28 May 2006

Victoria Toy Show

Up at 6, eat and get out the door... off to Sidney we went to sell our toys. Our table was not pretty and was loaded with less expensive toys... but we still made out OK. We made back the cost of our table shortly after opening, and made a comfortable profit (discounting the cost of the toys originally and our time of course...) by the end of the day.


Most of our bulky toys sold (which was good) and there were one or two we pulled off with second thoughts, including my glitter-encrusted 1979 diecast Millenneum Falcon, which I plan to take to work to admire.


The sale started slow (early birds got a 90 minute head start) but then went crazy from 10-11:30... it gradually slowed down so much that we packed up about 20 minutes early and headed off to get some sushi from Fujiya.... but before we left the parking lot, we did sacrifice one beat up unsold toy car....


.... it was surprisingly difficult to drive over; not unlike trying to drive up on to a sidewalk with no cutaway.

tags: toysale, toys.

27 May 2006

Time to buy Harper's

Retailer pulls magazine featuring Muhammad cartoons [CBC news]

So Harper's Magazine is running in their June issue a dozen of the infamous Danish cartoons that featured the Prophet Mohammed. Indigo/Chapters will not sell them. I'll bet I can find a bookseller in Victoria that will; I'll keep you posted.

EDIT: On our way home tonight we stopped in at Thrifty's and then detoured to London Drugs where I found the Harper's issue in question. I haven't read it yet but I am delighted to see that the article discusses those cartoons, and also other controversial cartoons and the history thereof, is authored by Art Spiegelman.

tags: controversy, media, Harper's Magazine.

Relaxing a bit...

Thursday night, I finished Neverwhere. I liked it... I think I liked the world Gaiman created more than the plot, but I still enjoyed it overall. Now I've started reading The Lovely Bones... which promises to be a good read.

Yesterday, I had a lazy start for my day off (kiddo slept in until 10:30!), then fed and bathed kiddo and took her to school. I had some errands to run.... but heard the siren call of Value Village and headed there first. Unfortunately, the selection for what I wanted was slim... and I just wasn't into poking around.... so, I got on with it... drove around, returning things, paying bills, buying a few odd things.... and then grabbed a Booster Juice smoothie (a Canadian Colada with a protein booster -- which apparently packs a whopping 532 calories, EEK!) on the way home to hang, kid free, with hubby for a bit.

At 4:30 I went to pick up kiddo and even before I opened the door to her classroom I could hear her crying. Turns out she and her best friend/archnemesis were at it again. I will be very happy when she moves on to a new school in the fall. She came home, grumpily ate dinner, and asked to watch a DVD upstairs.... and she fell asleep early. Not long after she fell asleep, Hubby went out for coffee and I put on a pot of decaf.

I watched the premier of Alice, I Think, based on the book by Susan Juby. Unfortunately, it's a very Canadian production, complete with actors who would probably be fantastic on stage but haven't adjusted their acting style for the small screen. I'll reserve final judgement until I've seen another couple of episodes.

Around 10:00, kiddo woke up again, and so we hung out watching Lion King 1 1/2 and eating popcorn until hubby came home.

All in all, a good day off... one I needed.

tags: what I'm reading, Canadian television, family stuff.

26 May 2006

Spring is in the air....

And the bunnies are multiplyin'!!!


Happy Friday!!

24 May 2006

Who is this Moustached Man?


I know it's a cowboy -- a gunslinger type -- probably a movie representation. But which one!? Ack, I should know this...

(Oh, and when I looked up "cowboy movie" on Google images, there were an unfortunate number of images from Brokeback Mountain and Midnight Cowboy -- what? Rhinestone Cowboy was not good enough for Google?)

Wait.. I think it might be Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp

tags: cowboy, stencil art, graffiti

23 May 2006

No Sharp Objects Please!

