Sunday, November 29, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review "Too Much Happiness"

"Too Much Happiness" by Alice Munro

Well, of course, everyone knows I'm gaga about Munro's writing so I won't say a word but let Candice Fertile give her opinion (from the TC today). Of course, I agree completely.

"It's hard to imagine Alice Munro getting better, but this latest collection of 10 short stories by one of the top short-story writers in the world is utterly dazzling in its range of subjects and powerful prose...
Whatever the subject, Munro's characters are brought exquisitely to life and the stories resonate long after you put down the book."

Friday, November 27, 2009

A computer programmer having fun....

Don sent me this and it's really worth taking a look at.

HEMA is a Dutch department store. The first store opened on November 4, 1926 , in Amsterdam . Now there are 150 stores all over the Netherlands.
Take a look at HEMA's product page - just wait a couple of seconds and watch what happens...
DON'T click on any of the items in the picture, just wait & watch what happens!
This company has a sense of humour and a great computer programmer, who has too much time on his hands. Very cool tho!

HEMA - online winkelen

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More jokes...guess who?

"People in Alaska are looking forward to Sarah Palin's memoir. They're already calling it 'The Book to Nowhere.'" --David Letterman

"Since resigning as governor, many say Sarah Palin is now going to spend some time working on her memoirs. Alaskans are saying they can't wait to start reading Palin's memoirs and then quit halfway through." --Conan O'Brien

"Now how about this, ladies and gentlemen? The Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, has announced she is stepping down. She will no longer be the Governor of Alaska. First thing, she woke up and went out on her porch and waved goodbye to Russia." --David Letterman

"And people are puzzled by this. They say, 'Well Governor, Sarah, what are you going to do? What's going to happen?' And insiders believe that she hopes to be the next 'Octomom.' But I don't know." --David Letterman

"President Obama right now is in Russia. Obama went there because from Russia you can actually see Sarah Palin cleaning out her office in Alaska." --Conan O'Brien

Friday, November 20, 2009

Webby Awards: Facebook and Twitter among top 10 internet moments of the decade - Telegraph

How did we live without all this stuff!

Webby Awards: Facebook and Twitter among top 10 internet moments of the decade - Telegraph

Sarah Palin jokes

Former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, is promoting her new book and she's going to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Sarah and Oprah. On the one hand, a very powerful woman qualified to be President of the United States, and on the other hand, you have Sarah." –David Letterman

"But if you think about it, Sarah Palin and Oprah Winfrey have a lot in common. They both helped get Obama elected." –David Letterman

"Sarah Palin's book is big, 400 pages. She wrote the book herself and agonized over every word, and so will you." --David Letterman

"Sarah Palin's new autobiography doesn't come out until November, but it is already No. 1 on Amazon. And if you go to the website, it says, 'People who bought this book also bought no other books in their entire life.'" --Jimmy Fallon

"This week Sarah Palin's memoir became a bestseller. It's not even out yet. It's been translated in English." --Bill Maher

"The book costs $24.99, but it has a $5,000 jacket." --Jimmy Fallon

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stormy weather

We've had quite the rain and windstorms lately...gusts up to 90K yesterday and all the ferries were cancelled. Wind has died down now and hope it stays that way since Don and Elaine are on their way to a little break in Vancouver...staying at the Sutton Place and dining at Le Crocodile so can keep pretty cosy given they're located pretty much in the same place. I'll look forward to getting a full report of what they sampled!

Maureen from Germany sent this photo of the weather in England lately...this from Cornwall. Pretty amazing wave action!

I didn't take this photo but this is our waterfront in Victoria and I imagine it was as bad as this last night or worse.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

David Letterman - Seth Meyers Talks Sarah Palin

Let the comedy begin!

Finally I get some entertainment out of the mindless US entertainment business. There should be lots of fodder for comedians as Palin promotes her book and bookstores make money so I'm happy about all that. And I wish Palin well in terms of making lots of money since that's how it all seems to work. It wasn't so funny when she could be a heartbeat away from being president.

