Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pucks & Gs

Well, this is the post-Christmas blog and I suppose it's tradition to talk about how great the holidays were and how filled with the Christmas spirit I was and how much joy and love the season brought. We all know that is not how I feel about things, so I shall leave you with the fact that because of Christmas I've eaten nothing but cookies and chocolate covered marshmallow Santas for a week straight and as a result my pants are feeling a little snug through the ass and I'm having eater's remorse, I spent most of the time doing dishes and cleaning, and I'm just ready for things to be over already. Can't I cancel New Years...I think that should be allowed...I mean, I know I can't cancel Christmas (the children, think of the children), but I think I should be able to cancel New's just always been one of those holidays that reminds me that I'm going to die fat and alone and be found 2 weeks later, half eaten by wild dogs.

Although I hate New Years, I do like the idea of starting new and fresh with a clean slate for a new year. That has always appealed to me, and I'm very happy to see 2009 come to an end. I know that early 2010 is going to be filled with a lot of hard work as I finish up my pre-reqs and apply for my program, but 2010 HAS to be better than 2009...karmically it just HAS to be!!

I am happy to report that my ukulele has been shipped and I should be receiving it soon! I can't seem to be able to track it from the number they gave me, but I'm not going to let that trouble will get here eventually....right?

So I've been thinking about what new fact I wanted to research and realized that there were two little ones I wanted to do instead of one big one, so here it is, The Things You May Not Have Known, Post-Christmas 2009 style.

1. Hans and I rented Public Enemy, the movie about John Dillinger (starring Johnny Depp, who, looks EXACTLY the same as he did when he did 21 is that possible?!). I liked it, except for the casting of Billy Crudup, but really that has more to do with the fact that I've never really forgiven him for leaving Mary Louise Parker 7 months pregnant to run off with Claire Danes...I mean, what kind of man does that, but I digress. Anyway, in the movie they referred to the FBI agents hunting John Dillinger as "G-Men" and I had no idea what the "G" in "G-Men" stood for, so I looked it stands for "Government" but referred specifically to federal agents, not state or local government agents. Its first popular American use was in a book about Al Capone written in 1930, but was used earlier in Ireland starting in 1916 to describe the detectives of the Dublin Metropolitan Police force's "G Division."

2. Next. The Winter Classic. Now, if you're not a hockey follower, which, I must admit, I am not, you might not know what The Winter Classic is. Allow me to enlighten you. The Winter Classic is a NHL exhibition game that is played entirely outside! The first game was held on New Year's Day 2008 and was so popular (almost 72,000 people in attendance & 3.7 million viewers) they decided to do it every year. It's played in a different location each year...last year they played at Wrigley Field in Chicago and this year they're playing at Fenway Park in Boston (it's the Bruins versus the Flyers). And because the wind can cause an unfair advantage, the NHL breaks the third period into two 10 minute increments instead of one 20 minute period, and the teams switch directions! I know absolutely nothing about hockey (I suppose at one point I'll probably do a facts entry on that!), but I think I'll be watching the Winter Classic this year....think of all my potential hockey boyfriends!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Frets & Winds

So my "How to play the ukulele like a Pacific native, only minus the beautiful copper skin and flowing island hair" book arrived on Thursday. It was a little bittersweet as you all know the ukulele itself is a good week+ from being delivered, but regardless I cracked open the book and took a gander. Gulp. The ukulele only has 4 strings and yet each string makes like a gazillion different notes! And reading the notes--Every Good Boy Does Fine and F-A-C-E? How is that helpful when both have which F is it...the Fine or the F of FACE. And what the hell is an open note?!! They talked about playing the C string as an "open note" but didn't feel inclined to explain what an open note was. I felt a sense of panic...the whole endeavor was supposed to be a fun exercise in learning to play an instrument. Maybe this is what I get from buying a how-to manual from a man named Lil' Rev.

I finished all of my holiday shopping yesterday. It really is a marvel how many people were out at the stores. Still didn't make me like the holiday, but I am excited to see the kid open his presents.

So as I was reading My Life in France, Julia was discussing the Mistrals that hit Marseilles every winter. Now, I don't know about you, but I had NO IDEA what a Mistral was. This then set off a domino-effect of me thinking "well, what else don't I know about?" Well, I have decided that every week I'm going to focus on learning a little bit about something I have no knowledge about and lucky for you, kind readers, you get to learn with me...this week, obviously, is the mistral.

A mistral is a strong, cold, dry wind from the north which accelerates when it's funneled through the Rhone and Durance River valleys of France. It is mainly felt along the Mediterranean Coast of Southern France and can even cause sudden storms in the Mediterranean itself. It's name means 'masterly' in the provencal language. It is usually accompanied with clear and sunny weather, although extremely cold (enough to freeze salt spray onto windows and buildings). The winds can reach speeds of 90 kilometers an hour (that's about 56 miles per hour for us non-metric system users) and are believed to be a cause of good health, since the mistral dries out stagnant water and mud and blows away pollution. And now you know what a mistral is!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sir, you are no gentleman. And you, Miss, are no lady.

I watched a little bit of Gone with the Wind last night and it got me thinking, do you think Scarlett was really in love with Ashley or do you think she just kept chasing him because he was the one she couldn't have? And do you think Ashley was in love with Scarlett? I mean, he always seemed like a pretty stand-up guy, that Ashley Wilkes, so he must have loved her at some time, but had moved on to Melanie (who, I always identified with more than Scarlett...Scarlett I could never get a handle on, but Melanie made sense to me). And was Scarlett's near-constant pining after Ashley pathetic or tenacious? I mean, eventually she realizes she's madly in love with Rhett, but doesn't realize it until he tells her to get bent and then again you wonder if she really wants Rhett or just likes the chase. Again. I never understood Scarlett!

