31 December 2004

Adios 2004

It was an interesting year.

January: started the year very stressed but amid praise (or at least kind words) from coworkers
February: returned to working my "regular job" albeit with a bumpy landing
March: celebrated our daughter's 3rd birthday; bought a van!
April: had a root canal; started reduced work week (23 hrs/week) for the summer months
May: started this blog; saw a sad and pathetic circus
June: voted (Provincially); attended the CLA/BCLA conference; turned 35!
July: endured some horribly hot weather; got a lot of mileage out of my container garden.
August: didn't get the promotion I'd hoped for; started my journey to better health (and weight loss); had more dental work.
September: returned to fulltime work; had my hair dyed black; spent an unholy amount in vet fees for one of our cats.
October: celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary; started our New-Comic-Book-Day family tradition; saw the lunar eclipse.
November: can you believe it? more dental work (endodontics); watched with the rest of the world as the US re-elected George Bush Jr.; home reno #1 saw us give the bathroom a minor facelift.
December: finally finished the Dr. Who Scarf I knit for hubby; got crafty for Christmas; reached the halfway mark in my initial weight-loss goal.

Overall, I'm not proud of the way I reacted to missing out on the promotion; that was probably the low point in my year. The high point? Not sure if there was one per se, but starting and finishing the scarf (to date the only knitting project I have completed), watching our daughter learn and grow, buying the van (first time I had set foot on a car lot with any intention of buying), and losing 25 lbs. were all milestones in the year. The moral lesson for my year?

Nothing is guaranteed; nothing is certain;
everything is negotiable and everything is relative.

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions, so you won't find any here. But just to satisfy the list-makers, here's an even ten goals (not in any significant order), I will:

finish the His Dark Designs trilogy (damn, that is taking me too long!)
make every effort to change jobs within the library.
read one book off my "to be read" stack for every library book I read.
start reviewing movies again.
lose another 25 lbs.
try to be a calmer driver.
try not to yell at the newscasters through the TV.
do more yoga and work on my deep breathing control.
spend more time interacting with my kid
not attempt to live up to anyone's expectations but my own.

Happy 2005 to all of you. Thanks for sticking around for the ride so far.

30 December 2004

Goodbye, Lennie.

Like fellow celebrities Robert Deniro, Sarah Jessica Parker, Chris Noth, Woody Allen, and Spike Lee, Jerry Orbach represented New York to millions around the world. Somewhere between Broadway and Briscoe, his weathered features made their way into our collective consciousness as a typical New Yorker:

New York oozed from Jerry Orbach, the Bronx-born T.V. cop with the smart-aleck comment on his lips and the take-out coffee cup in his hands.

"I live it, love it and represent it," the "Law & Order" star, who lived in Midtown and died Wednesday, once said.


He was a longtime advocate for better wages for police officers, appearing at rallies with the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and at events for slain officers' families.

"He played a cop on T.V., but he absolutely had respect for them," said Patrick Lynch, the PBA president. Officers routinely thanked him.

The rest of the city related to his on-screen temperament -- his prickly shell and sentimental interior, his even tone, his sense of fairness.

"There's a feeling that I am a typical New Yorker -- and everyone else seems to agree," he told a Scottish paper in 2002. "I'm the guy on the street who everybody waves to."

[full story from Newsday]

29 December 2004

I'm Hip To This!

Over the past year, hubby and I have been watching a lot of "Technicolor" movies -- especially "screwball comedies" (think: Pillow Talk, Come September, or the retro-homage Down With Love). The thing that keeps gnawing at us is the swingin' tunes. Turns out what we were looking for is a subset of Lounge music called Space Age Pop Music.

If anyone reading has any suggestions for Space Age Pop or other Lounge tunes, please leave a comment -- I'm also fond of Surf Lounge, Exotica (aka Jungle or Tiki Lounge), and some of the Cocktail Lounge and Mambo tunes. Basically, if it would be appropriate for a swinging batchelor pad or to accompany a martini, then I wanna know about it!

28 December 2004

Clean Sweep v. Cops

If you don't already know it, I'm a clutterholic.

Even before we got stuff for Christmas, we had agreed to spend one day of our vacation tackling the nightmare of clutter that was our storage "room". This area is through a pair of short doors and basically mirrors the size of our office (3rd bedroom -- about 80 square feet) but is only 4-feet high. And it was FULL.

I watch shows like Neat and Clean Sweep and think "Yeah, that's what we need, a whole TEAM to come in, haul everything out, reduce, reorganize and return it." When I voiced this thought to hubby, he said, "No. Really it would turn into Cops. They'd try to take away your Hannah-Barbera lamp and you would pick up something heavy and start swinging."

So anyway. We started on the Room yesterday. After dinner, we took a short break and went out to Zellers for $80 worth of Rubbermaid® storage containers and some very funky modular plastic pegboard tool organizers. We also bought some white tree lights which hubby cleverly stapled to the ceiling around each side of the Room and attached to an extension cord with an on/off switch by the door. By midnight, we had to give up and shove what was left back inside. This afternoon we went back at it. I managed to organize the tools, and we collected all our reno junk into one big tub. Hubby made a little dolly that would fit two bins and allow us to easily gain access to the boxes around the perimeter.

There are still a few odd things to deal with. I hate the dregs... it's where I lose my steam. Do I merge or toss? Some of this crap has been following me for years. In at least part of my brain I can accept that I will never actually find a use for that odd 15-amp fuse or those teeny tiny brass hinges. Unfortunately, the rest of my brain thinks I will. Sigh. This is what happens when both parents pass along the packrat gene.

Dregs aside, we have removed out three huge boxes plus three smaller boxes of charitable donations; several bags of garbage (including packing foam leftover from our eBay days); one odd-shaped shelf; a bunch of odd-sized empty boxes; several bagsfull of paper and/or documents to shred; and there are two boxes of baby toys to distribute to one new mother and one mother-to-be among my friends. Phew! I am totally counting these toward my Purging Goal.

25 December 2004


From my tree to yours! Posted by Hello

24 December 2004

mobilivre.org

I'm torn. I really want to create a zine just to submit it to Mobilivre (a funky artsy bookmobile in a converted Airstream) but I would likely never get to see it in action, because it only seems to travel around Central Canada (i.e.: Ontario and Quebec) and the bordering United States.

Still, it is a Canada Council for the Arts project... and it does bring both art and books to the people.

Of course the next deadline is February 1st 2005. I doubt I will make anything by then. Maybe for the 2006 tour....

23 December 2004

Merry Bleaaaarrgh! Blllearrrgh! Bleeeeaaarrrgh!

Eww. I spent almost all day yesterday dizzy (most of the day felt like I had been on the Tilt-A-Whirl for 48 hours) and unable to keep anything (including the very necessary Gravol®-type pills) down for more than 30 minutes. Big time gross. By the end of the night (midnight), I had managed to hold down about 12 oz. of ginger ale. Yay.

So that meant my last work day of the year was an unexpected sick day. Believe me... I would much rather have been at work. Not to mention that there is a big pile of papers I was planning on filing. Sigh. Hard to fathom that I was looking forward to filing papers, isn't it?

Today we saw my brother and his family(out from the frozen wastelands of Ontario). The kid got along OK with their two (the boy is 2 1/2, the girl is almost a year), though there were some sharing issues. They're here until the 26th, so Christmas day will be with them too. Tomorrow will be festivities chez in-laws and the beginning of the present exchanges.

21 December 2004

Showtime lays 'Dead Like Me' to rest

Well this sucks. Dead Like Me is one of my favourite shows, and they've bloody well cancelled it. And you know why? To put on either a terrorrist drama called The Cell, or the TV version of Barbershop, or maybe yet another cop drama called Hate.

Hey, Showtime, "I hope you get a lot of coal in your stocking!"

19 December 2004

Nooooooooooooooo!

China's First Miss Plastic Surgery | Reuters.co.uk

The human race is seriously doomed.

So sad so close to Christmas.

Baby Jane Doe, found abandoned at a Vancouver bus stop, is still just Jane Doe.

CTV.ca | B.C. places ad to find abandoned baby's family

social butterfly

Whew! We have just come through a very busy social weekend. Now it's mostly the "family" portion of the holidays.

