Friday, September 28, 2012

I Spy With My Little Eye...

Several years ago a house on our street was foreclosed upon. Before the bank took the keys, the owner gave me permission to go through his garden and pilfer some of the perennials. I took three of these:

What is it?

For most of the year it's just a clump of green grass. Then late in the summer a single flowering stalk shoots up. It's so cheering to see that purple blossom just as the rest of the garden starts to fade into beige-ness.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Toothy Grin.

In our house, the going rate for lost teeth is $1. But the tooth fairy gives a bonus if the teeth need to be extracted with help from the dentist.

In the past month Zarf has had five teeth taken out. One was an extra adult eye tooth on his upper jaw, the others were baby canines and eye teeth that were refusing to budge despite the adult teeth being fully formed and ready to roll. I told him that his stubbornness -- which he gets from me -- extends to the roots of his teeth.

And then this happened...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Warp Speed Wednesday: The Childish Edition.

Let's consider this a follow-up to a post I wrote last week  in which I said uncharitable things about child actors. The comments got me thinking about the fate of child actors who appeared in Star Trek. I also took the time to judge them, and place them in various categories based upon my assessment of their merit, conduct and talent.

First up there's the first child actor to be a regular cast member on a Star Trek series: Wil Wheaton. He portrayed Wesley Crusher on The Next Generation. I'm going to place Wheaton at the head of a category called Child Actors From Star Trek Who Did Not Crash and Burn. Wheaton is in this category based upon his successful personal life (happily married with children), his social activism (including supporting his local SPCA), and carving out a career as a working actor, blogger, author and presenter on his own terms. Wheaton is one of those rare celebrities who can maintain his dignity, while being self-effacing. Furthermore he is not an asshole on Twitter which is a rare and beautiful thing for a celebrity (*cough**Nathan Fillion sucks at twitter **cough*). I loved Wesley Crusher as a teenager, but as an adult I respect Wil Wheaton whilst adoring the Sparks McGee meme that he inspired and endorses.

On the other end of the scale we have Child Actors From Star Trek Who Have Neck Tattoos:

This is Brian Bonsall who portrayed Alexander Rozhenko on the Next Generation. It's always a good rule to not make fun of people with neck tattoos -- even if they are of butterflies -- and criminal records for violent offences, so I'm going to move on to showcase some of the child actors who have fared better...

Clint Howard appeared in the original series as Balok. He continues to work today as a character actor and his wikipedia page is free of scandal. I'll put him in the same category as Wheaton.

Kirsten Dunst was in one episode of the Next Generation.  I'm putting Dunst in the category of  I Know Your Name and Your Face, But Can Only Think of One Movie Two Movies You've Made.

(The movies are Spider Man and the Virgin Suicides.)

My sons love watching any episode that features child actors. But some of the kids are...well, if not exactly awful, than at least...well -- let's just say that often their performances are not indicative of a strong future career. Yes, young Borg girl from Voyager, I am referring to you.  Most of the children who appeared on various episodes of Star Trek series have not pursued acting as a profession. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that they lead happy and functional lives. I'll just lump them all into the  Did Not Crash and Burn category with Wheaton. 

From the ages fourteen to twenty Cirroc Lofton portrayed Jake Sisko on Deep Space 9. He was a natural on-screen and very talented. I wish he'd done more acting. He now operates a successful cafe in California. I'm putting him into the same category as Wheaton.

Where is Scarlett Pomers? She was so cute as Naomi Wildman on Voyager. She did more acting afterward, had a high profile battle with bulimia and then tried to launch a music career. Sadly her web presence plummets after 2010. I want to categorize her with Lofton and Wheaton, or alternately create a category called Not Just Anyone Can Rock the Forehead Horn Look, Bitch.

The boys share my love of Q episodes. They especially like the Voyager episode when Q shows up with is his son, Q. The latter is portrayed by Keegan de Lancie, the real life son of Q's actor John De Lancie. Keegan gets his own category called And Now I Work For the United Nations Helping Solve All the Problems in the Middle East.


And here I was feeling all proud for blogging two days in a row, AND making the kids eat vegetables. Damn. I suck.

But at least I don't have neck tattoo.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Feed Me, Seymour.

