30 January 2007


Apparently, Canada is a hotbed of film piracy! According to The Star,
An enforcement expert at the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (CMPDA) estimated that as much as 40 per cent of pirated DVDs originate from Canada, and the bulk of those were made in Montreal.
Who knew?

26 January 2007

One of those days...

Today feels like it has been three separate long days.

Day, part 1:

Woke up still sick. Felt really awful but tried to work anyway (was working from home today, on union web stuff). At 10:30, after accomplishing very little, caved and went back to bed until noon.

Day, part 2:

Felt better after a nap and lunch. Plowed through a LOT of info about Drupal (hey! I think I might actually like this CMS). Broke brain*. Did some maintenance on the current union website. Looked at clock... uh-oh, 4:00, time to think about getting kiddo from daycare.

Day, part 3:

Took the long route to go get kiddo, owing to the beautiful weather today (oh, right, this is why I live here) and thinking that the fresh air would do me well. Took camera; took many photos along the way.

seaplane_shoalpoint painted_jellyfish westbay_walkway branches_with_moon

Gathered kiddo and walked home with her. Had dinner. Watched The Day After Tomorrow with kiddo and hubby while uploading many photos to flickr.

Day, part 3.5:

Back to Drupal (since I owe about 4 hours to the Union, and it's gotta be done sometime soon...). With hubby's help, I set up a development site on my desktop and I am now diving in headfirst to try and set up the site... "look, ma! no hands!" Actually, as content management systems go, Drupal is pretty swish.... and once I get the hang of it, I will be using it in the redesign of some of my other sites (starting with the sadly neglected FrugalVictoria)...

*Clearly, I cannot go back to school. While it is no problem at all to remember that Bel Biv Devoe sang the craptacular 80s tune Poison, apparently I have trouble integrating new information. I have to do it in small bursts... I think maybe an hour to 90 minutes is the limit.

25 January 2007

Movie Monsters

Last week, hubby and I managed to see Pan's Labyrinth. You've probably seen Pan, the bluish creature with the big horns, in all the promos and while clearly they spent big bucks to make him real, the true monster in the film is a human. Whether you like your monsters human or otherworldly, I highly recommend the film; I also wrote a full review for The MediaNook.

... via Drawn! I direct you to the Ray Harryhausen Creature List. Oh, WOW. Not only are the creatures itemized, but clicking on its name brings up a short film clip of the creature in action.

... and while not quite monsters, the creatures in Michael Mills' classic NFB* animated short, Evolution (1971) are not of this earth either. I was happy to watch it in its entirety today on YouTube, though I'm not sure the NFB would be happy to find it there. [While at the NFB, I found a bunch of their short films are available online so I watched another favourite, The Cat Came Back.]

*that would be the National Film Board, well known for producing Oscar®-winning animated short films, among other things.

23 January 2007

This and that....

Cold FX™ has failed me. I am home sick. Also, I fear that I will need another root canal... ouch. But I can still type... so here I am.

Remember the Elans? Well, they are planning for the 2007 event and requested to use some of my photos from the 2006 Elans on the new website. I requested and received credit, so "yay."

Speaking of photos, another person contacted me to suggest submitting one of my photos to CartArt, so I did.

And speaking of submitting, I've submitted this blog, and some of my others, to the Big Blog Directory, an ambitious undertaking (to say the least) by a fellow local blogger and photographer, Leon.

I've also managed to contribute to the Victoria Grid Project this month:

h32_winterharbour1 h32_boatmosaic h32_miragecoffee h32_balconies

The idea started in a thread over at Vibrant Victoria and grew into a group at Flickr -- there are currently 34 members contributing to the project. The concept is this: members agree on one grid square on a map (it was decided to use the MapArt Victoria map, for consistency). January has been grid H32 which includes the Inner Harbour and a section of James Bay.

Coming up this Friday and Monday I will be working from home, care of the Union, to start the full design of the local's website, version 2.0. I think I have decided to try Drupal, especially since I have a Drupal expert close at hand.

22 January 2007

We're Number 23!

And that's not a good thing. Victoria has come up as tied for 23rd Least Affordable Housing market -- out of 159 markets in Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, Ireland and Canada -- in the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey (PDF). We're better off than Vancouver, which clocked in at 13th... but considering the population difference, and 23 is pretty impressive. Basically it comes down to this: in Victoria it takes 6.6 times the median income to afford a house; the Survey considers 3 times the median income or lower to be an affordable market.

Reeeeeally makes me wanna pack up and move to Winnipeg (which, coincidentally, shows up at number 9 on the affordable list at 2.5 times the median income). The weather there is not so bad as you'd expect, temperature-wise, but as hubby points out, they don't advertise the mosquito count.


21 January 2007

Craft Organization

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
One step closer to an organized sewing area.... after thrifting 37 spools of thread this week*, I wanted somewhere to put them all. Today, we purchased a thread rack and I merged my "new" thread with my old, mounted on the wall behind my trusty Singer.

