30 July 2005

DEA meddling in Canada

Whether or not Marc Emery (a.k.a. "Prince of Pot") is guilty of traffiking, or any other offense, I really object to the RCMP acting like lap dogs for the US DEA.

Uncle Sam orchestrates Vancouver pot busts [Vancouver Sun]

The search was requested by the U.S. government through the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, a federal law administered by the Department of Justice.

The warrant was authorized Thursday in B.C.'s Supreme Court, based on an affidavit provided by a Vancouver police officer.

U.S. authorities say the warrant was the result of an 18-month investigation of Emery's international seed-selling business.

This follows closely on the heels of the "drug tunnel" discovered just a week ago, which was heralded as a "coordinated investigation" -- but now I am not so sure.

I would like to think that our country can identify and solve its own problems. That said, if Interpol had ordered the raid, I'd be a lot more likely to accept it. My back gets up watching the US government interfere around the globe, but in my own back yard? Well, that sets my teeth on edge and then some.

29 July 2005

Lookie thar, Pa: corn!

You'd think that having to work only two days this week would have made Friday go a bit faster, but nOOOooooo. Today the clock was almost still. To "make up for it" I treated us to some McD's for dinner. I tried their oriental chicken salad. Two words "rather disappointing" -- especially when compared to Wendy's oriental chicken salad which includes almonds and crispy noodles and is larger.

Tonight hubby is out being a Good Friend®, helping a buddy move. The kiddo and I are lounging about listening to CBC-RadioTwo in the living room. Tonight they have been playing highlights from the Atlantic Jazz festival interspersed with choirs from the "intra-polar regions" (Canada, Iceland, Norway, Latvia etc.). I should listen to more radio; it's better for my brain.

In my garden, plantzilla -- a zealous squash plant -- has taken over. I wouldn't mind if I thought I would get any veggies out of the deal but between slugs eating the flowers from the outside and ants eating them from the inside, I doubt any will survive. I do have higher hopes for the corn:

young corn

And now I must go get some writing done; I wrote two movie reviews (about 1000 words) this week so I haven't got any work done on the book yet. Sigh.

28 July 2005

my little princess....

Ahh. My kid has now decided she is Princess Leia -- not Padme/Queen suckyface Amidala, but kick-ass Leia. I am a happy, proud mama. She has also decided that her Daddy is Chewy. Wonder what that makes me?

27 July 2005

customer service

Good Customer Service:

Hubby and I were in Sidney a few weeks ago. We went into a cafe that advertized Salt Spring Coffee. Seeing the coffee in carafes labelled "light roast" and "dark roast" I asked for a large dark roast. I was told, "Ummmm, it's all dark roast, " followed by a vapid look and a shrug. So I accepted her word and the coffee, poured from the "light roast" caraffe. It was the WORST coffee I'd had in weeks -- including the experimental bargain brand home-brew. I gagged down about a third of the nasty brew before chucking it.

Hubby was so annoyed that he complained to Salt Spring Coffee Co. directly. He said that since the cafe was advertising their coffee they should be brewing it to a decent standard. They phoned him within a day and apologized. They explained that they would be discussing quality control with the cafe owners and/or staff and they also offered to send us a pound of French Roast, their darkest roast. We received it last week, along with another follow-up call from the company. The invoice sheet read "promo: relationship repair" with no charge for the coffee or shipping. That is good customer service. (I also highly recommend their product, but don't recommend the cafe at the end of the Beacon Ave. pier in Sidney)

Bad Customer Service:

I regularly send text messages to my phone and my hubby's phone with a domain suffix of "txt.bellmobility.ca" -- today those messages bounced with the following error:

PERM_FAILURE: DNS Error: Domain name not found

I went online to bell.ca found no help in the troubleshooting section, so I tried a site search. Scrolling through ooodles of hits, I finally found the basic info page for text messaging. The only domain mentioned for sending/receiving messages is "txt.bellmobility.ca," and the link comes up as dead from that page, so I go to the report a problem page -- oh great! I'll receive a response within two working days! Screw that... find the contact page and call the 800 number. First guy only does billing; he transfers me to "data support" where I wait for 15 minutes. Meanwhile I send test text messages to my phone, to see if it is just hubby's phone with the issue. Bouncy bouncy bouncy. Finally techie guy answers, I go through the problem, and he asks me to try sending a message to "txt.bell.ca" I do, and it works.

