Thursday, May 31, 2007

Harry Potter theme park..I'm goin'!

artist's portrayal of Hogsmeade

I hate theme parks..I hate the crowdedness and the hours long wait etc.. BUT..who can pass up on the Harry Potter theme park?? Years after the books were released AND having had them in the house as my husband had bought them for me but I was not in the mood to read them..I finally started reading them two years ago. Of course, I could read one after the other as we had all five of them (or was it six?).
Anyhoo.. I loved them and liked them a whole lot better than the movies (naturally)and my kids and I are definite candidates for the wizarding world (ahem..)

So imagine my happy surprise when I saw this this morning:
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Universal Orlando Resort plan to open The Wizarding World of Harry Potter within Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park in 2009, Tom Williams, chairman and CEO of Universal Parks and Resorts, announced Thursday on TODAY. The “theme park within a theme park” is the first fully immersive Harry Potter-themed environment based on the best-selling books by J.K. Rowling and the blockbuster feature films.
"The plans I've seen look incredibly exciting, and I don't think fans of the books or films will be disappointed," Rowling said in a press release. Williams said Rowling has been collaborating on the park from the beginning and will continue to do so through the opening.

'Authentic world'
Visitors can stroll about Hogsmeade, discover the mysteries of the Forbidden Forest and explore Hogwarts castle.
"(Visitors will) be able to sense the sights, the sound, the touch and the feel, the smells and really immerse themselves in this authentic world," Williams said.

Stuart Craig, the Academy-Award winning production designer who has worked on the Harry Potter movies, is leading the creative design on the park to ensure it remains true to the look and feel of the films.

Now close your eyes and imagine yourself..a wizard.. or in my case, a WITCH! hmmmmmm, move over Hermione!

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Yea..I've been finally tagged. Ok, I might've been tagged before but you actually have to read the entry before you can participate.
Rogel wrote a post on how he got into the internet and tagged a few other people to do the same. This tag apparently started in Israel, by Mosif. I never thought of starting one myself but there's another idea I could do over the summer. (I have a few features planned for the summer version of this blog but more about that later)

When did I start using the Internet?
Well, in the early '90s, when I was married to husband #1, he had a computer being a computer guy himself. He worked in the IT field and in the early '90s, the internet was much more of a hassle to get into. He was much more of a Linux guy (like so many true computer bloods are) so we did not do too much. It was a totally new concept to me so I did not venture too much into it. Then the year after the Gulf war, we moved to Saudi Arabia for his work, and even though we could have had internet access, it was still very limited at best. Censorship you know. So I used the computer mostly for playing the original 'where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?'
After our separation, I returned to Ottawa Canada and re-enrolled at Carleton University to finish my political science degree. That's when my computer/internet use really took off. So much (more) information was available online, and most of the professors allowed sources from the net as long it was properly documented. Being pretty new at this, I would write down the whole thing, for example, not just (say).. but ! Ha, I was not going to give my blogID away. You get the picture.
Another level up for using the internet came when I married my current husband. He's an IT guy as well (gotta love those computer nerds), and the internet had expanded, and so did our usage. My research for all kinds of things became more savvy, there's a trick to finding things online.. and through trial and error, I figured out how to surf. Now since January last year, I started this blog and even though I got late into the game, it has made me do a whole lot more online. Now I do virtually most things online. I don't even bother looking things up in a telephone book, it's faster doing it online. My kids will not have any summer camps (so far) so I will do my research online for activities and school type work. I do not read the local newspaper, but look for news sources online. The world really is my oyster and if one can speak/read more than one language, it's even better!
I will say this though. If an article is too long to read and I am doing research, I do print it out to read it sitting down more comfortably. Nothing can beat reading something off line.
So I guess it's time for me to tag five people as well;
I'll go with Mary, Lindsay, Jamie, Robster, and Gary. You guys have different ages and background so it would be interesting to see when and how ya'll got online.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Goodbye Cindy

A moms' love is deeper than any man's big government ideals. Cindy's just one of many..

This morning, in surprise and shared sadness, I read the news:

Cindy Sheehan, the soldier’s mother who galvanized an anti-war movement with her monthlong protest outside President Bush’s ranch, says she’s done being the public face of the movement.

“I’ve been wondering why I’m killing myself and wondering why the Democrats caved in to George Bush,” Sheehan told The Associated Press by phone Tuesday while driving from her property in Crawford to the airport, where she planned to return to her native California.

In what she described as a “resignation letter,” Sheehan wrote in her online diary on the “Daily Kos” blog: “Good-bye America ... you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it

Not surprisingly (to us Independents), she came to this conclusion yesterday:

On Memorial Day, she came to some “heartbreaking conclusions,” she wrote.

When she had first taken on Bush, Sheehan was a darling of the liberal left. “However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the 'left' started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used,” she wrote.

“I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of 'right or left', but 'right and wrong,'” the diary says.

Sheehan criticized “blind party loyalty” as a danger, no matter which side it involved, and said the current two-party system is “corrupt” and “rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland

It is indeed a bitter pill to swallow when everyone wallows in the shallow... American Idol indeed!


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Zazou: Blacklisting Blackwater

I wanted to link to Zazou's post, but did not find the link feature so I'll have to do it the 'old-fashioned' way:

As some of you may know, Blackwater, aka Mercenaries Are Us, is trying to set up a training camp in Southern California outside the town of Potrero, not too far from the SD-Tijuana Border.

Now why would that be, I wonder?

In another post, I will take a deeper look at who and what is Blackwater. Suffice to say, Blackwater is not a nice little security company whose dearest wish is to make the world a comfy place for you and me. Blackwater provides some of the best security money can buy- comandoes? Yep. Psych-ops specialists? Got that. Urban counter-insurgency? Sure. "Pursuasive Techniques training?" Glad you asked.

They recruit former SEALS, special ops, etc, as they come off their tours-- hence the interest in the geographic proximity both to Camp Pendlton and the SEALS on Coronado Island.

Check out Zazou's post at Make Some Noise, it's one of those information pieces you won't read in your local newspaper..

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Finally, garden pics...

In this little plot, I have several squashes that ended up much bigger than expected. I say expected, since in the few years before, I was never lucky enough to even get that far as the bugs ate the young squash plants. Below you can see two tomato plants. On the left, I forgot the type but it's definitely a 'big' one. The one on the right is a cherry tomato one. It's got oodles of green little tomatoes which no doubt will all ripen at the same time! I tried to practice companion planting so I have 3 parsleys. Two italian and one curly one to the left. I also planted onions in between, horehound which supposedly makes the tomato plant 'healty'. That and pennyroyal which is a very invasive mint plant that is not for consumption and definitely needs to be kept in check.

Speaking of cherry tomatoes.. you can see the big squash leaves and the spear mint to the left. Tansy in the background.

Can anyone tell me what kind of squash this is? The plant itself grew huge and to think I planted it from seed! Someone gave me the seed and I forgot what kind of squash it is. It would help to know so I'd know how to prepare it. Of course it would also help if I called the 'donor' and asked her what it was again! lol

Look at that big zuchini! I found out that next to it, I had also planted a yellow squash (they so look alike when they're little, I lost track). I planted beans to go with the eggplant but it's gettin' kinda crowded ya know? Next to this squash plant, I have one cucumber. Surrounded by radishes as cucumbers apparently do not like herbs etc. I planted nasturtiums in between the squashes. The beans are supposed to support the eggplant. Did I mention I also have creeping thyme (in between the tomatoes) and basil??

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Swim meet and birthday party

Getting ready, Dirk is looking sideways to mr.karate chop

Today was my son's first exposure the the swim meet. He started the neighbourhood swim team last year but did not participate in any of the meets. This year, we kinda 'nudged' him so he agreed to do 'just' the breast stroke and the freestyle. Then this morning, with about three hours before his first heat (the kids have to be there for 7am) he got cold feet and needed some rara's and encouragement. He's a gently, playful (and with a great sense of humour I might add) kid and not particularly competitive. The only thing we told him was that we needed a baseline for getting a time so that he could work towards improving his time. Not having to compete against others for winning a race (heat). The team is pretty good. Several neighbourhoods get together at the end of each (public) school year and practice for about two months and doing swim meets during that time. This time, we had 3 other neighbourhoods participating (instead of just one or two) and there were A LOT of people. Volunteerism is great and the parents cheer on all kids, besides their own.
There was this little guy, probably 6 yrs old, doing some heat and he was sooo behind. He was basically dog peddling and kept pausing for the alloted few seconds on the rope every couple of strokes. The whole crowd started to encourage him and when HE finally touched the side of the pool, EVERYBODY cheered. It was so nice. So this other older kid said, 'why are they cheering for him'? I said, because we're glad he made it (and didn't drown in the process, which of course I did not say lol).