*37 spools of thread, about 4500 yards total, cost $13.50 at St. Vincent de Paul thrift store. I made one trip on Friday and another on Saturday.... I did better on Saturday because I figured out their pricing guidelines -- not by how much was on the spool but by the size and material of the spool (e.g. large wood spools cost more than small plastic spools).

Now there should be little holding me back from sewing a whole host of finger puppets and soft toys. Yay!

20 January 2007

(Self) Published

A while back, I discovered Lulu.com and a couple of weeks ago, I signed up.

Tonight, I opened "my store" with some stock/royalty-free photos.

I like that I have more control, including setting the price as I see fit, and that Lulu takes a reasonable percentage (unlike the other stock photography sites I have tried... that take a HUGE cut after making me wait several days for authorization of each photo, rejecting about third of what I upload). I expect to upload other content in the coming months... and I will let you know how it all works out.

18 January 2007

Artist's response....

I often forget this blog is not only public but searchable... well, it's not that I forget, just that I don't really think about it. So anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to get a response from the artist to a little post I put up about his work over a year ago. The artist in question is Thomas Allen, and I blogged about his Good Light series of pulp novels-as-art.

He was amused by the banter in the comments, and then quietly pimped his forthcoming book, Uncovered, to be released in fall 2007 by Aperture (a very kick-ass press that publishes some of the finest photography out there.... and some of the weirdest I've seen, now that I think about it... we get their journal here in the library, and many times I have stood there totally sidetracked as I "just flipped through" to look at the issue I was shelving).


Turns out Thomas Allen also has a blog ... and, he's an engaging writer as well as a clever artist.

16 January 2007

Maintaining Order....

Part of the formula for "finishing projects" in 2007 is reclaiming our time. Part of reclaiming our time is not letting housekeeping get away from us. One of the first things I did off the giant to-do list was to (finally*) make a chore chart. We all chip in and mark down things like taking out the garbage, doing laundry, filing papers, and feeding pets. Some of it is stuff we do every day... some is the stuff that tends to get put off to the point where we end up having to spend an entire day just cleaning.

Kiddo has been very motivated by the chore chart and she now helps by feeding pets (the cat and the sea monkeys), setting the table, and tidying, after which she eagerly marks her initial on the chart.

*Hubby suggested a chore chart some time ago... but apparently I rejected the idea. Oh well. .... Better late than never?

Now I am watching one of those shows that boggles the mind when I imagine how they pitched it to network execs: "How Clean Is Your House?" Two British women, Kim and Aggie, who find the scariest, filthiest houses and go in to help the owners clean up and learn some housecleaning tips. Generally, the owners "don't realize" how disgusting their houses are until it is "too late" and then it's hard to care. It is stomach-turning to watch (they found a dead mouse at the back of a drawer in tonight's episode) but pretty good at keeping me vigilant as to the state of our own home.


15 January 2007

More Snow on the Way.

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
Damn, this is not supposed to be a weather blog.... but this "winter" stuff is getting on my nerves... makes me angry.... and you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

I got some frustration out by doodling on a photo of a little snowman I built. People seem amused by it, so here it is.... enjoy.

13 January 2007


I knew this year was a milestone for our marriage (10 years this October) but I had forgotten it marked another milestone: in June 1987, I graduated from high school; in August, I left to spend a year working in England. While it no longer seems like "just a couple of years ago," neither does it seem like twenty years ago. 2007 also marks 15 "official" years with my employer (the four years I worked as a casual employee don't count toward this milestone). Strange. Time is such an odd concept.

12 January 2007

Art to Beat the January Blahs

It's Friday, and really, it's about time. It was minus eight degrees Celcius this morning. MINUS EIGHT people. That's about 17° Fahrenheit for my American readers, and it's too damned cold for Victoria. I pay big bucks to live somewhere where temperature used to range from about 5 to 25°C through the year -- not minus anything to thirty anything!!!

But enough ranting. On with art.

1. cARTalog -- Art from catalog cards. Sigh. I do hate to see the last of these cards. I work with them each day, and it is a bit sad to see them go... but if they have to go, they may need to become art like these at the University of Iowa.

2. Little Cotton Rabbits -- these are the most adorable knit soft toys I've seen. Some are for sale from time to time, and I think the artist also takes commissions.

3. Simpsonzu -- If you haven't seen it already, hubby blogged about the Simpsonzu, a fan's anime-style interpretation of the Simpsons characters. What I love about this drawing is that many of the characters are one step away from how I imagine them in live action. Fan art is a funny thing; most of it is abysmal but every now and then a gem emerges. The Simpsonzu is one of those rarities.

11 January 2007

Weathering the weather.

Sigh. Another day, more extreme weather... I wonder at what point do we consider it no longer extreme? Our region has been battered for over two months now with storm front after storm front... wind, heavy rain, snow, repeat. Meanwhile friends and family in Central Canada are barbequing in January. Frankly, I'm tired of it.

