29 March 2007

Good Mornings

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
I have a secret: I often enjoy my morning commute.

It's even better on mornings when I take ten to twenty minutes after arriving on Campus to walk around taking early morning photos, but even on days when I have to drive -- getting stuck behind people going 48 km/h, just slow enough to hit every traffic light through town -- there are glimpses of things like this sunrise (which I managed to catch while we were behind a slow cyclist).

When I am taking the bus, I have even less stress (even on mornings when I miss a bus, I leave early enough that I generally get to work on time, so it is just a tiny annoyance) and I can sit back and take photos (I'm sure other riders refer to me as "the crazy camera lady") and enjoy my mug of coffee.

Yes; Victoria, despite annoying the hell out of me on many occasions, more often than not soothes my soul between 7 and 8 a.m.

28 March 2007

Cute Overload...

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
The bunnies around campus have been extra cute of late. Check out this pair just hanging out paw to paw on the grass in front of the Clearihue yesterday. How could I not photograph them?

26 March 2007


I found a new blog recently, by repeatedly hitting "next blog" past a bunch in languages I couldn't read until I found KJ's Bulletin Board of the Brain. I knew I was going to blogroll it when I found her rant about an odd design trend -- turning books backward on the shelves (spine-side in) to create a uniform look for a room. Oh. My. God. One day, an intelligent race of beings is going to send along the equivalent of small-pox infected blankets to wipe out interior decorators; I hope I live to see it.

Further up the Blogger dial is Tim, over at derivative works. I was looking back at older posts when I came across his thoughts on FM Radio. For me, FM radio lives only in the van... I flip between a half dozen pre-programmed stations hoping one will refrain from pissing me off long enough to get me to my destination, or at least a traffic light. It seldom happens. Most mornings, I listen to Kool FM (107.3) which describes its sound as "hot adult contemporary." Their morning hosts are the least annoying without putting me to sleep (hello? CBC? I'm looking at you!), but eventually their promotional blather starts to build up crud on the dial and I flip to a Vancouver station 94.5 The Beat, which plays top 40 dance. I seldom get through an entire song before flipping away to 100.3 The Q (annoying guitar rock with fun DJs and decent news info) or 98.5 The Ocean (sometimes I luck into a half-decent 80s tune). By then, it's usually safe to flip back to Kool FM for the last few minutes of the drive in.

Home is a different story. Generally for the 4-4:30 drive, I listen to C-FAX 1070 on the AM dial (yeah, seriously old school). They call themselves "Victoria's News Authority"; I tend to call them "the angry old guy channel" because they have listener call-in shows where folks call in and give the guest their opinions. However, I can usually suffer the afternoon call-in show because it is liberally peppered with news, traffic and weather updates -- all of which are key for getting me the hell home.

If you read Tim's rant, you'll note there's one station not programmed into our radio: JACK FM. When they first started broadcasting, I really enjoyed the mix, but it has steadily narrowed to a blend of almost a perfct cocktail of The Q and Kool FM -- but those stations have real people; they take requests; and they are still passingly local. The Victoria JACK FM is no different than the Vancouver JACK FM or any of the other JACK stations all over North America. JACK FM is no different than McDonalds, The Gap, or WalMart in its mission of standardization, creating a sameness that keeps the masses from developing any kind of personality or opinion. Perfect for a nation that needs soldiers.

And yeah, I took my conspiracy theory meds today. How about you?

Normal returns...

Well, this weekend it seems we are finally back to "normal" -- as in, almost no lingering effects of colds or flu. It's nice to have everyone "back."

Saturday, we all went up to Nanaimo where hubby bought some VinaMold (low-melt vinyl for mold making) -- at the only place that supplies the product in BC (one of very few in North America, apparently). We also hit the Vancouver Island Thrift Store where I got some ridiculously cheap yarn and fabric including a huge bag of mostly velour scraps for $1.95.


While we were up there, we went to the Acme Cafe for lunch (mmmmMMm), where the above photo was taken. Afterwards, we went to Fantastic Rhythm (used music and video -- I love that store) and the Nanaimo Project Literacy Book Store (where kiddo got a book of Monster Riddles that she read on the way back home).

