Monday, October 31, 2011

And Happy Día de los Muertos Eve, to YOU!

I couldn't resist posting a few photos from Halloween.

This year we put our foot down and made the boys gut their own pumpkins. "Next year I'm getting the smallest pumpkin I can find," Zarf announced upon realizing that the bigger the pumpkin, the more seeds and pulp it contains.  Mr Wrath did the carving, with lots of "help" from the boys.  Because it was so windy (and barely above freezing) when we set them on the front patio, we illuminated the jack o'lanterns with battery-powered LED lights.

I carved my jack o' lantern without any adult supervision:

"Is that the Enterprise?" said my neighbour. I replied with more glee than was truly appropriate. But it was nice affirmation that scanning and scaling photos from Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise was worth the hassle AND also that I'm not the only Trekkie on the street.

Look at my little boys, they're all grown up. Here they are at ages 7 and 9 outfitted as "Savage Opress," aka some minor Star Wars character with some bad mtehor-fckniug attitude.

It seems like only yesterday they were dressing up as Well-Armed Zombie/Ninjas Who Drink Blood, aka the costume your children will create if you give them $20 at Value Village and do not set parameters on what is an acceptable costume BEFORE you get to the till.  Ah. Good times.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Honour Of Halloween, A Temporal Anomaly.


My Halloween costume is all ready to go. I tried it on tonight:

It may look like I'm dressed as a member of Starfleet, but really I am dressed as my seventeen year old self, dressed as a member of Starfleet. It's META, baby.

Alas, during the last 21 years I developed hips and breasts so the effect is somewhat ruined.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Really Do Adore My Sons.

My house, this afternoon...

Me: Klaxon, Zarf has speed skating practice tonight. Do you want to go to the rink with him and Dad, or stay home with me.

Klaxon: Stay home.

Me: Great. We'll cuddle up on the chesterfield and watch a movie.

Klaxon: YES!

Me: What about Pride & Prejudice?

Klaxon: NO! No. More. Mr Darcy. Let's watch more of Downton Abbey.

Zarf: NO! Promise me you won't watch Downton Abbey while I'm at practice. PROMISE ME!

True to my word, Klaxon (age 7) and I did not watch Downton Abbey this evening.

I also did not torture the poor boy by having him watch Pride and Prejudice -- neither the BBC mini series, nor the more recent theatrical release. Klaxon has no patience for the travails of Lizzie Bennett.  Zarf (age 9) is more interested than his little brother. But both boys are prone to frequently and loudly lamenting that Mr Collins is not a particularly scary villain. Only recently did Zarf realize that both productions are the same narrative, with the same characters, but different actors.  "I thought the second one was a sequel! It's the EXACT SAME STORY!" he exclaimed. For a boy well-versed in the lore of Star Trek, Star Wars and Superman, this was a grave disappointment.

Wait till he finds out there is a new Downton Abbey season coming out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Warp Speed Wednesdays: Halloween 1990.

Things that are embarrassing about this photo:
1. My large pink glasses. They were -- in my defense -- fashionable at the time.
2. My orange hair. There is no defense for this, but I will deflect some blame at the makers of Sun-In and the woman who subsequently sold me a package of Body Shop Brassy Henna hair dye and reassured it would make my hair look better.
3. My glum facial expression. I'm about to leave for my high school dance and I'm trying to be blasé about the fact that I will spend the whole evening manning the Student's Union snack concession or group dancing with my friends AND not -- as I so desperately wish -- dancing with a boy who looks like Wesley Crusher.

Things that do not embarrass me about this photo:
1. The awesome Star Trek: The Next Generation costume that my mother sewed for me.
2. That I still fit into the awesome Star Trek: The Next Generation costume that my mother sewed for me when I was 17 years old.

• • • •
Part Two of this post is HERE.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Come To The Grey Side.

