Thursday, 31 December 2015

My new friend, and more tea

Alone in the office today, so the bluetooth speaker that SantaDad gave me is getting its first real workout. Sounds pretty good to my non-expert ears, and for all you speaker snobs out there that's plenty fine for me. I mean, I was going to buy a cheap plastic $15 something, so this is about twelve steps up from that. For anyone who craves brand names, this one is Headrush, which is a The Source exclusive apparently.

Tea time, then. Or tea review time. I need to add a caveat even before I start, though. Both of these teas are fruit infusions, and I'm not exactly a fruity tea fan. Good thing that neither of these was a particularly fruity tea.

A couple of nights ago I tried Banana Nut Bread. This time I followed my usual rule of not sweetening it for the first taste, but this is one that I think would benefit from just a touch of honey or agave. Otherwise, the name pretty much says it all. It's liquid banana bread, all right.

Last night's sampler was Forever Nuts, which I was honestly a little leery of since they claim that it's one of their customer favourites. Hype like that generally sets me up for disappointment. It was good, though. I missed out on the "steeps pink" part because my evening teapot is generally a travel mug so that I can have the tea around for an hour or two if I get busy with something. It wasn't so much the almonds as the cinnamon that attracted me, I must admit. I guess I'm just a spicy tea girl at heart.

Verdict: would I buy it? Banana Nut Bread maybe; Forever Nuts probably. No duds so far in this year's Christmas tea.

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One -- or two, really -- last thing(s). My speaker makes a decent speakerphone, according to my dad. He just called me to let me know that his first ever smartphone proved to be a dud. They've ordered in a new one (android) but in the meantime they gave him a loaner iphone. If anyone out there gets pocket dialed, you'll know why now.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Tea of the day:

And a mysteriously silhouetted Downy Woodpecker. He's only here a) to provide some sort of photo for a short post, and b) because the blur of the chickadee flying beneath him made me laugh. I didn't see it at the time.

Anyway, today's (well, last night's since I'm not having any right now) tea is Super Ginger, courtesy of Christmas and my brother and sister-in-law (mostly my sister-in-law). As well as being my art supply enablers, you see, they're also my Christmas tea enablers.

Anyway, Super Ginger is what I had last night, and for which I broke one of my own new-tea rules. In general, even though I like a bit of sweet something-or-other in my teas I always make an effort to try new teas without anything at least once so that I can get a feel for the tea itself.

Not last night, though. I put in a little honey for the same reason that I tried this tea first from the selection, and that's because I don't like black pepper in teas. I mean, I like black pepper in itself; I just don't think it belongs in teas because it masks too many other flavours. Thus, the honey to gird myself somewhat against the pepper. Just a little bit of honey, mind. The tea itself has stevia in it already, so I didn't want to take the chance of oversweetening.

Well, I needn't have bothered. Turns out that ginger is as good at masking -- or at least settling down -- the taste of black pepper as it is at hiding green pepper.

A note to those who don't know: I really dislike green pepper. The only way I can eat it is with ginger beef.

Anyway (again), if you like ginger (and I do), you'll like this tea. As advertised, it's also very soothing to the throat, and helps open up the airways a bit. It would probably be decent for an upset stomach as well, given that ginger is good for that in general.

Would I buy it for myself? Probably. Especially if it was on sale.

Back to work now for me.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Pointless photo of the day:

I've blathered a lot the past couple of days.

I don't think that I have any blather right now. I might later, but I should be back at my place by then so it would mean the usual half-assed post via my phone. Not exactly worth it, generally.

So, have a picture at least. Your standard Alberta winter wonderland. Pretty, isn't it?



Yeah, I guess, she says grumpily. I bet Belize is pretty this time of year too, and I doubt that it's covered in white.

Anyway, hope everyone had (or is having) good holidays. See you when I see you.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Naming of Cats

 Before I start, if for some reason you haven't read the poem that goes with the title, read it now. And remember that Andrew Lloyd freaking Webber had nothing to do with it.

Come to think of it, you should probably read all of Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. It doesn't take long, and it's nice to remember that the same person who wrote The Waste Land had his fun side.

Um, anyway.

Today's featured cats are, as usual, the Turkey Brothers. For those new to the program, that's Tom on the left (and the ugly candy cane is his fetch toy. He's asking me if I'm going to throw it. And yes, I did.) and Bob on the right. And yes (again), if you think that you're seeing an absolutely humongous lava lamp behind him, you're right. The thing takes about two hours to get warm enough to blob.

The Turkey Brothers are, indeed, brothers, and they have perfectly sensible names. Tom Cat and Bob Cat. There shouldn't be any sort of weirdness there, right?

Well, there is. The weirdness is me.

For most of my life I've seemed to be unable to call an animal by the name the owner's given it. Our last dog was pretty much always Dogbreath to me rather than Rikki. Todd's (that would be the office mate formerly known as Wheat on the blog. Long story) dog Arthur is Doofus. You'd know why if you met him. Our last cats, Max and Penny, were Smack and Lump. Actually, Max probably thought that Max (or Smack) was his second name. His first name? Jesus. As in, Jesus, Max...

And the Turkey Brothers? Once I noticed that they were responding to their names I honestly tried to do my best to use them. Tried. I do on occasion, but the urge to rename -- or alter names -- is, I guess, too strong. The result? Well, Tom often gets Thomas, which isn't so bad. Bob, however, I started calling Bobimus from early on. It was suggested by Terry Jones's Nicobobinus, which I'll leave you to look up yourselves this time. I don't know why I went for M instead of N, though. Bobimus naturally led to Tomamus, sadly. He doesn't get that too often. I'm sure he's happy about that.

Lately Bobimus is evolving (devolving?) into Bobule. As in Globule. He's a big, round cat who's pretty good at being a speed bump rather than getting out of a person's way, so the name seemed kind of obvious.

