Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The other day when I was at the Farmer's Market, a little girl began to hold my hand. Her caretaker, a woman who was attempting to corral three other children sighed and said, "Don't hold stranger's hands!"

The girl looked up and me and asked, "What's your name?"

"Jessie," I answered.

She turned back to the woman, "Not a stranger any more!"


Friday, November 27, 2009

The other day I was on Mystery Google, which is a great deal like regular Google in that you type in a search request and you are given pages that match the perimeters of the search. How it differs however, is what makes Mystery Google interesting: instead of getting the results for your search, you get the results of someone else's.

It was fairly interesting at first, typing in things like 'you've failed me for the last time', 'okapi' and 'Okie from Muskogee' and getting things like 'kilts' and 'adult sized onesies'. Then I got a phone number and a message that said 'Text for ur next mission.'

So I did.

From what I can tell this is not an uncommon occurrence, people put in their number and a message similar to the one I received and then wait for a response, they then text back a 'mission' for the replier to complete; such as dressing up like a ninja or serenading an acquaintance via phone.

While I find giving a stranger one's number dubious, leaving confusing lyrical messages on a Michigan teenager's phone is certainly an interesting waste of time.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Last week (I think it was only last week) when I was washing my hands, I noticed a several small yellow squares leaned up against the washroom mirrors. Every square was embossed with the slogan: DontBeATOSSER
I was mildly amused by this and took a square for myself. I then proceeded to the recesses of the cafeteria to eat my lunch. At lunch I had soup, a peach, and 700ml of water because I had a headache from dehydration. After, when I was wandering around looking for a trashcan I came upon a much larger yellow square that was likewise decorated. The larger square was a table with two young women seated at it.
I walked into the general proximity of the table, being as they had no other students' attention at the time, they greeted me. I was given another yellow square with a handy British insult and treated to a speech on the importance of bottle recycling. I was also informed that that day only I could receive a free item of a type determined by how many bottles I gave them. Zero for a magnet, 3 for something I don't remember, 5 for a bag like tarp thing, and 10 for a t-shirt.
Without further ado I went out to my van to put my lunch kit away. While I was there I figured I would collect all of my bottles and bring them back as I am an utter slob and need to do this sort of thing whenever I am reminded.
I did not bother to count them and simply shoved the bottles in a plastic bag. I also took the full one from on my dash, in case I became thirsty at a later time.
When I walked back to the table, the two girls starting laughing; apparently they had not expected anybody to return so quickly with so much. One of them counted while I gave them the bottles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and...
So of course I did what any person who wants a tee shirt for the equivalent of less than a dollar: I gave the full bottle in my hand a long hard look, and then I drank it.
Directly after this incident, I went to my 50 minute math class. For the majority of my class all was well, I did my equations with little difficultly and leisurely checked them. However, this was not to last.
At about the 45th minute I began to experience mild pain in the area of my bladder, which I ignored as I only had 5 minutes to go; four minutes later this pain had increased by no small amount and had spread to the area of my kidneys. At the end of class, instead of hanging around for an extra 5-10 minutes as is my habit; I stood up quickly and jerkily made my way out.
The closest washroom to the math lab is only about 30 metres away: this bathroom was of course closed for renovations. The next closest bathroom that does not involve stairs is approximately 100 metres away, which is quite a waddle.
I still have no idea how to find a place casual enough for me to wear a shirt like that.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Les Immortels

