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Mad Max; Fury Road – Best Film of the Year

Posted by Stacey on July 1, 2015 in Toth at the Movies |

Hello ya’ll, it’s been a while but I’m back to spout more film wisdom onto all the unwashed masses of film goers out there. That’s right, it’s the MovieDude Toth coming at ya!

So today I’m reviewing a little film that I saw almost two months ago called Mad Max;

Random picture for you to look at

Random picture for you to look at

Fury Road, hitherto be called Mad Max 4. You may ask; is this a direct sequel, prequel, reboot, or some other crap?! Well to be honest with you it is a quasi-sequel removing Mel Gibson (Max in the original trilogy) and adding Tom Hardy(as Max) and Charlize Theron (as Furiosa).

As usual, NO SPOILERS!!!!! from me! Well, to all the former students who may be reading this (probably 1 or 2 LOL), here comes my topic sentence….! Mad Max 4 manages to thrill, evoke strong emotions, put you in the driver’s seat for a visceral action extravaganza, and be the BEST FILM of the YEAR so far!

I will now explain why I feel so strongly about the movie. Perhaps it is because I am a fan of the original Mad Max and Mad Max 2 (3 had some good ideas and is worth maybe one watch) but I have to say I was blown away by what was onscreen in this movie.

CGI, are you kidding me? Not too much overall, and what was CGI was mostly to remove wires, ropes, and change daytime scenes into night time scenes. Oh yes, also a massive flippin’ sandstorm. Almost every frame of this movie looks like a beautiful oil painting. This is ART, people. Run out and see this movie.

The plot? It is so simple that I will not spoil it for you save this: people are trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic future where oil, weapons, water, and viable females (ones that can still reproduce) have become the four commodities that these barbarians fight over.

Max is still out there trying to survive, but this is not just his story…he just happens to get taken for the ride, literally!

The director is the same person who directed the original 3 Mad Max films, then he went on to direct some of my favourite films of all time including Babe, Babe: Pig in the City and then some lesser children’s efforts like Happy Feet and Happy Feet 2.

I was a bit nervous about his return to adult action oriented cinema. But I shouldn’t have been worried, because as I’ve been telling everyone I know, he takes all modern action film makers to school and shows them how it’s done!

Do not hesitate to see this film! Run out right now and buy your tickets before exciting but ultimately lame popcorn fests take over the screens this summer. Dinosaurs are cool, and I will deal with them in my next review, but as Immorten Joe from Mad Max 4 would say they are ultimately just….”MEDIOCRE!!!”

Why are you still reading this, it’s a hot Canada Day! You should be in cold water, shade, or better yet in a air conditioned theatre watching Mad Max: Fury Road!!!!

THe MOvie DUde TOth Out!!!!

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How To Beat the Heat In Metro Vancouver

Posted by Stacey on June 30, 2015 in Community Events, Life Musings |

Now that we have had a couple weeks of this hot weather and the forecast calls for at least another week of it what I would call exceedingly hot and humid weather, out here on the West Coast I have been looking for ways to beat the heat in Metro Vancouver.

Front Lawn

Front Lawn

To help you (and me) beat the heat, I have compiled a list of five places to go on any of these super hot sunny days, especially if you are taking care of small children.

One of the places that I find respite from the exceedingly hot weather is IKEA. Even if the IKEA “ballroom” is busy and you are unable to hand responsibility for your children over to one of the adolescents who are in charge of the ballroom, at least you can go inside the village-sized warehouse store and spend hours aimlessly wandering around looking at beds, bedroom suites, and living-room furniture that those wacky Swedes have come up with.

When my kids are in there and jumping up and down on beds or couches or worst case scenario, dining room tables, I see their behaviour as a public service. Jumping up and down on the furniture is doing a stress test on the furniture to demonstrate the quality of the furniture on display.

Of course my all-time favourite place to go on a sunny day is Costco. I have blogged about this favourite retreat of mine before so I will not bore you with details other than to say, an air-conditioned warehouse, $1.50 hotdogs that come with a soda AND free food at every turn. What more is there to life?

If you are looking to avoid crass commercialism, another place that you can visit on a scorching hot day is the public library. I know that the downtown Vancouver public library is open until 9 PM most evenings. If you have done your due diligence and you have actually taught your kids, the way we have, that books are valuable and great entertainment, then you can spend an afternoon in the library without experiencing heat stroke. As an added bonus, library washrooms are typically pretty accessible and relatively clean.

