Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pesky Plastic Bags

There's no curling on tv this weekend, so the theme for the next couple posts is going to be my second favourite topic - going green.
Today's issue: plastic bags.
I don't use plastic bags anymore. I carry a small fold up reusable bag in my purse (cue funny look from cashier). I keep cloth grocery bags in my glove compartment (cue annoying self checkout machine "over weight" message). I haven't 'consumed' a plastice bag in months.
Check out this links for more about reducing your use of plastic bags:
- 'How To Reduce Plastic Usage' from One Green Generation.
- 'Paper or Plastic': which is better? A discussion from Treehugger.
- 'Bag Life Cycles' from 1 Bag At A Time. What type of bag takes longer to decompose? What type required the most energy to make? What type lasts longer? Very interesting.
- 'Battle of the Bag' from CBC Doc Zone shows places from around the world that have already banned plastic bags.
And where do you get those fancy reusable bags? Just Google 'reusable bag', check out specialty shops like Le Gnome, departments stores etc (I know Home Sense has them for cheap, but other shops charge up to $20!). Or make one from an old T-shirt (which I am totally going to do it I ever find time)! Plus, I totally want one of those...
Now you have no excuse for accumulating those pesky plastic bags!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are Movie?

Did you know they're making a movie about the book 'Where the Wild Things Are'? It's directed by Spike Jonze, written by David Eggers, and has quite a cast. You have to read the wikipedia article
I think this is a bad idea. Apparently it's been put off and re-written and re-shot. Here's some test footage:
See, there are reasons why I don't watch movies.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Social Media and Me

Thanks once again to iLibrarian for posting a great link to an article: 10 Ways Social Media Will Change in 2009.
I have to say, while in the beginning I loved all the cool social media stuff out there, the novelty has worn off and I quite dislike most aspects now.
What do I use/not use and why...
- Facebook: has it's purposes yes (I love the event and messaging aspect, plus it's nice to know when people's birthdays are), but is way to full of drama. There are too many applications (that mostly suck), too many groups (that mostly don't have any traffic or discussion) and have I said yet it's way to full of draw-ma? I'd delete it, but like all of the librarians are on it - thus forcing me to learn how to network.
- delicious, LibraryThing: I have no use for the social tagging aspect, I use these services simply to archive my own stuff (thereby defeating the purpose).
- blogs: love it, though I mostly use it to, once again, archive my own stuf (stuff being the contents of my head at any given moment). I read TONS of blogs, but comment infrequently (thereby defeating a purpose).
- Youtube: love it, A#1 time waster.
- Photo sharing sites: I've not got one of my own (lie - I use photobucket to put slideshows on my travel blog, only because it came before flickr so if anyone knows how to export from pb to flickr without messing up all the hard work I put into my travel blog, let me know) but I'm thinking of starting a 'photo-a-day' project (like I have time??). Oh, and I love stealing pictures for my blog (I really need to stop that!).
- Twitter: I do love following status updates on fb, but even I have better things to do than get obsessed with Twitter (though I reckon that would be a likely possiblity if I had time).
- Virtual worlds: um, no.
That's it I think. Let's recap: I use a few things and love them. I don't use others and hate them, but if I had the time I would most likely get into them (sometimes I'm a sheep, even though I'd rather be a salmon). I agree social media is immensely popular and quite necessary in today's world.
How much is too much? When do you stop?
Sometimes I just wish I could talk to a real person...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New LRT Trains = Shiny!

Last week I saw one of the new LRT trains. This morning I ran, but just missed one. 
This afternoon I finally got to ride one. They are shiny!! It was so exciting to ride on cushy new (clean) seats, and hear an announcement that wasn't crackly, and see the digital stop display. It was like being in a nice modern city, where the powers that be actually care about the transit system.
Of course, anything is better than the old cars that look like they're out of the 70s (and smell funny!). I hope they replace all the trains. Oh, that why adult monthly passes went up $10??