My son Dirk did a 25 mt breast stroke and freestyle, plus unexpectantly got put in a 100 meter medley. Then, the whole shebang was done at 2pm but I had gone home earlier to get stuff ready for this afternoon's pool birthday party for Rebecca as it was her 4th birthday today.

Time flies..everybody had a great time as parents and siblings were also invited. As she was unwrapping her presents, I think she was kinda 'whelmed'! There was a lot of swimming this morning AND this afternoon and now..lo and behold.. our brood finally passed out. Aaahh.. the peace and quiet..

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Millimetres Matter...




Monday, May 14, 2007

Listen to KOOP radio , interview with Jose Pertierra, on extraditing Luis Posada Carilles

Tonight, for those who can get this on their dial, 6 to 7pm CST KOOP 91.7 fm's Pedro Gattos' interview Jose Pertierra:

Special Guest: Jose Pertierra,
Jose Pertierra
Attorney for the Venezuelan Government in the case of Luis Posada Carrilles

Today’s show seeks to reveal the disturbing piece of the pattern and modus operandi of U.S. foreign policy which has employed and then by default protected terrorists and those responsible for torturing, mass disappearances and mass murder throughout our hemisphere.

This past week Luis Posada Carrilles was set free from jail. The example Luis Posada Carrilles and his role in torture and terrorism that served the interests of U.S. foreign policy suggests why the U.S. government has failed to follow the rule of law and has thus truly aided world terrorism. The U.S. government has lost the perception of its moral authority and its world standing as a progressive force in the world. The legal smoke screen distractions that have been used to avoid having Posada Carrilles go to trial for his terrorist acts and have confused and prevented U.S. citizens from understanding and correcting these injustices will be explained by our special guest Jose Pertierra. Mr Pertierra is an attorney, practicing in Washington D.C. and representing the Venezuelan government in their pursuit to have Luis Posada Carrilles, extradited in order to be tried for the midair bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976 that killed all 73 persons aboard.

Ideas are more powerful than arms. We must arm ourselves with well informed ideas in order to better recognize and then confront injustices skillfully camaflaged as inevitabilities rather than the preventable man-made products that they are. We must foster responsibility and accountability in our government's foreign and domestic policies by arming ourselves with education. We must do what we can to end preventable disease, preventable malnutrition, preventable destruction of the earth and the 10-15 millions of preventable deaths that occur each year.

That’s what this show is about. Arming and challenging listeners with fact based information that is generally left out of the nformational environment, an environment that shapes our pubic opinion. Bringing Light into that Darkness.

Thanks and siempre fieles,

Pedro gatos

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Tasneem Khalil, blogger, journalist taken into custody and released

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs

One of my blogger friends is originally from Bangladesh. We somehow 'connected' through our shared 'bloggers against torture' and I admire his writing, his intelligent analysis and his knowledge. As a son of a former diplomat, it's no wonder that he is such a great online reporter, even though it is not his 'real' job.. (I wished)

Tasneem Khalil
Recently, Bangladesh got overtaken by a military coup, and a prominent journalist, Tasneem Khalil, got taken in for interrogation and after some nail biting hours, released..
look for the "Bangladesh Chronicles" from Mash, aka docstrangelove
Check out the story behind Tasneem Kahlil
Read here the write up at global voices online
Also, a great overview is the BBC news chronology of Bangladesh

PS, I just realized that in my allergy medicine induced haze, it looks as if I am talking about Tasneem being my blogger friend. No such thing..I was talking about Mash! ...gotta crawl into bed now..

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Genetically Altered Food, what is it and why aren't we told more about it?

pollen transfer from flowering canola of COURSE (!!) there will always be contamination between GM and non-GM foods! Why do you think you're not allowed to bring seeds from other countries with you? Or consider the Jamestown event that literally changed the American landscape by the introduction of European worms and bees.

In Europe, consumers are told which foods are genetically altered. Not being completely dominated by corporations who influence governments and their agencies by their campaign contributions, companies were told to disclose information about their products genetics. Here it is another scenario. Not only are American consumers not told what includes what.. in the mainstream media it is not written about in depth. Which brings me to permaculture.

