Saturday, 29 March 2014

Pointless stuffed animal of the day, less symbolic edition:

This, boys and girls, is what I suppose a collector would call vintage. According to a quick eBay search it's from 1983, which would be about right.

I was far too old for the whole Care Bear thing when they first appeared, and frankly I thought they were awful. So horribly saccharine. All sweetness and light and bubblegum or whatever. Yes, I knew I wasn't the intended market, but they still really annoyed me. I think I got Grumpy Bear here in protest. Everyone else was caring and sharing blah blah blah, but Grumpy Bear was a storm cloud, ferWhomever'ssake. A storm cloud with hearts, true, but still. You gotta love the odd bear out, right?

This bear became somewhat collectible (not RARE!!! as some of the eBay sellers would have you believe) because -- if I remember right, and it's very possible that I don't remember right -- the manufacturer decided that it looked too grumpy. Yep, a Grumpy Bear that was too grumpy. Whatever. Anyway, they replaced it with a version that to my mind looks more morose than anything, and a little later (I think. I don't follow this stuff at all), one that seems pretty pissed off to me.

Mine's just grumpy. And unplayed with, since he was only ever just a bedroom decoration. Free to good home, if anyone wants it. Well, maybe I'd ask you to pay shipping or something. I'm serious here, by the way. E-mail me or leave a comment if you want 'im.

Ikea chair not included.


So why would I want to give away the bear? To be honest, I have lots of stuff that I'm kind of tired of having. I've mentioned that my mother was a collector of many things, and for the first twenty-five years or so of my life so was I. I'm not anymore, but the problem with losing your taste for collecting is that the collections don't just disappear. I've given away a lot of my stuffed animal collection over the years, but I still have far too many hanging around. I have a collection of pin-on badges that, with I think two exceptions, anyone would be welcome to grab the whole corkboard's worth and take home immediately. I gave Wheat my collection of puzzle keychains from the Rubik's Cube era in case his kids would be interested (all of the big popular puzzle toys, but in miniature. They were a thing back then. I even had the Missing Link in that lot). I gave my father one of my porcelain dolls for a Legion silent auction (sadly, just a drop in the bucket there), and fully intend to give more. Heck, I even give books away, and back in the day the thought would have horrified me.

So what changed?

I don't really know.

I think I just got tired of stuff. Not that I'm becoming ascetic by any means, but it doesn't really appeal to me anymore to have stuff just to have stuff. Maybe I need my stuff to be more useful as I get older? I dunno. I just remember that when I first moved out on my own I had this big mental list of all the things I'd have to save if, for example, the building was on fire. Now? Well, I'd make sure I had clothes on and grab my purse. Oh, and my birth certificate if I had time. Maaaybe one or two other small things, but only if the situation wasn't dire. Everything else could go.

It's just stuff.

All right, so if you came to my place and said, in a friendly non-robbery type way, that you would like some of my stuff, is anything off-limits? Well, of course. I'm not that generous. Assuming that we're leaving me the essentials, there are a couple of family heirlooms that I'd like to keep around. Nothing of real value -- only for memories. A few pieces of jewellery; some because they're family items and some because they just make me happy to wear. Oh, and I'd probably be sad if you wanted my art stuff because then I'd have to buy more. That's probably the only thing that I still actively collect... but does it count as collecting if I'm getting it to use it? Yeah, probably. Hands off my moleskines and pencils anyway, though, ok?

And it would be nice if I could have a few things to read. I don't need all of what I have, though, so you can take some of the library.

Aaanyway. Another wordy post, but I guess I've been in that mood. No me tomorrow, though, so I hope you took your time reading this.

Friday, 28 March 2014

I'm trying, I'm trying

To find something to write about that isn't all whingy about snow, that is.

It's kind of hard, seeing as I'm all whingy about snow.


It's pretty, I guess.

Pretty stupid to have so much of it on the ground at the end of March, that is.

I'm not succeeding in this not being whingy thing, am I? Ah well. Let's talk about something else, then.


Ok, how about big stupid corporations killing a really good thing? In this case, I'm thinking about Television Without Pity, which is outta here on April 4th. I'm not going to include a direct link to the site itself; it's findable (for the moment) if you're in the mood to find it.

