28 February 2006

I made siu mai!

Usually, Hubby takes the wheel on stuff like these fiddly dim sum dumplings (siu mai, pronounced SHOO my) -- they are stuffed with a pork mixture and steamed. Hubby was at a meeting tonight, though, so I hauled out the Dim Sum cookbook and followed the recipe to the best of the ingredients on hand (substituted celery for bamboo shoots, and put in only one dried mushroom as I find them very strong). Anyway, I was pretty happy with the results:


There are a few more photos on Flickr. [BTW, the stainless steel steamer baskets are one of our prized posessions -- we found them tucked under a table in a cluttered store in San Francisco, waaay back in 1996. We bought every one they had -- which was six small and two large plus two small lids and one large lid.]

Tags: cooking, dim sum.

Here's $100 -- YOINK!

You know if Ontario gets away with it, our Gordo will be all over the idea.

CBC News: Ontario might claw back federal child-care cash

Basically, Harper's new government has promised $100 per month per child under 6 to go toward a family paying for childcare or to subsidize families who choose to care for their children at home. Ontario sees it as income and plans to deduct it from any social assistance cheque families receive.

Tags: bureaucracy, Canadian politics, idiots.

One to Watch Out For....

Aaron Sorkin is rounding up the usual suspects for a new drama called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip [Wikipedia] set for NBC's fall 2006 schedule.

The setting is a late-night sketch show (think SNL or MadTV), so I am expecting/hoping for something like Sports Night... but only time will tell.

Of course Sorkin fans are already setting up camp -- there's already a blog!

TAGS: television, fall schedule, pilot

27 February 2006

Fun with Flickr Toys

Among the many fun things to do at Flickr Toys is a magazine cover generator. Last night I used it to create the Victoria Living cover as part of a new look for my personal web portal page; today I created the Coffee Fashion cover to promote my CuppaJoe Cozies:

JoeCozyCover Victoria Living 2

Tags: , , ,

Cliched vampire fiction wanted

Dark Recesses Press - Submissions

Any age, any plot, any characters are fine, but remember, we want the theme to include a seductive vampire (male or female). Since most competitors will be writing similar stories, style is key. It must be well written, but the more cliché, the more we'll squirm in pleasure, and the better your chances will be.

You have between 1000 - 2,500 words; not a trickle more or less.

Reading periods are from now until May 31st, 2006.

The winner will receive $500 in cold hard US cash

It doesn't specify whether or not the entries must be written in blood...

TAGS: contest, fiction

Pre-coffee Humour

Sometimes, I manage to amuse myself in the early hours before inhaling coffee (thankfully these hours are small in number).

This morning, I was tried to remove kiddo's footstool from in front of the sink but in doing so, dragged it across hubby's foot (ouch! sorry!).

He said, "That's OK. That's why God gave me two feet," pause for comic effect "and one wife."
To which I replied, without missing a beat, "Oh, that wasn't God. It was the Other Guy."


26 February 2006

Alan Smithee Coffee?

You may be familiar with the name "Alan Smithee" without knowing why.

Alan Smithee [Wikipedia] is a pseudonym (no longer used officially) assigned by the Director's Guild of America when the director could show that creative control had been severely compromised -- often when a film was re-edited)

So, I was quite surprised to see Alan Smithee Coffee as the brand name on the coffee urns at the Odeon Theatre (part of the Cineplex chain). Here's a photo of the sugar packs:


I have to wonder if the Odeon knew it was being funny with the brand or whether the wholesaler thought it would be damned funny to pitch Alan Smithee coffee to a theatre chain. I'm guessing the latter -- I mean, most theatre coffee is like bar coffee (weak and nasty), so who would want their brand associated with it?


25 February 2006

Full Day!

1. Rummage sales! Hit two sales today where we gathered a trunkfull of treasures for a pittance:


$6 for a HUGE amount of yarn (above)
$2 for a pair of adjustable Barbie-branded over-shoe roller skates/blades with knee and elbow pads (for kiddo)
$1 for a pair of Simple slip-on sneakers (for me)
$2 for a Nike hoodie, an OshKosh denim overall dress, and two t-shirts (for kiddo)
$5 for an IKEA desk
$0.50 for a laptop bag
$0.75 for Troubleshooting Excel Spreadsheets (c.2001)
$0.75 for a bagful of 17 little tin stars

I've probably left out a few other odds and ends -- but amazingly our haul totalled less than $20!!

