Monday, June 29, 2009

Idiocracy Spot On

Go to xkcd and read this comic because it's reflective of the times:
Regular xkcd readers will know to hover their mouse over the comic for the hidden message (is there a word for this?). This one reads:
"People aren't going to change, for better or for worse. Technology's going to be so cool. All in all, the future will be ok! Except climate, we f*$&ed that one up."
Spot on Mr. Munroe, spot on.
How's that for some inspiration from you favourite miserable-grumpy-old-woman-pessimist?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

To Twitter, Or Not To Twitter?

There's only 24 hours in a day, and 7 days in a week. I'm a grad student. I'm taking a bunch of summer classes. I have, at any given time, 2-4 part time jobs. I watch lot's of tv. I read books. I dabble with Guitar Hero. And contrary to popular belief, I do have a social life. The internet is my most time consuming hobby though. I already have a love-hate relationship with facebook. I apparently find the time to keep up with over 100 blogs. I post almost daily on my own blog. I find time to manage an email inbox that tends to get clogged with SLIS stuff if I neglect it too long.
My #1 mistake this summer was to take a job as a research assistant with one of my profs. It's not a bad job per say, but it's a work-from-home-make-your-own-hours kind of job. Which easily translated into all-I-do-is-surf-the-internet-all-day-which-means-I-get-no-work-done-and-thus-don't-get-paid. Seriously, all I do all day everyday is potter on the internet. I thought it might be depression or apathy or burnout, but a friend informed me yesterday that it's just 'summer' so I'm not worried about my sanity anymore.
Except that I've decided to join Twitter.
Previously I had this to say about Twitter:
And just today this conversation took place:
me: "I think I'm going to join Twitter."
friend: "What! Yesterday you said Twitter was the devil!"
me: "Not yesterday, that was last week."
I've been against it for a long time. Why would I want to follow the self-absorbed tweets of people? Why would people want to follow my own self-absorbed tweets? That was my attitude from the beginning anyways, but it's changed now. Why?
First of all, facebook has changed. I find I only ever bother looking at people's status updates (and photos). I use it to sort out events and private message people. I'm not involved with groups anymore, I don't 'fan' pages. Well, Twitter is all about those status updates, right?
Second, Nathan Fillion is on Twitter (shh, don't tell but I secretly love him). Not only is Captain Mal on it, but as Twitter has gained popularity amoung the masses, other celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon. Now, I'm not a fan girl. I don't follow TMZ or other celebrity news in any way, shape, or form. I'll admit though, the though of reading certain "celebrity's" status updates is kinda cool. That's something facebook doesn't provide (yeah right, like Nathan Fillion would ever friend me!). And I bet some of the curlers are on it.
Third, I'm a news junkie and Twitter has become a pretty good source of news. Take Iran, or the death of MJ this week. Mastermaq has a list of local media on Twitter, and no doubt provincially, nationally and internationally there's tons more.
Fourth, it's a library web 2.0 thing that has grown in popularity. I'm taking a class on library web 2.0 next month, and can already see how, if it's done well, that it can really work. Recently the Swiss Army Librarian joined Twitter, and I've been following his progress from the perspective of the whole late-adopter thing.
Fifth, I don't mind jumping on certain bandwagons, and I just think it might be time to take up a new web-hobby/time waster. And once I get an idea in my head, or set my mind to something, well then it's "go big or go home".
Generally, I try to not be a sheep. I like to get in on trends early or not at all. If I miss the start of something, I generally don't get involved. I've never watched Lost because I missed the hyped up beginning since I was living in England. I missed Battle Star too. I don't own a coach handbag. I like obscure music.
But a bandwagon jumper I am.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Ice Cream Man Cometh

Remember when we were young and the ice cream man (or more appropriately underpaid teenager) rode a bicycle with an ice cream cooler attached to it? They would ring the bells attached to the handle bars to lure out little kids and their quarters. Ah, those were the days.
Since summer has actually come to Alberta, I've noticed an increase in ice cream man appearances around our neighbourhood. Except now they drive weird little yellow van things (I don't even know what to call then, so I couldn't find a picture).
And that song. Good grief, why do the ice cream trucks in this city (and I've heard the same song in three different neighbourhoods so far) play the same annoying old song! It began to drive me crazy: I just couldn't think of the name of that song.
So I did some research... and apparently all the ice cream trucks in Edmonton play "Music Box Dancer" by Frank Mills (a Canadian actually). It came out in the late 1970s. I think I would go insane if I had to listen to it all day.
For your reading pleasure, more sites about the ice cream man c/o a quick Google search:
Ok, stop reading. Gather your quarters and chase down that annoying ice cream man!
(pic)

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Design - Yay or Nay?

