Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas memories

As it is the season, I've been thinking a lot about Christmases past. This is my first Christmas without any grandparents, and also the first Christmas without a home to visit that has been in my life for a while (my grandfather's house sold a few weeks ago). I have had many great Christmases, and a few crappy ones. Here are some memories that come to mind (in no particular order):

  • The year Dad gave Mum her sapphire ring. That was the most excited I have ever seen her. There are few things better than seeing your mom totally ecstatic and happy.
  • 1986 - Santa finally brings me my own color TV. I was thrilled. I still have that TV, in my basement, and it still works.
  • 1996 - my Dad had left the house that fall. This was the worst Christmas ever. I was working a co-op job at the time, and co-workers were walking around singing carols on our last day of work. I went to the basement office, shut the door, and cried because my family situation was so messed up and I had no idea what kind of Christmas I was in store for. The next few Christmases after that were rocky until we got adjusted to our new family structure.
  • The year I got my blue winter coat, which I proudly put on and posed in.
  • The year my younger brother snuck downstairs early to see the presents from Santa, only to be caught by my older brother, which sent my younger brother running back upstairs screaming. By 9am he was still sleeping. I didn't actually witness this, but I love the story.
  • The year my younger brother sat on the floor opening presents, with Nana right in the room, and he opens her present. "Clothes" he says, and whips them over his head and they almost land on Nana. My mother was mortified at the time, but it's a hilarious family story now.
  • The year I was threatened with a knife, and somewhat seriously. I care not to discuss this one further, but it is definitely a Christmas memory I won't forget.
  • My younger brother used to carefully unwrap his presents and then wrap them back up, thinking no one would be the wiser. Mum always knew.
  • I don't have a memory of this, but we had a year of our tree falling over, before we were finally smart enough to tie string around it as an anchor. One year it dumped water all over the presents and my older brother volunteered to re-wrap everything. Mum turned him down.
  • The years I have spent Christmases away from home (only 3 times, as it is quite hard to pry me away at Christmas): 1985, when we were away on "The Big Trip" and spent Christmas in Melbourne, Australia. We hung our regular socks for Santa, who brought us some foreign treats. 2003, when my mother and younger brother spent xmas with my older brother and nephew. I'll never forget the dance my nephew did as he came downstairs to see what Santa brought. 2007, when I spent Christmas in California. My husband did a wonderful job making it feel Christmasy for me. He bought a small artificial tree, put up some lights, and I brought our stockings with me.
  • 2005, my first Christmas with John. It was his first time seeing that much snow, and he had a blast making a snowman, snow angels, and plotted building a fort. He also learned the joys of shoveling snow.
  • This year was Romy's first Christmas with us. I thought he would be pretty excited by the tree, bows, paper, and ribbon. Instead, he was excited by the watering can, and a PBS Nature special on Christmas in Yellowstone Park, featuring a fox that he became enthralled with watching.

Friday, December 11, 2009


The feeling has hit me again the last couple of days: winter is coming. The post-Christmas season of cold, snow, wind, darkness, and loneliness. I don't have SAD, but I do get increasingly uneasy as the thought of January and February draw closer. The feeling seems to get worse every year. This year I have a husband who's home to keep a fire on, and a cute kitty cat who sometimes allows me to spend time with him, but I still have that feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. Heavy coats, biting wind, bundling up just to run outside and back in, falling on ice, driving through dangerous conditions... I am not looking forward to this. I also have a trip to Florida in late February/early March. I'm excited for it, but it's not quelling the feeling. I will still have to deal with winter, no matter what, unless I leave Canada. That's not in the cards for the foreseeable future.

Winter is fun for those who enjoy outdoor activities. Since my main activity is walking, that's not something I want to do outside this time of year. I guess I need to concentrate on finding fun things to do when it's cold. Last year, a co-worker and I went skating at Lily Lake on our lunch hour, that was fun. John has also been asking since last winter to go skating, so I need to find him some skates. I used to enjoy sliding, so I should probably get a couple of sleds and introduce John to that as well. He is still catching up on all of the snow-related activities he missed from growing up in a desert. Maybe if I can tap into his enthusiasm, I will get more out of the coldest months.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

To quit or not to quit

My husband thinks I need a new hobby. Hobbies are supposed to be fun ways to spend your time, but knitting has not turned out that way for me. I find it stressful. My biggest problem seems to be that I misread patterns. I think it’s time to face the facts: I’m just not very good at it. Since I don’t seem to be capable of liking my work despite its faults, and get so angry when I make mistakes (which are frequent), I’m not sure what’s really in it for me.

I am still a beginner. All of these projects I’m doing are the first time I’ve tried different techniques. When I knit a scarf for myself, ran out of yarn, and ended up with an abruptly cut-off side, I adjusted for that the next time I used that pattern… but then it still didn’t come out looking right. I want to be able to do something right, if not the first, I’d hope the second time.

