Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Happy New Year's

Well, it's finally all official, it's the end of the year. Big flipping deal huh?? Mark is going to be heading to work at 4 a.m. so we're actually up past our bedtime as I type this. I was going to write some big piece and reflect upon 2003 but I'm feeling lazy, and sleepy so I'm not going to do it. So there!!

Anyway, for all you party harty folks who are putting on the goofy hats and shakin' what your mommas gave you tonight, enjoy!!
In the days immediately following Elliott's death last October, I read a lot of stuff on the NME chat forums about the actual circumstances of his death. There were a lot of rumours and speculation flying around that, quite frankly I didn't want to believe. Looks like maybe, just maybe, the rumours weren't too out-there. I read this, this morning:

Unclear if Elliott Smith committed suicide
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles coroner's officials say they can not determine whether the stab wounds that killed Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter Elliott Smith in October were self-inflicted.

An autopsy report on Wednesday appears to leave the nature of Smith's death, which was initially called a suicide by Los Angeles police, an open question.

The body of Smith -- who earned an Oscar nomination and widespread notice for his 1997 single "Miss Misery" from the film "Good Will Hunting" -- was found in October at his Los Angeles home by the musician's live-in girlfriend.

Coroner's spokesman David Campbell said Smith, 34, died from two "penetrating stab wounds" to the chest.

"The trauma that he sustained could have been inflicted by him or by another and the coroner has not been able to make a determination," Campbell said.

Campbell said toxicology tests found no illegal or controlled substances in Smith's system. The singer was apparently taking anti-depressants and medication for attention deficit disorder at the time of his death but was not abusing them, Campbell said.

He said the case would remain open and that coroner's officials would revisit their findings if additional information surfaced.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department said homicide detectives also would "look again" at Smith's death following the autopsy report. He said the case was initially reported to the LAPD as a suicide.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

On sitting around the house and not showering...

Not that I'm obsessed or anything...But today, I've sat around the house in my jammies all day without showering. It's gross, I know, but I did it anyway. I had a nicely lazy day, it felt pretty good after having to be out and around people yesterday.

I wasn't a total sloth though. What few Christmas decorations I had put up are now down. I'm amazed at how much bigger the place looks once you take down all that garland and holiday crap. I mean, the crap looked okay but it's nice to see it go for another year. I haven't packed it all away yet but at least it's all in a laundry basket upstairs, instead of sprawled all over the living room. I also hauled a tonne of books downstairs today too. Almost all the books are now in the living room, ready to be shelved in their new spots. The front bedroom is almost completely empty now. Yay me!

We went out to get the rest of our groceries after Mark finished work this afternoon. I'm glad we went today instead of tomorrow. Tomorrow it'll be drunken idiot time at the mall. I never understand why folks get all knotted up about New Years. As my brother says, it's amateur night. He also says that about St. Patty's day and he's right. Morons who never go out or have fun the rest of the year, fell pressured to do zany nutty "fun" things on New Year Eve. It's just another night to me. Why would I want to go out to a bar on December 31st? Everything is over priced, over crowed and underwhelming. I'd rather stay home and chill out, thank you very much.

If that makes me sound like a crabby bore, I don't really care. Maybe I am a crabby bore, but at least I won't be hung over and filled with regret about spending too much cash on a Wednesday night on Thursday morning. As I mentioned in last week's Friday Five, for me, new year's is in September, when the students return. I'll probably spend tomorrow doing the laundry that I didn't do today (cuz I was busy being a no-christmas decorations sloth) and trying to sort out our computer room some more. Talk about your rock'n'roll party person huh?? Jealous yet?

Monday, December 29, 2003

Boy I write more when I have more time

How's that for a grammatically incorrect statement? Not to bad huh?? It's true though, I've been spewing out tonnes of crap here over the past few days.

I have been on the road since 9:50 a.m. this morning. Me?! Lay around the house and not shower until 2 p.m. cuz on my holidays dammit. Last week, I was supposed to get together with my lovely friend Kristin. Unfortunately, my head was full of snot and I felt like crap that day so I didn't get to see her. When I realized that I may not get to see her at all while she was home (her folks live here but she's at school in Alberta these days) I was pretty bummed. It was okay though because she was going to be in town until New Years Eve and I had a second chance to see her. We went for coffee this morning and had a great visit. While we were in mid-coffee (well, I was in mid-coffee, she was in mid-chai-latte with a big ass piece of wonderful smelling cinnamon), a mutual friend of ours, Leslie, arrived. Leslie's here in town but, for many reasons, I'd actually seen Kristin more recently than I'd seen Leslie (I saw Kristin last when she was home last Christmas -- sad but true!). It was great to see her. She had her two small children with her. I'd not seen them in a good long time and couldn't believe how much they had grown. I mean, I know that kids grow and stuff but when you don't see them very often it's a big deal. They're really nice, well behaved kids. We had a really nice visit, it was good to get caught up on stuff.

By the time I left I figured that I'd have a ticket on my car. I'd parked on a side street and had actually put money into the meter but I was an hour past when I should have been gone...When I walked toward the car I could see a ticket under the wiper blade. It wasn't a ticket though, it was a 10 minute "grace period" card from the parking Nazi girls. I couldn't believe that they didn't give me a ticket. They must have been filled with holiday spirit (yeah right) or something. Whatever it was, I was just so happy that a) I hadn't run out to feed the meter and b) I didn't get a ticket. That's totally a first in downtown Kingston. The meter people are just total pigs about downtown parking (and they wonder why the downtown core is dying and folks prefer to shop at box stores in the township --- it's the free parking baby!).

Happily ticket-free, I sped out to the west end, land of box stores and free parking (although you do have to pay a deposit on your grocery cart there...What's up with that?). I had to pick up some stuff for us and for Joe. I had already loaded the car with Christmas gifts for some west-end friends and decided to call them to see if they were home. I'm sitting in my car, in the parking lot of the grocery store. I can see across Highway 33 from where I sit and am looking at their house (it backs onto Highway 33 -- you can see the grocery store from their back yard) and my phone will not work. It starts to connect and then drops. So very weird. I head into the store, get my shopping and, whilst walking back to my car, try to call them again. Again, I can see their house...This time it connects but I get that weird, fast busy signal thing. The groceries get thrown in the car, I start the car, try to call again...again, no connection. Too weird. As I'm going by their house anyway, I pop in and fortunately, my friend was home. Everyone else in the family was out so she and I had a great visit over a couple of cups of tea. It was actually kind of nice to be just her and I for a while. We don't usually get to visit without a lot of other people around. She told me that her phone never works when she tries to call home from the store either. I figure it must be something to do with the railroad tracks that run between her house and the highway...Or they live in some kind of Bermuda triangle of cell phones zone.

After that, I had some more errands to do and traffic was crap...I was so glad to get home. Being sociable and friendly is way more difficult than sitting around the house and not showering.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

the road to Ottawa

I love road trips. I particularly love them when the roads aren't too bad. On Christmas day, my brother mentioned to Mark that he had obtained some extra computer parts through a work contact. Pat didn't have a use for them but thought that Mark might be able to. Pat dropped us a line on Saturday to say that he would pop them into the post for us. Given that the weather has been positively balmy lately, I called and told him that we'd just pop up and get them on Sunday.

The drive up was so nice. Almost no transports of Quebecois on the road. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those big anti-Quebec type of Ontarians. I have friends and family who live in Quebec, mostly in Montreal. We have actually enjoyed some of the visits we have made to Quebec but I tell ya, the majority of Quebecois who drive on Ontario highways are a hazard to themselves and everyone around them. I mean, it's just down-right scary watching them weave in and out of traffic on the 401.

When we left Kingston, it was quite mild and you could tell by the way that everything was sort of moist, that there had been a very heavy fog through the night. It was sunny and clear though so we took off shortly after 8 a.m. The closer we got to Ottawa, the foggier it got. You could tell by the way that the trees and buildings were covered in frost that the fog had just burned off in some areas. Ottawa being in a valley though, it was totally foggy overcast. While we were traveling North on the 416 (from the 401, into Ottawa), we saw a deer. Well, I noticed but didn't shout out to Mark, he saw it too. It was jumping into our lane of traffic and (thankfully), we didn't hit it. Hitting a deer on the highway is one of my worst fears. I have heard so many stories about folks hitting deer, the deer coming through the windshield, hooves flailing. Getting decapitated by a deer is not the way I'd like to die. Thank you very much. All that aside, we got into to Ottawa in record time.

Pat lives in a super cool apartment right downtown. From the outside, it looks like a pretty shitty old house. It is located next a parking lot and across the street from one of those big ass apartment buildings. You'd never think that it's actually really nice inside and that's advantageous in terms of folks not bothering to break in and stuff. He had done a really nice job on the apartment. He's picked up a lot of very cool music posters and had a lot of photos up on the walls. Since we were last there he's obtained a new sofa and a really funky arm chair. It's super cozy and as I said before, super cool. On the way to his place, you have to drive right by the IKEA store in Nepean. The Nepean IKEA is the closest one to us so we usually go whenever we're in Ottawa. I noticed that the parking lot was not insanely crazy full when we drove by (at 10 a.m.) so we decided to go. Pat came with us too, which was fun.

