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Friday, May 30, 2008

Safety is Swell

I'm currently very proud to live where I do.
I just finished a gawdawfully long course on Occupational Health and Safety, the safety regulations and all that good stuff so I can be our safety dudette extraordinaire and be on our college OHS committee, inspecting and handling safety complaints and being an all round safety do gooder. I'm already the safety nut around here for our labs and the one who trains everyone in lab safety, so I thought I'd make it official (plus, it's always the people (*cough* me *cough*) with the ability to hurt themselves on cotton balls and rubber tubing that end up the safety nuts...). It doesn't hurt that it gives me a bit more clout when have I tell off the grad students and lab staff for doing unsafe stuff in the labs ("no while working with concentrated acid you can't wear shorts and sandals...").

Our province has always been a labour province, an NDP province mostly...we pioneered unions and health care, sent Tommy Douglas to the Prime Minister's chair in Ottawa and were the province that pioneered the occupational safety acts. *We* were the template for the rest of the country - the first to say "no you don't have to do that if it's unsafe. And you can't be discriminated against for refusing". To say that your boss can't just make you do unsafe things or mistreat you for profit...and we have a giant book of regulations to say when they have to do to keep you safe at work to show for it. I've spent days learning the regulations about things and I'm really proud, at the moment, to know we in Saskatchewan are the ones who have helped lay out how important it is to treat each other with respect and dignity. To put people before profit and respect our fellow man in our daily lives. I could almost hug a wheat bale to prove it...but they're pokey and itchy and full of bugs and I really should get back to work. Currently, I could rant about how our new provincial conservative government is trying to destroy our social programs, affordable housing and lifestyles, union's right to strike and our worker respect in as short a time as they possibly can in pursuit of profit and being a "have province", but noone wants a provincial political rant on a friday morning. Suffice it to say our current prov. government are asshats, but we still live in a great place...and we'll move on.

So yeah.
Saskatchewan is great.
It's sunny, the pelicans are on the river and it's a beautiful friday so far.
Groovy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Lazy

I have just seen what might be the literal definition of lazy...
Looking out my living room window I have witnessed a man and his dog out for a walk...but it was downhill...WHILE DRIVING HIS SUV. I'm not kidding. He was driving along with a beautiful chocolate lab on a leash out the window of his gas guzzler.
I wish I could add he was smoking, just to put it over the top, but man- even the way it was, I cannot actually believe it...how hard is it to walk a dog?
I won't even get *into* how unsafe it is for the dog AND other drivers...I just honestly couldn't believe it. I was so stunned I didn't think to write down his plates to call it in for sheer wrongness...
I've seen people bike with a dog, but this?
I'm in actual awe and disgust of what I can only refer to as "the Lazy".

Muffin muffin muffin- oh- Muffin muffin hey

I love muffins. I could live on them...yesterday I made raspberry cornmeal muffins. I'm eating one of these muffins right now for breakfast...and they are delicious. I have to pass the recipe on so you can eat them too. I'd upload a photo but I should really get on with my morning and get ready for work...I'm just nibbling on a muffin and checking the news...and got distracted.
ANYways. Where was I?
Oh yeah. This yummy muffin here in my hand.
You can swap out low fat sour cream and a bit of applesauce (so I've been told by my Mum) in these for margarine and they're a bit healthier for you, but these are...delicious the way they are. They do not last more than a day or two in our house even when I make a bunch...too good.

RASPBERRY CORNMEAL MUFFINS

2 c flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

2 eggs
1/2 c melted margarine
1 c milk mixed with 1 t vinegar (or buttermilk - I never bother as it doesn't make a difference in this recipe and healthier)
2/3 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla

1 c frozen raspberries

Mix dry together and wet together and then stir *them* together until nearly mixed. Add fruit and mix until just mixed-don't overmix. Put in greased muffin tin (with papers) and bake at 375 for ~17-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean or you tap on the top of them gently and they "just" bounce back. They'll just be starting to brown on the edges. Do not overbake and they will be the moistest muffins in the world. Add 1/3 c pine nuts to this for absolute decadence. Actually, with this recipe, take out the cornmeal and add any variation of fruits and nuts or even 1/2 c oatmeal (soaked in 1/4 c milk a bit first) and you have a totally versatile, any-muffin-will-do mix. A bit of nutmeg, cinnamon or cardamom is never a bad idea to toss into other fruit muffins with this too...I mutate this into whatever we want at the time. Trial and error to the perfect muffins...
And right now I want another muffin.
Gotta go, it's rude to type with my mouth full.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's not a frog with a tophat, but it'll do


Made me laugh out loud...thought I'd pass it on.
Image: ICanHasCheeseburger

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Holy Crap with a Parachute

I would have to say this is up there with best pictures...ever...

Sometimes humans can do things right.
Huzzah.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Lemon Jelly - Nice weather for Ducks

I love Lemon Jelly.
This song was all I could think of this weekend as the rain came down.
Have a great day...:)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Times A Wastin'

Nothing like rainy day time wasting on the interweb to discover essential things I never I knew I needed until now...
Like painfully bright headphones...noone would borrow them. Ever. I'd always have them.

Or revolting ice cubes...

A brownie pan where every piece is an edge...brilliant. No more fighting over the edgy bits.

And some fake mustaches. What? Tell me you don't want some too...

A lovely vinyl playdeck for turning my Grandpa's old Shadow LPs into mp3s...

And for a light nut like me: LED temperature tap lights...they've been reading my mind!

AND even better....a jacuzzi tube with LED lights in it...bwahaha! If I ever replace my tub...THAT is what I need.

But, of the things I may *actually* get...this shirt that says all you need to say about how cool science is...with the proof of the experiment on the back.

It's good to know there are people like me out there...
Hmmm...rain's stopped. Perhaps I'll go pull some weeds.
It's a thrill a minute here...

The boring part of fixing things...

Well I'm half done the yard (the back part of course, where less people will see it)...but then it rained. So that's that for now.
So I'm trying to be useful and do things inside and sort through our tools and stuff to organise them all...I'd just give up and read a book but I finished my latest book this morning over coffee so there's nothing for it...I should at least try and be useful. I've got lot of work to do this summer in and around the house, so I need to know what tools I have, where they are and what I need to put on my list of things to get...our current "giant pile o' tools" in the basement doesn't really lend itself to using and fixing things. It's more of a "***-****** where's the ******* drill and that bloody hammer around here?" whenever we try to do things...it tends to take more time to find what we need than to actualy do anything.
He heh...after all, I've only had the pegboard up to do this for 16 months now...figure I should actually get to it eh?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Attack of the yard

This weekend J has freelance work all weekend, so I'm taking that as a hint to attack the yard. Unfortunately it can't just be ignored, so there's nothing else for it.
Last weekend all our neighbors appear to have spent their time on their yards making them look nice while we were up at the lake relaxing...so our yard looks...well...pathetic in comparison. It is putting it mildly when I say that there is much to do.
I must mow and trim the backyard and pull the weeds in the car park... and our front yard is weedy. It is landscaped into teirs with virginia creeper all over it, but until the vines leaf up it looks like railway ties and weeds :). So Saturday will be weeding and raking a LOT.
Add to that two hedges in the front on the edge of the yard that need to be trimmed back (they've sprouted weird shoots and look very silly), and an old dead small tree in the back that needs to be attacked (with a chain saw-muahah!)...and well, I have my work cut out for me. We have 2 new neighbors on either side of us, who are very nice, but the old neighbors used to trim the hedges...the new ones don't, so I suppose we do now (I'm too chicken to ask them why they aren't doing it). I have to go and buy a hedge trimmer on the weekend and get to it. Our yard isn't exactly high maintenance, but we do...well, the bare minimum shall we say - and so there is always a lot to do in the spring. If we're not careful we'll be the "bad" neighbors and "what will this neighborhood come to?" and all that. Many of our neighbors are semi-retired with much puttering time...so we have a lot to do to even look like we are trying to keep up with the Joneses. There's some other things to do outside the house as well this year - some painting on the windows and tree pruning in the fall...and I want to do some painting inside too. I'm tired just thinking about it.

