31 December 2006

Happy New Year!

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
We hosted a small but successful year-end open house last night. Hubby created some yummy appetizers which were supplemented with standbys of fresh fruit, vegetables, crackers, cheese and cookies.

My break has been quiet and, it seems, short. We saw lots of people though, and mostly I just killed time doing very little on the computer. I did manage to build a list of all our DVDs (well, not quite all; kiddo's are not yet included in the list) -- 265. Huh. That's quite a few.

Looking forward to a quiet January, I hope, and a calm year ahead.

26 December 2006

Boxing Day / Hang Day


Super quiet day hanging at home. I merged in as much of our new stuff as I could... I took out one large bin and two small bins of stuff from Kiddo's shelving area to make room for the new LEGO and Playmobil bounty:


I also turned the LEGO table 90° which Kiddo much prefers -- now she can look out into the living room while she is playing on her table instead of looking at the wall.

My haul included: a new bathrobe, several movies (Army of Darkness, 12 Monkeys, Goblet of Fire, V for Vendetta, and Playing By Heart, one of my favourite ensemble films -- who could be cuter than Gillian Anderson and Jon Stewart as a couple?), books (Spiderwick Chronicles, Anansi Boys, Encyclopedia of Stupidity, Dracula, and Urgent 2nd Class), a lovely new teapot from Silk Road Tea, two martini glasses, and more. (Thanks again, to all!)

Also, this may be the first Christmas ever that I have not received any chocolate. Very odd.

Back to hanging around, I guess. Hope your festivities were pleasant.

24 December 2006

Is it time already?

I guess my level of busy-ness should be an indicator that Christmas day is around the corner. This time tomorrow we'll be well into opening what's under the tree... which is going to be a long process because we have all the grandparents coming over with their armloads of gifts, too. Hubby will be preparing a ham for lunch and a turkey for dinner.


Earlier this week....

The local WalMart (evil retailer of doom) is one of a handful in BC open 24 hours for Christmas shopping (they started on the 18th) and we decided to head in at about 11:00 at night on Thursday night thinking it would have settled down -- Kiddo was staying at Nana's -- but it was as zooey as a Saturday morning! Craziness! Only bonus was the distinct lack of small children screaming around.

Friday was Kiddo's last day of school so Hubby and I went downtown to gather last-minute stocking stuffers (for each other, mostly). The bigger stores were lined up out the door, but most of the smaller stores were eager for my few dollars, which I happily spent on this and that in small packages. Once I decided I had enough for Hubby's stocking, I checked my watch and decided I had juuuuuust enough time to check Sally Ann. I went in looking for something I had wanted to add to another gift (which I found), and then I stumbled on the most amazing find -- two tubs of LEGO, one of which included some vintage "LEGO System" boxes. At $24 for the two, I had to buy them. When I sorted them out later that evening, I found that one ofthe vintage sets was complete, the other incomplete; there were also many minifigs, accessories, creatures (a manta ray, shark, monkey, scorpions, parrot and a snake!) and vehicles -- plus hundreds of basic bricks. One of my best finds ever. (Most of it will be under the tree for Kiddo; I'm keeping the vintage LEGO and a few minifigs, though I may sell the vintage stuff.)

Yesterday was mostly puttering around here (putting up the last of the decorations) and then we went to a friends' open house and Kiddo disappeared into their daughter's room, reappearing in costume...


....then disappearing again. Eventually, she got cranky and started to fight with the boys, so we took her home. She fell asleep almost as soon as we started driving, poor tyke.


One more sleep.... then we can start tidying for our open house on the 30th.


20 December 2006

Carl Sagan Blogathon....

Carl Sagan. The astronomer/scientist/evolutionist who opened my eyes to the expanses of the universe and of time. He died 10 years ago today, and this is one of many blogs joining in to talk about the way he influenced us.

How many evenings we sat, as a family, watching Cosmos on PBS... space itself unfolding through ground-breaking animations to the soothing sounds of Sagan's voice scored by Vangelis' eerie instrumental works. "Billions and billions of stars...." he said, at a time before the number "billions" was really conceivable outside national debts. He stood beside a wall representing the time which had elapsed on Earth since its birth and gestured toward a tiny little line that represented human history in comparisson. Ouch. Humbling.

Of course, I'd seen Star Wars just a couple of years earlier, so my fascination with space was already active, Sagan just gave it a nudge toward the scholarly. A lot of what Cosmos covered was simplified, I later discovered, but at age 10, it was amazing stuff indeed.

I entered my first science fair at age 11, in no small part because of Sagan and the science education I got outside school, and continued to be a science geek right through high school. I still enjoy the popular side of science -- watching shows like Nova or Daily Planet and reading about everyday science. Heck, even shows like Robot Wars and Good Eats owe some of their popularity to geeks like me raised on Sagan and those who followed in his footsteps.


18 December 2006


in the news:
  1. Hockey player fired for not signing flag for troops. (CBC.ca)
  2. I'm TIME magazine's person of the year! And so are you, and you, and you. (TIME.com)
  3. Rosie O'Donnel is "sorry" but still ignorant. (Vancouver Sun)
  4. Bob Dylan throws a wobbly -- actually what's ridiculous about this is the press that the movie (which may or may not suck) is getting for free. Really, when will celebs figure out that sometimes it's better to shut up.
and then there is this weird/disturbing "Carrie" cake I noticed on flickr....

Cakewalk: Carrie Cake

It might be one of those weeks.

17 December 2006

Our Tree, 2006

The tree is trimmed... and I think the trimming emphasizes its wonkiness... but I'm sticking by that assymetry as part of the charm of a real tree. Apparently another part of the "charm" is branches that are alternately too stiff to bend or too weak to accomodate decorations... the result is... well, more quirkiness.


