31 May 2007


Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
I snuck out after watching Studio 60 to get a few photos of the "blue moon" -- the second full moon this month. I'm fairly pleased, but I really want a decent telephoto for some closeups. Heck, one day I'd like to try photography through a telescope.

For now, though, these photos will have to do... it was beautiful and there was not another soul on the walkway. Very eerie... and calm.


Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
The tree in our garden has attracted dozens of ladybugs all gettin' down and dirty... I took oodles of photos, but this is the only one that came out close to clear.

Really, the fact that it is a ladybug swingers club is the only thing keeping me from chopping down the tree, because for some reason it also attracts wasps and ants. Eww.

29 May 2007

Web 2.0 + Library 2.0 = Hot Air 2.0?

I had the opportunity today to take an audioconference about how libraries can use YouTube. I was the only non-librarian in the room, and the only one with videos of my own on YouTube... but all of us agreed that a conference about a video website might have been better delivered as a web-conference than audio plus a powerpoint presentation. On top of that, the content of the presentation seemed slim; while they did discuss equipment and software, the rest of the information was basic stuff that could be gleaned from spending 20 minutes (or less) on YouTube.

Aside from YouTube, libraries and librarians are popping up on Facebook, MySpace, SecondLife, and everywhere else. They are blogging, vlogging, podcasting, and providing virtual reference. Our electronic resource collection is growing at a pace that rivals (or maybe even outpaces) our print collection -- e-journals, e-books, and new digitization projects (one current project involves digitizing sound recordings) -- and soon we'll have shiny new software in place to organize it all.

What I wonder is, where is this all going? Is this really what library users want? Surveys seem to point that way and even I've been on the receiving end of, "You mean I have to look it up in a book? Isn't there a website or something?"

I see the use of networking with Facebook or Ning and I do understand the power that multimedia brings to any website. I've made my peace with wikis, creative commons, and collaborative media. I just don't understand the point of building avatars in Second Life, or posting cute/funny videos on YouTube. Sure, it might get the library some media exposure, but will it bring in more users? Will it educate the ones we have?

Somebody convince me that this is neither a waste of time, nor an insult to the social users of these sites, and I'll listen. Right now, I'm of the opinion that there are limits and boundaries to the use of social networking in an organizational setting and I'm not sure it would be wise to push them too far.

27 May 2007


Here's the original... http://victoria.craigslist.org/bks/339331531.html ...but I suspect it may get flagged. Why? Because this is what it says:

I have a spare ticket to the sold-out Chuck Palahniuk reading on Monday May 28.

You can have the ticket for free, but only if you're a really hot chick. I'm not going to try to get you in the sack or anything; I just like hot chicks and I like being seen in their company... it makes me feel like a big man.

If you're a guy, or a chick who ain't hot, you can't have the ticket. I'll just throw it away. I'm like that. And it's good.

So... the ticket is yours for the taking just for being a hot chick.

And if you wear a vintage cocktail dress I'll take you to dinner, too. We don't have to converse.

Dude. Really? Welcome to 2007. Any woman who knows who reads Chuck Palahniuk is unlikely to fall for this crap. Moron.

Oh, and anyone who will be at the reading, keep an eye out for this guy. He'll probably be the only idiot with an empty seat beside him.

As I was writing this, I told my hubby... check out his reaction. Funny. :)

25 May 2007


This morning, at 3:40 a.m., we were very rudely awakened by our car alarm making a succession of annoying sounds. Hubby was quick to his feet, got dressed and ran down to silence it, then check it out. He didn't see any broken glass or anyone lurking in the parking lot, so he came back inside, and once our adrenaline stopped coursing at full, we did manage to get back to sleep.

This morning, we found that the driver's side door had been opened (probably with a slim jim or similar, because there was no visible damage) but nothing had been taken -- not the stereo, not the digital camera accidentally left overnight, not even the coins.

