25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

I've posted these before, but they're cute and Christmas is about family, so there you go. I hope everyone is having a great holiday.

07 December 2012


Day 7

The other day I was in Hallmark with Other Auntie and I was bitching about the ornaments they sell, completely non-Christmasy things, like football players, or the Green Lantern, or random Disney princesses. I said something like "You can't just put a hook on anything and call it an ornament. Okay, you can by definition, but it's not a Christmas ornament*." That being said, as long as it has an aspect of Christmas, I'm okay with it. Toss a Santa hat on that football player and it's cool with me. Mostly. 

01 December 2012


December 1st is the start of my Christmas. I get out my boxes of Christmas stuff, I put up my (fake) tree, I start to think about - but don't actually do - Christmas cards.

This year, December 1st happens to be the date of the Dartmouth tree lighting as well. It's a large event that is well-attended. I usually just go for the lighting, but there's a whole concert and train rides for the kids and other stuff. I went with Other Auntie for the lighting, and the fireworks. Halimouth loves the fireworks. We will celebrate pretty much anything with fireworks. The Dartmouth tree lighting fireworks are usually very good. Worth standing in the cold for.

My goal is to post something Christmasy every day until the day itself. That's a lot of commitment for me, but I'm hoping I can manage.

Day 1 after the jump.

My new favourite person.

"What I tell patients is, if you like coffee, go ahead and drink as much as you want and can," says Dr. Peter Martin (source). 

30 November 2012

Happy Friday/End of November/First Snow

It's the first snow of the year!
And I know that by February
my thoughts on snow will be contrary
but this is now and then is then!
First Snow of The Year by Hawksley Workman

23 November 2012

Happy Friday

I don't have much to share today, but I came across this on tumblr and it made me smile. Whoever created this is really enthusiastic about atheism.


17 November 2012

Left Neglected

I read Lisa Genova’s  Left Neglected while I was on vacation. I read it because I really enjoyed (if that’s the right word) her book Still Alice. That was a very good first-person account of early-onset Alzheimer’s that, while hard to read, was thoughtfully written and very moving.  Left Neglected was about a woman who suffers a brain injury that causes her to loose her Left. She doesn’t recognize that she even has a left side to her body and she doesn’t see the left side of things. It’s very difficult to describe, and the author does a decent job of that in the book, but I still really didn’t like it. The disorder was interesting, and the treatment and rehab were as well, but I did not feel there was enough there for a book as long as this one. At times it read like an awkward PSA for handicapped people, and the author tacked on a superfluous childhood-trauma and parental reunion story that didn’t add anything to the overall story. 

I had two main problems with the book, though, and maybe I’m being overly picky, you decide.

14 November 2012

"Guy in a smart car dressed like Elvis!"

My SiL's sister, the Other Auntie,  and I were driving back from Halifax Saturday night, at around 9 pm. As we pull onto the MacDonald bridge, we passed a smart car waiting to merge and she yells out "Guy in a smart car dressed like Elvis!" as the smart car pulled in behind me. I questioned her sanity, but she insisted she saw it all: sunglasses, the hair, the white rhinestone jumpsuit with the popped collar. I then ask if I should drive slow so he's forced to pass me, but we decide I'll just pull up alongside him at the toll booths so we can see. In the meantime, we wonder, quite rightly: what the fuck? Is he going home after working somewhere? But it's only 9, so was he working a kid's party? Because he has to be going home, if he makes his living dressed as Elvis there's no way he can afford to live on the Hali side.

12 November 2012

Mob mentality

I was in Florida for a cousin's wedding. Did I mention that part? Anyway, a couple of nights before the wedding the bridal party and female family members went on a cruise. I assumed it was a booze cruise, but it was just a cruise with booze, which is different. It was a 2 hour sunset cruise with opportunistic wildlife watching. It was on a catamaran, which I'd never been on before.

The cruise left an hour before sunset. It had a cash bar and loud music. I love being out on the water, and it was nice to be on the water and not working. It was beautiful out there. And so calm. We did see dolphins, quite close to the boat. I didn't get pictures, though, because I wasn't fast enough.