Thursday was a potluck at R's -- kid friendly and the kid happily rammed around with a 5 year old accomplice. Friday was hubby's office party -- not kid friendly (she stayed over at her Nana's house) -- we left when some of the guys started attempting flaming sambucas (eeep!!). Saturday we had not one but TWO parties to attend. First was T&J's open house -- kid friendly and she made herself right at home, right down to changing into another girl's clothes (apparently she is not shy)! After that, we dropped the exhausted kid off at her Granny's house and made our way to M's combo birthday/Christmas party. The highlight was an interactive improv storytime of the "Magical Tale of the Pantsless Moose Who Skated on an Obscenity Charge."

Today, I start dayshift for a week and while I am at work, hubby will be using a borrowed steamcleaner to lift some of the crud out of the carpets.

18 December 2004

Letters to Walken

Sarcasmo pointed out this art project called Letters to Walken; the odd goal is for artists to create childrens' letters to Christopher Walken in lieu of Santa Claus. Who thinks of these things? (Apparently "artists in residence" at Cornell).

This is my favourite.

17 December 2004

Fun with your printer

Once in a while it's good to print out something amusing on your printer (instead of reports, or bank statements, or that email that's going around...).

So first some something for the public good: Help people on cellphones to shut up already [Engadget]. These cards, available as a PDF printable, can be handed out in restaurants, libraries, and on public transit as needed to let people know that nobody cares about the conversation they are having.

If you miss paper dolls, check out the custom-made set at the Anonymous Blonde (including a "hooch-stained" child bride dress!)

Planning a long drive to Grandma's house this Christmas? Print some Car Bingo cards or other travel games from Mom's Minivan to pass the time.

I don't know how much "fun" juvenile diabetes can be, but I found a fun page on the subject (with printables, of course).

And if you're looking for something useful, you can print all kinds of calendars (customized for your country and language) at TimeAndDate.com. I also use their world clock to track what time it is in other parts of the world.

16 December 2004

Back to the drawing board

I have no issues with body mods or creative solutions to eyewear, but this particular invention (by a Texan) seems like too much of a first draft to be getting any press. Pierced Eyeglasses [via bmezine] are really just lenses which are mounted on a bridge piercing. According to the creator, he is able to sleep and shower in them, which is good because
Taking them on and off is a bit of a hassle, as it involves taking a tiny screwdriver and unscrewing them while they’re on my face — about a 5 to 10 minute process

If I understand the design (see the photos in the article), that still leaves the brackets attached to the barbell, so to remove them might take a couple more minutes of fiddling. This is where I would turn back to the drawing board, to make them easier to remove or reposition. (Thanks to Amanita for posting about them.)

15 December 2004

The best thing about blogs

People will post just about anything in a blog. Why is that so good? Because it makes the world smaller. I never feel like the only person who might be annoyed at odd smells in the house, tearing my hair out over potty training boot camp**, screwing up at work, or depressed about a shitty work situation. I also love reading about things people generally don't share like smelly feet or scratching one's crotch in public

I only hope I amuse you folks a fraction of the amount that other blogs amuse me.




**actually I think we are past boot camp. I think we skipped basic training and were shipped directly to the front lines under heavy fire. Potty training is the stupidest part of raising another human and really ought to be something one can contract out. [Ever the assclown, "Doctor" Phil says it can be done in a DAY. If I could afford his day rates, I'd call him up and say, "Have at it. See you tomorrow."]

SalaryClock

Try this the next time you are at work, sitting around with nothing to do (assuming you have internet access at work). Type your annual salary into the Salary Clock to see how much you are making while sitting on your ass. As I have typed this entry (from home) I've made over a buck.

More interesting/disgusting is to pick a celebrity salary (Bill Gates or Oprah, for instance) and watch how fast the ticker goes. Thanks to Sarcasmo for the link.

14 December 2004

lowered expectations

My kid seems to have different expectations for each parent and apparently I'm the "special" one (and I mean that in a Special Olympics kinda way).

Hubby complains because if he lays down on the sofa and closes his eyes, the kid does everything in her power (from holding an electronic game to his ear to grabbing his wrist with fingernails dug in) to make sure he gives her 100% of his attention. On the other hand, when I try to engage her, she often waves me off or tells me outright to "Go away now" or to leave her alone.

So either she doesn't expect much from me or she is a night owl, only awake and interactive on hubby's watch. Either way, it's not fair to either of us and doesn't bode well for homeschooling.

13 December 2004

Happy Retirement, Mia.

After a long and varied career in amateur and professional soccer, Mia Hamm is hanging up her cleats, but not before she inspired a generation of girls (and maybe some guys too!) to get involved in the sport.

As team sports go, I like soccer. I can understand the rules, and I am able to play the game (unlike basketball, which I find both confusing and also physically taxing -- I don't dribble well). In fact I did play for a few years, defense for Prospect Lake, and looking at their website, it appears I played in the first year they had girls' teams.

12 December 2004

another Aussie creation

Yep, those crazy Australians are at it again (sorry Suzette). This time, they have created Feral Cheryl: Wild anti-fashion doll from Australia.

Complete with body mods, dreads, body hair (oh my!), and a stash of "home-grown herbs" this doll would definitely blow Barbie's mind (or maybe blow Barbie's head off... I'm not sure if she is one of those violent protesters or not).

Anyway, I want one (mostly 'cause her name is Cheryl) so if any of y'all feel like ordering me a Christmas present, it'll only cost you about CDN$70 with postage. =grin=

11 December 2004

Light Festival

Yesterday, we drove up to Nanaimo to get our comics (heh, geeks take road trips too.) I got issue 6 of The Witching (which I just realized I had already bought -- aaargh!); the kid got an issue of She Hulk, and hubby got a Fantastic Four title. We wandered around Jysk while we were there, grabbed a coffee for the road and headed for Nanaimo's Value Village.

After that, it was on to the main reason we headed out of the city in the first place: to see the Ladysmith Festival of Lights. Something like 100,000 festive lights crammed into the city core for just over a month. It's kinda crazy.

I tried to get some photos, but most of them went a little wonky:



... but in a really artsy-fartsy amusing way, so I collected them in a little night gallery.

10 December 2004

Two busy days

Amid all the rain we've had (two days and counting of heavy, soaks-right-through-you, falls-sideways rain) I have managed to do a few things:

Wednesday morning, poked around with the kid and my Mother-in-Law through Bring and Buy Books (probably now my favourite used bookstore in the city) and Esquimalt Neighbourhood House Thrift Store. After lunch, we checked out the new Nothing over 99 cents Only 99 Cents store across from Hillside mall. (Oooooh! It's a cheapskate's dream!)

Wednesday evening, I spent about half of my shift at work setting up the tree and other Christmas decorations. (By all accounts the effort was well-received.)

Thursday, I met Chris over lunch since he's in town for business. Thursday night, hubby was not feeling well, so I took the night off work, ordered take-out from Boston Pizza, and managed to finish the Dr. Who Scarf! Now I can't decide whether to focus on the blanket I'm making for the kid, or to start a quick scarf for myself.

This morning, I woke early (6:30!!) and I decided to start the day watching Kiss the Sky (hey, it's got everything: midlife crises, sex, tropical paradise, and William Petersen's naked butt!)

07 December 2004

Dating - 60's style.

Among the more amusing books in the library are those which are hopelessly outdated and are kept for "historical significance" or because the subject selector hasn't quite got around to weeding them. Anyway, I found one of those books recently, and have been laughing at how silly it seems in today's world. The book is The Book of Dating: a complete guide to dating and social conduct for boys and girls by Judith Unger Scott** (Macrae Smith Co., Philadelphia, 1965). Here's some choice excerpts:

The best way to attact a boy's attention is to polish the package. ... All it takes is extra time spent on personal appearance. Expensive clothes help, but most teen clothing budgets are limited. Time costs nothing and works wonders.

When girls complain that boys don't date, they forget that dates are expensive. If two go to the local neighborhood movie and eat hamburgers afterward, there isn't much change left from a five dollar bill. A boy may want to see a girl every week but his budget dictates onece a month.

The girl who parks in a lonely spot with her date may, by her willingness to park, seem to encourage an advance from him. ... But because they are far from the public eye, the boy may get carried away and she will soon find she is out of her depth. A girl has to remember this before she puts herself in a spot where this may occur.


