Friday, April 29, 2011

Canadian Money and Stamps Are Going To Get Better Looking In The Very Near Future.

Last night I had an extremely vivid dream that I was at Disneyland when a new King and Queen were crowned at Cinderella's palace. I watched and waved as Will and Kate went toodling by in a car driven by Mickey and Minnie. This was evidently my self-conscious telling me to get up and watch the royal wedding.

I did. But not until 7 AM.

Initially I planned to watch the ceremony in real time, but then I realized this meant waking up at 2:30 AM and that really killed my enthusiasm. Plus last night I had a bad headache. It's making me more than a little annoyed that I've got seasonal allergies AND there's still snow on my front lawn. Weather is a real bitch, if you ask me.

Not only did that headache spur me to bed earlier than I intended, it also killed my plans to blog about my very important opinions and predictions about the royal wedding. Which is just as well.  I probably would've said some very unkind things about Kate Middleton.  I've never been too keen on Kate Middleton, in part because of this Vanity Fair article. I use the phrase Waity Katie whenever I can. I'm a bit of an ass.

However as of today, I like Kate. Her dress was lovely, elegant and timeless. Even more impressive was her confidence. She was completely at ease with the attention, with her vows, with her new spouse. She was the anti-Diana. Wills looked splendid, and he looked in love. It was so cute how he blushed after the kiss on the balcony. I adore that he went out on the Mall yesterday and shook hands with the crowds. Before today when I conjured up a mental image of Wills it was him following the cortege at his mother's funeral. It's such a contrast -- from that sad, little boy, to the dapper, happy groom.

I sure hope in 20 years Andrew Morton doesn't write a tell-all book that shatters the loveliness of April 29, 2011. I don't want to know if  today was truly awful. That Kate chugged vodka and Ativan in the car ride from Gorings and how she was already eying up Harry and thinking "maybe I should have set my cap at the younger brother." That Wills was thinking, "I'd rather be duck hunting."

Here are some more of my Royal Wedding related opinions:
• I believe Mrs Middleton spent the entire reception face down in a plate of crumpets saying, "Carbs. Oh, sweet, carbs, I have missed you."
• Wasn't it nice of Joan Collins to lend Princess Eugenie an ensemble from her Dynasty days?
• I'm not sure what to say about Beatrice's big ass hat. Did she look at that hat and think, "Oh, yeah this baby will make everyone forget about the Aretha Franklin's wack-a-doodle lid from Obama's inauguration." I hope she apologized to everyone who sat behind her.

• Was Chelsy Davy's outfit suppose to be two toned? Anyone else like referring to Chelsy Davy as Fergie, Part Deux?
• I thought the junior bridesmaids (NOT flower girls) and pageboys looked very sweet. There is no way my boys would've held up to all that attention. Never mind the tights.
 • I don't know a whole lot about fashion, but I do know that dying your high heels to match your dress (a la Tara Palmer-Tomkinson) is out dated. Nude heels are your best friends, ladies (a la Samantha Cameron).
• I felt bad for the horses pulling the carriages. You could see them shying away from the curbs where the crowds were gathered. 
• Pippa Middleton -- according to my younger son, Klaxon -- looked like an Oompa-Loompa. When your fake tan is so obviously orange that a seven year old boy notices, you need to step away from the spray booth.
• I don't even know what "Doors To Manual" means. Is this a British thing?
• Zarf (age 9) didn't recognize the Queen. He feels that Canadian coins are not an accurate portrayal of her visage.
• What the hell needs to happen for Victoria Beckham to crack a smile? Yeesh. Lil' Ms Sourpuss.
• I felt poorly for Mr Middleton as he was the only male member out on the balcony not wearing a military uniform and hence looked a bit like a butler. A very overwhelmed butler.
•The Archbishop of Canterbury has some crazy eyebrows. Are there no rules of etiquette about this? The officiant's eyebrow hair should not exceed 5 centimeters, particularly when there is some serious backlighting going on. 
• Whoever hired Tracy Ullman as Royal Commentator for the CTV broadcast deserves a raise. I hope they fire Ben Mulroney and Seamus "Did I mention I went to Cambridge and hence am not JUST a talking head" Murphy and use their combined salaries to employ Ullman full time. Or at least for election night.
• I feel kindly of badly for Laureen Harper. Because a federal election was called last month, she and Prime Minister Stephen Harper had to decline their invite. I hope she's pissed at Stephen. And his stupid budget. And his stupid vote of non-confidence. Alas, I'm sure that Laureen has years of experience being disappointed by Stephen.

And now I'm regretting not buying one of those commemorative tea towels.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Birthaversary Day Celebrations in the House of Wrath.

In honour of our birthday-birthday-anniversary, Tuesday night's dinner was Honeyed Spiced Chicken Tagine cooked in our new tagine:

For dessert I made a chocolate chip, banana bread bundt cake:

Do you like the cake stand? My youngest son bought it at a garage sale when he was five. At the time I thought it was so cute that a 5 year old wanted a cake stand of his very own. Alas, in the interceding years the novelty of asking him if I can borrow his cake stand has definitely worn off.

This concludes the Photographing Food section of my post as I don't suffer from Pioneer Woman Syndrome (the desire to include 59 hi-res photographs detailing every minuscule step of a recipe lest your readers are too thick to read and comprehend the recipe without visual aides) hence my recipe blog is very dull, and graphics-free. Am I the only person who doesn't care for this trend? I see it popping up everywhere. What's the appropriate number of photo illustrations for a recipe? I'm going to say 4. Three if it involves opening a tin of Campbell's soup.

Mr Wrath gave me a copy of Downton Abbey (the non-dumbed down UK version). I evidently bought him some very expensive camping gear when we were at MEC on the weekend. Also he brought home a lovely bouquet of flowers:

What a swell guy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How I Spent My Easter Break:

Friday morning we were on the road early, headed toward Edmonton to spend Easter with my parents, and my husband's extended family.

Thirty minutes from home we stopped at the request of the 9 year old who needed a pit stop.  It was fortuitous that he'd ignored my repeated requests to use the washroom before we left the house, because we discovered a serious issue with our tires BEFORE heading through the mountains. We backtracked to the house, and husband (who is such a handy, masculine type of fellow with a vast knowledge of all things technical) decided there was a problem with our new summer tires (I can't be anymore specific than this, as I am neither handy nor masculine and all my technical knowledge is based on Star Trek) that were installed the previous day.

We headed out thirty minutes later having downgraded from our SUV to husband's teeny, tiny, commuter hatchback. We left behind half our luggage, most of the snacks we'd packed and the dvd player. It was a very cozy ten hours before the five of us (the Wunder Dog was wedged in the back with our luggage) finally arrived at my parents' house.

Is it always a mad house at Mountain Equipment Co-op on a Saturday? Or did we just fluke into the one day a year when all the members went shoe shopping? That was our first stop. At noon we trucked over to West Edmonton Mall to hang out with Mr Wrath's relatives. Once upon a time, I liked malls. I don't know if it's my age, or my later-in-life conversion to rural-dweller, but now I find malls draining. Plus my eldest has no concept that unlike in our small local mall (10 stores), he can't just wander off on his own. On Sunday we stayed close to my parents house -- on account of my sore feet, and pissy mood -- then went to Rio. This is the fourth or fifth time my small-town kids have been to a movie theatre, and they enjoyed it. I did, too. It confirmed my theory that children's movies are good so long as they are not made by the overly sentimental, preachy, moralists at Pixar Films.

There are five seasons in Canada: spring, summer, autumn, winter, and dust. We are in the throes of the dust season. Everything and everyone is coated in a fine layer of grit. So yesterday's drive home (even more cozy than the trip to Edmonton because of our Mountain Equipment Co-op purchases) was painful and long.

But we are home now. The dog hates us for the indignity of riding in a hatchback. There's a mountain of laundry to wash. The SUV tires are still funky -- hence I'm housebound.

And it's my birthday. And Mr Wrath's birthday. And our wedding anniversary.

The plans for today are tv viewing (right now we're watching Lois & Clark), and cupcakes (baked by my mom and sent home with us), and Moroccan chicken (my parents gave us a Le Creuset Tagine for our joint birthday) and I'm not doing much else.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jane Austen v. Sophie Kinsella. A Fight To The Death.