Today has been one of those rare days when I get things done. Laundry washed, folded, put away. Beds made. Kids fed (vegetables even!).  Dishes washed. Cookies baked. Granola made. Hummus whipped up. Work out completed. Kitty litter scooped. I even managed to shower, put on a bra AND I styled/brushed my newly-shorn hair:


I always go two or three weeks too long between haircuts. This means I must fight the temptation to trim my hair after I look in the mirror and realize I resemble a particularly rough, lady-truck driver. But it also means when I do get my disorganized arse to the hairdresser, I'm extra-extra pleased with the end result. Translation: I love my new hair! Asymmetrical bangs --FTW!

One of the more popular posts on my blog (DISCLAIMER: this doesn't mean much since my blog readership is approximately six people per month) is The Old Grey Mère.  Most traffic arrives via image search, but these search terms have been used to navigate to that post:
     grey hair styles
     grey hair
     old grey mums
     women thirties grey hair
     like grey hair
     dye grey hair
     want to stop dying grey hair
     david boreanaz dyes his grey hair
     nicole kidman grey hair
     hair like jamie lee curtis
     actress hollywood grey hair
     grey hair role models women
     michelle obama dyes grey hair
     my first grey hair
     famous men grey hair
     silver fox

(I wonder how many hits I'd receive if I used the American spelling of gray?)

Since April I am more attuned to media portrayals of women with grey hair.  I still haven't found a 40ish grey-haired style icon (famous or otherwise), but I've noticed that more men (famous or otherwise) are letting their grey grow out. I've recently become a fan of something I call Grey Beard Porn. Examples to follow.

Grey beards are the new pornstache.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Warp Speed Wednesdays: Battle of the Young Captains.

I've made no bones about fancying Chris Pine, aka Young Kirk. I've also made it pretty clear that I hated the Star Trek movie Nemesis, which stars Tom Hardy as a cloned copy of Captain Picard.

When I watch the promo for This Means War (which stars both Pine and Hardy) I'm conflicted. My lust for Young Kirk AND my dislike for Young Picard are completely at odds. Which will win out?

Other questions I am now pondering:

1. Do I lust after Chris Pine more or less than I lust after Reese Witherspoon's wardrobe?

2. Are those Tom Hardy's real lips or are they wax lips?

3. Does anyone actually believe that Chelsea Handler is 36? Forty-six, yes. But there's no way she's younger than me.

4. Why would a CIA agent have an English accent?

5. If I was on a date with Chris Pine and he was tranquilized, I would totally take liberties with his person -- does this make me a bad person?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Up To Date.

It has become apparent over the past ten days that the only reason I have manged for the past five years to blog (here and at other venues) is because Mr Wrath does bedtime duties for Zarf and Klaxon. But with him on night shifts (one more week left -- the mere thought makes me weepy), I've made it a priority to keep on top of laundry and dishes and to get in my daily workout. Something has had to give and it's been blogging.

Homeschooling's going really well, however. Except for today because I had food poisoning. I've finally found a schedule that works for us. The key was to drop grammar. I love the idea of teaching the boys grammar, but the reality of grammar curriculums (I've tried five programs to date) is they feel like like busy seat work.

Well, those might be the two most boring paragraphs I've written in recent memory. Try as I might I just can't think of anything funny. How about you? Got anything funny for me? I could use a laugh.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Warp Speed Wednesdays: How To Brainwash Your Proto-Adults Into Becoming Trekkies.

It was my husband who first noticed how Star Trek affected our sons.

Already well-versed in Star Wars lore, Zarf and Klaxon (then 4 and 6) frequently played elaborate games acting out and expanding the plots of movies and tv shows. There were periods of frenzied action (running! shooting! yelling! fighting!) and lulls in the action as both Zarf and Klaxon concocted detailed narratives to move the story arc along. Prior to watching Star Trek the solutions to their various fictional dilemmas were phaser battles or lightsaber duels. After, the solutions were more likely to be based in science and engineering (recalibrating! scanning! realigning! diagnosing!).

I don't think that every child can handle Star Trek at such an early age. But Zarf and Klaxon are even-keeled, steely-nerved types who aren't prone to nightmares and have no problem distinguishing reality from fiction. Even knowing this, I was -- and continue to be -- very conscientious about selecting episodes of Star Trek for them to watch. They prefer the episodes that feature children and involve special effects. Here are my suggestions for suitable episodes to watch with young kids1:

Star Trek The Orginal Series:

Trouble With Tribbles -- The tribbles are really cute. But some of them die. Warn your kids.
Journey to Babel -- Lots of freaky looking aliens. Some violence.
Spock's Brain  -- It's sexist. But fun.
Assignment Earth-- I'm so glad I didn't live in the sixties
The Way to Eden -- SPACE HIPPIES! SINGING SPACE HIPPIES! Buncha freaks.