The only things I actually intended to pick up were candles (they have crazy-cheap, unscented candles in all shapes and sizes at IKEA so I like to stock up when we're there) but, of course, we got more than just candles. Mark and I found really funky lamps for the bedroom. I've been wanting to get matching lamps for our bedside tables. We painted our room in June and are still in the process of putting it back together. The lamps we got are called Grono and I really like them. They are cool and simple and they throw a lot of light. Mark also got 2 lamps for his computer work bench, a blue Morker and a small clip on lamp that was really cheap. As it usually happens, the light bulbs for the lamps cost almost as much as the lamps themselves but we stocked up anyway. We're such suckers!!

We also started looking at coffee tables and bedside tables. At the moment, we're using an old trunk for a coffee table in our living room. We bought some really nice living room furniture in June (a sofa and chair) but still haven't gotten around to getting a coffee table for it. As we hadn't measured, we didn't bother getting anything...Same deal with the bedroom. We bought 2 dressers from IKEA about 18 months ago. I really wanted to get the bedside units to match them but they don't seem to be carrying that line anymore. Typical...and not entirely surprising. The hardware for the drawers sucks ass and we're in the midst of having to repair the dressers as they didn't' survive being moved across the room when we painted. We have these old crappy (but functional) bedside tables that have been handed down from one of Mark's relatives but we really want to replace them. We did find something that was close to what we wanted but we weren't sure about the size. They looked way taller than what we needed and I didn't really feel like getting bruises on my hands and arms in the middle of the night from them when I'm reaching for my glasses or a drink of water.

Pat got lucky though, he got a pair of really cool end tables for his apartment for $30.....not each but for the pair, score huh? After we shopped, we ran him home and tried to take him out for lunch. He wouldn't come with us though, try as I might to bully him into it. We ended up having excellent dim sum at a place that came highly recommended by Pat's fabulous girlfriend Rebecca. She has excellent taste in men, and in was a lovely meal. While Kingston, as a city, has a lot of things to offer, good dim sum is not one of them.

After lunch, we headed for home and were lucky to be traveling the whole trip in daylight. I'm glad to be home actually, all that running around is tiring. It was great to see Pat though and now, Mark may have enough parts between what Pat gave him, and what we have around here, to put together a new machine for my parents. They have my old 486 and they aren't online. My mum is taking a computer course right now though and learning about internet stuff and XP so we'd like them to have a better machine and to get online. We'll drag them into the 20th, errr...21st century eventually, come hell or high water!!

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Winning stuff is cool!!

Friday night we decided to go out for dinner and I called Mark's dad to invite him out with us. He didn't feel up to going out that night but he told me that he'd like to go out the next day and felt like doing some gambling. I guess this was going to be like a "big night out" in lieu of going out for zany New Years fun.

Mark worked today and when we finished, we went out to do a couple of errands. We finished the errands a lot earlier than I thought we would so I called Joe to see if he would like to go for dinner earlier than we had planned. Joe wasn't hungry yet so I suggested that we head to the casino first then, and have dinner afterwards. He agree and we picked him up and headed to Gan. We aren't big gamblers but once in a while, we like to go to the Thousand Islands Charity Casino. It's a pretty podunk little place but it's less than 30 minutes from our house and we usually have fun when we go.

Every time we go to the casino Gan I can't help but think about how hard the Kingston city council must kick themselves in the ass. Kingston could have had a charity casino but council wouldn't approve it. Gan snapped it up and they have been rolling in moola over it ever since. The parking lot is almost always full, I was talking to a fellow from Gan a while back and apparently a big new spiffy hotel is going up right near the casino. I'm pretty sure that they'll expand the casino too (it's really small) when they can. It's just a little goldmine for Gananoque and Kingston council just could not see that. It's too bad too, I think that casinos get a bad rap most of the time. The old argument that folks with gambling addiction will get into trouble if they have easy access to a casino is just bullshit. If you are a gambling addict, you can find stuff to bet on anywhere, anytime, casino or no casino!

One of the errands we had done earlier in the day was to drop off some Christmas presents and a tin full of cookies to our friends Tam & Paul. As we were going out of the door, Paul handed me a penny he had found (thus making it a lucky penny) and told me that if I won, he'd like a 5% cut. I laughed and realized that I was sans-lucky penny in the coat I had on (I usually keep a lucky penny in my pocket but had switched coats that morning).

The three of us split up pretty much when we got to the casino. We each usually just play with $20 and see what happens. Mark likes to play the video poker machines, Joe is a nickel slot guy and I'm into the quarter, three line slot machines. I put my $20 into the machine so I started off with 80 credits on the machine. After about 5 minutes, I was down to 65 credits and was feeling pretty bad about the whole thing (even though I transferred Paul's lucky penny from my coat pocket to my pants' pocket before I checked my jacket). I gave the machine one more shot at redemption and won, my credits went up to 115 (from 65 -- so that's like $10!!).

An ever cautious gambler, the kind that the casino hates, I know, I cashed out and went to see how my boys were doing. I found Joe in front of a nickel machine, not doing too well...Mark was at a poker machine and was up to about 581 credits. He cashed out and went looking for another machine and while he was doing that, I tried my luck again. I put $1.25 into a machine and won again...So now I'm up to around $33 (from $20 -- not bad huh?) and I decide to just quit. Again, I'm cautious. I know it's boring but hey, it's who I am! So I find Joe again, and he's just not having a good night. He moves over to a poker machine to try that. I walk around the corner and see Mark sitting at the machine directly in front of his dad, he's up again on this new poker machine so I leave him to it and go see Joe again. By this time, it's getting close to "dinnertime" so the crowd is thinning out at the machines. Joe was getting pretty frustrated and he's like, "here, take all my coins and dump them into the first machine you find." I move to the next poker machine, which is set on some kind of fruit and animals version of poker(?) I dump his 7 coins into it, press the button and blammo, I win back Joe's $20 plus a little extra. When we all cashed out, I had won $15, Joe was up $7.25 and Mark had won like $180. It's so nice to walk out of there with more cash than when you went in, even if it was just $15!! I felt kind of goofy smiling so much on the way home but winning is just SOOOOO much more fun than breaking even!!

Friday, December 26, 2003

It's the year-end Friday Five:

1. What was your biggest accomplishment this year?

Changing our lifestyle in such a way that the result was my losing over 70 pounds in 9 months and (miraculously) keeping it off for the past 3 months.

2. What was your biggest disappointment?

Not losing any weight over the past 3 months...Although, when I think about all the shit that we've been going through, maintaining the weight loss was pretty cool.

3. What do you hope the new year brings?

Less stress and more weight-loss (do you see a theme developing here friends?).

4. Will you be making any New Year's resolutions? If yes, what will they be?

I'm resolving to do a few things:

- to continue with the decluttering of the house that I began in late 2002. We've got the big stuff out the way, I need to go through the closets and corners and really get into the nitty gritty of it. Our house is too small for much of the crap we have. As much as I hate to admit it (because that mimbo carpenter really bugs my ass), the show Clean Sweep has been a big inspiration to me recently.

- carry on with the stuff I started in 2003 with regards to fitness and health. We've sort of fallen into holiday malaise over the past couple of weeks but come January 5, bootcamp starts all over again and I'm looking forward to it. The best I felt over the past year was when I really in the zone as far as my exercise regime went.

- finish reading the pile of books I have sitting in the living room. Until I finish them, I don't want to buy any new books!

5. What are your plans for New Year's Eve?

It's just another night to me. I work at an institution of higher learning so the new year always seems to start in September for me. Mark will be working all day on the 31st and again really early on the 1st so we'll probably just go to bed at our normal time.
Okay...if on boxing day 2004, you hear me say "let's go to the mall...just for fun" please feel free to punch me, hard. We went out to see what was happening today. We did get an amazing deal on a refurbished computer that we'll be harvesting for parts but other than that, it's just insane out there. Oh well, I guess it's just part of the holiday "fun" or something!?

Thursday, December 25, 2003

For all intents and purposes, Christmas is now over for another year...for us anyway. I mean, we have a few people who we'll be seeing over the next few days but the biggest part of it is now behind us.

We spent the best part of the day at my mum's (well, from about 11:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.). She likes to have her big meal at midday and that suits me down to the ground. We had a nice meal and then exchanged gifts afterwards. A big part of our holiday involves the exchange of those scratch ticket packets that the Ontario Lottery Corporation puts out so we end up sitting around the table scratching our tickets for a couple of hours. We visit while we scratch and it's all very civilised and cordial.

A lot of fun was had (I think) by all today. We got some really nice gifts this year, lots of little nifty/useful things and some fun stuff (like CD's, DVD's and cash). I gave Mark The Office Season One, Mr Show Season Three and Run Ronnie Run. My brother Pat gave me a copy of Heartworn Highways (which looks like it will be fucking brilliant!). Mark gave me a bunch of stuff from my amazon wish list: Sopranos Season Four, South Park Season Three (a lovely surprised as we had rewatched Season Two last night -- The Charlie Manson Family Christmas Special rawks!!), The Best of Arliss and a box set of three John Hughes films -- Sixteen Candles, Weird Science and The Breakfast Club. So, as you can see, we'll have a lot of stuff to watch this winter....yay!!

