Archive | September 2013

Digital Dozen – enjoy your reading while I traipse in Montreal!

I managed to get my shiz together in time to schedule this post for while I’m jaunting in Montreal for a long weekend as a birthday vacation. Wooohoo! Hope your weekend is delightful too, dear reader.

  • It seems like the geeky engagement shoot has become a thing. It’s pretty great, because there’s some creative and wonderful things that come of it. (Although I don’t understand the concept of an engagement shoot myself, it seems a very North American thing.) Anyhow! This one is great – even if it’s a photoshoot/photoshop hybrid – with some wonderful choices including my favourite:
  • Sometimes there’s a magical thing that happens, and a Tumblr account is created that fills a void none of us knew existed. I present for your viewing pleasure, Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos.
  • Have you ever seen any of comedian/musician Tim Minchin’s performances? You should poke around on YouTube and check them out. He’s a pretty smart and witty dude in general, and recently gave an occasional address at the University of Western Australia (where he attended). The video is below, but there’s also the text of his speech at his website if you’re not in a place to watch the video and/or would like handy text for quoting!
  • If you’re into Whedony things, this big interview over at Entertainment Weekly is a good read. I do so love his tone and humour.
  • Breaking Bad finale tomorrow! Oh gosh. Scott C did an awesome painting of all the characters upon the mountain. It’s amazing.
  • Late night shows are getting on the BB wagon too, with some great features for farewelling the show. Conan had a themed show this last week, here’s his cold open:

    And then Jimmy Fallon did a parody, “Joking Bad”:
  • Speaking of Jimmy Fallon, he’s just the bees knees. He has some great fun with guests, and I encourage you to get into a YouTube vortex with these: History of Rap 1 & 2, 3, 4; lip syncing with Stephen Merchant and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (and also with John Krasinski if you can find it, I can’t); and this ridiculous sketch he did with Steve Carroll and Justin Timberlake. Swoon.
  • There’s some wonderful Game of Thrones fan art out there, but I can’t think of anything quite as wonderful as this Lion-King-esque Lannister family portrait.
  • Kinetic Sand is amazing and I want some RIGHT NOW to play with. You will, too. Amazingness.
  • I want the Totoro one! Art deco-inspired Miyazaki prints.
  • This is how you advertise a science museum. Love the creativity!
  • And to end on a note to make you smile, have a dog playing in leaves:

Things I Love Thursday

  • That we’re getting some new stories in the Firefly-verse, post-Serenity, too! I love those characters so much, and while the fallout from Serenity will make for some tough stories to tell, I’m so into it. I want it now.
  • Speaking of things Whedon-y.. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (what a mouthful) is delightful! Loved the first episode & already want the rest ALL NOW PLEASE. Okay, so I get a bit grabby when it comes to this stuff..
  • I love hearing passionate people speaking about important issues that ring true with my beliefs and personal/social politics. I attended a panel last night all about youth & technology, and the issues of cyber-bullying & slut-shaming, and it was amazing to hear the ideas coming up and stories shared. Truly awesome!
  • Planning for travel is the best thing. I love searching Google Maps, Yelp, Happy Cow and generally poking the internet for Good Stuff. I have a great list of stuff to check out in Montreal! Coffee, baked goods, fine dining, board game related stuff! Woo! We even got a decent looking independant hotel through Hotwire, hoping it’s a good one. (…And they have cable to watch Breaking Bad on Sunday night.)
  • I had my first pay day! Having an income again is SO AWESOME! I got excited about budgeting last night, you guys. It feels great. I don’t want to say I love money and have $$ for eyes, but it makes me feel functional again, working for a living.
  • I love how I get to spread out my birthday over two days each year; from late morning on the 25th I start getting birthday wishes from the future (Australia), and then it all spills over into today in the time zones much closer to me. Take that, constructs of time!
  • And speaking of birthday awesome: getting to sleep in this morning, snuggle with Jake, and be surprised with breakfast in bed from my sweetie was an awesome start to the day. I love that mister of mine. And pancakes. I looooove pancakes.

    Banana and nut pancakes! Aw yeah!

Another irregularly scheduled photo post!

Another wave of photos uploaded to Flickr but not yet shared on social media means photo dump time! Click to see larger on Flickr.