Other than misreading patterns, I think my other big mistake is always making things for others. I put too much stress on making gifts that must be nice, instead of practicing on stuff that’s just for me. I can still be annoyed with it, but at least I haven’t given a “Charlie Brown Christmas tree” to someone I care about.

I’m giving my husband’s suggestion some consideration. After I finish the Christmas presents I’m working on, I may think about hanging up the needles, at least for a while.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I am enjoying Glee on Fox, but I have one major complaint. Having been a long-time viewer of Days of our Lives in the '90s, I spent months (felt more like years) enduring the "fake pregnancy" storyline of Kristen Blake, resulting in her wearing pregnancy pads, not wanting John Black to touch her, Stefano finding another pregnant woman to impersonate her... let's just say the memories aren't good. I hope the writers of Glee don't drag this storyline out for the entire first season.

I know TV is supposed to be an escape and not realistic, but I have some serious issues with this storyline. Will and Teri are married and live together. He WILL see her naked at some point, this is inevitable, even if it's just from changing clothes. The character of Teri is annoying and unlikeable enough to start, and adding this storyline makes me want to fast forward through the sections with her in it. The fact that the school hired Teri as a nurse, without any qualifications, is intentionally ridiculous, but it made me angry more than laugh at the exploits.

The writing seems to be very uneven on this show. John has commented many times about it. Suddenly you feel as though you've missed an episode, or a scene, and feel a bit lost.

The kids and the music are great. Tone down the use of the wife and resolve the fake pregnancy, and try to get a little more even in the writing, and I think it's a great show.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Eddie Bauer is rapidly becoming not worth it

After the pants I shipped to my MIL's house did not fit, I reordered in a larger size. I specifically put down my PO box, which when I shipped to her, was also a PO box, so I thought this was a feasible way to ship. I received a call from FedEx this week saying they could not deliver to a PO box and needed a street address. Now I will have to pay a fee to a local hardware store to receive my package. I called Eddie Bauer and expressed my displeasure that they did not warn me that it couldn't be delivered. Her explanation was basically a "sometimes they can, sometimes they can't" answer.

I've been having other problems with them when it comes to sizing. The inconsistent sizing is a puzzler to me: I ordered the exact same pair of jeans, in the same cut, same size, the only different thing was the wash and I had bought the original pair in-store in Canada. When they arrived, it was as though they were a size smaller than labeled. A similar thing happened to me the last time I ordered through their catalog. I ordered the identical pair of pants to those I had purchased in-store, and when they arrived, it was as though I had ordered the "short" length. I checked all of the labels, nothing appeared wrong but they were definitely not right.

If the latest order does not work out, I am not sure I want to purchase anything from their catalog again. It's incredibly expensive to ship directly to Canada, and shipping to Calais is a pain. The closest store is Moncton, and I am not there very often. They also do not stock all styles in-store, so I am left trying to accommodate my new figure by inconvenient catalog ordering.

All of this is leaving me with the wish that I could make my own clothes. At least then they would fit.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Trash radio

Radio in SJ is trash, yes, I am quite aware of that. However, it's too quiet in my office, so we need some kind of constant background noise. I share an office with another person. If either of us plays our own catalog on our PC, it often results in one of us not being happy with the music selection. I own a portable XM receiver, but it is not something I would prefer to bring in and leave at the office. Streaming audio at work is forbidden, since I issued the rule, I also have to abide by it. That leaves us with the option of radio to fill the noise gap.

One of my local radio stations recently underwent a format change, dumping the 70s and 80s from their roster, and put in a new slogan of "today's best hits". They they fill half their schedule with 90s music. Somehow they haven't understood the concept behind their new tagline. Nor have they bothered to update their website to reflect this supposed format change.

With this recent format change, I notice the 80s have all but disappeared from the SJ radio scene. I find that odd, seeing as how the 80s are experiencing a big resurgence right now. We're now left with country, 60s/70s on AM dial, 2 stations offering 90s and today, classic rock (a tiny bit of 80s), and someone playing their favorite CanCon in their mom's basement. The generic 80s are noticeably lacking.

Speaking of crappy radio, a lot of what they play from mom's basement is what I saw on a CBC documentary on 70s Canadian music. Again, I reiterate to them: you have decades worth of music to choose from... choose more wisely. There are even more 70s CanCon to choose from than what you're currently playing.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Upbeat tunage

Songs that, no matter what is going on, will always make me turn up the volume and feel good. They aren't associated with bad memories, and they're just fun. I'm gathering a list from my library and will prob make a mix.