The more French I encounter, the more I realize the language I am taught in class differs absurdly from the language my father (a native speaker) knows; my father has pointed this out as well. So in order to solve a mystery that plagues the nation, I asked the teacher why.
Apparently our textbooks are intended for American students (unsurprising), thus the vocabulary used is not a Canadian dialect; it is instead most likely developed using french as advised by L'Académie française in France, an advisory council for the french language.
Disregarding Canadian schools' odd textbook choices, the members of the French Academy have a most fascinating nickname: The Immortals. Pretty intense no? The reason for this name is that barring impropriety, members' terms are for life, as a consequence most of them are quite elderly; currently the youngest was born in 1952 and the oldest in 1908.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The inevitable has happened: I have been told by a teacher not to feel ignored if they do not call on me. This may sound odd, but it happens often; at least it does to me.
The primary reason for this is my love of answering questions, which was never really curbed, because only rarely in any class I was in did another student wish to answer. Ostensibly the reasoning most of my teachers neglect to call on me, is because of a need to know whether the rest of the class is also aware of he information, not just the over-exited know it all bouncing up and down in the front. From what I have been told when I mention this, my problem is not shared by the general populace.
This occurrence is by no means limited to school, anywhere people ask questions of a tangentially academic nature it is inevitable that I will dominate the discussion to the point where it is made clear to me that the reason I'm not being called on is in no way personal. Drivers ed, youth group, and church to the point where there is a known quota of how many questions I am allowed to answer.
Of course now that I'm in college there are other students who actually join in as well, which is a fascinating thing for me. It will be interesting to have some outside input.
Though I suppose since other people want to answer too, I shall have to learn to control myself.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's a Trap! D:

Yesterday I saw a poster with an ice-cream sundae on it. Being as it was clearly to my interests, I stopped to read it, in large friendly letters it said: Make your own sundae, September 9, 11:00-1:00, Free. Looking at my schedule I noted a large amount of available time that overlapped with the times stated on the poster. I decided that if I somehow managed to remember, I would go to the event to see what was what. I was so naive back then.
So today after French I sat at a table with a good view of most of the cafeteria. After about an hour, which I spent reading a book for English, I noted that the amount of tables being set up was excessive if only intended for serving ice-cream. By reading the label attached to the booths it became clear that the tables were all for liaisons from different companies and organizations.
I still couldn't see any ice-cream, so I wandered into the fray.
The first people I passed were three different groups of bank employees asking students to sign up for visas, they gave me a highlighter shaped like a triangle and then talked to me about how it was important to get a credit score before one became in debt due to the expense of secondary education. I politely told them, "Shut up you're not my mom!"...I mean, "No, thank you."
Next I happened upon a booth dedicated to pregnancy safety and the importance of abstaining from alcohol while pregnant. I accepted a few pamphlets and alcohol free drink recipes from the ladies at the booth, but I declined to pester them with questions as I know most of the facts and am a teetotaler on general principal i.e. not their target audience.
At this point people started walking by me with ice-cream, yet still no sign of the source. I took note of where those with frozen deliciousness were coming from and headed there with determination in my heart.
On my quest I saw a Grande Prairie Public Library booth, an GP Art Gallery booth, a 2010 Winter Games booth, and I wandered too close to the STI awareness booths and was given a lollipop, a pen, and a condom. If I ever figure out the thought process that led to that particular combination of items, I'll be sure to let you all know.
After battling (Read: strolling haphazzardly) down a narrow hall, I finally came upon the table of ice-cream!
Unfortunatly the table was far too buzy, so instead I ate a banana from the nutrition booth. It was tasty.
I had a point, didn't I?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mmmmm... hyperglycemia.

Two hard days of orientation: being sat in a auditorium to be talked at, going to various classrooms to be talked at, going into the cafeteria and running back out wailing like H.P. Lovecraft's imagination had torn into reality between the drink table and the chips when the band started playing at volume approximately in the same decibel range as a jet takeoff. (Nerve damage aside they were pretty good, I listened from two floors up.)
I liked most of the speeches given, but since I went to all of the available sessions I heard some sentiments repeatedly; being my paranoid self, my mind rapidly developed crackpot theories about all of them.
The sugary speeches about how great all of the faculty are and how much they care about our education beside being all around swell guys? CULT. That how much they compliment each other could put a person off of sweets for the rest of their life, natural or otherwise. It speaks well for their work environment, but seriously? A complement or two is nice, but we are going to get to know these people, our interactions with them will affect our attitudes towards them far more than what we are told about them; if he or she is a great person, let that speak for itself.
I could go on.
I kind of wish to learn the name of Mr. Sunglasses from our session today, anybody who wants to 'bedazzle the shit' out of a lab coat would certainly make for interesting conversation.
The closing speech today was a caution about the h1n1 flu virus/ how to properly wash your hands tutorial. It detailed the myriad ways one can become infected, as well as the proper length of hand washing and frequently missed hand areas. The woman giving the talk wondered out loud why there was no song dedicated to these oft missed places to remind us; I thought it obvious, have you ever tried to rhyme 'cuticles' ?
Classes start tomorrow, wish me luck~

Monday, August 31, 2009

I’m going to school this year; tomorrow is orientation day. It’s going to be my first day of school in eight years.

