Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Movie Review: Avatar

Last night I saw Avatar in 3D, and it made enough of an impression to merit a blog post. There was so much to say, that I needed to reach beyond my usual Facebook-status-review. :-)

-- The Downsides --
For all the astounding visual innovation Avatar nimbly delivers, the story was simply lazy. It's a plot we've all seen many, many times before, even for those of us who have not seen "Dances with Wolves". If Avatar had been a drinking game where we had to take a shot every time a cliché occurs, no one would make it through the 2.5 hour movie.

Moreover, the old cliché used aren't even good ones. Here are some examples:
  • Overall message of Avatar: "It shore is a good thing that them there white boy came along to SAVE all them noble savages!"
  • Military is BAD BAD BAD EVIL, all the time, and that's that.
  • The indigenous race is presented with staggering romanticism, with no mention or indication of any social problems, warfare, or other issues whatsoever. Given that all races HAVE internal issues of some sort, introducing something offhand would have made the Na'avi much more interesting and believable.
  • When the heroine is introduced, she kicks much ass. However, she becomes relatively submissive and useless the moment that our hero steps into the fore. Forget that she's had a lifetime of training, hunting and fighting; apparently in a mere three months, which includes him LEARNING TO WALK, he's better at everything! Blech.
  • Also, while said heroine is kicking ass, she has dreadlocks, which are generally found on black women. HOWEVER, when the inevitable scene arrives in which she needs to be "made purdy" enough to justify culminating the romantic subplot, her hair is straight and relaxed, like a white girl's. What, Cameron, are dreadlocked girls too far from our white-centred beauty ideal to merit love, too?
Unsurprisingly, the movie joins its action-movie brethren in failing the Bechdel test.

-- The Upsides --
Now, with the downers aside, allow me to elaborate on the positively incredible visuals of Avatar. Despite its obvious stylization, the CGI work blends seamlessly with the real-world portions of the film. I often forgot entirely that anything was animated at all. The CGI characters were beautifully expressive and well-designed; their world consists of a fantastical, fleshed-out ecosystem which actually borders on believability. The overall effect is dazzling.

Moreover, with the exception of SCTV's "Dr. Tongue and the House of ..." sketches, I've never before witnessed anything done in 3D. My gimmick-radars had made me skeptical, but Avatar succeeds in delivering a fantastic 3D experience. Several times, I found myself curbing my reflex to swat at the small mosquito-like bugs inhabiting the rainforest, which seemed to hovering right in front of me. It's those small details which show Cameron's undeniable technological adeptness with 3D; he knows that successful use of 3D is more about adding a subtle new layer, rather than having random things flying at the audience.

-- The Verdict --
Watching this movie occupied 40% of my brain, but commanded a full and deserved 100% of my visual and audio attention. Overall, Avatar is typical Cameron fare -- a richly-textured spectacle strung together with only *just* enough hackneyed plot to make the many, many action sequences make sense. Grade: B

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A fun story about indoor composting

After reading this article (the comments section warrants a giggle or two), I began to reflect on how I have not seen a house centipede since leaving Ottawa.

Then, I recalled something that happened last summer, in our old house in Wellington Village.

Dave and I are big believers in composting. By disposing of the rotting garbage separately from the rest, your garbage can remains sanitary, odourless, and generally inoffensive. Moreover, when given time (and worms), the garbage that rots eventually undergoes a fabulous alchemy into black, nutrient-rich soil. In turn, this soil translates into healthier houseplants, beautiful flowers, and succulent tomatoes. In short, everyone wins.

The only drawback is the persistence with which one needs to ensure all compost is BURIED. Exposed rot is a perfect place for fruit flies to populate, and once established, these pests require Herculanean efforts to get rid of.

This issue was one we'd had last summer, and were dealing with it in a gradual and pesticide-free manner. What this meant was, that for one maddening week, we had fruit flies EVERYWHERE. But after that, the population noticeably declined. We must have been doing something right.

Now, decline is not the same as erased, and we were expecting houseguests in the near future. Dave's sister and her husband were due to visit, and we wanted our place to be gorgeous (read, fruit-fly-free) for their stay. So, a week before they arrived, I moved the compost out to the garage, and put up fly tape. Soon, there were no more fruit flies. Life was good.

