Monthly Archives: August 2013

Eat Poop Now Cat

If you have no sense of humor, don’t like having fun, or are very easily offended, you can skip this one. For everyone else, I offer my favourite game.

Eat Poop Now Cat: Easy, fun, insane, and no one loses. Well, you might lose control of your bladder if that’s a thing for you. It happens.

I almost never get to play this one, because it really only works with groups larger than four people. If you have a group like that, though, give this one a shot. I’ve played with my parents, my grandparents, and friends much closer to my own age, and it’s been hysterical every time.

Eat Poop Now Cat is… well, first of all, is probably not the original or proper name for this game, but it’s how I was introduced to it, and it works for me. It’s sort of a combination of Telephone and Pictionary.

Here’s how we do it:

Everyone needs a piece of paper and a pen. That’s it. Each player writes a sentence (ANY sentence) at the top of the page, and you pass to the player on the left. That player draws a picture of that sentence, trying not to take up more than a few inches of vertical space. That player then folds the paper, hiding the original sentence but leaving the picture visible, and passes to the left again. The next player sees the picture, and writes a sentence based on that picture.

Every paper is moving at the same time, so every player should be drawing or writing at the same time.

Play continues this way, passing in one direction, always folding so that only the previous player’s sentence or drawing is visible, until the papers get back to their original player, or until you run out of room. The only condition is that you ALWAYS end with a sentence written, not on a picture. Then pass one more time.

Then it gets fun. You might have had a few titters, giggles, guffaws or “WTF?” looks before this, but here’s the payoff. One by one, the players unfold their papers and read out loud the original sentence, and then the final one.

The first round, if people are learning the game, might be a bit tame. Give it another round. I have never played this and NOT had things get either ridiculous, nonsensical, surreal, or dirty, depending on who I’m playing with. Always play multiple rounds, and be sure to pass in the opposite direction on each round to keep things interesting.

Examples? Of course I brought examples!

This is what your papers will look like at the end. Sentence, drawing, sentence, drawing, etc. And no worries if you can’t draw. It makes things SO much more interesting!

Language in this first one…

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Here we’ve gone from “three blind mice miss their tails” to “Three blind mice versus the martians.” I think it has summer blockbuster potential. You cans see the progression, though. It’s… interesting.

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This one made my dad laugh harder than I’ve ever seen before. We went from “Wendy thinks Sean Connery is hot” (which is the sentence my dad wrote) to “The Titanic had seasick Ghostbusters at a reasonable temperature, broken bits of thing made it snow on Santa, who looked a bit like GIR,” which he had to read out loud.

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“You can’t read my poker face” became “An angry hedgehog is trying to read his book while a zombie teacher tries to hypnotize children to say zzzzzz.”

OK, so it’s funnier when you’re involved in the game. Really, give it a try ASAP. Good times.

One more? OK, but fair warning: gnomes and dildos ahead.

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“Butterflies and snapdragons are man-eating zombies” morphed into… “Dead zombies, bludgeoned by lawn gnomes were observed by a half-witted child, jumping rope,” by way of “Three people were dead, but some jump rope and nosediving brain splatter followed by two gnomes with a dildo lead to only two people being dead.”

Well, we preserved the zombies, anyway. So to speak.

Yes, there is a board game something like this, the totally-less-interestingly-named Cranium Scribblish. But why would you want to do that when you can have hilarity like this at a fraction of the cost? And also, you get to say “Eat Poop Now Cat” to your friends. Wicked icebreaker.

If any of you do try this out, please, PLEASE share your results and report back to me!

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St. John’s Days

We spent a few days in St. John’s at the beginning and end of our vacation this summer. It’s a good thing, too; trying to go from our tiny town to Hamilton and back without some kind of smaller-city buffer would be like trying to go to the depths of the ocean and back to the surface without any pause for pressure adjustment.

What I’m saying is, we’d have been crushed or exploded.

We didn’t do much tourist-type stuff this time. Maybe it was the knowledge that we were going to be doing beaucoup de shit in Ontario (pardon my french), or the threat to our budget, but we laid pretty low. AJ got his tattoo re-inked before our flight out, so that took up a whole day. Seriously. The guy had set a 4-5 hour block of time aside; it took more than eight. LONG day with the kids!

That’s not what we’re here to talk about. There are a few semi-random things I want to show you, though, and they are threefold.*

First, the weather in St. John’s.

This is a picture I took from the car the evening we came back into the city:

It's a pretty town. Have I mentioned that?

It’s a pretty town. Have I mentioned that?

…and the weather when we woke up the next morning:

Really?!

Really?!

Really. Welcome to Newfoundland. 🙂

The second thing is a few photos from a pet store, and a couple of interesting creatures we met there.

