Friday, February 28, 2003

Wow, it's almost the weekend again. Here's the Friday Five:

1. What is your favorite type of literature to read (magazine, newspaper, novels, nonfiction, poetry, etc.)?
Definitely novels, following closely by magazines.

2. What is your favorite novel?
Mmmmm...tough one, probably "Waiting to Exhale" by Terry McMillan.

3. Do you have a favorite poem? (Share it!)
I don't know who wrote it but I learned it in grade 4, it's called "my nose":

It doesn't breathe
It doesn't smell
It doesn't feel so very well
I am disgusted wth my nose
The only thing it does
Is blows.

4. What is one thing you've always wanted to read, or wish you had more time to read?
I have a huge pile of books which I have not yet read and would dearly like to get through. The list is far too long to mention here.

5. What are you currently reading?
"About a Boy" by Nick Hornby.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Well, Mr Rogers is dead but I'm not a republican (prolly cuz I voted Green last election --- oh, and I'm not american!). Here's another fun quiz:

How Republican Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla
Do you hate reading the headlines in the morning? I find that it gets harder and harder to read the news these days. I woke up to find out that my beloved Mr Rogers has passed away, at age 74 of stomach cancer. He always seemed to be such a sweet man, just like Mr Dressup. When I was a little kid, we almost never missed Mr Rogers' Neighbourhood. I remember wishing that I could ride on that little trolley and go into Neighbourhood of Make-Believe and meet King Friday. His neighbourhood was a sweet and simple place. He didn't have a tickle trunk like Mr Dressup, or a Giraffe like the Friendly Giant, or Big Bird like on Sesame Street but he usually visited cool places or had neat people visit him and you always learned something from his show. It seems like over the past few year, all of our childhood icons are dying and it makes me feel really old. I think that Captain Kangaroo should probably watch his back. He might be next!

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

It's unbelieveabley gorgeous outside right now. It's also snot-freezing cold but it's pretty, so that's nice. As I type this, I'm sitting at my desk eating my lunch (chicken noodle soup and carrot sticks, if you're interested!) and from my window I can see glistening, glowing trees. The sun is sparkling through the ice on the limbs, it's breath-taking. Truly. Since the freezing rain storm on the weekend, the temperatures have remained very low so the ice is sticking around. I must say that I don't mind the cold when it's this pretty. It's absolutely a winter-wonderland.

Last night I worked on the computer a fair bit. I'm still mucking about with templates that I've been downloading from blogskins. I'm working on updating Mark's site for him at the moment. I'll not post the URL because he doesn't have any content yet. When he does though, I'll blogroll him for sure. For a Tuesday, today is going along pretty well. Work's busy these days, a good pace though, not bad at all. Tonight we are going grocery shopping, fun stuff huh? Hopefully it won't be too busy if we go right after work. I don't have a lot of patience for stupid people with shopping carts these days. Not very nice am I?!?

Monday, February 24, 2003

Well we survived the storm without much damage. Our yard is still icy and the cable was off for a couple of hours this morning but other than that, we got away pretty good.

Everything is just beautiful outside, despite the fact that it's pretty dangerous. The trees are covered with ice and there is a sprinkling of snow on them, everything just sparkles! I've almost got my slide show ready to go up. I took over 60 photos yesterday. Some of them are really cool (I love my digital camera!). Anyway, I'm back at work today and it's going along pretty smoothly. I think this is going to be a good week...oh yeah, I got my archives and my links working okay on my new template, I think it's pretty much good to go. I like the way it looks now. If you notice any problems, please leave me a note and let me know!!

Sunday, February 23, 2003

The power is still on in this part of town. It took us almost an hour to get the half inch of ice off of our car. I did get a tonne of awesome photos though. I'll post them in the week. I've been playing with my template so things may be a little wonky for a day or two!
I can't believe that we still have electricity. I really can't. I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I woke up and could see red numbers on my alarm clock and hear the ceiling fan spinning around above me. We're still in the midst of one hell of a storm. There is incredibly thick ice on the power and phone lines, not to mention the trees. Our bird feeder is completely encrusted in ice and yet the birds are poking their way through to the seeds in the middle. My mum called to see if we had power. My folks still do, the west end of the city was spare but the east end is currently without any heat or power. Apparently, Wolfe Island, badly battered by our last big ice storm, is out too. It's pretty scary.

