Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Food Poisoning (aka Ways to Spend NYE)

Well, I've got:
a) food poisioning
b) that 24hr stomach flu that's been going around.
I am feeling a bit better, after spending most of Tuesday doubled over a bucket. 
So, it looks like I'll be spending New Year's Eve in bed, alone. What a way to ring in 2009. It beats NYE 2008 though, a story which I submitted to the Edmonton Journal...and I made it to print!! Check out the December 30, 2008 edition, page C1 or read it here (I'm about half way down). 
Have a fantastic New Year's Eve everyone, and remember, stay safe - drive sober!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy 1st Blogoversary!

Today is the first anniversary of this blog. Since December 29, 2007 I've written 152 posts.
I just wanted to say a big 'THANK YOU' to everyone who reads my rants and rambles. Keep the comments coming!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Oilers Win It!

I finally got to wear the Edmonton Oilers jersey I got for Christmas last year.
FYI: Oilers 5, Predators 2 - Whoohoo!!
Oh, and Tyler Hamilton (of Canadian Idol season 1 and HGTV) sang the anthems. That was kinda cool. I think I saw him and his family at a church once?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mer-wii Christmas

Yay! I actually got Guitar Hero 3 for Christmas! What a total surprise. I thought the big box was just mats for my car (for the back seats, I got front seat ones last year for Christmas).
So I had guitars, but no Nintendo Wii to play it on!! And as if I was going to find one for sale anywhere!! Luckily, a friend's brother decided to sell his - score!
And now I think I have carpal tunnel...ha ha.
Gosh I love it. Orange fret, here I come!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Top 10 Christmas Songs

In an effort to acquire some Christmas spirit, I present to you, in no particular order, my top ten favourite Christmas songs:

- Huron Carol
The "Huron Carol" (or "'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime") is a Canadian Christmas hymn (possibly Canada's oldest Christmas song), written in 1643 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary.

- O Come, O Come Emmanuel
O Come, O Come Emmanuel carol was originally written in Latin text in the 12th Century. The author of the words and composer to the music is unknown. It is, however believed that the melody was of French origin and added to the text a hundred years later. The Latin was translated into English by John Mason Neale in 1851

- O Holy Night
"O Holy Night" ("Cantique de Noël") is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem "Minuit, chrétiens" by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877).

- Carol of the Bells
"Carol of the Bells" (also known as the "Ukrainian Bell Carol") is a choral miniature work originally composed by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych.

- I Wonder As I Wander
"I Wonder as I Wander" is a Christmas carol written by John Jacob Niles based on a fragment of an Appalachian folk song collected in 1933.

- Walking In the Air
"Walking in the Air" is a song written by Howard Blake for the 1982 animated film of Raymond Briggs' 1976 children's book The Snowman.

- What Child Is This
"What Child Is This?" was written in 1865 by William Chatterton Dix. It was later set to the traditional English melody of "Greensleeves".

- It Feels Like Christmas
"It Feels Like Christmas" is one of the songs from "The Muppet Christmas Carol", a Muppet movie released in 1992 (and my favourite Christmas movie!).

- Christmas Wrapping
"Christmas Wrapping" is a Christmas song written by Chris Butler and recorded in 1981 by The Waitresses.

- Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
"Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" is a novelty Christmas song and animated movie. Written by Randy Brooks, the song was originally performed by the husband and wife duo of Elmo and Patsy Shropshire in 1979.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why Do I Blog?

