Monday, October 08, 2012

musings on life and death

musings on life and death

unlike these moths that could not stay out of the candles,
the blog is not dead

but it's not quite alive these days either

i'm considering my options, and a reboot may be in order; i'm just not sure yet what form it should or will take

but hey, in the meantime, i've uploaded a bunch of photos to flickr from the past year; you should take a look

Thursday, June 28, 2012

We interrupt this (non) broadcast...

Cleaning out my phone, I came across this picture, taken just the other day: We interrupt this (non) broadcast...

I have no idea what it was supposed to be, but I like it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dog in da house!

There's a dog at my house!

There's currently a dog in my house, but he doesn't like to sit still for pictures.

Finally, after many, many attempts, I managed to get a shot (using my webcam) where we both looked semi-intelligent.
There's a dog at my house!

And now, we return to our regularly-scheduled puppy-snuggling.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


This morning, I ran the Ottawa Winterman 5K. It was my first ever race!

Running the 5K Ottawa Winterman

Running the 5K Ottawa Winterman   Running the 5K Ottawa Winterman

Running the 5K Ottawa Winterman

Running the 5K Ottawa Winterman

My friend Christine (pictured with me above) had signed up for this a few weeks ago, and I thought I would also give it a try. It was cold starting out, but luckily I have gotten kind of used to winter running, and it wasn't so bad after a bit. For those who know Ottawa, we started at the Canadian War Museum and ran along the Parkway to Parkdale, with a short loop behind Tunney's Pasture, and then all the way back. Very similar to my usual running route, actually, which is along Scott almost all the way to Island Park, and back.

My favourite part of the run was near the beginning, as the Parkway curves down and away along the river, and seeing the sea of colourful runners stretched out along. It is also the part of the run I have no pictures of, as, well, I was running :)

Running the 5K Ottawa Winterman   Running the 5K Ottawa Winterman

I placed 127th out of 186. For my troubles they gave me a bagel, a banana, and a nice sweet water.* Oh, and a nice, shiny snowflake medal. My time was 34:38.1, at a pace of 6:56. I'd been hoping it would be a bit faster, but I am still quite pleased. I passed a bunch of people, I ran almost the entire way (walked maybe 200-300 metres in total, and stopped maybe 30 seconds at the turning point for a drink), and most importantly, I had fun! I only started running in earnest last summer, and I am not competitive by nature, so this really is a "all I have to do is finish" kind of thing for me.

Now I am debating if I am going to sign up for the 10K in the Ottawa Race Weekend this May. I think I am maybe just crazy enough :)

* For those of you who know it, it tasted like Pocari Sweat. Ahhhh, Pocari Sweat, how I miss you!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Everything in its own time...

So with the exception of 15 months in 2006-07, I have lived in Ottawa since September 2004. That's almost 7 1/2 years now. And you know what I did today for the FIRST TIME?

Me! Skating! On the Canal!

Yes, I know. Amazing, and kind of sad, all at once.*

I have walked across the Canal once or twice in the wintertime in my boots. But I don't think I ever went skating. Maaaaaybe once, but I don't even think so.

So today, after Settlers' brunch,** I walked down to my friend Emily's place in the Glebe, and we went to the Canal. We got on near Fifth Avenue, and skated all the way up to the National Arts Centre, where this photo was taken (as well as the following ones). Then we skated all the way back down to the Bank Street Bridge, which is as far as the Canal is currently open, then back up to Fifth.

January 22, 2012

Canal skating, Laurier Bridge and DND building

It was awesome, and I plan on going a few more times in the next couple of weeks for sure.

* And as an aside to myself, next time I get my picture snapped whilst wearing my backpack, take off the waist strap. It is just not flattering over a puffy winter jacket.

** Some friends of mine have been meeting every Sunday for 2+ years for brunch at one of the pubs on Elgin Street to play Settlers of Catan (Cities & Knights). I started going in mid-November. Such a great way to spend a Sunday morning.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Nom nom nom.*

This evening, a friend of mine posted on her Facebook page about these awesome sweet-yet-spicy cupcakes she had just made. And it turns out that, while I thought I was feeling relaxed, sleepy (having just gone swimming at the local pool), and ready to turn in for the night, I was actually feeling highly suggestible.

Chocolate Cayenne Cupcakes

Seriously. What am I going to do with 24 cupcakes?**

The recipe is an all-vegan one, and it just happened I had all the ingredients to make both the cupcakes and the icing.

Or so I thought.

