Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Louisbourg, Day By Day (Day 0)

While I was away in the beautiful province of Nova Scotia, I kept myself a little journal so I could bring the experience back home with me and share. I have finally gotten around to writing itall up. In the future, I am creating a scrapbook as well, as this trip has really touched me.

Sunday, August 22, 2010: Day 0 (Program has not started yet)

4:30 AM

The previous night we discussed that leaving around 5 AM for a 7:20 AM flight from Toronto would probably be okay. The airline suggested being an hour there before take off, and since Toronto Airport was a little more than an hour for us, it was thought that getting there around 6:30 would be okay. I had gone to early flights before within 40 minutes of a departure, so I wasn't too worried. I also thought that Sunday at that time in the morning wouldn't be that busy. I got up at 4:30 to finish packing the things I neeed to use in the morning (like my toothbrush). Even though I wanted to leave at 5, I felt bad for my mom having to drive me, so I woke her up at 5. We ended up leaving 10 minutes, after and stopped to get some coffee on the way.

6:30 AM
Arrived at the airport to see that it was rather busy. I hugged my mom goodbye and darted inside. I had checked in the night before and already had my boarding pass, so I could go into the express line to check my bags. After I checked my one bag, I headed to security and saw it was rather long. There was an estimated 20 minute wait for security. Lucky for me, my gate was just outside security so I relaxed a bit. By the time I got out of security, it was 6:50 and they were calling to board my flight!

6:50 AM
I lined up right after security to get on my plane. The flight was for 7:20 but they always make you board ten minutes before. I got on my seat 6A, a window seat. I decided already that I liked West Jet because they had little tvs. I did not bring my headphones, nor did I want to pay $3.00 for them, so I just watched the news channel that had updates in texts. I also also brought with me my corchet hooks, some yarn, and the book Congo by Michael Crichton so I was set for entertainment. This plane had 3 seats across, and no one sat between me and the other person in my aisle. The airline also gave me a free newspaper.

7:20 AM
Take off!

10:30 AM (Halifax Time which is an hour ahead)
Landed safely in Halifax. Went to go get my baggage and had a slight melt down when I thought it wasn't there. Went down to the car rental place in the garage to go pick up my car for the week. The computer was really really slow so it took me forever to get my car. I was also charged additional taxes, and I had to buy an insurance package. I opted for the safe trip one, which was about 33 bucks a day... but knowing my luck something would have happened to the damn car if I got the cheaper one. They never asked me to inspect the car, probably becaus they felt so bad keeping me so long. I ended up noticing two stone chips in the window half an hour into the drive,, which I hope they don't charge me for. They shouldn't since I got such a great package, I think. They gave me a silver Ford Focus, which was slightly bigger than what I had ordered.

11:00 AM
Finally got on the road. Put in the audio book Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

11:30 AM
Realized I was driving the wrong way once my GPS woke up. It never loads in underground parking.

1:00 PM
Stopped into a Dairy Queen for lunch and bathroom break. Ordered a Bacon Cheeseburger which came with no cheese. Decided not to press it. Got back in the car and realized my GPS was on back at home time. Changed the time. Was sad to see that instead of 3:30 PM, I was arriving at 4:30 PM.

3:00 PM
Started to rain.

4:30 PM
Finally arrived in Louisbourg but realized I forgot to write down where the Bed and Breakfast was. I had printed out the reservation, and I thought that the address would have been on it. I was wrong. I kept driving down the main road, and when the road branched off, I could see the brighly painted pinkish red building that was the Bed and Breakfast. I checked in, and went up to my room where I unpacked and sorted things out. I called my parents to let them know I had safetly arrived at my destination.

5:00 PM
Went for a nice little walk around the town of Louisbourg, and tried to walk to the Visitor Centre at the Fortress of Louisbourg. We were to meet up at 8:30 and take the bus at 9:00. I should had read the entire primer because it told you to walk through Parking Lot 5 to a trail. Instead I kept walking to Parking Lot 4, and realized I should just drive in the morning. I turned around and went to the Grubsteake for dinner. I wasn't too hungry so I ordered one of the cheapest things on the menu; the club sandwich with a salad. It was very good. I had some apple crumble pie for dessert but probably shouldn't have had. I felt a little gross afterwards. I went back to the bed and breakfast.

7:00 PM

Once I arrived to the B&B, I talked to the Innkeepers. They knew I was there for the archaeology program, and explained the weather of the area, and where I was going to be working. I thanked them and told them I was going to have a nice hot bath and hit the hay. My room had a jacuzzi tub, so I had a nice relaxing bath, showered off and watched tv for a bit.

9:00-10:00 PM
Between 9 and 10 I went to bed. I had set my alarm for 7:15, hoping that would give me enough time to get ready. Breakfast was served at 8, so I had to make sure I got out of there in enough time. The drive was only about 5 minutes, so I didn't have to rush too much but I didn't want to miss that bus!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Louisbourg Photos

While I was away, I took almost 500 pictures of the town, the Fortress and other such things. I have sorted them into the most interesting photos, and uploaded them onto FlickR, as well as organized them into sets. Originally made to send to the people in my group, I figured this would be the best way of showing my photos without a) inviting everyone to follow me on Facebook or b) uploading photos on Blogger. So, while I prepare to write about 7 days on the Eastern Coast, here are the photos from my trip.

Buildings of The Fortress of Louisbourg
Buildings around the reconstructed town.

Exhibits and Historical Interpreters of Louisbourg
All around the town there were costumed staff that were interpreters of the town. The Fortress is set in 1744. In some of the buildings there were exhibits, replicas and artifacts.

The Marine Museum of Louisbourg
A small, non profit museum that houses some marine artifacts.

Archaeological Sites and Other Areas Outside of Louisbourg
There were sites outside of the Fortified Town, and even historical sites that exist outside the Parks Canada site, like the lighthouse.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back From The Coast.

I am finally back from my working vacation. I had a wonderful time but I am beat! I made a journal of all the exciting things that happened while I was out in Cape Breton, so expect a fairly long post detailing that!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cyborg Pony on Leave... Sorta!

Hey gang,

My cousin came over Friday and we did a last minute trip to the Zoo in Toronto. It was a great time. It was warm, muggy and overcast so there wasn't many people out. The animals were pretty sleepy but I ended up taking 203 photos!