**According to the inside cover, the same author wrote Cues for Careers, Memo for Marriage, The Art of Being a Girl, Lessons in Loveliness, That Freshman Feeling and The Bride Looks Ahead. Eeeek.

06 December 2004

Smile, Idiot!

We've had some trouble with a thief (or some hooligans? -- am I old enough to use the word "hooligans"?) making off with all the Christmas light bulbs from in front of our door (everything within arm's reach). I replaced them the first time, and they were gone within 48 hours. So this time when I replaced them, hubby added a webcam peeking out our front door. Smile, thief! You're on the internet! Well, not quite on the internet yet... but hopefully it will cause the idiot(s) to think twice.

05 December 2004

Me Me Meme

This meme is pretty cool, and elicits reader feedback, something which all our egos can use! (Meme fromWest Coast Girl, who took it from Eve.)

1. Recommend to me:
a. a movie.
b. a book.
c. a musical artist, song, or album.
d. an artist (contemporary, manga, us comic, historical, whatever).

2. Ask me three questions, anything you want, and I'll fess up.

Crazy invention

Some crazy Australian woman has invented a backless g-string Yep, the butt floss was too much for her but she wanted to avoid "freebagging*." Seriously. ... why bother?

(This was news in August; I'm a bit behind. Hehehe. I just said "behind" in a story about underwear. Heheh.)

*Apparently, "freebagging" is Australian for "going commando" aka, wearing no underpants. OoooOOh. Naughty Aussies!

04 December 2004

The Mystic Pig

Go on, ask a question. It's smarter than you'd expect.**

The Mystic Pig


I asked the mystic pig: Where can I find some tasty gruel?
and the mystic pig said: It's gone, and it's not coming back. But you'll find something better.

Ask the Mystic Pig another question
created by ixwin



**It was smarter than I expected. I tried several questions, including, "What is your favourite colour?" and, "How many fingers am I holding up?" The programmer(s) obviously considered these things and included some standard replies to standard questions.

03 December 2004

The Media, War and Terrorism

Last night while sorting the recently returned books, two caught my eye: War and the Media, edited by Thussu and Freedman (Sage, London, 2003) and Framing Terrorism: the News Media, the Government and the Public, edited by Norris, Kern and Just (Routledge, NewYork, 2003).

War and the Media features a Pentagon DOD briefing on the cover; Framing Terrorism is illustrated by 18 newspaper front pages from Europe (Britain, Germany and Spain, I think) showing World Trade Centre attack.

I started skimming through War and the Media and found this passage about Al-Jazeera which I found intriguing:

Faced with a battle for the 'hearts and minds' and the need to tell moderate Muslims that the US is not waging a war against Islam, in 2001 the US considered advertising on Al-Jazeera TV. ... The US government even planned to launch a TV station to rival Al-Jazeera. Initiative 9/11 put half a billion dollars into a channel that would compete in the region... (War and the Media, p.158)
The most interesting theme in the book though, is not specifically about war or terrorism, but the difficulty of reporting any incident in this era of 24/7 news coverage. The need to check facts and confirm details is contrary to the immediacy of global 24-hour reporting.

Skimming through Framing Terrorism, it is clear that the editors favoured statistics over theory. They discuss percentage change in number of stories about Muslims, Muslim organizations and Arab-Americans in American newspapers before and after the 2001 WTC attack (about 11 times the number in the 6 months following as the 6 preceeding); they graph public opinions; and they chart an interesting correlation between the percentage of Americans who felt terrorism was the "Most Important Problem" facing the country and the number of news stories about terrorism on network TV (p.291).

Framing Terrorism also talks about the conflict in Northern Ireland and the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict so it's not all 9/11. In fact, in the conclusion, the authors note that "...even the scale of the tragedy of 9/11 incidents did not put the United States in a category of high terrorist vulnerability comparable to that of many other states in the world." (p. 282)

Where War and the Media focuses on the how journalists see war and terrorism (several chapters are written by former or current war correspondents); Framing Terrorism is more about how people understand and react to the reports. Between the two, they offer some intriguing insights and leave plenty of room for debate.

02 December 2004

I'm a Big Loser!

I have lost 25 lbs.!

Yay! That means I am already halfway to the goal I set for June 30, 2005. Ultimately, I'd like to lose another 25 lbs after that goal is met, but I will be happy at the end of the first 50!

Reconciliation

Last night I dreamt of reconciling a long-dead friendship. It was very odd because I haven't even thought of this person in probably 4 or 5 years; our friendship ended in a very weird way well over 10 years ago, though some time later I did send out a "peace offering" letter (I know, very unlike me; it was a phase) to which she replied. I think we were both of the mindset, "OK, let's bury the hatchet. But let's not pretend we are still friends either." She ended her reply with something like, "should we ever run into each other, I'd like to think we could say hello and smile."

She lives in another city (last I heard was Vancouver, but that was about a decade ago) and she is (or was) a trial lawyer, so I don't think I am likely to run into her without seeking her out. In my dream, she looked the way she did the last I saw her, though she had dyed her hair dark, and she literally climbed out of a closet (hmmm.. skeletons?) when our mutual friends knocked on the door (they had brought me to see her). In my dream we each looked in wide-eyed surprise at the other, hugged wordlessly, and cried. We then spent some time just hanging out together, walking and chatting like the last fifteen years hadn't happened.

Oddly, when I awoke, I didn't think about it right away. It wasn't until I opened a cupboard that I had a flashback to the dream. And it has been gnawing at me since I remembered it. So was it a good dream? Is it telling me something?Am I being silly?

**
In a similar thread, for your reading pleasure I'd like to suggest a sweet little poem called Old Friend by Janet S. Wong.



30 November 2004

Lunchtime surprise

Out of the blue today, hubby came home for lunch (he never does this, so I was a bit surprised). Then while he was here, he made me lunch too! Gotta love that. (And I do love that. And him.)

I now return you to your regular non-mushy programming....

28 November 2004

Photic Sneeze Reflex

According to
The Straight Dope, my habit of sneezing in bright sunlight (aka Photic Sneeze Reflex) is "a threat to our national security" (the reference is to fighter pilots**, though I can say I've worried about my personal security -- and that of my passengers -- when I find myself suddenly driving toward full sunlight.

Apparently, it is an inherited trait (I can confirm this, as the trait appears both before and after me in the family tree) and it affects between 1/6 and 1/4 of the population, heavy on the Caucasians.

Hmm... since it's a recognized disorder, I wonder if I can benefit somehow? Someone find me a nice cosy loophole, eh?


**NOTE: If you happen to be living in the country directly south of here, and are facing a possible Armed Services draft, you may want to learn how to mimic this "disorder" to avoid flying in combat.

26 November 2004

haiku duel over salmon farming

Got an opinion on salmon farming you can sum up in 17 syllables? I've entered three haikus already (I love haiku) in The Tyee: haiku duel contest. The prizes may suck, but I just like the attention.

Here's my favourite composition so far:

War against farmed fish
seems silly fom underneath
this dill and butter.

One of my entries into Monday Magazine's Haiku-K (ie: Y2K Haiku) contest in 1999 won an honorable mention despite being improperly formed. Now of course I can't find any copy of it, but it was something gloomy along the lines of:

The last dove eaten
by the last surviving man
February thirteenth.

I know the last line was "February thirteenth" because it is 6 syllables instead of 5 making it lousy haiku, but still amusing.

If you feel like stretching your poetic muscles, go ahead and enter before December 20th.

25 November 2004

Literary evening

This evening, hubby and I attended a group reading of creative non-fiction ("Sounding Off" co-presented by Victoria School of Writing and UVic's department of writing I think). Leading up to the event, I offered hubby many opportunities to back out, but he reminded me that I do this all the time, and that if I didn't want to go I wouldn't have mentioned it in the first place. Or the other eight times.