Osiris found a creative and messy and expensive way to let me know he is unhappy with recent changes to his diet:

Mostly he shredded the toilet paper off the rolls, but he did eat some. What does it say about diet cat kibble when toilet paper is more palatable.

After two days of not eating and five shredded rolls (after we took to hiding the rolls away, we realized he can open the bathroom cupboards), I broke down and bought another bag of his full fat kibble. It took an additional day before he resumed eating, but only when no one was watching. Ezri was not enthused with this development as she was enjoying eating both their allotments of food, diet and regular.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

There are THREE socks. Where is the missing one?

Over the weekend, my husband put up a clothesline in our backyard. Now I can do laundry, peasant-style.

Two years ago our original clothesline came down in a wind storm and for almost this entire time Mr Wrath and I have been debating where to put the replacement. Was this spot too shady? Was this one too sunny? Was there enough ground clearance here? Was it too close to the compost pile? Would the new neighbours mind seeing my unmentionables flapping in the wind? Would it be better to put up a zipline instead of a clothesline? And so on.

Just in time to air out the winter bedding, Mr Wrath agreed to put some holes in the side of his shed.

Also on the weekend the whole family (minus the cats) drove to the top of the mountain overlooking our town and launched paper lanterns. It was almost exactly like the scene in Tangled. Except for me holding my breath, dreading that they were going to crash to the ground, set the forest on fire, and lead to the entire destruction of our town.

Plus, we only had 2.

So really, it was nothing at all like the movie.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Colin Firth + Leather Trousers = All is Right With the World. For now.

Like all women of my generation, I am very fond of the scene in A&E's Pride and Prejudice when Colin Firth (aka Mr Darcy) takes a swim in the lake at Pemberley.

I also appreciate the scene in What A Girl Wants, when Mr Firth dances around wearing very tight leather trousers.


 Did you recognize the actress in that scene? IT'S DUCK FACE! FROM FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL!

What A Girl Wants is one of several movies that are my version of "comfort food." It's because of this fondness that I feel sad reading about Amanda Bynes' recent legal issues.  As a veteran of celebrity gossip sites, I have a pretty good idea of the trajectory of this story. We've seen it with Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Corey Haim, Brad Renfro, Tatum O'Neal, Gary Coleman and River Phoenix.

For every child actor who succumbs to a path of self-destruction there are very few who transition from childhood to adulthood with (on occasion, a great deal of plastic surgery -- and) a minimum amount of scandal. IN fact the only three I can think of are Natalie Portman, Jodie Foster (though she's got to stop making apologies for Mel Gibson's anti-semitic, violent, misogynistic behaviour) and Anna Paquin.

Guess which list will eventually feature "Honey Boo Boo Child?"

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Third Post of the Month.

Usually when I sit down to blog I have something on my mind. More often than not that germ of an idea morphs into something completely different once I start tapping away on the keyboard.

Today I have nothing to write but I feel compelled to post SOMETHING. Did I mention we have a dog? Yes we do. And at the suggestion of the certified (yes, she's got these fancy letters after her name and totally knows what she's doing) dog trainer, Fogo is never left alone in a room and is always tethered to something or someone. This is because...okay, I don't remember why we're doing this. It's something about imprinting the fact that Fogo's new life is  human centric and also to ensure that she doesn't eat the furniture and also because I've always wanted to have an entourage PLUS having a single moment to oneself for preservation of one's sanity is totally over rated. Or something.

I am attachment parenting a dog.

Except for those times when I put her in her kennel and walk away. I love those times. I wish we'd kennel trained the human babies.


I'm just joking. Sort of.

In other news I made a profile account-thingy over at Goodreads. Here's an unforeseen side effect of e-readers: I have no idea the names of books that I read. Sure, I see the name when I download the book, and that first time I select the title off the main menu, but that's it. So it never sinks into my brain. Several times I have downloaded books only to realize after a few pages that I've already read it. This is of course also an indication of the quality of books I read (fluff) and the homogeneity of books I read (set in England or Ireland. Yes, I do need to branch out into other genres, but am kind of limited by my preference for happy endings and minimal violence.

Here are some of my recent reviews:

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig LarsomethingForeign: 1 out of 5 stars
When a friend recommended this book, I asked if it was very violent. She assured that there was some violent scenes, but nothing deviant or hardcore and that it was kind of sexy. Evidently my friend is a pervert. This book is amazingly violent and most of the graphic scenes are not necessary to the plot development.