  • What You Need - INXS
  • Everybody Have Fun Tonight - Wang Chung
  • Sussudio - Phil Collins
  • Turn Up The Radio - Autograph
  • (Reach Up For The) Sunrise - Duran Duran
  • Get It On (Bang A Gong) - Power Station
  • Living In America - James Brown
  • Good Times - INXS with Jimmy Barnes
  • You Don't Mess Around With Jim or Bad Bad Leroy Brown - Jim Croce (can't decide between the two!)
  • State of Shock - The Jacksons and Mick Jagger
  • Billie Jean or Beat It - Michael Jackson
  • I Believe In A Thing Called Love - The Darkness
  • Panama - Van Halen

An ongoing list, as I remember songs to add to it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Like every other woman on the planet, as my body gets older, it's going through some changes. For me, it means I've gone up another size on the bottom half, and now have a more hippy figure than I am used to. I never thought I'd be the one to buy "curvy fit" at stores, but here I am. I'm not happy about it, but genetics are involved and though I am doing more exercising, there's only so much I can do about it, seeing as how I can't quit my job to work out all day like a movie star.

What struck me this morning is that I have nothing to wear to the impending funeral. I am not used to "growing out" of my clothes, so I can't walk downstairs and grab one of my nice (classic, not 90s purple, I promise) suits because they don't fit anymore. I had finally gotten to a point where I felt I had most of the categories purchased and was well-covered for all occasions... and now I have to start all over again. I already have clothes... they just don't fit anymore. That's frustrating.

While the prospect of shopping for a new wardrobe sounds fun, the expense isn't something I'm thrilled about. I'm to the point where I want to buy better clothes, ones that wash well, fit well, flatter my new shape. That costs money, more money than I usually spend. Buying a new wardrobe isn't something I have been saving for, either. Not sure how I'm going to justify some of the expense to my husband, who thinks my level of clothing inventory is already the largest he's seen from any woman. Usually he's ok with me making new purchases as long as I weed out the old, so we'll see. I'm not talking a zillion dollars here, just $70-120 instead of $30-50; it will add up.

I'm already on the hunt for winter cords, seeing as how I coasted through last winter on fumes. Luckily a lot of places are now offering different fits & cuts. Eddie Bauer curvy fit cords, here I come.

I haven't had a good relationship with my body in the past, and these changes are making me feel worse about myself. Do people look at me and say, "hunh, she's finally put on some weight, ha ha ha!" That's sort of how I feel when people are near. It may be the furthest thing from their mind (at least until they read this), but not mine. I have stopped short of wearing barrels and baggy clothes, rest assured.

I called Personal Shopper Jenn for her help to find me something that I can wear to upcoming inevitable events. I've sometimes not been the best shopping companion as I adjust to New Body™, but she has been extremely patient with me, so I have to thank her for putting up with me. ;) I'm slowly getting better and trying to focus on the positive side of getting a new, higher quality wardrobe.

Losing & loss

I wrote this section before getting a call from my Dad that my grandfather had an estimated 24-48 hours to live. I guess I was just in a depressed mood yesterday morning.


Death scares me. In my mind, it is an unrecoverable loss. I'll never get to see those people again for the rest of my life. It's been 20 years since my grandmother died, and I still keenly feel the loss. I have many good times to remember her by, but it's not the same. I'd rather have her here with me, able to spend time with her as an adult, learn from her some skills I wish I'd been old enough to learn 20 years ago. I have a lot of regrets about not learning all that I could while I still could. I should have put more effort into knitting, should have paid more attention when she was cooking, should have should have should have. This was 20 years ago, and yet I can’t even type this without crying.

My grandfather is not well. He’s the last grandparent I have, and I know what’s coming. He will die, and I will have no grandparents left. His house will be sold, and that last connection to childhood places will be gone. I’m scared to visit him in the hospital, but I know that I have to. I don’t know how to deal with the deterioration, the frail body, the less intelligible speaking.

John may live a shorter life than me. After he’s gone, I’ll be alone. My parents will likely be gone, my brothers probably living away. John and I have no plans for children, but even if we had them, they likely wouldn’t want to be burdened with their lonely mother as they’d have their own lives to lead. He’s the one person who is there 24/7 listening intently to what I have to say, and I’m scared there won’t be anyone who cares that much if he’s not here.

I know I bore some people with my issues, I can see their eyes glaze over, their attention turns to something else, or they just start talking over me. It happens frequently, at least that is my perception. That’s one of the main reasons for this blog, so I can speak uninterrupted and for as long as I need.


Dad called yesterday around 10:30am with the news. I went to the hospital at lunch and last evening. It's hard to see Gug like that, with his teeth out, mouth hanging open while he slept. He was never a large man, but not being able to eat the last few months means that he's basically wasted away. He doesn't look like himself. I need to push past this and go visit anyway, so he knows I'm there.

I'm tired of losing people. I haven't really lost that many people, to be honest, but I'm tired of it nonetheless. I know there are more losses to come in life, and it's going to happen to people even more close to me. My faith does help me believe that the people who have passed are in a better place, but I'm selfish and want them still here with me.

Gug never wanted to be immobile, bedridden, etc. He had surgery on his eyes for cataracts and cornea transplants, something which encouraged me to become an organ donor candidate. He also had veins stripped and replaced in his legs to help circulation. These things helped to keep him going, living with his dog in his house, mostly independent. He loves to read, golf, and bowl, but wasn't able to do much of that recently.

