Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Because I haven't burdened you with a playlist in a while

I'm stuck for something to write about tonight. I feel like writing, but I don't know what, so in lieu of me babbling about funny stories I can't tell you, here's another playlist. Think of them as my writing prompts.

I can tell you this about this list: it's a little over a year old and was one of those playlists I'd listen to on repeat for hours at a time, preferably at loud volumes.

Ray Charles - (Night Time Is) The Right Time - This song always reminds me of that episode of The Cosby Show, where Cliff is pretending to sing the song and Rudy and Vanessa are pretending to be the backup singers, and Olivia sings the "baby!" parts.

The Chemical Brothers - Leaving Home - If this song were in a movie, it would be played in the scene where the protagonist, who is morally suspect and just barely better than the antagonist, starts cutting deals with other morally suspect characters (who are normally at odds with the protagonist) to ultimately defeat the antagonist. The movie would feature many scenes set in dark alleys and sewers, and there would be characters who wear sunglasses at all times, and others who wear knitted hats and wife-beaters.

(No, I hadn't really given it much thought before I wrote it out - why do you ask?)

Mountain - Mississippi Queen - Proving that CCR and Lynard Skynard weren't the only ones who could do Southern/swamp rock. (And the Ozzy Osbourne version sucks six different kind of bad.)

The Vines - Get Free - Screamy, but fun. Not good to listen to when driving down the 400, south of Parry Sound, past where the highway goes back to four lanes after having gone down to two lanes. You tend not to notice things, like the fact your speeding just a little, but manage to slow down just in time because there's a speed trap up ahead. Not that I would ever do something like that. Nope.

Crowded House - Locked Out - Reminds me of high school, but not of anything in specific. Who cares - it's a great tune!

The Band - Up On Cripple Creek - Funky, groovy. "If I spring a leak, she mends me/I don't have to speak, she defends me." Love that line.

Beck - E-Pro - Have I ever shared my theory about Beck with you? No? Okay, here it is: once he's written all the songs for an album, he cuts all the lyrics apart, puts them in a purple velvet Crown Royal bag, and draws out one line at a time to make whole new songs. So, in order for his songs to make any sense, you have to piece them back together, like a puzzle. Except you don't have any kind of guide, like you would a puzzle where you have the picture on the box.

That said, love this song.

Beck - Que' Onda Guero - I have this picture in my mind of those cars with the hydraulic lifts that make them bounce. And - woo! Props to Yanni, who gets a shout-out at the end.

The Dandy Warhols - We Used to Be Friends - The ULTIMATE kiss-off song. It's mean and snarky, and there's no mistaking the fact that whoever this song is about is totally cut off. There is no going back after this. A great song for blasting and dancing around to, even if you're not mad at anyone. (I imagine I'm singing it to some of the snotty little bitches I went to elementary school with.) (Not you, Stacey. Or Janette. I leave it to the rest of you to figure out who you are.)

Kasabian - Club Foot - Back to the movie from the Chemical Brothers song. This would be in the same movie, but this would be the scene where the plan is being carried out. There would be lots of running down dark alleys, fistfights, and maybe a car chase or two. And at the end of the song, someone would be standing on the ledge of a building, and maybe they would jump, and maybe they wouldn't have to.

The Von Bondies - C'mon C'mon - The few times I caught the opening credits of Rescue Me, I'd always loved the song which played over them. Also a pretty good kiss-off song.

Jennifer Lopez- Get Right - What? I like this song! (My favourite part of the video is "Librarian J.Lo," the mousy character who sits demurely in the corner, with the glasses and sweater set, but is dancing on the seat by the end.)

Rufus Wainwright - Vibrate - Sweet and sad and hopeful and lonely at the same time. Borrows from Ravel's "Bolero."

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jaques Morelenbaum, Paula Morelenbaum - Desafinado - No matter how many times I listen to this one, I can't figure out what language she's singing in. My current best guess is Japanese, but I can't be sure.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hilarious conversations you weren't a part of

Yesterday afternoon, Steve and I were having a discussion about search engines, which culminated in a comparison of a well-known library technologist to Yoda, and how you can never mess with Yoda and expect to win. Trust me - it was funny, but it's one of those things you had to be there for.

