Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tyranid conversions

The Tyranids have been my army of choice since Rogue Trader. With the 5th edition out they have a few units that aren’t represented by models yet. Notably the Tyrannofex, Tervigon, Harpy, Doom of Malan’tai and Mycetic Spore.

I’ve come across a few sites that offer modeling suggestions for these (Tyrannofex and Tervigon) – most built around a Carnifex frame. With the bits I’ve been getting online, I’m looking forward to giving a few of these a try.

The first one will probably be a Mycetic Spore. I’ve picked up some of the large Kinder eggs to use. Back in Second edition, I had made a bunch of Ork adobe buildings and a few craters with the large Kinder eggs in them – sort of an alien drop pod. They will work nicely to start with.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

William – destiny fulfilled

On December 23, 2010, our pet cavy, William passed away. He has been sick for the last week and finally gave in. He leaves behind his cagemate Peter, who currently seems to be in fine health. I expect he is enjoying the extra space but is probably missing the companionship.

It was a bit of a trauma for the kids – being the first pet they have lost in recent years. On the plus side, it was while we were home to deal with it and before Christmas eve or Christmas.

Arguably, pets provide companionship and help teach responsibility. However, their greatest contribution is often exposing kids to mortality. In giving their all, they help to explain the finiteness of life. William has fulfilled all these destinies.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Re-rez Ram!

We saw Tron: Legacy this week. Visually it was beautiful. Story-wise, it holds up fine. There are a lot of familiar faces and a few nods to original series (look for Dumont on the shipping containers, Dillenger’s son in the boardroom, the bits on the fireplace).

While Flynn’s son is the main character, it also has Olivia Wilde from House, Beau Garrett from the second Fantastic Four movie, with Bruce Boxleitner, and Jeff Bridges reprising their roles from the original. There are also cameos from Serinda Swan (Zantanna from Smallville), James Frain (from Tudors and Tru Blood), Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins, Red Eye), and a wacky Michael Sheen (Lucian from Underworld) as Castor.

There is also a scanned version of a younger Jeff Bridges as Clu 2. Except for the flashback in the real world, he didn’t seem that odd. From a technological standpoint this is groundbreaking. Some people are having problems with it.

In fact, some people have issues with the whole movie – saying that, while visually beautiful, it didn’t have that much of a story. That said, I didn’t go to see this film to change my world view. The story was more than adequate for me. It certainly had more layers than Avatar (invaders bad – natives good), and a better story than LOTR.

My issues with the movie were few. I missed the old soundtrack – years of playing the video game have burned the old theme in my head. For a 3D film, it didn’t make a lot of use of the 3D format (unlike Resident Evil Afterlife and Journey to the Center of the Earth). With Rizler being Tron – as shown by the T symbol on his chest, if would have been nice to see his face occasionally. Cindy Morgan was missed – a cameo would have been nice.

The games were good, the visuals great, the upgrades were acceptable. There were enough nods to the old movie and enough backstory provided to cover those who hadn’t seen the original. If you enjoyed the original (which I feel still holds up fine) then you should be fine seeing this one.

As my son said – ‘Word cannot describe how awesome it was’.

Monday, December 20, 2010

need zamboni

I put some more water on the rink this weekend – about another six buckets. It seems to be working okay. Some parts are fairly smooth and others are quite bumpy. I am hoping that more layers will even out some of the less-bumpy parts.

We got Gee’s skates sharpened and she actually went out on the rink and tested it out. She was able to skate around a bit and we didn’t have to drive her anywhere so it’s certainly been worthwhile so far.

Hmm, I wonder if I used a mop and hot water would it smooth out some of the lumps. I may have to add a few more rounds of layers before I try it. It may be one of those proof-of-concept ideas that may or may mot work.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Have a Red Christmas

While at the Legislature's open house, we popped into to see Jon Gerrard. He's been the lone Liberal MLA for a while and recently got another member in the legislature.

Not having full party status, his office is tiny. He was so glad to have visitors pop by that he had a staff member taking pictures. This is the one they sent us.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Christmas to most

To you and yours from me and mine.

Season's greetings to the rest of you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Locked out

It happens to all of us at some time. But it hasn’t happened to me in quite a while. Last night I got locked out of my vehicle.
I had started it up and then went to brush the snow off my front window. When I finished, I found that the doors were locked. Since the Windstar has a feature that is supposed to prevent you from being able to lock the door with the engine running I don’t even carry a spare key.

I called home to see if my wife could bring me the extra key but she didn’t want to drive down or take the bus so she just told me to call CAA. I’ve had a CAA membership for several years as I used to have a wagon that had issues but haven’t used it for anything in a few years beyond getting triptics for vacations.

I called them and they said it could be up to 90 minutes but because it was a simple lock-out they would get any truck on the way to pop in. In the end it took them an hour to show up and about another five to ten minutes to open the door (he had a bit of an issue trying to jimmy the lock and had to go through the frame instead and ended up pushing the button to open the window.

Needless to say, the car was toasty-warm on the way home.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ice to see you

When I checked on the rink on the weekend, I was pleased to find that the part I had done had frozen relatively level. Inspired by this I had finished wetting down the other half and pouring a few more buckets on top of the back half. It's not going to be a huge rink - only about 12 - 15 feet around, but it should be sufficiently large enough to practice on.

Now I am concerned that we may actually get a warm day tomorrow. It's supposed to rise to 1 Celsius (about 274 Kelvin). Ideally, it should remain cool enough to remain frozen but warm enough to even out the surface.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

November 2010 figure (no) painting total

I only purchased 3 figures in bits last month. I still haven’t painted anything fully. Part of me wants to paint a few figures just to have painted something. The other part says to write off this year and wait until January and get a start on the new year.

Having purchased most of the Orks I figure I need (at least until I can get some painted and play a few games), I have switched to getting Tyranids bits. I'm finding that the bugs aren't as easy to buy as cheaply as the greenskins were. Which is good - as it means that I'm not padding my bought list, but bad in that I'm probably going to run Tyranids as one of my main armies so need to fill in a bunch of figures.

Killa Kanz (in bits) - 3

Nov figures bought – 3, figures painted – 0
Running total 2010 – figures bought 97, figures painted 0

Monday, November 29, 2010

ice weather

I poured about a dozen tall ice-cream buckets of water on the pool area. This only managed to wet down about half of the depression left by the pool. This will take a lot more water than I had thought. It wet through the snow and slushed up on the mud. I am hoping that it will freeze up overnight and allow my second and subsequent coats to fill in the area a bit more evenly.