I had a small tantrum this morning trying to get into my snowboots; the lining in the right boot tends to scrunch up and there is no easy way to hold it steady so it just takes repeated attempts. I'd buy a new pair, but until the past couple of months I had worn them maybe a total of eleven days and I've had them for about 15 years.

Also, someone in Saanich Works this morning likely got a real earful as the police had to help our bus get down a nasty unsanded incline (we slid somewhat, which was white-knuckle scary on the top of a double decker, lemme tell ya, but the police had cleared other vehicles) -- on the other side there were three busses waiting to get up. The section of road looked no different than any other stretch but there was a nasty layer of black ice. Yikes. Aside from that adventure, the ride in was just fine and I was thankful not to be driving today.

Now the sun is shining bright and I may try to get some photos... but only from inside; I'm not putting on those boots again until I go home.


10 January 2007

Fabric Bento

Bento 1
Originally uploaded by morningk.
The crafty among you will appreciate this... a round-robin craft project (several contributors) ... it's a 3-D scrapcraft bento box.

It actually makes me a little hungry!

09 January 2007

The Year of Finishing Projects

So, hubby and I have designated 2007 as our year to put to rest as many of our half-finished or half-baked projects as possible. We wrote out a combined list, including some goals -- the aim is to put 2 hrs per night or 16 hrs per week each toward our various tasks.

This isn't as horrible as it seems because most of the projects are creative endeavours in one guise or another. The toughest part for me is to see a project to the finish line. Already, I keep glancing at other items on the list, thinking "ooh, shiny!" and I have to fight myself from adding other new ideas to the list ... but I chose to start with the calendar project I indended to do last summer... and as a result I am doing two at once.

One calendar will be my photos of Victoria, which I will promote through my Unnoficial Guide -- which is also on the list to be upgraded!! -- and the other will be my photos of rabbits on campus -- I got so much good feedback on the one I did as a gift for my Aunt that I thought it prudent to make another.


Over the past 5 evenings I have searched through about 18 months of raw photos (i.e. hundreds if not thousands of images) to pull out those shots I feel are calendar worthy. I have printed out contact sheets and now I will try to weed those down to 12 images for each calendar (possibly 13 if I choose a different image for the cover). Then I will have to edit those to the specifications required by the print-on-demand company I am hoping to use (Lulu.com) before uploading them. Phew. If I plow ahead, I think I might be at that stage in another week. If I am realistic, I might be looking at two weeks.

Other projects on the horizon include an overdue Christmas gift (knitting), a commissioned item (more knitting), lots of web upgrades, redesigns, and maybe an abandonment or two, some manuscripts and a self-published, limited run book of haiku. That's off the top of my head... the list is huge, and broken down into several sections including "mad skillz" which is stuff we need to learn to accomplish some of our goals!!!

I'll keep you up to date as I can... it will be interesting look back next January and see what we managed to complete.

06 January 2007

Misty Technicolor Memories....

Oh.... so many memories. Spent the morning at my mother's, sorting out toys... kiddo doesn't play with a lot of them and we thinned out two boxes worth... but we kept all the vintage Fisher Price stuff (my brother would take a red-eye flight and kill me in my sleep if I either took or let Mom sell the FP toys or the LEGO)... all well-worn due to many many hours of play from our childhood.


Pictured is a detail from the Play Family Village set... I was surprised by how much stuff (including many pieces I forgot) had survived. I spent over an hour photographing some of the details... There are more photos over at flickr.

01 January 2007

Maritime Detour

Among the many levees out there today, there was an ad for a levee at the Maritime Museum of BC -- with free admission to the museum. After going out for dim sum this morning, we all headed over to check it out. I was expecting a long line, but not only was there no lineup, there was also ample nearby parking!

For the 6 of us to normally go in to the museum, it would have cost $34 (kids under 6 are free, apparently), so I haven't gone in for years and years; kiddo and hubby had never been. Needless to say, the displays have seen some upgrades in the past dozen years or so, and I was most impressed by the small ship deck for kids to explore -- including a telescope, cannon, and rigging going up to a crowsnest with a pirate flag. There's plenty crammed into the two floors of displays; early exploration, naval history, BC Ferries, steamship and cruiseship travel, yachting, and marine safety. There's a whole room devoted to model making, too.


Even the gift shop proved to be amusing with a wide array of pirate-themed goods and a sizeable book selection.

The building itself is a heritage site; it was originally the courthouse for the city and the courtroom is still in tact on the third floor. Years ago, one of my janitorial jobs was to clean the museum, which meant I got to run the birdcage elevator -- the longest continuously running elevator in North America. I declined to ride in it today, taking the stairs instead.

Cut Loose!

Cut Loose!
Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
I'm not making any resolutions this year. I don't play that game.... but I am hoping 2007 can be a year with more travel and less death.

I am looking forward to hanging out with the weird kid in the photo and my hubby (the weird guy who made a LEGO movie of Saddam's hanging.)

I'd like to finish things in 2007, too: projects I'm working on and books I'm reading.

Here's to a bright new year for all of us!