Monday, 28 October 2013


Today's pointless photo isn't all that bad, by the way, when you consider that I was taking it handheld through a window in fairly low light conditions.


I'm hoping to keep this rant brief, but we'll see how it goes.

I've been watching Anthony Bourdain on twitter taking on a group of chefs who've signed a petition boycotting Canadian seafood until the government bans the seal hunt. It's been interesting. There's pros and cons on both sides, of course. I can't deny that the way the seal hunt is done is cruel, but I also can't deny that the hunt is sustainable and that seal overpopulation has a huge effect on everything from cod stocks to the number of sharks that are draw in towards human-frequented beaches. Bourdain's taking the First Nations approach, in that banning the seal hunt directly affects the lives and livelihood of Inuit families who depend on it. He should know, and better than those chefs who signed the petition without doing any research. He's at least seen an Inuit hunt. And eaten the meat, to boot.

All of that's neither here nor there for me, though. As I said, pros and cons on both sides. What gets my back up more than anything is the fact that 95% (well, ok, I'm guessing on the number) of the people who protest the seal hunt are only protesting it because baby seals are cute.


Can you honestly say that people around the (Western) world would even care about this if baby seals looked like flounders? Or even if they looked like baby pigeons, which have to be some of the homeliest babies out there.

I get so tired of the cute factor in popular conservation. It appeals to the instinctual need to save babies, yes, and obviously gets a response, but it sends the wrong message. Pandas are cute; let's save them. Polar bears are cute (and deadly); let's save them. Sharks aren't cute; let's let people continue to overharvest them for their fins (fins only, mind. The rest of the shark isn't used) until we suddenly realise that it's almost too late for several species...

Cute isn't going to save anything in the end, folks. It makes people spend too much time and too much money trying to save cute things that in the end may not even be able to be saved (see: polar bears). In the meantime, while we run around saving the cute posterchildren we're losing habitat all over the world. Rain forest, grassland, ocean reefs; it's all kind of depressing to me that well-meaning people are working so hard to save cute while the places that cute AND ugly can actually live are disappearing.

I've thought for years -- and I'm not the only one in the environment business that thinks this -- that unless we can get people to realise that saving whole systems is what's important and that they need to drop the SAVE THE *insert cute animal here* rallying cry, no one's going to understand that the cute, apparently petable things can't live in isolation. They're all part of a web of interdependence. The cute things are important, the ugly things are important, the inoffensive-but-sort-of-boring things are important, the places they live are important, and until the whole thing goes tits up we'll never realise just how important the whole thing -- not just the cute part of it -- is to us.

So am I saying you shouldn't care about cute things? Well, no. Just don't make the mistake of thinking that a cute thing is all there is to care about. Get educated. Don't go off half-cocked. Understand that there may be more to an issue than the cute things before you put your name to a petition and get a pat on the back from a lobbying organisation whose agenda is to get money from people who like to protect cute things.

Don't fall for the cuteness. The rest of issue's important too.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

So this happened.

Yesterday I was out taking fall pictures (which you'll see in the next while, such as they are).

Today, not so much.


I mean, don't get me wrong -- it's the end of October, it's Alberta, and this was bound to happen. They're saying it probably won't stay anyway, so what's the big deal, right?

Roads. Roads are the big deal.

Somehow, every year the first snowfall causes people to lose their minds as if they've never ever seen snow before and then take off down the highway in a big cloud of idiot. It doesn't help, of course, that this snowfall is creating a layer of ice that half of the population of the QEII (um, that'd be the major highway between Calgary and Edmonton, for those not familiar. Renamed in honour of Her Majesty for a royal visit a number of years ago, which always makes me wonder about the thought process: I know, let's take the stretch of Highway 2 where everyone drives like it's the Autobahn and leaves their collective brain at home and name it for the queen. I'm sure she'd like that) will think means DRIVE FASTER.

Personally, I'm staying here.

