Wear your poppy

I’ve been working on the deck for the past week so I haven’t been outside the house all that much.  During that time I figured that it would be full-on poppy wearing season out there, but lo and behold, there isn’t a whole lot of poppies being worn around these parts.

That is upsetting me and I thought about it long and hard this morning and I realize that it’s everyone’s right to wear what they want and when they want to wear it.

But don’t you dare try and take Remembrance Day off of work if you don’t wear a poppy in the weeks leading up to it.

Sierra’s 17th Month

We’re still all alive and well which is all we can ask for!  The month of October has been quite productive with the deck.  As of October 28th, we pretty well just need to put the deck boards on, some stairs and some guard rails.  Mom and Dad are coming for a visit this coming week so I’m hoping to get the upper and hot tub deck done along with some stairs and hopefully some rails so we can go to and from the hot tub this winter.  I haven’t even bothered looking into fixing the hot tub lift mechanism yet…that’s another project to do before the snow hits!

While Northern Ontario got walloped with some snow this past week, it’s been pretty nice here overall other than today where it’s pouring rain and expecting to have 100mm+!  That’s a little crazy.

Sierra has been doing great in the past month.  She still enjoys daycare and now has a partner in crime there to fend against the boys.  However, I think these two girls are having way too much fun as there was not one, but TWO days in the past week where they were having fun with the toilet water!

She did have a dripping nose for most of the month though.  I don’t think I’ve ever carried that much kleenex in my pockets in my life!  I was thinking of just strapping down some kleenex directly onto her face at one point.  I feel bad for the daycare provider who has to put up with that all day long.  She managed to get rid of one cold within a few weeks but then caught another a few days later!

As of yesterday, we started trying soy milk on her to see if she would have allergies to soy like she did months ago.  It’s a day later and we haven’t seen any major signs of distress but we will keep our eye on it.

The greatest Star Wars moment happened to us the other morning.  We were getting ready and I kept hearing some Wookiee roars.  It turns out that Sierra has found her book of ‘How to speak Wookiee’ and was loving the thing, even to the point where she insisted she bring it along for the car ride to daycare.  It was a proud moment for us.  Well, really me.  We all knew that.

With a kid and a deck to build in my life, I decided to skip a few steps in the beer making process and pick up a Festa Brew kit of Oktoberfest lager.  It was also my first attempt at making a lager so I hope it works out well!  I’m a little concerned that I opened up the primary fermenter and saw some green stuff growing on top but the geniuses on the internet say that this may not mean the batch is infected.  I transferred to the secondary fermentor and will let sit another six weeks and I hope it comes out fine!  If it does, I’ll probably buy these more often if I don’t have enough time to make a batch from scratch.

Speaking of beers, I tried out this excellent one that Trish brought back for me from PEI.  Two thumbs up!


No lie, I found this in a boardroom.

Danielle and Gaetan came up at Thanksgiving to give us a hand.  Here’s Gaetan’s helper.

We get a nice piece of artwork every week from the daycare.

Sierra loves when we pretend the bee is buzzing around and gets stuck behind the curtain and then comes out swarm her.  She laughs every time.

Sierra telling us about her day.

We ran out of red wine in the house so it called for desperate measures.  SURPRISINGLY this wine tasted great!

Enjoying the autumn weather

Our two saviours

I was trying out the depth effect on the iPhone.  Pretty cool!

Trying out the slo-motion effect on the iPhone

That’s one happy kid!

I love how Sierra carries everything around

Swing time with Mom

Sierra sure loves her yogurt.

Gaetan and I have this uncanny ability to have each game come within 10 points of each other.  We can’t get over how close our games end up being.

Sierra getting an early Halloween treat from Grand-Maman et Grand-Papa

Another successful Thanksgiving meal

Sierra must have told a really good joke!

Benoit, Etienne, his Dad and I went to see Roger Waters.  Best Roger Waters show I’ve seen!  It doesn’t hurt that I love their new album, but they had a really cool stage show that also looked great from our seats up in the 300 Level.

How cool is this screen?

Hanging out at the Vars spaghetti supper.  Sierra was having the time of her life running around.

Andreane dropped in for a quick visit and that was the day that Sierra figured out how to touch a person’s nose!  We spent a month trying to get her to do that.

