30 November 2005
That won't be the end of the Christmas baking, of course. Kiddo needs to bring 2 dozen cookies in for a cookie exchange on Monday and I need to bring in a few dozen for the Libraries Christmas Tea on Tuesday. Guess what I'm doing on Sunday?
Since it's December 1 tomorrow, that means that tonight, I have to dig out the advent wall-hanging I made for kiddo a few years ago, plus we need to put together the Playmobil advent calendar that kiddo received in the mail yesterday from hubby's boss (yeah, he works for a pretty amazing company). While I'm digging in the storage room, I will probably haul out all the other Christmas decorations, and the tree will be going up this weekend.
I'm looking at the December calendar at work and there are only three days between now and December 19th with no "events" booked... I suspect those will fill soon! And, as if my life weren't busy enough... there is a job posting that is beckoning me... even though I am perfectly happy in my current position.... the new posting is temporary (until mid-May) and much higher pay... so I am waffling. The competition closes on December 8th; I've already warned my boss. We'll see.
So... is everybody finished their Christmas shopping?
28 November 2005
Read more (and see pictures):
The Virginia Quarterly Review - Good Light
Foley Gallery - Thomas Allen, Uncovered
Augsberg College - Cover to Cover
Allen is a fine art instructor at Augsberg College.
27 November 2005
Last night I was preparing my stash of Cuppa Joe Cozies for the upcoming craft fair at the library (very informal gig...). I've priced them at $3.50-$4.00 -- hopefully that is a selling price, but somehow, I doubt it (my coworkers are underpaid and crafty.... so they get "ideas" from the sale... but knowing this, I am also going to offer the pattern for 25 cents. Ha!).
Today, kiddo went out with her Nana to see the Festival of Trees at the Empress so hubby and I took some time to meander through town.
Our day included Dim Sum at Don Mee's and a leisurely wander through Chinatown, visits with the owners of Solstice Cafe and also Annabelle's Books (all folks we know), and some unhindered window shopping in Curious Comics (they had only one remaining Corpse Bride figure -- more stock promised Wednesday -- and some very cool MacFarlane Wallace & Grommit figs), Snowden's books, and A&B Sound (who had none of the items I went looking for... and my Visa was just a-waiting for a charge! Their loss). Ahhhhhhh.
Look, pretty fishies! [From the tank at Don Mee's]:
26 November 2005
CBC News: Prosperous B.C. has grim child-poverty record
Citing data from Statistics Canada, the BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition says 23.9 per cent of B.C. children were in households living below the federal agency's low-income cutoffs for 2003, the latest year for which figures are available.
That compares with a national average of 17.6 per cent...
To give you an idea of what kind of figures the report draws from, the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) for a 3-person household in Victoria for 2003 was $30,552. The LICO varies depending on the population of the area where the household is living. Basically, if a family is spending more than 54.3% of its income on food, clothing and shelter, they are classified as being below the poverty line.
My guess is that the biggest reason for BC being in this position is our outrageous housing prices. In the time that hubby and I have been together, we have watched starter home prices climb from about $190,000 to $300,000 and more. Rents have also risen correspondingly.
I can also tell you that in the past five years, we have dipped below that line at least once, but thanks to friends and family and some creative frugality on our part we made it through. Our credit kinda sucks, but these are the high costs of living in "Beautiful B.C." I guess.
**For more info: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coallition Poverty Fact Sheet, 2005 (PDF).
25 November 2005
Anyway... yesterday I started feeling human again, which is good because hubby conjured up a lovely full-out Thanksgiving 2.0 (as you may recall, being in Canada we had Thanksgiving back in October) -- and we even had a spare pumpkin pie in the deep freeze which we thawed for dessert. MmmMmm.
Earlier yesterday I snuck out with my Mother-in-Law to poke around Sally Ann where I found a couple of pairs of pants for the rapidly sprouting kiddo along with a lovely GAP cardigan (again, for her) for only $4.99. I swear it has been worn maybe once. I also found some books for her. When I was a kid, every Christmas there was one book each waiting unwrapped under the tree to keep us amused until our parents had their morning coffee and tea in hand; I have kept that tradition for kiddo. This year, I found a lovely edition of The Real Mother Goose, very gently used, for $1.29. Actually, it was half of that due to the yellow tag... so $0.65. Amazing.
