calzephyr: (Default)
2017-07-21 12:26 pm
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Galactic Budgies

I think I have a posting routine figured out - if I post here and crosspost to LJ, then I can back it up with LJ Archive. But since DW forked off before a lot of LJ improvements were made, it's not so easy to add an Instagram!

I had to wait a while for my husband to pick me up, so I used just about every filter on every graphics program I had on my phone!

Birb! #weird #budgies #mirrorimage #picsaypro #rainbow #birds #budgerigar #parakeet #birb #cosmic #wellensittich #budgerigars #bored #overdone #mirrorimages #mirrorgram
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-07-02 07:07 pm
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Werewolf Tycoon

Werewolf Tycoon is one of the silliest games I have played, but that's not saying much with how little opportunity I have to play games anymore! It's available for Android and iPhone and I only found out about it because of a bunch of tweets someone retweeted about fake game names. Someone pointed out that yes, Werewolf Tycoon did exist and of course I had to try it.

The game is simple to play and easy to master - eat the humans, don't let reporters take your photo and rack up boosts from briefcases. There's so much to like about Werewolf Tycoon from it's goofy music to it's retro style graphics, but it doesn't have a lot of long term playability or challenge once you've mastered it. The best part is all the jokey things in it, from bringing down a UFO to the newspaper headlines. But, once you exhaust those, there isn't much else to do.
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-06-12 12:30 pm
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My Weird Ass Organ Donation Dream

 I had the creepiest dream about an organ donation scheme a few days ago. It was one of those movie-length dreams where everything happened so effortlessly and seemed very true to life's, if by true to life I mean that the hair salon that just closed behind our house turned into a boutique craft store. It was more like a jewellery store with large glass display cases and spotlights. I made friends with the proprietor, a woman in an orange and black flowered dress who was a Hutterite or Mennonite. We talked about crafts and then we went out to get lunch at McDonalds, also in the same strip mall. 
 
Afterwards, we went to another store that looked like a Home Depot for pets. She had to go back to work, but I continued to walk around the store and soon discovered that it was a for-profit organ donation warehouse. The walls were light green and grey and the front of the store had big windows at the front. You lined up and checked out with your organ, picked from a shelf. All the staff had red and black polo shirts and were kind of tough looking! 
 
What did I buy? I bought a heart and some brain cells! I paid for my purchase, which was put in a paper bag. As I was sitting there I looked out the window and someone sitting at the bus stop in the distance dropped their organ. It rolled out of the paper bag and fell on the ground! 
 
When I looked away from the window, my bag was gone and the person next to me was talking to his mother. He was assuring her that he could pay his bills this month. I guess people who were there to donate organs went into a separate line. He was going to sell his organs and pay his debts. 
 
The staff had a switch over - new staff burst through the door and one had a guard dog on a short leash. I asked the man where my bag was and at first he said that he didn't know. 
 
I said something like "I paid a lot of money!" 
 
Then he admitted that my purchase had been docked the heart, but offered no further explanation.
 
The only reason I remember so much is that I woke up to go pee. Naturally I couldn't get back to sleep easily after that, so I wrote the details down on my phone and went for an early morning walk! 
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-06-07 12:47 pm
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Riverdale

I watched Riverdale in April because it came highly recommended by my friend. I was so unimpressed after the first episode. It was a weird blend of the Twilight movies in style and Twin Peaks in story. The acting was also really really bad! Maybe it was the cognitive dissonance of a gritty reboot of squeaky clean Archie - really! Is nothing sacred? - but eventually the plot and Riverdale's dirty secrets drew me in along with the conspiracy theories. The acting also did get better after the first few episodes.

