i heart learning

i heart learning

Friday, October 28, 2011

lite brite man

i consider myself to be a city slicker. I can ipod and balance on the metro handsfree if there aren't any seats left as good as the rest of them. but the fact i just used the term 'city slicker' may prove that i still have some country bumpkin in me after all. real addicts don't call themselves addicts; real rich people never call themselves rich - and real city slickers certainly don't call themselves city slickers.

today i learned a trick that any ol country mouse might learn on their first day to the big city.

here goes:

You actually have the push the crosswalk button if you want the crosswalk lite-brite (not a typo, father) man to appear so you can cross the street.


not at every light. but certainly the one at the corner of landsdowne and st. catherine.

Just yesterday I waited there for two full rounds of red lights before ho-humming in frustration then checking for cops and jayrunning to the other side, and I told Nelson so as we approached that very light this evening. Less than a millisecond later we watched as a girl pulls her pointer finger from her jacket pocket to push the crosswalk button in slow motion.



well whaddya know? i thought those big round buttons were just for people who liked to smear their DNA around.

nelson says he needs to start writing down the things i say so he can forever reread how blonde i sometimes can be.

catnip crazy part 2


video

someone call INTERVENTION CATADA

Thursday, October 27, 2011

catnip crazy

many celebrities have videos when they are messed up.
everyone's doing it.
hasselhoff has his burger video - audrina's mom has her TMZ shenanigans - courtney love has any interview she has ever done on camera.

here is stella's.

video

nelson and i had the brilliant plan up upping her catnip intake when we discovered she is portlier than we thought. 14 pounds portlier. i thought she was 10. healthy weight is 8. on a catnip diet she must go.

i know catnip is like reefer madness for cats - but i also know it gets them more active. And more active = maybe she will drop a few pounds. so let the games begin.

after a screaming and serious floor licking session, nelson had me read up on catnip to make sure we don't give her too much and send her into a permanent world where she sees imaginary dogs serving her breakfast and her food talks to her.

and i discovered some very interesting things.

first and foremost. certain humans eat catnip themselves. they make it in tea or use it as a garnish for their salads. don't ask me who these humans are - probably the same ones who eat dog biscuits because they taste like bacon - but nevertheless there are people out there who are just as into the nip as stella is. apparently it gives a calming effect.

i have to admit i am curious to know if catnip tea is any good...but there is no way in hell i would tell you if i drank it.

it is also part of the mint family


AND - the question we wanted answered...cats cannot OD on the stuff. they know when they have had enough and won't continue to eat it. yay! because i want to watch miss bijou eat it everyday. she's a real fun time all messed up.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

costly couch

i confess i learned this yesterday and not today - but this is my blog and I can break any nonsensical rule i want.

people in NYC sometimes rent out their couches to tenants.
i repeat - their couches. couches in the middle of their living space sans 4 walls or a door.

imagine renting a couch like roseanne's?


someone get me some penaten creme in a tin can pronto! And be sure to equip my best friends Mr. Ventolin, Miss eyedrop and Nanny nosespray - tonights gonna be an itchy snot fest and the poor son of a gun who rented the couch is invited.

Ah well, at least you'd have that big ol' afghan to snuggle up with.


i wonder what determines the monthly cost of a couch in the big city?
texture?
color?
newness level?

I NEED to crawl out of this rock i live under and visit NYC to see this silliness for myself.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

windsor what

I thought Windsor was a place in ontario.
and it is.

but it is also prince william and harry's last name. And now Kates name too.

i had no idea - but before you cast your 'you're a moron' stones...let it be known that nelson and amelia did not know either.

i also learned that chef boyardee's first name was hector.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

breakspolsion

'yayayay! I will have hard boiled eggs for breakfast!'

That was my inner dialogue when i opened the fridge today and saw already made hard boiled eggs, peeled shell and all. Nelson Sr. had given them to us when he gave us his fridge contents before gallavanting off to europe. we also inherited olives, canteloupe and cake. I love when people up and go to europe.

