Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Also: Books.

I'm reading V. C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic and it's hiLARious. I don't even particularly want to keep reading it and yet I find it strangely compelling. I highly recommend it, although-- I feel I should clarify this--not in the sense that it is good, or has any redeeming qualities.

I just finished Nick Hornby's Shakespeare Wrote for Money which is great but also a make-work reading project. (Note: apologies for inability to link to specific posts, the past is dumb) It's his last collection of columns for The Believer. Based on this I found six more books to add to my to-read list. Based on these three books of columns, I kind of want to be friends with Nick Hornby, although I don't like soccer/"football" so I don't know what we would talk about.

Two weeks or so ago I watched the TV miniseries version of The Mists of Avalon and it just made me want to read the book again, so I am doing so. Although it is verrrrry long and I am going to need both renewals I am entitled to to finish it, I think--especially since my recent reading has been very schizophrenic and I can't concentrate on anything.

In Vegas I read John Green's Paper Towns which was excellent, and oddly suitable for Las Vegas, although the book is set in Florida. Early in the book I was getting frustrated that the female main character is kind of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl and I was getting really uptight about it, but then--without giving too much away--I came to realize that that is kind of what the book is about. Being annoyed by something and then realizing the book/movie is actually about how the thing that annoyed you is annoying, is awesome. And if you want to wait for that sentence to come around again before you get on, feel free. I'll wait.

Sub-Topic: the two types of girls that annoy Jocelyn the most in books and movies.
1. Manic Pixie Dream Girls (MPDGs). Term coined by The Onion A V Club. The worst offenders are the Kirsten Dunst character in Elizabethtown and the Rachel Bilson character in that dumb Zach Braff movie. Grrrr. I could be that effing adorable too, if I took a bunch of speed.
2. Movies in which the male protagonist has to choose between two women, and one represents responsibility and maturity and boringness, and the other is a MPGD (usually). And Girl Option A talks too much. Implication: you are always better off with the girl who doesn't talk. Well, as a girl who talks a lot, and also refuses to be Girl Option A: Go screw yourself, Hollywood. I have things to say. Sorry if that gets in the way of your boring male angst.

Of the things on this list, 2/4 are tagged "incest" on all consuming. Co-incidence?

on Parking Lot Tundra; and the philosophy of presents

In order to get to work from T-Ho's this morning I had to trek across the barren parking lot tundra. It was intense. My shoes got full of snow. I ran into a guy who was rounding up Safeway carts and he waved at me, the way you have to be friendly to people in the wilderness. Because, when the weather gets like this, we all might die at any moment.

I am resisting the urge to play Desktop Tower Defence at work... like, just barely resisting. This game is like Flash-animated crack. I was clear of it for months and months... then, just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in. I've beat it on Hard mode twice now, but every time I do, I just barely squeeze out a victory. I need to get to the point where I can beat it consistently, and then I won't need to play anymore. Or so I tell myself.

I got so much done at work yesterday, I feel I may be done everything for 2009 already. I returned one phone call this morning, but other than that I think today is a wash. I only have to work until noon, anyway. Sometimes I just move piles of paper around on my desk.

Re: Christmas. I like Christmas presents, partly because of the obvious, getting-new-stuff factor, but what I like more is how the presents people pick for me represent this distillation of who I am as a person. I realize that's very conceited, but then I already have a blog updated with meaningless information about my life, so I'm guessing the fact that I'm conceited is not a revelation to anyone reading this. The presents I got represent this Jocelyn-Version who likes books and jewelry and seashell chocolates and rocket-stickers and iTunes. I guess presents are nice because they mean someone spent at least 5 minutes thinking about you.

This is also why weird, non-suitable presents seem so off-putting. Because it means the person who got the present doesn't know you, or doesn't CARE. Or they're just really bad at buying presents, I guess.

Le sigh.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

epistle from the high seas

Is it possible i have only updated my blog 6 times in December? OR, as is more likely, perhaps I got up in the middle of the night, wrote something brilliant, and then blogger erased it while I was asleep. Perhaps this happened ten times. You decide.

Today is my 26th birthday. My family is having ongoing bad luck with airports--with transport of all kinds actually--so my parents aren't here yet, being stranded in the same storm (or set of storms) that kept James and I in Vegas. My annual breakfast at the fancy hotel near my house was a little subdued. I wouldn't say I'm sad, just melancholy. It doesn't help that it has been hovering around -30 degrees here (-40 with windchill) since we got back, and so my errand-running is severely hampered by my lack of a car. I'm pretty sure I got frostbite yesterday. That sounds like one of those hypochondriac claims I am constantly making, so I don't blame you if you don't believe me. But it's true.

I am having a party for myself tonight (in what I imagine is the style of Zsa Zsa Gabor, or similar) and I have therefore spent most of my birthday cleaning. I don't mind, though. A clean apartment is my birthday present to myself. I may even clean my bedroom, just for emphasis, even though I don't think anyone will be in there--it's not that kind of party.

If anyone reading this had any remaining vestiges of respect for me, I will dispel them: I also cleaned out my fridge to make room for beer and a giant box of mandarin oranges. And there was a pretty good showing of stuff in there that expired in November, but the crowning moment, as far as I'm concerned, was hummus from AUGUST. (Although actually it looked fine, so...)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Work mysteries

1. Why is there a plastic magazine file labelled "Municipal World" full of paperwork on my desk?

2. Why haven't I received any email since last Friday?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dear Internet,

Remind me that sometime I should tell you the story of how there was a freak snowstorm in Las Vegas, and the airport was closed, and all the highways were closed, and James and I were driving around the surreal, snowy Southwest for 16 hours in a rented SUV. And when I asked the gas station attendant if she thought Highway 93 was open, and she asked where I wanted to go, and I said Vegas, she LAUGHED AT ME. It's a good'er. And don't forget to ask me about the time I was blogging from the Las Vegas airport when I should have been home yesterday. The whole thing is a really funny story... or it will be, someday.

At the moment it's just a very crabby story.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The desert is not what Douglas Coupland had me expecting

As I type this, James has gone to Starbucks, and is going to bring me back a coffee. He's the greatest. That said, I HAVE done my initial experimentation with coffee-making on this trip, and I've done OK. Amy pointed out that I've really grown as a person in Las Vegas, what with the making of my own coffee and such. I even used the COFFEE MACHINE. And then I left it on for about 14 hours.

The house we've rented is covered with a thin film of nerd-detrius: pizza boxes, wet towels (from the hot tub), giant two-foot-tall margarita glasses, the plastic wrap from DVD packages, laptop charging cables, phone charging cables, and Nerf guns. I love that my friends are some of the only people in the world who go to Target on their first day in a foreign city and purchase a small Nerf arsenal.

I'm having a great trip. Las Vegas itself has almost nothing to do with it, though. We could be anywhere with every imaginable fast-food restaurant (as a Canadian, I have serious fast food envy, especially when it comes to In-N-Out Burger) and outlet malls (I bought something from Banana Republic, and I'm having the accompanying identity crisis) and cable and Target (for DVDs) and a shark exhibit. And actual waving palm trees. And fake pirate ships.

Actually the more I think about the more I realize that Las Vegas is a larger, more high-budget version of West Edmonton Mall. I feel kind of at home.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wish you were here

Hi Teh Internets!
I'm in Las Vegas, or as I like to call it, the Wonderful Land of Discontinued Products. Do you know they still have Vanilla Coke here?!? It's like heaven! The other things we like so far: the debit/credit card machines at Target can be swiped with your card facing either way, Target in general, the surreal-ness of these adobe mansions plunked down amidst dusty empty lots. The house where we are staying has a pool, and a barbeque, and weird furniture that reminds me of the 80s. Tonight we will either go wander around the Strip, or, more likely, watch the newest Batman movie. We're nerds, regardless of what state we find ourselves in.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Few things offend me more than diamond ads, and they get worse around Christmas-time every year. You expect me to believe that this stupid guy is going to get lucky just because he bought that girl a diamond? We should just skip the innuendo and get right to the point with a slogan like this one:

Because women are all basically prostitutes.

Buy diamonds.

Never mind the social and financial price we pay as a planet for a commodity that has no inherent value.

Normally I don't get this vitriolic until after lunch, but I've been practicing this particular rant for years.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Coded messages suck

I have made SO MANY AWESOME THINGS, but I can't post photos of them, or even discuss them (except in code) because they are for people who read my blog.

