Friday, February 20, 2009

Me of the Day

Mood: Not horrible.

Happy Things: Sunshine, puppies, a lemon tree named Cecil that I just bought and will likely kill in the very near future, but in the mean time, a tiny lemon tree with tiny lemons! Eee!

Best Use of Your Tax Dollars: the government of Canada has a kickass website called which gathers all of the resources in the country on HIV and AIDS, Hep C, harm reduction, and sexual health in general. If you're strange like me, it's worth a good five hours of your time. And all of said resources can be downloaded for free, or printed by the government and shipped to you, anywhere in! Free! It's like Christmas if Santa had AIDS! Today a big box showed up on my doorstep full of posters for work, playing cards that give you facts on liver disease, stickers telling me to get tested for STIs, a guide on mobilizing community action...amazing. If you're a rez advisor, or teacher, or some sort of leader of some sort in some sort of community, this website has fun stuff for you. And also, if you just really like knowing about sexual health (or if you have any STI), lots of fun stuff for you.

Diseases I Don't Have: Tuberculosis...yay! My test result was negative. Also, the nurse was very avoidant and cryptic when I asked her what would happen to me if my test had been positive. Do they still quarantine people? Would they ship me out to a colony?

Things I Should Probably Do In the Near Future: Eat. Because apparently food is my friend. And I even ate once earlier today...I had curry. Clearly, my ability to care for my decrepid body is amazing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why I'm An Athiest (Incurring God's Wrath)

God...well... He and I, we have our differences.

I suppose it all began when I was about sixteen. Up until that point, I was quite the devote. I was told that God was my heavenly father and that he loved me but would burn me in Hell if I strayed from his path, and I believed. I was told that Jesus and angels and demons were real, and that the devil would get you if you strayed from God, or if you loved God he might get you anyways in order to punish you, and that visions, speaking in tongues, and thoughts being placed in your head by both God and the devil were part of the Christian experience. I believed. I was told that homosexuality was a sinful lifestyle choice into which selfish people strayed but often returned, and repented, sort of like drugs, I guess, except a little bit worse, and that any family members who became gay at any point should be excommunicated because they were bad people to be around. And I...well...I guess I believed that, too.

And then...well...I started to lose my way.

I started to learn I had gay friends, and that they were nice regular people. I started to realize that "Christian" and "good person" do not go hand in fact, I started to learn that in a lot of cases the opposite seemed to be true. I learned about evolution...and that science could easily counter every argument that ill-informed adults had told to me about why evolution couldn't possibly be true - and then I remembered the dinosaurs. Hmm...what about dinosaurs, God?

I started to think about my own definition of right and wrong...and how I wasn't sure that it matched up to God's definition, and this scared the shit out of me. (This is about the time I stumbled upon God advocating for genocide in the old testament - "kill everything that breaths" - and Jesus refusing a woman his healing powers because she was of a different race. Huh.) I still believed, of course, that if I didn't serve God I would burn in Hell for all of eternity where no one could hear my screams. But then I wondered...God...why would you burn me in Hell? I was led to believe God was infinitely good, and infinitely forgiving, and that my own moral standards could never match my own. And then I thought of Hitler, and child molesters, and serial killers, and I wondered if I would want them to burn in Hell. The answer is no. But if I'm capable of being a bigger person than God...then...well, the whole thing falls apart really quickly around here.

I was devastated, and terrified. I still believed I was going to Hell...sometimes, I still believe it. I convinced myself that I was being tested, and prayed to God to lead me back to him, when things were black and white and small and clear. I prayed very hard, for very long. I started investigating other religions, to see if maybe that would coax him into action. And then...God sent me a missionary.

I was eating soup in the UBC cafeteria, alone, when a man approached...may I sit down? I nodded politely. He asked if he could show me informational pamphlet. I did not reply - he did not wait. He began showing be pictures of disorganized dots - my life right now, without Jesus...see, that dot's school, and that's family, and that's money, and that's health, and they're all scattered, see? I wanted to interrupt to let him know that I was already Christian (as I still considered myself to be), but he gestured dismissively...wait, it will all become clear. A second picture showed dots in a circle with a cross in the middle...this is my life if I gave myself to Jesus. You see, only Jesus can organize the dots. If I simply accept Jesus into my life, balancing school and money and health and time will no longer be issues...because Jesus will do it for me. The missionary watched me carefully for a reaction.

I paused. I... Dots? I guess, but...

The missionary continued: It's important not to trust your feelings or thoughts. You must have faith. Trust in Jesus. If you listen for His voice, God will show you the path.

