Sunday, December 23, 2012

What you share with the world is what it keeps of you

Well I know my death will not come
'Til I breathe all the air out my lungs
'Til my final tune is sung
That all is fleeting
Yeah, but all is good
And my love is my whole being
And I've shared what I could
But if you give a little love, you can get a little love of your own
Don't break his heart

Well my heart is bigger than the earth
And though life is what gave it love first
Life is not all that it's worth
'Cause life is fleeting
Yeah, but I love you
And my love surrounds you like an ether
In everything that you do
But if you give a little love, you can get a little love of your own
Don't break his heart
Yeah if you give a little love, you can get a little love of your own
Don't break his heart

Well if you are (what you love)
And you do (what you love)
I will always be the sun and moon to you
And if you share (with your heart)
Yeah, you give (with your heart)
What you share with the world is what it keeps of you

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Holidays

Well, the End of the World was a massive fail.  Now I am forced to greet everyone Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Astronomy Rocks


Rock Star Scientists


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What would you tell your 20-something self?

Dear Sugar,

I read your column religiously. I’m 22. From what I can tell by your writing, you’re in your early 40s. My question is short and sweet: what would you tell your 20-something self if you could talk to her now?

Seeking Wisdom

Dear Seeking Wisdom,

Stop worrying about whether you’re fat. You’re not fat. Or rather, you’re sometimes a little bit fat, but who gives a shit? There is nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact that her stomach is round. Feed yourself. Literally. The sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this, sweet pea.

In the middle of the night in the middle of your twenties when your best woman friend crawls naked into your bed, straddles you, and says, You should run away from me before I devour you, believe her.

You are not a terrible person for wanting to break up with someone you love. You don’t need a reason to leave. Wanting to leave is enough. Leaving doesn’t mean you’re incapable of real love or that you’ll never love anyone else again. It doesn’t mean you’re morally bankrupt or psychologically demented or a nymphomaniac. It means you wish to change the terms of one particular relationship. That’s all. Be brave enough to break your own heart.

When that really sweet but fucked up gay couple invites you over to their cool apartment to do ecstasy with them, say no.

There are some things you can’t understand yet. Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding. It’s good you’ve worked hard to resolve childhood issues while in your twenties, but understand that what you resolve will need to be resolved again. And again. You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of those things will have to do with forgiveness.

One evening you will be rolling around on the wooden floor of your apartment with a man who will tell you he doesn’t have a condom. You will smile in this spunky way that you think is hot and tell him to fuck you anyway. This will be a mistake for which you alone will pay.

Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith. Be true blue. You are a writer because you write. Keep writing and quit your bitching. Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.

You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.

Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.

One hot afternoon during the era in which you’ve gotten yourself ridiculously tangled up with heroin you will be riding the bus and thinking what a worthless piece of crap you are when a little girl will get on the bus holding the strings of two purple balloons. She’ll offer you one of the balloons, but you won’t take it because you believe you no longer have a right to such tiny beautiful things. You’re wrong. You do.

Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naïve pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not rich. Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to you to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.

When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that this kiss doesn’t “mean anything” because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.

The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.

One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don’t look at her skeptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. That coat will be the last gift she gave you. You will regret the small thing you didn’t say for the rest of your life.

Say thank you.