Needless to say, I am very thankful that we have the world's most annoying car alarm installed in our van. I'm happy that we scared some desperate criminal off our property, too; hopefully no other vehicles got hit.


The other thing Im thankful for today is our cat. We took him in for dental work this morning; he had basically a tooth that was rotting from the inside out, which meant a day in the hospital, full anaesthetic, and other un-fun things. When he returned home, he was punchy but seems otherwise fine.

23 May 2007

Naughty me....

Insipired by hubby's wish at the Robin Hood Fund, I went ahead and made my own wish. I'm wishing big: for a digital SLR. Why not?

A Digital SLR Camera so I can Quit my Day Job

A Digital SLR Camera so I can Quit my Day Job

Voting starts in 0 minutes Robinhood Fund » The World's First Web 2.0 Wishing Well

[Contrary to what that says above, voting actually begins on June 6, 2007 at noon MST.]

Life in a nutshell...

Tonight I am pleased with myself: I whipped up an extra curtain panel for kiddo's room in a little over an hour. She had been complaining that with the lighter evenings she was having trouble falling asleep (it wasn't the light in particular, but the knowledge that it was still light outside and therefore not night; she sleeps with two small IKEA lights on over her bed).

Anyway, the panel I had was juuuuust barely wide enough to cover her window (a little light still bleeds through one side), and a little longer than needed. I hemmed both ends then folded the top down four inches and added grommets every four inches along, about a half inch from the top. I strung the full width along a cord which I attached by nails at the sides, for now.

I will go back later and install a curtain rod (I have one waiting) and hang the panel with some nice old shower curtain hooks or something similar, but tonight I just jurry-rigged it in there. Once it's up properly, I'll share photos.

...In other news...

I want to go to this conference: the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries. I've asked my supervisor and my manager (and his manager), and I should find out soon but I am not holding my breath; it's pricey, even though it's being held in Vancouver this year.

We're all season finale-d out around here and I thought I could reasonably be expected to leave the TV off, but then I found out that NBC is playing out the last half-dozen existing episodes of Studio 60. Um.... hooray? I'll watch... but it's going to be tough, knowing there aren't any more.

Speaking of not any more; the idiots at CBS killed Jericho after closing the season with a cliffhanger. Apparently fans have sent in three tons of nuts to CBS executives in protest. Awesome.

Oh, there is one show we are still watching: the last of The Sopranos. It will be interesting to see how the writers wrap it all up (only two episodes left to air here) but I think they should have mothballed it a couple of seasons ago. However, I am neither a network executive nor an Emmy-winning writer or producer, so what do I know?

20 May 2007

Building the perfect Cthulhu.....

Many of you have seen photos, or read hubby's blog about his "summer project" to build a Cthulhu sculpture (with a built-in fountain, no less) out of junk we've had cluttering up the place. Some of you have even seen the creation in progress.

Well, most of the junk has gone into the sculpture already, and the body is being built up with various other materials, but eventually that sucker will need to be fiberglassed. So, Hubby has put out a "wish" on the Robin Hood Fund for cash to finish it off (now if he could only wish for extra time!!).

Anyway, if you want to find out more about the wish or the fund, clicky below....

Supplies for my Cthulhu Sculpture

Supplies for my Cthulhu Sculpture

Voting starts in 0 minutes Robinhood Fund » The World's First Web 2.0 Wishing Well

Abkhazi Garden

Abkhazi Garden Mosaic
Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
The Abkhazi Garden packs an amazing variety of plant life into an acre of land in Fairfield. It was one of the few attractions in Victoria I hadn't had the chance to visit so I asked for a free pass in order to review it. I took kiddo and my Mom and we spent close to two hours wandering the grounds, taking photos. I really was impressed and will be adding it to my "hit" list for visitors.

18 May 2007

Twenty Nine Percent.

That number refers to the raise that the BC Government is giving itself. Every MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) will get 29% salary increases plus pension improvements; the Premier will see his salary more than double with a 54% increase. I'm all for better wages and I'm sure some MLAs earn their keep, but giving raises to politicians is always a tough sell. In this case, they did their research and asked for public input but got little.