I think the show did a good job of getting down to the gap between the worlds of teenagers and adults and did so in a very contemporary way whether it's that Betty takes ADHD medication or that Jughead comes from a broken home. It's not an adult's version of high school which a lot of youth oriented shows seem to resemble. Just that there is a diverse cast is amazing in itself!
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-05-29 07:53 pm
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2017 Festival of Quilts

So saying no to one thing means saying yes to another thing. If I was still going to Creative Chaos, I would not have been able to go to Festival of Quilts this past weekend. We didn't go in 2016 due to rain - last summer was very rainy overall. It was unusually hot for May and I ended up with a sunburn from walking around the park with Mom and my brother. It really was a picture perfect day and I took lots of pictures. I'll get those on Flickr in a bit.

One of the awesome things about the show is bring able to see the fabric in natural light and they looked quite gay, giving everything a touch of whimsy. I managed to avoid buying any new fabric although it was very tempting. So many colours...pretty pretty colours...but I had enough at home :D

We didn't go inside the historic houses as we usually do. All the buildings - even the barns - are hot as heck. I often wonder what people did in Ye Olde Days to keep cool!

Click for Insta snaps )
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-05-13 10:40 pm
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Spirit Riding Free (and DW cross-post test)

I have been prepping for another craft show and it involved a lot of mundane stuff - labelling cards, packaging cards, sealing card envelopes, etc etc. One can only watch so much of The Vampire Diaries and 80s cartoons on Netflix before you just want something different and I was so intrigued to see Spirit Riding Free pop up. If you haven't watched it, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a 2002 feature length animated movie starring Matt Damon as Spirit. I think it's one of the few movies to feature horses...there might be an animated Black Beauty somewhere, but if there is, I haven't watched it. There is very little connection to the movie other than it is set in the West, has a horse named Spirit and...yeah, that's about it. The reaction to the series has been quite passionate - my favourite was a FB comment that went something like "Young girls shouldn't fantasize about riding stallions" to folks posting long YT rants. It would be nice if they did make a sequel to Spirit, but I'm not sure how it could be done since movie Spirit's story is more or less complete.

I whipped through all six available episodes. My first instinct was that the animation looked really bad and cheap, but Aunt Cora won me over with her line "Why is everybody hugging? I haven't finished yelling yet!" in the first few minutes. The series starts out with Fortuna - Lucky to her friends and family - returning to the town where her father and mother met. Lucky's mother died somehow and the only clue we get is that she was a circus performer or trick rider. Eventually the animation grew on me because there were moments where it came across as beautiful. I think the lighting might be inconsistent.

Lucky soon makes friends with Pru and Abigail as she learns to ride a horse and adapt her city ways to country life. Although the stories aren't too in-depth, they are adventure packed and isn't just for girls. I laughed a lot, especially episode 6 where the girls plan a surprise party for Pru and it all goes sideways. I think it's exciting that there's a diverse cast too! Abigail is my favourite character because she's so sweet and innocent and tries to be a peacekeeper, but she's no doormat either. I'm looking forward to more of this series and maybe will pick up a toy or two.
calzephyr: (birds)
2017-04-10 09:20 pm

I have a DW account...

I have been phenomenally busy the last week and a bit, but I want everyone to know that I'm calzephyr on DreamWidth. I don't know if I will be fleeing LJ because of the new TOS - I don't think so because I do like some of the communities here - but it never hurts to have a Plan B :) If you are on DW, feel free to PM me your nick.
calzephyr: (birds)
2017-04-08 09:00 pm
Entry tags:

The Circle of Life

I was going to make a post about all the birds that have returned to the neighbourhood since mid-March but I was so busy with this and that.

Several pairs of crows are back, along with the sparrows and magpies. Last week I saw a tree with easily a dozen magpies. And maybe it was the same week but I saw either a pair of quail or Hungarian partridges run across the neighbour's lawn. They were pretty quick!

I haven't seen a magpie since Thursday though. When I came home from work on Thursday there was a freshly killed one on the front lawn, right by the sidewalk. I had hoped my husband would take care of the little body, but tomorrow I'll probably throw some dirt on him as it's rained and other critters have been at it. Crows were all about our yard on Friday morning.