Got 40,000 or so spare twisty balloons? Maybe you can break the world record for the largest non-round balloon sculpture:
Airigami - The largest non-round balloon sculpture in the world

There are a couple of photos of the work -- it is simply astonishing to me that it could be done at all. I wonder how many balloons burst along the way? And who counted them all?

tags: world record, balloon art

22 May 2006

Hey! I made these...

And I totally forgot about them! Naughty Bottoms : CafePress.com

The art is all mine... an "ass clown" (i.e. "Crass Clown") and (my fave) an "ass ninja" (i.e. "Naughty Ninja").
I just added some more products, too!

tags: cafepress, craft-fu, art

Dude wants a death ray....

Yeah...so... he promised not to aim it at me... I mostly believe him. :)

Long Lazy Weekend

Kiddo has had a fever, on and off, since Saturday. It's crazy-making because it's not a high fever -- she's just running a little hot (99-100.5°F) -- and there are no other symptoms, aside from her being a bit lethargic on Saturday.

So, we took her out yesterday when it looked like her fever had broken (and before it returned -- doh! -- here's hoping she wasn't contagious with anything horrible); we went to the Children's Farm at Beacon Hill. Hubby got this great photo of her and me looking at a heap of ducklings:


The peacocks were out in full force, all the men were courting, and the place seemed to be overrun with them... luckily, I was able to catch a photo of the albino peacock in full show:

peacock4_albino peacock2 peacock1 proud as a....

We also stopped by a garden centre to get some plants, most of which I planted today. We got broccoli (which I've never attempted), peppers (which are difficult here, but not impossible), tomatoes (yay! 3 varieties of cherry tomatoes -- one golden, two varieties of red), herbs (including Sorrel, a heritage variety) and some flowers:


Today (aside from the gardening and a few loads of laundry) has been a hang day; a nice wind-down to the weekend before my harrowing 3-day week (I have a flex day on Friday)...

tags: kiddo, photos, peacocks, gardening

21 May 2006

What happens when censors hit snooze

Something like this license plate from Nevada hits the road.


20 May 2006

Toys Toys Toys.....

Oh. My. God.

I had no idea we had so many toys. We hauled over a dozen toy-filled boxes out of our storage room; slightly over half have been earmarked for sale. Some of the stuff is amusing; some ...well, a bit pathetic, really. Some we bought and squirreled away, mint-in-package others are well-worn from years of use. I am part-way through the inventory (and some price-checking).... unfortunately most of the stuff seems to be worth very little. The jury is out on these knockoffs:


They are either worth $5 each or less than a buck each. A lot of the stuff is like that. On the other hand, these Slurpee cups from the mid-70s look like they should be worth a quarter but because they are plastic and were disposable, they sell for anywhere from $5 to $25 (that would be Spiderman) through collectible websites.


There was a bit of unwelcome excitement in the day, too. I went to gather some dolls that were stored outside in a plastic tub and after I pulled some out, realized I had disturbed a live wasps' nest!!!!! I broke the nest, accidentally, and realized it was live because the little larvae were squirming... [shudder]. I froze, expecting to be dive-bombed by the queen, especially after last June's wasp sting. Luckily, no queen in sight. I went running to hubby, trying to figure out what to do next... and I took a quick reconnaissance photo of the nest so that hubby could attack quickly and accurately. He went in with compressed air to clean the toys (he removed them one by one) then doused the larvae with salt and a chaser of vinegar. Seems to have done the trick.

Meanwhile, kiddo has been running a fever. We were supposed to be out tonight, being social, but around noon, she started complaining she wasn't feeling well. By 3:00 she was running a fever just over a hundred. She didn't eat dinner and put herself to bed by 8:00. Poor kid. Worst thing is that hubby tells me chicken pox is making the rounds at school -- and guess whose kid hasn't been immunized? Hmmm. I swear we were going to get it done like next month.

tags: toys, toysale, wasps, kiddo

19 May 2006

Coffee, art and shopping....

