31 August 2006

Cost of Happiness...

Digital camera to take self portraits: $150

Three hours at the hair salon for two colours of hair dye plus a cut: $130

Hanging out at the playground with my husband and daughter and capturing this image on film:


This image was icing on the cake:


tags: silliness, selfportrait, narcissus, mock ad

Intense writing....

Wow. Nanowrimo not intense enough? How about punishing challenging yourself for a single long weekend?

The 3-Day Novel Contest comes with a first prize of publication... this year a dozen participants will actually sweat it out in front of cameras on BOOK TV. [Um, I know Canadians will apparently watch the most dull of events, but watching someone write a dubious novel? I think I'll pass.]

Though this is the first I've heard of the contest, apparently it's been going since 1977. Wow. That's a lot of pulp.

If you're in Vancouver, or can get there tomorrow, you can still sign up.

tags: writing, contest

30 August 2006

Curious things...

The calendar says it's Wednesday... but it's kinda wierdnessday.

1. The Shire of Bend, Oregon; move to Bend, Oregon and for half a million or more you can live in someone's version of the Shire. Don't get me wrong, they are beautiful homes -- green design and all -- and I would happily live in one on my own acreage. But I shudder to think of the buyers who would be attracted to the Shire: LARP enthusiasts and hardcore 24/7 SCA-types.

2. Tofino has run out of water. The tourist destination on the West Coast of Vancouver Island -- smack in the middle of a rainforrest -- has restricted water use to residents only. All commercial water will be shut off by the end of the week. That means, for the big Labour Day weekend, none of the inns, restaurants, B&Bs or retail establishments will have running water. Why, you ask? Because there are too many new homes being built in the region without any increase to the service infrastructre. Oddly enough, all that kum-ba-ya attitude has come back to bite them in their collective asses.

3. Coffee Crisp crosses the border. Yes, there is a whole LOT of hoopla from Nestle (the makers of said chocolate bar) about the move. Now, I love Coffee Crisp -- they are my fave mini-bars to snag from Halloween stashes -- but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have set up a fan site to pressure the company if they had only been available in the U.S.

tags: architecture, planned communities, water shortage, chocolate bars

29 August 2006

Party Stopover

My workplace has been invaded this morning by a Movie-of-the-Week called "The Party Never Stops." Curious, I phoned the production office this morning to ask what the movie was about. They told me it was about "sophomore (first year) college girls and the trouble they have knowing their limits with binge drinking." Oh boy.

They are filming in the stairwell and on the roof of the building; probably elsewhere on campus, too. There are crew trailers all over hell (as if the construction trailers weren't clogging things up enough). I suspect somehow it will screw up my day. We'll see.

tags: film production, victoriabc, movie of the week.

28 August 2006

Cross-border Corn Pops.

Kiddo loves Corn Pops. This morning, when she asked for Corn Pops, I checked the cupboard but no luck. No Pops. Looking deeper though, I remembered we had one mini-box from one of the variety packs we bought in Bellingham last month. Only problem is that even though the box looks the same, the cereal inside is different.

Canadian Corn Pops are perfect round styrofoam-like little balls. They have a vaguely corn-like taste, but it is as far removed from corn as Rice crispies are from rice.

American Corn Pops are lumpen and glossy. They taste more like corn, but there's something else... and I couldn't put my finger on it until I looked at the ingredients. American Corn Pops include oil ("one or more of: coconut, cottonseed, and soybean").

Full Canadian Corn Pops ingredients:

Corn meal, sugar/glucose-fructose, fancy molasses, salt, oat flour, baking soda, colour, vitamins (thiamin hydrochloride, niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, d-calcium pantothenate), minerals (iron, zinc oxide), BHT added to package material to maintain product freshness. Contains traces of soybeans.

