30 April 2006

Vegan Lunch Box

Ooooh! Oddly, the Vegan Lunch Box blog was mentioned on an MP3 blog I was checking out... and I am so smitten! (Also a little jealous I didn't think of it first... not that I am vegan.. or this creative with my lunches... but what a great idea.)

On the other hand.... doing "diabetic dinners" might work... I really have to get back to eating better. I haven't stepped on a scale lately but my clothes tell me I have gained weight again. Bah. For the record, I am not diabetic (err... yet. It runs in the family...) but I find that the diabetic diet suits my metabolism well; when I am following it, I feel full and am able to lose or at least maintain my weight ... really it's all about portion control.

tags: blog promotion, weight issues.

Sunny Sunday...

Today was a beach day! Well... it was until kiddo lost her balance and ended up sitting in wet, yucky coloured sand (it stained her pants an unfortunately dark yellow colour.. eww). Luckily we had a spare change of clothes in the van.

digging_in_sand bigswing inside_octopuseye


On our way out, we noticed a LOT of police cars, and a full yellow-tape covered crimescene across the rail side of the Johnson St. Bridge.... turns out there was a suspicious death there sometime overnight (male, late 50s) but police are not handing out much information yet. Unfortunately this crimescene is right across the street from the new, Dockside Green "community" development, just getting underway.

docksidegreen ... crimescene2

The police were still guarding the boundaries when we came home 5 hours later and we noticed there was a forensics team combing for evidence ... so even before the news we were pretty sure someone had died (and not likely from natural causes).

tags: beach, familystuff, crimescene

29 April 2006

Bonus Finds!

I popped out to the public library to pick up my hold (Devil in the White City by Erik Larson) and lo and behold there on the FastReads display was Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain. Note that I have not seen the movie, and I probably never will. The hype overwhelmed me and I just fail to give a rat's ass about it now. But... I am willing to read the original story -- especially since it is only 55 pages. I'll let you know what I think when I'm done.

After that, I ran a few errands and ended up checking out one of the local Dollar Stores wherein I found a whole new display of rechargable NiMh batteries -- and chargers! WoooT! I got my retro pay yesterday (resulting from our new contract settlement -- we will also see signing bonuses at the end of May) and I had earmarked about $60 for a new charger with batteries (my Sony camera chews through batteries like crazy). Imagine my joy to get a charger with 4 AA size batteries plus a pair of AAA batteries (for my MP3 player) for $19!! Wheeeee! And since I had "saved" $40 from my budget, I also splurged $10 for a pair of Hanes pyjamas (a pink tank top with blue and pink plaid bottoms) Yay!

tags: reading, shopping

28 April 2006


Over at Drawn! they have a trio of posts about recycled and artful robots. They're all so darn cute. Drawn! contributer John Martz has a few words to share about robots on his RobotJohnny site, too.

Maybe you want a real robot... well hop over to RobotShop.ca where they have toys, chore-bots (mowers & vacuums), and kits! (Kits, hubby! Parts and instructions, too! Like this Bug robot kit!)

Like it rough? Check out the many competitions in the Robot Fighting League (what -- you think I'm kidding? Have you not watched Robot Wars?)

Wanna read about some robotic conspiracy theories? Or possibly just future trends? Check out Marshall Brain's thoughts on robots.

Wanna watch some robots? Check out Just Another Lonely Unicycle Robot (which may remind you of Luxo Jr.), get some Robot Love, here's a claymation-style Robot, travel back in time as The Computer Chronicles "microfocus" on Robotics (originally aired in 1984), or check out Boston Dynamics' creepily beautiful Robot Mule a.k.a BigDog.

tags: linktastic, robots, robotics

Craft on the Edge...

Oh, it's all too much! I just read that Make Magazine is coming out with a companion publication, Craft in the fall!

Until then, I will have to be amused by such things as this knit motorcycle and this tank cozy.

tags: craft, knitting, weirdness

27 April 2006

Blurry photo day.

Like my head, that was in a fog most of the day, my camera didn't want to take a clear picture. I took what should have been some lovely photos of flowers this morning, and some silly self-portraits on the bus...


Work was busy... and I largely hid from people (didn't go out for coffee this morning) choosing instead to sit at my desk. Quiet days are good sometimes.

tags: introspection, photography, fogginess

Census Online

CBC News: Census forms go online for first time

Hmm. While I prefer the idea of answering online to talking to someone on my doorstep.. I wonder whether there will be the opportunity for any tomfoolery. I suspect they will have sufficient limits against really ridiculous answers... but really, it should be easier to lie to a webpage than a human.

tags: life online, census, statistics

26 April 2006

The Day's Adventures....

