May 2005

Housekeeping, and a new toy

by DaniGirl on May 31, 2005 · 22 comments

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A few odds and sods today…

I’m endlessly curious about where some of you are coming from, and I saw this cool new toy on Tertia’s blog, so I thought I’d try it out.

(Mind you, when Tertia recently asked her readers to complete a survey about themselves, more people answered in one weekend than have been to my blog in total over the last four months, so her map is going to look a whole lot more crowded than mine, I think. If it gets really pathetic, I can always make people up and stick them in exotic locales. I did get hits from Dubai and Brazil the other day, thanks to Blogger’s “next blog” button. They didn’t seem to hang around for long. I guess I don’t have much international appeal. But I digress…)

The link is the Bravenet Guest Map button over in the sidebar, under “rainy day diversions.” Come on, give it a click or two, all your friends are doing it!


Speaking of feedback, can you tell me if blog is appearing properly on your screen these days? On one computer it looks fine, but on our main computer downstairs the sidebar doesn’t start until the end of the main text. Any tech advice on how to repair this? I must have put something in the sidebar that was too big for the column but I don’t quite know how to fix it.


And finally, please stop using me as your weight watchers blog buddy because I am a miserable failure. A recap for those who were daydreaming during the last few entries (how could you?):

Week one: Wow! This is a terrific program! I lost two pounds the first week. Woot!
Week two: Hmphf. Gained a pound. Oh well. Better luck next week.

Which brings us to:

Week three: Stupid weight watchers. Stupid scale. Stupid computer. Stupid two more pounds.

Yes, I am now up one net pound and have exceeded my starting weight. I am no longer dewey-eyed with enthusiasm. I am now thinking there were probably a lot of much more fun things I could have done with my $85.

Sigh, I’ll give it one more week. But I’d feel a stronger if I had lots of little pins in my guest map to keep my mind off doughnuts…


I haven’t done any book reviews on blog yet. It’s not that I don’t read a lot of books, it’s just that I’ve always thought people who review books must have much bigger brains than me.

I think it’s because I read so quickly, I miss a lot of the deeper stuff in books. When someone points out the dramatic elements like symbolism, or foreshadowing, or dominant themes and motifs, I can certainly see what they’re talking about. But when I read, I don’t notice that stuff consciously. I can go back and pick it out after the fact, but I don’t usually absorb it as part of the book-devouring process.

Twice in my government career I’ve had my English language skills evaluated, and both times it echoed the comments I’ve received on almost every academic paper or thesis I’ve ever written: superior technical language skills, but the analysis needs a little work.

In other words, I’m all flash and no substance.

Which is why I’ve always been a little shy about even joining a book club, let alone standing up here all by myself to do a book review without a net (that net being someone else who can do all the talking so I can nod sagely and engagingly and look like what they are saying is just the bon mot I was about to utter.)

Also, if I’m going to do a book review, it would probably make sense to wait until I’ve actually finished the book. I’m only about ten per cent of the way in.

I’m going to throw all that to the wolves, however, because I am itching to talk to somebody about this book and at least blog sits still and listens patiently and doesn’t get that glazed look in its eye like it would rather be filing its taxes than listen to me drone on when I haven’t even half of an idea what I’m talking about. Right?

The book is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I can’t remember the last time I was so captivated by a book from the first page. I don’t want to give away anything about it, because I really think this book should be approached as I approached it, with absolutely no idea what everyone was going on about. Let me just quote this from the book jacket:

When Henry meets Clare, he is twenty-eight and she is twenty. He is a hip librarian; she is a beautiful art student. Henry has never met Clare before; Clare has known Henry since she was six…

It’s a love story, a mystery, just the tiniest bit sci-fi/fantasy but not in a hobbits and ogres sort of way. As I said, I’m only 50-odd pages in, but I can’t stop thinking about it. Normally, I read very quickly, and it’s 500+ pages long, so I have a lot to look forward to, yet I find myself already slowing down to savour this one – I think I’ll be sad when the last page is turned.

Thank you bunches to Nancy for recommending this one way back before Christmas. I had requested it from the library, and was three zillionth in the queue, and when it finally came in I forgot to go and pick it up so had to re-queue for it all over again.

