Greetings from Spockgirl Musings, where logic rules, but the frailties of
human nature, genetic inadequacies and hormonal imbalances wreak havoc.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sorry... had to do this...

spockgirl-musings.blogspot.com
WANTED FOR THE RECKLESS SLAPPING of a SEXY FAT MAN
$3000

What's Your Blog Wanted For?
Created by OnePlusYou


Ummm.... yeah. You type in the name of your blog and the "wanted" poster is created. What can I say...

I have three things that I started to write sitting as drafts and they are all rather.... heavy, so I decided to put this here just for the heck of it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Twists and turns...

Strange... weird... odd.... whatever you will call it. A short while back I had seen a rather humourous comment on a site I was reading, and followed the link to that person's blog. Lo and behold, it was called "Scotland Here and Now" (I have a soft spot for Scotland...and Ireland, but not sure which endears me more), and I continue to read there for its unique character, and hopefully a laugh. On a recent post regarding the trials of snow as well as skiing in kilts, there were a number of commenters, and being ever curious, I linked over to a few. One of them turned out to be a person from Scotland who is now living in N.Z.. This guy has a few blogs, of which one in particular caught my eye,  "ScienceFictionStuff", where he had a separate page called "Dr Martin Luther King and Star Trek" (How could I not check that one out?), where I found THIS. Now that is very cool.

So what, you might ask, is so weird about that? A Canadian, reading an American blog, linking to a commenter's blog in Scotland, then linking to a blog by a Scotsman living in New Zealand, who had a page that piqued the interest of and resonated with Spockgirl?, and which had a link to an interesting article originally published in an online Canadian newspaper. Twists and turns.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hot Chocolate...


Today my brain feels like silly putty, so please bear with me.

I had visited over at a friend's blog called "The Button Box", and this was part of my comment to her: "Makes me want to have hot chocolate... but I just did." So... today I also happened to be looking at those silly online quizzes again, and came across "What Flavour Hot Chocolate are you?".  The results are surprisingly similar to my "Insightful Pie" the other day (not that the two would go together)...

You Are Vanilla Hot Chocolate




Vanilla hot chocolate may seem like a bit of a contradiction, but you are full of contradictions.

You're funny but serious. Outgoing but thoughtful. Wild but traditional. No one can quite figure you out.

You're the type most likely to handcraft the perfect hot chocolate at home. Your friends are blown away by your drink making skills.

The truth is that you're a complex person with complex tastes. And you know that a little vanilla makes chocolate taste better.

Bleak...

Exile

The cold dark place where lost souls go
There is no comfort there but silence
There is no companion but solitude
You might hear a whisper there
or the echo of weeping.
You might sense that others are near
but cannot feel them.
You hold out your hand
to touch the tear
on a face that isn’t there.
You might call out a name
and wonder if anyone can hear.
In the quiet darkness I whisper...
Take my hand, I am with you.

cki May 29 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nightlights...

Sometimes a lack of clarity can yield unexpected results.
(Or not, depending on how bad your eyes are.)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Icing Sugar...




The first picture was on a beautiful day,  but a little chilly at -12 with windchill -20. I didn't have my phone with me, so I walked home to grab it in order to get that one photo. The latter two pics, from a few days before that, are a little fuzzier again, but that's just the way it goes sometimes.

It snowed a little yesterday, and it has warmed up considerably. So... slush... ick.

(Hmm.. never thought I would write about the weather either... aw heck.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Head above water....


Being able to laugh at things in life will help keep your head above water, but eventually you must make your way back to shore. The thing is... I've been treading water, when I know I should be swimming back to land.

As I wrote those words just now, it actually brought back a memory from my childhood, which is quite amazing, considering I don't remember much of anything from back then. Obviously the memories must still be there locked away somewhere, but, for whatever reason, I just don't have access to most of them. I do vaguely recall having swimming lessons at the outdoor pool when I was a kid, and I just remembered my mom telling me that I used to start giggling when I was swimming lengths, and as I was giggling, I would start sinking... in the middle of the pool. So, yes, there was a time when I did giggle...

So...what does that have to do with now? I had been in a rather... shall we say, dark place for part of this year, and finding things to laugh about has been very... beneficial. Lately, I have been coming across some rather silly things, and I just went with the flow. Sharing these on the blog has been almost liberating in a sense, as has writing more spontaneously. Granted I'm not quite used to all this sharing and expressing, but I am getting a little more comfortable with the fact that it is acceptable for me to do so.  It still seems weird to talk about myself, especially to no one in particular.