The path, it seemed, led me out of the cafeteria, and down the road to Agnosticism. Thank you, God, for sending your servant to guide my way. As I looked back on the Bible, and the things I had been taught, it was like I had been blind and suddenly could see: how had I been swallowing this crap? And who teaches this stuff to children??

When agnosticism felt too passive in the warfare of human rights (denying condoms to Africans because of American Pentecostal beliefs? Picketing funerals for people who are gay, or portray gay men in cinema? Really?), I stumbled upon Athiesm, and when I realized it pissed of my mom, the title was mine for good. I still think there is more to life that we can perceive or explain...but a thousand years ago, we didn't know where the Sun went at night. That's why we're still learning.

So: Trust your thoughts, and your feelings, and your sense of compassion. Live a good life, and help others where you can. It's not religion...but it's a good thing to do.

...My Ribs Look SO Fat

So do my hip bones.

Dammit...I just don't understand it. All I've had to eat all day is this diet coke and I swear that one calorie should have been burnt up on my run or my trip to the gym or my bike ride across the city... Ewww...look. You can totally see my internal organs through my skin, and they're FAT, too.

...Gross. I am SUCH a whale.

I kid, I kid...really, I don't have an eating disorder. I Don't. Seriously. Don't look at me that way. I don't have an eating disorder...ya, and I know, that is exactly what a person with an eating disorder would say, except, it's true. I do. Not. Have an eating disorder. Stop asking.

It started with my grandmother, who frets over everything and overly involves herself in people's personal information. And then my mother, who uses 'thin' as a synonym for 'flat chested' and so naturally I was insulted. Except shortly thereafter I went down a cup size, and these days it's pretty rare that I wear a bra. My friends were more encouraging: "Well, Kate Moss didn't wear a bra for like 10 years." But...didn't Kate Moss also do a lot of cocaine? My friends avert eye contact. ...Yes.

And then my other friend who had been away for a while was exclaiming over my cheek bones and being extra gentle when she hugged me. And another friend, after watching me eat a big meal, lingered quietly outside of the bathroom, just in case. And then another friend, when we were talking about which celebrities we resembled, said I looked like Mary Kate Olsen, Nicole Richie, and Kate Bosworth. (I am not tall enough to really look like Kate Bosworth.) And then there was a friend who tried the direct approach of catching me off guard...So, you have an eating disorder? No, no I do not, friend. But thank you for caring...I appreciate awkwardness. And now I have to...umm...go.

Yesterday, I went to get a TB skin test for my kickass new exciting job. I'm actually a bit nervous about the results, since my work inevitably involves some exposure to crazy illnesses, but the test itself is relatively painless. The nurse practitioner giving the skin injection was asking me about my work, congratulating me on my new job, and generally being friendly and lovely in a way that nurse practitioners always seem to be. I've had this test three times before and all were negative, which means the point of injection remains boringly normal. So I ask what a positive result looks I break out in a rash? Does my arm turn blue? What happens at the injection spot?

Well, it depends on your immune system's reaction. A normal response will create a medium sized hard lump, and for someone who's immuno-compromised, the lump only has to be half as big to qualify. It's actually not that exciting.

But then the nurse paused, and cocked her head to the side. You're not immuno-compromised, right? Are you healthy?

I nod, yes.

Are you sure? No...umm....immuno-diseases? Do you have an... Eating Disorder?

Not that I know of, I shrug, and she smiles, and she sends me to hang out in the waiting room to fume.

So, people, I notice there seems to be some confusion out there. I'd like to take this opportunity to address it, because, while I really do appreciate your concerns, I Do Not Have An Eating Disorder. Period, full stop, stop asking, for the love of god stop asking, please.

If you MUST know, here are the nitty gritty details of my body weight: I've always been fairly thin. When I'm stressed out, I lose my appetite, and my body tends to go into overdrive so even if I manage to eat exactly the same amounts, I still lose a little bit of weight. So...thin. And then a few months ago, I started up on some happy drugs that, as a side effect, suppress appetite and promote weight loss, and I am none too impressed with the results. Sure, happier, but...rib cage? That was where my boobs used to be. one should be able to see their kidneys through their skin, no one, ever.

I would like to gain weight. I would like to be at least five pounds heavier, and have boobs, and not be all boney. I try, I really do, but no matter how much cheesecake I eat in a single sitting, it just doesn't seem to be happening for me. So, in the mean time, I'm trying to eat healthier, and exercise, and be happy. And this happiness gets trodden upon daily by your loving concern...because....gah! I don't have an eating disorder...just...believe me. And also, stop picking on thin people in general like that somehow helps to fight's a double standard and not okay and seriously, people, stop.

