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


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


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."]


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!


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.