11 November 2012

Moment of Silence

I know one person on this list. I didn't know her well, but she babysat a close friend of mine when we were kids, and I remember swimming in her family's pool.

09 November 2012

A few minutes ago

I went into my room to get ready for bed. I was looking around for the tank top I like to wear to bed, and I'm looking everywhere for the damn thing, pulling off blankets off my bed and everything (at any given time about a quarter of my wardrobe is on my bed). I finally gave up and went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. And of course I'm already wearing the damn thing. Under a t-shirt, but still. I think ten years from now I'll look back at this moment as the beginning of my dementia. "Hey, remember that time I forgot what clothes I was wearing?" Except, the cruel irony is, I won't remember.

08 November 2012

Celebrities I Didn't See

I have this bad head for faces. I have a bad head for lots of detail-oriented things, but faces is one of them. But I have seemingly endless memory capacity for pop culture and celebrities. This results in me casting celebrities in roles in a lot of my memories. A few examples from my recent vacation to Florida.

1. The tour guide for our tram ride through the Ding Darling nature sanctuary was Leonard Nimoy. Specifically the William Bell version. Except in a golf shirt and Tilley hat.

2. The tour guide for our kayak trip through the mangroves was Martin Freeman. Human sized, though, not Hobbited.

3. The captain of the sunset cruise we took was Oscar from The Office.

07 November 2012

Most profound thing I heard all day.

I read this earlier. 
"Love is an African-American Republican."
It blew my mind. What a  philosophical treatise on the nature of love. 'Cause, if you think about, love really is like an African-American Republican. A marginalized entity in a system that doesn't accept you, yet you stay with it out of sheer hope or naivete. I mean - I'm not a deep person, but this...this strikes a cord with me.  So much so that I didn't even care when I realized I took it entirely out of context:  
9. Mia Love, the GOP's shining hope for inclusion and a key speaker at the GOP convention, lost her bid to defeat Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah). Love is an African-American Republican.  Source.

Way to go, America! (Bonus points to Maine and Maryland)

I ended up falling asleep at 9:30 and waking up at 12:30 to check the results. There was a lot of red on that map, but they were calling it for Obama. God bless electoral math. I went back to bed, happy. I didn't fall back asleep until 3 or so, though. So. Less happy. But still. 

06 November 2012

Election Day

6:30 am: I'm very anxious today. I don't know if it's the apocalypse brewing in the States or if it's work stuff. It's probably a homogeneous mixture of both.

6:32 pm: I'm totally in the worst time zone for this shit. It's only 4:30 on the West Coast, polls there don't close until 11 my time. That is past my bedtime. This was so much easier last time, when I was living in Alberta. 

05 November 2012

Sun scare - noun, a condition of alarm or worry related to exposure to direct sunlight.

 I haven't written much about Florida. I don't know why. I think the animals I saw were the best part. I spent some time on the beach, read lots of books. The problem with me and the beach (or any activity, really) is my sun scare. I don't like tanning, but I can sit in a dark room in Florida and still get a tan, so I went outside anyway. 

Rainbow after afternoon thundershower.
My defense against skin cancer was thus: I'd wear a bathing suit - because it's the beach, y'all. Then I'd wear SPF 30+ on every inch of skin. Then I'd wear a tank top and capri-length pants over my suit, a full-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. Then I'd sit in the shade under an umbrella. I still tanned  and I was freaking hot because it was like 40oC or some crazy humid shit. My aunt, a nurse, kept talking about the "melanoma conference" she went to and said all kinds of discouraging stuff about the amount of sunblock you actually need to wear and and now I know I'm getting skin cancer. In her words, you'd "need to put on a shot-glass worth of sunblock every 15 minutes." Man, people must drink a lot at those melanoma conferences. Don't get me started on what she said about dental x-rays. It was a good lesson for me in Aunting, should my niece develop any hypochondriac tendencies.

Sunrise on the beach. Not pictured: coffee.
I will say that I have never fully appreciated air conditioning until this trip. Hot cars in summer have nothing on SW Florida. I still think AC is a luxury in my everyday life, but I can see how it makes life bearable down there. Even though I had to wear sweaters indoors because my Aunt kept the temperature inside at around 17oC.  