I happened to look out the window later and for lack of a better word, about seven or eight magpies paid their respects to their fallen comrade. Then they flew across the road to the playing field and jumped and pecked at a lingering pile of snow. I don't know what they expected to find, but it seemed like grief or confusion to me.

I felt rather badly for the magpie. Sometimes magpies and crows get hit by cars while eating roadkill. However it happened didn't seem to leave my birds upset. We do have small raptors in the neighbourhood. Last month I saw a small raptor up by the rec centre. It was too dark to see what kind but he was sitting like a statue on top of a lamppost until a crow started harassing him.

Hopefully my next bird update will be far more positive!
calzephyr: (Mr. Jill)
2017-03-31 11:25 pm
calzephyr: (birds)
2017-03-25 09:24 am

Switch

About ten years ago I started reading a lot of business type books. I don't know if it had to do with turning 30 or that there was just a wave of popular business books around that time that were accessible to average people. Think books like Freakonomics.

I decided to start reading through our little book collection at work because I haven't read anything in ages, I love new ideas and it started to bring some relief to my work day. At New Job employees were always encouraged to surf the web and seek out ideas; not so much at my current workplace because we're so understaffed and Internet usage is monitored. But I doubt anyone is going to give me heck for reading a little bit at the end of the day!

I really enjoyed Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. Some of the concepts were not new to me because of all the change management blah blah blah thrown at me over the years during buyouts and re-orgs. What makes Switch so amazing is the warm, encouraging and conversational tone that the Heaths bring to the book. It's a very empowering tactic, especially as they profile everyday people trying to make their workplace safer or improve student relationships.

Change is hard. People don't like change. That much is obvious! The brothers lay out a framework that we're all Elephants being goaded by Riders on a Path. This gets a little tiresome, but the gist is that the Rider is controlling, easily exhausted and can be too analytical. The Elephant is big, strong and guided by emotion. Obviously the Path is the road to change. The book is broken up into short sections in three parts detailing each concept. When all three ideas are aligned, magical change happens :)

The book has so many a-ha moments. You can find a great summary here. Barriers to change include end goals which lack clarity, a lack of direction, focusing on the wrong problem, lack of appeal to emotion and asks that are too big. Loads of anecdotes about how ordinary people influenced change are the huge strength of the book although if you are looking for concrete directions, this isn't the book for you. Basically the authors offer suggestions because of course there is no one size fits all solution.

I highly recommend this book - it's great for one's personal life along with work life too.
calzephyr: (Awesome)
2017-03-22 09:50 pm
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happy birthday william shatner!

Loblaws is an Eastern Canadian supermarket chain - in Western Canada they are called Real Canadian Superstore (or Stupidstore - I hate shopping there!)


Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] deathstar461 at happy birthday william shatner!


calzephyr: (cooking)
2017-03-19 07:09 pm
Entry tags:

Let's Try New Things

If you have been reading my LJ for some time, you know about my love affair with the slow cooker - but, as of Friday, it has competition! Pressure cookers are all the rage right now with one pressure cooker to rule them all - the Instant Pot. People are losing their minds over this thing and rightly so. I went middle of the road and bought a Tupperware Microwave Pressure Cooker from my friend who sells the stuff. It's purple and for the cost, I could safely find out if I was a pressure cooker type person.

The pressure cooker itself is pretty heavy and durable. I read the instruction manual carefully and it was super easy to use. There is a slight hitch - our upstairs microwave was too powerful. It can only be used in 900 watt or lower microwaves. Fortunately the pot just barely fit in our 900 watt downstairs microwave. Why do we have an upstairs and downstairs microwave? Let's say it's the easiest way to marital bliss when you want to nuke hot dogs at 3am ;-)

I picked a soupy stew called Caldo Tlalpeno because it looked simple and straightforward. I couldn't find a single bulk hot pepper in the produce aisle, so I substituted taco seasoning to give it kick. Basically first you nuke the chicken and then you nuke the vegetables. Instead of a whole chicken like the recipe called for, I bought some chicken breast stir fry strips. I nuked them for 15 minutes - I would maybe do 10 next time as the chicken was a little rubbery coming out. But no doubt about it - it was cooked through! I nuked the vegetables for 5 minutes as suggested in the recipe, but I would use 10 minutes next time as the onions and carrots were still crunchy. Still, very filling and I have lots for lunch tomorrow!

