Saturday, April 29, 2006

The 3 B's

Finally - I am surrounded by a tidy apartment! (Well, relatively tidy - no vacuuming has been done, and my computer desk is so buried under scraps of paper that need dealing with that I can't quite get at the computer; fortunately, the laptop was nowhere near the desk when that went down. Also, the dusting isn't' done, but since that never gets done anyways, we're not going to worry too much about it.)

Anyhoodle, my brain is a little less fried by now. I managed to get some crap together to take to La Village Boutique (aka Value Village), and did a little running around while I was in that end of the city. I stopped at the craft place to get some Briggs & Little Sport for the Dye-O-Rama (because hey! I'm a joiner!), but they didn't have any. They did have some lovely, lovely Manos, but I was strong and came out with nothing. I wasn't so lucky at Chapters - I am now the proud owner of the latest by Sarah Dessen and Alisa Kwitney.

I also had the chance to take a gander through Big Girl Knits. There are some awesome patterns in there for us ladies who tend to be curvier than your average supermodel. There are some cute patterns in there, designed to flatter the three b's - boobs, belly, and butt. I do have a butt - there is junk in my trunk, of that I am certain. I also have the belly, which is an asset in bellydancing, but not so much the rest of the time. And I have the boobage, too.

Once I get through the fifteen other books I have on my wish list, I'll add this one, too.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mostly Canada Reads, but other things too

I hadn't intended to be sitting in front of my laptop for this long tonight, but it's sort of cathartic to dump all the random stray bits that have been cluttering up my brain pan for the last week or so. I've already posted two other entries, and still want to play with the sidebar for a while before I call it a night.

I suppose I could be tidying up around here. It looks like someone broke in over the weekend and started rifling through the contents of all my drawers and cupboards, then left everything where it lay, except that the someone was me and it was last week. I've decided to be okay with the mess until the weekend, at which point I'll just do all the cleaning in one fell swoop. If I let myself be bothered by it, or if I force myself to do something other than brain dumps and vegging for a few days, I'm going to be a quivering mess by next week, and in the lock-up by the end of next month (it's conference season at work, and I have three separate presentations to give.)

And now, my thoughts on this year's Canada Reads:

I told John I initially thought Scott Thompson was irritating in the days after his book got eliminated, and I confessed I thought he was a bit of an ass at first. However, by the end of Day 3, I'd changed my mind - he made some good points, and stuck to his opinion about poetry. Basically, although there are certain poems and poets he liked, overall he didn't think much of Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets. And even though I started liking Susan Musgrave, by the end of the week she was working my only nerve. "Oh, it's okay that you don't like poetry. Lots of people don't like poetry, and I can accept that." Riiiiiight. Her tone of voice said otherwise, and the fact she kept using this against Thompson made it seem like she was very much not okay with people who don't like or read poetry.

I'm all for expanding your horizons and reading outside of your comfort zone, but you can't expect someone who doesn't like poetry to all of a sudden come around and love a literary genre they've never much cared for previously after being forced to read it. While I'm not a huge fan of poetry, there are some poets I really like - Andrew Marvel, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Shel Silverstein and Don Marquis are but a few examples. I started reading Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets, but I didn't enjoy it and put it aside after the first few pages - if I had been a panelist (and I should be! I like books! I have opinions about books!) I don't think I would have had many favourable things to say about it, either.

(And here's the other thing that really bugged me - Musgrave made a big deal about poetry not being represented in any of the Canada Reads panels. Meanwhile, George Elliot Clarke's Whylah Falls, a contender back in the first year is jumping up and down, and waving its arms while shouting, "Hey! Over here! Where's the love, eh?" And Sarah Binks, from year two, is piping up, "I'm about a fictional poet! I'm kind of poetry, aren't I?" You know what genre really hasn't been dealt with? Non-fiction. There's an idea for next year, which apparently is going to be a super-panel of the winning panelists from previous years.)

The other topic which go under my skin was the discussion about humour. I didn't find either of the two books which were held up as examples of humour to be at all funny. Cocksure was brash and lumbering, and in-your-face; I didn't find it all that funny or humourous. And A Complicated Kindness had more of a dark humour, about struggling to find something to smile at in the face of despair. But I did think that Thompson made an excellent point about fundamentalism and humour, where religious fanatics of every stripe go to great lengths to eliminate humour and satire when they take control. (He also said something about Canadians and humour, but I forget what it was because I was annoyed with him at the time.)

