Friday, November 30, 2012

It's Friday!

The very funny, very clever Deb at Not Inadequate writes a Random Monday post every single Monday. She does it EVERY Monday. Yes. EVERY. MONDAY. This astounds me because I often miss posting on Warp Speed Wednesdays entirely or compose a post on Thursday and just back date it. But I do like her idea of Random Monday posts, but not on Mondays because I'm very disorganized on Mondays (also on Wednesdays it would appear). Hence I'm going to try doing them on Fridays. Like this:

• I finished reading "One Day In May," by Catherine Alliott. Here's my review from Goodreads:
The plot was thin and the main character was unsympathetic, but I found it an interesting read. I particularly liked the non-linear narration. The descriptions of the French countryside, the English aristocratic lifestyle and the antiques trade were interesting. Then on page 294 the narrator reveals herself to be a liar. I hate when narrators are untrustworthy because it makes me feel manipulated. Honestly, I doubt I'll ever again bother with a book by this author.

Now I'm onto a new book ("The Secret Keeper" by Kate Morton) and I am completely suspicious of every thing all because of the Alliott book. There's no trust anymore.

• In the event of a zombie apocalypse I hope to be one of the first victims. I am just not up for the rugged survivalist life style. Why fight the inevitable? Also: I like showering every day. Rugged survivalists look dusty.

• What is the etiquette of flash mobs? Is audience participation the goal? I thought this was the case, but now I'm seeing very professional flash mobs with tight choreography. There is no way any random person could join in. Check out this one:

• On Facebook, MaryLUE linked to an article about NYU's ‘Replyallcalypse.' This reminded me of when I worked at the University of Alberta and a coworker sent out an email telling other employees about a problem with a database we managed. Her email account was set up so that every time a person opened an email from her, she would get a verification email.  Complete with a PING! sound effect. She'd sent the email to several hundred people. PING! PING! PING! PING! PING!PING!PING! PING!PING!PING!PING! PING!PING!PING!PING!PING!!! 

It was funny for the first 10 minutes. Then it got annoying. Then I got stabby. Then I went deaf.

Fifteen years later, I'm back to thinking it was funny.

• My ten year old heard a Beastie Boys song today. He called it "Old People's Rap Music."

• I gave myself quite a start this morning when I stumbled out bed and caught sight of myself in the mirror. I'd forgotten that I had my haircut yesterday. Now I no longer look like Gary Sandy:

• Lyn (aka HappyGeek75) recommended a recipe for Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies. I've made three batches in two days. They are so tasty though it's crazy that there are no eggs in the recipe.

• The other day as we returned home from a walk, I remarked that Fogo is doing really well lately and it's amazing how far she's come. The 8 year old muttered, "Now you've jinxed us."

Not two minutes later I found myself wrestling with Fogo in the backyard trying to pry her jaws open and get a bird out of her mouth. The bird -- like countless other birds before it -- had flown full speed into our south facing bedroom window and died. In the end, I learned:
a. Fogo can swallow a bird whole,
b. Bird legs are not strongly attached to bird bodies and should not be used as leverage, and
c. I totally jinxed us.

Good thing she's cute. In a scary Borg-eye kind of way.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Warp Speed Wednesdays: The Christmas Gift List Edition.

Last year Beck from This My New Blog was harangued into posting graciously hosted a serious of gift idea lists composed by bloggers. I had a lot of fun with my list, and decided I would do another this year. Instead of forcing Beck to fix all my coding errors and punctuation goofs, I'm going to post it here:

Gift Suggestions for the Trekkie who…

…loves the cold despite being a pink skin: an Andorian toque

Available on Etsy. 

I have one of these! It's brilliant.

Available on Amazon and other places.

…wishes they could hang out in one of Quark's holosuites: "This One's from the Heart" by James Darren, aka Vic Fontaine from Deep Space Nine.

Available on iTunes. And Walmart. And Zellers.  London Drugs, maybe? Uh...where ever it is people buy cds these days. Do people buy cds anymore?