What I dread the most is the aftermath. I dread funeral parlour and funeral. Having to go to the church and the gravesite is going to rehash a lot of memories from my grandmother's funeral 20 years ago. I feel like I'm going to endure a double loss. Thankfully I have John to support me.

God, when you decide it's time, please take care of him.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bad guy

Why does the onus have to be on me to interpret your grammatical error in such a way that it makes sense? I could be a real bitch about it and tell you I have no idea what you’re saying, but I can tell you how that conversation would turn out. “You know what I meant. Geez, what are you so sticky on grammar for?” Then I’m the bad guy for “making you” feel stupid, thus eliciting a defensive reaction in which you would feel the need to put me down. Why should I be the bad guy when you’re the one who types a sentence that mistakes “once” for “ones”?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Caring time is over

People will only care for so long. No matter how many times you remind others of your life's hardship, there is an inherent shelf life to how long you can gain sympathy from others. I have run into this three times in my life (one of which I am not discussing here intentionally).

5 years ago, after a long-term relationship breakup, I spent a lot of time talking, joking, whining, and stuck in a post-breakup rut. It got to the point where I had to be kicked in the ass by a friend of mine, who told me to basically "get over it" and addressed the specifics of my complaints in a way that made sense to me. His comments clicked, I couldn't argue them, and it was a turning point for me. It was a hard pill to swallow, but I did and finally moved forward with my life.

The reason I have come to blog today is that I noticed a correlation between the aforementioned situation and a work situation. Since most of my life over the past year has been usurped by work, I'm a pretty busy person. I will tell anyone who will listen about how busy I am (see a pattern?) and it is the truth. I currently have 880 items in my email inbox that need sorting/action, I have pages of notes since June 30 that need to be reviewed and logged and possibly acted upon, and I have 4 stacks of paper that are things I need to fix or research, plus phone calls and drop-ins. [881 now].

In my mind, if the issue is not a crisis, I feel it is most important to address the oldest issues first because they have been waiting the longest. Others do not share this opinion. They know how busy I am, and have even repeated it back to me, but they've gone beyond the point of caring. They have now emailed another person in my department (who will only end up bringing the issue to me anyway) and copied my boss. The copying of my boss is what irks me to no end. A lot of people subscribe to the belief that if the boss is copied, the work will get done faster, when, in actuality, it's a guaranteed way to piss me off and put your issues on the bottom of my list. It feels childish and immature, like they have to tattle on you that you're not getting your job done. Given this and a second email sent to someone else in my department (but not cc'd to my boss that time), I can only assume that caring time is over and this person just wants answers.

Yeah? Well so do the other 1000 issues I have sitting around me right now. It's a bit overwhelming at times, actually. The sad part is, despite all of the overtime I have already worked, it's going to take more overtime to dig myself out of this hole. [882].

So, now I am stuck dealing with this issue because my boss was copied, achieving the opposite signal I want to send because, ultimately, it affects a third party. I know what my boss will say, I know what this co-worker will say, I can play it all out in my head. The least painful method to me is to just get it done and move forward.

Caring has a shelf life, and it expired today. It sucks, but nobody cares anymore. Just shut up and get some more work done, will ya? Geesh.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Truth be told

As children, we're taught that telling the truth is a golden rule, something that should always be followed. As adults, we know that in practice, this doesn't always work out. "Little white lies" to "spare feelings" happen often. "Of course your baby is beautiful." "I don't mind pet snakes at all." "I love mayo on my sandwich." Little lies like this that avoid the truth, but spare the feelings of the other person, seem to become a necessity when you're an adult.

I am a horrible liar. Knowing this, I usually try and stick to the truth in situations where I don't have to pretend to like pickles on my sandwich. Recently, I went to visit family without my husband along. He was out of town at the time playing Dungeons & Dragons. When a relative asked me where he was, I simply stated he was gaming with friends. When pressed about what game he was playing, I told the truth. She gasped, and then didn't continue our conversation. Being a born-again Christian, I understood what that gasp meant: she subscribed to the belief that DnD is somehow evil.

Following this incident, we were at a family dinner, where my husband noted that the relative did not speak to him or even acknowledge his presence. I did not notice this, as there were a lot of people in the room, but I think he felt he received the cold shoulder and different treatment than he had received from her in the past.

Is this relative is treating my husband poorly based on her misguided beliefs that DnD is somehow evil? My husband is not prone to psychotic breaks or mental issues. He has a firm grasp of reality and is not a Satan-worshiper. In fact, his characters in the game are usually heroes. He also plays video games in which he creates various superheroes and fights the bad guys. He loves comic books and his favorite character is Superman -- the consummate hero. How can this possibly be misconstrued as evil? Do people really still believe that a board game is inherently evil and or people do bad things because a TV-movie told them so?

