Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Transformers 2: Bumblebee Goes to College

After enjoying Transformers 1 SO MUCH my friend Sherri and I decided, after hearing that Transformers 2:  Revenge of the Fallen was possibly one of the most racist and sexist movies ever, that we had to watch it.

Before going over to Sherri's to watch Transformers 2, my sisters were watching The Bachelorette at my house, so I sat down and checked it out for a few minutes while I was waiting to leave.  "Ah, I see this season is just another pinnacle of diversity" I observed.  This season's bachelorette is blonde, skinny, and innocent-looking, while all the bachelors vying for her hand in marriage (that show is so bizarre) look like douchy white surfer dudes who spend hours at the gym and wear way too tight of shirts.  Not a person of colour in sight.

And Transformers 2, we were not surprised to find out, was basically as diverse as The Bachelorette, except for the one token black military guy played by Tyrese Gibson (HAHAHA Tyrese's last name finally comes out, and it is something super lame like "Gibson" - the end credits were the funniest part of the movie).  He didn't really have any important lines though and didn't actually do anything to advance the plot - I guess he was just supposed to stand around, shoot a gun, and look black.

Although, at least the fact that he was in the military and seemed to be relatively high-ranked subliminally suggests that the one black character was capable of doing important things and not a stereotype (unlike the two Jar-Jar Binks-esque "twin" Autobots who we couldn't decide if they were supposed to be stereotypically black or stereotypically gay or both, but either way they just seemed to be extremely annoying and offensive).  So while Tyrese Gibson (hahaha) was quite obviously a "token black guy" at least his character was boring enough to not end up becoming a super offensive stereotype.

Because EVERY female character (with more than one line) was an insanely offensive stereotype.  Just mind-blowingly so.  Let's discuss.

Megan Fox's character, I have to say, maybe goes down as one of the worst female characters in recent movie history.  The worst part of her character is that she's supposed to not be a terrible stereotyped damsel-in-distress, but she totally is.  Just because she can fix cars and stuff doesn't mean that suddenly makes her a non-stereotype!  Because COME ON, this is not appropriate personal protective equipment for working in a garage:

THIS is appropriate PPE for working in a garage (except not the shoes, WTF internet?????):

Megan Fox's insanely sexy, car-fixing, baby-voiced, submissive girlfriend (Megan:  "I'm breaking up with you Shia LeBleoughff" Shia:  "No you're not baby"  Megan:  "Okay lol I'm coming over soon and hopefully you tell me you love me because I won't say it first because I'm sooooo coy") character does not exist as a real person in real life, but she exists a lot in movies, and that's why she's a stereotype.

The other two female characters, who I hated almost as much as Megan Fox's character, were Shia LeBleoghaf"s STUPID STUPID DUMB IDIOT mom (worst movie mom of all time, hands-down) and this ultra-sexy college girl who (SPOILER ALERT) tried to RAPE Shia LeBleoughsf but then turned out to be a Deceptibot or whatever, OMG I was so offended, you have no idea.  The mom character was so dumb and stupid and didn't know ANYTHING and her husband had to chase her down all the time and be like "now honey, don't do that" because she was so dumb I have no idea how she made it to adulthood without getting herself killed from being so stupid (I guess that's what husbands are for LOL AMIRIGHT GUYS).  I'm glad at least that the sexy Decepticon turned out to be a Transformer because that sort of redeems her for trying to seduce Shia LeBeef so aggressively - NOT that I'm saying women are supposed to be submissive and not be seducing people but I hate the stereotype that all "college girls" have zero morals and are constantly trying to get guys to cheat on their girlfriends with them and it's NOT okay to rape people!!!  No matter what your gender.

ALSO the female Dean of the university was sitting in on Dwight Schrute's Astronomy 101 class while Dwight was being a MASSIVE perv to all the female students, who really seemed to enjoy it (after all, they are COLLEGE GIRLS), and the Dean didn't even say anything?  Come on, Dean.  Do some Deaning.  To get to your position you've obviously had to push through a lot of sexism, please teach your female students that it's not okay to be treated like that so they might become Deans someday too.

