Saturday, September 26, 2009

Four and a Half things I like about FAME.

I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but the remake of Fame that landed in theatres yesterday is neither going too live forever nor will it fly high. I am surprised it didn’t go straight to video and crash and burn.

Not sure who came up with the idea for this updated version, but I fear someone at Disney must have been behind it. It is all scrubbed up and clean and everyone, in the end, has a happy ending. Gone is any sense of grittiness or reality. Apparently everyone who goes to PA will be a success.

I fear that Fame suffers from the same pitfalls that Sex In The City did – too many storylines that all end the same place ~ boring town. There are at least 8 ‘main’ characters and 3 teachers that you follow over 4 years (from Freshman to Senior) in 2 hours. It should have been a series with this first movie just about the first year.

Despite my review, I do recall four and a half things I did like:

1 - After a slow start, my hopes were revived by a stunning performance from Naturi Naughton. She sits at a piano singing her little heart out and for a brief moment brings your interest back to the film. Papi, you have a job to do!
2 - Then, there is a Moulin Rouge type dance sequence during the schools CarnEvil themed Halloween party. Costumes and dancing are impressive, but like the piano solo above, it ends.
3 - Kherington Payne was the next one to strut her stuff. And for a boy that likes boys, I have to say that girl has STUFF and she knows how to STRUTT it. Oh my, she can move!
4 - Not really in the movie, but the trailer for New Moon (the next movie in the Twilight series). That Jacob has been hitting the gym. If he had been in Fame, it would have been MUCH better – especially if he strutted his stuff with Kherington.
.5 My half point goes to Megan Mullally for her 10 second Karen Walker-esque moment that took me back to the good old doily days. Oh Karen, we miss you.

Sorry to say it, Fame bites, save your money for the new Alice in Wonderland.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Camping, And Not the Drag Kind.

If memory serves, the last time I went camping was in Dubai. The heat was intense, there was no place to cool off and there was a scorpion stinging incident. This weekend however, I ventured to try it again.

There was sand, not as much as there was in the UAE, but the same kind, really fine that gets everywhere. By contrast, there was a wonderful lake to cool off in and only a tiny little cute toad hiding under our tent as we packed it away this time.

As slight miscommunication between Kitkat and myself delayed our Friday departure. After our usual Thursday night get together, he said, “I’ll be waiting out front at 10:30” ~ I took that to mean he would be downstairs at his apartment so I would only have a quick stop to chuck in his stuff.

Apparently, he meant he was staying over at Fauntleroy’s (just down the street) and that he would be waiting for me there. After hitting EVERY red light on University Avenue and seeing no Kitkat, I ascended the stairs to his apartment. I could tell by the lack of light behind his peephole he was not there.

Even before I knocked I knew where he was. It was one of the few times I wished I’d had a cell phone. I headed to IronMan’s as planned and we took a quick trip back to New Toronto to fetch Kitkat. In the end, it saved us sitting on the DVP and we were only a few minutes behind schedule.

If you can get by Salem Road heading east from Toronto, chances are things will be smooth sailing. Sure enough, we were at the gorgeous Sandbanks Provincial Park in due time and set about making camp. As D&D were working, we had brought their tents and set them up as well.

Not having camping supplies of my own, I tapped my family resources and after a visit from my dad and IronGirl had tents for all and a full kitchen. The tents I borrowed for Fauntleroy and Kitkat were for three, but let me tell you, ‘three man’ tents are barely big enough for one. You could get three in, but they better REALLY like each other. There was a gay Lego joke at some point and I will let you ponder that one.

Anyway, they were free and we all managed. IronMan had won a camping set on a Roll-Up the Rim cup and while we could at least stand in it, I don’t know where you would put six people.

The weekend had called for rain, but we did not get a drop. The weather was great, but the sunsets spectacular. Friday night’s especially put on quite a show. And the stars, that is one thing you don’t get to see living in the city. The nine year old girl with her two ferrets crawling around under the picnic table we were at was a little off putting, but added a certain something to the evening.

Her father finally called here away saying ‘teenagers don’t come out in the dark to chat with 9 year olds’. Clearly it was very dark if he thought those seated at the table were teenagers. 20 somethings yes, but teenagers? Even I don’t buy that. We must have been giving off a youthful energy.

Our first night’s sleep was repeatedly disturbed by rude latecomers that were chatting, rather loudly I must say, until the wee hours of the morning. It wasn’t until I gratefully heard Kitkat say “it’s 3:00 AM, do you mind if people in this park get some sleep?” that silence instantly fell over the camp and we could all nod off. Unlike one of the Harry Potter movies we saw where Kitkat told a group of teenagers to “shut the fuck up”, it was very restrained of hit to speak like that. He must have been tired.

The next morning, rain did look imminent, so we packed ourselves into the cars and headed to Picton. We stopped a several junk/antique (depending on your point-of-view) markets on the way and had lunch at Buddha Dog. They serve mini hotdogs, on mini buns with yummy locally sourced condiments.

Service was indeed slow, but we all chatted about our fond Pop Shoppe memories (the only beverage they had) and chuckled when Fauntleroy talked about his man’s “Boobors” ~ his cute name for his ample chest. I also found a country house in the local real estate listings. I think 'IronMan's Bike Barn' has a nice ring to it, now I just have some convincing to do!

Not a drop of precipitation fell, and the sun was scorching when we hit the beech. The water was cool, but due to the shallowness, not overly cold.

