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Thursday, May 31, 2007
Called it. I read in this morning's and saw the same story on other news sites: the Harry Potter amusement park. After I saw the third (and best) movie, The Prisoner of Azkaban, I predicted in this very blog that soon there would be amusement park rides based on Hogwarts features. Actually, I said I hoped there'd be a ride based on the Whomping Willow, and was sure there'd be one based on Quidditch. All I know is, they'd better be damned scary. Get Alfonso Cuaron to art-direct. Don't get all Disney-teacups-and-flying-Dumbos on us. Fear sells!
Why do I bother? Even if there were genuinely terrifying rides created for this Universal Studios park addition, who could I find to ride with me? No one, that's who. Until I meet Patrick Stewart at last, and we have a torrid romantic interlude on the Goliath at Six Flags.
Monday, May 28, 2007
I R smug. Now that the small company I work for is no longer so small, in fact it has doubled its size over the last eight months, the task of "Monday Morning Munchies" has had to change. Rather than one person being asked to bring treats for everyone, now the munchies task is shared by a team of two. On Friday I found out that my munchies teammate is one of the newer employees and that this would be her first Munchies outing. She also has the personality quirk of always, always, having to be in charge. So imagine my delight as I listened to her giving me, the relative old-timer, commands as to what I should bring on Monday morning. "Healthy. Let's do the healthy thing, okay? Too many people bring crap, so let's do fruits and stuff. Okay? Good."
Monday, 8:30 a.m. Two heaping plates of White Chocolate, Toasted Almond and Candied Ginger biscotti take their place beside two bowls full of chopped fruit.
Monday, 10:00 a.m. Biscotti crumblets remain. HAW. HAW.
Mein dogs they're DAID. I took the dogs up to Jean and Tyke's farm on Saturday. First Jean and I went for a 6-mile horse ride, pups running alongside, during which I re-established my mediocre riding ability, yet managed to stay on when the normally quiet Honey spooked dramatically at one crossroads. Then Jean, Tyke and I spent an hour or so planting trees in their yard before taking the dog pack for a 6-mile bike ride. When we returned home, all dogs fell flat and commenced snoring. Pipes and Rivvy were down for the count, snoring all the way back to Calgary.
We all recovered sufficiently by Sunday afternoon to go out for our second long walk of the day. This time both dogs found something revolting to roll in. I have no idea what it was, and I don't even know how to describe how bad the smell was, but barbecued zombie diapers would be a start. Anyway, I got a bad case of the chucks right away, which lasted until after I'd shampooed the reek out of the dogs. This served to tire everyone out again, so we all retired to the living room where the dogs did their "hit by a big truck" impression again. Bottom line: pretty damn great weekend, despite stinkery (and surprise sunburn).
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
When I looked at the snow drifting slowly across my bedroom window yesterday morning, May 21st 2007, I no longer felt any guilt at having accidentally forgotten to remove the banana peel in Vinnie's car while she, Schmuke and the Chief went off on a 3-week villa vacation in Tuscany. The peel having been discarded by Lief, eater of said banana, on the way to the airport, and left in the car when I dropped it back at the Tuscan lotus-eaters' home.
A squit-free time was had by all at the farm this weekend, mainly because the weather kept outdoor cavorts (and ditch swims) to a minimum. Yes, yes, we KNOW. May in Calgary equals snow, sleet, rain and wind, and why you buggers keep putting out your flowering annuals before the first week of June, hell knows.
I ask for so little. I didn't barge into the all-boy fishing trip in Barkley Sound, did I? No. I just smiled at the thought of Dad and his sons on a quest for halibut, prawns, spring salmon, and whatever other fish they could catch. I was confident that after a week of familial bonding and communal angling triumphs, my brothers would give rein to their inborn generosity and share the bounty of the sea with their only sister. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Not a single goddamned prawn do I see. They're blaming the airline security. So drive next time.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Bees Louise! Thanks to vebmeister Alex, here are some pics from the Big Ka-honey. Rudy, our former IT guy, is the beekeeper. I am the WannaBee. Sorry.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
There's dawgs in them thar sloughs... A large part of the farm-sitting weekend was spent outdoors, where the two dogs were delighted to cool off in the various ponds and springtime sloughs in various pastures and roadsides. I am not so very delighted to be cleaning up the aftereffects of two dogs with gut troubles in El Condo Non Grande. "What kind of freakin' carnivores can't even lap a little spring runoff without getting the squits?" I asked while hauling out the steam cleaner for the fourth time in an evening. We're back out at the farm this weekend. All outdoor swimming holes are out of bounds.