Kiddo put up her tree a couple of nights ago.. it's much smaller, and sits beside her bed. I've also put up the snowflake and icicle garland (though I am still short one snowflake... I'm working on it) but have yet to put up the ornament balls we crafted a couple of weekends ago.

We are hoping to host an open house after Christmas... so the decorations will stay up until sometime in January, likely.

Pre-Christmas Madness

Between the storms (which closed school for kiddo), hubby being sick and being stupidly busy trying to track down a hacker on the server at work, last minute shopping, and the usual insanity that increases tenfold at this time of year, it's been a busy week. So... here's the highlights.

Storms -- wow. I have never seen so many trees down after a storm. I feel a bit bad for the BC Hydro crews who haven't had much time to rest all week with three windstorms in a row. Tens of thousands of households and businesses in the region were without power for at least part of the week. We managed to escape that fate (::knock wood::) though we had candles and flashlights at the ready. As I mentioned though, kiddo's school lost power twice. Once on Monday for just a couple of hours and on Friday -- no sooner had she been dropped off when hubby got a call to pick her up again due to having no heat. When we drove out to the Westshore yesterday, the whole area smelled like a Christmas Tree lot!!

Speaking of trees... Christmas Tree -- we had decided to get a cut tree this year, as we gave away our artificial one last year. I had spotted a little lot close to home, run by the Kiwanis Club, that had some nice, natural looking BC trees. We ran some other errands Friday evening, thinking we had plenty of time, then arrived at the lot around 6:30 only to find it closed!! I was soooooo frustrated. It meant we had to come back on Saturday without kiddo to get the tree, grrr, but I did find a nice, albeit wonky, tree. It's pretty much backless which means we can snug it up against the bookcase. However, it needs more than the 300 lights we put on there, so I have to go out this afternoon to get another 50 or so.

Errands -- yesterday, despite hubby being sick (very sick... I felt bad) he decided he wanted out of the house... so we headed out to the Westshore to run a number of errands: (1) Glenwood Meats -- about 20 lbs of meat (various forms of sausage, chicken, beef, and bacon) for $55. We have been totally spoiled by the quality and value of the meat from Glenwood, and we buy very little meat elsewhere any more. (2) Island Ink Jet -- drop off our printer cartridge for refil. They had some trouble because the blue tank had all but dried out. So they took a looooooong time. But they did eventually get it going again. (3) The Evil Retailer (yeah, they're all evil, but I hate even admitting I shop at the place with the Smiley logo) -- for a bunch of basic consumables which had run low -- paper products, kitchen wraps, bathroom personal stuff... you know. (4) The tree (see above) which we got on our way back home, along with fast-food lunch that disagreed with me terribly (urrrrrr).

And what would the holidays be without a rant? ... I've been annoyed by a host of little silly things... but this item really got me wanting to rant. Care of the Shopping Network, they suggest as a last minute gift, the Creative Kids Basket. I assure you there is NOTHING creative about this basket -- in fact, it isn't even pictured as a basket! It is a BAG full of CANDY. And not even good candy, just crappy sugary junk. To add insult to injury, the price is $36.49 PLUS $10 shipping!! There's no way the contents cost more than $15, and the bag maybe $2 -- in fact the whole thing could be pulled together from stock in any dollar store. Bah.

OK.. off to run more errands (We're out of coffee!! Oh the HORROR!).

11 December 2006

Vancouver Vacation

On Friday and Saturday, we spent two days in Vancouver. We went over mostly to see BodyWorlds which is at Science World (pardon me, that would be "Science World at the Telus World of Science" -- gag.) until mid-January. We took kiddo -- yes, she was fine; interested even. She loves anatomy. It was well-worth it. Interesting, eduacational, and artistic all at once. I could have done without the 2 by 4 over the head part of the exhibit -- the giant I QUIT stop-smoking corner -- but aside from that, I took in everything, even the fetuses (kiddo did skip that part), which I have to admit, for the most part looked like tiny dolls.... or rather, dollmakers are getting much better at making realistic tiny babies.

Kiddo also got her first ride on SkyTrain, destination MetroTown. We spent a couple of hours there then crashed at the hotel for the night. Saturday we shopped in Kitsilano and hit Daiso and IKEA in Richmond -- though IKEA on a Saturday in December, was probably a stupid idea. It was packed and kiddo was whiny because there was no room in the play area and we chose not to put her on the waitlist. Sigh.

We came back via Nanaimo, to take advantage of the CoastSaver Fare sale (on until Dec. 17th on some sailings), which also meant we got to take advantage of cheaper pump prices in Duncan. Meh, it all worked out.

We came back with a lot of food -- in fact, food was probably our greatest expense -- our meals were annoyingly expensive.... but it was a vacation.... and it might be our last trip off the island for a while... we need to start saving for two possible bigger getaways next year.

10 December 2006

Goodbye Star.

I never met Star, not in person, but over the past two years, I got to know her virtual self quite well.

We first "met" on orkut -- she was the first person I added to my friend circle outside the people I knew in real life. She has always encouraged me in my writing and other creative endeavours -- she once admitted to reading "every word" I wrote, whether it was here, or on MediaNook, or elsewhere. It was Star who pointed me to the Zombie Haiku contest and who would send me links to all manner of strange things that ended up on this blog or just brightening my day. She also, just this week, received three finger puppets from me; two she purchased and one I had sent along as an "UnBirthday gift" -- since her birthday was back in June.

I always checked Sarcasmoscorner on Monday and Friday mornings -- as did many other people -- for my fill of ridiculous stuff on the web -- crazy video mashups, strange products, films, books, zombies, pirates, and things that go bump in the night. I also read along at LiveJournal, where she had recently admitted to being in a new relationship that was fabulous (he has written a heartfelt obit on his own blog).

Star led a ridiculously busy life -- her weekends could as easily include a small role in a low-budget zombie flick as a stroll through the historical parks and streets of Philadelphia, camera in hand.