For a number of reasons, actually. The idiot factor is the big one, but there's also the problem of the stupid new rock chip that I got on the way here on Friday that looks likely to spread but I couldn't get fixed yesterday because hello? small town business hours (and that was too a sentence. Of some sort). And, since it's me, you can add lack of sleep to the mix. I have no need to make myself part of the problem today.

To be honest, the lack of sleep really kind of ticks me off today, because I'd had a really good sleep the night before and there was absolutely no reason for my brain to play the let's see how many things I can make you worry about all night game. I really, really, REALLY hate nights like that, because it's like I'm having my own self-contained argument. In a somewhat three-year-old style, sadly. It kind of goes like this:

You know... such-and-such might happen.
Shut up.
And if it does, whatsis is certain to happen afterwards.
Shut up.
And you just know that when whatsis happens, it's going to make whosis completely impossible to deal with.

Yeah, super productive, that internal discussion. Ah well, if it gives me another excuse to stay out of the idiot parade today then I guess it's not such a bad thing. Oh, and if you're here in Alberta and you're not already following @511Alberta and @AMARoadReports on twitter for updated road conditions, then you really should be.


In other news, I finished a sketchbook yesterday. My watercolour sketchbook. Ok, maybe not technically finished since I could still use the backs of some of the not-so-good pages that I don't mind wrecking to play around with now and then, but finished enough that if I put it on the shelf tomorrow and never used it again I wouldn't consider any of the pages wasted.

I finished a sketchbook. I don't think that any of my two fans can realise just how big that statement is.

I never finish sketchbooks. I either get partway through and then stop using them because I'm sick of the paper, or I get partway through and put them aside because I can't bear the thought of the crappy artwork that's in them.

I have a little bit of a problem remembering that a sketchbook is a sketchbook and not a this-has-to-be-perfect book.

I made a resolution with my last big sketchbook purchase, though, that I'd allow myself to be less than perfect. Good thing too, since I am less than perfect. And you know what? It stuck. Well... mostly it stuck. My little pocket sketchbook that I do pen & ink stuff in has had to take over from its bigger cousin in the less than perfect category (unfortunately, I had a few things turn out decently in the bigger book. I'm still using it, but not as much for casual doodling as slightly more finished ideas), but the watercolour book stayed as experimental as it was supposed to be.

And it's done! Woohoo! No, seriously. I finished a sketchbook AND in watercolours no less. I suck at painting, but I've kept plugging away at it long enough to finish a sketchbook. Who'd'a thunk?

I have its successor already waiting in the wings, even. And -- knock wood -- now that my wrist is finally starting to feel a bit more stable, it may even get used.

Hooray for small victories, then. And hooray for lunch when it's leftover pizza. In other words, time to stop typing and (sigh) watch the snow while I eat pizza.

Sigh, again.

At least I'll enjoy the pizza part of that.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

What inevitably happens when someone gives me something that I like

Something food-based, anyway.


Ok, maybe not exactly inevitably.

And maybe not sigh either because my tea stocks really did need to be replenished (have I mentioned that I have more than a mild dislike for Teavana? Yeah, I thought I had) and I'm looking forward to this.

It does look rather like tea overkill though, doesn't it? There's an explanation. Really there is. $50 = free shipping, and being cheap myself... well, all right, sometimes being cheap can get a little expensive, but it's not like all of this tea won't get used or anything. And if it's any good, faster than I'll want to admit to myself. That's what comes from all of these big insulated mugs everyone uses these days, you know. What would have been one cup of tea becomes two cups of tea right from the start, and then...

You use up tea, that's what the and then is.

I just thank Whomever that I'm not a coffee drinker. $50 wouldn't have taken me nearly as far at Timmie's.

