Sunday, 30 June 2013

Pizza. No pineapple this time, though.

You'll notice that today's pointless photo (sorry for the darkness, but I pulled it straight off of the camera and I'm too lazy to edit it today) isn't of pizza. It's of something I found when I was looking for a protractor for today's non-art project (never did find the protractor, by the way, but I did find a triangle so that mostly did the trick). Hands up if you know what it is. Now, hands up if you know how to use it. I certainly don't, but if any of you out there are interested in learning more (or, heck, anything), this tutorial looks promising.

Anyway. This will, hopefully, be short. I have other things to get to before I hit the highway.

I had pizza for breakfast this morning. Not an unusual thing for me (as for many other people, you have to admit) the day after a delivery meal. I might have pizza for lunch, too. I like pizza.

Here comes the weird part.

The only time I get to have restaurant-made pizza is when I'm here at my father's place. At home I'll make pizza (sometimes even with homemade crust. If you don't have time for that, though, I recommend pocketless -- sometimes called Greek-style -- pitas. Much better than those bland shells you can get, in my opinion) or cook frozen pizza. I don't order in. I've lived in my current city for about twenty years, and in that time I've ordered pizza once. Kind of weird for someone who likes pizza enough to have it three meals a day when it's available.

We haven't hit complete weirdness yet, however.

When I lived in Edmonton I ordered pizza every week. Every single week. Granted, I was a university student and the pizza and Kraft Dinner cliche about the average student's diet is often quite true, but my point is that I'm certainly not averse to ordering pizza. I had a fair history of it. Every weekend, two large pizzas from a two-for-one chain, and I'd live on the leftovers for as long as they'd last. That sounds horrible now, but as I said I was a student. First time away form home, busy schedule... at least I wasn't living on uncooked ramen.

After my degree I moved home for a bit, and then I moved to where I currently live. Back on my own, back to where I could do things my way, back to the pizza routine.

Except not.

For whatever  reason I just never really started ordering pizza again. And since I never started, I didn't continue. It's kind of like coffee, I suppose. Everyone told me that I'd be addicted to coffee within two weeks of starting university, but if you never start drinking coffee you don't keep drinking coffee.

To this day I don't drink coffee. And I don't order pizza.

I do eat pizza, though. I'll probably have pizza for lunch.

Is it lunchtime yet?

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Weird hobbies. Oh, and stupid people in trucks.

Rant first:

I'm an Albertan, and I hate trucks.

Pick-up trucks, to be precise.

For those non-Canadians out there, there's a cliche about Albertans and pick-ups. As in, damned near everyone has one.


And I hate them. I hate the gas-guzzling, I hate the noise of the diesels, I hate the stupid unnecessary size of them, and I hate the fact that ninety percent of the people in Alberta who own trucks don't really need them. Way to perpetuate a stereotype.

More than anything, though, I hate the idiots who drive pick-up trucks. That's not to say that everyone who drives a truck is an idiot, but there's enough of them out there to make me wonder if the truck dealerships require their customers to sign certified papers of idiocy before they're allowed to drive their new trucks home.

Examples of idiots? Well, how about the idiots who drive diesel three-quarter ton chromed-up penis substitutes and take up three spaces by angling into parking spots so that no one will hurt their precious babies. Oh, and if you don't think pick-ups are penis substitutes, then why do truck nuts even exist? Apparently, when you have no balls to begin with you're required to dangle the plastic version from your idiotic truck so that everyone knows you're not completely emasculated.

I should probably mention at this point that I was cut off not once but twice yesterday by left-turning idiots in trucks. Once when I was going down the highway at 100 km/h (nearly had to change my undies after that one. It was close). Nothing like entitled idiots in trucks to make you wish your car horn did more than just meep meep... I'd say choice and very loud profanities would be much more appropriate.

In fairness, I should also mention that this is currently going on in my hometown. Town population more than doubles. Truck population more than doubles. Idiot population? I'd say we're looking at about 300%.


That went on a little longer than planned, so I'll keep the other part short. I have a few weird hobbies,and I spent altogether too much time at one of them this morning. I know you'll find this odd, but I like to play with... recommendations algorithms.

