29 February 2008

So long to the Vic Theatre....

Without much warning, the Vic Theatre closed its doors for good after last night's show. Up until then, the Vic had been running films that often wouldn't show up elsewhere on a first-run basis -- largely art-house and foreign films. Before it was re-born as the Vic, it was the Towne Theatre which was notorious in the 70s for showing "adult" films. It even had seats that reclined... and I suspect staff had to clean more than popcorn and candy off the floor.


Of course there is still Cinecenta, the little theatre in the Student Union building, where you can sometimes catch a foreign film or small-budget art-house shows. Unfortunately they often show for one-night-only, which doesn't work well in today's on-demand world. I actually thought you had to be a "member" to get into Cinecenta, but their website says otherwise.... so I guess the Vic wasn't quite the last public single-screen theatre in Victoria.

Some of you may also be crying, "What about the Roxy, eh?" but they only run second-run features. Since changing owners a few months back, The Roxy has been slowly renovating, starting by calling themselves "Roxy Classic Theatre" instead of the "Roxy Cinegog" but they are still charging only $5 for two movies. Happily, they are also running kids' films and other matinées on the weekends for $2.50 now.

Really, though, Victoria does OK for diversity. Empire Theatres Capitol 6 screens downtown regularly show Indian (Hindi) cinema and the University 4 usually has one art-house type flick on the go. Even the grumpy old Odeon (Cineplex) has been known to bring in smaller films and now Silver City is featuring Opera along side WWE and Hockey events on the big screen.

Even so, I hope someone can come up with a viable business plan for the Vic; it would be a shame to lose the space all together. Maybe if I win that million-dollar lottery....

28 February 2008


Most of you have heard various news stories on the disappearance of bees in North America. Most recently, articles appeared talking about the effect of the disappearing bees on food prices and on ice cream. Suffice to say it is not good news.

The other day, I saw this honeycomb vase which didn't sit right with me, but I chalked it up to artistic insanity and moved on. (The mostly unfunny and scientifically incorrect Bee Movie didn't sit right with me either, but we paid good money to see it.)

Today I got some bacn from Starbucks advertising their new Honey Latte and my first thought was, "Oh, that's not a good idea." Why not? I just think that putting out a drink that relies on honey at a time when honey is in short supply seems irresponsible... but maybe that's just me.

a little bit of mystery....

I finally caved in and ordered some grab-bag goodness from The Sampler -- I ordered the mini version of the March Sampler ($10 for 6 items, no magazines) and also one of the miniSampler: choices boxes -- buttons (not the kind you sew on but the kind you pin on). The bonus is that right now the Sampler is offering a Leap Day sale -- 29% off -- which saved me over $4 on my order.

I've been oggling the Sampler stuff for well over a year... and I have been pondering putting together a batch of stuff as a contributor, too, but I wanted to see the way other people put their stuff together before I went ahead and did that. I love the grab-bag idea of it all, and the fact that it is a brilliant promotional tool.

When we stopped in Chemainus on Saturday, one store we visited had a whole shelf of grab bags... they were marked "child - under 12" and "collectible - girl or woman" and so on... I was intrigued. I almost bought one but decided not to... I now wish I had (most were $0.99 or $1.99) because I am still wondering what was inside.

I wonder how many other people out there sell mystery grab bags of stuff.... time for a Google search methinks....

26 February 2008


Just a quick note to let you know I am now a member of the Etsy Monster Street Team and there are new stuffed things in my etsy store to celebrate!

25 February 2008

our new oasis

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen

Finally, an "after" shot. (There are a few more on Flickr, with side by side comparisons)

Today, Hubby put up the medicine cabinet and swapped the light fixtures. He also touched up the paint on the base trim. I put up the shower curtain and replaced the cupboard door then filled the cupboards with our bathroom supplies (now they are no longer stacked beside my side of the bed).

Now we can get on with the other little things .... like packing and staging.... and looking through the MLS listings like we mean it.

24 February 2008

Ah, Oscars.

I'm not sure when I started obsessing over watching the Oscars... but it is something I do every year, regardless of whether or not I have seen any of the nominated features. This year, we saw surprisingly few -- Sweeny Todd, Ratatouille, Golden Compass, and Pirates of the Carribean At World's End. Wow, that's fewer than I thought. At least many of them are available on DVD now, so we can catch up in coming weeks.

At any rate... since I apparently have little invested in it this year, I think I will just go and enjoy our last-minute spread of finger-food and watch to see if anyone trips on their way to accept a little golden statue.

