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I heard you guys like long form writing

Too bad I don't have any right now.

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2010 Reading List

Goal: 50 Books - almost made it

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates ****
Just Kids by Patti Smith *****
How Not to Write a Screenplay by Denny Martin Flinn ****
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld **
I Curse the River of Time by Per Petterson **
Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives by Annie Murphy Paul ***
Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim ****
No Country for Old Men
by Cormac McCarthy ****
True Grit by Charles Portis *****
Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes by Jennifer McLagan *****
Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug ****
Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color by Leatrice Eiseman *****
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey ***
Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities by David Airey *****
The Sword Volume 4: Air by Luna Bros. ***
Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan *****
The Sword Volume 3: Earth by the Luna Bros. ***
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins *****
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel ****
On Chesil Beach
by Ian McEwan ***
Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy *****
Life of Pi by Yann Martel ****
Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison *****
The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture by Nathan Rabin ***
Slam by Nick Hornby *
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain *****
Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn ***
Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan ***
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers *****
Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby ****
The China Study by Thomas Colin Campbell 0 (technically DNF)
Lost At Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley ****
Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins ****
The Healing of America  by T.R. Reid *****
The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World by Michelle Goldberg *****
Dear Parent: Caring for Infants With Respect by Magda Gerber ***
The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith ***
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan ****
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan *****
Scott Pilgrim vs The Universe by Bryan Lee O'Malley ****
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace DNF
Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster **
Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together by Bryan Lee O'Malley ****
Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness by Bryan Lee O'Malley ****
Black Hole by Charles Burns ****
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides ****
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Bryan Lee O'Malley ****
Wicked
by Gregory Maguire **
Happy Baby by Stephen Elliott ****

Themes: Food, Parenting, Comics, Westerns, Foster Homes

It's that time of year again!

Christmas cards, I has them.

If you want the cuteness, email me your address (zophos @ gmail) or post a screened comment. Or let everyone know where you live. No judgments.

Question

What's a good way to elide over the fact that I've been off work for a year without saying it was for maternity leave? I'm not getting any calls for any of the jobs I've applied for and I'm afraid one of the problems is that I keep telling people I've just come off of maternity leave, but I also don't want to look like a bum.

The power of lard

There was this great article on Slate the other day about how the war on fat has been pretty stupid and pointless and probably destructive. Then I read a crappy article on CNN about how junk food is addictive because of all the terrible fat. I was pretty miffed until I read the comments which for once were all calling out the study for being a crock of shit since the foods used were also high sugar. So for once in my life, I was all "Yeah! Way to go internet comments!" Things like that make me think we're closer to a reversal on thinking about fat.

However I still get chafed seeing things like Jamie Oliver's "scared straight" tactic of dumping a dumptruck full of animal at the feet of elementary school parents and exhorting them to think of what they are doing to their children with all the saturated fat. First off, animal fat is not 100% saturated. Saturated fat isn't even the majority fatty acid in lard; it's got more monounsaturated fat in it. Monounsaturated fat is "heart healthy" which is why olive oil is usually touted as the replacement for cooking. But olive oil also contains saturated fat(!), not much less than chicken fat actually. Yet chicken skin is supposed to be "bad" for you and hence all the pinch-faced advice to eat "boneless, skinless chicken breasts". Boring.

Lamentations for post-partum feet

Since custom orthotics were going to run me $150 out of pocket, I decided to try to fix my feet with arch-building exercises and faux barefootiness. I used the money instead to buy a pair of Vivo Barefoot shoes. It's supposed to be kind of like walking barefoot but with a thin sole to protect you from the elements. I was imagining something akin to a foot condom - mostly protective but thin enough for sensation. I should have just gone back to wearing the shitty thin-soled shoes I already own since I would have ended up with similar and cheaper results. The Vivo soles are still thick enough that their warnings about "building up" to wearing them full time seem kind of silly and I'm not even going to comment on the reflexology b.s. Now maybe that would be true if I used them as running shoes (let's all take a moment to laugh at that idea), but for regular walking, I can't tell much difference between them and my usual summer shoes except that they don't breathe at all and bite my heels if I don't remember to put small bandages on first. In addition, my mismatched feet make them rather uncomfortable. They don't sell half-sizes so I got them in an 8 thinking that 9 would be way too big. Apparently (as I suspected) my left foot is in fact an 8 but my right foot is an 8-1/2 so while one foot relaxing with enough room, the other is all cramped up because my toes touch the end of the shoe.

