Happy… Middle of January

2019, huh. So far, gotta say, not lovin’ it. To be fair, it’s been an especially challenging two weeks. We opened the year with a funeral for Tech Support’s mother, a wonderful woman who is already deeply missed. Air travel and stress led to illness, which led to cancelling my first school visits of the year… and also attempting to write while my brain was cocooned in bubble wrap, thanks to manuscript revisions that had…

Continue reading


A Sleighful of Science About Reindeer

by L. E. Carmichael No matter which winter holiday you celebrate, I wish you the very best of the season. For those raised in the Santa Claus tradition, here are some festive facts about reindeer! 1) Reindeer and caribou are the same species, Rangifer tarandus. Some people use the common name “reindeer” for the European subspecies, and “caribou” for the North American subspecies. Others prefer to use “reindeer” for domestic herds, saving “caribou” for wild herds. For…

Continue reading


How You Can Tell It’s the Holiday Season at My House

I switched from “all season” Bath and Body Works products to Twisted Peppermint, which smells exactly like candy canes and is therefore just plain weird at other times of the year. I’ve also been listening to John Denver and The Muppets. And The Muppet’s A Red and Green Christmas. And the soundtrack to A Muppet Christmas Carol. Because nothing puts you in the holiday mood like The Muppets. Yes, it’s a little early – I usually…

Continue reading


Halloween: The Rise of the Chocolate Mafia

Ah, Halloween. When I was a kid, it meant three things: 1) Trying to come up with a costume that would fit OVER my parka, because it’s cold in southern Alberta after dark at the end of October. One year, my mom got free boxes from the grocery store, cut arm and neck holes, and painted them – my brother was a die and I was a domino. We were the hit of the neighbourhood.…

Continue reading


Earl Bakken: The Man Who Changed Our Hearts

Earl Bakken passed away last week at the age of 94. Not many people have heard of Bakken, but he saved millions of lives all around the world. In 1949, Bakken founded Medtronic, a garage-based medical equipment repair shop that made $8 in its first month of operation. In 1957, an infant with a heart condition died after a blackout disabled her plug-in pacemaker. At her surgeon’s request, Bakken invented the world’s first portable model,…

Continue reading


Witchcraft: Only Illegal If You Fake It

The phrase “witch hunt” has been tossed around pretty casually lately, but here’s a case where it might actually apply: an Ontario psychic has just been charged with practicing witchcraft. Or, more accurately, with pretending to practice witchcraft. Fun fact: the actual practice of witchcraft is legal in Canada. Faking it for profit, not so much. That’s what our psychic is accused of – telling customers she will lift the curse upon them, provided they…

Continue reading


Randomly

So far this week: Found a $5 bill blowing down the sidewalk in Ottawa; found a $20 bill in the laundry two days later. Let’s hope this is the start of a trend. Took a tour of Parliament. May have spotted an MP. Experienced major library envy. Huddled in sweater, wool jacket, scarf, gloves, and touque while watching a guy in a kilt play the bagpipes at the cenotaph. Marvelled at his fortitude. Listened to…

Continue reading


Randomly

So far this week: Found a $5 bill blowing down the sidewalk in Ottawa; found a $20 bill in the laundry two days later. Let’s hope this is the start of a trend. Took a tour of Parliament. May have spotted an MP. Experienced major library envy. Huddled in sweater, wool jacket, scarf, gloves, and touque while watching a guy in a kilt play the bagpipes at the cenotaph. Marvelled at his fortitude. Listened to…

Continue reading


This is Your Brain on Cannabis

Confession: I recently tried cannabis for the very first time. My back had been in spasm for five days – five days in which I’d levelled up from hot baths and ibuprofen to prescription anti-inflammatories to prescription narcotics, without even the slightest improvement. I had three days more days to go before I could get in to see a therapist, so in desperation, I tried the pot. Why had I waited until I was 40 to…

Continue reading


Rory Gilmore May Be the Reason Sam Winchester Won’t Date

Here’s a way to confuse yourself on a Saturday. Cross-stitch while playing Gilmore Girls in the background, then do tai chi while watching the latest season of Supernatural. Attempting to reconcile Rory’s boyfriend Dean with Sam Winchester is a good way to bruise your brain.* Then again, maybe it’s not so big a stretch. After all, while Dean was originally from Chicago, he became a small-town guy pretty fast. And the Winchester brothers have always…

Continue reading