…aspires to be a Star Fleet captain: Gobblet a two-person game that fosters strategic thinking and creative problem solving. Players must sacrifice some pieces in order to attain final victory. Hence it is exactly like the Kobayashi Maru.

Available at Lee Valley Tools.

…wears dress shirts with french cuffs: thematic cuff links.

Available everywhere.

What the hell?

Trekkies tend to be of the superhero-t-shirts-and-beige-Levi's-corduroy-pants fashion aesthetic, so it makes no sense that there are dozens and dozens of styles of Star Trek cuff links on the market. I suspect these are bought by brides as gifts for grooms who are disappointed that they can't have a full-on Star Trek theme wedding.

Well-played, brides.

…reads the Awesome Adventures of Sparks McGee tumblr: gift them a copy of Wil Wheaton's Just a Geek: Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise

Available places where old-fashioned paper books are sold and on the internets, too.

…supports gay rights: a selection of It's Okay to Be Takei branded gear.

…values old school Klingon/Romulan aggression: Sometimes the original Settlers of Catan isn't geeky enough. That's when you pull out the Star Trek version!

Available in lots of places, just google it yourself, okay? I'm too lazy.

 …has memorized all the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition and wants practice applying them: there are several Star Trek editions of Monopoly:

Available no place that my husband shops, so he should definitely not buy me one.

…has the body and the self-confidence to carry off Orion Slave Girl cosplay: green body paints. Lots and lots of it. 

…says "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot." frequently: a nice box of Earl Grey tea from a reputable purveyor of tea.

Available at Murchie's and other places where old ladies in tweed skirts shop.

…is called Nan and writes this blog: a Spock hoodie.

Women's sizes are available at Her Universe. Actually, I'd be happy with anything off that site, Mr Wrath. Hint. Hint. 

Merry Christmas!

• • • • • • • • •

If you're looking for gift giving inspiration or a hearty belly laugh, than you need to read Beck's annual analysis of Teh Oprah's Gift Guide

Friday, November 23, 2012

That's Not Sexy.

Upon reading of Gabriel Aubry's arrest, I updated my list of Canadian sexy men. Sexy Quebecois men are now being represented by Alexandre Despatie. Because Olympic medalists and World Champions always trump assholes who get into fistfights and wind up arrested and in the hospital.

Did anyone compile  a list of Sexy French Guys From France? If yes, then Olivier Martinez doesn't belong on that list either.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Love Me(me) Tender.

Last time I blogged a meme there were comments left on the post and on twitter about the term "meme." The consensus is that no one likes the word, and very few know how to say it. I appreciate the last bit. Last month I heard Jon Stewart say is as "meam" (rhymes with beam or seam), and until then I thought it was said "mem-EE." I felt like a moron, but your comments made me feel better about not knowing how to say this ridiculous made-up word. Nobody knows!

I'm not going to let my inability to pronounce "meme" stop me from doing them. Like this one I'm stealing from Rachel's blog1:

These Go To Eleven:

1. First crush - who and would you now?
Luke Skywalker (aka Mark Hamill) as he looked in A New Hope. The feeling has definitely abated.

2. Most expensive single thing you have bought except houses/cars.
An elliptical trainer. I am one of those rare people who actually uses their exercise equipment so it's okay.

3. Your first memory.
When I was 3 (maybe 4?) my mom would leave loaves of bread to rise on top of our HUGE floor model television set. I remember one time my brother and I were watching All In The Family and I kept running up to peek underneath the tea towel and pitch off bits of dough.

4. What was your best subject at school?
Social Studies.

5. Have you had your 15 minutes of fame yet?
No. Thank heavens.

6. Golden balls - would you split or steal?
I have no idea what these are. Is it a Harry Potter thing?

7. What's your favourite film of all time? I'll allow you two!
This is a tough one because I can't limit myself to just two. There are so many movies I love to watch over and over. Huh. How about:
                            Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan 
                            Star Trek 2009 (the reboot version)

Slight aside: this weekend I watched The Decoy Bride. It's a very cute movie.

