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?

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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.

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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.

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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...