31 October 2005
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.
30 October 2005
For next year, I may try to makeScaredy 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.]
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. :)
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 PRINCES SNOW WHITE 18"PORCELAIN BRASS KEY DOLL
- DISNEY "PINCESS" PIN-JASMINE, ARIEL & BELLE
- Disney Princesss - Dancing Cinderella - New
- DISNEY PRINESS ROUND LUNCHBOX/LUNCH BAG UNUSUAL STYLE
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
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
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.
26 October 2005
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?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.
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
25 October 2005
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).
24 October 2005
In writing the review, I tracked down Grimly's website: MadCreator.com, itself a fun feast for the eyes. His list of influences is varied and yet I found myself ticking them off one by one, "yes, yes, naturally, of course, yes, yes..." I was familiar with or a fan of the work of all his influences (aside from a few which I will now research!), hence it is no surprise I am now a Grimly fan.
Once I get the Poe book, I will start tracking down other books Grimly has written and illustrated.
On a slight tangent, I must get a copy of Ray Harryhausen: The Early Years two-disc set! This guy is an animation pioneer/super-hero and he's still around to host a retrospective!
22 October 2005
This prompted me to start flinging things out of the storage area with extreme prejudice. Then we piled about eight boxes plus a non-working portable air conditioner and other bulky items into the van and happily donated them to Value Village. Some of the things we turfed have been following us around for 7 or 8 years or more.... it felt good to turf.
Also removed from the storage area: one chair with loose dowelling (needed re-gluing); one box of two matching light fixtures (purchased last year to replace those in the upstairs hallway); one u.f.o. (unfinished object -- slipcovers for the ottomans in the living room). You'll be happy to know I glued the chair and finally installed the damn light fixtures. They look sweet.
I hope to finish the slipcovers tomorrow -- they are not going back into the storage area and neither is my sewing machine until they're done!
I spent about 4 1/2 hours (mostly last night, plus some finishing this morning) and viola! She happily tried on the costume (somewhat large this year, but maybe she can get two years out of the same costume) this morning and posed for me.
More photos of the progress (plus a full-length picture of kiddo as Sally) on my Flickr page. (In case you are curious, I wasn't working from a pattern, I just "wung" it from the doll.)
While I was madly sewing away, I watched The Terror and Night of the Living Dead; conveniently pacakged together on one DVD in all their B-level goodness.
21 October 2005
Mr. Floatie, a community activist who dresses up in a feces costume to decry the pumping of raw sewage into the waters off British Columbia's capital, has withdrawn his name as a candidate for mayor.
Now who am I going to vote for, dammit?
So I explained what a cake walk is today. It's a carnival/fun-fair favourite, especially in schools. Like musical chairs, participants walk around a circle of numbers and when the music stops, they stop on a number. The caller then pulls out a number from a hat or spins a wheel and the participant standing on that number wins a cake (usually donated by parents or volunteers).
Then, being a history geek, I did a websearch for cake + walk + history, and I saw some interesting/disturbing things.
I started to see a number of pages about the cake walk as a plantation dance event where slaves got to mock their masters in elaborate dances that poked fun at the upper classes.
Some of the better plantation owners would bake a cake on Sundays and invite the neighbors over and have a contest of the slaves, different prizes were given but originally it was a cake and whichever slave won, would get the cake... thus the term "That Takes The Cake!" (Plus others such as 'It's a Cakewalk' = very easy) and the name "Cakewalk" was now set.The music used for the cakewalks eventually evolved into Ragtime but in it's minstrel show heyday, even Debussy got into the act with the insultingly-titled Golliwogg's cake walk. (Oh, Debussy, how could you?)
Now, I was sure this was a Commonwealth game (I'm sure I took part in a cake walk in the U.K.) but perhaps it is American. I have also had trouble finding how or if this cakewalk is connected to the carnival cake walk. Perhaps it isn't but I will continue researching; I suspect I will have to research carnival games... I'll keep you all informed.
This week, he has taken away the email address because, "although many of you sent in some really nice pics and insightful, fun emails some of you decided to send vulgar, nasty, frightening messages and images."
Now my guess is that the email address was not spam-altered (I don't remember exactly and he has removed the original post) and he got some scary pr0n and/or some anonymous trolls (we all know how un-friendly trolls can get).
I never did get to send in my photo of our fridge.
20 October 2005
Last night we threw everything into chaos when hubby and I decided we actually did want to go to Cinecenta to see 2046. (Turns out that was a mistake.)
Today things generally went as planned, but that include kiddo's Fall Fun Fair at school (since she is in an independent school, she's not affected by the current BCTF dispute) which, if you've ever been to a kids' fun fair in a school you'll know, included plenty of chaos.