Anyway, it was better attended than I had expected -- there were maybe 40 people or more (my estimation techniques suck, so don't take my word for it). We went primarily to see/hear Ross Crockford (former and best editor of Monday Magazine -- also one of the authors of the best guide to Victoria you can purchase; the second edition comes out next year) and were pleasantly surprised by (most of) the other presenters (? readers? performers?). Hubby felt that the "quality" was split along gender lines... I knew what he meant but I countered that the humour was split along gender lines. Each of the men was funny whereas all the women were insightful or nostalgic (to be fair one woman was both nostalgic and funny). The most amusing, I think was Brian Preston reading from his serialized semi-fictional account Too Many Georges (published online in The Tyee).

The big bonus of the evening was that of all the people in the room -- we only recognized a few -- we actually managed to piss off Briony Penn (an environmental celebrity who couldn't write an entertaining sentence to save her life, despite being handed money to do so.) Apparently we did not notice Ms. Penn's bag under one of the chairs on which we chose to sit. She mumbled about it being her chair, and we didn't move. =shrug=

In the end it was enjoyable, even though we didn't stay to mingle. We did get out of the house for two hours without eating, and it felt good to use part of my brain listening to the rhythm of different people talking. Actually, there was another bonus too. It was held in the Fran Willis Gallery, so the space was full of art (the last few days of a Norman Yates retrospective) to visually stimulate my brain. Yay brain!

24 November 2004

I didn't know that! (but it's not my fault)

According to Robb: German English Words (germanenglishwords.com),
Yiddish is a High German language written in Hebrew characters that is spoken by Jews and descendants of Jews of central and eastern European origin.


(debated but not discredited by Wikipedia)

This seemed to be a revelation to me and yet I have no idea where I thought Yiddish came from, though somewhere in my head I had it connected to Hebrew (as descendant or precursor I am not sure). I also seem to think of it as (and excuse my stupidity and/or lack of sensitivity here) "Jewish Slang."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and blame the media. I'm going to blame every one from Woody Allen to Barbara Streisand to Mordechai Richler. I lay blame to anyone who worked the words mensch, hutspuh, meshuganuh, or tokhes into a news story. I even blame Laverne and Shirley for the shlemil/shlemazel nonsense.

22 November 2004

Shorties - WTF??

From the WTF toy department comes Mattel's new dimminutive skanks, the Shorties

I presume someone pitched them as a compact version of the oddly popular Bratz which also forced Barbie to put out the My Scene line last year... but there is something very wrong about these proportionally-challenged dolls. Honestly, I think they look like someone took the FP Little People figures and made them up to audition for a Nelly video.

Lighthouses of British Columbia

Just a cool site about the Lighthouses of British Columbia; pretty pictures and information too.

21 November 2004

Victoria's Very Lame Santa Parade

OK, so as little as I felt like it, in the interest of giving our kid a "well-rounded childhood" we all bundled up and headed down to the very lame Island-Farms sponsored Santa Claus Parade on Saturday night.

First of all we were treated to a show by some poorly behaved kids and their inconsiderate parents. Basically the very second that the road was closed off, these kids all screamed out into the middle of the road for a rowdy game of tag. Fine for older kids but some of these children were barely toddling (and they mostly kept doing faceplants on the pavement). Happliy our kid showed no signs of wanting to join in.

Then as the parade started, the floats started to appear, our child alternately buried her head in her Dad's shoulder and covered her ears. Just as Santa appeared, she started screaming and kicking so we had to cut across the parade to get back to the van. Apparently she was tired because she fell asleep within about 5 minutes of being buckled in.

As for the parade itself, it was a fairly lame affair. Most of the floats were pathetic attempts at thinly-veiled advertizing plus there were two bands (a high school band and one of the local military bands I believe), a dance troupe, some dog-walkers, and some miniature ponies (plus their handlers) who braved the weather (luckily only chilly, not pouring rain). Oh, and lots of loud emergency vehicles of varied vintage, including an old fire engine with the Mayor on board. Yippee.

Man, I really hate attending parades. Hubby thinks my mom turned me against them, but I think it's just common sense. It feels a lot like being trapped standing on a crowded bus on a really long route with every window open. Maybe I would feel different attending a big parade like the Rose Bowl, but then again probably not. =Shrug=

This that and the other

Some of the stuff I've been reading online:

An article from the Bitch archives written by a fan of the Ghost World comic on why the Ghost World movie doesn't reward fans. (Incidentally, it is one of my favourite films; I have blogged about it before.) Maybe I should actually start saving for Clowes' graphic novel.

All about how to make a gingerbread house -- because I promised the kid we'd do one this year! EEP!

Tips for quick relaxation techniques and a good overview on not only why exercise is good for you but also how to build a routine. Also checked out an article about exercise breaks in a computer culture and one about everyday yoga.

Various different sites about bisexuality: a great article on being a married bi mom; UVic Pride Collective for the local content -- alas victoriapride.com seems to have gone under; checking info about the Journal of Bisexuality (niche market alert!); and apparently I missed Bisexual Day. Off on a slight tangent, I also checked out Sagacity (the local kink crowd).

Reading might be a stretch, but I have been browsing through the galleries at 1001 hairstyles (beware of popups!) because I am pondering a shorter cut.

20 November 2004

Frugal Reno part one

Well, we were planning on renovating the kitchen, but we are going to start with giving the bathroom a facelift.

The peel-and-stick linoleum tiles are all cracked and nasty, and I managed to find 22 matching white and grey peel and stick tiles at Salvation Army yesterday for $5.99 (normally each tile is about 89 cents, so that's a big savings).

Today, I went to Victoria ReStore and picked up some paint; one can of white to replace the ugly yellow, and one can of light green to add some sponge-detail effects at the ceiling. (Paint cost: $14.82)

Other than that, I will investigate what we can do with the tub (the idiots who vacated the place seem to have literally painted the tub surface, so after the first dozen uses, the paint started to lift an peel) and if I think we can splurge, I will put in a new basin and vanity. But even if we can't reair or replace any of the fixtures, the paint and floors should really brighten the room.

18 November 2004

Caligraphy meme

Uncial
Uncial- You are simple and easily understood, but
tend to have many different faces.


What Calligraphy Hand Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Having taken a course on Medieval manuscripts, I am surprised I came out as such a simple script. Sigh. However, I see that Merovingian Chancery was not among the possible outcomes. (Whenever I am faced with interpreting a professor's or coworker's handwriting, I think back to transcribing Merovingian manuscripts and realize that contemporary cursive is really simple.)

17 November 2004

Anarchist community education

Hmmm.. anarchist principles applied to education are the basis for the Victoria Free School.

I've had a little too much experience with cooperative organizations to believe that this will work, and yet I hope that it will. If I did get involved, I'd like to "facilitate" (even though I hate that term); I am sure there are many topics I could share my knowledge about -- from web design to preparing inexpensive, healthy dinners to basic plumbing. I will give it more thought, but realistically, of course, I don't have the time and since the concept is free education, there is no remuneration to sway me. OK, so really I just like the idea. Sorry I made you read all this rambling.

[Oh, BTW, I came across the site because they are sponsoring a lecture by Matt Hearn who has written several books including Deschooling Our Lives. The talk is on Friday the 26th, and I think the suggested donation is $5... I have no idea where it is; that is not evident from their website.]

I learned a new word today: "redaction" Posted by Hello

According to the New Jersey Government Records Council, "redaction means editing a record to prevent public viewing of material that should not be disclosed. Words, sentences, paragraphs, or whole pages may be subject to redaction."

In our case, articles ordered from other libraries (through interlibrary loans or document delivery) are distributed via self-serve baskets, so we have to redact all personal info beyond the requester's name. It is tedious and time-consuming and one of my least favourite tasks, but since it is that time of year, I find myself pitching in to get the task done.

Apiomerus spissipes (I think) Posted by Hello

16 November 2004

Bug-tastic!

Used the kid as an excuse to go to the Victoria Bug Zoo along with my mother. Great fun was had, until the tour guide started handling the bugs, then the kid got a little... guarded. I still wouldn't put it in the top 5 local attractions, but it is worth a visit, especially for entomology geeks like me.

In other bug news, yesterday I found what I believe to be a "Bee Assassin" (Apiomerus spissipes) crawling around on a coworker's desk. I'll post a photo when it's downloaded.

15 November 2004

artful coffee

From Korea, an article on latte art, including the training involved. Curiously, Canada seems to be one of the hotspots for coffee art and in fact a Canadian won gold at 2002's Latte Art competittion in Seattle and another took the silver at the 2004 World Barista Championship in Rome (though I am not sure how much latte art conted toward the final results there).