Star was 33, and though I never met her, I truly miss her.


05 December 2006

Fun With Furniture

After a five hour marathon domino move last night, 4 households have different furniture. One person is getting new furniture delivered tomorrow. Her furniture went to Person B. Person B's furniture went to Person C. Person C gave us her sofa and loveseat and gave Person B her table. Our old furniture is awaiting a new Freecycle home.

So hubby, our friend, and me (though mostly hubby and our friend) moved three sofas, one loveseat two dining tables, two coffee tables, three armchairs, and a few other odd pieces. Ugh.

We were looking forward to "new leather furniture" -- and had been told the style was "masculine" and the colour "brown." So I was thinking something like this:


... but the actual furniture is about 20 years older in style:

new (to us) furniture

That said, the pieces are sturdy, comfortable, and matched. I won't cry if kiddo smears something on them or if the cat gets a claw stuck ("no... bad cat... bad....stop."). We can seat six people really comfortably now (if one uses the chair -- actually 7 if someone sits in the video-rocker or even 8 if a child uses the little rocking chair) -- more if people get cozy. And, the two pieces only cost us the price of the rental van and the gas to fill it (about $60), plus our effort ....so, I while I was initially disappointed, I'm OK with it now.


And for those of you who keep score of this sort of thing, this marks Flotsam & Jetsam's 1000th post. Woo.

tags: redecorating, furniture, milestones

04 December 2006

Jekyll & Hoff?

This appeared in my mailbox this week, coming up on the Bravo schedule:

Bravo! Television Premiere – December 30 at 8ET / 5PT
David Hasselhoff makes his Broadway debut in Jekyll & Hyde, The Musical, the adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale of romance, and the battle between good and evil. A whirlwind odyssey pits man against himself when Dr. Jekyll's medical experiment goes wrong and gives life to Edward Hyde, his immoral alter ego. This production co-stars Coleen Sexton, Andrea Rivette, George Merritt and Barrie Ingham and features the popular songs Someone Like You and This is the Moment.

Does anyone else see this as horrifying? And not in the way it's meant to be? I must have missed the whole fooforaw of the Hoff in the lead -- the musical itself has been touring for over 15 years and it looks like the staging that was filmed is from 2001. In fact they are going to make the musical into a film. [Are you following? Classic book, to Broadway musical, to film. Gah.]

Oh, please, if you are unfamiliar with it, go read the original story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. It's available in full online at the Free Library. I've read it already, and may re-read it before watching this ('cause you know I will have to watch the trainwreck) at the end of the month.

tags: David Hasselhoff, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jekyll and Hyde, Broadway.

30 November 2006

Xmasthulu Ornaments

Clever hubby has been at it again. He has created these lovely Cthulu Christmas Ornaments from Sculpey; they are for sale, $10 each plus shipping. Two have already sold, but he can make more.

Xmasthulu Figures

tags: crafts, hubby, cthulu

29 November 2006

Wacky Wislist Items....

Ooo, this is neat. Out of my pricerange, but neat:

Shelflife -- off-kilter bookshelf with a chair and footstool that slide right in (or pull right out) by designer Charles Trevelyan.

Hey, I could afford one of these... but I probably don't need one:

6-in-1 Keyring Multi Tool
-- looks like a key, fits on a keyring, includes flat, philips and eyeglass screwdriver tips, straight and serraded knife edges, and a bottle opener. This is my favourite multi-tool yet.

Hmm, I think I could make these. Better add them to the giant ToDo list:

Feltris Blocks -- simple felt construction of Tetris style blocks.

Periodic Table Shower Curtain -- actually I had planned to make one with pockets and flashcards so kiddo could learn how they all fit in to the table.... Hmm.

These are interesting... but not for my wishlist:

Chairs (and other furniture) made from bike parts. Check out the Milano Lounge Chair -- complete with bicycle horn [HONK HONK, "Get me another beer!"]

Giant Swiss Army Knife. 85 tools in one? I don't even know how I would hold this. Someone forgot the "less is more" mantra.

Moon Shoes. Trampolines for your feet! How cool is that? Unfortunately, I exceed the weight limit. Damn.

tags: productplacement, wishlist

Baby, it's cold outside.

All I want to do is curl up, do some knitting, and watch Christmas movies. This is odd for me, I usually like to reign in Christmas themed stuff to December -- preferably about two weeks around Christmas Day. The weather though, seems to make me want to nest in around coloured lights.

Of course I can't put up our tree yet; we got rid of our artificial tree last year and are planning on getting a real cut tree this year (kiddo needs to smell a real tree at least once and I really miss the smell and feel).

With the randomly crappy weather it also looks like we will have to postpone our trip to Vancouver this Friday, which has me very bummed. We were planning on taking in the BodyWorlds 3 exhibit and doing some shopping. Sigh. If the weather suddenly clears up by Thursday night we will likely head over and take our chances with hotels but we aren't booking ahead.


tags: frozen, winter, victoriabc, Christmas

27 November 2006


Sigh. Bowie rarely fails to amuse me. Here he is on the show Extras (I wish this aired here.... alas I have only seen clips), making fun of Ricky Gervais [episode 2.2 for those keeping track].

tags: David Bowie, Extras, youtube

Snow Day!

OK, what kind of topsy turvy world is this? We woke up to another 6 inches of snow...


... and my brother, in Ottawa, is "basking" in unseasonably warm temperatures...

UVic was the last educational institution in the region to declare it was closed today, at 7 a.m.; the public schools had already announced by the time I got up at 6. Transit tried going out but ordered all its drivers to stop around 6:40 a.m. after several busses slid into ditches. They were running again at 8:00 but on very reduced service (3 regular routes plus 4 modified routes).

