Thursday, March 26, 2009
When can you love someone and yet no respect for the decisions made? When stubbornness rears its ugly head and there are four feet planted firmly in the ground apart from one another. When 'talking it out' dissolves into angry words and frustrated echos. When you'd be better off arguing with a stranger. When you cannot see someone's side, nor do you want to and you know they cannot see yours on the horizon.
When do you call a truce without losing your stance, your convictions? When you cannot see the fight ending and yet cannot, no will not stand to back down. When you cannot see a change happening. Yet you love the person. When do you go back to the way things were when you are not able to change the way things are? Do you lose respect when someone disrespects you? Do you lose self respect by going along with it? When you aren't sure what tomorrow brings but hope at some point there will be a peace flag rather than sharp tongues. When you know it's worth it to be the Drama Queen. When you are not sure how to move forward from here.
When does it end when there is no end in sight?
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Meghan's Magical Detoxifying Hot and Sour Soup
Whew. That was quite a list. But it's totally worth it in the end, trust me.
Start by chopping up the onions and throwing them into a giant pot to soften on medium low heat with the oils. The sesame oil is a Must but use sparingly as it is quite a strong flavour. Use a garlic press to press the garlic in (do you have a garlic press? if not, get one. It is your friend). Also peel the ginger easily by using a spoon to scrape it off. Then use a cheese grater to grate it into the soup. Let it all soften about 5-10 min and make your kitchen smell wonderful.
At that point add all the vegetable stock. You can use homemade or store bought vegetable stock, doesn't matter. If all else you could use vegetable bouillion, but make sure it is blended well and reduce the salt from the soup as bouliion bases tend to be salty. Now you just start chopping the veg and dumping them into the pot, easy as that. I tend to do a chunkier chop as it's about the texture and colour. Start with your hardest veggies as they will take the longest to cook. So brocolli followed by the peppers. I use about 3/4 of each pepper so I can use the rest for an omelet the next day, but use the whole thing if you want.
See how pretty and colourful it looks already. Next throw in the zuchinni, mushrooms, tofu and water chestnuts. For those leary about tofu note that it just absorbs all the flavours in the soup. Add the chili paste next, spices and vineger. It make seem very spicey/sour but will mellow out a little. The water chesnuts are optional but I find they give the soup a really nice crunch. Now you sit and let it cook at a medium heat for about 20 or so minutes so that the vegetables are cooked but not mushy. Feel free to test after about 12-15 as different stove tops are different and I don't want to be responsible for your mushy veg.
Also during this time feel free to binge on cookies because the soup is SO HEALTHY it's going to kick those cookies asses anyways.
Now when the soup is almost done you get to throw in the prawn and the tomato. Not before or the prawns will get overcooked and rubbery and the tomatoes will get all mushy in the soup and gross. At that point let it cook on low for another 5 minutes, throw it into the biggest bowl you have and enjoy! You're going to have tons (enough for 2-4) but I doubt it will last long. It doesn't freeze that well but it'll be long gone before then and so will any cold or ailmet and you'll be right as rain and ready for another bender.
NOM, NOM, NOM
Quick tip! You know the bits of veggies that don't seem that nice, or the mushroom stems and veggie ends and bits that people tend to throw out? DON'T! I throw them all into a giant ziploc bag and throw it in the freezer til chock full and when it is, it can be boiled down and strained with some salt, pepper and garlic into a yummy homemade veggie broth for future soups.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I understand if you hate me
I'm back after an amazing and exhausting trip to Cuba. It was well worth it in the end, and the trip of a lifetime. I have definately been bitten by the travel bug and want to continue as far as finance will allow. The country was nothing I thought it would be and everything I could ever want. This trip was exactly what the doctor ordered, allowing me to relax, party, and really open my eyes to a whole other culture. Kinda vague, so I figure the only way I'll get through it is to break it down into smaller incriments and subheadings.
I will never master the self portrait
White sand powdered beaches like I've never seen or felt.
Crystal blue ocean water that is swimming pool warm.