8. Have you ever told a white lie - only to be found out?

9. Most romantic gesture you have given/received.
Once my husband hired a skywriter to fly over our house and write "We Really Aren't Fans of Grand Romantic Gestures and This Is a Total Lie." in great big, fluffy letters. True story.

(Please refer back to Question 8 at this time.)

10. Do you like Marmite?
No. But if we are comparing weird foodstuff that we like that others abhor, I will offer up: mustard pickles.

11. What's your favourite joke?
In 1999 my husband and I camped over night in Stewart, British Columbia. In the morning we rented bikes and pedalled down the highway to the town of Hyder, Alaska. As we approached the US-Canada border I yelled out "Hi there, Alaska!" in a very thick Newfoundland accent so it sounded just like "Hyder, Alaska." Then I laughed myself silly because I thought it was such a clever thing to do.

My husband did not laugh.

For the past 13 years I have randomly yelled out "Hyder, Alaska!" in my Newfoundland accent. I will continue to do this until my husband concedes it is high comedy.

• • • • • • • •
  1 Here are the rules for this meme:

- Every tagged person has to tell 11 things about themselves 
- Answer the 11 questions from the person who tagged you 
- List 11 questions for the folk you are going to tag, and they should have fewer than 200 followers if possible 
- Don't back-tag.

Uh. No. I'm not tagging anyone. Feel free to volunteer. I'm not going to make up 11 new questions. The ones set by Rachel are very good. Just use those.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

If you stand still for a second you can hear Jim Henson turning over in his grave.

Back in June when a young man contacted your organization alleging that at age 16 he'd started a sexual relationship with Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash, you had two options;

1. contact the police and let them investigate Clash for sexually inappropriate behaviour with a child, or

That you chose the second scenario is mind boggling.

Did you learn nothing from the egregious mistakes of Penn State's handling of the Sandusky scandal? Did you really think that Human Resources personnel, computer technicians, publicists and corporate lawyers were qualified to investigate child abuse? Did no one in your organization voice reservations that the Sesame Workshop had a public duty to report the possibility of sexual contact between one of your employees and a child, even if it tainted your public image?

Protecting the Sesame Street brand does not trump justice. No matter what happened or what happens you've done 2 things:

1. thwarted the American judicial system (I doubt Clash ever be convicted or exonerated of these crimes) and
2. tainted my opinion of the Sesame Workshop.

Mr Clash's accuser will probably never get his day in court, not that I'm sure his accusations warrant criminal charges being filed against Mr Clash. But I'd rather that decision was made by a prosecuting attorney, and NOT by a consultant from FTI Consulting, the crisis communications firm Sesame Workshop contracted to handle this scandal.  For a non-profit that routinely loses money you sure have expensive tastes, Sesame Workshop.

Cantankerously yours,


PS -- call the cops already, for fuck's sake.

Friday, November 16, 2012

True North Strong and SEXY.

As part of their Sexiest Man Alive edition, People magazine compiled a feature called The United States of Sexy, fifty American men representing their home states who were -- at some point in history -- sexy to someone with questionable taste.

In the name of patriotism, here is my True North Strong and SEXY list.

Newfoundland: Allan Hawco

The Newfoundland tourism authority should adopt the slogan "Come to Newfoundland and we'll let you french kiss Allan Hawco." People will be lining up to get on those ferries just to get a taste of this:

Nova Scotia: Sidney Crosby

Why you might know him: he plays hockey and is very good. I go to great lengths to remain ignorant of hockey and am not prepared to sacrifice my hockey-free bubble for the sake of a blog post. You'll have to google the specifics on your own time.

New Brunswick: Ian Hanomansing

I could listen to newscaster Ian Handsome-Man-Thing all day long. I love his voice. 

Prince Edward Island: Jonathan Torrens
Honourary mention: Gilbert Blythe

Canadians know Jonathan Torrens as the host of Street Cents. American's might remember him as the Gotta-Be-Gay Guy from The Joe Schmo faux-reality TV show.