The Inspired Library School Student wrote a great post about why library students should blog for McGill's Library and Information Studies Student Association (MLISSA). His reasons for writing are:
1. Self promotion
2. Becoming part of a community
3. The opportunity to put your thoughts in writing.
It's a great post, and I agree wholeheartedly. It makes me think I should focus this blog on more library/library school stuff. I wont though (for now) because I like letting off steam about all sorts of stuff. This blog is part rant, part therapy, part promotion of...random stuff. For some reason, I think everyone should know about the cool things I come across. So, for better or for worse, it stays as is.
The MLISSA e-zine is a good idea. I wish our library school had one. I'd contribute. I'm actually regretting not joining in on more committees, not getting involved more. True, I have no free time, after school and two jobs, but maybe I'll fit in somewhere in the new term. Maybe I'll suggest starting a e-zine...or at least contribute to theirs?!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Wordy Monday

A few 'wordy' links for you today...
amaztype - input a word, and the word is made up right before your very eyes of books (or CDs/DVDs) with that word on the cover, very nifty!
typoGenerator - input a word, and the word gets 'art-ified'.
wordle - input text (words, lyrics, paragraphs, the more the merrier) and a word cloud is generated, then edit to taste. One day I'll wordle my novels...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Need Guitar Hero

I need Guitar Hero.
I'm a girl, so, really not that interested in (or good at) video games. Stereotype, yes. True, most definitely. I used to be really good at fencing on the first NES, and I kicked butt at Mario Cart for Nintendo 64 (but can't figure out the wheel for the Wii version). Other than that, I'm not that bothered about video games in general.
Enter Guitar Hero.
I love it. Love it. I previously blogged about how much I enjoyed Rockband, but have switched my allegiance back to Guitar Hero. It's more challenging.
The thing is, I'm pretty darn good at Guitar Hero. I love rockin' out. Mostly it's the social aspect of the game, but there's this geek part of me that wants to hide away in my house and practice practice practice until I can master that damn orange button. I'm a solid 90% medium, but am dying to try hard (not in front of people though, that would ruin my coolness, I am pretty good).
The problem is I don't have a Nintendo Wii (and yes, that would be my game console of choice, I wouldn't mind trying Wii Fit either). So that's $300 (if I could find one). Then I would have to buy Guitar Hero World Tour (no drums or anything, but that's still $100). Plus my TV is twenty years old so I would need a new TV, or I'd have to suck it up and play in the living room with the folks. Anyways, that's a good chunk of change.
And really, do I have time to indulge in my rockstar dreams? No. I'm in grad school. I work two jobs. I curl. I have somewhat of a social life. If I got Guitar Hero, I'd never leave the house.
Would the novelty wear off eventually? Should I forgo ownership and continue inviting myself over to other people's houses? I'm a guitar-hog though, it's like I revert to kindergarden and can't share. Maybe I need to find a nice, nerdy boyfriend who shares my obsession?
I spent sometime last night finding clones I could play on my macbook, but mostly they suck: Guitar Master, Molson Amped, Brazillian version, Guitar Hero Flash, and a list of various ones. There's this hand held Guitar Hero Carabiner thingy and if I tried hard enough I could probably get Tap Tap Revenge or the Guitar Hero app for my 1st generation iPod Touch. It's not the same though.
I need Guitar Hero. And, like, now, because Guitar Hero: Metallica comes out next spring (have you seen the song list!!!). I always like the metal songs anyways, and I'm a closet Metallica fan (Rexall 2008, best concert I've ever seen, beats Wembley 2007).
I feel like a fraud. I've blogged numerous times this Christmas about not buying materialistic crap.
But Guitar Hero...
I needs it. I wants it. My precious...
(xkcd comic)

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Gingerbread Army

I have only two personal Christmas traditions: I always watch 'The Muppet Christmas Carol' and make gingerbread men. A few days ago, I made my annual gingerbread army. This year, I made 150, though they were smaller than usual since I broke the cookie cutter last year. I don't mind making and baking them, but am not overly fond of decorating them. I invited a friend over to help, and she outdid herself! Combined creativity came up with the Biblical set, Oscar the Grouch and proper lips. I've been inspired, and already have some ideas for next year...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Worldly Reading/Watching

