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January 2008

January 30, 2008

Still Here

I've been quiet for weeks.  Usually it's because I don't have anything interesting to say, but this time is a little different.  Soon there will be some distillations into meaningful blog content, but just so you know, here are the things I'm immersed in:

  • Making projects for the Canadian Home Workshop Show, where I'm presenting a bunch of times between February 29th and March 2nd.
  • Co-writing a book with Steve Smith, the mind behind The Red Green Show
  • Putting together a tour about innovative new products for homeowners
  • Creating a new web site for ToolGirl.com - way more stuff,  way more fun
  • Learning to use a lathe to make table legs
  • Collaborating on a pitch for a new TV series
  • Shooting moreToolGirl videos
  • Trying not to eat cereal again for dinner because I didn't have time (or interest, truthfully) for cooking

January 20, 2008

New Power Tools Get Twice the Run Time

In this week's minty-fresh ToolGirl Video, Mag tours the new Ryobi One Plus combo kit and gets a screwing tip from toolguy Keith Potts. 
P.S.  Yes, that background is the location where we filmed Road to Avonlea and Anything I Can Do

January 19, 2008

Starving Author's Lunch

I've got this big hairy book deadline so I'm sequestered until further notice.  And since writing stresses the metabolism, eating is a frequent and carbohydrate-enabled event.  (The best thing about January in Canada is that the grocery stores bring in tiny containers of fresh basil, so you can close your eyes and pretend you're in Livorno.)

January 13, 2008

How to jump your car battery without cables!

Mag visits a product showcase and finds out about an insanely cool new product for your car.

January 11, 2008

Hey, we got mentioned in the Wall Street Journal today!

Ms. Fix-It

January 11, 2008; Page W11


ToolGirl.com and "A Repair to Remember" got a mention in an article on trends in DIY, featured in today's Wall Street Journal.  And guess who else got a plug?  Canadian entrepreneur Marissa McTasney, creator of Tomboy Trades - the company that brought you the cutting-edge line of pink,red,green and blue women's work boots!

Other mentions: 

Tomboy Tools
Barbara K!

Dare to Repair
Dare to Repair Your Car

Web Goddesses
Be Jane

January 07, 2008

Casket and coffin plans

3183301200 For those of you who've been asking, and you know who you are, I finally found plans for building your own traditional casket for a pet or a person.

January 06, 2008

What did you learn today?

When you're a kid, someone often asks you "What did you learn today?"  You start to expect the question so you're kind of preparing for it throughout the day.  Then when you get home and your mum springs the question on you, you've got some kernel that will satisfy her so you can go outside and play.  Stuff like, "I learned that Einstein was a Pisces" or "I learned that mice sometimes eat their young" or "I learned that stuffing yellow tissue paper up the tap spigot turns the water yellow and then everybody thinks it's pee." 

When you get to be an adult, people stop asking you "What did you learn today?"  I think that's because you're just supposed to know stuff.  I guess you're supposed to have grown up by now.  Well where's the fun in that?

Recently, I signed up for a business course with Melanie Benson Strick.  She gave me a new excercise.  Every night I get my notebook and write, "One thing I learned today is..." and I write down one thing I learned, and then I write down one thing I'd do differently if I had to do it again. 

Amazingly, this has the same effect on me that it used to have.  I go through my day learning things on purpose so I have something to report later.   

Sometimes the stuff I write at night is understated, like "One thing I learned today is that pressing Ctrl-S frequently is the only way to have a happy experience with Microsoft Word."  This is a much nicer way of putting it than the things I said in the white hot rage of the actual learning moment (after 3 crashes and the abject failure, on each occasion, of AutoRecover).

Sometimes I learn stuff about my behaviour.  Like, "One thing I learned today is that I have a lot more energy to get things accomplished when I have the drama of a time limit."  For example, instead of putting on my to-do list "Clean up the workshop" I now write "Clean up the workshop - 20 minutes".  That lights a fire under the old botty*. 

And if I don't get the job totally finished in 20 minutes, at least I got 20 minutes worth of effort into it, and I can do another 20 minutes tomorrow.  But the thing is, if I didn't apply that time limit, odds are good that I would have felt so overwhelmed by the task that I wouldn't even have started the job in the first place.  Cool, eh?

So let me be your mum for a minute.  What did you learn today?

*Botty:  Old English for arse

January 03, 2008

Minus 31 Celsius

P1010523 Try to imagine that these are the white dunes of a Caribbean beach.  I know I do. 

P1010528_2And these are palm trees.

Note to self:  Minus 31 is not good for human facial tissue

January 01, 2008

Pile up

P1010364Another foot of snow.  Another hundred reasons to cozy up to the fireplace with a good book.

Once the snow has climbed all the way up the dining room windows, our insulation values on the north side of the house will be much higher. 



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Mag's Books

  • : We're All In This Together

    We're All In This Together
    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

  • : How Hard Can It Be?

    How Hard Can It Be?
    Mag's quirky and entertaining book of home improvement projects for beginners.

Nota Bene

  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot (1819-1880)
  • Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought. - My fortune cookie