Saturday, 30 November 2013

Hmmm. Helicopters, or the weather?

So, I was going to talk about this. But then this horrible crash happened in Glasgow, and somehow it doesn't seem appropriate to talk about fun with remote-controlled helicopters. I'll let you know in a while how many of my plants I've shredded, though.

I guess, then, you get to hear me gripe (briefly. I'm really going to try to make this brief) about what we're in store for.

The pictures you're seeing to the right are from our last big storm at the beginning of November (yeah, I only got them off the camera a few minutes ago. Didn't really want to look at them). Sooo pretty, right? Uh huh. Whatever. If you click on the photo and look closer, you'll see that it was still snowing when I took it. And it kept snowing. And snowing. Listen, Alberta's generally a fairly dry place. We get snow, obviously, but compared to the east we don't get a whole lot. Not so much this year. It's only November, and we've had more snow than we had by January last year. Last year, by the way, wasn't an especially dry one.

Later that same night...

Uh huh. Whatever.

There's been more snow since then, of course, and now we're headed for another major storm. Fun one this time, however. They're predicting 60 km/h winds on Monday, and that combined with heavy snow means that I sure as heck won't be going anywhere for a while.

Naturally, since this is Alberta, the snow is followed by extreme cold. I'd give you a link to our forecast, but it's just too depressing to even bother looking at. So let's look at something else instead. Something I was looking at this morning. Something that apparently had the shakes...

Ok, what really happened was that this was just after the sun came up, and I was shooting through my bedroom window here at Dad's on a veeery slow shutter speed. I'm surprised it looks like a deer at all.

It's pretty normal to see deer browsing the backyard here. What's not normal in November is to see that the snow is already past knee height for them.

To quote Monty Python, bloody weather.

Anyway, that'll do it for me for a few days. Again. I'm going to schedule a couple of pointless photos that I took the night of the last storm when I was bored, mostly just because I don't know what I'll do with them otherwise. See you once I've dug out, folks.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

White space

Yeah, still in denial here about the whole winter thing.


I'm currently (well, not currently. Currently I'm typing this. When I'm done, though, I'll go back to currently doing what I was doing before) working on the nature centre's quarterly newsletter, and my two fans will know that it puts me in a bit of a mood. Editing a newsletter is aggravating, really. Trying to get submissions, trying to get those submissions to sound like they're actually written in English (sometimes that's a little iffy, even in a place like this that's supposed to be all about communication), and then trying to wrestle those submissions into a readable format on the page...

Um, ok. I honestly like that last bit.

I enjoy the aesthetics of a well laid out page. I try pretty hard to make sure that my pages are well laid out, and I like to think that I succeed more often than not. I wouldn't call myself a professional by any means (although technically, since I do get paid to do it...), but I think my pages are reasonably pleasing to the eye. With that in mind, then, three things that I think are important in layouts for newsletters and posters. And, I suppose, by extension blog posts:

Number one. White space. Big surprise on that one, since that's the title of the post. White space is important. It gives the eyes a rest, it makes things look balanced, and it keeps a page from looking like more than just words and words and words. It might surprise you, but I generally take care about white space even here at the home of the blather. There's a reason for the apparently arbitrary line spacing and the occasional weird non-paragraph. Sometimes it's cadence, yes, but sometimes I'm looking for a shape. If I don't like the way the pointless photo's framed by the words, for example, I'll go back and reword and respace until I'm happier.

Number two. Stay away from the dark side. Backgrounds, I mean. Dark backgrounds may look nice, but they're bloody awful to try to read anything on. The other day I was flipping through one of the magazines that we take here at work, and they'd printed not just pages but entire sections on this truly awful shade of brown. I don't know what effect they were trying for, but the affect on me was that I didn't bother reading it.

Number three. DON'T TILE. Yes, that needed caps. Nothing looks cheesier than a tiled background, even if you've got a blank space for text placement. And if there's no blank space at all? There's no readability. I'm reminded of that every single day by a poster here at work that I can't do anything about because I didn't make it. Ah well, it'll be gone next week. Thank Whomever.

Anyway, back to the newsletter. Yay.

I hope yay, at least. A girl's gotta have hope, despite past experiences.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Stupid people in hallways

Yep, still flowers leftover from the summer. I do have seasonal pictures on the camera, but part of me doesn't want to even see them.

More snow on Sunday/Monday. As in, possibly 20 cm more.

