25 December 2011

happy christmas

"Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee
O Isreal."

"Fall on your knees!
O hear the angel voices:
'O night divine!
O night when Christ was born!'"

"Gloria! In excelsis deo!"

"Yea, Lord, we greet Thee,
born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now
in flesh appearing."

14 December 2011

bookie wooks

I have just finished The Stand by Stephen King, an enthralling 1164 page apocalyptic novel with supernatural elements. Like most King novels, the build-up was much better than the conclusion that was built up to, but I enjoyed it all the same. It was much better than IT, anyway.

Like most people with terrible attention spans, I always have a zillion books on the go at once. Right now, minus the one I just finished, I am currently digging into:

- Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (a complete and unabridged translation by Signet classics)
- I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison (I'm on the last short story!)
- Dawn by Octavia E. Butler (borrowed from Lizzy, who read it for school)
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (will it be as great as the Swedish film?)
- Saga of the Swamp Thing, Book 1 by Alan Moore (Moore's take on this comic book series)

These lovelies are pictured above in a tantalizing stack, flanked by a delicious pot of mango tea. I look forward to a wonderful afternoon.

10 December 2011

Dec 10

- an entire pot of Fortnum & Mason's Earl Gray, all by myself
- writing about the extent of justification for Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia
- working on a timeline (the evolution of classical liberalism)
- listening to Amy Winehouse
- making curtains for Dad's office
- planning a 2-3 kilometer walk (for later tonight)
- contemplating The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and gingerbread

09 December 2011

I love Alan Rickman.

Need I say more?

If he isn't hatin' on Harry Potter as the Potions master of Hogwarts, than he's hatin' on Robin Hood as the Sheriff of Nottingham. If that's not enough hatin', than he hates on our beloved John McLane as a German terrorist, or on Sweeney Todd as a daughter-stealing Judge. Basically, he is every excellent movie-villain ever.

A surprisingly common characteristic found in standard Good vs. Evil films, is the attempt to keep the villain somewhat likable --or, to use more "industry-relevant" terms, they try to "keep the villain human." This means that filmmakers don't want audiences hating the villain too much, because this can make the film seem too dark, too unpleasant, or too fake. An example of this working well can be seen in the original Star Wars trilogy, through the iconic villain Darth Vader. Sure, he was "evil," but once you get to The Return of the Jedi you discover his "good side" - or, the side of him that remained human - and he becomes a more sympathetic and likable character. This device is often found in books, too, and I think it's one of the cleverest traits an author/filmmaker can include in their villainous characters. Often, the films (and books) I enjoy the most include evil-but-likable (human) villains. And, if I were to write you a list of these villains, you would find several Alan Rickman characters close to the top.

 C'mon, you can't tell me you didn't cry during the Deathly Hallows.

Movie-wise, there are few things more effective than a well-performed villain. Sometimes, an actor can redeem an originally bland or terribly-written character through the power of a good performance. This is one of Alan Rickman's keenest talents. Recently, I got around to watching Rickman's cult-status, villainous performance opposite the forgettable/bland/annoying Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. This film is tiresome, long, and annoying, but Rickman's hilarious performance as the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham was hugely enjoyable and nearly redeemed the extra-bland performance Costner gave as Robin Hood. (This is a snatch of this delightfully over-the-top performance, for your viewing pleasure.)

Seriously, when a villain declares, "...and call-off Christmas!" as the concluding factor in his evil scheme, you know you've found yourself an epic villain. And he could only have been played by Alan Rickman.

Also, I just might have a thing for scary dudes in beards.

Rickman's first big-time film role was as the terrorist-villain Hans Gruber in the first Die Hard film, opposite action-star Bruce Willis. To this day, Hans Gruber is considered to be one of the greatest villains of film history; not to mention one of the downright best villains ever. I can tell you honestly that Rickman - not the screenwriter! - made that happen.

