Thursday, July 31, 2008

attack of the torso

I think Claire Danes has the longest torso I've even seen in my life. Seriously, she's only 2 inches taller than I am but she looks like an amazon in this photo. That is so weird looking.

yay for dogs

Isabella, a yellow Lab, nurses three white tiger cubs she adopted after they were abandoned by their mother at the Safari Zoological Park east of Caney, Kan.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

hillside in review

This past weekend we made our annual trek to the Guelph Lake Conservation Area for my favourite weekend of the summer -- Hillside Festival!!! Two and a half glorious days of great music, amazing food, beautiful scenery and the best company. Hillside is one of the best music festivals in the country and this weekend is like my tiny bit of therapy and I so look forward to it. This year we were joined by my cousin Kaili and her husband LB and my lovely friend Kelly. Full photo album can be found here. Highlights include:
  • The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir: playing together for the first time in 13 years and finally getting to see them live (I wasn't of age when they played the Townehouse)

  • the always great Danny Michel

  • getting Kelly all to myself for a whole weekend

  • the African Peanut Stew from "Meals That Heal"

  • eating pakoras the size of my head and roasted corn every day

  • the always dreamy Jason Collett

  • walking onto the island to the tunes of Old Man Luedecke

  • a full weekend of Team Family (a.k.a Kaili and LB)

  • Sunday afternoon candy binge old-school style

  • strolling around the island with Marc

  • the Hayden show on Sunday night -- click here for a video I took of him doing my most favourite Hayden song "Dynamite Walls."

  • Sunday morning gospel workshop that is always the highlight of the weekend for me

  • finally getting to see a taping of "The Vinyl Cafe" with Stuart McLean and having Ron Sexsmith show up unannounced ( I think it airs this weekend)

  • a big fat giant closing set by Broken Social Scene

  • the new Hillside hiking trail onto the island

  • watching a guy who spent the weekend in workboots and a speedo with his Blackberry clipped onto the side of them

  • taking a great nap in the shade next to the lake

  • buying a hoodie with a moose on it

  • buying a shirt with a bird on it

  • staying in this amazing penthouse suite at our B&B. If you ever need a place to stay in Guelph call Janet at the Norfolk Guest House and you will not be sorry

Lowlights include:
  • having that awful sideways painful kind of rain ruin our Rain Plan 2008 in a giant, giant way

  • the sickness resulting from our Sunday candy binge
  • Hawksley Workman starting his set with a great cover of The Jackson Five's "Want You Back" only to follow it up with at least 7 more covers and a few of his worst songs. Shame on you Hawksley -- you are much better than that. I've seen it first hand.

  • realizing that mornings off Guelph Island don't start with a gospel workshop

Alll in all, I'm always sad when Hillside is over. It was a great weekend and I wish Hillside was a whole year long.


So the final count down begins to the release of Breaking Dawn. Teenage girls everywhere are lining up, going to midnight release parties and getting set to read until dawn at their local Chapters store. Me, well I am indeed pretty frigging excited. I didn't pick up the Twilight series until this summer and had the bonus of reading one after another without months of waiting between issues. It's not often you get an entire summer of escapist literature handed to you like that. So I'm excited, yes I pre-ordered my copy and yes I'll likely devour it all right away. But no parties for this girl I'm afraid.

Let's discuss the movie for a moment. Twilight is set to be released December 12th, 2008. Of course, when a book describes its characters in such exhaustive detail, all eyes are on the casting of the lead characters. In my opinion, I think the overall casting of this movie is total crap. Of course, not having seen the movie they could turn out to be amazing but based on looks alone, it just doesn't seem like they tried hard enough. First the obvious, Edward the vampire. In the books he's described as so incredibly beautiful it's unnatural. In your head you have this picture of this strong, gorgeous man with that edge of something not quite right. And who do they cast? Robert Pattinson, the same guy that played Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter. The same guy who looks like that creepy guy in the bar who asked to buy you a drink. The same guy who looks like he could get beat up by a girl. I don't believe him as Edward for one second. He looks 13 years old and is just not, not, not a handsome enough guy. Not by a longshot.

And of course there is always the guy that was the first choice, Henry Cavill, the insanely handsome actor who plays Charles Brandon in The Tudors. This is a guy who looks the part. He's so dreamy it should be illegal, he actually looks like he could throw a punch and looks a bit like a vampire even without any make-up. This is the Edward Cullen from my head. Not the sissy looking boy with the "I'm so serious look me pretending to be a vampire" pretty boy face.
Seriously, look at this man. This is a man you'd believe to be a level of handsome not found normally in nature.

As for everyone else, I don't get it. The Rosalie character is again someone who's described as being so over-the-top beautiful that people can't even look at her without feeling uncomfortable. Nikki Reed, while a pretty girl, is not that level of pretty. To top it off, she can't carry the blonde hair at all and it just looks like a giant fake wig.