The Vancouver Aquarium is another place where there is lots of air-conditioned indoor activities for you and the kids to enjoy. You might want to check the news or the Twitter before heading down there to see if there’s a protest going on about keeping whales and other marine life in captivity.

It can be awkward trying to explain to little kids why people are shouting and screaming and making you feel like a piece of shit as you are going to visit one of their favourite places. The fact is you are really just going in to the aquarium to beat the heat and the fact that there are fish and whales in small tanks is another issue.

Of course unless you have a membership to the Vancouver Aquarium, that is going to be a very costly day-trip. Especially when you try to escape the Aquarium through the gift shop.

Another place that you can go for free, sort of, is the your local shopping mall. A shopping mall such as Metrotown or Coquitlam Center offers quite a wide array of experiences.

During the summer months there are any number of strange and bizarre looking teenagers wandering aimlessly around the mall as if they are on the set of the Walking Dead. These strange and bizarre creatures can be entertainment for smaller children or at worst, they can be traumatizing.

Be sure to use your judgment while you’re out in the mall. If you play your cards right you can always go into the Apple store in the Coquitlam center or Metrotown malls and have your kids glom onto an iPad while you are receiving a sales pitch or tech help from the wonderful people who work in the Apple Store.

If you are looking for something where you were still outdoors but you don’t want to be in the direct sun, then you can always venture into an urban forest. Forests like Mundy Park in Coquitlam, the Seymour Demonstration Forest offer many heavily shaded trails or paths to walk on.

So if you want to go to IKEA, Costco or a suburban mall you can beat the heat. If you have the internal fortitude to drive across Vancouver and attempt to find parking at the Vancouver Aquarium, you may be able to beat the heat that way. You can also wander around an urban forest or the public library. Whatever you do, get out of the sun before you melt!!

 

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Getting Out of the House for a Day Trip

Posted by Stacey on June 22, 2015 in Life Musings |

Am I the only person who finds that getting kids clothed, shoes on and then out of the house on the weekend for a day trip as simple as a walk in the park is a monumental task?

For us to get out of the house for even the simplest thing is unbelievably exhausting.

Leading up to the departure is endless frustration. Parents barking orders at children who are blissfully ignoring everything directed at them.

For example, Sweetheart and I are directing our kids to put on shoes. And then when they gleefully do put on their shoes we realize that they don’t have pants on yet.

Someone has to go upstairs get appropriate pants for them. The struggle then is to get the pants on the kid who is pantless. Typically it is not me who is pantless.

Once the pants are on the screaming begins because the pants are of course the wrong kind or are too itchy, too tight, too loose, or too hot or who knows what.

Once that battle has been won or lost we return to the shoe battle. Trying to get appropriate shoes on a couple kids for the place we’re going is mind blowingly frustrating.

Yesterday we were going to go for a walk around a local urban forest. One of the girls decided that wearing princess shoes that are three sizes too large would be appropriate.

Honestly, I didn’t even bother arguing. I let her wear princess shoes that were three sizes too large to let her learn a lesson about the consequences we get from our actions.

Unfortunately the only person who learned about consequences was me. The consequences of allowing a small child to wear princess shoes that are three sizes too large while out on a nature walk is that the I either end up piggy-backing or letting a 50 pound kid ride on my shoulders for the entire walk. That taught her a good lesson!

Once everybody is fully clothed in princess shoes, princess gowns and tiaras and all the other assorted articles of clothing like pants, it is time to begin the “you need to go to the bathroom routine.”

The first word out of any kids mouth when you say you need to go to the bathroom, is usually, “I don’t need to go.”

Which is typically correct until they get to the place you are going and they see that the place to go to the bathroom is either behind a bush or in what is essentially a stand-up toxic soup of a cesspool.

As soon as kid sees one a Porta-Potty they need to go pee and usually harvest a poop. Awesome (not really awesome. More like FML at that point).

But back to getting out of the house. Typically I give up on the gong-show inside the house and I go out through the garage door. I don’t lock the door behind me because I am making the assumption that there will be little people and their mother following along behind me.

Then I notice that the little people are coming out the front door of the house. Of course their mother is not carrying her keys so I need to go back upstairs and lock the door behind her.

Unfortunately we have forgotten an essential item, something like the 45 gallon drum of sunscreen that we take everywhere with us and so Sweetheart needs to go running back into the house to get it.

Of course she goes in through the garage door, gets the sunscreen, and then comes out to the front door. Now both doors are unlocked.

Both kids are now in the front yard, Sweetheart is in the van and I’m going into the house to secure the premises.