Monday, January 26, 2009

No Luck With Noodles

My relationship with food is...complicated. I'm an emotional eater, though who the heck isn't? My appetite also depends on stress, time, laziness and life events. And since I travelled to Egypt in 2005, I've gone through long periods where nothing tastes good. Seriously, when I'm in one of those 'phases' for lack of a better word, I don't crave anything and only eat because that's what people do at certain times of the day. Oh, and of course I've got Bob the ulcer to feed. I think this all started in Egypt because all we ate was falafel, boiled eggs, jam and buns, and hummus and pitas. I also got really sea sick while crossing the Red Sea. That explain why I couldn't eat any of those things for about a year (this also happened with Cheerios a few months later after a nasty bought of jet lag).
Ever since, sometimes nothing tastes good. I even stop craving pizza and doughnuts! I'm in one of those funks now. The only thing I really want eat, and pretty much crave constantly, is Vietnamese Noodle Bowls.
I love Vietnamese Noodle Bowls (with spring rolls!). One of my favourite restaurants is this dive with a purple awning behind the Brick in Chinatown. I don't tend to go out for Vietnamese very often though, as not everyone shares my passion.
Tonight I tried to make 'bun' (as it's called) at home. I did ok, except for the sauce. A friend had made some inquiries and found out it was fish sauce and we bought some last time we were at T&T. I searched around though and found out that the sauce consists of more than just fish sauce.
I'm too lazy at the moment to follow a recipe with fancy ingredients, so I substituted apple cider vinegar for the lemon/lime sauce - which was a bad idea. I then added tons of sugar (brown, because we had no white). Yeah. It wasn't the same.
I'm trying again tomorrow though...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Curling Wrap Up: Shot of the Game

Did you watch curling like I suggested yesterday? What! You didn't! Too bad, you missed a wicked good final!! A Martin-Howard final promised to be good, they're the top two teams in Canada/the World right now, so who do you cheer for? It was a super close game, until team Martin began to unravel (well, Johnny Mo anyways). 
Let me set it up for you...7th end, Howard leads Martin 5-4 with the hammer. Howard has the last shot of the end - and it was freakin' amazing!! Shot of the game! What was going to be a Martin steal of 1 turned into a double take out and a Howard score of 3!!! That was it, they shook hands and Howard and co. humbly accepted the prize.
Gosh I wish I could find a video of that last shot, it was awesome. There's a great description of it here. Also, check out the official event article for the wrap up (and the photo above), including info about how this nice older gentleman won $10,000 in a draw to the button contest (so close to a million!).

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Another Curling Weekend

It's the weekend, and that means there's curling on TV, and I will once again be mutli-tasking, which means homework while watching the action!!
This weekend's event is the BDO Canadian Men's Open, and they're already in the quarter finals. Team Koe have gotten knocked out already (boo!) but there's still Martin, Howard and the entire Winnipeg crew in the mix. Coverage is on CBC this afternoon and evening (web) and then the final goes tomorrow afternoon.
Bonus link: Macleans has a really interesting article on the evolution of training in the curling world. There's a discussion about drug testing in the sport, and about what the players do to keep in shape.
Um, so, anyone want to go watch the Brier final in Calgary March 15th? Or the Player's Championship final in Grande Prairie April 19th? I've never been to Grande Prairie...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

NFB Archives - Online

"Goooooood evening. I'm your boyfriend George Stroumboulopoulos."
That is the number one reason why I watch The Hour. George opens the show with that line every night - and it makes me giggle.
Anyways, he reminded me last night that the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has recently put their archives online. You can watch full length films, clips and trailers.
Ah. Sweet time wasting on the internet.
To save you some time, I've embedded the video you were going to search for. It's time to relive your childhood. Enjoy...
The 'Log Driver's Waltz' rules!! My other animated favourites are 'The Dingles' and 'Cinderella Penguin'. And that's just the animation. Next up - war documentaries...