It just ends up making me feel like I should have lied and said "Scrabble". Sometimes the truth just isn't worth it, and that is a shame. The world could use more truth.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Curbside: nah, that's too easy

Change is a-comin' to the way we sort our recycling in my city. This doesn't help the problem of hundreds of cars all driving to drop off recycling, increasing pollution. We need curbside recycling, which has been proven to be the most effective for participation, and with trucks already rolling on garbage & compost, creates less pollution overall. Saint John takes the stupid route over & over again, and frankly, it's depressing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My life is work, and work is my life, at least for now

Either way, no vacation.

Work is pretty much all I am doing at the moment, even in the evenings. I'm 3 weeks away from our go live date on the new software. I'm pretty stressed out, but I did manage to sneak away tonight to see Star Trek.

I did not have a good week in Halifax last week. Training did not go as well as hoped. I also managed to leave my purse behind on the last day of training. The people running the training center had to go to Truro on Friday, so they took my purse with them, knowing I'd be coming through Truro on my way home. Only problem with that was that I had less than $5 on me. I had enough to cross the Mackay Bridge and back to visit one of my stores. Luckily I wasn't very hungry and made it to Truro by lunchtime.

While in Halifax, I met up with Cyn. We had our usual driving adventures (fitting for the anniversary of the Van Man incident) which included ignoring the GPS in favor of Cyn's directions, only for her to realize that she usually comes from the other direction. Funny thing: the GPS liked to pronounce Halifax as "Hellyfax". Fitting.

So, I got the heck out of Dodge on Friday. My "luck" continued on Saturday when I drove to Calais to get my mother's day present. I ordered it in plenty of time, and checked the online shipping status on Tuesday night. It had already reached Maine, so I knew it would be in Calais in plenty of time for Saturday. John's DnD session was canceled, so he drove down with me. We arrived at the hardware store to find out that my package wasn't there, even though I asked twice, the guy insisted UPS didn't come until Monday. Er, ok. Drove home, checked the internet. It had been there since Wednesday. GRRRR. Now what do I do? Drive down Sunday morning, after having driven a lot the last 2 days? In the end, I rearranged my day so that I didn't exhaust myself, didn't rush my time with Mum, and still managed to see a friend's new house. I did have to sacrifice my plan to see Star Trek with friends that day, but that was the one thing I could reschedule. John drove to down to Calais today and got the wreath, so now I just need to get it to my mother. I haven't opened the box, scared to after the luck I had last weekend!

I left work "early" and was able to see Star Trek with John tonight. It was very entertaining, and I did enjoy myself, but I was left with a sense of disappointment. I am a longtime fan of the original series (TOS), and I felt annoyed that the writers re-wrote history. Spock's mother didn't die, she and Sarek visited the Enterprise in TOS. Capt Pike was totally messed up and could only beep "yes" or "no" in his wheelchair. These people didn't go through Starfleet Academy together. As a fan of TOS, it is very hard to set aside things you know not to be true. For those who don't know much about TOS, I am sure you enjoyed it much more thoroughly than I did. I'm torn because I did enjoy the movie, but think they could have done a movie with these characters that did not involve time travel and did not rewrite history. John is rubbing off on me with his dislike of time travel as a plot device.

I loved the cast. Everyone was very well cast, and I particularly enjoyed Karl Urban as Bones. Chris Pine was great as Kirk, he didn't do a Shatner impersonation, but I felt kept the essence of Kirk and made it his own. His final lines to Bones had just that right intonation that you felt you were hearing the same character.

Time to break out TOS DVDs again.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I am trying to knit a gift for a work friend, and I have managed to screw it up 4 times:
  1. Didn't leave enough yarn to cast on all stitches
  2. Dropped a stitch after 1st round and couldn't recover
  3. Finally got the first section done, only to screw up after misreading the pattern, undid the 2.5 rows back down to the start of the second section
  4. Followed the pattern correctly this time, only to screw it up again
At that point, I decided to put it down as I felt pretty incompetent.

After that, I managed to totally ignore the beets cooking on the stove to the point where it created a giant red mess everywhere and started to burn. My mother managed to save the pot for me, thankfully.

I realize that I suffer from perfectionism, but I just feel totally incompetent today. It's stressful cooking a meal for my mother and not having everything turn out the way I want it to. Yes, she's done it a zillion times and has likely made her share of mistakes, but that's not the point. I should be capable of remembering that something boiling for over an hour may need to have more water added. This led to me being tired & grumpy during Easter dinner.

What I am ultimately tired & grumpy about, other than a couple of failed attempts today, is that my long weekend has come to a close. I could really use another day (or week, or two, or three) off from work, but I just can't do that right now. I feel like a slave to my job. I'm on tap to go to Halifax for 2 weeks to observe training. I hate Halifax, so that's also making me very cranky. I do not want to go, but I don't have a choice; I was volun-told.

