Monday, September 30, 2013

One Fish, Two Fish...

In my thrift store travels, I found another fishy for the boys' bathroom.

Uh... except she was pink.

Was because I gave her a makeover (makeunder?).

Fun fact: This a-hole of a fish has indents on its fins for the details, so its nearly impossible to draw them in accurately with a Sharpie. After painting and repainting unsatisfactory lines, I decided to incorporate the oddity into the design. As Bob Ross would say: happy accident! ::snort::

Now she matches these two a little better, don't you think?

Crossing my fingers the next ceramic wall decoration I find isn't of the poisson persuasion...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Couch Surfing: not what you first think.

This is why I love Kijiji... sometimes it's really good for a laugh... or a free couch...

(Click to embiggen.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Model Behaviour

[Note: This post was originally published on The Mrs on May 12th, 2012. I have since created this board on Pinterest, and—thanks to the help of a friend (hi, Scott!)—discovered Caleb's real name is Aaron O'Connell. But I still call him Caleb...]

Confession: I have a problem.

And no, I’m not talking about this board for those Pinterest followers keeping score at home.

[Note: I have no other explanation for that phenomenon other that what’s on the board description, so... don’t hold your breath waiting for one... unless you’re into that. Heh.]

But no, not that. I’m actually talking about this, uh, I mean him

You might be wondering who this is. If you know me on Facebook, perhaps not. Mr Lannis certainly knows.

Allow me to introduce you to Caleb.

No, that’s not his real name. I made it up. I tend to do that, occasionally, name things — kidlets, characters, fabricated identities of random Marks Work Wearhouse flyer models... all of the above, really. Heh.

And Caleb, well, he caught my eye one day in the aforementioned flyer, because he looked exactly like someone I know. In my head.

Yeah, if that didn’t sound strange, stick around, because I’m sure we’ll hit that mark shortly. I’m about to expound upon one of the many idiosyncrasies of my marriage. [Insert shameless snort here.]

Ready... set... weird!

In our house I we have a little tradition. Every Thursday the local paper arrives with the sales flyers for the week. Mr Lannis is the one who goes through said flyers.

And hides one in particular. The one from Marks Work Wearhouse.

For this reason:

(Click to embiggen.)

Note: this particular status update had an interesting and incriminating conversation beneath it, but in the interests of privacy we’re going to nix that part of the screenshot. Let’s just say a friend of mine declared that Caleb must be an excellent kisser due to his scrumptious almost-dimples, interested parties went running for their recycling bins, and for the benefit of those outside of the geographical range of this particular advertisement, I ended up uploading a pic of the flyer page in question...

That’d be this one:

You see, I lick like this particular model. A lot. And he’s caused a bit of a stir on my Facebook profile recently, so I’m sharing more... because I’m filterless gross friendly like that.

He was in the most recent flyer, too:


I mean, LOOK at him...

The first person to imply he’s wearing a less-than-politically-correct undershirt wins a screwdriver stabbed in their ear canal! Aaaaaand go!

Ah, I see you’re all distracted by the charming tilt of his jaw and the alpha-male confidence radiating off those biceps.

Me too. And those lips:

::sigh:: Please excuse me as I wipe away the drool...

I read somewhere [::cough cough:: Pinterest ::cough::] that infatuation only lasts a few months, so clearly I am in love with Caleb, because we’ve now been involved for over a year.

And last fall this happened:

This is the note I left Mr Lannis one evening when he was working late... it reads, “He wants me to run away with him. I said yes.”

The next morning I was greeted with Mr Lannis’ reply on the facing page. He charmingly called me a couple of dirty inapproriate CREATIVE pet names, and claimed that he told Caleb about my body pillow.

Yes, my body pillow.

The one I have snuggled and twined myself with every night since pregnancy made my hips ache? For years Mr Lannis has called it my boyfriend, and in the last year or so my body pillow boyfriend has had a new name — you guessed it — also Caleb.

Caleb’s fictional apparent response was to be sickened. This I doubt. Clearly he’s into me. Just look at the way he stares dreamily out of the page. At me.

But back to my bizarre marriage... Mr Lannis is a wonderful man, and he tends to be rather... quiet.

People frequently call him normal.

(Pfft... like that word really has any true definition?)

