29 July 2004

crazy people / crazy stuff

I saw my neighbour last week sweeping his trees. I find this very odd. He literally took a broom, held it over his head, and started sweeping each tree, one branch at a time. I have tried to come to a logical conclusion, but can find none. Any ideas?


Apparently, it is now a crime to eat a candy bar in the Subway, but at least you can untuck your shirts after a tough round of golf.


Last night I dreamt of beautiful women with ridiculously hairy backs (braided in one case) reciting poetry ... I should probably seek counselling.


I'm blaming everything on this continued heat for now. Yesterday, I dug around and found the WCB draft report on Indoor Air Quality and pointed out that the temp in our office has been over and above the upper acceptable limit for several weeks... nothing has changed yet, though.

28 July 2004

Rosalia funebris

Also known as the "Banded Alder Borer" or "Banded Alder Beetle", this impressive bug is mostly harmless. It doesn't bite and is attracted to fresh paint on a hot day. Which explains why I saw it when I did: we have been in a hot spell, and the apartments nearest the sighting have just been re-stuccoed and repainted. The bug was hanging out on a telephone pole on the sidewalk adjacent to the building. [Click to see my photo]

While the Banded Alder Beetle is native to Canada, it is very similar to an invasive pest which eats hardwood, the Asian Longhorn Beetle. CIFA actually inspects imported wood packing from Asia to keep these destructive beetles (with no known natural predators) out of our country.

The title link is to an article at Cornell University about how they came to add a "notable specimen" of Rosalia funebris to their collection; it also gives a good background on the bug. Further research led me to learn that Rosalia funebris is commonly found "West of the Rockies from Alaska to Southern California" (and according to some reports, also New Mexico).

Very exciting for a bug-geek like me. Perhaps I missed my calling as an entomologist. It probably also explains my attraction to the Gil Grissom character on CSI who is an expert in forensic entomology.

27 July 2004

National Barbie-in-a-Blender Day!

What fun! Today is National Barbie-in-a-Blender Day!

Bruce Campbell makes me laugh

Bruce Campbell, B-movie King, makes me laugh a lot. I had no idea who he was when, out of the blue I was given Army of Darkness for a birthday gift a bunch of years ago. [If you haven't seen it, you simply must. It is a "cult hit" for good reasons, among them: fantastic one-liners and memorable quips, an evil twin, fighting skeletons, and a retail showdown in the aisles of S-Mart.]

Anyway, I was reading a Campbell interview/filmography in Entertainment Weekly (July 9, 2004 issue) where he is commenting on his ups and downs in B-moviedom. He comments on one film he liked because it was short, adding,
"I mean this Bored of the Rings s---? I would've cut a half hour from every single one of those films"
I laughed out loud. I would have too. I know, there are those among you who are screaming (or muttering), "Sacrilege!" but really, I found all of three of the LOTR films tedious and impossible to sit through in their entirety. On the other hand, we recently rented Bubba Ho-Tep, which had me laughing in the early part, but ultimately failed to entertain, and I couldn't sit through all of that movie, either.

25 July 2004

Muppet Terror

OK.. it's not as scary as the title suggests (or maybe it is..?) but the people (person?) at Geek and Proud has put together this clever button system to display the current Terror Alert Level with cute Muppet faces from Sesame Street.

Here's how it looks:

Terror Alert Level

weekend ups and downs

OK... so on the up side, my hubby and I went out for a drink on Friday with friends. Then we extended it to include dancing.... and while I certainly enjoyed the dancing... I am no longer "in practice" and cannot hold alcohol. So after we closed down the bar (!!) I spent an evening of horrible suffering for my indulgences -- a total of 4 bottles of cider; three within the last 2 hours of the night. As a result, most of Saturday disappeared in a haze of sickness, sleep and lethargy.

Saturday evening however, I held to my promise to take my daughter to Luminara which was interesting, though very crowded and not stroller-friendly. Next year, if I go, I will go at least an hour earlier, and pack along drinks and snacks (because nothing can be sold within the park) plus some better lanterns and better shoes.

23 July 2004

Signs you are a good tipper?

Darren Barefoot blogged about tipping today and linked to Signs you are a good tipper on Stained Apron. I have to say that none of these points would indicate tip-size (except maybe ordering water with lemon) but they do indicate good manners. Maybe "Signs you weren't raised in a barn" would be more appropriate.

