Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Margaret Essex

I was very sad to hear this news from Lindsay this morning...

ESSEX, Margaret Linda Peacefully at Hospice Renfrew on Sunday morning, September 27th, 2009 in her 63 rd year. Very loved sister of Cathy Brennan (Mickey) of Arnprior. Cherished aunt of Amy Foley and very proud great-aunt of her ""little man"", Quinn Foley. Predeceased by her parents, Lionel and Babs Essex. Margaret will be sadly missed by her Renfrew Community Living family which consisted of very special ladies: Cyndi, Kim and Lori; her much loved worker, Ruth Karras as well as Margaret's buddies, Kevin, Bobby, Jeff and many others.

Readers from Renfrew have probably seen Margaret around, and maybe even spoken to her at some point. She was super friendly and absolutely hilarious.

I used to 'hang out' with Margaret when I was a kid. She was in a bowling league with my parents for several years, and I occasionally went along to watch. Margaret would make fun of me for always eating boxes of Smarties at the bowling alley. She'd also frequently tell me "I know where you live" which was adorably creepy.

Mom says that my dad used to playfully tease her, and Margaret would always say "you're an awful man". So hilarious. Margaret will be missed.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The IPY Film Festival

My friend Kerri has been spending time aboard the CCGS Amundsen lately, which is a research icebreaker in the Canadian arctic. I stole this picture that she took while she was on board a few weeks ago. While she does arctic research, I go to films about it.

A few weeks ago, our former classmate Christina sent me an email inviting me to attend the premiere of the International Polar Year Film Festival at Library and Archives Canada. If you still don't know, I'm a geographer, so this piqued my interest.

For those who don't know, the International Polar Year 2007-2008 ran from March 2007-March 2009 [Ya, that's right. It was a two-year year]. The third of its kind, it was designed as a collaborative international effort for conducting polar research. As a predominate polar nation, Canada put $156 million into 52 research projects to further the exploration of the north. Naturally, this included documenting things in all ways. And hey, film is a way!

Darryl and I decided to attend tonight's event, which was the first of three days for the festival. I guess it was to be expected at a film festival based on science, but it was all a little awkward. There was no clear dress code, which was amusing. Flannel shirt or suit and tie? You decide! We 'signed in' with a girl who put two ticks on a piece of paper, beside one other loner tick, due to the fact that we were not 'registered' with official names in a list... oh stragglers.

There was about half an hour of odd speeches, by some random people, the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, and the makers of the feature film. The night started off with the TV commercials promoting the festival. Odd. Next up was 10 minutes of archival footage from early arctic exploration. This was pretty cool, although it was 10 minutes of awkward silence. A little travelling music would have been nice. This was followed by 15 minutes of an Alaskan research video [which I find odd, since there is surely enough Canadian arctic footage to fill three nights]. Although I assume the purpose of that video was to show that arctic researchers come from around the globe. Even places without arctic!

The main event was the WORLD PREMIERE of Arctic Cliffhangers, which is a 52 minute film by Steve Smith and Julia Szcus [who live in the Rockies, not Edmonton]. The film looked at sea birds, and somewhat how they are an indication of climate change. To be honest, I found the film a little dry, and while the cinematography was breathtaking [who doesn't love shots of the desolate arctic!?] the documentary was a little lacking in the department of relevance and importance. An awkward Q&A with the filmmakers followed. Oh, scientists.

It was an interesting night, although I was a bit disappointed that it was more biology-based, with a less geographic focus. Sadly, I wont be able to make it to the Tuesday or Wednesday events, although I would go to them. If you live in Ottawa, I think you should check them out. There are two shows each night, each with different films. If you live elsewhere in Canada, the festival will be going on tour. Click HERE for more information. You may actually learn something, you may be entertained, and its free. I give my IPYFF experience a 3.5/5

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Flashbacks: 2005 pt. 2/7

Welcome to 2005, Part 2. Its April, y'all!

Lily kissed me goodbye, while Joe looked on. Also, Josh was there. These are some of the misfits I used to hang out with after school.

The World Issues class decided to pack up and head to New York City for a couple days. Uh, awesome! ... I got to hang out with Kristin and this super gigantic stuffed animal elephant at F.A.O Schwarz. Sadly, the front was all ripped up, so there was no toy soldier to greet us at the door. I'm pretty sure this was due to the Apple flagship store being built, but I'm not from New York so sue me if I'm wrong.

Our class was joined by the Arnprior class *spits on the ground*. Here we are providing the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park with some much needed wear and tear.

On the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, Alex tried out someone's fancy new Louis Vuitton bag. I don't think the look stuck. Too bad.

