Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Issue With Makeup

As a lot of you know, I hate wearing makeup. Actually, it goes beyond hate. We have a deep-seated animosity for one another. Makeup loathes me because I don't appreciate the magic it can work on a plain face, and I despise makeup because it only perpetuates feelings of not being good enough in our own skin. Makeup to me generates unrealistic expectations and only exacerbates the idea that women need to be beautiful all the time, or that they aren't beautiful when they don't make themselves up.

People can argue with me all they like, but the only reason women wear makeup is to look better. They want their eyes bigger, brighter, bolder, cheeks more pronounced, contouring to accent their features, acne and dark circles gone, eyebrows more defined. They want less shine and more evenness. The simple act of going out and buying makeup says to the world, "I need to be more beautiful." There's this whole 'I'm not good enough' vibe behind it.

A couple months ago a bunch of women were posting pictures of themselves not wearing makeup all over the social medias. This was a huge deal! Because it's odd for a lot of women to leave the house without being done up. Girls at a very young age start wearing makeup, they get in the habit of wearing it every day, and eventually it gets to the point where they don't want to leave the house unless they've at LEAST got some mascara, blush, and lipstick on. As the years go by, teenagers turn into women, and their dependency on makeup only gets stronger.

Don't get me wrong. I know there are a ton of women who LOVE makeup and all it stands for. I know there will be a lot of people who don't understand my annoyance or thoughts on the subject. But part of me thinks it's because they have been buying into this multi-billion dollar industry for so long they can't fathom not being a part of it.

Personally, I love it when girls don't wear makeup, but the rest of society doesn't seem to be the same way. It's why magazines with makeup-less celebrities are so popular. People love seeing others at their worst. I just find it a shame that our natural state is our 'worst'. And this doesn't just go for the rich and famous. I know girls who, if they go to work or out to party without makeup, people will ask them if they are sick, not feeling well. It's because your friends and family get used to seeing you with makeup on. Take that away and you're sickly.

What's even more frustrating is when you see makeup tips for a more 'natural' look. Yeah, natural to me means without, right? Like the gorgeous content of your soul shines through your eyes.

Hey, I don't make up these rules. Also, I don't like them. Even more, I am agitated that I am being affected by it. Because I have to do my hair, dress nice and put on makeup for my job, when I get a day off and don't put on eyeliner, I actually think I look worse now. How is this possible when I existed in a makeup free world for the majority of my life? That's what's getting to me. I have to retrain my brain to remember that I like the way I look without makeup.

Guess I am just feeling a little disgruntled tonight.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Fabulousness Of Words

Tonight will be a quick post.

Just long enough for me to share this most wonderful link with you. 

These are words from other languages that are untranslatable into English. They are beautiful and precious.

Which one is your favourite?

Mine is:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lost The Plot

So, I started writing this short story for a collection called 'Mermaids' for Pankhearst. I was super stoked about it, but when I got about halfway through, I realized the plot wasn't going to work. It simply didn't generate the feeling I wanted it too. Instead of a gritty, youthful vibe, it gave off a more adventure Nancy Drew tone, which is nice, but didn't really work for me, or the anthology it was going into.

What did I do? I stopped writing, put it to the side, and have been obsessing over it ever since. I have literally wracked my brain over what to do with the story. I thought to myself, surely I can come up with another plot to work with these amazing characters and crazy world.

Apparently not. It's been sitting for weeks. And I've tried so hard to develop it into something I can share with the editor of the project, but it's just embarrassing. Which is why I am going to stop altogether and put it away. It's not working and it isn't worth me stressing over. Besides, I feel terrible leaving a beautiful and talented hanging in the balance, wondering when I am going to deliver.

Of course, as soon as I officially sign off the project inspiration will strike. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Learning To Love My Thighs

I don't know when my hatred of my thighs started. As far back as I remember, I took notice of how big they are, especially compared to other people's. I remember being a little girl, sitting cross legged during gym class and feeling ashamed at the pudginess of them, their sheer thickness. And that was back when they were smooth and cute. The years haven't treated them kind and I have only been worse on them.

Let me make this clear, I don't obsess over my thighs, I don't lose sleep over them, but they are there and I have yet to warm up to them. Pocked with cellulite dimples, chunky, jiggly, forever kissing each other, these tree trunks have never been my favourite part of my body. I keep them hidden. Swimsuit season makes me cringe. I worry if my shorts are too short, or my skirts for that matter, and have avoided buying adorable clothes for fear my thighs will be on display to the world. Sometimes I wonder if they are as horrid to look at for everyone else as they are to me.

These are my secrets. The ones I hate to admit. It isn't easy talking about the body part I am most self-conscious of. But this is also the truth, and as I sit here, alone with my thighs, looking down at them with uncertainty and guilt, I realize this is utterly unfair. To them. Because these jiggly hammies have done so much for me. They have always gotten me where I needed to go - from point A to point B and beyond.

We have explored many lands - like New York, Ireland, California, Montana and Georgia - and never once did they refuse to do what I wanted. They have allowed me to wander streets and mountain trails and taken me down alleyways I never should have never entered in the first place. Together we have swam in the ocean, walked dogs, jumped on trampolines, and rode many bicycles. We have danced until dawn, drove hundreds of miles, gone up countless stairs, and back down them too. Every time I've gotten up, they've done it without complaint - well, unless it was squat day.  

More importantly, they have kept my hands warm on far too many occasions for me to keep track of.  

My thighs work hard. Harder than most of my other body parts - probably trumped only by my heart. They might not be the prettiest thighs ever to exist in this world, but they are strong. They never get tired. And, more than anything else, they have never let me down. They are reliable, determined, and unstoppable. They are the reason I  go for a four hour hikes without getting tired. They allow me to get up, walk around, go for a run, dance like an idiot in my living room, pretend I can kick box, tread water for hours and sleep in my favourite position at night.

This hatred I have for them is uncalled for. It's mean. They don't deserve it. In fact, they deserve better than what I've been giving them. I should be proud of them. They might be scarred and chubby and dimply, but they are my scarred, chubby, dimply thighs, and they are always functioning on a level the rest of my body should be ashamed of. I shouldn't be embarrassed of my thighs - I should be embracing them. 

So, from this day forth, I am going to show my thighs off, give them the attention they deserve. And they need a pat on the back. A little recognition. Some respect. And, even more so, love. It's time to stop hating and start appreciating. Because these are the only thighs I have and life is a hell of a lot easier with them. 

And here is a rare photo of my thighs. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Inception Selfie

This morning, I was trying to take a picture of my hair. Not because I take daily photographs of my hair for my Lovely Locks Log, but because I have to ensure my hair looks half decent for work. The problem with this is, I have no idea how to craft a cool coiffure, so I exist in a world of trial and hairror. See what I did there? Instead of error I wrote ... never mind.

