Category Archives: Random


Today I needed to buy laundry detergent.  I noticed one from Arm and Hammer that touted itself as biodegradable and phosphate-free.  Great, I love having an environmental option when I shop (whoever tracks the groceries I buy on my credit card must notice this).  But as usual, I looked to see if there was an even better option.  And I noticed that all the Tide bottles I looked at said phosphate-free.  In tiny writing on the front.  Sunlight didn’t even say anything.

I had to look up later the significance of phosphates (here it is – wikipedia) and it is the sort of thing that could be more prevalent on the label.  But the bigger issue is how the hell have none of the major companies made a biodegradable laundry detergent?!  The market is there – the EU has already mandated it.

I bought the Arm & Hammer.  It was also way cheaper than chemical-rich alternatives from other companies.  Now let’s see how it cleans…


Positions reversed

Goes from makes-you-think to considerably gory.  Take me there!

Waiting Lists

Wow, I just called an apartment co-op inquiring about rental availability, and they said they had a wait list starting at ten years, for a bachelor.  What?!

Necessary questions:

  • What could make a building so good that people are willing to plan one or two apartments ahead that they want to live there?  I know it costs nothing to add a name to the list, but don’t you think of moving forward with your life, especially…
  • …When it comes to bachelor apartments.  If I was living in a bachelor now, I would certainly hope to move up a little more in ten years.  What about owning a house and building equity?
  • Maybe it’s worth calling back, just in case my life 12-15 years from now is nothing at all like I hope it’ll be and at least I have a fantastic apartment.  Damn, that’s depressing.

Cost of Living in the Far North

I read this article, and I was shocked to learn just how expensive food is in Nunavut. About three times the cost of what I’d expect to pay in Toronto.

I had a thought of ‘what can they expect,’ as everything has to be flown in since very little can be grown there. Some places have subsidies and/or higher wages to balance these expenses, but in a way (devil’s advocate) why should I make heaps more money working at a Tim Horton’s in Iqaluit than at one in Winnipeg? Clearly I need to learn more about economic theory. And it feels ironic writing this from Australia where food (and everything) is far more expensive than Canada, and wages are similarly high ($15.51/hr for adults [ref]) but as I understand it, their mining-led economy is booming so the money is flowing.

A Redditor replied to the link, opening a discussion worth reading in his/her first paragraph about the rights of Native Canadians. I don’t want to presume enough to offer an opinion here.

Back to the original purpose of the post, I wonder what should be done: Reduce food prices, raise wages, lower taxes or otherwise subsidize, or try to grow food in the region. That last one is at least worth considering, because remote greenhouses would tackle the problem at its source, and could be economically feasible. (Maybe?)
And I’ve heard before the concept of an urban greenhouse, to reduce the distance from field to market to plate in a world that cares (or should care) about carbon footprints.

Most people don’t normally like skin or lumps in their mashed potatoes (come on, skin is delish, and good for you), but in restaurants, I like them, because they are evidence that my food is made from potatoes, and not a mix.

The internet lounge I’m posting from allows smoking.  UGH.

On Christmas, a few of us went to the point and climbed down some rocks.  It was a cool outcropping of sedimentary rocks, and I wondered how they were formed (I don’t remember enough) and eroded.  I found large rocks to hit against the thin layers exposed from the side, and I thought of humans learning such things tens of thousands of years ago.

Washroom Attendants

Having worked as a server, I recognize the hard work and stress that comes with work in the service industry.  So I tip servers/barbers/cab drivers/etc rather generously.

But I get a sinking feeling when I enter a washroom and there’s a washroom attendant.  Many of those guys are cool and friendly, but I don’t want to have the soap squirted into my hands, and I don’t need to have a paper towel handed to me.  I don’t use their colognes or other stuff, so I hate feeling the obligation to tip for a service I didn’t want or need or ask for.

Even worse was a recent time when I didn’t tip the guy (he pretty much asked for a tip, wtf) and the next time I used the restroom he was a jerk about it, like, no you may not use my soap or take one of my paper towels.

So I looked up their job description, and it was a bit of a discovery, since these guys’ presence helps keep restrooms clean, prevents fights from starting, and prevents drug use.  All of those make sense, especially at night clubs, which is the only place I’ve seen them.  But is that a tippable service?  Is it akin to tipping a police officer?  It’s definitely a passive service rather than an active one, if it’s considered a service at all.

They may have more purpose than I thought at first, but I would rather they just did the important security part and let me take my own soap (and I use the air dryers, thanks).


I would love it if washrooms that used paper towel had a separate bin for it, to be recycled.

Super Mario Indeed!

Here is a list of many of the super powers that Mario has shown in games:

  • Can jump to multiple times his own height
  • Can change direction in mid air
  • Can fly using a cape, hat with wings, or (even more amazingly) a raccoon tail.  At least the propeller mushroom makes some sense.
  • Can ingest a magic mushroom and grow to twice his size
  • Can ingest a “fire” flower and be able to generate and throw fireballs
  • Can ingest an “ice” flower and be able to generate and throw ice pellets
  • Can walk up walls beyond the normal limits of physics
  • Does not get hurt falling from a great height
  • Can jump and accelerate quickly downwards
  • Can fly through empty space without suffocating.
  • Can spin with enough force to break through otherwise solid ground or kill otherwise lethal enemies
Omitted from the list are things that are more properties of the surroundings or items:
  • The enemies that die by being stepped on from above
  • The vines that are strong enough to support his weight when he holds on or climbs
  • The frog suit that improves jumping makes some sense (similar to wearing something on ones feet)
  • The penguin suit that allows him to slide around on some surfaces
  • The hat that allows him to walk through some walls
  • The hat that turns his body into a metallic substance.
The ones that break the laws of physics are most incredible.  But those kinds of things happen in many video games.

Best damn ice cream cake ever.

I had given up on ice cream cake. It was never the same as real cake – and if I wanted ice cream I much preferred just ice cream.
This could be a game changer. We had an ice cream cake from one of the local deluxe ice cream places. But this ice cream cake had real cake in it. It was 2 layers of cake with 2 layers of ice cream, equal portions. A beautiful ratio.
This is monumental on its own, but the ice cream is also top quality delicious ice cream.
I’m blown away. It wasn’t just okay. I would choose this.

We Need to Talk About Literary Analysis

I’m reading one of my favourite books, We Need to Talk About Kevin, for the second time.  It’s fantastic.  I’m devouring it just like I was the first time.

What I’m noticing in myself is how I’m analyzing it like an English teacher might.  Noticing foreshadowing, narrative, the highlighting effects of opposites, giving serious thought to the characters and who’s right and who does Kevin hate more, etc.  Not that doing this is ruining it for me, it’s just passive thinking while I read.  If anything, it’s provided me more enjoyment.  I’m getting a lot more out of it.

Since this is the first time I’ve been conscious of such analysis, I wonder what it is about the book that evoke it.


EDIT (8:40pm) So the print edition I read has book club discussion questions at the back.  Somehow, this cheapens the realizations I made while reading.  Sad.

“And gas prices expected to go up by point-four cents tonight”

As heard on radio and TV news.

Thanks for the warning!  If I buy today instead of tomorrow, I’ll save 24 cents when I fill my aircraft carrier Cadillac Escalade.  Because there’s such a significant difference between $70 and $70.24 that I just can’t bear to spend the extra quarter.  Also, my local greengrocer upped the price of celeriac from $2.39 to $2.79 without informing customers beforehand.  I ought to write a stern letter of complaint.