Sierra loves splashing around.

Ms. Buckethead

Sierra was nice enough to get me an early Christmas gift!

While Mom was shopping for a few things, Sierra was trying to play hide and seek with me at Wal-Mart.

It was a great pleasure to have Nanny and Beth drop by for lunch on Saturday.  It’s not often Nanny gets around Ottawa!  Sierra took a few minutes to warm up, but then she realized Nanny was full of fun.

Sierra showing Nanny how much fun yogurt can be.

This little piggy

Surprising that we all looked towards the camera at the same time!

It’s the great pumpkin, Sierra!

She’s getting the hang of raking.

Etienne and I take a walk at work every day around the bridges between Hull and Ottawa.  It amazes me that we can still find things we never knew about.  This must have been something to transport wood down from Chaudiere Falls to the mill (which now is home to Mill Street Pub).  It was pretty amazing to see that this thing is still sitting there after hundreds of years.

Take advantage of the time outside kid because winter is coming!




Some great new albums

It’s not often I get on here and chat about stuff other than Sierra but I have to say this Fall has dumped upon me, the motherlode of good music so I figured I should let you know about some good tunes.

Sleep Well Beast

The National – Sleep Well Beast

This might be my favourite National album since Boxer.

Matt Mays – Once Upon a Hell of a Time

Matt Mays does it again with a solid rocker of an album.  He spends a lot of years in between releases but it pays off as it ‘s all killer, no filler.  Sentimental Sins and Faint of Heart are on heavy rotation right now.

Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton – Choir of the Mind

Emily Haines is generally found in her band Metric, but once in awhile she puts out a solo album (this is her second).  It’s a fantastic piece of work with piano and layered vocals.  This is stuff I would like to attempt to write.


William Patrick Corgan – Ogilala

Ok, you all know I’m a big Smashing Pumpkins fan so I’m going to add a new Corgan solo album on the list.  But it’s really good.  Stripped down piano, acoustic tunes show off how Billy is an incredible writer underneath his usual layers upon layers of production.

The Vietnam War – Original Score by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (2CD)

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Vietnam War soundtrack

I get excited every time a new Reznor/Ross collaboration comes out and I especially love listening to this album just driving down the country roads seeing the leaves fall.

Roger Waters – Is this the life we really want?

Could this be the best post-Pink Floyd album?  Yep.  Get it now.

Hug of Thunder

Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder

I wasn’t expecting much from the new BSS album and it blows me away.  It’s probably in their top three.

Times Infinity Volume 2 (Vinyl)

The Dears – Times Infinity Volume 2

Hey, speaking of albums that I wasn’t expecting much from and then it sneaks out with a ninja attack on my psyche and makes me want to listen to it every day for the rest of my life…



Review: Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street

When I was in my teens, I remember starting to rent horror movies.  I specifically remember renting the Halloween series (best series ever?) and watching Halloween 5 and it ended on such a cliffhanger that I had to run out and rent the sixth movie (which was kind of lame).

Anyhow, fast forward 20 years later and I still hadn’t gotten around to watching the complete Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street series.  I was also trying to start from the beginning and then I would just give up once October 31st passed me by.

I realize that Freddy is burn victim, but how do you explain those really bad teeth? 

No longer is that the case!  I decided to just dive in where I left off (like any other sane individual) and see what the series had to offer in the later films.

My thoughts on the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise

First movie was awesome, second film was horrible.  3 & 4 picked things up.  Then Part 5 and 6 got weird for me.  This is probably where everyone else clued into the fact that Freddy had become a caricature of himself and was more funny than scary.  I mean, they had him bring a kid into a literal video game where Freddy was playing the controls.  COME ON!  These films got pretty ridiculous.


Wow, this film had it all.  I was scared of Freddy again.  This was Wes Craven’s attempt at becoming meta…where he referenced the film series and had the film feel like it was in our world.  A precursor to the Scream film series where he explored our love for all things horror.  I was immediately satisfied with the conclusion of this series being A New Nightmare.

Of course, we all know that nine years later, Freddy Vs. Jason comes out and does a somewhat decent job of bringing the two franchises together, but it had some good laughs.  ‘Dude, that goalie is pissed!”

