i heart learning

i heart learning

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

RPG's ain't for kids

As you know from my April 18th blog entry, I am kind of crazy about RPG's. That is a gamer acronym for 'Role playing games.'

Not the sexy naughty-nurse/french maid kind of role playing games, but the nerdy vege-on-your-couch-for-2-days kind.

i love Zelda, World of Warcraft, Superstar saga and Final Fantasy (especially VII). I carry a gameboy advance in my purse with all my favorite RPG's so I can whip it out on a whim and play it on the bus, doctor's office or in a traffic jam.

Zelda is my favorite RPG, and we go back a long time - to the ancient days of blowing on your cartridge to make the game work.

look at Link lift a chicken over his head in front of the fortune teller!

But today I learned that not all RPG's are fun.

RPG is also a term used in war weaponry, that stands for 'Rocket Propelled Grenade.' And it is not part of a game. Upon impact it blows whatever it touches and a 30ft radius to smithereens. I learned about it from 20/20, where they featured a story about an American soldier in Afghanistan who survived being hit by an RPG that didn't detonate.

The soldier's name was Channing Moss. And an RPG impaled him during an attack.

He survived because military doctors all went against army protocol by risking their lives to remove the grenade from his body.

If you would have asked me yesterday how I would like to have an RPG hurled at me, I would have said 'bring it on baby! I'm always looking for a new RPG' to get thrown my way!'

But because of what I learned today, I sing a different tune.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

why honey-sticks?

Jojo's favorite word is 'why?'
I have never heard anybody use the 'why' word as much as Jojo.
His 'why's?' are usually unanswerable and pointless.

'why are we going to eat breakfast?'
'why do those people walk their dogs?'
'why does so-and-so have such a funny haircut?'
'why do you sing?'
'why are you boiling a sausage?'
'why is the best word ever why?'
'But why?!'

Jojo is not a little boy as his 'why' questions would have you believe. He is 28 years old and a full grown man. He is just very curious about life.

It must have been a blue moon tonight because he asked a question during a honey nut cheerio commercial which i found intriguing.

'Why do they put honey on like that?'
'Why are their holes in the stick?'
'Why can't they just use a spoon?'

I was surprised he did not ask 'why' it was possible for a bee to carry a honey stick like that in his hands? Or 'why' the bee had hands in the first place?

It is not often that Jojo's 'whys?' inspire real thoughts other than 'Jojo is an idiot' in my brain - but tonight his questions made me realize that I had no idea about these honey drizzling sticks myself. I didn't even know what they were called.

Funnily enough, I learned I was bang on! That they are actually called 'honey drizzlers,' and I learned they are superior to spoons because the honey gets caught in the wood ridges and is less likely to drip when you don't want it to.

I don't mean to burst any hard core honey drizzler advocates, but I am pretty sure the honey bear squeezetop makes the best drizzle of a honey's schizzle.
Why doesn't Cheerios know that?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

tinky winky wrist

Today I learned about wrist sprains. Because I am convinced I have sprained my wrist.

It is different from my many other ailments like my chronically sore neck, tailbone or dry nostrils because this time you can actually SEE the hurt.

I was cleaning my shower door in a weird hand position when I heard a little 'snappy snap.' Then a subtle but sharp pain in my wrist. The area immediately turned a Tinky-Winky like tinge.

Ey yo!

This injury is almost as pathetic when Maya severely sprained her thumb putting on one of those nylon lady socks. Who sprains their wrist washing down a shower door?

The purple is not big. But it is sensitive. And thinking about their being blood trapped below my skin surface is making my grip weak.

I am freaking out about possibly not being able to play tennis.

Me the medical exaggerator I am, assumed it was broken. But then Dr. Mom had a looksee and says it's probably just a sprain.

Everyone always downplays a sprain. It's a catchall for injuries like autism is for behavioural problems. Anytime something isn't broken - it is sprained - Maya's thumb, for example. "Sprained' is one of those words that I think I understand because it gets thrown around a lot. But when I actually think about it I am not exactly sure what it means. So I turned to the internet, the great teacher of all things to teach me.

I learned that sprains are most common in the ankle or wrist because there's a whole tangle of ligaments there (in addition to 8 bones).

And a sprain happens when a ligament in the wrist gets torn. Talk about my grip getting weak - i am having a hard time typing even thinking about ligament-tears.

And I am convinced that was the snap snappy I heard. My Ulnolunate ligament rebelling beneath my skin.

