For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Moving On, and see what else has been going on.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I'm in the process of putting together a dvd photo album to send to the family back home. I've done it before and it turned out quite well. So well that I've been thinking of the next one when taking pictures, documenting events to share with family, as well as for our own enjoyment. It's kind of nice to look at the pictures on tv, complete with music. I'm even including some short movies, recorded with my digital camera (we don't have a movie camera) this time.

Last time, my dvd included pictures from the day the girls and I left for our new home to the end of 2006. Since then, with new cameras and larger memory cards, we've taken a great many more pictures. I decided to do only half a year at a time, but still managed to fill the dvd. Actually, I had to pare down what I originally wanted by a lot, since it was more than a dvd could fit. Still, I got it all done and tested repeatedly on computer. Finally, I burned my first test disc.

Less than a dozen pictures into the disc, it froze. Badly. I couldn't even get back to the menu, having to eject the disc to continue. Other times, I had to power down the dvd player, since even ejecting didn't work. A few times, both ejecting and powering down by remote didn't work, and it had to be done manually! I tried going to the next chapter, skipping, fast forwarding... nothing would get me past that spot on the disc.

It occurred to me that there might simply be too much data for our rather old dvd player to handle. Since I already had misgivings about the length of the dvd (some 2 hours or more), I decided to split it into two discs. The software I'm using, Sonic, isn't the most advanced in the world, and I had to rebuilt the second disc from scratch. Still, I finally got it done. The end result was 2 discs with slightly less data than the last photo album I'd made and sent out. I burned a test copy of the first disc and tried it out...

Only to have exactly the same problem in exactly the same spot!

Not only that, but in trying to get past that spot, all sorts of weird lines and boxes started showing up on the screen.

So that got me to thinking that it was that particular chapter that was causing problems (the dvd's play fine on the computer, but my parents don't have a computer, so it's important that it works on tv). So I burned a test disc for the second half.

My God, it was painful! The dvd played, all right, but it wasn't at all smooth! The music and video stuttered frequently. After a few chapters, we had to stop watching. It was too hard on both the eyes and the ears!

So what is the problem? Is it in the photo album itself? Or is it actually our dvd player, which sometimes has issues with other dvds too, though nothing like this? Did the second disc burn badly because as it was writing, the computer was being used for other stuff?

To figure it out, I'm going to try burning the second disc again, this time making sure nothing is running in the background that shouldn't be, and disabling our internet connection to avoid auto-activity. Hopefully, that will eliminate any possible interruptions as the disc is being written.

As for the first disc, I'm going to take that first chapter out, then put it back differently in another location. If it's the chapter that's corrupting things, that should fix it.

Otherwise, I'm at a loss.


Monday, July 30, 2007

What were we thinking??? *L*

Just got back from the library - went in earlier than we needed to take advantage of a cooler day, since it's supposed to get hotter again. Came back with way more than we took out - especially in videos. How we're going to watch all these, I've no idea! *L*

So this is today's library list.

Youngest took out only one book this week, though from the size of it, that's no surprise. She brought home the book Uglies. "In a world of extreme beauty, anyone normal is ugly." Interesting concept. It's set in a world where, at age 16, people turn "pretty." It seems that everyone is expected to undergo surgery to become beautiful, which then leads to success in all other areas. The main character is soon to celebrate her 16th birthday and is looking forward to becoming "pretty," but her friend is afraid and runs away to avoid it. I think I'll be reading this one myself. It's book 1 of a trilogy.

Eldest went all out. She chose:

From the Time-Life Enchanted World series of books, Magical Beasts, Night Creatures and Fairies and Elves, as well as Transformations, which is from Time-Life's Mysteries of the Unknown series. She also found Vampires, Zombies and Monster Men, and Dragons, Unicorns and Sea Serpents; A Classic Study of the Evidence for their Existence. As you can see, she has an interest in folklore.

A Woman Scorned; Acquaintance Rape on Trial: This is an interesting exploration of how rape trials tend to put the woman on trial, rather than her attacker.

Dictionary of Proverbs and their Origins: Tracing where old sayings like "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater," "cold hands, warm heart," and many other sayings come from, and how they came to be.

