i heart learning

i heart learning

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Bay? No way!

When I think of the department store 'The Bay' I think of mumu's, old alfred sung perfume and granny bridget jones panties.

I conceived this opinion after I was barely conceived myself - back in my pre-alphabet days when I thought the 'B' was just fancy ribbon, and I was short enough to see up the shopper ladies' skirts. Not that I looked.

Although I have no precise memory of the moment this notion was born, it is not surprising that as a kid I wrote 'The Bay' off as being a place full of old lady stuff. My mom shopped there - and at 30 she was the oldest lady I knew (besides oma and g-ma of course - who were ancient). What is surprising, however is that I still to this day never set foot in 'The Bay' to shop for myself - based on that viewpoint I made in my single digit age, many moons ago and popsicles ago.

I had never considered updating this judgement until today.
The story:

As usual, I had the 'day off.' So did Erica. So we met at the halfway point between our homes for a sisterly chitty chat - at JAVA U in the fairview mall, where Twilight Part Whatever was playing on their flatscreens. We visited/watched Dakota Fanning as a vampire at the same time - boy she is practically old enough now to shop in 'The Bay!'

Anyways Erica had to go to 'The Bay' and so I tagged along. - reprising my role as 'The Bay' child sidekick. I was surprised she had to go there - Erica is very chic and svelte - not a mothball wearing Kate Olsen dresser in the least...

Kate Olsen got her Bag Lady clothes at 'The Bay' in my mind -  aisle 6, beside felt hats
...I was intrigued...
...and not disappointed...
I learned.....drumroll please..........that they actually have beautiful brand name clothes! And great sales to boot! And boots on sale! Like a nylon snagged on a jagged toenail - it took precisely 3 minutes to tear apart my faulty opinion that took 28 years to build.
In 5 minutes I'd pulled 10 outfits to try....

...and in 15 minutes I'd made my first 'The Bay' purchase! A dress for a wedding I am going to this month. Here is a silky swatch - a little peek at the bombshell I will morph into on July 30th.

Talk about a 180 degree spin! I went from mumu basher to HBC fan club treasurer all within one little visit to my sister. I expect my HBC card to arrive after this mail strike is all sorted.

Thanks Erica for opening my eyes to the wonderful world of 'The Bay!'
Wanna go next Wednesday?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

human pickles

 Here are some foods I like love:

Bacon especially.
These four things have more in common with one another than just having been eaten by me within the past week...they are all square shaped photos with christmas colors taken from a top angle!

And they are so much more...

A trained health nut might realize that all of them (even honey nut) contain bad preservatives to keep them from going all moldy or rancid. Preservatives are everywhere nowadays - like sneak attack con artists, planting themselves in foods and selling themselves as something they are not. Even my healthy choice of apples rank high on the preservative list! Practically everything I eat has preservatives. Practically everything you eat too, except if you are Jillian Michaels just dropping by for a looksee of todays blog. Jillian I do not mean you. Please don't beat me up.

I eat brussel sprouts from the vine for breakfast
and brussel sprouts from the vine for lunch
I even eat them from a vine right before i pretend to punch a punching bag in my skivvies
Today I learned something about preservatives broken-telephone style that proves humans are more like pickles than we thought.

I learned from a friend, who learned from his friend, who learned from his friend who works in the 'death' business (I think a graveyard) that humans bodies are taking a longer time to 'breakdown' after death because of the increase in human consumption of preservatives. I say 'breakdown' because my friend says 'decompose' is a less pleasant word. Basically our bodies now are so loaded with phoney ingredients that we are the human equivalent of canned fruit.

I am three degrees of separation from the fact - so some research was in order so I do not spread lies. An internet article also confirms this idea - but states that preservatives aren't prolonging tissue life, just stopping the chemical reactions that cause tissue to 'breakdown.'

This could change life death as we know it!

Zombies could survive from eating the preservatives in Subway sandwiches!

Modern day mummies could be made so much more easily by eating a little more egg Mcmuffins once in a while!

Or perhaps Walt Disney could try pickling for his next preservation after he thaws out!

It is really too bad that the preservatives don't work so well at preserving us while we are still alive. A plastic surgeon may want to pick up on this...a little bacon fat might be a great replacement for collagen injections.

Sorry Jillian - you and your brussel sprouts won't be making the cut when this happens.