I think more than anything her plan is to exonerate herself for being portrayed as a bumpkin. I also wish her well in that but I would put my money on the opposite happening. In the meantime there will be lots of laughs to brighten our dull rainy winter days.

YouTube - David Letterman - Seth Meyers Talks Sarah Palin

Could be Palm Springs

Reading the Telegraph and signed up for their twitter photo gallery posts. Interesting photo gallery of clouds recently posted. The palm trees and mountains make it look like Palm Springs. They don't identify where the photo was taken for some reason.

These are lenticular clouds that are sometimes likened to UFO's...they are created by gravity waves.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunny and warm in the desert...

Looking at the rain today (although I'm not complaining after our wonderful summer and fall) but I am thinking of Claire and Tom and John and Jeanette enjoying the weather in the desert at the moment. Claire goes hiking in these wonderful San Jacinto mountains almost every day. Maybe this year will be the year I actually manage to paint them!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Gourmet Rhapsody"

"Gourmet Rhapsody" by Muriel Barbery

This is her first novel which has a character from Hedgehog, the food critic, Pierre Arthens in it. He is dying and various people are giving their opinions on this arrogant man and he is also talking about his life. Lots of mouth watering passages but nothing like the depth of Hedgehog. Interesting enough read.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For everyone touched by war

Haddock of Mass Destruction

Brain bored and arse numb
Finally the blades spun and we lifted
Skimmed the palm trees and popped flares above the Euphrates
We swooped low over the target truck
Then landed in its path

We charged in our Storm Trooper costumes
Blinding faceless shapes through dirty glass
With rifle mounted lasers
We were jumpy
We were ready

I dragged the driver from his seat
Slammed his face into hot tarmac
Held it there with my suede boot
Steadied my hands long enough to cuff his

We searched his packed pick-up
Boxes stacked four deep five wide
Emptied in the dust on the roadside
The first box revealed ice and fish, and the next
And the next, and the last

Intelligence had said he was armed and dangerous
Armed with melting ice and defrosting cod
No match for our guns, our bombs,
Our good intentions, our morals
Our God

We cut his cuffs, and his wife’s
And left them to their ruined stock
I should demand commission
From the Taliban
For every recruit I’ve converted to their flock.

Danny Martin 2008

* Danny Martin is an ex soldier currently in the third year of an English and Creative Writing degree course in Liverpool. He was in the army for just under seven years and completed two tours of Iraq.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Julie and Julia

Jim and I enjoyed the film a lot and we wondered a bit why Julia Child was so negative to Julie's project. We were still in the thrall of the warm fuzzies Hollywood can create. I even thought that if Julia Child had seen this movie she would have changed her mind.

Then reality hit. Being a blogger I was of course interested in her blog. You don't have to read much to realize why Julia Child was not impressed with this foul mouthed whiny New Yorker who is not a typical New Yorker that's for sure. The New Yorkers I've met have been fabulous. I also really wonder whether she did do the cooking she spews on about. Perhaps it will turn out to be a fraud like James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces".

The Julie/Julia Project
Warning: Have a vomit bag at the ready.

Then I began to read "My Life in France" by Julia Child which is just wonderful and highly recommended. But I began to become a bit annoyed at Hollywood and Meryl Streep (as much as I loved her performance at the time) for making a caricature of Julia and simplifying her life so much. I'm sure Julia Child would have hated the movie and rightly so. Maybe someone will make a movie and show the Child's real living conditions...not exactly the luxury portrayed in the film.

Warning: You may have to book a trip to France

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Computer petting?

Oscar absolutely has to try to walk over our computer keyboards while we're trying to do something. It just hit me today that perhaps he thinks we're "petting" the computer and he's jealous!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Still Alice"

"Still Alice" by Lisa Genova

This is Genova's first novel and it depicts a woman's decline from early onset Alzheimers. It is getting good reviews and the author holds a Ph.D in neuroscience from Harvard and is an online columnist for the National Alzheimer's Association. It seemed like a fitting book to read after The Bell.