In permaculture, everything is related and effected. From the little microorganisms that effect the soil, to the soil effecting plants, to the plants effecting insects, birds and the greater animal species that pollinate, eat them etc. And so that circle of life is born. Or that circle of life dies, depending on which part of that chain is killed, or messed with. The same chains you can see in nature, you can see in politics and hence, economics. You can argue what came first, the chicken or the egg, or you can say it is one congruous chain/circle. In Europe, there is more transparency, in the US, you have to go to independent or alternative media to get another side of the story. That is why I say, thank God for the Internet. This is the latest from the Network of Concerned Farmers:

Pioneer Hi-Bred's website boasts that their genetically modified (GM) Liberty Link[1] corn survives doses of Liberty herbicide, which would normally kill corn. The reason, they say, is that the herbicide becomes "inactive in the corn plant."[2] They fail to reveal, however, that after you eat the GM corn, some inactive herbicide may become reactivated inside your gut and cause a toxic reaction. In addition, a gene that was inserted into the corn might transfer into the DNA of your gut bacteria, producing long-term effects. These are just a couple of the many potential side-effects of GM crops that critics say put the public at risk.

Herbicide tolerance (HT) is one of two basic traits common to nearly all GM crops. About 71% of the crops are engineered to resist herbicide, including Liberty (glufosinate ammonium) and Roundup[3] (glyphosate). About 18% produce their own pesticide. And 11% do both. The four major GM crops are soy, corn, cotton and canola, all of which have approved Liberty- and Roundup-tolerant varieties. Herbicide tolerant (HT) crops are a particularly big money-maker for biotech companies, because when farmers buy HT seeds, they are required to purchase the companies' brand of herbicide as well. In addition, HT crops dramatically increase the use of herbicide,[4] which further contributes to the companies' bottom line.

There are no required safety tests for HT crops in the US - if the biotech companies declare them fit for human consumption, the FDA has no further questions. But many scientists and consumers remain concerned, and the Liberty Link varieties pose unique risks.
read the article in full>.

I'll briefly go back to nuclear energy. All the issues of global warming, genetically and modified foods, deforestation, depletion of fish stocks and the pollution of the oceans...there needs to be a wholistic agenda of how to counter it all. Or some sort of visual presentation that shows all the chains, overlapping and connecting that might wake up the consciousness at large. The greater masses need to become aware, not the politically active few. I'm mulling over what that is.

All about organic foods
How to Choose the Most Important Organic Foods

Cross posted and Austin Permie

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Condolences To Ann

In our little blogger circle, one of our friends lost her daughter. Our condolences Ann...


What kind of leader am I?

Hat tip to Abufares. I had to catch up on a lot of his posts and saw this one. I have to say, if I have to be like any type of leader, I'm honoured to be considered like Ghandi. Can anybody see my halo?? lol

Then I did the Enneagram test to see what type I'd be. We have an Enneagram book somewhere and I could not quite make up my mind if I was a nine or another one (don't remember right now) so voila, here's that test result:

Main Type
Overall Self
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

Enneagram Test Results
Type 1 Perfectionism |||||||||||||| 54%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||||||||||||| 62%
Type 3 Image Focus |||||||||||||| 54%
Type 4 Hypersensitivity |||||||||| 34%
Type 5 Detachment |||||||||||| 42%
Type 6 Anxiety |||||||||||||||| 66%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||||||| 38%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||||||| 38%
Type 9 Calmness |||||||||||||||||| 74%
Your main type is 9
Your variant is social
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

I had thought I'd be more adventurous and less anxious but hey, I guess it's also an indicator of my boring stay at home mom life. I think it must be interesting if you can do this test during different phases of your life because aside from the personality factor, I do believe that environment and current experiences effect the choices you make.
Try it just for fun!

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Linea Recta by Osvaldo Cavandoli

Sorry people. I'm not in the mood for anything 'heavy', nuclear or otherwise. So while I was playing chess with my 9 yr old son Dirk, I mentioned that I used to watch this short cartoon on tv when I grew up in Holland. Then I said, let's stop for a second and see if I can find it on Youtube and voila, there it was. It is an italian cartoon short where the little guy unintelligably, but at the same time pretty clearly expresses himself. So, under the category of 'and now for something completely different'... let's have us a laugh shall we?

Click on title for more.