30 September 2004

yay me / walking dead

A coworker asked me if I had "lost a lot of weight" yay! I haven't lost a lot, but I have now lost over 10 lbs... I still have a way to go. The other reason I may look slimmer is my new wardrobe. In the past month I have bought a half dozen or more new shirts, which actually fit me, rather than hang like tents over my frame. ( I decided that maybe accepting hand-me-down clothing from my mother and mother-in-law was not the best fashion plan.)

On the other hand, a student looked at my hair and pale visage today and asked if I was "getting ready for halloween" I wanted to say "No, I'm the walking dead. I always look this way," but it just came out as, "No, this is just me." Damned brain filter.

29 September 2004

Spa with a twist

I have to thank the Daily Show (last night's show) for this oddity. The Elk Mountain Resort, which is a typically high-end resort and spa, includes on site a terrorist defence training facility. Actually, if you look through the Elk Mountain site, it is tough to find, since the facility they use has another name: the Valhalla Shooting Club. Go to their site, however, and you can see the scenario house -- set up for folks to practice taking out the baddies in jumbo jets, convenience stores, or even your own living room.

28 September 2004

brokedown body.

OK. This sucks. My body hates me. Twice recently, infections have hidden until they are out of control -- the cavity that hid behind a filling, and now this abscess that has been hiding for upwards of a year growing behind a root canal post. Now I require endodontic surgery. Crap on a stick.

And that's only my mouth. I also have a weak hip, a wonky knee, a tender shoulder, and a back that strains easily. And yes, I do know that regular exercise would help most of those problems... but dammit, I just don't enjoy most things that pass as regular exercise. Can't I just trade in this model for a new one?

27 September 2004

tmcm: Cats + Coffee

Hehehe. Today's Too Much Coffee Man is making me giggle....which hurts my face. Damn!

will it never end?

I hate my teeth. I hated them when I was a teen because they were crooked and wonky and required orthodontics -- retainers and braces for a total of 6 years. Now I hate them because I have weak enamel, weak gums, and weak roots. I have had 3 root canals (one abscessed and was extracted) and more fillings than I can count.

Now, I am in a whole boatload of pain thanks to my latest gum infection, or whatever it is. Basically, it is a big swollen throbbing lump over one of my crowned teeth (a root canal from a few years back). I started noticing sensitivity in the area (upper left 3rd molar) while I was getting my most recent root canal crowned, just a few weeks ago. I mentioned it, but the dentist suggested it was likely reflected pain from the recovering lower teeth. After spending most of last week suffering from a head cold, on Friday I started to notice real pangs of pain coming from that tooth. I flossed and brushed and brushed and flossed and swished Listerine with fluoride... but alas, too late. By Saturday night I was having trouble chewing food, and yesterday, I went in to work, but bailed after only two and a half hours thanks to the constant pain that even Tylenol-3's couldn't alleviate. Needless to say, last night was not fun.

I get to see the dentist (not my regular dentist but the other dentist in the office) this afternoon. So, this morning, I am going to eat some soft foods... maybe even just a smoothie or two.

24 September 2004


It alarms me sometimes just how easy it is to pass on one's tastes, ideas, faults, language and mannerisms to one's children. My 3 1/2 year old just suggested I go downstairs and find "the good Star Wars" because Episode 1 was bad. Also note that the kid outgrew Episode 1 before diapers.

23 September 2004

Feeling secure yet?

Ian Spiers isn't.

Read The Artist's Statement and see if you don't shudder just a little. And folks, the setting for this tale is Ballard, which is a suburb of Seattle Washington, which is barely a stone's throw from my hometown...

FCA + FCC = ?

This won't make sense to those of you not in Victoria, but around here, this is fairly significant. For as long as I can remember, Fernwood (one of the most politically and socially active communities in the city) has been home to two distinct societies: the Fernwood Community Association (FCA) and the Fernwood Community Centre (FCC). Recently, they dipped their toes into the pool of amalgamation, which resulted in this unification report (PDF link requires Acrobat Reader).

