30 December 2007

Has it been a whole week?

I did try to write something earlier in the week, but I have felt rather... drained this week, so blogging took a spot close to the bottom of the pile. Instead, I have been social, I have celebrated, I have photographed things, listed stuff on etsy, done some reading and some writing, tidied, completed lots of online jigsaw puzzles (through Puzzle Bee on Facebook), watched some movies -- including going out to see Sweeney Todd (which I liked but didn't love)-- and just hung out with family and friends.

I guess really it's been a typical Christmas break, after all.

Here's a few of my favourite photos from the last few days....




23 December 2007

The twenty-fifth approaches.

It's funny. This year, when it was late November and Christmas decorations were up, I was OK with it (usually I maintain a shield of humbug until mid-December) but now I think I am all Christmas-ed out before the big day.

I had Thursday and Friday off, and they were very nice days off indeed... did some last minute shopping, took a few photos, had lunch out both days, and generally relaxed and enjoyed myself.
Yesterday was a little more chaotic... we risked shopping in the eye of the storm (i.e. we braved Mayfair Mall at mid-day) but were able to find a parking spot near an entrance, get what we needed, and get out (after pointing and laughing at all the over-stressed parents in line at Toys-R-Us).

Today, despite sleeping in, I have been tired all day... and little things have added up to make today seem very, very long.

Tomorrow, we head for the mainland for a short visit then back for Christmas night. We have a ferry reservation to get there... but not back... so I am expecting a considerable wait at the terminal on Christmas Day. Sigh. I will have a book and some knitting handy.

Until then....

"Merry Christmas and belated wishes for Solstice and Hannukah."

21 December 2007

Box Lunch

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
This amazing little bookshelf held my lunch today at Nautical Nellie's.

On top is tuna tataki -- sesame crusted and just barely seared then thinly sliced so that it is almost like sashimi. It was drizzled with hoisin sauce and served with pickled ginger and watercress. Next were two delicate ham and cheese biscuits, then a mixed green salad with a fruit vinigarette dressing and the soup of the day -- this was a tomato bisque. The "box lunch" was reasonably priced at $12.50. I also ordered a side of sauteed BC wild mushrooms ($5) which were equally delicious.

I'll admit, I was shocked from the moment my Mom and I walked inside, because the last time I passed by (and was paying attention) the place looked like a cheezy seafood place (I swear I remember seeing fishing nets on the ceiling). Now, the place has fine dining written all over it, and food that more than matches the decor.

Nautical Nellie's has been serving steak and seafood on Wharf Street for a decade, and I am now kicking myself for not having paid more attention -- because the meal was fantastic.

Seriously, if you haven't been, and are looking for a nice place for dinner, I can't give a much higher recommendation.

19 December 2007

Bittersweet day...

My first official job here at the University was in the Stack Maintenance Unit of the main library -- I shelved books. When I first started, all the books were sorted in one central room on the 3rd floor then trucked out to all other floors for shelving. It had been done that way for a very long time; I know, because my Mother used to work in the same department and I used to come up on weekends to help sort the kids' books and wander around the library.

In the 1990s, the sorting was decentralized and each floor got its own sorting area, but third floor still used the large room, which frequently filled to capacity during peak return times.

A few years ago, there was another change, as a new return/sorting area was added in the basement (soon to be "lower level") of the library. From here, books are trucked to the other sorting areas before being shelved. But, the third floor sorting area was still fairly full just a couple of weeks ago.

Now it is empty and much of its shelving will be dismantled in coming days in preparation for demolition of the last remaining "inside" (i.e. behind locked doors) study carrels in the library. Some of the existing area used for the sorting room plus all of the study carrel area will be replaced with shelving to hold the music monographs when the music collection relocates to the new Media Commons on the main floor in February.

So, while I was happy that I got to take some photos of this soon-to-be-gone part of my past, it's a bittersweet happiness, as the photos will be all that will remain by the time I come back from the break in January.

18 December 2007

Intersection of woe and my eyes, they burn..

Sometimes, you just shouldn't mix your craftgrrl side with your fangrrl side...

Heidi of MyPaperCrane usually makes cutesy anthropomorphic objects, but she crossed a line with her creepy Star Wars dolls.

17 December 2007

Hey, DJ!

You know, if I had buckets of money one of the side jobs I'd probably try just for the heck of it would be to DJ at a club. No, really. I used to love being on the dance-floor and realizing that the song had changed but I hadn't noticed because the DJ had run them together so smoothly. That sort of beat-mixing really rocks my world (literally and figuratively). Now, it's been a long time since I have been to a club (now I would just be one of those sad 30something people that my 20something self used to snicker about) but I still listen to a lot of music.

Once in a while, I will crank my mp3 player to "ridiculously loud" (one setting below "you must really want to go deaf") and just lose myself in the beat. Usually this is on the bus and sometimes leads to me looking quite crazy as I forget that people can see me while I lipsync along or bob my head, tap my fingers or otherwise groove to the rhythm; it looks especially odd when my headphones are "invisible" under my long hair. Still, I don't much care, being a sad 30something anyway.