Alley Flowers

 

Zodiac by Ai Weiwei, Toronto.

Ferrous liquid & Magnets, Ontario Science Centre

Vertical Garden, Ontario Science Centre

The things you find on the side of the road in the Annex..

Lonely Window

Lovebot @ A&C Games

Cottage in laneway not far from my place, near the UofT

Flowerpot stand from our friend Rob & Stacy’s wedding looks nice with my random flowery plant!

Alley couches

Spiderweb of streetcar lines at Queen & Spadina

Fahrenheit Cafe Toronto, one Sunday morning

State of the Jake

We’re coming up on our three month anniversary of Jake coming to live with us! Since we last spoke, he’s settled in with us a lot more. He’s definitely playing a lot more (and that’s for sure his favourite thing to do with Adam) and it’s so adorable to see how giddy with excitement (leaping up in the air and bouncing off our legs being just the beginning..) he is to see us. My favourite new thing is how he has to come over to say good morning to me after coming out of his kennel before he’ll happily go out for his morning walk with Adam. Aw.

The visit to Winnipeg was fine as far as travelling with him goes. The flights were a little stressful, but he dealt with it by mostly napping. While we were there we stayed with Adam’s parents, and Jake got the run of their beautiful big backyard. Lots of running about and sniffing, exploring – and eating raspberries right off the bush. Hanging out with friends’ dogs was tough, but he eventually started to benefit from the socialization. Still really bloody hated seeing cats though 🙂

I’m not sure it was the greatest to have such a break in environment and routine, however. He’s been terrible with walking beside us on walks because we didn’t get out so much in Winnipeg.  His response to training commands has taken a hit also, and that’s really our fault for not maintaining the homework with him. He’s also started to have occasional accidents in the house which is tough – he’s an adult dog after all, so we’re not sure what the cause of that is. We think we’ve narrowed it down to him perhaps doing it as retaliation when our attention isn’t 100% focused on him at home – if we’re in the kitchen or something  like that. It’s tough to know how to curb that behaviour, because we simply can’t focus on him constantly!

Something else that’s been worrying me, but i’m sure will settle down over the next few months, is his often random reactions to people. He’s fine one minute and then leaping and barking the next at someone. (This happens with some dogs too.) It’s hard to know what sets him off. There’s also workmen in our building constantly at the moment and their boorish behaviour is not just tiring for us humans, but they often antagonize Jake when they see him barking like mad. (He seems to have an aversion to any and all workmen, possibly all men in some sort of service uniform? He’s reacting like this across the board without anything other than the sight of them to set him off.)

For now we’re trying to get him to sit calmly before meeting another dog on a walk (which sometimes helps) and socialize more generally with other dogs (he’s going to hang out with some friends of ours with Corgis while we’re in Montreal this upcoming weekend which is really good for him). And having to carry him when our lobby and elevators are busy is easier and definitely better for my peace of mind right now knowing he won’t step over the line to bite anyone. He did really well at a big outdoor festival I took him to at the start of the month, though – with people, no problems, and with dogs only some. Well, it’ll be a process to watch.

I tell you what, though. The bonding is well and truly set in for me especially.. Now I’ve gone back to work I find myself missing this little guy’s company throughout the day, which means packing in extra snuggling in bed in the morning when I can!

Jim Bryson, and “our” album. (Warning: sappy ahead.)

Jim Bryson, Lee’s Palace. 21 September 2013.

Back in early 2011 when I was hanging out with Adam & getting to know him, we talked about music, as budding friends often do. I knew he was from Winnipeg, so naturally the Weakerthans came up in conversation. They’re one of my favourite bands, and had collaborated with Ontario artist Jim Bryson on his album The Falcon Lake Incident. When one of your favourite bands collaborates with another musician it’s like the real life equivalent of a streaming radio service going “you listened to [x artist], so you may enjoy [y artist]!” so I’d planned on going to see Jim play with the Weakerthans band at Lee’s Palace on their promo tour.

I mentioned the show to Adam to see if he was interested, as he liked the Weakerthans. (I was oblivious at this point to the fact I effectively asked him out on a date.) The show was terrific, and the album was something we really latched onto, listening a lot together as we hung out in the beginning of our relationship. Even to this day as I hear the opening notes of the album I get a rush of emotion. Super sappy, eh?

