Thursday, February 22, 2007


I love that word. Kevtch. KvetchKvetchKvetchKvetchKvetchKvetchKvetch....

Anyway - last night I got to be a part of Canada's first- ever "Complaints choir". The CBC Radio show As it Happens solicited complaints from their listeners, and had them set to music. It just aired.


I could tell you more, but I'll just send you here for the video, and here for the audio (End of Part 1).

(Wrt the video: Click on "Complaints Choir" ... who knows how long it will be linked to this page. After that you'll have to hunt us down on YouTube or something) .

At your service

Today I went and donated blood for the first time in ages. Here I am, living pretty much down the street from a donor clinic, and I'm sure it's been at least a couple of years since I donated. Despite all that, I've made at least 10 donations so far in my life, according to Canadian Blood Services.

I figure I should donate - since I can. The needle pricks a bit, but other than that I'm really not affected by donating blood. One time several years ago I ran all the way to an appointment after donating - there had been a lineup and it took longer than I expected. (I didn't faint. Or really notice any discomfort except a little dampness under the arms!)

Plus, I'm O+, like most other Canadians, which makes me a good donor: anyone who is A+, B+ or O- + can receive my blood.

Most importantly, I once saw someone who'd recently had surgery literally go from ash-grey/barely functional to mildly pink and upbeat after receieving blood. It was amazing.

Incidentally, Japanese people apparently believe that your blood type predicts your personality. According to Wikipedia, I should be ambitious, athletic, robust, self-confident, and a natural leader. (Oh, and Arrogant, vain, insensitive, and ruthless.)

So I guess it comes down to this: I'm superior to anyone who hasn't recently donated, I am confident I will someday get my 50 donations pin, and I will take you to the clinic myself if you need a friend to lead the way. But I might not let you wimp out if we go.

Kidding. But if anyone wants more info, ask! Or see Canadian Blood Services.

Monday, February 19, 2007


I was feeling totally frustrated today because I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing with the project I'm working on. All I can say, is this is a fantastic place to remenisce and have a few laughs. And feel more sorry for Beaker than I do for me.

Poor Beaker. Things just never go well for him.

Image from Beaker and the GermEnlarger

Sorry about the pixillated look of it. It's old-school, ya know?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Me, me, me!

Al Gore, who seems to have been transmogrified from boring political guy-in-a-tie to celebrity environmentalist since the release of his famous documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is dabbling in even more hollywood hype.

His doc is already nominated for an Oscar (and so is Melissa Etheridge for her song "I Need to Wake Up", which was featured in the film), but he's already moving on. He's become a concert-organizer.

He's putting together a series of global concerts set to play (and air) over a 24-hour period on July 7th. Sort of like the Live 8 thing that happened a couple of summers ago.

This concert's called Live Earth. Good title.

It's part of a broader campaign called "Save our Selves". I'm hating that title.

It sounds a little too inward-focused and way too cheesy. Sort of like, "I'm only doing this because I'd just hate it if the sea levels rose and the carpet in my beachfront mansion got damaged".

I mean, yeah, I don't want to be personally affected by climate change either, but I'm also a little concerned about those folks living in the low-lying areas of Bangladesh who have no voice whatsoever.

Apparently the concerts will happen in Shanghai, Johannesburg, Sydney, London and cities to be announced in Japan, Brazil and the United States. The countries with the cash. And a lot of the CO2 emissions. And the political clout. Nice for us that we can "Save Our Selves" if we decide to.

I'm being cynical - lots of people are concerned about global effects - but this title implies that we would only want to address climate change if it might hurt us personally - as opposed to harming other people, or the community at large. Thank goodness that any actions people in the West take to save themselves can't be reserved for the West alone - by definition, they'll have global effects.

Proceeds from the concert will go to fight climate change. Whatever works I guess.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mm, lard from sewage

I always figure that one reason why most of us don't always buy organic food is the pricetag - I mean, other than availability, there doesn't really seem to be any other good reason to choose non-organic. You know - that"normal" food that cann often be mass-produced, sprayed with pesticides or fed hormones?

But in China, those that can afford it are willing to pay lots of cash for organic - as much as ten times the cost of the so-called "normal" food. That's because over there, there's not much regulation going on and even less capacity to monitor what's actually happening. For example, there are 200 million farms of 1-2 acres each. That's a lot of farms to visit.

The lack of oversight is probably how lard made from sewage and recycled industrial oil was being sold there.


The guy who was doing that has been arrested - and other crackdowns have happened after meat from sick and dead animals was sold to consumers and duck eggs were found to contain a cancer-causing dye. These are examples of people who are delibeerately trying to sneak some terrible stuff past the system. But if they can swing it - who knows what stuff is getting into the food supply unintentionally?

Pesticide soup, anyone?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A grand day!

Things that make me happy:

#1 You can call me doctor! Well.. almost. I defended my PhD thesis last week and somehow managed to get out of the whole deal with only minor revisions to do. Once those are complete and my advisor signs off on the whole deal, I'll be Dr. Happy Owl to you. Heh.

#2 My sweetie got me the best Valentine's Gift Evah! That's right folks, he got us a clean air pass: he offest a year's worth of CO2 emissions from our car. AND got me some fair-trade, organic chocolate. I don't think it gets better than that, ladies!

#3 Inkling Magazine. I love them. They seem to like me.

#3 Snow, so much snow... Combined with the tooth-cracking cold we've been having here, it's really winter. Gives me hope that there will still be snow around if I ever have kids and want to take them tobogganing. PLUS we went x-country skiing last weekend, ya'll. Now THAT was fun.

#4 And, well - hey, look, I'm back on blogger. It's been a while. But life got wayyy less stressful after that pesky defence thingy, so hopefully I'll be able to get back to regular posting. ON with my Sorels and OFF I shall toddle to the LCBO - 'cuz someone around here deserves some nice wine with dinner tonight.