Jan. 22nd, 2011 09:15 pm
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Take a bunch of walnuts, brown rice syrup, maple syrup lots of cinnamon, a bit of allspice, and some cardamom. Mix. Toast. Eat. Mmmmm...
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A few days ago, I randomly picked up a book on a friend's desk, and said "What are you reading?" He shrugged and said, I dunno. Someone gave it to me for Christmas but I can't get into it. You can have it."

It wasn't the kind of book I would ordinarily even glance at twice, but I took it home with me for the sheer randomness of it. That was Saturday. 40 pages into it, I put the sequels on hold at the library because I knew I would be wanting to read then ASAP. There was a request queue. By Sunday, I had finished it, and couldn't wait for my turn to come up at the library, so I ran out to Chapters and bought the sequel. My problem is that I finished the sequel last night, and my turn for the third book is at least two weeks away, and the closest book store doesn't have any in stock, and it couple of hours it will be bedtime for the kids, which means I'll have time for myself, and no book to read.

I'm actually desperate enough to borrow my son's eReader, and download the book, which says a lot because I don't enjoy the eReading experience nearly as much as I love the curling up under the covers with an actual book. Also, I tend to flip back and forth between chapters in books, which makes a paper book much better. Ah well, desperate times and all that.

These books took me by surprise. Besides being a genre that I don't normally choose (mystery), they're trashy (which, I actually don't mind, but it's distracting and not fulfilling in the same way good literature is fulfilling), way too wordy and expository, and really dark and depressing in some ways, but I just can't put them down. I love the heroine. But on the other hand, when the third one is finished, that's it. It's back to regular life. I HATE it when good books end. It makes me so sad, that I have to leave that exciting other world. I can re-read the books and re-xperience them, but it doesn't compare to the excitement of that very first reading.

Oh, the books are the Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest

Apparently, he was 3/4 finished a fourth book, and outlined the fifth and sixth, but died of a heart attack before he could even finish the fourth. *cries*
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We've added three more games to our collection since my last review:

Shadows Over Camelot, which we actually purchased back in June

Stone Age, which we bought for the kids for Christmas, and

Forbidden Island, which was an after Christmas impulse purchase.

I had previously posted about Pandemic, which is a cooperative game. Forbidden Island is also a cooperative game designed by Matt Leacock, who also designed Pandemic. It is best described as Pandemic Lite. The game feels much the same as Pandemic, but it is easier and faster to learn, and the game play is shorter. If you have one of the games already, there probably isn't a lot of point in getting the other. Even though the themes are slightly different, there isn't enough difference between the two to warrant having both. The amazing thing about Forbidden Island is the price. I only paid $17 for it, and it actually looks decent. The art work is beautiful, the tiles are of excellent quality, and the "treasure pieces" look and feel very nice.

Shadows Over Camelot is easily the most beautiful game we own. It's produced by the same company that created Ticket to Ride. The instructions booklet is somewhat intimidating at first, and it definitely needs to be played a few times before it becomes fun. It is cooperative game, with an option to make one of the players a traitor that is secretly trying to undermine the game. It's a fun little twist that keeps things interesting. I love this game, but I think it probably appeals most to people that already have a love of Arthurian legends.

We are still in our honeymoon period with Stone Age. It's only slightly more difficult to learn than Ticket to Ride, and immensely satisfying to play. At the moment, it's my favorite game to play with the children. I'm still experimenting with different strategies to determine the most consistent way to win. It appears that there are a number of different strategies that could potentially work, but ultimately, the key to winning lies in making sure that you have enough of the right kind of civilization cards. The vindictiveness factor is moderate. You can block players from gaining cards or spaces that will really clinch the game for them, but doing so, at your own expense is inadvisable (as my ds so painfully discovered Wednesday night). I highly, highly, recommend this game. We have had many, many laughs while playing this game, and the replay value is very high.

We are trying to get a games night happening every last Saturday of the month. Local peeps, if you are interested in joining our rambunctious family for a games night, message me privately and I'll gladly share my coordinates.