What gets me about this raise is the way the opposition, the left-leaning NDP, has handled it. First they railed against it "We didn't ask for it; we won't support it!" -- even to the point of booting one MLA out of caucus who said he would support it. Now though they say "We want the pension, but not the raise." Of course, to get the pension, they have to vote in support of the whole package. And their spin on it? They're going to donate their raises to community groups who have been affected by government cuts.

Yeaaaah. Riiiiight.

I'm sure some MLAs will donate their money, but who the heck is going to track all that? (Hopefully some reporter with a chip on his/her shoulder will take on the task.) And in the end, the record will simply show they voted in favour of a 29% pay increase.

Congratulations. In 2010 when we next negotiate our contract, I hope these MLAs pay attention, because they're going to get an earful; three years is not a long time in labour memory.

16 May 2007

Is it just me....

Or could Dog the Bounty Hunter play Britney Spears at age 35 in her future biopic?

World keeps a-spinnin.

Well, the moral majority moved even closer to a minority this week with the loss of founder Jerry Fallwell. I probably can't sum it up any better than Tinky Winky.

Meanwhile, BookSwim.com is winding back library lending about 150 years by charging for book loans because (apparently) every library closes at 5:00. Really? Not the ones I've worked at. Anyway they want to be the Netflix of books. Good luck. I'll stick to BookCrossing or check out free groups like TitleTrader, FrugalReader, BookMooch .... or, heck, maybe my local library or thrift store.

At least we don't have zombie slaves though. We saw Fido last Friday night, and honestly the care and maintenance of zombies seemed like a lot of work. (No, really, it's amusing.)

At least the weather has been lovely. I've taken probably 400 photos this week.... here's one now:


12 May 2007

Raising a Reader

When we visited my brother & family, they gave kiddo a belated birthday present of three books in the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary: Ramona the Pest, Ramona and her Father, and Ramona Quimby Age 8. I had been trying to encourage kiddo to try reading chapter books, but it took my sister-in-law saying "They were my favourite books when I was your age" to convince her. She tucked into the first one before we were out of the driveway and kept updating us along the drive. By the time we got to the ferry, she announced "I'm on page 27 already!"

Now she's reading it frequently and the other night read past her bedtime. I had noticed before she went to bed that she was on page 48; later when I checked on her, the bookmark was at page 72. The next morning I asked her how long she had stayed up reading, and she fessed up that she stayed up almost 3/4 hour. Oh well, there's far worse things she could be doing -- I'm quite pleased to see her sitting around, reading.

I'm thinking of encouraging her to read Michael Bond's Olga da Polga series when she's through with Ramona... I seem to remember enjoying those when I was younger. Plus, kiddo loves stories about hamsters and Olga da Polga is a guinea pig, which is pretty close.

yardsale day

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
It's been a long time since we spent a Saturday morning driving all over the city looking for things we (generally) don't need.

We started in Cordova Bay/Broadmead (this was one of three), then looped around to Oak Bay (another three) and finally Fairfield (two more, plus a huge multi-family, block-long sale that we hadn't seen advertised -- we just noticed it, driving by).

In the end, we had a trunkful of stuff including an IKEA lamp for kiddo ($1 -- sells for $8.99 new), three sets of Kids K'Nex (for an upcoming birthday gift), a bagful of satin and cotton scraps (FREE!!), a curtain rod for kiddo's room (FREE!) and a few other odds and ends.

Kiddo had fun spending her own cash on whatever she wanted -- a little "Barbie Ballerina" (who practices from 5 am to 7 pm every day, with a break for lunch at 1:00), a small stuffed dog, a pair of walkie talkie headsets, a Simpsons book and a few other things.

After we got home, I pretty much crashed for the afternoon.

10 May 2007

Do you suffer from Gas Pain?