Tipping gets really ugly when there is a group splitting a bill. Many times, I'm sure I looked like a complete tightwad because someone else collected everyone's money then failed to leave a reasonable tip. I soon learned to ask for separate bills when out with those "friends".

22 July 2004

too darn hot

I hate heat. Hate it. Hate the heat and the cold too. I like my surroundings between 9 and 19 degrees celcius (that's 48 to 66 degrees fahrenheit if you're reading from the U.S.). Usually, Victoria does a good job of keeping things that way, but right now, we are in the midst of a damn hot summer.

Heat makes me crabby... I have trouble sleeping... and I tend to eat whatever is handy (cubpoard grazing) or eat out because I fear turning on the oven. Now before you go calling me a wuss, I admit it! (see above) I know it's likely hotter wherever you are than here... but here's the thing: in Victoria, we rarely get more than two or three days of any variety of weather without a break. Being on an island next to the Pacific Ocean, fronts are always blowing in, through or over, bringing fresh new weather patterns (yeah, I just re-read that, and guess what? Heat makes me stupid, too. So sue me). Anyway, my point is that in Victoria, we rarely get a long run of hot weather (or of cold for that matter; snow rarely sticks around longer than 3 or 4 days).

So go ahead, check our weather and laugh at me. It can't make me any crabbier.

21 July 2004

Kid's view

This morning, Canada AM was talking about Michael Jackson denying he fathered quadruplets. As if anyone cares (though it would be some sort of freak show when they are named), but my daughter looks at the graphic over the newscasters shoulder, laughs, and says "SHE looks funny."

Now, she does have the odd problem determining gender (and I am not sure whether that even matters), but this one really made me giggle.

20 July 2004

Dumb luck

Darren Barefoot - Miscellanist - logged this Definition of Luck last week. Give the rest of his blog a perusal; it's intelligent, witty, and unmistakeably Canadian.

19 July 2004

Fun with meat hooks?

This is too weird not to share. Fetish anyone?

People found dangling from meat hooks, for fun.

"There were no laws against sticking meat hooks into yourself and hanging from a tripod on a sandbar, Lt Brazil added."

Plumbing day

So this morning, while trying to fill the coffee pot, the cold faucet handle in the kitchen made this ugly little crack sound then spun merrily about without giving me any water. I cursed, sighed, filled the pot with hot water and considered a trip to the hardware store. After retrieving the van, and making a few other necessary stops, we pulled into our neighbourhood Home Hardware and headed for the plumbing section.

I considered buying a whole new faucet (ours is old and ugly, though still works since I replaced both of the cartridges last winter) but felt that $6 for a new handle was a better buy than $90 for a half-decent new faucet (at least until we delve into full kitchen renos). After oggling so many plumbing fixtures, I did decide to splurge on a new hand-held shower attachment to replace our woeful semi-adjustable shower head. The new head has three settings, a lifetime warranty, and cost under $20. Yay!

All told it took me about twice as long to buy the parts as to do the repair and replacement once I was home. Plus I now feel like I have "done" something today -- much like when I clean or garden. Bonus domestic diva round -- two loads of laundry!

Inefficient Trash Disposal

I always knew it. The Death Star engineers blew it when they designed the trash compactor. Some pertinent points are raised here: McSweeney's Internet Tendency: On the Implausibility of the Death Star's Trash Compactor

In case you missed it.

If you skipped this program because it looked too geeky, guess again. It is one of the best series on science theory that I have seen. It is entertaining and informative and it pushes you to actually think about the world around you. Now I really must buy the book that has been on my wishlist for like a year. Anyway, you can actually watch The Elegant Universe in short Quicktime or Realvideo segments from the PBS site.
Thanks to Chloe for pointing out the link!

stress dream

Just woke up from a dream where my new boss was really an alien, gradually turning the staff into (or replacing them with) androids.

18 July 2004

Librarians Against Bush

Hmmm.. Michael Moore loves librarians, and hates Bush.... so Librarians Against Bush is probably Moore's fantasy site.

