Saturday, December 04, 2010

The End and The Beginning

I sent out 2,262 e-mails after 4 years, 4 months and 4 days as children's librarian. Seems like it should be more. Starting Monday, I'll be cluttering up a new Inbox. *Sniff* I'll miss the kids. But I damn sure won't miss many of my co-workers. I'm looking at you Miss Control Freak. Now you've got what you want... the library all to yourself. Enjoy it while you can. Rest assured that should any of your new employees prove insubordinate... I'll be cheering them on. Hopefully they can pry the library out of your incompetent, neurotic clutches before you destroy it utterly.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nekkid Scanners in Regina Airport

There's been a lot of talk recently about the new airport scanners being installed in the US and around the world. I won't go into details, since others have covered it well. Anyway, I was hunting down a list of airports that have the scanners so that I could avoid them. Canadian airports that have them include Vancouver and Toronto, but my mouth just dropped open when I saw the third: YQR, also known as Regina International Airport.

WTF.

Dunno how I missed that, but I had no idea. Guess I won't be flying anywhere anytime soon. And if I do have to fly, I'm thinking I'll opt for the pat down, simply because it takes up extra time and extra staff, and it's a way to protest the ridiculousness of the security measures. Terrorists are endlessly inventive. You are never going to be able to protect against them 100%. And in the meantime, it's becoming an absolutely miserable experience to travel anywhere by air. If you want to stop terrorism, you have to go to the source. Western Imperialism isn't making us any friends, you know?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gendered Toys and Video Games



This video talks about some familiar stuff for me, especially near the end when she talks about video games. When I was younger, I had a couple of friends who would play computer games with me, but by junior high my girl friends were not into games anymore, so it was always something I did by myself. When I went to university, I found a group of guy-friends who played a lot, so I finally found others with the same interests... but not other girls. And video games are very much designed for boys. Most of the characters are boys, and when there are girls, they are highly sexualized. I wanted to play with girl characters and stubbornly worked my way through Street Fighter playing with Chun Li, the token girl. In some ways, I don't understand the gaming industry. They are missing out on 50% of the population when they don't put female characters in their games and don't put girls in their ads. Next time you're watching tv, watch for video game ads. Then count how many girls you see on the screen. Zero. And there are video games for girls, but like in the video, they are usually stupid games about fashion or makeup that would bore me to death. I know I'm not that weird. Girls would love to play some of those other cool games. Here are a couple more videos made by the same person on the topic of women in games:





Too many dicks! Not enough chicks!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Story of Electronics

This seems appropriate considering my last post:



If you haven't done so yet, check out Annie Leonard's book. Capitalism is BROKEN. It does not work, and the libertarians who run around saying that the market needs to be free and it will regulate itself are delusional. I don't know what we can replace it with, but we've got to do something.

And this is the story of my life. I try not to just eat out all the time. It's unhealthy and take out creates so much waste! But it's so easy...

Friday, November 05, 2010

geeky goodness

So this afternoon my iPod died. :(

I don't know what happened. I had just downloaded some new tunes, went to hook up my iPod to sync it, and the screen suddenly went dark and I have been unable to get a response since. It is at least 3 years old, possibly 4, (I can't quite remember which Christmas it was I got it) but I'm thinking it's long past its warranty and probs not even worth fixing at this point since it's so old. Curse you planned obsolescence and curse you Moore's law!

So now I have to go iPod shopping and I need some advice. What should I get to replace my iPod? Should I get another classic iPod? The truth is, I barely used a quarter of my old iPod's capacity. I am a music lover, but not a music geek, and I never used it for movies or tv shows... although I could have. And I might use it in the future for audiobooks, so maybe I would have eventually used all that extra capacity. And is there a fabulous alternative to the iPod that I'm not aware of? I've heard some good things about Zune, but does that work with iTunes? Bleh. Anyway, that's something I gotta do now. Another unexpected expense. Heh heh. Good thing I'm getting a raise.

And now onto some geeky goodness that didn't cost me a dime... DOSBox. I got a new laptop just under a year ago. It has Windows 7 on it. And it would not play any of my favourite DOS games like Crystal Caves, Commander Keen, Duke Nukem, etc, games which still played on Windows XP. And I was so sad. But then I thought, surely I'm not the only person stuck in the early 90s. And sure enough, I found DOSBox. It took just a few minutes to download and install, it was free, and now I can play all my games on my new computer. It basically creates a DOS interface, so it would work best if, like me, you were already somewhat familiar with general DOS commands (you basically need to know how to change and view directories, they give instructions for the rest, and you're golden!). I just spent the evening playing Commander Keen 5, complete with full music and sound effects, which did not play even in Windows XP, and I hadn't been able to play that game with the sound since our old 386 kicked the bucket. Now all I need to do is install NES and SNES and I'll be in time warp gaming bliss.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Pufnstuf!

I came across another classic from my childhood today. I was ordering new DVDs, and I came across the complete TV series of H.R. Pufnstuf. And I read the description, and suddenly something twigged in my brain, and so I did some research, and indeed, there was a movie that was made in 1970 called Pufnstuf. I specifically remember the scene where the flute comes alive, and also the boat turning evil and him falling in the water. But the memories are pretty fuzzy and vague, so I must've been very young when I saw this. Oh yeah, and as a bonus, one of the witches is played by Cass Elliot! Of course I wouldn't have known who she was then, but cool nonetheless.

YouTube has the full movie, here's the first two segments which have the scenes I remember.



Monday, October 18, 2010

Climate Denial Crock of the Week

There are still sadly many people out there who have decided to believe the oil industry, big business, and our conservative government rather than the scientific community about global warming. It's real, it's happening, and we need to do something about it. Next time some idiot tells you that there's no proof of global warming, direct them to this guy's channel. He does an excellent job of debunking the myths out there and explaining the science. In this video he demonstrates that the concept of CO2 causing global warming is so simple, even a child can (and does) understand it.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Fuck Hate

Here's a fun video about gay marriage in the states. Let's hope they get it right soon and make it legal across the board. Thank goodness Canada is already over this hurdle.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

E-mail Etiquette

Please go and check out the Oatmeal's cartoon If you do this in an E-mail I hate you. Funny stuff and soooo true.

My pet peeve is the one where people inappropriately hit "Reply All". Sometimes it's just annoying, like when a person replies just to say "Thanks" or "Okay" and their one-word reply goes out to everyone on the mailing list. So unnecessary. But I have also witnessed incidents where the person hits "Reply All" and proceeds to discuss something which really should have been kept private between the sender and the one recipient, causing awkwardness and embarrassment all around. An example is where a friend of mine who is president of an organization sent out a newsletter to their entire membership base, and then the treasurer hit "Reply All" and proceeded to chew out my friend about the budget... something which should have most certainly been confined to at least just the executive, not the 100 members on the newsletter list. Oy. Please people, think before you click that button.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cleavage on Sesame Street

I think this video's cute:



Those parents who objected are being silly.

After all, kids know about boobs (skip ahead to 10:00).

Update: Ha ha.



"Kids come for the boobs and stay for the books." Hmmm. My first storytime of the Fall is tomorrow. Maybe I should try a lower cut top??

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fuck me Ray Bradbury

I'm loving this, although I confess that the only Ray Bradbury book I've ever read was Fahrenheit 451. This video has convinced me that it might be a good idea to check some more out. :) And some have found this video to be raunchy, and I dunno, maybe I'm becoming desensitized, but I find this video nothing but fun. But still NSFW, in case the video title didn't clue you in.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's the end of an era...

I just weeded the entire Sweet Valley Twins collection from the library.

Goodbye Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. Your blonde hair, blue-green eyes, dimples, and California sun-kissed skin will live on in my memory forever.