Although, terrible sexism and racism aside, we did find that the plot of this Transformers was easier to follow than the plot of the first Transformers.  Like, we didn't have to rewind the ending 3 times to try to figure out what happened.  Don't get me wrong though, it was still a TERRIBLE movie filled with leg-humping by small animals and Transformers (ew so uncomfortable) and a LOT of scrotum jokes, which did seem to imply that the movie was written by Michael Bay's 14 year old nephew or something.  But the weird thing about this movie is that critics and fans all agree (and Michael Bay too) that this one was wayyyyy worse than the first one.

Um, are you guys sure you saw the first one?  Because it was actually so terrible too.  I think what happened was that people were so excited and hyped for the first Transformers that they wanted to like it, and thought it was better than it really was.  Then when the second one came out they weren't as excited so they were like "oh... this actually sucks" but it was too late to change their reviews of the first one, which sucked just as much, and maybe slightly more plot-wise.

But anyway, my biggest wish for this movie was that they had called it Transformers 2:  Bumblebee Goes to College.  That would have been awesome.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Air Plants!

I am pretty sure a while ago I wrote a post about how Etsy had such an amazing selection of terrarium-type stuff but none could ship across the border into Canada and I was so sad.  I was also sad because at work my office does not have any windows, and it's basically impossible to keep plants alive in it if because the air is insanely dry, and having discovered air plants on Etsy I really wanted to order some for my office because it seemed that these might finally be the mystical plants that I could keep alive in my office.

But TODAY, I found an Etsy shop that ships them to Canada, so I ordered a bunch!  I'm so excited.

Air plants are really weird plants that just sort of grow - they don't have roots and they don't require to be in water or dirt.  They're sort of like living pom-poms that you can attach to anything to make it look cool, and you just have to mist them once a week or so if the room they're in isn't humid.  But mostly they just absorb all the moisture they need from the air.

If you look up the Wikipedia article about air plants, they'll classify even things like orchids as air plants, however the kind you would get if you went to a nursery or searched online to order "air plants" are the kind pictured below, or more green, like spider plants (but they aren't spider plants).

Kind of weird, but also cool!  I can't wait to "green" up my dry office a bit.

Friday, May 25, 2012


I saw a commercial this past week for AT&T.  I don't remember exactly what product it was but in the bundle it was advertising you'd get national (US) access to the AT&T Wifi Hotspot Network so you can basically have wifi everywhere you go.

THEN, to demonstrate how useful having wireless internet everywhere you go would be, it showed a scene of a family out to dinner together and one of the kids asked his dad some (extremely important, obv) question about a comic book character.  The dad was like "uhhh, uhhh what do I dooooo" because TV dads are always super dumb and don't know to say normal dad things like "I'm not sure, let's look it up when we get home" or whatever. 

BUT DON'T WORRY PEOPLE the daughter saved the day because she was able to look up the answer to this very important question on her LAPTOP, which for some reason her parents allowed her to have out at the restaurant while they enjoyed a family dinner, and the stupid TV dad was like "OMG thank you so much Anita, you saved me from looking like a stupid TV dad" instead of being like "Hey Anita, put that laptop away and have a conversation with us since we're buying you a nice dinner."

It was one of those commercials where I yelled at the TV, in case you haven't figured that out yet.  If you are a longtime reader you also have probably figured out that I yell at TV ads a lot.

My future children are NOT allowed to bring laptops out to family dinners.  Plus, mixing food and drinks and laptops on the same surface is generally not a good idea anyway.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

House Hunting Week 2: The Home Feeling

Note:  This was written on Saturday evening, so there may have been new developments since then, but maybe not...

We've brought our "viewed house" count up to 22 houses by now (probably more by the time this posts).  I think we've both learned a lot by now, and we're ready to make an offer if the right house comes along.  Having seen this many houses in all sorts of neighbourhoods and within our price range, we've got a pretty clear idea of what works for us and what we can generally expect to see.

Along this road it's possible that we let a couple of good houses slip away, but I'm sure more good ones will come along.  They're most likely not going to be houses that have been sitting on the market for any length of time so probably the plan of action will be me getting a call from our realtor as soon as the house is listed, going to see it, and then making an offer - hopefully conditional on Brahm getting to see it when he gets home from work.