One week later, I was sweeping the house, and came across some oddly-shaped dustbunnies hiding in corners. Only, they were NOT dustbunnies -- they were dead spiders! There were likely a half dozen of them in that sweep alone, and it got me thinking... had they starved from the lack of fruit flies??

Naw, that couldn't be it.

Fast forward to two weeks after THAT, where I found something else very strange -- several shrivelled, dead house centipedes! Now, recall that house centipedes eat spiders, and now that there were fewer spiders to eat... could they have starved, too??

I didn't know whether to be mournful or revolted. Frankly, I still don't.

But what I do know is that the circle of life can happen anywhere, even in one's humble abode. ;-) Take it away, Disney...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Halloween in Victoria

Halloween has come and gone, and it's made me realize just how long a year can be.

Precisely one year before, Dave and I had only just moved into our new house in Ottawa. We were still surrounded by boxes, which we had to frantically dig through to find the components of our impromptu costumes. Having no idea on what kind of Trick or Treater turnout to expect, we'd bought way too much candy.

Unfortunately, we learned that night about how Trick or Treaters tend to avoid busy streets (like the one we live on) in favour of quieter roads nearby. Not one kid came to our house, and it still kinda bums me out to recall.

On the upside, the costumes turned out fabulously, and the party we went to later was an absolute blast. The StatsGang was partying en force that night, and the evening proceeded in my favourite set of phases: the crowded, giddy stage, then the silly, comfortable phase, then the dancing phase, and lastly, retreating to the basement to play guitars and sing until the wee hours. Amanda had a songbook of Weezer hits, and we went through nearly all of them in varying states of inebriation.

That was also the last time I saw Begona, a dear friend who was to return to her life overseas the very next day. I miss her.

All of that feels like it happened many years ago. Since then, Dave and I have done yet another cross-country move, this time ending up in Victoria, BC. We have finally settled into our new house, and so, this Halloween, we were able to host the party!

This arrangement worked out best for all involved; most of our Victoria friends live in condos, which are generally nonconducive to late night parties, or to Trick or Treaters. We had about two dozen kids come by, all in fantastic costumes such as Optimus Prime, Lady Gaga, and some young boys in hilarious drag. (I even got props for spotting a kid dressed up as Naruto, a popular anime character.) ;-)

The party itself was a success, as well. The potluck-style dinner assured an overabundance of delicious food, from which we would have been stuffed even if we hadn't filled our faces with candy beforehand. ;-) We watched some amusing and retro Disney Halloween specials, and then played two games of Cranium in which the girls triumphed handily over the boys.

We also carved a number of fantastic jack-o-lanterns, which still stand proudly on our stoop.

Be sure to check out our Flickr space for more pictures from the evening. But, to close off, enjoy this set of photos of "Wolverine" carving a pumpkin!

Friday, October 02, 2009

...And in Other News...

... a new HelgaHume adventure is taking place as we speak. Specifically, this adventure takes the shape of a new little human brewing in my nethers. I am very much looking forward to meeting this person, and will apparently be doing so sometime around February 20th. It will be an Olympic child!

When we first saw the little human, it was in a position so peculiar, the ultrasound tech laughed. The legs and arms were straight up over the head in full-on yoga pose -- clearly, this west-coast lifestyle has gotten to it already. ;-)

Anyhow, this is big news, and with us now being in the 20th week, it was time to share. Next adventure: The HelgaHumes do Parenting! Ack, Heaven help us all... lol

(And for those of you counting backwards, I was NOT actually drinking at the last wine-tasting party, or the goodbye party, or anytime since mid June... it was cranberry juice! Honest.) ^_^

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pictures of the New Place

Since our arrival, I've been busily working towards making our new place as home-like as possible. The massive task was finally completed as of Saturday, which was a result of my discovering that hosting is a massive incentive towards getting everything done by a fixed date. ;-) (I'll have to make note of that!)

Anyhow, here are some pictures of the new place. It's a Heritage building, built in 1916, and has been refinished in a way that enhances its utility but fully retains its charm. :-)

This is the dining room,

And the living room,
Best spot EVER for reading:

The master bedroom...

...and the bathroom, complete with CAST-IRON, CLAWFOOT TUB!
This is the office / second bedroom,
And the GORGEOUS kitchen, featuring more cupboard space than we know what to do with! Wanda fits in nicely here...