I've discovered that owning a house means using (and unfortunately buying) a lot of boring tools...but I figure if we don't at least make an effort on the yard people will come over with torches and pitchforks and demand justice. Once we have the tools, I don't mind using them, as long as there is time. J isn't a work in the yard kind of guy, and I enjoy it, except for the weeding part, so it works out in the end...it's just daunting to make a list of things to do on the weekend and see it's that long :)
Well...nothing else for it. Off to work and then - YARD ATTACK!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What the word needs now is pie, sweet pie


J pointed out to me the other day something interesting about a favourite cartoon of mine. Bizarro , for the last week or so, has had a piece of pie in it ...even when it has absolutley no relevance at all to what is in the cartoon. The further back I look, I see that lately there has been a firecracker hidden in them too. There is a firecracker in the one above from April 8...and a piece of pie as it turns out. Occasionally there is a little alien in a little saucer (yup that's in this one too)...or cockroaches carrying a nuclear missle (can't hav them all I suppose). I'm pretty smiley about the most recent discovery...pie.
I can't get any of the recent ones online or I'd post them in all their piey goodness...it's glad to see absurdity is still abiding in the greater world...pie and all.

But...my summer holidays...

I just found out that a summer staple for me - Motion Notion electronic music festival - may be in it's last year this year...my last one. It is, to me, my summer holiday.
It has been going for 9 years now.
Pity...I bet this last year, if it is indeed the last, will be sublime. It aways filled me up for another year, full of happy juice, with a whole weekend of camping and music and good people...I love it. I've gotten to know a lot of really amazing people through Motion Notion...and had so many great memories. I see them all every year, and catch up with them and have a fantastic time in a place I feel absolutely and perfectly at home. It's the highlight of my summer, other than Shambhala...it has a special place in my heart...it was my "first".
Sad to think this may be the end. It' s been growing every year...over 3000 people last year. They had a bit of trouble getting a permit this year...maybe it's just getting too big. the more the merrier I say.

I'm feeling rather wistful at the moment.
Not sure how to take this. It's not the end of the world...it just seems like I'm holding a vigil for something that isn't gone yet...but will be.
And it's a shame.
I really hope another festival rises to take it's place...my soul needs fuel.

Man...how am I supposed to catch up on it all?














Today I have 2 days of work to do in one day.

And some genetic analysis after all that before I get to go home.

My reward?

A bottle of this: Bette Niore.

A lovely oatmeal stout by our great microbrewery Paddockwood.

I've been at it 2 hours...only 8 more...then a bus home to dark beery goodness...and maybe some curry. I don't always obsess about beer, despite my gibberings about it as of late. It's just been a very long while since I've been able to enjoy one.

And if I survive today...well I'll have earned it dammit.

Well nothing for it...off to the lab.

Have a good day all...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

FINALLY

I think I'm almost better. For real. Knock on wood.
I'm also incredibly behind, what from a week and a half of being sick...so talk amonsgt yourselves. I'll post about my awesome weekend at the lake when I get a few moments to myself.
Later tater...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I learned something today


*blush*

Recently I learned something...I was talking about the cat meme below (I was saying it "meee meee") and J stopped, puzzled and asked me if it was like a "meme"...and then kindly told me where the term meme originates...along with...um...how to pronounce it properly...and it's actual meaning. Apparently meme has a long and interesting origin...not just a lolspeak shortened version of talking about your self...which I...um...actually thought it was. Soooo I thought I'd pass my newfound knowledge on to you...in the hopes that I'm not the only dolt out there who was unaware of meme being quite more profound and culturally developed as a concept. It's good to brighten up the place a bit once in a while.

*ahem*
According to Wikipedia:
"A meme (pronounced /miːm/) consists of any unit of cultural information, such as a practice or idea, that gets transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. Examples include thoughts, ideas, theories, practices, habits, songs, dances and moods and terms such as race, culture, and ethnicity. Memes propagate themselves and can move through a "culture" in a manner similar to the behavior of a virus. As a unit of cultural evolution, a meme in some ways resembles a gene. Richard Dawkins, in his book, The Selfish Gene, recounts how and why he coined the term meme to describe how one might extend Darwinian principles to explain the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. He gave as examples tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothing-fashions, and the technology of building arches.