Insightful Pie...


OK.... Don't laugh now. I found this "What Kind of Pie are You" quiz at a blog called "Boobies and Beer". What the? Yeah, seriously. However, that being said, I took the quiz and this is what my answers came up with. Whether or not you know me, have been introduced to Spockgirl, or have just read the blog...  I found it to be rather surprising for its uncanny insight. (Insert laugh here.) Curious to know what you think.


You Are Lemon Meringue Pie






You're the perfect combo of sassy and sweet.
You always know how to brighten someone's mood, but you're not overly sappy.
In fact, you can be a bit too honest at times. And most people find that refreshing.
While you're always true to yourself, you keep things light. That's how people are able to stomach your slightly bitter outlook.


Those who like you have well refined tastes.
You're complicated - and let's face it - a true enigma.
You enjoy defying expectations, and there are many layers to your personality.
There's not one easy way to define you.


Passchendaele and Gunless...

Movie Reviews:

There haven't been that many movies of note out for a while, but there are a few that I thought might be cool but haven't heard anything good about. Some that I just haven't bothered to watch yet are: Hot Tub Time Machine, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and The Last Airbender. I did watch Prince of Persia and Just Wright some time ago, but never got around to writing reviews.

I have this thing where I can't watch a war movie (or any type of drama) on its own. Basically I have to watch that one first and then watch something else, like say, a comedy, or flat out action movie. I understand why this has to be, but not why I can't not do it. This becomes rather troublesome when there aren't that many decent movies to watch. So last Saturday, I watched "Passchendaele" and "Gunless".

Passchendaele is a little known WWI movie written and directed by (and also starring) Paul Gross, a Canadian, about a little known WWI battle involving a small group of Canadian troops. This movie packs a lot of punch and every once in a while will zing you. It touches on many things including: family, love, conscription, patriotism, racism, snobbery, shellshock, and more. The colour and tone of the movie at first threw me for a loop, but as the movie progressed I understood why it was done in this manner. I felt that the main battle sequence at the end of the movie was one of the most real and visceral that I recall having seen in a while. This is almost what I had envisioned trench warfare to be, except in my mind, in other battles, there was also more blood and bodies... but there is plenty enough here. Two sequences stand out: the troopline marching along a ridge at sunset with their silhouettes mirrored in the water, and the main battle sequence at the end of which the camera pans up for a bird’s eye view. I am quite surprised that I made it almost to the end of this movie without tears. I highly recommend that you also watch the special features for background of the battle and of the effort behind the scenes as well.

So... to follow that, I watched Gunless, also starring Paul Gross. I remember perhaps the first time I saw him was in a tv show called "Due South" in which he played a mountie who ended up working in the states for some reason. I have only a vague recollection of it. Anyways, in Gunless, he plays an American gunfighter who ends up in small town Canada. This ain’t no Silverado, but it is however a shamelessly funny western.  Yes it makes fun of Canadians, but I think we have a general tendency to laugh at ourselves moreso than at others. The supporting cast is well-cast, and includes Dustin Milligan as a super-cutie pie mountie, Tyler Mane (who played Sabretooth in X-Men) as a soft-hearted blacksmith and Callum Keith Rennie (what else would he play but the bad-ass). Oh, and Sienna Guillory as the trying to be independent frontier-woman. As to be expected in a movie called "Gunless", there are some bits that are just dumb, but you can't help but laugh. Oddly enough on this one, I also recommend watching the special features, which will provide some extra laughs, and more importantly, highlights of the beautiful location it was shot in. I’m quite surprised that more location scouts haven’t found the amazing variety of landscapes and microclimates we have here in this province.

Perhaps I did a little too much flag waving here? Why not.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Unexpected...


I knew it. I had just missed the third ring of the phone. It was an old friend. I knew something had to be wrong. We had just talked for an hour or more a few days ago... or was it last week? We hadn't talked on the phone for a long time before that, just emails every so often. I quickly checked the message, in which she said she would call me back at 10. I didn't wait... I called back right away. "It's bad news isn't it?" I can't remember her exact words, but it was something to the effect of "Yes, but what made you think it was bad news?". "I just had a feeling." "Gram passed away..." "Shit... I knew it."

We've known each other since we were five years old. Her Gram was one of the women that I was privileged to call Grandma. Even at 94 she was an amazing spirit.