Pretty pictures accompany the first two articles. Suddenly I am craving coffee...

Isn't it the cutest little brain? Posted by Hello

Hubby made me a little brain! Posted by Hello

14 November 2004

smoke em if you got em.

I find it amusing that the plexiglass covers on the No Smoking signs in the elevators at work have been deliberately melted in an effort to obscure the $500.00 maximum fine.

***
January will mark 6 years since Victoria (and the surrounding municipalites) enacted a smoke-free bylaw for restaurants and bars. The Province followed suit in 2002, and after an initial adjustment I think most establishments have survived -- even Big Bad John's, Victoria's selfproclaimed Hillbilly Bar. Now public smoking bans are looming in areas of the UK and the USA, and the same old arguments ("It'll kill buisness!" and, "It's really not that dangerous!") are being raised all over the planet.

I really don't know what makes people start smoking, and I have no idea how people stop. This is not a political post, and I am no longer the anti-smoking zealot I once was. I can only tell you from a non-smoker's perspective that regardless of health concerns, having smoke waft across my plate has a negative impact on my enjoyment of a meal. On the other hand, clubbing is not the same without that constant haze drifting in the air... and bars no longer have that "bar smell" combo of smoke, booze and sweat. I remember coming home from a night of dancing and tossing my clothes out on the balcony so my bedroom wouldn't reek the next morning. Those were the days, eh?

13 November 2004

Valet? I can't afford a Valet!

Our minivan came with an alarm system installed; we've had it for about 6 months and thought we had it all figured out. Then last night, for no apparent reason, it stopped "chirping." Sure the doors were locked, but there was no alarm noise at all. "Great," we thought, "How much is this going to cost?" (We still haven't fixed the issue with the driver's-side sliding door, because that is $350 + labour that we don't have.)

Today, we dug around in the van and found the instructions for the alarm (an Audiovox model) and were able to confirm that it was stuck in Valet Mode. The instructions were clear as mud. We were apparently supposed to turn the iginition on, then off, then within 10 seconds of turning off the engine, we were to hit the valet button in a sequence of on-off-on-off-on-off and on. Or maybe off. We tried this a few times and finally tried calling the 800-number on the back of the remote. After being on hold for over 5 minutes, I came back inside and tried to find out what I could from the internet. Bah. Silly me trying to find useful information online. After 20 minutes there was still no response from the tech support, and I had found little online, except that there should be a switch somewhere on or under the dash, or in the glove compartment. So I dug out our old club-style steering restraint (even found the keys) and we went on our way.

While waiting for hubby to pay for a purchase, and after I had buckled the kid into her carseat, I started searching and finally found the damned switch. Goodbye, Valet Mode! (Of course now we know how that works, it should come in handy.)

Digging in the dirt

Well, after a month of procrastinating, I finally spent 2 1/2 hours repotting, weeding, trimming, and planting my spring bulbs. I had two very root-bound pots of ivy and miniature wild roses which I repotted after removing all the weeds and other plants which had self-seeded in with those plants. I trimmed back my carnations and ruthelessly trimmed my herbs; I also attacked the ever-invasive ivy. I planted 3 large pots and one small of pot tulips, miniature dafodils, snowdrops and anemones; I also tucked in the remaining bulbs where they would fit. Today, my legs are sore.

11 November 2004

Myers-Brigs borderline

For some reason, I have been thinking I was an INTJ - borderline ENTJ, but I re-tested today (several different tests) and found that I sometimes come out INFJ - borderline ENFJ. Now, maybe it is becuase I have trouble with the tests. I have difficulty in answering as they apply to my "work self" or my "home self" (this in itself should be a flag for me to seek help, I suspect) because the answers are often different.

I work in a public service area and at work I am very organized, methodical, and deal just fine with groups; I do however often look for new solutions to old problems and troubleshooting is one of my more finely tuned skills. At home, I am somewhat disorganized (clutter, clutter and more clutter), more whimsical, and prefer to keep to myself, family or a few close friends.

At any rate, all of my tests have me as "slightly" in one camp or another... so the self-testing isn't working too well for me. Maybe it's normal to have two or more "selves"... anyone care to comment?

Spot-on meme

The Princess Bride
I'm sure it's no big surprise to you that your
romance is The Princess Bride. A heartwarming
tale of "Twue Wuve" that has giants,
Spainards and swashbuckling. You really do
think that love can overcome anything. You may
be a touch naive but your heart is certainly in
the right place. You've probably got one of
those relationships where proper nouns have
been replaced with "Snookums" and
"Pookie Pie". Eww. Beware a cuteness
overload.


What Romance Movie Best Represents Your Love Life?
brought to you by Quizilla

***
Princess Bride, for those who have been paying attention, is of course most often the movie I pick as my favourite of all time. Also, I can confirm that in our house, we rarely use proper nouns. (We use a variation of the sucky nickname Jerry uses in the "Soup Nazi" episode of Seinfeld.)

10 November 2004

Damn you, healthy eating!

Have you ever noticed that healthy foods take longer to eat? I mean, it takes one much longer to eat a salad than an order of fries. Theres a lot of extra chewing, to be sure, but there's also extra time required to spear all the bits with one's fork.

So anyway, I have a dilemma. I get a half hour for dinner. If I bring food that needs to be heated, it takes between two and fifteen minutes (depending on whether I had time to thaw said food) to be at an edible temperature. If I bring raw food, there's all that extra chewing. At any rate, I almost always need longer than 30 minutes, just to get my nutrition. On the other hand if I cut all the corners and walk across to the SUB and buy a slice of pizza I have time to eat it, but I get about half my daily intake of calories from the cheesy, greasy fast fix. I am beginning to see why I have weight problems.

The good news is I am getting smarter. I have started packing my dinner at the same time I make breakfast, that way anything that needs to thaw will likely be almost ready by the time 5:30 rolls around. Since I know it takes me a while to eat salad, I'll pack a cup of frozen vegetables instead. If I know I am likely going to wait for my meal to heat, I will pack an appetizer snack (maybe a bit of cheese and some fruit) and skip the extra veggies.

Ultimately, I am glad I have to leave the building and walk across the street to get to the pizza, because it means I seldom make the trek. A few years ago I worked in a different building that included a doughnut and coffee shop on the main floor. I probably ate twice my weight in doughnuts during the six-months I was there.

09 November 2004

Music to my Ears

I have been known to download the odd mp3, and I really miss the old MP3.com where anyone could post stuff they had recorded. As a result, I am often in search of artists, bands and labels that post full tracks (not just 30-second samples) so that you can get a feel for the music before purchasing it (and sometimes, I actually do purchase stuff). Here's some sites I have found in the past few months that meet these guidelines:

Epitonic.com has stacks and stacks of music; a lot of Electronica, but also everything from Folk to HipHop to 20th Century Composers.

Comatronic.net is " focused on distributing quality electronic music for free." The site also includes media and net culture news and links to other online labels.

Mike Errico allows (and encourages) live taping of his performances and has posted a number of songs on his site.

The Franz Ferdinand Fan Site has an extensive list of remixes, live performances, and demos to download.

The Brobdingnagian Bards have even gone so far as to grant fans a Limited License to Burn our music for free in order to spread the word. (Incidentally, I first learned of these guys through the old MP3.com)

Oh, and if loud death metal is your thing, check out Amon Amarth; there's only 3 tracks, but it's all the speed-guitar you can cram into nineteen-and-a-half minutes. (Thanks to Stallionforce for the link).

08 November 2004

email newsletters: Bush vs. Kerry

If you are in the web design/development arena, you really ought to subscribe to Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox newsletter. The one which landed in my mailbox today included the following assessment of the email newsletters sent out by each of candidate's camps. I received the Kerry newsletters and I can confirm that I started deleting them without reading once it was clear that most of the messages contained a virtual extended palm -- and being Canadian I couldn't even send a penny.

Once again, the candidate who scored highest on usability guidelines won the U.S. presidential election. (I did a similar comparison when Clinton defeated Dole; he also followed more usability guidelines on his website.)