I also weeded the entire "Full House" collection, which went completely unmourned by me. Now if people would only stop reading the Mary-Kate and Ashley series...

Friday, August 06, 2010

Stupid malfunctioning websites

Sorry I've been gone for awhile. Things have been pretty crazy at work, etc. Speaking of work, I just spent all day ordering books off of a vendor's website, only to have the site malfunction and my entire cart of purchases disappear. A whole day's worth of work, wasted. Needless to say I'm not a happy camper, and I'm afraid I sent them a rather nasty e-mail. Hopefully it will get them to look at the problem though. If you are a primarily online vendor, then your website should be working 100% no excuses. I hate it when something like that ruins my day.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The G20 and the New Canadian Fascist State

There were atrocities committed this weekend in Toronto. And I'm not talking about a few police cars being set on fire.

Being a denizen of the left-wing political blogosphere and a YouTube junkie, I hear all the time about how the main-stream media (MSM) is not to be trusted. They don't do any independent investigative journalism anymore, they just get their taking points and press releases from the government or other officials and don't do any further digging on their own. I always took this with a grain of salt thinking that it can't actually be that bad. But after last weekend I've changed my mind. Whether they can't or they won't, the MSM is no longer up to the task of keeping an eye on our government for the Canadian people. How else to explain this poll?

66% of Canadians, and 73% of Torontonians feel that the police reaction this past weekend in Toronto to G20 protesters was justified.

I am speechless. People in this country are not that heartless or stupid. The only way that makes sense is if the people that were polled didn't see or hear the things that I have. Which means that the MSM has utterly failed. You see, I don't own a TV anymore, so I can't even tell you what was on the National or CTV, but judging from that poll, I'm guessing what people probably saw was images of police cars burning and windows being smashed.

Well, if that's all you saw, that is so, so far from the whole story. First of all, no one, certainly not me, is condoning the actions of the so-called "black bloc" who went on a rampage on Saturday afternoon. The violence and destruction was uncalled for and accomplished nothing. But those were a very, very small percentage of the thousands of protesters who were there doing peaceful demonstrations in the city. And the funny thing is, that despite the fact that the government spent over a billion dollars on security and the city was literally crawling with police officers, for some reason these guys were allowed to get away with it. Why were those police cars abandoned in the road, on a route that they knew protesters were going to be? Why didn't they charge in and arrest people as soon as it started? Well, there's an explanation for that:



If you think that is just being paranoid and is a crazy conspiracy theory, think again. It's been done before. It makes perfect sense given the criticism the government took for the security price tag. Gotta prove to the public that it was worth it, right? So, let a few bad protesters go on a rampage. Send that to the MSM, let the public see those same three police cars burning over and over again. Then you round up peaceful protesters, crushing all dissent, and filling up your cages so you can have some impressive stats about how many people you had to arrest.



Never mind that none of those people did anything wrong. In fact, some of the people weren't even protesters. They were people out for a walk, coming out of restaurants and bars, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

You must read this account of one person's experience, and then you tell me whether the police response was justified. Or check out this video:



When did singing O Canada become a reason to be trampled over by a line of police in riot gear?

These people's rights were violated. And I don't care if you agree or disagree with what they were protesting about, because some day it could be you. A democracy cannot function without the right to peaceful (which the vast majority of these people were) protest. By protecting their rights, we protect our own. There should be an inquiry into this, but due to that poll in which misinformed people indicated that the protesters got what they deserved, there probably won't be one. But you can help change the government's and police's attitude about this. Write you MP, join the facebook group, and please pass this information on to absolutely everyone you know. The Canadian people deserve to know the truth about what went on in Toronto.

H/t to The Galloping Beaver, A Creative Revolution, and many others.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Great Flood

You know what's really funny? Just the other day someone was telling me that it couldn't possibly flood in southern Saskatchewan... Oh really? Crazy stuff going on down in the southwest corner which is where I'm originally from. Here in the 'Jaw we didn't get that 100mm, so there is no flooding here, although many farmers still did not get their crops in. Back at home the dam is overflowing for a second time this year. It always overflows once with the spring runoff, but it has never overflowed a second time with just rain water, never in my lifetime, and probably never before that either. Medicine Hat, Maple Creek, Cypress Hills and Fort Walsh are all in trouble. And the weather forecast is calling for more rain.

Here's some good photos of the disaster.

The Trans-Canada highway is still closed and likely will remain closed for awhile, and there's a good video here that shows why:

And here's some more footage of Maple Creek:


Of course, the large amounts of water laying around in the ditches have some advantages:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Canadian Please

Here's a fun video that has been around for a year, but I'd never seen it before.

Monday, June 14, 2010

BPocalypse

God BP is full of shit. Some of these images are heartbreaking.



Friday, June 11, 2010

More Videos!

What can I say. I'm lazy. But you won't stay mad once you see these videos.

First of all, I cannot stop watching this! I must download this and listen to it until I get it out of my system:


And all I can say about this is ROFLMAO. Except that it's almost too true to be funny.


H/t to The Galloping Beaver and Mike.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Video time

A couple of very good videos for your perusal and enjoyment.



Sunday, June 06, 2010

Long-gun registry

Whew. This is a long post. So get settled in and here goes.

Jack Layton will not be whipping the vote in the upcoming third and final reading of Bill C-391, meaning that the controversial long-gun registry could finally meet its demise. This has once again caused a division on the political left, with some praising Layton for allowing his MPs to follow their constituents' wishes and vote their conscience on this controversial issue and others swearing that they'll never vote NDP again because of how Layton has betrayed the left. This latter group really pisses me off.

Really? You're going to blackball an entire political party because of one issue? And I really hate how some of these people on the left think everything you say is just dandy, as long as you stick to the typical "left" stance on the issues. But as soon as you offer a dissenting opinion about anything, they jump down your throat and start telling you how you're not a "real progressive" because a real progressive would not have an opinion like that. Says who? I try to take each issue on an individual basis and do my own thinking. Most of the time I do end up agreeing with the typical "left" perspective. But sometimes I don't. And if you are not thinking things through on your own but just automatically agreeing with everything a particular group says, then you are no better than the idiots on the right who continuously vote conservative time after time despite the fact that if they took a couple of minutes to look into things, they'd find that they're voting against their own best interests.

The long-gun registry has always been controversial but instead of dividing neatly down a right/left line politically like many other issues, it tends to be more of an urban/rural divide. Which is why you have rural NDP and Liberal MPs voting with the Conservatives, and why you have many people who are as left as it gets in every other way but who still strongly oppose the registry. JJ and I are not the only ones. And just because we happen to agree with the conservatives on this one issue does not mean that we have betrayed the entire progressive movement.

So what reasons could we possibly have for objecting to the long-gun registry? And when you read that last sentence, you should inject as much horrified disbelief as possible and you'll be pretty close to the tone some people on the left use when they ask us this question. Because here is the thing. Most of the people who support the gun registry are urban dwellers. And they cannot for the life of them even see why anyone actually needs a gun. Because they certainly don't need one. And it's true. Unless you're a weekend hunter, the need for a gun in an urban setting is pretty much non-existent. I currently live in a city and I do not own a gun, nor do I feel a need for it. With a phone call city police are a few minutes away. If we get a wild animal invading city limits, then you can call the city for help with that too. But you've got to step out of the box for a moment and picture things from a rural dweller's perspective. RCMP are spread pretty thin in some areas, and help from them can literally be more than an hour away. Guns are also useful for pest and predator control. And if you're picturing in your head a bunch of country bumpkins in the back of a pickup truck driving around the countryside shooting at anything that moves - then stop. Yes there is the occasional idiot like that. But for my part, I have only ever seen guns used very occasionally, and only when livestock were directly threatened and there wasn't another way to deal with it. Where my parents farm, they get foxes, coyotes, and even the occasional cougar, but unless there is a problem, they leave them alone. And even then, sometimes a warning shot will suffice to scare them away. The gun is a needed tool in a rural setting.

