Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Healthy Living Woes

Dear Internet,

Lately, ignoring the fact that just tonight I had a box of macaroni and cheese for dinner, I have been trying to start living a healthier lifestyle. That is, eating healthy food, exercising, etc. And it has been quite the pain in my ass.

Let's start with the food. The easier of my two main lifestyle shift goals: eat healthy food. The one that I have actually started. (I'll get to why I haven't started exercising in a moment.) It was going well for a while: not too difficult to accomplish, although I do now have to store stuff in my mini fridge in my room as well as my bin in the fridge downstairs to fit everything. Lately however, things have started going wrong. For instance, I get hungry at work before lunch. Usually I take the edge off my hunger by drinking ridiculous amounts of tea, but the last time I went grocery shopping I thought to myself, "Why don't I get some vegetables to chop up and bring to munch on when I'm hungry?" A great idea! Last Monday I got a cucumber and some carrots for that purpose, and completely forgot about them in my refrigerator until this Tuesday morning. Opened the cucumber, and not only was it soaked with what I assume is condensation, but some of that water is frozen, and the cucumber is squishy. I'm no cucumber expert, but I've never eaten a squishy, slightly discoloured cucumber and I didn't intend to start. This is a problem I have been running into a lot lately, for whatever reason: my food is going bad when it shouldn't be. I mean, I did leave the cucumber there for a week, but I don't think that vegetables should be failing that quickly. I hate throwing out food; it makes me feel like I've wasted my money.

Anyways, besides the whole "my fridge causes my food to rot prematurely" problem, eating well hasn't been too bad. I make stir fry, salad, chicken...all quite good. The main thing I wanted to do this summer, however, was start to get in shape by running. I toyed with the idea all through May and in June finally decided I would get off my lazy ass and do something about it. I called my mom to request that she mail me my running attire, as I had not brought it with me, but she told me that she couldn't find my shoes and told me to just buy new stuff. Okay, fine. Went to the mall, got a pair of shoes, got a good shirt for running, and went home after work one day. I emailed my uncle, who is a personal trainer, asking if he had any tips. While I was discussing my decision to run with him, he said, "The most important thing about running is the shoes, as long as you have a good pair of shoes you're golden," and I felt pretty good about myself because I had just gotten a pair of shoes, and told him so. He asked what brand, and as I was about to say, he said, "Any brand is fine, just don't say Nike." Annnd guess what brand I had bought. Of course. (I do have to say, however, that the shoes were quite expensive and I am glad to have gotten my money back.) He then suggested a few brands, and told me that if I found a pair at SportChek, he could get them at a discount for me. Awesome. So I went to SportChek, found a pair of an acceptable brand, told him...annnnnnd the girl he trains who works at SportChek couldn't get them in my size. That was about a month ago, and nothing has happened since.

However, soon the struggle will stop, as my mother, whom I'm seeing this weekend, heard this story and told me that she would just get me a pair of shoes and I can stop the struggle.

That does mean that I'd actually have to use them though.

Hm. Exercise.



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Report: Vanquished.

Dear Internet,

I have just completed the first formal report of my university career. It was quite the feat. I had to write about my writing. Not even kidding. The point of the report was to analyze my abilities as a writer and come up with ways I could improve myself. Really, it was just so that when we have to write reports in the future, we know what the hell we're doing.

At first, hearing that I had to write a 20ish page report about my writing, I said to myself, "How am I ever going to pull this off." Then I was told that there are only 4-6 pages of actual analysis; the rest consisted of title pages and tables of contents and such. So, less daunting. I figured I could get it done if I spent a day working on it. Put in a good few hours of work and VOILA! Report.

I was a little off with my assumption. You see, I wasn't entirely expecting to sit there for an hour or so trying desperately to start it off. I had ideas. I knew exactly what my conclusions were. I had the ability to create (I mean...find...) quotations from teachers, family, and peers regarding my writing to refer to for analysis. I knew what "recommendations" I wanted to include. So why should it take me forever to start it off?

