31 December 2005

2006 "To Do" List

Yeah, well, I'm slightly better at managing To Do lists than at keeping resolutions, so here goes:

1. Get our debt under control. (Easier goal than "get out of debt.")
[We have a plan. We may revise the plan, but for now we are going the simple route: we made a list of all our debts, arranged by interest rate then principal and we are just going to take aim at the highest interest debts first. I have already eliminated my two highest by transferring them; one to my line of credit and one to a new card which offered really low interest for 5 months, but even after that, about 10% below the store card.]

2. Visit Ottawa.
[My brother and his family live there. It would be nice to go out there sometime in the coming year, maybe even for Christmas with the hope there will be a bunch of snow for kiddo to enjoy. Unfortunately, it's not cheap (about $600 per passenger) -- it's cheaper for us to fly to Hawaii, London, or Mexico!!]

3. Finish 3 knitting projects (a. scarf; b. slippers for kiddo; c. Jayne hat)
[The scarf and slippers are in progress; the Jayne hat is the next project I want to start ('cause I just love it and it's a good opportunity to learn how to knit with circular needles).
Photo of the scarf in question: brown_scarf_1]

4. Win lottery or earn/find/collect extra cash/stuff.

5. Fill in some blanks in my "cultural knowledge" -- literature I "should have" read and films I "should have" seen.
[Expect a list and/or solicitations in the near future. To give you an idea, I saw 2 of the 3 Godfather films over the break and I am currently reading Call of Cthulu as a start to this goal]

That should be enough, I think.

Oh, and Happy New Year, if you choose to celebrate. :)

29 December 2005

My Choice: Best of 2005

Best on TV:

1. Arrested Development (All of it. Pure gold.)
2. Six Feet Under (in particualr, the series finale -- the song Breathe Me by Sia still brings me close to tears by reminding me of the final few minutes)
3. My Name is Earl (best new comedy this year)
4. Dr. Who!! (best sci-fi for my buck)
5. House (yes, it is getting a bit tired, but Hugh Laurie is just so watchable)/The Daily Show/Colbert Report (funny and topical)

If Arrested Development dies on the table, then so be it. I will just have to buy all three seasons on DVD, along with all the other clever people out there.

Best on the Big Screen (out of the 19 theatrical releases I saw this year):

1. Syriana
2. Serenity
3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
4. Wallace & Grommit: Curse of the Wererabbit
5. Broken Flowers

OK, the first three are definitely set in stone; both Syriana and also Serenity surprised me with their connections to humanity and Goblet of Fire surprised me with its ability to boil down a huge book into a tightly wound adventure. Curse of the Wererabbit was definitely the best family film I saw this year. Broken Flowers could as easily be exchanged for Jarhead -- both were enjoyable on the same sort of level; I got a lot out of them in the theatre, but don't need to see either again. I'd have included Constantine -- which I liked enough to buy on DVD -- but it was all eye candy with little if any substance.

Best Music:

This one is simple. For me, this was the year of Kanye West. Hubby and I bought both Late Registration and also College Dropout because:

1. He said "George Bush doesn't care about black people!" on live TV
2. His performance on SNL kicked ass (as did the backstage with Mike Myers skit -- a nod to the live TV rant)
3. His single "Jesus Walks" was used in the trailer for Jarhead -- and it just lodged itself in our brains.

I'm not going to write about Best Books because I don't think I read a single book on any bestseller list ... or in fact much of anything published in 2005.

BBC Film - Viewers Choice for 2005

This is a very interesting list.... not quite how mine will look. (Which reminds me, I need to make one.) The BBC list puts Serenity at the top but also includes Team America: World Police (albeit at number 10).

read more | digg story

Phony Sony Graffiti

Sony ad execs thought they were being clever with their latest ad campaign to target "urban nomads." Basically the ads are painted on abandoned buildings and other places you'd expect to find graffiti in urban centres.

I love the response in San Francisco:

...the ads were defaced soon after they appeared as word spread that Sony was behind them. "Get out of my city!!!" and "Fony" were written on one.

read more | digg story

28 December 2005

Boxing Week Madness

For some reason, post Christmas sales (called Boxing "week" rather than Boxing Day for the past few years) have been insane this year. I don't mean "insane" as in "wow, I can't believe this stuff is so cheap" but "insane" as in "WTF? Why is the entire population of Victoria trying to park at the same [expletive deleted] mall?"

We did go out on Boxing Day; we skipped Mayfair mall and went to Hillside (where HMV actually did have some insane prices for DVDs -- we bought both Supersize Me and also the Aviator for $5.99 each -- we figured even if we hated the Aviator it was only 50 cents more to buy it than to rent it.). After Hillside, we hit what hubby calls the gexus (geek nexus) -- a cluster of comic and gaming stores downtown. Legends Comics had a fantastic sale -- all their recent reads comics* were on sale for $2 each (or 10/$15 or 20/$20). We got 20.


Today, we went to Mayfair, thinking that it would be a bit quieter. We were wrong. The parking lot was jammed and the stores were crowded with people trying to burn off gift cards. Most unpleasant, really.


*Reasons I really like Legends Comics include the fact that the owner presumes most his customers are idiots and he is terribly sarcastic about it. The sign for the sale comics included this note:

Comics have staples.

In other words, don't try and bring me a collection with a glued spine, the one priced at $9.95, and try to argue that it was on the recent reads shelf and so I should sell it to you for $2. Dumbass.

26 December 2005

et tu, Shatner?

I was getting really excited about the William Shatner DVD Club until I dug through the FAQ to learn that subscribers must be 18 years old and reside in the United States. Awwww, hell.

Otherwise, it looks pretty sweet: sci-fi, fantasy and horror films hand picked by Bill and mailed to your address for only $47.99 a year.

Hey, Mr. Shatner, if you happen to read this, consider extending the offer to your Canadian fans!!


Just in case you were on the edge of your seat, here are some follow-ups on recent blog posts.

It turns out that the DHS vs. Interlibrary Loan story was in fact a hoax (as was suspected within hours of the original story being released). (Thanks for the tip, Tim.)

The charges against Gary Glitter are likely to be dropped(!) due to lack of evidence.

Christmas Annuals are all over the place (I found the 2005 Rupert Annual in Bolen's today for only $18.99) -- so apparently I just asked the extra-stupid clerks -- oh, pardon me, I should have said knowledge-challenged clerks.

Hubby found white cornmeal retail -- at the Italian deli on Blanshard at $3.25 for a 1 kg bag, in case you were dying to know.

Kiddo is still a little obsessed over Channukah (which you may recall she thought was the "third Christmas") -- today on our way home she was singing this song:

Jew-ish people cel-e-brate Hann-u-kah
Jew-ish people cel-e-brate Hann-u-kah
We don't cel-e-brate Jew-ish things
Jew-ish people cel-e-brate Hann-u-kah.
The end.

She then proceeded to explain to us how the menorah worked. Right now, though, she is playing with her Mutant Stewie action figure playset.


You might have been expecting my post-xmas wrap up to be somewhat sarcastic or snarky... but overall it was a good Christmas, so I'm just going to say some "Thanks" to people:

Thanks to my hubby, for spoiling me as usual. Aside from doing 99% of the cooking, he suffered through several rounds of (*ahem*) discussions in the past two weeks around the scheduling of the holiday celebrations.

Thanks to my kiddo who, though seriously overstimulated by everything, still managed to say thanks to her family (with some prompting) and even wish people a "happy boxing day" on their way out.

Thanks to mother nature, who started the day off very drizzly and rainy but who kept the sun streaming in through the windows through to the early afternoon and kept the temperature around 10° C (about 50° F) -- warm enough to keep our windows open.

