30 June 2009

The big four-oh.

My birthday is now coming to a close and I had a lovely day. Thanks to all :)

I am now completely exhausted... photos and more will follow tomorrow.

27 June 2009

Something new

I like to think I am familiar with Vancouver -- I generally know where the major areas are and I can find my way to the "usual" stops. Well, for some reason (maybe because we are here for three nights in a row), this visit to the mainland has been about new places. Yes, there will be some usual stops (we will go to Science World, IKEA, Yaohan and Daiso/Aberdeen) but from the time we got off the ferry, there have been new things too. 

First, we made a detour so Hubby could get some film footage of a specific location in Tsawassen. Oddly, after nearly 40 years of visiting the mainland, it was the first time either of us had actually investigated the town. We checked out the library, found a nice toy store, and had a good lunch at Nikko Sushi.

Next, we headed for Richmond (generally our home base when we come over) and ended up in the Richmond Public Market for the first time ever. Oddly, we were lured there by a flyer on the ferry for an "outlet store" -- it turned out to be hilariously unimpressive but the rest of the market was worth the stop.

We met a friend for dinner and chose a restaurant based on the rough idea of "somewhere in Kits area" and I would like to thank Google Maps for helping us find a fantastic place. We ended up at Banana Leaf, a Malaysian restaurant. Hubby and I had the tasting menu (a very reasonable $25 per person for 7 dishes); Kiddo had curried chicken and coconut rice, as well as tasting from our plates. Honestly, it was one of the best meals I have had in a long time and Hubby has promised to find and test Malaysian recipes.

Today we are off to meet other friends at Trout Lake, a park I had no idea existed before this weekend!  

23 June 2009

the web is a funny place

... and that's a good thing because right now, our older cat Max is home recovering after a brief stay at the vet hospital. Sigh.

So, on to the funny:

Despite the fact that Roger Ebert no longer sits in a soundstage version of a theatre balcony to dish out reviews, he still posts them online and frequently makes me laugh out loud, like today's review of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. He sums it up like so:

If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.

I had never heard of the Voynich Manuscript before reading this xkcd panel... but it makes perfect sense to me now:

19 June 2009

Litter-free Lunch is a Lie


When I first started sending Kiddo to school with lunch, I packed everything in sturdy, long-lasting Tupperware® containers but after a few failed to either come home or show up in the lost and found, I decided zippered plastic sandwich bags would be better.

But then the paper-trail of guilt trips started flooding in (ironic, how much paper has been printed to encourage litter-free lunches). At her current school, they ask that Fridays are litter-free (my guess is that the janitorial staff come in before school and if there's no stinky balogna sandwiches and apple cores leftover, it's easier to deal with on Monday morning).

Of course Kiddo figured out the loophole herself -- she just packs her plastic sandwich bags, leftover crusts included, back home where at least I can compost the crusts. I realize, compost aside, this seems environmentally irresponsible but I'm pretty sure that for the same amount of plastic/energy/cost that goes into one Glad or Ziploc semi-disposable container I can get away with a few bags.


17 June 2009

campus through my camera




16 June 2009

Animation for adults

I find it interesting that animation has come full circle. In the early days, it was intended for adults (think of Max Fleisher and Tex Avery's early works) but by the mid-70s and into the 80s animation was kidstuff -- Scooby Doo, Transformers, even former primetime animation like the Flintstones were aired during kid-friendly afterschool time slots.

In the 1990s, the Simpsons brought animation back to primetime and right on the Simpsons' heels, Ren and Stimpy changed everything. Ren and Stimpy might have run on a kids' network (Nicholodeon) but it was aimed at teens and young adults. It was crass and surreal -- everything the early Avery and Feisher cartoons had but with a big dose of toilet humour. At the time, it was too crass for me but now it looks positively tame.

Most of the cartoons that run in the Adult Swim timeslot on the Cartoon Network (and on Detour, the Canadian equivalent) owe a lot to Ren and Stimpy -- everything from Robot Chicken (which also owes a debt to SNL and Kids in the Hall) to Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

If spend any time with me, you know I am a sucker for animated shows, cartoons and movies. I hope I never outgrow that.

+ + +

Classic Betty Boop animation from the Internet Archive:

Ren and Stimpy episode via Youtube:

Controversy over the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie:

14 June 2009

Google Maps Fail....

I was looking for an intersection in Oak Bay and was zoomed in to Google Maps when I noticed that the map still showed "Sealand of the Pacific" as a landmark:

For those not in the know, Sealand closed in the early 1990s -- long before Google Maps came into existence. Anyone know how to report an error to Google Maps?

sealand_cover sealand_back

12 June 2009

Multimedia Wrap-up

It's the end of the week and the end of the DHSI and I have finished a bunch of projects for the Multimedia Design for Visual, Auditory and Interactive Electronic Environments class.

You'll notice a new title image above (courtesy of the Fireworks and Blogger Templates portions of the class) and if you follow me on Facebook, you may already have heard my little Coffee on Campus podcast --  I put it up on the Internet Archive for all to hear. The only problem is that there is supposed to be an initial image of a coffee cup that doesn't come up right away and I haven't had time to fix it (and I don't have the program we used -- Garageband -- at home).

