Sunday, November 28, 2010

More life in a science lab

On Thursday, Charlie was so sick with his fever and cough, we were frightened. When I came home from work on Friday, Charlie was right at the door waiting for me. Here's what he and M3I were up to.

Okay, that didn't work, and I have no idea why. I just tried to upload a cute video of:

Charlie turning the crank on his dumptruck to dump a soccer ball which then rolls down a plank to hit another soccer ball which releases a stick which is holding in place a big blue baseball bat attached to the ceiling, and then the baseball bat hits a little plastic ball which is sitting on Charlie's intergalactic ooze, and then the ball falls onto a tambourine making a distinct tambourine sound!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Meta, meta, meta physical?

We all know I'm in my late 40s. But I've rarely in my life felt old (at least not recently - at my horrible job two years ago, I felt like a granny with cobwebs all over me). Today in a meeting my blood ran cold - there were 7 elements I had to write for a new project, rush-rush, of course, but one item was to come up with a meta description for a website.

So I asked the all-young (I realize now) folks around the meeting table, "what's a meta description?" (Btw, I know what meta tags are, so there.)

Ogod, the looks I got were what gave me the deadly chill. Apparently everyone knows what a wretched meta description is, except those who are obviously over 40. The project lead, to her cheerful youthful credit, merely explained.

Made me realize my blog doesn't have one.

Hey, one actually shows up, despite my not knowing what I was doing when I put it there: Nicht alles, was zählt, kann gezählt werden, und nicht alles, was zählt, kann gezählt werden.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Catch it cuz it may never happen again

1. Mainstream women's fashion mag
2. Celebrity cover girl
3. Gorgeous outfit, cool jewels
Here's where it gets interesting:
4. Short hair!!! Rully short.
5. No cleavage!!!
6. She's not even showing legs!!!
7. And, wot's this then, brown eyes? Not blue? (Okay, I admit I might be getting carried away with this one.)
What the hell is the world coming to?

Bravo Marie Claire and Emma Watson - thank you for not caving and doing the udj.
(And to answer your coverline question, am I too sensitive? The answer: never. Consider the reverse.)

These are the people in your neighbourhood

I had such a lovely walk to the subway this morning. It was chilly outside but super sunny, and my journey unfolded like a long opening one-shot scene in a movie trying to present a picture of a busy, happy neighbourhood. Workers finishing up a wheelchair/stroller ramp in front of a nearby apartment building, a man on a ladder painting the window trip above the bank, some road workers drinking coffee beside a cement truck, laughing and joking, a woman sweeping the entrance to her store, old ladies, little kids, nannies and the smell of winter, not quite here yet.

Sometimes I'm 100% city mouse!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Appallingly hostile, sexist, award-winning claptrap

I just read the screenplay for the late-90s movie, American Beauty.

We're supposed to hate the cold, bitchy wife, and feel sorry for the poor meek husband, who's lusting after his daughter's friend, a brazen hussy.

Riiight. The rich white dude is just sooo powerless, victim of the system, his boss, his wife, and wah-wah, his daughter thinks he's a loser.

And we're supposed to get into his hatred and hostility towards them, and see the teenybopper as temptress, with rich white dude again powerless in her presence.

Ahd while it's supposedly so understandable that he's digging the underage hussy, we're supposed to hate his wife for cheating on him. I mean, boo-hoo, he's having a mid-life crisis. How come the woman never gets to have a mid-life crisis?

Sorry, but it's hard for me not to see this as an arty excuse to hate women and dig jailbait, guilt-free.

Oooh, but wait, dude's actually a grrrreat guy, as he heroically doesn't deflower the girl, redeemed as he bleeds at the end of his life, loving his wife, and thinking tender thoughts about his daughter.

I call bullshit. Yes, it made me mad.

How bout this for something less "ordinary" (ordinary = bad, apparently):
Take the Kevin Spacey character and the videocam boy (Wes Bentley) in the script and make them female. Now take the Annette Bening character and the Mena Suvari character and make them male. And, try the Thora Birch character as a teenage boy, and Chris Cooper as a woman. More interesting, no? A different power structure as well. Tho the homosexual homophobe being "bad" is still tripe.

Just don't make another women-hating movie and try to tell me it's special.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just another day at the science lab

This morning, Charlie and M3I did a rather photogenic experiment - creating layers of liquids.

They poured five different liquids into a cleaned-out old peanut butter jar: water, cooking oil, corn syrup, rubbing alcohol, and glycerine. Once the liquids settled into their glorious layers, Charlie dropped in a little cork, a penny, a little piece of paper, and an eraser.

Check it out!

It's an experiment from a kit called Soakin' Science.

Life in this lab of ours is fun. I'm never sure what they'll be doing next. Last night, I came home and they'd rigged up a Rube Goldberg-type device that sent a magnetic dart sailing into Charlie's white board.