Anyway, here are some beachy pictures.   

04 November 2012

Fall Back

I love the Fall Back. I love how it reinforces how artificial time is - that we can just shift it around to suit us best. I love the day after the change when I'm constantly thinking, "It's 4, but my body thinks it's 5." And I love that all my clocks right now say different times. Because i haven't gotten around to changing them yet and it doesn't even really matter.

And while we're on the topic of time, I feel like I completely missed fall this year. I come back from Florida and everything is already in colour. And now all the leaves are mostly gone. I only got out on one fall hike, and it was a little too late to get the full effect. I'll have to make a more concerted effort next year. I'll go to Cape Breton and drown in colour.

31 October 2012

Happy Halloween

I don't like costumes anymore, but apparently I didn't mind them when I was younger.

There's not much I wouldn't do for free candy.

29 October 2012


"This is a higher destructive potential than any hurricane observed between 1969 - 2005, including Category 5 storms like Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Camille, and Andrew."
I don't think this is one of those cases where we can brush it off with "it's never as bad as they say it will be."

Also. Damn.

26 October 2012

Moving Pictures

Here are some videos I took of animals on my vacation. 

Bird, swimming:

Crab, diggin' a hole. This was really cool, I set up my umbrella and beach chair and looked down and there was a crab, undertaking what looked like a major excavation:

Manatees, being giant and awesome. We watched a mother and a baby feeding for awhile in a marina:

23 October 2012


Oz sent me this while I was on vacation, and it is almost too apt.
Here are some highlights from my vacation photos for my fellow biologists and nature lovers alike.

20 October 2012


On the drive back from Florida, my Aunt and I were trying to find somewhere for us to have lunch with my parents. We had the following conversation.

My Aunt: You want to eat at Chick-fil-A?
Me: No - there's nothing there for me. And they hate gay people.
My Aunt: Your parents hate gay people?!

We ended up eating at Cracker Barrel. They may hate gay people as well, but I don't know about it. They certainly hate vegetarians.The cook their vegetables in meat. But they at least have the decency to state that in the menu. I suppose I shouldn't complain.

I did have two good vegetarian meals in Atlanta. The best was vegan soul food. Chicken fried steak, collard greens, sweet potato, and cornbread. All blissfully free of meat and delicious. The chicken fried steak was gluten, a bit like seitan but more solid. It was served with onion gravy.

19 October 2012

Why why why don't people vote?

There's a municipal election going on here, which I haven't written at all about. Usually I'd be all over it, because I love politics, but I've been away a lot and just haven't had the time to inform myself, let alone write about it for people who don't live here or care about our mayor and city council.

They offered early voting on-line and by phone for the last week or so. The turn-out for that super-convenient method was only 22.5%. That is sad. The actual in-person voting is tomorrow, so I really hope Haligonians step up and vote. And not for Tuxedo Stan.

17 October 2012

I'm back. Again.

This is why I haven't posted in a while. I was too busy getting skin cancer in Florida.

30 September 2012

I'm still still here

Okay, I did go away for a while. I was at sea for five days last week. Five solid days. It was the longest sustained trip I've done in over a decade. When I was out earlier this summer, the longest we were out without touching land was four nights, but this trip was five days and five nights. And two of those days were very rough seas. Not so rough that it was unsafe to fish, but rough enough that you learn to do everything one-handed because you use the other hand to hold on. And my legs are covered in bruises I don't remember getting. I was land sick for two days after we got back. I almost fell over in the shower.

This time I was just off Seal Island, NS.

View Larger Map
I had a dream about the island one night on the boat. I dreamt that the island was full of volunteers who reenacted battles for the entertainment of the people on boats as they sailed by. But the battles they reenacted were between hunters and the penguins that used to be native to the island (dream biogeography is rarely accurate). So there was a bunch of people in penguin suits running away from people shooting arrows at them from bows. In the dream we were sailing by and watching, and one of the penguin people was actually hit - but it was all faked for the reenactment.

26 September 2012

I'm still here

I've just been neglecting my little blog. The fall has proven to be very, very busy and I don't think things are going to calm down until Christmas. I'm not going to complain, though, because I still have a job to take up all my time and some people don't even have that.

