30 September 2007


Originally uploaded by triviaqueen

For once, the broken ankle is worth something. We swapped our tickets and ended up with some of the best seats in the house.

The Blue Men put on a great show, as expected, and it was fun to be out in a big crowd.

29 September 2007

That week flew...

(... and yet it's the coming week that is actually busy -- meaning I have several activities and appointments scheduled that involves leaving the house!)

Ah well. I did get things done this week. Some housework (I figured out how to balance in order to wash dishes; I hopped around the bed to change the linens; I even cooked dinner one night!), some writing (more on Drupal Basic Training, the precursor to the tentative Drupal 101 book, and a game review of PopCap's Chuzzle (I'll let you know when it's published)), did some work on FrugalVictoria.com and the union site, played several games of Scrabble online, watched a lot of Fall TV premieres, and knit! The Dr. Who scarf is now about 25 per cent finished....


24 September 2007

We have a winner!

Well, after looking through oodles of websites, ruling out some due to inaccessible suites (stairs!), some due to skeevy locations (luxury is fine, but not if I have to wade through used needles), and crappy registration systems (I'm sorry, if your room booking system won't work on Firefox, then you need to hire a better web designer), we arrived at what looks like the right match for us.

The Oswego Victoria bills itself as a boutique hotel; it's in the midst of touristy James Bay, but it is an all-suite hotel with full gourmet kitchens, satelite HD tvs, and the usual "luxury" amenities that you'd expect for the price.

The plan is for Hubby to prepare some high-end gourmet meals while we soak up the surroundings... and I won't have to navigate too far on the crutches. :) I'll let you know if it all lives up to expectations.


Oh, and for the Blue Man Group, I will be calling them (the Arena where they are performing, not the group) tomorrow to check on their offer of exchanging our tickets since our seats are up "10 to 12 steps." So, either we will suck up any price difference if the seats are a comparable or better view (they're floor, but I won't be able to stand...) or I will suck up the accessibility issue and hobble up and down the stairs.

A Different day at Home.

Kiddo had the first of her Pro-D days of the school year, so she hung out here for the day rather than going to her Nana's.

She helped her Daddy make breakfast for all of us and then we watched last night's "Star Wars" episode of Family Guy (thankfully, we opted to record it!!) -- gotta love that Fox owns the rights to that franchise.

After that we watched Mars Attacks, and then she made us all lunch! (Nothing 5-star, but she made us all bologna sandwiches without any help aside from directions to find some of the ingredients in the fridge.) We were both very proud of her.

Meanwhile, I made lots of progress on the Dr. Who scarf (version 2.0, on commission). I was worried that I wouldn't get it done by winter/Christmas because until recently I wasn't able to get in and out of my knitting chair. Now that I can, and while my computer is still up in the bedroom, my downstairs time is spent between knitting and reading. I counted the total rows in the pattern and figure that I'll need to knit 50 rows per week to get it done in time. If I spend one day a week knitting like I did today, I'll have it done in half that time... but I'm going to assume there will be a range to my productivity.

After lunch she played Star Wars LEGO on the X-Box for a while, then she and I played with real LEGO.

yarr ... take that!

In "foot" news, I actually set my bare foot down (carefully) on the floor today -- no weight, I was sitting -- and it felt weird. Really weird. A month of "rest" really makes a difference, I guess.

22 September 2007

Of Bad Days, Roofers and Small Celebrations

Yesterday was a bad day. Along with aches and pains (the usual) came dizziness and nausea (random). Eventually, it sorted itself out, but I spent a chunk of the afternoon dozing off just to avoid the spinning room.

Part of the problem may have been the [insert expletive here] air compressor that the simian roofers fired up at 7:20 a.m. and kept running for most of the day. Ugh. I thought they were going to finish our roof yesterday but they only did part of it. Ugh squared.


Meantime, we'll be seeing the Blue Man Group perform locally -- we bought the tickets in April!! -- but I have to call the Arena to find out how to get to and from of our seats on crutches, given that I really can't do stairs (esp. arena stairs without railings). Hmm.

