Blog Archives

100 things to do in 1000 days; #76: Take a long-exposure picture.

I’ve already posted twice and it’s after 1am on a work day, so I’ll make this quick.

Slow-motion waterfall shots in nature photography! I like them! I want to do one!

To make a short story even shorter, my dad is an amateur photographer, his camera is capable of doing that, and Hawaii is capable of providing the waterfall (granted, so is Niagara, but we were already in the Aloha state, so…). So he showed me how, we set up the camera, and I clicked the button a few times.

Mission accomplished. I hope to become more proficient in this skill after taking some photography classes, but that is a goal for another day.

100 things to do in 1000 days; #94: Spend a day tree planting.

IMG_0659I have a very ambiguous relationship with nature. I love looking at pictures of it. I think we should be nicer to it. Several plants and animals that exist in it are pleasing to me. However, it also tends to make me itch and sneeze. My nose basically runs year-round; colds in winter, pollen and ragweed in summer. I also react badly to bug bites; they itch, swell, burn, and bleed. Last summer, one on my arm looked so bad (it had…a tail) that doctors thought I might have blood poisoning. (I didn’t. But that is not the point.) I’ve never been stung by a bee before, but family history isn’t uplifting. A classic approach/avoidance dilemma. Basically, the math is this:

(wonder + beauty + science + actual place that provides sustenance and shelter for life) – (allergies + fear) = …positive x? minus x? irregular x? y?

I don’t garden, and I’ve never owned any plant that wasn’t either a cactus or one of those idiot-proof bamboo trees that don’t need too much water. And I’ve still managed to kill two or three of them. (And remember that one plant I bought for #89? Remember how I kill things?) But I try. (Oh my god, do I try.) And how much damage can I really do here? Tree planting is fairly intuitive; dig hole, insert plant into hole, refill hole.

So I put “spend a day tree planting” on the list, because it’s all about learning and doing new things, and that’s why Claritin was invented. Only in this case, “a day” means “two hours” because the only tree planting program I could find that wasn’t both a) in another province, and b) about 4 months long was through Green Toronto’s Natural Environment and Community Programs, organised through the City of Toronto Forest Initiative and Toronto Region Conservation Authority under the Urban Forestry Naturalization Program.

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Forgive the picture quality, it was taken through a window.

About 35 people, children and adults, showed up to the event, which took place at Marie Curtis Park in Mississauga.

Together, we planted about 400 trees in just under two hours.

The weather was perfect. The sky had been threatening rain all day, but the downpour only started (and with a vengeance) a couple of hours after planting finished. So we got to plant in the sunshine, and the plants got refreshment. Win-win. I planted 11 trees, plus, I escaped with only several mosquito bites!

My first tree!

My first tree!

The park used to be the site of an old arms factory, and we also dug up a lot of brick, plastic bags and tape, and one explosives fragment with fuse.

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Most Toronto tree plantings take place in open areas, but this one took place in an already established forest. Why? I spoke to two leaders of today’s event, Jeanette and Cheryl, who told me that although this is a mature forest with high quality understory, they want to protect the older healthy trees and help the endangered species that grows in the area, the butternut tree. There are a lot of bike paths and hiking trails in the park, so we helped to close some of them by planting new trees on the former pathways, and thus concentrating traffic in a sustainable way. Or, if you’d like, we re-routed the routes to avoid roots.

We planted iron wood, American beech, sugar maple, alternate dogwood, choke cherry, black cherry, and red raspberry on nice, soft soil, and on gravel-and-stone-infested soil.

I can see how some people get addicted to this; I added it to the list a few years after reading a short story by Charlotte Gill, taken from her novel Eating Dirt, because even after all this time, her story (which I read in J-school) stuck with me. Nature may be icky, but if you spend enough time in it, icky becomes okay, even fun, and I’d gladly do it again. The trick is to just immediately get dirty, and the rest is easy. It’s kind of like paper mache that way.

100 things to do in 1000 days; #89: Grow a plant – do a picture a day and make a stop motion film.

Alright, let’s make this quick.

Here is my high-tech, top-notch studio set-up for taking the slideshow pictures:

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So please excuse the crappiness of the following.

Basically, from this to this in 17 days:

That site is awesome, by the way. I made this in about 10 minutes. And sure, you may say something along the lines of, “Yes, that’s obvious,” but I respond: “Bite me.”

(Part of the reason the last few pictures don’t match up at all is because once the plant got to a certain height, it kept tipping itself over. I had to move it, and the stuff around it, to keep it upright. Maybe I’ll do this again in a few years with…better preparation.)

When the thing flowered, I thought it would make a great present for my mom, but on my way over to gifting her with it, the stem snapped. Because I kill things.

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Fortunately, we had some twist ties and a stick available, so we made it an emergency splint, and it’s now happily living alongside mom’s other plants. They seem to have overlooked the disfigurement, and accepted it as one of their own.

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(I would also like to note that this is the 42nd item I have completed on my list, therefore CRAPPY PLANT SLIDESHOW is clearly the meaning of Life, the Universe, and 100 Things to Do in 1000 Days.)

100 things to do in 1000 days; #31: Play paintball (followed by a dinner for winners at Denny’s).

Nearly forgot to post today.

Last August, some friends and I took a ROAD TRIP to South Carolina (which, according to an unnecessarily rude road sign, is reserved specifically for South Carolinians) to meet up with another friend. It was awesome, and copious Community references were made.

I have never played paintball before (because I was afraid of pain, and this was long before the TOOTH ABSCESS OF DOOM that occurred in December), so we made an extra special outing of that.

