misslynx: (Photo - bicycle gears)
Ah, me and my interesting routes to get places... (Some of you might remember this post on that topic.)

I think if I were a character in the RPG Changeling: the Dreaming, I would have to be an Eshu, because in addition to being big on storytelling, they have a gift for being able to find their way anywhere - but not by the most direct route, just the most interesting.

Today I had to go pick up a cheque from a client in Cabbagetown, and the last time I went there, I took Rosedale Valley Road, which may I say is the most kick-ass road in all of Toronto to ride a bike down. For non-locals, it's a long, winding road through a forested ravine, with no stop signs or other obstructions for a very long time -- and almost all downhill, so you pretty much just kick off at the top, and then brace yourself to go sailing downhill for a very, very long way, very fast, through all kinds of twists and turns, like a foresty roller-coaster ride.

And then it got REALLY interesting... )

So then all that remained was to figure out where the hell I was -- apparently, in a park I'd never been to, at the intersection of two streets I'd never heard of. My favourite! But in fact, it turned out to be only two blocks from my client's office, so all was good.

By the time I'd picked up and deposited the cheque, my bike was fine and so was I, and I was only slightly disappointed that I couldn't think of a handy ravine to ride through on the way back home. MOAR ADVENTURE PLZ.
misslynx: (Seal kiss)
As a general rule these days, the only kind of animal I eat is fish (and occasionally other undersea creatures). Might have a taste of something else once in a while (because as another general rule, I'm not overly strict about general rules), but seafood is the only sort of animal product I eat with any regularity. And I have always found that I feel better when I eat it on at least an occasional basis. I have been strictly vegetarian at other times, but that never really felt quite right to me - I'd crave fish frequently, and while my diet has ranged up and down the herbivore-to-omnivore scale at various points in my life, on the whole I've spent more time being vegetarian-plus-fish than being properly vegetarian.

I've also always been of the opinion that whatever a person's food choices, they should be able to take responsibility for them, and be fully comfortable with the processes involved in whatever they eat becoming food. If someone eats plants, they should be OK with the process of planting a garden and harvesting veggies. If someone eats animals, they should be OK with the process of killing and preparing said animals to eat. The former is no big deal to most people. The latter is a little trickier. The cliche that "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian" may be an exaggeration but it's not without a grain of truth. I don't mean that people should always have to grow/raise/harvest/kill/whatever everything they eat - that's hardly practical in an urban context. But they should at least not be completely grossed out by the process, and ideally be able to handle doing it themselves if they had to.

Now, the only animals I have ever killed and eaten, personally, are clams and crabs. I have attempted fishing once or twice, but never actually managed to catch anything. The fish that I cook, by and large, comes in nice little fillets, ready to cook. So there is a bit of a disconnect there between my theory and my practice.

I have also noticed that whole fish are frequently much cheaper than said fillets, and been tempted to buy them, but always held off partly because I wasn't sure how to cook them, and partly because, if truth be told, the idea squicked me a wee bit, in flagrant violation of the above principle. But I'm not really good at maintaining that sort of contradiction between what I think people should be able to do and what I can actually do. So, a while back, I bought a whole frozen fish. And proceeded to leave it in the freezer for quite a while, avoiding the inevitable. But one can only avoid such things for so long...

Lynx vs. fish, cut to spare the squeamish )
misslynx: (Me w/ Kiska (on couch))
  1. When buying new and interesting hot peppers from the farmers' market, it is generally a good idea to start by putting one (1) of them into a dish, until you know for certain just how hot they are.

  2. Scotch bonnet peppers, like poisonous snakes, are better identified before close contact than afterwards.

  3. Check local regulations to see if there is any provision for aloo gobi being considered a prohibited weapon of mass destruction.

(x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] failed_recipe)

But seriously, is there anyone (local) who has a higher heat tolerance than I do* who would like the rest of the fairly large batch of aloo gobi that I just made? To the extent that my scarred taste buds can determine, it was pretty good except for that whole burning-like-napalm thing.


* I should perhaps mention that I have a higher heat tolerance than the average North American, so by higher than mine, I mean pretty damn high.