OK, I know we are not the only remaining household without HDTV... so why the heck are all the montages running in widescreen HD format? Grr and argh.

Otherwise, this broadcast has been a pretty big yawn interspersed with some uninspired selections from broadcasts-past. Oh well.

23 February 2008

10 Things + Karma = Silver lining?

I've been pretty grumpy all month... so I thought it was time to take karma into account, stop bad-mouthing everything around me, and focus a bit on some positive stuff.

So, in the spirit of 10 Things, here are 10 things for which I am thankful and/or that made me smile in the past few days:

10. a night away from all the dust and disruption of home renovations
9. room service
8. the random discovery and purchase of four Star Wars Mighty Muggs.
7. a kid who can use the word emphatically correctly in a sentence and still be amused by giant footsteps:
6. Stash Teas (specifically White Christmas)
5. Picture-perfect Island scenery:
4. a good excuse to purge expired medicines from the cabinets
3. recently purchased movies: Zodiac, Infamous, The Desk Set, Sunset Boulevard
2. a new episode of SNL at last
1. Hubby, Kiddo, and Max the cat who share my life under this roof.

(now, karma, if you're listening, can we have our health back, please?)

20 February 2008


Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
Well, we did manage to wander outside with some of our neighbours to catch a glimpse of the lunar eclipse tonight... it was a beautiful night for it; the clouds cleared at about 5:00 this evening and while it was chilly, there was no wind.

Still, it's clear that without a telephoto lens, I had no hope of getting a decent shot of this event; I also needed a tripod and to use the timer because without those things (and while trying to stifle a coughing fit or six) this was the very best of three sad shots I got of the full eclipse.

Ah well. It was fun listening to Kiddo. She said, "It kind of looks like Mars" to which I agreed. She pondered whether there was life on the Moon or whether there could be, and if not there, maybe on Mars. Then she noticed Orion in the sky and we tried to find some other constellations... but the very bright lights in the parking lot prevented us from getting a clear view of much.

I'm still hating February, but I hated it just a little bit less this evening.

19 February 2008

I am starting to hate February.

I think next year I would like to skip straight from January into March, thanks.

This time last year I was very ill. This year, I have a nasty chest cold and Hubby has pneumonia.

Add to that the-renos-that-never-end and this afternoon's LONG wait for a plumber... and well it all adds up to 5 letters: S-U-C-K-S.

Now I am off to sulk a little more... and call the plumber's dispatch... again.


16 February 2008

Chest-deep in Reno-land

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
So, we are on day two of bathroom renovations.... more surprises than I would have liked, but not wholly unexpected.

Almost everything in this photo is gone or going (the light fixture remains but we have a replacement and the near-useless "razor only" outlet is staying because there's no real point to remove it).

We are installing a new 6L tank toilet and a smaller basin and vanity plus a new medicine cabinet that will give us some more space in the room. We have also torn out the very ugly tile around the tub and are putting in a tub surround. Last but not least, we have torn all the crummy peel-and-stick tiles off the floor and put in ceramic tiles.

I'll show off some "after" photos when everything is done.

Of course we have both been sick, Hubby is much worse off than me, and Kiddo, who is at her Nana's while we tear apart the house, has been feverish on-and-off for a couple of days now. Ugh.

Hubby and I are off work all next week.... hopefully we can get well enough to salvage a day or two and enjoy the new bathroom.

14 February 2008

What's in your mobile phone list?

Lifehacker this morning pointed to an interesting article that listed 10 Handy Numbers to Save in your Mobile Phone -- it's an American list, so they don't all apply here, but it is a good place to start.

I have travel numbers in my phone -- but not airlines, as the list suggests. Instead I have the local transit "Busline" (so I can call when my bus is 10 minutes late and find out if I should start walking) and BC Ferries to check for delays, wait-times, and even make a reservation if need be -- it came in very handy when we had to check sailing times for the Mill Bay Ferry and change course when returning from Nanaimo due to heavy snow on the Malahat.

I have work and home numbers saved but they aren't labeled as such... maybe they should be. When I worked at the front desk, I used to check for a "home" listing in lost phones to try and get them back to their owners.

I don't have a locksmith listed, but I do have our family doctor, dentist, a vet, two taxi services, two take-out/delivery restaurants, and our mechanic listed.

It probably is a good idea to store the generic emergency lost card numbers for credit cards -- I'll be adding them later. Visa: 1-800-VISA-911 (1-800-847-2911) and MasterCard: 1-800-MC-ASSIST (800-622-7747) both numbers work in Canada and the US.