For this year's pre-election analysis see:
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040920.html

Although I don't actually claim that Bush won because of usability, I do think that wise use of email newsletters contributed to his victory. I analyzed the email newsletters sent out by both candidates in the week prior to the election. The predominant theme of each message was distributed as follows:

Theme -- Bush -- Kerry
Give Money 8% -- 57%
Get Out the Vote 38% -- 29%
Issues/Events 54% -- 14%

(I didn't count the message each candidate sent on or just before Election Day asking recipients for their vote.)

As this analysis shows, Kerry supporters were bombarded by repeated fundraising requests, to the extent that many of them probably tuned out the newsletter in the final critical days. Although the Internet is great for collecting money from the masses, there is a limit. Kerry exceeded it.

Bush sent more messages than Kerry asking supporters to get *other* voters to go to the polls and vote for him. This is a more appropriate use of the newsletter medium because it connects emotionally with subscribers. Being treated as an active participant in the civics process is more motivating than being regarded as an open wallet.

Bush also repeatedly sent out information that promoted himself and attacked his opponent in relation to current events (such as the Osama video). This is a good strategy: offering newsworthy content makes subscribers more likely to continue opening newsletters. Up-to-the-minute arguments are a classic use of email and gave Bush's supporters fodder in their get-out-the-vote efforts, thus reinforcing the newsletter's value in getting voters to the polls.

In summary, Kerry used his newsletter to collect money. Bush used his to increase voter turnout, and he won because he was better at turning out his base. Understanding the strength of email newsletters thus directly contributed to Bush's victory, so his Internet team can claim some credit for the outcome.

---
Nielsen Norman Group, 48921 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont, CA 94539 USA

07 November 2004

But at least they don't have a Draft.

Scary facts from a (former/future) American soldier:
I'm not going (via Liverputty).

And I didn't even try to cook the results.

HASH(0x8bd0048)
You're British Columbia. You're hip and happenin'
but also a nice person who isn't a snob. Career
is important to you but it isn't your whole
life. People assume that your life is perfect
and that you have it all, like you were born
with a silver spoon in your mouth. But it's not
true; you do have your own set of troubles just
like everybody else.


What Canadian Province Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I am so West Coast it hurts sometimes (but in a "good hurt" kinda way).


Animation Weekend

Friday was New Comic Book Day and I got issues #3 and #4 in The Witching. I am really enjoying these, probably the most of all I have read. Hubby picked up another Doom Patrol, and the kid eschewed comics in favour of a Scooby Doo figurine.

Yesterday, we went to see The Incredibles. It's been getting mixed reviews, but I think it was smart, funny, and very creative. Not only is it totally tuned in to the sci-fi gadgetry of superheroes and supervillans, but by stepping away from hyper-realistic CGI (such as the look of the upcoming Polar Express, which looks craptastic), they have given the Incredibles a very Rankin-Bass look. In fact, the supervillan looks a lot like the Heat Miser from The Year Without Santa Claus:

Overall, I really enjoyed The Incredibles, and I can see where if it is popular enough, they will do more. If you like Rankin-Bass stuff, or Pixar stuff, or Spy Kids, you'll probably enjoy this film.

06 November 2004


Mmmmm. Rainy day banana-chocolate chip muffins!  Posted by Hello

05 November 2004

Mommy, how are lollipops made?

Ever since Halloween, the kid has been asking that question. After trying many variations of search words, Candy USA! came to my rescue with the answer. Of course, it will inevitably result in more questions. Ah, life with a 3 1/2 year old.

EDIT: apparently this is my 200th post! Blogtastic!

Ahh. That's better.

A meme in time saves nine?



EDIT: I tried several times cutting and pasting the code for the "Love by RubyMae" meme... but it wouldn't display properly, so screw it. Basically, it said Hubby and I met "by Fate" and our love would "never end".


Stupid brain.

I just woke from a dream that contained a high level of oddness even for me. First, it was clear in the dream that I was getting a remarried, Hubby no. 1 was OK with it (in a "you can have her" kinda way) as Hubby-to-be seemed to be living in the same house; though I was working on paring things down so i could move in with Hubby-to-be. The weirder thing was that our extended families (mine, Hubby's and Hubby-to-be's) were all over for a meet and greet; Hubby's Mother agreed that Hubby-to-be was a good match. I then told her there was a catch -- he was just about to lose/leave his job. Meanwhile, Hubby-to-be's neices and nephews had just taken all the garbage bags out of the box and blown them up as balloons. The last "scene" of the dream was me opening the door to Hubby-to-be's new apartment (a crappy basement level one-bedroom) and something inside of me realized this meant starting over again -- the kid was living with Hubby, and I would have to struggle to get things like a car, house and mortgage... and it also revealed to me who Hubby-to-be was. (If you think I am going to name names, think again!)

The dream has left me very depressed. What part of my brain even considers this? My Hubby is the best/only match I could ever imagine! Add to that the fact that my dream self is a selfish tw*t who abandons her kid? Forget it! And even my dream self was bummed over starting over... man that would suck. So what the hell is all of this about? The only thing I can hope is that the real focus of the dream was purging posessions... I have been watching a lot of organizing and clutter-busting shows. In the meantime, I am blaming the hardcore antibiotics for conjuring this crap inside my stupid brain.

04 November 2004

My name is Cheryl...

... and I'm a cableholic.

We spent two years without full cable, but on Sunday, I finally gave in and reconfigured things, so that getting full cable and internet only costs us an extra $4.95 per month. So now we have about double the channels as with basic cable... and we have regained channels like Bravo!, Discovery, HGTV, the Food Network and Space.

Now I am gorging on shows like While You Were Out, Daily Planet, Good Eats, original Star Trek, as well as more of the cartoons, series and news that I usually watch. It's as comfortable as I know it's not healthy. So sue me.

03 November 2004

Another four years...

No doubt you've heard, John Kerry conceded mid-morning (PST) when it was clear that there were not enough votes left to count to make a difference.

Another Kerry (Kerry R. Fox) summed it up this morning: We now march along divided, at war and hated in the World.

Congratulations America.

At least Jon Stewart will have an easy four years, but Seth Meyers will have to find another politician to lampoon.

Eat your veggies!

OK, so they might not protect against cancer (Five-a-day cancer benefit shaken) but the same study confirms that eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day will reduce the risk of heart disease. Of course we've known for decades that fruit and veggies are good for your every day health, too.

I cram in my servings with the help of side salads, low-sodium V-8 juice, smoothies, and trying new recipes whenever I get the chance. Got a favourite fruit or veggie dish that is low-fat and/or low in sugar? Lay it on me!

Got picky eaters under 18 in your house? Dole offers 5-A-Day fun for kids, including activities, fun facts, and recipes.

For all you Atkins-addicts out there, here's a new product line: veggie-free vegetables (tee hee).

But perhaps you are lachanophobic? You know... I can't make fun of a phobia. Even one that lame.

02 November 2004

Let the recovery begin

Well by all accounts, so far, the "microsurgery" was a success. It took a little under an hour and a half, and in the end took 3 stitches to hold the incision together; they'll be removed next week. The substance they removed also gets sent off to the lab for a biopsy. You know everyone loves to hear that word (they assured me this is strictly routine). The core of the problem was that the root was curled under in a kind of spiral (the specialist called it a "pigtail"), plus the fact that there seemed to be unfilled area inside the canal surrounding the post. Either way, there is still a chance that bacteria are still hiding; if the abscess recurs, the next step is extraction.

Aside from the numbness right now, I can't smile -- every time I do, my mouth starts bleeding. I can't snarl either. This does not bode well for watching the results come in. Hubby has kindly rounded up a smorgasborg of "soft foods" for me to nibble at while we watch the tube, and I splurged on some of my favourite juice and diet ginger ale. I should get plenty of knitting done.

Oh, and I had an entrepreneurial thought while in the chair: someone ought to market "art print" ceiling panels for drop ceilings. They would work really well in dental offices or spas, or anywhere else the patient/client is on their back (yes, even brothels)!

Political Bohemian Rhapsody

While the US election may not remind you of a Queen classic rock anthem, it sure sounds like one to the folks at :: Yonkis.com ::.

"My Brother Jeb has some ballots put aside for me, for MEEEEEE!"

Wish I could vote today...