I used to hang out quite a bit on TWoP, back a few years. The recaps were fantastically snarky, the forums were fun, and the atmosphere was great. They had some wonderful writers, too; a few of whom I still follow on twitter as they've moved on to other things (my personal favourites right now? Heather and Jessica over at Go Fug Yourself. I think they might've chosen a different name, however, if they'd known that as the site became more popular they'd start finding themselves known as the Fug Girls). I stopped visiting TWoP about six years ago, though.

So what happened?

Cue Big Stupid Corporation.

Bravo Media took over, and the fun gradually started disappearing. First the original creators left, then the new forum moderators brought in some clueless and arbitrary rules that took away the feel of the place, then my favourite recappers started going one by one. Some of them, I'm sure, were just moving on, but when more than a couple do that you have to think that the working situation has changed. Big Stupid Corporation didn't get what we enjoyed about TWoP, as far as I was concerned.

So I left, too.

Well, now the site's closing down, and from what that Vulture article I linked to says it sounds like NBCUniversal isn't even going to keep the archives up. It won't affect me because I haven't been there for so long anyway, but it really seems like a waste of good writing and good discussions.

Bravo, BSC.


Before I go, I should explain the bunny. My mother bought that for me on a whim back in 1999. She died a couple of weeks later.

It's her birthday today.

Miss you, Mom.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

So. Not. Happy.

Know why you're getting flowers again today? Because of the amount of snow that I had to clear off of my car this morning. And the amount of snow that I had to drive through to get to work. And yes, I'm still very cognisant of the fact that the east coast is getting far, far worse, but THIS WINTER WILL NEVER END.


Anyway. Want to see the stupidest thing I've found on the internet today, just to take your mind off of my grumpiness (because I know how concerned you must be about that)? It's this.  And since that's a news link that will probably disappear in a while, I'll just say briefly that a hotel in New York that I refuse to name because it doesn't need the publicity is offering what they call a Social Media Concierge service for weddings. That's right, bridezillas, for a mere $3000 they will provide you with someone who will live tweet your wedding, manage your pinterest and facebook and whatever else, and even create your own very special hashtag.

Because hashtags is haaard for some folks, I guess.

I couldn't believe it when I read it, but the sad fact is that there will be idiots out there who will gladly shell out the $3000. They're the same ones who pay $10 000 for a dress they'll wear once. It boggles me that they even exist, but they do.

I sometimes watch those wedding shows you find on The not-so-much Learning Channel (remember when that channel had other programming besides idiot brides and freakish families? I do. Barely), but mostly out of sheer whatthehell. The amount of money these people will spend on the stupidest things. And then, of course, they have total fits when the stupidest things aren't absolutely perfect. Starting your married life in complete debt seems like a pretty wrong priority to me.

I've mentioned this before, but back in the stone age when I actually dated and had a fairly serious guy for a while, I teased my mother by telling her that if I ever married I'd just JP it in front of a couple of witnesses. She was horrified. She tried the tack of asking whether my family didn't deserve some sort of celebration or party, so I said that I'd JP it and then have a barbecue. My dad was so proud...

I really was teasing her, but as I've got older I can't help but wonder if that isn't the smarter way to do it anyway. No pressure, no things have to be perfect, no fits, and no debt. It just seems like a much more intelligent way to start a new life.

How in h-double-hockey-sticks did this become a wedding post? Ah well, weirder things have happened on this blog. Back to work now. I may decide to work from home tomorrow, so take a few of the extra words from these past couple of days and make a new post for yourselves, if you like.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Random iris of the day:

And why? Oh, c'mon. Three guesses and the first two don't count unless they have the word snow in them somewhere.

Yeah, more snow tonight. Nothing like what Atlantic Canada's supposed to get, but still. To quote the great M. Python, bloody weather.


And now, digital. I have a digital question... or, rather, a question about digital. You audiophiles out there will agree, I'm sure, that digital compression more or less flattens music, right? I'm a bad one to ask since even bad recordings can be supplemented in my brain by my imagination (yeah, I can hallucinate good music. It's a talent), but I will agree that I love old vacuum-tube speakers and things like that. Not that I own them, really, but I do have an old radio of my grandmother's that sounds twice as rich as anything that you'll find now. Add that to the tinniness of modern digital recording and I can understand that someone who loves his or her old vinyl on a turntable just cringes at the thought of MP3s played on a smartphone.

But what about digital photography? Is today's pixellated, manipulated photography a loss from the days when you had to carefully frame your shots and then go through the worries of development before you could see what you got? I do mean worries, by the way, even if you weren't the one in the dark room. A friend of mine took a big trip to South America towards what I guess we'd have to call the end of the film age and came back with several rolls of film that the photo developer at the store she took them to didn't read properly. All of her slide film was developed as negatives instead. So much for those pictures. If she'd had a digital camera she'd have known exactly what photos she had and would have been able to print out whatever she wanted herself, but would the pictures (assuming that they'd been developed the right way, of course) have been of better quality with film? Would they have been richer like analogue recordings are?

Are we losing quality in our photography in return for quantity of photographs?

Do we really need so many duckface selfies in the world?

I don't have an answer for this, by the way. I mean, I love photography. I have no illusions that I'm any kind of photographer, but I have fun with my photographs. And I don't think that there's anything wrong with having fun with photographs. There's also no question that events are being captured now that never would have been seen by so many people back in the days of film and specialists. When almost everyone has a camera on them at all times in public (hey, old people like me. Remember how stupid we thought it sounded when we heard that the Japanese were putting cameras on their cell phones? Yeah. Ha ha ha), it stands to reason that we see and learn things that we never would have imagined back when news had to be shot by professionals.

But what about the artists out there? The real photographers. Have they lost something in not having to take their time? In being able to take hundreds of shots whenever they want to? In having the temptation of quick and easy photomanipulation?

Looked at another way, have modern painters lost something by not having to mix their own pigments?

I dunno. I tend to think that it's different, not worse. And not better, for that matter. Just different.

Aaand I really need to get back to work. Feel free to comment or drop me an e-mail if you have thoughts of your own. Personally, this is the most thinking I've done on this blog in weeks, and my fingers are getting tired.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Oh, right, blogging

Haven't really been in the mood, actually.

I guess I could at least give you a pointless photo.


Happy spring.

Yeah, that's what spring looks like so far.

Yay spring.

Whatever. Type at you later.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

You know you've got nothing when...

... you're seriously thinking of writing a post about your travel mug.

Yes, really. My two fans may remember how much I hated my old mug? Well, I don't hate this one. Contigo. And since Wheat got it for me from Costco it didn't cost nearly as much as their website says they do.

I do find it funny that nowadays many of us walk around daily with what's basically a sippy cup for adults, though.


I really wish I did have something, because I know that blogging's a bit light lately. I must be on weekend brain even though I'm at work, unfortunately (the brain part, not the work), because the blogging thought process has been What can I talk about? My sippy cup? The fact that I like to wear rocks? My rings, yet again? But I like rings. I wish I could wear more jewellery at work, but considering my job and the fact that my uniform shirt is a t-shirt it would probably look weird. I just downloaded a game for the 3DS and it took FOREVER. Do you think that anyone would care? I wonder if I should stop for a fast-food (late) lunch on my way home instead of using the perfectly good food in my fridge...

Yeah, seriously. How messed up would any of those non-topics have been?

I did think of saying something about the fact that it's sort of odd that the Discovery Channel's run so many episodes of Mayday in the past couple of days when no one's even been able to find that Malaysian airplane yet, but I'm sure that was probably just coincidence.

Or was it?

Dun dun duuuh...

Ok, this is just getting weird now. Obviously I don't have the brain to actually have a topic today, so I think I'll stop typing before it gets even weirder. See you in a day or two, since I won't be near a computer tomorrow.

And because you're dying to know, I'm sure, I'm currently wearing my grandmother's topaz -- the yellow one, not the blue one -- my rolling ring, and a piece of Baltic Amber. I've had a hankering YES I SAID HANKERING for a bit of lapis lately, for whatever reason. Maybe because it's pretty. I foresee a trip to the rock store in my not-too-distant future.

Geez louise. Stop typing already, Dee.

Ok, then.

The pie yesterday was nice, by the way. I had saskatoon, and a bit of quiche as well. The quiche first. We should have more pie days, I think.


Ok, then.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Pointless photo of the day. Days. Whatever.

You can already tell from the post title that I don't really have anything, right?

