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Thursday Thirteen: 13 Facts about the brain

untitled1. It is estimated that on an average day, the human brain produces 70,000 thoughts.
2. An Aspirin tablet is 40 percent more effective if taken with a cup of hot chocolate rather than a glass of water.
3. Do you ever talk to yourself while you think? Research suggests that many people do and that it’s a good indicator of intelligence. When you talk to yourself out loud, you actually teach yourself things.
4. Everyone’s brain starts out as female. The brain of a male becomes masculinized by testosterone.
5. More electrical impulses are generated in one day by a single human brain than by all the telephones in the world.
6. The ant has the largest brain in proportion to its size. Humans aren’t even close.
7. Salami contains three times as much PEA (the mood-lifting chemical produced by the brain when you fall in love) as chocolate.
8. A cooked potato can jump-start your brain when you’re feeling foggy.
9. It is thought that a yawn works to send more oxygen to the brain, therefore working to cool it down and wake it up.
10. Anomia is the technical word for tip-of-the-tongue syndrome when you can almost remember a word, but it just won’t quite come to you.
11. A world champion memorizer, Ben Pridmore memorized 96 historical events in 5 minutes and memorized a single, shuffled deck of cards in 26.28 seconds.
12. Aristotle mistakenly thought that the functions of the brain actually took place in the heart.
13. It has been estimated that thinking for an hour burns about one fifteenth of a gram of fat.

  “The brain is a wonderful organ.  It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and doesn’t stop until you get to the office.”– Robert Frost

Thursday Thirteen– 13 things I want to do in the next 25 yrs

Today’s Thursday 13 is a bit different today because today, I have lived 9132 days, making me 25 years old. I also share my birthday with Eddie “Rochester” Anderson (1905), Greta Garbo (1905), June Foray (1920), Jack Warden (1920), Robert Blake (1933), Frankie Avalon (1939), Ryne Sandberg (1959), James Gandolfini (1961), Lance Armstrong (1971) and Jada Pinkett Smith (1971).

It was during 1983 that Cabbage Patch Kids, Rainbowbrite and the Nintendo Entertainment system became hot toys; and Family Ties, Dallas, Magnum P.I., Knight Rider, Cheers and Remington Steele were on television.

25 years has passed.  From being born with a dislocated hip, which resulted in me going back and forth to Sick Kids every six weeks as a guinea pig/case study for cast after body cast in order to work the joint and having my hip broken then pinned in the proper place in grade one and not being allowed to put weight on it for entire summer.  From graduating highschool and then University with a joint-major degree in Anthropology and Biology and then college in the Book and Magazine Publishing course.  And now… to where I am at McGraw momentarily on contract as an Editorial Assistant in Higher Ed, I feel as though I have changed a lot in these 9132 days.  My Thursday thirteen is about things I want to accomplish in the next 25 years.

1. Publish.  That’s a big duh.  I’ve written since I was in public school.  One personal small goal is to have Fatal Visions out on the market for agents/publishers by next year.

2. Get married.  I want it all… kids, farm, dog, cat… hedgehog. I just need to find the right guy.

3. As written above already, kids.  I want kids.  3.  I’ve wanted them since I graduated highschool but was too young. 

4. A house that is mine.  Preferably on a farm because I love the country life and couldn’t stand it to live in the city for long.  It’s too distracting.  Too restless.  I like the quiet and the sense of having all day to get something done.

5. Good health.  So far I’ve been lucky.  But not only for me.  For family and friends as well.

6. A permanent, full time job.  I’m only on contract right now which makes things hectic come every 6 months or so.  I want something that I don’t have to  worry about, at least for awhile.

7. Travel.  My friend and I have already said that we want to go tour around Ireland and Scotland (hot accents…. Mmmm…) but I’d also want to go to Egypt and wherever else my journeys may take me.

8. Education.  I want to continue learning throughout my life.  I don’t just want to stop because I have degrees and whatnot.  I want to take more courses in Forensic Anthropology and Paleopathology.  I want to take Immunology, Virology, Ancient Civilizations; take cooking courses and learn sign language. 