But, I have heard some people whine, those rural people are in the minority. The majority of us live in cities and want the registry to remain, so we should win! Hmmm. I believe that is called tyranny of the majority and it's something that Canada tries to avoid in general. Just because you don't have a need for something, or even understand that need, doesn't mean you get to steamroll over the rest of us just cuz there's more of you. These are the same people who whine about how electoral ridings represent rural areas disproportionately. Yes they do, to prevent just this kind of scenario.

But the gun registry saves lives! Right? People who use this argument are very fond of saying things like "Over the past decade, the rate of firearm-related spousal homicide decreased three-fold, declining from 1.7 per million spouses in 1996 to 0.5 per million spouses in 2007." And then they like to show this chart. But if you look at that chart closely, you realize that it's actually been dropping for the past 30 years, in line with homicide rates in general, well before the long-gun registry came into effect. The chart does not show a more precipitous drop since 1995 when the gun registry became law. The rate was going down anyway, which suggests that other factors can account for the drop. Which factors? Well, I don't know, how about those mentioned in this government report:

Although it is difficult to determine the reasons why spousal violence has declined, explanations may include increased societal awareness and lower tolerance of spousal abuse, as well as greater access to social services to protect victims (e.g., shelters) and improved responses by the criminal justice system. Over the past couple of decades, pro-charging and pro-prosecution policies have been introduced in all Canadian jurisdictions mandating that charges be laid where there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that an offence had been committed (Ad Hoc Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group, 2003).
Other measures to improve the justice system’s response to spousal violence include multi-agency coordinating committees, specialized domestic violence courts, civic domestic violence legislation, as well as increased services and supports for victims and treatment for offenders.

You'll notice that the gun registry isn't mentioned.

But the police think it's good, right? Except when they don't. And I have heard anecdotally of other police and RCMP who have expressed similar sentiments - that the top brass are out of touch and that the registry does little to help them in their jobs. Because even when police check and they find that the residence they're being called to does not have any registered guns, they still have to assume that there may be some there. And in rural Canada, where shotguns are ubiquitous, that's a pretty good assumption to make. So operationally, the registry is not causing them to do anything different.

I can think of a couple of scenarios where the registry would be useful. If a criminal actually bothered to register a gun and then was dumb enough to leave it at the scene of a crime, then the police could use the registry to catch them. Not a common occurrence I'm willing to bet. The other way is if someone registers their guns and then begins acting in a homicidal or suicidal manner such that police are alerted and then take away their guns preemptively. Again, I'm thinking this is a rare occurrence. The registry was created in response to the 1989 shootings at Ecole Polytechnique. But the only way the registry would have prevented this tragedy was if Marc L├ępine had registered his weapon and police had become aware of his homicidal intentions ahead of time. Personally, I know someone who committed suicide with a shot gun. It was a horrible thing. But the registry wouldn't have prevented it. If his own family weren't aware of the turn his mind had taken, then the police sure weren't and couldn't have taken the gun away ahead of time.

But, the police do use it! All the time! But sometimes statistics can be misleading:

Once again Thursday, the chiefs trotted out their stats: Last year alone, the registry was used 3.8 million times. That averages out to 10,411 times a day — or seven times a minute, 365 days a year.

Here’s what that means, according to rank and file officers who oppose the registry. Each time an officer searches for any kind of information about anyone, the database is tapped. It’s accessed automatically, all the time.

And of all those times it was accessed, only about 2.4% of queries actually had anything to do with guns.

So here's what I think after spending a lot of time reading about this this weekend.

At this point, I don't think the cost is an issue. Yes, the set-up of the system was expensive, it went way over budget and I think the current estimate is about 1 billion dollars. But the maintenance cost is relatively small, about $15 million is I believe what I last read. So I don't think that is a valid argument anymore.

As to it usefulness, I think I've shown that the data is, at best, incomplete. I like to get to the root of the problem and my personal feeling is that putting more money into preventing crime, providing more social services, and reducing poverty will be more helpful than the registry. Even the Auditor General criticized the registry for having no real way to monitor itself. In my line of work you know that if you set up a program or a service, then you had also better set up some way of monitoring it so that you know if it's been a success or not. Otherwise, come budget time, how do you justify spending money on it? At the very least, we need to put something in place so that we can see what effect, if any, the registry is having.

At that point, we might be able to judge if the registry is actually worth alienating half of Canada for. I've seen nothing to suggest that it is. I think Jack Layton was right to allow his rural MPs to vote their conscience, and if the gun registry dies, so be it. I'm not going to panic.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

These things...

  1. A good explanation of the Twilight phenomenon. My favourite part, "I'm a 100 year old immortal with a perfect body and a perfect soul. I think I'm gonna go date an annoying high school chick."

  2. The oil spill in the gulf has been gushing oil into the ocean for over a month now, and BP still hasn't figured out a way to stop it. The whole thing has been one incompetence after another. All anyone can do is point fingers at one another, and meanwhile the spill has reached the Louisiana marshes. Also, check this video out, so you can learn proper fucking booming:


  3. I was listening to CBC radio on Monday night and they were having an interesting discussion on the ethics of eating meat. I've mentioned this issue a couple of times, and I was pleased to hear that quite a few of the people on the show were of the same opinion. Vegetarianism doesn't make sense from a health or environmental standpoint. And, if you eat organic, pasture-fed, free-range meat, a lot of the animal welfare issues stop making sense. Anyway, they should start posting the podcast soon, and I'm going to go back and listen to the whole thing.

  4. What is with this weather? The heat in the ancient house that I live in has been shut off for the summer, and so even with my space heater going full tilt, it's barely livable. I have been sleeping very well though, albeit with extra covers on my bed. Avery has taken to curling up right under the heater, and I'm afraid she's going to set herself on fire.

Most of this post was shamelessly stolen from saskboy and the galloping beaver.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Review Time

I just watched the Boondock Saints II. I enjoyed the first one quite a bit. It reminds me of a Tarantino movie, or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. So if you're a fan of either of those, you'd like Boondock Saints. And Boondock Saints II was quite good. Not as good as the first one perhaps, but only because it was a lot like the first one, so the style is not as fresh. And it's got an actual woman in it, Julie Benz, who will be familiar to anyone who watches Dexter (she plays his girlfriend Rita). Although it still fails the Bechdel Test since she's pretty much the only woman in it. But if you liked the first one, defs check out the second one. If you haven't seen the first Boondock Saints, I recommend you do before you watch this one, because it's first of all a very good movie, and secondly there are some things in this movie that will not make sense unless you've seen the first one.

In reading news, I've just finished A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer. It's a teen fantasy set in an alternate early 1900s Europe. Faris Nallaneen, Duchess of Galazon, is sent to boarding school in France by her uncle, who is ruling the dukedom until she comes of age, though Faris suspects that he is reluctant to relinquish the dukedom to her. She goes to Greenlaw College reluctantly, but quickly becomes more interested in her studies since they involve learning magic. She acquires an English best friend and a handsome bodyguard and must somehow save the world with her newly learned magic while saving her dukedom from her uncle. Good read, wonderful characters and a slightly bittersweet ending. Recommended.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Munch munch munch

Quick! Go to the Google Home Page and let it load. Then get ready to waste time.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sweet...

CBC translator FAIL. That's hilarious. I'd give her a raise.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We're number 12!

