Thursday, January 31, 2008

Nerdy like a FOX

This chart represents my progress getting my paladin to L70. I am going to try to do this by the end of the Easter long weekend, March 24th. Can I do it? Yes I can! it's a very achieveable goal!


For lunch I had a delicious chicken caesar wrap from Zuppa's which put me into kind of a lazy mood. It's a fact that once you eat something that good, it's impossible to just go back to working, as you normally would after a boring, normal lunch. Fortunately, I then discovered dispatches from the island which is the blog of actor Jorge Garcia from Lost. Co-incidentally, the new season of Lost starts today, although I will not be watching it as I have no TV.* Still, Jorge Garcia's blog is very funny, and I recommend you read it from start to finish, as I am doing right now. It won't take long. It has lots of photos as well as visual aids.

* I own a TV. I do not have cable. I do not watch the broadcast TV I can get on my non-cable-having TV, because I have crappy reception. I feel obliged to clarify this because "I do not have TV" could have been misleading. This reminds me of that Buffy where they go over to Giles's and Xander is like, "Look! He has a TV! he's shallow, like us!" Well, don't worry, I'm shallow like you.


The FAIL BLOG is kind of lowest-common-denominator Internet, but it's HILARIOUS. LOLZ.


Lol. In the continuing writers' strike, American network CBS is buying the rights to the Canadian cop show Flashpoint. That's hilarious. You know they're getting desperate when they start having to buy Canadian TV. I'm pretty patriotic, but Canadian TV is dismal. Except, apparently, Degrassi (which I've never seen but I know a whole generation of Canadians are pretty attached to).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bad for morale, mine and yours

I'm having a nightmarish day, AGAIN. As Lucas from Empire Records would say, "What's with today, today?" Most of it is so trivial, it doesn't bear repeating. But I did just spend several minutes hunched over one of those tiny laptop trackpads going fuckfuckfuck, if that gives you a notion. It's all work-related, so I'm hoping when I step outside my office into the brisk -30 degree air, I will feel it evaporate from my shoulders like MAGIC. But my mood is such that I doubt it. Nothing in the world drives me more crazy than having stupid tasks delegated to me, and then getting stressed out about them. My time is being wasted, and I should be resentful. But instead I am guilty and panicky: What if I don't do a good enough job of the stupid task? What if the stupid "deliverable" is stupid because of my lack of dealing-with-stupid-stuff-skills, and then everyone is disappointed in me?


Anyway, I want to retreat into my little gmail cocoon and just, like, tag emails for the next 35 minutes. Then go home and make mashed potatoes, because you know when the days get nightmarish, you need mashed potatoes. And alcohol. But not alcohol IN the mashed potatoes. That will make things worse and not better.

I'm so grouchy right now, I feel like I have a grouchiness aura surrounding me. If anyone wanders into the grouchiness radius, they will be exposed to the grouchiness, guaranteed. Even writing this is making me kind of grouchy, like, at YOU. Stupid Internet. Stupid people reading my blog. YOU ARE PART OF THIS TOO.

I'm sorry I said that. But I warned you about the grouchiness aura.

Edited at 3:59 to add: I just hit "publish" and got a blogger error. Either (a) my grouchiness has upset the internal electrical balance of my computer or (b) I am being punished for saying I hate the Internet.

Either way, I am adding this to the list of things that are bad for my morale.

-39 today. This is actually better though, because there is no windchill. When -39 is "better," you know you have a standards issue.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Not that I'm saying it's a BAD plan, exactly...

Oh yeah: I feel obliged to mention that last week the Alberta Government released their climate change action plan. In case you missed it--and why wouldn't you?--their plan suggests cutting emissions by 50%-- by 2050. Kyoto it ain't. Oh, and pumping greenhouse gases into underground rock formations, and I am not even kidding. This "carbon capture and storage" accounts for over two-thirds of the planned "reductions". (PS. Pumping something underground is not the same as reducing it.) Doesn't this sound like the premise of a sci-fi thriller movie of some kind? 200 years in the future, only 1 man (hopefully Will Smith) can save us after the decision to fill up underground caves and porous rock with poisonous gases somehow backfired.

Le sigh.

Mini-linky Monday!

The National Post reports that in the Southern US, 'Canadian' is being used as a racial slur--a coded way to refer to black people. "Stefan Dollinger, a postdoctoral fellow in linguistics at University of British Columbia and director of the university's Canadian English lab, speculated that the slur reflects a sense of Canadians as the other." This definition appears on the urban dictionary as well.

At work today we created a new term: meta-meeting, a meeting where you plan an upcoming meeting. (My boss got an Outlook meeting request for one and she was fuming about it.) The "meta" part was my contribution, of course.