That'll teach me to clean the bathroom.
It may have to join 'taking out the garbage' on the 'chores I refuse to do' list.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

michael J terry fox

Day #5 of Nelson's challenge (THE FINAL DAY!)
Today I turned on the boob-tube as I do everyday.
I was preparing to pop 'Inception' into my blu-ray player when I caught a glimpse of Michael J wearing a shiny medal. 

When I hear Michael J and shiny in the same sentence I think of moonwalks and crotch grabs. And so do you. Unless you are a rock lobster, Amish, or raised in that Footloose town that Kevin Bacon lived in where no one is allowed to dance.

But there is more than one famous Michael J, you know. There is also the Foxy one. And my blog today is about Michael J Fox's 'Order of Canada' medal he was just awarded.

Now before I get that medal, I just have to squeeze this other case of Michael J mistaken identity in. It is perhaps the best/worst thing since processed cheese. It happened last year at the Olympics on National television, and is the ultimate Peter Pan of news reports. It never gets old. I know it has nothing to do with how I learned about the 'Order of Canada' today, but Mrs. Meredith's Mishap is too amusing to miss. 

This would never happen to Madonna or Sting.
I wish this moment was tangible so I could keep it in my pocket and look at it when I am sad. 

Back to the 'Order of Canada!'
I had never heard of it before today. It is a medal awarded to Canadians for a lifetime of outstanding achievement or remarkable service to this country. Michael J Fox received his for his never-ending research on Parkinson's disease. Go Teen Wolf!

There are other 'Order' medals that are awarded for various reasons, but the only one that supersedes the 'Order of Canada' is the 'Order of Merit,' and is given to those who have given exceptional service to the Royals in some way. Famous historical names like Florence Nightengale and Rudyard Kipling are on the list of past recipients. Only four Canadians to date have received the Order of Merit, the most recent being 'Jean Chretien.' 

The Queen herself awards the winners with the Order of Merit and the 'Order of Canada' is on her behalf.

Lets just hope NBC doesn't write the Queen's congratulations speech.
Or that Who Wants to be a Millionaire doesn't ask Meredith the difference between Foxes.

Friday, May 27, 2011

sister cities

Day #4 of Nelson's Challenge
Today I learned that Hiroshima is Montreal's 'city sister' from another mister.
In fact I learned that Montreal has 5 sister cities. That's a whole lotta sisters. As many sisters as the Kardashian clan!

Here they are: Kylie Kourtney, Kim, Kendall. and Khloe,

Oh and here are Montreal's sisters: Lyon, Milan, Shanghai, Busan (south korea) and Hiroshima.

I find it fascinating that Montreal has chosen such different cities than itself as sisters. I thought the term 'sister' meant they had to resemble each other in some way. Like how Venus and Earth are sister planets, or how me and my sisters all look kinda similar. Or the KKKKK Klan above. Call me crazy, but Hiroshima and Montreal's common ground is that they are both cities on the planet earth. And that humans live in the cities.

But I learned that sister cities are not chosen by similarities. I learned what sister cities actually are and what they do.

The objectives of sister cities is to promote friendship, goodwill, education, development, economics and tourism between them. It is an official signed agreement by both cities, like a bff broken heart necklace.

I learned that Hiroshima has a Montreal Day every year to celebrate its sister city. I have added this to my 'things to do in my lifetime' list. Nothing like going to Hiroshima for sushi poutine on Montreal day! And Montreal has a Peace Memorial Ceremony at the Botanical garden every August 6th to commemorate Hiroshima for the Atomic bomb devastation it endured on that day in 1945. This is now on my 'things to do this summer' list.

I would be really impressed if there was a sort of travel deal for citizens of both cities to freely visit our sister cities, After all - we're family.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Day #3 of Nelson's challenge
I have always said that if I owned a bar in Quebec I would call it Quebecca.
Because my name is Becca and I come from Quebec. Aren't I clever? With jokes like these who needs Bob Saget or my father Paul Arsenault?

But I have learned tonight that if I came from Quebec in the 1600's when it was invented - my bar would have been called Kebecca - because the original 'Quebec' used to be spelled 'Kebec.' With an accent ague on the first E.

Kebec. accent ague on the first E.

for some reason unbeknownst to me when I google 'Kebec' a picture of this dog appears
I cannnot believe I am only learning this Kebec thing now. I feel like this is the sort of knowledge a Quebecor should learn in highschool, no? But in my highschool all I remember Quebec-history-wise is that we learned about Abitibi-Temiscamingue and how to bescherelle.

just looking at this shade of bescherelle green makes me cringe
In all fairness, maybe 'Kebec history' was covered briefly during that day in french class I was kicked out in the hall for laughing during a spitball war. Ashley and Dale know what I am talking about.

