24 May 2010

Psst! Flotsam has moved!

As I suggested last week, I have made the decision to move my blog to a hosted WordPress version to replace this blog. I'm not moving over the content, just the operations. I'll be reorganizing all the blog pointers and feed tweeters and all that so, fear not, if you don't come to this page directly to read Flotsam, you'll still get a reminder. In the meantime, here's the new Flotsam & Jetsam.

20 May 2010

Thanks for nothing, Google

Dear Google,

Your Kool-Aid is tasting bitter these days. If you don't want to be seen as EVIL, please bring your Blogger service up to standard.

After trying WordPress, I now understand why people questioned my staying on Blogger. One very big difference is in the ability to moderate comments and users. On WP, comments are moderated by default, but once someone is recognized by the blog owner, they can post freely ever-after. So when I, for example, pick up a nasty troll, I can simply ignore the comments. Poof! I can also block or moderate specific IP addresses, email addresses, names, words -- so much more flexible.

Seriously, Google, you are GODS in the arena of info tracking, how come you make this so difficult? Sure, there is a "report abuse" button but that is only to be used for reporting an abusive blog -- which mine is NOT. In fact, there is nothing in your terms of service that covers comments specifically and yet many people sign up for Blogger primarily to comment or follow blogs.

I have had this blog for six years and it will tear a big part of me out to abandon it for a new address but that seems like the only option you are giving me. I do not blame the troll for this; I blame you, Google, for failing to support Blogger and its users.

Sincerely,
Cheryl

Oh good, my troll is back.

OK, everyone. I apologize but "Anonymous" is back and filling my comments area with obscenities. Please don't feed the troll.

17 May 2010

My new Garden History blog

While I listened to the presenters at WordCamp on Saturday, part of my brain was whirring away, plotting out my new blog. Yes, it was to be a "niche blog" -- it combines three of my interests:

gardening+books+history

Originally my thought was to basically transcribe and annotate the text of the "Profitable Instructions..." book but I knew that was too focused. As soon as the words "garden history" escaped my lips, I knew this was the spark I'd been seeking.

I wrote the About page first -- I started drafting it in a Google Doc on Saturday evening -- so that I could really get an idea of how the site might evolve. While the inspiration was one book the goal I settled on was,
"This blog aims to glean some history — not only about gardening but also about gardens themselves — from books and other writings from the past 400 years, give or take."
With that in writing, I could then start thinking about where the blog might go in the future which may be why my brain would not shut down on Saturday night, long after I walked away from my laptop.

Sunday, I asked Hubby how to do the WordPress install on one of my domains (I chose my personal one, for the hell of it). After some initial fumbling to find my admin panel login and password and later realizing I needed more space (Hubby reallocated things and increased my capacity tenfold), the install was ridiculously straightforward. I spent the next little while fiddling with various templates until I found one that will do just fine for now.

To cut the tale short, I finished a shareable product by 11:00 last night and if you haven't already seen it, you can check out Garden History: Looking back at backyard gardens.

15 May 2010

Reflecting on WordCamp

I had no idea what to expect going in but I have to say that WordCamp Victoria was well-organized, well-run, and informative. It was broader than I was expecting; the content of the sessions went beyond Wordpress itself to cover topics such as picking what to write, keeping the user in mind when you write for the web, and dealing with comments -- good, bad, and ugly.

The session I most enjoyed was the first session I attended: "Knowing & Knurturing Your Kniche Blog: Starting & Running A Successful Niche Blog in WordPress," presented by Mike Vardy. Refreshingly, his presentation did not rely on tech -- he used the blackboard. The basis of his talk was to pick something that you care about, that you know something about (and are prepared to learn more about), and then build it and promote the hell out of it. Kind of a Field of Dreams approach.

When I asked him what to do if the thing you pick is in the scrum -- one of a thousand blogs on a given topic -- he had two words of advice, "Write well." OK, Mr. Vardy, I will try.

I may even apply some of what I learned from Cathie Walker who talked about the way (most) users read websites (short answer: they don't -- 80% skim), what level they read at (generally below grade 8) and how you can cater to their needs.

That tied in well to what Lorraine Murphy had to say about moderating comments on a blog or forum. It made me think back to how I managed that ridiculous troll thing last year and how I have handled other tricky interactions online over the years. I'm still thinking.

I also attended sessions more specific to Wordpress -- about themes and plug-ins and alternate posting tools.

What now? Well, I am going to try to put my planned Wordpress niche blog into action -- sooner than later -- plus Hubby and I are scorching and rebuilding ThoseDeWolfes and (drumroll, please) we have set Kiddo up with her own blog. Cue the Yakkety-Sax...




EDIT: Cathie Walker's presentation, Writing for the Web is available as a pdf

14 May 2010

How I am spending my Saturday

Yeah, I know. Drupal, Blogger, and now... Wordpress? Hubby and I signed up before we left for Drupalcon because... well... you know honestly I don't know why, but I am sure I won't escape the day without learning something.

However, I do have a plan. Do you remember that Kitchen Garden book from 1603 that opened with a poem? I plan to use Wordpress to make a blog of the book. At least that's my plan right now; I'm sure it will change before the conference is over tomorrow.

On the other hand, there will be about 120 people there, many of whom I follow on Twitter but whom I've yet to meet so it will kind of be an unofficial Victoria "Tweetup" and an opportunity for some networking on coffee breaks.

I'm going to see if I can dig out my felt name tag to wear and make sure I have a handful of cards.

13 May 2010

Another thing Those DeWolfes do

The Cramped Chef seemed like an appropriate name for a cooking show when we started it in the cramped little kitchen at the townhouse. Impossibly, it seems, the kitchen in our current house while more open, actually seems to have less room to cook* so The Cramped Chef continues to be an appropriate name for the series.

We filmed the most recent episode back in March but Hubby's computer was tasked by the challenge of editing the HD footage created by my FlipHD so the process was completed in small chunks over many weeks with a lot of breaks in between! The best part of this creation was finding that Moby has a bunch of music available just for the purpose of non-profit independent video productions so Hubby signed up and found an appropriate piece for the background. The worst part of this is seeing how clearly we need to get proper studio lighting -- or even something close.

The Spring Rolls (aka Egg Rolls) episode is now available for your edutainment (embedded below) and you can find the recipe on Hubby's blog along with other recipes and Cramped Chef videos.

Egg Rolls from Mike DeWolfe on Vimeo.


*Our current kitchen is so cramped that I don't seem to have a photo of it. How odd. It is also the big reason we want to do a reno on that corner of the house.

10 May 2010

Definitely a Monday.

My Monday morning started before my alarm rang; I was dreaming about being late for work. Not wanting to actually be late, I got up instead of hitting snooze. I did my morning thing, getting the coffee going, feeding the cats, throwing on something suitable to wear to work, turning on the morning news and getting breakfast started.