Thanks to our cat Max, who steered clear of the action for most of the day -- no thanks to our cat Sierra who got underfoot and at one point sprang from under the tree across the room and almost over the coffee table, knocking over a mug of tea into the gifts. (After that, she got shut into the office for a couple of hours to "think it over" which to a cat just means she got some alone time.)

And of course thanks to all my family for the lovely gifts -- oodles of DVDs (To Kill a Mockingbird, Rear Window, Time Bandits, American Gothic series, Night at the Roxbury), CDs (Garden State soundtrack & Matthew Good In a Coma), a Corpse Bride, giftcards, a TMCM mug, books, La Senza flannel pyjamas, a wicked hand-crank LED flashlight, and enough coffee to last us through into at least February.


Now it seems we have settled into a Battlestar Galactica (original series) marathon on Space. Could be worse, I guess. ;)

25 December 2005


OK... so I finally caved and added a bunch of those little blog-friendly 80x15 pixel buttons to my sidebar. I sacrificed the calendar but it took too much effort to maintain anyway. I've added links to my CafePress store; Medianook and Apollo Guide (homes to my reviews); and my wishlists at Amazon and TheThingsIWant.

Otherwise, I replaced image and text links for the other items -- and for the hell of it, I created a little steal-this-button style button for this blog: Flotsam and Jetsam button ... actually, I made a few: Flotsam and Jetsam button Flotsam and Jetsam button Flotsam and Jetsam button Flotsam and Jetsam button cause I am considering changing my blog colour scheme.

To tell the truth, I went a bit nuts... I created buttons for almost all our sites and projects (current and in development) including: Blogjest 1.0 button Frugal Victoria button RBlog button Very Good Cause button Unofficial Victoria Guide button Technically  button Viridian Future  button.

Well. That was a colourful post, anyway. :)

24 December 2005



50 Years of Gadgets

PC World lists the 50 Best Gadgets, with descriptions, photos and histories of each item. They also summarize with a complete list and offer a list by decade.

Looking at this list, I realize I was often the person in our group of friends to get the first knockoff of these items -- I am pretty sure my first "personal cassette player" was Sanyo or maybe even Citizen brand (there's no photo of my model over at the walkman museum and database); we had a Merlin instead of Simon; we had an Apco computer instead of Apple. Anyway, this list is an interesting look back at "the stuff I envied other people having."

read more | digg story

23 December 2005

Two More Sleeps!


I created this artpoem ten years ago and it is still one of my favourite pieces. This year when I brought it out, it inspired kiddo to make her own collge art!

Better (worse?) than coal

Aaaagh! This is SO awful. I think if anyone on my list was really naughty, I'd stuff a Talking Ann Coulter doll in their stocking!

(From the same folks who created the Talking George W. Bush doll).

22 December 2005

And Lo, God Smote the Local WalMart!

Today, we had a rare thunderstorm. We were grocery shopping at Thrifty Foods just before 5:00 when the thunder hit and we were sure there had been an explosion outside. (Seriously, the roof shook to the extent that we cowered next to the store fixtures, expecting the roof to cave in.) We soon figured out that we had heard thunder (there was another strike soon after) and we knew the storm was right over us. It turns out what we actually heard was lightning hitting the local WalMart. HAHAHAHAHAH! Can you believe WalMart having to evacuate the store three days before Christmas? Hah!

The rain that came down was crazy-heavy -- lots of flash floods in intersections. Add to that the fact that power was knocked out across a chunk of the city and rush hour was a complete snarl. Thankfully, Hubby chose a quick and direct route home that avoided almost all the traffic.

I have one more day of work but I feel like I got my Christmas gift early this year!

Children's Christmas Annuals

When my mom was growing up in England, she always looked forward to getting an Annual under the Christmas tree. Annuals are still popular today in the U.K. (just do a search at amazon.co.uk for "annuals" to see the variety available) but they are almost unheard of here in Canada. You can actually order the traditional titles through amazon.ca (e.g. Rupert, Beano, Dandy or the Friendship Book) but most bookstores won't have a clue when you ask for them. The exception to this is used bookstores who often have a 1950s Rupert or Beano annual collecting dust in the childrens area.

In the library, we have a large collection of annuals going as far back as the late 1800s. In general, you can expect an annual to contain stories, pictures, puzzles, riddles & jokes, and more recently comics. The bulk of our collection runs from the 1920s through the 1950s though there are some earlier titles and a few later. A notable late entry is the Canadian Children's Annual (warning: webpage appears to use 1996 web technology including spinning logo) published from 1975-1988 -- we have the whole run. Here are a few images of the older ones we have (click for larger views):

boysown parley1885 pip_squeak tigertim1955

I just love the art in these, and some of them are quite collectible. CollectingBooksandMagazines.com has a great (if cluttered) article with images; and there are a few more images over at Fulltable.com.

Festivus Is Among Us...

Festivus, the holiday "traditionally" celebrated on December 23rd in the Seinfeld universe, is moving into the "real world" with some alarming speed...

read more | digg story

21 December 2005

Is Letterman Psychic?

Hubby introduced me to Digg.com today (here's my profile) ... so you can expect the odd nugget of weirdness or amusement to be posted from there... like this:

A woman has filed a restraining order against David Letterman for using code words, various signals and "mental abilities" to harass her. She claims it has caused her to go bankrupt, and suffer from "mental cruelty" and "sleep deprivation" since May 1994. Amazingly a Judge actually believed her!

read more | digg story

20 December 2005

Little Red Hoax?

Apparently I've been duped. I'm not the only one, but perhaps before I get all bent out of shape about alleged raids by DHS agents, I'll read the article with a little more care. In fact, I might want to wait until more than one source reports the story.

First, John McAdams commented on my post with his concerns, then I read that Jessamyn West was critical of the story. Aside from the fact that the student isn't named (which raised my eyebrow) there is the fact that the library in question does not require a Social Insurance Number for interlibrary loan (which, now that I think about it would be very unlikely at any library) and the Little Red Book is widely available -- from the corner book shop to online book behemoth Amazon.com. The only question is whether or not the authorized Peking edition (reportedly the one requested) is of more interest to DHS than the translations more readily available.

At any rate, I will try to be a little less gullible in the future. Sorry if I raised anyone's hackles.

Homminy Quest....

Gonna do a bit of bragging about my most fabulous spouse... but first a question:

Why is it impossible to find white cornmeal in my city?

Seriously, if anyone knows of a retail source for white cornmeal anywhere on the South Island (Nanaimo? Sooke?) or even on the Lower Mainland -- hell if you know of anywhere in Canada that ships the stuff -- let me know. Why is this so important? Because to make "grits" one really needs to use white cornmeal; it has a slightly different texture and taste and comes out creamier. The only place we have found in town that serves grits is, of course, Denny's.

So the bragging. This morning, hubby could not sleep (apparently I was snoring like a lumber jack -- not unlikely, actually) so he got up a half hour early, drove to Denny's and got an order of grits to go. Then he came home and cooked bacon and eggs to accompany the grits.

Il est un mari parfait, non?

19 December 2005

Yes, Virginia...

... there is such a thing as too many Christmas lights:


And it was animated to music. GAH!!!! I captured the world's crappiest video of the garish display, just for you. [Of course it is child's play compared to the monstrosity hubby tracked down for supertimewasting.]

Fairytale of NY Re-Released

It's no coincidence that A Fairytale of New York, is being re-released today, on the 5th anniversary of the death of Kirsty MacColl. Proceeds will be split between a homeless charity, Crisis at Christmas, and the Justice For Kirsty Campaign, which is "petitioning the Mexican government to more thoroughly investigate the circumstances of Kirsty’s death".

