desoto_hia873: (Faded Spike - vampkiss)
So I missed the first two episodes of the new television season and came in on the third.

Survivor? Doesn't really matter.

House? I'll catch up during reruns.

Heroes? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???

Also? If Matt's going to have a spirit walk in the desert, he needs Giles and a gourd. Just saying.

On top of that, I'm having a strange urge to start watching 90210.

Send help.
desoto_hia873: (Monkees)
In lieu of actual content, a meme:

Choose a singer/band/group - Answer using ONLY titles of songs by that singer/band/group
I think I've done something like this before, but I'm picking The Monkees.

1. Are you male or female? “The Girl I Knew Somewhere”

2. Describe yourself. “I’ll Be Back Upon My Feet”

3. What do people feel when they're around you? These days? “Hold On, Girl”

4. How would you describe your previous relationship? “So Goes Love”

5. Describe your current relationship. “I’ll Spend My Life With You”

6. Where would/do you want to be now? “Through the Looking Glass”

7. How do you feel about love? “Love to Love”

8. What's your life like? “Shades of Grey”

9. What would you ask for if you had only one wish? “Changes”

10. Say something wise. “Peter Percival Patterson’s Pet Pig Porky” :-)
desoto_hia873: (Blue Spike - Flurblewig)
Still alive. Just... quiet. Not a good time of year for me. I wish the Olympics were still on. They were a great distraction.

My mother is in the U.K. at the moment. My father called me today to tell me that she'd flown over on Zoom, which means that she currently doesn't have a way of getting home. Fortunately, she's staying with a friend, so she doesn't have to rack up hotel bills along with forking out money for another ticket.

My aunt, who lives in California, is at the Democratic convention this week. Must be interesting having a front row seat to history in the making. Perhaps someone who knows more about American politics and Obama can explain to me: why didn't he choose Hillary for a running mate?
desoto_hia873: (Buffy - Squee - myhearts_atart)
EEEEEEEEEE!!!: The Sequel

The individual show jumping is on today, and Eric Lamaze of Canada is tied with a Swede for the gold! They're going to a jump off. There's a seven-way tie for the bronze, so there's a jump off for that too.

Sadly, Ian Millar had two jumps down in the first round, so he's out of it. Jill Henselwood had two knockdowns--the second one pretty much demolished the jump--and a refusal. She withdrew without finishing the course.

I took the morning off work to watch this. :-) Go Eric!

ETA: He is ERIC THE GOLD!!!!! WOOT!!!!!!!!!!! He had just a single rail down all Olympics--amazing!

::dances::
desoto_hia873: (Buffy - Squee - myhearts_atart)
Eeeeeeeeee! Canada and the U.S. are tied for gold in the team show-jumping competition. They're going to a jump off, and I found the live feed on the CBC website.

Canada hasn't medalled in an equestrian event at the Olympics since 1968. Ian Millar, veteran of nine Olympic Games, has never medalled.

This is going to kill me. Why are the Olympics not a two-week national holiday?

ETA: The U.S. won the jump off--Jill Henselwood had one rail down. Oh well! Still--a silver medal! ::squees some more::
desoto_hia873: (Me)
Jump Canada (which I think is a funny name--even Evel Knievel couldn't do that) has named the five members of Canada's Olympic showjumping team. One of them is Jill Henselwood. Jill and I rode together at Silver Spring Farm several lifetimes ago when we were both in high school (she was Jill McAngus then). She started much younger and had far more talent than I did. She always had her sights set on international competition, and she's made a successful career out of it.

Jill's first pony was a cute little chestnut named Lozein. They did very well on the hunter circuit in the Ottawa area. When she got too old for pony classes, she bought her first thoroughbred, Beleek, a liver chestnut with a very short stride. She spent ages trying to get Beleek to lengthen her stride, but I don't know if she ever succeeded. Eventually, she moved on to a more prestigious stable (Silver Spring was kind of bottom of the heap, prestige-wise, so she had nowhere to go but up), married a Name in the riding community, and worked her way up.

Also on the team is Ian Miller, a long-time fixture in showjumping competition. Ian has represented Canada internationally more times than any other athlete in any sport. This trip to the Olympics will tie the record for highest number of Games attended by an athlete. Ian's best known mount was Big Ben, a giraffe of a horse (Ian is 6'2"--he needs big horses) who won many titles and had a Canada Post stamp issued in his honour. He was nominated to carry the Canadian flag in the opening ceremonies, but that honour went to kayaker Adam van Koeverden.

Go Ian and Jill!
desoto_hia873: (Mal - Still Flying - iconicalchaos)
Jim and I finally watched Dr. Horrible last night. Random comments. )

I really like the line "Even in the darkness, all the colours can be found."

I miss Joss on TV. I hope Dollhouse is good.
desoto_hia873: (DeSoto Love - vampkiss)
Watch this and you will sniffle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adYbFQFXG0U

Apparently, it's a true story. It checks out on Snopes.

