19 December 2007

Winter in Vernon

If I let my mind drift to my hometown, especially when I'm close to a visit, I miss the little things. A beach, a hilltop view, a coffee shop, the smell of fresh snow or lake water under the summer sun - pretty much anywhere or anything I used to take for granted that I'd always have at hand.

During the winter, I miss my old back yard on Dixon Dam Road, the view of the valley from the foothills below Silver Star, and from my parents' balcony on Bella Vista. So here are a few pics I'm looking at to tide me over until I'm home again.

Tillistar Winter

Tillistar Village

Snowy hills above

Foothills view

Okanagan Landing

12 December 2007

Word of the Year 2007

Friends who play Warcraft and other games online will be excited to hear that w00t has been added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the 2007 Word of the Year. Hmmm...

Read more at:

08 December 2007

Christmas shopping nightmares

I did a major chunk of Christmas shopping yesterday. It was the first time this year that I faced an offensively overcrowded mall. And I'll be doing it again today - hopefully for the last time in 2007.

Yesterday's shopping reminded me of something a colleague told me this past spring. "Malls are not just training us to consume. They're training us to live on space stations after we destroy the world," he said (or something to that effect).

So if you haven't had a dose of Adbusters lately, this is the perfect time of year. It's long past Buy Nothing Day (which I'm ashamed to say a cup of coffee parted me from participating in) but the message is still valid.

02 December 2007

Seat ninjas

The awesomeness of last night's TOOL concert hasn't worn off on me and probably won't for some time. Amplified by the fact that I woke up yesterday morning beyond bitter that I wouldn't be going.

After making plans to meet up with someone (who already had tickets) after the concert, my friend Danielle called me up and said, "Hey, this is stupid; we'll be going to hang out with a bunch of people who just saw TOOL when we didn't. Let's just go low-ball some scalpers." And we didn't pay much more than the ticket price. Danielle is such a good friend :)

We even had half decent seats, although the SaveOn Arena is just too small for nosebleed seats. That said, we did pull a seat ninja act and found some bar stools and tables in an unticketed section way closer to the stage. I could see the tips of Maynard's mohawk and the rims of his sunglasses until one of the arena staff found us about halfway through.

These guys are definitely kings of the instrumental and last night's concert was officially the best live show I've ever seen for special effects. From the light and sound tribute to Close Encounters of the Third Kind to the full-stage projection effects, the whole night rocked!

(Note: this is not an official video, but I wanted to post something off 10,000 Days)

17 November 2007

Vancouver trip and fall reading

I've been in the thick of book revisions lately, but I still wanted to post something this week. So here's what's on my mind:

Tomorrow, I head to Van to pick up the little one. My last trip to downtown was for an Adobe Seminar in July 2006.

Downtown crosswalk

West Hastings

I'm reading Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine and finding myself thoroughly engaged by this very powerful book. Her detailed research and insightful analysis frames 20th century concepts of control through torture, both ideological and economic.

31 October 2007

Nutrition, Adbusters style

Jeff will be pleased to know his favourite yogurt rates highest on a new nutrition-oriented grocer chain's rating scale. Though it also frightens me (Happy Halloween by the way) that the average person needs a rating scale to know that broccoli is healthier than potato chips (trans-fat-free or otherwise). Read Adbusters' article on this Eastern US supermarket chain.

Hannaford Guides Consumers

Hannaford Supermarkets

30 October 2007

The worst places to live... literally

Here's a disturbing list that's worth reviewing. The next time your city or neighbourhood doesn't look so hot, think about coughing up tangible smog or ingesting carcinogenic heavy metals. In Canada, we just don't see anything even approaching the pollution levels in these cities.

Read about the top ten most polluted cities in the world at:

Time Magazine

The Blacksmith Institute

21 October 2007

Bill Maher ejects rowdies in the audience

I thought this was pretty funny. Yet, sad for the protesters who don't realize how immature and ignorant they come across (even when you can't really hear what they're saying) in their jabs at a public and political figure already thoroughly opposed to right wing and neoconservative ideology.

