New house

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Sesame Street Colour Collection

Sesame Street Colour Collection

In December of 2012, Alain and I became home-owners for the first time ever. The building that we bought is a duplex. We now live with my little sister in the lower unit and rent out the upper unit to help out with the mortgage.

The house has everything we wanted, and even a few things we didn’t know that we would want. It has a garage, which is great for snowy Montréal winters. It also has a big beautiful back yard with gardens all around. The house is 4 minutes by foot from the métro, and it’s sort of near the Olympic Stadium.

There are two things that we really plan to change about the house: The tile floors in the front hallway and the kitchen need to go, and we’d like to renovate the bathroom. It’s fine, but it isn’t beautiful. Also, the bathtub is kinda shallow.

Cookie Monster paint colours

Cookie Monster paint colours

The previous owner of the house had made some questionable decorating choices, and so when we moved in, painting was in order. When we went to the hardware store to find books of paint samples, one in particular caught our eye: The Sesame Street Colour Collection (see the first image attached to this post). My little sister wanted her room to be coloured “Cookie Monster,” so we painted her room a nice calm light blue with a cream-coloured stripe along the middle. She has darker blue curtains for her window, and we plan to find some pots to paint dark blue and put googly eyes on.

Ernie and Bert paint colours

Ernie and Bert paint colours

As for me and Alain, we really didn’t have a choice when we saw that there was a “Bert and Ernie” theme. This turned out to be a lot of work, although the official story is that the whole paint-job took 20 minutes. When it was half-way done, I was a little worried about how it would look when it was finished, but then by the end, it  turned out much better than I had anticipated. The doors to the bedroom have orange translucent glass panels in them, which happened to work with the orange lines in the paint—not by design, but purely by accident. You can see in the video below the way that the paint looked when the green masking tape was still on the walls.

 

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2013-3213,
    title = {New house},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2013-01-13,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2013/01/13/new-house/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "New house" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 13 Jan 2013. Web. 20 Feb 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2013/01/13/new-house/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2013, Jan 13). New house [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2013/01/13/new-house/


How to turn a car covered in a white tarp into a Super Mario Bros. ghost

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Boo car

Boo car

There is a car in the garage in my apartment building that has had a white tarp over it for the last few weeks.

Yielding to temptation, my little sister and I taped eyes, mouth and wings to it, to turn it into a ghost from Super Mario.

We’ll gauge how much the owner of the car appreciates it by how long it stays up.

You too can turn a car (or anything really) covered in a white tarp into a Super Mario Bros. ghost!

Step 1: download and print eyes, mouth, and wings.

Step 2: affix to tarp with tape.

Step 3: take photos.

You have now committed the perfect crime.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-2619,
    title = {How to turn a car covered in a white tarp into a Super Mario Bros. ghost},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-12-31,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/12/31/how-to-turn-a-car-covered-in-a-white-tarp-into-a-super-mario-bros-ghost/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "How to turn a car covered in a white tarp into a Super Mario Bros. ghost" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 31 Dec 2011. Web. 20 Feb 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/12/31/how-to-turn-a-car-covered-in-a-white-tarp-into-a-super-mario-bros-ghost/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Dec 31). How to turn a car covered in a white tarp into a Super Mario Bros. ghost [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/12/31/how-to-turn-a-car-covered-in-a-white-tarp-into-a-super-mario-bros-ghost/


Good graffiti

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Good graffiti

Good graffiti

Sometimes graffiti is worth looking at.

Often it’s nothing more than vandalism, but sometimes graffiti is actually good.

This is an example of some graffiti near the Costco in Montréal, and for about the last year, every time I passed it, I thought to myself, I should come back here and take some photos before something happens to prevent me.

So today, I finally did. I wanted to take the photos during the summer while it was still nice out, and I’m glad I didn’t keep forgetting about it.

The big picture

The big picture

This particular graffiti is good because of the use of vibrant colours, the cute characters, and the general overall effort that went into painting the side of that building.

It looks very attractive.

Also, I think that the fact that no one has painted over their graffiti helps.

There’s also a consistency of style across the entire wall that makes the whole composition work.

It’s just overall, a good piece of work.

Angry fish

Angry fish

I’m trying to pin down what it is that separates “good” graffiti from “bad.” I mean, the graffiti pictured to the left of this paragraph doesn’t have a lot of the qualities that the first example had.

It’s pretty much monochrome, and others have defaced it, but I like the angry fish.

I wish I could have seen it before it was painted over.