I'm not sure if Google's 411 service or SMS search work in Canada, but they are also worth testing.

One last important number: poison control.

Any other ideas?

13 February 2008

Two Acronyms and a Little Glimpse into my Psyche

As Valentine's Day looks to be derailed yet again in our household (this year it's sickness, just like last year but thankfully not quite as intense -- past years have also included post-op surgery watch and finding out someone close had died. Really I think we might have had one "good" Valentine's Day out of the last half dozen...) I give you instead a wee rant and some humour to temper said rant.

1. (The rant) Exactly when did our society decide it was acceptable to refer to Valentine's Day as VD?? I'm sorry but to me VD stands for venereal disease. Yes, I know the more up-to-date acronym is STD or sexually transmitted disease but nonetheless VD brings to mind nasty thoughts of itching and burning below the belt. This year, more than ever before, I have seen banner ads, etsy crafts, and countless other references to VD and it's starting to get under my skin. I can only guess it's the IM/txt generation getting it's way by boiling everything down to the lowest common denominator. Please be assured that if you see the letters V and D capitalized and adjacent to one another in this blog, I am referring to a disease and not the 14th of February.

2. (The humour) OK, so this is only somewhat funny... but it made me smile only after I realized that Singles' Awareness Day was abbreviated as SAD... (and that, following the above rant, should give you a window into the infinite patience Hubby requires on a daily basis in decoding my lexicon of what makes me laugh and what makes me growl). So anyway, here's a video:

12 February 2008

Maybe it's the weather....

I haven't talked about my ankle for a while because it's been feeling pretty much OK. I get the odd ache, but overall it hasn't been bothering me. Until now.

Since sometime yesterday, the top of where the plate is on the outside of my leg (fibula) has been really sore... like it feels bruised.. but there is no visible bruising. Hubby thinks it might be the change in weather (it has warmed up a little again) but I am skeptical.

I am finding myself fidgeting because I tend to hook my left foot behind my right leg while sitting at my desk but in doing so, my left foot presses precisely on the sore point of my right leg. I am OK walking, but the background ache is persistent and about as noticeable as it was back in late November when I first stopped using my cane.

It's annoying, I'll say that much... and it makes me want to just sit somewhere quiet where I can rest my leg comfortably and drink coffee or tea all day... but I don't quite have that luxury.

10 February 2008

New stuff in da house -- old stuff's gotta go!

It's been a busy weekend. Friday, I arrived home to my new Dell laptop (wOO!) and I spent some time setting it up and starting to migrate data. Kiddo will be inheriting my slightly busted laptop, so there is no big rush.

Meantime, I tackled moving stuff out of the room/closet that contains our water heater, the cat litter box, our overflow of kitchenware, and assorted craft supplies. I wanted to remove two shelves so that I could fit in some rolling storage, thus allowing easier and quicker access to the hot water tank. As much as we have been denying it, it seems to be on its last legs -- again (we replaced it less than 5 years ago). We are still getting hot water, but only enough for a very short shower and not enough for a full tub for Kiddo. We are hoping to get it dealt with over the next week during or around the time of the bathroom renos.

Which brings me to the other new stuff in da house: bathroom fixtures. After some consideration, we are trying to salvage our tub, rather than replace it. Everything else is getting replaced -- new basin, faucet and vanity, new medicine cabinet, new light fixture, new low-consumption toilet, new tub and shower faucet set, and new tile floor. We stuffed the van full today and now all the bits are stacked in our living room. We have yet to bring home the new tub surround, but that will be new too.

reno parts

Hubby and I are on vacation for a little over a week starting on the 15th. The plan is to start demolition on the Friday and drop Kiddo off at her Granny's for the weekend since part of the renos will leave us without a toilet in the house (we can use the one in the common room but that means going outside to get there). Hopefully we can get it all done by Sunday afternoon. I promise lots of before and after shots.

After the bathroom reno, we have a few other loose ends to tidy up and then we can start earnestly looking for a new house and sell this one as soon as we find something suitable!

Now... I have some more packing to do...

08 February 2008

Grandpa's House

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
Prior to the construction of Tuscany Village in Saanich, the little white house above backed on to another little house and where the condos sit now (on the left of the photo) was a large field, frequently filled with pumpkins and other vegetables.

This suited my Grandpa well; he lived in that house (along with my Granny and Aunt) for almost 20 years (from 1977 until his death in 1994). In his yard, he tended to apple trees and tiny wine-grapes (you can still see the vine on the back of the house) plus a large vegetable patch and just as many flowers -- mostly dahlias -- that easily took up half the back yard.

