Monday, 8 February 2016

Treats of the Week - Karma

The week started out well enough.

It was a busy week, but nothing too strenuous.  I was definitely looking forward to the weekend though.  Friday was great - errands, good day at work, productive, nice dinner, good company, the whole thing.  Then on the drive home I noticed a funny sound coming from my car when I would hit a bump.  Turns out some douche canoe decided to hit my car in a parking lot at some point and didn't feel the need to leave a note.  Not just a bump or a scrape, but hit it hard enough to scrape off a bunch of my paint and leave a paint transfer from their vehicle.  Hard enough that I'm looking at a $500 deductible now to get my new car fixed.

Yeah, that was enough to sour my weekend a bit.

Luckily, it was somewhat balanced out by an unexpected cheque arriving in the mail.  Not enough to cover the deductible, but it was a pleasant surprise that will definitely help me get through the week.  And hopefully the prick who hit me will have karma come back to them too.

Things that were actually treats this week...

  • Not only was this week's episode of X-Files hilarious and amazing, it also gifted us this lovely shot of Mulder.

  • Rrroll up the Rim to win is underway and I've already won twice!  Somehow I even managed to win on my very first cup!
  • I've been scratching some more Oscar movies off my list - this weekend was Carol and Steve Jobs.  I'm going to have to step up my game to watch everything in time though - I still have quite a few to get through.
  • I had some great local beer this weekend - both at Toboggan (love love love love) and from Forked River Brewing.  I stopped in their retail store on my lunch break and wasn't sure what to get until this super knowledgeable retired dude enthusiastically explained how amazing every variety of beer is.
  • While doing my readings for class this week I came across the word "pernicious" in two separate articles.  Triple word score.
  • I got these great vintage London postcards on Etsy to add to my collection - the old Howard Johnson and downtown London.

  • I was a freaking champ at getting work done this week - like sitting down and typing 50 pages in a sitting.  It felt great to be so productive.  I spent Saturday working in the Brescia library, which I love because it's so quiet and bright and has such a relaxed atmosphere.  So relaxed, in fact that there was a dog just chilling in the library all day.  I covertly took a picture, sorry my orange juice cup was in the way.

  • So I've been saying for ages that there needs to be a streaming site for all the episodes of The Simpsons, but one that allows you to search by quote to find the episode you want.  Well apparently I should have gotten to work on that because now there's Frinkiac where you can search by quote to find screencaps.  Episode streaming has to be next.
  • I promise not to do this too much, but LOOK HOW CUTE MY NEPHEW IS 

Hope you guys have a good week - and if you see a red vehicle driving around with unreported damage on it, let me know!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Treats of the Week - February, Apparently

The calendar says that it's February, but the thermometer doesn't seem to agree.  It was a balmy 8 degrees today, which is insane.  I have been enjoying the mild winter, even though it's kind of terrifying.  While it's been nice to not have to worry about driving to work every day, I could kind of go for a snow day.  Just a whole day snuggled up in the house with coffee and books sounds pretty delightful to me.

  • I finally made it out to B&L Antiques on Hamilton Road in London and was not disappointed!  Not only did I find another J. Moriarty London print (this time Sir Adam Beck's House) but I also found this nice little postcard of the St. Thomas City Hall for $1.  They also have these amazing HBC posters from 1970 that are just beautiful.  The pair of them are $295 and totally worth the money, but I've caught a bad case of the poors so I'll stick to my $1 postcard.

  • Back in the fall Jenn went to Austin and brought me back a cute magnet as a souvenir, as she often does.  Of course I dropped it in my car and immediately lost it.  I worried that I had dropped it outside of my car and it actually ended up lost forever, but it finally turned up in my car this weekend!  I figure it must have been stuck to a mechanism under the passenger seat and was finally shaken loose by the snow brush or something.

