29 August 2009

Mother-daughter day

Last night, we tried to highlight Kiddo's hair with Kool-Aid™ homebrew dye; unfortunately, her hair is a bit too dark so there was very little effect. You can see some red highlights in the sunshine but only if you are looking for them. Oh well. Next time: henna rinse.

This morning, we finished the zine! Bümfmag, issue 1 is now available -- I will be shipping out the giveaway issues Monday. There's still a couple more spaces if you want to get a freebie, otherwise the zine is for sale on Etsy:

Best thing? Kiddo is already planning what goes in issue #2.

Around noon, we went to the museum, in part to see the visiting exhibit from the British Museum. Unlike other visiting exhibits, this one does not seem to be drawing the crowds. The tickets were supposed to be timed but there was no lineup and no crowd. In fact, only the IMAX seemed slightly busy today. The exhibit itself was interesting -- a few key pieces especially so -- but I think it lacked the focus that others have brought (e.g. Titanic, Da Vinci).

After the museum, we met my Mom and my Mother in Law at the Gatsby Mansion for Afternoon Tea. Not bad, but not fantastic either -- great location, nice to not be rushed, but the food was just acceptable. The search continues for the best tea in Victoria; apparently, I am picky about afternoon tea.

27 August 2009

Why I love haiku

1. Because I can write haiku about almost anything (go ahead, challenge me; other people have) in very little time.
2. Because it amuses me.
3. Because it amuses others.
4. Because I can use it to make a teeny bit of money (Coffee haiku book; haiku for the masses stuff on Cafe Press)
5. Because I can use my haiku skillz to win stuff (just today, I won a double guest pass for the Victoria Fringe Festival by submitting the haiku below to the Times Colonist Fringe feed on Twitter (@TCFringeFeed))

after ten minutes
my gut hurts from the laughter
unexpected smash!

25 August 2009

from AA to Zombaritaville

Consider this an alphabetically-arranged linkdump of stuff I have found on the net in the past few days. I took a sick day -- got up, phoned in, went back to bed for 2 1/2 hours -- so I have been able to catch up on some "read later" bookmarks.

AA -- Roger Ebert's blog is one of my favourite things ever. This week, he writes about being 30 years sober thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Bug Catcher Necklace -- great kids' craft and an easy-to-follow tutorial

Coffee -- saving cash on your coffee habit; tips from Lifehacker.

Drumsticks -- we've been trying to find the ice-cream treat we remember from childhood but keep failing (they now market "premium" versions that taste nothing like the original). Thanks to this instructables tutorial, we could make our own... hmm. What do you think, Hubby?

Embroidery -- great tablecloth design, complete with spilled wine. I'm also loving these crowded houses.

Needle Felting -- These felted birds are some of the cutest things ever. Amazing.

Psycho Killers -- what makes them tick? TED Talk by neuropsychologist Jim Fallon (no relation to the Late Night host, Jimmy Fallon, I presume.)

Shoulder Bag -- Kiddo desperately wants an across-the-shoulder bag and this tutorial should be perfect.

Week Without Plastic -- Looking around me, I am certain I couldn't do it. However, someone at least thought about it and it makes interesting reading.

Zombaritaville -- this was featured on Boing Boing but seemed familiar to me. It should be; I wrote Me and Zombie McGee back in April, he started blogging in July. Hmmm.

24 August 2009

Barely dented the to-do list

... but got stuff done that really needed doing. I actually did some housecleaning (yes! It can happen!) but didn't make it as far as the filing. I didn't finish Bümfmag (although I know what I need to add now... it's just a matter of adding it.) Don't forget, if you want me to send you a copy, comment on the Giveaway post. I didn't get any crafting done and several web updates went undone. I didn't even have time to play with the shiny new OTTO.

However, I did get Kiddo's school supplies and new school clothes labeled with the Lovable Labels I received (expect a product review later this week) and I mowed the part of the lawn that really needed it. Meanwhile, Hubby drafted some help and built much-needed railings for Kiddo's tree fort. He needed the jigsaw and I offered to go into the underdeck storage to look for it... and that led to my pulling out enough stuff to rearrange things and find more room in there. I also labeled all our big Rubbermaid™ tubs so we don't have to play "guess-what's-inside" every time. I never did find the jigsaw though. He made do.

Here's Kiddo's new and improved tree fort:


She's looking forward to painting it sometime soon.

20 August 2009

A Prize and A Giveaway

Today, I got this:


(There are more photos on Flickr.) I haven't played with it yet... but soon. In the meantime, read what Colin thought.

Aside from that, we've been busy with work and camps and getting ready for back-to-school, and working on other projects -- including a zine that Kiddo and I are putting together to sell on Etsy and hopefully in a few places locally. We are calling it Bümfmag. Would you like a copy? Tell me why in the comments and I will send a copy out to at least 5 commenters (maybe more... depending on how many overseas comments I get...).

15 August 2009

C is for Cookie

Here's something I noticed: whenever I post photos of cookies, they get a lot of hits and comments. Curious. I posted this earlier in the week when we made peanut butter cookies:


Someone asked for the recipe so here it is -- I no longer know where I found it so I am considering it "open source!"
Peanut Butter Cookies

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 large egg

Stir in everything but egg and mix with hands. Add egg. Shape dough into small balls (approx one inch). Place on cookie sheets and flatten with a fork (press down, turn fork 90 degrees press down again). Bake for 12-15 min at 350° F. Makes approx 3 doz.

