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Date:2010-01-19 23:31
Subject:When you care enough to send the very best
Security:Public

Messages you should be able to find in a Hallmark card:

"Sorry I almost killed you in the stairs today."

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Date:2010-01-16 15:19
Subject:Free story for Haiti
Security:Public

As everyone must know by now, Haiti was recently devastated by an earthquake. The tragedy struck a very personal chord when I learned that a haitian co-worker and friend, who is one of the sweetest men I know, lost his parents and aunt when their house in Port-au-Prince collapsed.

Crossed Genres magazine is asking writers to post free stories for Haiti. Here is my contribution; I specifically chose to post a humour story, since we can use all the smiles we can right now. The story is free to read.

I encourage you to visit http://crossedgenres.com/haiti/ today, to read the other free stories from various other writers. The page includes links to charities that are helping with the crisis, and could use any help they can get, no matter how tiny your contribution. Help spread the word, and if you're a writer or an artist, consider participating.

Thank you

The ForbiddenCollapse )

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Date:2009-09-04 10:00
Subject:Reading Rainbow
Security:Public

26. Our Gods Wear Spandex by Chris Knowles: A non-fiction book about the mystic/religious origin of superheroes; the essays draw some fascinating parallels between the gods and heroes of the ancient world, and how superheroes fulfill the same purpose in our modern society. The book spent a lot of time pinpointing the exact beginning of the modern superhero genre, actually theorizing that the origins came from Victorian mysticism and occultism. A really cool read.

27. The All-Seeing Eye by Mark Morris: Another Hellboy novel; very nicely written, very cool set-up (although it seems all the Hellboy novels follow the same formula-- our intrepid heroes must locate and defeat apocalyptic group/beast/etc. Hellboy punches it; all is well.) However, I found the ending very disappointing. I love reading other authors' take on the Hellboy mythos because most of them seem intent on pulling out the most obscure and awesome mythological/magical/occult elements (Bones of Giants, for example, was an absolute feast of Norse mythology). In this case, however, all we got was a tease, a red herring, and finally a generic cult accidentally bringing about the end of the world (or almost). No neat and obscure mythology. Definitely wasted potential there.

28. The Five Orange Pips by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: I realized with great pleasure one day that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories were public domain, and were all available from Project Gutenberg. I started with this one; pretty good, standard mystery story. I had it figured out before the end, but that's not a testament to my brilliance; I just have access to information that wasn't widely available in the 19th century. Still a very good little story. I plan to read some more Conan Doyle, now that I know where to find it.

29. Tik-Tok of Oz by Frank L. Baum: I'm rapidly starting to lose steam with the Oz books; they're basically okay, though it's quite apparent that poor Baum kept writing these books because of popular demand, not because he actually wanted to write them. There really aren't that many more stories to tell in the land of Oz! And there are still a few books to go before I reach the last.

30. Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco: In a word: amazing. Brilliant, brilliant book. I've had it for years, and I can't believe it took me this long to crack it open. I'm glad I had some basic knowledge of occultism and secret societies, because this novel was jam-packed full of what has to be every single bit of knowledge on the subject. The plot, in a nutshell: three editors, after reading stack upon stack of books on the subject of occultism and conspiracies from crackpot submitters, decide to create their own false world conspiracy. It eventually gets away from them, when it turns out (or does it?) that they've accidentally stumbled upon a real conspiracy, and a dangerous secret society catches wind of it. Umberto Eco's writing style is anything but light, but it is so brilliant. This has easily become one of my favourite books. (I keep seeing people refer to it as "the thinking person's Da Vinci Code". This pleases me; I hate the Da Vinci Code with a fiery passion.)

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Date:2009-09-01 11:36
Subject:Pride was teh gay!
Security:Public

A big sparkly thank-you to everyone who made it out to the Pride parade on Sunday, despite the looming threat of rain! And an even bigger thank-you to everyone who enthusiastically waved at the Jer's Vision group! (did y'all see me?)

This was my second time marching in the parade in an official capacity, and my umpteenth attendance to Pride. I always make a point to wear not only the gay Pride colours, but the bisexual Pride colours too (we tend to pass unnoticed, but trust me, we're there, and vocal.)

Every year it seems to get a little bigger, and seeing the new and old faces is always so uplifting. My favourite attendees are always from the two age extremes; I love seeing the elderly same-sex couples, happy and open and celebrating (some for what is most likely the first time in their long lives), and I also love seeing happy, friendly kids attending with their parents. Makes me pleased and glowy to see the new generation, open-minded and accepting.

I'm already looking forward to next year's Pride week. ^_^

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Date:2009-08-20 13:25
Subject:Stop. Laughing.
Security:Public

There's a girl from another team we work with who has the most annoying laugh I have ever heard (to reproduce it: gasp like you just saw something shocking. That sudden intake of breath you just created? Now repeat it over and over. That's how she laughs. GASP! GASP! GASP! And she laughs *a lot*.)

Every time I hear her coming close to my corner of the office, I bolt and run to the copy room or the washroom or something. I can't stand to be around her. She's a super nice girl, but that laugh grates on me like you wouldn't believe. I think it's because it sounds exactly like something gasping for breath/having an asthma attack, and it triggers my "Someone's in trouble! Alert!" instinct. Except, for nothing.

Also, it's gray outside, I'm bored, and feeling slightly crabby. I'm also restless, and should be working on about five different stories, but I can't concentrate on any of them. I want some cheese. And something made of chocolate.

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Date:2009-08-13 09:40
Subject:Apropos of nothing
Security:Public

Oh goodness. I'm supposed to be proofreading the Publiservice staffing personnel user guide but my eyes keep glazing over and my mind keeps wandering to much more interesting things, like robots and ninjas and tea with scones.

We attended the Lumiere Festival last weekend, an absolutely gorgeous lantern and performance festival, which culminated in a very paganesque dance in the middle of a lantern circle to some nice primal music. Ever since I've had the irresistible urge to decorate parts of the house with lanterns.

Does anyone in Ottawa know where I could find some pretty paper lanterns? I'm not very crafty so I probably shouldn't try to make them myself.

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Date:2009-08-03 10:52
Subject:Reading Rainbow
Security:Public

I won't post any lenghty reviews for these, since I mostly want to jot them down before I forget everything. It's been a while since the last update!


18. Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum
19. Emerald City of Oz by L Frank Baum
20. The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum - These three mark the continuation of my quest to consume all Oz books. Nothing special to say about these books, they're pretty typical of the non-"Wonderful Wizard of Oz" books (which is to say, okay, but not great)

21: Hellboy: Weird Tales - Rather like the Odder Jobs anthology, this was another collection of tales by various contributors. Not bad, but frankly I liked Odder Jobs better.

22. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Graham-Smith - It's pretty much what it says on the cover, and is bloody awesome. If you like zombies and classic literature, of course.

23. Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card - Just a little how-to book on character creation I picked up out of interest. It turned out to be very informative.

24. Wake by Robert J. Sawyer - Gorgeous, wonderful speculative fiction book about a girl who is blind and can "see" the Internet thanks to an experiental treatment to try and give her sight. My only complaint is that it's part one of a trilogy, and I won't see number two until next April. Gah!

25. A whole lot of BPRD issues - I probably shouldn't count these separately since they aren't very long to read, but I think all put together they equal a small novel. I've finally caught up on all the BPRD issues, and holy crap, I need to read the continuation, like NOW!

That is all.

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Date:2009-07-29 14:16
Subject:Whut
Security:Public

Well if this isn't the most frustrating e-mail exchange I've ever had with a client, I don't know what is.

So this government employee needs a password reset for one of the accounts we manage. No problem; I take down her info, find her account, and send her the password.

The Intranet passwords are pretty high-security, so they usually contain capital letters, numbers, and special characters. Sometimes, people overlook the special characters. That's fine. It happens. Usually once I mention it, people get what they're been doing wrong and manage to log in.

The exchange has been dramatized below for your enjoyment.

Me: Here you go, here's your password

Her: Thanks! (minutes later) Wouldn't you know it, it doesn't work.

Me: Forsooth! Are you entering all the characters in the password I gave you?

Her: Yes I am.

Me: Are you sure you're entering the special character at the end of the password.

Her: Actually, no, I'm not.

*silence ensues*
*drums fingers*
*crickets chirp*

Her: Should I?

Me: YES YOU SHOULD. WERE YOU RAISED IN A BARN?

Her: Hey, it works!

Me: Fancy that.

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Date:2009-07-28 16:44
Subject:Word meme
Security:Public

A word meme, taken from the always-awesome ladyprydian

Reply to this meme by yelling "Words!" and I will give you five words that remind me of you. Then post them in your LJ and explain what they mean to you.