The internet has led me to believe that a lot of people have feet that aren't the same size, but it offers no solutions other than aesthetic toe lengthening surgery but that's actually geared toward individual toes, not the whole foot. Next pregnancy (if there is one), maybe I will try to hurt the opposite hip so that I end up putting all my weight on my left foot to even them out since I'm pretty sure that's how they got so off this time.

Foods I made recently and the results

1. Mayonnaise - I don't know when I had a change of heart on mayo, but I've gotten where it is now my condiment of choice. I decided to make my own tonight because I needed some to put on salmon I was baking. I used the recipe in How to Cook Everything except I didn't have any dry mustard to put in. I also added garlic to make it an aioli. Oddly, it came out tasting like thin hummus (probably due to the fact that it contained oil, lemon juice, and garlic) but it wasn't bad. I think I may use vinegar/water next time instead of lemon. It was just too lemony for what I expect from mayonnaise. Also, next time I will use the food processor as the blender seems incapable of grinding up even a couple of cloves of garlic.

2. Zucchini chips - I don't try not to eat potato chips anymore, but I still like to have something to dip into other things. Zucchini chips seemed like a good substitute. I just haven't quite figured out the best way to make them. I've read that they do well in a dehydrator, but I do not have one. So far I have tried sauteeing (which actually worked pretty well - they were nice and crispy) and broiling (the results weren't worth salvaging).

3. Asparagus "fries" - Basically, just roast asparagus within an inch of its life so it's crispy on the outside. It's my new favorite thing.

4. "Bread" made with coconut flour - A disaster and not even that tasty. Plus it gave me heart palpitations the same as regular bread so really, what's the point? At the very least it was an important lesson learned in making ersatz food items. Next time I will just make the real thing and not waste the eggs (which separated themselves from the mixture and sunk to the bottom of the pan).

5. Fried chicken - This is where the remainder of the coconut flour is going to go from now on. After one accidental burning (had the temp too high), everything since has been golden. I'm hesitant to use my lard stores for anything else.

Now what?

So it turns out I don't have a job to return to afterall. I'm not sure what I'm going to do next. I want to work, but I only want to work part-time. There is not a lot of non-food service/non-retail part-time work available out there, and I imagine there's going to be even less post-Olympics.

Right now, I'm trying to see if I can cobble together enough steady freelance work to make it such that we don't need daycare but I also have money. We have made it 8 months without me contributing in any significant way to the household expenses (though I usually buy the baby stuff) so I don't have to work. I just like it. Money, I mean.

For those of you who have done freelance stuff, how did you go about curating your writing samples or design portfolio? I really need to make a better effort to keep track of all of the copywriting I've done, but I don't know what prospective clients want to see as far as length or subject matter go.

Late breaking resolution

I want to eat no more than one pound of sugar per month. This month is a bust already thanks to birthday cake and post-holiday adjustments. Next month...erm, crap, Valentine's Day. Well, I'll try.

I have discovered that when I get off of my new eating pattern, bad things happen. Too much sugar and I end up with a hangover even if I didn't drink much (or at all). I spent the wee hours of the weekend vomiting from it, and I don't plan on that happening again.

To Do (2010 Remix)

I'm not a resolutionist, but I do like a good list. Also, I feel very unorganized right now.