Kiddo was up early and we headed down to the park, which looked beautiful... I took many many photos... and she had fun, especially after her cousins and Nana arrived. We were back inside by 9:00, enjoying some hot chocolate and soon I am going to dig out the Scrabble Junior game.

Unfortunately, Hubby does not get a day off since he works from home. However, he is taking a lunch break to walk up to A&W for some Mozza Burgers. MMMMm.

tags: snow, victoriabc, snowday

26 November 2006

Weather Happened.

So... it snowed here today. Quite a lot, actually, about 4 inches (10 cm):


It was enough that they had to close Ring Road around the UVic Campus due to downed trees and subsequently reroute several bus routes. While our lights flickered all afternoon, they stayed on. Other Victorians were not so lucky. I have no idea what the conditions will be tomorrow... or whether I will be able to get to campus. Sigh. At least kiddo got her wish for snow:


For fun, have a look at drivers trying to navigate Esquimalt Rd. this morning. There's ice and slush all over the road, and my bet is not one of those vehicles has snowtires.

tags: weather, snow, victoriabc

25 November 2006


Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
AAAgh! SNOW. I must actually be in Canada. We rarely get snow out here... and we really didn't believe the forecast (especially when they revised it to say "snow mixed with rain") and yet around 3:30 this afternoon in Nanaimo it started snowing heavily.... thankfully hubby was driving. Thankfully, we called ahead to BC ferries to check the schedule for the Mill Bay - Brentwood bay run. Thankfully we made it on the ferry.

Back on the Peninsula, it was raining -- mixed with snow -- but after returning home, we found out the Malahat (the route we would have had to take if we hadn't detoured to the ferry) had been closed!


24 November 2006

Home, sick, home.

Well, I think I tried to do too much this month. Going in Wednesday was probably a mistake; I dragged myself through the day and people kept asking me, "Are you OK?" -- clearly I was not. So I stayed home yesterday... feeling gross... today I feel a little worse.

I did some sorting yesterday. I needed to blast through a backlog of papers in the office and doing so while sick may have been the best plan ever. I had no patience for sentimentality so stuff that on other days I might have salvaged just went into the big recycle bin. Woo!

sorting junk_shred_recycle

In the end, I managed to eke out enough room to leave my sewing machine set up "permanently" in the office, next to my old desktop computer. It's not a ton of space -- I can't sew a quilt up there, but it's enough room to do crafting.


I also tidied my bedside table... today though... I think a little less activity. Sigh.

tags: organization, cleaning, sorting

21 November 2006

Long long day.

Hearts and Hands sale went well. Not fantastic... but not a write-off either. I was hoping for higher sales, but at least sales were steady.. and I was happy to have my Mother in Law there for support and sales help. I gotta say though, my face hurts from all the "polite smiling" Ugh. Apparently those muscles don't get a lot of exercise. Heh.


The fingerpuppets were the surprise hit -- almost everyone smiled at them, and about a third found new homes. Very few pincushions sold, so I am going to set up an online store to sell off the remaining items. But not tonight. Tonight, is vegetation on the sofa night. Ahhhhhh.

tags: craftfair, sellingsomething.

Craft Fair Today

If you're in Victoria, and not stuck behind a desk (or other workplace) today, come by the UVic Centre and say "Hi" -- I'll be selling all my crafty things today at the Hearts and Hands sale.

Raffle tickets are available ($2 or 3 for $5) to win a huge gift basket with goodies from all the fair participants -- all proceeds for the raffle go to the United Way. Thanks!

tags: craftfu, sellingsomething

20 November 2006

If He Did It -- We Won't Know.

I have been following, with some curiosity, the furor over the pending publication of O.J. Simpson's tell-nothing pseudo-confession If I Did It... well apparently today Rupert Murdoch pulled the plug on the deal. I'm guessing there were threats involved.

Murdoch commented: "I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project. We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson."
The FOX broadcast has been pulled, too.

[quote from Shelf Awareness email newsletter]

19 November 2006

Creative Sprint!

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
Hee! Last minute creative burst plus one very orange scarf equals the Huggit family. Here's Milton and Bobby Huggit ready to go!

18 November 2006


Today, I pulled all my stock together and put it up on a desk not currently in use in the office. At 5'x1'6" it's a bit smaller than what I will have to work with on the day of the fair (6'x2'6") but that's OK as I still have my beanbags to add, and I can spread the rest of the stock out a bit. I will also have a dish of chocolates to entice buyers....


I am particularly pleased with my plan to use the pasta drying rack to display my CuppaJoe Cozies. They are all hanging with ornament hooks.... and I think they look great!


I'm also pretty happy with the variety of pincushions -- I will be sewing up a few more tonight though. Then maybe tomorrow I can make a few stuffed toys and/or knit some last-minute Cozies!


Monday, it'll be hard to work... then Monday night I'll be checking my list, and Tuesday, we'll see how it all goes. Fingers crossed.

tags: craftfair, be prepared

17 November 2006

Screw You, Mavis Beacon.

This is the cutest little touch-typing game ever. And by cute I do not mean bunnies and butterflies, but rather diminutive and nifty. Type fast to shoot the little word-toting gangsters before they shoot you. There's even blood-spatters.

Word Shoot: Spell Fast or Die!

tags: typing, education, game, online

16 November 2006

Rob Zombie's Underground

I don't know what it is about Rob Zombie. I really don't enjoy his music... and I suspect I wouldn't be able to have a casual conversation with the man (maybe... who knows?) but damn, if he doesn't know movies. Despite the fact that I am a serious sissy when it comes to horror films, I enjoyed House of 1000 Corpses and I am still trying to find the right time to watch the follow-up.

In the meantime, there is Underground with Rob Zombie. It runs on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Fridays, "late night" (which is around 2 am on the east coast or 11 pm in my world). The idea is that he hosts a double-feature of cult/underground classics. This weekend it's two from Tod Browning: Freaks and Mark of the Vampire.