In any case, 'Kebec' was the algonquin word for 'where the river narrows,' and it was a perfect fit for the frenchman Samuel de Champlain who was the first settler here, and who obviously had a lazy streak for inventing new names. He did get a little creative however, by replacing the K with a twist of QU, to form QUEBEC.


How is that for important Nelson-challenge information?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

pig war

Day #2 of Nelson's challenge.
This challenge is not easy. It is very hard to learn about something you don't know about. Like how could I be expected to wash if I have never heard of soap? Get it? You just don't know what you don't know - so research for Nelson's challenge has not been a clear cut case of following the yellow brick road.

Luckily for me, the internet works like broken telephone. This is how Youtubers can sit and watch viral videos all day long. You start by watching an informative video on how to darn socks and a few video links later you are rooting for the guy dressed as an oompa loompa in a pickle eating contest.

So I googled:
          1. 'American President vrs Canadian Prime Minister' (a suggestion starting point from Nels) 
which led me to:
          2. 'American-Canadian borders'
which brought up:
          3. 'Conflicts in deciding American-Canadian borders'
which linked to:
          4. 'The Pig War'
which is where I stopped.

I was intrigued. The only Pig War I've heard of is when relatives duel over who gets the last piece of crispy bacon at Sunday brunch.

But this Pig War was a true Canadian versus American war, even though it is considered to be the most perfect war to have ever been waged. In the 12 years it lasted, the only bloodshed was from that of a big black piggy - which is how the war started in the first place.

Back in 1846, Canadians and Americans argued over which country the San Juan islands between Washington and Vancouver should belong to. An agreement could just not be made and so no official border existed.

So we shared.
Both countries claimed sovereignty over the islands until the dispute could be resolved. And for 13 years a small population of both American and Canadian citizens lived there in peace and harmony without issue.

You don't need Michael Moore to shoot a new documentary to tell you what happened next.

An American shot and killed a Canadian's pig that he found rooting around in his potato patch.

Don't eat my tubers!
The American didn't wanna pay for the dead Miss Piggy because she was trespassing. And the Canadian felt the American should've guarded his potatoes better so the pig wouldn't have trespassed in the first place....so as you see there was no other way then to war about it.

Canadians enlisted the British to come arrest the American.
Americans sent soldiers to prevent the Brits from coming to make the arrest.
Brits sent military ships to counter American soldiers.
America had cannons.
We had ships and guns.

It was the best war ever.
Both sides had been given orders to defend themselves, but not be the first ones to shoot. So they all sat twiddling their thumbs and throwing 'yo Mama' insults at one another, hoping to incite war. But no one lost their cool for the next twelve years while the territory negotations were being decided. Over thirteen years, the two sides developed a looney-tune-like relationship, hanging out and partying on weekends and holidays.

"hi Sam"
"hi Ralph"
"hi Canada"
"hi America"
What a war. I've had bigger fights with my sisters.
Eventually, for whatever reason, the international arbitration involved finally awarded the Americans the San Juan islands in 1872. A proud moment for the NRA, no doubt.

ye-haw and woohoo for gunnin' pigs and winning territory!
I learned today that important facts can be fun. And American's like guns because history dictates they win when they use them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nelson's challenge

Nelson decided that today would be the day he put his foot down.

He does not consider my learning about breastmilk ice cream or the origins of the expression 'piss poor' to be particularily useful information. He would prefer my blog learns include some 'important' and undoubtedly boring facts about government and politics. Nelson likes it when I am a productive and interactive human in society.

So today was the day he challenged me to learn what he considers to be 'useful knowledge' for the remainder of the week.

The camel? Nelson.
The straw? my absence of knowledge about the Bank of Canada.

It all started when he was getting some good reading in during a bathroom break. I guess he stumbled upon something he thought I would care to hear about it. So we had a bathroom-living room yell to each other conversation as we often do:

Nelson: Are you serious???
Me: (checking my email while watching Tabatha's Salon Takeover; my silence the signal he should continue)
Nelson: Are you listening?
Me: ...listening!
Nelson: The Bank of Canada is going to be imposing a higher interest rate...

(aaaand this is where I tuned out. My attention span has a little 'off' switch that got pushed with the words 'higher interest rate.' I was born with the I don't care about this sort of stuff gene...especially when I don't think it applies to me in any way. And what a misleading lie that word 'interest' is! The person who invented it as a money term must have been playing opposites that day. Talking about interest is about as interesting as watching your neighbor cut their toenails.)