More than once I’ve heard (I’m outing you, Mrs... haha!) that Mr Lannis is not who people “expect” me to be with — possibly because he’s, well, sane.

The point is, he balances my... uh... deranged personality wackiness. He likes to humour me.

The truth is... he gets me.

And that morning when I woke up and found his angular scrawl all over a flyer’s boxer brief advertisement (yes, he scribbled the word “SL*T” on a random photo of some stranger’s junk — IT. WAS. AWESOME!), I felt more warm, lovable fuzzies toward my hubby because he was playing along with my threat of running away with a fictional heartthrob than I would have if he’d simply written “I love you.”

It may seem dysfunctional, but it’s not. It’s our marriage. I don’t claim to understand it, I just love it — and him — to pieces.

Uh, Mr Lannis, that is. Not Caleb...

Okay, Caleb too.

Hm. Polyamory doesn’t sound too shabby right about now... something-something-don’t-knock-it... am I right? Heh.

PS: If you’ve been able to follow this post, like, AT ALL, please feel free to use your Google-fu for the good of all and find out what Caleb’s real name is. I’m sure he’d love to hear from me. I vote we start a fan club.

Pssst: I wager he tastes way better in person... ::snort::

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Okay, so... this popped up in my Facebook newsfeed on Sunday and blew the feeble light bulb in my brain (which I just spelled brian three times... ::facepalm::).

I have been busy. Not real busy—and I abhor the current glorification of busy in our culture—but busy with projects.

I am painting the main living space of our house.

I am refinishing a 10+ piece dining set (depends on how you count the leaf) for our kitchen.

I am working on the health of our lawn, and basically keeping the house from dissolving into the grime that is apparently trying to lull us into complacency by its slow accumulation.

I am (apparently) searching for a lost cat (okay, truly? Two words: coyote fodder).

I have new daycare charges and I'm doing everything that the usual housekeeping involves (groceries, laundry, appointments, banking, baking, all items large and sundry that our small administration requires).

The "catching up" on spring cleaning (shush) is happening at such a leisurely pace that it's really just not. (Shut up: NEW BOOBS. If that's not a valid excuse I'll only have one year to milk ::snort::, well, I'm not sure what qualifies.)

My current goals of painting the living room, kitchen, and staircase, and refinishing the furniture set have a self-imposed deadline of Christmas. (I'd like them done by then. I don't expect them to be done.)

And back to the busy for a second... Yes, I have stuff I am working on. Happily none of it important enough that I don't have a handful of days to help a friend move, paint, and settle into her new place.

See, I'm busy, but with a lovely fluid flexibility that means I can do what I want to fill my days, providing I'm constantly moving.

It's wonderful.

And you know what I'm not doing?

Erm, well, blogging, for one—which is why this post exists as a weird apology-yet-not-really—and I'm not exactly writing in the non-bloggity sense, either, which isn't all that great...

(But that's okay. Shh.)

No, I'm not thinking.

It's blissful.

After two years of go go go worry go go over analyze go go get it done not enough time in the day keep going don't stop breathe breathe frustration heal breathe heal go go go don't lift goddamn go go go breathe hoop jump hoop jump heal heal heal don't lift dammit but there's stuff to do go go go catch up now go go go it all must happen at once get it dooooooonnnnne...!

After all that, I can do what I want and not think about anything in particular as I work my way through a task.

Again: bliss.

So yes, I feel I'm not on the blogging ball as much as I'd like to be of late, and I'll get back to my full spastic form, I'm sure (and I'm not even sure anyone but myself has noticed my step back at this point—such is the way of scheduled posts, the well of which shall begin to run dry, and this post is possibly a preemptive apology that is not even necessary... I smell a wager...).

Right now, though, right now? I'm enjoying just doing without restrictions for doing's sake.


Monday, September 23, 2013


Under the label Weird Shit I Do Because I Can, please allow me to introduce item number 658,302,992...

I bought teeth on eBay.


Resin teeth.

Specifically, 1 Box New Dental Super stiff many Colors Synthetic Resin Teeth...

Super stiff teeth... ::snort::

(Oh, how I love China.)

I'd have photos, but well, I'd have to drag them off the listing and ask permission of the seller, and frankly, thanks to language barriers and the muddle of translation I'm not entirely sure they'll understand why I'm asking, even if I go to the trouble of explaining that it's for a blog post, so this is (yet another of late) pic-less post.