I haven't posted anything much this week because I've become obsessed with redesigning my blogger template. Ok. This is it. I think. I'm taking suggestions for the title definitions, and colour choice (there's something about that shade of blue, but maybe it's just me?), and opinions about whether people would prefer white edges or blue edges, and if y'all can see the links (or is the colour too light). It's common knowledge my eyesight is crap and I have twisted taste in...well everything, so comments are certainly welcome. I'm got one more blog to redesign, then I'll commence posting witty random stuff about nothing again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The New Wave of Search Engines

I've been hearing lot's lately about:
I could write my usual long rambly post about what each one is and how they could change my (and your) internet experience.
But I wont, because Disruptive Library Technology Jester posted a fantastic summary already! I highly recommend you take a look. And so the internet progresses...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Artful Apparitions

When I was young, I spotted a unicorn in our bathroom linoleum. Now that our bathroom has been renovated, I'm sure Astro Boy (they're making an Astro Boy movie by the way, which will never be as good as the old anime was) lives on this one particular tile.
You know what I mean? Have you ever just seen 'something' in an abstract pattern? And once you see it, you can't go back to not seeing it - it's always there.
So months and months ago my friend bought and hung up this picture on her wall:
Can you see what she only just saw the other day?
Here's a clue:
It's Jesus!!
And wait, there's more:
It's a death skull!
And now that I look at it, I think I can see Moses! Or Obiwan...
Creepy! And now, of course, that's all she can see in her picture. It's too late to take it back to the store. What should she do?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday Around Etown

I spent the day taking in the sights and sounds of Edmonton. Gosh I love my city.
First, I rode my bike from home all the way downtown to the City Centre Market.
I purposefully took a small bag so I wouldn't spend money on anything I didn't need. And then I came to the Montreal Bagel Man and bought half a dozen whole wheat bagels (not quite Montreal, but close enough). And then I came to the Belua Designs stall. I heard about the 'lady who makes sock monsters' from another Edmonton blog, and then saw a tv spot on a local station, so I was excited to see what monsters she had for sale. I wasn't going to buy one, and if I was I figured I'd probably have to stop by a few times before I saw a monster I liked. But I found one. In my colour. Maybe he called out my name? Say hi to Rooney. I haven't decided if I'm going to rename him or not. Suggestions are welcome.
Then, I went to a friend's apartment to hang out with her cat because they're out of town and I'm cat sitting. Tabitha is one of the prettiest kittys I've ever met. She's a bit of a grumpy-pus (not quite as bad as my childhood cat Muffy though). I've made it my mission to become friends with her, regardless of how many times she swipes at my ankles. Isn't she pretty?!
On my way home I stopped by the Bikeology Festival Day. There were bikes a plenty, some music and numerous booths with bike info available. Plus they were giving away bike-powered smoothies, doing tune-ups and demonstrating how to attach a bike to an ETS bus.
After a short rest, I headed out to the roller derby for a friend's birthday. Yes, I said roller derby. It was the Oil City Derby Girls (red, from Edmonton) vs. Eves of Destruction (purple, from Victoria I think). It was wicked good fun. Seriously, picture a pack of chicks in bootie shorts skating around a track, and then picture them all bashing into each other. Now add points, and cheesy wrester names and give the crowd some beer. Good times! The end was so exciting: Edmonton was behind, and then on the last 'jam', and the other jammer got a penalty and it was all up to the Edmonton girl (named Bratty Girl, really I can't even make this stuff up) and she totally rocked and Edmonton won 103-102!! It was soooo much fun!!
So much fun, I'd definitely go again.
And we saw a celebrity there too! My friend went to get a hot dog and then ran back and said "Look over there, it's Linsay from Canada's Next Top Model!" and it totally was!! So we were staring at her, and she looked over and gave us a big smile!! So awesome! Of course we had to take a picture to prove she was there, but she was standing pretty far away. She was with some guy who 'rapped' during the intermission. No offense to him but watching Hooche Mama knock over Beaver Canoe was better.
It was a good day.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Google Comes To Visit

So on my way to work the other day, I headed into the garage, and opened the big garage door. I heard a loud zooming sound and a car similar to this zipping out of our cul-du-sac at full speed:
It was a Google Street View camera car! Right outside my house! If you haven't heard, Google Street View is a feature of Google Maps and Google Earth that show many streets in the world in 360° panoramic views. To get those pictures, Google cars and vans have cameras on the roof and then drive around streets in cities taking detailed 360° pictures.
Privacy concerns? Take a look at these articles for more on the issue. Apparently faces and license plates will be blurred out.
One last thought: who wants to see a picture of my dad's big truck in our driveway?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Story Slams Are Cool

