Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Men & Cars

I'm posting pictures on my photo site of the Show&Shine that was in town this July. (The pictures I'm posting here are just illustrative shots, not the ones I'm really proud of.) I love any event that closes the street to traffic. In our town, they close blocks and blocks and blocks! All very exciting. [This picture sh ows less than one half of the blocked off area.]

I really enjoy the Show&Shine...and I don't even really like cars. I'm not a guy about it, that's for sure. Of course, there are lots of women who love cars, can fix cars, know everything about cars...but I ain't one of them.

At one point, I went off in search of a restroom, and left the camera with my man.

To the right is the picture he took.

[long pause]

He's such a guy.

For those who understand what I'm saying, check out the pictures I took. For those who don't, check out the pictures anyway, you'll like them too.


Monday, August 29, 2005


Somewhere in the last couple of weeks, I heard/read/was told that a paste of baking soda and water, left for awhile on the crud in the oven, will clean it. IT DOES!!

Here's a bit of an article on this non-toxic oven cleaner:
Most people can hardly believe that all I use for cleaning the oven is baking soda and water, and that the project requires no scrubbing. I suppose we have all been so brainwashed by household products companies that we mistakenly believe we require powerful chemicals for cleaning.
She does it a different way...I may try it next week.

It is awful the way we've all been conditioned to buy buy buy the latest product to make our lives easier. I've never cleaned anything so easily, and with less health risk, than I just did with the old tried-and-true baking soda.

It's not just for deodorizing your cat box anymore...


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Too Much Paper

I googled the phrase 'too much paper', looking for an image to encapsulate the way I feel about my/our office space. And I found this picture:

Underneath it, on the Flikr page, someone had commented (in a quiet voice, I'm sure): "This is a joke, right?" It's from the October 2004 archives of Cold Desert's blog -- which I took a gander at. He's an eclectic IT guy in Lebanon, and his current posts seem to be a little stressed about the amount of work he needs to do (interspersed with some really fun stuff)....I decided that he may not want to be reminded of this picture, so go visit his blog, but don't tell him I sent you!

I am not going to take a picture of my office, badly organized rattrap that it is. I have one cat who shreds any cardboard box that happens to be trying to store something, and the other helps to spread the little bits of brown


So I'm checking out're cleaning the office this weekend, so wish us luck!


Fraugs and the like...

Recently, I posted a blog and suddenly got a spate of comments. Wow! So exciting! People were reading my blog! Then I looked more closely, and realized that they were essentially bull: "Good blog! Why don't you come and see mine? www dot buysatellitetv dot blogspot dot com" Yeah, whatever.

I then got the advice from someone real who commented (Firestarter, who writes quite thoughtfully about the things that are meaningful to him: his kids, his wife, his God -- check him out) that I could delete the comment-spam, and change my settings to not allow anonymous comments. Then (am I boring you yet?), I got spam from people who actually signed in (their profile pages are unsurprisingly devoid of any content!). I could change my settings so that everyone would have to sign in and type in an authorization code...but I'll just delete them.

Then, I was reading another blog (now that he's outted himself, I can say that my man writes this corporate blog), where he mentioned Fraugs. From my understanding, there are essentially three types of corporate blogs: people who work in the company who write about their work in personal blogs (and who may or may not get in trouble for it!); PR blogs that are honest about who or what they are; and PR blogs that don't let on their ties to the company. (My guy writes the second!)

But here's something he brought to my attention (he linked to it in his entry on Fraugs above): a blog called blogoriented. Read it carefully, and you realize it is a little scary. It is a company that is currently in China, hiring people to write fraudulent blogs (hence "fraugs")...not that they call them that. From one of their posts:
I can tell you that the top 5 blogs we are currently developing are:
  • A blog written from the perspective of a stray cat in NYC.
  • A blog written from a 14 year old depressed Iowa girl.
  • A blog about life as a math professor in a southern community college.
  • A blog about being a plus sized model in Kentucky.
  • A blog about being a weatherman in California.

Okay...looks funny, right? But let's go a little deeper: a blog written by an adult in the point of view of a 14-year-old depressed girl in Iowa could become very popular. Now the blog owner goes to a music company for advertising money, and then the 'girl' writes: "The only song that makes me feel better is..." or worse, they go to a pharmaceutical company, and the 'girl' writes: "Oh, my shrink increased my dose of ... and I feel so good!" Hundreds of real 14-year-olds, searching on the Internet for some help, see this and are manipulated. Disturbing.

What's absurd is that maybe this idea is itself a fraug...(But I doubt it.)


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Dealing with a digital backlog

Check it out! I have created yet another site: this time to showcase the photos that I have been taking with my digital camera. There's even a bit of a blog there, where I will write about things photographic.