I suppose I could recreate it, but it would require much backstory and knowing why search engines were at the top of my mind last week. By the time I got through telling you that, you'd be bored and the story wouldn't be funny anymore. So really, I'm doing you a service by not telling it to you.

However, you've now wasted a good two minutes thirty seconds or so (tops) reading about the funny story I'm not going to tell you. I'm not sure what was the bigger waste of time - telling you I'm not going to tell you the story, or telling you why I'm not going to tell you the story. In an effort to not have made your visit here an absolute waste of time ("too late!" - I heard that!), here are some other random things I can and will tell you about:

Did you ever have one of those day where you look too good to stay home? Me neither, but I was so damn close on Saturday morning, I went out and ran some errands. The net result of said errands were a spider plant, an orchid cactus, an ivy plant, and three lavender plants. All, including the jade and aloe plants I got last summer, were re-planted last night.

Which brings me to my next random point: now that the weather has improved (if you can call hot, muggy weather an improvement over -30 degree winters... I certainly do) you should expect more posts about the farmer's market and my attempts to prove once and for all that I have a green thumb.

My tooth which had the root canal in March hurts. I don't know if this is a random thing because I keep poking at it, or if there's something wrong. I'm all for waiting to see what happens tomorrow - I can make an appointment for Friday if something is legitimately wrong.

Have I mentioned I'm participating in the Dye-O-Rama swap? Well, I am. I tried dyeing three skiens of yarn, and the one that turned out the best is my favourite. I'll be sending it out to the recipient sometime this week. In the meantime, it appears that my Dye-O-Rama pal sent out my yarn today - woo-hoo! I'm looking forward to receiving it! (The other two skiens - tragically - didn't turn out they way I'd hoped. Which isn't to say that they aren't lovely and haven't grown on me and inspired me, it's just that when you're hoping for dark green and get a pale camouflage green with red streaks, you're kind of disappointed.)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Seven days (II): Shop 'till you drop

In which Our Heroine, less than twelve hours after returning from a week-long work trip, goes on two more trips in two days. How does she do it?!?!

Right! So! Where was I? Oh yes - what I did when I got home from Thunder Bay. Well, first, I unpacked, which is completely unprecedented. Normally, I let my suitcase sit in the middle of my room for no less than a week, maybe digging out my makeup bag at some point. Not this time. Then I packed for my next trip(s), which was pretty easy since it was going to be short.

The next morning, at the ungodly hour of 6:30am, I left for Toronto, where I was meeting Julie, who was visiting her parents. When I called her from Barrie at 9:30ish, I managed to surprise her (she wasn't expecting me until noon - had I known that I could have had an extra two hours sleep!). When I arrived, I was entertained by her mother, Waterlily, and got to see some pictures from her recent trip to the Caribbean.

Then it was off to the big city! We caught the subway down to the Eaton Centre, and wandered through, making the requisite stops at a couple of shoe stores. See, I have this theory - the reason we women gravitate to shoe stories is because they are our secret temples. Before we embark on any sort of shopping excursion, we need to pay homage to the shopping goddesses in order to ensure bargains galore, helpful salespeople, and good energy levels. Even though we don't always buy the shoes (there was a close-call in Rockports, though) or even appreciation the shoes (those 4-inch-heeled-lace-up monstrosities? Argh!), we must at least visit them.

After fighting our way through the crowds, we made it out to the street and down the block to the World's Biggest Book Store and the used bookstore next door (Julie - help? What's the name again?). I lucked out at the used bookstore, and found the book Hard Core Logo was based on, as well as three books about web page design.