Where to next with them? Who knows. They're only a year and a half old or so, so I'm sure that over the course of long lives they'll develop more names from Yours Blatheringly. Since they're called the Turkey Brothers for a reason they already have a multitude of other names from both Dad and me depending on their behaviour. None of those really stick, though, since they're not exactly polite.

I'll end with the proof that we actually do have a Christmas tree, with minimal decorations in case the cats went full-on turkey. You can't really see the lights because of the flash, but they're there.

I have no idea what Dad's cowboy hat is doing on the lampshade. For that matter, I'm not really even sure why Dad has a cowboy hat at all. Stampede is only once a year.



I suppose that the hats don't just disappear after that, do they? Kind of like Christmas trees.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Something vaguely Christmas, I suppose, is appropriate.

Well hey, it looks like at least one reindeer was here.

Or maybe it was a Mule Deer?

Ok, let's try this again.
If I'm yet again scarved, wearing penguin earrings, and taking photos of the side of my head, it must be Christmas. Right?

Actually, Christmas almost didn't happen for me this year; at least not on Christmas itself. After yet another bout of insomnia, I was left headachy, brainless, and knowing full well that I wasn't fit to hit the highway (sleepless driving is still impaired driving, folks. You don't have to be drunk to be charged). I was planning to be in at Dad's place on the 23rd, but it was the 24th before he got the teary, probably slightly incoherent call that I just couldn't do it even then. What would have happened? A day's delay, maybe, which doesn't sound so bad except... well, Christmas, you know? Christmas should be on Christmas, if you're going to celebrate at all.

Long story short (too late for that?), I did manage to get some sleep that night and was able to make it in for Christmas morning. Gifts happened, turkey happened, and that evening we drove around and looked at Christmas lights. That's become a bit of a thing with the two of us: tooling around town, Christmas carols on the radio station because pretty much everyone has the night off, and both of us singing along. That last part is accidental. It just kind of happens.

It ended up being a good day, and I'm glad that I made it.

What else? Well, it was the Turkey Brothers' first Christmas with a tree, and they didn't destroy it. Granted, it was only partially decorated, but it's a good sign for next year.

In the gift department, you'll no doubt be hearing about my latest tech toy, so I'll save it for now. I did get a much nicer bluetooth speaker than the one I would have picked up at the after Christmas sales, though. Guess I'll be making more use of that Spotify deal from Rogers than I assumed that I would. And I won't just be throwing my phone into a cup to amplify it, although that works better than it should.

Also, tea. And when I make it back into town, my yearly art supply geek-out. So now you know what to look forward to on the blog in the future.



All in all, a pretty good day, and I'm glad I had it. I'll try to get out the camera and get some better (or at least a little more interesting) photos for the blog soon. Hope everyone's having (had, or whatever) a good holiday.





Don't let the Boxing Day sales wear you down.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Random post

As in, I have no idea what it'll be about.

This is my new favourite version of Carol of the Bells, though.

We could talk (briefly, since I have to get back to work) about this year's winner for Inappropriate Use of Christmas Music, I guess. This time around it's Coke  -- at least I think it's Coke. I haven't paid that much attention -- for its choice of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). Advertising folks, that is NOT a song about getting the family together around the Christmas tree to enjoy a fizzy beverage. It's about losing a lover for whatever reason and wishing s/he'd come back. Total, total misread there, boys and girls.

It's a song I'm actually pretty tired of anyway. All those years of Darlene Love on Letterman just really set in fatigue for me. I know, almost sacrilege, but what can I say? I'm not much for pop versions (geez. Pun completely unintended) of Christmas as it is. I you are, however, here's the non-sodafied, remastered Darlene Love version of A Wall of Sound Christmas.

Later, folks.


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Assored swearwords


I've had assorted swearwords in my brain lately. It was a phrase I used frequently on the blog, since although it's not marked PG or anything I knew that some of my friends let their kids read it (yeah, I know. But I'm not a parent). Assorted swearwords, though, seems to be a big part of the world just now.

First, Donald Trump. WTF America? The man's not the idiot some mainstream press believe, but too many people believe the idiocy he's spewing. Well done, if you were planning to be seen as an uneducated, unknowing mass. You did that just right.

Next, let's tackle our fearless pretty leader. Well done with your face welcoming a few Syrian refugees. Not so well done with your face being all voguey in Vogue. Hands up all Canadians who really needed to see that. Just run the effing government already.

Let take a break to mention the Syrian refugees, though. You're welcome here. You should be welcome. And if any stupid Canadian tells you that a refugee isn't welcome, he or she needs to examine the family history. Sorry about winter, though.

Ok, who's next besides half-ton drivers? I may not need more, to be honest. It's winter. Forget you're an arsehole for a moment and drive like it's winter.

Think I'm done for the moment. Don't worry; there'll be more assorted swearwords. Life always supplies them.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Random signs of Christmas

  1. Very annoying music in stores. Seriously, there are plenty of good Christmas recordings out there. You must have to work hard to find such bad ones.
  2. My Dad playing Santa at local functions.
  3. My Dad putting reindeer antlers and a red nose on his Trail Blazer. Because Santa.
  4. My Dad finding out that the Santa costume scares the bejeezus out of his cats. Wish I'd been there for that one.
  5. Books of Christmas carols on my desk in case anyone at work feels like playing the piano. It won't happen, but I try.
  6. Inappropriate music on TV ads. Actually, I might save that one for another post because it's a good topic.
  7. The food in the usual staff snack area gaining an astonishing amount of calories.
  8. This:

Oddly enough, not my usual work attire. Ah well, if we're lucky it won't be cold enough this year for me to break out the Christmas stocking cap.

Yeah, I have one. Made it, in fact.

Anyway, there's your quick post of the day. Bad to work for me.


