Llama Love

Llama Love 1

When I was a kid, I lived in a small, rural town.  Actually, “town” is too grand a word for North Gower, Ontario in the 1980s.  Today, with its subdivisions and farmers markets and actual, sit-down restaurants, North Gower is a bona fide village, but in the ’80s when I was a kid, it was a main street with a few shops and a pizza joint, perched on the steps of which you could always find these two old dudes who were collectively known as The Delmers.  I loved growing up there, but bustling metropolis, it was – and still is – not.

Anyhow, the next small, rural town over – a slightly bigger place that had a longer main street, more shops and fewer Delmers – there was a family with a gigantic pet llama that actually lived right on Main Street, and they’d let him out in the front yard to just wander about and scare the crap out of anyone passing on the sidewalk, because suddenly, you know, LLAMA!!!  Small town country life – it’s weird, don’t know what to tell you. 😉

These are fuzzy pink sprinkled llama nails.  Why sprinkles?  Why not sprinkles?!  Isn’t everything better with sprinkles?  A sentiment that’s also a bit weird, and hey look, I still don’t know what to tell you!  Sometimes you’re just in the mood to sport a candy pink llama mani, I guess.

Llama Love 2

Llama Love 3

Of Spikes and Socks

Sunday Spikes 1

So here’s a great example of a manicure that wound up in a very different place than it began.  Initially, I was going to cover that candy sweet pink gradient with a dainty rose print, something very English garden.  Then I got out my black and white polishes and my dotting tool, and next thing you know, I’ve got the colour and design of a pair of knee high socks I owned in high school (in grade 13 when I was living somewhere near the fashion junction of Clueless and your local patchouli-scented skate shop.  Wow, I loved those socks.  Funny thing to say about polka dotted hosiery that was actually fairly unflattering, but I did.) 😉  Then I added some silver spike charms up by my cuticles for maximum snagability (no way I’d wear these charms around my precious socks, bitchin’ – oh hey, El! – though they are.)

Sunday Spikes 2

How to Be a Canadian at Disney

Can Mickey Collage

Happy (nearly completed) Canada Day, peeps!  Can’t stand the day myself – that’s what you get for a young lifetime of stupid Can Day celebrations that soured you on the entirety of the holiday (loved starting to drink terrible beer in my best red-and-white duds at eight in the morning with my friends, hated the inevitable skirmish I’d get into with my boyfriends or friends as we desperately tried to find each other 10 minutes before the fireworks in a sea of drunk(er) revelers on Parliament Hill.  Did anybody check the giant lemon?!)

Although I’ve really no reason to continue hating the holiday, since in the intervening years, I’ve had moderately alright to even not-so-terrible Canada Days and…*tails off remembering somewhat recent year grandmother tricked her into visiting relative at very remote Cabin in the Woods (actually, it’s quite a lovely cabin in the woods, totally free of elaborate death mechanisms designed to appease the pagan gods.)*

It’s basically just a day ending in Y for me, albeit one where I’m infinitely more inclined to sport a fly red-and-white mani in honour of July the 1st.  And this year I gave it a Disney twist to go along with the Canada Day video I made for our YouTube channel, Park or Perish!, which is all about being Canadian at Disney.  Which pretty much amounts to having good manners, having good manners whilst drinking, using words like “whilst” and screwing around at the Canada Pavilion at Epcot.  See for yourself below, eh?, and happiest of Canada Days to you all, my Canuck friends, all two remaining hours of it. 😉

Small last minute edit: Just as I was about to click the Publish button on this post, I heard a smattering of fireworks going off, looked out my livingroom window and was treated to a lovely, impromptu, 10 minute-long fireworks display just across the river.  So maybe not ALL of my Canada Days have been horrid. 🙂

Literary Inspiration: Ready Player One

Ready Player One Collage

Fun fact: I’m a bit of a gamer.  Always have been, actually.  As a kid, I loved playing Q-Bert, Frogger and OG Donkey Kong on my family’s Texas Instruments rig whilst waiting for our gigantic claw-footed bathtub to fill.  Naked (and yes, there is a completely mortifying photo to that effect – a Polaroid, no less – and no, you will never see it!)

As a slightly older kid, I owned every generation of Nintendo and squared off with my friends every chance I could get – the Super Mario Bros. games were favourites, though I’d dabble in Sega titles from time to time.