Speaking of which, I can hear the soothing sounds of the Mr Show floating up from downstairs so I'll dash now. Hope you all had a great Christmas!!
Happy Christmas kiddies!!

When I woke up this morning I recalled how, when we were kids, we would be up and sitting in front of the tree at 5 a.m. (or earlier if we could). This morning, all I wanted to do was roll over and sleep some more...however, there is stuff that needs doing before we head over to see my folks so I'm up.

It didn't snow last night (even though the weather dudes and dudettes promised it would) so we're having a very green and mild Christmas here. Hopefully the sun will come out and it'll turn into a really lovely day.

Whatever the weather, have a good one!

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

It's beginning to look a lot like... March?

If it gets any warmer outside, or rains any more, I swear that we'll be mowing our lawn on Boxing Day. It's ridiculously nice outside right now (even with the rain). It's insane. Our backyard, which was covered in a beautiful blanket of snow on Sunday, is slowly turning into a small lake. Merry Christmas huh?

our backyard

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Despite the post nasal drip, I got some baking done today. I just had to stop what I was doing like every 5 minutes to blow my nose and then wash my hands. I got Sugar Drop Cookies, Yum-Yum Bars, Almond Coconut Cookies and Coconut Fudge Bars made. Tomorrow I'm doing Shortbread, Rugelach, Gingerbread cutouts and probably one or two other things. Yay me. I knew that doing the baking wouldn't be too tough. I enjoy baking and, I must say, I'm pretty good at it.

It did wear me out a bit, what with still getting over a cold and all so I'm going to toddle off to bed now. 'night!

Monday, December 22, 2003

Holiday madness kept me away from the computer for most of the weekend. Today, I've been feeling like hammered crap. This head cold thing is getting out of hand. I've just felt terrible all day. Luckily though, our holiday shopping is all done and I got everything wrapped yesterday. I haven't baked anything yet but, if I'm feeling better, I should be able to get it done over the next 2 days.

I'm sick to death of hearing / reading crap about the new lord of the rings movie. I was seriously feeling like Mark and I were the only folks on the planet who didn't want to see it when I read Zorbs blog today. At least we're not alone. I mean, I guess that I can be happy on some level for these lotr fans. They look forward to these movies, they loved the books and now it's over. Yay for them. My feeling is "it's just a movie!" The only holiday film that I'm remotely interested in seeing this year is Big Fish and even that, I think I can wait until it shows up on the movie channel.

I guess I'm just too stingy in my old age to give the theatre that much money for a movie ticket, not when we have 2 digital cable boxes here at home. Oh well, bah humbug huh? I must just be grumpy because of the sinus headache I've got.

Yesterday, I took some photos of the snow in our backyard. We had been out running errands and I just happened to have my camera with me. When we got home, we noticed that our garbage can had blown from the side of the house into the back yard. When I went to retrieve it, I noticed that there were snow balls all over the lawn. They were different sizes and had been rolled, it seems, by the wind. You could see tracks in the snow but no footprints (at first we thought that maybe some kids had been in the yard). I guess that the heavy winds blew some of the snow off of our spruce trees and then, they collected some of the dusty snow that had fallen over night. Here are some pictures I snapped of it, strange but true:


Friday, December 19, 2003

Yikes!! It's Friday again, here's the Friday Five:

1. List your five favorite beverages.

Water, strong black coffee, Diet Coke with lime, fresh squeezed orange juice, cranberry juice.

2. List your five favorite websites.

All the sites listed in my blog roll,, The New York Times online, Blogger and All Music

3. List your five favorite snack foods.

Wowee Maui Skinny Sticks, clementine oranges, bananas, Royal Gala apples and anything chocolate.

4. List your five favorite board and/or card games.

Not that we play too often but I like Scrabble, Monopoly (we have the Coronation Street version), Trivial Pursuit, Cribbage and Solitaire.

5. List your five favorite computer and/or game system games.

We don't have a games system but I like playing FreeCell Pro and Tetris on our machine. Back in the day (yes, I am a child of the '80's) I loved hanging out in the arcade and playing Frogger, Centipede and Tron.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Happy Thursday kids!!

Well, the sinus/cold thing that was kicking my ass all weekend seems to have reappeared. I've spent the better part of today being stuffed up and just generally feeling like a sack of poopie. Not fun. I guess that spending yesterday running in and out of stores in the rain didn't do me any good. I just would like to get through one holiday season / festive situation without a head cold. Is that too much to ask?

So, today I was sent a link via a listserv I'm on. The link was a for a Music Nerd Quiz. I scored 76.3285% and am, according to the quiz, a "Hardcore Music Nerd." I'd be interested in seeing how others scored. If you take it, let me know how you scored, please?

So, other than feeling crummy and taking a quiz, I didn't actually do too much today. I have a tonne of Christmas baking to do but I haven't started it yet. I did bake a couple of loaves of bread in my bread machine today though. Hopefully that will make me feel like starting it tomorrow. I always enjoy it once I start, starting is just the tough part!

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I spent the past two days (yes, entire days -- like when it was light out!) shopping. Yesterday, I did a bunch of errands with Mark's dad in the morning and spent the afternoon running errands for us (like groceries and other sundry stuff that is non-related to the big holiday next week). Today, I did holiday shopping. I was out from 8:30 a.m. until late this afternoon. I think I got it all done though.

The weather was kind of nasty here today. It started out raining and then turned into wet snow. Fortunately, the snow didn't accumulate so the roads were pretty good. It looked a lot worse than it was so I think it kept a lot of folks out of the shoppes. This was good for me though because the traffic wasn't horrible, I managed to get parked every place I went to and I think I have just about everything I need.


It doesn't look like much but that's not actually all of it, it's just what I squeezed into the photo. I still have to sort it all out and wrap it up. I think I'll stay put tomorrow. I want to get some housework done and then this weekend I'll start my baking. I'm not doing a lot (well not as much as last year) but I'm going to do a few things. I like to give it away as gifts to some folks (if it all turns out anyway). I know it only comes once a year but it's such a lot of hoopla and running around. I really look forward to it just being over and done with every year. I'm not quite Bah-Humbug but not exactly overly excited about it either.

It was kind of sick actually, watching folks in a haze shopping today. Many people looked like zombies wandering around. I'm just happy that I won't have to spend too much more time out amongst them again. I know that I feel like a zombie tonight so I probably looked like one too. I know that by the time I was finishing up, I'd started mumbling to myself as I walked up and down the store aisles. You know it's time to go home when you do that!!

Monday, December 15, 2003

Happy Monday!!

Boy did it snow here. Lots of it. We just spent the best part of 2 hours digging out and it's still snowing!! Hopefully it'll end soon and the sun will come out. I love a sunny bright day after a big snow storm.

So I'm officially on vacation. That's right kids, I don't have to go back to work until January 5. I'm pretty happy about it. I still have to do our Christmas shopping and stuff but at least I have over a week to get it done. I don't actually have much to do so it shouldn't be to terribly bad. Anyway, let's start the week off with a quiz, just for fun:


Which month are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, December 13, 2003

This morning, the phone rang kind of early. I was sitting in the living room, sipping coffee, Mark was getting ready for work and I was half-watching a movie on TV. My dad was on the other end of the phone and he sounded pretty excited. He wanted me to go to the computer and check the winnings for the Super 7 last night. He had 5 out of 7 numbers. I hung up, ran upstairs and checked the site. He won $135.20. I had to call him back and tell him that it wasn't thousands he won but rather, tens. Shouldn't you win more than $135.20 for 5 numbers? Sheesh. I mean, it's better than a kick in the balls but I felt kind of bad having to tell him that it wasn't a big payout. He sounded pretty happy but still.

Friday, December 12, 2003

It's back! Here is this week's Friday Five:

1. Do you enjoy the cold weather and snow for the holidays?

It doesn't really matter to me, one way or the other. I live in a place that gets cold and snow on a regular basis at this time of the year. Ideally, it's nice to not have to shovel out on Christmas morning but if it happens, so be it. It's been my experience the past couple of years that it was actually too cold to snow and it was just sort of grey / green / brown.

2. What is your ideal holiday celebration? How, where, with whom would you celebrate to make things perfect?

My ideal holiday celebration would be for Mark and I to go away somewhere, alone. Preferably somewhere warm and sunny where we didn't have to be bombarded with tacky Christmas decorations, tinsel, gifts, overcooked turkey, crowded stores, hideous traffic and fake sentiment. Basically, anywhere that we could be alone and literally away from all the holiday hoopla would be a dream come true.

3. Do you do have any holiday traditions?

I guess so. On Christmas day, we go to my mum's place and have Christmas lunch, exchange gifts and spend a couple of hours scratching lottery tickets. It sounds really odd but we actually all exchange those $10 packages of tickets (in addition to "traditional" gifts) and then sit around, after the food and torn wrapping paper is tucked away and scratch our brains out.

4. Do you do anything to help the needy?

Not in a hands on way but there are a couple of local charities that we support.

