31 January 2006

The new PM has a Number One Fan...

Check out the kinda creepy but apparently genuine fan site for Stephen Harper at I HEART HARPER.ca.

As you may have guessed, I don't particularly trust the man and his facial expressions kinda freak me out. Thus, I really like this t-shirt featuring Harper with the phrase "BUT, I AM SMILING" by bawdypolitic.

Of course some of you think he eats babies. [So do these folks.]

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"Faces of Meth" freak me out.

Link surfing on my coffee break found this site: Faces of Meth (from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America).

It kinda freaked me out -- not because the only way the before and after shots could be creepier is if the subjects were dead -- because of the number of people with open sores on their faces -- "skin ulcerations" -- eww. Apparently skin ulcerations are just one of the common side effects of using crystal meth. On the other hand, with a decent make-up kit, I could easily fake those before and afte shots having seen that site.

Meth is big in the news these days. Ever since the release of the "Oncoming" Baitcar video [warning: explicit language], the media has been on the prowl for meth news. Victoria even has a Crystal Meth Society to educate and support the community.

Honestly, the closest I can come to understanding addiction is caffeine but since it is not only legal but also socially encouraged, I guess that really can't compare. All I can say is that meth freaks me out more than even the idea of crack ever did.



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30 January 2006

This might be a REALLY long flight...

AirTroductions™ - There's Something in the Air

I read about this curious service through Reuters "oddly enough" news this morning. Apparently it was also featured on Lisa Loeb's new reality show (Wait! This is her second reality show? WTF?) I'm not sure how well this could work.

Basically, you sign up with a profile in the hopes of locating a good match for conversation or networking or... (can you say "mile high club"?) It's free up until the point you want to make an actual connection, then it's five bucks.

Now, I haven't travelled often enough to worry about the annoying-seat-mate-from-hell; usually I've been able to slip into my headphones and ignore the other party all-together (I wonder if that makes me the annoying-seat-mate-from-hell?) I can kind of understand the thinking behind it, but I think the marketing needs to be more targeted. e.g.:

AirTroductions - Business (for business class frequent flyers; an emphasis on networking style and stock portfolio)
AirTroductions - YouthPass (budget backpacker? extreme sports? anti-globalization protester? rock band groupie?)
AirTroductions - FrazzledParent (age of screaming child multiplied by proclivity to air-sickness)
AirTroductions - MyFifi (swap cute pet stories for the duration of the flight; split into MyFifi is travelling with me and MyFifi is in the best kennel in my state)
AirTroductions - MileHighClub (Oh, yeahhhh! Cue cheesy porn music, boww-chikka-bow-bow)

And so on.

EDIT: It seems this is my 700th post to this blog. Wow.

29 January 2006

Bonus Awards Night

I don't remember ever having seen the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards broadcast before.... but at any rate, TBS is showing them tonight. Along with the Directors' Guild of America (their awards were handed out last night), the SAG Awards provide a clue to who will win the Academy Awards. Here's a few highlights...

I find it odd that most of the cast from Desperate Housewives opted for lavender dresses... and I am ticked off that they beat both Arrested Development and also My Name is Earl (both much funnier shows) for ensemble comedy.

S. Epatha Merkerson won her third honour for her work in Lackawanna Blues (which I haven't seen) and was again very weepy and emotional -- up until the point where she thanked her divorce lawyer with a cackle that could strike fear into the heart of any husband.

One of the weirder moments was the awkward scripted banter between Jake Gyllenhall and Heath Ledger while talking about Brokeback Mountain... as Jon Stewart would say, "UnCOMfortable."


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Happy New Year -- Gung Hay Fat Choy

Today marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year -- Year of the Dog (Fire Dog to be specific). Victoria is home to the oldest Chinatown in Canada and though the geographic area has shrunk over the years, the community is still strong; I am looking forward to next weekend's Lion Dance:

Feb. 5th: Bring in the Year of the Dog by coming down to the Gate of Harmonious Interest to see the annual Lion Dance performed by the Wong Sheung Kung Fu Club at 1:00 pm in Chinatown. This annual event is put on by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association officially welcomes in the New Year!

In the meantime, may you all prosper and find happiness and friendship in the coming year!




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Graphics by:

28 January 2006

Cup Couture ??