Well, I think that the problem was that I spent a long time fiddling around with formatting it (I was using MS Word '07, which is designed to be pretty easy to use for that sort of thing), then I was like "maybe I could start it off with a nifty quotation," which is something I would often do in high school. Unfortunately, reading a ton of quotations then put me in the mindset of fiction writing, and I was having trouble switching back to formal Nazi tone report. I finally got something out, and a few hours later, after much struggling, I had a draft.

I refused to look at it once it was all written. Instead, I made some poor consumption decisions. Because, I knew, by the end, that I was just desperately trying to FINISH. To put SOMETHING out there. And of course, without fail, whenever you are just trying to put out SOMETHING, that SOMETHING turns out to be CRAP. So I spent eight and a half hours on the initial draft...then another four fixing it. Apparently you're SUPPOSED to take about half the time it took to draft to revise and edit...but that seemed like a bit much to me. Considering I spent most of the time rewriting the SOMETHING I had produced the day before.

But yes! Now I'm done! And although I do feel like I could have done better...well, after the third time I struggled with my page numbers and had finally gotten them right, I was done. I couldn't get the formatting *quite* to my tastes. I would put in a section break and mess everything up. I would try to move a diagram an inch lower, and it would turn up on the previous page. Ridiculous. All the time, being told by Steven that if I just used LaTex (the program, not the plastic-like substance used in very not sexual things as well as sexual things), it would all be so much easier.

The point is that it's done. I'll eat some macaroni and cheese to celebrate.



Monday, July 12, 2010

My Disasterous Sense of Direction

Dear Internet,

Let it be known that I have a horrible sense of direction. The worst part of it is that I also get really strong feelings of intuition when driving, that is, I often "have a feeling" of what direction I need to go in. Unfortunately, these feelings are almost always wrong. It's one of those things when they're right often enough that I never know if I'm going to be right or wrong.

For example, this Friday I was driving from the city I'm living in now to where my boyfriend lives, but I was running early and he was still at work. So I had to drive to where he's working. Which wouldn't normally be a problem, as I had a GPS with me (my aunt and uncle's, her name is Vanessa) and presumably GPS' know where EVERYTHING is. Sadly, Vanessa seemed a bit lost when I asked her to look for a place with the word "institute" in the title. Or "quantum." Or, the entire title, "Institute for Quantum Computing." At this point I was sitting in the mall parking lot intensely trying to figure out whether or not Vanessa had any idea about what I was talking about. Finally, I told Vanessa that she could take a break, as I knew the following things: the general area the IQC is located, the fact that it is very close to my university, and what direction the university is in from the mall, due to my many trips between the mall and university via bus.

Unfortunately, I was feeling creative.

"Gee, I bet I could find a faster way from here to there without following the bus route," I told myself, "The bus has to make a ton of stops, but I think that if I follow this one street, I can get to a street that borders the university." So I went that way. And I drove. Followed my intuition at every turn. "Hm, should I turn here, or continue straight?"

Finally, I found myself in endless farmland. Passed a few horse and buggies. Thought to myself, "I should have Vanessa get me SOMEWHERE more helpful before I find myself running out of gas on some dirt road in the middle of nowhere and having to ask a bunch of Mennonites to give me a ride back to the world-wide hub of science and math (a.k.a. my university, which is awesome).

So I had Vanessa guide me to the correct office park, and I saw where I went wrong, and laughed at myself in the re-realization that I should never, never follow my intuition and ALWAYS stick to directions and what I KNOW FOR SURE to be true...instead of being silly and being creative. It's like the worst combination ever of my mom's and my dad's unique senses of directions; my dad pretty much has an internal GPS, whereas my mom never has any idea where she's going. I have the actual sense of direction of my mother, but the intuition and random feelings of which way I should go from my dad. But since I have such a poor sense of direction, the feelings are, as I stated before, almost always wrong.

