May 31, 2011

Oprah exit: the final word...

I haven't blogged about Oprah's final show or final week or final year because, uh, I really don't watch her show much, though I do love how gay-friendly the O lady is. With all the media coverage on Oprah's goodbye, my faves came as usual from the folks at someecards. Here are some of them.

And by the way, Ms Winfrey's OWN network totally blows...

May 29, 2011

Money Wise: Driving with Dave Barry...

My new gig involves some serious road trip time. While I usually prefer to bop along to Stevie Nicks or a Glee soundtrack, my friend Gwenn always recommends books on cd for long car rides.

For my business trip last week I decided to heed her advice, and headed to the library to take out something to listen to. I choose humourist Dave Barry's Money Secrets, figuring maybe I would learn something. I have listened for about three hours so far, and while I have learned absolutely nothing, I sure have laughed a lot. Out loud. While driving. By myself. Is that weird?

Barry includes advice on almost every personal finance topic you could imagine. Well, not so much advice as snide comments, but that really is better, isn't it?

Barry starts by sharing one of his own alleged experiences: after getting a suspicious "your long lost cousin" email spam, and in spite of the warnings of his friends, he forwarded a total of $10,000 in advance fees to an unknown businessman in Nigeria and, wouldn't you know it, after multiple delays and misunderstandings, ended up receiving $47 million in 578 large cardboard boxes. Yep, that is the kind of pragmatic money wisdom in this book. Helpful, huh?

I laughed out loud for three hours, wishing I could pull over and write this stuff down. Some highlights:
•A history of money, pointing out that since we eliminated the gold standard money has no value, and hypothesizing that Fort Knox is really filled with Cheez Whiz
•The answer to the question in the book’s subtitle (‘Why is there a giant eyeball on the dollar?’), namely, the designer was drunk at the time.
•Why corporate executives make bad decisions such as ‘New Coke’: office furniture shrinks your brain.
•Ethical guidelines for executives, including knowing nothing about the company.
•How to argue with your spouse about money.
•How to steer your child toward an inexpensive college.
•How to make money in the stock market. (It involves time traveling.)
•An anti-Donald Trump rant, even prior to his birther wackiness
•Tips on planning for your retirement (die early)

Barry's financial warnings: if you get injured you're screwed, if you buy a new house you're screwed, if you buy an old house you're screwed, if you rent a home you're screwed.

And he rants about lobbyists, lawyers, the food industry, lawyers who advertise on television, the high cost of parking, lawyers, the commode lobby, politicians, health care, lawyers, CEOs of big companies, smokers, and lawyers... wait, there's a commode lobby?

Barry also gives valuable career advice. My fave --- the best way to call in sick is with "I have never seen diarrhea spurt that much..."

Check this one out. You will learn zilch about the money world, but you will laugh a ton. And if you listen to it while driving, other drivers may stare. Screw em...

May 26, 2011

Geek Alert! Pizza Pi...

I saw these at the Art Gallery of Alberta giftshop this week. Luuuuv them!

As usual, I was ready to buy cool trinkets and cute crap we so don't need, and then I went briefly pragmatic and thought "hey, we have pizza cutters" so didn't buy one... why the hell did I pass? How can you resist pizza with math?

These are so cool! Now Pi, that super irrational number, will not only figure out the area and circumference of our pizza, it will also cut our pizza into pieces...

Cut your pie with pi. No math tests required to use.

Each Pizza Pi Cutter is two stainless steel blades of cutting fury, harnessed by a space-age plastic Pi. Hold it in your hand and feel the energy ripple through you.

Yep, it's true, pizza may make you smarter. I have always suspected that...

May 23, 2011

Big Gay Marriage, Year One

I write this post sitting at the counter in our new kitchen, in our new house, while my beloved 70s music (hello Little River Band!) plays through our fancy dancy new sound system and the world's cutest furball is sprawled across my lap. I look through the windows and see the stately trees and the tranquil lake, the rabbits and the Canada Geese. And I am amazed at and appreciative of life.

