Friday, February 14, 2020

It’s Valentine’s Day. If you’re just learning this now, you clearly haven’t been to a grocery or drug store since the day after New Year’s when the merchandizing switched over. Here’s how we yesterdayed:

National Cheddar Day

We wanted to do our tribute to this noble fromage properly, so a slab of Safeway orange wouldn’t do. We stopped by our local Italian Centre Shop on the weekend for tonight’s dinner (see below), so it made sense to raid their cheese section. We sampled three varieties:

  1. A scotch whisky blend that I will sample again this weekend with some of the single-malt I have left over from Robbie Burns Night. It had a great creamy flavour.
  2. An applewood smoke flavoured cheese that smelled like campfire and tasted kind of like sausage. But in a good way.
  3. Something called Wooky Hole Cave Aged cheddar. It was the creamiest and tastiest and obviously the one with the best name.

Named for the village in which it was created, cheddar is cheese #1 in the UK and Canada, but #2 after mozzarella in the States. The ‘cheddaring’ process involves heating the curd, then kneading them with salt before cutting them and draining them. The Wooky Hole we sampled was actually aged in a cave in Somerset (about 7 miles from Cheddar), with the churning, salting, pressing and bandaging all done by hand. Damn, this is probably the most authentic cheddar cheese we’ve ever tried. At $16 for this little slab, it had better be.

Madly In Love With Me Day

Once again we shill for a celebration – this time for a book by a “self-help guru” named Christine Arylo. Her deal was to tell women that they should take some time and do a little self-care today, to love themselves a little. Christine crafted this day.

As much as I hate to plug someone else’s work without compensation (I expect a cheque from the Wooky Hole people later this week), Christine has a point. And Jodie took that advice to heart today, taking time for some guided meditation and focussed relaxation.

Hobbling through this madcap whirlwind we call existence can be draining. We both work full-time. We spend our evenings chasing around this weird little weasel-dog in adherence to the delusion that she may someday become house-trained. Jodie has extra-curricular schoolstuffs, while I have to concoct this little word-feast every day. On top of it all, we have a commitment to making weird movies, cooking specific foods, and doing bizarre tasks for photo ops every day of this year. We need to undergo some self-care every so often, as we’ve both felt the un-subtle yank of strain on our psyches. I spent the tail-end of last night sipping some rum and enjoying some quality TV comedy. It’s just basic machine maintenance; keep that mind ticking.

National Break Up With Your Carrier Day

I suppose the idea here is that it’s a good idea to review your cellular plan and see if you can find a better fit, even with another provider. I celebrated this last weekend when I switched from my cell provider of 15 years to a different company. It wasn’t a grandiose or monumental shift in my life; it now simply states a different carrier’s name in the top-left corner of my phone screen. Big deal.

But I’m saving about $50 per month, so that’s a win. If you’re not locked in to a contract and you can’t squeeze a better deal out of your cell provider, shop around. As far as celebrations go it’s not a whole lot of fun, but you can use the savings to fuel all sorts of debaucherous mayhem down the road. Remember, Beer Day (in Iceland, but we’ll be celebrating it here) is coming up on March 1.

Kiss Day

Do you enjoy Valentine’s Day but hate how little of it is tied to marketing and consumerism? Do you wish there were seven days of Valentine’s celebrations so that you could be obligated to indulge in a full week of revelry and demonstrations of affection? Well, how about an eight-day fiesta?

No, screw that. We skipped Rose Day, overlooked Teddy Day (not about the lingerie, it’s about buying a teddy bear for someone), and abandoned Hug Day (we just had National Hugging Day). But the day before Valentine’s is Kiss Day. So we kissed. Then I made a couple of KISS (the rock band) jokes on social media. I think a quick listen to Prince’s #1 (for two weeks!) 1986 hit will tuck this day neatly under the covers.

National Tortellini Day

Tortellini, those tasty little stuffed pasta belly-buttons, are a favourite of ours. We snagged some from the aforementioned Italian market, along with some sauce which I enhanced with garlic and onions. This had me looking forward to dinner throughout most of the day.