I haven't quite finished writing about my Ontario trip. I got to spend about 12 days at my cabin. The first part of it was with the Core Four and the second part with my BFF, and the third part with my parents and their giant of a puppy, Barkley The Forlorn.

Sad, giant puppy

17 September 2012


As part of my three week vacation, I spent a couple of days in Toronto. One day with my brother (Hurricane Michael) at Wonderland and one day to visit with friends in the city. I hadn't been to Wonderland since the ¾ of the Core Four 30h Reunion Extravaganza two years ago. I really wanted to go this year because I had the time and they have a new coaster I really wanted to try. So my brother got a day off work and we went on the Monday of the last week in August. Since returning from my trip, I got this email from my brother:
"A woman I work with somehow ended up at a function with the guy who designs the rides for Canada's Wonderland (talk about a great job).  He told her that the week we went, historically, is the busiest week of the entire year at the park.  So we got ridiculously lucky."

16 September 2012

Atlantic Canada Saturday

I had an awesome Saturday yesterday. It was a beautiful day - a bit cloudy but mostly sunny. In the early afternoon I went kayaking in St. Margaret's Bay. It was pretty choppy towards the mouth of the Bay. That made for a fun ride, but tough paddling, so we stayed more inland. After that we went swimming at Cranberry Cove, with a beautiful view of Peggy's Cove. I've gone diving there before (lots of giant lobsters), but never just hopped in for a swim. We ran into some divers we knew there who had been out. They said that water was nice - if you were in a wetsuit. We went in without them, and it wasn't that bad. It was a little numbing at first, but it didn't take too long to get used to it. It was the first time this year that I've swam in the ocean.

In the evening we went to a midnight showing of Grabbers as part of the Atlantic Film Festival. It was a fantastic movie - very funny. And, as if always the case with the AFF movies, the audience was great. If you get a chance to see this movie, don't pass it up.

13 September 2012


My dad was in Ottawa recently and apparently he spent a lot of time looking for Laurentian Terrace, a place his aunt lived during the war. It was a home for unmarried women working in the city during the war.  I'd never heard of it, so upon googling I found this in a 2000 book ominously titled Whose National Security? Canadian State Surveillance and the Creation of Enemies:

The aunt in question is the Winifred Moyle mentioned in the book. Fun! Aunt Win was one of my spinster aunts, which may be ironic considering she had a degree in home economics from U of A (Class of 1926, 82 years before me). She worked in the RCAF before working at Laurentian Terrace for almost 20 years, eventually becoming director.

10 September 2012

I've been downgraded to a tropical storm. How embarrassing. But there is hope"[Leslie] will possess high winds for sure, whether it will be at hurricane strength or not, that still remains to be seen." The really good news is that puny little Michael "will likely be pushed northward out of the area by Leslie." Because the maritimes are my territory, bitch. 

09 September 2012


When I was back at my parents' house last month, my dad brought out my old Lego for my niece and nephew to play with. My oldest brother was all, "it's my Lego, I never said you could have it." He then proceeded to spend the entire day playing with it, building shit like this:

07 September 2012

A constant source of disappointment

At least my hurricane is still faster than my brother's hurricane. At least I have that.

Happy Friday!

Today, instead of an comic or a cute picture, I give you hope.

The Liberals said Thursday they will elect their new leader next April. But the result is a foregone conclusion: Justin Trudeau will enter the race and he will win.


I can't sleep, and I got sucked into streaming the DNC. I didn't cry over Gabby Giffords, but I almost did. That was pretty incredible. Speaking of crying, was Biden tearing up? That was weird. I had no idea he was  a good public speaker. The intro video for Obama is narrated by George Clooney. Because of course. It's a very convincing piece. I would totally vote for this guy. And he comes on stage to City of Blinding Lights by U2. And he and Michelle are so cute. Why can't he be Canadian?  Obama believes in climate change. Be still my heart. Okay, maybe it's the sleeplessness, but this speech is really good. I love the foreign policy burns. I'm literally nodding in agreement. Wow.

I want to live in the America in Obama's head. 