Today was a day off for me and for kiddo. As promised, I trooped her up to campus for coffee with my coworkers. She did not disappoint. While we were there, we had a look at some of the art that hangs throughout the library and also at the gallery display -- currently a series of paintings by Wade Stout based on Hamlet (though I couldn't quite see the connection, I did like the pieces). Kiddo thought they lacked enough purple. The show runs now through June 30th.


After that we headed in to town, braving Tourist Central (lower Government St.) to see Seeing is Believing and grab some green tea gelato from Oh Gelato! (tip: while a two-scoop cone costs $4.95, a small tub (approx 500 ml) costs $8.95). For the heck of it, we rode the glass elevator in the Bay Centre (I was very surprised and a little sad to see that the turtle fountain in the centre of the mall has been torn out...) and then checked out the HBC Gallery, a mini-museum in the Hudson's Bay store, devoted to the history of the Hudson's Bay Company (from trading posts to retail empire, even if it is now owned by an American). It's free, which is good because I don't think I would pay even a buck to look around otherwise.


We came home for lunch and some hang time before heading out to see Over the Hedge tonight (in about an hour, hopefully).

tags: art, museums, victoriabc

18 May 2006

Summery Day

It's been warm... almost too warm, but I'm not ready to complain just yet... it means I can wear my sandals again (goodbye socks!) and paint my toenails fun colours...


Of course, since this is Victoria, the rain should set in around Saturday, just in time for the 3 day weekend. That's OK... the Victoria Day Parade usually sucks. I'll be happy to watch it on TV if kiddo insists, though.

tags: nice day.

17 May 2006

Brain full. Ouch. Also, something creeepy.

OK, so today I sat through a 3 hour course on Microsoft Access: Relations and Queries. Clearly each of those subjects should have been covered in 3 hours. Ugh. Perhaps when it digests, I will be able to make sense of it all. In the meantime, brain hurt, eyes hurt and I have stacks of work to do.


I read on the CBC site that the Ontario Police Dept. had put unidentified remains online in an effort to help solve cold cases. The warning says:

Some of the images and information contained in this website may be disturbing to some viewers. Given the very sensitive nature of the information depicted within this website every effort has been made to present it in a way that is not offensive or uncomfortable for the viewer, or disrespectful of the deceased.

And the weird thing is, some of these faces look like they were, well, basically placed on a scanner or photocopier. It's unsettling, and a bit creepy. It feels very voyeuristic, too. That said, I think it's great to have the info out there for more people to see; more eyes means more likely someone might know the person, or know of them.

tags: training, cold cases

16 May 2006

My Neighbourhood

Common Ground (whose website really needs an update) a local community group which has spearheaded a community mapping project in conjunction with GreenMap.org, has recently finished the VicWest community map. VicWest is my stomping ground; it's at the edge of Esquimalt and tends to get the runoff of problem residents between there (home to some very rough bars) and downtown Victoria, the other side of the Johnson St. Bridge. At any rate, it's where we bought property.

Recently, the VicWest green map was added to signal boxes around the region, adding colour, promoting community involvement, and even doing double duty as anti-graffiti coatings. Anyway, here's a closeup of my corner of VicWest, and you can see just how close I am to the ocean....


In fact, just a few moments walk and I can see this:


Yeah, even though a family of four apparently needs to bring in $14.88 per hour 60 hours a week (both parents working) in order to just rent a three bedroom apartment in this city... it is beautiful, and I do love living here. (From the Quality of Life Challenge, see: What Does It Cost to Live Here? (pdf))

tags: victoriabc, cartography, greenmap, vicwest, cost of living.

15 May 2006

Crafty Inspiration....

Projects to consider for a future when I have a few clones of myself to help with assembly... (from Craftbits.com)

Undies Wallet (yes, a wallet; made from a pair of boys character undies) -- or alternately, the Juice Wrapper coin purse

SoapMaking 101 (we have all the supplies, except for the melt-and-pour glycerine soap).... and, mmmm.... Strawberry Body Butter.

tags: craft-fu, inspiration

Buzzword Alert: Biopharming

Biopharming. I like that. You get bio like in biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, and pharming, a clever little play on pharmacology plus farming. Nice.