We've also got a tornado in a two-pop-bottle contraption, which M3I built a long while back. We've got a little hammer and safety goggles set up outside for Charlie to break open interesting rocks and search for fossils. And if I were to check out my computer's history, I'd likely find pages for NOAA Hurricane Center and, on Youtube, "The Universe" (followed by the Barenaked Ladies singing the theme to the Big Bang Theory).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quite the set of in-laws

D'ya ever just thank your lucky stars that you have the husband you do, the parents you do and the in-laws you do? Today, I'm extra thankful that I'm not a member of, nor am I marrying into, the Royal Family.

Prince Charles' reaction to his son's engagement: He's thrilled, and then he says, "They've been practising long enough."

Er, what? Practicing? Practicing what?

Then he says, "It makes me feel very old."

You know, Chuck, it's not really about you.


Camilla, who I've actually kinda liked, says, "It's wicked." She's at Wicked, the play.

Moving on.

The Queen, Prince William's gramma, says, "It is brilliant news. It has taken them a very long time."

And that's a bad thing? A good thing?

Come on royal folks, y'all can surely do better than that. Especially since you've apparently had so very long to prepare your remarks.

And now, this from Kate Middleton's father, just a *gulp* commoner (he read this, btw):

'Carole and I are absolutely delighted by today's announcement and thrilled at the prospect of a wedding some time next year.'

'As you know Catherine and Prince William have been going out together for quite a number of years which has been great for us because we have got to know William very well. We all think he is wonderful and we are extremely fond of him.'

'They make a lovely couple, they are great fun to be with, and we've had a lot of laughs together.'

There! Lovely. Charming. Well done.

[image from here.]

All he wants for Christmas

My sweet and beautiful boy lost tooth #6 tonight - the 2nd of the two big front teeth. He pretty much conquered the lisp after a couple of days with the first gap. I almost cannot stand how cute he looks.

Now this has to ease up for a bit or the tooth fairy's going to need to moonlight for Santa.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Seeing red ... then pink and orange.

Tell me, if you were already feeling cross and out of sorts (due to a wretched-cursed-passionately unwelcome and unexpected recurrence of the hormonal fun-fair), would this stupid "kill crow's feet" ad not make you even madder? It sure did me.

Even the violence of it offends. "Kill" indeed.

As people grow older they get lines around the eyes, okay? And if you can't handle it, then how the hell do you expect to handle the rest of your goddamn life?

My hairdresser, Cathy, and I were chatting about botox and poor Courteney Cox and Nicole Kidman and their sad ilk. I'd heard they didn't like the vertical lines some of us get between the eyebrows because they "make you look angry". Wise Cathy said, "What if I AM angry?"

That ad made those lines show up good.

Also this: my Aunt passed away late Thursday night. She's had a rotten end, and I'm going to miss her.

It all added up to being out of sorts. So I went for a walk.

Along this path.

For two hours.

The walk, the air, the exercise and the surprise of seeing these brilliant pink and orange berries in mid-November made me feel human again. I went home refreshed. And apologized to my family.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Statistics, financial statements, random percentages

Statistics, financial statements, random percentages used to make a point. All these things are important in my job, but sometimes all that stuff leaves me very cold. Like what about emotion? I just came across this quotation, which apparently Albert Einstein had posted in his office, way back. The quote's often attributed to him, but we don't know he said it - we do know he liked it!

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

It's true! And I'm keeping it.

Red is also the colour of bloodshed

I've been feeling very disturbed lately over how Remembrance Day seems to be turning into a long, drawn-out, politicized "Season". Our country (not just the States) is becoming more hysterical and divided right down to its citizen-level rhetoric (especially via the horrible Twitter), the election of the divisive, braying Rob Ford, and our determinedly divisive Prime Minister, the wretched Stephen Harper, who thinks that one's commenting on our role in Afghanistan is dishonouring the troops - when it's not about the troops.

The idea of wearing a white poppy for peace has resurfaced. I'm big on peace. Back in the 30s, in the wake of WWI and just before WWII, a wonderful UK women's group called the Cooperative Women's Guild advocated peace with the white poppy - they also lobbied for maternity benefits and infant welfare facilities.

Sometimes I feel like I should be wearing a white poppy, sometimes, I think red - as in hey, might as well. I put a pink one on my facebook and twitter pages.

And this morning, I got this map in my email. For each person from this city killed in WWII, a poppy appears on the map. So while red works because the poppies that grew in the cemetaries of France were red, it's also the colour of bloodshed. I'm painfully reminded by this map.

I checked our neighbourhood. It was mostly farmland back during the first world wars, but there was one man, John Smith, who lived very, very near our place. I looked him up on Google and found a website that displays photos of each gravestone. He's buried in England, he was a sergeant, and he was 29. Son of John Alfred and Laura Emma Smith. The homepage of the site has a small photo of someone's headstone, which made me cry, as it reads as if it's from his mom, who's missing him, "Oh for a glimpse of the grave where you're laid only to lay a flower at your head. Mother".

It's clear today is about the dead of war.

On this day of remembrance, I'm wearing a red poppy in honour of all of the fallen and their families and friends.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gwyn and Gwynnie

I'm subscribing to GOOP. I get a bunch of fancy HTML enewsletters to look over -- I work on eNLs a lot and it's just a good idea to check out the good ones. GOOP, in case you didn't know is Gwyneth Paltrow's other business, a bloggy sort of website with a newsletter and vids.

