Tag Archives: learning

Missing the Train

Don’t worry, I’m not going to craft any sweeping metaphors. Well, maybe I will. I lied, I probably will. But I can’t help it. This blog is all about growing up and getting happy, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned on my journey so far, it’s that you’ve gotta slog through a mountain of crap to get to the good. And learning hard lessons tends to be kind of dramatic, which leads to some artsy fartsy metaphors. So sue me.

I missed my train.

Despite checking and re-checking that my alarm was set properly last night (because I’m neurotic like that), it didn’t go off. Despite the fact that it’s woken me up for countless exams and classes, it sat silently and let me sleep a few more hours.

Yeah, I panicked. Yeah, I might have hyperventilated and ugly-cried for a few minutes, attempting to reach my mom, who was in her happy place at a zen tai chi class somewhere. I certainly wasn’t in my happy place. The opposite, in fact!

I learned two important things:

1. I am my harshest critic.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Because I don’t know about you, but I can really give myself hell sometimes. Before I’d even had time to think through the situation, my brain was in overdrive, berating me for being so dumb as to oversleep and miss a train, worrying about how I was going to get home, freaking out about what my family would say and generally just beating myself up. 

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What I Learned in Chemistry

1. No, telephones and microwaves will not give us cancer! Yay! Here is why: well first of all, my chemistry professor said it so it must be true! And secondly, let us have a look at the electromagnetic spectrum. See how the harmful wavelengths like X-rays and Gamma rays are up in the very small wavelength section? See how microwaves are down low past visible light and close to radio waves? And nobody is freaking out about a lightbulb or a radio, now are they! So there you go. Cell phones and microwaves operate using..you guessed it..microwave radiation. So it’s right snuggled in between the non-harmful wavelengths like radio and visible. Not to worry!

2. If you want fruit to ripen, put it into a paper bag with another fruit that is already ripening. When fruits/veggies ripen, they release a chemical called ethylene, which in turn makes the ripening process faster. Cool!

3. Moisturizer does not provide moisture to your skin! No! I know! It’s insane and ridiculous! What it actually does is help your skin to retain the moisture it already has, by providing a protective layer to stop any moisture from escaping. Therefore, the best moisturizer you could use would be shortening. Ew!! I know. But it’s the thickest! Your skin would be silky smooth.

4. Cracking your knuckles is just pulling nitrogen gas into your joints. It has not been shown to cause arthritis.

Baby Skunks (and gunshots)b
Image by nebarnix via Flickr

5. If your dog is sprayed by a skunk, tomato juice is not the best option! My trusty chem prof says what you should really use is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide (bleach), baking soda and dish soap. This actually neutralizes the smell. He showed us some complicated looking molecular formulas and explained why it neutralizes the smell, but I got bored and stopped paying attention. Here’s a good recipe for de-stinking your doggie!

6. For anyone who drinks tap water (anyone? Is it just me??) if you’ve ever noticed that it is cloudy sometimes – don’t worry! The cloudiness is not because of mineral impurities, it is caused by tiny air bubbles coming out of solution. Sometimes our pipes are a cooler temperature and cool water holds more air than warmer water – so when we bring the water to a slightly warmer environment, some of the air comes out of solution in bubbles. But if you just leave the glass for a minute or so, the extra air should be released and your water will be clear and sparkly!

7. Don’t be fooled by bad marketing claims: if olive oil makes a big bold claim that it has “No Cholesterol!” that’s because CHOLESTEROL DOESN’T COME FROM PLANTS. Only a handful of plants produce any type of cholesterol, and not even the harmful kind. Bad cholesterol comes from animal products. So think of that the next time you get seduced by advertisement: don’t go favouring a certain brand for their lofty claims, or else you’ll look like a dummy. :)

8. What else did I learn in chemistry? That besides interesting factoids and trivia about day-to-day life, I can’t stand the subject. So here, Chemistry, a tribute and a shout-out to your good side. Live long and prosper.

Much love,

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