Really, we didn't have a plan besides cruising down Younge St., hitting all the bookstores*, getting bubble tea, having dinner somewhere, and then finishing off the day at Insomnia with martinis. The highlights:

  • At Elliot's, a used bookstore on Younge, it was so quiet at the back of the store on the main level that my ears were ringing.
  • Being charmed by the elderly Greek clerk at the outdoor surplus store.
  • The very angry man who was taking out his anger on the newspaper boxes. Everyone was watching, but no one wanted to make eye contact.
  • Dinner at the ultra-hip Saigon Sister. I tried tofu for the first time, and although I didn't much care for the way it was prepared, I didn't completely hate it.
Almost 12 hours after we got on the subway, we got home again. Then bedtime, and sleep.

On Sunday, I headed to my parents' for the rest of the weekend. This was the weekend we were celebrating my grandfather's 79th birthday (it's actually tomorrow - give him some love!). Poker was played, music was made, kittens were cuddled, and much food was prepared and devoured. It was good to be home again, even if only for a little while.

And, finally, Monday I drove home and collapsed on my doorstep. Ta-da!

* We were both really excited about going to Bakka Books. Until we got to where it was supposed to be, when Julie remembered seeing it somewhere on Queen St., and I remembered reading somewhere that it had moved. Bummer!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Seven days (I): Thunder in the Bay

In which Our Heroine recounts the tale of where she was from Monday to Friday last week.

Where has the past week gone? Oh, right - it's been gobbled up by some horrible time-swallowing monster. Stupid monster!

Monday: I went to a training session at Cambrian College - it was one of those one-day course thingies. The instructor was a gent I'd met when I started up here - he's a hoot, and a huge proponent of Linux. It got me to thinking that now that I'm mostly using my laptop, I can use the old beastly desktop (love you, Big Momma!) to experiment with it.

Tuesday: Last week of conferences - finally! This week: the Northwest, in Thunder Bay. Our flight didn't leave until 1ish, but we had to be at the office, so Karen and I got rides in with Steve. Not too exciting a day - caught the shuttle, went to the airport, and flew out TBay. The three of us managed to get some pictures of the clouds and stuff. Supper was Pizza Hut, and then later, we played pool at the bar next door to the hotel. And went to the 24hr grocery store next door to that to get juice, pop, and bubble blowing kits. We're young at heart - really.

Oh! And my sock pal, Doris, got her package! Her son is adorable with the books in that picture!

Wednesday: First day of the conference. A lot of waiting - there wasn't anything major planned for that day, and there was only one scheduled event for which we had to be there. Later that evening, a few people went to the casino, but I had a nap.

Thursday: Things pick up. I convene first thing, then I present (technology planning). Interesting discussions, totally different from the discussions at the first conference. Lunch. Then! Then I got to convene the New and Emerging Technologies session, which was presented by Stephen Abram! He's every geeky librarian's guru! His presentation was fascinating, and I felt like that kid in the Far Side cartoon, who raises his hand and says to the teacher, "Can I go now? My brain is full!" Cool beans.

Closing banquet and more pool. Back to the hotel, packing, and going over my next presentation.

Friday: Second presentation (presentation skills - this one was done by another co-worker at the first conference, and I got to do it here). Helped pack up equipment and supplies to go back to the main office, then got changed out of my dress clothes and into jeans before lunch. Since we had time to spare before our flight, we took a trip out to the Terry Fox monument out on the highway, and took the scenic route along the waterfront back to the city. Quick shopping trip downtown - the under-35 crowd hit a used bookstore, and the 35+ crowd hit a home decor shop. I made out with a vogue Knitting pattern book; most of the patterns are pretty timeless, which, considering the book was published in 1999, is a good thing.

Caught the flight home, and arrived on my doorstep at 7:30pm. I mention this because it's important to part II, which is coming tomorrow.

Monday, May 15, 2006

More mail!

Dear Giselle,

The hard part - the wedding - is finally over. Now comes the easy part - spending the rest of your life with the man you love. Congratulations!

Lots of luck and blessings on the two of you!

Dear Rice,

Last time we spoke, I was kind of sad and upset with you because you were giving me "issues." I was afraid I would never be able to enjoy you again. But with some trepidation, I've been trying other things to see what happens, and you know what?