I'm going to go chop my food up into little tiny pieces now, because the calories count less that way. And then I'll have some time left over to stare at my clavicle because it's looking especially chunky these days and oh my FAT.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yes, We Can watch Obama on the CBC. And do other stuff, too.

President Obama has captured a lot of attention, and every one and their dog has written something or other on his legacy of hope, his socialist agenda, his ability to save the world from the terror of incompetence which reeked havoc on human rights, the economy, world peace, and all else over the last eight years. I was rooting for Obama, I was talking about Obama, I was smiling with glee when Obama was elected and his wife looked so pretty and his speech was so good. But of course, I couldn’t actually vote for Obama, because I’m not an American citizen. (I do have an American parent, and always thought I could be an American citizen if I really wanted to…but apparently that isn’t true. Stay tuned for the rant on how red tape killed my dream of moving to Hawaii and owning a goat.)

Canadians sit in a unique position. Our economy is largely based on the United States - they are our largest trade partner, and I can’t think of a single industry or public sector that doesn’t have some sort of American influence; think: fisheries, land and wildlife conservation, tourism, forestry, beef…oh, the beef. We are inevitably influenced by everything they do - and yes, everyone is, in a butterfly-to-hurricane effect, or more accurately a domino-to-domino effect as demonstrated by the recent economy. But Canadians are unusually close - we’re living within 50 km of ground zero, we can see exactly what’s going down, and yet are essentially powerless to influence it. We’re generally more socially minded and generally thoughtful, but we don’t have much of an international voice, so we stand silently on the side lines, watching, waiting, wanting to hope but knowing that there’s probably no point… It’s stressful, and we don’t even get the benefit of feeling proud when the right decision is made. As much as I love Obama and wish him all the best…I didn’t do that. What did I do? Elect Harper, apparently. …yay?

So, as Obama visits Ottawa and sits down with the CBC, I find myself wondering…are we really that apathetic? Don’t we, too, want to Make Change? Is it laziness, indifference, or have we maybe just forgotten how? It’s true, we probably aren’t going to ever outrank the Americans on the international stage…and we’re not going to beat them in any eating contests, either. But there are a lot of things that we can do better…so why don’t we?

Because I am regularly pissed off by any opinion piece which proposes questions without offering answers, I’ll make this one easy: we can make change. I don‘t think we‘re lazy…I do think we care. We're just used to our role as spectator, and forgotten we're players in a much bigger game. Can we fix everything? No. But we can make it better. I myself am one tiny little person with $50 in my chequing account…if I feel capable of making the world a better place, surely you can, too. Even for huge, seemingly unsolvable problems. For example: can I solve world hunger? Probably, no. But I can pay FreeRice instead of solitaire. I can consider the environmental impact of the food I eat, buy locally, and discover what exactly kale is. I can volunteer time at a food bank, and learn about how my irresponsible consumer choices inevitably enslave malnourished children in Asia. See? Responsible consumerism is fun!

It’s not even about any given issue, even. It’s about an attitude, or a vision: seeing the world as a work in progress. Because Yes, We Can. So if something isn’t right…try to fix it. Do something. You probably can’t do everything…do what you can. If something bugs you, make it better. Don’t like how certain laws seem exclusionary or stupid? You can change laws. Start a petition, or a kickass blog, or write your newspaper. Conduct a publicity campaign. That’s how laws change. If you don’t like exploitation of third world populations, look into free trade, and stop buying bananas. If slow walking people who take up the whole sidewalk drive you nuts, next time, bring a cattle prod. Change really is that easy. (I kid...except…not really.)

The world is a work in progress. You are the agent of that progress. And, damn it, if you want anything right, you’ll have to do it yourself. So please, get off of your laptops, and start changing the world. Because I’m tired, and I need to go to the bathroom, so I can’t do it all myself.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Me of the Day

Current mood: Doom-oriented.

Paranoia: Everyone hates me.
Evidence Supporting Paranoia: No one is answering their phones. Therefore...the entire world decided overnight that they hate me.
Evidence Against Paranoia: I am a crazy person who needs to stop being stupid.

Also Bothersome: My papercut from yesterday really hurts. And I have a sore throat. Also, I am annoyingly whiny.