The hardest part is knowing that the worst is yet to come with this work project. Trying to get everyone on board may lead to me going to the nuthouse. I will be so glad when this is over.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Behind the [tech] times

Tech consumers frustrated by Canadian roadblocks (

I feel like a "digital peasant" a lot. Even last night, I watched my husband sigh out loud at yet another site that denied him access because he's in Canada. I know he feels like he's sacrificed a lot tech-wise to move here, and he also understands how frustrating it is for me to be consistently denied things I'd like to pay to access but still cannot.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Leno Effect

I have been following the news regarding Jay Leno's new fall show and NBC's fall format. Leno will be on 5 nights/week, at 10pm Eastern, spelling the end of "drama at 10pm".

I like Leno, but am not a big enough fan to tune in on a regular basis. The Tonight Show is also on at 12:30am here, being 1h ahead of the Eastern time zone. It's not often that I can't sleep, so I rarely am awake to watch his show. On the odd times I happen to catch it, I do enjoy his monologue, headlines, and Jaywalking. I may tune in more often now that he'll be on at a better hour for me, just as I'm heading to bed; sometimes I stop and watch a few minutes of TV before hitting the sack.

NBC is taking a big risk with this format. Will it succeed? I don't think there are enough die-hard Leno fans to keep this show at a viewership level that would be acceptable to NBC. I think the other networks are sitting back, drooling over the 10pm slot, planning to put their best efforts into destroying NBC. Because this is such a big commitment, NBC will let Leno continue for at least half a season before replacing it at midseason. One can only assume/hope that NBC has replacement shows in the wings if this gamble turns out to be a losing effort.

Perhaps the gamble will work and we'll start to see copycats. I'm not totally negative about this situation; any new show that isn't "reality" programming is a welcome relief these days. I've had enough of D-list "stars" dancing, skating, rehabbing, and slobbing their way across my TV screen.

What prompted me to dust off my blog today (in addition to it being Sunday and I actually have time to write) was this article. Since I am in Canada, my local cable company chooses an network affiliate for each US network. A few years ago, we switched from the closest US location (Bangor, ME) to various locations. My FOX comes from Rochester, NY, ABC from Detroit, CBS and NBC from Boston. WHDH is thus my NBC affiliate, and if it chooses not to carry the new Leno, the first question that came to mind is whether my cable company will give me a new NBC feed. It is the responsibility of my cable company to provide me with a US network feed that provides network programming, and if this station does not do so, will Rogers make a change?

Back when all of our networks were Bangor affiliates, the broadcast signal was unreliable and crappy at best. NBC was station to stay on the longest, but the signal reliability was so bad that eventually that station also had to be replaced with a more reliable signal. With the recent US change to all-digital programming, that is no longer an issue. I have to wonder: will we get a Bangor station back on the air in this area?

I missed having a US network affiliate that was closer to my geographic location. Though I don't live in Bangor, their news and advertisements are sometimes relevant because I visit there on a semi-regular basis. Perhaps the station has a news story about Calais, or an advertisment for a new store in Bangor that will make me want to drive 3h to shop. And don't discount the humor that comes from the "downeast" commercials from businesses such as Hammond Lumber. I may never drive to Bangor for a hardware store, but "ham and cheese, ham and eggs, Hammond Lumber" always gets stuck in my head.

John is starting to rub off on me as I am now contemplating a letter to Rogers Cable, asking if it plans on providing me with network programming and thus switching my Boston affiliate to another area, preferably Bangor. Will I actually do this? Probably not, as I don't have a lot of time on my hands, and it is a fruitless effort to try and contact Rogers about anything. But it's an interesting idea and question.

It will be a bad decision if NBC "punishes" WHDH. The station should continue with their news plan, and if viewers want Leno, they'll pummel the station with requests to the point where the station will have to make the change. Or, if Leno's show sucks and NBC pulls it anyway, at least WHDH has come up with a plan and they will be the one station in that area to have news programming during that timeslot.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

More stupid things heard on 20 on 20

XM's 20 on 20, after the merger with Sirius, now has a "morning show". I blogged the other day about the parenting issues of Brendan Fraser. The next stupid statements from the DJs had to do with TiVo: a pet peeve topic for John and me. I'll recount the conversation:

"Did you catch [American] Idol last night?"
"No, my TiVo screwed it up, so I didn't catch it."
"Do you have TiVo or DVR?"
"Well, they're pretty much the same thing." (Stupid statement #1)
"No, they're not. My TiVo doesn't seem to work right anymore." (Stupid statement #2)

Having seen examples of cable company DVRs vs TiVo, I can attest that they are NOT the same thing. The principle behind the unit may be the same, but their functionalities, and especially the user interface, is quite different. The cable version I have seen is ugly, confusing, and not as user-friendly as TiVo.

This is not the first complaint I have heard regarding TiVo "not working right anymore". My MIL recently has made similar statements to the point where she decided to cancel her TiVo and go with Time Warner's DVR and cable service. Her complaints focused around not getting the shows she had requested, and when she did get the correct show, it may have been missing the beginning or end. Being on the other side of the continent from her, I can't just stop by and try to help figure out her situation.