Don't know whether I'll be up late enough to catch the second movie... but I will likely be chanting "one of us" for a few days to come.....

tags: movies, cabletv

14 November 2006

Busy Week Ahead....

OK... so... there's one week today until the Hearts and Hands craft fair.... and it is looking more and more like a BIG THING (i.e. we can now take Visa. )

So... this week, I will be finishing whatever stock I can try to get done... then over the weekend I will be gathering all the bits and pieces I will need for the fair (receipt books, bags, price tags...) plus setting up the table (dry run) at home and also making a portfolio -- you know, in case I sell out of everything and want to take special orders (ooh... then I guess I will need an order form, too... hmm).


In other news, I have thrown in the virtual towel on NaNoWriMo. I am still writing... but there is no way in the world I will get to 50K by the end of the month -- not with a family, the craft fair, and work -- not to mention "life" in general, and wanting to still have one.

What kind of life have I been having? Hmm. Well, hubby and I went to see The Prestige over the weekend (entertaining, and good eye candy); we are planning to see Bond on Friday night; and we are still keeping up with regular primetime shows.

Kiddo had a mellow weekend, recovering from round two (three?) of tonsilitis.. she was eager to go back to school today. We did let her play in her tent for a couple of days (pop-up living room tent) and more than once she chose to nap in there.

Otherwise... busy busy busy... and I should get back to it.

tags: craftfair, nanowrimo, lifeingeneral

11 November 2006

Sew Sew Sew....

This weekend the focus has been:



Lots of em.

Kiddo is sick again... with tonsilitis, again. We should be at a party, but didn't want kiddo to infect anyone else -- especially kids. I'm in the midst of a four day weekend... and I should be writing some amount of my nanowrimo novel.... but I'm making headway on the pincushions and other craft-fair related stuff.... so aside from this brief blogging break and some Flickr puttering yesterday... I'm mostly away from the computer.

tags: craftfu, sewing

09 November 2006

Just around the corner...

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
This is the official poster for the Hearts and Hands Craft Fair, where I will be selling my many crafty creations (CuppaJoe Cozies, pincushions, stuffed toys, fingerpuppets and beanbags!) in less than two weeks!

My goal this weekend is 12 large pincushions and 3 sets of beanbags. I should also try to sew a few more large stuffed toys.

My other challenge is figuring out the best way to display everything... then there is stuff like receipt books, bags, tissue, etc... I have much planning to do.

tags: craft-fu, sellingsomething

06 November 2006

Procrastination? Frustration? Avoidance?

Who knows. Either way, I wrote all of about 200 words toward NaNoWriMo this weekend. On the other hand, I did meet my craft goal of making 24 more finger puppets, plus I also knit three PrideCozy CuppaJoe Cozies. I guess sometime on Saturday, I decided that I could most likely sell the bulk of whatever I made at the craft fair (cash=instant feedback) whereas participating in NaNoWriMo would have no immediate outcome aside from bragging rights (which are cool, but don't put money in the bank). So NaNoWriMo gets to be fourth on the priority list. (List = Family, Work, Crafts, NaNoWriMo).

Today, I thought about how to describe my novel's protagonist and came up with "The Bureaucrat with the Heart of Coal." I almost like that as a title. Almost.

tags: nanowrimo, craftfu

02 November 2006

I have chosen the path to insanity.

I signed up for NaNoWriMo:

I have no idea how far I will get, or what the end result might be. I have a character in my head from a previous story (Maureen, the evil bureaucrat from "You Can't Fight City Hall") and when I sat down and opened a document, "she" started talking. I really don't know where this is going right now... but when/if I have something worth sharing, I will let you all know.

Meantime, I will be splitting any "free" time between madly writing and madly crafting this month. Yikes.

tags: nanowrimo, writing, busy

31 October 2006

Trick or Treat!


Kiddo romped around from house to house like an old pro tonight.

After meeting me at work, we went to Hillside for "Malloween" which was pretty calm -- nothing like the mobfest at Mayfair a couple of years back. After a wander through the mall (including the purchase of some new shake-to-use flashlights), we headed toward Oak Bay. We wandered one street, up and down, before going to Eugene's for dinner. There we met friends and their 20-month old on her first Halloween -- Kiddo was very excited about "teaching her" how it all worked.

From there, we went into Oak Bay proper, and Trick-or-Treated along the road leading to the firehall, where there was a bonfire. Unfortunately, we got to the firehall just as festivities were winding down, but that was OK by Kiddo (she doesn't trust big fires -- even when surrounded by firefighters). We made just a couple of stops after the firehall on the way back to the van -- despite Kiddo's apparent energy, she was fading and her companion was almost asleep on her mother's shoulder.

Just an aside, I was very proud of her display of self-preservation and common sense. She knew better than to go in when well-meaning seniors asked if she could "step inside for just a minute" (she firmly said "NO") and aside from one tumble, she carefully watched where she was going. She knew when to ask for extra light to see down stairs or an extra hand when no railing was evident. (She even wanted us to sort the candy on our return home so she knew it was safe.)

Oh, and in case you were curious, she proudly wore her Everything costume (which got lots of complements), accessorized with face paint (a house, sun, and clouds) and skeleton gloves:

costume06_front costume06_back

tags: halloween, kiddo




The art, above, was painted by kiddo to complement our large panels and is made using the same techniques (acrylics over spackle on canvas). The wall is, of course, our orange wall and the skulls are a seasonal addition.

Now it's off to work, to try and control my sweet tooth... I have two meetings today, so that should help keep me from snacking on "fun-size" candy all day.

Oh, and kiddo (with her Nana's help) also brought the fabulous "Dog-o-Lantern" into our lives:


Trick or Treat!

tags: halloween, photos.