With some beginners' luck, kiddo won a cake in the cake walk -- first try! She also tried her hand at bowling, ring toss, pin the nose on the pumpkin, got her face painted, and took a turn in the "fashion forum" -- a big dress-up tent with a runway at the end.Now she is sleeping peacefully (after chowing down a big hunk of the cake walk winnings) and I have been half-watching CSI, catching up on blogging, news, email, and enjoying a very big mug of decaf.
CALM... Tomorrow is a day off -- kiddo has a day off school too -- so the plan is a lazy morning followed by some Halloween costume shopping. Kiddo wants to be Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas! Can you believe it? Teee Heee! I haven't yet decided what I want to be. Hubby will be working on his costume this weekend.
18 October 2005
17 October 2005
This morning, general chaos ensued. Pickets went up around BC Transit garages which effectively left 90,000 people stranded and unable to easily get to work -- including me. However, since I knew there was going to be pickets around campus, I felt it was pointless to go out of my way trying to get to work (I could have walked in about 90 minutes or so if it were really neccessary).
Instead, I have been protesting digitally.
I spent a chunk of the morning listening to and emailing local talk-radio shows. I also emailed the Premier and several MLAs and Ministers. Now I am watching television coverage, inclduding Premier Campbell's news conference where he said, "I don't think it's hardline to say that every citizen should obey the law."
What??? This is the same man who, in 2003, was arrested for driving under the influence while on vacation in Maui. At the time of his arrest, his blood alcohol level was 0.149, nearly double the legal limit of 0.08.
Did he admit wrongdoing? Yep.
Did he step down as leader? Nope.
Did he obey the law? No fucking way.
As I type, there are thousands of British Columbians gathering on the lawns of the BC Legislature (pdf flyer for the event); a sea of umbreallas in the pouring rain, likely creating a mud-pit out of the carefully manicured Legislature lawn while listening to teachers, labour leaders and politicians talk about the way Bill 12 undermines not only teachers but also the entire labour movement in BC.
Will they get their point across? Maybe.
Will they piss off the Premier? Maybe.
Will he change his mind? No fucking way.
The Liberal government is refusing to repeal Bill 12. They say they will go back to the table after the teachers cease their action. Like kids in a sandbox, each side is kicking sand at the other, and a crowd is growing. Not one to be part of the crowd, I will instead blog and comment and email and complain as loud and as often as I can.
16 October 2005
You'll be glad to know I didn't stab myself in the eyes or ears, but that's not to say I wasn't tempted. I am all for having Canadian-produced television (yeah, I've ranted about that too) but this effort looks really amateur. Here's what I found most frustrating:
1. Victoria manages to put on some really good theatrical productions, so in theory, there should be a great group of actors to draw from. Of course maybe some stage actors can't act as well when they are on camera... or maybe they hired from the film star wannabe pool. A couple of the actors held their ground and delivered the lines as best they could; most though, were alarmingly wooden.
2. Considering the number of musicians in Victoria ranging from professionals to buskers, why oh why couldn't the producers find someone to add a few notes of incidental music on the soundtrack? They made a big deal out of finding a theme song so why not spring for some background music?
3. I realize that the crew is still finding its footing, but there were some serious errors in blocking and direction -- unless they were trying to be edgy, in which case, they failed.
The pilots are running on Shaw TV (local cable 11) locally and on KVOS, out of Bellingham later in November. Episode 2 airs next weekend and I'll be taping it so I can analyze it more accurately. Stay tuned, I guess.
15 October 2005
Since the bike can't go over 30 Km/h, no license is currently required, and you can use bike lanes and follow cyclist rules of the road. Sure it isn't the prettiest cycle out there (if I wanted a pretty ride, I'd go after a Vespa or something similar), but at about CDN$1000 it would do what I needed -- i.e. get me to work and home again.
These are some of the cutest cars ever. They rival the Smart Car (currently selling by the boatload around here) and Robin Reliant (Reliant Robin?) which I spent more time than I'd like inside toodling around the British countryside. (Actually, in a model almost exactly like this blue 1973 Reliant Super Robin)
Lots more photos on Flickr [tagged as microcar] if you are interested (I found out about the Museum from spacegrrl)
13 October 2005
Might be better than another Broadway production with Rosie O'Donnell.
12 October 2005
11 October 2005
Personally, I think it may be because most Canadians have no faith in their political leaders and therefore assume that they are all crooked liars. We aren't surprised by scandals -- especially at the federal level (which the article seems to emphasize) -- so why would we consider it blog-worthy?
10 October 2005
I will spare you the photo of the lovely turkey or the photo of the turkey carcass once stripped of all its meaty goodness (it's not because I don't think you'd like to see them, I just got so carried away with the Thanksgiving feasting that my camera stayed on the shelf. I did snap a photo of the table before everyone settled in to eat. If you look closely, you'll see the placecards kiddo wrote -- she's been writing and spelling up a storm!