5. What one gift would you like for yourself?

If money wasn't an issue, I'd love for us to take a trip away somewhere as a holiday gift. See item #1 for details!

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

I'm still here. It's been almost a week since I last posted. I guess I haven't posted this week for a couple of reasons. One would be that I've been really brain dead recently and thinking up something that is cool and/or nifty and/or interesting to post here would require more energy than I can muster. The other reason would be that there isn't much happening right now that I actually feel I can discuss here. Hopefully that will change soon.

Oh, about the road didn't happen. We stayed home and did errands and puttered around the house. It was nice and just what we needed.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Well, no Friday Five today. I guess I don't need a Friday Five to write a post on Friday. I could sum up my week here but I don't think I'll depress you all with that. Everything is just happening all at once and it's getting to me. Today is a much better day than yesterday. Yesterday was particularly stressful, for many reasons but it's not really something I can talk about at the moment, not here anyway.

I can honestly say that I haven't even seen the news this week, or heard it, or really even read much of it. This is sort of odd because I'm usually all up on what's happening. I'm just a little brain-dead and out of sorts I guess. I have Monday off which is nice. I had originally booked off next Friday but our office holiday luncheon thing is happening that day so I figured I should go. After that though, I'm off work until January 5. I'm so looking forward to the break.

I'm not sure what we're doing this weekend. We were thinking of taking a road trip and then decided against it and now, weather permitting, we're thinking of another, much shorter one. Tomorrow I'll probably just stick close to home and try to get some stuff done. If we go anywhere it'll just be for the night, probably Saturday. We'll see. I think I've rambled on enough though.

If you are in the Ottawa region, The Glads are having a CD release party tomorrow night. The details can be found on their page. Rock on, sisters and brothers!

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The sun is shining here today and it's freezing cold. It snowed last night and this time it seems to be sticking around a bit. The nice thing about it though is that the sun and the snow put together make stuff super bright and sparkle-y. It's actually really pretty.

Well, for the first time in a while, I'm really excited about some stuff. Unfortunately, I don't feel that this public spot is the best place to discuss them but, hopefully soon, I'll be posting all about it here.

Both of them are things that I'm looking forward to, that I hope I will get to do and talking about the specifics of them may end up jinxing them (yes, I'm a little superstitious...and a little paranoid at times). When I can though, I'll fill you all in. Yay for looking forward to stuff!!

Monday, December 01, 2003

Monday, again. Ugh!

The day is winging by though, rather quickly. I got a lot done yesterday around the house, actually we both did. Mark did a bunch of repairs that needed to be done to the side door and the motion sensor / flood light thing. The other night, we had a wicked wind storm. The screen door hadn't been properly closed and the wind took it and banged it against the flood light. It smashed both light bulbs (fortunately the fixture wasn't damaged) and messed up part of the door frame. It's all fixed now though and he got some weather proofing done around the door and in the laundry area of our kitchen. I think it's going to be pretty cozy down there this winter, much better than last year at any rate.

A couple of weeks ago, Mark moved two big bookshelves (and all the books too, what a guy huh?) down from our spare bedroom into the front foyer. At first I wasn't too thrilled about the spot he put them in but I really like it now. I emptied one of the two remaining smaller bookshelves and took the books downstairs. I managed to weed out a bunch of old school texts and stuff and have 3 boxes of books to go to Goodwill. I had thought about putting some of the newer stuff up on eBay but I just want rid of them. The past few times I've listed stuff on eBay, I've had a tough time selling anything so I haven't bothered in a while. I also boxed up a couple of boxes of knick-knacks and other misc. stuff. I should have room on one of the shelves that was previously covered in knick-knacks for the remaining books. This also means that we can give the two smaller shelves to goodwill as well as a set of end tables that we no longer want.

We're not 100 per cent sure but it's looking like Mark's dad will be moving in with us sometime in 2004 so we just want to be ready for that when it happens. It's a great exercise too. I'm really getting good at tossing stuff out. We just have too much stuff and all year, I've worked on decreasing clutter in our house. It started out as a resolution in January and it's actually something that I've worked on all year long. I was really good with my resolutions this year actually, I kept all of them. mmm...odd. That's never really happened before and I just now realized it. Neat!

When I'm off work for the holidays, I intend to tackle a couple of closets and weed further. I want to go through the kitchen cupboards again too. Some stuff that I repacked last spring I'll go through again and see what I can get rid of this time. Every time I go through stuff, I find more things to chuck. I don't know how two people could accumulate so much junk but I'm having fun getting rid of it all.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

So, we're officially as decorated for Christmas as we're gonna be.

I dug through the boxes of Christmas stuff today and put up a bit of stuff. A couple of years ago, I reorganized my holiday stuff so it was actually pretty easy to do today. We didn't do any decorating at all last year. We just didn't feel like it, we were having Christmas at my mum's place so I didn't feel like making a big deal of it. This year though, I'll be off work for a couple of weeks before Christmas and, presumably, will be home a bit more so I felt like putting up some stuff.

The tree's not up but I put up a really nice, fake greenery with mini lights garland around the entrance way to our living room. I also put some mini lights up in our patio doors and in the kitchen window. There are now tinsel garlands up in the kitchen doorways and my fake flowers on the dining room table have been switched from fall to winter. I also put a couple of extra "christmassy" type candles in the living room so it's nice and cozy. We're not religious at all but I like to have things a little brighter and sparkle-y in the days leading up to the solstice. It's just so dark, so early these days, it's nice to make things a little more colourful.

We had our first proper snow today, it was actually "blizzarding" at one point. The visibility was for poop and the roads were really slippery. Fortunately, the sun came out late this afternoon and melted most of it. It's actually kind of annoying but I think that if it hadn't snowed today (and I'd not been listening to "Merry Fucking Christmas" by Mr. Garrison today, I may not have bothered. I'm kind of glad that I did though, it was a good excuse to get into the corners of my living room with the new vacuum!

Friday, November 28, 2003

Here's the Friday Five:

1. Do you like to shop? Why or why not?

Yes I do. When I was younger, I loved shopping. I could live at the mall. As I've gotten older, I still enjoy shopping but I'm not fanatical about it. When I have something that I need to buy, I love to go shopping and getting it but I don't go hang out at the mall and wander around just for something to do anymore.

2. What was the last thing you purchased?

Groceries for Mark's dad on Wednesday night.

3. Do you prefer shopping online or at an actual store? Why?

Depends on what I'm buying. I'd rather shop online for music and books because I live in a small town and the selection online is better than in the shoppes. For clothes, I love to shop in person (although I have bought a lot of stuff online too). I much prefer to feel the fabric and try stuff on in the store.

4. Did you get an allowance as a child? How much was it?

I know that I did when I was really little but can't remember how much it was. I know that when I got to high school, my mum gave me the baby bonus cheque each month for my allowance but I had to do a lot of stuff around the house to earn it.

5. What was the last thing you regret purchasing?

The wooden screen door we put in last spring. Our side door is a non-standard size so, rather than order a custom aluminum door that would match the one we were having put in at the front of the house, we got this really nice wooden one. Given the fuss and bother of painting and having to get a piece of lucite cut for it (for the winter) and the way that it has warped a bit over the summer, I now know that we should have sprung for the extra for the custom aluminum door because we're going to have to go that route eventually anyway.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Yikes, who knew?

My life is rated NC-17.
What is your life rated?
Happy Tuesday!!

Well, we had a bit of snow last night. Not a lot, about 4 flakes I think. When I got up this morning, it was still dark outside and I could see a bit of the white stuff stuck to the car and the concrete. It wasn't anything major but it was a bit of a shock after the balmy, spring-like weather we had here on the weekend.

There isn't anything to really report today. I'm at work, gettting stuff done. It's been a pretty productive week so far and that feels good. So...given the lack of really juicy, interesting stuff, here's a quiz, have fun!!

Potty Scotty
Your Potty Scotty. You love the simple things in
life, like sliced bread. Can't get enough of
the sliced bread. You don't care whats
happening if it's bad. Brain

Which Garbage Pail Kid Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, November 24, 2003

It's Monday again, already. So far my week is going really well. I'm at work today but I'm having one of those rare, super-productive days. It might just be regular-productive but it feels "super" because I tackled a bunch of jobs that I've been putting off for ages first thing this morning. You know the little annoying jobs that don't take much time and aren't really a high priority but they still have to get done? Well I had a big thick bulging file folder full of them. The unit I work in had been helping another unit on an event recently so last week was the first week in a while that I had to focus on my own stuff.

So, did you see Michael Jackson's mug shot on the weekend? I know that you're supposed be presumed innocent until proven guilty but looking at what he's done to his face, it's hard to imagine that he's innocent. I remember when I was a really little kid, watching the Jackson 5 cartoon on Saturday mornings. I had the biggest crush on Michael. He was so cute. I don't know how he can look at the mirror and think that what he's done to himself looks good. His behaviour just gets weirder all the time. I'd like to hope that he actually is innocent and that no one was hurt in all of this but it all just feels really wrong to me.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Although it flew in a blur, I had a nice weekend.

Honestly, I didn't do much of anything except for vacuuming and doing laundry. Mark and I spent the best part of this afternoon watching the Simpsons Season 3 on DVD with the audio commentary on. What I love about the Simpsons DVD is that there is an audio commentary for each and every episode and they are usually pretty hilarious.

