Greetings from Spockgirl Musings, where logic rules, but the frailties of
human nature, genetic inadequacies and hormonal imbalances wreak havoc.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

At the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo


Further to my previous post, which I highly recommend you view for the links therein, this is one of the other items I found whilst "YouTubing". It is just one of the many performances at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which would be very cool to see in person, but alas, I must settle for it online... sad I know. So here is the Swiss "Top Secret Drum Corps". I have said before that I have many interests, but now I think a better way to say it would be that I have many interests and I appreciate many things. This by far outdoes drill teams, stepping and ...

I wanted to do something totally different for my last post of the month, sort of as an exclamation point after all the changes I've made to the blog since I began. Hope you take a look-see.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Being Canadian means something darn it


I remember in my younger days going tubing, which, if you are unfamiliar, is when you take an inner tube filled with air, and go floating down a river, rapids or not. I could already swim by the time I tried this, but I also knew to respect the water, to respect the river, regardless of how calm it might seem. This wasn't something someone had to teach me, it was something that I knew. A few years down the road, a teenage boy I knew died in the same river, doing the same thing, having ventured where it was both dangerous and unpredictable. In life, as in the river, nothing is predictable, whether you are reckless or cautious. I suppose the best we can do is be careful.

Sorry, I didn't mean to go off on that tangent. That was intended to be a simple segue into this: Today, I went tubing again, but hardly. I went YouTubing on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I don't quite remember where I started, but somehow, I ended up finding this:
and this:
A British view on Canadian fallen soldier please, in addition to watching, please read the words and follow it to the end. It makes you proud, but breaks your heart.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Just do....


We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.

Eleanor Roosevelt


No.... try not.... just do.

Yoda


Just do it.

Nike ad campaign


This post was inspired by three amazing people whom I do not know but from what they have written.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Casablanca Lily


I have just this one Casablanca Lily in my garden, which bore three big beautiful blooms this year. It doesn't quite fit in all alone next to the large white Hydrangea and Phlox (David), but I haven't been able to come up with a better place yet. It is a stunning flower, and I have read that it has an "irresistible" and "intoxicating" fragrance, however I have not had the pleasure of same..... it is one of the flowers that I cannot smell.

Flowers, together with their unique beauty and fragrance, also have meanings or sentiments attached to them. The Casablanca Lily is Celebration. It does seem fitting....

Although a flower's life is fleeting, we admire it while it is with us, but we do not forget its beauty when it is gone.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To honour the memory of:


Lance Corporal Tom Keogh. He would have celebrated his 25th birthday today. His 25th birthday on the 25th day of this month. I have no personal connection to this fallen soldier, but I feel compelled to pay my respects to him. Because this may seem odd to those who know me, and in fact to those who don't know me, I will explain how this came about.

Back at the beginning of the year, I had been googling and gobbling up information regarding one Myles Keogh, a young Irishman who had served in the American Civil War, then had moved west to serve with the Seventh Cavalry, where he eventually died fighting in the Battle of Little Bighorn. Yes... the battle made famous by George Armstrong Custer. There is much more to Myles' story, but that is not the reason for this post. I was intrigued by some correspondence between Myles and his brother Thomas in Ireland at the time when Myles was in active service with the Union army, and I had at some point googled Thomas Keogh as well. There was a bit, but the only thing I remember seeing specifically is that in the current news that particular day, a British soldier named Tom Keogh had been killed in Afghanistan. I do not know if there is any direct or distant familial connection between the two men. All I know is that I recall being stricken by comments about his character and person, and I distinctly remember seeing his birthdate of August 25, 1985. I remembered it again today and could not let it pass.

Maybe it is simply my memory for numbers, or maybe it is purely coincidence, but for whatever reason, he is now embedded in my memory.