  • I did lots of visiting this weekend, including going to visit my friend Amanda and her new baby, Leo.  Vivian was quite charmed by him, but didn't want to hold him.  I made up for it by holding him basically the entire afternoon that we were there.

  • You know how sometimes you're really stressed out about making a phone call but you finally get up the courage to make the call and then it turns out to not be a big deal at all and there was nothing to stress about and you feel like you maybe can adult just a little bit?  I had one of those moments today.
  • Bored Elon Musk continues to be one of my favourite Twitter accounts.  I still don't really "get" the whole Twitter thing and just check it pretty sporadically, but I do enjoy his ideas!

I think that's about all I can come up with - I just spent the better part of the last hour on the phone with Bell because apparently unplugging your modem to rearrange furniture is a terrible idea.  Ugh.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016


Here's a post I've been meaning to write for over a year.  Initially, I didn't want to write it until I had tried all the places on the list so I could make a more fulsome report.  The problem was, new places seemed to open up in town as soon as I had tried one!  I suppose it still applies now though, since it's cold and miserable out and it's nice to find things to do to occupy your time and get you out of your pajama pants every now and then, if that's your thing.

I tried my first escape room last fall and pretty much became obsessed.  I love them.  They sound super weird - you get locked in a room for 60 minutes and have to solve a series of puzzles in order to escape the room.  It's basically a live video game, and it's SO MUCH FUN.  If you dig puzzles and critical thinking, then this is for you!  I've tried four of the places on the list so far - and have escaped two rooms.  I'm still hoping to try all of them on the list (come do a room with me!) so hopefully I can do an updated post with some better reviews later.  In any event - check it out.

Adventure Rooms - This was the first room I tried, located in Kitchener.  I don't know if it's because it was the first, or just because it was an engaging room, but this one is my favourite.  I tried the second room, and managed to get about 80% through the room on a first attempt with a two-person team, which apparently is pretty good.  This location didn't have themes or plots involved in the rooms, but I really enjoyed the puzzles and definitely want to go back to try a room again.  They also have a location in Niagara Falls, which is a great idea.  This location has cameras to watch you attempt the room, and they communicate with you on a tablet, which is great for getting hints.

Exodus - Is located beside Centennial Hall in London, and seems to be the most popular location in London.  It's nice - the rooms have themes and are set up really well.  I tried the Professor's Den in a four-person team and wasn't able to beat it.  My biggest complaint with this location is that it's hard.  Like, it seems unnecessarily difficult.  The sweet spot for escape rooms seems to be an escape rate of about 20% and I think Exodus has a much lower rate.  I'm not keen to try this one again.

Escape Canada - This one is also in London, located on York Street near Wortley Road.  I really enjoyed this place - they seem to be opening new rooms all the time, and they had solid themes.  I did the Lost room in a two-person team and this was the first room I escaped.  My biggest complaint with the Lost room was that the puzzles were mostly opening things - a lot of "Open this case to get this so you can open another case."  There were some cool puzzles, but it wasn't as impressive as Adventure Rooms.  I would like to try their new Cabin Fever room, though.

Lost City - Located on Kipps Lane in London, this one is a bit of an outlier.  I wanted to try this location because I got to go for free on my birthday.  We attempted Castle in the Sky in a two-person team, and we beat it.  This place was pretty fun - there was a puzzle right on the front door that had to be solved before you even got into the building.  The room itself was okay - we were in the dark using flashlights though, which seemed to be unnecessary.  The plots and themes of the room were a bit weird too - like, Castle in the Sky?  What does that even mean?  The worst part was that we had solved the final puzzle, which released the lock on the door, but we didn't even realize it.  So we finally had to use the walkie-talkie to ask what we were supposed to do, and they told us we had actually unlocked the room and could just walk out.  We still beat the room, but it was a little underwhelming at the end.  It still had some cool puzzles that I hadn't seen before though.