I am also pondering options for our fast-approaching anniversary (it's our tenth!!). Before the passport delay, we had considered going to Vegas... under the circumstances, though, it's just as well we never booked it. So, the scaled-down plan is a night out in a cushy local hotel with dinner out or maybe even room service. Now my job is to narrow down hotels (FYI, I have ruled out the Empress; I really don't think it's good value). I'll then call the shortlist and ask if their amenities are accessible before we decide where to book.

Got a favourite Victoria-area getaway (that's low on stairs) -- leave me a comment and I'll check them out.

19 September 2007

Fan-freaking-tastic book art

This is the kind of art that gives me that fluttery happy feeling inside. On one hand, it's completely destructive (though now I know of another use for those old biology texts that SubText is always giving away); on the other hand, the results are stunning, unique pieces of art which both literally and figuratively add another layer to the way we view books.

The artist is Brian Dettmer and this is from his series of Book Autopsies.


Today be Talk Like a Pirate Day, though truth be told, I'm not feelin' it this yearrrrr. Perhaps a slice or two of Pirate Toast would help. Or this bonnie photo of me pirate kiddo...


Arr. Still not feelin' it. Think I'll be watching Steve the Pirate play some Dodgeball. Yarr. That should brighten me day.


17 September 2007

More History: Uplands Estates

This month's Grid includes part of the Uplands Estates**, a housing development in Oak Bay which was designed to be "exclusive" in the early years of the 20th Century. In 1912, an ad in the local paper advertised lots for sale in the uplands ranging from $3,000 to $55,000 (source). In today's currency, that translates to a range of about $57,000 to $1.1 million (although that in no way reflects today's property values in the region).


The area, marked by large pillars at each "entrance" is full of grand homes on large lots. Some are worth multiple millions, others just sell for that much.

UVic urban geographer, Dr. Larry McCann has focused much of his research on Oak Bay, and on the Uplands in particular. Among his projects is a database of 7,000 homes in Oak Bay -- when they were built, how much they cost at the time, and so on. The database is now accessible through the Oak Bay Community Archives.

The area used to be farmland, but now both livestock and agriculture* are prohibited by Oak Bay bylaws -- primarily because farmland is taxed at a much lower rate. Because Oak Bay has some of the most restrictive bylaws in the Greater Victoria area, there is a tendency for people to exaggerate. Recently, Oak Bay has been debunking the restriction on laundry lines (thanks to media publicity on green alternatives for clothing care). When I was younger, my Father convinced me that the municipality even moderated the acceptable height for lawns. Of course, he was running a landscaping and maintenance company at the time....


** Looks like I have some Wikipedia editing to do....

* Oak Bay Bylaw 3545, Jan 26/87 prohibits: "The keeping on any lot of any cow, ass, horse, goat, sheep, swine or poultry" and Oak Bay Bylaw 4132, Nov 13/01 prohibits: "the cultivation, production or harvesting of fruit, vegetables, grains, oilseed, trees, shrubs, flowers, plants, seedlings, herbs, seeds, turf, forage or fodder, for sale or exchange for money or other valuable consideration.”

My semi-mobile life.

Yesterday, I again ventured out of the house. Kiddo was going to spend some time with my Mom, and Hubby offered to drive through the Grid area so I could get some more photos before stopping at the mall to grab a few things.

Once I am in the van, I do OK, and getting into the mall is easier with the parking pass, too. In fact, Hillside Mall also has complementary wheelchair use for patrons, so that was fine. What's difficult is getting to and from the van at home.

Our parking area is down a flight of stairs from the townhouse. It is possible to go around the front of the property and follow the slope of the land all the way around to the parking area -- we did this when using the wheelchair to get to and from the van -- but using the crutches this is a long way for me. Yesterday, we tried having me crutch around to the side of the building where Hubby can pull the van into the neighbouring apartment's parking lot. I got about 2/3 of the way before the pain set in.

I am having trouble right now because I still can't put any weight on the right foot, but my left hip can't take the constant jarring (I've had trouble with my left hip for years). The result is shooting pain after just a few metres of crutching. I had planned on practicing outside this week, but I can't because the roofers are now working overhead.

Sigh. At least I am much more mobile inside the house.

16 September 2007

You might be a bad parent if....