(Photo-less posts. It's an epidemic, what can I tell you? Also: old camera isn't compatible with new laptop. High class problem, I know.)


I'm so excited for my new teeth! Except that since they're coming from China, I won't actually get to play with my new teeth until sometime mid-to-end October. Meh.

I can't wait, because TEETH!

It occurs to me that this post could also go under the label Reasons Lannis Shouldn't Be Allowed Internet Access...

This is exactly the kind of screwed up shit that I enjoy dropping into random conversations with the neighbours... cross your fingers I see someone today... ::gigglesnort::

By the way, anyone know the best way to adhere these bad boys? Thinking some sort of superglue, but have yet to narrow it down... heh.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Google Salad — Revisited

It’s that time again, when I flaunt the list of keyword searches that has brought people to this here little website.

Yes, I keep a list.

Yes, I get giddy whenever there’s a new entry.

Yes, I giggle inanely at the screen, as if my laptop and I are sharing in our own private joke.

And yes, Mr Lannis is used to this. He stopped asking for explanations a long time ago, instead deciding he just doesn’t “get” it.

What’s to get? My blog receives hits for spastic keywords.

It’s awesome.

So I’m sharing because, well, then more of us can giggle inanely and have our spouses (or pets, as the case may be) scratch their heads in bafflement. And maybe we’ll help people find the answers they’re looking for!

(She says, pretending to be altruistic and not intending to mock innocent folks with possibly defunct Google-fu.)

Ready? Okay.

Chez Lannis

You, my friend, clearly were looking for this place specifically. Welcome! I hope the housekeeping hasn’t disappointed.

dont let anyone with bad eyebrows tell you shit quote

(Yes, I finally figured out how to decipher everything that was in the search field.) Is that a quote? Are you searching for a quote or just quoting yourself? Are you one of those people who uses air quotes extensively? (Because that’s obnoxious.) Are you accusing me of having bad eyebrows? I’ll own up to them being partially drawn in, but I’ve had compliments. And not bass-ackwards ones, either. I’m pretty sure “hey, nice arches,” means “hey, nice arches” when coming from an esthetician. So if I qualify as having good eyebrows, well, let me tell you some shit, bro—you need an apostrophe on that “dont.” Just sayin’.

kijiji lego agents

Do these exist? Because I kind of feel like I would know about them if they did, which means I feel like I’m out of the loop. (This is like grade nine all over again.)

redoing laundry room

ME TOO! Or, well, I did...

say yes chez lannis

Yes, please say yes to Chez Lannis! Come for the nonsense, stay for the dip. (Um, but bring your own chips.)

kijiji troll
“kijiji trolls”
trolls on kijiji
kijiji ad troll

I get a sense these folks would all get along. Party’s in the corner, guys. (Hope they brought chips.)

mango sprout
how to sprout mango seeds
how to grow a mango with a toothpick

Well, dude, it takes a bit more than just a toothpick...

do corn plants bloom

YES! Yes, they do. Watch out though, because they’re assholes about it.

accidentally sprayed house plants with vinegar water mix

Oh. I’m so sorry for your loss.

how much does it cost to euthanize a hamsters

Too much. Also sorry for your loss, as well. Or, um, losses as you’ve got hamsters. (Maybe it’s cheaper in bulk?)

What I like to call The Book Club Corner:

brandon sanderson
book review n.k. jemisin the hundred thousand kingdom
bird by bird anne lamott conclusion
cara mckenna pdf
curio by cara mckenna pdf download
mira grant deadline book
“name of the wind”
max brooks world war z summary
ny times review world war z oral history novel

(Dude, sorry to disappoint.)

jacqueline carey how much sex is in her books

Enough that if you need to ask, then it’s probably too much for you to handle.

Combinations that confuse:

chez weapons shop

I'm not kidding:

(Mental note: get The Mrs to add weapons to the shop.)

mira grant kijiji


surgical plastic teardrop shape behind eardrum


lannis sex tube

What the fuck?! Dude! Not that kind of website!

And I think my very favourite so far...

the lannis

Yes, that’s me. I’m The Lannis. Heh. (A touch ostentatious?)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Our Feline Foodie

[Note: This post was originally published on The Mrs on February 25th, 2012. We can add mint chocolate chip ice cream (no other flavours), lemon cranberry muffin papers, and pesto sauce to the list...]