The thing I am most thankful for? A hubby who can cook a HUGE holiday meal and does so willingly. Even making pecan pie for dessert. Mmmmmm.
Now I'm off to plow through more of American Gods.
And consider the fact that I have to go back to work tomorrow.
09 October 2005
I spent the large part of the day looking through the many lovely background tiles at Citrusmoon before settling on the sedonia tile you see here.
I was looking for something a touch more feminine without being overtly floral or pink (I was dangerously close to using one of the hot pink/orange tiles in her collection) and I think sedonia 1 is a nice compromise. I also changed the border colour by using the VisiBone Webmaster Color Lab (one of my most favourite web tools!).
So... now that I have accomplished so very little... it's time to clean kiddo's disaster zone before turkey dinner tomorrow.
07 October 2005
All settled then? Good.
We saw Serenity on Wednesday evening. From the opening scenes to the closing credits I was engaged -- even cursed my bladder as I had to leave the room for a few moments (I chose a battle sequence) -- and that doesn't happen often. Usually, it's easy for my brain to drift off and look at the little details like costume or set design, or consider the choreography of a fight sequence, or dissect the special effects. That did not happen with Serenity which instead provided me with a rollercoaster plot that travelled along unexpected routes that still felt deeply familiar.
It is that familiarity, ultimately, that makes Serenity (and Firefly before it) so much more than a sci-fi film. Yes, there are spaceships and pulse weapons and multiple planets, but the universe is populated by humans who fled Earth. There is sin and salvation; heartbreak and hope; passion, betrayal and commitment. In short, Serenity is full of emotion -- surprisingly so for a movie that is also filled with some pretty graphic violence and space battles.
And while I am on the topic of the violence and fighting, there is plenty; it's well choreographed, and supported by some good special effects. Yes, some of it looks a bit cheesy, but that's part of the charm; there's a little bit of an old-time serial feel to the series that is echoed in the film.
The film plot ties up loose ends from the series (in a lot of ways, I think it's Whedon's "thank you" to the fans) and while I don't think one would neccessarily need to see the series -- the movie could stand on its own -- most of the characters' backgrounds are glossed over in the film, so the aforementioned emotion might not be as pronounced to those who haven't seen it.
Firefly has a huge, dedicated fan base (called Browncoats, after the Independents who fought against the Alliance) who mobilized to try and save the show from cancellation and again to promote Serenity. It worked -- Serenity had a US$10M opening weekend. I'm not sure I am as zealous a fan of Firefly or of Joss Whedon (who has his own legions of fans, some of whom happen to be Browncoats), but I am certainly going to buy Serenity when it is available on DVD.
[And, when I see it a second time, I'm sure I will pay more attention to the effects, costumes, and choreography.]
If you are curious, hubby also wrote a review, over on the Medianook.
Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Marilee McInnis said several passengers complained about the shirt.
Heasley, 32, a lumber saleswoman, said passengers began complaining after she and her husband, Ron, moved to the front of the cabin in Reno.
She agreed to cover the words with a sweatshirt, but when the sweatshirt slipped while she was trying to sleep, she was ordered to wear her T-shirt inside-out or leave.
06 October 2005
It's endorsed by Rush Limbaugh.
Yeah, I'm a little scared.
The rest of the speech, reading, and Q&A were just as pleasant, funny and entertaining; there was much applause and laughter from the full (but not packed) house at the Alix Goolden Hall last night. When asked what other job he might do, if not writing, he considered perhaps a job that didn't exist, "Freelance Religion Designer," an answer which garnered some of the biggest laughs of the evening.
When Gaiman was done reading, and everyone lined up for the signing part of the evening, hubby and I looked at our watches and realized that since we had nothing we needed to be signed, we had enough time to zip across town to see the late showing of Serenity, so we did just that.
Lemme tell ya, that late show was one of the most pleasant moviegoing experiences I've had in a long time. Here's why:
1. The movie itself was great (review will follow soon).
2. The theatre was virtually empty -- we were able to sit in the middle of the theatre with no one too close to us. By the time the lights went down, I'd guess there were fewer than 25 people in the audience.
3. The pre-show ads/trivia/soundtrack was not running (hubby thought that the show might be satellite-delivered from Ontario so, since it was after midnight there, no show was running on the west coast).
4. We used a 2-for-1 ticket so our cost was $9.95 (plus the overpriced coffees we purchased, at $3 each, but at least we didn't buy popcorn).
So, yes, my brain was well-exercised last night, I felt all literate and in-on-the-in-jokes by the time we got home (at which point, we turned on The Daily Show, just to keep the brain in motion a leeeetle longer).