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It was pretty terrifying at first – the mask you wear to protect your face from flying projectiles is pretty suffocating, so you get to not only look and sound just like, but feel just like Darth Vader! Then there’s the fact that people you can’t see are shooting at you from all directions, and some of them (AHEM) aim to hurt. And the adrenaline rush actually made me shake like a person suffering from actual war-related distress.

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But, it was also awesomely exhilarating, and I even managed to win one game (it was a team win, but…let me have my pride).

I am dangerous

I did, however, lose my calves in the war.

And after it all, the best thing ever happened.

Because Denny's is for winners.

Because Denny’s is for winners.

Everyone knows that.

100 things to do in 1000 days IN PROGRESS; #89: Grow a plant – do a picture a day and make a stop motion film.

I bought a plant in the metro on a whim today, in order to knock off number 89 on my List. Unfortunately, it seems the bulb I randomly picked out is an amaryllis, which is supposedly incredibly difficult to grow. Goody. Let’s see how this goes.

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Also, FYI, I’m replacing Ashes to Ashes with Slings and Arrows, because I can’t find Ashes to Ashes on Netflix or iTunes, and Slings and Arrows is amazing. Deal. With. That.

100 things to do in 1000 days IN PROGRESS; #81: Do pottery (make a pot or a vase).

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Technically, this one is done, in that I don’t have to do anything else. But I’m still waiting for both my vase (which could also be a pot) and my bowl (that’s right! I did two potteries!) to be fired and glazed, so I’m not going to cross this one off just yet.

This one was on my list because I’ve never been able to figure out the pottery wheel, and I always wanted to learn. Obviously after one lesson I haven’t mastered it, but I did manage to make a vase/pot-shaped thing from beginning to end, without pinching off the top, or being unable to even start due to flomping and wobbling.

Paul at The Pottery was absolutely fantastic. Funny, encouraging, and patient (even though we were…15 minutes late). His 2 hour Groupon class is a great deal, too.

100 things to do in 1000 days; #1: Get my stupid degree.

FINALLY.

This is my “I know, right?” face, in response to my “I never thought it would happen!” brain thought.

I have my very own B.J.

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

Remember this? The problem has been solved. Long ago, actually. We found the missing piece, we plugged it in, we glued the puzzle, and it is now hanging comfortably on my ceiling, and can be called “complete” without any lingering feelings of guilt, emptiness, and/or irritation.

Other Awesome Things Bulk Update

Ok, yeah, so:

I’ve gone to a Pride Parade. People there were so friendly, and even though it was 5 billion degrees, and many were carrying around squirt guns, no one sprayed me unless I clearly asked for it, which was very considerate, but oh my god there were too many people in one area, I don’t think I could do it again. It’s bad enough getting lost in a normal area, but when you can only move an inch at a time in any direction, and you tend to be known as the James May of whichever group you’re in…

I have gone to Jazz Fest.

And I’ve now gone to a Just for Laughs festival in Montreal! That was awesome, because there were less people, and it was only 100 million degrees outside. We saw shows by Tim Minchin and Craig Ferguson, and a Home Grown Comedy Competition hosted by Mark Little, in which Dave Merheje deservedly came in first, and Mark DeBonis was the rightful runner up, because they were both hilarious. Craig Ferguson was a last minute addition, which was lucky. Basically, being unable (and unwilling) to navigate the Just for Laughs mess of a website saved me $20, because I got the tickets cheap. Unfortunately, Ferguson was at 7, and Minchin was at 9, and as we have discussed, I have no sense of direction, so I spent a great deal of time amusing security guards, disproving laws of probability by choosing the wrong of two directions 100% of the time, running from one end of the complex to the other, being told I had gone completely the wrong way, and running back, skidding into theatre entrances, and being told that the show hadn’t started yet and I should relax. I’m a shorter, more female Kramer without the racism! Sigh.

Anyway, so Craig Ferguson (who I have had a crush on since the Drew Carey show, because I am THAT sophisticated, cool, and discerning) was introduced by Eddie Izzard, so I thought to myself, “Sweet! Bonus comedian!” But then it turned out that his show, Craig Ferguson’s International House of Comedy (which we were told by the announcer was part of their elite Gala Videotron comedy thing; so wooOOOOoooo), was actually full of bonus comedians (thankfully there was plenty of Craig standup as well): Adam Hills, Danny Bhoy, Nina Conti, Russell Howard, Ryan Belleville, and Randy Kagan. And then to Tim Minchin! Also, it turns out, introduced by Eddie Izzard. Perhaps because he’s the only comic who knows how to speak French? Anyway, he was making the rounds, because I left Ferguson 10 minutes early, and I still barely made it in time for the show. Although I did go the wrong way first.

I have also accidentally set a World Record! This wasn’t on my list because I’ve actually done it once before, with the certificate, shirt, and hardcover World Record Book to prove it (although we have since been beaten), but this is the first time I didn’t do it on purpose. Basically, we were wondering around Montreal on the way to the Homegrown comp, and we passed a bunch of people waving around green and red ukuleles while a band at the main stage sang Feliz Navidad, which, needless to say, caught our attention. So we ended up in a short line, someone shoved two red ukes at us, and the next thing we knew they were announcing that they had given away all 1000 of the instruments, and these were the chords we would need to play for 5 minutes to break the world record. Done and done.

We’re at 3:38.

And finally, the reason for the trip to Montreal in the first place, what I have in my notes as “Pixar thing.” This will get its own blog post later.

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!”

“Here.”‘

“Thanks!

Um.

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.

Dimitri

Dammit, Dimitri.