Monday, December 31, 2007

*insert superlative here* of 2007

How many best of, craziest of, funniest of, whatever-else of lists have you seen as the year winds down? I'm a complete sucker for these lists and here's something noteworthy:

CBC's 2007 Top 10 Canadian Newsmakers in the Arts' list includes Zarqa Nawaz, the Little Mosque on The Prairie creator.

You go sister!



p.s. Did you know you can watch the episodes on YouTube??
p.p.s. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

This says it all...

This cartoon from the Globe and Mail is sadly accurate in its representation of Canada's official position at the recent Bali conference on climate change. We have the dubious honour of having won something called "The Fossil Award" for being the country or group that held up the process.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Samwise the Bloated

So you've already heard about Samwise the Bloated and the whole "peas help bloatation" thing here and here.

Well, a few weeks ago, I captured Samwise in action. It seems he's found a solution (involving the water filter) to be able to get to the bottom of his tank despite his bloatation.

Observe, and enjoy:


video

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What do you mean they're bad for your teeth?

Having lived in a country where Christmas is a big deal all my life, I have to say that I appreciate how much more cheery and positive everyone gets this time of year. All through school, I got 10-15 days of holiday over Christmas and New Years, and that's enough to make anyone love the season. Now, in my third full year of work, I'm still adjusting to the fact that, in the federal government, there isn't a built in two-week holiday for everyone. If you want vacation at Christmas, you take your vacation at Christmas, and I almost always want my vacation in the summer time for trips to Calabogie and such.

Nevertheless, I enjoy the quiet time at work for that week when the office almost becomes ghost-town-like. Most of those still around are others like me who don't "do" Christmas, although some are people who are just saving their holidays for another time of year too. I like getting a chance to catch up on whatever I've fallen behind on (which is A LOT this year). I like chatting for a bit with whoever's still around.

As a child, I know I loved the lights on the buildings and trees. Now I'm not so sure because I worry about the energy it all consumes. What I definitely loved when I was little, and still love now, are candy canes. I can't describe it, can't pinpoint exactly why they're any different from those candies or mints you get at restaurants at the end of a meal, which I'm not addicted to, but candy canes are definitely a favourite treat of mine. Maybe it's because they're not available all year round, or because I forget about them and am pleasantly surprised every year when given one at some point in mid-December. This year, one of the gals at work stuck little stockings up on the outside of everyone's cubicles and filled them with Hershey's Kisses, Reese Peanut Butter cups (mmmmm.....) and Candy Canes. I've had one Peanut butter cup, no Kisses, and finished my Candy Cane and gone back down to the pharmacy to buy another package. I love these things. I try hard to ignore the fact that sucking on a stick of sugar all day and then only brushing your teeth when you get home must be a recipe for cavities. At the end of the day, it's ignorable. They just taste soooooooooooooo good.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Meaningful Gifts

There's a beautiful (and very short) Prophetic saying that encourages gift giving as a form of getting closer. In Arabic, it's "Tahaadu, Tahabbu", which essentially means "give gifts to one another and you will love one another".
It's very simple, and obviously it alone will not make people love one another, but I think it shows how much gifts mean to us as humans. We like being showered with attention and love. We like being given something we weren't expecting, and we like the feeling of knowing someone has thought about us and though about how best to make us happy. All of these are results of being given a gift.
At the same time, I think we've reached a point where sometimes gift giving is taken too far. Sometimes we seem to exchange gifts because it's what's expected, and not because there's actually any love, or need in the exchange. How many of us have spent hours trying to look for something to buy a loved one because an occasion like Eid or Christmas or their birthday is coming up, and they don't really need or want anything? How many of us have ended up buying them something that just sat there just to have bought them a present? I personally would rather get flowers, or a chocolate bar, or a phone call, or sit together and watch a movie then get something I don't need. These are all gifts too, and show that the person who gave them to you remembers and cares.
I heard about another great way of gift giving on the radio this morning. Both Green Peace and the CHF (another great Canadian non-profit) have these programs set up where you can buy a gift on behalf of a family member or friend to either send valuable food stock, or animals, or medical supplies like malaria kits to people in need around the world, or sponsor specific green peace projects. Both of these groups have a catalogue so you can pick the exact gift you want to give, and go with the cause closest to your heart or to whomever you're buying for.
And think how much more valuable contributions to an environmental project, or chicks, or fertilizer, will be to those who need it and to the earth, than a knick knack that sits on your friend's shelf collecting dust until she/he finally decides to donate it to the Goodwill or throw it out.
You can apply the idea to any cause you want by picking an organization that does good humanitarian or environmental work and then donating on behalf of a friend as your gift. Human Concern International is a great option, so's IRFAN-Canada (both are humanitarian groups that provide orphan sponsorship and medical and sustainable supplies in war-ravaged regions of the world).
So if you're stuck for what to buy and still behind on your Christmas shopping and starting to panic, or if you haven't gotten Eid gifts yet for some important people, and it's just hitting you that Eid's about to end, try something like this. It'll make you, and the person you're buying for, feel great.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

38 cm

and counting...
at 8 p.m. there were 38 centimetres of snow on the ground in Ottawa. Beautiful to look at, but not so much fun to walk through, let me tell you. When I opened my door this morning, the snow fell IN to my entrance. Brrrr...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Party Planning

From the Dilbert Blog, some amusing-ness (and I know that's not a real word, but it just fits here) about the holiday party season:

Which of these two things is easier?
A. Planning the invasion of Normandy
B. Planning a holiday party
If you are male, you might think a party involves invitations, food, booze, and decorations. It seems simple. But if there is a woman in your life, step one of the party preparation process can involve anything from aerating the lawn, to attending mime school in France, to lifting the house with cranes and putting it on stilts. There’s a whole other level that sneaks up on you, and it doesn’t end until the doorbell rings.
One of the most useless party customs is giving attendees gifts as they leave. These guests already gave you a hostess gift when they arrived. The obvious solution would be to tell guests to throw their incoming gifts in a pile by the entrance, next to the shoes. When people leave, they can rummage through the pile and pick something they didn’t bring. Pardon my French, but I think a “voila” is called for.
Remember, any problem that can be solved using the word “rummage” is bound to be efficient. And efficiency is the key to good party-giving.
A hard part of hosting is guessing the right amount of food you need, which usually means getting three times more than people will eat. Another problem is that people refuse to line up when the food is out. You can solve both of these problems by getting less food than your guests are likely to want. After you host a few parties, word will get around, and people will go straight to the buffet line as soon as they arrive and toss their hostess gifts by the shoe pile.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Real

I booked my 5 weeks off in my HR system and on my calendar at work last week. I'll be gone all of February, plus a little before the wedding. These things are little, since everyone's known since forever that I'd be gone that whole time, but having it entered in electronically makes it very real, and was bizarrely exciting. Am I a geek, or what?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Materialism

As the world around us gets geared up for the crazy shopping season, or is already somewhere in the midst of it, here's a reminder and a plea for sanity. Things won't make any of us happier, at least not material things. At least not for long.
More Jack Johnson. Enjoy: