Friday, March 31, 2006

An Invisible Praying Dragon

The idea that prayer can heal the sick has been around for a very long time. Today, the results of the world's largest study were released, and guess what? Prayer has no effect on health or on recovery. The study was done over a span of ten years and involved 1,800 patients. I'm satisfied with the results given the paradigms of the study and the number of top-notch researchers involved (some of them with a religious bias I might add). What annoys me is the response that I know will meet these results.

The same religious people who have quoted previous, less reliable research that showed prayer to be effective will dismiss this study. Others will argue that science cannot test religion and that its silly to try (Of course, had the results been positive the same people would be shouting from the rooftops, "Science proves the existence of God!") and then there will be the obvious, God knew we were testing him and withheld his amazing healing powers as an attempt to teach those silly scientists a lesson. Nice God.

When a stance, whether it be religious or otherwise, requires so much mental gymnastics that you're tied up in a knot or leads you to take all your reasoning skills and put them on a shelf, you might just want to re-examine your position.

Carl Sagan, as usual, says it best...

Thursday, March 30, 2006


I think I have some kind of attachment disorder. Usually people who aren't cuddled and loved enough as infants develop some kind of pathological aversion to deeper human relationships. I think I may have been over-cuddled because I have difficulty making a distinction between stranger and friend. I really care about people and that's not always a good thing.

I have learned the following things lately:

1. It is not normal to miss the guy who bought your car. It's not acceptable to wonder aloud how "Steve is liking the car" and "whether he's happy". Yah, apparently that's weird.

2. It's abnormal to buy things online just so you can visit people's houses and get a quick "peek at their life".

3. Hunting people down on the internet because you had a crush on them in grade two isn't "bumping into an old friend"'s creepy.

4. Talking about your friends Heather and John as though they are your next door neighbours and not people who happen to run a website is also weird. In fact, having a whole host of "web friends" who you've never met but email regularly tends to be frowned upon. But not by the people emailing me because they are emailing me maybe that's not weird?

5. Most people tend to put up big fat walls and I don't. I don't like to waste time. I am what I am and we've got so much to say and so many people are so damn worried about what others will think that they don't realize we are all dying. You have nothing to hide and everything to lose.

Anyway, the point it that I don't actually have to have MET someone to care about them. I need to feel connected to a lot of people. I like to know what other people are doing with their little slice of life and I want to hear all their stories. It makes me feel human and connected and not so alone on this big blue ball. (Big blue ball...ha...anyway...) Brian laughs at me because I am forever tracking down old friends and writing to them but you know what? They usually write me back so maybe they need it just as much as I do. Only they didn't know it yet.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quarter Life Analysis

I was listening to the radio last night and they were interviewing the author of Dish, a new book about women in midlife. The author was saying just how many women feel as though they lived the first half of their lives for other people and it got me thinking. I am sure there are decisions I have made that were designed to please others, but there haven't been many. In that respect I feel very lucky. I know that women tend to struggle with saying no and feeling guilty for taking care of themselves. I find it very sad that so many women have neglected their own wants and needs in order to satisfy someone else, or even worse, social expectations. As I look at my life today I don't feel like it has been shaped much by either and that feels good. I realize that this may change in the next few years but at least I know I won't wake up at 50 and wonder who the hell I am living for.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Thousand Lives Will Do...

I wonder if I am ever going to figure out what I want to do with my life or whether I'm destined to spend my whole life looking...not that that would be a horrible thing. It would be far worse I suppose to just give up entirely or even worse to never really care at all.

I have come to the realization that despite my love for writing and other "artsy" endeavors, I am at my truest, a scientist. Nothing makes me hotter than the endocrine system, maximum velocity and cell regulation. I love the feeling I get when I know my brain is working at maximum capacity and I am really struggling to understand a concept. I haven't felt that way in awhile.

