I read the news today, oh boy

I try to live my life free of binaries.

That they exist I am sure – that our entire social (nay global?) make-up is dependent on them I am convinced.

They are malleable, overarching scapegoats, (or get-out-of-jail-free cards) that limit the scope arguments, constrain the parameters of research, and stop each and every one of us from ever diving into the very deepest depths of self-analysis.

And try as I might to do away with them, they are almost impossible to get away from, let along ignore.

Because boy do we love them:

Black-White; Good-Bad; East-West; Heaven-Hell; Rich-Poor; Madonna-Whore

Spring has sprung, but my spirits have sunk.

The reason that I am thinking about this, is because the events of the world have got be feeling pretty blue.

Seriously dudes, I am bummed out.

If I have to hear one more time about how Syria (or Somalia, or insert “disaster-prone war zone here”) is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis, I am going to go ballistamungus (my code word for BAT SHIT CRAZY.)

On the BRINK of crisis?

If these catastrophic situations are looked at (by zee experts) as teetering on the verge of collapse, well then, I think their rating system is just a tad out of whack with reality.

No joke, I really want to get on the blower with the UN and have the following exchange:

United Nations (UN): Hello, United Nations.

Ethel the Dean (EtD): [thinking to myself] Woah, that was easy.

UN: Hello?

EtD: Yes hello! I’ve noticed that lately, your organization has been reticent as-all-get-out about describing the situation in Syria as an actual humanitarian crisis. This whole “will-they-won’t-they” game you seem to be playing has got me awfully curious.

UN: Oh?

EtD: Yeah. You see, I’m wondering what actually has to go down in that country for you to determine that it is undergoing a legitimate crisis, you know, in your expert opinion.

UN: Erm…

EtD: Because you guys also have a pretty solid track record of not doing squat when it came to other emergency situations – most notably (off the top of my head) in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia – so I’m wondering what’s got to give, for the Syrian people to maybe receive a little love from either Ban Ki Moon, or if he’s too busy, maybe Navi Pillay.

UN: […]

EtD: I mean, isn’t it time that we all just come out and said it? That your organization, as a global actor, is basically impotent, incompetent and incontinent?

UN: […]

EtD: WELL, CAN’TCHA?!

I assume that at this point I would be hung up on. But you get the picture.

Urgh.

(p.s. that’s a really long video, but it’s one of my all-time faves. Plus I’ve been feeling super Daffy-esque today.)

Adding to my overall malaise, is the overwhelming sense of unease I got from watching the film “Inside Job” last night with Mr. M.

If I wasn’t sure that Wall Street, government, and academia is dominated by a small, incestuous group (of heavily recycled) money-hungry sociopaths, well, I definitely am now!

Plus, I cannot even begin to describe how heartening it was to read this morning on the metro that Vancouver is getting its very own edition of The Real Housewives franchise.

That sound you’re hearing is me barfing in the CEO of Bravo television’s shoes. Oh, and my heart breaking.

Also, the hoof steps of the horses ridden by the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

What a swell crap-storm of cacophonous bile! Bring out the conductor and play on maestro!

To try and lift my spirits out of the giant dumpster of doom, when I arrived home from work today I decided to make my terrific, and tantalizing banana bread.

Bananas! In pyjamas! Are baked into this bread...

I have a couple of recipes that I would classify as old hat (but in a non-pejorative sense) – more so that I’ve made them so many times that I have committed them to memory.

When Mr. M and I first moved in together, I couldn’t cook for the life of me, and the only recipe book we had was “Loneyspoons” and The Joy of Cooking. Often times the only ingredients we had in our pantry fit the bill for the book’s banana bread, so I became an expert really quickly.

We never had anything for The Joy of Cooking. Seriously, who cooks squirrel?

(As an aside, M received the The J of C from his parents as a  high school graduation gift and he would like to reassure them that we have used it many, many times since its appearance of his bookshelf.)

Oh yes, we have no bananas...except we do and they will make something delicious!

Anywho, my banana bread is pretty healthy in comparison to other recipes, using yogurt instead of oil, and it doesn’t call for too much sugar and butter.

Plus it tastes bloody good.

Whip it! Whip it good.

Two summers ago, I got many of my work mates hooked on the stuff, and would often have to parcel out the goods a little at a time in order to ensure that everyone got a chance to have a piece, lest the greediest goons took all of it on the first go (or plating).

(In my opinion, it’s that little pinch of cinnamon I’ve added to the ingredient list that just might push it right over the edge.)

So coming home, I quickly assembled my ingredients and got to work.

Hard at work.

I was all excited to listen to some sweet, sweet CBC as I worked, but unfortunately the news proved to be far too depressing for me to make it longer than three minutes.

Instead, I settled (and by settle I mean happily took part in) a hilarious conversation with M that revolved around photographs, dish towels, cat food and sushi orders.

Bake me a cake as fast as you cake...

What proved even more delightful was that the outcome included some tasty, tasty treats from Okonomi sushi, just up the street from us.

Now we are sitting down to another night of Netflix documentaries – tonight we are watching “This Film is Not Yet Rated.”

I know that the subject matter will probably make me think, cringe, laugh, squirm – but hopefully not cry.

But even if I do, I just need to remember that it’ll be okay.

Because there’s always banana bread, sushi, and fake phone calls.

Breathe. Believe.

Not necessarily in that order.

And maybe, one day, not necessarily fake.

Danke schoen, darling

I really feel like a crazy Haligonian opening every one of my blog posts with a report on the weather.

But it’s something that I just cannot help. It’s in my friggen DNA for goodness sake.

(Using the word friggen is also a trait inherent to my east coastness, along with my undying love for biscuits topped with molasses, and raucous, foot stomping fiddle music.)