9.  Work in a museum.  I love editing and where I am, but I want to be a curator as well.  I want to make up displays and learn all about the past and how we got here. 

10. Go on a dig.  In University I wanted to go on an archaeological dig but they were always so expensive.  For a summer or so, I’d like to go on a dig… to Greece, Belize… I’m not really all that fussy.

11. Paint.  I’ve always loved painting but I haven’t done much.  In the future, I want to paint again.

12. Take photography.  I know nothing about it, but I’ve always been curious and I used to love watching my friend in highschool develop pictures.

13.  Under the same thing, design.  I’d like to be able to design book covers… not just write or edit.

Thursday Thirteen– 13 things about Jaegar-Caleb Nikolaiev and an excerpt

My muse has slipped a bit lately. I don’t like that I can stare at the last paragraph written forever and still not know what comes next, what my characters are going to do. I knew once, had it mapped out but I’ve hit a brick wall and letting it sit is making it become stagnant. So, I thought I’d do my thursday thirteen about Jaegar-Caleb Nikolaiev, the hero in my manuscript

1. J.C. is a prodigy, a man who has always excelled in intellect and because of it he rose to the ranks of scientist, training young children of their psychic abilities and honing their craft.
2. Unfortunately, his position also makes children fear him, giving him the nickname of the Boogeyman. Because he has the ability to blackmark them. Should a child fail their training for whatever reason or just don’t meet the standards the Council has mapped out, it is he who turns them over to the Council to be rid of.
3. J.C. was also trained to be a killer. Part of his being an agent requires him to be able to take a life and shut off his emotions in order to be successful at a mission.
4. When he was a baby, his genetics was manipulated in order to turn on the psychic pathways. He is able to manipulate matter/cells.
5. Unfortunately, having his genetics manipulated has messed up the balance in his body and slowly, his mind is shutting down other necessary elements like emotion. During the breakdown of his sanity, symptoms of migraines, nosebleeds and convulsions occur, as well as outbursts of violence. This process is irreversible.
6. The drugs given to ‘hone’ and ‘control’ his psychic abilities aid in this disintegration, although they all believe that it is there to help them and that it’s necessary for their survival. J.C. wants to get off these drugs, but because he is underwatch and has already been marked for their by the Council once, he is refused and is forced to take them. He’ll do anything to find out the truth, even going so far as to not give the drugs to the heroine, Amy O’Connor.
7. He has a black tattoo of a lightning bolt on his neck, the significance not yet known.
8. In a moment of wanting to end all the experiments and shut down the Council, J.C. blew up his lab, which unfortunately had other scientists in it, forcing him to go on the run.
9. Broderick (the handler for project Adam and in charge of J.C. and his unit) believes that J.C. is the only one who can stop the serial killer who is going around and killing off the psychic agents. That is the only reason why J.C. wasn’t put to death after blowing up the lab.
10. The Council believes that J.C. is losing his mind and that he cannot be saved and J.C. doesn’t care enough to try and prove them wrong. He will do whatever it takes to free his unit/friends from their control. Even if it means taking drastic measures.
11. When he blew up the lab, he lost the trust of his unit. Now no one will help him prove his innocence in the murders.
12. When Amy begins communicating with him, he refuses to believe the truth that she’s real, because he had never seen a telepath before. Most die before they are 3 because their minds can’t handle so much stimulation.
13. Though he has his own agenda where Amy is concerned, he will do anything to keep her safe and to win her love… and prove that he isn’t the monster he feels he is becoming.

Read the rest of this entry

Thursday 13– 13 Random Odd news I’ve heard lately…

                         13 Odd News…

1. A Chinese elephant fed heroin-laced bananas by illegal poachers was finally declared drug-free after three years of detox, according to Chinese state media reports. The elephant, dubbed “Xiguag” or “Big Brother,” was treated with methadone shots five times stronger than those given to human addicts.

2. Bella the cat went for a 70-mile ride, precariously perched on the spare tire under owner Gil Smith’s truck. Smith drove for 2 1/2 hours before he stopped and heard her frantic meows. Bella was shaky and tired, but otherwise fine.

