Who, what, where, when, why, whew!

This month I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, drawing from my “Grab Bag of Delectable and Occasionally Edifying Interwebby Wonderments.”

Today’s post is brought to you by the Big Questions, or, as I like to call them, the Five Ws of the Meaning of Life. (Almost sounds like a Sesame Street jingle, doesn’t it?) These are the questions that keep our existential angst bubbling merrily away on the back burner: Who am I? What am I? Where am I? When am I? and Why am I? I put these questions to the interwebs, and the interwebs have spoken.

“Who am I?”

  • Who am I? – From VisualDNA, here’s a quiz to help you figure out the finer points of your no doubt stellar personality. The test was fairly accurate with my results, although it did make a couple of glaring errors. Or did it? Maybe I
  • Meditation: Who Am I? Or, if you prefer a more spiritual approach to the question, kick off your shoes, get comfy and play this guided meditation led by Alyssa Nobriga, a life coach.

“What am I?”

It’s a fair question. Are we stardust? Are we golden? Are we sacks of  oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, and a soup of other chemical loveliness? Are we the products of divine ingenuity or the lucky accident of evolution? Or did Walt Whitman nail it in Book XXIV of Leaves of Grass:

What am I after all but a child, pleas`d with the sound of my own name? repeating it over and over;
I stand apart to hear – it never tires me.

To you your name also;
Did you think there was nothing but two or three
pronunciations in the sound of your name?

“Where am I?”

  • If we’re being literal, Google maps can answer that question in two seconds flat, because they’re just insidious like that.
  • Or, if we want to pop on our philosophers’ caps and dive deep into questions of identity and space, we need look no further than Daniel Dennett’s essay, “Where am I?” [Warning: This is not a light read, and if you’re doing the A to Z Challenge you’ll almost definitely not want to attempt it until after April. If you like the essay, you’ll want to check out the Daniel Dennett’s Brain Gets Removed docudrama.]

“When am I?”

Do you sometimes wonder when you are? Like, for instance, you’re in the middle of one of those déjà vu moments, and for a few disorienting beats you feel like you’ve been sucked into a time warp?

  • According to Albert Einstein, “The distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however persistent. Time is not at all what it seems. It does not flow in one direction, and the future exists simultaneously with the past.” In other words, it would seem that you are then, and now, and tomorrow. Which is kind of cool, because now Present you can can have a rousing game of Calabresella with Past and Future you.
  • Or, if you have an Android phone, just open Google Now and say “OK, Google, when am I?” See? Google knows. (Actually, I think you can do this from the Google app on your iPhone, too, if you have one). I’m not including a link to Google here, because I’m going out on a limb and guessing you’re not going to have any problem tracking their site down.

Why am I?

I’d torture you with another philosophical essay (because, believe me, I can find one in a heartbeat), but I’m not that unkind. Instead, I leave you with Flumpool’s thoughts on the subject. I don’t understand a word he’s saying, and I suspect most of you won’t either, but this is probably as close as the interwebs are ever likely to get in answering this particular question.

Whew! Almost there. Three more posts till the finish line–we’re going to make it, people!

Victuals for the mind, vitamins for the soul

This month I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, drawing from my “Grab Bag of Delectable and Occasionally Edifying Interwebby Wonderments.”

Hello, weekend, what the heck took you so long to get here? It’s not like I’m desperate or anything, but I’ve sure been missing you something fierce.

And you, dear bloggy friends, I’m sure you’re hoping to pry your red, squinty eyes away from your screens and back onto your family and friends or your pet gerbils who’ve all been missing you like stink. Have no fear. I’ll keep this brief. Today it’s all about the eye and ear candy, tasty little snacks for your poor beleaguered brains that won’t take but a few seconds to consume–snacks that we’ll describe, since it’s “V” day, victuals and vitamins for the mind and soul:

Happy weekending, people, but if happy isn’t in the cards, here’s Van Morrison to put things in perspective:

Under my umbrella

This month I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, drawing from my “Grab Bag of Delectable and Occasionally Edifying Interwebby Wonderments.”

See tumbrellaahat umbrella off to the right? That’s my umbrella. For some reason it looks green in this picture, but it’s actually a radiant gold colour that brightens up even the darkest, thunderiest day. (I say “for some reason” but really I mean “because I’m not as adept at photography as I am at carrying an umbrella.”)

This is the first umbrella that I bought from an actual umbrellas store–the Umbrella Shop* in Vancouver to be exact–and it makes me all kinds of happy every time I step out into the rain with it. It sucks the grumpiness right out of a wet and miserable day. So, when the letter “U” rolled around, my dear umbrella was the first subject that came to mind, but I didn’t really have anything to say except, “OMG I love my umbrella SOOOO much!” I could say that in a bunch of different ways (I really could) but I figured that would get old pretty fast.