...but being Canadian means I can only watch...

I saw Eminem on SNL this weekend (was he lipsynching? I dunno) and I thought, "geez, that's an awfully politically-charged song," and now the Guerrilla News Network has produced and is distributing the video for the song Mosh. It's a good-looking video with a very anti-Bush message.

So anyway... if you're an American citizen, I sure hope you vote today (or have already voted in early polls).

01 November 2004

Brain Dump

November 1st (or October 31st) is Samhain (Celtic New Year), All Saint's Day (as co-opted by the Church of yesteryear), and Los Dias de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead; actually 2-days that combines All Sain'ts Day and All Soul's Day with older Mayan and Aztec traditions). So why isn't November 1st a holiday?

***
Recurring creepiness in the back of my brain: Salad Fingers by David Firth (and if you liked that here's three more episodes). Feel like some real life creepiness? How about a peek into the Catacombs of Paris where former city officials decided to store bones from Paris' overcrowded cemeteries; browse through Court TV's Crime Library; or search the archives at the Dead Musician Directory by cause of death.

***
The train which runs nearby was making a lot of noise this morning. I have never ridden that route, even though the E&N (Esqumailt and Nanaimo) has been around for many many years. Curiously, Via Rail has changed the name of the route to The Malahat -- I guess since the route actually runs from Courtenay to Victoria.

***
After I finish the very huge Dr. Who scarf for hubby, and the small blanket for the kid, I am going to knit myself a simple scarf. Then I might go back to knitting squares for the big blanket I started aeons ago. Of course, I'd also like to try a hat...


31 October 2004


hope you each get all the sugar you need... Posted by Hello

29 October 2004

Before the fun, some frustration.

I try, I realllly try sometimes, to give humankind the benefit of the doubt. But then I overhear a conversation like I did today. I'm on the bus with my kid, heading off to meet hubby en route to New Comic Book Day.... and this guy, who is loud, and who has been saying hello to every other person who gets on the bus, suddenly gets asked a question, "Hey, where are you going now?"

His answer started with a humble "Oh, Open Door," continuing, "and I guess Upper Room for dinner," two local soup kitchens (for lack of a better term). Then, he says, "But I think tonight I'll go to the UVic Bar, and talk to some women." Ohhhh-kayyy. I'm fine until he says, "Yeah, I've been doing a lot of landscaping so I've got a lot of money in my wallet, so I figure I can afford the extra beers." Inside, I am SCREAMING to myself, "Yeah, because you're not spending money on FOOD, moron!"

So tell me, how do I explain that mindset to my kid... or shield her from it? How can I raise her to give the benefit of the doubt, to have an ounce of trust, when mine is constantly being tested and eroded?

***

In happier news, New Comic Book Day has brought into our home Books of Magic: Life During Wartime #4 (for both of us), Doom Patrol #3 (for hubby), The Witching #1-2 (for me) and Mickey Mouse #268 -- destined to become a classic I am sure (for the kid).

Blue's Clues Jumps the Shark

Blue's Clues, formerly one of the best kids shows on TV has definitelyjumped the shark. The kid and I had been fairly well insulated from his Joe-ness, the syrupy-sweet and slightly dim replacement for the awesome Steve Burns by Treehouse's constant reruns of the older shows.

Now, they have added a segment called Blue's Room which is even worse than adding Joe! How much worse? Imagine the craptacularity of most kid-show costumes (dare I mention Barney?) and/or any successful-franchise-on-ice costume. Now give one to Blue and let her talk. No more friendly "ow-bow-bow!" nope. Now she dances with her talking jukebox and talks about her feelings. Ugh. Allegedly the segments are supposed to develop communcation skills. Ummm... shouldn't someone in real life be working on that with the kids?

28 October 2004

blogger-meme





You Are a Pundit Blogger!



Your blog is smart, insightful, and always a quality read.
Truly appreciated by many, surpassed by only a few.



Road rave

As I pulled up to a stoplight on my way into work this drizzly grey afternoon, my CD player kicked into the next tune on my Halloween mix -- an odd little ditty called Vampire Sushi by Old Time Relijun that sounds like early B-52s -- and I noticed the car in front of me had a Dancing Elvis hanging in its rear window. He was dancing and swingin and swivelling those hips as I followed and it put a twisted little smile on my face for the rest of the ride.

27 October 2004


I love that it is almost November and I can still clip enough salad greens from my garden to have a side salad with my dinner.  Posted by Hello

26 October 2004

Grumpy Old Man run-in

I've calmed down now... but earlier, I was waiting at the bus stop with my kid who was overjoyed to find a big pile of leaves to jump in. No sooner was she knee-deep in maple leaves did this grumpy old man walk up and start lecturing me about letting my kid strew leaves about! I asked if he was serious (because jumping in leaves is like a rite of passage -- and in an urban setting, it's harder to come by!) He continued, explaining that he pays "good taxes to have the leaves raked to the side of the road.... (grumble mumble mumble)..."

Incredulous, I said "You've got to be kidding! She's just playing. No one is getting hurt." He asked if she had any toys, and I said "Your point being?" to which he says "You should be teachin' her better." At which point I very directly told him to "Go to Hell."

He stood there a moment, then jay-walked across the busy street, and I thought wouldn't it just be my luck to witness him get creamed by a truck. Alas, he survived.

25 October 2004

Dangers of Liquid Candy

Know why we are a fat nation? Soft drinks. Seriously! Look at these numbers at the Dangers of Liquid Candy ... and then there's a nasty fact I hadn't realized: Kool-Aid is owned by Phillip Morris. Ewww.

The parent site, SaveHarry.com, is aimed at undoing the alliance between Harry Potter and Coca-Cola.

Take that Keanu!

Heheheh. I just spent far too many minutes defacing an image of Keanu Reeves. Choose your target from a list of celebrities and then embrace your inner vandal, drawing pointy eyebrows, Hitler mustaches, or whatever you like, care of the celebrity defacer. Excellent time waster.

24 October 2004

innocence is lost on me.

I can't remember a time when I wasn't skeptical, or sarcastic, or jaded. I know I must have been, but it's obviously too long ago. Every now and then I run across someone who is still totally grounded in innocence and I don't get it. These are not children; these are adults. A coworker today very excitedly suggested that with my dark hair I could dress for halloween as a witch (pointed hat and all). Now, aside from the fact that I know a number of Wiccans and people who consider themselves witches, I have always had an issue with the stereotypical "wicked witch." But I digress. What was truly amazing to me, was how innocent she seemed... she is considering dressing as a flower. (If she is reading this, I mean absolutely no disrespect, it's just not the way I live my life, and I can't even begin to put myself in her brain.) I did not, however, have the heart to describe in more detail my costume plans beyond "something dead."

23 October 2004

two down...

We are a home with three computers (well, four if you count the old Apple that is for the kid to play with, but it isn't networked) and Hubby's went down a little over a week ago... mine went down at the same time, but was (knock wood) easily resurrected. Hubby's is still hurting... there is something nasty lurking within. But last night, the third (shared) computer just plain died. Power supply went =POOF= and that was that. So... if my posts get thin, it's because we are working on 1/3 the computer power as we usually do.

New Comics

This week Hubby and I "shared" our new comics (we're trying to stay at about $15 per week remember) which allowed us to buy the first 3 issues of the Books of Magick: Life in Wartime series. They caught my eye and since Hubby still had his hands empty after 20 minutes of browsing, I suggested we give them a try (he had also picked them up during his browsing). Anyway, I didn't realize at first that these are the latest spin-off of a substantial series, but what the heck. They are based on a character created by Neil Gaiman, and since I have read some of his books, I figured what the heck, why not? Of course, then I turned to about page 5 and there was a very graphic graphic of an evisceration. So that image will be lodged in my temporal lobe for some time. But, on I shall read.... hopefully I won't be missing too much without having read the rest of the series.

The kid, in case you are curious, bought a nice "evisceration-lite" Donald Duck comic.

Incidentally, while we were in the store, it was stormed by a small herd (is there a collective noun for geeks?) of teenage boys who all complained of having no cash -- except one kid, who got $100 once a month. So (as far as I could figure) all the other kids were trying to get him to buy something they could all read, which led to his being pulled in four different directions of "hey, check this out!", "dude! this series rocks!", "Whoa! Look at her!" and "Heheh. This is soo lame, you have to buy it." Oddly, the guy was wiser than his herd, and chose to ask the clerk for suggestions. He chose one graphic novel and earmarked another for next month.

