Odd coincidences and the state of the Middle East

14/01/2013 Leave a comment

I was doing some research for a paper I wrote last semester on the Arab Spring and came across this quote in one of my sources. It’s funny how things work out sometimes, eh?

“History is filled with bizarre analogies. February 11, Mubarak’s day of departure, is also the day when the Shah of Iran’s regime fell in 1979… [but] Iran is a bad analogy for Egypt.

Better yet is South Africa. On February 11, Nelson Mandela was finally released after twenty-seven years in jail… For the Arab lands, the events of early 2011 were not the inauguration of a new history, but the continuation of an unfinished struggle that is a hundred years old.” – Vijay Prashad, Arab Spring, Libyan Winter

Read more…


Happiness and Productivity

04/11/2012 Leave a comment

I thought this TEDTalk by Shawn Achor was really quite good. Happy workers are more productive – that seems pretty intuitive. What I found really interesting were the methods he describes for making people happier:

  • 3 gratitudes – a daily listing of three new things for which you are grateful, for 21 days
  • journaling – specifically, writing down 1 positive experience from the past day
  • meditation
  • “random acts of kindness” – even something as small as writing one positive email every day

Videos like this are awesome. By showing people they can make themselves happier, they encourage people to “own” their happiness – as opposed to falling into the all-too-common trap of letting the world dictate their feelings.



Back at it!

06/09/2012 Leave a comment

Wow, it’s been 10 months since I tossed a post up. How time flies.

Speaking of posts, the VFFs I mentioned in my last post still look almost-new. Even after subjecting them to this. Love those things.

So what’s new? Well, I’m back at school in Montréal. Almost have my classes sorted out; it’s been registration hell thanks to a needless hold and some general Minerva stupidity. I’m so glad to see things haven’t changed since my run-in with it last time.

Another sidenote: that 400-level labour economics course I was forced to register into last time? In it again. Joy. No really, I’m ecstatic.

I took this last year off, in part due to that Minerva SNAFU I mentioned above, and spent it working in Vancouver. Most of my time was spent working at the Café for Contemporary Art, in North Vancouver, and at the Keefer, Vancouver’s premier cocktail bar. I learned a lot and had oodles of fun. Also spent a lot of money eating and drinking, which goes with the territory of working in restaurants and bars >.> Now spending much of my thoughts on maligning Montréal’s poor bourbon selection and the trouble to which one has to go to get a bottle of bitters, even the ubiquitous (but still awesome) Angostura.

In other news, my pelvis is still seriously messed up, surprise surprise. I was literally glowing when I stepped onto the plane in Vancouver – several X-rays, a bone scan, an ultrasound, and a 2.5-hour MRI marathon will do that to you. On the positive side, I might finally find out what’s going on down there!

I’ve also gotten really into working out with kettlebells recently. In case you’re not familiar with them, they kind of look like a cannonball with a handle. It’s coming along very well, with the exception of a nasty little rip on my left hand. Currently swinging, cleaning and pressing, and get-upping with a 45lb and will be moving to the 50lb. soon. McGill’s gym will be needing larger kettlebells  🙂 I’ve named the 40lb I have at home Betsy, and the 40lb here Princess Donna (a sadistic-sounding name, no? Fitting, as she did rip a chunk of my skin out). Now taking petitions for other names.

That’s about all I’ve got for now. Don’t worry, the next post will come along much more quickly than this one!



New FiveFingers!

26/11/2011 Leave a comment

Well, not-so-new by now. But here’s a photo of them when they were new! (and with my carpet in dire need of a vacuum…)


Coffee and the Enlightenment

25/11/2011 Leave a comment

An interesting article in the Vancouver Sun, which I can’t seem to find, linked the Enlightenment with coffee. (The Enlightenment was an 18th century movement based in France, led by noted philosophers such as Locke, Spinoza, and Voltaire. It called for the use of reason to reform society and knowledge)

Apparently, the standard “cuppa joe” in the mornings was a boozy one – until coffee was introduced to Europeans and became popular. People thereafter started their days chipper and alert, ready to pursue the kinds of intellectual conversation associated with the Enlightenment, as opposed to being tipsy and belligerant.

Coffee houses also played a large role in the Enlightenment as venues where the exchange of ideas could freely take place. Anybody, whether rich or poor, could sit, drink coffee, and discuss, so long as they could afford the small price of a cup.

Really makes you wonder at what café culture has evolved into, no?



Revolver Brew Bar

07/09/2011 Leave a comment

BAM! Please welcome the latest addition to Vancouver’s coffee scene. Revolver Brew Bar, located at 325 Cambie, is brought to you by the awesome family of Greeks that brought you Crema.

Now serving: Phil & Sebastien, Ritual, and Coava.

Brewed on: At the far end of the bar, a classy black-and-chrome Mirage and three Roburs. A Malkhonig Guatemala grinds for Coava Kones, Clevers, French presses, siphons, Aeropresses, and V60s. “Revolver” is a little too conservative – “Armoury” might be more appropriate. That tremor you feel in the floor comes from the second-wave shops in the area quaking in fear.

I told Chris to give me whatever’s good and ended up with a Kone-brewed Kenya and the coffee cake (yeah, I know, not paleo). Surprisingly good combination – the tart blackberries in the Kenya tango with the sweet raspberries in the coffee cake, and the cake’s sweet lemon glaze really sets off the smoky nutmeg finish on the Kenya.

This place reeks of chic-ness. Wow, just wow. From the nail map of the world on the wall (literally made of nails) to the perfectly-proportioned combination of relic-ed and shining new, everything just works. Makes me feel like my wardrobe needs an upgrade.



Categories: Coffee, Friends Tags: , ,

Go Canucks!

15/06/2011 Leave a comment


Official Canucks trad-cap. ‘Nuff said. Bring home the cup, boys!