Cut Your Hair and Live Your Life
March 30, 2011, 11:42 am
Filed under: insight, jams, waves

Yesterday, chopped my own hair (again). It was getting long and needed a certain kind of layer. So, craft scissors plus cheap disposable razor blade and we’re off. Result? Excellent, best ever. Cutting your own hair seems like one of those things reserved for really punk rock anti establishment ladies, totally not something I’d out myself on in most circles. A number of ladies have super religious attachments, in my experience, to their salons and particular stylists and this blasphemy is better kept private. But, I’ve gone everywhere from the recommended temples to the discount beauty schools without ever finding a life changer.

To be fair, my hair is straight, there is a lot of it, and I wear it long-ish.

Salon Pros: head massage, nice smelling shampoo different from my own, pro blow dry, possibility someone will make you fancy tea and be nice to you (neither ensured), no work for me other than making an appointment and getting somewhere on time.

Cons: training does not equal aesthetic sense, costs, difficult to tell how it will wear everyday when everyday is not an extensive blow dry/straightener process, difficulty in speaking Stylist, having to travel somewhere, the internal debate about whether or not to wash and style before visiting the salon so as to assist the stylist in figuring out wtf to do with your hair.

Self Cut Tips:

-make use of a digital camera with a timer for a better view
-cut when brushed out and totally dry (probably a beauty school faux pas, whatevvvs)
-figure out ideal shapes via pictures, side profiles are esp. helpful for ideas
-think about: face shape, head shape, hair texture, hair volume
-cut with scissors first, soften with razor second
-be bold (not, like, crazy, though)*

*biggest mistake in earlier attempts at cutting – fear of cutting off too much resulting in undersized layers

This is not saying never again. I’m not anti-stylist. There are a lot of styles that are clearly Do Not Try This At Home. But I like my hair better the way I cut it myself right now. So why not?


Already a lessening participant in the online social media sphere (six years later), admittedly today a series of pictures posted by someone living somewhere that was a dream to live when I was about ten made me realize how much my life actually looks like hers right here, right now. So, inspiration, to document more for archive purposes and enjoy what’s going on right now


Adapting to a new board. Shortest ever, a find at LG’s family home. Tip: when learning to surf start dating someone in a surf-y family who allows you access to a hand-me-down quiver that equals expanding your repetoire with limited personal investment.

The venture yesterday was marred by a fin flash that could have been a lot of things. Today I read, in the local mag, about a three meter great white spotting last month right around the spot. Hello, Charlie. On the upside, the shark was apparently spotted on a day with a lot of action in the water and didn’t attempt to chow anyone (including some swimmers), so everyone was a winner. I miss my dolphins an hour up the road, though.


Listening: Opus Orange – Crystal Clear (via wolves.co.za march playlist)


the watchers
March 25, 2011, 7:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

The door handle begins to turn, just after the footsteps approach. Slow, silent, one-in-the-morning turns. I am long asleep in bed, deep under the cool air. LG, awake at the computer, walks to the door and slams his hand on it; the turning stops. In the morning, there are a single set of muddied work boot prints leading to our front door.

A couple of months ago, our car radio was stolen with the aid of a utility knife in our dashboard. There was no point in stealing the radio because it is a factory issue that requires a passcode to use in another car, and the cd player in it didn’t work well, so there was a bit of satisfaction in that and now we drive in silence and debate replacing or not replacing. That night the light was off, the one that lights the parking spot, and the trunk had been left open when surfboards were taken out.

A few weeks before the radio wandered off, we were sleeping with the back door open and gate closed. Normally the door would be closed too. The neighbours were here, having a party. At about eleven there was yelling, of the multilingual variety. I woke up and did the rational thing of slapping LG’s shoulder and saying “something is happening!” so he could grab the cricket bat we sleep with beside the bed and get up to patrol. We called the security company, not the police, never really the police. The neighbours yelled everything was okay, they had just spotted someone trying to creep in the back door when they were in the front after a few drinks. The security company confirmed this is a common event, late night weekend robberies while people are in and maybe cooking outside, taking advantage of the haze of alcohol or fatigue. Skimming for wallets, cell phones, laptops, digital cameras. The portable and expensive. During the yelling I had worried a bit that they had caught the kid. In this country, people don’t necessarily call the police when they catch someone. Some forms of justice are vigilante, which is what the yelling voice across our backyard had promised into the night.