Damnit. Somebody tell me why Cup Couture can find a market but my poor lonely Cuppa Joe Cozies are still sitting in a big basket on my end table?

joecozystash



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Mixed Media

Rainy day... lazy start... bus ride to campus with kiddo... took about 80 photos... said farewell to a colleague leaving for Vancouver... met up with hubby, grabbed lunch and the matinee showing of Chicken Little.

misty blueboots2 reflected2



Returned home... painted kiddo's fingernails and toenails... worked on her "homework" (an art project)... watched Robin and Marian on TCM ... had an Asian feast for dinner... then went out on a date while my Mom watched kiddo. Went to see The Matador ... now feeling overly full of popcorn... watching Battlestar Galactica (which we recorded earlier)...

Tell me again the roads are safe...

Cherry Beach Sound Recording Studio was Hit by a Bus [Toronto Sun].



There was a question as to whether the famous Toronto building would collapse after the Greyhound bus was removed. Structural engineers were able to save the building, though it took 11 hours before the bus was extracted. Luckily, the bus was empty aside from the driver (who suffered minor injuries) and no one was inside the studio when the bus hit at about 6:30 a.m. yesterday.

Later the same day, in a different city...

Recent Golden Globe winner Joaquin Phoenix rolled his vehicle [Reuters], hitting another car in Hollywood. Neither was injured; early reports are that the brakes failed in Phoenix's car.


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27 January 2006

Nettwerk vs. the RIAA

The cross-border file-sharing issue heats up again with news that Canadian record label and management company Nettwerk is funding the fight for one family sued by the RIAA.

This is very good news. Most of the lawsuits are being settled quietly with a mea culpa accompanied by a big cheque. I don't think any of them have actually made it into a courtroom, so perhaps we can start to see some case law developing.

Regardless, I will be paying much closer attention to Nettwerk and their artists -- though interestingly both Sarah MacLachlan and also the Barenaked Ladies have been outspoken against file sharing. Wonder if they will change labels?


Read more:
Canadian music giant funds battle against RIAA [The Register]
Record Label Supports Man Accused of Sharing Music Illegally [Information Week]


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LiveJournal Rabbit Hole Day

Most of you who know me know that I can be quite gullible, despite also being quite skeptical. For this reason, I am not a fan of April Fool's day, and now I find there exists LiveJournal Rabbit Hole Day (today was the second annual LRHD -- which, not coincidentally, falls on Lewis Carroll's birthday). And wouldn't you know it? One of my friends totally had me going, hook line and sinker.

Sigh.

Anyway, now I have two days to be careful what I read and (more importantly) be especially cautious before replying. I know, that should always be the case, but it isn't -- I blame it on my innately trusting nature as a Cancer or some such poppycock.

(BTW, if the individual who caught me in their web of fiction is reading... I'm actually very impressed that their writing is such that the emotional side to the story sufficiently outweighed any discrepancies in the details... at least on the first read.)

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Headline of the day:

From CANOE/CNEWS: "Biggest Loser's San Diego auditions cancelled due to large crowd"

The (un)intentional pun of the "large crowd" just made me giggle this morning. Maybe a sign I need more sleep.

After reading the article, I have confirmed what I suspected: the producers of the show are sadistic. The auditions were to be held at a restaurant.

26 January 2006

Just when TV malaise is setting in...

I find a new show I love.

This year it seems some old favourites -- most notably The West Wing and Arrested Development (which didn't get a fair shot) -- are moving on to the great realm of syndication. A few others really oughta shuffle off. House has become repetitive; CSI is gradually transforming into X-Files, Las Vegas; and I gave up on this season of Desperate Housewives about 4 episodes in.

On the other hand, I have finally found Weeds. Oh. My. God. is that show side-splittingly funny and weird at the same time. I had caught a parts of a few episodes before, but last night I finally managed to watch an episode start to finish. I almost fell out of bed laughing so hard -- and I found it funny enough to share at coffee break this morning (not unlike the around-the-watercooler promo for Showcase's latenight lineup).

So, until I get around to buying Arrested Development and Dead Like Me (another show cancelled before its time) on DVD, you'll find me watching Showcase on Wednesday nights.

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Retail heritage receeding further...

As reported by CBC News: Hudson's Bay agrees to be acquired by U.S. investor Zucker.

Zucker's company, Maple Leaf Heritage Investments ... is "committed to enhancing our customers' shopping experience through a substantially greater focus on service and revitalizing the spirit of the organization," Zucker said in a statement.

"Through the implementation of more efficient methods, we will positively differentiate HBC from its competitors."


There have been rumors flying for the past two or three years that Target was in the wings to take over the Zellers stores within the HBC chain and I was braced for that move. This change may end up being more benign.... or maybe not.

The buyout still requires approval by shareholders.