05 September 2012

Hurricane Day on Ellie Fish

It should come as little surprise to long-time readers and friends that I place a lot of importance on names. It's the logical consequence of being saddled with a name like "Leslie" your whole life. I like my name right now because I get my own hurricane, but I will shortly go back to disliking it.

I do think it's a nice little coincidence that me and my youngest brother are hurricanes at the same time. That makes me happy in the same way that small-world stories do. And, as an added bit of awesome, I saw this on Hurricane Tracker:

Sounds like me

"Leslie is expected to wobble slowly along a general north-northwestward track for the next 72 hours or so ...." 
Read more at http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/at201212.disc.html#880Jr2WmUDgJ9peQ.99

But not my brother:

"Michael has become a little better organized this morning."
Read more at http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/at201213.disc.html#UvDHmL3Ep8YGlq2C.99

Hurricane Leslie

Welcome back to hurricane season, my friends! I love hurricane season.

I missed J and K, but the L hurricane is afoot. Her name is Leslie. Yeah! What's even better is that my hurricane and my brother's hurricane are totally battling it out for hurricane supremacy.

So far, I'm the fastest. That must mean I win, right?

04 September 2012

Road Trip: Day 2

The second day of the road trip was dreaded by me. It was the day we drove through Montreal. Since I moved to NS in undergrad I have heard nothing but horrible things about how hard it is to drive through Montreal – how crazy the drivers are and  how confusing and poorly labelled the highways are. Well, Oz is a master navigator and driving though Montreal was a breeze (for those of you interested – we took the 40 through the northern part of the city). Quebec City, on the other hand, was less breezy because the exit we wanted to take to connect to the 40 was closed. I didn’t have a proper city map for Quebec City because I had no intention of getting off the highway there, so that caused me some panic. But in the end we got on the right highway – in the right direction to boot, so it was fine.

We didn’t do any touristy stops that day. My French is horrible and Quebec makes me uncomfortable.  I did, however,  buy gas and conduct the entire transaction in French. I am so proud of myself. I believe the exchange went something like:

Me: Bonjour!
Cashier (in French): Good morning. That will be $53.76 please  (or something to that effect)
Me: (displays my Visa to indicate method of payment)
Cashier: (does cashier stuff, hands me the card machine, prints off receipt, hands it to me)
Me: Merci! (leaves the store with chest puffed out with pride).

We got to Ottawa pretty early, just before 3pm. We eventually found the place where Oz was staying, and I headed off to my brother’s place in Kanata.

03 September 2012

Road trip

I mentioned in a previous post that Oz was visiting. The reason for her visit was twofold – to see Halifax for the first time, and to be my road trip buddy on my drive to Ontario for my summer vacation.  I took three weeks off work and planned a fairly comprehensive family-and-friend-visiting-vacation tour of Ontario. A grad school reunion with my closest U of A friends was part of that, so Oz hitched a ride with me.

We didn’t do anything fancy on the drive from Halifax to Ontario (our first destination was Ottawa). We left Dartmouth around 7am on Saturday morning. Our first stop was Second Cup, so I could get coffee and we could get oatcakes for everyone. We stopped for gas outside Moncton, then we stopped for lunch at park in a little town called Meductic in NB. We also stopped in Grand Falls, NB, to look at the titular falls. The signage to the falls failed to work and we got a bit turned around, but we found them eventually. The falls were interesting, but would be more impressive during the spring melt. 

Meductic, NB
Grand Falls, NB
The first day of driving was pretty easy. It rained on and off, we couldn’t seem to escape it.  We ended our day at the Motel Loupi in Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec.  The motel was perfectly fine. I would stay there again. The rooms had coffee makers and fridges, which is a nice perk. It was also in a great location and had a nice view of the town.

29 August 2012

Part of the Problem

I found this little blurb from this past February languishing away among my unpublished posts. 
 According to the cutely accented guest host of the Radio2 morning show, this is the tipping point year for cellphones. This is the year when the number of cellphones will surpass the number of people on the planet. [Insert apropos Battlestar Galactica joke here]. My first thought upon hearing this was that I should have held out just a little longer, so that I wasn't part of the problem. My second thought was that I'm an idiot and had nothing to do with it. 