So he's acting like the condescending hero, blathering on about my server not being able to resolve the dns. I explain to him that the problem was that while there is a workaround, it's not publicized -- and why the heck isn't he worried that their main text messaging domain is invisible to my email client and my internet provider today? After several attempts at trying to get my point across it was clear he was just watching the clock tick and rolling his eyes, so I hung up. Whatever. BAD customer service, Bell. Bad.

26 July 2005

More about Teany

Having read the teany book cover to cover, I am craving tea. In fact, I am craving all sorts of tea... and a little sandwich they claim works well as a hangover cure: cashew butter, apple butter, sliced banana and a drizzle of maple syrup between two slices of white bread, grilled. MmmmMMmmm.

I definitely have another mission if/when I make it to NYC; I must find and eat at the teany cafe. In the meantime, I will browse their online store and dream of a day when my credit card is not maxed out.

In the meantime, I may wander by Silk Road Tea Co. to investigate white tea, rooibos, and/or yerba mate.... any of you tea-totallers in the audience care to chime in with reviews of these or other favourite teas?

Dogs, Snakes and Horses

Got a freebie pass to see Must Love Dogs last night; saw it, loved it, and sent in a review to ApolloGuide this morning. John Cusack is, as always, soooo lovable, but the movie was refreshingly original and now I must get my hands on a copy of the book by Claire Cook on which it was based.

Today I took the kid to the library and gathered two bagsful of books and videos. She had the most fun playing with a big stuffed snake, so I got a couple of books about snakes for her to read. My haul of books was entirely food-related; an armful of cookbooks plus a book about Teany, the tea salon in New York co-owned by Moby. That man is a freak.


After the library, we went to a little park in Oak Bay. It's quiet but clean and even includes public washrooms but the reason I really love it is that it's home to possibly the last remaining gliding horses in Greater Victoria. I used to get such a huge kick out of the giant gliding horse in Beacon Hill park -- it could seat 20 kids. These are slightly smaller but there are two, so you can race! In addition, there is a modern climbing frame/slide combo plus plenty of greenspace to run around, a picnic table, and asphalt on which you can still see faint outlinesof foursquare and hopscotch grids. Kiddo had a blast and pronounced, "Daddy has to see this park!" We'll go back.

24 July 2005


Headed to Beacon Hill Park this morning, and met R. and her daughter who is the same age as as our kid; they got along very well. We hung around the children's farm (a.k.a. petting zoo) for about an hour, then over to the play area where our kid prompty got herself soaked through running around the water spouts.

I managed to get some good shots of the animals in the park, including this little fella, a Western Painted Turtle:


After the park we gathered some groceries (including some fresh local berries which are flash-freezing as I type) and now we're settling in for an afternoon of slacking. Ahhhhh.

22 July 2005

Rex Libris -- Library Mafia?

I have always joked about founding a library mafia to kneecap particularly rude customers who keep books well beyond their due dates with no reason beyond "but I needed the book."

Now James Turner, a Toronto illustrator, has created Rex Libris, "the adventures of a librarian charged with traveling across both space and time to retrieve unreturned library books."

This might actually make me get a subscription going at my local comic vendor. First issue ships in August.

Parenting Licenses

Yet another argument has come to light leading me to believe that people should have to apply for parenting licenses. For some reason, this idiot thought it was a good idea to teach his three-year-old son how to fight, by putting him through "brutal boxing bouts, which ultimately caused him to fall into a deadly coma, with microscopic brain tears and subsurface bruising." What I find just as disturbing is that said-same jerk "instructed his wife not to hug their son" -- and she accepted this judgment? WTF???

Government requires people to be licensed to drive a car, to own a gun, or to fish or hunt. People are barred from some of the basics in life -- rental housing, vehicle ownership, financing -- because they cannot or will not sign a contract. Why is it that ANY MORON can go ahead and raise kids? Actually, I take that back. Government agencies routinely force same-sex couples and other adoptive parents (esp. unmarried singles) to jump through a zillion hoops and then only maybe let them become parents... but the average heterosexual can raise a kid as they see fit, with little if any intervention. And if there is intervention, same-sex couples are often barred from fostering kids who are removed from unfit homes. Again, WTF?

