Friday, July 29, 2011

1597 - Paranormal Activity 2

These kinds of films are always far more creepier when you add kids into the mix.  I saw the first film out of a pop culture necessity, and decided to watch this one 'cause I dug the first one enough.  It's not surprise that this film and it's predecessor, and The Blair Witch Project, have all made assloads of money.  Horror is all about getting down to something primal and personal, and when you take the found footage approach it really adds to that, and particularly with this series, a film where creepy shit happens in your house at night is going to be right up there.  Houses make noise, we all know that, but who among us isn't a little creeped out when we're awoken in the middle of the night by a strange noise.
To add to the atmosphere I decided to watch this at the farm, which is a century old-plus farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.  Creepy, creepy, creepy.
So this film acts as a prequel/sequel to the first film - and I'll avoid mentioning all the pieces that make it harder to fit along side with the other one and just enjoy the artistic freedom.  There are some genuine awesome scares here.  The cast was pretty impressive - by and large they felt like real people, I bought them as this family.  It wasn't until the "weird stuff" started to happen that their acting ability fell apart ever so slightly.     
If you like horror films that put you on the edge of your seat this is a good one.  And if you've seen the first one you owe it to yourself to see the companion piece that is this film.  The trailer for the third installment has come out and it appears as though t it goes back to their childhood.  Should be interesting...
Paranormal Activity 2  Paranormal Activity 2 (Unrated Director's Cut) (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

1596 - The Freebie

I really dig Katie Aselton from the other Duplass projects and I was excited by the idea of this film when I'd heard about it - and then even more excited when I learned that it would be playing at the Calgary International Film Festival in the same program as my film The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard - but then disappointed when I learned that it was screening in the same slot in another theatre.  Alas!
So I picked this up in a Blockbuster closing sale.  For those that are unfamiliar it's a film about a couple that hasn't had sex in a long time, and doesn't really have a strong desire to.  They love each other, but their relationship is closer to best friends than lovers - so they pose the question... what if we both had a one night stand to try and put the spark back into our relationship?  What follows is the exploration of that idea, what goes through your mind in the lead-up to it, in the aftermath, etc...
This isn't a film for everyone, shot in an off-the-cuff improvised style, but I don't think that you go into a film like this without having an interest in alternative-indpendant cinema. 
Anyone that's been in a long term relationship knows the issues that these characters face.  For it's 77 minute running time Aselton packs a lot into this film and it turns out really lovely performances by herself and Dax Shepard.  For those who like relationship films that are on the talky-side and explore ideas, this will probably be up your alley - for those looking for a quirky rom-com, this ain't it.
The Freebie

Butcher's Moon: a Parker novel

So this wins the award for the best Parker novel with the absolute worst title.  Having finished the book I still don't know what the title is referring to.  The title, thankfully, is the only bad thing about this book.  Even though this is the 16th book in the series this is more of a follow-up to Slayground, although one could argue it's a pretty faithful follow-up to all the books that have come before it, and by it's end it's quite the reunion tour for Parker and his band of merry men.
Parker has had a string of bad luck and needs cash, so he decides to head back to the town where he left a fortune behind so that he could escape with his life.  And so begins an epic story for Parker, one with a delicious amount of twists and turns that ends up with him, once again, taking on a large section of the mob.
This is easily the longest of the Parker books I've read, clocking in at 300+ pages, it's almost double some of the books - and has enough story to fill two or three.  One of Stark's signature styles is to tell the story from multiple points of view, and sometimes re-tell certain moments that way as well.  Most of the time I love that aspect of this - he really gets into the persons head and lets you know how they tick.  The only problem in a book like this, which has such a driving-force-narrative, it feels like we're constantly putting on the brakes when I just want to keep moving.  And given how many characters and story there is, the brakes come out just a little too often for my liking - but that critique is only because the story was so damn good that I didn't want it to stop.
I really need to look into see who has the rights to these books.  I know that they are currently remaking The Hunter (I assume it's that one) with Jason Stathom, but I don't know if they've locked down the rights to the entire series, or just that book.  A Parker television series would be even better...
So yeah, pick this book up.  I'm lucky that I've gotten onto Parker when I did because it appears as though the reprints of these books have just started coming out recently - this one in particular was just released in April of this year, before that it was apparently impossible to get a copy of without paying an arm and a leg.  So take advantage of the re-printing and get yourself one of the absolute best crime fiction stories ever... although it might be more rewarding to pick up a few other Parker books before getting to this one.  At the very least read Slayground first.
Butcher's Moon: A Parker Novel