I’m somewhat anxious about this change. Though academic learning has always been one of my favorite forms of entertainment, I can claim very little enjoyment of schools; my experiences in elementary school were generally unpleasant past third grade and were of mixed value even before that point.

While I have little doubt that I will do well in my studies, I do worry about my ability to behave warmly around fellow students and teachers. I have made progress socially, but I still have a weak point in regards to feeling comfortable around strangers. A person whom I can feel relaxed around would greatly ease necessary interaction.

Tonight I will set my alarm and pack a lunch; tomorrow I will observe the social structure of the student body and hopefully isolate a prospect for friendly communication.

I will set aside these worries for now; they have no use until I can set a realistic problem to work on.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And to the Ball I Shall Wear a Bright Blue Tee.

Last Saturday was the opening day of the new building at work, we of course held this extravaganza two months after it opened for business in order to make as little sense as possible. Despite the promise of a free water bottle, live music, a clown, and some guy from a local radio station, I never became exceptionally excited about the prospect of shoving a few hundred people into a building that usually houses no more than sixty customers at once.
Not that there is anything inherently wrong with the idea, an opening creates attention, raising our profile in the public eye, as well as bringing in new patrons who would have otherwise avoided us if not for the special occasion. So at least from the viewpoint of our institution I understand the reasoning behind it. On the other hand I utterly fail to comprehend the thought process that leads to someone going to a place on a certain day that they explicitly know is going to be freakishly busy; maybe I should try eating more vegetables.
Call me asocial, but I've never been fond of large amounts of people; individuals certainly, but people, especially in crowds tend to make me panic and barricade myself in the nearest supplies closet/bathroom, in order to hyperventilate in private. Gee, I really do prefer quiet, solitary atmospheres, maybe that's why I work at a library.
I can't say much for the success of the event, when I asked a few of my supervisors about how we did, they all told me that it had been very busy and seemed to be unaware that I had been working with them on the day in question, no other information was given, despite numerous solicitations. I have added this to their portfolio as further evidence of my suspicion that most of them are animatronic.
I became a bit stressed during the later half of the day, due to the noise level; thus I spent three hours pretending to be a spy.
Very relaxing

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Random Website Recomendations.

Vocabulary Test
Via Michael M. Spear of Richmond University, this is a test featuring an allotment of the more obscure words of the English language. It's extremely difficult, but you'll feel all the more clever when you get an answer correct.

Sand Falling
Well it's... Sand... and it falls.
Beyond the obvious, in this game four different colored streams of sand fall from the top of the screen, you can build walls to catch the sand or alter it's flow as you please, as well as some more advanced options found at the bottom. Reminiscent of the first time I came to posses an egg timer similar to an hour glass; mindlessly fascinating as well as relaxing.

Television Tropes

One of the largest collections of descriptions of writing devices and examples thereof on the web. Here are a few pages to get you started:
This my dear readers is a jewel among jewels for a archive binge junkie; don't even touch this link if you don't at least have a couple hours and/or days to kill.

Awkward Zombie
Webcomic, a favorite of mine, will probably take you less time than the previous links and is still hilarious.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My favorite exhibit currently on display in the Prairie Art Gallery is a Japanese rock garden with a small fountain in the centre. My favoring this particular exhibit with fondness is primarily due to it's peacefulness and ascetically pleasing nature; but more importantly, because like every decorative fountain I have ever encountered, people have been throwing money in it.
Incongruous it is, little Asian fountain filled with little Canadian coins, in honor of an old European tradition.