Turns out I can eat wild rice. And brown rice.

In your face!
R. :P

Dear Fabulous Life Of...

For the love of all that's good and holy, would you please stop using Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On" in every single one of your episodes? I'm sick to death of it already!

Peace out,

Dear Leah McLaren,

For a long time, you've been one of my least favourite columnists, but I couldn't pinpoint the moment I went from "meh" to actively disliking you. Finally, tonight, I remembered which column it was that turn me. It was the one where you talked about the type of man who's "just gay enough."

(For those of you not interested in reading the whole thing - and I don't blame you - a man who's "just gay enough" is one who can do manly macho things, like fix cars and watch sports, but is also a good dresser, can cook, and wear pashima.)

I realize you were probably just echoing something you read, and really, I should be rolling my eyes and heaving a sigh in the general direction of the article you were quoting from. But no, you're still going to bear the full weight of my scorn because you repeated it. You made it an acceptable excuse to use when a woman gets dumped by a man who's sensitive and has a "little bit of sugar in his veins." You made it an ideal, a set of standards for women to project on every man she meets, no matter how unrealistic. I was sincerely disappointed in you.

Please join the line over there, right behind Barbara Frum Amiel (oops!) and Dr. Laura, other female columnists I have absolutely no use and respect for.

Ms. R.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Yesterday I was finished at noon, so I came home and did the following:
  • Dyed yarn - five skeins in total. Two are burgundyish, two were eye-searingly yellow but are now a very retro almost-advacado green, and the third is pink, red, and orange, and reminds me of a tie-dye shirt I had in university.
  • Washed dishes because I used every bowl and measuring cup in my posesion.
  • Made roasted cauliflower soup (based partly on this recipe) and cheese biscuits.
  • Washed dishes. Again.
  • Folded the clean laundry. Which doesn't necessarily mean I picked it up at the same time.
Tonight I finished knitting a scarf with the sari yarn I got at Christmas. And posted another book review - four down, ten to go! *groan* However, seeing as Our Lady of Lost and Found is still kicking my ass, I have time to catch up.

It's not that I don't like it. Mom loved it, and I completely understand why she raved about it, but I'm not feeling the love. Mostly, it's the lists and the feeling of being overresearched, which was a big complaint about Deafening during Canada Reads. It's a dull read, and I have to force myself to sit down and spend an hour or two reading it every day or I'm not going to get it done before the next book club.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

One of those days, but in a good way!

Y'know how Fate sometimes kicks your ass around for a few days, and you're all "Hey! Enough! I'm sad here!" Then Fate's all "Oh, alright then. I guess you've had enough for now. Let me make it up to you in some small way." So, today fate brought me the following:

News from my sister that Ben & Jerry's and Haagen Daz was on sale at A&P (and at A&P's near you!). I though I'd better check this out, and lo and behold - two pints for $10! The bestest name ever for a flavour of ice cream? Vermonty Python. I did a little dance when I saw that. However, I went with Turtle Soup because I am weak and have no will-power I was strong and didn't get any.

Two parcel notices waiting for me when I got home. Which means all the yarn I ordered came in - one was the yarn for the Dye-O-Rama project, and the other was some stuff for a project I'll talk more about later.

My socks from my sock pal, Krista. Get this - remember waaaay back when I started, I was commenting on how ironic it was that someone else in my group was using the same yarn and pattern I was? Yup, it was her. However, in the end, Krista went with some gorgeous red Regia and a simple rib, which is very comfy.

Socks from my Sock Pal, Krista

She also included a postcard from Monticello, which was the home of Thomas Jefferson and across the street from James Madison's home - it's very pretty! Thank you so much!

And now I'm going to have a small bowl of ice cream and go to bed drink a glass of water, fold the clean laundry, and make my lunch for tomorrow.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sockapalooza Update #5

Les socks, c'est tout fini! Finalment!

Sockapalooza Update #5 - FINI!