So, there is methodical control. Valuables are always put away. The alarm gets set at night before sleep. Wealth is not advertised. And I do not sleep alone at night in our house.

On Making Food and Life Plans
March 24, 2011, 1:03 pm
Filed under: gastronomy, when I grow up

Sometimes I read things where people say they either don’t cook or don’t like to cook and even though I know people are different from one another it sort of baffles. I get not being motivated to cook when it’s freezing and you have no groceries/you live alone/you work too much and the idea of not being able to eat as soon as you get home or the dishes that will result from preparing a meal are deflating. But… to never see something and wonder if you could make it? To never look at beautiful ingredients and imagine how they would look and taste combined? Can. Not. Process.

Martha Stewart was on Oprah a couple of weeks ago. She’s not well known here, I’m not sure the show ever aired. She looks, well, older than she did ten years ago when I used to watch her between high school classes. I tried to explain to LG the impact Martha Stewart had on my life, her North American empire. It’s been years since reading a copy of her magazine or seeing the show, but Martha Stewart was responsible for introducing me to the idea that food preparation was just a series of learnable, simple techniques and a little creativity. The woman instructed on eggs and pastry, and introduced me to the idea of herbs and spices. Not the fifteen-year-old dried out bottles of flavorless dust that my English heritage had bestowed upon me, standing guard upstairs in the cupboards, but living flavours. Martha is not the be all end all, I no longer feel a need to own a library of her instructions, but she was very important in developing my love for food in all ways.
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Advice is a form of nostalgia: on money and college
March 16, 2011, 2:18 pm
Filed under: overtly political, when I grow up

Reading yet another study about student loan defaults in America. A comparator study in a place where higher education is less expensive/less of a puppy mill would be interesting.

The afternoon after I finished my final university exam, probably ever, I went out and bought a book about money. Not one of those motivational be-a-millionaire things, an entry level book about things like taxes and RRSPs. Hello, geek. I figured that for the first time in my life I would have a salary that didn’t entirely go towards living expenses and tuition. As I read, the one thing I was sure of was I wish I had bought the book when I was 16 instead of 24.

Mostly, for the record, so I would have understood the nuances of tax credits, the stupidity of having my parents claim my tax credits at the advice of their accountants, and what different kinds of investments were. I would have been better at the kind of receipts I kept and didn’t keep – also crap advice from their accountant. I also probably would have applied for more government student loans on the interest free basis they were provided and would have invested the money to pay them off in bonds or GICs. I would have considered working harder during gap periods to make cash to max out my non-taxable income and inflate my GST rebate a bit. Basically, I would have taken a more active role in managing my cash.

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domestic notes
March 15, 2011, 12:36 pm
Filed under: gastronomy, unrelated thoughts | Tags: , ,

We have a resident mongoose. We’ve had him for awhile, long enough for him to get a girlfriend. Sometimes we pitch bones into the backyard bushes and watch him appear minutes later to get a feed. He’s an above average climber and will hoist the bones into the trees and watch us when he eats. Sometimes he gets into our roof at night and bangs around. The general lack of (poisonous!) snakes around our house, thus far, touch wood, may be attributable to a robust mongoose population in this area. Of course, we have named ours (Thembi, which is generally a girl’s name, but whatever, it’s not like we’re able to check out his goods to confirm our suspicions).

It looks like one of the plants sprouting in the herb garden is an invader instead of a herb. The rest of the plants are doing well and at least three varieties of sprouts are thriving, including chives and so much coriander. Harvest for everything but bits of coriander is at least a month off. A small vegetable garden is the next, if constantly delayed, project. Mostly, indecision about where to put it.

