Monday, January 29, 2007

I'm craving tofu - what's wrong????

Yes, folks, I'm craving tofu. I had a bunch of tofu-y stuff yesterday from Spring Rolls (e.g., red curry with vegetables and tofu, cold vegetarian rolls), but still feel like I want some more. I have never successfully cooked tofu myself. Anyone have some good, easy recipes to share???

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Baby Update #n

Need another baby update? Joe has it here.

Greenspan's real courtroom challenge

Now, don’t misunderstand me – Greenspan is one of the greatest defense attorneys in Canada, and if I were ever to be falsely accused of a crime and needed legal counsel, I would hope I’d have sufficient funds to hire Eddie Greenspan. But he’s got a significant dilemma with this case, because the real predicament is not his client’s vocabulary (which could possibly be adapted); it’s his personality. The man is a pompous A-S-S-H-O-L-E.

I doubt Greenspan is this kind of miracle worker, but, IMHO, the only way to ensure a favourable interaction between the jury and his client is to arrange for Black to get an attitude transplant.

The genius of the rubber chicken

Boss, with whom I have a very positive relationship: “Oh, I’m just feeling a little frazzled and pulled in a million directions at the moment.”

Self: “Would you like to borrow my rubber chicken?”

Boss does double take, does not know how to respond. Co-worker Julian giggles. Boss catches my goofy grin, laughs, but declines use of chicken, which I have been known to mangle in times of stress. His loss.

Allow me to introduce all of you to an item of genius: the rubber chicken.

I bought the it at the AGO a couple of years ago, I think. Somehow a chicken was a symbol or icon of an art exhibit about the future, so they were selling these extremely homely rubber chickens in the gift shop. I bought a couple as gag gifts and kept one for myself,

Over many months, this chicken has received incredible abuse. Often, when I am stressed at work, I repeatedly bang its floppy little head against my desk. Or I’ll pull its leg to hear and feel it snap back into place. It is inexpressibly cathartic. (There are worse things, all right??? I take pains to not take my frustrations out on other people, for example.)

I love offering stressed people the use/abuse of my rubber chicken. It’s surreal enough to offer a laugh at least, which eases the tension that person is feeling. They may not understand the genius of the rubber chicken, but I do. And I’m not too chicken to play the clown in my own quirky way to elicit a laugh from someone who needs it.



Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Angel waiting in the semi-darkness

Position 4
Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Taken for my photography course last night

Matthew Robertson's amazing photography

Originally uploaded by matthewpiers.

Matt's a buddy from my photography classes whose work is just amazing and inspiring. You can check out his blog here.

I appreciate his dry sense of humour too ... again, you can find this in his blog. :)

False choices

OK, so instead of looking through my old family album for a photo that will convince you that two-day-old Reece really, really looks like my brother, I've been catching up on other people's blogs. And one of my favourite blogs has the best rant today. I must share:

So, I recently read someone’s blog where she announced her decision to quit her job and be a stay-at-home mom, and someone in her comments stated how glad she was to hear the news, because she’d always wondered why people even have kids if they’re ‘just going to let someone else raise them’.

(I may not be quoting the commenter word for word, but I believe I am capturing the sentiment accurately.)

It’s not the first time I’ve encountered that particular point of view, although it’s been thankfully rare. I know we live in a world of diverse opinions and it’s okay to disagree and it’s all a rich tapestry blah blah blah acceptance-cakes but can someone explain to me just how the hell a person comes to see a working mother as someone who does not raise her own fucking children?

God, it makes me angry. It makes me angry that as parents we are so quick to judge one another’s choices. It makes me angry that someone out there believes I provide Riley with a sub-standard childhood because he goes to a dynamic, loving childcare environment for part of the week. It makes me wonder just how much crack someone has to smoke to believe that mothers and fathers who work outside the home somehow escape the responsibilities of parenting — the joys, the burdens, the whole rollercoaster.
I have to wonder how much - or whether - our society has changed when there is still this pressure on women to choose between family and career. Why are men not faced with the same societal pressures? You would never hear anyone congratulate a man for quitting his job to stay at home with his kids "rather than letting strangers raise them".

