Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sometimes people are okay.

When you find someone's wallet, do you raid it for cash?

Sometimes people find it odd that I don't. I happen to have found a wallet a couple of years ago. I saw it on the road as I was driving past in my car and I stopped to pick it up. Its owner went to the local junior high school so that's where I brought it. The young lady got it back and was quite grateful.

Of course, less than a year before the same thing happened to me. While traveling I left my wallet on the roof of my car after a coffee stop and lost it on the on-ramp. Someone picked that thing up and got it back to me. No money was salvaged, but then again, I only had coins and they sprayed all over the QEW.

On a recent trip down to Niagara to visit my in-laws I lost a library book. We were sleeping on couches and surviving on caffeine and I had slept little and was not yet caffeinated. I was getting my kid into the car so I had to put my book down, which I did, on the roof of the dang car. That was the last time I saw it.

That was a few weeks ago and I was really bummed, not only because we'd have to pay the library to replace the book (cost of the book plus restocking fee.) but because I was really enjoying that book (Climbing Mount Improbable - Richard Dawkins).

I don't know what the library system is like in your town (provided you live anywhere but my town), but around here I can access my library account over the web. I checked my list today and that book isn't there anymore. Just gone. This means one of two things; either some sort of incredibly unlikely clerical error has left me scott free or someone went to the trouble of picking that book up and turning it in to a library.

I'm off the hook and I have some anonymous do-gooder to thank for it.

So, thanks anonymous do-gooder.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Sometimes I hate the internet.

I enjoy the funny pictures people on the internet produce. Sometimes they're so absurd, hilarious and wonderful.

One thing that always snaps me back out of joy, however, is the undercurrent of misogyny. Actually, 'undercurrent' isn't quite strong enough a word, because it's not subtle. What I'm specifically blogging about now is the average internet user's hatred for any woman larger than size eight.

There are certain things that we, as individuals, are attracted to in the opposite sex. In my previous blog post I wrote briefly about the book Fat: A Misunderstood Ingredient, in it the author draws attention to an interesting shift in what is considered attractive in women. Before food was readily available everywhere in North American, plump women were greatly sought after. Now that food is plentiful and plumpness is easy to attain, the desires have shifted to an admiration of skinniness.

There is a culture of nastiness all over the internet, a clamor that calls for the shaming of anyone 'overweight'. It seems it's not enough to simply express admiration for what we consider attractive, we must let everyone know how disgusted we are by anyone whose tummy isn't tight as a drum.

Now, these expressions of disgust and loathing from anyone trying to get a laugh at the expense of someone they consider fat come from an interesting place. What I've discovered recently is that most young men (and young men are mostly responsible for this behavior) are primarily concerned with what their peers think of them. They themselves might find a little body fat very exciting but are afraid their friends will marginalize them.

So what I'm saying is that it's all very sad. Non-skinny girls will feel sad at being mocked for the amusement of skinnies and the ones doing the mocking are, at least some of the time, denying their own desires for fear of what people will say about them.

The image that brought this on was this

claiming that Ed Hardy clothes make you look fat. Look everyone Ms. Spears is looking healthier than ever! Ha ha ha!

It's so pointless.



Friday, November 13, 2009

What I have to do.

I enjoy reading things about self-improvement. How to have more energy, a more positive attitude, more ambition, and the like. Here's what I know based on the latest information I've absorbed.

I must eat as little processed sugar as possible.

I must cut back on the coffee.

It is better to eat well-marbled meat than lean meat. (fat helps you digest protein and staves off hunger)

I must sleep 10 hours per night.

I must exercise regularly.

Evidently sugars make you fatter and unhealthier than anything else. In addition they seem to inspire mood swings in me. My temper becomes much shorter and as such I have learned that I had best not have any chocolate or cookies until after Cole, my son, has gone to bed. Lest I take my temper out on him.

For a little while I was obsessed with a particular snack. I learned it from my sister and she called it a Funky Monkey. You take a banana and peel it. Then you take a wrap and spread peanut butter on it. Then you wrap the wrap around the banana and slice it into inch-long pieces. Only I didn't slice it, I just ate it. Also I didn't use peanut butter, I used Nutella. I was having between two and three of these a day and I'm embarrassed to say that I grew a new stretch mark on my belly.

As for fat, well, read this book. http://www.salon.com/mwt/food/eat_drink/2008/09/25/jennifer_mclagan/

Turns out that since the 1970s since experts have been pushing us to eat fewer animal fats and more vegetable fats the numbers of death from heart disease have gone down, but the incidents of heart disease have not.

Apparently athletes in serious training are instructed by their coaches to get 10 hours of sleep a night. Can you imagine? Can you imagine only having 14 hours a day to accomplish everything you need to do? And yet by all accounts your quality of life during those 14 hours would improve. You would have more energy and greater clarity of thought.

Well we all secretly know about coffee, don't we? It's one of those socially acceptable drugs. Like alcohol. It does something in our brains and our brains decide that since this chemical does such a good job at something it normally has to work hard for, why bother doing it?

We've all been told since we were children that regular exercise is ever so important. All that good stuff, burning off excess energy so we don't store it as fat. It grants us, again, more energy and greater clarity of thought.

An experiment was performed recently where two elementary school classes were given tests. In one class the students just took the test, in the other class the students were given physical exercises to accomplish before given the test. The test was an academic one and the students who exercised first scored, on average, higher.

So out of the list above guess which thing doesn't inspire terror in me?

I am a caffeine addict. Why should I go through all that withdrawal in order to avoid something I like so much?

I love chocolate, but it's admittedly easier to avoid when one of your major day-to-day concerns is poverty. Also, Funky Monkeys are lousy in winter - the bananas aren't ripe and don't ripen well in these cold sun-weak days.

If I wanted to get 10 hours of sleep a night and still wake up when Cole wakes up, I'd have to go to sleep at 8:30, which necessarily means half an hour or so of downtime leading up to it. That Cole goes to sleep around 7:15 makes an early bedtime entirely unacceptable. I'm only free to watch my favorite TV shows and play my favorite video games after he goes to bed and having maybe 30 to 45 minutes to do so isn't going to happen.

On the other hand the experts say that my waking hours will be ever so much better.

Exercising regularly is something I actually kind of would like to do, but again, only so many hours in the day. Also I haven't really found something I enjoy enough to keep doing it on a regular basis. The last time I did was when I was taking Kung Fu lessons back in 2001. That was fun, but I was paying a dear price for the privilege.

On the other hand, the advice to eat more animal fats? Well, bring that on quickly and often!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Introductions are in order.

Well, hello.

Picture me, if you will, sitting by a fire, smoking a pipe, reading a book, and pleasantly surprised to see you.

My name is Christian Steenhorst-Baker. I'm 32 years old. I'm a stay-at-home dad. I've been married for five years and my son is 3 years old.

I'm artistically talented and trained, and over the next few months I intend to ramp up productivity. (I've been intending that for years, but I'll say it again)

I'm a social and political leftist, believing we all should have a right to complete universal health care and higher education.

I'm an atheist. I find the real scientific explanations for how things are and have come to be satisfying enough that it's a non-issue for me. I could literally go on and on and on about this, but I wont' because I'm genuinely nervous about alienating friends, relatives, and future prospective employers. I am not, however, going to hide it.

I wanted to write an incredibly long introduction, but I don't plan on telling everyone I know about this blog. Strangers probably won't be interested in the rather ordinary details of my life.

So here I am. I shall try to update once or twice a day and see where this goes. Right now it's just a general-purpose blog that may become so boring as to be featured on comedy websites as so-sad-it's-funny fodder, but perhaps I'll pick a topic one day soon.