Ironically, I’ve realized that if it keeps up being this good for the next 450 pages I will have to buy my very own copy. (See, even though I don’t always notice them in the text, I can use most dramatic elements correctly — unlike fellow Ottawan Alanis, who really does need a lesson on what is and is not ironic.)

So I guess this isn’t so much a critique as a recommendation. A very spirited, long-winded and circuitious recommendation. Have you read it? What did you think? (No spoilers, please.)



The one where I beg shamelessly

by DaniGirl on May 27, 2005 · 9 comments

in Uncategorized

I’ve noticed around the blogosphere that some bloggers are so popular and well-loved that they get gifts from their readers. (ahem) And some of them even set up wish lists through gift registries, and people actually buy stuff and send it to them. (meaningful pause) And some readers are so loyal and so intuitive that they can discern the blogger’s innermost desires and needs from their daily reading, and those loyal readers actually lavish the hard-working and deserving blogger with just that kind of gift.

I’m just sayin’.

Okay, I’m going to spell it out for you. Could y’all please take up a collection, because I really really really need to come up with $6900 Cnd to buy my very own MyRoom. According to the UK Times Online, it’s a soundproofed, self-contained box that functions as a separate room within a room:

Yamaha has come up with the Avitecs MyRoom, a 2.5sq m (27 sq ft) den that can stand in the corner of the average-sized lounge and perform — albeit on a cramped scale — the functions of a study, cinema and garden shed.

The noisiest of activities is inaudible to the outside world, and even if the inside is a tip, the mess is scarcely visible through the thin strip of frosted glass. It should come as a relief to the harried Japanese wife, who is in for a nightmare time as a huge number of men — the first wave of the postwar baby-boomer generation — are due to retire next year.

There’s a picture of what it would look like on this weblog. The article says the room was designed to give Japanese husbands a place to play on their computers, blast their TVs or work on their messy hobbies while not getting underfoot of their put-upon wives.

I think Yamaha missed its target audience on this one. I think they should be marketing it to North American mothers of preschoolers. I want one of those puppies so I can escape.

Imagine the possibilities: the phone is ringing, the dog is barking, the TV is blaring, the eldest is whining, the youngest is screeching… and you can crawl into your soundproofed little haven, lock the door and hide.

I wouldn’t need the high-tech surround-sound wiring mentioned in the article, because all I’d do in there is sleep. Ah, blissful uninterrupted sleep…

Or, now that I’m really starting to think about this, wouldn’t it be a better idea to put everyone else into the little soundproof booth, and have the rest of the house to yourself? And really, is there a need to have it taking up space in the living room, when it would function just as nicely outside in the yard?

So you can see, bloggy friends, why I really need to come up the paltry sum of $6900. I’m worth it, right?

I’ll start circulating the envelope and a card for you to sign…


I’ve been tagged!

by DaniGirl on May 26, 2005 · 3 comments

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I don’t usually post midday (lunchtime is for surfing blogs, not writing them) but I had this one on the back burner and completely forgot about it, so I thought I’d post it to catch up on my responsibilities as a blogger. Priorities, you know.

Shelley over at Generation Exhausted tagged me a while ago. Here’s how the game works. Below are a series of statements. I choose five and complete them, then “tag” three more people to do the same.

The statements are:

If I could be a scientist
If I could be a farmer
If I could be a psychologist
If I could be a librarian
If I could be an inn-keeper
If I could be a professor
If I could be a writer
If I could be a llama-rider
If I could be a bonnie pirate
If I could be an astronaut
If I could be a world famous blogger
If I could be a justice on any one court in the world
If I could be married to any current famous political figure

Here are my answers:

If I could be a scientist I’d dedicate my career to SETI. So it’s probably a good idea that I’m not.

If I could be a farmer I could wear dirty jeans and flannel shirts every day, and I’d be very happy with that. But I’m guessing that crops are harder to grow than grass.

If I could be an inn-keeper I’d want it to be a warm, inviting B&B kind of place, in a heritage house with period furnishings. Except I’d hire a cook, because nobody would pay to eat my cooking, even if the alternative was sleeping in a stable.

If I could be a world famous blogger I’d have to be a whole lot more careful about what drivel I pass off as a post. But being world-famous anything would be cool, dontcha think?