Maybe it’s that I like when graffiti has characters in it, rather than illegible words? I mean, I don’t understand what’s written in most graffiti, but when I see the angry fish, I understand, It’s an angry fish.

I have no clue what this says

I have no clue what this says

But there are some cases of incomprehensible writing that I like.

This one is also pretty good.

No idea what it says, and there’s no characters in it, but I still appreciate it.

By that I mean, if I owned a large building in a city, I don’t think I would be very upset if I came to work one morning and found something like this painted on it. (Assuming that the word, once deciphered, has a non-offensive meaning.)

I mean, it could be a lot worse. It could be spray-painted penises. There are enough of those in Montréal.

Come inside the door. We have candy.

Come inside the door. We have candy.

This graffiti is creepy. I think that’s why I like it.

Suspicious-looking bird

Suspicious-looking bird

So, so creepy. This graffiti also had a suspicious-looking bird on it.

I don’t blame the bird for being suspicious.

I’ve uploaded a few more photos to a Facebook album here. Check it out! :)

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-2092,
    title = {Good graffiti},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-08-27,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/08/27/good-graffiti/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Good graffiti" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 27 Aug 2011. Web. 20 Feb 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/08/27/good-graffiti/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Aug 27). Good graffiti [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/08/27/good-graffiti/


It snowed in Stratford Ontario this weekend

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While I was in Ontario, I thought I might drop by my parents’ for lunch. I remember saying on the way to Stratford that it was in a part of Ontario known as the “snow belt.” Boy was I right.

It snowed. In April.

Not just a little bit either. There were big fluffy white flakes. I have video evidence.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1659,
    title = {It snowed in Stratford Ontario this weekend},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-04-20,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/20/it-snowed-in-stratford-ontario-this-weekend/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "It snowed in Stratford Ontario this weekend" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 20 Apr 2011. Web. 20 Feb 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/20/it-snowed-in-stratford-ontario-this-weekend/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Apr 20). It snowed in Stratford Ontario this weekend [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/20/it-snowed-in-stratford-ontario-this-weekend/


Grammar is the greatest joy in life, don’t you find?

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Today is National Grammar Day. In honour of National Grammar Day, and because grammar is my greatest joy in life, I will give a brief and incomplete list of my favourite grammar- and spelling-related pet peeves, followed by a much shorter list of grammatical mistakes that I’m actually okay with.

  • Internal pluralisation. Wrong: passer-by’s, court martials, iPod Touches. Right: passers-by, courts martial, iPods Touch.
  • Reflexive vs. objective pronouns. Wrong: “You can talk to Peter or myself during the break for clarification.” Right: “You can talk to Peter or me during the break for clarification.”
  • Subject-object disagreement. Wrong: “She say that there’s a problem.” Right: “She says that there’s a problem.” (Usually this one is just a result of failing to check what you wrote after the fact. It’s still really bothersome to me.)
  • Apostrophes for pluralisation. Wrong: “I bought two carton’s of milk.” Right: “I bought two cartons of milk.”
  • Using the past instead of the subjunctive. Wrong: “If I was the president …” Right: “If I were the president …”
  • Using the wrong homonym. Your/you’re, two/to/too, there/they’re/their, whether/weather, past/passed, hear/here. It’s not that hard.
  • Modals. Wrong: should of, would of, could of. Right: should have, would have, could have.

The following are two grammatical mistakes that I’m actually okay with. They are technically wrong, but I don’t get upset about them. Probably because they’re both restrictions that were placed on the English language because neither can be translated back into Latin.

  • Ending a sentence with a preposition. This is something up with which I can put.
  • Split infinitives. If you want to boldly go there, that’s fine with me.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1314,
    title = {Grammar is the greatest joy in life, don’t you find?},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-03-4,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/03/04/grammar-is-the-greatest-joy-in-life-dont-you-find/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Grammar is the greatest joy in life, don’t you find?" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 04 Mar 2011. Web. 20 Feb 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/03/04/grammar-is-the-greatest-joy-in-life-dont-you-find/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Mar 04). Grammar is the greatest joy in life, don’t you find? [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/03/04/grammar-is-the-greatest-joy-in-life-dont-you-find/


Other stuff I saw in Québec City

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A church in downtown Québec

A church in downtown Québec

While I mainly went to see the Carnaval, I also went for a walk around the Old Québec a bit while I was in town. It’s a very beautiful city.

There are all sorts of wonderful old buildings, churches and historical-type things going on.

Not only that, but they have excellent lighting at night, so it makes for some good photos!