Enjoy the pseudoselfie.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Stuff

But first... I'm so unexcited by the new Star Wars movie. My coworkers tell me that I should be, but... hey, I loved the heck out of the original three. We were kids. We collected the figures (they were in music bands. Long story). We accidentally melted a jawa. We were into it. The next three? Heard they were crap. Didn't go, because I enjoyed my childhood impressions.

This one? Can't make myself care. Guess I'm old.

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Ok, on to actual topic. I have too much stuff. I live in a one room apartment and I still manage to have too much stuff. Not hoarder level, mind, but after twenty years here there's just plain too much stuff.

I should say, by the way, that the stuff piled on the chair in today's pointless photo is just because I have the bed folded out. It's mostly ok stuff.

We get so concentrated on stuff in this society. I don't need half of the stuff I have. And I know that.

So?

So I've been giving it away. Not for religious regions (Whomever no), not for hipster reasons; just because I have too much stuff.

Think about it, really. Do you use your stuff? Do you need it? Could someone else use it?

I'm not on a crusade or anything here. I'm just a person who has too much stuff. Which the phone is now predicting, so that can't be good. I guess what I'm saying is just look at your stuff. Do you need it?

Story of our world, really. Look at your stuff. Do you need it? Then get rid of it. Simple, right?

Except apparently it isn't. We're geared to get stuff. We enjoy stuff. For a while, at least. It can be really hard to say ok, no more stuff.

I'm not there. Not by a long shot. I am at the place, though, where I can honestly look at my stuff and say ok, that needs to go. It makes me happy, because I don't ever want to be in the position of drowning in my stuff. Stuff is just stuff in the end, and that's how it should stay.





Want any of my stuff, then? I'll negotiate.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Social media is weird, and other facts from Captain Obvious

One more pointless flower picture, because it'll be all snow once I start using the photos from yesterday. Oh, and for those looking for the weekly Turkey Brothers shot, it's here on twitter.

Ah, twitter. As much as I use it -- especially at work -- I'll never fully understand it. You can tweet something important that you're sure is important to the community (twitter community AND real community, in the case of work tweets) and you might get a like. I won't comment about why likes mean that twitter assumed its user base was too stupid to figure out favourites, by the way. Anyway, something important might get a like, but something completely stupid tweeted in passing is bound to be liked and retweeted all over the cyberverse. I have a personal example from just yesterday when it comes to silliness ruling the day. I'd tweeted a slightly fuzzy shot of my ear and earrings for someone who wanted to see the diamond studs (a birthday gift from my uncle, who bought them for himself but hardly used them, so he passed them on to me. Which, thanks!), Me being me, though, I couldn't leave it at an ear photo (and have you ever tried to take a clear shot of your own ear with a phone? Not the easiest thing), so I then tweeted a joke about my scar.. oh wait, I may as well just link to it: Everyone will want that scar. And what happens? Five retweets, and here's the weird part. None of these people follow me, and I have no idea who any of them are. Five retweets is pretty weird anyway when you have less than thirty followers.

Social media works in mysterious ways, I suppose.

I was going to type more, but I want to do a little drawing before lunch so I guess I'll just stop now. If you need anything more, you could always check out my new favourite thing: kitchen gadget tests. Appropriate for the Christmas shopping season, maybe.

The wonders (and non-wonders) of technology.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Hello? Yes, this is phone.

For anyone who didn't get that.

I've been doing my seasonal purge of you didn't use this one with the photos on my nerdstick, since we now have snow (sigh) and I'm not likely to post more photos of spring flowers until the snow (sigh) completely depresses me. In other words, expect a mixed bag coming up.

I thought I'd give you a quick update on my belated life with a smart phone these days. It's ok. I use it more than I want to, but it's handy. I use it an awful lot at work, actually, because I do a fair amount of our tweeting and instagramming (twitter @naturecentre; instagram @kerry_wood_nature_centre). Besides, at work I can hitch a ride on the wifi so it doesn't blow my data out of the water.

No, I don't have wifi at home.

Why would I have wifi? I don't have a computer.





Except the phone, of course. Which I actually used as a word processor this week to work on the newsletter when I was home on Tuesday. That's when I feel old, really; it's doing things like that. It wasn't all that long ago that we were wondering why the Japanese would even want a camera on a phone, and now I instagram events and write articles on mine. The funniest moment so far (to the point where he couldn't understand my message) was when I realised things were different as I was leaving a message for Dad about the fact that I'd e-mailed him a photo of my first attempt at pizzelle (um... pizzelle), since he was the one who bought me the pizzlle iron as a birthday present. As I was trying to leave him a voice mail it occurred to me how odd it was that I was phoning him to tell him that I'd e-mailed him (from my phone) a picture that I'd taken with my phone.

Our world's become a weird, weird place.

Anyway, there's where we stand with modern phonage. I've joined the cult, I guess. And for those of my two fans who've been missing my incredibly non-exciting blog blather because I'm generally too lazy these days, since I got the phone (and since I curated @PeopleOfCanada a little while ago), my own twitter account's busier than it used to be. Find me @deeolworld. Or, you know, just use the link on the sidebar.

If you've bothered to read this.

Geez, who reads nowadays anyway? Isn't that why Whomever created tl;dr?





tl;dr: I have a phone. I use it.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Something animal-y

 I really don't have anything and should get back to work, so here's a photo of a Red-breasted Nuthatch I took at Dad's last weekend.

Nuthatches are great, and I'm almost convinced that gravity just plain works differently for them. These metal feeders, by the way, are really good if you want to feed peanuts, because squirrels can't chew through them and steal your whole stash.

Unlike a lot of people who feed birds, I really don't have a problem with squirrels. In fact, a few years back I bought Dad a feeder specifically for squirrels, and I'd probably have one myself if I wasn't feeding from a balcony. I get the rare squirrel visitor who'll climb up the stucco to try to have a go at the metal feeder, but it's not nearly often enough to bother having a dedicated squirrel feeder.