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Accumulated Miscellany

Anyone else think it is odd that one of the larger Robbie Burns Day celebrations locally was held at the Irish Times pub? Speaking of Irish... it's not even the end of January and at least one dollar store already has half an aisle of St. Patrick's day party goods and tchotchkes.

In other news, there is some stirring of discontent over the latest READ poster (from the American Library Association) featuring Kelly Rippa. See past questionable choices at the ALA e-store. Long ago, I had a READ poster featuring Sting. Wish I still had that one instead of a Chris Atkins beefcake poster....

How about this for a bad idea:
[McDonald's restaurants] said Thursday it had begun trialing a new scheme in Britain whereby two people from the same family who worked at the same branch could cover each other's shifts without giving any prior notice.

That sounds like a good way for McD's to get entire families of indentured servants employees.


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25 January 2006

36-Pickup

Over on Livejournal, I commented about the election that BC, bless our "screw-you-Canada" attitude, had thrown all its cards in the air and mixed it all up. The South Island is a perfect example -- in the three ridings we handed back one representative of each major party: NDP in Victoria, Conservative in Saanich-Gulf Islands and Liberal in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca.

I had to laugh when the Tyee noticed, too: Oh, Fickle British Columbia!: "You've got to love B.C. When a bandwagon rolls across the country, we're the ones at the back, leaping off."

Bambu-zled!

The ridiculous housing market in Victoria just hit a big wall -- or rather a hole.

bambu_prep

About a year ago, after many public hearings and several re-designs, a parking lot in Old Town Victoria between Pandora and Fisgard street was closed off and torn up to begin work on the uber-hip live-work condominium development Bambu.

The project seemed to be in a permanent stall and was even set back by a suspicious fire in one building that was to be integrated into the facade. In September 2005, it was announced that Anthem Properties (who own and manage nearby Market Square) would be taking over the project.

The website touts that 90% of the high-tech units have been sold but oddly, buyers are now being offered a refund of their deposits with interest, plus "coupons" for $5,000 off if they chose to purchase under the new plan. In fact, Anthem is taking the project back to the drawing board -- literally -- and will be presenting a new plan to Victoria City Council in the coming weeks.

Oddly, it is only now that realtors are re-thinking the way they promote certain developments. The one realtor who went on camera last night (on A-Channel News) said he would no longer be recommending buyers purchase any unit they can't see and feel.

Good advice... a bit late though, if you ask me.

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24 January 2006

Creepy Artist du jour: Mark Ryden

On the front cover of a literary magazine I was gathering for binding today, this picture caught my eye:


The piece, by Mark Ryden, is titled Meat Magi and is one of many unsettling paintings featuring children, meat, blood, and religious imagery. In the case of Meat Magi, I was immediately attracted to the central skeletal figure (especially as it looks like a child's skull) amid the bright colours, but then I started looking at all the other bits of imagery -- especially the different lettering and symbols.

Paranoid Furnishings

Are you kidding me? This Bedside Table transforms into a club and shield. Seriously. [Featured on Shiny Shiny.]

23 January 2006

Bend Over, Canada.

Looks like you just screwed yourself.

The numbers have been flip-flopping in several ridings but it looks like a pretty weak Conservative minority with a strong Liberal opposition. The question remains who will ally with whom? To get a majority, or to win a vote in the House, you need 155 seats. Nothing here adds up nicely to 155 (as of 9:05 p.m. PST):

125 Conservative
102 Liberal
51 Bloc Quebequois
29 NDP
1 Independent

Locally in Victoria, I was all set to storm the Green Party HQ and blame Ariel Lade for stealing the riding from Denise Savoie... after all, she has a very green record Municipally. However, it looks like she is holding the lead for now.

Over the border inEsquimalt it is "too close to call" with Keith Martin and Randall Garrison separated by a couple of hundred votes.

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Please don't make Michael Moore eat his hat.

...it's kinda gross!

Seriously, though, I am a little worried that Canadians will deliver a Conservative minority to Parliament after polls here close in 10 minutes. For the record, I suspect another Liberal minority, but that's just my take.

The aforementioned Michael Moore released a Statement on [the] Canadian Election which included this quote:

.... I know you're not going to elect a guy who should really be running for governor of Utah. Whew! I knew it! You almost had me there. Very funny. Don't do that again.

So here's to hoping he doesn't have to eat that hat off his head. I am pretty sure that sweatband has been living up to its name.

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Me, as interpreted by Matt Groening

Sort of.

simpsons_me

I figured if Z├ęzette could find a version of herself within the great Simpsomaker, so could I.

Voting Day!!!

Voting is ON for the 39th General Election in Canada until 7 P.M. local time.

votercard

I voted this morning! Have you?