So I opened the ever so fresh ziplock seal and put my eggy on a plate-y.

then popped it in the microwave, cleverly putting siran wrap over it in case it sprinkled egg on the microwave walls. i just had it cleaned you see, and was trying to keep it that way.

BOOOOOOOOOOOM SNAP CRACKLE POPPPITY POPPOP BOOM.

It was not the sound of bombs over baghdad.


It was the sound of eggy breaking its siran wrap barrier and disintigrating into a million pieces....like the cowboy kid in charlie and the chocolate factory when he was being resized.

This is your brain on drugs, kids.

Nelson seemed to have known this 'you don't put eggs in the microwave' rule, but it would have been a lot more useful to me had he shared his egg knowledge sooner.

I learned that eggs cannot go in the microwave...unless you are mcdonalds, of course. they seem to have their mc-microwaved egg disk breakfast down pat.

It took 14 minutes to clean.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

stimpy fine

I love the three stooges.
i love ren and stimpy.

I cannot believe that I only learned today that Billy West based his Stimpy voice on Larry Fine. Listen to this!




Yes way!
I wish i could impersonate Moe perfectly - oh the people I'd aggress.

Dear Sr. Stupid,
     How did I not notice this a million years ago?
     And why is Moe the meanest stooge?

love becca

Monday, September 12, 2011

just tie it

how many ways can you use the word tie?
I realized today that it has got to be one of the most used words ever. even more used than the f-bombs dropped by susie essman and jb smoove combined.


now thats used.

bowtie.
necktie.
twist tie.
tie kwon do (yes yes i know its tae. but who cares?)
tie a knot.
tie dye.
it's a tie (draw).
And i learned a new kind of tie today!
....................
a railroad tie!

'what the heck is that?' I said.
'one of those wooden plank thingy's on the railroad track.' was the answer.
'ah' was my ever-so-predictable-when-you-learn-something reply.


in my railroad tie confirmation/google research i have discovered a new use for the word 'tie.' i recant my JB smoove/susie essman statement -  'tie' is now used even more than susie essman, JB smoove and James Gandolfini f-bombs combined.


so i learned that music note smiley face line is not called a smiley face line after all. it is a musical tie.

bye tie

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

tuppeware stain

I hate tupperware stains. And I know better than to put my tupperware in the microwave - mamma taught me well. But since mamma wasn't peeking over my shoulder today in the kitchen at work, i oopsed.

video

Friday, August 05, 2011

bus of the irish

When I listen to my ipod in public i am secretly dancing.
I want to sing out loud so badly on the metro when Bette Midler's 'do you wanna dance?' comes on. Oh man I can barely contain myself. So I have settled for blinking my eyes or turning my neck to the beat instead. Secret dance moves that only I - or if someone is paying close attention - know.

Sometimes I pretend other people are dancing too - when they happen to flip their hair or check their wristwatch at the exact same time as the nintendo noises in Britney Spears' 'Im a Slave for you' are playing on my ipod. I feel like I am in the music video (minus the licking of faces and heavy breathing).

I learned something so great today about Ireland that would solve my wanna-sing-so-loud-but-can't-in-public-because-people-think-you-are-on-drugs-especially-at-berri-uqam-metro problem that I have. The potato eating irish folk think nothing of stepping onto a bus where the driver has cranked up a good old 'molly malone' tune, and singing their hearts out with complete strangers - a comradeship you only see here in Quebec after everyone is wasted and has agreed to speak one language....and come to think of it, it happens at the St. Patty's day parade.

'DO YA, DO YA, DO YA? DO you wanna dance with me baby!?'
'EY - Je te dit - chante pas sur le bus! c'est pas le parade d'irlande!'

I long for a place where I can sing on the bus like I do in the car!
I see shamrocks, green and leprechauns in my future.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

fascinating fascinator

Holy headwear!


I'm loving those mega huge hats. And have been calling them just that - mega huge hats - forever. I went to a wedding yesterday where the bridesmaids wore them! Today I learned that mega huge hats are actually called 'fascinators.'

fascinating, no?

I have yet to see one that tops SJP's from 2008. How is that even pasted to her head? It defies gravity and logic.


Its a wonder she hasn't toppled over like the grinch's dog when he tried on his antler fascinator.