I could be a weather-person.

This post is merely to notify you that it is -30 in Edmonton today. With the wind chill, it "feels like" (this is a real weather thing and not something I am making up) -46. (That's -50 for you fahrenheit people.) Also, there is a wind chill warning.

I talked to my parents on the phone last night. They like to feel involved in my life, so when I told them there was a blizzard, my dad looked up the Edmonton traffic cam website. It was pretty hilarious. My word alone that it was very cold and snowy and windy didn't impress anyone, but with the addition of the traffic cameras into the equation, suddenly I was getting a lot of sympathy. "People are sliding all over the place!" my dad said. "One guy is cross-country skiing on Walterdale Hill!"

Like all Edmontonians, I possess the ability to layer. Usually, no matter how cold it gets, if you put on enough clothes you will be fine. But -46 is past the layering point. It's almost past the going outside point. I did my whole layering routine before I left the house this morning, and other than not wearing a hat (MAJOR OVERSIGHT), I did everything I could. But your toes get cold inside your boots. Your thumbs get cold inside your mittens (I am not kidding. I was wearing wool mittens lined with fleece and my thumbs were cold). Your forehead gets cold under your hood. Your legs get cold, from the top of your leg-warmers to the bottom of your coat. I was wearing 2 t-shirts, a jersey hoodie lined with fleece, a down vest, and a gore-tex shell. I could feel the place where my t-shirt sleeves ended, because MY ARMS WERE COLDER. Under those circumstances, all you can do is huddle together and wait for it to be over.

(PS. Out of the last 10 facebook updates from my Alberta-based friends, 8 are about the weather. Mine says, "Jocelyn is surrounded by coolish polar winter.")

Friday, January 25, 2008

The happiest pizza ever! Discoveries about superheroes!

I learned yesterday that Batgirl was a librarian--saving Gotham City by night, AND by day. The ALA store has a Batgirl poster which I want to buy for every librarian I know.

Last night I made homemade pizza. I made the dough from scratch using unbleached flour (and some whole wheat flour!) I used organic, free-range, grain-fed turkey sausage as the meat! I put zucchini on it! It was crazy. And actually pretty good, everything considered. I'm eating leftovers RIGHT NOW.

This weekend I will get my paladin to L64. LAUGHING TIME IS OVER. I need to stop my tomfoolery (heh. that's a funny word) and catch up to my guildies, before they decide I'm the weakest link and vote me off the island. I made an Excel spreadsheet calculating how much playing time it will take to get her to L70--around 75 hours, give or take. I figure I can do it in ten weeks, since I have to do other stuff too, like go to work and sleep at night.

I was just SO NERDY right now, and for the previous 25 years.

in which I relate workplace pop-psychology crazes to early 80s television shows

Yesterday everyone in my office went to a True Colors workshop. Basically the idea of this is that everyone in the office gets an assessment of their Color, and this helps you to be more understanding of your coworkers and, possibly more helpfully, what types of behaviours are most likely to piss off your boss. I'm dubious of these types of activities because they tend to ask you questions like, "Do you like to do things spontaneously?" and then, if you say yes, your analysis will say, "You like to do things spontaneously!" and it's like, well, thanks, I know because I just told you. Not that insightful.

The outcome of all this is that I am Green, which means that I am intellectual, that I value intelligence and learning above other things, that I like to improve processes and I hate inefficiency, that I see the big picture and I like having lots of information to make decisions. It also means that I am critical and have little patience for incompetence, which is very, very, very true. This whole thing is a pretty apt description of me actually. One of the things our workshop had to say about Greens is that they show others they care by trying to find information for them, which is something I do almost to a fault. I can be the worst person for a heart-to-heart conversation because my instinct will often be to present the other person with as much information as possible in hopes that I can help them to make a decision, when really what they want is to be told they are pretty. In this sense, I am basically a man.

HOWEVER, more importantly, I realized that the four Colors (this word is always capitalized, to differentiate it from "colors," which is a normal word that still means the same thing it has always meant) actually align with almost eerie precision to the personalities of four of the main Fraggles from Fraggle Rock. I don't think this can possibly be a co-incidence. Consider:

Gobo is Green, like me. He's an explorer and an information-seeker. He is brave and independent. Like most greens, he's a natural leader, but he can also be overbearing and domineering, too convinced that he is right and unwilling to listen to others.

Red is Orange. I know that sentence may seem confusing, but bear with me. Red is energetic and dynamic. She is impatient and gets bored easily, and she likes to be active all the time. Red is athletic and very competitive. She tends to jump into things without thinking, and she has trouble admitting her mistakes.