Two things

Dec. 8th, 2010 09:13 pm
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Thing one:

A conservative estimate of the amount of mandarins our family has eaten so far this season:

90 lbs.

O_o That seems like so much! I suppose there are five of us after all, but still...and it's only December 8th!

Thing two:

I've never cooked a turkey in my entire life, and I have to make one this year. We're having my in-laws over for Christmas dinner at our place. Yikes! This is going to be interesting...
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Last night was J*s office Christmas party. Does anyone actually enjoy these? It was awful. I was sitting at a table with people that I don't know. Making small talk (which I hate). And making at laughing at really banal jokes.

The interesting that happened last night was that one of the other wives is five months pregnant, and she blithely ordered a glass of wine. I almost choked on my food. A bunch of thoughts raced through my head including, "It's none of your business. Besides, this could be the one and only glass she's having in her entire pregnancy. Saying something won't help, and besides, it's none of your business. But what about the baby? What if this is a habit?" I was so uncomfortable. I know people that have fetal alcohol syndrome. With all of the information out there, why would she choose to drink? It's kind of like smoking during pregnancy. Why would someone do that, now? This isn't the 1950's when we didn't know better (though, I think in the 50s people did know better, deep down, it just didn't have the social stigma that it has now).

So, today, I have a poll.

[Poll #1653871]
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This article is really making me rethink the way I look at homelessness. It has huge implications for Vancouver, which has a huge amount of homeless people, many of whom have a dual diagnosis.

I used to subscribe to the "Hand-up, not a hand-out" philosophy. This article turns that belief somewhat on its ear. I'd like to see the three and four year statistics on this, to see how many people actually stay off of the streets in the mid to long term.

ETA: I found the full report available here. It's long, but well worth reading:


Oct. 25th, 2010 06:24 pm
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One of good things my mother did for me when raising me in racist, backward, small town northern Alberta, was insist on buying me a black dolls, finding literature with black heroes/heroines, and subscribing to magazines aimed at black people.

When you're the only chocolate sprinkle in the whole joint, having representations of beauty and positivity that reflect your own type of beauty and goodness is a huge deal.

For me it's a no brainer to try and include multicultural (why just stop at black or white, when there's so much beauty in the world?) literature, toys and images.

When it comes to Catholic literature and imagery, this is easier said than done. It's down right difficult! I purchased a copy of the Balitmore Catechism to use with my kids. It's brutal! I understand that it was a reflection of the time it was written, and that the images were geared toward the intended audience, which at that time may have been racially homogeneous, but COME ON! Can't someone revise the art work to be inclusive and representative of the church as it is today?

Also, I'd love to have a small prayer corner in our home. In it, I'd love to have a copy of the Divine Mercy image. Do you think I can find a non-Eurocentric version of the image? Nope. Not even close. I keep coming up with the same three versions (Vilnius, Skemp and Hyla) If it exists, it's beyond the reach of my limited Google abilities. I'm not looking for a black Jesus either, btw. I'd really love some art work that depicts him as middle eastern, since you know, that's what he was, and all.

My mom is doing a pilgrimage to the holy land in a few weeks. I've asked her to bring me back one piece of non-eurocentric Catholic original art if she stumbles across anything that isn't a gazillion dollars. I'm crossing my fingers.

Yes, I make a big deal out of stuff like this. It is important. What we read has a profound impact on how we perceive others, and on our own self-esteem. There is the overt stuff. The overt stuff is actually easier to counter-act. The subtle stuff, like a lack of inclusion in books and magazines is actually much harder to counter-act, but it can be done. It all starts with awareness.
mahogany: (Walter)
I've spent my entire life accepting the fact that I'm not at all athletic.