After kiddo had been dropped off at school, Hubby and I went out for lunch. We went to Zambri's, tucked into the Harris Green shopping area, behind London Drugs. It would have been a fine outing except that the counter where diners order is about 8 feet from the door. More than four people in line and suddenly everyone is screwed. We ordered (eventually) then had to wait for a table. Once seated it was clear that we had timed our visit exactly to the lunch rush -- within half an hour the place was comfortably 2/3 full. The food (sort-of rustic Italian) was fine... but as I told hubby, he cooks at least as well (usually better).


After lunch we grabbed some sushi ingredients from Sakura (just around the corner from Zambri's) and then wandered off shopping. We got a big stack of blank cards (to make cards to sell on Etsy) from ArtWorld (they have a secondary business now called cardblanks.com). We went to Wal-Mart*, just to have a look at the Table-Mate II, which seemed like it would do the trick for our laptops... but it is pretty cheap and flimsy. We also checked a few second-hand stores in search of sturdy tv-tray/tables to no avail. Hubby did however get a wicked cool electric ice-cream maker.


*While at Wal-Mart, some crazy lady came out of an aisle looks at us and says, "Tell me what time it is," (like a command) to which hubby says, "About 2:00," to which crazy lady replies, "Oh, no. That's not right, it's way later than that!" To which I said, "Then I guess we don't know either." Freakin' moron. This kind of incident is one of many MANY reasons we generally don't set foot in that cesspit of a business.

After collecting kiddo, we came home and hubby set about making a nice sushi dinner while I flung in a couple of loads of laundry.


Now we are watching a dubbed version of Brotherhood of theWolf, a very gory French film about werewolves.

tags: dayoff, restaurant review, shopping

Happy Birthday!


We both took the day off work today so we could have a few hours together while kiddo is in school... should be nice, even if the weather turned a bit crappy after four days of clear, sunny, record-breaking warmth.

While I got hubby a selection of grill equipment (including a nifty hot dog roller), kiddo got him a little mini-fridge for the office (and even to take in the van if we want). It's got a "Bratz" logo on the front, and the lock on the handle is pink.. but otherwise it is pretty neutral looking. It holds up to six 12oz cans on their side. Very nifty:

minifridge1 minifridge2

tags: celebration, birthday, hubby

25 April 2006

Where's the nearest Leftorium?

So, apparently, if there is someone out there manufacturing a left-handed guillotine style paper cutter out there, I can't find them. Why do I care? I'm not left-handed, but I am currently nursing a very sore right shoulder and today, using the paper cutter at work put me over the edge.

When I was doing work and research for health and safety, I used to encourage people to try doing things with their opposite hand, just to give their regular hand a rest if they could (I'm pretty sure it's also good for your brain). Mousing is a prime example and I do alternate hands between home and work (left at work, right at home).

So... why no left-handed guillotine cutter? It's just a blade on a pivot! Surely someone could make one that could be installed on the opposite side? I even checked AnythingLeftHanded and they have no such tool. Sigh.

tags: rant, handedness, office equipment.

Brains on Chains

Hubby has been busy creating Brain Keychains now selling on Etsy. Sooooo cuuuuute!!

tags: sculpting, hubby, sellingsomething

24 April 2006

Now if I only had a roomba....

I could spring the extra $20 to dress it up like a giant eyeball or a pizza, courtesy of iRobot Skins from Skinit.

tags: iwantone

What the ---?!

Driving into work today I saw a guy slowly pushing a wheelchair, as I passed him I noticed that in the wheelchair were two large rubber tires.


Weird way to start my day.

tags: weirdness, wtf

23 April 2006


Well, this morning I tackled weeding and some other preparations for the garden this year. Most of the useable space is off to one side... there are still strawberries growing at the front of the raised bed, and potatoes have again sprouted at the back. I think I will try to grow corn in the rest of the space.


I'll try and repeat the mixed greens in one of the smaller containers; not sure what will go in the other. I am going to prepare a container just for kiddo, too, for whatever she wants to grow.

On the other side, I am going to try tomatoes again, and I might get some marigolds to plant between them (I think that's what keeps the pests away... I'll double check).

After lunch, kiddo and I went out to buy hubby's birthday gifts... luckily, I had already decided what to get him... and kiddo found something very nifty that was not at all on his list. Tee Hee. His birthday is Wednesday... it's going to be hard keeping quiet about this one until then.