I also have notes for an alternate version that requires no flour; in fact there's not much of anything:

1 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 large egg.

Mix, bake at 325° F for 15 min; makes 24.

14 August 2009

on spoilers....

I'm glad I was ambivalent about seeing The Time Traveller's Wife before I watched Rachel McAdams spoil pretty much every possible plot point in her brief interview with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show last night. I hadn't read the book, despite it being recommended to me by oodles of people, and now I doubt I will bother. Thanks a bunch, Rachel.

Spoilers, in general, really irk me. Way back in the 80s, someone spoiled the big plot twist in Empire Strikes Back and I've worked hard to avoid them in most cases ever since.

Of course, there are times when I will seek the spoilers -- when M. Night Shyamawhosits' The Happening came out, I had already grown tired of his "suprise twist endings" and actively searched for the spoiler**. I didn't find it right away, but I did find something likely, so Hubby happily blogged it.

**yes, this links to the real spoiler -- a full plot summary that reveals everything you ever wanted to know about The Happening.

If you aren't bothered by spoilers, you might find this Threadless t-shirt amusing:
Spoilt - Threadless T-shirts, Nude No More

12 August 2009


On Friday, I checked in with CoffeeCrew.com to see who won the OTTO vote. Turns out there was a tie -- me and another author. The editor decided the fairest way to deal with it was to email everyone who had voted for someone other than the top two and ask them to pick one -- he called it a vote-off, I pointed out to him that it seemed similar to BC-STV.

When he later told me people started pushing back and saying "No way! We want the person we voted for to win, that's why we voted for them," I told him, "and that's why BC-STV failed."

However, enough people re-voted that I ended up the winner.

By a single vote.

So, I won't have the OTTO for a couple of weeks yet but when it does arrive, I promise you a review and plenty of photos. Thanks so much to those who voted for me; I owe you an espresso.

08 August 2009

All in all a lovely day

The day started well; hubby randomly made crepes and filled them with fresh peaches and cherries. YUM!

After breakfast my Mom, Kiddo and I went out to Glendale Gardens for the Art & Music in the Gardens event. I was impressed with the size and scope of the gardens (definitely worth another visit) and really enjoyed the range of art. I even bought a mosaic stepping stone; it was only $35 which I decided was a bargain for the amount of fiddling it would take me to do the same thing. It's by Bruce Kellow and Kelly Zozula (well that's the name of the displaying artists; Kelly told me her daughter actually did the one I bought). Kiddo also got some photos of Bruce at work.

After the gardens, we picked up Hubby and went to the White Heather tea room; his Mom also met us there. Aside from losing our reservation (they cancelled the wrong one!!) the tea was very tasty -- a proper afternoon tea with scones, sandwiches and sweets plus pots of tea all around.

glendale_bridge skull_stepping_stone afternoon_tea_for_four

After all that, I managed to accomplish a whole lot this evening: sorting, rearranging and tidying the many, many stacks of boxes and other stuff in the basement office. I think it is a much more useable space now.

06 August 2009

Seeing new things in the city

I completely forgot to mention what we did last weekend -- we popped out to Sidney to check out the new Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. It is very much what we've been missing in the region: a decent ocean-themed attraction, well-designed and executed. Kiddo loved it. There's a review on the Victoria Guide if you want to see more.

This weekend, we will be checking out two new things (new to us, anyway) the plan is to tour Glendale Gardens (they have the Art & Music in the Gardens event this weekend) and have afternoon tea at White Heather in Oak Bay for my Mom's birthday. Both will be part of larger articles on the region's gardens and tea rooms, respectively.

And speaking of articles, the deadline to vote in the Win OTTO contest is quickly approaching (if you missed it, I have a story in the running) -- the voting closes at 5 pm Pacific time Friday August 7th.

04 August 2009

Victoria Guide changes

Aside from doing some much needed updates and tweaks to my Unofficial Guide to Victoria, I have also decided to bring in some back-up. Starting this month, expect to see blog posts and reviews from a couple of new contributors.

It was a hard decision for me to make. My guide has been just that, mine, for over a decade and it was really hard for me to hand over a spare key but it was clear I needed help keeping the site fresh and up to date. I'm going to see how it goes for a while and you are welcome (and encouraged!) to watch it grow, too. Fingers crossed...

01 August 2009

OTTO Contest update

OK, there are 12 entries in CoffeeCrew.com's Win OTTO contest so in theory I have a 1/12 chance... that's pretty good!

Here's how to vote:

OTTO Rules - There are 12 stories, numbered 1 through 12. You may register a vote by picking 1 story based on the number or the author and send me an e-mail. The subject header or body of the e-mail must contain the words OTTO and the number of the story. You may not vote more than once. One e-mail address = one vote. If I detect that someone is registering multiple e-mails to vote for the same story, this could result in the disqualification of the author... so don't go there! The person with the most votes by August 7, 2009 will be declared the winner. It is simple as that. I will also pick the 2nd and 3rd place winners for EspressoParts.Com T-shirts and other nifty prizes.

My story is #2, A Rebellious Act. I promise to let you come over and play with the OTTO if I win. :)