I found the frying pan, slapped in some butter, put in the bread (hole cut, ready for the egg), reached for the egg aaaaand...

SPLAT

SPLAT!

I cursed. Cracked another egg into the frying pan, then grabbed my camera -- because how often do you get to take a photo of egg spatter?

After breakfast was cooked, I threw some veggies into the frying pan with a little sesame oil to accompany the leftovers I was taking for lunch. Packed that up, poured my coffee and finished getting everything together to head out. Glancing at the clock, I knew I was cutting it close but should have had about 3 minutes to walk up the block to the bus instead of the usual 5.

It was pouring rain but I figured the bus would be there almost right away. Not so much. 15 minutes later, I decided it must have been early and that I had missed it. I pondered going back home and waiting for the next bus and being late (about half an hour) but instead sucked it up and hiked up through the park over the hill. It's usually a 15 minute walk but I made it in 12 because I didn't want to stand in the rain any longer than I needed to. 10 steps from the crosswalk to the next bus stop and WHOOOOOSH! there goes the 7:38. Sigh.

I stood in the rain another 12 minutes for the next bus and arrived at work 10 minutes late and soaked through to the point that my toes were wrinkled. So I guess, in some twisted way, my dream came true.

Yeah, definitely a Monday.

-=|=-

On the plus side, Kiddo was eager to get out of her bath quickly tonight so that she could work on the story she is writing. She fell asleep writing it then woke up when I tried to move it so she didn't choke on her pencil. I read what she'd written and I have to tell you, I am excited.

It's sci-fi.

08 May 2010

Awesome Alphabets

I love ABC books and at one time wanted to build a collection. I stopped because I realized I would need a very big library in which to hold them. However, I still love finding interesting alphabets. Feast your eyes on these:
  • Badass Alphabet -- inspired by comic books, it features gems like "H is for Hagar the Horrible Hacking Hello Kitty in Half"
  • Mad Scientist Alphabet Blocks -- not only do these rock (F is for Freeze Ray and P is for Peasants with Pitchforks!!) but the blocks themselves are little laser-cut works of art.
  • Palaeobet by Bird and Moon (Rosemary Mosco) wants you to "know your prehistory" (X is for xenacanthus) -- I really want the poster.
  • Digital Alphabet -- no big surprises here but at only two years old, it may already need updates. (Oh, wait, here's a 2009 version.)
  • Star Wars Alphabet -- crisp graphic illustrations by tweedlebop (aka Michael Fleming) covering the whole Star Wars universe are fantastic and plenty of people have requested that they be made available for sale... so far I haven't found them.
  • the Rock Alphabet by Rose Stallard is an inspired collection of musicians (Z is, of course, for Zappa) available as a limited edition silk-screened print.
  • Of course my favourite alphabet of all time is Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies (N is for Neville who died of ennui...) -- if you don't own it you really should buy the book!
  • Follow the link from Craft to the tutorial for an alphabet art project that you can do with your kids -- it involves a digital photography outing and transferring a photo print on to canvas. Very cool.
  • Prefer to hear the alphabet? Mental Floss rounds up celebrities reciting and singing the alphabet on Sesame Street. That Cosby one? I totally remember it.
I also have very fond memories of the alphabet song because in my 4 a.m. feeding / postpartum addled brain, it was often the only song I could think of to sing Kiddo back to sleep (it was that or my variation of the Mockingbird Song -- I would inevitably get to verse three and forget the rest so I started making things up.) At one point, I remember staring down at the unsleeping one in her crib, and as I got to "L-M-N-O..." she said "OH!" I sang that again, "L-M-N-O.." "OH!" and I was no longer concerned that she wasn't sleeping. I consider "OH" to be one of her first words, even if she was just mimicking Mommy.

04 May 2010

Press Clipping Day!

Two quick notes:

1. With my Frugal Victoria hat on, I was interviewed for the Globe and Mail last week -- the story, Extreme Frugality: Can you outcheap 'em all? ran in today's Life section. Despite a couple of minor misquotes, I'm pretty happy with it (as in, for the most part, I don't seem to sound like a crazy person).

2. My Coffee Haiku Minibook was featured at The Fifth Street Palace in an ongoing blog series $5 and Under.


03 May 2010

Thoughts on Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the Press is a favourite theme in television drama and feature films -- most often, citing the American Bill of Rights rather than the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms but we frequently take it for granted in North America. The only time most of us think about Freedom of the Press is when it is being squashed (think of how often China, Iran, or North Korea shows up in the headlines for crushing free speech or imprisoning journalists).

I don't know whether it was my upbringing or 25 years of working in libraries or just wanting to be assured of some protection for what I might write but for whatever reason, it's usually not far from my mind. It might even be from my early exposure to being censored -- in grade 6 I was part of the editorial team for the school paper and one issue contained a section ("seen in passing" I think) that would barely pass for the tamest version of Overheard in x today but which our principal felt was gossip and possibly libelous. He was not amused and charged us with actually cutting the section out of every copy that had been run off on the Gestetner by our teacher the evening before. Of course that meant that every issue sold for that run -- another interesting lesson for an 11 year old to learn. (As an adult, I wonder whether our teacher was disciplined for not talking to us about it or just editing the content before printing.)

Most recently, I've been watching the case against Jason Chen (who reported on the Apple prototype that was bought by Gizmodo/Gawker Media and whose home was later raided). I firmly believe that, while criminal charges might be appropriate, they should be targeting the person who signed the cheque and bought the lost/stolen prototype and/or the engineer who let it get away rather than the reporter doing his job.

On the global scene, Reporters Without Borders tracks infractions* and reports on the state of press freedom each year. In 2009, Canada registers at 19th of 175 nations (way down from 7th in 2002) but doesn't come close to the big offenders.

May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day, as declared by the UN, a day to "celebrate the fundamental principles of press and media freedom that are articulated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

Go read (or watch) some award-winning journalism and ponder what we stand to lose:


Wanna know more about Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Expression? Check out these links:
Also, here's more about the Apple vs. Gizmodo issue just 'cause it's under my skin:



*From the Reporters Without Borders press release on the survey used to rank countries, "It includes every kind of violation directly affecting journalists (such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats) and news media (censorship, confiscation of newspaper issues, searches and harassment). And it includes the degree of impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these press freedom violations.
It also measures the level of self-censorship in each country and the ability of the media to investigate and criticise. Financial pressure, which is increasingly common, is also assessed and incorporated into the final score.
"

30 April 2010

Strange Synergies and Curious Coincidences

Skip back a bit first, to Earth Day (April 22). We were on the road. We left Grant's Pass Oregon in the morning and when we checked out, the desk offered us some bottled water for the road. Normally I would decline but as I knew we were likely to be in the van for most of the next 8 hours, I accepted it. Before I stashed it in the back seat, I looked at the bottle and snorted because it had traveled about as far as we were going to; the water had been bottled in Hope, B.C.