You know, the "you might also like" suggestions you get on some websites. In my case, I mess around with the one on Large Internet Book Retailer That Sells Everything in the World Now.

Hey, they don't need me to advertise them.

It's fun to play with their recommendations page because a) you're given a chance to say Not Interested and then refresh the page for different suggestions, b) I've bought an assortment of different things from them over the years, and c) I guess my tastes are a little unusual. It makes for a very confusing time for the poor little program that's trying to figure out what I like, and I enjoy that probably a little too much.

Let's see... she bought House MD DVDs. That means she likes television shows. We'll show her all the boxed sets available from every TV show out there. Hmm. She just clicked Not Interested on every single one. Well, what else does she like? She's got some classic literature. That's easy. We've got lots of that. Wait. She doesn't seem to like anything past the 19th century. But she bought a philosophy book. That's it! Classic thinkers! Oh dammit, now she's on to silly British comedy. Are there any comic philosophers? She ordered a DS game? Electronics, here we come. Oh, now it's moleskines. They make tons of different styles. Wait! Wait! Art! She's buying art stuff AND she's added some to her wishlist. We've got this figured out now... CAMERA LENSES? She's searching camera lenses? Are you effing kidding me?

I try so hard to break its little brain, and it tries so hard to please me with some of the weirdest suggestions you could ever imagine. I find it endlessly entertaining.

Yeah, yeah, I know. But don't knock it 'til you've tried it. It can be a bit addicting.

Lunch for me now. You've got plenty of words anyway, considering how little I've posted lately. See you tomorrow.

Oh, one more thing, speaking of weird hobbies. Did anyone guess the mystery plant in today's pointless photo? I'll post the answer in the comments, if anyone cares.

Friday, 28 June 2013


Today's pointless photo isn't of pineapple. It is, however, about some serious eating that occurs on the currant leaves every year.

But currants aren't pineapples, and I want to talk pineapples.

I tried something new for lunch today, and I found out that I'm capable of making a much better homemade pizza roll than any frozen pizza pop you'll find anywhere. Ancient grains tortilla, mozzarella, a bit of old cheddar, romano, pizza sauce, pepperoni, some leftover smoked sausage, crushed chili flakes, and pineapple. It even nuked surprisingly well, although I probably would have baked it at home.

I lost some of you at the pineapple, didn't I?

There seems to be this thing lately that pineapple doesn't belong on a pizza. I mean, I understand that some people just plain don't like pineapple. I'm sorry for you, but being a just-don't-like-green-pepper person myself, I understand dislikes. There are plenty of people out there, though, who admit to liking pineapple on anything but pizza. I have one thing to say to those people.

You're doing it wrong.

The antipineapplers are probably thinking of your typical ham and pineapple Hawaiian, and that's completely the wrong way to have pineapple on a pizza. It's bland. Even with really good, flavourful ham, ham and pineapple make a bland, boring pizza that should be left to the kids. No, for a successful pineapple pizza you need to think more adult.

You need some heat.

You'll notice in my ingredients list up there that there's a lack of ham. What there is instead is a spicy sausage and what was, frankly, a pretty decent dose of red chili flakes. Chili in some form is essential for pineapple pizza. Even when we have ham and pineapple pizza at home, I need to put chili flakes on it to make it right.

Sweet and heat. Makes sense, right? And you find it in an awful lot of things.

Why not pizza?

So, I guess my suggestion for any pineapple-indifferent pizza eaters out there who are forced, for whatever reason, to dig into the old Hawaiian standard is: find a way to fit in the heat. Instead of ham and pineapple, maybe suggest pepperoni and pineapple. Or buffalo chicken and pineapple. Or... hey, maybe banana peppers on top. I've never tried that, but it might be good. If the rest of the group doesn't want anything hot, at least reach for the chili flake shaker. I promise that it makes a world of difference. Who knows, you might even warm to it.

Warm to the heat, get it?

Oh, shush. I'm tired.

