Monthly Archives: July 2011

100 things to do in 1000 days; #96: Do a 1000+ piece puzzle.

“Hey, L, I need a puzzle for tomorrow. Do you mind coming with me to buy one?”

“Oh, don’t worry, why don’t you take one of mine?”

“Sure, awesome!”




Do you have any others?”

“No, take this one, it’s good!”

“Yeah, ok. Yeah. Excellent!”

I swear, L. I swear. This was the puzzle from HELL. We spent eons hunched over that puzzle, as six hour chunks passed us by without notice(able progress). The edges were irregular, the pieces were bizarrely shaped, everything was the same freaking shade of purple, brown, or white, and so in hindsight, we may have been a bit over optimistic when we planned on getting it done in a night…then two nights…then three nights…ok, four nights. God.

And then AND THEN, at the end of all that.

A piece is missing.

But after 4 days, and what I can only assume is 999 pieces, I am counting this as done. DONE I SAY.


Dammit, Dimitri.

100 things to do in 1000 days IN PROGRESS; #96: Do a 1000+ piece puzzle.

Puzzle from Lindsay, help doing it from Michelle.

We have named him Dimitri.

100 things to do in 1000 days; #90: Creatively ice a cake.

I’m going to miss my brother’s birthday this year. He’s younger than me, but he’s the sensible, responsible one. When I was a kid and people asked me, “Where do you live?” I’d always tell them to ask my brother – I didn’t know. Why should I? When we look after the house when the parents are on vacation, he does the dishwasher and waters the plants before I even notice they need to be done. Now, I do prefer the place where I live to planet Earth, which is why I spend so much time there (people never say “I could care less,” for one thing), but I recognize it isn’t always easy to live with, so I wanted to do something special for the person who drives me everywhere because I’m too afraid to get my license (I loathe driving). So when asked what I wanted to do for my creative cake icing exercise, I decided to make him an early birthday cake.

He’s a huge baseball fan, so I settled on the Blue Jays for a theme, based on this cake:

Michelle taught me the technique…

And we made him this:

I did the Blue Jay logo all by myself.

Very proud. It even got me a hug.

Once again, Michelle, I can’t thank you enough. And it tastes amazing.

100 things to do in 1000 days; #34/43: Watch Dr. Strangelove.

One of the best things about this list it the fact that, after I posted it, several of my friends immediately offered to help me do whatever things on the list they could help with. Because my friends are amazing. So, yesterday, I went over to my friend Michelle’s house, where we attacked no less than three things on the list – #90: Creatively ice a cake, #96: Do a 1000+ piece puzzle, and #43: Watch Dr. Strangelove.

To be fair, we did “watch” the movie WHILE doing the puzzle, so I’m fairly sure we missed several important points, but nevertheless, it was hilarious, so I’ll definitely be watching it again anyway. Also, Dimitri as a name is eternally ruined for me. And if I had trouble getting “The Ants Go Marching…” out of my head before, well…



100 things to do in 1000 days; #34/36: Watch The Godfather.

Some blasphemy – I thought it was ok. Well acted, interesting, good score, visually gorgeous, not all that special. Feel free to begin the stoning.


Wishful Drinking – Review – ***1/2

A couple of weeks ago, I rewatched the original Star Wars trilogy for the first time in years. This was a waste of time, as none of those movies are on my list, but I’m glad I did, because I forgot how awesome they are. And Princess Leia is among the most awesome elements in that awesome movie. It was the seventies, and here’s this beautiful, kick-ass, intelligent, snarky, gun-toting, no-nonsense, feminine woman playing an active role in the plot. How did I not remember all this? Why were all my Star Wars memories entirely made of Yoda, R2, and lightsabers?

So I started reading up on the woman who brought Leia to life, and I began to realise that she was pretty awesome, too. But I wanted to read about her in her own words (and I had a gift certificate to Chapters), so I bought her first memoir, and devoured it in a night.

Wishful Drinking is a short book (not 200 pages), and it goes by in a flash. Like the best memoirs, you feel like you know the writer by the end of the novel. it I don’t know if there’s a more efficient way to bare one’s soul than through writing, and when you write nonfiction, when you don’t hide behind characters or plot, it doesn’t get much more personal than that. I’ve read a couple of moving meditations on the one-way nature of writing, and in many ways, it’s similar to the one-way nature of celebrity. Millions of people read/watch authors and actors, and develop all sorts of relationships with those they ogle, but the object of the ogling can never reciprocate. An author’s one novel can touch millions of readers, establishing deep and lasting connections (for me, some of the authors I would most like to thank personally for their work are Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and P.G. Wodehouse), but that one author simply cannot, realistically, reciprocate in kind. It’s a strange, voyeuristic existence, and we’re used to it, but when they invite you in so openly, it’s difficult not to actively wish you could converse with them. In short, I want to be Carrie Fisher’s friend, and so do a million other people. No one has meaningful relationships with a million people. Well, what can you do?