Chicken vegetable soup stew made in my new #tupperware microwave pressure cooker! Worked really well and fast :)
calzephyr: (birds)
2017-03-19 06:56 pm
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Daylight Savings Time According to Father Knows Best

Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] calzephyr77 at Daylight Savings Time According to Father Knows Best
How's that first week of DST treating you, if you're in North America?

While we might find of DST as a modern curse and invention, it's history goes back a lot longer than you might think and was hilariously captured in this episode of Father Knows Best from 1950.
calzephyr: (procrastinating)
2017-03-10 10:40 pm
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Help to find book about Charlotte/Charlie YA *FOUND

You can put it in the win column!

Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] ext_4017148 at Help to find book about Charlotte/Charlie YA *FOUND
I need help finding a book that I read a while ago, probably at least ten years ago. I borrowed it from my local library and loved it, but cannot remember the name for the life of me. It's a period setting, maybe later 1800's? The cover had a beautiful picture, half of a girl's face, half of a horse face, both reddish hair and blue eyes. The copy I read was hardcover, and it seemed a few years old.
The main character was named Charlotte, I think she lived in an orphanage, maybe her parents' home, but was getting too old be taken care of, and so was going to be handed over to the state or something. Before that happened, she climbed out her window and ran away. I remember clearly the description of her walking through ice cold water on her way. She disguised herself as a young teenage boy named Charlie, and eventually got a job in a barn. She described the painful process of binding her chest to look flat.
Somewhere along the way, she meets a specific horse, but I cant remember what the reasoning was, besides it being in the barn she was working for.
I feel like one of the other workers found out her identity, and maybe they fell in love?

Thanks for the help!

Thank you calzephyr77 for finding this book! Now I have to go get it and read it again!
calzephyr: (Crafts)
2017-03-04 08:19 am
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Reitform Sponging Technique

Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] calzephyr77 at Reitform Sponging Technique
Hi guys, I swear, it's LJ's inability to post pictures easily that keep me from posting more :-D Here's a technique I learned at the craft club and it's ridiculously easy and interesting. It's called reitform and basically you just mask off areas with Post-It Notes and sponge inside with ink. You could probably do the same with watered down acrylics and watercolours too, plus you could draw or stamp within the area. I did a whole sheet and cut them up for artist trading cards. They were instant masterpieces...or at least some of them were :-)


Art or craft? Sponging fun using the reitform technique of masking #crafts #crafting #instacraft #rubberstamp #stamping #yycblogger #yycblogger #yycartist #artsandcrafts #yycartist

calzephyr: (birds)
2017-02-19 06:19 am
Entry tags:

Free Birds

Spoilers ahead

Let me start by saying that children's movies, like children's books, are often very weird fare. Adults recognize the story gaps that go over children's heads and I don't know about anyone else, but they can be difficult to reconcile. For example, Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree was an extremely popular book when I was a child but it also has been scrutinized as being a tale of poor boundaries and co-dependence. Rather than overthinking the story, the problem just might be poor writing and production that invites comparison or confusion where none is intended. I think that's what happened to Free Birds - the one progressive part of the movie gets lost in the problematic parts and it just becomes a hot mess. To be honest, I also fell asleep in the middle of the movie and had to be nudged awake :-P

In a nutshell, it's about two time travelling turkeys, Reggie and Jake, who try to get turkey off the Thanksgiving dinner menu. They go back in time to the first Thanksgiving and encounter a bunch of wild turkeys who wear face paint and live underground to avoid capture by the pilgrims. Reggie falls in love with the chief's daughter, Jenny.