3. Why get married in a church or a hall when the local funeral home is available? A Michigan bride and groom say “I do” at the facility where he works as funeral director.

4. Residents of Hoschton, Ga, are striving to break the Guinness World Record for the number of scarecrows in one place. Depictions of Elvis, the “Wizard of Oz,” Jesus and the University of Georgia football team are among those scattered around town.

5. Two men on a raft of junk ended a 3-month journey from Long Beach, Ca. to Honolulu Wednesday. They aimed to raise awareness about debris polluting the Pacific Ocean.

6. What’s cooking in Cambodia? A dish of spicy field rat is on the menu for more and more families. The price of rat meat in the country has risen sharply as inflation has put other meat beyond the reach of poor people.

7. More than 200 years after she was beheaded, Anna Goeldi was exonerated Wednesday of witchcraft charges. Goeldi was put to death in 1782, making her the last person executed in Europe for witchcraft. The Swiss village of Mollis, where she was killed, is now home to a museum on Goeldi.

8. Police in Port St. Lucie are on the lookout for a cross-dressing man who snatched a 74-year-old woman’s purse. As if that weren’t odd enough, they’re depending on a strange clue. The suspect left behind a condom filled with water he had been using as a fake breast.

9. China’s Bao Xishun reclaimed the title of the world’s tallest man after Leonid Stadnik of Ukraine refused to be measured under new guidelines from Guinness World Records. Bao is 7 feet, 8.95 inches.

10. A curious cow and a young wild bear touched noses and hung out together in a pasture before the bear dashed off with the cow in pursuit, neighbors said. But whether the cow was chasing off the bear or just wanted to play is a matter of debate.

11. An 8-foot mechanical gorilla standing outside a flea market store could move its arms but not much else, and it was heavy. Now it’s disappeared in broad daylight.

12. A man nicknamed “Humble Bob” stuffed himself with 11.5 pounds of a local specialty called chili-spaghetti in only about 10 minutes to claim victory in a holiday eating contest.

13. Meet Yoda (in pic above), a cat born with an extra pair of ears. Chicago, Illinois, couple Valerie and Ted Rock took the cat in two years ago after they visited a local bar, where a group of drinkers were handing the animal around and making fun of him.

Thursday 13– 13 things about Moving

I’m moving this weekend so I thought I’d write about the things I’ve learned about moving this time round…(hopefully the last time in awhile…)

1.  Sometimes, you just have to go back and ask your parents and the family-cavalry for help… once again.

2. Moving makes people grumpy and have tantrums.

3. You will realize you’d bought way more stuff this round than you had the last move.  Seriously, where’d all these books come from?

4. It can make you realize just how big of a packrat you really are.  You will throw out a lot of stuff.  Bags full… of junk that were once upon a time thought to be important and useful for the future but were never touched.

5. You will search whatever hallway there is at work, even talk to warehouse individuals about giving you the boxes they don’t want then lug those awkward boxes around on the bus.

6. You will have to wonder about whether your apartment is in good shape or if the superintendent will want you to pay for damage .

7. There will be cleaning adn things will get lost.

8. Whereas it used to take only one bus to get work and home, it will now take 3.  Not because it’s farther but because the bus routes are shorter.

9. You will wonder where to pack certain more “personal” items from curious eyes.

10.  Maps will have to be printed to make sure that the proper directions are given to find the new place (yes… yes I’m that directionally challenged, even if the new place is just 12 mins away.  I need a GPS.  Thank you to my brother for printing out a map for my parents).

11. There will be boxes to be thrown at the end.  Tons and tons of boxes.

12. The process of unpacking will begin, though I actually kind of like this part.

13. In the end, it will be a new beginning.  A new place by myself for the first time ever.  Even when I was away at university, I had a roommate.  That’s kind of scary but exciting all at the same time.  24 and on my own… it will be interesting.

