Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Saying Goodbye

As I am sure most of you know by now, yesterday we had to put down one of our beloved ponies, Downland Eclipse. She was 17 years old, which isn't that old for a pony since they can live up to the ages of 30-40. But she had gone worse in health in the last 3 years, and ultimately the vet told us that the best thing for us to do was to let her go. She actually thought it would be the right thing to do in the spring, but as loving owners of our pets, we selfishly want them to last just a little bit longer.

Her breathing had started to go down hill around 5-6 years ago. Whether it was genetics or caused by dusty hay, you can never be sure. Many of the ponies shard the same food as her and they did not come down with heaves (as it is called in the horse world). Coughing and hacking was worse in the hot and dusty summer days. Many vet bills for medication including steroid shots and bronchial dilators came in as we tried to make her comfortable. She was always eating and happy. She was our foundation broodmare, and we bred her every year. Last year she did not conceive.My mom wanted to try her again this year but the vet absolutely refused. She said she didn't have enough oxygen for herself, let alone enough to carry a foal.

It was decided that we would put her down in the fall. We didn't want her to have a hard winter. Even when it came to the day we decided to do it on, my mom wanted me to ask the vet if she had gotten better. She knew deep down that the answer would be no, but she wanted some hope.

Eclipse's breathing was so bad you could hear her wheeze. Her torso heaved and sunk in deeply with every breath she took and exhaled. Despite all this, she was still the head mare of the ground.

Eclipse was born in 1993 on the welsh hills. My mom was looking to import a pony from Wales, and a breeder went out and scoped out what was for sale. My mom was looking for a black filly. Although all horses born black go grey (and true blacks are born mousey brown and then shed out into black), the breeder sent her a picture and she bought her. She was out of a well known stallion Downland Mohawk, who's bloodlines trace back to many Welsh Champions and a mare named Downland Eglatine.

Importing ponies from Wales was a big deal in the early 90s. The North American Welsh had started up by importing bloodlines from Wales and then breeding programs were set up. Many of our ponies can be traced within the second and third generation back to the homeland. Many North American breeders brought back stallions and mares to start their own breeding program. Established breeders start their own breeding line after years of selection, where they can finally use their own stallion for breeding. Many breeders in North America still use imported stallions but breed their own stock of mare.

When it came time for Eclipse to come to Canada, it took them three days to catch her. They had to chase her into the trailer. She jumped out of the back, and they had to catch her again. They put a board on the back of the trailer so she wouldn't escape. My mom was advised to board up her trailer when she came to pick her up. Eclipse came on a plane with 4-5 other little ponies.

When my mom brought her home, she was absolutely wild. I don't even remember how long or what we did to make her the calm, quiet, stress free pony she became. She was broke to ride when she was 3. I rode her from 1996 to 1999. We bred her the first time when she was 4 and she had a little colt in 1998.
Eclipse as a two year old in NY

Eclipse's bloodlines were great but they came with a heavy price. Many of her relatives were prone to a disease called laminitis or founder. While it is common, it is more common in ponies than horses. Her full sister had to be put down because of the dehabiliting disease. Founder is when a toxin occurs in the bloodsystem, affecting circulation. The most common way is through eating too much protein but there are other ways of getting it such as stress or kidney problems, for example. The end result is when the inflamed laminate causes a rotation of a bone in the foot called the coffin bone. This inflammation and rotation causes a great deal of pain and heat to the animal, making it unable to stand. Founder can be treated, but preventive measures should always be taken, as founder can return once a horse has had it.

Eclipse had her first bount of founder when she was four, shortly after she had her first foal. Once she recovered, we didn't ride her as much, since stress can be a trigger. Around the year 2000 I stopped riding her because we had other ponies to be ridden and she was much content to be a broodmare.

Since her time with us, she had many accomplishments. So many that we never really kept track of them all but my mom summed them up on her website:
• Welsh Pony and Cob Association of Ontario award of Top Producing Mare
• Several times Champion Section B Mare on the line in Canada and the USA
• Champion Dressage Pony in USA

• Several time High Point Champion Mare and Under Saddle with the Welsh Pony and Cob Association of Ontario
• Qualifier for the Champion of Champion Class at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, ON, Canada
• Her foals have moved on to Trillium and A Circuit Hunter Ponies and others have become breeding stock.

In 2005, my mom had her registered as an American Sport Pony.

Since she was 4, she has had a foal every year except in 2010. Her foals and her grandfoals and probably great grandfoals are all over North America. She has 12 foals over all.

From Canadian Live Stock Records:

(These three were born when my mom leased out Eclipse when my parents were divorcing)

Yesterday, on her last day, it rained all morning. I woke up early and I gave her an apple. I opened up the gates connecting the two paddocks and let all the ponies on that side run together. Eclipse had a good run with her pasture buddy and her two daughters, Emma and Ellie. Once they finished running, I put two of them away in their stalls as the vet had to do work on the one, and she couldn't be left alone. I didn't want to leave Eclipse alone, so she stayed outside with Emma. I took a pair of scissors and I cut of a large chunk of her mane. I braided it and put it away for my mom, who requested not to be home when we did this.

Eclipse's last run

The vet showed up shortly after. We took Emma and Eclipse out to the area where we would bury her. We didn't want them to get upset by being separated. The vet told me she was going to sedate Eclipse first. We let her eat some grass while we waited for it to kick in. Once she administered the second dose of sedative, she instructed us to take Emma away. My step dad took Emma back to her paddock. Since Emma was alone, she ran the fence and called to her mom. Eclipse was too sedated to call back. There was a tractor and a tree obscuring the view. The vet thought it would be too traumatic for Emma to see her mom go down.

Once Emma was put back, the vet told me she was going to administer the euthanol next. She said that Eclipse would take a deep breath, then go unconscious. She would not feel anything. Then, just as she said it happened. We helped her onto the ground. I had been crying since the vet showed up, but I was sobbing uncontrollably as we sat near her on the ground. The vet explained it would take a few minutes to happen, but as soon as she spoke, she then added "Oh, she's already gone." Eclipse still had grass in her mouth. We took the halter off of her and covered her with a trap. Our neighbors volunteered to come over and help bury her. Once they were finished, I called them up to thank them. We buried her with a copy of her papers and some pictures.

It was a hard day, but at the end we knew it was the right thing. Then later that day my pony was bitten by a snapping turtle, but that will come later.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Exciting Last Unicorn News!

Back in July I decide to roder the 40th edition of The Last Unicorn and get it personally signed by the author Peter S Beagle himself. I just recieved notification that there has been a delay, which makes me happy because it means it did not get lost, haha.

Second, the last two issues of The Last Unicorn comic are going to be 10 pages longer than the other comics. I wondered how they were going to fit the whole story into only 6 issues, when they haven't even done half the book yet in the first three issues.

Third, there's going to be a perfume line based on The Last Unicorn. Totally silly but I think I might order one haha.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


For my Back 2 School Back 2 Blogging Assignment this week, we were instructed to contribute 10 or more ideas to the Idea Bank and then choose one of the ideas to write about on your blog. Quite a few relate to parenting and marriage, which I have no experience in at all, but this one caught my eye:

Idea Bank #382

Where do you fall in the birth order of your family? First, middle, baby? Do you think that affected who you are today?

I am the eldest of two children. I have only one sibling, my brother. I am 16 months apart from him. I was 7 month old when my parents found out they were expected baby #2. My mom was 5 months pregnant with my brother on my first birthday.