In January 1998 we lost our power for over a week because of an ice storm. I lasted almost 5 days in my place before I took refuge at my parent's house. My dad felt inconvenienced by the fact that he had lost his cable television for a couple of hours during the storm. Some people were without electricity for over a month. When my power was restored I took in some refugee friends who lived in the country and had no water or power at their place. Everyone just pitched in and helped others out. You really find out about the character of your neighbours when something like that happens. Here's hoping that it won't come to that here again. I've heard that they have set up emergency shelters in different parts of town to accommodate folks. It's mighty cold right now and there is a wind storm due tonight after the snow stops. All that weight on the trees and lines, it could be really messy. I'm going to get outside this afternoon and take some photos. It's really calm and eerie outside right now...let's hope for some sunshine this afternoon!

Saturday, February 22, 2003

It's been quite the weekend for news huh? I mean, sure we have the dramatic train derailment just down the road from us to keep our minds occupied with worry (they are letting folks go home soon!)...there was also a huge oil barge explosion in Staten Island that killed two people, not to mention the club fire in Rhode Island.

When I heard about the fire yesterday morning my first thought was "who in the hell would actually pay money to go see Great White?" At their prime they sucked ass, how good could a watered-down revival version be? Boggles the mind actually. Then, when I read this quote on the CBC website :"WPRI-TV cameraman Brian Butler, who was filming the show by the 1980s heavy metal band Great White, said it was obvious that many of the 300 patrons in the club initially thought the fire was part of the show." Some people might be shocked by such a statement, I can't say that I was. This might not be a popular thing to say but I honestly thought that anyone who would be stupid enough to go see Great White would also be stupid enough to think that the building burning down was part of the show. This group was also so stunned that the majority of the club-goers tried to exit by the same door when there were like 3 other exits which were available! Was this also a convention of the Loyal Order of Rhode Island Morons? How stupid were these people anyway?

I don't want you to think that I'm saying that stupid people deserve to die in a horrible, painful way. I think that this is truly sad for the families of the victims, not to mention how painful this must be for the folks who are still in hospital with burns. I can't help though, but think the same thing I do when I hear that snowmobilers have died going through the ice in winter (or they've hit each other head on in the middle of the night) because they're out zipping around on the machines in the dead of night, liquored up to the hilt - it's natural selection. Some might call it "thinning the herd." I'm always just relieved when the idiots involved have only killed themselves and not wiped out any innocent bystanders along the way. If anything, stupid people, just like the rest of us, should be able to die in a peaceful way. In your sleep is always a good choice, if you have one.

At least now, Great White will go down in history, not for being the lame-ass, Led Zeppelin wannabee, 80's hair band that they are, but for causing the biggest disaster (this side of Michael Jackson's face) in rock history.
Well the derailment isn't seeming as scary this morning. They seem to think that the toxic chemicals aren't going to explode because they aren't close enough to the fire (which, by the way is fueled by huge honking tanks of propane). I'd like to know which rocket scientist decided to put these things together on the same train. How come when these things happen, you never hear about a tank of milk, and a tank of sugar and a tank of butter and a tank of flour exploding and creating a huge cookie all over rural Ontario? As the crow flies, the train tracks aren't far from our house. We can hear the whistles in the distance at night as the trains pass along the Cataraqui river. Fortunately for us, this happened in a rural area but it could have easily happened a few miles down the track, in the middle of town. Scary thought.

Friday, February 21, 2003

What a day...there has been a huge-ass train derailment just east of here. It's happened about 45 minutes from where I am now. It happened at around 5:30 a.m. today and since it happened, there have been 4 big explosions. The train was hauling propane and a bunch of other toxic chemicals. About 100 homes have been evacuated but they are expanding the evacuation area. If the winds kick up, the fall out from the fire and the possible toxic cloud could blow this way. Nice way to start the weekend huh?
Holy flaming turds! It's Friday again...and that means The Friday Five!! Neat questions this week huh?

1. What is your most prized material possession?
That's a tough question. My outlook on material possessions has changed greatly over the past year or so. I wouldn't say that material things matter as much to me as they once did. If I had to pick one thing that means the most to me, it would be the ring that my partner gave me. I wear it all the time.