Just ask my man -- he's the one that bought me my Minolta DiMage A1. He got tired of watching the piles of photos grow, most of them experimental and useless. I then had the same problem on my computer -- folder upon folder of photos that nobody was ever going to see. And, to top it off, I am always taking pictures at events, and never sending the pictures on to the people. Those are going up as well, at least until all interested parties have had a look.

So, be patient, check this new site every so often, and I'll keep adding more photos.

And what would be a blog entry about photography without a photo? Here's one that is a lovely absurdity: the juxtaposition of Scottish bagpipes at the Richmond Asian Night Canadian can you get?


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A technical break

I'm so proud of myself...I added a section for links in the sidebar. But, notice that the font of "Links" doesn't match the "Recent Posts" or "Archives"...those are a .gif file imbedded in the template. I won't care if you don't.

Unless someone out there knows a trick or two to change it...?


...since sliced bread

Oh, my! I was going to blog today about the trendiness of having babies...but everyone must try Google Earth, if you haven't tried it already. Go anywhere, see anything, all from space! So cool.

Okay, back to babies. I find it almost heartening that those arbiters of trendy, today's celebrities, are racing to have babies. Headlines in the gossip section of one of our local rags: Hurley turns to baby food ("I found all I wanted to do was give him perfect, unadulterated food."); Tara admits to boob job ("Meanwhile, the American Pie actress has revealed she is desperate to fall in love and start a family."); and J. Lo pregnant? ("A source told the New York Post: 'Her freinds and family members have told us she is pregnant.' But representatives for the 34-year-old star continue to deny the claims.") Not to mention Ms. Spears constantly in the news about her upcoming baby...

What annoys me about this? Sex, drugs and alcohol were the trend of the up-and-coming stars in my generation (ie. when I was in my 20s). And when I was in my 20s, I was like everyone else, assuming I'd invented drunken promiscuity. (An attitude which is still alive and well in the cornucopia of dating TV shows: Blind Date, Elimidate, Fifth Wheel) What annoys me is that now these women, and the media surrounding them, act as if they are the first women in the world to have babies. And it's coming at a time when so many (normal) women are delaying it until they are more secure in their financial lives, or even deciding not to, because of career/lifestyle priorities.

The upside? Being pregnant is suddenly sexy. Women all over Canada and the United States are showing off their pregnant bellies, navel rings and all. It's quite a celebration of motherhood.

The downside? Gads, where do I start? Having a child is an expensive proposition, especially if you are not a millionaire pop icon. And the marketing -- it is becoming so 'important' to have the right 'stuff' for your kid. Rubenesque women were the trend when the poor couldn't afford to eat. Aerobicized asses when the poor couldn't afford to go to hire a trainer. Anemic scrawniness is the trend now, as it is an expensive alternative to eat organic/vegan. I'm a litle worried about the cost of having a child -- what ways will 'They' find to make it rise, and rise, and rise?

I'm going back to my Google Earth...far more fun.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005 busy.

Well, the deed has been done. He asked me. What's odd about it is how meaningful it turned out to be. I knew he was 'It' and the one I was going to be with the rest of my life...we'd even talked about marriage. But actually being asked was...big.

...under the stars...after having watched a guy give a presentation about bats in the campground we were in. [Hmm. Ambiguous sentence: did he give the presentation in the campground, or about the bats in the campground? As there is only small brown bats in the area, and the picture projected is of a vampire bat, I'd say it was the first interpretation.]

"But it's been so long since you last blogged!" I can hear my hordes of fans now...Okay, you're right! Being asked to marry someone on a one night camping trip isn't that time-consuming. I was taking a very intensive course...the one I mentioned a few entries ago...SFU's Book Publishing Immersion Workshop. Days of lectures by the top people in the field...nights of working in our breakout rooms to 10:30 p.m. deadlines (a couple of nights, the university stayed open so we could meet our 11:30 p.m. or midnight finishes!). My cats didn't recognize me anymore.

But I'm back.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Things I take for granted

I live in Western Canada, and, like most Canadians, live near the US border. I must admit, I've described my Canadian identity to foreigners as a 'negative space' of the United States. "For the most part," I've said, "we are what they aren't."

But I've often doubted that as a valid description...Being Canadian is more than that, but how to describe it? We can laugh at ourselves more, we wouldn't really care if our Prime Minister got a blowjob from an intern, and we have better beer.

Here's a blog that answers part of it for me: Atheist Exposed. [Go back to the beginning, and read from there...don't skip anything. It's powerful stuff.] I can't imagine living in a place (in this case, Texas) where coming out as an atheist after 30 years in the spiritual closet is akin to coming out as a Lesbian 20 years ago in Vancouver (or today, in Korea).

I want to point at this brave woman (and she is brave, if the reactions of those around her are to be believed) and say "There! This is the difference between Canada and the United States...or at least one state." Fellow Canadians -- do we have anything comparable?