In House Hunting Week 1 I did a lot of looking on my own while Brahm was at work, but I'm glad we got to see a bunch more houses together this week because I'm getting a better idea of the things that might be deal breakers for him but not for me so I'll have to keep those in mind.

I'm feeling like this will be okay though because we've seen a couple houses (together) that we both really liked but didn't buy (one was possibly already sold when we looked at it, the other turned out to not have enough natural light), but there was a distinct feeling we got in those houses.  We wanted to hang out in them.  One of those houses had an amazing kitchen where we just sat around the island for a while, imagining cooking in it.  The other I wanted to sit on the deck and hang out in the yard, and Brahm wanted to hang his guitars on the basement wall.  They felt like they could be our house, rather than someone else's house that we were just looking at. 

Because these were only the second and third houses we looked at and had various downsides to them, it's good that we didn't buy either of them because at that point we still were working out the kinks and getting an idea of what we wanted and needed in a house.  But now having seen 22 houses, and knowing that the "home" feeling does exist (and WAS real when we felt it about those houses, being total property virgins) we know the combination to look for is having all of the criteria we want and not wanting to leave!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Brahm's just getting over some sort of weird flu/strep throat-like sickness.  The other day when I got home from work I showered (because flying makes me feel grimy) and put on a brand of body lotion that I've been using for a few months now.  Then I went over to Brahm's for supper.

When I got there, he asked if I was wearing a new perfume or something, which I wasn't, and we figured this mystery smell might be from the Rub A535 his roommate had recently put on.  Halfway through supper he said "No, that's not Rub A535.  It must be what you're wearing.  It is so strong" which I thought was weird because I'd been using it for a few months and he'd never noticed.  But maybe it was because I was wearing shorts that day, and had just applied it before coming over.  I personally couldn't smell it unless I put my leg right up to my nose, but also maybe his cold was making him more sensitive to smells.

The next day I used the lotion again, thinking it would be okay because I was planning to wear pants that day, and also wouldn't see Brahm for 10+ hours after applying the lotion - surely by then the smell would have worn off, or be masked by my pants and long sleeves.

But that evening when Brahm came over before we went house hunting, he immediately noticed.  "You're wearing that lotion again."   I was wearing jeans and a long-sleeved sweater.  I pulled up my sleeve and put my arm right up to my nose and sniffed as hard as I could.  I couldn't smell anything.

It will be interesting to see if this new sensitivity to smells is permanent, or just a temporary side effect of Brahm's cold.  His mom is quite sensitive to smells and he said he has had a feeling he was developing the same sensitivity, but it's bizarre that it just suddenly showed up like that.

I told him we can do an experiment (me wearing the lotion and him seeing if he can smell it) when he's healthy again, but it looks like I may have to stop using perfumed lotions.  Which is fine by me - I wasn't the biggest fan of that scent anyway but for me the smell wears off after half an hour anyway, but if it's got some ingredient that irritates scent-sitive people I'm happy to donate the bottle to someone who it won't bother.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Brad Wall, be nice to your wife

It's known around Canada that the Premier of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall, is a pretty snappy dresser, and I don't think it's any coincidence that he's a popular guy.  I'm not saying that he's only popular because of his appearance, but he just looks like a smart, nice dude, so I think that makes it easier for people to trust him than if he looked a bit like a toad, for example.

I'm not saying this is right by any means - in fact, it's one of the main reasons why women politicians have such a hard time getting elected, but that's another discussion for another day.

I read a Star Phoenix article about Brad Wall's new glasses (aka BREAKING NEWS) the other day and it made me uncomfortable.  Which parts specifically?

“You’ve got some new spectacles,” a reporter asked during a scrum on Tuesday.
“Yes, I did. My wife picked them out,” the premier responded.
“Is that how a premier picks out new glasses?” the questions continued.
“That’s how a premier who wants to avoid trouble at home picks out glasses,” Wall said, cracking up reporters already amused at the lighthearted exchange.