Back to work for a little now before I start my not-so-long weekend since I work on Monday. Happy long weekend to the rest of you; for those in the flooded areas, stay safe and away from the rivers. Soggy banks should never be tourist attractions.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Pointless photo of the day:

Yeah, I'm too tired for blather. Just realised the place was looking a little neglected, though.

If it's any help, the last school programs of the season are today. That may make me a bit more blatherish in the coming weeks.



Um, yep.

Friday, 21 June 2013


I've been sitting here at my desk this morning watching the twitter feeds from southern Alberta and retweeting our local river information (for those who might be concerned, our peak is supposed to be a bit lower than originally expected. Things should be fine, for the most part).

I've never seen anything like what's happening down there, and seeing everything so immediately on social media just sort of magnifies it all. And the pictures. My good freaking Whomever, I just can't imagine, after seeing those pictures, the amount of recovery some of these towns are going to have to go through once all that water's finally gone.

Today's photo, by the way, is of where I work (well, no, I don't work in the lake. But I bet you got that on your own). We, thankfully, are not likely to have flooding issues. But this is the only picture I had on hand of something watery.

Keep safe, everybody. I know it's a horrible cliche, but our thoughts are with you.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Pointless photo of the day:

It's Centaurea.


I have another program in 20 minutes.


I don't think you're getting any blather out of me today.


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Pointless photo and that's all you're getting of the day:

I need to get out of this place before someone decides to find me work that really needs doing. Off this afternoon, thank goodness.

School season's over soon, right? I see burnout comin' round the corner...

Monday, 17 June 2013


Sometimes, just every once in a while, I have a group that reminds me why I've stayed in this business so long.

I'm kind of feeling mellow just now.

Let's see how long it takes for the rest of the day to destroy the mood, shall we?


I'm not feeling especially blathery today and I should get back to work anyway, but I would at least like to say that today's featured flower is one of my absolute favourites. Blue Flax (Linum lewisii, as in Lewis & Clark). Looks so absolutely delicate, but tough as nails. This particular plant has been growing up between my father's patio pavers for years. Mom tried to start it in a bed, but it liked the pavers better.

That makes me weirdly happy, for some reason.

Later, all.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Chapter 1767: Wherein Dee is confused by clothing

Today's pointless photo? Not clothing.


Just recently at work we've (well, they've. I've had a tangential say, but that's about it) decided to order a few new articles of uniform for core staff. By core staff, I mean the people who are around all year wearing the uniform shirts, as opposed to the seasonal staff who have less time to get bored &/or annoyed by putting on the same shirts every day. It's not the first time we've had other choices for core staff. I already have a hoodie which I almost never wear (I used to have two hoodies that I almost never wear, but I gave one back so that someone else could have a go at not wearing it), and a collared shirt made of some ungodly super-wicking super-unflattering synthetic material. That I almost never wear.

I'm not sounding like the best market for alternatives here, am I?

The new order has, I think, more hoodies for those who actually do wear them, more super-unflattering synthetic golf shirts (but in a darker colour this time so of course that makes it all better. Who knows? Maybe it might), and... vests.

I don't get vests.

Why are vests?

Speaking as someone who is extra-sensitive to the cold, I just don't understand vests. The first parts of my body to react on cold days are my extremities, so let's choose a piece of clothing that doesn't actually cover any of them? Huh? I mean, I get the whole fashion vest thing (and back when vests were last fashionable I did wear them now and then), but as a piece of protective outdoor clothing -- which these vests are meant to be -- I find them incredibly pointless.

I don't get vests.

I politely turned down the opportunity for a vest. That I would almost never wear.

Honestly, I figured that act might have been appreciated more than it was. After all, I work for a non-profit. Shouldn't it be a good thing when an employee of a non-profit turns down a piece of clothing that she wouldn't wear and that would cost her employer money that could be spent on, say, a few more t-shirts for the seasonal staff?

Apparently not.

Apparently it caused enough consternation that I wouldn't be getting a vest that I was offered the chance to get a similar jacket instead, as long as I paid into it since the jackets are more expensive than the vests (which, by the way, fair enough. A person should pay into a special request).

I turned down the jacket, too. I really don't care whether I have a vest or a jacket or a pom-pommed beanie, for that matter.