For your reference, this is how Victorians voted in the last election:

Total valid votes cast: 58,212

20,398 -- David Anderson (Liberal)
6,807 -- Ariel Lade (Green)
206 -- Derek Skinner (Cdn Action Party)
18,093 -- David Turner (NDP)
12,708 -- Logan Wenham (Conservative)

Since then, Anderson has stepped down and aside from Ariel Lade there has been a complete turnover of candidates in Victoria.

22 January 2006

Last Minute Political Quizzes

The polls open in less than 24 hours. Do you know who you're voting for? Are you sure?

Politics Watch - Canada's Political Portal offers the Vote Selector Quiz: 18 statements which are rated to test with which party your beliefs are best aligned. Greens are not included in this quiz.

Which Party to Vote For is a similar quiz crated by Oleg Saplin; there are 12 issues, multiple choice with the statements from each of the "major" parties. Again, Greens are shut out.

In the first quiz, I matched 100% with the NDP; the Liberals and the Conservatives tied at 64% and the Bloc came in at 58%. However, in the second quiz, I matched only 1 issue with the NDP; 5 with the Liberals, 4 with the Bloc and 2 with the Conservatives.

I think the second quiz is a much better design because you actually need to choose one statement on each issue that best matches your belief. Some were very difficult to choose, and I really wanted a "none of the above" option -- but that's often how I feel about voting. In the first quiz, when ranking each statement, it is much easier to guess where your chosen party stands or just click the option "neither" which then takes that issue out of the running for calculations.

20 January 2006

I like knitting... but this is extreme.

OK... really. Who exactly needs knitting needles that are lit from inside? Apparenlty there's a market:
NeedleLite - unique lighted knitting needles and lighted knitting bags. Now you can knit in the dark and see your yarn and your work. Knit at the theater, concerts, campfires, bedtime. Perfect for the visually impaired. Soothing to the touch. The knitting gift for the person who has everything.

Personally, I'd probably poke someone in the eye who chose to knit at the theatre with glowing needles. OTOH, they would also make wicked little mini-lightsabres.

Campaign Humour

A little pre-election joke borrowed from marmalade.ca:

Martin, Harper and Layton are flying on the Executive Airbus to a gathering in British Columbia when Harper turns to Martin and says, chuckling, “You know, I could throw a $1,000 bill out the window right now and make someone very happy.”

Martin shrugs and replies, “Well, I could throw ten $100 bills out the window and make ten people happy.”

Not to be outdone, Layton says, “Well I could throw a hundred $10 bills out the window and make a hundred people happy.”

The pilot rolls his eyes and says to his co-pilot, “Such arrogant asses back there. Hell, I could throw all three of them out the window and make 32 million people happy.”

More humour was shared last night by those watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart -- they included a segment called Indecision 2006/Ind├ęcision 2006 -- very funny stuff. If anyone comes across any screenshots of this or the "Maple Leaf Gag" segment, let me know and I'll link to them.

19 January 2006

Being sick makes me extra grumpy.

Yes, I have another cold (flu?); hubby's been battling it for a while now, and kiddo woke up coughing last night (plus a fever this morning). Hubby was desperate enough to try Buckley's cough medication -- he described its taste as "homeless urine filtered through sofa cushions from the Salvation Army" [they know it tastes bad -- I mean the stuff lists pine needle oil as an ingredient! -- the site includes all the ads admitting as much]. I have vowed that when I start coughing, I will take some too [=shudder=].

I finally dragged myself downstairs about 10:30 and there were 3 pieces of mail with my name on. The first piece was from the provincial arm of my union, urging me to vote for the party they have endorsed. I turfed the bumf and shredded the envelope.

Next was a letter from a store card. Last month, I paid off the store card in question (yay!) then found it had been overpaid (boo!) but they offered to send me a refund when they closed the account (yay!). I got the refund last week and expected that the mail I received today would be the "We're sorry to lose you as a customer..." letter for my records. Nope, it was a statement saying my account was at zero. I phoned them and, when I keyed in my number, the autobot did say my account had been closed. However, I still requested a letter for my records.

Finally, for the umpteenth time in the past 6 months I got another "offer" ("Congratulations! You've been selected to receive ....") from the Royal Bank. Since I'm already crabby and I'm stuck at home anyway, I found the "We value your privacy..." statement on the back, along with a 1-800 number. The automated menu offered voice or touchtone menu choices, I chose touchtone but there was no touch-zero-to-speak-to-a-human option so I punched in 123456789# and it said "That is not a valid card number. Please hold for the next available operator." After a few minutes I was assured that I had been taken off the mailing list but that anything currently at the printers would still get through (standard 4-6 weeks crap). But I feel better.