I think both myself being the first born and our closeness in age has affected who I am today. First, my parents didn't exactly raise me on my own. I was only alone for for a year and a half of my life, which I do not remember. I do not remember a time without my brother. I do not remember a time when I was not the oldest. All my jealousy that I had towards my brother wasn't because I remember how things used to be without him, but came from how my parents treated us as they raised us at the same time, since I was never aware of being alone and being treated like the first child.

My mom in particular (and even to this day) is all about fairness. If she bought something for me, she would buy something for my brother, and vice versa. There were times when we got the exact same thing but in a different colour. Despite how my mom tried to be fair, it wasn't 100%. My brother was always the baby. To this day, my brother is still the baby despite being 24 years old. In the divorce, my mom and dad split custody. My mom didn't see my brother for the longest time during the procedures, and if she did, it was only briefly. During this time my brother had a serious accident; he was rollerblading across a parking lot when he was hit by a truck that was trying to avoid the stoplight. He was sent to a hospital an hour away from his home with a fractured skull. My parents were told that he would either die or have serious mental problems. He was in surgery for a long time while they carefully put his shattered skull back in place. My brother not only survived, but also never lost his ability to function. He sometimes has trouble remembering things from his childhood but his accident when he was 14 never stopped him from doing well in school and graduating from a technical college. His recovery was miraculous.

My brother was also the first and only boy on my dad's side of the family in that generation, and he was the first boy born on my mom's side. My first boy cousin wasn't even born for another 5 or so years. My brother was special because of this. He was spoiled on both sides, but especially my dad's side because he was the gleaming hope that our surname would live on, while me and my two female cousins were dubbed not as special. We also lived closer to my paternal grandparents than my cousins.

I do feel a little jealous of my brother, and this has always made me strive to be as best as I can so that my parents acknowledge my worth as well. This isn't to say that they don't think I'm worthy, or special, but part of me has always felt I have had to compete against him, for attention and praise. This is why I spent my time focusing on school. I was a lot better at school than my brother. I was terrible at math, but everything else I pulled high marks. I went to university while my brother did not. I came out with a bachelor of science.

But, even my own graduation was over shadowed. I was sickened by the fact that my brother, who stayed in high school for an extra year, was going to graduating the same year as me from his college. I had worked 4 years for my degree and he was in his program for 2. My graduation got rained out because the university I went to prided itself on being environmental, green and close to nature. Our convocation was supposed to be held outside. It started to hail as soon as we got to our chairs outside the library. The grads were ushered into the biggest auditorium the school had. It only sat 300 people. The parents were told to go wait at the reception hall. Nobody saw us cross the stage to get our diplomas. We were congratulated by the dean and principal amongst each other and not our families. We had to walk back to them as the rain poured down. All the food had been eaten by the bored parents. When we decided to leave, the sun came out.

The next month, I went to my brother's graduation. The college rented out a hockey arena in the town. There was plenty of seats. The graduation would go on rain or shine. I was jealous.

Even in the things I excel at, my mom sometimes chooses him over me. I will show the ponies all year but when it comes to the big end of the year show in Toronto at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, my mom will pass over all my hard work and have my brother show the ponies instead of me, earning him the glory when they win the ribbons.

To this day, I'm not as jealous as I used to be as a kid. Sometimes I get frustrated that he appears to be better treated than myself. I realize he is special, just like I am special to them as well. But being the eldest who always did what she was told and did well, I sometimes resent that I have to strive hard to make myself feel justified.

A Back To School, Back To Blogging Post
Kludgy Mom

My Love/Hate Relationship with Thunderstorms

When I am talking to someone about an on coming or occuring thunderstorm, I usually say "Thunderstorms suck" and the other person in the conversation usually replies "I love thunderstorms". I realize that saying they suck is a negative statement, but I actually do love thunderstorms. But at the same time, I hate them. How can this be? I've decided after last night's light show, that lasted from 12:30 AM to aprroximately 3:30 AM, I would speak my mind about thunderstorms.

I LOVE thunderstorms because thunderstorms are fascinating to watch. If you have ever been as lucky to be able to see one forming over a lake, you know this already. I used to live across from Lake Ontario, and it was always a great joy to sit outside in the summer and watch the storms brewing. Lightning has always been exciting to see, not just the flashes in the sky but the actual cracking bolts that strike down into the earth (as long as you are no where near them).

But I also find thunderstorms to be annoying.
  • Thunderstorms mean more work. If it is really bad out, then most of the ponies have to come in. Usually the ponies are outside for the majority of the time. Which means the stalls don't have to be cleaned. As soon as they are brought it, it's extra work. You have to prepare the stalls for them, and then clean them back up the next day ontop of everything else that has to be done here.
  • Thunderstorms make my dogs nuts. Anyone with a dog probably knows this already, but most dogs are crazy when it comes to thunderstorms. I've had a few dogs who didn't care, and even my dogs weren't insane over them until the last two years. They run down into the bsaement, panting and whining. I made the mistake of letting Maggie in my room last night. She climbed onto my bed, stepping on my head in the process because she wouldn't wait for me to move to let her onto the bed. She then panted in my ear last night and tried to shove me off the bed. I kicked her out once, and then my step dad let her back in. I got her to get out of my room when I went to go check on the horses.
  • Thunderstorms mean getting up in the middle of the night and putting the ponies away in the rain if they are unexpected. This happens in the day too but you can see a storm coming, so you at least get some time to do this before it pours.
  • Thunderstorms will keep me up if I do not fall asleep before them. If they start before I fall asleep, goodbye beauty rest.
  • In horror movies, bad things always happen during thunderstorms! Haha.
  • Internet always gets knocked out during storms because we have satelite internet. Satelite tv usually goes out too. Rarely does the power go out, but in a country setting where all you can do after dark is read, watch tv or go on the internet, this is murder, especially if it goes out at an early hour like 8 or 9.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Topless Robot T-Shirt, Oh yeah!

I don't usually win things. I mean, I have won ribbons and awards for showing horses and some elementary school activities but I don't usually win contests. I have occasionally won raffles prizes, but when it comes to selecting something I submitted, not so much.

However, I finally have won something, and it was an momentous occasion for me. I didn't even think I was going to win anything, but maybe get an honourable mention.

I try to enter most of the Topless Robot contests on Fridays. I've probably entered every contest since I started reading the website. Sometimes I don't because I can't really relate to the contest but I do try and put an effort in. The prize is a shrit with the Topless Robot logo on it. I know it doesn't mean much to the general population, but to readers of the site, and lovers of all nerd things, it is a coveted piece.

One particular Friday, TR had a contest on 80s cartoon haikus. You could enter as many times as you wanted. There was a challenge though; TR had never broke 1000 comments before. If we made it to 1000 comments, extra shirts would be awarded. At this time I had started contributing to the comments at SOHB. I had already been a reader there, but now the blog was booming with activity. It was decided by those who frequented both SOHB and TR that we would try and help the goal of 1000 comments. The contest lasts Friday night until Monday at 12 AM. All weekend we submitted our own haikus, and any comments we had about submitted haikus were done in haiku style. By Saturday we had rolled the comments over to 1000. It was then decided we could probably double it by the deadline. One commenter said he had about 300 haikus to add, so if we got up to 1700 we'd be set. By Sunday night, approximately an hour or two from midnight, we had made 2100 post.

I spent a good deal of my time contributing real haikus and haikus about the contest. Here's the original post and its comments. It took almost a week to get the results in. This is what TR editor Rob Bricken had to say:

Let's start with who the winners aren't: Not me. Not me.