The main trouble with action-movie villains is that they are often boring, typical, and downright hatable. With Rickman's Hans Gruber, this is not the case. Though you egg Bruce Willis's character on through the entire film, you still watch Rickman carry out his evilness with equal enjoyment. As a result, Die Hard is one of the best films of this genre that I have ever seen.

*As a sidenote, I will add that Die Hard, being set during Christmas Eve, is also my favorite Christmas movie of all time, and I've forced my family to watch it every year since first seeing it. My father enjoys this tradition, but mum and Lana prefer It's A Wonderful Life, hands down.

Who isn't overcome with Christmas cheer when they look into that face?

Surprisingly, Rickman has also seen his share of romantic, standard, and black comedies; lust-thrillers, parodies, and even musicals (most famously as the corrupt judge in Tim Burton's Sweeny Todd). In fact, it can be deduced upon examining Rickman's various performances that he really isn't a serious guy. Almost every role he's played has some kind of comedic or soft-hearted edge, making whatever character he plays much more interesting and agreeable.


However, I must conclude by saying that his best role by far has been as Severus Snape. As often as this has already been said, he was just too perfect for it. In fact, Alan Rickman was J. K. Rowling's personal choice to portray her "favorite character;" and she even let him in on spoilers concerning Snape's character very early on in the Harry Potter films. So basically, Alan Rickman is probably the only person on earth to have found out about Snape-spoilers so early; and frankly, he's the only person on that same earth to have deserved such a priveledge. Apparantly, even Rowling thought so, too.

In the end, then, we have discovered two things: 1) Alan Rickman is epic, and 2) Laura found this fact worthy enough to base an entire Cracked-style blog post around it. All she can say, is that she hopes you enjoyed the post, and that you will come to further enjoy the subject matter himself.

Best. Pout. Ever.

Recommended Alan Rickman films:
2011 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II 
2008 - Bottle Shock  
2007 - Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
1999 - Galaxy Quest
1995 - Sense and Sensibility
1991 - Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves  
1988 - Die Hard

07 December 2011

one week in

Last week, Dec 1, we decorated the house for Christmas. It was great fun. As usual, I was in charge of setting up the tree itself, mum put on the lights, Lana set up the candles and the ornaments, and Bing sang to us about holly jolliness as we did so. Christmas preparation is the most delightful tradition of my household.

The above picture is a shot of the coffee table beside my favorite film-watching chair. Pictured, you can see my Charlie Brown Christmas tree, a mug of chai tea, and the last ball of my second scarf (its pearly-pink, extremely soft, and will be gifted to my Grandmother). I have a plum scarf to whip up after Grandma's is finished and I am still considering whether or not to swap Lana's pomegranite one with the plum? I'm invisioning the latter to go better with the eyes of that sister of mine... but we'll see.

Anyways, I am very excited for Christmas! I've already had three peppermint hot chocolates from Starbucks this month (a seasonal drink I wait all year for), finished all of my Christmas shopping, and I've been singing The First Noel and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas to myself ever since the tree went up. I think it's going to be a wonderful Yuletide this year (I don't know, but that may have something to do with the fact that I can drink acoholic egg nog at last?) and my cousins from British Columbia are coming over for it for the first time since our ages added a number. There will be much hijinks going down this year, folks!

04 December 2011


Origami stars are great for any and every occasion. This one just happens to be Christmas.

29 November 2011

Painting, pt. I

This is Tara. Isn't she lovely?

Over the weekend, Tara & I worked on our panels for the new Mural Mosaic going up in St. Albert. Our little squares, when finished, will help to make up one large mural that will hang on the back of a brick building somewhere in the city. It's been exhilarating and strange and nerve-racking, all at once.

Neither of us had seriously worked with paint before, so it was stressful trying to mix colours, blend, pick the right brushes, texture the paint, etc, at first. However, once we actually got started, the stress lifted a little. We worked mostly in silence -- Jack White, the boiling tea-kettle, and the slippery sound of paint-brushes were the loudest of the room as we worked.

After two days, Tara has nearly finished hers. I still have a ways to go yet.

