Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Elephants grow reflective in zoo - World - Times Online

A fascinating little item in the Times online: Elephants grow reflective in zoo - World - Times Online

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Birthday

I recently discovered that today (October 31) is Debra's birthday.

To quote the lady herself: "That's certainly bloggable"

Happy Birthday, Debra from one of your many fans!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Biography Challenge

A lady named Caroline, from a blog called "In Search of Adam" issued an interesting challenge to bloggers which Maxine and Debra picked up. The challenge is to write an autobiography consisting of three lines, each containing six words.

Hey, folks, I just found a loophole! She says 'biography' not 'autobiography', so see if you can guess who my biography relates to ( offered with some cursory apologies... )

Red white and blue dullard boy
Well-connected is the only explanation
Yearning to hear less of him.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Is it really a small world?

Go ahead, laugh. I'm going to ask something totally ridiculous. I did a lot of blog reading today and started to think about how much I relate to some of the people whose blogs I read. They feel like such kindred spirits and we've all read about the 'fact' that many Anglo-Saxon/British Isles people are linked a few generations back. I could point you to my family history which contains quite a bit of data, but I suspect that the name Gleeson is the most likely to produce a 'hit'. I've copied the following from the family history and I wonder if there might be a Welsh or English connection within my own little blogging circle?

My mother's grandmother, Esther Stanley, was born to an affluent Irish-Protestant family. My mother passed along a story about Esther as a young woman, going to a fortune teller. Esther was engaged to be married at the time and so was quite doubtful when the fortune teller told her "You're not going to marry the person you think you will marry. You will marry someone with the initials T.G." Sure enough, poor Esther was 'left at the altar', and eventually she did marry someone else - Thomas Gleeson.

Thomas brought another set of problems into Esther's life because he was Catholic. The Irish of my great-grandmother's time were even less tolerant than they are today. Esther's family disowned her when she married Thomas and then she was tormented by Catholic priests urging her to convert to Catholicism. They would visit her when Thomas was away from home and tell her that any children she had would be considered illegitimate if she didn't convert. Family history goes that when Thomas heard of this he became so irate that he left the Catholic church and eventually became an Anglican minister. My grandmother was one of Esther and Thomas' children. I think she was born in Liverpool and the family spent part of the year in Liverpool and part in Llandudnow, Wales where Thomas had a summer ministry. My grandmother was also named Esther and she had sisters Constance, Amy and Edie. Those four sisters and their mother ended up in Canada after Thomas' death. Thomas is buried at Llandudnow. There was most certainly at least one other child (quite possibly more) because my mother had a favourite cousin named Harry Gleeson who was English-born and came to Canada later.

So Skint, Clare, anyone?

I don't know where Debra finds this stuff. I'd link directly to it but if I did you'd miss Debra's comments. Think 'lightning from the backside'. Definitely worth a read! You'll love this one, Confucius.

CTV.ca | Japanese cell phone takes security to new heights

I'd like to get one of these: CTV.ca Japanese cell phone takes security to new heights Actually, I think some of the features go a little 'overboard', but I love the idea of using the 'phone as a credit/cash card and the security chip protection would probably make it safer to use than standard credit cards.

Friday, October 27, 2006

YouTube - Chasers - Trojan Horse

This is a lot of fun! YouTube - Chasers - Trojan Horse

Monday, October 23, 2006

She's So WRONG

Debra and I are bickering - in a most civilized manner of course - about a sexual harassment item. Perhaps I'm just an old fogey. Or perhaps my thinking is more modern than Debra's. Please weigh in on this. I couldn't possibly be WRONG myself....could I?

I Do Dog Tricks

Look at this! I Do Dog Tricks (Via Karen at Verbatim) You can type in various commands, e.g. stand, sit, beg, shake, sing, bark, roll over, fetch, up, down, lick, play dead, and I just love kiss!

Caustic Wit of the Year

And the prize goes to.....our very own Debra Hamel!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bubble Wrap!

Oh, I'm an unrepentant thief! I was just visiting a blog I've never visited before...I've seen nrkii's comments in various places but I didn't realize that she has a blog. Anyway, I was just snooping around, peering through the windows and sizing up the place... The cat burglar in me couldn't be stopped... You've got to try this out. Put it into your favourites! I'm putting it into my favourites...

Question: There's a breathless little voice that makes some sort of comment when you press 'fresh sheet'...What is she saying?