Tonight (well, just late this afternoon I guess), we were out for dinner with Mark's dad. We ended up at Montana's and a nice, quick and early dinner. It was kind of nice to be home before 6 p.m. I know that this all sounds really boring and lame but it's been such a nice weekend. We've been so busy lately that this weekend felt like a real treat. Hopefully, the rest of this year will be just as laid-back and quiet as this weekend has been. Here's hoping anyway!

Saturday, November 22, 2003

I got a new vacuum yesterday. Mine is old, really really old. It belonged to my parents, is avacado green and has fake wood panelling on the top. It's an old Kemore that long ago outlived it's usefulness. It's been dying a slow death recently. Mark's dad told me to look around and find one that I liked. If I could find one under $300 he'd get it for me.

So, I've been shopping around a fair bit and found a Eureka Litespeed Upright. It's VERY cool (you can see it here, model #5744). It works SO well, it's insanely powerful and I'm a little disguested with the amount of dirt it sucked up from our carpets downstairs. I'm going to do the upstairs today. I was really impressed with how quiet it was. It also has that Hepa filter deal and a cool duster thing. It's an electrostatic feather-like duster. When you've finished with it, the vacuum will clean it. Too nifty.

I know that it's kind of sad to get excited about a vacuum but it is a really cool little sucker!

Friday, November 21, 2003

Here's the Friday Five:

1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.

- I'd like to finish up a couple of projects that we started around the house back in the spring but haven't completed
- I'd like to get my Christmas shopping done
- lose a few more pounds
- enjoy the two weeks I have booked off before Christmas
- finish the books I have piled up beside my bed right now.

2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again.

Lisa M., Lisa L., Ryan P., Bill B., Leslie E.

3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do.

- play a musical instrument
- speak a different language
- build stuff with power tools (carpentry)
- bake bread without the use of my breadmaker
- stop my voice from going quivery and crying when I'm really angry (I'm the world's worst angry person!)

4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit).

- quit my job
- hire a personal trainer to workout with me every day
- move to New York or New Orleans or London
- start up another restaurant
- travel (a lot).

5. List five things you do that help you relax.

- hang out with Mark, anywhere, anytime
- workout
- sleep
- paint my toes
- reading

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Who can take a nothing day...and suddenly make it all seem worth while?

...well, it's Stewie, and you should know it, baby! This is the best news I've had in a while and it totally made my day:

"Family Guy" Reunion in the Works
By Lia Haberman

Victory may still be Stewie's.

The pint-sized tot with plans of world domination could return to Fox as the network considers resurrecting its animated comedy Family Guy.

Truth be told, strong DVD sales and not Stewie's heavily accented scheming are reportedly behind the move to reinstate the cartoon 18 months after it was yanked from the airwaves.

At this time, production of the dysfunctional family cartoon is "under discussion" according to a Fox spokesperson.

Calls to creator Seth MacFarlane's rep were not returned.

As many as 35 new episodes could premiere in January 2005, according to the Fox spokesperson, which would mark the first time a canceled series has been revived on the strength of its DVD sales and syndication ratings.

Fox head honcho Sandy Grushow told USA Today the series was a late-blooming phenomenon that may have aired before its time.

DVD and cable viewers have "created a kind of groundswell that could lead to better ratings," said Grushow.

Indeed, despite being canceled after only three season, Family Guy is this year's top-selling TV title and the fourth best TV series seller ever, according to Video Store magazine.

A DVD set released in April of the show's first 28 episodes has sold close to 1 million copies while a second collection of 22 episodes has already passed the 500,000 mark. Reruns of the show also rank number one among adult viewers on Cartoon Network.

Family Guy premiered to 22 million viewers on Super Bowl Sunday in 1999 and high praise from critics ("gloriously twisted" said TV Guide). Created by then 24-year-old MacFarlane, the show revolved around the dysfunctional Griffin family of Quahog, Rhode Island, including talking toddler Stewie who vowed revenge for being incarcerated in his mother's "cursed ovarian Bastille" for nine months.

MacFarlane had his stamp all over the Emmy-winning series, lending his voice to the roles of patriarch Peter Griffin, son Stewie and family dog Brian, while Seth Green and Mila Kunis played sibs Chris and Meg Griffin, respectively.

However, the series had difficulty maintaining its following as Fox bounced the show all over its schedule. The series was also the target of an advertiser boycott instigated by MacFarlane's former prep school headmaster, the Reverend Richardson Schell.

Schell convinced several advertisers to abandon the 'toon due to its alleged anti-Semitic, racist and sexist content after MacFarlane refused a request to change the cartoon family's surname. Griffin was the same last name as that of Schell's assistant, Elaine Griffin.

More than 125,000 fans fired back with their own online petition announcing their intention to boycott the network and its advertisers if the series was canceled, all to no avail.

Now, the last laugh may be MacFarlane's. Not only is the network considering reviving the sassy series, but earlier this year he revealed that a direct-to-DVD project featuring the animated Griffin family could be in the works for next year.
Stewart Gilligan Griffin
Sometimes, the weather just fits my mood.

It's rainy here today, and grey. Yucky generally. It's been a busy couple of weeks and I'm finally getting myself sorted out as far as life, routine, work, home and everything else goes. I don't honestly know where the past four months have gone but I'm shocked to discover that Christmas is just a little over than a month away.

Today, November 19, is my brother's birthday. Happy Birthday buddy, just think, in 4 months, you'll be 33 1/3!!

Friday, November 14, 2003

Wow, Friday already!! Here is this week's Friday Five:

1. Using one adjective, describe your current living space.


2. Using two adjectives, describe your current employer.


3. Using three adjectives, describe your favorite hobby/pasttime.


4. Using four adjectives, describe your typical day.


5. Using five adjectives, describe your ideal life.


Monday, November 10, 2003

I'm really tired today. I didn't sleep much the past two nights. I was up and down a lot and having some weird dreams when I was sleeping. I've been kind of in a fog all morning, and it's been cold in my office so we are all huddled around our space heaters.

Anyway, when I'm foggy I'm bored and when I'm bored, I do quizzes!! Here is today's offering:


What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, November 09, 2003

My ankle is feeling much better today, I'm happy to report. I also feel healthier today than I have in about a week. I know that I was fighting some kind of bad cold for the whole of last week. I'm happy to report that I'm pretty sure I kicked it's ass!

The flu-shot clinics have started popping up all over town and there have been debates around the office over the pros and cons. Personally, I'll never get one again. In the fall of 2000, Mark and I both bought into the advertising and got one. That year, the local health unit was really promoting them. It was the first year also, that the shot was free and we thought, what the heck. We both work around a lot of people so why not. Well, I'll tell ya why not. We never get the flu. We get colds, sure, but not the actual flu. All winter that year, we felt blah. Just a real sense of malaise that we couldn't shake until spring arrived. Now, it's possible that it wasn't the flu shot but I'm betting that it was. Why else would both of us feel tired and kind of achey all winter long? We didn't get it in 2001 or 2002 and, aside from the odd head cold here and there, we were fine. I think that some folks think that the flu shot will prevent a cold. It won't and I'm not comfortable having something injected into me that I'm not sure I need.

The sun is shining here again today. I think it's kind of cold outside but I'd rather have it be bright and chilly than overcast, damp and mild.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

I was up a little later than normal this morning but still pretty early. I had a stupid accident at work yesterday and twisted my ankle a bit so I'm hobbling around the house a bit this morning. I was supposed to go help my mum this morning (her church has a tea and sale every year and she runs the plant table) but I've begged off because hanging out in a damp basement would not be good for my ankle this morning.

I'm puttering around the house instead of working with her. I'm deadheading plants and tidying up, stuff I can do from a seated position. Mark dragged some stuff downstairs for me earlier to help me out. I feel like a bit of a knob but there's not much I can do about it except rest.

Something very cool happened this morning though. I was sitting on the sofa, deadheading my geraniums and I looked outside... a gorgeous Cardinal was sitting in our bird feeder, having breakfast. There were two squirrels sitting on the ground below (with a couple of morning doves), eating stuff that was hitting the lawn, and about a dozen sparrows buzzing around the Cardinal. She was running the feeder though, no one was messing with her. It was so awesome. I never thought that I'd get into a bird feeder but this is the second fall/winter that we've had it and we really enjoy it. I can not get over the variety of birds that live in our neighbourhood. It doesn't hurt that our yard has lots of trees in it either. I don't know why but whenever I see cardinals or blue jays out there, I just stop what I'm doing and watch them until they've flown away. They're just too pretty not to watch I guess!

Friday, November 07, 2003

Here is this week's Friday Five:

1. What food do you like that most people hate?

I don't know that there is anything in particular that I like that folks hate. I love a lot of different vegetables that some folks I know can't or won't eat (like broccoli for example).

2. What food do you hate that most people love?

I can't honestly think of any food that I hate. I mean, some foods, I won't eat if they aren't prepared the way I like them but I can't think of anything that I wouldn't eat.

