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Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

Say what you mean.

I have long been haranguing my children about the importance of written communication.  You know what I mean; spelling and punctuation.  I am the first to admit that I ignore the rules on a regular basis, but my excuse (and I do feel that it is a valid one) is Poetic License.  However, were I to be filling out a job application, or writing a letter On Official Business, I would be able to push aside artistic tendencies in the name of concise, clear communication.  Srsly.  I was overjoyed this morning to read an article in our local paper about concern for the erosion of our language, and the resulting designation of an annual National Puctuation Day (today!).  Apparently this has been going on for several years and I am a latecomer to the party, but it turns out that  I  have been celebrating all along.   Its always infuriated, me that the print media in particular (those champeens of literacy) seems to have fired all the proofreaders,  and each publication seems to rely solely on it’s spellchecker to make sure we understand the message.  When the delivery distracts from the message; theres a problem.  I am saddened to think that this might just be the evolution of the language.  Generalization versus specificity.  It is not necessarily the strongest who survive, but those most adaptable to change.  Ugh.

It should not be cause for celebration when the Saskatoon Star Phoenix correctly differentiates between “its” and “it’s”.  (It’s usually about this time in my rant that Mike offers to buy me a t-shirt that says “Does anal retentive have a hyphen?” )

And yes, I do own a copy of Eats Shoots and Leaves.  So should you.

Happy National Puctuation Day.

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I spoke too soon.  The progress in the bathroom yesterday was all for naught.  Turns out that while the tub was level, the tub deck itself is not.  The tilers can’t get the tile under the tub lip on the far side of the deck.   After much hand-wringing, here’s where we’re at.

The taps must be disconnected (call the plumber), the tub has to be taken out, and the deck has to be dismantled and rebuilt, this time checking for level.

To paraphrase Mike Holmes, why the hell wasn’t it done right the first time?  I am starting to lose my good humour and sense of adventure.   Demolition and reconstruction is going to set back the tilers, which will set back the re-grouting-of-the-floor-ers, which will set back the painter doing her touchups, which will set back the tiling of the front entryway…But what can I do?  If I have a hissy fit, I risk having the contractors drop me to the bottom of the list.  So, I will just bite my tongue and hope that there is some sort of cloud of organization and good workmanship out there looking for a place to land.

We’re doing this on purpose, we’re doing this on purpose, we’re doing this on purpose…

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for many reasons.  At the top of the list today is an issue which doesn’t affect me personally in my life, but it does affect many people I have met through the internet and the fibre community.

The supreme court of California was not able to overturn Proposition 8– you know the one, where GLTB couples cannot be legally married in the state.  Since I have never been involved in this particular kind of discrimination, I will leave it to Amy to sound the Call to Arms.  Please read this, and don’t be afraid.  I promise you that no lightning bolt will reach down and zap you.

Sometimes I just sit here in my insulated cocoon and assume that every one in the world is as lucky as I am.  I have a good life, I am contented, and I sometimes need a kick in the ass to remind me that there are still people out there who can’t have what I take for granted.  Perhaps it’s not enough that I sit and quietly agree with Amy;  maybe a little discussion is in order.  Whether I progress to carrying a sign at a protest remains to be seen, but in the meantime, I’ll do my bit and ask you please to read Amy’s writing, and consider seriously where you stand on the issue.   We’re all just people, after all.

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A quick report on the Neil Young concert.  Sadly, it was not “Acoustic Sensitive Neil” that showed up for the concert.  It was “I am the Grandfather of Grunge Rock Neil”, so the music was a little, shall we say, grungier than for what I had hoped.  He played a couple of his acoustic pieces, but I cannot say that it was my favourite concert of all time.  After the opening band managed to whip the crowd into a stupor, we did have the added benefit of sitting just down from the world’s stupidest stoners.  These guys made Harold and Kumar look like Rhodes Scholars.  In a facility where smoking is not permitted, they had their lighter turned as high as it would go, and yet could not mange to keep the joint lit.  Several tries down the road (and producing just enough smoke that we could tell what they were doing), security noticed the repeated flame and relieved them of the troublesome marijuana.  Off to drink more beer!  There was also a woman sitting on the other side who was talking yelling on her cellphone through a couple of songs, shring the concert with a friend, so the experience was somewhat less enjoyable than it could have been.  (This was a circumstance when Twitter would have been a good idea.  Much quieter.)   Now, they’ve just announced that Fleetwood Mac is coming back, but without Christine McVie, so now we have to decide if that’s a dealbreaker or not.  Mike thinks that Lindsay Buckingham is  more important than McVie, but all my favourite songs they do are hers, so I’m not sure I want to go.  Other opportunities coming to town:  Leonard Cohen (who’s been getting rave reviews) and Celtic Thunder.  I’d like to see Celtic Thunder, but I’d have to go alone, since they’re “too produced” (Mike’s words).  (Like Riverdance wasn’t produced?)  Anyways, there are always opportunities to separate us from our money in the name of damaging our hearing entertainment.