Sticking with the Earth Day theme, further along the highway we hit a stretch where there was a lot of paper swirling around and a few miles later, we hit a flattened cardboard box -- I watched as the box exploded into shrapnel in the rear view mirror, shrapnel that thankfully seemed to keep close to the ground. Another few miles and we caught up to the culprit. A flatbed semi-trailer was laden with bales of recycled mixed paper, one of which had come undone and was leaving a trail of recyclables along the I-5. "Happy Earth Day," said Hubby.

Today is Tax Day here in Canada -- most of us had until midnight tonight to file (we filed yesterday). Coincidentally (or maybe not) Kiddo's school hosted a "Math Arcade" tonight (though I was dismayed when one of the problems she was asked to answer gave her the "correct" answer only when BODMAS rules were ignored. Grr.). Anyway, she was keen to go and proved it by doing all the upper grade sections first (and correctly, I might add). Hubby asked her at one point why she hadn't done our taxes. I told her next year she could -- I'm sure she can't be any less accurate than H&R Block.

24 April 2010

Anatomy of the Drupalcon Roadtrip

I thought I would record some numbers about our trip... forgive me if this is boring. From home to the border it is a 30 minute drive, a 90 minute ferry ride, and another 30 minute drive; add in any wait time at the ferry plus at the border and you're looking at 3-4 hours, so the following times and distances are outside of those:

On the way down, we did the trip in three days:
Blaine, WA to Portland, OR: 285 miles.
Portland, OR to Redding, CA: 421 miles. (through mountain passes)
Redding, CA to San Francisco, (via Mountain View, CA): 284 miles.
Total: 990 miles

On the way back, we did it in two:
San Francisco to Grant's Pass, Oregon (via Eureka): 438 miles.
Grant's Pass to Blaine, WA: 528 miles.
Total: 966 miles

All told, we spent approximately 36 hours in the car -- of that, I drove for about 5 hours while Hubby did the rest (something for which I am very thankful).

We crossed the border with a half tank of gas and came back with 3/4 tank; along the way, we spent about $315 for about 103 gallons of gas. (If we'd bought the same amount of gas in Victoria it would have cost us about $420.)

Along the side of the highway, I saw hundreds of shards of tires, three huge piles of diapers (possibly used, eww) inside a one mile stretch, roadkill including one coyote, three cats, countless raccoons, and half a deer. Yes, just half -- the back half. Eww.

I also saw vineyards, olive groves, turf farms, cows, goats, alpacas, signs telling me that God Forgave Me and that Farm Tours were available weekly. We drove through places with populations below 2,000, towns that sprawled through valleys, and cities offering everything one could want inside the city limits. We passed National Guard armories, army bases, hospitals, universities, and headquarters of major corporations. We ate at small cafes and four star restaurants. We saw folk art and fine art.

We left here tired and returned just plain exhausted.


19 April 2010

Of Conferences

As conferences and training go, I am used to two models: the academic (DHSI, Women's Conference, etc.) and the union (CUPE, CLC, etc.)-- both styles are hyper-organized and tend to run like well-oiled machines.

Drupal registration ran the same way (especially as I registered early, on Sunday) so I had no foreshadowing of what was to come. However, Hubby attended a pre-conference training day that was delayed by nearly 90 minutes as attendees tried to download and install the required software that was not suggested prior to arriving. I think the main difference is that Drupal is all about "the community" and empowering the people to lead their own -- which they really do best in the "Birds of a Feather"(or "BOF") meetings where people gather to discuss common challenges, applications or other aspects of Drupal.

But let's get back to the disorganization... this morning, the opening session was booked for one room -- one room that did not hold all 3,000 attendees. So they simulcast it in two other rooms but that was still not enough for all those who wanted to see it. After that, the next session ran very well but, not surprisingly, it was run by an academic -- all the other sessions I've attended have been run by techies and designers, many of whom seem to be either completely overwhelmed by the crowds or completely ignorant of any variation among the attendees. There has been much discussion over the fact that this Drupalcon is double the size of the last one which itself was double that of the previous one. Part of this growth is that they have moved beyond the open source fanatics and on to a wider variety of web-designers and developers. Drupal now powers roughly one percent of the web.

Oh, and moving 3000 people around 8 classrooms means a lot of full classrooms -- and by classrooms, I really mean rooms filled with chairs, a handful of electrical outlets and a whole lot of people trying to balance laptops and type without enough elbow room. The only time I opened my laptop was during the keynote when we sat at the lunch tables. There were traffic jams during each class change and lots of grumbling. Watching the #drupalcon discussion on Twitter (from my iPod Touch), I could see that wifi varied greatly from classroom to classroom.

Worst moment though was the last session we attended today, called "From Photoshop to Drupal Theme" that ran from 5:30-6:30. I had really been looking forward to it -- as had Hubby -- so we stayed. Unfortunately, 40 minutes in, when the presenters got to the point where we expected them to fire up Photoshop and show us the details, they said, "So that concludes our presentation, any questions?" There was a collective WTF murmur from the audience and several people asked them to walk us through it but the presenters refused telling us that they felt we all had the design skills -- DUDE!! If we had those skills would we have stayed late for your presentation??? I think not. Grr.

That said, I'm still learning lots -- plenty about accessibility testing, security settings, and planning for re-theming a site -- that I can apply to the CUPE 951 site and my other sites, so I'm not worried; I'm definitely still getting my money's worth. Hubby though? He should probably be on the podium instead of in the audience, and that's definitely something to chew on.

17 April 2010

Coffee and Google and Cars, OH MY.

So.... yesterday I uploaded this photo:

almost_enough_for_me

And I think it about describes the amount of coffee I need for each leg of this roadtrip. Today was not a good coffee day. It started with the the in-room coffee at La Quinta -- Maxwell House, which I made with 3 cups instead of 4 to make it stronger (sadly, that was my best coffee of the morning); then the breakfast bar served some barely-drinkable swill (which I drank) and then I stupidly followed that up with McCafe(TM) on the road. I think I finally found a Starbucks at around 3:00 which I followed at the next Starbucks with a mediocre iced coffee. Ugh.

At least today's travel was (mostly) less taxing than yesterday -- wide straight stretches and, once we left the I-5, almost no transport trucks to jockey around. We made our way to Mountain View, to see the Google campus. Alas, though we pulled into the visitor parking, the lobby was closed today . We did poke around the outside of the main buildings, though, and I was very pleased to see a row of containers full of herbs and edible flowers growing around the patio adjacent to the cafe.

googleherbs

Back on the road after Google, we headed for the hotel. All was going fine until our GPS told us to turn left and we ended up one lane over -- I thought it was two lanes that both went left. Unfortunately, one went sharp left (where we wanted to go) and one went on to the Bay Bridge. We had no choice but to drive allllllll the way across and back -- in rush hour -- paying the toll in the process and adding an hour (to go on a 16 km round trip) to the travel when, had I actually not misjudged the lane we could have been at the hotel in about a minute's time. I tell ya, that GPS narrowly avoided a watery grave. It was saved only by our being sandwiched in the centre lane between many, many other cars.

Sigh.

However, once we arrived at the hotel, handed the keys to the valet, and checked in, things started looking up. We called Kiddo (we miss her SO much) and went for dinner (Thai food, including a very tasty curried fried rice (with pineapple, chicken, shrimp and cashews... mmmmm) and tofu with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. Now 4 hours (and most of an in-room movie) later, I feel much, much less tense.

And then, there's the view, too:

hotel_view

Cars everywhere

There was an odd symmetry yesterday as we listened to the audio book of Superfreakonomics; we were listening to the section where they discuss traffic fatalities and the introduction of the seat belt as we were winding through the mountain passes that lead up to and away from Siskiyou Summit, passing truck after truck and being passed by faster cars driven by people obviously more familiar with the series of corners than we were.

As it turns out, that summit is the highest point on the I-5 at 4310 ft. Now, I have trouble with pressure in my ears driving the Malahat-- the summit of which is only 1155 ft so by the time we were back down to about 500 ft above sea level in Redding, my ears were shot. Hubby's too. It doesn't help that we both are still suffering the latter part of head colds.

This morning, my ears are still ringing but I can hear clearly. It may have been a blessing last night, because when we rolled into Redding, we landed in the midst of a huge car festival -- Hilltop Avenue looked like the Vegas Strip, jammed with flashy cars, playing loud music, and the street lined with people watching, walking, and drinking. Turns out we arrived only an hour after the street had been closed for a two hour "cruise":




Normally, I'd have been happy to take photos but all I wanted to do last night was check in, call Kiddo, then go eat. It took us about 15 minutes to push through the traffic and turn into the hotel. By the time we got back from dinner an hour later (at Cattlemen's -- a restaurant that is almost certainly the inspiration for the Montana's chain), the roads had mostly cleared so there is hope that this morning will be calmer. After breakfast, we head further south, with a goal of hitting some landmarks in Silicon Valley before we loop back up to the hotel in San Francisco.

14 April 2010

Return and departure

Remember Hubby's Cthulhu sculpture? We had shipped him out of the patio when it was time to show the townhouse and tucked him away in a (very patient) friend's back yard. He finally returned home today -- this time however, we hired professional movers so as not to break anyone's back (well no one who wasn't insured).

cthulhu_returns

All things considered, he weathered the elements pretty well. Aside from a missing toenail and broken ... er... beak thing, he's in tact, too. We shuffled him into the back yard and there he will sit until Hubby has time to restore him then try to find a "forever home" for the Old One.

***

I've been sick all week, coughing, snorting, generally feeling like hell, and, aside from a half day on Monday, have been at home. Naturally, I am procrastinating further by blogging when I should be packing. We leave tomorrow for a road trip across the border again -- but this time without Kiddo. It'll be a long 9 days for that reason alone, but we've set up plans and counter plans for her care and for the cats and house. Luckily there is not too much going on garden wise so I haven't actually asked anyone to water things (in the unlikely event of a 9 day drought). We also set up Skype on a computer for her and one that is coming with us.

Our trip should take us through Portland and San Francisco (plus a detour to Silicon Valley) but the stops in between may be determined by any of the following: good food, convenient hotel, too damn tired, or coin toss. I can't promise regular updates but there will definitely be an overview on the other side.

10 April 2010

Weekend Wiki Wormhole

The internet is full of one thing: wormholes. They are easy to find: just start clicking. If you aren't sure where to start, try Wikipedia, the links will lead you on a magical mystery tour into the weirdest places.

Today, my journey started with a Facebook status update by Hubby. His use of an implied double-entendre by ending a phrase with "[blank]" reminded me of the 70s era Match Game so I suggested in my comment cuing the Match Game music and added something about Charles Nelson Reilly. That's where things got interesting. I went looking for the Weird Al song, CNR from his latest album (no, I'm not kidding, it's embedded below) but got sidetracked reading the Wikipedia entry for Charles Nelson Reilly. Turns out, he survived a horrific fire I'd never heard about, the Hartford Circus Fire.

In July 1944, a Ringling Bros.,Barnum and Bailey show under the big top was destroyed by a fire -- seems the typical waterproofing of the era was paraffin dissolved in kerosene spread over the canvas tents! After the event (which killed over 160 people and injured hundreds more), Reilly never sat in a theatre audience and Ringling Bros., Barnum and Bailey left the tents for good, performing only in buildings or arenas as they toured. A few clicks brought me to this page of magazine articles, some contemporary to the event -- I particularly liked the breakdown in Volunteer Firemen Magazine which includes a map of the Big Top (better scan here) showing the origin of the fire, the exits, and basically what went wrong.

One more click into the wormhole and I was watching a clip from Charles Nelson Reilly's stage show, the Life of Reilly about the event -- a lifetime away from the bawdy CNR I knew from syndicated reruns of the Match Game. (If you only click on one link, follow that one. It's well worth the two minutes or so.)

So, anyway, that's how I spent my Saturday afternoon. How about you?


Related fun stuff:

CNR, in the style of the White Stripes:



Typical Match Game tomfoolery:

09 April 2010

And to turf it returns.

I am home today, sick with a killer head cold, but that didn't stop me from finding out that overnight the "People's Garden" had been returned to bare land, re-seeded, fenced off, and marked as an area under restoration. As yesterday was the last day of classes prior to exams, it makes sense as far as timing goes.

Not letting being away from campus get in my way, I put a call out for someone to take me a photo ("pics or it didn't happen") and within an hour I could see for myself that it was gone (left, photo by C. Newell).

As soon as I got the original message, I immediately checked the Victoria Food Not Lawns blog. While I found nothing about this event, the most recent entry concerns Wednesday's "semi-facilitated" discussion -- originally planned to take place by the fountain, near the "people's garden" but moved at the last minute to the Student Union Building. It also mentions that several of the students involved in the protest had been singled out by UVic Administration and had been sent letters earlier this week -- VFNL calls the tone threatening; I'm not sure they could have been worded differently in order to be perceived otherwise by the students.