Yes, I asked for you Topless Roboteers to see if you could manage to get to 1,000 comments (not entries, necessarily, but comments). And yes, you all were cool enough to do that. But then... then you kept going. And going, and going, and going, and holy shit there were 2100 comments in last weekend's TR contest.

And many entries contained more than one haiku (one entry in particular had 250, but we'll get to that), of course. Sure, not every comment contained a haiku or limerick about '80s cartoons, almost all of them were written in haiku anyways. People were having whole conversations -- about the contest, about Smurf sex, about the power of breasts, about anything -- in haiku. It was truly amazing... and totally awful, since I had to read them all.

After trying to ignore the contest all day Tuesday with booze, I finally finished judging the results at about 1:30 am last night. As promised, there will be extra shirts awarded, but be warned -- with so many entries, I had to be insanely picky, or else it would have taken even longer to judge. There's a lot of awesome shit that couldn't make the cut. Also, there's probably some awesome stuff I missed, again, because 2100 entries, dammit. With that caveat, let's start the Honorable Mentioning.

As I read through the Honorable Mentions, I didn't see my posting handle "ThePirateStar". Just as well, I thought. I had hoped to at least get a mention because I did try most of the weekend to bump up the comment count along with the rest of the TR Superfriends (as we are now called) from SOHB. There were probably about 1500 haikus to go through that had to do with 80s themselves, so picking winners was not an easy task. How could you choose 6 winners? What would you look for in a haiku that makes it stand out above the rest? With 2000 comments, there was likely to be repeats in themes. I went ahead and clicked onto the next page for more mentions and the winners. And that is when I saw it.

Before I get to the winners, I need to make some Special Mentions. There's absolutely no way that this contest would have gotten to 1,000 comments, let alone 2,000, without a group who have dubbed themselves the Topless Robot Superfriends. Again, these are people who had whole conversations entirely in haiku, padding out the comment count, but also exhorting other Topless Roboteers to reach this lofty, insane goal. These include DoctorSmashy, Scooter Atreides, Abraxas, Mostly Different, Jedisilk, Ttoplessnerd and ThePirateStar.

All of these guys already have shirts, with the exception of the lady trio of Jedisilk, Ttoplessnerd and ThePirateStar, who I'm now dubbing Rob's Angels (yes, I will have them performing bizarre missions for me in ludicrous outfits beginning next Monday). Additionally, Jedisilk and ThePirateStar did manage gems like these:

ThePirateStar said:
Powerglide my love
Taught me everything I know
Jedisilk said:
Look up! A Rainbow
Care Bear stomachs shot great light.
Such drugs were taken.

Care bears love children.
Care Bear Cousins love them too.
"Love" ran down their legs
...along with conversations like these.
ThePirateStar said:
We really are one
weird generation, wonder
how we'll run the world

Jedisilk replied to ThePirateStar:
We will run the world
like we run everything else:
from our computers.

ThePirateStar replied to Jedisilk:
There is so much truth
In that one haiku reply
I am enlightened
For their cleverness and shockingly hard work, I'm awarding them shirts. Unfortunately, Ttoplessnerd didn't manage to write any haiku about the subject matter, although she did post several hundred haiku in conversation. You guys can tell me whether you think that deserves a shirt or not.

Of course, I'm not just awarding shirts for effort or being sexxxy ladies. Besides those two, I'm awarding three more shirts (and if you think that I'm not playing fair, again, without Jedisilk and ThePirateStar, we probably wouldn't have gotten to 1,000 in the first place).

I had won a t-shirt! Not just for my 80 haiku attempts, but for helping out in the challenge! I was estatic. It was thrilling to know that our haiku conversations were recognized for the work and time we put into getting to the goal.

I requested a ladies cut in medium, because I wasn't sure how the sizes would run and I happen to be top heavy. An email came to notify it had been sent last week. And it finally came in!

The colour is much better than it shows in pictures. The logo is fantastic. The fit is well, very form fitting! When Jedisilk received her shirt, she mentioned that it was actually a Youth/Junior cut tshirt and not a ladies cut. My t-shirt is a little tight across the chest, but it is a great length. It is not a baby doll tee and therefore goes down to the hips. I can't wait to wear it out to my next geek social, s I will proudly wear my TR shirt. Maybe no one will understand what it means, but it might interest them in checking the website out.
Not a flattering picture, I know.

For the winners and Honourable Mentions of the '80s Cartoon Haikus, go here. Some are a little perverted, just to warn you!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Nerdy Songs

While I was Youtubing, I noticed that I have a quite a few songs on my list that I would call nerdy. They are not parodies, or songs about nerds. They're just, well, nerdy! I do love songs about nerds, and nerdy parodies, but I feel these rather stand out on their own.

This isn't to say these are the only nerdy songs out there, since I am sure there's quite a few! Here's just a couple that I enjoy. Videos under the jump.

Avast, it's International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Ahoy landlubbers, tis your Captain speaking!

If ye had not known by now, it be International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Ye can find more information about this holiday by click here.

Ye best be talking the old tongue of pirates t'day, else you may have to walk the plank like the scurvy rat ye are!

But, if ye are not savvy enough for the lingo, might I suggest some other ways to celebrate TLAPD:

Watch a pirate movie! Here's some suggestions:

Dress like a pirate, it's always fun!

Make pirate cookies!

Drink some grog!

Or just change your Facebook layout to "English: Pirate" for the day!

No matter what ye decide to do, be safe in ye travels in the seven seas!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I've posted about being a nerd a couple of times on this blog, but I just wanted to reinforce the image onto you all.

One of my favourite nerd loves is Batman. I am currently subsceibing to "The Return of Bruce Wayne" and picking up Batman Trades. I have a list of them I wrote down that I am still aiming to get like the Knightfall Trilogy, Haunted Knight, Hush, Batman RIP. Also I'm going to be subscribing to the new Batwoman when it comes out in November, and picking up the one shots of Batman's return from RoBW and Final Crisis.

To here is what I have to date:
Batman pillow plus, Batman: The Animated Series plush
Baman logo t-shirt
Batman logo belt buckle
Seasons 1-4 of Batman:The Animated Series
Final Crisis
Return of Bruce Wayne Issues 1-4
Batman: Year One
The Dark Knight Returns
Red Rain: Batman VS Dracula
The Long Halloween
Dark Victory
Batman Vs Mr. Freeze: Subzero
Batman and the Mask of the Phantasm
Batman and the Mystery of Batwoman
The Batman Anthology (Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman and Robin)
Batman Begins
The Dark Knight

No shown:
World's Greatest Detective (Bob Kane collection)
A red Batman pillow
The Batman Collection (which is all the movies in the Anthology but the Anthology DVDs came with an extra disc each with special features. Batman Anthology came out a few months after I bought the Batman Collection, sigh)
Batman Keychain
Batman Christmas Ornament
Batman Logo Hoodie
Old School Batman Logo shirt
Batgirl symbol shirt

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reusable Tote Bag from Japan

I mentioned last week I was still waiting for a [ackage in the mail. It seems I am doing that a lot this year.

While visiting the fabulous Linnie Deluxe, she tuned me into a shop on Etsy that specializies in reusable tote bags. She saw one with a horse pattern on it that she said was totally me. The next day after our visit, I checked it out and decided to buy it.

Etsy is a wonderful place, but terrible for a spender like me! I had held off on buying things on Etsy for a long time, not because I didn't like anything I saw, I just knew I'd go crazy with spending. A lot of the things I want to buy on Etsy are little plushes, but I know I can sadly live without them.

Buy buying something useful? I can totally justify that.

The shop is CraftTokyoMama and she always has really nifty prints!

