28 August 2008

Two of Ninety-nine

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
This morning, the campus was fogged-in but there were red balloons everywhere to guide international students to various locations for orientation. I took this photo and then immediately got Nena's 99 Luftballons stuck in my head.

Thank goodness for YouTube -- here's the video in its original German, though this is not the first video they produced for the song. The first video featured concert footage and was rejected by MTV; MuchMusic played it, and I remember JD Roberts (now John Roberts) and Michael Williams joking about the fact that American audiences apparently didn't want to see Nena's armpit hair.

26 August 2008


I just glanced at the calendar and realized that a year ago today I smashed my ankle.

For the most part, it is all better now -- as good as it's going to get, I'd say. I do get the odd day of extra aches and pains (usually when the weather changes) and I obsessively cling to handrails now, but I often forget that I have permanent metal plates in my ankle. This, I presume, is a good thing.

Many thanks again to all those who supported me through the ordeal.

So much to do....

Blogging may be scarce for a while as we are busy with prep at home and all I have the energy to do at the end of the night is surf aimlessly or play a few rounds of a puzzle game.

Today, Hubby is finishing filling the U-Pak unit then we still have a bit of packing to do (but now our storage locker and storage room are empty -- all that stuff is in the U-Pak) before we prep for painting this weekend. After that, we start shuffling but we have a bit of a breather before we have to get all the furniture out of the way for re-carpeting.

Once the carpet is in, we have a couple of days to stage the place (gah) before the sale sign goes up. If everything goes according to plan, we will have the first open house on the 20th of September.


While you are waiting, check out this bizarre bit of chronocide. (You have Mental Floss to thank for alerting me to its existence.)

23 August 2008

Elder God For Sale!

After fifteen months, Hubby's one-of-a-kind sculpture is complete and is now for sale. We'll be listing it on eBay, but offers will be taken any time.

The highest point is the bow of the boat which is is 5' 6" off the ground. The widest span (wingtip to fingertip) is just over 5'; I'm guessing it weighs close to 200 lbs. Here are some detail photos:

cthulhu_fountaindetail cthulhu_handdetail cthulhu_eyedetail cthulhu_beak cthulhu_tentacled

More info at thosedewolfes.com and Flickr.

20 August 2008

Science in Song

This made my day. I expect this video has been making the rounds and so it should!! (For the record, I found it over at the Brain of Shawn) It's a rap video about particle physics.

No, really.

If you like Bill Nye , Beakman's World, Daily Planet or Mythbusters, or if you have any interest in physics or science education, this video is a must see.

And if you like it, check out the Large Hadron download page with links to the lyrics, video, and mp3 single. :)

And if that isn't enough geeky music fun, go check out these videos:

She Blinded me with Science
-- Thomas Dolby (classic 80s synth pop)
Weird Science -- Oingo Boingo (the lead singer is Danny Elfman, best known for his many collaborations with Tim Burton)
The Elements Song -- sung by Tom Lehrer with LEGO animation and effects by David White
The Science in Me -- song by Outbox, X-Files montage by XFRachgaz
The Device Has Been Modified v2 -- CyberCat (music video inspired by and using footage from the game Portal)
Fire on Babylon -- song by Sinead O'Connor, Babylon 5 montage by Hubby :)


Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
I'm thinking of getting this photo enlarged and printed on canvas to hang in our bedroom (the stager suggested a "large piece of art" be hung over the bed to make our room look "more adult" -- I think it will make it look like a hotel, but whatever).

I chose this photo because it's neutral without being colourless, it appeals to me on many levels (Zen, the grouping of 3 the perspective, the bamboo, the fact that it is local to Victoria), and it kills three birds with one stone -- we get our art for the staging, it's something we would want to keep, plus it's a photo taken for the Victoria Grid Project so I will have one piece ready to show when the group gets a gallery showing.

What do you think?

18 August 2008

Moving forward

OK. So, I still hate the whole concept of staging, but I am getting past it. Tonight, we packed the remaining media (we bought zip-up binders to hold about 220 of our favourite DVDs and 20 audio CDs; the remaining DVDs and CDs and all the empty cases were packed), moved out the desk (off to my Mother-in-law, to replace her broken one), cleaned the hall closet (two bags to charity, two big boxes packed) and packed up Kiddo's "downstairs" craft cupboard.