Cats are weird. Quelle surprise, right?

Sandi’s experiences prove the theory, but even without that, I think everyone can agree.

We have two cats. Even if you haven’t been around The Mrs long, you could discover that from my bio below.


One (Shakespeare: 15 lb, overbearing, long-haired tabby Tom) eats what you might expect. Dry cat food, the occasional cat treats, and whatever he can hunt. (Never mind, lately he’s taken to leaving dead Chickadees in the backyard, so clearly he’s taken to hunting for sport now...)

The other (Minette: 7 lb, quaint and dainty, long-haired tabby female) eats anything that remotely resembles food. Feline or otherwise.

Seriously. Of the list I’m aware of (because I’m deluding myself if I believe I know all that she’s been into when I’m not around...)

- raw broccoli
- cooked cauliflower
- pecans
- cream cheese, marble cheese, Brie cheese in any form
- bacon
- turkey breast
- egg whites (pasteurized over straight-from-the-shell)
- mashed squash
- saltine crackers
- gummy bears (but not jujubes)
- chips (she prefers all-dressed and any of the Doritos flavours)
- (and my favourite of the list so far) Nutella

Who doesn’t like Nutella?!

No, we have not given our cat these foods. She takes them for herself, usually by stealthily sneaking onto the counter or table when our backs are turned. She took a piece of bacon out of my-then-two-year-old’s hand.

(The protest was impressive. And can you blame him? Stolen bacon? I’d be mad too...)

And of course Minette eats cat food and cat treats. I consider this a given.

Mr Lannis and I also routinely place boxes of tissues over the glasses of water on our bedside tables at night, lest Minette drink straight out of them...

Anyhow... this is all backstory. Recently I was getting the boys ready for school, and had put bread into the toaster (thinking I was ahead of the game by getting everything set so I just had to push the button down when it was almost toast time...), and returned to the kitchen to see this —


The what...?! I don’t even... I mean... WHAT?!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A DIRTY JOB by Christopher Moore - Book Review

 Rating: 3.5/5 - Great if you’re in the mood for it, only okay if you’re not.
Title: A Dirty Job 

Author: Christopher Moore

Format: ebook and hardcover

Published: 2006

Genre: urban fantasy, humour

Publisher: William Morrow

Landed in my hands: purchased myself

Summary (from author’s website):

Charlie Asher is a pretty normal guy. A little hapless, somewhat neurotic, sort of a hypochondriac. He's what's known as a Beta Male: the kind of fellow who makes his way through life by being careful and constant — you know, the one who's always there to pick up the pieces when the girl gets dumped by the bigger/taller/stronger Alpha Male.

But Charlie's been lucky. He owns a building in the heart of San Francisco, and runs a secondhand store with the help of a couple of loyal, if marginally insane, employees. He's married to a bright and pretty woman who actually loves him for his normalcy. And she, Rachel, is about to have their first child.

Yes, Charlie's doing okay for a Beta. That is, until the day his daughter, Sophie, is born. Just as Charlie — exhausted from the birth — turns to go home, he sees a strange man in mint-green golf wear at Rachel's hospital bedside, a man who claims that no one should be able to see him. But see him Charlie does, and from here on out, things get really weird...

People start dropping dead around him, giant ravens perch on his building, and it seems that everywhere he goes, a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Strange names start appearing on his nightstand notepad, and before he knows it, those people end up dead, too. Yup, it seems that Charlie Asher has been recruited for a new job, an unpleasant but utterly necessary one: Death. It's a dirty job. But hey, somebody's gotta do it.


It took me a long time to finish this book, and it had nothing to do with not enjoying it, and everything to do with that missing spark that makes me crave a book (hence the rating).

A Dirty Job has bizarre humour and a concept that drew my eye, but I found that depending on whether I was in the right mood, that same humour fell flat for me. Yes, it was fun. Yes, it had a charmingly quirky cast of misfits. Yes, it had that absurdity that usually has me quite enthralled wondering where the author will lead me next, but for whatever reason, I never got sucked into the book.

I’m confused, too. I expected to adore this book. I wanted to adore this book. There were times when I did, and then there were times when it was a touch too silly for me.

