Sunday 30 September 2012

Hollywood Spy 2012 Heart Award!

Her Royal Highness and I have just received a 2012 Heart Award from Dezz's Hollywood Spy blog! Isn't that nice of him? Dezz is the "go-to guy" if you want to read all the inside scoop on upcoming movies and their stars. His popular blog just received its 2 millionth visitor and he celebrated by handing out various awards to his readers. When HRH gets out of the slammer, I know she'll be tickled pink to have been included in the award.

Friday 28 September 2012

Piratical Swag Winner!

Arrr, the draw did NOT go well, mateys. First, that silver-tongued devil Captain Jack Sparrow tried to sweet-talk me into givin' HIM the swag instead o' one o' ye. Then the thievin' scoundrel and I tussled hard over the bowl containin' all yer names on little slips o' paper. Blow me down, ye hearties, if the bowl didn't fall over the side o' me ship. The precious slips o' paper floated and bobbed on the briny waves for a few brief seconds and then sank down, down, down to Davy Jones' locker -- FOREVER LOST!

But luckily, one wee slip o' paper got hooked on a big spiny barnacle what was clingin' to the side of me ship. Using the point of me cutlass and the delicate skill of a surgeon, I was able to retrieve it. So yo ho ho, I am pleased to announce that the winner of the piratical swag giveaway is . . . .

Linda Wildenstein of Olde Baggs 'n Stuffed Shirts

I'll be contactin' ye shortly for yer mailing address but first, I must have a tankard or ten of grog to steady me shaken nerves after this traumatic ordeal. Aye, and then make Captain Jack walk the plank, the rum-soaked blackguard.

Thursday 27 September 2012

Wednesday 26 September 2012

It's Now or Never, Ye Swabs

'Tis the final day to enter me Piratical Swag Giveaway, all ye last-minute procrastinators and ne'er-do-wells. Click here if ye have the guts.

Captain Jack Sparrow hisself will be makin' the draw so be on yer best behaviour or ye'll soon be gettin' the Black Spot slipped under yer door.

Monday 24 September 2012

Bouncy Stonehenge

So have you heard about Bouncy Stonehenge?

Oh yes, technically its name is "Sacrilege" and yes, technically it's an art installation by the Turner-award-winning British artist Jeremy Deller, but because it is inflatable, interactive and moveable, everyone simply calls it "Bouncy Stonehenge." It has been making the rounds this summer in the United Kingdom, attracting attention and fun-loving kids wherever it goes.

The rules for enjoying Bouncy Stonehenge are simple and obvious -- but notice how they snuck rule #7 in there . . . .

And if all this is not fun enough, Bouncy Stonehenge now has its own catchy theme song by British singer-comedian Mitch Benn. See if you can get this ditty out of your head after hearing it! And did you catch its reference to the original Wicker Man movie starring Edward Woodward? (one of my all-time favourite movies but only the British director's cut, not the censored hack job that got released in the U.S.A.)

There are rumours that Bouncy Stonehenge may tour internationally and that Canada may be a possible destination! Yay!

[Arrr, forget this sissy fun, ye swabs, and instead go enter me Piratical Swag Giveaway if ye have not done so already -- click here -- X marks the spot!]

Saturday 22 September 2012

Today is the Autumn Equinox

The Autumn Equinox marks the first day of autumn, of course, which has always been my favourite season. When I was a kid, autumn meant the beginning of a new school year -- and I loved school and then later, university. Today I love the changing leaves, the cooler weather, the lengthening nights and the upcoming special October holidays of Canadian Thanksgiving and Samhain/Halloween.

May all the blessings of this beautiful autumnal season be yours in abundance!

[Arrr, and forget ye not to enter my Piratical Swag Giveaway if ye have not done so already -- click here, me hearties!]

Thursday 20 September 2012

Piratical Swag Giveaway!

Oooh, me achin' head. All that grog yesterday cursed me with Satan's own brain cramps, arrr. But never ye mind. Here's the piratical swag what I be givin' away to one lucky winner:

1. An official PIRATE LICENSE what entitles its bearer to pillage and steal to yer scurvy heart's content.

2. A recently stolen banknote worth ONE MILLION GOLD DOUBLOONS. I know not what the current exchange rate be for doubloons but it's gotta be better than the Euro these days.

3. And for the up-and-coming young buccaneers of tomorrow (ages 6 and older), a PIRATES STAINED GLASS COLORING FUN activity kit, with "colorful markers" and "sixteen action-packed scenes" to delight their wee black hearts. If ye have no whelps of yer own, give it to any brats ye may know.