When I was a teen, two of my friends set up their own "canned music" business. They would pile all their equipment (a mixer, two turntables, a cassette deck, and a brand new thing called a CD player, plus various speakers, amps and cables) plus a fairly huge music collection into the back of a very big Volare station wagon and haul everything to a local rec centre for all ages dances on Friday nights. Usually, I had nothing better to do but tag along, so I learned a lot about mixing from them.

Later, another friend actually had a regular gig at a club (on an off night like Wednesday) and I went a few times, but I never liked the way he mixed tracks -- they often crashed into each other in the aural equivalent of a fender bender -- and I always thought I could do better. Instead, I expressed myself with mixtapes and later mixCDs. Of course I didn't use a mixer for either format, but I did try to make sure the songs flowed from one to the next.

Now, though, it's just me and my mp3 player... and when it is on shuffle, I don't have any control over how well (or how poorly) the tracks will mesh... but once in a while... I get that perfect blend... and I'm all smiles for the rest of the day.

16 December 2007

Ma Cobb's Hat

OK, I know this blog has been knitting-heavy of late but so has my spare time :)

Anyway, when last we spoke of knitting, I mentioned my decision to make myself a Jayne Cobb hat from a pattern I found online. Well, there are about 6 patterns and none of them really worked right for the needles I had with the yarn in my stash. So, after studying all the patterns, I decided to just go ahead and make my own pattern. Here it is, sort of a mish-mash of other patterns plus my own counts for decreasing. If you want to use this to make your own, go ahead! If you want to sell the hats you make, have at it -- I have released this with a Creative Commons license! (A printable version of this pattern is also available)

Ma Cobb Hat

Use 6.5 mm needles with bulky/chunky yarn (gague: 12 st x 24 rows = 4"square)
Original hat uses dark orange and dark yellow for the body, and a burnt red-orange for the ear flaps. I suspect Ma Cobb was the frugal type and merely chose colours from leftover yarn in her stash, but if you really care about accuracy to the original, check out the other patterns for colour suggestions.

Beanie portion:

Cast on 60 stitches (for a slightly tighter hat, cast on 56 stitches and adjust following counts accordingly; a child's size should start with 52 stitches).
Next 4 rows *K2, P2* repeat to end
Next 10 rows stst; change to yellow yarn and continue in stst for another 6 rows
to decrease:
*K2, K2tog* repeat to end (45 stitches on needle); purl row, knit row, purl row
*K1, K2tog* repeat to end (30 stitches on needle); purl next row
*K2tog* repeat to end (leaving 15 stitches on needle)
Purl row then cut yarn and draw end back through remaining stitches. This will leave a little hole at the top which will make it easier to attach the pompom later.
Sew the seam together on the inside of the beanie.


Right side: from the seam, count forward about 8 to 10 stitches then pick up 12 stitches using the red-orange yarn.
Starting with a purl row, work in stst for about 3 inches then start to reduce as follows:
K2tog, K8, K2tog.
P4, P2tog, P4
K2tog, K5, K2tog
K2tog, K3, K2tog
P2tog, P, P2tog
K1, K2tog, slip first stitch through second to cast off. Cut yarn and pull through, leaving the tail hanging. Cut another length of yarn, roughly double the length of the tail and attach to bottom of earflap, making a small tassel effect.

Left side: from the seam, count forward about 8 to 10 stitches then pick up 12 stitches using the red-orange yarn. Slip all stitches on to opposite needle and work as for right ear flap.

Make a large pompom (use your favourite method -- finger wrapping or template) from all three shades of yarn used and attach to top of hat. In the spirit of the one worn by Jayne, the pompom should not be too full and should be roughly trimmed .

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License
by Cheryl DeWolfe.

Just in case you missed it, here's another link to the printable version of the Ma Cobb Hat.

14 December 2007

Aw, crap.

Some people seem to feel like they need to ruin everything.

Some sad, twisted, individual took the time to volunteer for Canada Post's Letters-to-Santa program only to write rude and inappropriate replies to children. Nice job, idiot.

The program has been running over 25 years. Now, who knows what will become of it.

12 December 2007

More Knitting....

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
A while ago, while I was furiously working to finish the Doctor Who Scarf, Kiddo asked me if I would knit her a pair of slippers. "Sure!" I said. Then I knit a bunch of baby hats... and then I took a break.

Soon enough I was itching for something else to knit. "I know!" I thought, "Slippers!"

So, I dug out the pattern (a very tattered photocopy of a "free leaflet" from Patton's -- "Speedy Slippers to Knit") and grabbed some happy kid-friendly multicoloured yarn and started knitting. I had them done in no time and she just loves them.

Now that I have finished the slippers I can start on something else... something for me, I think! I want to learn to knit in the round (circulars or maybe even -- gasp! -- double points) so I figure the perfect entry into that is to make my own fangrrl wear: a Jayne Cobb hat (from Firefly, for those not in the know).