After I ordered the tote, she wrote to me to tell me she put it in the mail and it should arrive in about a week. After two weeks I decided to just send her a little note asking if there was any tracking number on the package. I also said it may have been customs, but Etsy had been asking me for feedback and I just thought I'd let her know why I hadn't left any yet. She was a little surprised it hadn't come yet, but since I told her we had a holiday here, it may just be a little late. She told me that if it didn't arrive, she could make me the tote with the same fabric and re-send it. I told her I didn't mind waiting, and that I would hate for her to send the tote and the first one arrives! Well, just my luck, it arrived today!

I wrote her back telling her to no longer worry. It was pretty sweet of her to offer to make and send another tote, even though the delay in transcation was not her fault at all. I am pretty sure this is why this gal has 100% feedback.

Anyways, so on to the package! It arrived in a cute little package with decorative Japanese stamps.

Inside, the bag was wrapped in beautiful plastic tissue.

She wrote me a little handwritten note thanking me for my purchase and wishing many years of enjoying my re-usable tote. And then I unwrapped my tote bag. The fabric is just stunning.

The description of the tote on the shop was:

"This 100% cotton reusable shopping bag features beautifully detailed paintings of horses that are each a work of art unto themselves. Absolutely gorgeous!

Perfect for grocery shopping or wrapping that special gift, this large tote bag folds up into a very compact 4 x 2 inch roll that fits perfectly in a purse or pocket so you can always have a bag with you.

Laid flat, this bag measures 11 x 14.5 inches (28 x 37 cm) and has gussets that lets the base expand to a full 6 inches. Eight one-liter milk cartons fit perfectly inside with plenty of extra room for more groceries.

This bag is unlined with fully enclosed seams and a matching elastic band sewn right on to keep it rolled up tight and tidy.

Machine wash and dry for years of use! "

It's a little smaller in width than I expected, but it doesn't really matter because there is a gusset that makes the bag wider when you put things in it.

I'm still having a little trouble figuring out how to roll it up to fit it in my purse though, haha.

Overall, I'm really happy with this bag. It's a great size for books amd it's not bulky which is always a plus in my books! I love that is can be compacted because I do last minute stops at grocery stores and never think to bring bags with me. I always forget to put my reusable bags back in my car after using them, or I forget to bring them in the store with me! A lot of other stores are adopting this 5 cents for bags policy so maybe I'll have to pick up another one!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Can a Comic Book Be a Good Movie? A Look at "The Watchmen"

(Cross Posted to Scooter's Ordinary, Healthy Blog)

I have to start off by saying that I was a late comer into comics. Since I lived in the country, our shopping was pretty limited to groceries and whenever my mom would drag us to a mall. I never got to browse downtown shops and discover comics on my own. My first introduction to Batman, The X-Men and Spiderman were all through visual media. The only comics I actually saw and bought until I was 20 was Archie Digests that you could pick up at the check out line.

With that, I probably bought a few trades when I was 20 and never really got back into it. Only this year did I begin to seriously build a trade collection and subscribe to comics. I dated a few guys who liked comics and suggested I read some. Watchmen was always on their list, and was something I did want to read. When the movie came out, I knew for sure I wanted to read it. Whether it was before or after I saw it, it didn't matter.

When Watchmen came out, I was working in a different city. My friends saw it without me and said they didn't like it. I ended up not seeing it theatres.

I tried borrowing the graphic novel from some friends, but it never came around. I finally borrowed it from a friend that I met in University, shortly after we started hanging out again after 5 years. I read the comic in a night. I was up until 2 AM. I bought myself my own copy a few months later.

I mentioned I wanted to see the movie, but the only person I knew with it had it on Blue Ray. I meant to rent it but it never came around to it. Only yesterday when I mentioned to that same friend I still had not seen The Watchmen while we were at the comic book store, did he bring it over for us to watch.

I didn't have any expectations for the Watchmen. I heard it was bad from friends and critics alike. I heard that Alan Moore was not impressed that anyone was making a movie on it. I heard that there were some issues with the studio and it almost wasn't released.

We watched the Director's Cut, and my god was it long. I hadn't realized it was the Director's Cut until he told us two hours into the movie when I remarked it was quite long, longer than I had imagined. Once I finished the film, I loved it. I went out and bought it the very next day. I ended up getting the theatrical release but I would like to get the Director's Cut at some point. Tonight I watched the theatrical version.

What I liked:
(Spoilers likely)

1) For the most part the film, ESPECIALLY the Director's Cut, followed the graphic novel fairly well. The ending was different, but it was an ending I didn't think was too bad. It really did emphasize some of the major themes of the graphic novel, such as the price of peace. Sure, we would have all like to have seen the octopus alien but I found using Dr.Manhattan instead to be a smart move. Since you cannot count on every person actually reading the graphic novel, a general audience would have a better time accepting Ozymandias blackmailing Dr.Manhattan. He already had screwed over his other fellow Watchmen to execute his plan to save the world, so why not the big blue man?

2) The soundtrack was amazing. I kept mentioning how much I loved the use of the songs in the film, such as Bob Dylan's "Times Are A Changing", Hendrix's "All Along The Watch Tower", Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" (my personal favourite) - I could go on!

3) The opening credit sequence. I think that an opening sequence sets the mood, narrative and the expectations for a film. If you cannot grab an audience in those first few minutes of a movie, then you've lost them. How many times has a movie started off so slow, you wonder about the quality of the film. I thought Watchmen's credits started off with a bang.The way that scene opened up, flowed and packed in so much detailed information in such a short period of time blew me away. It really set the film and explained how we got to where are when we start the experience.

4) The characters were true to their graphic novel counterparts. I found each actor and actress casted for their roles to be well suited. Billy Crudup was excellent at being the emotion-free sounding Manhattan. Jackie Haley's Rorschach had a better Batman voice than Bale. Patrick Wilson and Jeffery Dean Morgan were hands down my favourites, but they also did play my favourite characters in the graphic novel so that is a bit biased.

5) The attention to detail. Some of my favourite scenes from the graphic novel was in the movie, and done so well. One of my favourites is when Silk Spectre and Nite Owl are on Mars, and peel away each other's naked skin to reveal their costumed selves. Other well done scenes from the graphic novel: Manhattan's sanctuary on Mars, The retelling of Rorchach's past through the therapist, Ozymandias' Egyptian obsession.

6) The costumes were great. It's one thing to see super hero costumes in comics, another to see them in film. With disasters like Batman and Robin, it was great to see how these costumes turned up for this film. I also loved how Adrian's costume mocked B&R.

I could say more, but I don't want to get too repetitive here. I really liked Watchmen. But why would other people not like it? Well, I think I get it. First, hardcore purists will never like it. It's not exact. But how many movies are? Not many by my count. Even my favourite movies based on books are still not 100%, even if the screenplay is written by the author themselves (Such as The Last Unicorn for example). Some things just cannot be done through visual media as well as it can in the written or illustrated form. I get that. I really do. But for what its worth, Zack Snyder tried. He even hoped that Alan Moore would watch it and give it his approval. And if Moore is against it, then his biggest fans are going to be too, even without seeing it. And even if they did see it, I am sure they are picky enough to find the smallest problems and blow them up to justify why they didn't like the movie.

And then there's the general public, the ones that haven't read the graphic novel. Watchmen is a pretty long graphic novel, and there's a lot too it. Obviously it all cannot be condensed, and there are slow parts that are important to the film. I think a lot of people went in expecting an action film with super heroes, as they are lead to believe through the trailers. If they don't know anything about the Watchmen, then to them it is boring, and slow. And the Director's Cut is pretty friggin long. It's a lot to take in. Heck, the theatrical version clocks in at 2 hours and 45 minutes. The Director's Cut is about 24 minutes of footage. But after watching both the versions, those extra 24 minutes added into the story's depth. I was sad to see some scenes cut out, some lines missing. In the end, I think the Director's Cut is a better choice to watch if you love the story.