Late the other night the dogs and I were out for a pre-bedtime walk, and I was thinking how fortunate I am in terms of life, love, marriage, home, career, all of it. Then we met a confused lost wolf, or a skinny really angry dog, and yep I stopped being esoteric and got the hell home. Though I truly do realise how fortunate I am... uh, except for the wolf part.

Life is not easy or smooth, and over the last year it feels like I have done a swan dive off every cliff of change you can, except literally jumping off a cliff. Cuz I'm a pussy.

The past year changes... selling a house, moving in together, wedding and marriage, building a custom house, moving again, trying to sell another house, resigning from my volunteer position of 6 years, resigning from my employer of 12 years, starting a new job. Plus add in the stress of money, family, homophobia, homophobic family, and life in general. Life is hectic craziness, people.

Amidst good and bad, turmoil and calm, Charlie Sheen lunacy and vapid royal weddings, I realise how fortunate I am. One year ago today I married a great guy. And he married me (it's way easier when you both agree). I am lucky to have found him, and we are lucky to live in a place where we can legally wed and it is (mostly) accepted by society.

We have each other, people who love us, a wonderful new home, and two amazing if a tad spoiled dogs.

I have learned a lot this year --- distancing yourself from negative people, being comfortable using the words "my husband" though it may make other people uncomfortable, how to truly partner with someone, and yes there really are 23 ways to fold towels (and apparently my way is wrong).

And yet in the middle of all this madness I sit in a rare moment of peace and realise how fortunate I truly am.

Happy first anniversary honey! You are so lucky... and, uh, this blog post is your present...

May 20, 2011

Gemini, Day One

Tomorrow is day one of the Gemini birthdays.

As my birthday is in early June, I am a Gemini, and never paid much attention to it, as have always been sceptical of the whole Zodiac thing.

Now that I have found this one, courtesy of Happy Bunny, I may become a believer...

May 18, 2011

iPad Scrabble kicked me in the vowels...

My obsessive iPad love is well known. And while I am not much of a gamer, at least since the days of Asteroids and Pac Man, I do have a few on the iPad I enjoy, and yes they are of the Solitaire and Battleship variety.

In the non-Tron world, I love and collect board games. And now the iPad and one of my fave board games have come together, and I have a new obsession... drumroll please... iPad Scrabble!

The only little taint on this new and perfect love? Damn game kicks my ass every time.

In my first game I played words like SWIPE, BIND and FANG. The iPad brain played words like VASA, ADZ, GRAVID, and LABILE... wait a sec, those are real words? Never heard of them, and that last one sounds more than a little vulgar, by the way. And yep I lost that first game.

Over the first five games, I didn't get any real major points words, the Xylophone's, or the triple word, or 7-letter bonus words. The damn computer did. Cheater.

Maybe I enabled it? I played JUG, it played CIRRUS, then I did SLOT, and it did JUG. Damn computer is following my lead! I know, I know, that's how Scrabble works, but still that effing computer would be nothing without me. Lost again.

As I was getting a bit intimidated, I decided to name the computer player Elmo, as the "board" is red, and it seems less smart this way. And cuddlier. Elmo played LOSE. And... I lost.

During a game, when it's Elmo's turn, and it's preparing a word play, little steel wheels appear to let you know its thinking, and to wait. I like when the steel wheels come up, it makes me feel like I am at least challenging the damn thing.

I keep losing. And yet I keep playing. Literary masochism?

And yes, after going down for the count five times, I did win game six, finally, with words like BLAT and HARKEN. Take that, Elmo!

And don't ask about game seven. I'm not talking...

May 16, 2011

12 Reasons to Love Tina Fey...

I luuuv Tina Fey -- smart, funny, liberal, charming, honest, flawed, goofy --- all good things.

And while I love Tina Fey, I did not love her new book Bossypants. Gotta admit, I liked it at best. While the book is fun and cute, it reads like Saturday Night Live sketches or a 30 Rock episode --- random fast bits tossed together, most funny, some insightful, some opinionated, nothing too personal or surprising.