When I saw Jim would be playing a support slot to Jenn Grant at Lee’s Palace this month, it was pretty much a given that we’d go to the show and celebrate a proxy anniversary. I even won tickets to the show by sharing my heartwarming little story with the promotions company! We stopped by the merch table to buy a CD before the gig started and introduced ourselves to JIm, and thanked him for being the reason for us getting together, effectively. He asked if there was anything we wanted to hear specifically, and before he played it during the show gave us a little shoutout. N’awww.

It was a really terrific show. Low-key and intimate, with a little audience singalong for Metal Girls (our request), some non-Falcon Lake stuff that was lovely, including a song about Ontario and a bizarrely amazing sounding cover of Kanye West’s Holy Grail. (Bryson had seen the lyrics and never heard the song, and just penned some music to fit some of the lyrics and it’s wild.) There was a lot of wry stage banter and little stories about the tour so far and his family which was just such a nice and familiar way to have him be between songs. A thoroughly enjoyable show, and a super romantic and wonderful way to spend an evening celebrating the fact that as a couple we don’t just have “our song”, but we have a whole beautiful album.

I encourage you all to check it out, starting with Constellation (with the most – and i’m not being sarcastic here) mournful and gorgeous trumpet riff ever:

Digital Dozen for your reading and internet vortex pleasure

Grab a cuppa, settle in and soon enough you’ll look up in a haze of “Oh, have I been looking at stuff on the internet for 3 hours?” Enjoy!

  • Let’s start with something heartwarming and equality-affirming, shall we? Have a look through the photos at Hold Hands In Sochi, the Same Sex Hand Holding Initiative. This is a “campaign to ask everyone present at the 2014 Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Games to take every opportunity to hold hands in public with a person of the same sex to denounce the anti-gay laws in Russia and to call the IOC to action to end discrmination in sport”.
  • I love to see animals in their natural habitats, and this series of images of the Glowing Bobtail Squid are an incredible example. Keep them where they belong!

    Squiddy!

  • More nature awesome – see what it looks like scooting about on the back of an eagle. The parts where it’s gliding are so amaaaaaazing.
  • Nothing specifically Adventure Time this week, but if you’re into that show you’d probably dig Bravest Warriors from the same creator. There’s a very short first season (all online to watch!), and they’ve made some mini videos to bridge into season 2, so get watching!
  • I’ve never seen anything quite like this “motion graphics-infused” dance piece before, it’s super engaging!
  • Ever wanted to see the Galapogas Islands? Now you can! Google street view, bringing wonderful natural habitats and animals into your computer boxes daily. (And at least we’ll always have street view of the Great Barrier Reef too, seeing as PM Tony Abbott is out to destroy it.)
  • Geena Davis shows off her Olympic-level archery skills in support of gender equality in film, television & …archery 🙂
  • I’ve linked to some awesome themed bedrooms before, but this Super Mario one obviously takes the cake. So super!

Time to TILT – Things I Love Thursday!

  • I love Belsoy Dark Chocolate pudding. Their other ones are okay, but when I see the Dark Chocolate one on the shelf I am COMPELLED to purchase it. So chocolatey. So smooth and puddingy. Mmm.
  • So far I’m loving working at my new job. Even though I have none of the front line skills, it’s amazing to help support a not for profit community health centre with the skills I do have behind the scenes.
  • After I moaned about not being able to keep motivated with photo challenges, I’ve managed to participate in the FMS one each day since then! I love that it’s got my creative thinking process going again.
  • I love counting down to stuff – it’s my birthday in just one week, and then the following day i’m off to Montreal with Adam! (I don’t love the prospect of being away from the little furry monster Jake for 4 days though. Wah.)
  • Tea. Love it. Sometimes I am so into coffee I forget this leafy wonder. I’m having a few days off coffee because it seems to be giving me stomach blahs, and having a nice mug of English Breakfast is terrific each morning. I might pay a visit to the David’s Tea in my ‘hood and see what their fall mixes are like at the moment and treat myself.

What’s everyone loving up today?

Here’s a few things for your Monday morning reading over coffee.

While I might have dropped the ball on the digital dozen this weekend, I did find myself with a few good tabs open that all sort of tie in to each other after my catchup on social media over breakfast. And I wanted to share them with all of you!