We were there from 10 AM to 3:30 PM, then we came home to celebrate my brother's birthday. He turns 24 on the Tuesday but he was visiting this weekend for a race car event down the road from us.

I will probably talk more about my zoo experience, but I am in the middle of packing for Nova Scotia! I fly out at 7:20 AM! We're leaving here at 5 am. Blah. I am taking old lappy with me to post pictures and to write about my experience. I have never ever taken a computer on a trip with me - or on an airplane so I'm a little nervous.

When I get back I am probably going to Fan Expo on the Saturday. Hurray for summer!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I decided to make a few things in the last few days.

First up, Butter Chicken with Balsmati rice.

What you will need:

Cut up chicken into smaller peices. Satay in 1-2 tbsp of cooking oil

Cook rice as directed

Add Butter Chicken Sauce to chicken. I prefer the PC brand Butter Chicken but VH was on sale. Simmer for about 5 minutes on low.

Cooking rice usually takes about 20 minutes. Boo.

Pour chicken and sauce over rice. Yum!

Banana Bread! I'll post the recipe later. The secret to moist banana bread is sour cream!

What you will need:

Look how moist it is!


I love pitas, and making them is so easy.

What you will need:

If you're a carnivore like me, you'll want meat on your pita. I prefer to use pork soulvaki. Cook'em on the grill, or in the oven with the broiler setting if you suck at grilling like me, according to the package.

If your grocery store has them, buy a pre-made greek salad. This will save you money since feta cheese is pretty expensive. I put a little bit of it in a bowl, as I like to add Kraft's Greek Feta and Oregano salad dressing. If you pour the dressing all over the whole salad and don't use it all, it's digustingly soggy and limp.

Pour some dressing ontop of the salad. I use this, but you might want to use regular greek dressing. Put a top over the bowl or plastic wrap and shake it up.

The trick to making your pitas fold over without cracking/splitting is to bake them. Lightly brush on some cooking oil on both sides and put them in the oven for about 3 minutes on 350 F. Watch them, or they'll go black like my first attempt did (I put the oven on a timer for 5 minutes, which apparently was waaaaaay too long).

After your meat is cooked and your pita bread is baked, spread on some tzatziki sauce. Mmmm.
Add your fillings!

Fold over and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another Post About Food

I'm taking care of all the animals and the house as my mom and step dad go on vacation for a couple of days which means I can make whatever I want for dinner.

Sadly, when I moved back home, I share dinner with my parents, mostly my step dad because my mom works shifts in a town three hours away. He has criticized me for only liking 'pasta' and kraft dinner even though I have a larger palate than that. His comments are hilarious considering his idea of dinner is the following: Meat, potatoes, a peice of bread and beans. Sometimes he'll have a side of corn, or green beans, or potato salad, or coleslaw but that's pretty much what it is. If he makes spaghetti, he makes it as a side.

Whenever I offer to make dinner, the only thing I can make for him is Sheppard's Pie since he won't eat my Penne dish, quiches or anything other than his dinner layout.

As soon as they left I zipped off to the grocery store and spent 70 bucks to make food for the next four days (and probably will last over awhile anyways). Tonight I am going to make Butter Chicken with Balsmati rice and naan bread. Tomorrow for lunch I'll make pitas. I also have some left over bananas so I'll be making banana bread.

I wanted to share two of my favourite recipes that I've made that I really enjoy, so this seems just as good as time as ever.

Three Cheese Chicken Penne
This recipe came from Kraft's What's Cooking Magazine that comes out four times a year. This one is a baked penne that tastes just like something you'd order at a restaurant.


1-1/2 cups multigrain penne pasta, uncooked
1 pkg. (283 g) fresh baby spinach leaves
1 lb. (450 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. Dried basil leaves
1-1/2 cups (1/2 of 700-mL jar) pasta sauce
1-2/3 cups (1/2 of 796-mL can) diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup Philadelphia Light Cream Cheese Spread
1 cup Mozzarella Shredded Cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. Parmesan Light Grated Cheese

Heat the oven to 375 F. Cook the pasta as you normally would. When the pasta is cooked, add the spinach into the water and boil it for a minute. Drain and set aside.

Cut up the chicken into one inch pieces. Heat up a skillet and add the chicken and basil leaves, cooking them for about three minutes until the chicken is completly cooked. Set aside.

In a sauce pan, add the jar of sauce and the cream cheese. Heat up the sauce until the cream cheese melts. Add the diced tomatoes and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.

In a 8 inch square baking dish, pour in the pasta and spinach. Add the chicken into the sauce and pour over the pasta. Bake for 20 minutes. Top with mozzarella and parmesan and bake for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Peanut Butter Toberlone Cheese Cake
I love this cheesecake because it's so easy and a no-bake.


1-1/4 cups Oreo Baking Crumbs
1/4 cup Butter, melted
2 pkg. (250 g each) Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1 cup Sugar
2 bars (100 g each) Toblerone Swiss Milk Chocolate, chopped, divided
1-1/2 cups thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping, divided (or any whipped dessert topping)

Mix the crumbs and 1/4th of the butter together and press into a spring form pan. Refigerate for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and peanut butter with a mixer (or by hand if you hate mixers like I do) until well blended. Add half of the chopped chocolate and 1 cup of the whipped dessert topping. Mix well. Pour into the pan on top of the Oreo crumbs. Refigerate for a minimum of three hours.

Microwav 1/2 cup of the whipped dessert topping and the remaining chocolate for about a minute on high. Stir until well blended. Pour ontop of the cheesecake. Remove the rim from the pan.

Scott Pilgrim VS The Joltess

On Friday Night, I was invited out by a bunch of friends to catch the first night of Scott Pilgrim VS The World. I have to admit that I have not read the graphic novels prior to the movie. Maybe I will read them in due time, but we shall see.

Since I didn't know anything about the graphic novels, what I knew about the movie was based on posts at Topless Robot, Word of Mouth and commercials. Some doofus needs to defeat 7 Evil Exes in order to date a girl who supposedly looks cooler than he does.

The people I went with laughed every 5 minutes. The movie was not that funny. Sure, there were some funny moments, and some funny lines but not that damn funny. There wasn't even any humor at all at some of the things they were laughing at.