2. Saw Mirrormask at Cinecenta -- visually stunning; like no other feature length film. Kiddo was bored and a bit scared at parts, but was a good sport and stayed in the theatre.

3. Out to Sidney to see the special Lego® displays at the Sidney Museum. First we had a late lunch at Cafe Del Mundo (fabulous fabulous service and really great Mexican food!). Unfortunatley that meant that we got to the museum just as it was closing... they let us in, but it seemed like they were annoyed to do so. Worse was that I was very disappointed in the display; I was expecting original designs using Lego bricks, what was on display were collections of assembled Lego kits. And of course even after asking her a dozen times before we got to the Museum, 5 minutes in, kiddo had to go to the bathroom. Sigh.

Kiddo put herself to bed at 5-ish on our return home. I expect she will wake up at some ridiculous hour, hungry and alert. I also dozed off (briefly) and since then have been puttering. I'm about to settle down to making the first "pride cozy" -- a rainbow striped CuppaJoe Cozy!

24 February 2006

Eve & the Fire Horse

Hubby and I went out for a film-friendly evening. We saw Eve & the Fire Horse -- which I highly recommend -- and since it was the Victoria premiere of an independent /low budget Canadian film, the writer/director Julia Kwan and one of the producers, Erik Paulsson were in attendance to answer questions after the show.

We also attended a pre-film panel discussion with Kwan, Paulsson and the assistant director, David Mills. The panel was hosted by CineVic and put together by our friend M. who had seen Eve and the Fire Horse at the Vancouver Film Festival (it also played at the Toronto and Sundance festivals).

The story is set in Vancouver in the 1970s and centres around Eve and her sister Karena who have been raised Buddhists but are introduced to Catholicism at a critical time for their family. If you have a chance, I highly recommend this film -- it is sad, funny, irreverant and intelligent. In fact you might even want to go out of your way to see it.

If you are in Victoria, it's currently playing at the Odeon.

TAGS: , ,

Learning Russian?

I recently came across a pair of Russian primers from 1976 (though they have a Dick and Jane feel from an earlier era) and I thought, "I wonder how hard Russian is to learn..."

Naturally, I turned to the web, and what do I find but LearningRussian.com: Russian Language Introduction. The site claims that the "alphabet can be mastered in under a week or less." While I'm not completely convinced of that, I might give it a shot. I also found a pronunciation guide online. Nifty.

TAGS: , ,

EMF vs. the world

So, some dumbass at Lakehead University in Ontario has curtailed student access to WiFi because "[the] jury is still out on the impact that electromagnetic forces have on human physiology."

Please. Give this electromagnetic forces (EMF) nonsense a rest.

When I was co-chair of one of our institutional occupational health and safety (OHS) committees, I did a lot of research into EMF hazards, and found very little to worry about. Basically, you don't want to sit with the back of an older computer monitor behind your head, but otherwise the readings on almost every other electrical device found in an average office, library, or classroom surrounding is minimal.

Sure, you could argue that collectively, the fields might pose a hazard -- but even studies that seem to link very high EMF exposure (e.g. arc welders) to cancer are "inconclusive" at best. (Besides which, I'm pretty sure that in the next 15 years some grant-hungry scientist is going to "prove" that the nitrogen in the air is actually carcinogenic.)

Bottom line: unless you are going to move to a tent or cave in the wilderness, you are going to encounter EMFs in your daily life.

Read more about EMFs via NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health -- USA) and the CDC (Center for Disease Control): EMF Factsheet.

Tags: , , , .

23 February 2006

Ten Years Ago...

On February 23, 1996, I met a guy named Mike. Turned out, we suited each other pretty well. Today, he surprised me with a dozen long-stem roses that smell oooh soooo lovely.


Thanks, hubby.

Tags: ,

22 February 2006

CuppaJoe in the News

For those who are interested, the CuppaJoe Cozies and me are mentioned in an article in the February 27th issue of Macleans -- on newstands now.

"Love what you've done with your cup," contributed by Rebecca Eckler, is mostly about Cup Couture -- the competition -- and references a past post here in a way that makes me sound more than a little whiny and while I could grumble and mope about it, there's no way I am going to look at this publicity as anything but favourable -- my Cozies are less than half the price of the Cup Couture wraps, they're 100% Canadian, and that article just landed on thousands of newstands across the country.

So Rebecca, if you're reading this, "Thanks!"

