Friday, May 31, 2013

Fogo on a Friday.

Sad dog is sad. Sad dog is blurry. Sad dog is also starting to look less and less like a black lab.

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Speaking of things that are sad, this is my favourite Spock glass:

I bought it at the Science Fiction museum in Seattle in February, 2010. It travelled with us by train to Disneyland, then back to northern BC. Mr Wrath broke it last night. He says it was an accident and I believe him, largely because there are other glasses I own that he hates more than poor, logical Spock.

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I play fast and loose with punctuation and spelling, so obviously I'm not a "grammar nerd."  But even I find this annoying:

Please, please, PLEASE don't let "health" as verb become a thing.  Let "healthing" be the drunken, doomed brainstorm of some asinine ad executive. Let it end here and now.

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In an attempt to curtail Osiris's furniture shredding ways, I bought and applied Soft Paws:

Can you tell he is not charmed by his new pink claw slipcovers? Do you agree that I should be afraid to fall asleep tonight because Diablo Gato Osiris is plotting my demise?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I put the "FUN" in "fundraising." And other lies I tell myself.

On Friday night I whipped up one of those triangle flag banner/bunting/garland things that people are forever pinning on Pinterest. I had a million other more pressing things to do, but it was nice to take an hour and play around with my new serger and scraps of fabric. It helped that I was simultaneously watching X-Men: First Class.

The banner turned out well.

I have no photographic proof of this, since I forgot to take a photo. But I do have one of Ezri!

I made the banner/bunting/garland (really what is the correct phrase?!) to decorate the table at the mall where the boys were selling raffle tickets for their swim club on Saturday.

[NOTE: if you are a local reader and are interested in the chance to win an iPod or iPod mini, please send me an email and I'll hook you up. The tickets are 3 for $5.]

In addition to that volunteer duty, on Saturday our family spent a few hours at a work bee for the local arts centre. A few weeks ago we participated in the community clean-up day. For the last month, Zarf's been knocking on doors sellling bedding plants, a fundraiser for his skating club.

I justify all these activities as homeschool lessons in social studies, civics and community building. But these duties, coupled with the frustrating task of applying for a government grant, has left me feeling decidedly pissy. Not because I resent the concept of volunteering my time and energy to organizations, clubs or causes that I value. Rather, I'm frustrated by the large number of people who don't do their fair share of the heavy lifting, but reap the benefits of others' efforts. I fantasize about throwing my hands up in the air, stepping away from my commitments and telling them to pick up my slack for once. But I damn well know that will not shock some people out of their sloth.

But still. It's a comforting fantasy.

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone manned a table, picked up some garbage, helped me figure out the difference between a balance sheet and a financial report, painted a wall, sold some raffle tickets or knocked on some doors? Or at the very least, made a big fat donation to the community group of their choice?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Fogo.

We went canoe camping over the Victoria Day weekend

Fun was not had by all. 

Fun was had by none. 

I'm being intentionally vague about the exact details, because I have many new readers thanks to my recent online activities.  I don't really feel comfortable exposing all the details of my life right now.

Let's just say that we won't be going canoe camping anytime soon.  And Fogo is 100% on board with this decision. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bag Lady.

This week I won a cotton tote bag from our local library. I was pretty excited about it until I learned a friend had won the grand prize, an e-reader. Now I'm just consumed with jealousy.

Although I doubt the e-reader came with a label like this:

For the record: this photo was taken in Canada by a Canadian
 with Canadian hands. Using a camera that was 
probably made in China, then downloaded onto 
a computer that was definitely assembled in China.

I'm Canadian, so I really don't care that this bag was imported from the United States, versus an emerging world economy. What I do mind is the phrasing "made by American Hands." Does this mean disembodied American hands assembled this bag? Why no American Bodies, American Hands? Should I assume the bag-making American Hands belong to people with American citizenship? Is this an anti-immigration thing? Or just xenophobia? Or anti-globalization?

Also I can wash this bag, but it's not recommended. That hardly speaks to a quality product.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Live Life Like You're Going to Die, because that is How it Works.

I came across this list of "50 Ways to Live Life to the Full" on the Daily Mail site. It was "commissioned to mark the DVD release of Life Of Pi" which gives me pause. Especially considering the banality of the list:

1. Stop worrying about money
Just once I would like money to worry about ME!! Is that too much to ask?!

2. Stop worrying about what other people think
Except if we are speaking of sartorial matters. In that case, it's a good idea to remember that first impressions are important. I'm not recommending you dress like a young Republican, just don't dress like a slut.