The amazing thing about the report (by Azimuth Consulting) is that it pulls no punches. The authors admit that there are poeple pushing so hard on each side of the issue, that it will be an uphill battle. This is one of the conclusions:

In essence, the emergence of a single organizational service demonstrates that the FCC and FCA has put the interests of the community above their own separate organizational interests.

Personally, I find it hard to imagine, if only because the politics involved are dense and firmly rooted, though I do agree with the authors of the report, that the community would benefit from a joint structure.

Kirstin Dunst is a spoiled brat

So, she's rich and spoiled, and likes to crash parties. I swear, every breath she takes is a complete waste of perfectly good air.

21 September 2004

See, I told you.

I knew there were Zombies among us . They just had to find the right place to settle down. Apparently, that's Portland. They'd probably do well in Vancouver, too.

(link courtesy of Sarcasmoscorner)

calling all entrepreneurs

Anyone out there interested in taking this idea and running with it? I can't offer any venture capital, but I can promise to be a loyal customer. Thing is, I really want to find a drive-through that serves Slurpee® -style drinks. Driving home sick last night, I settled for Wendy's Frosty® desserts for me and mine, but the kid was expecting something slushy and blew a wee gasket. Sigh.

How hard could it be? I mean, you could just take the 7-11 or Mac's concept and make it a drive-through. People could drive through to get their snack fix -- hell, maybe even their nicotine and lottery fixes, too. I'd gladly pay an extra nickel or two for the convenience of not getting out of my vehicle. I'm not even expecting a finder's fee, here... just go do it already!

19 September 2004

cat update and kumbaya-land.

Sierra had her "drain" removed on Friday and by all accounts has healed nicely. As soon as I brought her in the house, Max tried to attack the cat carrier -- bastard -- because he realized he hadn't actually "won." So, for Friday night and Saturday morning, we confined Max to the office. Yesterday afternoon, we let him out, and so far the cats have been OK. So, we may put off finding a home for Max... at least we aren't in a panic about it.


When I took the kid to her regular playgroup on Friday, the group took an unwelcome turn to kumbaya-land. For the past year, I was very happy with the group because there were several kids her age; it was a small group (usually no more than 5 or 6 kids); and the parents were mostly laisez-faire like me (it's playgroup! the kids are supposed to play with each other, not with their parents!). Now though, I guess because it is a new school year, the kids her age are in preschool, and a new leader has taken over. The place was packed (i.e. over a dozen kids), most of the kids were smaller, and their parents were constantly shadowing/coddling them. Gah. Worst though, was that in the last 15 minutes, they moved the toys aside and gathered round for "circle time," singing "The more we get together.." (barf). I herded the kid into her coat and we left. So now I need to investigate other playgroups.

Go see Sky Captain!

Go see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow on the big screen; we saw it yesterday and it simply must be seen. I am certain it will influence the next decade of movies the way the innovations of The Matrix influenced the last decade.

I have lots more to say on the subject, but I would rather y'all go see it for yourselves.

16 September 2004

just a thought....

But does anyone else think the trailers for Ladder 49 make it look like "Backdraft 2: Electric Boogaloo"?

Enid's hair

The other thing my Mom said when she saw my new 'do was "Why on earth would you want to go darker?" Well, somewhere in the back of my mind was the image of Enid from Ghost World as portrayed by Thora Birch. I like that whole angry/alt-culture/intelligent/literate look and attitude. Probably the same movie had me thinking "blue hair would be fun."

Thora, btw is seriously hot with dark hair. And yeah, she's young (just 18 when Ghost World was released in 2000) but that doesn't make her less hot. It just makes me seem kinda creepy for thinking that. Imagine what was going through Steve Buscemi's head, then, during this scene (don't click if you haven't seen the movie!).

And if you haven't seen Ghost World, go rent it. It is one part coming-of-age teen flick, one part romance, one part quirkyalone**. It has indie cred all over it, and the performances are fabulous. It also makes a great double feature with High Fidelity.

[** quirkyalone (KWUR.kee.uh.lohn) n. A person who enjoys being single and so prefers to wait for the right person to come along rather than dating indiscriminately. (definition from Wordspy) Find out if you are quirkyalone. Even though I am married, I scored 99/100.]

[EDIT: apparently the quirkyalone score is not /100, but 99 was "very quirkyalone"]

New 'Do!