New to me: For the first time in my life, I witnessed two red-tailed hawks mating. Quite a loud procedure. I've quite often seen the two hawkmates out hunting, or simply calling to each other from the sky, but never before seen them getting bizzay. At 6:30 in the morning. Shrilling all the while.
Attention Co-op Salad Bar: Cooked vermicelli noodles doused in soy sauce are not the same as Szechuan noodles, no matter what your sign says.
Friday, May 11, 2007
How did that happen? I thought I was going to have a pretty carefree month, but voilà! I'm farm-sitting for the next two weekends and the work powder keg just exploded. Well, as long as the dogs, horse and bees are happy.
Share the love. My brothers are returning today from a week's fishing trip with the mad dad. I confess to the slightest twinge of envy at not being asked along, but really, I love the thought of Dad hanging out with his sons, the three of them laughing together, someone other than me losing Dad's favourite lures for once, and so on. And will the brothers remember their only sister when it comes to sharing prawns and salmon or whatever delicious fish they caught? Let us hope so.
Well, looky there. It's the weekend. I got through the week without bitching on this blog about the unpleasant person (dubbed "numbnuts" by a long-term colleague) at work, and that is indeed a surprise. Some of my e-mailees weren't so lucky. Well, Vinnie, anyway. Sorry, Vin. Have fun in your (hiss) villa in Tuscany.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
What should not pass without mention:
  • Jon and Rory moved to New York last weekend, leaving two rather conspicuous gaps in the lives of many Calgarians. They graciously invited me to visit them, most tempting, I must say -- but perhaps I'll let them conquer the city first without me.
  • Jon's company, Veer, kindly took a lot of us Karo people to the movies on Tuesday night. Well, to their movie. The documentary they helped produce, about that ubiquitous, untrammelled font, Helvetica. "What, you're going to a movie about a font?" was a common question. "Are you a nerd?" A font-fan, perhaps. Anyway, the documentary was fascinating and often hilarious--the theatre rang with laughter quite a few times during the show. The Veer kids also took generosity to a higher level by giving attendees really cool lined notebooks. Those with better eyesight than I could tell that the lines were composed of the words "I love Helvetica" in .3 pt type for one half of the book, and "I hate Helvetica" for the other. Uber-cool, as Danyon might say.
  • The Central Alberta MS Bike Tour is on the schedule. June 9 and 10. Jean only signed up for one day (hey, Freezin'! Buk-buk-buk!) and even then she says her participation is contingent upon good weather. But the Red Baron and I are in for the whole deal. So the 70 minutes of bike riding each day is not only to reduce my carbon footprint, but to build a few quad fibres for the event.
  • The bees are boinking! Rudy and I checked on the hives today, and there are many egg-containing compartments. A good sign. They're starting to find pollen in the neighbourhood. Another good sign. Hope the queens are at least enjoying themselves, laying those hundreds of eggs each day.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007
What's the topic in the coffee room? Why, the fact that "Gilligan's Airplane" -- sorry, "Lost" -- will be on TV for another two? three? years. I have seen exactly two episodes. I brought nothing to the conversation. [Note: I'm trying not to sound like there's some snotty virtue in not keeping up with the popular TV shows. For the record, I am nuts for the following: Trailer Park Boys, My Name is Earl, Deadwood and Rome.]
Boy, was that worth your time to read, or what?