3. Take two holidays a year
If we play fast and loose with the definition of "holidays," to incorporate camping holidays, weekend getaways for children's sporting events, and visits with family members -- I'm golden.

4. Enjoy little comforts in life
**gets up from computer, goes to kitchen to retrieve bag of Chipits, shoves a handful into my gaping maw.** 


5. Experience different cultures
On Friday for the first time since we moved here 11 years ago, I went out to the Chinese restaurant in town. For their Western-Chinese buffet. It was quite the experience, let me tell you!

I'm giving this point a √.

6. Work to live rather than live to work
I really can't support the idea that it's better to starve than work at a job that pays the bills but doesn't completely fulfill you. Hello?! That's why we have television!

7. Pay off all debts
Getting there. Stupid mortgage.

8. Be true to yourself
Unless "yourself" is an asshole. In that case, be better than yourself.

9. Concentrate on what you have instead of what you don't have
Helpful hint: quit Facebook.

10. Use money on experiences rather than saving for a rainy day
NO! A THOUSAND TIMES NO! Save your money and strike from your lexicon the justification that "I really deserve this" extravagant what-have-you. If you insist on doing this, I will send Suze Orman over to your house to kick your ass. And if you are truly unlucky she will bring along Oprah.

11. Make time for family and friends
Sometimes I take a break from my busy schedule of staying at home with my children and I ferry them to the rec centre for various activities. That's when I marvel that if I sit for any length of time at the tables outside the play gym: EVERYONE IN TOWN EVENTUALLY WALKS BY FOR A CHAT! Small town living has made me very lazy about "making time."

12. Try all types of food
I bought kefir on the weekend. It's temporarily dampened my zest for trying new foods. Especially new foods that make my lips tingly and smell faintly of dairy and vinegar.

13. Find true love

14. Travel to at least 25 different foreign countries
United States, Mexico, Cuba, Britain, Ireland, France, Holland, Germany, Greece and Italy.

Damn. Not even close.

15. Go outside more
More than what? I already walk the dog twice a day, and run errands and in the summer we canoe and camp. That's enough, let's not making going outside more a competition.

16. Learn a new language
Aprender un nuevo idioma es torpe cuando hay Google Translate.

17. Be well thought of by family and friends
They all love and adore me and know better than to think ill of me.

18. Help a member of your family out when they really need it
My boys were in a dance recital last week and I helped put makeup on them, because they are not very good with lipstick application.

19. Lose a stone in weight
Thanks, Daily Mail and Life of Pi, for making me wonder if I'm fat and this is the universe's unsubtle way of telling me.

20. Treat each day like it's your last
This is a fine notion if you are a high school student looking for a quip to include below your photo in the grade 12 yearbook. That's because a certain level of self-absorption, impulsiveness, and short-sightedness are expected at that age. But if you are an adult, this is a ridiculous sentiment. How about this: Treat each day like you're going to have to live with the consequences of your actions.

In case anyone is wondering, this is the quote I included in my Grade 12 yearbook:
                                Soon our fortunes will be made, my darling
                                And we will leave this loathsome little town
                                                                       -Paul Simon, Proof.

I am was a pretentious little douche.

21. Visit all of Britain's historical landmarks
I googled this. There are thousands and thousands landmarks in Britain. I doubt anyone is going to achieve this one. I did look at the List of World Heritage Sites in the United Kingdom (current and proposed) and I've done: City of Bath, Hadrian's Wall, Giant's Causeway, Old Edinburgh, Stonehenge, Avebury, Tower of London, Westminister Abbey, Lake District, Stratford-on-Avon, the Cotswalds, and City of York.

22. Book an impulsive last minute holiday
We did this in 2010 when we booked a trip to Disneyland. It happened so quickly that we didn't even take time to properly explain Disneyland to the boys. Still, it was a great time.

23. Volunteer for a good cause
I'm a stay-at-home mom, I volunteer for everything. You know what would happen if stay-at-home moms stopped volunteering? Not a damn thing. No soccer. No hockey. No dance recitals. No bake sales. No fundraising. NOTHING.

24. Take up a challenge

25. Go on safari
Here's the thing: I don't really like looking at wild animals. It's nice to go to a zoo for an afternoon, but I have no interest in going somewhere even more remote than my current location to look at animals.

