Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hopefully, 2007 will be...

...less momentous.

What's happened this year? Just about everything. If you've been following along here, whether in person or just in the blogosphere, you'll know that Metro and I got married, honeymooned in Paris, sold our condo, moved to Penticton, changed jobs, bought a new house, met loads of new people, had a pile of friends come to visit...Oh yeah, and I steeled my courage and went to my 20-year high school reunion. Oh, and had my hair dyed for the first time in my life!

Enough! I want only one thing for the new finally complete my two-year journey to a new career. It's time to land -- to that end, I'm going to actively pursue more projects, follow up on leads, and maybe become so comfortable in what I'm doing, that when the government does finally call, offering me a job, I'll have to hesitate...before I snap it up!

Leave a comment, and give me a summary of your year. I'd like to know...

See you next year!


Prime Minister Gets Artificial Hip

Who says Canada's medical system is going downhill?

Really, what's more hip and modern than making your own podcast? It says, "Hey, look at me! I'm trying to engage the young people of..." That could be it. But more likely, it means, "Hey, look at me. I'm young, I'm hip, just like you!"

Gack. The last thing I would ever listen to would be Stevie Harper's nifty podcasts.

Note: 'Tis not an error. I did not forget the link. Should you be looking for some narrow-minded, Neo-conservative self-congratulation, it shouldn't be too hard to find.

Wow, that's a bit of a negative post for the last day of the year...I'll be back before the stroke of midnight to reflect on 2006.


Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Other Cat

Nabi, my black'n'white cat, dainty princess at home, hellion at the vet, has had her picture on my blog twice now. Cinnamon is my other cat, and is an amazing suck of a cat.

So here's a picture of him. If you come to visit, he'll deafen you with his purr...


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Congrats to Creatrix!

I've updated my blogroll to reflect Creatrix' new home: -- very purty indeed!

Don't we all wish we had design backgrounds and web-fluent husbands?


Me, and Cat Pee

I've spent the day in "cat pee watch" -- and I must say, I've had better ones.

As any cat owner will tell you, cats are brilliantly easy to litter box train:
  1. take kitten's little paws in your hands
  2. scratch said paws in the litter
  3. go make a cup of tea and get back to your book
My lovely cat, Nabi, has been spraying, or as we say around the house, "The bloody cat's pissed in the corner again!"
We thought it was the other cat, and she was just discovering it and scratching ("Females don't spray!"). Then, when we figured out it was her, we assumed it was stress. (You'd be surprised how many hits you get for "cat peeing in house" (and variations) on Google.) Cats will pee in places other than their cat box for behavioural reasons (can they see another cat outside? is it a new house? did you move the furniture in some drastic way? Etc. Etc.).

But they will also do it for medical in urinary infections, or just kitty trying to say "Hey! I don't feel well!"

So I took her to the vet today. We had a 10:20 appointment. Neither the vet nor the technician could touch my princess-turned-Hyde cat.

The vet needs a urine sample...Option #1: hold cat down on back and put needle into bladder -- while disconcerting, it is supposedly not painful -- but no one would come out of that without blood being shed. Option #2: leave cat in kennel at vet's -- but many an obstinate cat has held back until bursting in lieu of peeing on demand. Option #3: take cat home, keep in one room with a separate cat box (with little glass beads to scratch, that won't soak up the 'sample').

That damn cat stayed in the bedroom with this other cat box, a bowl of water, and a dish of tuna all damn day. Did she pee on the floor? No. On the wall? No. In the cat box? Of course not. I gave her catnip. I pet her. She was in the bedroom, normally her favourite room. At 9 p.m., we thought she'd have to be bursting. So we move the special box downstairs, to her 'normal' spot, and let her out...she made her way down...and peed against a wall and on the carpet! A full 75% of the house is laminate or linoleum, where I could have collected the sample.

Instead, I was on my hands and knees, with a j-cloth, sopping cat piss up out of the damn carpet and wringing it out into a small jam jar.