You know, part of me accepts the gas price as part of the price of living in the western world, and yeah, maybe it should be used to offset some of the pollution and other wear and tear on Mother Earth... but part of me is pretty annoyed at how seamlessly every gas station in Greater Victoria raises their prices within the same hour. In Vancouver at least there is variation in the prices -- sometimes even within the same block! Not so here. Eventually I calm down and grit my teeth while I pump a few more litres into the tank.

But then I read an article like this one from CTV.ca:

Canadians are being gouged at the gas pumps across the country by as much as 27 cents a litre, says a new report.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) examined gasoline prices before and after Hurricane Katrina and found an unjustified hike in prices after the disaster.

"There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that we're paying far too much at this point for gasoline," Hugh Mackenzie, an economist and researcher with the group, told Canada AM on Thursday.

"There's no doubt in my mind that we're dealing with an industry that has the market power to charge what the market will bear."

Mackenzie said there was a psychological barrier in Canada about paying more than $1 a litre for gasoline. But, after Katrina, the psychological factor was broken and exploited by gas companies.


When I ran into Colin (of the Coffee Crew blog) the other day, he told me the real reason for high prices at the pump: The Dog Ate My Refinery. And you know what? From now on I'm going to accept that reason and giggle while I fill the tank instead of gritting my teeth.

09 May 2007


Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
The magazine pictured was part of the gift I gave hubby for his birthday -- one of those titles we don't buy every issue but splurge once in a while.

So anyway, he had it in the bathroom, which Kiddo seems to think is her personal library and apparently art studio. When we discovered the horns and other doodles all over the cover of this magazine on Monday evening, she got a very stern lecture on vandalism and got sent to bed with neither a story nor tv time.

Unfortunately, it's not the first thing she's ruined through vandalism (including a couple of incidents in kindergarten class involving other childrens' artwork).

Of course, when confronted, she immediately said "Sorry! I'm sorry!" which is one thing that has always ticked us off -- the "it's-easier-to-apologize-than-ask-permission" route. So, she got another lecture on that, too.

Which apparently did not sink in, as last night she got home from her immunizations with stickers that she immediately stuck to furniture in the living room!! AAAGH.

We really hate having to lecture her, but we won't tolerate the behaviour either. Hopefully she won't rebel and become Victoria's breakout grafitti artist of 2017.

07 May 2007

Vancouver overnight...


On the way back from Naramata, we stayed friday night in Burnaby. We stayed at the Holiday Inn, adjascent to Metrotown, with the Skytrain and a major bus exchange right outside the window. I don't think we could have chosen a spot less like the idyllic calm of the Naramata Centre if we'd tried.

After a night of consumerism and a return to the matrix (free wifi and a very large LG LCD flat panel TV), we visited my brother and his family on Saturday. We also got a whirlwind tour of his new workplace, EA, which was swish, but apparently I can't say any more about it. (Trust me, very swish.) We also got to try out his Wii (which we very much enjoyed); here's Kiddo, concentrating on Wii tennis:


He even dragged out his "old" xbox (his 360 is dead again) so we could try our, uh, feet at Dance Dance Revolution. I have to admit, I was surprised at the amount of foot-eye coordination required, but I still think I would enjoy having the game.

After the kids had more time to visit, we headed off to the Richmond IKEA, then for the ferry home.

06 May 2007

Back from the Okanagan

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
Pictured is our "front door" for most of the past week; one of the larger cabins at the Naramata Centre where I was for a week of training care of CUPE.

Kiddo had a blast, and hubby managed to get some much needed down-time, while I stuffed my brain full of statistics and ideas and action plans for increasing literacy on all levels -- since the course I was taking was Workplace Literacy Programs.

The location, around the south east side of Okanagan Lake, is incredibly beautiful, and the "rustic but comfortable" accomodations were much better than I had anticipated. Add to that good food (all provided) and there was nothing left for me to worry about but learning.

I'll be writing more in coming days... but feel free to scroll through my photos at Flickr; I'll probably make a set soon, too.