24 November 2011

iPod + scarf

This is my new iPod (she doesn't yet have a name) nestled comfortably atop Lana's scarf. The latter is getting consistently longer and comfier and I'm very pleased with the results. I think that my sister will find it an excellent Christmas gift --it's certainly the best thing I've ever knitted, though I haven't knitted much. Many elaborate thank-yous to Lizzy for helping me hone my knitting skills and for showing me how to purl. You truly are the bomb, my friend!

Also, I wrote a satirical story about the hijinks-riddled purchase of my iPod from the Apple Store, and I will post it as soon as I think it worthy of public inspection. Look for it, coming soon!

20 November 2011

an arrival

It came with the snow. My uncle brought it back from the Saskatchewan home of my recently deceased Great Grandmother, since her well-kept old sewing machine was promised me during her will distribution. It's mine! It has a pedal to make it work; no electricity is required. [My mother said this would be quite helpful if we needed to make clothes during a worldwide power shortage or nuclear apocalypse. I suppose she's right.] Everything is made of heavy iron and real wood. It came with all sorts of interesting extras, including an ancient-looking button-hole-maker (I have yet to figure out how that works). It's old and neat and in great condition.

I like it a lot. I'm very excited to try it out!

16 November 2011


The sun is out despite the snow

as the city prepares itself for winter -

for Christmas.

I walk

and breath in the pine of the shivering spruce trees.

The air is visible

as the city throbs,

"Hello winter!

You're welcome here."

14 November 2011


It snowed like the dickens today. The first fall of the year. It heaps the November ground like so much cotton. It reminds me, like every snowfall, that I am Canadian and unafraid of the cold and the ice. I wore an interesting scarf.

I wanted to tell you how my plans for this month have been holding up. So far, mostly within the first snow-less weeks of November, I have been surprisingly productive.

I have,
- read four graphic novels (Hellboy Vol. 1, Beowulf, Batman: Year One, and V for Vendetta)
- gotten straight A's in social studies
- researched several universities
- made origami dragons, stars, cranes, a dog, a rooster, and a snail
- started knitting/pearling a pomegranite scarf (for Lana)
- begun cleaning my room (which has so far involved the ridding of a sizable bag of useless junk)
- got halfway through the tiresome Moby Dick, via audiobook
- drank half a box of Zen tea

I have yet to,
- start the patchwork pillows
- start Dawn by Octavia E. Butler
- start my panel for the mural mosaic
- purchase a silver iPod Classic
- spray paint two mannequin heads (for my masks)
- finish The Stand (King) and I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream (Ellison)
- bake ginger bread cookies

11 November 2011


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McRae, 1915

books, tea, licorice, dragons

I did it!

At long last, I creased and twisted and folded paper until it took the shape of a tiny dragon that will stand up on its own --an event which had been a long-term goal of mine. It was thrilling to watch my little square of paper finally take this lizard-y shape, which had only crumpled and slipped into unrecognizable messes for me before. This small but satisfying achievement makes me feel like I am actually capable of folding more difficult things, which is my rather bold motivation to try an even harder pattern: the stand-alone eagle. Wish me luck!

origami atmosphere: The Black Keys, green tea, Capricorn black licorice

08 November 2011


The documentary-style, fantasy-comedy Zelig is, in my opinion, one of Woody Allen's best-ever films. Woody's writing is dry, intellectual, and witty as usual, but the 1920's setting and interesting premise of Zelig make it perhaps more charming than his films usually are. The film-making itself is also very well done, as many of the scenes involve the film characters mingling in old footage of famous people (such as Hitler and Fanny Brice) which is a feat requiring very careful editing. The above photograph from the film is an example of this masterful editing. Thanks for your consistent excellence, Woody, you never disappoint!

I watched this movie the other day when I realized that I hadn't seen a Woody Allen film since Midnight in Paris came to theaters in June [if you didn't see it, it is simply a modern example of Woody Allen's classy, iconic film-making] and I was not disappointed in my choice. It may even beat Annie Hall, folks.