I'm not sure how happy he'd have been with the changes, but he would have enjoyed watching the construction and talking with the workmen.

Gung Hey Fat Choi!

Year of the Rat
Originally uploaded by Kjunstorm
Yesterday marked the beginning of the Year of the Rat and the accompanying photo is a Creative Commons licensed shot of floral decorations for the occasion in Vegas.

In our house, we have a rooster (me), a monkey (Hubby) and a snake (kiddo), but no rats.... which is just as well because I am not a fan of rodents. ;)

If you are in Victoria, there are several events planned around Chinese New Year but the biggest will be the official Celebration coordinated by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association marking not only the new year but also the 150th anniversary of Victoria's Chinatown.

If you can't get to a Chinese New Year celebration where you are but still want to do something "rat-themed" this weekend, I do recommend the movie Ratatouille which has been nominated for 5 Oscars this year, including Best Animated Feature. Despite having a rat who can cook as the central character the movie has a heart -- typical of everything else Brad Bird has done -- and is suitable for all ages.

Feeling crafty? How about making some catnip "rats" using my free pattern.

If you'd rather read, how about tracking down a copy of Flowers for Algernon (I know it's about a mouse, not a rat, but it's still worth reading).

However you celebrate, I wish you health, wealth and happiness in the coming year.

06 February 2008

File under YIKES

John Mayer, your body is NOT a wonderland. Please don't do this again. [Warning, clicking may cause nausea; also, comments following photo are extremely juvenile and vulgar so read them at your own risk.]

04 February 2008

Most of my Classical Music knowledge comes from Cartoons...

I owe Warner Bros. a serious debt for familiarizing me with many pieces of classical music. Or so I thought. Apparently, I never realized that the William Tell Overture -- used in no fewer than 13 Bugs Bunny cartoons, according to IMDB -- by Giocchino Rossini was fractured into many smaller soundbites for cartoon use and the part I think of as "the" William Tell Overture is really the last movement in the second part of Rossini's score.

Kiddo told us over dinner tonight that they had learned about Rossini in music class today. While I asked her for more information, I also looked up his entry on Wikipedia, saw that he also wrote the Barber of Seville and reached for our copy of Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 1.

"You'll recognize this then," I said, popping in The Rabbit of Seville. She did. We then went hunting through the other discs for some of the ones featuring (parts of) the William Tell Overture (I think there were 4) -- most of them featuring the first portion of the second part of the overture -- the part I associate with waking up or sunrise and which I had no idea was part of the same piece of music as the part I associate with the Lone Ranger. (Seriously, just go listen to it and you'll know that I am not completely cracked.)

Anyway, the reason they are learning about Rossini is for a future performance of "The Barber of Barkerville" -- the Barber of Seville set in Gold Rush era Barkerville BC -- likely this production by the Vancouver Opera which is being promoted by Kaleidoscope Theatre. My guess is that the group will visit the school during the week leading up to the performance and sing one selection for the kids, hoping they will fill any remaining empty seats!

What Marketers Get for their Millions...

Thank goodness for YouTube. Without it, I used to have to watch all the entertainment news shows the day after the Super Bowl just hoping they'd show the funniest commercials. Now, they are on YouTube within hours of airing.

I also really liked the Justin Timberlake PepsiStuff ad, the Bridgestone "Scream" ad (the other Bridgestone ad, with Richard Simmons, was funny... but oddly not as effective), and the fire-breathing Bud Light ad (I'm a sucker for the hazzards of fire-breath though, I also like the DQ Flamethrower Chicken Sandwich ad).

There's a great roundup on USA Today showing the ad meter results for all the Super Bowl ads.

NO. No, no no no NO.

Originally uploaded by xenolon
It was bad enough when Yahoo! bought Flickr and everyone had to change to a Yahoo! login and there were questions about privacy and accounts were randomly blocked as "unsafe"... but to imagine what would happen if Microsoft got in there? I shudder.

Yahoo! people... if you are listening to the blogosphere, just say NO. I will pay more for Flickr Pro if that's what it takes, just tell the big behemoth to back off.

More info:

Microsoft makes unexpected $44.6B offer for Yahoo

Google Issues a Statement on Microsoft's hostile Yahoo! Bid

EU to take harsh line on Microsoft's Yahoo bid

Microsoft: keep your evil grubby hands off of our Flickr (photo pool)

Or just do a Google News search for Microsoft and Yahoo.... and you'll be reading all day long.