I'd probably almost never wear it anyway.

Should be end of story, but the reason I'm telling you this is that I have sort of an uneasy feeling that my (to me, very logical) sartorial choices at  work aren't going to sit as well as they should with my boss when he gets back from vacation. I'll keep you posted.

Maybe I'll include a pointless photo of my (sigh) vest.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

What you're not seeing

For once, my two fans should be happy for pointless photos. Trust me, you do NOT want to see a photo of today's topic.

I thought I should elaborate on something that I've touched on briefly once or twice over the last while, but since I've been busy (did I mention that I've been busy?) I haven't had time to go full-on whinge about. Well, I'm not really going to whinge today either (much). More like just explain the recent short posts and the lack of doodling.

Some years ago I buggered up my wrist. It was stupid: I was hurrying to set up tables before an event, I was angry that the group who'd used the room before and should have known better had left things in a mess, I was ticked that my volunteers were late, and I was stupid.

Oh, sorry. I said the stupid thing already.

As you can imagine, banging around with folding tables while in a pissy mood can easily lead to injury (and, in these days of stricter OH&S monitoring, an incident report. This was a while ago, though, so thankfully stupidity isn't on file). It did. I sprained my wrist badly.

Made the event I'd been preparing for even more fun...

Anyway. As anyone who's injured a joint knows, once it's damaged it's easy to damage again. And again. And that's what's been happening to greater or lesser degrees over the years with my wrist.

About... what? two months ago now?... I sprained my wrist again. It happens often enough that I have a splinted brace on hand (which makes it a pain in the arse to type, since the curve in the splint has a tendency to hit random keys and take me to places that I don't want to go), and started wearing it again.

This is the part where my skin comes in. It tends to be a bit sensitive, and a few years ago I developed a small patch of adult-onset eczema. And by the way, my absolute sympathy to anyone who dealt with eczema as a child. It must be hell. Well, long-term use of a brace on sensitive skin can cause a few problems. You wear the thing and you constantly find yourself trying to scratch under the edges. You take the thing off and you're nothing but itchy. And, despite regular use of an eczema cream that's actually quite good, apparently if you're me when you're half asleep you find yourself scratching your skin raw.

I've woken up to some really disturbing sights in the morning, believe me.

So I switched to my lighter, smaller elastic brace as soon as I thought it was workable. That lasted... oh, I guess a few days.

Then I resprained my wrist lifting a full pot while making supper. Too much weight, and suddenly I found myself pretty awkwardly twisted.


I, of course, wasn't wearing any brace at all at the time. Did I mention stupid?

Back to the splint, then, no matter what happens to my skin. My poor, poor, skin. The basic background colour is red wherever it's had contact with the brace. Add in the peeling scabbing from where I've previously scratched. Then add the current scabbing from recent scratching (which I'm trying my damnedest to stop. It's sooo haaard) or even from just rubbing against something since the skin itself is so damaged at this point.

Yeah, a picture would be worth a thousand words, but even I'm not going to take that one. Or maybe I will, but just for my own Never Do This Again files.

As far as the wrist itself, as I said before the brace makes typing a pain so I've largely avoided it. Doodling is a bit of a joke with a wrist that's either immobile from splinting or shaky from being braceless, but I'll probably give it a try later. Anything else? Being less stupid comes to mind, I suppose, but it's hard to break such a longstanding habit.

Incidentally, I'm completely braceless today to try to give things a break. Anyone care to start the clock on repspraining?

On the count of stupid...

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Pointless photo of the day:

That's all you're getting today. I've already had a morning of work blather, so blog blather isn't really appealing to me right now.

At least it's a post, right?

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

A random spider and tea

Yeah, there's a spider in there. My two fans know that if there's a chance to take a picture of a spider, that spider's picture will be taken.


So, tea. Some of you may remember that I like me some tea, and while I'm not enough of a snob to refuse to drink bagged orange pekoe if that's all that's around, I generally prefer to buy loose teas that are a little higher quality and (hopefully) more interesting.

I got low on tea recently, and since the stuff I usually buy isn't available in your average grocery store I had to make a trip to Teavana.

