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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

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Thursday Thirteen: 13 weird ice cream flavours

In the fifth century BC, ancient Greeks sold snow cones mixed with honey and fruit in the markets of Athens. Persians, having mastered the storage of ice, ate ice cream well into summer. Roman emperor Nero had ice brought from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings.   Ever since then,  ice cream has become a favourite to many.  There are many combinations I’d try… but these… are some that I would never touch. *shudder*

1.  Cactus

2. Raw Horseflesh

3.  Garlic

4.   Pit Viper

5.  Charcoal

6. Cypress tree

7.  Squid gut

8.  Squid ink

9. Ox Tongue

10.  Eel

11. Shark Fin Noodle

12. Seaweed

13. Lettuce and Potato

These were found here.  I think I’ll stick with my cookie dough ice cream.

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Most Popular Resolutions

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It’s that time again, the passing of an old year and the beginnings of a new one.   And with the beginning of a new year comes new year’s resolutions, a commitment an individual intends to make and keep.  This tradition goes all the way back to 153 B.C. when a mythical God of early Rome by the name of Janus (God of gates, doors, beginnings and endings) became the ancient symbol for resolutions.  According to myth, Janus had two faces, allowing him to look back on both past events and forward to the future.

January 1st became the beginning of the new year in 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar developed a calendar to reflect the seasons more than previous calendars in use.  The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus.  On New Year’s Eve, the Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts of branches from sacred trees thought to be for good fortune.

Throughout the years, New Years has changed to December 25 in the Middle Ages by the Christians, then changed it to March 25.  It wasn’t until the sixteenth century that Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar, returning New Years to January 1.

13 Top Resolutions:

  • Lose weight
  • Get out of debt
  • Save money
  • Get a better job
  • Get fit/ exercise more
  • Eat right
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce stress
  • Take a trip
  • Be more independent
  • Watch less tv
  • Learn something new
  • Get a better education

What about you?  What are your new years resolutions?

Thursday thirteen: 13 things about

Halloween is also known as: All Hallows Eve, Samhain, All Hallowtide, The Feast of the Dead, The Day of the Dead, Nos Calan Gaeaf

When Christianity came to England and the rest of Europe, 1 November became All Saints Day – a day dedicated to all those saints who didn’t have a special day of their own. They performed a mass called ‘All hallows mass’ and the night before became known as All Hallows E’en and eventually Hallowe’en or Halloween.

It is thought that the colours orange and black became Halloween colours because orange is associated with harvests (Halloween marks the end of harvest) and black is associated with death.

A pumpkin is really a squash, and comes from the same family as the cucumber.

The biggest pumpkin in the world tipped the scales at a whopping 1,446 pounds. This gigantic gourd was weighed in October 2004 at a pumpkin festival in Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada.

The Irish used turnips as their “Jack’s lanterns” originally. But when the immigrants came to America , they found that pumpkins were far more plentiful than turnips. So the Jack-O-Lantern in America was a hollowed-out pumpkin, lit with an ember.

If you see a spider on this night, it could mean the spirit of a dead loved one is watching over you

To meet a witch, put on your clothes on inside out and walk backward.

On Halloween, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make them cold and undesirable. They would then dress up in all manner of ghoulish costumes and noisily paraded around the neighborhood, being as destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.

The tradition of bobbing for apples is also part of the history of Halloween and is known to have come about from the Roman’s Pomona Day. Romans honored the dead with a festival called Feralia in late October. It honored Pomona , their goddess of fruit trees who was often pictured wearing a crown of apples. During this festival, they ran races and played games to honor the “Apple Queen” and used omens such as apple parings thrown over the shoulder or nuts burned in the fire in order to predict the future concerning their marital prospects. When the Romans conquered the Celts, they combined local Samhain customs with their own pagan harvest festival. Bobbing for apples was derived from this blended pagan celebration.

On the evening before Samhain (another name for Halloween), people left food on their doorsteps to keep hungry spirits from entering the house. Festivalgoers started dressing in ghost, witch, and goblin costumes so that wandering spirits would leave them alone. To this day, these are Halloween’s most popular costumes.

Trick-or-treating is thought to have its origins in a European custom called souling where people would beg for “soul cakes.” and by wearing masks or blackening their faces, it was thought that people were impersonating dead ancestors.