The book is fun and forgettable, charming without being personal or intimate. It's not a memoir, it's uneven "bits", and short as it is, it's still padded with script morsels which are the funniest parts of the book. I hope our Tina was paid big bucks for this one.

The book isn't bad, I just wanted more. I expected the female David Sedaris; maybe Fey's next book. Still, there is lots to love about Tina in Bossypants...

1- Tina is smart, funny, liberal... all good things!

2- Tina loves her gays, talks about her lesbian friends when she was a teen, and gets it: Gay people don't actually try to convert people. That's Jehovah's Witnesses you're thinking of.

3- Tina talks dirty: f-word, c-word, and at one point refers to "a cavernous vagina" and "a celebrity fecalist".

4- Tina writes great title chapters, like "There's a Drunk Midget In My House".

5- Tina is staunchly pro marriage equality: We can't expect our gay friends to always be single, celibate, and arriving early with the nacho-fixin's. And we really need to let these people get married, already.

6- Tina sort of talks about her scar: I only bring it up to explain why I'm not going to talk about it. She then provides a matter-of-fact account of how she got it (when she was 5, a stranger slashed her in the alley behind her family home).

7- Bossypants has pop culture references from Jaclyn Smith to Rihanna, Thomas Jefferson to Charlie Sheen, Desmond Tutu to Spongebob Squarepants.

8- Tina declares the Photoshop is "America's most serious and pressing issue".

9- Tina makes up words that are really useful, like BLORFT, which is when you are stressed and overwhelmed and soldier on anyway.

10- Tina is so busy, even Oprah suggests she may be over-extended... uh, and Oprah would know over-extended now wouldn't she?

11- Tina talks about her stint playing Sarah Palin. When the former Alaska governor accused her of exploiting the Palin family, Fey knew better than to respond. "Although if I were to respond," she adds, "I would probably just say, 'Nice reality show.'"

12- Tina tackles sexism in her usual subtle sharp way: "Ever since I became an executive producer of '30 Rock,' people have asked me ... 'Is it uncomfortable for you to be the person in charge?' You know, in the same way they say, 'Gosh, Mr. Trump, is it awkward for you to be the boss of all these people?'"

Ok, I love Tina Fey, and on second thought the book is pretty good... read it!

May 12, 2011

Why lift boxes when you can tweet?

For those of you who were actually working on our recent moving day, and unalbe to follow me on twitter, here are my Moving Day Tweets.

Beware the randomness of my brain when not on a task...

1. My dog walks like he’s drunk.

2. Okay, if my dog isn’t drunk, then when he is walking like that he’s gotta be channeling Katherine Hepburn.

3. Okay we have officially gone too far with the Watergate riffs… “Semengate”, really?

4. The movers just said our new house is “gorgeous but not mover friendly”. Oops.

5. Levi Johnston to write tell-all book about Palins and his “perplexing fall from grace”… Uh, what’s perplexing about it, dude?

6. All hail Coca Cola! Behind a major law firm’s decision to ditch its defense of DOMA…

7. Paul Reiser slams NBC for show cancellation:”When you’re the last place network, you don’t want to jeopardize that.”

8. Jodie Foster continues to drink the craziness Kool Aid: Mel Gibson “such a good person”.

9. Playing iPad Scrabble while the movers unload really big heavy things. Wrong? Laziness? Or sheer brilliance?

10. The movers found a box of cassettes, yes cassettes, that I have dragged house to house city to city. Please don’t let them find any 8-tracks…

11. Movers found box with 19 cookbooks that have been in storage for a year and I didn’t even know they were gone.

12. Holy crap, where did al this kitchen stuff come from? I have never cooked this much in my frigging life!

13. Seriously iPad Scrabble game… do you think VASA is a word?

14. Movers One, formerly pristine brand new wall Zero…

15. Holy crap, how old is that VHS tape? Why do I own that? Why did I pay to pack, move and store that?

16. Oh the old street sign “ALFRED ST”. I had totally forgotten about it. Hope my friends bought that rather than stole it off a street corner.