If this doesn't work as I thought, I will stop without doing the entire area. I can now see why they usually flood the rinks with a hose. If this does works, maybe next year I will bring a hose inside to thaw the ice and use that to flood the rink.

That is, as long as the use of the rink outweighs the annoyance in making the rink.

Friday, November 26, 2010

snow fun

The weather held until last week. We have had a beautiful November so far and then got hit by a blanket of snow - 42 cm of snow in fact. Our entire snowfall last winter was only 80 cm. (For those of you who don’t understand metric, we had about two and a half feet of snow last winter and have already received a foot and a half so far.
Even though most of it has fallen in a little over a week, it hasn’t been too bad. It has been the light, fluffy snow that is easy to shovel instead of the wet, sticky that is a pain to shovel (but great for snowmen). It has come down in dumps of less than 10 cm a day – which means it didn’t overwhelm us. As long as we shoveled, we were able to keep on top of it.

My daughter has started building her ice-slide in the front yard. She did one last year as well. A three or four foot rise was enough to slide her the length of the front yard. She even had a few bends and a landing area.

Also, after the first dusting of snow, I moved the pool to the side and put away the other tarp. This will hopefully allow us to create a small rink in the depression in the back. Then, when my daughter feels that she must skate, we can just send her out back instead of going to the park every time. I’ve been toying with making one for a few years so we’ll see how it turns out and how much trouble it is.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Just like that we are now in pre-Christmas. Halloween was as busy as usual with the costumes and decorations, and then the undecorating.

Then we had to set up the lights before the snow comes. We set up the Christmas tree last weekend – it’s a bit early but we’re getting pretty booked up for Christmas already and have to find the time when we can.

I hate to start any big projects during this time – as they usually need a fair amount of space and everything is all cozy right now. I still want to try to paint something this year and maybe work away at assembling the 40K bits I’ve bought so that I could potentially paint them as well. I also want to try using the Hotz western town files to put together some 1/35 scale buildings but that’s a bit more involved.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lego boxes - gang aft agley

With a bit of cleaning, I had a bunch of Logo boxes to use. The Lego boxes have a nice small corrugated cardboard that makes them great for projects. I was going to use them as the basis for the upsized western buildings based on the Whitewash City set.

Unfortunately I was going to wait until after the Halloween projects were done before starting any new projects. My wife (the same one who pushes me to start my costume projects much earlier in the year) gets twitchy if stuff gets left around for any length of time - which is the other reason I wait until the last moment (the main reason is the kids don't make up their minds until almost the last moment).

Quick ending – she crumpled up most of the nice big boxes into the recycling on October 29th. Not even folded so I was only able to salvage two smaller boxes. We’ll see if I can still make use of them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

figure painting total - Oct

With all the costume work, nothing was painted. I did get more bits and completed more models.

40K Ork Trukk (in bits) – 1
40K Ork Battlewagon (in bits) – 1
40K Ork Deff Dread (in bits) – 2

Oct figures bought – 4, figures painted – 0
Running total 2010 – figures bought 94, figures painted 0

Sunday, October 31, 2010


With all the costume work, we neglected to get pumpkins. On the way home from the Comic Convention we tried Supervalue, then Sobeys - both of whom were out. Luckily Safeway still had a pair so we were able to get some for the kids to carve, albeit a little more pricey than usual.

We also managed to get a fair amount of decorations out. I fixed the pvc joins on both the Pumpkin Jack scarecrow and the Jack Skellington. With the lights and the cool but nice weather, we had over 50 kids.

D3 went out as the Doctor with his friend and Gee grudgingly wore her Hit-Girl. She had been concerned that no one would know who she was. But a few of the houses recognized her so she felt better about it. We were actually out for quite a while - from a little after 6pm and not back until almost a quarter to 9.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hit-Girl - finished?

I touched up the tubes on the belt with pink paint. I sewed extra buckles on the tactical vest and made a grenade from a plastic easter egg, a pen bit, some twist ties, and a keyring. I put one of the retractable toy knives in the sheath and taped it down to the tactical vest. I stitched some gun holsters out of the canvas apron and am finishing sewing on the belt loops.

I finished assembling the sonic screwdriver. I added a finger light inside with a switch that allows it to be activated from the body and lights up a marble. I'm not sure how well the epoxy will hold the marble, but we'll see. I haven't got around to painting it however the colors aren't too far off on the bottom pieces. The top pieces definitely will need a splash of silver and brass to look more accurate.

What did the kids wear to school today for their Halloween parties? Gee went as a vampire cheerleader and D3 didn't wear a costume. So why the extra work on Hit-Girl and the Doctor? There is still the comic convention this weekend and trick-or-treating on Sunday.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hit-Girl - more refinements / Who-driver

I finished up the pink tubes from the Hit-Girl utility belt. I may touch them up with a second coat of paint but, if not, they are done. I finished stitching the tactical vest for her as well. I may still add some rings on it and maybe some small pouches, if I have time tomorrow night. If not, the only thing I need to do is tape on the knife sheath and maybe make a grenade.

We had made two masks - one to tie in the back, and a shorter one to use with elastics. I finished sewing in the elastics in the shorter one today. This should fit better under the wig.

Today, I started on the sonic screwdriver. I had some oversize pens I had bought at Dollarama. I cut various pieces down and epoxied them back together. I used some of the large plastic clothespins for the fins on the top. I even figured out a way to light it using a finger light and a marble. I won't have time to paint it for tomorrow but it should look pretty good anyway. I just hope it holds together through the afternoon party.

So, all-in-all, a bit of fiddly work to do tomorrow, but I'm in a pretty good spot. So far.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hit-Girl - refinements

I fixed the bow tie for D3 - by putting in a hook and eye as well as shortening the elastic. I haven't started of the sonic screwdriver though. That may be a Thursday project.

For Hit-Girl, I made three stops on Monday - looking for supplies. At Value Village I picked up a backpack ($3.99) and Cannon pouch ($1.99). At Princess Auto, I picked up a flashlight/knife holder for $1.99. At Dollarama I picked up a pair of lanyards, 2 dog harnesses, 2 trick knives, and a canvas apron.