I'm not quite sure why I felt the need to write this. Expressing feelings isn't really my thing. I think a lot of people can't understand how I deal with things, or come to think of it, my friend as well. We internatlize things. For the most part, if we feel sadness, we suck it up, deal with it and move on. That's the only way to do it. There was only one time in my life before this year when I let grief overtake me, but that was it... I dealt with it and moved on. For some reason, this year, something has changed, to what extent I do not yet know. That I am even sharing this is another huge step to I don't know where.

There is no normal anymore...


I woke up today feeling rested for the first time in months, and I had woken up early to boot. Not that I needed terribly to share that, but it is odd. So, I decided to break with the norm, again, and do a morning post, and a "humour" one at that.  Rather silly actually. I found a site called "Laughsend", and read my "Funny Horoscope", which says:

"Speaking as a robotic horoscope monster, I can only wish you the best of luck when the revolution comes. Good fortune will stalk you like a mean spirited vulture today and won't spread any of his juicy fortune charm over you. You are not a loser. You just...don't...not...un-win."

You have to admit that is pretty original. Normally, I wouldn't even consider posting such things, but the last two lines were were just too priceless not to share. For a bit o' laugh, read yours here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No expectations, no intentions...


A few days ago, whilst reading comments on a blog, I noticed an interesting moniker:  "LocutisPrime". I was thinking that it seemed familiar and had to nudge my memory as to why. It then came to me, so of course I had to link over to the blog which was called.... "The Borg Conspiracy". (Of course.)  I read a bit that day, and decided to pop back to read more. One of the posts that caught my eye was regarding a Navy Chaplain.  I had a feeling what it was about, and read on anyways, how could I not. This is not the first time that I had thought about a person whose task it is to give of themselves while at the same time absorbing so much. I have at times wondered what happens when your heart and your mind become saturated with so much grief and pain and the anguish of others, added to your own, which must remain, for all intents and purposes, hidden. What then? The capacity for compassion and caring of one human soul, is it limitless? Infinite? The soul - yes, the human? no.  He had taken his own life.

So I wonder again why it is that I have been finding these personal stories in such a roundabout manner when I am not even searching for them? Was it simply inevitable? That if anyone else in my place had been travelling through cyberspace they would have come across the same sites and linked to the same names? This Borg blogger had copied and pasted the entire story onto his blog, so when I linked to the source material, where did it take me?  The U.S. Naval Institute site. (Note: That link will take you to the full story.) Why do I find this all so odd? Read this and perhaps this. One more thing... the Navy Chaplain was a Marine too, which has nothing to do with me either.

At this point, my life is empty, without substance or structure. I never expected to do anything except work a dead-end job for someone else.  I never intended anything for this blog other than to write about things without expressing myself. No expectations, no intentions whatsoever. Funny thing is... the hardest aspect to deal with has been the lack of structure, and the lack of structure is what has somehow allowed me to find my voice. (Right now, at this very moment, the most difficult thing for me as I stare at the screen, is to decide whether or not I should hit the "publish post" button.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Brain freeze?


I remember years back there was that ad campaign: "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs.", in which there was an egg and then an egg in a frying pan. My question is this: What excuse do I have?

The temperature was -8, windchill: -17, with gusts of 45 kph. I had to get ready to go to my obligatory sporting activity, so I had to pull the winterboots and jacket out, then find the toque and scarf and gloves that I had just worn this morning. The power flickered a couple times. I was running late, but it only takes a few minutes to get there, even at a very leisurely pace. I headed out the door whilst running through the checklist in my head... keys, phone, bag, racquet. The checklist is a necessity these days.

The wind was biting, so I was glad that I had bundled up. As I got closer I could see that there were no cars in the parking lot. Odd. When I got to the door, all the lights were off. Hmm... Wasn't a snow day. On the way back home, as my eyelashes were just starting to crystallize, I remembered.... there was no school today, so the custodians wouldn't be there, and we wouldn't have access to the gym. So, there I was, this black garbed ninja eskimo with freezing eyelashes, walking in the dark. I thought to myself, at least the wind is at my back.

So what happened to my brain in the last  three years? This high-powered, high-capacity, number crunching machine is no longer the same. For whatever reason, what I was aware of five days ago... vanished.  There's that old adage: "If you don't use it, you lose it."  I would have to agree. I have no set theory on the memory issue, but I do have many thoughts on it. I just hope that I can remember those thoughts by the time I am ready to write about it.

Underlying complexities...