A study was recently published ranking the countries of the world on their environmental impact. The link goes to an article which talks about the 10 worst. We aren't mentioned. But before you breathe a sigh of relief, if you check out the original study you'll find that Canada ranks 12th. We just barely missed being on that list. That's unacceptable. Keep fighting, and let our government know that the environmental issues aren't just going to go away.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Women's perspective absent from most movies?



This is an interesting video. I've never really thought about it before, but sadly, most of my favourite movies fail the test. It's funny how you never really think about these things until they're pointed out to you. This same girl does a mash-up video about the lack of female characters in video games, and that I can relate to. I was bitching about that way back in the Super Nintendo days. There was sometimes a token female character, but that was it. (I still refuse to play anyone but Chun-Li in Streetfighter.) And sadly, things haven't changed very much since then.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Blood Pressure Rising

It seems that these days reading the news can be a dangerous undertaking. Every time I turn around, I'm reading something that causes me to either want to cause serious pain to someone else or give up in complete and utter despair. Really, it would be easier to do so. Ignorance is bliss after all. But that is what they want.

The corporations of the world are winning it seems, whether it's a giant oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the US government deregulating the safety measures for off-shore rigs at the behest of the oil industry, or it's our own Canadian government completely ignoring the will of the people they claim to serve and going ahead with a Draconian digital copyright bill similar to the US DMCA in order to appease their corporate overlords. (Hopefully more on this last issue later since as a librarian, it affects me rather personally.)

If you haven't read Feed by M.T. Anderson, do it. It's a dystopic science fiction novel about a future world that's run by corporations and rampant consumerism... except these days I don't see much difference between Anderson's futuristic horror and our own world. It's so close to the way things are, it's beyond scary. It has ceased to be satire. It is reality. And maybe we won't be able to stop it, but we've got to try. So get informed, watch the news, and do something about it. Don't let the corporate overlords win and don't let our greedy politicians get away with kowtowing to the corporate lobby simply because of the money and other perks they receive in return for their cooperation. I hope that there are at least a few leaders out there who remember that they are supposed to be serving the people who elected them. NOT the corporations that, sadly, seem to run much of the world. Let's take our world back before it becomes the wasteland depicted in Feed.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Incomplete and happy to be so

Being a single woman who's almost thirty can be tough. Friends and family my own age are getting married and having kids and there's this feeling of urgency, of almost panic, that I'm falling behind and that, if I'm not married and have two kids and own a house by the time I'm thirty-five, something BAD will happen. I'll somehow have failed at life.

But I just have to keep reminding myself that if I really wanted to, I could have that right now. But I didn't want to settle for just that. In order to have that, I would have had to sacrifice some other things in my life that are very, very good. And maybe someday I will have those other things too... but only if I know that it will make me happier in the long run than I am now. And right now I'm quite happy as I am.

I was listening to Alanis today, and her song "Incomplete" has some very good advice:

I have been running so sweaty my whole life
Urgent for a finish line
And I have been missing the rapture this whole time
Of being forever incomplete

Ever unfolding
Ever expanding
Ever adventurous and torturous
But never done

Life's a journey, not a destination. There's nowhere that I have to be this year, or in five years. And it's good to remember that.

Junk store salt and pepper shakers

As an update to my previous post, here's a pic of my new shakers:

salt and pepper shakers

I've been doing some internet research, and these were made in the USA by West Bend in the 60's or 70's, and also came in the colours "harvest gold" and "avocado green". I'm pleased with my $4 find.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Viacom sucks

Wow is Viacom ever acting like an asshole. Essentially they are uploading youtube videos to their own video sharing sight without the original posters permission or knowledge, where they then get ad revenue off of the video. Then after abusing the copyright of others, they turn around and file DMCA notices left, right and center (some of them false) against youtube users. Copyright for me, but not for thee. It's awful that a huge corporation like Viacom will abuse copyright law and free speech simply because they think they're big enough to get away with it. You know what would be nice? If Google sued their asses off on behalf of the youtube community. C'mon Google. Isn't your motto "Don't be Evil?" Part of not being evil is not letting evil-doers get away with their crimes. With great power comes great responsibility... But I won't hold my breath.



Friday, April 30, 2010

Gunless - it's good!

I saw Gunless tonight with my friend L, and we both agreed it's good. I actually laughed so hard at the end watching the outtakes that my tummy hurt. It's a great little movie of light-hearted comedy - made in Canada. So go see it!

Pet Peeves of the Day

  1. Rainy days that are too windy to use an umbrella. Such as today for example. I couldn't walk anywhere without getting wet. And due to my excursion outdoors this afternoon, the rain and wind have caused my hair to become a cloud of frizzy curls. Now, if I don't have to go out in it, then windy, rainy days are great. It's wonderful to sit in your warm bed or cozy chair, drinking warm drinks and eating warm cookies, and hear the wind howling around the eaves and rattling the windows and hear the fat splats of rain hitting the glass. But if you have to go out in it, then rain + wind = NO FUN.

  2. Sarcan. It's noisy, smelly, and the floor's sticky. I always feel like I need a shower when I come out.

  3. DJs that continue to yap during the intro to a song. Just because there is no one singing does not mean that we don't need to hear that part of the song. Sometimes the intro to a song is the best part. And you're RUINING it! So please, when you play a song, then let us listen to the whole thing, beginning to end.

  4. Snobby high-end antique stores. Oh sure, they look really pretty. But you know you can't afford anything in them (and so does the snobby shop-owner and his pedigreed poodles), and there will be no hidden treasures to find. Which brings me to one of my loves: junk antique shops. You know the kind. The ones where every single square centimetre is covered with stuff and even the floor has stacks of stuff, and everything is piled so high and so haphazardly that it's constantly in danger of falling over... Maybe it's not so pretty to look at, and can be somewhat hazardous to navigate. But if you've got some time to kill, you can uncover some real treasures in these places. And half the time the shop owner is as surprised as you when you find something. I've been looking for some green glass salt and pepper shakers like the ones my grandma used to have. See, I'm very anti-stuff. And so I'd like to find some salt and pepper shakers that are both nice enough to look at that you can put them on the dinner table, but practical enough that you can take the tops off and fit a teaspoon in them for cooking. That's harder to find than you might think. And although I did not find the elusive green glass ones today, I found some aluminum ones that will do just fine until I do find them.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gunless

Paul Gross has a new movie coming out: Gunless

God he's hot.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dude, where's my car?

So I went downstairs to go to work this morning and discovered my car was gone.



But, I knew immediately what had happened. You see, it was street cleaning day. And I knew it was, but you see, when they have signs posted saying "Street Cleaning Wednesday" I just assumed they meant sometime during the day Wednesday. But actually they meant 5:30 in the morning Wednesday.

Ah. My mistake. So I walked to work, and once I got there I looked up on the city's website and discovered that they don't tow your car to the impound, they just tow it around the corner and give you a ticket. So I walked home for lunch to check, and sure enough, there was my car, parked neatly around the corner with a ticket on it. And the ticket was for $25.00.

Seriously, what other city does that? Tows your car around the corner for you and only charges you $25.00 for their trouble. I figure I got off pretty lightly.

I was, however, still in a bad mood due to the incident, and I consequently sent out several nasty e-mails and had my frowny face on all day.

I'm hoping to go to bed tonight and wake up in a much better mood. To help me along the way, I got an extra long guitar lesson tonight, and for the last half we played the ukulele. And it's like my guitar teacher says, you can't help but smile when you hear someone play the ukulele. So here's some awesome ukulele videos. I'm trying to decide if I want to buy one or not.





Monday, April 19, 2010

Poll results

I got polled about a week ago on the phone. The results are in.