Recipes aren't actually meant to be followed, are they? I thought my actual "challenge" would be the fact that I had no cocoa powder, just unsweetened chocolate squares. Not such a challenge, actually: Unsweetened Chocolate Squares, meet Food Processor! Well, to be more specific, meet Food Processor Whom I Have Owned For At Least 18 Months But Have Never Used. Which meant I had to go (dig out of an as-yet unpacked box and) introduce myself to the manual for said Food Processor.***

Once I got the food processor up and running, I realized I also had no icing sugar for the frosting, just regular sugar, the icing sugar having met its fate a couple of weeks previously in some Christmas and New Year's desserts. So thus began the long evening of Googling various baking substitutes.

To wit:

  • Icing sugar can be made by blending regular sugar.
  • When you stupidly use all your regular sugar to make icing sugar, you can then substitute brown sugar for regular sugar.
  • Baking powder instead of baking soda, but only if you use 3-4 times the amount called for, and never the other way around.
  • Butter instead of margarine is always recommended, but when you run out of butter halfway through your substitution, you're screwed. Or, like I did, you can use some canola/vegetable oil to top up.
  • When you run out of canola oil, you can top up using margarine (don't ask).
  • No vanilla extract? Yeah, too bad.

The above list is the sort of reason why I think I make a better librarian than baker.

However. The cupcakes turned out fantastic! Sooooo tasty. The cayenne pepper dances lightly on your tongue, yet they are sweet. Lovely.

But the icing! Alas. When I made the icing sugar, I hadn't had quite enough regular organic sugar, so I mixed it with raw turbinado. Apparently I haven't learned my lesson from Christmas when I managed to muff up the Best Brownies In The World recipe, which I have been making for 25+ years, by using turbinado instead of regular sugar. Those members of my family who tried to eat the resulting brownie might find the following picture of the icing familiar.

January 14, 2012

While it looked pretty, it tasted like someone put sucre à crème directly on top. Granular and crunchy, not in a good way.

Tomorrow I have to go to the grocery store - having managed to exhaust my supply of 2 different kinds of sugar, vanilla extract, flour, vegetable oil and butter, all in one night**** - and I have decided that what these cupcakes really, truly need is cream cheese icing. Probably from Betty Crocker; my kitchen is enough of a mess now, thank you.

Post-Baking Cleanup

* Alternately titled, The Benefit Of Living Alone Is That No One Knows You Baked And Ate Cupcakes After Spending The Evening Swimming At The Pool.

** Well, 23 cupcakes now. But who's counting?

*** I first tried to figure it out sans manual. But it turns out my parents were right when they told my grade-9 Industrial Technology teacher that "Julie just has no head for machines".

**** Plus I need chili powder and beans for my next foray into strange and unusual cooking.

Friday, January 13, 2012

And now, for something completely different

I am totally addicted to the sad adventures of Misery Bear, brought to us by some brilliant minds at BBC.

You can access all his films on his website and on YouTube (I note there are some listed on YouTube that aren't on his website). My favourite, of course, is Dawn of the Ted:

Genius. Though I have to admit, the Red Nose Day special with Kate Moss* comes a close second, because of the ironic-yet-oh-so-clever twist at the end.* Not to mention it starts and finishes with one of the best songs EVER**.

OMG am I ever addicted; I just spent a ton of time exploring his website and discovered that Misery Bear even has his own Twitter feed, which I am now (of course) subscribed to.

And THEN, as if that wasn't exciting enough, I discovered Misery Bear has a WEBCAM!!! I am never going to get anything done, ever again.***

* Red Nose Day is apparently a national day of fundraising by doing something funny.

** Seriously, I can't express how much I love this song - I honestly can listen to it over and over and over again. And the video is so lovely, all 9 minutes of it.

*** OK, maybe the fact I like the Kate Moss episode so much is a sign of something more...disturbing...

Monday, January 09, 2012

All's quiet on --SPLAT!

Last night I went to Trailer Park Bingo for the first time ever. A couple of friends of mine go almost every week. This week, Kate and I decided to go as well (she has been before).

I won a bingo! Very exciting. I had to roll a ring down the "Blingo" board to see what my prize would be.

Trailer Park Bingo

There's loads of great and not-so-great prizes you can win. Old board games, VHS movies, tacky wall hangings, etc. Mostly, the prizes have the "kitsch that's kind of kitschy but is so ending up back at Goodwill" factor. But no. I don't win one of those. No way. Nothing quite so pedestrian for me.

