30 July 2007

Tangents *can* be productive...

I have issues with Mondays... but... I'm trying to ignore them.

This weekend, I puttered away at redesigning my "brain"... my old personal site. It's not ready for prime time just yet (though you are welcome to go look at the old, stale version) because in the midst of it I got distracted and managed to do a bunch of other things:

I cleared out one of our VHS cupboards to use for computer/office storage which had been under the coffee table... and that meant there was room to store the scanner, which I pulled out and used to scan a bunch of "archival" photos. Then I realized that our scanner sucks. Sigh.

Anyway, as a result of that, I also got kiddo to help thin her kids videos and we pulled out a few more titles we have replaced with DVDs, and now they are up for grabs... though I don't know many people who still watch VHS movies.

I also, finally, decided to adjust and release my Views of Victoria calendar on Lulu. Since they have not yet adjusted the Canadian holidays, and I don't like the way they lump Christmas in with religious holidays (yes I know it's a Christian holiday, but I don't want all the other "feast of" days and so on to clutter up the calendar and, yes, they do look like clutter to me), I just left it without any special days noted; people can add whatever they want, up to and including the "Feast of Maximum Occupancy."

Now I have a very full week of work ahead... so off I go...

25 July 2007

Mid-week blaaaahs.

It's been a slow week... odd Monday (one short and two long meetings; the last one full of frustrating revalations)... Tuesday just kind of slipped away... and today... meh. I haven't been feeling quite right, which doesn't help (seriously: I found myself crying through the ending of Bicentennial Man...).... I haven't even been taking many photos....

... But least the sun's out again (though truthfully, I didn't mind the record-breaking seven solid days of rain in July)... and this weekend promises to be interesting; I have Friday off and no set plans, just "ideas"...

Among the ideas percolating is trying to come up with some new designs for finger puppets for the craft fair this November... as I was reminded, it's only four months away! Yikes. Luckily, Flickr is full of inspirations.... like these:

Crafty Inspirations!

(Click on the image for links to information about each craft and it's creator...)

22 July 2007

Harry Potter Overload....

OK, so I read the book.... and I didn't have to wait in line to get a copy.

My sweet, wonderful, thoughtful hubby actually went out just before midnight on Friday and got me a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.... and some very uppity Belgian chocolates (one of them had saffron sprinkled on top!)


I got up the next morning (fairly early) and started reading... I finished at around 10 p.m. Insane. I don't think I have ever read 600 pages in one day -- not even in University. I did take several breaks... but for the most part I was reading all day. No spoilers here... I'll just say that I cried a LOT more during the last book... this one didn't really work for me for a number of reasons. Still, it was an appropriate end to the series. (And Ms. Rowling? I hope it really is the end of the series. Please don't be tempted to do a spinoff or follow-up!)


Since Kiddo spent the night away, hubby and I decided to take in a movie. You guessed it! Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Like the book, this is not my favourite of the movies either. They cut a lot out of the book and yet the film really dragged in places. Meh. Still, overall, pretty enjoyable night out.

And now, I can ignore Mister Potter until next year when film number 6 is released...

18 July 2007

Too Cool Not to Share....

I found this via Make...

Basically this is Wellington Grey's "favourites" page, arranged in an order not unlike the Periodic Table of the Elements. YouTube becomes Ut; Flickr, Fr; Del.icio.us, Us; and so on. Also included on each element is the site url and it's siterank.

17 July 2007

Yes, I am a Book Nerd.


Though it pains me to say this, I will be hiding from all manner of media this coming weekend, reading the last Harry Potter novel.

However, I am not going to dress up like a wizard and wait in line for a book at midnight. I haven't reserved a copy, either. I will just go out Saturday morning and buy myself one of the thousands which will be piled up around this city.

In the lead-up to my obtaining and finishing the novel, my online time may be scarce, as I really REALLY hate spoilers. The last one was in fact spoiled for me in two separate online forums, neither of which was remotely connected to Harry Potter, just apparently frequented by childish dorks. Yes, I am still bitter.

So I guess what I am saying, is that if you want to find me in the next little while, you might want to pick up a telephone.

16 July 2007

Victoria's two sides

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
Despite all the pretty waterfront, expensive real estate and four star hotels, Victoria is hiding a dirty little secret.... and it's not very good at hiding it either.