I found that the plot was weak to me. He had to defeat 7 Evil Exes. Okay, I get it. But why were the Exes evil? Ramona explains that she was the one who had dumped the Exes. How did they get powers, and why do they have them? Why is it that Ramona has the ability to travel through dreams to make deliveries? None of this was really explained in the film. Maybe it's discussed in the graphic novels.

The characters themselves were unlikable. Scott Pilgrim is a slacker doofus with nothing going for him, yet he has two chicks. The band mates are paperthin. They only exist to be a band in this movie. There's nothing else about them. You learn their names, their position in the band and that's about it. Ramona was dull. I don't quite understand the connection between her and Scott, because there was no chemistry between the characters. Ramona seems disinterested in everything around her, even Scott but she takes him back to her place to fool around after one night of hanging out. You don't get any idea of why these two like each other, or why Ramona is worth fighting 7 even Exes for. The Exes themselves were slightly interesting only because they were the villians. Their backstories were short. You don't really get an idea of the last four Exes get their powers. Gideon was especially disappointing because as the head of the Evil Exes, you'd think his background story would have been the most indepth. Instead we learn that Ramona had been obsessed with him, and he rebuffed her until she left. What is in this League for the rest of the Exes? Gideon formed it to get Ramona back, but nothing is really stated about the benefits for the rest. And if there isn't any, why did they agree to become part of the League?

The music was pretty good. I found myself thinking I'd probably get the soundtrack, except I didn't really like the numbers by the Sex Bob-ombs. Everything else was pretty good.

The style of the film was interesting. The videon game references were a nice touch, and the fight scenes were pretty well done, as well as the special effects but they didn't really make up for what was lacking.

I found the best part to be the room mate Wallace. Almost every line he had was a good one. I wanted more scenes with him.

The locations were fun if you lived in Ontario and knew Toronto very well, especially if you lived there. I've been there enough times that I knew all the locations and was excited to see the city in the background. I loved that the coins were all Canadian currency.

At the end of the day, I didn't think it was a bad movie - I just didn't care about the leads. I just felt that the two main characters were douchebags and I really didn't care whether they died, or got together, or lived happily ever after, or split up forever. They both seemed like jerks. Would I watch it again? I don't know. Maybe. Would I read the graphic novels to see what was missing? Another maybe. Did I have a nerdgasm like all my friends who saw it that night with me? Absolutely not.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Short Break

Since I'm going to a two day show, and we're leaving at noon today, there won;t be any updates feom me until Wednesday. My apologies to the 6 of you that follow me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Additional Cartoons

So in my list yesterday, I neglected some cartoons. I guess I watched a lot of television as a child. I guess that's what happens when you live in the country. Wait, what? Did I just say it's living in the country's fault? How can this be? Country life is hard working.

Yes and No.

During the light hours, we were expected to do stuff outside. My brother and I did the chores, we went for bike rides, we had out own playground with swings and a basketball court our dad built us, and I rode the horses, and he had his dirt bikes.


You can only do these thingd actively outside... when it's daylight. This was especially hard in the winter when it was dark by 6 PM. Winter, early dark mornings and the evening was when we watched television. We didn't have any friends close by. My mom was a shift worker and my dad worked until 4:00 and neither of them wanted to drive us anywhere to our friends' homes that lived in the small town where we went to school. We only got to watch cartoons after school when waiting for my dad to pick us up or when my mom was home off her shift. My dad would harass us for watching tv in the afternoon. This was the same reason we weren't allowed video games often, which I'll probably write about later.

Anyways, despite living in the country, we did watch a lot of tv. We had active lives, friends, and we each had extraciricular activities but tv still was a part of our childhood.

Also - some cartoons just didn't last long. Some of these only had one season, haha. No wonder we went through so many shows!

Some tv shows I missed yesterday:


We'd watch this when we got home from school. I used to laugh so hard I cried at "Bologna in our slacks"

Muppet Babies
I used to have a plastic necklace of Miss Piggy and Kermit as Muppet Babies that I wore a lot when I was 4-5. This was a fun show, and as a child with an active imagination, it was up my alley.

Inspector Gadget
Another 6 am show (We also would watch Top Cat) my dad would throw on while he was getting ready for work.

Countless Hanna Barbara cartoons - From Top Cat, to the Snorks, to Flinstones, to the Jetsons, we watched them all.

Alvin and The Chipmunks

I liked the movie where they go around the world collectinf dolls, but the tv show was something we watched and enjoyed as well.

Sort of like the Mask, and that's what made it good.

The Cowboys of Moo Mesa
I liked this show. It was like TMNT but with COW cowboys. I thought it was weird they rode horses and had cattle drives, being cows themselves, but oh well, that's cartoons for you. Quick Draw McGraw did the same thing.

The Smoggies
This show was around preaching against pollution before Captain Planet, and I watched it for the bad guys, who were hilarious. It was a Canadian cartoon, so not many Americans know of it's existance. It was about two groups of characters, The Smoggies and The Suntots. The Smoggies liked to be messy and pollute the world while the Suntots lived green by using solar power, and being environmental conscious. My favourite Suntot was Sailor,the one with the blue 'stache.

The Wuzzles
An island of crazy genetic mutants. I had the Hippo Bunny cross.

Captain Planet

Preaching against pollution, everybody wanted to be a Planeteer because of the cool rings. I wanted the wind ring!

The Gummi Bears

Can't believe I missed this show yesterday in my initial list. This was a great show, with a catchy theme song and it took place in a medieval world. How could you go wrong?

Zoobille Zoo

Ok, I'm cheating since this isn't a cartoon but this was my favourite little kid show. I still watch the intro on youtube. I'm sure this is where a lot of current kid got grabbed inspiration from.

Nerdy Friday

I am going out for a nerd night tonight. A bunch of friends of mine are going to be catching the 10:15 PM showing of Scott Pilgrim VS The World.

We were going to go out for Thai good but someone doesn't like Thai so that idea has been nixed. I am not sure where we are going, but I do know that we are meeting up at a comic book store.