I have a headache, if that counts.

I also have a program this afternoon, but not before I eat some pie.

Yes, boys and girls, it's Pi Day today. That'd be 3/14, for those who aren't familiar with the whole thing. Although... now that I come to think of it, that doesn't even really apply to the Canadian way of dating. It should be day, month, year, not month, day, year. So here in Canada it's not Pi Day at all. It's 14/3/14.

I'm going to have pie anyway. We're using Pi Day as an excuse to have pie at our noon quarterly meeting.

And now you know.

And I still don't have anything.

Not even the pie, yet. But it's coming...

Sunday, 9 March 2014


I've been thinking that I need to get out the modelling clay again.

I went to post my doodle for this week's Illustration Friday prompt on the other blog (not really much of a work of art this time, since I was just playing), and one of the suggested links at the bottom of the post led me to one of my old modelling clay men submissions. Back when I was making an effort to post every week -- which I should probably get back to -- I didn't always feel like drawing. On those days I'd make little men out of modelling clay and put them in various situations that fitted the prompt. Hang on... here's some of them. Weird, but fun. I'm not sure why I stopped doing it. I even have fresh modelling clay, if I'm not mistaken.

I tend to be like that with hobbies. I'm a serial hobbyist. I'll go great guns at something for a while, then I'll drop it almost completely and move on to something else. Needlework moves to knitting moves to poetry moves to sketching, and so on and so on. That's not to say that I never come back to anything. Doodling's been with me for years, for example. It's just that sometimes I get more serious about it for a while, and then I back off a bit. Same thing goes for photography, although for a different reason (a different reason than the NO reason for the other stuff. Good one, Dee). I loved to take pictures as a kid, but as I've said before things slowed down a lot when I was expected to pay for my own film and processing. I still took photos; I just didn't really experiment with them at all. The advent of affordable digital, of course, changed all that. I take a stupid amount of photos now. Occasionally of very stupid things, even. It's great.

It's also great to come back to a hobby after you haven't done much with it for a while. It's fresh again, but at the same time you remember why you enjoyed it in the first place. I can always tell when a hobby's ready to be rebooted because it'll start nagging at the back of my mind. Anything can set it off. Putting on an old toque, for instance, and realising how many years ago I knitted it. That'll get me thinking about the other neat toque patterns that I have that haven't been tried yet, and that in turn gets me checking my yarn stocks "just out of curiosity", and once that happens you just know I'll be knitting another toque soon because I won't stop thinking about it.

In other words, yeah, I've been thinking about knitting a new toque or two for next winter.

Notice that I say next winter?

After the past couple of weeks of lows in the -20s and windchills in the -30s, yesterday was finally above 0C. It's supposed to be above 0C all week, actually. I'm living in quiet hope that spring might find us sometime before August.

In the meantime, though, I took the picture to the left yesterday. The melt has a long, long way to go.

This has been such a strange, strange year.

Anyway, I've distracted myself.

I suppose it's as good a time as any to wrap this up, then. In the world of rotating hobbies most things come back, is all I was really saying. Knitting will come back (probably soon), poetry will come back (because I don't seem to be able to stop it. My poetry ain't great, folks), playing the piano will come back (eventually), photography and doodling will never go away, and prepare for the return of the Little Modelling Clay Men because they're pretty much in my brain all the time anyway.

It's an odd brain.

See you in a day or two, all.

Saturday, 8 March 2014


I needed a flower today. Outside it still looks like January. It's warmer today, though (finally), so maybe I'll go out and take some pictures of melting things this afternoon.


So, it's International Women's Day, and I... completely don't care. I think that it's a little bit silly, to be honest.

Yeah, I know that things are far from perfect for women (and for men, for that matter, but I suppose that we're talking women here). I know that there is a lot yet to be done about workplace equality, women's rights in general, and, in many places, even women's safety and rights as human beings.

Does a Day really help that, or does it just give those who are tired of hearing the (unfortunately often strident) voices calling for changes another reason to stop up their ears even more? I dunno. All I know is that I'm already tired of my twitter feed being filled with links to "5 Inspirational Female _______" and things like that. In an odd way it reminds me too much of being Canadian.

Should I explain that?