Unfortunately, my shopping cart was not quite ready for prime time this afternoon, but after a few hours fiddling, it's good to go! I also have knitters lined-up to help if demand outstrips supply.... fingers crossed!

tags: , ,

Living in a cartoon landmark.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!?

Well, I guess being able to watch the Simpsons practically 24/7 in syndication might have made it easier to build The Simpsons house -- but seriously, was this necessary?

(Although I love the photo that shows the gate across with a big NO ENTRY sign, because no doubt Simpsons fans were running up to this guy's front door and posing for portraits at all hours.)

tags: Simpsons, architecture, weird homes

20 February 2006

No article this week.

Bought this week's Maclean's magazine and there's no CuppaJoe Cozy mention and the journalist who interviewed me (Rebecca Eckler) is not listed as a writer or contributor this week either. So, one more week to tweak the website (maybe put in that shopping cart) and knit some more cozies!

In the meantime, those of you who have asked for buttons can find them on the Media page of the CuppaJoe Cozy site; here are my favourites:

"Steal this Button" style:

Basic logo:

Sidebar mini-banner:

Please link them to http://www.innerharbour.com/joecozy to take people to the front page.


19 February 2006

"I probably wouldn't order that again."

That seemed to be the theme of my day, foodwise.

This morning started out just fine; at hubby's urging we did a lot of housecleaning -- I even moved the furniture to chase down the dust bunnies. Then we dropped kiddo at her Nana's and headed out for a few hours of kid-free time.

First was more books; hubby wanted to check out the Raise a Reader sale for himself. After a little under an hour, we came out with half a dozen books and the sale made another $15. From there we went to Cook Street Village for lunch. On one of the side streets, there's a lovely little mini-food fair with 4 kiosks -- Thai food, sushi, coffee, and Ethiopian food. For the hell of it, I chose a beef dish from the Ethiopian kiosk. While the food was fine (the beef itself was very tasty), it was messy and spicier than I would normally choose so I told hubby, "It's not bad, but I probably wouldn't order it again."


From here, we headed into town. Really just wandered from one place to another, taking a few photos, checking out a few stores and eventually ending up at Oh Gelato! where hubby could get his fix of Green Tea gelato. I chose the Creme Brule flavour and about halfway through declared, "Hmmm. I probably wouldn't order that again." Hubby pointed out this was becoming a theme. In case youre curious, I still finished off the gelato -- after all, the cone cost $4.50.

A few more stops and then we collected the family from a dental clinic where our neice had just had a tooth extracted -- a nasty abcess, and I know all about those. This evening was a quiet family night, topped off by baking banana-pecan loaf....


mmMMMmmmm.... I would make that again.

tags: food, eating

18 February 2006

Getting Busy!

Went out this morning and unexpectedly left a pawn shop with a new camera! Hubby bought it for me because it was a good deal, and because he wanted the one I have been using. Fine by me!The new camera is a Sony (just like the other one, so we can exchange memory cards and almost completely eliminate the learning curve) -- the DSC-P93 to be precise; it offers 5.1 megapixels with a 3x optical zoom (yay!) and even captures mpeg video. The other part of the "deal" of my getting a new camera is that I am going to try and make spare cash selling stock photos, art photos, and photo-printed products (e.g.: I plan to make at least one calendar to sell). I'll keep you posted on those fronts, too.

After the pawn shop we had lunch, then kiddo and I lined up (thankfully only for about 10 minutes) to get into the "Raise a Reader" booksale. There were apparently almost half a million books -- all donations -- roughly sorted for sale at $1 to $3 with proceeds going to literacy programs in the city. I spent $23 and came home with 23 books plus one brand-new-in-package LeapPad book and cartridge. While a couple of the books were more than a buck, this was balanced by some of the books (early readers) being sold at 2/$1.


Unbelieveable bargains! We may go back for day two of the sale tomorrow.

This afternoon, we attended the first birthday party for friends' daughter and caught up with people we hadn't seen in a while. Most had fun teasing me about my pending CuppaJoe Cozy fame. I tried to take it in stride.

Currently, I am watching Castaway while hubby edits podcast number two; should be ready to go within a day or two.

17 February 2006

If I'd only known!

LiveScience.com - Monkey's Voice Good as Mom's for Newborn Babies

I could have hired a monkey instead of a babysitter.


Oooh, and thanks to reading that science chunklet, I followed an ad to the LiveScience store which includes a couple of very cool terariums: the Gothic Graveyard Garden and the Carniverous Creations Terarium. Many more nifty things are in stock.... gets a geek like me all a-twitter.

Prepare for Joe Cozy Mania!

(Or at least a hiccup of interest.)

Yesterday, out of the blue, I received a request for an interview from a journalist working on a piece for Maclean's Magazine (Canada's largest circulation news weekly and 4th largest circluation magazine overall).

After some back and forth by email, she phoned to interview me about my CuppaJoe Cozies. She seemed to like the idea and told me the story will be running in next week's issue!

I decided that with the magazine landing on newsstands, in mailboxes and in doctors' waiting rooms across the country within a few days, I needed to build a dedicated site, and so I scratched one together in about 4 hours last night, including some new photos: CuppaJoeCozies

Expect it to be tweaked over the weekend (I noticed a few typos once I got to work) -- and if you have any feedback on the site, please let me know! I will also be creating some buttons and banners for anyone wanting to help me promote them! WhEeeEE!


16 February 2006

The RIAA is on crack.

But perhaps you already suspected as much. I did, yet my jaw still dropped when I read this headline from Ars Technica: RIAA et al. says CD ripping, backups not fair use.

What? Are you kidding me? The RIAA is now saying that people shouldn't make backups of their CDs (on their computers or on their portable players) because, even if they become damaged, "replacements are readily available at affordable prices"!!!

WHAT? Affordable? Unlikely! I know everyone has to get their cut of each sale, but to me, that shouldn't be adding up to more than $9.99 per CD. Unfortunately most sell for $14.99 or more. I can't afford to replace those too often.

They compare music to movies and to the success of DVD sales, but they really don't understand consumer behavior. Ever since the advent of audio cassettes, music consumers have been mixing and matching and recording and "backing up" their collections. This is not new people!!

A while ago, the CD player in our van died. We tried getting it repaired, but it just jammed again. Now the only way we can play our own music -- music from CDs we have purchased -- while we are in the van is by loading it on to my mp3 player and playing it through an FM-transmitter.

We bought more music in 2005 than we did in 2003-04 combined. We also bought music by artists we didn't hear on the radio but discovered through mp3 blogs and other online services.

So, in short, the RIAA can BITE ME.

(Apparently the RIAA can bite B2 over at WHAT! as well. Note, especially his "Real final PS" on closed system music purchases)

TAGS: RIAA, rant, mp3, music.

14 February 2006

A Heart for You!

Happy Valentine's Day!


I hope you all have a lovely day, whether you celebrate with someone you love or someone new (no pressure!) or no one at all.

(Kiddo handcrafted the heart, above, at a Lewiscraft dropin session in Nanaimo last weekend. It has a pin on the back and I will encourage her to wear it today.)

TAGS: crafts, valentine

13 February 2006

Movieful Weekend

Seemed like a very movie-positive weekend in our home... we saw part or all of a bunch of movies and I didn't really think about how many until this weekend.

We rented Lord of War (good; underrated and slow-ish but good) but otherwise these were on one cable channel or another; I think we'd seen most of them before:

Friday, late night:
Vampirella (we caught the last 20 minutes of this stunningly bad thriller starring Roger Daltrey as the head baddie, Vlad)

Saturday morning:
Fools Rush In (great "guilty pleasure" star-crossed romance with Matthew Perry pre-painkiller addiction and Selma Hayak before her hair became unmanagably huge)

Saturday evening:
Grosse Pointe Blank (the Matador left this plot in the dust)
Star 80 (more than earned its commercial break warnings "...may not be suitable for all viewers")

Sunday morning:
Falling Down (had to stop watching this one when kiddo got up, considering it's rated R)
Stitch! The Movie (Sequel to Lilo and Stitch; and pretty much a polar opposite to Falling Down)

Sunday afternoon:
The Sting (definitely a classic in so many ways... hmm, I see they have put out a Legacy Edition.)

Sunday evening:
Boogie Nights (kiddo was sound asleep before I turned this on!)

I really should add all of these to Medianook.... sometime, maybe... but not tonight.

Tags: movies

12 February 2006

Where do you FIND that stuff?

Some of you have asked me where I find all the weird stuff out there in web-land. The short answer is that I have a few favourite websites and from them, I linksurf.

Today, I checked into ExtremeCraft and found CrashBonsai (clever little pre-crashed cars for your bonsai or houseplant); from KnitWit, I followed the banner for Crafster.org where I found the Fetus Popple (a little disturbing, but no more so than the knit womb from Knitty) -- and a link to Boycott Sew Fast/Sew Easy for bullying local knitting groups over the use of the phrase "Stitch and Bitch"; at ShinyShiny I found .... well, nothing that really tickled my fancy today; and over at Drawn! I just sucked it all in -- it's all good stuff, but if I had to choose one thing, I'd send you to the video "Let's Be Friends" in which Jeff Soto's creations come to life in L.A.

So there is a typical Sunday morning on the web with me.

TAGS: linksurfing, creative, crafts, boycott.

11 February 2006

Ice Cube is no Cary Grant

Mr. Blandings redux as Are We Done Yet?

This hurts my head. First, Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House is a fantastic classic film (one of my favourites, actually) that has no need to be redone. Aside from the finances quoted in the film, the plot generally stands up to the test of time.

So I guess on one hand, I'm glad Ice Cube is no longer making a direct remake. On the other hand, Are We There Yet (which made more than one "worst of 2005" list) was a lame film which didn't need to be made -- and certainly didn't deserve a sequel based on Mr. Blandings.

I hope Cary Grant's ghost haunts the set. And not in a nice way.

TAGS: movie sequels, Cary Grant, Ice Cube

09 February 2006

Day that Was


One of the many campus rabbits pausing for a photo. This is what the day looked like at 4:20 this afternoon. I had ventured out earlier -- once for coffee and once at lunch -- but I was too distracted by other thoughts to really notice the weather.

Kiddo is now officially registered for kindergarten in the BC public school system (we'll let you know how that works out) plus in a daycare on the school grounds for before and after school care. The cost? $20 less per month than we pay now for an independent school daycare with after school care -- and we will be getting an extra 3 1/2 hours care for her in the new set up.

But my thoughts weren't even there, mostly I was thinking about work stuff (nothing too intense -- mostly procedure tune-ups and minor mysteries), and trying to figure out how to deal with my most recent toothache. Yesterday was hell, today was a lesser version of that pain. Problem is, I have had such lousy luck with dental work going wrong, that I can't even face phoning the dentist. It's an issue.

Nuff'a'that. Here's a cute picture of kiddo:


She thinks she looks like a chef with this towel wrapped around her head. So amusing.

RFID gets tinier....

GeekCoffee has an article on Hitachi's 7.5 micron-thick RFID chip. It looks a bit like a breadcrumb.
Read more about RFID at wikipedia and the RFID Journal.

08 February 2006

Stuff I know and stuff I think about.

1. The Grammys suck. I hadn't watched them for years and I thought, "What the hell, I don't have anything better to watch." Unfortunately, it's like watching FM radio; its time has passed.* We gave up on the event before the final award was announced as it was time for Jon Stewart and the Daily Show.

2. When did Tom Hanks turn into a blindingly patriotic old man?

3. The Canadian Blood Service is run by a nasty tangle of undereducated bureaucrats.

4. Fawlty Towers is still alarmingly funny. Married with Children is not.

5. I have a day off on Friday! WhEEEEEEEE!

6. The construction over by my corner of the campus is about to get ugly. This little fella is about a hundred feet away from the window nearest to my desk:


7. Due to number 6 (above); it will be a long, loud summer.

*There was one exception to the lameness: the Kanye West/Jamie Foxx supersized performance of Golddigger. Of course, it didn't help him to win.

Building a Better Calendar

30 Boxes | it's your life

OK. So, while I was looking for an online one-stop email reminder service, I happened across 30Boxes, a new online calendar. I signed up as soon as I could and I have to say, it is swish and getting swisher.

"So what?" you say. Well, I dunno about you, but I have one calendar at home (it's on the wall) and two at work (one on the wall and one in Outlook which I've only been using haphazardly for the past 6 months). Sometimes, I would like to check if there is anything coming up in the week ahead at work (on a Sunday from home) and sometimes, I'd like to check if there is anything on the books for the weekend (from work).

With 30 boxes, as long as I can find a browser, I can check my calendar (and that includes in an internet cafe across the globe). For that matter, I can also export the calendar in CSV format to merge it with my Outlook calendar.

Anyhow... if you sign up, you can find me this way.

06 February 2006

Monday Musings

Whether you call it a linkdump, news roundup, or, as Neil Gaiman says the "need to close some tabs," here's a bunch of stuff I've been reading today.