Now, it be well known that we pirates HATE RULES and CURSE ANYONE who tries to make us live by 'em. So in order to lay out the *shudder* rules of this contest, I must revert to the prissy persona usually displayed by Debra She Who Seeks, arrr.


Okay, here are the rules, everyone! Good luck to you all!

1. You must be an official Follower to enter. Old, new or just signed up to enter the contest, it's all good. And it doesn't matter where you're from in the world, I'll mail this anywhere!

2. In addition to being a Follower, you must leave a comment on this post. If you leave a comment but don't want to be entered, just say so (and that's okay!)

3. One entry per person (leaving 10 comments will still only result in 1 entry!)

4. Entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. (Mountain Daylight Savings Time) on Wednesday, September 26, 2012.

5. The winner will be chosen by a random draw made on Thursday, September 27 and the results posted here on Friday, September 28.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

I Be a Blogoversary Blowhard Today, Arrr!

Avast, ye lubbers! Today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day once again! And if that be not reason enough to celebrate, me hearties, it be also the 4th blogoversary of this scurvy rat-trap of a weblog. So come and party with us all!

Here be My Rare One, bless 'er, sparin' no expense for the festivities . . .

And if Her Royal Highness the cat were here instead of in prison, she'd be pillagin' with the best of 'em, arrr . . . .

I've donned me special piratical gloves for the occasion and am well on me way to bein' the most drunken blackguard on the whole friggin' ship. Aye, the grog, it be flowin' like water . . . .

Smartly swing yer cutlass now and slice yerself off a big hunk o' cake . . . dig in, me beauties!

And be sure to sober up and return to this here blog tomorrow, when I'll be hostin' a piratical giveaway with some wonderful swag for the takin'. Arrr!

Tuesday 18 September 2012

"Map of Tasmania" (NSFW)

Now HERE'S a fun song and video! A paean to the pussy, a missive to the muff, a valentine to the vajayjay . . .  Amanda Palmer (formerly of the punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls) is a true artiste, creative and absolutely fearless. I hope you will love this song and video as much as I do! Enjoy!

An American performer, Amanda Palmer recorded this song as part of her Australian tour album --

Finally, an interesting factoid for you fans of author Neil Gaiman -- Amanda Palmer is his wife.

Monday 17 September 2012

Friday 14 September 2012

Carol Shields Giveaway Winner!

I'm pleased to announce that the name drawn to win the novel Larry's Party by Carol Shields is . . .

Elsie of Mock Turtle's Musings

Elsie, I will email you right away to get your mailing address and then this book will soon be winging its way to you! I hope you enjoy reading it!

Thanks for entering, everyone. Be sure to visit my blog again next week, when I'm having another giveaway -- yes, two giveaways in one month! It's madness, I tellz ya, MADNESS!

Thursday 13 September 2012

No Purrs for Putin But Meows for Medvedev

Got another email today from Political Prisoner #1136, otherwise known as my cat Her Royal Highness. In case you missed her first email and are wondering WTF is going on, please click here.

Hello, human. Please say a big THANK YOU for me to all the cats who have written to Amnesty International on behalf of Pussy Riot and me while we are UNJUSTLY IMPRISONED in this Russian jail. Their letter-writing campaign has attracted some BIG-TIME media coverage for our cause!

Lots of artists, musicians and politicians have spoken up on our behalf too. Of course, not EVERY supporter is necessarily clear on the issues . . . .

Putin's cat Mr. Whiskervitch has been busy mobilizing all the felines of the former Soviet Union too. Soon we will REWRITE who controls this land!

Our appeal is being heard by the Russian court on October 1st and there is some LIGHT at the end of the tunnel! Russia's Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, has publicly said that we should be RELEASED and given suspended sentences instead of being kept in jail! Hopefully the Russian court will get the HINT and follow his suggestion.

Keep your toes, fingers and paws crossed for us that we will soon be FREE!

Love, hugz and purrz from Political Prisoner #1136. 

Wednesday 12 September 2012

A Final Reminder!

Today's the last day to enter my giveaway! If you haven't done so already and would like to enter to win a copy of Carol Shields' book, Larry's Party, then click here! The winner will be announced on Friday.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

"Love Letter"

I must confess that I've always had a weakness for trashy tough-girl femmes, prison settings and pretty boys in stilettos. And this video has them ALL! Take a few minutes and listen to "Love Letter" by Clairy Browne & the Bangin' Rackettes -- you won't be sorry!

*sigh* Aren't they FAB? Clairy Browne & the Bangin' Rackettes are a new Australian band and this is the first video from their debut album. Thanks to Diane Cayton-Hakey on whose blog I first saw this video.

