Monday, December 28, 2009

Belated Greetings

I know, I know. I'm way behind on this thing. There are good and valid reasons, not the least of which is the death of my modem's power inverter following the latest skirmish in the BC Hydro vs Telus battle of the titans. Telus has graciously agreed to provide another modem and Bryan has already installed a surge protector on that line. (How many surge protectors does one house need? One more than it previously had, apparently.)

And we just returned from a there-and-back trip to Grande Prairie to visit this little Missy:

Abby in her Christmas Eve dress.

and her parents and auntie as well, I hastily add. Abby celebrated her 1st birthday on the 19th. Now, wouldn't you make a 2000 km round trip for 48 hour visit with that cute munchkin?

The trip up was 'interesting'. Details to follow when the time is more apropos and the home internet connection is once again 'GO'.

Hope you holiday festivities were enjoyable and low on the stress scale.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fill Ads and a Wee Advent Rant

A newspaper paginator becomes a master of the 'fill' ad. You've all seen them, the ubiquitous messages to support research for any number of diseases or physical ailments, youth support programs or other social foundations. They fill the gaps in a page when article copy falls short of the space allotted to it, when an ad is pulled at the last moment, or when there's an awkward juxtaposition of editorial and advertising elements.

The fill folders (I have several to choose from) have a tremendous number of causes, sizes and shapes. I have my favorites, however, the ones that are quite witty and to the point, that never wear no matter how often I pull them out of my hat. The Sex and the Kitty fill is just such a fill ad. Thought I'd share, because your paper may not have it. Feel free to share.

Roar of the Rings is on in Edmonton. Cheryl Bernard and Shannon Kleibrink play for the women's spot on the Olympic team, while Kevin Martin awaits the results of the other men's semifinal to learn his last opponent. This is an occasion when I wish we subscribed to television service. I don't miss shows but I do miss sports.

Glenn Howard has sure been a crybaby during the event. Earlier in the week, I heard on the radio that he was complaining the ice conditions weren't perfect enough. Excuse me?!! Hang around with the peasants awhile, Howard. Remember where the sport began and get rid of your princess attitude. I think he'd be shocked and amazed how well some of the small town teams would play if they could enjoy the ice conditions he takes for granted. One thrill of the sport for us is figuring out ice conditions on an end-by-end basis. Wonder if he remembers (or even knows!) what negative ice is?

Then I read this morning that he's been accused of debris dumping on the ice, and then retorting that Martin's rink better sweep according to the rules. Oh. Come. On. I think it's time he went back to evening mixed draw league for awhile, get his head screwed back on straight.

The Morning Star crew decided to use 'Olympic Sports We'd Like to See' as our theme for the United Way Christmas tree and our staff greetings in the 23 Dec issue. It was a lot of fun once the creative juices got running.

Groups of people invented silly games, then posed one morning in the parking lot for Lisa. Jordan decided to 'cookie cut' his and Michelle's photo and put it into a surreal background, and the whole thing took off. Wesley, Andrew and I ended up cutting all the group photos and finding (or composing) winter backgrounds.

The MultiPuck Hockey picture below is an example; the rink is in Windsor, Ontario, the people in a car parking lot in Vernon, BC with a large building behind us. Yet, it is a lot of work to cut that all out. Thank you for asking.

Debbie, Angela, Alan, Carol, Brenda and Tanya. Look closely at the hockey sticks. That's a clue.

Quiet day today. The office Christmas party is tonight in town, a moderate affair given the number of people who are unable to attend - flu, conflicting events, etc. A visit to Mom G in Revelstoke is pencilled in for tomorrow. I've not been over since Thanksgiving (I know) and no way to account for my lapse other than lazy.

Hearing the weather report on the radio as I type. The north country is plunged into the -30's plus windchill. It's -8C this morning. That's why we're here now, not there. Much as I'd like to be with the kids for Christmas, I'm leaning more and more to staying here for the Christmas weekend and taking a week off in January for a more leisurely visit, when worries about weather conditions aren't an issue.

I really dislike the artificial pressure put to bear against us (I'm using the generic 'us', not Bryan and me specifically) at this time of year. When conditions can be down right dangerous what with blowing snow and hypercold temperatures, we have no business being out on the roads making long journeys, and yet we're made to feel guilty (self-imposed and otherwise) if we don't sit down with our dearest on that one specific day.

OK, that's my annual gripe for the year. I'll leave off all the other irritants (people who make a big deal out of Christian celebration when they aren't practicing or even believing Christians is a BIG one) of the season (what other baby's birth is celebrated before the child is born and then abruptly halted upon its arrival?!) that make me cranky.

Hmm, maybe I wasn't too successful just at that moment.

But wouldn't it be something if Christians could take back possession of Christmas Day and say "Stop. It's our celebration. Enough with presents and hoopla and excess and misunderstanding. Find some other date in the year to practice your materialistic worship and leave this little birthday party to us."

Of course, Western civilization as we know it would collapse. Wouldn't it? No. Well then.... :)


Becca just called from Vermilion. It's -36 plus windchill, so combined to -49C. Yeehaw.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Seeing the World in a Whole New Way

Just time for a quick post. Bryan arrived home last night and we're off to Armstrong to do some shopping.

I had the strangest experience last Saturday while getting fitted for contact lenses. I use contacts only for sports, especially curling, and I'm down to my last pair. I recent got new eyeglasses and the contact lens tech at the dispensary said it was possible to get full-range lenses for me. Right now, I use toric lenses that address my astigmatism and distance vision only.

Saturday bright and early, she sits me down and I try a set of multifocal lenses. Strange - my sight is both blurry and clear at the same time, hard to describe. So she gives me another set to try and the sample card to read.

"Is the graphic on the topic 3D?" I asked.

"What? No. Why do you ask?"

"Because," I told her, "I am seeing all the print material on this card in stereoptic view."

"Are you sure?"

"Yup." I can adjust my focal length naturally to look at 3D views without using a viewfinder or stereopticon. I used to do a lot of aerial photo work, so I know whereof I speak. That's what these lenses were doing, but on regular 2D images.

There was a pause, and then "Well, perhaps we'll have to get the toric lenses again to compensate for your astigmatism."

Indeed. And I also asked her to talk to someone at the manufacturers to find out if that's ever been reported before, and I they have a clue what's going on.

My life. In living and artificial 3D.