Happy Sunday morning

20 October 2007

So much for concert tickets

Like everyone else I know who had their heart set on the upcoming TOOL concert, I'm now disappointed. It sounds like tickets were sold out in a little over 20 minutes. Apparently there are no other West Coast stops on their tour and the Victoria concert was likely targeted by many thousands of people in both Vancouver and Seattle.

I'm as disappointed in the band for not adequately accommodating demand as I am in the general bad luck that led to half an hour of, "We're sorry, all circuits are busy. Please try your call again later," accompanied by, "Connecting..." in a browser tab.

16 October 2007

TOOL is coming to Victoria!

I'm a happy woman. A group of us will of course be heading to the concert, but I thought I'd post a video for anyone also planning to hit the Save-On arena on December 1st. Or anyone sorry they can't make it.

12 October 2007


Surfing a marketing blog at work, I came across this new Dove ad. The last time I mentioned Dove was over two years ago to question whether or not a mega corporation in the beauty industry has the capacity to act as a feminist agent for change.

I'm still not sure, but I'm still pleased to see their efforts. However, that sentiment is based on the positive hope that their campaign is a genuine effort to change their industry, not a trendy marketing ploy to tap into progressive body image ideology.

And on a totally different note, I've been meaning to post the video for God's Gonna Cut You Down from American V: A Hundred Highways - Johnny Cash's last album. No particular reason; it's just been on my mind lately.

02 October 2007

Stale but tasty CAKE

I'm notoriously bad at keeping tabs on new releases from my favourite bands. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that CAKE has a new album out, but not at all shocked to be a little slow on the uptake.

It's called B-Sides and Rarities and was released this past July. But if you're a fan and you're at all interested, you probably already know that. Maybe I'll start reading their news page. An unlikely prospect, but I always plan to read more than I ever get to.

Favourite CAKE lyrics:

"Doesn't matter if you're skinny, doesn't matter if you're fat.
You can dress up like a sultan in your onion head hat.
We are building a religion. We are making a brand.
We're the only ones to turn to when your castles turn to sand."

- Comfort Eagle

25 September 2007

Jean Valjean the Seagull

Or we could call him Oliver...

A coworker sent me an email about this bird today, so I looked him up on YouTube. Not that I'm sure the seagull is a 'him' but the story I found refers to 'he' so I'll keep the pronoun consistent.

17 September 2007

Seal over the weekend

Oak Bay Rock Sausage

At home with an awful head cold this weekend, I had time to play with paint again. I've been wanting to translate some of my photos from last spring's whale watching trip into a painting, so I started with a seal.

I didn't get any photos nearly this close - even with the telephoto - but they're just too cute not to do a proper portrait. Although they're adorable, I'm told that seals are not particularly good for a cuddle. Or even recommended for petting from a sturdy wharf.

27 August 2007

Indoor iceberg

If you're a Victoria resident or if you'll be over on the Island any time soon, check out the Titanic exhibit at the Royal BC Museum. You've got loads of time - it's there until October 14.

I saw the exhibit with some friends this past Sunday and it was pretty well worth the price of admission. I say 'pretty well' because I think $25.50 is exorbitant for a museum ticket.

However, redeeming the admission price, I found the interiors duplicated and the artifacts displayed engaging and informative. Towards the end, survivor accounts, a miniature iceberg (visitors place their hands on the block until the cold is painful to simulate a fraction of the water temperature that night) and a computer-simulated version of the collision and sinking were very moving.

Front - Replica boarding passes
were handed out by museum attendants

Back - The information of one passenger,
including a bit of back story, could be verified on a
wall of perished vs. survivors at the end of the exhibit

24 August 2007

If I lived in Springfield

Avatars are not new. I've already wasted far to much time playing with my Yahoo avatar (even switched back to the old version of Yahoo email to have it again). But I couldn't resist wasting more time on generating a few Simpsonized versions.

I even waited several weeks for the traffic to retreat after the site launched (it took a few repeat visits to find a bottleneck-free moment). Be warned, this fun little tool is pretty picky, so they mean business with those specs.