Rebecca C. and Brandon decided against purses, and opted for interesting head wear instead.

Holy crap, I totally met Mike in NYC. Good times! This is a picture of us fresh off the boat... er, ferry.

After a couple days, we were all like psh, we're so totally over NYC, and headed on down to Washington, D.C., where batmando was born!

There was also the whole meeting Ollie thing, which was a waste of time since his back-from-the-trip self was loserish. Stupid Arnprior kids!

I caught many people sleeping on the bus, but Gillian was the most frequent, and clearly the most awesome.

Sometime after we came back, my little cousin Madison came over for a visit, and was so freaking cute!

Next week, 2005 moves to May. Prom season.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Ride On Closet

I just found the greatest site ever. It is called and is basically a way to buy things for cheap online, with all sorts of catches like there is only one item for sale, which is only available for one day, and you don't know how many are available so you have to buy fast, and they really don't want you to return it if you're unsatisfied. They also have humourous product descriptions, and this one for the "Ride On Closet" described my life to a tee [if we think of the exercise bike being discussed as that treadmill I bought]. Enjoy!

You wore those pants all day, so you don’t want to put them back in your drawer with the clean ones. But you can probably get another day’s wear out of them, so you don’t want to put them in the dirty laundry. Now what?

Now you toss them onto your Schwinn Fitness Exercise Bike! In a laudable but naive burst of good intentions, you bought this stationary bike from Woot, set it up with great fanfare, and rode it for half an hour every day for the first two days. Then you missed a day, but made up for it by riding an hour the next day. Then you missed three days, and the idea of riding two hours to catch up was just too daunting, so you rode for fifteen guilty minutes the day after that. And it’s been sitting there ever since.

But it can do more than serve as mute testimony to your weakness and sloth. The handlebars and seat are perfect for those not-quite-dirty, not-quite-clean clothes, a sort of laundry purgatory between the dresser and the hamper. The aforementioned jeans? That dress shirt you only wore for an hour to meet with your parole officer? Your yardwork t-shirt, which you know you’ll need again tomorrow to finish weeding the swimming pool? Toss ‘em on!

Take your choice of two different models of upright exercise bike: the Schwinn Fitness 101 or the Schwinn Fitness 126. Where the 101 features 6 preset workout programs, a grip heart rate sensor, and 8 resistance levels, the 126 features 6 preset workout programs, a grip heart rate sensor, and 16 resistance levels. But more importantly, both have plenty of protusions, nooks, and overhangs upon which to drape those wardrobe items currently between washes. Pick those not-yet-dirty clothes up off the floor – which, let’s face it, is all the exercise you’ll be getting today – and put them on the Schwinn Fitness Exercise Bike!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Crying Child

Last night, Darryl's Mommy and his nephew Parker came over for supper. Momma was in town for the weekend to babysit the wee one, as his parents were at a wedding.

Here is the happy family all together, after our delicious pizza and cheesecake [which Darryl made. yum! but not as good as my mom's! lol]

Andrea was here too, just so there's no confusion.

Before and after supper, we played Wii. Parker is only 6, but he plays so much that he can school anyone at any game ever. Until I beat him by like 700 points in the bowling portion of Wii Sports Resort. And he bawled his damn eyes out.

But clearly, he got over it eventually. And it is my opinion that someone has to show children [especially when they're the only child!] that they can't always have their way, and they wont always win. And that I am awesome.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Flashbacks: 2005 pt. 1/7

2005 saw a dramatic increase in the taking of pictures, since I got a digital camera for Christmas the week before. It also had a lot of important things going on. I ended up picking 88 pictures, divided into 7 weeks. Enjoy Part 1!

I found Kristin, Traci and Lindsay getting ready for lunch. Who doesn't want an apple and carrots?

Jodie was all like 'NOT ME!' and decided to feed a can of pears to that awful head of hair...

Hey look, a pic of Stek and Lou. She's still crazy. I wonder what he's up to these days. I only have this because our lockers were close HAHA

A picture of Ashley being lazy in the little hall? Shocking! But surprisingly, she's not combing her hair here. She's probably FROZEN though. Shorts sleeves in January? My goodness!

Curling practice that night with Lindsay and Lesley. This was slightly before Lesley became super awesome HAHA.

For our winter fun day, we went disco bowling in Ottawa. Nothing since winter fun like indoor bowling. Felicia, Gillian and Rebecca N. found a special circle of friendship.

Lindsay, Spencer, Jacey and I rocked it in the annual Sweetheart Spiel on Valentine's Day. Best dressed curling team EVER.

On St. Patrick's day, I went to Coco Jarry's with Momma and Alison, to celebrate our half-Irishness [I guess Momma is fully Irish]. It was a good time.

I was the official card dealer throughout most of the lunch periods throughout high school. Just look how fast I was! I also went on to win the last round on the last day of high school. Because I'm awesome.

And we shall finish off this week's look at 2005 with boredmando and her awesome bracelets, sitting in World Issues. Next week, that class takes learning on the road...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Mini Putt Gardens

On Sunday, I took Darryl to Mini Putt Gardens, which is the best outdoor mini putt place in Ottawa [as far as I know], especially since you get to play BOTH 18-hole courses for the price of 'one' [even though the two courses are built into the one price... which is reasonable!]. The weather was beautiful, I love the 'sport' [but HATE real golf], and Darryl had NEVER played before, which I found absolutely appalling.

He was pretty decent most of the time, except for a few holes where he thought it was real golf. He almost hit someone on another hole once. But he did fairly well! Even beat me on a few holes!

Of course, me and the red ball school him. I eventually won 125-144, after 36 holes.

We sat by the waterfall for this obligatory nerdy shot.

But of course, its all fun and games until someone hits their head on a tree...

We finished off the night with dinner at Montana's. It was a great day!

The Time Management

Someday, I hope to see a post from my own blog pop up in Google Reader [which, by the way, I have started using/loving]. [Yes, I know I'm way behind, but I liked the personal touch of going to each of your blogs. But now I need things to happen fast!] that has somehow written itself.

So someday I may get around to posting the pictures from the fun mini putt day I had with Darryl on Sunday, but I am feeling extremely busy lately. If anyone out there has any advice on how I'm supposed to manage full time work, part time school, homework, spending time with Darryl, trying to have some semblance of a social life, all the travel time that is involved with the previous things, bathing, eating, sleeping and actually having some time left over for myself, please let me know.

I beg you.

Because if you don't come to me with a magic system to manage my time, [like doing the dishes while simultaneously attending class] then you will be getting less posts from me, and that saddens me.

But never fear... you COULD add me to Twitter HERE, or follow my Twitter feed in your own newsreader HERE. That way you can follow me throughout the day, as I know you want to!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Flashbacks: 2004

A day late and a buck short... these pictures from 2004 kind of suck. Enjoy!

Alison went ice fishing with Jupiter, and since she had no winter gear, she borrowed. From 1986.

In warmer weather, my cousin Lisa got married. The only good picture I have from that day is this one of my grandma, lookin' good.

That summer, Jodie and I spent 5 weeks participating in the Summer Language Bursary Program, which is sponsored by the government [yay!]. 5 weeks in Quebec City was truly not enough, but it was a WONDERFUL experience, and I still stay in touch with some of the people I met there. If you've got lots of time on your hands, you can read the blog I wrote during that time HERE. At the gala on the last night, some questionable soup was served. No, I didn't ACTUALLY eat it.

With graduation looming, we got all dolled up in our gowns and posed for the camera. I know... I'm stunning. A true scholar.

I turned 17 and there was cake, and red pants, and licking icing off the candles of that cake.

What an awful fucking picture. Hey look! I got a job at the brand spankin' new No Frills store. 70,000 square feet of grocery fun! I was the best cashier they had. No contest.

Jade and I spent 5 months of co-op working afternoons at our former elementary school. Oh, the things we laminated!

I don't know WHY, but in art class, I tried stabbing Joe with a paintbrush. The mess in the background denotes the fact that its actually art class, and not just a lie.

And then it was Christmas. Much love from the family!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Blogcation

And now, a very special message from Michael...

Welcome back, faithful readers! As you can see, I've gotten my hair cut [no more Seth Rogan comments!] and I have finally returned from my two week period of non-blogging [which was unplanned, but I needed it. I've been busy busy]. Here's a roundup, bullet point style:

