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.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Snow Time!

Whew, is that ever a lot of snow! The library was actually closed this morning, because not enough staff could get out of their driveways. I went anyway, cuz I had stuff to do, but I walked. Luckily, most people and businesses had been out early shoveling away, so there was only about a quarter block where I had to trudge through thigh-high drifts. And I'm sure the people in Eastern Canada would just laugh at us, cuz I've been there, and I know the kind of snow they get, but here on the prairies, we're not used to having streets and sidewalks that are just little tunnels with waist high snow on either side. It gets damn cold here, but we usually don't get huge amounts of the white stuff. Sorry, no pics, I was just too damn lazy to get my camera out. Right now, Mexico seems very far away.

So what have I been up to? I've started the third season of Dexter, a big mistake since it seems when I start with that show, I become completely addicted and cannot stop until I've watched the entire season, and I do NOT have time for that right now. I went to Sherlock Holmes on Friday with N and her buddy J. I thought it was pretty good, and they defs left the door open for future sequels. Holmes and Watson were well done, lots of quirk and funny banter. Holmes is actually portrayed as possibly bi-polar which is interesting. Also, N had told me that she had heard that there were homosexual undertones to the relationship between Holmes and Watson as portrayed in the movie, but honestly, I don't see it. That would imply that two men can't have a close friendship without being sexually attracted to each other, and I don't think that's true. It kind of reminded me of the relationship between Miles and Julian on DS9. I've also started reading the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. I'm doing a program at the library for it in anticipation of the upcoming movie. And I have to say, I'm liking it. It's fairly well-written, and if you're a fan of Greek mythology you'll probably enjoy it. So I'm actually kind of looking forward to the movie for that one.

And now for some Simon's Cat Cartoons:

This one reminds me of Avery, although as far as I know, she has never dropped a dead bug in my mouth. She usually eats them herself.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Return of M. Squirrel

M. Squirrel has been making an appearance at my bird feeder every morning between 8:30 and 9:00 am. I usually get to sit and watch him fill his face as I'm brushing my teeth. Here's a photo of the greedy little bugger as he pilfers some more sunflower seeds.

M. Squirrel

Now my cats have pretty much gotten used to M. Squirrel. There will be minor interest when he first shows up, but after about 30 seconds, the kittehs are like, "Oh, it's just that stupid squirrel again," and then they just roll over and go back to sleep.

But, a few weeks after M. Squirrel started his raids, finally some actual birds clued in, and I now have a chickadee and two nuthatches that are regulars at the feeder. Like I said, my cats are pretty apathetic about the squirrel these days, but, as you can see, the birds are another story:


The birds are, for some reason, infinitely more entertaining than the squirrel. I guess cause they're small and make quick darting flights. They say "prey" to my kittehs more than a fat squirrel.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Littermate best cat litter ever

So I started a little journey a while back, a journey into the world of cat litters. I had been using regular clay non-clumping cat litter for my two kitties. But when I moved to my new apartment, I decided I needed to switch. The cat litter is in my sunroom, which is just off my bedroom, and the clay stuff, even when you dump half a box of baking soda in it, kind of smelled. Also, my male cat, George, is very fussy about his litter box, and with the clay stuff, unless you changed it once a week - and I mean throw all the old litter out, wash the box out, replace with new litter - then he would decide not to use it. And I did not want him doing that in my new apartment. So I did some research and decided to try this new litter.

It's called Littermate, and it is awesome. Basically, it's made from barley, it is also clumping, and - here's where it gets awesome - the clumps are flushable. What other litter can you flush down the toilet? So you fill up the litter box with it, scoop it daily, flushing the clumps and the poops down the toilet and I have never had my toilet clog on me, (and I live in a 100-year-old house don't forget, with plumbing that's probably almost as old) although I should mention that while I was in Mexico, my friend who was taking care of my kitties did temporarily clog my toilet once with a particularly large clump, so just make sure the clumps are small enough to go down. So you just keep scooping, and replace the litter as it goes down, and then after a month they recommend you replace the entire box with new litter. The old litter can be composted or mulched. And, the stuff has baking soda in it already, and it doesn't smell. It just has that faint dusty grain scent that anyone who's ever ridden in a grain truck will recognize. But if you keep it scooped, no other odour at all.

And did I mention that it's made in Saskatoon? So let's summarize: awesome litter that is scoopable, flushable, doesn't smell, and is safe and totally non-toxic for kitties. Plus it is good for environment because it is biodegradable AND it's made from barley, a locally grown product, and it's also manufactured locally for all us SK people. So please check it out. Really, they didn't pay me to promote their product, I just love it that much. It can, unfortunately be a bit hard to find though. I know for a fact that you can get it in Critters pet shops in S'toon. I personally order it through my vet to get it here in MJ. You can go to their website and give them a call, and they will be able to tell you where to find it in your area. Although if they tell you that you can get it at Sobey's, they lie. Because that's what they told me at first, and I have checked the Sobey's in MJ, Regina, and S'toon, and never found it. I'm not sure where else in Canada it may be available, but give them a call and see. I think they said that their wholesaler was based out of Calgary, so you can probably get it in AB as well.