17. An ironing board? When the hell did I get an ironing board?

18. Okay no stove or fridge etc… but music now working! First CD played in new house Allison Kraus and Robert Plant, “Raising Sand”

19. Some people hear voices… Some see invisible people... Others have no imagination whatsoever. – Anonymous

20. Obsessed with iPad Scrabble obsessed…

21. How to keep movers happy? I have spent more $ at tim hortons over last 2 days than my entire life!

May 9, 2011

I Do: Big Gay Wedding On Grey's Anatomy

After being an obsessive fan for its first few seasons, I ultimately got bored with Grey's Anatomy. Sure I saw it here and there, just not regularly at all. I just didn't care about the characters.

Then saw this year's musical episode, mostly because of my fascination with television train wrecks, and lo and behold, despite the non-singing of Patrick Dempsey, I liked it... liked the episode, especially loved Sara Ramirez singing, and have since downloaded her EP.

That episode featured Callie and Arizona, the show's resident lesbian doctors, getting engaged... and having a car wreck, having Callie appear as a singing angel or vision, having weird musical sex dreams, and having a baby. Busy busy TV people.

On May 5 the couple got married, and I loved the episode, from the romance and humour to the truth of one set of parents accepting and embracing the couple, and the other set of parents walking away. That hit home for sure.

The show's producer Shonda Rhimes, who is straight, in my opinion cowardly dropped the ball with the whole TR Knight "faggot" calling thing a few years back, has now stepped forward in a big and bold way, as she has been attacked on twitter and other places for promoting a gay lifestyle. One comment even pointed out that "straight people don't suck":

"I DON'T pander,” Rhimes messaged back. “And straight people DON'T suck. At least, I don't suck. You might. I do not know you so I can't be sure. Also you just said I pander. So you'll excuse me for saying you suck.”

In a second tweet, Rhimes went on to defend gay relationships.

“Isn't love universal? Isn't that the point? That you can watch a straight couple in love or a lesbian couple in love and what you see and feel is the LOVE? How is that pandering? Maybe I've been pandering to straight couples all this time.”

“Another thing: one of the reasons I cast the show the way I did is because I like to turn on the TV and see people who look like me living in a world of diversity. I'm betting there's a lesbian girl out there who likes to turn on the TV and see people who love like her too.”

“So, you know, yeah I just went all ranty, but come on. Love is universal. Life is universal. Grow up and stop complaining and stop hating on a storyline because the characters are different from you. Because THAT Is ridiculous.”

Rock on Shonda!

May 5, 2011

Fag Jew Boy...

The headline sure caught my attention: Fag Jew Boy. My first reaction: how offensive! My second reaction: hey, wait a sec, that's me....! So I read the story, on, and then my third reaction -- man oh man, bigots are so stupid...

An Illinois sheriff says he regrets using what he acknowledged was off-colour humor in a public posting on a co-worker’s Facebook page.

The posting, in which Schuyler County Sheriff Don Scheiferdecker made a comment that included the phrase “little fag Jew boy” about another co-worker’s photo, was meant to be private. (Uh, cuz that makes it ok, you bonehead?)

“I’ve dedicated my life to public service and sure don’t believe in public service by being harmful to people,” Schieferdecker said. (Oh really....)

He said there have been a few people in the community who have been critical of the remark, which was made in jest. (What, only a few?)

Schieferdecker said he made the comment after returning home from a long work night trying to save the fucking world. He posted it to the Facebook page of a dispatcher, so someone who reports to him, who had used the slang word for a homosexual under the picture of another dispatcher. The sheriff said he knew both men would take the comment as harmless teasing.

Schieferdecker said he didn’t realize everyone could see the comment.

“I wouldn’t say or do anything like that to hurt anyone,” he said, adding it upsets him when somebody is disrespected because of who they are. “I couldn’t care less about anyone’s religion and sexual preference.”