Thursday 13– 13 things I need to pack for the trip

So tomorrow I’m off. Off to Timmins, Ont to visit my family. I haven’t seen my grandma and aunt (who are coming from British Columbia) in over 6 years since before I started University so I’m stoked. No work. For a whole week. I can relax and not worry about anything. These are just some of the things I will be bringing with me.

1. Clothes. Duh. This includes undies, shoes, a dress, etc.
2. Books. A full week off? Um, reading time! Oh yeah. It will be ggggrrrrrrrreat! Not sure all the ones I’m bringing yet.
3. Music. Ok, I’m not hip. I don’t have an ipod or mp3 player. No… I’m still back into the discman age where my Panasonic black and yellow cd player is my best friend when it comes to listening to music on the go.
4. Hair straightener. I’m one of those who doesn’t like their hair. I have natural curly hair but I like straight. So… I must bring this with.
5. Toothbrush/hairbrush/deodorant/all other small items.
6. Food. 10-12 hour bus ride? Um yeah food is a necessity. Usually I don’t like to get out much at the bus stops. There’s usually 3 stops. One is for lunch but I don’t like going in line at Harvey’s because I’m paranoid that the line will be long and the bus will take off without me. Bathroom breaks is enough. Snacks on the bus keep me going.
7. Work. This includes emailing myself the manuscripts and reviewer lists etc so that if they have a question or need something, I can get it to them. Fatal Visions doc also has to be sent to myself. Cause um… why wouldn’t I write?
8. Cell phone/camera and respectable cords. Another duh.
9. Bus ticket! after spending $140 one way to get home, um, I think I’m going to need that one.
10. A pad of paper and pens. To write of course!
11. My College Diploma. They already have my University Degree so they need this College one too.
12. Money. Another self-explanatory one here but you never know when you will need cash while travelling.
13. The travelling book of course!

Thursday 13— 13 Facts about Hedgehogs

. 1. In the world, there are 14 species of Hedgehogs but the main ones are: the European hedgehog, the African white-bellied hedgehog, the desert hedgehog and the long eared hedgehog.
2. The fall under the class of mammalian, order insectivore
3. They all have sharp, narrow snouts, small eyes, and short legs. They are covered on the back and sides with smooth spines. Males can have up to 500 spines on their backs (Kind of makes you wonder who took the time to count all those quills. LOL). The face, legs, tail, and belly are covered with fur. Quills are modified hairs, they are not very sharp and do not have barbs (not like the porcupine, in fact, they aren’t even related!).
4. They have a very good sense of smell and hearing.
5. They are nocturnal so they come out at night to eat and run around and during the day, they sleep. Mine enjoys running around in her wheel at night. Some of the species hibernate during the months of november to march, but more domestic ones like the African pygmy hedgehog do not. If they do, they can easily succumb to sickness and die.
6. The hedgehog protects itself by rolling up into a ball, from which spikes stand out in every direction. The average hedgehog has 5,000 -7,000 quills.
7. In the wild they will sleep either curled in a ball or stretched out. They will sleep under fallen logs and tree roots, under heaps of leaves, among rocks, or in burrows. Mine, loves to sleep under a t-shirt, sprawled out over my lap.
8. Hedgehogs can make sounds which vary from sneezing to snorting to clicking. When they are frightened they squeal (I’ve never heard mine squeal but she has made little sounds in her sleep as though she’s having a nightmare). They make a purring sound when something interests them or they are happy (mine does this when sprawled out over my lap).
9. The hedgehog is an omnivore which means it eats both plants and animals (Although she may eat cat food as a staple, I often give her cooked egg, mashed potatoes, chicken, turkey, carrots, etc).
10. Hedgehogs have very long tongues. They use their tongues to spread saliva over their spines. This action is brought on by the hedgehog smelling agreeable odors, which causes the hedgehog to salivate and then spread the saliva. This is called self-anointing. The exact purpose of anointing is unknown.
11. 91 different colour of hedgehogs are recognized! That’s a lot of variety!
12. Hedgehogs have many common ailments such as cancer which they are really prone to getting and WHS (wobbly hedgehog syndrome) which is a genetic disorder that causes progressive paralysis similar to the human form of MS. There is no cure and the afflicted hedgehogs slowly and eventually become totally paralyzed.
13. The average lifespan of a hedgehog is approximately 4-6 years.