The word meme first came into popular use with the publication of Dawkins's book The Selfish Gene in 1976. Dawkins based the word on a shortening of the Greek "mimeme" (something imitated), making it sound similar to "gene". Dawkins used the term to refer to any cultural entity that an observer might consider a replicator. He hypothesised that people could view many cultural entities as replicators, generally replicating through exposure to humans, who have evolved as efficient (though not perfect) copiers of information and behaviour. Memes do not always get copied perfectly, and might indeed become refined, combined or otherwise modified with other ideas, resulting in new memes. These memes may themselves prove more (or less) efficient replicators than their predecessors, thus providing a framework for a hypothesis of cultural evolution, analogous to the theory of biological evolution based on genes.

Dawkins defined the meme as "a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation", but memeticists in general promote varying definitions of the concept of the meme. The lack of a consistent, rigorous and precise understanding of what typically makes up one unit of cultural transmission remains a problem in debates about memetics."

So there you go.

Makes me wonder what else I "know" about that I don't actually know...or know how to pronounce. J is kind to not mock me too much when he points out something I don't know. He's good that way. Together we are on a constant quest to stop me from having my foot permanently stuck in my cheekpouch :)

Constant Vigilance!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Note to self...plan ahead


If you discover you are going to go on heavy medications for a week, don't get a bunch of tasty stout right before you do and put it in your fridge so that it taunts you...it sits there all dark and milky, covered with beaded condensation...glinting in the sunlight...mocking you for your inability to have any of it.

You foul temptress
(...how I miss you...*sniff*)

In 6 days you will be mine.
OH yes...you will be mine

Meme cat - Geek's turn to waste your precious time


Diddums gave out a general meme tag from her cat Samson. Geek, (AKA Zeke/Ezekiel/furbag) my Maine Coone, is taking up the challenge, seeing as his life is far more interesting than mine at the moment. Mine consists of hacking, napping, medications and copious amounts of tea...his seems much more relaxing...

1. What I was doing 10 years ago.
I was trying to escape out of the 2nd story building of Geo's apartment by waiting for unsuspecting passers-by. Their heads were a perfect halfway hopping down point to freedom...No screens on the windows helped me hone my ninja skills of escape and concealment. I also helped Geo study for her analytical chemistry exams by keeping all her notes and books warm while she tried to read through me...what? I was helping!

2. 5 things on my to-do list for today.
Mightily hunt for the demon socks lurking in the bedroom, singing about my victory over the dreaded sock, hovering about in the kitchen for falling scraps while Geo cooks supper, napping in the sunbeams on the bed and annoying Gavin by going wherever he goes and nudging him out of his cozy spots once he's settled in. It's hard to find good help these days.

3. Snacks I enjoy.
Oh...pretty much anything. I'm rather fond of raw mushrooms and scones, but I'll take anything...even an entire muffin, and run away with it.

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire.
Renovate the home to have water fountains in every room and skylights above all my comfiest nap places. Oh, AND there will be treats in all rooms...but not for you.

5. Three of my bad habits.
I desperately need to help Geo stretch out after a run...I think she appreciates the ankle biting and nuzzling her - the extra weight on her back during pushups will help her build muscles faster right? I also like to scratch the couch...I do it at night when noone can see or catch me...I just know there's something cool in there. I also tend to knock things off of shelves and ledges if they're in my way...hey, I'm walking here!

6. Five places I’ve lived.
I was at the SPCA shelter for a little while until Geo and her roomate took me home. Then we lived in 3 apartments while Geo was in university...then I was forced to endure the indignity of J's cat Gavin when they got married...but J is a cool guy, so I put up with his mumbly cat. I liked their apartment but the best place is the house we live in now...so I can be outside all day on the deck in the summer...nice.

7. Five jobs I’ve had.
Ninja, jedi, moth exterminator, lap warmer, nose licker

I tag your pet. *poof* A big grey silver Maine Coone cat appears and nibbles your ankles so you know you're next...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Go Speedracer Go!