Sunday, July 24, 2011

1595 - The Hangover: Part II

I'm coming to this a tad later than the populous.  And I have to say that I'm a little confused as to why so many people are slamming this film.  First off, granted, the first one didn't need a sequel - but when it made the kind of money that it did, what did we expect?  I mean, come on.  So the fact that this one took from the structure of the first should be no great surprise.  And there's beauty to that idea - are these three guys in the same situation as before?  Yes.  But are they the same guys?  No.  They've been through this - they're older, wiser, etc...
The first act of this film drove me a little nuts.  Zach G isn't someone I love or hate, but I found that the set-up and rationale of getting him into the film was a bit much.  I felt that the entire set-up was a bit convoluted, but I'll let that slide.  I didn't love this film by any means, but I certainly laughed out loud at parts, and that itself is worth the price of admission.  There are some wonderfully shocking things going on here, and some really fun moments.  I personally loved the bit where we learn that Alan sees himself and all his "friends" as teenagers.  One thing that was weird to me was the Paul Giamati role - kind of a waste of a solid actor if you ask me. 
So if you loved the first film you should enjoy this one - if you automatically want to avoid it because it's "too much like the original" then you're probably making the wise choice.  No one wants people to bitch and moan about the obvious.  Like I said, not a great film, but it kept me entertained with a consistent chuckle and a few random laugh out loud moments.  And Todd Phillips, in case you were wondering, you don't need a third film in this series. 
The Hangover 2 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

1594 - The Hangover

It wasn't super important to me to re-watch this prior to seeing the sequel, but I hadn't revisited it since my first viewing, so I'd been meaning to check it out again anyway and see how it was on replay value. 
This is the kind of comedy that gets along a lot based on shocks in plot - a tiger in the bathroom, baby in the closet, naked dude in the trunk.  It's as if the writers were sitting around wondering just how messed up they could make these guys - and it works.  I know that I laughed my ass off the first time I saw this - an I know that going into the sequel that it's meant to be a bit of a carbon copy - so I'll be armed with that knowledge
I think plot surprises aside, this film holds up quite well, it's set piece upon set piece, but the chemistry amongst the three guys is just fantastic and the kind of thing that you can really build a franchise out of.  Great performances and solid writing (again, another example of storytellers fucking with their characters as much as possible.  I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed to know that Heather Graham will not be in the sequel - the romantic in me wanted her and Ed Helms to ride off into the sunset together.
If you still haven't seen this and you're in any way a comedy fan, it's an absolute must-see.
The Hangover (R-Rated Single-Disc Edition)  The Hangover (Unrated Edition) [Blu-ray]

Friday, July 22, 2011

Slayground: a Parker novel

So this was easily my favorite of the Parker novels I've read so far.  Now it may not be my favorite story - it's hard to say since I'd read the graphic novels for The Hunter and The Outfit first.  Needless to say I haven't read a bad Parker novel yet.  But this one starts with a bang and just keeps on going.  It's probably the most limited time frame of all the books I've read.  Parker is part of a heist gone wrong and he gets trapped inside an amusement park closed for winter.  The only way out is guarded by mobsters.  He's outnumbered and outgunned.  It's a hell of a ride and it's a great read.  Things just keep getting worse and worse to the point where you really have absolutely no idea how the hell he's going to get out of the pickle he's in.  I believe that this is the 14th book in the series, which is the point at which you'd think the character and world would start to get stale, instead Stark throws all he's got at the character and story.
He wrote a sort of sequel to this story - Butcher's Moon - and that's my next on the Parker pile to read.  At one point Stark took a break (twenty plus years) between Parker books, so I'm going to try and read all the pre-break books first.  Really solid stuff.  And there is apparently a film version of this one that I'd love to see at some point.  If you're interested in reading the series I probably wouldn't start with this one, but on the other hand if you really just want one hell of an exciting crime-thriller, this one reads as a great one-off.
Slayground: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels)

