Archive for December, 2009

Sparkles

Nothing in the world causes me to experience a rush of euphoria quite the way that sparkles do. Actually, that is not true. I can probably make a list of things that cause me to experience a rush of euphoria similar to the way sparkles do: puppies, winning money, high-fiving and finding great things on sale. But there is just something about sparkles that makes me so happy inside.

Maybe referring to them as sparkles is not being specific enough; I enjoy glitter. I will be even more specific and state that I am not referring to “Glitter,” the Mariah Carey movie. I do not enjoy that. Although I will admit that I have not actually seen the movie “Glitter,” and I have no intention of doing so in the near future. I am not going to say that I will never watch the movie “Glitter” because I may one day find myself on a plane where “Glitter” is being shown as the in-flight entertainment. At such a time, it is more than possible that I will choose to view the film.

But I digress. Glitter.

Wikipedia defines glitter as “very small pieces of paper, glass or plastic painted in metallic, neon and iridescent colours to reflect light in a sparkling spectrum.” It also states that glitter is often used in craft projects because of the brilliant effects which can be achieved relatively easily by using it.

I have used glitter in several craft projects that I have undertaken. My favourite “craft project” is making encouraging signs for people using poster board, glue and glitter.

I made my first glitter sign for my younger brother to encourage him to do well as he played in a high school football game.

His team lost that game, just as they lost many more games that season, and I feel it can be directly linked to my brother’s bad attitude about sparkly signs bearing his name.

After adamantly refusing to hold the sign I made him so that I could take a photo, he finally agreed to stand in front of the camera while my mother held the sign up beside him. I will tell you, Internet, that, if someone made a sparkly sign for me, I would hold that sign proudly for any and all photos people wanted to take of me. In fact, this past June I made myself a sparkly sign bearing my name and bribed my brother into holding it for me while I ran my first five kilometre race. After the race, I walked all around downtown Burlington with my sign and refused to put it down. The sign is currently sitting on a shelf in my garage. Every so often, I go to visit it in my garage and simply bask in its glittery glory.

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Analyzing pop song lyrics as if they were real poems

Have you ever heard a song on the radio, perhaps even sung along to it once or twice, when a questionable lyric caused you to furrow your brow in confusion and stop to say aloud, “What is this song even about?”

I have. And because I am confident that the vast majority of the world is almost exactly like I, I know that you, Internet, have too.

In my free time, which is actually most of my time, I like to entertain myself by putting my degree in English Studies to use by analyzing the lyrics found in today’s popular music.

Often, it would seem, the lyricists of today pay little or no attention to elements of poetry such as meter. And why should they? After all, they are not really writing poetry, right? Did the individual who penned Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” sit down and say to him or herself, “This is it. This is my masterpiece. I have utilized just the right amount of poetic devices to provoke thought. My diction is perfect. The intellectuals of the world will understand that this is actually a critique of the American democratic system. However, for those who are less scholastically inclined, my words will ring out with another message entirely. People everywhere will be brought together by my work and will rejoice. They will party in the U.S.A.!”

My favourite song, to date, to examine has been “London Bridge,” notably sung by Fergie of Black Eyed Peas notoriety. Why does this song intrigue me so? Because I in no way comprehend the analogy the writers of the song were making. What is being referenced with the words “london bridge.”

If you are at all familiar with history, you will recall that London Bridge has actually fallen down many times and has even been the site of multiple tragedies. In 1091, the original manifestation of the bridge was destroyed by a tornado. And then it caught fire in 1136 and again in 1212. It was during the 1212 fire that approximately 3,000 people died tragically after fires broke out on either side of the bridge and trapped them in the middle.

After taking these historical events into consideration, I can only presume that the lyricists behind Fergie’s gem wished to convey that, every time the subject of the poem (the “you” who, according to Fergie, often comes around) is within the speaker’s vicinity, the speaker is overcome with the desire to end many innocent lives and destroy property of the British government.

Whatever. Who am I to judge?

Hamsters

Three years ago, just after I made the joyful move back into my parents’ house (please read the former with just a hint of sarcasm), I let it be known that I had an overwhelming urge to purchase a hamster.

“No,” my mother stated firmly. And so I ended up going out and spending several thousand dollars on a saltwater aquarium instead. Now that several years have elapsed, and I have some perspective, I can tell you, Internet, that, without a doubt, getting a hamster would have been a much better choice.

Do you remember the show “Tales of the Riverbank?” Of course you do. But just in case you are having “one of those days,” I will remind you that it was a children’s television programme that ran intermittently from the early ’60s all the way until 1998. You will recall that it starred Hammy the Hamster and featured other notable characters such as GP the Guinea Pig, Roderick the Water Rat, Turtle, and Berti and Herbi.

So what made this show so remarkable? I will tell you what: those rodents captained boats! Sailboats, ferryboats, steamboats and motorboats were only a few of the water crafts these clever little mammals handled. But their genius was not limited to chauffeuring aquatic vehicles. I watched one episode where Hammy the Hamster and Roderick the Water Rat used power tools to assemble and erect a clock tower. Even I have difficulties when using tools such as power saws, so you can imagine my amazement (and jealousy) when I witnessed a rat use one with ease.

“How?” I thought to myself. “Rats do not even have thumbs.” And yet, the lack of an opposable digit did nothing to hinder this animal’s carpentry ability. In fact, as shown in the clip below, the rat was even able to use a drill and a hammer without the aid of a pollex.

When not building clock towers, episodes of the series indicated that Hammy enjoyed spending his time fishing. Prior to watching this show, I had never realized that rodents were even able to fish let alone use it as a means of unwinding. But the exposure to Hammy’s past times got me thinking: where did this hamster even get the money to buy a boat? After all, Hammy owned at least two boats and one car. Fine, I am willing to admit that it is possible he merely leased them, but even so, how did he earn the money required to make his monthly payments? And what kind of deals do insurance companies offer hamsters?

I feel that the show missed out on a great opportunity to explore the working world of rodents and the real obstacles they face.


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