Tags: gardening, garden planning

22 April 2006

Happy Earth Day.

Yep, it was Earth Day today.

Kiddo celebrated it at school yesterday with a "birthday party" for Mother Earth and a walk. On our way home, she kindly YELLED "Happy Birthday, Earth" more than once out the window.

So how did we celebrate? Naturally, even though it was a beautiful day here, we climbed in the van and drove to Nanaimo and back (about 250 km round trip if you're counting) -- with the air conditioning on for at least half the trip. Ah well... We did manage to go into two different Starbucks with a travel mug -- in honour of Earth Day anyone with their own mug got a drip coffee drink on the house. Niiice. Free Starbucks coffee is the best Starbucks coffee of all.

We stopped in Duncan with the idea of attending the Home Show we'd heard was at the Cowichan Valley Community Centre (home of the World's Largest Hockey Stick and Puck); what we didn't realize was that (a) the show was small and lame, and (b) West Coast Amusements travelling carnival was set up in the lot next door -- so kiddo wanted to go on the rides. Hubby made a deal with her: four rides then we go -- no arguments, no complaints. This seemed fair, and he bought 6 ride tickets for $12 (thinking he would accompany her on two rides). In fact, he only joined her on the Tilt-a-Whirl, so she got five rides (she also went on Raiders, Dizzy Dragons, Choo-Choo Charlie (or something similar), and the Merry Go Round) . And then pitched into a hissy fit, because we never said anything about the games.

After we were done at the Home Show, we examined a huge tree outside the Centre -- big enough for kiddo to stand inside:


Then we continued North to Nanaimo while kiddo, exhausted from her tantrum, slept in the van. We did some shopping (including finding an apparently disposable pillow which according to the care symbols could not be cleaned) and then ate dinner at Blue Ginger (mmm.) where kiddo surprised the hell out of us by trying several new foods -- sunomono salad with shrimp, gyoza, and tamago nigiri!

On the way home, we stopped in at Russel Farm Market for a box full of $25 worth of produce and deli goods (including the elusive Pea Shoots!! Yay!). After a quick stop for fuel and a car wash in Duncan, it was back home where kiddo fell asleep within 10 minutes of climbing into bed.

tags: roadtrip, nanaimo, duncan, carnival, earthday

21 April 2006

30 Boxes still rockses!

All right... last week Google released gcal, a calendar that is receiving plenty of press. A while ago, I blogged about 30 Boxes and just how swish it was. Well, as I predicted, it got swisher. Now there is a simple rss feed that I can plunk on my GoogleHome (if you prefer, you can add it to MyYahoo, Rojo, Bloglines, or whatever) and even better, I have signed up to get SMS message reminders prior to important meetings or events! Now if only there were something comparable to EvokeTV in the Canadian market I would then have everything I was looking for when I first found 30 Boxes!

So, while the Google calendar may look about the same at first glance, and usually I am right there "drinking the Google Kool Aid," (don't even joke about taking away my Gmail!!) this time, I am going with the non-Google option; I am sticking with 30 Boxes.

If you have already signed up with 30 Boxes, you can add me as a buddy with the click of a button...

Tags:online calendar, online tools, organization, 30 boxes

20 April 2006

HA! I win.

Remember my rant about the Easter Means.. card with the big istockphoto logo on it? It seems they've cleaned it up: now it looks like this.

Big thanks to Pastilla (one of my readers) who pointed it out. :)

tags: intellectual property, stock photography

19 April 2006

Procrastination WINS

OK... so I spent an entire evening twiddling with photoshop to create some new icons. This one won:

I think it looks like what you might see if I were caught on surveilance video.

tags: procrastination, photos, narcissus.

Goals Unmet...

I was looking back over old posts and found one from September 2004 where I said I was going "to put some real effort into getting something published in the next year to 18-months." Yeah, that hasn't happened.

This is my world in a nutshell... I talk and talk and talk about stuff I'm going to do... but spend so much time talking that little gets done. Add to that my hubby's assertion that I have an 8-day attention span for most projects, and you can see my problem.

Thing is, I thrive on task completion. I get a little high every time I cross something off a list... conversely, I get morose looking at long lists of tasks -- it's a delicate balance.

Meanwhile, I have lots of nights like last night where I knew I had plenty of things on the go and didn't want to do anything. I didn't even finish putting away laundry... I just watched tv (including a particularly grizzly episode of House), puttered about online, packed my lunch for today, and finally crawled into bed with a book (currently reading Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere).