1593 - Jamie's American Roadtrip

If you've read this blog at all you know that I dig Jamie Oliver, I dig his message, him as a person.  Does he come off as "too much" sometimes?  Sure.  Maybe.  But the thing about his shows is that you can tell that this is a man that gives a shit, and furthermore he's not worried about saying what's on his mind, how he's feeling, even if it makes him look stupid and silly sometimes.
This series has him running around American looking for the kind of food that's the backbone of the country and by doing so he learns about the lesser known parts of the country and the lesser known people.  From the Deep South to the immigrants of New York City to the residents of the Navajo Nation, it's a large cross section of people, and of course, food. 
This particular series isn't for animal lovers as you see several killed and butchered.  Any of you meat eaters out there that have a problem with watching this kind of stuff should probably question your interest in eating meat if you can't stomach how it gets to you. 
I know there's a lot of people that love, hate and love to hate, or hate to love Jamie, but I'll continue to watch whatever he's a part of.  I might even get around to picking up one of his cookbooks as well - although I get a sense they are fairly meat based.
Jamie's America: Easy Twists on Great American Classics, and More

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chew - Vol 1: Taster's Choice

I was strongly recommended this by one of my comic friends.  There is certainly no shortage of high-concept comics these days - this one features a police officer, Toni Chu, who through the power of taste can tell you the entire history of whatever he eats, dead or alive, including animal, mineral, or vegetable (and especially humans). 
I have to say that I really dug this off the top, got a little 'meh' on it during the middle, and then got really excited by the direction it took at the end of the run.  I've read that Showtime is developing this as a half-hour comedy, and I think that will work nicely.  It's the kind of book where I'm up for reading another, but I'm not running out to get the next one.  Casual interest which will either grow or fade with the next one. 
Chew Volume 1: Taster's Choice

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Score: a Parker novel

I have to admit that this installment of the Parker franchise was a bit of a breath of fresh air.  The usual Parker novels have a pretty by-the-numbers format, shifting in different points of the narrative, so it was nice to see a story for Parker play out, more or less, from beginning to end.  Stark has never followed Parker's point of view for an entire book, and he still doesn't here.  Given that there are a good chunk of characters what he does is tell the story from different points of view at different junctures and it works well, I find. 
In this book we have Parker and a gang of men deciding to rob an entire town.  It's a job that seems insane, but becomes really plausible... or is it?  Knowing that this particular book didn't feel the need to keep with the old format I'm exciting to keep reading the series to see how it's kept fresh.  The next two books I have jump ahead nearly half a dozen stories, which should be fine I think.  Excited to see where they'll take the character next.
The Score: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels)

1592 - Bridesmaids

This is a film that I wanted to see the instant that I saw the trailer.  I've always liked Kristen Wiig, and to see her finally get a chance to shine, in combination with everyone else and just a wonderful premise was just too thrilling an idea to pass up.  And then the rave reviews came in, and kept coming.
When the film started up I was a little worried.  I think that the tone took a little while longer than I expected for me to get on board, it was more casual than I expected - but as soon as I was on board, I was hooked.  The story is full of funny, smart stuff.  Once the downward spiral hits it becomes delicious fun.  Seriously for those studying the craft of storytelling, watch this film and just pay close attention to the second half and how continually the main character is punished, to the point where you think "it can't get worse than that."  And then it does, and get worse again, and again.  More films need to take a lesson in that (myself included).
For any guys out there who are still avoiding the because they think it's a chick-flick - it's not.  Perhaps women will get a little more out of it, but let's be clear - this is a funny, funny film that just happens to be filled with women.
At a time where I don't buy nearly as many films as I used to, I can't wait to add this to my collection.
Bridesmaids  Bridesmaids (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy in Blu-ray Packaging]

