Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cousins heading back home

As August draws to a close, William's cousins return to Toronto. We shared a last burger at Five Guys before they needed to rush to the airport.
This afternoon I struggled without success to find Adobe Encore within the Adobe Creative Cloud. It seemed to indicate that it was part of Premiere but I could not find it. I finally just reloaded Encore from CS3 and hope that this will suffice until I find it. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Wasp sting in kitchen during early birthday for George

Kristen removing stinger from George's nose
 While Margaret's brother barbecued and I was cooking scallops in the kitchen, a bunch of wasps got riled up and went on a stinging rampage. I was surprised by a sharp sting on the back of my arm.
wasp bite
Margaret saw it and maneuvered it into the folds of my shirt which she then took outside to get rid of. Unfortunately, it followed her back in and stung her in the hand (she is swelling like crazy). George got a couple stings including one on his nose. The cake was great.
Kiki and black forest cake

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Discovering gangsters, Jon Tewksbury, and satanic chocolate in Moose Jaw

We drove to Moose Jaw for an afternoon of Tai Food (at Nit's of course) and touring the gangster tunnels (we have seen the Chinese ones repeatedly but not the gangsters since shorty after they opened in the late 90s. Ran into Jon Tewksbury and wife Dana celebrating their anniversary at Nit's. Congrats to you both. We got gelato and fudge on Main Street (the gelato seems a bit too ice-cream-like for $3.52 per scoop) but the fudge was good so I bought $6.66 worth of turtle and chocolate/orange. 

William, Katherine, Kristin

Jon Tewksbury and Dana Lesiuk
666 cents worth of fudge, the candy of the beast

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back to work (for a day) and the Milky Way (real and Lego)

Even though I do put a bit of time each day into work, course planning, research, etc, I've actually taken most of August off and have been on vacation. I had to take today off from vacation, spending the morning getting some films off to a festival and the afternoon at the office for a meeting and straightening out some course details. Mark reminded me that I agreed to oversee the student festival students this fall, a commitment that had slipped my mind entirely.
Margaret took the kids to the pool then picked me up at 4:30 and we went to the Milky Way (the girls think they've never been there before, although it is very likely we've taken them but they've forgotten.
Milky Way Lego from Moose Jaw Lego exhibit, July 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Took the kids to Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" after lunch at the Caraway restaurant

Following lunch at the amazing new restaurant The Caraway Bistro on Broad street (William, pictured below, is trying a Korma lamb dish), 
Margaret, William, his cousins, and I went to the matinee of Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine today. I think I was a bit conscious of intensity of the film and how the 11, 12, and 13 year olds would react to it. The last (and only) Woody Allen film the girls had seen was two years ago when I took them to "Midnight in Paris", which I'd seen before and knew the overall lightness of. William has seen a broader range of films, including about a dozen Allen films, and I knew he would be ready for anything. They seem to have enjoyed it and afterwards repeated Margaret's assessment that the performances were excellent. This avoids talking about the major themes of the films including the inability to adjust to changes in lifestyle, something they might be able to identify with although I'm not sure they would immediately be aware of the comparison. I liked the film a lot although I found it quite frightening, I know that I would be no better at putting my life back together if I lost as much as the Cate Blanchett character lost. 
Anyway, the discussion of the movie was derailed by the shock of walking back outside into 30+ degree heat. We stood around a while and watched a very good bunker singing and playing guitar in front of the the liqueur store. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Killer Bunnies

The kids, including William's cousins and his friend Rowan, played an all-afternoon mega-game of Killer Bunnies. I've never played it but decided that it would be a good idea for them to play just as kids, to have something they figure the rules out for themselves and have a shared kid-experience. It went well.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Art Market

We stopped in at the Sunday Art Market on 13th avenue for a few minutes this afternoon. The market is a relatively new thing and I'm not sure if it is working for me. There were about a dozen people set up at tables selling paintings or crafts but to me, the combination of the lighting and the venue, didn't inspire me to consider any purchases. The outside of the building (the Cathedral Community Centre) was done up in an interesting way though, with a fabric art piece (not sure who did it).

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sock puppets in Victoria Park, Edgar Wright's new film opens, and John Kennedy hosts fundraiser with "Big Lebowski"

As part of the Dunlop Friday art in the park program, William and I made this sock puppet. It had a hole in it so William had the idea of an eye stalk coming out from the hole so he and I sewed some loose pieces into this. After the park we went to opening day of Edgar Wright's "World's End" which was definitely worthwhile. Fast and fun dialogue, dynamic and stylish fimmaking, action and unpredictably twisted storytelling which mixed real emotions with absurdism. Great mix and thoroughly fun.
John Kennedy as "The Dude"
This evening we walked down to John Kennedy's house where he hosted a fundraiser around the theme of "The Big Lebowski". William hadn't seen it before (I guess it is rated R). Great time, great party. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

911 / black box phone application idea

What if there was a phone ap, perhaps built in to every phone, which turned your phone into a voice recorder as soon as you dialed 911? Perhaps even the recording would be uploaded to a server instead of stored on the phone. This would be like having a personal black box voice recorder like on a plane. The recording would start as soon as you dial so would give a document of what happened before the 911 operator answered and a back up of the call itself. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