A recent telephone conversation went something like this:

"Hey... I just made a double chocolate tart... and I was wondering if you wanted to try it."
Split second dumbfounded pause on my part.
"Uh.... hello, did you think I would say no?"

We discussed the recipe, texture, taste, etc., and a short while later she brought a piece over.
"Do you have a fork? "
"Yeah, but wait, I've got to get a picture of it, it looks great."
"Hurry up."
"Wait, I have to plate it first." (Looking around for a pretty plate of some sort.)


Got a couple pictures, but of course, they didn't turn out very well. Took a taste. Nice... Smooth dark chocolate with a texture somewhere between pudding and a souffle, cradled by a crisp chocolate wafer crumb crust and garnished with a couple huge blackberries. I didn't eat the whole thing all at once... That is how chocolatey it was.

A few hours later, I took a few more bites and finished it. Finished is an understatement.  The flavours and texture had time to round out, to blend, to meld. It was by then, super silky smooth on the tongue, set off with the buttery chocolate crispy goodness of the crumb crust and the sweet tartness of the juicy ripe blackberries.

There are some things that sometimes you have to be patient and wait a little longer in order to fully enjoy and appreciate their underlying complexities. This was one of them.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cold hand...

Cold hand on my shoulder
Silence ringing in my ears
Darkness opens my eyes
(cki Sep 18 2010)
*****

It has only been ten days since I posted
 The White Rose.
It is too soon... always too soon.
U.S. (La, Ohio (2), Md, Ga, NY (2), NC, Mo, Fl,
Mich, Wisc, Tenn, Ind, Tex, Col, Cali),
UK (2) and Denmark

*****


(If you don't like bagpipes, don't bother pressing play.)
Found this video over here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Icepuddle...

Beautiful, sunny.... brrrrr.... -2 but windchill makes it -9!!! Damn its cold, but I had to go out and get some pictures while the sun was out. Wish I could remember where I stored the winter gear. What happened to the good ole days when I could go outside in a t-shirt when it was -10?

Insult to injury...


Hmm.... I have been thinking again. Oh good lord, what now? Actually I have been pondering this for quite some time, but as usual, never figured I would actually write something about it. So... here I go. In regards to Facebook, Twitter, and there's another one but I can't remember what it is, whatever... this thing called "Social Networking".  Wait... hold on a sec... have to do a rewind here... 

So I used a computer at work for say.... twenty years? Didn't know what Facebook was until two years ago. Didn't know what a Blog was until last year. Still don't know what Twitter is (for). Tweets for twits? I didn't have a personal computer at home until last December. On January 1st this year, everything in my life was in hiatus. In the middle of a "gray" period, I started a blog, with no intention whatsoever of expressing or sharing little bits of me. Then why did I start it, you might ask. Exactly. (This word must be spoken in same tone as Christophe Lambert in Mortal Kombat.)

I don't have a lot "on" my mind per se, but I do have a lot "in" my mind. There is a subtle, or not so subtle, difference between the two, depending on who you are. I know that I am not, nor shall I ever be a Facebooky or Twittery type person.  If I am not a "Social Networky" personality in real life, why would I want or need to be one online? My blog is like my tank, or perhaps my personal urban assault vehicle.  I was armoured up, motoring along, ran out of gas, got fueled up and am now heading into unknown terrain...again. Now I find that every once in a while, I'll pop the hatch and zing you. So, what does this all boil down to? I don't play well with others? I run with scissors?

I think a mathematical comparison is in order:
I have two (2) email accounts, one for the real world me, and one for the wireless world me.
I received a total of Twenty-one (21) emails.
One (1) was to the real world me.
Twenty (20) were to the wireless world me.
Fifteen (15) were junk.
Three (3) were notifications of comments on my blog.
Two (2) were notifications of comments on other blogs.
(This doesn't take a rocket scientist.)

To add insult to injury, one of those emails was this:


When reading it, keep in mind that it came to my email address of spockgirl@...   Now, this is by far the most poorly written piece of junk that I have ever received.  That being said, if, for some Godforsaken reason, it is an actual person, then I fear for this girl's life, seriously. Clearly, English is not her forte, nor perhaps is it her first language. I have blocked out the name and email address because, even though it is only an image on my blog, it is now by default, an image on the internet. Sure, reading it the first time made me laugh, but, if you step outside the box for a moment and think of her as a real person, it is a scary thought on so many levels. This isn't the usual "Russian" girl seeking Penpal, and the email address has first and last name as well as 2 digits, which are probably indicative of her birthyear. If I am correct, she is NOT a minor, but as I said, it is still scary. On the other hand, maybe there's some sad, lonely schmuck who might reply to it. Would that be considered beautiful or sad?