::gets a tissue::
desoto_hia873: (Default)
Does anyone have a recommendation for software that can change the format of a video from one type to another? Jim's camera makes videos in .avi format, which results in huge files: a six-minute video is over 700 MB long! Anyone know a way of compressing such a file to make it more manageable?
desoto_hia873: (Bella)
Yesterday was Canada Day, and it was, for a change, warm and sunny all day long. I think that's the first day that it hasn't rained since April. I'm not kidding. This has been the wettest and most overcast summer I can remember since that volcano blew in the Phillipines in the early 1990s.

In celebration of said sunny weather, I spent most of the day hanging out in the backyard, reading a mystery novel, and throwing things into the pool for Bella to retrieve. Our pool is an old concrete one, and it has a ladder rather than steps for getting in and out. Out of necessity, Bella has developed a surprising skill: she can climb a pool ladder all by herself. How she can do this when she has no fingers and a heavy dokken (fake dead duck) in her mouth, I have no idea. But she can:



Bella Can Climb a Pool Ladder!

Other activities yesterday included helping MiddleJim buzzcut his hair and throwing a dead pigeon around the yard for Bella to retrieve. Yes, you read that right--a dead pigeon. Why? Because I'm hoping to get Bella to the point where she can enter field trials, and that means she has to like retrieving dead birds. :-P

I have weird hobbies.
desoto_hia873: (Bella)
How to lose weight:

* Go to Italy. Walk until you drop every day. Spending time in Tuscany's hilltop towns is particularly effective--some of them have no level streets at all.

* Come home. Wake up at 5 am for the next week and get to work really early. Skip a few dinners because you're falling asleep early in the evening.

* Spend first weekend back home at a dog obedience trial in suffocating humidity. Don't eat due to nerves and loss of appetite from the heat.

* Contract a stomach bug and resulting, as my mother would say, "collywobbles."

My clothes are looser on me than they have been in quite some time, I can tell you.

On the upside, Bella and I did well in last weekend's rally obedience trials: we qualified on Saturday with a score of 95/100 and again on Sunday with a perfect score of 100/100(!). We were in a trial in Peterborough in May (score: 99/100), which means that Bella has earned her very first title. She's now known as Tollwest's Spice of Broadway RN. She's a registered nurse! :-D
desoto_hia873: (Spike - Blood - awmp)
I feel like I'm coming down with a cold, so I went to the drugstore at lunch today to pick up some Cold-FX. I have no idea if the stuff actually works, but I'm spending much of this upcoming weekend at rally obedience trials, so this isn't really a good time to get sick. (Of course, when is?)

While I was there, I noticed that they had over-the-counter SAM-e (chemical name: s-adenosyl-L-methionine). SAM-e is a molecule that is present in all living cells, and there's some evidence that decreased amounts of SAM-e can contribute to depression. SAM-e has been prescribed as an antidepressant in Europe for years, but this is the first time I've seen it in Canada. Clinical studies show that it has about the same rate of effectiveness as other antidepressants, but far fewer side effects. I am the Side Effects Queen of the Universe, and I'm one of the lucky few who reacts very badly to SSRIs (the most "popular" class of antidepressants), so there aren't many choices in the pharmaceutical cabinet for me. I can't even take St. John's wort, ferhevvinssakes, because its mode of action is similar to SSRIs, and that just leads to badness.

SAM-e is terrifically expensive, and there's no clear guideline for a recommended dose (I've seen everything from 100 mg to 1400 mg per day), but I bought a bottle anyway. We'll see what, if anything, it does, I guess.
desoto_hia873: (JM - Vampire - crackers4jenn)
I come from a long line of women who like to grow (of all things) tomatoes. Picking a tomato off the vine generally ensures a better taste sensation than biting into one of those under-ripe billiard balls that they call tomatoes at the grocery store. My mother also likes the way tomato plants smell--the scent reminds her of being in her great-aunt's garden as a child. [Sidebar: I learned while doing my PhD that the scent of tomatoes is due to emissions of chemicals known as terpenes. Who knew?] So dedicated is my mother to the raising of tomatoes that she has been known to plant them instead of flowers in front of her house.

My backyard is very shady, and the soil in my front yard has been rendered tomato-toxic by the presence of two very large black walnut trees. So last summer I bought four whiskey barrels and filled them with tomato-friendly soil and six tomato plants. People and earwigs feasted on tomatoes for months.

This spring has been unusually cold and wet, so I haven't actually planted anything in the barrels yet this year. I noticed that I was growing a fine crop of weeds in them, though, and went to pull some out yesterday. To my surprise, in amongst the weeds were two tomato plants, presumably grown from seeds dropped from last year's crop. Colour me surprised. I didn't think tomato seeds could survive Canadian winters, but I guess those dozens of feet of snow provided good insulation.