Sophie Kinsella and Jane Austen are the most famous chick lit authors in the world. The degree of affection I have for latter is match by the disdain I have for the former.

I started reading chick lit in 2001 when I went in search of the literary equivalent to romantic-comedy movies. In short order I found Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding and the Marian Keyes novel Rachel's Holiday. Within a month of discovering these two wonderful books, I also discovered the scorn that is heaped upon the entire genre and its fans.

When I sit down to read I have specific needs:
1. a plot. I don't want a meandering narrative that delves into the universal truths of mankind and doesn't come to some resolution by the final page,
2. a heroine to whom I relate. Is she a stunningly beautiful specimen of humanity without a single physical flaw? Is she a teenager who loves a vampire? Is she a genius who never makes a mistake and has impeccable decision making skills? If have nothing in common with the main character, I will hate her from page one and not be invested in her life,
3. family, friends, career,  aka plot complications and/or a real life
4. life experiences. Translation: she needs to be a grown woman,
5. an adult male who makes me swoon, and
6. humour.

The genre that most consistently fulfills my criteria is chick lit. Good chick lit novels have a strong-willed, intelligent female protagonist who struggles to remain true to her nature while dealing with society's gender expectations, her kith and kin, and the day to day complications of adulthood (finances, employment, health, etc). The plot includes, but is not solely focused upon romance/sex/courtship. A good chick lit novel also doesn't take itself too seriously. For the very best samples read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. For the very worst read Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series. Actually just read one, it's pretty much the same plot over and over again.

Here are some title and authors I enjoy:

Bridget Jones' Diary, by Helen Fielding
The definitive example of modern chick lit. The novel's plot more closely follows the plot points of Pride and Prejudice.

Can You Keep a Secret?, by Sophie Kinsella
The only one of her books I like. 

Staying at Daisy's, by Jill Mansell

Famous Last Word, by Annie Sanders

Queen of Babble, by Meg Cabot
True story: Meg Cabot is one of the few American chick lit authors I love.

Once In A Lifetime, by Cathy Kelly

The Nanny, by Melissa Nathan

Something Borrowed, by Emily Giffin
It takes a lot of skill to make your book's heroine a philanderer, and keep the reader from hating her. Well played, Ms Giffin.

Skipping a Beat, by Sarah Pekkanen
I never cry when I read books. I cried when I read this one. Translation: it is very good.

How Will I Know, by Sheila O'Flanagan

Rachel's Holiday, by Marian Keyes
There is a rule in our house: I'm not allowed to read Keyes books while I'm lying in bed and my husband is trying to sleep next to me. Evidently my snort-laughing disturbs his slumber.

Here are a few chick lit authors I dislike:

Jennifer Weiner: She can turn a situation fraught with comedic possibilities into something that is (at best) mildly amusing. Her plots are so sloppy and characters so uneven, I assume Weiners' novels are drafted and edited by a committee of editors, marketers and meth-heads.

Cecilia Ahern: Cecilia Ahern has never participated in a conversation. This is what I took away from PS I Love You. She can't write dialogue. Someone needs to tell her that when you are dealing with a character whose husband dies from a painful debilitating disease and his life is key to the plot and he's introduced to the audience via memories and flashbacks, you do your readers a disservice by not writing about his death. If you don't have the talent or the emotional fortitude for writing that kind of raw emotion you need to find another occupation. The same-named movie is only loosely based on the book and is much better.

Jane Green: She seems like a perfectly lovely woman based upon her blog, but I can't relate to any of her characters or plots. Also she uses "tony" as an adjective and this offends me for some reason.

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So, what should I read next? Any suggestions?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Don't Box Me In. An Impolitic, Political Rant.

On Monday, May 2, 2011, I will traipse into an elementary school gym, collect my federal ballot (which is always printed on that shitty foolscap paper so popular in the late 70s when I started school) and a golf pencil, and proceed to the sanctity of a cardboard box to exercise my democratic right.

But before I put a single mark on my ballot I will bend over and whisper to my abdomen, "Hello, are you there Womb? It's me, Nan. Could you please tell me how to vote?"