At war with himself - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

BBC1 will be presenting a biography of Rudyard Kipling on November 12. I hope the program eventually makes it to North America because I'd love to see it. There's an interesting article here: At war with himself - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

I know that Kipling seems 'old hat' to most people, but to me he represents all the qualities that made Britain "Great". He spent time here in Victoria many years ago and a nephew of his taught school here.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Marie from Deep Thinker has tagged me with an interesting meme. Initiated by a lady named Sharon, at "Dipping Into the Water Butt", it's a 'people collection' meme. Briefly, her idea is to assemble what will presumably be quirky little lists under the heading "Five things about me that aren't generally known". The lists will serve in somewhat the same way as an artist's sketchbook. Sharon feels that the details we share may serve as some sort of inspiration for a future character. I've been very impressed by Clare's and Marie's submissions on the topic. This particular meme seems quite inspired.

The following is a statement which Sharon requested be included with individual memes:

Remember that it isn’t always the sensational stuff that writers are looking for, it can just as easily be something that you take for granted like having raised twins or knowing how to grow beetroot. Mind you, if you know how to fly a helicopter or have worked as a film extra, do feel free to let the rest of us know about it :-)

So, anyone looking for a freakish new character can just pause right here!

Five Things About Me That Are Generally Not Known:

1. I'm borderline (self-diagnosed) obsessive compulsive and I married a man with the same tendency. He annoys the (*#6*@ ) out of me at times because I can be loading - or emptying -the dishwasher, turn my back for a minute and he will have closed the dishwasher. I was stooping in the pantry the other day, scooping rice out of a large container, and his arm popped in the door to turn off the light. Of course, I'm sure I can be equally annoying to him...at least, I try to be.

2. When my mother was cross with me once she said "You have mean, thin little lips, just like your father!" My poor mother later denied ever having said such a thing, but never mind, I embrace my mean, thin little lips and find them very convenient at times. I simply purse my mouth in such a way as to almost conceal the lips, peer at my husband with a bird-like tilt of the head and he laughs. By which point I've usually 'put a thumb on the scale' so to speak and won my case.

3. I married a man who most closely resembled my favourite breed of dog - a Black Labrador. I feed him well and show him plenty of affection.

4. My eyes are too pale, too blue and so I prefer dark rooms and dim light. The walls in my living area are the colour of chocolate ice cream and the windows are shielded by more plants than you are ever likely to imagine.

5. My plant collection is growing exponentially because I can't seem to kill anything. (Not that I'd try of course!) My problem is that when a plant requires pruning I can't bear to throw away anything with life left in it. One hibiscus has turned into seven. One oleander is six. A jade leaf from the floor of a shopping mall has become two fairly impressive trees and numerous small plants. Even a piece of leftover ginger from the kitchen turned into a flowering plant.

Now the painful part of any meme, to 'tag' more people who may or may not care to participate:
It really is an interesting one, so perhaps Debra...Karen...Douglas...and Tom? I'd love to also learn more about Ian, but he's got an excuse I think...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Deja vu all over again

Debra Hamel has a very nice review of Ian Hocking's book, so I'm not going to attempt to write one. I'm not an idiot! Debra writes very good reviews. I'd just like to add a hearty 'here, here'. Ian Hocking seems like a charming fellow. He participates in the comments section at Debra's blog fairly often and he's got his own blog here. So I bought his book, primarily because I like his face. Actually, I'd forgotten Debra's review at the time I placed my Amazon order... Turns out that it's a very readable book! If you're interested in ordering your very own copy, remember to go through Debra's link!


Dear little Nico (my son's girlfriend's pup) came over yesterday. Nico recently stayed with us for a week while Petie and Tara were camping. Just a darling little dog.

Petie and Tara came in the door yesterday and deposited Nico on the floor. He ran over to greet me, rolled over a little onto his back, snuggled up to my leg and piddled on my shoe! I seem to have that effect on males.

Lazy Woman's Cocktail Party

Is it too late to rename my blog? There's been a chat going on at the Deblog and Petrona recently that made me think about what this blog represents to me. It's the "Lazy Woman's Cocktail Party!" Of course, I'm still 'in over my head', but 'Lazy Woman' seems even more appropriate. What do you think? Too late to change?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Adorable, isn't it? If you want to read more, it's here.

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Rat -- the Other White Meat

I couldn't get into my mail program to send my sister this: Urban Legends Reference Pages: Rat -- the Other White Meat My sister took a tour through China a few years ago and often stopped for 'banquets' that concerned her somewhat. She came back with stories of asking "What is this?" and the answer was invariably "CHIcken!" She had some doubts at the time.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Jan's Writing Journal

I followed a link from Clare's page to Jan's Writing Journal and I'm pleased that I did. I've only had a chance to read one post but I'll be going back to read more. There's a lovely item titled "Dwelling in the House of Tomorrow" that is well worth reading. I think you should take a look at Jan's page.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Keeper of the Snails

I love reading Clare Dudman's "Keeper of the Snails". She has one of the most interesting posts I've ever read up on her blog. I certainly wouldn't attempt to summarise it here, but I'll pass on one amusing item - we share fifty percent of our genetic makeup with bananas. Actually, that explains a lot, doesn't it?