2. What item, that you currently own, have you had the longest?
I have 2 things that are probably about the same age, one is a child's rocking chair and the other is a wooden doll's cradle. Both of these things were made for me by my paternal grandfather when I was a very small child. I have both of these things in the living room of my home.

3. Are you a packrat?
I'm reformed. Both me and my partner have packrat tendancies but over the past year or so we've been clearing out the debris and simplifying our lives. I've actually documented a lot of our purging process right here, in this blog.

4. Do you prefer a spic-and-span clean house? Or is some clutter necessary to avoid the appearance of a museum?
I like things to be tidy. We have a lot of stuff (although we have a lot less stuff than we did a year ago). It's not likely that our house will ever have a minimalist look to it but I do like it to be clean and have things put away.

5. Do the rooms in your house have a theme? Or is it a mixture of knick-knacks here and there?
Some have a theme, some are just knick-knacks. We're still in the process of decorating our home. We've only been here 2.5 years and it's an older home so we're still poking away at it, a little at a time.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

What a sad way to start the day...I just read that Johnny PayCheck has died. When I was a kid, growing up in the 70's, for a few years before my folks bought the house they live in now, we lived in this rental-row-bungalow place and everyone, and I mean everyone in the place listened to country music. My mum jokes that we all learned to spell listening to Tammy Wynette songs (D-I-V-O-R-C-E). It was a lot of fun when we were kids, people would stick their radios in the window so there was always music in the street in the evenings. Summertime was a lot of fun because the adults would get into these water fights with their garden hoses (you'd sit, innocently looking in a lawn chair on your porch and then "attack" someone with the hose when they came outside). As kids, we'd get caught in the crossfire and it was always a good time. In addition to the George & Tammy show, you could always hear Loretta and Conway, Freddy Fender, Merle Haggard, Waylon & Willy and, of course, Johnny PayCheck. It's really sad that we've lost so many of these people in recent years. Unforunately too, they've all died so young. The hard living they did in the 1960's and 70's caught up with them sooner than I'm sure they would have liked.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Hump day. Very cool. A four day work week often seems to feel as long as a regular, five day week as you try to cram five days of work into four days. This week is sailing by though. It's busy but good busy. Not bad at all. I'm feeling pretty good today despite the fact that I didn't get much sleep last night. I don't know why, I just couldn't fall asleep last night. Weird huh? Might be down to the change in the weather. It's really warmed up here the past couple of days. It's lovely, around zero. Snow's starting to melt. It gives you hope that spring will actually arrive this year!

Monday, February 17, 2003

It's monday. And it's a long weekend. At least it is for me anyway. I know that not everyone gets this day off. I work at a university so we're very lucky to get it off as it coincides with Reading Week. In the states a lot of folks get it for President's Day. I've had a nice day so far, despite the bitter cold. I met a friend for lunch today and we had a terrific visit. We had worked together for a while last fall and hadn't seen each other since. We had a lot of catching up today so the time just flew by! I had a couple of errands to do afterwards and just ran as fast as I could from the car to the stores. The wind just cuts right through your clothes. It feels really prickly and harsh. I hope it breaks soon. The sun is trying very hard to get through the clouds. It makes such a huge difference when it does.

Yesterday was a nice quiet day. We just hung out around the house mostly and vegged out. Overall it's been a very relaxing weekend, I've really enjoyed it and feel great. Much better than I have in a while. Must be the combination of eating better and exercising more, and the promise of spring!

Saturday, February 15, 2003

I've been trying to avoid watching the news this weekend. Not so much because I'm trying avoid hearing about President Doodyhead's efforts...mostly because I'm sick of hearing about how duct tape sales are up 1000% in the United States this week. I cannot believe how stupid these people are. What good is plastic sheeting and duct tape when you have an air exchange heating and cooling system in your home. I actually laughed out loud yesterday when I read that the latest "tip" from the US Homeland Security office was to "cover your face" and then "wash your hands" if you saw any "questionable materials" that you think might be hazardous. What wonderful advice. It's right up there with hiding under you kitchen table in the event of a nuclear war.