Grilled fresh lobsters in creole sauces. Fresh squeezed orange juice.
Cuban coffee. Mojitos.
Palm trees everywhere. The architecture. Cities that are clean.
Feeling safer in Cuba than I do in some Canadian cities ( I was able to walk back to the hotel from the bar one night without an ounce of fear).
The heat. Havana. Markets where you can barter but wth no pressure. No beggars.
Love for tourists from the locals.
Austrian men; preferable Austrian good looking men who happen to be police officers. Giggidy.
The fact that Cuba is not 'Canadianized' or 'Americanized' but truly it's own world.
Local pride. Cheap cigarettes. Like.60cents cheap. 3 dollar bottles of rum. Sailing.
Cute stray puppies and kitties. Coconuts. Double decker buses.
Local bars that are okay with the tourists wandering in.
Slight almost-but-not-quite-offwhite tans.
Smoking and drinking are acceptable everywhere and at any time of day by the locals.
The whitest girl on the beach, hands down.
The hotel food. Now I know as a herbivore I can expect to be limited at times but buffets that had only cabbage and carrots and olives? Really?
Getting charged to use the washroom at the local bars and then getting charged for teepee (damn men for just being able to shake).
Locals trying to take advantage of tourists, aka: price of a drink is the bill that you hold up. Canadian dollar being crap compared to the Cuban peso.
Tour advisors who forget to tell you that there is a dress code required for the evening show, so you get to pick up a dress at the Havana market and borrow shoes off a woman on the tour bus.
Having to wait on the tarmac at the Vancouver airport in the plane on the way there for almost three hours waiting for the plane to be de-iced because of the snow.
Getting food poisoning at the Cuban airport on the way back.
The grosses 24 hours and trip back I have ever experienced.
Getting a bad headcold as soon as I got back.
The, Oh Meghan:
Not my finest moment, but I can say I learned to like rum.
Getting blindly drunk, falling down ass over tea kettle in front of everyone at the local bar (people clapped) and continuing to pick up the hot Austrian guy whilst bleeding profusely.
Learning just enough Spanish to call one of the clapping women a bad name and have her almost kick my scrawny Canadian ass.
Deciding that flipping up a skirt to show your knickers is a universal pickup line.
(note; only Leanne saw)
Chasing stray dogs at 6:00am because I want to pet them. And hoping I don't have rabies right now.
Getting offered marriage by a very good looking local, but turning him down as the fact that he then wanted to jump on a plane right away to Canada made me question whether or not his intentions were true love.
We didn't kill each other. And it was our one year "facebook" marriage anniversary.
I'll definately get into specifics another time but for now I am all about recovering (my skin tastes like salt water and alcohol) and trying to get the sand out of my crack. Here's the link to a few albums I have up on facebook as I'm way too lazy to post all the pics I have up on here.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Our world is in constant motion. The planet earth teems with life, and all life puts energies into the planet. Plants grow, animals rear young, and the human industrial machine is moving forward at an exponential rate.
Still, all the energies put out by life on this planet that seem astronomically huge to the average human are naught compared to the movement of the planet itself. Our thirteen-thousand kilometre wide planet spins on its axis one full rotation every twenty-four hours, and hurtles through space at an astounding thirty kilometres every second! Not only do earth and the other planets rotate around our sun, but our sun rotates around our galaxy. Our sun, and by proxy, our planet with us on it, makes the trip around the galaxy once every two-hundred and thirty million years.
My intention is not to bore you with remedial facts about energies and motion, but to introduce the concept of our celestial cycles.
Our sun does not stay on its plane as it screams through the galaxy. Scientists have discovered that it makes an up and down motion as it travels. The suns motion would be much akin to a child’s yo-yo toy, as he bobs it up and down while walking down the street. As the sun’s permanent partner in this never ending road trip, we actually see a large portion of our galaxy.
Therein lies the problem.
