Monday, May 13, 2013

Canadian astronaut coming home

A revised version of David Bowie's Space Oddity, recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Words are worse than sticks and stones

Again, Canadian slam poet, Shane Koyczan has brought his intelligence to the table to highlight the experiences of bullying, from an informed point of view.

To This Day from To This Day on Vimeo.

In addition, here is Shane's TED Talk:

You can also read the text of Shane's spoken art performance at the Vancouver Olympics describing the Canadian experience, called We are More.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Premiere of Scars of Shame Documentary

A cartoon my niece made on Facebook with the Bitstrips app for my sister Pam. Caption: Pam can hardly wait to watch Angie's documentary for the first time.

Scars of Shame - Documentary Film Screening
The premiere of the first skin picking documentary! In the film, Angela Hartlin, author of Forever Marked: A Dermatillomania Diary, invites us into her world for an intimate portrait of her daily struggles as she deals with skin picking disorder. A brief Q & A will follow the 46-minute film. Parental discretion is advised.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Nekofont cat

At the risk of branding myself forever as a crazy cat lady, I'm the following link where text input will be converted to a cat font:


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Our digital footprint

Tori Floyd at The Right Click wrote a humorously, informative article about predictive liking. This article and the supporting PDF chart published on Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) reveals that that every time you 'LIKE' on Facebook, you are being sorted and categorized.

It's not a real brain stretch to realize that every social network you belong to or search engine you use do the same thing.

It's all about the stats and trends, folks. Marketers and corporations depend on this information. Example: the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Why don't we exercise our digital voices by mindfully indicating what we want?

Just a thought...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

20th Annual National Conference on Hair Pulling and Skin Picking Disorders

Angela Hartlin will be speaking at the 20th Annual National Conference on Hair Pulling & Skin Picking Disorders - April 19-21, 2013 | Renaissance Newark Hotel, New Jersey

She will facilitate two sessions at the conference and unveil her documentary film on Saturday, April 20, 2013:

Session 4 - Tickets to Happiness
1:00 to 2:15 p.m.
Finding activities that build self-esteem is vital to helping us feel better about ourselves! In this workshop, kids will choose “tickets” that list various activities that we either like to do or would like to try. Once the tickets are given out, we will paste the tickets onto a piece of paper that will help us remember the things that make us happy, and when we feel stressed or anxious or sad, we can turn to our list for ideas on how to relieve anxiety. This list will also give parents insight into motivations for their children.

Session 6 - Fearing Intimacy
4:15 to 5:30 p.m.
This workshop is for adults 18 and over. Intimacy can be a frightening idea for a sufferer of a Body Focused Repetitive Behavior (BFRB). When the time comes to find a partner, it can be daunting because the sufferer must learn how to be open about their insecurities, be honest about all feelings, and engage inter-personally to help a relationship blossom. In an open forum, we will talk about what it means to be intimate with another person. Intimacy of physical and emotional natures will be the focus of this workshop; having an honest discussion about these feelings many of us are ashamed to have accompanying our BFRBs can help identify specific issues so we can come up with solutions and bring clarity to them.

Scars of Shame - Documentary Film Screening
8:30 - 10:00 p.m.
The premiere of the first skin picking documentary! In the film, Angela Hartlin, author of Forever Marked: A Dermatillomania Diary, invites us into her world for an intimate portrait of her daily struggles as she deals with skin picking disorder. A brief Q & A will follow the 46-minute film. Parental discretion is advised.

The official DVD cover:

Updated: March 21, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Email from the cat

My Basset hound got an email from one of her long-distance pals. Surprising, considering the level of disdain displayed when Bella visited her.


Hi Bella!

Just wanted to let you know you'll feel better & more energetic in a day or two. I went for the same type of operation last month. I'm now able to concentrate more on my playtime, nap time and mealtimes.

Take care,
- MeeMaw


Dear MeeMaw:

Woof! My servants have tied a horrible cone on my head. It's embarrassing...they will pay!

Ah yes! nap time. I should be able to extend my 18-hour nap to a rounder figure, say 20 - maybe even 22, if my serfs don't pester me too much.