1591 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

I realize that I said I had this wonderfully elaborate plan to re-watch all of the previous installments first, I even finally bought Half-Blood Prince this week in anticipation of that.  Hell, I even left the house tonight with full intentions of going to see Super 8, but in my heart of hearts I knew that I really just wanted to see this.
In retrospect I really wish I'd at least watched the first part prior as this one starts smack-dab in the middle of it.  Actually, that's probably my only critique is that this one REALLY feels like it's just picking up exactly where we left off with no ramp up at all.  Although - maybe that's not such a bad thing.
There was some really lovely stuff about this one - and it was great watching it with an opening night audience to hear the cheers, of which their were many.  The largest was probably when Ron and Hermoine finally, after all these years, embraced romantically.  Part of me wonders if the producers didn't make an extra effort in the final film to keep Emma Watson with a damp look (which is a nice look for her).  This film is one that's really for the fans and a great conclusion in that it really gives each of its characters a moment to shine, and it has a lot of fun with going back to things from earlier in the series - all of which due to the excellent plotting by Rowling in the book.
I think my biggest problem with this series is just that I don't understand why and how the wizard world exists without involving the world of muggles.  I understand Voldermort's desire to run the world - why would they hide when they are clearly more valuable.  I don't recall this ever being explained.  Seems a bit odd to me.  Alas.
I'm not sure what else to say.  I laughed, I got emotional.  If you're a fan of the series you absolutely have to see it in the cinema. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

1590 - Win Win

I was sort of on the fence about going out to see a movie tonight, but I'm glad I changed my mind.  While I'm a big fan of Thomas McCarthy, I'm hot and cold on Giamati, however I love a lot of the supporting cast he'd put together, Amy Ryan being the heap of it.  Oh how I absolutely adore that woman.  Is there anything she can't play?!
This is a wonderful character piece and it's really difficult to describe what it's about.  It's about a guy who coaches after school wrestling, it's about a guy trying to keep his family above water (financially), it's about a lawyer who wants to help, but takes the easy way out.  It's all of these things and more as well.  This is the kind of film where, as in depth the character drama and work it is, you still find yourself tapping your foot and rooting.  I highly highly recommend it.  Select theatrers, out for rental or purchase soon I support.  Happy hunting for it - it's worth the search around.
Win Win  Win Win [Blu-ray]

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Outfit - a Parker novel

Having read the comic adaptation of this already all of the twists and turns had been known to me, so it wasn't quite the enjoyable read as it should have been.  Stark continues to dazzle with detail though, and so that was nice, and for someone who is using these books as crime story research, that sort of stuff is extremely helpful. 
This iteration of the Parker novel has him taking on the entire outfit of organized crime - it's about as big as it can get for our main man.  I think that after I get through the stack I have (three more) I'm going to take a little break from this series, just so they don't all blend together.  It would have been nice to have read this series in order, but it's also fun seeing how people that are in the later books fit in here and so forth.  Nice little treat that is. 
The Outfit: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Mourner: a Parker novel

I've reading these books out of order, mostly because I don't want to wait for them to show up in the proper order from the library.  They aren't really the kind of book that you need to read in order anyway, so that's just fine and dandy.  I'm bound and determined to read all of the Parker novels.  There are, from what I recall, two dozen of them and this was my third, and I've got four more in a stack on my desk.  Park is almost like an anti-James Bond and I think you could make an awesome film, or even television, series out of him. 
Like all of the Parker books I've read so far he really likes to play with the order of the story, and has no qualms with walking away from one character to follow another.  It's almost as if Parker isn't the main characters in the story so much as 'the job' is, and so that's what we follow.  Which is fine by me - Stark (Donald Westlake) is a master and knows exactly what he's doing.
What I thought was interesting about this one was how we got to see more of 'the job' than we normally do, in the other books those sections are often breezed over and it's more about the set-up and the aftermath. 
There's twists and turns, dames and danger, these isn't a whole lot not to like in this one.  Highly recommend checking out this series if you're into crime fiction at all.  Pretty easy to get through the Toronto Public Library as well if you happen to live in the GTA.
The Mourner: A Parker Novel (Parker Novels)

Monday, July 11, 2011

1589 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Man I forgot how long the first few films in this series are.  This film is a huge step forward from the last in almost all ways - the first nice bit is that the world is established for the most part, and we just learn about new things as we need to.  The children's performances are shaping up much stronger, the tone itself is getting a little less cheesy, and the CGI is closer to reality, and the story gets closer to the focus of the over all series - not that the first one didn't have Harry dealing with Voldemort, but this one is far more direct and personal and I think it adds to the weight of it all.
There's some great stuff in here, the one sequence that will always stick with me is when Ron's slug curse backfires and he spends the next little bit spitting them out - his face and the whole thing reminded me of a friend in highschool who had too much to drink one evening.  Two down - five more to go.  Have to say that I'm gettinng excited to revisit the newest of the installments as I don't think I've revisited those at all past the initial viewings.  This is one of those series that I just can't wait to show my own kids when they're old enough!
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Widescreen Edition)  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Full Screen Edition)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

1588 - Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone

Like a lot of geeks out there I'm revisiting the Harry Potter films leading up to the release of the final.  Only seems fitting.  Not unlike the books themselves it's amazing how much this series has evolved over the course of the films.  The visuals especially, while the latest installments have lent themselves to a dark foreboding look this film is pure storybook.  For what it's worth I think the series shift makes sense.  Although the tone of this film is rather cheesy at the best of times.  The acting just isn't quite there the way that it is later, nor are the special effects.  Of course I'm judging these films from the vantage point of ten years past their releases, and that's really just not fair. 
This film is more or less just an introduction to the world and the characters, and I think that it does a wonderful job of that.  It's a difficult thing to do in letting the audience know that there will be seven installments (more in the end) and still have them worried for your characters, knowing that they'll, in all likelyhood, be around. 
I'm looking forward to revisiting these films over the course of the next several days.  Especially towards the end when things start getting real!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Special Widescreen Edition) 


I think I saw an article about this book in, of all places, Entertainment Weekly (my sister gives me her leftovers - don't judge).  This is a book about a woman who is kidnapped and made to live in a shed to be used as a sexual slave, gets knocked up by her capture, and raises the child, also locked up with her.  But what's even more interesting is the story starts on the fifth birthday of the child, and the entire thing is from his point-of-view. 
I don't want to say too much because this is one of those books that has so much wonderfulness inside of it that I wouldn't want to ruin a single moment for you.  Having it from the childs point is view is probably the best, and maybe only, way to tell this story and keep it from being completely horrific.  Jack only knows the world of Room, wherein is Bed, Wardrobe, Rug, etc... they are his friends.  You are instantly invested in this story, and even throughout as the story evolves, just when you think that the drama is over, you still remain attached and curious because you're seeing the world through this boy's eyes, and because you're seeing it through his eyes, it's like seeing it all over again for the first time.  Through reading this I kept watching my two-year-old son and trying to imagine him living in a similar situation and it's absolutely heartbreaking (as it should be).  It's the kind of book that lingers with you when you put it down.  Now that's some fine writing.
It's funny, it's charming, it's warm, it's cold, it's the kind of story that makes you give a shit and care.  It's hard to read, and yet the pages turn effortlessly.  Do yourself a favour and check it when you can - you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

1587 - Don't You Forget About Me

Saw this randomly on Netflix and given it's short length figured I'd give it a shot.  It's more or less about four young filmmakers trying to figure out why John Hughes stopped making films when he was so damn good at them.  The parts where the filmmakers are actively searching for John and trying to get an interview with him border along the painful.  They're sweet kids, but naive and a bit too idealistic for my liking.  Listening to them talk sounds like high school kids workshopping a project the night before it's due. 
The interviews with John's admirers and colleagues are what makes this mostly worth watching.  And so as a love-letter to the man himself, this works well enough.  But everyone is pretty much saying the same thing - he's a legend and endlessly influential.  In the end there's not really any new information to be learned by watching this.  I have a hard time recommending it outside of the interviews.  Proceed as you will...