If people feel frightened or nervous, they should blame terrorists. The biggest terrorist of them all is the US President himself. He and his cronies are doing their damnedest to scare their own citizens into supporting their action against Iraq. I think it's both pathetic and sad and that's why I'm avoiding the new this weekend. I've decided to enjoy the sunshine instead. It might be minus 17 right now but at least it's nice and bright!

Friday, February 14, 2003

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! It's not really a day that I celebrate but if you do, have a nice one! So it's Friday again...and that means The Friday Five!!

1. Explain why you started to journal/blog.
I began the blog as a tool to start writing again. I used to write all the time, I used to read more too. Blogging helped me to slow down and organize my thoughts and actually write stuff down again. It's more for me than anyone else. Subsequently, I began to read more too. I've actually read three novels since I started this blog. This probably doesn't sound like much but it had been a while since I took the time to finish any books that I had started.

2. Do people you interact with day to day or family members know about your journal/blog? Why or why not?
Yes, some of my friends who read blogs know about it and my brother knows about it too. No reason why I suppose. It's not like something that I'm embarassed by so I let them know about it and they can read it if they want to. I guess if they do read it, they'll know that I'm still alive cuz I try to post several times a week!

3. Do you have a theme for your journal/blog?
Not really. I just babble on about stuff that we're doing or stuff that's on my mind.

4. What direction would you like to have your journal/blog go in over the next year?
I'd like to have more time to develop my thoughts better. I find that I'm usually doing this on the fly so some of my posts are disconnected and stupid (to me anyway). I don't think that I'd write about different stuff or anything. I'd just like to become a better writer.

5. Pimp five of your favorite journals/blogs.

no war blog
one bitter man
cohabitation nation
demented and sad but social
green fairy dot com

Thursday, February 13, 2003

It's so sunny outside right now, bright and pretty. Too bad it's like minus a million degrees celsius out there. It's completely deceiving! The week, again, is just sailing by. Work is busy but it's way good busy. The kind of busy that I like. I'm getting a lot of stuff accomplished. We're heading into our "busy season" which lasts from now until about the beginning of October. I don't mind it at all though because I have a really fun job. I get to work with cool people, I'm lucky.

I feel sorry for folks who hate their jobs. I can not imagine going back to a job (and yes, I have had them) that I dread going to. The kind where you never want to get up in the morning; keep hitting the snooze bar...that kind of thing. It's not that I don't enjoy a day off when I get them, I just have a really fun job. It's cool. Yay me!

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

I'm a coward. I just can't bring myself to look outside and see what kind of mess is happening out there. I woke up about 30 minutes ago and have been hearing the snow plow rumbling the entire time. At one point, I thought that maybe they were plowing my lawn, it's that loud. I guess it's because it's so quiet this morning, the noise seems to carry further and bounce around between the houses.

I suppose that I should be more concerned with the price of gas and the prospect of impending war than I am about the weather. My feelings about gas are that it's a necessary evil, we'll always end up paying whatever they are charging because, hey, we need it to get our cars around. As far as war goes, the weather has a more direct impact on how I go about my day than musing about what President Doody-head is up to. To me, it seems just like he's throwing a big tantrum. I heard Mr Powell's speech to the UN (in it's entirety) last week on CBC Radio. It didn't convince me of anything at all (and I couldn't even see the pictures). I actually laughed out loud when he explained that ordinary, non-specialist folks wouldn't really understand what the photos depicted so he would explain what it was that they were looking at. Hello??? How stupid is that? What makes me laugh is that they (the Doody-head crew) were surprised that some countries still didn't support them. It's gone from goofy to ridiculous.

The other night, in Toronto, former PM Mulroney told a crowd at the U of T that if we didn't establish a position soon on the proposed "war", it would hurt relations between us and the US. How can they get any worse than they already are? We're being told that we're going to have to show passports to cross the border now (something, given that I live in a border town, that I've done easily, my entire life) and we've basically been accused of enabling the September 11th terror attacks to happen due to our incompetent immigration policies (excuse me? these "terrorists" got into the states - via US Customs too!).

I keep hearing that this is not about the price of oil but it so obviously is. In Doody-head's address to the nation a couple of weeks ago, he allocated some money to hydrogen fuel research. As soon as his buddies in the oil and defense industries can find a way to make more money from hybrid vehicles and hydrogen fuel, they'll get their heads out of their asses and the troops out of the middle east. War is always about money, at least as far as the US is concerned. Of course, this is just my opinion, YMMV.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Please help me defrost my snot!