The kitchen then leads out onto a sunny deck, ensconced in trees...
Not pictured is the beautiful garden, whose technical gardening needs exceed my expertise by a large measure. Wish me luck in figuring that one out! :-P

And then, for any more room we need, there's another bedroom / entertainment area in the basement, as well as a massive storage room.

Yes, we did quite well in finding this place... we love it! Not as much room as our house in Ottawa, and since we're only renting, we live in constant terror of damaging the house, but it serves our needs for now. :-)

So what's next for me? Now that the house is set up, it's time to turn my eye to the finer details -- in particular, paperwork. Filing for damages incurred through the move, officially changing our address, figuring out the finances, applying for BC identification, etc. While it's not nearly as exciting a task as unpacking mystery boxes and revealing all the neat stuff one owns, it's about as necessary. :-P

Mingled in there is also a search for work, but given the dire economic forecast for BC's near future, we'll see how that goes. (In the meantime, I get to pretend I'm Donna Reed.) LOL

Until next time! ;-)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


We've arrived safely in Victoria, BC, which has greeted me with two things.

The first was Victoria Fringe Festival fanfare, plastered all about the city in efforts to notify the public of impending Fringe awesomeness. (Indeed, the lineup I've spotted, including a repeat performance of the legendary "Power of
Ignorance" seminar, has gotten me excited to check it out!)

The second greeting was a THREE INCH WOLF SPIDER lurking a foot away from the airmattress I was supposed to sleep in. Gyaaaaaaaaahhh! Luckily, he has since been dispatched, and our real furniture has arrived, so the danger seems over... for now. Still, in what way is it beneficial for house-dwelling spiders to grow so big?? It just seems so unnecessary, UNLIKE those efficiently-sized (but still adequately creepy) 1.5" mainland wolf spiders.

Tropical climes seem to be all fun and games, until the giant mutant arachnids start arriving...! ;-)

Mixed greeting circumstances aside, Dave and I are doing very well with settling in to our lovely little place in Victoria. Will post pictures, once it no longer resembles boxworld. ;-)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fantastic Time-Wasters

Since Dave and I have been occupied with the move, there has not been much time to blog. That being said, allow me to leave you with an amusing placeholder consisting of my YouTube favourites. Enjoy!

...and an oldie but a goodie, Charlie the Unicorn!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Final Wine Tasting Party Chez Helgahume

Phew! After a month of total craziness (househunting, out-of-province wedding, and a family health emergency), I finally have enough time to update the blog.

The final HelgaHume wine tasting party took place earlier this month, with the theme of EL CHEAPO. Specifically, all bottles (regular-sized) had to be under $15. I took many recommendations, and broke out a few of Dave and my favourites as well.

The results broke all previous records -- the winner was a few percent points higher than previous winners, and the loser saw a massive 20% chasm between it and previous losers. Either the wines really are that different, or my wine gang is getting opinionated! ;-)

Congratulations goes to Australia's Jacob's Creek, who won the title of Tastiest El Cheapo of the evening. Chateau des Charmes is, meanwhile, sporting the badge of shame.

Well, that is it (for now) for our Ottawa wine-tasting events... Hopefully Dave and I can do the same thing when we move to Victoria. Luckily, the (gorgeous!) house we found is quite amenable to hosting, and so we look forward to doing a lot of it. :-)
In the meantime, stay tuned for more news on the move!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wine Tasting Party Chez Helgahume, Part 2

On June 6, we hosted another wine-tasting party Chez Helgahume.

This time, some white wines were incorporated -- partly due to demand, partly due to the heat. We compared three different Sauvignon Blancs, and four Cabernet Sauvignons, all coming from different countries. As before, the cheeses were selected by experts at the House of Cheese, whose great customer service (and products!) I cannot recommend enough.

While Chilean wine is usually very nice, these two finished on the bottom. The CabSav had some suspected corkage, which is an unfortunate risk in buying so many bottles. My favourite SauvBlanc, Oyster Bay, surprisingly finished with a lower score than the half-priced (but also tasty) Two Oceans. Then again, Two Oceans beat out all the competition despite being the only cheap wine on the table. Good job! :-)

So, in honour of the cheapo wine winning the competition, the final HelgaHume wine-tasting party shall feature ONLY cheapo wines! Nothing on the table will be over $15. Well, except the cheeses.