Sunday, hubby had a meeting, so I kept kiddo busy for most of the day; in the morning, she played with play-dough while I crafted, then we went to the park where she played in the sand for an hour. After dinner, I continued crafting and by the end of the day had two new creatures to show for it:


I'm really pleased with these creatures, made from some of the thrifted velour; I will be making more.

23 March 2007

Friday Night Entertainment..

Had the day off... ran some errands (Including taking a very nervous cat to the vet. He's fine, just one really rotten tooth that will have to be pulled), hung out with kiddo.

This evening, we dropped kiddo at her Granny's for the night with the plan of heading off for the Off the Grid Art Crawl. The idea, in principle, was sound. Unfortunately, as with most art showings, we both came away with the feeling that our art was just as good (or better) and thus we did not actually finish the crawl. In between galleries, we did have a very nice dinner at the Sushi Rock Cafe, and Studio 16 1/2 in Fan Tan Alley is one gallery I will visit again ... maybe even work up a proposal for a show.

So then we were left with deciding "what to do" on a Friday night. It seems we have alienated almost all our friends -- well, the ones without kids anyway -- gone are the days of the last minute phonecall "let's go to the pub!" There were no movies in town we felt were worth paying $20+ to see, and no bands playing that we wanted to see.

I suggested, finally, that we take the tripod and the cameras and go up to UVic to shoot photos for the Grid Project. To my surprise, this was acceptable. Yay! So... we spent a couple of hours poking around taking photos. ...
n27k_libraryafternhours n27k_hubby_settingup n27k_orange_doors n27k_stuck_in_time n27k_fridaymovie2 n27k_bookstore after hours

Eventually, we got restless and decided to go somewhere for dessert... we tried Whitespot... but the two things we ordered from the menu turned out to be unavailable. Grr. After some consideration, we ended up getting treats from Dairy Queen. Woo. (Actually, yummy.)

Tomorrow, we are (once again) headed up-island after retrieving the child. Whee!

20 March 2007

Cute Kid, Busy Mom

My Mother-in-Law relayed this recent exchange she had with kiddo:

MIL: "Oh, you are just like your parents..."
Kiddo: "Well yes. I am half mom and half dad," she paused, then whispered, "but I think my bottom half is like mom."

I nearly split my side laughing.


Today, work was... full of little annoyances. Enough that I came home aggravated, tense, and motivated to work on the Big List O' Unfinished Projects. I pondered my collection of coffee haiku, added another, but felt less poetic than necessary, so moved on to redesigning Frugal Victoria (no I am not linking to the current site. It is out of date and tragic). I'm using Drupal for the redesign which means re-thinking the whole thing, but that's OK... it needed to be done. And if you have any tips for frugal living in general, or Victoria in particular, let me know.

Hubby is going to buy a webhosting reseller account so we can move all of our sites off the coattails they've been dragging behind and out into their own. Plus we have a few new sites to show off (like PrefabSite.Net -- which is not ready for prime time yet, but which will allow people to answer a few questions and have a full Drupal site up and running in a few short steps.)

Slowly, things are falling into place... but I feel pretty good about it all right now.

18 March 2007

Family Stuff..

1. My brother and his family are now closer to "home" again. They left Ontario on Friday evening (hopelessly delayed with two small children in tow) and by last night had put an offer on a home in a suburb of Vancouver. He'll be at work at his new job tomorrow; his wife starts her new job on Tuesday! I can't imagine all the chaos they've been through in the last month.. and of course it's not over. On the other hand, I will happily take the trek to the mainland from time to time so that kiddo can see her cousins more often (she considers them to be "kind of like a little brother and sister" which is soooooo cute).

2. Today was the memorial for hubby's former stepdad (this was the death we got news of last weekend); we did not attend, but by all accounts things went as well as expected.

3. After another week of fever and lethargy, kiddo seemed to be feeling better this weekend. The biggest challenge has been getting her to eat and drink... but I think we are making progress. We did get out and about yesterday, partly so that kiddo could buy some books with her birthday money.


She'll be hanging out with her Nana for most of Spring Break this week; she'll be going to Grossology at the public library one afternoon, and Empire Theatres are offering $2 matinees, so she'll probably see a movie or two, too. Friday, I get to hang out with her, though we will also have to try and get the cat in to see a vet and run a couple of other errands.

17 March 2007

Can I Call Myself a Photographer Yet?

This week, I think I came a little closer to considering myself a Photographer.

