tidyin’, fixin’, payin’, all the while livin’ off plastic
- Income taxes filed. Some tidying was required in order to find all the necessary paperwork. I know it’s ages before the deadline, but Catherine needs it early for her US taxes.
- Noticed the last two water bills were double what they should have been. A $3 flapper valve for the loo should sort that. You’d never get that with a British syphon flush …
- One of the neighbours just got a Linksys wireless router (with no encryption and default passwords, no less), so I had to rename and rechannel ours. Most hassle was getting the WET54G wireless bridge to talk to the new location. It didn’t help that it had the oldest version of the firmware in the world, plus it kept trying to rejoin the neighbours’ network.
- Braved IKEA. I now have a basement server/printer rack fashioned from multiple Rast bedside tables screwed together.
- Opened up the outside tap, now that the threat of -20Â°C weather is gone for the year.
- Paid many, many bills, some of which were routed from their mulching sleep while I wasÂ looking for tax paperwork.
- Joined worthy societies like FOE and Greenpeace.
- Saw Sharkwater. You should, too.
- My new Interac card is less than interactive. I’m sure I managed to get it to work once, but now it’s gone dead. This means a trip to the Honkers & Shankers on Spadina, always a joy …
Jetlag is bad, but all is well. Canadian Affair are pretty good for a budget airline.
Most of the eentsy platies made it. They were hiding in the water sprite, which is now the size of a lettuce.
Now to sort through the 268 pictures I took …
We are troubled by water snails, so Mike at Finatics suggested some clown loaches. We now have four Chromobotia macracanthus zooming around, and they’re the only ones that’ll stand up to the algae eaters.
And I get to say loach again: loach!
We lost one of the platies last night. I couldn’t see anything wrong with it; its eyes and scales were still bright, but it was definitely dead. The water’s clean, and has very low nitrite and ammonia levels.
Poor wee fish.
say no to NO2
clean water, happy fish; checked the nitrite and ammonia levels, and they’re way low. The water’s sparkly clear, so I think things are slowly settling down in the tank.
about the only place
The pier is about the only place in Goderich that you can’t see a “Go Kati Go!” sign.
While I write this, I am being observed by a young gull. A phalarope bobs around the breakwater rocks.
I spent most of yesterday setting up the aquarium. It’s an 120l one, so it’s a lot bigger and heavier than anything I’ve worked with before. It’s been running since then, getting the water ready, and I put in a couple of plants today. Real plants, that is; not the plastic ones that came with the tank.
The tank’s already got a couple of denizens; some tiny snails that were lurking on the plants. I don’t think they’re anything to freak out about yet. If they’re still alive in the morning, at least I know the water’s not completely toxic.
The biggest problem has been making sure the heater’s working. Today it’s been hotter in the house than the tank, so I don’t know if the set-point’s wrong.
Steve Mann‘s done it again: the FUNtain.
Though totally different in scope, it reminds me of a device I saw at a street fair in Glasgow. This was a bank of drainpipes, arranged in a circle. One end of each pipe had a pressure washer head with a flat nozzle played across it, and the other end was stopped at just the right length to play a note. The pressure washer triggers were arranged as a keyboard, and there was a (laminated against water damage) music book on the console. You could play simple (if very loud) tunes.
I’ve never seen such a device since then.
Energy Saving Tips for Canadians, #1: a name thing
Canadians are remarkably profligate in their energy use, and I think I know why. It’s not to do with the oft-cited scale of the country, the size of our houses, our cold winters or our hot summers, it’s something simpler than that; it’s what we call our electricity.
Power here is generally known as hydro, and with it comes images of tree-lined rivers with bears happily fishing for salmon. Local electricity companies tend to have that watery thing in their name: Toronto Hydro, Hamilton Hydro, London Hydro (Crieff Hydro is something quite different, though). Some happy green images, eh?
I propose that we stop using the term hydro, and replace it with the snappier smog belching, nuke leaking, only fractionally hydro. It’d certainly make yer average Kathy or Doug drop their double-double (or donut, or dumaurier) when they got their smog belching, nuke leaking, only fractionally hydro bill in. Energy use would plummet, and at no cost to anyone!
the mayor is back in town (or will be)
Mayor McCA is touring in Canada soon!
