So Long, Farewell, Au Revoir, Auf Weidersehen

Something something something about champagne ...

Fresh new posts are being served here.


Moving On

Well, the curtains are up in the new place, the furniture's been rearranged a couple of times, and I've started unpacking boxes. I've even had a couple of visitors drop by with freshly baked comments. So I guess this is it for dear old Blogger. It's been a swell run - a good starter blog, well worth the investment. And I've still got some time left on the lease here, so the archives will remain until handyman Dean figures out how to relocate them.

Drop on by the new homestead for a visit when you get a minute - I'll keep the kettle on.



Dean has set up a shiny new blog for me over here. I love the new look, but I'm torn. I'm comfortable here. It's easy, and familiar. The new blog is so ... empty. And new and strange - kind of like the first night you spend in a new home. You know you're going to like it more than the old place, because it has more rooms, and a bigger yard, and a pool, but right now it's just big and different, and the doors aren't where you expect them, and the noises are different.


Gotta Wear Shades

I've never quit a job - of the first 3 companies I worked for, I was fired every time. The first one, I believe, was political. My father happened to work for the same company - different department, different floor, you name it. The only thing we had in common was the last name. He fell victim to some very high level machinations, and was let go with a very generous package so that he'd leave happy. Which he did. They even gave him a chainsaw as a lovely parting gift.

I was let go, suddenly and without warning, a few months later. Sans generous package, sans chainsaw, sans happy departure. Que sera sera.

Employer number 2: I went in round 4 of 6 or 7 rounds of downsizing after the company changed owners. Nice package, nice people, not heartbroken when the time came. It was no longer a happy place to work. Still no chainsaw, though.

Employer number 3: probably could have gone to court over this one. In short, I was dumped because I chose to get pregnant and go on maternity leave. They waited just long enough so their motive wasn't obvious. Dean would still like to burn the building down. Partly politically motivated (they fired my boss 2 weeks after she fired me), partly sexist (they got rid of 4 of the 5 senior women in the company in about 3 months). Again no chainsaw, although Dean would have put one to good use.

Firings 1 and 3 caught me totally off guard - mostly because I totally suck at spotting and moving with political trends.

Now on my fourth employer, I am, as you might imagine, a little gunshy about such things. So yesterday when my boss called me into his office for a closed-door conversation, I was more than a little apprehensive. His glum expression didn't help. I figured my days were numbered (and probably my hours and minutes, if past experience was anything to go by).

As it turns out, the work I did a few weeks ago did not go unnoticed, and the executive VP wants me to give some thought to my future with the company.

Until that point, I didn't think I had much of a future. I've been on temporary contract here for almost 2 years, and have been told on several occasions that a permanent position would not be forthcoming unless I was willing to work full time. Which I'm not.

But now, it seems, I Have Value, and have been asked to Visualize My Future and Consider My Options. More than one option. Four, even. Options in which they're willing to work around my insistence that I don't do Tuesdays.

This is a new experience for me.


The Changeling

Here you see an ordinary, albeit oddly dressed, lad:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Sadly, he was bitten by a werewolf. Here you see him emerging from his lair:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And here the transformation is complete:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com


Getting All Artsy & Stuff

We've been playing around with some of the more frou-frou capabilities of our photo-editing software, with some not displeasing results.

Here's an arbutus I snapped last month:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And here's the same tree subjected to some techno-painting:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The view from the top of Campbell Bay on a foggy, foggy day:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And some tweaked versions:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Ain't technology wonderful?


I'm Off

For the weekend, that is, although some people might say it's a permanent condition.

At 6:30 this evening, I'll be here:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And sometime later (theoretically 8, but with BC Ferries, theory and practice never meet up), I'll be here:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

My folks picked up the monkeychild (who woke me up at 5:22 am - have I mentioned that I'm not a morning person?) this morning, so he'll be waiting at the Mayne terminal, in his pj's and winter jacket, to meet me.

I'll be offline all weekend, but if all goes according to plan, there'll be a fresh new post from me tomorrow morning over here, with lots of linky goodness.

Have a great weekend, y'all!


D&D Flashback

I Am A: Chaotic Good Elf Fighter Ranger

Chaotic Good characters are independent types with a strong belief in the value of goodness. They have little use for governments and other forces of order, and will generally do their own things, without heed to such groups.

Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existence.

Primary Class:
Fighters are the warriors. They use weapons to accomplish their goals. This isn't to say that they aren't intelligent, but that they do, in fact, believe that violence is frequently the answer.

Secondary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Tymora is the Chaotic Good goddess of luck and good fortune. She is also known as Lady Luck, and also Tyche's fair-tressed daughter. Followers of Tymora believe in the tenet that, 'Fortune Favors the Bold,' and will throw caution to the wind and trust to luck to work things out for the best. Tymora's symbol is an unmarked silver disk.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy of NeppyMan


What Fresh Hell Is This?