We interrupt this blog to bring you a special opinion piece:  (and really, aren’t my opinions always special?)  Our local Talk Radio channel calls Thursday morning’s call-in show Bug’s Day: the Hour of Rage.  I would like to take this opportunity to Rage about something that Bugs me.  Yesterday’s show featured the question:  Could you do without televeision?  After listening to some of the pompous people calling in, I pose the question:  Why do people claim moral superiority just because they choose not to watch TV?  Is it not just a choice?  I am not weak just because I choose to watch TV with my husband in the evening; I  am knitting at the same time, we are enjoying what we are watching, we talk about it afterwards, we still find time to walk the dogs.  ***We do both read, but usually when the other person is elsewhere.

All this being said, we don’t just watch whatever is on.  There are maybe a half-dozen shows that we watch regularly, dramas and sitcoms mostly,  and Mike tapes a lot of movies that we may or may not watch somtime down the road.  There is precious little “reality” television (it’s only on a long as it takes us to change channels or turn off the box), although Mike does have an affinity for anything with a scoreboard in one corner and a timeclock in the other, and I kind of like the nature and science end of things.

What I’m trying to say is that I do not consider watching television a sign of mental weakness or reduced intelligence.  I have learned a lot from watching TV, and it has opened my mind to a lot of subjects that I otherwise would have dismissed.  If you choose not to have a TV, that’s great!  Just don’t look down your nose at me because I choose to spend time watching  Star Trek reruns and the National Geographic channel in high definition.  You do your thing, I’ll do mine.

We now return you to your regularily scheduled program.

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Customer Service?

In an uncharacteristic fit of organization, Mike shopped for Christmas this year in the middle of December.  I had suggested that a black leather jacket might be in my future, so bless him, off he went to follow directions.  Apparently he thinks I’m still 130 pounds, because the jacket I opened Christmas morning was a tad small.  Knowing that retailers here don’t process returns on Boxing Day, we trotted downtown to find a suitable jacket on the 26th (looking for bargains).  The store where he’d shopped tried really hard (lovely young sales clerk) to help, but there was just one jacket with the sleeves long enough and I didn’t like the way it looked on me.  So, off we trotted to another store, found two jackets (one black, one red (!)) for less than the price of the original, and I went home happy.

The next day, Mike and I tootled off to the mall to return the too-small jacket, where we were informed that the store policy was to allow only 7 days for returns and 14 days for exchanges.  The clerk was snooty, told us “This is a high end store.” (like that should matter; maybe with high end service?)  I asked if there was no allowance made for Christmas gifts, and was told no, the only thing that matters is the date it was purchased.  ???  If I wanted to speak to the manager, I was to come back the next morning.

So, last evening I checked out the Boutique of Leathers (oops, did I put that in writing?) website where it states, yes, there is a 7 day refund policy.  Right under that it says (and I quote) “December Christmas purchases refunds or exchanges must be done by December 31st.”  Now, I did a little poll and all my friends agreed that it sounds like they will make accommodation for Christmas shopping done before December 24th.  I printed off the page, armed myself with my cell phone and corporate headquarters phone number, and away we went this morning.  I insisted that Mike come along, because my first instinct in confrontation is to run away, and my second instinct is to cry.  Hardly constructive.  Well, the manager greeted us by standing by the 7 day policy, and didn’t seem at all fazed by the website printout.  I took out my phone, called Calgary and wandered to the other end of the store.  While I was talking to customer “service” Mike said to the manager “You should be concerned.  She’s very good at this.”  My history would indicate otherwise, but I hit my groove and insisted.  The bottom line is that they made an exception for me, since we have been good customers in the past (2 jackets in 15 years).   I intend to watch the website and see if they make any clarifications about the Christmas policy, but I am still incredulous that there is a retail outlet that doesn’t appear to have special return/exchange policies to allow for Christmas shopping.  When we left the store, we were all smiley, promising to drop in if they get new stock with long sleeves, but it is unlikely that I’ll darken their doors again.  I may also tell everyone who will listen that the Boutique of Leathers has a rather unreasonable return policy.  (oops, did I put that in writing again?)  Even mattress stores give you time to actually use the product and change your mind…Anyways, I’m happy, I have two jackets for the price of one, and Mike exchanged the camera lens I got him for one that ate up the Visa credit from the leather store.  Gotta love consumerism.

