Tuesday, June 26, 2007


1. A very merry midweek to all. The weather here is tempestuous and sort of muggy, so this will probably be a shortish post, as my head feels as though it's about to split open and has for a few hours.
All is well with work; the office is quite busy these days. At home, we're packing and trying to keep cool, which is not a very easy pair of activities to coordinate.

2. Half of the reason for this post is just a nod to a fun visit over the weekend - Sean's sister Aine and her boyfriend Matt came to visit Sunday night and brought their dogs, Nula:And Sam:As you might expect, it was a very exciting day for the cats. We couldn't find Tonks to hide her, and just assumed she wouldn't have been so silly as to hide in the living room; an hour after the dogs had arrived, they went out for a walk and Sean found Tonks quaking under the futon. She was only too happy to get hidden away in the office.
Parallax, on the other hand, was delighted to meet the dogs, and followed them around inquisitively: until she got bored and attacked Sam on his blind side (he only has one eye). We put her away for the dogs' protection after that.

3. The other half of the reason for this post? My own little cat film festival. Here's a flip book of Parallax (I tried to make it into an animated gif but it just wouldn't work properly):

And a film of Tonks being adorable (the money is definitely in the second half of the clip):

Friday, June 22, 2007

food vendors are hard to find

1. Well. Finally posted that other entry (it's below this one). Yup. There are even pictures.

2. This week has been a whirling mess of advertising and not finding a food vendor for Rothesay. I've called practically every restaurant in Saint John with no one biting. No fewer than five have done the "well, send me lots of information and call me every day for the next few days" routine before saying no. We're getting a little stressed.
Other than that, work is going really rather well, in the big picture.

3. Outside of work, I've done very little, unless you count sleeping and reading Harry Potter books, and watching really lame, geeky movies. How lame and geeky? Star Wars fan film geeky. You don't even want to know.
The best news of the week was definitely from our new landlord. The weird dude who stapled sleeping bags over the windows of our new place is moving out on the 29th, which means we get to move on Friday and Saturday and probably have this place vacant and clean before the new people move in here. We're also allowed to paint as long as it's not, you know, bright red or black or something hard to paint over. Yay!

4. Yesterday, I met a snake. Silas and Amy used to have a snake, but their landlord heard of it at their wedding and freaked out (he's phobic of them) and they had to give it away for a couple of months. They've just bought a house, so he went over to get the snake back and brought it in to the office briefly.
  • Silas and the snake:
  • Me and the snake (no, they don't bother me):
I have no idea what to call it - its real name is Ruby, but they tend to just call it Snakey. It's really pretty, though - even in these pictures you can see how pretty it is, and it's about to shed so it looks pretty dull compared to normal. It's a corn snake; they come in a number of colours. I kind of want one now.

5. Today, Shasta and I went to Saint John to poster and see the Commons (where the festival will be). It thundered and rained at us in Rothesay, and then again on the way home, but I did take a fun picture in uptown Saint John:
5. Linkage:
  • There's this historic building in Fredericton that a church wants to bulldoze to build a parking lot. People have been upset for a while now - and it looks like the city might actually do something!
  • This prom vehicle actually made Fark, where even the Farkers thought New Brunswickans were pretty weird. I guess it just seems natural to me.
  • I am so excited about the idea of this book. Knitting? For men? Really?
  • This is just braintwisting. Why, Japan? Why?
6. This weekend: packing. And... packing. Maybe knitting. And packing.

Monday, June 18, 2007

sunny, sunny, sunny days

Note: this entry was started on Monday but for some reason I didn't bother adding pictures and posting until Friday. Apologies!

1. The weekend was rather nice. On Saturday morning we got up early enough to grab a bite to eat at the market and sit in the sun to eat before Sean went in to work; I pottered about the house sewing all day (more on that later). When Sean got off work, we went over to the Brunswick St house to spend a loud and silly evening with Alaina (I'm sure I'm misspelling her name) and Mareia (probably hers too) and Greg (I think that one's right, but I couldn't really say anymore). We've been socializing a surprising amount lately.
  • Lloyd's enormous cat:
  • Greg, who is graduating this week from high school and works with Sean and Alaina:
  • Sean and Mareia - note her pretty sleeve. Ignore the tabloid.
Sunday was a quiet day for the most part - cleaning, and reading, and painting my nails for me. Sean had a staff meeting in the afternoon (though it was technically a day off...) and then went over to Brunswick Street to teach the girls how to make a D&D character. It looks as though we'll have a new group soon, none of whom have played before... which means we get to run an absolutely by-the-book, stereotypical adventure, where a mysterious old man in a hood approaches you in a seedy bar and pays you to investigate disturbances in an abandoned mine, etc, etc.
In the later bit of the evening, Danielle came over and Sean taught her how to make carbonera (with sun dried tomatoes instead of pancetta, as she is vegetarian for the most part), and we had a nice visit.