On the video front, she chose:

Is Wal-Mart Good for America: This is the third dvd about Wal-mart we've found so far. The first two were strongly on each side of the spectrum. This one, from PBS, seems to be looking at it from both sides.

Secrets of the Occult; Illusion, Magic, Science: Divided into two parts, The Magicians and The Scientists, this dvd runs from ancient magicians to today's cutting edge scientists.

Ghost; Stories 1 & 2. These are two of a series of vhs videos examining ghost stories in history and around the world.

As for myself, I chose:

The War of 1812 Against the States; Heroes of a Great Canadian Victory: This is from the Amazing Stories section. Something tells me this is going to be very different from the Pierre Burton version. ;-)

How We Eat; Appetites, Culture and the Psychology of Food: "Tracing our culinary customs from the Stone Age to the stove-top range..." this book examines the myths, cultures and rituals surrounding the foods we eat.

Clearing the Air; The Real Story of the War on Air Pollution: This is refreshing - a book that points out that we've actually made great strides in fighting air pollution, and that things continue to improve. Not a lot dare to strike at the clay feet of many environmental myths.

Artistry in Paper; Creating beautiful things with Origami, Papier Mache, Pop-ups and Other Papercrafts, Paper in Three Dimensions; Origami,Pop-ups, Sculpture, Baskets, Boxes and More, and Making Memory Boxes; Box Projects to make, Give and Keep: It's been a long time since I've worked in paper art - I still haven't replaced my equipment for it. I'm itching to get back to it.

And in the audio/visual section:

Beige from Arrogant Worms. I had this one on hold, to go with the other 3 cd's from the Worms that I'd picked up. :-D

From the Nature series of dvd's, Antarctica. A double programme: Antarctica: The End of the Earth and Under Antarctic Ice. It's the second one that really interests me.

From the Miracle Planet series, Episode 4, Extinction & Rebirth and Episode 5, Survival of the Fittest. Eldest tells me we've already seen these, but I don't remember. We've borrowed so many on the subject, I get them mixed up!

I think we'll be watching a lot of movies with breakfast and lunch for the next week or so. LOL

Thursday, July 26, 2007

belated library list

I've actually missed a library trip altogether, too. *L*

This week, the kids didn't come with me at all. I needed to return some dvd's to avoid late fees, but dropped off a whole bunch of books we were done with in the process. I did manage to come back with less than I'd left with... but only through determined effort to stop looking and leave. *L* Me and libraries are a dangerous combination. I don't know how I can expect to read all the books we take out!

I had some cd's waiting for me this time. Three from the Arrogant Worms; Live Bait, Dirt and Toast. I've already got a 4th one waiting for me, too, but that will have to wait a bit longer.

For pure entertainment, I found the following:

The Widow's Tale and The Hunter's Tale, both part of the Dame Frevisse Medieval Mystery series.

The Faithful Dead, from the Hawkenly Mystery series. Of the various medieval period fictions I've been searching out, these two series are the ones I prefer so far. They don't match my enjoyment for the Cadfael series, but they're a lot closer than others. It's amazing how many of these center around either nuns of monks. Maybe I just haven't found them yet, but so far I've only seen one series that has a non-religious main character.

teany book; stories, food, romance, cartoons, and of course, tea: This is a book about the vegetarian tea shop called teany. I've never heard of the place before, but after glancing through a few pages, I just couldn't resist. Just as an example, this is how the author and co-owner starts the first chapter.

Chapter 1: Comrade Moby's Revisionist Prehistory of Teany
This chapter is, as the chapter title might suggest, my historical description of the facts and circumstances (loosely and subjectively presented) that led up to the opening of teany. The history ends with teany's opening night, because teany's history since then has been interesting but a bit tautological. And yes, tautological is a fantastic word, and I tend to repeat myself a lot so it's a good word for my friends to know so that they can sound erudite when they make fun of me for repeating myself ad nauseam.

With that sort of humour, how could I resist? *L*

On a more serious note, I found these:

Meltdown; The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media. I hadn't realized it at first, but I've actually been reading the author's climate blog for a while now. Patrick J. Michaels is also co-author of The Satanic Gases, which I'm still working on.

