28 August 2005

All things Grim(m)

1. We saw The Brothers Grimm on Friday evening. Hmmm. Not Gilliam's best work. What really irked me is that somewhere inside that film there was a Great Idea (TM) that never made it to the screen. Throughout the movie there were little "AHA!" moments where I thought, "Here's where it gets better!" but it didn't. There were also a few genuinely disturbing moments -- attempts at black humour that failed miserably. I don't think there is anyone I would recommend see the movie, and that can't be good.

2. Over the last few days hubby and I have been watching the final season of Six Feet Under and we watched the final episode last night. Considering how uneven the rest of the season was (and don't get me started about the last season), the final few episodes were an emotional wringer. I liked the way they wrapped it up... and now I can finally read all the articles and interviews I've been avoiding in fear of spoilers.

3. While I was still weepy-eyed from watching the series finale of Six Feet Under, I grabbed a magazine (Maisonneuve) and flipped it open at random and ended up reading "Lower Me Slowly, Sadly and Properly: Burying your own in the Crownsnest Pass," by Chris Koentges. It's an interesting article in an interesting magazine; parts of it echoed Six Feet Under, parts of it brought back memories of driving through Crowsnest Pass when I was fairly young. I remember feeling a real sense of foreboding and loss when I learned about the Frank Slide (we probably also drove by the Hope Slide earlier in the same roadtrip).

I don't know when I started really thinking about death as it could happen to me -- horrible, accidental, headline-making death -- but I do think about it all the time. It's what appeals to me about Six Feet Under, Dead Like Me, CSI, and all the other shows that showcase unexpected deaths. Few days go by that I don't imagine my own death and the aftermath -- will this be the day I trip down the stairs and land very wrong? Will some asshat run a red light and smash into the side of my van? Will I literally be hit by that bus? Will the elevator suddenly plummet into the shaft? As unlikely as these deaths might be, I still consider them. I used to be much more narcissistic about it, imagining headlines to go along with my death "Promising artist crushed in bizarre shopping mall incident"; "Local teacher mauled by cougar" and so on. Now I just worry about whether my will would hold up even though I haven't had it notarised yet (oh you know, I keep meaning to....) or whether my life insurance would be enough to cover everything....

26 August 2005

Placebo Effects

After 110 homeopathy trials and "an equal number of conventional medical trials" it's official: New study says homeopathic medicines don't work [Reuters UK].

What the study says is that any clinical effects of homeopathic treatments are no more significant than placebo effects. However, where the Lancet "urged doctors to tell their patients they were wasting their time taking homeopathic medicines," I would say instead doctors should consider "prescribing" homeopathic treatments for hypochondriacs.

Now I really want a Volvo*....

...or some other sturdy diesel vehicle, just so I can convert to using Biodiesel. The City of Victoria seems to be seriously embracing the concept with a pilot project in conjunction with several commercial fleets including BCTransit. Nifty.

If you haven't heard of it, biodiesel is created by refining fats and oils such as canola oil -- to remove glycerin which in turn can be used to make soap. In fact, if I had a garage, I might start making my own biodiesel (and soap).

25 August 2005

Tough Audience!

So, a teen rigged up his phone charger to a hamster wheel. Not terribly innovative, but impressive that it actually works (though I will bet his battery life is now compromized through shallow charging). Still, you'd think the teacher would mark him accordingly:

The teenage inventor was given a C for his project and has been awarded a D overall for the course.


24 August 2005

library overdues

OK. I am guilty of having overdue library books. Frequently.

At the campus library, we receive an overdue notice the day after something is due. This allows you to curse and take it back, and likely pay the fine. The public library however, is not so fast. Their policy states:

You will receive phone notification of an overdue item at 14 days and again at 28 days past the due date. The only exception to this time frame is when your material (videos, Fast Reads, Book Club Sets) is out for a short loan/ period and notification is given at 2 days past the due date.

I actually received notification last night, when my items were 7 days overdue. I thought that was HORRIBLE service, but I now see it could be worse. In the end I had at least 6 books a week overdue at 30 cents per day. Ugh. Kiddo also had 4 books overdue, but hers are charged at 10 cents per day. Guess I won't be borrowing books for a while.

22 August 2005


One of my coworkers mentioned that her neighbour had an apple tree which was overflowing.... so we went over after work to relieve the tree of some apples. Actually, a lot of apples. The haul mostly filled our 50 qt. cooler. Wow.

With some help from hubby's family we moved into assembly-line rinsing, grading, peeling and chopping of the apples, then made 5 pies(!!) and we still have about 10 lbs of apples to eat (his family kept half) plus another 6 or 7 lbs of bruised and dented apples for applesauce.

Although after all that... I'm not sure I want to see an apple for a few days.

RIP, Robert Moog

Without Bob Moog, I might never have danced. An exaggeration, of course, but Bob Moog essentially created the synthesizer, the instrument which was at the root of the euro-pop and dance-pop trends of the mid-80s.

Electronic music pioneer Moog dies at 71 [Reuters.co.uk].

What we have here....

... is a failure to communicate.

Once in a while I see something that strikes me as rather contrary to common sense. This is one of those things.

On August 8th and 9th we had the windows cleaned in the building where I work. Specialists, with with all the equipment needed to clean the outside of a four storey building, were hired and paid on contract.

On August 17th, another set of contractors showed up and began the task of replacing all the windows on the 2nd and 3rd floors with seismically-graded glass.

Now I ask you: if you were having your car towed for scrap, would you pay someone to wash and wax it?

21 August 2005

Blackberries, Beaches, and Book-avoidance.

So. No writing this week. I spent most of my prime writing time seething over the webtheft incident, trying to decide whether setting bags of dogpoop on fire was cliche. I did find some interesting info, though and dug out the outline, so I have a better road map.

Yesterday, we picked some yummy blackberries, most of which I have flash-frozen for later use. I can't believe that something which grows as a weed beside most roads around here sells for $5 per pint. Luckily we have bushes alongside our parking lot, and a ladder with which to reach he higher branches.

Today, we drove out to French Beach Provincial Park with my Mom. I forgot how incredibly freaking windy it gets on the west coast of the Island -- so even though it was 25 degrees out, the wind made it feel like about 6 degrees. Still, we managed to find one sheltered picnic table to eat lunch, then we wandered out to the beach. It is one of my favourite parts of the planet, and I consider myself lucky to live only a 60 minute drive away.

french_beach_1 :: french_beach_2 :: barbarian_castle

That third photo is the "Barbarian Castle" that the kiddo created with a little help from her Granny.

19 August 2005

Sometimes, complaining gets results.

Last week, I phoned in an order for pickup at one location of a national Pizza franchise. Long story short, the staff thought maybe I meant to call another location, and they transferred my order to the location nearest my workplace (the number on their call display). Yeah, thanks. I am a complete moron. I didn't know what I was thinking, phoning the place I was actually going. Idiots.

They re-did my order, and I really didn't see the point in explaining to the brain trust exactly where he went wrong. I waited the 20 minutes and went on my way.

On Monday, I wrote a letter which I faxed to the franchise owner.

Today, I received a letter stating that the confusion was "totally unacceptable" and the matter was "obviously something that needs to be adressed. " Along with the letter was a certificate for one pizza. I'd have been OK with just the letter and an assurance that procedures would be clarified for staff. However, considering the other battle I started week, the free pizza will be nice.

18 August 2005

North Studio CEO Steals Content

Here's the condescending response I got (see previous post for further details):

Frankly Cheryl I think you take yourself just a tad too serious.

I alone take full responsibility for the content that is and has been on this page for numerous years now and if you have an issue with that then you can pursue whatever options you think you may have.

I practiced law for 20 years and if you can convince a court that you have copyright over those 2 sentences of fact then I'll be happy to pay you court-ordered costs and damages.

Good luck :-)

Dieter Gerhard, LL.B.
President & CEO www.northStudio.com Inc.
301 - 771 Vernon Avenue
Victoria, B.C. V8X 5A7

Telephone: 250-721-9991
e-mail: dieter@northStudio.com

I guess he is such a busy lawyer that he has no choice but to STEAL web content.

Local Web Studio Steals Content

I am steaming right now.