Newspaper reports didnt even bother with the using "Jew" as an insult, cuz I guess that's ok.

And Mr Sheriff, you didn't mean any offence, huh? (Yeah, sure, I believe you, Mr Lameass Moron Anti-Semitic Homophobic Redneck Bigot...)

May 3, 2011

I am a neophiliac... Are you?

I am a neophiliac. Are you?

Yep, I know, it sounds really dirty, and really wrong, doesn't it? Well, not so much wrong, once I googled what it means, just really damn expensive.

Neophilia is a new term to me. According to an article in The National Post, neophilia is a term used to describe the tendency to fall in love with what's new. Highly prevalent in the geeky technology Xbox/iPad world, it's rise is result of our ever-shortening attention spans and the rapid release of shiny new gadgets.

And yep I luuuuv me some shiny new gadgets!

The article says that while Neophilia has always been the case among music critics and fashion lovers, it is more common than even with new tech releases always coming out. Do you drool over new technology?

I upgraded to an iPhone 4 fast. Did I really need it more than the older model iPhone I already had? Uh, no. I lusted after an iPad, even though already have my own iPhone and laptop, and for work a Blackberry and another laptop. So yes I bought the iPad and I obsessively love it... and now I am feeling envy for the iPad 2 owners --- what features do they have that I don't?

My husband is a Blackberry fan and will get the new Playbook tablet (and uh it's no iPad, by the way).

Sure, I like my new car fine, but I really miss the stereo controls on the steering wheel from my old car. And the cool sunroof. How does the new car drive? What's the mileage efficiency or carbon footprint of it? Dunno. I miss my toys.

With the iPod, iPhone, iPad, iEverything, Apple feeds on the love of the shiny new toy. Their stuff is candy for us, Beanie Babies for adults. The cult of Apple has adult professionals camping out for tech toys like they were stoners outside a Grateful Dead concert.

So why this love of the new? Do new toys have magical powers? Are we that competitive, is this a compulsion about keeping up with the Joneses?

I don't know the science of why, I just know that... ooh, shiny new thing in sight, gotta go!

May 1, 2011

Alfie's gonna meet Flat Stanley...

His Flatness is coming to Edmonton....

When my friend Mary, bloggess goddess of, and her daughter Faith asked me to "host" Flat Stanley, I of course agreed, and he is on his way (uh, take your friggin time, Canada Post....)

What the hell is a Flat Stanley, you ask?

Flat Stanley is a 1964 children's book written by Jeff Brown. Stanley Lambchop and his younger brother Arthur are given a big bulletin board, which falls from the wall, flattening Stanley in his sleep. Flat Stanley then goes on to various adventures and sequels, and gets mailed around to friends.

The book was pretty obscure until 1995, when Dale Hubert, a teacher from Ontario started the Flat Stanley Project, with kids mailing their own Flat Stanley's to each other and documenting his travels in pictures and postcards and now online. There's even an app for that!

The program is designed to improve the reading and writing skills of elementary school students while they learn about new people and places. Students read the book, write new stories about Stanley and send a Flat Stanley to people far away, who send back pics and info.

His Flatness has travelled the globe, been to the Oscars with Clint Eastwood, climbed the Eiffel Tower, visited troops in Afghanistan, been up in the space shuttle Discovery, met Muhammad Ali and Bill Clinton, and there is apparently a movie in the works.

Like all big-time celebrities, there has also been scandal, with the teacher and the estate of the author duking it out in court. But alas, no flat sex tape, Yet...

My job, as per the instruction sheet from Faith's teacher Mrs Wilson (hey, wasn't she the neighbour in Dennis the Menace?): take His Flatness around town, shoot pics, send the package of pics and goodies back with a letter telling about his adventures.

I am thinking tourist haven West Edmonton Mall, the ultra-modern Art Gallery of Alberta, out in the sun with Alfie...

Stay tuned for more, we are taking Faith's school project viral!