The Jack-o-lantern custom probably comes from Irish folklore. As the tale is told, a man named Jack, who was notorious as a drunkard and trickster, tricked Satan into climbing a tree. Jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree’s trunk, trapping the devil up the tree. Jack made a deal with the devil that, if he would never tempt him again, he would promise to let him down the tree. According to the folk tale, after Jack died, he was denied entrance to Heaven because of his evil ways, but he was also denied access to Hell because he had tricked the devil. Instead, the devil gave him a single ember to light his way through the frigid darkness. The ember was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer.

Thursday Thirteen: 13 favourite quotes

13 favourite quotes:

1. “If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer. If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!”– Shel Silverstein

2. “Many people hear voices when no-one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.” -Margaret Chittenden

3. “A weed is just a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. “When the light turns green, you go. When the light turns red, you stop. But what do you do when the light turns blue with orange and lavender spots?”– Shel Silverstein

5. “The further one goes, the less one knows.”–Lao-Tzu

6. “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny …”– Isaac Asimov

7. “He’s Not Dead, He’s Electroencephalographically-Challenged”– bumper sticker

8. “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”– Abraham Lincoln

9. “There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”– W. Somerset Maugham

10. “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”– Albert Einstein

11. “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”– Dorothy Parker

12. “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”– Chinese proverb

13. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”– Albert Einstein

Thursday Thirteen: 13 things I’m grateful for

It’s Thanksgiving, this Monday so this week, I’m going to list the 13 things in my life that I’m grateful for…

1. Family. When all things matter the most, they are always there for me, whether it’s driving half a day to help me move, or helping me out when money gets tight, they are always supporting me and showing me their love.

2. Friends. I don’t need an army of them as long as I have a handful that I can rely on and be myself around. Even when I’m crazy.

3. The romance divas. They are a good support, whether as part of my writing or personal life.

4. Pets because life just wouldn’t be the same without them.

<– Belle Hedgie –>

5. My health, as well as my family and friends’.

6. A good job at McGraw-Hill for the next 2.5 months at least. I’m on contract and I’m done at the end of Dec, but there’s a good chance I will stay on and fill in for someone’s maternity. So… fingers crossed.

7. A good apartment. Nice. Rent’s fair. But more than anything, it’s a roof over my head keeping me dry and warm. And safe.

8. Education. I was able to get a good education. I don’t know what I’d do without it, and yet, there are others out there who go without.

9. Food.

10. Imagination. Without it , it’d be one boring world. Without creativity, I wouldn’t be able to write or get lost in a book… or a movie. This is the same with dreams.

11. Love. Love for my family and friends. Although I’ve only really experienced love toward another in a different sense, and it turned out badly, I still am grateful for being able to feel it and all the other emotions that come with it.

12. Our freedom and with that, the thanks to all those men and women who have fought for that freedom to give us.

13. And last but not least… life, because it’s so easy to take for granted at times.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING and happy writing!

Thursday 13: 13 sand scupltures

It’s getting cold out. With October comes the cold… and the rain… and later on, the snow. Ok, maybe not here where I am. But at home we would have had snow by Halloween, tons and tons of snow that would require us to wear snow suits beneath our Halloween costumes making it awkward to walk in. And with October comes the impending cold/flu season. It’s going around and despite my attempts to stop it in its tracks before it catches me in its sickly grasp, with the help of vitamins… I’m sick. Bah. So this thursday thirteen is about summer and warm weather and cool sandcastles/sculptures I wish I had the talent to create.



Thursday Thirteen– 13 cool things done with paper

I’m in awe… I have no idea how this guy does it but the art he does with paper is really cool. All of this is done by a guy by the name of Peter Callesen who manages to take simple semi-cuts out of paper and turn them into true works of art. He makes origami look like an ordinary thing. Peter can do more with a piece of A4 paper and some imagination than I could ever hope to do with unlimited supplies and some art school. Using only a little bit of glue, he creates work that literally pops off the paper.

1. walking snail

2. Closet

3. Impenetrable castle

4. Half way through

5. Distant Wish

6. Tall tower of Babel

7. The outline of a skeleton

8. Holding on to myself

9. The lost sheep

10. Do not enter.

11. white hand

12. Bound to be free

13 Mirage II

To see more of his art, check out his site http://www.petercallesen.com