Taken by Storm: The Troubled Science, Policy and Politics of Global Warming: Eldest has already started on this one, and it finding quite interesting.

Back to the just for fun side of things, I also got the dvd Serenity for dh. I think this is one we're going to have to buy, eventually. *L*

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A long list today!

Today, we returned one back full of items, but came back with two! LOL We did keep two from our previous list - An Inconvenient Truth, which I'm having to read in small spurts to avoid unnecessarily increasing my blood pressure, and The Satanic Gases, which has parts I have had to read over a couple of times to make sure I'm understanding it properly.

For the new stuff, Youngest chose:

Calvin & Hobbes, Revenge of the Baby-sat: An oldie but goodie. I think we actually own that one (which would be sitting in a box with the rest of our library, back in Manitoba).

The Werewolf of Fever Swamp: a Goosebumps book.

Runestone and Wolfspell, books 1 & 2 from the Viking Magic series of books. This is completely new for all of us, but they look pretty good.

Eldest chose:

The Book of Faeries; A Guide to the World of Elves, Pixies, Goblins and other Magic Spirits: It includes a history of faeries, descriptions, and even rituals and recipes. Some very interesting artwork, too.

Dictionary of Symbolic & Mythological Animals: An historical and cross-cultural look at the meanings people have associated with real and mythical creatures.

Making Comics; Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels: A very practical illustrated guide for anyone interested in making their own comics.

Understanding Comic; The Invisible Art: A precursor of the above book, by the same author.

Alien Empire; An Exploration of the Lives of Insects: This book is a companion to a mini-series by the same name. It's gorgeously photographed, with all sorts of interesting info.

Enjoying Moths: Another beautifully photographed and informative choice.

And from my selections:

Gemstones; Symbols of Beauty and Power: I have to admit, I got this one for the pictures. Anything else I get out of it (and there's plenty there) is just bonus!

Lost Discoveries; The Forgotten Science of the Ancient World: I've always been fascinated at the hints of ancient technologies, from the astonishing accuracy of the Mayan calendar, to batteries and light bulbs and ancient Egypt and computers in ancient Greece, there's no shortage of mysteries about our ancestors.

Krakatau 1883; The Volcanic Eruption and its Effects: not only was the explosive force of Krakatoa's (there are several variations of the name) greater than anything ever verifiably experienced in human history, but it happened at a time when communications allowed the entire world to know about it almost write away, and when technologies existed to gather records of the volcanoes effects around the world. The immensity of this volcano is mind boggling.

Henna's Secret History; The History, Mystery & Folklore of Henna: More than just temporary tattoos and hair dye!

The Cooling; Has the next ice age already begun? Can we survive it?: Published in 1976, this book is a look back for me to the time when the scientific consensus was global cooling, not warming. It should be interesting to read this from a current perspective.

Dancing in the Streets; A History of Collective Joy: Tracing dance and celebration from prehistoric cave art to modern times.

Food, Fellowship and Folklore; Canadians at Table; A Culinary History of Canada: I got this one... just because. LOL

And finally, the audio/visual choices.

The Greenpeace Years: Eldest chose this one, it's an older VHS documentary tracing the history of the Greenpeace organization.

The Amazing Athabasca Oil Sands: Another choice by Eldest, this dvd (dated 2004) talks about the oil sands of Northern Alberta, from writings 200 years ago to modern technical challenges to access this resource.

The Future of Food: A two disc set (2004), it "offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled grocery store shelves for the past decade." This documentary received 5 awards for it's work. Hopefully, it won't be the hysterical paranoia I typically hear on the subject.

Miracle Planet; Snowball Earth: Episode two of the Miracle Planet series. It seeks to go back to the earth's first ice age, when apparently the entire earth was covered in ice and snow.

Wal*mart; The high cost of low price: We've seen Why Walmart Works. Now to see the opposing view. Sadly, from the looks of it, it seems to be a collection of sour grapes. Hopefully, there will be more to it than that.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Youngest chose this one - it's a favorite of hers. :-)

Dances of Ecstasy; A sensory journey through rhythm, dance and music. A workout for the soul: I've actually taken this 2 disc set out before and have really enjoyed it. The first disc discusses how various cultures use dancing to a trance-like state in there personal and religious journeys. The second disc features "urban shaman," Gabrielle Roth, and a group of dancers that guide the viewer through a "do it yourself" dance journey.