If I was there, the first thing I would investigate was whether she was getting timely schedule updates. TiVo can only record a show if it's on the schedule, and the schedule is provided by a third party which, in turn, gets its info from the local cable company's service. Think about this for a second. If you're the cable company, and you offer your own DVR, plus you provide schedule information to a 3rd party that passes it along to TiVo, is there a lot of incentive to provide the competition with correct information? I am very dubious about this and suspect that it was part of the problem my MIL was experiencing. Since I'm in Canada, maybe my cable company is playing more fair with their schedule information than some US companies. [I laugh at the thought of Rogers being more ethical, but it is likely true. I chuckle nonetheless.]

I have never had the type of major scheduling issues that my MIL has experienced. John has had TiVo even longer and has had fewer errors or issues with scheduling, especially since changing to a broadband connection. Sure, I get the occasional screw-up; for instance, when President Bush's final address took place, there was not enough time to update the schedule. I ended up with the President instead of Ugly Betty. There have been a few occasions where we have recorded a show only to discover another show was on, but when we checked the TiVo guide, as far as TiVo was concerned, the correct show was supposed to be on at that time. If there is not enough time to notify the third party and then reload the schedule change to TiVo, then of course you won't get the correct show. However, this is not TiVo's fault, and I think TiVo gets unfairly blamed for a lot of these instances.

Another problem may be the use of a phone line connection instead of broadband in order to download the schedule. Per John's first-hand experience and the TiVo manual, the phone connection is slower than broadband, only makes a connection once per day, and is slower when the TiVo is being used at the same time as the download. Using broadband, the TiVo usually connects on average every 12h, is a faster download, and overall doesn't have as much effect when using the TiVo during the download. Logic would dictate that the person with the broadband connection would have a more accurate schedule. In addition, the broadband connection can be used to force an update at any time if TiVo deems it necessary. A phone line can only get updates when it calls in (typically around 2-3am).

A possibility, though a long shot, is also that the time on the TiVo device isn't correct. TiVo is supposed to sync its clock on the download, but if your phone connection isn't necessarily reliable or if there is some kind of sync problem, then that may be another cause for the shows to get cut off. I have never experienced this issue using my broadband connection, but I could see how it may be a possibility using a phone connection.

Another cause may be due to the fact that many networks are purposely making shows slightly longer or start at 59 minutes past the hour in an effort to hold on to an audience. CSI, ER, and House are all shows that have had slightly over an hour lengths, that, if TiVo's guide is not made aware of, means you only get the first hour and may miss the last couple of minutes. This is another area where TiVo gets unfairly blamed for something that isn't its fault.

Saying TiVo doesn't "work right" requires more investigation than simply placing blame on the box sitting on the shelf. There are many things that could be wrong, and most of them have to do with the non-TiVo players involved. Had I been able to, I would have liked to investigate my MIL's issues and perhaps saved her some frustrations. She has since moved on, switched cable and DVR providers, and seems happy with her new equipment. This was her choice, and though I don't agree with it, I hope she's happy with her decision and has a better TV recording experience. As to the DJs, I hope they will stop dissing TiVo to the nation and instead try to find a resolution to their problems.

I'm annoyed at...

  • the City, for seemingly never plowing Gaelic Drive. I guess everyone on Gaelic works from home and doesn't need to be elsewhere by 8:30am? I know it's not an important street, being in a subdivision, but can you at least give it a scrape so a car can attempt to drive on it?
  • our mayor, for telling people to "please shut up" in a public forum. News flash: you're not better than anyone else, and you should apologize. You should be treating people with respect, not rudeness.
  • people who complain about winter weather AND complain about it being too hot in the summer. SHUT UP ALREADY (I'm not the mayor, so I can say that). You're only allowed to complain about one or the other, not both. If you're complaining about both, then you're obviously very unhappy here and should move.
  • doctors' offices which expect you to call them back, but have very limited hours during which you can reach them.
  • the girl currently visiting my office who is complaining that today is "the worst day of [her] life because [she's] a quarter of a century old." Old isn't bad. Seriously. I wouldn't want to go back to being 20-25, no thanks.
  • people who walk on the street even when the sidewalk is plowed and clear of ice/debris. If I hit you, it's your fault for walking where you're not supposed to be.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Islander Day

PEI is joining the ranks of other provinces that get a holiday in February. What I don't understand is why they chose the 2nd Monday of February, whereas the other provinces chose the 3rd Monday (which coincides with Presidents Day in the US). Can someone explain this one to me? Why not take advantage of the fact that most of the rest of the country is shut down? I can't find any reason for it to be the 2nd instead of the 3rd Monday.

Bad planning and no forethought, if you ask me. What if Family Day becomes a federal holiday at some point in the future? Does that mean PEI will be the odd one out?