[insert expletive]

Hope the sample is enough. I'll try again tomorrow morning.


Hi-tech, lo-tech

Ooh, Nag found something lovely today that mirrors the weird little hi-/lo-tech word processor I found a few days ago.

Is this a new meme? It must be, if it's already been snagged by an advertiser...


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New Favourite Web-Toy

So, I've mentioned BzzAgent before. Essentially, as a member, I get the inside scoop on some new thing, and then I tell people about it..if it's something I feel is worth talking about. So, I wrote about AOL radio a few posts ago, and many of you gave me your opinion on that!

Now I've got the skinny on a new on-line community...Gusto. In a way, this is what I've been waiting for -- a community that I feel I can connect with people.

This is the problem I've had with the Internet over the years. I have a Bugs Bunny fixation. I am a bibliophile. I'm a SF geek, and can expound on Babylon 5 or Buckaroo Banzai for hours.

But, I'm a proponent of the Groucho Marx view of the know the one, where he says:
"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member. "
I don't want to hang out with other Bugs or Bab5 fans.

But people who travel...that I can do. is a community for travelers (real or hopeful!). It is a rich idea, and has fabulous potential: members post reviews of places they've been, add pictures, write blog posts about travel, read each other's stuff, plan vacations, and in the end, enrich each others' experiences.

Theoretically. At the moment, it's very new. It needs lots of people to get involved, to write a lot of reviews, to rate a lot of places, to add more and more attractions...For example, there's absolutely nothing in the Korea section, except some hotels. Soon, I'll get in there like a dirty dog, and dig out my Korea pics & mementos, and I'll add attractions (scanning & adding pictures too), because this is the kind of community where I can settle in and relax, and I want to see it succeed.

Here's my profile. Check it out and let me know what you think...but preferably, join up and start adding your own content to make my new community better.

Damn. Too bad I ain't getting paid for this.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Gift-giving dilemma

I'm very careful to talk to each of my local friends, and ensure that we're not going to exchange presents. I consider it a gift in itself -- "Don't worry about exchanging boxes of chocolates just because we feel we must!"

But then, I think nothing about bringing a bottle of wine to their place if invited over for a drink, or finding them something in, say, March, and thinking "oh, this would be perfect!"

Tonight, we had a local acquaintance over for dinner, on Christmas Eve, because otherwise she might have been alone. We've also got our friend from Vancouver staying for the Christmas holiday, because, well, he just needed to get away. For them, we took great delight in filling stockings with fun/silly stuff, which we opened tonight (Metro and I each had one too, which we'd filled for each other)...and it was just a delight. Metro really liked his inflatable parrot (for a Hallowe'en pirate costume) and his silly putty. I liked my little toy Santa Claus and the chocolate coins. Our guests got a kick out of the things we'd chosen for them. We took turns opening an item, and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Metro points out: "The difference between the frenzy of gift giving and generosity is in the terms we use to define it. Generosity is about other people, while straight consumerism is how we want to be perceived."

Okay, I would agree. But I also think it's the onus of obligation and duty that seems to come with the social "holiday season" gift that annoys me. I can't just accept a gift from someone who wants to give me one -- I must reciprocate, and visa versa. I would love to give all my friends gifts, if I had the money...but I would hate for them to feel obliged to give me something in return. So, I give the gift of removing the obligation -- that extra step is deleted, and we can just get on with enjoying each other's company.

But tonight, an unexpected stocking full of silly goodness was, I believe, truly appreciated, and needs no reciprocation.

So, as my father would have said, "Merry Syphilis and a Clappy New Year." And remember that I did not haunt your dreams by elfing myself.


"Mentos, and Tetley's Yorkshire Bitter"

If you are the one person who hasn't seen what happens when you put a Mentos mint in a Diet Coke, then...oops. No longer available. [Why would they take it off youtube? Do they think there's anyone on the Internet that hasn't seen it (and saved it to their computers), and thus will buy the DVD now that they've had their 15 minutes of fame?]