Same with Ashley Greene who plays Alice, not the image in my head at all. I was picturing an Angelina Jolie type from Hackers -- super short pixie hair, abnormally gorgeous features, pale skin. Not this 13 year old girl annoying girl next door look they've given her.

And don't even get me started on the guy playing Jasper -- he looks like a useless frat boy summering on his parents' yacht! At least the guy playing Emmett isn't a total loss -- he looks mildy tough.

The only redeeming casting choice seems to be Kristen Stewart as Bella. She has that clueless innocent look about her and although she's got a voice like a truck driver, I think she'll do alright.
All in all, the movie should be some good fluff movie watching and who doesn't love a good vampire movie? Hell, who doesn't love a bad vampire movie for that matter? It is what it is.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

tiny things are cool

Attention Londoners (Shannon this means you). Fellow blogger Shira wrote just the loveliest post the other day about why tiny things seem to be loved by so many. In her post she talked about a London artist who creates these tiny, tiny art projects and leaves them out on the London streets to fend for themselves. It's called Little People and he's got a blog documenting his work. Shannon imagine if you stumbled across one on your way to work one day? I know something like that would just make my day. Here are some of my faves both close up and zoomed out so you can truly see how tiny these things are:

Last Kiss


Manhole Swimming

Bad Road

Dear Son

His work reminds me of the art installation I saw at the 8th Ave/14th Street Chelsea subway station in New York City. Walking along I look down only to see these tiny bronze sculptures coming out of the floors and "working" on subway fixtures like beams etc. It's called Life Underground and was done by artist Tom Otterness and it really made me smile during an especially hot and stuffy very un-fun moment in the subway.

Ahhhhh the joys of public art. Hear that Sudbury?? The JOYS of PUBLIC ART!!!!!!!


I might want to read this book...

Screech to Tell All in New Book
The actor who played Screech is planning a racy tell-all about his years as the lovable nerd on Saved by the Bell. Dustin Diamond, 31, who played Samuel "Screech" Powers on the popular sitcom and its spinoffs from 1989 to 2000, has landed a book deal. In Behind the Bell, Diamond will dish on what he and his costars – including Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley – did when cameras weren't rolling, according to New York magazine. The book, which Diamond will pen with help from a ghost writer, will include "sexual escapades among cast members, drug use, and hardcore partying," the magazine reports.

running before the storm

While I was away I missed Abbey's post about this painting, "Running Before the Storm." I'm so in love with it I can hardly look at it!! Strange, considering this style of painting is not something I'm usually drawn to. It dates back to the 1870's and the artist is unknown. I love the colours -- the intensity of the storm against the pastel coloured farm houses, that white horse sticking out from it all. I love all the movement covering every inch of the painting -- the guy chasing his hat, all the trees bending to the wind, the dust, the black horse. It's just so so lovely. Instead of hanging in my living room, "Running Before the Storm" is currently residing at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


...just when you thought he couldn't look any hotter......

Credit: National Photo Group

summer cottage recipes

So at the cottage we rented with the family, we were all responsible for 2 dinner meals. Cooking a meal for 10 people means big things and we opted for the classic camp meal, beer can chicken, roasted potatoes and a salad for one of our nights. Nothing crazy but still crazy delicious.

The other night we opted to do something a bit more adventurous and made a Coffee and Cola Pork Loin Roast with Spicy Smoky Cauliflower Mash and String Beans in a Vinaigrette.

Holy. Crap. It was so good. And I'm not a real fan of pork roast normally and can take it or leave it really. But I knew the family was crazy for it so thought this would be a good choice. If I ever make another pork roast, this will likely be the only one I'll ever make. I went mental for this roast and was thinking of leaving Marc for it, it was that good. Cauliflower was equally delicious and got me out of the rut of making cauliflower the same way we always do which is bake it with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Still delicious mind you, but the same old same old. And fresh green beans in a dijon vinaigrette? Well you'd have to be dead not to like that. It's so great for the summer.

Anyway, recipes are below and I recommend trying them. They're all from that super weird show on the Food Network Simply Delicioso with the super weird host Ingrid Hoffman who I frankly, cannot stand.