Another assignment was to design an invitation, here's the finished result (there's actually a white border around the image, too... but it disappears on this page):

But the one thing I was really excited to play around with was Flash. So after a frustrating start, I did manage to put together the world's cheeziest Flash animation, complete with dance music. I have exported it as a Quicktime movie so that I can upload it for you to watch (and share the cheeeeeze):

[EDIT: apparently, the compression or perhaps the delivery over the web, sucks so the video above is very choppy. Sigh. If you want to see the original, let me know and I will figure out a way to share it.]

11 June 2009

Multimedia Explorations

I am blogging from one of the Mac labs on campus and essentially being paid to do so -- I am in the midst of the week-long Digital Humanities Summer Institute and this year I am taking Multimedia: Design for Visual, Auditory and Interactive Electronic Environments. 


I had been hoping for tips on digitizing multimedia but it is much more about design: Dreamweaver, Flash, iMovie, Fireworks, Garageband and Blogger. There was some challenge for me with the "Visual Itelligence" portion -- basically art history/art appreciation 101 (something I have long avoided) and a bigger challenge in getting iMovie to work (though it turns out I was just impatient). 

For my final project I think I would like to work with Flash; it is something I haven't done before and it looks fun when it is done. If it is not complete dogfood, I will share it with you, too.

07 June 2009

Calm between storms

Last week was a big bag of stress right up until Thursday when by noon I decided I'd had enough of the stress at work and took a half day vacation. Friday was my flex day anyway and I managed to get an appointment with my hairdresser for a cut and colour (I'm back to basic black and a shorter, bouncier cut for the summer).

This weekend, we made time to go to the Oak Bay Tea Party and at least it was overcast but it was still crowded and kind of sad (I so much prefer West Coast Amusements to the company they now have -- Shooting Star Amusements). At least I got some Grid photos in since Willows Beach is in this month's Grid.

Otherwise, the last few days have involved gardening, napping, hang-time with the family and other non- and anti-stressful activities.

This coming week will be B-U-S-Y: I will be attending the Digital Humanities Summer Institute again, this time taking "Multimedia: Design for Visual, Auditory, and Interactive Electronic Environments" which includes a project component (eep!). Meanwhile, Minnie goes in to be edited on Wednesday and Hubby will be at Open Web Vancouver on Thursday and Friday. I still haven't quite figured out all of the juggling to get Kiddo to school, etc.

Oh, and since I mentioned the cats, you'll be happy to know they are used to each other now; Max only complains when Minnie attacks his tail more often than not, they just coexist:


03 June 2009

these make me smile

This video:

(found via Mental Floss -- the post includes other examples, too.)

This artwork by Kirsten Chursinoff:

(Anatomy of) Anemone Tidepool IAlign Center

It's fabric, it's west-coast and it features sea anenomes!

This History of Garden Gnomes -- especially after having recently received a triumphant text from Hubby that said simply "Gnomes!!" -- meaning he had found some suitable for zombification, adding to his rabbits and ducks.

Which reminds me, this zombie rabbit comic Hubby whipped up makes me smile too:

02 June 2009

heat and other headaches...

OK, so it's officially hot today -- we broke a 100 year old record in the Capital Region. Yay for us. In case you were curious, the great basement bed experiment was a minor (but reversible) fail. Basically, sleeping sideways is not an option and we also need more padding. Noted.

The heat is good for one thing, at least: the garden is spewing forth plenty of green things... (below: scarlet runner beans, peas, zucchini)

scarlet_runner pea_sprouting go_zucchini

At work, the panic over moving desk locations* means I brought home two bagsful of stuff that had accumulated in my drawers and on my desktop and I am by no means done... but there is progress. Also, I may have an actual location for my workspace now -- my assigned space has been virtually moved around the floor-plan at least 6 times since we began planning. (Actually we didn't get to plan; a planner was brought in with little knowledge of what we do or how we need to do it.) On the plus side, the digitization equipment has been set up in its new home in the basement. It will be quiet (there should be few if any, "Hey, what are you working on?" interruptions) and there is even a phone so I could be reached at that workspace -- how novel!


P.S. My zombie haiku (yes, I was lazy and recycled one) was a runner-up over on BoingBoing.


*nearly 2 years ago we started talking about moving... last month we were told "after May 18th" but were not given any firm date or any boxes in which to pack things ... last Friday word came down that we would be moving on June 5th. Today, there were still no boxes. Sigh.

01 June 2009

unseasonably warm

Today was warm -- no, it was hot. The campus was full of (sun)burn victims, the sunny weekend having taken them by surprise. While it was partly overcast, we hit a high of 27°C this afternoon -- close to the record of 28.6°C set in 1970.

At home, the house hasn't really had a chance to cool off since we had it mostly closed up while away for the weekend. After a very challenging night of tossing and turning in the heat last night, I was inspired to finally finish off the built-in bed in the basement. Hubby was kind enough to go out in search of foam to fit the odd-sized platform -- it's 63"x70" While he was out, I put up curtains, stowed the crap we had stored there and made it as ready as possible for a night of sleep.

I trimmed and fit the foam and after some discussion, we decided to set it up sideways so that we can both get in and out of bed without climbing over one another. We'll see how it all works; there's every chance we'll end up stumbling up to our "regular" bed in the middle of the night.

Here's some before and after shots... oddly I don't seem to have photos of it all covered in boxes and stuff....

built-in_bed built-in_bed
short_but_functional bonus_built-in_bed