31 March 2005

Ack! TMI!

Pope has high fever, urinary tract infection

Comedian I've never heard of....

I hadn't heard of Mitch Hedberg until Crash over at twenty something mentioned him and some of his best lines (I'm against picketing...). Now that he has passed on, I'll never see him perform... but I may seek more of his work. It's funny.

30 March 2005

Canadian Tire 'Money'

Everything you ever wanted to know about Canadian Tire 'Money' but couldn't be bothered to ask.

I had no idea it has been in circulation since 1958. I currenlty have about $2.60 at home in a bundle. I always forget to take it with me unless I know I am going to Canadian Tire for something specific. I think the largest denomination I have ever received was a 50 cent "bill."

Is Canada the new Netherlands?

For decades, the Netherlands (in particular, Amsterdam) has been thought of as the place to go for a laissez-faire attitude toward drug use. It now appears that Canada is the place to be. Sure, the left coast has always been known for producing good product and even selling it cafe-style... but with safe injection sites and needle exchanges in Vancouver and now the news that Ottawa is going to distribute free crack pipe kits, it seems like harder drugs are being legitimized.

Of course, officials insist it is to stop the spread of disease (HIV, Hep.C and other blood-bourne diseases). Will it work? Maybe. Should it? I'm not sure. The only thing I have ever been truly addicted to is caffeine so I can't really understand the levels of addiction at play with hard drugs -- there would never be a time when I would need caffeine so desperately that I would risk my own life or the lives of those around me. Even when I was drinking ridiculously large amounts of alcohol (the year I was in England) there was never a time I did anything other than pay money in order to get booze.

I just question the sense in prolonging the lives of people who are miserably addicted to hard drugs without making any apparent effort to wean them of the addiction (to be fair, the SIS does make some effort, but needle exchanges and distributing drug paraphanalia does not). It generates the same uneasiness I feel whenever government or medical sciences step into the life-saving arena in a way that goes above and beyond what the gods might actually do. (Dare I mention the current maelstrom in Florida?)

I wonder what will happen if the Conservatives win the next Federal election. Or for that matter if a greater percentage of NDP members were elected... Hmm.

28 March 2005

Didn't Supersize Me teach you anything?

Now according to AllHipHop.com McDonalds [is] Hungry For Hip-Hop -- they are offering "money to rappers who include the sandwich’s name in a hit record by summer."

But Mickey Dees won't pay any cash up front -- just $1 to $5 per airplay of the song (400 downloads? no dice.) but as a result, they are "willing to allow the artists to determine how to incorporate the sandwich into their songs." CEO of Maven Strategies (the marketing company McD's has hired) says “We’re letting them creatively bring to life the product in their song.”

Umm, sorry guys but if my Big Mac came to life, I'd want my money back.

Crafty Thoughts

Hubby and I are considering getting a table at a local market this summer to sell our crafty creations. We started making a list last night and a lot of the items fall into a reading or coffee-related theme... so that's our primary goal. Crafts will include bookmarks, art cards, fimo'd coffee spoons, paperweights, coffee sleeves (either the knit ones I am still trying to perfect or some other designs I am testing) and book bags (these marvellous quilted bags my Mom makes and would like to sell).

So today, I started with bookmarks. My goal is 100 by June when the market starts... so far I have finished... four. Ah well, back to the glue.

27 March 2005


As I type this, the kid is ramming around looking for eggs...

When we put together her easter basket last night, I ended up having to get a bigger basket! I have been buying things over the past few months and there was more than I remembered... still, she's happy. She just hugged her chocolate bunny. Lest you think all we got her was chocolate, there is also a Frisbee-style disc, an egg full of bunnies (like the barrel of monkeys), a notebook, a pair of socks, a necklace and some fun clay. Even some of her small eggs had non-chocolate inside.

The tough part was explaining to her cousin on Friday that she didn't need tell our kid about the Resurrection because she was too young to understand. This led to an unfortunately long conversation about the fact that hubby and I plan to let the kid investigate and choose a religion when she is old enough. Thank goodness her grandmother wasn't in the room to hear that nugget of info.

24 March 2005

attn: knitters

I need some input. I recently stumbled over (and purchased!!) three balls of what seems to be some very lovely yarn: Jo Sharp Silkroad aran (a blend of 85% wool, 10% silk and 5% cashmere). I got the wool at a thrift store for 69 cents each.

Two balls are a medium grey colour (labelled "Opal") and one is a darker grey colour with specks of red, blue and other colours (I suspect it's a ball of Silkroad aran tweed -- it has no label). Each ball is 50g (1 3/4 oz)/85m (93 yds).