Man, does Teavana make me miss Teaopia.

 I went there because they have a mate chai that I like (and that I'm currently practically mainlining because it's tasting good. Dangerous thing, though, all that caffeine in a non-coffee drinker. Might be an interesting afternoon), and I usually try one other new-to-me type of tea while I'm there filling my fix. Every time I go, though, I get a little frustrated. They're so pretentious and gimmicky.

Well, to be fair, Teaopia was gimmicky too. Just in a slightly less pretentious way.

All that wafting of scents with the lids of the tea caddies kind of drives me nuts. And the last time I was there the salesgirl had me trying every damned sample in the store. Hey, lady. I'm in a specialty tea store. I've gone straight to the counter to buy some tea. I do NOT need to be sold on tea, thanks so much.

And the paraphernalia. Jeez louise. Expensive, gimmicky (yes, again with the gimmicky), and so completely unnecessary. And of course they ask you every single time you're there if you need canisters or infusers or that German rock sugar or whatever it is. Personally, I'm still using my ugly orange Teaopia stacker even though it's a) ugly and b) orange. It does however, have two advantages: it perfectly holds the minimum 50g purchase of four different teas at once, and I didn't pay too much for it at Teavana.

I'll probably still keep going to Teavana, though.


There is a local outfit that Wheat likes and says I should try, and I probably should. It'd mean driving a whole five minutes farther, though. That takes ambition.

Maybe just a bit more of the mate chai...

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Pointless photo of the day:

I pretty much missed the Prairie Crocuses this year. Here's the last of them.

I'm going home now. Probably no post tomorrow because (everybody say it with me) I'm busy.

Wasn't this exciting, boys and girls?

Monday, 3 June 2013

Pointless photo of the day:

It's currants. Or will be currants, when they've matured a bit.

That's it for today. I've already blathered on the work blog today, so this one's getting shorted.

There were plenty of words yesterday, if you're needing something to read.

Bye now.

Sunday, 2 June 2013


 Yeah, I have one. My two fans know that it's not unusual for me, though. Still, I wish I'd have slept better last night. It would make the drive home this afternoon a bit more pleasant if I wasn't fighting my own head.

I also have a headache at work (well, I have many headaches at work. Let's just focus on the one at the moment, ok?), which is what today's not-entirely-pointless photos are about. Don't worry, though. I'll try to keep this post pointless enough that the blog won't turn into a pumpkin. Erm... for those new to the program, that's what'll happen should this blog ever actually come to a point. Pumpkin time, boys and girls; pumpkin time.


What you're seeing above is a Red-necked Grebe sitting on her nest. At this point in the photo-taking process I'd ticked her off a bit, so you can see that she's raised the "horn" feathers towards the back of her head as a warning or sign of alarm. If you hadn't realised that you should click on the photo thumbnails to see the bigger versions (and if you hadn't by this time I'm kind of losing hope for you), then I'll tell you point-blank to click on the picture to see the details.

Anyway. Again.

The blur you see on the right side of the picture is the handrail of the stairs to the upper section of one of our viewing decks at work, and therein lies the headache.

The silly bird has built right next to a heavily-used deck, and she's done it right in the middle of our busiest programming season. Normally we use the thing as a major outdoor classroom (that's what it was designed for), but with a nest right beside the deck and in an area where the bird sees -- and gets scared by -- everyone who comes around the corner, we can't use the deck AT ALL.

That in itself is a pain, but here's the kicker:

The eggs are probably already dead.

You see, normally Red-necked Grebes build an anchored, floating nest (see that Cornell link above for more details). These birds, however, built in extremely shallow water so they just made a mud pile instead of a raft. The problem is, the nest is on a spring-fed oxbow lake, and every bit of rain we get raises the water level pretty substantially.

We had a lot of rain this week. That nest is drowning.

You can see the original nest circumference from this overhead shot. Now, after the rain, she's sitting on the very tip of her mud pile. The eggs? Likely wet and cold. Instinct is telling her to stay, but we're expecting even more rain this week and I don't know at what point she'll finally give up.