Super Mario 1

In high school I fell in love with the Donkey Kong Country games to such an extent, I was able to parlay my mad skills into a first place finish in a Kong-centric drinking game during a big, multi-school party.  Yup, I was definitely the “winner” that evening. 😦  And I know I used to drive my best friend absolutely bonkers because I’d play while we were on the phone together, and she totally knew.  Sorry, Sandra!

Then one Saturday morning right toward the end of high school, my dad came home from a local garage sale and tossed me an open NES cartridge, saying, “Here, you like this zombie crap, don’t you?”  The game?  Zombies Ate My Neighbors, a super rare cult classic from Konami that went on to occupy my off-hours attention for the remainder of high school and most of university.  Trust my dad to just wander into purchasing one of the rarest and most beloved zombie games ever released for a buck at a garage sale. 😉

Between the end of university and the beginning of my Life As An Adult (still waiting for that to take hold, by the way) my gaming fields went fallow – access is key, and I didn’t have either of the big consoles at the time, or a PC.  Then I met Mr. Finger Candy and we got so serious so quickly, he MOVED HIS PLAYSTATION INTO MY APARTMENT.  This really warrants all caps, because at the time, this was basically the equivalent of him leaving his penis at my apartment all day long – that’s how important that PS2 was to him (also one of the ways I knew how very serious he was about our relationship, because he was willing to entrust his most beloved possession to his new girlfriend and her roommate, who played the CRAP out of it – particularly the badass snowboarding game, SSX – every chance they could get.)

PS Nails

Then a couple of years after we got married, Mr. Finger Candy introduced me to the Sims.  And the next four months are largely unaccounted for (beyond knowing that I spent nearly every second of them in the guest bedroom crafting a glorious desert trailer park filled with pirates and carnies and ill-tempered ex-celebrities.)  I haven’t played with that level of intensity since (and that’s probably a good thing; the Sims is, shall we say, demanding of one’s time) but I’ll still dabble from time to time.

The Sims

I was for a time also completely obsessed with this totally messed up American McGee game called Alice: Madness Returns.  It was an utterly beautiful game, and the visuals were just incredible, but yeesh, what a mindf**k.  I adored it, and indeed, I launched this very blog with some of those working-way-beyond-my-comfort-level designs.

alice-butterflies

And my husband is a pretty hardcore gamer, clanning up online with a bunch of buddies to run around and kill virtual things every weekend, be they rogue military factions, zombies or rogue military zombie factions.

The Division Hand

So still lots of gaming in my life, then, now and probably always, so it’s a no brainer that I was drawn to 2018’s Ready Player One, a Spielberg-directed Amblin throwback of gigantic nerd proportions inspired by the 2011 novel of the same name by Ernest Cline.  I adored the movie – spunky kids saving the world from fantasy-based destruction! a giant melee fight scene scored to Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It! and an incredible mash-up of about 200 competing video game, movie and TV titles, including The Iron Giant, Halo, Pikachu, DC Comics, Overwatch, Back to the Future, Gundam, Jurassic Park, Hello freakin’ Kitty, and an absolutely incredible scene set within the world of The Shining that’s worth the price of admission alone.  I loved it.

I loved the novel, which I read in service of my friends’ reading challenge for the second theme of “You saw the movie but didn’t read the book…now read the book,” ever so slightly less, simply because it was so intensely detailed and relentless in its references to tech and nerd culture, I found it hard to map the overall story.  It was a really enjoyable read – fun, lively, and with so many delightful little nods to the games and movies that have shaped my life – but I could also never quite shake the feeling that I was sitting an exam on 400-level nerd culture for which I had not studied, and I was about to fail HARD.  This is one of those books that probably requires a second read-through just to pick up the smaller details you may have missed the first time around.

Ready Player One 2

Barring one or two deviations, the movie and the novel tell the same story: It’s the year 2044, and everything sucks.  Humanity’s just given up on trying to solve its unsolvable problems and has retreated into an online mecca known as the OASIS, an unending virtual playground where you can do or be anything you wish.  In Columbus, Ohio, a poor young man by the name of Wade Watts has spent the past five years trying to solve a puzzle left in the OASIS by its late creator, James Halliday.  And Watts is far from the only Gunter (egg hunter) hard at work on cracking the puzzle, because the player who finds Halliday’s easter egg will assume total operational and financial control of the OASIS, a property estimated to be worth nearly two trillion dollars.  With that amount of money and power on the line, the hunt for Halliday’s easter egg lures in more than just the Gunters, with the world’s less morality-minded organizations lining up to lay their claim to the egg.  IOI, or Innovative Online Industries, an outfit that sells medically questionable allotments of ad space AND correctional services, is at the head of those companies, devoting nearly the entirety of their significant operational budget to the search for the egg through any means necessary.