Back to the point, because I don't have a second mirror, I sometimes take photos of my hairstyles to ensure they don't look like a rat's nest with bobby-pins sticking out of it. This morning's hair actually looked pretty good too, but before I snapped a decent picture of the back, I turned the phone on. BAM. The camera was on the wrong way and there was a huge, up close and too personal shot of my face. This never makes me feel attractive. It's almost as if the front camera makes me way uglier than the back camera does.

Anyhow, when I went to turn the phone around, the reflection caught the mirror and I noticed myself in the camera and in that camera too. Then I realized, if I angled the camera just right I could see myself three times over. And a light bulb went off over my head and trumpets played as I thought to myself:


So, being the total nerd I am, I took the picture in order to share it with all of you. Isn't it magnificent when phones, cameras and mirrors come together in such a highly entertaining way?

Or maybe I'm the only amused by this.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Gratitude Booklet

I live in a beautiful village where nice things happen all the time. This makes me supremely lucky, and it's something I am grateful for every single day of my life. Not all people live in such a magnificent part of the world, where they can be in the mountains and at the beach in the same day. Where they can drink water from their tap and know their neighbours' names.

Some people might want examples of nice things that happen in my village. Well, every Wednesday we put out our garbage and recycling and someone always puts our cans inside our property. It's a small thing, lifting our empty cans over the fence, but it tucks them out of the way so they don't go rolling down the street if it's too windy, and it means we can access our parking without being inconvenienced by getting out of the truck to move them. We don't know who does this, but every week, without fail, they do. Another example, during winter someone shovelled the walkway to our gate more than a handful of times. Again, we don't know who did this, but it's one of those gestures that makes this place a great spot to live.

But the sweetness of this town, extends beyond our neighbours. It't the rest of the population too. Chalked messages of love show up around town and are washed away the next time it rains. The community Facebook posts notices about found keys and cellphones, or about injured animals seen on the trails in the forest along with warnings to keep dogs leashed in those areas.

Today, I found yet another amazing thing to add to the 'why I love where I live' list. The little book of gratitude. There's a trail in the forest call the Missing Link trail and it actually goes up to this peak where a wooden bench has been built for people to sit. Here you can look out over the town and, I swear, the air is freshest up there.

When I reached the top this morning, I noticed a little plastic baggie stuffed into the back board of the bench. Upon inspection, I noticed it was a booklet and pen.

In fact, it was the gratitude booklet. A book where people had taken the time to pause a moment and consider what they were grateful for in life.

Out of curiosity, I read through what other people were grateful for. A lot of them were simply ecstatic over being a live, on the trails, running, riding, being healthy and touching the sky. It's a small thing this book, but as I read through it, it changed my morning. It took away the morning annoyances and really made me focus on breathing. I was there, on top of the world, free and alive.

All the posts made me happy, but this one took the cake: 

Ride fast, just a bit of advice from 'N'. How truly fantastic. I hope his dad knows how important he is.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

This Is My Fight

After the UCSB shootings, the Twitter blew up with two hashtags - #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen. I am not here to talk about the man who did these shootings, in my opinion he is so clearly a sick, unhappy individual, completely deluded and not worth mentioning even his name here. What I do want to talk about is the importance of #YesAllWomen and the irony of #NotAllMen.

We live, and have always lived, in a time where the oppression against women is treated like a myth. As if women have fabricated statistics and staged scenarios to support their claims of inequality. Even worse, when women gather to talk about the times they have felt afraid, judged, held back and discriminated there is always backlash, always someone disagreeing with what is being said, demeaning it and misconstruing it as man-bashing. Women who are brave enough to speak out about their experiences are often mistreated for doing so. Eventually, it all comes down to name calling and the word feminist is bandied about with a sneer as if it's something dirty. 

How do I know? Because when you type in 'feminists are' into any search engine on the worldwide web, you get results like this: 

Yet, if you ask people 'do you think women should be treated equal?' most will answer yes. Ask those same people, if they are feminists, they will cringe, recoil, pull back and shake their heads. There is such a hatred towards feminism and I can only surmise it's because a lot of ignorant people don't have a clue what it truly is. Summed up simply, you are a feminist if you support women and their right to be treated equal. That being said, if you are going to call yourself a feminist and speak out about the inequality women suffer, be prepared for ridicule and resentment. Be ready for a fight and to be called a man hater, sexist and have terms like Feminazi thrown at you. 

The point of the 'yes all women' hashtag was not to hate on men, but to shed light on the horrible truths women live with everyday. Instead of listening to what was being said, which basically came down to women sharing their fears and desire for change, there was a surge of defensiveness (from men and women alike). The retaliatory 'not all men' response is simply proof of our society's urge to keep women as the second sex. When there should only be empathy, sympathy, and love shown towards women, why was the spotlight being tipped back to men?

It is something done unintentionally, I think, but it doesn't change the fact that whenever something 'pro-female' is said or done, someone is there asking how men feel about it. Often, the male opinions are then pushed to the forefront and women once again fall to the background. So, maybe it's time to show the fear women live with through the eyes of men. Last night I was talking to my Sidekick about being a modern women and, how despite the fact that I can vote and work and go to school, there is still such an overwhelming abundance of discrimination, like worrying about getting in trouble if I'm not pretty enough for work. How women themselves perpetuate these unrealistic expectations, especially on physical appearances, and how out of place I often feel in my everyday life. On top of that, I have this defeating fear that something bad is going to happen to me. Even though I am capable, intelligent, and independent, I worry about getting myself into situations I can't get myself out of.

The Sidekick, a kind, loving, generous man, kind of balked at what I said, as if my fear was irrational. So then, I rephrased it. "How would you feel if I was walking home at two in the morning by myself?"

Worried was the resounding emotion. And I wouldn't be walking home late at night by myself because he'd come and pick me up. Interesting, right? Where is his fear coming from? Is he worried about women attacking me? Bears? Alien abductions? I don't think so. Further more, I don't drink and I certainly don't dress provocatively, but this still didn't make me less of a target in his mind, or in my own. That being said, if I did drink, or wear a short skirt and low cut blouse, I should still be able to walk home safely, and to not be judged on my appearance if something did happen. No women is ever 'asking for it'. 

So, yeah, men fear for us. They fear their own gender when it comes to their mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and female friends. Does this not serve as validation to what women have been saying for years? And isn't it infuriating that it's almost as if the world needs to hear it from men before they believe it to be true? Well, that's oppression my friends, and it is rooted so deep and so common we don't even realize it's inside us and all around.

I live my life as I please and refuse to let anyone dictate what I can wear and when I can go out. Still, when I am walking late at night and I see a group of men, there is a voice in the back of my head reminding me of all the things I've been taught:

It isn't safe to go out at night. Always have a friend with you. Carry your keys between your fingers so you can do optimal damage. Always check your backseat before getting in the car. Watch your drink. Keep your head up, back straight. Look like you know where you're going. Don't walk down any alleys. Avoid driving in bad neighbourhoods. Lock your door as soon as you get in. If a big van is parked next to you, get in on the opposite side of it. Take the elevator instead of the stairs. Scream 'fire' not 'help'. Date a fireman, he will keep you safe!

