30 November 2009

What is it about Gorilla Suits?

I was looking for the song about the "lime in the coconut" -- and now I know it's a Harry Nilsson song called Coconut. It's one of those songs that gets stuck in your head, possibly because (according to Wikipedia), "the entire song is played using one chord, C 7th." (weird). Anyway, I found this video of a performance of it from 1971... in gorilla suits.

Gorilla suits always make me think of the end of Trading Places -- my favourite non-Christmas Christmas movie. :)

28 November 2009

Rankin-Bass season

With less than 30 days to Christmas, it's the time of year we dig out the Rankin-Bass holiday specials. My niece had never seen Santa Claus is Coming to Town so I plunked in the DVD and hit play. A few minutes in, she asks, "Why is the bad guy called Burgermeister Meisterburger?"

I thought for a moment and said, "Because this show was produced at a time when there was still a lot of bad feelings towards Germans and Germany."

A few minutes later, during his anti-toy tirade, she says, "Oh, so toys were his Jews." It was impossible to watch the rest of the show without making Schindler's list comparisons.

Today, we were watching Rudolph and all we could think about was eugenics.


26 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, America.

Balloon Inflation
Originally uploaded by alicia954
We celebrated Thanksgiving last month, of course, but that isn't stopping Hubby from cooking turkey tonight, too.

The photo at left is from a Flickr friend, Alicia, who makes wonderful crafty things. The photo shows something I never really thought about: the preparation for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It took me a while to figure out that the balloon on the left must be Snoopy in his "versus the Red Baron" aviator outfit. On the right it looks like Mickey Mouse. Nifty.

Enjoy your turkey and pumpkin pie my American readers, and thanks for stopping by.

25 November 2009

More stop motion love.

In the Brick Film tradition, this is a sequence from The Matrix; I especially love the way they show the slow-motion bullets.

The above sequence (just under 90 seconds) took aproximately 440 hours to make. Here's a brief behind the scenes clip of that bullet sequence. Awesome.


... to the New Zealand Book Council for this effective (and lovely stop-motion) ad:

22 November 2009

weekend that was

Friday, we got Kiddo to school then packed our bags to head back to Sooke Harbour House. The room was ready to go when we got there (early check-in, yay!) so we dumped our stuff (this time in the Driftwood Room, next door to the room we stayed in on our anniversary) and headed back to the kitchen for our "adventure."

As it is off-season, things are a little quieter (fewer than half the staff of the busy summer and wedding season) but that's why the package is only offered October-May. At any rate, we got "suited up" in cook's jackets and aprons (we were allowed to forego the checkered pants -- phew!). After meeting the chefs and a quick tour of the kitchen, we were put to work -- basically we were prep cooks for the afternoon. We cleaned and chopped a lot of mushrooms (some so fresh that foragers were still signing off on the delivery when we arrived) then I got to sautee them while Hubby moved on to making tartar sauce from scratch. Next I helped to make a chunky golden beet and hazelnut pesto and fishcakes while Hubby was rolling up springrolls containing the mushrooms and other veggies. We also looked on while the chefs created asian-style braised lamb shanks and an amazing soup made with squash, root vegetables, and quince. I had expected a little more instruction and/or some time with the pastry chef but perhaps they were waiting for us to ask? It all seemed very.... organic in its (lack of) structure.

Later, as we ate dinner it was interesting to see which things we had prepped ended up with which dishes on the menu. (Kiddo and my Mother in Law joined us but apparently it was all too much for Kiddo -- she and Hubby ended up eating in the room instead of the dining area). When it was time for dessert, I just asked to have that sent to the room as well and went down to see what was up. Kiddo was already curled up in bed.

While waiting for breakfast we went out and watched the waves rolling in along the shore but once we were done eating we basically packed up and headed back to town. On the way in, we stopped and waited in a big line with a few hundred people to get H1N1 vaccines (yes, I decided ultimately it was the lesser evil) since as of Friday it was available to the general public. It didn't take too long (just over 90 minutes from door to jab) and now it's done so I can bring my internal panic level down a notch.

Worst thing about this weekend? Between the standing in the kitchen Friday and the standing in line Saturday, my left hip is really sore.

Tonight, we decided to "take advantage" of Hillside Mall's special "Night before late-night shopping" event. The key was that it was ticketed entry only at $5 per ticket (kids under 10 free, proceeds to BC Children's Hospital) and there were oodles of door prizes, appetizers, fashion shows, etc. plus special sale prices at most stores. Well, lemme tell you, I feel like a rube. The place was PACKED. Like December 23rd, no-room-to-park packed. Insane. We took advantage of 25% off everything at the dollar store plus bought a few other things (most of them at Bolen Books where stuff was 10%-15% off) then got the hell out. Seriously, not worth the savings.