Perhaps it's a little unfair that Pixar has created such high standards for story and visuals in animated movies and the turkeys can barely clear this hurdle. Some of the animation was truly dreadful, such as Myles Standish's three dogs and the plasticity of the pilgrims. The character designers also seem to have mixed up Myles Standish with an Old West bounty hunter and the depiction of First Nations people isn't very respectful.

There are lots of laughs and the rivalry between Jake and Jenny's older brother Ranger is pretty funny. The parts where the turkeys are talking but are heard by humans as gobbling are hilarious! But the whole thing is so unevenly paced, incoherent and weird. There's even a turkey funeral which seems like an attempt to bring some emotion to the film...but unlike, say, Up, it comes across as out of place and patched on. The film is just full of weird stuff like that - one later scene flashes back to Jake's youth where he escaped from a factory farm. I hate to say it, but I have watched two hour Vine compilations more coherent than this movie :-D

There are so many messages in Free Birds that by the end of the movie, everything feels unresolved even though the turkeys are successful in changing Thanksgiving by turning it into a pizza party. Movies don't have to be this bad!
calzephyr: (star trek)
2017-02-03 10:19 pm

To seek out new life; new communities...

You may know that I post in [livejournal.com profile] vintage_ads, but I just joined [livejournal.com profile] vintagephoto and enjoy it daily!
calzephyr: (Muffin Buffin)
2017-02-02 09:59 pm
Entry tags:

Nuffin But Muffin

I made a little Facebook page for my bird! It updates on Sundays and Wednesdays. Click the picture to visit and like.

calzephyr: (creative)
2017-01-24 06:02 pm
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The Girl Mechanic

Every now and then I find this book on my book shelf and every time it feels like the moment I found it at the bookstore back in 2009. This sturdy, pocket sized manual is many things - how to book, pattern book and a peek into people's lives and hobbies from the pages of Popular Mechanics. In some ways it's not a proper "craft book" as the patterns are quite small, but the ideas are often sound. As with many vintage craft and recipe books, the materials may have been renamed or are not as readily available today. You might have guessed that there is a "boy edition" but I'd be willing to bet that it is as gender neutral as this book.

I was surprised to see that the text invited girls to saw and craft with their parents help. The variety of crafts, toys and games is pretty astounding and I wish my parents had been more the maker type to build a few things from this book like the basement golf course or weaving loom. From braiding to mold casting, doll houses to a full size backyard merry go round, I can only imagine how many hours of fun these plans provided.

x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] craftgrrl, [livejournal.com profile] books and [livejournal.com profile] bookish
calzephyr: (birds)
2017-01-15 08:51 am
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Snowpiercer and Bee Movie

A couple of months ago I remarked to a friend that I had not seen the original Alien movie or Disney's The Little Mermaid. He replied I should come over to watch both, because "those are two movies that just go great together" (LOL).

So it was that my husband I found ourselves watching the dreadful Bee Movie after watching the very grim Snowpiercer. Snowpiercer is a 2013 movie based on a French graphic novel starring Chris Evans and Song Kang-ho. It's actually backed by a Korean studio - which is a growing trend among Asian studios. There are definitely more and more Asian backed films that have a big Hollywood box office star for the main draw.

I don't know if Snowpiercer was in theatres very long. It's an excellent movie, very "thinky" and full of action, but it does fall apart the more one thinks about it. Just as utopias are unattainable, dystopias are rarely sustainable and the logistics of a train that can't stop running and support the people on board doesn't make a lot of sense. It's easier to think of the train as a symbol for class systems. Snowpiercer was so dark and even the hopeful ending ends on the wrong note. In terms of story and style it reminded me of Brazil and Children of Men and a third movie I still can't put my finger on.

Bee Movie should have been the cheerful antidote to Snowpiercer, but I was so bored. This movie is sooooo weird and not very entertaining at all. True, 3D animation in 2007 wasn't that great, but the movie comes off as sounding like it's making fun of oppressed people everywhere when Barry B. Benson, the bee, sues the humans for stealing honey. Ugggghhhh!