Here's what needs to get done some time in the next year:
• Fix Evelyn's dresser so that the drawers actually work. That $40 I spent to buy it on craigslist doesn't seem so thrifty now.
  • Sort out her clothes that don't fit anymore (anything 9 months and under) and either store or donate.
  • Sell the elliptical
  • Buy a new (to me) couch
  • Finally send off my 401(k) transfer paperwork from my job from 4 years ago. I think this may have been on last year's list as well. This year's the year!
  • Finish ripping the rest of our dvds and then store those suckers in the locker thereby freeing up valuable bookcase space.
  • Use up everything in the freezer and not replace any of it. The freezer is where things go to live for a year or more only to get thrown away when we move. I can't even identify half of what's in there currently. There are three grocery stores within a couple of blocks of us that always have things on sale so if I need meat that badly, I will just go buy it and use it right then. That veal we had the other night was $2. I have similar inclinations to get rid of our 40 lbs. of rice, but the part of me that believes in overpreparing for things with only a slight risk of happening says we should hang onto it in case of an earthquake since we'll need to eat it while the city is digging out of 20 feet of shattered glass.
  • Get my glasses fixed or replaced. Evelyn likes to rip them off my face and chew on them so the earpieces are all wonky and there are scratches all over them. I'm considering contacts, but I really like glasses even though I've had people tell me that I am "much prettier" without them. Step off, haters.
  • Get orthotic inserts for my shoes. I had one arch partially collapse due to pregnancy. I would like to keep it from going completely flat.
  • Get a check up to make sure my blood pressure isn't anything to worry about. When we had our life insurance exam, the nurse was all "whoa damn!" because my bp was 90/56. It's always been low though.
  • Get our will drawn up. Because we are Adults and we need to make sure that if we both die and Evelyn becomes a tiny millionaire that she doesn't blow it all on ponies and pop rocks.


Here are some resolutions for Josh:
  • Scan your damn film
  • Get in shape so you don't die

Readin' Round-up 2009

You'd think that having a baby would mean I hadn't read anything past May. You'd be wrong. While it is getting harder to get more than a few minutes of uninterrupted reading time these days because I have to stay on high alert lest the Christmas tree become horizontal, I still have naptimes and as much as Evelyn likes to play with me (i.e. use me as a personal jungle gym), she does reach a point where she's all "Can you entertain yourself for a few minutes while I stare at and poke this microscopic bit I found on the carpet? Cool. Thanks." Now that I've been pretty diligent about keeping up my goodreads account, I actually have a fairly accurate record of everything I've read this year. A lot of the reviews are verbatim so if you've seen 'em once, you may want to skip.

The only bad thing about read so much is that half of it doesn't stick in my mind. This is also a function of having gotten all of these books from the library so I have no way of refreshing my memory.

Actual books (I can't remember the order I read them in since I added a bunch of them to goodreads at once):

1. A bunch of baby, pregnancy, birthing books which I am not going to bother listing because I don't use any of them anymore.

2. Great American Hypocrites by Glenn Greenwald - Greenwald is just about the only reason to read Salon anymore yet this book was kind of a letdown in that it was mostly things I already knew and it was quite repetitive. I think I will stick to his columns.

3. Annie Leibovitz at Work - I like seeing how real photographers work.

4. The Great Gatsby - I don't know how I missed this in high school. I didn't have any trouble finishing it, I just didn't care much afterward.

5. Silver Rights by Constance Curry - This is a book about desegregation in my home town. It was quite enlightening.

6. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher - Very funny. I think I covered this one earlier.

7. Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut - Another one I probably should have read a long time ago. I liked it okay.

8. Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block - I'm so glad I gave birth in Canada at a hospital with good policies.

9. The Vaccine Book by Dr. Bob Sears - Confirmed what I knew, that vaccines are safe. Still I learned a lot.

10. Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes - Rarely is there a book that turns my thinking upside down. Rarer still is a book that gets me to change what I do. This is one of those books. It's kind of sad that it seems to have been more or less ignored since I think Taubes has the thread that will unravel the whole obesity "epidemic".

11. Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro - The first I've read by her. I was trying to read more Canadian authors. I won't make that mistake again.

12. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow - Fairly enjoyable though a lot of "Hello, this is what me, Cory Doctorow pretending to be a 17-year-old, thinks of this issue" plus over-explaining that comes across as condescending.

13. Push: a Novel by Sapphire Written by Sapphire with score by Sapphire by Sapphire - It's better than the movie but not by much.

14. The Language Police by Diane Ravitch - I don't doubt that there are some censorship issues out there that need to be addressed in education. This book doesn't do much to help the problem though.

15. Inherent Vice by good ol' Tommy P. - I'm just going to call this like I see it: this is Big Lebowski fanfic crossed with Fear and Loathing. Terrible, terrible jokes, like jokes your dad would tell.