Today, I cut out the padded straps from the backpack and switched the hardware for that from the lanyards. I used one of the other straps from the backpack to make loops that would connect to the belt we had picked up from Value Village earlier ($3.99). I cut a piece of the canvas apron to make a connection piece in the back to connect the padded straps to the other strap from the backpack to allow it to be adjusted in the back. Although I will probably stitch it down once it has been adjusted, this will allow it to be altered easily if I need to increase the length.

I also did more work on the pink tubes from her regular belt. I finished wrapping the other two and put the small strips around the ends. I will add loops on the back to attach to her belt tomorrow.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I played basketball in Junior High and in High School. Because of this, and my weak ankles, to this day I still wear high-cut sneakers and like knee-high socks. I even wear executive length dress socks – this way the bare leg doesn’t show when you sit. It’s getting harder and harder to buy sports socks of this length.

When I was working, I would buy the knee high sports socks from the Bay. They had a pair for $8 but they were very nice. I would pick up a few with every paycheque. Then it got harder to find them. Shan had been able to find me some in Montreal before we were married.

There was a sports store from which I used to be able to buy some on our trips to Gencon. Each year I picked up a few packs and that would last me through to the next year. But after our second child, when Gencon moved out of Milwaukee, we stopped making the annual trip.

When we’re in the states, I pop in to the Super Walmart and Super Target and have picked up socks down there with varying success. The tube socks are often only long enough to come up to (or partially on) my calf – which means that they soon fall down off my calf.

This year, we stopped into Scheels when we were in Fargo. We’ve driven past them on the way to the Space Aliens restaurant for the last several years and always meant to pop in, but this year we did. Wow. It’s a two level sporting goods store, with an electronic firing range and a ferris wheel.

Plus they had the same brand of Wigwam tube socks that I used to buy from Milwaukee. At $17.99 for 7 pairs, I easily picked up two packs to tide me over until the next time we are down there. I was even happier to find out that they rang up at only $15 a pack.

Now I can start phasing out my older, shorter socks and start replenishing my stock of long ones. I am very pleased with this discovery. Even more so as there is a Scheels in both Fargo and Grand Forks – so I should be able to get these for a while.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hit-Girl - Valleycon update

The costume contest was a bit of a muddled affair this year. They didn’t have a marshalling area and didn’t take info beyond name and costume name. They also didn’t have a kids category – which is fine as we had put enough work in it to be judged with the adults.

D3 didn’t want to go in the contest. A few people did recognize his costume though –
'Fezes are cool!' There was even another Eleventh Doctor there, and a pair of other Doctors in the costume contest. But we failed to get a shot of D3 with any of them.

Gee was in the contest. D3 was sure that she was going to win. She had a bit of presentation but mostly just zipped across the stage and was off - as did most of the costumers. This gave me a spot of concern as her costume is a bit obscure and involved. Without being checked in the marshalling, and explanations in the pre-judging, and the minimal presentation, I thought she might get overlooked – especially for the Clone Trooper who both looked great and had good presentation.
Luckily, they called them up again to get another look at them before judging. When the audience called out for Hit-Girl to step forward to pose for some pictures, I figured she might have a decent shot.

When the judging was done, Hit-Girl had indeed won.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hit-Girl update 4

Thursday I did a flurry of work on the staff. I used the screw-joint from a broom to allow it to separate. The pvc pipe I had around the house. I cut it to length and epoxied the screw-joint inside. I added the foam swords to the other ends and wrapped the entire in hockey tape for grip. The tip of the pvc that goes inside the join was colored with a sharpie.

A thinner pvc was used for the belt tubes. I had to dash out and get smaller diameter foam balls for the ends. These were hot glued to the ends and then painted pink. I though about just painting the pvc tubes but ended up using the contact cement to wrap them in vinyl. I didn't manage to finish them for the weekend.
I finished the other two belt pouches, and finished the belt and drew the design on the belt buckle with a sharpie.

The skirt that was a closer style was much too small to use with the pants. Instead we used the larger, more-inaccurately-styled skirt. It did not need to be dyed though.
I finished sewing the eyeholes for the mask, and sewed up a bow tie for D3 out of felt. I also added the tassel to his fez. I sewed the buttons to his pants for his suspenders.

Both costumes still have some work we can do on them, but both are also basically close enough that if we don't do anything else on them, they can be called finished.

Of course I will try to continue to add to them.
I'm going to try to add a tactical vest to the Hit-Girl costume and scratch build a newer model sonic screwdriver.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hit-Girl update 3

Tuesday had been spent popping in and getting more supplies. I hit the Walmart on Ellice looking for a shorter wig, but didn't find one. I did get some snaps and hockey tape.
I popped in to the Spirit Halloween but was unable to find a wig or suitable gloves. They did have a nice fez for only $5 but I refrained from buying it.
Popping in to Value Village did result in more Viewmasters, plus a nice short wig and some passable gloves.
I was able to pick up some black and some purple broadcloth at my new fabric place.

That evening, G and I were at my folks getting the collar finished on the jacket. It was a slight modification to the pattern so it caused my mom some anxiety. Due to the thickness of the layers of vinyl, it had to be sewn on my dad's machine.

This morning I had a message on the machine from my dad. They had finished the jacket and cape and I went over in the afternoon and we worked out the mask. I just have to finish the eyeholes.

On the way there I popped in to Dollarama and picked up some passable kneepads, a small flashlight, and contact and epoxy glues.

I cut the vinyl for the belt and made two pouches and started two others. They are coming out very nice.

Tomorrow we have to check the skirt and dye the smaller one if it fits over the pants. I have to finish the belt, do some belt tubes, and cut the pvc for the staff. I have to assemble and glue the staff and wrap it in the hockey tape. I have to finish the mask, and see what other weapons we can find.
I'm a bit behind on the staff, but on track with everything else.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hit-Girl update 2

A head's up, the Walmarts up here finally have folded away their fabric departments. They had done this in the states a few years ago but they still had fabric up until a few weeks ago up here in Canada. Luckily we had found a new fabric place but they were always a great source of cheap patterns.

When we were at Shan's folks on the weekend, I cut out the pattern pieces to get them ready for my mom to sew. So that was three hours saved today in the sewing.