I finished knitting the second sock about half an hour ago - all that's left is to wash and block them, which I'll do in the morning. Some thoughts:

Jaywalker is a fun pattern, and it's pretty easy to follow.

I love the colours in this yarn, but I hate the yarn (Lorna's Laces) itself. It's splity, it was frayed in some spots, and it twisted easily. I doubt I'd use it again.

Okay, I just said I liked the colours - and I do - yet there were some differences between the two skiens, even though they were from the same dye lot. Here's sock #1:

Sock #1, up close

And here's sock #2:

Sock #2, up close

Maybe you can't tell from the pictures that the purple on the second sock is stronger than on the first sock. Also, the green is "erratic" on the first sock - it's not evenly dyed.

Pooling - the legs of the sock were pretty good, in that there wasn't any. However, once I did the heel and started on the foot, it was quite obvious. The worst was on the second sock, where the pink pooled in two or three spots.

Anyways, tomorrow I'm going to get some little things to put in the parcel so I can get it sent off on Monday. It's for an overseas recipient, and it's going to take a while to get there.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Get ur geek on

Since Easter, my brain has been on almost permanent overdrive, and it's been running non-stop. Tonight's the first time since the weekend before the weekend before Easter it's actually at rest (or at least not in high gear.) I survived the last two weeks of April and the first week of May, and now I only have two more weeks to get through before I'm home-free for the summer.

This past week was the first of our three conferences for Librarians in Northern Ontario - it was for the northeastern and Francophone libraries. Next week, it's the conference for the First Nations libraries (which I'm not attending because I'm not presenting anything there this year), and the week after is the Northwestern conference in Thunder Bay, to which I will be going.

I don't often get my geek on and talk about my work. Which, considering a bunch of librarians link here and have yet to see proof of my librarian cred, is a pity. Not because what I do is so golly-gee-whiz important, but it means I don't often get the chance to brag. So, I'm going to drop the pretense that I don't do anything during the day and brag (a little) about this past week.

I did two presentations this week, both on Wednesday. The first was a session on technology planning - what a technology plan is, why libraries should have one, and how to go about creating one. I did a very similar session to this last year, but made some major changes to it. Since last year, I wrote a document to be used with a toolkit which was created a few years ago on the subject. And I was able to add material from there to this presentation; which, in my not-so-humble opinion, made it better than last year's.

The second presentation was basic computer maintenance - it was a topic assigned to me, and not one I had much to go one. Where does one begin on this topic? Software? Hardware? Troubleshooting? It was a vague topic with a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time. I started with a little show & tell - I have some old computer parts laying around and I passed them around, explaining what they were and what they did. Then I did a little bit about setting up a network, setting up printers, usernames and passwords, and firewalls. The trick to this segment was letting myself get sidetracked by the questions, so that the librarians would see that the computer wasn't as scary as they might think it is. Finally, I ended with stressing the importance of virus protection, anti-spyware programs, and backing up your computer(s).

Now, to brag a little - I think I did pretty good. I won't know for certain until I see the results of the session evaluations, but I'd like to think that I kicked ass and took names*. Last year I did three sessions - technology planning, automation, and an email primer for the First Nations conference - and had uniformly positive responses. (I also have two sessions in TBay - technology planning (*sigh*) and how to give presentations.)

Now that I've bored the rest of you, let's see what else is going on. Not much, really. I'm going to try and spend the weekend vegging and doing the micro-organizational kinds of crap that make me happiest. Like, sorting through the scraps of paper on my desk, and rearranging the books on my one bookcase so I can put my non-knitting craft stuff on it. And maybe reading, because I'm so far behind on the 50 books thing I may not get caught up.

*Aaaand promptly lost the sheet of paper on which I wrote them. Because I'm kind of a spaz sometimes**.

** Witness: tonight I dropped an overdue library book into the drop box,
then noticed the sign indicating it was only for videos and DVDs. After doing a little oh-I-can't-believe-I-didn't-see-that-and-I'm-such-an-idiot dance, I apologized to the surveillance camera. See?