... you think it's cool to give your 4 year-old a Grand Theft Auto birthday cake.


Now, regular readers know I generally refrain from passing judgement on parenting styles (primarily in the interest of not having others judge mine!), but you'll also recall that I rarely pull punches when it seems people really should have thought twice before breeding at all. Honestly, sometimes I weep for the future of our planet, and it has nothing at all to do with Al Gore.

14 September 2007

No more staples...

Saw my GP this morning, despite a huge screw-up with the appointment time. [The p/t receptionist had told me the appt was at 9:15, then she confirmed it as 9:00, I figured the difference of 15 minutes was no problem. Then I got there just before 9 and was told the appt was in the books as 11:15 -- I was NOT impressed. Luckily the regular receptionist was very accomodating, and got me in "right away" which on a Friday meant about 9:50.]

Most of the staples came out easily (I'll spare you the details, but if you want to see the tool he used, I took a photo of the tool and the instructions; I didn't take a photo of my foot this time.). I also got a note and some other paperwork signed -- I now am the proud holder of a temporary handicapped parking pass (woo!) so finding somewhere to park at the mall, etc will be less of an issue for a while.

Hubby was great helping me to and from the van and the doctor's office plus getting the parking pass, and even getting me a much needed latté.

As for the ankle itself, the incision sites are healing well; the swelling has gone way down; and the bruises are much less prominent, but the whole process will be long. I was told though, to take my foot out of the Aircast when I am resting (which Hubby says the surgeon also told me, but I don't recall that instruction). Anyway, it's out now... getting some very welcome air.


13 September 2007

A little history for you all....

OK... so I was feeling blue because I haven't been taking four or five hundred photos a week... (yes, I really do take that many)... so I thought it might be a good time to dig through my archived photos and upload some from pre-2005 (when I first signed up with Flickr).

I found some fun stuff...

fatherdaughter_aug02 momandalice_sept01 reading_june04


In my digital excavation, I also came across a set of scans I did of some historical maps of Victoria, including an 1890 guide to land plots in the city and a streetcar guide, ca.1912.



However, when I scanned them, I didn't write down enough information about who made them or what year they were... so I tried to dig out the info on the web.... which led me to the fantastic map gallery at viHistory (a UVic site which I don't think I knew about). For the bonus feature, most of the maps are available for download in full.

After posting the streetcar map, I had a lot of questions about the Exhibition grounds and "driving track" in Oak Bay... which led me to this lovely, rambling History of Oak Bay paper (pdf) by G. Murdoch, which is chock full of useful and interesting information. Since this month's Grid is in Oak Bay, it should prove helpful! (Incidentally, the Exhibition grounds were created in 1887.)


Finally, I also found some of my Procrastoman cartoons (which I mentioned a couple of days ago):


11 September 2007

Crappy customer service

Puretracks.com you are on notice!!! Many months ago, I signed up for Puretracks through a cross-promotion where I got "10 free songs." However, when I signed up, I must have missed the ticked box for "send me your crappy eNewsletter filled with offers I don't want" -- because I would have un-ticked it. But, what really grinds my behind is the fact that when I click on their little tiny link buried at the bottom of said crappy eNewsletter that says "click HERE to unsubscribe" (note the actual link also includes "?email=[my email address]") I get a mysterious 404 error.

So, I go to the website where I realize I have no clue what my password is. No problem, I figure, I type in my email and click "forgot password" at which point it tells me there is no account with that email address.

So... I try to contact someone and get another error in trying to submit their email form!!! GAH.

Weeks pass. I keep deleting the eNewsletters. Then I start marking them as spam. Today I thought what the heck, I'll try again.

I still got the 404. There's still no account with my email address, but at least I could email them. Let's see what happens next....


You'll notice in the photo above that Mr. Colbert is also showing The Bay as being on notice. Here's why:

Last week, when I managed to wheel myself through Mayfair Mall, I eventually needed to use the washroom. I chose to attempt using the one at The Bay but I was unable to do so because some softheaded twit had placed a decorative table in the corner beside the toilet. Normally, I would look at it and think, "oh, OK, nice place to put down your handbag," but in this case it actually prevented me from being able to fit the wheelchair into the "accessible" stall. I even tried backing in.

