30 Sept 2011

The Wolf Used To Scare Me

I kinda wish all cartoons had plucky music and narration via Winnie The Pooh Voice. Imagine how different Spawn would have been if that was the case.


29 Sept 2011

Updates From A Delinquent Blogger

Heyo. It's been a little while, eh? The Internet just isn't the same without my Doogie Howser-esque need to relay the minute and unimportant details that is my life, so here's what you missed over the past week:

A) I got banged!

After a few weeks of folding my hair and staring at myself in the mirror, I decided to make THAT BIG GIRLIE DECISION and get bangs - but this time I kept the rest of my hair long rather than going for a bob. The darlingness of Zooey Deschanel in New Girl may or may not have contributed to that decision.

B) I got older!

As is my birthday custom, here's a pie chart where I've turned peoples' nice actions of wishing me a happy birthday into cold, heartless data:

I wonder how much Hallmark hates Mark Zuckerberg.

I was gifted with all kinds of wonderful things like a dinner out at Allen's, a new Janome sewing machine (EEEE!!!!!!) from Patrick, some Basque linens from my France-ified sister, some nice serving trays from my mother-in-law, lovely sewing supplies, Season Two of Community on DVD and a Chatelaine subscription from my parents. Am I spoiled - and super domestic - or what?

C) I got lighter!

I've lost of total of 12 lbs. since embarking on my Eat Less Crap Diet. Mind you, that's before I did a faceplant into the Dairy Queen ice cream cake we got for my birthday ... but I'm sure that damage was minimal-ish and not the start of a DQ Blizzard Addiction. Heh.

D) I got grossed out!

Our toilet leaked through the floor, causing a major stain on our kitchen ceiling. We were lucky it hadn't dripped all the way through. We spent the morning of my birthday with a plumber who determined this was a problem that had been forming for years, only to make itself known that day. Which was terrific timing as ...

E) I got parented!

My parents, The Father of the Monkey and Sweet Marie, flew in to visit us for five days to check out our new home and help ring my birthday in. There is nothing that says "I'm An Adult Who Makes Great Real Estate Choices" like having your parents walk into your house that has a toilet on the verge of leaking "shit water" (I believe that's the technical term) into the kitchen. Sigh. My parents also gently (but thankfully) pointed out a few other issues with the place that Patrick and I were oblivious to because we're idiots who clearly have no business owning a home. We might as well replace our current doorbell with one that plays Scooby Dum sound clips.

But besides the home maintenance issues it was a very nice visit in which they forced us out for walks (one that was 15 km! I mean, WTF!?!) and I retaliated by forcing them to try green smoothies and raw vegan food, to which my father brought up this Far Side cartoon:

Clearly, in my family, we show our love by imposing obnoxious, healthy habits on each other (which we later completely counteract with lots of wine).

In all, it was a lovely time and a good week, even with the evil birthday plumbing surprise.


19 Sept 2011

Let Me Assure You, I Truly Am That Hideous (When I Want To Be)

From a recent phone conversation with my parents:

Mom: We saw your recent blog post.

Me: Uh huh ...

Dad: That picture you of put up of yourself ... you used some kind of Photoshop or picture effect thing, right?

Me: No.

*Awkward Silence*

Mom: So ... what would you like for your birthday?


16 Sept 2011

Congratulations On Your Random, Unfocused Writings

Jessica from the blog Jessica, Why Are You So Bossy? recently contacted me to let me know that I had won "The Versatile Blogger Award". It's not so much an award as it is a modern-day chain letter among bloggers, but I takes what I gets, especially when it affords me the opportunity to do something I so seldom do: talk about myself. So, thanks, Jessica!
The OFFICIAL rules of the award are:
-Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.
-Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.
-Give this award to up to 15 recently discovered bloggers.
-Contact those bloggers and tell them the exciting news!
Here's seven achingly fascinating facts about yours truly:
  1. I believe that everyone should have to - yes, be forced to - work in the service industry for six months at some point in their lives. It would be like military service for the capitalist soul. The result? Our society would become 30% less dickish.*
  2. While I can hear things pretty well, I can almost never tell what direction the sound is coming from.
  3. I'm always surprised that when we talk about things that happened ten years ago, we're no longer referring to the early '90s.
  4. I want to get a bicycle but I'm oddly rather scared to ride one.
  5. I sometimes take intentionally bad photos of myself and send them to friends to cheer them up. I feel sorry for people who avoid doing things like this because they think they might one day have a career in politics:
  6. I get really nervous around balloons. I'm certain they're going to pop at any second. I particularly want to barf when a helium balloon is touching a popcorn ceiling.
  7. Roughly 90% of the things I say on Twitter are about things I see on TV. That should embarrass me but it really, really doesn't.
* Fact.

And I now ceremoniously bestow the Versatile Blogger Award on:
Check 'em out!