These are actually pieces of advice I have received, from being a kid, to a teenager, into my twenties. The general vibe is that I need to be careful. It makes me wonder if this is really living? To be this afraid? To have these precautions the norm?  For the only way for me to feel safe is to have a big, burly man in bed next to me, someone who can protect me.

We understand that 'not all men' are abusive, misogynistic, oppressive jerks. It doesn't even have to be said. It's common sense. We know there are so many amazing men out there, men who want to help, who want women to be equal, but there are far more women who are afraid, alone, and need help. Every single woman I know has been on the receiving end of unwanted attention. Every single woman I know has felt that fist around her heart when she finds herself confronted by an unsafe situation. Every single woman knows what it is like to be second. Like me, every women I know has experienced sexism. 

This is why 'yes all women' is important. There is a struggle here. A fight. The battle of a fear that runs so deep it's considered normal. This is my fight because I lock my doors when I get in my car and I think twice about going for a run at night. This is my fight because I want my sisters and friends to be safe. This is my fight because I am horrified that spurning a man's advances could result is women dying.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I Promise

Those words sound so simple, don't they? I promise - they float off our tongues like little butterflies, with an ease unflattering to their content. We say them so freely, often not taking into consideration the sting they have when we don't follow through. Each and every one of us have been on the receiving end of a promise gone awry. Whether it was a best friend, parent, boyfriend or sibling, we all know how deep a broken promise can cut.

"Yes," you say with such gusto it's clear you've been hurt by someone who didn't keep their word. Before you get all flush faced and start drudging up all the times you were promised something you did not receive, think about whether you've ever been on the other side.

We all have, haven't we? We've said we'd do something we never ended up doing. I promise to make the bed. I promise to send your gift in the mail. I promise to clean the bathroom. I promise to pick that up from the post office. I promise I will never say that again. I promise to do better, try harder, be nicer. I promise. I promise. I promise.

Oh, and there are plenty of excuses, aren't there? I forgot. I didn't bring it with me. Time wasn't my friend. Was I suppose to do that today? I didn't mean to say that again.  I had to work late. What can I say? I suck. And these terrible excuses so often don't come with the two words needed to truly rectify the situation. I'm sorry. Those words seem to be the two hardest in the entire English language, followed swiftly by 'I was wrong'.

And it truly feels awful to have a promise broken, even if they are tiny things that seem so inconsequential. But for me, it feels worse to do the breaking. I never mean to break my promises, but sometimes it happens. Life gets busy. I get tired. And promises I once made can get forgotten. There is no reasonable excuse for this, but I do feel terrible when it happens. Maybe that's worth something. A little forgiveness, perhaps? When there is genuine remorse involved and a desire to not let it happen again, then moving past a broken promise is possible. It can be done.

What happens when that remorse and determination to do better isn't there? What happens when there is no apology and no chance to forgive? I suppose that's when it is time to move along. I try very hard not to make promises I have no intention of keeping, even promises I know will be hard for me to keep - like anything with a time frame, or if saving a piece of cake is involved. That being said, I think of the cliched promises people make and cringe.

I promise to love you forever. I promise to be with you until I die. I promise things will never change.

Talk about promises that are going to be hard to keep. Romantic, maybe. But also stupid. Here's the thing, I don't believe promises are intentionally broken, but end up being so due to a lack of consideration for the other person and an inability to time manage appropriately. They are only two little words, I promise, but they are important ones. And perhaps saying them without thought should be avoided. Maybe this calls for a promise not to promise so flippantly. Or maybe we should strike the words from our vocabularies and simply exist instead and give what we can when we can without anyone holding us hostage to promises we made on the fly without forethought.

Even more, don't ask people to promise unrealistic things. Or anything at all for that matter. I think I lost the point to this somewhere near the second paragraph.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Weirdness On The Wind

A couple years ago, I thumbed through my diaries and picked out some of my favourite scribbles, which I typed out on the intersnacks. These rather short writings have been stored away in a super secret blog that no one has ever read. Except me, of course, which is a mighty relief, to be honest, considering how painful it is to even glance at these posts. No, seriously. Even my most favourite entries are so tedious they make me want to weep tears over how I massacred the English language. 

Anyhow, tonight I found myself going through these handful of writings. Why? That's not too clear. Maybe I wanted to revisit the tortured years of my youth, or maybe I wanted to do some serious mental cringing. If the grotesque grammar and preposterous punctuation weren't enough to cause me to recoil, then the subject matter would have done the trick. 

Every last entry was an ode to forlorn love, being wronged, not liking the girl I used to be, and how heartbreaking the world is. Needless to say, I haven't always been a bright ray of sunshine. Most of my youth was spent feeling lost, uncertain and angry - how I imagine a lot of people feel in their younger years. Still, not everyone wrote down their inner turmoil to read through and relive later on in life. Lucky them. 

If you think I'm going to be sharing any of these embarrassing excerpt with you, think again. No one of them is good enough to show to a blind and deaf mule, let alone a unprepared reader. Having clarified this, there was one line that caught my attention.  

I can hear the weirdness on the wind and my heart echoes the sound. 

Something about this line made me smile. Truth be told, it's very hard for me to look at anything I've written and think it holds any sort of merit. To find this line, especially in writings well over a decade old, is a miracle in and of itself. It simply struck me as a beautiful observation. 

Yes, I am weird, but so is the world. It's in the wind. And I hear it. If weirdness is all around us, inside all of us, then we are never alone in our strange ways. Of course, I can't even remember writing the damn thing, but I must have, because it's here in my super secret online diary, riddled with typos even grade schoolers wouldn't make.  

And yet, in all the messy words, choppy paragraphs and complete lack of white space, I found a golden sentence. 

There is something very comforting in thinking the common thread binding us together is our weirdness. How perfectly abnormal we are. It's a beautiful idea, isn't it? To think we are all colouring outside the lines together.   

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Anyone heard about this? Is it worth being a part of?

I signed up in hopes of getting more foot traffic on my little blog and following other bloggers who are diligent about blogging. There are a lot of people on my follow list here that don't even post, not at all. Seems silly, right? But I discussed this back on my 800th blog post where I told the true story of how fleeting some people's blogging careers are.

Mine isn't fleeting. It's lush and, I imagine, will continue until my inevitable demise. But I noticed with the limitations of Facebook that my traffic has cut right in half here. I certainly hope this isn't because of my rebranding tactics. Eek!

Could you imagine? All that work and it's actually detrimental to the health of my blog.

Here I Am

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mind Your Effing Manners

Us Canadians are notorious for our good manners. We say 'please' even when cussing you out. This happens to be one of those stereotypes that actually rings true and something I never realized until I travelled beyond the frozen tundra of my home and native land. Did you catch my cheekiness with the 'frozen tundra' comment? I mean, I live on the West Coast and it snows three times a year here, mostly only in January. I think it might surprise most of the world how mild the weather is here. That being said, I feel sorry for those suckers on the East Coast, poor sods.

