Friday, 31 January 2014

More blue

Definitely no melt water today -- this was from last weekend.

I'm tired of winter, you know.

Actually, I'm just tired. It hasn't been a good sleep week.

Aaand... I'm done. Thought I might get blathery if I just started typing, but no luck. Better to quit before this gets whiny.

I'll try harder tomorrow.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Blue snow

I recently ordered a polarising filter for my new lens (from the internet home of ALL THINGS, yes. I had a gift certificate) and since the order arrived on Friday I thought I'd take the thing for a spin around my dad's yard.

I love having a polariser -- it was a regular thing for me to play with on my old Minolta film camera. For whatever reason I still haven't gotten around to buying any filters at all for my kit lens (I will. Eventually), but I figured that it might be nice to have at least a polariser for the wide angle.

So as I said, I took it out in the yard yesterday mid-afternoonish, and immediately realised a couple of things:

1. It's still January even though the weather hasn't been behaving that way, and the sun's starting to get low that time of day.

2. It's winter, and snow is boring.

Yep. Once you've used the filter to play around a little with the colour of the sky, all a person's left with in the winter is brown and white. No brightening the greens, no deepening the reds; it's all just stupid bloody white.

Hmm. Maybe bloody wasn't the best word to use there.


My solution? I rotated the filter until all the whites were blue.

Yep. The blue you see above is the way it came off the camera and I did it on purpose. I took a fair number of shots that way, actually. There's an awful lot of blue snow on my nerdstick, which means that there will be an awful lot of blue snow on the blog in the next while.

I'm sure you'll get used to it.

What you're seeing above is a drip off of the shed roof. Did I mention that it's January and things are melting all over the place? Sounds like we'll be paying for it with a couple of days of coldness soon, but even then they're predicting things to be back up to the minus single digits by next week. This has been such a weird winter. Tons of snow (there was yet another roof collapse yesterday. This time the curling rink at Drayton Valley), a warm January... why do I fear July now?

Incidentally, despite what early reports of the Sylvan Lake arena collapse said, it turns out that not only was the zamboni driver still in the building when it collapsed, he was still on the zamboni and had to duck under the steering wheel to avoid being hit. He thought he was going to die, but still managed to have the presence of mind to turn off the gas when he saw electrical sparking. Can you imagine? I definitely can't.

Anyway, again. Lunch time now. New doodle up on the other blog, for anyone interested. Yeah, I'm trying to get back into the swing of more regular posting, but you'll notice that the pens haven't come out yet in the new year. I still get shaky too quickly if I tense up. Stupid wrist. Heal already, would you?

Oh, on one other note there's probably no me on the internet for the next couple of days. I'm a bit high on my work hours as of last week, so I'll probably take a day off so I'm not over for the pay period.

Erm... you needed to know that.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Summary of my week, pointless photo style

Otherwise known as: I Guess I Talk About Some Weird Things on the Blog.

So here it is, then. Silver rolling ring, pewter and brass Aquitaine sundial ring, brass candle extinguisher (yeah, I found a couple more brass things around the apartment after that post. Not too many, though. I'm not exactly brasstactic), and Kinder Surprise Spiderman because he was there and adds a bit of colour to the composition.

I have no idea why he has ears.

Note that I said candle extinguisher, not snuffer. I read enough 18th century literature to be bugged by the way that North Americans tend to say snuffer when they mean extinguisher, actually. That thing in the photo is an extinguisher, for putting out candles. A snuffer is more like scissors with a little box attached to one blade to catch debris (picture!). They were used to trim the wicks of (usually) tallow candles to keep the flame from getting too large and melting the tallow into a puddle. If you were bad at snuffing candles you could accidentally snuff the flame out... which is where the extinguisher/snuffer mix-up comes in for our non-candle-dependent society today.

And there's your olf information moment of the week. Aren't you lucky.

Anyway, it's late, and since Google's weirdness killed my attempt to blog earlier in the day this is all you're getting (it wasn't just Gmail that was affected, folks). I'll give it a better go tomorrow. I've got some purposely blue photos I can talk about, after all. What's that, Dee? Oh, you'll find out one way or another.

And for anyone who actually wondered, yes, I'm still having fun with the rolling ring. It's there on my finger begging to be played with even as I type this. I think I'll go do that now.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Unexpected post of the day:

So the thing is, I'm at a school this afternoon and I didn't think I'd have time to post before I left. It turns out that I do.

I wish I'd thought of a blather now, but I hadn't. I wasn't supposed to have time, remember?


Picture, I guess. More things on snow. I'll try to think of something more substantial tomorrow.