Last night I went to a Story Slam at the Blue Chair Cafe. It was super fun! The food was super good, the company super fun to hang out with and the stories were...ok maybe not super but most were pretty good.
So what's a Story Slam? Well, ten people had five minutes to tell everyone in the cafe a story. After each person spoke, judges (who were just random Joes in the cafe) scored the story out of ten, though there was a time penalty for going over five minutes. They passed a hat at half time, and the storytellers had to pay $5 to speak, but the winner got the money (apparently like $300).
Most of the stories were really good. There was a lot of laughing, a wee bit of crying, and plenty of smiles. My top three included a funny rant about passive-aggressive notes found in shared college accommodation, an wonderfully descriptive portrait about living in Cambodia, and a random something-or-other about a fish called Carp Diem.
When we left, Cambodia was in the lead (too bad Carp Diem went over the five minutes). We never did stick around until the end - the craving for yummy Marble Slab ice cream took over!
The cafe holds Story Slams once a month, and I'll definitely be going again!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Thoughts Exactly

My Graphjam would have a blue circle inside the big while circle titled "Nice-Guy-No-Chemistry".
Now all I need is a cat...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Lake Through My Lens

I've already mentioned my favourite local place to walk is around Lake Beaumaris. I took my camera the other day to capture some of the ducks and their new ducklings...
That's one busy momma duck!
I even caught a picture of the resident grouchy Canada Goose, who wasn't trying very hard to make friends with the Red-winged Blackbird:
Besides the birds, if you look in the right places, you might see one of the muskrats who have made a permanent home at the lake:
Or some jack rabbits, although they are mostly found in the neighbourhood surrounding the lake, as the lake is too busy with walkers/cyclists/rollerbladders/children/dogs for their liking...
(Ok, so that one wasn't my picture, those rabbits are fast and I just missed 'em!)
And check out the clouds...

Well that's my lake - I love it!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another Postsecret Sunday

My most viewed blog post by far, with over 500 views (yeah I know, not that many but it's a big deal for little ol' me!) is my post on Postsecret Sundays. Every Sunday I look forward to reading the latest Postsecret post.
I love Postsecret.
Search the word 'postsecret' in YouTube for more. Also, check out this post for The Secret Behind Postsecret, where one blogger actually talked to Frank Warren about some behind the scenes details.
**UPDATE**
Another good one that summarized the whole "connecting with strangers" movement:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

An Apple A Day

It's been a monumental week in the life of this future librarian. 
This week, I was able to eat apples without terribly upsetting Bob the Ulcer. I haven't eaten a raw apple (without feeling seriously ill) since December 2006. Due to my ulcer, I had to give up apples, apple juice, apple pears, oranges, orange juice, and excessive fibre like flax or creamy foods like alfredo sauce (which I  never liked anyways).
Maybe by December I'll be able to tackle Christmas oranges!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Unknown Bird Update

I found my bird!
I used WhatBird to identify it. It's a Cedar Waxwing:
WhatBird was actually a really cool finding tool. Since I had a picture but no name, I went through a list of attributes, checking boxes for characteristics that fit my bird. I used location, primary and secondary colour, size and bill size.
After choosing each different characteristic, the search matches would be narrowed down. I started with over 1000 birds in Alberta, but then narrowed it down to 16, and my bird was the second one.
Each name yields an info page with a drawing, photographs, an audio example of the bird's call, facts/info and a map of it's range.
And tons of advertizing. They are really pushing their iPhone app. The whole site, while awesome for identification purposes, is full of TONS of advertising. Otherwise it's would be a 5 star site!!

I Keep Finding Birds On My Lawn

Last summer some magpie bullies downed a blue jay in our backyard. It was beautiful:
I knew something was wrong because I walked right up to it, went and got my camera, walked right back up to it and took a couple pictures. I really wasn't sure what to do with it. I know for a fact (because something similar happened to a pigeon at the university and campus security said so) that the SPCA wouldn't do anything, so I called a friend who gave me some advice. She told me to put on some gloves, then try to pick the bird up. She said that if it was just in shock, this would probably wake it out of it and then it would fly off. Or not, and then she said I should pick it up and see if there was any blood or anything. I tried to pick it up and it hopped under a bush, so I left it, hoping it would fly off later in the evening. Unfortunately it didn't make it through the night.
Today I found this bird sitting in our front yard:
My mom said it flew into the window. Once again, I walked up to it, went and got my camera, and took a few pictures. Shortly after, a crow bully flew by and scared our little birdie, who flew away. Yay! A happy ending this time. 
Does anyone know what kind of bird this was? I've trolled a few websites, with no luck yet.
Help!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bikeology - June Is Bike Month!

