Wednesday, 21 September 2011

All Covered Up

We figured the stairs should be covered before the racoons moved in, so The Geek Upspent a day finishing that up.

Not to shabby!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Decriminalize What?

I love the quinoa section!

Amazing what comes up during elections. This article was in the Winnipeg Free Press.

Pop goes their world: Leaders grapple with silly celebrity-culture barrage

In his 1985 landmark Amusing Ourselves To Death, American media critic Neil Postman argued the North American public had become addicted to entertainment, thanks to dumbed-down TV programming, vapid radio and declining print journalism.

Needless to say, it’s a good thing Postman isn’t around today. Pop culture and celebrity gossip trumps actual news in the modern media environment, where reality TV boasts better ratings than political leaders’ debates, sports tickers are more important than headlines and traditional news-gathering outlets struggle to compete with Twitter and Facebook.We invited candidates to tell us more about themselves. See what they had to say.

Reporters often lament this. But sometimes, we just go with the flow.

To that end, the leaders of Manitoba’s four mainstream political parties agreed to subject themselves to a quiz about pop culture, sports and their personal entertainment and lifestyle preferences. In the 2011 provincial version of our semi-annual election-campaign exercise, here’s how four smart politicians responded to a bunch of really stupid questions:

Which AMC television series best describes your party: The Walking Dead, Mad Men or Breaking Bad?

James Beddome

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James Beddome (Green Party): I’m going to have to say Mad Men, because we’re pretty clever with our marketing techniques.

Jon Gerrard (Liberals): Breaking Bad? It’s the best of the three choices.

Hugh McFadyen (Progressive Conservatives): It’s gotta be Mad Men, for no apparent reason other than the fact that I’ve never heard of the two other shows. And apparently I wear nice suits, according to the NDP.

Greg Selinger (NDP): God, let’s go with Mad Men for what the heck. It’s the only one I know really well, it’s a pretty good series and it’s got a little depth to it as well.

How would you handle Snooki?

Beddome: Ooh, that’s a tough one. Moratorium?

Gerrard: I would take things as they come and just do the best I can.

McFadyen: Well, clearly this is the main ratings driver for Jersey Shore and I think you just let Snooki be Snooki.

Selinger: Who is Snooki?

Where does your party stand on the Kardashians?

Beddome: You know, I’ve never actually watched the show.

Gerrard: I can’t help you on this one.

McFadyen: We would want to take a balanced approach with the Kardashians and ensure the appropriate measure of fiscal restraint with protecting frontline services.

Selinger: Let’s put it this way – they know how to get media headlines.

Say you’re a vampire. Who’d be better company – Bella Swan, Sookie Stackhouse or Buffy Summers?

Beddome: Buffy The Vampire Slayer? Is that who you’re talking about? It’s the only one I’ve watched. I’m not a big TV guy.

Gerrard: Buffy Summers? Just seems like a good idea.

McFadyen: All of the above?

Selinger: Buffy Summers. She has a vampire-like first name.

Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Jon Gerrard

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Beddome: Who would be up for the role? James Brolin.

Gerrard: Robert Redford. He stands up for little people and I believe standing up for the ordinary Manitoban is important.

McFadyen: Betty White. No, I would be flattered if we could get Vince Vaughan to do it.

Selinger: How about Gregory Peck. You want to know why? Same first name.

What’s the last book you read?

Beddome: The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan.

Gerrard: The last book that I read is one which talks about the art of persuasion. It’s Split-Second Persuasion.

McFadyen: This is just going to put people to sleep: Yalta. I’d have to check the guy’s name. He’s a Ukrainian historian. It’s about the Yalta peace negotiations and post-World War Two Europe division of powers.

Selinger: Joseph Boyden, Through Black Spruce. And a little one called Skufty, by a guy named Bruce Benson, up around Gimli. And I’m working through Stieg Larsson right now.

What’s the first album you ever purchased?

Beddome: Nirvana, Nevermind.

Gerrard: Good question. I suspect it was a Beatles album. I can’t remember which one. It was love songs, like the Yellow Submarine.

McFadyen: I think it was Boney M, Night Flight To Venus.

Selinger: That would have been a long time ago. Maybe, Beatles album, probably, back in the day?

What was the last concert you attended?

Beddome: Shotgun Jimmie, at the Lo Pub.

Gerrard: I was at the performance by Keith & Renee. Keith is a River Heights performing artist.

McFadyen: It’s got to be Coldplay, a couple of years ago. It’s been a while.

Selinger: It’s been a while since I’ve been at a concert.

What band should perform at NHL FaceOff, the concert before the Jets’ home opener?