My thoughts on the Friday the 13th series

Speaking about pissed off goalies, let’s talk about the lumbering machete wielding mute called Jason Voorhees!  This series is definitely one of my faves…at least the first four films which make a really good story arc.

Then the fifth film comes around and kind of puts a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

Always a classic, easy Halloween costume.

But then they jump back and Part 6 is ok!

Then seven sucks.

The eight sucks even more.  My favourite part of Jason Takes Manhattan is that he doesn’t even get to Manhattan until about 10 minutes before the end of the movie.  What the hell!

The ninth movie should have been great.  It’s the last in the series!  Jason Goes to Hell!  This sounds like a cool premise!  Yeah no, this movie flopped.  Wow, Vero was disappointed Friday night when we spent 90 minutes watching this film.  Where I thought Nightmare on Elm Street went out on a high, Friday the 13th went out on an all time low.  I don’t even think Jason showed up in the film more than 15 minutes!  I haven’t even bothered watching Jason X which is basically Jason in space because I hear it’s even worse!

The remake was pretty decent though.

So there you have it…both series started out strong, Nightmare ended awesome and Friday the 13th kind of fizzled out.  If I had to recommend to someone the most efficient way to watch both series, I would say just watch the first four films of Friday the 13th and watch Nightmare 1, 3,4 and New Nightmare.  You’ll get the point of it all.

Now onto the Halloween series!  I ordered that set on bluray the other week and am pretty excited to dive into that again.

It was a good day

Today’s Dad’s birthday (Happy birthday Dad!) but also a day that I heard Gord Downie passed away.

Of course we all knew it was coming.

Vero was at a play tonight so it was just Sierra and I after work.  We walked down to the mailbox where I picked up my SNES Classic which we were both excited about.  It was a beautiful fall day at 20 degrees and leaves on the ground.

She made it halfway home before realizing I was using her as a pack mule.

We got home and had some supper together while I put on my favourite Hip album, We Are The Same for Sierra and I to listen to.

She didn’t put up too much of a fuss tonight, even though she’s had a cold for three weeks.  We had a fun time splashing each other with bathwater and after the bath, we laughed by putting a hat on my head, then putting a hat on her head, then back and forth forever.

All the while listening to his music.

It’s definitely not going to get any easier in life when the people we care about pass away with each season, but I guess we have just have to appreciate what we have while remembering what they gave us.

It was a good day.

Defining moment: Popeye/Olive Oyl at Gizzy’s

Back in the 1980s sometime, I cannot remember my exact age, I stumbled upon a Popeye poseable PVC figure at Gizzy’s convenience store.  I remember wanting this and being told that I would have to save my money to purchase it.

This was a good lesson that Mom was trying to teach me.  Save your money and you can afford the things you want in life!  As a kid, I don’t remember really understanding it at first but the realization quickly came in the form of “Oh man, I have an allowance of 25 cents a week and it costs $1…this will take forever!” (in kid time, of course).

But I diligently saved up my coin and was super excited when the day came that I had saved up enough money to purchase Popeye the Sailor Man.

We went over to Gizzy’s and to my dismay, there were no Popeye figures left to purchase.  There were only Olive Oyl.  Who wants Olive Oyl?

I remember being disappointed, but I also remember leaving with the Olive Oyl figure so I guess I just thought my money needed to be spent on something.

It would be interesting to know if Mom even remembers this moment.  I wonder if she felt disappointed to see that the figure I had saved my money for was long gone.  Or perhaps it wasn’t that big of a deal.

This was a defining moment in my life as it shaped my actions today…I tend to need to get something THE DAY IT COMES OUT in fear of missing out on it.  I remember collecting comic books and walking in -40 degree weather to the corner store on the Wednesday instead of the Thursday in fear of having an issue sold out on me.  I still have a tendency to order things immediately when available on Amazon.  I guess I can trace my behaviour back to this moment in my life.

I always wonder what I’ll do if this experience comes back to haunt me and Sierra asks to buy something in the store but we want her to save her money for it.  I suppose my fear of losing out on this item will make me, the parent, purchase the item secretly in case they do run out of stock.

Sierra’s 16th Month

Honestly, the month kind of flew by for us with some travel, some concerts and the biggest heatwave we have ever experienced.  It was over 30 degrees with no rain for about 17 days here in September.  For all the rain we received throughout the summer, I think Mother Nature decided to give us a break during the month of September.