“Same brand?” another reporter chimed in.
“I don’t know,” Wall answered. “I think the other ones were another brand. They weren’t Alfred Sung. I remember this brand because Alfred Sung makes a perfume that’s my wife’s preference and again, to avoid trouble, I’ve tried to memorize that, because I’ve gotten the wrong bottle several times. And that never works out well."

The thing that made me uncomfortable about that exchange is that it's just so common for men to joke about their controlling wives.  And when a high-profile public figure does it, it makes me feel even more icky because it seems to be making the implication "During the day I run the world with the big boys, but when I go home I let my little wife feel like she's got some control by telling me what to wear and what to buy her for gifts."

It doesn't imply an equal partnership.  I don't feel like the kind of exchange Mr. Wall and the reporters had is respectful to his wife.  Not to make assumptions, because I don't know anything about Mr. Wall's home life, it's very possible he and his wife do respect each other a lot and do have an equal partnership, which I hope is true.  And to his credit at least he wasn't calling his wife "the old ball and chain" or anything.  But it's just one of those universally accepted things to joke about, for politicians to use to endear and humanize themselves.  And it's GROSS.

It's like when I hear men having conversations like "What are you doing this weekend, want to grab a beer?" and the other one replies something like "I'll have to see if The Warden will let me, lolololol" and then they're both like "HAHA CHICKS AMIRIGHT!"

This is NOT OKAY.  I know it's very common, and it's generally tongue-in-cheek, but it's disrespectful and demeans women.  It implies that in a partnership, if a woman is being controlling, it's just silly and annoying, not unhealthy.  But if a woman said something like that about her husband, it would immediately imply an unhealthy, abusive relationship.

Not that I'm saying women should be joking about their controlling husbands either, because like I said I think that kind of joking is totally disrespectful to your partner.  But when it's okay for a woman to be controlling, but not a man, it sends the message that "it's just a woman controlling him on silly things like where to have dinner and what clothes to wear, it doesn't matter - she doesn't have any REAL power."  Because only men have the "legitimate" type of power to make control issues in a relationship unhealthy.  When the control issues belong to the woman, it's just her being silly - not scary.

So Premier Wall, if you happen to ever run across my blog on a self-Googling session, please think about what I'm saying.  My respect level for men always falls when they use this kind of language.  I hope any men reading this will also think twice before calling their female partners "the old ball and chain" or something similar in the future.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Hockey Saga

Mom:  Were at mac donalds it twenty six out them got free tickets to hockey game tonite Haha

Mom:  Are you getting ready for bed im at the bronc oh game its three two bronc oh s Haha Its fun

Mom:  Bronc oh s won four to three im done watching hockey for this year it was freezing im there last nite and the lady sitting behind me before

Mom:  Before we moved got hit with a puck and her head bleeding so she got stitches good thing we moved Haha the hockey saga

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bryce Canyon National Park

One of the coolest places I've seen.  Like Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon in a way - but with rocks.  Just have a look at the pictures, there's not much else to say.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Palm Springs (but not THE Palm Springs)

Driving through the desert, suddenly we saw palm trees growing out of seemingly nowhere - so we pulled over and it turned out to be a cool desert spring!  I guess this is how Palm Springs got its name or something but it was not something I was aware of, and totally neat.

Especially neat that one of the little pools was absolutely teeming with little fish!

Desert desert desert... then a few feet away, palms and springs!  Then more desert.

I love palm trees the most.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Another reason to stay at Best Western

That is what it looks like - a FREE COMPLIMENTARY...

PAPER TOWEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks Best Western!  I have never stayed at a hotel that provided such complimentary luxuries to its guests before!  Wow!  I am also glad that they state that you can use it however you like, as there are many uses for paper towels and travelers would not want to be limited to only one such use such as wiping hands after a meal or cleaning off a windshield.

What can I say, Best Western has made me a lifelong customer.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bad service = bad tips, no matter how old we are

Hello readers, I'm back from vacation!  (And back to work in two days wahhhhh.)  We went on a (rental car) road trip in the southern US - flying into Vegas, then checking out the Hoover Dam, Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and the canyon of all canyons, the Grand Canyon!  It was pretty awesome and I will share some pictures in upcoming posts (once I get them all loaded to my computer and look through them all).  We ended the trip in Calgary at my cousin Daniel's wedding and it was awesome to hang out with my dad's entire side of the family - those occasions are very rare but very fun!