26. Blow a load of money in one shopping trip, just because you can
This reminds me of the first few times we went to Costco and everything was so novel and so big, we just went mad. This might just be the year we finish the 2.4 kg container of lemonade powder that my husband bought three years ago.

27. Learn a new instrument
This is not going to happen. I have zero interest in learning to play music. Music is something that should be left to professionals. Like pole dancing.

28. Be married for longer than 20 years

29. Have enough money left for the grandchildren to enjoy
Fuck that shit. I've been saving for my retirement since I was 20. I haven't been doing it so that some future generation can enjoy my money.

30. Start a family

31. Earn more than your age
I'm 40 and there is actually a very good chance that I -- a stay-at-home mom -- will not earn $40 this year. Maybe I'll start collecting empties when I walk the dog. If I start now, I might have $40 worth of bottles and tins collected by next April.

32. Have a pet
I have got three.

33. Drive a really fast car
I am game! Seventy-five percent of the humans in this house are male so I have watched a great many of Top Gear episodes. I have it on good authority that a Bugatti Veyron would be a good choice. Not that it matters because I choose to interpret this point as "Drive a really fast car…but don't feel like you have to top out the speedometer. Just go the speed limit."

34. Travel alone
Done. Three months back-packing in Europe in the mid-nineties.

35. Be able to keep the kids on the straight and narrow
So far, so good. **knock on wood**

36. Meet strangers
I do this all the time. I am very forward and -- this will come as a surprise to many -- very charming...when the mood strikes.

37. Move away from home to an unfamiliar place

38. Have a one night stand
No. Do I get partial points for having one nightstand beside my marital bed?

39. Pass your driving test

40. Get a degree
DONE! Finally my liberal arts degree (my major was Archaeological Anthropology and my minor was English Lit) has come in handy. So glad my dad is getting his monies worth.

41. Rescue someone so that you're a hero for a little while
On the Easter weekend I found a wallet on the street. I spent a few minutes collecting the money, credit cards, cheques, photos, ID cards, and receipts spread across the road and the gutter, went home and called the lady. She was pretty grateful and I bet if you asked her: I am a hero.

42. Date someone exciting but completely wrong for you
My husband frowns upon this idea. Actually he stipulated that I could "neither date someone completely wrong for me OR completely right." That is an actual quote from the man himself.

If I'm going to have to pick and choose between this and point 28, I'll pick the latter.

43. Get a promotion
The only way I can conceive of this happening would involve my husband and I becoming polygamists. THIS IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!

44. Reach the desired career peak by age 40
Holy. Fuck. I'm screwed.

45. Have an all-night drinking session
This didn't happen in my youth (as my money usually ran out long before dawn arrived) and it won't be happening now (as my energy usually runs out long before dawn arrives).

46. Perform something on stage in front of others
Done. I got on stage with Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie at the Edmonton Folk Festival and sang "Burning Ring of Fire."

47. Snog a stranger
My husband isn't keen on my doing this one either.

48. Plan a surprise party
I would love to plan a surprise party! So long as I can stick to the planning and not bother with that tricky implementing bit.

49. Embark on adrenaline packed activities such as sky diving or bungee jumping
Done! Over the winter I did a disco-fit class. It was adrenaline packed. And fun.

50. Spend time with children even if they aren't yours
But first ask their parents' permission. Because "The Daily Mail and the Life of Pi told me to do it" is a crap defense for a charge of kidnapping a child.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

All snark aside, I scored a 32. According to the original article, most people checked off 8. So what's your score?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Warp Speed Wednesday. Boldly Going Where No Murderer Has Gone Before.

For this Warp Speed Wednesday post, I'm carrying on where I left off last time

If you're a fan of Star Trek, I highly recommend that you watch the Murder, She Wrote episode  "If the Frame Fits." The role of Binky Holborn is played by John de Lancie, one of my favourite Star Trek: The Next Generation actors. In that same episode, there is an appearance by Norman Lloyd, aka Professor Galen in "The Chase" (S6). A perusal of Lloyd's imdb page shows that he made 2 appearances on MSW.  This overlap is very common as both shows were in production in the late 80s and early 90s and the same character actors pop up on multiple episodes of the shows. 

For instance: James Sloyan appeared on TNG as Admiral Alidar Jarok  on "The Defector," reappeared as K'mtar/Alexander Rozhenko on the "Firstborn," then made two subsequent appearances on Deep Space Nine and Voyager. He appeared in five MSW episodes as Robert Butler (boss of insurance investigator Dennis Stanton), plus showed up earlier in the run in Corned Beef and Carnage and The Body Politic.

( As an aside, the woman in pink is one of JB's 
many, many neices. She's played by 
Genie Francis, Jonathan Frakes' wife)

 During his Denis Stanton appearances, Sloyan shared screen time with Hallie Todd in the role of Stanton's secretary/sidekick Rhoda Markowitz. Todd was also seen on MSW in "Class Act," but to me she is best known as Data's daughter Lal in TNG's "Offspring." 

Mitch Ryan played Wil Riker's dad in "The Icarus Factor." On MSW he played four different roles:

Big Easy Murder (1995) … Senator Brent Renwyck
The List of Yuri Lermentov (1991) … Rep. Arthur Prouty
The Cemetery Vote (1987) … Captain Ernest Lenko 
Capitol Offense (1985) … Ray Dixon

Kyle Riker's former lover, Doctor Pulaski, grumped her way through the entire second season of TNG. On MSW Diane Muldaur was Alexis Post in "Footnote to Murder."

Vice-admiral/Admiral Alynna Nechayev appeared in four TNG episodes. Natalija Nogulich, the actress, was on two MWS episodes (Murder a la Mode and The Classic Murder ).

Timicin, the paramour of Lwaxana Troi in "Half a Life," was played by David Ogden Stiers. He appeared three times with Jessica Fletcher: 

Death by Demographics (1996) … Howard Deems
An Egg to Die For (1994) … Sergei Nemiroff
Corned Beef and Carnage (1986) … Aubrey Thornton
Another well known face for Trekkies is Ray Walston, aka Boothby from "The First Duty." On MSW he was Q. L. Frubson in "The Way to Dusty Death."

Richard Lynch was Baran on TNG's "Gambit: Part 2" and Part 1, which are both wonderful episodes. He also popped up on MSW in "Amsterdam Kill"  and " To the Last Will I Grapple with Thee." Lynch died in 2012, and I found this posthumous article about him very interesting. 

Stanley Kamel is another face you will probably recognize if you (like me) watched a great deal of tv in the 80s and 90s. Three of his appearance are TNG's  "Where No One Has Gone Before" ( as Kosinski), and MSW's "The Family Jewels" and "Weave a Tangled Web." Only upon compiling this list did I realize he was on Monk, where he played Monk's therapist. Kamel was so good in that role. Sadly he has also passed away.

In two early episodes of MSW ("Hit, Run and Homicide" and  "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes: Pilot"), Jessica pals around with a Cabot Cove local named Lois. That actress, Paddie Edwards, showed up on TNG as a shape-shifting bodyguard/nanny on  "The Dauphin."

One of my least favourite TNG episodes is called  "Sub Rosa," it's the story of Beverly Crusher falling in love with a candle that her recently deceased Nanny has bequeathed to her. But it's not a candle. It's an apparatus housing a malevolant alien life form. The alien manifests itself as a hunky, mysterious man named Roninplayed by Duncan Regehrthat no one but Beverly sees. Beverly falls in love with the candle/alien/man and has sex with it/him. In one scene Picard walks in and finds her climaxing all by herself in her dead Nanny's living room. "Awkward" is not  a strong enough term for how I feel about this scenario. Alas, the truth is revealed and Beverly learns that the candle/alien/man is a parasite that has been preying on -- and having sex with -- many generations of women in her family. Ewwwwww.

Regehr also appeared in "Murder, She Wrote: A Story to Die For," a Jessica Fletcher television movie as Yuri Malenkovich. He has a longer story arc on Deep Space Nine, but we'll talk about that another day.

Troi got her own fleeting love interest when Matt McCoy showed up as Devinoni Ral in "The Price." Ral was not a candle nor was he a parasite, but he was slightly nefarious. And handsome. He was in the MSW episode "Mourning Among the Wisteria. "

Are you getting a sense of how overwhelmed I felt with this project? And to think it all started because I saw Levar Burton on Murder She Wrote [Death Takes A Dive]. He was the only principle actor from Star Trek: The Next Generation to appear on MSW. His episode was about boxing and he played an earnest young sports writer. So basically it's the worst episode ever. Okay. That's not true. It's the worst episode if you are ME. 

Mind you: Levar didn't have sex with a candle...maybe I should lighten up. 

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Since I am only half way through my list for TNG/MSW, I am going to call it quits. I'll carry on  next week. Or the week after. Or eventually.

Or maybe I'll just quit altogether and just spend my days re-watching this video: