Saturday, July 21, 2012

With Respect to Messers Barker, Hoppus and Delonge, I Guess this really is growing up.

Anyone born after 1995 is probably not going to get that title, but oh well. Such is Life.

So, I bought a house. *applause*

Yup. Bought a house, and I take possession at the end of next month. I'm just now getting excited about it, mostly because I'm lost in a haze of "Holy mother of Gord, what the hell have I gotten myself into?" and "Sweet merciful Jebus, what all do I have to do?"

I don't do large purchases well, and this is the largest purchase I've ever made. The day my Real Estate agent texted me to let me know the offer had been accepted, I called my mom and cried, because truth be told, I was scared shitless.

(okay, I still am. Writing about this, even, I could pee a little. That might be the coffee, though.)

So, now I have a month of cleaning, organizing, purging and packing ahead of me. But in the end? My own property, my own home, my own BATHTUB (omg, three years with only a shower, you cannot begin to imagine...) my kids each with their own space, not piled one on top of the other. Amazing. It's been a long time coming and yeah, I have to give myself some credit for doing all this on a single income.

Go me!

Today is the Warrior Dash and I am at home doing laundry and organizing the shed (and blogging, apparently) because the illness I was fighting earlier this week ended up being a rather nasty chest infection that still has not entirely gone away. Huge disappointment, you bet. But considering I can't run across my living room without getting winded right now, a giant obstacle race was probably not in my best interest.

I'm still guest blogging over at Feministe this week. There's a pretty good debate going on regarding scent free workplaces right now, and an earlier post about delaying sexual activity in kids got picked up by The Lady Garden, so although it was not without criticism, that's still pretty cool in my books.

oh, and I got tweeted by the Good Lovelies when I wrote to them to ask permission to reprint their lyrics for this post.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sounds Legit...

Okay, I think I may have almost made a telemarketer cry. I honestly, shit-you-not, just had this conversation. We'll call her Lisa.
Me: Hello?
Lisa: Hello, Mrs. Howe?
Me: Formerly, yes.
Lisa: oh, I'm sorry. I'm calling from Pristine Solutions. A few months ago you took a survey with us and we're happy to let you know that you've won a free gift with a value of $150.00
Me: okay.
Lisa: We just need to confirm your address and that you'll be home to receive your gift and answer a few questions. You still live at {redacted}, correct?
Me: For the time being, yes (that's for another post)
Lisa: Okay, someone will be by tonight around 8'clock, does that work for you?
Me: Are they going to try and get me to buy stuff?
Lisa: No, you're not under any obligation.
Me: But are they going to get me to buy stuff?
Lisa: No, we wouldn't want you to buy anything you didn't want or need.
Me: That's not what I asked. I asked if anyone is going to try and get me to buy stuff. Not being obligated to buy stuff isn't the same as not being asked to buy stuff.
Lisa: No, they're just going to ask your opinion.
Me (still skeptical): Okaaaay. So what do I get?
Lisa: It's a gift certificate valued at $150 dollars.
Me: Cool. For what?
Lisa: A business or service in your area.
Me: What kind of business or service?
Lisa: it could be any kind.
Me: You mean I get to pick what I get?
Lisa: No, you get a gift certificate.
Me: A gift certificate for what?
Lisa: $150 from a business or service in your area
Me: Yeah, but which business?
Lisa: You live in (redacted), correct?
Me: Yeah
Lisa: So, it would be a business or service near there.
Me: Yeah, but is it for a restaurant or a hairstylist or welding services? (yeah, Tess, I thought of you)
Lisa: No, it's a gift certificate. I don't understand what you're asking here.
Me: Well, I just want to know what I get for it. If you don't know, you can admit it. It's okay.
Lisa: No, it's a gift certificate. (She's clearly getting flustered, at this point. I'm starting chuckle)
Me: But a certificate for what?
Lisa: $150 for a business or service in your area. I.. I don't know what you want me to tell you.
Me: If you don't know what it's for, it's okay. You can admit it.
Lisa: Well, I don't have it, they have it. It can change from day to day.
Me: so it's a gift certificate but you don't know what for because it's always changing.
Lisa: It's not always changing.
Me: But you don't know what it is. It's okay. You can say it.
Lisa (sighing defeatedly): No.
Me: That wasn't so hard now?
So far, no one has shown. A few years ago, I received a gift of three night's hotel stay in one of about 12 different major tourist cities. Airfare wasn't included so I never ended up using it. But at the time, all I had to do was sit through a vacuum demonstration. Now, I have seen some of the demos that my parents sat through when I was kid, and I tell ya, vacuum sales men can be Wiley and vicious motherfuckers. This guy, however, was the coolest. He comes in, introduces himself, and just before he launches into his spiel he pauses (let's call him Ted)
Ted: Okay, level with me. Do you have ANY interest in buying anything from me?
Me: Honestly?
Ted: Yeah.
Me: Not. A. Chance.
Ted: I'll tell you what. I get paid regardless of whether you buy something or not, so let's not waste each other's time. Here's your gift certificate, have a lovely evening.
After that, I almost wanted to buy a vacuum. Here's to you, Awesome Ted, wherever you may be.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I guess this is as good a time to get sick as any.