The galaxy contains an almost unimaginable number of stars. There are four hundred thousand million stars that we call neighbours, yet they are spread out over a diameter of one-hundred thousand light years. To put that kind of size in perspective, the speed of light is approximately three-hundred thousand kilometres per second, which gives our galaxy a diameter of, well, my calculator gives me an eighteen digit number. The spacing of our galaxy allows for light years in between stars.
Our solar system spends most of its time dwelling in the low density area of the arms in our spiral galaxy. Because the solar system travels in an up and down motion as well as a forward one, every thirty million years we pass through the high density central area of our galaxy. Scientists call this area the "danger zone", and for good reason.
The spacing between stars in the danger zone is still unfathomable to the human imagination, there is no argument there. But compared to our usual position in the galaxy, the star spacing can be akin to a subway during rush hour. By the standards of celestial mechanics, it’s much too close for comfort.
The very out most edge of our solar system contains a vast sphere of huge chunks of ice and dirt, some tens of kilometres in diameter. At the thirty million year mark, when our solar system passes through the danger zone, increased gravitational forces push some of these large masses speeding towards our solar system at incredible rates of speed. As they get closer to the sun, they develop plumes of gas and dust, and we now know them as comets.
These thirty million year comets take one million years to reach our solar system. That means that every thirty one million years, our odds for getting struck by a massive celestial body increase exponentially.
Compared to the average human lifetime, and even the time that we have been around on this planet, thirty-one million years seems like forever. But there is something that you need to know, something that puts all that time into sharp focus.
We are now at our thirty one million years.
That is some very sobering information. We are at our thirty one million years, and an unknown amount of comets of unknown sizes are at this very moment speeding towards us.
Are they millennia, centuries, decades, or years away from us? Will they hit us, or miss us by millions of kilometres? We don’t know for sure, as astronomers cannot pick up or track these bodies until they are very close to us. They are coming, and they are very close, as evidenced by the shoemaker-levy comet hitting Jupiter in 1994. The comet was massive. Even though the intense gravity of Jupiter broke the comet into pieces before it hit, each piece created an impact area larger than earth itself.
Jupiter is, by and large, our saving grace. The massive planet pulls in many of the travelling celestial bodies that otherwise might cross paths with earth. Our solar system is a very active place, and without Jupiter, we surely would not be here to this day.
That does not mean we go without our fair share of space missiles impacting our planet. We get hit on a daily basis; luckily most of the bodies that rain down from the heavens are so small as to burn up in our atmosphere before ever reaching the ground. Some are large enough to do some damage, and there is evidence all over our planet of large craters. Indeed, some are so massive as to still be seen despite our planets ability to erase and change its surface through dirt deposits, ecological activities, tectonic plate movements and the like.
There is, however, a reason to be concerned with our thirty-one million year mark. Evolutionary history is not a constant. Rather, it is a series of events, springing from the ashes of evolution before it. Palaeontologists have found that there are massive extinction events which are very common to the history of life on earth. Scientists discovered approximately twenty events in history where the majority of life on earth vanished, was extinct, was wiped from the face of the earth.
There is an ominous pattern to these extinction events. Whether it’s from comet strikes are not, mass planetary wide extinctions seem to have a pattern of every thirty million years or so.
The evidence seems clear. Our time on this planet is limited, and it may not be of our own doing.
Indeed, the shrill shrieks of the planets eco warriors and the grunts of our greedy money driven industrialized economy are trivial in comparison to the celestial pattern of destruction and rebirth.
What are we to do, then, if we are interested assuring continued human existence?
There are two bodies of thought for protecting ourselves from being hit by a large body from space. The first involves a method of blowing it up, or using rockets to nudge it out of the way. This may or may not work. The only way we will know is to try it, and if it doesn’t work, we can kiss our lives good bye.
The second way is to colonize the universe.
Diversification is the best way to assure the survival of our species. If we can put our energies into developing the technology to finding other habitable worlds and to getting there, the destruction of earth will be the great tragedy, but not the apocalypse.