18 January 2006

Slow Down?

Huh. Must've missed the memo but apparently we are in the midst of Slow Down Week.

Oooooooooooooookaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

Digging into Digg

One person's views on Digg -- how it's like a flash mob, and how to hack the system to get your submission Dugg to the front page.

[EDIT: And if you doubt the writer's claim that digg seems to attract the dreggs of the technophiles out there, check out the anonymous comment one of the Digg Army left in an unrelated post mere minutes after this post appeared.]

read more | digg story

17 January 2006

How to Fill an Empty store

I can't decide if this is extremely clever or extremely stupid, but there is currently a plea for what to sell at The Gaiman Store. Of course Neil Gaiman himself seems to have no idea what people will want "to wear, drink out of, hang on your wall, take to bed with you or be buried in," but he is encouraging fans to let the store-owners know.

16 January 2006

Celebrity Wit at the Globes

Watching the Golden Globes, and the red-carpet lead-up this evening, I realized there are indeed celebrities with my sense of humour. My fave were Sarah Jessica Parker and hubby Matthew Broderick talking about leaving their son at home for the first time, "We left him with five dollars for food.." "... and I tied a key around his neck.." :)

I also loved Geena Davis totally sucking in the audience with a tale of a little girl tugging on her ballgown and telling her that "because of you, one day I want to be president." As the audience pours out a chorus of "Awwwwwwww" and the director focuses on celebrity moms like Gwyneth Paltrow, Davis says, "actually, that didn't happen." At which point the director changes focus and comes up with Will Ferrel laughing so hard he is in tears. Brilliant.

***

I've gotta take a moment though and ponder a couple of fashion trends.

1. Why were there so many guys there with really shaggy hair? I mean, Jason Lee did his best to slick back Earl's mop of hair -- but he's still filming the season, so that's expectable. OTOH, someone should have dragged a comb across the heads of Philip Seymour Hoffman (ooh, scratch that, it seems someone DID give him a comb just before the best actors were announced...) and (say it isn't so!) the usually dapper Tim Robbins. An appointment with a hair stylist should have been priority for Joaquin Phoenix, too.

2. Girls, girls, girls. There comes a time in a woman's life when you really need to consider a bra. I know backless, cutout, and otherwise slinky dresses are a big deal at awards shows.... but please -- Drew Barymore, I'm talking to you -- invest in a decent bra or bustier, or something to support the twins, mmmm'Kay?

***

And a parting thought... I think maybe Mary Louise Parker had been sampling brownies from her set shortly before accepting....

Fare hike or tax hike?

Either way, I'm going to be paying more if Victoria Regional Transit System gets its wish.

There is a public hearing tomorrow night (PDF) which I might just attend -- seems they want to raise the cost for monthly passes and/or pursue a property tax hike and/or a gas tax hike to support expanded service.

All I can say is that they sure as hell better give me a good example of where and how they plan to expand because last week they met with residents in my neighbourhood (PDF) to discuss CUTTING service to our area.

Grr.

15 January 2006

Brunch!

A bout of collective restlessness this afternoon meant we decided to head out for a late brunch. We ended up at ReBar, somewhere I haven't been in a long time but is still as good as I remembered. I had their Almond burger (a meatless patty made with a secret mix of almonds, vegetables and grains); hubby had a variation on eggs benedict with salmon; kiddo had the "little jack" -- basically a cheese quesadilla.

cuppa_tea

A break in the weather also meant it was a good day for photos, but wouldn't you know it? My batteries gave out before I got too many shots.

waddington_alley

***

Watching the news, it seems there was an earthquake early this morning. Oddly, we didn't feel it, even though it was sizeable (magnitude 3.9) -- though I suppose we haven't felt any of the quakes that have occurred in the region since we moved to this townhouse. I guess that's one thing in its favour.

14 January 2006

Homegrrl and Movietalk

Today, I mostly stayed home.

Slept in (until 7:40 -- CRAP! I've almost become a morning person!)... lovely, lazy morning with strong coffee in my mug and Shakespeare in Love on the telly. Hubby went out briefly to sign some debt-fu paperwork (a great big extended middle finger to three more credit cards!) while I hung out with kiddo. On his return we had chili and cornbread for lunch, then it was laundry day -- 5 freakin' loads! Oh, and I discovered that one of the drains for the washing machines in the laundry room has some serious issues -- I am debating telling the managment company; my worry is that they will simply make the attached machine "out of order" rather than fix the problem.

But I digress.