Incidentally, do you think that it would be possible to take both Justin Bieber and Mayor Rob Ford and just leave them on an island somewhere? Maybe they could annoy each other into sobriety and we wouldn't have to hear about either of them anymore.

Just saying.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

I hate it when...

... I had an idea for a blather, but somewhere in between work, lunch, and a bit more work it went away.

So, a brass mouse.

This particular brass mouse is also supposed to be a desk note holder, which is the reason that its tail is so lethal.

I kind of like brass. Not so much for the look -- the eighties sort of ruined that for all of us -- but the neat things that can be made out of brass. Trinket-type things, I mean, although plenty of things with actual importance can also be made out of brass.

I like pewter for the same reason, by the way. Search around the little independent shops on the internet, and you'll find all manner of interesting pewter things.

My mother (who collected a fair number of different things) had quite a collection of brass back in the day. Brass bells (cross collecting there. The bell collection in all its brass, porcelain, and whatever else glory is huge. We've never figured out what to do with it), brass vases, brass figurines, little brass working models... if it could be found in brass, my mom probably had it. I try my best to suppress my collecting gene these days because I already have enough stuff, but I have a few brass things that I've had for years. Let's see... the mouse, obviously. An abacus, which is cool. A music stand, which I used for performances when I still had the youth choir. A tiny elephant that was bought to commemorate a group paper in university. A potpourri holder.

You know, I think that's about it for brass. Shall I go on to pewter? Yeah, I'm laughing at myself but I still haven't remembered what I really wanted to blog about. Pewter's shorter anyway. A bit of jewellery, another potpourri holder, and a picture frame. The last two, I believe, came from Seagull Pewter, which is fun stuff as long as you stay away from the more cutesy items.

I don't do well with cutesy.

Anyway, since I'm obviously not going to remember the topic du jour (it might end up being demain's topic if I can figure out what it was supposed to be) and I really should get back to work, let's call it a post.

A very metallic post.

Maybe tomorrow's post should be silver versus silvertone, since I accidentally ended up on Avon's website yesterday and nearly died laughing at the things that get high customer ratings in that world...

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


Today's pointless photo is well and truly pointless. And not fidgety.

I, on the other hand, am pointless AND fidgety.

I play with things. I play with things on my desk. I play with my jewellery as I'm talking to people. I play with just about anything when I need a distraction.

My hands need to be busy or they'll get into trouble, I suppose.

Today I'm wearing a pendant that's also a sundial (hang on... let me see if I can find you a picture... here's the kind of thing I mean. And now I really want the stardial to go with it). I've had mine for long enough that I can't remember where it came from now, and if you can picture it on a silk cord around my neck you can imagine that it's a fun thing to fidget with. One of my favourite things to fidget with, actually.

No longer THE favourite thing in the jewellery category, however.

I went to the mall yesterday, you see. That's an odd thing in itself, since I haven't been to a mall in almost two years. I needed a couple of things that I could find at the mall, though. Happily for my fidgetiness but not so much for my bank account I also found...

A rolling ring!

Um, rolling ring photos, for anyone not familiar.

The rings are intertwined in such a way that they're able to roll over each other. A three band rolling ring is sometimes called a Celtic (or Russian) wedding band or a Trinity band, but my ring has five bands so you can forget all of the pseudosymbolism right now. As I mentioned the other day, I've been wanting one. I've been looking for a while, at least on the internet, but when I saw one in person (silver, nothing fancy, and considering the weight of it not terribly expensive. I'm too cheap for terribly expensive) I had to try it on. And of course once you've tried on the ultimate in fidgety jewellery you can't exactly walk away, can you?

Man, is it fun. It's really, really fun and tactile and did I mention fun?

I'm a five-year-old, yes. but you won't find any buyer's remorse here. No way. I'm enjoying it too much. and besides, it's dual purpose. If I don't feel like fidgeting with it on my finger, I could use it as a pendant and fidget with it on a chain instead.

You'll probably see a photo of it at some point (this is me, after all), but for now I'd better get back to playing with my ring work.

Ah, toys. I love me some toys...

On a more serious -- well, ish -- note, I've been itchy again lately which is a bit disheartening since my eczema had cleared up nicely. Here's hoping that a ring distraction will help keep me from idle scratching when I'm not paying attention. See, there's actually a reason for fidgety jewellery.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Pointless photo of things on snow of the day:

As promised.

And sorry, but I kind of forgot that I had this blog thing today, so I don't really have anything to post. Yep, this is all you get.


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Random things

I was doodling a bit this morning and now I want to go have lunch, so I'll try to keep this short. Ish.