I didn't come to talk about snowflakes and frosty noses, though. We are discussing human decency, or what others call manners.

Whenever I travel, be it overseas or simply beyond the border, I am pegged as a Canadian straight away. It isn't because I say out and about funny, either. It's because I often say 'please' and 'thank you', sometimes in excess, and this draws attention. A lot of it.

But why?

To be honest, I have no freakin' clue! It boggles my mind that people are surprised by a bit off gratefulness. I can only surmise the rest of the world is ruder than Canada, maybe due to lack of space? All this extra room and lush fresh mountain air has messed with our heads. Or maybe it's the way we are raised. Perhaps people in other countries are raised to believe waitresses, bus drivers, postal workers and garbage men are paid to do a job and they don't need thanks in return, maybe their wage is supped to be thank you enough. It's not, though. Not really. Even when it is someone's job to serve and help, they still deserve appreciation.

When someone does something for me, I thank them, regardless of who it is or what they are doing. If it's a friend, coworker, a waitress, or the grocery clerk, I ask with kindness and follow with respect. Those are the emotions behind good manners. Everyone is deserving of a little gratitude and it takes no extra time for me to tack a 'thank you' onto an interaction.

My mother taught me to mind my manners. She drilled it into me since I first learned to speak to always say 'please' and 'thank you', to chew with my mouth closed, not interrupt others when speaking, and keep my elbows off the table. I was taught to be kind. To not take anything for granted - not the sunshine, rain, the girl bringing me a water at a restaurant, or the man who waves me to go first at a four way stop. It worries me that as the generations pass, good manners are falling to wayside. In this day and age, we could use a little more graciousness, for without it our civilizations will grow less civil and our days more unpleasant.

Yes, I say thank you and please. I apologize for my actions, the actions of others, and anything I deem worthy of an 'I'm sorry'. Canadians are known for being 'nice' but I think that's better than having a reputation of being mean or rude.

So, I will continue to mind my manners. Not because I am Canadian and it's in my blood, but because I understand how hard it is to exist on this planet at times. I know how important it is to feel appreciated. And I think a little kindness goes a long way.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Simple Words

This evening I'm thinking about words.

How there are so many words. Hundreds. Thousands. Yet, some people have such trouble saying what they are thinking and feeling, what they mean. I understand my vocabulary is extensive, that I use words in my each and every day others may not use, or even understand, for that matter. I am an epic communicator. It is with ease I will tell you what exactly is on my mind, but whether or not it makes sense is another matter completely. In truth, most of the thoughts running rampant through my head are so fleeting not even I can grab onto them long enough to understand them.

Still, all these words, this lush language and comprehensive communication, is so easily rendered pointless by simplicity. Sometimes I think about what I am saying, all these paragraphs I am creating in hopes of getting my point across, only to realize I might not need all this filler. Do I really need to articulate myself so thoroughly?

Can someone say this better? Quicker? Easier? With fewer words? Sure, I can pretty this sentence up, add delectable descriptors worthy of making lexicon lovers quiver in delight, but maybe that isn't a talent at all. Maybe a truly proficient wordsmith embraces 'less is more' and understands how valuable each word is, both in speech and writing. There is one thing to be a word lover, another to be a word whore.

Tonight I believe words are more powerful when used sparingly, like adjectives and exclamation points. Things don't have to be complex. In fact, they should be simple, so everyone can understand, so we all can enjoy. Sure, there is something to be said about the beautiful way in which words can be woven together (and the attractiveness of alliteration), but there is a sweetness in stark sentences. In their stripped down state, they can become so severe, leaving a sting you will always remember.

I am reminded of Dharma Bums, this little beatnik book, recommended to me by a long lost friend. And there is one sentence that stuck with. Needled my heart. Taunted my brain. And I cannot let it go.

One day I will find the right words and they will be simple. - Jack Kerouac.    

This is what is on my mind tonight. At times, I feel as though all these words I have written are all wrong and, when the right ones come, they will be modest. They will not be dressed in their finest clothes. They will be naked. Bare. And bold. And they will stick with someone else. They will needle  hearts and taunt brains. They will not be easily let go.

And then there is Robert Frost, who is clearly the master at the game of wordplay.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Celebration Brownies! - My 800th Post

This is my 800th post! Can you believe it? Who knew I had so much to say? Certainly, not me. It can't all be worth reading, can it?

Looking back on this endeavour which started in 2006, I really wish I had some noteworthy material to showcase for this momentous occasion. The truth is, most bloggers don't make it this far. Do you know how many unattended and forgotten blogs are hanging out in cyberspace? A rough estimate is a gazillion.

The blogging world is a graveyard of good intentions from people who wanted to make a difference and thought they needed to be heard. Back in the late nineties, and into the early two thousands, everyone wanted a blog, and most of them went ahead and created something they thought witty, wry and wonderful. Only after posting a handful of times, they realized they didn't actually want a blog at all. It takes dedication to create and write and post, and it's frustrating when you craft these ingenious articles that get zero traction. Over time, between a week and month, all these wannabe bloggers gave up. They threw the towel in. Now their blog is just a passing conversational note at parties.

"Yeah, I started a blog once but it was stupid."

They didn't understand how hard it is to get readers, to feel connected, to be noticed, and that it's highly unlikely they will make an impact on the worldwide web. When they did come to terms with the fact there is a million other bloggerss out there saying it better, posting it quicker and being funnier, they stopped blogging. They let their punny titled blogs fall to the wayside, much like the diaries of their youth, and decided to just write their thoughts about Gladiator in a note on MySpace.

The irony of the whole situation is: the key to being a 'successful' blogger is to actually post something. Not one or two somethings. Hundreds of soemthings. Very few people create a blog and have a million followers the next day. You need to write, engage and be relevant.

At least this is what I assume. I wouldn't really know. I post regularly (every day as of late), but I don't seem to engage anyone other than my mother, which is actually fine by me. I never intended to take the information super highway by storm. In fact, this is just my diary you're reading. Crazy, right?

Well, that's my problem. I write about everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING. Any thought or half thought in my tiny brain gets written down here. If this was a specific blog, targeting a certain type of folk, whether that be readers, writers, bakers, vegans, movie lovers, music nerds, fashionistas, knitters, or people who are fascinated by the used underwear vending machines in Japan, then I'd probably have gone viral a long time ago. Sadly, I write about all of these things, except that last one. I really don't want to delve into the wacky and wild world of vending machines in Japan.

Anyhow, my 800th post! This calls for brownies. Of the vegan variety. These are super easy to make and turned out adorable. I made them bite size. All you need is one of those cute little mini muffin pans, which you can pick up at any store that sells baking gear. I got mine for free from my mom!

What can I say, I am winning at life.