Gilbert Blythe is fictional but so what -- every Canadian women under the age of 45 loves him.

Quebec:  Garbriel Aubry Alexandre Despatie
Honourary mention: William Shatner

Updated on November 22:

Gabriel Aubry is beautiful to look at but he has questionable taste in women, ie Halle Berry.

Laval's Alexandre Despatie has usurped the title of Sexy Quebecois! He is the reason why Speedos will never go out of fashion. Viva La Banana Hammock!

Yes, I think William Shatner is sexy. Even today. DON'T JUDGE ME -- JUDGE MY LADY BITS! THEY CAN NOT BE REASONED WITH.

Ontario: Adam van Koeverden
Honourary mention: Ryan Gosling

Ridiculously handsome Adam van Koeverden has a big paddle and he knows how to use it.

Ryan Gosling seems like a genuinely nice person. He should be named Canada's Ambassador to Women. Those dimples would diffuse a lot of international political tension.

Manitoba: Adam Beach

He was on one of the Law & Order spin-offs and I managed to sit through several gore-filled episodes just to see his cheek bones.

Saskatchewan: Cas Anvar
Honourary mention: my husband.

Anvar is playing Dodi in the new Princess Diana biopic, which is obviously some very inventive casting since he is way hotter than the original Dodi.

That's not really a picture of my husband. That's Jim Gaffigan who is not my husband and who is not Canadian but who is the actor my husband is sometimes compared to. My husband is sexier, however.

Alberta: Nathan Fillion   Richard Castle  Nathan Fillion only in the role of Richard Castle

Do you think that Nathan Fillion is an attractive fellow who is very amusing on ABC's Castle? Then you should absolutely NEVER read his Twitter profile. Let the illusion live on. Learn from my heart ache.

British Columbia: Ryan Reynolds

For me Ryan Reynolds will always be Berg from Two Guys and A Girl and A Pizza Place. Which means I see him not so much as a heart throb, but as a comedian. Funny is sexy, in my world.

Yukon/Nunavut/Northwest Territories: Tahmoh Penikett

He has appeared on Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse and several of my naughty dreams.

• • • • • • • • •

Did I miss anyone? Let me know.

If you haven't had enough of the sexy mens, you might want to check out blog posts by Beck at This Is My New Blog, Hannah at Hodgepodge and Strawberries, Nicole at Girl in a Boy House and The Beached Librarian.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Campaign Redux.

A few of the reasons I did not blog about the 2012 US Presidential election:

• It was a boring campaign. Oh sure there were a few scary moments when it looked like Bachmann, Santorum, Trump and Cain were actually being considered as legitimate contenders. But once we were all done laughing at them it was dull as dishwater.

• It was a really long campaign. It lasted 4,675 months. Give or take 6 months. 

• I didn't think that Barack Obama would win.

• I didn't think that Mitt Romney would win.

• I was 100% sure that Sarah Palin wasn't going to win. That in and of itself was HUGELY comforting.

• On Twitter many political discussions were saturated with cynicism directed at politicians and the political process.  Buncha sooky babies -- apathy and cynicism are luxuries no grown up can afford.

• I was not entirely sure that it mattered who won the US Presidential election. I think non-Americans have more respect for the President than many American citizens and we often over-estimate the power of the office. The President can not do much if (as has been the case for the last few years) the senate and the congress are populated by people whose main goal is spouting populist rhetoric in order to get a sound bite picked up by the media.

• Recently I read "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings: A Five-Generation History of the Ultimate Irish-Catholic Family"by Thomas Maier. This book used the Kennedy family as a frame work upon which to pin discussion of the changing political and economic climate in the US for the last 150 years. It was disheartening to see the similarities between the racist treatment of Irish immigrant politicians (ie Kennedy's ancestors) in the late 1800s and minority politicians (ie Barack Obama) today. Furthermore, the issues faced by John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in the 1960 election were more nuanced, sophisticated and progressive than those in the 2012 election.