Throughout this exercise I have been torn. While I support guerrilla gardening of vacant lots, unkempt boulevards, and abandoned spaces, I can't quite see past the trespassing angle that is suggested by many proponents. I cannot accept that anyone or any group has the right to tell me how to use my land. Of course as soon as I typed that I thought, "But people do tell me how to use my land; there are all manner of land use restrictions and bylaws and undersurface rights to which I have to adhere." I may have to rethink my position.

Getting back to the campus situation, I believe the administration had no choice but to remove the gardens -- it was only a question of timing -- to have left the garden in place would have set a curious precedent. There would be nothing to stop gardeners from taking over every square foot of open land -- or, on the opposite end of the scale, to prevent others from paving every square foot and declaring it improved parking or from setting up commercial activity. The University released an update today, stating again that
The university will continue to work with student organizations on campus to hold a public meeting at an appropriate time in the future to enable all interested members of the campus community to receive accurate information, provide their perspectives on sustainability, gardening and food issues on campus, and learn about the variety of initiatives underway.
I was also very happy to read in the same announcement that,
The plants retrieved from the site have been relocated to the underutilized areas of the existing campus community gardens where they may be replanted by students interested in on-campus community gardening.
Hooray! There were a number of lovely plants in that garden and it had been heartbreaking to consider that they may have just been plowed under or composted. Now if only we could see the University commit to a permanent food production space on campus that would truly serve the whole community... that would be the best possible outcome for this protest.


06 April 2010

Chef Mike

From our first afternoon together, I knew Mike's secret: he can cook*. I thought I could cook -- I can at least follow recipes and I can bake but I cannot hold a candle to Mike's abilities. That first afternoon, we visited Fisherman's Wharf where he bought fresh crab and cooked me an amazing dinner in my tiny little bachelorette kitchen. He still amazes me weekly.

Our friends are also regularly amazed by the spreads he put on -- he even went so far a few years ago to hold the Cobalt Chef challenge for his birthday. (You can view the original page for the challenge but it's from 2002 and I warn you, I used a really bright colour for the background; you may need sunglasses.)

Fast forward a few years and we started doing the Cramped Chef series of videos and Mike started collecting his recipes on his blog.


Fast forward again to this week.... In much the same way that I quietly puttered away and pushed together Haiku Miscellany, Hubby quietly created his own book, Impress The World Before 11 A.M. which is all about brunches! Have a peek:





I'll be sure to let you know when the Food Network comes knocking.

*He has never formally trained and technically is not a Chef -- hopefully I won't get run out of town for using the title lovingly.

05 April 2010

Creative Miscellany Overload!



This weekend, outside of all the family-filled Easter celebrations and a little bit of work in the garden, I focused on getting all my Creative Miscellany ducks in a row. Why? Because tomorrow is the release date for Regretsy: Where DIY Meets WTF and


Late last year, Helen Killer (a.k.a. April Winchell) put out a call for anyone willing to let their crafts stand up against her mad snark skillz. I put forth my Nightmare Clownbot plush toy because, frankly, that thing creeps me out, but I also told her to have a look through my store for anything else that caught her eye. She selected RockBot and after several emails and contracts and release forms were signed, he was in. I haven't yet received my copy of the book so I don't know exactly what she's said about RockBot. Yet.

Anyway.... In preparation for an increase in traffic and (hopefully) sales, I tidied up the Creative Miscellany website, built my storefront on Zibbet and added some stock (more this week, I promise), and redesigned my Etsy banner and Facebook icon so that everything "matches" -- "Look, Ma, I overhauled my brand identity!" -- and even did some SEO maintenance on the main site. Go me!


03 April 2010

Turf War Continues at UVic

As promised, Resistance is Fertile/Food Not Lawns took up shovels and re-built "the people's garden" on Wednesday.

There was a huge crowd watching -- some supportive, many just hoping the cops would show up and sort things out. Oh, and dozens of cameras including news crews from almost every media outlet in the city. There was a pile of tools, plants, and some wood near the fountain. Someone wearing a suit and a clownishly large top-hat emblazoned with the UVic logo was speaking into a megaphone, "Return to your classes, nothing to see. Please do not try to think for yourselves. Do not engage in conversations about food security," and so on.

Four people got to work raising a banner between the trees that read, "Reclaim the Commons" and below it another reading, "Resist Bureaucracy." Around 12:15, someone shouted, "SOIL!" and a half dozen people marched off to the parking lot, bringing back black plastic garbage bags full of dirt. I peeked around the corner, curious as to the source, and spied a blue VW transporter pickup truck -- how cliché.

Once the dirt had been delivered and shovels placed in a line, ready for action, a few people took turns on the microphone, speaking about the group's intentions and the reasons for the protest. Looking around I could see only two Campus Security officers at a distance though I did suspect plain-clothes Saanich Police were in the crowd. At 12:30 the call was made to dig, and dig they did:



I went back to work but the crowds remained, watching, for about half an hour then gradually dispersed. The work on the garden continued. When I checked in later, on my coffee break, much progress had been made, and the ringmaster was announcing that there was to be a potluck later that night. There was also a call for supporters to camp overnight in hopes of preventing the University administration from bulldozing "their garden" again.

When I left work on Wednesday, I fully expected that arrests would be made overnight and the garden would be removed. Imagine my surprise the next morning when I arrived to see the garden still in place and campers just rising from their tents:

FNL Camp

They had even continued to improve the garden, adding plant markers and other signs. I had to wonder, was it an April Fool's prank by the Administration? The supporters were now calling it a "Victory Garden."

Ultimately, I think the University just changed its approach. They issued an update to their press release/statement, adding that, "The university is reviewing the level of disciplinary action it will be applying to those responsible for damaging university property." For the most part, however, they seem to be leaving the activists alone, hoping they will get bored without an audience.

Thursday was pretty quiet -- when I left at 4:00 there were only a few people on the garden site. When we visited the site out of curiosity on Saturday (midway through the Easter weekend), it was completely untended:

RIF_untended

As I have stated before, I doubt that the people who started this garden would be around to harvest. That is made clear within a statement on their own blog, "I hope people will continue to interact with it, by taking care of it and dialoguing about it..." Just like every co-operative and volunteer group with which I've been involved, there is a call for many hands to do the work and, just like every co-operative and volunteer group with which I've been involved, I can tell you that very few will step up to do the work. I'm betting even fewer will step up when there is a risk attached to the work (discipline, criminal charges, or what have you).

Next Thursday is the last day of classes; after that there will be great stretches of time where there is little or no traffic near the library. Eventually, I suspect, there will be no one either willing or able to watch the garden -- they will have moved on to other protests, other projects, maybe even day jobs -- and the university will quietly direct facilities management to dismantle the garden and re-sod the land.

30 March 2010

I can still teach.