I've got a lot of eating to catch up on. Hopefully tomorrow I can figure out how to get out of this collar and chow down in comfort.

- Bella

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Wayward physics

original drawing by Sandra Ryan 2013

You'll be able to say TIL (today I learned) at What If? answering your hypothetical questions with physics, every Tuesday. What If? is a subsection of XKCD, a webcomic of romance, sarcasm and language. You might also enjoy XKCD Blag.

Quote: "You can use heat flow to come up with simple rule of thumb: If an unused charger isn't warm to the touch, it’s using less than a penny of electricity a day. For a small smartphone charger, if it’s not warm to the touch, it’s using less than a penny a year."

Ever had one of these days?

Bella, our Basset Hound got spayed today. She's NOT impressed.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Steven Pinker on language

TedTalks: Steven Pinker: What our language habits reveal is an informationally dense talk. You can use the transcript menu option on the bottom, right of the video to read along while listening.

Steven Pinker's bio - Quote, "Linguist Steven Pinker questions the very nature of our thoughts -- the way we use words, how we learn, and how we relate to others. In his best-selling books, he has brought sophisticated language analysis to bear on topics of wide general interest."

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Soft-edge piecing for quilting

Jinny Beyer Studio has beautiful quilting patterns, tutorials, fabrics, notions and tools. She also has a JinnyBeyerStudio channel on YouTube.

I'm particularly enamored by her paisleys in the Renaissance Garden fabric collection and the beautiful technique she uses called soft-edge piecing, which is a perfect way to highlight the beautiful paisleys in quilts.

She has provided a free, downloadable Renaissance Garden quilt pattern and soft-edge piecing instruction sheet. There is also a video tutorial for soft-edge piecing, which you can view below.

What makes us happy?

TEDTalks has created a 7 video series of lecturers discussing the various aspects of happiness.

Quote, "We all want to be happy. But how, exactly, do you go about it? More stuff or less? More choice or less? The answers -- from psychologists, journalists, Buddhist monks -- may surprise you.

What makes us happy?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Free Strathmore art classes 2013

Our body language

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, shows how "power posing" -- standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don't feel confident -- can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Dustin Thompson started his YouTube channel TheShutterSchool to help beginners and advanced photographers learn new techniques and enhance their photography skills.

So far there are 3 videos posted and I look forward to new additions.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


A friend of mine sent this email today. I lalalalaloved it!

So much so, I decided to search the title, 'Whew! What a relief to learn this...' to see its general origins of the email and whether any articles were written the the subject matter.

General origins:
  • New research from University of Notre Dame Psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky suggests that passing through doorways is the cause of these memory lapses.

My favourite articles written on the subject matter explored a relatively unstudied concept: relief.

Subject: Whew! What a relief to learn this...
Ever walk into a room with some purpose in mind, only to completely forget what that purpose was?

Turns out, doors themselves are to blame for these strange memory lapses.

Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what's known as an event boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next. Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale.

Thank goodness for studies like this. It's not our age, it's that damn door!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The evolution of Mom dancing

Michelle Obama grooving on the Jimmy Fallon Show to promote her Let's Move campaign to end childhood obesity.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A 3D arts & crafts pen

My amazing Flashy-boy

We enjoyed 13 years of kitty-cat love with our Norwegian Forest cat, Flash.

Flash was the second wegie we have owned. I previously had another named Gismo.

When Gismo died, I immediately put an order in at Misty Mountain cattery in Montreal for a B&W male from the next litter. The breeder sent me pictures via email of his progression because she won't let them leave the mother cat until they are over 16 weeks old. I had to wait about 9 months in total but it was a good space of time to ready myself for another cat.

Misty Mountain Flash drove home with us after our vacation in the Laurentians and the Santana Supernatural concert in Montreal. He was perfect! He slept curled up on my lap the entire trip, only leaving to use the litter we had set up in the passenger foot well. He captured both our hearts.

He was a dear little boy and both Mike and I deeply loved him.

We miss him but know that our memories will linger for our lifetime.