The caiman, who is NOT FOR SALE and DISPLAY ONLY:

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“Boo.”

…and the albino axolotl, which I had seen pictures of before but never encountered in real life. Friends, it’s super creepy, and almost cute. Sort of. Creepicute.

"Ohai."

“Ohai.”

Weird, right? Tiny little alien monster thing. Totally for sale, though. $90 and he’s yours!

No takers?

Moving right along, then…

We thought we’d try to grab a couple of Long Dick’s while we were in town. Don’t leave! This isn’t going where you think it is. We just wanted some meat to stuff in our faces, and we’d heard fantastic things about this sausage truck across from Mile One stadium. Long Dick’s Sausage Emporium.

See?

See?

Sadly, we did not get any of that hot, juicy sausage. That weekend was the annual George Street Festival, and the guy who owns this was keeping late hours. I never would have thought it would be impossible to get some street meat in downtown St John’s on a Saturday afternoon, but there you go. We tried, and we will try again. My husband is totally on board with this mission now. WE WILL HAVE OUR LONG DICK’S!

And here’s the Long Dick’s story, for anyone who’s interested:

Yeeeeah, history!

Yeeeeah, history!

Hmm… looks like the picture got cut off. Well, just know that it’s about rum running and three boys called Little Dick, Long Dick, and Goat Dick, and that’s pretty much all you need to know about Newfoundland’s history.

I kid. The history here is actually fascinating. But really, Goat Dick.

*Cough*

So let’s end on a less awkward note. A picture of me kissing a giant puffin, perhaps? Well, not kissing him… that thing is filthy. But I liked it, anyway.

Between the puffin, the Tim Horton's cup, the Avalon mall and the Labraorite necklace, this may be the newfiest I'll ever get.

Between the puffin, the Tim Horton’s cup, the Avalon mall and the Labraorite necklace, this may be the newfiest picture I’ll ever get of me.

Thanks for visiting the city with me. I’ll be back soon with that party game I promised (which I think made my dad laugh so hard he almost threw up), and pictures of that barkery. No, I can’t get them off of my camera, but I’ll send family members to get more for me if I have to!

“He had his reasons.”
“They were threefold.”

Anyone?


Product Review: What the…

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So here’s the story: I was at my grandparents’ house, and there was a HUGE bag of this stuff on a shelf. My aunt told me that it’s AMAZING, that a friend of hers claims to have gained 10 lbs just because of this sweet and salty snack.

Perhaps not the sort of endorsement they’d prefer, but impressive, nonetheless.

Fast-forward to the day after we got home from our vacation. I was in Gander for much-needed groceries (after 2 weeks away, the perishables had pretty much perished), but it was a holiday. The grocery store was closed. Freaking WALMART was closed. Shoppers Drug Mart was the only place open that sold milk, eggs, bread, and hot dogs. Those are the four food groups, right? Well, they also happen to sell this stuff, so I grabbed a smaller bag, excited to see what all the fuss was about.

In case you can’t see the picture clearly, this is G.H. Cretors “Chicago Mix” popcorn. That is, caramel corn and cheddar cheese corn, all mixed together in one bag. To be honest, the thought made me a little ill, but come on. 10 lbs!

So how was it?

I don’t want to insult anyone from Chicago, but you people are NUTS.

Remember that episode of FRIENDS when Rachel made trifle with sauteed beef and peas? In the words of Ross Gellar:

That may be a slight exaggeration. If you get a strict 1:1 cheese-to-caramel ratio, it’s palatable. If you separate the popcorns, neither is horrible (though I’ve had others of each that I’ve liked more). But yeah, most of the bag ended up in the garbage.

Hey, I get the sweet-and-salty thing; this is why they invented chocolate-covered pretzels, which I heartily endorse as a concept. I eat poutine, for crying out loud. French fries with gravy and cheese curds. I know this sounds gross to many people who haven’t tried it, but SO GOOD. Also, the Pulled Pork Poutine at New York Fries (pulled pork in BBQ sauce over fries and cheese curds) is to DIE for. So it’s not that I’m opposed to weird flavour combinations.

This one just did NOT do it for me.

*Goes back to dipping Wendy’s fries in a chocolate Frosty*

Oh, yeeeeah.


ROW80 Update: Not a Damn Thing

Yep, that’s what I’ve been up to, but I’m about ready to get back at it. I don’t even feel too badly about it; I’ve been writing almost every day for a year. I deserved a few weeks to rest my brain.

So what have I been doing?

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I’m actually working on that pony* I need to have done by the end of the month. It’s strange getting back to it; I haven’t had a paint brush in my hands since the winter. Possibly before Christmas, actually. Feels good. Also, I find that doing something creative that’s NOT writing gives my brain space to think things through without my conscious mind censoring, and sometimes it’s a good way to get around problems and blocked thought processes.