But I have learned better than to interrupt my Nelson mid-sentence, so for a few moments we played Charlie Brown and his teacher.
wah wah wahhhh wah wahhhh wah wah wah wah 
Me: So why are you so upset? We have our mortgage at Desjardins not the Bank of Canada.
Nelson: Oh my (toilet flush)!!

I knew instantly that he was not impressed with my answer, and that somehow I had said something not so clever, forever crossing myself off his 'phone a friend' list. I was going to get a little lecture once his hands were washed.

Instead he presented me with his 5 day 'learn important things' challenge.

I'm the first to admit that I know not much about much when it comes to stuff like that. So in an effort to become more educated in things everyone should know, and to make Nelson happy - I have accepted Nelson's challenge.

So prepare yourselves to join me in my quest to learn some boring/important things in the next few days that common Canadians should know. I won't blame you if you misplace the 'i love learning' bookmark until the 28th, but encourage you to encourage me.

So today is challenge day 1.
And I have learned that the 'Bank of Canada' is Canada's central bank that regulates the rate of inflation that all Canadian banks abide by. I'm sure it does other things but I wouldn't want my head to explode.

On to day 2!

Monday, May 23, 2011

St. H = St. Amazing

Today I learned one more reason to love St. Henri.
I am sure the actual Saint Henri was a nice man - but I am talking specifically about my love for the little neighborhood of Montreal named after him - not the red-robed-castle-holding man you see below.

learn alert! saint-henri was a roman emperor
Ever since moving here last August Nelson and I along with Jen and Amelia (who also live here) have become semi-obsessed with proving its the best place to live in this city. We constantly search for new St. Henri gems, and convince ourselves that the graffiti, empty storefronts and sex toys in the toy claw machine at the bar across the street from me gives the neighborhood 'character'.

I saw someone walking their cat on a leash this week! People yell from their balcony's balconville-style! Elderly men on motorized carts stop to have chit chats with you! My kind of ville.

Here are some other St. Henri gems our clan have discovered thus far:

1. Au but, the 'Through the Looking Glass' version of Costco.

2. the market on Notre Dame, running Saturdays during the summer/fall seasons, where Nelson and I get more fruits and veggies that we can eat for the entire week for 20$.

3. Makmak. It's the 'best thai food in town' / the only thai food in town....but it is amazing nonetheless. The bubble tea there is to die for.

4. St. Ambroise brewery. A brewery on the canal you literally ride your bike or rollerblade into for beers and burgers.

5. The old malt factory. A picture is worth a thousand words...

The list goes on. And both yesterday and today I have added new favs to that list I am dying to shout from the rooftops.

In addition to discovering yesterday that the dep across the street from my house sells authentic jamaican spicy patties for 1.25$....(yayayayay!) I learned today that there is an ice cream wagon that strolls through the neighborhood ringing his bell selling cool treats the old fashioned nostalgic way! It was amazing! His chime chimes were accompanied by the squeals of three young kids chasing him down on their bikes - and who could blame them? I'm pretty sure I let out a little squeal myself.

Us Saint-Henriers aren't the only people in the love with this working-class n-hood. There is a documentary that is currently playing in a Montreal theatre called 'St-Henri, the 26th of August' that I will be checking out this week!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Today I learned something that I am not sure is actually true - but its all i got for today!

In the olden days of 2001 I used to tan like I was a jersey shore cast member.

Snooks ain't got nuttin on me!

*** personal pic to follow

Yessir I liked to look brown.

But in recent years, my aesthetician has scared the crappiolas outta me with her comments on my aging skin texture. "You look sooo old!" is what she said. And ever since then I have been abiding by the Nicole Kidman sun diet. The last thing I want is a leather face like that Magda lady from 'something about mary'

Nicole Kidman refuses to shoot her acting scenes if the UV rays are a risk. She wears big floppy hats. That is how her skin stays so white.

SO naturally I have picked up her white skin tricks. One of my other tricks is to wear 80 sunscreen. It drives Nelson crazy. He likes my sun-kissed damaged skin freckles.

I learned today from Mathieu that the number on sunscreen stands for how long in minutes it lasts on your skin.

So 15 sunscreen is good for 15 minutes. 45 sunscreen is good for 45 minutes.
I am so glad I wear 80. And when Nelson looks like an old bag lady he will be wishing he did the same!

police honk

I used to see police(wo)men as my friends; guardians put on this earth to see to it that all is fair and just - that a peeping Tom peeps his last peep, or a creeping stalker creeps his last creep.

But good police work these days includes stalking parking meters to ticket cars who are one minute late with payment, or falsely accusing people of petty car crimes like forgetting to signal. In today's world (or maybe just Becca's world) police people are to be feared, for they hold the power to give you a 'ticket' for any old random reason.