Light Appreciation

I've been sitting in the dark for awhile. No, not metaphorically speaking (although, I guess that does apply to certain aspects of my life...anyways...). Something was wrong with my bedroom light, so every time I turned it on it would flicker, and then go out. Sometimes jiggling the bulb or unscrewing it and screwing it in again would work, but not all the time. And before you ask, it wasn't that the bulb had burned out (I changed it multiple times).
It's hard to write grad school papers in the dark (even with the tv/computer screen on).
Today my dad fixed it. What did he do? He turned off the power, took out a knife, and chipped away the layer of corrosion that had cemented itself on the contact points.
Who knew? Apparently you can even buy cleaning kits (for cars, but I reckon they'd work in the house too).
FYI: the longest burning light bulb has been burning for 108 years. It's located in a fire station in Livermore, California. You can even watch it on the bulbcam. It's true, because says so!
They sure don't make'em like they used to.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Watch 'The Remnants'

Did you watch Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog? No? What's wrong with you?
Anyways, here's another short film (maybe, hopefully, one day a series?) called The Remnants that was shot last year during the writer's strike. It's about a group of people trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world (something to do with the Grand Canyon?). It's more Girlfriend In A Coma, less The Road. And for some reason it reminded me of Shaun Of The Dead.
It's fairly entertaining. Famous people wise it's got Justine Bateman and Amanda Walsh. Anyone else remember Amanda Walsh being on MuchMusic?
Check it out. And then check out Dr. Horrible...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Do You Shop At Big Box Mart?

It's been awhile since I wrote a post from on top of my 'anti-buying-crap' soapbox, so here is your 'be a better person' fix for the day...
Stop shopping at Big Box Mart, please. Thanks to Greeen Sheeep for the link.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

PostSecret Sundays

Today is Sunday, and every Sunday there is a lovely surprise in my Google Reader inbox (what did we ever do without RSS feeds and readers??) - the latest post at PostSecret.

From Wikipedia
"PostSecret is an ongoing community mail art project, created by Frank Warren, in which people mail their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. Select secrets are then posted on the PostSecret website, or used for PostSecret's books or museum exhibits. The simple concept of the project was that completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they had never previously revealed. No restrictions are made on the content of the secret; only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before. Entries range from admissions of sexual misconduct and criminal activity to confessions of secret desires, embarrassing habits, hopes and dreams."

I love looking through the blog every week. Sometimes the secrets are downright scary, but some are also sweet or hopeful, others are really really really sad.

The author has put together a traveling exhibit (all U.S. venues, except an upcoming visit to Winnipeg!), and there have been four books published. Plus, the website also includes a forum, and videos. CSI NY did an episode using the same idea, so this phenomenon has a wide following.

I highly recommend weekly viewing. It keeps me grounded and humble anyways. My current secret: I really want to submit one but haven't figured out a creative way to do so!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Photo Contest - Please Vote!!

A friend of mine entered a photo into a Connect2Edmonton contest, and it's voting time!! You can see her photo here - it's the black and white one of the deck, railing and roof. More 'Uniquely Edmonton' photo contest categories are shown here. Voting closes on January 28th. Unfortunately you have to sign up to vote, but if you're an Edmontonian, please consider it. C2E is a pretty interesting forum-driven website about everything Edmonton. Vote for my friend if you can!! On a different photography note, if you like art and Lego, check out this flickr gallery of famous paintings, Lego style!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Internet Stats

Do you like numbers? Better yet, do you like statistics? Here's a link to 49 Amazing Social Media, Web 2.0 and Internet Stats. Categories include Google, Wikipedia, Youtube, Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Digg.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

From Typewriter To Bookstore

As a light hearted follow up to yesterday's post on the state of Canadian publishing, here's a video about how a book gets made, from typewriter to the bookstore:
Very witty, eh? Thanks to Shelf Monkey for the link, and if you haven't read his book yet...what are you waiting for??

Monday, January 12, 2009

The State of the Canadian Publishing Industry

Linda Goyette, an author and former columnist for the Edmonton Journal (who said it herself, she really needs to get a website!) gave a talk to my publishing class today on the pathetic state of the publishing industry in Canada. It was shocking really. Her thoughts included:
- yes, the big box 'Chindigo' stores are ruining the careers of local and new writers.