It is on the pricey side, about $45 for a 20 kg bag, but it is worth it. Did I mention that fussy George made the switch immediately, and has been happily using the litter box ever since? Seriously, if you love your kitties, give this stuff a try.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No Prorogue!

Just a little reminder about the rallies being organized this Saturday, January 23 across Canada. If you think it sucks that Stephen Harper prorogued parliament for a second time for no other reason than to avoid an inquiry into the torture in Afghanistan, then go and make your voice heard. In SK, there are rallies planned for Regina, S'toon, and PA. Go here for the details.

Also a reminder if you haven't already done so, join the over 200,000 people already on the facebook group Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament. If you facebook that is. I don't, but if I did, I would totally join.

And, in case you need a reminder about how much Stephen Harper is an asshole, check out the following video (found in its original context and with insightful commentary at A Creative Revolution):

Or, visit here for a more exhaustive list of Stephen Harper's crimes against democracy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Abortion IS About Women's Rights

I came across this article over at JJ's Blog about a pregnant woman in Florida who was ORDERED by a court to stay in bed lest she miscarry. The woman is now in court, rightly arguing that the decision created a dangerous precedent.

There sadly have been other cases in the U.S. where women were confined against their will simply because they were pregnant. I have thankfully never heard of this happening in Canada, but I could be wrong. In most of those U.S. cases, unlike the case above where the woman was simply refusing to stay in bed, illegal substance abuse like cocaine was involved. But it is absolutely, without a doubt, 100% wrong to confine a woman or subject her to any procedure or treatment without her consent simply because she is pregnant. I don't care if she is smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or snorting cocaine. It's wrong.

And yes, it is a tragedy when children are born with fetal alcohol syndrome and other disorders and disabilities caused by the mother. But when you give a fetus the same rights as any other person, then you must automatically take away the rights of the mother, and that is unacceptable. A mother and her unborn child may want/need different things, but because they're both dependent on the same body for survival, you cannot separate them. It is therefore impossible for both the Mother and the baby to hold full rights at the same time, and I am inclined to think that the person who was there first gets priority. While the baby is still dependent on the mother's body for survival, it cannot be considered a person. The rights of the mother therefore come first, full stop, no exceptions. Otherwise, you ARE discriminating against women. You are saying that one half of the population, simply because they have the responsibility of carrying the baby, do not always have the same rights over their own body as the other half of the population.

This is why abortion MUST remain legal and why women need full access to it. It is also why a woman's pregnancy and what she does while she's pregnant is her own damn business.

And if the philosophical argument doesn't convince you, then the practical one should. If there is a chance that a woman seeking prenatal care could be confined against her will because she is doing something that may risk her unborn baby's health, what do you think is going to happen? Women will stop seeking pre-natal care, especially if they engage in risky behaviours like alcohol and drugs, putting both the health of mother and baby at further risk.

Ditto goes for abortion. Abortion rates in countries where abortion is illegal, are not any less than in countries where it is legal, and in some cases, the rate is higher. All it does is drive the practice underground, again further risking the health of women.

If you want fewer abortions to occur, if you want women to not endanger the health of their unborn children, then there are things we can do, things that DO NOT impinge on the rights of women.

Sex-ed and readily available birth control are a good start. And there should be more support for women who are pregnant but have a substance abuse problems. Education about the effects on the child, and free, VOLUNTARY de-tox programs.

And if a woman wants to get up and walk around, even if it means that she loses her baby, then so be it. I can't believe that woman is even in court over that. Oy.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do...

Even if you never really were together in the first place.

Why is it always ME that can see when a relationship is never in a million years going to work out, and never the guy? And it's therefore always up to me to break the news as gently as I can that um, yeah, actually, I never want to see you again. And the poor guy is always clueless as to what's coming.

And this time I'm just honestly sorry I even let it get as far as it did, but my problem is that I do not think well on my feet. I will always be better at post-mortems than at dodging the bullets in the first place.

And now I feel just wretched.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Kelly's fuckin' rad

Hey, it's been awhile because I've been away... in Mexico! So, I will eventually do a post about the trip when I get the time, but for now, here's my favourite Kelly videos to brighten your day, plus another Liam Show clip that I find particularly hilarious for some reason. Seriously, if you're not a Liam fan yet, click on the link to the right and prepare to piss yourself laughing. Betch!