I'm blue, dabadee dabadie...

Seriously, if you talk to anyone from the east, it’s inevitable that you will eventually have a frank, relatively long (and always in-depth) exchange of information covering the current temperature, wind speed, cloud cover, chance of rain, possibility of snow flurries, or likelihood of category five hurricanes – it’s pretty much conversation law.

My grandfather used to sit and watch the weather network. On TV. At home.

For fun.

So in that (weather) vein, it must be reported that today has been absolutely blooming gorgeous. Cool and crisp as all get out (it was minus five walking to skytrain this morning) but beautiful – in a way that felt as though you were living inside of an icicle.

The sun shone long, and the sky burned blue, and the mountains stood stark and snow capped, fogged only by the slow, even rhythms of my breath.

And confronted with such beauty, well – there isn’t much else you can do save mention it to every single person you possibly can.

I wear my sunglasses...so the sun doesn't burn my eyeballs.

It’s something to celebrate!

Today at lunch I meandered around the Robson Street corridor, dropping in on clothiers and admiring their new spring collections.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the goods on display at Zara, a store I have been consistently disappointed in for a while now.

While I didn’t purchase anything, I did try on a rather adorable capped sleeve sundress – the cotton stretch material was a dark navy, speckled with a beige palm tree print, and an asymmetrical hemline – longer in the back than in the front – a styling that I actually find quite charming.

I didn’t take any photos because I’m making a concerted effort not to be so dang weird.

(For all of you who know me this is an epic undertaking.)

If I’m still thinking about it tomorrow, well, as one General Douglas MacArthur said, “I shall return.”

(For different reasons entirely, I assure you.)

I also managed to find my way into the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

Love, love, LOVE this place.

Although, to be completely honest, I kind of get to the point of some perverse, nihilistic panic every time I find myself in this store. I undergo something of a sensory overload that eventually reaches the level where I start to think, “I’ll never be able to taste all of these delicious looking treats – what’s the point in even trying!?”

Especially because I know that I’m just going to buy the same thing I always get.

Oh skewer of marshmallows dipped in chocolate and sprinkles – where would my life be without you?

(Wait. I probably don’t need an answer to this question.)

Like ice cream flavours, I’m not very good at branching out and trying new things – especially when it comes to the simple, but amazing taste-bud tickling pleasure of moulds of sugar, corn syrup, water, and gelatine covered in processed cacao and more (multicoloured) shards of sugar.

When I put it that way, doesn’t it sound downright delicious? No wonder I love them so much.

Side note: What will they think of next? Dipping it in yogurt? Covering it in chocolate buttons?!

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Okay, now that I’ve got weather, fashion and chocolate out of the way (the blinkin’ trifecta of my life here folks), it’s times to get down to brass tacks (aka the real reason I wanted to write this post).

P.S. Did you know that ‘brass tacks’ can be defined by: “engaging with the basic facts or realities” and that the origin of the figurative expression – “getting down to brass tacks” – originated in a Texas newspaper The Tri-Weekly Telegraph in January of 1863. One of their editors wrote:

“When you come down to ‘brass tacks’ – if we may be allowed the expression – everybody is governed by selfishness.”

The more you know, eh?

OKAY, for real, I’m getting back on topic.

Last night I watched the Oscars. This is both an exercise in brilliance, and brutality.

(Also, is it just me or is Billy Crystal turning into Wayne Newton?)

This is how the majority of my person feels about (all) awards shows:

Award shows…ugh…WHY CAN’T I QUIT YOU!? You’re like the friend I no longer know anything about, and have nothing in common with, but refuse to stop having that one really boring, vapid lunch with every year because, well let’s face it, YOU’RE FLIPPING GORGEOUS.

I wrote that after watching the mind-numbing dreck that some fool advertised as the 2012 Golden Globes.

(The fact that I watched the entire bloody thing lends me to believe that it is in fact I that is the bigger fool.)

Seriously though, no matter how much I want to leave these programs in my past, and never, ever look back, I cannot stop watching them for two small, but very important reasons.

1.)    Growing up, my family used to always watch the Academy Awards together. It was our thing. Inevitably, amongst the five of us, we would have seen all the nominated films, so we would actually have some kind of vested interested in the outcome of the night. It would be spring break, so we kids would be allowed to stay up much later than our usual bedtime, ensuring that we would get to see the full scope of the program (this was at the time that the ceremony would run 5+ hours long). Often time we would be on vacation somewhere, which only added to the mystique and brilliance of the night, particularly during the years spent at Silver Star (ski resort), which meant lots of cozy clothing, warm rooms, roaring fires and carnation hot chocolate.

Almost as cozy...

My family didn’t do much together as a team – after the age of twelve I hardly remember eating a dinner that had every member present. In fact, due to our frantic, conflicting schedules, I pretty much ate every single meal outside of school hours alone.

Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not complaining about this. It’s just the way things were. And perhaps why those nights with everyone crammed around the TV set, wondering who would win, or why someone would chose to wear what they did, so special.

It was so out of the ordinary, it was extraordinary.

2.)    As much as Hollywood is well, Hollywood, there is so much else going on at the Oscars that I find remarkable, and inspiring. The short film makers, the animators, the documentary filmmakers, the foreign film nominations (and yes, of course, many of the “mainstream” films, their casts, and crews) are all heartening examples of individuals who have committed their lives to a passion, pure and simple.

And I like to be reminded of that.

As I continue to walk the line between my creative and academic pursuits – stretching my legs a little further into both ponds, I like to see those beings rewarded for their efforts.

BIG pond it is.

I like the reminder – it gives me better reach.