star-nosed moles, what the heck

let’s talk about the star-nosed mole.  here are some things that you possibly did not know.

– it has 22 tentacles on its nose.  woah! that is so nonbinary!  oh yeah, did i mention that the tentacles are prehensile?  what would you do with eleven pairs of prehensile tentacles? probably something creepy and/or weird.

– it’s functionally blind and uses its nose to indentify prey.  it has the fastest prey identification of any mammal (that means, watch the fuck out worms/insects/amphibians/whatever else these guys eat)

– star-nosed moles are excellent swimmers and can even smell underwater.  wait! do you remember when we talked about how coconut crabs can smell underwater ?  well, star-noses use a completely different olfactory technique.  they blow air bubbles onto things or scent trails, and then re-inhales the bubbles in order to get all up in that scent.  that’s really something, right?!

this is what it looks like when they blow air bubbles underwater.

– these moles are from manitoba, which makes them officially the best thing about that province (just kidding, weakerthans, ilu)

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much love: giving thanks

it’s happy thanksgiving up here in canadia, and i’m just about to go have supper at courtney’s with george and michael (so excited) but before i go, here’s what i’m thankful for today.

– living in this beautiful, safe city, in one of the best countries in the world.  and i have a cute little apartment and am so grateful to have a roof over my head.

– my incredible friends, who are my chosen family.  they bring so much awesome to my life.

– my actual family, who sometimes drive me crazy but are decent folks.

– my cats, cuddling me every day and making sure i never feel unloved.

– my strong, healthy body.  it enables me to do all the ridiculous and wonderful stuff i want to do.

– THE INTERNET for bringing me wonderful new people and keeping my far-away loved ones a little bit closer.

– pencil skirts, cause they are so sexy.

– my creative job, even though it’s not giving me as many hours as i’d hoped, i’m still lucky to be working in a nontraditional field.

job interview: you’re doing it wrong

job posting: assistant in a porn company, doing reviews, editing, etc.

FAIL

  1. thursday night:  instead of staying in and having a rousing evening filled with painting your nails and playing harvest moon, decide go out with your friends.  head to the local dive bar (the one with the surliest waitress in the world).  one of them has an expense account, keeps calling it THIRSTY THURSDAY and buys more rounds of tequila than you can remember.  since you are a three-drinks drunk, this means you get ridiculously wasted.
  2. skip to friend’s house, smoke cigarettes and eat samosas (?).  stumble the two blocks home, lay on the floor, and reflect that it’s been a long time since you’ve felt the room spin.
  3. friday morning: wake up tangled in the sheets and think, can i make it without barfing.  drink alka-selzer and sit on the floor in your underpants.  feel pathetic, but on the bright side at least you did not drunk text anything inappropriate last night, probably. meet expense-account friend for breakfast. drink a lot of coffee.  slowly revive.
  4. friday afternoon: catch a ride out to suburban hell (surrey), where the interview is, even though the job takes place in vancouver.  get lost at least three times, because surrey is, in all probability, the ninth ring of hell.   arrive half an hour late for the interview, even though the drive takes only half an hour and you left home ninety minutes ago.
  5. interviewee (who introduces himself as prince) doesn’t have any definite answers to questions; mumbles that the pay isn’t very good but won’t elaborate.
  6. prince has two iphones; receives a call but doesn’t answer, says he has to leave for ten minutes, and pleads for you not to leave before he gets back.  you wait, because this could get interesting.
  7. it doesn’t. you leave the interview and think ‘at least there is a winners here, because i need more sports bras’
  8. friday evening: now that your hungover brain has processed the events of the day, email prince with some questions.  prince claims to do reviews for pornhub and youporn, and that one must do 2.5 hour sessions of reviewing at a studio in surrey, for which you will receive $100.  when asked “are there any parameters of employment beyond reviewing?  he says “I must say it will be extremely arousing,  being playful will be nice.”
  9. decide firmly not to do this job, but decide to investigate further. when questioned about continuing vague responses, and why writing reviews would be so playful, job poster replies “I have a high sex drive”
  10. think about how much better today would’ve been if you could’ve slept off your hangover for about six more hours, instead of venturing out into the wasteland of surrey.  curse yourself for thinking that random craigslist shit could ever be legit (footjob guy?  fake photoshoots?  porn “review”?!).  although it was four hours of your life you’ll never get back, at least you got a blog post out of it…?
  11. start again tomorrow.  amateur domme videos?  yoga pants fetishist?  high-strung chihuahuas need a ride around the west end on an electric bicycle? WHAT’S UP I’M INTO IT

SNAILS!

OR, their cute-as-fuck spanish name: los caracols

or, in german (which is less cute): schnecke.  and hilariously, ‘slug’ in german is nacktschneckeliterally, naked snail! HOLY CATS I LOVE IT

reasons snails are so wonderful:

– they carry their houses around on their backs, which they can hide in when they are scared.  i especially love how their eye stalks retract!

– their shells are technically exoskeletons

– some snails have lungs and some have gills

– snails live in diverse environments, from the depths of the ocean to deserts to the bushes in front of my apartment

– they leave a slime trail, showing where they have been.  the trails are often wonderfully erratic!

– snail shells are made from an excretion, mostly calcium carbonate with a bit of protein, secreted by the mantle cells, which are located near to and underneath the shell.