All this nonsense aside, we had a lovely Christmas, albeit Geoff-free,  and now I only have to wait a few days before I take down the decorations and re-claim my house.  I spent the last few days knitting a new scarf:

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The stitch pattern came from here:

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Patons pattern from 1983; who says I never use old stuff?  The fibre is Juniper from Sirdar , Mulberry (515).  It was fun to work with, although at 60 metres the scarf took two and half balls.  (Good thing it matches both new jackets.)

Andy was thrilled with his new hat.  It was purchased at a store.

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In my own defence, I could very easily have knit one like the store-bought one, but my time was taken up answering the “fuzzy pink challenge”.

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It looks just as bad in person.

Dominica’s little pink scarf was appreciated:

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and we got nothing for the dogs.  They didn’t seem to care, although Attie did sulk a bit.

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I now have another gift certificate from Prairie Lily thanks to Geoff.  (He organized that all the way from Puerto Rico.)  Now I definitely have to commit to a major project.  What to do, what to do?

Thanks to all who have dropped by my blog in its first year.  I’ve had fun, and intend to continue in 2008.  It’s typical of my timing, though, that I just get going on a blog at the same time everyone seems to be migrating to Ravelry.  I got my invite, but am being a bit stubborn.  I’ll be here if you want to keep checking back.  Happy New Year!

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MYOB

I was out in my front yard the other night digging in my flower bed when I had a visit.  My next-door-neighbors were having a party in the back yard, and one of their guests came out on the driveway for a cigarette.  We chatted about this and that, kids, work, gardening and so on, and he went back to the party.  On his next trip out front, he looked at our driveway and asked “How many people live in your house?”  I answered “Three”.  He said “Three?  and you have three cars?”  I said “Yes.  One for me, one for my husband and one for my son.”  He replied “Well, that’s not very green.  Do you ever take the bus?”  I said no, the bus doesn’t go to where I need to go.  He replied that every third Thursday he takes the bus to work (at City Hall, so of course the busses run there.) and that was his commitment to the environment.  Now, I don’t drive a big vehicle, and I only fill it with gas every two or three weeks.  We do not drive a big SUV (which was the vehicle he was leaning on while he proceeded to lecture me about the environment) and we don’t have any internal combustion toys (you know, motor boat, jet skis, ATV’s).  Even the lawnmower is electric.  I turn off lights when I am not in the room, I recycle paper and metal, we haven’t used paper dinner napkins for years (preferring to wipe our hand on the table cloth.  No no no.  I mean, we use cloth napkins.  Always have, probably always will.) and only have half as much trash to put out as many of our neighbors.  I don’t pollute with cigarette smoke (rather ironic, given the habit of the guy lecturing me), and for the most part, I think we leave a fairly small footprint on the planet.  Sure we could do more, and likely will as time goes on.  I wasn’t actually offended at the time, but the more I thought about it, the more offended I was.  I mean, how does he know what our habits are?  And are they any of his business?  Any decisions I make about being “green” (and I still think that is better applied to Kermit the Frog) will not be made because of some North American celebrity acting like he invented the movement.  (Carbon credits?  What a crock.  I mean, really.  Just get a smaller car and drive it less.)  I do things the way I do because a) I was raised that way, and b) I have made a decision somewhere along the line that makes sense to me.  So, a quick message to the guy with the cigarette:  Butt out.  Butt out your disgusting cigarette, and butt out of my business.  I have nothing to explain to you and nothing to aplogize for.  I will not make suggestions about how if you were truly committed you would take the bus every day, and walk your kids to their activities and light your house with candles.  

I may not have been offended at the time (and I was even pleasant and polite) but apparently I am willing to let it fester and then hold a grudge.  I should have said…

Thanks for listening.  I feel much better now.

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On the flip side…

A while back I wrote about an issue that a friend was having about breaking up with her hairdresser.  At the time, I thought it was all a little silly, but lo and behold, I’ve been ditched!  I dropped in at the salon to buy some hair goop, and gosh darn it, my Hair Guy has left.  The salon gave no details, he left with no notice, and now I have to grow my hair long because I hate the thought of trying to find someone who cut it as well as he did.  I feel abandoned, betrayed, and vulnerable.  How dare he!  It’s not even like he’s just gone to another salon; I think he’s gone to play in a rock and roll band.  I guess I’ll have to start knitting more hats.  What goes around…

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