Found in this scary/astounding/really interesting story on rice that is bioengineered to reduce the risk of diarrhea by adding a protein found in mother's milk and in tears:

LiveScience.com - Rice with Human Gene Causes Furor

Of course I can immediately see both the reason for developing the rice and the reason for opposing it. Don't ask me where I stand on the issue because I waffle. Biotech is something that I find fascinating but you won't likely catch me buying gm foods on purpose.

14 May 2006

Children Are Random.

So much for a "Happy" Mother's Day.

We get out to the Butterfly Gardens and kiddo is all excited, happy, eager to catch a butterfly on her finger. Then angry when she couldn't get one to land on her. Then ballistic after one landed on her. Tears, histrionics, screaming, you name it*. Hubby had to haul her out to the car and wait with her while I tried to at least finish one circuit of the gardens.

butterfly_yellowblack butterfly_eatingbananas butterfly_onasign caterpillar_flowers

When I made it back to the van (I could hear her screaming across the parking lot), hubby offered me some of his iced tea and kiddo promptly stood up and slapped it out of my hand, spilling a bunch of it on the floor of the van. I told her when we got home, she was going to have to spend the remainder of the day in her room.

Hubby said at one point, she did ask when Father's Day was. No doubt she is planning to sabotage that, too. Bah.

(More photos on Flickr, tagged "butterflygardens")

*Apparently, kiddo was afraid that a butterfly would lay an egg on her finger and she didn't want a butterfly as a pet but then she'd have to feed it and take care of it and she didn't want to... no amount of explanation could change her mind or convince her otherwise.

Happy Mothers Day

To all the other Mothers out there, I hope your day is filled with kid-made treats and pampering!


I was treated to strawberry-stuffed french toast for breakfast and this afternoon we are heading out to the Victoria Butterfly Gardens so I can take many many photos.

13 May 2006

Bright idea.

The first time kiddo saw an ad for one of the minivans with a built-in DVD player, she told us we needed a new van. Today, since we were making the 2 hour drive with kiddo and her cousins in tow, we opted to turn the back seat of the van into a movie theatre by setting up one of the laptops. On the way there, they watched The Corpse Bride; on the way home, Robots (until the battery died).


tags: travel, innovation

Two Years.

Wow. Today marks two years since I started blogging. I don't know what more to say, but there it is.

Last night we had friends over for a barbeque which was nice (both the friends and the barbeque). One of their kids is a year younger than kiddo and they get along very well. It's always fun watching her play with a friend -- I think it made her week.

Today we are headed up to Nanaimo (yes, again!!). The goal today is to hit a bunch of thrift stores. We are going with a van full of people so purchases will have to be somewhat limited (which is fine). Yesterday I searched out all the thrift stores I could find and plotted their addresses on a couple of Google Maps. (Speaking of Google Maps, hubby has been working on a MapMaker so you can create your own maps... I've been working on one of thrift stores in Victoria. The MapMaker is not quite ready for primetime, but when it is you'll all get a heads up.)

Which leads me to another one of hubby's passtimes that he calls the meme-maker. Some of the words are ones he comes up with, others he hears in passing and decides they need a push toward common usage. A good example: the other day we saw a woman in full-out goth garb walking up the street. Twenty minutes later we returned in the other direction and said goth was standing on a corner in a manner that looked like she was ... um.. working the corner. Hubby points and says, "gothstitute." Naturally, I laughed. Happily, I had taken a photo of her earlier... it was so warm out she had removed her cape, but she chose to keep her gloves on.


tags: blogger, Google maps, meme-maker.

10 May 2006

midweek link dump

Yes, I've been busy this week!