Got any recommendations? I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

We have a cat.

So Dave and I were walking home from having midweek beers on a patio, and came across a sweet little cat wandering around Holland ave. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with Ottawa, Holland avenue is a very busy road, with buses and SUV's cruising by at top speed. Not a good place for a cat to be meandering.

Seeing she had a collar and tag, we took her home to call her owner. (No worries, we locked the basement door to avoid cat/bunny "acquaintance" from occurring.) BUT, when we tried to call the number, it was unassigned!!! Uh oh!

It's late, it's a weeknight, the Humane Society is not open, we can't go knocking on doors, and we have a little cat mewing expectantly at us. We can't just set her outside again to let her get hit by a car... so we put her in the kitchen for the night, with a dish of water and a bit of canned salmon. However, our house being old means that no doors in it really, actually close properly (besides the basement door), so it took no time at all for her to find her way into our bedroom. She snuzzled up to Dave, who by this time had become her buddy.

Anyhow, this morning we put a call in to the Humane Society, who matched us up with Gracie's owner (who had reported having lost her). The owner is due to arrive today to pick the cat up.

So the lesson? Please ensure your pets are tagged with current contact information! It would have saved Dave and I fretting about what to do last night. Though that being said, our 12 hours of being cat owners was kind of fun. And it was a pleasure to meet Gracie; in my experience, cats don't get much cuter or sweet-tempered than her.

I guess all of this just goes to show that we're in serious pet withdrawal. ;-)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

It's official.

This blog began in order to chronicle our adventure in New Zealand.

It continued on by chronicling the move back to Canada, and our re-integration into Ottawa life.

And now, Dave and I are officially announcing our third phase of adventuring, soon to be underway... in August, we are moving to Victoria, British Columbia.

Why the move? Well, Dave got offered an excellent job with the BC public service, doing important and cutting-edge work with citizen engagement. As for me, I'm not sure what I will do when I get there... but there seems to be a load of promising options, so I'm not at all worried. :-)

The plan is to stay for 2-3 years, then return to Ottawa.

There are most certainly some aspects of this opportunity that make me sad... we have so many wonderful friends here, and a fantastic house in an exciting part of town, and I simply love my job. I will miss them all terribly.

On the other hand, what an amazing adventure to be embarking on! Dave and I are very blessed to have this opportunity, and fully intend to make the most of it. Dave's job is very cool, and I now have a chance to step back from my day-to-day work and evaluate what direction I want for my career. I get to choose my path based on the knowledge gaps I want to fill in the next few years. Exciting!!

(Or maybe I can just spend my days ogling the cute bunnies on the UVic campus.)

Plus, Dave has a fantastic friend-base in Victoria who I am eager to get to know better. From what I've seen, they are lovely people.

More details will come as the date nears. But in the meantime, rest assured that Ottawa most certainly hasn't seen the last of us. We'll be back like a bad smell. ;-)

Friday, June 05, 2009

An interesting aside...

So I have promised to reread The Omnivore's Dilemma and share some of its highlights.

This plan, however, has suffered from a highly unexpected crimp -- all of a sudden, this book has gone from NO demand to HIGH demand! When I first checked the book out from the Ottawa library, many of the copies were checked in, and there was no waiting list. I was able to renew my checkout for weeks upon weeks due to no one wanting the book afterwards.

Now it is the opposite. I now have to queue for even receiving the book at all, and then once I have it, I cannot even renew it due to the waiting list after me.

So what's going on? How did this dramatic change of demand happen? Has the zeitgeist taken a sudden and collective interest in this years-old book? Has there been a renewed publicity for the author, Pollan?

...or, is it possible that this blog has something to do with it...?!? That's a scary thought! Hmm...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wine Tasting Party Chez Helgahume

Last Saturday, I hosted a mystery wine-tasting party, where twenty friends and I tasted seven different types of wine. Each label of wine was totally hidden, so that we needed to determine our preferences based on taste alone.

The evening was a ton of fun, and had some surprising results. So, for your amusement (and reference), here is what everyone said!

The big surprise of the evening was how well the Ontario Pinot Noir did... but hey, you can't argue with tasty! ;-)

So these are the results for the wine tasting party. The next such party is scheduled for June 6, so if you want in, email me!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Just Finished

This morning, while avoiding cleaning up after last nights' wine-tasting party, I finished "The Omnivore's Dilemma".