This is one of my favourite Christmas songs, despite being about two drunks/junkies wishing they were dead. [Lyrics] It reached number 2 on the UK Christmas charts in 1987 and since that was the year I was in England for Christmas, I heard it played many times over -- no doubt it is permanently burned into a few brain cells.

Oddly, we were discussing this over the weekend. I had been playing the Ghosts of Oxford Street CD, and explained this was the track that made me purchase it. I had no idea that Kirsty MacColl had even died let alone that there was such an uproar over her death. Now, though, I am really curious.

Hmmm... went searching for more info about the Ghosts of Oxford Street and find that it is the soundtrack to a BBCChannelFour-TV Movie (of the same name) from 1991. The show, put together by Malcolm Maclaren, included appearances by Kirsty MacColl, Shane MacGowan, Tom Jones, and Sinead O'Connor. Anyone know where I can see this show?

18 December 2005

I'm not the least bit inventive, I guess.

I'm not alone in trying to find a multi-faith greeting this year. This was on the window of Lululemon in Downtown Victoria:


(In case you have trouble reading it, it says "Solstichristmakwanzukkah") And I'm sure I saw another one somewhere that included Ramadan...

EDIT (19Dec): ACK! Here too: Virgin Mobile: http://www.chrismahanukwanzakah.com/

Library: Use with caution

From the [Connecticut] Standard-Times:

A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."
...the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.
The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.

While Libraries have been very vocal about their attempts to keep borrowing information private, apparently interlibrary-loan (ILLO) presents a large loophole. These days, most ILLO requests are sent through large networks -- networks which can presumably be incercepted by the Department of Homeland Security. This is very creepy, folks. Very creepy.

16 December 2005

Variety.com - 'West Wing' thesp Spencer dies at 58

Bummer. I really liked his acting, and I was liking his role in this season's West Wing. Now I wonder how many episodes have been filmed and how much will have to change. NBC and producer Warner Bros. Television praised Spencer's talent but did not address how his death would affect the Emmy Award-winning series, in production on its seventh season.[Gainesville.com]

Kind of eerie after his onscreen heart attack near the beginning of last season (Season 6 episode 2, "The Birnam Wood").

Here's a PBS interview with Spencer about his role as Leo McGarry from 2000.

Ummm... Yay!... I think...

Anti-terrorism Patriot Act blocked in US Senate | Reuters.com

OK... so the most confusing thing here is those who voted to end debate were voting in favour of the USA PATRIOT Act (yes, that should be capitalized, because USA PATRIOT stands for: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) -- those who voted to continue debate were voting against the Act.

So... at what point can the Senate actually strike down the Act? Do they either debate it ad infinitum or pass it? Is it possible to ammend the Act during debate? This makes no sense and if someone can enlighten me, I'd be grateful.

Breakdown in the Education System

My daughter proudly proclaimed last night that "Channukah is the third Christmas!"

I immediately corrected her, but then wondered what the second Christmas was -- Solstice/Yule or Kwanza? Hmmm.

On a slightly related note, after all the back-and-forth between the Daily Show and the O'Reilly Factor I think I will start wishing people a "Happy ChristChannuKwanzTice."

15 December 2005

tired enough to actually sleep

Last night I went to bed at 7:30 p.m. Seriously. Slept through to 2:45 a.m. then convinced myself to go back to sleep until 6 a.m. I actually feel a bit better for it too.

Now it's back to the busy busy busy prep for our Festive Open House this Saturday (combination Christmas party and house re-warming to show off the renos. Kiddo has agreed to be our littlest hostess. :)

Sunday should be kiddo-free for at least a portion of the day so hubby and I can go out for a peaceful brunch at a local pub.

11 December 2005


After much anticipation, we went to see the Chronicles of Narnia today. After a crappy start to our outing, we settled in for the film. The opening sequence depicting the London Blitz was astounding and affected me emotionally, quite unexpectedly. Perhaps that is why I was so underwhelmed by the remaining two hours.

Don't get me wrong: Narnia looks amazing. The CGI is some of the best I've seen and the scenery is stunning... but at some point the story stopped moving. I don't remember being bored by the book, yet I found myself bored by the film... Hubby said afterward that in comparison to the Harry Potter movies and the Lord of the Rings films, Narnia would come third. Unfortunately, I have to agree.

10 December 2005

Two Days of Leisure... one to go.


We have been enjoying some amazing weather lately... driving over the Malahat today, the air crisp enough to keep the snow crunchy at the summit, I got out of the van to brave a very c-c-c-old porta-potty [b-r-r-r-r-r-r-R-R-R!], and was drawn to the view. The photo above doesn't even start to do justice... it was stunning.

Anyway... we (me, hubby, kiddo, my mother-in-law, and our neice & nephew) all stuffed ourselves into the van and headed up-island for shopping (two thrift stores, Whippletree Junction, one BIG dollar store, and what I think may be the biggest mall on the Island) and then back through Ladysmith to see the Festival of Lights:



Friday was a vacation day for me. I spent the morning with kiddo -- doing crafts, a long visit to the library, and lunch together at Boston Pizza. After dropping her at school, I met up with hubby. We went downtown so he could pick up a copy of PHP Architect (he has an article in this month's issue) then went for lunch (well, I had dessert!) at Pagliacci's. After lunch, he headed home and I wandered through some of my favourite stores... pondering the remaining Christmas shopping (to be completed after payday) and just enjoying the time to myself until it was time to pick up kiddo. Friday evening we (mostly hubby) filled out, addressed, and stamped all our Christmas cards (we mailed them today!!!) -- kiddo even got in the act.

So... the place is decorated; we've mailed our cards; and we are almost done shopping. We still need to do a bunch of baking... but I think we're in good stead for the festive season. Yay us!

08 December 2005

Remembering & Thinking

If you read Medianook, you know I saw Syriana last night. Now I will shut up or the hype will start to outweigh the film, and it deserves better. That's the thinking part of this post.

Almost twenty-five years ago, I was getting ready to go to school (the morning of December 9th). We had just gotten into the car and the radio announcer said that John Lennon had been fatally shot overnight. My Mother was startled (she may have reacted with a surprised "Oh!") and we listened to the remainder of the story in silence while the car warmed up. Then I asked, "Mom, who are the Beatles?"

I was only eleven and the closest I had heard to any Beatles songs were the Boston Pops cover versions. Needless to say, that changed. I went through a big obsession with the group a few years later in grade 9 and while the intensity has waned, I still really dig some of their tunes. I never quite got into the solo careers of the individual Beatle members, including John Lennon, though I do appreciate some of their singles.

So, to better reflect on the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's accidental martyrdom, I have loaded half of the White Album on to my mp3 player.

07 December 2005

This is going to have repercussions.

From CBC News:

U.S. air marshal kills plane passenger

A U.S. air marshal has shot and killed a plane passenger at Miami International Airport after the man warned that he had a bomb in his bag.


One passenger, Mary Gardner, told a Miami television station that the man ran toward the front of the plane.

"He was frantic, his arms flailing in the air," she told WTVJ.

She said a woman followed him, calling "My husband!" and told airplane officials that the man was bipolar and hadn't taken his medication.


This is what makes me want to *drive* to my vacation destination rather than take a plane. Of course, I would never ever in a million years even joke that I had a sparkler in my luggage, but still, the response is extreme.