I can't let myself get too bent out of shape about all of this... but I do kinda want 2006 to be the year I finish projects from the back burner, or just junk them because they've been simmering too long. Don't quote me on that, though. :)

tags: todolist, projects

18 April 2006

Nutbars near and far.

1. Tom Cruise is an idiot. Now he thinks he should eat the placenta after wife-to-be Katie gives birth to their child (silently, of course). [Here's the story. Warning: includes a graphic photo.]

EDIT: apparently, he was just kidding. He's still an idiot, though.

2. Locally, school trustee John Young wants to remove the grade "F" from the school district, because it "preconditions children to further failures." What-evar. He thinks we should better define failure before attaching a grade -- but we do have a definition: the Student Reporting Policy of the BC Ministry of Education refers educators to the Provincial Letter Grades Order (pdf) which defines an F as
"(Failing.) The student has not demonstrated, or is not demonstrating, the minimally acceptable performance in relation to the expected learning outcomes for the course or subject and grade."
(full info from the BC Ministry of Education). For Grades 11 and 12, that also translates to any mark below 50%. It's bad enough that they removed letter grades from the early primary grades (letter grades begin in grade 4), and that they basically will not hold back any student, even if they are failing. So how the hell can a parent accurately gague their child's progress? Aw, hell, I could rant all day about this issue -- it's the main reason why I initially wanted to homeschool kiddo -- and if cashflow allows it, I still might.

tags: idiots, celebrities, education

16 April 2006

Happy Easter!


I made this little chick-breaking-out-of-a-decorated-egg on Saturday night for the front of kiddo's Easter card. Cute, eh?

I also stuffed and hid all the eggs for kiddo to find in the morning (24 eggs; I think about 8 have non-chocolate gifts or coins inside) and packed her Easter basket. (We found what I hope is the coolest gift at Winners earlier today: Etch-A-Sketch wired. It plugs into the TV and, along with basic drawing functions, there are connect-the-dots games and animation games.)

While we were downtown, I spotted a holiday sign with a sense of humour outside a local microbrewery -- it said "Hoppy Yeaster!"

And of course, I couldn't resist using FD's Flickr Toys to make a Happy Easter message of my own....

Happy Easter!

Tags: Easter, holiday, craft-fu

14 April 2006

Mostly productive day....

After breakfast, I decided to tackle our "junk" closet. If you've been to our house, it's just off the dining area and houses the hot water tank and the kitty litter bin (we added a cat flap to the door). Anyway, it's kind of a dumping ground. There are shelves for our kitchen equipment overflow (baking pans, rice cooker, etc.), cleaning tools (brooms, Swiffer™, vacuum cleaner), craft stuff, and all manner of crap that gets stashed when we clean for guests at the last minute. Some of it never makes it out.

more_organizedSo, I pulled everything out (well, everything on the floor and leaning against the wall), chucked some scary/useless items; found a Christmas gift from 2003 that we had meant to return; relocated some items in the storage locker; and sorted the craft supplies. After that, I installed some shelves (yay!) then put stuff back in better order. It's sooo much cleaner now. I keep opening the door just to look at it. :)

Around 4:00, I started crafting, and by 10:30 (with breaks for dinner, cleaning, and websurfing) I had this little guy, Mister Whiskers:


Isn't he cute? I haven't decided whether I will keep him or put him up for adoption on Etsy.... but I am leaning toward keeping him. I didn't have a pattern ... I just created him freehand. If I do others, there are a few things I will change... but I'm still pretty happy with the result.

tags: craft-fu, home organization

Crafting Ahead... or Web Updates.... or Something Else

OK... so here in Canada, with my pseudo-government job, I have a 4 day Easter Weekend (many people have 3 days off; Monday is not officially a statutory holiday)... so this means I get to tackle my big To Do list. Actually, job number one is writing the To Do list.

Things I'd like to get done fall into a few categories:

1. Crafting. Continuing in the stash-reduction to clear out craft supplies that are sitting around or finish off planned projects. May or may not include more JoeCozy production.

2. Reno stuff. Not too much here for this weekend; maybe only as far as reorganizing a couple of closets.... eventually we will need to finish the kitchen, but not now.

3. Web Updates. Oh, this is a huge list. I would definitely like to cross off a few little things from this part of the list this weekend. Possible targets are my Victoria Guide, the VIWiFi page, my Brain, Frugal Victoria, and/or a backend cleaning of the files on the server.

4. Writing. I have several items on the list that fall under this category -- movie reviews for back catalog titles (i.e. not curently in the theatre or newly released DVDs), the retelling of an old Italian fairy tale, local history articles... and a few other ideas.

Of course there are things that don't fall into those categories (like filing some of the paperwork that tends to cover every surface), and things that really aren't a priority (like going back to properly tag journal entries) and some of those might get done too. We have very few concrete plans this weekend -- an Egg Hunt on Sunday morning for kiddo and Easter dinner Sunday night are the only big things.

tags: stuff to do

13 April 2006

I'll bet you....

How many times do I say this in a week? I dunno, but there's almost never any money involved. Sure, sometimes there's a coffee to be bought at the end of it -- but that's usually as serious as it gets.

I've never considered myself a gambler. The one time I found myself in front of a bank of slot machines, I spent $5 in quarters and gave up out of frustration and boredom. I've never been in a hockey pool though I have been in baby pools; I have bought raffle tickets; I've played bingo, but not obsessively; and I've been known to roll up a few rims. I go through phases of entering contests, but they are free to enter, so I don't see it as gambling per se. I have *almost* stopped buying lottery tickets, though there was a time when I bought tickets pretty much weekly... and I still start sentences with, "If I win the lottery..."

Overall though, I have always seen gambling as a loser's game. Hubby refers to lottery tickets as the "Not Paying Attention Tax" we sometimes feel the need to fork over to the government. For big raffles, I always reverse the numbers -- if the ad says, "Odds of winning is one in ten," I will say, "Great! Chance of losing is nine in ten!" -- which tends to piss people off, "Aw, you're taking all the fun out of it!" Still, I'm no fool; I took statistics.

I haven't given a lot of thought, however, to how kiddo views the world of gambling. Apparently gambling is the latest item to fall under the "Just Say No" banner of prevention in the schools. Over at the Tyee, they have an article, We're Raising Gamblers, that raises a number of interesting issues. I don't think we are raising our daughter with a particularly positive or negative view of gambling... it's just there. However, I will be watching a little more closely how I talk about it, and maybe try to instill in her the same skepticism we apply to advertising and politicians.

tags: gambling, gaming, prevention, education.

12 April 2006

Web To-Do

I have a long to-do list, web wise. Always do. One or more of my sites is perpetually in need of anything from a facelift to a full redesign. It doesn't help that I often think, "Hey! I need to add [x]!" or, "Damn, I can't find a list of [y] anywhere. Guess I'll have to build it." That latter sentiment led to the birth of Frugal Victoria (currently suffering somewhat for lack of attention).

Anyway, since hubby and I both have wireless laptops right now, we've been trying to track down all the many WiFi spots in town. I found a bunch of sites, but nothing is comprehensive. Hubby has been wandering around with a wifinder keyfob and doing his own personal warchalking, but the wifinder doesn't tell you whether the network is open or protected... Then you can add the problem of the many providers of network access -- some are free to use, others (such as the HotSpots advertized on every Starbucks door) are by subscription. So I thought I would put together a page (which may or may not grow into a site) on VIWiFi (e.g. Vancouver Island Wireless Fidelity). Tonight, though, all I got done was a graphic (whee! the first real application of the graphics tablet I splurged on a few months back):

So.... if you know anything about WiFi on Vancouver Island, leave a comment or fling me an email... I'll post a link when the page/site is up.

tags: wifi, wireless network, Victoria BC, Vancouver Island.

Busy ... and not so busy.

Work is getting interesting. We are upgrading the ILS ("integrated library system") at the end of May and I have been asked to be one of the trainers. Thing is I will not be training my unit (we have enough "seasoned" trainers) so I get a crash course in another unit before training them. Nice. :)

I have also been appointed to take over the design and maintenance of the website for my union local. This is good, the current site is in need of a facelift. Unfortunately, the site was in mid-transition and I have no password access yet. Ah well.

Last night, hubby went out to see the Zombie film for which he made some "spare parts" last fall and since the weather was so nice, kiddo and I went down to the park where she played on the slide and the "big girl" swing. [I tried to embed the video but it blows way out of the frame. You can see her being a big girl at YouTube]

We also went for a walk along the waterfront where I took many many photos.

victoria_westbay sea_anenome1 weeds

Really nice evening.

tags: video, photography, workrelated, kiddo

10 April 2006

Easter means.....