Amy Winehouse used her own hair to make a lumpy fascinator


And this unicorn also has it going on!


The only fascinator I have ever worn looked suspiciously baseball cap-esque.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

spotted dick and barleycorns

British people can be very strange.
They use funny words like 'dodgy' and 'pram.'
They also eat 'spotted dick' like it's going out of style. (I learned today spotted richard also comes in a can. Yumsters for the tumsters.)

But the truly odd thing I learned about Brits today is that they measure their feet using 'barleycorns' instead of sizes 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14. (I'm sure some bball players have the big 14).


One barleycorn computes to about 1/3 of an inch. 
And i think that must be those weird numbers you see on the bottoms of your shoes every once in a while. I think mine is 38 barleycorns. 
Of course if I wanted to confirm I could always go to a shoe pace and do it with a metal foot thingy...
I learned today this contraption that we all know and love is actually called a 'brannock device' and not a metal foot thingy
This hunk of metal with white jibberish is actually not jibberish at all - it measures american foot sizes....as well as british barleycorns!

Next time I do a little footwear spree I will be sure to double check my 38 barleycorns!


(and oh! I forgot to mention that this lovely little fact came from Kale, who learned it on the British tv show QI.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

winners for losers

Recently I shopped at Winners.
But I ended up a loser.

I bought the cutest of dresses. Very Gwen Stefani a la 'don't speak'


You see?

I am holding my favorite imaginary microphone and miming 
I put it on for the first time today and noticed something very peculiar. Do you see what is wrong with my Gwenie number?

It's a few gold buttons shy of a cocktail dress! Three to be exact. One in between the two you see - one above the highest one - and one on the sleeve.


Lost buttons! I'm sure they can be found in the same place as all those missing socks from the dryer.

Of course I wore it to work anyways - I spend my day as a work hermit locked in a dark office detached from human contact. Buttonless polka dots are still better than pajama pants.

I learned never to buy an article of clothing from a department store without thoroughly doing a button inspection.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

oh Lynda!

Hello.

It has been a full 48 hours since my last blog entry. And I am afraid my entries may become a little less frequent than my goal of writing daily. It is a bummer, but I have a new job (yay!) and am a little preoccupied for the time being.

Nelson will be so happy. He hates that computer screen glow that intercepts his precious sleep into the wee hours of the morning while I blog. Sleep peaceful lovey!

Check back from time to time my readers - I'm still learning everyday - and I'm still writing 3 times a week.

Today I learned about a website called Lynda http://www.lynda.com/ where you can learn any computer program you want! (for a fee of course). From web design to 3d software, it gives you in depth tutorials that are apparently amazing. Fawn told me so.

That's right - I know a girl named Fawn.

If ever I have time again perhaps I will check out dreamweaver and learn to design websites. Won't web work be fun to add to my roster? Of course if I ever have time again full force blogging will take priority.

Bytheway, I totally just had to confirm I was using the word 'roster' in the right context. It sounded right - but you never know.

Don't forget about me!
signing off

Sunday, July 17, 2011

fruity facts

today I learned two totally new yet unrelated fruity facts.

1. There is a so-called 'popular' fruit called the mangosteen. Although I must debate its popularity. I have never heard about it my entire life - nor seen it in a grocery store or in a paprazzi US WEEKLY magazine. It is grown on trees in southeast asia. And it looks like this:




Surprise!
You eat the white garliky bit, and apparently it is delicious despite looking like it may give you unkissable breath. It can be added to that list of superhero superfruits we have all been hearing so much about for the past couple of years. There's Goji berries, Acai (pronounced a-sigh-ee)...and now this mangosteen because of its supposed beneficial health benefits.

Have you noticed that superfruits are all super foreign?
North America needs to come up with their own superfruit other than incredible hulk mutant strawberries.

This strawberry threatens to give your babies boobies,
and prevent your corpse from decomposing

I have never eaten this mangosteen but will keep an eye out for it now in the grocery store.
Chinatown might be my best bet.