According to CCAFC, "This is a very old breed, who have lived in the forests of Norway for thousands of years and played a part in Norse mythology. In the early 1970'a a group of Norwegian cat fanciers formed a group to try to preserve this breed called Skaukatt in its homeland. In 1979, the first breeding pair were imported to North America.

The fur of the Norwegian is a semi-long, double coat consisting of a woolly undercoat covered by a smooth, water-repellent, outer coat. The ruff of a mature cat frames a strong-chinned, intelligent face with almond-shaped expressive eyes. The ears are large, tufted and lynx-like tip tufts are desirable. This is an easy care coat that requires only moderate grooming.

The general appearance of the Norwegian is that of an alert, healthy, well developed, muscular cat. The body is of moderate length, heavily boned and powerful.

These large, friendly cats have people-loving personalities and adapt well to almost any household. Their robust constitution makes for a long, healthy life."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

My RSS feed presented me withThe Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, which is an OP ED of The New York Times' report called The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.

Not wanting to break with tradition, I've titled my OP ED of the NYT report the same.

I don't understand why people don't get it.

These food manufacturers are not the least bit interested in food or nutrition.

They're interested in profit.

Like many manufacturers, they create the need however they can.

These are corporations, not altruistic organizations watching out for our best interests.

How else could they get people to freely choose something to eat that has a nutrition panel that reads like the above? Breakfast anyone?
Sad but true.

You can learn how to read food panels for the USA's FDA How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label or for Health Canada's The Nutrition Facts Table

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Secrets Of The Dog Park - Basset Hound

As a Basset Hound owner, I can attest to their wily ways of total human subjugation.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

This is what 200 calories looks like

Imgur has a photo album entry from a user who photographed 37 examples of a 200-calorie portion of various food items.

Super bunny saves the day

The Telegraph in the UK had a headline that got my attention. I thought it was a prank: Giant rabbit scares burglar out of family home

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The smartest dog you'll ever see

The Amazing Skidboot is a feature by Texas Country Reporter is the smartest dog you'll ever see. He gained worldwide fame with his tricks, but had to give up performing once he started going blind. Skidboot died in 2007, but David Hartwig continues to perform with several of Skidboot's offspring.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine gift to yourself...unlock your joy

There is a great article called 10 Steps to Savoring the Good Things in Life at a web site called Greater Good, The Science of a Meaningful Life.

The points covered in the article are:

  • Share your good feelings with others.
  • Take a mental photograph.
  • Congratulate yourself.
  • Sharpen your sensory perceptions.
  • Shout it from the rooftops.
  • Compare the outcome to something worse.
  • Get absorbed in the moment.
  • Count your blessings and give thanks.
  • Avoid killjoy thinking.
  • Remind yourself how quickly time flies.
Give yourself the Valentine gift of enjoying life!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Best, worst sci-fi movie

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times: three stars. Quote: "Dark Star is one of the damnedest science fiction movies I've ever seen, a berserk combination of space opera, intelligent bombs, and beach balls from other worlds."

John Carpenter's 1974, shoe-string budget independent film, Dark Star is a real treat. It was his first feature film after film school.

There was no CGI in 1974. The special effects, alien and props are hilarious. Examples:

  • The alien is an inflated, bean bag chair with plastic claws attached and painted with black circles.
  • The torso of the space suit is a muffin tin attached to a cookie sheet.
  • The elevator is a large crate with a dolly attached, which is wheeled up & down a corridor.
Originally, I owned this movie in BetaMax format (yep, I'm old). Now I have a digital copy.

Love, love, LOVE this movie!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Anthony Hopkins composed this

A beautiful piece of musical composition by Anthony Hopkins, the Academy Award winning actor.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Slavery by another name

Watch The Making of SLAVERY on PBS. See more from Slavery by Another Name.

My eyes and heart were opened while watching a PBS Independent Lens documentary called Slavery By Another Name.

It certainly explains many puzzling racist attitudes that still grip the behavior of closed-minded people.

This film is a must-see!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Maritime sense of humour

I lived in Nova Scotia for 48 years so, when there is news from there, I follow it.

