This is the Week That Was: October 31, 2012

 Spelling Lesson

Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not.
– Unknown –

Canada and US Revisited – Back Story: Politics in Action.

Here in Canada, national political campaigns are brief: We begin by pretty much ignoring the whole thing for a few weeks – then there’s a debate, a little yelling, maybe some pointing, every leader buys a bunch of Timbits and, boom, suddenly it’s election day.
But in the United States, presidential campaigns last longer than all pregnancies and most wars.
– Scott Feschuk, MACLEAN’S Magazine, September 3, 2012 –

The United States currently has only two federal political parties with significant representation – the Democrats and the Republicans. In Canada, we have 4 ideologies to dislike – the Conservatives, the New Democrats, the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois. Of course, both countries have many minor parties, though I think Canada has some of the most interesting ones: the Marijuana Party, the Pirate Party and my favourite, the Rhinoceros Party. If you were going to form your own party, what would you call it?

Disgusting Flavoured Jelly Beans – Back Story: Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine is Blue

I told you about Jelly Beans with horrible flavours – one of the comments I got suggested another one – school paste. This made me wonder if every occupation has a flavour that would be similarly revolting. Can you think of any that would fit your job?

Signage – Back Story: Stores and Signage

Here in the land of six months of ice and snow, many of us wouldn’t think of stepping off the tattered rug at the front door without removing our boots or shoes first. I don’t know if this is a Canadian thing or not.

Parking Ticket Machine Scores Again – Back Story: Give Me the Good Old Parking Meter, Please

Another trip to the city, another encounter with a parking ticket machine. We inserted our ticket, and the machine said we owed $7. The Car Guy inserted his credit card. The Card was refused. He tried another card. It was refused too. A parking attendant was standing nearby, and he said we would have to start again and use cash because the machine was refusing credit cards today. So we inserted the parking ticket again. This time the machine said we owed $8.75. (It costs $1.75 per half hour to park there, and we had stood there long enough trying to pay to move into the next half hour segment.) There is something essentially wrong when a parking attendant has to be posted next to a parking ticket machine…

Strange Things Happening

This post started life as a page called Addendum– which a few of you have already read. I decided to move it to the Post Section, and had to migrate the comments made by Al and Suzanne before I deleted that page. Unfortunately,  Al and Suzaane’s  comments now don’t display their gravatar. My gravatar has stayed attached to their comments, even though I have used their email address and blog link. Maybe WordPress will correct this after Halloween, but I expect not. WordPress does not have a tool that lets you easily move a comment from one place to another.

Happy Halloween, by the way!

Cats and Pumpkins at Halloween – 2012

Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,
Voices whisper in the trees, “Tonight is Halloween!”
– Dexter Kozen –

At night, if I don’t rein in my imagination, the walk from the road to The Red House is spooky. It is a long winding driveway, lined with tall dark spruce trees and just beyond are thick woods where all the wild animals lie in wait. When I was a kid, I would not have ventured up this driveway on Halloween – unless I knew with absolute certainty that the treats at the door were worth being that scared. It is a forbidding stroll at night.

We haven’t had a trick or treater at our door for a long time. There used to be a few children on our rural road, but they have long since grown up. I still decorate for Halloween anyhow and we still buy a few treats just in case. And I will likely walk down to the end of our driveway and back, just to get the adrenalin going. Nothing like a wee bit of fear to take me back to the Halloweens of my youth!

We recently spent a few days with dear friends who have a new kitten. (There is no better kitten than one that belongs to someone else – all the benefits, and no responsibility.)

Word association: ask your mind to remember kitten – cat – Halloween – pumpkin.

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When we weren’t playing with the kitten, or wandering around the farm, or talking or laughing or watching the first season of ‘Castle’ on DVD, we carved Halloween pumpkins. This was my pumpkin. Can you figure out what it is? It would be best if you told your brain it isn’t a face with one big round eye. If you fixate on that idea, you will never see anything else. Really.

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Here are our pumpkins at night. The one on the far left is mine from the photo above. Now can you see what it is?

The one on the right is our hosts. He did the carving with various size drill bits – trust a man to come up with a way to use a power tool.

The pumpkin in the centre is what happened when I took up the drill and three sizes of bits – and no plan at all. Don’t try to see anything in this pumpkin – it is simply the result of not knowing when to quit.

There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.
– Linus Van Pelt in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” – by Charles Schulz –

So starts my other post about Halloween. It was called Pumpkin Face.  You wouldn’t know it from the quotation, but in this post I talk about how Halloween has fallen victim to political correctness and a process similar to homoginization. There is also a photo of the pumpkin my grand daughter carved – the face is one Charlie Brown could relate to.

