My random nattering about all things geek, including family, friends and what I find to be fantastic and fun!
|Posted on September 30, 2014 at 7:30 AM||comments (0)|
Last March - dead of winter - stormy weekend. Nasty weather that made you just want to curl up under the covers. But being the resilient Canadians we are, and happy for any excuse to have fun during the cold months - people flocked to the March edition of the Ottawa Geek Market.
Can you imagine what it will be like when it happens again this weekend on October 4th and 5th!
And the March event was in one small room at the Nepean Sportsplex. This edition of our local Geek Market will be taking up the whole curling rink at the Nepean Sportsplex. And there will be much more happening this time including gaming - both board and video, panels, a scavenger hunt, workshops, even a live Quidditch match!
But wait there's more.... I'm not kidding... this edition will also have special guests galore including a number of well-known cosplayers, members of Carnival Diablo in Horror Alley and Ottawa's very own version of Roger Corman, director Brett Kelly.
And of course there is the huge number of vendors that will have all kinds of goodies perfect for yourself or the ideal Halloween or Christmas gift for family and friends.
And if that wasn't enough, how about the fact that this event is happening as a fundraiser for the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. Every penny raised from the now famous silent auction will go directly to this charity, and 20% of admissions will be handed to them as well!
Please Sir, I want some more... nuts
If you want event more reasons, be sure to check out the Ottawa Geek Market for more information.
I'm looking forward to seeing you there!
All the best, your GG
|Posted on September 29, 2014 at 10:10 AM||comments (0)|
My husband Pat and I have always enjoyed doing things together. We don't do everything together - I'm not much into miniature war gaming and he's not into movie marathons - but we do have a lot of the same interests. We attribute this to having been good friends with similar interests for 2 years before we even got married. Which brings me to this post.
Starting now and going forward into our 25th wedding anniversary next year, we've decided to start a new adventure. Something we both enjoy and can do together - we've joined the 19th Light Dragoons. We have decided to become reenactors. But how the heck did we get there.
Captain Dan Williams
Our friend Dan Williams is the Captain, and he knew of Pat's love of war gaming and my love of period costume. He invited us out to a War of 1812 battle reenactment in Dunvegan, Ontario this past weekend. He was, of course, hoping to encourage us to join, but no pressure. His lovely wife Marie-Eve is also part of the troop (Cpl) and she too was hoping to have us join them. Now, we have been talking about what to do for our 25th for a few months. We also have many friends who do reenacting. So by the time we were discussing it on the way out, and even in the car, we had been mulling it over already. But still, we were simply going to check it out for the day. You obviously already know where this is going.
The day was incredibly beautiful, so it was a perfect drive to the Glengarry Pioneer Museum. We weren't sure what to expect, but we were happy at what we saw when we got there. A huge number of canvas tents and old buildings. People in period costume doing day to day chores. There were even a number of period merchants there.
Regiment horse - Hero
We met the Dragoons and were quite pleased to meet such a wonderful group. We spent a lot of the day talkng to them about themselves, the regiment, their horses and what would be involved if we did join. We also did a LOT of walking about, chatting with other reenactors there. They were incredibly gracious in letting us look into their tents, talk to them about how they got there and what they felt was needed. They gave us tips on everything from clothing, to baking pies, to good canvas tents, porches and more!
The woman with this incredible kitchen...
...was "baking" a pie over the fire. This was her cooking area all weekend.
Then we went to talk to the merchants. I talked for a good hour with two seamstresses about basic needs and materials, unmentionables and more. I even met a wonderful lady who makes period clothing and knit goods for children. So cute.
By the afternoon we were going back to the seamstresses to look a little more closely at their wares. Then it happened...
We actually found clothes that fit us. Even the petticoat underneath fit me perfectly.
And I found out after I got my outfit, that my dress has been part of a museum display!
1812 Exhibit at the Arthur Child Heritage Museum
(photo by Marc Smith)
This was the highlight for Pat. Getting to be on the field. This pretty much clinched the deal.
I loved watching him, and the whole battle. It was fantastic!
Can I just say.... like a kid on Christmas morning...
Needless to say, by the end of the day we had the basics and were hooked. We cannot wait for the next opportunity to go back in time and continue our anniversary adventure!
All the best, your GG
|Posted on September 26, 2014 at 5:35 PM||comments (0)|
Last night was one of my highs this year.
This past winter I was informed that I had gotten a small part in Brett Kelly's latest production, a spoof called Spyfall. I was over the moon. This was my first speaking part in a movie! I had a blast working with everyone, I learned a lot and I made a lot of new friends.