This helped progress the deck quite a bit and I’m happy at the rate that we are working on it.  But I mustn’t become lazy…I need to get the deck to the hot tub finished before the snow hits!

I’m not sure what to think of Sierra in terms of development in the past month.  I honestly need a book to read to figure out if there are things we should focussing on in terms of brain development.  She hilariously knows where her ‘nombri’ is (bellybutton) but can’t tell us where her nose or ears are.  But she laughs maniacally when ever she touches her bellybutton or my bellybutton or Vero’s belly button so at the end of the day, as long as she’s having a good time, that’s what counts, right?

We don’t really have any complaints with her.  She seems quite sociable around other people and kids, she now goes to the highchair or cupboard to tell us if she is hungry, she sometimes grabs her towel off the wall to show us she wants to have a bath.  She still loves having bath time.

Her hair is finally getting to a point that we need to tie it back.  Barettes didn’t exactly work out yet but that will come along.  She loves Facetiming with family and playing outdoors.  When we get home from work, she’s pretty upset with us if we don’t bring her to her swing in the backyard.  In fact, yesterday I was unlocking the door and she ran away to go to the swing!  I’ve never had to drop everything to chase after her until today!  I’m sure that’s something that will be happening more and more!

She really likes music and particularly likes Arcade Fire’s song “Everything Now”.  She really likes the piano that starts with that song.  She dances up a storm.

She’s been starting to eat yogurt this month and enjoys it immensely.  There are a lot of times where she isn’t a happy camper sitting in her chair while eating but maybe she just doesn’t like to be tied down?

Overall, she’s a happy kid, and we’re happy parents and I’m sure when I start reading a book it’ll put my fears at ease in terms of her development.  Part of me knows that it’s silly to worry about things like that….she’ll learn to do everything in due time.  I just want to make sure she gets a good opportunity to grow up and learn things.  I don’t want to find out that my time just horsing around with her at night could have been better spent by putting some paper and crayons in front of her.

Lynn and Sue had us up for an afternoon.  I think this one of the ten days they were actually at their own house this summer!

Lynn imparting some wisdom on Sierra.

Sierra really likes clips so we came up with the genius idea to have her wear the lifejacket and play with the clips around the house.

It was great to have Mom and Dad visit for a few days on their way back from Gaspe.  Sierra sure loved the visits to the park!

Seriously, there are about 20 variations of this photo because it’s quite impossible to get a decent photo with a kid!

Sierra showing Poppa and Grandma the way home.

Sierra having a conversation with the grandparents.  She’s a talker!  Grandma seems to be the only person who can understand her.

At a rest stop on the way back from Toronto.

Here’s Etienne posing for a picture on our daily walk while we tested out the camera on some new phones.

Our daily ritual of picking up Sierra from daycare.

Testing out a new camera.  She seems to like the flash.

These slo-mo videos are always fun

Uncle Mike over for a quick visit

First time eating cheese! Next up: the grilled cheese sandwich!

Sierra does love her slides.

Sierra’s daily routine of playing in the driveway before supper time.   I love how I decided to keep filming instead of coming to her immediate aid. Woops?

She’s getting pretty good with the spoon!

Dance time!

Sierra helping to wrap up Mom’s birthday gift.

I’m not too sure if Vero liked the fact that I allowed her to play with scissors!

Hanging out after a successful wrapping job

Here’s the cake Sierra baked for Vero

Sierra wearing Mom’s birthday gift!  Perfect fit!


Vero was quite happy with Sierra’s cake

Not too sure what to think about yogurt…

Success!  She loves the yogurt!

Google did a great job pointing out that six months later, Sierra still loves bath time!

Sierra showing me what mulch is all about.

Even in the evening, Sierra pulls this out of the closet and wants a ride!

She’s starting to get the hang of these!  Soon enough she’ll go to her first concert.

I went on a tour of Parliament and this was the best shot I got.

Perfect day for a swing in the backyard!



Review: CityFolk (Corb Lund, Royal Canoe, Matt Mays)

After working all day on the deck I headed into town for my favourite festival…CityFolk!  Bluesfest used to hold the torch for my favourite festival but now that CityFolk has a better beer selection and better overall vibe, this festival now wins the key to my heart.

They changed the layout in recent years so there is a stage set up inside the Aberdeen Pavilion (this used to be the case as well but for the free Marvest concert series, not the paid concerts).  I arrived and went directly to the Ravenlaw stage where Fred Penner was playing.  I never grew up knowing Fred Penner but I know that Trish is a fan so I figured I would stay for a few songs along with Andre and Karilee.

Fred!  Photo taken from apt613.ca

We then headed out to the Great Lawn where I completely forgot one of the reasons I had to come tonight….to see Corb Lund!  Mike introduced me to Corb a few years back and while I don’t generally gravitate to the country genre, he definitely has convinced me that it’s a genre to listen to.  He was playing some tunes along with Ian Taylor.  Andre pointed out that he’s a Canadian icon in the country/folk circles that I would have to get to know.  It’s crazy to think that there are still some musicians in Canada that I don’t know anything about!  It was a great set with each of them trading off singing duties and throwing some good jokes out to the crowd.

Pretty darn close to the stage!

Great shot – Apt613.ca

We then headed back to the Ravenlaw stage to check out this band called Royal Canoe.  Now, before I start talking about them, I have to tell you about a feeling that everyone has experienced in their lifetime.  It’s that moment that someone puts on a song, or you see a band and you instantly connect with what they are playing.  You don’t know what it is, you’re not familiar with the tune they are playing, but it’s a moment of instant attraction.  The last time I had that feeling was seeing The Weeknd at Bluesfest back in 2012.

Well, I got sucked into the tractor beam of awesome when Royal Canoe started playing.  It was crazy what was going on musically as well as physically on stage.  I was impressed.  We were all impressed.  I loved how they had two drummers.  I loved the double mic setup with the vocalist.  I loved the clipped on lapel mic for autotuned vocals from the guitarist.  I don’t even know what genre of music this falls into, but it doesn’t matter, I love it.

Pretty darn close to the stage!

We ended up leaving about halfway through to go see Father John Misty and then Karilee and I decided to head back to catch the rest of their set!  Fantastic show and I encourage everyone to take a listen to these guys from Winnipeg.  Also, the singer kind of looks like Prince Harry!

Prince Harry indeed.  Photo from apt613.ca

After the Royal Canoe show I hit up the merch booth and picked up a couple of their albums and we met up with Andre and Dave to watch Father John Misty.  I’m not entirely sure what to think fo this act.  I see his name in the headlines across many music sites in the past year so I know he’s a big deal.  From what I heard, I wasn’t really blown away, but maybe I was just trying to absorb the kinetic energy I had just witnessed on the previous stage and wasn’t in the mood to hear anything else.  I’m sure Father John Misty fans can tell me what I was missing out on!

I left the show a few minutes early to ensure myself a good spot for the main event of the night…Matt Mays!  Yes, he’s back!  He also has a new album coming out next month so I was hoping to hear a few new tunes.  The place was JAM PACKED and Andre and Karilee couldn’t even make it back to where I was standing.

Rocking it.

I love the look of this incarnation of the band.  I feel they were ripped right out of the 80s.  I mean, check out that guy on keyboards!  Andre said he thought it was Wheels from Degrassi.  While we can joke about how he looks, that guy was fantastic on the keys.  He also had a moment to let loose and play a solo that sounded like Eddie Van Halen erupting from whatever keyboard-type instrument he was playing up on stage.  These guys were top notch.

They are loving life, and we were loving it with them.

If you frequent arena shows, then you’re not used to the rock n roll sweat.  That’s what happened at this show…it was jam packed with BTUs emanating from all the human beings in the house and it was sticky, sticky sweaty.  It was awesome when you see Adam Baldwin’s hair just soaked with it and you can see it flying off his hair into the crowd.  The guys were putting on a solid rock show and the people were loving it.  We even got to hear a couple of new tunes which were fantastic and I’m stoked to hear the new album.

The main set ended with Terminal Romance, only my favourite song ever.  I also love the guitarist looking to the heavens in the back of this shot!

The band were on fire all night long and the crowd was into it as well.  Perfect show!

Matt Mays agrees!


Matt Mays setlist

Tall Trees
Sentimental Sins
Drive On
Queen of Portland Street
Take It on Faith
City of Lakes

Cocaine Cowgirl
On The Hood