Anyway, for anyone who's been curious enough to click on the photo and read the labels, a brief explanation in no order:
  • I like Darjeeling as a basic tea, and it's getting increasingly hard to find without going to a specialty shop.
  • I like chai.
  • I like being buzzed sometimes.
  • I like being buzzed with chocolate added.
  • I like to have a dessert tea on hand because sometimes a person's just in that mood.
  • I like not being buzzed sometimes, and I thought that I should get something non-buzzy because the rooibos chai I was given that started this whole thing is going fast.
  • I... um... needed to get something else to make it to $50. Seriously? I'm usually a honey person at home, but honey's a pain at work so I end up using sugar. I thought I'd give the agave syrup a try to see how I liked it.
And there you have it. I should be good for a while in the tea department, and since those clever people send along free samples when you order I'll probably be well on my way to my next choices by the time the cupboard is bare again.

At least they didn't try to sell me more canisters. Take that, Teavana.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Ok, this time I just forgot

I've been fairly productive at work today, which yay me considering it's Friday and all. So, blog topic is...

Well, I actually have one, but I'm hoping to keep it short.

We've started work on designing and building a nature playground here at the nature centre. The whole idea of nature or natural playgrounds is to create spaces out of largely natural materials that encourage physical, unstructured, and creative play while helping kids want to be outside. The playgrounds are built in such a way that, although they're made from non-traditional materials, they're still safety certified. It's going to be a fantastic space for us to use both in programs and informally, and at this stage at least I'm pretty excited.

What you see above, though, was my nature playground as a kid.

It's just a vacant lot behind the house that the owners never bothered to clear. The town cut a road allowance (probably before I was born) but the road was never built. What remained, then, was a path and trees. We were in it all the time. We built forts; we made up stuff.

And we were outside. Even me, the incredibly neurotic kid who couldn't have bugs on her, went outside and played in the trees.

Kids don't do that now, and it's sad. If kids are outside at all, it's structured and "safe" and damned near cocooned. It's like kids today are wrapped up in plastic.

You should see what happens to our plastic kids when we take them out on the trails, though. They get interested. They get dirty and don't care. They open up (I had a teacher the other day who said that one boy who'd been chattering to me the whole time about the stuff he was finding barely says two words in class). There's all kinds of studies out now about how being outside in nature can help with everything from ADHD to autism, but to me that doesn't matter as much as the fact that being outside just feels good.

Hopefully our constructed nature playground will be a step in helping kids AND their overprotective parents (helicopter, anyone?) to see that.

Yeah, nice short post, Dee.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

No post again...

I just don't have a lot on my mind to blather about at the moment, I guess. I will say a couple of things, though.

Thing 1: The mayoral race in my hometown was just decided by one vote after a recount. Another town's mayor was decided by sixteen votes. And another town's final council member was decided by drawing a name from a hat because the race was too close to call. Still think that the old excuse my vote doesn't count anyway rings true?

Thing 2: There's a trial currently going on in Edmonton about severe pet abuse that is going a long way to confirming my increasing belief that human beings shouldn't be trusted with animals' welfare. A dog is a pack animal and will do almost anything its owner wants it to do, and the owner repays that... well, I don't want to call it loyalty because it's instinct, but think loyalty if you want to... by beating the animal until its hips are fractured and then shoots it a couple of times besides? Yeah, the human animal is definitely superior, isn't it? Superior scum. The prosecutors are asking for jail time; I hope the judge grants it.

Ok, enough rant. I need to get back to work anyway. Enjoy your out-of-season flower, since I wasn't in the mood to post a picture of brown things.


Update to Thing 2: 14 month jail term, 2 years probation after, no pet ownership for 15 years. Now what do we do about the rest of the sick so-called humans out there, eh? Ah well, at least it's a little something.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Pointless photo of the day:

Sorry, but that's really all I have time for. Just thought I'd let you know that I'm still here.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Blog burnout

I've already done two (yes, two. Not one but two) blog posts for work today. Please may I be excused from blogging for myself?

Of course I can. My house, my rules.

I will say one thing, though. There's a swap meet here today in conjunction with waste reduction week, and I brought five things (of which all but one have left the building) and have only picked up a small change purse in return. Yay me and my own waste (well, clutter) reduction week. End. Weekend.

I'm tired of typing now so I'm going to stop. See you in a couple of days.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Got nothing

Sorry about that. I always feel a bit of a cheat when I've been away from the blog for a few days and then come back with absolutely nothing to say.

