Offline Warning, Plus a Bonus Movie Review

We're heading off to Mayne Island tonight, provided our ferry remembers to stop in time. The internet has reached Mayne, provincial backwater that it is, but not my parents' cabin, so we'll not be posting til late Sunday at best. But I should acquire lots of blog-worthy photos, so all is not lost.

Grandma and Grandpa took the kids over yesterday, leaving us with a whole evening to fill, so we betook ourselves to the movies. Since we're both in lust with Angelina Jolie, we watched Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and enjoyed it thoroughly - totally unbelievable plot, lots of things blowing up, witty banter, and my beloved Angelina in black vinyl and fishnets. What's not to love?

As an aside, Jennifer Aniston never stood a chance. She should have hired a divorce lawyer the second Brad agreed to work on location with Ms. Jolie.


A Milestone of No Import To Anyone But Me, About Which I Shall Blog Anyhow Because It's My Blog and There's Not a Damn Thing You Can Do About It

For the first time since 1993, my hair is (barely) long enough to catch back in a ponytail.


Spoiling for a Fight

MonkeyBoy was in a belligerent mood this morning, not of a mind to agree with anything. Having experienced this before, I wasn't foolish enough to give him any ammunition, so he was left to find his own windmills at which to tilt. He found one, eventually, and worked himself into a towering rage, bellowing "She says there aren't any names I can't rhyme, but there are SO!"

The she in question is the unnamed singer of The Name Game. You know, the one that goes "Shirley, Shirley, bo Birley, banana fana fo Firley, etc ..."

Yes, it's been one of those days.


New Addiction

Photographing flowers - I don't seem to be able to walk past my garden these days without grabbing a few close-ups. Maybe it's my subconscious, preparing for the cold, grey days of winter. Whatever the underlying cause, I find I'm fascinated by colours and textures - so delicate, but lush and sensual at the same time.

A few of my current favourites:

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Nasturtiums - bought on a whim, neglected and unplanted for almost a month, and still they reward me with their cheerful faces.

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A miniature rose (the flower itself is less than 2" across), one of four purchased at the supermarket, also on a whim (to be honest, 95% of my garden consists of spur-of-the-moment acquisitions). I thought they were too delicate to be planted outdoors, but they're thriving. All have doubled in height, and are starting to bloom again. This is the first to flower - the others are lavender, deep red and yellow.

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A close-up of the rose in my front garden. I shot this blind, but love the result - the petals look so fragile, so ephemeral. They're remarkably tough for all their diaphanous appearance.

PS. I haven't forgotten my promise to show you my lilies - I'm waiting for the two newest ones to bloom, then will post the lot.

There Are No Words

David Hasselhoff's latest video - is this the kind of thing you dream up after a 2-week drug binge? You have to watch it right to the end, painful though it will be, because it just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

My kids have better sense than he does. Hell, the guinea pigs, with a collective IQ of two and a half, know better. What was going through his mind when this idea was pitched?

Thanks to Jason Mulgrew for the link. This is one of those things you have to see to believe. It's just that bad.


On Books

Because I have been tagged by the Diva herself

1) Number of books I own.

I had to do a collective count, because separating all our books into His, Hers, and the Short Ones' would take weeks. Our grand total is something over 1200, broken down thusly:

Our bedroom: 110 in the bookcase, 28 scattered hither and yon.
My ensuite: 15
Living room: 130 big people books, 146 small people books
Kitchen: 26 cookbooks, 11 others
Chickadee's room: 110
MonkeyBoy's room: 60 of his, 150 of ours.
Assorted boxes: somewhere between 300 and 500.

In the last year, we've divested ourselves of another, oh, 6 or 700 books, donated to the fledgling library on Mayne Island.

2) Last book I bought.

Although it horrifies me to admit this, I cannot remember the last book I bought. I've been rereading some of the hundreds of books we brought back from our storage locker for the last 3 or 4 months. I used to buy at least a book a week - it's an expensive habit, and I've had to cut back of late.

3) Last book I read.

Kushiel's Avatar, by Jacqueline Carey, third in a trilogy, a much-appreciated present from my love. Highly recommended if you like a little S&M with your fantasy.

4) Books that mean a lot to me.

I'm not especially sentimental about books - I think I've just read too many to form strong attachments (I'm a book slut, I admit it). Still, I have some favourites:

The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien - I read this for the first time in Grade 2. I can't imagine that I really appreciated it at that age, but I do remember being quite taken with Smaug.

Narnia Series, CS Lewis - read at about the same age. My dad brought them home for me one at a time, a new one tucked in his overcoat pocket every Friday.

The Tale of Custard the Dragon, Ogden Nash - still one of my favourites, I can recite this one from memory.

Thomas Covenant series, Stephen R Donaldson - the first novel I read where the author had a bigger vocabulary than I did. Favourite new word learned: chiaroscuro

The Blue Castle, LM Montgomery. Overall not as good a book as Anne of Green Gables, but I identified more with the main character.

5) Tag (at least) five more.

Um, I'm going to wimp out on this one and let Dean do the tagging. Almost everyone on my list has already been hit. I obviously need to get out more.


Stall Selection

Wherein I reveal how deeply weird I really am. Anyone desirous of retaining even the smallest amount of respect for my intelligence and sanity should leave now.


Go on now, shoo!

Ok then, you've been warned ...

For as long as I've worked in an office where the washroom has more than one stall, I've made my choice of toilets based on a strategy designed to minimize the likelihood that I will be assassinated1. I've built my strategy around the following assumptions:

1. Said assassin will want to minimize the possibility of witnesses, so will need a hidden position and an opportunity to make the attempt while I am alone. The washroom at work, in my opinion, provides the greatest chance of success.
2. Said assassin can only cover one stall at a time2.

In my current office, there are 3 stalls. I generally prefer the one closest to the door, but I try to inject as high a level of randomness as possible in my selections throughout the day, to avoid forming a noticeable pattern, thus minimizing the likelihood of a successful hit. And I've done a pretty good job of it, if I do say so myself.

Until today, when I realized that in order to foil my carefully planned manoeuvres, all a would-be killer would have to do is put something icky in 2 of the 3 toilets, and target the third.

If you don't hear from me again, you'll know why. Don't say I didn't warn you.


1. Why would anyone want to assassinate me, you ask? Well, that's hardly the point now, is it? I mean, if I knew why they wanted to assassinate me, I could possibly do something about the situation, thus rendering moot the question of where to pee.

2. Because if he can cover all of them at once, then I'm dead no matter what I choose and there's no point in having a strategy at all, is there?

Overheard at Home

From the Monkeychild:

  • Pull-ups are just like underwear but different.
  • My dragon is the same colour as not the other dragon.
  • I can't eat any more, I'm filled.
  • Just tell me without remembering.
  • Robots can fall down, you know. If you take the key out, they fall down on their metal bum.
  • I want some water to drink in bed, but in a juice box, not a glass, because then I'd have to wake up to drink it.
  • Dad, stop making that noise. I'm trying to make coffee here.
  • Yes or no? Yes or no? Just tell me yes or no. I'll give you a hint: nuh-nuh-nuh ... -- Um, no? -- Yes, precisely!



I'm taking pictures of my lilies as they open, and will post the complete collection once all the colours have bloomed. In the meantime, here's an artsy shot of Lily #2:

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*** Haloscan is being a pain in the ass and won't let me post a comment, so I'll reply here:

Thanks! I was trying to mimic one of the new features in PaintShop Pro - when you select an area to crop, it drops the rest of the image into shadow so you can preview it. Dean pointed out that it was a cooler image than either the original or the cropped version, so I tried to recreate it.

Amanda; I don't have a flickr account yet - these are all hosted on Photobucket . I've thought about switching, but I have another blog for my family under my real name, and I don't know if I'd have to set up 2 separate accounts to avoid blowing my cover :-)


Mystery Pix by MonkeyBoy

The Short One got hold of my camera the other day and took some interesting shots. His portrait work:
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My new, red shoes:
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The guinea pigs (also known as the piggles):
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He exhibits his father's fascination with texture and my love of colour, plus a penchant for extreme close-ups. Ten points for every image you can identify correctly:
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Bonus Round: What movie did we watch last night?
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First Fruits of Spring

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Technically, this is the fourth fruit of Spring - fruits 1 through 3 were hoovered down by the shorter members of the family before I could grab the camera.


For Carmi

Inspired by his close-cropped explorations of the world, I set my camera on macro and prowled my sunlit garden.

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I love the lush colours and alien landscape.

Update: Here's the big picture:
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Attention Deficit

I was not cut out to be a homemaker. I've known this for years - while the skill threshold is relatively low, I lack the requisite affinity for repetitive labour. Ironically, I paid for almost 2 years of university working as a housekeeper at St. Paul's Hospital.