Suffice to say, some local "web developers" who shall remain unnamed (read more about their stellar services here -- it doesn't mention any names, but it sure sounds like their m.o.) has lifted one of my restaurant reviews word for word (albeit from an older version of my review page) and placed it on a client's page.

I am not sure exactly what I am going to do next, but it will likely start with a strongly worded letter.


EDIT: [40 minutes later] I have removed the company's name (though it won't take a private eye to figure it out). I will add it back if they do not ammend the page as I requested (either remove the review or credit me appropriately) in the letter I have just sent to the company (a generic "team@" email), the CEO (who actually built the original version of the page that stole the content back in April 2001!!!), and the client.

It may only be a few words, but they are my words. And you can bet I will be checking all the other sites under their umbrella for other transgressions.

17 August 2005

Brilliant Counterculture?

.... or sophomoric prank? Either way, it caught my eye. Avant Game: the ministry of reshelving

4. Discreetly move all copies of 1984 to a more suitable section, such as "Current Events", "Politics", "History", "True Crime", or "New Non-Fiction."

Yes, this may well piss off library or bookstore staff... but really, people move, abandon or misshelve books all the time. What's a few more?

16 August 2005

Digital Rain Dance

Ahhhhh. Came out of the movie theatre tonight* and was greeted by seriously windy weather. Even before we pulled into the supermarket to grab some coffee for the morning, there was a spattering of rain on the windshield. Here's the outlook for tonight and tomorrow...

Tuesday Evening: Cloudy. Periods of rain beginning this evening. Windy near Juan de Fuca strait. Low 15.

Wednesday: Periods of rain ending late in the morning then cloudy with sunny periods and 40 percent chance of showers. High 21. UV index 5 or moderate.


*We saw
Broken Flowers. Mathematical review:
(Bill Murray + age - Japan) x Jim Jarmusch/strong supporting cast = Oscar Nomination.

15 August 2005

Hot Hot Hot

OK, I live in Victoria because it's mild. It seldom snows, and rarely gets above 20 degrees Celsius (about 70 degrees Fahrenheit) for more than a few days. Well, the last rain we saw around these parts was about 2.5 mm (less than 1/8th of an inch) back on July 17th, That's pushing a MONTH and I've had it. I should note that during the same period the daytime temperatures have ranged from 22-32 degrees celsius. Bear in mind, too, that my workplace is NOT air conditioned.

I'm getting pretty grumpy right about now and it took a lot of self control not to upend my mug of fresh scalding coffee on one or both of the women who had this exchange in front of me in the cafeteria:

"Lovely weather,"
"Oh yes! I wish it would stay like this until Christmas, and then warm up!"
"Ha ha ha"
"Hee hee hee"

My inner voice was yelling, "Perhaps the fiery pits of Hell would suit you???"

GAH!! Maybe I was an amphibian in a past life.

damned earworms.

Thanks to the kiddo and her request for "something that's not news" this morning, I just realized I was singing the new Blue's Clues tv theme (the one with Joe, not the classic one with Steve). GAH!

So I plugged into my Psyc and am now listening to some 80s tunes (currently the Style Council). Ahhhhh.

13 August 2005

Get off my planet, you waste of air!

Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham recently admitted 'I have never read a book' [Yahoo! Music UK & Ireland].

What a stupid cow.


By day, Katy Towell is a web and graphic designer with an impressive portfolio. She lives (or at least receives mail) in the sunny region of Valencia, California. Maybe it's all that sun that drives her to create the beautiful dark and creepy characters that populate childrin r skary.

Emmeline is the sad and lonely star of "The Little Girl Who Was Forgotten By Absolutely Everyone (Even the Postman)" (thanks to Sarcasmo for finding the film). Emmeline may remind you of other sad little goth girls (like Lenore or Emily the Strange) but the story is on par with Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies or the characters in Tim Burton's Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy.

11 August 2005

The Library [Bar]

The Library promises Booze Books and B-Movies.

OK, I have one word:


[You doubt me? Look at this ad/wallpaper. It features two softcore porn fantasy librarians. Too funny.]

10 August 2005

Clever, but simple.