3. What famous person, whom many people may find attractive, is most unappealing to you?

I don't understand the appeal of men like Fabio (or pretty much any of the wrestling guys). He looks like a lunk head and, quite frankly, I've always thought that he looks a little too much like Alf for my liking (sorry Alf!).

4. What famous person, whom many people may find unappealing, do you find attractive?

Although he's not a "traditionally handsome" man, I think that James Gandolfini is very sexy. I think he's the hottest guy on television.

5. What popular trend baffles you?

Low rise jeans and crop tops. The jeans make your ass look huge. Bigger than it already is. I have a big ass already, I don't need to wear a pair of jeans that are basically too small, to make my ass look bigger. Many girls who wear this combo end up with a spare tire hanging out between the shirt and the jeans and it just looks terrible, in my humble opinion anyway!

Thursday, November 06, 2003

royal gala apples are still yummy!

weirdly, as I have typed here the past two days, I've been eating an apple..mmm...odd!

I'm still feeling sick but fighting it. I'm getting really sick of the headaches and zombie feeling that I've had the past several days. It bites.

I realized today that I have almost a week of vacation leftover and about the same in lieu days accumulated. I think I'm going to take them all together before the Christmas break. I'm really lucky because our office shuts down between Christmas and New Years. Also, this year, because New Years Day falls on a Thursday, we have January 2 off. It's looking like I'm going to be able to take a week and a half off before Christmas. I think that my last day of work for the year will be December 11. It'll be a nice break. By the time it rolls around, I usually really need it. I did it last year and it was very nice. Mark will be working but I'll be able to putter around the house and get us all ready for the holidays. I'll also be able to get our running around done, during the day when it's not so busy. It's his really busy time at work so he'll be able to come home and just put his feet up, should be good. It's hard to be thinking about the holidays already but they are coming up, fast and furious.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Royal Gala apples are yummy!

We've been eating a lot of them lately. I love this time of year, apple season. We're really lucky that we live in an area where you can find apples a-plenty. yum!!

Last night, we actually watched the Giller Award broadcast on Book TV. Now, I hadn't actually read any of the short listed books but I do listen to Sounds Like Canada every morning. Shelagh had a panel on, discussing the books and making wagers about the winner and I had joked to Mark, over dinner, that the show was being broadcast last night. I watched it because Shelagh had mentioned that she was going to be on the show and was going to be wearing a really pretty dress. Well guess what? We watched the thing, out of curiousity. I wanted to see what Shelagh was wearing. They ended up cutting her out of the broadcast so that they would have time to actually show the Giller prize being awarded. What a rip off huh?

So, other than being disappointed by a literary awards show (!??!), not much is going on this week. Work's really busy right now and I've been fighting a cold (I think it's the one that Mark had last week) all week. Yuck. Not fun. I can't get sick right now. Just don't have the time. So there!!

Saturday, November 01, 2003

I know that technically, I'm supposed to be a grown up. Grown up people aren't supposed to love kids' stuff but I have to admit that I still love Strawberry Lip Smacker lip gloss. I've loved it since I was a little girl and I still love it.

Speaking of grown ups versus little kids, I saw a lot of little kids last night. I also saw more than one dad dressed up like Link from the Mod Squad last night. Many of the kids were "dead" last nigh, dead cheerleaders, dead skater kids, dead pajama party attendees, dead pop stars. Just dead. Last year it was Harry Potter, this year it was dead. I guess dead is easy to do. One little boy (he seemed like a bit of a thug, to be honest) was dressed up like Anne Shirley. He said, "betcha can't guess who I am!" to me. I told him that I thought he was either Anne Shirley or Blossom. He said, "who's Blossom?" and then "I'm that chick from PEI!" Sad but true, he knew he was an icon, just didn't know her name. I'm guessing he's not a fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery. I always love seeing 20 something guys carrying babies (I'm talking less than a year old) around on Halloween night. Like the baby is going to eat a bag of Doritos! The kids in our neighbourhood seemed to be doing okay. I noticed several dads carrying hockey bags around which seemed full.

After the shelling out was over, we went out for dinner. On our way home from the restaurant, we drove around the downtown area to see the "parade" of people. The Queen's students were out in full-force. We saw a french maid, a slutty angel, a dead academic (ie a guy in an academic gown with a knife sticking out of his head), a trio of slutty construction worker/girls, Elvira, and a bunch of hippies (some slutty, some not). Amongst the grown ups, slutty was in last night, slutty kitties, slutty devils. You get the picture I'm sure.

Today I'm sure the Christmas decorations are going up in the mall. I have managed to avoid going out so far today. It's been nice. I've been doing some cleaning and laundry. Typical Saturday-type stuff. Other than that, not much is happening today. It's the first day of November but the temperatures are in the mid-60's today. It's very odd. There are lots of dopey insects flying around. The squirrels are acting a little weirder than usual in our yard today too. Maybe it'll be a very late winter this year. I'm not complaining about the nice weather, that's for sure. The longer I can avoid shovelling snow, the better!

Friday, October 31, 2003

Happy Hallowe'en

In keeping with the spirit of the day, here is the spooky day version of the Friday Five:

1. What was your first Halloween costume?

I couldn't tell you. I'll have to ask my mum when I'm talking to her on the weekend.

2. What was your best costume and why?

My best costume was a clown costume. My mum made it and it was FABULOUS. It was a jump suit that zipped up the back, made of patches of different fabrics. It was big enough that I could wear it over my winter coat and it had a really cool ruffled collar. I think I was probably 5 or 6 the year that she made it for me.

3. Did you ever play a trick on someone who didn't give you a treat?

I don't think so. We would only go to houses that had their lights on and seemed to be shelling out candy.

4. Do you have any Halloween traditions? (ie: Family pumpkin carving, special dinner before trick or treating, etc.)

We moved into our house in 2000. Before that, we'd lived in apartments and never had to do the shelling out thing. The only Halloween "traditions" that we have adopted is that we do shell out to the neighbourhood kids and I put up these cool orange mini-lights in our kitchen and at the side door of the house (the one we want the kids to go to)

5. Share your favorite scary story...real or legend!

I'm not really into scary stories. If you want to read some really scary shit, I'd suggest that you check out the Ban Trans Fat Website.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

It's the eve of Halloween and all the big ass displays are out, all over the neighbourhood. Some of them are really good. I particularly like the houses that have "grave yard" motifs where the fake stones are mixed amongst candidates signs for the upcoming municipal election. Very cute.

We're giving out chips and cheese puffs this year (doritos and cheetos to be exact). I'm expecting over 100 kids. We'll see what happens. Should be lots of spooky fun and fortunately, it's all over by 7:30 p.m.!

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Hump Day Musings

It's Wednesday and I'm brain dead. I've been feeling really stupid for almost a week now. Do you think that it's possible to get a brain cold, like a head cold but in your brain? If it is, I think I have one. My brain is just not working properly this week.

Might be the rain (hhmmm...Milli Vanilli just came to mind --- yuck!) causing it too. Yesterday we saw the sunshine (briefly) for the first time in almost a week. Today's it's dreary and raining again. Oh well, at least Jamie's getting a MBE!

Its Pukka as Naked Chef Gets Royal Honor

LONDON (Reuters) - Jamie Oliver, the British chef who rose to fame with his Naked Chef television series, dressed up on Wednesday to receive an honor from the queen at Buckingham Palace.

Oliver, who cultivates a cheeky chappie persona, was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth in the summer in recognition of his services to the hospitality industry.

The chef, whose trademark phrase "pukka" (good) is almost as well known in Britain as his cooking, has become something of a culinary phenomenon. His cookery books are best-sellers, his television shows are watched by millions and Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman has said he wants to make a movie about the 28-year old.

Oliver was given the honor after recruiting and training 15 youngsters to work in his restaurant.

The would-be-chefs were filmed as part of a hit television series called Jamie's Kitchen. Viewers followed the trainees as they struggled to cope with basic cooking, threw tantrums and generally tested Oliver's patience. By the end of the series the group of apprentice chefs were cooking for Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Monday, October 27, 2003

I don't often have my shit together enough on the weekends anymore to post on either Saturday or Sunday. I mean, I don't not do it on purpose, it just doesn't seem to happen that much anymore.

The weekend was nice. The extra hour we picked up yesterday was much appreciated. We didn't do a whole heck of a lot which was what we had intended. It rained almost all weekend and it is still raining right now. It's pretty dreary. I did a lot of errands and running around on Saturday morning and did laundry yesterday. Fun, fun, fun huh?

On Saturday afternoon, my back was bothering me so I lay on the heating pad and watched movies on cable. The first one was Fubar. I know that I'm probably one of the last people in Canada to see this but I never got around to seeing it when it was in the theatres. I thought it was pretty good, you can tell that it didn't cost them a lot to make it but the characters were really authentic. I know that I went to elementary school with guys like Dean and Terry. They are probably still wearing their AC/DC tshirts and untied, high-top sneakers.

After Fubar, I watched White Oleander. What a huge piece of crap that was. I thought that the acting was good, particularly Alison Lohman but the story was boring. I heard very good things about the book and I may read it at some point but the movie was not interesting at all. The girl was having a bad life, we get it. Sheesh. I just didn't find that I could actually care about any of the characters in the movie (except maybe the kid from Almost Famous).