16. Columbine by Dave Cullen - The most shocking thing I took from this was the sheer scale of the attack if it had gone according to plan. If they had had any clue about building bombs, this would never have been remembered as a "school shooting" but would have been filed as the worst domestic terrorist attack on American soil. Also, I'd like to give a brief Nelson-esque "haw haw!" to the fact that Cullen thinks CO2 cartridges are "whip-its". Yeah, you just try to get a buzz off of those.

17. Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn - I see eye-to-eye with Mr. Kristof on a lot of issues. I think he wants to save the world, but he doesn't gloss over the fact that that's very hard to do since all of the well-intentioned acts in the world can just blow up in your face. He isn't shy about pointing out the failure of a lot of aid programs. All in all, I think this is a very important book about the state of women worldwide.

18. NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merriman - Pretty much Freakonomics for parents and educators. Interesting and informative. I really wish Tools of the Mind were available as a curriculum up here.

19. Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman - Ayelet Waldman calls out all the haters from her days as a Salon columnist. I must confess, I was once one of them. But now I get a lot of where she's coming from. Because being a mother does mean that you are in the center of a cultural tug-of-war and no matter who wins, you still lose.

20. Superfreakonomics by the Stevens - More of the same yet less compelling. The shitstorm from the geo-engineering chapter has been amusing though.

21. Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon - MICHAEL CHABON HAS A THIRD NIPPLE!!! and other revelations. Just kidding, the essays in this are pretty good. A couple of them are excellent. He espouses one of my closely held theories - that purposeful procreation is one of the ultimate expressions of optimism.

22. Love is a Many Trousered Thing / Stop in the Name of Pants by Louise Rennison - Just catching up on my YA reading. Josh said, "Why are these books all about pants?"

23. JPod by Douglas Coupland - Internet commenters TRICKED me into reading this even though I knew better and had avoided it since it came out. I would say that putting yourself in your own novel is usually a literary form of jumping the shark, but Coupland has more or less hopped back and forth over the shark since Girlfriend in a Coma. At a different point in time, I would have hated this book to death. I can only give a sigh of resignation these days.

24. The Road by Cormac McCarthy - I wrote a song about it.
Walkin' in a Nuclear Winter Wonderland.

Bad guys clang, are ya listenin'
In the road, ash is glistenin'
A terrible sight
We're hungry tonight
Walking in a nuclear winter wonderland

Gone away is the bluebird,
and the trees and the cow herd,
No one sings a song,
As we trudge along,
Walking in a nuclear winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a crude shelter,
Then pretend that we are safe and warm

Papa says: Are you okay?
Son says: No man,
There's a baby on a spit
and here comes a storm.

Later on, we'll conspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we've made,
Walking in a nuclear winter wonderland.


Hey, I didn't even have to change the last verse.

Re-reads:

1. The Kindness of Women - in honor of the passing of J.G. Ballard

2. Geek Love - It was part of the A.V. Club's book club.

3. Big Fish - I think it was the first thing I grabbed in the bookcase before taking a bath.

Graphic Novels/Comics/whatever you want to call them:

1. Batman: The Killing Joke - Not a series. Also a waste of a $20 gift certificate. I liked it pretty well, but I did not need to own it.

2. American Widow by Alissa Torres - I was expecting something a little more poignant and little less bitching about the incompetence of FEMA.

3. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel - I read this and I liked it, but now I don't really remember much about it.


Completed the Series:

1. Y: The Last Man - I enjoyed it and I'm glad I waited until the series had finished to read it. Sometimes I have to learn that lesson over and over.

2. Girls by the Luna Bros. - Naked vampire bitches from space. Post-apocalyptic in a different way from Y:TLM.


Incomplete Series so far:

The library's graphic novel section is not only badly organized, it's spread over several areas. Plus people pick up the books and either hide them or steal them. This makes it difficult to start and continue a series of TPBs because you can only requests books that are not marked as "in" and if you can't find the one you want, you have to send the librarians out to look for the missing volumes just to prove they aren't there and THEN you can request a copy from another library. It's kind of an exhausting process. These are the ones I just haven't had the energy to finish tracking down because Volume 2 is "In" but it is clearly not present.