But here I am all the same.

I guess I could tell you that I'm wearing my new bracelet and one of the pendants today. I can't give you an update on how successful the bracelet's been in the Quest for the Non-Scratching, unfortunately, because my apartment's been really hot and hot and sweaty tends to lead to more scratching. Too bad, too, because things had been looking a bit better before this past week.

Not much to say about the pendant either. It's a pendant. It looks nice. It's fun to play with. Yeah, play with. I'm a fidget when I'm talking to people or thinking about things, I'll admit. If it's one of the rare times when my hair's down, I'll play with my hair (and I hate seeing other people do that, so you can see how much of an unconscious habit it is with me). If my hair's up, I'll play with whatever's around my neck. Might be a pendant; might be my crocodile nerdstick (yep, still wearing that. Still a five-year-old girl. Still fun). In lieu of something around my neck, I play with my pinkie ring.

Never my watch, though. Watches aren't toys. They're for telling time, silly people.

Anyway, that's it. More on the weekend, maybe.

Especially if I wear a different pendant.

Sunday, 13 October 2013


The pointless photo, by the way, is not of a turkey.

The picture's about all you're getting today, though, because I just spent a stupid amount of time on a silly doodle and now I don't feel like typing. A shame, really, since I probably won't post at all tomorrow and I'd been on a bit of a roll the past few days.

Ah well.

The post title? Any of my two fans who are Canadian know, and as a result probably aren't even reading today. As for me, I had my turkey yesterday, which means I also had my turkey for breakfast and will probably have it for lunch as well. I'll likely give it a miss for supper, but it should be back for lunch tomorrow...

How do you Americans manage to do that? You know, a big meal with your late Thanksgiving and then doing it all over again for Christmas so soon after? I can't help but think that it must be exhausting.

Anyway, a good Thanksgiving to everyone out there. See you in a day or two.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

New toys

This particular pointless photo is hot off the camera, boys and girls.

It rocks. Or, more accurately, it's rocks.

My father and I just got back from an hour and a half or so of looking at rocks. A local rock/jewellery store has an annual sale that takes over a small mall, more or less. They bring in (literally) tons of specimen rocks, polished rocks, carved rocks, fossils, beads... well, you name it. I'd never been and I seem to forget about it every year anyway, but for some reason it stuck in my head this time. When I mentioned it to Dad he was interested, so we headed down the highway to check things out.

It was kind of neat, actually. Just about everything you could imagine to see in the category of rocks except fancy faceted stuff. And it's obviously a draw for them. Plenty of people about, and plenty of those people walking around with pop flat boxes that the customer service people would happily give anyone who looked like they had their hands full with the rocks they'd already decided on. Of course they'd happily supply boxes; it meant you could pick up more rocks.

Some of the stuff wasn't of much interest to me -- I'll never be someone who goes in for the whole power of crystals and spheres angle -- but there was enough going on that I think just about anyone could find at least something they liked.

For me, as my two fans know, there's three things (four, sir) FOUR things (somewhat garbled Python reference between Holy Grail and the Spanish Inquisition, for anyone who thought that I was talking to myself there) I look for: the rock's interesting, the rock's real, the rock's wearable (no space for pretty specimens to just sit on a table at my place), and... the rock's cheap. Hey, as much as I like the look of the ammolite they had down there, given the choice between a fifty dollar pendant and a ten dollar one, my budget hollers TAKE THE TEN.

I get to have more fun that way anyhow.

So, after an hour's browse, the end results can be seen above. All interesting, I think, and all wearable at work (with my t-shirt uniform at a nature centre, remember. Fancy things look stupid there). All, as well, posed on the bag that's holding my 3DS on my needs-cleaning piano. Hey, you use whatever background's available. From the left:

A hematite bracelet, bought mostly because my latest attempt at finally healing the eczema I've been dealing with for months is to wear a bracelet over it, my theory being that encountering a bracelet when I start to mindlessly scratch will remind me of what I'm doing and get me to stop. It's working, more or less (I'm still scratching at night, unfortunately), but now there's the trick of finding something that doesn't annoy the bejeebers out of me by clacking and clattering on the desk and keyboard support all day. We'll see how this one goes.