So, whether you think this odd or not, I raise my glass in his honour, to all those who have ever fallen, to all those still serving there and everywhere, to those who have made it back, many with personal battles yet to fight, and to those at home who care for, love them, and support them.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Logic, the Apple Cart and Harleys


Logic has told me since I was a child, don’t upset the apple cart. After 9x years of school and subsequent 9x +y years of work at the same job, as well as x years on a business of my own, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps I should have screwed logic. It wasn’t my apple cart, they weren’t my apples.... but I made a darn fine pie for someone..... Perhaps I should have shaken the cart, kicked it.... knocked it over? But logic tells me even now that I would have bruised the apples or damaged the cart, and I still wouldn't want to be a party to that. Oh well... it doesn't matter now.... Even if I could summon the strength to knock the cart over, I wouldn’t be able to afford paying for the damaged apples or the cart anyhow. Sad, but true.

So.... pushing the apple cart to the side, I see a row of Harleys lined up along a sidewalk, and the evil little voice on my right shoulder whispers “go ahead, do it.... just try to push them over.” Logic on the left screams “Noooooo....” Well.... I doubt now that I would have the gumption to even consider it, let alone do it, nor the strength to push them over, and.... even if I could, I wouldn’t be able to run away fast enough.

So you see....logic always wins.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Introduction to Metallica


Of the music that I used to listen to just out of high school, Metallica is one of the bands that I still have great fondness for after all these years. I saw them in concert twice in the 90s (when I was stilll going to concerts), stuck with them through their experimental stage (Load and to an extent Reload), and was pleasantly surprised when they found their centre again with St. Anger and Death Magnetic. I would have liked to write some sort of long tribute to them, however I will forego that for now.

As I was doing some editing today, I noticed that I had written the words "sad, but true" (name of one of their songs) at the end of a paragraph, and that is what lead me to this post. For whatever reason, I went online to peruse the Metallica universe, and in doing so was brought back to one of my favourite songs "Nothing Else Matters". Yes, it is a ballad, but no, I was not, and am not, just appreciative of their "softer" stuff.

To make this a little more interesting, I also wanted to show you what their music has spawned. You might want to listen to it in this order... or not... your choice:
Eight year old boy
Four Finnish cellists

So this concludes your introduction to Metallica. Mine, so many years ago, was with their song "Battery", which by the way, I can barely remember now.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A New Day


With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.


Eleanor Roosevelt

Even though at times you might feel like a wet noodle.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Logic v Emotion II - Tennis


I started playing tennis again after not doing so on a regular basis for almost two years. Whilst I was hitting backhands against the backboard, I was, in my mind, doing a brief comparative study between my tennis ability, or lack of it, to Logic and Emotion.

My backhand is better than my forehand. It is reliable. It has balance, structure, discipline, control. I therefore equate my backhand to Logic. The more balance you have, the better structure. The better structure you have, the more discipline. The more discipline you have, the better control. The more control you have, the more power you can generate. Backhand = Logic = Powerful.

My forehand, on the other hand (pardon the pun), is my weaker shot. It is unreliable. It fluctuates. This being so, I equate my forehand to Emotion. There are too many positions my arm can move to. Too many options. I can generate power even if my feet are positioned wrong. I can mishit even if my stance is correct. Either way, at any given time, my forehand can show good form, but still be weak, or can be slightly sloppy and still be as potent as my backhand. The clincher is that if hit right, it blows away my backhand, hands down. Forehand = Emotion = Potent.

On the other hand, either way, I get to hit the shit out of a ball. (Pardon my language.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Walk in the Park

Couldn't decide which one.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When in Rome

My posts lately have been so....full of..... words. To that I shall say, just be glad I don't write about everything that's on my mind. That being said, here's some lighter fare.... a movie review.

I hadn't watched any movies in a while, so when this one came out, I figured it would be an easy to watch, sweet, light-hearted, no-brainer romantic comedy. Well.....it was, BUT, what a pleasant surprise indeed. It made me laugh...yes... seriously laugh, thanks to the writing, provided by David Diamond and David Weissman, and the performances of the leads, Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel, as well as an amazing supporting cast, and I mean amazing. It gives new meaning to "A Midsummer Night's Dream". There was however one scene which involved bad acting, bad directing, or perhaps a bit of both. It was just plain odd.