It also brings me to a familiar rant: why do police and other security types shoot to kill?? Why don't they aim for a kneecap or a wrist? It's time to consider updating those targets at the shooting range because really, there was no need to kill this person. They only needed to stop him long enough to check his bag.

06 December 2005

Goblet of Fire - Full review

In case you might be interested, the full review I wrote for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has been posted at Apolloguide.com.

Also, hubby and I are off to see Syriana tomorrow -- expect a review or two for that one on Medianook and Apolloguide shortly thereafter.

Fallen Angel Wrap

Heheh. Sometimes I love the people who promote Virgin products.

Risque angel wrap pulled from theatres

Chris Wattie, National Post

Famous Players has hurriedly yanked a pre-Christmas promotion from theatres across the country after a parent spotted a pair of what he called "naughty angels" groping each other on Christmas wrapping paper given to his 13-year-old daughter.


A closer inspection revealed a male angel fondling the breast of the female angel, while she grapples with a conspicuous bulge in his white gown.


05 December 2005

Internet Archive: Bookmarks

I love the Internet Archive. There are a lot of reasons I love this resource... but I'll spare you the soapbox.

After pondering the Moving Images archive earlier today, I thought I'd go back and take a closer look -- I ended up signing up which means I can write reviews and store bookmarks that I can share with the planet -- Internet Archive: Bookmarks my username is medianook1 (obviously named for my other blog). I have been watching wonderful animated cartoons...

Fab. Truly fab. Great for research, entertainment, and supertimewasting, too.

Ultimate Box Set Collection

From the lovely Kino on Video (which also sells DVDs, of course!) comes Kino's Ultimate Box Set Collection. At 8763 minutes (over 146 hours -- before the extras) this should keep one busy for a very long time.

The set has been designed to appeal to movie buffs -- or perhaps movie snobs, you know the type, they go off on a rant about how today's directors owe everything to [insert pet obscure director or school of film here].

I have to admit I have little interest in some of the movies included, but it is an amazing collection. I'd actually like to get some of the individual sets -- The Movies Begin (133 early movies on 5 dvds) and the German Horror Classics sets in particular.

OTOH, if I had the patience, I'd merrily download some of the thousands of open source movies from the Internet Archive -- including Nosferatu and others included in the Kino sets.

04 December 2005

Missions (mostly) Accomplished.

Busy weekend... and still, I feel like I haven't done everything I should have... and this evening has been very very relaxed (read as"I haven't done bugger all since dinner"). However, we did:

  • Set up and trim the tree
  • Set up and trim kiddo's teensy tree
  • Festive-up the joint
  • Bake over 3 dozen cookies
  • Take kiddo out for a haircut
  • Deal with a bunch of banking
  • Get groceries
  • Buy and wrap Christmas gifts
  • Put up outdoor lights
  • Created a folder for winter photos and wallpaper (for screensaver purposes).
  • Ran assorted errands
  • Did some tidying and basic cleaning
  • Burned a couple of CDs including one for kiddo

I didn't finish tweaking my resume or writing my cover letter, nor did we get around to mailing the gifts bound for Ottawa. Oh, and there are a couple of Christmas projects that I have been dragging my heels on... but whatever... there's still a little bit of time.


03 December 2005

Know your Narnia

Guardian Unlimited presents "Know your Narnia" an A to Z guide so you can bone up on the basics before the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe premieres next weekend.

Some of the entries are pretty funny, too like this one:

Q is for Queen of Narnia

She calls herself that, but she's not a real queen. It's like those titles Idi Amin used to make up.

And if you'd like a more detailed synopsis or other info, have a peek at the stuff on Narniaweb.com. You can also get a spiffy countdown banner thingy, though it might be seen as a wee bit obsessive. (Note: I was going to put one on here, but it requires one to download a zip file then upload part of it and paste code into the webpage... which seems pretty labour-intensive for a counter!)

02 December 2005

Provincial Government RSS

Coolness. The Province of BC now offers a number of RSS feeds by ministry or by topic, plus one overall general feed.

File that under useful propaganda!

01 December 2005

Hey, I DO live in Canada.

Well, oddly it snowed today. Odd because I live in Victoria where we get maybe a week of snow through the year -- usually in February. So anyway... big heavy wet flakes started falling around noon.

Around 3:00 I braved the wind and flakes to go take some photos. I was pretty much the only idiot wandering around -- sure a few people brushed past but they were in a hurry. At one point I had to laugh out loud though, as someone suddenly went wheeling by on a unicycle. Weird. Luckily, I had my camera ready:


I got another laugh later, after I walked back to the library through -- say it isn't so! -- an entire half inch of slush and when I got to my computer found an email from kiddo's school warning of a possible snow-closure tomorrow. Gah. Victorians really are the weakest of all Canadians.

Today was also the library craft fair and I duly hauled my booty up to campus -- 22 Cuppa Joe Cozies (and a dozen patterns), 10 1/2 dozen shortbread cookies, a half dozen mini-loaves of banana bread, and a basket full of last year's unsold ornaments -- marked down to half price.


By the end of the sale, I had sold zero Cozies, a few ornaments, most of the cookies and four of the banana loaves. All told, I made about $15 if you ignore how much time I put into it all. Every year I think, "Why did I bother?" and yet every year I glide into autopilot and stockpile stuff that probably won't sell.... Sigh.

So, if any of you, my readers, would like your very own Cuppa Joe Cozy for Christmas (or New Year, depending on mail speed and your location on the globe), just send me your postal address (you can send it to me at "triviaqueen" on gmail you know... at gmail dot com and all that) and I will happily pop one in the mail for you. You can even make a colour request if you want. Heck, I might throw in some ornaments, too (they're small).

30 November 2005

And now the craziness really begins...

So, Monday night, kiddo and I baked about 10 dozen shortbread cookies. These will be going up for sale at the Library craft fair tomorrow (where I'm also selling my Cuppa Joe Cozies, and whatever else I decide to cart in).


That won't be the end of the Christmas baking, of course. Kiddo needs to bring 2 dozen cookies in for a cookie exchange on Monday and I need to bring in a few dozen for the Libraries Christmas Tea on Tuesday. Guess what I'm doing on Sunday?

Since it's December 1 tomorrow, that means that tonight, I have to dig out the advent wall-hanging I made for kiddo a few years ago, plus we need to put together the Playmobil advent calendar that kiddo received in the mail yesterday from hubby's boss (yeah, he works for a pretty amazing company). While I'm digging in the storage room, I will probably haul out all the other Christmas decorations, and the tree will be going up this weekend.

I'm looking at the December calendar at work and there are only three days between now and December 19th with no "events" booked... I suspect those will fill soon! And, as if my life weren't busy enough... there is a job posting that is beckoning me... even though I am perfectly happy in my current position.... the new posting is temporary (until mid-May) and much higher pay... so I am waffling. The competition closes on December 8th; I've already warned my boss. We'll see.

So... is everybody finished their Christmas shopping?

28 November 2005

Books as Art - Good Light

Thomas Allen's work literally jumps off the page. He carefully cuts people from the covers and pages of books and lifts them away to make 3D pieces which are beautiful, especially if you appreciate pulp art and don't mind seeing such a book mutilated in the name of art.

Read more (and see pictures):
The Virginia Quarterly Review - Good Light
Foley Gallery - Thomas Allen, Uncovered
Augsberg College - Cover to Cover

Allen is a fine art instructor at Augsberg College.

27 November 2005

Dim Sum on a Sunny Afternoon

I am, finally, back to myself I think.