17 July 2004

travel dreams

I spent the evening hanging out with my Mother-in-law talking about
where we would go if we ever won the $10M lottery... ended up
reminiscing about places I had been... it was pleasant but it sure gave
me the travel bug in the worst way. Sigh.

16 July 2004

Goodbye Rainbow

Walking home the other night, we cut through the playground and I realized something was wrong. They had removed the climbing frame that my kid absolutely loved... she called it the rainbow because it was an upside-down U shape. I was furious... and glad she wasn't with me... and I still haven't taken her down to the park (nearly a week later) because I know she will be heartbroken. I also wanted to find out why it had been removed.

Hoping that maybe (just maybe) they were going to put in some new equipment, I emailed the municipal park management. It took 4 days to get the reply,
"please be advised that the removal was due to a Safety precaution primarily because of the location of the equipment/age/ and condition. ... We asked the Community Association Executive to check with the area residents to see what is needed in the Park. The Community Association is to reply to Parks by this fall, so we can plan for 2005. Our intent is to work with the Community to improve the Park, based on what is required by the neighbourhood. At this time we have no replacements for the equpment removed."
Crap. So now I have to track down the community association. I am soooooo looking forward to that.

14 July 2004

Is this it?

OK.. I have been blog-surfing too much and am getting perilously close to the edge of the internet. How do I know? Because I have reached a blog entry on a restaurant that features SPAM on its menu.

must -- pry -- fingers -- from -- key -- board --- !!

New Tim Burton Movie

Too --- excited --- for --- words!! [girlish squeals of excitement]

See what The Tim Burton Collective says about The Corpse Bride, due in time for Halloween 2005.

Seriously... a new Tim Burton movie always gets me excited (except that stupid ape movie... but whatever) and the fact that this is another stop-motion animation feature, plus it has the word "corpse" in the title, and Johnny Depp is voicing a character!!

Most excellent. I am already lining up a babysitter for the premiere...

Better Personality Quiz

Another blog sent me to Jenny Turpish Slapped Me: Quizzes - Better Personality. I took the quiz and here is the result:
"You are an SEDL--Sober Emotional Destructive Leader. This makes you a dictator. You prefer to control situations, and lack of control makes you physically sick. You feel have responsibility for everyone's welfare, and that you will be blamed when things go wrong. Things do go wrong, and you take it harder than you should.

You rely on the validation and support of others, but you have a secret distrust for people and distaste for their habits and weaknesses that make you keep your distance from them. This makes you very difficult to be with romantically. Still, a level-headed peacemaker can keep you balanced.

Despite your fierce temper and general hot-bloodedness, you have a soft spot for animals and a surprising passion for the arts. Sometimes you would almost rather live by your wits in the wilderness somewhere, if you could bring your books and your sketchbook.

You also have a strange, undeniable sexiness to you. You may go insane. "

Even though I was borderline on almost every portion, this does come pretty close to explaining me. Hmm.

13 July 2004

chronocidal tendencies....

some of you may remember my former Chronocide site... (you can pick the bones here)... chronocide is the act of killing time... and being home sick, with an aggravating drippy nose, I have been aimlessly webwandering... I've been trying to find interesting things to do on Thursdays this summer when I am looking after 2 extra kids... I also checked out and signed up with BlogRolling... but I can't figure out how to edit my blogger template... so for now, my blogroll is hosted elsewhere...

last night we watched two movies: Butterfly Effect (which was better than I was expecting) and 50 First Dates (which was not as good as I was hoping).... on the plus side, sitting in front of the tv for so long meant I was able to knit a bunch more rows of the Dr. Who Scarf...

Oh, and I forgot to thank Sarcasmo for pointing out MTV's superhero pilot yesterday: Thanks!

12 July 2004

Are you an MTV Superhero?

Who Wants To Be A Superhero? is MTV's newest idea for a reality series. Before you all run off and sign up though, read the whole contract -- it's brutal! (Lawboy, you might find it interesting... actually Lawboy might be an interesting sidekick....)


Ugh. Woke up with a head cold. I hate summer colds even more than winter colds (curling up in bed is much easier when it is cold and rainy outside)... so, feeling miserable, I Googled "common cold" and found commoncold.org, which is full of info on studies, medications and myth-busting by two doctors.

I guess I am a science geek at heart, because I find the whole biology of infection and physiology of symptoms interesting. (Same way I find forensics fascinating and sometimes discusting at the same time.)