City of Bones

creepy, but not from the movie
I took William and his cousins to "Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" for the opening afternoon screening. Kristin was very excited about it, having read it a couple of years ago although was afraid it would stray too far from the book. She was very pleased with the results. I felt that the movie was very well constructed visually with great cinematography and editing and effects. I liked the visual direction, it not only told the story well but also created a strong visual support to emotionally ground the story and characters. I even bought into the script for the first third of the film. However, the dialogue and acting grew increasingly weak, cliche, and corny as the film went on. The love triangle material in the middle was unbearable. I'm glad we went to the "UltraAVX" theatre so that I was able to throw my head back in frustration as the actors spewed out didactic emotional platitudes and exposition between action moments. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BBQ at mom's with chocolate mousse for William

Mom had all of Margaret's family over for a barbeque. Most of the time was spent in the back yard, bowling, eating, talking, etc. We set up the portable gazebo beside her permanent one. Gertrud brought over a double sized chocolate mousse for William, one of his favorites. It's been too hot for me to bake him anything at our house. The girls gave him the game "Killer Bunnies".

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

William's Birthday (12)

Today William turned 12. I happened to wake up at 6:30 and thought I'd read the paper for a while before perhaps getting another few minutes shut eye, but 15 minutes later he also arose and came downstairs in a dress shirt and grey sweater (his new dream outfit for some reason) so I started making waffles (they turned out perfectly). His cousins came over after 9. I ran a number of errands including finding William a new computer headset with microphone and taking Kristen to the Dunlop to see the red piano. Of course William went for his free cone at Dessarts and got his picture taken with the crown (it seems like not long ago that William refused all head-wear, especially still paper stuff). The kids played on the Wii until it was time to go to the park for the Living Pictures show hosted by the Dunlop. Veronica and her girls were able to join up with us there. Unfortunately they are busy tonight and are leaving town tomorrow morning so this will be the only visit we can have. We dined at the Mercury where Paul and George joined us. The day concluded with a three hour Munchkin game. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Filling the gap...

I think I've said this before, but I think I have been loosing my memory. This hasn't worried me much because I have my camera and blog to fill in the gaps. Of course this is flawed, but whose memory isn't flawed? I'm writing this blog entry nine days after the posted date as I comb through photos and notes to try to see what I actually did this day. We arrived home from vacation the night before and I stayed up late doing loads of laundry. George went to work but I'm still on vacation so I'm pretty sure the girls came over because that just makes sense, but I have no photos. When looking through photos I was reminded on one day during the trip when I insisted that William re-learn cribbage. I play standard rules, even though his cousins have been playing some unofficial alternate rules with more cards and more random cards in the crib which leads to more points per hand and a greater level of chance. Anyway, William beat me by one point, certainly the closest game I've had in many years. On the last hand, it was his crib so I got to count first. I needed five points to win and my had had only four so I needed to peg only one point. I am quite good at pegging but miraculously he held me back from pegging. It was quite exciting. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Vacation to mountains of Alberta part 10 wifi and Gainer the Gopher

We cleaned house and headed home today, meeting up with George in Medicine Hat where I used the wifi in the A&W to connect to the internet for the first time in a week. We got a call from George with an urgent plea to stop and take a photo of the Parkbeg home of Gainer the Gopher sign. There were two but we thought this was was the less hideous. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Vacation to mountains of Alberta part 9

George Bessai took the girls to the rodeo in Pincher Creek today. We did a group photo at the dead tree which the community feels represents endurance to the area (and has thus been reset using deep set rebar). Margaret, William and I relaxed until mid-afternoon and then saw some of the most prominent local sites including the ruins of a mining company and Frank's Slide.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Vacation to mountains of Alberta part 8 High tea in Waterton

 We drove into Waterton (about an hour) and had high tea in their fancy old hotel. The view was great, but almost too good because dozens of times throughout the event, strangers would walk up to the roped off section and take pictures of the scene just beyond us (rather distracting). We also didn't feel quite right not having proper clothes on hand to dress for tea, but the establishment seemed accustomed to this scenario so we felt very welcome.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Vacation to mountains of Alberta part 7 - fantastic ice cream

George took the girls to another museum. We relaxed for much of the day then headed out for ice cream to a really good place in Bellevue near Frank's Slide. I had a soft serve orange ice cream, which is always excellent as it tastes like a creamcycle but without the nasty icy coating. Back at the cabin, William shot some horse shoes and we had a great fire that night (one of many during the trip) where Kristin made brown sugar and chocolate apples in the embers.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vacation to mountains of Alberta part 6 - Mexican restaurant at Frank's Slide

We spent much of the day at a mountain lake. The girls had a great time kayaking around. I stuck to the shore with William and read. We stopped near Frank's Slide on the way home and almost ate at a pub but then popped into the Bluebird, a restaurant built inside an old church, where a fantastic Mexican chef created wonderful (although pricey) dinner for us all. I had the mole' and Katherine ate the giant steak (winning a bet with the waiter and getting her pop for free). 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Vacation to mountains of Alberta part 5 - The Coal Mine

Today we ventured to an old coal mine which has tours of the first 300 meters of shaft. You wear modern helmets but with lights powered by early liquid cel batteries. The tour was quite interesting but I wondered why, if the coal was so close to the surface as they attested, and the act of shaft mining was so treacherous, why they didn't open-pit mine? The tour guide did not know (and seem to have never wondered). 

 After the mine we went to a school converted to a museum. There were deer living outside the window. Many of the displays allowed for a small degree of interaction. such as the phone controls.

Me fixed it.