Last night, after a long walk along the West Bay Walkway, we arrived at the big rocky outcrop just steps from million-dollar condos and the Delta Ocean Point Hotel. This mess was on the other side of a little wall -- needle cases, syringes, broken glass and empty beer cases. Nearby there were also half-eaten dry instant noodle soup bowls, cigarette packages, newspaper and other garbage.

I was with my daughter and I had to tell her to watch where she was stepping because of the paraphernalia and refuse. While she stood still, I took three quick photos and we left. My immediate worry was her safety, but looking at it now, I worry that with one good wave, that crap is in our ocean.

Victoria has a drug problem, a growing homeless population and a housing crisis. Our downtown core is suffering for all of this. I don't believe the needle exchange has helped, and I don't believe that a safe injection site is the answer either. I think that we need to deal with the fact that our vacancy rate is almost zero; that our rents are on average far more than the average single income can afford; that there are not nearly enough services for the mentally ill; and that people -- especially families -- are growing more and more nervous about shopping or spending time downtown.

It's time that Victorians start pressuring the people who control the purse strings -- provincial and federal politicians need to get their heads out of their collective asses and deal with this array of social problems. We need to call for more treatment centres, more beds, more facilities -- whatever it takes to help people in need. We need to demand affordable rental housing, not rely on trickle-down economics of condo ownership; and we need to take back the downtown core.

I'm tired of feeling uncomfortable in my own city. I'm going to draft a letter to my MPs and MLAs; I'll post a copy when I've sent it.

13 July 2007

peas in a pod....

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
If you've seen Ratatouille, you'll recall a scene where the taste of a certain food transports a person back to their childhood; fresh peas totally have that effect on me. There is not much I like better than fresh peas from the garden -- though fresh carrots, rinsed under the garden hose come pretty close. Both of those are foods I ate from our garden as a child.

My parents had a large vegetable garden for many years at the back of our property growing everything from asparagus to zucchini, but as a kid, I was fond of the basics. I'd like to say I learned a lot about gardening back then, but really I wasn't paying much attention. It wasn't until I was living in a basement suite with a back yard that I gave gardening a whirl. I immediately took to it; watering the plants in the morning, before work really grounded me. I stood there, breathing in the fresh air with the hint of damp earth, and felt like I was part of the whole cycle of it all.

I'm still amazed at every little thing my gardens produce; especially with my very haphazard, laissez-faire gardening methods. Now, though, kiddo is paying attention, and is helping with the garden. She feels like these are her peas, and she pointed out her lettuce, her carrots, her radishes... because she helped to plant them, and sometimes remembers to help water them.

Maybe she can help me pick out some winter vegetables to try and maybe this year I can manage a winter garden. Until then, I'll be enjoying my fresh peas and carrots.

12 July 2007

Much Better.

Today, there is some airflow through my office -- a light breeze, open doors and windows, and fans. This, coupled with a 10 degree difference in temperature (currently it is not quite 20°C outside) and a fabulous cup of iced coffee from the Munchie Bar in the SUB is making today a much more reasonable day at the office.

Interestingly, the Munchie Bar now features corn-based coffee cups which are completely biodegradable but are no longer insulated... so I'm thinking I need to take over some CuppaJoe Cozies and Wradical Wraps!

11 July 2007

Stick a fork in me....

...I'm done.

Seriously. The temperature on campus today was 34.6°C (which is a little over 94°F).

It was somewhat cooler at home, but still over 30. The problem is, by 9:30 tonight, the readings showed that it was still over 30 on campus, but it had dropped to 22 here; now at nearly 11 pm it's 17 here (quite comfortable) and still 25 on campus.

[If you're curious, the school-based weather station network gives a really good read on Victoria's microclimates.]

This is why the library never manages to cool down... the heat just sits there. Ugh. Add to that our lack of air conditioning -- which apparently makes us points as a "green" campus (though I wonder if anyone is calculating the extra electricity being used by desk and standing fans plugged into every possible outlet) -- and you get a very uncomfortable workplace.

At least I managed to find a tiny bit of shade at lunchtime... though since I plunked myself under some sort of conifer (pine? fir? who knows...) I got a big glob of sap on my shorts. Sigh.