• After years of catering to the religious right (a segment of the American population that frequently derides both Catholics and Mormons as NON-Christians), the Republican party put a Mormon and a Catholic on the same ticket. I am still laughing.

• We were out of town when the Republicans had their convention. Then our internet crapped out during the Democratic convention and so I didn't watch either. I'm pretty sure if I'd watched Clint Eastwood yell at that chair I'd have written a blog post.  It would've involved going through a checklist of symptoms indicating a person suffers from dementia or Alzheimer's. 

• After reading Rebecca Traister's "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women," I realized that despite watching the 2008 campaigns (from afar) with keen interest I missed a lot of that election's nuance.  This made me question how accurate a bead I was getting this time around.

• I could not think of a witty way of saying "Hey America, your economy is tanking and people set up blogs to solicit donations from strangers in order to pay their medical bills. Don't let your election get bogged down by asinine discussions of bullshit "issues" like Legitimate Rape. FOCUS!" See. That's not witty. It's just angry. But damn accurate.

But it's all over now. As of November 6, America has Obama for another four years. All Americans will have health insurance healthcare coverage.  Referendums were passed to make gay marriage legal and in other places marijuana was decriminalized. In short: America is becoming more like Canada.

Damn. They're stealing all our good shit.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Poppies Grow.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place; and in the sky 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the Dead. Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie, 
In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe: 
To you from failing hands we throw 
The torch; be yours to hold it high. 
If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
In Flanders fields. 
-Lt. Colonel John McCrae 1915

 • • • • • • • 

It was -8ºC this morning at 11 AM when we attended our town's Remembrance Day ceremony. We stomped our feet and tucked our chins into the collars of our winter jackets and shivered for 30 minutes.

Walking back to the car Klaxon said, "My toes are freezing. I bet I have trench foot now." It wasn't the most sensitive of comments but it was nice to see that something of our recent unit study on WWI and WWII had sunk into his brain. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Good, The Bad, The Mullets. A Look At the Sexiest Men of Days Gone By.

My how time flies. It's already THAT time of the year. THAT special time when bloggers come together, Twitter is invigorated and I feel free to objectify men. Yes, it's time for People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive issue.

In anticipation of the announcement on November 16, let's revisit the winners of yesteryear. Did they deserve the title then? Have they lived up to their sexy potential?

1. The Inaugural Edition:

The year was 1985 and Mel Gibson was 29 years old. He was famous for starring in the Mad Max movies and not because he told the mother of his child that "You look like a fucking pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of [REDACTED], it will be your fault" or threaten that "I am going to come and burn the fucking house down. But you will blow me first." Yes, it was a simpler time. We didn't know that Gibson addressed female police officers as sugar tits. He'd not yet confessed to believing that "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

Based upon all of this, plus the fact that his ears are now really large (when did THAT happen?), I rate Gibson an F.

2. The Sexist Men Alive Who Are No Longer Alive:

I never found John F. Kennedy Jr  -- or any Kennedy man -- sexy. When Kennedy's marriage was announced in 1996, I was in a room full of American women and they lamented missing their chance to marry into Camelot. Maybe you've got to be an American to appreciate his family's mythology or look passed the Lego hair? Who knows. Based on the hair, his bedding of Darryl Hannah, the circumstances of his death, and his general non-sexiness, he gets a C.

Let's not remember Patrick Swayze for his role as a statutory rapist who grooms an awkward teenage "Baby" in Dirty Dancing. Instead focus upon his romantic role in Ghost, his classic self-deprecating appearance as a Chippendale Dancer on SNL, and the fact that he was happily married to one woman for 34 years. The man could dance and he rocked the mullet like no one before or since. Verdict: B+

3. The Four Sexiest Men Alive Who Are Living Up To The Title:
Mark Harmon is getting better with age. A

Denzel Washington is the only African American to win the title. REALLY!? He is aging beautifully. A

When it comes to Harrison Ford, my loins are being unduly influenced by residual lust from his Indiana Jones and Star Wars years. Nonetheless: A

Pierce Brosnan is magic. He's so pretty and -- as I've confessed before -- my love of men with Irish accents is encoded in my DNA. A+

 4. The Repeaters:
In 1993 Richard Gere won as one half of the Sexiest Couple Alive, but won the title in 1999 as a solo act. Then as now, I don't find Gere sexy. This is because I had never heard of him until he played a john in "Pretty Woman." First impressions are lasting.