It's an exercise in futility, but while she's still sitting on the nest we have to keep our programs away from her.

Kind of sucks for all of us, really.


As I type this there's a small crocodile plugged into the USB port on the computer. It's my new flash drive (generally known as nerdstick on this blog, which is our informal term at work); or one of my new flash drives, at least.

I was a pretty early adopter of flash drives, all things considered. My father bought me my first one as a birthday gift a lot of years ago. How many years? Well, let's just say that it's a 1G drive and it cost him about $80 or so. They were a novelty back then. All that storage in such a small space? Amazing. It became a very handy thing for me, especially because I didn't have a computer at home (still don't. And yet I survive). Before the flash drive I'd been e-mailing things to my own web mail so that I could access them at work or here at my dad's place, and this was back when e-mail attachments couldn't be very big. The flash drive was a life saver.

A couple of years later the drives had become a little cheaper, and I received a second flash drive from my brother and sister-in-law with baby pictures of my first nephew on it. Believe it or not, that's the drive I'd been using since then. It has a lot of miles on it, but increasingly less storage because there were more and more things that I needed to stay on there for long periods of time. It was my only storage, so a lot of the things that most of you just leave on your computer and don't think about had to be on my nerdstick and travel with me instead.

And then I got the new camera, with its bigger pictures. The fraction of the 1G on the old stick that was left for pointlessness just wasn't going to cut it. So? New drive time for me, and yesterday I finally got around to making a quick trip to an electronics store and getting a bigger drive.

Well, two bigger drives because they were on sale. The crocodile because it was funny, and a more normal "adult" drive in case I get tired of carrying around a crocodile. Each is 8G.

I paid less than $20. That includes the flashlight keychain I threw in because my old one died a couple of weeks ago.

16G for less that $20 is a far cry from that $80 my dad laid out for 1G, don't you think? Makes me wonder how hard I'll be shaking my head at the fact that I blew $20 on just 16G a few years from now. Of course, by then we'll probably just be storing everything directly in our fingers or something.

It honestly wouldn't surprise me.


My re-injured wrist (which I hadn't had a chance to mention this week since I've hardly had a chance to post) is telling me that this is enough typing. Just wait until it finds out that I'm intending to try a quick doodle after I post this. It'll be sooo pissed.

Not sure what time my coming work week will allow for blogging, but if nothing else I do have some new photos now (on my crocodile) so there should be something to check in for.


I really shouldn't be promising anything at all, after this past couple of weeks.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

So this happened...

 Yeah, that's the hole in my father's hedge. And if you follow down from the driveway I was standing in when I took the picture, you'll notice the tire tracks leading from the driveway.

Through the hedge.

Into the house.

Well, not INTO the house, thank goodness. A corner of the truck did hit the foundation hard enough to knock a picture off the wall in the living room, though. Onto my dad, who'd been napping on the couch.

The neighbour had left his vehicle running when he went into the house to grab his wallet, and it decided to take its own trip down the hill. No harm done to the house, thank goodness, but plenty done to the SUV. And the hedge, although the other side looks surprisingly good considering that Dad said it had been bent completely down. It's sprung back up pretty well.

Good fences make good neighbours, they say, but apparently good hedges make good collision barricades. The neighbour, by the way, felt awful. Dad noticed yesterday, however, that he'd still parked with his wheels turned downhill. Sure hope we're not going to see a repeat performance.

In other news, I really don't have any. You've probably gathered that the past while has been fairly busy at work (I'd hoped you'd've guessed that one from the number of times I've said I'm busy), and since I don't really want to whinge on about being busy at work I don't actually have anything else. I suppose I could tell you that our garter snake died. Sad, but George was a fairly old snake when we got him (he was a family pet, and with the kids grown up the parents thought he'd be better off somewhere where he'd get more attention) and we had him for a couple of years even then.

Now we need a new garter snake.

Would you laugh if I told you that the first place we checked was kijiji? Hey, you can find almost everything on kijiji.

Except, apparently, garter snakes.

I'll keep you posted.

And try to post something more interesting tomorrow.

Unless I'm busy.
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