OK, too sleep deprived to continue my share in this rant. To be continued ...

Another baby update

OK, Joe has posted more updates - with pictures! - at Both babies are doing really well, which is most excellent news!!!! He has also posted several pictures. The babies' faces are teeny-tiny and difficult to see in these photos (makes me think they need their Auntie Eclecta with her super-duper camera!), but in my opinion, Reece has a distinct resemblance to pictures of Joe taken when he was an infant. (I was actually moved to tears when I saw the similarity - not because it's tragic that Reece looks like my brother, but so cool ...) When I get home tonight after my class (if I have the energy), I will try to find a picture that will illustrate this point, and will post it - stay tuned!

The photos on Joe's blog are also worth checking out because Joe looks comically haggard, poor guy! :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Holy traffic, Batman!!!!

Just a slight increase in traffic to this my humble blog today!!!

I hope it didn't disappoint!


Latest baby update

Hey, Joe has updated his blog with the latest baby status (hint: it's great news!!!).

Auntiehood: Day One

Okay, today is my first 24 hours as an aunt, and to celebrate, I’m eating a piece of apple crumble pie with a scoop of ice cream for dinner. This aunt business rocks.

Seriously, as I just wrote to my gal-pal Monika, this morning it was all I could do to NOT skip crazily down the hallway at work, crying out at the top of my lungs, "I'm an auntie! I'm an auntie!!!!" LOL Instead, I resorted to a little irritating day-long joke: at intervals throughout the day, I'd say to my co-worker, "Julian, did you know? I'm an auntie!!!!" It was pretty funny when, at the end of the day:

Self: “Julian, did you know …”

Julian, finally worn down, starts to roll his eyes.

Self: “… that you’ve been really great for putting up with all my auntie talk today!” :->

Zing!!! Got him! LOL

There’s a sick little corner of my mind that finds it funny when I deliberately annoy people like that. :)

So yes, auntie talk throughout most of the day, sharing with unwitting co-workers my happiness with about two new babies (to be fair, they were awesome in their responses and pleasure for my sake – they’re good peeps!!!). And then one of the most amazing things happened: Daryl, the crusty, cynical, acerbic guy the next cube over peeked around the wall.

“Did I hear you say that you just became an aunt?”

[This alone is a major admission for Daryl. Despite my shameless eavesdropping and sometimes participating in his conversations when I feel there is important information my team could provide, Daryl’s still warming up to the cube-wall-isn’t-really-a-barrier concept (If you want something to blame for my behaviour, I give you my last work environment – we talked through the cubicle walls all the time). (To be clear - I don't eavesdrop on personal stuff - it's just a work thing.)]

I responded, glowingly, that yes, in fact, I did recently become an aunt.

Then he showed me a picture of his two-week-old niece who was born in Peru. He told me how incredible it was, and how before she was born, he didn’t really care about the future beyond when he died. And now suddenly it matters to him a great deal. (Sooooo “Children of Men”!!!) He glowed with (dare I suggest this?) happiness when he talked about how his brother would be returning with the baby and her mother in June.

I have heard and seen this man experience glee at someone’s folly, heard him laugh evilly when deleting unsupported software from an end-user’s machine, and enjoyed the rapier wit of this exceptionally articulate person as he excoriated someone less intelligent or aware (this usually after hanging up from a perfectly pleasant-sounding and civil telephone conversation), but this is the first time I saw Daryl be happy and – soft. And it blew me away.

So mock me if you must about the fuss that I’m creating about this brand-new niece and nephew of mine. If unclehood can do what I described above to Daryl, I figure that my reactions are well within normal parameters! :)

Auntie Eclecta

Okay, so that's a crappy title because it makes it all about me, but words kind of fail me at this point ...