Am I happy that A Complicated Kindness won? Yes and no. I liked it, and had good things to say about it, but I don't know if it's the book I wanted to win. Three Day Road was so much more vivid and real, and I had big hopes for it. Oh well.

In other bookish news, during my hit-and-run visit to Ottawa this past weekend, I picked up I Am Not Myself These Days and Skipping Towards Gomorrah; the former I'd heard good things about on Bookslut (I think - can't find the review) and the later I've wanted to read since I catalogued it at my old library.

I love you Canada Post!

Earlier this evening, when I got home from work, I was scrambling to get some things together for mailing. There was a card, for which I had a stamp, two squares I owed for the Project Linus afghan from waaay back in February, and two squares for Cynthia's Warming Grace project. I had to block the squares, find the addresses, find envelopes, write messages to go into the envelopes (one of which I forgot to put in the envelope - sorry Joyce!), and hustle down to the post office to mail them off before it closed.

I went to the Canada Post home page to look up what time the closest postal outlet closes, and lo - what's this? I can make my own labels? And put them on my parcels? And just drop them in the
box down the street? Oh joy!

Thanks, Canada Post, for making my dream of becoming a hermit one step closer to reality!

Sockapalooza Update #4

UPDATE *sigh*... see below..

Progress has been slow. Nay, almost non-existant. Here's where I'm at right now:

Sockapalooza Update 4

I'm at the point where I start the heel flap. I'm hoping to start that tonight, and be done the decreases by Saturday. I have all of this weekend to work on them and FINISH THEM!!!

Wednesday night update: I don't know how it happened, only that I ended up having to rip back about an inch because I was having problems picking up dropped stitches. Then there were further complications that required ripping back another inch or so. In the picture, I had almost five inches, and three more repeats before I could start the heel flap - now I have another two and a half inches to reknit before I can start the heel.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Just be yourself - the best, cutest, quietest version of yourself (definitely wear lip gloss)

16 hours and almost 1500km on the road this weekend, and that's the best title for a post I could come up with? Hell, I couldn't even think of a decent thing to blog about! But do you hear that sizzling noise? That's my brain. My brain, she is fried. I was going to post my reaction to the Canada Reads outcome, but that can wait until tomorrow.

In the meantime, another letter!

Dear People Who Make Signs Indicating The Distance To The Next Major Community (Probably The Department of Transportation),

When you've been driving for just over two hours, it's kind of depressing to see a sign that says "North Bay 280" because it means that North Bay is still over three hours away, and then it's another hour and a half to Sudbury. But little by little, the numbers shrank (269, 260, 252, 248, etc.) and it got easier to accept.

But then you had to start posting the distance to Sudbury as well - "North Bay 240 / Sudbury 314" - which put me right back to where I was before. In fact, further so because the numbers seemed so insurmountable.

Surmount them I did, and I am home, but be damned sure I'm going to be dreaming about the dotted line tonight,


Dear Signs Indicating The Distance To Wawa,

I absolutely love your optimism! "Almost there! 752km!"*

I imagine a traveller coming from, say, Florida would look at that and say, "Wow! I really am almost there!" On the flip side, the traveller who's been driving through the pouring rain, who's sick of all the songs on their iPod, and who's last cup of tea is looking to make an exit - and soon! - would look at that and say to themselves, "Thank G/god I don't have to drive that far!"

Really, although 752km hardly counts as "almost there", you've put such a positive spin on it that you can't help be happy that that's all it's going to take to get there, or that at least you don't have to go that far to get home.

Yay! 752km to go!
Rebecca (only 264km to go at that point)

* I've never been to Wawa, so I can't say with any certainty this is a good/bad thing. However, I've seen pictures, and it looks like a lovely place to visit. You should go - it's only 752km away!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Spring is springing up all over

I wish I could do a fabulous recap of my trip home like Dave did with his trip to BC, but you're stuck with this succinct wrap-up:

BBQ. Tipsy American Idol. Rain. Home. Kittens. Old work visit. Made dinner. Movie. Funny cat moment. Everyone's home. Poker. Kittens. Movie. Shopping trip. BBQ. More Poker. More movies. Church. Breakfast. Pie making. Dinner at the grandparents. Family! Pie eating (and overeating). More movies. Kittens. Packing. Travel. Dropping off forgotten items. Owen Sound. Vegging. Homemade ravioli. Travel. Travel. Brunch. Travel. Unpacking. Crash. The end.

