Sunday, September 25, 2005

"hard core mom"

Statcounter lets me check out the keywords that people have typed into search engines which eventually brought them to this weblog. In the case of this blog, where people stumble across it almost entirely by accident on search engines, I find the keyword phrases a fascinating snapshot of what one person was searcing for at one moment in time...

recent top keyword searches include:

hard core mom
blind vs deaf
laurent town plan
hearing loss singers
on line hearing test for left ear
hiv/aids hearing loss in children

"hard core mom"???


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Iceman Cometh.

Husband took the air conditioner out of the bedroom window today to store it for winter. Wishful thinking aside, there was no denying that it wouldn't be needed again until spring.

It's time to make our battle plans. A friend of mine has a good philosophy which applies in almost any situation:

"Faites ce que le chat."


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Happy Birthday, C!

What a weekend!

It's the annual Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival. We were bracing for the leftovers from Hurricane Ophelia. And it was our wonderful friend "C"'s birthday.

In spite of concerns about the approach of Ophelia, Friday was gorgeous - warm and sunny. After work we gathered at a local pub to listen to the blues in the Tannery.

(We weren't sure what the short tents were for. Theories ranged from "People in lawnchairs" to "children" to "pets" to "the Welsh". "Watch it," I said. "C's people are Welsh." Why is no-one concerned about insulting the Welsh? Why? Why? Anyway, we never did find out what the short tents were for. Around 7:30 pm, people suddenly started showing up in groups of 4 and spiriting them away. No word on whether those people were Welsh.)

Anyway, it was muy early, but the music started around 6 pm. We sat on the patio as the first performers warmed up the crowd. By 10:30 that night, you could barely move in this square.

A shot of me and C enjoying the evening sun. I don't remember the last time I felt this content and happy.

Here's a shot of another of the pubs in the Tannery area. This is Dolan's (hey, Peterson - note the flag flying proudly over the front door). This gives an idea of the crowds you see around town for the festival, although you have to remember this was very early in the evening, around 6:30 or so.

By Saturday, however, Ms. Ophelia had arrived in town and it was just pouring. It's amazing how different the rain from those tropical storms feels from our usual rain - the raindrops hit like bullets, and the intensity of the downpour is truly daunting. However, C and Husband and I have made a tradition out of attending the Classic Blues Happy Hour Show that happens at 6 pm on Saturday every festival (Buddy Miles, I think, would have to be the pinnacle of these shared experiences). And, as I said, this year, the show fell on C's birthday, so a downpour of all the water in the Gulf Stream wasn't going to keep us home.

This year's featured performer was Colin Linden. I can't tell you what it felt like, to close my eyes and sway back and forth, letting that music wash over me. You don't know how much you missed music, I told Husband, until you get it back. Even when you're missing it, you have no idea how much you miss it.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

"More Milk!"

Every now and then, something grabs your attention 'cause it's just so... fun. Clever.

The Dairy Famers of Ontario's new ad, "Milk Rap" just plain makes me smile every single time I see it.

"More milk!"

See it here


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Ladies and gentlemen, for your edification...

...a cat with a mouse on its head.

I tell you, there's no end to the lengths those animals will go to to humour me. All three of them.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

AIDS Walk 2005

The weather was spectacular for the NBAIDS Walk yesterday; 22 degrees and sunny. As I mentioned before, half the money raised will stay here in NB helping people living with HIV/AIDS and their families, and for prevention programs; and half will go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, doing the same kind of work in Africa.

The walk started from Saint Thomas University. STU shares a campus with the larger University of New Brunswick; I tried to take a photo that would give an idea of the size of the crowd, but the campus is terraced and full of small courtyards, which made it near-impossible. This captures a good chunk of the folks, though. I'd estimate there were about 500 walkers in all...

Again, when it came time to stroll down the long hill of the campus, I was only able to capture a portion of the long string of walkers in one shot. Here, though, you can see the walkers snaking down the sidewalk as it meanders down the hill and curves away to the right and out of frame.

The weather, as I said, was perfect, the walk scenic, and we wound up at beautiful Officer's Square in downtown Fredericton - and here are the photos of the happy duo to prove it.

Then, because the route for some crazy reason wasn't a circuit, Husband turned around and walked back up the hill to pick up the car. Since the whole walk was my idea in the first place, he is totally my hero for not only agreeing to participate, raising money, driving us to the site (my old health problems meant the 5k walk drained my entire reserve of energy), walking, and retrieving Yvette the Honda afterwards (Saturday afternoon bus service sucks here).

So as someone who doesn't do a lot of 5k walks, I have aches today in places in my calves and butt I didn't know had muscles; but we raised some money for AIDS prevention and research and had a hell of a lot of fun doing it.

If people knew what an absolute rush you get out of participating in something like this, they would compete to participate, for purely selfish reasons...


Friday, September 09, 2005

Honey, I don't make the news...

...I just report it.

Sky TV screen capture courtesy


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Comment Spam - BLAM! BLAM!