1. Scott Pilgrim - Cute and Canadian. I may search out the rest next year.

2. 100 Bullets - I like the premise and I want to see where the later volumes go.

3. The Sword - I haven't finished this one yet because the last volume won't be out until next year, but I'm with it so far.

HEY

HEY

Costco (I love you) decreed that I had to order a minimum of 50 Christmas cards. I was going to go somewhere and get a normal amount but it turns out that ordering 25 Christmas cards other places costs more. So I have a glut this year. Give your address. That's not a request, that's an order, soldier.

I live on this street:

In this city & state/province:

With this zip/postal code & country:

Pls stalk

Yes
9(64.3%)
No
0(0.0%)
Only if you bring the baby
5(35.7%)

I just noticed this.



This occurred to me while watching Antichrist, a movie so ridiculous that it made me think about Gremlins. I can't wait to play the video game!

Halloween, Baby

Little prince

Finally, I pulled it all together. I finished the hat last night after it had been sitting around in pieces for a couple of weeks. I found the other bits at Target when we were in MS. The only trick-or-treating we'll be doing is at participating Failtown businesses, but still.

Leaving. Jet plane. Dude.

First plane trip is upon us shortly. I am trying to OVER prepare because I am already nervous. I'm not used to being the center of naked contempt and hostility. Taking a baby on an airplane pretty much guarantees we will be looked at with both even before we are on board.

I've tried to suss out what we'll be in for. You see, airlines and the TSA tend to be a little vague about protocol. The stories I've read reflect this. Some people had no problems with their car seat. Some people could not get theirs to fit in tiny seats and were only re-accommodated after doing some dramatic crying. I called Delta to make 100% sure there were no size restrictions on car seats, and they said no. Delta, I am holding you to this and I will write a scathing journal entry if you lied to me!

The TSA says you may only bring "reasonable" amounts of (liquid-y) baby items through. What constitutes reasonable? Depends on the mood of the agent you're dealing with. Some are lenient. Others will seize your baby's food if it is fruit or yogurt because that is not baby food, you see. It's dessert. Stop trying to blow up planes with your blueberries, ma'am. I thought I was being crafty by bringing all powdered formula with me. Babycenter has just assured me that I will be taken to a tiny room and interrogated. I wanted to bring powder because then I can carry a lot more of it and just buy bottled water to mix it. I have visions of being held hostage on a tarmac for hours on end without being let off the plane and then running out of formula. I guess that would be my comeuppance for failing to breastfeed, but I hear you can get kicked off of a plane for doing that, too.

In short, somebody invent teleportation already. Please?

More like...

Edit: Now with more funny, less skill


RIGHT???

VIFF

Every year when it is film festival time, I painstakingly comb through the lineup and make my fantasy list of everything I would like to see. Out of these, I will see at most two, sometimes none (was too barfy last year to go).

This is my list for 2009:


  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - New Terry Gilliam
  • Ashes of American Flags: Wilco Live - Why not?
  • Precious - Look, I wanted to see this BEFORE Oprah got involved when it was still called Push, okay?
  • Trash Humpers - okay, honestly, I don't want to see this one. It's by Harmony Korine who creeps me out.
  • Prom Night in Mississippi - A little worried about this one since it is Canadian made. This may be a lot of hand-wringing "lookit these backwards folks!" It's about Charleston, MS.
  • Antichrist - New Lars Von Trier. I just assumed it was another Dogme woman-beating piece of crap. Apparently it's an overly stylized woman-beating piece of...something that stars Willem Dafoe whose performance in Wild at Heart I still haven't recovered from. Someone at TIFF said that an audience member actually fainted during the show. I went and watched the trailer, and it scared the shit out of me. If I see nothing else this year, I may see this. Mostly because it's actually playing at a time when I can go.


Also, why does Who Do You Love exist? Didn't we already have a film on Chess Records, ersatz Rolling Stones and all?

Ghost town

It wasn't until all my RSS feeds mysteriously vanished on here that I really noticed the lack of activity.

Where did everyone go? Is everything so boring that you have nothing to say? Is everything so hectic you don't have time to talk about it? Are you all hiding out on some other site and not telling me?