Last night I was preparing my stash of Cuppa Joe Cozies for the upcoming craft fair at the library (very informal gig...). I've priced them at $3.50-$4.00 -- hopefully that is a selling price, but somehow, I doubt it (my coworkers are underpaid and crafty.... so they get "ideas" from the sale... but knowing this, I am also going to offer the pattern for 25 cents. Ha!).


Today, kiddo went out with her Nana to see the Festival of Trees at the Empress so hubby and I took some time to meander through town.

Our day included Dim Sum at Don Mee's and a leisurely wander through Chinatown, visits with the owners of Solstice Cafe and also Annabelle's Books (all folks we know), and some unhindered window shopping in Curious Comics (they had only one remaining Corpse Bride figure -- more stock promised Wednesday -- and some very cool MacFarlane Wallace & Grommit figs), Snowden's books, and A&B Sound (who had none of the items I went looking for... and my Visa was just a-waiting for a charge! Their loss). Ahhhhhhh.


Look, pretty fishies! [From the tank at Don Mee's]:


26 November 2005

We're Number One!

Oh, shit. Well, that sucks.

CBC News: Prosperous B.C. has grim child-poverty record

Citing data from Statistics Canada, the BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition says 23.9 per cent of B.C. children were in households living below the federal agency's low-income cutoffs for 2003, the latest year for which figures are available.

That compares with a national average of 17.6 per cent...

To give you an idea of what kind of figures the report draws from, the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) for a 3-person household in Victoria for 2003 was $30,552. The LICO varies depending on the population of the area where the household is living. Basically, if a family is spending more than 54.3% of its income on food, clothing and shelter, they are classified as being below the poverty line.

My guess is that the biggest reason for BC being in this position is our outrageous housing prices. In the time that hubby and I have been together, we have watched starter home prices climb from about $190,000 to $300,000 and more. Rents have also risen correspondingly.

I can also tell you that in the past five years, we have dipped below that line at least once, but thanks to friends and family and some creative frugality on our part we made it through. Our credit kinda sucks, but these are the high costs of living in "Beautiful B.C." I guess.

**For more info: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coallition Poverty Fact Sheet, 2005 (PDF).

Santa’s Journal

In this age of technology, I guess it makes sense that Kris Kringle is now podcasting on Santa’s Journal.

And to think, we saw him just last night at the mall with kiddo...


25 November 2005

wow, that was a long absence.

Sorry if I kept you all waiting... (as if!) ... but as you know, I've been sick... groggy... tired... and crabby, and not feeling like sharing with the world. Strange, I know.

Anyway... yesterday I started feeling human again, which is good because hubby conjured up a lovely full-out Thanksgiving 2.0 (as you may recall, being in Canada we had Thanksgiving back in October) -- and we even had a spare pumpkin pie in the deep freeze which we thawed for dessert. MmmMmm.

Earlier yesterday I snuck out with my Mother-in-Law to poke around Sally Ann where I found a couple of pairs of pants for the rapidly sprouting kiddo along with a lovely GAP cardigan (again, for her) for only $4.99. I swear it has been worn maybe once. I also found some books for her. When I was a kid, every Christmas there was one book each waiting unwrapped under the tree to keep us amused until our parents had their morning coffee and tea in hand; I have kept that tradition for kiddo. This year, I found a lovely edition of The Real Mother Goose, very gently used, for $1.29. Actually, it was half of that due to the yellow tag... so $0.65. Amazing.

Today, kiddo had a day off school and I had already booked the day as a vacation... so after lunch we headed out into the world. We started with Value Village -- she got a couple of books, including an original Where's Waldo in almost pristine condition for 99 cents -- I got a whole lot of picture frames for Christmas gifts, and a few odd balls of wool (yay!).

22 November 2005

Would somebody please lock this guy up?

Once top of the pops, Garry Glitter (a.k.a. Paul Gadd) has been suspected of inappropriate sexual interactions with minors yet again.

Since 1999, when he was officially labelled a sex offender for having child pornography on his computer, Gadd has been on the run to and from Cuba, Cambodia, and now Vietnam.

On the plus side, Vietnam is not the place you want to be diddling someone's daughter: he could face the firing squad if found guilty.I just wonder whether Amnesty International, or any other aid group opposed to capital punishment, would leap to his aid considering the allegations.

20 November 2005

Sick. Election. Road trip.

I'm sick of being sick! When I left work early on Tuesday, one of my coworkers said "welcome to the next 12 years," a reference I suppose to my kid bringing home every known germ in the city from the petri dish that is school.

Anway, I've been home since Tuesday afternoon and I am NOT recovering. This is bullshit, plain and simple. I feel like someone has taken a wire brush to my throat, plus I have really clogged sinuses (not so much sneezing and only some coughing) and of course very little energy. All right enough ranting about that.

Yesterday morning we voted. Turns out, most of my votes were a waste -- Victorians decided to return the status quo almost completely. Sure there were two vacancies (Rob Flemming, who is now an MLA and Denise Savoie who plans to run federally, I believe), but they were filled by a former councillor (Geoff Young) and a Green Party member (SonyaChandler). If there were two candidates who most closely resembled Flemming and Savoie they are Young and Chandler. Plus, Isitt got a LOT of votes so now he's gunned to run in 2008. I pray that the "left" finds a better candidate to support by then.

We also decided to go for a small roadtrip up to Nanaimo yesterday, just to escape the scenery of the same 4 walls we've been looking at. Hubby drove, I mostly stared out the window and took oodles of photos (114 by the time we returned home). It was a very foggy day... and none of the photos really do justice to the density of the fog in places:


We stopped in Whippletree Junction. A few weeks ago, a fire destroyed one of the buildings. None of the news footage we saw made it clear which building so we wanted to see for ourselves.Turns out it was one of the buildings at the back, adjacent to the public washrooms (now reduced to a cement pad with some plumbing connections). There was damage to two other buildings as well. Quite ugly, all of it, and sad.


I spent the balance of the evening trying to sort my mp3 files into some semblance of order, with little luck.

19 November 2005

even sick I had to go see it...

Yep... sick, tired, stuffy-headed and barely able to talk I still drove to the theatre with my neice and nephew to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I was not disappointed; the full review is over at Medianook.

Hubby earned many extra points by offering to stay home with kiddo (who is also sick) while we went out.

18 November 2005

purevolume - what MP3.com used to be

Check it out! purevolume™ is a place for new and established musicians and bands to share music with the world. This is what I loved about MP3.com before it changed hands and turned into the crapfest it is now.

I found the site while looking for more from The Decemberists (who categorize themselves as indie/world/other) as I have been enjoying several of their songs gleaned from various mp3-blogs. Some allow downloads, others offer samples for listening. I appreciate the categories and the browsing capabilities... I imagine I will be surfing around purevolume frequently in weeks ahead.

Awards Night vs. Election Night

Tomorrow marks the 20th year for the Geminis, awards for excellence in Canadian television. This year, there are two public-input categories: Viewer's Choice Award for your favourite host and the Most Popular Website. I've only seen about half the shows on the "favourite host" list, but that's a lot more than the websites I've visited and, alas, voting is now closed for the websites so I can't even vote for one of the two I have seen!

I will, however, be heading out with Hubby as the polls open tomorrow morning to vote in the municipal elections. Unfortunately this year the results will not likely be a surprise in the City of Victoria -- at least not for Mayor.

The incumbent, Alan Lowe, is running again. If he wins this will be his third term and that seems pretty likely since he's up against three crackpots and Ben Isitt. It's not fair to lump Isitt in with the other nutjobs, but he is a longshot. He just barely got the approval of the VCE slate ("Victoria Civic Electors," basically the municipal arm of the NDP) which caused a significant split within the VCE. It has meant separate campaigns for the VCE mayoral and councillor candidates, who don't want to be associated with the smug and radical Isitt.