Mystery Escape - I haven't yet tried this location, which is on Waterloo Street in London.  It seems pretty cool though, since it's in one of those lovely old houses.  They have a lot of different themes, which I dig, but a lot of the rooms seem to be geared towards larger groups, and I prefer a two-person team if possible.  This one is the next location on my list that I would like to check out.

Escape Castle Dracula - Who knew there was actually an escape room in Strathroy?  This one is apparently located very close to my house, which is super weird.  I'm pretty sure that it's just in someone's basement, and I'm somewhat wary that it's just a trap and I'll end up in a new Saw movie or something.  I've messaged back and forth with the owner a little bit though, and they seem pretty on top of their game.

Here's some tips if you try an Escape Room...

  • Say things out loud.  This is my number one - say things out loud.  Even if it seems dumb, it can end up being useful.  In one room, I noticed that a there was a thermometer on the wall, but it was broken.  We later realized that it was fake and was holding a key.  Had I said, "Hey, this doesn't work" out loud, it might have triggered something with someone else in the room.  Just say what you find - you never know when someone else might know what to do with it.
  • Don't panic.  It's easy to get overwhelmed with nervous excitement and fumble or forget about things.  Try to go slowly and if you're getting frustrated, try to just move to another puzzle.
  • You know a clue when you see one.  The first room I tried, we WAY overthought everything.  Things like, "There's a production number on the bottom of this chair!  It must be a code for something!"  No.  Clues are deliberate - you know them when you see them.  Don't get caught up by red herrings.
  • Don't be afraid to use the hints.  Every location I've tried has had a system for help or hints.  Adventure Rooms had tablets to send you messages, and every other location had walkie-talkies.  At Adventure Rooms, we kept forgetting to use the tablet - to the point that the staff actually slid a note under the door to tell us to look at the damn tablet and get a hint so we could get on track.
  • Pay attention to the layout.  There was one room I tried (I won't say which one) that had a secret panel.  I didn't immediately realize it, but if I had looked at the layout of the room, I would have realized that there was a wall where there shouldn't have been one.
  • Try everything.  I've had to roll up area rugs for clues, move pictures on hinges, read braille, fold origami, read music, and unlock a cellphone to solve puzzles.  The puzzles seem to really vary wildly and play off a lot of different skill sets - just keep trying things out, and eventually something will click!
  • Look for things that are unusual.  Things are very deliberate in an escape room, that's kind of the whole point.  See a clock that's stuck on a certain time?  It's probably a code for something.  A set of encyclopedias that's missing a volume?  That's important.  Put on your video game logic helmet and check out those unusual things.
I think that's about all the tips I can come up with - I'm far from an expert.  Like I said, I've tried four rooms and escaped two.  I definitely love trying them though - they're so weirdly addictive!  It's pretty nerdy, but seriously so much fun.  

Monday, 25 January 2016

Treats of the Week - Recycling Bin Wanted

Today was garbage day, which is always exciting, but today was especially exciting because it was also recycling day.  See, I only get recycling pickup every other week.  This wouldn't be so bad except we have the big wheelie bins here for the automated truck deals so once they're full, they're full.  I'm still playing catch-up from the holidays as far as my recycling goes, and I thought this was finally going to be the week where things got under control.  I actually came home from work excited to see an empty recycling bin at the road so I could fill it up with the scattered recyclables which have taken up residence in my garage and finally feel like I have some modicum of control over my life.  I came home from work to find my garbage bin sitting demurely by the side of the road, but no recycling bin.  Where a large wheelie recycling bin would disappear to is beyond me.  My neighbour still has a recycling bin sitting in front of their house, but I don't know if it's theirs or mine.  I could go to their house and ask, but that requires human contact and seems like a crazy plan.  I figure I'll just sit in my house and hope that this isn't a bad sign for the start of my week and maybe the bin will turn up in front of my house tomorrow morning.  A girl can dream.

And now, treats.

  • I'm rather rapidly turning into a crazy person who collects enamel pins.  But seriously, tell me how I was supposed to resist this Badass Peggy Olsen pin?