Agents 3 1/2 and Pi
Last Night we finally got to see it all put together. Many cast members attended with family and friends and I was no different. My sister, niece, daughter and husband all joined me. We even ran into friends who I hadn't seen in ages.
The lineup went around the corner.
One of the stars - Lawrence Evenchick - hamming it up outside.
The movie was absolutely hilarious. Everyone put their hearts and silly bones into this one and it shows. I can't wait for everyone to see it. Without giving away any spoilers, the best parts for me, other than seeing myself on a big screen, was the turtle and the knife in the back. Priceless!
Afterward, Brett invited all the cast to the front. There was a lot of love up there.
(Photo by Barb Buchanan)
I feel incredibly blessed to have been part of such a great community of actors and crew. I really hope Brett can use me in another of his productions in the future. Can you hear me Brett? Anything... running down a hall, eaten by a weird creature, exploded, you name it - I'm there.
All the best, your GG
|Posted on September 25, 2014 at 7:00 AM||comments (3)|
A couple of summers ago, our youngest, Miranda worked with a pair of briliant designers at Twiss & Weber. She did any odd jobs they needed doing and in return they taught her how to sew from scratch. They also helped her to make her very first piece of clothing - a dress.
Miranda, in her dress, with her sister.
She was incredibly pleased with her creation.
She was so pleased and excited about it, that the first thing she did with saved up babysitting money was to buy a pattern and all the material needed to make her next project. She decided to be ambitious and make herself a coat!
Our good friend Brynn got a new sewing machine. Guess who got the old one?
Between school, a part-time job, summer school (to up her math level), and vacation she slowly worked on her coat.
Pattern and coat material. Inside lining material.
Top, front and back, and hood done.
She was meticulous about every step. First sleeve attached.
She knew she was getting close. Look at that face.
Very last piece - the belt.
She was so close when she came to the belt that her dad made her a fresh pot of tea and she planned to stay up as long as it took to get it done. And she did. The next day...
One tired, but very happy and proud young seamstress!
She's already planning her next project.
All the best, your GG
|Posted on September 24, 2014 at 7:30 AM||comments (0)|
Do you know Dwayne Johnson ? He is also known as The Rock. Know him now?
How about now?
Let me help you get to know him better:
- his mother is Samoan and is descended from Samoan chiefs
- his dad was also a professional wrestler
- his maternal grandfather was a High Chief AND a professional wrestler
- even his maternal grandmother was a professional wrestling promoter
- Dwayne Johnson played football all through university, but an injury kept him from the NFL.
- but he played in Canada! He played for the Calgary Stampeders, but only for 2 months
- he has many relatives who are professional wrestlers and so decided to become one as well
- he became incredibly famous and became known as The Rock
- he has been semi-retired from wrestling for quite some time but occasionally goes back to his roots
- he started his acting career making appears on television, including Star Trek Voyager
- he made an incredible $5.5 million for his role as The Scorpion King
- it's even in the 2007 Guinness World Records for highest paid actor in first starring role
- he's a favourite with kids for movies like The Tooth Fairy, Race to Witch Mountain and G.I. Joe Retaliation
- in 2013 Forbes named him the top grossing actor of that year
Now you know him better, but the reason he is this week's Geek Hero is because he loves kids. He loves them so much that not only did he found his own charity in 2006 for at-risk and terminally ill children, but he also supports Kids Wish, Make-A-Wish, Beacon Experience, Starlight Children's Foundation and many more.
This big man has a big heart!
All the best, your GG
|Posted on September 23, 2014 at 7:00 AM||comments (0)|
This is a first for me. Not that it's a fictional mystery set in a historical setting and based on a true story, but rather that it all takes place on a remote island inhabited by German nudists.
The Sun is God, published by Seventh Street Books, tells the tale of retired British military police officer Will Prior and his investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of one of the nudists. The story takes place in 1906. Many of the characters named in the story were real individuals, and the island on which it happens, Kabakon does exist in the area known then as German New Guinea. The nudist colony on the island called themselves the "Naked Cocovores".
The main character, Will Prior is in German New Guinea to enjoy a quiet life after the Anglo-Boer war. He was a concentration camp prison guard and the experience horrified him. His mind is full of nightmares and he just wants to be a small time farmer...and forget. But it's not to be when his friend, and local authority, Captain Klaus Kessler, asks him to look at a body taken from the nudists' island. Will is hopeful of a quick return to his little hut and his quiet life, but when he examines the man, who they are told has died of malaria, and finds mysterious marks on his body, Will is suddenly in charge of the investigation. He's sure there has been foul play on the island, and so Will and Klaus pack up and head off to the mysterious nudist colony to investigate.