Yes, that's right. I've got myself a fully functioning (though currently unoccupied) uterus, a vagina and a clitoris and they drive, inspire and dictate my politics.

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Everything I just typed is a complete load of shit. Except that part about Canadian ballots being printed on awful paper. And about the golf pencils.  That part where I traipse? Also true. Though if I were a heroine in a book, I would "pad my way barefoot across the room to vote." No, the bullshit part is that my having squeezed a child or two out of my body matters when it comes to voting.

Here are the issues I care about:
-maintaining or increasing our military presence in Afghanistan,
-not privatizing any more Crown corporations,
-stopping usage-based billing for internet access,
-increasing the immigration quotas for foreign-educated professionals, 
-defending Canada's arctic borders from land claims by Russia, the US and other nations, 
-keeping the Canadian seal hunt legal and not bowing to pressure from special interest groups and/or foreign countries and/or Ke$ha,
-repatriating Omar Khadr, a child-solider and Canadian-citizen who is imprisoned in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp by the United States,
-stimulating the economy, even if this means incurring more national debt, and
-ensuring William Shatner becomes the next Governor General of Canada.

What's this, little lady?, some passing sexist ponders having come to my site looking for "mom drops pants caught with camel toe" (note: someone came to this blog last week using this phrase), These aren't very demure topics for a mom-type woman to care about. The womens care only about child care, and child tax benefits, maternity leave, education and making sure they and they alone decide what goes on with their lady bits. Ladies -- especially those of the mom-persuasion -- care about the environment so that today's children grow up with clean air and water and pristine tracts of land that they can pillage and plunder and pollute for THEIR benefit, not ours. Don't clutter up your pretty head with thoughts about military spending, or the budget or hunting animals in a completely sustainable manner that is totally humane and no more bloody than what transpires 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year in slaughterhouses all over the world.

[Note: for full effect the previous passage should be read aloud while doing an impression of Mark Twain.]

And to this I reply with a very demure: fuck you.

It's not that I don't care about the issues that are stereotypically and historically fodder for female political activism. It's not that I don't think about the kind of country I want my children to inherit. It's not that I don't care about maintaining the standard of living and the access to education and health care we enjoy currently.

It's that being a mom is not the only thing that matters to me when I vote. I have interests and priorities that defy gender conventions, and transcend my role as a mom. I don't want to be pandered to by politicians, and I don't buy into a one-size-fits-all mom agenda. Even if that agenda has a hidden elastic panel that cinches in all my jiggly bits and makes my butt look good.

And if you don't like that, too bad.

Because I've got a golf pencil. And I'm not afraid to use it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Do You See What I See?

Our local weekly newspaper frequently fills unsold column space with some version of this ad:

You see it too, don't you?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Old Grey Mère.

The day of my wedding, I discovered my first grey hair.

The day I returned home from my honeymoon, I dyed my first grey hair.

Two years ago I gave up the pretense, and went natural. To my surprise it turned out I didn't have that much grey hair, less than 5%. Which is pretty good for a woman in her late 30s. It is -- believe it or not -- completely normal for a woman in her late 30s to have A LOT of grey hair.

I feel pretty good about my SMATTERING of grey hair, until I start looking around for greying role-models. Here are some of the photos I found of prominent (in Canada, the US or the UK) female politicians, authors, scientists, activists, singers, or actresses who were embracing their grey:

Wow. Seven women with grey hair. That's it?! Seven women. Most of whom are old age pensioners. None are in their 30s:
                    Toni Morrison, age 80
                    Judi Dench, age 76
                    Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, age 63
                    Roseanne Arnold/Barr/whatever, age 58
                    Jamie Lee Curtis, age 52
                    Nicole Kidman, age 43 (this photo is from 2008, she was 40 & pregnant)

I understand why women (and men **cough* David Boreanaz from Bones *cough**) are averse to going grey. We are a society that reveres youth. Grey hair tells the world, "Oh sure, I put on a brave face by downloading songs from iTunes, but I still remember and long for the days of buying vinyl records for $2.00 at Woolco." Also it means you're going to be dead in the next 50 years.