First of all, this slightly old but always 110% relevant clip from Ellen, where she gives a good burn to Bic for their ‘For Her’ pen products. Every time I see strongly gendered products it makes me think of this flowchart. (On the upside, changes are starting to be made regarding gendered marketing – for instance, Toys “R” Us in the UK is removing specifically labelled “for boys” and “for girls” signage in their stores! Wonderful.)

Moving toward the “but it’s for guys” category, have a read of this amazingly articulate breakdown of why it’s not okay to say “video games are aimed at dudes, so don’t complain if you don’t like it and you’re a lady”, and more: “Sex Sells. Deal with it.” It’s one of the best articles I’ve read in a while that plainly states what the troubles of speaking up as a feminist can be, especially when a lot of the response you’ll be getting is from dudebros who miss the point. (I saw this article linked by the MESSAGE – Men Ending Slurs and Sexist Attitudes in the Gaming Environment – which you should all check out!)

And for a little more sprinkling of the double standards category, this video imploring HBO to show us some wiener is a marvelous exercise in fantastic feminist humour. More please!

Go forth into your week with your brain all fired up!

 

Things I Love Thursday <3

  • Noodles. Soup, stir fry, salad, all of it! Especially soup. Get in my belly. (I had big flat rice noodles in my stir fry tonight because I’d been thinking about noodles so much since I drafted this earlier..)
  • Employment! Yay! I can once again be a contributor to the household.
  • Nooch-y popcorn. It’s the best snack.

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* Making stuff. Especially when it turns out well, or an experiment works unexpectedly! I’ve been happily churning out crochet dishcloths and getting back into baking/creating in the kitchen more often and it’s enormously satisfying. It’s a good sign to have that motivation. I just gotta keep it up – and find a way to use the abundance of all sorts of gluten free flours I have stacked in my house.

* Strange stuff; unexpected or out of place things. They tickle a part in my brain. Like seeing this in the neighbourhood while walking with Jake & Adam:
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What are you loving?

Photo challenges – what’s stopping me?

In 2011 I decided to jump on in and take on the ‘Project 365‘ – take a photo and post it every day. It doesn’t matter what it’s of, it doesn’t matter how you take it, just do it. I thought I was going to be leaving Canada at that point and I could document some travels and getting back to Australia (but obviously that’s not how things panned out!)  – in the end it was a pretty random assortment of stuff. Some days it felt like a chore, other days I’d forget and have to come up with something (usually not great due to it being last-minute). But I did it, and missed less than 2 weeks out of the entire year (you can see the set here, as the place I originally hosted it has shut down).

A year is a pretty long commitment for a project like that (and I think if I did it again I’d like to come up with a theme or concept instead of it being so random). Over the past year or so I’ve seen folks in my social media timelines taking part in shorter, month-long photo challenges. In particular, the Fat Mum Slim one pops up a lot and uses a prompt for each day to inspire people to create and share content (primarily on Instagram). My friend Laura’s been taking part in those and posting a weekly round-up of her terrific photos. I like the idea of the weekly round-up for the ease of it – I can take my time and not worry about posting on the day. But I also like the ease of perhaps sharing on Instagram daily (which crossposts to various places) to get feedback on each piece, and to be part of the challenge as it moves along.

But it’s not even how/when or even the theme of what I’m posting that’s stopping me. I lose momentum so easily. I was actually going to take part in the FMS September challenge and maybe post them here in blocks. I got three days in and that was it. Even without the pressure to share every day that got me down during the 365 Project, it was hard. And while the daily suggestions are fine, I felt like I couldn’t find what I needed to inspire me to hit the mark. It could be that life isn’t super interesting right now as I’m at home most days, and just trying to look for work. I would like a photo challenge to kick me in the butt to find inspiration even on those kinda days, though.

Perhaps I’ll try to drop back in to the FMS challenge and finish up the month posting daily on Instagram to see how it works out, and then come October I might be on a roll – or I might even set myself a challenge for October.

For those of you who take part in photo challenges, or thematic shoots over short/long periods, how do you stay inspired? Do you go out on photowalks? Do you get frustrated when you’re actively looking for something to shoot and can’t make it work? Do you just wait for things to find you, or go on a mission? I’d love a little cheerleading – I miss photography, even casually, as a creative output.