Monday, June 27, 2011

bastard amber

When I heard about a Montreal production company today called 'Bastard Amber' I thought to myself 'that's not nice. What a dirty dirty potty mouth name to choose for a company. Just because they don't like a girl named Amber doesn't mean they should dedicate their whole company to defaming her.'

If I were Amber and I had money lying around to pay lawyers, I might press charges.

But because I am Becca and not Amber, with no money lying around, I looked it up anyway to see if they had an opening for an editor - hey, a girl's gotta work! ( even if I knew the chances were they might call me bastard or bonehead becca if my cv didn't suit their needs).

When I googled 'Bastard Amber' to do more company research, the first thing to pop up was a link to DICTIONARY.COM, where I then learned that the term is actually film production lingo that I had never heard of before!

Turns out Bastard Amber Productions are not the bastards I thought they were.

'Bastard Amber' is the color of a gelatin filter.

Productions place these filters over their lighting so that it casts an amber-pinkish tone.

It looks amazing with flesh tones, and photographers and the theatre use it all the time so their subjects don't look pale or corpsy blue.

nice amber legs
The terrible name comes from when someone once upon a time was making a simple amber gel, but messed up the batch, creating an unwanted color without a father. Alas, an amber child was born. The director happened to use it anyway and discovered it was a fabulous lighting technique for human skin - and filming has never been the same since! Neither has any lighting technician named Amber.

The censored version is called a 'bamber,' for underage kids, priests and NBC.

I am so glad I learned about 'bastard amber' the easy I-googled-it way - instead of inserting my foot into my mouth by telling the BA company I thought they were mean spirited. That's what you would have called a bonehead becca.


I like to think I have a refined palette. So does Nelson.

Yes I love disney princess zoodles, and yes I love mac and cheese from a box

But over the years Nelson (he has very she-she-fru-fru tastebuds) has taught me to have a taste for the 'finer things,' like tartar, escargot and oyster shooters. I have come a long way from my Club Price 'taquitos are a foodgroup' days.

And every once in a while we like to do that whole pretentious thing where we call out each ingredient we taste as the food gets swooshed around our mouths. And we are dead serious when we do it.

The other night the discussion revolved around honey garlic scallops Nelson had made.

Me: 'This is superb - the texture!'
Nelson: 'The ginger adds just the right amount of bite...'
Me: 'and don't forget the garlic! It's like caramelized.'
Nelson: 'Yes the sauce hardens almost right away but the honey adds a slight sweetness.'
Becca: 'The outer scallop has such a nice crisp texture against the chewy inside.'
Nelson: It's a robust flavor - but not too pungent.'

Okay you caught me. Nelson doesn't use words like robust and pungent. I added those to snob it up a bit, channeling a sommelier getting their schnoz right up in their wine glass. But our conversation was very similar...interspersed of course with unnecessary moans and groans to over exaggerate the deliciousness of the melt in your mouth recipe.

Today I learned about 'supertasters,' people who taste foods more intensely than the average person. They have more 'fungiform papillae,' those protruding dots all over your tongue. When you put blue food coloring on your tongue you can see how many you have.

This is not my tongue. Mine is much prettier I assure you
So supertaster's palettes are more sensitive to flavours. I was immediately jealous.
It sounds like an awesome superpower - like they could amplify the amazingness of popcorn, lasagna or perogies and bacon. If I were a supertaster for one day I would couch surf and eat licorice allsorts.

But apparently being a supertaster is not all its cracked up to be. It is a debilitating condition because many cannot enjoy a variety of flavors. They perceive normal foods as being too spicy, too sweet or too bitter.

I learned about 'supertasters' from a show on TLC about weird food addictions - and this guy on it couldn't eat anything but french fries because everything else tasted terrible to him. The bitterness of cheese made him gag. He was a supertaster, confirmed by a small piece of paper he had to put in his mouth that to the average person tasted like paper, but to supertasters was incredibly bitter.

I found an online quiz to determine if you are a supertaster:

It says I am one - but I also read that supertasters don't like junky food - as I am sitting here chowing through a jumbo box of Willy Wonka Runts.  So take this quiz with a grain of salt, people.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

cedar plank

today Nelson and i learned how to cook on a cedar plank!

we also learned the importance of thoroughly soaking the cedar plank before putting it on the bbq....