Anyway, check this out...some good British lads, getting more than they bargained for:

Consider it a Christmas gift.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Eggnog, chocolate, chips...and no brains

What is it about this "holiday season"? I won't even get into the whole Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Soltice issue here. Nor will I touch the fact that no one starts anything in December, so much is on hold, business-wise, that I just gave up on the networking, didn't do much of anything. (No one, that is, except the 3 new clients of Creatrix's business who decided to bite the bullet and even ponied up money in the week before Christmas! Let's all give her a big cyber-hug!) [No link, 'cause she's moving her blog any moment now...but she is in the blogroll if you haven't been there already!]

What I am worried about is the food thing.

What is it about this time of year that makes people so stupid about food?

Or do I just mean me? Last night, I had wine, cookies, chips & humous for dinner. Nauseating. It wouldn't have been so bad, if the night before I hadn't had wine & cheese & crackers & chocolate for dinner -- but wow, that was a fun time!

Tonight, I promise. Real food.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Should I switch??

Calling all Blogger users -- should I switch to the new version?



Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"Huh?" Democracy alert!

So, in Vancouver, if you don't like what the city is doing, you're not able to take part in civic activities? According to the legal advice given to Mayor Sullivan, I guess so. Sue the city, get kicked off committees.

B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Lawyers' Rights Watch chastise Mayor Sullivan for political interference

Vancouver – Mayor Sam Sullivan and the City of Vancouver legal staff have been engaged in a campaign since October 13, 2006 to cut Pivot Legal Society out of any discussions on housing issues in Vancouver, and punish the organization for bringing lawsuits on behalf of marginalized individuals against the city by severely restricting Pivot staff and volunteers’ access to city services.

“Immediately after I called the City to notify them of potential bylaw violations at two hotels in the downtown eastside, our office received a fax from the legal department of the city telling us that staff and volunteers of Pivot Legal Society had been cut off from direct access to services provided by the City of Vancouver,” recounts David Eby of Pivot Legal Society. “Following that letter, the City attempted to force my removal from the VANOC housing sectoral table, using the cover of misapplied law society rules. They then attempted to restrict my communications at the Urban Core Community Service Provider’s Coalition using the same justification.”

Shortly after Pivot was cut off from access to City services except through the legal department, the VP of Sustainability for VANOC, Linda Coady, contacted the Impact of the Olympics on Community Coalition (IOCC) and attempted to have David Eby removed from the VANOC Housing Sectoral table. Ms. Coady told the IOCC and David Eby that representatives for the City would refuse to participate in the table if Eby continued as the representative of the IOCC. When the IOCC refused to remove Eby as their representative, the City of Vancouver backed off. The restrictions on city services for Pivot staff and volunteers continue.

“We would enjoy an explanation for these shenanigans.” says Jason Gratl, president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. “The City is purporting to enforce a rule stating that if you sue the City, you lose access to City Hall. Such a rule either acts as a disincentive to sue the City or punishes people who do – both of which are undemocratic”

"The role of the civic government is to uphold the law for all citizens, not to violate it,” adds Gail Davidson, Executive Director of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada. “These restrictions violate the legal rights of Mr. Eby and his clients. LRWC is alarmed at what seems an attempt to prevent indigent people from enforcing their rights. Who is giving these instructions and why is the legal department acting on them?"

- 30 -


About Pivot Legal Society
Pivot’s mandate is to take a strategic approach to social change, using the law to address the root causes that undermine the quality of life of those most on the margins. We believe that everyone, regardless of income, benefits from a healthy and inclusive community where values such opportunity, respect and equality are strongly rooted in the law.

So, not only is the City of Vancouver not living up to its promise to the IOC on housing commitments, now if you try to hold the City to its word, you're not allowed to point it out.

I hope 2007 sees more activists, not fewer. Check out the Pivot Legal Society to see how it's done!


