Tag Archives: Top 10

Let me count the ways

bread listI’ve written about them before and apparently I’m going to write about them again. It seems to me that people like lists. I haven’t actually done the research so can’t say it’s an empirical fact or anything like that, but I do have some evidence to support my hypothesis. Take my last post. My last post had a list and people liked it. And, let’s face it. For all intents and purposes, Mr. Letterman’s entire career has been built around a list. Each and every night for the past 30 odd years he’s shared with us a “top 10” and it seems to me that nothing could last that long if people didn’t like it. As a matter of fact, it’s entirely possible that he could single handedly be responsible for the ever increasing popularity of the list. Although you won’t want to quote me on that.

The fact is, people make a lot of lists. They make lists when they go shopping to make sure they buy all the right stuff when they get to the store. Even if that store happens to be right around the corner from where they live. And yet, my best guess is, that when they leave the store there are as many things in their basket that weren’t on the list, than were. And some that were on the list but not in the basket. Most people make lists at work of all the things they need to do. I’ve been told this is a good thing, not so much because it reminds you of what you need do, but more so because you get such a good feeling when you cross each one of those things off until eventually you don’t have a list. Which begs the question “do people really like making lists or is it the getting rid of them that tickles their fancy?

You may however, be wondering why a shallow person like myself would be spending so much time thinking and writing about lists all the while eschewing the temptation to make them. Certainly I have made public my disdain for those pesky resolution lists so often made at the first of each year and there is still nothing in that bucket of mine. It’s just that everywhere I look these days there’s someone, I’m sure with the best of intentions, trying to tell me what 10 things I should or shouldn’t buy at my local big box store or what foods I should or shouldn’t eat if I want to live to be 100. Which I suppose in my family isn’t out of the question and, now that I’m thinking about it, I should probably ask my Mother to make a list.. Bottom line? While I don’t like making lists I have no problem reading and sharing them with you. So here are some of my favourites:

1) The 10 best and 10 worst places to live. Not that I am but it’s always nice to know where one should move should one be thinking of moving. You can also find out the 10 most expensive and the 10 least expensive places to live. Although perhaps unintentional, there is a strong correlation between these lists.

2) The 10 best colleges and universities in the country.  As a matter of fact, you’re going to find lots of lists that rank institutions of higher education. Unfortunately they’re all going to be different so you’ll just end up confused. Might I suggest you just use that “best place to live” list for this decision.

3) The 10 most influential people who never really lived. I can completely understand the inclusion of Santa Claus, Barbie and even Robin Hood, but I had to question the list’s reliability when it came to “The little engine that could”. In what universe can a train engine, even one that talks, be classified as a person?

4) 10 reasons why old people are awesome. Ten? At my age I would have been happy with one.

5) 7 new robots designed to do human jobs. I’d be ok with this as long as it didn’t dress better than me.

6) 13 scientific terms you might be using wrong. Fortunately I’m not using any of these wrong. Actually, I’m not using any of them at all.

7) Forbes 500 List. This is a long one so not sure anyone is really going to take the time to read it. Even so, one thing I can tell you for sure. I’m not on it.

8) 30 under 30 and 40 under 40 lists. These are always interesting because you get to see the rising stars in your community. One day I’m hoping to make the top 70 under 70.

9) 10 cool ways to reuse a pizza box. I eat a lot of pizza. Normally I throw out the box. I could have made chairs. Who knew this list would come in so handy.

10) Almost everyone does 10. I’m not doing 10.

Well what do you know! Looks like I just made a list of lists. Hope you liked it.

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Shallow People Travel Too

london buttonYou may recall in the not too distant past that I dedicated one of my posts to the solicitation of potential shallow topics from my readers. While I can’t say I had an overwhelming response, I did receive a couple of ideas that seemed reasonable for me to pursue. As a matter of fact, there was one suggestion that stood out from the others as it was truly serendipitous. The idea was that I write about travel for the savvy, shallow person. Now I think it has been long established that I meet the “shallow” criteria and while I am not savvy about everything I am about some things, enough to say I’ve got that characteristic in the bag as well. But perhaps most importantly, I do travel a fair bit and as luck, and perhaps fate would have it, I just happen to be in London, making my way around town as a tourist, so I think I can safely say that I am fully qualified to wax eloquently on the subject at hand.

When I first decided that I could write a “how to” for the savvy, shallow traveller, I had in mind something like a “top 10” (you know how I love those lists) of tips. However, now that I am on a jaunt myself it seems that perhaps a better approach is to simply recount some of the experiences that I am having, as these alone should provide a guide of sorts to those who are so inclined to follow in my footsteps. And as expected, it turns out I’m a pretty good shallow traveller. So here, perhaps, is the start of a kind of series that follows me as I make my way through the rather crowded streets of London.