From the time I was 6 until sometime in the midst of my third year of university I wanted to be a teacher. (Actually, there was also a brief year or two when I wanted to be a neuropsychologist, until I realized how many biology classes I would have to take.) I clearly remember announcing in first grade that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up, in part because my teacher, Mrs. Johansen, was great. I never really outgrew the idea but instead circumstances changed.

When I worked in England, assisting the house mother in looking after about 30 boarded kids under the age of 12, I grew restless during the day and convinced the Headmistress to let me assist in the school. I taught drama class in the junior school and eventually took on whole sections of math and English classes in the senior school -- completely unsupervised! I was 18, with a (Canadian) high school education and I was teaching classes of 14-16 year olds (8-10 year olds in the junior school). Even then I thought it was bizarre that they would let me do that, but I loved it. More than anything it convinced me that I was on the right track.

When I returned to Canada and entered University, my initial plan was to get an English major and a math minor then follow up with the Post-degree Professional Program (teaching certification). I figured while I wanted to teach English, I would be just as content teaching math. That didn't pan out because I had so much trouble with calculus; I changed course and ended up pursuing the History major/English minor that I completed. In third year my plans changed again as it became clear that 2 out of 3 of my classmates were planning to follow the same crowded path as I was in a province that was laying off teachers.

I never did that certification. Instead I worked in the library shelving books for a while then tried my hand at plumbing after which I returned to the library and stayed. Even through plumbing, I tutored several classmates through the algebra and geometry sections and from time to time, I still get to use the teaching skills that I always knew I had in me.

A few weeks ago, realizing that I needed to train several people how to edit the union website, I wanted to use one of the library classrooms. I offered to build an Introduction to Drupal session and open it up to library staff. Last week, to my surprise, I found the class was full!

Over the weekend I pulled together the outline, built a Powerpoint presentation, and tidied the original handout I had built for training the content editors. Though I was nervous and I realized later that I didn't even introduce myself (doh!), I got into the swing of it and even though I hadn't even done a dry run through, I finished with time enough for questions. I got some good feedback, too.

Sometimes I wonder whether I would have been better off as a teacher; most of the time, I look at "kids these days" and think, "not likely," but there's always peers to be taught. And... if you believe in personality typing, I sit on the cusp between INFJ (which lands me squarely in teacher territory) and INTJ (typically scientists and strategic planning-types but also teachers and professors). Either way, I would probably still do OK.



p.s. if you are curious, the Introduction to Drupal presentation can be downloaded in pdf format

27 March 2010

Guerrilla Garden Drama Continues

One thing I missed on Thursday: after a relatively peaceful memorial at the garden/lawn site, the group marched over to the Administration building and seemed threatening enough to those inside that Campus Security instigated a lockdown.

Here's a follow-up article in the Times-Colonist: Garden Protest at UVic Heats Up, and a piece run by CBC News: UVic Rips out Unsanctioned Student Garden -- some of the comments on the CBC piece (both pro and con) really got me annoyed. Here is one voice from inside the protest group: Resistance is Fertile UVic Students and Community Members Seek to Remake Campus.

I wish that the Food not Lawns/Resistance is Fertile group would accept that they have the spotlight and use it to their advantage. They are calling for more action on Wednesday and I suspect it will be more confrontational this time.

I'm sure there are ways that they could work with both the Campus Community Garden and also the Administration if what they truly wanted was a resolution. Unfortunately, I think they just want attention.

If their issue is about growing food, they could join the CCG -- there are collective plots available to all students and the community -- or they could sign up for the Sharing Backyards project coordinated by LifeCycles, or they could even go big or go home by working with Linking Land and Future Farmers through the South Island Orgainic Producers Association. Both Sharing Backyards and LAFF seek to match people with land they cannot work with people who lack land to work.

If it's about helping the CCG find a new location, why not work with them -- start a garden on the Cedar Hill /CJVI lands. This area, adjacent to Mystic Vale is pretty much the last remaining farmland from the HBC Uplands Farm [see Planet U for a great description] and is currently used as a dog park and a disc golf course. This area has been set aside for "future development" for a long time. The 2003 Campus Plan (which is still being used to drive development) notes:

The primary area reserved for future development is the CJVI site. This 12.4 ha (30.7 acre) property of open-space land adjoins Cedar Hill Cross Road at the southeast corner of the campus. The property is surrounded by residential neighborhoods on one side and by South Woods on the other side. In view of the moratorium on natural areas, the timing of permanent development of this property may be advanced.

The following policy directions provide guidance on the urban design and landscaping matters. Wherever the A’ symbol appears, this denotes that there is a corresponding action item in Section 5.

Policy Directions – CJVI Property

LB#26 Potential Uses The CJVI Property has potential for temporary uses and permanent development, including academic expansion, faculty and student housing, sports and recreational facilities, parking, and any special opportunity uses that may arise.

LB#27 Master Planning Study – A Prior to any permanent development taking place, a master plan for the CJVI Property will be prepared with these caveats:

  • The plan will be guided by the vision and principles of this plan, as it may be amended from time to time.
  • Permanent development will provide landscaping and visual buffering to minimize its impact on nearby neighbours and on the adjoining forested areas of the University.
  • Creative thought must be given to the best way to provide links and connections from these lands to other areas of the campus.

The use of this area for communal agriculture in one way or another has been well documented for about 15 years and if the protesters are aware of all of these plans then I can understand their frustration. However considering how slow the wheels sometimes turn at UVic, I also understand that we are likely some months (or years) from a decision.



If you find this subject as interesting as I do, here is some additional background reading:

25 March 2010

Guerrillas on Campus

Regular readers know I am not one who loves lawns. They are great if you have kids or pets who need somewhere to run but in a city like ours, there are far better uses for land and I don't mean houses with bigger footprints. And don't get me started on golf courses.

I mean gardens. Food is ideal. Landscaping with native plants is good too. Hell, even reclaiming one's yard as a Garry Oak ecosystem would make me happy. That said, I'm not about to go ripping up someone else's lawn to make my point.

That's exactly what a Facebook group called "Urban Agriculture at UVic" did yesterday:

DSC00355 DSC00356

They started over the lunch hour and inside two hours, they had built an impressive little garden. Campus Security officers watched from a distance and called the Saanich Police who also observed before returning to other duties. Gardening continued. When I left work at 4 there were still people working at the details but the musicians had packed up and the crowds had long since dispersed. A coworker noted that when she left a lab at 9 pm the garden was still in place. On arriving this morning, it was all gone; it had been leveled before the janitorial staff arrived around 6 am:

Might as well be paved.