If you want to use regular muffin tins, that would be cool. Or if you want to do old fashioned brownies because you are feeling nostalgic, then feel free to slap the batter into a square pan. That being said, I am only giving you baking time for the One-Bite Brownies I made.

One-Bite Vegan Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 (Does anyone know how to do the little degree symbol on a standard computer? Like this ° - so it would be 350° - I just copied and pasted that from somewhere else on the internet. But I would like to know if there is a short key on my laptop I can use.)


1/2 Cup - Margarine (non-dairy, of course. I used the vegan Becel this time) 
3/4 Cup - White Sugar
1 Tsp - Vanilla Extract 
1 Tsp - Baking Powder 
2 - Egg Substitutes (I actually used egg replacer this time, but flax eggs are what I used every other time I made these brownies. 2 Tbsp flax seed powder to 6 Tbsp of warm water - let it sit)
1/4 Tsp - Sea Salt (I used the chunkier stuff and it gave a really nice sweet salty taste to the brownies)
1/2 Cup - Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
3/4 Cup - All Purpose Flour (I imagine you can make these gluten free, but mine were gluten filled)
1/4 Cup - Chocolate chips (you don't have to add these. I only did because the Sidekick is a chocolate fiend. You should actually put walnuts in. Or peanuts. Or something equally awesome, like peanut butter chips!)

1. Mix melted margarine, sugar, vanilla, and egg replacer (or flax eggs) together. 

2. Add baking powder, sea salt, cocoa powder. Mix until smooth. 

3. Add flour. Then fold in the chocolate chips, or whatever else you are optionally adding in. 

4. Spray mini muffin/tart pan with nonstick spray. Spoon the batter into the little pan. Make sure you only fill them about 3/4 of the way. They do expand. Not much, but it will make it easier to get them out. 

5. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Don't over bake them. They will get dry. You don't want that. You want them, forgive the use of this word, moist. When in doubt take them out a minute early. If the top looks a bit crusty, they are done. 

6. Let them sit for a couple minutes to cool before removing them. (Don't worry, I never do either. Just spoon those suckers out and put them in the container you plan to store them.)

7. You will need to fill the pan twice as this will make 24 one-bite brownies. 

8. Indulge. 

Well, there we have it. My 800th post and a lovely brownie recipe, straight from my kitchen to yours. Oh, for the health conscious people out there. One of these brownies is 86 calories. Not too bad. Besides, we all need a little sweetness in our lives. 

And now for this super amazing photo of my itty, bitty brownies. Aren't they adorable? 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Changed My Life

While cleaning my humble abode, I've been thinking about books. There are so many out there. Too many for me to ever read them all. Heck, I really wouldn't want to read them all. Because even though there are good books, there are bad ones too. 

This isn't about the terrible novels. This is about the books that changed my life. 

A little dramatic, right? How can books change someone's life? Well, I'm going to tell you, because that's generally what I do on this here bloggy thing. I talk about stuff. All sorts of stuff. 

Here they are, in a very specific and thought out order, the five books that changed my life. 

1. The beginning is the beginning. When I was young, I had trouble reading, which I now find humorous, mostly because I love words so much. I know I was definitely put into a special ed. because of my inability to make words from letters on pages, but I don't actually remember going more than once. Interesting how the brain works, right? Anyhow, there were a couple books my parents used to sit down and read in order to help me get better. One of them was the Berenstain Bears book - The Bike Lesson. 

Why is this book so important? 

Because I memorized it front to back and tricked my parents into thinking I could read. This might not seem like such a big deal, but it turned out to be a spectacular thing for my developing brain. As I recited 'first come the lessons, then the fun' to my dad, I learned how powerful the brain was. Sure, I couldn't read it, but I remembered it all, and I came to the realization that I would one day be able to read. Sure, it was going to take a bit, but one day it would click and I catch up in school.

This book taught me I could do amazing things.  

2. Up next is a book that instilled in me the wonder of imagination. As far back as I can remember, I have always loved creating worlds, characters, plots - but it started somewhere. I don't actually know who first read me The Secret World of Og, or if it was something I read on my own in school, but I fell in love with the world over run with mushrooms beyond the trapdoor where the green creatures who live there know only one word. Og. 

Also, this might have been the book that stoked my love for alliteration. After all, the characters in the book are Penny, Pamela, Peter, Patsy and Paul. Enough said. 

This book taught me that if you have an imagination you will always have an escape. 

3. Okay, so I had to do some math in order to get the why of this one accurate and it seems a bit off. Prancer (the Christmas movie) came out in 1989 and I distinctly remember leaving my sister's copy of The Witching Hour by Anne Rice in the bathroom of the Guildford theatre. Why do I remember this? Because I honestly thought she was going to be enraged over it. Turns out, she never knew. Actually, I don't even know if she is aware of this fact now. I never told her and she never asked where her book was. But if this is correct, then I actually started reading horror at a very young age, at least age seven. The Witching Hour isn't my number three book, though. 

It's Carrie. Without Stephen King I doubt I'd have such a love for horror, books and movies. King also taught me some very important lessons when it comes to less is more. A lot of the terror in his writing comes from allowing the reader to conjure up the scariness on their own. This is why a lot of his novels don't translate well to the big screen, or at least that's what I think. As for Misery, it made me want to become a writer. That was a little joke. 

This book taught me never to pour pig blood on anyone. 

4. The Outiders by S.E Hinton. Don't laugh. It was eighth grade and the whole class was assigned the book. I took it home and devoured it. Probably didn't help that I was obsessed with the fifties and sixties and kind of thought I belonged in those eras. There is a sadness in this book that is only outshone by hope. It's really about love and friendships. And how there are some mistakes you'll mkae that will change you.  

Did you know S.E was actually a girl and that she actually wrote the book while she was still in high school? Crazy and inspirational.  

This book taught me the importance of captivating characters with flaws. 

5. This last one might actually be a bit surprising as it also comes from my high school days. The book is Of Mice and Men and the author is John Steinbeck. Now, let me make it clear, this isn't my favourite Steinbeck novel. So, why is it here? 

Because it introduced me to Steinbeck, who has, over the years, become one of the most cherished authors of my life. His writing is both inspirational and humbling. All his novels have similar themes about human nature and have a tenancy to revolve around greed, love, trust, and immorality. Still, he can craft a very beautiful sentence. 

This book taught me not all classics are boring. 

What about you? What are some books that changed you life? 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Squeaking In A Rant

It's nearing midnight. I have to type fast in order to get this post done before the day is up and someone points out how I dropped the ball. Kidding. No one is paying that close of attention. Still, I set personal goals and like to stick to them.

The reason for the last post is my desire to rearrange furniture late in the evening. At eight, I thought I'd do a little bit of cleaning. Three and a half hours later, I'm exhausted and wondering if this was really an appropriate day to spend my Saturday evening. Yeah, it is. Because I'm an adult. And it's my responsability to clean and crap.