1. I sold a stock photo on Lulu.com (I had sold some on BigStockPhoto, but I really prefer the flexibility of Lulu, so I am happier with that). Here's the photo I sold:

Support independent publishing: buy this image on Lulu.

2. One of my photos of UVic was selected as the snapshot of the week for the UVic homepage:


I do take a lot of photos... but I am happy to know that some of them are good enough to share.

16 March 2007


So, the brain trust that hangs out in the big building on the Inner Harbour have decided to close the BC Legislative Library, allegedly for seismic upgrading, but the scuttle says "renos for more offices."

Rattenbury is no doubt spinning in his grave end over end; the space was designed as a Capital-L Library, housing books and records that are rare if not unique.

From the Vancouver Sun:
It has existed for 144 years as one of B.C.’s great democratic institutions: The library housed inside the capital’s legislative buildings devoted to tirelessly researching and cataloguing the political events, laws and history of British Columbia.

But B.C.’s Speaker of the House is about to close the legislative library down for up to two years, and perhaps move it for good from its historic site, claiming it is in a wing of the legislature that needs to be seismically upgraded to make it safe in an earthquake.

The shittiest thing though is that over half the staff is getting the boot and most of the books and records will be boxed up and shoved into some dark warehouse. Seriously, these people are MORONS who have no concept of history or the value of knowledge and no respect for research. They should all be slapped with rotting salmon.


13 March 2007

Slice of Life?

I missed the hoopla... but on March 5th, Life Network disappeared off the dial* to be replaced by (rebranded as?) Slice, which allegedly is aimed at me:

SLICE™ will cater to the highly sought-after target of viewers 18 – 49, with a core demographic of women in their thirties. With guilty pleasure viewing, SLICE™ brings an unapologetic attitude to topics that matter to women – family, fashion, relationships, celebrity, finances and gossip – to name just a few.

Mostly, it's trash TV... and looking through their programming, there's not too much to lure me over to Slice... though I did enjoy Beauty and the Geek, and have been known to watch Project Runway (they are airing the UK version, Project Catwalk) but I can do without Party Mamas (about women who go overboard planning parties for their spoiled children) and Newlywed, Nearly Dead (marriage counselling for newly married couples). Bottom line, I'm not likely to program the channel out of my presets, but I probably won't pause there too often either.

*hahah, "dial" I'm so old.

11 March 2007

Weird Weekend..

Friday night, we watched I Bury the Living on TCM Underground. Great film; very Twilight Zone feel to it; I recommend watching it if you can find it.

Saturday was Kiddo's birthday party; it went well despite being underattended (only two of the 6 invitees showed) and getting some bad news (a death) just as things were getting underway. She still managed to have a good time (thankfully) and after we cleared things up, we watched Cars, which was one of her gifts.


Today, we totally forgot (more like blocked out and refused to accept) the time change... so we got up at 8:30 which was supposed to be 9:30 and my Mom was due here at 10 ish to pick up kiddo for lunch out. It all worked out and while she was out with Mom and my Aunt, hubby made a housecall (work related) and I hauled our laundry to the laundromat. We had a mellow afternoon and evening... kiddo and I baked cookies for her to share with her friends at school tomorrow.


After she was in bed, hubby braved the torrential rain to go rent a movie. He brought home Tideland, Terry Gilliam's latest weirdness.... it was disturbing and creepy and I didn't hate it... but I sure wouldn't recommend it without a lot of caution. Parts of it parallel the fantastic Pan's Labyrinth, but of course it's Gilliam (though it is based on a novel of the same name) so it all gets very, very strange. I should write a full review but I need to sleep on it, I think.

09 March 2007

Move Over, Undersea Gardens....

... Oceanic Discovery wants in. From their front page:

SeaScaping is a Victoria, B.C. company formed by a consortium of locally owned companies that want to bring a bit of the tourism flair and excellence to aquatic developments in whatever shape and form they may be in. With focus on conveying conservation messages in a dynamic exciting "edventure" for all targetted guests visiting these structures.

Our lead project is Oceanic Discovery Center, an unique aquarium/event center designed for downtown Victoria, B.C. This structure will revitalize the tourism industry and rejuvenate the City as a leader tourist attraction as it once was.