2. So, as mentioned, I spent a lot of Saturday sewing. I had a large collection of t-shirts and tank tops that were precious for one reason or another, but no longer fit or were never going to get worn. Instead of throwing them out, which would have broken my heart (well, I wouldn't have enjoyed it) or keeping them as is, I decided to make a quilt out of them, for a picnic blanket or what have you.I like to sum up my style of sewing as "You cannot simply walk into Mordor", mainly because these endeavours usually take a lot of planning and measuring and ironing and care, but I usually just walk right into Mordor, so to speak. I cut up the shirts into roughly foot-wide panels:And then ran into a snag, namely that my sewing machine refused to work properly. It took an hour or so of tinkering to get it to behave enough to sew strips of "quilt". For some reason I didn't take a picture - probably the rage. But I'll take one before they get sewn together.
And that's as far as I got! Tune in next weekend for the exciting conclusion.

Friday, June 15, 2007

101 posts

1. Somehow I missed that my last entry was post #100 on this blog. Go me! I also missed, um, some days. My excuse this time: our router has been in a snit ever since Matt and Porter's visit, and keeps having wacky IP conflicts so that only one of us is online at a time.

2. Today, I am in love with this:Facebook has recently introduced a million little applications you can add to your profile for random things, but Catbook is the only one I've bothered with. My cats each have profiles (and friends!):It's pretty cute.

3. This week has been kind of long. Work is good, but ongoing projects like this don't have a lot of payoff until you get to the actual festival and see what you have wrought. Geraldine worked with us all week, but has apparently gotten a job, so my ambitious plans are all falling apart. Luckily there's not that much left of the website to translate.

4. Outside of work, things have also been quiet. I've been working on something that I hope will turn into a cardigan or shrug, and Sean has been working a lot. We ran into Danielle yesterday, and admired her new haircut:And had Sean's former coworker Phil come over in the evening, which was fun.
We've been showing the house to people for the past week trying to get a subletter for July, and people #4 came this morning - a mother looking for a place for her first year son. They were thrilled that, unlike the rest of the cheap downtown places they were looking at, our apartment is rather nice and not a crack shack, so they decided to take it! Moving will be awkward - a huge one-day extravaganza - but it's nice to not have to pay double rent.

5. Some random (mostly cat) pictures from the week:
  • Parallax has big freaky paws. I've never really captured them in photography before, though, so here you go.
  • Parallax is also learning that the outside can be nice. We take her on Tonks' old leash. She doesn't really like the leash, but she seems to enjoy the outings, even though it's just the buttercup patch by our door.
  • Tonks, on the other hand, prefers the nice, safe indoors. Without curtains, though.
  • A non cat picture! This is our awesome board table.
(having difficulty loading pictures, will put the rest up in a bit)

Monday, June 11, 2007

missing time

1. Sorry for not updating for a bit - one day slips past another this time of year and suddenly it's a week later. I have no explanation.
The weekend really was very quiet. On Saturday, Kat and Ben stopped in to say hello to Matt and Porter, which was fun - I haven't seen Kat and Ben in quite a while. The boys did very little except the usual sort of gaming and injokes; I stayed out of the way and read a lot of Agatha Christie novels.
Sunday night, after Matt and Porter left, Sean and I managed to ramp up the geek factor (no easy feat considering the sheer number of obscure video game references and ringtones earlier in the weekend); we walked out to Second Cup and he taught me how to play chess. I've always kind of avoided being taught chess, but I enjoyed the game a lot, and it was a nice way to pass the evening. When we got home, we rounded out the weekend by watching the Return of the King (extended edition, of course).

2. This week is another work week. Yesterday I went to work and Sean had the day off, but didn't really seem to enjoy it much; when I got home, though, we walked out to get some groceries and ate cherries all the way home, which restored us both enough to have a really good evening.
Today was... more work. I've pretty much finished all but the last few details of our advertising for the Rothesay festival, and I'm all set to get Geraldine (the French girl) to start on the translation of the site tomorrow. I have a few other projects I'd like to see her do - not my projects, but projects that the board sighs over but no one has time to do.

3. Lately we've been seeing the same three people all over Fredericton, all the time, with big signs reading "Free Hugs". They deliver, too. With big smiles. Porter got one at the market and was completely satisfied.
On Saturday, though, not only were there nondenominational free hugs, but a number of Christian churches in town were doing giveaways downtown - a free barbecue, free cans of pop, and so on.