Billy Elliot: The Musical

For the last couple years we've been buying my Dad tickets to things for Christmas and this year he picked this and we decided to tag along.  I only kind of remembered the film version of this so it was nice to be able to go into it fresh.  The show's had a decent run so far and with music by Elton John, I mean, what's not to like right?  Right?...
Billy Elliot is the story of a young boy whose mother has just died and he grows up surrounded by working class people, but has dreams of something more.  So, if you know me, you know that I should have a pretty damn personal connection to this story.  First off, the production design is fantastic - which is expected.  The show looks great, the dancing is really phenomenal, especially considering that the heavy lifting is done by a twelve year old.  But this is also the major problem with the show - so much effort is put into the spectacle of the show that they didn't bother making me care.  First off, I know history, and even I was confused by all of the Strike business.  And SPOILER ALERT, but I have no idea what happened at the end.  They lost the strike, which was a bad thing, but yet the men were all going back to work, but they were apparently going to be part of a dying industry, and yet someone they could still afford to send Billy to school... what?! 
At three hours long the show could use some trimming.  There are a number of numbers that are there just because they're cute and serve no purpose to the story.  A character like the grandmother could have been cut entirely and it wouldn't have mattered a single bit.  Not that I didn't enjoy her, but she didn't contribute anything.  The majority of the dance numbers, like the one where Billy first discovers the ballet class, go on and on and on without moving the story along.  And with music from Elton John, leaving the theatre I couldn't recall a single piece to hum along to.  It was forgettable. 
There were some laughs, and some nice little moments, but honestly, when I pay the kind of money you have to pay to see a show like this, I want to be taken on a journey, and this show was all razzle dazzle and no substance, sadly.  Given how long a run it's had I'm sure that others disagree, but I can't recommend this show.  Sorry Billy Elliot, I wanted to like you, but you were just entertaining, and that's not enough.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

P.E.I.: Day Fifteen

It feels good to come home.  Today was our last day on The Island, so the morning was spent packing up the Summer House and giving it a bit of a clean up.  The weather was gorgeous so we headed to what Ephraim refers to as "Ephraim's Park", also known as Victoria Park in Charlottetown, and just puttered around the town today.  We ate lunch at the vegetarian place for lunch that we ate at when we first arrived, and I'm not exaggerating when I say we ordered practically the entire menu.  So damn delicious. 
Then we hit the Wharf, which is just a lot of tourist stuff.  Emily bought some old Golden Books and I stopped myself from buying the entire Fraggle Rock stuffed animal line-up.  Because we are pretty much over Cows, we went to a place for ice cream called Billy Timbre, and their picture of the banana split looked amazing, and since I'm going to go off treats upon our return, I figured why not go out with a blast. 

Let me say something, the photo didn't do it justice, I had no idea what I was in for:
Large waffle bowl
Four scoops of ice cream
Real fudge
Lots of whipped cream
Fresh raspberry sauce
Crushed Almonds

I got through a little over half, and did I ever feel sick afterwards, don't get me wrong - it was tasty as hell, and I'd go back in a second, but it's something best split between at least two people.  Probably more.
Found a nice nearby park to kill some time in and then headed back to the Wharf where a man played some songs on his guitar for Ephraim before we headed to the airport.

So we're home now, safe and sound.  It's nice to be back.  In the end, I think two weeks was too long to spend in P.E.I. with a two-year old.  We had a great time, great weather for the most part, but unless you want to spend the whole time on a beach or in a park (which we can do here) you run out of things to do rather quickly.  Perhaps that comes from being used to the options of Toronto as well though.

I still have a few days before I start my next show, so tomorrow will all be about decompressing, unpacking, relaxing.  I was going to be a good boy and hit the gym tomorrow.  We'll see how the morning goes.

Well thanks for following along.  That's in for the vacation blogs, although stay tuned - I should have news about my film The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard (aka The Girlfriend Project) very soon!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

P.E.I.: Day Fourteen

Today was our final full day on The Island and it was supposed to be crap weather, but we were surprised to find it to be absolutely lovely. We spent the morning on the beach and then caught lunch in North Rusticoe near our place. It advertised the "Best Fish & Chips on the North Shore", and if that's true then I don't think I'm interested in eating fish and chips on the north shore. To be fair I prefer the British Style of fish and chips, where the batter is a bit more… fluffy?
After that the sun was still lovely so we headed out for mini-putt (Ephraim's first) and then some gelato (I can only imagine that Ephraim is one of the few two-year-olds that always chooses Pistachio over every other flavour). We learned that Mini-Putt is still a bit advanced for a two year old. We got through 9 of our 18 holes but then he was clearly done.
So a pretty light day all in all, which was nice for us. Tomorrow we have to get our stuff organized and out in the morning, unfortunately our flight doesn't leave till the evening - so pray for good weather for us so we're not stuck in the car or inside buildings all day!