...not breaking the 8th commandment**!

Check out this card at Church-Marketing.com, "What Does Easter Mean to You?" .... Now look closely, there's a leeetle problem with an obvious watermark on one of the images:

Here's the original. All they did was mirror it and add a blue background. Not at all cool!! I don't care if you are a non-profit organization or a multinational corporation, if you are downloading a photo with the intent of passing it off as your own, for pity's sake use half a brain and avoid photos with watermarks!!!

**"Thou Shalt Not Steal" for those keeping score.

tags: , .

From Kiddo's Imagination.

Being an only child, kiddo has created two sisters, Mirror and Shadow. Shadow is often to blame when she is dawdling; I think Mirror is her favourite....


Last night, she had a nightmare. Mirror's pet dog, who "had an X and an O for eyes" was playing, and broke a glass. He got glass in his eye, so they had to put another X there. He apparently didn't learn from this unsafe play and "got bonked" two more times. This was unfortunately fatal and they "had to put him in an envelope underground."

On telling me about the express-post-to-the-underworld, kiddo actually got teary and I had to administer cuddles and kind words.

tags: kiddo, imagination, imaginary friends, nightmare

Her Magesty at 80.

Her Magesty, Queen Elizabeth II, will be turning 80 next week, on April 21st. She is still Queen of Canada, though I suspect if she actually tried to "enforce" anything on this side of the pond, there'd be an uprising that would put an end to the monarchy here.

At any rate the Official Website of the British Monarchy is
Celebrating the Queen's 80th Birthday (with) 80 facts about The Queen. She was an early adopter of e-mail (1976) and heads more than 620 charities. The list is amusing, if a bit dry.

Happy Birthday, Liz. Now how about you hand over the reigns to that idiot son of yours?

tags: royalty, monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II

09 April 2006

Odd Sunday....

This morning (and now that I am home, this evening) crafting continues. Created "Mr. Hiss" a wee stuffed snake, for sale at Etsy.


At noon, we headed out to the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair. The first thing that struck me was that about a third of the entries were in French; the other, that it has shrunk, considerably, as exhibits were only spread around the main floor of the Elliot lecture wing rather than up and downstairs as in the past. We encouraged kiddo to ask questions, though. Some kids had clearly rehearsed a single answer, others were clever enough to skew their descriptions to her level.

Leaving the University we drove along the waterfront and through the Uplands, and decided to wander through Ross Bay Cemetery. Lightly drizzling, it was the perfect day for it. I even captured a perfect "crow on a gravestone" shot:


Dinner was almost ready on our return home, hubby had left spareribs slow-cooking. Mmmm.

tags: crafting, sciencefair, cemetery

08 April 2006

Busy Busy Busy.

Update of sorts.

Stayed home sick on Friday (felt miserable Thursday and most of Friday...). While I was doing dishes, I noticed the sink wasn't draining properly... had a poke around (using disposable chopsticks) and pulled out a small fork (using needle-nosed pliers) which had become lodged in the drain. (Ewwwww!) Even after extracting that, it required a good plunging to clear the rest of the blockage... but now it's running smooooth.

Last night, after several weeks, the piece for which I was interviewed ran on CH News. My CuppaJoe Cozy mention amounted to about 20 seconds... but that is 20 seconds of free advertising, I suppose.

Crafting continues! In an effort to Use What I Have this month, I have had a few false starts (like this card that I intended to be part of a series... but then lost interest) but tonight dug out the sewing machine and all of my fabric and sewing stash (aCk! Two binsfull!)... and I whipped together a couple of drawstring bags:



Both of which are now listed at victriviaqueen.etsy.com -- yay!

Hubby also took the van in this morning (turns out a the socket on the left turn signal was hooped -- they did the work gratis after last week's frustration) and we squeezed in a visit to the Bug Zoo.

tags: manual labour, crafting, weekend.


Took kiddo to the Victoria Bug Zoo today... and we stayed for a very loooong time (over 90 minutes). Got some great photos... but it was a long time even for a bug freak like me.


More in my Bug Zoo Set on Flickr.

tags: victoria bug zoo, entomology, bugs, insects, kiddo.

07 April 2006

Craft-tastic! Paper

Wow. I love artful snowflakes but Paper Cutouts by Carol Menninga takes that to a new level. Her cutouts are nature-inspired (e.g. frogs circle a lily pad on her main page) and are painted with coffee!! Ah, so beautiful.