Today, kiddo had a day off school and I had already booked the day as a vacation... so after lunch we headed out into the world. We started with Value Village -- she got a couple of books, including an original Where's Waldo in almost pristine condition for 99 cents -- I got a whole lot of picture frames for Christmas gifts, and a few odd balls of wool (yay!).
22 November 2005
Since 1999, when he was officially labelled a sex offender for having child pornography on his computer, Gadd has been on the run to and from Cuba, Cambodia, and now Vietnam.
On the plus side, Vietnam is not the place you want to be diddling someone's daughter: he could face the firing squad if found guilty.I just wonder whether Amnesty International, or any other aid group opposed to capital punishment, would leap to his aid considering the allegations.
20 November 2005
Anway, I've been home since Tuesday afternoon and I am NOT recovering. This is bullshit, plain and simple. I feel like someone has taken a wire brush to my throat, plus I have really clogged sinuses (not so much sneezing and only some coughing) and of course very little energy. All right enough ranting about that.
Yesterday morning we voted. Turns out, most of my votes were a waste -- Victorians decided to return the status quo almost completely. Sure there were two vacancies (Rob Flemming, who is now an MLA and Denise Savoie who plans to run federally, I believe), but they were filled by a former councillor (Geoff Young) and a Green Party member (SonyaChandler). If there were two candidates who most closely resembled Flemming and Savoie they are Young and Chandler. Plus, Isitt got a LOT of votes so now he's gunned to run in 2008. I pray that the "left" finds a better candidate to support by then.
We also decided to go for a small roadtrip up to Nanaimo yesterday, just to escape the scenery of the same 4 walls we've been looking at. Hubby drove, I mostly stared out the window and took oodles of photos (114 by the time we returned home). It was a very foggy day... and none of the photos really do justice to the density of the fog in places:
We stopped in Whippletree Junction. A few weeks ago, a fire destroyed one of the buildings. None of the news footage we saw made it clear which building so we wanted to see for ourselves.Turns out it was one of the buildings at the back, adjacent to the public washrooms (now reduced to a cement pad with some plumbing connections). There was damage to two other buildings as well. Quite ugly, all of it, and sad.
I spent the balance of the evening trying to sort my mp3 files into some semblance of order, with little luck.
19 November 2005
Hubby earned many extra points by offering to stay home with kiddo (who is also sick) while we went out.
18 November 2005
I found the site while looking for more from The Decemberists (who categorize themselves as indie/world/other) as I have been enjoying several of their songs gleaned from various mp3-blogs. Some allow downloads, others offer samples for listening. I appreciate the categories and the browsing capabilities... I imagine I will be surfing around purevolume frequently in weeks ahead.
I will, however, be heading out with Hubby as the polls open tomorrow morning to vote in the municipal elections. Unfortunately this year the results will not likely be a surprise in the City of Victoria -- at least not for Mayor.
The incumbent, Alan Lowe, is running again. If he wins this will be his third term and that seems pretty likely since he's up against three crackpots and Ben Isitt. It's not fair to lump Isitt in with the other nutjobs, but he is a longshot. He just barely got the approval of the VCE slate ("Victoria Civic Electors," basically the municipal arm of the NDP) which caused a significant split within the VCE. It has meant separate campaigns for the VCE mayoral and councillor candidates, who don't want to be associated with the smug and radical Isitt.
The race for councillors may be more interesting. There are 28 candidates running for 8 seats.
Perpetual councillor Helen Hugues is running again (she's been on council since 1990) though she is actually one of the few people I consider truly non-partisan. She seems to weigh each issue on its own merits.
Creepy Dennis Oliver (who believes women should literally serve men -- no I am not exaggerating, he's been quoted in print in the most recent Monday Magazine) is running again. In the last election he came dead last out of 24 candidates, let's see if he can repeat that again, m'kay?
The Greater Victoria Green party is fielding two candidates, Philippe Lucas and Sonya Chandler; if you like your environmentalism a little further to the extreme perhaps George Sirk is more your style -- he thinks all roads should be renamed bikeways and that cars should take a back seat to bikes. Mmm-hmmm.