When both the book and the movie open, Wade and a few friends have cracked the first clue, with IOI nipping close at their heels.  And the rest of the book follows this back-and-forth between the independent and corporate forces as they try to assume control of the OASIS for their own ends, peppered with about nine bajillion references to popular culture, technology and hardcore geekery.  There’s also a bit of romance in there.

Where the book and the movie really deviate is in tone, with the movie striking that perfect Spielbergian note of sassy childlike wonder – bad guys are trying to trying to take something good and make it bad, let’s stop them! – while the book went for something much darker.  In the movie, Wade’s parents are dead, victims, he insinuates, of a harsh world ill-suited for good people.  But in the book, you find out that Wade’s parents, paying no heed to their duties as caretakers, destroyed their family and died badly, Wade’s mom overdosing and his father dying during a failed looting attempt.  In the same vein, the IOI of the movie is almost quaint in its forgotten era bad guy tactics, with the book IOI just straight up throwing people off balconies.  But apart from the darker content, the book is just missing that sense of innocent wonder that made the movie such an appealing adaptation in the first place.

Ready Player One 1

But I really liked Ready Player One, sped through it like a beast in about three days, nitpicky little details notwithstanding.  I like these nails I did, inspired by DOS lettering, a lot less.  This is what happens when you refuse to use nail art stuff like striping tape that might make a design that needs to look precise look a lot more precise than it does.  Which is not one bit!  Egads, would you look at that S?!  On second thought, don’t look too closely at it – that thing is atrocious.  This is definitely one for the redo pile, perhaps the next time I reread Ready Player One.

Down, But Not Out

Snacks Collage

Goodest of mornings, friends, from the Reno Zone, population: still my husband and I!  But against all odds, we had a lovely long weekend – thanks in large part to the great, Fishbowl-enhanced time we had at the wedding of a couple of old friends (I’ve known the bride since grade 6!) – so despite the fact that everything is still quite torn up (you try navigating a floor full of ceramic tile clips at 3 am, especially if you’ve been drinking something called a Fishbowl!) we’re feeling slightly more optimistic about the renovations.  There’s even been appreciable progress made on the bathroom, and at the risk of jinxing things further (but really, could we get more jinxed?) we may have a semi-functioning bathroom by the end of the day.  Yup, totally jinxed it!

Cheryl's Wedding

But I haven’t been so out of it that I haven’t had a bit of time to work on another Fave Food of Disney video for our YouTube channel, Park or Perish! – need something to occupy my time whilst tiled into my livingroom for the next five to seven hours of adhesive-setting time (I now know far too much about ceramic tile adhesive and underlay materials – wasn’t exactly an area I felt I needed a lot of edu-ma-cating in, but I suppose it’s always nice to learn something new.)

And so here’s the five-minute result of all that time-wiling!  As always, I hope you enjoy this video and don’t become too fixated on some Disney nibble that’s only available at the Magic Kingdom for Five Days in May – that’s a Blue Rodeo joke, and one of my favourite songs – because that’s totally Disney’s jam.  But these snacks are available all the time, so, you know, just a hop, skip and a jump down to central Florida, no big. 😉  Thank you – always – for watching!

A Very Merry Mani

Foodie Tree Collage 3

Hoo baby, we’re in the holiday soup now – it’s the final weekend before the Christmas holidays, and the festive is about to go. off.  Like most folks, I’ve got a lot of social engagements over the coming days, and time has gone all whackeroo.  I swear it was the beginning of the month just last week (it has been, as Counting Crows might say, a very long December.)

I’m actually feeling pretty neutral about the holidays; relaxed to a fault, even.  Save a few stocking stuffery-type things, Mr. Finger Candy and I have no gifts for one another.  It’s kind of a bummer not having pretty presents wrapped up under the tree, but not remotely a bummer when you consider that instead of jewelry or video games or a new coffee maker (shame that, as we kind of need one) we’re gifting ourselves with another trip to Disney World in February of the new year.