1. Stephen Harper was sworn in, and has chosen a cabinet with fewer women (no big shock), a non-elected Conservative (huh? he can do that?) and someone elected as a Liberal who has crossed the floor (and it's not Belinda).

2. The face-transplant recipient held a press-conference in which she talked about how she is coping with her new mouth and nose. Still on the topic of health, CBC's Quirks and Quarks this week featured a segment on exercise myths.

3. Erm.... I'm not sure I'd like to live in one, but these Free Spirit Spheres are kinda nifty solitary habitats. On the opposite end of the scale, the boffins in Ottawa and other Canadian government centres are researching ways to improve office workers' satisfaction with their workplace environments (i.e.: cubicle farms).

4. I didn't want to win that money anyway. Apparently, suddenly getting money is difficult to cope with. The folks at SuddenMoney want to help you. Really. Of course, finding oneself suddenly without money can be hard too; Leonard Cohen has come out of retirement after his manager of 17 years helped himself to Cohen's $5 million savings. Ouch.

Tags: Canadian politics, in the news, alternative living, work environment, financial woes

If we didn't live in a strata complex....

I would definitely consider this option: Monetize Your Roof [Wired].

05 February 2006

Weekend in a nutshell.

Saturday we set out early for Nanaimo... missed the worst of the storm (until our drive back over the Malahat). We bought a few things we needed and a bunch of things we didn't, including 4 CDs (one at HMV, the others at Fascinating Rhythm, a great little new & used music store on Commercial Street in downtown Nanaimo) :

Lady Sovereign -- Vertically Challenged
Chemical Brothers -- Hey Boy Hey Girl (CD Single)
Fatboy Slim -- Camber Sands (EP)
Ultra Lounge: Mambo Fever


sealand_coverAlso stopped into the Project Literacy Bookstore -- too often we don't make a point and it really is a great used bookstore. The fairy, above, sits in the kids' section. We picked up a book on bats and one on space games for kiddo; hubby got a couple of computer-related books, and I found an early 80s souvenir pamphlet for Sealand of the Pacific "Canada's Largest Oceanarium" which closed not long after orca trainer Keltie Byrne fell into the pool and was killed. I got the pamphlet for a mere 75 cents but it brings back a lot of memories.


When we got back to town the windstorm was gaining speed; we went down to the breakwater (with dozens of other locals) to watch the waves come in. I got a few photos, but hubby had more fun with the ones I took of him from inside the van. Here he is, blown away by it all.

Today, we tried to see the Lion Dance in Chinatown but the crowds were RIDICULOUS. It's not just that there were a lot of people -- but there was a very high concentration of morons in the crowd. After 10 minutes, kiddo (who, on hubby's shoulders, was the ony one who could see the performance) said, "Let's just go home." To make matters worse, I got a photo of the crowds and one of the vegetables amongst which we were standing then my batteries died -- and my replacement pair were dead too! Argh.


As you can guess from the last post, I've had my nose in some poetry books this weekend. I also picked up issue #3 of Rex Libris, and I have to say I am decidedly underwhelmed. I started to get into Silent Bob Speaks last night, but got distracted.

Tags: , , , ,

04 February 2006

10 Poems I Love.

Not in any particular order, but these are the ten I could (and do) read time and again:

1. My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun (Sonnet 130) -- Shakespeare
2. Red Wheelbarrow -- William Carlos Williams
3. The Cremation of Sam McGee -- Robert W. Service
4. The Walrus and the Carpenter -- Lewis Carroll
5. Mending Wall -- Robert Frost
6. in Just -- e. e. cummings
7. Naming Mountains -- Stephen Scobie
8. Ars Poetica -- Archibald MacLeish
9. In a Station of the Metro -- Ezra Pound
10. Green Eggs and Ham -- Dr. Seuss

There are others of course, but these bubble to the front of my brain regularly and though I have memorized some of them, there are others which I find myself having to look up. Now, I have an online catalog!

All except for Naming Mountains.... but I am going to give you, fair readers, this sample of Stephen Scobie's funny and insightful poetic style. He has won the Governor General's Award and is a member of the Royal Society of Canada. I was lucky enough to take a class with him on modern literature and it kicked open my world to authors I would otherwise never have found and opened my ears to Bob Dylan. I owe an awful lot of my taste in literature to this one class, in fact. Naming Mountains was written in 1970 and is included in The Spaces in Between: Selected poems 1965-2001 (NeWest Press, 2003). My other favourite Stephen Scobie poem (and it was a real close call between the two) is Picasso's Radio, also in this collection.