28 October 2006


This afternoon we went out to Beaver Lake Park (somewhere I haven't been in many, many years) and went on a Nature Walk called "Ugh! A Slug!" sponsored by the CRD (Capital Regional District).

slug_guide slug_in_log

Kiddo showed off her cleverness by answering lots of questions (most of them correctly) and had fun. Our guide seemed quite impressed, as did some of the other parents. We enjoyed it enough to consider going to others; of those in the brochure, I am thinking the ones on squirrels and evergreens will be winners.

I even learned stuff today -- where the slug breathing hole is located (on the right side of the mantle), and the most effective and humane method of killing them (cutting them in half with scissors... eww). You can see the breathing hole in this picture:


tags: CRD Parks, slugs, nature program, learning

25 October 2006


1. Pumpkin Simulator very nifty little flash app to "carve" your own pumpkin.

2. Pumpkin history (and history of Jack-o-Lanterns too!)

3. Mmmmm, Pumpkin Pancakes! (I presume pecans are optional, for those with nut allergies.)


tags: pumpkins, halloween

24 October 2006

Time Out!

Across North America, today is Take Back Your Time Day. Specifically taking back all the overwork and over-scheduling in our lives. Not a bad idea. How often do you actually stop and smell the roses. Not proverbially, but literally?

I actually do this. Photography helps me to stop and look at things. So does having a kid. But I still feel overworked. I think three days is an ideal workweek, and yet most of us work 5 days a week.

On a related note, the talk of the morning news of this week has been that Sunday is actually the most stressful day of the week as millions gear up for what to expect in the coming work-week. I've known this for ages -- when I worked Sunday to Thursday, I got the Saturday blues.

tags: work, stress, simplicity.

23 October 2006

What the ---?

U.S. teacher exiled to Canada after sexual abuse conviction

An American teacher convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old student has been exiled to Canada as punishment in an unusual case that has immigration experts questioning its legality.

A U.S. judge gave Malcolm Watson a choice between serving as much as a year behind bars or agreeing to a three-year exile in Canada. Watson, a 35-year-old former teacher at Buffalo Seminary in New York state, chose Canada.

How is this a "punnishment" exactly? There are thousands of people wanting into Canada and some judge in Buffalo sends a sexual predator here instead of to jail? Am I missing something?

tags: justice, Canada-US relations.

21 October 2006

Little Green Men

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
Here's what I have been working on today (and last night....) I was looking for inspiration for more stuff for the craft fair. Not sure I am happy with these guys or not.... but they will likely be "stock" for the craft fair.

"What craft fair?" you ask. That would be the UVic Hearts and Hands Craft Fair, November 21st. It's juried though, and I have my review meeting set for Monday morning... in the meantime, I am making more stock.

I plan to sell my bottlecap pincushions and my CuppaJoe Cozies, but needed something to round it out, so I settled on finger puppets and stuffed toys.... now, as I say, not terribly sure that was the right direction.... but I need to make something... so something I shall make!

19 October 2006

Christchurch, New Zealand

I've never been to New Zealand, but I've known people from there and people who have moved there -- two recently moved to Christchurch. Today's NASA image-of-the-day is
a satellite photo of Christchurch. The geography is quite amazing -- that little bump of mountains right there on the ocean.

I had to see a zoomed out map, for comparison so I checked out Google Maps for Christchurch.

Then I went looking for the tourism web page and whaddayaknow? It calls itself The Garden City (whereas Victoria, BC calls itself The City of Gardens).

Of course, what virtual vacation would be complete without seeing the city through locals' and visitors' lenses over at Flickr?

Oh, and according to statistics on the Christchurch City Council website, the average house price (for the quarter ending March 2006) was NZD$272,821 which is about CDN$205,673 (USD$182,364) -- less than half of the going rate for a single family house in Victoria (CDN$510,059 in August 2006).

Alas, I suspect we will be staying here in Victoria until we are fabulous, with time for real travel.

tags: New Zealand, armchair travel.

17 October 2006

Put some art in your day...

While sitting at the sale table for the UVic Libraries United Way Booksale today (it continues tomorrow, if you're in town), I spent a fair bit of time between sales enjoying the beautiful oil paintings on the walls in the McPherson Gallery.

The works are by Canadian artist Jean Ives. Many can be seen on her website, but the images do not do the works justice. Seriously. Many of the works are for sale and I really wanted to buy one... or two. It helps of course that many are images of island landscapes, stuff I love.

If landscapes aren't your style, how about some still-lifes of coffee cups, desserts and other things found inside Parisian cafés? I've gotten hooked on the art of Carol Gillot over at Paris Breakfasts.

I know, I know; it's all too froofy. Fine, here's some skeletons and other dead folks as interpreted by Mike Egan.

tags: art, artists.


Wikipedia co-founder launches rival online encyclopedia (via CBC)

"Larry Sanger's Citizendium aims to weed out biased or incorrect information and obscenities by creating user registration and editorial controls, in contrast to the more open submission process at Wikipedia, where Sanger once worked as editor-in-chief. Citizendium will be an invitation-only site for experts in their field."

Time will tell.

16 October 2006

No Accident

I got sucked in to watching Canada's Worst Driver (2nd series). I don't think it is any accident that the majority of ads have been for cars and car parts.

I am a bit surprised that insurance companies haven't jumped at the opportunity.

tags: television, media.

15 October 2006


This morning, we went back to Butterfly Gardens (the last time, Mother's Day, was a complete and utter disaster, if you'll remember). This time, all went well. Kiddo was a little jumpy at first but quickly mellowed. I got lots of photos.

butterfly_feeding pinkflower yellow_and_black branchoforchids

Now I should be preparing my craft fair paperwork, but I left the actual papers at work and I can't access all of the forms from home to print new ones and ... well I supose I could make more stock but my shoulder really hurts ... and well anyway.... I got stuck looking at YouTube instead. These ones don't suck:

Teddybear Surgeon -- short, simple stop-motion stuffed animals with a heavy metal soundtrack.