Do you know the episode of Freaks and Geeks where Bill desperately wants not to get picked last in phys. ed, yet again, and you have to watch his agony as the kids who were the two team captains go through every single person in the class, and pick him dead last? Again. This was me. Every single gym class, all through elementary and junior high - I would be picked dead last or second to last. And before I go further, I'd just like to say to any phys ed. teacher or any other kind of teacher who happens to read this, and that allows kids to choose their own teams in that fashion: You are an idiot and a bad teacher, and a completely insensitive person. Of all the ways of picking teams, that method is the worst.

Anyhow, I was reflecting on a few things from my childhood. There used to be fitness testing. I remember desperately wanting to get a Gold level achievement. I could force my way through the required number of sit-ups and push-ups, but getting my time in the distance running was a bit trickier. I remember practicing on my own at the track, and running until I was almost vomiting just to get my time down. And I succeeded.

I was also always good enough to make the school team in basketball and volleyball. I was always second line, so I wasn't really good or anything, but I was good enough. I set a school record for triple jump in junior high.

Looking back on it, considering the hostility I faced from the other girls, I'm amazed that I tried out for the school teams at all. What was I thinking? What the hell was I trying to prove? Did I think that being on the team would make me one of them? It took me all these years to finally realize that I'm not a terrible athlete. I'm average. This is awesome news for someone that has always thought of themselves as bottom of the barrel. I was so excited about this revelation that I told my husband, and you know what he said? "I've always known that you weren't brutal at sports. I've seen you play them, and you're not that bad. You were just unpopular, that's all."

He's right. I wonder how many other things I've held to be true, that just aren't.


Oct. 1st, 2010 09:21 am
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This was a comment that I wrote in response to a post about how the religious right was harming the pro-life movement. I am reposting here because it sums up my views on the issue:

I agree that judgemental pro-lifers are not helping, but I think the primary reason that the pro-life message is failing is that we (and I include myself in this because I have yet to come up with a good solution, and thus I too am failing women), as pro-lifers have failed to address the issues of genuine equality that women still face in the workplace; in the school place; in their family lives. Women are still vulnerable to sexual attacks. We have yet to address the fact that it is women who assume all of the responsibility of bringing a child to term. In some cases (cesarean, stretch marks), they bear the scars afterward. Any health complications arising from the pregnancy fall on the woman. In the case of teens, there is still the social stigma associated with teen pregnancy. The woman bears this. And I'm just talking about cases of pregnancy where the sex was consensual. I don't even need to go into the problems of rape and incest to show that the pro-life movement has work to do.

Abortion gives the illusion of a solution to these problems. As pro-lifers, we believe that this is not a solution. This is not an answer, but many people accept it as a panacea. This, I believe, is the real reason that the pro-life message is failing. Abortion has not made life any better for women. It has not solved their problems, but you know what? Neither have we! As feminists and pro-lifers, we need to come up with better answers than just, "Oh, you don't want the baby? Give it up for adoption." That's no more a panacea than abortion.
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I am naturally chaotic. You can tell when I've been in a room because I'll leave behind a little bit of chaos.

I am currently trying to turn over a new leaf, and be organized. I started with a meal plan for the week, and made a shopping list based on the menu (as opposed to what ever I happened to be craving at the moment I enter the grocery store).

On the upside, this is going well, and I feel much less stressed at suppertime. Being organized, and prepared, when your natural way of being is chaotic, and spur of the moment is HARD! However, parenthood, homeschooling, and a busy family life, not to mention, most professions, favour and organized personality over a chaotic one, so I think this change is good and necessary.

I don't know how you organized peeps do it. I find it exhausting. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts. If I can do it for a month, then perhaps the change will become permanent.
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I was stumped by days 25-28, and eventually, I decided to just skip them.

Today's topic: a song that I find creepy.

Well, first, the runners up:

Depeche Mode - Pimpf - It's atmospherically creepy, another DM song, Memphisto is very much like this, but to a lesser degree, and I like it less than Pimpf

Gyorgi Ligeti - Muscia recercata 2nd movt - This was used liberally throughout Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. It's just two notes, but it's menacing and foreboding, like whoah!