Catching up

Sep. 4th, 2008 11:50 pm
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
Overdue for an update, so I'll try and keep this -- well, maybe not brief as such, but at least a list of things each one of which is brief. Or something like that.
  1. My trip up north was surprisingly un-traumatic. Aidan slept through almost the entire car ride -- clearly, the night-driving approach was a good one. And [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen and I got along pretty well for the most part. She and [livejournal.com profile] optimystik retrieved the kayaks, and then left the next night, and I stayed through until Monday to have some more time with my parents and away from the city, both of which are important to me. I've really, really missed being up north -- it had been two years!

  2. I am also going to miss the kayaks. My one regret about this weekend was that I didn't have the chance to have one last kayak outing before they went away. I had discovered on the trip we initially took them up north on, a few years back, that I love kayaking. But I know there are places where kayaks can be rented, even in the city. Someone mentioned one on the Humber River a while back. I think I need to do that -- anyone else interested?

  3. Big surprise when I got back -- my apartment was almost unrecognizable! Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it had been considerably tidied and organized by [livejournal.com profile] the_moogie, who as far as I knw had only been going to stop by Saturday morning to walk Kiska and feed all the animals, since [livejournal.com profile] forestweaver would be house-sitting the rest of the time. But apparently she got inspired while she was there, and an inspired Virgo can be a frightening thing. She even started in on staining the wooden shelves I had gotten from [livejournal.com profile] nocturnalia et al. I am in awe. Also, very grateful.

  4. Bike stuff )

  5. On the greatness of farmer's markets )

  6. Die mosquitoes die, or, the necessity of a flock of trained bats )

  7. One more thing everyone should check out if they haven't already: [livejournal.com profile] thrifthorror Really, where else are you going to read comments like "Nauseous bondage ghost for the win!"? I don't think any other community on LJ has ever made me both laugh out loud and recoil in terror quite as often as that one.

  8. I am sure there are more things I was intending to write here, but I can't remember them now. Possibly this means I should go to bed soon.
misslynx: (Can't brain)
OK, not to keep harping endless on the new bike, but since it's been raining for most of the day, the only thing I can really do with it right now is attach the various accessories I got for it. Thus far, bell and lights have been successfully attached, though in the case of the rear light it was a little tricky as they tell you not to remove the original reflectors, and with the reflector on there there was not much room for the light, but I managed to squeeze it in.

However, I have been defeated by the hardware for the U-bar lock, or more specifically the bracket thingie with which one is supposed to attach it to the bike. Also the complete lack of instructions it came with. I was initially pleased to see a little folded up piece of paper wedged inside the bracket, but when I unfolded it, it was just the warranty, plus instructions on how to lock your bike -- uh, I think I knew that part, thanks.

Here is what it came with:
  • The main bracket thingie. I think I can tell which side is supposed to go on the bike and which on the lock, because one of them has little rubber things inside it to adjust for different frame sizes and the other does not.
  • Two nut-and-bolt combos. I think these are supposed to go on what I think is probably the lock side of the bracket, as it has two holes in it. Of course, it may be that that is actually the bike side and I was supposed to put the little rubber things in there, even though they were initially in the other one.
  • Two little washers. Since there are two, I am guessing they probably go somewhere in with the nuts and bolts, but I don't know exactly where. On the nut side? The bolt side? In the middle?
  • A little square piece of metal with a round hole in it.
  • A strange contraption I can't make head nor tail of, which has a sort of nut and bolt arrangement with a pin through the head of the bolt attaching it to a sort of rectangular thing that wraps around it and has a round bit on the end. I assume this goes with what is probably the bike side, i.e. the side that has not got two holes in it. That side has one hole, and then below the hole it sort of flares out a bit for no apparent reason that I can tell.
Does that description make any sense to anyone?

BTW, googling "attaching bracket for U-bar bike lock" turns up one set of detailed instructions for a completely different sort of bracket with no parts in common with this one, and a bunch of irrelevant stuff having to do with car racks, motorcycles and wheelchairs. Googling "attaching bracket for SuperCycle U-bar bike lock" in hopes of getting more specific results turns up... absolutely nothing.