We got the pants sewed and most of the jacket put together. It's looking really nice at this point. There were a few issues with sewing the thickness of the vinyl, and the modification to the collar but it seems to be coming together nicely. We will need to finish up tomorrow night.
I even managed to sew together a passable fez on my second attempt. My first attempt is now proudly owned by my niece.

I still have to get some broadcloth for the cape and mask, some snaps for the collar/cape and pouches, as well as get a shorter wig. That's my goal for tomorrow.
I'd also like to start the pouches and do more work on the staff.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hit-Girl costume - status update

I'm woefully behind where I should be for this one. The main problem being that, even though we are three weeks out from Halloween, we also have events next weekend and the weekend afterward. With Thanksgiving being this weekend, it could be tight. I am off next week so I can devote some solid time to finishing this.

I popped into Dollarama last night and picked up some more supplies. I bought some black rubber gloves (not accurate but will do in a pinch), two foam sword (for staff), a broom (for staff), some styrofoam balls (possibly for belt tubes), some pink paint (for belt tubes), and some tiny plastic skull (unrelated to this costume).
I also found some bits that I can use to make a sonic screwdriver, if it comes to it.

We need to pop into Walmart tonight and get some black and purple broadcloth (for cape and mask), and maybe some thread. I'll try to pick up another wig as well. I had bought the longer one figuring I could use it to make it thicker but will try to get the smaller one so that I don't have to try to cut it. I can always use the longer one to upgrade it if I have time.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Books read 2010 - July to Sept

Codex Space Wolf (5th Edition) by Phil Kelly
Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones
Codex Craftworld Eldar (3rd Edition) by Gavin Thorpe with Jervis Johnson & Andy Chambers
Codex Dark Angels (3rd Edition) by Jervis Johnson
Codex Assassins (3rd Edition) by Gavin Thorpe
Canada Moves West: an Omnibus by Pierre Berton
Hacker Culture by Douglas Thomas

A War of Gifts – An Ender Story by Orson Scott Card
Going Downtown: a history of Winnipeg’s Portage Avenue by Russ Gourluck
Treasure Box by Orson Scott Card
Codex Space Marines (3rd edition) by Andy Chambers, Jervis Johnson & Gavin Thorpe
Masters of Deception – the Gang that Ruled Cyberspace by Michelle Slatalla and Joshua Quittner
The Official Battlestar Galactica Scrapbook by James Neyland
Half-Minute Horrors edited by Susan Rich
Mafiaboy: how I cracked the Internet and why it’s still broken by Michael Calce with Craig Silverman
The Simpsons – An Uncensored, Unauthorized History by John Ortved

Codex Catachans (3rd Edition) by Jervis Johnson, Andy Chambers & Gavin Thorpe
Codex Eldar (3rd Edition) by Gavin Thorpe
The All Star Companion edited by Roy Thomas
Codex Dark Angels (3rd Edition) 2nd Edition by Jervis Johnson
Codex Imperial Guard (3rd Edition) by Jervis Johnson and Gavin Thorpe
Codex Dark Eldar (3rd Edition) by Jervis Johnson & Gavin Thorpe
Codex Balck Templars (4th Edition) by Graham McNeill
The All Star Companion volume two edited by Roy Thomas
Star Wars the Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia by DK

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Road trip - Russell and Gladstone

While coming back from Yorkton back in June we also stopped at Russell and got a picture with Arthur the bull. Notice the gold medal around his neck to celebrate Jon Montgomery's Gold win in the Skeleton in the 2010 Olympics.

The kids discover that Arthur is definately a bull - not a cow.

We also pulled over in Gladstone and got a picture take with 'Happy Rock'.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Buying in bits

I’m loving the ability to buy bits of figures. It’s easy and cheap to buy from GC-Minis. But I’ve gotten some models cheaper by buying in bits. It’s more work to keep at it trying to win all the pieces but, with a few sets, I don’t need all the bits for multiple models.

A Deff Dread from GC-Minis is the low price of $41.65 compared to the regular price of $59.50 from GW. My first one in bits cost me $21.53. My second one was $17.87. With another $11.14 in bits and the extra pieces from the other two, I can build a third.

My Stompa cost me $54.03 and my Battlewagon was $25.54 (compared to $52.15 at GC-Minis).

An Ork Truck from GC-Minis would be $27.65 and regularly $39.50 from GW. My first truck was $21.22, my second one was $15.06, and the third only $12.83.

Even if you factor in the exchange rate (GC-Minis are in Canadian and the bits are in US) and the shipping, that’s still some crazy good savings. It means I can buy more stuff sooner.

Then it’s just a matter of putting it together and painting it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Missing – music player – notes

I’d been mentioning that it would seem to be a simple program to create music on your computer. Simple enough to include as a free program – like solitaire, or mine sweeper. The old Apple IIs had one tone – that you could modify the duration and frequency of – and that was over 25 years ago. There should be a simple program to allow you to choose notes and let you play simple tunes. I’m not talking ‘ode to joy’ or anything, but you should be able to make a simple ‘jingle bells’ or something.

Maybe there’s one in there somewhere, but I haven’t found it yet.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Figure (non)Painting Total

While I got a fair amount of bits in the mail, they didn't complete many models. I have a bunch en route though. I didn't finish painting anything, of course. Since I'm ramping up to pre-Halloween mode, I may not find time to work next month either. But I do have two separate weeks off. If I can finish the costumes, I may be able to squeeze in some time to paint a bit.

Sept figures bought – 1, figures painted – 0

40K Ork Trukk (in bits) - 1

Running total 2010 – figures bought 90, figures painted 0

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New fabric store

We did some fabric shopping last night. We popped into Marshall / Northwest Fabrics at 575 Berry St. I have found my new fabric place! When Fanny’s Fabrics closed years ago, I have had to make due with the meager selection at Walmart and Fabricland.

I hate Fabricland. Not only are the aisles tight and the selection poor, but they stand their fabrics up to display – which makes them very tippy. Plus they change out their fabrics seasonally - which makes it hard to spandex or fleece year-round.

Marshall had a nice big selection, with good signage. They have a policy of minimum cut of 1 meter – which is a bit annoying when you only need a bit of material – but all-in-all I was quite pleased. Plus, they are open late on Wednesdays and Thursdays - until 8pm (Monday - Tuesday and Friday - Saturday until 6pm).

