Friday, January 24, 2020

The flicker of illusion that passed between the sunsets yesterday elicited a hot pint of reflection for both of us. As our cyber-sky precipitates more and more festivities upon us, we found ourselves pondering those dreaded seven letters we’d never thought we’d worry about only one-score-plus-three days into this project: Burnout.

This is not to suggest that our primordial wicks were nearing their final flame-wiggle, not at all. The perpetual party rages on and our coats remain firmly upon the bed – we aren’t going anywhere. But the manic nature with which time scootches by was beginning to make itself… heard.

As such, we decided we’d pop our camera onto the shelf and slow down our video entries on Youtube. Each 7-10 minute video is accompanied by 60-90 minutes of editing, music selection, uploading and processing. Tack onto that the articles I lovingly pry from the insides of my fingertips and our time to appreciate our celebrations languishes upon the backburner. And those celebrations are the warm fruity centre beneath the pie crust of pics, vids and word-globs that we serve up to the world.

So please forgive our gearing down with the video entries. We still aim to recap our weeks, and to pop in with fresh content when the act of a celebration lies in our discussing the topic (as we did with International Fetish Day back on the 17th). These daily scribbles will keep on keeping on, and we shall continue to document the guts of the revelry on social media. But let’s turn our attention back one paragraph to that lovely and tasty metaphor.

National Pie Day

“But wait,” I hear you imploring, “isn’t Pie Day on March 14, as a tribute to the number pi?”

“Yes it is,” I reply in a soothing, some may even say dulcet tone. “But National Pie Day on January 23 is officially endorsed by the American Pie Council.”

“But what,” you reply sharply, “is the American Pie Council, and why should I care what they endorse?”

Well, you have a point. The APC is an industry organization for the pie racket, and you can choose to follow their rules or those of Congress, which officially recognizes Pi Day on 3/14. National Pie Day was concocted by a nuclear engineer and expert home brewer named Charlie Papazian. He first ascended to glorious fame (and probably fortune) as the founder of the American Homebrewers Association in 1978. Eight years later he decided National Pie Day should fall on his birthday every year, and he must have pulled some serious weight with Big Pie because that’s exactly what happened.

How mighty is the Pie lobby? The APC actually partnered with Paramount Pictures six years ago to promote the Kate Winslet / Josh Brolin flick Labor Day, which features pie-making and which was released right around National Pie Day that year. The pie people are so mighty they are taking over show business. We’d best keep them happy.

After all, pie is all about being happy. Our pie yesterday was generously donated by our talented friend Deb, whose illustrations brighten up the joint in our Sunday articles. This baby was built upon the grand-daddy of southern pies, the pecan variety. Pecan pie is either a concoction of the French down in New Orleans, though some dispute that claim. Whatever its origin story, the pecan pie (and bonus points for walnuts and chocolate joining the dance) is a thing of beauty.

And you know what? We’ll celebrate Pi Day on March 14 too. Maybe with another pie fight.

World Spay Day

As I hinted yesterday, my original plans for this day involved attending a veterinarian’s office and witnessing an actual spaying, as though they had an operating theatre for just such an event. Alas, this rang as silly to me, as it would necessitate cashing in a vacation day just to watch a dog or cat have an operation. Also, it’s possible this would violate some ethical vet code, and I didn’t want to put any animal healer in that position.  

If you follow the right people, literally every day on social media you’ll see stories and sad-eyed photos of pets seeking a home. There is no shortage of domesticated beasts up for human grabs, so failing to spay or neuter your four-legged family member means you may be adding to those stacks of barkers and meowers who have no place to call home. Please. I’m sick of those posts. Do it for your pet, but do it for Facebook. Let’s free up timeline real estate for more conversations about the Masked Singer and Baby Yoda memes. If you won’t do it for the poor kitties and pups, do it for society.

National Handwriting Day

An argument I’ve witnessed (though never participated in) is whether or not it’s tragic that kids today are not taught cursive in school. We all went through it: we mastered our letters, learned to draw lower-case ‘t’s that don’t wobble, ‘b’s and ‘p’s and ‘d’s and ‘q’s with puckish little circles and correctly-swiped straight lines. Then our teacher told us we had to re-learn all of it, but link all the letters together. And the letter ‘f’? Forget everything you know about that bastard – he’s changing his tune completely.

Cursive was a pain in the ass, but when done correctly it’s quite pleasing to the eye. And given our perpetual connection to keyboards and touch-screens, even longhand printing is becoming a novelty, so National Handwriting Day embraces both.