Somewhere in the Amazon -- stop motion with LEGO. Fun. One day when I finish the other gazillion unfinished projects, I shall attempt something like it.

The Evolution of Beauty -- one minute from start to finish; what it takes to make an average model "beautiful"; the most interesting part is the photoshopping from photo to finished billboard.

Experiments in Obsession -- yes, more animation; this one is hand-drawn and silent. Reminds me of NFB shorts :)

Four day week this week. Friday is a day off for kiddo but also for me; not sure what we will be doing.

tags: photos, videos.

14 October 2006

What do you want to be for Halloween?

... "EVERYTHING!" says Kiddo.

Hmm. That's not a challenge, is it? I really shouldn't have done such a good job last year.

After considerable negotiation, I got a list of "everything." Turns out, everything is pretty much nature. Maybe she's Mother Nature? Who knows.

Anyway, today with her help I made a sketch and built her an everything costume by the end of the evening. Kiddo helped paint the grass and hubby provided dolphin creation skills, but the rest is my doing. Here's the completed costume (I still need to add ties on the sides, but otherwise this is what she'll be wearing):

costume_front costume_back
Front .......... Back

More at Flickr, tagged "costume2006."

tags: halloween2006, costume, sewing, craft-fu, kiddo

13 October 2006

Learn Physics: Buy a Yo-Yo

Duncan, the makers of the classic Yo-Yo, include on their site the Teachers' Yo-Yo Lesson Planner.

That's right. In five 35-40 minute lessons You can demonstrate pendulums, potential and kinetic energy, and even set up an experiment to test a hypothesis. Wheee!

(I've been looking at a lot of yo-yo sites tonight; kiddo expressed an interest in a yo-ball for Christmas, and I can't find one for sale online. Gah.)

tags: classic toys, education

12 October 2006

The 2006 Fall TV Season Continues

A follow up, of sorts, to my first post about the season and, I suppose, an addendum to my Ode to Doctor Who.

Since we started the season Smith, a surprisingly entertaining show, has been "cancelled" (possibly still in production (reports vary) but yanked from the schedule in favour of CSI and Criminal Minds reruns) and Standoff, also better than I had expected, is swapping timeslots with House (fine, now we can turn off the tv an hour earlier on Tuesdays).

We also watched the premiers of Doctor Who (see above), Battlestar Galactica (still great, but I found one of the subplots so annoying that I may skip the rest of the season and instead keep kiddo busy in another room for the hour BSG is on), Jericho (actually, we've seen a few episodes now... and as KungFuMonkey brilliantly noted, " Jericho is the absolute best show from 1988. And I'm cool with that."), and 30 Rock (I'll give it a go for the season, but I smell early cancellation).


My favourite new show so far is Studio 60; of the returning shows, I think Doctor Who and Weeds are my must-tune-in picks, though I am also quite fond of How I Met Your Mother. The rest, I can pretty much miss without a hint of remorse.

We haven't really gotten into Heroes or Eureka... though they are not completely off our radar either. And, we may actually start watching 24 this season (January) just to see Alexander Siddig being a baddie.

tags: television, fall season, reviews.

10 October 2006

YouTube in the news

Yeah, so apparently yesterday YouTube got bought out by some "upstart" company yesterday for like a gazillion dollars*.

Sigh. Eventually, everything will be owned by Google or Yahoo! I suppose I'm happier it was Google that bought YouTube. There's assurances that things will stay the same... and like other Google acquisitions (Blogger,Picasa, Writely...), I'm sure they will, for the most part. Though I expect soon enough I will have to sign into YouTube using my Google password.

Interestingly, I was using all of the above before Google bought them; I was using Flickr before Yahoo! bought it, too (I get to sign in using the "old school" login page)... apparently I have too much "free time" (yeah, don't start with me... I read a book this week... Fine. Yes, it was a kid's book... don't start with me...)

Speaking of time, it is Time 4 Bed (Go ahead, click. It's a cute/funny Weird Al-like video by Nick Schelle, from Victoria. I could tell from the Island Farms Milk in the video that he was "local." I swear this city is freaking tiny, and I bet if I asked around my circle of friends, someone I know actually knows Mr. Schelle -- two degrees of separation, that's likely it.)

*actually $1.65 billion. With a B.

tags: YouTube, Google, video, sixdegrees

09 October 2006

The one where I was not disappointed.

Ah. The Doctor is back.

Series Two of Doctor Who with David Tennant premiered in Canada tonight and, happily, it did not suck. Sure, there were some super cheeeeeezy moments, and yeah, the ending was seriously ridiculous, but whatever. David Tennant was great. I thought Christopher Eccleston was "great" but Tennant is better. It was also a treat to see the return of Zöe Wannamaker as "the last human."

I never watched the old Doctor. Who episodes, though I have seen some now, and I was very eagerly awaiting this premier (almost as much as hubby was awaiting the latest season of Battlestar Galactica). So, Mondays at 8:00 for the next few weeks, don't call; I won't answer the phone.

(And, yeah, I know Canada is waaaay behind the UK series... but that's OK. I have other prime time shows to watch.)

tags: television, scifi, doctor who

Gobble Gobble!

Originally uploaded by triviakitty.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers (and I hope those of you below the 49th parallel are enjoying a restful Columbus Day)

The turkey in the photo was created by kiddo at school.

08 October 2006

Thanksgiving Prep...

  • Watch Rent.
  • Fret over kiddo's cough, now lingering more than 2 weeks.
  • Go to clinic. Do shopping while hubby waits with kiddo.
  • Raise eyebrow and shrug at hour long wait for Robitussin™.
  • Do laundry. Tidy.
  • Watch TV/surf web/craft
  • Bathe kiddo.
  • Prepare pumpkin muffins.
  • Realize as the last batter is scooped into the muffin tins that I forgot baking powder.
  • Curse, return batter to bowl, add ingredient, repeat.
  • Blog, while waiting for muffins to bake and Studio 60 to start.