– the shell is never shed and must be enlarged to accommodate the snail as it grows

– they are a little bit gross

why i love my neighbourhood (hastings sunrise)

the other day, i noticed these punchy new banners flying around my neighbourhood.  where there were formerly (bedraggled) banners reading ‘hastings sunrise’ the whole area has been rebranded as

THE EAST VILLAGE

hooooold up here, folks.  my neighbourhood is not the east village (that’s in new york).  it’s hastings sunrise.  i suspect this new ‘east village’ garbage is a creative way for the city to push re-investment (read: more new condos) into one of vancouver’s last central relatively-cheap neighbourhoods by disassociating it from the crack-zombied, homeless living, street-walking disenfranchised-person hellscape of east hastings.  so many people in this city link ‘problems’ with the word ‘hastings’, but it’s bullshit to attempt to rename one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city as a cheap ploy to invite overdevelopment.

let me break this shit down for you.  here is a list of reasons my neighbourhood is awesome.

1.) the grocery shopping.  donald’s market, ugo & joe’s italian market, a polish grocery, several chinese & vietnamese markets, a butcher (if you’re going to eat meat, this is a better place to buy it than a grocery store!! they even sell raw pet food!), a bulk natural foods store, east van bakery, a few chinese bakeries (geez louise do i miss red bean buns & custard buns!), a chocolatier…all within a 3-block stretch.

2.) it’s nestled up to commercial drive, an area with its own bad-ass grocery shopping, eateries, coffeeshops, people watching, bars, etc.

3.) a short bike ride to the secret beach! ok, maybe it’s not so secret, but it’s never been busy when i’ve been there.  don’t take that as your incentive to go crowding up my favourite place to read a book and fall asleep in the sun!

4.) it’s peaceful.  you can see the mountains and inlet and downtown.  it’s on a hill.  we have a great view.

5.) four of my closest friends live here!  i loooove having some of my most favourite people live nearby.  it takes all the effort out of visiting<3

6.) it’s not full of yuppie dirtbags, like other parts of vancouver (kits, yaletown, etc) who look down on my tattooed, scruffy self. it’s a diverse neighbourhood–immigrants, young families, bike riding hipsters, can-collectors, the occasional prostitute…i like to think it’s an inclusive place!

7.) it’s conveniently located.   it takes me just over ten minutes to bike downtown or down commercial drive; 25 to get to mt pleasant; 30 to granville island; 45 to kits.

8.) it’s a total fluke that i live here.  when i was in calgary, i asked my darling friend mal to visit a few apartments & help me find a place to live.  she found one in an area i never considered living–had never even visited!–and it turned out to be completely perfect.

crazy date ideas

the other day during lunch, my coworkers and i started tossing around crazy first- or second-date ideas. dinner + drinks/coffee/catching a movie are tired standbys and being creative types, we knew we could come up with better stuff than that. by the end of the (admittedly slow) shift, we had compiled this list & i felt it’d be best to share. i have done a few things on this list–have you? would you add anything?

– bingo (especially on main st, where you can go for a drink before/after easily)
– aquarium
– psychic
– botanical garden
– strip club (but you’d have to go for a drink first!)
– art gallery
– bookstore
– farmer’s market
– cooking class
– dance class
– album listening party
– bowling
– walk around stanley park
– stardust roller rink
– tandem bike ride
– stanley park mini train
– picnic @ 3rd beach
– outdoor skating (at robson square or grouse mtn)
– brunch
– casino
– skype date
– historical walking tour/famous places tour
– museum (museum of vancouver, museum of anthropology, police museum, etc)
– sightseeing tour
– wine tasting
– comedy show
– ceramic painting
– going dancing
– darts/pool
– top of the tower viewpoint, ie, harbour centre
– brewery tour
– ask them to take you to a place they love
– winery tour
– fruit picking
– go to farmer’s market, buy ingredients for supper, go home and make supper together (this is a more advanced date idea, cause you will probably have sex at the end!)
– movie in the park
– sun yat sen garden
– bike ride to spanish banks
– vegan food tour. appetizer at organic lives, main at grub, dessert from edible flours
– movieland arcade
– bet on horses at the race track
– illegal cockfight
– lunch on bowen island
– quiet concert (like jazz/folk where you can still chat a bit in between)
– symphony/ballet
– go to see a play or a reading
– poet/authour reading or lecture
– movie @ library (often they show obscure films)
pechakucha
– laser show/planetarium
– whale watching
– harbour cruise
– sleigh ride at grouse mountain
– grouse grind (in the summer)
– lynn canyon or capilano suspension bridges
– play pool
– shoot guns at a firing range
– make your own festival/mini ritual.  celebrate cherry blossoms, summer solstice, a rainbow, the first snowfall, etc.

(edited to add: date ideas that marlo sent)

– Draw fake tattoos on each other/henna
– Gallery openings (free food/booze!)
– Climb a tree (preferably one with a view)
– Underwear shopping (Agent Provocateur is fun, but expensive!)
– Visit a cheesy porn store
– Make jewelry
– Make face masks/spa type shit
– Sauna (there’s supposedly a good place you can rent private saunas on Hastings!)
– Photo booth pictures
– Frisbee
– Bake cookies
– Photo adventure
– Get piercings
– Get matching tattoos
– Commit a felony
– Elope (just kidding!)