I just got a call from Joe. The babies were born last night. The girl, Lorelai, was born vaginally at 8:43PM, but the boy, Reece, wasn't quite ready to come out (arm lodged against the cervix or something), so they had to perform a Cesarian. He was born at 9:07PM. Even then he wasn't quite happy about facing the world just yet and needed help breathing. He is now in the neo-natal ICU in stable condition. I think Joe said Lorelai was 4 pounds, 13 ounces, and Reece was 4 pounds, 12 ounces.

Lorelai has already had two meals since her birth (ah, Lorelai, a girl after my own heart!). Reece is still hooked up to lots of tubes and wires, which Joe says is heartbreaking to see. But again, he's in stable condition.

Despite recent labour, an episitomy (ouch!), and a C-section, Lisa apparently feels fine and hasn't felt the need to push the button for the morphine drip ever since it was given to her. Wow!

Joe repeatedly told me how amazing Lisa had been through the entire experience: calm, cooperative, a rock. Somehow I am not at all surprised. Joe, describing the most intense experience of his life (by far), broke down while we spoke on the phone. Again, I was not surprised. :)

So fingers crossed and positive thoughts for this little family - and lots of love!!!!

And profound thanks to my beautiful sister-in-law Lisa for going through so much in order to bring these little babies into the world. :)

Monday, January 22, 2007

In case you missed it ...

Lisa's in labour!

Too many bloggy entries tonight - I didn't want this one to get lost.

A bittersweet article (indirectly) on the power of love

Alexandra Marriott laughs and cries as she talks about how she fell in love with Toronto bigamist Oliver Killeen. He broke her heart, but he did change her life, making her believe that at 62, she could be more than a tired grandmother.

She lost 20 pounds during the nine whirlwind months they corresponded. She began dyeing her hair. She wore makeup. She turned off her television and took long walks by the Hudson River near her home an hour north of New York City, listening to music. She returned to reading literature, a passion of her youth ...

Marriott wondered a bit at Killeen's ardour, which seemed extreme, and which developed so quickly after their online meeting. But she admits with a laugh that she soon fell for it, hook, line and sinker. The mother of two grown children and seven adopted special-needs children ages 11 to 19, Marriott operates a medical transcription service from her home. Her online life with Killeen was like a romance novel that she could lose herself in, allowing her to escape the work and worry of her everyday life.

You can read the rest here.

Re-acquainted: an update

Lori's response to an earlier post is here.

Another amazing story/photo combo

Amazing shot of a sinking cargo ship:

French officials said that of the 41,700 tons of merchandise in the ship's 2,400 containers, 1,700 tons were considered dangerous, including battery acid, as well as explosive and flammable material. The containers also hold motorcycles, car parts, oak barrels, and household possessions moving to new homes.

So lots of bad stuff for the environment, and of course it's near some ecologically sensitive area.

But the story wanders into the surreal:

Police patrolled Branscombe beach Monday trying – with limited success – to keep scavengers away from about 40 containers that had washed ashore.

"A couple of hundred people have been on the beach today, taking things away, and there were around the same number last night," said Const. Steve Spearitt.

"Around 15 BMW motorbikes were carried off the beach last night," he said.

BMW motorbikes??????? Okay, I deplore motorbikes in general (sorry, George), but I don't think we're talking about some cheap equipment here, folks ... ( see here for an idea - let's just say that each one is about the same as I paid for my car when I bought it at the dealership!) Not exactly driftwood and seashells we're talking about here ...

Anyway, positive thoughts to all those involved in trying to contain the damage and to save the oil-slicked birds and other creatures.

Amazing story

Okay, so I had to close Firefox (with all those tabs open!!!) and re-launch it, but now I can post for your thrill and amazement an e-mail - with the all-important pictures - that my buddy Jim sent me (and probably a battalion of other people). Anyway, the story's hard to believe, but the photos seem to support it:

A guy who lives at Lake Conroe (50 miles north of Houston) saw a ball bouncing around kind of strange in the lake and went to investigate.

It turned out to be a flathead catfish who had obviously tried to swallow a basketball which became stuck in its mouth!!

The fish was totally exhausted from trying to dive, but unable to because the ball would always bring him back up to the surface. The guy tried numerous times to get the ball out, but was unsuccessful. He finally had his wife cut the ball in order to deflate it and release the hungry catfish.

You probably wouldn't have believed this,
if you hadn't seen the following pictures...

Be kinder than necessary.
Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle..

Okay, there is the chance that this story is a fake, but the last statement is certainly true.

Things I cannot tell/show you ...

I have some great photos to share with you now that I'm in the bloggy spirit, but Blogger's acting up right now for some reason ... will have to wait. :-S

I also got the funniest news today, but can't share it - yet. I swear they could hear my evil laugh in the next office tower this morning. Okay, my laugh probably wasn't evil, just ... gleeful? Bah hahahaha ha! Just thinking about it makes me want to laugh again!!!!! It's so unplanned and yet so ... perfect. I swear I hear the Universe saying, "YESSSSSS!!!!!" :->

Because we all need to hear some good news sometimes

From the "Random Acts of Kindness" section of the Toronto Star:

One morning last month, when I was withdrawing money from an ATM my mobile phone rang. The signal was not clear, so I rushed out. In a hurry, I took my card but forgot to take the money I withdrew.

I did not realize this until late afternoon. I went to the bank branch to try my luck and told a bank representative what happened. After they verified my identity, they gave me an envelope with the money.

They told me that two gentlemen noticed the money left and notified the bank staff. They did not leave any personal information.

I was touched by their honesty and kindness. I hope that they see this. By sharing this story, I hope that people see the beauty of honesty and kindness.

A few years ago my husband and I were bringing our daughter and a friend home for the weekend from university in Kingston.

As we neared the end of the 401 on-ramp we hit some snow left by the edge of a plow, swerved out of control, and slammed into a snow bank at the side of the highway.

As we came to a stop a transport truck pulled in behind us. The driver got out and explained that he stopped to provide protection for us because he saw our kids in the back and realized if we got hit, not only might the girls be injured, but our van would be pushed over the embankment.

While he was explaining this another car came to the end of the on-ramp and hit the snow exactly like we had, started spinning in circles, and smashed into the back of the truck. Luckily that driver received only a bump on the head.

We will be forever grateful to the driver who saw our tail-lights in time to pull over and provide protection to us on that winter night.
Kim Capson, Ancaster

On Monday, December 11 during rush hour on Hwy. 410, I was driving in the center lane. A man pulled up, honking, to get my attention. After rolling down my window, he told me that my right rear brake was smoking. I managed to cross two lanes of traffic and exited at Steeles Ave. By the time I pulled into a parking lot two blocks later, my brakes were almost nonexistent.

There are no words to express my thanks to the man who told me about my truck's problem. I really believe he prevented a very serious accident. To him, and also to the people who allowed me to exit the highway so quickly and safely: Thank You from the bottom of my heart.
S. Klein, Grand Valley

In January, I was traveling from Atlanta to Toronto via Air Canada. The train from the city was extremely late and I reached the airport 12 minutes before my departure time. The check-in counter was closed, but I wanted to be with my kids over the weekend and was determined to try my luck.

I rushed to the nearest Air Canada office counter. The agent looked at my desperate eyes, picked up the phone and said: "We have a passenger coming."

I had only one carry on bag and the Air Canada agent took me all the way to the plane. Just a few seconds before the departure I was in the plane.

I still wonder who that employee was and what made her run like a sprinter to get me on the plane.

Air Canada, thank you for hiring an angel.
Mohammed Fazli, Toronto

Heard in the office today

"He's just a director??? I've been kissing his ass all these years, and he's only a director???"


What on earth am I going to do when we move offices and I no longer sit "over the wall" from Daryl???? No one - and I repeat, no one - is going to make eavesdropping nearly as entertaining. :)

Lisa's in labour!

So word from my mom (left on my answering machine) tonight is that Lisa has gone into labour! And by the looks of things, not a moment too soon!

Me, I had a piece of apple crumble with ice cream to celebrate. Not so much to celebrate the fact that I will soon be Auntie Eclecta (although that is pretty amazing!), but that I'm not the one in labour ... LOL

I'll keep you posted ...

Update at 11:00PM: THIS IS NOT A TEST. I REPEAT: THIS IS NOT A TEST. How do I know? Mom tells me that Lisa's water broke this afternoon (key bit of information left out of her earlier voicemail message, wouldn't you say?) ;->

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

On doctors and principles

So I recently had to get a new G.P. From what I can gather, my previous doctor was a relatively new graduate, took ages to see patients (though was very conscientious, which is a good thing), and did not seem to get along with the other members of the practice which she had joined. So basically it seemed she was forced to move – and she chose to move to a completely different area of the city. She made arrangements with a husband/wife doctor team to transfer any patients who wanted a doctor in my neighbourhood.

I had to wait for a few months while they finished setting up their office (having moved to Toronto from another city), but I finally had my introductory appointment with the female doctor last week. She is wonderful. After years of “just okay” doctors and some frankly awful anecdotes (that are too humiliating to publish), I have found the perfect doctor! She was knowledgeable, down-to-earth, accessible, and even chatted with me like I was a pleasant acquaintance rather than a survey respondent! We took care of business such as renewing prescriptions, setting up an appointment for a physical, etc. and she also printed up a letter I could send to my previous doctor to request a transfer of my medical records.

So tonight I came home and found mail from the former doctor. It was a bill for $50 to transfer the medical files. Fifty dollars!!!! Okay, okay – for readers in the U.S. this may not seem like such a big deal, but this is Canada, home of Medicare! Furthermore, when I moved to Toronto, my former dentist didn’t send me a bill for the transfer of Xrays to my new dentist! Hell, even the veterinarian didn’t charge me for transferring the cats’ medical files to the new vet in Toronto!!!! So what’s the deal???? Is this just a doctor trying to pay off her student loans (which granted could be staggering) or is this happening to other people?

Fifty dollars … I think I might just take my chances that my health hasn’t changed that much and start fresh with this fabulous new doctor. Just on the principle.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Latest baby bump photo

My brother finally got around to posting the most recent picture of Lisa and her baby bump here. She is more beautiful than ever.

Note: this particular post on his blog is safe for reading. His most recent posting - not so much. Way TMI. I will tell you when it is safe to resume reading any future updates of Cranium Outpost.

You're welcome.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Update below ...

A very cool thing happened on Sunday. I met a childhood friend after ~20 years of zero contact.

I don’t have a lot of friends from when I was growing up. There weren’t a lot of them in the first place! In grade school, I was just way too different from most of the other kids … and growing up on a farm was isolating in several ways. And high school was such an awkward time. I had a lot of friends in university, but back then I was religious, and so were my friends. Now I’m so not religious and they still are. Not much in common anymore, unfortunately, but they’re still really great people.

So, up until Sunday, my current “peeps” included about zero people who knew me before 1997. Fortunately, I’ve made some great friends since. But hanging out with Lori on Sunday was really special.

Lori was one of my best friends from about Grade 3? 4? to Grade 9. We spent hours playing Barbies and pretending we owned about 50 horses each (I remember keeping lists of their names and carrying them with me “just in case”. Lori’s favourite horse name, if I remember correctly, was Tumbleweed.)

We went through puberty together. She was the one in whom I confided when my mother told me that it was time for me to get a training bra. (I will never forget her instant sympathy and how she touched my arm, looked in my eyes, and said, “I’m so sorry!!!!” LOL)

We were going to write a book together. It was doomed because it was about a family whose mother was a famous actress and they lived in a mansion. Neither of us knew anything about that kind of lifestyle.

We spent hours swimming in the neighbours’ pool but were limited in how much time we could spend on the phone. (That was in the day when parents didn’t buy a separate phone line for their kids.)

We attended each other’s birthday parties (her mother used to wrap pennies in wax paper and put them between the layers of birthday cake; whoever found one was supposed to have good luck).

We both dreamed of world travel, learning foreign languages, and living in sophisticated worlds beyond our little hometown.

In Grade 9 we were sent to different high schools and eventually lost touch.

Meeting up with her on Sunday was surprisingly easy and natural. Neither of us was surprised to learn that the other had cats (Lori basically wondered how many I had rather than if I had any at all – see how well she knows me??? LOL), and we quickly got caught up on our life histories, disappointments, challenges, and accomplishments. We had met at the Ansel Adams/Alfred Eisenstaedt exhibit at the AGO, and had a fun moment in front of a photo of a cactus that, we agreed, was distinctly phallic (it was just like being back in Grade 7!). We talked about Miss Brath (someone I had not thought of in years!) and Lori reminded me of her sandwich analogy for writing a paragraph (“the intro and closing sentences are the bread …”).

In short, it was really great to see her again, and I hope it won’t be nearly as long again before we meet up once more!

Update: After reading this blog entry, Lori sent me this e-mail, which is just too fun not to share (my notes are in green):
Great seeing you last weekend. That was such a nice write up on your blog! I couldn't have summed it up better myself. I can't believe you remember that my mom put buttons in the cakes! And "Tumbleweed"???? - How on earth did you remember that? I had even forgotten that one!

Okay, here's more: playing "On the Ranch" (yes, we named our fantasy-games!) (Actually, I didn't forget about this one at all, but considered too embarrassing to include ... Thanks, Lori! ;-> ); G-force (enough said) (100% agreed! LOL); riding our bikes up and down the [road] in the summers (baskets, bells and banana seats!); hanging out with the cats-in-the-straw in your Dad's barn; Friday night sleepovers at yourhouse, watching the Dukes of Hazard (I like Luke. No, I love Bo!) or Miami Vice (yes, the two great loves of my life, Bo and Sonny! You had to remind me ... ugh. LOL) and drinking Pop Shoppe pop (what flavour was 'green'?) (That would be lime – and it was yummy. As a side note, I know someone who experimented a great deal with recipes for BBQ ribs, and the one she finally determined as the best included marinating the ribs in lime Pop Shoppe pop overnight before cooking them!); tormenting your brother with "Women's Lib" signs and jeers ... (I swear I was born a feminist … I have NO IDEA where it came from …) And everytime I hear that old song, "Because your kiss, your kiss, is what I miss...." I think of hanging out upstairs at your place and listening to your Barbie stereo, while making our Barbie dolls do very adult things! (Call me a liar or repressed, but I truly have no recollection of the “making our Barbie dolls do very adult things”, but sadly I do remember playing with Barbies. I wish I'd done something more valuable with my time ... LOL)

And don't even get me started on school - from Miss M. all the way up to Miss K! We'll have to get together soon and see what buried treasures we both can dig up!!!

Thanks again for blogging me!

Trying to be a better blogger

You may have noticed a few changes around here ... a few more links along the right-hand side, some opportunity to sign up for RSS feed or mail notifications if you don't want to manually go and check whether I've updated this blog, etc.

Another thing I'm committed to doing is responding to your comments. I truly believe that even if no one read this blog, I would still write it. It is a wonderful tool for self-expression (and I am a bit dismayed at my need to express myself, as stoic and as practical as I would like to consider myself). However, if no one read this blog, I'd write it much differently. So you, my audience, are important to me. Your thoughts, your feedback matter (except for the dork who once made an oblique comment about me being Canadian when I posted a photo of a thistle that I thought was cool. But I'm sure he'll never find his way back here.) Besides, when I comment on someone else's blog, I'd like to see a response and it ticks me off when there isn't one. So treating others as I would like to be treated ... It's a conversation, and I am honoured when you engage with me.

Heck, I'm honoured even when you just read this humble blog!



Next step: Responding to all my e-mails!

Update: FeedBlitz's e-mail subscription service sucks. That code is now removed from this blog.

Takeoff of a Red-Tailed Hawk

Takeoff - 1:38pm
Originally uploaded by Chris Seufert.

I noticed it's been a while since I've posted any pictures. I don't have any of my own that I'm ready to share, so here's a great shot from one of my Flickr contacts, Chris Seufert. Chris writes: "This red-tailed hawk strikes an angelic form springing from a telephone wire outside my office. This is hard to time and I stayed framed on him for a while to get this when I should have been working. Looks like an album cover... Chatham, Cape Cod."


Very cool table of types of graphs

Someone is very creative. I likie!

What a joke

So a college student tries to smuggle powder-filled condoms onto an airplane, gets caught, and is jailed for three weeks for drug trafficking. Tests come back identifying the powdery substance as flour. Student sues the local government and settles for $180,000.

Apparently the powder-filled condoms were a joke.

Don't get me wrong - I tend to believe that drugs should be decriminalized.

But $180,000 for holding someone for packing condoms with flour and taking them on a plane? The joke is on the taxpayer - what did this girl think was going to happen, the customs officers would gather around her condoms of flour and bake bread???

How to Be Remarkable

Interesting. Pretty intimidating to be remarkable by this set of criteria. But I think it's all true. So who has this kind of courage?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Washington Post on abnormally warm weather

So true!

Never has good weather felt so bad. Never have flowers inspired so much fear. Never has the warm caress of a sunbeam seemed so ominous. The weather is sublime, it's glorious, it's the end of the world.
The article goes on to say that it's more El Nino than global warming, although global warming is also having an impact ...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Analysing "Hollaback Girl"

Okay, I know that "Hollaback Girl" by Gwen Stefani was released two years ago or so, but I just found this article analysing this song that I personally find very funny. It almost made me feel as though I were back in Seattle listening to Tracy and Monika!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Stupid question

Today at work we were casually talking about the fact that the city of Bangalore in India is in the process of changing its name. Before I really thought about it, I started to ask, "Well, would you want to live in a place called bang-galore?" but halfway through realized I was talking to a bunch of guys who yes, actually, would like that very much, if only for the pubescent humour value! LOL

Sorry to the people of Bangalore. :)

Clean technologies in 2006: a review

Excellent blog - recommended reading if you are interested in learning more about developments in clean energy and markets for clean energy, especially from a Canadian perspective.

Post this under the "No shit, Sherlock" file

2007 to be hottest year ever: Report

I don't know what the weather is like where you live, but it's spring here in Toronto. Temperatures are 5 - 10 degrees Celsius higher than normal. It's been like this for at least a week and the long-term forecast doesn't look much different. I can't imagine what this summer will be like!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Summing up 2006

Via Overdressed and Re-Employed, I found this set of questions summing up 2006 at with an invitation to answer them on our own websites. So here are my answers (kind of boring/serious responses as I’m still not feeling like myself, but I’ve cut out my truly boring responses).

1. What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before?

I went hang-gliding! I went to Chicago! I got a subscription to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra! I bought a decent camera! I volunteered at the international AIDS conference hosted by Toronto this summer! I went to the Stratford Festival (to see the amazing Colm Feore star in “Coriolanus”). I went hawk-watching. In general, I stopped making work my life and did a bunch of cool stuff instead and lived.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Well, not beside me or in front of me ... But yes, my friends Ryan and Isabelle welcomed little Audrey into their lives. And early in 2007, I will be an auntie for the first time when my sister-in-law Lisa gives birth to twins!!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, but my friend Nancy’s father passed away right before Christmas, and that family’s grief was hard enough to witness.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting a life. Escaping the gravitational pull of work.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not keeping in touch as well as I should have with people precious to me (Wendy, Dirk and Lieve, Melissa, Heather, Leslie-Ann, Joe and Lisa …) "Not keeping in touch" is saying it kindly ...

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Britney Spears, for going commando and proudly showing the world her private parts. (Sorry, if you really want the pictures you can go looking for them yourself.)


Stephen Lewis, for continuing to be the conscience of the world on behalf of African women and children suffering as a result of the AIDS epidemic. The man is a rock star.

Al Gore seems to have stirred the apathetic masses/media with “An Inconvenient Truth”, so he deserves some major kudos for helping to bring concerns for the environment back into the mainstream.

Also, the American voters who finally gave an ass-whooping to the Republicans. Keep up the good work!!!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Surely, George Bush & Dick Cheney are foregone conclusions?

