Sunday, June 17

Blog Moving--Brainstorm Chaser

I've finally started a new blog, with a title that I am sure that I like. If you still follow "Monks and Barbles," I hope you'll enjoy Brainstorm Chaser.

Friday, June 11

Draft Blog

I'm contemplating moving this blog to a self-hosted wordpress blog. At the moment I'm tinkering with a sort of draft here.

In the meantime, my garden awaits!

Sunday, June 6

A New Name

My blog has a new name, for the moment. I don't remember the context, but in a dream I said "I'll have monks and barbles," to which someone replied, "But that has soda in it!"

I immediately thought to myself: How funny! I have to use that as my new blog name. I'll write it down.

Some time later I woke up, and realized that I had only written down "Monks and Barbles" in my dream. So then I wrote it down for real and went back to sleep.

"Yes: and the everlasting pleasures of domesticity" had been bothering me for some time. I'd never really intended it to be the permanent name, it was just something I pulled off the top of my head.

So now, on to a new name off the top of my head while sleeping! This name probably won't be permanent either; maybe this will be come the Magical Changing Name Blog.

Tuesday, May 25

Gardening Questions?


I don't end up bringing it up that often nowdays, since I don't have an in-earth garden, but once upon a time I was immersed in biointensive gardening. If you have any gardening questions, I might be able to answer them. Meanwhile, I'm waiting to see if the spirit moves me to post on gardening topics other than my current container garden.

The image is of flax plants that we grew, before flowering, bearing one of the last frosts of the year. While their little blue flowers are exceptionally beautiful, this is my absolute favorite stage of their growth, as their tips bend elegantly over their straight stems.

Sunday, May 23

The Spy Sagas

Do you like spy movies? I love them. The real ones, like Jason Bourne, and the bumbling ones, like Inspector Clouseau and The Man Who Knew Too Little. Good spy movies don't come out too often. I've just discovered this great British spy show, which is sort of like a (currently) 72 hour long spy movie. Yes, that's what I've been watching lately--in reality it's a short term addiction, but doesn't it sound better to call it a marathon--or even "the spy sagas." Oh, I haven't told you which show it is, have I? In the States it's called MI-5, while in the UK it's called Spooks.

I'm definitely into spy movies for the intrigue, not the violence--although I will admit that on the rare occasion that it's really well done, as in the first Jason Bourne movie, I am impressed. (As a semi-pacifist, I find this a bit embarrassing.) Still, in most movies and shows it's decidedly excessive. And sometimes in other scenes they lay the suspense on too heavily. I find that if I just mute the music during these scenes, it's not so over the top intense. But then maybe other people aren't as easily overstimulated by such things as background music, heh.

I must admit that since I discovered itunes subscriptions, tv shows have become a new vice. What are your favorite shows lately?

Friday, May 21

Adblocks for Safari

This is a public service message. You can download adblocks to add to your web browser, to, as you might guess, block ads. They usually won't take care of every single little ad, but they will remove most of them, especially the big obnoxious ads that are such annoying distractions while you're trying to read.

I have a Mac, use Safari as a browser, and I use MacUpdate to find downloadable software. (Or applications or scripts, whatever they are.) If you're using Safari as well, here are three adblock applications you can download:

Safari AdBlock 0.4rc3
SafariBlock 2.2r1
GlimmerBlocker 1.4.5

I just downloaded and installed all three (plus a fourth more obscure CSS based one, Ad Subtract Automatic) and my websites are now free of most ads again.

If you use another browser, search around the web, I'm sure adblocks for your browser are also available. I believe that Firefox has one of the best adblock add ons around.

Wednesday, May 19

Wild And Wonderful Bird Feeders

I've ventured into the dangerous and exotic world of bird feeding. Vancouver has a store that specializes in bird feeding and birding (the observation of wild birds in their habitats), The Backyard Bird Centre. I ended up coming away with a tube feeder, a bag of black oil sunflower seeds, and a hummingbird feeder.

The tube feeder was a pretty easy decision; in person, the metal ones looked a lot nicer. The fellow at the store recommended the sunflower seeds as the best all-around bird feed, but I think next time I'll get a mix. Apparently the small feeding holes of the bird feeder will discourage starlings, and mayybe sparrows; if I want to feed bigger birds, I can just attach a tray to the bottom of the bird feeder.

The hummingbird feeder was a more complicated choice. I bought this beautiful, simple feeder. However, I was told that I should fill the container to the brim in order to keep it from dripping, as this causes a vacuum. As I already knew, it's best to make hummingbird nectar at home; but you also have to change the nectar every 2-4 days, to keep it from going moldy. And then I read that it often takes a long time for hummingbirds to discover your feeder. Plus, the hummingbird feeder I got won't be so easy to clean--another crucial, frequent habit. So finally I ordered a smaller hummingbird feeder. I might introduce the larger feeder once hummingbirds are showing up.

Keep in mind that you don't need a garden or porch to be able to keep a bird feeder; if your windows open in a cooperative way, you can affix a bird feeder onto your window with suction cups, and get the best view possible.