OK. 'Nuff ranting.

21 July 2005

ViK MUNiZ - artist

One of the benefits of working in the cataloguing area is being able to see the new books come through. Often, the book jackets are discarded and many staff (including myself) sift through these for cubicle art.

This week, I found the most amazing cover, it folds out to a very large poster which now decorates my cubby. The image is of a white rose, created by arranging thousands of plastic (toy) bugs around negative space. You can see it on the artist's webpage: VIK MUNIZ. The "White Rose" is included in the gallery with "Monads" (2003). The book jacket surrounded the catalog from an exhibition of Muniz' work at the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea in 2003.

Amazing stuff...

(p.s. Sarcasmo I am sure you will appreciate the "Caviar Monsters" series...)

20 July 2005

Open Letter

B (Trout Fishing in South Central Wisconsin v.2) penned this brief letter to President Bush on July 7, 2005:


An excellent question, methinks.

oOOooh! WIKI-licious

Hey! I just added information to a WIKI! LISWiki is a WIKI for Library and Information Science so it's the first WIKI I have felt confident enough in my knowledge to contribute. Yay!

The Clock is Falling!

Media outlets are all a-buzz this morning because of this story: U.S. moves to extend daylight time [CBC News]. So what's all the fuss? Well, some policy-people seem to think this will leave Canada in a vulnerable position (what, like the back of a Volkswagon?), which of course is ridiculous.

The problem is, that the US wants to adjust daylight savings by two months -- instead of running from April to October they want to start in March and run through November.

Honestly, if this is up for negotiation, I want Canada to just spring forward and stay there; make daylight savings our new standard time! If the US wants to follow us, great. If not, bollocks to them!

19 July 2005

Playground Ettiquette?

I wonder: what is the appropriate ettiquette or accepted "emergency" response when one's child pees (accidentally) on public playground equippment?

Flashback to Sunday.... We decided to go see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (it's great, don't know why I had any doubts about Burton taking it on, it's a perfect fit between subject matter and interpreter) then grabbed some lunch and went to a park so the kid could get some ramming around time. Before we left the theatre and while we were picking up lunch, the kid was asked if she needed to make a visit. She declined both times. You can tell where this is headed. Once she announced what had happened, the playground cleared -- I ran to assist her off the structure and I tossed some sand over the ... um ... evidence. Then we got her into dry clothes and hustled her home to a bath.

I think I did well. I kept my cool. We explained to her that we were not angry about what happened, only that she had refused to use the appropriate facilities when she had the chance.

Thankfully, the park was not near our house... I don't think I would want to risk seeing those other mothers any time soon....

How Livejournal ruined Harry Potter

I may not post on my LiveJournal account for a while. I will definitely be trimming my "friends list" to exclude some group forums. Huge spoilers were posted to two separate public forums (one on Friday and one today), revealing the key plot point to HP6 in such obvious ways as to piss off anyone who cared.


Really. Why? Because they are immature? Perhaps. Maybe someone ruined something for them. Maybe they have never read a good book. Maybe they are functionally illiterate. Maybe they are masochists who really like a good flame war.

I finished reading the book a couple of hours ago. I bought the book and read it in a hurry because I had seen the first posted spoiler -- I couldn't avoid it -- and I really wanted to believe that people were better than that. I wanted to believe that the person who claimed the posted page had been "Photoshopped" was telling the truth. I wanted it to be wrong.

I've had other things ruined for me before (e.g. Luke's heritage as revealed in SW-EP5), and while that was accidental (wrong place wrong time) I still gave the person hell for being insensitive to everyone else in earshot. This time, I am not giving any glory to the asshats. I'm not naming them to you, I won't link to the posts, and I won't spread the spoiler. I won't lie, though. I wished that I really could send hexes their way, or at least that someone who knew where they lived might key their cars or egg their houses....

Luckily, I was still able to enjoy reading the book (and to be fair, SW-EP5 is my favourite SW film). It's as good as the others, I think, though very, very dark and a touch tragic.