The event was called Resistance is Fertile: a Food Democracy Teach-Out. Planning for the guerrilla garden/flash mob looks like it started last fall. The activists brought shovels, plants, musical instruments and a soundsystem. It's not clear where the dirt came from but the buckets I saw being used were the smokers' ashtrays (wonder where they dumped the butts?) and the rocks were removed from the retaining pond on the other side of the library.

I don't think it is a coincidence that this event was timed in the same week as a Campus Food Forum, hosted by the Campus Urban Agriculture Collective, part of the UVic Sustainability Project (which is student run and not affiliated with the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability though they do work together on some fronts) and the Food Matters! Regional forum on food security, hosted by Capital Region -Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable.

I do think it is unfortunate that all of this takes away from the very real issue of the relocation of the existing Campus Community Garden -- an issue which, coincidentally, prompted Hubby to suggest exactly this location as an option for the relocation; others have suggested the Cedar Hill Corner (aka CJVI lands).

While Twitter was a-buzz with the goings-on yesterday and my co-workers kept an eye on things out their office windows, the media was largely silent. Nothing was reported on either local evening newscast -- the only UVic story was about the rabbit problem on campus. However, this morning I did find a brief piece in the Times-Colonist: "Budding Gardeners Spring into Action at UVic."

So, what's next? This morning, as we sipped our coffee in the Bibliocafe, we watched a small subset of yesterday's guerrilla gardeners gather at the scene. Will they try again? Possibly. Will the University administration remove it again? Most definitely. Everything on campus needs to happen according to a plan -- it's not all about bureaucracy, either. Issues such as access, safety, maintenance and much more all have to be considered before any project begins whether it's a warehouse or a greenhouse.

To plant a garden is one thing, to maintain it is quite another. Even the most laissez-faire gardener like me has to devote a certain amount of time to weeding, thinning, watering, fertilizing, and general care. A lot happens between seed and harvest and I suspect that the enthusiasm these gardeners showed at the outset would wane long before the first carrot was ready to be plucked.

If you want to support urban agriculture on campus, please write a letter in support of the Campus Community Gardens. They've been growing food on campus since 1996 and any extra food is donated to the student food bank. There is currently a waiting list for plots -- tell Campus Planning and Sustainability that local food matters.




EDIT to ADD: At 1:00 today, a small group planted makeshift gravemarkers and three signs in the remains of yesterday's garden. They stood in a circle and held a memorial, leaving the signage behind.

memorial4 memorial1

23 March 2010

Well, it isn't orgainized.

... but it isn't ugly, either.

garden_full

Above is part of my garden last summer-- it's pretty typical of all the gardens I've kept. Sometimes, I look out over my garden and think "it's beautiful" -- in the same way that a forest, marsh or other natural ecosystem is. When everything is working together and producing life, that is the pinnacle of beauty. And while that may seem a little melodramatic, it's nothing compared to the gutter-sniping in the blogosphere these days over ugly gardens.

In the article that started it all, Robin Ripley says, "If gardeners are going to approach grocery gardening in that lackadaisical way, I suggest they find another hobby."

First of all, who decided to call it "grocery gardening" -- that makes it sound like food stamp collecting and frankly I find it condecending -- like Marie Antoinette suggesting cake to the hungry -- I'll take eggplants over orchids any day.

Secondly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, sweetheart, and order does not always equal beauty. When was the last time you saw a field of wildflowers in even rows? And did you think it was ugly? I guess Mother Nature needs a new hobby.

Which reminds me, much like the term "grocery gardening" calling gardening a "hobby" dismisses everyone who is gardening because of food security issues or out of the need to stretch a budget.

Mary Schier suggests that ugly gardens might be a feminist issue -- hell, yes it is! Ripley's article reminds me of 1950s postwar ideals of housekeeping that led to the proliferation of jellied salads among other atrocities. In my mind, laying down landscaping fabric is the equivalent of putting on pantyhose -- you are not likely to find me doing either.

Do I plunk and plant? Not entirely. Do I plot out one foot squares in grids and allow for perfect spacing? Not a chance. My method lands somewhere in the middle and I get a decent amount of food and enjoyment for my (minimal) efforts. I also cut corners; I use and reuse whatever I can to get the job done -- last year I used plastic forks as plant markers; I pull weeds only when it is necessary or convenient. I have a laissez-faire attitude to gardening and I am totally OK with that. I think if I were to fret over row placement and companion planting and soil acidity and balancing plant heights and colours and persistent weed control, I would never plant another thing.

Yes, there are some important issues that need to be considered, especially for first-time gardeners but Ripley's offhand comments only serve to add a layer of guilt to an otherwise relaxing activity and do nothing to encourage new gardeners to give it a shot.

22 March 2010

Book News

Two book-related items of note today --

1. I got my proof copy of Haiku Miscellany today:

haiku_misc_overview

I was so excited to open it and hold it in my hands!! Now that I've approved it, it will be sent to various publishers' catalogs and online sellers like Amazon for listing. Of course you can already order a copy at Lulu:

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.


2. I got this email today:

"Dear Cheryl,

We're thrilled to inform you that your submission, Rockbot plush robot, made the cut and is included in the Regretsy book, which will be published on April 6th.

During the weeks ahead, you'll receive your copy of the book, directly from Random House. We'll also be sending you information on the free week of advertising for your Etsy store or web site on Regretsy.com.

This has been a very exciting time for us and it would not have been possible without your enthusiasm, support and sense of humor. We greatly appreciate it and look foward to hearing your reactions to the book.

Best Wishes,

Team Regretsy"


If you are interested, the book can be ordered now through Amazon or your local bookseller: Regretsy: Where DIY Meets WTF.

20 March 2010

Honey Do List Day

While we didn't get everything on our list done, we made a few dents.

We finally replaced the bathroom basin partly because it was broken (the faucet was useless and the basin itself had a crack on the outside) but mainly because it's a really cramped room and the new basin gives us an extra 5" of clearance even though we lose some storage area from the sides of the old basin. We'll figure it out... consider it a work in progress. Of course most people won't notice ("I can't see the difference. Is there a difference?"*)

before_after_basin

We also put together the IKEA Mosjö entertainment unit we bought last week to give us a little more streamlined storage for our media centre; the unit we replaced was designed to fit in the corner of a room so, again, we gained a little extra elbow room. In the process of moving everything, I cleaned a LOT of dust off the PVR -- probably a big part of the reason it's been sluggish.

Meanwhile, Hubby had a peek at what is under our lower deck. We've been talking about digging down and building out, adding a room below (with hopefully another bathroom) and putting a new kitchen above then turning our current kitchen into a dining room. Anyway, if we found a big rock under there, it would change our plans somewhat. He has yet to start digging to find out.

Otherwise, it's just been a day of sorting, tidying, and organizing stuff... plus some hanging around, gaming time.