And for those who aren't into birds, here's a Bob looking deceivingly cute. And yes, he's a sleep in the picture. He picks some odd postures to sleep in, that cat.

That's it for me, then. Later, folks.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

So...



Yep, they do. They being my parents. And the government. It must be true, then. Also, did you know that if you open Google when you're signed in and it happens to be your birthday, you get this?


I did not. And let me tell you, it slightly freaked me out in a computer Big Brother sort of way until I looked at the right-hand corner of the screen and saw that I was signed in. Thanks, Google, for the ever-so-slightly-creepy acknowledgement.

Anyway.

If you wondered, this is pretty much the sum total of my celebration today. I did some quick colouring on a free phone app (and if you wondered, adult colouring is a real thing, boys and girls. I was in Chapters to pick up a book for my dad's birthday, which is the day before mine, and there were adult colouring books all over the place. And, erm, yes, I bought one. On discount, though. I wasn't going to pay twenty dollars for a colouring book), I was startled by Google, and...? The end, I guess.

Oh, I might make some pizzelle later, since I was given an appliance that makes pizzelle and crepes, amongst other things.


Let's end with a revisit of my 70's childhood, which I found while looking for something else (isn't that how it always works?). Oh, and excuse my horrid skin; I had a reaction to a new wrist brace. This lovely leather sign of the times was well worn during my phase of being obsessed with owning things with my name on them. It used to be much pinker, which is funny because I've never been much for pink. Maybe the name won over the pink? Probably. I'm taking it home with me. Maybe I'll wear it this week for old times sake.

And speaking of old times sake, this is pretty cool. And I love how Dee Snider still totally owns the corniness of that song so many years later.



And speaking of later, this is the part where I usually say that. So... later, folks.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Interesting couple of days

 In honour of my father's birthday I thought I'd show you a picture of the cat I gave him, still in its wrapping paper. Or maybe that was just a cat thinking that the wrapping paper was his present?

Sounds more likely.

I also brought a little (read: cheap) present for the Turkey Brothers, which Tom is demonstrating below. You never know with cat toys, as any cat owner can tell you. You might notice that Bob has a very ugly candy cane-ish thing beside him in the birthday paper? That was from a cat toy "stocking" from a dollar store. They lost it almost immediately after Christmas and found it only about a month ago. Now they're obsessed with it.

The current toy hangs from a door and has a dangly mouse that makes an electronic squeak. To these two at the moment it's seeming like cat crack, the way they go at it. They'll probably get tired of it in a day or two, but for now it almost -- almost -- beats the ugly candy cane.

I took these shots with the phone even though I have the actual camera with me because the phone seems to annoy Tom less. I'm still not sure whether it's the flash or the beep that bothers him, but more and more my Tom photos just look like photos of a PO'd cat. Maybe I should try it on silent today and see if that changes anything.

Anyway, what I started out to say is that it's been an interesting couple of days. After a year of planning and design, we had the grand opening of our new displays at the Nature Centre. I'm not talking one or two pictures here, either; this was a $1.5 million project, replacing the thirty year old displays that were put in when the building was constructed. Thursday we were making sure that everything was ready for the sneak preview we gave staff and their families, and Friday was the opening itself, complete with dignitaries and speeches and everything that goes with a lot of money spent. I was on photo (with actual camera) and social media detail, so when I wasn't shooting I had my head buried in my phone, like I always said I would never do.

Ah well. At least it was for work.

I have to admit that after all of that on a sprained ankle I'm more than tired, though.

Anyway. Again. This post got a little delayed because my uncle came over bearing gifts (and if you take blogging over gifts I'd really wonder at you), and now I'd like some lunch. I'll put a panorama of part of the new displays below. It's more fun on the phone where you can scroll through it, but at least it gives a little bit of an idea.

Besides, if you're in the area at all you really should come down on your own and have a look. We think it turned out pretty well, and we're kind of proud of that.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

In case you wondered

I lived.

And I'm here at work... um... taking photos of my camera? Ok, honestly, I'd been taking photos of the new displays and I just didn't feel like getting up again so soon.

The ankle? Rolled, but I've had worse, sad to say. I'll be hobbling for a while. More annoying is my elbow, which took the brunt of the fall. Not broken, but the joint's swollen and the arm isn't terribly happy about being straight.

Boys, since you won't know unless you happen to be drag queens or transgendered, I'll just tell you that it makes putting on a bra a helluva joy.

Anyway, back to work. We didn't open until 1 pm today because, after all, it's important to take time for Remembrance. Shake a veteran's hand today, ok?

Saturday, 7 November 2015

No title today

I've fallen, and hurt myself. Someone helped me. I didn't get his name, but jesus he was kind. I hope you know, whoever you were, that this person who caught a bad edge on a sidewalk and rolled her already injured ankle needed help.

You gave it.

Thanks.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Shopping and why it's dangerous. For me, anyway.


Today's pointless photo? Well, what else does an arachnophile buy at the post-Halloween sales?

I should mention that these are from two separate pairs of socks. If I could have found a pair with one spider foot and one web foot I would have bought it, though.

Anyway, enough about my socks (which yes, I will be wearing year-round, thank you very much). As you might have gathered, I went shopping yesterday, which is a weird thing.

I don't do much shopping. Well, other than for groceries, obviously. I don't do much shopping because I'm not all that big on malls, and big box stores don't thrill me either. I'm not a recluse -- if I need something I'll go out and get it -- but if I don't need anything I don't shop for pleasure. I've got to the point in my life, you see, where I'd really rather get rid of some stuff than accumulate more.

Um, with a couple of exceptions, I guess. I seem to be good at accumulating art supplies. And neat-looking wearable rocks (yeah, yeah, you hadn't noticed). I used to be good at gaining books, too, but lately I'm getting just as good at giving them away when I'm done with them.

Finding out that the world doesn't end when a book leaves your possession was actually a pretty big thing for me, you know.