2. I also learned that bananas do not have juice so they cannot be put in a juicer.
'Who cares?' you might ask.
'Who cares?' I even ask myself. Not me, I don't. It's just a fruit fact. Plain and simple. Banana's are juiceless.

I'm going to juice a mangosteen when i get my hands on one.

sail away

Ahoy Matey,


I'm beceye the sailor woman.
To start - i require you to listen to today's theme song below as you read the rest of this blog entry.


As Enya suggests repeatedly in her song, today I sailed away, sailed away, sailed away for the first time in my life. I went with my crew mates: Captain Rob-inson, Jess Sparrow and Long Jenn Silver.

***pics to come***

We got off to a 4 hour late start, due to an unforeseen motor issue and no wind to sail - but eventually we made it out to the clear blue sea brown muddy lake at around 5pm.

It was glorious.
It was superb.
It was the funnest thing I have done since posing as a pirate on dry land in Jamaica, as you see above. That was a blast.

Captain Rob-inson even taught me how to use the paddle steering thingy, (paddle steering thingy may not be exactly the correct term - but my mind could not learn 2 things at once) and I got the hang of catching the wind in the sails and going forward full speed ahead.

We did not eat spinach or get anchor tattoos on our forearms, but Popeye would have been proud nonetheless.

Look at us go!


(this is not us per se. But i am fairly certain we looked just like this - minus the blue water)

I can't wait to invite myself for the next excursion!

Incidentally - I also learned the importance of wearing a proper bathing suit when one asks you to sail. That way you won't have to strip down to your bra to swim at the local Yacht club. Lesson learned.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

civet brew

Would you believe me if i told you that the most expensive coffee in the world is pre-digested and pooped out first by a little squirrel-like creature?

I know it seems more likely that pigs could learn to speak English and do my laundry for me - but it is true. And this cafe-au-merde sells for up to 600$ per pound.

***I would also like to now add that I have no idea why my learns tend to frequently revolve around the potty. My magnetism to manure facts is purely unintentional, but very strange, no?***

Here is the civet.



And here is not an OHenry bar.

As you see, coffee beans for civets = corn for humans.
And once brewed in this state, it yields an aromatic coffee that cannot compare to undigested beans - thus making it a ridiculous treat that only the rich can afford. Rich people are so strange - like how they smoke electronic cigarettes and buy Neverland Ranches - just because they can.

I stumbled upon this nutty learn quite by accident - when I was researching details of being vegan. I am not a vegan - but really enjoyed my delicious vegan lunch today at a vegan restaurant called 'Aux Vivres,' and thought I would research a little more about their lifestyle.

Vegans don't eat anything that is or comes from an animal - so little civet excrements are on their taboo list. The do this to take a stand against the cruelty of animals that is so often performed to get the animal byproducts. In the case of the civets - they are captured and forcefed coffee beans in terrible conditions. It is absolutely disgraceful.



Vegans impress me.
If I did not love bacon so much - or if i had the discipline to turn away a bacon loaded BLT, I might have attempted this admirable lifestyle.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

away learns

I'M baaaaaaaacKKKKK!

For the past 8 days I have been living like Wilma Flintstone with no internet access (although I did wear shoes and had no pet purple dinosaur named dino).
The last time I was internetless for so long was when the ice storm hit - and those were the olden days when I only checked my email once every 2 weeks anyways. So it did not matter.

Even though I have been on an internet hiatus, it did not stop my insatiable knack for learning at least one semi-interesting fact per day this week.

My learns are as follows (in short form so as not to bore one to be-jebbes):

July 6th:
I learned there is a place on this earth called 'St. Louis de Ha! Ha!' People live there. And there are actually two exclamation points in the title. You would assume it is a funny story how the town got its name, but oh contraire, the Ha! Ha! origin is far less hilarious than its name leads you to believe. The story goes that when this small Quebec town was founded - the discoverer said 'Ha-ha! There is a lake here!'

Of course us anglophone knows they meant 'Aha!' but the name stuck just the same. Which I guess does make it is a 'Ha! ha!' hilarious story in the end.

