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