Thursday, June 30, 2005

Is she dead yet? Nope - here she is!

1. Although I was lucky enough to have internet access in North Bay, I wasn't so lucky in Timmins. I was also unlucky enough to time my arrival at my hotel with a power outage caused by a lightning strike. Eegads!

Other than that, the trip was good. I'll have more details once I get the pictures uploaded, which may not be until next week. I'll leave you with these images: a giant cow, a giant truck, and mysterious moose.

2. So gay marriage is now a reality in Canada. Go us! I have many insightful things to say about the columnist in the National Post the other day who was writing against gay marriage. Except that I can't remember his name or what I did with the paper - he was a priest, though.

3. Everyone who read the Toronto Star on Monday may have seen the article about the cuts to library funding in Ontario. I know - most people can barely remember what they had for supper last night and now I'm asking you to think back to Monday and to an article you may not have seen. (However, if you saw the picture of the guys in speedos from the Toronto Gay Pride Parade, the article about library funding was next to it.)

I work for one of the two organizations that just had our funding slashed drastically, so it's been a really tough month for us. We work with public libraries in Northern Ontario, which are mostly rural and/or remote and who rely on us for support. Now, it's going to be even more difficult for them to offer services to their library users, and it's going to be more difficult for us to help them. If you live in Ontario and want to tell your MPP how important library services are to you, you can find their contact information here (by riding, or here by last name). If you live in another province or country, make sure your elected official knows how much you value library services in your area.

4. Tomorrow is Canada Day, so go out and hug a Canadian!

5. Our book club finally met last weekend and got around to talking about The Eyre Affair (after oohing and aahing over our newest member, Samantha. She's the reason we haven't met since early spring, but oh what a sweet little excuse!). I've posted our new book on the left, and will post our review of the book at some point.

Monday, June 27, 2005

And, she's off!

Okay, so where was I?


I did eventually make it out for a walk last night, around 10pm. I kept going out onto my balcony and saying, "It's still light enough! Just let me finish..." every ten minutes. Finally, I had to say to myself, "Oh, to hell with this. Just go already!" And so I did. I'm glad I did because I was restless and unsettled, and felt less so afterwards.

And the packing got done and the dishes got done (eventually) and some of the tidying got done. The fridge - well, let's just say that at around 8:45am, I swore loudly.

And my hotel room here in North Bay has high speed internet access - and it doesn't require wireless! Woo-hoo!

Oh, also? I don't think I should drink really strong coffee - any caffeine, really - early in the morning, especially if I'm driving somewhere. I'm wide awake, but I'm also "opinionated" after a cup of extra-strong dark roast. It's a choice between me being awake and hostile or dopey and docile, really.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

FOCUS, damn it!

This weekend has been one long waste of time. I have been completely unable to focus, and I'm not sure what to blame it on. It's not like I lack things to do - quite the contrary. I should have spent the weekend running around like a chicken sans head, but instead, I've lolled about doing as little as possible. And the heat doesn't have much to do with it.

I'm going on part two of my adventure this week. But have I packed? NOOOOOOOO.

My parents are coming next weekend. But I have I done any cleaning? Sort of - except that I made another mess in the process of cleaning up the first mess, so I'm basically back at square one.

A co-worker who's having a week far worse than mine asked me to make her a mixed CD. That's finished. But have I finished the liner notes of the booklet? NOOOOOO.

Have I gone for a walk yet today? NOOOOOOOO. And not likely to happen, given how late it's getting and how much I have yet to accomplish.

Have I finished washing the dishes and cleaning the fridge? NOOOOOOOO.

(Am I totally grooving to The White Stripe's "My Doorbell"? Oh yes.)

Did I finish the sock I've been working on for the past month. Yes. But I frogged it because it was too big. Now I have to restart it for the FOURTH time.

And for everyone who's going to suggest I make a list, rest assured that I already have a list. The first item on that list? "Make a better list!"

So, we'll see if I manage to get out the door at 7am tomorrow.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Overheard in Sudbury

"He's gone with this group and they do fun things like hang gliding and flying and looking at airplanes. They do a lot of things with air. Because it's the Air Cadets, after all."

Friday, June 24, 2005

Hodgepodge II: Electric Podge-a-loo

I suddenly remember that I had started posting Alien-esque titles to blog posts I didn't have a good title for. Now I've started with the whole "Hodgepodge" thing. My bad. I'll switch back next time.

This week - hell, the last month - has been spectacularly horrible. Craptacular, as my brother-in-law would put it. It's not even been one thing after another - it's been several things at the same time, and then several more things on top of that. I'm overwhelmed and emotionally drained.