Guess how I answered?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Book Review Time Again!

  1. The Good Neighbors - Holly Black
    This is a graphic novel series, written by Holly Black and illustrated by Ted Naifeh. I've read the first two volumes "Kin" and "Kith". It's typical Black fare - gritty urban teen culture meets gothic faerie tale. And while I loved her "modern faerie tale" series, I'm not sure that I'm too crazy about this one. Especially with the second one, I found that the story seemed to move too fast. Events happened too quickly, and we aren't given enough time to get to know the characters, to really understand their motivations. And that makes the story feel kind of flat. Like all these things are happening to people that you don't really know or care about. So I'm kind of disappointed. But Black is a novelist, so maybe she's having trouble with the graphic novel format. I think they're well illustrated. The mood is sombre in black and white, and Naifeh's elves and humans are lithe and sharp-featured. But the story and characters need some work. Still, I'll probably read the next one in the hopes that they'll improve.

  2. Elske - Cynthia Voigt
    Voigt wrote four companion novels, all about a mythical place known as "the kingdom". They're a bit of a departure for Voigt who mostly writes realistic fiction. However, despite their made-up medieval setting, the books are still realistic in that there is no magic. I've read two of them, Jackaroo, which was pretty good, and now this one. And I really liked Elske. It follows a young girl who runs away from home and certain death. She journeys to another city where she struggles with learning a new culture and new language, and then ends up helping a Queen regain her throne from her despotic brother. It deals realistically and sympathetically with topics such as rape and infanticide, and Elske is a strong, likable character. Highly recommended.

  3. A Well-Timed Enchantment - Vivian Vande Velde
    This is Vande Velde's second novel, written quite a while ago, and I have to say I found it quite mediocre. Which is funny, because I really like her first book, A Hidden Magic (which is written for a younger, Gr. 3 - 5, audience). But this book, from its terribly punny title right down to the unlikely romance between the main character and her cat, felt a little cobbled together. A girl drops her mickey mouse watch down a wishing well where it goes through a portal to medieval France. Two elves send her and her cat (first transforming him into a human) to retrieve the watch before it alters history forever. Medieval France is not described in a way that seems very realistic or historically accurate. She meets up right away with a noble family who invite her and her friend/squire/page/brother (as she introduces her cat turned boy to them at various times) into their castle without blinking an eye. And her relationship with the cat is not developed very well either. They are supposed to be in love at the end, but I'm not sure when that was supposed to have happened. Anyway, I'm weeding it from our shelves, and I doubt it will be missed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Good Stuff

1) I am wearing fuzzy pink socks. Cuz there is nothing like fuzzy pink socks to make you feel better on a cold, rainy day. Except maybe hot chocolate and a good book. But I have those too!

2) You should go and visit Hyperbole and a Half. For its weird randomness and crazy cartoons that make me lol, it has earned a spot in my sidebar.

3) I like reading romance novels. But, I often start romance novels and then stop reading them because I lose interest once the relationship is consummated, because the sexual tension was the only thing advancing the plot. The best romance novels are ones that have interesting characters and a good plot in addition to the romance. And I came across a good one that I actually enjoyed right to the end. So if you like historical romance, try The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt. It's part of a trilogy along with The Raven Prince and The Serpent Prince, but that one's the best.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Apocalypse... now?

Hmmmmm...

I don't know whether to take this seriously or not. I do think that unless we change how we run the world economy we are headed for a collapse of some sort, I just didn't think it would be this soon. Time to learn how to grow your own food people. I'm lucky since I already have a source of good home-grown meat, vegetables and grain. You can eat locally in Saskatchewan. Maybe you should try it. Maybe you'll have to try it.

h/t to Saskboy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This one's for you sis...

Fuuuck! Is anybody else having problems embedding You Tube videos? It's too big for my blog, even the smallest size. Videos that embedded just fine before are now too big to fit on the screen, despite the fact that the html is EXACTLY the same. Fucking youtube. I'm assuming it's youtube, because it looks shitty no matter what browser I open it with. Some sort of bug rolled up with all the (stupid!) changes they have made to the site recently?

Anyway, due to youtube's retardedness, you'll have to click on the link to watch:
Chiropractic vs. Science Based Medicine.

Update:
Okay, I've manually changed the video to have an object width of 500. But I still just don't understand why previous videos with a width of 650 fit, and now they don't. Anyone who can shed any light on this, please do. Anyway, the video:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Down with Disney Princesses

I recently heard a story about a librarian who did a fairy tale program for young kids and their parents. She was shocked and horrified to discover that none of the kids or their parents had had any exposure to fairy tales outside of the Disney version, and indeed, most of them thought that Disney was the original source of these tales.

I consider this to be an alarming trend. Parents, please expose your children to more than the Disney version of a fairy tale. Disney "cutesifies" these tales with wide-eyed talking animals, and a lot of times they also change the ending completely to make the tales more kid-friendly (eg. in the original Little Mermaid, she doesn't get the prince). If children only ever see the Disney version, they are missing out on a huge chunk of our rich, cultural heritage.

There are also problems with the way femininity and race are represented in the Disney movies. For a good critique of Disney, check out this documentary. Suffice to say, the women in Disney are either invariably evil (the witches) or beautiful princesses in need of rescuing. And little girls today are obsessed with the Disney Princesses. They are everywhere you look, on tv, in movies, in books, in toys. Disney has gone into merchandising overload. And these princesses are frankly not good role models for girls. There is a series of books that we have in our library called Disney Princesses Secrets (or something like that) and they go out all the time. In each of these little books, one of the Disney Princesses imparts a "secret" to the reader. Guess what Snow White's secret is? When she gets tired of doing "princess" things she sneaks off to the seven dwarfs' house and cleans it for them. Barf.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not completely anti-Disney. I owned and loved many of these movies myself as a kid. I still love Beauty and the Beast. But please, any parents, or anyone who is thinking of becoming a parent, please make sure your kids get more than the Disney version of any fairy tale. And to combat the weak female characters (cuz let's face it, even in the originals, many of the women are passive) try a couple of fractured fairy tales where the women take control of their own destiny.

A couple of my favourite feminist picture book fairy tales are The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch (which also has the word "bum" in it as a bonus) and Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole (which has the most hilarious illustrations). And when they get a little older, try some Tamora Pierce, Shannon Hale, and Gail Carson Levine for some kick ass fantasy novels with strong female protagonists.

Friday, April 09, 2010

She's back! And pissed off about stuff!

Wow, I've been away for awhile. But I have excuses. I was in Portland for five days, and then it was Easter, and work has been busy... Anyway, I'm back now and there are a few things that have been going on that I want to comment on.

Hopefully I'll be able to finish this post before the power goes out again. It's been blinking on and off all day, presumably because of the nasty wind storm. It's not snowing in this neck of the woods, but the wind was insane. I took my bird feeder down because it was just going to end up stripping all the twigs off the branch it was on and go flying down the street. And the power outages were super annoying because I was at work, and if, like me, you have on average 5 programs running and 10 windows open, every time the power blinks you have to restart the computer and reopen everything. Thank goodness firefox at least remembers what windows you had open. Anyway, on with the show.

1) OMG Facebook. Get over yourself. There is NOTHING obscene about a breastfeeding mother. I have never understood people that have a problem with mothers breastfeeding children in public. It's what they're for fer chrissakes. If you agree and if you do the facebook thing, then there's a facebook group you can sign up for to let them know just what you think of their silly censorship.