At least I don't have to suffer work tonight (nor will my coworkers have to listen to me honk and snort; I've saved that for my family).

11 July 2004

Domestic Showdown

ABC's Domestic Showdown was two hours of crazy head-to-head cooking, home decorating and party planning. Now that's my kind of reality tv. The winner, by the way, gets a book deal and a pilot for ABC. Fun stuff..I'll be watching.

Disposable email

Here's something new: disposable email. Seriously... you create an email address "on the fly" like coolpartygirl@mailinator.net and mail can be sent to that address right away. Then you just login without a password and read your mail; you can't reply or even delete it; it will self-destruct in a few hours. The designers have a sense of humor too (from the Mailinator(tm) FAQ):

This sounds pretty insecure. What if I send important emails with sensitive super-secret information in them to mailinator?
Then you are a stupid-head. That isn't what this is for.

They recommend crapmail for that. (OoooOooh. I notice that with crapmail you can also get an eFax address for receiving faxes. Hmmm.) Of course all of it is American and as such raid-able under the evil PATRIOT Act....

Of course I already have a half dozen active email addresses ... but I guess I can file this all under "good to know."

10 July 2004

Film indulgence

Treated myself to an evening out to see 'The Delicate Art of Parking' a little Canadian mocumentary. Quite amusing.

Felt a little indulgent... but it was also kinda nice to drive away with just wallet keys and cellphone... and not be going to work. It's not like I never get time to myself; I just get less than I used to.

On the way home, Maria Muldaur's Midnight at the Oasis was playing on Finkleman's 45's on CBC.. so I was grooving to that, and trying to ignore the person driving 42 km/h in front of me.

The Retro Future

Welcome To The Retro Future highlights the way people thought the future would look circa year-2000, but from the 1960s (more or less).

I expext I will seem this short-sighted to my kid, too, in 50 years.

08 July 2004

Fun with 80s icons

Having been a George Michael fan for many years (that's fan, lowercase "f", as in, I'll likely buy his albums -- not Fan, capital F, as in, I have wallpapered my ceiling with his image) I was amused by this headline: "Wham! George Michael shuts web chatroom after careless whispers" then bumed out when I read the story.

His original post makes him seem exactly like the self-centred mopey British prat that many people always suspected he was.

Sigh. Another 80s icon down....

Rare Songs, Dusty Grooves

Memo to self... re-read this article: Boston.com / Business / MP3 Blogs Serve Rare Songs, Dusty Grooves

[the sites are] part online mixtape, part diary, and part music magazine. The tunes are drawn from remixes, forgotten genres and out-of-print albums, usually accompanied by detailed descriptions and reviews.

Sounds like my weekend is set!

Cats collared

Our cats hate each other.

Recently, Max managed to break his collar off, and in the few days without his warning bell, there have been far more fights and fur flying.

Today, I got them both new collars with little bells -- Sierra has never worn one before -- and this is now an interesting little cat-sociology project.

Sierra, who is fairly intelligent (for a cat) has already figured out how to hold the bell fairly still. Max (who is not smart) is oblivious to the noise, but bothered by the collar.

Any bets on which one destroys their collar (or bell) first?

Rage versus Depression

We have been catching up on the Sopranos the past couple of weeks, and in one episode (which we watched Monday night), the Psychiatrist character tells Tony, "Depression is rage turned inwards," works on that theme, and repeats those words to end the session.

I considered this concept while driving into work on Tuesday. I was also listening to Evanescence at the time. I found myself close to tears and I wasn't sure why... (Evanescence probably had a lot to do with it.... their songs tend to bring my emotions to the surface).

Next time I ponder such deep subjects maybe I'll try listening to the Monkees.

06 July 2004

Filing Purging Shredding Frenzy

So a few weeks ago, I realized I had completely lost my T4. My worst fear was that perhaps I shredded it (we got a shredder about 2 months ago) and I was all bent out of shape because taxes don't do themselves... and I knew I had shredded most of my 2003 payslips because I had a T4. Argh!

So that got me started. I got out my favourite Organizing book and opened it to the chapter on file systems. Then I built a new one around the author's suggestions. Since then, our humble home has been a flurry of paper.