4. Just one link today: the Blob that Stalks Brooklyn from Below. It's actually pretty creepy to think about.

5. Tonight: cleaning? sewing? who knows? The only plan for sure: a big happy pot of chili.

Friday, June 08, 2007

four laptops, two cats

1. Friday afternoon has meaning again! It's pretty fun working with government people on a Friday - everyone basically quits at four and stares at the clock.
Today was a ridiculously good day. First, Sean and I are tentatively going to Moncton in August to staff a craft exhibition (more like an art show) at a conference for premiers; technically it's Amy's baby, but she and Silas will be moving into the house they just bought at that time and she doesn't want to be there the whole time. Sean is coming along as my bodyguard and a volunteer - we get free hotel rooms at the Delta and probably food paid for. I'm shockingly easily impressed by these things.
The other major good point about today was that our government dude was emailing us all day to get progress updates and to gently remind us about lots of annoying things, like making posters bilingual. The only thing he bugs me about is making the website bilingual, which is more or less impossible without a grant for a translator, because Babelfish simply won't cut it and translators are expensive. I ranted to the office about it for a bit. Five minutes later, a young woman walked in and introduced herself as a French exchange student who has worked in the fine craft industry in France and would like to volunteer full time with us to improve her English.
You can't make this stuff up.
Minor good points about today: I met Amy's dog, Twiggy:
And Sean's friends from home, Matt and Shawn, are here to visit. I'm not actually sure if he spells his name differently but to keep them from getting confused, that is what I will do.

2. Linkage:
3. This weekend: Matt, Porter, Sean, and me, hanging out, being cool.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

dear yuppies: pay for parking

1. I had a bad encounter with a yuppy today. I apologize for the long rant.
Technically speaking, the yuppies of which I speak aren't really yuppies at all. Yuppy comes from "YUP" - Young Urban Professional. Fredericton yuppies aren't really all that young anymore, but they have a sense of entitlement that can be pretty amazing.
I live in a fairly cheap neighbourhood, mostly composed of students and young families who can't afford a decent apartment (we don't even seem to have many call centre workers, as their pay scale is a notch above student loans). That said, we live downtown, a block away from city centre, which is convenient for buses and jobs. As part of our lease, we get a parking space outside, but we don't have a car, so it doesn't really matter. However, our parking lot (which we share with two other low rent buildings) is always full of shiny cars, and in the mornings and late afternoons there is a parade of suits and business casual up and down the driveway - downtown professionals poaching our parking. They also like to zoom in and around with little regard for the children playing in the lot, which is just kind of mean. I understand that parking meters and garages are expensive, but the usual arrangement around this area is to rent a parking space, not steal someone else's. I sure would like another $50/month, but it's more effort than it's worth to complain and make a fuss.
This week, though, Gabriel the landlord is getting the parking lot fixed up (presumably so the poachers don't break an ankle falling into a pothole) and has been trying to cordon off the driveway so people don't park in it and get hit by a large piece of construction machinery. Every time I walk past, though, someone has moved the roadblock and tried to park in our driveway. It must drive him batty.
When I left after lunch today I walked up the driveway and found a large blue sedan idling on our sidewalk, with almost no room to get around it. I picked my way around while the woman in the driver's seat glared at me, and then she leaned out the window and said, "I'm sorry, I'm trying to find a parking space!". I looked across the road and saw four empty spaces with parking meters and looked back to her, and pointed out that there is construction going on and she would probably get towed if she parked there. She looked annoyed and said, "But I have to get to a doctor's appointment!".
The only doctors near my house are the abortion clinic and a dentist who has a large parking lot of his own. And she did park her big blue sedan in the driveway, for at least five hours (it was still there when I came home), and made Gabriel so annoyed he stomped around to all the apartments asking about it.
I kind of hope he gets her towed. I also kind of want to write a passive-aggressive note on a big poster in our parking lot that reads
Dear Yuppies,
the parking spaces you are poaching are being paid for by impoverished students and young families. At very least, please try to avoid causing us bodily harm. Donations of money and nonperishable food items are also welcome.
I really don't like driveby snarkings in my neighbourhood.

2. SO. In other news. The Rothesay show is looking reasonably promising already, and when I make about a billion phone calls tomorrow it will get even better. My only real problem is that being an hour and a half away it is difficult to put up posters and get the local arts community into it.
Sean's doing well, but is getting a little run down. He's been down with my dumb cold for days now and continues to work almost every day - in fact he's had six day weeks for the past three weeks. Our evenings are very restful, though.

3. Linkage:
4. The rest of the week: work, work, work... no homework! no other job! no invigilating or class or anything! It's almost like a vacation. In an office.
I also have a mission this month. I have a huge amount of clothing that I've been saving to cut up and turn into better, more fun clothing - for years. I'm not bringing any of it to the new place. It's all getting done now or not at all. I'll share the tears and the joy as soon as I get around to it.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

o frabjous day! calloo! callay!