While waiting for laundry, I mad a veggie chart to help kiddo track her veggie choices -- so far she eats a lot of carrots and avocado, some broccoli , and cucumber (when it is part of tzatziki). We'd like her to eat tomatoes (not just ketchup or tomato sauce), celery, corn, peas, and beans. Or at least try them. So there are squares under each veggie that say "I tried this," "I tried this again," "I like this raw," "I like this cooked," and "I like this in/with." We filled in the carrot and broccoli grids today.

This evening, after Battlestar Galactica and natchos, I went out for a short while. I returned a huge stack of library books, went to Movie Gallery and grabbed a few things from the drug store. I brought home Crash and Lush -- both were free rentals! The rental place phoned and offered us a free rental because we hadn't been in for a while -- how's that for flawed logic? -- and lately they've been offering a free gallery (old stock) rental with every new release.

We watched Crash tonight -- great film. Lush looks OK from the bumf on the case -- Campbell Scott and Laura Linney in New Orleans.... but looking at imdb, the outlook is not so great. We'll see.

Crash is one of last year's films now out on DVD that I really wanted to see before the award season kicks into gear; also on the list are The Constant Gardener and A History of Violence plus documentaries Rize, March of the Penguins, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Murderball, The Aristocrats and Grizzly Man (phew! good year for docs!). I'd like to see Walk the Line, Good Night and Good Luck and Capote which are still in theatres, but not sure if I will get the chance to see any of them. I don't think Transamerica has even come to town. Oh, and we also missed The Wedding Crashers and The 40 Year Old Virgin -- but I somehow doubt the Academy will recognize either film.

13 January 2006

OMG#2: Thatcher:The Musical'

OK, I still haven't recovered from wanting to scratch my retinas over the Barbie Tarot in the previous entry... and then I see 'Thatcher:The Musical'!! In exactly what fresh hell are we living?

thatcher


This seems tangentially tied to the success of The Producers -- I mean there are those who lived through Thatcher's "iron" rule who would argue it is only the tiniest sidestep from Springtime for Hitler to Thatcher the Musical.

OMG: Barbie Tarot

A livejournal user has created a mockup for a Barbie Tarot. Of course, as she points out, Mattel would never lisence the thing, so it would have to exist in the world of fan art.

Personally, I would weep at the crassness of it all if I saw it on the shelf of any respectable retailer.

12 January 2006

Heavy Weather

Weather has been wet. Very wet. Apparently it is newsworthy that we have had 25 consecutive days of rain; the news coverage started on day 21. Today though, we had WIND. Ugly, mean, tree-toppling wind:

winddamage1

Happily, hubby came and picked me up from work so I didn't have to bus home.

So, yesterday I had an interview for an IT job. I think I finally stopped playing the "I should have said..." broken record in my head around midnight last night. Tip for those of you who might apply for an IT job in tech support -- might be a good idea to rehearse some examples of techie stuff you've done. Yep, that's right, I was that unprepared. Doh. The committee should be making their decision by Monday, so the angst will be over soon enough.

Memo to Tourism Victoria:

We need one of these cards for Victoria:

"The popular Reykjavik Tourist Card is your key to the city. The approximately $19 card is good for 24 hours, and is sold at most local hotels and tourist centers. It provides free access to many museums and galleries, free Internet access, and unlimited travel on the city buses. Best of all, it provides access to the city's seven thermal pools." (from the Iceland e-list)
Note: for slightly higher fees, you can also buy cards valid for 48 or 72 hours! They are also available for over 40 other European cities!

Surely, Victoria attractions could get it together, along with transit and a couple of internet cafes to provide this service? C'mon!

First podcast on tap!

Well, for those of you who would like to hear hubby and I talking and ranting about the coming Federal Election, our first podcast of Those DeWolfes is up and ready for download. It's still rough around the edges... but we figured we wanted it out there before the election! It's about a half hour in length and about 28 MB ... and I think I sound like a dork. Perhaps you can be the judge. Lemme know if you download it.

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10 January 2006

Nikes as Art.

The McPherson library recelntly received a copy of a book about artist Brian Jungen, published by the Vancouver Art Gallery and Douglas & McIntyre. His work is generally sculpture and installation using "everyday" objects in rather extraordinary ways.

My favourite pieces are made using Nike Air Jordans, and in some cases also human hair, reconstructed to evoke traditional Northwest Native carved masks. The numbered series is titled Prototype for New Understanding; I really love Prototype for New Understanding #9 (1999). [I can't find a photo of #9 online, but Prototype... #5 is similar.]