Among the VCE candidates are two of my least favourite current councillors, the NIMBY-friendly Pam Madoff and the always-ready-with-a-pithy-soundbite Dean Fortin. In fact, of the VCE slate only one is likely to get my vote: Bryan Skinner, and that's because he has a strong arts focus, something that is strangely missing from a City Council that is supposed to represent the Cultural Capital of Canada.
Another candidate likley to get my vote is Denyce Burrows -- if only because she deserves to get what she's wishing for. Burrows used to have a buisness in the downtown core, and spent a lot of time complaining to City Hall about the crime and other problems in the area (an example: Minutes from 2003 (PDF)). Fed up, she moved her business to another municipality (the very sleepy and isolated Oak Bay) and having seen the difference she's running to try and help fix Victoria. Of course, she will have to extract the heads out of the other 7 councillors backsides -- not to mention the Mayor's own head which may either be up his tookus or in the sand, depending on media wind direction -- before she can effect much change.
Not bored yet? Here's some Q&A with the candidates in the Martlet newspaper and more Q&A from Monday Magazine.
17 November 2005
[from A-Channel News:
Dirty Politics in Nanaimo
NANAIMO -- Voters will head to the polls on Saturday to cast ballots in civic elections.
The races are heating up right across Vancouver Island. And at least one of them has turned ugly.
On Wednesday morning, a press release was sent out to the Nanaimo media, including A-Channel News, stating mayoral candidate Dawn Tyndall is withdrawing from the race.
The letter says she plans to deal with a number of personal issues and claims she's having sexual relations with a condominium developer.
It also encourages all voters to support any candidate who's in favour of the Nanaimo Convention Centre. Tyndall says she never wrote or approved the press release. And says she's still in the race.
Tyndall says she has contacted the RCMP. If someone is convicted of issuing the faulty document, they could face a $5,000 fine or one-year in prison]
Combine this with the problems surrounding their proposed new conference centre* and the apparent "plague" of pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents in the city and this is one of the weeks I don't want to pack up and move to Nanaimo. Of course, the pendulum will likely swing back (and forth) a few times over the next few months... as usual.
Next, this afternoon, I heard that two men had been rather unceremoniously turfed from their favourite pub (I can't find ANY news story about this so I am not going to give the name that I think I remember from the noon news) when one sat on his partner's knee and they shared a quick kiss. Can you spell d-i-s-c-r-i-m-i-n-a-t-i-o-n? Their lawyers can.
*The demolition went ahead only after police forcibly removed the final tennant from the buildings being demolished and now, construction hasn't started yet and some of the candidates in the aforementioned election don't want it to! Sounds like Victoria's Arena fiasco, deja vu!
Look close at the swords framing the happy/crazy couple and you will notice they are actually giant knitting needles.
16 November 2005
For extra credit in a math class Britney was given the challenge to fold anything in half 12 times. After extensive experimentation, she folded a sheet of gold foil 12 times, breaking the record. This was using alternate directions of folding. But, the challenge was then redefined to fold a piece of paper. She studied the problem and was the first person to realize the basic cause for the limits. She then derived the folding limit equation for any given dimension. Limiting equations were derived for the case of folding in alternate directions and for the case of folding in a single direction using a long strip of paper. The merits of both folding approaches are discussed, but for high numbers of folds, single direction folding requires less paper.
The exact limit for single direction folding case was derived. It is based on the accumulative limiting effects induced by each and every fold in the folding process. Considering the intricacy of the problem the equation has a relatively simple form.
Congrats, Britney, and may you continue to challenge the impossible.
EDIT: Oh, man. I should read the whole story before I post. This is REALLY old news -- 2001. Sorry about that.
15 November 2005
They have fleece lining and big, chunky rubber soles! These would be so perfect for the crappy wet winters around here. Heck, I think I could even wear these in all but the worst of the snow we get here.
(Should anyone feel the need to buy me a pair or two... I'll take a size 9 please.)
14 November 2005
In the forefront you'll see my rocking chair and knitting baskets, along the wall are kiddo's toy bins, our media containment units (the bases are full too) and the glowing telly.
After staying home with a sick kiddo all day I was going a bit squirelly after dinner, so I opted to take back the two unused packages of laminate (too much paperwork for my liking, but saved us $60) and go scout out some coffees for hubby and me.