Thing 1: Yesterday I was talking with my dad in the driveway when a truck that was parked at the uphill neighbour's started reversing down the hill. I thought that it was going to back into our driveway to turn around -- they do that sometimes -- until I noticed that there was no driver in the vehicle. I said to Dad, "there's no driver in the truck" (I tend to be very original and creative in my statements, as you see). Somehow or other, the truck managed to stop itself (itself!) before it smashed into the downhill neighbour's vehicle or swung into traffic. I'm not sure how. Dad figures that it might have had something to do with four-wheel drive automatically stopping at a certain point. Still, it was a very weird thing to watch a truck back downhill and stop itself (itself!).

Thing 2: The pointless photos are likely going to be even more pointless in the coming while, because taking pictures in the yard is massively winter-boring. As you know, I can't be bothered to find winter pretty because... well, because it's winter. At the moment winter in Dad's yard is all about snow covered in things, since the massive winds this past week managed to cover the snow in various tree needles and things like that. So, yeah... be prepared for a lot of shots of Things on Snow.

Thing 3: I enjoy playing with the recommendations algorithm on Amazon way too much. I've ordered some rather eclectic things from them over the years, and just when the poor algorithm thinks that it's got me figured out I go and tell it that I'm not interested in any of its suggestions. If it had a brain, people like me would drive it bats. Still, it's fun to see what weird things it decides to dredge from the depths of my purchase history. I'll refresh for half an hour at a time just to see what it digs up. Yes, seriously.

Thing 4: I've decided that I want a rolling ring to fidget with. Just a cheap one, though. Silver, or maybe even stainless steel. I'll keep you posted on the hunt because I'm sure you're just dying for another jewellery post.

Thing 5: I mentioned doodling above; I was playing with some of my Christmas toys. Check the other blog if you want to know which ones. This year I mostly restocked my paper supplies -- sounds boring, but paper's fun -- but I of course got a couple of other things to try out, as I always do. This year, some woodless pencil crayons that are very nice, some metallic pens... oh, and a couple of good quality brushes since they were having a two-for-one sale. I always feel sheepish about buying good brushes since I'm so very much not a painter, but it does make a difference to have the proper stuff even if you're not so good at using it.

There. That's a post, right? Lunch time for me, then. Have a good one, all.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Not entirely pointless photo of the day:

The colour on this might be weird -- sorry if it is, but I can't really tell today because Dad's monitor is acting up. It might be fine. Sorry for apologising if it is.

Don't worry. I'm just trying to be the best Canadian I can be. Good unnecessary apologies take practise, you know.


Today's not entirely pointless photo is of a book that I recently purchased called 20 Ways to Draw a Tree. Briefly, it's supposed to provide a bit of inspiration for changing up your drawings and doodles. Fair enough. The book's also meant to be doodled on. Space is provided, as you can see. On some pages the reference pictures are scattered throughout the two-page spreads, but on most it looks more like this.

Is anyone sensing that there's a but coming on?

I'll give you a clue. This set-up doesn't work at all for Yours Lefthandedly.

Yep. Imagine drawing with your left hand and not being able to see any of the pictures because your arm is covering them. Can you imagine it? Apparently the creators of the book couldn't.


I'll still get use out of the book, but I'll be frustrated too. That didn't need to happen. And that's more or less how our world is designed, boys and girls.

Listen, I'm not exactly a left-hand crusader and I don't see right-handed evil everywhere I turn (only almost everywhere). I just get a little annoyed when it would only take a slight change to make things work for everyone. In the case of this book, scatter the pictures around like they are on some of the other pages, and suddenly the whole book is very usable. In the case of the kitchen, either put spouts on both sides of a ladle or don't bother with spouts at all (erm, long-term pet peeve of mine). In the case of pens, make your ink less smudgeable.

It's not that hard.

The fact is that most lefties with half a brain can adjust to most right-handed things. As I've said before, I made a conscious choice when computer mice first came out to learn to mouse with my right hand because I knew that every desk I'd work at would have it set up that way. I use a right-handed camera because there's no such thing as a left-handed camera. If there's not a pair of left-handed scissors around I'll use the right-handed ones. No biggie.

Incidentally, though, and I've said this more than once, for any parents of left-handed children out there, please PLEASE get your kids proper left-handed scissors when they're just learning to cut. Don't be fooled by good for right or left hand labels; all that means is that the grips won't dig into your child's hand. The scissors themselves are still right-handed construction, and your kid'll have a helluva time learning to use them.

Yeah, most right-handed things are no big deal. What bugs me is when the fix could be so easy, like the ones that I mentioned above. The fix could be easy, but the right-handers don't even notice that there's a problem because it seems fine to them. All it would take is to ask a lefty, and we'd all be good.