Monday, May 07, 2007
Monday Morning's Lesson: You cannot "scoot" bees out of the way. I was up on the roof refilling the hives' jars of simple syrup, since the bees still don't have too many flowers to snack on in Calgary. All went well until I went to put the jars back in the hive: bees were clustered over the tops of each comb, upon which the jars needed to rest. I didn't want to crush any bees, so I tried to gently scoot them out of the way with my gloved hand. According to my pal Dan, who'd climbed up on the roof to watch the goings-on, the buzzing suddenly became very intense. Anyway, scooting them did no good--as soon as one bee was bumped out of the way, another'd take its place. Sadly, at last, I replaced the jars as gently as possible, squishing a few dozen bees each time. Sorry, bees.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Teacher Memories: the start of a random series. Grade V, Andrew Sibbald Elementary School, 1973-74. I had a first-time teacher, Miss Smith. Sorry, "Ms." Smith--it was 1973 and we were all getting used to the new honorific. She was in her early to mid-20s and dressed quite fashionably, in other words in that bizarre 1930s-inspired femininity of ruffles and chiffony layers. She drove a brand new, bright yellow Corvette, which impressed the boys. She also became engaged a third of the way through the school year, and when she returned from her honeymoon we had to call her "Mrs. Herdman." She insisted on the "Mrs." over the "Ms.," which still doesn't make any sense to me, but anyway, it was her name.
Ms. Smith/Mrs. Herdman didn't like me. Now that I'm at least double the age she was when she taught me, I realize that it's not realistic to expect teachers to like all their students. I just wish she hadn't made her dislike so coldly evident. In fact it felt like she was a popular girl at school, picking on one of the pariahs. I still resent her for keeping me in during recess one day to tell me I smelled. I still think she acted unjustly when she forced me to pay for damages to a book in our classroom library. I had been the last to sign out the book, but had brought it back in pristine condition and it had sat there for weeks, in shelves regularly rooted by careless hands, before it was signed out again and the damage discovered. Other books were damaged throughout the course of the year, but I don't recall anyone else having to pay. I remember how she frequently indulged in sarcasm at my expense, how often she used to stare at me in disgust while I turned purple with shame, and once accused me of plagiarism on a book report. That got my mother to phone the school in protest: her children were avid readers and had good vocabularies; did that give this Mrs. Herdman a right to say her daughter's writing was "too bookish"? Could she not tell from Jane's other schoolwork that her language skills were good? You tell 'em, Joan. Mrs. Herdman backed off after that one.
Well, so she didn't like me. Her crimes were fairly minor, even to the ultrasensitive kid I was. I can still thank her for one practice. She insisted that we learn new words from the daily news. This was in the time of the energy crisis and OPEC, so we learned words such as "embargo" and "annexation." I've never forgotten them. I'll probably never forget her, either, though I still think of her as an enemy.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Always, always fun. The online Guardian Unlimited kept me happy with its article on the Worst Song Lyrics out there. I was surprised that George Michaels's classic "I'm never gonna' dance again / Guilty feet have got no rhythm" didn't make the first list, but relieved to see it featured in the comments. I'm also showing my advanced age by not being able to recognize some of the newer bands. I'd also like to add a subset to this list: Cringeworthy Lyrics. And the first on my list will be that classic from those lugubrious Indigo Girls: "There's not enough room in the world for my pain." SHUT. UP.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
In which we arrive at the office, generously smudged. When I was a kid I LOVED the song, "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron," by the Royal Something-or-others. Especially the chorus: "Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty or more / The Bloody Red Baron was rollin' up the score..."
So when the new bike, the eponymous Red Baron, suddenly needed its fourth repair in a week at a most inconvenient time/location, I was inspired, I tell you, INSPIRED:
Jane vs. the Red Baron

Ten, twenty, thirty minutes--well, thirty-four
is my Red Baron ride from my work to my door
But if I let him drop from a curb to the ground
Then the bloody Red Baron shoots himself down

Six gears he has and all six gears I use
When I take the Red Baron on the work commute cruise
Long hills, smaller hills, he takes them the same,
But one little curb, and POP! goes the chain.

[Repeat until bored--well, all right, just stop.]