Monday, July 04, 2011

P.E.I.: Day Thirteen

It's hard to believe that we've been here for as long as we have - it feels much longer both in a good and bad way. The area is very familiar now, know my way around pretty darn well (although I still use the TomTom to get me places faster). The house we're staying at is large and cozy, and so that alone makes the place feel like home. But I'm going to enjoy not eating out so much (the kind of problems you want to have, right), and not feeling like we have to plan each and every single day. P.E.I. is lovely to visit, but I know how that I wouldn't want to live here. And we'll come back for sure, but when our kids are older.

Today the weather wasn't supposed to be nice so we relaxed a bit and did some more shopping around. I picked up two CDs by Cynthia MacLeod (love the one so far - a full review of all the new music I bought sometime upon my return home). We also finally made it out to The Cheese Lady Gouda Cheese place and bought a small fortune worth of flavoured gouda (smoked, herb and garlic, pepper & mustard, and old). When I was a kid I could never eat cheese unless it was melted on something. I'd proud to say that I'm slightly more adventurous these days.

Because of the not-so-great-weather we decided to take Ephraim bowling for the first time (which we did instead of seeing The Royals - no offense but I really don't understand the big deal about The Royals, as far as I know their only real power is that they can dissolve the British gov't and call for a re-election - not to say that this isn't a power, but given that they are unlikely to act upon it, I'm just not sure why I should care about these people… and this is coming from someone whose mother was Diana obsessed). I didn't get a really great photo of Ephraim, but we got some video - I plan on doing something up and posting it when we return and I have a few minutes.

On the way home we came across a local woman and her husband stranded by their broken down motorhome. They were taking it for a test drive before a long trip to (surprise, surprise) Toronto, ON. So we gave her a ride to her house, which she insisted on paying us for (going toward's Ephraim's violin fund!), and then settled in for the evening.

One more full day (no idea what we're going to do tomorrow) and then another almost-full day. And in case you're wondering about the photo below, Ephraim has made "Teddy-Bear" part of our family, and he must be present at all meals with food in front of him or else Ephraim will continue to say, "Where Teddy-Bear food go?"

Jack of Fables #8: The Fulminate Blade

I'm behind on this one (just realized that the next, and thankfully, finale book of the series is actually out next week).  I was a big fan of Jack of Fables, but I really feel like this series came to it's rightful conclusion with the Great Fables Crossover and that it's petered out ever since.  This volume was interesting enough, and a bit refreshing following Jack Frost instead of his father, but it really just felt like a tangent.  I'm happy to know that this series has come to an end and I do look forward to seeing how they rap it all up.  To people getting into the Fables world, at this rate, I'd almost recommend you not bother with this series following the cross-over (although after I read the finale volume I reserve the right to change my mind!
Jack of Fables Vol. 8: The Fulminate Blade

Sunday, July 03, 2011

P.E.I.: Day Twelve

The forecast was calling for lovely weather today and we certainly got it!  We were up and on the beach before 9am!  Mostly because we figured it'd be best to hit the beach in the morning as opposed to the hot-hot-sun of the afternoon.  I have extremely fair skin so the sun is not my friend - although I am starting to sport a rare-tan - normally I'm white as a ghost.
So not only did we hit the beach but I even submitted to allowing myself to being buried in the sand.  Of course afterwards I was just covered in the stuff and had no choice but to jump into the salty freezing ocean to get it off.  We have some video but I'll spare you my manly screams!

After the beach Ephraim needed a nap so we took a short roadtrip back to Victoria to get some more of those delicious Island Chocolates.  The selection was a bit smaller today and picked over (no fresh chocolates on the weekends sadly), but I think we got a pretty damn fine selection anyway!

We headed off for lunch to a place that we've been looking forward to for awhile now.  A place called the Kitchen Witch.  Their menu is mexican inspired and the majority of it is vegetarian, which in P.E.I. is a rarity.  That and their advertisement for wholesome, home cooked meals was quite inciting.  When we got there we were really excited - it was a renovated one-room school house, very charming inside with a cute gift-shop full of random things, a bathroom with an actual real change table, and some diapers free to use.  Amazing!  Run by a mother and daughter, as well as another woman who will read your tea leaves should you require (and pay).
But then the problems started.  First they were out of refried beans - which as a vegetarian was our protein for the meal.  Their excuse is that it's homemade… which I don't get.  You feature mexican food and you run out of refried beans?!  Make more!  So that was fine, but then the food took over an hour.  And while I understand home-cooking takes time, an hour is a bit much to wait for lunch.  The soup we got was really tasty and spicy, but our entrees were bland and tasteless, even Ephraim (who eats ANYTHING) spit the food out.  Which was good because as I was trying to get him to eat his rice I noticed something in it.  A large bug.  We told the owner and she was mortified, swearing that this has never happened before.  She asked us if it was fine that she only charged us half, which was fine, but we'd lost our appetites by that point and excused ourselves about as quickly as we could.  Ephraim was given a cookie on the way out, which he told us was very tasty.  We really wanted to love this place, and honestly, if it wasn't for the food being so… bleck, I wouldn't diss the place as I am now, but that in combination with everything else, this was easily our worst meal at a restaurant in P.E.I. 