22 August 2007

At home last summer

I've been complaining (like everyone else) about the gloomy summer here on Vancouver Island. And since I don't have any beautiful landscape shots to mark the season this year, I'm posting some shots from last summer of my favourite beach and views back home. Although I hear it hasn't been the best for weather there either over the last few months.

Terrace Mountain behind Kin Beach

Okanagan Landing

Sailing in the Sun

Sage Hills

View from Mom & Dad's

20 August 2007

Again, the importance of independent media...

I was disturbed, but sadly, not shocked to read an article on a local blog this past weekend outlining the firing of a local news editor, seemingly as a result of an advertiser complaint.

I didn't know this editor myself other than having sent a few press releases to his desk, but I sympathize deeply with anyone who lost their livelihood in the course of simply trying to be a good journalist.

Read the story at:

I was equally disturbed by a story I saw on The National last week.

In an era where bloggers are now being sued for no more than linking to a sensitive story, I'm linking to the articles above, aware of possible repercussions and not feeling too free to express myself.

When journalists can be fired based on advertiser complaints (provided there were no other factors) and bloggers can be sued for their personal opinions, we're living in scary times for free speech in Canada.

The majority of my blog flies under the radar consisting of random reflections, mediocre art and photography, personal news and bits of fluff. However, I do like to get political from time to time. I've never been afraid to until now.

I hope Canadian bloggers all come out of this transition as stronger, bolder, more empowered writers. I hope.

12 August 2007

Sunday and partially cloudy

I'm getting very near (2 or 3 pages) to the end of the manuscript I've been struggling with all summer. Not sure if it's what I originally wanted, but I'm pleased and it's been fun to write. Somewhat nostalgic and challenging in terms of character-driven work.

So here's a laid back clip from the White Stripes in case anyone reading this is feeling a little funny today too.

PS - Don't wait for the girl to do anything; just listen to the song.

31 July 2007

Why I want a free ride

Most people who know me are aware of my aversion to driving. It started as urban angst rationalized by financial constraints and has now taken on a green slant. Although I have to admit, now that I've switched back to the buses I used to ride as a student, I miss the freedom (and, let's be honest) comfort and personal space of my metallic blue Tracker.

So I'll be keenly following the aftermath of a series by The Tyee suggesting that transit be free to the public. I like the idea - not just because I will benefit personally - but I think it could lead to other improvements. After the initial recognition of environmental problems, I hope it could also force commuters to come face to face with people that need help which they could otherwise dismiss.

If you're worried about being harassed by a junkie, alcoholic or mental health sufferer, why not go a step farther? Worry about how you can help that person recover - or prevent future cases.
Sounds like a tall order, I know, but so is free transit as it requires a serious commitment from provincial and municipal governments. If we can fill one, the other will start to look more attainable.

The Tyee Transit Series

29 July 2007

Spider City

Back in Colquitz Park today, I went looking for a spider to serve as inspiration for an incident in the chapter I'm working on right now.

There's a rusty old bridge covered in spider webs that's normally home to dozens of Charlotte impersonators, but today, just one little guy was hanging out.

Bridge Spider

Colquitz Heron

Log Climber

Cheeky Squirrel

Wary Rodent

22 July 2007

Korn cartoon on TV today

Watching this video on television today and remembering how cutting edge the special effects seemed (on the bullet specifically) when it first came out kind of dates me. But oh well, I'm feeling nostalgic - and in the mood to embed a video.

12 July 2007

Potter aftermath - don't worry, no spoilers

I have to admit, Cineplex Odeon slightly redeemed themselves last night as I picked up my tickets at one of their kiosks without the slightest hiccup (see previous post). Although it would have been just as easy, if I weren't trying to beat out other movie-goers, to swipe my card for tickets at the door.

I'm exhausted from having stayed up for the 10:20 pm show of the Order of the Phoenix and while I had fun, I think I could have waited until the lines thinned out.

It struck me during several scenes that whoever cast the children for the first movie had their work cut out for them. I imagine it's difficult to find a child who not only fits your character, but will grow into a talented actor for subsequent sequels.

Without picking on anyone, I think it's a good thing the movies have big-name veterans to round out the adult cast.