Canada. Perfectly nice place. Massive inferiority complex. Big, noisy neighbour to the south. We're constantly playing the game of See? Such-and-such famous person is ACTUALLY a CANADIAN!!! to make ourselves feel a bit better about not being the big, noisy neighbour to the south.

That's a bit like what International Women's Days and other commemorations are for me. See? Women can do ALLLLL of these things!!!

Of course we can. So do it. It's just like all these initiatives to get more women in the sciences. You want to be in the sciences, women? Then do it. You want to do something else? Then do that.

Ok, full disclosure. The women in science initiatives drive me a little nuts because in my field (biology, that'd be. Zoology, to be more specific) there were almost always more women than men in my university courses. All that hearing we need more women in science did for me was to inform me that the people pushing it didn't consider my science to be REAL science. After all, you're not a scientist if you're wearing hip waders instead of a lab coat, right?

I wore both, actually, when I was in school.

Well, not at the same time, of course.

Anyway, since I suppose I should make a slightly more tangible contribution to the day than just saying that it's not really necessary, let me end by saying that commercials aimed at women are the STUPIDEST THINGS EVER.

Well, maybe not ever. But they rank right up there. Cascade Kitchen Counsellor helping women with dishwashing angst (because only women do dishes, I guess)? Ode to an Armpit? Have a Happy Period (gaaaaaaaaaaah)? Women, if you want to be treated as equals maybe start with insisting on advertising that assumes women have brains.

It's not exactly up there with Votes for Women, but it would make this particular woman a lot less annoyed on a daily basis.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Ow. My brain.

I spent the morning talking about owls. Which was good, don't get me wrong. It's just that doing three hours of programming like that is just really starting to make me feel old. I'm wiped afterwards.

Of course, it doesn't help that I had a very interrupted sleep last night. I had to be at the school reasonably early, and as usual my brain decided to be its own alarm clock every hour or two. I hate that.

Anyway, that and a lack of lunch (because I wasn't in the mood to pack one this morning. Yes, entirely my fault) has meant that I'm definitely lacking in brain at the moment. You're lucky you're getting any words at all.

Even if they're not really saying anything.

Anyway (again), I'll try for an actual post tomorrow. For now, though, and to make up for the Ukraine scarediness from yesterday's post AND to show you just how tired my brain really is, this bit of internet silliness is really making me laugh right now.


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Politics, both snitty and frightening versions

I couldn't remember what today's pointless photo was from the thumbnail preview.

I still don't remember taking it.

Ah well. It's here now.


So, a couple of quick political comments before I get back to work. First, if anyone from outside Alberta (hell, if anyone INside Alberta) wants to know what the really frightening part about Premier Alison Redford is, it's that Premier Alison Redford is going to lead to Premier Danielle Smith.

Whomever help us all.

In other political news, anyone who thinks that Justin Prettyboy is going to somehow save Canada (by... um... being pretty? Seriously. What of substance has he actually done?) is as delusional as all those who voted for Obama's first term thinking that he was going to save everything. Is he the saviour after all? Yeah, Justin won't be either.

I'm not a conservative (or even a Conservative), by the way. I just think that people actually need to think more when choosing leaders rather than merely reacting. That kind of thing is what makes you end up with a Danielle Smith.


And lastly, the Ukraine. This whole thing more or less scares the crap out of me. Anyone much younger than me won't remember, but when I was growing up Soviet aggression + nuclear missiles (and US aggression + nuclear missiles) pretty much meant we spent most of our time -- even if it was a background thought, the thought was still there -- wondering who was going to kill us first. It sounds cliche and old fashioned to those of you born after about 1985 (sigh. You're damned near thirty now. How on earth did that happen?), but it was very real. Any international incident could set off another and another in a great big chain of OMG. And OMG would have been very, very bad.

And the Ukraine events just sound way too familiar.

Figure yourself out, world. We don't need to go back there again.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Quick pointless photo of the day:

The stupidly cold weather had me housebound for a couple of days, and even though I was working from home I have plenty to catch up on now that I'm physically AT work.

Yep, yet another non-post. I'll put a couple of the work pics up on the other blog if you need something to look at, though.

If I do find time to post eventually, I may want to talk politics for a moment.

Yeah, I said that.

And now the blog will turn into a pumpkin. Ah well.
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