Also, Steven Harper (current Prime Minister of Canada) and the Progressive Conservatives for introducing a plan to address global warming by the year 2050????

And after watching "Manufactured Landscapes", I can't forget the average North American (including myself) whose voting and buying practices and general ignorance/apathy have undermined the well-being of our planet.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

“The Hour” with George Stroumboulopoulos. That’s about all the TV I watch these days (TV during gym workouts doesn't count). However, I did watch season one of “Weeds” on DVD and thought it was very good.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate would be more destructive to me than to whomever was in my bad books. But there is at least one person of whom I think much less than I did at this time last year.

25. What was the best book you read?

Hard to pick, but I think I’d have to say that “A Mighty Heart” by Marianne Pearl was the best. Runner-up: “Race Against Time” by Stephen Lewis.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov. A wonderful orchestral work that’s beautiful and passionate. I was introduced to it by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra! (If you ever get the chance to see it performed live, go for it – and get seats that will allow you to see the entire stage.) If you don't normally listen to classical music, this might be a good introductory piece for you to listen to! :)

27. What did you want and get?

A life. A camera. Some wonderful new friends.

28. What did you want and didn't get?

Sufficient sleep. Too busy doing absolutely everything else.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
“Casino Royale”. I have never left a theatre so elated as after that movie. Runners-up: “Pride and Prejudice” (which, like Kalisah, I do watch over and over again), “Borat”, “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, “The Constant Gardener”, Brokeback Mountain.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
“Wait to shop until I lose a few more pounds and wear the same old worn-out crap in the meantime” LOL

33. What kept you sane?

“95% of the things we worry about never happen.” My boss. Exercise. Journaling. Photography.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

Several – it’s been a good year: Mélanie, Leslie-Ann, Aamer, the other volunteer supervisors from the AIDS conference, Andrea …

Amazing waves

In this blog posting, you will see awe-inspiring photos of waves that I would have been too much of a chicken-shit to take!

Mystery tree at sunset (see the tiny moon?)

Mystery tree at sunset (see the tiny moon?)
Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

I stopped to some pictures of a glorious sunset on my way to my parents' place for Xmas. Now it's bugging me that I can't identify this tree. Can anyone tell me what kind of tree it is???

Trees in fog II

Trees in fog II
Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Taken at the edge of a golf course near my parents' home on Xmas morning. But don't think of it as a golf course - think of it as a moment of Tuscany in Ontario! :)

Tree in fog

Tree in fog
Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

I took this photo on Xmas morning. I love it, though unfortunately the majesty of this tree is not adequately conveyed because there is nothing for scale.

I love trees that are somehow allowed to grow in the middle of a field. (I know my dad never would have tolerated it - there's competition for water, sun, and nutrients, and then there's also the real damage that tree roots and branches could do to machinery).

I wonder why some trees are left when all others have been cut away?

When I lived in Korea, there was a massive old tree in the middle of a major street (opposing lanes of traffic had to go AROUND it), but many people did not want it to be chopped down because they believed it was inhabited by a spirit.

I don't think I'd find a single Ontario farmer who'd admit to believing trees were inhabited by spirits ...

Going a little crazy

Happy new year ... or should I say happier new year. My new year began at 3:00AM with a distinct stabbing sensation in the abdominal area. After a night of being violently ill (trust me, I don't use the word "violently" loosely here - I've paid my dues!), and a day and a half of sipping water and barely eating, I can tell you the following:

  1. I have a wonderful roommate, Farzanah, who bought be rehydration salts (she might have also passed this bug on to me, but that probably could not be helped. Besides, the Gravol I bought her on Friday certainly came in handy for me on Monday!);
  2. I'm well on my way to meeting my weight-loss goals for 2007;
  3. I currently have the attention span of a - of a - damn, I'm too tired to care about finding an appropriate comparison;
  4. Despite feeling tired and weak (or because I feel tired and weak?) I am bored. I hate that!
  5. It may be a loooong time before I can eat salmon again;
  6. 2007 can only get better from here!