But even though our plank was burned to smithereens - it still made our fish taste just like a cedar sauna. delicious.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

CMYK - Colors May Yuc Kify

Today was one of those days where I learned something the hard way.
It's the worst kind of learn - like discovering you are allergic to sardines when you've already eaten half your sardine-infused caesar salad.

I will try to keep my graphicky jargon to a minimum here, so as not to loose readers like my mother or auntie rosie...here goes!

I have been working all day finalizing my second issue of the Classic BMW Motorrad - a vintage bmw motorcycle magazine in which I am the creative art director for. Lets just take a moment to rewrite that and say it out loud because it has a nice ring to it. Creative Art Director. Becca the CAD. Okay that's enough. So part of sending my design files off to the printer is changing them from computer colors (RGB) to colors that tangible ink can achieve (CMYK).

Mother are you still with me?

Computers can make billions of colors, and printers only millions - so you always lose some color quality when you do these transfers - but usually it is barely noticeable, and fixable if it occurs.

Here is my beautiful and vibrant cover, in RGB computer colors.

photo by Jeffery Yost, the VBMWMO president
Nice, eh?
But today I learned that the certain shades of blue and green I used for THE COVER are not able to successfully transfer to CMYK, thereby making my COVER look like it took a part time job as an infant's soother. Although perfect dry - it's soggy and washed out, like a humid day here in Montreal.

boo for CMYK
(Click on the photos to get a better look at the color differences. This small thumbnail size makes the latter surprisingly not as bad as I have built it up to be).

MY POOR COVER! Of all the 40 pages, CMYK decided to mess with the one page that people want to be wowed by.  The only 'wow' going on in my living room today was the 'uh-oh-how-do-i-fix-this?' kind.

After much putting my sudoku left mind to use, followed by some serious guess & tests & tinkering - I managed to come up with a passable CMYK solution that is pretty darned close to the original RGB. It is not a dolly the sheep clone - but she'll do just fine.

So to recap - I have learned to avoid using quebec-flag blues and grass greens like the plague in designs that have to be transfered for print. Or I have learned to budget another couple of hours to futz around if I get stuck using those hues.

If you are interested in vintage BMW motorcycles and would like to join the official club - you can go to http://vintagebmw.org/ to sign up! By signing up you will also the get a copy of the revamped quarterly Motorrad (with a gorgeous colored cover).

I can't wait to see the final print!

Friday, June 24, 2011

ear jobs

The Bollywood Oscars are coming up. I have never watched them - and could not name you even one actor popular in hindi cinema. Not one.

But today I did catch a glimpse of some of the women to walk down the green carpet (I learned that their 'red' oscar carpet is actually green, to raise awareness for the environmental issues in India and around the world) and they are absolutely breathtaking, even though I don't think our oscar daredevil dresser J-LO is even brave enough to sport the bare belly tops these ladies go for.

I didn't realize that some of these women were so modern. And I can't help but notice that Bollywood actors are the 'through the looking glass' versions of famous Hollywood.

Lets see...you have your Uncle Jesse from Full house

Your Kim Kardashian...

Your Brangelina...

James Gandolfini, JLO and a fan trying out for Indian Idol

and Megan Fox....

Pamela Anderson with brown hair...

And last but not least, Rupert Everett

What a bunch of good looking people! And the women do their part to make sure they are very glamourous for the green carpet event. I learned that one trend for the women is to wear the heaviest, most glamorous earrings. The more painful, the better.

It becomes a case of ear versus earring - and in many cases the ear loses, being ripped and actually torn under the weight of the metals. It is such a problem now that plastic surgeons have quoted that earlobe repair surgery is quickly becoming one of the more popular surgeries to have. Lobe lifts are all the rage in india.

However not everyone is just ripping and repairing - I learned some women are avoiding the surgery altogether by calling in lobe reinforcements to strengthen their ear skins. Many now are having their lobes injected with a silicone-like material that is thick and able to support the earring weight without pulling down and stretching the ear.

So say goodbye to boob jobs and hello to ear ones!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I adore violence

Today was a wonderfully spontaneous day.
Nelson and I woke up at 6 am for an unplanned trip to `Mon Oncles,` Nelson`s great uncles house in the eastern townships. Although it is less than an hour from our doorstep, Mon Oncles is like a whole other mystical land. Big-city-mice-visit-the-country kind of deal.

view from mon oncle's kitchen
Can anyone see this video below or does it show up like a picture?