13 things I enjoy doing in my spare time…

Although I haven’t done much of these things lately, these are the things that I do to unwind when I need a break from work or stress…

1. Write. I think this is a total duh. It may frustrate me at time with characters changing plots and putting up roadblocks but I love it and I couldn’t imagine not doing it.

2. Read. Another duh. Last week alone I bought $70 worth of books. I’ve been on a book buying binge I suppose. Most of the time I can only read whil waiting for the bus, on the bus… or at Country Style when I’m not busy and I’m caught up with what I have to do.

3. Paint. I love to paint. I’m not all that bad at it, but it’s def something I miss doing. I’ve even bought paint and canvases not too long ago but I just haven’t been able to find the time to do it. I mostly paint fantasy.

4. Horseback ride. Another thing I haven’t done since schedules have changed everywhere, not just mine. I just started to learn last summer so I’m not that bad at it but I enjoy it. It’s peaceful when you go on trail rides. I’m a bit nervous when the horse first decides to take off at a trot but I’m doing better at it and the whole feeling as though I’m going to fall off.

5. Watch movies. Romance chick flicks. Action. Thrillers. Even the occasional horror now and then. Whether it’s at home or at the movies, I enjoy losing myself in the storyline and the characters. When I move, there’s going to be a lot of movie nights with my friend Miranda. We’re already making lists of our movie night marathons… from Halloween, both for kid and adult, Xmas, Dexter (ok not a movie but still), girls night, both kid and adult…etc.

6. Spend time with friends. Ok I’ve been bad at this with everything going on. It’s hard when you don’t have much time to do something. 3-4 nights a week I don’t get home til after midnight.

7. Go for walks. Long… hikes in the country. I grew up on a 400 acre farm so I had a lot of land to wander and bush to explore. Loved it and when I have money I want to live out in the countryside. Just buy a house and eventually raise my kids on it because I don’t want them to grow up in the city.

8. Go to romancedivas forum of course! Where else would I get fantastic info and support? Only a writer can understand another writer’s frustrations and needs. Nonwriters just look at you. They don’t understand what it’s like to have characters in your head that won’t go away. They don’t understand what it’s like when one of those characters decide to change the plot. They think that you control the character. That you write the plot but it isn’t always so and to tell a nonwriter means that they look at you like you’re crazy.

9. Browse the net. Whether it’s exploring blogs or surfing the net for articles that would help me later on with characters and plots, I’m not picky. I particularly love anthro and biology articles but my interests are all over the map, including the paranormal.

10. Spend time with animals… whether it’s my hedgehog or whatever.

11. Roadtrips. I love them. Long roadtrips, whether we get lost or not. Some of my favourite memories are of getting lost with friends. I have a tendency of daydreaming/fantasizing when I’m in a vehicle. I just look out the window and let my imagination get away with me, much to the annoyance sometimes of friends because I’m so quiet.

12. Games. Especially card games with friends. Drinking games are often fun.

13. And how can I forget hanging out with family? Everyone knows that family is important. I love them… so I can’t wait to go home to visit in a few weeks.

Thirteen Things I love to bake…

1. Banana bread.  OMG I love it.  Can’t get enough of it.

2. Muffins. Blueberry.  Banana. Peach/grape/blueberry (weird combo but so good), etc.

3. Cake.  Love cake… lemon, marble, yellow.  I’ll say cheesecake falls in this category as well.  Blueberry…or triple berry as I made.

4. Cinnamon buns. ‘nough said.

5. Cookies.  Triple chocolate, peanutbutter/chocolate, Ranger Rick…

6. Apple Crisp.  Especially if it’s over vanilla ice cream.

7. Donuts. Plain glazed.

8. Pie. 

9. Buttertarts.  Plain- no raisins or pecans.

10. Peppermint bark.  So easy and fast to make.  So good to eat.

11. Brownies.

12. Turnovers… raspberries… Yummm

13. Chocolate fudge balls.