I will not, however, carry that baggie for the hour and a half long run I then take with my dog. I mean, ew.

You mentioned green bins and I applaud the idea. If you're not going to let us use the garbage facilities please, please, please give us an alternative.

Thank you,

Working From Home Today

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Through The Ages


I grew up the oldest child of five and Easter was Big. Of course to us, it was about the chocolate. We would wake up painfully early to hunt for our Easter baskets. My dad was good at hiding them. He once wound one into the underside springs of a couch so that even if you looked under the couch you couldn’t see it. He put one in the bowl of a ceiling lamp. Another in the bag of dog food.

Imagine you’ve looked under the couch, over the couch, behind the couch. You’ve ripped off the cushions. And everyone’s laughing so hard that their tears are streaming and you still can’t find the friggin’ basket.

Then, time to get ready for church. My parents raised us in the charismatic Catholic tradition, so going to the Cathedral on Easter Sunday was what it was all about. Flower dresses and itchy, saggy white tights and maybe even Easter hats with flowers in the brim. Church at the Cathedral, all reverent and serious. It's not just about the chocolate, children. Jesus died and rose again for you. Because he loves you. Remember that.

When I was older, maybe ten, I really started to get caught up in the whole Catholic thing. I fell in love with the symbolism and holiness and sacraments. Veils and robes and Latin and gold and beautiful, blissful suffering. I love Jesus, I really love him and he died and it's so sad. Idealized in that way that only a pre-teen can.

Fast-forward a number of years to a Grade 12 Christian Ethics class when the teacher explained the theology behind why women can’t be priests. Even he stumbled over the explanation, “Bride of the Church" stuff and how it’s a vital but necessarily subservient, role. It was wonderfully complicated and creative. My 17 year-old conclusion was that it was also a total crock.

That was the last day of my Catholicism. I mentally undid my baptism during the break. Luckily, I’d never been confirmed because my parents had divorced by then and the whole Catholic thing had gone right out the window. I stayed angry for a lot of years. The Church represented that old, stupid life, that life that had also turned out to be a total crock.

Fast-forward just a few more years and I’m 31, now, and not Christian at all. Jesus as a deity? The Holy Trinity? The Virgin Mary? Not so much. But I’m much more reasonable about it, now. I think religious community is important and I see the value. I even enjoy participating once in a while. Deep down, my truths ring both similarly and differently and I am enjoying the exploration.

That doesn't mean I’m treating it as just another day off. I need more. I want to keep it spiritual, tap into the vibe. So today, Easter Sunday, is now about Spring. A ceremonial time to start new things. I took it literally this year and, armed with our new Easter lawn aerator, I set out to plow me some Easter soil, to contemplate growth and change and new beginnings.

Unfortunately, my foot hit solid ice. I may have to wait for actual spring.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

G'night Already

“Tell me a bedtime story.”
“No.”
“Please?”
“No! I’m tired.”
“You’re just being lazy.”
“Lazy?”
“Yes. Mentally lazy.”
“That’s why it’s called going to sleep.”
“Come on.”
“There once was a boy named Trevor who was going to sleep.”
“No, no, no, I’ll give you a word. And you have to use the word in your story.”
“Kay, what’s the word.”
“Kumquat.”
“Kumquat?”
“Kumquat.”
“Okay. There once was a young boy named Trevor who crawled into bed with his wife—“
“He was young and he had a wife?”
“He married young but his wife aged him so he looked older than he actually was. So he crawled into bed with his wife, pulled the covers up to his chin, looked over at the clock and said, ‘kumquat’er to six, I’m gonna get up.”
“…”
“Goodnight.”
“I totally didn’t see that coming.”

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Oh, It's On

Trevor and I are doomed to have the first stand-off of our married life. It’s been building for a while, maybe since we moved in together three years ago. Maybe even before that.

Only it would have been more subtle back then. Back then, I would have giggled girlishly and said, “you sure have a lot of (cool) stuff!”