While I’m inside I discover that the back door has been left open letting the dog and the cats out of the house and into the backyard.

I am then in the backyard literally herding cats. And the dog not wanting to be left at home is going crazy trying to dig her way underneath the fence in an attempt to get to the family van.

I successfully managed to get the two cats and the dog back inside the house, I close the back door, lock it, and then go out the front door. I lock that door as well.

The kids are playing hockey in the driveway and Sweetheart is in the van. I climb in and tell the kids to get in so we can go.

Someone opens the garage door to put the hockey sticks away and the dog shoots out. I shut off the van, take the dog back inside, and close the garage door and lock it.

By this time one or both of the kids needs to go to the bathroom. They are unable to wait until we get to the vertical cesspool.

I lose my cool at this point and say “well then we might as well not even bother going”. The screams and cries of anguish and tears begin and I realize my nomination for father of the year may be revoked. I am feeling like a total and complete jerk.

Kids climb out of the van and go inside and go pee. They come out the front door and the dog gets out with them. The dog is now in the front yard running around trying to get inside the van knowing that it will be avoiding a day of being home alone if it can only get inside of the van.

All I am thinking is the dog is insane, if there’s anything I would like at this point is a day at home, alone.

Kids finish up in the washroom, come downstairs let me know that the toilet is fully and completely plugged now because they used an entire roll of toilet paper.

They come out the front door and leave it open. We wrangle the dog so that we can get the dog back in the house through the front door, come out the front door, lock it and then get to the van and see that the garage door is still open.

I jump out of the van and lock the garage door, jump back in the van and before anybody can say anything about their need to go back inside the house or the bicycle they left behind the van I put it in reverse and crush the kid’s bicycle and flatten the rear driver side tire.

And another glorious day of family fun has begun.

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At-Home Dad Matters – An Awesome Post

Posted by Stacey on June 19, 2015 in Life Musings |

I see so many posts from other bloggers who are doing such great work and I like to acknowledge them for the amazing work they do. Rather than simply clicking “like” or sharing on the Facebook, sometimes I like to share a hint at their brilliance here on my blog.

The following is one of those examples – a post on At-Home Dad Matters blog by dad-blogger-extraordinaire Mike Heenan. Mike compiled a list of the 21 Instagram dad photographers and you really need to have a look at his list.

You’re welcome.

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Om the Bridge Gets a New Venue

Posted by Stacey on June 17, 2015 in Community Events with Comments closed |

Now that the Om the Bridge event has been officially cancelled, the City of Coquitlam is stepping up to host a yoga related event on International Yoga Day.

As an aside, International Yoga Day falls on June 21st, the same day that Canada recognizes as National Aboriginal Day. And, as an added bonus, June 21st is Father’s Day this year.

So if you aren’t busy honouring Canada’s Aboriginal heritage and culture or honouring your father on Sunday June 21st, you can join others in the City of Coquitlam where there is a free yoga class to celebrate International Yoga Day. If you want to join in the yoga fun, drop-in to the Centennial Room at the Centennial Pavilion (620 Poirier Street) for a yoga class starting at 4:00 p.m. The class runs until 5:30 and refreshments will be available afterwards.

For details on Coquitlam’s yoga classes and other health and fitness programs, visit www.coquitlam.ca/registration to view the online Program Guide.

Dogs Training Humans in City of Coquitlam

Posted by Stacey on June 15, 2015 in Community Events with Comments closed |

City of Coquitlam bylaw officers will be out in parks this summer reminding local dogs to train their humans.

Jimmy and Matthias

Jimmy and Matthias

In an effort to ensure that Coquitlam’s parks remain user-friendly for all people and animals, bylaw officers will be reminding dogs (and their humans) of three key responsibilities:

  • Ensuring dogs are connected to their human on a leash – even if the dog is friendly and well-behaved, other dogs and humans can find them scary or intimidating when they’re not tethered to a human.
  • Ensuring humans are cleaning up the dog’s waste – even if the bag says “compostable” or “biodegradable” it needs to go in the garbage, not in the bushes.
  • Ensuring the dog has a current licence – not only is this the best way to reunite a dog and human if separated, but the funds received help animals at the Coquitlam Animal Shelter.

Dogs and humans demonstrating these behaviours may be rewarded with treats. However, bylaw officers may also ticket those who are breaking these rules.

For more information on responsible pet ownership, visit www.coquitlam.ca/trainyourhuman.

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My Father’s Day Gifts Guide

Posted by Stacey on June 10, 2015 in Luxuries |
Mason Jar Mug

If you are anything like me, you like to be quite clear about what gift you receive for Father’s Day. So in my effort to help you help your gift giving family members, here are a few links to the items that I believe are good ideas for Father’s Day gifts.