Bessie Pullen-Burry (one of the real individuals in the story) is a fascinating character who is in German New Guinea to write about her adventures as she travels. She's asked to go with the men as a representative of the lady who owns the island. Her time there and what she does as the story climaxes is simply wonderful. I intend to spend some time researching the real Bessie, and I do hope she lives up to her fictional incarnation.
The German nudists on the island are an interesting group. They appear to be docile, sun-worshiping bohemians. I was fascinated by their behaviour and their routines that included a very limited diet, extreme sun worship, as well as heavy use of heroin and opium in coconut milk as a health tonic. Their hospitality, and personalities change as Will gets closer to the truth however. He also starts losing his ability to tell the difference between real and imaginary. Is he ill, is it the daily diet of drugs affecting his mind, or is one of the island nudists driving him crazy to cover up a murder?
Author Adrian McKinty has taken a small and largely unknown piece of history and turned it into not only a fascinating mystery, but also a quirky historical and geographical travelogue.
You can get your own copy at amazon.ca
All the best, your GG
|Posted on September 22, 2014 at 8:00 AM||comments (0)|
A couple of days ago I wrote about my day spent at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. I had a wonderful time. I made a new friend. I learned a lot. I thought I was good to go. But yesterday was the last day of the Festival, and part of it was the Disney celebration at Silvercity Theatre. I decided to attend and I ended up learning a whole lot more.
The first part of the celebration was the screening and talk about Disney's newest short - Feast.
It's created and directed by one of the people who also worked on Paperman. Patrick Osborne is an animator, and now director, and he was at the Festival to give us a detailed behind the scenes talk about the entire process, from how he came up with the idea, to the very details of its creation. I learned that only about 2 years ago Disney formalized a new shorts program. They asked all their employees to pitch ideas to them. Patrick pitched three ideas and Feast (which he first titled "While We Were Eating") was his favourite. It was Disney's too. They picked him and his idea to be the first short to be made under the new program. His story is the creation of a family told through their meals. Food is the centre of the story and Winston, the dog, is in a sense the storyteller. One of my favourite things he talked about was that they brought in a food stylist to help the animators learn to make the food look appetizing. I also love that the animators got to spend a whole work day playing with two adorable dogs to learn their mannerisms.
When the screening and talk were done, we got a surprise. The director would sign posters for us.
Director Patrick Osborne signing mine for Miranda
(it's her birthday this week)
When I got my hands on the poster I realized it was no ordinary poster. It's a proper lithograph and it's even stamped with proof of authenticity. The edge is even set in for framing! Good show Disney.
And that was just the first part of the celebration. Next up was The Little Mermaid 25th Anniversary screening. The theatre was packed with Festival attendees and lots of families. It was wonderful to see so many little ones who would be seeing it on a big screen for the very first time. The creators/directors of Little Mermaid were there to introduce it. They were very pleased to see so many families there to share the experience with the next generation. After the screening there was an incredible party!
The theatre was packed with very happy wee ones.
Little princess Noa dressed for the occasion, and Miriam got her face painted at the party.
Both said they loved seeing The Little Mermaid on a big screen.
I asked a number of the children at the party what they thought about seeing the movie on a big screen for the very first time. Every one of them was thrilled and excited. One little cutie said she got scared when "the sea witch got big". I said it was ok because Eric got her and she agreed and smiled and said "yes, it had a happy ending". The pure joy on her face was priceless.
Here's a couple of other reasons for their excitement. Balloons and Cake.
The Animation Festival seriously knows how to do things right.
But that's not all. I reluctantly left the party to attend the last part of my day with Disney. The finale was a selection of vintage Disney shorts ranging from the 1930s to the 1950s. It included a few rarely seen pieces like "Der Fuehrer's Face", "Reason and Emotion" and "Duck Pimples" - which definitely had Jessica Rabbit's ancestor. She was identical in shape, hair and dress to the later femme fatale. There was even one that had Goofy trying to quit smoking (he doesn't). I learned that times have changed in a big way for animation. From the styles and techniques, to the change in attitudes about what's considered appropriate to show children.
It was a fantastic day watching the work of generations of Disney animators. The imagination and the joy of creation hasn't changed, that's for sure. I have a new respect for the Disney animators and I truly hope Disney appreciates the gems in their castle.
All the best, your GG