Waaaaaugh. *hack, koff*

I'm sick.

Can grown-ups get croup? Because this is what it feels like. Croupy. At any rate, I started feeling off Friday morning when I woke up all phlegmmy and though to myself, "Hmm. Funny, I don't remember taking up smoking again."

By Friday evening I was hacking and getting chills so I doped myself up good and tried to get as much sleep as I could in hopes of being in half decent shape to attend my Nanny's 80th birthday party the following day. I struggled through that, eschewing hugs and handshakes, feeling fairly awkward as I greeted family members from a distance and tried to avoid breathing on people as much as humanly possible.

In all, I'm glad I went, as my extended family is a fun, rather nutty, bunch and it was well worth it to see the surprise on Nan's face when a few of her oldest friends made he trek. She had been expecting only my mom, my uncle and his family, and my sister and I. My kids were supposed to be with their dad camping but when I found they would be camping about 15 minutes from Nanny's house, I arranged to borrow the girls for a few hours.

I held out for a few hours but around dinner time I was fading fast, so we said our goodbyes and I dropped the girls with their dad and went home to sleep.

And Sleep.

And watch a movie, and sleep some more. I may have coughed and moaned and sweat a lot in their. With the kids gone, and The Guy For Whom I Have Not Come Up With Good Blog Alias™ away working, there thankfully hasn't been much to do but sleep and hack and cough and moan and sweat.

Well, there's one other thing; my realtor came over today with papers for me to sign. I've put an offer in on a house. I just have to wait and see if they accept it.

Talking about pants-shittingly exciting/scary.

Speaking of pants-shittingly scary, next weekend I'm running in the warrior Dash. I sincerely hope this cold/croup/creeping death I have doesn't take too much out of me before then.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Daniel Tosh is not being censored.

A day late, a buck short, I know.  This is all old news by now.  Whatevs, brah.

But I couldn't let this one pass.

Daniel Tosh, the so-called 'comedian' that I fully admit I hadn't really known of or paid any attention until this week, got called out at one of his shows for saying rape jokes are funny.

For the record, they're not.

He responded by making what have has been interpreted by some as a not-so-veiled threat and by others as a joke.  I'm kind of in the threat camp on this one.
After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment. Then, he says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…”
I've laughed at some pretty wrong and fucked up stuff in my time, and this didn't even make me giggle a bit. Not even in that "omigod-i-so-shouldn't-be-laughing-at-this-I'm-a-bad-person-and-obviously-going-to-hell" way.

So as it happens, this girls post has gone viral and a bunch of people have called Tosh an asshole, and a bunch of people have come to his defence, claiming free speech etc etc.

People, I cannot stress this enough.

Criticism is not Censorship.
Saying "Don't be an asshole," is not Censorship.

Saying "This thing you said, it's shitty and hurts people" is not Censorship.

Criticism is not Censorship.

Saying "I'm not coming to your performances or watching your show any more, you rape-apologizing, unfunny assbag." is not censorship.

Telling sponsors and advertisers "Hey, I'm going to stop using your services or buying your products if you keep giving money to this rape-apologizing, unfunny assbag," is not censorship.