  • I was meeting my friend Lauren for lunch the other day and had to wait in the "no stopping" zone in front of her office building.  I sent her a text ("Get in, loser.  We're going for burritos.") and hoped she would be out quickly before some FedEx truck came along and started freaking out on me or something.  Luckily the nice gentleman parked (legally) in front of me knocked on my window and offered me his parking stub and spot since he was just leaving.  Yay for nice people!
  • I've been doing really well at the whole "Hang Shit Up" thing.  I even managed to tackle finally hanging up Vivian's height ruler in the kitchen - it only took a year.  I busted out my drill and level and everything!  It doesn't look straight here, but it actually is.  I think it's more because of the shadow and the fact that I can't take a picture straight.

  • I did a little bit of wandering this weekend and found this lovely lady at Memory Lane.  What a special time it was when you could put naked women on a calendar for a grocery store.  I really wanted to take her home, but she was $95.

  • Kimberly and I went to see the So You Think You Can Dance live tour this week and it was so much fun!  They did all the dances we were hoping to see from last season and even had some new stuff.  Hailee was insane - she was in practically every number!
  • Saturday was a trip to Brown & Dickson with the dude to see a live magazine.  What's a live magazine, you ask?  Well it's a pretty unique event that Brown & Dickson came up with that consists of live interviews/music/storytelling/reviews.  Basically anything you might read in a magazine, but performed live.  It was super cool - I really dug it.  Luckily if you didn't make it out for the first issue they're planning on doing it every month!  Keep an eye out for the next edition of Kangaroo Variety.

  • I tore through the first two seasons of Mozart in the Jungle this week - almost makes me want to go back to my French Horn days!
  • This is not a drill - The Land of Nod is doing a line of bedding and housewares inspired by the art of Charley Harper.  I need all the things.

  • Snoop is coming to London in a couple of weeks and I've got my tickets!  Love those concert announcements to keep the winter blahs away!
Wish me luck with my recycling bin, you guys.  

Monday, 18 January 2016

Treats of the Week - Blue Monday

Today is Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year.  Sounds about right, if you ask me.  It's cold and wet and miserable and even though it's only been winter for about 45 minutes, I've had enough of it.  Vivian is losing mittens at an alarming rate, and I already hate having to carry my "inside shoes" to work.  The best way to cure the winter blues is always treats!

  • I finally found my way to Yardigans this week after hearing so many recommendations!  I was really impressed - there's so much stuff there and it's all really reasonably priced.  It seems to be more and more difficult to find furniture at thrift stores, but they had loads here!  I was pretty partial to this campaign-style end table.

  • The Oscar nominations have been announced and I could not be happier to see Mad Max: Fury Road with 10 nominations!  I've got a lot of viewing to do before February 28th - we watched The Big Short on the weekend though and I loved it!
  • Another way to get through the winter blues?  By downloading Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on my phone, obvi.

  • I love, love, love The Last Man on Earth, and this picture of Will Forte has me dying to see some new eps!

  • I've been considering changing my chalkboard backsplash because I just wasn't using it and it felt so "I just discovered Pinterest in 2011" to me.  But lately I've been using it, mostly to make little jokes to myself so I might keep it around.

  • I ordered some pins from Do Not Disturb ages ago and have been nervously tracking their delivery progress online as they made their way from LA to Mississauga to Richmond, BC for some unknown reason.  Finally they arrived today and I'm so happy with them!  

  • Wintertime seems to be podcast time for me, and since Serial has decided to only post a new episode every other week (ughhhhhh) I've been spending a lot of time listening to Guys We Fucked.  It's definitely not for everyone, but I dig the honest discussions and stories from comedians.  If you need something fun to listen to, check it out!
  • We tried to take some cousin pictures yesterday, and this was about as good as it got out of probably 20 pictures.  Brody is getting so big, and both of the girls just adore him.