The race for councillors may be more interesting. There are 28 candidates running for 8 seats.

Perpetual councillor Helen Hugues is running again (she's been on council since 1990) though she is actually one of the few people I consider truly non-partisan. She seems to weigh each issue on its own merits.

Creepy Dennis Oliver (who believes women should literally serve men -- no I am not exaggerating, he's been quoted in print in the most recent Monday Magazine) is running again. In the last election he came dead last out of 24 candidates, let's see if he can repeat that again, m'kay?

The Greater Victoria Green party is fielding two candidates, Philippe Lucas and Sonya Chandler; if you like your environmentalism a little further to the extreme perhaps George Sirk is more your style -- he thinks all roads should be renamed bikeways and that cars should take a back seat to bikes. Mmm-hmmm.

Among the VCE candidates are two of my least favourite current councillors, the NIMBY-friendly Pam Madoff and the always-ready-with-a-pithy-soundbite Dean Fortin. In fact, of the VCE slate only one is likely to get my vote: Bryan Skinner, and that's because he has a strong arts focus, something that is strangely missing from a City Council that is supposed to represent the Cultural Capital of Canada.

Another candidate likley to get my vote is Denyce Burrows -- if only because she deserves to get what she's wishing for. Burrows used to have a buisness in the downtown core, and spent a lot of time complaining to City Hall about the crime and other problems in the area (an example: Minutes from 2003 (PDF)). Fed up, she moved her business to another municipality (the very sleepy and isolated Oak Bay) and having seen the difference she's running to try and help fix Victoria. Of course, she will have to extract the heads out of the other 7 councillors backsides -- not to mention the Mayor's own head which may either be up his tookus or in the sand, depending on media wind direction -- before she can effect much change.

Not bored yet? Here's some Q&A with the candidates in the Martlet newspaper and more Q&A from Monday Magazine.

17 November 2005

Nanaimo is not looking good today.

First, this morning, I heard a weird report related to the upcoming Municipal Elections this Saturday. Media outlets received a press release on Wednesday stating that Dawn Tyndall was withdrawing from the race -- among the reasons given being a "sexual relationship" which posed a potential conflict of interest -- except that the release was not sent by Tyndall or anyone from her camp. RCMP is now investigating.

[from A-Channel News:
Dirty Politics in Nanaimo

NANAIMO -- Voters will head to the polls on Saturday to cast ballots in civic elections.
The races are heating up right across Vancouver Island. And at least one of them has turned ugly.

On Wednesday morning, a press release was sent out to the Nanaimo media, including A-Channel News, stating mayoral candidate Dawn Tyndall is withdrawing from the race.

The letter says she plans to deal with a number of personal issues and claims she's having sexual relations with a condominium developer.

It also encourages all voters to support any candidate who's in favour of the Nanaimo Convention Centre. Tyndall says she never wrote or approved the press release. And says she's still in the race.

Tyndall says she has contacted the RCMP. If someone is convicted of issuing the faulty document, they could face a $5,000 fine or one-year in prison]

Next, this afternoon, I heard that two men had been rather unceremoniously turfed from their favourite pub (I can't find ANY news story about this so I am not going to give the name that I think I remember from the noon news) when one sat on his partner's knee and they shared a quick kiss. Can you spell d-i-s-c-r-i-m-i-n-a-t-i-o-n? Their lawyers can.

Combine this with the problems surrounding their proposed new conference centre* and the apparent "plague" of pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents in the city and this is one of the weeks I don't want to pack up and move to Nanaimo. Of course, the pendulum will likely swing back (and forth) a few times over the next few months... as usual.

*The demolition went ahead only after police forcibly removed the final tennant from the buildings being demolished and now, construction hasn't started yet and some of the candidates in the aforementioned election don't want it to! Sounds like Victoria's Arena fiasco, deja vu!

Crazy Knit Wedding...

Seriously. An entire wedding clothed and decorated stitch by stitch: the dress, the groom's top-hat (and what looks suspiciously like a Dr. Who scarf!), banners, and even the "food"!!

Look close at the swords framing the happy/crazy couple and you will notice they are actually giant knitting needles.


16 November 2005

Go, Math Girl!!

This might be old news to some of you (especially if you watch Numb3rs), but I just found out about Britney Galivan who, in being challenged by an "impossible" extra credit assignment, did what no other mathematician has been able to do:

For extra credit in a math class Britney was given the challenge to fold anything in half 12 times. After extensive experimentation, she folded a sheet of gold foil 12 times, breaking the record. This was using alternate directions of folding. But, the challenge was then redefined to fold a piece of paper. She studied the problem and was the first person to realize the basic cause for the limits. She then derived the folding limit equation for any given dimension. Limiting equations were derived for the case of folding in alternate directions and for the case of folding in a single direction using a long strip of paper. The merits of both folding approaches are discussed, but for high numbers of folds, single direction folding requires less paper.

The exact limit for single direction folding case was derived. It is based on the accumulative limiting effects induced by each and every fold in the folding process. Considering the intricacy of the problem the equation has a relatively simple form.

Congrats, Britney, and may you continue to challenge the impossible.

EDIT: Oh, man. I should read the whole story before I post. This is REALLY old news -- 2001. Sorry about that.

15 November 2005

Cozy Shoozies!

Oh, I am so in love with these shoes:

They have fleece lining and big, chunky rubber soles! These would be so perfect for the crappy wet winters around here. Heck, I think I could even wear these in all but the worst of the snow we get here.

(Should anyone feel the need to buy me a pair or two... I'll take a size 9 please.)

14 November 2005

Another photo, a break, and a survey.

First, here's a better look at that accent wall blending with the new floor and surrounding .. um .. "furnishings" (yes, yes, I have been looking longingly through the IKEA catalog again).


In the forefront you'll see my rocking chair and knitting baskets, along the wall are kiddo's toy bins, our media containment units (the bases are full too) and the glowing telly.


After staying home with a sick kiddo all day I was going a bit squirelly after dinner, so I opted to take back the two unused packages of laminate (too much paperwork for my liking, but saved us $60) and go scout out some coffees for hubby and me.

On my return, I was surfing around online and the phone rang. The call display showed "Synovate" with a 604 area code. Guardedly, I decided to answer. It was, naturally, a market survey. "What the hell," I figured, "I've got opinions."

The questions were about industry in BC. I said the tourism industry should be discouraged, but most everything else (forestry, fish farming, bioindustries, film) could be left as is -- what do I care? I was expecting the next questions to lead into what should be encouraged, or conversely what the government should or shouldn't be doing to encourage or discourage or support various industries. Instead the questions were all about the film industry -- who it supports, who it doesn't support, how important it is, and so on.

Well, I'm not an idiot; I know the film industry is pouring buckets full of cash into the economy. Unfortunately, I think that while they may compensate a particular resident or business owner for any inconvenience, they don't tend to think beyond that -- and I let the surveyor know that. I have found, in the past decade or so of living where I do, that crews don't give any damned notice and nor do they care how far out of one's way the detour may be while they block an intersection for a few hours of shooting. Sure, they can pay the City some cash... but that doesn't mean I get back the 25 minutes of extra travel as I and everyone else detour several blocks away due to the combo of film crews plus roadwork plus one-way streets (traffic crippling in Victoria is a pet rant between me and hubby -- and I'm not going to get into that right now).

Don't get me wrong. I like movies.... and I am very happy to see Canadian Content... I'm just a bit of a NIMBY about where they are filmed.

An early death for 'Arrested Development' ?