1. I have vanquished the laundry beast. I now have about a third as many clothes than I did this morning. No vorpal swords necessary, but it was a near thing.

2. Aside from sorting and folding and hanging all day, I also went for a couple walks in the sun. The first was to bring Sean some food at work (again with the wanting to eat!). As I walked there, I passed a man playing Vivaldi solos on the corner at King's Place, with a ghetto blaster orchestra backing him up; on the way back, he was playing a jazzed up When The Saints Come Marching In, again to the accompaniment of a recording. It was pretty interesting - I wonder if he comes out every weekend.

3. After work, Sean and I grabbed a coffee and then wandered down to the riverbank to quietly pass the evening.
4. There's this blogger/author/cool dude named Corey Doctorow. Three of his books are available here, for free, legally. He's pretty famous in the rather geeky circles I travel in, so a geeky webcomic called xkcd can mock him and be more or less certain that their audience knows the name:
But it's even better when he himself can get into it:
That is all.

5. Tomorrow: work, and doing something about all the homeless clothes in the living room.

6. Here are some pictures of the new office space (the old one was about a quarter of the size).
My new "office", with my very own desk and very own chair and very own filing cabinet (I'm not sure what I will file though). It's about a sixth of the total floorspace. Yes, those are real hardwood floors and twenty foot ceilings. The Charlotte Street Arts Centre used to be a school. This is one of the original chalk boards, with a chalk mermaid drawn by a summer student of the Arts Centre some years ago that no one has erased yet. It's right by Shasta's desk so I think she will probably go soon.
Standing in the doorway, this is a view of the whole room. In the far end is Kate's "office" which is hiding behind that wood cabinet; you can see the kitchenette door, Amy's desk right next to it, the great big board table, and lots of clutter from moving.And here is Shasta's space (her desk hadn't arrived yet) and the reception area, with the big black thing between me and Shasta to hold binders and whatnot. Shasta is looking exasperated in pink, Amy is straightening things, and Silas (Amy's husband) is supervising or something.

if you like doughnuts... delicious doughnuts...

1. Well, yeah. I didn't get as much done as I had hoped. What a surprise. I have a handy excuse, though - I seem to have picked up some sort of un-fun cold on my travels (I suspect on the plane, but no, I wasn't flying home via Prague, so I rather doubt it's drug resistant TB) and have been spending a lot of time sleeping it off. The part I feel bad about is that Sean caught it from me, and so he's been coughing his lungs up. He came home early from work yesterday and we spent the day sleeping or alternating between House and the extended Lord of the Rings Trilogy. So now we're to the end of Season Three and the end of the Two Towers, respectively. Not what you'd really call productive, but we're both much better today.

2. A note about commercials. We haven't had cable for about a year and a half, and so I download Tivo'd episodes of a couple shows we enjoy; the only real difference is that we can watch things on our schedule and we don't have to watch commercials (and I don't get caught in things like CSI marathons for six hour blocks of my life).
They say that children who grow up in a relatively "dirty" environment have fewer illnesses and allergies from the cumulative exposure to germs and fungus. Similarly, when I lived with a houseful of smokers, smoke didn't really bother me; now that I live in a smoke free house, it really bothers me.
Since we've started watching TV sans commercials, I find that commercials and advertising grab my eye like hooks. Most people can tune these things out, or just passively notice them, but I can get interrupted midthought and just stare.
I find that a little disturbing, and I'm not sure if I should be watching more commercials for my mental health, or less.

3. In the evening we went for a walk to the grocery store, because Sean, of all people, was craving food. Of the two of us, he definitely needs it more, but I'm the one who does most of the grocery shopping because I think about food so much - normally he'll just cook whatever he finds in the fridge whenever he remembers to eat (how do people actually forget meals?). But being sick has thrown him off and he actually wants to eat.
So we bought some basic pasta and rice, and then, in a moment of hazy, cold-addled weakness, walked into the ice cream aisle, and I discovered that Breyer's makes "Fried Ice Cream". It's cinnamony and caramelly and tastes exactly like deep fried ice cream from Mexi's, except it comes in a tub. Oh no.

4. So here it is Sunday, and I'm cleaning out my computer and also plotting to clean the living room and maybe even face the beast that is my clothing pile. Sean's at work for a few hours, so I'm hoping to surprise him with a cleaner home when he gets back, but that might be overly optimistic. I'm still feeling hazy and lazy and coughy, with the emphasis on lazy. But it needs to get done sooner or later.

5. This absolutely rocks my socks. Natalie Dee is pretty awesome, as I've mentioned in the past, but the very best has to be videos involving her dogs, or in this case, lots of dogs including hers.