I know I don't post as much. Anything short goes on twitter, anything baby related goes on the baby site which doesn't leave much else since it's pretty much BABY BABY BABY 24/7 over here. I think I will start cross-posting my book reviews though.

I guess I need to set up all my feeds on some sort of reader now.

Graphics question...

I finally made a new banner for the baby site, only I made it in Photoshop so now the font is all fuzzy. Is there anything I can do to make it sharper when I save it or do I need to start over in Illustrator?

Personas

For this project, you type in your name and it scours the web to try and "categorize" you. I can't say that the end results are terribly interesting but it's worth doing for the "calculation" part. Apparently it won't come right out and say YOUR NAME BELONGS TO A PORN STAR and plays coy by saying "star of 'parody' films". Also I found out that 2 years ago someone with my name was murdered in a dorm.

Waaaaambulance

I owe the CRA $920. This is because H&R Block fucked up my 2007 return and failed to record that I was a new immigrant who had only had residency status for part of the year. Their solution to this was to offer me a gift certificate the next time I had my taxes done. I think I'd rather pay money to someone else to have my taxes done correctly in the future.

So now I have to scrape together $920 by 8/31. I don't even make that much in a month. I'm going to see if I can get on a payment plan and then go back to work for a month. It would have to be full-time work because everything I earn is taken off of what I get back from my maternity leave so I'd have to work at least that much plus extra to make more money than that plus extra still to get full-time childcare for a month.




I'm pissy about this article on CBC. Maybe not so much the article itself - I suspect it is mostly homeowners with basement suites who are doing this. As much as I dislike the idea of discriminating against families, I think if someone is going to be living in your house you should be able to pick renters who best mesh with your household. But then again, in the insane rental market up here, that has the potential to leave people on the streets just because they're gay or not Asian. At the same time, I think it's also easy to get some idea of the people who want to rent from you. I'd rather have a nice family downstairs than a skeevy single person. Some of it may also be due to capacity - I'm not sure that you legally could rent a 1-bedroom to a family of five.

Anyway, my issue with it could have been easily remedied by remembering that I should never read the comments. This always happens any time a story is posted about families having trouble. Yaletown's catchment school has so few slots to accommodate the children that parents have to camp out to get their child registered? Boo hoo, parents, you should have thought of that before you had kids and tried to raise them in a decent urban environment! Nobody MADE you reproduce. Why not take a little responsibility and uproot your whole life to live somewhere else?

Now it's "Look at these parents who think they're so entitled to rent whatever place they want! Why do you think your child is so SPECIAL that landlords can't discriminate against you? I mean, they don't have to allow PETS! Nobody wants to see/hear/be in any way subjected to the knowledge that you have a child" etc. I guess I just find it baffling that so many people think that children are nothing more than a really expensive version of herpes.

That's not to say that there aren't loud, screamy children out there. Lord knows I bitched about them running up and down the hall in our old building, but I still think they had the right to live there. If I were the one laying down the rules, I'd say please discriminate against people who have loud stereos and who also stay up until 4 am listening to said stereos on full blast. Those are a lot more disruptive to my sense of "quiet enjoyment" (as our lease puts it) than children who are usually (ahem, should be) in bed by nine.
After a year and a half of heavy use, I think it is time to retire James A. Garfield. I now have Moss to celebrate having finally finished Season 3 of the IT Crowd (apparently I'd seen most of it and didn't remember).

Today I received an early birthday gift of the 11-22mm Olympus lens. It's supposed to be one of the best ones Olympus has ever made. I think once I replace my crappo 40-150 with the 70-300 and then get the 50 macro, I will get rid of both my high grade 14-45 and my 35 macro. I'm trying to simplify.

I took a ride on the new Canada Line today. It was kind of spooky to be in the underground stations since there weren't many people there. I really like the trains though.

I think I mentioned this on FriendFace, but we'll be in Mississippi from October 8 - 13 if you (any of you! all of you!) want to gaze upon the precious. Or see me. Or Josh. Or pretend to want to see me or Josh but really you just want to see if Evelyn lives up to the hype.