After three days of running around  like chickens with our heads cut off I can absolutely recommend that the first step to ensuring your travel is as shallow as possible is to slip into your nearest tourist information centre and ask to purchase a “City Pass” for whichever city you happen to be in. There’s a pretty good chance that your city will have one, particularly if there happens to be a river running through the centre, an original “settlement” and at least one national museum or monument. You see, what this pass will allow you to do is visit a multitude of sites over a specified number of days, for one seemingly low fee. There’s a pretty good chance that the booklet you receive with this pass will outline for you the remarkable savings to be accrued by following their suggested itinerary and by doing so you will ensure that you not only visit the most touristy of all sites in the city but you will do so at a pace that prevents you from getting to know even these on an intimate basis. In other words, you’ll likely spend more time in the gift shop which will be strategically placed between you and the exit than you will at the attraction. Which is not such as bad thing as it is there you will pick up a postcard or two so you can remember where you have been.

It’s entirely possible that the first stop on your sightseeing marathon might be an art gallery of some sort. In our case, we chose to visit the Tate Modern, a collection housed in a rather imposing building on the banks of the Thames. Now I have been known to appreciate the works of the likes of Warhol, Lichtenstein and Salvador Dali. At the same time I must admit that on occasion, while working my way through the many rooms of a gallery such as this one, I think silently to myself that I too could paint red lines on a white canvas but no one would pay me substantial sums of money to hang it on their wall. I do my best to be tolerant and understanding though until I come across a work of art that I simply cannot understand. On this day it was a mirror. That’s right, just an ordinary mirror. The idea behind this “work of art” is to allow patrons to reflect on what they see in the mirror without having an image imposed upon them by the artist. Now I might be shallow but I’m thinking that I do this every morning when I get up and go to the bathroom. So I was having a little trouble grappling the exact meaning of the work.

Nonetheless, as I stood and watched people walk by I had to admit that the mirror garnered a fair bit of attention and I’m pretty sure there were a few people who, like me, were kicking themselves for not coming up with the idea. But the longer I stood in front of the mirror watching all of the reactions the more I thought about the exhibit and somewhat surprisingly, I came up with an idea of my own. You see, most of the people who stood in front of the mirror decided to take a picture of themselves standing in front of the mirror. What if, I thought, I could capture the images of the people who had stopped to reflect on the images of themselves? What if I stood behind them and took a picture of them taking pictures of themselves? Would that not make me an artist as well? So that’s what I did and here are some of the results.

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I’ll be the first to admit I’m no Michael Angelo but come on, it was an art gallery! Not exactly a home away from home for a shallow gal. So here’s a hint. If, while on your travels, you find yourself outside your zone of comfort, try to come up with ways to amuse yourself. You never know what hidden talents you might uncover.

I’ll be back as soon as my heels heal with more great tips for the savvy, shallow traveller.

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It’s Time to Explain

Warning: There’s some heavy stuff here.

Compared to the number of years I have been alive a very small fraction of my time and effort has been spent on this blog and yet, within this brief sojourn I have come to realize that there are a number of questions surrounding my decision to not only reveal, but to openly celebrate my life as a shallow person. No one has come right out and said so but I can see it on their faces and hear it in their rather polite chortles as I spell out the name of the blog for them. It’s taken some time, five weeks to be exact, but I have finally figured out what’s going on. Being shallow, people think, is a bad thing, somewhat akin to blasphemy. Surely a woman such as myself, with more than one degree from a recognized institution of higher education, should revel in the pretence warranted by this accomplishment alone. Would my time, they suggest, not be better spent in pursuit of more lofty goals, in seeking rather than eschewing the deeper meaning of my existence on this earth? Why do I shun the gifts I have been given?

And herein lies the misconception. Just because I’m shallow doesn’t mean that I’m not thoughtful or a good person. I’ve simply come to the conclusion that life is about being the best you can be in whatever circumstance befalls you. That’s it. What you see is what you get. No hidden meanings or celestial bodies harbouring the inexplicable in my world. There may be a collective consciousness guiding us upward through some kind of hierarchical pyramid towards self actualization, and that’s fine. If there isn’t one, well I’m ok with that too. If, in fact, life has its little mysteries perhaps that’s just what they were meant to be. It is what it is. You are what you are. Nothing more, nothing less.

Does it work for everyone? Certainly not. But here’s the thing. You will find nary a mind altering drug in my medicine cabinet. No sleepless nights in this house. I know what I’ve got and I’m grateful for it. And I know what others don’t have and try to help where I can. Simple. Uncomplicated. And perhaps just a little uncharacteristically preachy.

So to redeem myself, perhaps ever so slightly, I have created a “Top 10” list (in no particular order) of other reasons you might like being shallow. Not trying convert anyone but if I do, great. If not, well I’m ok with that too.

10 good reasons to be shallow:

  1. Being shallow means never having to say you’re sorry…but you can if you want to.
  2. Watching Seinfeld reruns can be considered an educational activity.
  3. You’ll look smashing in a “Shallow and Proud” t-shirt.
  4. Your yoga class gets to be more about finding the outfits than it is about finding yourself.
  5. Almost everything in life can be boiled down to a “Top 10” list.
  6. You can always root for the winning team.
  7. Do I really have to come up with 10 of these?
  8. Watching Friends reruns ’cause you learn a lot from that too.
  9. Trip planning is easy when all you have to do is visit Hyatt.com (for clarification see “I understand”)
  10. You’ll never feel compelled to justify your way of life….Alright, I might have some work to do on this one.
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