It is a conundrum.

On the plus side, I just realized I know how to spell "conundrum."

I will attempt to discuss the things I have made in code:
Operation sparkleberry has begun. Five by five. Foxtrot lilac niner. Over.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I have instructed iTunes to play only Tori Amos until I give it new instructions. This is because today is not a day I can take chances with music. I had a project for the afternoon (a work-project, not a fun project) but I finished it (I know, right?!? What are the chances?) so now I'm looking apprehensively at the next two-and-a-half hours, giving them a little squinty-eye, making sure we understand each other.

I'm almost finished my Christmas shopping, because I'm crazy like that; and yesterday James and my sister came over and we decorated our tree. Isn't it fine?

christmastree


James sang a little song about its decorations coming from IKEA, and Kristen and I corrected him in unison: "And Winners!" The little pink disco balls come from Winners. Yep. We also watched The Nightmare Before Christmas because we're good at staying on-theme.

Now the box the Christmas tree came in is sitting in front of my couch, and I'm pretending it's an occasional table so I don't have to find a place to store it in my apartment. I may put some decorative candles on it later, or a table runner with pointsettas on it. This is a very clever approach, one I suggest for anyone living in a small space. I also pretend that the empty Land's End box holding up the tree is a tree stand, and that the pile of dishes on my kitchen counter is one of those little temperature-contolled wine fridges.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Teh interwebs is for countdowns

13 sleeps to Vegas.
I am not going to get murdered while I am there, don't worry.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

squeeee

I enjoyed this Mother Jones interview with Joss Whedon.

JW: My cast was not hideous to look upon. I made every act break at an exciting time that would make you want to come back after you examined these products that we used to examine before TiVo. And I tried to make money for the people that I work with, like Hyman Roth.
I'm going to download the podcast.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

how did this happen?

i'm sick again, Internet. It seems unbelievable, I know, and it's sucking my will to live. 48 hours have passed and nothing--not the cocktail of pills nor the seemingly endless hours of sleep nor the dozens of episodes of Gilmore Girls--has made things any better. It's been weeks since I did all my dishes. On my way home today a slow Calexico song came on and I almost started to cry. However, the Christmas lights downtown are very pretty.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Recent conversations with strangers executed without actually speaking

Woman in parking lot: Can you believe this guy?
Jocelyn: I know, I'm sorry. We were going to let you have our parking spot. The 99th Street diner is so busy on weekends.
Woman: it's ok, it's not your fault.

Woman on bus: Aah, my hands are full, can you help me flip this bus seat down?
Jocelyn: Sure. Ok, you pull the lever out, I'll push the seat down.
Woman: Thanks.
Jocelyn: No problem.

Pet Peeves.

1. People who sit in the aisle seat on a bus with an empty seat next to them.
1b. People who do this and then, when you make it clear you want to sit in the empty seat, turn sideways with their legs into the aisle so you have to squeeze past them to get into the seat. Like, instead of either moving over or standing up so you can get in. I don't like to be heartless, but if some psycho shot everyone who does this, I wouldn't care. LEARN TO LIVE IN SOCIETY.

2. People who wait forever in the drive-through with their engines idling when there's no line inside Tim Horton's. GET OUT OF YOUR CAR. I hope your grandchildren don't hate you when they realize you personally destroyed the rainforest and choked cute birds with your plastic debris in the oceans.

I'm in a littttttle bit of a grouchy mood today. But then, I haven't really been sleeping. Since junior high.

Monday, November 17, 2008

festive

christmaslights 002

christmaslights 001


I wrapped my first Christmas present tonight, because I'm just insane like that. It's how I roll.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How much do I love the favicon picker for firefox 3?

This much:

<------------------------------------------------------------->

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

SNOW!

I'm sure I posted an identical photo around this time last year, but I've never let repetitiveness get in my way.

firstsnow 005


Posting on craftster when I should be working. And I was actually thinking about heading over to Starbucks, which is a level of meta-procrastination--going for coffee to avoid the thing I should be doing to avoid work.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sweet victory! This morning I finally got my online student loan account to work. That is the good news. The bad news is that in order to do this I had to call their automated phone system, and when you enter your social insurance number (followed by the number sign), it tells you the exact amount of your loan--which is precisely what I wanted to know. Then it tells you that the interest rate you (/I) are paying is 6.5%, which is prime + 2%. THEN it tells you that you (me) are paying 2 DOLLARS AND FORTY THREE CENTS A DAY IN INTEREST.

Why would someone program their automated phone system to say something like that? Are they just trying to make me cry, or do they have some higher purpose? It seems like there should at least be an option, you know. As in, to hear the daily amount of interest you are being charged, press 1. To have the phone system tell you you are fat, press 2. To find out if your boyfriend is cheating on you (I'll give you a hint: the answer is yes!), press 3. To hear the symptoms of a variety of deadly diseases, press 4. That's my coffee money, GONE. I hope the National Student Loan Service Centre is happy that I'm going to spend the rest of the day crying into my gross (free) office coffee.

Boy, things started out so positive there and then took a turn for the worst. That always seems to happen, doesn't it?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I've got this quote on my mind-grapes

"Things have been said that cannot be taken back! She called my vanity license plate 'inscrutable'! 'ICU81MI'? Hilarious!" -Tracy Jordan, on why he is fighting with his wife, 30 Rock

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Just a quick screenshot to say:

Don't mess with me. My mace is gigantic, it glows, and it's very pokey.

I got my first taste of raiding last night, and that was my booty.

Tee hee, booty.

Seriously, though, I feel like I've ascended to a new level of nerdiness in which sitting at one's desk wearing a headset for almost 6 hours seems like an enticing way to spend a Friday night. Although, keep in mind, I don't have cable.

(Also: in the newest Warcraft patch you can get your character's nose pierced. Yup, I paid (pretend) money for that, in much the same way I spent real money to get my real nose pierced.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Small pleasures

This is one of my favourite times of year because I finally get to wear mittens. I love how mittens can make a totally impractical outfit downright cozy.

The second season of 30 Rock is hilarious.

Also: wheeled office chairs are basically the main reason I became an adult. I just wheeled down to the end of the workroom and back, ostensibly for a "meeting."

One non-pleasure: I want two of the Amazon MP3 store's $5 albums today, but they still serve only US customers. It's so ridiculous. It's like I'm trying to hand them cash and they're like, ohh... we're not really interested. thanks though.

Heartbreak in 17 syllables.

A follow up to 2 haikus I wrote for my new travel mug.

i remember it
my stainless steel travel mug
in the good old days

i've searched everywhere
it's not in the lost and found
i might as well die.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Me, pretending to be a wedding website

"If you're like most women, you've probably been dreaming of the day you would obtain a melee weapon that does more than 200dps since you were a little girl."

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's all happening.

It was kind of a rough weekend in Jocelyn-topia, as I discovered that the pigeons on my balcony--my nemeses for many months--had actually built a (pathetic, but present nonetheless) NEST on my balcony. They built it kind of behind a chair so I wouldn't see it, the sneaky little pigeon-bastards. And there were 2 dead baby pigeons in that nest. I scared the parents away and then very gingerly cleaned up the nest, although--and I doubt this will shock you, gentle reader--I then started to cry on my balcony. These little pigeons were really gross and sad and dead, and the fact that their parents were continuing to nest kind of on top of them seemed horribly morbid and--what's the word I'm looking for?--maudlin. These pigeons just keep messing with me. I want to move away.

[Previously, in the Pigeon Chronicles: disputed territory; hi pigeons]

I just got one of those dealies from my bank where every time I use my debit card, it rounds up to the nearest dollar and puts that in my savings account. I was going to say that I am going to become a millionaire this way... but actually, in order for that to happen, I would have to have more than a million dollars to start with. I can do the math. I'm going to become a hundredaire!

I've been very busy and lazy simultaneously. Things I have been neglecting in my lazy/busy haze: blogging, swimming, dishes (actually all cleaning activities, full stop). I'm trying to get back to all 3. (I have been diligent about swimming and cleaning for the past three days, and the blogging is happening, well, right now.) I stop paying attention for a few minutes, or weeks, and my life starts to get away from me.