Our compost expiriment (i.e. throwing all organic non meat waste in a pile in the backyard where we also put our fire ashes) has been a ridiculous success. The rate the waste degrades has sped up with regular dumping and our garbage is drastically reduced and less, um, pungent. Some of the waste is probably carried away by little animals, but most appears to be breaking down. The egg shells are the slowest to decompose thus far. Throwing coffee grounds and tea leaves on the pile doesn’t appear to affect anything either way. The pile itself has no discerable smell.

Today, thinking about quick pickling some green beans. I love pickles and I would love to just pickle my own vegetables whenever I like or whenever I have an excess. Flipping through a magazine awhile ago, I discovered that pickling isn’t conceptually restricted to the mammoth task I remember my grandmothers undertaking when I was growing up. (Think mason jars, sterilization and vats of mysterious boiling liquid). Pickling can, apparently, be very small scale and doesn’t necessarily involve the intensive sealing process if planning on eating the product quickly. All I know is green beans and pickled peppers are my all time favorite garnishes for ceasars… everyone needs goals.

One other thing. My entire life, I’ve been an injury prone bruiser. Being able to spend what is now almost a year in summer-like conditions with a lot more sunlight, specifically a lot more natural vitamin D, seems to be fixing a lot of things up. I got a bruise last week after literally slamming my leg into the corner of the car door. It’s the first big bruise I’ve had in a long time, and it’s way smaller and less oddly coloured than I would have expected. I don’t mean sunbathing type exposure, which can actually be harmful, but the twenty minutes per day off-peak kind of exposure recommended by some medical sources I am too lazy to find and refer to. The kind you get watering your herb garden, poking around in your compost and walking to get the paper.

Thoughts After Hearing About a Tsunami
March 14, 2011, 8:20 am
Filed under: popconsumption, waves

1) Sadness for loss of life/destruction.
2) What it would be like to be hit by a wave that powerful and how I would fare in the situation.
3) Considerations about where waves will hit producing very memorable surf.
4) Guilt about #3.

The thing is, waves are partially the product of storms or other disturbances out in the ocean. Bad weather, for us, means potentially good waves. It is hard to reconcile the outcomes.

Yesterday, a little shark cruising around my current favorite point break. I saw the fin, LG saw the shark. This happened at the same time the plug attaching my leash to the board was one big wave away from popping out. The thing about sharks is that most of them aren’t so bad or particularly dangerous, especially the little ones. Even Great Whites don’t tend to chow people until a certain maturity. But, at the end of the day, most sharks have sharp teeth and strong jaws and even a little nibble by mistake…

The plug removed, I experimented on the beach break with tiny waves and no leash. It’s been awhile, and a longboard, since I gave that a go. It feels pretty free. I’m still going to patch up my plug and put the leash back on pretty quickly.


Television stations here often play whatever they want and somehow make mistakes in what is supposed to be broadcase and what actually plays. For example, this morning the only show I would watch during the day is mysteriously absent. It may come back later this week, it may not. The weekly guide is no help, often containing any number of errors. Sometimes they accidentally play last week’s episode of any given program. It keeps it live, I guess.

Back on the Feed
March 11, 2011, 1:39 pm
Filed under: popconsumption

I am curled up in my current favorite sweater, drinking some coffee, watching midday news about the Japan earthquake and resulting tsunami warnings. Perspective inducing. Woke up with a headache, I think from trying to squint my eyes shut, going to bed way too late. Curled up on a stool and began my now daily perusal of international news sources after a six month hiatus. That’s right, I have now been back for six months.

My preferred sampling includes, always first, The Globe and Mail. Then, likely the Mail & Guardian and New York Times. Sometimes a spin by the CBC, rarely a review of the BBC. Certain industry blogs from the Wall Street Journal. Skim and select. I fully recognize that two of my top three specifically canvas the interests and concerns of the educated left. Maybe it would enlighten me more to read papers that didn’t pander to my demographic. Or maybe it would just make me crankier. The volume of world news, and level of digital access to it, is incredible but makes it difficult to draw the line of relevance and to avoid compulsive consumption…