Last, but not least: I used the WordPress Theme called ‘Monster’ for a few days during Halloween. This is what it looked like:

Remembering the Harley Motorcycle

Never trade the thrills of living for the security of existence.
– Unknown-

It is with great sadness that we announce the demise of an inhabitant of The Car Guys garage, Harley Davidson.

2011 Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic CVO – October 21, 2010  to October 19, 2012

Harley went for a short ride on the morning of Friday, July 13, 2012. Apparently neither the rider nor bike thought about the consequences of venturing out on such an unlucky day. A Perfect Storm of events resulted in both of them being in the ditch.

Harley had many broken and bent bits and it was eventually decided by the Insurance Doctor that Harley was not a candidate for restorative surgery. This was because the cost to repair Harley was likely going to be more than it was worth on the resale market.  Harley will, however, probably become an ‘organ’ donor, and it is our hope that many of Harley’s parts will breath new life into bikes that are in need of a transplant.

The Car Guy was more fortunate. He had many broken and bent bits too, but the People Doctors don’t consult a resale blue book before they decide if a patient is worth saving. The Car Guy has passed his 3 month post accident check-ups with flying colours, and he is well on the way to being just like before. Well, not exactly like before because the brain injury has altered his personality a bit, but in a good way.

Reflecting on Raindrops and Bird Poop

Before the frost made the last of my fall flowers fold up their leaves and admit the growing season was over, we had a snowy-rain day. The hollyhocks, still with buds that hadn’t opened,  held little ponds of water in every nook and cranny – perfect little worlds to photograph.

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Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
– John Ruskin –

What do you see in this mirror like raindrop? Doesn’t it remind you of one of those snow globes?

This drop contains part of my house, complete with a folded umbrella on the deck. Of course, the reflection is upside down and reversed left to right, because that is what raindrops do.

I wish I could tell you that I took this photo after reading these directions for taking raindrop photos: Capturing reflections in raindrop macros. But no, I didn’t even know I had captured my house until I looked at the photo on my computer. Then I was curious about what was going on, and some quick research told me that the raindrop acts like a wide angle concave lens with a field of view of about 165 degrees – sort of like a fish eye lens.

With a good part of my house appearing to be inside a single raindrop, I wondered what would happen if a single raindrop the size of my yard fell onto my house. This line of questioning led me to a website called What If? which proceeded to explain a similar, but far more devastating scenario What if a rainstorm dropped all of its water in a single giant drop?

You just have to go to this website – it also answers the age old question – If you went outside and lay down on your back with your mouth open, how long would you have to wait until a bird pooped in it?

It has taken me most of the morning to write this post, what with contemplating how many things I miss seeing when they are right before my eyes (you probably remember the wolf I didn’t see in the  jigsaw puzzle: Looking but not Seeing; and how many things mankind has invented after observing nature at work; and how disgusting it is when a bird poops in your full glass of wine, or on the back of your shirt when you are working in the garden.

What about you – can you stay on task and turn out a post in less time than it takes me to decide what the title is going to be, or do you find yourself mentally wandering off to the store for a new box of crayons so that you can colour every thought in your post differently?

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is: Mirror

Fall Hoarfrost – A Lens Full of Crystals

Our first ‘winter storm’ of the season was night before last. It didn’t drop that much snow, and the temperature didn’t get all that much below freezing. It wasn’t a big deal, unless you were one of the unfortunate ones who had to drive to work the next morning. People seem to forget how to drive on slippery roads, so the first commute of the winter is a nightmare.

I wouldn’t normally venture out in a car until well after the morning traffic had got to where they were going. Rush hour, darkness, and icy roads aren’t my thing. But The Car Guy had an appointment at a Doctor’s Office at 8:30 AM, and I’m still the designated driver, so at 7:30 in the morning we ventured onto the freeway for a trip that would normally take about 40 minutes. At 8:45 I breathed a sigh of relief that we had arrived at our destination, safe and sound and only 15 minutes late!

After the appointment, I faced another task I don’t enjoy – paying for the parking. (You probably remember my post called Give Me the Good Old Parking Meter, Please!)  At the entrance to the Parkade was a sentinel – an electronic ticket machine – daring me to figure out how to use it. Fortunately, The Car Guy speaks their language and all I had to do was remember on which floor I had parked.

Not all wintery days are so harrowing. Last week we had a Hoarfrost morning. I spent almost an hour taking pictures of a world filled with tiny crystals. It was magic.
Frost covered blades of grass.

A very close up view of a leaf.

Grass seed, with this year’s hay bales in the distance.

The Canadian Nature Photographer website has some excellent Hoarfrost pictures.

