Thursday, June 30, 2005

Gone Fishing

An early "Happy Canada Day" to those Canadians out there. And a very early "Happy Independence Day" to all my American neighbours.

We're off to go camping and fishing for the long weekend. I'll return to my regularly scheduled programming on Wednesday.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Free Falling

There are certain things that you might do as a small child that you learn not to do as you get older. Like soil your pants or pick your nose in public. For girls of a certain age, going without a bra in public is also on the list.

My sister, who calls Banff her home is in town right now. As it is still snowing on the mountain there, she has very few opportunities to go swimming in a lake. So, last night we drove to a beach on Lake Huron that isn't more than 25 minutes from our home.

The water was beautiful. We swam out until it was quite deep and just tread water for the good part of an hour. There are few things I enjoy more than swimming in a lake. It is the main reason I aspire to own a piece of waterfront property and a simple dock some day. Glorious.

As we swam back to shore, however, something occurred to me. I had given my sister my only bathing suit and had chosen to wear a t-shirt and an old pair of Arthur's swimming trunks in the water, myself. As I emerged from the water, I realized that I had worn my sports bra in, too. It was soaking wet. I had no dry bra to change into. I had to do the UNTHINKABLE. I went braless.

If we had simply been driving straight home, that wouldn't have been a concern. But, we walked up the main street of the little town and stopped for ice cream (because that is what you do at the beach). My girls were happily bouncing around, free of their 20-year bondage.

At first, I did what any well-endowed braless woman would do: I crossed my arms in front of my chest. But, it's hard to eat ice cream that way. I realized two things:
  1. I didn't know any of these people, so what did it matter if my breasts jiggled around a little under my shirt.
  2. It's REALLY quite comfortable to be free.
I'm not saying I'm going to burn all my bras, but I've got to say that taking the girls for a walk without a leash was pretty liberating. I might just do it again some time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Speed Cubin'...OK, Just Cubin'

One of the great perks of my job is that I get to spend a few days every week just looking through tech e-zines. Whilst spinning through the ether of the Net, I came across a Wired article about how Speed Cubing (i.e. solving the Rubik's Cube) really fast is back "in." It also mentioned that there are many sites that publish algorithms for solving the cube.

I'm a lover of puzzles. So, this article made me want to dig out the old Rubik's Cube and try to solve it. But, I couldn't find the cube. I searched through the kid's stuff in the basement, in all of the closets, in my junk drawers (yes, I have more than one), and even went through my children's closets. It was to no avail. Finally, I called upon my secret weapon. I pronounced that whoever found the Rubik's Cube first could have $2. Frankie found the thing inside 5 minutes! That kid is SOOOO motivated by cash that I'm starting to get worried. He's going to be the kid who bunjee jumps off the school because someone said they'd give him $100.

Anyway - I have to confess that I've never been able to solve the thing before. I remember watching That's Incredible! when I was a kid, and staring in awe as the speed cubers solved the cubes in under a minute. I was never that kid.

Thankfully, there are some really good beginner sites on the Internet now that walk you through the strategy of solving the cubes, and what to look for as you go. It's pretty fun. The first time, it took me quite a while to solve (I don't like to blame my tool, but my cube is a cheap ripoff that doesn't turn very well).

Last night, I triumphantly solved the cube and showed everyone in the house. Not one minute after I solved it, Benjy grabbed it and scrambled it again. [Sigh].

The good news is, I've been able to repeat the process, and now it's become something of an obsession. Once I've mastered the beginner's techniques, I plan to start trying the intermediate algorithms that help you solve the cube in under 30 seconds.

For now, I'm just happy that I can finally say I have solved the Rubik's Cube.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Mapping the Great Gender Divide With Lego

As I watch my children create grand and glorious concoctions with their 6L bin of Lego (with the odd Megablock thrown into the fray), I can’t help but notice that the chasm between male and female interests begins so early.

My son works with a frenzied passion to create an elaborate (if somewhat impractical) galactic space cruiser, replete with its own armada of nimble single-man fighters and intricate weapons systems.

My daughter, on the other hand, is bent on putting together a small abode for her homeless Polly Pockets girls. The sheer number of powder rooms that she feels are necessary to keep peace in the residence is of interest. So are the closets. One is bigger than the paltry kitchen she has designed.

And so it begins. The Great Gender Divide. Boys build spaceships and girls build houses. My son wants to explore. My daughter wants to nest. My son wants excitement. My daughter wants amenities. My son craves risk. My daughter craves greater closet space.

I had no idea it started so early.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

My colleague G sent this, and it was too good to pass up:

Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries
Brought to you by Human Events Online, The National Conservative Weekly.

  1. The Communist Manifesto
  2. Mein Kampf
  3. Quotations from Chairman Mao
  4. The Kinsey Report
  5. Democracy and Education
  6. Das Kapital (Marx should feel honored for getting two mentions)
  7. The Feminine Mystique
  8. The Course of Positive Philosophy
  9. Beyond Good and Evil
  10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
Hmmm. If I had to pick the all time most harmful book ever created, I'd have to say it was the Bible. In terms of the number of people who've been alienated or killed in the name of God, I think that book's got a corner on the market.

In good conservative fashion, however, it made the top of the Ten Books Every Student Should Read in College list. I don't know about you, but I was certainly reading a lot of Job and Leviticus when I was a sophomore.