We drove around this afternoon collecting some stuff from some shops we'd been meaning to hit, and then went home for a rest before hitting the Fisherman's Wharf for my lobster dinner (delicious!).  The trip is quickly winding down, tomorrow the weather looks a little iffy.  We're debating whether or not we're going to attempt to see the Royals, William and Kate while they are here.  We shall see!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

P.E.I.: Day Eleven

We've been here for quite awhile now and we've mostly been hanging out centrally and, to be honest, I needed some new surroundings.  So we decided to head east.  When we visited here last we went to East Point, which is the eastern most point of The Island, and it's also where the tides meet and collide with each other - which is pretty awesome to see actually.  That area is about an hour and a half drive and luckily we have a son that likes to get going first thing in the morning, so we took off soon after breakfast

The weather wasn't as sunny as we were hoping for, but we decided to pick up some supplies and have a picnic on the beach anyway.  We went to Basin Head Beach, also known as "The Singing Sands" because of the way the sand sounds when you walk on it.  It's a finer grade "white sand" whereas the rest of the island has the redder variety.

After lunch and a little nap we headed to East Point and was amazed by how much the cliffs have receded since we were last there.  They've even had to move the restaurant that was on the water back a bit.  When I get home I'll check my old photos and see if I can't do a side by side comparison of the two.  While there we got a quick treat of the local Prince Edward Island ADL ice cream (which I actually think is better than Cows actually.)

After that it was off to Elmira to the train museum.  What an awesome little place.  The highlight, as you can see above, is a mini trade ride that goes over a mile in track.  I can't imagine how much work went into that thing.  Ephraim was mesmerized the entire time.  That alone was worth the trek out.

So tomorrow is supposed to be sun-sun-sun so we may just do a beach day, otherwise I think we're curious to see if there's anything worth visiting the west end for before we head home.

Friday, July 01, 2011

P.E.I.: Day Ten

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA! So today the weather was on and off, which was perfect for the festivities. One of the coolest things about the trip was knowing that we'd be in the birth-town of confederation on Canada Day, so I was pretty excited for that. I couldn't even begin to imagine what kind of festivities they would have!

And then we got there. And it… kind of reminded me of the Canada Day's in Cayuga, Ontario where I grew up (but maybe on a larger scale). And if I'm being honest, I think Cayuga was a bit more exciting - there was more involvement with people, games, events. The only really great thing today was their music stage, other than that it was some bouncy castles and line-ups for junk food. Ephraim wanted his face painted (which is new, it used to scare the hell out of him), but there was only one person manning the booth, and after being in line for a half hour with it barely moving we realized that we'd be there for at least another hour before it would be Ephraim's turn. So I grabbed a temporary tattoo from the booth and convinced Ephraim that it was the same thing as getting his face painted.

So I guess I was a little let down by the festivities. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was a little more than that. The highlight, as I mentioned, was the music stage but in particular Mike Pendergast - a man whose name I keep seeing whenever we're looking into music here. We saw him play in the Avonlea Village group and were fortunate to talk to him afterwards there. He's one of the people I plan to get in touch with as I develop my idea for a P.E.I. film/show, I think he would be an absolute wealth of knowledge.

So a pretty average Canada Day, sadly, but the highlight in the evening was hearing our friend Blake Lambert read the nightly news on CBC. He'll be doing it all weekend in the evenings, every hour on the hour, and you can catch it by clicking this link here.

We've got five days left on The Island and still some more adventures to be had! We've been very thankful for the increasingly better weather.