Mokey is Blue, obviously. She's emotional and creative and intuitive. She's a dreamer, and she follows her heart. She also has high emotional intelligence. She's the Fraggle the others go to for advice and sympathy. She is extremely empathetic.

Boober is Gold. He's a worrier, and the irresponsibility of others stresses him out. He dislikes changes and interruptions of his routine. He is very organized and systematic and he makes a very valuable contribution to the Fraggles' lives by doing their laundry. His outlook can be a bit negative but he is very cautious.

The only Fraggle left unaccounted for in this schema is Wembley. Therefore I think there should be a fifth Color added to the True Colors system to accommodate him. I plan to write a letter about this very issue later today.

I think I would have gotten more out of the seminar if the focus had been on Fraggle Rock. I mean, the Fraggle I most admire is Red, but I have now realized that I can't ever be like her, no matter how much I might want to be. As a Green, the best I can hope for is to do some good mapping of unexplored caves, and maybe to learn to play a tiny guitar.

An earlier Fraggle Rock conspiracy: Doozers = Bob the Builder???

Thursday, January 24, 2008

More links, I'm boring

I also heart Amelie Gillette, who writes for the Onion AV Club. So much sass! She offers up her suggestion for Esquire's 10 Things You Don't Know About Women feature.

I like all of them but especially #8: "The sexiest thing a man can do is be Patrick Dempsey. Seriously. He's, like, our favorite!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Is it just me, or should ineptness and inaptitude just be combined into one word? I mean, what do we need both of them for?

I'm having a monumentally disastrous day. It was just disastrous when I got beef and broccoli for lunch and (possibly) made my work supervisor cry. Then I discovered I had inadvertently melted an ice cube tray on top of--and into, really--my oven. Then it was upgraded to monumentally disastrous. That's where we are now. I'm hoping that on my way to the SugarBowl tonight I can cause a schoolbus full of orphans to crash. Or step on the last of some endangered frog species.

If anyone thinks I'm great, I could stand to hear it right now.

Edited to add: I was going to make homemade pizza crust on Thursday night, and the pizza and bread book I got from the library has the PIZZA CRUST RECIPT PAGE RIPPED OUT. See ineptness and disastrous, above.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I shall call you the patron saint of drinkable coffee, and I shall build a temple to you out of brown plastic stir-sticks, with sugar-cube columns

So, when it comes to eating things from the fridge, I have a pretty devil-may-care attitude. If it smells OK and has no visible mold, I will pretty much eat it. But at work, the stakes are a little higher: things could have literally been in there for YEARS, and sometimes they belong to other people. As soon as other people's responsibility starts to figure into calculations, it all goes to hell. So I am very appreciative of the person (whoever it was) who put the little packages of creamer in a styrofoam bowl, and wrote on the side of the bowl: "BEST BEFORE FEB 29 (08)." I like the (08) too. You can't be too specific.

Thank you, mysterious stranger.

I also like the fact that I am getting an email roughly every 5 minutes. Keep 'em coming, people. You don't want me to get bored.

Do not read unless you are a nerd

Jennifer Stoddart, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, wrote an awesome letter to Jim Prentice and Josée Verner (the ministers of Industry and Canadian Heritage, respectively) about DRM. I found out about this from boingboing--I'm happy that someone there has such a passion for Canadian copyright reform. An excerpt:

My office has prepared an information sheet on DRM technology, a copy of which is enclosed for your information.

If DRM technologies only controlled copying and use of content, our Office would have few concerns. However, DRM technologies can also collect detailed personal information from users, who often do no more than access the content on a computer. This information is transmitted back to the copyright owner or content provider, without the consent or knowledge of the user. Although the means exist to circumvent these technologies and thus prevent the collection of this information, previous proposals to amend the Copyright Act contained anti-circumvention provisions.
This makes my heart happy on a cold, coffeeless Monday morning.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

2 1/2 recent projects

swiffering 012

I made these inserts for my off-brand swiffer duster. I actually like dusting with that thing, but I feel guilty throwing away the dusty parts, and then I feel cheap having to buy more of them. This solves both problems. All the dusting, none of the environmental guilt. I got the idea from this photo in the CRAFTY! photo pool. The fabric is remaindered fleece of some kind--$2.40 at Wal-Mart.

swiffering 011

And this is a baby blanket I made for some friends who are having a baby in a couple of weeks. It has cute multicoloured stars on one side, because I would cover the whole world with stars if I could--so emo! so 80s! And the other wise is pink curdoroy, because pink corduroy is adorable, and all baby girls should have something made of pink corduroy.