The winter storm hit the Maritimes quite hard. After reading CBC's report on the storm damage, the first comment about the news story caught my eye. I miss this type of humour. Hope you enjoy it as much as me.

Thousands without power in storm-battered Nova Scotia

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Quick & easy crafty business cards

My husband asked me to whip up some crafty business cards. Here are the two I made for him. They were quick and easy to make. I've removed the contact information for blogging purposes and used orange paper behind the scanned cards to make them stand out.

Guitar repair card made from stationery store cards with removable glue dots fastening the guitar picks:

Photography card made from stationery store cards with brads fastening the strips of film:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Traditional recipes of Scotland

I'm from Nova Scotia, which is Latin for New Scotland. The British named it because it has many geographic similarities to Scotland and the Scottish settled in many areas of that province.

A friend of mine gave me the following traditional recipes. Give them a try! Click on the text to see full size scans for download.

Clootie Dumpling
Forfar Bridies

Cock a Leekie
Dundee Cake
Scots Gingerbread

Monday, January 28, 2013

Synchronized Scotties

72 seconds of wiggly-waggly, puppy feeding time.

The shape of that food dish lifts that doggy-dinner-dance to a whole new level.

What a breath of fresh air.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Take a chance on me: SPCA pet adoption video

An SPCA campaign video encouraging pet adoption. It uses the ABBA song 'Take a Chance on Me'. Love it!

SPCA Pet Adoption Video from Chester McPurrs on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Oddball stumbles

Curious Eggs

The Oddment Emporium

Urban Dictionary

Downton Abbey Redesigns

Gaping Void

Oddity Central

Do Nothing for 2 Minutes

Museum of Endangered Sounds

Duct Tape Fashion


A Bad Case of the Dates

1963 homemade Valentine card

When I was in grade 2, I made a Valentine card for my Mom and Dad from scraps around the house. It was saved and resurfaced during the packing up of my Dad's apartment, when he died.

I vaguely remembered secretly making it when I was 7 years old so I could surprise and make them happy. I certainly didn't recall making a 3D, handmade, multimedia card in 1963.

There have been no repairs made to it and, upon careful inspection, I figure this was the method I used:

- The main heart and the 3 small hearts were cut freehand from plain, writing paper that was folded in half.

- I carefully printed my greeting, in pencil, on the each of the hearts.

- Then the small hearts were stapled on to the large heart.

- It was then stapled it to a pleated, taffeta, sewing embellishment, which most likely came from Mom's sewing basket.

- The last staple attached the whole thing in the centre to a round, paper doily.

They must have liked it because it was included with some very important family memorabilia.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A sweet interlude


Valentine Sunday Stumble

A Map of Woman’s Heart: Rare Vintage Gem from the 1800s at Brain Pickings.

Valentine’s Day Mixed Media Art to make personalized art for your sweetheart at Saved By Love Creations.

DIY Valentine's Day treat container at Craft E Corner.

Leather heart coin purse at Fabric Paper Glue.

Paper heart bookmarks by Munchkins and Mayhem.

Ruffly flower pillow from Come on Ilene! A Creative Collection

Downloadable Superman valentine template and instructions from Hotcakes. If you use curved, manicure scissors, you will probably get a smoother cut.

Valentine Oreo cookie pops at Love from the Oven.

A valentine photography idea at Piccsy.

Printable Valentine lollipop holder card by Skip to My Lou. Great card to make for your kids' school mates.

Historic books of love and devotion - vintage, heart shaped books at Letterology.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

10 diversion detours

What is It? - Identifying odd or vintage tools.

38 Poutine Dishes That Will Knock Your Canadian Socks Off

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language.

PSFK - Where design happens.

What If? - Answering your hypothetical questions with physics, every Tuesday.

Indexed - Thought provoking charts by Jessica Hagy.

TED Ideas worth spreading. Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.

Rotten Tomatoes - Movie reviews.