Since I did actually need to use the facilities, I did not take the time to track down a manager or other employee but figured I would do so on my return home. Well a couple of days later (when I remembered that I was going to call), all I managed to get was a voicemail phone forest that eventually led me to the voicemailbox of a manager which, after leaving my message, kindly told me that the mailbox was full and my message would not be saved. GAH!! WTF???

But here's the thing. I only shop at The Bay rarely and even then it's usully out of some sort of cultural guilt -- it the last remaining Canadian department store and even it's owned by an American. So by saying I'm not going to shop there any more, it's really not much of a threat, but I'm putting it out there nonetheless. With Mr. Colbert's help, of course.

[p.s. to generate your own sign, go to shipbrook.com/onnotice -- just be sure to save the image and upload it yourself instead of stealing their bandwith like a clueless dork.]

09 September 2007

Not all films age well....

Turner Classic Movies seems to be on a Jack Lemmon binge of late -- fine with me, as he has graually become one of my favourite actors to watch. Of course, not all of his roles were as watchable as those in The Apartment (1960) or The Odd Couple (1968).

Yesterday, I watched Phffft (1954) and today, Under the Yum Yum Tree (1963). Of the two, Phfft is the more watchable, but that's not saying much (it is kind of like comparing white bread to dinner rolls).

Phffft is a "romantic farce" that opens with divorce, follows with how the couple met, and continues with how the couple really were meant to be together. (I'll let you guess how it all works out in the end.) Overall, Phffft is harmless fun which, despite its predictability, is entertaining thanks to good performances all around.

Under the Yum Yum Tree is one of the most sexist and dated comedies I've seen. Lemmon plays a creepy stalkerish landlord who only rents units in his complex to single women. And yet... I couldn't stop watching the trainwreck of a film.

What struck me about both films was their outdated look at relationships. While Phffft's version of events now looks quaint, Under the Yum Yum Tree seems insulting because it's hard to believe the situation could ever have come up.

07 September 2007


Some of you may remember my website from years ago called "Chronocide" which is the word I started using in first-year university as an erudite-sounding alternative to "killing time." I also created "ProcrastoMan" for a single-panel comic that ran in the Martlet for a year. (I thought I had scanned or photographed some of these... but I can't find any files ... when I do find them (or dig out the originals) I'll share.)

Now that I am spending many hours in my bed, foot up, laptop and TV close by, I have been committing a lot of chronocide (when I am not eating or sleeping)! Here's what I've been up to:

1. I read a lot of blogs; the daily dose currently includes: Neil Gaiman, Wil Wheaton, WWTDD*, Freakonomics, DIY Life, Lifehacker, Shiny Shiny, Overheard in New York*, MAKE, CRAFT Magazine, and Drawn. (* sites may be NSFW). For most of these, plus other less-frequently updated blogs, I use Google Reader and I save the cool stuff on my del.icio.us (which will soon become the Delicious Service ... ooo, errr.)

2. I wander through eye-candy at Flickr and keep up with friends on Facebook -- oh, and I play Scrabble via the Scrabulous application on Facebook. (Hubby also bought me a portable version of Scrabble, which niceley replaces our classic Scrabble game that is missing one tile (an R; so we sacrificed a blank in its place.))

3. I am working on some game reviews for Game-Boyz.com, and in doing so am playing a lot of PopCap games. Woo!

4. I am working on other projects -- another 2008 calendar (rabbits!), Drupal basic training, FrugalVictoria.com, some story ideas, and whatever else seems like a good thing to spend time working on.

5. I've been watching lots of (mostly bad) TV and (mostly amusing) DVDs and I've been reading (Gaiman's Anansi Boys is what I'm currently trying to get through).

So... what's your favourite way to commit chronocide?

06 September 2007

Off to School boogie

Off to School boogie
Originally uploaded by dewolfe0001
Kiddo is back at school this week and in her element. Her grade one class has 19 students, many of them new (another school in the area closed at the end of last term, so there are a lot of new faces) but some of her good friends from kindergarten are in her class, so it's all good.