Will it remain on my shelf? Yes—because I’ve got a signed copy (thanks to the wonderfully thoughtful people at Bargain Basement Books in Atlanta who graciously remembered my request from one JordanCon to the next!), but unless my To Read list shortens, I don’t think the next in the series will be leaping to the head of the reading pile any time soon.

That said, A Dirty Job was a great little read to cleanse the pallet between heavier books. It’s light and fluffy and unusual enough to garner some laugh-out-loud moments, but like the rating reads: great if you’re in the mood for it, only okay if you’re not.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Be Positive.

Or not. It’s your choice, of course.

Lately I’ve noticed a trend in conversations, one that I think is happening in some circles but perhaps not others.

Multiple people around me are voicing how negativity sucks them down, and that hanging out with negative people makes them feel... deflated.

Several people I know have actively chosen to disconnect with particular friends because of continued negativity dragging them down.

I’m sure just about everybody knows what I’m talking about. That acquaintance you bump into in the grocery store (or wherever) and after a few moments of chitchat—which on their part tends to be a giant list of complaints delivered with a defeated sigh—you leave the conversation with lower energy than before you’d seen them.

They’ve figuratively sucked your energy with their negativity. It happens.

And everyone can have their moment when they are that negative energy-sucking person, but the trick is to not always be that person. Bounce.

[Note: I’m not knocking anyone with depression or mental illness, here—being positive isn’t some magical bandaid solution to mental illness. Go. Get help. Please be the hero of your story, not the victim.]

I like to think I’m a pretty positive person.

Sure, I have good days, and sure, I have shitty days—we all do—but what you have to remember is that without a spectrum you have no basis for comparison.

They all can’t be good days—if there weren’t bad days there would be no good days.

Labeling myself a terminal realist means I’m definitely not an optimist—though it’s mistaken for that often, to be sure. Terminal realism isn’t about being so bloody positive that you burp sparkles and piss rainbows (though that would be cool for a short while, it would quickly get old... or so I imagine).

No, it’s about being realistic about life. It's about laughing off the ugly stuff and moving on.

I rant. I rant a lot, everyday, enough to warrant having my own blog (heh). But I hesitate to call it negative.

Rather, I like to think my hair-pulling frustration with the epidemic of stupidity is entertaining to some. Perhaps even amusing. Droll, shall we say?

So it’s not about walking around with a smile plastered on your face and ignoring life’s bumps—by all means, get that frustration out.

It’s the way you do it, though.

Life’s thrown me plenty of shit sandwiches, and I've choked them down. Not always with a smile in the moment, but afterwards. It's the afterwards that matters. It’s not a scar to pity—it’s a story to tell. And if I can’t get someone to snort a laugh while I do the telling, well, I haven’t done my job.

Mind you, being a self-proclaimed storyteller will do that.

Point being: positivity isn’t about never exalting in those bad things. It’s about perspective, perseverance, and recognizing the humour that can be found within any situation.

(Seriously, I wrote a post about my cat dying. To this day I think it’s one of my funniest posts ever. Yes, I’m twisted.)

Anyhow. It’s been a while since I’ve done a Lesson from Pinterest, so I figured I’d reflect on positivity.

Positive minds live positive lives.

When you’re actively trying to be positive, it changes your brain. Positive begets positive. The same goes for negativity, too, which is the danger of being in a slump for too long—it’s difficult to dig out of it.

Like anything, exercising positivity takes practice. Finding the—admittedly nuanced— humour in the shitstorm life throws at you is a twisted sort of talent, but I like to think it’s attainable by everyone.

A lot of it is just realizing that the universe has a sick sense of irony, and graciously letting it go.

Yes, let it go...

Friday, September 13, 2013


The cat has gone missing. Again.

Like clockwork, really, Moggie’s repeating last year’s behaviour—this means she ran away immediately after her vet appointment last year (when she was spayed), and this year she’s run away again, but this time after having gone to the vet to update her shots.

And the thing is, I’m less miffed about the missing cat part and more miffed about the updated shots part.

I mean... seriously, Moghedien? You wait until we’ve shelled out $150 to the vet and then you decide to hit the road? ::headdesk::

She’s been microchipped. She’s been fixed. She’s been vaccinated. She’s ridiculously friendly and has probably whored herself to someone down the street who thinks that because she’s so tiny she’s a stray, when no, no, she’s really NOT...