24 August 2012

Happy Friday!

This post is lazy, sorry. Here's a picture of a stray dog I encountered atop a volcano in Chile.

And while you're here, enjoy this again. Because it never gets old.

21 August 2012

Missed anniversaries

I forgot to commemorate two very important anniversaries: the one year anniversaries of the 7th and 8th times I saw U2 live. It has now been over a year since the last time I saw U2 live and I'm going through withdrawal. We're rapidly approaching the 4th birthday of their most recent album. They need to release a new album and tour again soon, or I might not survive.

18 August 2012

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, yet it surprises some people. (Lewis Black isn’t fooled, though).

10 August 2012

Happy Friday!

In honour of the impending return of Arrested Development, an article on the kind of shit they managed to get away with on network TV.

08 August 2012

Oz is finally honouring her promise to visit Nova Scotia. It's her first time east of Ontario (first time that counts, anyway). This past weekend we did some must-see/do Halifax/NS things. Among them: ride the ferry, eat cinnamon rolls from Mary's Bread Basket, visit old and new markets, taste NS wines, see Lunenburg, taste NS vodka, see Peggy's Cove, taste Dee Dee's ice cream. Also, there was tidal bore rafting. And NS beer. And NS produce. Just lots of food, in general.

While in tourist mode, I've been playing with my new unimpressive point-and-shoot camera. It's got lots of impractical features, like fisheye effect, and "toy camera," and weird vivid colour distortion. Have a look.

Houses in Lunenburg, normal setting.

Houses in Lunenburg, vivid setting.

06 August 2012

Silver & Bronze

Woohoo! Nova Scotia is second and third. Look at these results:

  1. Burntwood/Churchill, Man. 73.4%
  2. Colchester East Hants/Cumberland, N.S. 71.3%
  3. South Shore/South West Nova, N.S. (incl. Yarmouth) 70.2%
  4. Prince Albert Parkland Regional Health Authority, Sask. 69.9%
  5. Nor-Man Regional Health Authority, Man. (incl. Flin Flon) 68.6 %
  6. Prairie North Regional Health Authority, Sask. (incl. North Battleford) 68.5 %
  7. Interlake Regional Health Authority, Man. (incl. Gimli) 68.4 %
  8. Kelsey Trail Regional Health Authority, Sask. (incl. Melfort) 68.3 %
  9. Central Regional Integrated Health Authority, Nfld. (incl. Grand Falls-Windsor) 68.1 %
  10. Sunrise Regional Health Authority, Sask. (incl. Yorkton) 68.1 %

What are they for? I don’t know, let me check:
 “And, the least fit regions, again, by percentage of the population overweight or obese.”
Well, fuck. 

05 August 2012

The Olympics aren’t really doing anything for me this year. I don’t know if it’s because I tend to get more invested in the winter sports, or maybe because I don’t have cable anymore, and the only way to watch events is to stream them and I loathe streaming. They used to interest me, but I seem to now have a growing dislike for the whole thing (which I suffered from in 2008 as well). I mean, the sheer glut of events. Am I supposed to care about all the different weight classes in judo, or the various lengths people run or swim? Who decides that showing off a horse is a sport but baseball isn’t? Why is handball in the Olympics? Is frisbee? Why do some events allow pro athletes and others not? That complaint applies to the winter Olympics as well. What makes the Olympics more important than all the other international competitions all these athletes competed in last year? Clearly, I’m lacking the Olympic spirit this year.

Speaking of Olympic spirit, I have been following the badminton scandal, because holy crap!  How twisted and cynical and medal obsessed are you to strategize to the point where you go to the Olympics and play to loose? How do you play a single round where you don’t play for your life? It’s shameful. But, the disqualification of all those teams meant that Canada’s women got to play in the silver match. That is, they played against Japan for a chance to play the gold medal game against a non-disqualified Chinese team. That is the only event I’ve seen so far, that Silver game, and I caught it by accident because it was playing while I was at the gym the other day. We lost, but it was nice to see those girls (and they looked so young!) get a chance at a Silver. And they pushed the game to three rounds, so good for them. They’ll play for Bonze, now.