Fine, I am not being very eloquent with my words. If you're expecting easy, breezy and beautiful, you best pick up a magazine and check out the latest cover girl. On a side note, Cover Girl fired Ellen? Why is this news? Even more, why are we so fixated on what celebrities look like without their makeup? Who really cares? I mean, anyone with a handful of brain cells knows celebrities don't even look like celebrities. 

It's called photoshop. You too can look manufactured and flawless. But if you think about it, isn't being flawless kind of a big flaw? 

Personally, I think either way she's beautiful, but I would really love to see some more realistic women out there on television and on covers of magazines. Can you imagine a world with cellulite, stretch marks and *gasp* muffin top? I can. It's called my life. And most of your lives too. 

Anyhow, the rant part? It comes from being angry with Facebook and Google. Pretty much one of the same. And I only have ten minutes to spit this out. So, here we go. 

I have been wanting to drop the 'That Girl' persona for awhile now. I've outgrown it and I want to make something just a little bit more me. You can probably tell what I've gone with if you're reading this because my entire blog is completely different. Well, my twitter, tumblr, YouTube, Instagram and everything else has changed too. Trust me, it was far too much work to do. 

So, what's the problem? 

Well, the problem is that there are two things I can't change because I don't have the power to do so. The URL on my YouTube account and my Facebook fan page's name. I hate having my freedoms limited in these ways. There are no reasonable reasons why this would be something I couldn't do, except maybe Facebook and Google (the jerks!) want to hold some sort of control over me. Are we in a power struggle that I didn't know about?

Like I know I don't make a billion dollars a year, or more, but I would like to just do what I want to do with my stuff. Okay, fine, it technically isn't MY stuff, it belongs to Google and Facebook, but I like to pretend my fan page and YouTube account are my own. I effing hate these sorts of restrictions. 

After a little more thought, I have come to the conclusion that social media isn't for me. As someone who hates restrictions, I can't handle all these limitations, which all seem pointless to little old me, who just wants everything to be uniform. 

Big sigh. And two minutes until midnight! Win. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Healthy Cookies - Cuffin or Mookie?

Sounds like an oxymoron, right?

I thought so too. The other day my mom posted a recipe for so-called healthy cookies. No sugar. No flour. No butter. Surely these so called cookies would be disgusting, right?

Well, no. At least the recipe I made up tonight wasn't. In fact, it turned out pretty good. First, I will give you the recipe, then I will tell you a bit about the cookie itself.


3 Ripe Bananas
1 Cup of unsweetened Applesauce
2 Cups Quick Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup lightly packed raisins
2 Tsps Vanilla
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350.

Soak raisins to make them soft and not hard. Mash bananas and combine with applesauce. Add vanilla and spices. Mix in rolled oats and raisins. Let sit for five minutes. Spoon onto cookie sheets with parchment or cooking spray. Bake until golden brown. Mine took about 22 minutes. Lift onto cooling rack and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Okay, now for the break down. This recipe made fifteen cookies and work out to be 86 calories per cookie. Not too shabby, huh? For a no sugar, no flour cookie, they are pretty amazing. I mean, I was expecting them to be really bland, but they are quite flavourful. They look like cookies. They smell like cookies when baking. But do they taste like cookies?

Not exactly, but it's so close I can't really put it in any other category. They aren't as sweet as other cookies, you see, and the texture is a bit different. In fact, it's almost a bit pudding-ish in the middle. Not in a gross way, though, in a delightful pankcakey way. I would recommend upping the amount of oats by half a cup increments until you reach the consistency you like best for cookies.

Honestly, this is almost a cross being a cookie and a muffin. A cuffin, perchance? Or a mookie?

Which do you prefer? Cuffin or Mookie?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Love Songs

I love them. 

What's your favourite love song? 

This one is mine currently. Just because. Well, you know. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Sadder

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I can't say if that's for certain. Sidekick is on the mainland doing guest spotting things. I'm here, at home, with the boys. Writing blogs, eating salads, and getting annoyed when I get kicked off Netflix because Jay decides he wants to watch some crime show. I mean, he's super nice for letting me filch the privileged, but come on! I was just in the middle of an awesome Supernatural episode.

Anyhow, I miss the Sidekick.

It's not a dependency things, either. I love being on my own and cooking whatever I want for dinner, watching crap television, knitting, writing, being a better internet friend to all my interbuddies. Still, I miss his presence. Don't get me wrong, the house isn't quite without him. It's about the same level of annoyingly noisy. He's not a very loud man but the other boys make the most racket. What with all their barking, sighing, growling, farting and snoring - they are a very loud bunch.

Sidekick isn't. He's quiet. And he moves through the house without trumpets or useless chatter.Still, for a slender man, he has a big presence. He takes up a lot of space, while taking up very little space. And it's different when he's not here. I suppose if I was in my own home and not OUR home, then I wouldn't be so displaced. But this is our environment and it only feels right when we are both in it. At least to me.

Guess I am just saying I miss him. Am I allowed to do that.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Nancy Never Stopped Screaming

So, I started watching Supernatural. I'm not sure if I should be embarrassed about this, or not. It's one of those shows that I thought teenagers loved because there happens to be some eye-candy of the male persuasion. Really, not many girls either, which is odd for television. Usually they stick in the obligatory hot, dumb blonde for good measure.

As it turns out, there's some serious spooky crap going on in this show. There's been a few episodes where I seriously was happy I wasn't watching it at night. The problem is, it's evening now and I'm home alone. Now ever bump and creak I'm going to think a demon is coming. Despite the fact this show seems to be built on cliches, it really makes my knitting and editing time go by way faster.

In the beginning, I was like, "Oh, look at these delightful young men." And then, "Hey there Dean from Gilmore Girls, isn't it funny how your brother's name is Dean like your old character? I still can't believe you cheated on Lindsey with Rory. Uncool, man." Also, "Ah-ha! That's Jensen Ackles." Because I seriously didn't know for a very long time who he was and apparently girls love him.

Needless to say, I've been enjoying it. The best episode thus far was when Sam was stuck in the never-ending Tuesday and Dean kept dying. Got a serious laugh from that one. The problem is, I just started season four and it's not living up to my *cough* high standards. Maybe it's Sam's hair. Or all this God stuff. It's just not as fun. All this doom and damnation really puts a damper on my evening.

And I think Sam's super awesome powers are super stupid. His hair is unacceptable as well.

This show may have just jumped the shark. Of course, I will keep watching to find out for sure.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Keep Me Warm

Last night, I started knitting a blanket.

It's all knit out of scrap yarn. I'm doing my best, but not too happy with how it is turning out. I am contemplating frogging it back (which means pulling it out and starting all over again). This is a pretty big project for me. I want to knit a blanket and a sweater this year. Since the year is almost half over, I need to get my ass in gear. 

Anyhow, what have you been up to? 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dropped The Ball

I totally meant to write a post earlier. Unfortunately, I didn't and it is now 11 at night. Oops.