Recently, in brief: liked Passchendaele; enjoying Season 1 of Bones and Season 2 of The Muppet Show; reading and liking--but feeling a bit confused by--Benjamin Nugent's American Nerd: The Story of My People; loved the Graveyard Book; and also, a variety of wedding-planning things, including The DIY Wedding and my new favourite website, Offbeat Bride. Yep. I'm planning a wedding, it's true--although I stubbornly refuse to become one of those crazy wedding-planning girls who won't shut up about their stupid wedding. Also planning: what I think will be an absurdly decadent trip to Las Vegas in December. There will be buffets. And hot tubs. And a drive through the desert, which I feel like I've been dreaming of my whole life, or at least since I began reading the books of Douglas Coupland.

I'll be back. For real this time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In which, once again, my acts of heroism go unappreciated

I was at Zellers today and I made a new friend. Having once worked in a children's library, I can never completely abandon my sense of responsibility for all children, and I am constantly on the lookout for unattended ones. The little boy I found today was demonstrably lost and crying, and when I asked him, "Are you OK? Do you need help finding your mom?" he stretched his hand up to my silently as if to say, thank God you are finally here.

Anticlimactically, when we found her just a few seconds later, all she did was yell at him. Boring!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I enjoyed this list of library ghosts, from britannica.com. Especially Lola (first bullet), who "helps find missing items." Is she the ghost of a librarian? One library in New Jersey issued a card for their resident ghost, which I think is very considerate, especially if she got the fee waived.

The Strathcona library in Edmonton is allegedly haunted, although I know very little about since I have yet to ever go on a ghost tour of old Strathcona. Maybe this year will be the year I finally make it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

And immediately afterward I was like, "I'm putting that on my blog."

[James and i are discussing a tract of houses near my place that are SO ghetto and right on the river-valley so it's hard to believe they haven't been turned into condos.]

Jocelyn: But they don't look empty. I mean, they have lights on and stuff. [Pause] It's not like they're full of squatters. Unless the squatters have lights. You know, squatters' lights.

Monday, October 20, 2008

In which I grow nostalgic for a time before I was born

I am watching season 2 of The Muppet Show right now and it consistently blows my mind. The pace of writing and production must have been absolutely frenetic, and the writing is so consistently funny and weird and cheezy, it's awesome. The episode with Rudolph Nureyev is pure gold:



I think this is from the good old days of television, when celebrities were actually expected to have talents, rather than just to appear on talk shows and talk about their opinions on natural childbirth, or macrobiotic eating, or whatever. I mean, I know Nureyev is a dancer, but still: NOBODY can tap-dance anymore. Every celebrity guest on The Muppet Show can sing and/or dance and/or act, or make balloon animals, or at least smile good-naturedly while the Muppets make puns. At no point do they get to talk about themselves, which is how it should be. They don't make famous people like they used to, apparently.

From the same episode: "Baby It's Cold Outside" with Miss Piggy; Swine Lake.

o hai

I just almost started absent-mindedly chewing on the end of a USB cable. A hazard of being surrounded by too much technology I suppose--you start to think of your cords as basically long, flexible pens.

Today is the kind of day in which I try to work but end up doing anything--laundry, errands, mending--instead. I've been sick since last week and the illness has settled into a kind of complacency now--I barely think about it until I hear myself speak, and realize I sound disgusting.

It is also a season for early Mandarin oranges (A little green on skin? No problem! It is real natural orange colour!) and planning trips to Vegas and re-watching all the Buffy, starting at the beginning.

Finally: this matters to no one, but there was just a big Warcraft patch and *changes were made*. Scary! But my paladin actually kicks even more ass than she did before, as if that were even possible. Evildoers beware.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Facebook

I think it's safe to say that if a foot pad could really suck toxins from your body (see Figure 1.1) while you sleep, that would really be amazing. Incredible, even. Incredible in the sense of "unbelievable." And by unbelievable I mean ridiculous. But the question remains: why would Facebook's supposedly clever targeted ads think I would be interested in these products? I mean, it specifically says in my profile that I have no unwanted hair.

Heh.

Also: I heart pirate Facebook. "Hawkin'"!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Clever: You stole our Obama sign.

Hi Teh Internets!

I hope your turkey day was satisfactory. Mine certainly was! My only regret is that, flying across international borders as I did, I was unable to bring home any leftovers. I did bring home lots of new clothes though, which is almost as good--especially since they were purchased from cheap, cheap stores. (Although the Canadian dollar is not as strong as it has been recently--bad for outlet shopping.)

I got home today, went and voted quick like a bunny, and then went for a swim. I'm cooking some food now for my election-night eat-and-grumble fest. But I also have some Muppet Show DVDs to switch back and forth between during the commercials. Should be good. Muppets + Canadian election = makes more sense than you might think. The polls close in about two more hours here. I'm practicing my old-lady-style fist-shake.

I never, ever watch broadcast TV. I don't have cable and I would much rather spend my entertainment time and money on things I can structure myself--renting movies from Zip and playing WOW come to mind. Since I moved into this apartment I have tried about three times to tune my TV. Each time, I'm surprised by how poor my reception is. The only channel I get AT ALL is CBC. The sound is great, but the picture not so much--it flickers from black and white to colour if I stand in a particular place in my living room. So weird. Anyway, it'll do for tonight, and then tomorrow I can go back to watching sweet, sweet DVDs.

Anyway, the really weird thing I always forget about in regards to broadcast TV is the commercials. When you're not used to watching them they become even more surreal and irritating. I just saw one for a medication that helps heal cold sores, and it had a weird little pseudo-scientific animation, and my brain felt like it was going to implode. I feel like someone from East Berlin who somehow got across the wall and wandered into an unanticipated, sophisticated world of products.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ephemera online

Song cycle:
Lisa Says, Candy Says, and Stephanie Says, all by the Velvet Underground.
Followed by Blake Says, by Amanda Palmer.
Repeat.

They gave me the wrong coffee at T-ho's this morning. Half coffee, half English Toffee is for fools. FOOLS! But you know I'm drinking it anyway because I'm a coffee slut.

yourmessagehere-- this window in Philadelphia has a sign with rotating messages submitted by website visitors. I like these:



This one is not from me but it could be:



I went shopping for shoes last week. I had decided to throw away a pair of absolutely disgusting old brown Vans which were worn right through the soles and smelled like years of rain. But the consensus among shoe stores seems to be that if you are a woman foolish and selfish enough to have large feet, you don't deserve special treatment, like access to half-sizes or actual choice of different styles. The solution: men's shoes.


THEY LOOK LIKE VICTORY.


I feel kind of like I defeated capitalism.

Caleb and I saw a picture with four people in it we knew, and one we didn't.
Jocelyn: And I don't know who that guy is. Do you know?
Caleb: No. I don't like that guy.
Jocelyn: But we don't even know him!
Caleb, without hesitation: No, but I think he is a bad guy.
Sorry, dude we don't know!

I leave today for Calgary, and tonight I am going to Margaret Cho! And tomorrow I fly to Tacoma for the long turkey-day weekend. I'll be around teh Interwebs though, to the extent I ever am.

Monday, October 6, 2008

And stop publishing untitled posts

Holy moley, do I ever need one of these anarchist librarian hoodies.

Jocelyn! Stop shopping!

No.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Since I started keeping track at the beginning of August, I've swum just over 20km! Since I only travel 15 km to work every day, that means I could have swum to work. Although not home.

I had my first taste of Rock Band last night and I think I'm addicted. The drums are the most fun, I think, although singing is fun too--I'm pretty bad at it, but I'm loud. I don't really believe in singing things quietly. I'm pretty sure that after a few hours of Rock Band, I'm ready to be a real rock star. All this other stuff is not working out for me. However, my band is only going to sing covers.

I'm going to see Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist today. I have pretty low expectations for the movie but I liked the book, plus I like Michael Cera (although he needs to play a badass serial killer or something quick, before he ends up playing sweet, awkward guys well into his 40s). If the blue kool-aid slurpee machine at the theatre is still broken, there's going to be a riot--the last two or three times I've gone there, no slurpees! What's the point?

I have Apple Genius now and I can already see it is going to be an expensive proposition for me. Downloading things out of a dynamically generated sidebar is credit card suicide. I am not all that impressed with its playlist-making capabilities though--I mean, it's pretty easy to pick things I'll like from among my own songs, since, you know, I paid money to download them.

----------------
Now playing: Amanda Palmer - Leeds United (Lounge Version)
via FoxyTunes

[I love this song.

"Who needs love
when there's Law and Order?
Who needs love
when there's Southern Comfort?
who needs love when the sandwitches are wicked
and they know you at the Mac's store?"