My love-hate relationship with the web just moved a little closer to the "hate" side.... enough that I couldn't sleep and am sitting here typing at 2:30 a.m.

16 July 2005


I got the book:



Simple task: add four eyelets/grommets to each of two sheets (one black, one white) so that they may be hung on the wall to create a temporary screen for movie nights using our LCD projector.

Complex task: figuring out how to use the "eyelet punch" and "eyelet tool" made by Unique sewing supplies. After 10 minutes of frustrating dead-end Google-searches ("how to" eyelet; adding eyelets sewing; add eyelets fabric; using grommet tool; etc....) I finally stumbled on "eyelet tool unique" which led me to a scrapbooking how-to page: Get to Know Eyelets at Craftbits.com.

Simple answer: Use a hammer.


15 July 2005

microcrisis averted

OK. I have decided I do really want the book... but I neither wanted nor needed to go out tonight to get a copy.

I made a deal that if I made my 700-word deadline by 11:00 then we could wake the kid and all go to the Harry Potter launch at Bolen Books. At 10:55 I sent off more than 800 words, but decided that the kid didn't need to be awake at midnight and that Victoria would not sell out of the book in the next 48 hours.

I am such a spaz! Thank goodness my hubby is a patient man. :)


I am torn. I want the new Harry Potter book. I thought, "Meh, I can wait." but their bothersome media-machine is wearing me down. It's not yet midnight around these parts... and at least two stores are opening specifically to sell copies moments after the stroke of 12.

However... the kid has just crashed out for the night... and I really don't need to shell out $41 for a book that is not "required reading." I am also unimpressed by Raincoast (the Canadian distributor) and it's court injunction nonsense.

I sense that half my friends are about to jump off a bridge; I can hear my Mom asking me if I'd do that too, but to be honest the drop doesn't look that imposing from this angle. I've got about 90 minutes to decide.

14 July 2005

International who?

The International Commission of Jurists came up as an author on a book I was cataloguing. What surprised me is that they were still around.

Let me rephrase that. What surprised me is that though they were founded in 1952, I had never heard of them. When I checked the web and found they were still active, I was surprised because I presumed they would have folded years ago, explaining why I'd never heard of them despite having a history degree.

Anyway, here's what they do:

The ICJ provides legal expertise at both the international and national levels to ensure that developments in international law adhere to human rights principles and that international standards are implemented at the national level.

I'll admit my knowledge of international organizations is flimsy -- I presume if it crosses borders it's either affiliated with the UN or it's some capitalist convention like the IMF. =shrug= Something else I should study I guess... in all that spare time I have. Hahahahahahah.

13 July 2005

Clearly, Bush is screwed.

The Globe and Mail: Scandal dogs Republican mastermind ... and will Bush fire him? Bloody unlikely.

But the oddest thing I have learned today is that Bush's "term of endearment," Turd Blossom for Karl Rove was not just a punchline on last night's Daily Show! Apparently this .. erm... nugget was reported in Time Magazine back in April and has been slowly percolating through the media ever since.

12 July 2005

Stupid is as Stupid does...

Ever since I heard this story on the news, I have been trying to track down the details. While the CBC reports, Pamplona bulls trample Canadian woman, they aren't releasing the detail that stuck in my head: the woman was wearing flipflops while running with the bulls.


Terrorists have sunk to a new low, packing explosives into a coffee-maker. A coffee-maker?? Gah! The bomb blast was outside the Italian Cultural Institute in Barcelona.

10 July 2005

I LOVE my cable TV.

Because without it, there is little chance I would watch Operation Hollywood, a documentary about the Pentagon's involvement in feature films followed by one of the trashiest celebrity reality shows yet, Princes of Malibu, about David Foster and his stepsons.

The one thing I learned from Operation Hollywood was that any war film I have seen and enjoyed had "no cooperation" from the Pentagon. No surprise, really, but interesting.

The one thing I learned from Princes of Malibu is that David Foster may have been the model for the Simpson's Angry Dad. It's all about the editing of course, but that should be expected from a Fox show.

09 July 2005

As if I need another reason...

...to hate Nike:
Nike Steals Album Art For Skateboarding Poster [AdRant]

Little by little

I didn’t know where to start, so I broke it down to a goal of 700 words a week (also on my 43 things list). Now that I am underway, I am more motivated toward the completion of this goal.

If my blogging seems more scattered, it is due to my working on the manuscript.

The book is non-fiction, and it is a subject that is important to both of us, but that’s all I’m going to tell you, fair readers, until it is done.

07 July 2005

More from London

The evening commute has begun and transportation in London is still at a standstill, a BBC reporter sent in this report:

"It is strange to see so many Londoners carrying A-Z maps of the capital, not knowing how to make their way home on foot."

It reminds me of the aftermath of 9/11 with thousands of pedestrians walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to leave Manhattan.

These images are compelling because they underline our Western dependence on the automobile and mass transit; the fact that urban centres are supported by a suburban workforce is made that much clearer.

Thinking of London.

On days like this, I am glad I live in a small city. Of course with Canada's Pacific Naval Base mere miles from my home, I realize we are still a target, just as in the 80s I was aware that Seattle would be a likely target for a Russian nuke.

Unlike New York, Madrid, and other cities which have been targeted by terrorists, I can identify with the landscape of London. I have been in the underground stations which were attacked; I have been on busses like the one that was torn apart. I walked the streets that were jammed by emergency vehicles. It hits much closer to home.

My first thought was, "Fucking IRA. Why don't they just give up." When I saw the claims by Al Queda, I just shuddered because it gives Bush and Blair more authority to screw with individuals' rights. If the attack was planned, it was almost certainly to coincide with G8; it's just a "bonus" that the 2012 Olympics were just won by the city and everyone was in a celebratory mood.

The anti-terrorist rhetoric is already in full-swing... I expect by noon our time I will not be able to watch TV without having a tantrum.

I often wonder how this era will be recorded in the history texts of the future; I think it can be compared to the cold war for the psychological effect on the average person but it differs in that many more lives have been directly affected by terrorism.

05 July 2005

Numbers are Good.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

(Thanks Suzette!)

Da! Stupid!

File under "You've got to be kidding me!":

NASA is sued for Deep Impact probe [Pravda]

Russian astrologer Marina Bai sues NASA to compensate her moral damage in the sum of over 310 million USD. ... Marina Bai believes that the plan of NASA is an attempt against the natural life in space, which might break the natural balance of the Universe. Bai filed a lawsuit against NASA seeking the protection of her moral and life values. The Russian scientist says that the above-mentioned comet is rather valuable for her as personal memory: the comet gave a start to the relationship of the astrologer's grandparents. Marina Bai clarified that when her grandfather met her grandmother, he showed her the comet in the sky, and it became the romantic start of their long family life.

Some people really shouldn't be allowed access to lawyers.

04 July 2005

Happy 4th of July

To my friends south of the border (and north if there's anyone reading in Alaska!),
may your holiday be relaxing and free from firecracker-wielding yahoos!


03 July 2005

88-cent DVDs

Yes, I went shopping at the evil WalMart. I'd say I didn't enjoy it, but I came home with a half-dozen 88-cent DVDs. Packaged in folded cardstock and stamped off-centre, these "all region" DVDs are largely public domain films, TV series episodes, and cartoons and I expect those I haven't seen to be mediocre entertainment, but I can live with that. Here's the rundown:

1. Dick Van Dyke Show (4 episodes) -- Really, can't go wrong with the Petries and the print is not that bad.
2. Woody Woodpecker and Other Cartoon Treasures (10 cartoons) -- only 1 stars Woody Woodpecker (though it is a good one), 2 are unfamiliar ("Teacher's Pest" and "The Lost World"), 2 star Gabby, 2 star Felix the Cat, the remainder are classic Popeye shorts. Worth it if only because there is just one overlap with the kid's other classic cartoon collections.
3. Suddenly (1954) -- Frank Sinatra as a mob hit-man.
4. Penny Serenade (1941) -- Cary Grant stars. Need I say more? How could I resist!?
5. Father's Little Dividend (1951) -- classic Liz Taylor and Spencer Tracy in the original film that inspired the Steve Martin opus Father of the Bride Part II (1995).
6. Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Crash of the Moons! (1954, TV serial)-- I expect this to be 78 minutes of painful sci-fi serial not unlike Flash Gordon, but it might be worse. However, I was drawn to it for evoking a certain icon in the cover bumf (emphasis is mine):
Rocky Jones (Richard Crane) is a take-charge and well-meaning galactic trooper that has been elevated to cult status and made James T. Kirk possible a generation later.
So, I expect these to be worth the $6.02 paid (including taxes) as I figure at least three are watchable; the others can be wrapped and passed off by Secret Santa this year....