The Wirecutter, A list of great technology - Quick articles for researching gadgets.

craftgawker - Craft tutorials.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bait and switch

Subject: We'll give you until Friday to reply - resending

Resent: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 3:36 PM PM

Originally Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 10:12 PM

On September 29, 2012, my husband and I made two purchases totalling $xxx.xx at ABCDEFG, East Mississauga, ON. These purchases were made by cash and we have the receipts.

The reason we made the second purchase that day was to take advantage of the bargain which was offered by the salesperson, HIJKLMNOP. The bargain is listed on Invoice #000000000000 for $x,xxx.xx, which is a 51" 720P 3D Samsung Plasma TV.

This bargain was advertised in store poster and verbally by the salesperson for purchasing a specific dollar value of furniture, which we did. The very large poster near the sales register in the store made no mention of lack of availability of the bargain. We were not advised that the TV was back ordered until after the transaction was completed. At that time, the salesperson told us that it would be available at the end of October 2012.

Today I called ABCDEFG, East Mississauga, ON, was put on hold for 20 minutes, and was told that the TV is back ordered until December 2012. I told HIJKLMNOP that was not the agreement and she put me back on hold. I waited for a long time and then gave up.

This is not acceptable.

According to the Competition Bureau of Canada , The Competition Act prohibits 'bait-and-switch' selling, which occurs when a product is advertised at a bargain price, but is not available for sale in reasonable quantities.

We were advised that we would have this TV at the end of October. If we don't receive it or a reasonable replacement (in quality, size & features) by the end of the week, we will be filling out the complaint form available at the government site at and ABCDEFG will be investigated.

Please reply.

We received our TV on November 1, 2012...the same one advertised, which previously did not exist in their stock.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Be an explorer

Brain Pickings Weekly email included a review of the book How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum. The cover design lured me to take a peek.

There were quite a few illustrations featured but my eye was drawn immediately to the hand printed list written during late night wakefulness in 2007.

I just HAD to visit the author and illustrator Keri Smith's web site. Her text driven illustrations are thought provoking. The opening page grabbed my attention with its simplicity. The interactive drawing board 'Right in Front of You', beckoned me to submit.

I did, literally and figuratively.

Maybe you should, too.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


My goal is to someday be the person my dog thinks I am.
Author Unknown, QuoteDB

PBS NOVA: Dogs Decoded How smart are dogs, and what makes them such ideal companions? captured my attention and led me on a pleasant, informational journey. The documentary not only discussed the dog-human connection but many components that intertwine to articulate dog companionship.

One part that fascinated me was the research into the primal similarities and differences between dogs and wolves, with the test group being a different branch of canids.

Another sequence explored the genetic history of dogs, which dovetailed perfectly into an interview with a breed standards protester.

Conclusion quote from the end of the documentary transcript: "Experiments have shown what dog owners have always suspected: after thousands of years of living together, dogs are attuned to us like no other animal."

If you click on the transcript for PBS NOVA: Dogs Decoded, the full text of the documentary drops down for discovery, at your leisure.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hard to believe he's 66

It's my husband's birthday today and part of his birthday celebration includes playing with his new Protocol FLIX with Gyro RC Helicopter with video & camera, compliments of our daughter.

Our 4-year old grandson thinks it is hilarious that his grandad has a helicopter. I join him in that thought and raise it with incredulity.

Here is a YouTube video review of the same toy:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 aspirations

I watched Master Class featuring Jane Fonda last year and was struck by her statement that she no longer wants to be perfect; she wants to be made whole.

After pondering this statement for quite some time, I decided that I would make no resolutions for 2013. Instead, I'll spend 2013 expanding on valued aspirations.

Integrity: the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.

Altruism: unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others.

Flexible: experience and express the full range of emotion appropriately and then leave that emotional expression behind when it is time to move on.

Transparent: revealing your inner self, your true experience.

Unbiased: not biased or prejudiced; fair; impartial.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Hitherto unknown to me, I now have the pleasure of viewing x-rayography for the duration of 2013.

This process was developed by artist and photographer Albert Koetsier. You can see more of his work on his site's gallery page. His Jewels of Nature gallery highlights more examples of the subject of my 2013 calender. Enjoy!