You just have to be willing to wait for an opportune moment, when there isn’t a car going past, who will leave streaks of light all through your exposure. Thank goodness for digital cameras.

Celtic cross at night

Celtic cross at night

I think I must have spent about fifteen minutes trying to get this photo of the celtic-looking cross. I’ve got a whole bunch of photos of it with streaks across it, thanks to cars.

After three or four tries, I was almost prepared to set the self-timer and go stand in the middle of the road, just out of the frame of the camera, so that I would prevent any cars from passing through it. I only wanted a twenty-second exposure, and there was only one car every minute or so.

Oh well.

I like the details on the cross, and I think it was worth the wait.

An angel with a globe

An angel with a globe

Next is an angel with a globe. I’m not sure what his deal is. I guess he’s like a busker, except that he doesn’t really perform a musical instrument.

Not a bad job, I guess.

Unless you don’t like the cold. It wasn’t too bad while I was there, anyway. It was consistently around -1ºC or -2ºC, and in the sunlight, during the day, that’s not too bad.

He seems happy, anyway.

I have also posted a video of a crazy dance rave at an ice castle in front of the Québec parliament, and a videoscreen waterfall at night in the Old Québec.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1200,
    title = {Other stuff I saw in Québec City},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-02-9,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/09/other-stuff-i-saw-in-quebec-city/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Other stuff I saw in Québec City" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 09 Feb 2011. Web. 20 Feb 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/09/other-stuff-i-saw-in-quebec-city/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Feb 09). Other stuff I saw in Québec City [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/09/other-stuff-i-saw-in-quebec-city/


Carnaval d’Hiver!

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Rainbow ice carousel

Rainbow ice carousel

This weekend, I went to Québec City to see the Carnaval d’Hiver, starring Bonhomme. I have a lot of photos and things to talk about, so I’m spacing it out over the next few days. To start off with, I’m going to post a bunch of photos of sculptures and things I saw.

The lights in the carousel tent changed all the time, so it was very difficult to get any good photos, but I’m reasonably happy with the way this one turned out. The whole tent was full of ice sculptures of different games—chess, monopoly, etc. I wonder if it’s harder to sculpt in snow or in ice. I imagine that it would be easier to make a silly mistake in the snow, but that ice is less forgiving.

By the way, carousels are creepy.

Creepy snow spider

Creepy snow spider

These are just a few of my favourite things that I saw at the Carnaval d’Hiver. There were lots of other really good ones, but these turned out to be the most photogenic.

The creepy spider is wonderful. I love the eyes on the front, and the way that the light comes from behind it.

I wonder where these people get their ideas for what they will make out of their chunk of snow, and by what means the chunk of snow is delivered there.

An apple with a mouth

An apple with a mouth

The apple with the mouth won the prize for everything, I think. Seriously. There were about a half dozen awards at that one.

It’s really quite well done. I wonder if it’s supposed to represent anything besides just an apple with a mouth. I have no idea how a person would sculpt the inside of the mouth like that. Maybe they did the top of the mouth first so that they could sit on what would become the tongue, and then later went back to fix it. The snow must be very well-packed for it to allow for this sort of thing.

Girl in hood with dragon

Girl in hood with dragon

I also liked the hooded girl with dragon. Good details on the dragon. Unfortunately, the very night that I took these photos, it snowed, and many of the finer details were covered up forever.

This sculpture in particular did not fare very well through the loss of all the fine details. Look at all the scales along the tail, the teeth and eyes. The little girl in a hood is delightful as well.

I overheard a bunch of French-speakers refer to the girl as “Little Red Riding Hood,” I thought, but I don’t remember a dragon in the English version of that story, at least.

Korean with fish

Korean with fish

Apparently, there were teams of snow-sculptors from all over the world who came to participate. I’ve attached the South Korean contribution. It’s a person with a fish.

I also have photos of the Koreans working on this one the whole previous night. They put a lot of effort into it.

There was also a team from Morocco. I didn’t care for their sculpture as much. But then, they probably don’t get too much snow there, so I guess we can cut them some slack.

Plan for snow sharks

Plan for snow sharks

Sharks hiding in snow

Sharks hiding in snow

Another favourite of mine is the sharks hiding in snow. I have both a photograph and a video of that one.

As best I can make out, these are actual living sharks that were imported and then covered in snow. They’re just waiting for the right moment before they start eating the unprepared visitors to the Carnaval d’Hiver.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1172,
    title = {Carnaval d’Hiver!},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-02-6,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/06/carnaval-dhiver/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Carnaval d’Hiver!" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 06 Feb 2011. Web. 20 Feb 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/06/carnaval-dhiver/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Feb 06). Carnaval d’Hiver! [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/06/carnaval-dhiver/


Gingerbread Tardis

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Tardis

"Hello, I'm the Doctor."