I recently started commuting by bike to work once a week, and discovered my love for cycling.
How convenient then that June is Bike month in Edmonton!! 
Check out the Bikeology website for all the info and a list of events. There's also a facebook group and a bunch of facebook events floating around. For more on the origins and reasons behind Bikeology, and for the low-down about the biggest event of the month, Festival Day on June 20, take a look at the Festival section of the website. Most events are FREE (except for movie nights I assume)!
I'm planning on attending:
* Mocktails on the bridge: Thursday, June 11th, 4-6 pm. Northwest side of the High Level bridge at Ezio Farone Park. Free bike tune-ups, pedal-powered smoothies, give-aways, music, laughter, bikes to oggle, what more could you want?
*Movies at the Metro. Feature: ‘Monkey Warfare’: Monday, June 15, 7pm -10pm. Metro Cinema Theatre in the Zeidler Hall - main floor of the Citadel Theatre Complex 9828-101A Ave. Prizes, popcorn, Barb’s Bike Shorts and the feature film, ‘Monkey Warfare’.
And maybe:
*Festival Day: Saturday, June 20th, 1pm - 5pm. Beaver Hills House Park, Jasper Avenue and 105 Street. The glorious Bikeology Festival rolls around once again. Find us there, getting down to funky music, bikey fun, smoothies, and velo-love. Contests, kids’ entertainment, free bike tune-ups, information, prizes, pedal powered smoothies, crazy and beautiful bikes to see, and more! Bring your bike, your friends and your sunscreen for a fantastic velo party! 
*Salon: Winter Cycling discussion: Tuesday, June 23, 7pm-9pm. Parkallen Hall Skating Shack 11104-65th Ave. Route finding, clothing, special care and feeding for your bicycle. Learn what you need to know to start winter riding, or come share your experiences as a seasoned rider. What better time to reminisce about winter riding than one of the longest days of the year.
All you cyclists in Etown ought to check it out (and let me know if you want to go for a ride sometime!).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Busted Eyewear

I'm so mad I want to cry.
(FYI - I've been wearing uber expensive prescription glasses since I was five. The lenses cost over $400 because my prescription is so atrociously bad. No, I cannot get contacts or laser surgery either, because of that atrociously bad prescription.)
On Monday my clip-on magnetic sunglasses broke, in the exact same way my old pair broke four years ago while I was living in London. Back then no one would fix them or order me new ones so I had to wear ugly clip-ons from the pharmacy. Now back in Canada however, my options were to pay $100 to order new ones, $80 to get big wraparounds or custom clip-ons, or $25 to get them fixed. So as we speak, they are getting fixed.
But an hour ago my glasses broke, in the exact same way my old pair broke four years ago while I was living in London. Back then I just wore them and liberally reapplied crazy glue. Now back in Canada however...well I haven't figured that out yet. Hopefully the jeweler who refused to fix my sunglasses will fix my frames. If not, I'll have to buy some crazy glue.
Why did this have to happen all at the same time? Why did this have to happen four months before I'm due to get a whole new pair of uber expensive glasses?
Grr...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

My 0.5 Seconds of Fame

The interweb is a funny, funny place to live.
My humble little blog has found it's way onto a few interesting webpages. Last fall, Facebook and the Edmonton Public Library picked up my rant about Yukon Jack's rant against libraries. And the BBC Booklist and Postsecret Sundays posts made their way onto the first page of a well crafted Google search (as of today I'm second...).
Now, I don't mean to be arrogant about all this, but I'm just a regular-plain-Jane blogger who usually writes about random stuff to keep my half a dozen regular readers entertained. I don't ever seek out 'blogging fame', so when it happens I get giddy. Everyone wants to be a rock star, right?
Today's 0.5 seconds of fame takes the cake though. Yesterday's post about curling made it onto one of my favourite curling blogs. In the span of like 12 hours. 
How?
That's awesome.
My readers rock.
I love the interweb.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Bachelorette Goes...Curling?!

See, curling is cool!
Though I heard about this from a recent article in the Vancouver Sun, I also received this email today from the Canadian Curling Association:
Ok, so first of all how did the Canadian Curling Association get my email? Not that I mind, but I never signed up for anything, so the only way they could've gotten my email address was through my volunteer position for the Roar of The Rings. Weird, but a good bit of spam mail nonetheless!
**UPDATE**
For the record, I think fake love shows like The Bachelorette are stupid and a waste of tv air time, but I broke down and watched the curling part of this episode. It was funny, only a little cheesy, but mostly good natured publicity for my favourite sport.
I think curling would be a fantastic date idea, so if any curlers are free to give me a lesson sometime I'm game. Maybe third time's a charm with the curling boys?