Creepy amusing, and not unlike the Surveillance Camera Players, check out the self-portraits with surveillance cams pool slideshow on Flickr

Or, if you'd like something less creepy, how about crafty? For inspiration, I have been looking to Tips for Recycling and Reusing and inspiring images from craft books.

This week, I have been loving CBC's The Hour with George S. (yeah, I am so not typing his last name. It's worse than M. Night Shamalamadingdong). Name aside, he's smart, sassy, funny, and not hard on the eyes, either-- imagine combining Jon Stewart and Rick Mercer in some weird transporter accident with Billie Joe of Green Day.

Anyway... the show. Informative, irreverent, unpredictable and always entertaining. Yesterday, it was all about Religion (DaVinci Code stuff, possible sainthood of Pope John Paul II, the groups South Park picks on the most, etc.); tonight it seems to be all about Sex (an interview with Hustler mag mogul Larry Flynt, a piece on a documentary about burlesque stars called Pretty Things, and talking to Gilbert Godfried, the unsexiest man). I love Canadian TV.

Incidentally, we also watched a great Tony Robinson-hosted look at the DaVinci Code nonsense on History TV last night. Good stuff.

tags: links, surveillance, CBC, Canadian TV, DaVinci Code.

06 May 2006

Do you have a better plan?

One of the local nightclubs in town has gone through another change in name, probably a minor reno inside. The name they chose, though, is dubious:

Yep. Plan B nightclub. Same as the emergency contraception:


tags: stupidity, plan b

Free Comic Book Booty.

OK.. so today was Free Comic Book Day.

I thought kiddo would be excited -- what kid doesn't like free comics? Apparently our kid. Last night we asked her if she wanted to go out in the morning for her pick of freebies and she looked up at us and said, "No. I just don't like comics as much as my family." She said it so sweetly... ten years from now she'll just scoff at us, call us geeks and head out with her "normal" friends.

Luckily kiddo was scheduled for a night out at Granny's so we dropped her off after lunch and headed on our way, kid-free.

We got plenty of booty... and I bought two Emily the Strange compilations (The Boring Issue and The Lost Issue)... plus hubby bought me a "Happy I Love You" gift: a set of three Mirrormask figures including the Librarian. Wheee! Funniest moment was in one of the comic stores, the doofus behind the table o' swag kept telling me how much gore and violence was in each item I picked up in a tone that suggested, "Oh, you don't want that one ma'am." It was kinda funny. Naturally, I picked up the ones he indicated as the bloodiest.


We wandered through town and visited a few non-comic stores, too. After some debate, we settled on Ferris' Oyster Bar & Grill for a late lunch. I was happy to see it crowded and was, as usual, not disappointed in the food. We had a trio of appetizers: a basket of mixed fries (potatoes and yams) with chipotle mayo, potstickers, and satayed portobello mushroom skewers (mmmmMMmmm).

At Munro's, I finally found a nice guide for identifying trees and shrubs (Botanica's Trees and Shrubs) -- it's packed with glossy photos and info. Their remainders tables were overflowing today; I could have spent $100 on books without blinking. At Sally Ann (what, like I could resist a thrift store?) I picked up a spool of ribbon, a Klutz book of Beadlings (with a bunch of beads still included), a flower press and a partly used package of origami paper (total purchase $7.17).

Now we are settled in for a Soprano-thon (last part of Season 5 followed by the first part of Season 6.) Bada-Bing!

tags: comicbooks, dining out, retail therapy.


Yesterday, in my wanders, I happened across a nest of carpenter ants. I'm particularly fond of this image of one ant in between two pieces of weathered wood:


While most people believe carpenter ants eat wood, they actually only nest in the wood:

"The worker ant finds an entry route by gnawing a clean tunnel parallel to the wood grain wherever a crack or crevice exists. The wood is chewed and discarded outside the tunnel."
-- Backyard Bug Brigade (Environment Canada)

This tunnelling is what causes damage to houses and why carpenter ants are considered a pest. But, since I found this nest in some wood at the side of a path I happily snapped many photos; there are more on Flickr, tagged carpenterants.