GOOD QUESTION.]

Thursday, October 2, 2008

So forgive me for going all corporate on you, but I consistently love buying things from the American Eagle website. You can pay for your order with Paypal. Paypal! No setting up a dumb account with another dumb store website, and having to remember another dumb password!

I'm going to the States next weekend to spend Canadian Thanksgiving with my parents and I'm thinking of ordering Planet Earth and having it shipped there so we can watch some of it over the weekend. Amazon.com has a funny suggestion for people who are considering buying this DVD set:

Iron Man! Why not! I mean, nature documentary violence or superhero violence... same difference basically.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Some Intermiscnetillany

I'm a big fan of James Thurber, although he's one of those people we don't hear about much anymore, and his children's book "The 13 Clocks" has been one of my favourites since I was small. It's been out of print for awhile so I'm thrilled to see it's been reissued, with the original illustrations, in hardcover, with a new introduction by Neil Gaiman. I may buy a stack of these, save one for myself, and give the rest away as gifts to children of friends who haven't even been born yet.

A couple political-type articles that made me smile:
Margaret Atwood, always eloquent, argues in the Globe & Mail that Harper's arts funding cuts do damage ordinary people, and that ordinary people DO care about the arts. This election (note to non-Canadian readers: we elect a new federal government in 2 weeks) has been such a gong show. I'm not going to link to the articles about Harper plagiarizing speeches, or the Conservative party breaking copyright law; I'm far too depressed.
In Conversation: Gloria Steinem and Suheir Hammad. Gloria Steinem says, "There is no postfeminism—it’s like saying 'post-democracy'!"

This American Life released Another Frightening Show About the Economy, the follow-up to The Giant Pool of Money which aired earlier this year. I didn't understand the mortgage crisis at all until I listened to the first episode, and I'm looking forward to the second one.

Monday, September 29, 2008

How I've missed you

Internet!

Gosh, it's been awhile. I'm a bad, bad blogger. Barely a blogger at all actually. My excuse is that I've been really busy, and it's fall, so every minute I spend blogging is a minute I can't spend crunching leaves with my feets.

I made a new jacket which I finished last week and it is pretty much the cutest thing ever sewn by a human with a sewing machine. Also it has a moose applique on it which I think makes it very fall-ish and appropriate. I get compliments on it wherever I go, including at least one from a complete stranger. Whenever I make something cool from cheap materials (in this case around $25 for fabric) I feel like I am totally subverting capitalism. Go me!

James and I have been slowly working our way through the BBC "Planet Earth" documentary. I'm totally absorbed by it. It has some of my favourite things including monkeys, baby muskox (I didn't even know those were one of my favourite things until recently) and funny salamanders that have no eyes and live in caves. We're about half-way done. The other night we were getting really up in arms about the stupid walruses that would not allow themselves to be eaten by a polar bear. The bear was very hungry! Animals can be so selfish. (Side-effect: I have sort of come to resent David Attenborough for always bringing us down with his negativity. He's obsessed with the deaths of cute baby animals!)

I slept for about 3 1/3 hours last night and today I'm checking out some books on insomnia from my library. The problem this presents is that while I love non-fiction books and genuinely believe they can help me solve my problems, I also really resent the self-helpy tone of most of them. My criteria for choosing a sleeping book: (a) the author had to have a PhD (b) the author could not be Deepak Chopra. I ended up with two so I'll take them home and get acquainted.

I was also thinking that I might download some sleepy-type sounds such as waves lapping against a shore. This might help me sleep--it worked for some boyfriend of Carrie's on Sex in the City (I think it was the dude from Office Space) so maybe it will work for me. One of my many problems is that I tend to get a song in my head while I'm trying to sleep, and it starts to drive me stark raving mad (last night it was the Ben Folds Five cover of Bitches Ain't Shit which becomes really sad and totally loses its charm after about the 100th repetition.) I'll try it tonight. I'm in problem-solving mode, or I would be if I had enough energy to solve problems.

Also on my to-borrow-from-the-library list: Paul Newman movies.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I think you will find that if you search the Massachusetts Bay Trading Co. website for "lobster" you will find 42 potential Christmas gifts for me. I am particularly intrigued by these gummi lobsters. You can also buy actual lobsters from them, although sending lobsters through the mail is not something I can endorse.

Last night James and I watched the first disc of Planet Earth, the BBC documentary about animals. It is now my favourite movie, and I was already on Amazon trying to figure out the best possible collector's-and-or-gift-set package in which to buy it. I took a controversial stance: "You know what I think are cute? Baby animals." You can count on me to make those tough judgement calls. About cuteness, and other issues.

I've been very very busy at work. It's fun, though. How many people get to have a job where they feel like a superhero every day? Yeah. I feel guilty.

Friday, September 19, 2008

PS.

I'm pretty sure there is some kind of amateur karaoke contest going on in the park near my house. You may be thinking that "amateur karaoke" is a redundant phrase, but actually in this case it's suitable. These people sound like they've never heard music, just had it described to them.

Oh, downtown people. You are sort of my people. And yet I look down on you.

Hi! So!

I had a day off today and I spent most of the day doing three things:

1. Going to Mill Woods.

2. Sewing.

and

3. Watching X-Files.

2 & 3 can be done simultaneously, conveniently.

Tonight--because there are hours of Day Off left, people!--I play to (a) finish the second Benedict Society book which I am reading and (b) go for a swim.

So here is a thought related to #1. Let's say you--yes, you, Internet!--are having a baby. Ask yourself this question: how are you going to be transporting this baby? Are you going to be putting it in a carseat in a huge Lincoln SUV and then into the baby-compartment of a Costco shopping cart so you can buy everything in giant flats? If this is the case, well. OK. I mean, I don't approve of your disregard for the environment, Internet. But at least you know here is going to be room in said SUV for your giant stroller. In fact, buy the largest stroller you can find! Maybe Lincoln makes one that will attach to your SUV like a motorcycle sidecar!

But if you are going to be transporting said baby on public transit, maybe you should consider buying a stroller smaller than a compact car. And here is a surefire way to know if you are going to be driving an SUV: Are you old enough to drive?

Because on the way home from Mill Woods today we had an old man in a mechanized scooter PLUS three babies in giant strollers. It was Bus Stroller Tetris. And it was absurd. It leads to all kinds of other problems including old people who don't get seats (and it drives me CRAZY when young people don't give theirs up, and lots don't, and it makes me want to cuff them around the ears like a kind of old person myself) and me having to kind of leap over my seat to get off the bus, in a very undignified (albeit graceful) way.

In relation to point number 1, again: I met some old ladies at the fabric store (which was the reason I went to Mill Woods--it's the only fabric store I know how to get to on the bus), and they told me stories about the Great Depression. I'm not kidding. When I go shopping at fabric stores, the old ladies (staff and customers) there respond in one of two ways. (a) Distrust. They look at me as if they expect me to hold up the fabric store, and can think of no other reason I would be there. (b) Disproportionate excitement. They are happy that I am there. They are happy that I am acquiring their skills--that perhaps I will, in turn, make quilts for Santas Anonymous when I am old. Hopefully--and I may be filling in the blanks here, a little--I give them hope for the future of our civilization.

And finally, in relation to point #2: I made a weird shirt and a weird jacket. Neither of them is awesome, but once I've made something once, later iterations are always an improvement. I don't like using patterns--I'm far too impatient--so every time I try to make something, there is a fair amount of visualizing, and reconstructing, and half-assed measuring, and so on. This weird jacket notion is a good one--there are many more weird jackets in my future, I'm sure.

Tomorrow I'm going to a wedding. I may wear my weird jacket, in which case you will get a picture. Hopefully there will be some old people there who will tell me about the Great Depression. Or at least a twoonie bar.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

etsy is making me sad today, for the first time ever. so i am far too depressed to update my blog.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

blah blah blah.

My home Internet is really flaky, and since my modem is also a wireless modem, when my cable-y Internet breaks, it starts trying to find a wireless network. This happened yesterday, and my computer found 29 WIRELESS NETWORKS. All of them either secured or weak and crappy. What's the deal, yuppie highrise neighbours? Too good to share your wifi?

Last night I went to the free Shout Out Out Out Out show in Churchill Square. There were sooooo many hipsters there. I felt like I was the only person whose jeans fit over their shoes with anything resembling adequate space.