So that was actually a ROW80 goal, which means that I AM making progress on something.

What else have I been doing? Well, if you follow me on Twitter you might know that I hurt my hip this week, totally NOT while I was shaving my legs (though I’m still working on a cooler cover story). That’s right. I tell Twitter things I don’t tell you guys. I AM A MYSTERIOUS AND COMPLEX WOMAN. This was several days ago. The first evening and day after The Amazing Adventure Which Led To My Injury (TBA) were horrible- I couldn’t walk without leaning on walls, furniture, people, floors.

That’s right. I didn’t fall down. I was leaning on the floor. There’s a difference!

Thanks to beaucoup de Advil and as much rest as the kids would let me get, I’m almost better. Still hurts, still a little stiff, still don’t know what I hurt, but I’m hoping to get back to taking Jack for at least a short walk tomorrow. The poor guy is getting really depressed over the lack of walkage happening around here.

"Kill me now."

“Kill me now.”

So the answer is, I haven’t been doing much. Made those awesome chicken fingers the other night, overcooked them. Hint: don’t do that. Made meatballs last night, I’m told they were good. I don’t know, I hate ground beef, so I’m kind of a terrible judge. Cooked wild-blueberry pancakes, and they were amazing. Made my way downstairs to do laundry yesterday, cleaned out the litter boxes… ALL OF THE FUN THINGS, I HAVE BEEN DOING THEM.

I also had the privilege of alpha reading a fantastic novel, and the horrifying responsibility of sending feedback. I hate doing that. Even when a story is great, you want to do what you can to make it the best it can be, but you know that it’s probably going to sting the author a bit. I find it easier to give a critique than to take one, but it still isn’t easy. I think doing both helps us grow as writers and as creative people; in fact, critiquing someone else’s work can open our eyes to potential flaws in our own and help us gain objectivity toward our own writing. It’s win-win, really.

So, goals for this week: We’re going to be at the in-laws’ for a few days, which means little to no editing time for me, but I’m going to take the computer and give it a shot. I’ve nearly settled on the things I’m going to change in my novel before it goes to the next round of readers. Next step: locate the exact places that need changes, and figure out how to do that.

Easy, right?

Yeah. Easy as moving one ace in a house of cards without disrupting everything else.

Aaaaanyway. I’m also going to get around to some more ROW80 blogs today and on Wednesday, and I’m going to try to put something together for WIPpet Wednesday. I got to comment on most entries there last week, but haven’t posted in two weeks. I miss it. We’ll see.

And I’m still trying to get those pictures off of my stupid camera so I can finish telling you about our Ontario trip. Wish me luck!

What are you up to this week?

(for more of those Round of Words entries I’m going to be reading, click here!)

*For any collectors who may be freaking out, here’s the info: she was a Majesty, play set edition (aka “receding hairline edition). She had a slight head-body mismatch, her symbols were almost gone, and the new paint job is covering “pony cancer” and ink stains on both sides. What I’m saying is that yes, she was bait condition.


What Have We Learned Today, Children?

My older son is into Lego now. Big time. He wants all of the big sets (especially all things Star Wars), but as these are horrendously expensive and I want him to create things on his own, we’re sticking with smaller sets that can be mixed up in the Bucket o’ Legos and made into new things.

His latest adventure is building every version of the DeLorean from the Back to the Future movies. It starts with a base from a tractor set, and has bits added from there. Steering wheel, dashboard computer, the bit where the garbage goes in… he does it all, and he’s very proud of his creations.

Until he drops them on the floor.

This is one disadvantage of Lego toys, and another reason we don’t buy the big sets. If you’re playing with the things you make, they’re going to break. Unless you glue them together, it’s pretty much inevitable.

My dear child is a sensitive sort, and he takes disappointment about as well as I do– that is, not well at all. On Wednesday he dropped the BTTF III DeLorean and the rear end shattered. And he cried. Of course he did. He’d spent a lot of time building that. Worse, he had convinced himself that he couldn’t do it again. This car, this thing that he’d created, had been perfect, the ultimate, the very best he could do, and it could never be replaced.

He was crushed.

I tried to reason with him. “The car you made was amazing,” I told him (not lying- given the limited supplies he had available, it was pretty awesome). “You’re upset about this, and that’s OK. I know it hurts to lose something you’ve worked so hard on.”

Yes, folks, I had my Good Mama panties on that day. It’s hard not to be frustrated with a “big” kid who’s wailing over something that seems insignificant in the larger scheme of things (“a LEGO car? Kid, I have BILLS to pay and I can’t figure out what’s making the fridge stink!”), but I really did understand. I’ve been there. I’ve written 55,000 words of a story and then lost it all in a computer glitch/crash/file transfer error. I’ve worked on customizing a pony, spent hours on it, and realized I was painting the wrong side. I know the pain of having to start over.