Now what can I say about Josh Duhamel. Mr good-looking tough guy from Transformers I and II is absolutely endearing playing charming, clumsy and funny, Nick Beaman. Then there is Bobby Moynihan as his best buddy, Puck, who is hilarious, with the few, but memorable lines that he has. Did I mention the supporting cast? Angelica Huston (she plays witchy so well), Danny De Vito (lovestruck fool? no problem), Don Johnson (looking a lot older and.... greazzzy), Dax Shepard (hilariously cheezzzy), Jon Heder (actually looks good in a tux, and in eyeliner), and a few lesser knowns who steal the scenes in which they were placed so well.

A clue that this wouldn't be your normal, everyday romantic comedy is that it is directed by Mark Steven Johnson, who was the writer and director of..... Ghost Rider and Daredevil. So, all in all, this movie was funny and sweet with just enough physical comedy and... action too.... to make it quirky enough to keep this Spockgirl.....amused....ok so I was more than amused.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Girl in the Other Room


I have been listening to Diana Krall for many years now and had never really entertained the thought of writing about her until fairly recently. Prior to a few years ago, I played her music on hot summer nights or cold winter evenings and that was about it. It wasn't until a major change in work venue after twenty years that I started listening to her, Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf during the daytime hours. Can you say relaxing?

I like a wide variety of music and greatly appreciate subtle nuances as well as loud, in your face boldness, and almost anything in between. I have used the term "comfort music" before and will apply it again to the work of Diana Krall and the jazz standards for which she has become so well-known for adding her own unique voice to.

Way back in 2004 she released an album titled "The Girl in the Other Room". For whatever reason, I recall that I just could NOT listen to any of the songs all the way through, and I couldn't figure out why, until a couple years ago. It was on a cold, blustery, wintry spring day as I sat in the corner window of my shop, feeling oddly at peace, watching the tall fir trees being throttled by the wind across the street, when I listened to it again, and finally understood. The music and the lyrics of these songs were her own.... this was personal, and filled with an acknowledgement of grief. I couldn't listen to it those years ago because of this. It was too close. It had touched home. The funny thing is that I hadn't really been listening to the words way back when I had heard it the first time. I have no memories of the Christmas or New Years that followed my mom's death on December 11, 2000. The beauty of these songs is in their inherent sadness accompanied by hope, which has helped to fill the void of my lost memories. If you are up for it, take a listen to Departure Bay. The lyrics of this song are deeply personal to the songwriter and listener, and are distinct to anyone who is familiar with the island or the west coast of BC. However, the song that truly captures the spirit is Narrow Daylight.

To a small town BC girl who followed her dreams and made it big. from a small town BC girl who didn't dream much at all..... Thank you for the beautiful music.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A White Man's Province


I finally finished reading "A White Man's Province - British Columbia Politicians and Chinese and Japanese Immigrants" by Patricia E. Roy. All I have to say is give me books on philosophy, give me religious texts..... heck, I would have read Sartre in French instead, if I had known how irksome this book would be. I wasn't bothered by the reprinting of racist comics and poems from the 1900s, or the racist comments made by politicians and journalists of the time, as much as the author's writing style, which seemed to lack continuity and timeline in subject matter, jumping from one year's events forward, then back and forth through different years in more than one chapter. Often it appeared to me that quotes were re-quoted in further chapters as was other content. There also seemed to be a lot of generalizations made by the author, not just the generalizations made at the time about the Chinese and Japanese immigrants themselves.

It is apparent that there is not a lot of commentary available on the Japanese people who were in the province at the end of the 19th and into the 20th century... but it is known that their numbers were considerably less than the Chinese (data provided in the Appendix). I had to chuckle to myself when on Page 232 the author states: "So different were the attitudes towards Chinese and Japanese immigration and their home countries that it is advisable to examine the two matters separately." One would think that upon determining this fact in her research, being fairly extensive, that she would have published a slightly different book.