Beddome: I think we should find something local. I think The Weakerthans are a good choice. Another might be Greg MacPherson or you could even do The Liptonians. All three, good Winnipeg bands who could kick off the Jets.

Gerrard: Neil Young.

McFadyen: I’d love to see The Guess Who.

Selinger: How about The Weakerthans?

Who is your favourite Winnipeg Jet from the original era?

Beddome: When I grew up, Teemu Selanne, man. As a little kid, Teemu, Teemu, Teemu had it going on there. He almost took us to the playoffs a few times.

Gerrard: Bobby Hull.

McFadyen: Veli Pekka-Ketola. He lived in St. James and I met him when I was a kid. I got his autograph. Obviously Bobby Hull and Anders Hedberg would be obvious candidates.

Selinger: He’s still playing. You know who I’m talking about, down in California there? Aaaand ... give me his name. Come on, he’s a really good player. Help me out guys. My favourite player was the guy who got the 70 goals in his first year.

What about your favourite new Jet?

Beddome: I haven’t really had a good chance to take a look at the roster. I gotta wait to see a couple of games to see who the starters are.

Gerrard: [After a long pause, handler David Shorr whispers "Kane."] There are a lot of good Jets, so it’s hard to pick a favourite.

McFadyen: Andrew Ladd. Byfuglien. One of those two guys.

Selinger: I think Dustin Byfuglien’s very popular in spite of the current challenges he’s got. He’s a very popular guy.

Who is the Mayor of Swaggerville?

Greg Selinger

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Greg Selinger

Beddome: The Mayor of Swaggerville? It’s something off Family Guy, maybe?

Gerrard: Right now it’s Sam Katz. The swagger is not as good as it was but we hope it’s going to get better.

McFadyen: It is O-...? The mayor is not be confused with the CEO of Swaggerville. I was just reading about it this morning. Hasn’t Swaggerville been discontinued?

Selinger: Oh, gosh. I’m not sure who it is. The whole defensive corps themselves, they all play together. They’re really quite good.

What would you rather do to blow off steam: Play a round of golf, hike 15 kilometres, spend the day fishing or fire off several rounds of ammunition?

Beddome: Hike 15 kilometres. It takes me back to (being) a kid. I grew up in the Little Saskatchewan River valley. From a young age, literally three or four years old, I used to love hiking around the bush in the river valley.

Gerrard: Hike 15 kilometres. I enjoy getting outdoors.

McFadyen: I would have to say hike 15 kilometres. Golf raised my blood pressure.

Selinger: Hiking would be more fun.

What brand of beer must be in your fridge?

Beddome: Half Pints. I’m partial to St. James pale ale but I also like Bulldog amber.

Gerrard: Fort Garry dark ale.

McFadyen: MGD and probably a Labatt’s product of some kind, which goes back to curling days, when they were our big sponsor. I’m loyal to that brand.

Selinger: I had a little pale ale from St. James last night. That was quite nice. That would be a nice beer to have. That’s a local beer.

Favourite variety of wine?

Beddome: I really like Cuma Malbec and another one that I like is Birchwood Estate Merlot-Gamay.

Gerrard: The wine produced by Rigby Orchards in Manitoba, near Killarney.

McFadyen: I don’t drink a lot of wine. I really don’t. Anything in a box.

Selinger: I like a light white. Something fruity. Something you can eat with fish. It’s a nice light wine.

Where do you stand on the decriminalization of quinoa?

Beddome: We have so many vegetarians in the party, they need their quinoa. Come on, don’t mess around with them.

Gerrard: Quinoa is a drug, I presume? ["It’s a grain," handler Nancy Chippendale interjects.]

McFadyen: Clearly, the war on quinoa raises all kinds of public policy issues we need to be mindful of.

Selinger: What is quinoa?

Food-wise, what’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Beddome: Sweets. I like ice cream, and baked goods.

Gerrard: Cake. Cheesecake. I like the taste of it. When I get the chance, I eat cheesecake.

McFadyen: Peanut M&Ms, the official food of campaign 2011.

Selinger: Peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

Say you have a night off. What would be your favourite thing to do in Winnipeg?

Beddome: I’d just go down to Osborne or Sherbrook and hit a few of the local pubs – the Standard, Cousin’s or the Toad up in Osborne Village, just to have a beer with some good friends and some good conversation.

Gerrard: I like to spend it with my wife. Sometimes we go to a movie. Sometimes we play tennis. We just get out and do something together.

McFadyen: In Winnipeg, it would be got to a movie or maybe listen to a band play somewhere. But you know what, I haven’t had a night off in a couple of months, so I’m starting to get rusty at these things. Pizzeria Gusto would be a good place to go for dinner.