So I let him be upset, and I tried to reassure him. I told him that he’d done it once, he could do it again. I told him (again, from experience) that it would probably be even better the second time around. He would take what he learned the first time and build on it.

He didn’t believe me. He said he could never do it again. Finally I explained to him he had two options: he could set it aside until he calmed down and then try again, or he could give up.

“I don’t want to give up!” he wailed. He went to his room and closed out the whole cruel, Lego-breaking world for a while.

And then, when I wasn’t looking, he sneaked out and made a new Delorean.

It was better. He was happy.

Did he learn anything from that experience? I don’t know. I’d like to think so, but this was not our first time dealing with this exact same issue (hence the frustration on my part).

I did, though. It’s something I think most of us have been through: creation of something we love, loss of that creation, the temptation to say “Screw it, I didn’t want a DeLorean anyway.” But when we pick up the pieces (literally or figuratively speaking) and ask what we’ve learned from our past attempts, we find that we can make something just as good– or even better. Not a new lesson to me, but one I needed to be reminded of.

That’s not the only lesson I’ve learned in the past few days, but it’ll do for now. Maybe next week we’ll take a look at “Congratuations, You Can’t Win.” THAT’S a fun one!

So tell me: have you been there? What was your Lego DeLorean, and how did the next attempt turn out? Have you ever decided that something was just too broken to be fixed?

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Fun at Bayfront

I was going to do a nice post for you today about that Barkery I mentioned before. Then I plugged my camera into the computer and remembered why I don’t use the camera anymore: it says that the files are “read only” and can’t be copied onto the computer.

Oops.

So until I figure that out, why not take a trip to Bayfront Park instead?

Many of our days in Hamilton were a series of short events. In one way, it was great; we got to see and do lots of things. On the other hand, it’s really hard to get your kids to leave a fun place when saying “we’ll come back another day!” is simply not an option. This was one of those days. We had plans for the evening of AJ’s birthday that involved a whole crapload of extended-family time, and we were pretty excited about that, but what to do with the earlier bits of the day?

How about a fantastic playground?

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That, my friends, is a good playground.

Not convinced?

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SO MUCH PLAYGROUND. And that’s not even the best side; the other (Port?) side has more climbing equipment, including a bouncy bridge thing that’s way too much fun to be allowed at a modern playground, and another gangplank leading on to the ship.

The boat is two levels of… well, there’s nothing ON the boat, but come on. PLAY BOAT.

Bayfront has more than just a playground (and a tiny beach, did I mention the tiny beach?). They also have walking trails, which we didn’t have time to explore, and lots of real boats to watch. We had lunch at William’s, and it was delicious.

Also, geese.

Also, geese.

Bonus Story: At lunch, I became THAT GUY.

You know the one. The one who eats most of his meal at a restaurant and then complains… yeah, I became him. It wasn’t my fault! I ate half of my turkey and swiss sandwich before I realized it was distinctly lacking in swiss. Not that it wasn’t a good sandwich, mind you, but it’s right there in the name… anyway, I wasn’t going to say anything, but AJ offered to go and ask for my cheese.

He came back with a whole new sandwich.

I felt like a jerk.

William’s, I was not scamming you. I just wanted my cheese.

It was delicious.


Speaking of Self-Promotion…

…here’s a video I just happened to see while we were away last week (and the store is in Hamilton, so this is my Big Vacation Post for today). The campaign is over, but I thought the video was worth sharing.

Jay is a close friend of my brother’s (me brudder’s in the video) and is married to my sister-in-law’s sister, which makes him my… um… well, no relation, really.

(click here to see the full campaign with write-up, perks, and comments)

Fun, right? And I think they did a lot of things right. They had an entertaining video, a solid plan, rewards that their contributors appreciated and wanted anyway, regular updates, and a willingness to listen to suggestions for further improvement. They were clear about how this was going to benefit the people who use the space, and didn’t make it all about themselves. I wasn’t surprised to hear that they were more than fully funded. Like, way more, when the indiegogo funds were added to in-store contributions [see updates]. Good job, guys. 🙂

Indiegogo, Kickstarter and the like are becoming a big thing for writers, too. I’ve seen childrens’ books get funded (those printing fees are killer), and I’ve heard of authors using these platforms to raise funds for book covers, editing, promotion… I don’t know what else.

Have you used one of these fundraising platforms, or have you ever contributed to a campaign? What makes you more or less likely to contribute to a campaign? Video? A compelling pitch? Amazing rewards? If you were planning a campaign, what would it be for, and where would the money go?


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