In other garden news, most of the black walnut-tolerant plants that I installed in front flowerbed not only survived the winter, but have exploded into a verdant jungle thanks to all this spring rain. I will post some pictures after I've finished plowing my way through the 400+ that I took in Italy (I'm almost done with Venice!).
desoto_hia873: (Buffy and Giles - mangofandango)
Yesterday:

* We had an invasion of ants in the kitchen.
* Jim told me that the last episodes of Battlestar Galactica didn't tape properly while I was away.
* I slept extremely badly for the third night in a row. This is not helping my jet lag.

Today:

* It was as hot as blazes.
* We had a thunderstorm and a deluge this afternoon, which overwhelmed the eavestroughs and resulted in water coming in through the living room ceiling.
* I found out that a similar rainstorm over the weekend flooded the basement.
* I discovered that most of my teaspoons are missing. No one knows where they are.

Tomorrow:

* I have to go back to work.

::sighs::
desoto_hia873: (Effulgent Spike - red_sunflower)
Everyone has their cross to bear (she says, despite not being particularly religious). Mine is depression. It's seldom acute--I've only once needed medical intervention, and that was a time of crises upon crises that eventually became overwhelming. Most of the time, it's like a veil--one that's transparent enough that I forget that it's there, but one that distorts my view enough that the colours of my world are not quite as bright as they should be.

My blessings (she says, sounding religious again, even though she's not) are many: I live in Canada where our many rights and freedoms are taken for granted; I grew up in a solidly middle-class family where there was always a roof over my head and food on the table; my parents encouraged me to follow my interests and supported me even when they didn't understand them; I am intelligent and have some talents, although not as many as I'd like (but who among us can't say that?); I have a secure, decent-paying employment and a very nice house to live in; and I have the love of a good and faithful man (she says, sounding like a cliché, but actually meaning it). My life isn't perfect, but it's better than the lives of a very large proportion of the people on this Earth.

The veil makes me forget that. Perhaps ironically, it also makes me forget that it is within my power to improve upon the parts of my life that need improving.

Travel lifts the veil.

Travelling in an unfamiliar country where you know little of the native language is stressful and exhausting (she says, not wanting to think about the increase in lorazepam consumption that kept my overstimulated brain from exploding out my ears), but it's also exhilarating and rejuvenating. For two weeks, colours were bright, new discoveries lay around every corner, and the world lay at my feet. For two weeks, I lived on a steady diet of anticipation, joy, and excitement. It's safe to say that I revelled in Italy. The thought of leaving our farmhouse in Tuscany yesterday almost brought me to tears--I've never seen countryside so beautiful. I'm already planning what I'm going to do when I go back, whenever that might be.

I like life without the veil. I wish I could travel always to keep it at bay. I can't, of course, so I have to figure out how to recognize more quickly when the veil is descending and how to lift it using the events and experiences of my normal, middle-class, Canadian life.

But for the next few days, at least, my head will be full of Italy and remembering and recording the things I saw and did there. There will be long LJ entries and pictures. LOTS of pictures. Warm up your modems.

In the meantime, what'd I miss while I was away?
desoto_hia873: (Me)
Chris de Burgh was one of my favourite musical artists, back in the day. That was the day when he was still a storyteller and before he started pumping out pop schmaltz hits like Lady In Red and suchlike. As far as I'm concerned, my C de B stopped making albums after Eastern Wind.

[Side note: Italian keyboards are *weird*. None of the punctuation symbols live where this Canadian thinks they should. The fact that I'm half in the bag after a long day and a very large glass of wine doesn't help...]

ANYway, possibly one of C de B's least known songs is Discovery, from mrphl years ago. (Yes, I'm old.) Being a sciencey-type whose life is made worthwhile by learning and experiencing new things, I've always liked its last verse:

"One day," says Galileo, "A man will reach the sky,
And see the world completely, from outside.
And gazing down from yonder, on a world of blue and green,
He’ll say with eyes of wonder, 'I have seen...
‘My eyes have seen.'"


Today, quelling an acute sense of anxiety and an almost complete ignorance of the Italian language, the mere smatterings of which I've gleaned from Hollywood movies and restaurant menus, I single-handedly tackled the spaghetti which is Italian train system and took myself on a trip from Venice to Bolzano (and back again) on my quest to see the Iceman. The journey was not without its difficulties (two wrong trains taken, one hefty fine paid, acute embarassment narrowly averted by a lovely young woman from Bolzano who argued with the conductor on my behalf), but in the end, there he was: my Ötzi and all of his belongings that were miraculously preserved intact for over 5000 years within a glacier. (Maple leaves! Three fresh maple leaves, with chlorophyll! In a glacier. Imagine.)

I've been wanting to see Ötzi since I first read about him in the early 1990s. And there he was. For this science-phile, it was like a pilgrimmage. I actually teared up a little.

"My eyes have seen."

Ciao!

May. 21st, 2008 04:25 pm
desoto_hia873: (Default)
The Iceman awaiteth. :-)

See you next month!

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