Do you live in a warm climate? Have you ever wondered what minus twenty-four celsius feels like? It's the kind of cold that can take your breath away and freeze the boogers in your nose at the same time. It makes your eyes water and the tears freeze before they get down your face. Yep, it's that much fun. Thank goodness we're not getting the snow that the poor folks in the maritimes are getting. Here's hoping that it's too cold to snow tonight. At least when it's minus 24 we don't get much snow. So, despite the frozen snot, there is an upside to frigid temperatures.

Oh, btw, you should visit my brother's new website. He's got awesome pictures up on it. It's called "Good Grooming Pays"!

Monday, February 10, 2003

So we got our new computer. It's cool and it's fast. It's also made our monitor work better but, for some reason, our scanner is misbehaving. It was doing that before the upgrade though so we suspect it's a software issue. Mark worked really really hard on it all weekend and got the maching running so good.

I'm just taking my lunch break at my desk at the moment. Work is just flying by today, it's insane how fast! I suspect the whole week will. We get a long weekend next weekend, next Monday is a holiday here at the University. It's "Heritage Day" but that's a not a stat holiday. I think we get it because it's the first day of Reading Week and they want us to get a little break too. I don't have anything big planned but it will be nice to have a long weekend in February!

Oh, yeah, I found another quiz. I love quizzes and I'm always brutally honest when I do them. This one was particularly funny, enjoy:

You're Perfect ^^
-Perfect- You're the perfect girlfriend. Which
means you're rare or that you cheated :P You're
the kind of chick that can hang out with your
boyfriend's friends and be silly. You don't
care about presents or about going to fancy
placed. Hell, just hang out. You're just happy
being around your boyfriend.

What Kind of Girlfriend Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, February 08, 2003

So, after months of wavering, we're biting the bullet and upgrading our processor on our computer. The prices have become extremely reasonable so Mark is out right now picking stuff up for our machine. It should be really cool and fast when it's done. We've been talking about it for so long and carefully watching the prices and stuff. Today we got talking about something and I just looked at Mark and said "why don't you go out this afternoon and just get it?" So he is! Happily! He's now a very happy guy. Or rather will be once he gets home and gets everything hooked up and rebuilt.

Other than that, I'm not up to much today. My back's been giving me trouble for about a week now and today's like the first day in a while that I've felt sort of close to normal. I've been tidying up around the house and doing laundry. It doesn't sound exciting I know but it's sooooo much more fun than laying flat out on your back, on the heating pad, popping ibuprofen while you flick the tv channels in a fog. Trust me! Laying around like 3rd base is not much fun at all!

Friday, February 07, 2003

I have this afternoon off from work, lucky thing too. I came home at noon with Mark and we ate lunch together. He went back to work, I cleaned up the kitchen and then came upstairs. After about 15 minutes I went downstairs to put a loaf of bread on in the bread maker. While I was standing at the counter, putting the ingredients into the pan, I heard our water start running. It freaked me out a bit and I jumped a little because I knew that I was the only person in the house. I went the door and looked outside to see if someone had turned our tap on (next to the driveway). There was water running everywhere! It was running down the side of the house onto the driveway around where the faucet is.

I called Mark on his cell to find out what to do (I didn't know which valve turned off which thing - all of the plumbing for our house is in our kitchen behind our washer and dryer - we don't have a basement). He told me where the water shut off for the house. I hung up with him and couldn't find the valve he told me about. I could hear that the water was running behind the dryer (not behind the washer, where he told me the shut off was). I realized that the external water shut off had been left open all winter and once I turned that water off, the mini-niagara falls I had happening the driveway subsided. It made me feel much better. I'd been running around thinking about how much it would cost to get a plumber to come to our place on a Friday night. Fortunately, this is something that we'll be able to have fixed in the spring. I think that the pipe burst around the faucet handle, just under the siding. It had probably been frozen solid but the sunny warmth hitting our house this afternoon melted it and blammo, instant water fall!