I'm not sure what all the "oh it's not gonna be good" backlash was about around the Wachowski Brother's Speed Racer film...it seemed it was another case of people deciding they didn't like something when it hadn't even been out yet. And this by people who knew nothing about the film or the original show...I decided to ignore the local blehs and go.

All I know is, I went to see it on opening day and I loved it.
It had a surreal supercoloured stylish world (think Edward Scissorhands only brighter) and the characters were well acted - they seemed deeper and more real to me than a lot of films I've seen. And the racing...man. Everything was done so very well and stylishly. It was funny at times (good humour, quirky and odd at times) and great over the top characters. I've never seen the original Speedracer cartoons, so I have nothing to compare it too, but the occasional cheers and grins form the 30-something comic book/anime crawd in the theatre when I went to see it seems to show the film had a fans approval. It was a good film. I left happy and excited (and excited to someday have a segway...and maybe a monkey too...). It made me forget being sick for a few hours. I'd really reccomend it. It was like a happy alternate world full of techinicolour...and fast cars.

It didn't hurt that after we'd picked up our tickets before the show we went for a walk...and SpeedRacer drove by (no I wasn't medicated yet then). A white convertable old car with the number on the side was being driven by a man in a white leather jacket, white helmet and yellow gloves (and red socks no doubt). Never saw him again...but he was there.

Go Speedracer. Go.

I'll have an avelox with a side of prednisone straight up...

And don't forget the salbutamol chaser...

Hey hey.
Guess what? I'm sick again. Yup. And not half assed either...it's an all out lung infection...came up over a matter of hours on friday and got bad fast...would've been pneumonia if J hadn't bugged me to go in to go checked out yesterday. I get an xray today to be sure I'm not needing more fun medication or actually *do* have pneumonia. I think the pharmacy I've already been given has started to work already. Not being able to breathe is not fun...it's rather frightening actually. I'm enjoying the breathing part.
Definitely.

BUT...all will pass I'm sure. I was mad about it, but what can you do?

I'm balancing this with the new knowledge that Coldplay is coming to Edmonton and Calgary in the summer and I am going to see Phantom of the Opera tonight. Unfortunately I'll be medicated to the gills, so as not to dsturb the other patrons, but I can't wait. I haven't seen it for a loong loooooooooong time. We're going to get dressed up and try to have a great time. It sucks to be sick, but I'm determined to enjoy it. J hasn't seen it, so I'm determined to not ruin it for him by hacking through it. I'm also determined to try by best to get tickets for Coldplay...they're not on sale for a while though.

But I'm going off to bed for a while. I took the day off to rest...figured if I need to go for an xray, noone at work would be interested in catching this. I so rarely take a day off that I don't feel a bit lazy.

Hug and sneezes to all.
Later...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Bubble wars!

OK...OK OK OK
Seriously.
My niece got this dual barreled bubble super fan gun for her birthday and ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
So many bubbles.
We're talking hundreds on one dip. Clouds of them...My brother in law and I kept blowing bubbles at my niece and she was in heaven!

I do believe I will be ambulating to my local market forthwith to purchase such wonders for myself tomorrow.

Happy birthday Widget



Happy 3rd birthday kiddo...being your aunt is amazing.
I'm looking forward to snakes and ladders and cake tonight...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Oh my, it's a mirage, I'm tellin y'all it's sabotage!

"the "normal" world is populated by space aliens. Those around you are an entirely different, substandard, sedentary species with strange eating and spending habits and short life spans. You don't "get" to do what they do anymore than you "get" to drink water out of the toilet or poop on the sidewalk just because your dog does."