Needless to say, there is a carton of ice cream in my freezer and I'm not afraid to eat it in one sitting. (Mom - put down the phone! Just because I want to doesn't mean I will. But that bottle of tequila is looking mighty good right now.)

Things I saw on my walk the other night:
  • A huge bug on its back. I would have flipped it over, but the thing was the size of my hand, and I figured it would probably attack me if I did. So I just moved it over to the side, where there was a chance it could flip itself over after I had gone on my merry way and not attack me.
  • A loon.
  • Someone flying one of those glider things. Like in Fly Away Home? I can't remember what they're called.
I forgot to mention in my adventure post that the dragonflies in Dryden were super-huge. Like, they were the Hercules of the dragonfly word. When normal dragonflies dive-bomb you, it's like "Tee hee! That tickles!" When those monsters dive-bomb you (as they did to me), it's more like "OW! #$%&*! That HURT!" Nor would the little bastards sit still long enough for me to take their picture.

Why is it that I can go on stage and dance in front of 200+ people in a gold bra, but I can't walk across my parking lot wearing my spandex yoga pants in front of maybe ten people who happen to be looking in the right direction at the right time? I usually end up wearing my nylon splash pants over them, and it's too warm at this time of year to do that, really. (The yoga pants are what I wear to dance class.)

Last night after bellydancing, I went out with the rest of the Lame White Girl Posse (Karen, Kris, Marty, and Andrea, who is representing the Kitchener chapter) to the Laughing Buddha, a cafe downtown, to celebrate Marty's graduation.

For my mother who asked (and the two of you who are still interested), the singer I made reference to the other day was Rufus Wainwright. That boy has a set of pipes on him, but I really didn't like that song. (I watched the extras DVD - turns out his father and sister were also in the movie as singers in the Coconut Club during different eras. Cool.)

Speaking of Wainwright, I found possibly the best cover of a George Michael song EVER yesterday - Wainwright and Ben Folds covering "Careless Whisper" (why can't I find the link anymore?) Does anyone want to go to their concert in Toronto in August with me?

Six more months until Christmas Eve!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Adventures in Northwestern Ontario

Last week was spent traveling around northwestern Ontario, which is somewhere I don't get to go nearly often enough. Seriously. I love Dryden, which is small and charming, and reminds me of my hometown, Fenwick. Thunder Bay is also lovely, nestled on the shores of Lake Superior (motto: "I'm not just a Great Lake, I'm Superior!")

The first few days were spent in Dryden. This is a picture of the cabin I stayed in.

Rustic cabin

I was met by a welcoming committee of spiders. They probably heard about my phobia on the "web" (hahaha! I'm so clever!). Thanks guys - not!

Spider welcoming committee
George and Charlotte

The other welcoming committee member

My concierge
Frederich, my concierge/valet

There was no phone in the cabin, which bothered me some, since I was in the cabin furthest from the main building. But it did have funky lamps - in fact, I think my parents have one similar to this in the basement somewhere.

Owl lamp

I did get to do a little shopping, and got my Mom a birthday present (which she'll probably get when she comes to visit next weekend). I also got to see the World's Largest Moose.

Giant moose redux

And, in honour of the Yarn Harlot, here's a picture of my sock with the moose.

Moose, meet Sock

On Wednesday, I flew to Thunder Bay, where it was sunny and warm. Thanks to Marylynn, I had a list of places to check out while I was there. But because of time restraints, I made it to exactly none of them. Except the Sleeping Giant, which I did gape at for a while (it really *does* look like a giant laying down with his arms folded across his chest!) None of my pictures turned out very well, though.

Thursday after my workshop, I was getting into my car, and I saw something running towards me. I though it was a bird, but as it got closer I realized it was a chipmunk, and I was pretty sure it was going to try to get into my car!

Looking for Dale

I flew back Friday to much cooler weather in Sudbury, which was refreshing. Next week, I'm off to North Bay and Timmins, so expect more pictures and about the same number of adventures.

Well, depending on whether or not I decide to take the 144 from Timmins to Sudbury, which takes 4 hours to drive and passes through exactly two towns. The rest is wilderness, punctuated by logging camps and a sign marking the watershed line, where water ceases to flow south to the Great Lakes and flows north to Hudson's Bay and the Arctic. Coolness. (Oh, and the Giant Cow in New Liskeard. I'm bringing my sock just for that!)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

This just in...