I still haven't found my original T4 (I got a new one issued, though, and the taxes are filed. Phew) but I did find a tax refund cheque from 1992 for $2.79 ... guessing I can't cash that though.

Considering my inner-packrat, it feels really good to shred/recycle/purge years of accumulated ephemera. Aside from the above cheque (Which I am keeping. For the hell of it.) I found instructions for replacing the alternator for 3 or 4 vehicles ago; a good inch worth of faxes on thermal paper that constituted the back and forth parts of negotiating our home purchase; and coffee-stained photocopied pages from a book about making the most of your liberal arts education.... and I have only just been going through the "current" files. I have two full boxes and another file drawer of "reference files." ACK!

Maybe in a past life, I was an archivist. A very disorganized one.

Pathetic Society

I can never decide whether the world makes me angry or sad.

Just when I think I have it nailed (angry!) over crap like a nine month sentence for people who treated their adopted children about as well as the prisoners of Abu Ghraib, I find something sad like this Spider-Man Pet Costume. WTF? Are people all on crack??

05 July 2004


A coworker didn't clear her browser history on one of the main computers... so I discovered her personal livejournal.

[Note to coworkers: use your personal login or clear the browser history! I am not the only "nosy" one who works here... and I am much less likely to bitch about what you are reading or doing online!]

So anyway..... is it cool to say to her, "hey, I read your journal..." or would that seem stalker-ish? Would I be a loser to say, gee, sorry I made you rush in for that crap shift (the first entry is about how lame it was to be at work when it was so dead)? Or would she be horrified knowing that someone who has been her supervisor is reading her personal angst?

Is there some kind of Anne Landers for this kind of dilemma?

04 July 2004

Astute observations

On Film: Filmmakers, critics, and viewers lists oodles of great movie review quotes... among them, this laugh-out-loud gem:

“…surely I can’t be alone in wishing that Celine Dion’s heart would just stop?”
Stephen Rowley on the “crudfest” surrounding Titanic

Wyndam Lewis

Wyndam Lewis was talented enough to write fiction, non-fiction, criticism, biography, and autobiography. He was a friend and contemporary of Ezra Pound; and in 1939, he published "The Hitler Cult" as a warning to the world, which of course no one heeded.

He also painted -- as an official war artist for the First World War, and professionally in both more traditional and more modern styles. This recent book cover shows off my favourite piece of Lewis's art: his self portrait as a Tyro. I saw the original in the London Portrait Gallery when I was all of 18. I immediately loved it, bought a postcard of it, and I love to ponder on his sly grin and sideways glance. The original is painted in bold yellow-orange and brown tones and seems decades ahead of itself.

03 July 2004

Learning WML

OK, so my new phone also comes with the capacity for web use... so I figure I might as well read up on WAP and WML. Wish me luck!

Goodbye crappy phone!

Last night, after yet another crappy session with my Fido cell phone, we went directly to the mall to get a new Bell phone. I now have a funky little folding LG TM250 phone, and a full monthly service with 200 minutes and a bunch of bells and whistles. Mike got a similar deal about 10 days ago.

Turns out, Bell offers a bunch of "Corporate Plans" based on your employer or student enrollment, or whatever. Anyway, the plans generally include a bunch of extras rolled in at no charge (mine includes unlimited evening minutes, call display, message centre and other stuff) -- so if there is any chance you are thinking of getting Bell cell service, ask about Corporate plan options.

02 July 2004

Busy/Lazy Days

Well, I turned 35 on Wednesday and celebrated with a dessert buffet. Toward the end of the evening, I realized that I should have done the dessert thing at age 25 when I and my friends had higher tollerance for so much sugar! I had a great party though... lots of friends and family around...and I got spoiled with lots of gifts -- books, knitting stuff, jewellery, gift cards, and even chocolate :)

Then yesterday was Canada Day, and we managed to have a Lazy Family Day around the house... Saw two movies (Love Actually and Win a Date with Tad Hamilton), did some knitting, tidied up the place a bit, and wrapped it all up with a wander down to the water's edge to watch the fireworks (from here, we can see about the top two thirds of the show... there is a big apartment in the way of the rest).

And today, for the first time in a couple of weeks, it is raining. Aaaahhh. How refreshing!