July 7th:
New Brunswick has the highest tides in the world! Some of them as high as 50ft.

this boat is actually hanging out at low tide
July 8th
I learned that the maritimes make bloody caesars that are 19$ bloody dollars! With a lobster claw garnish pried open to hold a raw oyster...how can I be surprised?

July 9th
'Nova Scotia' means 'New Scotland.'
Seb made fun of me for not knowing this - but neither did Dale (and it has been a new recent discovery for Kim). Well - we had never really thought about it before.

July10th
I learned what 'psychometry' means - its an extra sensory perception where a person can read an object by touching it. I have seen psychics do this on crime shows - where they help the police with missing persons.

July 11th
China keeps track of each and every individual tree they have by putting a label on it and occasionally checking up. Dale told me this. He visited China so he must know.

July 12th
When you mix milk and the blood of an ox you can come up with a beautiful stain for wood that looks like marble. Unfortunately i cannot find a picture for the life of me to show how cool this is - but it makes the animal-eater in me wanna splash some wallspace next time i cook a homemade hamburger.

July 13th
Timothy Treadwell.
For those do not know him - holy smokes watch this. One of the most fascinating docs I have seen in a while.

July 14th brings us up to date - and is perhaps one of the most embarassing things that have happened to me career-wise since asking the host of 'Buy Me' who he was at a party when I was working on the show.

Today I learned the importance of not resting important work documents on top of your car before hopping in and driving so a gust of wind can pick them up and chuck them all over the busiest intersection.

It seems a simple common sensical enough thought - but when you just aren't thinking, you must learn this the hard way.

Yes I did this. And I spent the next 15 minutes appearing on various spots of St. Hubert street as a garbage picker - scrambling to catch each of the 50 pages that flew all over like bats from a belfry. Here is what an important script looks like all mangled from Montreal tire treads.


It is even worse when you are missing pages and must ask your new employer to reprint the script, and reissue the dvds he gave you to watch.
Never. ever. again. will. i. forget. something. atop. my. car.
Never.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

raincheck

hey y'all

might have to take a raincheck for the next couple of days on the blog - gots no internet access!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

mambo italiano

Don't you love Italians?
They can make the most unflattering sentences sound lovely. For instance, 'you smell like pig cheese and hobbit breath' is poetry to my ears in Italian: 'Voi odore come formaggio e maiale hobbit soffio.' 

video


Excuse me while I melt into a puddle. Formaggio! How romantic.


It is the opposite for Germans. They could be telling you they like your knit sweater and it comes off like they want to rip out your kidneys and sell them on ebay.


video


i am pretty sure that 'knit sweater' does not translate to 'knit sweater' in german, as the english-to-german online translation suggests - but that's how a german would definitely say 'knit sweater' in english.


Isn't Italian so much more enchanting?


Today I learned a beautiful poetic word in Italian  - capodimonte.

video


It literally means 'head of the mountain,' but I learned it in its context referring to a type of porcelain (made in the town of Capodimonte).


Disney makes a ton of figurines using Capodimonte.
I actually own the Capodimonte piece below. It was a gift I got as a child from a family friend.


'In my world, the books would be nothing but pictures...'
It seems like a type of material you would find a plenty in a Nonna's or hoarders house. Figureeny-type-sit-on-your-shelf stuff.


If I can't have my own personal Italian to read me poetry at night - I can find solace in knowing that at least I have a Capodimonte Disney figurine.

peek-a-bambi

Today I taught myself a new painting technique in photoshop...

'Peek-a-Bambi'
Click to enlarge
***copyrightbeccaarsenault2011***
how to create an abstract wooded area, and I'm very happy with the result.

I've named it 'watermark.' as you can see.
Not.
I've named it 'Peek-a-bambi.'

It started out as a flower patch - but I eventually surrendered to the voice of my digital paintbrush and bambi - and let my intuition do the work. It was the first time an art piece truly 'spoke' to me as I worked on it. I felt like Van Gogh - despite still having both of my ears.

Becca Van Arse - 2011
And it is no coincidence that I had been watching a Bob Ross 'Joy of Painting' rereun less than an hour beforehand. He had a live squirrel on set today.


This ol' hippie still has some post 80s inspiration in him yet!