On my return, I was surfing around online and the phone rang. The call display showed "Synovate" with a 604 area code. Guardedly, I decided to answer. It was, naturally, a market survey. "What the hell," I figured, "I've got opinions."
The questions were about industry in BC. I said the tourism industry should be discouraged, but most everything else (forestry, fish farming, bioindustries, film) could be left as is -- what do I care? I was expecting the next questions to lead into what should be encouraged, or conversely what the government should or shouldn't be doing to encourage or discourage or support various industries. Instead the questions were all about the film industry -- who it supports, who it doesn't support, how important it is, and so on.
Well, I'm not an idiot; I know the film industry is pouring buckets full of cash into the economy. Unfortunately, I think that while they may compensate a particular resident or business owner for any inconvenience, they don't tend to think beyond that -- and I let the surveyor know that. I have found, in the past decade or so of living where I do, that crews don't give any damned notice and nor do they care how far out of one's way the detour may be while they block an intersection for a few hours of shooting. Sure, they can pay the City some cash... but that doesn't mean I get back the 25 minutes of extra travel as I and everyone else detour several blocks away due to the combo of film crews plus roadwork plus one-way streets (traffic crippling in Victoria is a pet rant between me and hubby -- and I'm not going to get into that right now).
Don't get me wrong. I like movies.... and I am very happy to see Canadian Content... I'm just a bit of a NIMBY about where they are filmed.
National Save Arrested Development Day is set for this Wednesday, and op-eds are overflowing with praise for the show and theories of why it has been abandoned (in a marketing sense), why it has failed to gain a larger viewership, and what will happen next: will it finish its run? go straight to DVD? or be picked up by another network?
In the end, I think Tim Goodman summed it up best, though, in his piece for SFGate.com:
"Give me 13 episodes of 'Arrested Development' over five years of soul-sucking lameness like 'According to Jim' any day."
Ain't that the truth!!
Thursday night, we painted the accent wall and two bookshelves (I have to admit, I was expecting the "Carribean Spice" to be a bit darker... suffice to say it is ORANGE... but it looks good in the finished room). We also moved about half our furniture outside and stored it under tarps -- which is good because it poured with rain, and even hailed at one point.
Friday: Since kiddo stayed at her Nana's Thursday night, we got up early and got at it right away. We finished off the painting, tore up the first third of the carpet and underlay, and chipped the tiles out of the entrance-way. After lunch, we started laying the flooring and by 4:00, we had about five rows in, running from the front door to the foot of the stairs. After dinner, kiddo came home with us and we had a quiet night upstairs, away from the mess.
Saturday: We started the day with a McBreakfast picnic in the livingroom, then kiddo packed her bag again and went off to Granny's for the day and another sleep-over. Hubby and I got to it at about 8:00 and by mid-day we were done the dining area.
We took a break to go grab lunch and get the basboard trim we needed (we saved quite a bit of money by getting over half the trim at Re-Store for 40 cents a foot, then getting the rest from Rona at $1.05 per foot). When we returned, we painted the used trim, then moved furniture over to the completed area, and kept going on the flooring while the trim dried. By 8:30 we decided (for our neighbours' sake) to lay off the cutting, so we wrapped up for the night; we got to the far side of the sliding glass door.
Sunday: Again, we started early, cutting the trim. All the cuts had to be done with a mitre saw, so my shoulder is pretty sore today -- there were a lot of corners. Naturally, this is the house that Suess built, so none of the walls are actually straight, either. Let's just say, "Wood putty is a good thing." We put in the last floorboard at 1:00, then broke for lunch. After lunch, we finished the edging on the last wall, touched up the paint on the accent wall, addressed some of the problem areas, and moved the furniture back into place. We rearranged the furniture on the "entertainment wall" but otherwise, stuff went back in its original places.
At 4:00, I picked up kiddo, came back, and started unpacking all the books and music we'd packed earlier in the week.
10 November 2005
(Or as hubby would say, "No use steering now.")
09 November 2005
According to the Boston Herald, the rapper’s latest venture is “Snoop Doggs,” a new hot dog line launching with partners Franco Petrucci and Jeff Earp.
“There aren’t any celebrity hot dogs out there,” Snoop’s brother and business manager Bing Worthington told the Herald. “Who’s the competition? Ball Park?....Imagine a long, skinny hot dog just like Snoop.”