Anyway AGAIN, yesterday I had to go shopping. Yes, had to. There was a present I needed to buy. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted, but I figured that if I was shopping anyway I may as well look around a bit. So instead of a quick trip to the bookstore, it was a trip to the electronics store which, as it turned out, opened an hour later than the other stores around it (and why? It makes no sense). So, an unexpected trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond while I was waiting. Which, by the way led to a complete WTF moment, as in WTF is it with the whole Elf on a Shelf franchise? Now you can dress the wretched creepy thing up in a tutu and have it watch its own movie with its pet reindeer? Ugh.

After the electronics store, a bit of a drive to the next "power centre" where Chapters is. But, of course, you have to visit the 50% off sale at the temporary Halloween store first to buy spider socks. Then you should probably stop at the bulk foods place to see what's new and not to buy discount Halloween candy (no, really. I didn't buy discount Halloween candy).

Then, finally, the bookstore. Where I bought what I came for. And next year's Moleskine datebook which I would have bought anyway. And maybe a couple of other things. Ok, three other things.



Are you seeing the problem yet?

When you go to a physical store you're likely to see other things that you might like. That's the point for the retailers, after all. You come for one thing; you're tempted into others. There's a whole science behind making sure you are, at least when you're talking about big chain stores. I went into a bookstore to buy A book and came out with four things, only two of which I could really justify. When I shop online? I get what I came for, more or less. The only time I get more is if I'm making up a minimum order for free shipping, and even then I usually have a couple of things that were in the back of my mind in case I need that extra couple of dollars to top off an order. In a physical store I don't have to make a minimum purchase, and yet I'm more likely to get one or two extra things.

And so I generally don't shop. Not casually, anyway.

Oddly enough, I'm much less likely to have that extra temptation around Christmas time. Maybe it's the crowds, maybe it's the annoyingly bland music; I just find myself pretty good at getting in and out as quickly as I possibly can, as long as I have a vague idea of what I'm looking for.



Anyway (the third), back to work for me now. I hope that you appreciated the extra words today. And that without a required minimum, even.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Yet another quick post

Today's pointless doodle is one that I did for Illustration Friday ages ago. I used to be much better at lettering -- my mother, especially, encouraged it to help improve my hopeless lefty writing -- but this was done fairly quickly.

And obviously with no ruler.

So yeah, we've hit the season of fiddling with the clocks again, which this year means that those of you who celebrate Halloween by getting drunk will have an extra hour to do it, I guess. Personally, I'm not looking forward to it being dark before supper. I say, just keep the damned clocks on Daylight Savings all year long. It would keep some of us saner.

Well, one or two of us at least.

Anyway, that's it for me for the month, unless for some reason I decide to post from my phone. It's happened before, but it's really not kind to my data plan so I'm trying to get out of the habit. So let's assume that I won't then, and I'll say Happy Halloween if you're into that sort of thing, and if not... um... Happy November?

Later, folks.

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Edited to add: yes, I did go to DAVIDsTEA. Yes, the person at the counter was extremely glad to see that I knew what I wanted and wasn't going to ask for every single canister to be brought down. Yes, they were freaking busy. Still nice to finally have them in town, though.

And maybe I'm not the only one here who hates Teavana.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Another quick post

I spent all day in Lethbridge yesterday (about eight hours or so in a car, all told). Spent today twisting chenille stems (long story) and documenting the installation of our new displays at work.

Plus, I have a cold.

Yeah, I'm a little too tired for a blather at this point. Catch you later in the week, probably, because after all we have to talk about the fact that this city now has a DAVIDsTEA at some point.



Maybe I'll go there on my way home. I wouldn't mind some (more) tea.

Bye for now, though.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Very short post

Bad pic, but new rocks. There was a sale. Tourmaline, malachite cat, & carved picture Jasper.

No, I'm not an addict.



Shut up.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Happy Thanksgiving Turkey... Brothers

Well, I spent a little time this morning doodling something for Illustration Friday, which you can find on the other blog if you choose to. The blather over there (which, oddly, is called vague mutterings. Made sense to me at the time, I suppose) means that the blather over here is getting short shrift today. However, I will give the holiday a bit of a nod by presenting some non-feathered turkeys:


For anyone who didn't believe how big these guys are, I present to you one chair full of cat. Oh, and for those new to the program, the Turkey Brothers, Bob on the left and Tom on the right, are my father's cats and are, indeed, brothers. They're also proof that mamma cats fool around.


When I went outside a little later to take more pointless photos, I noticed a window full of Bob. And no, he's not responsible for the duct tape fix job. He would have been talented to break the window on the outside when he's usually on the inside.


Coming back in, I was greeted by Tom. Dad's alarm system has an audible "back door" prompt when the door is opened, and it's become the cat caller. Tom especially needs to see who's coming in. As you notice, he decided to show me how well he can cheek shoes.


Apparently they were delicious. Um, whatever, Tom.



Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Expect mostly radio silence from me in the next day or two. As usual.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

The yearly purge

I just finished my annual look at the stuff hanging around my flash drive (yes, flash drive. I don't own a computer -- really -- and haven't taken to the whole cloud thing much yet, so the stuff I need still travels on a flash drive) in the folder marked Round File.

I don't have to explain the title to most of you.

The round file is where the vast majority of my photos go once I've edited them as much as I'm going to. Most of them get used on the blog and then deleted. A very few of them get sent to one of my "keepers" files. The rest? Just sit there until I do something about them.

Thus, the purge.

Pictures that were sub-par even for this blog get deleted. Summer flowers that weren't bad but just didn't used stay for those days in winter when I just can't bear posting another photo of snow. Cat pictures go over to the Animals file in case my father ever wants them for something. Or in case I ever get desperate enough to make a grand collage of Pets I Have Known.