Finally, on the musical front:

Music from the Zydeco Kingdom: We recently watched the movie Hard Target again, which really is a good movie. I really like the soundtrack. I didn't find the sound track at the library, so I started looking for Cajun music in general, and this is the first of several cd's I've put on hold.

Halo 2, Original Soundtrack, Vol. 2: 'cause, like, Halo 2 has really cool music. ;-)


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Five things to be grateful for

My current bathroom book is The Laws of Lifetime Growth; Always Make Your Future Bigger Than Your Past, by Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura. I just finished Chapter five, Always Make Your Gratitude Greater Than Your Success, where it discusses being pro-actively grateful. Each chapter ends with a "where to start" exercise. This one suggested, among other things, writing down 5-10 things you are grateful for, every day.

I'll be working on that myself, and I figure every now and then, I can write them down here. To get myself going, here's my first 5 things that I'm grateful for.

1. My husband, for sticking with me for almost 20 years, and doing the things he does to support us as a family.

2. My children, who are such a blessing to my life.

3. My business, which can allow me to make a difference in people's lives in ways I never dreamed possible.

4. My family and upbringing. Yeah, my family may be considered dysfunctional, even abusive, by today's standards, but my parents did the best they could, and I'm grateful for it, and I wouldn't trade it for anything else. It helped make me who I am today, and I *like* who I am today.

5. My country. I truly believe I live in the greatest country in the world. Canada certainly has it's flaws, but they are far outweighed by the many positives it has going for it. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

How 'bout you? What are the five things you are most grateful for?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

another library list

Today, thanks to a friend with a mini-van, we visited a new and very different library. In a shopping mall. How very strange! Well, to me, anyways. ;-)

Eldest didn't pick any books at all this time, and returned all her previous choices, including The Golden Age of DC Comics - 365 Days.. The funny thing about that was seeing my friend bring home a copy of that same book!

Youngest made some interesting selections this time.

Cats: This is a tiny book (only about 3"x4"), yet it's almost 400 pages. Many of them are two page spreads of full colour cat photos! This isn't just a book about cat breeds, though there's certainly breed information. No, this is a book about individual cats, frequently photo'd in interesting poses with their owners, breeders and their children. The text is tiny - I find it rather hard to read. Not that the text has anything to do with why Youngest picked it. She just loves cats! :-D

Great Cakes: This is a book from Country Living. Every recipe has photos of the finished product. We don't bake cake. I no longer have cake pans. We may have to remedy that.

Animals Nobody Loves: Says who! Some of my favorite creatures are in this one. :-D Even Youngest, who doesn't like spiders right now (she used to like them just fine), found the close up cover photo of a spider's eyes to be adorable.

As for me, I got distracted on the way to the crafts section.

Medieval Costume and Fashion: This book is divided into time periods, with detailed information about each. Along with line drawings and black and white photographic examples, it has simple pattern information as well. Might be useful for next year's Medieval Day.

Picnic; 125 Recipes with 29 Seasonal Menus: I like picnics. We haven't gone on a picnic in ages (park days don't count). I think I need to do some planning. :-D

New Book of Herbs: This book is backwards from any of the herb books I've seen before. The information on planning, planting, and harvesting, plus recipes for food, medicinal, crafting and home use, are all at the front of the book, with the information on individual herbs following. I got it for the recipes.

Complete Book of Vegetables: While I grew up with a huge vegetable garden, we always planted the same things every year. I like to learn more about other types of veggies, too. As an added bonus, not only does this book have at least one recipe for each vegetable featured, but it tells which can be planted in containers, what size containers they need, and what type of potting soil mix to use.

Food; The Struggle to Sustain the Human Community: No recipes in here! This is all about the influence food has had on humanity's culture and civilization.

That's it for today. I would've gladly grabbed more, but the idea was to NOT come home with a book bag heavier than what we came with. *L*