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Double Parked

For an item on the following picture, go here: Urban Legends Reference Pages: Double Parked
And here are more hurtful 'Woman Driver' pictures.

That's a Ferrarri on the bottom.

Newborn baby boy survives 24 hours in armadillo burrow - World - Times Online

An oft-sung lament, but with strange new features: Newborn baby boy survives 24 hours in armadillo burrow - World - Times Online

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Got a New Toy!

I just got a wonderful new toy! Peter and I spent a good part of this evening following my toy around the house, watching it work. It will need a name (definitely a MALE name after the rude comments from Peter to the effect that he should have married it.) It's a little robotic vacuum cleaner and it does the job all by itself! An amazingly good job too. We've got a built-in vacuum system but the bulky, heavy hose makes it terribly inconvenient to use. This is so much better. I love it.

I Could Only Wish

We live in a lovely area which has gone 'upscale' with the advent of superior building techniques. Better insulation and triple-pane glass allows comfortable insulation from the sometimes harsh conditions on the seaside. Our own spot is very nice and the house moderately nice, but you may remember my telling you that Peter's grandfather bought the land for fifteen hundred dollars in 1918. The family endured in a simple little home, enjoying four to five months of ideal conditions each year and seven or eight months of bitter discomfort. Now that the seaside is considered desirable, property values - and taxes - have skyrocketed. Take a look at these two hovels. They're on our block, just around the corner from the point we look out onto, about ten to twelve houses away from ours.

The top one was built by someone described as a 'dot-com millionaire'. They've got an elaborate heat recovery system that involved digging out into the strait. It's for sale now, but I forgot to make a note of the agent's name to check the asking price. The other house, rather humble by comparison, has an asking price of six million, five hundred thousand. Click on the pictures if you'd like a better view.

Tears in My Eyes

Confucius Trevaskis has a great one here! There's something about this particular video that really strikes a chord with me. I just love it. Not the top one, the one with an elderly couple in a car... The top one's good; the elderly couple tape is great.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Confucius Trevaskis

There's a new link in my sidebar, to the very funny blog of Confucius Trevaskis, a.k.a. Mr. Minx. It's called Confucious he say. He has a rather indelicate joke front-and-centre right now... Hurry on over! Incidentally, the sidebar link will stay, but you can also simply click on the link above.

Canadian Thanksgiving

Saturday, October 07, 2006

How To Recognize a Stroke

I just picked this up on Boing Boing and it seems worthy for disseminating:

How to recognize a stroke quickly

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim quickly he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed and getting to the patient within 3 hours, which is tough. Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. But doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

Ask the individual to SMILE.
Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently, ie: It is sunny out today)

If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

If you are aware of any fundamental error in the above, please tell me! Martha, ask Grant please!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Feminist Five

Maxine from Petrona tagged me for a meme with a suffragette theme. I am to list five things that feminism has given me. This really is a wonderful subject. I've given it a lot of thought over the years and come to the conclusion that I'm not so much a 'feminist' myself as an 'individualist'. However, feminism was certainly the vehicle that delivered my rights and my daughter's rights. We owe a debt to the remarkable women who had the courage to demand those rights for us all.

Before I respond on the meme I'd like to remind everyone that there are still individuals who are being denied reasonable rights in our society. I believe that whether or not we are personally 'attracted' to the gay lifestyle, we need to remember that homosexuality IS. It's not a perverse choice, it is simply a difference. A homosexual has just as much right to BE as any other human being and he/she is currently being denied the right to marry and to obtain the same financial benefits as heterosexual couples. That needs to change.

Five Things That Feminism Has Given Me:

1. The ability to take joy in the birth of a daughter, knowing that her voice would be heard and that she would have the same opportunities a son would.

2. The right to make every major decision for myself. The right to make a 'wrong' decision and the ability to recover from any errors made.

3. It's not that many years ago that females were considered 'chattels' in their husbands' households. They were not permitted to control property. Feminism has given us ownership of ourselves and of our material possessions.

4. Feminism has given me the right to vote! That's a right I take very seriously. I've voted in every election - minor and major - since I reached the age of majority. I have influenced other peoples' votes, cajoled the ultra-conservative and the ultra-liberal and each of my votes has cancelled out one extremist vote.

5. Feminism has allowed me to be feminine on the surface and yet still prepared to do whatever is necessary to preserve my position and rights. I can wear a lovely dress and keep a gun tucked under my bed!