Anyone wanna buy 'Peek-a-Bambi? (without the watermark of course)
***approximately 6x4 ft digital paint on canvas***

Sunday, July 03, 2011

alcatraz alumni

Did you know that Alcatraz has an alumni reunion every year for both the prison guards and former convicts?


Neither did I until I watched a documentary about it today.
Does this seem like a little out-to-lunch concept to anyone else but me?

What makes the organizers of this event think that the former inmates wanna mingle, share cocktails and rehash the good ol' days with the guards who wanted to kill them, and visa versa who they wanted to shank with their toothbrushes?

I didn't even want to go to my high school reunion, so i can't imagine these rough and tough prisoners wanting to play tourist where they were incarcerated. These are not the faces of men to celebrate their shame in getting caught and living in a cell for years...and rub shoulders with the men who ensured they stayed there.


Number 14124 above is certainly not going to be showing up with a with flowers and a smile...maybe with a razor - seeing as he didn't get to use one in alcatraz.

My Dad and Nelson both wear a hat similar to Number 15595 when they are on vacation. You can tell by his stink eye that he'd rather go back to prison as a criminal than go back to visit one for a reunion.


Hats seem to have been a popular accessory for mug shots in the 50's - Whitey Bulger's got himself a fancy one too. Maybe now that he was caught a couple of weeks ago he can make it to this years reunion?


He can have tea with Scarface's smugly smiling ghost....and his pet ghost revolver / signature ghost baseball bat.


But some live ex-prisoners do attend - as the documentary shows. Who knows why - maybe to bask in the glory and cult status they seem to have achieved. It is funny that one of the most evil places on earth has been turned into an attraction seen by thousands each year.

I must confess - there is some sort of allure to the place. I may not have gone to my high school reunion, but visiting an alumni gathering at Alcatraz may have just landed itself a spot on my bucket list.

This August, the island prison is celebrating its 77th anniversary as a federal prison.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

pop a squat

Humans squat.

We squat for sport.


We squat on roadtrips.
Hey Sally, wanna use that portapotty behind us?
No Susie, here is much more fun.
We squat to draw pictures of people squatting.


We squat by water
We squat to smell Dale's orchid


And 'we' squat on property that is not ours.

train track.
I guess the lions den was full...

That's a lot of squatting
Although I would love to describe in detail the last time I squatted outside a friends cottage in the dead of winter to do a number 2 because she had no running water so her toilet was off limits...today's blog will instead focus on something crazy I learned about illegal squatters squatting in properties that they do not belong.

My Dad today asked me if i wanted to join him in a 24 hour trip to Prince Edward Island and back. He wants to go there, check on his empty plot of land that my parents bought in 2000 to make sure that no squatters have turned it into a 'little toronto' or anything, then return in the same breath once the squat coast is clear.

'Dad,' I said, doing my best are-you-some-kind-of-nutjob face.


'Seriously? You are just gonna go and come back?'
'Yep.' He answered matter-of-factly. 'Gotta make sure no one is living there or building a garden or  anything.'
'Oh.'

That is what squatters do I guess. Live illegally and grow gardens.

Then my Dad told me something that I just cannot believe. It is so backward.

Dad: 'Have you heard of squatter's rights?'
Me: 'Squatter's have rights?'
Dad: 'Yeah - squatter's rights. They can stay on property if the owner doesn't kick them off.'


Is this not the most insano law you have heard since finding out that criminals can sue their victims if they get hurt in the process of committing their crime?



But it is true. A property owner is considered negligent if squatters are able to trespass, and may lose the right to kick squatters off if the squatters have been taking care of the land (or building gardens!) It is called 'adverse possession,' and they can gain the right to occupy or even own the land that does not belong to them.

And that's a law - and not a new one either.

Squatter's rights have been around at least since 1946 - because I discovered there is a Disney Short starring Mickey, Chip and Dale called 'squatters rights,' where the little chipmunks move in on Mickey's turf.

My next squat will be in style at one of puff daddy's barely visited vacation homes...this happened to Guy Ritchie and his 6 million pound mansion....why buy a property when the law lets you usurp one?