Monday, December 18, 2006

Flash fun..

That's Word Perhect.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

A gadget to end all gadgets...

The Giant, the Swiss Army knife to beat them all, or as this columnist for the Guardian points out:
Grotesque, if superbly engineered, the Giant weighs nearly a kilogram and features 85 devices in all. Unload this mother into the plastic tray as you walk through security at Heathrow and just see what happens.
But is it absurd? If they expect people to actually walk around with one in their pockets, yes. This is a collector's piece, at Cnd$1,119.64...
The Giant is a real product, available for the very real price of £495, but it is aimed at completists and collectors. One gadget website correspondent has balefully written, "I envision this monstrosity being presented as a rare 'salesman's sample' on 2310's version of The Antiques Roadshow." [the company] admit that its practicality is limited, and that its purpose is partly to promote the company .
And no, I don't want one. I like my Swiss Army knife. Mom got it for me in Switzerland, and the corkscrew works just fine.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Vanity -- 4800 years ago

Cool story alert!

archaeologists have found a 3rd millennium artificial eyeball in a woman's grave. It's pretty fancy too:
"...even the most delicate eye capillaries were drawn on this eyeball using golden wires with a thickness measuring less than half a millimeter. There are also some parallel lines around the pupil forming a diamond shape. Two holes are also seen on the sides of this eyeball to hold it in the eye socket."
Very cool. Found in Burnt City, in Iran:
"Located 57 kilometers from the city of Zabol in Sistan va Baluchistan province, southeast Iran, Burnt City is one of the most important prehistoric sites of the country which was well developed during the third millennium BC."
People are people, doesn't matter which millennium.


Okay, this is funny...

Movie tie-in merchandise...Like for the original Star Wars.

Who thought up these things?

I can just picture it, a bunch of product developers, sitting around a table, brainstorming:

"Let's make C3P0 into a tape dispenser!"
Good God.

"Come and pull on my tape, little boy!"

I don't know which is worse - the positioning of the tape roll or the look on his face.


Too funny.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"You've got radio."

I've never been a big fan of AOL. Terrible reputation for contributing millions of their mailout CD-ROM to landfills (incredibly wasteful marketing campaign). Their interface is known as the "training wheels of the Internet." (I mean, really. Why confuse matters with "AOL Users, use keyword X"? Can't they just search like the rest of us?) They (and Starbucks) paid big money to ensure that their logo was in your face throughout the rather sappy Hollywood remake of the great film The Shop Around the Corner (1940).

But, perhaps they're trying to change their image a little. They're now promoting their radio service, which ain't half bad. I found out about it because I'm a BzzAgent (that's a whole different post! Check out the link, then come back and ask me about it!), and now I'm sharing the info with you.

3 Things I like about
  • Three dedicated blues stations (acoustic, electric, and 'all blues') in the (supposedly) 170+ stations
  • No commercials
  • Haven't had any repeats yet

3 Things I don't like (aol people, please pay attention)
  • It opens every time with the "1-Hit Wonders" station. How irritating is that?!?
  • If I want to save my settings (like, so it doesn't open with the irritating station), I have to have an account. I don't want yet another account...
  • When I first 'turned it on', it started putting a program on my computer, without asking. How did they by-pass my settings? Oh, my Firefox wouldn't let it happen, but normally I'm asked...right?
3 Neutral things
  • Good basic info about the song, without going anywhere else (although, clicking on the links will take you to Aols' Puretracks store...a little undependable, checked it out twice, and once it timed out...that's 50% timeout so far, about as good as Napster)
  • Can't really compare it to the other listen'n'buy services. I haven't used itunes radio in ages...found it a bit undependable (and they mixed blues & jazz together). Napster is just irritating, had a 3-month 'subscription' -- essentially renting the music...but they don't really explain that until you're committed. (ARGH.)
  • Here's a bit of the interface:
Anyway, it's pretty good radio for when you're sitting at the computer. I think I get the whole satellite radio thing...the ur-radio that we've all been waiting for -- music that is constantly different, without the interruption of advertising. It would be nice to have in the car for long trips, that's for sure.


