Sunday, August 29, 2010


I bought an Xbox 360 yesterday. I've been researching game systems for some time now, having become frustrated with games for PCs that require a more and more encyclopedic knowledge of every element of your computer so that you can try to guess whether it matches the system requirements of more and more resource-hungry games. And even when you do theoretically meet the system requirements, I've discovered there's no guarantee the games will run properly on them - as happened with the copy of "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" I got last Christmas.

So I did the research and decided on the Xbox. I'm really happy that the setup was easy-peasy and everything is working like a charm. And I have "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare". It's going to take some getting used to this silly bat-shaped controller, having only used joysticks or mouse controls all my life. The Xbox controllers have two tiny joysticks for movement, one for forward/backward and one for turning left and right. They have to be operated in synch to move the character around the game. Right now I'm lurching through the early scenes of the game like a hysterical drunk, and if it were real life, I'd have been stone-cold dead more than a dozen times.

But you know, old dogs can learn new tricks if they're persistent enough. And there's a side-benefit to this silly little wireless controller that I hadn't anticipated. Unlike a laptop, this one leaves lots of room for a little Mojo on the lap during gameplay.

For that alone, he's a big fan.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Y vote?

A wonderful video made by a Moncton lawyer and some of his associates. My readers won't know most of the people in it, but many are well-known here. Some entertainers, some athletes. Most of the older people appearing are significant political figures, and there's at least one ex-Premier involved (Bernard Lord, the fellow who fixes his hair at the beginning of the video).

Y vote? For all the people who can't. Duh.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Unbirthday present

The coloured-pencil sketch of a lily our 15-year-old goddaughter gave us as an Unbirthday present. It's gorgeous.

This is the pastel sketch she gave us Christmas before last. I absolutely love it and plan to have it properly matted and framed. It reminds me of the so-called "X-ray style" of certain Australian Aboriginal tribes, who portrayed animals as if they were transparent, showing organs and spines. It's a beautiful and fascinating style I experimented with interpreting in the 90s.

She's talented, and thinking about a career in the arts. Her mom worked for the telephone company before becoming a SAHM, and her dad works for IBM, so maybe we've been a good influence on her :)




Some amusing exchanges from yesterday's Unbirthday with the assorted nieces and nephews.

= = =

I took out my Blackberry to take that snapshot of the fire pit and lake I posted earlier. Instantly I was surrounded by a half-dozen pre-teens and teens. "Do you get service??" they asked, anxiously, in unison.

I checked out my reception. No bars. "Nope," I said.

"Awww." And they slipped away like morning mist.

= = =

My eight-year-old nephew, who we had given a book about pirates: "Thank you for the book."
Me: "You're welcome. Do you like it?" (He nods.) "Do you like pirates?"
Him: "Yes."
Me, suddenly thinking of the violence, death and mayhem real pirates caused in their day: "Yeah. Everybody likes pirates."

= = =

Me, noticing that my niece's digital watch was on 24-hour time: "Hey, your watch is on the 24-hour clock. That's pretty cool."
Her: "Yeah."
Me: "That's very European of you."
Her, plaintively: "I don't know how to switch it back!"


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Oromocto Lake

This is a snapshot of the two rough-hewn small benches set in front of the fire pit at my Brother- and Sister-in-law's cottage on Oromocto Lake. The fire pit overlooks the lake, and it is a beautiful spot. Husband's family has spent summers here for two generations, with a third growing up here now.

Today was Unbirthday, the day when we all gather at the cottage and celebrate not just Mom O's birthday (which falls around this time of year) but all the nieces' and nephews' birthdays, whenever they occurred or will occur during the calendar year. This tradition was started by my Sister-in-Law as an antidote for a far-flung family, and people having trouble tracking all the littles' birthdays and getting presents mailed on time. Now we all have one big birthday. All the nieces and nephews get birthday presents from the aunts and uncles, and each child give his or her godparents birthday presents, too. Our goddaughter, "Diane", who is a very gifted young artist, gave Husband and I a truly beautiful drawing of a lily. I'll post a photo soon. She also gave me a necklace and Husband, god help us, a small ornithopter. I am gobsmacked. She is just 14 but she knows her uncle, that's evident.