I was at the farmer's market this morning, and the produce was so beautiful. I blame Barbara Kingsolver for making me so sentimental about food. I actually choked up at the sight of some eggplant. I wish I could say I was kidding.

Friday, September 12, 2008

i love

Used car ads that describe the car being advertised as "lady driven."
This would also be a good name for a band.

This is what I'm working on from home today: PAGES conference. I'm mostly linking it here so google will spider it. Mercenary!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

When I wait for the bus in the morning, the smell of sausages and other labour-intensive breakfast foods drifts across the street from the fancy restaurant in the Hotel MacDonald. In the evening, as I wait for my connecting bus, I get the delicious deep-fried grease smell of McDonald's wafting across the parking lot. It's agonizing, Internet. I feel like the whole world of restaurants is conniving to make me hungry when all I want to do is catch the bus.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Best Blog Entry.

In the mail yesterday I received the "2008 Holiday Preview" catalogue from Hammacher Schlemmer. We'll set aside the whole notion of holiday shopping in early September and save it for a later post. And get this out of the way right off the bat: Hammacher Schlemmer. Hammacher Schlemmer. Hammacher Schlemmer! HammacherSchlemmerHammacherSchlemmer! Heh. So funny to say.

If you are not familiar with Hammacher Schlemmer, let me explain. This is a company that sells gadgets. These gadgets range from the reasonably cheap and useful (rechargeable wireless speakers for $30) to the outrageous (the world's only "complete" Swiss army knife, weighing 2 1/2lbs and going for $1,400). What all these gadgets have in common is that they are ridiculous. They fill gaps of need so specific as to be absurd.

For example, take the foot mat activated night light. The premise of this, in case it is not clear, is that you put this mat beside your bed, and when you get out of bed in the dark, you step on the mat and the night light lights up to show you the way to the bathroom.

Now, where I come from, if you get out of bed in the dark you take your life in your hands--and we liked it that way. Night lights are for sissies, as far as I'm concerned. And yet! Perhaps this is just a perspective problem--someone so deeply mired in their own paradigm of failure that they cannot see the way to a brighter (in this case, literally) future. Perhaps I think I am seeing the world, when really I am seeing the play of shadows on the wall of my cave.

And almost every product in this catalogue is like this: they speak of the possibility of a problem solved, a life made slightly more efficient or less uncomfortable. There is a tiny part of me--the problem-solving part, the perfectionist part--that thinks, hmm. maybe this would really make things better. That's how they get you! That little voice! The noblest human instincts--those that make us try to improve the world around us, to solve problems not because they are destroying us but simply because they are problems, and they are there--are also humanity's greatest weakness, as far as Hammacher Schlemmer are concerned. Before you know it, there is no room to move around in your apartment because of the dvd/cd labelling machines, the wireless blood pressure monitors, and the toothbrush sanitizers. But your nose hairs will be the best-groomed they have ever been, I suppose.

What I admire about Hammacher Schlemmer as a company, though, is their commitment. They are not content to sell just any LP-to-CD recording system, or the first telescope walking stick they happened to find. They are committed--nay, honour-bound!--to provide their customers with the best such device available. And this brings me to my point. How do they find out which products are the best? They test them. With science.

At the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute.

I know this sounds like something I would make up, but it's so much sweeter because it's true. They are talking about the Institute all the time in their product descriptions. They test everything there! As I'm scanning this catalogue, this Institute grows accordingly ever-more impressive and comprehensive in my imagination. So, based on the Holiday Preview catalogue, a list of facilities in the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute:

  • A wireless-telephone-testing range, with plenty of teenagers and Indian call centre employees staffing it
  • A nursery full of toddlers, insomniacs, and those with guilty consciences, each sleeping under a Queen Sized Electric Blanket
  • A giant machine that uses 1,000 AA batteries--just so they can be recharged using the Alkaline Battery Charger (It could have a tv or microwave or something built in to it, just to waste more power)
  • A swimming pool, hopefully Olympic size, for testing swim goggles
  • A Marble-Works-style construction of gutters of various sizes, all filled with rotting leaves and golf balls, in which the Gutter Cleaning Robots are pitted against each other
  • A model 1950's style beauty parlour, including a panel of judges who will help determine which are really The Best Hair Rollers--and also some sassy women with beehives, just for atmosphere
  • A wind tunnel in which Christmas trees, in a variety of stands, are subjected to climbing pets, gale-force winds, and uneven ornamentation to see which is the last standing
  • A 200-foot-tall tree, suspended over a deep pool, constantly being assaulted by a race of super-intelligent squirrels--for finding out which bird-feeder is really the most squirrel-proof
And that's just for starters. I could literally go on FOREVER.

All I want for Christmas is to visit the Hammacher Schlemmer institute, and help test the World's Best Book-Cataloguing Machine, or the Only 100% Accurate Barcode Scanner, or the Potato-Peeling iPod Charger. So, Santa, if you're reading this: Hammacher Schlemmer. Hammacher Schlemmer. Hammacher Schlemmer!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

i can has jellybeans?

(a) if you borrowed my copy of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, internet, could you please give it back? or just email me and let me know you have it?
(b) i'm thinking i need to sew two little beanbags to prop my wrist up on my work and home computers. i am seriously getting pain and soreness on the heel of my hand ("heel of my hand"? is that a thing?) from bad mousing.

James is starting his new university program this week, and is actually taking at least one class (this term) from the library school. I hadn't given this issue much thought until the bus ride home yesterday when I realized that he is stealing my life.

Jocelyn: It's like if I started an SEO company.
James and Jocelyn, together: I'm watching you.
anyone know of a good twitter feed i should subscribe to? It seems like lately I'm just subscribing to the feeds of people I don't know, and it's just making me feel lonely. I have lots of real friends, but why don't they have twitter accounts? hmm?

Haha. This is totally me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

And I would be a Slum Lady, as opposed to a slumlord

If I owned an apartment building, I would name it The Up In Arms.

WE ARE THE BLORG

Hi.

So. I forget to update my blog for awhile and suddenly it's been a week and then it's like, well, why bother ever updating my blog ever again? and the answer is, um... force of habit?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dear my building,
Why is the pool so cold? Why is the laundry room locked? Where's my mail?
It's my day off. Work with me.

Love
Jocelyn

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Potential topics for James's thesis, as proposed by me in an email at 3:05 PM today

"Why Jocelyn is the best"
"Jocelyn: Great girlfriend or greatest girlfriend?"
"Jocelyn... and the cute things she does"

makes sense to me


From Toothpaste for Dinner: Basic Electronics Symbols

Pretending the desk is a boat

I've built a little fortress of book-carts and office furniture around myself, and I am not coming out until someone brings me some Starbucks.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Spotted, on the way home from work:

Parked outside the Italian restaurant one block from my house, a Lexus, a Porsche, and a Jaguar, parked all in a row. That is some high-stakes parallel parking.

This is really incredible: serial no. 3817131. A photographic essay about women in the Israeli armed forces. They look kind of like university students, except they have machine guns.

Friday, August 22, 2008

When James Bond's Gadgets Backfire

1. Exploding pen (GoldenEye) blows up the cheque being written. And the bank it's being written in.

2. Oddjob's razor-edged bowler hat (Goldfinger) slices into shoulder of expensive suit, which cannot be repaired.

3. Miniature flare gun (Thunderball) goes off in pocket, causes chafing.

4. Mini-Sub (Diamonds are Forever) has too-limited range, does not allow infiltration of enemy lair. Also a real gas-hog.

5. Rolex Submariner containing powerful electromagnet (Live and Let Die) accidentally erases hard disc data and portable USB drive in pocket. However, it is very handy for shoplifting.

6. Plastic explosive toothpaste (License to Kill) fails to prevent tartar buildup.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Q: Hey Jocelyn, is it true that you are a manga character now?

A: Yes, that is true, although there was not a single nose stud to be had among the many animated piercings available.

FaceYourManga

EVERYONE on Twitter has one of these now. And I am nothing if not trendy.