11 July 2007

Don't ever buy movie tickets online

I'll be enjoying an opening night show of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix this evening. No thanks to their online ticket sales though.

I will officially never be buying online tickets again. Their site crashed during my transaction and rather than sending my friend's boyfriend to buy us another three tickets (Silver City across the street from my house is the most expensive theatre in town) I decided to call their customer support line to confirm the transaction went through.

After 20 minutes on hold, a very, very young boy told me he couldn't confirm anything and I needed to call Visa. I called Visa. They confirmed the transaction had been approved, but not completed. I could still be showing up at the theatre with no tickets.

I called several Cineplex Odeon numbers - all led to useless movie lines. I called Tillicum Mall who gave me a direct line to Silver City and spoke to a manager who assured me my transaction would be honoured and to drop his name if there were any problems.

All of it took only a few hours between getting my work done and doing the pee dance while on hold. But I'm thinking it will be worth it come 10:20 pm tonight.

08 July 2007

River rabbit

Jeff and I found Benjamin Bunny snacking in Colquitz River Park while we were walking after dinner.

Bunny Profile

Bunny Vogue

04 July 2007

Body image babbling and string bikinis

I hope yesterday afternoon was the last time for a long time that I'll have to shop for a bathing suit. Although I also wasted the better part of Monday reviewing every piece of women's swimwear in Tillicum Mall.

At the moment, this industry seems to offer no middle ground between strings and triangles, or full-pieces with obnoxious ruffly skirts. No comfort, no support. I'm trying not to see bathing suits as an allegory for women's lives, but I'm failing.

27 June 2007

Cahoots is back!

Go pick up the Summer 2007 issue of Cahoots!

The theme is Many Cultures and the cover art is a lively, colourful mosaic.
And of course, there are engaging, meaningful stories inside.

Summer 2007 Cover

While you're at it, why not grab a banner for your own site?
Come on, you know you want to.

13 June 2007

Independent media is good for your mental health

This cartoon is a little cheesy, but I like to support independent media. Especially when it's something I read daily.

07 June 2007

No Facebook for me... yet

I've been toying with the idea of starting a Facebook page, but for the same reasons I never got involved with MySpace, I've been hesitating. It's not that I'm painfully shy; I already have this blog, a freelance web site and a DeviantArt account. But how many presences does a person need online to express herself? I've also been afraid that I'd get sucked farther into a myopic electronic existence.

Today I read a Tyee article called The Perils of Do-It-Yourself CeWebrity that quite nicely summarizes all of my concerns regarding online social networking and analyzes the implications for the real world. I already get way too wrapped up in my own writing (although I think this is probably unavoidable, sometimes even necessary, for most writers). I just can't justify one more page dedicated to "useless info about me" that doesn't actually serve a purpose.

05 June 2007

Wild graphics networking and usage

From Google Earth to community digital art projects to local graphics display and storage, this tool and the programming behind it could really change the way my world works. Normally I wouldn't post a projection presentation, but this is just too cool.
The Photosynth Experience

Or if the video isn't loading properly, try www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/129.

28 May 2007

Two weeks in Korea

If you read my last post, you know I've been in South Korea for the second half of May. I'll probably allude to my trip again over the next - oh, probably few years - but I thought I'd share a photographic overview up front.

Downtown Sanbon

Cass bar in Sanbon

Mmmm... love that Galbi - a tabletop barbeque dining experience

KTX train leaving from Yongsan Station

Boarding the KTX

Mom, Sarah and I onboard

The now infamous slow-boat to Jeju
(no seats + 4 hours = tons of fun)

Jungmun Beach on Jeju Island

Palms flanking the soft sand

Entrance to the Jeju Folk Village

Preserved huts at the Folk Village

Oedolgae Rock and surrounding cliffs on the southern coast of Jeju

Random beach on the rural western coast of Jeju

Another random beach

Seonimgyo Bridge

Vertigo-inducing bridge path

Captive seal at Pacific Land

Dolphin performance at Pacific Land

Greater Seoul subway train

National Museum of Korea

Ornate carving under glass at the museum

Seoul Tower

View of Seoul from the tower deck

Dad and Sarah at an indoor driving range in Sanbon