The final movie in my heating-pad-film-festival was Waking Up In Reno. Now, Made in Manhattan aside (I tried to watch it but couldn't get through the first 30 minutes despite the presence of the lovely Frances Conroy -- it's SOOO bad), I will watch anything with Natasha Richardson in it. I think she's fabulous. I thought that Waking Up In Reno was cute and it made me laugh a couple of times. Billy Bob Thornton was really believable as a slimy car salesman who is fucking around on his wife with her best friend. I don't think much of his musical ability but I think he plays a good scum bag better than most. Now don't get me wrong, this will never be a big cinematic classic but it was cute. I mean, hey, Tony Orlando was in it! Thinking back, all the ibuprofen I was taking might have made it seem better than it was. It was silly but sometimes you need a silly movie, especially on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

The pills and laughter must have worked though because I'm feeling much better today than I have in a couple of days.

Friday, October 24, 2003

I'm still feeling a little sick about Elliott Smith. I was on the NME Elliott Smith chat board yesterday and there was a variety of rumour / speculation flying around about the circumstances of his death. Some folks are suggesting, and I must admit that the thought did cross my mind when I heard the news, that he may not have taken his own life. Whatever the case, it won't bring him back.

Other than that though, it's not been much of a week. Work's been busy, as per usual. It's Friday again but there's no Friday Five this week. We were invited to a wedding in Boston this weekend but aren't going. It's a cousin from my dad's side of the family. He's a really nice guy and I hear that his fiancee is a lovely girl but we just couldn't afford a thousand dollar weekend right now. Mum and dad are going, they're actually driving his folks and sister down with them, they're all leaving this morning. Hopefully they'll have a fun and safe weekend, it's a long drive.

I have housework and laundry to keep me busy this weekend. Mark's working tomorrow so I'll try to get everything sorted out tomorrow and we can have Sunday off to veg out. I could use some time to be brain dead this weekend, I'm looking forward to it. All this thinking I've been doing the past few days is hurting my brain.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

So many times over the past 13 months, I've sat in front of my computer, writing in this blog with my eyes full of tears and a huge knot in my stomach. I remember doing that when Joe Strummer died and when Wesley Willis passed away. I sobbed and wanted to vomit and I feel that way right now.

How can Elliott Smith be dead? I just feel sick. I know that if he did kill himself, it was not an easy thing to do. A good friend of mine committed suicide around this time of year in 1996. He was unhappy, felt tortured and frustrated by life. For him, a chemical imbalance caused him to live life as a guinea pig, going from doctor to doctor, prescription to prescription. The process either turned him into a zombie or made him feel worse. To end his life was to end his suffering. For him, there was no alternative. I believe that dead is dead and with death comes peace. All your demons are gone, the pain is over. At least I know that whatever demons haunted Elliott, they've died with him. RIP Elliott, I can't describe how much I'll miss you.


Singer-songwriter ELLIOTT SMITH has died - with suicide the suspected cause.

The singer passed away yesterday (October 21) at the age of 34. His body was discovered by a friend in his Los Angeles apartment. He had a single knife wound to the body.

Smith was then taken to Los Angeles County University of Southern California Medical Center yesterday afternoon (October 21), where he was pronounced dead.

Born in 1969, Smith loved music from an early age. He released five albums, the most critically acclaimed in the mid-90s, titled ’Either/Or’ and ’XO’.

His most mainstream success however came when his song ’Miss Misery’ from the film Good Will Hunting’ was nominated for an Academy Award in 1997.

At the time of his death Smith was working on a new album, which had a working title of ’From A Basement On The Hill’, which was set for completion later this year.

Elliott Smith

Monday, October 20, 2003

Happy Monday!

I don't know why I do but I constantly marvel over how quickly time passes by. I guess it's because when I was a kid, the year seemed to take forever to pass by. As an adult, one who plans events for a living and is always looking ahead on the calendar, the time just whizzes by.

I'm on an extended long weekend. I took Friday and today off from work and am enjoying it a lot. Mark took today off too so we've been getting our house ready for winter. Yesterday we did a bunch of stuff outside, gardening mostly. Cleaning up flower beds, trimming back bushes and trees to prevent them from banging against the house in wind storms this winter. This will be our 4th winter in this house and this is the first time (I think) that we're going to be properly prepared. Mark put the air conditioners away yesterday, today we're going to be sealing up some windows and weather proofing things around the house. We could really use some new windows but that's not in our budget for this year. We did put screen doors on our front and side door this spring so that should help cut down on some of the heat loss we were experiencing on the main floor of our place. Last winter, it was pretty frosty at times. I also don't want to pay the city any more than I absolutely have to for our gas and electric this winter. I'm cheap, it's true.

I think that the best part of today is going to be spent doing nothing. I've tidied up already, Mark's taking the "yard waste" to the community composting facility as I type this. I've got to finish up the laundry I started but other than that, our day is free and clear. I'm looking forward to putting my feet up this afternoon, it'll be a nice break for both of us!

Friday, October 17, 2003

Where did the week go?

I've taken today off from work and have some errands to do. Between them, I have to take Mark's dad to his doctor's appointment this morning and I have one this afternoon so I'm sure the day will zoom by. Luckily, I got to sleep in a little bit this morning (very nice!) and am going to enjoy a leisurely morning until I have to go out at 10:30 a.m.

Here's this week's Friday Five:

1. Name five things in your refrigerator.
Natura Organic Soy Milk with Calcium, Billy Bee Fat Free Honey Mustard, Astro Fat Free Yogurt (a 12 pack, assorted flavours), Presidents Choice Low Calorie Cranberry Cocktail and 2 bunches of broccoli

2. Name five things in your freezer.
Various flavours of no-name freezie pops, a box of Boca Burgers (with Onion), a can of no-name frozen orange juice, a package of ground turkey and several ice trays

3. Name five things under your kitchen sink.
Extra pots for my plants, a bag of ice melt from last winter, windex, dish soap and paper towels.

4. Name five things around your computer.
My digital camera, a Seventh Heaven Records coaster, the telephone, my Visa Bill and a rubber stamp in the shape of a butterfly.

5. Name five things in your medicine cabinet.
Aleve, Echinacea, Lemon flavoured lozenges, plax and extra hair bands.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

thinking about terry underwear...

After listening to DCW almost non-stop for 2 days, I popped in "If You're Feeling Sinister." It's been a while since I listened to it. I was reminded of it on the weekend while I watched Pumpkin. Thinking about it now, it was somewhat appropriate to watch a movie called "pumpkin" on Thanksgiving. Pie aside though, there is a really cute scene in the movie, where "Stars of Track and Field" is played. I think I heard the Gentle Waves later on in the film but I can't say for certain.

The movie was really cute. I didn't have any expectations about it (or a clue about the plot) when I started out watching it. I was flicking around the channels, saw Christina Ricci on the screen and stopped. I missed the first 2 minutes I think but it wasn't far enough long that I'd not bother with it. The premise of the film is that a sorority girl falls in love with a developmentally challenged boy. It was funny and sweet at times. I watched a few movies over the weekend actually. Being brain dead makes for good movie watching I think. I saw In the Bedroom and Real Women Have Curves as well. Pretty good choices I think. I enjoyed them much more than if I had stumbled upon Bubble Boy or The Ring which were also on the Movie Channel over the weekend.

It's rainy quite hard at the moment, it's dark outside too. The leaves that have fallen onto the pavement are sticking to shoes. Somehow, listening to "Me and the Major" is making me feel like it's sunny and warm outside. One should never underestimate the awesome power of a pop album!

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I'm back to work today, just taking a quick break for lunch at the moment.

I was on a roll with a bunch of financial stuff and wasn't going to stop but I have a weird scratchy thing happening my throat and the beginnings of a sinus headache bugging me so I figured I should stop and eat. I have soup today and am hoping that it, in combination with an aleve will make me feel better.

Things are a little tense around the office at the moment. A good friend of mine was fired on Thursday afternoon. No one quite knows where to look or what to say it seems. I'm just keeping my headphones on and my head low. I don't really feel like being chatty and friendly when I'm still pretty upset about it. I talked to her this morning and we'll planning to get together on Friday for coffee. It'll be good to see her. It's was really strange to walk by her desk this morning, knowing that she wasn't there.

I know that this kind of shit happens all the time, no matter where you work. I guess we're probably "lucky" that it doesn't happen more often than this in our office. I know some folks have to deal with this kind of thing all the time. I guess it's the price you pay for not being self-employed. Working for a big company, you get lots of benefits in terms of insurance and vacation but you also have to live with the fact that control over your career is often out of your hands.

Back on the DCW band-wagon. I'm still listening to it and still loving it. The songs that jumped out at me upon first listen (Roy Walker, Step Into My Office, Baby and Stay Loose), I'm still really loving but I'm also SO into Piazza, New York Catcher and Lord Anthony. I was really nervous about this album. So many bands that I fall in love, prove to be a huge disappointment by album 5 (if not well before). Belle and Sebastian have, once again, surpassed any expectations I may have had. I can not urge you strongly enough to pick up a copy of this CD, it's just wonderful!