15 Sept 2011

I Hope That When We're Old, Grey, And Trying To Figure Out The Jet Packs, Patrick Will Still Like My Boobs


8 Sept 2011

Guarantees: Because There's Nothing Worse Than Coming Home From School and Finding a Dead Monkey in a Dress at Your Door

Today's random retro find is compliments of the classifieds section of the July 1962 edition of Redbook:

A human-like pet to caress and play with, this golden-haired SQUIRREL MONKEY makes a cherished gift for both adults and children. Brings fun and companionship into your life with its heart-shaped face and very lovable eyes. Easy to train and care for, eats what you eat, needs only understanding and affection. Comes to you 6 months old, grows 12 inches tall. It's an education just owning one. Free cage and instructions with each monkey. Guaranteed Live Delivery.

One day we should compile a list of all the things that fall under the category of "It's an education just owning one." It would be phenomenal.


7 Sept 2011

They Missed One

The CBC is turning 75 and there are a bunch of commercials featuring random Canadians recalling the best moments of CBC broadcasting. It's a good thing they didn't catch me on the street, because I know precisely which moment I'd be shouting over and over again like someone off their Tourettes meds:

Looking back, it seems so tame, but envision it's 1992 when the hardest thing heard on TV was "damn", you're 13, and you're watching the network that brought you such bad-ass programming as Road to Avonlea and The Edison Twins. Oh, and you're sitting next to your mom. This is how everyone experienced the moment that Caitlinso clearly said, ""TESSA CAMPANELLI! YOU WERE FUCKING TESSA CAMPANELLI?" It was epic. Ep-ic. The next day, everyone had to admit the shameful secret that they actually watched Degrassi so we could all lose our minds over what we just saw.

And it's a line that probably still wouldn't make the cut on American networks, as you can see from this compilation of hilariously horrible "clean" for-TV edits made to classic movie lines:

Much love to the Mr. Falcon CBC!


6 Sept 2011

Delivered: Raw Vegan, Cooked Vegan and Totally Not Vegan

I recently joined Front Door Organics, a Toronto-based company that delivers mostly-local, certified organic or wild edibles and eco-friendly sundries. Bask in my air of green, crunchy superiority, everyone. The jewel of the program is its "Fresh Box" - a box of fruit and veg that is super seasonal and based mainly on what's most abundant that week in the region.

Tasty, no?

You can choose to get a basic Fresh Box, where you get what they give you, or do a custom box where you can swap items for others online before delivery. I mainly stuck with what they offered as there were some lovely veggies that were new to me and I figured this was a good opportunity to try them. Should you be in the GTA and want to give Front Door Organics a shot, let them know Jen Byck sent you! (Yes, they have a referral program and piggy here needs more greens.)

Here's some of the stuff I've made: a raw vegan salad, a cooked vegan soup, and one darn naughtilicious Ukrainian dish featuring beet greens.

First up: (Raw Vegan) Garlicy Kale-Lettuce Salad! Because I am lazy so into the environment, I tend to make my salad dressing in the bowl I'm going to put the salad in rather than dirtying (and needing to wash) another dish. My salad dressings almost always consist of lots of garlic, lemon or lime juice, a splash of cold pressed olive oil, a splash of Wheat-Free Tamari and herbs. I'll sometimes also use raw, organic Tahini, but didn't this time.

Washing your lettuces is important even - or especially - when eating organic, particularly if you want to keep your meal vegan:

Yup, that be a caterpillar I found in the sink. I eventually found two more after I finished washing all my leafy greens. Blarg! Better than finding half of one after eating, though.

For whatever weirdo reason, I love cutting leafy greens into ribbons - the easiest way to do this to use a Chiffonade cutting technique. I especially find that raw kale is more palatable when it's in little pieces that can marinade in your dressing.

I then basically add whatever fresh produce I want - in this case I tossed in some fresh herbs, red pepper, green onion and cherry tomatoes - all from my Fresh Box. Voila!

Next up - a cooked vegan dish of Earthy Veggie Soup (I'm making up these titles as I go along). My Fresh Box had something called Blue Russian Potatoes - aren't they pretty?

I used those and what I had on hand and in my delivery - a bit of olive oil, garlic, white onion, carrots, leek, thyme, rosemary, turmeric, sea salt and water.

Diced everything, sautéed it, covered it all with water and let it simmer for a while. Since I just *love* a puréed soup, I decided to pop it all in my much-fawned-over Blendtec:

Bring on the creamy, salty yum:

If you didn't care about the vegan thing, this soup would be balls awesome with a bit of goats cheese on top ...

And then, inspired by some really leafy beets I received, I decided to dig a recipe out of a memory I had: My mom had made beet leaf rolls for us once in like 1988 and I have forever remembered the tasty goodness of that dish. The name of my grade two teacher? No idea. What I was doing this time last week? A complete blank. The taste of a meal I had over 20 years ago? Totally front of mind. My mom sent me a link to a recipe that was pretty close to what she originally made, and it turns out it's a Ukrainian dish called Holopchi. It consists of frozen bread dough and beet greens.

I went off the vegan rails by creating the dill sauce with bacon. But, oh, hot fuck, is it ever good:

And all inspired by what's fresh and local! Care to share any seasonal dishes you're getting your grub on with?


2 Sept 2011

The Cruelest Thing About This Clip ...

... is that they named him "Leslie".

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I have no shame

Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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