It will likely not come as a surprise to you that the best items for Father’s Day gifts are leather items.

The first place to look for a Father’s Day gifts is towards my friends, Josh and Jen Koch, leather workers supreme. They are a small operation and have always been willing to listen to suggestions or make small modifications to items I have purchased from them.

Horween Field Notes Sleeve

Horween Field Notes Sleeve

One of the prettiest pieces of leather work they make is a Field Notes Sleeve. The sleeve will hold a slim pen and a small pocket knife or business cards.

You can have your Field Notes Sleeve stitched in your choice of thread – I always get Josh to use a bright red thread on the work he does for me. You can order the Field Notes Sleeve for $60US plus $6US for shipping.

This one is a beauty!!

If you are looking for a budget price item and the dad in your life uses a double-edged safety razor, get him the safety razor cover for $12 and $3 for shipping.

Safety Razor Cover

Safety Razor Cover

I’ve got one of these razor covers and it is too cool for words. The cover protects my razor when I drop it into my dopp kit while traveling.

Another leather worker who’s work I really admire but have not yet had the pleasure of owning is Norman Cahn’s.

Burgundy Cabrio

Burgundy Cabrio

When I see the work that Norman Cahn does with wallets and I read the reviews written by his customers, I have no hesitation in adding my personal endorsement to his work. The stitching he does looks flawless!!

This beautiful little wallet, what he calls a Cabrio Horween Leather Wallet, is available in a variety of colours and could be in your father’s wallet for about one hundred dollars.

Norman has a good selection of items listed on his Etsy page and like Josh and Jen Koch, he is very open to working and collaborating with his customers to create amazing pieces of leather work.

MiBelle Wallet

MiBelle Wallet

 

The third Leather worker I have recently learned about is Wayne Higgins of Mibelle Custom Leatherworx and he is located in Dartmouth NS. He is going to drive across Canada, from the eastcoast to the westcoast and we plan to meet up so that I can have a look at some of his leather creations.

I am quite curious to see the leather work he does with Kangaroo leather. He has wallets made in brandy or black kangaroo leather that are lined with pig skin. The lined version sells for $32.00 CAD.

Mason Jar Mug

Mason Jar Mug

And last but definitely not least, from California are Juan’s Unique Creations from the Gentlemen Factory. Here you can buy a Horween Mason Jar mug and dontcha know, drinking from a Mason Jar is the hip thing to do. However, if a Mason Jar mug is just a shade too hipster for your, dad get him a Horween Valet Tray for $30.

Or if you really want to kick it up a notch and spoil dad, get him a Horween leather briefcase for $550 or the Steinbeck Messenger bag in Horween for $450. Once again, the work done in the Juan’s Unique Creations from the Gentlemen Factory is beautiful with exquisite attention paid to detail.

Whichever business you decide to purchase your Father’s Day gifts from, you are pretty much guaranteed that the dad in your life will be delighted with the gift.

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Has Facebook Jumped the Shark?

Posted by Stacey on June 9, 2015 in Life Musings with Comments closed |

I am really wondering if Facebook Facebook jumped the shark. Or put another way, is Facebook relevant anymore?

It used to be that Facebook gave me a glimpse into my friends lives (close friends or acquaintances – as Facebook defines them). I knew stuff like how my friend’s holiday trip was, when they were going to be at their cabin (even though we are told this is a super-scary thing to do because THIEVES are following all of us and will break-in when we are away!!) and how many kittens or puppies were born in my friend’s sock drawer.

Some, although very few, actually shared pictures of what they had for lunch or supper (that is more typically found on Instagram).

Granted I do have a select few friends (Facebook and IRL) who still share their experiences with me on Facebook but they are few and far between.

Now what do I find on Facebook? Endless videos of cats. Pictures of cats. Super cat videos. And Jimmy Fallon videos of him doing stupid lip sync battles. News bloopers. Sappy stories of lost cats.

Seriously, Facebook has jumped the shark.

 

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STOUFFER’S Fit Kitchen; a Nutritious Wingman

Posted by Stacey on June 7, 2015 in Food and Drink with Comments closed |

In an effort to make sure we are making food choices that provide us with healthy and nutritious meals, we are eating at home much more often. So I thought today would be an excellent opportunity to try out the new STOUFFER’S® Fit Kitchen meals.