The Animated Series:

All of the episodes, really. They're cartoons!

The Next Generation:

Captain's Holiday -- There are some references to sex, but the odds are good your kids aren't going to ask you for a specific definition of jamaharon.
Rascals -- The first episode Zarf and Klaxon watched. Picard and other crew members become kids again. Best scene: when Picard calls Riker "Daddy."
Disaster -- A ship wide disaster leaves Picard stuck with three children on the turbolift and they help save him.
Where No One Has Gone Before -- Not my favourite episode, but Wesley saves the ship so my sons love it. 
Qpid -- ROBIN HOOD! And Q!

Deep Space Nine:

Defiant -- This one is good only if your kids have already watched the Next Generation episode Second Chances.
Explorers -- Sisko and his son build a solar powered sail ship. Sets the bar for father-son adventure kinda high.
Little Green Men -- The source of my sons' fascination with Area 51
Trials and Tribble-ations -- Great if have already seen the TOS episode about tribbles.
In The Cards -- It's a funny caper episode.


The 37s -- Alien abductions in the 20th century were real! The mystery of Amelia Earhart's disappearance is finally revealed.
Bride of Chaotica -- A campy send up of fifties movies.
Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy -- Very clever episode with a lot of goofy plot twists.
The Haunting of Deck 12 -- I thought this was spooky, but Zarf and Klaxon liked it. To distract the ship's children, Neelix tells them a story about a ghost who lives on the ship.
Q2 -- The teenage son of the original Q (all the Q are called Q so it gets a smidge confusing) visits the ship.

None of the episodes are good for young kids. The show is pretty violent and there's frequently sexual content.  Even more so than with Deep Space 9, there is frequently moral ambiguity that I think is not appropriate for children.

Amongst the many complaints I have about this series (and don't worry I will resist the urge to vent. For now.) is that the captain has a dog. What the fuck? It's so cloy.

• • • •
1 If you think your kids might not be old enough to watch Star Trek, they're not. Don't second guess that instinct.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Casserole Queen.

I am Queen of the Casseroles. My general rule when it comes to making a casserole is to half the meat, double the vegetables and toss in a can of beans (ie kidney, pinto, navy or garbanzo). Alas I'm NOT Queen of the side dish. Most nights we have a main course (ie a casserole), raw vegetables (ie spinach salad for me and Mr Wrath, sliced cucumbers and raw carrots for the boys), and rice or potatoes.

There will be a lot of casseroles eaten in this house over the coming seventeen days while Mr Wrath works 12-hour long night shifts. Because he misses dinner, I've decreed that Zarf, Klaxon and I will be eating easy meals in front of the television. Tonight I'm serving The Frugal Gourmet's Irish Beef Stew with Guinness (but instead of Guinness I used Merlot, and added a tin of navy beans) and we're watching Mighty Ships.

Our weekend was a bit hectic. Firstly, it was our last weekend before the dread-vile 12-hour long night shift madness commenced. Secondly, Mr Wrath took down four more walls in the basement. Thirdly, it was Thanksgiving.

Mr Wrath -- in addition to being very handy with DIY projects -- is a great cook. He's more adventurous and skilled than I when it comes to cooking and eating. I realized this not long after we met: he owned his own spice grinder. A man who owns his own spice grinder -- AND uses it -- is a treasure, to be sure. He put that spice grinder to good use this weekend making a turkey. Then upon deciding the turkey was too dry for his liking, he deboned it, pressure cookered the carcass (with some crazy, delicious combination of spices) to make some amazing turkey broth. He used that to make gravy. The gravy along with an assortment of vegetables AND the turkey meat wound up in pot pie he topped off with biscuits. I think it's the first time he's ever made a casserole.  He is an excellent Royal Consort.