I guess I'm ready for the next round of pointless photos, then. And for anyone concerned that I'm so cavalier about getting rid of my shots, well... digital, right? Anything that I thought decent enough to post is out there if it needs to be retrieved, through the Picasa album that's attached to the blog, through the blog itself, or, failing that, image search. And besides, most of the stuff that I shoot can be retaken in some form the next year.

And often is.

So, yeah, the pointless photography is mostly disposable, and I have very little regret in doing the deed. If I were in a more rambley mood I suppose I could take that in the direction of how it reflects on our society, but I'm more in the mood for lunch at the moment than philosophy.





That probably reflects on our society, too.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Ok, shut up now

Red-osier Dogwood leaves, if anyone wondered.

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I took the time today to wait in line (and boy, it was a wait. Two polling stations at that location, and everyone who came in seemed to have to go to the same one) at the advanced poll today and vote in the federal election.

The interminable federal election.

You know, the one that Just. Won't. Go. Away.

The one where the "official" campaign started way too early, the unofficial one has been going on forever, and the electorate is groaning go away, already.

I should explain to the non-Canadians out there that normal practise here is to have a federal election within about a month after the election's officially called (and right now the long-suffering Americans are saying Seriously?), but not so this time. Whoever decided that it would be a fantastic idea to force us to watch those annoying nits natter on for so many weeks ought to have his (generic his, there. Sorry, gender-neutral folks. Until the structure of English drastically changes, there's always going to be a verbal gender bias) ears boxed, frankly. And if they get lower voter turn-out yet again, they only have themselves to blame for going on and on and on and on...

I wouldn't vote for the Energizer Bunny, either.

It didn't help that out of the three major party leaders, there's really not one of them that I want to see running the country. That's counting personality and platform, by the way. I do my research, even if I hate the politics.

Personality-wise, leaving the other stuff aside for now, Justin's pretty and seems to say whatever his advisers tell him to even if it's contradictory, Mulcair is the angry Cheshire Cat (really. In all of those photo ops with his candidates I expected him to disappear slowly, leaving only the creepy smile and the beard), and I just can't ever trust Harper after watching his government try to kill the ELA, muzzle their scientists, needlessly destroy decades of archived research... and that's just on the science side. This government's priorities are so effed up that it makes a person want to say sorry to the rest of the world.

Being good Canadians, of course.

And being a good Canadian, sorry for bringing in the politics even when I said I wouldn't.





Anyway, I've voted so in my world they have all shut up now. Ads will be muted, sponsored tweets will be blocked as much as possible, and they can all get into the handbasket right now if they'd be so kind.

And I'll shut up too.



Ok, I may grind my teeth a time or two on Twitter (thanks for the new follows, by the way), but only to scream silently about the impossibility of escape.

I voted, though.

Now leave me alone.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Bob the Cat

 It's never a good sign for content when I temporarily label a post "something" while I load photos. Something usually is more akin to nothing, as far as the blather goes.

And I still haven't thought of anything, even while looking at hermit crab information during the wait.

Um, no reason.

Yet.

Anyway, here's a couple of pictures of Bob that I couldn't remember whether I'd used or not (and was too lazy to look up in the archive). You have to admit that he's a handsome dude, even if I think that he could afford to lose some weight.

So could I, of course, so I guess I shouldn't judge too much.

Actually, both he and Tom are surprisingly heavy anyway. They're both big cats to begin with -- without much exaggeration I'd wager that you could fit two of my brother and sister-in-law's burmese in the space of one Bob -- but then they're both so muscular.  Don't go trying to pick one of the Turkey Brothers up unprepared. My usual reaction even though I've done it lots of times is oof.

Or something less polite.

Anyway, that's what I'm calling a post. Off work a bit early today, and I'm thinking of driving across town to a pet store local vendor market that has been enticing me long enough with their tweets about the cool (and did I mention local?) stuff that they stock. Might make a special addition to Thanksgiving or something, I don't know.



We'll see if the car actually gets there, or if it automatically heads for home like it usually does.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Phone games

This'll be quick. I have work to do. Actually, that's what led to this.

I was out taking phone shots for work instagram (I'm not on instagram, but work is. I'll give the handle another time if anyone's interested) and twitter, and decided on my way back to the office to try a panorama since I've never done that with this phone. Or anything else, for that matter. Anyway, for a first go it turned out not too badly:


As usual, click on the thumbnail to see the bigger version.

And that's my workplace. On the phone you can pan across the photo, which made Wheat a little jealous since his doesn't do that. Maybe it's a feature of newer Android phones? Dunno, but I'll probably be taking more of these now.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Art?

 My two fans will already know that occasionally when I have a photo that goes beyond pointless into just plain bad, instead of just tossing it I'll play silly photoeditor games for a while. It's just a bit of fun, really: how can I make this thing look completely different and yet still almost somewhat identifiable? The added challenge is that I use a fairly simple free editor with limited abilities. I've never set my hands (brain?) on Photoshop, and while I'm debating trying out GIMP, it seems a bit selfish to download it onto someone else's computer just so that I can play.

Um, yeah. Still don't have a computer at home. I spend enough time on computers at work or here at Dad's place, and frankly I enjoy both the down time and the lower bills. That's not the topic at hand, though.

The topic, such as it is, is about at what point a little bit of digital fiddling becomes art. Let me say from the outset that I'm not denigrating digital artists in the slightest (some of them are absolutely incredible) or for a moment calling my silliness art. It's not. It's me taking a crap photograph and trying to make it more interesting to myself.

But there's also no denying that when I'm playing around like that I'm making aesthetic choices. I'm trying things out, keeping some effects and discarding others, and in the end coming up with something that looks as close to the way I wanted it as I can make it with my limited software. Is that any different than, say, this? This below, I mean:

This is one of my better spider drawings from a number of years ago. It's a Thin-legged Wolf Spider (Pardosa sp.) carrying an an egg case on her spinnerets. The original was done in Wolff's carbon pencils.