Funny moment today: we drove past a place advertising "Hard Liquor" and kiddo exclaimed, "Wow! I bet you have to be a teenager to bite through that!"

tags: kiddo, suzy homemaker

07 October 2006

Frugal Furniture and Fun with Kiddo

This week we have managed to replace two very rickety pieces of furniture: our kitchen table and our coffee table. Both pieces were about 25 years old and ugly.

The replacement kitchen table we got via craigslist; nice solid wood scratched up but still lots of years in it -- $40 -- now we just need new chairs. The replacement coffee table I had seen at Value Village on Monday -- but it had a "SOLD" sticker on. Yesterday, I went in, and it was still there. I asked staff how long they usually held furniture and was told 24 hours. Long story short, they phoned the "buyer" and told them to pick it up by end of day. They didn't, and this morning, we got a very funky coffee table -- the top lifts to a table height when sitting on the sofa -- just over $45 with tax.

newkitchentable newcoffeetable

This afternoon, I offered to take kiddo to the library and let her play in the park afterward. She happily agreed. We spent a long time in the library -- gathering a lot of books in the process. Outside, we noticed that there were a lot of balloons and crowds of people across the street at the firehall -- it turns out they were having an open house. Kiddo wanted to play in the playground instead of checking it out -- until they lit a real fire. Then we watched them use the fire extinguisher. By then, she really wanted to go see more. She ended up getting her face painted, tried out the fire hose, and checked out the firetruck and the emergency services van. The fire hose made a huge impression on her:


tags: kiddo, furniture, thrifty, frugal

Archie McPhee for Christmas!

Oh, I don't need any of this.... but I wannit. In fact, I'm pretty sure Archie McPhee only sells things people don't need.... but at any rate, I'd be happy to find any of these items under my Christmas tree or in my stocking:

1. The Cubes: Corporate Zombies -- they glow in the dark!! -- set of four $13.50
2. The Cubes: IT Set -- complete with cubicle and Unix box -- set for $12.95
3. Deluxe Librarian Action Figure -- yeah, I have the original, but I want the one with the book truck!!! -- $11.95
4. Edgar Allan Poe Action Figure -- with a raven -- $8.95
5. Pirate Dome Lunch Box -- classic metal lunchbox -- $16.95 and/or the Day of the Dead Snackbox. (And if I have to make my lunch, I'd like the Pirate Apron, too.)
6. Sarcastic Ball -- like a Magic 8 Ball, but more my style -- $7.95
7. Seven Deadly Sins Wristbands -- Livestrong? No thanks, I'll wear "Gluttony" instead -- $13.95 (I'd also like the Bad Attitude Wristbands, and/or the Bleak Wristbands)
8. Tiki Bandages -- for all my boo-boos -- $4.95 (Devil Duckie or Pirate Bandages would also make cool stocking stuffers)
9. Ooooh, Death Mints -- 2 for $4.95 and Pirate Pencil Toppers -- set of 5 $4.95
10. And if you can't decide, how about a Surprise Package -- $21.95 or a Jumbo Mystery Box -- $39.95!

And you can't go wrong with Devil Duckies. Ever.

tags: Archie McPhee, wishlist

06 October 2006

Vampire Symphony

Have I mentioned how much I love this time of year?

Next Friday (the 13th), the Victoria Symphony is performing Nosferatu -- that is, the original score for the film, as the film plays. Bonus: Dr. Peter Golz (a.k.a. "that guy who teaches the Vampire courses") is giving a pre-show lecture.

I think we may have even talked kiddo into attending. Whee!

tags: vampires, music, symphony

Moo MiniCards!

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
A while back, I ordered some Moo MiniCards -- they had a promo for Flickr Pro members -- a 10 pack was free! (The free packs are now sold out but there is free shipping on the 100 packs until October 15th.) You can see many of the other sets on Flickr in the Moo MiniCards Pool.

Anyway, most of them turned out OK; they are quite small as you can see from this photo. Of the set of 10, I was most impressed by the caterpillar shot and the crow on the grave; I was disappointed in the magnolia and the yellow roses.

For the back, I included very little info -- my flickr url (http://www.flickr.com/photos/triviaqueen/) and my webmail address, basically.

tags: flickr, moo, callingcards, photography

03 October 2006

Videos you probably didn't need to see....

1. Oedipus in 8 minutes, performed by vegetables.

2. Bollywood's version of Michael Jackson's Thriller: Chiru

And the thing that has been making me laugh A LOT this week... Dane Cook (not my favourite comedian by a long shot) hosted SNL this past weekend. In his monologue, he talked about how much crap was on YouTube. First he suggested punching the keyboard to get something, then he suggested typing in something random, like a:f6. Now, when you search for "a:f6" you get over 300 results. Some are truly, eye-meltingly awful, but others are not a bad response to Cook's barb.

tags: videos, youtube, dane cook.

02 October 2006

Mostly Me Day....

After walking kiddo to school, I bussed into town and wandered. I took photos and scoured two thrift stores... just ideal for me.

passionflower1 bridge_comingdown summerfruit rusted_hitch halloween_thrifts

This afternoon hubby gave me my anniversary gift early -- a 250 GB drive mounted in an external case. Woooo! While it formatted, we picked up kiddo and went out for dinner (our second buffet meal in two days... urf -- yesterday we went to Samuels for a birthday brunch).

This evening I shuffled a lot of media into the new drive, played with flickr for a while, and signed up with del.icio.us -- though I'm not sure yet whether it will be useful. Now we're watching comedies on CBS. Whee!

tags: wandering, mycity, photography, gifts