- you can't make a living writing in Canada, unless you're a big name (writers only get 9% of the profits, publishers 30% and booksellers 60%).
It was pretty sad. She passionately appealed to us, as future librarians, to help writers when we're in charge. This includes promoting Writer-In-Residence and Writer-In-Exile programs, as well as supporting small, independent and/or local publishers, booksellers and authors.
What can you do? Stop going to Chapters or Indigo, visit your independent bookseller (Audrey's or Greenwood's here in Etown) and support your local library!!!
A list of books on this topic can be found at LibrarianActivist's site.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Multi-tasking: Curling on TV and School Work??

This weekend is a busy one for me. I'm trying to fit in school work and Guitar Hero and church and curling and curling on TV. Whoo, it's going to be tough!!
This weekend's curling on TV is the TSN Casino Rama Skins Game. This morning, Randy Ferbey beat Kevin Martin, a shocker and a weird game at that. I think maybe the stones were possessed, or the ice at least. Anyways, Martin is #2 on my list so it was disappointing. TSN has great coverage here, as do Bob Weeks on Curling, The Curling News and CurlTV
Tonight's draw has created a bit of a buzz - Jennifer Jones vs. Glen Howard. Can the women keep up with the men? If you saw January 8ths Off the Record with the four skips, most think so, maybe. I don't. I think the men play more aggressively and definitely have the edge in terms of power. So we'll have to see what happens. Howard is #1 on my list, so hopefully the guys pull it off.
If you've never watched Skins before, check it out. It's a bit different, but exciting to watch once you figure out the rules!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Story of Snow

Appropriate for the weather in Etown today (and I should know, I've shoveled the driveway twice in the past 24hrs), here's a link to a pretty and informative photo essay about snow.
Thanks to The Park Bench for the link.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Muppet History

Thanks to Head Tale for this nostalgic link:
Muppet Show and Sesame Street characters are included. 
Though I don't recognize all the names, that sure does bring back some memories! 

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Back To Teaching...

I co-taught (emphasis on the co, which was unfortunate for my past-life-teacher-ish-controlling-nature) my first library instruction class (or "How to do research and use the library" for those non-librarians in the audience).
It went ok.
Just ok though. I talk too fast. It's a weakness of mine that I am fully aware of, yet have no way of preventing when I'm nervous (it was my first class!). Perhaps I didn't explain certain things well enough, but I promise to do better next time. I might've done well enough to single-handedly teach the next one though (if there is a next one...).
It was kinda nice being back in the 'classroom'. Kinda, not really, so no, I wont be swapping my new career for my old career anytime soon. The whole area of library instruction might be something to pursue though.

Animals Recycle Too

Apparently in Germany, elephants (and other animals) get to chow down on old Christmas trees after the holidays are over. An ingredient found in pine bark helps reduce asthma attacks, thin blood, improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and relieve symptoms of diabetes. And the trees are good for the animal's digestion!
Now, this post appeals to me on so many levels. First, I just happen to be reading 'Water For Elephants' right now (which is only so-so). Second, I'm all for recycling and cool environmental news. Third - did you see the picture, that's one cute baby elephant! Thanks to One Green Generation for the link.
(See, that was way more fun than a post about what I actually learned today - three ways of figuring out if a journal article is scholarly/peer reviewed.)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Oilers Weekend

And how did I spend my last weekend of freedom?

Well, yesterday I went to work at the court house, which was extra exciting because the maintenance guys drilled through a water pipe and the ceiling started leaking (yes it doesn't take much to make the library extra exciting). Following that, I went to another Oilers game, which they won! I must be good luck.

Today I went with a few friends and a 5 year old to the Edmonton Oilers Skills Competition. I've never been before, but will definitely go again - it was super fun! We were on the white side and we won the event, so it was extra good. Plus, we all got those blow up noise banging things.
Good times, good times.

I capped off the day with a Guitar Hero marathon, and then a couple episodes of Mythbusters.

So it was a fantastic last weekend of freedom. Unfortunately, time marches on and tomorrow it's back to school for me.

Here are some pics from the skills competition, c/o the official Oilers gallery:

Friday, January 02, 2009

One Last Weekend Of Freedom

Can you feel it? The heavy air? The sense of oppression (depression?).
School starts in two days. This is my last weekend of freedom for months and months.
You think I'd be used to it - I used to be the teacher. I've been conditioned over the years, though, to dread the return to class after a holiday.