To be clear though, this is another celebration concocted by an industry association – in this case, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association. The WIMA invented this day in 1977 to promote the use of pens, pencils and paper. I don’t see that those were endangered items in ’77, but I suppose no one in Star Wars used a pen, so maybe WIMA was worried they’d fall out of fashion with the young set. Why January 23? That’s the birthday of John Hancock, the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence, and… well, that’s kind of all John Hancock is famous for, isn’t it?

National Hot Sauce Day

We were a day late in getting the post up for this one, as a last-minute shift in dinner plans skewed our intentions this week. But we celebrated this one with a few splashes of Frank’s into our homemade burgers. We couldn’t allow this one to slip by us – I (Marty) in particular am a huge fan of hot sauce. Not to the extent where I’ll spray it on ice cream or dunk my Oreos into it, but in the right context that nudge of spice is divine.

Our relationship with hot sauce is fraught with curiosity and a dash of mild morbidity. Hot sauce causes us pain, sometimes outright agony, yet we persist in steering our mouths toward another bite. My friend Stew and I used to plead with our waitress every Monday night at Kelsey’s to enlist the chef’s help in mangling our munch-holes with the most vicious and sadistic heat he could slather upon our chicken wings. Every week we left in a pool of sweat, beneath a glow of sizzling air, but never quite pushed to the madness we both sought.

Hot sauce only rears its ugly side when it doesn’t allow itself to be tempered by the digestion system, and it leaves the body with the same curdled rage with which it had entered. Our hot-sauce-infused burger patties offered no such threat. But that little bite, that precious hint of its fiery tenor, was perfect. Hot sauce can be cruel, but it is life-affirming. It’s a voluntary pain but the brink it presents is one of delicate whoop and capsaicin-riddled exhilaration, not one of mortal peril. Hot sauce is the sauce of life, cranked to 11 and roaring to a perfect sizzle.

Get Organized Month

For the most part, Jodie and I live relatively organized lives. We no longer cower beneath the raging chaos of parenthood, and our jobs require a certain level of consistent order to keep us afloat. But never have I experienced such an urgency for proper allotment of time and resources until this month. We have taken tremendous steps to ensure we can continue to live and breathe this perpetual party without losing a step. Well – I suppose we did lose a step today by axing our daily video updates, but that was an item we could sacrifice. That’s part of organization – having a plan for where to cut back when things get out of hand.

To concoct the bones of this project I employed Google calendar. This was back in the spring of 2019 – I simply added a new entry for each celebration, using the notes section to detail how we could take part. A color-coding system was put into place: orange for celebrations involving food, yellow if we need to head to a restaurant for it. Red meant a field trip (bird-watching or museum selfie-ing), blue meant a topic solely for writing, and purple represented everything else.

I have an entry on each Sunday which details a grocery list for all the dishes we’d be eating during the upcoming week for a simpler shopping experience. I also created an entry on the first of each month for things we need to look ahead to prep, like tracking down where we can buy Mochi, or finding out how Edmonton will be ringing in the Chinese New Year. Each day also contains an entry with writing topics commemorating historic events (yesterday was the 45th anniversary of Barney Miller!) and famous birthdays (Richard Dean Anderson turned 70!). I also researched hundreds of famous albums to commemorate their birthdays (yesterday Tone Loc’s Loc-ed After Dark album turned 31!) Alas, those portions of the project were the first casualty, as I was writing in excess of 2,500 words every day in order to include everything.

Organization is key to accomplishing anything big. And since January is a great month for renewal and refocus, it’s the perfect time to take stock of your own organizational planning and shape it up a little.

Clashing Clothes Day

No clue about the origin of this one, but apparently the fourth Thursday of January is the day to strain the eyes of your associates with some poor color choices. We opted not to torment our coworkers (especially since they had to endure our commitment to ultra-casualness earlier this week on Sweatpants Day), but upon coming home, decorum was shuffled out the door.

Today will be our first grand return on this trippy little voyage, as we venture once again to the opposite end of our city and the Yang Ming buffet we visited on January 2. Tonight’s repast is just a family get-together, not part of a celebration. But here’s what else will be going down today.

  • National Compliment Day. We will smatter the air with kind words and genuine praise. No compliments for the sake of meeting our quota; our words will carry the heft of genuine sentiment every time.
  • Beer Can Appreciation Day. I’ll do a bit of research about the beer can for tomorrow’s article, but come on. The only way to really celebrate this is to enjoy a beer can close-up.
  • National Peanut Butter Day. Toast and peanut butter is a fine, fine way to launch a Friday. Maybe something with a Reese label will help to close it off.
  • Belly Laugh Day. We will experience several of these today, whatever it takes.
  • Talk Like A Grizzled Prospector Day. I mean… I guess?
  • National “Just Do It” Day. Another day with no discernable origin, but probably some Nike low-level employee, trying to make it a thing. We’ll find something we’re on the fence about and… just… make it so?

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