We bought 3 ½ meters of purple vinyl (for costume), 1 meter of a pink vinyl (for pouches), 1 meter of red felt (for fez). We also bought some zippers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Langenburg - Goliath

While on our road trip to Saskatchewan, we pulled over in Langenburg to take a ride on the Goliath. We had seen it on the way down and decided to stop in on the way back.

You can get some good height on this swing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Skate or Die!

Some of the video games from my youth were 720 and Marble Madness. "Skate or die"! Considering that skateboarding has become even more common than back then, you would think it would resurface. Perhaps the Tony Hawk skate games have replaced it – I haven’t tried it so I don’t know how it compares to 720.

I did find myself recently thinking about Marble Madness and why no-one has made a version of it recently. Then, in Dollarama, for $2 we found a copy of Hamster Ball by Brighter Minds Media. It is very similar in look and play to what I remember from Marble Madness. Of course, I’m using my Trackman Marble on my computer so it plays quite well.

Now to find a Missile Command game.

Friday, September 24, 2010


My mom brought over the old view-masters we used to have when we young. Since they have been fair game for the kids for the last two decades, they are in somewhat rough shape. They are the old red and white square models.

We had mentioned that Shan liked the old travelogue reels. We didn’t have any of those but we had a bunch of the old cartoon ones. My uncle Pete used to have one of the brown viewer and he had a bunch of the travelogues. We used to look at them when we would visit as kids.

I’m going to have to see if I can fix them. Besides the old-school 3D memories involved, they are also useful as props. A red model goes with the Tick props. It would look nice sitting next to a little wooden boy. I have to find out which reel he uses.

I also picked up a newer rounder model at Value Village. The kids can use it for now – but I’ll probably end up using it for the eyes on a Joe Crow from Mystery Science Theatre.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Gee’s Hit-Girl costume is coming together. We got a belt and a wig to use. We found a pattern for the pants and jacket and found dye. We still need to find fabric for the pants and jacket, find gloves, dye the skirt, make a mask, cape, and weapons. Time is getting close but I still feel we are in a good spot.

We had been toying with plans for a family costume for Valleycon but didn’t get around to working on them. Unless everything falls into place over the next few weeks, we will have to put them off until next year.

D3 has decided to be the new Doctor. We’ve got a close suit jacket and found suspenders. We need pants, shirt, bow tie, a fez (Fezes are cool!), and maybe a sonic screwdriver. He is sure that none of his friends watch the show, but at least he decided. He had been thinking of wearing one of the family costumes but, since that probably won't happen, he'll go as the Doctor.

Unless, of course, they change their minds at the last minute. Gee is already torn between being the Hitgirl costume we are working on, or a cowgirl, or maybe a vampire. Part of the reason I delay getting started on these if because they have a tendency to change their minds at the last minute.

Friday, September 17, 2010

dejarik - pieces acquired

Dejarik is the name of the holo-chess played on the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars (New Hope). With their last set of miniature figures, before dropping the license, Wizards of the Coast put out the figures in their final set - Masters of the Force.

I picked up a set of the figures. They are a nice size and weight. I don't know if I'll ever get around to making a Dejarik set, but at least I have the option now that I have the figures. With a set of fan-made rules online, it may be worth a try.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Road Trip - Saskatchewan

This summer we did a bunch of travelling starting with a trip to Yorkton Saskatchewan. Since we haven’t really had any road trip pictures with the kids, we decided to take a few shots at some of the big statues and tourist attractions.
This is the Welcome to Saskatchewan sign at the border.

From the other side.

This is the Welcome to Manitoba. Considering we’re known as ‘friendly’ Manitoba, you would think they would make it easier to get closer to the sign.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ork Trukk instructions lie!

The one problem with picking up bits online instead of buying the models is that I don’t get the instructions. This isn’t a problem with most of the models I’m getting - especially as I’m getting Ork stuff. Plus Games Workshop has the plans online for the Stompa, Battlewagon, and Deff Dredd. The one that isn’t online is the Ork Trukk instructions.

You would think that it should be fairly simple, but it’s actually a tricky little model. Luckily, I was able to get a scan of the instructions. However, it seems that the instructions lie about where the driver goes. In the instructions he is shown on the left (as here in Canada) and he fits on that side – but his control stick needs a bit of work to squeeze in. I’m more inclined to believe that he fits better on the right side (as in the UK) and will try him there on my next build.

This will determine which side I put him on for the third build.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Aug figure painting total

In August I worked away at collecting bits. I have a few partial models but was able to complete purchases of only two:
- 40K Ork Trukk (in bits)
- 40K Ork Deff Dredd (in bits)

Aug figures bought – 2, figures painted – 0

The paint is handy, on the coffee table. We started painting some of the Space Wolf squad and Dreadnought but didn't follow through to completion. I did finally base the cowboy figures but need to touch up a few spots and paint the guns. I also cleaned and started assembly of the Trukks and Dreads.

Running total 2010 – figures bought 89, figures painted 0

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lung butter - excuses

So, even though it looked like painting might ensue at the end of August, it didn't really happen. In lieu of excuses, let me explain a few new phrases:

Lung butter - a thick phlegm - usually a light yellow or green color.

Throwing up down to the orange juice layer - after all the food has been regurgitated and the (usually) orange bile is expelled.

Fuzzy headed / woozy headed - a light-headed, disoriented feeling. Often noticed when standing up quickly or after bending over to do something.

