Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Night

The last 3 years Christina and I have dressed up and stayed home on Halloween night to give out candy at her/our place. Tonight on All Hallows Eve (aka - the night before my brother Richards birthday) we continued the tradition.  

Chrissy dug deep into her closet of toys and pulled out a Batgirl costume from a few years ago. Here she is standing guard in front of her beloved Gotham City. 
For those of you who are nerds like me, you may be asking: Which Batgirl is she? The costume is non-committal. Is she Barbara Gordon, Cassandra Cain, or Stephanie Brown? Clues to follow.

My costume is way lamer. I grabbed some facepaint at 5pm and threw on a Gwar t-shirt to become a walking member of the undead. Be afraid as I stumble out of the office with a sinister note pad.

 Cheetos and Chocolates for the kids.

Vigilantly standing at the ready for the door to ring. (The silent watch is very Cassandra Cain)

 Success - And then a Marvel (the Hulk) and DC (Batgirl) standoff.

But the whole night is not all fun and games. There is super hero laundry work to be done (Seems like a Stephanie Brown thing to do).

And slow cooked brain soup to be spiced just right.

Musical playlists to be made by the light of the laptop. I quite like how Chrissy captured the deathly pallor of my skin off the computer.

In between chores and treat demanding kids Chrissy and I sat on the stairs and played angry birds to pass the time.  Chrissy is pretty adept and also addicted (Similar to Oracle era Barbara Gordon).

It was a bit of a slow night with approximately 65 kids, down from the triple digits of warmer Halloweens past. That being said, it was a fun night with my favorite hero.
What a sweet couple!

Final Verdict on which Batgirl...Stephanie Brown. Basically, like Chrissy she is blond, modest, and looks good in purple. Plus, I miss her in the New52. IMHO - They should have left Babs as Oracle. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Garden - Growing our own Food

This year marked the first full garden growing season that I have been living with Chrissy. While I don't consider myself in any way to be a green thumb I do enjoy tending to plants. Whether it was helping dad trim tower poplars along the highway at Almi Campground, planting chokecherrie shelter-belts  near Burton Lake with Auntie Marian & Uncle George or picking apples in  Humboldt I like the effects that plants have on the land and the obvious results of interacting with plants.

We planted our garden around the first week of June once the frost was out of the ground and the nights got warmer. The tomatoes were started by Chrissy's Father in mid march and were well established by the time we got them. Other than the tomatoes and some green peppers all of the other garden veg came from seed.

The garden on June 23rd. 

Our sometime sentinel and neighborhood cat, Samson (aka Catballdoshia - due to his tomcat characteristics)  keeping watch for seed stealing birds.

Our most prolific plant: Dill that 'volunteers' (we don't plant it, it just comes up).

Water testing the tents in our urban jungle before heading out camping (July 16).

Dill, Green Beans and Tomatoes on July 23rd (one month pf growth from the first pic).

Note the little white flowers - that is our radishes gone to seed (July 23).

The bell pepper pot (July 23).

A few years back Chrissy got a hybrid spliced apple tree that has 5 different types of apples. It really produced this year but I think the tree looks funny as it is spindly (maybe due to the splicing) and the branches hang low just off the ground.

As last year Chrissy had problems with rabbits I grew swiss chard and lettuce in boxes so I could pull them on to the deck off the ground. It was either growing in boxes or getting a bobcat (Catballdochia was slacking). As you can see the boxes worked well (Aug. 2).

Finally the radishes stopped blooming and we thought it was about time to 'harvest' them. I thought it quite funny the size of the plant versus the 'veggie' root. From tip to tip they were well over 4 ft tall and you can see how it towers over the railing and BBQ (Aug. 9).

Left - All of the radish plants .......  Right - The radish bounty
In actuality we never got any edible radishes at all, they were either wormy or wooden.

Turnips, Beans Swiss Chard and Carrots for supper (August).

The apple tree bowed by its own weight.

Fistful of apple.

Backyard bounty - apples, white turnips, beets, tomatoes, carrots, squash (Sept. 3)

 Bell pepper and partial tomato harvest (Sept. 9).

'Volunteer' sunflower seed in the garden (Sept. 9).

We were happy with our overall garden but were completely blown away by the amount of tomatoes we got. Christina's father and his tomato incubation earns him the title of "Tomato Whisperer". 