I finally got an answer about my ukulele after I called them. It will be shipped by the 29th. See. Now was that so difficult, Musician's Friend?!

Hans introduced me to a new website entitled Badass of the Week. Essentially, this gentleman takes "badasses" from history and writes little biographies about them--some are obscure like Coelia the hostage and some are not like Marie Curie (THE CUUUUUURRRRIIIIIIEEEEES!). Anyway, this man has just about the funniest writing style I've ever read and I find myself spending far too much time reading them. He's been writing the website for the last couple of years and he posts a new badass every Friday (last week's badass was The Kraken!). If you have a few minutes to kill, I definitely recommend visiting...his use of the phrase "face melting" and "asskickery" is beyond description!

I can't believe Christmas is next week. As you all know, I loathe, detest and hate the Holidays. They just make me sad and stressed out and angry, so I'm not looking forward to having to go out on Friday to buy presents. Compound the three previous emotions and the eventual disappointment concerning the aforementioned gifts and it makes a potent combination! I'm not kidding when I say if I could cancel the Holidays I would, and before you get all uppity and say things like "but what about Gavin, doesn't he deserve to have a Christmas filled with frivolity and love and puppies," I will answer with this--isn't it better that he have a mother that doesn't want to stab someone?....go ahead....think it over...yeah...that's what I thought.

Yeah, Kevin. You and Carolyn always kinda struck me as the couple that would kiss each other's faces without any regard for the inevitable teenage puking sounds...I admire that about you!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tiptoe through the tulips...only not as creepy...

I've taken to crocheting again. I find it soothing to just sit on the couch and crochet. It's rather mindless work and yet, by the end of So You Think You Can Dance I was finished with 1/3 of a scarf for Hans. She spent $12 on the yarn. I gently pointed out to her that she could have bought a really nice set of hat, scarf & gloves at the Target for the same amount. Without missing a beat she said, "But it wouldn't be made with love." I still don't think my love is worth $12!

After hearing a segment on CBC radio about ukuleles, I decided that I was going to learn to play one. I knew that I would have to wait until classes were finished, because if I had it in the house I knew that I wouldn't focus on my school work and would instead spend endless hours learning to play Bon Jovi songs on my ukulele. So, the other night, with classes completed, I ordered my ukulele. Then I got a email saying it was back-ordered (which, by the way, if I had known I wouldn't have ordered that one, obviously) and now I can't get anybody from Musician's Friend to write or call me back. All I want to know is when I'll be getting the damn thing and to make things worse, the "How to get hours of joy and impress your friends and strangers by playing this awesome wee-guitar" book that I ordered at the same time is set to get here next week. Talk about depressing.

Gavin wrote a letter for Santa at school this week. It went like this:
Dear Santa,

How are you? May I have a Transformer and a Bionicle too? I love Christmas, do you love it too?

First off, I appreciate how he inquires after Santa and how he's doing! The second best feature is the fact that my kid used the phrase "May I"!! What 7 year old says "May I"?!!

Kevin, I'm a little jealous about your procuring of the book for a does seem like a excellent way to buy books, but I have an issue with "used" books....I always have, even in college, I always bought all my books gave me the heebs to have a book that I knew a stranger had put their germs all's the same reason I can't read books from the makes me uncomfortable! You can call me a weirdo, but I prefer quirky! And congratulations on being 1/2 of an empty-nest couple. Please tell me that you and Carolyn make out all the time because there's nobody to harsh on your mellow now!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Never Apologize

Hello Friends!

As you can see from my previous post it's been over 2 months since my last blog entry! It seems like a lifetime and a blink of an eye since the last time I wrote. I've actually had loads to say and lots of things to talk about with all of you, but at the end of the day I just didn't ever do it! So, I thought maybe I'd try and catch up, as it were and update, update, update!

I am officially finished with classes for the semester. My Elementary Microbiology class was unbelievably interesting and fascinating and disgusting all at the same time. I learned an obscene amount of information and am now able to do gram stains and wet mounts (stop giggling Briskey) and acid-fast tests and tell you the causative agent of bacillary dysentery and all about anthrax (don't mess with it folks, that shit is scary AND naturally occurring) and I cross my fingers that my memory B cells and T helper cells still continue to kick antigen ass! My nutrition class was pretty interesting too. I learned more than I ever thought I'd need to know about Iron and all about calcium absorption, amongst several other little factoids. I am happy that classes are over, though. There's a sense of being able to really breathe when you take your last final and can read for fun again!

Speaking of reading for fun, I'm currently reading Julia Child's memoir My Life in France, and I'm in love with Julia Child!! She didn't marry until she was 34 and she was 37 before she found out what she wanted to do with her life! 37!! And she's got spunk and moxie and I like ladies who have spunk and moxie! Perhaps I need to go and spend 4 years in France...I'm pretty sure my 2 years of high school French would be sufficient enough....mais oui!

Oh, Kevin, I have a book recommendation for you. I don't know if you've read it already, but definitely look into The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux. I've just barely started it (like a few chapters in), but I'm already kind-of in love with it! There's just something about his writing style that makes me wish I could see the world the way a writer does....they find the beauty and art in a simple glass of would be very interesting to see the world that way....