Today I learned about a new type of ticket a cop has the right to give you.
The story goes as this:

Eric drives through stop sign.
Policeman stop Eric.
Policeman tickets Eric $152.
Policeman walks away from Eric while Eric is politely questioning ticket.
Eric honks car horn to call Policeman back to the car to clarify.
Policeman ignores honk.
Eric gets new ticket in snail-mail for an additional 152$ for 'honking his horn' at the policeman.

Becca is astounded.
Becca adds 'honking' to her list of taboos while a copper is around.
Becca feels like a robot talking about Becca in the third person.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

super serve

Everyone knows I am the Serena Wii-lliams of Nintendo Wii tennis.

I have mastered the super serve, and am undefeated (except when I play Andrew - he's the wii Federer).
The secret to wii winning is simple. Grunt a lot, and create that air whizzing sound when your remote sails past your head. If you are not sweating and the people around you are not at risk for getting seriously hurt, then you are not on your best wii game.

If anyone would like to challenge my skills please email me at beccaarsenault@hotmail.com and we can get a tournament going. Loser buys winner Popeye Cigarettes and salted licorice.

These wii rules however do not translate very well to real tennis, which I found out shortly after I started playing a couple of years ago. In real tennis, that whole air-whizzing-people-ducking-your-racket-in-fear is generally frowned upon. Opponents also prefer if you do a silent in-your-own-head Watusi dance rather than a victory howl and gloat moonwalk around the court when you win. I can abide by these rules with strangers, but still throw humility to the wind when playing with Nelson.

In real tennis you must also find a place to store all your balls. They don't magically appear when you need them as they do on the wii, so I stuff as many as I can down the front of my lycra shirt and hope to distract my opponents with my dozens of lady looking lumps. Today I learned that I can stuff at least 2 in my shorts as well if I wear spandex.

This is not all I learned in tennis today - I am currently taking intermediate lessons every Thursday with Jen and Amelia - and we were taught a new technique. In addition to a new ball hiding spot in my spandex, in today's lesson I learned about the 'second serve' (I dunno if this is the real serve name or just the 'second serve' our teacher has taught us). When you change your grip on the racket you can give some side spin to the ball when you hit it, forcing it to fall pretty much in the right spot. That's the concept anyways...I have many grunts and sweatbeads to go before I can perfect the 'second serve.'

fun fact***Serena's serve has clocked in at 129 MPH. But I could still make her eat wii crow.


ps. I have got to get me an aerodynamic skirt. Just look at it flutter!

piss poor

Seeing as yesterdays entry was about poop, I figured I'd cover all my bases and make todays entry about the Number 1. Pee. Which I coincidentally happened to learn about today.

Today I learned from a chain email from Auntie Rosie where the expressions 'piss poor' and 'no pot to piss in' came from. It wasn't one of those scary chain mails that insist if you don't resend it to 20 people Jesus will frown and remember it next time you need him. The only consequence of not forwarding this chain email is that you deprive people of knowing the history behind these 'piss' expressions which would be a shame.

***SIDE CAUTIONARY NOTE - Auntie Rosie loves to forward all sorts of messages from her inbox. The last one she sent was informative too. It was about a boy who died from his cellphone blowing up in his hand when he answered it while it was still plugged into the wall. There were pictures too.

lesson learned everyone? cellphones must be unplugged for you to use them.

Good. Now I can continue with today's learn.
So 'piss poor' comes from back in the days when they used urine to tan animal skins. Some families would all pee in a pot and bring it to the tannery once a day to sell it. Urine softened the skins and made them easier to work with. If the families had to do this daily to survive they were considered 'piss poor.'

But even poorer than the 'piss poor' were the families who had 'no pot to piss in,' because they could not afford a peepot.
Tinkle tinkle in a pot.
If you do you're poor or what?
Sell it to the tanner man,
if no pot - you've got two hands!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

little white pies

Everyone knows hyenas are evil bloodthirsty ogre-like animals who'll crush your bones to make their bread. 

But did you know that because they eat so many bones the calcium from them turns their poo-poo chalk white?

This is no white lie
I did not know this either until today when Kale told me he learned about it in some sort of 'hyenas have white turds' conference he attended this past weekend. Kale says since 'following' my blog he has become acutely aware of the strange facts he constantly seems to pick up. I am so glad he shared this white learn with me. It may come in handy next time I'm in Africa and I think I've found some omelette eggs laying around.

Perhaps had I paid more attention in The Lion King I would have known this hyena log fact back in 1994.

Now there's something a hyena can LOL about