So.... around 3 or 3:30 I hit the "brick wall" commercials are always mentioning. I've accomplished almost nothing since then, and I'm not likely to, so I'm just going to stay here until it's time to go home.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Linky Mondays, Tuesday Edition

Yeah, I had the day off yesterday so Tuesday is the new Monday. I think Wednesday is still the old Wednesday though. There's no getting around that middle-of-the-week crap.

holy moley, do i ever have a tag management problem on delicious. That's not a tag cloud, that's tag smog.

tonight i'm going to get orientated at the women's prison in edmonton--i'm on a committee that's working on the library there. i can't wear expensive jewelry (editor's note: like i would, anyway) and i'm carrying around a photocopy of my driver's license (editor's note: i don't have a driver's license. i'm carrying around a photocopy of my government-issued id.) anyway it's pretty trippy--i was thinking about it last night while doing dishes and i realized the one thing i COULD NOT HANDLE about being in prison is that they get no internet. NONE. no negotiation. even dial-up feels kind of like prison, to me.

so i guess i have to keep on the straight and narrow.

links:

Engrish funny--so I guess it's not hard to find this stuff online, but that doesn't mean it cracks me up any less.

Room with a Screw--an amateur scambaiter with a poetic soul tries to con a would-be conner--into writing a poem. It's long, but worth a skim.

That was epic--an art project turning de-contextualized youtube comments into poetry. i'm obsessed with comments, and commenters, lately. this kind of mainlined into my brain. (I should say: this kind of mainlined into my brain, noob.)

And a couple more links that have made me smile in the past week:

graphjam--the song chart meme finally gets its own website.

LEGO tableaus re-create famous photographs [from Wired]

Where is Bob? Tales of an absentee manager. Kind of reminds me of David from The Office. Hard to believe it's real, it's so ludicrous.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Entry in my Crazy Person Journal

"Aug 18/08: I just realized that my bottom and top teeth do not line up when I close my mouth."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

If you think the acoustics are great in your shower, you should try an indoor pool.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

File under irony, computer game

I have been playing The Sims 2 again, like a maniac. I am really, really good at The Sims 2. I can get the Sims promoted like crazy. I can make them fall in love inside of 10 minutes. I can queue up 6 activities for each of the 5 people in a household, put it on super-fast speed, and go brush my teeth and I'll come back and one of them will be mayor. (Well, basically.)

BUT.

Would I let my Sims play computer games for 5 hours on their day off? I would certainly not! I would make them write their novels, and clean their kitchen, and water their hydroponic garden, and go for a swim.

So.

I'm going for a swim. Because I can't let the Sims' lives be better-managed than my own.

Deg deg.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Why do 3 other people besides me have my books i'd like to read list bookmarked?

I am lurving xkcd lately. Today: Freemanic Paracusia.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Amongst my batch of morning links was this wonderful speech from Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He delivered it at Harvard in 1978.

"Many of you have already found out and others will find out in the course of their lives that truth eludes us if we do not concentrate with total attention on its pursuit. And even while it eludes us, the illusion still lingers of knowing it and leads to many misunderstandings."

Your a noob

This morning I discovered the WOW Insider license plate gallery. This one is my favourite:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

BLORG!

Q: Hey Jocelyn, how big of a nerd are you?

A: This big:

cooler bag

Yep, I'm going to the Folk Fest today, so I logically decided to make a little cooler bag for my water bottles and ice pack. It's actually cuter and less misshapen than this photo would suggest, but I'm a seamstress, not a photographer. Anyway, I'm thinking it could double as a lunch bag. Cute cotton prints FTW!

The other project I'm working on is a tablecloth for my night stand. I decided to hand quilt it. Apparently this was foolish! I'm about half-done and I have spent about 7 hours on it already. While watching X-Files of course.

Also, I swam 2.3 km this week so far. That's a lot of turning around in my tiny pool!

Yesterday I had to get fitted for a mouthguard at the dentist. The stuff I had to bite down on reminded me of the stuff they use to take casts of footprints on CSI. To avoid vomiting on the dental hygienist, I pretended there was a crime in my mouth that was being solved. And that crime is NIGHT GRINDING.

I call "blogs" "blorgs" now, just FYI.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My special Man Friend, James, and I have a new collaborative blog: Absolutely True Facts. I strongly suggest you check it out; it's very educational.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

In a reverential movie-theatre whisper

Me, about fifteen minutes into watching WALL-E: "This is my favourite movie."

I could say more, but that pretty much sums it up.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Long time, no blog

balconygarden 011
This is what my balcony garden looks like these days. The sugar snap peas are my favourite; I love their little windy fingers. My one ambition these days is to be more like a sugar snap pea. I'll grow on whatever I can grab.

balconygarden 002
My amazing technicolour pepper! I grew this FROM NOTHING.

balconygarden 009
This is what the world looks like from up here. The strange sky, which looks like it was drawn with microsoft paint, and the apartments across the street hold equal interest for me.

Friday, August 1, 2008

the things you can't see


Kiva - loans that change lives
Today I made my first loan through kiva. This is a microlending website. I lent my $25 to this group in Bolivia. This is actually very efficient, because, in case you didn't know, you get more for your money in Bolivia. I checked on it.

Yeah, I crack myself up. But I am seriously excited about this opportunity. I'll report back. I understand that I don't really make profit on this undertaking though. Typical Jocelyn--invest in something that will just pay you your own money back! I stick my tongue out at myself, emoticon-style: :P

I also went to the doctor this morning, and she suggested I start taking Vitamin D. Then I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of healthy food, because the doctor made me feel guilty.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

i'm dreaming of buying a new computer. the one i'm using at home is still James's, which is both bogus and sad. Dell now sells ones that have bamboo casing on the tower. Pretentious... and yet I feel a friendly, enviro-friendly glow. I wanted to figure out how much this would cost, but the Dell website doesn't seem to offer Canadian shipping. There is a box for "State/province," but the provinces it mentions are like Alabama and Wisconsin, in other words, the kinds of provinces that aren't.

This neat little utility will use your browser history to estimate your gender. It got me way wrong (87% male!), but then, that's my own fault for being obsessed with nascar.com, b00bs.com and the Yahoo! sperm-count self-tester. (heh. if only they really had that. No seriously, the websites i visit that mark me as male: imdb, flickr, urbandictionary, salon, boingboing, wowwiki, consumerist...)

Also: what the hell is this?? I really hope it IS a monster, and not, say, some kind of viral marketing campaign. (It's really disappointing when seemingly exciting things turn out to be viral marketing campaigns.) A lot of gawker commenters suggest it's a dog that has lost its skin, which is both sad and gross. I actually want to KNOWWWWW. Montauk Monster News! It has its own blog!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

File under "wacky news"

Police: Man Stole Miami-Dade Buses, Drove Them On Routes. And yet! Arrested. Sad face.

....But why would i be the target of a Scientology conspiracy?

lolz.

i found out about this new search engine called "Cuil" today. It's fairly cool, although based on the preliminary "investigating" I've done it's hard to say whether it really is superior to google. However, in an lolz moment, a search for my blog turns up this:

Appparently the one image that epitomizes this blog is a banner that says "My success in Scientology." Either that, or this is part of some larger Scientology conspiracy. Which I haven't ruled out.

Or it's sneaky advertising. I definitely haven't ruled THAT out.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Linky Monday, day off edition

Cake Wrecks--a blog of disastrous cakes. This is a more entertaining premise than you might think at first blush, although I find some of these cakes awesome rather than snark-worthy. For example, this one. I would be honoured if someone gave me that cake. And "Happy Birthday Dickhead" is awesome, not lame.

The Five Dollar Comparison--what can you get for $5? I'm obsessed with this question, actually.

Tomes and Talismans--BoingBoing linked to this PSA, circa 1985, which is designed to teach children how to use libraries- AFTER THE EVACUATION OF HUMANITY FROM EARTH! Lucky we have card catalogues to help us find anything we could possibly want. I cannot emphasize strongly enough how much you should watch this dumb movie. (The rest of the series is on YouTube.) (PS: Why do the library staff have to keep explaining to each other how to use the library? How did they even GET THOSE JOBS?) (Also: it's on Wikipedia! And not in microfiche!)

Lifetime, Wow!--This is another blog I just discovered. It's hilarious. The author evaluates Lifetime TV movies on the basis of "Actual awesomeness," "Ironic awesomeness," The presence of actual celebrities, and "Lifetimeness." Helpful.

Interchangeable flap messenger bag tutorial
in which I push Microsoft Paint to the limit

This tutorial explains how to make this messenger bag which I posted on Craftster. My apologies for the long post... I just wasn't sure where else to put this. I'm a very intuitive (read: no-planning! Measure twice and cut once... sure, if you're a sissy) sewer, so it's hard for me to describe exactly the process I went through. But I hope this is useful.