Brain cloud (made with a back-to-front hand motion over the head) - a general malaise. Referenced to the movie Joe VS the Volcano where it refers to a disease where the person feels perfectly fine up until they die.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pics followed

I've been going back in and updating some of the 'pics to follow' labeled posts with the pictures. I also went through all the posts that contained pictures and labeled them as such.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Laurentien 60 pack - colors

For those who wondered, and I was one of them, here is the list of colors in the Laurentien 60 pack.
It starts with the colors familiar to us from the 12 pack:
1 - Deep Yellow
2 - Orange
3 - Poppy Red
4 - Cerise
5 - Purple
6 - Navy Blue
7 - Peacock Blue
8 - Emerald Green
9 - Deep Green
10 - Brown
11 - Chestnut
12 - Black

It continues on with the rest of the colors from the 24 pack (albeit a few renamed to more PC-names):
13 - Ultramarine
14 - Soft Peach
15 - Green
16 - French Green
17 - Smoke Grey
18 - Blush Pink
19 - Cherry Red
20 - Arizona Topaz
21 - Roan Red
22 - Sky Magenta
23 - Cotton White
24 - Lemon Yellow

It then continues on with the rest:
25 - True Blue
27 - True Green
28 - Scarlet Red
29 - Lavender
30 - Light Orange
31 - Crimson
32 - Cardinal Red
33 - Tangerine
36 - Raspberry
37 - Grape-violet
38 - Aqua
39 - Ocean Blue
40 - Blue
41 - Blueberry
42 - Celery
43 - Peacock Green
45 - Cinnamon
46 - Tuscan Red
47 - Pastel Green
48 - Dark Brown
49 - Sienna
50 - Light Yellow
52 - Mandarine
53 - Blue-Grey
54 - Dark Grey
55 - Champagne
56 - Azure
57 - Pine Green
58 - Turquoise
59 - True Pink

Then the six metallic colors:
61 - Metallic Rose
62 - Metallic Gold
66 - Metallic Green
67 - Metallic Blue
69 - Metallic Purple
72 - Metallic Silver

I'm not sure what happened to color 26 - which used to be in the old 30 pack. I don't know what it was or why it didn't make the cut for the 60 pack. I am also not sure about any of the other numbers that are skipped over in this set.

Friday, August 27, 2010

poppy red, navy blue, chestnut, lemon yellow

Even after all these years I still remember some of the numbers and colors from the Laurentien pencil crayon box.
3 - Poppy Red
6 - Navy Blue
12 - Black
25 - True Blue

When we saw the ads, we made sure to get two boxes of the 60 packs from Walmart. At $8 each that's a great value for a pack of great memories. The Laurentien packs were always the better pencil crayons - not that I didn't long for the Prismacolors. I finally picked up a set of Prismacolors a few years ago and they are in my pencil box with my sketchbook to this day. But the Laurentiens bring back loads of memories.

I remember not having a Smoke Grey until grade 6 as it came in the 24 pack and not the 12 pack - which meant that I had to color Batman's uniform with a light touch on the Black pencil or a regular pencil. I remember the first time I used an actual Grey pencil and the difference it made. I remember the Poppy Red as being the smallest pencil in my sets, with the Navy Blue close behind.

We went into Walmart and bought two packs. It wasn't until we got home that we saw that they were the 60 packs of Crayolas at $12 instead of the 60 packs of Laurentiens at $8. Even though both my wife and I handled them, our memories overlaid the reality and we saw Laurentiens.
So we had to return them and buy two packs of actual Laurentiens. We also picked up a box of the Crayola 60 pack at Staples for $6 for the kids.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

shopping for school supplies - denied

Much to our chagrin the school the kids go to no longer requires us to buy school supplies. They just want us to send money and they will buy the supplies needed. This vexes Shan as she feels that she can get the supplies cheaper and that we can re-use supplies from previous years.

Both of us have fond memories in buying supplies for school. I recall getting the plaid pencil cases with the edging that would only last a year. I recall the little geometry sets of which we only really used the protractor and the compass - officially. I recall the pencil crayon sets – 24 packs of happiness. I recall the possibilities inherent in a pack of three-hole paper.

Even to this day, whenever I see them on sale, I want to buy three-hole paper. Never mind that, when we married and merged our belongings, I had almost a dozen packages of three-hole paper remaining sealed from a decade prior.

Monday, August 16, 2010

summer break - done

As expected, I didn’t really get everything accomplished on my week off.
I did clear down a bit of the ‘mess’ in the kitchen. I finally returned some empties - I had an empty twelve in the shed and another twelve in the kitchen. I went through a bunch of magazines that Shan had read the week before.

We popped into a Value Village and found a skirt and boots for Gee's costume. I need to dye the skirt but these were two of the big components that I was concerned about.

Then on the weekend, I found my square and cut a bunch of the bases for the western figures and glued the ones I was working on to the bases.

I started to assemble my Deff Dread bits. I don’t have all of the bits to complete one yet but got the torso assembled.

My son pulled out his figures and paints so I started to repaint his Space Wolves.
We even managed to finally watch 24 (2008-2009) off the tapes so now we can start watching 24 off of the DVR. We also finally watched Torchwood: Children of Earth.

I took some pictures with the camera, so will be able to update some of the pictures-to-follow labeled posts shortly.

All-in-all, I’m declaring it a productive week.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

figure (non)painting total - July

In July I really got into buying 40k bits online. Not all have shown up yet though.
I did manage to get:
40K Tau stealth XV25 (in bits) - 3
40K Drop Pod (in bits) - 1

Since I still haven't found my metal t-square to cut the bases, I haven't painted anything. With the new paint from GW, the paint from Dollarama, and next week off I hope to finally add something to the painted column. We'll see how the weather and what Shan has planned for me to do.

July figures bought – 4, figures painted – 0

Running total 2010 – figures bought 87, figures painted 0

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Whitewash City

After admiring it for quite some time, I finally ordered the Whitewash City from HotzArtWorks. I had downloaded the free sample saloon before and finally ordered the Pioneer (starter) set. The value on this is unbelievably good. For $15.99 you can get it sent as PDFs by email or mailed on CD. It included a Bank, Sheriff’s Office & Jail, Saloon, two hotels, and 6 other buildings. With the extra free saloon this is more than enough to flesh out a small town.

He has many other buildings on his site which enables you to build quite a substantial western town. The files include both the colored and black and white versions of the buildings so you can reuse the same buildings without being as noticeable.

They are scaled to 30mm (1/60) so are a bit big for 1/75 scale plastic figures but are perfect for most 25mm figures. I’m looking to upsize them to 1/35 to be able to use with the cowboy figures I’ve been working at painting.

Monday, July 26, 2010

summer movies

Knight and Day - Finally, a fun movie from Tom Cruise like he used to make. This one has all the charm and fun that we used to expect from him. The story held together enough and the glossing over parts worked very well. Cameron Diaz holds her own in this one. We certainly recommend it as a fun action film. Tom is still 'the guy' in this one.