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Friday, August 20, 2010

Nothing's going on - except a lot's going on.

I haven't been posting a lot lately because work has been kind of insane. Between that and trying to soak up the end of the summer sun after work, it hasn't left a lot of time for blogging. Nothing too exciting has happened anyway... sometimes that's a good thing.

I'll be heading to Ottawa next month for another Federal-Provincial-Territorial meeting. Seeing entirely too much of Ottawa lately. Ah well, it's boring, but at least it's pretty in the summer.

We're having a provincial election on September 27. This is the first time for a "fixed election" for New Brunswick. (Under the parliamentary system in Canada, elections must be held - federally and provincially - at least every four years, but can be triggered by any number of things any time before that. New Brunswick passed legislation last year that mandates that we will hold them on fixed, pre-known dates every four years.). The upside of fixed election dates is that it eliminates a lot of the drama about whether someone will trigger an election for partisan reasons any old time. The downside - as Americans know - is that when you know one is coming, the campaigning starts far, far in advance of the actual writ being dropped and it is well high silly season as various parties position themselves and throw mud at each other in anticipation.

We have somewhere around 40 days to go until election day, and it is already high silly season here. Parties are messing about with insulting photoshopped posters and claims that new health legislation will see the end of the locally beloved tradition of Church suppers. Voters are concerned about our debt and deficit and education and health care, and nobody is giving us any clear answers on that.

It's the first time that I am positively disgusted with all three of the mainstream parties and cannot in good conscience vote for any of them. This is probably the election where I finally vote Green. They, at least, have policies I am in tune with and have not engaged in the petty sniping the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and New Democratic Party are indulging in.

I'm not alone. The whole electorate is royally pissed off at all three mainstream parties as well; I expect the NDP (the outrider of the 3 mainstreams) will collect a significant amount of new votes, as will the Green Party. There's an upstart party - the People's Alliance of New Brunswick - that is largely a one-issue party born out of the proposed NB Power sale fiasco, which seems to be comprised of cranky people that won't garner much support.

It will be sheerly fascinating to see how it plays out. C. has already told her staff not to expect her in early on the 28th. I think I shall similarly forewarn my team.



Thursday, August 12, 2010

Email interruption

Please use at while I move to another web host. Finally.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Worst wife in the world

I just realized that today is August 11. Know what that means? Yesterday was Husband's birthday.


Yes, I missed his birthday. Not that I wasn't preparing for it - his presents are gift-wrapped and have been since last weekend. It's just that we're having an election in a month, and that means we're in a ridiculous spin-cycle of demands from above, and... I just lost track. I thought today was the 9th.

I just called him and apologized.

Call this my public mea culpa.

I can guarantee you I am chagrined enough to make sure THIS never happens again.




Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Uh - no. And I'm not 65.

From, a collection of the best of the very worst posts to Facebook.

I laughed and I laughed.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Saint John again

The first picture I posted last weekend was taken on a trip for pleasure and shopping. This one was taken while I was in town for a series of meetings. With some time to kill between two, I stopped in to the Saint John City Market, a venerable institution and always an interesting place to poke around. Established in 1876, it's part real local farmer's market, selling local seafood, meat, and vegetables, and part tourist attraction, selling locally-made handicrafts and souvenirs to the thousands of Americans and others who arrive at the city on cruise ships.

It's pretty quiet in this picture. Vendors were bracing for an onslaught of visitors from the Carnival Glory, which had docked a few days earlier and whose passengers usually descended en masse on Saint John's uptown - its version of downtown - around lunchtime. (In fact, by the time I left, the first hordes with backpacks, tote bags and gigantic cameras were arriving.)

Meetings were successful. Now: does anyone know a good recipe for octopus?

(Kidding. There was octopus to be had, but I resisted the temptation.)