I'm happy to answer questions about this. Comments on this blog are emailed to me so feel free to reach me that way. I also have this available in a printer-friendly PDF version. I will be happy to send it to anyone who asks.

Pattern Pieces

patternpieces


I haven't given size instructions here--everyone should make everything whatever size they want :) But note that the body of the bag (piece 1) should have sides and a bottom at least 1.5" bigger than the large pocket (piece 2). This is so that your pieces will be the correct size in Step E.

Step H. shows how the bag body rectangles are transformed into a bag. If you're not sure how this will work, use paper to make a mock-up, and follow the instructions in Step H to see what size of bag this will result in. This process is so magical I can hardly begin to describe to you how it works, and I frequently have to make paper versions of it myself just to convince myself it still works.

Also, this may seem obvious, but if you don't know how long to make your strap, measure the strap of a bag you really like.

Phase 1: Make the Pockets

Because of the way this bag is constructed, the pockets should be made first. The size of the pockets (piece 2 in the pattern diagram above) will be the approximate size of the body of the finished bag.

A. Take piece 3 - the small pocket

Place the outer fabric and the lining, right sides together, and pin the two long sides. Sew these two long seams.

diaga


Note: the distance between the two seams (indicated with arrows) will be the depth of the small pocket.

Turn this piece inside out. Press the seams you just sewed, and then sew them again (right-side out this time.)

You should now have a strip of fabric with finished seams on the top and bottom, and ragged edges.

B. Take piece 2- the large pocket (1 of main fabric only)

Place 1 piece of mf, right side out. Place the small pocket on top, also right side out. Sew along the bottom with a zig zag stitch. Then sew the small pocket into three compartments (or however many you want) with a straight stitch. These stitches are shown in red on the diagram below. You could make these pockets the right size for whatever small stuff you want accessible in the front of the bag--pens, lipstick, cellphone, ipod, etc.

diag2


C. Place the large pocket you just made and 1 lining piece, right sides together, and pin around all four edges.

diag3


Sew around the four sides, leaving a gap of 4" or so at the bottom.

Turn this piece inside out, being sure to poke out all the corners. (I use the pokey end of a wooden spoon for this.) Sew around the ouside again, with it right side out. When you do this, make sure the gap (the hole through which you turned the piece inside out) is pinned and sitting flat.

Result: A large pocket, with the small pocket attached, with nice finished edges. Like this, but probably not neon green:

diag4


D. Prepare the back pocket.

Place the remaining main fabric and lining pieces of the large pocket (2) and pin them together, right sides together. Repeat the pinning and sewing in step C above, turn inside out, and sew around the outside again.

At this point you should have two nice pockets with all finished edges, one with a smaller pocket attached. The fussiest part is done!

Phase 2: Attach the Pockets

E. Take 1 piece of the bag body, piece 1, in the main fabric. Attach the front pocket (the one with the smaller pocket already attached) around the sides and bottom with a zig zag stitch.

diag5


Note: the attached front pocket should not reach the bottom or top of of piece 1, nor should the corners of the pocket touch the cut-out corners of the rectangle. You need some space around it on all sides for seaming. If the pocket is too big at this point, you need to make either a smaller pocket or a larger bag body.

F. Attach the back pocket to the other bag body piece of main fabric (1), following the same steps.

You should now have the two bag body pieces in the main fabric, each with a pocket attached.

Phase 3: Assemble the Bag

G. Take the two pieces from Phase 2 above and place them RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER. You should not be able to see the pockets.

Pin and sew the three sides as shown:

diag6


DO NOT SEW THE CORNERS. There should be gaps.

H. This is the magic part! Take the two sides and pull them apart, then pin and sew the corners of the bag, as shown in this super-professional photo.

corner comp


This seam makes the corners on the bottom of the bag. It can take a little practice making bags this way, so you may want to practice on some scrap fabric before making the proper bag.

I. Repeat step H with the other corner. You should now have a bag shape, but with an unfinished top.

Phase 4: Make the Lining

J. Repeat steps G-I with the two pieces of lining fabric (piece 1). This part can be a bit finnicky, as you want the resulting "bag" (made of lining fabric) to be ever-so-slightly smaller than the main fabric bag.

The good part is, the lining won't show, so if you have to fudge it a bit no one will know. :)

Phase 5: Assembly

K. Turn the bag proper inside out, so the pockets are on the outside. Place the lining "bag" inside the bag proper. All the seams should be between the two layers, so they won't show when you open the bag.

If you can see seams, you need to take the lining out, reverse it, and then put it back in.

L. Take the unfinished edges around the top of the bag and turn them inward, pinning as you go. Do this to both the main fabric and the lining, to make a smooth, even join around the top.

M. Once you have pinned the bag and lining together, with the edges of both turned in, sew them together--BUT ONLY ABOVE THE FRONT AND BACK POCKETS. Leave the sides open (to insert the strap).

Phase 6: Make the Strap

N. Take piece 4-the strap fabric. Fold it in half lengthwise, good side in. Pin along the long side. Sew this long seam. You should now have a long tube, open at both ends.

O. Turn this tube inside out (this can be tough--the wooden spoon again!) and press it flat. Pin along both long sides, and sew each long side. You should now have a long flat strap with stitching on both sides, and open, unfinished ends.

Phase 7: Attach the Strap

P. Place the unfinished ends of the strap into the gaps left on the sides of the bag. Insert 1" to 1.5" of strap on each side. Pin in place, and then sew a rectangle to attach, like this:

velcrobag 007


"Hem" the bag, sewing around the top of it completely, to firmly attach the straps and the bag shell and lining.

Phase 8: Velcro!

Q. Cut a strip of velcro just slightly shorter than the length of the back pocket. Attach it to the back of the bag, between the bag body and the back pocket.

velcrobag 008


Cut a small 1.5" strip of velcro and attach it to the inside of the back pocket.

The bag is now done!

Phase 9: Flaps

R. Measure the length of your velcro strip from step Q. This will be measurement i.

Measure the depth + height of your bag, as shown:

velcrobag 009


This will be measurement ii. (The bag in the illustration is around 11" depth + height)

These measurements will be the size of your flaps, and correspond to the measurements on the next diagram.

S. Take the flap pieces 5 and place them, right sides together. Pin around the outside of this rectangle, leaving a 4" gap along one of the sides.

diag7


NOTE: Make sure the area inside the pins matches the measurements you took in step R. The size of the fabric doesn't really matter; the distances between the seams will determine the exact size of your flaps.

T. Through the gap, turn the flap inside out. Pin and sew around the outside on all 4 edges.

U. Attach the velcro. A strip the same length as the one on the back of your bag goes on the top of the flap, lining side. a 1.5" piece goes on the main fabric side. If you are having trouble figuring out where the velcro should go, insert the flap between the back of the bag and the back pocket, to see how the flaps will fit in.

V. Pat yourself on the back, you're done! Time to make 1,000,000 more flaps!




Note: Making bags by cutting corners out of rectangles is a trick I learned from another tutorial on Craftster. I've lost the original link, but if anyone has it, I would love to post it. It's a really clever way of making very elegant bags, with less sewing--and less of my nemesis, cutting.

Note:

Creative Commons License


This tutorial is licenced under a
Creative Commons Licence!

This means it can be freely reproduced, changed and distributed without permission, for non-commercial purposes, and with attribution. Questions? Please contact me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

more pretentious, please!


On How About Orange I saw this neat little tool: museumr. It creates a fake museum scene with one of your flickr photos in the background. This young couple is falling in love in front of my pathetic balcony garden, for example. (Note: This is an old photo. These days my balcony garden is robust and bloom-y. The sugar snap peas have little white blossoms! There are tiny, tiny green tomatoes!) Anyway, this tool has very limited usefulness, mainly you can use it to create images such as this one and post them on your blog. If you don't have a blog, well, then I don't know what you are supposed to do. Write down your inane thoughts in a notebook perhaps. Send postcards to your loved ones, and mail them with the correct postage.