If you are going to be in Vancouver, I'd recommend visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery where a number of his pieces will be on display from January 28th until April 30th of this year.

More info:
CBC.ca - Arts - Art & Design - Shapeshifter
Brian Jungen Works at Catriona Jeffries Gallery
Washington Post - Brian Jungen's Masks...

Before you reach for that remedy...

CBC News: Chest doctors discourage use of most cough syrups

Interesting article. Basically says that most over the counter cough syrups are too low a strength to do any good -- many are no better than a placebo.

09 January 2006

Plenty of Choices!

According to Elections Canada On-Line, there are no less than fifteen registered Political Parties eligible to field candidates in the January 23 federal election.

Unfortunately, it appears the Natural Law Party (a.k.a the the yogic flyers party) has voluntarily withdrawn. Good thing too since their Canadian website now redirects to an online dating directory.

Sadly, it appears that the Absolutely Absurd Party lost their ability to become registered.

Around here, the fringiest party is the Western Block Party (WBP) headed by controversial lawyer Doug Christie. Mr. Christie and his compatriots would like to see Western Canada (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) form an independent country. Suuuuure.

Currently, six parties are represented, and one independent is running in my riding (Victoria); there is no incumbent candidate:

ANDERSEN, Saul (Independent)
BAIRD, Robin (Conservative)
BURNETT, Bruce (WBP)
LADE, Ariel (Green Party)
MALLACH, Fred (Marijuana Party)
MULRONEY, David (Liberal)
SAVOIE, Denise (N.D.P.)

Next door, in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, there are six parties and no idependent candidates; Keith Martin is the incumbent:

CHRISTIE, Douglas (WBP)
DeSOUZA, Troy (Conservative)
GARRISON, Randall (N.D.P.)
MARTIN, Keith (Liberal)
PINEY, David (Canadian Action)
ROBINSON, Mike (Green Party)

Across town, the choice is even slimmer at 5 parties in Saanich-Gulf Islands; Gary Lunn is the incumbent:

BURGIS, Jennifer (N.D.P.)
LEWIS, Andrew (Green Party)
LUNN, Gary Vincent (Conservative)
O’BRIEN, Patricia (WBP)
ORR, Sheila (Liberal)

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08 January 2006

digital kid

So hubby and I are doing post-production on our "pilot" podcast -- it's got a political theme so it may or may not interest anyone... but expect to see it up this week anyway. Yesterday, though, kiddo told my mom that she was doing a podcast (which prompted mom to ask "a what?"). She confirmed wanting to do a podcast of her own today -- and she picked out a domain name! Hah! (It's a hillarious name, and we may just indulge her.) Later, I let her use the digital camera (because she is going to need content for that domain) and she took some interesting photos... so I may have to set her up a Flickr account too. Hee Hee.

Scarf Done!

Woo! I finished off the snuffleuppagus scarf last night; here's an action shot:

scarf_actionshot

The finished scarf is 8 inches wide and 45 inches long. If I made another, I would aim for no more than 6 inches wide.

As I mentioned last night, I finished it while watching Jaws, which I really rather enjoyed! I was surprised by the amount of suspense given that I knew what the "surprising" scenes were -- thanks to 30 years of pop culture references, not to mention shows like Mythbusters' Jaws Special. As I sat there watching, I was trying to figure out why I had never seen the film before. I think a large part was that I was too young when it premiered in the theatre (I was six) -- for the most part I was still watching Disney movies. Since then, though, I have had many opportunities... so I think it comes down to the fact that I have always thought Richard Dreyfuss was a goof and I always thought of Jaws as a Dreyfuss film.

07 January 2006

Out and About *

This morning, my mom picked up me and kiddo and we went out to a fabric store to buy the remaining fabric she needed to make kiddo's quilt, and some curtains to coordinate with the coming redecoration.

Yep. We have promised to let kiddo paint one wall and the trim around the windows and doors purple. She has been asking for over a year... so I'm guessing she is not going to change her mind any time soon. I expect we will do the work in March, close to her birthday.

Now, if I ever utter the words "I ought to take up quilting," please ask me how I plan to finance that particular habit. You see, I had no idea that a yard of fabric (ONE yard) could cost $12.99 on sale. That, to me, seems ridiculous. Mind you, when I think of quilting my thoughts turn to pioneer crazy-quilts which believe were made with scraps from worn clothing or leftovers from making clothing. So if I ever take up quilting, rest assured, I will be using scraps and recycled fabric.