All of our tomatoes, that we hadn't already eaten or given away, on October 2nd. 
It's been a challenge getting rid of them all - lots of tomato toast, new recipes and canning (blog to come).

Now, nearly a month later we still have many tomatoes left...if only we had that many carrots or turnips. Oh well, I will just need to plant more of those next year.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Edmonton Entertainment Expo

This weekend I decided to volunteer for the Edmonton Entertainment Expo. I've attended these type of shows on occasion down in Calgary before (herehere) and have enjoyed them quite a bit. Partly, one of the reasons for me deciding to be a volunteer is that I hate lineups. So for a bit of service, I got to skip right by these folks.

 So I could rummage around the stacks of comics looking for deals on Trade Paperbacks.

Or taking in some gory costumes. The Silent Hill nurse is enough to give you nightmares.

Over the last few years I have noticed that Steampunk has become huge.I really appreciate some of the great imagery and DIY style of the cosplayers but overall I just don't get it. That being said - this gun was cool.
When I wasn't wandering around aimlessly I was working the VIP line for celebrity autographs. My job was to escort VIP pass holders to the front of individual celebrity autograph lines, keep people moving around the exits and tell people to turn off their 'flash'. The celebrities in attendance included:

  • Misha Collins from Supernatural - I had never heard of him but the ladies loved him. He was at the far side of the line from me and for the first two hours of my shift I thought Misha was a woman due to the name.

  • Lee Majors the Six Million Dollar Man - Seemed nice but getting a little rickety and in need of a tune up.
  • Julie Newmar - The original and best Catwoman. She is looking her age and had a bit of trouble getting around but she was fantastic with the fans and by all accounts a very nice lady. Plus, she wore some cat ears the first day which everyone loved. The old pictures of herself that she were signing were pin-up style and were exceptionally hot.
  • Burt Ward, the original Robin, smiled a lot and wore a Hawaiian shirt. 
  • Jewel Staite from Firefly and Stargate Alliance. Meh...She ran about an hour late at all times. 
  • Billy Dee Williams who rocks a purple cape better than any man as Lando Calrissian.
  • Charisma Carpenter from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Holy Crap she looked good. Especially for 42. She was hard to take your eyes off of. I couldn't get a picture of her as she really didn't like all the cameras around. I had to continually tell people, "No pictures of Charisma". I don't think anyone was confused thinking that they couldn't take any pictures of my undeniable charm. Also, she could seem a little stand offish but she was quite nice with young kids and even stomached an especially creepy dude who had an empty baby stroller full of knick knacks and a copy of her Playboy issue. That dude gave even me the creeps.
  • Nichelle Nichols, Lt. Uhura from Star Trek the Original Series. I spent the majority of my time volunteering about 5 feet from her. She was a very nice and very accommodating lady. She ended up signing a lot of weird and cool stuff. When requested to sign the Mr. Potato Head version of herself I could hear her giggle and proclaim that she had forgotten all about them. For her age she looked great, almost regal. She was easily the most recognized and appreciated of the fans at the show.

My spot at the show. 

I wore a Red Shirt in front of a Star Trek Original Series veteran on a "Away Mission" for multiple hours and managed to walk away and tell the tale. Much better than these Star Fleet rejects...

When you start walking the floor of the show you quickly start to realize who the real stars of the show are - the Cosplayers.  One shopkeeper/cosplayer from had all of the guys talking - she was the most realistic/enhanced human of Jessica Rabbit you will ever see. Gravity has a new opponent.

Here she is leading a pack of kids in a dance party of Gangnam Style.

Costumes from the crowd.

Batman and Zatanna (Z is probably my favorite cosplay costume ever)

Storm Troopers, Deadpool (lots of him this year) and Spidey.

Hello Kitty + Samurai = Awesome

Superman, Ghostbuster, Wonder Woman

Iron Man and Elektra (such a cute little assassin)

A completely badass Red Skull complete with the Cosmic Cube.

Catwoman, Harley, Bane (lots of him in the movie costume), Batman

I have no idea - but I love it.

I usually come away from these conventions with a couple of small purchases and I am happy with my hall this year.

 Good deals on some hard to find comics by Alan Moore, Garth Ennis and Matz.

 A lovely signed picture of Lt. Uhura.

My new favorite shirt. Fing Fang Foom whose name means "He whose limbs shatter mountains and whose back scrapes the sun".

Well done to the organizers of the Expo. Can't wait till the next one.