If retro is your thing, pop over to BarnaclePress for a look at their collection of 1920s paper cutout toys (all black and white pdf printables).

File under useful: printable and disposable rulers! Variety of standard (metric and imperial) rulers. Just don't "shrink to fit" when printing. Also: printable Canadian maps from the Atlas of Canada and US maps from the National Atlas.

tags: crafts, art, printables, reference

06 April 2006

More Media Madness...

Umm. I must be getting old. The edgy, obnoxious (and funny) South Park just won a Peabody Award (for excellence in broadcasting). Also awarded were Battlestar Galactica, House and Boston Legal.

Are you a designer? If you can figure out the dense templates for SixApart's three products (Movable Type, Typepad and LiveJournal) then hop over to The Style Contest -- submit your design for a chance at a $4000 (plus software) top prize.

And in really old media news, scholars have pieced together, restored and translated a 1700-year old papyrus manuscript believed to be The Gospel of Judas. This should spawn plenty of debate -- is the manuscript legitimate? Is it reliable? Will it be accepted into the canon or shuffled off to the corners of religious scholarship? Yeah, I'm not holding my breath either. [As for the concern that the manuscript is too new -- I hate to burst the scholar's bubble but most of the New Testament was written hundreds of years after Jesus' death.]

Slightly related bonus science theory: Jesus may have walked on ice. I actually love these kind of theories that shed possibility on Bible passages. It's fine to have faith, but I'll take mine with a shot of fact, thanks.

tags: media roundup, manuscript, contest, awards

05 April 2006

Impromptu pic-i-nic!

Met hubby at kiddo's school as usual and then we drove to the mall-of-many-choices™ to pick and choose fast food then on to Beacon Hill Park where, even though the ground was soggy (eww, wet jeans!) and the gulls were stalking us, we ate.


Really nice way to spend an hour in the beautiful weather we had today.

Also, I've been getting really positive feedback on the ring pillow ... so I think I will be making more!

tags: seagulls, picnic, family, crafts

Last Night's Project...

One of the things I had to do last night was finish the ring pillow I started on the weekend. It's done, and I am quite happy with the result. I just handed it off to the bride-to-be and she's very happy with it too!


She also said she might direct more wedding work my way.... and if that happens, I'll have to figure out what to charge!

tags: wedding, craft-fu, sewing

Good Programs in Victoria

And in a break from my usual snarkiness...

For the underpriveleged, higher education is generally unattainable, but UVic has begun a pilot project called University 101. For 10 weeks, adults with financial or health impediments to attending regular classes attend a series of Humanities lectures.

Now, it's nowhere near the intensity of undergraduate courses, but it is an introduction to critical thinking and some concepts which form the basis of a Humanities degree.

I'm pretty surprised that UVic is offering this, considering they are one of the only universities in North America that does not offer fee reductions or waivers for its staff or their families... but that said, I am still in support of the program. Any time you can raise the collective intelligence even by just a tiny bit, we all win.

Another program I just found out about is through the Saanich Police Department. They collect Canadian Tire money and use it to purchase bike helmets for kids who otherwise couldn't afford them. Now personally, I think it should be required that all bikes are sold with helmets -- just like all cars are sold with seat belts -- but then you get into the grey area of second hand bikes and it gets complicated. So, while I'm not willing to part with my own Canadian Tire money (Hey! I use mine!) some of you might be interested in a place to put that otherwise unused paper. (Or if you prefer, you can send it to me and I'll use it.)

04 April 2006

Some Alone Time

me_onthebusI woke up feeling mopey... so I took some time to myself before work and on my breaks.

rainy_pinkrhodoBefore I started work this morning I got off the bus a stop early and walked through the Finerty Gardens, getting some nice photos of rhododendrons and other things....

eating my shoeFor morning coffee I caught up on blogs and puttered at my desk. At lunch, I ate on my way to get coffee then kept walking in search of bunnies. One tried to eat my shoe. I didn't find as many rabbits as I expected; I guess they were hiding midday.

magnoliastellataAfternoon break rolled around and I decided to repeat the morning coffee routine, reading stuff online and keeping to myself. In between, I had a very productive day; I moved a lot of books and paperwork off my desk. Tonight, now that I have uploaded a dozen photos to Flickr, I have a few tasks I need to complete... which I should start now...

tags: alone time, photography, rabbits, self.

Glipp!! Thwape!! Zok!!

I love that someone screencapped all the Batman TV Show sound effect words: Onomatopeyas (via Drawn!)