For me, it is a very good sign when I am compelled to restart something immediately after having finished it. The last time that happened was while watching Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises", a film so indescribably brave, visceral, and cunning, it demanded an immediate rewatching, lest my feeble human mind had missed, or failed to fully appreciate, something meaningful.

(Who am I to argue with living, breathing art?)

Nonetheless, a similar occurrence has happened with "The Omnivore's Dilemma" -- the book is so dense with information and insights, I hope a second reading will help me digest it (oh no! return of the puns!!! I'll stop now.)

So here, I will leave you with an example of a story in the book, one that made me laugh aloud this morning. Pollan describes his abalone hunting adventure, which sounds both dangerous and comical. For those of you unfamiliar with the absurd activity of abalone hunting (as I was), it involves wading deep into freezing water, upturning submerged boulders and quickly jamming one's hand into the crevice to catch the abalone shell... but often ending up instead with a mittfull of slimy anemone, or sea urchin spines. Sea lions will watch, mockingly, but are better company than the alternative -- man-eating sharks.

Is it just me, or does this sound like a Bugs Bunny cartoon waiting to happen?

Anyhow, there will be more posts about the cool tidbits I find. Also, count on a report on the wine party... results are being compiled now! :-)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Things I Miss about New Zealand, part 14

I miss how totally blasé New Zealanders are about the fact that they've had two elected female Prime Ministers.

Not only were they, as a nation, sufficiently progressive to elect a capable and qualified female Prime Minister (twice!)... they've even gotten over thinking there's anything unusual about it. Moreover, Kiwi news reports would focus on what Helen Clark would SAY, not what she was WEARING. Imagine!

Aside from the political sphere, New Zealand has a culture that rewards assertive women. This is likely a functional byproduct of many different aspects of NZ culture, including population, isolation, founding cultures (Maori, Pacific Islanders, British, Dutch), and interestingly, the relative lack of men.

For instance, if a (hetero) Kiwi gal is at a bar, and thinks that guy over there is cute, she can't just play with her hair and hope he comes by to say hi. Since women outnumber men, chances are other girls have spotted him too -- so if she's hoping to talk to him, she'd better hop to it before someone else beats her to the punch.

Also, I suspect the lack of men also compromised the (old/white) boys-on-top corporate model that we Canadians know so well, creating a vacuum for a few assertive, qualified women. Once those pioneers are settled, a few more women join in. Soon, a woman in charge is no more surprising than a man in charge, with *merit* being the overwhelmingly dominant evaluating factor in either case.

The equality then begins to perpetuate itself; when you're running an OECD-class country with only 4 million people, there's simply too much work needing to be done to play favourites about who does it. Man? Woman? Gay? Straight? Maori? Pakeha? Ach, who cares, just get the job done. Or, as the Kiwis say, "Give it a go!"

(Note, I am NOT perscribing having fewer men around -- I happen to be a very big fan of men. Do consider, though, that in a world with fewer princes, Rapunzel might well have figured out have save her damn self!) ;-)

In my experience, I found Kiwi culture to be, on the whole, much further along in the path to equality between the sexes. Not to say that New Zealand has everything figured out -- there are other social issues, such as racism, that Dave and I encountered much more acutely there than here -- but seeing a society in which women were that much more respected and active, I was inspired.

Men and women are different, but equal, and both have valuable contributions to any aspect of life. A profession dominated by one sex, either one, is poorer for its monoculture.

Compare that to Canada, who is comparatively backwards. Our national stance on women's rights has been crumbling in an alarming silence. I'm not sure which sickens me more -- that Bill C-10 got passed, or that I didn't hear about the (farcical) "Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act" portion until now, completely by accident. For those of you unfamiliar with this act, it revokes federal public service employees' rights to complain to the Canadian Human Rights Commission when pay equity is not honoured, and FINES unions that assist the employee. Let's think -- who is at risk for pay inequity? Working women. This is clearly a blow to closing the pay gap between men and women. Moreover, the fact that Ignatieff helped C-10 along deeply sours my hopes for him as a prospective leader.

(And furthermore, why wasn't this all front page news? Where is the outrage?)

Yep, sexual equality in Canada is a ways away yet. But I'm grateful for New Zealand, who shows us that not only can men and women work together as partners, but perhaps eventually we may not see anything unusual about it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Food Fascination

Lately, I have been getting increasingly interested in the origins of our food. I'm not overly sure why this fascination has taken hold now.