Hmmm. Can you believe that I only just now realised I used a Wolff's pencil to draw a Wolf Spider? Entirely coincidental, honestly.

This was done for a display and to some people would be classed as illustration rather than art (although anyone who thinks that illustrators aren't artists is talking through his hat, to my mind), but here you see a choice of subject, a choice of medium, and working until I ended up with something that looks as close to the way I wanted it as I could make it with my limited abilities.

Is that different than playing with photos, then?

It's a fine line. I'll admit that my definition of art is a little old-fashioned, although knowing that helps me to do my best to try and broaden it. One of my blocks is effort. I put effort into drawing; I put very little into photoediting. My reflex is to think of the one with effort as being somewhat closer to real art.

It's not always true, though. Art can be an innovator like Jackson Pollock splashing paint on a canvas, or Banksy quickly spray painting a stencil on a building. And yes, there are plenty of people who would argue that neither of those people made (or are making) art, but there's no denying that what they produced makes -- or should make -- anyone with an interest in art at least stop for a moment to think about it.

Things turn pretty philosophical for me after that, and frankly I'd like to wrap this up and do some other stuff. I guess in the end people have been debating about what art really is for... well, probably since cave paintings, and whether my silly photos count as any sort of art fit in there somewhere. That's it for me today, though. Twitter users, don't forget that I become @PeopleOfCanada for a week starting tonight. Non-Twitter users? I don't know what to tell you.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

So it turns out I'm Canada...

Or will be, at least.

The photo is, of course, completely unrelated to the topic. Thus, pointless.

Anyway.

Next week I'll be Canada, folks. And what the heck do I mean by that? Well, it's a Twitter thing. A number of years ago the country of Sweden decided to turn its official account over to private citizens; a different one each week. The idea was to give people around the world a look at Sweden through the eyes of its people rather than just its government. The people curating the account could discuss almost any topics they wanted, with very little censorship. Many of us thought that they were a bit crazy.

It worked. It's still working. Check @sweden if you haven't already.

The idea caught on and spawned many other country, province, and city accounts. Some of these are official and some of them were just started by enthusiasts who wanted the twitterverse to get to know their country (town, etc.) better. They're cool. I follow a couple of them.

So what about Canada? Well, Canada does have an official @Canada account. It's government. It's tourism. It's... pretty to look at? Yeah, but it doesn't have much personality. Sorry, government, but that's the truth.

Long before the government got into the Twitter business Canada gained an unofficial curated account (@PeopleOfCanada). Unofficial, as I said, but they invite Canadians of all types and from all provinces and territories to spend a week tweeting their version of Canada to the world.

Starting Sunday night it's me.

Yep.

So what will I talk about as Canada? Dunno yet, but I'll probably start with where I work and take it from there. I'm asking for suggestions on our work social media since I do want to represent where I live rather than talking about, say, ostomies all week or something like that. The big, weird thing for me is that it's not only putting my city out there, it'll be putting me out there as well. Actual me. No deeol. Actual me with a location and a picture and everything.

That's something for someone who refuses to be on facebook because I don't think the internet at large needs to know that much about me, really.



Ah well. Had to happen sometime. Anyway, if you're curious at all you'll be able to find me @PeopleOfCanada (starting Sunday night, as I said) for a week, and then at my usual @deeolworld after that.





This is going to be interesting.



At least I hope so. And you can get more info here: http://peopleofcanada.tumblr.com/

Monday, 21 September 2015

Unknown topic of the day:

Yeah, this photo is such a mish-mash that I really don't know if I even have a topic. There's a brayer (the roller thing. It's used in printmaking), some rusty wood chisels that I got at a garage sale and haven't steel-wooled yet (and why wood chisels? Printmaking maybe, and they were cheap), a foil picture thing from a dollar store, and a couple of art books.

They were all on the ottoman for my Ikea chair. They still are... except for the brayer, which I've actually managed to put away.

Why did I take such a weird picture? I dunno. It was a while ago. I was probably just bored.

Which, by the way, explains most of my weird pictures.

Do you get the feeling that I might be taking up printmaking? I might. Maybe. I've had a go at a couple of sample things, and one turned out. The other? Not so much.

50% is, I suppose, not too bad for a first go.



Aaanyway, blind typing (well, not literally blind. I do need new glasses though) hasn't led to a topic, so I think I'll stop trying for now. Not that I tried too hard to begin with, but at least it was a bit of a try. Blind type at you later.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Indian snacks

New photo! Phone photo, but still.

What you're seeing there are some containers with Indian snacks in them, surmounted by a plastic beaver.

Because why wouldn't they be, really.

Anyway, some of you by now are bristling and ready to tell me that Indian is offensive and it should be First Nations and...  you're wrong. This is Indian as in India, folks, and I don't think that they'd appreciate you getting miffed at the fact.

The snacks in the containers are Indian snacks actually imported from India (I hate even this much advertising, but you can find this particular brand through the various Loblaws stores if you're curious), and between Wheat and I we go through a fair amount in the office.

They're different, you see. They're not potato chips. They're a little spicy, for one thing (in the non-Indian category, we also like wasabi peas), and they're also made from things that the average Canadian -- or rather, the average WASP -- wouldn't think of as a possible snack food. The top one is an extruded potato, which has a different texture than a potato chip. The middle one is lentils (yummy, yes), and the bottom one is extruded bean paste. There was also a fried chickpea container, but I finished that one up today.

The only reason I'm blathering about them is that it's another facet of how much my tastes have changed since my white bread childhood. Were there Indians in my small town? Yes, in fact I went through all of my schooling with the younger daughter of one family. Were there Indian foods in the stores? Erm... a bit, yes, but I imagine that they went to the city for a lot of things. Would I ever have dreamed of even trying some of it?

No.

And not in a snobby way. It just wouldn't have occurred to me.

