Monday, December 15, 2008

A Good Price For Butter

I wrote my first closed-book exam in a very long time today. It was... strange. I'm not sure how I did. L wrote an exam at the same time, although in a very different class. I remember now, though, how exhausting sitting and thinking and remembering and writing for two-and-a-half hours can be.

Afterwards, it was decided that we would have boiled celery for with dinner. This probably sounds weird to most of you, but it's something I grew up eating, although only at Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners. The two important things about cooking celery are 1) don't overcook it and 2) make sure it is swimming in butter. We had celery in the fridge, but I used the last of our butter a few days ago.

It was predicted that the temperature would drop by around 10ÂșC today, which it did between when we got home from our exams and when I went to get butter. So, out into the suddenly freezing night I went.

I also had to drop a movie off at the video store which was suddenly a lot further away than I remember it being. It then took much longer than it should have to j-walk across the street. This was mainly due to what was almost the world's slowest moving 7-car-pile-up on Bloor St. Thankfully, peoples' reaction times were marginally faster than their glacial progression down Bloor St and no such accident occurred, but it was pretty tense at times.

At the first grocery store I had to ask if they even carried butter at all, so skillfully was it hidden. With the milk? Nope. With the yogurt? Nope. With the cheese? Nope. Oh, there it is, in its own isolated cooler along with eggs, surrounded by non-refrigerated items. And the options appeared to be $9/lb organic butter or $10/lb organic butter.

So down the street to the other grocery store I trundled, exhausted, faithless in my fellow man and its butter supply. Where I discovered that they appear to be discontinuing my favourite flavour of Doritos. Or are experiencing some sort of drought. So I lined up with my butter and chips and salsa (which is a woefully inadequate Doritos replacement, I must say).

Finally, I got to the front.

"Butter is on sale, you know," the cashier informed me.

"But not this one?" I asked, weakly.

"No, Equality. $2.99. Go get some, I'll hold your other stuff here."

I considered briefly. I mostly just wanted to get home and stop caring about butter. Also, I have had less than stellar experiences with the Equality brand before, but really, how badly can you screw up butter? I'm not making icing, here. Frankly, $3/lb for butter is too good a price to turn down. I shoved my way back to the refrigerator, grabbed 2 lbs of butter, and shoved my way back.

I crankily handed the butter to the cashier. She rang it up with my chips and salsa. I paid her mostly in change. As I counted out my loonies, the not-unattractive girl whom I had cut off when I returned with my cheap butter looked at the cash-register.

"That's a good price for butter," she said to me, feigning incredulity.

Suddenly, I smiled. A cute girl was trying to strike up conversation with me in the grocery store. It's possible she was just really shocked about the price of butter and needed to tell someone, but I prefer my take on it. And sometimes it's nice to be reminded that you've still got it.

Uplifted, I told her it was and thanked the cashier for making me go back to get it and headed home to clog my arteries with boiled celery.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Love Is...

I am a determinist. To me, this means that I believe that, given a perfect snapshot of the position and momentum of every particle and subparticle in the entire universe, and also given infinite computing power and infinite time, it would be possible to extrapolate the history of the universe from start to finish. The problem with this, of course, is that you can't ever know the position and momentum of a particle.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I do not have the best grounding in Quantum Mechanics. But, it seems to me that what this says is that there will be a random component to any observation one can make, not that there will be a random component to anything that happens. And so, I believe that randomness is a property of observation, not a property of any event.

I mentioned this to my friend, M*, the other day and she asked "What about love?"

"Love is just a chemical reaction."

"A chemical reaction?"

"Well, a series of them." I thought for a moment about what else it could be. "Although, I suppose there are also nuclear reactions. Wouldn't it be funny if it turned out the feeling of 'love' was actually the transumation of lead into gold inside your heart?"

* I have to admit that I was somewhat hungover for this conversation and therefore the quotes are rough paraphrases at best. I apologize if I have misrepresented the gist of anything anyone may have said.