2) Ha ha ha. Well Helena, I'd say it's been a pleasure, but, well... don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. She and her loser drug addict husband Rahim (former MP of Edmonton-Strathcona) are like the gift that just keeps on giving. Every time you think they've hit rock bottom, you're sure they can't sink any lower, but nope, they just keep on digging. Once upon a time, I actually believed that most people in government were really in it because they wanted to help their country and their fellow citizens. But the longer I follow politics, the more cynical I get. I'd like to think that the hi-jinks of Helena and hubby are the exception rather than the rule for MPs, but I'm beginning to really wonder if there's anyone left with an ounce of integrity in that slime pit.

3) The City of San Francisco has come up with "Meatless Mondays" where they are encouraging (though not requiring) their citizens to go without meat. This is a very touchy issue, and there is a definite split in the left-wing on this. Case in point, go over to JJ's Blog and read the comments. I have explained where I stand once before, but I feel like I need to say it again. So let's say it in bold, all-caps: BEING A VEGETARIAN IS NOT HEALTHIER THAN EATING MEAT. And anyone who thinks otherwise is still under the influence of the low-fat diet industry. It's not meat or fat that is causing the epidemic of obesity and disease, it's the high amount of sugar and refined carbs that we consume. That is the absolute truth. Now if their reasons for Meatless Mondays are more about the environment, then that is more complicated. Feedlots are definitely bad for the environment. But it would be more helpful to encourage people to eat local free range and to create laws which would change the way that animals are currently housed. Anyway, I'm sure I'm not going to change anybody's mind, and I have noticed that some vegans and vegetarians are quite militant about their eating preferences and tend to look down their noses at anyone who doesn't happen to agree with them, assuming that you must be an ignorant redneck who doesn't care about animal rights or the environment. Well, get over it people. There are very well-educated people who care about animals and the environment but still don't agree with vegetarianism. I'm one of them.

Well, I think that's all that's pissing me off right now, though I'm sure I'll think of something else soon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Orlando Blue is spiffy once again

I am in a very good mood. I took my car in to get the oil changed, and I also got a complete wash and interior detail.

*Humming*

I love having a clean car!

Yeah, it was expensive, but soooo worth it. It would take me all day to get that car clean myself. My spare time's too valuable to waste it vacuuming cat hair off seats and cleaning ice cream out of the cupholders.

And it was absolutely filthy. They defs earned their money today.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Daylight savings time again?

Good grief. I was hoping that when I moved back home from Alberta, I would never have to hear about this again, and yet, here it is.

Apparently, in the 2011 election, Saskatchewanians will not only be voting for a new government, but we will also be voting on whether or not Saskatchewan should adopt daylight savings time.

I just don't understand. Who is asking for this?? IMHO, this is one of the things that Saskatchewan has gotten right. I lived in a province with daylight savings for two years, and it sucked. It was annoying to have to remember to change your clocks twice a year. I hated how it got dark at 4:30 in the winter. I hated how you had to wait FOREVER for it to get dark in the summer. How can you go star watching or play hide and go seek in the dark, when it doesn't get dark??

On a less personal note, daylight savings still does not have any real benefits. If you don't believe me, go read the wikipedia article, but I'll summarize it for you. Basically, there is no great benefit to health, safety, or energy savings. While it might benefit some businesses economically to have more daylight in the summer (golf courses for example) it harms others (theatres for example). It disrupts the circadian rhythm of people, and this can be especially difficult for young children. Go talk to parents who just got their 6 month old on a stable sleep schedule, and then ask them if they like daylight savings time.

And yes, Saskatchewan stands apart from most of North America and Europe by not having DST, but in reality, the majority of the world does not observe daylight saving time. China and India don't, most of Africa doesn't, and Arizona doesn't either. So don't give me any crap about how we're hurting our economic relationships with other countries and provinces by not joining in their semi-annual insanity with them. Awwww. Are we confusing their poor widdle brains by NOT changing the time willy nilly throughout the year?? They are the confusing ones!

I hope Saskatchewan votes No in 2011, and I hope that we can be an example to other western provinces and nations. Stop being twits! If you want to enjoy more daylight in the summer, than set an alarm and get up earlier, and leave me and my clocks in peace.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Beware the Jabberwock

One of my neighbours (it's hard to tell if it's coming from above or below) has taken to listening to loud disco on Friday afternoons. And don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those people who absolutely detest the entire music genre, but I would sometimes like to listen to something other than the Bee Gees on my day off. Thank goodness for ear plugs.

I went and saw Alice in Wonderland tonight. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I actually quite enjoyed it. Yes, yes, predictable plot, etc. but my goodness, that is the plot of every fantasy story ever made isn't it? Bad guy loses, good guy wins, saves the world, etc. It's the journey, not the destination, that's important in these types of stories. And I liked Alice's journey.

My friend L who went with me kept saying how it wasn't a good kids show (a fair number of scary or gruesome parts) but I think it depends on the kid. I personally think I would have enjoyed it even as a young child. Which got me thinking about the first Alice in Wonderland I saw. It was a TV special, and judging by the release date, I would have been about 5 when I saw it. The jabberwocky in that show made a huge impression on me and I still remember it to this day. But even though the jabberwocky scared the crap out of me, I kept watching, because that's the kind of kid I was. Anyone else remember this?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sigh...

I am sick of annoying patrons, sick of inflexible, passive-aggressive co-workers, and just, in general, really sick of my job right now. I can't get enthusiastic about anything. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd be gone in a heartbeat. So, here's hoping, huh?

I watched Brokeback Mountain the other day, finally, and I have to say, I really liked it. It was sexy, romantic, and heartbreaking. I thought Heath Ledger was amazing. Too bad he's dead because I think he would have made many more excellent movies.

Anyway, now I'm off to try and cleanse my mind of negativity cuz, let's face it, odds are I'm not going to win the lottery, so I'll just have to make the best of it. But seriously, seriously, the temptation to hit someone in the back of the head with a shovel is dangerously high right now.

Friday, March 05, 2010

CFL bulbs - saving the environment or not?

CFL bulbs are more energy efficient than the traditional incandescent, but they also contain mercury, and are not always recycled. These unrecycled bulbs then release their mercury into the environment where it can get into drinking water and poison lakes and streams. So, are CFL bulbs saving the environment, or is this cure actually worse than the disease?



So, the moral of the story is CFL bulbs are still worth it if you live in an area that uses coal to produce electricity. And I would say they're still worth it even if you live in an area that produces clean electricity, as long as you are responsible and recycle your bulbs (damn you Regina Boardwalk properties!). And for the locals: over 55% of Saskatchewan's electricity still comes from coal-fired power plants. Only 3% of electricity is produced through wind, and solar power production is negligible. A very sad thing for a province with an abundance of both sunshine and wind.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

In all thy sons command

Well the Olympics are over, and now that the shiny distractions have been put away out of sight, the government can finally get back to work. And what fresh, innovative ideas have our fearless leaders, the Theocons, come up with? Why, they're going to change the lyrics to our National Anthem.

First of all, I agree with JJ. This is just the Conservatives' pathetic attempt to appear to be a champion of women's rights. This is Harper saying, "See? I'm hip to the ladies. I'm a modern man. I think women are equal." But it's an empty gesture. Cuz, guess what? Changing the lyrics to a song is NOT going to magically make gender inequality disappear. They're attempting to paint a veneer over top of Harper's actual record on this topic. Hmm, let's see now... Killed the national daycare program and instead decided to send every mother in Canada a few hundred bucks a year... Gee thanks Harper you sexist pig, it's good to know how much you think women are really worth. And then the Status of Women Canada dropped the word "equality" from its mandate under the Harper government. Can it get more obvious?