Do you suppose we could have a Hire a Lefty mandate for design firms? I'd volunteer my opinions for sure. Oh, wait. Maybe not volunteer. I'd certainly be happy to be a consultant, though.

Ah well. I'll live, and I'll still doodle on my new book. I might just have to do it upside down, that's all.

Wouldn't be the first time this lefty's done something like that. But that's another story...

Friday, 17 January 2014

Quick pointless photo of the day:

It was a weird one... the day, that is. I didn't go in to work because it turned out that I was way over my hours for this pay period. I slept late (completely disorienting for an insomniac). I had a pleasant spring drive down the highway in January.

I can't express enough just how incredibly weird that last statement was. Anyway, to continue:

I came downstairs to check work's twitter feeds and my e-mail, and Dad's computer decided that it wasn't in the mood to wake up the hamsters so I went upstairs to grab a book while I waited (more on the book tomorrow, probably). The computer finally decided to open the browser, I checked what I was going to check -- with occasional computer hamster water breaks, apparently -- and now it's five o'clock and I'm not really in the mood to be in the basement anymore.

In other words, read this all as: blather tomorrow, maybe. For now, I'm going upstairs. Enjoy the ash keys, I guess.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Pointless photo of the day:

Sorry for the lack of blather, but it's been a busy few days for programming. No blather today either, because I'm tired and I'm just about to go home.

Have a random shell, then.

No reason.

Except that it's not snow.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Pointless chickadee photo of the day:

Technically it's a work pic, but taken with my camera by Yours Birdingly so I figure I can stick it here.

I'm liking the new lens, by the way.

I don't think you'll get too much out of me today. I've been on the go for too long since they're supposedly doing another parking lot clearing at my apartment building (you know you've had a lot of snow when the management company that's notorious for only doing the parking lots once a season has already had them done three times) and that means being out by 8 am. It was snowing (sigh) hard enough when I left that I very nearly said eff it and let them work around me, but that would've been pointless since they're also doing plumbing work today and we might not have any water until 5 pm. Crud. My neck's out enough at the moment that I have more than a little bit of a headache, and it would have been a nice day to just be lying about. Instead, I found myself having fast food breakfast and listening to the most stereotypically seniorish seniors' conversation that you could ever imagine.

And watching it snow.


It's stopped snowing now, but the highways are apparently buggered. I'm hoping that the city streets aren't, because I really don't want to be fighting the idiot brigade when I go home.

When I can go home.

Ah well. The chickadee turned out pretty nicely, at any rate. That makes me happy. Chickadees in general make me happy. Art also makes me happy, and there's a new doodle (such as it is... I was just playing around) on the other blog for anyone interested.

Back to work for me now.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Pointless photo of the day:

It's snow.


And with that... yeah, I've been busy with work things, so that's all you're getting. and since it looks like I won't be making it into Dad's after all today (weather's a bit uncertain, and I need to be here on Monday so no option of just waiting for the highways to de-ice), that's all you're getting for the next few days.

See you when I see you.

Thursday, 9 January 2014


Silly of me to use that title since I haven't seen the movie that it's from, but there's the power of commercials for you.

This isn't going to be much of a blather, but I couldn't resist posting this photo, as unedited as it is. I was taking photos for work and this one is unusable, but that doesn't mean I can't find it funny.

What you're seeing very unclearly here is the aftermath of a Red Squirrel fight. The victor's at the top right heading back to its territory, and the loser's hightailing it out of there at the bottom left.

I'm very fond of Red Squirrels. You've just got to like something that's so edible for so many things, and yet still so obnoxious.

Red Squirrels (as opposed to the larger Grey Squirrels you folks in the East are more familiar with) are notoriously territorial. One of my university profs, who'd spent his life studying Red Squirrels, once said to us -- only half-jokingly -- that he'd never been able to figure out how they ever got close enough to each other to procreate.

Um, for those of you completely out of the loop, the answer is the Power of Hormones.


Because the territorial Red Squirrels are so much smaller than their more gregarious Grey Squirrel cousins, when the Grey Squirrels show up in places that they don't belong the Red Squirrels are in danger of being outcompeted. And where do you find Grey Squirrels showing up where they don't belong? Along rail lines, mostly. Apparently they're latter-day hobos.

Calgary has a resident population of Grey Squirrels (which are, oddly enough, black. It's a mutation, I think) that probably travelled the main trans-Canada line. They've been slowly moving northward for years.

And what happens when they make it here? Squirrelmageddon? Oh, I doubt it. But if there ever comes a time when I see more Grey Squirrels on my walks than Red Squirrels (who invariably swear at you if you're where they don't want you to be), I admit that I'll be more than a little sad.