Saw Sky High with the family tonight... I've seen much worse. It is a Disney film, and viewers should expect a Disney film: light, clever but not too clever, colourful, and comes complete with a Happy Ending (TM). Alas, it also did not take x-ray vision to see where the film was going, who was on which side, or what the climax would have to be. Luckily, the cast included Dave Foley, Kevin MacDonald, and Bruce Campbell (=swoon=) [...and while I wouldn't want to be seen as a cougar, the kid playing Warren Peace was easy on they eyes and then some. Rowr!]

I love this stuff!

I first found emme Instant Rice at Liquidation World (I kid you not). I bought two packages to try and then went on quite a quest to find them again, locally (with no success -- though I did find them in Richmond, BC at Osaka Market). Now that I know who makes them, perhaps I can convince someone here to import them.

Really, they are marvellous; about 400 calories each and maybe a bit higher in sodium than would be ideal, but oh SO tasty! All you need to add is boiling water -- they even come with a little spoon inside! The package says that the contents can be kept warm for 30 minutes, but I haven't been able to test that yet.

09 August 2005

Something's Afoot at the Local Denny's

So today, the family trekked off to Denny's for brunch (my Mom and Aunt share a birthday so we took advantage of Denny's free birthday meal offer). Well, the service was slow, and somehow got even slower. When I got up to use the washroom I found out why... all the staff were filling out bright yellow "Witness Statement" police forms and there were several officers hovering around the cash and entrance.

Curious, I tried to gaugue what was going on... I got bupkuss. Hubby left before we did and called me from the parking lot to say there were several police cruisers and a van; they had an evidence kit out near the front desk where someone was muttering about junkies, and the local news station had just pulled up with a camera crew.

From this I guessed someone had waved a needle at their waitress or cashier and bolted. I considered that it may have involved someone shooting up in the washroom (though the women's washroom had seemed clean when I used it, we had no report on the men's).

Watching the news later they had a short report: "A man burst into the Denny's restaurant brandishing a syringe and demanding the money. He escaped on a bicycle with an undisclosed sum of cash. A suspect was apprehended a short time later."

So, somehow by being seated at the back of the restaurant we missed all the excitement, and the only hint that anything had happened was that the service was a bit slower than usual. Only a bit. This may actually be a testament to Denny's staff.

08 August 2005

Richmond Rumba

Sunday morning we stumbled into the van at 6:30 a.m. and headed for the ferry terminal, bound for a day o' shopping on the Mainland. The ferry seemed to be cruising at a fairly high speed, and a few minutes before we were due at Tsawassen, we found out why: they were going to turn and stop the ferry in order to do a "man overboard" drill. I happened to snap a photo when they were preparing to go -- before the announcement had been made -- we headed for the van anyway, and watched from the car deck as the rescue boat dropped.

drillprep - drill2 - drill4

We swooped into Shaughnessy to gather hubby's family (they'd been vacationing a couple of days) and then circled back to Richmond. We hit the usual places (Aberdeen Mall, Yaohan Centre, and of course IKEA) then bolted for the ferry again ... we got to the terminal at 5:55 and were told we had a "small chance" of making the 7:00, but more likely the 8:00. Grrr.

aberdeen_fountain1 - massey3 - last_vehicle

Turns out we made it on board -- second to last vehicle loaded but the furthest back (the net was right behind us) so we got to watch as they raised the ramp and closed those biiiig bay doors. TRIVIA ALERT: for those of you who watch the current incarnation of Battlestar Galactica, they use BC Ferry vehicle decks as the set for the Viper hangars.

yam_plant - bigfatsquash - young corn

Today was a hang day... I spent a lot of time updating my Unofficial Guide to Victoria (fixed some missing include files and updated the attractions list) and some time out in the garden. Tonight has been spent catching up on episodes of Buffy (almost done Season 1) and Carnivale (final two of Season 2). Tomorrow is my Mom's birthday -- so I'm out with her for lunch and shopping -- then it's back to work on Wednesday.

06 August 2005

I know that face...

I realized recently that I have been confusing Joey Slotnick with Paul Giamatti.