An Ocean Agate (otherwise known as orbicular jasper) pendant, because I liked the patterns. And it was 50% off.

A piece of Baltic Amber, mostly because I've always wanted a piece of amber. And it was 50% off.

And finally, a bit of Dendritic Jasper (couldn't find a good clear link on that one. Let's just say that some sites will claim that the dark inclusions are fossils. Maybe some of the time, but not always), because I'm kind of into jaspers at the moment. They're interesting to look at. And it was 50% off.

50% off wasn't exactly my only criterion, by the way. There were loads of other things that were 50% off. I only bought a few of them...

Incidentally, you run into a lot of weeeird things when you start searching rocks on the web. I was going to provide a link or two, but the weirdness is easy enough to find so I'll let you search if you want to. All I can say is, is it all right with everyone if I just continue to like rocks because they're pretty rather than thinking that they're going to change my life?

Ok, thanks then.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Swing and a miss...

But first... did you see the spider? You had to know there'd be a spider.

And second... this tumblr currently wins the internet.

Ok, now for topic. I went to Wally World yesterday. That's actually news, because I don't think I've been there for nearly a year. Long enough ago, at least, that I have no idea where things are anymore (this particular Wally World is one of those that got expanded into a Super Centre Center, so now it's a cheap stuff/grocery store hybrid. Is there really a demand for that?). Anyway, I needed a couple of things in the cheap stuff category, so off to the Super Centre (dammit, I refuse to spell 'murcan) I went. And how did I make out? Well, here's the rough tally:

1. Watch strap. Managed to buy the wrong size even though I held the stupid watch up to the measuring gauge TWICE, so the pins were slightly too short to stay in the holes. No matter; I just stole some pins from an old watch that I'm not using at the moment. I'd need to buy a new strap for that watch anyway if I decide to put a new battery in it, so no worries there. And the fact that the strap itself is a millimetre too narrow doesn't really matter. It'll do fine until I destroy it. Erm, watch on right wrist (I'm a lefty, remember) + mousing with right hand = frequent strap replacement. Or at least more frequent than most people.

2. Bra. I don't know yet. I always need to wear a bra a bit (and maybe give it a wash) before I'm sure whether I hate it or not. I'll probably end up hating it, though. That seems to be my average with bras. And yes, I do know my proper size, or at least I'm told that I do. I just don't have a good eye for styles, I guess.

3. Coat. Oh, this one's kind of funny. I was only sort of in the market for a new fall coat because my old one's still serviceable although heading slowly to ratty, but these looked decent and the price was right (righter than I thought, actually. It rang in for $10 cheaper than I was expecting). I've been reluctant to give up my old coat, really. It's a fleece with a wind/rain resistant layer that ended up to be much better than I was expecting at the time. Plus, it's purple. I like purple but I don't wear it often (or not as often as I used to). Having a purple coat's been handy for doing programs, though, especially with older kids who might be taller than me. I'd gotten into the habit of telling them to "follow the ugly purple coat" so that they'd remember to keep an eye on me on the trails. But now I have this new one. This new... ugly purple coat. Hey, you didn't think I'd give up the purple when I had the chance not to, right?

4. Sleep tank top. It's a sleep tank top. What more can I say about a sleep tank top other than the fact that it's NOT made in Bangladesh? Well, I could tell you that it's purple.

5. Tinted lip balm. Yep. Unless it turns you orange or gives you blisters, I think it's pretty safe.

6. The big tub of Halloween candy that's currently sitting on my desk. Hey, who else is going to keep this joint properly sugared up?

And that's it. Not too bad; only one impulse purchase, and now I shouldn't have to suffer Big Box Land until at least Christmas. I suppose that counts as a run and not a miss after all, then. But I'm not going to bother changing the post title at this point...