And where was I while all of this was going on? I did one load of laundry, and played with the cat. I don't know why he puts up with me.

So what are you having for dinner?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Love and Hate.

I LOVE: casseroles. I'm sick and it's autumn. It's the perfect time for casseroles.

I LOVE: our new lunch plates.

I really wanted to get a full set of mess trays (like they use in prisons!) to use when the kids eat lunch in the living room. But these are probably more practical.

I LOVE: The Bloggess' post about a public relations professional who called her a "fµcking bitch" in an email.

I HATE: Everyone else's post1 about a public relations professional calling the Bloggess a "fµcking bitch."

(1 Everyone else OTHER THAN Wil Wheaton. Because his response is humourous and measured and not inflammatory and he does have a dog in this fight.)

I really HATE: Twitter-led gang-bangs as a means of revenge or grandstanding, see earlier point for context.

I really, really HATE: When by-standers/witnesses/bandwagon-jumpers think it's appropriate to viciously demand an apology and/or dictate the terms and wording of an apology (see preceding point for context). When did it become anything other than rude or delusional to expect a person or corporate entity to refine their apology because it didn't go far enough to sate people who aren't direct players?

I LOVE: Hegemon. It's a great word meaning "a dominating leader, or force." I'm going to use it as my stage name when I start my reggae career.

I LOVE: the suggestion by Planetnomad on this post, that we take screenshots of our Google results for Egypt. Here's mine:

(Click to see a larger version in a new window.)

I LOVE: homeschooling, in part because I don't have to put love notes in my child's lunch box in order to impress my peers.

I LOVE: the revised forecast for this weekend. It's not going to snow!

I HATE: these Kahlua espresso brownies. They tasted horrible, and I was up till 1 AM vibrating with caffeine.

I LOVE: the 31 strangers who validated my existence by liking the puerile comment I left on this article about Steve Jobs at The Atlantic:

 I LOVE to HATE this page from my son's grade 4 Social Studies text book:

(From L to R: Ozzie & Harriet, The Brady Bunch, and The Jeffersons.)

These pop culture references were dated when I was in Grade 4, and are utterly meaningless to my kids. This text -- which was issued to me by our Distributed Learning school -- is still in British Columbia schools today was only published in 2000.

I LOVE: that Kristin Davis from "Sex and The City" adopted a baby.

I LOVE: that Mr Wrath is brining a turkey for our Thanksgiving Dinner

What's on your list?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Warp Speed Wednesdays. Turn Your Head and Cough.

As I mentioned in several recent posts, I am sick. Not sick enough to warrant a visit to the doctor but,   medicated enough  sick enough for me to find it amusing to contemplate which of the five Chief Medical Officers from the five Star Trek series, I would consult for  a Nyquil overdose  various maladies.

Clockwise starting at the far left: McCoy, Crusher, Bashir, The Doctor, and Phlox.

Doctor Leonard "Bones" McCoy:
 "By golly, Jim, I'm beginning to think I can cure a rainy day!" -- McCoy (The Devil in the Dark)

The Original Series'  McCoy is a competent, cantankerous man with limitless compassion and a lead stomach. The story goes that McCoy is a country doctor at heart. He abides by his Hippocratic oath, and remains true to his friends and his values. I'd go him for everything that ails me including the hangover I'd suffer after going out with him and Scotty on shore leave. Now THAT would be fun.

Doctor Beverly Crusher:
"You have an appointment in your cabin, Captain, with your bed!" -- Crusher (Angel One)

The Next Generation was the only series to have a female Chief Medical Officer. Too bad Crusher is such a milksop. She's not all bad. She can be feisty when ordering the Captain to bed (but never accompanying him). She's a good researcher. She can ballroom dance. She has a steamy romance with a candle. But in a battle with the Borg, is she up to the task of dealing with field surgery? I don't think so.  Crusher's better suited to pediatrics. I'd take my boys to see Crusher for a fever, and I'd go to her for a pelvic exam, but not for anything requiring surgery.

[Note: for one season Katherine Pulaski was the Chief Medical Officer but the character wasn't very well developed, so I'm leaving her out.]

