24 May 2010
20 May 2010
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.
17 May 2010
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
EDIT: Cathie Walker's presentation, Writing for the Web is available as a pdf
14 May 2010
13 May 2010
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.
*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
08 May 2010
- 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.
04 May 2010
03 May 2010
- Mohammed Omer, 2007 recipient of the Martha Gellhorn Prize, writing from Gaza for the Inter Press News Service.
- Cecelia Dugger and Barry Bearak, winners of many awards, largely for their coverage of social unrest in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Some articles: Anti-immigrant violence rages in South Africa, Complex ties led ally not to condemn Mugabe
- A UBC Journalism class has won a top journalism prize for their documentary, Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground (view clips here)
- The Investigation into that Missing iPhone from Gizmodo
- What is Apple Inc.'s Role in Task Force... on Yahoo News
- Apple vs. Gizmodo from LA Times
- ...Apple's Dangerous Game on Conceivably Tech
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
24 April 2010
19 April 2010
17 April 2010
14 April 2010
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
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
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
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
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.
03 April 2010
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:
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:
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
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
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:
- A Path Less Taken: Planning for Smart Growth at the University of Victoria (pdf discussion paper, 2002 -- see esp. page 18 "missed opportunities")
- Uncommon Ground: Creating Complete Community at the University of Victoria (pdf, discussion paper, 2005)
- University Cedar Hill Corner Agriculture Facility Proposal (pdf, proposal 2008)
- Students Plot Agricultural Change (Martlet, March 2009)
25 March 2010
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:
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.
23 March 2010
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
1. I got my proof copy of Haiku Miscellany today:
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:
2. I got this email today:
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.
If you are interested, the book can be ordered now through Amazon or your local bookseller: Regretsy: Where DIY Meets WTF.
20 March 2010
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?"*)
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
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).
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
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
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:
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
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
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
28 February 2010
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.
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
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 :)
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!