Friday, November 19, 2010

...something so wrong...

There is just something so wrong about snow falling when there are still trees covered with brightly coloured leaves.

As I was walking to the post office earlier in the week I had looked at the yard and realized that I should have been out raking the leaves by now. There were, needless to say, a lot already on the ground, but I wanted to wait til the sun came out to take a picture of the massive collection... before I raked them up. Silly me, the sun was here last week, the heavy winds and rain were here the beginning of this week, and yes, this morning.... what else could there be... but... snow. Damn, that means I can't rake the leaves now.

And, further to a comment from z-man on a prior post, get a load of this:
Yeah, I know, I know, I kind of went raunchy on the comments. Just couldn't help it. But hey... it got me laughing! And as for icicles, my hands are freezing. I wonder why... apparently it is -2 already, and supposed to drop to -5.  These temps at this point in time do not bode well. At this rate, it's going to be a long, long winter.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

So close yet oh so far...

Further to posting some fall photos the other day,
this one begs for further reflection.
Another day perhaps.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Last night's windspeed...

... was .... 70 kph.... not quite scary, but enough to knock a few things down.

The post I wrote last night might be one of the dumbest things I have ever written. However, that being said, I must admit that it was indeed the most exciting event of my life this month. Sad, I know. Last month, it was falling down the "slippery when wet" stairs, cartoon fashion. I gave myself bonus points for not letting go of what I was holding in each hand. It was only.... three... steps... but in that short span of time, right after telling myself not to slip, and my feet going out from under me, what flashed through my mind was: don't drop these things, don't hit your head, did anybody see that? I hope I don't hurt anything other than my a...

I feel like sharing...


Yeah.... wha?  The mundane... again.

This evening during my obligatory twice bi-weekly sports activity, the other players and I could hear the wind howling outside and the rain thrashing against the building. One young man, new to this province, could not resist, and had to open the gymnasium door to take a look. He opened the door, got a gust of wind and a face full of rain and ... that was it.  He closed the door and we continued playing. By the time we were done, the rain and wind had died down to almost nothing, and it seemed considerably warmer than it had been, which, of course, would explain the sudden storm.

I walked home, washed up, and was just ready to enjoy a bowl of oatmeal with toast, when I noticed the wind picking up again, and I heard a bang outside. I went to check the front porch where a couple days ago I had put a six foot tall armoire until I could find a place for it in the shop.  It was as I had figured... the door had blown open. So I got some string and tied it up, whilst the wind was desperately trying to push me around. So, everything was in order. I went back in the house, sat down again, and a few minutes later... another loud bang...thud... Now what? I looked out the door and there... at the bottom of the stairs, there lay the armoire, face down on the rain soaked walkway. It looked so big there, in the dark, this painted white armoire... I smiled.... chuckled to myself. What else? I then noticed one of the small metal urns had also fallen off the stairs, so I picked it up and moved it to the back steps, taking note that it was now missing a chunk off the rim. I went back to pick up the plant that had plopped out during its fall. Intact, fine, good.

I went back inside to ponder on the situation. Should I try to push the armoire back up the stairs and move it into the house? Should I leave it there all night? What if it's damaged? So I went back outside to get a feel for how heavy it was again.... not bad. I decided to turn it over to see what damage the fall had caused. It was dark so I only saw one small section where the wood had cracked apart, but NOT off...  I laid it back down gently and left it there. It's kind of sad... forlorn looking, face down, in the rain, in the dark.

As I sit in the kitchen writing this, the wind has died down completely. It is deathly silent. I don't feel right leaving it lying there, in the rain, in the dark.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The world as we know it...


So it would seem that the internet gods have deemed it necessary for me to be guided towards destinations of humour as of late, and in my travels, I found a blog from Australia, which might provide some giggles, some hmmms, some achs and some hehs.  Pertaining to the topic of travel, I give you this tiny gem from that blog from Oz:

And, following on the theme of travel and the world as we know it, here's a hilarious piece I found posted over at a U.S. blog. I noticed that the video is from 2006, but it's still funny. (Warning: Language and other stuff.)


Now, instead of a Hat Tip proferred to these two bloggers, since this is tagged under "humour", I'm giving them each a curtsy (hahaha). Thanks to Mr. Pudney from I Know Funny (Oz) and Finrod  (U.S.).