They say the weather should cool down tomorrow... just a little...

Oh, in other news, our CafePress stuff showed up and it's great! I wore a t-shirt with one of hubby's designs to work today -- and got several chuckles and complements! Yay!

10 July 2007


Originally uploaded by alicia954
This cute little crocheted egg (by Alicia Kachmar) perfectly mirrors how I feel in the heat today. Oh, how I wish we had air conditioning at work....

And this week is only supposed to get warmer. Ack.

06 July 2007

Vacation's end... (almost)

Have you ever unwrapped a Hershey's Kiss and inadvertantly put the foil in your mouth instead of the chocolate? That's the kind of day I am having. It's not a bad day... just... my head is officially "on vacation" which means it's about time for me to go back to work. Le sigh.

I have two busy days ahead socially, so I may or may not update again before I am back to work... so what have I done with my summer vacation? Let's recap:

lots_of_ducks Friday 29 June: dissapointments... Rithet's Bog exploration... picked up our spiffy Windows Media PVR computer thingy...

little_explorer sushi_boat Saturday 30 June: birthday breakfast... Summit Park... birthday lunch... shopping... birthday dinner (cheesecake!!)... mellowness...

beading_frenzy fireworks4 Sunday 1 July: banana pancakes... Ratatouille matinee (enjoyed by all)... beading frenzy... fireworks...

new_chair_coverMonday 2 July: housecleaning... dropped kiddo at a birthday party... fixed my rocking chair, including sewing new covers ... picked kiddo up... family dinner...

tidy_bookshelf Tuesday 3 July: more housecleaning... cleaned kiddo's room... got video card replaced in PVR... went out to spend my Future Shop gift card (bought LA Story, Big Trouble in Little China and a mini-tripod)... came home and watched LA Story.

installing_new_faucet Wednesday 4 July: replaced my Mom's kitchen faucet... shopped... worked on union website... relaxed... found ourselves with a bonus kiddo-free evening and went to see Pirates of the Carribean at World's End (which I thoroughly enjoyed!).

seaside_redtide_sidebyside mediapc_pvr Thursday 5 July: didn't do as much as planned on the union website... listed stuff on etsy... had lunch out with hubby... listed more stuff on etsy... tidied... played with the PVR (after getting another video card installed --third time lucky).

touching_stars beaconhill_water1 Friday 6 July: Mother-daughter day: shopping... home for lunch... out for touristy afternoon of Undersea Gardens and Beacon Hill Park... grabbed dinner in Chinatown "to go"... and now I'm just hanging out watching Stargate (the movie).

05 July 2007

productive... but not in the way I had intended....

I started the day with full intentions of rediscovering all that I had forgotten about Drupal while working on a website or two... instead I went off on a tangent and photographed some of my keychains from my weekend beading frenzy and listed them in my etsy shop...

seaside_redtide_sidebyside nightsky_goldswirl_together

So... still crossing stuff off my "to do list"... just not what I planned to cross off.

... now off to do some tidying...

Surreal World....

Some pretty (and pretty weird) things to look at:

Kent Rogowski
had the brilliant idea to turn stuffed bears inside out and photograph them for a series called simply Bears.

In the lead-up to the much-anticipated Simpsons movie, several 7-11s have been remodeled into Kwik-E-Marts.

I never thought of etsy as a marketplace for furniture, but there are some great, whimsical items there -- Birdhouse Garden Bench; Puzzle Tables; Curvatura (plant table); Etsykids Rocking Chair -- but I'm not sure how I feel about the Fake Bowl of Fruit Loops.

03 July 2007

Finally Tidy.

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
It took all day, but we finally got kiddo's room cleaned. We took out two bagsful of recycling, one bag of garbage, one bag of outgrown clothing, and two bags of books and stuff bound for our August garage sale.

Kiddo is very pleased now that her room is clean... she can see her desk again, and can reach and see most of her books -- along with those which she parted with, we put a boxful into storage. There is also more room on the floor as we took out her kid-sized fold-out sofabed.

As you can see from the photo, we also found a fun vintage cloth classroom map of the world (Landforms of the World) to hang on her wall.

Now if she can just keep it clean....