Coffee and Cola Pork Loin Roast
For the pork loin:

1 cup warm water, plus 1 cup cold water
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 (2 1/2 to 3-pound) pork loin
1/4 cup ground coffee beans
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
3 whole star anise 1 (1/2-inch)
piece cinnamon stick broken into small pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

For the sauce:
1/2 pound bacon, diced
2 cups demi-glace or 1 package demi-glace mix dissolved in 1 cup water
1 cup red wine
1 cup pineapple juice, from canned pineapple tidbits
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits
1 cup cola

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

For the pork loin:
Combine 1 cup of warm water with the vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, whisking until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Transfer to a large resealable gallon-sized plastic bag. Add 1 cup of cold water and the pork loin, seal, and refrigerate overnight.
Pulse the coffee, brown sugar, peppercorns, star anise and cinnamon stick in a coffee or spice grinder until they become a fine powder. Remove the pork loin from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub with the spice mix, transfer the pork to a baking sheet and set it aside at room temperature.
In a large skillet melt the butter with the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork loin and brown for 5 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Transfer the pork to a baking sheet and roast until the temperature reads 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour. Remove the roast from the oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

For the sauce:
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the diced bacon until crispy. Remove any excess fat from the pan and add the demi-glace, red wine, cola, pineapple juice and pineapple tidbits. Bring back to a simmer over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, until the sauce has reduced by half. Slice the pork loin and serve with the sauce on the side.

Spicy Smoky Cauliflower Mash

4 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 large head)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
1 to 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Steam the cauliflower in a steamer insert set over boiling water, covered, until it is very soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the steamed cauliflower to a blender and puree with the cheese, milk, sour cream and lime juice until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender jar as necessary. Add the adobo sauce and salt and pepper to taste, pulse a couple more times and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

String Beans in Vinaigrette
5 cups water
1/4 pound string beans, ends snipped
1 medium shallot, halved and finely chopped
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

Place 5 cups of water to boil with salt, once the water has reached a rolling boil, remove from the heat and add the string beans to the water for about 5 minutes. Strain the string beans through a colander and run under cold water.
In a large bowl, whisk the shallots, mustard and vinegar together. Add the string beans and some salt and pepper and toss to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature, drizzled with a little extra-virgin olive oil, if you like.

nature is awesome

Buckets of thanks to Kelly for finding this incredible story!! For the first time, a leopard has been caught on camera opening a can of whop-ass on a crocodile. Below are the series of pictures taken at a South African game reserve documenting the whole thing.

The photographs were taken by Hal Brindley, an American wildlife photographer, who was supposed to be taking pictures of hippos from his car in the Kruger National Park.

The giant cat raced out of cover provided by scrub and bushes to surprise the crocodile, which was swimming nearby.
A terrible and bloody struggle ensued. Eventually, onlookers were amazed to see the leopard drag the crocodile from the water as the reptile fought back.

In the past, there have been reports of crocodiles killing leopards, but this is believed to the first time that the reverse scenario has been observed.


All pictures by Hal Brindley/SOLO Syndication

On a sidenote, Sunday at 9pm also marks the beginning of everyone's favourite time of year: Shark Week 2008 on the Discovery Channel!!!!!! In honour of the occasion, I've "sharked myself" using their handy dandy Shark Yourself tool. Don't be frightened. It's only a photo. I am not actually a shark.

maggie = perfection

Seriously, the girl's wearing a pantsuit and still manages to look insanely gorgeous. Talk about a girl crush....

Photos from and

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

whitest kids u know

So my friend Liana insisted I check out the Whitest Kids U Know website and watch the following video. I did indeed check it out and it's pretty freaking funny. Lots of little sketches from the IFC television show. Good and lowbrow humour. The below ones are by far my faves:

And this one's a shout out to the dreaded "crossed swords" moment in Entourage and is just for Dennis cuz I can pretty much here him laughing from here.

west wing

If you watched The West Wing when it was on TV, you should find this Mad TV spoof more than a little bit hilarious. I loved that show and watched this and almost peed, particularly because of the Toby character. And it's is true what they say, you won't always understand all of it but you'll feel something important is happening because of all the fast walking.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

summer cottage

Well I'm back in the land of the living now after a glorious week off in the country. As I mentioned, we rented a summer cottage in Haliburton with my entire family. It was so exactly what the doctor ordered and I'm fairly sure I left part of my brain there. I'm having a bit of a hard time getting back into "life" mode after having spent 7 days with no concept of what time it was or what day it was. Your whole time clock becomes centered around "Is it time to eat again?" and "Is it too early for a drink?" It was lovely. I ate, drank lovely drinks, played with my 4 perfectly adorable nieces, swam, walked, read the last 2 books of the Twilight series, played cards and took some great naps with Marc. One should live like that every day. If you're photo obsessed like me, you can see a complete record of the week here and here. If not, here are some highlight photos:

All 4 of my lovely nieces.

Marco and the girls, plus everyone's favourite lazy girl, Mina.

Fishing, boating, all your standard camp stuff...

Me and my dad and my new Gucci sunglasses! What more do you need?

As Kaili pointed out, Marc rowing me about yet again!

My niece wore these goggles pretty much all weekend. She never went swimming though.

And that's about it.

Camp = good. Try it.