The routine this year is that Hubby drops her off at school and starts his workday later; after school, her Nana picks her up and brings her home around 5:00.

Kiddo has been picking out her own outfits this year (I'm glad we got into the habit of laying out her clothes the night before; she is not a morning person) though happily she is still allowing us a veto.

She has been a great help to us while I've been down, both by getting stuff for me and also by helping herself (she can now pour her own drinks, for example). It's been a real pleasure watching her take on more responsibilty the past few weeks and I couldn't be much more proud.

Healing is a Slow Process... and that's OK.

So... Tuesday I went to see the surgeon, got some x-rays, lost the splint and got an Aircast boot. All of this was good news -- my ankle is healing as well as can be expected and everything looks good. Unfortunately, I went in with some unrealistic expectations, so I spent most of the day feeling sorry for myself. The boot is heavy and awkward, but my foot does feel much more protected inside it:


After finishing at the hospital, we met up with Kiddo and my Mother in Law and went out for lunch (at Red Robins... mmmm. Good food, but the place needs a serious decorating makeover!). I used the walker to get in and out of the restaurant, but I wasn't used to the size and weight of the boot. By the time I got back in the van I was in pain and slightly winded.... but it didn't stop us from going to Mayfair mall (being stuck in the house for a week was driving me a little crazy). Mayfair offers complementary wheelchairs at the concierge desk which made the visit much easier. (I learned how to manouever a wheelchair a few years ago by spending a day at work in a chair for a disability awareness day.)

Even though it felt good to be out and about, it left me completely exhausted. When I got home, I took some pain medication, curled up in bed and was out like a light for an hour. I was still upset and whiny when I woke up though and Hubby had to basically do a mini-intervention to get me to snap out of it.

He was totally right. I can get a lot out of this time. I may not be able to sit and work for 4 hours straight, but I can get a few hours of writing done through the day. Or not. But there is no reason to feel so bad; it's just a broken ankle which will heal. While it's healing I might just cross off an item or two from that very big List of Unfinished Projects.

03 September 2007

Doing better...

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
Today has been a good day, all things considered. I spent time downstairs, was getting around better with the walker (still not comfortable with the crutches) and even managed to pitch in with household chores by folding and putting away the laundry. Woo!

One of my friends also brought over a book for me; one I've never heard of, but look forward to reading: Salamander by Thomas Wharton.

Hubby took Kiddo out to get a new backpack and to try and get her haircut (but the usual place was closed today...)... at least she got the backpack. She's definitely ready to go back -- she even has her outfit picked out for the morning.

02 September 2007

Broken Ankle: Day 7.

Well, it's been a week since I fell down the stairs. I'm slowly adjusting to life in bed which is neither as comfortable nor as awful as it could be. Max, our cat, has been by my side almost constantly. I have all manner of media close at hand -- internet, cable television, and a shelf full of books -- and everyone has been a great help at bringing me food and drink as needed. Friends even dropped off some ratatouille meals yesterday. MMMMm!

I've even ventured downstairs a few times (down is easier than up, though, and the only bathroom is upstairs, so I am limited by my bladder for the length of time I spend downstairs).

The hardest part is relying on other people. There are lots of things I can do by myself, but just getting up and moving around is exhausting. I tend to do several things while I am up but inevitably I will forget some little thing, so I have to ask.

My moods have been all over the map, but now that I am back to drinking coffee (and not suffering withdrawals!!) I think I am in a better headspace. Tuesday I go back to the hospital to see the surgeon, after we drop kiddo off for her first (half) day of school.

I've been watching lots of television (HGTV, CSI, and crappy reality shows... I even sunk as low as watching an hour of Montel Williams) and movies (some on TV) ... napping ... playing Chuzzle... in other words, not much of substance so far. Of course, I have also been reading lots about broken ankles, their treatment, and rehabilitation exercises online, and bookmarking anything useful or interesting on my del.icio.us page.

However, as I get better, I am starting to cross the odd thing off my to do list (articles I've half-finished, work on various websites, and so on). Hopefully I can use some of this time productively while I am healing -- but I'm no fool, and plan to spend most of the time resting and letting my body do the work it needs to do.