Friday, December 08, 2006

It's official...

We live in a paradise.

The Okanagan Valley, and the South Okanagan in particular (Penticton, Naramata, Oliver), are the only Canadian destination on Frommer's Top Travel Destinations for 2007.

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

This lush region of British Columbia, dubbed by some as "Napa North" or "the Tuscany of Canada", boasts a mild climate, with rolling hills and a growth of plentiful fruits, nuts, and grapes. Vineyards are the big business now -- with more than 120 in the region, it is an ideal place for wine tasting. As in Napa, the topography and climate of Okanagan Valley make it a great place for hiking, kayaking, and biking (bike tours will even take you from winery to winery). The gateway to the region is Kelowna and the center of the wine region is a town called Naramata.

So book now. Competitive rates for private room, floor space, camping space at the Mr&Mrs Metro Manor.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christmas Specials Gone Wrong

I can barely stop laughing (terribly black laughter, actually), thanks to this list of the 10 Least Successful Holiday Specials of all Time, via the (usually touching, not touched) online Advent Calendar. A sample for your...uh...amusement:

A Canadian Christmas with David Cronenberg (1986)

Faced with Canadian content requirements but no new programming, the Canadian Broadcasting Company turned to Canadian director David Cronenberg, hot off his success with Scanners and The Fly, to fill the seasonal gap. In this 90-minute event, Santa (Michael Ironside) makes an emergency landing in the Northwest Territories, where he is exposed to a previously unknown virus after being attacked by a violent moose. The virus causes Santa to develop both a large, tooth-bearing orifice in his belly and a lustful hunger for human flesh, which he sates by graphically devouring Canadian celebrities Bryan Adams, Dan Ackroyd and Gordie Howe on national television. Music by Neil Young.

[why is this so funny? Gads. I can barely type. What was Metro's acronym? That's right, HWSOLTLYPAUTDBAFAA.]


Monday, December 04, 2006

Tag, you're it!

As Raincoaster explains it:
The chain lett- I mean "“meme" is this: List six things about yourself that are weird (then tag six more people).
My weirdnesses are pretty mundane.

I mean, I truly enjoy doing the dishes. By hand. I detest dishwashers. I like the pile of dirty dishes, the transition through hot, sudsy water, and the clean on the other side.

The summer after I graduated from university, I joined a traveling carnival. Drove one of the trucks, took care of the ponies, managed the mooches (kids hired at a town to help out, paid in popcorn and rides.) Met Willie the Welder and had a torrid affair. The show was owned by a retired freak show attraction (no lie, the Fat Man), and managed by a long-time carnie with a predilection for little boys.

Left the show when I got stranded for a week in Ucluelet with the ponies. This did not go over well with the show's owner...maybe it had something to do with the cops that met them when they rolled into town again? None of the trucks had valid was off a station wagon in Fernie.

It's a long story.

I collect. I don't think this is particularly weird, just something about me. As a good friend of mine once told me, "Four of anything is a collection."

I don't collect obsessively (like, anything). I limit myself to Bugs Bunny paraphenalia, teapots (and tea), and some certain authors, or genres. (Not first editions. I'm too cheap.) Movies.

Which brings me to...

I have an absolute passion for over-the-top, creative action sequences. Action films that pair cool music with absolute violence. And bad-bad-brilliant-bad movies. (Not bad-bad-stinky-bad movies...Metro believes that I have a soft place in my heart for the Bulletproof Monk. No. Fabulous potential -- Chow Young Fat, hip music, modern action...but it did not satisfy. It was lame in many fundamental ways.)

Give me my cinematographic fromage and I will be a happy woman.

I'm finding this difficult, 'cause what other people might find strange about me are just my day-to-day realities.

Speaking of day-to-day realities, my hubby pointed out to me that many might find it odd that I can reduce all life lessons to episodes of Babylon 5, or Miles Vorkosigan's adages.