In light of some difficult family circumstances, I decided to take a night and do something silly. I had a friend over, one with whom I am in the habit of watching Doctor Who. While the result wasn’t quite as good as some other gingerbread Tardises on the internet, I am very happy to present photographs from last night’s project.

Usually, when I make something creative with gingerbread, I use a lot of red food colouring. You know, for the blood.

This time, however, the carnage was only an afterthought. I didn’t mean for there to be such a high death toll. Honest! And further, I think that the massacre was relatively tasteful for me.

The only cookie cutters I own

The only cookie cutters I own

The real reason why there was so many dead people is not because of the (very adorable) gingerbread Daleks. It’s mostly because I only own cookie cutters that have pieces missing from them. (Thanks for the present, Steph!)

You’ll note that even the gingerbread man who I assume is supposed to be the Doctor (the one who is halfway inside the Tardis) is missing his hand. My interpretation of this is that this is a scene from the few seconds during which the Doctor had his hand cut off by the Sycorax before it regenerated. This makes sense, because that happened during the “Christmas Invasion Special,” and it’s a gingerbread Tardis, so it should be on a Christmas theme, after all.

Tardis and bodies

"Exterminate!"

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2010-1049,
    title = {Gingerbread Tardis},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2010-12-18,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/12/18/gingerbread-tardis/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Gingerbread Tardis" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 18 Dec 2010. Web. 20 Feb 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/12/18/gingerbread-tardis/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2010, Dec 18). Gingerbread Tardis [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/12/18/gingerbread-tardis/


Speaking of spiders

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Itsy Bitsy Spider

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Today, a schoolmate and I went to visit the Montréal Botanical Gardens. We went to see the insect exhibit. It was pretty fun, and because we are students, we got in for the cheap rate!

Here is a spider.

I wonder if they have to count the number of creepy-crawlies they have in the insect exhibit every night. The reason I wonder about that is because there was a surprising number of empty enclosures, and it made me wonder what happened to the spiders or scorpions or other creatures that were supposed to be living there. I’ll just double-check the inside of my bag tonight. You know. Just to be on the safe side.

Bonzai tree

Bonzai tree

The outside of the Gardens was mostly covered in snow, but the inside had some wonderful things to see. I’ve always loved bonzai tress, and sometimes secretly wished that I had the patience to grow one myself.

Now I don’t know about you guys, but every once in a while as a child, for some reason, at schools or other such educational institutions, I was shown a video adaptation of a Dr. Seuss book called “The Lorax.” Actually, I assume there’s a book that it’s based on. I’ve never actually seen it in book form.

I'm pretty sure this is a truffula tree

I'm pretty sure this is a truffula tree

I guess I always assumed that there was no such thing as a real truffula tree. And then I saw the tree in the attached photograph in the butterfly exhibit.

As I recall from “The Lorax,” the little boy at the end was given a single truffula seed and told to plant it and care for it, so that truffula trees might grow again. I suppose that little boy succeeded in his task.

But seriously. What is that? Eight points for anyone who can tell me what sort of legit tree it is.

Honeycomb

Honeycomb

The butterfly exhibit was my favourite. They were huge, and they liked eating fruit. The cockroaches were my least favourite. The bees were kind of cool to see as well, but not on the same level as gigantic beautiful butterflies and truffula trees.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2010-671,
    title = {Speaking of spiders},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2010-03-7,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/03/07/speaking-of-spiders/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Speaking of spiders" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 07 Mar 2010. Web. 20 Feb 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/03/07/speaking-of-spiders/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2010, Mar 07). Speaking of spiders [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/03/07/speaking-of-spiders/


Mom’s amaryllis

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Mom's amaryllis

Mom's amaryllis

Here is mom’s amaryllis plant. It was a gift from a friend, but I can’t remember who.

She says it reminds her of something from Dr. Seuss, with the bloom-within-a-bloom. I say it’s kind of like Alien, with a mouth-within-a-mouth.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2009-567,
    title = {Mom’s amaryllis},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2009-12-28,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/28/moms-amaryllis/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Mom’s amaryllis" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 28 Dec 2009. Web. 20 Feb 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/28/moms-amaryllis/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2009, Dec 28). Mom’s amaryllis [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/28/moms-amaryllis/


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