I want to make something for me. Something I will enjoy and want to use. Is it enough for a scarf? A shawl? A hat? Bear in mind that I am constantly being interrupted, so detailed patterns may be more challenging to me... I am also patently lazy and still consider myself a "beginner" knitter. I haven't really mastered the perl stitch let alone things like "yarn-over" or how to use circulars or dpns. Still, I would love suggestions for simple projects that might suit this yarn...

Giggle of the day.

This ad was spotted on the San Francisco Craigslist:

Please help!!!! After two long years of being on a waiting list for an agility dog, we have been notified by the breeder that, at long last, our number has come up and ... WE ARE HAVING A PUPPY!!!

We must get rid of our children IMMEDIATELY because we just know how time consuming our new little puppy is going to be and it just wouldn't be fair to the children. Since our little puppy will be arriving on Monday we MUST place the children into rescue this weekend!
The full ad goes into detail, but it is delightfully sarcastic.

22 March 2005

Working Girl in a Material World

I work to get money to pay for stuff. If I didn't want stuff I wouldn't need to work. So why do I want stuff? It's not like I need it. I keep bringing stuff home that I don't even have room for. Anyway, I am working and as a result I have a life full of stuff.

So if I were to stop working (well, if I were to stop leaving the house to drive 10 kilometres to go to a place that bores me on good days and frustrates or annoys me on most days and look like I am performing some kind of useful service...) if I were to stop all that, what would I do?

What would you do?

If everything else stayed the same (i.e. we stayed in the same city, in the same house), I'd get more housework done. I might start really writing, and submitting manuscripts. I'd definitely homeschool the kid and spend more time with her. I would not likely volunteer. I might be tempted to temp or get a throw-away McJob. I'd garden and bake more often.

Would I curb my spending? Sure. Would I miss it? Definitely. Could I learn not to miss it? Maybe. (My problem is that I was an impressionable teen during the 80s surrounded by peers with what seemed at the time to be limitless disposable income... and that was the decade where muic and videos really exploded thanks to MTV/MuchMusic, portable cassette players, CD players , and VCRs. It was also a time when Greed Was Good.)

If other things changed (i.e. hubby and I sold the house and bought a motorhome to tour the country, or just moved up-island, or one of us got a fabulous job somewhere else...) well, things would obviously be different. How different would depend on how drastically we changed things.

Right now, I'm just sitting here out of coffee with no breaks left, and wondering why.

21 March 2005

They call him Flickr, Flickr...

Oh yeah. That was Flipper.


What I was going to mention is that I now have a Flickr account to store and sort some of my photos. If you have a Flickr account that I don't know about, lemme know and maybe we can be Flickr-friends.

Media Scout - CDN news roundup

Media Scout is a free email service provided by Maisonneuve online. Maisonneuve magazine recently came to my attention through a writing contest, but when I started looking around the site I found a lot to like -- including this great article on why Jon Stewart for President is the only option the Democrats should consider for 2008.

I signed up for the free half-year trial of the print magazine based on the half-dozen articles I read. If the print edition stands up to the same level of irreverent intelligence, I'm buying a full subscription.

Aaaanyway. Media Scout rounds up and "interprets" the news from the "Big Six" of Canadian News (Globe and Mail, National Post, Ottawa Citizen (for federal politics), La Presse (for the Quebec angle), CTV and CBC). And thanks to media convergence that really does cover it all as far as national news goes. My first "issue" landed in my mailbox this morning. (Actually, gmail shuffled it into the spam folder, so now I'll have to spend a week telling gmail, "No! Bad! Bad mail client! Not Spam!")

19 March 2005

This that and the other

Updates a-plenty.

More than 10 days after posting the Need for Action and where am I? Not much further. In fact, I have not done any work on either of the in-progress manuscripts... though I have entered contests. And we filed our taxes early. And I mailed in our prescription receipts. None of this will make us wealthy of course. Oh well.

Learned that a friend of mine has accepted a position as head librarian at the Phoenix Art Museum; she starts in May! So perhaps next year we will be taking a road trip into the U.S. after all...

I have been dreaming about schools and other institutions lately. Yesterday, I actually woke up angry because some moron was giving me the worst service ever in the cafeteria -- he was letting staff go ahead of me, he took deliveries, and he even taunted me by dishing out the wrong meal, when he had already taken my payment. Oddly the meal I had ordered was a "pancake brown betty" which seemed to be three huge pancakes layered with Apple Brown Betty and topped with maple syrup and whipped cream!