Now I need to decide whether I'm satisfied with having a relatively easy job and finding things outside of work to occupy my brain or whether I'm going to go back where I belong and make my life a lot harder. I also need to figure out who will pay the bills while I do that.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bros and Books

I spent last weekend in Edmonton with my not-so-little-little brothers. I honestly can't remember the last time it was just the three of us. Boyfriends, girlfriends or parents are usually present so it was really great to just hang out with both of them. Craig leaves for Nepal on the 31st and is getting really excited for his trip. It's his first big adventure and what a place to start with!

I just finished A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews and I actually cried at the end. It was so good! It's written from the perspective of a young Mennonite girl in Manitoba (I think) and it has been resonating within my little head ever since I finished it. It was nominated for the Giller Prize so I assumed it was well written (and it was) but I never thought I would be so moved and drawn in to the lives of the characters. Awesome.

Reason for not writing much? Life is deliciously, boringly, perfect. Pain breeds literature, perfection breeds sex.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Just another crazy CBC'er

Yesterday I got mugged! Okay, so it's not as melodramatic as it sounds but I was still pretty excited. The CBC Eye Opener (Calgary's morning radio show) has been going around town each week giving away CBC mugs. Every morning I drive to work listening to Angela Knight giving away her coveted mugs and yesterday morning I was shocked when I realized she was just around the corner at McMahon Stadium. I had ten minutes to make it to her before she closed up shop and drove away for the day so I gunned it. I pulled up, jumped out of my car and ran towards the CBC min-van yelling, "I've wanted one of those mugs forever!" And a slightly frightened CBC host gave me one!

So, if you happen to live in Calgary and heard me ranting and raving like a lunatic on the radio yesterday morning, what can I say? I got a wicked mug. And I finally did some contract work for Calgary CBC One. Awesome.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Where's Julia Roberts when you need her?

If I was Erin Brockovich I would have been all over Fort McMurray years ago. I always thought that we had higher than normal rates of cancer but I wasn't sure. When I left Fort Mac and met other people my own age and started talking (not that cancer was always a big subject)I began to realize that I knew WAY too many young people with cancer...all kinds of cancer. Fort McMurray had a population of about 35,000 when I grew up there. I can list dozens of people, mostly under 20, who I have known (or known of)and who have had cancer. Skin cancer, nose cancer, leukemia, stomach cancer...not to mention the number of people with weird ailments and diseases. I have been saying for years now that some day people were going to discover that the oilsands are killing people. Looks like I was right. Lucky me.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Cancer Questions

This story has been bouncing around the inside of my skull for days now. I'm fascinated by the topic and the possibilities it raises and impressed with Wendy Mesley's balls. To question and criticize the very organization that is securing you medical care and perhaps saving your life? That's the kind of passion for a story that journalism needs.

I was shocked to see the stats on cancer in Canada. One in two Canadians? Those are not good odds and they're far worse than I ever would have guessed. I know I tend to be a skeptic and I am particularly skeptical of big pharma, but I'm not the least surprised that they play a role in all of this. They stand to benefit from sick people, and that is never a good thing. Not for the sick people anyway.

Way to go Wendy...I just hope that the right people are listening.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Car, job and a fixed address...

I've been made the official photographer at work...does life get any better than this? Yesterday I had an interview with the most amazing young woman, I'm doing more writing than I've ever done and today I get given a fancy new camera to play with. And I'm getting paid for this.

This past weekend my parents took Brian and I out for dinner at the Keg. The food was delicious but what I appreciated most was being able to spend time with my Mum and Dad. We headed out to Okotoks after dinner and ended up staying out there all day Sunday. Might have been because Mum cooked a big breakfast and then a chicken dinner, you can't really be sure. Either way it was really fun and relaxing. Dad and Brian went for a drive in the new car and talked engines and Mum and I just chatted. I have always gotten along really well with my parents (okay, not always but for the most part) but now we are entering a new phase it seems. They will always be my parents, and they've always been my friends but now we're all grown up and on equal footing. It's good.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Error of My Ways

I can't believe I've been such an irresponsible pet owner. Shabba, things are going to change around here my little furry friend.