Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Steampunk History Imagined: Trethewey House Event Review

Trethewey Heritage House in Abbotsford, BC hosted a fabulous Steampunk History Imagined event last Victoria Day long weekend for all neo-Victorian, steampunk and sci-fi fans.

We donned our clockwork couture fashions and spent an enjoyable afternoon socializing and taking in some fine events. Almost all the attendees wore their finest gear.

The afternoon started off with a swordplay demonstration complete with polite fighting tips. I held a sword for my first time ever. 

There were a wonderful selection of vegan and vegetarian treats, as well as tea. There were book writers and artists pitching their ware, as well as a yummy candy shoppe selections. 

We wandered the grounds and took in a quick game of croquet. We found a life-size chess set, a small lake, and an art gallery. The other visitors were quite dismayed that they forgot their costumes, hence they felt out-of-place, or is that out-of-space?

Trethewey House is a protected heritage landmark. Please peruse my photograph collection and keep them in mind for a wedding, Christmas party, or special event.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Definitive Guide to Making a Milestones Bellini or a Melstone's Mellini!

Milestones has the best Bellini ever. When I searched online for a recipe I found a list of ingredients, but not on how to actually make the drink. I searched far and wide and no one really knew the proper way to make a Bellini. I've decided to make up instructions so now everyone knows the proper way to make a Bellini. This drink must be the most difficult and expensive drink ever, but the final resuts are worth it. 

I’m guessing on some of the liquid amounts so you can adjust after you make the first few drinks and see if you want more or less of each type of alcohol. Plus you’ll have all your mixes pre-made, so there will be minimal work near the end.

9 cups 7-Up (not diet and not Sprite!) mixed with peach crystals (Save On Foods has the good brand, read instructions for quantity of drink cyrstals) in pitcher, place in freezer for 3 hours so it gets a bit slushy. When it’s ready continue onto the next step:

Mix first three ingredients together in pitcher:

Slushy mix from above, break it up a bit so you can mix it with champagne and rum

12 cups champagne (don’t use the light alcohol brand like Baby Duck, buy a decent brand, perhaps Segura Viudas)

4 cups white rum (use white rum, dark might not taste right)

Make the “Sangria” topping (half bottle red wine, half bottle brandy, 1 cup peach juice) in pitcher, keep in fridge. 

Note: Make sure you buy 7-Up and not Sprite or it won’t taste right, it wll be sour. I buy peach crystals from Save On foods, the brand at Safeway is lousy and doesn't taste like peach at all. Ideally you can buy ripe peaches and juice them, but I'll leave that up to you.

Put one cup of the slushy champagne mix in a large Magic Bullet container with about 1/3 of ice. Let the bullet smash the ice for about twenty seconds. Once it’s all slushy, I pour into a big glass and make a volcano as pictured above. Then I pour about a half cup of the sangria around the inside edge of the glass and add a straw. If you made it correctly, the red slushy mix should stay around the sides. Feel free to adorn the drink with a small toy.

Now your friends will be really impressed, especially since this drink tastes exactly like a Milestone's Bellini. I've renamed mine a "Milestones Mellini". 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Five Survival Tips When Your Blog Article is Due Today and You Haven't Started Yet!

5. Listen to your pet tell you off. Mine does this on a regular basis. Who am I to say that she isn't mouthing off about a lack of food in her dish?
4. Cancel all appointments and socializing. If you'd planned in advance you could have partied but no more.
3. Write a silly little post on five tips for surviving whatever.
2. Have a guest write today's post. Guest blogging is all the rage now. Get with the times.
And my number one tip for when your blog is due:
1. Just write it already! Why are you procrastinating?!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Let's Have a Chat About Adopting a Cat

Today is three years since the death of my cat Cristobel. This will not be a fun post, it's more of a rant. I'll be discussing the travails of pet ownership, namely cat ownership. This post is not for those who have adopted cats who are in their forever homes. This is for all those nameless people you hear about in the news who have dumped or abandoned their cats, or worse. They're the ones who buy a kitten from a pet shop, soon tire of it, and discard him or her like she's just a fluffy stuffed toy. Perhaps If I can discourage one person from thoughtlessly adopting an animal that they don't really want, or even if a lightbulb goes on in their head that yes, this is a lifelong commitment, then I will have done my job. 

Move along if you value your possessions more than fur people. Thinking of adopting a cat? Think again. For every human who has kicked a cat outside or dumped a cat at the SPCA it's a kick in the heart for those of us who have spent hours tending to and cleaning up after a sick kitty, only to have her succumb to cancer. What I wouldn't give for the chance to clean cat vomit off the silk comforter again, or be subjected to a sneezing fit! If you want easy pet ownership, snag-free furniture, a germ-free counter and floors, and asthma-free children then get a damn stuffed animal toy instead. 