Predators brought back a lot of the feelings of the first Predator movie. You don’t see the Predators much in this sequel but it doesn’t suffer because of it. Having just seen the Brothers Bloom, we were a bit unsure of Adrian Brody as a callous action hero but he managed to pull it off quite well. The action holds up and the many targeted characters held up enough for an action film. Good fun all around.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice tied in to the part from the Fantasia clip and rolled in with Merlin vs Morgana Le Fey. Nic Cage is suitably wacky and Jay Baruchel came across as a believably dubious apprentice. The blend of physics and sorcery was a nice touch – I loved the Faraday cage and Telsa coil.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cultural Shift - TVs

I grew up in the seventies and eighties. Even then there had been a large cultural shift in technology. Since then there has been another shift.

By then everybody had a color television set. Some people still had a black and white TV as an extra TV but the main set was color. A lot of people had a second TV – some even had mini-portable TVs – with a tiny 1”-3” screen. A few people had old projection TVs - but they were bulky and not very good quality.
Now some people don't even have a TV - they have a media center monitor which doubles as their computer screen. They can also watch video on a portable device with a great picture. Large TVs now take up a lot less room and have a great picture.

When a TV program was on you either had to watch it then or wait for it to play again in reruns during the summer. Then VCRs came out and you were able to tape a program to watch again later. Originally the tapes were very expensive and you had to erase them to use again. Recorded programs (movies, etc) were crazy expensive - $100 a tape when they came out. These prices soon dropped to about $30 a tape.
Now you can download programs and watch what you want, when you want. PVRs allow you to record programs and watch and delete shows at your whim. DVDs are out for about $25 when they first come out - but quickly drop in price until they hit the $5 bins. Many TV series have been released on to DVD, and quickly too - so you can catch any shows that you missed.

Video cameras came out - huge at first (you had to carry the camera and a VCR) and then more portable. This allowed you to record other things and make your own movies. This was much more accessible than the old Super 8 film cameras that were out before – you could see things right away instead of having to send in the film to get processed.
Now most cameras and even cell phones will record video. Camcorders have come down in size and price. Instead of fussing with dubbing tapes, most are able to connect to a DVD recorder or computer and copy onto DVDs. Some cameras even record directly on to digital media – SD cards or mini-discs.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We are now an army!

With the bits I have been getting, and the figures I already have, I think I will work at making an Ork army for 40K. While I do have enough marines to field and almost enough Tyranids, I also have a lot of Orks, especially with the Assault on Black Reach set. They also have the bonus of being Orks – which means I can scratch build some and work on my painting skills.

The Tau and the Necrons both intrigue me – but since I don’t have a base of those figures to start the outlay would be a bit steep to start a new army.
The Space Wolves are certainly high on my list and have the bonus of working with my son’s army. My Dead Heads are fine to field, but are somewhere in my room.
My Tyranids are fine to field but need a few upgrades – and at that point I have to see if I want to change my color scheme.

While I have a lot of Orks buried in my room with my other figures, I have a lot of the new ones on hand too. With the bits I've been getting, I can start to put together a coherent force.
I'm digging through the Ork codex to get point values for the figures I have and to see what to build towards.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Painting with liquid gold

I popped by the local Games Workshop on Sunday. Shan came with me so I pre-warned her about the ‘red shirts’. For those of you who haven’t encountered one of these yet, they are a hyper-enthusiastic sales staff that most GW stores have to push product. Luckily, he wasn’t in – but Shan still found the regular manager pretty pushy.

I was in to pick up some paints for D3’s Space Wolves. I got a Fenris Grey Foundation paint, Boltgun metallic, Space Wolf Grey, and the Asurmen Blue ink. I was looking for Space Wolf Blue Grey but they no longer sell it.
These should let me see how the new foundation paints work and get a good base of the colors so that I can look for cheaper equivalents. The three paints and inks cost about twenty dollars. However, these should be the main one I need to paint up his figures. I finally shook out a Great Company from him and a design for the other shoulders squad markings, so it’s all just a matter of me actually painting them.

Friday, July 9, 2010

why no poets?

We cover poetry and verse in school. We learn rhyme and meter, Limericks, Haikus, and endless variations of ‘Roses are Red.’ Most of us lose all interest and appreciation in it soon after. Sure, you have some angst-ridden teens who churn out reams of doggerel. But most of us have their poetry and verse mocked, beaten, or ridiculed out of us fairly early.

Some do carry on with it. Either in writing song lyrics, composing raps, or even beat poetry. These ones at least get shared. Most poetry that people write seems to be kept private. It might be due to the personal nature of the work or, more likely, to avoid the ridicule of the masses. Blogs and such should allow for more of this to be shared.

I’m not a huge poetry fan but I do appreciate a fine turn of phrase. I like comedy and read voraciously. In blogging, I am able to try and string words together in clever ways and have to keep up with trying to express my thoughts in a somewhat-coherent way.

On Canada Day, I saw a clip of ‘We Are More’ from the Olympics opening ceremonies. This is what inspired me to find a transcript and posted it here. I had to add punctuation though. In looking for it, I came across a bunch of Shane Koyczan’s other works on youtube and became entranced again by the spoken word.

I’m not about to run out and start writing a bunch of poetry. I’m too fond of rhyming to do that. But I may post up the occasional verse that I come across from time to time

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Books read 2010 - Apr - June

Codex Space Marines (5th Edition) by Matthew Ward
Schoolgirl Milky Crisis: Adventures in the Anime and Magna Trade by Jonathan Clements
The Making of King Kong: The official guide to the Motion Picture by Jenny Wake
Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
Codex Imperial Guard (5th Edition) by Robin Cruddace

Comic Book Design by Gary Spencer Millidge
The Alien Invasion Survival Handbook by W.H. Mumfrey
The Great Klondike Gold Rush by Pierre Berton
Codex Tyranid (5th Edition) by Robin Cruddace
Beginner’s Guide to Cake Decorating by Merehurst
The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Cake Decorating by Carol Deacon
Cake Art by The Culinary Institute of America
Jesse Ventura – The Story of the Wrestler they call “They Body” by Matt Hunter
Beaded Chain Mail Jewelry by Dylon Whyte
Codex Orks (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers
Codex Tyranid (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers
Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Williamham
Codex Imperial Guard (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Peter Haines, Andy Hoare, Phil Kelly, & Graham McNeill
Codex Tyranid (4th Edition) by Phil Kelly & Andy Chambers
Codex Tau (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Pete Haines, & Graham McNeill
Codex Tau Empire (4th Edition) by Andy Hoare
Codex Necrons (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Pete Haines, Graham McNeill, Phil Kelly, & Andy Hoare
Codex Eye of Terror (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Peter Haines, Andy Hoare, Phil Kelly, & Graham McNeill