Geez. When did this become a work blog post? Guess I'll blame the time of day or something.


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Pointless photo of the day:

This was just me playing with close-ups at Christmas with the new lens. Pretty good, I think. I'm going to like this thing.

And yes, I have porcelain dolls. Way too many porcelain dolls. I'm looking at getting rid of some porcelain dolls. Anyone interested?

And yes, again, I'm serious. Gave one to Dad last year as a silent auction charity item, even.

This is all you're getting, by the way. I just finished a program and I honestly can't be bothered to think of a blather.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Some things make me stupidly happy

Snow, as you know, doesn't. The fact that I live in an area where it's common to find deer just wandering around does, though.

So what else is making me stupidly happy today? A few things, actually. The fact that we're not stuck in the polar vortex does, for sure. I'm genuinely sorry for the millions of you who are, but we get enough crap weather around here that it's nice for a change to not be freezing my behind off in January. And don't worry. That'll no doubt change. It's still Alberta, after all.

And what else? Yep, there's really a what else. You're catching me on a non- (or at least not-so-) grumpy day, I suppose. Anyway, I also found out today that I have a photo on display in our gallery. I know, I know, I always say that my pictures are pointless, and for the most part they are. Even a pointless photographer gets a good one every now and then, though, and when I do I'll admit that I'm proud of them. Well, when our public/special events/gallery coordinator (yep, she really does all of that) was looking for things for a last minute photo exhibit, I gave her the link to the blog's photo albums and told her that if anything was suitable she was welcome to use it. I'd say wanna guess which one she picked, but considering how many hundreds of pointless photos I've blogged I guess that's not fair. Check it out here then, if you want to. And I have to admit that even though I'm usually pretty leery of being recognised or having things on display, it's still pretty neat.

One last bit of happy, because I'm not sure the blog can take much more without turning into a pumpkin. I did some "art" last night. Nothing too exciting and nothing you're going to see because I was just defacing the inside covers of my new watercolour Moleskine (um... for those new to the program, I'm olf enough that I have to doodle on the covers of a new sketchbook to start them out as less than perfect, so that in my brain they're allowed to be less than perfect. Otherwise I start obsessing over the imperfections and stop using the book because I'm worried that it won't be perfect. Weird, I know, but it seems to work), but there was tracing around shapes involved. Tracing in pen. That's big. Since I buggered up my wrist I've been having trouble with pen work because too much concentration on fine muscle control makes the stupid wrist shaky. It's annoying and frustrating, but maybe -- just maybe -- last night's doodle session means that things are gradually getting better. Finally.

That would definitely make me stupidly happy.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Pointless photo of the new year so far:

Not taken with the new lens because I took it a while ago. Now let me explain it.

Every once in a while I prove to the world that I'm a five-year-old and buy a Kinder Surprise egg. Yeah, don't judge me. They're a harmless diversion (except in the United States, apparently, where they're lethal) and occasionally the little toys have some neat engineering. Sometimes they're utter crap, too, but again it's harmless and I like to have things to play with.

Now, a while ago the company came out with eggs specifically for girls. I am specifically a girl, but I didn't have any interest in the pink-tinted things. It's so cliche, for one thing, and I've never been particularly girly. My Barbies, for example, went through absolute hell. Nope, no girl toys in eggs for me.

I picked one up accidentally, as it turns out. Ah well, let's see what the girl side of the toy business has to offer.

This. What you see in the picture. A Disney Princess.

An effing Disney Princess, and that's what's wrong with the world right there.

I completely despise that whole franchise, if you couldn't guess, and I don't even especially dislike Disney movies. The Princesses, though, make me very, very glad that I never had a daughter to be sold on the whole false idea. And this? This isn't even a fun toy. It's a tiny plastic statue that doesn't do anything. At least the "boy" toys often have moving parts...

A Disney Princess. No more pink eggs for me if that's what girls are suppose to like.


And now, today's tea, which unfortunately hasn't caffeinated me enough to be terribly functional. It's Coffee Cake and... I dunno on this one. Maybe it's just that I'm tired, but tea that tastes like cake is sort of confusing my brain a bit. It's all right, but I don't think it'll hit my list of favourites.

Too bad, really, because there's probably going to be a lot less tea talk here in the next while. Not that I won't be drinking it, but I've officially sampled every one of the teas in my Christmas stash. If you only knew what a prodigious feat that was. Ok, maybe not exactly a feat, but there's a fair amount of tea at my house right now. I'm stocked for a while.

Not at all a bad thing, in case you wondered. I'm going to stop typing now, if that's all right with everyone.
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