I'm so glad that I was home this afternoon. Ordinarily on Fridays, we go out after work and don't get home until 7 or so. If we had done that tonight, we may have come home to a skating rink where our driveway was. Yikes! Homeownership, it's never a dull moment!!
It's almost the weekend again. You kids all know what that means!!! The Friday Five!!

1. What did you have for breakfast this morning? If you didn't have breakfast, why not?

I had a bowl of Special K cereal with Rice Dream on it (yum!!) and a cup of black strong coffee.

2. What's your favorite cereal?

It's a toss-up between Special K and Cheerios.

3. How often do you eat out? Do you want that to change?

1-2 times a week. Before the new year that number was much higher than that. We've been watching what we're eating and watching what we're spending so we're not going out that often these days. I have to admit that I don't miss it at all!!

4. What do you plan on having for dinner tonight? Got a recipe for that?

I'm not sure. Mark does most of the cooking. We got a load of groceries on Wednesday night so we have lots of stuff here. It'll probably either be something asian or something italian. We'll figure it out when we get home from work. He's a chef and has all these recipes in his head. He never really has a strict recipe, he just does stuff intuitively and it always turns out to be very yummy.

5. What's your favorite restaurant? Why?

My favourite restaurant in Canada is now closed (we used to own it! It was called Ida's Kitchen)...the best meal that I've eaten in Canada, that hasn't been prepared by Mark, was at the Lobster Deck restaurant in Shediac, New Brunswick this past summer. The chef there can totally cook his/her ass off. It was like eating something that Mark had cooked, just brilliant. The best meal I have ever had in a restaurant was probably at K-Paul's in New Orleans. I had pan-fried red snapper with crab meat hollandaise. There is something about eating good, fresh food, fresh seafood particularly, when you're not very far from the source, that makes all the difference in the world. Even though I live on the north shore of Lake Ontario, we're basically land-locked when it comes to good seafood and it's totally my favourite thing to eat.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

I don't know exactly where the week is going. I am finding that this winter is just flying by, it's a good thing though, I don't mind at all. It's just odd because ordinarily, I find that January and February last forever.

I'm mildly amused these days by the Valentine's Day fever that is beginning to hit folks. Around our house, we refer to it as "love day," a la The's a trumped up holiday, manufactured by greeting card, flower and chocolate retailers. It's not unlike New Years Eve in my opinion. In our house, we don't really celebrate either day.

What was once an ordinary day, has evolved into a horrible event which just ends up making singletons feel like they're "sub-par" if they don't have a date on February 14...and puts unnecessary pressure on "smug marrieds" - or similarly attached couples - to contruct strange and elaborate displays of affection (something that, if you are into those sorts of things, you probably do on a regular basis without the aid of the previously mentioned greeting cards, flowers and boxed chocolates).

I also suspect that the hospitality industry is in on it too. Many folks begin the new year with intentions of eating healthy and saving money (after over-eating & over-spending fits that happen at Christmas). If you're like me, you've been happily doing both. Come the middle of February though, hotels and restaurants are hurting for customers. If you have a "romantic" holiday in the middle of said slump, you suddenly create a market for intimate dinners for two and weekends in hot tub suites. This throws you off your healthy eating and thrifty spending routine and you can potentially spiral back into over-eating and over-spending. Tricky lot aren't they?

If you're into romance, fine, enjoy it. Enjoy it on February 14 and every other day of the year. Please though, don't beat yourself if you feel that your personal status doesn't it into this hallmark's holiday ideal of what's acceptable. At the end of it all, it's just another day and you're still the same person you were before!

Monday, February 03, 2003

I watched a fair bit of tv this weekend. During that time, I watched a few movies. I watched the Royal Tenenbaums. I expected to like it. Prior to watching it, I was impressed by the cast (Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Danny Glover, the Wilson boys, etc.). I was very disappointed by the movie. Maybe I just wasn't in the proper state of mind to appreciate it. I did like the way the movie looked, it was beautifully shot. What I didn't like was that (in my opinion anyway) it was lacking a plot. I expected it to be funny, a black comedy. I have a fairly "black" sense of humour, sick some might say, I generally like things that are a little off the wall. I was very disappointed in this movie. I think that the cast tried their best with what they had but they didn't seem to have much to work with. It's too bad. I thought it had potential.