Maybe it's all these years of glossy city-living finally coming into collision with my country bumpkin roots, where eggs come from pet chickens and kids bring pig hearts to school for show-and-tell.

Maybe it's the recent listeria and mad cow scares, those visible, festering sores brewing on the skin of our diseased meat industries.

Maybe it's that now, in the twilight of my twenties, I'm old enough to really vote with my dollars, but still young enough to have the fire and vitriol about right and wrong.

Or maybe all of this is a bizarre form of nostalgia for New Zealand, where the following conversation actually happened:

Karla: "Hi there, is this beef organic?"
Supermarket butcher: "What? What do you mean?"
Karla: "Oh, uhm..." (realizing she didn't know what organic beef is, exactly) "...is it grass-fed?"
Butcher, with look of perplexed disdain: "Of course -- what ELSE do cows eat?"

Good question. I didn't know what normal Canadian cows ate, but given the rarity of grass-fed beef, it certainly wasn't grass. Which seems weird since, of course, cows eat grass. So what are they eating? I realized I needed to find out.

Navigating the food information is tricky, since much of this information is "hogged" by animal rights propagandists. According to the multi-billion-dollar studies of the US Department of Homeland Security, the most active and dangerous terrorist organization on this continent's soil are animal rights activists... so naturally, I would prefer to "steer" clear of their input.

(I know, these puns aren't all that cow-mical... ok, I'll stop.) ;-)

Nonetheless, I needed to find an even-handed, non-shockumentary look at the sources of our food. And I found it, via an excellent book called "The Omnivore's Dilemma".

This interesting, balanced, non-judgemental narrative follows four meals, from seed to birth to plate. The first meal described is the fast food meal made by industrial agriculture, the second by industrial organic agriculture, the third by holistic organic, and the last as wholly hunted, gathered, and grown by the author himself. He reflects on and compares everything, from philosophy to final taste, weighing the pros and cons of each.

This book is full of deliciously interesting tidbits and food for thought... and since I'm thinking about it as much as I am, you will certainly be hearing more at a later date.

But don't worry, I'm not at all interested in becoming a nutso hippie living off grubs and poison ivy, either. So, my future posts will not be intended to disgust or veganize you, but to share what I've learned. Maybe we can even discuss it sometime, over a delicious, grass-fed steak.

Until then, bon appetit! :-)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fringe Prep

While the Ottawa Fringe Festival does not start until June, I'm already getting my preparations underway. My plans are thus:
  1. Do research, pinpoint interesting shows given the companies behind them (as in, be on the lookout for shows by Winnipeg Fringe faves like Randy Rutherford, TJ Dawe, and Keir Cutler).
  2. Amass an army, with the aim of sending out cells to investigate different shows (naturally, with myself among them). Doing this would accomplish two goals: Maximize the number of shows to see and recommend (or warn against), and dramatically increase Fringe awareness and participation in Ottawa.
  3. Uncover the Ottawa Fringe culture, which is a sadly inconspicuous and unsupported group of people (compared to Winnipeg), and expand my network of co-conspirators.

So, in honour of these plans coming to fruition, allow me to share a clip from one of my favourite shows from last year.

This is a music video from Die Roten Punkte, a show about a (fictional) German brother and sister rock band who play a faux-rock-concert (but with real music!). There is a plot about their childhood, etc, that is revealed during their interactions onstage and with the audience. It was hysterically funny, especially when Dave got drawn into the show.

Astrid: "Hey you! You with the stubble! Ya, you're pretty cute! Let me sing you a song..."

...which basically was a rock version of a drum solo to an orgasm, while the brother glares daggers at my husband. I laughed so much, I hurt afterwards.

Anyhow, enjoy their biggest single, "Ich bin nicht die roboten (I am not a robot), I am a lion!"

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Easter Special: Bunny Tales!

As mentioned in a previous post, I've been fostering bunnies for the New Moon Rabbit Rescue.

In short, the organization rescues abandoned (pet) bunnies, then fosters them out to homes that will train and resocialize the bunny. Once the bunny is ready, it is then put up for adoption... and then adopted.