But yet, looking at Internet Movie Data Base, the first couple of reviews are positive. The User Rating for it is 7.8/10 with 23% of the votes at 10, and 3.6% at 1. 87% of the votes are above a vote of 5. So clearly this movie couldn't have been that hated.

Even though I have read the novel, I think I'm going to read it again. One of my friends who turned me on to it said "It's one of those books that you can read over and over again and find something else, that you missed the first time". Hell, I think it is the same with the movie. I personally am watching the movie for the second time, albeit a different version because I think I missed something, even with already knowing the ending!

This leads me back to my original reason for writing up this review. Can a comic book be a good movie? This is something rehashed over and over again, and I am sure what I am saying is nothing new. It's pretty difficult to make one it seems. Directors have to appeal to two different audiences and make it so they can both meet in the middle. Fans of comic book series are so obsessed with the attention to details while the general audience wants something they can follow without having to know any of the background before they watch the movie. Obviously this has caused a great deal of criticism from comic book enthusiasts who feel a movie should be a true form. For something that had to appeal to both those crowds without leaving anyone behind, and carefully selecting what had to be there, what had to be cut and what needed to be added, I think the Watchmen did an excellent job. So, my apologies to Alan Moore, please don't hurt me, but I thought this movie was as close to the graphic novel as you can in this media, and did a damn good job of pulling it off.

Also, that sex scene... totally blew my socks off.

The Joltess Out.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Some House Keeping

I've been neglecting my blog lately, and that is not something I want to get into a habit of doing. However, I have a couple of updates related to this blog that I thought everyone should know about.

First up, I am a contributer to another blog called "Scooter's Ordinary, Healthy Blog". It is a get-together for the commenters of Topless Robot to go to for some general wackiness as to not overload TR with comments (which we are all quite good at).

It was with this gang that two of us were able to win shirts at TR for our contributions at last week's weekend contest. I will be posting pictures of me in said shirt as soon as it arrives.

Next, I have enrolled in a blogging course hosted by Kludgy Mom. It is a 6 week course called "Back to School, Back to Blogging" that will cover a lot of blogging basics and how to improve your blog. My good friend Linnie tweeted about it a few days ago, and so we're both going to be attending this course. It is a read-write-share formula so a lot of my 'homework' is going to be posted here I imagine. That means more bloggy goodness, and hey, maybe even more readers. But my main goal for this course is to just make a better blog and figure out what direction I want to go with it. I am also hoping to put my skills to use over at Scooter's.

The course runs from September 12th to October 22nd. It will utilize a lot of other social medial tools like Twitter, TweetDeck (which I just got and love a lot better than just refreshing Twitter all day), BlogFrog, and Stumble Upon.

I hope to be bringing you a few posts in the future both on MLCP and SOHB. However, taking off this weekend so there won't be anything until Monday maybe.

In the next few days, when the mail cooperates, there will be some reviews. I am still waiting on my Eco Bag from Etsy that is coming from Japan, and The Last Unicorn #3 will be arriving sometime in the beginning of October. I also have a couple of movies arriving soon to be reviewed.

Kludgy Mom

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hurray a rant!

I am like many people my age. I was convinced to go to university, since the world would be my oyster if I had a degree. If I wanted a career, this was a MUST. They don't really tell you that no matter what you get a degree in, you'll likely have to follow up with a Masters to get what you really want to do. This means spending more money and time at school while the rest of the world is growing up. When you come out of school, whether it is your undergrad, a diploma/certificate or your Masters, you end up finding "Hey, there are no actual jobs out there". Okay, there are jobs, but not the one you were looking to find. They exist, yes, but someone else has been in that position for twenty years and at the rate of the economy, they aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

So then you have to weigh your options. Do I go back to school for another job prospect? Hey, why not! So that's what I did. A year at school, a year on the job and I found out it's not what I really wanted to do. So now I have a degree that cost me 10k and is way too general, and a diploma that is way too specific. I browse through the want ads, and I see openings for jobs with degrees. Oh boy! Oh wait, you want a degree in Business or Communication. Next please. Oh look, no experience necessary, some college required. Oh, but you want me to sell something over the phone. Hmm. Not what I had in mind.

I currently do make money, working for the family but it's not what I want to do. I appreciate making money, but it feels like such a waste of my potential. Yet, looking through the jobs I can't find anything that really suits me (Customer Service Representative... No) or that is worth my time (Pouring coffee from 1 AM to 4 PM, not what I went to Unviersity for). I realize that getting started in a career is hard. Very hard. It's hard to just get your foot in the door and you know you end up getting positions where you're making peanuts but MAYBE someone will boost your career with the experience or will know someone who can hire you for bigger and better things in that field.

Since I work at home, I am constantly being told that I need to get out and get a better job. No, not a job. A career. I ask these inquirers if they know where the careers are because I certainly don't see them. Sure I can hop on Monster.Ca and apply for all the waitress jobs and house cleaner jobs that I want and maybe find employment but it's not a career. Careers aren't that easy to come by anymore. And sometimes I don't know what would suit me as a career. I know what I like to do and I know what I hate to do. Things I like to do are: research, counsel, problem solve, write reports, learn, educate, explain, coordinate, organize. You'd think that would be easy enough to peg hole into.

I've thought about going back to school but I've already been burned once (or twice) by the current education system. Colleges and Universities clamor for your hard earned money, promising that getting an education with them will open up a whole world of opportunities for you. Heck, they even have a 93% success rate, meaning that 93% of their graduates find jobs within 6 months of graduating. Isn't that wonderful!? What they don't tell you is that it's any kind of employment. A graduate of business can go and start working at a coffee shop and that's employment. The education system works! You have a job! Hurray!

It's based on that fact alone that I am weary about going to school again. I check out the projected stats in my province but it still does not guarantee a job, or that after you spend 2 years getting that education that a job will open up for you. The jobs I really want to do have about 500 people all wanting that same spot. Sometimes I don't think the risk is worth it. I may be out $5000 and then there's a class of 25 new whatevers out in the world, but only 10 jobs and then I have to go back to working at home again, or getting a retail job at the mall? No thank you. I wish I had the confidence in the working world to believe that if I get X certificate, I will have a job. But it's my uncertainty that makes me balk.

My family wants to start up another business venture but I'm unsure about it. I have so many questions and want to know where you can move up in it. It has to do with law, and I would love to pursue law, or paralegal but as I explained before, a little iffy on the whole thing.

In the midst of it all, I applied for a seasonal position at something I went to university for. Unfortunately they want me to relocate. And unfortunately it's for less than a month. And unfortunately it's less pay than I'm getting at home. The only upside is that it would give me experience in the field, and MAY lead to other opportunities. Or it might not. My family thinks I should turn it down because with the cost of living, I'd be making less than what I make now. But at the same time, it's a new experience, it's not for very long, and it might help me in the long run. Or it will cause me to lose out on some money because I'll be paying out more than I take in, and I might not get any job leads afterwards. I've been asked for a telephone interview for tomorrow and I'm scared. I haven't replied yet. I know I should soon. But I have no idea what to do. Take my losses and get some experience or stay here and hope something better happens with this new business deal. Both may help me get into a better career.