Up until Sideways blew outa the water, both actors were working, but buried in small character roles. Both actors are in the "Hey, it's that guy" section of Fametracker [Giamatti; Slotnick]. Both have common first names and distinctive last names; both have similar facial features and hairlines.


This has me thinking... how many other actors am I combining?

05 August 2005

My Blog Hero!

Keith Milford is my hero! (I say that in exactly the tone Cameron uses in Ferris Bueller, though I actually mean it a bit more seriously). Keith has several blogs. They all rock.

Deviled Ham
Malls of America
Old Haunts
Santa and Me!

Most of the posts are scanned ephemera from the 1950s-1980s on the subjects of satan, malls, Halloween and Santa, respectively.

Seriously, though, this guy could be looking through my own postcard cache.... and a lot of his links are already in my bookmarks. Now that I think about it, that's kinda creepy.

Mirror Mirror on the Web....

Do you read me?

If you read me on a regular/semi regular basis, leave me a comment and let me know.

Then post this in your journal and find out who reads you!

[yes, this is a small cry for attention... but I answered this on Feanor and Poppy's Journal, so I was "required" to post it here.]

Jack & Sally

From Coffin It Up [Custom Coffins, Coffin Furniture, and Coffin Jewelry] comes the Jack & Sally Wedding Cake Serving Set a one-of-a-kind creation; the handles for the knife and server were carved from Obsidian to resemble Jack and Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas; then a custom glass-topped coffin was designed to hold the utensils.

Simply amazing craftsmanship.

04 August 2005


While I was waiting to pay for my morning coffee the other day, there were three students ahead of me. My guess, they are education students; they were discussing separation anxiety among preschoolers. This led to the following exchange:

Student A: "I dunno what all the fuss is about. I mean, I loved kindergarten. I loved the Flintstone phone we had."
Student B:"Flintstone phone? Obviously you went to the rich kids' kindergarten. We had rocks."
Student C:"Rocks? I wish we had rocks. We had broken glass"

wait a beat

... and the clerk says, "Yeah, well we had to break our own glass."

Now probably one of you is going to comment that this is a quote from some movie I haven't seen or some classic comedy act from 1930s radio.... but even if it is, the delivery was perfect and it put a big grin on my face.

03 August 2005

coffee lust

I spent most of the day at work sorting and itemizing all the damaged and brittle serials in need of repair. My work area now looks like a duststorm passed through, scattered with dried brittle elastic bands and shards of paper and leather binding.

In amongst the battered and broken volumes I found a few gems, but my favourite was this issue of Cosmopolitan (February 1913); the woman on the cover is suffering serious coffee lust.


I know that feeling well. Mmmmm coffee... that's what I'm talking about.

And if classic cover art is your bag of beans, head over to the cover art gallery at the Ellis Parker Butler Reading Room; you can see more Cosmo covers at Miskatonic University Library.

02 August 2005

five things that make me happy:

1. Walking alone in shaded woods or gardens.
2. The sound of moving water in nature (ocean waves; streams and rivers; winter runoff or waterfalls).
3. Observing nature, with or without a camera in hand.
4. Finding something “hidden” in plain view.
5. Identifying plants, bugs, and animals.

Missing Person....

I actually know Elli, though I haven't seen her in years. I met her through LETS; she was one of the founding members I think (or at least an early adopter). She is definitely a "free spirit" so perhaps she is just on a walkabout. In case anyone wants details:
Help Needed in Search for Missing Person - Humanitarian Elli Boisvert.

This is the second Victoria-area person I've known who went missing. The first was Norman Crumrine, whom I tutored in highschool. His body was finally found many months after his disappearance.

Feeling a bit creeped out today.

01 August 2005

geeky procrastination

Because there are more pressing things I should be doing (I know, Suzette! I know I should be writing.), I have instead passed the last two days reading, lounging about, wandering the Island (we did a road trip to Nanaimo today) and otherwise "dogging it."

Tonight I thought I would take a stab at making a "clear desktop" -- basically a photo of what is behind the computer screen saved as the desktop so it seems like you can see right through. As you can see, I need to tweak things a bit (notably the colour to compensate for the bluish tones of the LCD screen), but it's a start.


To see the masters at work, check out this Flickr group of Transparent Screens.