And if you're really being paranoid, you could see how this might also be an attempt for Harper to get Canadians riled up and angry at "them damn feminists who're always whining about something, leave our beautiful anthem alone!" And then we won't concentrate on things like... oh, the fact that the government is running a huge deficit, has no plan to get out of it, and still won't hand over the documents about torture in Afghanistan.

Some brainless twits have already fallen for Harper's ploy and are already breathing fire about the horrible feminists. Naomi you fuckwit, it doesn't matter whether the word is "sons", "son's" or "sons'", it still says SONS as opposed to just people. And yes, it is sexist to refer to an entire nation as "sons". Just as saying "mankind" to refer to all of humanity is sexist. Yes, it's just a word, but words don't exist in a vacuum. They have connotations and historical context. And no Naomi, I wouldn't think that men do get jealous because things like countries and boats are referred to as "she". Because these are objects, property that belongs to other people, and is a leftover remnant of the time when women were also considered property.

Let me be clear. I am a feminist. And yes, I do believe that "sons" should be changed to something more inclusive. (I also think they should remove the reference to God, but that's another discussion altogether). HOWEVER. On my list of priorities of all the things that need to change in this country, that is pretty close to the bottom. I am content to leave the anthem alone for now, and work on more important issues.

Do you hear that Harper? I am not fooled. Your record on women's rights is appalling, and this will do nothing to change it.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Give Menstrual Cups a Try

So I was looking over one of my new juvenile non-fiction purchases today. I always do that when the books come in, just to familiarize myself with the collection, remind myself what I ordered, and to check for cataloguing errors. The book in question was a puberty book for girls. I was leafing through the section on menstruation, and I realized that there was a glaring omission. The book talked about pads and tampons, but no mention was made of another option: menstrual cups.

This really upset me, although I guess maybe I shouldn't be too hard on the author/publishers of the book as there are probably lots of people out there who haven't heard of a menstrual cup. But the job of those puberty books is to let girls know what options are available, to inform them so they can make a decision. And the book left out the best option out there. So now, thanks to that book, you're going to hear all about menstrual cups.

What is a menstrual cup? Well, this blog gives a good description and has lots of pics so you'll see what I am talking about. But basically, it's a latex or silicone cup that's worn inside the vagina like a tampon during your period to catch the flow. But, it's sooo much better than a tampon. Here's why:

  1. It's healthier. It's made of a material that is resistant to bacteria, and has much less actual surface area, so unlike tampons, there is no risk of toxic shock syndrome.

  2. It's reusable. Oh, that's right, you heard me. After your period's done, you give it a thorough washing, let it dry, and put it away until next time. That's HUGE in terms of:

    1. Cost. Think about how much you spend on pads or tampons in a year. How often do you go through a box of those? The menstrual cup can cost quite a bit when you first get it (I don't quite remember how much it was exactly, but $50.00 or more is not out of the question), but then you can reuse it over and over again for years. And yes, it's perfectly safe to do so. Another nice thing about the menstrual cup is that you'll never run out of supplies. No more emergency midnight trips to Shoppers. Going on a long vacation when you expect to get your period? Don't worry about packing boxes of pads or tampons. Just pop your little cup in your bag.

    2. Saving the Environment. Think about all the pads in the garbage, the tampons flushed down the toilet. Thousands of plastic tampon applicators wash up on beaches around the world every day. Your cup you just reuse, month after month, year after year. This is actually the primary reason I switched. I was trying to be better about recycling and cutting down on waste, and I couldn't stand how much waste one woman could produce every month just from dealing with her period.

So, how does it work exactly? You fold it into quarters, making the top part small enough to slide in, then basically insert it like you would a tampon without an applicator. Once you've gotten the top part inside, you can let it pop back into shape. The top part will unfold, pressing against the walls of the vagina so it will catch everything. You empty a couple or few times a day, depending on your flow. To get it out, you can use the little loop or stick at the bottom, or for the ones that don't have them, just use your muscles to push out the bottom, then pinch the bottom to release suction, pull out, empty, reinsert. No messier than dealing with a tampon and you can do any activity with it in, swim, exercise, whatever.

I started using a cup about a year ago, mostly for the environmental reasons cited above. My personal brand is The Keeper. I have the rubber latex one, size B. Now I will confess that it took a little bit of getting used to. I tried it one month, and didn't like it. I couldn't get it to feel right, and the stupid stick kept poking me in the wrong spot. But I decided to try it again. So I cut the stick off completely (you're actually supposed to trim it to the size you want), and now I'm used to it, and like it very much. Once it's inside, you pretty much forget it's there.

So if it's so great, why don't we hear about it more? Where are all the tv ads, etc.? Well, the thing is, the companies that make the cups are usually very small operations, and they don't make a lot of money. Why? Because, once you buy a cup, you don't buy another one for years. Sometimes never. So it's not a great way to make money in our consumption driven economy. And those big brands, like playtex, tampax, and always, they really, really don't want you to find out about menstrual cups. They'd much rather you continue to purchase their disposable products which are an environmental disaster.

So, spread the word, tell your friends, and if you know anyone who's writing a puberty book for girls, don't let them leave this out! At least give it a try. You may not like it, and that's fine. Periods are annoying enough without having to use a product you're not happy with. But seriously, the environment, your wallet, and even your vagina will thank you.

Edit: Looking at the Keeper website, I realize that they don't ship to Canada. I got my Keeper through my sister, so I'm not sure how she got a hold of it. Possibly some sort of shady, backroom deal... ;) Anyway, never fear, because for all of us Canucks, there is an alternative. I give you, the Diva Cup.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Creepiest dolls ever

Please be aware that watching the following videos may give you nightmares. Especially if you already have a fear of dolls.





Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mutant Bacteria on Factory Farms

Via Saskboy, we learn one more reason not to eat factory farmed meat.

Airlines suck!

Actor/Director Kevin Smith (of Silent Bob fame) recently got kicked off a flight for being too overweight. (Thankfully this was in the states while we have a somewhat more enlightened policy here in Canada.)

This really, really sucks. It is discriminatory. But the most awful thing is that there are a lot of unsympathetic people out there, saying good, fat people should get kicked off of flights. It's their own damn fault, isn't it? Stupid pigs.

Let me tell you, these people are not overweight because they want to be or because they are just too damn lazy to do anything about it. They've probably tried and tried to lose weight and are just not succeeding. I know I am in the same boat.

It's no more their fault than it is the fault of someone who smokes cigarettes. You know it's unhealthy for you, and you've tried and tried to quit, but you just can't kick the habit. I do not smoke, never have, and it's sometimes difficult for me to understand people who continue to do so, even though it hurts their health. I have a co-worker who smokes, even though she has a horrible, horrible cough. The kind of lung-rattling hack that makes you wince every time you hear it. But she's tried to quit several times and just can't do it. And it's not really that different from being overweight.

Food is addictive. Both emotionally, and as they're finding out, some food (i.e. sugar) is also chemically addictive to the body. These days there's a warning label on every pack of cigs and you can't even display them in a store. There are no more cigarette commercials on the TV. And yet everytime you turn the television on, there's a fast food joint hawking their latest horrors. No warning labels on the pack of fries you just purchased. Minors are not only allowed in these places, but are specifically marketed to. (Just as an aside here, it's not saturated fat that makes you fat. It's the simple carbohydrates like starch and sugar that are the problem. So it's not the burger patty (except in cases where the fast food joints add sugar to the meat, oh you wish I was kidding) but the bun and all the sugary sauces (ketchup is awful), and then the fries (potatoes are nothing but starch) and the extra large, sugar-filled soft drink you ordered to go with it.) Processed foods made with starches and sugars with all the actual nutrients processed out of them clog the aisles of the grocery stores. It's no fucking wonder there's an epidemic of obesity in the Western World. And people need to have a little more sympathy for those who are battling their weight problems - and losing. It is not easy. No easier than trying to quit smoking. And there's no sugar patch. Yet.