I enjoyed Wishful Drinking. I laughed out loud a few times, learned a good deal about a lifestyle I will never know, and discovered that at one point, Princess Leia was married to Paul Simon. The things I have managed to go my whole life without knowing. The reason this book doesn’t get a higher grade is because I was more impressed with the author than the product. I like Carrie Fisher, and this is a good book, but I couldn’t call it a must-read. It is very short, and feels like it’s missing quite a lot. It’s 2 in the morning and I don’t think I’m expressing myself at all properly, but as enjoyable as it was, it just felt slight. I have dealt with mental illness, and I think Fisher’s openness is admirable and her ability to describe her mental state evidence of a empathetic, sympathetic human being with a wonderful way with words, so I’m not trying to say the book didn’t mean anything to me. I just feel like it’s a 3.5 star book. I don’t know. Whatever. Point is: glad I read it, would recommend it, like owning your weaknesses and sharing your hard-won wisdom, love Fisher, love Leia, love Star Wars, love sleep. Good night.

Cannonball Read III: 11/52

At Home: A Short History of Private Life – Review – ****

The first Bryson book I ever read was A Walk in the Woods. It’s a good starting point – short, interesting, and absolutely hilarious, I’ve been a fan of his ever since. (Sorry James May.) But recently, Bryson has moved away from travel writing and starting focusing more on history: social and scientific. He also seems to have moved away from laugh-out-loud funny, to simply incredibly interesting. This is not a bad thing.

The conceit of the book is a tour of Bryson’s old country house in England, which he uses as a backdrop to explain the history of the house from prehistory to the modern day. Each chapter describes a specific room or area of the house, while telling the story of how it came to be that way today.

The book is a bit of a brick in hardcover, but at just under 500 pages, its scope is enormous. It is incredible the number of times things that actually came up in my life in the days I was reading this book were mentioned, directly, in the book. The origin of the phrase “room and board,” the reason “K” means “strike out” in baseball, the architecture of Palladio, and more (although I was surprised that there was no mention of Tesla in the section on light bulbs). Not directly applicable to that week, but equally interesting, were the discussions on the history of salt, sex, and fashion as they relate to the development of the home.

The book is filed under the category of “social history,” which may turn some people off, but I would suggest you give it a chance. Bryson, as usual, takes us on a very accessible and entertaining journey. At Home is a great way to increase your general knowledge without having to do anything more than enjoy a book.