This barely counts as a project, but I'm on a roll. I printed out a page of these super-cute embroidery thread cards on half of an orange file folder. Then I cut them out and used them to organize some of my more unwieldly embroidery thread.

I need a flippin' Flickr pro account.

Why I should never watch Lost in Translation alone on a Saturday night: because I will spent the next 48 hours in a melancholic, Wagnerian weltschmerz funk. This whole day has kind of made me want to cry. Last night I sat on my bed with the curtains open, spying on the people in the apartment building across the street, the night barely even dark because of the reflections from the snow. Today I went to Wal-Mart on the bus, primarily because I enjoy the bleakness of Capilano mall.


I probably need to make something else right now, so my blues don't catch up with me.


Currently listening to: Jonathan Coulton - Still Alive
via FoxyTunes
This song is AWESOME. And Jonathon Coulton's foxytunes page bio says: "Jonathan Coulton is an esoteric folk rock singer. He was first featured singing "Midnight Train to Georgia" with the Yale Whiffenpoofs. He is now the Contributing Troubadour at Popular Science..." He sang with the same acapella group as Rory Gilmore's grandpa? He's the "contributing troubador" at Popular Science? That is so frakkin' cool.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm Mrs. Oh-My-God-That-Britney-Shameless

I'm inexplicably magnificent today. That's right, I said magnificent. I think morale is the highest it has been in weeks, or at least hours.

Partly this is because of etsy purchases. I bought some adorable rocket and dinosaur bobby pins from daisy chains:

They're so cute. I think they're for kids, but whatever. I mean, has that ever stopped me from putting weird things in my hair in the past? I also ordered a custom hat from BMKHattitude. Her hats are lovely and handmade and I've ordered custom ones from her before, because no hat in the regular universe will fit on my giant head. And yet I love hats, so obviously there has to be some solution. And the solution is... CUSTOM HATS! Yep, that was a bit predictable. I mean, the solution could have been AQUARIUM FISH! but that would not have made any sense.

I want to make a bedspread from vintage scarves. I bet it wouldn't even be that hard. The key would be finding coolish scarves to start with. I know that people on the Internet seem to have much better thrift-store-luck than I do. All I can ever find at thrift stores are little plastic lamps shaped like flamingos that smell like burning when I turn them on. Although in my defense, I only bought one of those, and then I learned my lesson. I mean, it's not like I have 5 of them or anything. Oh, and I'm definitely going to do the Thing-A-Day thing next month, too. But some of the Things will probably be little cartoons with stick-people drawn on napkins. And tonight I'm hand-quilting something, photos to come. Wheee! Craft!

Through an error on the part of my administrative assistant (that useless little shrew), my shaw email account was cancelled, so I'm on gmail now. I'm making an attempt to update all the people and web services in my life to this effect. So if I've missed you, send me an email and I will email you back from my new gmail account! Don't worry, that might sound like it won't work, but it will! Oh yes! it's going to be oh-so 2.0. I'm not putting my new email on this blog, because I am trying to keep it secret and spam-free. I want 100% of the email that comes to my new account to be something from someone I know, that I actually want to read. No more emails about how I can totally use the Internet to buy patches for my favourite punk band, or from offering me double Jessica Alba.

As you may have noticed, it's Friday. Fridays barely count as work-days, in my book, because I'm wearing jeans!

A funny work conversation:
Co-worker: Why did last night feel like it was 4 seconds long?
Me: Um, because it's a leap-year?
I've been sick, thus the lack of updates. Not even normal sick, either; weird sick, where I wake up in the morning feeling queasy and sore, as if I had been helping friends move in my sleep. This has had a somewhat mitigating effect on the high morale, but I DID get to stay home from work yesterday.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pavlovian email response

Receipt of email from BLOCKBUSTER.COM with subject line: "DOUBLE JESSICA ALBA THIS WEEK!"

> Um, delete?

It's like they don't know me at all.

A making-a-thon

I'm thinking of participating in Thing-a-day in February. This would involve committing to create 1 new thing every day. I'm not sure how elaborate the things have to be. I mean, I'm good at creating new things (an idea for a poster, see previous entry! a new alcoholic beverage! an email to my negligent grandparents! A ghetto low-flow toilet! Obscure references and jokes! A rather nice kimono hoodie! A Wrist cuff made from an old tie! Wisdom teeth! Beer-basted boar ribs! Lists! A table I found in my alley! A Veronica Mars bag! Many, many hyperlinks!), but sometimes those things are really silly (see list above), and sometimes they aren't so much a thing as the idea of a thing. Well, anyway, it's on the table. Table, meet thing-a-day. Thing-a-day, meet table.