The story of tortellini’s origin is disputed between two cities, and I’d like to think there have been riots between the residents of Bologna and Modena over who came up with it. That battle would have likely taken place near Castelfranco Emilia, which lies between the two locales. This is the site of a deliciously weird legend, which states that Venus herself spent a night at the inn. The innkeeper, taken by her beauty and more of a shameless voyeur than a suave smooth-talker, peers through her keyhole. All he can see is her navel (presumably Venus was just standing beside her door), and he becomes inspired to create a pasta shaped like this magnificent innie.

I don’t want to wander into the middle of this debate, in case I one day find myself in Bologna or Modena and it turns out I’ve got fans who aren’t happy with my pick. I’ll just eat the stuff and celebrate its awesomeness. And hooray! Leftovers!

World Radio Day

Wait, didn’t we just do this?

No, that was National Disc Jockey Day, back on January 20. Today was simply about radio itself, a day declared to celebrate how the medium has changed humanity. These heavy-handed celebrations (most of which we will be ignoring) were declared by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization.

World Radio Day this year is about diversity – in radio newsrooms, in editorial content, and in a good mix of public and private stations. UNESCO was kind enough to provide some interesting radio trivia for us.

Did you know the French were desperate to yank down the Eiffel Tower a few years after its construction, but Gustave Eiffel talked them into using it as a radio tower? How about this – the first concert broadcast over radio was Italian tenor Enrico Caruso on January 13, 1910, live from the New York Metropolitan Opera House. This is neat: the first LGBTQ phone-in talk radio show ran in California in 1956.

We tend to listen to satellite radio more than its terrestrial counterpart, as we despise commercials and we’re a bit put off by the excessive Canadian content requirements on every station. But whatever your preference, radio is still a great way to source some fresh tuneage for your collection. Those streaming music services can plop their algorithm on your listening habits, but a solid DJ can cultivate a more interesting and diverse mix, stretching your tastes in new and unimagined ways.

Get A Different Name Day

I looked into this with the full intention of changing my name today. To be specific, I was considering adding a middle name, as I’ve gone all my years without one. Alas, these celebrations are meant to be heartening and bolstering, not tedious. The sheer volume of paperwork I would need to do… my driver’s licence. My passport. My bank. My employer. My mortgage company. My monogrammed napkins. All those trees I carved with mine and Jodie’s initials inside hearts. That microchip inside my brain. It’s just too much.

But hey, I did look into it. To change your name in Alberta costs $120. You also need to get your fingerprints done, which no doubt drops you into a database that will make it considerably more difficult to get away with any major criminal activity. You need to gather your birth certificate, proof of marriage, and fill out a 15-page form (I’m not exaggerating). Then if that wasn’t torture enough, you have to stand in line at a registry agency to submit all the info.

It simply isn’t worth it. Perhaps if my driver’s licence is set to expire around the time my passport needs renewing I’ll do this then. But for now, I’ll remain among the middle-nameless.

This is going to be a doozy:

  • Valentine’s Day. No shit. We bought each other gifts and we’ll spend the evening in one another’s company.
  • National Ferris Wheel Day. Perhaps we’ll dash out and ride a quick ferris wheel. Who knows?
  • National Organ Donor Day. Time to make sure we are both signed up as organ donors. We encourage everyone to do the same.
  • National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day. Delicious and easy to find.
  • No One Eats Alone Day. My daily work tradition of devouring lunch alone in my grey-beige cubicle whilst watching Netflix will be jostled today, as I eat with some friends.
  • Great Backyard Bird Count. Fifteen minutes counting our backyard feathered friends, then we’ll submit our count online.
  • Frederick Douglass Day. Just a good topic to write about today, one which will also allow us to check Black History Month off our list.
  • Read To Your Child Day. I’ll be contacting one of my kids later today and reading something over the phone to them.
  • International Book Giving Day. We will each give away a book to a friend. Busy day!

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