Well, hubby not only forbid me from cancelling my hair appointment, but he made sure I kept it by sending his mother to get me there and take care of the kid. I am glad I went. Vanessa did a fine job, and since she is still at school, the cut and colour cost me less than the last salon cut I had (which sucked) and about a third of the last salon trim and colour (which was mediocre).

I like the new look, and aside from my Mother, everyone else seems to like it too. Some comments:

my kid: "Oh! Mommy, your hair sure is dark!"

my Mom: "Well, it's your hair. At least you got it cut."

my co-workers: "That's certainly daring!" "Very goth!" "Wow, that looks good on you!" "Ooh! you left the white streak!" "God, you can do anything with your hair. You looked good blonde and now black. I'm jealous." "I think it makes you look younger." "Niiiiice."

my Hubby: (grinning) "You look like you need a skateboard right now."


In cat news, Sierra is doing OK.. she's back to full feistiness and woke me up at 3:45 this morning, trying to tear down the office door. As a result, I took up my pillow and curled up on the office floor to keep her company. I drifted off to sleep with her on my back, purring. We take her back tomorrow to have the tube removed.


I have decided not to apply for the day job in the branch unit (see original post). I think I will likely just stay put, and stretch my brain outside work. I plan to put some real effort into getting something published in the next year to 18-months. I have oodles of projects on various burners, so it's just a matter of bringing one or two to the front and following through. Staying on the evening shift also means I can focus on homeschooling the kid.

14 September 2004

cat update no.2

Well, the poor thing has one of those awful collars on.. so she keeps walking backwards; the tube they inserted is not some nice little unobtrusive thing -- it's huge. It looks painful and ugly... and the worst part is that we still have to administer antibiotics. This time as oral drops twice daily.

She is confined to the office and now we have to seriously consider finding Max a new home. After 3 years together the cats still don't play well together, as proven by this adventure which, as hubby said "Cost us 5 Christmas presents"... so if you know anyone willing and able to take on a sucky male tuxedo cat, let me know (he's about 4 years old, "fixed" and has had all his shots recently except for rabies as he's generally indoors).

13 September 2004

cat update no.1

Well, Sierra's abscess is ugly and while it is likely a fight wound (thanks, Max -- you jerk!) it may be a more serious abscess of an anal gland (oh, eww). It also may have been there a while, and it is quite deep. It is serious enough that they are anesthetising her so they can irrigate the wound site and surgically insert a drainage tube. It's going to cost us about $250, which wipes out all thoughts of our going away for our anniversary next month. Sigh. At least they are going to trim her claws while she is under.

For the record, they did offer me another option: quick cleaning of the site and a prescription for antibiotics for $110... but that would have meant we would have to irrigate the site twice daily plus administer the antibiotics. After last month's adventure with Max's antibiotics (for gingivitis), it's not a choice that sounded like a good option.

Ahhh, the joys of pet ownership.

Deadly sweet?

[OK, this is the THIRD time I am inputting this post (grumble grumble).... the first time I lost the file because Netscape froze; the second time, because I hit "refresh" which looks a lot like "undo" but definitely has the wrong effect.]

This morning I was searching for more information on a news story that skidded through the newscast, and stumbled on a press release about aspartame that reads like an X-file. Still, I thought I would look at what was in our non-aspartame sweetener packets, and saw this warning:

Contains sodium cyclamate. Take only on advice of a physician.

Huh? Does it strike anyone else odd that something which you can grab by the handfull at your local coffee shop is actually a controlled substance? So, I checked around (remembering the great saccharin scare of the 70's) and found that currently, cyclamates and their derivatives are prohibited for use in human food by the US FDA though there seems to be no clear indication that they are in fact hazardous to humans. They are approved for use in 50 countries, including Canada.

Still, it makes one pause. I am usually the first person to argue that sugar, being natural, is the best thing to put in your body... but since I drink about 3 mugs of coffee on an average day, and add roughly 2 tsp. sugar (32 calories) per mug, switching to 2 pkg. of sweetener (4 calories) would save me about 84 calories per day.. which is significant, if you're counting....