Naming Mountains

It must have been tough --
I mean out West we've got
a lot of mountains. It took
some pretty fertile imaginations
to name them all. I think of
old explorers scratching their
heads, or wherever, and thinking
"What the heck can I call this one?"
Having run out of aunts,
uncles, sweethearts, passing
acquaintances, barmen, whores,
statesmen, animals, apt events,
moral abstractions, Indian names
(suggested by the guide), and still
saving up their own
names for a bigger one --
how many said "Mount
Horseshit!" and passed on,
out of the annals of

Tags: , ,

03 February 2006

SQUEE! Dark Crystal Sequel

Tartakovsky Directing Dark Crystal Sequel - ComingSoon.net

I have five words for everyone involved:

This had better not suck.

Tags: ,

Are we driving tourists away?

Living in Victoria, there's always heaps of media coverage when a new study shows toursim is dropping. It's one of our biggest industries; tourism brought in $5 billion in 2001, second only to forestry at $8.2 billion. [For more stats see Value of Tourism (pdf).] However, since 2001, the numbers of American tourists -- about 1 in 4 visitors were American in 2001 -- have been dropping slowly but steadily.

The most recent complaint? We're boring. Canada known only for moose, mountains, Mounties, tourism officials complain [MSN]. Apparently, US travellers are looking for "sun and fun" -- maybe because they rhyme -- in markets such as Mexico.

Fingers are also pointing at a stronger Canadian dollar and of course border-crossing has become more difficult, though I'd argue that's America's own doing.

Then there's this tidbit: according to Michele McKenzie, president of the Canadian Tourism Commission, "It is becoming apparent that many neighbouring Americans are not sure Canadians still like them."

Really? So we're not only boring, but apparently we slung some mud their way? Hmm.

There will be a full report out at the end of the month; I may post a follow-up.


02 February 2006

Live Steam Gone Wild.

I grew up around "Live Steam" -- scale model locomotives which were run just like the "real thing" generally using coal-fired steam power. If you are ever in the Victoria area, I highly recommend checking out the Vancouver Island Model Engineers [2006 schedule] who have a large (and growning) track out at the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society Site in Saanich.

I-Wei Huang is an artist as well as a steam enthusiast who has created the wonderful/whimsical crabfu steam toys (think of the giant steam spider from The Wild Wild West (oh, sorry, you missed that film?)). They really crawl, roll, and move.




(Music: "I got You Babe" fades)
BDM : OK Campers. Rise and Shine and don't forget your Booties 'Cause It's Cold Out
HR : Cold Out? What is this? Miami?
BDM : Not Hardly. And you know you can expect hazardous travel later in the day from that blizzard.
HR : Blizzard thing. Blizzard thing. Oh, here's the report from the national weather is calling for a big blizzard thing.
BDM : It'll be especially cold. There's another reason why today is especial --
HR : Especially Cold?
BDM : Especially cold, right. The big question on everyone's lips--
HR : Chapped lips
BDM : Chapped lips. Do you Phil think will come out see his shadow?
HR : Puxatawny Phil.
BDM : That's right woodchuck chuckers!
Both: It's Groundhog Day!

(actually it's about 9°C around here... and we'll be watching Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell over dinner this evening.)

Here's a bit of history of Groundhog Day including a list going back to 1887 of Punxsutawney Pete's predictions.

**A big thanks to hubby who transcribed the radio announcers (voiced by Brian Doyle Murray and Harold Ramis) from the movie.

01 February 2006

Grizzly Bears and Groovy Goods

Those of you with Discovery Channel (US and Canada) might want to plan on curling up with the award-winning documentary Grizzly Man this friday (it runs at 8 pm ET in most markets). It wasn't nominated for an Academy Award, but it has certainly stirred up controversy. Discovery is airing it along with a 30 minute documentary about the documentary. No, I'm not actually kidding.

From one glowing screen to another, I have really been enjoying HippyShopper -- a compendium of fair-trade, ethical, recycled and otherwise eco-friendly goods, based in the UK. I was especially taken by the Mothercare Eco Crib (more a cradle really) made of heavy duty cardboard that slots together and can be stored flat and recycled when you're done with it. I was also quite attracted to the furniture and accessories by Scrapile -- made from offcuts discarded by other woodworking shops.

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