(I will expand on one of the funnier moments of the trip. We've created a very special new hand in poker - the Rebecca Straight. It's when you have three or four cards in a row, or almost have a legit straight, but are missing a card somewhere in the order. You don't actually win anything for a Rebecca Straight, but do get a hand named after you.)

The weather in Sudbury is just stunning, but I can't help but be suspicious - I'm waiting for the last surprise snowfall. Don't laugh - it could happen! It was so nice tonight, in fact, that I walked my route twice tonight.

The other reason I did that was because I was getting caught up on the first three episodes of Canada Reads. You can download the episodes, which are available as podcasts after they air. I listened to the first two episodes while I walked, laughing at inopportune moments as I walked through the subdivision where I go, and the third while I made supper. The panel is great, although I though Scott Thompson was a bit of an ass when his book (Cocksure) got eliminated. I dearly love Maureen McTeer, and have a new appreciation of Susan Musgrave, who I'd never given much thought to before.

It's too late for me to do or say much else, but I will leave you with the reminder that not all of the titles or artists have been guessed in the first line meme. I'll post the answers on Friday.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox

'Cause that's how we know when to celebrate Easter, yo.

I'm home for the weekend, having actually left on Tuesday. So far, the weather's been great, the birds are out in force, and there are crocuses (croci?) everywhere. There are also kittens - three fluffy gray balls of utter cuteness.

I'll try and post something more profound later, if I can get at the computer and the dial up connection doesn't let me down.

Monday, April 10, 2006

First line meme

A few weeks back, Tiny Little Librarian borrowed a music meme from someone, and now I'm borrowing it from her.

Here's the deal: I've posted the first line from the first twenty* songs that came up on my iPod. Your job is to guess the name of the song and the artist without** looking it up.

This should be fun, not only because I can't remember where half of them come from.***

1. Rat-tailed Jimmy is a second-hand hood, he deals out in Hollywood
[Motley Crue - Dr. Feelgood]
2. Ya lookin' just a little too hard at me, standin' just a little too close to me
[J. Lo - Get Right]
3. Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom [Mom got the artist - Fleetwood Mac - but what's the title?] [And John gets the title - Dreams!]
4. Blind leading blind, tryin' to keep yourself alive
[Sloan - All Used Up]
5. Yellow walls are lined with portraits, and I got my new red fetching leather jacket
[Rufus Wainwright - Poses]
6. So if you're lonely, you know I'm here waiting for you [J. nailed it! Franz Ferdinand's Take Me Out]
7. Been beat up and battered 'round [Sarah got it! The song is Handle With Care, and I accept either The Traveling Wilburys or Jenny Lewis, since it's the Lewis version I have.]
8. He will then be reborn from 1970's porn
[Rufus Wainwright - Gay Messiah]
9. Hey what's that in the alley with a knife in her hand
[One of the ones I couldn't remember, so I ended up having to look it up; Jarvis Church - Run For Your Life]
10. No one looked, I walked by - just an invitation would have been just fine
[Stevie Nicks - Stand Back]
11. It's cold outside and the paint's peeling off of my walls
[Another look-up; Gary Neuman - Are Friends Electric?]
12. He was in the habit of taking things for granted; granted there wasn't much for him to take
[Hot Hot Heat - You Owe Me An IOU; Kellie Ann is right - it's a pretty brilliant line!]
13. I see you on the streets and you walk on by
[Madonna - Open Your Heart]
14. It's neverending, as far as I know
[The Trews - Not Ready To Go. Which is basically my theme song.]
15. In the year of my decline sucking freezies in the rain
[The Stars - Reunion]
16. We went out one night, everything went right
[Macy Gray - Why Didn't You Call Me]
17. The Mississippi Delta was shining like a national guitar [Yay Mom! Paul Simon's Graceland]
18. Oh what a shame that your pockets did bleed on St. Valentine's [J. got the artist correct - it's Rufus, but which one?] [And, she comes back with a title - April Fool's]
19. Punctured bicycle on a hillside desolate, will nature make a man of me yet? [And D. gets it correct - The Smiths' This Charming Man]
20. I was working part time in a 5 & Dime
[Prince - Raspberry Berret]

(Here's the hint I gave Julie last week: there are three Rufus Wainwright songs on the list. If that makes anything easier.)