Bossypants, by Tina Fey: 5 out of 5 stars
If Tina Fey ever moves away from New York City and relocates to the same small northern British Columbia town where I live, she and I will be best friends. Know how I know this? Because this book shows that we have the same AMAZING sense of humour and STUNTED emotional growth.

The Help, by someone woman who you will never hear from again: 1 out of 5 stars
I can't take this book seriously. It's  insulting that the deep, dark secret that changes the power imbalance between the white employers and their black household staff is something as base and trivial as a poop-filled pie.   And now I will never again enjoy chocolate mousse.

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson: 5 out of 5 stars
I read part of this while on an elliptical trainer at the gym. I laughed so hard I fell off and nearly took out the woman beside me.


That's enough for now.

Tah rah.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Once More WITH FEELING! Homeschool curriculum list.

We not only met all the goals I'd laid out for our first week of homeschooling, we exceeded them.  Mind you, my only objective was for Klaxon and Zarf to wake up early (8 AM) and get to bed early (10 PM). Additionally they finished off last year's math books, took a spelling test, and listened while I read a novel. I've learned to keep expectations low and start out slow when it comes to homeschooling.

For our fifth year I've barely bought any new resources. But here's how the year is shaping up:

We're sticking with JUMP Math supplemented by games and manipulatives.

Spanish lessons will be done on-line. The boys will be doing spelling on-line, reading a loud every day and continuing to write several times a week. They love writing almost as much as I do. 

I'm still undecided upon what direction to take social studies.

I have high hopes for "How to Survive Teaching Health." My greatest lament about using the British Columbia's Distributed Learning System is having to supply proof that I taught the boys formal health lessons. ACK!!! I make them eat vegetables, isn't that enough?!

Guess what's Zarf and Klaxon's favourite subject? Here's a hint:

As with last year, I'll use the Science A Closer Look texts as a spine for our studies, and supplement with the other resources.

This weekend was our town's leisure fair and we've fleshed out the physical education and performing arts components of the year. We bought our membership for the x-country ski club and signed the boys up for lessons starting in February. Zarf is back in speed skating twice a week. Both boys will be in the skill maintenance program for their swim team. I hope that we can schedule that around their commitment to the musical theatre program and hip hop dance practice. Starting next week we also have dog obedience classes on Saturdays.

 In short: I'm going to be spending all my time at the rec. centre until spring time.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

For the Love of a Good Modem.

My modem died last week. It'd been acting flakey for months, and I'd just come to accept unplugging it for 10 seconds several times a day was a workable solution. A power outage on Tuesday was the final straw. It took until this Tuesday for Telus to deliver my replacement modem.

In retrospect it's a good thing that I was internet-less. It saved me from writing many posts about how I hated our new dog and was considering sending her nippy, bratty, cute little ass to the pound. Instead, I hired a dog trainer to come for a consult (official diagnosis: Fogo is a nippy, bratty, cute asshole with zero bite inhibition) and sobbed on the phone to my friends (thanks, Megan and MaryLUE for being so patient).

Things are much improved now.

The nipping is mostly under control. We're using clicker training with treats for compliance as we teach Fogo voice commands. She's spending more time in her kennel so she doesn't get over tired. She gets four walks a day. We downgraded her food to one with less protein. The trainer made the analogy that a companion dog should not get the same food as a working dog, much like a horse at a petting zoo doesn't eat the same feed as a race horse.

But just when I was beginning to think that I was not completely incompetent as a pet owner, I learned our cats are "amazingly obese." When the vet made this pronouncement I pointed at my skinny human children and said "Do I get partial points for not fattening up these two?"  In my defense, it's really hard to know how much to feed a cat and what is a cat's ideal weight. For one thing, Ezri and Osiris won't stay on the bathroom scale long enough to get a reading. And secondly, sometimes it's hard to tell where the fluffy fur ends and the fat begins. Thirdly: Osiris is nicer when he is too fat to bite.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

While I was in the doldrums on the weekend, Mr Wrath had me watch this clip on his Blackberry. Tom Jones -- he makes the world a better place with his hip shaking, dance moves. The whole thing is fantastic, but if you're pressed for time start watching at the 1:12 mark.