Do I put up posters? Because honestly, no one’s going to give her back to us if I post what I’m really thinking:

Lost: Small Black Cat

Called Moggie/Moghedien (Moe-GIDDY-en).

Whores herself to everyone, then betrays.
Lacks sense of self-preservation.
Not afraid to get dirty. Good killer.

Basically follows her namesake to a T.

Family misses her We’re all pissed she took advantage of us and bailed.

If seen, please call XXX-XXX-XXXX. We’d love to throttle her ourselves.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Blackmail Archives: Casanova In Action

[Note: This post was originally published on The Mrs on January 7, 2012.]

Mr Lannis and I have been blessed with family members who help out when it comes to babysitting and giving us a night off. Grandparents, friends, we’ve been lucky in the free-childcare department.

We’ve somehow managed to make it a whole year and a half in our new town before we’ve needed to pay our local-responsible-teen to come over.

(This also speaks of how rarely we actually get out of the house as adults, but let’s not focus on that, shall we?)

Over the holidays, Mr Lannis kind of snapped — extra overtime when you’d expected glorious relaxation will do that to you. So on December 30th 2011 Mr Lannis and I got a babysitter and went on a date!


I know, right?

Anyhow, the point of this post is to regale you all of the progress of our little Casanova, because... well... let’s just say it was share-worthy.

3:30pm - waiting for Miss E, the babysitter and our neighbour from across the street:

 4.5 year old [practically vibrating with excitement]: When is Miss E gonna be here?

Me: In thirty minutes.

4.5 year old: When the big hand gets to the twelve?

Me: Exactly.

4.5 year old [fist pump]: YES!

[In retrospect, we should have realized this implication.]

10pm - on the drive home from our dinner and movie (the new Sherlock Holmes, if you’re interested. Not bad, but I have issues with the fact that Holmes has been recast as an action figure...)

Me: I wonder if our 4.5 year old told Miss E that she was beautiful?

Mr Lannis: He doesn’t really make the moves on girls, you know.

Me: You didn’t see him chatting up the Toys R Us cashier yesterday...

Later, at home:

Miss E: The 4.5 year old didn’t stop talking all night.

Me [deadpan look]: I have *no idea* where he gets that. Did he by any chance tell you that you’re
beautiful, or something about you is beautiful? Your hair, your sweater?

Miss E [laughing]: Yes! When we came in from outside and I took off my glasses because they were fogging up. He asked where they were, then checked them out on the table and told me they were beautiful!

Mr Lannis [to me]: Holy shit, you really called that!

Miss E: He also told me that I was his girlfriend. And when I sent the boys upstairs to get dressed, he came down without any pants on.

Mr Lannis: ... O_o

Me: Well, clearly he’s still working on his finesse...

I think we’ve found a new subject for serial posts...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dear Kindle Touch: I love only you.

I didn’t want a Kindle.

Nope, I really didn’t. I’m one of those souls who enjoys the feel of a book in her hands, the smell of old books, the memories that flood the mind when you recall the first reading of an old book you pull from your shelf.

I didn’t want you, Kindle.

But with this on the horizon, I needed a solution. Mostly because my plastic surgeon laughed when I said I’d get lots of reading done post-op, because I wouldn’t be allowed to use my arms but there’d be nothing wrong with my mind, and I envisioned plowing through the backlog that is my To Read shelf.

She laughed and pooped all over my parade because, well, not using my arms meant I wouldn’t be able to hold open a paperback. And not because of some arbitrary rule—no, it was because I’d be physically unable to do it.

As in: my arms would go numb and I'd drop the book, regardless of intention.

Suffice it to say, you sir, Mr Kindle Touch, became a shiny, happy, lightweight solution.

Yes, I researched which e-reader I wanted to pick up.

Yes, I realize the Kindle is not compatible with my local library’s e-book lending formats.

No, this post is not a debate about comparing technologies.

But it is me weighing in after a year of using an e-reader.

I bought you, my Kindle Touch, and recently discovered that your model has since been discontinued. And while I love you to bits, I don’t think I’d buy another e-reader if you croaked on me.

In fact, as much as you travel everywhere with me and I’m loathe to be without you, I’d put in just as much research going forward with a new model if something were to happen to you.