Plus it reminds me of Jonathan Coulton's Thing-A-Week, and I do heart me some Jonathan Coulton.

This morning on the way to work I was thinking of a cool idea for a poster. It would be an intricately hand-drawn map, populated completely with fictional places from music. (The New Pornographers' Myriad Harbour was playing when I thought of it, and aside from the fact that that song is sublime, it would also be a great name for an actual harbour.) Then I was thinking about that Elvis Costello song that goes, "So they came from Ugly, Texas, and from Nameless, Tennessee..." I can't tell you how many SimCities I've built that were named one of those two things.

Actually, I can't think of any others. This might not be as good an idea as I had first assumed. Desolation row, maybe, but is that a region of a town? Like cannery row?

Searching for this topic led me to The 7 worst fictional towns in America. I've often thought that the town where Miss Marple lives (in the Agatha Christie mysteries, which I used to read compulsively) has got to be one of the worst places in the WORLD to live, with a death rate of around 15% a year. Along with Sunnydale, California, of course.

This would also be a good time to mention the rocklopedia fakebandica, the ultimate reference work for fictional bands. I can't tell you how happy it makes me that every fake band I can think of is in there.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I should probably get married immediately, to some kind of macho, yet health-conscious, advertising executive guy. Preferably from the 50s.

I've been feeling inexplicably domestic lately. I may be getting old, or I may be pregnant, or just bored. Anyway, tonight I made these zucchini chocolate chip cookies, the recipe for which appears in the Barbara Kingsolver book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I haven't tried one yet as they are still on my "cooling rack" ["stovetop"] but, just based on appearance, they look like my most successful cookies in a long time. Mainly because they are not one giant omni-cookie. I used unbleached flour instead of normal white flour. Are these equivalent types of flour? I have no idea. Anyway, their texture is a little weird because of the flour and zucchini, but I'm confident they're going to be good because I was there when I put the chocolate chips in, so I know how many are in there (approximately 1 package, minus the ones I ate while I was stirring. I have no willpower whatsoever when it comes to chocolate chips).

cookies!!! 001

Just because I know you want to see where the magic happens, a gratuitous picture of my stove:

cookies!!! 002

Doesn't it look just like something out of a cooking show? The flickr version of that photo has mouseover notes, because I'm nerdy like that. The can of Sprite on the right end, which has Arabic writing on it, came from Kenya. We were on safari in the Masai Mara, and we stopped at this gas station that was in the middle of the savannah, a gas station whose literally only business was gassing up safari vans. The gas station was one room, with a little counter and a guy to take your money, and they had two additional products for sale: Sprite and bottled water. There was a wall of each, bottles stacked to the ceiling, labels facing out. It was incredibly surreal. I wish I had taken a picture. [I didn't because I made a really, really concerted effort not to walk around Kenya with a camera attached to my hand. Unlike my approach to my normal life actually.] However I did buy two cans, one to drink and one to bring home.

I made a casserole for supper using some leftover pasta and sauteed zucchini and mushrooms. Zucchini is my new favourite thing. I can't wait for summer and the farmer's market when I will buy 1,000 of them and make them into bread and cookies and grate them up and freeze them. Next I am going to try some recipes from Amy Sedaris' entertaining book, I Like You. I don't know what's going on. I've gone crazy. So if you are the guy described in the title of this post, call me. (Note: from the 50s, not in your 50s. 'Cause ew.)


So, since finishing Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I've been complaning to anyone who will listen about the difficulty of finding locally grown food in Edmonton, where the growing season is short and the interest in healthy eating is, uh, minimal. Then I discovered that an Edmonton couple is trying to live on a 100-mile diet and blogging about it! Hooray! There's hope for me yet.

A lot of the time, I go through my life feeling bewildered and tired and mediocre, like I'm just barely managing to convince those around me of my own capacity to successfully navigate my own life. But then, every once in awhile, I do something that really surprises even myself in the extent of its maturity or effort required and I think to myself, you know, i'm allright. This happened to me over the weekend, when I MADE BREAD FROM SCRATCH, and not only swept but WASHED the floor in my front hall (which was begrimed with several winter months' worth of mud) and then POLISHED ALL MY SHOES WITH MINK OIL. I know, right? Who is this person? Well, I don't know, but she got up 20 minutes late today and still managed to come into work wearing an oxford shirt AND a sweater-vest AND a blazer, with cool hair. And I like her.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Call me Sneakalyn.