  • My sister came to Ottawa and helped me get all moved in with Darryl. It was a quick and painless move, followed by lasagna and cake! We also made a trip to IKEA and purchased some LACK floating shelves, since I had big plans for storing our books and DVDs. Subsequently, it was determined that our apartment walls are total garbage, and would not allow the shelves to be attached. Of course I threw out the receipt, so now I've got these 4 large shelves under the bed, and Darryl got us some beautiful new red BILLY bookcases. The entire apartment was unpacked and organized within a week, and now it feels like home! Eventually you'll get photos, or maybe a video tour if you're really lucky!
  • Work just keeps on truckin'... most of the good kitchen staff have quit though. By the time I reach 2 months on the job, I'll have seen [at least] 13 people quit or fired. But they hired me a new assistant for the busy weekend nights, and he rocks. He knows how to do his job properly, and is easy going and willing to stick around. He better never quit on me!
  • A few weeks ago, one of the other restaurants that shares an alley with us put a crate of saucers outside. Our chef decided we could use them, so he brought them in and had me clean them, and then they were stacked on a shelf in the dish pit. A slanted shelf. So over the past few weeks, he has been forcing the servers to use them as individual plates for when a table gets nachos. The plates are in my way because now the shelves are over crowded and they are where I used to put my drink while I work. The servers hate the plates because they don't sit properly with the other plates they use, since they are saucers for teacups, rather than small plates. Did I mention that they are a tall stack of delicate saucers on a slanted shelf? Yes I did. Well last night, my assistant and I were in the dish pit as usual, chatting with one of the serves who was getting something from the fridge. I joked that we should start throwing out a few of the plates each day and eventually they will have been phased out. I was drinking water at the time. Then the chef entered the room for some unknown reason. Then I placed my water on the shelf in front of the stack and walked away from the shelf. Almost instantly, the plates and my cup were crashing down, one by one, onto the metal table below, and then the tile floor. It was the longest and loudest event possible, and the entire restaurant heard it, even on the second floor. It was awesome, although we had to quickly clean up the floor which was now covered with my water and broken plates. Sharp and slippery is a great combo! [NOTE: about 10 plates survived. Blast!]
  • My adventures in public have been enjoyable lately. It seems that almost every day, I run into someone I know. And on Monday night, Darryl and I took Mando to Starbucks because she did not know how to order things there, so we taught her. Then we hung out in Chapters for a while, which of course was hilarious. Then we went to Parliament Hill, which was a nice lookout point to watch the hot air balloons rising from the festival in Gatineau, although they were a bit too far away for the pictures to turn out well [I assume... Mando hasn't shown them yet].
  • And finally, I'm back to school as of Wednesday. Yes that's right, when I told you I was done school, I lied. It turned out that when I went to drop my minor, due to the university not offering the last course I needed to complete it any time in the next 100 years, I was unable to graduate with only my major in Geography, so now I have to upgrade my program to a specialization. This means two courses this semester, and one more in the winter. This is why I've settled somewhat comfortably [for now] into my nighttime restaurant job, until I find something better, or until the school year is over and I don't have anything else to worry about, scheduling-wise.
  • Finally, I paid off my credit card yesterday, which means my flight to the Olympics is totally paid for! Now the only debt I have is my $1950 tuition bill. Oh, and I start paying back my student loan in November. Oh joy. But at least when I start paying that, it will only be 300 bucks per month, instead of just saving a small amount of my paycheck for myself, and throwing the rest onto my credit card or tuition bill. So if anyone wants to send me money, just let me know!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Flashbacks: 2003

This year had some interesting hair for me. I'll just let you see for yourselves.

Andrew graduated, so the high school curling team picked up a newbie. Eric joined Gavan, me and Kyle. We won Counties easily, but lost EOSSAA, which meant no trip to OFSAA that year.

However, we DID go to provincials with our school team. Not within the whole Federation of Schools thing, but within a separate competition [the Gore Mutual]. We went to Fergus, Ontario where we were billeted. We spent the week living in the basement [it was like an entire house below the regular house, complete with gigantic TV!] of an elderly couple named Sam and Norma. Sam was the ice maker at the curling club, so our team totally got tips. And they fed us SO WELL. Oh, and that lady in the picture is Mrs. Edwards-Budden.

We had a great week, and we managed to take home 3rd place. 3rd in the province isn't too shabby, although we beat the 2nd place team TWICE that week, so its kind of one of those things where the setup of the tournament screwed us over and yadda yadda. So really, we were second place. HAH

Here is our newspaper photo from when we won Counties. These things are proof that I was previously somewhat athletic and successful!

In Grade 10 Careers class [see: what a friggin' joke] Jessica drew this wicked awesome picture of me, which I still have and totally love. I wish she didn't move to Montreal and become a bitch.

My sister's wedding with the big deal of the summer for us. Here I am pre-wedding with Jay, Jupiter [the groom] and my cousin Erik. I was the best man. Best LOOKING. Ya I went there.

My cousin Kennedy rocked the whole flower girl thing. That ball of flowers weighed like 15 pounds!

Here I am, ready to haul Susan out of the church.

Here is a lovely photo with my "date" Lindsay. This may be the first encounter of me making a fist in a picture with another person, rather than putting my arm around them lovingly. I try hard to avoid this.

Here's a picture of me with my dad, sister and grandma, at my aunt Phyllis' house. I swear this is her kitchen. We're not preparing to have our palms read.

And we shall finish off with a horrible picture of me, going prison style for Grade 11. What an awful picture.