19 November 2009


Somewhat related: Clients from Hell.

18 November 2009

Work and other interruptions.

Have I mentioned that work has been crazy busy of late? One of the digitization projects that has been coasting for ... well a long while ... has been bumped up to top priority, and with the stepped up timeline come a whole lot of staff who need to be trained to do (part of) what I do.

Last night, we went out to see Jann Arden in concert. I enjoyed the music (especially the songs off her new album, even if I don't think that "Free" was the best choice for a title) but really, truly wanted to take the teeny folding chairs we perched on and launch them into the sun.

This evening, as the wind and rain rattles the house -- enough of a worry that I brought out the candles and lanterns "just in case" -- I have been getting stuff done that got snugged in between the stuff I was supposed to be doing this month. Sigh. I was also watching CBS detective dramas (Criminal Minds and CSI NY) that were distractingly entertaining this week.

Speaking of distractingly entertaining....

15 November 2009

Getting stuff sort-of done.

It's halfway through the month so I thought an update on PeGeStuDoMo was in order. The book project is somewhat stalled at the moment. I thought I had a plan to deal with one issue but am not sure that I can make it work.

On the other hand, I did finish the one specific craft challenge -- a first attempt at catnip nunchucks!* -- and have written the specific tutorial (for reusable produce bags) but it needs some editing before I publish it. I have also made headway on the first of the three articles in the B section of the plan and published one of 6 FrugalVictoria articles (another 5 are in various stages from notes to ready to go).

I am not feeling very positive about my progress but I am still making progress so I suppose it's all good. We have some busy nights ahead (this week includes the Jan Arden concert and our Sooke Harbour House do-over) and I also have to squeeze in some prep for an upcoming craft fair... so the jury is out on how much I will finish!

*my only regret with the nunchucks was using a dark brown fabric -- it is unfortunately the same shade and shape as a kitty accident on the floor. Eww.

09 November 2009

Just watch it.

If you liked the Incredibles, you will love this short film. Totally worth the 6 minutes.

08 November 2009

Scientific tangent

I am making progress on PeGeStuDoMo -- yesterday I spent several hours adding content to the book and I have been puttering toward the other goals too -- but this post is not about that. It's about science.

Specifically, this tangential post is about chemistry and the periodic table. Kiddo has expressed a keen interest in chemistry (currently "chemist" is her answer to what she wants to be when she grows up) or possibly biochemistry (she has also showed a lot of interest in how medicines are created). However, that's not how we got to today's "awesome time-sucking and deceptively educational site of the day." We got to that site by way of a smoke detector.

The battery had started to bleat, so I pulled it down to change the battery (it's a model that clips into a base that is attached to the wall -- I like this design because I don't have to change the battery while standing on a chair or ladder). While it was down, Kiddo noticed the radioactive symbol on the side. I said it contained a tiny amount of radioactive material called, according to the label, Americium 241.

In the quest to find out more about how the smoke detector uses 241Am, we came across the Los Alamos National Laboratory's Periodic Table of the Elements pages and spent an hour clicking and learning wonderful chemical trivia.

I read the page about Platinum (Pt) which got me curious about the precious metals market wherein I realized that I clearly have not been paying attention to the news**. Gold (Au) closed at about $1100.00 per oz this week! It reminded me that for years I thought I should be buying gold but never had enough cash. Look at this chart of the past 10 years. Crazy. And in case you are curious, compare this to Platinum, which closed the week at about $1350.00 per oz and Silver (Ag) (clearly the "poor cousin") which closed at about $17.50 per oz.

Oh, and all of this also reminded me that I totally want a periodic table shower curtain.

**However, this does explain the proliferation of scam artists entrepreneurs buying "your old gold" by mail.

01 November 2009

November plan

I have identified 5 areas where I want to get stuff done during PeGeStuDoMo (Personal Getting Stuff Done Month):

a. A non-fiction book I've been working on for just over a year -- slated to be an e-book I just need to finish and publish it on Smashwords (basic version) and Lulu (deluxe? edition).

b. Unfinished documents -- I've identified 3 documents that need to be finished; one tied to a 43 things goal and two tied to (potential) apps that Hubby may work on.

c. Craft projects -- one specific item, one specific tutorial, and some Etsy maintenance fall into this area.

d. Preparation and planning -- here the goals are a little more shady; to identify (and write?) 4-5 tutorials and to write 6-8 articles for Frugal Victoria. I have a few ideas for each but they are not well-formed yet.

e. Other -- for lack of a better term, these are other web-based goals; replacing all the short reviews on my Victoria Guide that were leftover from the upgrade, and writing two specific reviews that will take some careful thought.

Can I do all of that inside a month? Unlikely, but I can give it my best shot. I got a couple of books out of the library to help with inspiration and motivation and I have a good supply of coffee and tea in the house.