I'm hesitant about blogging at work because of the amount of co-worker mobility around my cubicle--reading news, checking e-mail, etc., at work seems OK but somehow blogging seems to be crossing a line. So as I type this in a tiny Notepad window I have a bigger, more impressive-looking Word window open in the background. For all anyone knows, I'm diligent. Ha!

In spite of my sneaky blogging, I actually have nothing to blog about, sneaky or otherwise. I have a bunch of big cooking projects planned this weekend, including roasted pepper veggie lasagna, zucchini chocolate chip cookies, and BREAD. I don't have a breakmaker, so this is serious bread, like the pilgrims must have made. I had to buy yeast, and it looked suspiciously dry and powdery--I don't know what yeast should look like, but it seems that if you peer closely at it, you should be able to sense its organicness somehow. This yeast looks like dried onion soup mix. This might also be disastrous bread. But it's going to have fresh jalapenos on it, so at least if it's gross, I can pick those off and eat them.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Update on my morale.

In addition to giving updates about my morale (which is fairly good today in spite of suddenly very cold weather), I also enjoy using the phrase "a moderate amount" as an answer to questions. This phrase comes from Veronica Mars. Yesterday someone about to delegate work to me asked, "How busy are you right now?" and I answered, "Umm, a moderate amount?" and this brought me some satisfaction. I am a moderate amount of busy, I have a moderately high morale level, I have accomplished a moderate amount of work today.

The coffee I am drinking is more than moderately good, though. It's very good.

Here is a silly conversation James and I had today during our delicious lunch at Zuppa's:

Jocelyn: ...So I think I'm developing a caffeine dependency again. But it's not like I drink that much coffee. I only have one coffee a day.
James: I think one a day is good for you. One a day of anything is good for you.
Jocelyn: One a day of everything? What about heroin?
James: One a day of heroin is good for you.
Jocelyn: What's a unit of heroin? Like, things in needles are measured in CCs, right? 10 CCs of heroin. Wait, does CC stand for cubic centimetre? 10 cubic centimetres is a lot of heroin. Maybe 1 CC.
Please note: James is not a scientist, and his assertion that one a day of heroin is good for you has not been proven. Please use drugs responsibly.

This morning I didn't get much work done, but I DID learn quite a bit about hunter pets in World of Warcraft. My hunter character, Aeda, has a pet: a giant, flesh-eating carrion bird named Curtis. I LOVE Curtis. Some of my most fulfilling IRL daydreams concern how awesome it would be to have a giant, stinky bird with a six-foot wingspan who followed you around, attacking your enemies. I also find Curtis's name (which I gave him) highly amusing. The number of people in Warcraft whose pets are named things like Kitty or Bear is really pathetic. (This type of generic name is only funny if it is applied to the wrong species. For example, a cat named Kitty is stupid, and people who name their cats that--and there are hundreds--deserve to lose their MMO privileges. On the other hand, a cat named Fish or Giraffe is, if not awesome, then at least a bit more original.) But Curtis--well, that's a magnificent name for a bird.

Curtis is good for my morale.

Anyway, I spent a bunch of time on warcraft websites learning more about pets, and it turns out that through a complicated series of steps I can teach Curtis some new skillz. So I spent a considerable part of my morning making my Making Curtis an Uber-Fleshripper (MCUF) plan, printing it out, and then colour-coding it. (Colour-coding is also good for my morale.) The resulting document looks almost like something I could have legitimately produced for work, except when you look closely at it and realize that step 2 takes place somewhere called "Duskwood," and involves finding and taming "black ravager mastiffs."

I have to go to a dumb meeting in another building now, and it's going to be frakkin' freezing. This is yet another occasion when it would be handy to have a giant carrion bird following you around, breathing on you with his hot stinky raw-meat breath.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Dear The Internet:

Pictures of your cat with a circuitboard/computer/monitor/mouse are not funny. Stop posting them. You suck.

I'm bored at work, can you tell?

I want this lobster lady lamp from uncommon goods almost more than I can explain. I can't post a picture because it's in flash, so I recommend you just go check it out yourself, credit card in hand.

Monday, January 7, 2008

"Some assembly required," and other euphemisms II

The final, assembled and decoupaged version of my stupid IKEA cabinet:

The hammered finger has turned a disconcerting grey colour. This is a victory tainted by loss. Or if not loss, then minor irritation.

Breaking online-shopping news update

I want to own every product from See Jane Work. It's all so pretty...

I think someone's got a case of the Mondays

I haven't had a linky Monday in awhile so we'll see how rusty I am...

netgranny is a service whereby you select a grandmother from this website, and she will knit you a pair of socks, sort of like mail-order brides only considerably more wholesome. Oh, and the website is in German (?) so I could be completely lying about its purpose and you would have no way of knowing. Although the English version would suggest that I am telling the truth.