What? Where did this come from? After ignoring the bad grammar in that press release/bumf, it looks like these people are trying to promote waterworld on land. Lemme tell ya what this reminds me of... years ago, we did a play for the Fringe Festival. It was about politics, and featured plans for "LawnLand: a complete lawn activity centre" with indoor lawn bowling, lawn darts, putting greens, picnic area, and so on. The only differences I can see here is that we chose "lawn" over "ocean" and we were kidding.

There's a poll over there... I encourage y'all to take it.

On Paper it Seemed Reasonable...

So.... last night, the NBC comedies were all repeats, as was CSI. Instead, at 8:00 I watched NOVA, all about Typhoid Mary and then I went out, and CBC was running Ideas, part two in its series Organics Go Mainstream (one of those times where I turned off the van but wanted to sit in the parking lot for an extra 5 or 10 minutes, listening).

What I found fascinating about both was the complications that came from government intervention.

Mary Mallon was quarantined without the benefit of a trial (and when she finally won a trial, she lost, out of fear for public backlash). She later won her freedom, but disregarded the conditions of her release, setting off another outbreak and ending in her being quarantined for the remainder of her life. The interesting part was the ethical issues of the way the Public Health Department was able to completely ignore Mallon's most basic rights in the first place.

In the case of organics, the questions come in the debate around the certification of farms and foods. The biggest debate has been over synthetic additives to processed food (purists argue that by definition, processed is not organic). But the argument that struck a note with me was one farmer who refuses to be certified, although he follows very careful sustainable practices. One thing he does, though, would likely disqualify him from certification: when he buys additional feed corn for his livestock and poultry, he buys local first, "organic" second. And this may be the next battle for organics, because it also ties in to global warming initiatives to reduce one's carbon footprint -- if you are consciously shopping for organic food but it is being shipped 3,000 miles to your local heath food market, it kind of defeats its purpose.

08 March 2007

My two cents.

I just want to get this off my chest. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the fact that the BC Liberals have cut the funding for the Child Care Resource Centres, but I have to say the one time I really needed them, they were useless. Absolutely useless.

Sure, they sent me info -- but it turned out to be either the same info I had already read online or stuff that was seriously insulting to my intelligence and therefore useless.

They also gave me a list of daycares that were able to take children at that time. Except that the list was incorrect -- of the 6 daycares only ONE actually had room; the others were taking names for a waitlist.

In the end, I found what I needed on my own, thank you very much, so I am not sad, or overly concerned, that the funding has been cut. Hooray for the Liberals for getting one right.

06 March 2007

Trying to heal...

So, Kiddo is on the mend. She is back to her perky self; full of energy and just the odd random cough. Hubby and I are not mending as quickly. For instance, I thought I was doing well by the time I went to sleep last night, but then got hit with a dizzy spell in the wee dark hours that kept spinning until after 8:00. I took it as a sign, tracked down some Gravol, and called in sick.

One thing that has helped is an herbal tea from Silk Road. It's called "seamist: mermaid's potion" and it's really basic: lemongrass and peppermint with a seaweed chaser (hence the name). It's lovely with a drizzle of honey, soothing to my throat and easy on the digestion. Ahhh.

We are still planning her party for the weekend; we've rented tables and chairs and tomorrow (touch wood) we'll head out to get her gift plus all the bits and pieces to do the party favours and fill the piñata (it's a non-violent piñata if you can believe it -- each child grabs a ribbon and pulls; one ribbon triggers the trap door. Sigh.).

Here's hoping we make it through to the weekend... I'm pretty sure this is the most I've been sick in a long while.

05 March 2007

Daylight "Savings" Fracas.

I really want to point fingers today.... so I am picking what I thought was an easy target, the change to the longer Daylight Savings time.

First and foremost, I blame Gorge W. Bush and his Congress for enacting the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Section 110 of which reads in part as follows:

      (a) Amendment- Section 3(a) of the Uniform Time Act of 1966 (15 U.S.C. 260a(a)) is amended--
        (1) by striking `first Sunday of April' and inserting `second Sunday of March'; and
        (2) by striking `last Sunday of October' and inserting `first Sunday of November'.
      (b) Effective Date- Subsection (a) shall take effect 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act or March 1, 2007, whichever is later.