Rick Mercer's Blog

The Internet has just become a more fun place to play!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Surprised by Leo

Normally, I wouldn't spend a lot of time and effort going into the details of a movie I'd watched over the weekend. But yesterday I rented a movie I swore up and down I would never see because it was so praised and panned and generally hyped - I'm usually disappointed by movies like that so I tend to avoid them. But I caved in yesterday afternoon, after hearing yet another review by an average movie watcher who said it was worth watching, at least once.

So I picked up The Aviator after my walk yesterday, and watched it last night. And I honestly thought it was pretty good.

I'm not a huge Leonard DiCaprio fan - I'm not one of the throngs of people who think he's the hottest thing since boiled water. I find him kind of scrawny and washed-out, and I can't say that I think much of his acting. But occasionally he'll surprise me, like in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (I didn't much like Titanic, though.)

Ten minutes into the movie, I forgot who it was I was watching - instead, I was watching the story of a ambitious man fighting against a disorder that threatened to take over his life (man, I should get a job writing these things!) DiCaprio did an excellent job in this role, capturing all the nervous tics and behaviors of someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

(My only - and I feel like a traitor admitting this - complaint? In the first scene in the Coconut Grove, I don't much care for the singer's voice. I've watched the scene four times, and in his defense, it's mostly the song and style I don't care for because I find his voice ill-suited for it. Normally, I think he's phenomenal and I have three of his four CDs in heavy rotation on my iPod. I just don't care for the piece in the movie.)

Friday, June 17, 2005

I'm still not dead yet....

I have many stories and tons of pictures, mostly taken during the flights. I did lots of reading, also.

I will leave you with these pictures.


This is the cabin I stayed in when I was in Dryden. Tres rustic.


This little guy tried to get into my car in Thunder Bay. Tres cute.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Heat wave

Not only is it far too humid to be clever, but I think I used up all my funny earlier this week.

And yes, I realize there are places that are far more hot and humid than it is in Sudbury right now, and I shouldn't complain - except that Sudbury isn't supposed to get weather like this, at least not this early in the season. Or at all, if I am to believe the locals (who haven't steered me wrong with their weather predictions yet - "You think it's cold now? It's going to get colder before you know it." And hot damn - they were right!) The Herb Tarleks aren't liking this weather, and are starting to wilt in protest, despite the fact I've been watering them every other day because of the heat (am I possibly overwatering them?)

Surprisingly, I've been busy today, getting the recycling ready to take downstairs and tidying my linen closet, both things which I'd let go too long. I got a new shower curtain, and an extra set of keys made, plus getting a new purse/briefcase thing and a cute little makeup bag for Gretchen and her accessories.

I'll be on the road next week, and have re-psyched myself up for it. There will be pictures - oh yes, you'd better believe that I'm getting a picture of the giant moose in Dryden with the sock I'm knitting à la the Yarn Harlot and her traveling sock - which I'll try and post from the road, but more likely when I get back.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I intend to spend the rest of the afternoon in quiet contemplation of my navel and the torn blister on the bottom of my big toe*.

*I tore it Thursday night at bellydancing. We were learning a new step called the "Marilyn Monroe" because our instructor couldn't think of any other way to describe the move. It's kind of a sashay with a twist.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Abe Vigoda, where are you?

Firefox has some fun little plugins, like the Abe Vigoda status indicator. Sadly, I have to uninstall it because for the past week, it's been telling me that his status is <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0//EN">, and I have no clue what that means.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Tonight, the role of "Clever Rebecca" will be played by someone else

I was in a bit of a hurry when I got out of the elevator to go for my walk tonight. There was someone right behind my carrying an armload of things, and there was someone I recognized as a resident trying to get into the building, so I wanted to be able to open the door for both of them.

In my rush, I completely missed the latch of the door and walked into it instead of opening it. Smooth.

Oh, if only that were the first time I've walked into a glass door today. Alas.

More about those freakin' spiders

So I'm walking across the parking lot of the Future Shop after work tonight, after having unsuccessfully tried to procure an iPod power adapter for Gretchen, my mini iPod. I had moved past the disappointment that they didn't have any and had started thinking about my topic du jour - huntsman spiders (I am not linking to any pictures or anything that has anything to do with them. I've been freaked out by them enough today.)

This would be the moment a pebble decides to lodge itself into my sandal. The rational part of me, the part that knows that there is a pebble in my shoe and it is only a pebble, immediately gets run over by the highly irrational part of me which is sure that there is now a huge grey spider on my foot and it is going to eat me.