Wishing wells

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

When to fold

I recently veiwed a public service announcement about ‘gambling wisely’ featuring Kenny Rodgers’ The Gambler. The apparent purpose of these advertisements is to cheerfully remind people that it's 'okay' to gamble, as long as one knows when to stop.
Now I can see why the government would want people to avoid driving themselves into poverty via bingo and blackjack; those people who's gambling difficulties had caused monetary difficulties (as well as their families), might then become dependent on government support... and there are probably some people in government circles who actually care. Intentions aside, my view is that this ad is a waste of money, and of no help to anyone.
Problem gamblers, (the people whom this ad is aimed) have what the American Psychiatry Association likes to call an ‘impulse control disorder’. What this means is that for people who have extreme gambling problems, even if they do realize that they need to stop to do so is difficult as to be nearly impossible; thus this handy reminder to quit while you're ahead can only help people who already know how to quit and is absolutely no help at all to the those who need assistance.
Setting aside the issue as to whether one can truly gamble wisely or if that is an oxymoron, what I am truly bemused by is the choice of song.
Some rather interesting subtext of The Gambler is that the old gambler who gives the advice of the chorus had most likely learned those words of wisdom through experience of what happens when you don’t know when to fold. As one can infer from the lyrics; the gambler was freight hopping as a means of transportation, had to ask his fellow traveler to supply him with whiskey, a cigarette and the means of lighting it, and was dead by the end of the song. Clearly not a man who's life had gone well. If anyone had bothered to listen to the entire song instead of just the chorus they would have noticed this.
‘Stay away from risky situations’ is a far more intelligent message to receive from the gambler’s story than ‘gamble wisely’.

The Gambler Lyrics
American Psychiatry Association
Gamblers Anonymous

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I have received my very first cell phone; admittedly not the most impressive thing considering the ten year old ‘crossing guard’ at my niece’s school got one months ago, but be quiet this is a big step for me.
I was pretty nervous when we went to set up an account. My mother remarked that my reluctance to possess new technology was highly abnormal for someone who owns a personal laptop and operates it several hours a day. My being upset with the addition of the phone to my repertoire is most likely due to my dislike of spending money, or my more irrational dislike of change in any form.
Despite my misgivings I do realize the convenience of being available for contact regardless of location (inability to reach me while out of household was a major reason for getting the cellular) and I have made attempts to accept the concept. After all, raging against the change is irrational, and unlikely to negate the necessity of it.
In other news my mother has supplied me with so much perishable food I will have to eat 0.7 kg a day if I hope to consume all of it before it expires; this is either an expression of affection or a nefarious plot to make me eat until I am extremely ill. The first is far more likely as I am unable to think of anything I have done that could have earned her displeasure and the blueberries are very tasty.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For the past year and a half the persons of my household have been looking after the two daughters of my eldest sister during the day, a moderate portion of their stays I supervised directly.

Madison, the elder of the two is six years old, Guinevere the younger is two years; I find myself very fond of them. I have spent time with children before these two, but rarely on a regular basis, and never where I was in a position of authority. My interactions with them often vary quite widely; from games of pretend to video games, from long talks to cake baking. I believe that they feel fondness towards me as well.

This fall we will be unable to continue our previous care, due to my youngest sister proceeding with her career ambitions, my attending college, and everyone else’s erratic schedules. For me this is somewhat disquieting.

I worry about them, an unusual sentiment for me considering my usually undemonstrative nature. Never the less I feel a depth of affection for them which rarely extends beyond a bare few. I know that they will have a great deal of time that I shall not experience with them; while I do not begrudge them the happy times I worry about the troubles that eventually come to all people. I want to protect them, even though I know that, such a task is not for me, but for their parents.