Now, it’s more like this:
“We should start a bag.”
“A bag?”
“Yeah, for Goodwill. Stuff we don’t want anymore. Stuff like….”
“You are not talking about Hula Girl.”
“Yeah I was, actually.”
“Look, let me keep some of the last elements of my personality.”
“How is Hula Girl an element of your personality, exactly? And where did you get her?”
“I bought her when I bought that other thing for whats-his-name.”
“You chose to buy that?”
“Just let me have some kitch!”
“She’s junk!”
“You need Hula Girl! In your Chevy! Driving to Vegas!”
“You don’t have a Chevy, we live in Toronto and you’re about to clean the kitty litter.”

Okay, I’m not without fault. I’m a messy person*. I’m chaos personified. I can tidy my desk and two minutes later it’ll look like a bomb exploded with really very little effort. But I’m also a purger. I cannot stand having stacks of stuff everywhere. Maybe it’s because things get so out of control around me. Too much stuff plus me are a deadly combination. I’d rather not see what could happen.

But if I’m a Messy Purger, Trevor is a Tidy Hoarder. He has stacks of magazine that he keeps because he might get around to reading them one day**. Shelves and shelves of books. Corners stacked, neatly of course, with technological stuff; cameras, film, DVDs, cables, instruction manuals, darkroom materials, software boxes.

I know there’s an emotional tie somewhere in there. Maybe this stuff represents everything he’s interested in, aspires to be and now I’m pulling it off shelves and stomping on it. Stomping on his dreams.

He doesn’t like me touching his stuff ever (with good reason, I suppose. I tend to break things). But that means there’s a good, say, 30% of the house I can’t touch. My stuff takes up one and a half bookshelves, 10% of the CD / DVD rack, a corner of the basement and a desk. That I share. And he never asks if he can use it. Because I guess it’s “ours”. Because he paid half. Okay, I guess I just argued myself into a corner.

He’s a very generous man. He’s exceedingly kind to me. But on this issue, it’s a showdown, dawgs. And we’re both Aries. I don’t know what that means, but there could be fire and fangs and roaring over mountains of gold junk (I'm also Year of the Dragon).

* It drives him craaaaazy.
** to his credit, he went through these and reduced considerably, even pausing to comment, "I wonder why I kept these?"

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Didn't Quite Make It To Work



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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Plague: Part Deux

If you were traveling past Eastern Ave. during rush hour today, perhaps you noticed a man with curly hair and a beard puking his brains out. That was my husband. Note that he made sure to puke in his lunch bag. He is a model citizen.

Poor love, thinks he’s going to work tomorrow.

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Article

How We Learned To Stop Having Fun -- The Guardian
We used to know how to get together and really let our hair down. Then, in the early 1600s, a mass epidemic of depression broke out - and we've been living with it ever since. Something went wrong, but what? Barbara Ehrenreich unpicks the causes of our unhappiness

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Back From The Brink

Wow, what in blazes was that?! Something took exception with me and I definitely took exception to it. For three days we battled. Half a cup of lemon water? Rejected! A sip of ginger ale? Denied! Messy and brutal. Sneak attacks in the dead of night.

Then, a cup of rice and a few sips of bush tea proved that I had not only gained in the battle, I’d won the war. Shouldn’t have rushed it with the full egg-on-toast menu this morning, but I’m happy to be upright.

I would like to thank Trevor for taking up the slack and showing care instead of revulsion, which he must have felt at certain points. The constant comfort of Charlie as she lay by my side. The rare peace and quiet offered by the two cats, who obviously realized what was good for them. The conference call facilitated by my work when things were still, um, complicated.

Here’s to Wednesday! Never thought I’d be so happy to see my desktop.

Meanwhile, in my neighbourhood:

Reports indicate at least one individual was taken into custody at one of the biker gang's clubhouses on Eastern Ave. near Logan Ave. in the city's east end.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Ode to Porcelain God

Food poisoning. Gotta run.

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CURRENT MOON