Last night, Suzette and Tim joined us for dinner, complete with pre-dinner entertainment provided by a sugar-crazed four-year-old. Hubby worked his magic in the kitchen and eventually the kid calmed down a notch so the evening was, I think, a success.

Today we took a day-trip up-island (Duncan -- so that the kid could shop at a Sally Ann as she insisted -- and Nanaimo -- so she could go to a mall; specifically the mall with the fountain and Toys'R'Us) and splurged on new CDs (Gwen Stefani Love Angel Music Baby and Green Day American Idiot).

And now, the kid wants to bake cookies... so I have to go clean the kitchen.

17 March 2005

Giant Insect Machines invade the forest...

This is too cool. Timberjack, the "Walking Forest Machine" has been developed by a Finnish subsidiary of John Deere to step more lightly on the land --literally-- while logging. The machine employs 6 insect-like legs which can actually step over obstacles such as stumps or tree roots and balance the load of the machine across the land even on ridiculously uneven or steep terrain.

Of course now the Pentagon wants one.

(Note: apparently Blogger has eaten my last two posts... I shall try to remember what I had to say and re-post it. EDIT: upon "republishing" Blogger found them! Yay!)

EDIT (again): Hubby says this is "old news." Sigh. Oh well.

16 March 2005

FYI - some email is just clutter

Over at Fight The Bull there is a fine little article about the FYI forward. He's not saying that all email is evil and worthless when compared to postal mail, just those emails one looks at, shrugs, adds FYI and forwards to someone else.

"For a real world analogy, think about your neighbor carting over 12 boxes filled with 20 years of Car and Driver magazine because you asked whether their BMW had been a reliable car. FYI."


13 March 2005


PostSecret is wickedly addictive mailed in postcard art... (many were part of a gallery display, but I believe they are still taking new secrets...)

12 March 2005

more creatures....

Hubby set up a deviantART Gallery. Yay!

Happy Birthday Kiddo!

A great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my little girl -- now 4 years old!

She got well-spoiled with plenty of movie-tie-in merchandise from The Incredibles -- bed set, pyjamas, stickers and sticker album, colouring sets, and theme cake (above) -- and also from Robots (we saw the movie last night; review to follow). She also got the inevitable Barbie merchandise, some karaoke discs and a professional microphone (thanks Grandpa!), some clothes, an I Spy book, and not one, not two, but 4 watches (!) plus the blanket (below), which was a big hit.

08 March 2005

Need for Action...

I am tired of working a regular job. I need to do something about it... so if my blogging slows a bit, it's because I'm working on a master exit plan (ideally getting a book or six published...). Don't worry... I'll keep you in the loop.

07 March 2005


"There are two things I will not talk about with my students: George W. Bush, and my work."
I overheard this declaration from one professor to another. I can understand not taking Bush-bait (he's an economics prof) but I don't understand refusing to talk about one's work. I mean, isn't the reason you become a professor to share your love of a given field with basically anyone who will listen? If I were his student I would be peeved that he wouldn't discuss his work. I am baffled.

06 March 2005

Canada, Literature and the Small Press

Small presses have deep roots in Canada; they flourished in the 1960s, around the Centennial celebrations. Not surprisingly, CanLit saw its peak of popularity around the same time. A recent book, Hip and Trivial: book publishing and the greying of Canadian nationalism (currently on my reading pile) challenges the stereotype of young Canadians (Gen X and thereabouts) as non-readers and instead asserts that they simply select their readings without respect to borders.

A real-world example is Left Hand Press (La Mano Izquierda), a local small press co-owned by my friend and coworker, Maleea. She certainly falls into the Gen X category; she is very aware of what is going on in Canadian literature; and she has published poetry in more than one language -- in fact the press specializes in work that "reads internationally."

I have to say I went through a big CanLit phase in the early 1990s -- after I had graduated and no longer had to read books, I started devouring Mordecai Richler, Margaret Atwood, Marian Engel and others. I still consider some of the books I read to be among my favourites (Engel's The Bear is kinda freaky if you take it too literally; Richler's Solomon Gursky was Here built on my knowledge of the doomed Franklin Expedition and Atwood's short stories could probably sit in my bomb shelter next to those by Robert Louis Stevenson, Roald Dahl, Mark Twain and Ray Bradbury)... but I got over it.

05 March 2005

Hubby's Creations....