[Reminder -- if you haven't entered my giveaway yet, there's still time -- click here!]

Monday 10 September 2012

Michelangelo in America

You know, it's a damn good thing that Michelangelo lived 500 years ago in Renaissance Italy instead of today in modern America. Thanks to that one simple fact, we can feast our eyes on this Creation of Adam . . .

. . . not this one.

In Italy, we can see this magnificent statue called David . . .

. . . instead of one called David in America.

Even Michelangelo himself would look different than he did in Italy . . .

. . . if he lived now in America.

[And a reminder -- if you haven't entered my giveaway yet, there's still time! Click here!]

Friday 7 September 2012

Carol Shields Giveaway!

I have a brand new copy of Larry's Party by Carol Shields to give away to one lucky winner! Here are the rules for entry:

1. You must be an official Follower to enter. Old, new or just signed up to enter the contest, it's all good. And it doesn't matter where you're from in the world, I'll mail this book anywhere!

2. In addition to being a Follower, you must leave a comment on this post. If you leave a comment but don't want to be entered, just say so (and that's fine).

3. One entry per person (leaving 10 comments will still only result in 1 entry).

4. Entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. (Mountain Daylight Savings Time) on Wednesday, September 12, 2012.

5. The winner will be chosen by a random draw made on Thursday, September 13 and the results will be posted here on Friday, September 14.

Good luck, everyone! Thanks for being interested in my labyrinthine ramblings on this blog!

Thursday 6 September 2012

Walking the Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth

It was a blisteringly hot August day when I visited the Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth in Winnipeg. Thank goodness I had the foresight to wear a hat because there isn't a single trace of shade built into this design. The labyrinth is a 7-circuit Cretan one, with walkways of crushed reddish gravel outlined by countersunk brick walls.

The labyrinth's entrance is beautiful and unique -- paired "Quote Walls" of textured and engraved granite displaying various quotations from the works of Carol Shields. Her words form the physical gateway through which you enter to walk the ancient symbol of life's journey.

Prairie grasses, flowers and foliage line large portions of the walls as well. Bees, dragonflies, grasshoppers and Monarch butterflies all accompanied me on my labyrinth walk.

Native plants at the labyrinth include black-eyed Susans, harebells, lambs ear, June grass, sweetgrass and prairie lilies.

There are 3 or 4 benches found in little alcoves along the labyrinth's path in case you want to sit, rest and contemplate. The centre of the labyrinth is marked by raised walls.

It was very quiet in the park on the day I was there. It was easy to listen to the sounds of nature and have a nice meditative walk.

Tomorrow: A Carol Shields Giveaway!

[All photos by Debra She Who Seeks]

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Building the Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth

Following the death of Carol Shields, the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba wanted to publicly memorialize her in a fitting manner. The Manitoba Labyrinth Network agreed to fundraise and oversee the design and construction of a beautiful labyrinth in King's Park near the University of Manitoba.

Major funders of the project were the City, the Province, the University of Manitoba and many local and national corporations, along with Carol Shields' publisher, Random House of Canada. But a long list of ordinary citizens also bought "donor bricks" which now form part of the labyrinth's walls. My Rare One and I each have a donor brick at the labyrinth.

As you can see from this photo from the Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth website, breast cancer groups were also involved in memorializing her.

The labyrinth was officially opened in May, 2009. I was finally able to visit and walk it last summer.

Tomorrow: Walking the Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Carol Shields Memorial Labyrinth -- Introduction

Carol Shields was one of Canada's finest novelists. Born in the USA, she married a Canadian man and came to live in Winnipeg. She worked as an English professor at the University of Manitoba and afterwards was chancellor of the University of Winnipeg. Her novel, The Stone Diaries, won the 1993 Governor General's Award for Literature in Canada and also the 1995 U.S. Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

One of her most beloved novels is Larry's Party, which won the 1998 Orange Prize for Fiction. Set in Winnipeg, the story recounts the life story of Larry Weller, described by Shields as an "ordinary man made extraordinary" by his unique talent for creating mazes and labyrinths.

I have enjoyed reading several of her books, especially Larry's Party. Carol Shields had amazing insight and perception into human nature. A committed feminist, she drew on her own deep understanding and experiences as a woman, wife and mother.

Carol Shields died of breast cancer in 2003 at the age of 68. Her loss was keenly felt right across the country but especially in Winnipeg, of course.

Tomorrow: Memorializing Carol Shields in Winnipeg

Monday 3 September 2012

Happy Labour Day!

We must always remember who does the real work in building countries and economies. That's right, the ones who don't get the multi-million-dollar salaries, bonuses, bail outs and tax breaks.