Thursday, January 31, 2008

ZENN on the Rick Mercer Report

db forwarded this to me. I've posted video about the Zenn car before and I loved this Rick Mercer report on it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Taser Study

Well a new study has just been released on tasers that raises more questions about their use. The testing was done on pigs. This is so horrific to imagine the terror and screaming of those animals as they were tasered with forty second shots! Not surprising all of the pigs' hearts were affected. Also not surprising was that some also died.
Now "experts" are saying that "human studies are much more relevant." Really? So why were animals tortured? I don't know. What are we left with? More questions and the suffering of more animals until someone is satisfied that tasers can kill. Now wait a minute...isn't that what happened at the Vancouver Airport?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Snow

Wow, Sunday's snowfall has got nothing on today's! I think I'm walking to work so I'd better get going.

Monday, January 28, 2008

News from Whoville

We got a significant amount of snow again while I heard in the city they got very little to none. db took this picture in the morning from our front window. It snowed the rest of the day.
The snow is so beautiful here. I know it causes a lot of grief for people trying to get around, but I love the fact that snow removal is almost non-existent here in Whoville so everything stays very white and fluffy looking for several days. We're supposed to get more snow overnight!

This past Wednesday db and I went to a Blues game! St. Louis was in town playing those Canucks. Why the Brian Sutter card image? Because I wore a vintage jersey from db's collection with Sutter's number and name on it. It fit quite well. Jersey's were made quite differently then (late 70s/early 80s -- I'm not sure when db acquired this jersey).

I felt a little weird wearing a sports jersey to an event like some sort of conformity had occurred. Yet part of me was so excited about seeing the Blues I didn't really give it too much thought. However, I almost changed my mind when I was hurrying around getting ready to go and meet db. I slipped on my sneakers without lacing them and had just finished drying my hair so it was frizzy and wild looking before I tamed it with some Neal's Yard and I caught myself in the mirror and was completely distressed at the image and said to myself, "I look like a hockey chick!" I actually looked like Garth from Wayne's World. I almost changed. Lacing my sneakers and taming my hair into braids certainly helped shake the Garth look.

Once at GM Place I was aware of keeping the big "reveal" hidden until we were in our seats. People were pretty funny in their reactions. We got a lot of laughs and sympathy when things didn't go our way. It was fun.

Both national anthems were sung. Usually I don't sing the national anthem mostly because I'm shy, but the chance for such a large group sing was pretty cool and I eventually sang a little. I'd like to learn the French version for next time I think. I guess only in Montreal they sing the anthem in French or both official languages.

The game itself was very exciting. We were in the upper levels behind the goal. The seats were great because it really is a great vantage point to watch a game. Professional hockey is unbelievably fast when you see it live and I loved being able to see the whole surface and all the line changes and interactions. I was impressed. The game ended in a shootout and we lost. Sigh. St. Louis was also robbed of a goal when they had scored and the ref blew the whistle while the puck was still in play. The people sitting around us were sympathetic when we all saw the replay on the big screen. Ah well, c'est la vie.

We're going again in March when St. Louis is back in town. I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Train Vegan Train

I've got the running schedule, the shoes, the cold weather hat and gloves and the date of my next race, but I haven't been out yet this week. We're having a cold snap (don't laugh you easterners! I know, sis, it's minus 20 in Montreal) hovering around and below zero and brrrrr. I just want to stay in. Of course I'm on the concrete floor at work running around quite a bit so I'm fairly tired at the end of the day, but I am wimping out. Tomorrow I'll probably run at the gym on the dreaded treadmill and it will cost me 15 bucks because the drop-in fee went up, but it's still cheaper than a membership that would lock me into some crazy deal where I'd feel obligated to go the gym even if I didn't want to. The upside is that I like the weight room.

I've decided that i will make the Van city run a half marathon and focus on the longer distance for either the Scotiabank Van city run or a later one. I'm thinking about Victoria maybe...
We've got a big vacation coming up so I don't think we can afford to travel for any races and will have to stick close to home. This is fine since there is tons going on not far from home.