So, because I dropped the ball, I have decided to share with you pictures from my walk/hike/run/jog today.

What can I say? I live in a beautiful place.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Over The Pond

As some of you may know, many of my friends are spread out across the world. Some of them are over the pond. These creatures are both foreign and fabulous, a constant source of entertainment, and a link to a realm I've never been before. They will, hopefully, provide shelter and food if I ever decided to travel yonder, which I fully intend to do. I myself have ventured to Ireland, where I met a handful of delightful chaps and one lass. These were people I got to know off a little known writer website of which the name must not be spoken. 

Still, I walked away with some pretty awesome contacts, stellar advice, and a few friendships, if I dare say. In total, I've met twelve people off this writing website. Twelve! I was not raped or murdered on any of these visits or encounters, which just goes to show,  you can actually meet wonderful people on the internet. Maybe this place isn't as scary as everyone has made it out to be? 

Back in 2012, one of the blokes I was chatting with actually came to see me over here. He's a unique brand of awesome, this one. During his short stay in Vancouver, I showed him all the hot spots and even took him to the hole in the wall Mexican restaurant near Gateway Station. What can I say, he was special enough to allow him to feast on a chimichanga the size of his forearm.  

Anyhow, this evening, I got some news from this gent. He's sick. Not flu sick, either. He's legitimately ill. This bothers me for a couple reasons, the obvious being that he isn't feeling well and that sucks. Also, the distance is putting me on edge. So, I have this friendship with this guy who lives on the other side of the world and sheer kilometres, and the vast blue ocean, are preventing me from showing up at his house with chicken soup and a book on Ancient Greek Mythology. Hey, now, don't judge. We all have our likes and dislikes. Some of us get by with a little help from our Gods. Get it? In truth, he'd probably prefer Roman Mythology. And, if I really think about it, he's probably grateful I'm not showing up on his doorstop and demanding to make him feel better. I envision it as a Mary Poppins experience, but it'd probably turn into a Nurse Ratched endeavour. 

And I'm also irritated by the fact I'm worrying without results. This news upsets me because I care for this fine, young fellow. He's the three B's. Beauty, brains and ... wait, I can't think of a 'b' word for funny. So, I guess he's two B's and an F. Regardless, we are friends and I want everything to be okay. He won't see my worrying. It won't help any. Maybe it's even pointless. Still, it's there. The niggling nurturing ball of wanting to do something but not being able to. I just hate being ineffectual. 

Lastly, I am irked he might not know I care. That's the strange thing about internet friendships. Sometimes you don't know how important they are. I have people who I have met over the internet, who I have only met once, or some never, who I legitimately would do anything for. If they needed money, a place to stay, someone to dig a grave, I would give it to them, but do they know this? I doubt it. 

It doesn't matter that I am internet friends with this bloke. Or that he's on the other side of the world. He's my friend and I care. I think with all the banter and posts and teasing and white noise that message sometimes gets lost. 

Well, to clarify. I care and love. And worry. So, get better, you twakward, English bloke. 


Friday, May 9, 2014

Facebook Friends

Facebook friends are a perplexing thing to me - both having them and being one. Because of the hodge-podge of thoughts in the swamp I call my head, I have taken a couple moments to put some semblance of order to what I want to say. I am starting at the end. A totally reasonable place to start, right? Yes, yes, as a writer I should understand the importance of a strong beginning, but if Memento can start at the end, why can't I?

Today I purged around two hundred 'friends' from my Facebook. I feel good about the decision. Kind of liberating, actually. A little bit godly, I must admit, deciding who stays and who goes. The truth is, it all began with a purpose. I intended to weed out those I never talk to and the ones I didn't know who the hell they even were. But as the unfriending got underway, I realized something interesting, and a wee bit odd. Facebook wasn't showing me all my friends. Some of you might think I was doing it wrong, but I wasn't. I totally understand the Facebook and all its functions. I clicked on 'all' my friends and it only showed me around half, if that. Right this very second, I have 350 'friends' on Facebook and I just counted how many it is showing me. Can you guess the number?


So, where the hell are the other 202? Good question. I have no flipping idea.

Personally, I think if it says 'all' friends, it should actually be ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS. Imagine if I said you could have all of the vanilla cake with fluffy lemon frosting only to give you a sliver of it? You'd be pissed off, and perfectly justified. I mean, I'd rage over not getting the whole cake. And I really can't come up with a good reason why Facebook doesn't let you see all your friends. I can only surmise it's the powers that be not wanting you to see all the people who aren't talking to you - all this ignoring and non-communication on their super awesome 'social networking' site! The horror!

I put the words social networking into single quotation marks because Facebook isn't a social networking site anymore, much like the Twitter. Whoa? You might be saying. What kind of baloney am I talking about? This can't possibly be true. After all, you saw the movie with Jessie Eisenberg in 2010 called The Social Network and it was clearly all about that dude who started the greatest ever of all social networking sites.

Yeah, except that was way back in the day when Facebook gifts were free, people still used the poking function, and you didn't have to use your number to sign up. Now you practically have to pay for anything awesome, it doesn't keep you connected and it pretty much wants your first born, if it doesn't already have him/her.

There are two very different reasons why the Twitter and the Facebook aren't social networking sites anymore. The Twitter is now a place where  the posts people make are mostly pre-programmed updates, the majority of which are selling something. Very few people actually log into Twitter anymore. For the most part, they link all their social media from one hub, like HootSuite, and don't even interact with any of their followers. Did you catch that? If there is no interacting, then there is no socializing, which means there is no networking. I get people following me all the time, only to unfollow me a day later when I don't return the favour. This isn't to say I wouldn't follow them, I'm just not given the opportunity, and also, they aren't talking to me! These people don't comment on my tweets or posts. Not even a hello, for crying out loud. I tried and tried with Twitter, but it is hopeless. Now I just auto post my blogs from my fan page on FB, because if you can't beat them ... you get the point.

Now, Facebook is another monster altogether, but the end result is the same - no interaction. Back in December, Facebook decided they were changing the way pages worked. Basically, any post you put out into the world would only reach about 10% of your followers. This was all done for a money grab. They implemented this whole 'boost your post' option, which basically means you can pay Facebook a bundle of money to reach the people who voluntarily followed you in the first place. Seems weird, right? Well, it is, and shady too.

Massive companies like Coca-Cola and McDonalds won't suffer because of this. They have millions of followers, so even reaching 10% is pretty damn good, and they also have a surplus of money to boost their posts. You know those really annoying advertisements in your feed that you hide because you hate seeing them? Those are people who have paid Facebook so much money that they are boosting their posts to people who don't even like the freakin' company. Ridiculous, right?