I also found a trailer to a new movie coming out, which, although I thought it was hilarious, at the time I figured that it was not appropriate for my blog because it might offend somebody. With this post today, I say "whatever", and am posting it anyways. Why not? It is a humourous Brit take on a serious issue in the world today. And... if the Brits can't laugh about it, who can?


Yeah, so maybe I have a slightly twisted sense of humour. What of it?

Final Update: Project VALOUR IT


Project VALOUR-IT
(In memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss)

Raised a total of: $92,542!


The "2010 Soldiers' Angels Valour-IT fundraiser surpassed its original goal of raising $60,000 to help reconnect America's wounded wounded warriors with the world and supports their recovery! Thank you for helping us support the wounded who have sacrificed so much!

Congratulations to the Marine Team--though they're the smallest branch, their gigantic fighting spirits brought in over $37,770 of the final total."

Sadly, TEAM NAVY, which I had decided to join for the first time this year, didn't quite meet goal. Maybe next year.  Enthusiasm isn't generally part of my genetic or psychological make-up, BUT this was truly great (and fun) to be a part of!!!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Blue skies...


Further to posting this photo, I figured I might as well put these three on as well, from the same road trip. (Yeah, focus and clarity suck again... ) Two weeks prior to taking these photos, there was NO snow on this mountain. And... there is no snow falling in the third picture. It's just sunlight reflecting on the dirty window.  (I'm such a killjoy.)

Almost Blue - Diana Krall

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The White Rose...

This was taken last week on November 3rd.
In seven years, these roses have never
bloomed this late in the season.
 

The white rose represents Unity, Virtue, Honour and Reverence,
and is a symbol of Remembrance.
It is considered an expression of spiritual Love and Respect.


To honour those who have fallen in Afghanistan
since November 3:
Ill (3), Ariz (3), Col, RI, NY, Mich, Okla, Pa, Fla, Maine

*****

Sorry folks, I can no longer find reason nor explanation as to why I feel compelled to write things of this nature. All I can say is that when the picture or poem, the meaning and the reason come together in front of my face, what else can I do? Time has allowed me to come to this point. Only time will tell...


Remembrance Day

To remember all those who have given their lives in war,
fighting for someone else's freedom. 
by John Alexander McCrae, Canadian Doctor, Soldier, Poet 
November 30, 1872 – January 28, 1918

*****
To never forget those who serve and return from war.

In memory of:

Uncle Henry from Virginia,
 who served in Japan after WWII and then in Korea,
and
our old neighbour Mr. Ferguson, 
who served in Europe in WWII.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

USMC.... say what?


Am I turning into a blogging machine? Maybe. Don't I have better or more important things to do? Uh... yeah. Why am I posting again, so soon? Because... I learned something new last night. I found out that I actually know the official Marine Corps hymn.  I didn't even know it was the official hymn until last night. Why am I writing about this in particular? Well... in my bloghopping travels in the past few days, I have seen a number of sites and blogs wishing the USMC a Happy 235th Birthday. I wasn't thinking of doing a post for this because, it truly has absolutely nothing to do with me. Anyways, I went to check out their official site, et voila.... there were the words to the hymn. As I read them, the tune came into my head.... Why? I don't know. For the life of me I can't remember any of my birthdays growing up, but I can remember this song. Maybe I watched one too many war movies during my formative years. Who knows. So... here I am wishing the United States Marine Corps a Happy Birthday.... because I can.

I will resume some semblance of normal soon. But.... I am starting to wonder myself.... what the heck is normal?

Funny thing about Star Wars...


I had recently sent my big bro this little gem which I found whilst bloghopping. The video is a few years old, but I just started blogging this year, so I am only now stumbling across these things. The bro and I don't really talk that often, and I don't believe we have ever discussed Star Wars to any great extent. But this cracked me up, so I sent him the link to it:  (Warning: language)



The funny thing is, a few days later, he sent me these photos:

It is LEGO, and he had hand painted the whole set, repackaged it and sent it to his son for his birthday. Now how cool is that?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Please pardon my profanity


Someone asked me today, "How would you describe your blog?". I replied that it's a mish-mosh. She said it's kind of deep isn't it? My reply: "It depends on how shallow you are." We both laughed.