I've tailored my schedule so that db can help me with my speedwork/tempo runs on Sundays. He's sort of like a coach for me. Mostly he's support, but I've asked him to train me hard and I think he will. He use to train big football guys so I figure he can take me on. Or can he? I can be pretty stubborn sometimes.

Tonight I saw this group of maybe 25 runners all geared up in their reflective wear jogging along one of the side streets. I'm always amazed when i see such dedication and organization. I often think about doing such group runs, but I never really follow through (kind of my life story isn't it?). Anywho...they all looked very dedicated and hardworking. I may be a bit envious.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Quote of the Week

It's true that I don't usually have a quote of the week, but I couldn't let this quote go without putting it on the blog. It's too good to not save. Maybe I'll have to start a quote of the week.

"I will get Bin Laden if I have to follow him to the gates of hell. I will get Osama Bin Laden. I know how to do it." - Senator John McCain speaking in Aiken South Carolina

Anywho...while I'm on the subject of the presidential race, db noticed a similarity between Huckabee
Gomer Pyle. Do you think they were separated at birth?
Surprise, surprise, surprise. Look who's running for president!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sampling from the Veganomicon

I've been all about comfort food lately. This usually means something with potatoes. Also, while we wait for our organic fresh box delivery, db and I try to work with what we have in our fridge, freezer and cupboards.
Wanting to sample from my new copy of Veganomicon, last night I decided to try the chickpea cutlets. This recipe couldn't be simpler and was delicious. I roasted the last of the potatoes and turnips so I could put them in the oven and forget about them while I worked on making the cutlets. The green beans are from P's garden in Nanaimo. On our last visit he gave us some fresh frozen goodies from his garden harvest. I spiced up the green beans with some Turkish chile flakes and just panfried them. What is missing from the photo is the mushroom gravy (also from Veganomicon) that went very nicely on the cutlets. As I said to db during dinner "We're so lucky to be vegan."

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Through Roaming Writer I signed up with BookMooch where you recycle books. I've posted a list and already have received my first emails requesting me to mail the books out.

With all of the great recommendations from the Winter Reading Challenge I thought it might be a good way to access some of those books that I can't find at the library. Then I can pass them on later.

Re-broadcast of Cruel Camera

I've just noticed on the Fifth Estate page that they will be re-broadcasting Cruel Camera on January 18th on CBC Newsworld and January 20th on CBC tv. So if you missed it first time around you can catch it again on one of those two days.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fifth Estate draws attention to the Chimpanzee Plight

The Fifth Estate on CBC broadcast Cruel Camera tonight that revisited it's program that was originally aired 25 years ago that showed what really went on in those "nature" shows (Mutual of Omaha, Disney) that depicts animals in their so called natural environments. What was revealed was that animals were intentionally placed in order to create drama and string a narrative together. While the filmmakers got the shot they wanted, it was the animals that paid the price with cruel treatment all for our entertainment.

Twenty-five years later the Fifth Estate takes another look, focusing on perhaps the most used animal in the entertainment industry, the Chimpanzee. I am so glad the Fifth Estate aired this program. It is important for everyone to know that whenever you see a Chimpanzee in the entertainment industry whether it is a circus, a t.v. show, a movie etc you can be certain that Chimp was physically abused in some way. You can also be certain that after their two or three years in the entertainment industry they will mostly likely end up in a cage or, as in the case in the United States, in a lab (the Fifth Estate didn't really touch on this area at all, keeping its focus on the entertainment side of the cruelty).

As you know I am a Fauna Foundation support and have raised money for that Chimp Sanctuary through my running. So while the information wasn't new to me it was still shocking and horrific to watch and hear about the abuse and suffering of these incredible animals that we are supposed to be sharing the planet with. I'm not sure why the Fifth Estate did not show the Fauna Foundation along with the U.S. Sanctuaries since Fauna is right here in Canada? I thought they would at least link it on their website, but when I checked the site Fauna wasn't linked their either. I guess I'll have to email them.