I know there's something I'm forgetting, and I'll probably remember it as soon as I publish this post.  Oh well.  Lots to look forward to this week though - including going to see So You Think You Can Dance on Thursday (thanks, Kimberly!) and going to see a live magazine on Saturday (should be interesting!)

Have a week!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Nice Things on the Internet

Sometimes I kind of forget that people read this blog other than people who know me in real life.  Every now and then the reality of the Interwebs kicks in and I am reminded that indeed all the dumb things I write are available to people all over the world.  I try not to think about it too much though, wouldn't want to self-censure.

Once a woman in Australia wanted to buy the vintage Rainbow Bright sheets I use as curtains in Vivian's room.  I politely declined.

Another time, a woman in Australia wanted some of the Sarah Richardson paint chips, which I happily mailed to her.  (Apparently I'm big in Australia.)

Someone in England bought one of my old purses.

Someone else has tried to purchase a pair of my shoes.  (This was possibly a creep.)

Someone in Toronto wanted to buy my vintage Air Canada bag.  Again I had to politely decline, but I keep my eye out for one for her.

The most recent instance of the Interwebs reaching out to me came just yesterday, when a lovely woman commented on my blog post about the CFPL Radio Print series, which I have begun collecting.  Her mother has passed away, and she's trying to clear out some of the smaller items.  She Googled the prints to see if they had any value, and came across my blog about them.  She was kind enough to comment asking if I would be interested in any of them, and of course I was happy to accept!  She had prints of the Country Courthouse, Middlsex College, Eldon House, and St. Peter's Basilica.  The Basilica was the only one I hadn't yet found, so I stopped by her place today after work to retrieve it.  I was thrilled to add it to my collection, and she was pleased it was going to a happy home.  Hooray for nice things on the Internet!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Treats of the Week - Stardust

Like many people, my morning started off by learning of David Bowie's passing.  It still seems so unbelievable - he seemed untouchable, somehow.  It's awful to see him go, but what a gift he's left us with his final album.  He truly was too good for this world, and we were lucky to have him for as long as we did.

  • I finished season 2 of You're the Worst this week and holy crap - I love it so much.  The first season is pretty light and funny, and the second season starts off the same way but weaves in a really heartbreaking plot about dealing with depression in a relationship.  Seriously, it's so good.  Go watch it.
  • I'm way behind on my comic book reading (as usual) but I had to add this new title to my bag after seeing Dustin Nguyen's beautiful art for the cover of the first issue!


  • I'm so freaking lucky that King of the Pigs has a Strathroy location!  We got takeout on Thursday night and it was bonkers good.  The Portuguese sure know their way around chicken.
  • My friend Kimberly invited me to go see So You Think You Can Dance live in London in a couple of weeks!  Hooray for fun plans in cold months.
  • Can't wait to watch the new documentary Je Suis Charlie now on Netflix.

  • I published my 1000th post last week - sometimes I can't believe that I've stuck with the blog this long.

  • It was back to classes this week - Policy Process in Local Government and Local Government Management.  Try to contain yourselves.  I was actually stressing about the workload this semester, but after going through the course outlines with the profs it seems pretty manageable.  Plus we have the benefit of knowing each other a little more this semester, so it was great to see my classmates again.
  • Super adorable trip to Qdoba.

  • It was games night this past Saturday night!  I'm terrible at games for the most part, but it's always nice to just have some snacks and drinks with friends.
  • I actually got around to hanging some shit up - one of my tangible goals for 2016!  It was only a couple of things, but I'm working away at it!
  • the LA Mood Graphic Novel Group had the annual pitch session where we set up our reading for the whole year.  I can't wait to get started, even though I usually don't read anything until the night before!  We meet on the second Saturday of every month at 11:00 a.m. and anyone is welcome to join.  Let me know if you want to check it out!

Do the Starman proud guys - crank his music and be weird!