Cannonball Read III: 10/52


  1. Get my stupid degree [In progress since the dawn of time] [completed November 10th, 2012]
  2. Take a voice acting class
  3. Take a singing class
  4. Finish the first draft of my book (The King) [In progress]
  5. Get my driver’s license [In progress]
  6. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  7. Sustaining Memories program at Ryerson University [In progress]
  8. Play an instrument in a big band
  9. Learn to play Rhapsody in Blue on piano
  10. Learn to play Somebody to Love on piano
  11. Paint something [completed February 20th, 2011]
  12. Start drawing again (buy a sketchbook [completed March 27th, 2011] – fill it up)
  13. Stop picking
  14. Do some fun creative baking (ask Po for help if needed 😛 ) [completed April 1st, 2011]
  15. Finish a scrapbook                                     -> 0/3
  16. Finish another scrapbook
  17. Finish another scrapbook
  18. Join an improv class
  19. Act in a play
  20. Do an archaeological dig
  21. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter [completed December 26th, 2010]
  22. Watch all of Farscape (an 11th TV show for #65)
  23. Go to a San Diego ComiCon
  24. Participate in a NaNoWriMo [In progress] [completed November 30th, 2012]
  25. Get computer organised once and for all
  26. Make website for photographs (e.g. travel photos, portfolio photos)
  27. Learn to Scuba dive (note: this means go one time; if I like it, I’ll take the certification classes)
  28. Stop biting nails AND start doing nail art
  29. Volunteer at a Toronto Distress Centre
  30. Get TEFL OR Live in a different country (i.e. not Canada; pay rent; longer than 2 months)
  31. Play paintball (followed by a dinner for winners at Denny’s)
  32. See The Daily Show live
  33. Visit Marina in Washington
  34. Watch 20 great old movies (I haven’t seen a LOT of the classics, so this is a selection from IMDB’s Top 250)                    -> 10/20 [In progress]
  35. The Shawshank Redemption [completed November 12th, 2012]
  36. The Godfather [completed July 17th, 2011]
  37. The Godfather II
  38. 12 Angry Men
  39. Goodfellas
  40. Se7en
  41. Silence of the Lambs
  42. Memento
  43. Dr. Strangelove [completed July 20th, 2011]
  44. Citizen Cane
  45. The Shining
  46. Spirited Away [completed April 1st, 2011]
  47. Aliens
  48. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind [completed February 4th, 2011]
  49. Requiem for a Dream
  50. Back to the Future [completed January 1st, 2012]
  51. Ghostbusters [completed December 31st, 2011]
  52. Die Hard [completed August 5th, 2012]
  53. Annie Hall
  54. The Social Network [completed March 27th, 2011]
  55. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [completed December 24th, 2012]
  56. Run a marathon of sorts
  57. Knit something [completed October 17th, 2012]
  58. Whiten teeth
  59. Go two weeks without drinking coke (shut up) [started March 16th, completed March 30th, 2011]
  60. Participate in/skate in a Winterlude in Ottawa [completed February 19th, 2011]
  61. Get a bottle of vitamins and finish it without missing a single day (yeah, some of them I just stole right from Heather of gofugyourself fame) [In progress] [completed July 29th, 2011]
  62. Read one bookshelf’s worth of my unread books
  63. Complete a Cannonball read (                            -> 34/52 [In progress]
  64. Get past fear of diving
  65. Watch some finished/cancelled TV shows                            -> 2/10 [In progress]
  66. Watch all of Terriers [completed January 31st, 2012]
  67. Watch all of Battlestar Gallactica
  68. Watch all of Better Off Ted [completed January 9th, 2012]
  69. Watch all of Ashes to Ashes
  70. Watch all of the West Wing
  71. Watch all of Blackadder
  72. Watch all of Buffy (I only watched to about season 3, and I’d like to finish)
  73. Watch all of the Wire
  74. Watch all of Freaks and Geeks
  75. Watch all of Spaced
  76. Take a long-exposure picture
  77. Learn to juggle
  78. Solve a Rubik’s cube
  79. Donate blood
  80. Witness an eclipse
  81. Do pottery (make a pot or a vase)
  82. Learn 5 card tricks                             -> 0/5
  83. Go camping
  84. Do the splits (every day) [In progress]
  85. Learn glass blowing (take a course)
  86. Renew CPR/first aid licence
  87. Make a candle
  88. Finish Learn French in 10 Days book
  89. Grow a plant – do a picture a day and make a stop motion film
  90. Creatively ice a cake [completed July 20th, 2011]
  91. Throw bachelorette party for Nataly [completed January 22nd, 2012]
  92. Make a gravy train
  93. Learn to do that two-fingered whistle
  94. Spend a day tree planting
  95. Allow a spider to crawl on me without screaming
  96. Do a 1000+ piece puzzle [In progress] *asterisk* [completed July 26th, 2011]
  97. Get my ear cartilage pierced once and for all [completed September 23rd, 2012]
  98. Pay back mom and dad
  99. Donate $10 to charity for each goal not completed by the end date
  100. Begin world traveling (the following are places I have always desperately wanted to go and exotic things I’ve always wanted to do; there’s no way I’ll make it to all of them in 3 years, but I’m keeping them on the list anyway)
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Egypt
  • Galapagos Islands
  • Amazon Rainforest
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • France
  • Spain
  • Japan
  • Norway
  • Peru – Walk the Inca Trail
OTHER Awesome Things I’ve Done While Attempting To Do 100 Things In 1000 Days
  1. Gone on a submarine
  2. Gone ziplining
  3. Learned to surf
  4. Made a card
  5. Finished entire Sudoku game
  6. Attended a Pride Parade
  7. Attended a Jazz Festival
  8. Attended a Just for Laughs Festival
  9. Attended Pixar animation masterclass
  10. Broken a world record (albeit accidentally)
  11. Learned chopsticks! (INCLUDING FOR SOUP!)
  12. Was maid of honour!
  13. Went to Casa Loma
  14. Appeared in a commercial (next time – do it while not looking like a complete fool)
  15. Went to tiff! (But I did it wrong – I didn’t see any celebrities)

Start date: December 26th, 2010

End date: September 21st, 2013

(And for my next trick…)

100 things to do in 1000 days IN PROGRESS; #61: Get a bottle of vitamins and finish it without missing a single day.

It’s been a while since I’ve done things on the actual list, so I’ve started another.

This is the bottle of vitamins.

This is the bottle of vitamins.

Yes. It is for children. I cannot swallow the giant whale pills that adults are expected to be able to fit down their tiny throats.

But I can chew.

But I can chew.

Also, for other things I’ve done, I’ve finished all 500 games (100 at each level of difficulty) on my phone’s Sudoku ap. Number 5.