But those airlines are seriously out of line. Those seats are only 17" across. When I am at my ideal weight, my generous hips are still 38" around. And that's when I'm thin. Those seats are horribly uncomfortable for me now, but they won't get much more comfortable even if I did lose all my extra weight. And the leg room is awful in those airplanes. I am tall, for a woman, 5'9", and I have long, long legs, even for my height (a 33" inseam in my jeans is good for wearing flats), and my knees are touching the seat in front of me. I have been lucky on the last few flights that I was on because the person in front of me never tried to put their seat back. I can only imagine what this must be like for people who, unlike me, are not just slightly above average in height, but actually really, really tall. Are they going to have to start purchasing extra tickets for their extra-long legs?

My point is, these plane seats are not just small for overweight people, they're getting to be small for anyone. And the airlines need to suck it up and provide proper seating for people, no matter what their size. And if they have to bump up flight costs to do it, then I guess they have to.

And by the way, I have always found Kevin Smith to be kind of cute. And he still is. So there.

H/t to pale.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Is it wrong to take advantage?

Hee hee.

I want in on this racket. I wonder if they'd consider opening a branch in Canada?

H/T to EdStock.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Brands and Logos

Regina has unveiled a new slogan and logo for the city:



I actually don't think the slogan is that bad. But the logo is crap, and it's certainly not worth the $400,000 the city spent to come up with it. 18 months and $400,000 and that's what they have to show for it??? I do not understand why these cities keep doing this.

Take Moose Jaw for example, who also just recently had a re-branding. Their new slogan? "Surprisingly Unexpected". How redundantly redundant. Something like "Discover the Unexpected" would have been much less cringe-inducing. And I actually agree with the sentiment behind it. Moose Jaw is a really cool little city, with beautiful turn of the century architecture, historic downtown, lots of support for culture and the arts, and a beautiful river valley. Things which you wouldn't guess looking at it on a map, or even driving by it on the highway. And you'd certainly never guess it by looking at the new logo which to me looks like it should belong to some cheesy fast food outlet:



That does not say "history" and "culture" which is what Moose Jaw has become known for and what they should have been building on. I don't know how much the city paid someone to come up with that, but I guarantee it was too much.

Even Swift Current got hosed in this department. What's their slogan you ask? "Swift Current: Where Life Makes Sense". WTF? What does that even mean? At least "infinite horizons" and "surprisingly unexpected" (stupidly worded as that last one is) give you an idea of the character of the city. Where life makes sense?! And they gave a Calgary firm $50,000 to come up with that winner. It is universally mocked, and only got funnier last summer when, with a surge in the rodent population, it got changed in some circles to "Where rats make nests".

If I was in charge of finding a new slogan for a city, here's what I would do. I would make it into a city-wide contest. Any resident could try and come up with a slogan. Then I'd pick the 5 best, and have the whole city vote. I guarantee that you would come up with a really great slogan, the cost would be minimal, and people in the city would be happy with it because they're the ones that chose it after all.

And finally, a really great video to remind all us consumers what's it's really all about (h/t to Saskboy):

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Velma kicks Ass



I love this! Velma was always my favourite. I mean, she was always the one to solve the mystery anyway. Who needs ditzy Daphne and her ascot-wearing boyfriend Fred?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Movie Fun!

This is a fun movie countdown that I found via Cathie. How many movies can you name?













Here's what I got so far. Can you help me fill in the blanks?

98 - Dead Poet's Society
95 - Ocean's 11
94 - Star Wars
90 - The Fugitive
88 - Back to the Future
84 - Titanic
82 - Rain Man
81 - Galaxy Quest
71 - When Harry Met Sally
70 - The Wrath of Khan
68 - The Breakfast club
67 - The King and I
65 - The Princess Bride
60 - Gone with the Wind
56 - It's a Wonderful Life
43 - Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail
42 - Finding Nemo
40 - Superman
37 - Men in Black
36 - Clerks
31 - Ferris Bueller's Day Off
23 - The Wizard of Oz
22 - Casablanca
19 - The Shawshank Redemption
15 - Being John Malkovich
12 - Ghostbusters
8 - Office Space
1 - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Holy Crap, it's a PADD!

Apple unviels the new iPad tablet:



Picture of the ubiquitous PADD (Personal Access Display Device) that all Star Trek fans will be familiar with:



Bit ahead of the times, aren't we? We shouldn't have PADDs until the 24th century!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Raw Milk Rocks - Factory Farms Suck

Congratulations to Michael Schmidt on winning his case. For those not in the know, Michael Schmidt is an Ontario dairy farmer who was charged with selling raw milk. Selling raw milk is illegal in Canada, though it is not illegal to consume it. Mr. Schmidt had tried to get around the law by selling shares in his dairy farm and distributing the raw milk that way. Luckily, an Ontario judge agreed with him, and unless the Crown appeals, raw milk can now be distributed using his method. Hallelujah.

I am also a drinker of raw milk, when I can get my hands on it, which isn't often out here. There just aren't that many people willing to break the law, even a law as senseless as this one. You can buy alcohol and cigarettes and processed foods loaded with chemicals and sugar, all known to be detrimental to health, but you can't buy something as healthy and good for you as raw milk?

The thing is, raw milk, coming straight out of the cow's udder, is absolutely fine to drink. The reason pasteurization was started, was because as farms got larger and became more like the factory dairy farms we have today, it became more and more likely that the milk could become contaminated with something on its way from the cow to the store. When you have a large factory dairy or feedlot, you can't pay as much attention to each individual cow or piece of machinery, and therefore contamination becomes more likely. When you have smaller farms, the farmers can spend the time needed to ensure that the products are clean and safe. Tragedies like the listeriosis outbreak at the Maple Leaf plant is much more likely to happen in a big farm or factory. As long as people are aware of what raw milk is and the possible risks in consuming it, it should not be any more illegal than any other food. And if you check out your supplier and make sure they are a small farm with clean facilities, it isn't any more dangerous.

And why do I personally drink raw milk? It isn't just because it tastes better, which is absolutely true. It's because I'm healthier for it. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when I was about 20 years old. And the thing about colitis, is they don't really know what causes it. They can only treat the symptoms. So I was put on cortical steroids and another aspirin-like anti-inflammatory. The steroids I went on and off of for short periods of time since they are very, very unhealthy for you. But the other anti-inflammatory I was on continuously - 6 huge tablets a day - until last Fall. When I stopped cold turkey. And I haven't had any medication since, but I'm still symptom-free. How did I do it? Raw milk, and lacto-fermented products like home-made sauerkraut. If I feel symptoms coming on, I just drink some raw milk or eat some sauerkraut, and I'm okay.

Here's my theory. Because of large factory agriculture, in order to keep our food supply safe and to kill all of the bad bacteria, we have had to use methods like pasteurization. Unfortunately, it kills the good bacteria as well as the bad. When I drink raw milk, I am repopulating my digestive system with the good bacteria that we are dependent on to digest our food properly. In fact, by killing all the bacteria in our food, we are making ourselves more unhealthy. Factory farms are killing us.

So that's my theory, and while I can't prove 100% that it was the raw milk that fixed me up, it did seem to work for me, and continues to work today. Hopefully there are some smart, enterprising scientists somewhere that are studying the effects of whole foods like raw milk on people's bodies. I suspect they'll find I'm right. In the meantime, if you have ulcerative colitis, or other similar disorders, find a supplier and try some raw milk. And hey, if you live in Ontario, you won't even have to break the law to do it.