Ummmm.Hmmmm. Nope, just too easy.
08 November 2005
Now Christmas is on the horizon, and in between there's a couple of family birthdays (one last week, one this week), some school interviews for kiddo (next week and the following week), much shopping to do (I love shopping but the Christmas gift-selection is really pissing me off this year), and laminate flooring to install -- we are packing up the living room contents over the next few evenings and installation should start Friday.
I should be bubblier. Hubby's zombie parts went over very well -- we've been invited to the premiere of the short film, "Not Dead, Not Alive" on November 20th. Over the weekend we saw Jarhead (hubby's review is over at the Media Nook) while kiddo saw Chicken Little with her cousins (she told us she liked it, "about five percent," -- not a rave review). And I have new glasses on the way -- they are a funky magenta-coloured frame with detachable sunglasses, so I can finally see properly driving! (Everyone in Victoria should be very happy about this). Did I mention my eyesight has actually improved? It seems my problems with my glasses were that they were too strong. Who knew?
Anyway... life is really OK, I'm just kinda mopey. Dunno what will fix it... =shrug= ...thanks for listening.
05 November 2005
On October 29th, Ian Bush, 22, was arrested in Houston, BC for having an open beer at a hockey game (and allegedly giving police a false name). While in custody, he was shot, fatally; the only two witnesses were the deceased and an RCMP officer. Police say that Bush became violent, and that the officer also sustained injuries, but details will not be released until the autopsy and the RCMP investigation are complete.
Family and friends are skeptical that the RCMP can investigate its own officers objectively, and I'm curious why it took almost a week for this report to surface.
More from The Globe and Mail and the Edmonton Sun.
04 November 2005
It was raining. Like, my-kingdom-for-an-ark raining but I still wandered off to my favourite corner of the campus and took a bunch of photos. All the rain had raised the mushrooms out of the ground in droves...
When I got back to my desk, I realized that my raincoat isn't terribly waterproof.
At 4:00, I shut down my computer and headed for the bus. The rains had let up for a bit but I was still damp and cold from lunch. Wandered through Curious Comics, waiting for hubby and kiddo, then we all met my Mom for dinner. We followed that with a wander through the mall, including the purchase of new eyeglasses for hubby and me!
Now we are watching Suicide Kings (great, underrated movie) while hubby works on some zombie prosthetics for a short film shooting on Sunday. :)
The World Wildlife Fund offers adoption kits, most of which come with a small cuddly version of what you are adopting -- sea turtle, panda bear, asian elephant or polar bear -- plus information about the fight, and a tax write-off for the gift-purchaser.
For the coffee and tea lovers on your list, Certified Fair Trade is the way to go; buy some beans from Bean North Coffee Roasters (100% Fair Trade; Whitehorse YT), Salt Spring Coffee (Selected roasts available Fair Trade; Salt Spring Island, BC) or Pura Vida Coffee (100% Fair Trade; Seattle, WA). Buy Tea through Bridgehead (100% Fair Trade --they do coffee, too; Ottawa, ON) or Just Us Coffee Roasters (100% Fair Trade tea and coffee; Wolfville, NS) .
Know someone with a sweet tooth? Chocolate can also be purchased as Certified Fair Trade.
For readers, consider supporting small presses, local authors, zines, or alternative press magazines like Utne.
There's lots more out there, too... I could spend all day yapping. Instead, I'll leave you to check out the Green Pages at Co-Op America, Greenmatters, or the Utne Web Store.
01 November 2005
Oak Bay is filled with people who really get into the whole act; lots of decorations, lights, scary things, and they seem happy to see kids out and about. One person jumped and said BOO! when he opened the door and kiddo screeeeamed! -- another came to the door with an Alien baby poking out of her abdomen (kiddo did not jump at that).
We stopped at the bonfire, hosted by the Oak Bay Fire Department. Kiddo had been looking forward to it, but once there declared it was "Tooo hot! Too hot!" and burst into tears.
Never mind, she got a balloon anyway.
She also got plenty of candy, and I think had a genuinely good time. She got home, washed up and was asleep within seconds of hitting her pillow, after which hubby and I curled up to watch Sleepy Hollow.