i heart learning

i heart learning

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!


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:

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.

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.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


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.' 

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.

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.

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.


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

Click to enlarge
how to create an abstract wooded area, and I'm very happy with the result.

I've named it 'watermark.' as you can see.
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.'

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?

Friday, July 01, 2011


Does your bum bum have more pancake than IHOP?

Does it ever feel like your bum is all bone?

Do you ever feel like you wanted a blog to discuss cushioned underpants?

Well gripe no longer!
Today I have learned about 'butt for you,' the undergarment made to J-LOifize your petite derriere in an instant - without the healing and unsightly scaring from butt implants.

Don't worry men - you haven't been left out...there's a bidonkadonk pair for you too!

And don't forget your swim shorts to keep your fake booty charade going at the beach!

It does sound a little japanese invention-ey...

I would use this
I could have totally used this 2 weeks ago on that hot ramen soup day
this is the worst
I hate to admit it because she looks like a clown - but this lipstick stencil is kind of clever
Asia is so big on child labor
panty print skirts!
but I ass-ure you - because Melinda ass-ured me - these stuffed spanx are for true.
Melinda is a padded panty saleswoman I met today who told me about the Canadian 'butt for you' brand. You can by them online at: http://www.buttforyou.com/ if you need a little extra endowment.

Of course these are not for everyone. I have been cursed blessed with the Knopfel rump - a true german arsch, that with an extra foam cheek padding could compete with a Klump.

Oh the irony of my 'littlearse' nickname.

These butt-enhancing underthings have apparently become very popular in (where else?) Hollywood, because the slogan 'bigger is better' is an American rule. Only the American version is called 'the booty pop.'

pink and white balloons really help the 'pop'
I don't know about you, but I would feel very gypped to discover that Beyonce's bum was just a 'booty pop' in disguise. Like finding out that Janet Jackson spray painted her abs.

embrace your lady lumps, people! (And your manly ones too)