And then it occurred to me: everyone wants to know how to make their own fabulous umbrella, right? Right? Come on, people, work with me here. You know you’ve been dying to go to brolly crafting school. Well, good news! The interwebs provide yet again.

The Cut Out & Keep website has a whole section on how to recycle your old umbrella frame to make a brand spanking new umbrella. It doesn’t look impossible, really it doesn’t.

How to Make Paper Umbrellas using posters and office supplies. All you need is a poster and apparently your office will supply everything else, once you’ve raided the supply cupboard. Which would be wrong. Obviously. Actually, in my case, it wrong on multiple levels since I work for a non-profit, so I’ll just visit your office and raid your supplies.

And if those options leave you cold, how about making one of those adorable little cocktail umbrellas, whipping up a pineapple margarita (recipe pineapple margarita), and pretending you’re in Hawaii? If you’re already in Hawaii, you can skip the pretending part. As an fyi, the song that accompanies the video is great, so even if you couldn’t give a toss about umbrellas, you might enjoy that.

If you’re super crafty and have the time and patience, you can take a stab at making this far more intricate cocktail umbrella on Daily Origami‘s YouTube channel. It would take me approximately three years to make enough cocktail umbrellas for ten drinks, but they’re very fetching.

*Full disclosure: I’m not getting a red cent from The Umbrella Shop for linking to their site. Believe me, though, that store is worth a trip to Vancouver all by itself. You walk in and you’re greeted by a multi-hued sea of rain-repelling splendour. The only problem is deciding which one to buy…

Spinning tops and a solitary vs. social quiz

This month I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, drawing from my “Grab Bag of Delectable and Occasionally Edifying Interwebby Wonderments.”

Sweet! We’ve made it to “S” in the bloggy marathon–congratulations to everyone who’s still standing and to everyone who was foolhardy enough to make the attempt, even if they’ve had to bow out since. Real life does have a way of interrupting our best laid plans.

I have a couple of “S” topics for you today, neither remotely related to the other, but never let it be said that I let logic get in my way.

First up, spinning tops. Why spinning tops, you ask? Because they spin, of course! They spin and spin and wobble and fall, and they’re utterly mesmerizing as they do so. They’re also excellent stress-relievers.

But what to do if you’re all stressy and woe-ish and you don’t have a top on hand? I’m so glad you asked.

  • Hie yourself over here to find out how to Make a Homemade Spinning Top using just a nail, a toothpick, a small plastic lid, and a hammer.
  • Or, if you’re fresh out of toothpicks and lids, pillage your journal for a sheet of paper and  make an origami spinning top.
  • For those of you with 3D printers, did you know that Disney has created an algorithm that can turn all kinds of unusual things into spinning tops–tea pots, rubber armadillos, cuboidal yo yos.

Next on our agenda:

Solitary or Social: A 5-Question Quiz

This highly scientific quiz will help you determine whether you’re a naturally gregarious or innately solitary individual. You probably already have an inkling, being you and all, but allow me to help you confirm your suspicious. Keep a running tally of the number of * and the number of # you rack up as you answer the questions. The scoring key follows the test.

  1. Would you rather:
    • Go to a tea party with 10 close friends and eat cake and petits fours? (*)
    • Sit in a closet by yourself and eat mud pies? (#)
    • Go to a tea party with 10 strangers and eat mud pies, because mud! and pie! and people! (**)
  2. If offered the choice between meeting someone through an online dating service or being set up on a blind date, you would:
    • Beg to be allowed to do both because meeting people is the coolest thing ever regardless of how humiliating the circumstances. (**)
    • Opt for the online dating service and then bail at the last minute and never check your email again. (#)
    • Sit in a closet and eat mud pies until both offers were rescinded. (##)
  3. How many times this week did you hang out with people besides your family?
    • Every day, twice a day! Because people are awesome and I love them and I never want to beat them off with sticks! (**)
    • Only once. My dentist counts, right? (#)
    • I don’t understand this word “people.” Please explain. (##)
  4. If you were trapped alone in a cabin in the middle of the woods, you would:
    • Make friends with the mice and the spiders and have adorable little mouse/spider parties. (**)
    • Take the opportunity to write your memoirs. (#)
    • Think you’d died and gone to heaven. (##)
  5. Are you ever at a loss for how to start a conversation?
    • Of course not! Because people are awesome and I want to know every last thing about every one of them and I want them to know every last thing about me! (**)
    • Sometimes, but I find if I smile encouragingly, people usually start talking about themselves. (*)
    • Shut up and pass me a mud pie. (##)

Add up your # and your *.

  • More than 5 * means you are a highly social individual. More than 8* means you’re quite possibly insanely annoying, or maybe simply insane.
  • More than 5# means you are truly a solitary being. More than 8# means you have all the makings of a well-adapted serial killer.

I won’t ask you to share your scores.