Book it

After I finally shoehorned the book collection back into the bookshelves, I did the thing I always do - try to cull the herd. It sounds like a good idea, but it never works out. First I decide that I can't get rid of the butt ugly books I got at a library sale for $.50 because I haven't read them yet. Then I decide that I can't get rid of some books that I have read and don't like because I like other books by the same author and obviously I can't separate them. I can't make myself get rid of the books I've already read and did like because I might want to read them again. And last of all, I feel like I need to keep them around for Evelyn when she gets older (which probably guarantees that she will be completely uninterested in them).

But I have implemented new rules for myself. I am going to try and read one unread book in the collection every month starting with the ones I think I will want to pitch afterward. I am not going to buy any new books unless the book in question is one I will revisit often - i.e. something of the instructable nature. Now that I am a block away from the main library, I do my book shopping there. This has already derailed my first attempt at finishing off some of the books I already own.

I just finished Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher. Loved it but for two things - too short and too many exclamation points(!). I'm pretty sure it's mostly just a transcript of her show which explains both the brevity and the punctuation. The font seems a bit large along with the spacing between sentences. It's like she (well, the publisher) was trying to turn in something for a freshman composition class. I'm surprised it wasn't also in courier font with 2 inch margins to make the book feel longer.

I also finished Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block. Having read many of her articles, I already knew she was a great writer. This book is no exception. Despite the fact that I know she is very passionate about the subject of natural childbirth, this is a very even-handed book. In the end the real "villains" (as such) seem to be hospital bureaucrats and malpractice lawyers moreso than OB/GYNs (who usually get all the blame for "medicalized" childbirth, at least on the message boards I read). She doesn't shy away from reporting what she sees while shadowing illegal lay midwives including a case where 911 is almost called too late to resuscitate a newborn. It's a wonderful book, both enlightening and infuriating. I didn't know of the cases where the law had gotten involved to force women to have repeat c-sections. All I can say is that I am glad to be living in a province where there is no animosity between midwives and OBs so that it's possible to both have a midwife and give birth in a hospital the way I want to. This is a good place for me to point out The Big Push for Midwives going on right now.
And teh_dirty_robot mentioned already thinking about Halloween costumes.

Having (that is to say owning, not birthing) a baby around Halloween looks like it might be almost as fun as having (owning, not birthing) a dog around Halloween. I mean, you can have tiny Darth Vader or Princess Leia, tiny Katamari prince (I need to find time to make that, for reals), and now tiny Link (can tiny Zelda be far behind?).

I must learn to knit.

So

Now don't get excited, but I need a recommendation for good buyer's agent in North Carolina.

We have A (Tentative) Plan.

Things I would have twot had I been able

The one site where you can only type 140 characters is trying to CENSOR me. It doesn't want you to know what I am thinking.

Here are things I tried to say the past few days:

• I tried to tell Leah that I am not up on my huge-eyes-no-nose-having news.
• I tried to thank Marg for pointing me to this site because it is, in fact, funny.
• I tried to tell Larry that I also love watching "IT Crowd"
• Just now I tried to ask Alison how Cobra Commander is in (500) Sweater Vests of Summer
• I also wanted to tell everyone how I saw a Hare Krishna picnic and then we saw the police jump their car onto the sidewalk, stop the car, take off running and help arrest what may have been neo-nazis at a Metis festival at the art gallery.
• I was also going to point out this site with spooky pictures that change when you move by them
• I was going to say I finally started reading Slaughterhouse Five because I somehow missed it in high school and that so far I'm underwhelmed and that I like Gravity's Rainbow and Catch-22 better for WW2 novels.

Probably some other stuff, too. I'm so in the habit of spouting off short sentences that I guess I will just start putting them all here again.

Chemistry question

In baking, are the sum of the calories of the individual ingredients equal to the calories present in the finished product? Josh says that the magic of baking means that at the end, it could have MORE calories. Confirm/Deny?

Feelin' hot hot hot

Today was the hottest day in Vancouver ever. Well, since they started recording temperatures.

Tonight I took a cold bath and then went to bed with two ice packs. They were warm 30 minutes later.

Right now I am checking hotel prices for tomorrow night. I'm honestly a little worried about the baby since she is sweaty all the time and hasn't been wetting her diapers as much. She's still drooly which means she isn't really dehydrated but still.