I don't know how excited I am about SP. I never read the comics, even though I probably should since it's Canadian and does feature Toronto, Ontario which I live close by to. I'm not really a big fan of Michael Cera. I liked him in Arrested Development but I've hated him in everything since, rspecially Super Bad. I'm also not too crazy about going opening night but that's the way these guys are sometimes. I mean, the movie will be there tomorrow, and next week and probably for a whole month.

I can't decide if I want to wear my Star Wars Burnout Tee or my Old School Batman shirt.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cartoons That Shaped My Childhood

I haven't done a list for awhile and as I'm sitting here watching Rugrats on Nickelodeon Canada, I started thinking about the cartoons that defined my childhood for me. I still watch a lot of cartoons now, so I'll limit it to the age of 12. In no particular order!

1. My Little Pony
As if you couldn't tell from the name of this blog, My Little Pony (both the show and the toys) shaped my childhood. I already lived in a world of horses, and having a tv show and toys dedicated to cute little ponies was just fab. I still have my box of MLP toys in a closet somewhere, which I want to dig out sometime soon. I want to track down the movies which I was also a huge fan of. I can sing the songs from The My Little Pony Movie where they fight the Smooze.

2. Beetlejuice
I loved this show. I loved it so much I wanted a Beetlejuice action figure that spun his head, but I had a little kid crush on him, so I felt weird about it when I was given it from Christmas. My mom took it back. She did this with my Jack Skellington figure too, that I wanted but I also felt weird about having a figure of a character I had a crush on. She took this back too, and I wish she hadn't. Beetlejuice was just a crazy show that helped the blooming goth within. Ghosts, skeletons, monsters. It freaked me out at times since I was quite young, but I watched it every time it was on. It comes on Teletoon Retro and I couldn't be happier unless it came out on DVD.

3. Care Bears
The Care Bears cartoon was a staple for Canadian children. It was on every morning. Although the show itself was a little bland, the characters were lovable. The movie Care bears in Wonderland was a favourite. My favourite? Noble Heart and Brave Heart.

4. Ghostbusters
Just like Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters nutured the innter goth that I would later become. I still think I'm a bit gothic, although I don't dress in the extreme. I had a huge crush on Egon, which later determined I was a latent nerd. PI also liked Venkman. Didn't care too much for Slimer. Like Beetlejuice, the show scared me at times.

5. Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles
My brother was more into this than me, and because he had to endear MLP, I watched TMNT. I did like it, so I can't really complain. I remember the show coming on, and me and my brother would start bouncing all over the couches. I had a crush on Donatello. Yup.

6. She-Ra Princess of Power
She had an awesome outfit, a flying horse and she kicked ass in a mini skirt. She was one of the first strong female role models I had. I have her action figure still.

7. Rugrats
My dad stole satelite when I was growing up, and we were the only kids in school that got to watch Nickelodeon shows, as the US hadn't permitted Canada to Nick until November 1st, 2009. Rugrats was one of the first few Nick shows and we watched it. My favourite episode is Reptar On Ice.

8. Ren and Stimpy
This show was insane. Absolutely insane. I watched this show when I was 7-8. My parents were pretty lenient when it came to parent discretion. We watched a lot of mature stuff, but we turned out ok. I think.

9. Rocko's Modern Life
There was just something about this show I really liked. Probably because it was off the wall, and had so many adult orientated jokes in it that I would later get. It's also on Nick Canada. Camera Shy is my favourite episode from this cartoon.

10. Tales of the Crypt
Another show about monsters and ghouls. My favourite was the fairy tale one where Sleeping Beauty was a vampire.

11. Batman: The Animated Series
My first real introduction to Batman. I think we watched Tim Burton's Batman on VHS when I was younger, since it came out before I was born but the Batman of my lifetime will always be Kevin Conroy's Batman. I watched this show every day when I got home from school. I was never huge into action but the plots were always so captivating, and mature. I remember how sad I felt when Clayface died (I couldn't find his real death on yuotube, so his first 'death' will have to do). I have seasons 1-4 on DVD. Always a great watch.

12. The Mask
I watched this every morning before school when it came out. I had a thing for Stanley Ipkiss. When my best friend found out, she told everyone and I got made fun of for liking a cartoon character. I was 12 years old and mortified.

13. Super Mario Brothers Super Show and Legend of Zelda
A show based on video games, how could you go wrong. I have LOZ on DVD. It's pretty repeatetive but I still liked it. Missing Link is my favourite episode.

14. Captain N: Game Master
Another video game based show. I liked the concept of this cartoon, and who wouldn't want to live in Video Game Land? Simon Belmont hands down my favourite character from this series.

15. Chip'N' Dale
This was a great show from Disney. Not much to say about it except for "CHUH CHUH CHEEEEEESE!"

16. Winne The Pooh
When you're alone and there's nobody home, it's nice to be able to count on a friend like Pooh Bear.

17. Dark Wing Duck
A Batman like goofball. How could you go wrong? A hilarious rogue gallery too. I liked Megavolt.

18. Duck Tales
If anybody from the 1990s didn't like this show, they don't have a soul.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review of Final Crisis or Some Comics Are Not Newbie Friendly

While browsing the comic book store a few months ago, I came across a couple of isses of The Return of Bruce Wayne. I love Batman, and I couldn't resist covers with Batman as a cave man, a puritan and a pirate. I snatched them up and took them home to read.

After I read issues #1 - 3, I felt that I was missing a part of the story. Why was this happened? I felt I couldn't really get the whole story without knowing. I asked one of the guys at the store and he told me ROBW followed Final Crisis (and incidently, Battle for the Cowl which I should also read). He told me the premise and mentioned there was a copy in the store. After looking at the picture of Superman holding the corpse of Batman, I was sold. I asked if there was anything else I should read before Final Crisis and he said "pretty much the entire DC Universe". Figuring I knew enough about DC from watching Justice League, I left it at that.

I spent the entire night reading it, and when I got to the end... I was confused.

I didn't know who some of the characters were. I didn't understand the plot. When Ross at the comic book store explained it, I understood it better. He told me a part of the story that I didn't even read in the comic. Unless I missed it from being confused. I didn't know what was going on. At one point there was a Nazi Superman. The Superman went to some other dimension with a bunch of other Supermen and fought vampires. I think. The only thing I got from the trade was that Batman died. I didn't even figure out who won. Did the bad guys win? Did Superman stop Darkseid? I have no idea. But Batman died and his funeral rocket was sent back in time where he would become Chief Man Of Bats.