Cars Have Names?

I learned something new yesterday, as I was playing 'cars' with my friend's son.
I'm a girl (although that has been debated recently) and I have a sister, so we were into Barbies and not boys toys. I don't really understand how boys play, so it's always interesting to play 'cars' or 'dinosaurs' or 'transformers' when I visit friends.
Anyways.
Did you know Hot Wheels cars have names?? Seriously, they all have names, just check underneath. The names are like 'Synergy' or 'Boombox' or 'Fast Lane' or 'Road Rash' or '67 Chevy'. And 'Thailand' or 'China' are really popular names. But other than those two, I checked like 100 cars and they all had different names. No kidding.
You learn something new everyday.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Ho-hum

Phrase of the summer:
cabin fever - an idiomatic term for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in, for an extended period. Symptoms include restlessness, irritability, forgetfulness, laughter, and excessive sleeping. The phrase is also used humorously to indicate simple boredom from being home alone. The term was first recorded in 1918
Shoulda gone to church...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Chemistry Party

Nerd alert...
Now go out and have some fun this weekend!
(via Explainist, via someone else, via...)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Banksy Revealed?

Has Banksy finally revealed his identity? Read more about the supposed 'self portrait' from the famous graffiti artist in this article. Apparently his name has even been almost confirmed. Regardless, I hope he keeps doing his artwork - I'm a big fan.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Map My Ride

I've been using mapmyride for over a month now, to record my walks and bike rides. I use the mapping function to make and save all my usual routes for both commutes and recreational trips, and then I log my walks/rides daily. I did 200km in May, which is pretty good for a lazy so-and-so with three jobs and summer school going on. I find it's motivating me to get out and be active, which is a good thing since I'm supposed to lose 10lbs this summer (I've been 'supposed to lose 10lbs' for the past ten years though, so no promises for this summer.)
Here's my favourite walk:
I know there's tons of these run/walk/bike mapping sites out there, but I really like this one.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

One Degree From Blue Rodeo

Ok, I've just come across the coolest addition to a band's website.
I'm a huge Blue Rodeo fan. I've seen them live half a dozen times, in a couple countries, and Jim Cuddy is #1 on my list (but that's a post for another day). Anyways, while perusing the official Blue Rodeo site, I came across the 'One Degree' section, which is an "ongoing tribute to the many artists who have teamed with Blue Rodeo over the years." There's a big long list of all the fantastic musicians who have been associated with Cuddy, Keelor and Co., and when you click on a photo you're taken to the artist's bio page, which includes a listing of how the musician was/is connected to Blue Rodeo.
Now, I'm huge a fan of some of these people, and I knew that Sarah McLachlan and Blue Rodeo are pretty close (she sings or plays piano on a lot of their albums) and that Jim Cuddy and Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip play hockey together, but I didn't know that:
- Jim Cuddy sang a duet with Jann Arden on "Mend".
- Jim Cuddy sang backing vocals for Luke Doucet on "Bloods Too Rich".
- Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor sang backing vocals for Great Big Sea on "When I'm Up (I Can't Get Down)", "Jolly Roving Tar" and "Haven't Seen You In A Long Time".
No kidding, that's awesome!
The One Degree page is a great idea, and every musician should include on on their webspace.
(Did I mention that I love Jim Cuddy yet?)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Nerdy Plush Awesomeness

Years ago, I came across GIANT Microbes
"GIANTmicrobes® are stuffed animals that look like tiny microbes — only a million times actual size! They're humorous, educational, and fun! Each of our GIANTmicrobes® comes with an image and information about the real microbe it represents. They make great learning tools, as well as amusing gifts for anyone with a sense of humor. Best sellers include: The Common Cold, The Flu, Sore Throat, Stomach Ache, Brain Cell, E. coli, Kissing Disease, Ulcer, Martian Life, Beer & Bread, Black Death, Ebola, Flesh Eating, Sleeping Sickness, Dust Mite, Bed Bug, Bookworm, and many more!"
I, of course, bought Bob the Ulcer (bottom row, third from left). Isn't he cute! He rides around in my car with me. I bought Bob from the Telus World of Science in Edmonton. He's got tons of brothers and sisters though, so check out the full catalogue to find your favourite microbial friend.
Today I came across I Heart Guts!, the same concept, this time with plush internal organs.
So cute! 
That reminds me, I keep meaning to go to a city market to take a look at Belua's Monsters...