Selinger: I went for a bicycle ride last night down to that new tapas bar, Segovia, with my son. We had a lot of fun down there.

Where did you meet your wife/girlfriend?

Hugh McFadyen

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Beddome: I met my girlfriend on the Greyhound bus. We were both on our way to write the LSAT, the law-school admission test. We couldn’t get into Winnipeg, either of us. So we went to Brandon.

Gerrard: I met my wife in Newfoundland. Naomi was nursing and I was a medical student at that point. We happened to meet in northern Newfoundland, in St. Anthony, and the rest is history. We met in the emergency room.

McFadyen: I met her at a Boxing Day party. You’re thinking to yourself ‘Who has Boxing Day parties?’ but there was a Boxing Day party at a friend’s house in St. James, and that’s where we met.

Selinger: The University of Manitoba. Undergrad. We were in the same classes together.

What’s the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

Beddome: I’m more approachable than anyone realizes. I don’t care who you are, from someone who’s having a tough time on the streets and someone that can be in a three-piece suit who has a lot money. I can sit down and relate to anyone.

Gerrard: For vacations, I often climb trees and band eagles.

McFadyen: That I am probably really a geek at heart and kind of shy, which normally don’t get associated with people in politics.

Selinger: Probably that I used to drive an English minivan. You know the Austin Mini? A right-hand drive, English minivan, in Winnipeg.

Please name the make and model of any vehicles you own.

Beddome: I recently acquired a Buick Century from my recently deceased grandmother’s estate. It’s a 1996.

Gerrard: We have a Toyota Prius, 2007. And we’ve got a Toyota Corolla, from about 2000.

McFadyen: A Mazda MPV van and I’m fortunate in my job to have a fleet vehicle, so I don’t own it. Currently, it’s a Ford Escape.

Selinger: An Escape hybrid. It’s a lease.

Please name all your pets.

Beddome: It’s just sad. I had a another pet that just deceased. She was my little cat, Candy. I had her since I was about eight years old. She was 18, 19. I had to lose her. But I have another cat who’s more my girlfriend’s than mine, but now it’s mine. He’s a lovely orange cat named Charlie. He’s very furry. You can go on my Facebook page. I have pictures of them.

Gerrard: We don’t have any pets at the moment, but we’ve had lots of them.

McFadyen: Meika the dog. Eight-month-old cross between a shih tzu and a spaniel.

Selinger: Don’t have any pets, just passions.

Please name the brand, country of origin and approximate retail value of the suit you’re wearing.

Beddome: What I like to do is go second hand. I buy suits and take them into a tailor. This is Bellissimo. I got it at I’m not sure what second-hand store. I would have taken it in to get tailored. It’s a good way for people to be green and save money.

Gerrard: This is a suit I purchased at Moore’s. JBH, I guess. It would have an approximate value of about $500.

McFadyen: The brand is a J.P. Tilford. I think it was made in Canada, actually. This one would have been on sale for about $500, which would be at the expensive end of the range.

Selinger: Oh god, $400. I have no idea where it’s made. I’ll have to check out the brand. There is no obvious brand on it. Let’s put it this way – I got it in a basement at a good price.

Say one genuinely nice thing about one of the other party leaders.

Beddome: I can say something nice about them all. Everyone who puts their name on the ballot does it because they want to make Manitoba better.

Gerrard: I’ve known Greg Selinger for a number of years in the Legislature. I think he tries hard.

McFadyen: Knows a lot about birds, Dr. Jon Gerrard. I have a soft spot for Dr. Jon.

Selinger: They’re all very committed to what they do. They’re all working like heck right now.

Finally, which marsupial best describes your party?

Beddome: A kangaroo, because we can jump across really fast and we have a lot of things hiding in our pockets, namely some extra pocket change from our free-fare bus policy.

Gerrard: Maybe a duck-billed platypus? The marsupials would be possums, things like that.

McFadyen: (Emerson MLA) Cliff Graydon.

Selinger: The kangaroo. It has a lot of bounce.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Frightening Fungus

It isn't necessarily the size that makes this fungus alarming, it is that it is growing out of a huge, very ill cottonwood in the back lane.
Be afraid!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Worse than Anticipated.

The front steps have been on the to-do list for a couple of years now. We had to take some other rubbish to the dump, so thought we may as well rip off the old stairs and haul them away at the same time.
We knew it wasn't going to be pretty under there, but we weren't prepared for what was found.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Test Fitting the Doors

The Geek has been busy making doors for the cupboards. Very good of her, considering she doesn't think the cupboards need doors.
This is how it looks so far.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Frogs and Follies From August Long Weekend

Mom, Sister C and Jay have covered the dike to protect the sandbags from UV and Jay finished the bridge.