    But then it gets trickier. Who can I blame in Canada? I want to blame Stephen Harper and his Parliament, but nOOOoooo. According to this Info Sheet provided by the Library of Parliament, in Canada it is up to the Provinces and Territories to set their time (which makes sense since Saskatchewan does not participate, nor do some regions in BC or Quebec).

    "Great!" I thought, "Another reason to point fingers at Gordon Campbell."

    But I was wrong again. Apparently, in BC, it's the Attourney General who gets to make that call,
    "The Attorney General is responsible for the Interpretation Act, which includes reference to time and is the authority under which Daylight Saving Time is prescribed in the province."

    or at least that's what it says in this press release from last March. So who was the Attourney General last March? Same as now, Wally Oppal.

    So, thank you Mr. Oppal. Thank you for bowing to useless pressure and promoting a useless measure which should have been abandoned long, long ago.

    There is no conclusive proof that the change will in fact save much energy. The report that formed the basis for the Energy Policy Act of 2005 is a 2001 Staff Report from the California Energy Commission. Interestingly, the report suggests savings from Double DST -- in other words, move forward an hour in March 2007, then don't shift back, but move forward again in March 2008, then shift back in November 2008.... oh I am glad they didn't choose that boneheaded plan.

    03 March 2007

    So Much to Do!

    Somehow, Victoria overbooked itself this weekend. There's the annual Be A Tourist in Your Own Hometown promotion (earlier than usual), the Canadian Homebuilders Association Home Show (in a new location), and the Times Colonist Book Sale (two weeks later than last year; I got some great bargains in 2006) -- all three are very popular events, and all are happening on top of each other.

    Clearly, this city needs a personal assistant.

    Of course, I'm not sure which of these I will be able to attend (OK, I won't be attending the Home Show), but I seriously need to get out of the house. We are all still plague-ridden... but so is half the city (seriously -- kiddo's class when she went in on Tuesday was down to 9 of 16 kids and a substitute teacher was in). I'm pretty sure we have the dreaded flu that we could have got a flu shot to prevent... next year maybe.

    02 March 2007

    Almost Six!

    Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
    Kiddo will turn six in a few days... so I asked her to draw a cupcake for her invitations. She did, then instructed me what colours it was to be (purple wrapper, pink icing, a nice red cherry, and lots of sprinkles).

    So, I scanned it in, coloured it, and made it so. Then I glued the pieces (info is on the inside) to some cardstock and voila! Of course the actual invitations have her name where I put "kiddo."

    Fingers crossed we are all healthy by the time the party rolls around!

    (No) WARNING: Graphic Content

    Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
    No, I don't support clubbing baby seals... but this pamphlet, with the unedited photo of evicerated seals, fell out of the most recent copy of Monday Magazine. I called the editor to let him know that it would be the last issue I picked up unless I could be certain that something similarly disgusting would never again fall on to my dining table.

    Those who know me know I deplore censorship, but there are also some rules about age-appropriateness. I don't think it is acceptable for a photo this graphic to be so widely and indiscriminantly available.

    My daughter reads EVERYTHING, so it is perfectly reasonable for me to assume that if I had left the Monday Magazine on the table, she might have opened it to read it. She might also have found this pamphlet. Again, I have to emphasize, that I would be happy to discuss my views on the subject with her, but I really think that this kind of image is, pardon me, overkill.

    I would encourage any reader who is similarly offended to phone Bruce (coordinator of the advertized march) and/or Monday Magazine (Editor John Threlfall 250-382-6188 loc 137).

    We have tried to pixellate the photo... but I will be posting other content in an effort to move this from the top of the page.

    01 March 2007

    Clickety Clickety...

    A few interesting things I have found in the past week or so...

    Crafty: Rebound Designs... artist Caitlin takes books, removes the contents, and repurposes them as handbags. My favourite may be the Holy Bible... despite the sacrilige and the $125 pricetag. I'm a little stunned by the Crimson Fairy Book... that series is pricey (about $1300 for first editions; $300 for beatup later eds.)!

    Craftier: 1x1 Art Squares... these teeny tiny art pieces are created in the same theme as Artist Trading Cards, but smaller. Lovely, but I lack the patience.

    Mindwarp: Trailer Mash ... a collection of film trailers re-edited to alter the tone of the movie.

    Timewarp: Sesame Street Alphabet ... collected animated clips from Sesame Street for each letter of the alphabet.