Doctor Julian Bashir:
"He's still dead, if that's what you mean" -- Bashir (Dramatis Personae)

In the first two seasons of Deep Space Nine, Julian Bashir is an ass. He's young and cocky and not very likable. The character improves as Bashir's back story and mettle evolve. I would enjoy partaking of Bashir's bedside manner (*wink, wink, nudge, nudge*). He's the doctor I'd go to if I had a rare medical condition requiring innovative treatment, or a battlefield wound in need of dressing or an itch that need scratching (*wink, wink, nudge, nudge*).

The Doctor:
"I programmed myself with the symptoms of a 29-hour Levodian flu. Thus I will gain the experience that you suggest would be beneficial to the performance of my duties. [sneezes, and grabs a tissue] Holographic tissue paper for the holographic runny nose. Don't offer them to patients. [blows his nose] Hmmm. Interesting sensation, blowing one's nose. It's my first time." -- The Doctor (Tattoo)

In the premiere episode of Voyager, the ship is stranded on the far side of the galaxy. When their flesh-and-blood doctor dies, the crew activates an Emergency Medical Hologram and for the next seven years this imaginary man is a member of the crew. The Doctor is a great character, and he's responsible for some of the most charming and funny moments on the show. But he's a freakin' computer program! I'd let him examine my detached toenail, but not much else.

Doctor Phlox:
"On Earth, there is a cautionary tale about the dangers of releasing a magical creature called a genie from a bottle. Once it's out, it's extremely difficult to put back in." -- Phlox (The Forgotten)

There are two running gags during the first two (tedious) seasons of Enterprise:
1. Phlox has three wives and each of his three wives have three husbands, AND
2. his medical cures often require the bodily fluids or excretions of animals from other planets.
Despite this shtick he's a good character: competent, unflappable, magnanimous and principled. I'd turn to him for advice and guidance, but I'd have a problem submitting to his treatments. I'd need a lot of  Nyquil  synthehol beforehand.

• • • • • 

Who's your favourite Star Trek doctor?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

This Old House.

Sunday -- while in the midst of our basement renovation -- the ghost of Patrick Swayze burst into our house yelling, "No one puts Baby in a corner. And the same goes for that dryer!"  Then Wham! Bam! Shazam! NO MORE WALLS! Our dryer wasn't in a corner. It was all by itself in the middle of the basement with only the prison toilet to keep it company.  

Sadly Patrick Swayze's ghost did not stay around to help us load and deliver three loads of detritus to the dump:

Good riddance questionable seventies-era decor! ¡Hasta La Vista Styrofoam egg cartoons stuffed in the floor joists, you were someones' lame and tacky attempt at soundproofing! I will not miss you, hollow-core doors that never closed properly! Popcorn ceiling, you are the work of the DEVIL! Our house is now officially devoid of knotty-pine wall panelling!


However once the walls came down we realized we are NOT renovating the basement. We are restoring it. Previous owners took down walls in the exact same locations that we are rebuilding them. This makes me feel a smidge stabby.

Now comes the tough part: rebuilding. It would be going a lot better if I weren't sick and highly medicated. This latter detail might explain the opening paragraph of this post.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I'm 100 Years Old.

Tonight I signed into my recipe blog and this screen popped up:

There is no opt-out button. I could not continue to that blog's dashboard without giving Google information that they have ZERO fucking right to know.  This was particularly infuriating because last week I watched a great TED talk about Google's use of filters that specialize and homogenize everyone's information searches.

(Did you -- like me -- giggle when the speaker said "So when I was growing up in a really rural area in Maine, the Internet meant something very different to me?" HAHAHAHA...ahhh! When I was growing up THERE WAS NO INTERNET!! I am VERY OLD.)

Remember the good old days when Google was the less-intrusive, less-restrictive Internet company and Facebook was the villain? Facebook is still Lex Luthor, but Google is looking more and more like Brainiac.1

By the way, if Google asks: today is my 100th birthday. Larry and Sergey better buy me a fucking cupcake.

• • • • • •

1 --To carry this analogy to it's natural conclusion, I am Squirrel Girl:

Yes -- my calves are THAT hairy.