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Sorry, yet again

Forgot about the blog.

It happens.

A fair amount.


I... think I hate my mug?

Ok, we'll go with that. I think I hate the insulated travel mug I use for tea here at work. I know I don't like it especially -- I'm just not quite sure it's gone far enough to hate to bother buying a new one.

And why do I dislike my mug? Well, for one thing, it's one of those travel ones that are designed to fit in a car's cup holder. Tall and skinny, you know? Fine if you're putting it in a cup holder, but not so great if it's just sitting on a desk. It's been tipped over a few times by various people (including me, yes), and then you just have a desk mess.

And then there's the cleaning. For most of us, office mugs don't go home to be washed all that often, and an insulated mug probably shouldn't go through our work steriliser anyway. I rinse mine out after every use, but you still tend to get a build-up. Trying to scrape that out of a tall skinny mug is the absolute definition of pointless.

Before this mug I had what they call an insulated desk mug. Actual mug shaped, so harder to tip over. Wider, so much easier to clean. When it died after many years of service (the handle broke off) I didn't have time to search out another desk mug so I thought I'd make do with a travel mug.

I think I might hate it.

I should mention here that because I'm often away from my desk for long periods of time doing programs and things like that, an insulated mug's sort of important to me.

So I guess maybe I'm mug shopping in the next while?

I'll keep you posted. Because of course you're on the edge of your seat about it right now.

Aren't you?

Well, fine then. I'll just go off in a huff. No, seriously. I'm just about to leave work (short day because I'm over  my hours) and my two fans might remember that my car has a name. Whether it needed one or not.

I wonder what it thinks about travel mugs?

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Drinkable yoghurt

Today's pointless photo? Not drinkable yoghurt. I'll take a picture of that tomorrow, if you like.

Or probably not.

Hey, I'm a bit tired here. I set up the planetarium in less than twenty minutes first thing this morning. I usually like to give myself about forty-five, so... sweaty, yeah.

You needed to know that. And you need to know about the fact that I decided to take my purple pigeon skull out and play with it for a bit meant that I found a note underneath in my handwriting that says 5014 6 am. No idea what it's about or how long it's been there.

Anyway. I was going to say something about my lunch for some reason or other, wasn't I?

Um. I guess I was. I got distracted for a bit there. Work stuff.

Drinkable yoghurt, then. I had some for lunch today, along with a leftover rice dish from last night and a mandarin orange. I usually have at least one mandarin orange a day, but not so much the drinkable yoghurt.

It's kind of useless, don't you think?

I'm a regular yoghurt eater (and it makes me laugh that the big fashionable thing now is so-called Greek style yoghurt. I've bought Greek or Balkan style yoghurt for years, since I don't have much use for thin yoghurt. And now all of a sudden it's cool. Ah well, at least that means no more going to the specialty cooler like I used to have to do to find it). For whatever reason -- and I'm still not sure why -- when I went to pick up my usual yoghurt a couple of days ago at the store I got drinkable yoghurt instead. It must have been on sale or something. Whatever it was, I had a whatthehell moment and bought the little bottles instead of the little tubs. A weird thing to do, since I've only had drinkable yoghurt one or two times before this.

It's kind of useless, don't you think?

It's not yoghurt, for one thing. It's cream and fruit puree and a whack load of bacteria. It doesn't taste like yoghurt. It supposedly acts like yoghurt in your system, but I guess we'll see about that. And there's not enough of it in the bottle to be remotely satisfying.

Just my opinion, of course. It just seemed odd for an adult-aimed brand to be the size (and taste) of a smoothie for toddlers.

Oh well. At least it took the edge off the the hotter-than-I'd-remembered pepperoni that was in with the rice. Along with other things, of course. Rice and pepperoni alone doesn't exactly make for a supper.

And I have no idea why I'm telling you this anyway, so I'll just get back to work now.

If that's all right with you.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Head hurts

And we allll know that's as good an excuse as any not to post, right?


Um, I suppose I should make it clear that no one hit my head with a baseball? Yeah, probably.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

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