My words, as given by ladyprydian: Transformers, Japan, French (Language), Potatoes, and Marriage.

Words, words, we're gonna have words...Collapse )

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Date:2009-07-23 14:44
Subject:Rest in peace, Renee
Security:Public

My mother just called me at work to tell me that a girl I used to play with when I was younger has just died (in her sleep, unknown cause). It's strange, and I'm not quite sure how I feel; she was the niece of one of my mom's old boyfriends, and whenever she and her sister and I would meet up, we'd have a blast together. We were like cousins, or sisters. We lost touch after my mom broke up with that boyfriend, and I felt sorry about that, since I really missed those girls.

I hadn't seen her in well over fifteen years. Heck, I hadn't even thought about her in almost as long. And yet I feel really sad at the thought of her being gone. Is that odd?

Rest in peace, Renee Greffe. I'm sorry I never tried to get in touch with you all these years.

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Date:2009-07-21 11:06
Subject:Randomsies
Security:Public

I swear, only in this office does the weekly team meeting end with an involved discussion about Ikea furniture and vasectomies.

Also: currently reading "Wake" by Robert J. Sawyer.

Reason #108 why Robert J. Sawyer is awesome: one of his main female characters casually mentions she's into House and Doctor Who slash. It's a throwaway line, written like the most natural thing in the world, and is bloody awesome.

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Date:2009-07-17 14:44
Subject:Mmm, good doctor
Security:Public

The Intranet site is down, and I really should be sad that I can't do any work, but instead I'm drinking Dr. Pepper and writing fanfiction and waiting for the afternoon to be over.

Tomorrow is my friend's wedding. I can't wait, and it should be a beautiful ceremony and reception. Could y'all keep your fingers crossed that the weather will hold out? At least long enough for the outdoor ceremony?

(Hair-related sidenote: I'm still getting used to the short style. It really strikes me every time I wash my hair; before, there wasn't a towel big enough to wrap all of my hair in after washing, and I usually had about six to ten inches sticking out. Now I can completely wrap my hair. It's mind-boggling.)

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Date:2009-07-13 19:53
Subject:Drum roll.......
Security:Public

The new hair is here, folks!

It was quite the experience. I patiently waited at the hairdresser's while my friend Bee got her hair cut first. The stylist then turned to me and casually asked how I would like my hair cut.

"Well," I said. "I need to explain first..."

Up until that point, my hair was rolled up into a bun, held by a heavy-duty tortoise clip. I unclipped the hair and it came tumbling down. The stylist gasped. The other stylist, and the woman he was styling, both turned and gasped. They stared for minutes.

It was awesome, and also kind of sad; I confess I've always loved the reactions to the length of my hair, and I will miss that. Strangers used to come up and tell me how much they loved the long hair. My favourites were the older women who would smile wistfully and tell me they remember their mothers and grandmothers having hair so long, and how they would watch them brush it and then pin it up.

Oh yes, I will miss that, but still aren't regretting the decision.

The stylist was amazing. She very carefully cut my braid off (which I have here with me, and will send off as soon as I fill out the accompanying form) and she very attentively listened to what I said I wanted ("Errr... something with layers? Maybe?") In the end, I adore the final cut!

Would y'all like to see the before/after shots?

Warning: lots of hair behind this linkCollapse )

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Date:2009-07-10 10:06
Subject:End of an era
Security:Public

Well friends, tonight is the big night. I'll be saying goodbye to something that's been a part of my daily life for a very long time.

I speak, of course, of my hair.

Those who know and see me regularly know that my hair is uncommonly long. Those who don't know me in 'real life'-- yes, my hair is long. It's just about reaching the back of my knees. I last cut my hair to shoulder-length about five years ago (it grows very, very fast-- good genes, I guess!)

It took a heck of a lot of soul-searching before I could finally work up the courage to crop it again. I love my long hair, but it's getting to be a drag, and it's time for a change. Next week is my friend's wedding, so that provided a bit of motivation to do something new and exciting with my hair. I also located a Canadian charity group that makes wigs for kids with cancer, so that cinched it. The hair will be cropped tonight, and donated.

And I am nervous and excited beyond belief! I can't wait to see myself with a new hairstyle. My co-workers are all excited to see me on Monday. I'm lucky that I will have a very supportive friend with me tonight, to hold my hand as the cut happens. :P

I already cut a small lock of hair to keep for myself, and Ian took many pictures of my hair. I'll be posting before/after shots once I've recovered!