I'm also prone to quoting Buckaroo Banzai...but that just makes me a geek.

I'm drawn to really difficult people. I could list 'em, but then I don't know who reads my blog. (If you think you might be on my list, you're probably not...'difficult' people don't usually see themselves that way.) I just have found over the years that I get along with people that others wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole (or since it's the Christmas season, a 49-and-1/2-foot-pole!) I've befriended them. Been an intermediary for them. Dated them. Came to my senses and quietly dropped them...


I'll tag...the Nag, Creatrix, Mr. Mad Haiku (looking forward to it in haiku form), & 30-something. Metro's already been tagged, and I'm not sure if Cold Desert is still blogging (he's wrapped up in the real world, I believe). And regular readers who are blog-less -- feel free to share with us in the comments ('cause I know you want to!).


Porn and Feminism

I was an 80s feminist -- discovered the Women's Centre, Women's Studies, and women who opened my mind while I was at university. I volunteered for a year at the Vancouver Women's Bookstore.

I will admit that I'm glad I found Linguistics first, otherwise I would have been insufferable...but I still label myself a feminist -- and I'd like to think that over the 12 years I was a teacher of Adult ESL, I influenced a lot of women from around the world to be strong and opinionated.

So I was pleased this morning to find this article by Naomi Wolf (in New York Magazine), on the theories of the 80s' Andrea Dworkin from the perspective of the 00s.

What I like about Wolf's writing is how she can summarize what we've all been noticing about the Britney-Spears-crotch-flashing world we seem to be living in -- in one sentence:
Young men and women are indeed being taught what sex is, how it looks, what its etiquette and expectations are, by pornographic training—and this is having a huge effect on how they interact.
But Wolf is actually saying that Dworkin was wrong -- the complete access to pornography is not making men more rapacious, instead they are increasingly just not turned on by the average woman, after their diet of tanned, toned, implanted, trimmed (a la Mrs. Henderson "And anyway, we'll have a barber."), sex-crazed online porn slut.
The reason to turn off the porn might become, to thoughtful people, not a moral one but, in a way, a physical- and emotional-health one; you might want to rethink your constant access to porn in the same way that, if you want to be an athlete, you rethink your smoking. The evidence is in: Greater supply of the stimulant equals diminished capacity.
The beautiful thing about this article, is that we (feminists) may have been wrong about cultural prohibitions:

I will never forget a visit I made to Ilana, an old friend who had become an Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem. When I saw her again, she had abandoned her jeans and T-shirts for long skirts and a head scarf. I could not get over it. Ilana has waist-length, wild and curly golden-blonde hair. “Can’t I even see your hair?” I asked, trying to find my old friend in there. “No,” she demurred quietly. “Only my husband,” she said with a calm sexual confidence, “ever gets to see my hair.”

When she showed me her little house in a settlement on a hill, and I saw the bedroom, draped in Middle Eastern embroideries, that she shares only with her husband—the kids are not allowed—the sexual intensity in the air was archaic, overwhelming. It was private. It was a feeling of erotic intensity deeper than any I have ever picked up between secular couples in the liberated West. And I thought: Our husbands see naked women all day—in Times Square if not on the Net. Her husband never even sees another woman’s hair.

She must feel, I thought, so hot.

Ah. Is that what it takes? When the whole world is surfing for "beaver shots", are we ruining our chances of a healthy sex life?


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Another year, another advent calendar

Who remembers to bring out the advent calendar in time? Smart parents probably plan to bring it out on the 2nd day, so that there's two nasty little chocolates, one for each kid.

I depend on Nag to find this lovely online calendar every year -- this year she waited until the 3rd of December, probably to keep us from getting too antsy.

I appreciated the colouring page this morning.

So go and enjoy yourself, no calories.


Friday, December 01, 2006

I refuse to do another test!

Well...except for maybe this one, via Metro.