Our meals, of course, were yummy if basic. There were yummy stuffed potatoes, all sorts of salads, BBQ sausages and super delicious meatloaf sandwiches. Kitkat helped us relive our childhood with those mini cereal boxes. Instead of being lined with wax paper, they now have plastic and that makes it much easier to get into and doesn’t hold the milk any better. IronMan cut right through and soon found milk on his plate. That boy doesn’t know his own strength.

The cool evenings meant next to no mosquitoes and if there were any, Kitkat’s constant fire tending kept them at bay. It also made for pleasant sleeping as the tents did not get overly stuffy.

I have had better sleeps, but have to say I will put it on next year’s activity list. We searched and have compiled a list of our ‘preferred’ spots. We will start booking as soon as the season opens so we don’t miss out!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Neti Pot Learning Curve

Many entries ago, I talked about a raisin that took a trip in my mouth and out my nose, a journey that took 3 days! No complaining here though, as I now have a party trick, that I can do just about anywhere, as long as I am wearing my necklace. Along with said trick, came a realization about just how the nose and mouth are connected and how you can use that to your advantage for any number of day-to-day activities.

As an allergy sufferer, I soon discovered that sucking water into the nose did a fantastic job cleaning it out and help immensely when it came to allergies. I do this in the shower, so while not the most pleasant image, there is no clean up. Now, I go through half the Kleenex I used to, I can actually smell things from June – September and I no longer need antihistamines.

A while back I heard about how a neti pot could enhanced the effects of my daily routine thanks to the addition of salt and the flowing of water in one nostril and out the other. For $19.99, Himalayan Crystal Salt included, I thought I would give it a go. I could have pick up one for about $5, but given my aversion to plastic, I went with the double decker design porcelain version.

In the bottom, you prepare your saline solution and the top is the pot itself. The directions for the salt were to dissolve as much salt into the water as possible until you see a few bits on the bottom. Each salt ‘crystal’ is about the size of a small apricot and I think I had three in there before I could see residue on the bottom.

Either the instructions were not clear or I don’t follow directions very well, but I am telling you all now, you need to DILUTE FINAL SOLUTION! That much salt in your nose burns like an SOB! It went in easily enough, but trying to get the sting out took a couple hours.

That, plus not having my head tilted just right resulting in a few mouthfuls of salt water, almost made me abandon the pot for my old routine.

My next attempt was much more successful. With warm water and a splash of the salt solution, I docked the neti spout in my nose, tucked my chin towards my shoulder and the water flowed just as I had imagined. Breathing through the mouth was easy, there was no panic and at the half way mark, at least as far as I could determine, I switched sides and drained the pot.

I now neti about every third day, more often if I have been out running or in the garden and know there will be an abundance of pollen up the old nose. If you suffer from allergies at all, I highly recommend giving it a try but don’t expect to look or feel as glamorous as the buxom blond on the front of the box who is actually smiling while she flushes her nose ~ at least not on the first try.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Robert 3, Wasps 1

I learned a very important lesson this past weekend, Smirnoff Ice and wasps do not mix. IronMan, IronGirl and I headed to Fenelon Falls for a visit with Sauvignon and the kids.

For those of you that have never been, it is very picturesque and with all the rain this year the lake was high and the falls were flowing with full force. After we walked around and visited various little tourist town type shops, we headed to Lake Cameron for a swim.

One of my big fears about doing an IronMan is the swim. What do you do if you are half way out and you panic? Life jackets are not allowed, nor are pool buoys. I know they have people in kayaks that you can go to for help, but what if you don’t make it? I asked IronMan to bring his wetsuit so I could try it as everyone assured me that would keep you afloat. I was sceptical of that however.

Sure enough, you float like a cork in that thing. It has the added bonus of making you look pretty good and the swimming is easy as pie. Okay, well maybe not that easy, but much easier than without it. So I would be comfortable with the swim and the bike, but the run. Yuck. Sunday morning we ran 14 km ~ and it was a beautiful setting; a rail trail along the edge of the lake. No cars, soft underfoot and a cool breeze. Every step of it was so boring. I suppose though, I could walk that part if push came to shove.

Apres dip, we retired to the backyard for some sun and refreshment. Sauvignon showed us a HUGE wasp’s nest that is growing, quite literally, on the side of her house. Part of it covers a window so from the dining room you can actually see inside! Having recently taken care of a nest for the Girls in the Dollhouse with a can of foam that sprays from a good distance, I offered to take this one down too.

My dad also had to get rid of one this year, but not one for chemicals, he got out his shop-vac and stood next to it, patiently sucking each one as it came or went to or from the next. “I only got stung three times” he boasted.

I can say, in retrospect, that fortunately, her neighbour said he would take of it for her so I was off the hook. Still, I felt obligated to do my part.

After I finished my Smirnoff Ice, I lay across a deck chair with the bottle on my belly. I noticed a wasp buzzing around the opening and finally giving into temptation to get at the last little bit of sweetness still inside. Once in, I put on the lid, gave it a little shake and presto, me one, wasps zero.

Now I don’t know if it was the sweetness or the death of one of their brethren, but let’s just say numerous wasps become interested in my bottle. I managed to catch two more, at once thank you very much, before everyone said they were going in because there were now way too many buzzing around and I was asking for trouble.

At one point, as I patiently waited for my victims, I guess one must have crawled up my shirt-sleeve under my arm. As I picked up the cushion from the chair and tucked it under my arm, a black and yellow scored one for the other team.

It didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would and the initial bite was definitely not the worst part. Now, three days later, it is itchy as all get out. I try to gently rub rather than scratch, but it is hard to resist. Dad tells me I can expect that to last about a week. In the end, I guess I got what I deserved.