In the end, it's the little guys who suffer. In the beginning, I used to get comments and likes on my fan page posts, it used to reach hundreds of my followers, now I am lucky if twenty people see it, no one shares them anymore, and life is a little bit lonely over there. And it's fine. I mean, Facebook is a free site and I am using it as such. I'm just a little old blogger doing this in my spare time. Where it really gets tragic is small businesses. Companies and people who relied on Facebook to reach out to their fans/viewers/readers for a minimal profit. Those people are getting shot in the face by Facebook's greed, and that frustrates me.

What's even more annoying is the changes implemented to fan pages back in December are also being enforced on your personal pages. Don't act surprised. You've already noticed it. People you used to talk to all the time aren't showing up in your feed. No one is liking or commenting on your statuses. The readers on your blog have dropped drastically. The only time anyone connects with you is when it's your birthday, because Facebook reminds everyone you still exist.

In the past couple months, I've seen a plethora of updates from friends asking if people can see their posts, or complaining about the lack of support lately on Facebook. Do you really think all those lovely people who used to take the precious second to like your statuses don't like you anymore? No, they do. They just don't see you in their feed! Like they aren't appearing in yours! So, how do we get over these staggering limitations?

For a while now, I've figured the more you interact with people, the more you will see from them in your feed. This is true, for sure. But when you have over a hundred friends, it's near impossible to interact with them all daily. Heck, ten is tough for me. The really important ones get starred, like my sister and brother, Scraps, Rebs, Noelle, my mom and dad) so I always know what they are up to. But I can't star all the ones I love, then my notifications would be out of control. There has to be an easier, less cluttered way, right?

Ages ago, I started changing my news feed to 'most recent' stories, instead of 'top stories'. (Yeah, it's totally aggravating that Facebook takes it upon itself to switch my feed back to 'top stories' all the time, too. Don't even get me started on 'top stories' either. How the hell do they choose what is a top story? Most of the time it's something with three likes and one comment. Let me tell you, that algorithm is off.) Anyhow, I find 'most recent' stories has helped a bit with staying connected to all the beautiful gals and guys I used to romp around with on the internet.

Back to the point, I shouldn't have to star people or interact with all my favourites daily, or keep putting my news feed to 'most recent' stories. Facebook should show me the posts my friends make. All my friends. Because if I didn't want to see them, then I would remove them from my feed, or Facebook altogether. And if you just so happen to be one of those people who don't use Facebook all that much, you're out of luck. No one will see you. You won't see many other people. It's like a needy girlfriend. Facebook needs constant reassurance and love in order for it to perform adequately. Notice how I didn't say 'well' or 'good'. Because with the recent changes, I doubt Facebook will ever be good again. Harsh, right? Well, that's how I feel.

None of this has much to do with why I removed 200 of my friends, though. Not really. A small fraction of it stems from not being able to interact with a lot of them and how there isn't much social networking going on over there anymore. But most of it all comes down to friendship. The people I culled today weren't my friends. Heck, most of them weren't even acquaintances. They have never commented or liked anything I have ever posted. So, why should they be there? I'm not seeing their updates. They aren't seeing mine.

So, I brought out my axe and hacked and slashed. Now I am comfortable with the people on my list. People I've had interactions with. I recognize their faces (or avatars, because some of them never even show their faces). We've chatted, laughed, exchanged witticisms, or maybe even road tripped somewhere together. Left behind are people I like, or would like to know better. By ousting a few shadows, I am hoping to reconnect with a few people who have gotten overlooked in the madness.

Now my spring cleaning is done. Or at least I think it is, I have 202 friends I can't see.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Sometimes it all feels pointless. And I don't mean that in a depressing kind of way. Actually, it's this pointless feeling that is actually liberating. Freeing. Like there are not strings on you. Gone are the blinders.

Have you ever had one of those moments? Where you step back from life? Away from the now. And you say to yourself - nothing really matters. None of THIS matters. We are a mistake. A glitch. An error. Some may say a miracle. A scientific anomaly is more accurate, at least I think so. One in a million? We are not alone, though we feel lonely. We are not happy, even when we should be.

And here we are, trying to fill our nothingness up. Our lives with houses, cars, treats and toys. Our bodies with food. Our cars with gas. So many things. We are doing, wanting, needing, striving for all these things. But we don't really even know why.

Mostly because we are told too.

So, yeah, it's eyeopening and refreshing to step back and say, it means nothing. Not in a nihilistic way, just in a 'I can't control this' way. And so, it is all rendered pointless. These moments of clarity are so nice. Even if they do come just before bedtime on a Thursday.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wrong Way

Once upon a time, less than a week ago, I had this line bunny on my wrist. You can see it below, peeking out at the bottom of the picture. Feel free to marvel over the sheer size of that apple while you're at it.

This bunny I used to love so much has now been covered up. Gone. Finished. I said my sorrowful goodbyes. You might be wondering, why I got it covered with the bigger more badass bunny and the answer is simple.

It was the wrong way.

Many, many moons ago, when I first got this tattoo, no one told me how sleeves were built. My artist didn't sit me down and explain what upside-down meant. Or would mean later on in life. Okay, I am not a complete idiot, I know what upside-down is, but I didn't understand how it could be applicable to a silly line drawing on my wrist. Then the Sidekick came along. It took all of two minutes for me to understand why my wrist tattoos were upside-down and needed to be covered. And I have spent nearly two years brooding over this. For my obsessive compulsive brain, these 180 degrees have been most annoying, not only because I now understand why it should be facing the other direction, but because no one ever told me! Not the first artist who did the bunny. Or the second one who did my cat.


All it took from my Sidekick was one simple question, when are you going to stop? Let's say you went and paid for a tattoo artist to put the word 'love' on your wrist and you insist is has to be facing you. Maybe you even have a good reason, like it's 'just for you' and you 'don't care if other people won't be able to read it', or because you 'want to see/read it'. Well, are you going to stop with that one tattoo? What if you want a feather under the first one? Will that be upside-down too? And the next? Are you going to have a bunch of upside-down tattoos all the way up your arm? Won't that look ridiculous? Eventually you are going to want to turn it around, but when? Halfway up your forearm? At your elbow? The armpit? Sure, you might be sitting there thinking 'but I only want the one tattoo' and sleeves aren't for you.

Well, take it from me. Don't risk it. Because one day, you might want a super cool sleeve and have a stupid tree facing the wrong direction on your forearm. Save you tattoo artist the pain of trying to explain to you why it's wrong. Go ahead and sit there and tell me it isn't 'wrong', that this is all just a matter of preference, but before you do, answer me this one simple question. When you look at someone who has a sleeve, what way are their tattoos facing? The right way. So, that makes any other way, the WRONG way.

With my Sidekick's simple knowledge, I saw the light. Unfortunately, it was way too late. So, I needed a cover-up. Let's just hope you won't need one too. Maybe I can save you the annoyance of having to look at an upside-down tattoo and kicking yourself because you're kind of a dummy. Trust me, you'll still be able to see/read it, even if it is pointing away from you. Besides, you already know what it says and looks like, right?

I mean, if you got it on your back you'd never see it anyhow.