Simply Eggcellent – Pink – Don’t be a Stupid Girl (Video)

I Believe Women will achieve the Equality they deserve when they can defy all the industries that make them feel unworthy.
I Believe Women will achieve the Happiness they deserve when they quit worrying about their age, and how they look.
I Believe the Media does a better job at Instilling Fear in people than it does in empowering them.

Many women, I’ve discovered, don’t share my beliefs. They are willing to support the industries that tell them they are not good enough – not pretty enough, not thin enough, not sexy enough.

Fortunately, there are women who do share a few of my beliefs and one of these is the writer of the blog Hippie Cahier.  She recently wrote an ‘eggcellent post’ “I don’t wanna be a stupid girl”. Also, be very sure to watch the video by P!nk called Stupid Girls. 

 Another blogger who writes about women, both historically and in the present, is Barb at Before Morning Breaks. In this post she tells of a new fashion hell: Before Morning Breaks Considers Changing Buttletts.

Please use the comment form below to link to any of your posts, or any posts you have read elsewhere, that encourage women to ‘Not be Stupid Girls’!

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Some of my other Rants about why I wish Women would ignore the industries and the media that they are slaves to:

A 3 Dressed Up As a 9 – Sondra the Snow Goddess before and after she is photoshopped so she looks thinner.
A Skinny-Obsessed World – “Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls.” J.K. Rowling
The Beauty Hype – I’m against women being told they must color their hair or hide their wrinkles or paint their faces or wear certain clothes or lose weight – in order to be beautiful.
Mother Nature Defies the Beauty Industry! Can you imagine what the world would look like if Mother Nature listened to the human Beauty Industry?
How to Run in Stilettos – “Courage is no match for an unfriendly shoe“. Roger Moore, as James Bond
What Dressing Like a Slut Says – So ladies, wear revealing clothing if you want to. But don’t ever think it is safe to wear anything you want where ever you want. Life isn’t about Why you shouldn’t be a victim, it is about how NOT to be a victim.
The Glass Ceiling is Made of Cloth – But really ladies, if you can’t peacefully co-exist with your own body (just as it is when you hop out of the shower) why do you think you are playing on the same field as the men you are competing with?
The Many Faces of Women’s Equality – I’m all for women’s liberation and gender equality. I just don’t want to see the children get trampled in the morning rush to the office.
The Power of Grey Hair – Mia Gallagher believes our fear of mortality is behind the fear of ageing and treating ageing as a disease that can be cured with potions. “If aging is a disease then life is a disease.”
Women, Liberation, Freedom, Beauty – As Naomi Wolf explained in The Beauty Myth: “An ideology that makes women feel “worth less” was urgently needed to counteract the way feminism had begun to make us feel worth more.”

Some Blue Things at my House

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is titled Mine. I don’t have any photos of land mines, or strip mines or mine shafts, so I took a photo of something that I think of as Mine.

This blue glass is mine.

I have two others just like it. The fourth one got broke. It is my water glass, and I use it every time I want a glass of water. It makes the water look very blue, and I like that. I used it once for milk, but blue milk is wrong.

There is no known navy-blue food. If there is navy-blue food in the refrigerator, it signifies death.
– Erma Bombeck –

Blue food – there aren’t many things I would eat that are bluish in colour, so when I looked in the fridge recently and saw that the Pickled Garlic had turned blue, I was ready to throw it out. But it wasn’t Mine to throw out, because The Car Guy was the one who pickled it.

I checked on the internet to see if there was any possible way blue garlic could be safe. According to LifeTips, this isn’t an uncommon event and blue garlic is safe to eat as long as it doesn’t exhibit any signs of spoilage.

Raw garlic contains an enzyme that if not inactivated by heat reacts with sulphur and copper, to form copper sulphate. The amount of copper needed for this reaction is very small and is frequently found in normal water supplies, and in some utensils.

Moving from odd colours to odd flavours: I read a post today by a blogger who describes her experience with vomit flavoured Jelly Beans. That reminded me that we have a few small boxes of similarly disgusting Jelly Belly beans.

Notice how there are two different flavours for each coloured Jelly Bean. Pick a black one, and it could be licorice, or it could be skunk spray. A red one could be strawberry jam, or it could be centipede. A brown bean could be chocolate pudding or canned dog food. (I think canned dog food would be a relatively easy flavour to develop, but exactly how did they determine what flavour skunk spray or centipede is, I wonder.)

Back to blue things, the blue jelly beans could either be berry blue or toothpaste and I’m not sure that toothpaste would be all that bad.

If you want to try these Jelly Beans, they are made by Jelly Belly, and they are called ‘Bean Boozled’.