Reasons to be Happy: New job (I signed all my paperwork and am officially hired and it's all very exciting), Puppies, Copious amounts of chocolate, To Do Lists written on purple paper with blue markers, General splendor of life that other people keep talking about

Decision: I suppose I will try to be happy...but I'm not happy about it.

Awesome Seven Happy Things of Doom

This list is inspired by the Happiest person I know. She lives a life of rainbow-infused lollipops, atop a pink unicorn, and is best described as a giant ball of human sunshine. She is incredibly skilled at seeing the bright side in every thing and every one, and is generally just an awesome human being in every conceivable way...intelligent, pretty, personable, empathetic...

If she weren't so wonderful, I may want to stab her a little bit.

Me: I am not a perfect picture of happiness…in fact, I may be the farthest thing from it. Left to my own devices, I have no doubt that I would be, at this very moment, curled up in a ball on the floor, wailing like a rabid banshee, drowning in a pool of my own tears, terribly, terribly, terribly alone. I have to work at happiness, and she is an uphill battle, and battles and work in general are not fun, and not having fun is the opposite of happiness…so really it’s quite the conundrum. To solve said dilemma, I enlist the help of the following list of my personal go-to Happy Things. Please peruse at your leisure.

1. Cover all cuts (but especially small superficial cuts that need to intervention whatsoever) with bright band-aids designed solely for children. Current example: my index finger has a paper cut over which I have placed a pink Hello Kitty band-aid…and now I am happy. Also, beige band-aids are kind of racist when you think about it. I just don’t understand anyone would buy a beige band-aid when there is a Sponge Bob alternative…no? Anyone?

2. Whenever possible, use brightly coloured markers. If possible, use miniature brightly coloured markers. Mini things are fundamentally happier, as a species.

3. Whenever writing a list, begin with words ‘Awesome,’ ‘Raditude,’ or equally splendiferous adjective. Alternatively, end lists with the words ‘of Doom.’ It makes grocery shopping and inventory a lot more fun.

4. Play with a puppy. If you do not have a puppy, find or borrow a puppy. Please do not steal a puppy. If all else fails, look at puppies online. Name said puppies random words that when applied to puppies become the cutest thing ever. To demonstrate (best done while picturing puppies): Pickle. Sweater-vest. Lord Voldemort. This is how my dog was named after a condiment. If you are not loudly exclaiming ‘eeee!’ at the thought of this…fine. Whatever. You have no soul.

5. When dealing with anyone who you strongly dislike, imagine them as an arch nemesis. Picture them with a cape, or a handlebar mustache to twirl while they scheme, or sitting in an oversized chair with a cat saying ‘So we meet again, Ms. Donegal.’ …My mind is a special place.
6. Read a children’s book. Preferably, a witty, well-written children’s book featuring a talking pigeon. I don’t know why, but the properly administered children’s book can totally make my day.

7. Gather evidence that God is trying to kill you, slowly and torturously, through his clever manipulation of public transit, weather forecasts, and roommates who will not get out of the freaking shower when you really need to pee. Admit that, when no less than eleven buses pass you going in the opposite direction, and then your bus driver stops to go get Tim Horton’s, and you arrive at work just late enough to make you look flaky without creating any real concern…you start to think of God as a kid in the playground who hasa crush and is acting out. That's right...God is an emotionally immature eight year old boy. It makes sense, and makes all life an exercise in the ridiculous. Luckily, you're in on the joke.

Go forth and be happy =)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Me of the Day

Mood: Disturbingly joyful

Reasons: It's sunny!! So sunny! Eeeee! And I'm growing a yam vine and it totally sprouted (I think a lot of people do this as kids...well, I did not. So...shut it.) And there are puppies!

Real reason: Too much caffiene and chocolate, expecting a crash around 1pm

Plans: Work. Always work. Also, various errands. Ooooh I should totally bike to work! Except I'm lazy...crap.

Things I've learned from staring at my uneven pupils all day: Your pupils are supposed to constrict equally (Google tells me so). So if you cover one eye with a (low powered) flashlight and watch your other pupil, then turn the flashlight on (or off), you can see your other pupil constrict like crazy. Weird stuff likes this makes my day. Possibly because I have a brain tumor.

Pet Peeve of the Day: Relationship statuses on facebook. Awkward. The sort of people who feel the need to announce to the whole world that they're single, or dating, or taking a break, are the exact same sort of people who then get back together (or break up...again) with the same damn person less than a week later...which totally negates the point except to make said person look flaky, and to make everyone else uncomfortable. Please, please, just stop.

Also: I like you, muffin.