Now I am supposed to 'tag' three other people and ask them to post their own responses to the question. If you've got the time, ladies? Debra? Kimmy? and Marie ?

Ryan Ozawa has some worthy comments on the Mark Foley scandal.

This from Snopes.com

YouTube - white and nerdy

I'm dedicating this to the boys I love. YouTube - white and nerdy Thanks to Aces Full of Links!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I probably should just let this go... I entered a contest a while ago, to write a two hundred, fifty word vignette inspired by a picture of the moon in a cloudy night sky. I lost of course, and promptly forgot about it. It just dawned on me that I hadn't kept a copy and it took me a while to track this thing down. Do me a favour - don't read it. I liked it better at two hundred, ninety-eight words. I've put it here for my own amusement. I was reminded of this today when I entered Kimmy's latest blogpoint contest at The Smug Cloud.

Entry #57
Peter's Story by Susan Barr

He really didn't like being out on a night like this because he might be seen. He preferred moonless and cloudy. The best nights were ruined now, though - people seemed to be drawing their curtains earlier. Damn it.

He enjoys looking in windows, catching snapshots of lives. They seem oblivious, even now. Must choose quickly because soon someone will remember and dart to the side of the window to hastily close him out.

A car is moving slowly down the street toward him. They'd increased patrols, hadn't they?

"Getting something of a name for myself" he thought smugly.

Peter put his case down before they got close enough to focus on him. There were two, each scanning a different side of the street. Cocky looking bastards. He nodded at the driver and tried to look friendly and curious. He'd discovered that worked. They didn't stop - hadn't spotted his case. Relief.

As the car rounded the corner he hastened on. He really had to hurry now because they'll come round again. Choose quickly. A room with one dim side lamp and a television flickering in the corner. A woman, head down, reading, husband watching tv. Boring. He moved on. There! Perfect! It was 'just so'. Two men and two women seated at the table. He took his rifle out of its case and adjusted the scope. Nice. Flowers on the table too. He wished he could stay to savour it all. The host raised his glass.

"Cheers, you bald bastard!"


Marie from Deep Thinker has an amusing link to 'what is your vampire name' . I quite like mine. In fact, I think I got the best name of all. I will henceforth be known as Veronique of Whores. Pity poor Pundy. He got 'Donovan of Babylon'.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Victoria Babylon

The magazine Canadian Business has another review of Canadian cities in its latest issue. The article is titled "The Best Places to do Business in Canada". Victoria finished dead last in this one. Unfortunate. I've been going on about how lovely my home city is and now I have to mention some of its drawbacks.

Our cost of living is relatively high, probably because any Canadian with any sense at all will eventually pack his bags and move here. There's a very small available work force due to the aging population. The most damning comment on Victoria is the CRIME RATE! Victoria allegedly has the highest crime rate in Canada - 19,919 per 100,000 people, compared to Quebec City's 5,069 or Toronto's 7,630. I found that a little difficult to accept at first. We have very little crime in my community; our police behave more like cruise ship attendants. But 'downtown' Victoria, the tourist-y area of the city, is a mecca for every Canadian indigent. With the mildest climate in Canada the urban camper comes here. We also have a very benevolent welfare system that maintains people at a more affluent level than our ( generous) minimum wage would allow. Old vagrancy laws have been ruled unconstitutional and the police now seem powerless to control often aggressive panhandlers on the street.

Well, I don't care what they say - I'm not moving!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Happy Birthday, Ken!

Happy Birthday! to the nephew we just discovered. The bouncing boy - Ken - is twenty-one years old today. I wonder if he looks like his cousins. We still haven't met the new brother - that's going to happen next month. It sounds like a family 'upgrade' to me.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I Want This Job!

An acquaintance of mine - someone I'm rather fond of, actually - decided she could use a few more dollars than the day job affords. Just a little 'part-time' employment for just a little extra cash.

I can't believe people get PAID to do what she's going to be doing! She seems to have strolled in and was hired on the spot. Of course, she's a highly presentable and well-educated young woman. She said it was instantly clear that the job was hers, just by the look on the interviewer's face.

She's going to be a "Secret Shopper" and the fellow who hired her said they'll be saving her for 'upscale' restaurants. So her weekend 'job' will be to take a hundred, fifty dollars of someone else's cash and go to the best restaurants in L.A. She'll order a meal and at least one mixed drink of her choice and later write a report on the service and behavior of staff. She figures that will take twenty minutes because she's a professional writer. When she hands in her report I think they give her something in the neighbourhood of sixty dollars cash.

Free food, free entertainment and money! Does it get any better than that?