Due to this, I started to think that some comic book universes are not noob friendly. If I wanted to start reading Marvel Universe (Like Civil War or House of M, of Avengers), I feel like I couldn't start there. How far back would I have to go? Same with DC Universe. I felt lost looking at this series. But where would I have started to know the full story? I realize that comic industries rely on repeat customers who follow huge story arcs and have been reading for a very long time, but at one point do they make something noob friendly? If they want me to be a loyal fan and continue to pick up series and follow along, I have to start somewhere and sometimes it's not very inviting. Half the series I have ever picked up have been because a cover has caught my eye. Or the premise of a story. But if I need to know the entire DC or Marvel Universe to understand and enjoy that story, I'm not there yet.

I would like to start reading comics and following a series, but as a newb in the comic world, it's all too overwhelming.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Scarf Update

I have completed three scarves in a week. Two of them I did in one day each. I'm taking a break from crocheting. I have a couple of large posts in mind, but I'm not 100% up for writing a lot right now after working my fingers for so long!

Today on the news they were advertising a free spay and neteur clinic for feral cats in Scarborough. The aim of this campaign is for people to bring in stray cats roaming the GTA and help cut down the cat colony population. They stated many times during the promo that this clinic was NOT for anyone with a cat, but feral cats only. The operations were being provided for by donations and money from intrastructure.

It's a good start but it doesn't address the real problem with people not spaying or netuering their cats. The real reason behind the huge feral cat population in not only the GTA but every city in the world is that the cost for spaying an animal is way too expensive.

I know some people will say "If you can't afford to properly take care of the animal, including medical expenses, you are not responsible enough to own a pet" but people do anyways. Small animals like hamsters, rats and gerbils are cheap. You can pick them up for under 10 bucks. Why would anyone spend $100 for medication for these small animals when they get sick, when you can just get another animal for a cheaper price, especially when the life span of these animals is so short?

People will not justify paying $100 to alter small animals so they don't end up with accidental litters, which they then need to get rid of, or become over run with animals.

The fact is, pets are cheap. If you don't want to spend the money on a pedigree animals, you can pick up one cheap or for free on Kijiji or Craigslist. Anyone can pick up a kitten anywhere for free.

Back to the cat epidemic; there are way too many cats roaming the streets because people dump unwanted kittens after deciding it's way too expensive to spay Fluffy and she never goes outside anyways, so why spend the money, yet someone she escaped when someone left the door open too long. They dump them in the city, them dump them in the country. These cats then run around and breed, and it's a vicious cycle. Most of these cats in the country find homes at farms where they hunt for mice. Farmers are welcoming to have cats on the farm to protect the feed for their livestocks, but they aren't going to pay to get each one of those cats fixed. The barn cat population either naturally keeps itself in check, or it explodes. There are many reasons why the barn cat population can keep froming becoming an epidemic. There are many hazards for a barn cat. They are not vaccinated, they are not medicated when they get sick, they are prey to wild animals and they sometimes get kileld by farm equipment and machinery. If none of these factors are in place, then it can be over run by cats who will eventually starve unless they are humanely put down.

The news today reported that a spay or neteur can cost anywhere between $200 and $400. The cheapest I have heard for a spay is $95 which is slightly more reasonable than $200, but I still feel that even $95 is too much. I realize that vets need to make money, and that the drugs used in the surgery are part of the cost, but I think the price must be very inflated.

If Bob Barker wants us to take his advice, the vets need to lower the cost or else it's just going to continue, especially in this economy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rainy Days

We had an emergency trip today to pick up one of our ponies from the breeders. It's a two hour trip to get there, not including the time to load up the pony so I was out all day.

It was also the second day in a row that I got rained on.

Yesterday it rained all day at the show. I was soaked all the way down to my bra. After the in-hand classes, I switched into my riding clothes, but it started to rain shortly after, and they to got wet. Despite the rain, and Roxie being a holy terror, we did well. Roxie won her class, and was Champion Section B. Candice won the mare class. I rode Candice in the riding classes, but she has two months training on her. She didn't pick up her one canter lead, but considering how long she's been under saddle, she was great. We have another show in a week, and I will also be without internet for three days, sigh.

Real substantial posts coming tomorow.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Scarf, Complete!

So I spend a couple hours watching tv to wind down in the evening, so I started a scarf to better my crochet. I used my crochetting book to help me figure out how to finish a project, read patterns and add decorations.

My first scarf was just a free handed pattern of double crochet, which I made very tightly. After I finished, I noticed it was wonky on the sides, which meant I was adding and subtracting stitches. Now that I know how to properly make turning chains and how to count stitches (and also cover up the wonkiness with a border), I decided to follow a simple scarf pattern in my book. When I finished, I decided to tear apart my original scarf and remake it.

I came into some free yarn, so I picked the biggest ball of yarn I had and began. I followed a pattern that was one row of trebles, one row of singles, one row of doubles, one row of singles, one row of half doubles and repeated until I got the desired length. The final measurements ended up being 56 inches approx in length, and 8 inches wide. I added four tassels to each end.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Life With Horses : Part 1 - The Early Years

I've decided to write a little series about my 25 years living with horses, since they shape so much of my life.

Usually when the weekend rolls around, my friends asks me to come visit, go out for the night, spend the night and go drinking or to go away for a few days.

About 50% of the time, I have to sigh and reply "I can't. I have to make sure the horses are fed tonight, and someone will have to feed them in the morning" or "No one will be able to take care of the horses while I am gone".

If it's the summer, particularly in August, I grimace as I say "Can't. I have a horse show". Horse shows typically are on the Sunday and take all day Saturday to prepare. It also means an early night, so staying out isn't much of an option.

As I was preparing to get ready for a horse show today, I started to think about how I feel about horses, and the horse shows in general. But none of that would make any sense to anybody unless they knew the full story.