Last weekend we hosted my husband’s family for our annual Christmas get-together, and then tonight my mom and dad are hosting another family event that is sure to leave us all desperately wishing for Santa to bring us pants with elasticized waistbands, because my mom does not know the meaning of the word “moderation” when it comes to a holiday meal; if you don’t stagger from the house (with leftovers!) offhandedly contemplating a wee pit stop at the emergency room, she has apparently failed as a mother. 😉

Christmas Breakfast Table

Then this weekend we’ll be dropping in on our friends’ holiday open house, where we always have a nice time catching up with folks we haven’t seen in years.  And speaking of, I’ll be capping off the Christmas social season with an evening in the company of some ladies I’ve known since high school (and in a couple of cases, beyond.)  We try to get together every Christmas, for brunch, or drinks at the pub, or this crazy random party we attend every year that brings out our very best-worst impulses to overindulge and spaz out on the dance floor to the Beasties and the Wu.  Okay, so I actually really love that part. 😉

So we’ve got lots of fun stuff coming up this week, and I’m sure that will pull me out of this neutral zone of disinterest that I’ve been occupying since the beginning of the month.  And I really hope it does, because so far the only thing about the holidays I’ve actually been able to fully get behind is our Christmas tree – I think this year’s edition is perhaps the nicest one I’ve ever decorated.  I’m so glad I put it up early so the Weege could have a chance to loaf beneath its twinkling lights; she loved the Christmas tree.

Foodie Tree 26

I’ve spoken about my tree before – it’s 15 artificial years old this Christmas, and we have history.  As in I have been electrocuted twice whilst lighting it, plus all of the bottom branches are broken, so a full quarter of the tree is held up by, well, itself.  And one year I really super overdid it on the twinkle lights (2,100 of them; how proud Clark Griswold would have been) and nearly suffered a nervous breakdown for my efforts.  These days I stick to a much more manageable 600 or so.

And with the exception of maybe a dozen or so ornaments, every decoration on this tree is of something edible – fast food, candy, baked goods and other sweets.  It’s such a beautiful tree, and every year it proves to be just about my favourite thing about the holidays.

Foodie Tree Collage 1

I purchased a great load of these ornaments over 15 years ago at a 75% off sale at a local Christmas shop, but we’ve amassed far more since as gifts (nearly every one of those Starbucks ornaments) and random retail finds.  My favourites include a glittery glass t-bone, The Christmas Pickle, and that wee rasher of bacon dangling tantalizingly over the photo of our cat, Weegie.  New additions this year include some squashy – yes, squashy! – cupcake and donut ornaments, the cool pewter ornament we got at the Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam dessert party at Disney, and two small photo tributes to our dearly missed kitties, Weegie and Porky.

Foodie Tree Collage 2

And because it’s just what I do (or it’s what I did – I really have no idea what this blog is about any more) I whipped up a glittery Christmas mani inspired by my tree, nail charm ornaments and all.  It’s a whole lot of high maintenance look, but then again, so is the tree!  Here I paired those little charms (from Daily Charme, all) with KB Shimmer’s Get Clover It.  Very merry, indeed. 🙂

Foodie Tree 2

Foodie Tree 3

There Can Be Only One

There Can Be 1

Jack-o-Lantern face, that is!  Growing up, my pumpkin dictator mother decreed that there could only be one expression carved into the side of a ripe Halloween pumpkin – triangle eyes, half-moon mouth, the end!  It’s a classic for a reason, to be sure.  All the same, she was (jokingly) aghast the year I came along and added two pointy fangs to the half-moon mouth; what the hey was this kid doing messing with tradition anyways?!  I attempt to be a glass-half-full kind of person, so I’m going to say I was just respecting tradition.  In fact, I respect it so much – well, just take a peek at last year’s tiny Jack-o-Lantern.

Weegie 1

Weegie is a non-conformist, and she thinks my later work has grown repetitive.  How rude!  Also, says the cat in the lobster costume!  And yes, that is a 16-year-old torbi dressed as a crustacean, sitting beside a lit Jack-o-Lantern on my diningroom table; what of it? 😉

These happy Jack-o-Lantern nails are for my mom, both the classic, proscribed expression and avec fangs, just to mix things up and drive my mom a teeny bit bonkers.  Happy Halloween!

There Can Be 2