I really want to get the orange bookshelves out of here now that they are empty (they're already listed on Craigslist for free; I'll likely list them on UsedVictoria and Freecycle too...) and with the media shelves empty and boxes starting to pile up, it is starting to feel more like we are moving.


Hubby also attended what was supposed to be the council meeting that would deal with our patio issue but they didn't quite have quorum. That said, everyone in attendance agreed that we should be compensated, the question now is who foots the bill. I can't put much in writing, but let's just say there's a chance we will have to take a third party to small claims court.

Oh, and on top of all this, I have come down with a summer cold -- I left work early with a splitting sinus headache.

17 August 2008


Today we had a visit from a home stager -- part of the package our Realtor provides -- and it went about as well as expected. (By that I mean "poorly"; I really don't understand the need to live out of a suitcase and make our home look like a hotel suite for the length of time it is on the market.)

At one point, I actually left the room when the stager was telling us to sort things "dispassionately" and when I expressed concern over potential stains on a new carpet she told us to "control [our] pet" -- really? You try telling a cat not to hack up a hairball on pristine carpet.

After she left, Hubby and I had a discussion in which some compromises were made. Yes, we'll paint. Yes, we will get rid of all the shelving (this is a major compromise on my part -- I don't understand the point of a living room without a single bookshelf or media shelf.) But we aren't going to do quite as much work on the kitchen as she thought was needed and we are not going to "make the [storage room] door disappear" by painting it white. The carpet is still up for debate.

Of course this means it will be at least a month before the "For Sale" sign goes up -- I think I was hoping for half that time. Sigh.


In other news: I posted a review for X Saves the World over on the Medianook and for those who are interested, we are posting details of what we're selling/giving away over at ThoseDeWolfes.

15 August 2008

A nice mellow night

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
After work, we went out for dinner. The plan was to go to Nautical Nellies.... but I had completely forgotten about the Victoria Dragonboat Festival starting tonight so the area was stupidly busy. Time for plan B! Hubby suggested Santiago's in James Bay instead -- success! We got one of the last available tables and had a lovely meal.... and dessert (they do a mean deep-fried cheesecake!)

Kiddo showed us her climbing skills after the meal, folding herself in around the pegs on this kiosk. After that it was off to Pic-A-Flic for some rental goodness. Four hours later and we are watching the finish of Superbad, following Death at a Funeral -- Kiddo watched The Game Plan upstairs before drifting off to a late bedtime.

There are boxes in the van and we'll get to them tomorrow. :)

Engage Maximum Rant Engine

OK. I get budget cuts, I do, but when you decide to turf a childrens' knitting group from a public library in return for running the odd Scrabble™ or video game night....???? That just makes me CRANKY.

One commenter (mykl44) said it best,

Hopefully one of their new video games will be Extreme Knitting 2008: Needle in the Eye Edition

Personally, I would be tempted to organize a knit-in at the next Library Board meeting. Grumble, grumble, rant, rant.....

14 August 2008

Hey! Where'd all the clutter go?

In the spirit of decluttering everything around me, I thought it only fair to declutter this blog, too. So, behold! White space, clean lines, and more room for pretty pictures. It also loads WAAAAY faster, but let me know if you encounter any weirdness.

Corvus v. Big Tobacco

Tuesday, I saw something that made me laugh riotously and wish I'd had my camera with me: a very rough looking crow (feathers sticking out at all angles, some bald patches) fished around outside a restaurant and hopped away with a cigarette in its beak. Yes, it looked like it wanted a smoke.

Hubby tried to get a photo with his cameraphone, but the crow dropped the cigarette. I expected the bird to give up and go on to something else. Instead, it started picking apart the cigarette and eating the tobacco.

That can't be good.

Then I wondered, can crows become addicted to nicotine? How about seagulls? I smell a nice juicy class action suit.....


13 August 2008

12 August 2008

Fun with Google Maps

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a Google fan through and through (I don't completely buy their 'Don't be Evil' motto but I do use many of their products -- Google kinda owns my life).