If I could be a justice on any one court in the world I would be a judge on Canadian Idol. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who thinks Sass Jordan needs a vacation.

And now for the really hard decision… I tag Marla, Jen and Troy.



Technophobia comes of age

by DaniGirl on May 26, 2005 · 7 comments

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I’m so proud of myself. I’m so hip to yesterday’s technology that it’s scary.

I didn’t tell you, but for Mother’s Day, Beloved and the boys got me an MP3 player. I have no idea how to use it. Beloved loaded it up with some songs he had on the computer already, including a little U2, some Billie Holiday, and Kenny Loggin’s “Danny’s Song”, the song that makes me cry every time I hear it. (There’s a line that goes, “Pisces Virgo-rising is a very good sign, strong and kind, and the little boy is mine.” Tristan is a Pisces. Also strong and kind. Also mine. Sniff.)

Someday, I’ll have enough time to find one of those music sites, and figure out how to use it, and actually choose some music. Anybody got any recommendations? Preferably something like MusicFor30somethingsThatDoesn’tSuck-

And now, I’m writing this on my fancy-ass new laptop. I’ve never had a laptop before. Although it’s taken me a bit to get used to manipulating the little mouseless finger-tracing thing-me (don’t be threatened by my technological jargon) I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to get out of the basement and have a computer I can port around the house. Coincidentally, I noticed today that Ann also has a new laptop. It’s a banner day for mobile blogging!

So now I have a blog, a laptop and an MP3 player. The Luddites are going to revoke my membership for sure.


Tim Hortons and the Amazing Race

by DaniGirl on May 25, 2005 · 4 comments

in Uncategorized

I’ve been playing in the referral logs again. Endless hours of entertainment, I tell you. Seeing some of the things people google has me seeing humanity in a whole new light. One of those incredibly unfavourable office flourescent lights that makes everybody look callow and sickly.

Of all the things I’ve written about in the vast (four months can be vast) history of blog, the things I get the most google hits on are Uchenna and Joyce from the Amazing Race, Weight Watchers points for doughnuts, and Pamela Anderson’s boobs. This is my legacy.

Fine, if that’s what the Internet wants, that’s what the Internet gets.

Apparently, Uchenna and Joyce are coming to Ottawa, along with newlyweds Rob and Amber, to attend the wedding of Amazing Race co-contestants Lynn and Alex. The gay couple couldn’t be legally married in their home state of California, so an Ottawa radio station (the same classy outfit that bought Britney Spears’ used pregnancy test – ick -and then sold it for charity) has arranged for them to be married here, where same sex marriage is legal. I’m trying to be cynical, but I honestly think it’s pretty cool.

For those of you seeking information on Tim Horton’s fine line of doughnuts, I can only tell you that they’re wreaking havock with my WW plans. I’m up a pound this week over last week. Sigh.

And for those of you coming here looking for information on Pamela Anderson’s ample bosom, I regret to inform you that we will no longer be discussing that particular topic around here.

Ya gotta draw the line somewhere.


My lawn hates me

24 May 2005 Uncategorized

I remember the good old days, when grass was my friend. It was cool and tickly on my toes. If you found a nice fat piece, you could make a kazoo with your bare hands. The long pieces were as sweet as candy. The sun shone down, the grass was warm and humid, and the […]

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I’ll give you a dollar for the lot

23 May 2005 Uncategorized

Garage saling has become a verb. It is now the thing to do on a Saturday morning in my end of suburbia. You don’t go to garage sales, you go garage saling. Garage sales fascinate me. I love to look at what people are selling, and especially what people are buying. I’m particular about what […]

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Feeling better, so much better

21 May 2005 Uncategorized

I don’t usually blog on the weekends, but I’ve been so touched and overwhelmed by your kind comments that I had to write something. Plus, I’m feeling a little bad about leaving such a negative post hanging out there, begging for sympathy, when I really am feeling so much better. It’s quite like SnackMommy said, […]

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Is this my life?

20 May 2005 Uncategorized

Warning: you are now exiting the whine-free zone. Serious self-pitying ahead. Is this it? Do I spend the rest of my life on this out-of-control treadmill, trying to please everybody and succeeding to please no-one? I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Revision: I’m feeling completely overwhelmed. There is simply not enough of me to go around […]

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