This, which I actually first saw awhile ago - before I'd even checked out GOOP - had me in convulsions. It's all about the voice. It's done by Abby Elliott; you can find other funny stuff on

An itsy bitsy weird little bit of fun

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Twitter can be damn nasty

Last night I felt considerable despair about humanity in North America. The cause? Twitter.

Not wanting to be left behind by all the young and social-media savvy new staff members we've recently hired, I opened up my very own twitter account. I was given the opportunity to run my "tweets" on our company's home page and I wanted to be on it.

Naturally, I'm "following" a number of feminist thingies (posters, tweeters, peeps, dunno what we're all called in twitterville). Someone started up a hashtag called #Ihadanabortion, hoping to inspire women to come out of the shaming tent and collectively reduce the stigma and admit their past procedure.

The nastiness that filled my twitter page was horrible and violent and extreme. No, I'm not going to quote any of it.

If I was ever in a situation where I needed and wanted an abortion, I sure as hell want it to be my decision, and not that of the haters on twitter. Who the hell are you to decide what's best for me, especially with something so important?

You know, pro-choice isn't about advocating that every pregnant women should have one. It's about being able to get it legally, early, and safely.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Always on the cutting edge

What happens when you blog in a great big rush at work? You come home, reread what you wrote, and see that it makes no sense. So I've given today's posting a little edit.

Apparently, I'm trendy because I don't shower every day. I'm hip and now and I'm trending. So you can't say it's laziness, or the Cipralex making me extra shivery in the morning, or the Frances McDormand thing (in that movie) about not wanting to wash cuz of menopause, it's because I'm on the cutting edge. The fact is, I always have been.

I was a singleton when it was trendy (and before it was trendy). I became an "older mom" at the same time as fellow oldies Helen Hunt and Courtney Cox.

And now, by not showering every day, I've joined the trendy unwashed. Think of all the shampoo that's not going down the drain. Check out this bit from the weekend NY Times.

PS: I DO wash. I just don't shower all the time like I used to, eh.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lola's favourite shoes are also red - and fabulous. And shiny.

I just love little Lola!

She totally gets me - and she loves her red shoes.

PS: Thanks to KRJ for telling me about this sweet little cartoon. I've got to get some buckley shoes!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Young women: do not marry Charlie Sheen

I was reading in the paper today that Charlie Sheen and his third wife are both filing for divorce. Is it not fantastic (not fantastic as in "great", obv) that any young woman out there woulda been ignorant of this fellow's slimey, sticky, icky history?

The day after the very first time I met M3I, I googled him. Smart, right? He was a cute, intriguing guy and had just an unusual enough name that I was able to do a satisfactory reference check.

This is a plea to any young woman (or women, I'm afraid) who, in the future, is the recipient of a marriage proposal from Charlie Sheen, to do a simple google search. Among the hits, you'll quickly find such gems as,

"In 1990, Sheen accidentally shot his then-fiancee, Kelly Preston, in the arm, after which she ended the relationship." "Charged with misdemeanor battery against his ex-girlfriend Brittany Ashland." "Arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman at his home in Agoura, CA. The woman claims she was pushed to the floor and knocked out." "Was arrested on domestic violence charges, including for second-degree assault, menacing and criminal mischief."

Okay? Not a catch. Stop marrying this guy.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Once upon a time there was a borderline anxious peri-menopausal forty-something copywriter mom who entertained the idea of participating in NaNoWriMo. It would begin on All Saints' Day.

She thought about it long and hard. Hmmm. She reckoned it'd really be something to accomplish that 50K words and boy, wouldn't it get those creative juices flowing! Plus, November was a long month, right?

Well, no. Just 30 days. But still.

Plus, she could dig out that old never-finished novel and rework it from her new middle-aged perspective! Her poor young protagonist, Rebecca, had been waiting in a drawer for about a decade for the borderline anxious peri-menopausal forty-something copywriter mom to pick her up again.

There was one small item to be dealt with though, before making the final commitment to NaNoWriMo. The matter of Time (with a capital T).

She'd already vowed to start swimming again - gotta keep the lung capacity up now that cycling's on ice for the year, and gotta keep those slightly questionable cholesterol levels down. She hadn't been able to swing that one quite yet. The swimming, that is.

So, the NaNoWriMo quest. When something like this comes along to fill up a big timeslot that was not available, the arithmetic of it would have to be fixed. Something had to go. But what?

Spending time with her young, adorable, inquisitive, energetic son, which was currently limited to after work and before bedtime?

No way.

Spending time with her lovely husband, precious time grabbed only after son was asleep?

No bloody way.

Do the writing during lunch?

Er, most of lunchtime was spent at her desk working already. Or doing errands.

Getting up early?

Oh, that old saw. That's swimming time, silly!

Hmmm. What could go? What could possibly be given up? What could go in order to make room in her already crowded schedule?


*Idea* [insert lightbulb image]

Of course.

NaNoWriMo. Just say "no".

The End

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