So, it seems that Fox has pulled Arrested Development in favour of the craptacular Prison Break to pump up its ratings for the November sweeps. Yeah, whatever, Fox. Not feeling the love.

National Save Arrested Development Day is set for this Wednesday, and op-eds are overflowing with praise for the show and theories of why it has been abandoned (in a marketing sense), why it has failed to gain a larger viewership, and what will happen next: will it finish its run? go straight to DVD? or be picked up by another network?

In the end, I think Tim Goodman summed it up best, though, in his piece for SFGate.com:

"Give me 13 episodes of 'Arrested Development' over five years of soul-sucking lameness like 'According to Jim' any day."

Ain't that the truth!!

We Did It!

I'm so proud of hubby and myself -- we finished the living room renovations on time and without any major incidents (OK, I had one cursing episode where I just had to walk away from the saw for a few moments... but no one suffered for it).


Thursday night, we painted the accent wall and two bookshelves (I have to admit, I was expecting the "Carribean Spice" to be a bit darker... suffice to say it is ORANGE... but it looks good in the finished room). We also moved about half our furniture outside and stored it under tarps -- which is good because it poured with rain, and even hailed at one point.


Friday: Since kiddo stayed at her Nana's Thursday night, we got up early and got at it right away. We finished off the painting, tore up the first third of the carpet and underlay, and chipped the tiles out of the entrance-way. After lunch, we started laying the flooring and by 4:00, we had about five rows in, running from the front door to the foot of the stairs. After dinner, kiddo came home with us and we had a quiet night upstairs, away from the mess.


Saturday: We started the day with a McBreakfast picnic in the livingroom, then kiddo packed her bag again and went off to Granny's for the day and another sleep-over. Hubby and I got to it at about 8:00 and by mid-day we were done the dining area.


We took a break to go grab lunch and get the basboard trim we needed (we saved quite a bit of money by getting over half the trim at Re-Store for 40 cents a foot, then getting the rest from Rona at $1.05 per foot). When we returned, we painted the used trim, then moved furniture over to the completed area, and kept going on the flooring while the trim dried. By 8:30 we decided (for our neighbours' sake) to lay off the cutting, so we wrapped up for the night; we got to the far side of the sliding glass door.

Sunday: Again, we started early, cutting the trim. All the cuts had to be done with a mitre saw, so my shoulder is pretty sore today -- there were a lot of corners. Naturally, this is the house that Suess built, so none of the walls are actually straight, either. Let's just say, "Wood putty is a good thing." We put in the last floorboard at 1:00, then broke for lunch. After lunch, we finished the edging on the last wall, touched up the paint on the accent wall, addressed some of the problem areas, and moved the furniture back into place. We rearranged the furniture on the "entertainment wall" but otherwise, stuff went back in its original places.


At 4:00, I picked up kiddo, came back, and started unpacking all the books and music we'd packed earlier in the week.

10 November 2005

Jumping off the Cliffs of Insanity....

Ever have one of those weeks that starts out looking busy and gets busier? Usually hubby and I seem to alternate weeks of insanity... but this week they have collided and seem to be free-falling over the edge of some ridiculously steep cliffs.

Looookouuuut beloooooooooow!!!

(Or as hubby would say, "No use steering now.")

09 November 2005

Would you eat this?

Foot-Long 'Snoop Doggs' Coming to Grocery Stores

According to the Boston Herald, the rapper’s latest venture is “Snoop Doggs,” a new hot dog line launching with partners Franco Petrucci and Jeff Earp.

Why? Because:

“There aren’t any celebrity hot dogs out there,” Snoop’s brother and business manager Bing Worthington told the Herald. “Who’s the competition? Ball Park?....Imagine a long, skinny hot dog just like Snoop.”

Ummmm.Hmmmm. Nope, just too easy.

08 November 2005

November Blues?

Is there such a thing as November blues? I feel like I have been in a funk since Halloween. In fact, Halloween didn't even seem right to me; I just couldn't quite get into it this year.

Now Christmas is on the horizon, and in between there's a couple of family birthdays (one last week, one this week), some school interviews for kiddo (next week and the following week), much shopping to do (I love shopping but the Christmas gift-selection is really pissing me off this year), and laminate flooring to install -- we are packing up the living room contents over the next few evenings and installation should start Friday.

I should be bubblier. Hubby's zombie parts went over very well -- we've been invited to the premiere of the short film, "Not Dead, Not Alive" on November 20th. Over the weekend we saw Jarhead (hubby's review is over at the Media Nook) while kiddo saw Chicken Little with her cousins (she told us she liked it, "about five percent," -- not a rave review). And I have new glasses on the way -- they are a funky magenta-coloured frame with detachable sunglasses, so I can finally see properly driving! (Everyone in Victoria should be very happy about this). Did I mention my eyesight has actually improved? It seems my problems with my glasses were that they were too strong. Who knew?

Anyway... life is really OK, I'm just kinda mopey. Dunno what will fix it... =shrug= ...thanks for listening.

05 November 2005

Bush Shot in Houston.

Heh.... thought you were reading an exclusive? Alas, it's not about that Bush, and nor is it that Houston. Still, it is a disturbing story (CBC news).

On October 29th, Ian Bush, 22, was arrested in Houston, BC for having an open beer at a hockey game (and allegedly giving police a false name). While in custody, he was shot, fatally; the only two witnesses were the deceased and an RCMP officer. Police say that Bush became violent, and that the officer also sustained injuries, but details will not be released until the autopsy and the RCMP investigation are complete.

Family and friends are skeptical that the RCMP can investigate its own officers objectively, and I'm curious why it took almost a week for this report to surface.

More from The Globe and Mail and the Edmonton Sun.

04 November 2005

Friday is

Quiet day at work... most of the staff were off so I was rattling around almost completely unhindered, which is fine. I slogged away at a couple of tedious time-consuming tasks until the clock struck four. Oh, and I decided to go for a walk at lunch to wake up...


It was raining. Like, my-kingdom-for-an-ark raining but I still wandered off to my favourite corner of the campus and took a bunch of photos. All the rain had raised the mushrooms out of the ground in droves...


When I got back to my desk, I realized that my raincoat isn't terribly waterproof.

At 4:00, I shut down my computer and headed for the bus. The rains had let up for a bit but I was still damp and cold from lunch. Wandered through Curious Comics, waiting for hubby and kiddo, then we all met my Mom for dinner. We followed that with a wander through the mall, including the purchase of new eyeglasses for hubby and me!

Now we are watching Suicide Kings (great, underrated movie) while hubby works on some zombie prosthetics for a short film shooting on Sunday. :)

Gifts with conscience...

Around this time of year I start banging my head against the wall trying to come up with gift ideas for some of the trickier people on my list. I end up trolling the web for ideas in all directions... so for today's installment, here are some ideas for gifts with conscience:

The World Wildlife Fund offers adoption kits, most of which come with a small cuddly version of what you are adopting -- sea turtle, panda bear, asian elephant or polar bear -- plus information about the fight, and a tax write-off for the gift-purchaser.

For the coffee and tea lovers on your list, Certified Fair Trade is the way to go; buy some beans from Bean North Coffee Roasters (100% Fair Trade; Whitehorse YT), Salt Spring Coffee (Selected roasts available Fair Trade; Salt Spring Island, BC) or Pura Vida Coffee (100% Fair Trade; Seattle, WA). Buy Tea through Bridgehead (100% Fair Trade --they do coffee, too; Ottawa, ON) or Just Us Coffee Roasters (100% Fair Trade tea and coffee; Wolfville, NS) .