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Date:2009-07-01 15:39
Subject:HAPPY CANADA DAY!
Security:Public

Happy Birthday, Canada, and Happy Canada Day to all my friends! Hope to see you on the Hill tonight! ^_^

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Date:2009-06-24 22:16
Subject:Revenge of the FallenOMGWHOA!!
Security:Public

Saw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

More to come later, but for now I will say this: I can see why the critics wouldn't care much for it. However, for anyone who is even remotely a fan, who is even the slightest bit familiar with classic Transformers mythos-- EPIC! JUST EPIC!

........... EPIC!!

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Date:2009-06-24 10:57
Subject:More than meets the eye
Security:Public

Why yes, I AM wearing my fancy Megatron button-up shirt at the office today. ^_^

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen minus eight hours and counting.

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Date:2009-06-23 09:20
Subject:Happy Science Fiction And Fantasy Writers Day!
Security:Public

Rumour has it that today is Science Fiction And Fantasy Writers Day!

A day of celebration and wonder! A day for all of us readers of science fiction and fantasy to reach out and say thank you to our favorite writers. A day, perhaps, to blog about our favorite sf/f writers. A day to reflect upon how written science fiction and fantasy has changed your life.

About time, says I! I'd like to take this opportunity to bestow a little praise upon my favourite science-fiction author, Robert J. Sawyer.

About ten years ago, I put down the latest Michael Crichton novel and sighed my disappointment, wondering where all the good sci-fi authors had gone. I wandered into a mall bookstore, perusing the science-fiction/fantasy shelf, when a helpful clerk asked if I needed any recommendations. Did I ever, I said. He pulled a copy of Flashforward off the shelf, and the second I read the blurb on the back (the consciouness of the entire human race is thrown ahead by twenty years following an accident at CERN), I was sold. I took it home and devoured the thing in about three hours.

I've yet to find an author who better marries the beauty and wonder of science-fiction with brilliant, thought-provoking writing and characterization. The best part about his novels is that they always combine the very best of science-fiction and speculative fiction-- the wondrous technology, the alien characters, the what-ifs of the future-- with philosophy, with humanity, and with Sawyer's passion for the genre. Every time I see him on television, talking about his novels, or about a subject he frequently uses as material, such as anthropology, I'm amazed at the passion he radiates. The man adores science-fiction and you can't finish one of his books without falling in love with the genre as well.

I've thought long and hard about which of his novels is my favourite; "Flashforward" was the first one I ever read, and so it holds a special place in my heart. "Calculating God", dealing with an alien landing on Earth and wishing to determine the presence of a greater power, is another one I hold dear. "The Neanderthal Parallax", a series of three books and another favourite, tells the story of a parallel Earth where Neanderthals became the dominant species instead of Homo sapiens; a wormhole opens up between the Earths, causing both evolved worlds to meet. (These little blurbs barely do the stories justice! Go find copies and read them!)

I recently finished "Rollback", about an elderly female scientist communicating with aliens and receiving a failed rejuvenation treatment so she can continue the long-distance communications, and just about bawled my eyes out by the time I was done reading. I recently purchased his
latest book, "Wake", and I can't wait to crack it open.

Robert J. Sawyer was very influential in my drive to write science-fiction, and I would recommend his books to anyone who has any interest whatsoever in the genre. And hey, what better time to discover a new sci-fi author, than on Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Day? ^_^

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Date:2009-06-19 12:56
Subject:Mmm
Security:Public

You know you work in an awesome office when... a truck giving out free Dr. Pepper parks outside, and every single one of your co-workers brings you a bottle because they know you love it. ^_^

(That's six, count 'em, six bottles of Dr. Pepper in the fridge!)

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Date:2009-06-10 10:03
Subject:Library love
Security:Public

And what better way to celebrate the slow shelving of my library than by putting in yet another Amazon order? ^_^ There's nothing quite like using the online tracking system and watching the package trot over to my place.

Of course, shortly after I agonized over what books to put in the order and checked out, I noticed Guillermo del Toro had a new horror novel out (The Strain, part one of a trilogy. Doesn't it look awesome??) Oh god oh god do I ever want it. It'll have to wait until my next order.

EDIT: And I just found out The Strain is available at the Book Store on Bank street-- come on, lunch break! I've got me some shopping to do.

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