I urge you to click on my Chimp links on my sidebar to find out more.

Monday, January 14, 2008

more from the workshop

Here it is. This is the latest project from my continued woodworking workshop. We thought the handle part of the caddy looked like the old telephone handles that were once so common.

This time in the workshop we focused on joinery, doing some practice work on mortise and tenon joints

so we could use the drill press and a chisel to pare out the rest of the wood, but for this little caddy we used biscuit joint. The biscuit comes in three sizes and once you apply glue to hold it in place, it expands with any moisture so it is a very strong joint.

I didn't even know a power tool existed just for biscuit joints, but of course it does and it is very very cool.
We also used the router table to rabbit out the bottom to inset the base layer. I think I fear the router table the most because of it power and I've seen the damage it has done to woodworkers fingers.

As for the design, the instructor gave us a template to work with. She had chosen a heart-shaped cut-out, but I thought it was a bit too cutesy for me. I was also feeling more confident with my skills using the scroll saw so I went for a floral design thinking I could use this carrier for something in the garden. As I expected I did enjoy the scroll saw. I'd like to work with that tool more often.

To finish it, I'll probably stain it with a colourful analine dye, even though the instructor suggested a tinted oil. I find analine so easy to work with and so easy to clean up since they're water based.

I definitely had more fun this time in the workshop probably because I was more comfortable using the power tools and felt a little more free to move around the shop and work on my project more independently.

Now I think I'd like to take a scroll saw workshop or maybe a carving workshop. I'll have to see what time and my work schedule permits.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


If you did not get to see Tsotsi in a film festival or when it had a theatrical release then I highly recommend that you rent the dvd and see this film. db and I had the opportunity to see it for one of the port whoody monthly screenings.

Tsotsi (meaning Thug) is an orphaned boy who has done what he needs to in order to survive. He and his gang live outside of Johannesburg in a slum. When Tsotsi is forced to question how he feels, for the first time in a long time, it leads him down a road where he begins to question all of his actions. With the character, we re-live a defining moment in Tsotsi's life. His decision to let himself remember this turning point in his childhood that gives him the ability to start to question his choices between good acts and bad acts in his present day life.

There are no wasted moments in this film. Every moment in every scene is relevant and moves the story forward. Exposition is minimal and revealed as it is integrated into the narrative. Even the backstory works as a memory. Flashbacks often concern me, but this flashback is integral to the main plot.

Presley Chweneyagae is fabulous as Tsotsi. He conveys so much with the tiniest of movements in his face. This is important since the camera does often have him in a close-up where we see him facing us. It is sometimes hard to imagine that we are ever going to sympathize with this character, but that is part of its brilliance in its storytelling.

This was a bad sports weekend. Newcastle, who are without a manager right now, played Manchester United and were defeated 6-0. Ouch! Of course the score could have been slightly different if Michael Owen's goal had been permitted, but he was called offside. He was not offside. It was very unfortunate.

Then today the Blues played Vancouver in St. Louis and lost in a shootout after coming back and tying the game in the third period. I hope that means that St. Louis will win when they come to Vancouver in 10 days. db and I will be at that game. Very exciting.

Oh well there's always another game. As for Newcastle, I hate to say it but I don't think things could get worse at this point.

Friday, January 11, 2008

winter reading challenge

I'm sticking with Don Quixote. I slowed down in my reading of it over the Christmas holiday being so busy, and my focus was elsewhere. January has renewed my interest.

There are two parts to this book and I'm about a third of the way into part two. This is where my difficulty began since part one felt like a complete journey. The travels of Don Quixote and his squire Sancho were very entertaining in the first part. With the return of Don Quixote to his home and family at the end of part one I could have set the book down and moved on to a new book, but I knew part two would lead to further adventures and having enjoyed them thus far I kept reading. I also kept reading because I reminded myself that my winter reading challenge goal was to complete books previously unfinished.