I had a dentist appointment today, one of my all-time favourite activities1. Just a cleaning, but with the anticipation of more to come. There's always more to come - I think I've had exactly 3 checkups in my entire life that didn't require follow-up work. This time, only 23 fillings, 12 root canals, and 48 crowns. Or thereabouts. I'm guessing someone has a 2006 BMW on his Christmas wish list.

After reading Wheelson's post on the subject, I spent a lot of time earlier this week contemplating my flavour options 2. I also noted with interest the comments on some sort of new-fangled ultra sonic thingamabob, and wondered when my oh-so-progressive dentist would ante up for the latest and greatest in high tech gadgetry.

Turns out he already did. My first warning came when the hygienist asked if I was bothered by the cavitron. Now a cavitron, to me, sounds like something an Evil Dentist would use on an unsuspecting population to increase business: All will bow before me and pay tribute or I will unleash the terror of my CAVITRON 2000 upon your village!

It was a rather hideous experience - in addition to spraying water all over the place, the cavitron emits a high-pitched whine, almost but sadly not quite inaudible. And when it hits a crown, it goes up an octave - a sound I don't think humans are supposed to register, but I heard it. I guess I had bone conduction to thank there. At first, I thought it was tolerable - possibly even preferable to the traditional scraping with a rusty pick. At least it seemed to be going faster. But then she started working the molars, and it felt like she was driving needles into my gums with every move. Definitely worse than the scraping.

By the time she finished, I was a sweaty mess, digging holes in the arms of the chair, every muscle clenched. At least it was over, I thought.

I was wrong. The sonic needle of torment was not instead of the scrape-y pick, it was in addition to.

I hate dentists.

1. I lie.

2. Went with mint paste, thinking that was a safe bet, but then had to choose between grape and berry fluoride, neither of which goes well with menthol - next time I'll explore both sets of options before committing.


November, Inside & Out

Grey and dreary, in other words. Not as bleak as January, for which I am grateful, but grim enough.

I wish it were May.


Take Off Your Tinfoil Hats

It's all a hoax, people. A giant, government-perpetuated hoax.

MIT scientists have proven that tinfoil hats do not block radio waves. Even worse, they actually amplify key frequency ranges reserved for government use.

It's over, people. The mind-controllers have won.


Forgot To Mention

I posted on Jim Winter's blog again yesterday.


I ran across a reference to learning to type on computer, and was reminded of our first family PC, the Radio Shack TRS 80 Coco. My Dad brought it home in 1980. It ran off the TV, and loaded programs off a little cassette player. You had to remember to turn the volume down, though - the screeching as it read files was truly horrifying.

We subscribed to the monthly CoCo newsletter, which came with a cassette of new programs, all designed to make the most of CoCo's 4K RAM. Most were boring, at least as far as my siblings and I were concerned, although I'm sure the h@x0rs who wrote them didn't think so. I do remember one with great fondness, though - Hunt for Nauga. Your character, X, wandered through forests of trees, ^, and fired arrows, ->, which moved with agonizing slowness across the green screen. Thrilling times, I tell you, thrilling times.

Eventually we upgraded to a Commodore 64, and experienced the joy of Space Invaders first hand, but I'll never forget good old Nauga. The searing pain of playback, with the tapedeck volume cranked to the max, made sure of that.


Seven Things

The Seven Meme - inspired by Diva & Christopher

7 Things I Can Do:
1. Play the clarinet.
2. Change a flat tire.
3. Whip up a gourmet meal.
4. Recite The Tale of Custard the Dragon from memory.
5. Water ski. Not well.
6. Comfort and soothe my children when they're sick or hurt.
7. Speak French.

7 Things I Can't Do:
1. The splits. Not now, nor at any time in my past.
2. Finish a book after it becomes obvious that something bad is going to happen to a child therein.
3. Remain dry-eyed during either Anne of Green Gables or Dean's Mountain Snowdrop story.
4. Walk out of synch with the muzak at a mall, unless I devote my full attention to the effort.
5. Be rude to my parents.
6. See the hidden image in those stupid Magic Pictures.
7. Kill a man just to watch him die.

7 Things I Have In My Life Now That I Am So Incredibly Grateful For:
1. Dean
2. Our children
3. And the rest of my family.
4. My health.
5. My friends.
6. A big, hungry brain and the curiousity to keep it well fed.
7. Life in a developed nation, where I can be reasonably sure no one I care about will die of malnutrition or treatable disease.

7 Things I Hope To Do Before I Die:
1. Travel - all over the place. Where is less important than with whom.
2. See my children's children grow up happy and healthy.
3. Learn to ride a horse (again).
4. Have a greenhouse so I can indulge my green thumb.
5. Learn to love early mornings.
6. Spend at least 60 years with Dean.
7. Learn to dance.


What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

From an email I received yesterday: I look forward to having this information from you by Nov 22.

From a voicemail left this morning by the same person: I thought you were going to have that information to me yesterday afternoon.



Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
--Marianne Williamson--

My employer has started a yoga class at lunchtime on Mondays. I've been to three sessions now, and am enjoying it far, far more than I expected (and my expectations were pretty high). I find I am way more relaxed and energized on Monday afternoons, and not at all subject to the usual post-lunch doldrums.

At the end of each class, after the 15 minutes we spend contemplating nirvana, or our navels (or trying not to fall asleep, as the case may be), the instructor reads us a short, inspirational poem. While I usually scoff at inspirational anythings1, today's poem, above, struck a chord2. I am frequently3 guilty of "shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure". I only excel at things no one else is interested in trying, because I don't want to make anyone else feel bad by being better than they are.

It's not a productive thing to do.

And, in a nice piece of serendipity, I received a gift today. A gift in recognition of the outstanding work I did on the project which consumed most of my time over the last 3 weeks. A project into which I threw myself wholeheartedly because it was something no one else in the company could do.

I need to find more of those, but I also need to let myself shine the rest of the time. Even if there's competition. Because I'm not helping anyone by hiding behind mediocrity.

1. Have you seen The Demotivators? My inner cynic loves this site.

2. No, I don't particularly believe in God, but it really doesn't change the sentiment of the poem if you leave him/her/it out of the equation.

3. As in more than once a day. Probably closer to once an hour, except when I'm sleeping.


Neu Neu Neuticles

"The revolutionary testicular implant procedure for pets"

We discovered these about 5 years ago, when my sister had Murphy The Travellin' Lab fixed, and many hours of hilarity ensued.

I revisited the site recently, and discovered that it's only gotten better with age. From the FAQ:

My vet said Neuticles are not ethical. Is that true?

We feel the removal of a God given body part - leaving a male pet looking unwhole after the traditional form of neutering is not only unethical but unnatural.
So removing a God given body part is unethical, but replacing it with a wholly synthetic substitute isn't?

Is one Neuticles model better than the other?

Each Neuticles model is equally superior.

Some pets develop scar tissue ... the way to eliminate potential development is to gently massage the Neuticles weekly.

Aren't there laws against that? Talk about puppy love ...

Will my pet retain those 'nasty' male habits?

Like hogging the remote and leaving the seat up?

The number one reason to neuticle your pet? Rush Limbaugh says "Neuticles are just plain neat!"


As One Might Expect

Doing yoga in the presence of a talkative leaping goon is 85% less relaxing than doing yoga alone. Especially when said leaping goon attempts to climb you during the warrior posture.

On a totally unrelated note, I have posted what I consider to be one of my better lunatic ideas here, where Jim graciously invited me to guest blog while he attempts the nightmare that is NaNoWriMo.


Another World

I had lunch today with a friend who grew up in India1. She went back to visit her parents this summer, then spent some time with her inlaws. Her niece, who was visiting from England, was invited over to the next-door neighbours', to see the new pet they had bought for their grandchildren.

A baby elephant.

Leaving aside the whole issue of who cleans up after the elephant in your backyard2, how cool is that?


1. I must confess that I've always been fascinated by ancient cultures, particularly those in hot countries. I'd love to visit Egypt (the Valley of the Kings in particular), Turkey (the Hagia Sophia and the library at Ephesus), Greece ... and India. I know it's not the land of the Raj anymore, but it's such an amazingly varied land. My friend grew up in Kerala (the setting for Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things) and I'd love to go there.

2. I realize there are ethical and moral issues here, but it's not like we don't have our own animal problems here in America del norte.


A Strange Phenomenon

I have discovered of late a strange thing about blogging. When I'm alone - falling asleep, driving, waiting for someone - I play with ideas. Some of them have been bouncing around in my head for years. I've even blogged about some of them.

Here's the weird thing - the ones I've blogged about stop bouncing around my skull shortly after being committed to pixellated notoriety. For example, I no longer make my washroom stall selection out of a desire to foil would-be assassins. I didn't realize I'd stopped until I noticed that instead of choosing stalls at random at work, I'd been taking the one closest to the door for a couple of weeks.

The same is true for things that bug me - one self-aggrandizing ex-husband in particular. Once I've vented here, I stop worrying about them.

The latter is a good thing - blogging as stress relief and unloader of psychic burdens. The former, however, worries me a little. I like my weird ideas, and I worry that there is a less than infinite supply. What happens if I write everything good here, and wind up with nothing to entertain myself with on long drives? Will I start arguing with talk radio dj's, or singing along with Britnee/Ashlee/Flavourofthemonthlee, or voting NDP?

So I'm thinking I need to stop giving up the good stuff here, and just write about things that bother me. Turn this into a pure whine-blog. That way, I can maintain a high level of personal weirdness ad infinitum.

I'm idiosyncratic, and I'm proud!


Not Like It Sounds

I just received an email containing the phrase "Please make sure he includes the groove tongues ..."

Anybody care to speculate?