It's not that I -- with my SMATTERING of grey -- am above vanity. Quite the opposite. Vanity is one of the reasons I stopped visiting the hair dye section of the drugstore even though I really enjoy stroking the hair samples (they're the next best thing to styling Barbie Doll hair). The other factors were fear, and a need to retain the modicum of dignity that I cling to even as I pluck rogue black hairs from my chin.

I don't want to be one of those women who thinks her auburn hair distracts from the crepey skin about her bosom, the softening of her chin and her gristly hands. Until the day she looks in the mirror and realizes her hair has an odd, synthetic, purplish-pink undertone that fools no one. Also I knew that eventually I'd have to let my hair go natural, and the shock of unmasking a full head of grey hair would devastate me.

So I'm here.


With my grey.

*Edited April 14: One of these days I'm going to get the hang of this new-fangled "proof reading" craze the kids are always going on about. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. And then you should tell me how good I look while seductively moist.

Which Darcy do you prefer? Matthew MacFadyen from the 2005's Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightley or Colin Firth in the 1995 BBC/A&E production?

I'm a MacFadyen-ite myself.  

Fifteen years ago Firth's Darcy made me swoon. But when I watch it now (and I do watch it at least once a year) I think his Darcy needs a good stiff dose of prozac to cure his pathological moodiness. Whereas MacFadyen's Darcy is a shy and awkward hero, who hides his vulnerability behind prideful behaviour.

The scene where MacFadyen's Darcy awkwardly and rudely declares his love for Elizabeth when they are caught in the rainstorm by the folly (or is it a gazebo?) is a thing of beauty. And by thing of beauty, I mean porn for thinking women.

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Now I'm going to dispense some advice:

I advise you to watch Fortunes of War. It's a 1987 miniseries starring Emma Thompson. Please do NOT confuse it with the same-named Martin Sheen movie from 1994. Uh. That one looks horrible.

I saw five and half (out of 7) episodes of Fortunes of War in the early 90s, and spent the better part of 20 years hoping to see it rebroadcast or re-issued. While I waited, I read and re-read the source material (Olivia Manning's The Balkan Trilogy and The Levant Trilogy). I enjoy Manning's crisp, unsentimental writing style. In general I love movies and books set during WWII, and these books are a rare treat because the narrative focuses upon a female character.  Harriet Pringle is a flawed but noble heroine, whom you can't help but love.

Last month I finally bought a copy (via With some trepidation, this weekend I sat down to watch it end to end.  I was afraid it wouldn't live up to my expectations, but it was wonderful. Emma Thompson is sublime. For the duration I forgot that I hate Kenneth Branagh. The sets and the dialogue are gorgeous. It's definitely aged well. As has Emma Thompson, for that matter.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Homeschooling, The Star Trek Way.

When we started homeschooling in 2008, I frequently used Star Trek episodes as a mental health break. I arranged our lesson schedule so the boys' one-hour quiet-time began at 2 pm, when Star Trek Deep Space 9 aired. It was a lovely respite that bolstered my spirits so I could face the dinner rush.

Now the boys watch with me. Initially I just let them watch because I'd reached a point where I believed viewing one more single episode of Dora The Explorer or Blue's Clues or Scooby-Doo would drive me insane. So we began with a few of the tamer episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, moved onto the original series, got hooked on Voyager, and fell hard for Deep Space 9 before moving onto the movies.

Star Trek an integral part of our homeschooling life.

Overall it's been a positive influence on the boys. They follow and discuss the story arcs and themes. They theorize outcomes and character motivations. When they engage in imaginative play, the solutions are now less likely to be a light saber battle than a technical or engineering fix. I credit Star Trek with giving the boys language skills and vocabulary that outstrips their peers, ie the other day my 9 year old marveled that his new science kit had "an ingenuous closing mechanism."

Star Trek episodes1 are a great supplementary tool for our course work. Here's a list of possible tie-ins:

Language Arts

Shakespeare lovers will enjoy The Conscience of the King (TOS) about an inter-galactic travelling troupe of Shakespearean actors.

Wrap up a unit study on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes with the episodes Elementary, Dear Data (TNG) and Ship in a Bottle (TNG).

Wonder how Mark Twain would get along with Data and Picard? Check out his appearance in Time's Arrow (TNG).