The road west of the house is now closed.
This is the first of five places between the house and the school where water runs over the road.

More clay dikes around the property that I hadn't noticed when we were out sandbagging the house.

And in terms of more silliness, why would anyone use plastic parts on a farm implement? The top bracket was rotten and the whole wheel assembly became bent when it broke. Dad had to do a field repair to get the sprayer home.
Once home he had the right equipment (tractor, winch, crowbar, towing chains, hydro pole and a 160 pound bi-pedal counterweight) he was able to attach a new part and straighten the wheel assembly.

One of the few bright sides of this whole flood is the resurgence of the frog population. When I was little, the local frogs were picked almost to nothing when university supply companies paid local people to supply them with frogs. I haven't seen this many of the little guys for over 35 years. If you turn up the volume, you can hear the plop, plop, plop-plop-plop, of frogs jumping from the road into the ditch, Unfortunatley the sounds of my boots on the gravel is much louder than the frogs.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Questions You Just Can't Answer

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard when he lives in the jungle without a razor?

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are dead?

Why do banks charge a fee on 'insufficient funds' when they know there is not enough?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Whose idea was it to put an 'S' in the word 'lisp'?

What is the speed of darkness?

Why is it that people say they 'slept like a baby' when babies wake up every two hours?

Are there specially reserved parking spaces for 'normal' people at the Special Olympics?

If the temperature is zero outside today and it's going to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold will it be?

Do married people live longer than single ones or does it only seem longer?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why do toasters always have a setting so high that could burn the toast to a horrible crisp, which no rational human being would eat?

Monday, 11 July 2011

With A Little Help

from family and neighbours and friends.
N1 hauls sandbags that weigh almost as much as he does.
Much help is needed to build the bridge.
The front end loader is great for pushing in posts.
And we're done!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Sandbags and Stuff

Several truckloads of sandbags arrived Thursday and Friday so things were ready to roll when we showed up Saturday.
The water across the road is even closer.
Trucks are still hauling gravel to build up the road further west.
Dikes on the prairie,
and in PeaStraws keeep the lake from getting any closer.
As it is, the water is already up to the road.
At the end of the day, The Geek and I had build the dike around the house three layers high.
and a rather soothing lake montage, except the lake on the right is pasture and on the right is hayfield.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Red River is High as Well

The river is very high this year. At the moment, there is a very short walk from boathouse at WRC to the dock.
The first picture was taken July 5 and the second on the 6th.
If this keeps us, we'll be able to launch without even leaving the house.
Even the trees along the edge of the river are underwater.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

It's About Blooming TIme

The lilacs and the peonies have finally decided to get to work.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

My First Attempts at Bohemia

I found a recipe for home made deodorant.
I'm always trying to reduce the amount of chemicals I apply to myself and this seemed pretty natural.
Here is the recipe, should this link disappear.

1/4 cup baking soda ($1.19 for a box)
1/4 cup arrowroot powder ($5.99 for 20 oz.)
4 tablespoons coconut oil ($6.00 for 15 oz.)
10 drops/shakes grapefruit essential oil ($9.99 for 0.5 oz.)
A tin or jar with lid
n a bowl, stir together dry ingredients, then add oils gradually until you like the consistency, mixing with a fork. Store in a closed container at room temp. (If the mixture seems too soft, try refrigerating it for a bit to firm it up.)
To apply, scoop up a bit with your finger, hold it against your skin for a couple seconds so it melts a little, then rub around.

I whipped up a batch, and we'll see how it goes.
Perhaps shampoo is next.

Monday, 13 June 2011

It's a Wet Year

The maple trees are loaded with seeds,
And there are bullrushes sprouting in the garden.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Still Getting Higher

The levels on Lake Manitoba contine to rise.

The Little Island, a family landmark, is living up to its name.
McRae Lake is up to, and even on the other side of the road. At least the drain has now been closed so it cannot fill any more from that way.
Down the road a couple of miles the lake, normally over a kilometer away, is right up against the newly constructed dike. In the background you can see a back hoe and caterpiller building the dikes higher.
In Vogar as well, Lake Manitoba, usually a kilometer away, is right up to the road.
The Dog Lake Drain on the left, and Lake Manitoba on the right.
Stockpiled sandbags by the fish shed in Vogar.
I still hope it is as high as it is going to get!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Rollin' in the Clover

The clover we seeded in the front yard has sprouted, tho' at the moment it doesn't look much like clover.
And the very first tomato blossom. Hooray!