Compared to the ultimate certainty of the next impending mass extinction, all human differences are moot. When it happens, the differences of religion, race, creed, colour, and locale mean nothing. To assure continued human survival past the next and ultimate event, the human race must realize the folly of hatred and intolerance.
We must push aside our class structure, our greed, our quest to be financially successful. All of our energies must be put towards the technology needed to purchase the ultimate of all insurance policies.
It is only when our species spreads throughout the stars that we will be truly safe from destruction.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Better nate than lever!
Meghan is sunning herself on the beaches of Cuba. I'm freezing my titsoff in the Maritimes (all Atlantic Canadians know that spring doesn'tcome until sometime in mid-June), but any bitterness that I may haveharboured has been nullified by the fact that she asked me to write aguest post. To say that I was pleasantly shocked would be anunderstatement, since my blog tends to be one long diatribe against Lady Gaga and the laundromat, but pleasantly is the operative wordhere. So let's go, yes?
Having a friend go to Cuba in Smarch is grounds for jealousy, but tobe fair I've had my time in the sun before; a few years ago I workedas an au-pair in Greece, and learned some valuable lessons along theway (none of which involved sunscreen. As an Irish chick who freckleswhen a candle is lit you would think that I would have coated myselfin zinc and Coppertone, but I decided that the best way to fit inwould be to burn myself to a delightful lobster-shell hue. Amazingly,it didn't happen. I actually tanned, for the first and possibly onlytime in my life. Go figure.)
It was Greece that broke my veg, albeit temporarily. It wasn't eventhat the food was irresistible (note: North American Greek salad isnothing like Greek Greek salad.) No, it was more that I didn't want tobe rude, shunning the provisions of my employers and subsisting on adiet of fatty yogurt and hard bread. We lived on the coast and I wouldsometimes swim out to the fishing boats, collecting nets of sardinesand God knows what else, asking them in broken Greek to bill us later.As I would backstroke back to shore clutching a net of still-livingfish, I was a mix of guilt and bliss, similar to how most Catholicsfeel when they have sex, but minus the tingling in my nether regions.Lesson learned? Greek fishermen will never actually send you a bill.Especially if you're a twenty-one year-old blonde in a polka dotbikini. I have yet to test this out in my home province, but don't think I haven't been tempted.
As for the opposite sex... now, I hate to stereotype, but the Socratesthing is dead-on. There's nothing a Greek dude likes more than abackdoor entrance. Now, there is not (and never will be) a back doorto Club Racquel, but again the blonde thing worked in my favour.Unfortunately, Greek men tend to be short. At 5'5", I'm far fromAmazonian, but most of the guys in Lavrio and Sounio made me feel likea runway model... and not because of my dashing looks. The other thingI learned is that The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants lies. Greekmen are not romantic. They're stoic enough to make you questionwhether or not Greece was actually settled by Russians, but thecatcalling and ass-slapping (again, I blame Socrates) is pure Europe.
Maybe the most important lesson I learned is the importance ofdressing up for the plane. I'm an old soul in that I refuse to wearpyjama or sweat pants out of the house, and nowhere was I rewardedmore for this than on British Airways. When I checked in, they tookone look at the dress I was wearing and asked if, since the flight wasoversold, I'd be willing to fly Business Class. Ummm... YES!!! I alsogot a pass for the pre-flight VIP lounge, where I drank a disturbingamount of nice Chard, enough that it was actually hard for me to boardthe plane without breaking out into song, dance or both. They did askme to change my shoes, however; apparently dirty Converse would havelooked amiss next to the cot-sized chairs and complimentary hot towels(side note: I still don't understand the purpose of hot towels, butGoddamn if they aren't the most luxurious thing next to love slavescoated in chocolate.)
And finally, and this can't be stressed enough: the most importantlesson I learned in Greece: when you get a giant, poisonous sea urchinstuck in your leg, diaper rash cream will not make it better. Nomatter how much praying you do. Neither will vinegar. Or moonshine. Orsand. Really, it's a better idea to just leave the wound alone insteadof trying random substances and kitchen products on it. Althoughpersonally, I kind of like the scar. It's like a free tattoo. Thespikes took almost six months to work themselves out, but the memorieswill last forever.