It is truly another world - where tubas can be heard from across the lake, strangers want to take you for rides on their boats and bugs can fly in your wineglass and you`ll drink it anyway.

Mon Oncle is my favorite 70+ oncle.

He has classical music playing all of the time (right now Beethoven is on). He prepares elaborate meals each time we visit (tonight we had lobster), and he always has something interesting to discuss. We have a unique relationship in that he is totally french - his english consists of few but important words like ìce cream`or `hotdog.`And I am totally english - my french a few weak sentences here and there like `ah, cèst bon.` But somehow we make it work! We laugh all the time and seem to understand one another despite this major setback. I imagine to an outsider we might look like two deaf people signing to one another.

Today, as usual, he was discussing a violin concert he had gone to with Nelson, and I understood the whole conversation! So of course I felt the need to butt in and I interjected right into the depth of their conversation. Interrupting is one of those things I do that i tell myself not to right before I do it - but it blurts out like an involuntary spasm anyway.

Me: Moi, j`adore le violen!
Nelson and Mon Oncle stopped to stare at me, but no one responded as fast as I would have liked. So i restated my love for the violin once more, with vigor!
Me: `J`adore, j`adore le violen! J`adore!
I was so pleased that Mon Oncle and I had something like the violin in common - and that I had understood his whole conversation without translation from Nelson!
Nelson: You know you are saying violence right now, becca.
Me: Oh. I am? Am I saying that I love violence?
Mon Oncle`s eyes were darting from side to side, watching the exchange between Nelson and I. Clearly he thought I was going to kick someone`s ass. And that Nelson was trying to talk me out of it.
Nelson: Yes you are.
Nelson and I started laughing, clearly relieving poor Mon Oncle from what he thought was about to become a fistfight. But still having no idea what was going on.
Nelson: It`s vio-lon. Not vio-LEN
Me: Okay. J`adore le violon, Mon Oncle. Le violon.

I am sure this won`t be the last franco mishap I`ll have. It certainly isn`t my first. I once told Nelson`s grandmother I was sexually excited instead of happy. But today I learned how to properly pronounce violin in french - and to never make that mistake again. It was also be very bad if the situation were reversed and I was very angry and I told someone I was about to get a violin out.

Gotta go - Mon Oncle has put some blueberry creme glacee out for me with my name on it.

flamingo pink

Today I learned why flamingos are pink.
And it is not because the queen of hearts painted them that way - like how she painted her roses red.

Yessir my rear cheeks have probably spent 1 too many hours couch surfing these past seven days - because this is my 2nd Dr. Oz learn in one week. But couch-potatoing in between editing contracts is a must. I call it 'research' for my next gig.

Today the oh-so-wise Doctor informed me that flamingos are actually born gray, but turn their signature pink because of the shrimp and algae they eat!

Can you believe that? Holy Amazing technicolor dreamcoat!

Shrimp has some sort of compound in it that changes flamingo's pigment to that fabulous shade that even nail polishes copy. It is called astaxanthine.

It is also the reason why salmon has pink meat - and lobster shells too! Only lobster's shells have proteins which hide their red color until it gets cooked off in boiling water.

I also learned that in captivity (like zoos and salmon farms) the animals aren't fed foods with astaxanthine, so dyes must be added to the foods that flamingos and salmon eat in order to simulate and exaggerate the natural pink colors they get in the wild. An unnatural and unhealthy process just to please our eyes.
Kind of like how those processed cheese slices wrapped in individual plastics I love so much are naturally gray before they get dyed orange.
or how someone Rick Moranis'ed and 'Honey I blew up the strawberries' on unsuspecting fruit that was supposed to be no bigger than a grape.

I guess I should not have been so surprised to learn where flamingo color comes from - because I know it happens in humans too -  when we supercede our carrot quota.

I learned the actual term for it today - carotenemia. Usually it affects kids, but adults can get it too.

Okay this last guy is probably just be a ganja-loving Jamaican. But you get the idea.
Something tells me 'carotenemia' didn't make the cut as being the next big name in nail polish.

I just can't get over the vibrant shade a good shrimpy diet gives!
In the words of my dear dear Oma, 'Oh, the colors!'