I've been reading some pretty heavy stuff lately. I recently finished 'The Trouble With Islam' by Irshad Manji, and I certainly learned a ton about the Muslim faith (though I do acknowledge it is her own biased opinion, there's a lot to learn in that book nonetheless). Last night I zipped through 'Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak' by Deborah Ellis. It too was amazing (amazing!), powerful reading. The children, from both sides, were very honest and I felt like I had heard all the viewpoints regarding the conflict.
Then I spent some time reading up on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I guess the whole situation is something I've heard about and read a bit about, but one that quickly gets forgotten. It's like 'Oh, another bombing. What's for dinner?'. How unfortunate. I know feel like I understand more about what's going on (still going on). (map)
My research led me to 'Gaza Sderot - Life In Spite of Everything', a web-documentary by a French company. It follows the lives of men, women and children in two cities on the Israeli Palestinian border. Every day since October 26, 2008, two 2minuted videos are uploaded, one from each side. They are viewed side by side, giving a truly real look at the daily lives of these people. Despite the many dangers (air bombings and rocket attacks, power cuts and lack of food or medicine) the people never stop working, loving, and dreaming. It's been really amazing to get to know the people and follow their lives, and contrast them with how good we have it here in Canada. It's all very inspiring, and makes me want to do something.
One of the Israeli men is a musician, you can hear his songs here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Four Fun Links For...

...a Wednesday. It was so busy at work today, I didn't have time to learn anything! So here's a few sites to keep you busy on this cold, wintry night (warning - I've saved the best for last!!):
Mr. Picassohead: good time wasting, for the artist in you.
Every Episode of 'House' Ever: and that is why I stopped watching years ago.
You As A Dewey Decimal: for all those people who think all I do in library school is learn about Dewey - now you can be part of it.
And finally, 100 Movie Spoilers in 5 Minutes (yes, that's spoilers, don't watch it if you don't know how Titanic ends)
I told you I saved the best for last!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Science Fun

Today is science day!! Here are two really cool links to amuse you:
Top 10 Chemistry Videos - Who knew gummie bears could be so fun?!
Top 10 Hubble Photos - Amazing photos from the Hubble Telescope, with nifty comments!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winter Light Festival, 2009

The website is up for Edmonton's new winter festival, Winter Light. It runs from January 8 to March 21, 2009 and includes various wintery themes events around the city. These include:
* Deep Freeze (Jan 10-11) - outdoorsy fun on 118 Ave
* Ice on Whyte (Jan 15-25) - an ice carving competition on Whyte Ave
* Snow Daze (Jan 30, Mar 6) - FREE skiing and sledding on the ski hills
* Amazing Snow Thing (Feb 6) - something about snow fort building
* Hearts of Fire (Feb 14) - community fires
* Silver Skate (Feb 20-22) - skating and stuff around town
* Star Parties (Feb 28, Mar 7) - star gazing at Elk Island and the observatories
* Snow Reels (Mar 1-4) - winter themed movies at the Metro Cinema
and much more, including something about lanterns...
It all sounds like good, wholesome family fun. I hope the whole thing is successful, as it would really help our 'festival city' image. Maybe people would stop whining about the weather (ain't nothing wrong with -25 if the roads are clear!).
If anyone wants to take in any of the fun, let me know, I'm game!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Green Cartoons

I'm feeling better - so time for a fun link:
This series of animated shorts follows the (miss)adventures of a enviro-warrior and her dog, complete with Aussie accents, and outcomes of the 'fractured fairytale' variety. Check out the 'This Is Your Lifestyle' section to see how you can change your habits to be more green.
Aw, it's cute anyway!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tooth Trouble