I miss flowers, did I mention?


This post will be short (hopefully) and disjointed (inevitably) because I'm in a state of brain no work. I've been having the sleep thing -- or lack of sleep thing -- again (um, when am I not, exactly?) and last night I finally hit the point where I knew I was going to sleep. I absolutely knew it. Eventually the head and body both do hit that state, even if you're scared they never will. Anyway, I went to bed around 11:30 pm, got to sleep pretty much right away (yay!), and... around 2:30 am what sounded like a half dozen people or so decided to have a fairly loud... let's call it a discussion... in the hallway. A loud, protracted discussion.

And that was it for me and sleep.

*shakes fist at the stupid people of the world*


On a totally different and much more amusing note, I can't remember if I mentioned that Hugh Laurie finally joined the twitterverse a couple of weeks ago. I find this extremely funny partly because he is funny, but also partly because one of the biggest twitter deniers in the celebrity world is now one of the chattiest. Maybe there's something to this twitter thing, eh Mr Laurie?


One last thing, then. In an attempt to escape the endless carousel of crappy Christmas songs that watching television for the past couple of days has implanted in my brain (can we say On Yer Mark, Get Set, All Christmas Commercials All The Time, boys and girls?), today's earworm is a German lullaby that I've actually performed called Guter Mond (or An den Mond), and the link is for a very nice a cappella version. This is a great song to sing. Come to it, German is a great language to sing, although I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it's just that there's a lot of good German music out there, I dunno. Anyway, if you need a break from rocking around the Christmas tree or whatever earworm's been throttled into your head, maybe give this one a try.

Later, folks.

Friday, 22 November 2013


So I post something stupid about eggs, which apparently I'd already pretty much posted about a year ago. And then I disappear for a week. And then I make a half-assed post, and now I'm about to disappear for a couple of days again.

Which means, of course, that I can't think of anything to blather about right now.

Typical for me.

Um, cosmos, then?

That's cosmos in today's pointless photo, for those of my two fans who aren't gardeners. Cosmos is one of my favourite flowers, and I plant it pretty much every year. I like the divided leaves, I like the apparent (only apparent, mind) simplicity of the flowers, and I like that they grow tall enough to block out some of my terribly exciting view of a hotel's loading dock.

Actually, I'm a big fan in general of what some people might consider old-fashioned flowers. Cottage garden stuff. I come by it honestly on both sides of the family, really: my English paternal grandmother's front garden, my maternal grandmother's yearly flats of French marigolds; I like the feel of that kind of thing. Johnny Jump-ups and other violets (heck, let's add in the violas and pansies as well, then), nasturtiums for both their colours and their pepperiness in a salad...

There's over 60 cm of snow on the ground out there right now, by the way. I want some flowers.

Time was (and I really should get back into the habit) that when winter gave me the flower blues I'd pick up a cheap bouquet at the grocery store when I did my shopping. Carnations, usually, but if something else was on cheap I'd vary it. Sometimes, if I was in the doodling mood, I'd do a vase drawing a day until the whole thing was undeniably fit for the garbage. It was good practice, documenting the changes as the flowers aged. Yeah, I really should start doing that again. If there was a holiday sale I'd occasionally buy a live plant rather than a bouquet. Plants that are sold cheap and already flowering don't usually live worth a hoot, but it would extend the drawing period.

Let's just say that I have a lot of doodles of lilies.

Anyway, doodles, flowers, and frigging snow aside, I need to get back to work. See you in a couple of days.

That's the plan, anyway.


Oh, before I go...

Today's tea: Brazillionaire, which was a sample. I'm... I dunno what I feel about this one. It's good, but it's a little odd somehow. I think maybe it's that I'd like the brazil nuts by themselves. I really like brazil nuts.

I wonder if anyone has Christmas brazil nuts out yet...

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Pointless photo of the... week?

There are no irises flowering now.

Now is covered in the most snow (as in, twice as much) that we've had in November in at least thirteen years.

I'd sooner look at irises.


In other news, you know all those ads that are out right now about how important it is to get your flu shot?

It's important. Get your flu shot.

Most people who think they've had the flu are thinking of stomach viruses that aren't the same thing at all. The real flu is serious, lasts a while, can be dangerous, and feels like absolute hell.

I don't think you really need to know how I know about that, folks.

Just go back and look at the pretty flowers.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Me me me... and eggs

Not a great picture, really, but the chickadees were being very uncooperative.


I've been watching the news a fair bit lately, just so you know. I'm aware of Toronto's "crackhead" mayor (as he's been referred to by some US media). I'm sorrowed by the destruction in the Philippines. I know that bad things -- and a few good things -- are happening in a big way all over the world. So what am I going to blather about?

I'm kinda pissed that I broke the yolk of my egg this morning.

Yep. That's what's on my mind.

Well, ok, and I also have a headache that I just can't seem to shake, but I'm not going to make a whole post out of that. You're welcome.

I'll admit, I'm kind of funny with eggs. I was never much of an egg fan when I was a kid (scrambled eggs with cheese being an exception), and some of that's stuck with me. I think it's partly a texture thing, especially because texture is a thing with me at the best of times. I don't like the slightest hint of a jelly-ish white, for example. I wouldn't eat a poached egg on a bet, and the thought of a three-minute egg kind of squicks me. A boiled egg needs to be hard-boiled, even if it means that you don't have the pleasure of dipping your toast soldiers into the yolk.

Is that a pleasure, by the way? I wouldn't know, because I've never tried it. How do you get past the feeling of rawness that so much runny yolk gives you?

So does that mean that I have to cook the hell out of all of my eggs before I'm comfortable eating them? No, not really. Boiled eggs need to be hard, yes, but scrambled eggs shouldn't be rubbery. Oh, and it's a rule, by the way, that if you cook a ham for dinner you need to have scrambled eggs with ham and cheese (and worcestershire sauce and dry mustard) for lunch the next day. As for fried eggs, if it's going to be on toast it'll be over easy... and yes, there's allowed to be a tiny bit of runny yolk in between the two cooked sides. I don't know why it's allowable then and not for a boiled egg, but there you go.

Incidentally, I watch a fair amount of Food Network stuff, and I'd like to know who decided that it's the thing to put a poached egg (ick) on top of a meal or in a burger to have the thrill of the uncooked yolk (ick) burst all over everything. Am I missing something there?

Anyway, I didn't get any runny yolk at all this morning since I managed to break the bloody thing (well, not literally bloody) when I was cracking my egg into the pan. It made me grumpy, and I'm convinced that it made my headache worse.

Yes, a burst egg yolk.

I hate to bring up an internet phrase that should have worn out its welcome by now, but... yeah, first world problems. Back to work for me, now.


Oh, one last thing. Today's tea: Second Flush Darjeeling. LOVE this. I think I've finally found my favourite basic tea again. I missed you, darjeeling.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Something something Friday

Read the title as: I really have no idea what this post will be. Or if this post will be. I'm so much on Friday brain at the moment that as hard as I've tried to actually think of something to rant off about, it's all just turning into meh.

Good word, meh. It expresses a lot. Too bad that it's not officially a word or anything.



Well, I could, I suppose, remind everyone that it's always a good idea to have a compressor in your car. Even if you're not pumping up your own flat, you may be able to help out a coworker.

Sigh. Short story, that one. What else is on the menu?

Menu, maybe? I wasn't in the mood to make lunch this morning, so I just packed a bunch of random stuff from my fridge. Ok, to be honest, not entirely random. I did try to make it a reasonably balanced semi-random. Real food, even. The problem is, I didn't manage to fool my stomach with it and now I'm getting major whatthehell from my disappointed digestive system (whatthehell, by the way, reminds me that if you've never read any of Don Marquis's Archy and Mehitabel poems, you really should. Too many people these days haven't even heard of them, and that's a shame). Not in a what did you do to me sort of way; more like a what's missing from this food picture. I guess that my stomach wasn't in the mood for the unexpected today. Oh, and speaking of which, I may have just hit on a slight topic:

Why is it that so many of us are so regimented as to what can be eaten at what time of day? Food should be food, really, but we've definitely labelled things as breakfast, lunch, or dinner food to the point where no one would think it strange if I have cheese and toast for breakfast, but heaven help me if I decide to add a second piece of toast and a pickle and have a grilled cheese sandwich instead (which, actually, has been known to happen when I know I won't have time for a proper lunch during my work day). Or what about the fact that many people will go to Denny's or IHOP -- I've not been to either, but I'm guessing on the menus based on what I've heard -- at any time of day, but will wonder at you if you make waffles for supper at home?