*this quote is from a laundry detergent ad (a series of ads, actually) for ABC detergent -- it hasn't aired for 20 years but it is still stuck in my head.

18 March 2010

Well, that week flew by.

I'm not going to bother trying to catch you up on everything but if you missed it, I did review Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland, over on the Medianook. I've also been failing to find the time to finish the review I started of Up in the Air, which we saw in a double feature with The Hurt Locker last weekend.

J30_double_bill

Also in the mix was Kiddo's birthday party, for which I baked and decorated 20 cupcakes (not from scratch, but close enough) -- the birds and butterflies are paper on toothpicks and they match the liners (both by Wilton).

birthday_cupcakes

The remainder of my evenings have been spent fighting the stupid timechange and trying to find my way around Drupal 6 since Hubby was kind enough to upgrade my FrugalVictoria site (that was still stuck back in version 4.7)

Work has been crazy busy -- we are almost done scanning and uploading the backlog of theses (we have about 60 remaining out of about 400 when we started focusing on them in November), we snuck in a side-project that turned out to be really interesting (I'll post the link as soon as it's officially "live" -- hint: it's related to the Abbey Theatre in Ireland) and we are trying to finish our other outstanding projects while shoehorning in another rush and... well, you get the idea. Busy.

12 March 2010

Kiddo is Nine Today

I can hardly believe how fast she is growing up. She had a great time at Great Wolf Lodge and even managed to feign interest when we detoured to the geek-tacular Science Fiction Museum in Seattle; she preferred the Experience Music Project upstairs in the same building.

emp_drummer_girl


We went out for dim sum for her birthday treat (and later we will be making nachos for dinner) and she was showered with gifts -- LEGO, a Build-a-Bear, an iPod Nano and Skullcandy headphones plus a half dozen volumes of Yotsuba and a giant bubble wand. She'll get more on Sunday from other relatives and friends at her birthday party.

06 March 2010

Craft fair chronocide

While today wasn't a complete bust -- I made a sale and got a commission -- it was largely customer-free. Much like the Little Shop of Horrors in the fall, the LoudSpeaker Festival Market lacked promotion but it also ran up against a beautiful day and a half dozen other events, including the torch's return to Victoria ahead of the Paralympic Games and the annual Be A Tourist in Your Own Town promotion.

On the other hand, it was as good a place as any to focus on creative things so I whipped up the felt "Hello" badge that I've been meaning to for a long while -- I will likely start selling these as custom items on Etsy:

badge_front

I also set myself a goal of writing 100 haiku while I was there. I got to 38 and, while they are not all keepers, there were a few good ones and a few more that could benefit with some polishing. I'm back tomorrow (come visit me at the Victoria Event Centre on Broad St!) and suspect I will get to 100; I'll share more tomorrow.

On a side note, look at these wonderfully-creepy "Beaster Bunnies" from another member of the Monster Etsy Street Team!

05 March 2010

Soapbox Moment

I get really tired of people thinking that free speech can be demanded and denied in the same breath. What got me on my soapbox this time is the UVic Student Society (UVSS) versus Youth Protecting Youth (YPY), a pro-life group whose opinions make me curl my nose in a funny way. While my own views on the abortion issue generally fall under the pro-choice banner, I stand firmly in the YPY courtyard in defending their right to have and make known their opinions.

However, the UVSS chose to deny club funding to this group because of their opinions. More precisely, it is because their posters are "offensive" and make women "feel guilty" for choosing abortion.

This is quite plainly bullshit and it makes me grumpy.

I feel guilty every time I see a poster for a yoga group -- and I am offended (as a "person of size") that the women pictured are usually very muscular and slim -- but I'm not deluded enough to think that I can crush their right to a campaign because I feel threatened by the messages implied by the posters.

-+-+-

Over the past few days, the students have been voting and it has been (at least from my vantage point), brisk. This subject is one of the issues dividing candidates and I hope there is some change in the board that will support a more reasonable application of the concept of free speech.

03 March 2010

Haiku Miscellany is ready for the world

The project I was working on that I didn't want to talk about until it was done is DONE! I think I annoyed hubby because I wouldn't even tell him what I was doing, but the tactic works so I may employ it again.

Anyhoooo, Haiku Miscellany is a collection of 25 haiku poems acompanying 25 photos of 25 of my creations from Creative Miscellany. It's available through Lulu.com in print or as a download.



Next on the to-do list: Craft Market this weekend, followed by spring break, then I can set up my Zibbet shop!

01 March 2010

World of Tomorrow interlude

aww, this stuff makes me sooo happy! This is a little featurette from the Seattle World's Fair that focuses on the telephones of tomorrow :)

28 February 2010

Craft Market next weekend!

So, I took the plunge and signed up for the LoudSpeaker Festival Market on both Saturday and Sunday -- I am hoping it will be busy. It's free so if you're downtown next weekend (which is also Be a Tourist in your own Hometown), please come visit me at the Victoria Event Centre on Broad St. Saturday 1-6 pm, Sunday 1-5 pm.

The available table is smallish (only 30 inches in diameter) and round, so I set up a test table to see how much stuff I could get into that space. I think I will be fine, thanks to the carousel I picked up (where, I can't remember, but I didn't pay much for it). I am working through a short to-do list in order to get everything ready -- worst case, I will do the last prep on Friday as I am off work.

compressed_setup

One of the things I need to pick up is more small bags for things that need to fit on the carousel like the catnip mice -- in small bags, I can get three or four in each side; in larger bags, just two. I also want to pick up some more sleeves for my art cards (ACEOs) -- I know I bought a package of 100 but do you think I can find them..? Sigh. Actually, I was pretty impressed that I pulled together enough stock for this show in a very short time. After the show, a lot of what doesn't sell will go up on Zibbet as my start over there.

24 February 2010

creative overdrive

Shhh, I'm creating!

Actually, I am working on a little project that I thought would take almost no time and instead is taking me... well... more time. But that is all I am saying about it because it seems whenever I discuss details of my projects, they disappear into the ether of woulda-shoulda-coulda. So mum's the word until it is done (hopefully by the weekend).

In the meantime, I also signed up to sell my wares on Zibbet -- kind of like Etsy but no fees! Seriously. I did however spring for the premium account -- right now on offer for $7 per month (nearly half off the regular $15), plus if you sign up now, use the code 30FREE to get 30 days of the premium account for nothing. If you want to sign up, please consider clicking the banner below so I get credit for spreading the love :)



I'll let you know when my store is ready and when my other project is done. Woo!

Oh, and I also got an email from the coordinators of the LoudSpeaker Festival asking if I wanted a table at the market. It's a busy weekend and I'm not sure I can fit in a random sale day or two, but I have asked for more information, just in case. Again, I'll put out the word if I'm going to be there!