I wish them well.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

At Least There Aren't Any Elephants

I took a bit too much of a newer supplement yesterday morning and by 'a bit too much' I do mean at least half again on top of the recommended dosage. The purpose of the supplement, at least in the amount I'm supposed to take it in, is that of anxiety reduction. However, in the amount I did take it in it's effect is more that of a slight high. (Stupid powdered meds.)
Thus I spent most of yesterday doing what I usually do when something psycho-active finds it's way into my diet; feeling sleepy, smiling ridgedly, giggling far too much, and wishing that it would go away soon.
I know a lot of people would ask me to clarify that last sentence, as at least 80% of the people I know quite look forward to their time with mood altering stimulants or depressants, whether their drug of choice is a night out with alcohol, a long day with a more illicit drug, or simply a spare moment with caffeine.
There are many things I think about in any given day, but whenever I'm in an particularly unnaturally mood, eventually I always seem to wonder, "Why in the name of deep fried frog lips, do people do this on purpose?"
Unlike most of my fellow humanoids, I've never been terribly fond of the 'floaty, floaty, dream-time' quality of downers, nor am I enthralled over the over intense 'DUDE! Is that my hand?' effect I get from uppers and I wouldn't take anxiolytics if it were not for the overly consuming doubt and my certainty that one day, one of those people who like to hug me from behind are going to end up in a 'Jessie had a bad day' induced neck brace.
I prefer reality to stay just the way it is,

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Spicy Flavored

In preparation for becoming an ‘impoverished college student’ and no longer having full access to a kitchen at my mid-day meal, it was suggested that I experiment with instant ramen that is packaged in its’ own bowl. A flat of a dozen of these ramen bowls was purchased so that I could test the meals and judge as to whether they suited my purposes.
The tops of the bowls proudly state that they are ‘Hot & Spicy Flavored’.
While I have eaten many things that are hot, and many things that are spicy, I have never before encountered anything that declared itself to be hot & spicy flavored.
Yesterday I was given an opportunity to test the meal in the field. I work part-time and usually my weekday shifts are two hours long, on Monday however, all of my coworkers in my department were, without exception, out of town. Thus, triple shift.
I arrived at opening and worked until midday, at which time I decided to take my lunch break.
Upon sampling the soup I must say, it is in fact hot & spicy flavored. After 2.5 glasses of water I managed to eat it all. It is certainly not the hottest food I have ever eaten (the hottest food I have ever eaten was a Costa Rican pepper that caused me to make noises at a pitch not generally produced by human beings), but if you find the prospect of eating hot salsa forbidding I would not recommend it. Tasty though.
Upon closer inspection of the ingredient listing I came to the conclusion a more literal description of the soup's flavoring would be beef and red pepper.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Montrose Cultural Centre

Your favorite Peace county located public library and mine, the Grande Prairie Public Library, recently moved locations and became part of the Montrose Cultural centre.
This combination public library/art gallery was funded by the donations of kind citizens involved in the community and heavy taxation.
The building of this facility has been long in coming, and after much lobbying, fundraising, blood, sweat, and manly, manly tears, we see the fruition; a community centre that brings joy to the hearts of children all across the Peace.
Digressing; it's a very nice facility.
The photo to the right is the foyer of the building, this hall leads to the library. There is also a hall to the right which leads to the art gallery, but it also contains an Esquires, and as coffee is a form of alien mind control that already has it's claws in over half the population, the least I can do is limit your exposure before it's too late.
Further along the hall but also to the right are the public washrooms. These washrooms are modern, shiny, and installed with automated sinks and toilets. One of these sinks is either malfunctioning strangely, or host to mischievous spirits. I think I'm going to be disappointed when they get a handyman/priest to come fix/exorcise it, it has personality.

Invisible art people
The Art Gallery looks pretty good, but I haven't met the staff yet and I can't find the exhibits, I choose to believe this is because they're invisible.

I don't have a picture because again, coffee=evil and art people=masters of disguise.

The inside of the library is spacious and neutral toned with lots of shelving for the books, movies, puppies, etc. There are 30 computers open to the public, as well as plenty of tables and seating.
In an interview with one of the staff, I was asked what I was doing wandering around the library with a camera.

The children's area upstairs is brightly colored and a large portion of it's walls and rails are clear and easily smudged, thus requiring daily washing to get rid of the marks of grubby little (and not so little) hands. The beanbags are very comfy and the reading program is up and running.