Until then, I'm sitting in my pajamas, waiting for phone calls to happen, but the market is dead. This is NOT what University prepared me for!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I think I found a good vet

Growing up, we had a farm vet that would come out to our place and treat all our animals. The horses wereusually the main reasons for his house calls, but while he was there he would vaccinate our dogs and cats, and provide medication if we needed them for the smaller animals.

When we moved up here, we switched to a clinic that only treated horses. Our dogs and cats didn't really get looked at as much. The vets would give them rabies shots, but that was about it. If there was an emergency with the dogs, they were taken to a vet clinic in the city but our cats never really seemed to have any health problems, The only time they saw a vet was to get their reproductive rights taken away from them.

While I was away, my mom brought home three kittens. They're roughly two months old and their mother was hit by a car on August 13th (Go figure). When I came home, I noticed that were were sniffling and sneezing. After this has gone on for a week and their eyes started to get gunked up, I decided to consult my cat savvy friends and ask them their opinion. Internet searches were worrisome. Two of the little kittens had eyes swollen shut and two had little runny noses.I was quoted $70 for a consultation fee and maybe $30-40 for medication. I mulled it around a bit. I have spent $100 easily on clothes, surely I can afford to make sure three precious lives are taken care of. I booked an appointment for Sunday.

Today I snuck them out under a guise of helping my friend in the city with her cat (in case I was questioned about putting the cat box in my car). After what felt like a long wait (dogs kept jumping the que for emergencies I guess), I finally was seen by the vet. He looked at my kittens and told me that they were beautiful. Once he looked at all their eyes, ears and noses, he showed me one with a slightly runny nose. The discharge was clear so he wasn't too worried. he said what the rule of thumb was as long as the muscus wasn't green and pus-y, there was no need to put them on antibiotics. He did suggest I use eye cream because their eyes were gunky. The eye drops were only $15. He told me that if I saw them getting worse, I could just call and they would set out some medication for me, and I wou;dn't have to bring them in or get charged a consultation fee. He also did not push vaccinations on me, because the kittens were sick. He said it would be better to wait and bring them back in for them. He also confirmed that they were all little girls, so now they can have names! One has already been dubbed Tobi by my mom, but the other two are up in the air. My mom wants to call one Muffin. SIGH.

I really enjoyed going to a vet office where my bill was still under $100 and unnecessary services were not pushed on me for the sake of making a buck. I can't wait to tell my mom who said she 'knew vets' and they would push pills onto me

Friday, September 3, 2010

Louisbourg Day 5 & 6

I decided to lump Friday and Saturday together since Saturday wasn't much about Louisbourg.

Friday, August 27th 2010 (Day 5)

7:10 AM
I woke up and started packing since I was going to be leaving for Halifax from the Fortress. I had already packed up most of my stuff the night before and all I had to do was the finishing touches (you know, the toothbrush and toothpaste deal). Once it was all packed up, I dragged my suitcase and two bags down three flights of stairs and popped them in the car.

8:00 AM
Went down for breakfast and asked how to check out. They told me we were having french toast and since I had already had it during my stay, I could choose something else if I wished. I told him it was fine and I'd jut have the french toast again. I like french toast, so it was no big deal. I was just glad it wasn't the Island Bake again.

8:30 AM
I agreed to drive Larry to the site, and drop him off as I was leaving town. Bruce Fry stopped into our B&B looking for a couple who had sneaked into the lecture we were having at the Chevlier House. We weren't quite sure how they got in there since we were pretty careful not to let the public visiting the fortress in. Bruce told us that we were going to look at some siege sites outside the Fortress area so we should all meet up at the Visitor Centre parking lot and inside of it. We were also leaving after hours so we had to make sure we got our cars down to the Fortress since they locked up place after hours.

8:45 AM
On the way to the Fortress, Larry told me that we should pull over and check out Wolfe's Ridout. A ridout is a camp they would have made to prepare their troops for the siege. It was about a 5 minute walk. We quickly checked it out. When we met up with the others, Bruce asked us what had taken since we left before him. I told him Larry wanted to take a side tour.

9:00 to 10:00 AM
Bruce drove us around, stopping the cars every once and awhile so we could go out and explore. Since it had rained all day Thursday, the area was marshy and wet. The natural environment had over taken the siege sites and it was very hard to see what was left. We went to a ridout called Green Hill which was a valuable camp for the British since you could get a clear view of the Fortress. Back in 1758, this area would have been totally cleared of the trees.

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
The others were eager to get back to digging, but I wasn't. I had already found something better than iron nails and glass. The site was slightly flooded as well due to the rain. I decided to stay back with the collections manager and help label and catalogue the artifacts. Most of it was writing on pottery shards and glass bits, but I enjoyed it. We had some tea, and talked about this and that. We decided we'd go to the site around lunch to see what was going on with the others. I wanted to explore the rebuilt town a little bit more. We got a chance to see stuff during the week, but there were still some places not yet ventured. Since the program had a "Do What You Want" attitude, it wasn't a problem.

12:00 PM
We went out with the lunches to the site. I went over to the site to find out what had been found (nothing) and inform them that lunch had arrived. They grudgingly left their work for food.

1:00 PM
We all went back to the site. I hung out for a bit, but then left to go look for the blacksmith from the day before. Hubba hubba.

1:30 to 2:30 PM
For an hour I went about the site, snapping as many pictures as I could of buildings, exhibits and people. I cursed myself for not charging my camera like I should have, since it was dying quickly. I talked to a few of the interpreters and while I didn't see the whole site, I felt like I had seen enough to get a feel of the place. I also picked up some more souveniers for people because I didn't have too much success in town. I took my stuff back to my car so I wouldn't have to carry it around with me all day. I walked back to the Chevalier House because I was going to go deo some more catalouging when I ran into Bruce on the way back. He said that he was just getting Heidi the collections manager and they were driving up to the site and I could catch a ride with them if I wanted to.

2:30 PM to 3:10 PM
I went back to the site and helped people shift their their dirt, which was now mud. It was a lot harder to find artifacts this way since they were all covered in mud. There were about 2-3 of us working on a bucket at a time.

3:10 PM
We packed up everything and the archaeology crew began covering the sites. We took our equipment back to the Chevalier House. During the week it stayed in the equipment tent. Once we arrived back the the Chevalier House, we were told we were going to go to one of the exhibits about fortification and the military before we met up for dinner at the L'Epee Royal, the upper class restaurant, at 4:30.

4:00-4:30 PM
We explored this little house with some artifacts of the remaining walls, drums and military explanations. We then walked to the L'Epee Royal.

4:30 to 6:00 PM
The meal was on the Program, so we didn't have to pay for alcoholic drinks like we had to Wednesday. I had a glass of red wine with my meal. We had the same type of soup from Wednesday, and we were also served fresh baked buns. The choice was turkey or salmon and I wanted something diffeernt. We were given a big bowl of rice, and Paul and I were given a plate of turkey with a wild mushroom and carrot dressing. Dessert was the same little brownie, but it was good.

6:00 to 7:00 AM

We went back to Chevalier House to pick up the rest of our stuff. After we all went to our cars and drove out to an area called Black Rock. This was a huge rock that over looked the Atlantic Ocean. We stayer there for awhile, snapping photos. I agreed to drive a couple people back into town. Paul's ride showed up at 5:30 and likely left him, so I told him I'd drive him back to Sydney since it wasn't really out of my way too much. I was driving to Halifax airport that night, with the unhappy event of sleeping in the airport since I had a 6:45 AM flight back to Toronto.

7:00 PM
We all said our goodbyes. I dropped off people and said my goodbyes to them. We had all given each other our emails to keep in touch and share photos.