The Police - Every Breath You Take - Sorry Sting, but you come of as a creepy stalker dude in this one. "Every move you make, I'll be watching you..." *shudder*

Today's winner is a song that I actually really like, but it too has a stalker-ish vibe to it. "I'll follow you down 'till the sound of my voice will haunt you," yep. Grade "A" el-creepo material, but in all honesty, I've been in that place at one point. Haven't most of us? I guess it's more of a desperate, heartbroken creepiness, versus a the Sting version, which to me, sounds more like a threat.

Fleetwood Mac (Stevie Nicks) - Silver Springs

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My favorite cover song.

I LOVE cover songs. I love seeing how musicians reinvent and reinterpret older works. I was trying to narrow down my choice to just one song, while browsing through the ending rabbit hole that is you tube, and I discovered many other very worthwhile covers in my travels.

First: honourable mentions. Awesome, outstanding covers that came to mind as I was trimming the list. Obviously Angelique Kidjo - Summertime (her version of this song was featured earlier in this meme). Also, KD Lang - Hallelujah, George Michael - Papa Was a Rolling Stone, and Cowboy Junkies - Sweet Jane.

EDIT = I totally forgot about this awesome song (and video), and it just popped into my head. It's definitely my number one.

In the end, I chose a song and version that you've probably heard. It's pretty darned good. Even after years of American Idol, and various other talent searches, I still think it's pretty amazing that Andrew Strong (the guy singing) was only sixteen when he starred in this movie...

At the Dark End of the Street - The Commitments

The Devil Went Down to Georgia - Primus

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My favorite duet.

Although I love the idea of different artists collaborating, I usually don't find the end result very appealing. One of my favorite duets is from an album that I've already featured. It's Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel singing "Don't Give Up". It's absolutely gorgeous. However, since I've already posted something from that album, I will give you my other favorite duet, which is oddly enough, by two artists that I don't ordinarily like all that much. They're both famous, and superstars and etc. but neither of them really floats my boat for the most part. It's an odd pairing, but their voices work really well together, and their song choice was spot on.

Luciano Pavarotti and Sting - Panis Angelicus

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My favorite song from a movie.

I'm really sorry. I've been able to trim it down to one selection for all of the other days, I couldn't today. Both of these songs are so awesome that they need to be shared.

The first is from Hair. I haven't seen a stage production of Hair, but I do know that this song in the movie is the most moving, and awesome part of the entire show. The version that appears on the soundtrack from the movie, is, unfortunately vastly inferior. You need to see the movie to fully appreciate the song. This particular clip starts about a minute before the song begins. There's some swearing in the first minute or so, so again, parent advisory, and NSFW

Read more... )

The second song is from a movie called the Power of One. The movie is actually really awful, as is the book it's based on, which is a shame since I usually really love Morgan Freeman, and I hate to see him acting in such sub par projects. The soundtrack, however, is quite good.

The embedding has been disabled, but here is the URL for those that are curious:

Senzenina - From The Power of One
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I hate all kinds of suffering - particularly my own. I fear it. I dread it. I avoid it where ever possible. I cannot bear the thought of my loved ones suffering either. I've had my ups and downs and hurts, but really, I've lead a fairly suffering free life, and my some of my worst suffering was largely self-inflicted, or was a result of the consequences of poor judgment and my straying from the right path. I don't know if suffering can be measured, but if it could, I think my overall suffering compared to what some people have to endure is miniscule. I know this, and yet I whinge about my hardships. If I really, deep down, accepted the redemptive power of suffering, would I not then have the courage accept my life's trials and tribulations with more grace? Shouldn't I trust that I will not be given more than I can bear?

I find it really difficult to really say, and believe, "Not my will, but yours be done." That is a level of spiritual enlightenment, that I do not know if I will ever attain. Why is it that I am so focused on this life here on earth?