As far back as I can remember, we lived on a farm, and we had horses. My mom owned horses before she was married to my dad, and before she had us. When my brother and I were born, she had one horse, an elderly chestnut Morgan mare named Kelly. When my mom went out to do the chores, she would throw my brother and I on Kelly's back and the old mare would just stand there. We would bounce around, making animal noises to scare her into moving but she never moved. Sometimes she'd walk for a short distance but that was it. Later in life I would try to ride her with a saddle, and ended up having the saddle slip underneather her as she took off towards the barn, and I ended up falling in the mud.

When I entered kindergarten, my mom had made a new horsey friend who raised Arabians. My mom bought a grey Arab named Nytelyte off of her, in hopes of breeding. At first she bred to an Arabian, then to a Conemmera, and then to a welsh pony (which becomes important down the line). The horses sat in the yard and did nothing for the longest part. Our horses were Kelly, Nytelyte, Highlyte, Starlyte, and Budlyte (weren't we clever?).

Eventually my parents decided their house and property were too small. We moved to a nicer, bigger horse and a fabulous farm. It had a horse barn with 9 stalls, with cross ropes in the cemented hallway. It was attached to an ugly cowbarn that we stored our hay and straw in. We had two hayfields, and three paddocks and a riding ring that could also be used as a paddock. The only downfall of this place was its lack of an indoor ring.

Before we moved, my mom enrolled me into riding lessons. Instead of letting me hop up on a horse and wander where ever I wanted, I needed discipline and to learn the real techniques of riding. My mom started taking me to riding lessons at a dressage barn by a very well known dressage rider in the area.

I had two instructors. For one part of the lessons I was with one, then the other took over for the last half. I rode an old chestnut riding pony that went by the name of Babe.

I hated riding lessons. I was put up on the horses, and lead around for the most part. I was told to keep my hands in a 'box' while I rode, and to not move them. To me, this meant they couldn't jiggle at all, which I thought was impossible. I was always riding on the lounge line, with someone holding on. Everytime we troted, I was told to do a sitting trot, which is the hardest thing to do. Most people do rising trots, as it's easier on your ass and the horses' back insteas of you bouncing around like an idiot. It's hard and uncomfortable, but to be able to do it is a sign of a good rider. Or a horse with a very comfortable trotting gait.

Eventually, I was tired of lessons and my mom decided it would just be better to just buy me a pony and let me muck around by myself. She bought Babe and we brought her home. My brother and I would have our friends over and we'd ride her around the yard.

When my parents bought their new farm, the previous owners left behind two old ponies for us. Sugar and Tony were two shetland ponies of undetermined age. My brother and I would put lead chains on their halters and ride them bareback. Sugar was a nasty little pony who used to try and buck me off but she helped me learn the basics of riding.

Me riding Sugar, without a saddle, a bridle and a helmet haha.

I can't really remember what happened to Babe, but Tony and Sugar were sold, despite my brother and I's protest. My mom was moving into another stage of her horsey life. She found another riding school for me, one that I loved and went to for 7 years. My mom signed me up for Pony Club when I was seven, around the same time.

It was also around this time that my mom started getting interested in welsh ponies... which is the next chapter in my horse saga.

Friday, August 6, 2010


I'm going to another horse show this weekend, so I won't have time for some in depth posts. I want to write a little bit about my experience with Final Crisis and as a newbie in the comic world.

I am starting on my second scarf, using a real pattern this time! My goal is to make a finished scarf and if it looks decent, I'm going to make a few for the holiday season. Once I get scarf making down, I'll work on more difficult patterns.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Comics!

I went to get my hair done, and stopped by my comic book store to pick up The Return of Bruce Wayne #4. I told one of the guys working there that I felt that I was missing part of the story when I first started reading #1. Why was Batman back in time? What was going on? What was this machine all about? He told me that Final Crisis was the series before RoBW. I decided for $20 I'd pick it up. So in the next few days, I think I'll review it.

To my surprise, they had The Last Unicorn #2 Cover A waiting there for me. Me being stupid, thought that the comic book store would have called me to notify I had comics in, but I remember the conversation we had awhile back that being on file meant they would save me a copy and I could come in at my leisure. However, while waiting for #1 of the series, I was told it was back ordered and I found out that #2 was sold out on IDW. When I talked to another guy who worked there, he said that there was a chance #2 was not ordered for me because I had not recieved the first issue. I asked today if I would get #3 and #4 and after causing much confusion to myself and frustration to him, it was determined that yes, they would be ordering #3 and #4 for me. Now, I've already placed my order for #3 and #4 from online, so I will have two copies of each. Maybe I will get a variant cover. Either way, I'm not too upset about it. Maybe I'll sell a copy if I get a double. If #3 and #4 comes to my local comic book shop just fine, I'll just get #5 and #6 from them instead of ordering online.

Also in my travels today I picked up more yarn (most of it free!), a free copy of X-Men Curse of the Mutants, Previews August 2010, an audio book of Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett for my up coming trip to Nova Scotia where I will be driving 5 hours so I thought I'd get something to listen to that wasn't just the radio, a do-it-yourself crochet book to help me with my techniques and recommended by my expert crochetter Sharyl, amd Michael Crichton's Congo. I want to hold off on Congo so I can read it on the plane but I doubt I will. I'd like to read more Crichton. I've read Jurassic Park, and I want to read Timeline (I had it from the library but took out way too many books and not enough time to read), Pirate Latitutes, and Next.

I am also borrowing a couple movies from my friend that I may or may not review depending on how I feel, haha.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Open Letters To My Cats

Dear Simon

As the cat with the longest time on the farm, I figured by this time you would know that I only set out cat food in the barn in the lower west paddock. Why you come over to the upper east paddock, I don't know. The ponies there like to try to stomp you. Since you are the oldest, the other cats like to follow you. While I am glad that you mostly direct them to the barn, bringing them up to the house is unnecessary and usually you'll get things thrown at you by the guy who lives on a farm and hates hates, but doesn't realize that cats are vital to farms. Also, I was disappointed I had to pick you and Mowgli up to put you inside tonight.

Dear Mowgli

I don't understand you. You act all shy for the most part, but then you stand there and meow for attention. When I pet you, you look at me vacantly and refuse to purr, so I don't know if that is what you want from me. A lot of the times you like to run away, but every other night, you lay down and stretch yourself out, belly in the air, waiting for scratches. Make up your mind.