I don't know about you, Internet, but I am about ready for it to be the weekend now. Like: What am I doing here? Why is it sooooo cold? Why doesn't someone put something in my mail box so I can amuse myself by reading it? Where are all my co-workers? Would anyone notice if I took another coffee break?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Customer service, with a side of mockery

Haha, OK, there are these twelve-year-old boys who spend all day every day at my library playing Runescape. I created an account on the site just to see what it's like. Now I feel doubly disdainful of them because (a) they spend all day at the public library, trying to con the library staff into giving them more computer time; (b) they do that in order to play a game that is on the lame, so-cheezy-you-can't-play-it-without-crackers (albeit free) side. So next time I have to kick them off the computers I might also make fun of them. Or just be like, "Look, I play a real MMO, and I have a Hammer of Destiny so... get off the computers."

The fangirl in me is geeking out over not one but TWO articles in the blogipelago today, on the awesomeness that is Scully: Scully have I loved [at Salon], and Feminism and the X-Files (My Ode to Dana Scully) [on Feministing]. Squeeeee. Even if the movie sucks, I've been collecting all the DVDs so I can just start again at the pilot. I watch to forget.

it IS civilized to queue.

Banned in Beijing: a really interesting list of things China is banning/doing to get ready for the Olympics. Some of them are downright absurd, like this:

"The Chinese have been known to elbow their way into stores and onto buses, instead of lining up. But last year, city officials launched a 'civilized behaviour' campaign to teach Beijing's 15 million people to form a queue.

The 11th of every month - picked because the two digits in the number 11 resemble two people lining up - has been designated a Queuing Day, during which time thousands of volunteers flood Beijing's streets to help residents practise lining up.

The campaign slogan reminds people that 'It's civilized to queue, it's glorious to be polite.'"
And some of them are actually quite sad, like the street team eliminating bad English on signs. I think Westerners LOVE bad English--it makes us feel amused, and superior.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I am a big fan of my job today. Mainly because I am wearing jeans and Airwalks, and no one seems to care; and also because after work I am going to be fitted for a mouth guard (to keep me from grinding my teeth while I'm asleep) and my dental insurance is paying for 90% of it. Yesssssss.

This is probably the kind of thing that adults get excited about and children within hearing distance think, I hope that is never my life. Well, whatever, sassy children. You're not the ones paying for dental care.

Also, I'm hoping that after this dentist visit I can stop having dental nightmares. In the one I had last night my molars were growing the wrong way, backwards into my jaw.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So pretty!

I used the mosaic maker from BigHugeLabs to make this. It was fun to play with. The photos are:

1. Jocelyn Square, 2. Del's Pizza, 3. Stony Stratford Market Square, 4. 132/365 orange you glad?, 5. Colin Firth having coffee dumped on him, 6. Coffee can wait, 7. White Sands 1/15, 8. red whorl, 9. beinecke, 10. How many years have I hated you?, 11. green sea of chairs, 12. Water Lily

It's a meme I saw on Wisdom of the moon. I followed these rules:
1. Search flickr for the answer to the following questions.
2. You have to choose a photo from the first page of results.

Questions:
What is your first name?
What is your favorite food?
What high school did you go to?
What is your favorite color? (Orange, AND this picture was taken in Edmonton! I walk by the old Orange Hall all the time. Exciting.)
Who is your celebrity crush? (yeah, Colin Firth. It has been for so many years too. All of the pictures of him were SO DREAMY but at least in this one he's pouring coffee on himself, in what I think is meant to be a socially conscious way.)
Favorite drink?
Dream vacation? (this is New Mexico believe it or not)
Favorite dessert? (not cupcakes, but the picture is so pretty!)
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What do you love most in life? (I said "time." Cryptic, no?)
One word to describe you. ("Tall.")
Your Flickr name. (there were no hits for my flickr name, so I used my first name again, like a cheater)

Plus, bonus points for use of the phrase "fish cam"

Recently I've been hearing a lot about these salon treatments where little Turkish flesh-eating fish peck at your feet. Jezebel has a clip of Diane Sawyer undergoing this treatment on national TV. Since this is something I actually have regular nightmares about, I can't really imagine paying money for it, but OK. I guess in late-stage capitalism we have to amuse ourselves somehow.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Talking about the bruise I got at the theatre where I went to see BATMAN

Jocelyn: It's big, and it's grey around the edges, but in the middle it's blue and orange and red...
James: Maybe it's a map to earth!
Not even my Batman-esque superpowers could save me from falling down and seriously injuring myself on the floor. And this was actually only the first of a series of increasingly ludicrous and disappointing events over the past 24 hours (although the Batman movie itself was not one of them). Back later.

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Oh, hi, pigeons. I'm definitely not going to shoot you with my water gun, so don't worry about that." -Me, muttering to myself as I made my way sneakily toward the balcony

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Linking with buttons

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is awesome. It's available for free streaming until the 20th of July. I watched the first two episodes last night and I have to say, the concept is inspired. [Also: I read this interview with Joss Whedon, which is good too. He loves BSG, of course. Damn that crazy, nerdy man, who gets to live my dreams.]

Also I added a button in the right-hand column to Michael Geist's 30 things you can do list. I know everyone is probably really tired of hearing me talk about this, but I also know a few people personally who have written to their MPs because of my haranguing. Because that constitutes a kind of success for me, I'm going to keep it up. (Ha! Positive reinforcement!) Bill C-61 is not going anywhere until the Fall, when Parliament re-starts. That means we have at least six more weeks in which to agitate. If you haven't done so already please, please write to your MP and/or the Minister of Industry. You could also join a Facebook group and/or your local Fair Copyright for Canada chapter, or record a video opposing Bill C-61. If you've already done those things, you in turn should harangue at least one other person and get them to write a letter to THEIR MP. That's how harrassment democracy works. It's a beautiful, irritating process.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On boyfriends

"When I go on a lecture and I’m reading in a theatre often there’ll be like, it sounds goofy, but there’ll be a security guy near me. It’s not that I need it or anything; it’s embarrassing. But people will often say, 'Is that Hugh?' Like he doesn’t have anything better to do with his life to stand behind me as I read out loud." -David Sedaris in this CBC interview

2 links

The first installment of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog is available. Apparently the popularity of the site caused it to crash on the day it was released, Tuesday. I haven't watched it yet because I don't have my own office.

From Alt Text: Grading Batman's Gear. Nerd alert in effect for the comments though--what is with nerd trolls? They can never just let things be. I always think of Comic Book Guy: "I was on the Internet within minutes, registering my discontent throughout the world."

Fail.


Via BoingBoing: this restaurant sounds delicious. I have heard the "DRAM too tightly burger" in particular is worth the trip.

Someone just returned a book to our library that belongs to a library in Georgia. As in, the state.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fun "About the author" fact of the day:

I do not believe in pre-heating ovens.

when is a weekend not a weekend?

I spent most of yesterday reading D. M. Cornish's Lamplighter. It's book two of a planned trilogy--the first book, Foundling, came out in 2006. I liked the first book, but the second one is way better. I started reading it on Saturday night, read it for most of Sunday, and am now on page 450-ish. I tried to do some other things, but it didn't really work out. For example, I watched the first ten minutes of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. But I didn't even get past Old Jimmy Stewart because I kept thinking, you know, I'd rather be reading.

I find work so disorienting sometimes. I mean, I get here, and it seems to take so long for me to remember what I am supposed to be doing. As in, Aaaaah! What is my job? Does that happen to everyone? Especially after weekends. The only thing I am really intellectually equipped to be doing this morning is making photocopies, and I already made all the photocopies that need to be made.

Also, I like it here, but I would kind of rather be at home so I would be there when the mail arrives.

Everyone whose twitter stream I subscribe to seems to be talking about the iPhone. I should knit a fake one and then use it to check my fake email on the bus.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What teh interwebs has been up to lately:

I know this has been making the rounds lately, so my apologies if you've already seen it: Where the Hell is Matt? In this crazy video, a guy travels all over the world and does a silly dance. People dance with him. It is more astonishing than it sounds.

Satisfying my gaming lust and my handbag lust: a 12-sided dice handbag [or d12 Handbag (of Holding)].

I had a Day Off from work today, and it was disconcerting. I feel kind of lost, like there is something (or five things) I should be doing. I went to have lunch with my Man Friend, and on my way home through downtown I wandered to the Legislature grounds and sat on a little concrete promontory that stuck out into one of the fountains and just baked in the sun. Then I came home and watched Candy. Wisdom garnered from watching this movie: No, you do not want to be a heroin addict. You might think you do, but you don't.

My zucchini fritters are perilously close to the pile of papers on my desk. I do live on the edge.

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Now playing: Calexico - Deep Down
via FoxyTunes