May 4-Ebar Guelph ON May 5- The Jane Bond. 004 Princess St, Waterloo ON May 6- Music Gallery- The Over The Top Festival Toronto ON (advanced tics recommended for this one). May 7- Casbah. Donut Rock City (Hamilton) ON, May 8-10- TBA May 11- The Paramount. Moncton NB May 12- World Cafe 2412 Agricola St , Halifax NS May 13- Gus' Pub 2605 Agricola St, Halifax NS May 13-17- TBA
I (heart) languagehat
languagehat, on begging the question:
This is one of those issues that is catnip to the adolescent language-lover but which a sensible person grows out of. I too used to enjoy tormenting people with the “truth” about the phrase, but I eventually realized that, whatever its origins … I had never seen or heard the phrase used “correctly” except by people making a point of doing so (cf. “hoi polloi”); in current English usage, “beg the question” means ‘raise the question,’ and that’s that. I got over it …
[T]his … is a sign that the language has sailed on, leaving wistful archaists treading water and clutching at the stern.
EcoBunk Unplugged: the 15th Annual EcoBunk Awards
the 15th Annual EcoBunk Awards
For advertising excellence in confusing the public & compromising the environment.
Our annual fundraiser and comedy show pokes fun at the most outrageous corporate green advertising of 2005. Sometimes we even point the finger at ourselves. We present nominated ads under nine different categories and reveal the winner. The laughter lasts for two full hours.
Of course, we donâ€™t actually send awards to the winning companies.
Come celebrate with us! Ecobunk is a popular and favourite event among the environmentally-minded in Toronto, Waterloo and points beyond.
Thursday, December 8th, 2005
423 College Street
Show starts at 8:00pm
Doors & Cash Bar opens at 6:30pm
To reserve your seat(s) call TEA 416-596-0660
*** Note we are asking for prepayment this year and can accept credit cards or cheques. ***
Don’t miss the event this year!
I’ll be there. Will you?
we’re shite and we … invented the modern world
(a rant for St Andrew’s Day)
It must have been great to be part of the Scottish Enlightenment. This wee country seemed to blossom, from a muddy backwater to a world leader in economics, philosophy, mathematics and engineering.
And yet, for the average Scot, all that was a long time ago. All it seems we can manage now is to churn out neds by the million. So how did we get from the place described (rather breathlessly) in Arthur Herman’s How The Scots Invented The Modern World to the place where the football fans chant “We’re Shite, And We Know We Are.“?
Urban disenfranchisement of the formerly agrarian workforce, perhaps? Who can say. We even chose the darkest, grimmest part of the year for our national day (hint: St Jean-Baptiste would make a smashing national day …). So, have a happy St Andy’s, get properly munted, and wha’s like us, eh?
What’s with the Council of Canadians, eh?
Every couple of months, the Council of Canadians sends me a large and visually unappealing (1986 called; they want their typewriter font back) mailing, ranting about how those pesky Americans keep stealing our water.
Close reading of the mailing (which is hard, given the woeful typography) shows that the initiatives being railed at are either:
- run by Canadian companies, or
- are part of legislation voted for by Canadians.
Like most environmental things, Canada has an appalling record of looking after its abundant water. I think we think that the rest of the world thinks better of us than they do, or maybe even frankly cares about Canada.
I’m a bit worried by the CoC’s use of the n-word — nationalist — since it has unpleasant connotations, like the BNP and SNLA. Also, at least half of the mailing could be summed up as The Maude Barlow Fanzine, with only slightly lower production quality than the average zine.
And anyway, pesky Americans haven’t been stealing our water. Catherine hasn’t been sneaking any more out of the house than usual …
all around the lakes
Had an impromptu visit to Port Burwell today to fix a cranky cell modem. It was also my first experience of driving a stick shift — and not just any stick shift, one with 400Kclicks on it — on the wrong side of the road. It was weird, but since I neither wrecked the car nor hit anything, I think I got the hang of it.
Anyway, no trip to Burwell is complete without a visit to the Lighthouse Restaurant for fresh fried lake perch. While I was there, I got chatting to a couple from Chicago who were working on their plan to cycle round a Great lake each summer. By doing this, they were hoping to appreciate the scale of these huge bodies of water. Neat plan.
One day, when I’m a Celebrity Windfarm Designer with my own television show, I’ll take a summer off to go round Lake Erie.
Goslings making the most of any water at Kennedy Commons