I do the little dance and shriek a little, just to make the irrational part of me happy. Meanwhile, the rational part of me has picked itself up off the ground and is trying to get all my systems back online and make sure that no one has witnessed this little display of dorktitude, because there is a part of me that would have had to make sure no one lived to tell about what they saw.

(And this is where my sister would roll her eyes, and say,"She is such a spaz." And at that moment, she would have been right.)

What could possibly be worse than bats at bedtime?

(Sorry Julie)

Me: I'm standing in front of my desk because I followed a link on someone else's blog and saw a picture of a huntsman spider, and now I'm afraid there's one under my desk.
Karen: Um, this is Northern Ontario. There are no huntsman spiders up here.
Me: I know! But it's the idea that there are huntsman spiders at all! They're freaky! They're not natural! Two legs good, four legs good, eight legs - WRONG!
Karen: They must serve some purpose. Like, if they eat mosquitoes, I'm all for them.
Me: Mosquitoes? Those things could eat small birds! [I don't know this for certain, and I don't want to know if they actually can.]
Karen: Still - they're good for something.
Me: Are you defending huntsman spiders while I'm here having an attack of the heebie-jeebies?
Karen: Well, think of something else, then!
Me: I know! I'll go out on my balcony and look down to reset my fear button! I'll go from "Spiders! Spiders! Spiders!" to "Heights! Heights! Heights!"
Karen: [Laughter]
Me: Are you laughing at my perfectly rational fears?
Karen: No, but you should blog this conversation.

And so, I did.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Bookish tendencies

(I'm just a posting fiend tonight, aren't I? It must be the pot of espresso I drank at 11pm, n'est pas?)

Anyways, it's been ages since I've done any updating of the sidebar, where I post the books I'm reading for fun or book club. I'll be honest - between the beginning of April and the end of May, I only read two books. Shameful! I fully intend to do something about that this month. Part of it was the recital, part of it was the conference, and part of it is that one of the book club members gave birth in April, so she's understandably preoccupied right now - but we are meeting again soon, so I guess I need to finish the book. *sigh*

By the time you read this, I should have updated the list. Hopefully. I mean, what else am I going to do between now and 4:30am when the caffine buzz finally wears off? Hee.

(Updated at 3:30am: Okay, the list is up. Yeah, it's as long as my arm, but I'm doing a lot of travelling this month, which means mucho time in airplanes and/or airports, so I'll need something to do.

And I read three books between April and May. I forgot about the Christopher Rice book, which was a good thing until I double-checked my list. I would have liked to have kept up forgetting about it altogether - it was that disappointing. Now all I need to do is update the parallel blog where I'm reviewing what I'm reading. Oh? I haven't told you about that yet? Lord knows I agonized loudly and at some length about it earlier in the year.)

(Update 2 at 11:30am: Yes, I have slept, so don't go thinking I've been up since 8:30am yesterday morning. I forgot that I had a couple of library books, so I'm going to add them to the list.)

Retail therapy

This week was just one of those weeks, where nothing goes right and everyone seems to be thwarting your plans. I started feeling better after a long conversation with my mother last night, so after I finished my housework* this morning, I indulged in a little retail therapy.

First stop - HomeSense. I'm not sure what the American equivalent is - sorry. But I got a milk foamer (it works wonderfully!), and a folding metal table for on my balcony in the clearance section - it's cute and pale green!

Then I hit the new Michaels. When everyone in the bellydancing recital was desperately looking for embellishments for their costumes, this store wasn't open. Now that the recital is a month past, they're open. Go figure. Anyways, I wandered through the bead section - it's pretty good, actually. Then I made a beeline for the yarn section, which - wow. Of all the stores in Sudbury, this one has the biggest selection - it's mostly novelty or borderline novelty, but they do have some fun stuff that I've got my eyes on. I only bought two balls of cotton to make dishcloths.

And then - because you know I can't go on a shopping spree and not hit this place - Chapters. It's simultaneously a house of worship, a den of sin, and a crack house for me. But, I was good and limited myself to only four books, two full price and two discount books.
  • Our Bodies, Ourselves - a reference book I first heard about years ago in my introductory reference course at library school. I've wanted to get a copy for a while, but I was waiting for the new edition, which didn't seem to be available for the longest time in the store. Karen got a copy for Kris, and I did a little dance when I saw it this afternoon.
  • This Lullaby (Sarah Dessen) - from the blurb on the back, it sounds a little like Pretty in Pink. The four or five pages I read while standing there were pretty good, so I took a chance on it. I think I'll read it tomorrow afternoon.
  • The Partly Cloudy Patriot (Sarah Vowell) - Ms. Draggletail mentioned recently she'd just finished the audiobook for Assassination Vacation and found it interesting. So when I saw this book on the bargain shelf, I decided to take a chance.
  • Walk of Fame (Sharon Krum) - it's chick lit and it was cheap. 'Nuff said.
I was good and didn't get the stunningly illustrated version of The Highwayman, done in 1930's gangster/G-men style.