Dear Sybil the Tribble

You're the baby, and you've done very well with your new freedom. I apologize for keeping you locked up in the barn for almost two months, but when you came on the farm, you were so little you couldn't jump up to the windowsill. Since we can't leave the doors open, the windows serve as your in and out to food and shelter. Because you were so little, and absolutely adorable and we live behind a subdivision, it was our fear that you would be snatched up by neighborhood kids as a new pet. This has happened in the past, and being a barn cat, you are collarless. There is no point in putting a collar on a cat that roams around bushes and under fences for it could be a strangling hazard. When you escaped the barn a few weeks ago, and disappeared for two days, we were devastated. Thankfully you learned well, and knew where to come home for supper. You were kept inside for a few more weeks until I decided you looked like you were big enough to take care of yourself. I let you out Tuesday with the other cats, and that night you returned. You were also around in the morning and again tonight. I am proud of you!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Batman riding a Tauntaun

I drew this back in 2006 in MS Paint, and I just wanted to post it after seeing Batman Riding Robot Unicorn.

What do you think? Do you think people would pay me for this? :O Haha.

Comic Book Review: The Last Unicorn Issue #1 and #2

This is going to be a long post, so bare with me. I've decided to review The Last Unicorn Comic Book Series Issue #1 and #2 since I received them around the same time. I actually received #2 on Thursday before #1 so I didn't want to review the second issue before the first. I am also going to take the time to explain a bit about the story and why I like it, and also review the two companies I bought the comics from. I have already pre-ordered #3 and #4 from one of the companies, and will likely pre-order #5 and #6 depending. The next issue is not due out until August 25th, and I do plan on review each of the issues. I also apologize for my camera's flash that can be seen on all my pictures. Curses!

For those who have been following this blog, I've been trying to get this series for over a month. I first heard that The Last Unicorn was getting a comic book treatment in June... Two months after the first issue had been released! After much internet seeking, and hand wringing, the issues are finally in my hands.

So what is so great about this series you ask?

For those who don't know, and I imagine if any of you grew up in the 80s you're probably already familiar with it, The Last Unicorn started off as a novel. Written by Peter S Beagle, it was first published in 1968. In 1982 Rankin - Bass produced an animated movie of the same name, with the screenplay written by Beagle. This was my first introduction to the story. My mom had taped it off some television channel when I was young, and I would watch it with my brother. When I turned 10 or 11, she found it on VHS and gave it to me for Christmas. I did not know it was a book until a friend in high school told me about it when we were talking about some favourite movies we both loved. She lent me her copy and I purchased my own. In 1988 there was a stage adaptation, also written by Beagle. In 2005, despite his claims to never make a sequel to the beloved novel, Beagle wrote a coda to the story called "Two Hearts". It was featured in Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine and was published in his book "The Line Between".

I won't get into the story too much, because I think everyone should either read the novel or watch the animated movie. It is a wonderful story. It is a third person narrative about a unicorn who discovers by chance that she may be the last. She decides to find out if this is true and leaves her forest. On the way, she meets an array of different characters that help bring her closer to discovering where the unicorns had disappeared to.

There's a couple of reasons I really love this book and all its adaptations. For one, any adaptation has been overseen by Beagle himself, and this keeps every version close to the true story. The books contains a lot more than the animated feature, as most books do, but what the movie omits takes nothing from the original story. Growing up with horses, I already had a love for unicorns. I had unicorn bedsheets, plush toys and figures, both plastic and glass.

But the funny thing is, a lot of women love The Last Unicorn. It isn't to say men don't like it as well, for quite a few of them do. I'm no expert on the subject, as I'm just an Anthropology major, but as a woman, I like to think I have an idea why.

Since I grew up watching the movie and know it off by heart, I'll use it to illustrate the example. In one revealing scene, the Unicorn, now Lady Amalthea, sings about how everything has changed now that she has become a woman. Unicorns have always represented innocence and purity, captured only by virginal maidens. Young girls are often associated with the words innocence and purity. Once a girl is sexually mature, she is no longer described as such. Once a girl becomes a woman, she is indeed changed, not just biologically but also her out look on life. She must become responsible, and no longer spend her days frolicking about, but instead is encouraged to conform into the role of wife and mother. Instead of dreaming about unicorns and fairy tales, she must come back to the 'real world' and all it's ugliness. This has change a lot in modern times, but I'm going to go by the mind set of the era the book was published. Either way, going from girl to woman is a massive change for any female. The Unicorn's accidental change into a woman and how she describes being a woman is very relatable for most women.

A key character in the novel is Molly Grue, a dishevelled woman who wished all her life to see a unicorn. By chance, the Unicorn and her companion Schmendrick the Magician run into Molly and her lover Captain Cully while travelling. When Molly sees the Unicorn, she is angry because unicorns are supposed to come to pure and innocent maidens, and not to women, who have lost the innocence and spark of wonder. Unicorns serve as a reminder of the innocence of being a young girl, where life was much more carefree and simple. Now that she has been roughened by age and experience, Molly yearns for the past, as a majority of women do once they've been handed the responsibilities of an adult.

Anyways, that is my own personal take on it. I could be wrong. I always felt that Molly Grue and Lady Amalthea reflected a lot of what I felt when I became an adult, and even to this day some of my feelings of my lost childhood as I go further and further into adulthood.

Before I get into the comics themselves, I want to review the companies I bought from. I wanted to buy Issue #1 and #2 straight from IDW, the published of the comic. But it turned out that #2 was out of stock. I decided to go ahead and order #1 and I found #2 on a website called mycomicshop.com based out of Texas. If I cared to look farther, I would have found a website based out of Quebec to order from, but oh well. That is what happens when you buy comics late at night I suppose!

I placed my order with IDW and MyComicShop (MCS from hereafter) on the same day, Monday July 19th. I was surprised to get confirmation from both the next day, AND an email detailing that the products had been shipped on Tuesday, July 20th. The emails come within 30 minutes of each other and around 7 p.m. Eastern which meant they probably wouldn't be in the mail system until the 21st. I believed I used USPS International Mail for both orders. MCS's package came on July 29th. With the civic holiday, IDW's package came today on Tuesday August 3rd. I think it would have come on the 2nd if it wasn't for the holiday.