Incidentally, could someone please explain to me why I like waffles but don't care for pancakes much? Largely the same base batter, really, but I'm just not big on the pancakes. Texture, maybe? Waffles are crunchier? I dunno. I can tell you, though, that I don't like french toast at all...

And on a related food note, today's tea is Salted Caramel. I was a bit meh (ha!) about this one when I had it unsweetened at Dad's, but a little agave syrup gave it more life today. Great. Now I'll have to reorder the syrup too.

Anyway. That's enough typing for someone who didn't have anything to say. No blather for the next few days since I likely won't be near a computer. Have a good long weekend, but please don't forget to think about our servicemen on Monday. It's the reason for the day, after all.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Pointless photo of the day:

I was going to say ho ho ho, but of course they're forks...

Anyway, that's about it for today. I need to get ready for my next program. Oh, today's tea: Pistachio Cream. I din't buy this one; it was a sample. It's quite nice, actually. I've never had mulberry leaf tea before, but I might just...


And damn you, samples.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

My toy makes new friends again

Today's pointless photo is not of my toy. It's part of an amaryllis.

And why only part?

I was bored, I guess.


So, I had breakfast at McDonald's this morning. Not, I should say, part of my normal routine. You know, in case anyone wondered. I had breakfast at McDonald's because I had to get my car out of the apartment parking lot before 8 am since they're actually going to clear it (not part of THEIR normal routine. We hardly get the lot cleared all winter). A bit late for me, by the way, since I already managed to turn my ankle in the parking lot on Monday, but better than nothing. Anyway, in order to avoid the threatened tag-and-tow I figured that I may just as well make my semi-annual McMuffin run.

It really is only semi-annual. Three times a year at the most. I just get a craving for a bacon and egg McMuffin for some reason, and when I've had one I don't need one again for months. Pretty safe craving, overall.

Breakfast at McDonald's always makes me laugh a little because I tend to forget that the place is such a hangout in the mornings. A whole lot of seniors -- mostly men, for whatever reason -- sitting with their coffees and their newspapers. It's like a club. Legion Light.

Seniors aren't the only people there, of course. There are also, apparently, people with toys.

For those new to the program I should explain that when I refer to my toy I'm meaning my 3DS. I get a kick out of carrying my 3DS around, because when a 3DS locates another 3DS it makes a new friend.

No, seriously.

It's got its own little social media thing going on. When your 3DS finds another 3DS you acquire the Mii from that system and you get to play games with it. It's all a bit silly (especially for someone my age, yes), but it's a fun little nerd locator. You get home, you take the thing out of your bag, you see the green light, and you've found another nerd.

And the nerd finds this nerd in return, naturally.

Nintendo upped the nerd ante not long ago by making it so that if you go to a so-called Nintendo Zone with your nerdfinder you make friends with the last person who was there even if there's no one with a 3DS around at the moment. McDonald's are Nintendo Zones. I knew I'd capture a nerd.

Well, I got five of them. Must have been a busy nerd breakfast.

Anyway, it looks like I'll be playing some nerd games when I get home. And they better have that parking lot cleared when I get there, by the way. After all, 8 am at a McDonald's finding nerds is not my preferred way to start the morning...


Tea of the day:  Chai Guarana. Needed a buzz after the way my day started.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Pointless photo of the day:

I'm at work. It's a little busier than I was expecting. The snow is starting to fly (so maybe people will stay home and I'll get more work done this afternoon).

Yeah, this is all you're getting.


Today's tea: Chocolate Rocket.


I should be pretty much vibrating in an hour or so.


One last thing: Hugh Laurie, who I thought would be the last holdout, is now on twitter. Maybe that means I should start using my own account for something other than just following people?

Nah, probably not.

I have one, though. If you know one of my e-mail addresses, then you know my user name. Such as it is.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Pointless photo of the day:

I kind of like this one, actually.

After this weekend, though, the scenery won't be looking much like that. There's forecasts of doom ahead, boys and girls.

Or at least of winter.

And since we all know what kind of a mood that puts me into...

Ok, seriously? Just lacking sleep here at the moment, and unless you'd like to read completely aimless blather I think I'll just give the blogging thing a pass today.

Hell, I'm going to give it a pass even if you did want to read completely aimless blather.

So there.


Tea of the day: Pumpkin Chai, which was apparently part of their fall collection so I can't give you a link. Good, but funny to call it pumpkin chai when it doesn't have any actual pumpkin in it (carrot and squash, according to the package). It has pumpkin candies, though. Do they count?
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