In the meantime, I got an invite to Ravelry but not until after I had already added the Stitchbook application to my Facebook account. So, yeah, I can track my knitting projects a little more effectively now. Also those will help to ensure that this won't turn into "Cheryl's Knitting Blog."

10 December 2007

On a lighter note...

.. much lighter....

This SNL skit, featuring Pete Schwetty (Alec Baldwin), the owner of Season's Eatings, is one of my favourites. The best part about it being on YouTube is that you can actually listen to it in the background, as if you were listening to NPR, and the jokes are just that much funnier.

CopyWRONG legislation....

Canada's leaders have bent over, yet again, in the face of pressure from American industry -- this time it's the RIAA . Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry, plans to introduce legislation that would allow for creepy digital rights management (DRM) technologies to infiltrate Canada.

DRM sucks. Plain and simple.

Lots of Canadians are already up in arms and have started complaining, protesting, and imploring their MPs to think twice before screwing over the average consumer. Michael Geist has a great post on the subject -- The Canadian DMCA: What you can do -- that includes links to MPs addresses and other ways you can join the fight. I wrote a letter to my MP which I cribbed from the Online Rights Canada action pages.

07 December 2007

(Not so) Deep Thoughts

A new gem from Kiddo: we were watching the Friends episode with Rachel's baby shower and she says,

"Why do they call it a baby shower?
It's not like it
rains babies.


(Yes, we have raised a smart ass.)

A bit of bragging...

Yesterday, among the flyers for pizza, real estate agencies, and phone service, we received our copy of MP Denise Savoie's calendar. As I mentioned last month, one of my photos had been selected for the month of April, here it is:


I am very pleased with this; now on my "to do" list is building an online (and print) portfolio -- of my published writing and photos, and of my other creations which have been sold or otherwise distributed outside my family!

06 December 2007

Craft Fair Success!

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
While I have participated in the Libraries Craft fair for years, I usually have very few sales. This year, though, I did very well. I sold out of the catnip mice and I sold at least one of everything else -- earrings, bookmarks, CuppaJoe Cozies, baby hats, Coffee Haiku books, and plush toys!

I got lots of oohs and aaahs over the plush toys and I think if I had knit adult size hats, I would have sold more. All in all, it was a very affirming day.

05 December 2007

And on the opposite end of the art scale...

Simone Racheli makes chairs, bicycle frames and other objects look like they were made from meat. Eww.

At least they only look like meat... unlike Jana Sterback's famously disturbing "Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorexic" (1987) which one viewer noted was made from 60 lbs. of meat "fresh enough to stain the hardwood gallery floor."

Sterback drew her title, and perhaps quite a bit of inspiration, from Dutch painters' vanitas paintings -- still life paintings of rotting fruit and meat. Mmm. Good times.

Too cool not to share...

Honestly, I haven't cared about Douglas Copeland's writing since Microserfs (which is one of my favourite books, btw) though I will admit I haven't read J-Pod. His art, on the other hand, amuses me and makes me think. In Hey Nostradamus! there is a photo of one of Copeland's art installations called Tropical Birds (2003) which basically illustrates the disarray in the cafeteria following the Columbine High School Massacre. It's called Tropical Birds because of the "birdsong" created by all the cell phones and pagers "chirping" in the backpacks strewn around the cafeteria. Very haunting.

This little video clip, commissioned by Randomhouse.ca according to the small print, made me want to find out more about The Gum Thief and/or Glove Pond.

As it turns out, Glove Pond is the novel within the novel The Gum Thief, Copeland's latest. Glove Pond is written by a bitter would-be novelist who is stuck working at Staples. I shall have to read this book as I do have a soft-spot for that kind of metafiction.

02 December 2007

It's December, right?

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
So, naturally, we put up the decorations today :)

First, though, we made Kiddo clear out some of her excess toys and books, plus we had to rearrange things to put up the tree, which means her beloved LEGO is now in storage until the end of the month.

But, she did most of the tree decorations, plus her own little tree in her room.

The tree (the cheap one we picked up in the states) is okay... it's not top of the line.... not even middle of the pack... but if it lasts past this year, we are ahead of the game because it cost lest than a cut tree. (Yeah, I know, not the most eco-sensitive decision... but I would definitely go for a pre-lit tree again, just for the stress it saved us.)

The enclosed photo is of the Starbucks ornament I got last year hanging in the new tree.


Tonight, I knit two more baby hats; I've almost memorized the pattern now -- how cool is that? I splurged on some nice yarn at the Beehive Wool Shop on Thursday. Oddly, it's all Patons. Two balls of Rumor (a really soft blend with alpaca), one of Bohemian (a weird chenille-like acrylic blend), and one Shetland Chunky wool/acrylic blend, all of which work nicely for the baby hat pattern. I also grabbed some heavily-marked-down eyelash yarn for more Wradical Wraps.

01 December 2007

Snow Day!

(well... for a few hours, anyway....)


It started snowing early this morning and by about 9:30 it was coming down pretty hard... so Kiddo went out to play (and shovel the sidewalk). By noon, almost every flake had melted.