The first foster was a bun named Nala, a 7 lb. lionhead with a sweet personality and a mischievous love of people-food. Like a dog, she would get an immediate interest in anything she saw you eating, and would not rest until she got to try some. One time she even upturned a plate on my lap when I "cruelly" refused to share some cake.

Because of a previous illness, her head was permanently tilted to one side, thus giving her the look of an attentive listener. We got to know each other for a few months, and then a lovely young lady adopted her.

Immediately after Nala, I fostered a very young dwarf rabbit named Sinatra -- so named for his blue eyes. His personality is totally different than Nala's; he's a cute little bundle of nervous energy, always darting around and adventuring into places he shouldn't be.

Partly due to his brief stay chez Helgahume, and partly to his general lack of interest in affection or food, we haven't bonded quite as much... but he's an adorable little feller all the same.

Anyhow, last weekend a very nice young man came to meet Sinatra, and has decided to adopt. This will be our last week with Sinatra, and I'm both happy that he's found a good home, and sad to see him go.

What will foster bunny #3 be like...? Stay tuned to find out! But in the meantime, always remember this: Bunnies should never be gifts for Easter... unless they're delicious, delicious chocolate! :-)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Forwarded Joke

This is a forwarded joke email that gave me a chuckle... it was too good not to share. :-) Enjoy!

Why parents should always check their children's homework before they hand it in

A first grade girl handed in the drawing below for a homework assingment.

After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:

Dear Ms. Davis,

I want to be very clear on my child's illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This photo is of me selling a shovel.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Conspiracy Unveiled!

An ultra-secret conspiracy has been in the making since mid-January. The topic? The 30th birthday of my dear friend, Beatrice.

I forget exactly how the idea of a surprise birthday party came up, but the idea caught on like wildfire among our peers.

We debated various options, worked out details, and planned the event itself, all in complete secrecy. Only a handful of people knew entirely what was going on, but there were also cells of operatives sent out to accomplish small tasks... tasks which, in some cases, left the operatives no more certain of how their mission fit into the whole. (And I got to be puppet master! Mua ha!)

We even planned a red-herring birthday bash for the following Saturday (which happens to be tonight) so that a lack of plans would not make the extraordinarily clever birthday girl suspicious.

And somewhere along the line, we got the idea of having everyone at the celebration wearing matching t-shirts. I researched custom tee printing places (sidenote: Pierre at Daquin Sales is amazing!) and worked up the design myself... a logo of a fantastic statistics pun. We were the "Standard Deviants" who were "95% Confident"! How awesome was that??

All the planning came to fruition on Tuesday, Bea's actual birthday. The tees turned out marvellously, and a horde of 30+ multicoloured tee-wearers descended upon The Standard on Elgin to await the birthday girl and her husband. Brian was in cahoots with the plot, and so he ensured they arrived after giving us lot sufficient time to decorate. I had brought streamers and balloons (I love you, Dollar Store!), and we all got to work in setting up our tables.

With a successfully decorated section of the restaurant, I grabbed a much-needed champagne-mojito (mmm!) and waited. The couple was perfectly on time. We made a ruckus, all jumping up and yelling "SURPRISE!", and Bea was exactly that.

After laughs and hugs, she and Brian changed into their own custom tees (including a cool math-joke on Bea's... B=d/dx(30x)... B is 30! Aaaah, calculus...) and the party was underway. We had dinner and cocktails, punctuated by a hugely successful Bea-themed limerick competition. Mine was unspectacular, but got the ball rolling sufficiently well:

There once was a girl named Bea,
Whose cat climbed up a tree
Since she had her druthers
She bought another
And now, of cats, she has three.

Of course, the limericks needed to be read aloud to a large group, in a restaurant filled with other tables, so that (unfortuntely) prevented the naughtier ones from airing. Nonetheless, the competition was a huge success.

After dinner was drinking and talking, and then more drinking. For better or for worse, Jagerbombs were on special for $4 per, so the waitress was soon bringing tray after tray of those. Things got kind of nutty, as you will see from the Flickr photos, but incredibly fun. The restaurant brought in a DJ at 10:00, and we danced until about 1:00AM. Not bad for a Tuesday! ;-)

Wednesday was a little rough for most of us, though more for lack of sleep than drinking. However, all that planning and secrecy was more than worth it, as Bea herself told us that it was her best birthday yet.

I'm still beaming. :-)