Full American Corn Pops ingredients:

Milled corn, sugar, corn syrup, molasses, salt, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (one or more of: coconut, cottonseed, and soybean)***+, sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), niacinamide, reduced iron, zinc oxide, wheat starch, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin B1), annatto color, vitamin A palmitate, BHT (preservative), folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

You'll notice the other big difference right at the first ingredient: corn meal versus milled corn (guess that's why the American Corn Pops tasted more like corn); coincidentally, I also noticed that the American box had a little tiny union logo in the corner from the "American Federation of Grain Millers."

Of course this isn't the first time we've noticed that American and Canadian products differ (or Canadian and British products -- Smarties being the one that leaps to mind; the British Smarties have a flavoured coating whereas the Canadian ones just taste waxy on the outside). What I wonder though, is why they differ from country to country?

*Corn Pops is a registered trademark of the Kellogs company.

tags: food, global vs. local, Kellogs

27 August 2006

Looking ahead, looking back.

Next weekend, we may actually go to the Saanich Fair. I haven't been for over 20 years; it's been running a lot longer than that. It's a big agricultural fair -- 4H and all that -- plus a market, main stage (including "competitive eating" contests!), and a midway.

Last time I went, I had a very bad experience on a midway ride... (I was absolutely convinced I was going to die and I confessed my feelings for someone else on the ride. Oh lordy. My face would have been really red after that if it hadn't been so green.)

Still, I think kiddo may enjoy herself... though it might be hard to pry her away from the midway; she's a bit of an adrenaline junkie.

tags: stuff to do, fair, midway

26 August 2006

3 hours in a hair salon...

... means I go from long, shaggy, reddish hair:


... to shorter, curlier, black hair with blue overtones!! Wheeee:


Of course the photos don't really show the blue -- and my white streak is now violet.... but I am very happy with the result.

tags: narcissus, hair, beforeandafter

25 August 2006

Victoria Fringe20: Bolloxed!

As live theatre goes, the Fringe Festivals around the globe are still one of the best ways to stretch your theatre budget, albeit one of the riskiest. If you are attending the Victoria Fringe -- now in its 20th year and running until Sept. 4th -- or the Vancouver Fringe (Sept. 7-17), I have a tip.

See Bolloxed -- it's clever and very funny.

I'll admit, I had comp. tix care of playwright and blogger Darren Barefoot, but for the regular price of $9* it is far better than most of what Hollywood cranks out these days -- plus you'll be supporting the arts (one of whom in this case is wearing an athletic support.... but I digress).

Somewhere between testicular pain and international relations, Jack (a Canadian working for an American company in Dublin) falls for the proudly Irish Aoife. Over the course of an hour, Jack tells the audience how it all happened (and what was wrong with his testicles). There are plenty of audience asides, delivered with comic flare by Paul Drexler, and Mercedes Dunphy pulls off multiple roles -- and accents -- in addition to Aoife with apparent ease.

The set is sparse -- three chairs and a pair of pants hung on a screen; the props, limited -- a softball, some glasses, a pole and a couple of cell phones -- but the actors use them well.

The subject matter -- like most Fringe productions -- is adult oriented. Bolloxed has cursing a-plenty for starters (though much of it is delivered with an Irish accent care of Aoife) and of course there is a lot of talk about testicles. All of it is funny -- eye-watering, laugh-out-loud funny.

I'd write more, but really, you should just go see it. (If you do, come back and comment; I'd love to hear your take.)

tags: , , , .

*the play admission is $9 but you'll also need a Fringe button for $5 -- good for the whole festival no matter how many plays you see.

24 August 2006



Kiddo thought she would be funny by wearing my glasses and practicing her "shusshing action" a là Nancy Pearl. Speaking of Nancy Pearl.... there's a Flickr group devoted to her action figure.

tags: librarian, kiddo, Nancy Pearl

22 August 2006

wOO! We just tumbled into the 21st century!

(And only 5 years late!)

Yes... we bought an Xbox console today.... the first gaming console in our house. We got it at a pawn shop after work for $100 -- box and two controllers. Naturally, because I am the kind of dork I am, we got Namco Museum for the Xbox. Heh -- $100 to play DiGDuG (actually $112, because the game cost $12). We also bought Shark Tale at kiddo's request [shudder] -- another $15. Still, I'm looking forward to getting a dancepad and some Dance Dance Revolution action in the privacy of my own living room.

tags: stuff, gaming, console.

20 August 2006

Another Busy Weekend....

Friday: Adventures with smartcar (400 km (250 mile) driving in one day); more on the smartcar itself to come. For now, you can check out hubby's view over at the Fabulous Home Project. Later in the evening, we gathered with friends until kiddo wigged out, sleepy.

Saturday: painting, painting, flooring (peel and stick tile -- not terribly difficult, but annoying). Aside from a few details, we finished the kitchen. Voilà!


Sunday: tidied up, finished details (changing handles on the doors, rearranging stuff -- I threw out some unwanted and broken items -- etc...) and puttered around, then went out to get school supplies for kiddo then back for family dinner at my Mother-in-law's (hubby taught her how to make pasta from scratch).

I barely checked my email all weekend.... odd.

tags: renovation, testdrive, weekend

15 August 2006


Tonight we hung most of the upper cabinet doors (some needed touching up so they are still drying) and removed the lower doors (now sanded and primed). The green is subtle, overall the kitchen looks "sunny" now. I think we will be able to live with it.



You can see where we adjusted the doors -- removing the edging and hideous hardware and replacing it with hardware to match our other cabinets.

tags: renovations, kitchen

14 August 2006

Kevin Smith needs to buy some big boy pants

...but aside from that, he makes me laugh, and that's OK.

Despite my gut feeling, I did watch Ebert and Roeper last night where Smith was the guest host (wearing his trademark shorts and sports jersey, saying things like "you gotta give the dude some mad props" -- at least he took off his baseball hat).

He started by threatening to "slap the taste out of [Roeper's] mouth" in return for the lousy review of Jersey Girl, so I stuck around. A few times, you could see Roeper squirming, but when he wasn't Smith's punchline, he was off camera laughing his ass off, so I think it evened out.

I wasn't surprised that Smith gave Step Up a thumbs up -- the man likes Degrassi High.

*tangent alert* Hey, neat! If I wanted to be a Kevin Smith stalker, I now know what his house looks like. Thanks Kevin!

I should fess up that I am writing this post while watching Clerks. Still funny.

tags: Kevin Smith, movie reviews.

Higher Education is Rank(ed)

For many years, Maclean's Magazine has put out a Guide to Canadian Universities. Working at one of those ranked, I've always wondered how they go about ranking them....

Well, now 11 universities have "withdrawn" from Maclean's judgement this year -- University of Toronto, McMaster University, University of Ottawa, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, University of Manitoba, Université de Montréal, Dalhousie University -- but Maclean's intends to continue with it's ranking of all 47 universities including these 11, claiming that the information it uses is all publicly available.

Regardless, I'm sure the special issue will fly off newsstands as it does every year. Maybe moreso this year thanks to this "controversy."

tags: academia, media

13 August 2006

The Neverending Kitchen Reno, part 3.

We've been painting this weekend.

Back in March, we painted one wall orange and hung a new (recycled) cabinet in the corner with some additional shelves. At the same time, we bought the tiles for the floor and a new faucet for the sink. In April, we installed the faucet ... yesterday we finally went out and got the rest of the paint -- melamine in "Wedgewood Green" for the cabinets (to cover the hideous woodgrain and to blend the recycled cabinet in with the existing cabinets) and "Honey Wine" for other the walls and ceiling.

Before: kitchen_b4 During: kitchen_during

Unfortunatley, the Wedgewood Green, which looks green on the paintchip, looks yellow on the cabinets, to the point of being indistinguishable from the Honey Wine (which is a yellowy-cream colour). We are debating getting another colour a couple of tones greener and re-doing the cabinet doors.

It's still a work in progress.. but we should be able to finish it next weekend.

Tags: home improvement, diy, kitchen

10 August 2006

Did you hear about....?

According to scientists, dolphins gossip. They talk about other dolphins behind their back. I think Douglas Adams was on to something.

Blinded by Science: The Last Days of Gossip [Discover]

tags: science, nature, gossip.

08 August 2006

Movie Doldrums...

Not only is August the month when studios try to fob off all their loser films (um, please, Barnyard??? Note to writers: cows are female!!) but this August has begun particularly suckfully with Roger Ebert in hospital. Actually he's been there a while... but July was full of re-runs or clip shows of Ebert and Roeper (which, it's no secret, in our house we refer to as "Ebert and AssClown").

This weekend, they had Jay Leno as a guest on the other side of the aisle. It SUCKED. Yes, Jay, I'm sure you are a funny man, loved by millions; and yes, I'm sure you like movies, and you seem to see a lot of them, but geeeeeeez. The cardinal rule is you don't spoil the movie in the review. He let fly some pretty important details about at least two of the films. Even AssClown cringed.

Next weekend, Kevin Smith will be sitting in the guest chair, and while I am a huge Smith fan, I don't know if I will even bother tuning in for fear that he will spoil even more movies. Sigh.

I hope Ebert gets better and I hope if he is able he can continue reviewing movies. It's what he is best at, and I have heaps of respect for him even when I disagree with his reviews. However, if he doesn't return, for any reason, I really hope they cancel the show. Roeper doesn't get it. It was never the same after Gene Siskel died, but at least with Ebert there was still someone on the set who understood movies. Roeper has an opinion, but most of the time he doesn't understand the job of reviewing.

tags: Ebert and Roeper, movie reviews

05 August 2006

Cue the cheezy porn music....

'Cause slugs are gettin' it on in my garden:


...believe it or not, that white blob at the bottom is their entwined sex organs...

It took all the scientific detachment I could muster to take the photos. There are a couple of others at Flickr (click the photo above to go there).

If you want to learn more, check out the great photos at Leopard Slug Aerial Mating and at Oregon State University-Leopard Slug Courtship (which shows the process step by step). If you're still curious, there's all the nitty gritty of slug biology.

tags: slugs, weird nature, mating

04 August 2006

Content Thief in Action....

Xxxxx Xxxxxxx Stole My Photos and Now is Sueing ME!?! on Flickr - Photo Sharing![*]

Check out the thief's "portfolio"[*] -- it's full of stolen images subsequently claimed as his own. Several people have found where the photos actually came from. Along with kk+, Flickr users jgarber, Johnny Blood, and Stitch were targets -- and probably more.

I doubt this "photographer" actually even owns a camera.

[original story from DarrenBarefoot.com]

As the only valid link left in this story was the link to the "thief's portfolio" and that no longer pointed to any stolen content, I have removed the links so that you don't get a bunch of 404s. I hate those as much as I hate content thieves.

I have also removed the name of the individual as it appears there is no longer a reason to direct people to search his pages for their content.

01 August 2006

No standing ovation for Bravo.

OK... so I subscribe to Bravo's playbill. It arrives in my email every month with info about what's on the channel. Only problem is it's impossible to read. Most of the text is navy on a black background -- I have to highlight it to read it.

So, after highligting it, I find that there is a contact email, web at bravo dot ca. I send an email, outlining my complaint... and immediately get an error:

"PERM_FAILURE: SMTP Error (state 9): 550 Rule imposed mailbox access for web@bravo.ca refused"

Great. So I go over to Bravo.ca and find that they have an error report form. Excellent. I try to report both the email bounce and the aforementioned cocked-up playbill.... and I get this message when I submit:

"Firefox can't establish a connection to the server at cgi.chumtv.com"


tags: customer disservice, bad web design.