Codex Daemonhunters (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Phil Kelly, & Graham McNeill
Matchless: a Christmas Story by Gregory Maguire
The Reel Truth: Everything you didn’t know you need to know about making an independent film by Reed Martin
Do I Stand Alone? Going to the Mat Against Political Pawns and Media Jackals by Jesse Ventura with Julie Mooney
Codex Orks (4th Edition) by Phil Kelly
Codex Space Marines (3rd Edition) by Jervis Johnson
Codex Space Marines (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Pete Haines, Andy Hoare, Phil Kelly, & Graham McNeill
Codex Battlezone: Cityfight (3rd Edition) by Andy Chambers, Pete Haines, and Jervis Johnson
Link It! : Colorful chain mail jewelry with rubber o-rings by Susan C Thomas
Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie by Mark Millar
The Skate Boarding Field Manual by Ryan Stutt
Iron Man: The Ultimate Guide to the Armored Super Hero by Matthew K Manning

Friday, July 2, 2010

Figure Paint Total - June - more excuses

In June I bought more bits but the only full figure I got was the remaining pieces to mostly complete the Ork Stompa. Being a crazy-busy month, I wasn’t able to finish any painting but did read a bunch of codices so I am psyched to get working on some of these.

40K Stompa (in bits)
June figures bought – 1, figures painted – 0
Running total 2010 – figures bought 83, figures painted 0

Now that the pool seems to be holding its own I will probably be able to start doing some work on this. No, seriously. The wife is pushing me to clean that corner of the kitchen so I’ll have to do something with it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canada Day - We Are More

We Are More
By Shane Koyczan

When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lake.

You might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada.

You might rattle off some celebrities -
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie,
might even mention that we've got a few
Barenaked Ladies
or that we make these crazy things
like zippers,
electric cars,
and washing machines.

When defining Canada,
it seems the world's anthem has been
'been there, done that'
and maybe that's where we used to be at.

It's true.
We've done and we've been,
we've seen
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks
but when defining Canada,
don't forget to mention that we have set sparks.

We are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away.
We do more than sit around and say 'eh?'
and yes,
we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines,
but we're more than just hockey and fishing lines
off the rocky coast of the Maritimes.

And some say what defines us
is something as simple as 'please' and 'thank you'.
And as for 'you're welcome',
well we say that too.

But we are more than genteel or civilized,
we are an idea in the process of being realized.
We are young.
We are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history.

We are an experiment going right for a change,
with influences that range from A to Zed,
and yes, we say 'Zed' instead of 'Zee'.

We are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy.
We dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow.
We do more than grow wheat and brew bear.
We are vineyards of good year after good year.
We reforest what we clear,
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing no that so many of us
have grown past what used to be.

We can stand here today
filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like 'someday';
'someday we'll be great',
'someday we'll be' this
or that.
Someday we'll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say 'someday'.

We will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks,
more than backpacks and hiking trails,
we are hammers and nails - building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across.
We are the lost and found for all those
who might find themselves at a loss.

We are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others.
We are fathers, brothers, sisters, and mothers,
uncles and nephews, aunts and nieces.
We are cousins.
We are found missing puzzle pieces.
We are families with room at the table for newcomers.

We are more than summers and winters.
More than on and off seasons,
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or so.
We live to get past what we go through
and learn who we are.
We are students;
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why.
We don't have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more.
We don't all know what it is in life we're looking for
so keep exploring.

Go far and wide
or go inside but go deep.
Go deep,
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you've been through hell and high water
and you went deep.

Keep exploring,
because we are more
than a laudry list of things to do and places to see.
We are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate.
We are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait.
We are the first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes,
a country that is all the ways you choose to live,
a land that can give you variety
because we are choice.

We are millions upon millions of voices shouting
'Keep exploring . . . we are more.'
We are the surprise the world has in store for you
it's true.
Canada is the 'what' in 'what's new?'
so don't say 'been there - done that'
unless you've sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun.
Don't say you've been there done that
unless you've been here doing it.

Let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old.
Let us be the story told to your friends
and when the story ends
leave chapters for the next time you'll come back.
Next time pack for all the things
you didn't pack for the first time
but don't let your luggage define your travels.

Each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry.
We are the True North
Strong and Free
and what's more
is that we didn't just say it,
we made it be.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

St John's 100th Reunion

The St. John’s Reunion was good. It was great to walk around the school again. A bit has changed but the hallways still seemed familiar. The library has been gutted – less books but more computers. We went to the Decade rooms – the fifties was too packed to even enter. No one was in the nineties and only two people were in the 2000s. The eighties had a few – but no one from my year. My sister came in as well for the weekend.

The North-End social on the Saturday was good – it was at the Tijuana Yacht Club so the set up wasn’t as conducive as a regular social but they did bring out the KUB bread, cold cuts, and cheese. Burton Cummings was there near us - people kept swarming up to him for pictures. We didn't want to bother him though.

I didn’t make it to the Gala Dinner – I couldn’t justify the cost not knowing how many of us would be there. My sister went – she got a nice picture with Monty Hall. She said that Burton Cummings played a nice long set.

We went to the Sunday events. I took Shan and G to the pancake breakfast and then they left my sister and I there for the rest of the day. We watched the show on the North End memories by Russ Gourluck based on his book - The Mosaic Village: A History of Winnipeg's North End. I caught the slide show – an hour long and the three minutes dedicated to the eighties only had pictures from the 75th reunion that occurred in 1985.
The photo sessions were a bit of a bust. Only seven of us from our year showed up and two didn’t stay around for the picture. I did get to see my president, Catherine Anderson, but she was one of those who didn’t hang around so I don’t have a picture of us – president and vice-president.
The teachers-in-the-tent was neat. I ran into a few teachers – some of whom even pretended to remember us after a quarter-century. I got to talk with a few teachers and even got some pictures with a few.

All-in-all, not as much fun as I had hoped. I was certainly expecting a few more familiar faces. I’m looking forward to the 125th in 2035 though. Since the turn out to this was so apathetic, we probably won’t have our 25th next year.