Bringing attention to the actions of an unfunny, rape-apologizing assbags through various medium and suggesting that "Hey, maybe supporting unfunny rape-apologizing assbags is bullshit really fucking hurtful and erases victims and perpetuates a culture where rape is normalized and acceptable and seen as a joke," is not censorship.

Criticism is not Censorship.

To the best of my knowledge, no one is advocating jailing, deporting or otherwise sanctioning Daniel Tosh.  Governing bodies have not stepped in and taken away his show.  If I'm wrong, then yes, that is censorship.

But the same people who are saying that we are taking away Daniel Tosh's right to be an asshole free speech are silencing the victims, or potential victims who are trying to say "Hey, that shit is not funny."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

700km, an Off-Roading PT Cruiser and the Faint Sound of Banjos, part 3 (the not-so-dramatic conclusion)

Part One

Part Two

So it looks like this, the third part in my "What I Did A Few Weeks Ago" trilogy will likely be the shortest of the series, as my memory is getting increasingly fuzzy. But, hey, I don't want to leave anyone hanging. In other news, holy crap! TWO posts in one week. How about that??

So Sunday we woke up by the faint light of the sun rising over the blueberry stand across the highway, groggy and stiff from trying to stay comfortable in the back of the Cruiser. Not an easy feat, as he's not one to be scrunched up to sleep and although i generally tend to curl up in the fetal position to sleep, I was trying to remain somewhat conscious of not kicking or hitting the poor man in my sleep. Which I am told, I have a tendency to do.  Sleeping me is quite violent.

This is possibly the shittiest sunrise picture ever taken.  I took this one.
Watching the condensation slowly evaporate, we had a pre-breakfast breakfast of coffee from the Tim Hortons in whose parking lot we spent the night and glorious sweet chelsea buns from the bakery in Bancroft we had visited the previous day. Finishing up, I got tired of watching condensation evaporate (because yes, that IS as boring as it sounds) and rather unsuccessfully tried to dry it up with my t-shirt.

Pre-Breakfast Breakfast.  Tim Hortons, I want some royalties for this.
After getting on the road, our first stop for the Morning was at Cordova Falls, which is just outside of the little mining town of Cordova Mines. Cordova Falls, to date, has probably been the least Impressive of our waterfall hunting excursions, but that may be a result of it being both a dammed (as opposed to damned) waterfall and it being later in the season. I will say I was impressed seeing the pennstock for the dam. Impressed that it had not burst, as this old wooden contraption looked about 60years old and was sprouting leaks all over, some of which had been lovingly and not-at-all-half-assedly patched up with various bits of wood, some of which were jammed right into the leaky spots.

That's Reassuring.
Once we had fully explored the Upper and Middle Falls, we decided to skip the Lower Falls and head to town to see if we could actually locate THE Cordova mine. The town of Cordova Mines, Ontario is a fairly small one, almost a ghost town now. We knew the mine had to be about 4km from the dam we had just visited, as that was what the sign at the dam had told us.

If you can't trust a historical plaque, who can you trust?

One trail that we found almost took us all the way there, we discovered upon checking the maps at home. It started out near a small community hall, the type with a park and picnic benches and tables under shady trees, the type of place one could envision town picnics being held generations before. We braved the path as far as Petey would take us, at one point traversing a ground level river crossing. But beyond this we found a heavy gate with a variety of "No Tresspassing" signs. Later we would find out that what we were looking for was just on the other side.

Those aren't puddles.. that's the river creeping across the path.
...Just in case you didn't believe me.
Giving up on finding the mine, we headed to Peterborough for Actual-Breakfast and to see the Peterborough lift locks.  I can't remember all the ins and outs of how these locks actually work.. it has something to do with water displacement is all I recall.  I'm going to let the wonder that is Wikipedia fill all the dirty details in for you and just say that they were impressive and cool to watch.. we got there just as the first boat of the day was crossing.

See? Impressive.
Breakfast was had at one of GFWIHNCUWAGBA's (okay, acronyms clearly aren't an option here) favoured establishments.  Good potatoes, good eggs.. toast was a little too dark, bacon too crispy.  Good coffee and I got to find out just what in the hell 'Beaver Balls' were.