15 Things In Life That Should Just Last Longer

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stuck at home

Dear Cary,
I’m a college graduate in my late 20s.  I graduated a few years ago but I did not find a “good” job after college.  I’m still in the process of making a career change.  I went back to school a few years ago for a certification and I’m currently working as an intern.  I work another part-time job just so I can pay bills.  It may take me a few years to reach solid ground.  For now, I absolutely hate how broke I am and I hate living at home.
Last night, I got in a huge fight with my mother over something others may perceive as trivial.  Basically, she threw away some possessions of mine that I had no intention of throwing away.  It enraged me more than it would have enraged a logical, levelheaded person.  Today, I’ve been thinking about my life and I realize why I went crazy.  I hate that at my age, I still have to fight with my mom about respecting my things.  I hate that I am furious, but I feel I have no right to be since I still live at home.  
I forget sometimes how much I want to move out and right now when I have a strong urge to do so, I know that it is impossible.  On top of that, I hate my job but I can’t quit because I have bills to pay and that is all my paycheck covers.  My car is also having issues, which will end up costing me thousands.  I keep wondering why I’m so upset and I keep hearing the same thought:  ”I live at a house I can’t move out of (my parents’), and I hate my job but can’t quit.”  I feel so utterly powerless it overwhelms me.
I know that realistically I can’t afford to move out for a few more years.  I just don’t know how to hold it together until that time.  I don’t know how to be angry at my parents without forgetting to be grateful for letting me live at home (I am completely aware that they are doing me a huge favor by letting stay at their house rent-free).  I don’t know how to make the most of what I have now, since I will be stuck in this position for a very long time.  I look at my life now and I see no progression.  I thought going back to school would help things, but it still hasn’t.  Am I in the wrong because I have the ability to better my life?  Is being patient my only solution?  
Waiting for Someday  
Dear Waiting for Someday,
Let me say something to you first that may be useful for the rest of your life: You have the right to your own feelings. You have the right to feel. I say this because you wrote the following sentence: “I hate that I am furious, but I feel I have no right to be since I still live at home.”
You think you are doing the sensible thing. But the truly sensible thing may actually be the thing that looks crazy. The sensible thing may be to be true to yourself. You may need to leave home even if you think you can’t afford it.
Right now, you are suffocating. You think for some reason that you have to do the sensible thing but the “sensible thing” is killing you. It’s killing you!
Would you remain living in your parents’ house day after day, working for little pay, waiting for someday, if you actually knew that you were dying? Because, let’s face it, you are dying. Not today, maybe, but sooner than you are used to thinking about it, and faster as time goes by. You don’t have all the time in the world. You just have a little bit of time.
Something went wrong economically but you didn’t do anything wrong except fail to exercise the keen skepticism that can only be learned by studying history or living through it.
Lacking that — and how many high schools and universities teach deep, abiding skepticism about capital markets? — where was the basis for skepticism in your material world? How were you to find the basis for that skepticism if you had not been provided the analytical tools?
You relied on statements made by people in positions of trust  that if you did certain things certain things would follow. They said if you went to college you would get a good job.
You did everything you thought you were supposed to do and now you are living at home working two jobs and hating your life. So it makes sense that you would be angry. But at whom should your anger be directed? You seem to think that you yourself have failed as an individual when actually you are picking your way through the debris of a fantastic collapse.
What you lack, I think, is not character, or skills, but a sufficiently withering assessment of the cruelty of the system.
Something went wrong. You got screwed. A bunch of wealthy people got away with fraud and no one was prosecuted.
If you wonder why you are living at home working an unpaid job you might try listening to the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Try to understand how your fate is related to the fate of many others in this prodigiously wealthy country. And then realize that your life is yours, and you have the right to feel what you feel, and it is possible to live a different kind of life. Do not trust that if you do the conservative thing and keep being responsible you will be rewarded. The old social contract has been broken. You need to get on with your life in whatever way you can.
Someday means never. You’ve got to live your life now.

Big moon out tonight

Saturday, November 10, 2012

notice to all employees

in these bodies

compassion hurts


Britain responds to the US Elections

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:
In light of your immediate failure to financially manage yourselves and also in recent years your tendency to elect incompetent Presidents of the USA and therefore not able to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated sometime next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up ‘vocabulary’).

2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u' and the elimination of ‘-ize.’

3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.

5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

8.You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. New Zealand beer is also acceptable, as New Zealand is pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

God Save the Queen.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Spring Forward, Fall Back

TTC bus poem.  Toronto is awesome.  :)

Spring Forward, Fall Back
In November, the hours are slower;
winding down weather, the fresh lather
of a first snow. The winter,
with its months of hospital afternoons

waits huddled just over the border.
And ice will make all the distances
that much further. Speak now, kiss now
before the river freezes altogether.
                                                    -  Troy Jollimore

Monday, September 03, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012



Proust Questionnaire

Emma Thompson

Having evidenced unrivaled range and revived Jane Austen for a modern audience, the two-time Oscar winner—and star of Brideshead Revisited, out this month—ponders her thighs, oenophilia, and weightier matters.

photograph by Chris Floyd July 2008

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 
Hot weather in Scotland.
What is your current state of mind?
What is your greatest fear?
Losing a child. Knives.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
What is your greatest extravagance?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
What is it that you most dislike?
On what occasion do you lie?
To get out of going to things.
What do you dislike most about your appearance?
Dimply thighs.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Ability to laugh in the face of disaster.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“I have to say … ”; “Is it time for a drink?”
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family.
When and where were you happiest?
Just after giving birth without painkillers.
Which talent would you most like to have?
To play the piano exceptionally well.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Giving birth without painkillers.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Then who would I be?
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what do you think it would be?
A human being. Again.
What is your most treasured possession?
My Finnish sauna.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Clinical depression. Exile.
What is your most marked characteristic? 
Enthusiasm. Lots of teeth.
What do you most value in your friends?
Who are your favorite writers?
Carver, George Eliot, Austen, Twain, Spike Milligan.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Sherlock Holmes.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
[British socialist and early feminist] Annie Besant.
Who are your heroes in real life?
[Ugandan aids activist] Noerine Kaleeba and [British human-rights activist] Helen Bamber. My father, Eric Thompson. My husband, Greg Wise.
What are your favorite names?
Gaia, Tindy, Ernie, and Walter.
What is your greatest regret?
Not having been able to have more children.
How would you like to die?
By the river, in Scotland, clutching a good bottle of wine.

Winning Entry: Undying Love in ≤150 Characters Contest

It is dark
and when we kiss
my fingers find you
like candlelight

read the rest of the entries here

With Great Drunkenness Comes Great Responsibility

So I was going through a couple of drink-recipe websites and, on a whim, started looking to see if there were any superhero-themed cocktails. And yes, there are. However, the results are disappointing.
For example, the most common recipe for a Batman is grenadine and orange juice. Which, while cute (a nonalcholic cocktail for Batman, very “ginger ale pretending to be champagne”) fails the obvious test of getting drunk. Also, let’s be honest, Batman needs TWO drinks.
The Bruce Wayne: Should be a playboyish, manly cocktail, a la those drinks they keep making up for Bond films.
The Batman: Should be dark in colour and hit you like a freight train.
There are numerous drinks for “Superman,” most of which are shots and a few of which play off the red/blue colour scheme. This seems wrong. A Superman should be a down-homey old-school sort of mixed drink, like a screwdriver or Irish Coffee - something your granddad would drink when he wanted something mixed rather than just a beer or a tumbler of whiskey. But with a single exotic ingredient.
After that there are a paucity of drink options. There is nothing worth a damn called a “Spider-Man,” for example. No good “Iron Man.” (”Pick five bottles from the bar at random by pointing with your eyes closed. Pour half an ounce from each into a glass. Drink. Order six more.”) No “Hulk.” The only “Wolverine” sounds disgusting (two shots of Bacardi Limon dumped into a pint of lager).
There’s one “Green Lantern,” playing off the color with melon liquor, but it seems insufficient somehow. The only “Captain America” seems wrong (Southern Comfort, amaretto, cranberry juice and rum?). A “Wonder Woman” is… well, what you’d expect (a bunch of fruit juices and fruit liquors, seemingly selected at random). A “Joker” has a distinct lack of purple or green.
The only recipe for a Constantine has Zima in it, for fuck’s sake.
Occasionally you find one obviously not comic-inspired that works. A “Fire and Ice,” for example, is quite apropos (half and half of cinnamon schnapps and peppermint liqueur). The “Blue Devil” (Blue Caracao, obviously, with gin and lemon) works too. A “Black Widow” both looks and tastes appropriate (float Blavod black vodka on top of cranberry juice).
Note that not every superhero name works as a cocktail name. A “Donna Troy” would just be a sad, sad joke. In fact pretty much every character who’s ever been a Titan would be a sad, sad joke. If the superhero has “man,” “woman,” “boy,” or “girl” in their name, they’d better be goddamned iconic or nobody will ever order that drink because they will sound like an idiot. (So no Frog-man, Beast Boy or Saturn Girl, for starters.) Cocktail names should be memorable.
But come on, there should be drinks for all of the following, as they would sound right being said in a bar:
Phantom Stranger (far and away number one on the “should be a drink” list)
Doctor Strange
Black Bolt
Haunted Tank
Ghost Rider
Shining Knight
Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing
UPDATE: John, in comments, writes
the Dr. Strange should be just a dry martini (gin and not vodka, I think) with an unusual garnish (a la a Gibson).
This sounds almost exactly right to me, although there is an argument that the martini be a vodka one instead given that Strange, while urbane, is still American, and that’s always said “vodka” to me rather than “gin” (which has strong Brit connotations). Of course, taste should be the final definition, and if it is a vodka martini, the vodka should be really good vodka - I’d go with Chopin, but at a minimum Ketel One or Grey Goose, no Absolut or Stoli in a Dr. Strange, thank you very much.
As for the garnish? I’m going to say a thick slice of apple, which only gets used in appletinis (ugh). But I think it can complement a martini very nicely when there’s no sweet liqueur involved - a touch of sweetness and tartness to counterbalance the toughness and elegance of the martini is very Stephen Strange.
Also, calling vodka and Red Bull a “Deadpool” is brilliant. Keep it coming, folks.
UPDATE TWO: From email:
A Phantom Stranger needs to be a drink where one type of alcohol “ghosts” into the second - you know, seems to hang suspended within the first. But I don’t know how to do that.
Well, there’s two ways that I can think of to do that. The first way is to do the opposite of layering - for a layered shot or drink, you pour the heaviest component first, then the next heaviest, and so on. This prevents mixing. However, if you pour the lighter alcohol first and then pour in the heavier booze, it will plunge into the first. Ideally you want a second liquor only slightly heavier than your first, and a colored liquor being poured into a clear one.
The second way is to make a cloudy drink by taking something you don’t traditionally shake (such as a cream liqueur like Bailey’s or Amarula), making your recipe and shaking it. The cream liqueur will dissipate. However, this can just look gross rather than cool if you mix it wrong.
Both tricks require a reasonably experienced bartender, though. I can do the first, but not the second, so I am leaning towards the first method. Off to look at layering charts!
(suggested in email, and I’m pretty sure it works)
Phantom Stranger: Chilled cocktail glass. Pour 1 oz white Curacao into glass. Pour 1/2 oz white creme de cacao into the white Curacao, making sure not to smooth out the pour by bouncing it off the side of the glass or a demitasse spoon. Garnish with either an orange slice or a sliver of shaved chocolate. Serve immediately.

uh-huh. the glass is definitely that.