By the way, if you missed the Time Magazine interview with Gaiman and Whedon, you should stop reading my silly blog and go read it instead.
05 October 2005
Naturally, these police tools are not available for you and me to use, but Ultimate Flash Face v0.42b (UFF.42) will give you the experience you crave. Unfortunately, UFF does not allow the user to move eyes closer together or further apart and there aren't too many choices for some features (glasses, especially were wildly out of style, with only one small-frame pair to select). Still, here's what I came up with (compared to me, on the right):
Which is not that great (the eyebrows are really wrong and the spacing of my features is off just enough to be creepy rather than accurate) but, if it was on a wanted poster, you might be able to identify me. Feel free to play around with UFF, and if you get a better wanted shot of me, please *don't* save it to their server, but do send me a copy or post it in the comments.
04 October 2005
After that, hubby went out to workout, but the van had other ideas. He came back half an hour later and a few dollars lighter for a litre of oil and several (eep!) litres of water. I also added engine coolant later. Needless to say, the van is running hot and needs some serious TLC. I hope it's not too costly; we're taking it in first thing tomorrow morning.
We decided to still go out for lunch after dropping kiddo at school, and settled on Pagliacci's. I hadn't been in ages, but it hadn't changed any -- still elbow to elbow with the other tables, and the bread is still the best in Victoria. (The food is pretty good too!)
After lunch we wandered around town for a while, including a brief wander through the Empress where I found something NEW (well, not exactly new, but something I didn't know existed) -- the "Empress Archives." Really, it's just a little alcove in the basement level with some framed postcards and menus plus display cases with hotel and Canadian Pacific memorabilia. Still, pretty cool [pictured below is an old Guest Book].
We also tried some gelato (green tea for him, strawberry cheesecake for me) from Oh!Gelato on Government (yummy, but the portions are waaay too large).
A bit more wandering (hardware store for home reno fact-finding; and the mall) and then we picked up kiddo and headed home for a huge sushi feast care of (you guessed it) hubby. I sure do love him. :)
Resistance is futile.
The founding members of the OCA include Yahoo, Adobe, the Internet Archive, the European Archive, Prelinger Archives, H-P Labs, the U.K.'s National Archives, O'Reilly Media Inc, the University of California and the University of Toronto.
The universities will provide the initial content, while Yahoo will power the search engine, and along with Adobe and H-P Labs will provide technology. [from MarketWatch]
03 October 2005
For the record, I've kissed a few smokers and it's NOT THAT BAD.
I understand the whole anti-smoking thing, and I know they are trying to get the attention of youth by using a faux-retro stop-animation style and big anime-eyed dolls. I don't understand the need for hysterical hyperbole.
I am absolutely disgusted by these PSAs and angry with KCPQ for running them so early. I have a strong stomach; I can appreciate gore for the sake of gore but its place is not in the middle of a Simpsons rerun.
Now, a few years ago, hubby and I considered starting a business of helping people create inventories for insurance purposes. The article gets a lot of things right though, and basically the author suggests using a flash drive for the most important items (we were using CD-Rs), and he tells you what those items should be.
In Victoria, we are always worrying about the Big One -- the earthquake that plunges a chunk of the city into the sea and brings devastation to the region. Other areas are worried about flooding, tornados, monsoons, whatever Ma Nature has to offer. But smaller than that are house fires, landslides, localized floods, or even something as random as a truck going off the road and into your living room. Crap happens all the time, and people who are prepared will have one less thing to worry about.
Excuse me now, while I go rotate our emergency supplies and update our inventory lists....
02 October 2005
Now, it appears I missed one of Starbucks' manouvers below the border: Hear Music -- Starbucks' entry into music retail and satellite radio. [This happened in 1999, and now I think about it, it does explain all the coffee-bar-CD sales... guess I was sleeping. Meh.] Anyway, now it appears they want to open a Hear Music outlet in Toronto [link to Newsday story].
Canada has set its culture police to the task of ensuring "adequate Canadian content." Really? We're still worried about CanCon in 2005? I mean, Hear Music includes music bars where patrons can pick and choose and burn custom CDs -- and they are worried about CanCon? Canadian artists are all over the Billboard charts. and they have been for years. Music is not the area Canada needs to worry about.
TV? Now there, we have an issue. Sure Canada puts out some quality shows (a few less right now since the CBC is still in negotiation deadlock), but most get buried beneath mountains of crappy sitcoms and weak dramas, to say nothing of "reality" TV. CTV is climbing all over itself to run so many US-imports this season that its primetime blocks are starting at 7 p.m.
I'm all for Canada having a distinct culture, but someone ought to tell the government how to pick their battles.
01 October 2005
Took a few photos along the way -- notably of some paragliders coming in for landings at Clover point -- beautiful windy night for it, too.