Kali spera, everyone.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
What do you mean, "who is Paula?"
Don't you know who I am???
Okay, let's start over again. I'm Paula and I normally blog at the immensely popular (in my dreams) , award-winning (well, a couple of other bloggers have given me awards so that counts, right?) "Insert My Blog Name Here". I just thought I would practice being a celebrity. Because I fully intend to BE a celebrity one day!
I've always thought it would be a lot of fun to be famous, you see. Hasn't everyone at some point? It would be awesome, right? You get to go to lots of parties. Get given lots of free stuff. Have lots of fans - well, most of the time. It would be GREAT to have tons of people telling me how absolutely and completely awesome I am. I mean, I KNOW I am anyway, but having it reinforced is just the best.
However, there must be drawbacks.
First of all, celebrity break-ups. Now breaking up with someone in the REAL world . . . that sucks bigtime. Changing your relationship status on facebook and having everyone ask you what happened? That sucks (although I suppose it's a good way to let everyone know you've been dumped and saves you having to tell everyone individually).
But having it broadcast all over the papers and magazines? Having people reading about your pain, and what "sources" have said about you? Having to watch your ex hook up with someone else right in the public eye (if he is famous too, obviously!)? Man, that would be absolutely AWFUL. I don't think i could cope with that. In fact, I think I would have a big celebrity breakdown Ms Spears style and possibly take some sort of blunt object . .. . to my ex's head.
Which would, naturally, be caught on film for the world to see.
The second thing that I would absolutely hate about being a celebrity .. . . you know those magazine articles you get where they take a picture of someone famous and point out what's wrong with them? Like "Oooh, their cellulite is awful, isn't it NICE to know that so-and-so is normal too?" Or "Look at how weird her middle toe is in those sandals" (with a picture zooming in to the offending foot and the toe in question circled in red in case you missed it.) Or the ones where they take a picture of a old picture of a celeb, put it up next to a recent picture and decide what kind of plastic surgery they have DEFINITELY had? Even when the celebrity in question has DENIED it.
It would be hard to leave the house always having to look your best, just because you need to make sure you're not shown on the "Celebrities Looking Like Shit" page in Heat magazine (not a real feature, but I'm sure there's something similar). And then even if you DID leave the house always looking perfect, you're going to get accused of having work done to make yourself that way. So what's the point?
Other than those drawbacks though, I think I could deal with being a celebrity. And I would have TONS of money . . . which mostly would come from my lawsuits against the magazines writing shit about me. Result!!!
If YOU were famous, what do you think the biggest drawback would be? Discuss.
(I realise that sounded sort of like an essay question in an exam. That was the intention.)
Since you already did the intro, I just wanted to add a note at the end and say thanks for the guest post Paula. You rock and I swear you're my sister from another mister in Scotland.
Friday, March 6, 2009
I guess it's been a combo platter of writer's block, not having anything really happening in my life and not wanting to beat my trip excitment with a dead horse post, and actually getting busy with prep for my trip. Tanning appointments, waxing appointments,getting shots in order, getting gear in order, packing and a million other errands. This certainly isn't a complaint, just an observation as I'm not sure how people maintain the jet setter lifestyle with ease.
But not to worry about more random gaps of space and time from blogger world where this bad boy slowly collects dusts and drops readers like no tomorrow cause I have a rare treat of some of the best guest posters in the land. The only problem is that by the time I get back you'e going to see what REAL writing looks like and won't be so accomodating with my laptop dribble. But that's something we're both going to have to come to terms with. I hope you give a warm welcome to Spaz at The Mind of Spaz, Paula from Insert My Blog Name Here and Racquel Valencia from Smell The Glove as they're all going to be making themselves home.
Other than that, have a fabulous time, drink too much, say the wrong things, do the wrong people and I'll see you soon (if not getting eaten by a shark).