Google Maps is something I use at least weekly -- lately almost daily to check out the location of various homes for sale. Our last few road trips (aside from the Island one, oddly) have been navigated almost entirely using Google Maps....

...so, of course I laughed my tookus off reading XKCD's take:

09 August 2008

Slight change in plan....

Yesterday, we wiped the stardust from our eyes and took a more critical look at the house we'd talked ourselves into loving so much. We agreed that there were some considerable drawbacks but more importantly, after talking with our realtor, agreed that we would be in a better position to sell our place first then buy.

There are LOTS of places on the market that meet our basic criteria (size/price/location); we've got a mortgage pre-approval that is good through November and even though condo sales have stalled overall, townhouses (entry level family housing) are still selling quickly. Plus, selling first means we won't have to carry some very heavy interim financing charges.

So, now we kick into HIGH gear to get our place ready. That includes letting a professional stager come in and give us a plan for action, though really I'm pretty sure we already know what we need to do -- basically de-personalize the heck out of the place.

The really interesting thing is that another townhouse in our complex, two doors down, just listed. It's one less bedroom, one less level, and about 100 square feet smaller. It's been completely renovated -- much more so than the renos we've done -- and they are asking about $50K more than we were guessing we'd get for ours.

Etsy Treasury!

Yay! I've been included in a treasury called It's Alive! It's not front page (yet) but it's still exposure and that makes me very happy indeed!

Better still, I've arranged with my Mom to store all my Etsy stock while we are selling/moving so that I don't have to de-list it all! Yay!

08 August 2008

Stuff, and how to get out from under it all.

(This started as a reply to the comments on last night's post but I soon realized, like everything else around me, it was too big to fit there.)

Let me start by saying I have read a half dozen or more full books on organizing and decluttering. Some are still cluttering my home, though I suspect they are in storage now. I also read post after post on organization and decluttering plus tips from Lifehacker and articles in magazines like Good Housekeeping and Real Simple. I watch shows like Clean Sweep and Mission: Organization. Sometimes I even put things into action, but after a few weeks (or even days), I slip back into my clutter groove.

I have a great piece of advice posted over what used to be my computer desk and is now my sewing table:

"Don't ask Where can I put this? -- ask Where can I find this?"

It sounds really stupid on the surface but I now ask myself this question almost every time I file something. When I remember to file things, it makes finding them very easy. Unfortunately, I usually have a very big stack (or worse, several stacks) of "to be filed" paperwork.

I've thought of hiring someone else to come in and just deal with stuff but even asking Hubby for help is hard -- he (or they) might throw out something that means something to me. And that's the rub because how can something buried be meaningful? Still, I watch Clean Sweep with a creepy feeling in the pit of my stomach because I know I would fight to the death over some things that "experts" would pitch in an instant.

Thinking "Do I really need this?" works for a while but it also really slows the process because at some point I get to something that spins me into an internal dialog. I am much faster when I turn off the brain and just follow some rules or a decision flowchart.

Ultimately, I face the same challenges with decluttering as I do with losing weight. I know how to do both, I just suck at the follow through. Sigh. So, if you followed the title thinking I was going to tell you all the answers I'm sorry to disappoint you. Still, give that Good Housekeeping link a shot -- it's full of good "turn your brain off" rules to follow through and get some results.

07 August 2008

Purging, packing, and prepping

Even though we've been stuffing our stuff in a storage locker for several months, it's now nearly full and our place still looks like a family of 8 lives here. (Yes, we have issues with consumer goods; I also have the pack-rat gene going back at least two generations on each side.)

But, since we are now very close to starting the whole put-in-an-offer-and-sell-our-place dance, we decided that it's time to purge, pack and prepare for the eventual "staging" of this place.

We started by thinning our DVD collection which was overflowing 8 shelves and then some. We have packed away 4 boxes of movies and TV series and have vowed not to buy any more media until we have moved into our new home. (This will be a challenge...). Next, we needed more boxes. Hubby got them out of our in-house storage area by moving some of that stuff into more perma-storage containers (plastic bins).

Then we packed another 9 boxes with stuff out of the bedrooms -- shelf contents, clothing, and books. We stopped at this point; I think I need to be brutal with my closet and pass a bunch of clothing on to the local Sally Ann. Actually, we will probably list a batch of stuff on Craigslist (some for sale, some for free) as well as take some to charity and/or offer it to family & friends. (We may make use of thosedewolfes to track things we have available, I'll make a note here if we do.)

Aaaanyway. If I seem more insane than usual, it's likely because I'm spinning around trying to remember whether I'd already packed something. Sigh.

06 August 2008

A girl on a swing

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
This makes me smile for many reasons, not the least of which is the joy Kiddo finds in just swinging. When I was her age, I did the same thing on the swing my Dad attached to our apple tree (this one is on a hazelnut tree in my sister-in-law's yard).

Just watching her for a few minutes last night brought back a flood of memories, including one fairly traumatic one (which in hindsight probably looked pretty funny and might have won some bucks on AFV) -- when I was about her age, I lost my grip on the up-swing and fell backwards. However, my knees still had a good grip on the seat as I leaned back and the height of the swing was such that I dragged my head back and forth a few times before coming to a stop. Ouch.

I think I escaped with a scrape on my forehead and bruised pride, but there was no lasting damage. I was back on the swing after a few days... I just held on a little tighter.

04 August 2008

Good Enough for Me

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
This weekend, the Inner Harbour and surrounding area is overflowing with activity for Festival150 -- celebrating BC's 150th anniversary, coinciding with BC Day today. The action really got going around noon today. After the opening ceremonies, the Snowbirds performed. The rest of the afternoon and evening will be a great big concert -- everyone from Burton Cummings to Feist.

Not being a fan of crowds, we did not go to town, but we did get a decent view of the Snowbirds from our deck. I expect we will be able to hear the concerts, too, depending on the wind direction.

03 August 2008

House-hunting begins

So, late last week we finally "hired" a Realtor. On Friday, he sent us a list of 74 properties that matched our criteria which, over the last couple of days, we narrowed down to about 20. Most are 3 or 4 bedrooms and all but one have 2 bathrooms; all are in the $400K-$475K range -- much, much better than the choices 6 months ago.

We drove by those 20 today and brought that number down to 6, one of which we have been inside (an earlier open house). Driving by really helps to have a look at the neighbourhood (and potential neighbours, barking dogs, and so forth) -- we ruled out at least one property this way. It also helps to check the access -- we ruled out another that had a driveway which was difficult to pull into but near impossible to pull out of.

Our favourite, and the front-runner so far, is still the one we saw a month ago. It lacks some storage on the main floor and currently there is a wasp nest under the front stairs, but otherwise seems ideal. It's near Hillside Mall, two blocks from an elementary school, and an easy commute even by bike to campus.

However, there were several properties in Saanich, most near Swan Lake, that were appealing, too. Of course we also saw a listing for a Mill Bay property today.... 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms on 2.25 acres for $349K (or best offer! FSBO) ....but unfortunately, commuting from Mill Bay is not high on my list.

Now we just have to get inside a few of the others and then put in an offer somewhere!

02 August 2008

Hair and Music

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
Thanks to my black-dyed hair, getting colour on my head other than black took a lot of effort but my hairdresser persevered and so I have chunks of a nice orangey-red mingled in among the black. She also re-did the roots so that things would blend ... hooray! It took almost three hours start to finish... but I think it was worth it.

After finishing my hair, we went into town and grabbed some lunch then wandered to Centennial Square to take in some of the Victoria Electronic Music Festival. Unfortunately, it did not live up to our expectations... so we left after an hour. (Part of the problem was that Kiddo wanted to be there but wished "whoever was making the music so thumpy and jumpy would stop." I tried to explain that the thumping and jumping was pretty much at the core of electronic music, but she wasn't buying it.)

01 August 2008

Collage-Mosaic cards

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
So, I was able to get 8 ACEO/ATC size cards out of each page from the scrapbook I thrifted the other day. Using some pages I'd scavenged from old books and sheet music I've created a series of art cards with which I am fairly pleased. So far this one, "love should be" is my favourite.

I'll likely make a few more before listing any on Etsy, but expect them there within a week.