To begin I first warmed up the Stouffer’s® Fit Kitchen Rotisserie Seasoned Turkey meal. The good news – my kids absolutely loved it. I did manage to get a couple of pictures before they got right into it and I also grabbed a taste before they had a chance to devour it.

I was very impressed to see that there are large pieces of real turkey meat in it.

There are also large chunks of vegetables including red skinned white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and green beans. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the gravy in the Stouffer’s® Fit Kitchen meal is almost as good as the gravy that my Mom makes.

I have never been a fan of frozen green beans, but Stouffer’s has some process in which they are able to flash freeze the green beans in their meals so that when warmed up, they are crisp, tender and full of flavour. They are very much like fresh cooked green beans.

I loved the Stouffer’s Fit Kitchen meal, but as I said, the best part was that both of my kids really liked the meal.

Another thing to appreciate about the Stouffer’s® Fit Kitchen meals is the packaging; it is very informative and easy to read. There is detailed information listing the grams of protein, the calories, how much fat is in each meal, the sodium content, sugar, protein and vitamin A. The information is all easily accessible on the front of the package.

While the kids were busy eating the Rotisserie Seasoned Turkey meal, I put the Bourbon Steak with chipotle mashed sweet potatoes, seasoned broccoli & red peppers in the microwave.

Once again I was very impressed with the way the meal turned out. The large chunks of beef were tender and succulent and very clearly real pieces of real beef.

The kids found the chipotle mashed sweet potatoes a little too spicy. However, I like things a little spicy and these mashed sweet potatoes were exactly what I needed to satisfy my hunger for spicy.

The broccoli in the Bourbon Steak Stouffer’s Fit Kitchen meal didn’t survive the microwaving as well as the beans in the Rotisserie Seasoned Turkey meal. It was a little too mushy for me. However, it was nicely seasoned and delicious.

The best part of this meal, like the turkey meal was the gravy. The Bourbon Steak gravy was on full throttle once it hit my taste buds. A strong and flavourful gravy that made me really sit up and pay attention. This is a meal I will definitely have again!!

As well as the two STOUFFER’S® Fit Kitchen meals that I sampled, they also offer:

  • STEAK FAJITA in smoked red chile sauce with a mix of red & green peppers and seasoned brown rice
  • CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN white meat chicken with a black bean & corn mix, seasoned brown rice and a verde tomatillo sauce
  • MONTEREY CHICKEN with diced red skin & sweet potatoes, lightly buttered green beans with BBQ style sauce
  • OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN with diced red skin potatoes, seasoned broccoli and a savory wine sauce

I realize that Stouffer’s® Fit Kitchen meals aren’t for every day. But the reality is that we all have those days when we don’t have the time to prepare a meal and we just want a healthy and nutritious meal really quickly.

Stouffer’s Fit Kitchen meals are my new wingman and are a great way to get a delicious protein packed meal really quickly.

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and STOUFFER’S® for this promotion. I have received compensation and product for my participation, but as always, my opinions are my own.

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Giant Hogweed; Exercise Extreme Caution

Posted by Stacey on June 3, 2015 in Life Musings with Comments closed |

The City of Coquitlam has made the eradication of invasive species, including Giant Hogweed (that’s Hogweed, not Hogwart’s) a priority due to a threat to the natural ecosystem and human health.

Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed

Invasive species such as English Ivy, Yellow Lamium, Periwinkle, Morning Glory, Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed take over the natural environment push out native plants and reduce and degrade habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife.

They are expensive to control and eradicate. These plants grow aggressively, adapt to different situations and are persistent in their spread.

Giant Hogweed is a particular problem as it is a vicious plant – it can actually cause injury to people. The sap contained in the hairs covering the plant and in the stem can cause severe burns when in contact with human skin.

Hogweed is called “giant” because it grows quickly to heights of up to 5.5m.

Giant Hogweed can be identified by its white flower blooms and the stiff white hairs that cover most of the plant.

City staff monitors public lands for any signs of Giant Hogweed and are asking residents to eliminate it from their properties.

However, before you go out and start hacking away at any Giant Hogweed plants, you should read the section of the Art of War where they discuss the importance of knowing your enemy.

Of course you should also review information available through Worksafe BC regarding proper personal protective gear if you plan to remove Giant Hogweed yourself. Even better, hire a qualified and experienced landscape professional.

Visit www.coquitlam.ca/hogweed to report on-line any Giant Hogweed sightings in Coquitlam and for safety tips for removing this plant from your property.

Remember, Giant Hogweed should be considered armed and dangerous. Be prepared before approaching any Giant Hogweed!!

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