The following came about largely as a result of me trying to organize my ideas for an application to attend a marine policy course offered through Stanford. As per the typical scholarship/ conference/ grant application format, they wanted a lot of detail about my thesis and how participating in this program will be beneficial to my research. But they’re not the only ones who are curious about my work. My friends and family also often ask me what I study. And even though I think in many cases they’re just being nice/ trying to make conversation/ genetically obligated to care/ &c., sometimes I feel like there’s a genuine level of interest. Or, at the very least, mild curiosity. And, while I approach the marine realm largely from a physiological perspective and background, unfortunately my current research doesn’t involve any live specimens or experiments. So naturally I feel like a huge disappointment when people quickly realize that I don’t swim with dolphins or dive with sharks on a regular basis. Nonetheless, I still try to explain the type of work I do, and why I feel like my current branch of marine biology is equally (if not more) important.
Despite the fact that I really liked the apartment in which I spent the last 18 months, after much hemming and hawing, I decided to move. Nowhere far this time. In fact, it’s basically just around the corner. (Or, for the Google Maps inclined: 1.41 km northeast.) And, although I did consider several realistic housing options, my decision to acquire a new address was influenced largely by two factors:
- It feels like nearly three-quarters of my monthly income goes toward rent. Oh, no, wait…it does. (This is clearly not a sustainable situation. At least not if I want to keep enjoying life to the extent that I currently do.)
- One of my colleagues, Kaz, was looking to find a roommate for her two-bedroom apartment.
To touch on point #1: it’s no mystery to people living here that we have an insanely high cost of living. I recently read an article stating that Vancouver had surpassed New York as the most expensive city in North America. And I don’t know how accurate that is, but without a doubt, the joy we get from our world-renowned mountains, ocean, and other noble vistas is firmly balanced by a permanent dent in one’s bank account. Sharing accommodation with Kaz will save me about $400 each month. Which means I can save for some more travel. Or at least fully pay off my VISA for the first time in a while…
I’ve torn my MCL. Not completely (thankfully), but enough to justify a grade II tear; which means I’m off strenuous physical activity for the next few weeks at least. And for someone who plays on three hockey teams (two field and one ice) and leads an incredibly active life, this is a pretty significant downer. Or so I initially thought…
About three years ago I broke a toe playing soccer. This was the first time I’d ever broken a bone, and the defected digit wasn’t even fully cracked. But hairline or otherwise, it hurt like a bitch and essentially made me immobile for about a month. Which I took really badly. It was during the winter in Guelph (i.e., sometime between September and May) and the fact that I had to hobble around on crutches in the snow made me incredibly miserable and self-pitying. And while I laugh at the situation now, I know that my outlook toward it often made everyone around me pretty miserable as well. And that’s not the happiest thought. But on the bright side, I know I learned a lot from that experience.
Valentine’s Day. Two words that most people either love or loathe. Of course everyone’s heard it before, but let’s summarize why the lovey-dovey camp likes February 14th: it’s special; it’s romantic; I have the best boyfriend/ girlfriend/ husband/ wife in the world; I get flowers/ chocolates/ jewelry/ amazing sex/ dinner out; I like to show my significant other that I care. And for the haters it goes something like this: it’s stupid, you shouldn’t need an excuse to show affection; it’s so materialistic/ overly commercial; it’s a chick holiday; I’m single.
While all of the above are generalizations, they’re also all fairly accurate. Case and point: I saw derivatives of at least 75% of them on facebook this morning. (Clearly, no further proof required.) But anyway, I can relate to both sides, although I tend to have the mindset that no, you don’t need one day a year to celebrate being a couple. But there’s also no need to go out of your way to be grouchy either. No one is forcing you to be romantic and if you feel obligated to do something nice for your partner, then hopefully you realize you’ve got some bigger relationship issues to deal with. And (believe it or not), you can have great sex the other 364 days of the year too. In fact, I really hope you do. I also hope you are spontaneous, and go on dates on Mondays, and cook nice dinners together mid-week, and surprise each other, and, most importantly – appreciate – each other, more often than not. And, personally, while I actually do think unconditional love is the most wonderful thing in the world (100% serious), I’m also have a tendency to lean toward the unpredictable side of life. Thus, I’ve come to realize that anticipating a day full of romance is not only counterintuitive, but also super boring.
Last week I read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit. Last Wednesday, between 3:37 and 6:58 a.m., I read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. I couldn’t sleep. And since doing laundry at this time would probably have incurred the wrath of my fellow tenants (rightly so), I chose instead to make myself some tea (Crème Caramel de David), and hunker down with Hux.
On second thought, maybe it wasn’t actually this serene and cozy. Upon reflection, it was actually more akin to a contemporary (and slightly feminine) version of Jekyll and Hyde. It went something like this:
11:06 – good job Laurenne, you’re in bed before midnight. You’re being so proactive about improving your sleep habits. Well done; you’re awesome; gold star.
11:44 – OK, why aren’t you asleep yet?
11:56 – does my dresser really have those weird grooves in it? What an odd pattern. I could design furniture. No you couldn’t, shut up.
12:08 – hmm, I am definitely not tired. It’s really raining hard outside. Did I leave my umbrella on campus again? I should get a spare. I wonder who invented the umbrella. Who cares, go to sleep.
OK, so I figure that since I mentioned sustainable seafood in my last post, and also because I said I’d discuss it in future posts, there’s no reason for me not to write about it now. (Holy negatives, Batman. Sorry, must be Monday…) I’ll try to keep it simple and include a nice practical application (i.e. dinner) at the end.
In a general sense, the term sustainable is probably the biggest environmental buzzword of the 2000s. Well, maybe it’s tied with climate change. And fair trade is gaining momentum. At any rate, people toss around sustainable in relation to pretty much any and every natural resource. But I’ve come to realize that, in many cases, this word is both poorly defined and understood. And, sometimes, it’s just downright misused. And while sustainability is only one very, very small piece of the complicated mess that is global fisheries, it’s still an important concept—for anyone who eats seafood.