05 November 2011

Guy Fawkes Day (and origami stars)

"Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder, treason, and plot. I can think of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot."
Ah, Guy Fawkes Day. Time to read Alan Moore's V for Vendetta, put on my Guy Fawkes mask, and carry on the usual night rituals. What fun!
Also, I had been meaning to make a string of origami stars to hang from my ceiling, so yesterday I decided to finally fold them up. I used real origami paper with floral patterns, and I plan to attach them with copper-colored thread, eventually.

03 November 2011

flapping cranes

Today I folded paper cranes. If you gently pull them apart and back again several times, the wings flap. Now they sit on the openings to my air-plant jars, on top of my bookshelf.

origami atmosphere: lemon ginger tea, Arctic Monkeys, natural light

02 November 2011


November has 30 days. From what I've seen on a couple blogs I frequent, November is a special month. Therefore, I plan to make every one of these 30 days count for something (I have been looking for an excuse to be more productive and interesting, so this is as good a reason as any!)

So far, two November days have been used up on being sick, finishing one social studies course and starting another, finishing the first season of 24, knitting practice, reluctantly going to work, listening to Caribou, and eating a lot of fruit.

But for the rest of the days in this wintry, not-quite-Christmas month, I plan to:

-  fold an origami figure a day (or, if the pattern is difficult, every second/third day)
-  paint my square of a mural mosaic
-  make four patchwork pillowcases for the couch in my room
-  knit/pearl a scarf
-  read Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, H. G. Wells, and Octavia E. Butler
-  completely scour my room, getting rid of everything I don't need
-  make Christmas cards

This is my November.

goals for paper folding

origami Atlas Beetle, from Brian Chan's website

I have always been a huge origami nut. Though of late I haven't had as much time to create things as I would like, I still find myself thinking about paper stars and cranes and dragons...

When I was quite young, I received an origami book that was a little too advanced for my skill level at the time. Upon looking through it and finding myself awed by the difficult contents, I vowed to one day succeed in folding every figure in the book. Now, a decade later, I am quite close to accomplishing this seemingly insurmountable feat.

But just as I was beginning to feel like a skilled origami artist, I discovered the wonders of Brian Chan.

Brian Chan is a Japanese bloke with incredible skills. These include metalwork, drawing, origami... he's been appropriately called "the maker of anything." I agree. Just looking at what he's created out of paper gives me shivers!

So I have a new goal. Once I've mastered the origami book and accomplished my childhood dream, I will conquer Brian Chan creations -- the dream of an adult, indeed.

27 October 2011

I am creating a piece of art.

I have secured for myself a small square in a large mosaic mural that will be displayed on a building somewhere in my city. Two of my uncles (one of them being artist Lewis Lavoie) have set it up through their art company, Mural Mosaic. The fact that I am their niece is really the biggest factor behind my involvement in the project, but I am beyond excited. My square is 111. This is how the mural is looking so far.

I will be painting my square with Tara, a good friend, who also has a square. I am still considering what to do about mine...

23 October 2011

In case you haven't already seen it (which would be a very sad thing indeed) I suggest that you hurry and find yourself a copy of Across the Universe. It's only one of the loveliest motion pictures I've ever seen.

20 October 2011

Part of me is in Paris.

Part of me still has the Eiffel Tower in the background. 
Part of me eats at terrace cafes. 
Part of me goes to free museums. 
Part of me watches pigeons and flower boxes. 
Part of me passes monuments to Napoleon in public parks. 
Part of me eats baguettes and brie. 
Part of me feels the opera of Notre Dame.
Part of me smells expensive cigarettes.
Part of me rides rented bicycles.
Part of me crosses bridges over the Seine. 
Part of me hears gypsies play the accordion.
Part of me is an artist in Monmartre.

Part of me is French. (I like that.)

19 October 2011


vintage, violet, soft-leather heels, perfect with frocks and jeans alike
my very first pair of All Star converses
the darling grey TOMS that took me accross London, Paris, and Rome
black, leather, hipster-style boots, courtesy of Salvation Army 
brown, leather, high-top boots, courtesy of Value Village