After lunch, mom went off to see a movie and kiddo and I were left to our own devices. We chose to go on a "bus adventure" -- she really wanted to take a double decker bus, so I told her we would get on one and see where it went. This amused her no end. We ended up going from downtown out to Admirals Walk then doing some shopping (groceries plus a wander through the dollar store) and taking another bus from there home. This little self-portrait with kiddo (below, left) was taken at Admiral's Walk; kiddo also noticed a needle stuck into two leaves of one of the bushes (below, right):

momanddaughter likeaneedle2


When we got home, we were a bit cold from the rain, so I turned up the heat and we curled up to watch some cartoons. Once we were warm, it was craft time! We had bought some nice bright-coloured ink-pads at the dollar store so kiddo could do some "thumbprinting." Here's one of her creations:

running_snowman

In case you were wondering, hubby was out doing "good friend" duty helping someone move. Now we are watching Jaws which, oddly, I have never seen. Scratch one off my film-gap list!



*(No, I do not pronounce that "ooot and aboooot." I am Canadian, not stupid.)

06 January 2006

Stupid criminals.

Well, more hooligans than criminals. Police were called to Earl's Restaurant onBlanshard street in Victoria in the wee hours of the morning because two inebriated men were attempting to steal "a large fiberglass parrot" from the roof.

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05 January 2006

Umm.. so I haven't been that busy...

Life has been quiet-ish, and that's good. Last night, we watched Serenity (finally bought both that and also the Firefly series by using the last of our Christmas gift cards. Well, not really last; we still have Starbucks cards...) and I worked on the snuffleuppagus scarf for most of the film's duration.

In an effort to get my diet and health back under control, I seem to have become one of "those" people with a shelf full of supplements. Currently the list of supplements is: one basic multivitamin (with iron, I think), evening primrose oil (1,000 mg/day), 5-HTP (100 mg/day -- just started this week), Cold-FX (one capsule, preventatively, per day).

For those of you using Firefox, you'll notice that Flotsam and Jetsam now has a "live bookmark" option -- YAY! Hubby figured it out, and now all our main blogger sites have that option.

This evening... I have been gathering movie-themed desktop images to load my screensaver while watching My Name is Earl, The Office, and CSI. So... not much really.

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Oh, in the "cute as hell" camp, kiddo had a nightmare the other night and while we were consoling her, saying we were sorry, she said, "It's OK. My brain just didn't know to give me a kid's dream instead of an adult dream."

04 January 2006

Stop Promising Me My Tax Dollars!

As I sit here typing, Paul Martin is on the other side of the campus about to give an announcement, expected to be related to wait times for surgery and other medical procedures. If I didn't have to start work in 5 minutes, I might wander over to view the media circus, but then again it might just make me angrier.

Election promises, especially by the incumbent party, really stink and here's why: if Paul Martin can promise these sweeping changes now, why weren't they introduced while he was in power? It's not as though there has been any significant shift in the way Canadians feel about health care. It's not as if this sort of thing hasn't been asked for by provincial leaders already. It's just posturing with a thick layer of horseshit, and it smells about as good.

I can't remember the last time I felt so VERY bitter about an election. I mean, I usually feel like there is little I can do about who gets to sit in the big boy chair, so I don't get too bent out of shape over it... but this time, I really really don't want to see either Martin or Stephen Harper take that seat.

Locally, I can affect this a little bit. I decided as soon as she announced her intentions to run that I would be voting for former city councillor Denise Savoie who is running for the NDP in the Victoria riding. She's up against a newbie under the Liberal flag, a generic suit under the Conservative banner, and a Green Party candidate who just keeps running and running. I just wish the rest of Canada had as clear a choice. For example, one riding over, in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, the race is pretty tight. Incumbent Keith Martin is probably the best person to fill the job, but he is running as a Liberal. The conservative candidate is a patsy whom I know from political days past; but due to ill-feelings toward the Liberals, he may have better chances than he should. In the NDP seat is Randall Garrison, known for his human rights activism; I'm not sure how well known he is in that riding. I have to admit, that it would be a tough riding for me to make a decision; it is one race that will be watched closely.

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03 January 2006

Chavez action doll

Excellent. The talking George W. Bush doll has competittion:

Ananova - Hugo Chavez action doll is best-seller

Blogger gets a Cease and Desist for having top results

Bjoern Harste is a well-known German blogger who owns a supermarket and writes about his daily experiences at work in his Shopblogger blog.

He's received a Cease & Desist order from the Sozialgericht Bremen (a social services court). Because one of his blog posts appears in the Google top ten resutls for "Sozialgericht Bremen". Of course now, since the story broke, his blog will likely hit number one.

Way to go Bloated Government Agency(tm). When will they learn, you can fight City Hall but not Google.


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