I gave it 30 pages but it just isn't very good writing...very simple and mechanical and predictable. And the ideas intrude so after reading the excellent writing of Murdoch where the ideas don't intrude it just wasn't on for me. I realize I might pick it up at another time and like it perhaps.

And I have Muriel Barbary's first novel "Gourmet Rhapsody" calling to me so it's really no contest. Seems a couple of the characters from Hedgehog are in this one too.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review: "The Bell"

"The Bell" by Iris Murdoch

Photo of Iris Murdoch

Our bookclub decided to read something by Iris Murdoch and I suggested this one since it was relatively short and I remember it as excellent but then I am a great fan of hers so I think pretty much everything she has written is great except her last novel "Jackson's Dilemma" written in 1995 four years before she died. It seems now they've done computer analysis with the language of this novel and it does reveal the Alzheimers that she was later diagnosed with.

Biology News: Iris Murdoch's last book reveals early Alzheimer's

I guess I read this book about 40 years ago. It was her second novel and written in 1958. It's amazing really how forward thinking she was in portraying gay men in positive ways and also how feminist it is. A lot of philosophical questions (she was a philosopher at Oxford) and yet the ideas don't intrude like in so many novels of people trying to put forth ideas of one kind or another. It's still a hell of a
good story with suspense, mystery, character development and all those great things.

After the disappointment with the re-reading of Zen I was relieved that I still thought this was a super book!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Brave New Beer

Richard has been making beer lately and his friend, Janos, made up a really cool label and cap design for it. This is from Janos' blog:

"For Rich’s birthday I decided to create a beer brand and label for the home brew that he’s been cooking up since the summer. The first batch was named after our softball team, the Re-Ups, but we all agreed that the beer should be its own thing. I batted a couple of ideas about and settled on the name Huxley’s Home Brew in honour of Aldous Huxley and Rich’s Dad who is a Huxley scholar. I also thought about calling it Lamey’s Mill Brewery after the street that Rich lives on and even designed labels and caps for that name, however, I had an idea that Rich would prefer Huxley’s because of the reference and because it was important to refer to the home brew since the beer is actually brewed in a closet in his apartment. So, Huxley’s it is.

I also made up a flash timer that tells when the next batch is done, so let the countdown begin!"

bravenewbeer.swf (application/x-shockwave-flash Object)



I made up some fridge magnets for Richard and his friends. I expect to get some of that beer!

Janos has a cool blog at:


Monday, November 02, 2009

Basking in the sunshine...

Well, I guess Elaine is basking in the sunshine on her cruise as I see Valencia is 25 centigrade and sunny. I'm sure she will be enjoying a nice glass of wine with Jan and Phil on a terrace like this or perhaps even swimming in the Med!

Rest of the itinerary:

Wed. Cartagena
Thur. Almeria
Fri. Malaga
Sat. Gibraltar
Sun. At Sea
Mon. Lisbon

Oscar's new territory

Oscar loves to jump up on my desk and wander around but of course when I'm at my computer I push him gently away. So the other day as soon as I closed my computer he jumped up and claimed it as his! We get a lot of amusement out of this cat.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A quiet Halloween

It's certainly nice for us and especially the poor animals not to have legal fireworks. We heard a few and of course lots of sirens over the night but considering it was Saturday it seemed fairly quiet.

We went to the Marina Restaurant and had a super meal and a great view overlooking the boats and were there just as the bonfire was lit and we had a good view of that. This is an annual event the fire department puts on and always been popular but now with no fireworks I guess it's an even bigger deal for the little ones at least.

We always enjoyed putting on a firework display with the Lyden family as I know many other neighbourhoods did but overall it's a relief not to have them.

Oak Bay Bonfire (not my photo)

View from the Marina Restaurant (not my photo)