Things change, though. When I was a little older I had my first sampling of Bahamian food at a friend's party. It was foreign, and way hotter than I was used to, but it was... good. Yeah, I was that surprised. When I went to university and a friend introduced me to real Chinese food as opposed to the pseudo-Cantonese stuff most of us grew up with around here, it was a revelation. A revelation that's left me with a life-long addiction to Sichwan Beef...

And yeah, I suppose that I haven't looked back since. If you were to take me out to dinner I'd likely be fine trying almost anything (although you'd have to talk me hard into green bell pepper. I really don't like green pepper). Well, maybe not any sedentary bivalves. As someone with a zoology degree I have a problem with eating filter feeders that can't move if the water around them is poisoned in some way. That's nothing to do with culture, though. That's just what happens when you've studied certain things inside and out (literally).

I need to do a bit more work (yes, I'm at work) before I call it a day, but I just wanted to end by saying that it was actually Dad who introduced me to these particular snacks. Yep, tastes change even for the older generations.

I think that's a good thing.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Pointless photo of the week or whatever:

I really need to get out and take some new pictures.

And, um, blog more.

Yeah, I know I'm the incredible disappearing me lately, but twitter's faster.

When I remember that I have a twitter account, that is.

Ah well. Maybe tomorrow there'll be something of substance here. Maybe.

Hands up all who believe that.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Pointless photos of the day:




Yeah, I'm afraid it's just photos again. Mock Orange this time, from earlier in the season. Frankly, I just haven't been in the mood to blog about most of what's on the brain at the moment.

Ah well. There's your flowers for the weekend, at least. I'll try for a bit more verbage next week.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Pointless photo of the day

Yes, that's cranefly porn you're looking at.

Only because I don't have any beetle sex pics at the moment, of course.

I also don't really have anything to blather about, so... there you go, I guess.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Let's talk fonts

Today's pointless photo is, again, pointless. Just so you know.

Ok, fonts. Well, strictly speaking it's typefaces (for a good explanation of the differences have a look at this), but since the majority of people -- including me -- tend to say fonts instead of typefaces these days I'm just going to stick with the shorter word.

Feel free to grind your teeth, pedantic-types. I know I certainly do about other topics.

Today Google unveiled a new set of logos, including a new look to the main one we're all familiar with from the desktop search page. My reaction? Meh. It's kind of characterless, and a little too square for me somehow. I liked the curviness of the serifs. And with the previous font (see? now I'm having trouble saying font instead of typeface. Seriously. I didn't need to be more of a nerd) having lost the chunkiness of their earlier versions, it had a certain amount of grace. Now it has... uniformity? I dunno. I suppose it'll grow on me, but right now I'm finding it pretty dull.

But do typefaces (gah) even matter? Yeah, they do. We register them even if we don't realise that we do. Whether we want to or not, we think differently about the things we're reading depending on how they look. Typefaces (ok, fine. You're in typeface mode. Anyone who wants to mentally replace typeface with font every time you see it is welcome to do so) can make things look stodgy, strict, uptight, overly precious, approachable, childish... the list goes on, and you get that impression even if you're not involved in the design world. That's why companies put so much effort into typeface decisions. They really are the first impression.

So did anyone (anyone with complete font availability, that is. I have my defaults set up so that you may not be seeing what I'm seeing, depending on where/how you're viewing this) notice that the last paragraph was in Arial rather than Trebuchet? I'm not a huge fan of Arial, to be honest. It's a little plain and shouty. I suppose my feelings there come from it having been default for so many things for so long. That's why the blog defaults to Trebuchet instead, if your system has it. A bit rounder, slightly closer to handwriting with the little curve at the bottom of the l and t... yes, I actually did put a lot of thought into my default font. And now that I'm thinking layout, you'll see that the word font has come more easily than typeface. It's how they're listed in computer applications, so all of a sudden typing font is ok with my brain.

My brain's weird, but that's not news.

I'm not a font nerd (this one's Georgia, by the way, and that again depends on whether your system has Georgia installed) but as a pattern-oriented person I'm certainly aware of them and definitely take a little bit of time when choosing them. I also get a chuckle out of so-called Font Wars, where nerdier people than even me actually argue about the merits of different typefaces. Prime example of that, of course, is the "war" over Comic Sans. Designers hate Comic Sans (some of the reasons are here, which saves me from making this post even longer) and I can't say that I'm exactly a fan, but I've used it for a couple of displays.

Yes, that's right. I've used it, and I'm not ashamed to say it. The thing is, Comic Sans is the most readily available (note that I'm not saying the best; just readily available) easily readable font for that type of thing. Many dyslexics, for example, have a slightly easier time picking things out in Comic Sans. I had some short display texts that were supposed to be for a variety of ages, so at the time I put them in Comic Sans. Would I do it now? Maybe. It would depend on what else I had available. If I did, though, I certainly wouldn't give a rat's behind if you called me a Comic Sans Criminal.

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I have more to say about fonts (who knew? Ah well, I'm always looking for blog fodder), but I need to wrap up for now. I'll leave you with a slightly related topic (depending on how ugly you find the new Google logo): ugly flags. Have you seen the choices that New Zealanders have if they decide to go with a new flag? Wow. Not sure how I'd go on that one. Maybe the fiddlehead if it was white and blue instead of white and black? Ah well, good luck to them. We went through it in Canada too, fifty years ago last February, and I think it turned out all right for us.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Pointless photo of the day:

Kind of went with yesterday's effort, I guess.

I have to be honest; I haven't really thought of anything to blather about. I tried. Well, sort of half-tried. And now I'm hungry, so there you go.

I'll come back later if I actually think of something. In the meantime, at least you have the... rose?

Oh yeah. it was a rose.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Pointless photo of the day:

End of my work week and getting ready to hit the highway, but I got tired of seeing the whole people suck thing at the top of the page. Even if some of them do.

So anyway, here's a begonia that's had the bejeebers photoshopped out of it.

Or into it.

Whichever way works for you, I guess.
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