[Note: this would be a fun internet game. Find a foreign-language website and create a funny/strange service for it to provide that matches whatever contextual information you can find.]

Even if you're not crafty, I suggest Craftster's best of 2007 list just to admire the sheer ingenuity and effort that went into these projects. Crafty people are the best people, as these awesome crocheted sushi rolls, knitted wigs, hoodies with giraffe ears, decoupaged tennis shoes, and Nintendo quilts will attest.

Also in the DIY vein, I like these Wikipedia-style [citation needed] stickers that can be used to express disbelief/desire for better bibliographic evidence on almost any flat surface.

Last week the Morale-o-meter got linked from BoingBoing and, as such, the server has been up and down ever since. However, keeping track of your morale every day is fun. Since I set up my account, I have been saying, "This is going to be very good for my morale." Or, alternately, "I'm experiencing a downturn in morale." I like the concept of "morale"--it seems like an abstract concept, as if my own mood is something I have no control over. I suggest you adopt this practice as well. It's very freeing/irresponsible. Here's my graph:

As you can see, morale has taken a downturn recently around deletia HQ, mainly because of (a) stupid IKEA assembly and related hammer injuries and (b) the usual Sunday-afternoon blues. However, Meghan lent me season 3 of Veronica Mars, so I think things are looking up. We'll see what the morale future brings!

Wired has a slideshow of tiny modular dwellings, a particular point of fascination for me. (Anything modular. See Lego, my love/hate relationship with IKEA, armadillos, etc.)

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle inspired me to want to cook more, eat organic free-range meat, eat more vegetables, learn to can and make bread, and above all to EAT LOCAL. Or at least to do some of those things, some of the time. Unfortunately, in Edmonton, eating local more or less means eating bits of dead shrubbery you found beside the freeway. So in this space would appear a link to a great resource for local Alberta eating, if such a resource existed. Damn.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

"some assembly required," and other euphemisms Pt. 1

I've bought these FIRA chests from IKEA before. I already have two of them and I like them OK. I went to get another one yesterday afternoon. One significant change has been implemented into the whole FIRA ideology since I was last at IKEA though: they're flat-packed now, which is another way of saying...

[Not that anything flat-packed is impossible; I'm normally a flat-packed-wizard. But stay with me.]

The steps shown in the following photo, 13 and 14, are deceptive. "Put in a few nails! Flip the drawer around! It's fun!" is the approximate message the illustration conveys about steps 13 and 14.

This is a LIE. What this step actually means is, "each of the 5 drawers in this unit is assembled with 8 tiny nails! That's 40 nails altogether! It's really hard to nail them! Pre-drilled holes, with screws, would have worked a lot better, except we're IKEA and we're too CHEAP! So instead, you can spend 2 hours alternately nailing and swearing, not including the 15 minutes you will spent whimpering after you hit the flesh of one of your fingers with your hammer!" [No picture of this, mainly because the finger does not look nearly convincingly injured enough, even though it still REALLY HURTS] "Oh, and then when you finally DO get all the nails in, including 4 nails of your own because we won't give you enough nails to include the 8 that will get bent while you are nailing them, the drawers won't even go in smoothly because the design has failed to account for the added width of the nail-heads sticking out of the sides of each drawer!"

"Oh, and also, the little drawers of the NEW FIRA, unlike the old FIRA, have little holes on both sides so you can't use them for the project you thought you could use them for!"

This whole instruction booklet, in fact, could be summarized with

To: Jocelyn
From: IKEA

You just paid us $17 so we could SCREW YOU OVER

Friday, January 4, 2008

Watch Nemo?

James gave me a USB-powered mini aquarium for my birthday. I have it on my desk at work. When you turn it on, the little fish swim around. As of today, these fish are dead, just like EVERY OTHER FISH I'VE EVER OWNED, EVER. I'm not kidding. I tried to turn it on and nothing happened.

Leave it to me to kill even USB fish.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Whoa, did you guys know that Danica McKellar, who played Winnie on The Wonder Years, grew up to become a mathematician, and helped to prove a theorem in mathematical physics? She's on the nominee list for Wired's sexiest geek contest this year along with actress Felicia Day. Oh, and Joss Whedon. I can't vote because I'm too torn up by my divergent loyalties.