Oh the ongoing drama of my wisdom tooth removal.
I actually felt ok yesterday. It hurt to eat, so I didn't do too much of that, which only aggravated Bob the Ulcer. I finally fell asleep about midnight, but woke up at 3:30am. I wasn't feeling too well, so I went to the kitchen, had a drink of water and took a Tylenol 3.
And then I woke up in the hallway with my parents buzzing around me. Apparently I fainted! Then I threw up. Then I fell asleep. Repeat (minus the fainting) three more times. I felt so sick, I really don't do well when I'm nauseous, and this was major pain. That was the worst I've felt in years.
I called my dentist this morning, and she figured it was the antibiotics, but I still needed to take them, as now I had a greater chance of infection. My mother, however, figures it was the Tylenol 3s. Just this past couple hours, I've felt almost human. Well, human enough to watch curling on the internet, haha.
I think it was the Tylenol 3s. No more of those for me! I don't think eating little and having an ulcer helped the situation. I also think one of my stitches has come loose, as the thread keeps gagging me and getting caught in food etc. At least my jaw doesn't really hurt, and there's no swelling or bruising. I did, however, manage to scrape skin off the top of my foot when I fainted, and I've got a huge bruise on my leg.
You win some, you lose some I guess. (Speaking of, Martin and Koe lost their first games, what's that about?? Thank goodness for's free Fridays...)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bye Bye Wisdom Tooth!

Today was the dreaded 'wisdom tooth removal day'. I first noticed my lower right wisdom tooth had come up in May. Oddly enough, it was a grey/brown colour (the dental hygienist remarked this might have been caused by medications my mother took when she was pregnant?). I didn't have any dental coverage so I put off going to the dentist. My mouth started to hurt in July, but that went away after a week. Yay for grad school though, I finally got coverage in September, but couldn't get an appointment until October. Unfortunately, at that time I had a bad cold so had to put it off for a further three weeks. Oh the drama.
Anyways, today was the day. My dentist said that since I only had one tooth that needed to be removed, and because it was only partially impacted, I could get by with local freezing, and not anesthetic. This was good news because going under anesthetic scares me. Still, this whole procedure had the potential to be the most traumatic health procedure of my entire life, not counting the endoscopy I had a few years ago, so I was still pretty nervous.
First, she put some gel on the area to numb it, then injected me THREE TIMES with the local anesthetic, which immediately started freezing. Half way through, she had to inject me once more. Honestly, those stupid freeing needles where the most painful part of the whole thing. What followed was two hours of open mouth mayhem. Besides the needles, the other worst bit was the cheek retractor they kept shoving in my mouth. It's hard to keep your mouth wide open for two hours! She poked and scraped and pushed, which wasn't too bad. Then she started up the drill to break up my tooth, which also wasn't so bad, except it tasted and smelled really bad (that was probably just the salt water they were irrigating my mouth with). But then, horror, she kept sticking these screw driver type things in my mouth, pushing and yanking really hard. Those I did not enjoy. 
This entire process was repeated over and over again. The hygienist kept laughing because every time the dentist used the screw driver things, I would cringe and roll my eyes. She told me to just keep them closed, but I couldn't help watching. Seriously, I wish there was a mirror on the ceiling so I could've seen the inside of my mouth. Alps, I wish the dentist would've talked me through what she was doing (it's not like I could ask!). It ended up taking like two hours, before she finally pulled that sucker out in three pieces. Apparently it was difficult and stubborn. I've also been told I have a small mouth, so that probably didn't help matters. I was just glad to have it out. It ended up pushing my other teeth forward a little, but hopefully removing it will fix the alignment problem. She gave me a couple stitches (by far the coolest part to watch) and put this dirt looking medicine in to help it heal (but it tastes like bad tea).
Now, bring on recovery. The one side of my mouth aches a bit, and biting on gauze has proved to be not so tasty either. Then the freezing wore off. Now it just hurts a bit more, and my mouth tastes gross. I keep replacing the gauze because it keeps bleeding a little. I've been using ice packs all day to keep the swelling down. Unfortunately, it hurts to open my mouth too wide, which makes eating a problem. So far I've sucked down some soup and yogurt, but honestly, I'm so hungry right now!! It doesn't help that I've got Bob the Ulcer to feed too. I'm pretty sure I need some carbs. 
I don't know how people get all four done at once!! I'm a pain baby so one (and not getting knocked out) is all I can handle. Getting four out must be soooo painful!! I only have two more left, both the upper teeth, but hopefully they stay where they are because apparently getting teeth removed as an adult is pretty risky and wrought with complications. Lucky me though, I've only got three. I hope the swelling isn't too bad. I hope I don't bruise or develop a dry socket. Plus I've got a Christmas party in a couple days, so I hope I can enjoy the food!!
Some interesting resources:
Patient's Guide To Wisdom Teeth (interesting background to why we have those stupid teeth in the first place!)
Wisdom Tooth Presentation (watch the super informative video at the bottom of the page)
It just took me half an hour to eat a banana. My jaw really hurts, but Bob the Ulcer isn't as mad. It hurts to swallow though. I'm such a wuss.