Easy is for losers and cat ownership can be a discouraging lifelong term but only if you let it be. I've always spent each day tending to my cat's needs. Never had I had what I would call a problem child. Cats misbehave when they are neglected and ignored just like your neighbour's miscreant child. But would they dump their kid at the dump? Nope they deal with it as a mature responsible adult would do. Most people who end up with a high-maintenance pet just deal with the paw that they were dealt. Most love their cats unconditionally. But a few bad apples in the bunch spoil the pie. Sure I've had my cat get sick but you know what so do humans and human mess is far nastier to clean out of the bedspread than a small pet mess. 

I don't want to hear the stories about you dumping a cat because she scratched your couch. You know what? Spend a few hours training her! She has a tiny brain and doesn't know any better. Yes that's right cats can be trained. Who thunk it. You can even call in an expert if your ass is too lazy to do it. Cats can be surprisingly easy to train. 

What it all comes down to is that if you think you can't do it or maybe the timing isn't quite right for cat ownership then wait. When only you alone is ready for a life sentence then welcome into your arms that furry critter. Now you can brag about your cat, rather than being a donkey's behind.

PS, Yes I did eventually adopt another kitty after Cristobel died. You can read her story here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Clock Moth: A Steampunk Play Review

On the Victorian Day Monday we travelled by airship to Vancouver, BC, to take in a fabulous play entitled "The Clock Moth A Steampunk Play".

We weren't quite sure what to expect, and since they only accepted a $5 bribe for entrance, we felt we couldn't go wronger, unless we pilfered some cogs and gears from the local clockwork shop. Would the play be entertaining, would it be one of those crazy artistic renderings, and most of all, would it be steamy?

The play was in two acts, replete with an amazing cast of characters. It took me a bit of time to determine that a man was playing Lady Britannia. By that I don't mean he fooled me into the character, I meant I thought at first he was a man having a cuppa at the table! Characters also included Primrose as the clever little girl (is this name becoming popular after the Hunger Games?!); two adorable couples who pair up at the end, a butler who is really a woman, and the enigmatic clock moth!

We wore our goggles and aviators caps and journeyed to the farthest reaches of the jungle while they searched for the clock moth, who tells the time in a special way that only a moth can. By the end of time the moth had eluded them, so they determined that they could just use their watches from now on.

We had to pay attention to Virginia during the play and list her quotations on a form for a chance to win a prize! I was the first one to have all three answers correct. I won a lovely steampunk goggles sleep mask and a CD entitled "Catch the Cloth Moth" by Leo St. Mark. I really enjoyed the CD; the lyrics were based on the storyline of the play.

We enjoyed our playful journey and I do hope they come back for a reprise, as I do think that more adventurers should see it!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Blogger Interruptus

Starting June 13th I'll be taking a short ten day break from blogging in order to work on my steampunk stories, as part of my vacation.

I'll still be working on my professional blogging, so if I have promised anyone an article over the next month, those will still be forthcoming.

I do love to tease, so stay tuned for my secret writing locations! Right now I'm a bit worried about the weather though. We've had an entire hot weekend in Vancouver, and now we're back to our chilly humid season.

I recently submitted a fictional short story and have been promised a response by August. If not, I'm reworking the story a bit and have a list of publications, so I will NOT be giving up on having fiction professionally published!

The non-fiction writing is progressing well. Earlier I posted about my guest blog article entitled "A Victorian Perfume Adventure". I'll be guest blogging at the Perfume Shoppe for the next three months. Stay tuned for my Father's Day Perfume Adventure!

I've also had a jewellery article, plus photos of my work accepted to Dark Beauty Magazine. Stay tuned for their July 1st release. July's issue has a Steampunk theme! You know I'll be all over that!

I've also been greatly saddened by the cat murders in Maple Ridge. Next week is the third anniversary of Cristobel's death by cancer. I have a hard-hitting piece for that day. While it's not aimed at cat abuse, it is aimed at losers who dump their pets at a shelter or worse, into a park. Oh wait, that IS abuse!

I thank everyone who has faithfully been reading my blog articles each day. I'm heading towards 2000 visits in a little over a month. This has exceeded the readership I had when I wrote articles for Yahoo and Associated Content!

I know I have inspired at least one woman to get back to her writing and make her dreams come true. I'll have to get her permission first before I post her blog link, but you know who you are! Please comment below if you have been inspired to work on a blog and possibly try your hand at fiction.

I still have a few more blog entries this month, but don't despair if there is nothing to read for ten days, you can scroll down and read the ones you missed!