I also have a rear carrier to attach, but given that it comes with even more hardware (specifically, two short bolts, one medium one, one long one, a whole bunch of nuts and washers, two flexible clear plastic bits, and three unidentifiable metal things of various random shapes and numbers of holes), and likewise no instructions, I'm thinking I may need to enlist an expert on that one. Anyone feel like an expert?

Oh, one more question: apparently one is supposed to register one's bike with the police in order to enhance the near-zero chances of recovering it if it's stolen to something a little less near zero. This entails finding a serial number on it somewhere. The web page for this helpfully says that it should be "somewhere on the frame". Anyone have any more specific info than that on where I might find this number?

Really wondering why bikes don't come with instruction manuals...

Also, note to Claribell: STOP HELPING!

Imagined rejoinder from Claribell: "Oh, don't be silly. It's not like you're managing well on your own, and I keep trying to show you that the correct place for all those little bits of hardware is all over the floor under various pieces furniture, or possibly in my mouth, but you're just not paying attention. No wonder you humans get so frustrated with this stuff. You're just not smart enough to throw it all on the floor and bat it around randomly like we cats are, are you?"
misslynx: (Can't brain)
Well. There are now two partially assembled Ikea BILLY bookshelves in my entrance hall. Initially this filled me with a sense of accomplishment, until I got the part where I tried to stand one of them up (having had them lying down on their sides to assemble them.

Oh, but I'm getting ahead of myself. First thing that happened was I got all the wooden pegs in (the first step in putting the frames together), discovered this made them into sort of tippy parallelograms, and quickly started trying to fasten in the little bolt thingies that looked like they were meant to hold them more securely. Checked to see what sort of screwdriver was necessary for this, and discovered that oh wait, these don't want a screwdriver at all.

Ikea: it's Swedish for HEX KEY. How could I have forgotten?

Off I go to see if I can obtain a set of hex keys from a corner store in my neighbourhood at 11:30pm. First, this involves trying to squeeze past/over/under/around/through the two partially assembled bookcases, which as I may have mentioned are in the entrance hall. Mostly blocking it. But I successfully got out. Sadly, the one with the large-ish hardware section did not have hex keys. Happily, the one with the almost nonexistent hardware section did. Go figure.

So, back to apartment, manage to squeeze through bookcases again, put in bolts, tighten bolts with hex key. All good.

Attempt to slide back pieces of bookshelves in along grooves placed there for that purpose. Discover that backs are supposed to be screwed down. Go looking for small package of screws I bought several days ago with the (correct) expectation I might be needing a lot of them. Cannot find.

Off I go again after squeezing through bookcases again, to get screws from the same corner store. In store, am affectionately attacked by an attention-starved ginger cat that wants to play and does not know the meaning of "soft paws!". Escape with only a few scratches, and a package of screws.

Back in (clambering through bookcases again). Set about screwing on back of first bookcase. Success. Then discover I positioned it wrong and that one edge was supposed to have slid under these little holder thingies on the middle fixed shelf. Oops. Unscrew, reposition, rescrew. Discover other part of bookcase back is in upside down. Thankfully have not screwed down yet. Have to move bookcase about three feet down the hall in order to slide this part out, though, as I originally put it in from the other end, which is now blocked by the one I did screw down. Successfully remove and reinsert, screw down.

Ikea: it's Swedish for "some assembly required".

Worry a little that things don't seem to be fitting together quite right, but what do I really expect from 20-year-old Ikea bookshelves? Everything's a little warped, so it's kind of like that Lovecraftian angles-are-wrong thing.

Move on to second bookshelf. Start to slide back piece on, then realize that the top shelf is in backwards. Oops.

Consider that maybe I really don't need to get these up and finished tonight after all. Go back to computer and try to do work. Get distracted by half-finished bookshelves in my peripheral vision. Cave and go back to bookshelf assembly after about two minutes of attempting work.

Remove all bolts from second bookcase, lift off side, turn shelf around, realize it's really supposed to be the middle shelf because it has those little holder thingies for the back pieces on it, swap middle and top shelf, make sure all the shelves are actually facing the right way this time, put side back on, put all bolts back in. Slide back pieces most of the way in, blocked by clamps holding damaged part of one shelf that is currently being glued back together.

Return attention to first shelf. Decide I am now ready to stand it up and add the four movable shelves that go on with little pegs in addition to the three bolted-on fixed shelves, so that I can at least unpack half the books tonight.

Can anyone guess from the above description what was wrong with this idea?

You may have noted that I was assembling these bookshelves -- very tall, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves -- in a hallway. A long, narrow hallway. With them tipped up on their sides. The bolts that hold everything together go in the side.

Both sides, to be precise. Not just the one currently facing upward. Oops.

Manage to lift the now relatively heavy, mostly-assembled bookcase a little way off the ground. Discover what happens when the underneath side is not bolted on. Drop now-half-falling-apart bookcase back down, with muttered expletives. Everything lands wrong and one back piece pops back out from under the little holder thingies. Manage to get all wooden pegs lined up again and bookshelf back together. Discover that back piece is now stuck out in a warped position and will not go back under holder thingies. Not unless I unscrew it again, slide it out, put it back again, and screw it down again. Do this.

Stare at bookcase which is now mostly assembled again, but still lacking any bolts on the underneath side, as is its companion with the still-being-glued shelf. Try to decide how the hell to get either one of them into a vertical position, or even a turned-over-to-the other-side position, so that I can put the rest of the bolts in, without having them fall apart in the process, all within the confines of a long narrow hallway.

Am fresh out of ideas as to how to do that.

Ikea: it's Swedish for "Fuck this, I need a drink."
misslynx: (In tree)
Sent to me by a friend:
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is an annual event aimed at increasing awareness of the ecological importance/ sensitivities of shorelines across the country as well as physically removing debris that can kill wildlife. More info: http://www.vanaqua.org/cleanup/

Whether you can make it out to the event below or not, I encourage you to search out the events map on the website above and join a group in your area OR simply tidy up a bit of shoreline (ocean, lake, river, creek, whatever) in your area. This is the second larges clean up of almost 90 participating countries in the world. Last year, the cleanup removed 84,708 kg of shoreline litter from 966 sites across Canada. Items removed have included BBQ's (14 in 06), Celine Dion CDs, an entire living room set, a gun barrel, an evidence bag with items in it, and a toilet seat nailed to a lawn chair.
I checked out the site and this thing is huge - there are dozens of cleanups going on in Toronto alone, and many more across the country. Most of them are this weekend. Some required advance registration and are now closed but many are open to drop-in participants.

The one I am going to is this Sunday at noon at David Balfour Park, the ravine park at Yonge & St. Clair. Anyone local who would like to join me is most welcome to. [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen would like to, but Aidan's still a bit too little to accompany us on something like this. Not sure yet if [livejournal.com profile] optimystik will as he's at work right now.

If that particular one doesn't work for you, or if there's another lake/river/stream cleanup going on in an area closer to your heart, or if you're elsewhere in Canada, please do check out the site and find something in your area. I think this is an amazing event and would really like to encourage people to get involved.
misslynx: (Default)
...Plus a few other random notes
  1. Aidan is now two weeks old, insanely cute, and mostly relatively non-fussy. He has his moods once in a while, but on the whole, much less crying than I would have expected.

  2. Also, much more sleeping. He only wakes up a few times most nights, and mainly just to nurse, though he also needs the occasional nighttime diaper change. [livejournal.com profile] optimystik and I are taking turns as to who sleeps in the bedroom with [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen and the baby and who sleeps in Optimystik's bedroom, so that the nighttime wakings are more or less evenly distributed... At least between the two of us.

  3. Sadly, Kettu is the only one equipped for the feeding, and thus gets most of the nighttime wakings whether she wants them or not. I did not do so well with the whole inducing lactation thing, largely because I was a slacker too busy to do as much pumping as I should have at the time when it would have been most useful.

  4. As if to compensate for not losing as much sleep as I'd feared, I have had killer insomnia for the past two nights, to the point of only getting about 3-4 hours sleep in 1/2-1 hour bursts punctuated by long periods of annoying wakefulness.