Picard and the crew are trapped in a recreation of Robin Hood in Qpid (TNG).

A character's obsession with Les Miserables is at the core of For The Uniform (DS9).

After my boys watched Heroes and Demons (VOY), a retelling of Beowulf, they were obsessed with Grendel for weeks.

(Edited: April 13) The tradition of Ancient Greek drama is evoked in Muse (VOY).


Star Trek The Original Series is a treasure-trove of lessons for Classical Education students. Want to learn about Greek mythology? Well, it's been liberally interpreted, but Who Mourns for Adonis (TOS) is interesting.  Curious about the Romans? Here's the episode for you: Bread and Circuses (TOS). Need to learn more about Greek gods? Plato's Stepchildren (TOS) is sublime. This episode features the first interracial kiss on network TV!

Life in the thirties plus the evils of pacificism can be discussed after you watch The City on the Edge of Forever (TOS). Not had your fill of history? Try A Piece of the Action (TOS)  about a planet where the culture is -- for reasons I can't recall -- based on 1920 gangster film. FIZZBIN!!

Doing a unit on the Third Reich? I highly recommend Patterns of Force (TOS). Don't dwell on the natural questions of "WHY? WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? SPACE NAZIS!!??" just enjoy the ride.

Who doesn't love a good "Jack the Ripper Was An Alien Parasite" story? WHO?, I ask you. Watch Wolf in the Fold (TOS)  -- it'll knock your socks off.

Everything I know a know about the OK Corral I learned from Spectre of the Gun (TOS). I'm going to assume the whole episode is a documentary. A HISTORY documentary. Homeschool lesson LEARNED.

Are there gaps in your knowledge about Abraham Lincoln and Geneghis Khan? Good news! Both are featured in Savage Curtain (TOS).

Finished reading "The Crucible?" Bet you'll get a lot out of The Drumhead (TNG),  an exploration of witch hunts and the Macarthy Era.

Life for a black man in 1950s America is the framework for Far Beyond The Stars (DS9) while Roswell, New Mexico (circa 1945) is the backdrop for Little Green Men (DS9).

Supplementary information from the episode Concerning Flight (VOY) concluded our Leonardo Da Vinci study.

What ever happened to Amelia Earhart? Turns out she was abducted by space aliens and used as genetic source for a race of slaves: The 37s (VOY).

Social Studies

 Human trafficking and drug use is covered in a surprisingly light manner in Mudd's Women (TOS).

A discussion about racism and intolerance might be inspired by a viewing of  Let That Be Your Last Battlefield (TOS)

Researching the issue of over-population is a good reason to watch The Mark of Gideon (TOS).

Angel One (TNG) would be a great supplement for a discussion on matriarchy. Secondary goal: teaching young people that no one can resist Jonathan Frakes in a sparkly v-neck blouse.

Fun with archaeology in Captain's Holiday (TNG), The Chase (TNG) and Gambit (TNG).

Where do you stand on euthanasia? Use Half a Life (TNG) as a starting point for a debate. Then segue into the subject of eugenics with Space Seed (TOS)Doctor Bashir, I Presume? (DS9),  Masterpiece Society (TNG).

What are the ethical considerations when granting rights to artificial life forms? The matter is dealt with in Author, Author (VOY), The Measure of a Man (TNG) and Ship in a Bottle (TNG).

The plight of First Nations people is showcased in Journey's End (TNG).

There are many parallels between the Deep Space 9's Dominion War and our current War on Terror .  Though they were produced in 1996, Homefront (DS9) and Paradise Lost (DS9) are even more poignant today when our civil liberties are curtailed due to media-hyped fears of sleeper cells and domestic terrorism.

Neo-luddites are freaks. To wit: Paradise (DS9).

Will America descend into fascism in the 21st century. That's the basis for a gritty episode called  Past Tense (DS9).

Capitalism is going to be the downfall of America. If Americans won't learn the lesson from Canadians maybe they'll learn something from Prophet Motive (DS9).

It should be watched in combination with Bar Association (DS9) which is about collective bargaining and trade union.


Most of the shows are math-centric. Very often the manipulation of figures is the turning point of the plot. But there are a few specific instances:

Fun with binary numbers: 11001001(TNG).