Turns out, they're basically like Beaver Tails (which I think may be known to people in other countries as Elephant Ears) but in ball form.  The More You Know.  At least they aren't some bizarre Fear-Factor inspired delicacy.  Although I still say that eating bull testicles would have been child's play had Joe Rogan just battered and deep-fried them.

However, I digress.

This was my first ever visit to Peterborough (with the possible exception of visiting my grandfather in hospital shortly before his passing, but that may have been Bancroft hospital) so he took me on a bit of a tour around the downtown and through some of the riverfront parks.  Having been up since about 6am we had made fantastic time to get to Peterborough, look around and still have time to visit my Nanny on the way home.  We got hit with the rain about 40 minutes before Nanny's house, after a weekend of otherwise lovely weather.  So that was lucky.


In other news, I'm making a concerted effort to post more.  I've missed it.  I kind of put myself on hiatus writing at Different Paths, Same Destinations when I ran out of fucks to give in regards to my weight-loss efforts. I get the feeling I'm not the only one on a break.  Hopefully the other girls will come back and start posting again.  But we all have lives, and busy ones at that.

My posts here will probably focusing on my day-to-day stuff for the next little bit as I will be saving some of my social-issues ranty type stuff for a two-week guest blogging stint at Feministe (*geekyfangirlsquee*).

Say it with me, Sally Field.  "THEY LIKE ME!"
I'm ridiculously honored to have been asked to submit.  Like, stupidly so.  Like being asked to the cool girls house for a sleepover.  Except I get to write a lot.  So look for my posts over there during the last two weeks of July.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

700km, an off-roading PT Cruiser and the faint sound of banjos part 2 (NOW WITH PICTURES!)

Wow. I'm really sucking out at this regular-blogging thing. Looking at part two of my mini-road trip post and it's been two weeks already.

I've been trying like hell to get some stuff done today and it's just not happening so I figure I'll blog a bit and completely unapologetic in my utter laziness today and then stress later when I don't have shit for time to get stuff done.

Sound like a plan? Thought so.

So after leaving Musky Bay, we got back in the car and headed for Egan Chute, which is a collection of falls in an inactive provincial park surrounded with old mines and quarries.

The area is known for a wide array of mineral deposits and the Rock Jamboree is a big thing every year. Funnily enough, tourist sites encourage rock collectors to the area but The parks department really really don't want you to do that, because of the eventual degradation of the area from people chipping away at the cliffs and caves and whatnot. It's not cool.

Oh, here's the road we had to go down to get to the chute.  Original 100 series highway.. this is proof positive that 'Paved Road' and 'Sketchy as Fuck Road' are not mutually exclusive.

"Do you hear banjos? I hear banjos."
I had made previous allusions to my vague fear of heights. I can stand at the top of the CN Tower and look straight down withougt blinking an eye, but I'm not so hot with climbing.. Especially climbing DOWN stuff. So Guy For Whom I Have Not Come Up With A Good Blog Alias™ got to be witness to me having a full on panic attack trying to scale down a loose dirt path with a steep drop on one side after stupidly trying to follow after he says "I'm going down here, you don't have to follow me.".

Because, you know, I'm a sport.

Harrowing, but totally worth it.  This is me getting my heart rate back to normal.
Got down eventually, with much whimpering and crying and shaking. Thankfully, the scenery was well worth my sheer terror and the climb back up after looking around was much easier an quicker. At the end of the chute was a pond and a small sandy beach so I was inclined to get the kit off and go for a swim. It was glorious, although I decided to come in when it was pointed out that the current was still strong enough to carry me off my path. The sand in the water was flecked with bits of what may have been fools gold but it sparkled amazingly when you stirred up the dirt.

We made a few attempts to locate some of the old mines in the area, but since we were losing light and the bugs were coming out (after I pulled about six dead deer flies from my hair) it was time to press on and find somewhere to sleep for the night. Somewhere came in the form of a Tim Horton's parking lot in Madoc. We had originally stopped for coffee in Kaladar but the only coffee we found was a gas station Country Style with a self serve carafe that looked a safe bet to have been sitting there since morning. So on to Madoc we went, drinking coffee and discussing the best part of the parking lot set Petey for for the night while we slept in the back, unnoticed by passers-by.