Twice my Blingo ended up on "Mystery Box", but there weren't any boxes left. Then I ended up on "Nut", which is where you pick a number out of this large wooden nut, and then Flash Cadillac, the Bingo caller, matches up the number off his list of prizes. I won "PIE". Then, I had to pick out of a second, smaller nut, to see whom I would be pie-ing. The piece of paper said "EWE".

There's sheep at Trailer Park Bingo???

... ...

Aww, crap.

January 8, 2012

Yup, on my very first-ever Trailer Park Bingo, I managed to win, via a very circuitous, labyrinthine route, the prize of being pied in the face. C.P., one of the guys who works the bar, got to do the honours.

My post-pie reaction? "Mmm, tasty!" It was whipped cream and raspberry/strawberry drizzle. I am apparently lucky - one of the guys we were with, Alex, has been pied in the past, and his pie was alphagetti and grenadine. Kinda ick.

After helping me clean up, C.P. gave me a free beer and shots for my table.* I debated drinking them all myself, but I was nice, and shared with the 4 people I used to consider my friends.

Trailer Park Bingo

For the record, whipped cream detritus makes your hair really crunchy and stiff. It also makes you smell nice, if a little flowery :)

* Alex also said he didn't get any free booze after being pied. So I win!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

You Bought A Zoo! I Went Swimming!


When I moved to my new neighbourhood in October, my good friend Kate, who lives right near here, made me promise that we would go swimming on a regular basis at the newly-renovated community centre pool which is literally a 2-minute walk from my place (and about 7 minutes from her place). Absolutely, I said!

Well, as you can probably guess, what then ensued was a weeks-long-turned-months-long set of creative excuses, day after day, why one or the other of us couldn't go swimming the next day. As Kate said at one point, we're such hipsters we stopped swimming before we even started. Ha.

But now! We are swimming! Last Friday, we actually made it out. Kate went another time this week as well, and then we went again tonight. And while I don't remember swimming ever being's fun! Tonight after work, I bought swim goggles because I realized last week that I'm slightly panicked about putting my head in the water and not being able to see (I wear contacts so I have to close my eyes).* I'm used to snorkeling and scuba-diving, see, and a key feature of those activities is that YOU CAN SEE. That's kind of the point, actually. My new goggles rock! Though it turns out I am TERRIBLE at swimming. It's a lot of work when you don't have a BCD or flippers! I may look into remedial adult-swim classes later this winter. In the meantime, there's absolutely no shame in swimming with a flutterboard in the slow lane, right?

* Wearing contacts, which I only started doing just over a year ago, is a definite plus. One of the reasons I was always reluctant to go swimming in the past is that I couldn't find my way around. Swimming is no fun when you can't tell the swimmers from the sharks in the pool.**

** When I was a kid, I was convinced that if I took my eyes off the deep end, a shark would swim out of one of the water-exchange grills. This was particularly a danger at the pool at my grandmaman's old condo in Quebec City, which was kind of dark, shadowy and mysterious, at least to a 10-year-old.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Rion the Extra-Terrier

I leave my dog alone all day and when I get home, I can't find him because he's doing his best E.T. impression.*
"Ell-ee-ott. Owww."

But that's not the best shot from today. No, that prize goes to "Would someone get this frackin' paparazzi out of my face already!"
January 3, 2012

I love my dog :)
Warm-up photo     Getting ready for his close-up

* All together now: "Ell-ee-ott. Owww."

Monday, January 02, 2012

Last night of vacation!

Tonight is my last night of vacation, and my best guy and I got all dolled up for a night out on the town!
January 2, 2012

After getting lost in the townhouse complex on Primrose, however, we decided to call it a night and head home.*

This morning, I busted Rion out of prison,** then we had a 2-hour nap,*** then we had pretzels for lunch and played on the computer all the rest of the afternoon. It's been an almost perfect last day of vacation.

I have Rion for at least the rest of the week, so we'll have to see what madcap adventures we can have over the next few days. At the very least, I'd like to get him hooked on Arrested Development.

* Getting lost on Primrose takes talent if you know what a short block this end of Primrose is.

** aka the kennel. Though I suspect he wouldn't have been sad if I hadn't come to get him, since he absolutely loves it there. And there are way more dogs at the kennel than there are at my house.

*** Actual length: 2 1/2 hours. It was the best decision I made all day.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

Visual representation of how I felt this morning when I woke up:
January 1, 2012

And further visual representation of the post-NYE morning (well, early afternoon) debauchery:
Happy New Year 2012!
aka breakfast cereal and coffee with friends, complete with invitation to zombie movie marathon (alas, i did not make it)

Happy New Year 2012!
this is pixxiefish in the sea, making no promises for the year to come :)