Thursday, January 27, 2011

google traffic circle

the number one google search that leads to my corner of the intertubes is some variation of does ice cream cause stomach aches?

and judging by the sheer number of people wondering this and my own experience, my scientific conclusion is YES.  YES ice cream causes stomach aches.  no, you are likely not lactose intolerant, it is just tough for many people to digest including me and you, obviously.

so there, internet, is your definitive answer.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

new york recommendations, please!

i have been negligent in my trip planning, which is rather unlike me as i typically spend more time planning for a trip than actually on a trip.  call it a hobby, if you will. 

and now i am need of a) a place to stay in about the ~$100/night range that offers a fantastic location, good atmosphere, the opportunity to meet people, and enough space that my 5'2" frame can sleep comfortably.  b) ideas on places to eat that are absolutely delicious, not particularly fancy or expensive, but just tasty.  c) your thoughts on what attractions/sights/museums/events that are not worth my time/money/energy.

for instance, if you were going to travel to san francisco on your own i would offer you the following advice:

a) stay at the mosser where you might have to share a bathroom, but the rates are completely manageable, and the location is ideal. 

b) i would insist that you go to the ferry building martketplace and sample the delicious fish tacos at taylor's automatic refresher (which, a google search tells me has been rebranded as gott's roadside, but i would still insist you eat there because its owners are the same), have a pannacotta at miette, and a cup of coffee at blue bottle coffee.  i would also suggest grabbing a newspaper and hitting the neighbourhood of north beach to savour something on a cafe's brunch menu while you people watch. and i would also suggest going to knob hill for a cappuccino and to poke around the boutiques.  eat anything mexican, mexican sounding or otherwise latino in mission and make a stop at tropisueno for more authentic mexican food. 

c) i would suggest that you make fisherman's wharf your last stop and fit it in only if you need to kill some time, do alcatraz if you really love prisons, self guided tours, or really chilly boat rides, and give the bridge a miss unless you need to see the thing up close.

how do you feel about new york city?  i have 5 days to bust a move about town after spending a week on long island holed up in a conference facility, no where to stay, no itinerary as yet, and a whole lot of scarves to wear to keep warm during february.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

a little stuffed, but doing well otherwise

how was 2011 been for you?

i have only one thing to complain about so far.  and it is this damn cold that i can't seem to shake.  it began in my sinuses, moved to my chest before christmas where it stole my voice and turned me into someone who sounded like they'd worked in a smoking lounge for 30 years, and now it is back to my sinuses and my head.  maybe it is a new cold (not sure how exactly this medical science thing works when it comes to cold viruses) or if it just won't leave, but it sure is frustrating.  a lot of sneezing, a lot of congestion, and not a lot of drainage.

other than this damn cold, i am enjoying 2011 so far.  i woke up on new years morning with an email saying that i have been selected to attend training in new york city on gender based violence programming and coordination in emergencies and i am really looking forward to learning more about the field, meeting some interesting people, and exploring the big apple for the first time.

and, as always, i am hoping that some sort oracle emerges to tell me what i should doing with my life, where i should live, and what i want to be when i grow up.  hopefully this training and this trip will help me do that.  but the idea that i have something on the professional and personal agenda is enough to tie me over at the moment

oh yeah, and it will also be a good way to celebrate my upcoming 30th birthday!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

'adhd hadn't been invented in the 1930s'

yes, i am indeed compiling a report of an 8 member team, much of it monotonous, mindnumbing desk work that i cannot concentrate on exclusively.

thus, another great ted recommendation.  (and yes, i realise that you could just as easily go to the ted website yourself, but as this is my blog, i am also using this as a place to record interesting bits of the www that i might want to revisit one day).

Ken Robinson should be a stand up comedian.  but instead, he is an expert on creativity and a ted fellow.  you might enjoy what he has to say about the way that schools are crushing our creativity, i certainly did!

a reminder to myself and others

this ted talk by Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives is a good reminder that when we break down our differences into a simple matrix of what 'we' believe and how 'they' are wrong, we all loose.

i often need this reminder, perhaps more than most people.  especially today when i received an email from a volunteer telling me about the trip her church is about to take to bring their youth group to a developing country and 'visit with the victims of trafficking staying in a rescue centre' as an educational opportunity.

blah.  i may not be right all the time, but i feel quite justified in saying that reeks of another form of exploitation and although it is not as traumatic as the first likely was, it will still have lasting impacts on a macro level.  ew.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

ted on a tuesday

you know it is a rather monotonous day of work when i come up with more ted talk recommendations.

as my go to website that i am allowed to stream video from at work (there are not many), ted has a few gems up on its main page at the moment.  take a look if you too need some stimulating background noise to desk work that you are not particularly thrilled about.  or if you just want to watch some inspiring talks by two humble individuals.

i love a lady who isn't afraid to drop an eff bomb if it makes her point clear (although she refrains in this talk).  peace activists don't always get a lot of credit from the 'establishment,' but i think that Jody Williams can speak their language and to boot, she is not an avowed pacifist.  which means she gets my vote.  for what, i don't know, but a vote nonetheless.

a canadian kid whose life didn't go quite as he planned (ever heard that one before?) turned it into an internet sensation and then a best selling book.  Neil Parischa talks about the As of awesome and how no one is immune to hardship or negative experiences, but that being authentic is one of the ways to get through it.  this should be required viewing.  for everyone.

medium thumb

i saw Black Swan!  another movie on my Movies To See 2010 spreadsheet that i created over the holidays (no, i am not kidding).  and i did it on the comfort of my own couch (maybe i shouldn't be announcing this on the intertubes, but i just heard on a ted talk that about a bazillion (or maybe something like 15,000?) blogs are started everyday so i am sure my corner of the www is relatively safe from bill gates or whoever it is that patrols the internet looking for people who admit they download and watch pirated movies.

besides, i used to buy this shit at the market in nairobi, which i never saw as being wrong as i was all the way over there in africa (the country), you know.

anywho, back to the movie.

it was ok.  it was not fabulous.  but i sense that everyone is going to go on and on about how fabulous it is simply because it is raw, interesting to watch, a little bizaare at times, and has a famous actress playing a dark role.  and sometimes, that is what art is all about (isn't it?).

the acting is good, i suppose.  the costumes and dancing are fun to watch for someone who is addicted to So You Think You Can Dance (but finds the acronym SYTYCD a little cumbersome).  the story is lame and never gathers enough steam.  and the sex is vulgar and not particularly entertaining.

but the ending is good, so if that is any reason to watch it, there you have it.

i had high hopes and let me just say that i am glad i didn't pay to see it, but that i am glad that i saw it.

Friday, January 07, 2011

best movie of the year

ok, so i am not a prolific movie viewer and many of the ones i do see are the only palatable ones offered on my cable provider at home.  but i have had a craving for movies in the theatre lately (and not just for the buttery popcorn) and gathered up some friends to see The King's Speech this week.

and it was phenomenal.  i call oscar nods for both of colin firth and geoffrey rush.  i have never been disappointed by firth or rush and i am convinced that they are so instrumental to this film's success that they deserve all the accolades that come their way.

the story of the british monarchy is fascinating, the cinematography of a post-war london is stunning, and there are more than a few laughs.

i hope you will spend a few hours, watch this movie, and learn a little bit of 20th century european history. awesome.

today at work

here are some of the things that happened today at work (x2) that make me love my jobs:
  • my boss and i figured out the percentage of time that humans have been capable of rational thought and then came up with a tonne of examples on how we screwed ourselves over by evolving (never underestimate having a boss that has also studied evolutionary psychology)
  • my boss also saw me at work, dressed in skinny jeans rolled up with chuck taylors and asked where my skateboard was.  then my colleague (and friend) had to educate him in current fashion and the term 'hipster.'
  • i found out that i can access twitter at work!  this is great as i think that i am addicted.  i used to think it was simply a way for people to tell the world they just took a whiz (and for some, it likely is), but i already feel incredibly connected and have been referred to a number of great resources and links.
  • i was approached by another volunteer, bringing my total up to 98 volunteers.  (this is not necessarily one of the reasons that i love my job, in fact it makes it exponentially more difficult and less rewarding the more volunteers i collect, but demonstrates i am doing something right, i suppose).
  • two of my favourite volunteers invited me out for dinner and drinks tomorrow.  and although that might appear like a slight conflict of interest, i am confident it is not.  i trust it will be a great.
  • i am getting a whack of american dollars at the current wicked exchange rate for my upcoming trip to... new york city!!!  (yes, i got the spot on the training!  and i suppose that the cash is not a result of my job, but a good friend's job so i am throwing it in here).

Sunday, January 02, 2011


1 - conquer my anxiety, or at least win a few battles against it.  considering the craziness the holidays can bring, i felt relatively calm.  i think my anxiety had to take a back seat to my head cold right before christmas as i laid low and tried to get well before the holiday season took over.

2 - be more thoughtful of others, especially around special occasions. i hope that everyone liked my gifts for christmas, i feel pretty good about that what i chose to give (apart from the gift card overload for one brother because no one ever knows what to get him).  having spent the past weekend at a wedding, i feel that those around me knew how important they are, it really was lovely.

3 - continue making visiting family and friends a priority.  as much as i want to visit friends and family who live in different places, i now have a spare room and a sofa bed to welcome guests!  

4 - nail down some sort of short-term career goals.  i have deemed 2011 the year of the life plan.  a year where i hope i find my next path that will provide me with direction towards a goal.  i am still debating about a potential career opportunity and mainly because i am still struggling to answer the question where do i want to be? and what do i want to do?

5 - lay a nest egg to accompany my nest.  not planning international travel makes it a little easier on the budget.  christmas was pricey in some regards, but i am starting 2011 with a small nest egg and some organisation around my finances, although there is certainly a long way to go and a lot for me to learn.

6 - eat more balanced, regular meals. i have not been cooking too often as there have been so many meals to be eaten with friends and family recently, but they have been pretty stellar and i have eaten well, if not made the healthiest choices...  in my post-new years day wedding hangover, i ate wendy's today and as i was dipping a chip in ketchup, i realised that i also had chips with a burger yesterday afternoon for lunch!  whoops.    

7 - sleep an appropriate amount. while battling my pre-hoilday illness, i slept a lot.  i think it helped.  and it was quite lovely not to wake up to an alarm to be in the office during my recent staycation.  i am not one to make new year's resolutions or to believe the new year really begins in january (i still contend that the year turns over and new beginnings happen in the fall), i think that getting my life in order is at the top of my list.  less going out, better sleeping patterns, and making sure that early mornings are not a rarity but a regular occurrence.

8 - maintain my priorities.  i have enjoyed a slower december and like i just said in #7, i am going to get my life better organised in hopes that it will bring clarity of what 2011 will be about.  and more importantly, what i want it to be about.  i guess i have not so much maintained my priorities, but set myself up to nail down some priorities.

9 - keep asking for what i want.  i applied to go to new york in february with unicef for training and the first email that i got on new years day was confirmation that i have been selected to participate!  i suppose that is a pretty good way to kick off the new year.  but what is most important is that i need to do better at figuring out what i want to ask for.  that is what 2011 will be about.  or so i hope!