Paranoid that the same thing may happen next time, I pre-ordered #3 and #4 with MCS. I want to pre-order #5 but they automatically charge you $25 for shipping in case your orders are larger than expected. They say that they give you shipping credit if it is under the $25. I want to wait until #3 has been shipped and find out how much shipping credit I have before ordering #5 instead of pay $30 off the bat. Since #5 comes out in October, I have some time to pre-order.

MCS's package was a huge white box. The comic was tightly wrapped in plastic, with a cardboard piece behind it. There was also a loose cardboard piece in the box overtop of the plastic wrapped book for extra protection. This is what the box and board looked like. I should had taken pictures but I was too excited.

The one thing I was disappointed with was that even though MCS did wrap the comic in plastic, it wasn't a plastic cover that could be later used to protect the comic. I ended up using one from my other comics. I plan on getting a few from my comic book store when I go next week.

Today, IDW's package came in a little brown box. Inside, the comic was wrapped up with bubble wrap and came with a plastic cover. It was sealed with a little blue sticker with the IDW logo embossed with gold. Here's what the package looked.

I was much more impressed with IDW's packaging than MCS only because of the plastic cover that it came with. Also, MCS made opening the comic a little more difficult because I had to cut off the plastic wrapped around it. The only real issue I have with IDW is that the comic they sent me has a minor flaw in the cover. It is very faint, and does not ruin the cover's image but it looks like it has been lightly scrapped with an exacto knife. Maybe the comic was on the top of a box and when it was cut open, this issue got a little line through it. It's hardly noticeable and I'm not that big of a comic collector to be freaking out by it. I do plan on buying the trade once it comes out anyways.

Now for the comics!

The Last Unicorn Issue #1 Cover A

The Last Unicorn Issue #2 Cover B

Both issues are beautifully drawn. The art work is breath taking. The characters so far look a bit like how they did in the animated movie, which I'm not sure if was done on purpose. In the 20th anniversary version of the book there are a few illustrations of the characters are very different from the movie portrayal. Schmendrick's blue hat from the movie is used, and the unicorn looks a lot like the movie version. Mommy Fortuna looks more originally but carries some of the same aspects from the movie. Rhuk is also more originally drawn than most characters. That being said, it is not a bad thing, just something I noticed.

Despite taking it's visual cues from the movie, the story is more faithful to the novel version. For example, in the movie the hunter does not speak of his grandmother's encounter with a unicorn, but in Issue #1, there is a beautiful panel of the tale. I was very pleased to see the comic being an adaptation of the novel, instead of a reconstruction of the movie.

Another thing I noticed was that each of the issue's is rather short. The book itself spans 200 pages, and the movie was an hour and a half. The comic series is to be 6 issues, but from the descriptions from the Previews, the characters do not reach Haggard's Castle until #5. Even though the movie skips over the parts about the town of Hagsgate, quite a bit happens in the story once they've reached the Castle. I wonder if issues #5 and #6 will be a bit larger than the first two. Since #3 indicates that it will cover the Unicorn and Schmendrick meeting Molly Grue, and her transformation does not happen until #4, I am going to guess that most of #3 will be about Captain Cully, and #4 will probably include the story line about Hagsgate (or so I hope). Since the comic seems to be following the book more so than the movie, this likely will happen but I won't know until I get those issues. I do believe that the story can be contained in 6 issues, I am just curious how they will do it, and what they will and will not include.

Along with the story, there is a two page interview with Peter Beagle which is a three part series within the comic. I rather like this feature, but I was a little disappointed that there were about 3-4 pages of ads in the comic. Granted, the ads are for Beagle's work, and lord knows the poor guy needs the advertising with all the problems he has had getting the royalties due to him from the sale of the DVD. But chances are, if you're reading The Last Unicorn, you already have the book or the movie. And even if you aren't, you won't pick up Issue #2 without getting Issue #1. I think it's a bit silly to have the same ads for the same products in the same comic book series. At least in Issue #2 there was one page of unicorn art. There's is one last segment in the Beagle interview, which will finish in #3 so it'll be interesting to see what they use as filler for the rest of the series.

The Last Unicorn #2 Cover A

Since I'm not too crazy of a collector, I didn't bother trying to track down the cover variants of The Last Unicorn. For Issue #1 there were 4 of them, one being a Comic Con Exclusive, and for Issue #2 there were 3. I was given the option for which one I wanted, and since I love purple, I went for Cover B. Cover C was more expensive for whatever reason, maybe because it is rare. But Issue #1 gave you a glimpse of Cover A for Issue #2 anyways. I am hoping that IDW really does make this series into a trade. I hope that it will include all variant covers and the Beagle interviews, and all the art they've included. It would be a damned shame if they didn't.

Something I noticed and absolutely loved about comparing Issue #1 and #2 was how they contrasted each other. In Issue #1 we are learning about the Unicorn and her forest. The entire issue except for some night scenes are bright - stunningly bright, with accents of gold. Other than the night scenes, the only other dark scene is the very last panel which introduces us to the next issue, which is a significantly darker part of the story.

Example of Issue #2's brightness

Issue #2 is completely dark. The backgrounds are black. The entire story is at night (as it should be! Creatures of the Night, brought to light!). One of the reasons I opted for the darker variant cover of this issue is because it just suits this issue so much better than Cover A. Cover A is beautifully drawn and the detail is amazing, but just doesn't fit the mood. The only thing bright about this issue are our two main protagonists, the Unicorn and Schmendrick, as it should be. The unicorn's golden hue stands out like a beacon amongst the drab, and even Schmendrick's blue cloak and hat add life to a dreary existence that is Mommy Fortuna's Midnight Carnival.

Example of Issue #2's Dark Contract to #1

I am absolutely delighted in the direction that this comic series has gone. If you are a lover of unicorns, or The Last Unicorn, or Fantasy in general, this comic is worth picking up. If you haven't read the book, or watched the movie I strongly encourage you to. This is a beloved fantasy classic and the comic book treatment is well deserving. You can still order Issue #1 from IDW and Issue #2 can be found on most comic webstores. I have found success at My Comic Shop, Expert Comics, Heavy Ink and Things From Another World. Conlan Press also has issues available and they can be signed for extra by Peter S Beagle himself. You can try Ebay if you're all out of luck, but I urge you to try these places first!