Incidentally, in looking for info on carpenter ants I happened on this very creepy image of a tissue box infested with the critters. ::shudder::

tags: ants, entomology, photography.

05 May 2006

Your Basic Lovely Day

I love days off like today... slept in a little bit, went shopping (5 thrift stores and a few other places), got a few errands run (vacuumed the van, returned bottles, checked for sales of JoeCozies at Solstice Cafe (Zero. Sigh.)), spent most of the day with my Mother In Law (we get along quite well most of the time), then spent a little over half an hour taking photos around Selkirk before picking up kiddo from school. Oh, and the weather was beautiful.



Home for dinner, then out again to the Library (watch for more reviews in coming days at the Medianook) and to get groceries, now it's quiet as kiddo is in bed and hubby is out for coffee.... so I can catch up on blogging, do some writing, and maybe read an actual book (especially since I bought three while thrifting today....)


tags: dayoff, photos, dullstuff

04 May 2006

I'm (mostly) healthy.

Went in for my annual checkup today. Overall, things are good. Confirmed the bursitis in my shoulder and confirmed that I'm doing pretty much what he would have told me to do anyway. Get to have an x-ray done of my left hip (which has been a bother for many years....) just to rule out anything like early onset arthritis (oh, goody!) but otherwise my numbers were good. He was especially pleased with my blood cholesterol which was 4.3 with HDL being 1.5.

I had to check what the numbers meant though, and according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada:

Normal blood cholesterol should be in the range of:

  • Total cholesterol 5.2 mmol/L or less;
  • LDL-cholesterol (bad type) less than 4.14 mmol/L;
  • HDL-cholesterol (good type) greater than 0.9 mmol/L

So I guess that is good. Yay! And I was thinking, "Well, I must thank hubby for feeding me such good healthy things all the time," because really, he does.

Anyway, you're all stuck with me unless I get hit by that proverbial bus. Not that I'm tempting fate or anything... but I am kindof a pessimist.

tags: cholesterol, personal health

03 May 2006

Embracing Creativity...

I am fast approaching the two year mark here on Blogger and I have been reflecting on the sheer volume of words I have spilled onto these pages. I am still struggling with my wish/dream/goal to be a "real" writer (I guess to be paid to write, ideally) and as such I have started doing some writing exercises in amongst my journal entries, the bits of poetry I keep filing away, and the ideas for articles that never seem to materialize. The next step will be to take some of those article ideas and follow through (thus picking at another one of my bugaboos). I also want to write some more frugal articles for FrugalVictoria and some local history articles for my Unofficial Victoria Guide. Of course, I should also write more reviews for Medianook and/or Apolloguide!

What I'm afraid of though, is the actual submission process. Writing the query and following through. I've got so many half-finished writing projects that it's hard to face them...

In the meantime, I keep distracting myself with photography... taking one morning a week to walk through the gardens, documenting the many beautiful flowers....


tags: writing, goals, distractions

02 May 2006

Not At All Vegan Lunchbox


This is what I took for lunch today: a can of Chunky Soup, a fruit salad (grapefruit, canned peaches, and strawberries), two Minigo snacks, and a few Jelly Bellies (in the little white cup).

I can do better... I just didn't.

01 May 2006

One in Three

May is (among other things) Hepatitis C Awareness Month.

FACT: More than one third of all people living with Hepatitis C (HCV) in Canada live in British Columbia (an estimated 65,000 British Columbians). This is approximately double the national average.

FACT: HCV is 10 times more infective than HIV through blood-to-blood contact. Most common infections are through shared needles/needle sticks from infected needles or through blood transfusions prior to 1992.

More info:
Hepatitis C Council of British Columbia Canada
Centre for Disease Control Hepatitis C Fact Sheet
World Health Organization Hepatitis C Information (includes somewhat outdated (1999) global prevalence)

tags: health information, public service, hepatitis c