Anyways, I eventually made it to Steve, after making peace with Vanessa and giving him a call when I knew I was close. Although I have to say that it's a little weird that Vanessa had no idea what I was talking about. Not something I've ever experienced with a GPS.


"...Did you mean, perhaps, that you want to go to this other, completely unrelated place?"

Also, at one point, Vanessa thought that I was driving off the road and was desperately trying to get me to see the light of pavement, telling me to take these turns onto roads that she knew existed. I thought it was entertaining, while at the same time worried that she wouldn't properly direct me to where I was going.

Anyways, I've rambled quite enough for today. So, internet, until...later!



Thursday, July 8, 2010


Dear Internet,

When was it decided that smooth = sexy? When was it decided that, in order to be good-looking as defined by pop culture, men and women must undergo ordeals akin to torture, on their own volition? It's madness! Suicidal, even. If you're not careful, suddenly its BAM! Cut, pain, blood. Ow. Not that, of course, razors make a "BAM!" sound, but that was just thrown in there for effect. Although, I think that would be pretty cool, if razors made a "BAM!" sound. Randomly. To keep you on your toes. People these days would be much more alert, and it would give shaving another purpose besides the stupid "I wanna be purrrrrty" reason.

I'd like to point out that back in the day (and by "the day" I mean the times when William Shakespeare was alive and kickin' and writing his many, many theatrical works of art), calling someone "beardless" was a great insult. You were calling him a child, immature and unworthy to make men's decisions: unworthy, in fact, to do anything but grovel for your mommy when you were the least bit offended/scared/unhappy/angry/etc. I doubt that calling a woman "smooth-legged" was equivalent (women, I suppose, couldn't be insulted due to the fact that they were women and unworthy to do anything manly anyways), but the point remains! Calling somebody beardless, in essence, was cutting down his sexuality. Calling somebody beardless was telling him that he was a mere boy, unable to do anything in bed with a woman besides sleep and suck his thumb.

Food for thought.



Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Dear Internet,

I'm sorry to hear that Prince thinks that you are completely over. Don't take him too seriously; this is the guy who had his name legally changed to an unpronounceable symbol. He clearly doesn't know what's up.

Don't fret, I'll always love you! :P



Dear Internet,

I would like to start off by thanking the omnipotent powers that be for A/C and ice cream. It's quite hot...and after braving my commute home, A/C and ice cream are quite nice.

Which brings me ever so subtly to the topic of commuting. A commute could be a five minute walk, or a two hour ordeal. My commute happens to fall in between, in the "half hour annoyance" category. I walk about ten minutes to a subway station, take the subway a few stops west, get off, get on another subway and take that a few stops south, then walk about ten minutes to my office building (and the opposite on the way home). That doesn't sound so bad, someone naive may say, at least you don't have to walk. At least I don't have to walk. I suppose. But there are times when walking may be less annoying than putting up with the damned TTC.

Damned may be a little strong. But it's quite often an annoyance to me. First of all, the subway stations are stifling. Standing and waiting for the train to come for more than just a few minutes is a special sort of nine-to-five hell that couldn't really be appreciated by someone who did not have to put up with it every day. After the first minute of staring (at the screen saying how much longer until the train arrives, where five minutes for it are about ten minutes on my watch, or into the tunnel through which the train will come whooshing, or at the advertisements plastered everywhere, it really doesn't matter), a dull sort of panic sets in where you realize just how hot it is and just how stale the air is and just how many people are going to be crowding onto the already-packed train behind you. It's overwhelming to the point where even thinking feels hot.

Then, the train arrives, and you pile in and try to maintain as much of your personal space bubble as possible. Although it is cooler and air-conditioned in the train, your brain has already been boiled waiting and everything is annoying. From the man in front of you who backs up when a girl nearly falls into him when the train starts moving, but doesn't move forward again once she regains her balance, or the couple who avoids falling over by leaning against each other (way too much physical contact for the subway, a place where personal space is honored above all else), or the incompetent people who squish around the doors instead of moving into the more spacious centre of the car, or even (if you are riding an older train) the lack of an overhead bar to hang onto as the train jerks towards's all annoying. Terribly, terribly annoying.