Lying About Reading to Get Dates?

"Nearly half of all men and one-third of women have lied about what they have read to try to impress friends or potential partners, a survey suggests. Men were most likely to do this to appear intellectual or romantic, found the poll of 1,500 people by Populus for the National Year of Reading campaign [UK]. The men polled said they would be most impressed by women who read news websites, Shakespeare or song lyrics. Women said men should have read Nelson Mandela's biography or Shakespeare."
Thanks to Stephen Abram's blog for the link. His best line: "I read therefore I am attractive."
Honestly, I am more attracted to someone who reads. However, I don't care what they read, as long as they admit to reading books one in awhile. (Bonus points awarded for reading LOTR though.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Things Everyone Should Know How To Do

Here's a great post from Marc and Angel Hack Life about '50 Things Everyone Should Know How To Do'.
Suggestions include:

- build a fire.

- operate a computer

- perform CPR and know first aid

- change a tire

- succeed at a job interview

- speed read

- swim

- speak another language

- paint a room

- flirt

- type

- remove a stain

- jump start a car

- hold a baby
They give lot's of great links to sites that will 'teach' you how to do all those things. I'm going to watch the video on how to hold a baby...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Simplifiers: Bad for the Economy?

Apparently I'm bad for the ecomony:
The Next Marketing Challenge: Selling to Simplifiers
"The mass consumption of the 1990s is fast fading in the rearview mirror. Now a growing number of people want to declutter their lives and invest in experiences rather than things. As the world economy slumps, one consumer segment will grow faster than ever: The Simplifiers. Simplifiers present a challenge to marketers. These are well-off people who value quality over quantity and who do not buy proportionately more goods as their net worth increases."
There's a short summary of the full article here, and an excellent list of links to help you simplify here.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Give the Gift of Life

This year, why not give the gift of life for Christmas:
one match - Canada's stem cell and marrow network (which is also part of the international network), sign up to become a donor.
Canadian Blood Services - they need blood donors more than ever over the holidays, it doesn't take very long and you'll get soup and cookies!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Alternatives to Buying Stuff

I've been harping about consumerism at Christmas for awhile now, but just realized I have presented any solutions, so here are some links that you might find helpful:
* Buy Nothing Christmas - a great source for alternative gift suggestions and other resources to help you make Christmas what it should be.
* Consider giving a charity gift. There's tons of local or global charities that could use your help. Many publish gift catalogues where you can 'buy stuff' to support an initiative or buy a charity gift to give to someone who needs it more.
* Give a gift that gives back, check out the lists here for some ideas.
* Keep Edmonton Original - if you're going to shop, at least support local business'.
You don't have to give up shopping, just consider some alternatives, or at least buy one less gift for someone who doesn't need it - and give it to someone else who does instead. Share the love, that's my motto!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Consumer Christmas Carols