There is no theme to my blog. There is no set structure or flow. There is no plan. It cannot be placed in a category. As my blog is, so is my life at this juncture. I had not intended to write anything specifically pertaining to me or my life, but that has changed as time has progressed. I have come to the point where I ask myself "who the hell gives a shit?". I don't mean in regards to me, I mean as to what I choose to write about, or how personal it is, especially as I continue on this strange journey into the uncharted territory that is the latter part of my existence.

Holy Sh...izzle


Yesterday I wrote a very long, perhaps the longest, post I have ever done, and it was filled with the most mundane details. I must concede that however mundane those details were, it was a good day. For some reason, I am still thinking about that wine. Its label reads: "Deep red purple colour. Intense black fruit aromas combined with a hint of mocha. Tannins are smooth and sweet. Round and persistent finish. "

I heated up some of the chili for lunch and holy shizzle. It wasn't the burn your tongue, nasal drip inducing, make your eyes water kind of hot, it was...  different. The best way to describe it is to use the last line from the wine description. "Round and persistent finish." It had a subtle, lingering heat. I had an Italian bread to go with it, as well as my bastardized version of a mocha latte. Nice.

The bread brought back an actual childhood memory (wow???) of having toast (white bread of course) slathered with butter (real butter of course) and dipping it into hot chocolate. I'm starting to think that if more memories resurface, they will all end up revolving around food or drink. Go figure.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

1/2 kg of beef and a Malbec


aka... a ridiculously long post regarding food.

More on my relationship with wine can be found here.
What food means to me can be found here.
Today I explore both once again.

I don't buy meat that often. If I do, it is usually the cheapest thick cut of steak, which I tenderize the heck out of and soak forever in a lemon, oregano marinade. As the cold weather is upon us,  it leads to thoughts of comfort food once again, so with the intention of making Shepherd's Pie, I picked up about 1/2 kg of extra-lean ground beef (*) the other day. It isn't very much meat, but I figured I should get five or six meals out of it.

First problem I encountered is that I stayed in bed this morning and went on the laptop to read a bit of stuff. Then after determining what I should actually GET DONE, I realized the kitchen was, as usual, a mess, so I had to put all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher (wait... first I had to take the clean dishes OUT... gak). I also wanted to put all the Halloween crap away and get some laundry done, but the metal Halloween trunk was sitting on top of the box with the soap and bleach, so I definitely had to put the crap away first. Spiders, cobwebs, spiders, fabric, bats, garlands, costume bag, wings, birds, skulls, skeletons. Done. But barely fit everything in.

So at some point I chopped up peppers from dad's garden that were just starting to go... soft, and decided that I would try to make Shepherd's Pie AND chili, with that wee bit of beef. Chopped up some onions, cooked them up with the beef, kept some for the Shepherd's Pie and moved some to a small pot for the chili. Call me ill prepared. I dumped the peppers into the pot and went to grab a can of tomatoes, finding that I only had a very large can.... too large for the smaller portion of chili I was making. Brilliant idea.... I have that three year old jar of sun-dried tomatoes...  It's only a year past its best before date, it should be fine. What else... I have grape tomatoes in the fridge, so I sliced some of those up as well.  I knew I still had red kidney beans. As I was dumping every thing in the pot, I realized that the pot was a tad too small.... but it would just have to do. Spices... Sea salt with thyme, black pepper, hot red pepper flakes, a lot of chili powder, some oregano... a lot of tabasco sauce. Wait... after a few minutes it seemed too thick already. I have some old red wine in the fridge... the one that had that strange diesely tinge (not really, but can't otherwise explain it). It was a Malbec from Argentina that I opened several months ago and was still sitting in the fridge, 2/3 full. Beautiful purple colour. I sipped it after tasting the chili... it didn't seem bad,... but then it hit me... I hesitated for a moment, but... then dumped some in the pot, stirred and left it to stew. I tasted it after a bit and it was damn spicy, so I added a little bit of cocoa powder. When I tasted it again, it seemed bland,... but then.... not bad. Still really thick, so I added some more of that wine.  I realize now that I used the same amount of spices that I normally use for a whole batch, but it didn't seem to make that much of a difference... yet.