Today, I put MonkeyBoy down for his nap (unsuccessfully, I might add, as he wandered back downstairs about 20 minutes later), then intended to fold the laundry, tidy the kitchen, and clean 2 bathrooms while he slept. Instead, the guinea pigs started wheeping as I came down the hall, which reminded me that I also needed to clean their cage, so I took them outside and settled them on the lawn, then bundled up the used newspapers in their cage. At that point, I noticed the truly spectacular weeds taking over my garden, and spent 20 minutes separating them from the daisies and sweet peas. Then I remembered that I meant to call the power company about getting rid of our old fridge (they pick them up and recycle them, and give you a $30 rebate), so I came in to get the phone number of their website. Then the dryer buzzed, so I managed to fold a load of clothes. Then I picked up the phone to call about the fridge, but had to email Dean about a phone message before I made the call, then my ex called to say Chickadee was sick, and that he'd bring her over instead of me having to pick her up from school, then it occurred to me that I could blog about all of this instead of:

a) finishing the laundry
b) reassembling the guinea pigs' cage
c) starting on the kitchen
d) tackling the bathrooms
e) calling BC Hydro
f) going to get groceries

Of course, a through f still need doing. So I think I'll play school with MonkeyBoy for a while. Nothing like a little mid-day procrastination, right?


Sunday Outing

I got to go to a movie yesterday, a real, adult movie. Not a kid in sight, not even my own. Babysitting was gratis - friends of our are cinematically incompatible (he likes swords, fighting, dramatic conflict, she likes movies where everyone is nice. Even Disney offerings are too conflict-ridden for her). So he took me to see Kingdom of Heaven while she took MonkeyBoy to 4 parks and Starbucks (actually, I believe MonkeyBoy set the pace - she was pretty worn out and he still had lots of energy when they got home. I should have warned her not to let him order more than a double espresso - those triple shots just get him wired).

The movie was good, perfect for Sunday afternoon escapism. Lots of swording, pretty horses, noble ideals and base treachery, high-falutin' dialogue ... much better than the reviews had led me to expect. Orlando Bloom is awfully pretty, although they did their best to make him look tough and rugged (it didn't work). Love-interest-wise, however, pretty doesn't do much for me. Yes, he's aesthetically pleasing, and I suppose if he wanted to hang about my garden looking decorative I wouldn't object (well, until the paparazzi started trampling the flowers). I much preferred the dark and brooding Guy de Lusignan - Marton Csokas, last seen sporting flowing blond tresses as Celeborn in Lord of the Rings (I spent the entire movie trying to figure out where I'd seen him before, but had to resort to IMDB when I got home). He's much better looking as a brunette, IMO.

And the young actress who played his wife, Eva Green, bears an uncanny resemblance to Isabelle Adjani:
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Messing With Mother Nature

Shot this morning, a cranesbill geranium:
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The one in the upper left is the original.



It's just the MonkeyBoy and me this weekend, but we have a busy schedule. Tonight, we just kicked back and took it easy. And explored the possibilities of self-portraiture with a camera and a mirror. I've updated my profile pic with one of our works - I think the last one was about 4 years old, and my hair's a good 6" longer now.

MonkeyBoy took this one:
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And this one:
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Cookies by Grandma

And this one - despite appearances, I'm not actually dancing here.
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I'm looking for my JASC PaintShop Pro CD (yet another victim of the Great Hard Drive Crash of 2005, along with approximately 2,483 photos), which I did not find. So I'm playing around with Picasa this evening. It's not bad - the learning curve is flat enough, but I think I like having more control over what I do. And not being able to resize images for posting is a pain. I'm sure there's a way to do it, with Picasa and Hello and Blogger all talking together, but I was quite happy with the old of doing things, to which I will revert as soon as I find that blasted CD.


For Amanda

Who's suffering from a lack of reading material, I offer an experiment in fiction that Dean and I tried last year. This was my first foray into writing, blogging, and fiction. It's written as a blog, so if you want to follow the story, start with the earliest entry.

A word of warning - some of the later entries are kinda graphic, in a softcore kinda way. Just so you know.


Taking Politics Seriously

Is something I just cannot do these days. Especially the whole Belinda Stronach tempest. All I can think of, when I hear her name, is Ogden Nash's poem*, which starts:

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little grey mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio little pet dragon.

I'm sorry, but if she wants me to take her seriously, she's going to have to change her name.

* It's The Tale of Custard the Dragon, and if no one read it to you as a child, rush out and get a copy. I memorized the whole story when Chickadee was a toddler, and can still repeat it word for word.


Cold Sweat

The other night, Dean and I were fooling around, with the digital camera, and took some picture of a {ahem} personal nature. The odds are very good that he has already deleted the images from the camera. But if he didn't ...

My parents arrived this morning at 7:30 to take care of the kids while Dean's at his interview. They'll probably take MonkeyBoy to the park unless it's pouring rain. And they may take the camera as they often do.

And it's quite possible that we didn't switch the camera back from View Pictures to Take Pictures. Which means that if they take MonkeyBoy to the park and they take the camera, it's entirely possible that my father will be exposed to a picture of his daughter engaged in the sort of activity that no man wants to admit his daughter does.

Pray for rain, please!

**Update** It didn't rain, but Dean assured me he had already deleted the photos in question. Good thing - imagine my guilt if my dear old dad had dropped dead of a heart attack at the local playground.