Clever commenter Brent, below, has alerted me that I can turn on something called "word verification" to stop "comment spam"

"Comment spam" is a particularly odious variety of parasite, through which links to commercial websites are embedded in alleged "comments" on weblogs. Their combination of sucking up the blog topic and mindless pushing of the website can result in some incredibly offensive 'comments'.

"I really enjoy your weblog on Raising a Deaf Child. If you have children, they might be interested in winning a free iPod."

Or, "You are doing a great job in this weblog on Rebuilding My Life after Losing My Arms in Iraq. You might want to check out my Rolex replica site."

Or, "Congratulations on your great blog on My Divorce Journey: One Man's Heartbroken Story. Did you know that meds can help make you a real man?

That kind of thing.

Anyway, since these "comments" are sprinkled by bots and not real people, one way to defeat them is through "word verification". You've all encountered this somewhere when registering or signing up for something - a box containing slightly distorted letters with a request to manually type the letters in a box, in order to continue or post. Bots can't read these letters. People can. So from now on, when you post comments, there'll be a wee extra step I hope you won't mind completing.

I've been manually deleting "comment spam" as it appears (got 11 in one day once - I felt like Futurama's Dr. Zoidberg at first - "Hooray! People are paying attention to me!"). As a result of my reluctant vigilance, few of you have probably seen it here (hi, Carl!). Thanks to Brent's suggestion, fewer still will - and I won't have to dash to the blog every time I get notified via email that I've got a new bug.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Quite possibly the stupidest thing...

...written or said by someone who has felt compelled to mention Hurricane Katrina in an entirely inappropriate forum in the past week.

"Play It Straight

September 6, 2005

After a catastrophic event like Hurricane Katrina, it feels indulgent to mull over questions of style. How can we bear to ask ourselves what we'll be wearing this fall? What will emerge at Olympus Fashion Week? Just be thankful that you have clothes - and a closet to put them in.

That very thought process, I suspect, will wind up informing the clothing choices and trends that emerge this fall. After the chaos on the Gulf Coast, it's time for order in the world: modesty, linear shapes, and direct, womanly style. Up until last week, this fall could have been dominated by any number of the looks featured in the fall fashion magazines. But something has to guide your hand when you put together outfits or shop for new pieces. Something in the zeitgeist leads us to certain styles and away from others."

Yes, you can't make this stuff up.

I haven't read anything this asinine since Los Angeles gossip columnist Ted Casablanca bleated following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, "How I envy people who have vocations that don't require them to directly comment on the tragic past week. (A maƮtre d's chores or a sex columnist's office duties have never looked so appealing.)"


Thursday, September 01, 2005

How we can - try to - help

The situation in and around New Orleans is continuing to deteriorate. In spite of the fact that yes, this is one of the richest countries in the world, with massive resources, there seems to be no denying that the authorities were unprepared for the scope of this disaster and that the reality is that these people, these human beings, our neighbours, and their pets, are suffering and dying and need help. And help is not getting to them through current avenues.

What they need is food and clean water and blankets and soap and toilet paper. My own first-hand experience with working with sudden influxes of refugees is not extensive, but it is extant (the Kosovars would be the most relevant example); and between that and my other work with refugees, I know who can deliver help and do it effectively: the Red Cross, followed by other experienced non-profit disaster relief agencies. If you want to do something to get material help to these people as quickly as possible, there are a couple of ways you can do so, even from Canada.

  • I'd been waiting for confirmation that Noah's Wish was working in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and received it today. They do nothing except animal rescue after disasters, and as an organization filling that gap, they are well worth supporting.
Arguing about the reasons why their systems broke down, or weren't there, is for later, and they can't wait.


"All them people..."

On my way home from work last evening I stopped into Victory Meat Market to grab something for supper. Victory is a little anachronism and a dichotomy, an old fashioned butcher and grocer right out of the 1920s in some ways, but serving the culturally-diverse downtown with halal chicken and kosher beef and ugly, smelly Asian durian fruit, prized by aficionados for its heavenly taste.

I picked up a copy of the Globe and Mail (the headline: "It's Just Heartbreaking" - the cover photo: flooded New Orleans from the air). I tucked it under my arm and nearly forgot about it as I went around with my basket picking up salmon and celery. When I was being checked out, the teenaged cashier said "Is that all?"

"Yes," I said, then realized I still had the newspaper under my arm. "OH! No! I picked up the Globe." I handed it to her to scan. "My gosh," I said to the small, wiry manager who frenetically flits around the checkouts, emptying hausfraus' grocery baskets for them. "I would've walked right out of here with that!"

"No mind," he said. "We would've called 911." He and I and the cashier smiled at his little joke.

He took the newspaper from the cashier and started to put it in one of my grocery bags, then
paused as he looked at the cover photo.

"All them people in that stadium," he said quietly. "What are they going to do with them?"

"I just read on the 'net that they're going to move them to Houston. The Astrodome," I said.

The butcher, a huge man with arms as big as the great hams he carves, who had stopped by the checkouts to give a hand with bagging groceries, shook his head sadly.

"It's gonna be months before they can go home. It's gonna be months before there's anyplace to go. Where are they gonna go?"

We paused for a moment, the four of us, staring at the photo.

"Those poor people," the cashier said, and handed me my change. Her eyes were moist.