As I get further into this category you will see that I'm not averse to actors who use their status and power and money to back political causes about which they are passionate and informed. But Gere's stridency is off-putting. I'm giving him a C+.

Know who does political activism well? Clooney.

Clooney looked better in 2006 than in his first appearance in 1997, but lately he's been looking harsh. But sexy. Personally I wouldn't touch him without a note from the Centers for Disease Control.  For keeping his hair gray, his shit private and his political causes well-funded: A-

Neither of these covers (from 1995 & 2000) do justice to Brad Pitt. In the first one he looks stoned. In the second one he looks like he donated his eyelids to medical science. BLINK, SHARK BOY! Based not on these photos, but on fond memories of Thelma & Louise, the fact that I like his politics and that he appears to be a good dad, Pitt is getting a B.

These photos of Johnny Depp + his Wino Forever tattoo + he wears a lot of make up on the red carpet + enough with the SCARVES ALREADY!! = C

5. The Were-The-Editors-Drunk-The-Year-These-Men-Were-Chosen? Sexiest Men:

Harry Hamelin won in 1987. This makes no sense. The order of Sexy Men on LA Law was Jimmy Smits, Blair Underwood, Corbin Bernsen, Michael Tucker THEN Harry Hamelin. I don't think Hamelin warranted the title in 1987. Since then he's gone on to a smattering of low profile roles, starred in a realty tv show with his  wife, and made a commercial for adult diapers. Score: C 

Nick Nolte's publicists circa 1992 really earned their keep. Know what's not sexy? Rape jokes and DUIs. Score: F

In 1990 Tom Cruise was already a member of Scientologists. Nothing is sexy about mind-control cults, hence: F 

6. The Bostonians: 

Matt Damon looks like crap on cracker here. Did he just miss a flight to Regina for a big sales meeting? Is he stuck in the Winnipeg Airport while that upstart Gary from Fort McMurray schmoozes the new regional director in charge of pumpjack reclamation sales. "GOD DAMN IT, WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME!?" Damon thinks to himself as he drinks yet another dirty martini at the airport bar and pulls at the knot in his tie.

Damon's been married for a while, never made a sex tape, and didn't date J.Lo. He gets an A.

There's dramatic license, and then there's revisionist history. The latter one is not sexy. For making a movie about the Canadian Caper while minimizing and belittling the efforts of Canadians to save American diplomats in Tehran, Ben Affleck gets a D.


7. The Non-Threatening Sexiest Men: 

Please note, the title was awarded to a pre-Shagging-the-Nanny and a pre-Impregnating-Random-"Models" Jude Law, circa 2004. These are not sexy things. Plus he's such a metro-sexual man and he's had hair plugs. D-

As a Canadian citizen and a resident of British Columbia, my tolerance for pot heads is pretty high. But even I find Matthew McConaughey's stoner philosophies grating. B

Ryan Reynolds. He's the only Canadian on the list, and he was stellar in Smokin' Aces. He's funny, cute and possibly smarter than he looks: A-

Bradley Cooper. I stand by my assessment from last year. He gets a C and a Milk Bone.

8. Hey, Grandpa. 

Sean Connery is a handsome man. But handsome doesn't always mean "sexy," especially when handsome is old and handsome says "I don't think there is anything particularly wrong in hitting a woman, though I don't recommend you do it the same way that you hit a man." D

9. An Australian Who Does Not Embarrass His Fellow Aussies:

Hugh Jackman is perfection -- what more needs to be said. A+

º º º º º º º º º º º

Now let's look to the future. Who do you think should win the title in 2012?