Some of you know that my hubby sculpts things as a hobby. For Christmas he made me a custom Jack Skellington:

Last year, he made a whole range of little creatures in specimen jars like this one:

At Halloween, he put them up in his office... I spent some time this evening photographing a bunch more of his creations... hopefully soon there will be a gallery...

True Confessions

Over at Moxie.blogs they have a grand thread runing called Bad Mommy/Daddy Confessions. Even if you're not a parent, they are amusing anecdotes (I particularly like the one about the infant sucking on a razor (OMG!!!)) [Thanks to Carrie for the link]

Seriously, though.... in an era where child safety information is plastered everywhere (pamphlets, public service announcements, posters, warning labels... ) I guess maybe one could blame information overload... but I think it's just human to do stupid things that may even be ridiculously dangerous once in a while.

I'm guilty of a number of transgressions including (but not limited to) carrying the kid into her bedroom and bonking her head on the doorframe (while she was asleep, I think); getting home from the grocery store and finding she was not buckled in to her carseat; and realizing she was drinking from a sippy cup of orange juice that was an unknown vintage (how she kept from vomiting instantly is beyond me -- she had put the cup away in the cupboard next to our bed, I guess for safe keeping... we just lost track of the cup -- when I took off the lid, there was a LOT of green mould floating on the top of a brownish-orange liquid. We made her drink a lot of water.) =Shudder=

04 March 2005

Reading a Challenged Book

Well... since the kid was sick, I didn't get a good enough photo to submit to the Freedom to Read contest, but I still got a few shots of her reading Ouch! by Natalie Babbitt.

The book is based on a classic tale from the Brothers Grimm and this retelling treats both Hell and The Devil with a certain amount of humour and irreverence. Naturally someone took offence and officially challenged this award-winning picture book.

Get your stinking paws off me...

...you damned dirty ape!

Ok, so a couple of nice retirees go to visit their former pet chimp, now in an animal sanctuary, and when they get there, the chimp's buddies escape from their cage and attack with extreme prejudice [Yahoo! News].

The man's injuries included "severe facial injuries," a severed foot and severed testicles. After the first chimp was shot, the second started dragging the injured man down the road. WTF??

And while all this excitement was going down, two female chimps decided to hightail it out of there.... It took authorities 5 hours to find the pair, one of which was more than two miles away.

There is no more fiction in the world. It all really happens somewhere.

03 March 2005

doctors and haircuts and knitting, oh my!

Took the kid back to the Doctor today (to summarize, she's been sick a long time -- since around Feb 8th or 9th -- she still hasn't seemed to get over the ear infections, and the last few days have seen random fevers plus she's still congested) so he confirmed that her right ear is still pretty bad, and said there is a nasty virus going around and the kids he's seen under 6 have all had the random fever thing for up to a month or more. Sucks. Especially since her birthday is around the corner (on the 12th).
This afternoon, Hubby dropped me off at the hair salon and I got a new do; it looks much better and feels sooooo much lighter. I finally decided to abandon the single-length plan because I was just getting bad A-frame hair. With the layers, I look normal again. Yay! Plus it really boosted the curls (though you can't see them as much from the front). Anyway, I'm happy.
Tonight I wanted to whip together a Java Sleeve (like these ones at Magknits) but I decided their simple pattern was not simple enough for me... so I whipped up my own. Alas, while the idea was sound, the end result was too big, and a bit wonky because I decreased too much, so I will try again.... when I get it right I will post the pattern and a photo somewhere.
In other news, Suzette should now be in our city... and hopefully we can meetup soon.

02 March 2005

Trump Dreams

Since I work on a university campus, there is a certain amount of emphasis on job searches by students, by employers, and by . Workopolis Campus is currently advertising using a bookmark and poster campaign with the slogan "Dare to Dream." The slogan appears beneath a student with arms outstreched, apparently shouting for joy. Across his body are the following items beside check boxes: An Office, Parking, My Name on the Building. I don't much see the point of the ads, but one student scribbled across a poster these words "Who dreams of THAT?"

Hmm. You mean aside from The Donald?

01 March 2005

9 years together....

On March 1st, 1996, Hubby and I went on our first date. It started as a double date for dinner... then we all went for dessert... then watched a movie... then Hubby and I spent hours and hours and hours talking and snuggling. After a brief time apart to nap/shower/change we met again for breakfast and spent the whole day together, which included Hubby cooking me crab pasta with fresh crab from Fisherman's Wharf. Dinner merged into an evening with my friends... and really the rest of our lives together. I think we spent only one night apart before our wedding in 1997.