In the meantime, I chopped up a couple carrots for the Shepherd's Pie. I had noticed a couple days ago that I had two bags of carrots, one of the bags had seemingly rubber versions of carrots, as they had been sitting in there so long, but thankfully there were two or three that were still firm. Reheated the skillet with the beef and onions, added the carrots, beef broth, sea salt w thyme, black pepper, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire Sauce and oregano. I realized that the amount of beef was about 1/3 of what I should be using, so the one can of broth seemed a little too much. I added some flour to thicken it up, but after a bit, it seemed too thick, so I added some of that Malbec, and a drop of lemon juice. While that was simmering away, I peeled and cut up two big potatoes for the topping. I knew that I had run out of milk a few days ago, so I would have to go to the corner store to grab some. I waited til the potatoes were done (Safety first.) before I left, even though it is less than a block away. Of course, it was POURING rain. Got back, mashed up the potatoes with a little milk, added a bit of sour cream and a couple shakes of rosemary. I preheated the oven, then dolloped the mashed potatoes over the beef mixture which I already had cooling down in the multi-purpose souffle dish. Popped the dish into the oven and 15 minutes later, done.

So... since I had tidied up my kitchen table for Halloween, it was still tidy enough today so that I actually sat down and ate dinner!!! And, I decided to write this in the kitchen too. Haven't done that since I watched the Gold medal hockey game of the Olympics. Yeah, long time.  Perhaps a sign of life?

Cooking Music:
My Mid-Life Crisis Mix 
As I Lay Dying 

Wine:
2007 Malbec (I know very little about
wine, but the description on the label
sounded great.)

*Cost of the beef:  $5.52

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Predators

Movie Review
It is hard to believe it has been 23 years since Arnold starred in "Predator". I recently watched the latest in the line, aptly named "Predators", for more reasons than just the obvious. 

Interesting locations. Shot in Hawaii and..... Texas(???), yes it does say Austin, Texas. There were a couple cool spots that I never would have guessed. Otherwise it was pretty predictable all around - dialogue, characters' actions and reactions, redemptive qualities. The writer tried some loops, but didn't fare too well.  There didn't seem to be much tension, but it kept me satisfactorily engaged. A few things do stand out in my mind... one of the CG horizon shots,  the last scene with the Russian (I'm a sucker for the big tough guy with heart), the long, waving grass at the end of a man v predator fight sequence (I have a fondness for sword fights), and... Adrien Brody's big, but rather short, shirtless fight scene involving fire. Now that was an unexpected surprise... Adrien shirtless, not the fire. There was also a guest appearance by a major presence in a very snall role, which sadly was just a crumb, or a throw in. Another thing... maybe I have seen too many action movies, but the fight sequences seemed too simple? or rather flat? or linear?

The end sucked. As I listened to the last line, I was thinking...how dumb is that? Why did they leave that in there? They might as well just have had him walk back to pick up the alien doodad.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Forget Me Not

by George Pirie (Scottish-Canadian poet b. 1799) 
This little flower with azure eye,
You love it lady tell me why;
It seems to me nor rich nor rare,
It breathes no fragrance on the air,
Nor splendid form nor colours bright,
May give it value in thy sight.
If not for perfume nor for show,
Pray tell me why you prize it so.

It is not rich, it is not rare,
This little flower – yet, ah, how fair.
Though it no merit else may claim
But this, “the magic of a name,”
Each tiny leaf into my ear
Is breathing names to memory dear;
The dead, the absent, the forgot,
Are whisp’ring here, “Forget-me-not.”

by George Pirie


*****
To honour the fallen in Afghanistan from the last five days:
Maine, Illi, Mass, NC, Cali (2), NJ, Md, Tex and U.K.
*****


Forget me nots are very tiny, plain, but pretty, pale blue or pale pink flowers with yellow centres. I was very pleased to find that this year I had both colours in the garden. They are a symbol of hope, true love and remembrance.

Folklore:
In 15th-century Germany, it was supposed that the wearers of the flower would not be forgotten by their lovers. Legend has it that in medieval times, a knight and his lady were walking along the side of a river. He picked a posy of flowers, but because of the weight of his armour he fell into the river. As he was drowning he threw the posy to his loved one and shouted "Forget-me-not." It was often worn by ladies as a sign of faithfulness and enduring love.
(from Wikipedia)

Yeah, yeah, I know, I've gone soft again. Every once in a while it just hits me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November Sun



And I may swim in the sky and lose my eyes in the light...

*****

*****

Bad me... I played hooky today. I am so going to be fired. (Insider joke.)

On the way out of town I took this photo with the cell phone camera through the windshield whilst travelling down the highway.  The clarity, as usual is crappy. The colours... the hue of the sky, the subdued radiance of the sun... I can live with that.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

October Moon

I forgot to post this last month.