Of course I haven't mentioned Splenda (sucralose) ... mostly because the jury is still out on that one; there haven't been any studies of long-term effects in humans.

12 September 2004

Necrophilia now a felony

Good grief! It took two years to outlaw sex with corpses in California? WTF!?

Read the examples if you dare; this is rather insane stuff. Sometimes, I really want to distance myself from Humans... any alien races out there recriuting?

cats: real and imagined

Our cats hate each other. They fight a lot, abd though they sometimes work out ceasefires... we know they won't last. Well, today, I looked at one of my cats' behinds, and there is a nasty abcess there (ewwwwwwwww!) no doubt because the other cat tried to "tear her a new one" quite literally. Of course it is Sunday so the vet is closed... so I will have to juggle the vehicle with hubby (who has an appointment to get to in the afternoon) to take her in tomorrow. How we will pay for it is another question. Grrr.


In other cat news, my daughter likes to pretend she is a cat, "Baby Kitty" to be precise. I guess in the absence of siblings and having two cats around that might be expected, but this habit is really starting to get up my nose. She meows in response to questions, and sometimes even crawls around licking her "paws" -- even in public! It was cute for the first few months, but now it is just plain annoying.

10 September 2004

What's in my bag?

I recently swapped bags (purses) and used the opportunity to catalog what was in there (I've seen these lists on other blogs and was both inspired and frightened at the same time...)

The bag I had been using was from Mountain Equipment coop (
MEC Small Carry All Shoulder Bag); note that the the description says "capacity 6 L" (that's 6 Litres if you're reading from a non-metric country; which is about 1.5 Gallons (US) or 366 cubic inches).

Obviously I am not one of those people who can carry a tiny purse with just my keys and lipstick.

So anyway, I had less in there than I sometimes do (e.g.: no books, no camera, no music player, no toys), but it was still enough to fill my kitchen counter:

full-size bottle of ibuprophen, daily dose of vitamins, tin of Altoid mints (original peppermint), open package of Halls coughdrops (strong mint), small tube of Avon Care Deeply handcream, a lot of Equal packets, open package of Trident gum (peppermint), 4 granola bars, 2 Boston Pizza mints, 2 AA batteries, 5 pens, tube of lipstick, bottle of denim-coloured nail polish, a necklace, a pair of earings, my charm bracelet, 2 hair clips, 2 hair elastics, 1 blue floral-print scrunchie, a Zellers bag-grip, two formica colour chips, a watch which needs a new battery, 5 pens, small pocket knife in a leather sleeve, laminated information card on BC Wildlife, a gift certificate for the UVic Bookstore, card for Young Young Shabu Shabu in Victoria, assorted receipts, shopping lists and coupons, a sheet of Disney's Snow White stickers, 6 individually packaged Wet-Naps, 4 plastic bandages, 3 cotton balls, 3 tampons, 2 pads, two plastic spoons, one plastic fork, my wallet (hey I had to get to that eventually!), M&M meatshop member keytag, two folders of promo/frequent shopper cards (eg: Subway sub card, various coffee cards, HMV frequent shopper cards, etc.), and a huge stack of empty baggies, gum wrappers, a smushed-open single-serving of Kraft Peanut Butter (ewww), and other refuse.

Sigh. My new purse is all pretty and clean for now.

feeling heavy...

Even though the scale tells me I am indeed losing weight (6 lbs and counting) and my clothes are starting to fit better (some are even loose!), I still feel heavy and subsequently unhappy. Some of the weight I'm feeling isn't even physical. I am back to fulltime hours now, and since I didn't get promoted, I am feeling really weighed down by my job. I was ready for a change, and then denied the opportunity.

There is another opening right now, in a branch unit of the library, which is day shift, Monday to Friday (but under review). It is a really small unit which has recently suffered some unkind staffing cuts, and historically, the unit has always done things "a little differently." I can't quite imagine myself doing the work there, though... so maybe that tells me something. Since I ignored the Cards to my peril last time, I thought I would ask again. I chose a two paths reading with the Rider-Waite deck and asked "should I try again?" ... wanting some clarification, I chose a three fates reading with the Blake deck and asked "what if I just stay put?" Really interesting.

So tell me, should I stay put or should I give it a shot?