I see that several Black Hills travel agencies found my blog while I was gone and left their contact information if you're interested in planning a similar trip, haha.  But seriously, it was an easy trip to plan ourselves thanks.

Anyway what I want to talk about today though is something that happened on vacation which was stupid and that thing is getting BAD service in two restaurants in the same town!  What the heck!  It was in Tusayan, Arizona, just outside of Grand Canyon National Park and TWO nights in a row we went to restaurants where the servers totally ignored us other than taking our order.  Is everyone in that town trained to ignore people under age 30?  We have money.  We will tip you well!  But not if you suck and ignore us.

The first night we tried a "fine dining" restaurant at our hotel.  After sitting down, a bored looking waiter approached us and said (verbatim) "Hi.  The soup tonight is pork vegetable..." then he saw another waiter walk by.  "Just a minute.  Maybe he wants to serve you."  Then he WALKED AWAY and made the other waiter come deal with us.  Ummm what just happened?

Unfortunately, this waiter wasn't much better, although slightly friendlier.  He still completely ignored us after our food came.  After we got our cheque we sat there for another 15 minutes or so waiting for him to come ring through our meal.  Our water glasses were never refilled during the course of the meal.  Meanwhile, other waiters chatted with other patrons about things to do in the park and did waitery things like bring bills and refill water.  We'd been prepared to leave a big tip to our second waiter to spite the first guy who blew us off, but guess what!  Second waiter got a sucky tip because he sucked at service too. 

The next night the same thing happened!  We went to a Mexican restaurant a couple blocks away from our hotel and once again, our waiter pretty much ignored us other than when he had to bring us our food.  At the same time, a family at the table next to us, being served by the same waiter, came in about 10 minutes after we did, got served first, had their leftovers wrapped up for them, had the dessert tray brought to them, and had their bill brought over ALL WHILE WE SAT THERE WITH EMPTY PLATES.  People, it was not a full restaurant.  There were about 5 tables.  No dessert tray, no water refills.  We had to eventually ask someone who was busing other tables if we could get our bill.  Once again, you suck at service, we suck at tipping.

The thing is, if you know me and Brahm in real life, you know that we are model restaurant patrons.  We are pleasant to our servers and we always say please and thank you.  Is it because we're young and there's a stereotype that young people are cheap tippers?  I thought it was supposed to be OLD people who are cheap tippers, because many young people have done a restaurant gig at some point and know how much tips are appreciated.  But our servers probably complained after we left that indeed, we young jerks are bad tippers.

But the thing is, service industry in Tusayan Arizona, for some reason you don't seem to understand that you should treat ALL of your patrons with the same respect because it's often the people who don't look like the biggest tippers who actually are the biggest tippers.  And if your servers are in the habit of ignoring customers you're definitely going to lose out on future business.  Will I go back to Grand Canyon National Park again and stay in Tusayan?  Probably!  Will I go back those restaurants?  Probably not!  Will I leave bad reviews of them on TripAdvisor so other people don't go there either?  Definitely!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Vacations You Should Take: Disneyland!

I have been to Disneyland many times - I think about 8.  It's just the place my parents took us for lots of vacations when we were kids - most prairie families either own a cabin at the lake where they spend the majority of their vacation time, or go skiing in the winter - but we went to Disneyland.  And it was awesome.

The sad thing that happened whenever my family went to Disneyland, at least when I was in elementary school, is other kids would go home and say to their parents "WAH how come YOU never take ME to Disneyland, Robyn's been there 3 times!" and their parents would say "Well obviously Robyn's parents are richer than we are because we can't afford to go to Disneyland, and they're being mean by flaunting their wealth by taking Robyn to Disneyland all the time" and then the kids would come back to school and discuss how my parents were so rich and also mean for flaunting their immense wealth with Disneyland trips, and how I was such a spoiled rich kid.  I feel like I've written about this before.  But if not, or if it's such an old post that you haven't read it, here's the real story:  my parents were a teacher and stay-at-home-mom.  We were NOT rich.  Those other parents could have totally afforded a Disney trip but they were too small-town-redneck to leave Saskatchewan and to make themselves feel better they made up assumptions about my parents, relayed them to their children so they didn't look bad, and then in turn I got bullied to the point where I had to lie and say we were going to visit my cousins the next time we went.  Which was partially true, because my cousins did come to Disneyland with us.