Highlights of part one for me are:
  • the vivid descriptions of Don Quixote and his actions. Cervantes has given me an image of a comedic character, the Knight of the Rueful Figure with his bucket/helmet on his head seated atop his sad horse Rozinante that is very entertaining.
  • the narratives within the main narrative. There are two tragic love stories within that are resolved with happy endings because of these characters encountering Don Quixote. The way Cervantes brings all of these characters together is brilliant.
  • the discussion about books and their value. There is a bit of self-reflexivity here. Whether this is intentional or not I'm not sure, but there's a chapter where two characters weigh the value of the knight adventure books that has led Don Quixote to his illusion that he is a knight errant and is out to encounter adventure. They keep some books and discard others for burning. Their reasons and logic begins to break down as the discussion goes on. It seemed so relevant to me. How little we've changed believing that some books will be detrimental to the reader (think of schools banning certain books that they don't want to influence children in a negative way. Harry Potter???).
  • Don Quixote releasing the prisoners in chains and chaos ensues (like most of his adventures)
  • The dialogues between Don Quixote and Sancho where Quixote keeps correcting Sancho's misuse of certain words.

redecorating the cat lounge

I've been painting. No, nothing creative just a little colour for the walls. The cat lounge/office/spare (guest) room has always had an unfinished look. After having new windows installed in the summer, our homeowner, mo, recently finished the trim on the windows that you can see in the bottom photo. The final step was to sand and paint the new trim that db and I said we would do. When we selected the white (who new how hard it was to choose a white) I decided to pick up a colour for the room as well. We chose a no VOC (volatile organic compound) paint which limited our selection slightly but not much.
Yesterday I started on the cat lounge windows and after I finished the first cover on the trim I decided to get the colour going on the walls as well which up until now were just covered with primer. Here's the colour. The tape is still on the edges because I'm about to do a second coat since it's a little thin in spots.

I wasn't sure if I should paint the "bulkhead" green or not. For now I've left it white to see how it looks and then I'll decide if I want to paint it too.

Gigi and the Pineapple

Sunday, January 06, 2008

eating out

We went to the Naam restaurant last night in the big city where we met up with an old friend of db's and her partner. The Naam is a vegetarian restaurant that has been there for over 30 years, cropping up in that neighbourhood when it was a hippy/granola pocket of van city. The neighbourhood has definitely changed into one of the most expensive areas to live, but the Naam remains true to its roots.

It's very busy and like many establishments here you get in line to eat since there are no reservations taken. db and I arrived nice and early so we secured a table for four in the fishbowl (window table). The food was great. I had the Naam Dragon Bowl which is brown rice with steamed veg with their miso gravy, peanut sauce topped with sprouts and wakame. db had Thai noodles that he tells me was very good and we shared a raspberry chocolate cake for dessert. Yum.

Tonight it could be a different story. It's the LV christmas party (we're too busy at Christmas to have time for a party so we have it post holiday) with a set menu except db and I requested vegan dinners. There are two other vegetarians, but we're the only vegans. My past experience has been so-so with the Christmas party menu at a meaty restaurant, but this is an Italian place so I'm hopeful. We'll see.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Story of Stuff Teaser #1

new year's eve

Of course we cooked. In reality there was very little cooking involved in putting the veg sushi together.

Grilled eggplant with wasabi cream and walnut miso sauce
A little miso soup.

My mom gave us a vegetarian sushi book for ??? I can't remember why but it must have been one of our birthdays or a housewarming gift or something. Anywho...db and I used the book as a guideline. We had so much fun just making the sushi.

We couldn't find brown sushi rice and I know somewhere in this sushi capital of Canada it must exist. We did find organic sushi rice to compliment our organic veg (for the most part). The slightly chilled Sake was organic also as was our midnight toasting Prosecco.

After all that food I thought I would fast for sure on New Year's Day. Once the day rolled around and I was coffee ready I quickly changed my mind.