Podcasts: a lifestyle

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It’s been a few months I’ve been addicted to podcasts since a peculiar mutation of my current lifestyle occurred: being often on the road commuting between Montreal and Ottawa, unable to find any time slot to sit down and watch TV, but always craving to learn more about the crazy world we live in, I went on the hunt for interesting shows to listen to, in hopes it would keep my brain active and not let it fall in ruins.

It is indeed an excellent way to distract your mind while doing repetitive tasks that do not require much effort, when you wait for someone and no book is available to keep your mind busy, or during a midnight walk when you’re unable to find rest and sleep.

Everything started with Radiolab, a radioshow from the WNYC, a radiostation affiliated to the National Public Radio (NPR). Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, this show discusses about various topics from a scientific and philosophical perspective, to which you add an interesting narrative structure and a fascinating sountrack.

However tonight, I will leave you with this adorable podcast called The Sounds in my Head that gives a quite fantastic selection of songs I would never have paid attention to before. Here are my favourite songs from their latest show:

I did not know the fast-food restaurant Chipotle had a videogame, a very peculiar medium to do advertisement and promote your values…

Ah man, now I want their vegetarian bowl… Toronto, why you so far?

Things that piss me off

Many current issues piss me off in this world, starting from:

  • the on-going conflict in Syria and the political and power games between the United States, the European Union and Russia;
  • the unnecessary charter of values in Quebec when we have so many other problems we have to take care of (a.k.a. healthcare system, environmental emerging issues such as oil sands, hydraulic fracturing, and many others, seasonal employment, etc.);
  • Any new Apple product or update…;
  • Etc.

But I won’t talk about that today, although you may have an idea of my opinion regarding these events. Here are other news I consider worth mentioning, worth caring, worth discussing:

Exxon Mobil unit charged for Pennsylvania fracking wastewater spill
Hydraulic fracturing is a technique that helps extract oil and gas from shale deposits, an unconventional way to gather energy resources to compensate our current inability to extract oil and gas the usual way.
On the pro-side, it is a great way to create employment, diminish the prices of oil and gas, relaunch the economy after the crisis.
On the con-side, it is said to cause serious earthquakes and contamination of underground waters (although not many studies were done yet to fully assess that phenomenon and do not seem to fully reach a consensus), to use enormous volumes of water, and the contaminated water that was used to extract the resources cannot be purified and is left to stay in wells deep in the ground.
It’s this contaminated water that is the current concern in a spill involving XTO Energy Inc., a subsidiary company of Exxon Mobil. Leaks of wastewater were found on-site, leading to the presence of pollutants “in a tributary of the Susquehanna River basin.”

Why some men in Cambonia don’t think gang rape is gang rape
A United Nations study show alarming statistics regarding rape in six Asian countries, Cambodia having the highest rate of gang rape. This study was carried out by surveying around 10,000 men, half of them having confessed having abused once their partners, and 1 in 4 having committed rape.
However, what struck me the most in the article was an interview with a Cambodian man who talked about gang raping a prostitute as if it were… a casual activity to do with friends.

Blame – a Radiolab podcast
You will soon realize that Radiolab is possibly my favourite podcast, that I eagerly await their new stuff to appear in my feed, that I can easily listen again and again to their show and always learn new details and new perspectives.
This one, the most recent one they published, questions the notion of blame in judicial cases, the notion of responsibility when neurological damages are taken in account, the concept of fault in general.

Procrastination and KFC – worst combo ever…

2013 has been a hectic year for me (it is still currently the case!), with the end of my bachelor degree, my constant commuting between Montreal and Ottawa for work and other irrelevant details of my life.

Living with other people than my fiancé has forced me to cook for one person only: me. Do you know how hard it is to cook for one person only and not have vegetables perishing in your refrigerator? Also, because I did not like staying in my apartment in Ottawa during evenings, the probabilities I cooked decent meals were close to null: frozen vegetables, instant noodles and dried couscous became my best buddies.

I could also give numerous excuses to justify my absence from this blog. It can be quickly summarize into three reasons explaining why nothing has been published since February (in French!):

  1. Lack of time to cook meals that were worth mentioning on the blog. Seriously, no one would have been interested to look at pictures of instant noodles with peas or frozen veggies with couscous.
  2. I’m broke. No, actually, I didn’t want to spend money in restaurants and critique them. And when I did have the money and did go to the restaurant to eat, I did not have my camera with me. Unlike in Montreal where I walked and used the bus and metro, I would ride my bicycle to circulate in Ottawa and there’s nothing more stressful than to carry precious and fragile objects on a bike when you’re as clumsy as I am.
  3. I’m the Queen of Procrastination. That’s it. With capital letters. And a crown. Tiaras are for wusses.
Another reason is that I did not know in which direction lead this blog: I did not want to post pictures of food only, but also publish opinions, thoughts, music discoveries, weird objects I saw or news articles that caught my attention.
Like this article on this brand new invention by KFC Japan: deep-fried corn soup. Yup!

It looks awful and disgusting… however, considering my appreciation of their rice porridge that I ate two years ago in Shanghai and that I absolutely loved, I have to admit I’m quite intrigued by the concept. Corn soup is so popular in Japan, being even declined as a popsicle. Deep-frying this delicacy was obviously the next step. After all, if we can deep-fry Coca-Cola, ice cream and Snickers bars, why not corn soups… *please hear the sarcasm here…*

OK, I won’t be able to lose my extra 13 pounds if I try this horror, nor will we save the world from the epidemic obesity…

And this girl is way too happy to engulf her fried chicken on the main page of KFC Japan…

Inspiration – Deco ideas for fall

Every year, Alex and I ask ourselves the same question:

Can we improve the decoration of our apartment?

Obviously, as a student who doesn’t have much money, the answer is always yes, but is it realistic to say that we should? After all, it’s not a necessity to live in a well decorated house when most of your money goes to rent, studies and food. So I dream. And I get amazed in front of these wonderful ideas IKEA brings to the table.

OK, I may not want to live with 6 people in the same room, even with the curtains for “intimacy”… It kind of sucks…

Or this tiny 330 squared-feet apartment in Hong Kong transforming into 24 different rooms.

And that freaking 100$ Norden bench that would look so nice as a coffee table in my tiny living room and for which I try to save money.NORDEN Bench – IKEA

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Inspiration – Paintings

Composition VIII - Kandinsky (WebMuseum Paris) Composition VIII – Kandinsky

Painting at Pompidou Centre (2007) – Unknown painter

La Trahison des images - Magritte La Trahison des images – Magritte (one of my favourite painters)

La  Desserte rouge – Matisse

Moments on the Plateau