I've been reading about last weeks gospel - particularly the spot where Jesus says, "Anyone who comes to me without hating father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, cannot be my disciple," to try to get my mind around the whole thing, and figure out what I'm really supposed to take away from this, and what hatred of self in the biblical sense really means.

The reality is that I am stuck. I don't understand it, and I don't feel like I can do it. I am ashamed of myself. I at least be mentally prepared to give everything up to follow God, but I'm not ready. I'm not mentally or emotionally there, and the thought that I might never be ready to be a true disciple of Jesus makes me so sad.
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A song that makes me want to break stuff.

Do they mean a song that is so wretchedly awful that I want to break stuff because I so deeply resent being subjected to it? Or do they mean an awesome song that taps into my inner moody teenager, and sends me into some kind of weird irresponsible frenzy that might include the urge to break stuff? I'm going with the latter, and posting a song that reminds me completely of my first year of university.

This has been a surprisingly fun little exercise. I've taken many trips down memory lane, and listened to many tunes that I haven't heard in ages.

Today's song was a fairly widely played song (back in the day), but just in case you're not familiar with it, I'm issuing a parent advisory on this one, and definitely NSFW.
Read more... )
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My favorite break up song.

Hmmm... Not sure how to answer this song. My favorite song about the end of a relationship? That would have to be Sinead O'Connor - The Last Day of Our Acquaintance. My favorite about a relationship going sour? Definitely, The Pogues - Fairy Tale of New York. My favorite song to listen to when my relationships ended? That's a more complicated answer.

Likely due in part to some subconscious need for male validation (ick, wince, cringe) and attention, I always ended up clubbing pretty hard after a break up, so my favorite song would have been which ever awesome song was playing in the clubs at the time. I remember one particularly painful breakup the summer of 1993. It was my first breakup. I spent one month in Calgary that summer, and my time there coincided with the Stampede. At the time, there was a street called Electric Avenue that was packed with clubs. It was awesome (well, for an eighteen year old at any rate). The clubs were hopping, and even outside the clubs was hopping. The entire street was a big party. There were also some truly terrific clubs just off the strip. There was this one awesome place that sticks out: the Tasmanian ballroom. Every time I hear Nitzer Ebb's Murderous, I remember that place.

The song that I associate with that summer as a whole, is this one. I am transported back to Calgary every time I hear it. It's a great tune:

Rush - Big Audio Dynamite II

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My favorite love song.

Oddly enough, there is only one contender in this category. It hasn't changed since I was a kid. We played this song at our wedding for our first dance. The first time I heard it was in the movie, Say Anything, which I loved, and which I recently saw again, and still loved (weird considering the heavy doses of 80s fromage). It was my first introduction to Peter Gabriel. I lived in a small town, and NO ONE there listened to Peter Gabriel, but as soon as I figured out who the artist was, I ran out and bought his album. It was the second non-classical music album that I ever bought, and it is still one of my favorites.

Peter Gabriel - In your eyes

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Can you believe it? I don't own an MP3 player of any kind. I am very low tech, apparently, so I'm skipping days 17 & 18, since they don't apply to me.

Today's subject is an instrumental song that I like. I was thinking of posting something by Joe Satriani, or Willie Bobo, but this guy was the winner in the end:

Cal Tjader - Mi Guaguanco

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I skipped day 14. There aren't any songs from the year I was born that mean anything to me.

Today's theme - A Song I Liked in High School

There were tons of song that I liked in high school that I still like. In fact, my musical taste has changed very little since then.

I haven't listened to this particular song since high school, but I am posting it because it reminds me completely of someone that was a very good friend in high school, and I am thoroughly enjoying hearing it again for the first time in twenty years. We loved this song, and we used to listen to it all the time. The last time I spoke to him was a week before he left to do a PhD or something at Berkley.

I wonder how he's doing? He has an unusual first and last name combo, so a quick Google Search brought up his name. It appears that he is working for NASA, which is not surprising given that he is a genius, and he passionate about experimental physics. So, in that regard, at least, he seems to be well.

They Must Be Giants - Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

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