8:00 PM
By 8:00 PM I driven to Sydney. I dropped off Paul and gased up the car for the first time in Nova Scotia, which I was a little impressed by. I spent the entire time driving straight through to Saturday...

Saturday August 28th, 2010 (Day 6)

12:30 AM
I arrived at the airport but like an idiot I went in the wrong lane. I had to find the gas station too since I was required to leave the car with a full tank of gas. I ended up driving up to the commercial car lane and an airport worked helped me out. I found the gas station at the airport and it was CLOSED. Ugh. I popped in gas station in my GPS I had brought along and it directed me to a gas station 10 KM away. I drove out to this gas station to have my credit card denied at the pump. I went to another pump, gassed up and had to pay at the window.

1:00 AM
I finally got to the rental car drop off at the airport. I pulled everything out of the car and repacked some stuff. I had not packed my mugs yet so I wanted to wrap them up well. I checked the car over for anything else that belonged to me. I was scared that the airport may be closed since I didn't think there were many flights coming in this late. I dropped the keys off into the drop off box, and prayed that they wouldn't charge me for the stupid stone chips out the window that were already on the stupid car in the first place.

1:30 AM to 2:00 AM
I walked around the airport, looking for the places I had to be in the morning. Wet Jet would not allow me to check in at their kisosks so I had to wait until the morning. I wanted to check my bags so I wouldn't have to sleep with them but I lucked out. I found a spot by the security that was also near a bunch of shops and an indoor playground for kids. There was also a wifi table so I logged in to check some stuff. I curled up on a bench with my three bags positioned so if someone attempted to take my stuff, I would have been awoken. I woke up three times; once because I was cold so I had to fish a sweater out of my suitcase, and twice because that was the time people were polishing the floor. At one point I grabbed all my stuff and slept on the floor because I was tired of getting bench marks on my legs since I stupidly wore khakis that day.

4:15 AM
By this time, people were coming into the airport. I awoke to the security staff talking. Since I was scared of being asked to move, I decided to wake up and go check my bags. I checked in on my laptop at the airport with its wifi when the kisok wouldn't let me so I had to obtain a boarding pass while I was checking my bag. I got one and was told I should get through security now since it would probably get busy soon. Boarding was at 6:10 AM.

4:30 to 6:10 AM
I got through security like a zombie. I got a little nervous when they took awhile to scan my laptop. I went to my gate and hung out there for a bit. When other people started getting Tim Hortons, I decided to get up and also get some breakfast. I asked for a bacon breakfast sandwich but got a sausage one instead. I didn't really care. I got a small cappuchino to keep me up since I didn't want to fall asleep at the gate. We boarded at 6:10 AM. I was surprised that I got the same seat as my flight in; 6A. I was delighted that in a three seat aisle, I was the only one in it which was strange since it was a fairly crowded flight. As soon as I was sitting down, I put my pillow to the window. I had fallen fast asleep before the review of the safety features finished. I woke up on the flight and checked where we are. We were nearing Toronto and I couldn't really get back to sleep. I watched the tv without sound for a bit until we landed.

8:00 AM
We arrived in Toronto at 8 AM on the dot. I decided not to call Linds, who graciously was allowing me to drop my stuff there while I attempted to get into Fan Expo until I was actually ready to leave. It took me awhile to get my bags, and I got lost looking for the luggage pick up since nothing is labelled well in Terminal 3 of Pearson airport.

8:30 AM to 9:30 AM
With my bags in hand, I called Linds who told me to take the bus from the airport to the subway to the subway drop off near her place. It was wonderful to just sit down and go somewhere without having to think too hard about it, like driving haha. I had a neat little trip going from Bus to subway to car. They came and picked me up and we got breakfast (yay!)

10:00 AM to 4:00PM
We hung out for a bit, and then we decided to try to leave for Fan Expo around 1:50 PM. We took the subway to downtown and the line ups were huge. Crazy even. As much as I love Sci fi, Comic books, D&D, Gaming and Horror, I wasn't prepared to wait in line for 6 hours and pay $35 to get in, and likely only get to get an hour out of it. I knew quite a few people who were there, and I was sad I didn't get to see them but I suppose I should have planned better. I wasn't too upset about it. We went back to the house, and I called to find out when I was getting a ride back home.

5:20 PM
Linds and The Newf dropped me off at the Go Station to I could get picked up at Oshawa. I didn't want my ride to have to come get me in Toronto.

6:30 PM
Back in Oshawa, got picked up, finally arrived home! Gave people their gifts and went to bed at 9:30 PM like a wuss. Slept in until 11 AM Sunday, haha.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Louisbourg Day 4

August 26th, 2010 (Day 4)

7:10 AM
An early wake up

8:00 AM
Breakfast was a quiche, along with the usual sides.

8:45 AM to 9:30 AM
Headed for Visitor Centre, got on bus, went to Chevalier House

9:30 AM to 11:00 AM
Since it was pouring outside, we were not allowed to excavate that day. Instead we had a tour of a building called the Carrerot House that was all about architecture of the time period. After we had finished touring that exhibit we then went to the forge to talk to the Black Smith about artillary. He gave us a tour of the artillary storage area, which was known as the The Royal Magazine. He knew a lot about weapons and that is what everyone kept asking questions about haha. I was quite smitten by the blacksmith.

11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
We had a lunch at the Chevalier House. I had a deli sub and my milk was bad haha.

1:30 PM to 4:00 PM
Since we didn't get a chance to get out to the site, we had all the presentations so we could spend more time on Friday at the site. The presentations were about the siege sites located outside the fortress, fortifications and the history of 1758.

4:00 PM
With the presentations over, we were given some time to do whatever we wanted. I decided I want to tour the little museum on the site that was built in the 1930s. Inside it had a complete model of the constructed town.

5:00 PM
By this time, we arrived back at the Visitor Centre. While there, I picked up some more stuff at the gift shop. We had agreed to meet up around 7 for dinner at the Grubsteake restaurant.

5:30 to 6:10 PM
A couple of us headed out to the 19th/20th century cemetery located along the coast. After looking through it, we went to the Royal Battery once again, but this time in the daylight. It was gloomy and rainy though.

6:20 PM
We stopped by the Louisbourg Marine Museum that was about boats and what not. It smelt really weird in there so I did not stay in for long.

6:30 PM
Went to a gift shop in Town to pick up some more things for my family.

7:00 PM
We all met up at the Grubsteake for dinner. I ordered the shrimp alfredo pasta with crab cakes as an appetizer. I had an alcoholic drink called a Louisbourg Fog Lift which was pretty much a Screwdriver. But it got me a good buzz. I then had Ameretto Cheesecake for dessert.

7:45 PM
We took a walk down Louisbourg so I could go to the Nova Scotia Liquor Board so I could pick up a bottle of red wine for my parents.

8:30 PM
I went back to the B&B for a nice hot bath in the jacuzzi tub. It was wonderful and so relaxing. I took a quick rinse off to wash my hair. I then watched the Simpsons. I then uploaded my pictures to let my family know I was still alive.

11:30 PM
A nice early bed time compared to the rest of the week after a nice bath.

Louisbourg Day 3 (The best day)

Wednesday August 25th, 2010 (Day 3)

Wednesday was the best day of the entire trip for me. Costumes, artifacts and more!

7:15 AM
Woke up to beat the alarm clock.

8:00 AM
Breakfast and it was my favourite; French Toast! This french toast was rolled in whole oats. It was absolutey fantasic.

8:30 AM to 9:00 AM
Drove down to the Visitor Centre, met up with group and bussed down to the Fort.