Card Catalog Project


Last week (and part of the week prior) I was tasked with an interesting project: to create a representation of our full card catalog (author-title, subject, and shelflist) using the one remaining cabinet (60 drawers) and the hodge-podge of cards which had been salvaged. I believe the cabinet will be used for a display.

The first part of the task was to ensure the cards in the drawers were in the right drawers and were in order. This meant reading a wonderful little type-written manual from 1972 on the rules of filing in a Canadian card catalog using the Library of Congress system.

Next task was to fill in the blanks. Some of this could be done by stretching drawers out (we had 3 drawersful of author-title cards starting with H but few starting with I-L). Some had to be pulled out of thin air (there were no subject cards for letters C-H so I had to create them from cards among the remaining author-title and shelflist cards).

Finally, all the drawers had to be numbered and labelled appropriately. Fun Fun Fun! Actually, I am pretty happy with the finished result, and there are far worse ways for a library-geek like me to spend several hours.

02 July 2005

Razer? Sharp as a sponge.

Razer is a new tv station in Canada. Owned by CHUM (who own Bravo!, Much Music, Much More Music, Space, SexTV and many other channels....). Apparently if you subscribe, it runs over MTV Canada. It doesn't seem to offer much that isn't available elsewhere -- reruns of Buffy and Dawson's Creek, plus some "extreme" sports, movies and music.

What really slays me though is it's slogan:
"Why experience life when you can watch it?"


I don't know where to start with what is wrong with these people.

01 July 2005

Happy Birthday, Canada.

Today is Canada Day (formerly known as "Dominion Day") and my country is out there drinking Canadian beer and trying to get a good seat to see fireworks. I think my country is content to pat itself on its back Pride-wise these days**, so I figure it's been a good year for Canada.

I would like to take a moment to shamelessly plug my Live by the Leaf Canadian-pride designs on Cafe Press. If you like them, please consider buying a t-shirt, mousepad, or -- heck -- even a thong. Or buy me one. :) (I could always hang the thong from our rear-veiw mirror. YEAH! Rockin'! A thong in a minivan.)

In the meantime, I'm off to see some things explode in the overcast night sky.

EDITED to add: here's what the fireworks looked like from the West Bay Walkway:

**cave-dwellers may want to do a Google News search for Bill C-38.

Mid-to-Late Thirties

OK. I am now definitely in my mid-to-late 30s. To celebrate, I had a day mostly to myself. Got up, had a lot of coffee, went out for brunch (ordered the "meat-lovers scramble" with toast instead of pancakes) at Denny's, then spent the afternoon shopping, walking, and browsing Downtown. I spent a grand total of $28.80 (plus a $25 gift certificate) in four stores and wandered through many more. I had expected to spend a bunch of time taking photos but took comparatively few. I did capture one in particular that amused me:


I'm not too good at actually reaching for goals I set myself. (You can see evidence at my 43things list; many of the items that should have been long ago completed -- like installing light fixtures in the hallway -- are still hanging around doing nothing while I procrastinate by blogging.) I think, though, that this would be a good time to set some concrete goals for the next year:

1. Lose more weight. (Want a number attached? How about another 25 lbs.)
2. Submit at least ONE manuscript for publication.
3. Install those goddamned light fixtures!

Having admitted that I suck at goal-reaching, I'd welcome encouragement and even nagging from any of you kind readers. Feel free to fling me an email as you see fit to check on my progress on these things or any of my other 43things. For the weight loss goal, you can also check my Fighting to Lose blog.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank you all for visiting and for the support over the past year -- as you know, it's been a bit bumpy.