But you heard right - I got BULLIED because my parents took me to Disneyland.

I'm glad that's over, because Disneyland is the most fun and being made to feel guilty about going on a fun trip sucks!  In summer 2009 I introduced Brahm to Disneyland.  He wasn't sure how he'd feel about it because he considered himself "not a rides person" having only been on LAME midway rides, but I was relieved when he discovered he loved it as much as me.  (Too be honest, I think this is how most people end up feeling - they don't consider themselves rides people but then go to Disneyland and love it.)

We went for about a week, getting a 5-day Park Hopper pass between Disneyland and California Adventure, which is a good amount of time.  We also took a "break day" in the middle of the trip because our feet got ridiculously tired from walking around and standing in lines day after day (but it's worth it).  We went at the end of August, so the weather was insanely hot but the parks were pretty empty because kids had gone back to school already, so the lines for rides were all very short!

We've since tried out Disney World in Florida as well, but we both prefer Disneyland (in California) because it's smaller, easier to get around, less busy, and just seems to be overall better themed, even if there are only two parks instead of four.

Want to try out a super fun vacation that only costs around $1000/person or less for the week (including airfare and food)?  Go to Disneyland!  It's the best!

 Oh where are we standing?  In front of our hotel - RIGHT across the street from the park entrance!

 Space Mountain - the park was so empty, we were the only ones on the ride!

 And the only ones on Splash Mountain!

 On the Hollywood Tower of Terror - ready to drop several storeys to our doom...

 TOTALLY empty!  Go in late August!

 This Buzz Lightyear ride was half ride, half video game.  I am clearly superior at video games as our scores reflect.

 How does that not look so fun!!??

 Whitewater rafting ride that gets you totally soaked!

 Super fast and fun roller coaster!

I can't wait to go back again!  They've got some major changes coming up this spring and I'm excited to check them out soon(ish).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Vacations You Should Take: The Black Hills

In 2008 Brahm and I went on a road trip down to the Black Hills in South Dakota.  It's about a 10-hour drive from Saskatoon, so doable to get down there in one day.  We camped at a KOA Kampground in Rapid City and had tons of fun seeing all the lame touristy sites, and lots of not-lame scenery like the Needles Highway.

This was a very inexpensive vacation because we camped and bought most of our food from grocery stores and then cooked it on our campfire, so a good choice for the poor university students that we were at the time!  I'd definitely recommend doing this trip sometime because you'll never run out of things to do down there.  We took Brahm's Smart car too, so if anyone ever says you can't pack enough stuff for a camping trip into a Smart car, guess what - YOU CAN, WE PROVED IT.  Also, at that time, people in the midwestern US did not know what Smart cars were so a lot of rednecks were very interested in it.

Corner Gas was just wrapping up filming its final season, but we got to stop by the set on the way down to the border!
 I think this is supposed to be the geographic centre of the US (including Alaska and Hawaii or something).
 There are TONS of cave tours down there - very cool!
 Mount Rushmore.
 Lame tourist thing - one of those "mystery spots" that appears to defy gravity but really is just optical illusions.
 Reptile Gardens.
 The Mammoth Site - an in-situ dig of an ancient sinkhole that a whole bunch of mammoths fell into!
 Lots of wildlife preserves with bison.
 The Needles Highway - skinny highway with neat rock formations!

 I think this was the set of Dances with Wolves but it's now a Western Revue type show with rope making demonstrations and a meal of beans and meat and stuff.  It was fun.  But also bizarre because you'd think it was for tourists, but there appeared to be a lot of local rednecks in attendance too.  They must love having a redneck dinner theatre in the area.
At the end of the show they did this big tribute to America and all the rednecks stood up and pumped their fists and sang along.  It was so patriotic.

You should do this trip!  It was fun!  And it's easily accessible from Saskatchewan, which you can't say about most fun vacation spots.