I love The Wonder Years.
*off to check if there are Wonder Years DVDs on Amazon*

I've climbed up this talent tree and I can't get down

James and I basically share one brain, which is convenient if a little eerie. Earlier this week, within thirty seconds of each other and with no previous agreement, we both started new Warcraft characters. Mine is a little green-haired gnome mage, and his is a night elf druid. I decided that my gnome is going to live amongst the night elves and self-identify as a night elf, like monkeys that have human families and think they are people, or, for that matter, my dog. Or Mowgli. Well, did Mowgli think he was a wolf or something? Or is that Tarzan? I don't remember. Anyway, it doesn't matter. If anyone points out my gnome's gnome-ness, she will cry and protest and act confused. I wish I could somehow get her to learn the night-elf language, but I think that's impossible. Whenever she runs around in the night-elf lands, these tall, intimidating elves flirt with her/chat with her/challenge her to duels like crazy. They're FASCINATED by her Otherness.

Also, the gnomes are really brainy and basically are dorks, so this character might be the closest to my actual personality in real life. When my gnome flirts, she says, "At this time, I think you should purchase me an alcoholic beverage and engage in diminutive conversation with me in hopes of establishing a rapport." That's pure Jocelyn, right there.

Oh yeah, and just to up the geek ante a little, I'm totally speccing her frost. And if you don't know what that means, good for you; there may still be hope for you to be cool.

Also, I have nothing else to say

What's the deal with Freaks and Geeks? It's a great show, which I would really like to buy, but I have NEVER seen it on sale for less than $50. For 18 episodes! Not even on eBay! We should use it as the standard for currency, that's how predictably priced it is. The "F&G standard" instead of the "gold standard."

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

From Wired, a crazy story about love, murder, obsession, and the military-- on the Internet.

News from the interweb

I didn't even know this, but yesterday, January 1st, was public domain day, the day when a new set of copyrighted works pass into the public domain. I LOVE the public domain!

Also, the Washington Post reports on the release of the new Wikia Search, a "transparent" search engine that will be editable by users.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

On outlet shopping, and New Year's resolutions

On my trip to Washington last week, I went on an outlet-shopping-trip. We have outlet stores in Canada, but not the way they have them in the US of A: consolidated in long, efficient strips parallel to the highway, their loading doors facing the passing traffic, interspersed with the occasional fast-food restaurant for sustenance. We could probably develop outlet shopping experiences like this if we took it a little more seriously, but personally, I prefer to think of it as an American Thing: go to the States, go outlet-store shopping. It adds to the experience, giving it a polito-cultural bent I like.

Anyway, outlet shopping is sort of fun in an isolated, surreal way, but it also tends to spoil one for normal clothes-shopping. I bought a blazer from Eddie Bauer*, for example, for $8.99. This is all well and good, and I'm going to wear it to work tomorrow with a scarf I bought for $7, but it sort of provokes the question: so, why would I ever pay $95 for this? And since, as I mentioned, outlet shopping is an American Thing as far as I'm concerned (and not for frequent or regular exposure), this means that normal shopping is thus held in lower esteem.

But anyway, we had a coupon for 20% off a purchase over $75 at the Eddie Bauer outlet store (which my mother very cleverly found online), and with James's jeans and my blazer and dress pants and librarian cardigan, we were almost there. So I grabbed a couple of pairs of socks almost at random to push us over the $75 mark. Well, let me tell you about these socks, Internet. These Eddie Bauer outlet-store socks are made of ANGORA. They have snowflakes on them. They are the nicest things I have ever had on my feet. They make me want to take a greyhound bus back to Washington (or Montana, or wherever) to see if there are more. The thought of wearing other socks just makes me sad, now. I actually think of these socks as pirate socks, because they don't have skulls and crossbones on them, but do you think pirates like socks with skulls and crossbones on them? They don't. They're pirates; they don't need to be reminded that they're pirates. Instead, they loot the very best sock-booty, and you can bet those socks are freakin' angora.

That was all a very long way of saying: I have these socks I really like. I made a delicious potato dish in my crock-pot, which I also really like. I went to see Juno, which was a delight: I really liked it. I got my paladin to level 62 today, and I watched some of season 2 of Fraggle Rock, which I got for Christmas from James (who I really, really like). I'm almost finished Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which makes me want to change my life. I'm going to make some card-catalogue-esque desk storage, which is a good place to start. Lots of things are making me happy, and it feels like a good day for a new year.

*I love Eddie Bauer, which I am well aware is weird. I'm looking forward to being old because then I will be able to stop there with complete impunity, and not question whether the things I am buying are making me look like an old person, because I will be an old person. See what I mean?

Amused, embarrassed

I just got back from Juno. I liked it a lot, but one moment in particular cracked both James and I up: when Juno explains that jock guys secretly want to date weird girls, who play cello and wear goth makeup and "read McSweeney's and want to be children's librarians when they grow up." I feel pigeonholed.