They would make excellent icon fodder.

Related superhero/comic goodness:

1. How to Tell if You're a Superhero (via Sarcasmo's Corner)

2.Why Superman is named Clark, not Clint (via Candleblog)

I thought I had more to share... but those will have to do for now.

tags: comics, superheroes, geeky.

03 April 2006

and the moral of this story is....

.... nudists should learn to love spiders.

Spider Hunting Nudist Ends with Ring of Fire[Reuters.com]

A red-faced Australian nudist who tried to set fire to what he thought was a deadly funnel web spider's nest ended up with badly burned buttocks, emergency officials said Monday.
[Rescue workers were] called to a property in the same area in January when another man kicked a spider that was crawling up the wall of a friend's cabin. The man broke his leg in two places, it said.

Tags: weird news, Aussies, stupid people tricks

Pam vs. the PM

OK... I'm not a fan of clubbing baby seals just as I'm not a fan of being able to recognize what I eat as the animal it used to be (Cornish game hens? No thanks. Fish with head still attached? I'll pass.) But I am not getting all bent out of shape over the seal cull.

So if Pammy wants to stand beside a washed out, over the hill musician and a fading film star and complain fine. But if she (or they) expect the Prime Minister to drop everything for a photo op and chat over the subject, she needs to wake up and smell the politics. Pam pans seal cull [The ChronicleHerald.ca]

My bet is that Harper is avoiding them partly out of common sense (they are celebrities not scientists) and partly to set himself apart from Martin's embrace of celebrities like Bono during the last election. And you know what? I admire him for it.

Now I have to go take a shower. I feel a bit dirty.

tags: Canadian politics, celebrity politics, seal cull.

02 April 2006

Manual Labour

Today, I finally sucked it up and decided to try and install the new kitchen faucet. We hit a few hitches.

old_faucet stubborn_nuts new_faucet

Problem 1: the old one was more or less cemented in place. Hubby came to my rescue to loosen the old nuts. [insert sophomoric chuckle at use of word "nuts"].

Problem 2: the original holes in the countertop did not match the holes in the sink. Not a problem for our old faucet, but the new faucet needed to be plumbed through the centre hole. Again, hubby took the helm, picked up a power tool, and 'splained it to the sink.

Problem 3: the supply tubes I bought to replace the old ones were two inches too short. A trip to the hardware store was required to exchange them.

Eventually, about 3 and a half hours after starting, we had a new mixing faucet in place. And we were still speaking to each other. Yay!

Next, we went over to my mother's where I put together most of the ring pillow I am making for a coworker's wedding:


After that, we rushed home and I tidied while hubby whipped up a lovely Sunday roast beef dinner for six (us, kiddo**, my mother in law and kiddo's cousins). We gave everyone else the bum's rush when it was time for West Wing though.... which ended exactly as I had guessed it would. Sigh.

Tags: renos, plumbing, sewing, kiddo

**This is the most amazing thing: kiddo is now eating meat fairly regularly... and is beginning to eat a minor variation of whatever meal we are eating instead of requiring one of a short menu of items.

01 April 2006

Cars Suck.

Oh, yes they do.

We spent the bulk of the day waiting for repairs to be done on our front turn signals. Within moments of hubby driving away from the repair shop, the left turn signal burnt out AGAIN (third time in under 2 years, but this is a record for brief life of the bulb). So obviously it's not the bulb. Hubby phoned them back and complained, saying he would bring it in again on Monday. If they can't fix it, we'll take it elsewhere. Grrrr.

As a matter of fact, transportation sucks. On campus they are agressively reducing parking that is anywhere near a building. I understand it's part of their "green initiative" -- which is all fine and good if their workers could afford to live near the campus. They want more people taking the bus -- which I do, more than half the time -- but just to piss me off, they are also moving the bus stop FURTHER away from the building where I work.


Really makes me want an electric bike*. Or a scooter. Or a hybrid car. Or one that runs on biodiesel.

Or to quit working. Yeah. That's it. :)

tags: car culture, transportation, transit, alternate transportation.

*hey whadddayaknow, ICBC defines an electric bike as a Motor Assisted Cycle (MAC). Rules for "safe operation" are on their site. MACs do not require a Motor Vehicle Lisence. This compares to scooters and motorcycles under 50 cc which are considered Limited Speed Motorcycles; LSMs require a Lisence, but not necessarily a motorcycle class lisence. Anything over 50cc requires a motorcycle class lisence. Unless you are a tourist.