Crabby McSlacker of Cranky Fitness wrote this today...and echo of how I've been feeling lately. There's no end, it seems, of the advertising world telling us to "treat ourselves" and that "we deserve" all the rewards and things we think everyone else is having. Do I need a chocolate bar? No. But some days I really really want one...and why not? It's when the rewards come every day...and you have them even when you don't really want them, but feel entitled to them so you have them anyways that the problems begin.
In a world of consumerism and excess it's very difficult to try and find your own balanced way to go through life. Eating well and not sabotaging your health with too much snackery and booze can be tricky...remembering to move your ass on a regular basis to be healthy and live a longer, healthier life is also not easy as well. I have a love/hate relationship with running. I love how it makes me feel, and most days, although it can be a struggle sometimes (like today after a week or so off from illness), when I'm done I feel refreshed and full of energy. I like being able to do more. I like feeling healthy.
Even in the realm of the home base - your sanctuary from the world at large, there are those trying to tell you what you need. In planning a paintup of our living room I've found how deceptively easy it is to get sucked in by adding things I don't need, but look cool in a store to my grand schemes. There are even fakey cakey room scents to fill your house with smells...and even a 3 scent one that will rotate the smells so you can smell a different smell every hour if you want to...it's getting out of hand. How about choosing what you like, smelling what you like and doing what you like. Don't know what you like? Well, look around. Try things. *DO* things.

I like to think I'm not alone in thinking the regular world at large are somewhat insane and heading in the wrong direction... I hope that by trying to shop locally, and with a conscience, and living a healthy balanced life I can find what it is that makes me happy...and pursue those things. I know I can't be happy all the time...that's absurd. But I want joy in my life...the kind of contentment that comes from being able to look yourself in the mirror and not being ashamed by the individual there...I'm not talking appearance - but how I treat others and myself. How I use my time...the stuff that matters.

I've had a lot of time to think while sick and indisposed and I've come to the conclusion that I will endure this alien wasteland with all the dignity and strength I can, and hopefully impart to it a bit of sanity and stewardship that will make a difference to myself and others.

And I'll remember to make the time to brew a batch of strawberry wheat beer now and then, make some muffins, scritch my cats and hug my love at any and every opportunity I get...cuz y'know...it's the little things. *Those* are my rewards...
Have a good day all.

Monday, May 05, 2008

It's alive! ALIVE!


Indeed.
I am going declare myself officially well.
Hot damn.
It's been a long LONG week of nastiness but I think I'm back...baby....honey lamb...honey child...oh my sweetness.
Food has flavour and stays where I put it.
I have energy. I can wear fitted clothing and look at bright lights.
It's a whole new world out there!
Tomorrow I'm even going to go for a run...it's been a week off my training for the 10K and I'd like to get back at it so I can actually *d0* it in June.
Nothing like feeling horrid to remind you how fantastic it is to feel normal.

Normal - babe, I salute you.

Bwahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday Favoties Vol.8 - The Dream, by The Orb

After a TRULY horrid day I'm feeling much better...and thought I would post a long delayed new friday favourite. This album is new...it just came out late last year in the UK actually - I had to snag it through ebay to get it here at any reasonable sor tof price, but it was indeed worth it.
I've beena long time Orb fan...they often have hits and misses, but their first Ultraworld album is my favourite of all time.

Their new album, The Dream
is nothing less than fantastic. It has a real reggae dub influence, with a few good dance tracks and a few good ambient ones and everything in between. The whole album is solid and I've enjoyed listening to it many times over. It has fast become a favourite of mine. Alex Patterson has been working again withh Thomas Felmann and it shows...there is a solid bass reggae influence and a smooth flow to the tracks that makes it, by far, their best overall alnum in a while. Tracks 2 and 8 are particular favourites. The album rises and falls, ending in some nice ambientness.
Seeing as they aren't on any major label I don't know how easy this album will be to track down, but if you see it, grab it.
As for me..I'm off to tape Galactica and more Arrowroot cookies and gingerale. J is on his last night (yay) and perhaps I won't be sick much longer (I hope I hope).
Ta.

Getting sick of it

I've managed to somehow transfer my cold sick, which is nearly gone, to another realm of sick, with stomach pains and such. Too much yummy chili or Halls perhaps... Regardless, I'm doing a few necessary things and then I'm going home to bed. I've had to come in to work all week despite sickiness and today I should be able to get off at lunch. I'm crossing my fingers. The thing about doing lab work is often, on some days, I can't just call in sick as there are things midstream...how I wish.

I am, very much so, quite sick of being sick.