Monday, January 19, 2009


I was flipping through the channels on XM satellite radio this morning, and stopped to hear Brendan Fraser’s guest spot on 20 on 20. He was telling what he termed a parenting genius moment (paraphrased, but he was not being sarcastic). His 3 year old child hit his other child with a broom. When he came by to see what was going on, and [I believe] administer punishment, the 3 year old looked like he was about to start crying. Fraser wanted anything but the kid to start crying, so he said “Bad broom!” and thus the 3 year old joined in and shouted “bad broom” and then everything was ok. I may not have my details correct regarding whether or not the child was punished before almost crying, but I do have the crux of the story: he taught his son that it was the broom’s fault that his sibling was hit.

I did not find this story “cute” in the least. It is yet another example of how children are not being taught accountability for their actions. That 3 year old, despite not really knowing what he was doing, should have been dealt with properly. He should have been taught that brooms can be dangerous and can hurt people if you use them the wrong way, thus learning not to do it again. Instead, all the child will remember is that it was the broom’s fault that his sibling got hurt.

Children are going to do bad things that they will need to be punished for; this is inevitable. They will cry, and parents will feel bad. None of this means that a parent should find an alternate source of blame just to avoid an emotional outburst. Easy for me to say, right? I’m not a parent, but I think I’m right on this issue. I’ve seen the result of what happens when children aren’t taught accountability, and it begins with something as simple as a broom. This is what leads to a life of never having to take responsibility for your actions. We have enough of that attitude already, thanks. How about teaching your kids right and wrong, and responsibility. There's a novel idea.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Saturday off

It's nice not to have to be at work today. I'm sitting at the hair salon, waiting for my turn. Afterward I plan on heading to Wal-Mart, Michaels, and Kent to pick up a few things. Then to church, then some grocery shopping, and spending the rest of the weekend inside. With 15-20cm coming tomorrow, I think I'll just stay in and catch up on all the TV I have saved.

I've been working hard, and was finally rewarded yesterday by the news that they are giving me a bonus. We'll be able to pay for the barn and have a bit left over, I hope. Taxes will take a big dent out of it, but it will still be a good amount.

I'm still doing pretty well using the treadmill. I'm on it most every day, and watching TV while I walk. I'm feeling better, and I think it has helped with the stress I've been under at work.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend? What weekend?

I've only been away from my office since 1:30pm on Saturday, so it doesn't feel like I've had a whole weekend off, which I haven't.

Friday night we watched Charlie Wilson's War. Not bad, but I didn't feel like either of the leads were Texans. I felt Julia Roberts was not well cast in her role. Tom Hanks was good, but I think Billy Bob Thornton could have made a better Texan. Philip Seymour Hoffman was the only lead who made me forget that they weren't their character. Decent movie, but not one I'll buy.

Today felt like non-stop chore day. I volunteered to make dinner tonight, so I set out a prime rib from the freezer and cooked it along with mashed potatoes, carrots and green beans. After dinner I baked a pound cake. It was a good meal that gave John a break from cooking for once. I have also finished gathering up the remaining Christmas decorations (which weren't many because John took most of them down, and even labeled the bags for me, thanks dear), did some laundry, tried to work on my knitting club mitten project but got stuck when I didn't understand the directions. I put that away and decided to start the blanket for Regan's baby. Unlike some, I don't get bored by thousands of knit stitch row after row, and anything I don't have to sew up later is more motivating to do.

We received a treadmill for Christmas and after John set it up last weekend, I've managed to walk all but two days. I've been watching TV on DVD while I walk, which takes the boredom away from walking on a treadmill. The only down side is how hot it gets, since the treadmill isn't far from the wood stove. I am feeling pretty good about getting exercise again, and not having to endure freezing windchill outside.

This will be another busy week at work. There are a lot of things to fix on the project I'm doing. We're also doing a demo for some co-workers, so I'm interested to see their reaction. I'm not fearing it, for once, which is good. After that presentation, I'm invited to dinner afterward, which is dinner theatre at Steamers.

I've been taking a break from status updates on Facebook this week. Lately I've been feeling that my updates are likely getting lost in the crowd, and I've been wanting to say more than one line about what's up with me. So I return to hopefully more regular blogging.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Seen on a Facebook group of high school kids who started a petition for allowing phones/iPods back in school after being banned:

oh well I still f***ing hate my princible for banning them

Maybe if you learned to spell, your princible [sic] might be a little more lenient.

Friday, January 09, 2009

a long week

I'm very tired. I've worked overtime every night this week, and I'm mentally exhausted. I have a hard time believing I just came off a week of vacation for Christmas. I still have to go in to work tomorrow, for another half-day of training. I have Sunday off, then I get to do it all over again next week. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to pull this all together for Feb 2nd, especially since the largest part needs input from someone who today told me they have basically 3 free days between now and the end of the month. It isn't the first time a project of mine has taken a backseat to everything else, but this one is more important than most that I've worked on.