(I'll post my interpretation of the readings as a comment after I have pondered some more...)

09 September 2004

first-year panic

Watching someone's brain reach its maximum capacity is a truly amazing thing, and I may never tire of it. As the campus fills again with first-year students, many "fresh-from-the-farm" (or at least rural BC), they wander timidly into the library and ask things like "where are the novels" (not a simple question in a library using LC classification). With my bestest customer-service smile, I direct, instruct, suggest, and answer their inquiries... but every now and then someone just kinda "pops." It's not audible, of course, but if you know what to look for, you can see the moment.

It happened yesterday with a person who asked the aforementioned question about novels. Midway through my overview of how LC classifies fiction, I noticed a very scared/startled look in her eyes and could almost hear her inner dialogue of panic... so I grabbed a map and calmly pointed out where she might find novels written in English, in the PR and PS sections, and suggested she talk to someone at the reference desk, to narrow her search. However, after she thanked me and walked away from the desk, she turned and went out the door. She'll be back ... but not until after a call home.

Coming soon....

I am intrigued by I Heart Huckabees: the trailer looks good, the assembled cast looks wonderful (can't go wrong with Jude Law) despite all their bad hair, and it is written and directed by David O. Russell who also brought us Three Kings (fabulous film), Flirting With Disaster and Spanking the Monkey.

I'm not sure if it rates my see-it-in-the-theatre list... though it looks like one of those films that has an easily-spoiled hook. It opens in October.

In case you were wondering what films are on my see-it-in-the-theatre list, it's short:

Generally, for me to want to see a movie in the theatre, it has to be big, bold, and not likely to transfer niceley to the small screen. CGI and/or SFX usually play a part, though sometimes it's just 'cause I want to see it before people start yapping about it (as was the case with Fahrenheit 9/11) or I suspect that it may be my only chance (as with the Delicate Art of Parking). Either way it has to be worth my ten bucks.

The most recent movie I saw in the theatre was Hero, which I saw this past Sunday. (A little too much soap opera for my taste, but stunning nonetheless.)

07 September 2004

Alton Brown's vision of hell

Among the many reasons Alton Brown is a deity in my personal pantheon:
"I have decided to move from the planet..."

04 September 2004

Twin Towers Terror Toy Recalled

Interesting warning to wholesalers who buy imports "sight unseen": CBS News | Twin Towers Terror Toy Recalled.

Small toys showing an airplane flying into the World Trade Center were packed inside more than 14,000 bags of candy and sent to small groceries around the United States before being recalled.

If you look at the photo, you can also see a big green button on the side.. I'll bet that plane spins, too.

They've only collected 90% of the bags of candy; how long do you figure before the toys show up on eBay?

01 September 2004

OUCH! That's gotta hurt.

According to Stanley Woods, it sucks to be a Banana Slug:

The mating ritual may last more than 12 hours, often spent pulling and twisting into incredible positions as they try to pull apart. Often, the penis of one of them must be gnawed off in order to release the pair.

As stated so eloquently by Roberta Muldoon (John Lithgow) in The World According to Garp, "At least I had mine removed surgically."

Visions of oddness...

In an average week I see a lot of things that are either odd, or unusual, or just strike me as damned funny. Some of these are not amusing to anyone but me... but just to test the theory, here are some of the things I saw in the past week:

  • a pair of underwear (crumpled, presumably used) outside a classroom building.
  • a midget (little person? what the heck is the acceptable term these days?) crossing the street against the light (blocking traffic) wearing dark clothing at night. (I know, he had every right to be there, and it wouldn't seem odd without the shadow of Twin Peaks in my head.)
  • a dragonfly stranded on its back (I righted it, but it may have been struggling for some time)
  • a single glove, single shoe, and empty travel-size shampoo bottle arranged under a tree
  • doppelgangers of our cats, fighting in our parking lot (during the double-take I considered calling hubby to be sure our cats were inside)
  • three traffic cones in a line, all sunk under the sand/muck of low tide
So is it just that I am tuned in to some odd frequency? Is it some useless mutant superpower, or do other people experience these visions? I also have the uncanny ability to chose the route home that most likely has a police road block, but I consider that a curse.