Know someone with a sweet tooth? Chocolate can also be purchased as Certified Fair Trade.

For readers, consider supporting small presses, local authors, zines, or alternative press magazines like Utne.

There's lots more out there, too... I could spend all day yapping. Instead, I'll leave you to check out the Green Pages at Co-Op America, Greenmatters, or the Utne Web Store.

01 November 2005

Hallowe'en With Kiddo

Well, off we went to Oak Bay... had dinner at the Blethering Place and then wandered the streets, trick-or-treating. Alas, I did not get a photo of kiddo in full makeup... she was a bit of a blur!


Oak Bay is filled with people who really get into the whole act; lots of decorations, lights, scary things, and they seem happy to see kids out and about. One person jumped and said BOO! when he opened the door and kiddo screeeeamed! -- another came to the door with an Alien baby poking out of her abdomen (kiddo did not jump at that).

We stopped at the bonfire, hosted by the Oak Bay Fire Department. Kiddo had been looking forward to it, but once there declared it was "Tooo hot! Too hot!" and burst into tears.


Never mind, she got a balloon anyway.


She also got plenty of candy, and I think had a genuinely good time. She got home, washed up and was asleep within seconds of hitting her pillow, after which hubby and I curled up to watch Sleepy Hollow.

31 October 2005

spammers at bozzo.com.au

I get probably a half dozen unsolicited emails a week from bozzo.com.au or a variation of that name (usually with spaces i.e. "@ bozzo. com. au").

I notice they have an unsubscribe option at the foot of their page, but since they seem like untrustworthy asshats you can bet I am not entering a damned thing in that space.

Retarded Class Action Lawsuit of the Week....

And the winner goes to:

Poyner-Baxter, a North Vancouver law firm ... trying to certify class-action lawsuits against Sony and Toshiba over burn-in problems on big-screen TV sets.


30 October 2005

Happy Hallowe'en!

Hope your day is creeeepy and candylicious!

For next year, I may try to make
Scaredy Seamus O'Lantern (from Monster Crochet) or take my inspiration from Maggie Pererya and create some halloween themed plush characters.

[Actually, most of the plush toys on Whitewall are just amazing and inspirational in that I look at a lot of them and think, "I could make that." I have actually made plush toys in the past, it's fiddly but I quite enjoy the results. Now that I see people breaking out of the standards, I may add that to my ever-growing to-do list.... kiddo would, after all, love them.]

Hellboy and his companion.

Last night, hubby and I went out to a Halloween party -- an annual get-together hosted by friends of friends who take Halloween very seriously [How seriously? Fog machines, crime-scene tape, and movie-style props scattered throughout -- for example: the bathroom looked like something particularly horrible had taken place -- there was blood and bloody handprints all over the walls, floors, sink, etc. -- then I sat down and nearly jumped back up because there was a near-life-sized bloodied girl in the tub holding a dead baby! Eeep!]

Costumes for the party are mandatory and a number of people go over the top, but we were up for the challenge. Well, hubby was up for the challenge. For some reason, I couldn't quite get into it this year. So hubby went as Hellboy:


He had been working on aspects of the costume for over a year, but modified much of it this year to be more functional -- like the hand which he scaled down so that he could actually hold a beer.

I couldn't decide how to dress. I figured worst case I would just be undead again. Then I started looking at the vampires from Buffy... and I asked hubby if that was do-able (keep in mind this was about 4 hours before the party). He thought we could modify a forehead appliance he'd already made and I agreed. Alas, no one knew what I was (of course most of the people at the party didn't know who Hellboy was either... so that may not be saying much). Anyway, here's a shot of me as a vampire who looks a little like a Klingon in pancake makeup. I still enjoyed myself.


The "fun" part has been cleaning up all the red makeup all over the house. :)

Fat Fingers - Mash Any Key Now

Think you're finding everything on eBay with just a simple search? Not a chance. I used to use the title and description search option to find the listings with typos in the titles -- now Fat Fingers does the searching for me! You can select any eBay site and the search will pop up in a new window.

A good example, I typed in "princess" as in Disney Princess stuff, very hot right now. The search by Fat Fingers returned the following listings:

  • Disney Princesss - Dancing Cinderella - New

I would not likely have found those on my own. I am bookmarking the site for future reference -- and for amusement. [Want a laugh? Just search for "Disney" alone. I was astonished by some of the misspellings.]

28 October 2005

Porn on the Pavement.

My morning commute requires a transfer of busses downtown. I have several options, so I usually hop on which ever bus arrives first. This morning I hopped off my first bus and figured I had missed the next ideal bus, so I wandered around the corner for the next bus. While there, I looked up and saw my ideal bus was actually late and stuck at the traffic light a block away. So, I turned around, walked back to the other stop. As I was walking, I glanced down at and stepped over a piece of paper -- a page torn from a magazine. It took me a few steps to register what had been on the page, and by then I had boarded the bus.

What I had seen, at about 7:20 a.m. was a full-page =ahem= spread featuring anal penetration. [Geez, that should get some interesting hits on the old blogspot, eh?].

Now, it was too late for me to do anything about it -- I was already on the bus -- but I wondered, would I have stopped to pick it up? (Maybe, but then what? Throw it out? Find a recycle bin? Save it for later???) On second thought, would I even want to touch it? (Probably not.) I was also aware that about 30 minutes later my nephew and Mother-in-Law would have been changing busses at the same stop; I have to wonder if it was still there....

27 October 2005

Knitting Rules

Kimberly Chapman is a very creative knitter (thanks to Sarcasmoscorner for the tip!) who offers patterns for a Sassy-like ball and a strand of DNA, among other things.

And how cute are these mini-stockings for the tree? Or Mr. Bean's Bear? Or Hello Kitty?

There are oooodles of knit toys out there... and if I had the time, I'd probably try my hands at most of them.

Retro Sucks

There are many days, especially looking around at "what the kids are wearing" these days, when I agree with the sentiments of this t-shirt.

26 October 2005

Don't these people watch Mythbusters?

It seems the kids at MIT are a bit behind:

On Saturday, researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Arizona set off for San Francisco bay to test if Archimedes' death ray could have been anything but a myth.

Jamie and Adam did that over a year ago:

Episode 16: : Ancient Death Ray, Skunk Cleaning, What Is Bulletproof?
In this episode, Jamie and Adam reflect on one of the world's oldest urban legends — did the Greek scientist Archimedes set fire to a Roman fleet of ships using only mirrors and sunlight?
First aired Sept. 29 2004
EDIT: I just read the whole article at the Guardian. Seems they're the one's behind the times. The MIT kids were working with Mythbusters; the report was filed this year for a show that aired last year. Memo to Guardian editor-in-chief: fire your science staff -- if they're reporting year-old science, they suck.

25 October 2005

Death Makes a Holiday

David J. Skal, author and critic on all things creepy, is a vistiting Lansdowne Scholar at UVic this year. In addition to teaching a very cool course based on his book, The Monster Show, he's giving a couple of lectures -- tonight's was based on his book about the origins and evolution of Halloween, Death Makes a Holiday.

Hubby and I attended, along with a standing-room-only crowd, and were fairly well-entertained, if a bit skeptical of some of his facts. Part of the problem was that he has written from an American standpoint about a holiday that differs a fair bit on this side of the border (our celebrations embrace a number of British traditions including fireworks and Guy Fawkes tie-ins); on the other hand he had some interesting observations about post-9/11 Halloween celebrations state-side.

His next lecture, set for some time in November, is going to be about King Kong -- no doubt to tie in with the upcoming Peter Jackson remake (to be released Dec. 14th).