When I went for groceries, I bought some plants to put on the new table on the balcony. Meet the Herb Tarleks!**


From l to r: Peppermint HT, Chives HT, Sage Oregano HT (what can I say? It was dark and I couldn't read the label properly), Rosemary HT, Basil A. HT, and Basil B. HT. They're on the table I bought this afternoon.

I'm going to get a proper planter for them tomorrow.

*Not really. I put away my winter clothes and took out my summer clothes, cleaned the bathroom, and declared myself finished for the time being. The kitchen, laundry and everything else could wait until I got home.
**For those of you unfamiliar with the name "Herb Tarlek," he was the tacky salesman on the show "WKRP in Cincinnati." The Rheostatics have a song called "The Tarleks" which prominately feature the character.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Macaroni salad and ice cream cake

Yesterday when I stopped at the grocery store after work to pick up some last-minute things for Kris's party, there was a guy with a hairpiece so heinous and awful that I almost said something. As it was, I had difficulty not snickering when he passed. (It was *that* bad! It looked like it was made with the stuff they make Barbie's hair with, which mats and gets tangled after a few washings.)

When I got home from work and groceries, there was a young man standing in the lobby of my building. He was wearing a tux and looked quite spiffy, so I asked if it was prom night. I told him he looked very handsome (the kid was about 17, and no, I'm not robbing the cradle!) and the woman waiting to get into the building behind me nodded in agreement and told him to have fun.

Kris and Karen were going to Manitoulin Island for the day, but expected to be back around 5:30 or so. Which was going to be a problem because I would have barely enough time to get home from work and make the salad before having to leave for the party. Fortunately, they were late, so I had plenty of time to make the salad, unwind, and chat with my mother (I was having a bad week).

As well, I had time to make an overly ambitious playlist to put on my iPod - 87 songs is a lot, especially if not all of them are suitable for the same playlist (Macy Gray and Motley Crue? Nuh-uh.) I'm going to clean it up because it's got some good stuff on it, most notably an amazing cover of "Baby One More Time" by the lead singer of the Crash Test Dummies.

The party itself was a blast. It was relaxed and easygoing, and there was lots of laughing and carrying on. The cake was an ice cream cake which needed to be thawed for about an hour* before we could actually cut the damn thing.

So, happy birthday to Kris and Jeff!

*Actual thawing time was probably less than that, but when you want cake and you can't cut it, it feels like longer.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Hodgepodge - tastes great and good for you!

I don't have enough of anything to say on any one topic, so I'm lumping it all together into one easy-to-digest post.

Happy Birthday to Kristina! Your party is tomorrow and I still don't have the macaroni salad made yet! But I'm making a kick-ass playlist to play while we eat before eating. And happy belated birthday to Jeff. Your birthday was last week and everyone forgot about it because of the conference. But I'm still not going to knit you socks.

I watched Kill Bill Vol. 1 last night. It was campy, gory, and over-the-top, but I loved it nonetheless. Uma Thurman is a funny-looking woman with big hands (but I knew that because I've seen Even Cowgirls Get the Blues). Now all I need to do is convince 84 people to follow me around and be my army/posse (because I know that Karen, Kris, Kevin, and Marti will join). We'll call ourselves "The Inco 89."

I also watched the first half of "My Fabulous Gay Wedding," hosted by Scott Thompson, but I had to turn it off when they started talking about having shirtless Scottish dancers perform. There are just some things that are too campy, even for me. However, Water Colour Boy has a pretty good recap of the show.

The internet is an amazing place - witness the fact that Dave was able to tell me what song I heard almost six years ago based on the brief snippet that I remembered! Amazing! So, let's see if we can do this again - I'm using the excuse that I'm having a "senior's moment" as my excuse:

Eons ago, when I was a wee lass, I used to watch this afterschool cartoon whose name escapes me. There were five main characters, each had a different colour, and they had feline-like robot vehicles. It wasn't the Power Rangers - it was well before their time. The animation was anime-like, and there was an updated 3Dish version a few years ago. The female character was called Princess and one of the other guys was Jason. The reason I ask is not only because I knew the name of it as recently as four years ago, but they were also parodied on "Megas XLR" a few weeks ago (I love that show!)

Can you help me? Purty please?