  5. In non-baby-related news, today's experiment has confirmed that even under conditions of extreme sleep deprivation, when one's ADD medication has completely failed to kick in to any noticeable degree, deciding to try and boost it with a cup of actual full-caffeine coffee is a less than stellar idea. On the bright side: it certainly worked. Big time. On the less bright side, if I ever do that again, I will make myself write out "CAFFEINE AND ADDERALL ARE NOT FRIENDS" 100 times or so -- once my hands stop shaking, I stop hyperventilating and my heart slows down. In the meantime, no one had better sneak up behind me and say boo. (Seriously, the uber-jumpiness only lasted about an hour, but it was decidedly un-fun.)

  6. Now back to the baby: Cut for potential ick factor )

  7. On the whole, a newborn baby is kind of like a cuddly human-shaped pet that mainly just eats (well, drinks), sleeps, looks cute -- and needs its portable litter box changed about 85 times a day. Kind of fun, really, apart from that last part, and I'm starting to be able to do that on autopilot.

  8. But may I say, the not-fun part of non-bio mommyhood is getting asked over and over (by doctors, nurses, random strangers, etc.) if I'm:
    1. her sister
    2. a friend
    3. her midwife/doula
    4. etc.
    I think I need to make a little button that says "NO, I'M THE OTHER MOTHER" or something.

  9. Now on a completely non-baby-related note, I have recently become aware that Within Temptation are going to be playing in Toronto on Sept. 11. I have not been to a concert of any sort (apart from the occasional classical one with my dad) in longer than I care to think about, and I love that band. Anyone else local planning on going?
And now: let's see if now that the weather has cooled off, I can actually get some sleep.
misslynx: (Aidan newborn)
[livejournal.com profile] kettunainen, [livejournal.com profile] optimystik and I are delighted to announce the birth of

AIDAN SEBASTIAN WARNER-LANDSTREET

Born at 4:40 am, Thursday, July 26, 2007
At St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.
8 pounds, 8 ounces.

Baby, both moms and dad are all doing fine, if somewhat exhausted.

Pictures )

And now, in answer to the two questions almost everyone who knows us is sure to ask:

1. One baby? But I thought you were expecting twins... )

2. Hospital? But I thought you were planning a home birth... )
misslynx: (In tree)
In the future, when contemplating a possible shortcut in a neighbourhood with which I am not overly familiar, I shall try and remember the following:
  1. The Path Less Travelled may make all the difference, but it is not necessarily an efficient means of getting where you thought you were going.

  2. In order for something to be considered a short cut, it needs to, in fact, be short.

  3. Because a path appears to wind in a generally southward direction does not mean it will continue to do so along its whole length.

  4. Even if said path does eventually intersect with the street you were trying to get to, it will not necessarily enable you to get up to said street, if its mode of intersection is by passing under it at the bottom of a huge ravine.

  5. You are not a mountain goat.

  6. If you pass under what you think might have been Bloor St, and continue on a fair distance because there is no good way out of the ravine for people who do not happen to be mountain goats, and eventually you hear another street that sounds extremely busy, where by your calculations no extremely busy street should be, it may be that not only did you not pass under Bloor St after all but perhaps you are not even heading south at all.

  7. The laws of time and space work differently in ravines. They're kind of like Faerie that way.

  8. If the eventual route you find out of the ravine involves the path doubling back on itself up the other side of a river, chances are good it will eventually let you out somewhere almost exactly back where you started.

  9. So, overall, when faced with a choice between two blocks of what I have come to think of as the Mount Pleasant Death March*, on a hot summer day, and a shady tree-lined path into an unknown park, your choice may be obvious, but do not expect to get home at a reasonable hour.
On the bright side, there was a butterfly meadow. So really, it was all good, except for the part about all the stores I needed to go to for errands being closed by the time I found my back to the mortal world.

* Explanatory note to non-Torontonians: Mount Pleasant Road does not involve a mountain, nor is it in any way pleasant. In the area to which I am referring, it is a four-lane highway, every inch of which is blasted by intense sun, contains not a single speck of shade anywhere in its entire length, and I would be willing to swear that it really does run uphill both ways.

ETA: for the curious, the ravine in question was this one. Entered at Mt. Pleasant and Roxborough, went nearly to Bayview before the path went around a storm water thing and back up the other side, came out at approximately Glen Road and South Drive. So the bridge I went under was likely Glen Road rather than Bloor, which I in fact was nowhere near, though I did eventually find my way to Sherbourne and Bloor some while later.

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