Researching principles of Dyson Spheres? Check out Relics (TNG), featuring James Doohan.

Everything I know about Fermat's Last Theorem, I learned from The Royale (TNG). Erm. I actually don't know shit about Fermat's Last Theorem. Or his first theorem, for that matter.

Let the kids watch Move Along Home (DS9) and call it research into game theory. A viewing of Statistical Probabilities (DS9) is a reinforcement of the principles of statistics. Same goes for Think Tank (VOY).

Astro-physics is discussed in Playing God (DS9) and Starship Down (DS9) and a few hundred other episodes.


Really any episode that features the science or engineering officers from the crews (Spock, Data, Seven, Dax, Scotty, Geordi, B'Elanna, Miles) is going to be science-rich.

Zealots **cough*Creationist Nut Jobs*cough** using religious doctrine to stifle scientific discovery and discussion is the theme of In The Hands of the Prophets (DS9).

Evolution isn't pretty. As witnessed in Threshold (VOY). Who needs a tongue anyway?

Science always suffers when doctrine stymies research, as explored in Distant Origin (VOY).

A Bill Gates/Steve Jobs-type character finds a space ship from the 29th century and harvests the technology in a bid to get very rich: Future's End (VOY).

The real-life applications of space elevators warrants a viewing of Rise (VOY).

Health studies:

When intoxicated you will do crazy things, a la The Naked Time (TOS). Teach your kids about that addictive behaviour can start from benign circumstances by watching and discussing Symbiosis (TNG) and The Game (TNG). The biological components of drug addiction are discussed in Hippocratic Oath (DS9).

Are your children leaning toward an unsavoury lifestyle choice, ie becoming hippies. There's no time like now to teach them that no one like hippies. Especially space-faring hippies, so sit them down and watch The Way To Eden (TOS).

If you have unprotected sex with strange alien ladies you'd better be prepared to parent a little brat like Alex, the relevant episodes are The Reunion (TNG) and New Ground (TNG). Same lessons go for ladies who let alien life forces enter their wombs (see: The Child(TNG)).

Sexual orientation was explored in The Outcast (TNG). Yay, that's right Star Trek was lobbying for gay rights in 1992. Suck on that Glee! It's not handled as adroitly as I would like, but the issue of homosexuality is also touched upon in the episode Rejoined (DS9).

Have any more episodes that can be deemed educational? Let me know in the comments and I'll update this list.

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1 Missing from this list are episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise, because I wasn't an avid viewer. On account of it sucking.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Making an April Fool Out of Myself.

I published this post as an "About Me" page -- and implemented a few Paltrow-inspired blog elements -- in honour of April Fools' Day.  

If you are visiting this blog after 12 PM (pst) on April 1, 2011 you will be spared the horror of Gwyneth Paltrow's singing via the autoplay setting on my GrooveShark player. If you are a masochist, just go ahead and click on the widget at the bottom of the post.

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In these troubled times, I think it's really important to have a celebrity role model to help navigate the many quandaries I face as modern woman living in modern times in a modern house with modern children and a modern husband and lots of modern appliances and other modern stuff.

Gwyneth Paltrow is my guru. She makes my life better. She makes me better. She makes all the pain go away. Well. Not the hunger pains. The hunger pains have just gotten worse since Gwyneth's come into my life. But it is so worth it. I can eat dairy when I'm dead.

I bet if she were here with me now, Gwyneth would turn to me and say "Anastasia1, are you living the best life you can? Are you following all the helpful hints, recipes and lifestyle advice that I published in my Goop newsletter?" Through my tears (that I would try to hold in lest I ruin my smokey-eye makeup) I say no. Gwyneth tells me to stay Country Strong and try to do better. Then she hugs me. But gently because we both have brittle bones due to our macrobiotic diet-induced calcium deficiencies.

This blog represents my attempts to heed the wisdom of Gwyneth Paltrow, actress, humanitarian, singer, singer-songwriter, dancer, wife, mother, chef, decorator, bon vivant.

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1 True fact: Gwyneth thinks pet names are trés trés dé classé. She would no more call me Nan, than she would call William Joel by the pet name Billy.

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