Above ground parking is limited, but there is a nicely sized parkade. The entrance to the parkade is at the end of the small parking lot.

I think I'll name the tap ghost Junior,

Kind Citizens

Community involment opertunities.
Joy: Tears of.
Prairie Art Gallery

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Knuckle Cracking

You have probably been exposed to this concept at least once; the practice of intentionally twisting, compressing, and bending joints in order to produce an audible sound, often known by the onomatopoeias ‘crack’ and ‘pop’. The most obvious example of joints that make this sound when manipulated are those of fingers and hands, but other joints include jaws, wrists, toes, elbows, ankles, and the vertebrae of the spinal column.
There are a few theories on why joints pop when you twist them, but the prettiest girl at the ball is cavitation, that is, the formation and collapse of a void.
Synovial joints, such as the fingers have, have cavities between the cartilage between the bones, those cavities are filled with a fluid that acts as a lubricant amongst other things. Anyhow, when the joint is manipulated, the surface of the bones are pulled apart which lowers the pressure inside the joint cavity, the reduced pressure allows dissolved gasses escape and form bubbles, the bubbles quickly collapse and produce pops
Despite what I was told by a particularly terrifying woman as a child, the claim that cracking your knuckles will cause the development of arthritis is unsubstantiated by any evidence. On the topic of long term effects, chronic knuckle crackers tend to have laxer grip strength and hand swelling, this however is offset by the chance that lax ligaments are simply more likely to cavitate. So it’s unknown whether people who crack get lax, or if people who are lax are more likely to crack in order to relieve pressure.
I never believed it, but she was still scary.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada Day

Formerly Dominion day, celebrated on the anniversary of the British North America Act (Now the Constitution Act) which when implemented in 1867 united Canada as a country. (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec originally.)
Unlike the United States' national day 'Independence Day', only the formation of the country is celebrated. Being as Canada was not a fully independent state until the Canada act of 1982.

As a child I had very little understanding of the history behind the celebration and was greatly frustrated by the (to my mind at least) nonsensical proceedings. Though as I learn the history and get a true sense of what is actually being celebrated, I begin to develop warmer feelings towards the practice. After all it is not simply an anniversary that is being held, but a remembrance of the beginnings of a society that connects and serves (though poorly at times) approximately 33 million people in a way that a disconnected populace would be hard pressed to.
My city has an annual parade, as well as fireworks the night before. I myself was in the parade last year. My sister is in the Parade today, perhaps if I can find a picture in the city website I will link to it.
Happy Canada Day,

British North America Act 1867

Canada Act 1982
Grande Prairie 08 parade
Population clock

Monday, June 29, 2009


2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup milk

1. Mix dry ingredients ie. flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl that is large enough for your purposes. (when in doubt about bowl size, go bigger.)
2. Add milk, beaten egg, and melted butter. Mix with big spoon.
3. Put mix on greased cookie sheet
4. Bake in oven heated to 425 F (approx. 230 C) for 12 minutes
5. Eat biscuits

Should make about 12 biscuits, unless you are like me and posses no sense of proportion in which case it makes 4.

One difficulty I have is that it's very hard to make this recipe for one person; it's terribly big and somewhat difficult to halve and I don't like refrigerated mix, thus if I want to have biscuits I must invite a friend or two. On the other hand eating is far more enjoyable with company.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Teacher, Classroom, and Student

For the past month I have been attempting to learn Latin American Spanish, via computer program. By 'attempting' I by no means imply a lack of progress; the program is immersion based, and solitary submersion in a single topic is very close to my ideal learning style. I have already completed the second level of the course and moved on to the third (the levels are approx. the same as a semester course).
However, I am beginning to notice a very important draw back to this particular system. I come to realize that while I am learning a language, a code specifically used for communication, my lack of teachers and fellow students greatly inhibits my ability to find someone else who speaks it!
I am aware that a language as common as Spanish will have a purpose at some point in the future, but in the meantime if I wish to practice the only one available for conversation is myself.
Knowledge seems to have little use, when neither applied, nor shared with another. :)

What now, am I?

Oh look, a beginning.