Wednesday, September 23, 2020

I plunged into yesterday like it was a churning vat of cold, unforgiving water. I did everything in my power to keep my positivity up, but it was destined to be a day of convoluted misanthropy, with a haircut tacked on to its end like an unfortunate afterthought. My heart wasn’t in it, and neither were the rest of my internal organs. I faced yesterday’s list of celebrations with a renewed sense of futility and frustration, not even remotely interested in engaging. Apologies to both of my regular readers; sometimes the juice simply doesn’t flow through the… rest of a metaphor. Yesterday also saw me tumbling to the ground and either breaking or maiming my pinkie toe. It was a day. Anyway, here’s what was up:

World Car Free Day

World Car Free Day tells us, “Hey world, how about you put away your car and choose another way to get around today?” To that we say, “Great idea in theory, but in practice it ain’t happening.”

I don’t take a car to work. During darker times – and yes, I’m considering pre-virus times as ‘darker’, at least in this context – I would take a bus to work. Now I take the stairs to my upstairs office to get the same job done remotely. It’s great. But yesterday was not a normal day. First of all, Jodie had an appointment after school which meant she’d be home just in time for me to race across town for my haircut, which I’d cram in just quickly enough so I can race back home to meet my cousin. It’s a day with tight timelines, and we cannot rely on public transit in this city if we’ve got tight timelines.

So I’ll say we celebrated this a couple days early. On Sunday we had no need to use a vehicle. In fact, we tend to use our vehicle so little lately we have downgraded from two cars to one this year.

The first Car Free Day took place in Indonesia in 2007, and they actually closed down a bunch of major roads to vehicular traffic to encourage people to bike, walk, or bus. When Israel shuts down their car operations for Yom Kippur (this coming weekend), their air pollution drops by about 99% on that day. So it’s a good thing to do, early, late or on time. Take a day and leave the car behind.

National Ice Cream Cone Day

Here’s where brevity takes over and I start blasting through these celebrations. Do I really need to know much about the ice cream cone? It was invented some time around the dawn of the 20th century, and as with any delicious foodstuff from the time there are numerous folks who claim to have been the brains behind it. There were two patents issued in 1902 and 1903 for ice cream cones, one in England and one in Italy. So either way you look at it, this is some fancy foreign import cuisine.

The ice cream cone is a thing of beauty. It’s a completely self-contained snack. You eat the entire unit, packaging and all. Unless they wrap a stupid piece of paper around it, or stick you with a napkin as though it’s part of the thing itself.

We indulged in some Drumsticks, which are a terrific all-in-one ice cream sundae in a sugar cone. It was fantastic – the best way to enjoy ice cream, really.

National Girls’ Night In Day

Launched by a company that produces alcohol in 2018, this one is pretty much on-point. Well, almost. I don’t understand why celebrations that are meant to promote a party vibe are allowed to show up mid-week. Come on, Ketel One Botanicals – how about the third Saturday in September instead of September 22 for this one?

That said, it’s not my party to complain about. And no alcohol was imbibed in the celebration of this particular event. Above are our girls, Trixie, Rosa and Libby. Jodie spent the evening yesterday in their company, while I hung out with my cousin Sam outside where we could safely socially distance and discuss manly things, like football and fuel-injection and… I don’t know, gladiators? I don’t know what men talk about. Most of my friends growing up talked with me about either Star Wars or music. Come to think of it, Sam and I talked about both of those things last night too.

Happy girls’ night, whether you go out or stay in (and really, stay in – there’s a pandemic), and if all of your girlfriends happen to be of the canine variety, then you’re clearly doing something right.

Autumnal Equinox

A big ol’ happy first day of spring to those living in the southern hemisphere! It’s been, as they say, a long, cold, lonely winter. Up here it’s been a long, cold, lonely summer, jam-packed with no festivals, no concerts, no live theatre and no cinematic blockbusters. We’ve had some decent weather, which is great, but nowhere to go and no outdoor events to take part in. But we had the hammock. And this year, I got to use my hammock for the first time in years. It was great.

But now we’re rolling into the shortest season of the year for Edmonton. The leaves are about three or four days from peak autumn colours, and within two weeks they’ll be starting to shed their happy homes for the awaiting grass. Winter may be along any time after that.

There are a few rituals associated with this day from pagan tradition and various other cultures. The Far East in particular, they seem to really get in on this. You’ve got the Korean festival of Chuseok, which features heaps of food and wine, as well as paying tribute to the fallen folks laying in the cemetery. In Japan it’s a national holiday. The Mid-Autumn Festival, which features mooncakes and various courtship rituals, is tied in with the onset of this season.

Here? Here we eat ice cream cones, and that’s just because it’s Ice Cream Cone Day. We really need to get on board with equinox parties in North America.

National White Chocolate Day

“White chocolate isn’t chocolate,” my wife tells me whenever I express my love for the stuff.

“Neither is caramel, and that stuff is fucking awesome,” I reply, and happily devour all the white chocolate for myself.

But white chocolate is made from cocoa butter, so it’s close enough. There are no cocoa solids involved, and you won’t get much in the way of a caffeine kick from the white stuff. There is also little or no health benefit from eating white chocolate, apart from maybe holding back starvation. Dark chocolate is much better for you, and as far as flavor goes, it offers a much more textured and interesting array of tastes. White chocolate is just candy.

But we here at Celebrate366 will not disparage quality candy. Even though it was invented by Nestle, one of the evil corporations we get warned about on social media. At least it was invented in Switzerland, allowing it to assume a chocolatey posture on the world stage.

We could have once again opted for a candy bar made with processed white chocolate, but the proprietor of Carole’s Quality Sweets (the single greatest candy store in this city, and I’ll battle with anyone who says otherwise) advised us she makes some great homemade stuff. And she was right – it was creamy and utterly fantastic.

Even if it wasn’t “chocolate”.

It’s Wednesday! Can we find more reasons to celebrate than the fact that this week is already halfway over? How about this:

  • Innergize Day. A day to relax and rejuvenate. We just had one of these two days ago, but what the hell. We’re on board.
  • National Great American Pot Pie Day. Sounds tasty. We don’t have the ingredients for this one, but it sounds tasty.
  • National Snack Stick Day. This one we do have on hand. Not a Hot Rod per se, but something close enough.
  • National Teal Talk Day. We wore teal just a few days ago, and I think that was also for Ovarian Cancer. Could be a misprint?
  • National Temperature Control Day. Today I will unleash my weather control device and conquer the world!!!! Or at least I’ll tweak the thermostat.
  • Celebrate Bisexuality Day. Our bisexual friends should have a wonderful day today. But they’re our friends, so they should have a wonderful day every day.
  • National Checkers Day. Is this a day for the game or for Nixon’s dog? Tune in tomorrow to find out!
  • National Dogs In Politics Day. Never trust a politician who doesn’t have a dog.

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