* Okay, it was more like the first 120, since I kept running up against obscure stuff only a few people might know.
** 'Cause that would be cheating!
*** What? I made the list last weekend and left myself minimal hints. But don't worry - I'll figure it out eventually.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sockapalooza Update #3

Is that... is that a whole sock?

Sockapalooza update #3

Why, yes it is! AND! The beginning of the second sock!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Freakin' Friday

Oh joy, another week is over!

It was a crazy week, what with being sick Tuesday, getting some great news on Wednesday, and being run ragged Thursday and the first half of Friday. So, a little retail therapy was in order.

It ended up being a mixture of girlie and geeky. I got some casual dress pants, a pair of jeans, two t-shirts and a blouse, as well as an external hard drive to back up my two computers.

When I went to get something for dinner, I was accosted by an elderly gentleman who insisted I could get the ingredients for a salad for the same price as the pre-packaged salad I was holding. He was a delightful character, to say the least.

I ended up having to make a second trip to the grocery store around 8 because I didn't have any bread. Or peanut butter. Or mineral water. Y'know, the basics. While I was there, I made the happy discovery that the local Independent (aka Zehrs aka Atlantic Superstore) is carrying the President's Choice Organics European Dark Chocolate bars. Jody did a review of them back in January, and raved about them - with good reason.

Today has been spent doing a thorough cleaning of the apartment, and wasting time. I do have a fun activity for y'all, so get your thinking caps on!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mail call!

Dear rice,

What's wrong with you? I thought we were friends, but I can't be friends with you any more if you keep doing this to me. We had, what? Twenty-eight? Years together, but in the last year and a half, things seem to have gone sour. Any time I eat you, I get crampy and my tummy hurts.

And just yesterday, you snuck up on me - you hid in the vermincelli noodles I cooked to eat with the curry I made last night. This morning when I woke up, I realized what you had done, and the pain was significant enough that I had to stay home.

I don't appreciate this, and I wish you'd given me some warning.


Dear David Byrne,

Why did you do a cover of "Au fond du temple saint" with Rufus Wainwright? Love you, love Rufus, but... you sound like you're straining to hit some of the notes, and struggling at other times. And meanwhile, that young whipersnapper in the background sounds like he's singing circles around you. I have a love/hate relationship with this song, mostly because it's a lovely piece but the voices don't blend all that well.

You know who I'd love to hear you duet with? Cyndi Lauper. I think you two kids could kick some serious ass together.

I'm serious!

Dear snow in April,

*sigh* I knew you were coming, so I wasn't too surprised to see you last night. But do you have to rub in the fact I'm not going to see any crocuses or tulips up here anytime soon?

Rebecca :(

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Not-so-Trivial Pursuit(s)

Despite my coaxing and cajoling* the two other librarians, the teams ended up being based on gender. They didn't have quite the same faith in our ability to take on the other seven.**

So, Girls vs. Boys it was. And, not to rub it in or anything***, but we won two out of three of the games.

* Read: whining.
** Read: they thought I was was off my nut.
*** Who am I kidding? Girls rule! Boys drool!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Some randomness

1. Today is Flash Your Stash Day! Alas, I only learned of it yesterday, so I can't sign up for it. But, I'm going to flash it anyways!

A preview of my stash

Take it off! Take it ALL off! Woo-hoo!

*Ahem*. Excuse me.... The reason all this yarn-y goodness is out in the open is because I recently got a chest of wicker drawers like Alison, so I'm going to try and reorganize it all. I have two clear plastic drawers, plus two plastic bins, and am hoping to use the bins for something else.

2. It's raining.

3. Happy Birthday to my godfather, who turned 53 on Thursday. (That's him on the right)

An hour later...

4. I should explain that the Lisa in the previous post is a classmate of mine from Library School. She's a vivacious, charming and lovely gal from Newfoundland, and you could always count on her to be the most optimistic and happy person in the room. Last summer, she married the charming and lovely (I'm sure - I haven't met him in person yet) Marcus, and early in March, they added Emma to their little family.

5. Damn, I can't remember what five was.

6. Tomorrow night Karen's having a Trivial Pursuit party. She wants to have a Girls vs. Boys matchup, but I want a Librarians vs. Everyone Else matchup. There will be three of us - Lise, Steve, and myself - against... five? six? It's an unfair competition, really - the Librarians are going to kick everyone else's arse.