Yesterday, the subway was closed for a few stations on the west arm of the subway route in the afternoon. "Not a problem for me," I thought as I listened to the announcement, barely audible over the sounds of trains screeching to a halt, "I'm headed east." Looking at the screen above me, however, showed that perhaps it did affect the east-bound subway somewhat, for apparently five minutes, as opposed to the typical rush-hour two or three, had to elapse before another train pulled into the station. An extra few minutes of brain boiling before entering the subway car, and of course, the platform filled quickly with people who were probably equally as annoyed as I was. When the train finally arrived (after five minutes according to the screen and ten minutes according to my watch), it was crowded, and I was stuck the middle. And of course, it was an older train which had pulled in, meaning there was no overhead bar to clasp as the train began moving, and thus I was stuck to hone my subway surfing skills.

Subway surfing is what I like to call the action of riding the subway, standing up, without leaning on or holding onto anything. This is best done, I've discovered, by spreading your legs somewhat and bending your knees, as if you were snowboarding (or, I suppose, actually surfing). That way, it's easiest to prevent falling (due to a lower centre of gravity, I believe, but I was never very good at the conceptual side of physics). However, spreading one's feet is a luxury not often achievable in rush hour traffic, and certainly not after the people who boarded the train had been congregating on the platform for more than two or three minutes. Thus, as the train started (and mysteriously and annoyingly stopped and started and stopped and started again) I was moving more than I would have liked and bumping into people more than they would have liked. My annoyance must have shown on my face, because the woman standing next to me, who did have the luxury of holding onto a vertical bar that was sadly out of my own reach, looks at me and says, "You know what TTC stands for? Take The Car."

Ah, if only I could. But I must put up with another two months of the nine to five summer hell in this big, hot city, until I get to return to my blessed, blessed suburbs.



Monday, July 5, 2010


Dear Internet,

It seems as though I have come to a very important yet probably uninteresting point in my life: the point at which real cynicism kicks in and I realize just how twisted and crazy this world is. I may be a little bit over-dramatic, as I think I often tend to be, but that's just how it is, I guess. So, the obvious thing to do for me was to start a blog. Not that I don't already have one, I was pretty well a fanatic back in the earlier 2000's, however, I think it's time I stepped out of my old blog (started almost 6 years ago - that's an eternity to you, eh?) and into a new one.

A lot has changed since I first started blogging as a wee middle school-er back in 2004. Blogdrive informs me that my first ever blog post, titled "Amusing Yet Irellevant [sic] Facts," was published on November 23rd, 2004, at approximately 5:00 pm, EST. Not that you care, dearest Internet; time passes quickly for you and what has been a little less than six years for me seems like an eternity to you. But looking at these old entries from when I was just a silly girl of 14 reminds me of looking at my diary...just without so many constant proclamations of love for random boys whom I would set my heart on as the years went by. I've often thought in amusement that if I were to ever write an autobiography, the most accurate tracking of various stages of my life would be by the boys I had crushes on.

However, I digress. It is with pleasure, Internet, that I invite you to read my letters to you, as I comment on things going on in my life with the unique perspective of one who has only recently begun to appreciate life for what it may or may not really be. As Stephen King has written about the age of nineteen (for I do love Stephen King, no matter how lacking his works supposedly are in terms of real literary relevance), "...that's a pretty fine age. Maybe the best age. You can rock and roll all night, but when the music dies out and the beer wears off, you're able to think. And dream big dreams." And I do enjoy dreaming my big dreams, even if my rocking and rolling all night is a little bit non-existent.

Anyways, Internet, allow me to say that my name is Caro, and I hope you enjoy these little letters I'll be writing to you.