And.... sadly, it would appear that the author does not fully understand the meaning of racism, for all her good intent. "The campaign for a "white man's province" though blatantly racist in appearance, was, in fact, a catch phrase that covered a wide variety of concerns and transcended particular economic interests." Can you say.....racism?

This is my first critical review of a book on my blog, and I may be totally off-base, however, regardless of my opinion, I still recommend it to anyone interested in.... well.... racism in British Columbia history.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Blasted Church and Apple Crisp


The title of this post might raise an eyebrow, as might the rather unusual content. This isn't quite what I thought I would be writing about when I began the blog.

My fridge is rather bare, but the fruit drawer always seems to be full. This is not because I buy fruit that often, but because I tend to buy fruit and then not eat it.... for a long period of time. I do find it amazing how well apples can keep in a cold, moisture controlled drawer. In that cool little drawer, I had a 1 lb bag of small apples (maybe mini Gala, or something similar), as well as a couple larger red ones and a few Granny Smith. Both the small apples and the larger reds, at about six months or so sitting in there, were getting to a rather not-quite firm stage, however the Granny Smith, perhaps my personal favourite, had been in there for anywhere from nine months or more, and were still fresh and firm. I determined that I had to use up the red apples as opposed to letting them go to waste, so I peeled, cored and sliced them, together with one of the Granny Smiths, and decided to make an Apple Crisp. As usual, I didn’t follow any set recipe, so I dumped some lemon juice in the bowl and added some old white wine that had also been sitting in the fridge for quite some time.

The wine is from Blasted Church Vineyards, a small BC estate winery, and is called “Hatfield’s Fuse”. I have to admit that the very creative labelling and marketing, together with an interesting story about the vineyard’s name, drew me to the label. Anyhow, wine ends up in my fridge much like fruit does. Not that I tend to buy a lot of wine, but when I do, I have a taste and then it goes in the fridge where it sits for months until it ends up being not quite what it was intended for in the first place.

So.... back to the Apple Crisp. With the lemon juice and wine I added some sugar, a lot of cinnamon, a little ginger, nutmeg and cloves. For good measure I added some frozen blueberries as well. For the topping, I used rolled oats, which by the way had also been sitting in a jar in the fridge for perhaps years (yes, years), brown sugar, some butter, and I think that was about it. Oh, I might have added a touch of lavender honey as well. Off it went into the oven and about an hour or so later, out it came, bubbling and golden, but a little too sweet for my liking...... so I added some hot pepper flakes from red hot peppers that I had dried last year and ground up. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t fantastic..... until the next day, when I ate it cold, right out of the fridge, after all the flavours had a chance to fuse, touched off by the added spice of hot pepper.

Ice cold, sweet and hot... could there be anything better? I'll get back to you on that.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Providence?


The other day a gentleman came into my shop to browse and we talked a little about antiques and other matters. Somehow we got on the topic of my collecting old books, which happens to include classical poetry, English literature, educational texts, art history, old bibles and some other religious texts, among other things. He asked if I would be interested in a book that he had, which is a modern printing of a religious text written by a woman in 1888. He went to his car and came back with a paperback. I flipped through the pages as we kept talking, and I noticed that the name of the author looked extremely familiar. He went on his way, and I went to check my bookshelf. Where was that one? I went through the stack on the shelf and found the faded blue book I was looking for. Aha! Same author. The book I have was published in 1892 and may be a first edition. Of course, I went outside to see if the gentleman was still there. He was heading up the street, so I caught up with him to show him the book I had tucked away in my small collection. Needless to say, after looking at it, he asked if I was selling it and I said...... sorry no. Some businesswoman I am.

The word "providence" has a few meanings, and you have probably heard the term "Divine Providence" before, but I am rather fond of this definition: "the prudence and care exercised by someone in the management of resources." I would like to think of this definition under these circumstances as Divine Humour.