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Speak of an excellent new album and ye shall see an article about it in the Sunday Times:

A Band for Laura Bush to Love

The new album by Belle and Sebastian, everyone's favorite Glaswegian folk-pop septet, arrived in stores last week looking and sounding suspiciously like a Belle and Sebastian record. It has a cover photo of a glowering hipster and a quirky title, "Dear Catastrophe Waitress," that telegraphs the band's debt to the 80's Brit-pop heroes, the Smiths. It features a dozen very pretty, very old-fashioned songs that depict the romantic travails and pop culture obsessions of post-adolescent bookworms. And like everything Belle and Sebastian has released, it will doubtless be regarded by the 100,000 or so people who buy it with something approaching religious veneration.

Belle and Sebastian is the Little Band That Could. It was formed on a whim in 1995, to take advantage of free studio time offered in a state-sponsored music business class, and in the years since has watched its popularity take off while flouting nearly every music business dictum. The band has refused to appear on magazine covers, and almost completely ignored the music of the last three decades. Its wintry orchestral folk may be one of the most delicate sounds ever embraced by the rock audience; few musicians have stirred such ardor without once raising their voices or leaning into a power chord. Its lyrics, meanwhile, disdain typical rock subject matter. Let other bands sing about sex, drugs and dancing; on "Dear Catastrophe Waitress," Belle and Sebastian has cornered the market on bibliophilia. "I took a book and went into the forest"; "Our aspirations are wrapped up in books"; "The only freedom that you'll ever really know/ Is written in books from long ago." Here is a band that Laura Bush could love.

By rights, Belle and Sebastian should be viewed as a kooky diversion: music to make tea by, or to pipe into the den while settling down with a volume of Samuel Pepys. Instead, the band finds itself the object of one of pop music's most rabid cults, the darlings of an international audience that fills the Internet with exhaustive album exegeses and original Belle and Sebastian-inspired short fiction. Spend a little time surfing fan Web sites and you begin to worry: should a band that has never discovered the distortion channel on its guitar amplifiers or played a rugged beat be asked to shoulder such extravagant devotion?

"Dear Catastrophe Waitress" (Rough Trade) will do little to shake the faith of Belle and Sebastian's partisans. The band's fifth full-length album is its tightest and most tuneful; Belle and Sebastian has smoothed its ragged edges without getting slick. Crucially, "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" restores the lead singer and chief songwriter Stuart Murdoch to center stage after an experiment with a more democratic setup. "Breaking off is misery," he sings in one of the album's several wry looks at lost love. "I see a wilderness for you and me/ Punctuated by philosophy."

Early in 2003, word leaked out that Belle and Sebastian had gone into the recording studio with Trevor Horn, the legendary British producer with a fondness for synthesizers. For some months following, the Internet buzzed with rumors that the band was pulling a Dylan-at-Newport — junking its acoustic guitars and taking a wild stylistic left turn. Were Belle and Sebastian going electro?

Would that it were so. Instead, Mr. Horn played nice, nudging the 1960's-obsessed band a few baby steps closer to the present day — they've made it all the way to 1978 — and encouraging a bit more stylistic range. On previous albums, Belle and Sebastian's sound was circumscribed by folk-rock and lounge — a winsome mix of Nick Drake and Burt Bacharach — but on "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" the band tries other genres. The album's first single, "Step Into My Office, Baby," is a gusty piece of British invasion pop, complete with a fuzz-toned guitar and galloping Paul McCartney-style bass line; "I'm a Cuckoo" borrows its chord progression and melody from an unlikely source: Thin Lizzy's "Boys Are Back in Town." I'm not certain the world needed to hear Belle and Sebastian's gloss on Philadelphia soul, but it's here.

The band still does best when it does dainty. "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" includes several songs in Belle and Sebastian's classic mode — with Mr. Murdoch's voice drifting mildly over strings, horn fanfares and gentle acoustic-guitar strumming — and these rank with the prettiest things it has recorded. The music is rooted in folk-rock basics — minor chord progressions, three-part harmonies, chiming guitar arpeggios — but every song has its surprise: a soulful horn break, a sudden octave leap that aims for the heartstrings.

Of course, if sweet melodies alone were the source of the music's appeal, Belle and Sebastian fans would also be James Taylor fans. But with Belle and Sebastian, the words are the thing; in Mr. Murdoch's lyrics — crammed with knowing references to literature, rock bands, movies, interior design, coffeehouses and bars, fanzines and fashion plates — indie rock fans find a romantic vision of the lives of indie rock fans. More than perhaps any other music scene, indie rock thrives on the desire to be part of an exclusive club — a fellowship built on mixed tapes, samizdat publications and superior taste. Mr. Murdoch's diction may be elevated, but his lyrics are as densely coded as the most slang-thick rap, and the message they broadcast to Belle and Sebastian fans is flattering: you are in on a marvelous secret.

The band, meanwhile, continues to play to the hilt its role as lovable geek-chic mascots. The group's name is taken from an obscure French cartoon about a boy and his dog. For years, the band built its mystique by refusing to grant interviews or pose for photographs; its members appeared in album photos in disguise, wearing Victorian waistcoats and fake mustaches. Recently, Belle and Sebastian has become less camera-shy, but it still strives to project an image of cuddly eccentricity. When the group arrived in New York to play a concert in August, journalists were summoned to Shea Stadium to conduct interviews during a matinee game between the Mets and the Colorado Rockies. Mr. Murdoch, it seems, has become a huge Mets fan; the new album includes "Piazza, New York Catcher," an acoustic ballad that pays tribute to the Mets slugger. Where else would Scotland's most famous band meet the press but in the cheap seats high above the third base line?

Belle and Sebastian may be cutesy, but some ill will lurks in its songs. Mr. Murdoch is a wit, but he is not particularly funny; he tries to imitate Morrissey, the Smiths' arch-aphorist, but he lacks Morrissey's willingness to make himself the butt of the joke. Listening to "Dear Catastrophe Waitress," you get the feeling that, deep down, Mr. Murdoch believes he's the smartest guy in the room.

In song after song, he sings sneering put-downs in the sweetest possible voice; the archetypal Belle and Sebastian hero is a misunderstood bookworm, bent on avenging the slights of adolescent tormentors and ex-lovers — which may explain something about the band's appeal to an audience that revels in militant nerdiness. The new album's showpiece ballad is "Lord Anthony," the tale of an arty schoolboy who is bullied by his intellectual inferiors. "It doesn't pay," Mr. Murdoch croons, "to be smarter than teachers, smarter than most boys." Belle and Sebastian comes on softly, but it has scores to settle.

Shannon Stapleton for The NY Times
I feel very well rested right now. I totally slept in this morning. There is hope for this weekend yet.

Dear Catastrophe Waitress

I've been listening to Dear Catastarophe Waitress on repeat this morning. I gave it my first proper listen yesterday afternoon and it's brilliant. I also got a copy of the new Elvis CD (North) this week. I quickly listened to it yesterday and it's good but boy howdy, DCW is fucking brilliant. It's absolutely beautiful and I'm really loving it. We're debating about whether or not we're going to go see Belle & Sebastian when they play at Massey Hall next month. There are a couple of reasons why I'm hesitant to book it. Firstly, it would be an expensive weekend for us, $100 for tickets, $100 for gas up and back plus accommodation and meals while were in the big city. We're looking at like a $500 weekend AND I have to work, in Toronto, the following weekend for an event so...I'm not sure. It's a lot of money right now that we can't really afford and the timing is pretty bad for us.

We shall see. Perhaps we'll get lucky and win the Super 7 between now and then!

Saturday, October 11, 2003

I'm actually not having a great weekend so far.

This is likely because I'm still tired and trying to recover from last weekend; one of my best friends got fired on Thursday; I just banged my head, really hard while cleaning up the bathroom. My head is sort of pounding and I really want to have a nap.

Yikes. Thank goodness it's a long weekend huh? We're off to my mum's tomorrow for Thanksgiving dinner. Hopefully I'll feel more human by then. This only getting 2 hours sleep at a time thing is not working for me...I miss sleeping 8 hours in a row. One thing I did finish today though is the following test, I found out that I'm 30% bitch. Nice huh?

Friday, October 10, 2003

ewww...the "sporty" version of the Friday Five:

1. Do you watch sports? If so, which ones?

I don't really. Sometimes, I will watch the World Series but I can't honestly say that I enjoy watching sport on television.

2. What/who are your favorite sports teams and/or favorite athletes?

Again, I don't really have one. I'm always happy when the Queen's Golden Gaels teams are doing well, either football or hockey or whatever.

3. Are there any sports you hate?

Not really, I don't actually care much about any sport but can appreciate the talent and strength that is required to excel in team sports.

4. Have you ever been to a sports event?

Oh yeah, hockey games, football games, baseball games. I can't remember when I last attended a sports event but when I was a kid we would go all the time.

5. Do/did you play any sports (in school or other)? How long did you play?

I played baseball and volleyball on teams when I was a kid. The only sport I ever really excelled at was swimming. I was a really strong swimmer as a kid. Now, I don't play sports as much as I workout everyday, biking and doing weights. I prefer to exercise alone rather than in a team environment.