9:00 AM to 9:30
Had our morning coffee and tea and talked about what we were doing that day. We were going to go to the costume shop to talk to the costume curator and see the costumes.

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
The curator, Elizabeth Tate, gave us a tour of the costume shop. She showed us the rooms where they kept both male and female costumes and explained some of the pieces such as the pannier which an upper class woman would wear under her dress to give her the belled hip look, and whale bone corests. We also were able to see the costumes for the men. I tried on the drummer's coat which was a justacourps, which I have always wanted. Maybe one day when I make more money I'll have one made. She took us down to a little room where they make prototypes of the costumes. They contract out the costume making but they research the design and find out what works. Once they have a prototype made, using the fabrics appropriate for the time period, they are sent off to be made. At the end of the tour, I asked if we could try on some tricorner hats. Larry joined me and we had many pictures taken.

11:00 AM
We went out to the excavation site as soon as we were finished with the costume tour. When we got there, I immediately found some iron nails. I found a piece of rock that had the tell tale sign of corroded iron on it, but I wasn't sure if tehre was anything inside. I got up to talk to the supervising archaeologist, and while I was other there, I was invited to dig in the interior area of the New England Powder Magazine. My group was digging in the exterior wall, looking for mainly glass and iron nails, but on the interior of the wall of the building they had found the floor boards, and had been finding things like buttons. The idea was that each one of us would come over while they removed the top soil and look for artifacts. Since I was already up, I was asked to participate first. At first all we found was iron and bottle glass which was different than the window glass I was previously finding. I asked if I should go get another one of the group since I had stayed for at least 3 or 4 topsoil removals. Blair, the guy I was working with who was a part of the archaeology crew told me to stay until we found something interesting.

11:30 AM
Around this time, we finally found something interesting. A tiny piece of yellow pottery could be seen in the dirt. Blair had to go into town and pick up the lunches, so he instructed another supervisor to come keep an eye on my excavation. He told her that he wanted me to excavate the piece of pottery by lunch. As he left, I began to excavate the item. The yellow glaze kept falling off, and I was instructed to keep it. I was told to put the artifacts in a dust pan as I went. I had many little pieces of chipped glaze wear covered in dirt. Finally, around 11:45 AM, I had excavated a piece of Staffordshire pottery. It was a little handle. Satisified, I asked if I should leave the site, or if I should clean up the corner of my area some more. The supervisor told me to clean it up a little, since lunch wasn't here yet.

12:10 PM
I glanced at my watch and saw it was past noon, but the lunch had not appeared yet, so I kept working. I noticed something sticking out of the ground where I was excavating. At first I thought it was a little nail. I pointed it out to my supervisor who exclaimed it was a buckle. I asked her if she wanted me to keep excavating it, or to leave it for someone else. She told me to continue. Once I got it out, I handed it to her. She told me it was near complete, then announced to the rest of the group that I had found a buckle. She then took my picture with it (the first picture in this blog). My little pottery piece was totally overshadowed by this find.

12:30 PM
Lunch had arrived and I was excited to tell everyone about my find. I didn't want to rub it in or anything, I was just excited. I had lunch, which was more exciting than the one I had yesterday (a ham sandwich). It was a chicken wrap and it was very good. I wish I had ordered another one in the week, but since we had to order before we had tasted the food, I decfided to play it safe and ordered a two ham sandwiches during the week.

1:00 PM to 3:15 PM
We went back to the site and had our group picture taken. Once our picture was taken, we went back to excavating. Everyone wanted to get into the 'prime' stuff as they were calling it amongst our group, so they could find something other than glass and iron. Unfortunately all was found was nails and glass. We were told we had to pack up early because the Fortress Association had bought us tickets to a dinner theatre event at the Fortress after dark. Since we had to meet up at 6:00, we all wanted some time to get dressed and freshened up before we went out. By the time we cleaned up, got back to the Chevalier House and sorted out rides, we all left for the bus around 4:30

5:00 PM
I went back to Cranberry Cove B&B to change my clothes, fix my make up and freshen up. Most of my pants were rather dirty by that time haha.

6:00 PM
Larry and I carpooled together back to the Fortress. All the cars had to meet up at another gate, and then we followed in a convoy back into the Fort. We were allowed to park our cars along the harbor street in the Fort, which was kind of cool.

6:30 to 9:00 PM
We had a 18th century style dinner in the Grandchamps restaurant, with an interactive play called For Love or Money going on as we ate. We had a beef stew with carrots, rice and turnips, freshly baked buns, and the entry was salmon with rice. For dessert it was a little chocolate brownie. The play was about a fisherman's daughter, Claudette, who wanted to make money so she could get married to someone with money. A guy by the name Laurent Chevalier who was a clerk but owed a Captain money for gambling debts. Chevalier bumped his debt over to the audience but said he was getting a new job with a rich family and he should be able to pay back his debt in time. Claudette meanwhile gets a job being a servant for a rich girl named Antionette. Laurent's job is to help the rich family's son get married to Antionette so they can use her money to pay off their own debts to the Captain. Augusta, the wife is horribly embarassed by her son Albert, and her husband George feels that the plan is rediculous as Albert has no interest in girls, only his books. Nerdish Albert just doesn't want to meet up with Antionette but they insist on having a party and inviting her. The night of the party Augusta hides Albert's glasses and he ends up embarassing himself and upsetting Antionette. Claudette goades Laurent for his stupid plan and refuses to help him. Antionette claims that she is going to leave for France, which would put Claudette out of her job. Claudette decides to help Laurent because Antionette would have to stay in Louisbourg if she was married to Albert, and she could keep her job. After numerous attempts to get them together, Albert and Ationette refuses to pair up. Laurent goes to the family's house, explaining he will try once again to get the two together. The Captain storms into the home of Augusta and George, demanding payment. The Captain realizes that Laurent's new job is working for a family that owes him debts. He laments that he needs the money so he can start his trading company when he returns to France the next day. Augusta and George reveal that they are banking on their son marrying Antionette and that will pay off their debts. Laurent had invited Antionette to the family's home, and she comes but says she is leaving for France and will not return because she cannot find a suitor who is romantic. The Captain woos her, and proposes to her on the spot, realizing that she has the money to finance his new company. Antionette accepts because he is so romantic to her. Augusta reveals to George that she really does love him, even after a small discussion in which she claims to not love him. Albert telsl Laurent and Claudette that books are absolutely wonderful. Laurent tells Claudette that now that his debts are paid, he does have a bit of money and a well paying job, and he would like to court her. Claudette accepts this and then the entire ensemble sings a finale song for the audience.

9:00 PM
I convinced some of our group to drive out to Kennington Cove. This cove is a beach, and also the area that James Wolfe landed with the British soldiers in order to take down Louisbourg in the Siege of 1758. I kicked off my socks and shoes and jumped into the Atlantic Ocean. It was my goal to swim in it, but I never had the time, nor the weather to. I tasted some sea water, and had a few pictures taken since the full moon was still out.

9:45 PM
Half of our group split off, and the rest of us went out to the Royal Battery. The Royal Battery was an area on the side of the fortress which would have had cannons alongside it to help protect the fort from an attack from the water front. There isn't much left of it now, but it would have been walled.

10:00 PM
Larry wanted to walk the lighthouse trail, but we ended up deciding once we got back to the lighthouse it was too dark, and way too narrow to drive the car through.

10:20 PM
We returned to the B&B and I uploaded the photos from that day as I got in the habit of doing.

12:00 AM
Once again, a late night for me! Finally went to bed at this point.