22 October 2004

Har-dee-har-har

Some of the best jokes I've read in a looooong time (and a few clunkers) at defective yeti. Since they are comments, some are a bit ribald, but here's a couple of the short riddles:

Q: What do you call a deer with no eyes?
A: No eye deer.

Q: What do you call a deer with no legs and no eyes?
A: Still no eye deer.

Q: What do you call a fish with no eyes?
A: A fsh.

21 October 2004


Ivy under a bed of leaves Posted by Hello

Are all Cheryl's alike?

Or just me and gasslight?

(OK, it isn't a perfect analysis, but some of it seems accurate...)

20 October 2004

fall just snuck up on me

I know fall officially began a month ago, and my kid has been picking up leaves everywhere, but I hadn't really noticed that they had all changed colour and fallen off in such great numbers... so now the air is pungent with decaying foliage and the sky is visible between branches, and we will soon have our "ocean view" back for the winter. I took a bunch of photos this afternoon and will post the best of them later.

19 October 2004

bad hair experiences

I was reminded by thismostamazing: , who is feeling exposed by her new short hair, that I have had more bad hair experiences with short hair than with long.

Let's start with me, age 4-ish. Our next-door neighbours had a hair salon in in their basement, so I cut across the lawn, wandered into the waiting area, and asked for a haircut. Going in, I had a lovely cascade of blonde curls and my hair was never the same after she was done. She gave me short hair. "Boy hair." After that, my Mother just kept it cut boyishly-short until I could speak for myself.... though I failed to make better choices. Eventually, I thought enough is enough, and I grew it all out.

I have gone back to short hair from time to time... but I feel more comfortable (despite being unable to braid my own hair) when it is long.

18 October 2004

I may never understand Japanese culture





You are "Sleeping"

John Kerry






Responsibility as determined by the state

Newcastle Brown Ale is among the first brews which will carry health warning, "Responsible drinkers don't exceed three to four units a day for men and two to three for women," along with an indication of the number of units per bottle or can.

Is it just me, or does that seem really preachy and condescending? Oddly, in light of this, I think I can finally grasp what has irked smokers all these years...

Subconscious Back Lot

Apparently, my subconscious contains a back lot and sets not unlike those at big studios like Universal or Warner Bros. I was very aware of this when I woke from my dream this morning, which was set in Paris, because I realized that the street and buildings were the same as those from a recent dream set in Vancouver. Oddly, I have been to both cities and don't remember a similar intersection or series of buildings in either. In fact, the city that my "City lot" most resembles is Seattle. Of course it's really just some sort of amalgam that my brain has created. I know my back lot also includes a Mall lot, an Outdoors lot (forest, stream, trail), and several House sets. I am sure there are more I haven't yet recognized.

I also have regular players in my dreams, and often friends and family are "played" by other people, which can be quite confusing, as some of the regular players are friends and family!

Connecting the dots

While Dubya campaigns that America is safer, individuals are left to connect the dots that lead to the next terrorist attack. Kerry R. Fox has connected a couple of dots that point to rural Arizona, an allegation which is more convincing than some of the other rants I have encountered.

17 October 2004

Now this is twisted.

Wow. The TWISTED TOYbox! is like Mr. Dressup's Tickle Trunk as filled by the props department for Tales from the Crypt.

...

On a side note (but still twisted), while searching for Tickle Trunk references or pictures, I came across a recipe for "cat poop cookies" ... ewww.

Mine All Mine (meme time)

Lifted from dvixen.


Name a CD you own that no-one else on your friends list does:

Shaun Cassidy's Greatest Hits. So now you know.

Name a book you own that no-one else on your friends list does:

Kingsley's Country: A guide to Bideford and North Devon.

Name a movie you own on DVD/VHS/etc that no-one else on your friends list does:

Fishing with Gandhi -- fabulously funny independent road film that I reviewed for Apollo Guide.

Name a place that you have visited that no-one else on your friends list has:

Bideford, Bishopsteighnton, Ilfracombe, Lynton and Lynmouth... and many other little towns in Devon, England.

16 October 2004


Just for October, the underbelly of a spider. Posted by Hello

15 October 2004

New Comic Tradition

Hubby has suggested, and I have agreed that Fridays shall now be New Comic Book Day in our world. Armed with $10-$15, the three of us shall each select a new comic every week. Cool. Hubby used to collect comics; I have bought comics in a random fashion over the years, often waiting for the graphic novel compilations to be released.

So in anticipation, I started looking for new releases and I think I may have found the grail. Slave Labor Publishing features the kind of artists and stories (like Lenore by Roman Dirge) that I enjoy -- most for "mature readers" (yeah, right).

The kid seems to gravitate toward Spiderman (maybe a little above her age!) and more kid-centric titles like Duck Dodgers.

No idea what Hubby will pick...

Why Russ Francis rocks.

For non-locals, Russ Francis is a local journalist, currently writing for a weekly news magazine. [BTW, the redesign of said weekly's site SUCKS, so don't bother following the link unless you are really interested.] He usually covers politics (especially the local stuff) and he specializes in investigative reports (I attended a seminar he led last Spring on how to dig up/through various levels of government information). Earlier this year, he was allegedly fired by the same news magazine for which he now works freelance -- I say allegedly, because insiders insist that freelance work was the plan all along.

Anyway...

Russ Francis rocks because he used the word defenestrated in one of his pieces this week, "Why hasn't the City defenestrated RG Properties?"

I'm purposely not linking to a definition; I will let y'all have the fun of looking up the word if it's unfamiliar. It sounds like a legal term, but really it's more dastardly.


14 October 2004

Today In Alternate History

I am a fan of alternate histories, so while surfing through Blogger's "next blog" randomizer (top right corner, if ya missed it) I was pleased to find Today In Alternate History, a blog by Robbie Taylor. It's a curiously creative site which I have added to my blogroll for future visits.

If you don't understand what we are talking about, here's a primer from Uchronia. I also recommend either the book or film version of Fatherland for a jumping off point. (I can loan you the book if you're curious.)

I got into alternate history through dystopian fiction, as the genres sometimes overlap. Technically, both genres come under the umbrella of science fiction. It should be noted that "stories set in a future which has since come and passed (such as George Orwell's 1984) are not alternate history" [from brainyencyclopedia], though some people try to file them there.

Dream a little dream?

Is it possible (or maybe inevitable) that married/committed couples start to have similar dreams when they share a bed? Or are we really a starter Borg hive?

Forgive me, but it is 6:30 in the morning, and I got up 45 minutes ago to find hubby already up, showered, and cooking breakfast (about half an hour earlier than usual). I asked why he was up so early and he said he "must have dreamt his alarm went off" because he woke up as if it had, though he was early and out of sync with his schedule. This seemed odd, because I woke up early having felt as though I was disturbed by his alarm. (My actual foggy memory/dream is of the alarm going off for a long time -- long enough for me to raise my head and say "What the f---, hon?" followed by a sarcastic "Thank you." when the alarm was silenced.) I just checked his alarm and it is still set for the same time it always goes off.

So, did we both dream of alarms? Or was there some paranormal time warp? I started searching for "same dream different people" and found the concept of dream telepathy or mutual dreaming.

Studies of dream telepathy and other paranormal dreaming (e.g. lucid dreaming) have been going on for decades. One 1985 study concluded "What is clear is that the tendency toward hits rather than misses cannot reasonably be ascribed to chance. There is some systematic­ - that is, nonrandom - source of anomalous resemblance of dreams to target." (Ah, the incomprehensible language of pseudo-science.)

Since both hubby and I have had experience with lucid dreaming, and since we do share an odd bond (for instance, I once ordered his favourite sandwich (Reuben) at a business lunch instead of my own (Monte Cristo) -- for no apparent reason other than the thought entered my head), I think it is entirely likely that we sometimes dream in tandem. What that means is another story.

Now if you'll excuse me, after wasting an hour researching psychic phenomena and sandwich origins, I am going back to bed before the kid wakes up.