It's that time of year again...time to dust off the Christmas carol CDs! Here's a new one, posted on New American Dream, for you:
Buy and Sell (tune of: Silver Bells) (words by Erica Avery)
City Sidewalks busy sidewalks lined with advertising It’s the big retail season of Christmas Children begging for each new thing toys for mile after mile and the mood of the season is clear
Buy and Sell (Buy and Sell) Buy and Sell (Buy and Sell) It’s Christmas time for consumers Ching-a-ching (Ching-a-ching) Cash registers ring (Cash registers ring) Must we spend Christmas this way?
Maxing credit, running debits buying things we don’t need with money we don’t really have Children crying, parents sighing no time for family and the reason behind it is clear
Buy and Sell (Buy and Sell) Buy and Sell (Buy and Sell) It’s Christmas time for consumers Ching-a-ching (Ching-a-ching) Cash registers ring (Cash registers ring)
Must we spend Christmas this way?
(I'm sorry, I just can't help myself this year. Check out Ian's Messy Desk for more. Perhaps I'll see you at tonight's movie - "What Would Jesus Buy?".)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Canada Post Price Hike

Get those parcels out quick, because Canada Post is raising their prices in January. Stamps are going up to 54cents and parcel prices are going up...wait for it...100%!!!!
That's just evil. I think I might have to quit Bookmooch. Bah humbug. (Speaking of, check out Canada Post's 2008 Suggested Holiday Mailing Dates.)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Myers Briggs: Librarians

Apparently the Myers Briggs test can has indicated what personality best suits librarians: "The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) confirmed some of the most deeply ingrained stereotypes in the 1970s and 1980s: that librarians are process-driven and shortsighted, and tend to shy away from any type of confrontation. The MBTI was used to determine an individual's personality based on four dichotomous scales: Introversion/Extroversion (I/E), Sensing/Intuition (S/N), Thinking/Feeling (T/F), and Judging/Perceiving (J/P). The Scherdin Study determined the following percentages for librarians' personality traits: 63 percent Introverted, 60 percent Intuitive, 61 percent Thinking, and 66 percent Judging. Traditionally, ISFJ was the personality type assigned to librarians, but Scherdin determined that the ISTJ and INTJ personality types were most prominent in librarians and were also found in the following occupations: Computer professionals, chemists, electrical engineers, high-level corporate executives, auditors, life and physical scientists, school principles, dentists, lawyers, and judges, according to CAPT's Atlas of Type Tables. Scherdin asserts that an array of dynamic qualities are needed to meet the challenges of the Information Age and staff MBTI profiles can help create strong project teams that work well together." (Scherdin, Mary Jane, and Anne K. Beaubien. 1995. Shattering our stereotype: librarian's new image. Library Journal, July, 35.)
Coincidently I'm an ISFJ. Close enough. 
Take the test...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Christmas In Not About Buying Stuff

It's December 1st. So I get to talk about Christmas for a minute. Notice how I waited until a sensible time, like December? I didn't bombard you with Christmas consumerism and energy sucking flashing lights in October like the rest of the country. 
Yes, I am a Scrooge. Well, not a complete Scrooge, I still like Christmas(ish). I just can't stand all the consumerism. Buy buy buy. More more more. Bigger brighter better. It bothers me. I spent four Christmas' in England (with other fantastic people who know the meaning of the season!), where they don't 'do' Christmas to the extent it's done in North America. Now, the whole thing is just psychotic and over the top and really, honestly, makes me incredibly uncomfortable.
It bothers me because I can see what it's become over here: people buying crap and getting all stressed out trying to out-do everyone else. 
So, in a similar spirit to my Buy Nothing Day post, I present to you an alternative:
Regardless of whether you are religious or not, we could all learn something from what they're trying to say. The whole premise behind Advent Conspiracy is four fold:
* Worship Fully - remember what Christmas is really about 
* Spend Less - buy one less gift this year
* Give More - of your time, to friends, family and community
* Love all
Join us Friday at 9pm at Metro Cinema for 'What Would Jesus Buy?', a film that's trying to stop the 'Shopacalypse' (the end of mankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt).
At least remember what Christmas is about.