Well, the thing is, the major feature that sold me on Mr Kindle Touch is the very reason why you were discontinued...

I love your text-to-speech function.

Yes. I love it when you read to me.

Even books that aren’t audiobooks. Your voice is robotic, but what it lacks in appeal it makes up for in grammatical charm (you lovingly conform to punctuation). And besides, you have a huge practical benefit: I can walk to get the kids from school, putter away at housework or gardening, and even work on refinishing furniture with my earbuds in, all while listening to your robotic yet resonant voice read me whatever book I’m working my way through.

Yes, my To Read list has received a major hit this past year. It’s glorious, and all thanks to you, my dear Kindle Touch.

And you read everything—or at least everything I’ve put on you so far. Yes, our time together has become a mental life-saver, allowing me to catch up on the chores and To Do list while still being able to absorb that book that's so desperately calling to me.

Of course, there was more appeal to you than simply your text-to-speech function...

Notoriously the inability to use my arms came in—being lightweight and only needing a tap to turn your page was a big win.

And I’ve come to the age when conclusion that my eyes become tired far quicker than my brain, and thankfully with you the days of reading blurred doubled words are gone—I can increase your font size until I can read (erm) loud and clear again.

Having multiple titles at my fingertips is a bonus, too. Gone are the days when I choose my purses based on their ability to house a novel (or two). I’ve even added a few titles for the kids so if we’re stuck somewhere they can read on Mr Kindle if they’re bored (and careful).

It’s true. I let them touch you. Hard to believe, I know.

So. Back to the discontinued thing, though. Apparently (and I’m going to admit I’ve only read a couple articles about the why, so please don’t take this as gospel), Amazon’s Kindle Touch’s text-to-speech function has been considered competition with audiobooks, and an infringement on copyright for audio rights.

So your fabulous speech function has been discontinued on the latest models.

Craptacular, yes?

And that’s the crux of this review love letter. As much as I love you, my Kindle, I think some people are still going to balk at the e-reader jump, and I have nothing to dissuade them.

After having lived (and loved) my Kindle for the last year, I’m not sure I’d latch on to another model with the same fervor if it was lacking your text-to-speech function. And I’ve built up a (ahem) hefty collection of e-book titles by this point—titles which aren’t exactly tangible copies to grab off my actual-really-truly-real-life shelf. Titles which would be lost if for some reason my current Kindle were to crap out on me and I didn’t choose to replace it with another.

Shh... I don't mean to speak ill of you. I know you'll never let me down. Even constantly using your text-to-speech function I only need charge you once a week or so, you are so reliable and good to me.

Yes, I find your text-to-speech function a mighty sexy quality, my beloved.

And I’m writing this review love letter as a testament of one reader’s experience. I’m assuming everyone knows the arguments for and against e-readers (better for the environment, increased digital piracy, loss of the physical experience of reading). If every e-reader had your text-to-speech function, I’d be at the head of the e-reader argument, waving my pro e-reader banner and rallying folks to the cause...

(Seriously. My son can read along on your screen while your voice reads a chapter book to him, following the words and learning at the same time. This can definitely be considered a literacy tool in our house, even though he’s now outgrown that need—the novelty of it kept his attention, and I was grateful he was interested in "big kid books.")

And poor Mr Lannis—not only have I become obsessed with my sexy technogadget, I’m also slowly culling our bookshelves, getting rid of anything that isn’t a favourite or signed by the author. The physical collection is slowly being depleted overall—I’ve added a couple of titles I've read on my beloved Kindle and enjoyed enough to want to own a physical copy, but for the most part our books are dwindling.

I guess the good news is he’s left with the best of the best? Heh. (I never thought I’d see the day where he thought we didn’t own enough books...::snort::)

So no worries, Mr Kindle Touch. You are going nowhere. And as long as you are steadfast in your durability and quality, I will not shun you. Whether I'll date any of your relatives should you dump me, well... that's yet to be seen.

Until our next rendezvous,

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sarcasm Lines

Not to be confused with sarcastic lines (for example: witty dialogue). Oh no...

Sarcasm lines. Trust.

As I am now ::coughcough:: over thirty years old, I’m aging, becoming more refined.

I wish I was talking about my sense of humour (nope—that inner-fourteen year old boy is still kicking around, waiting to giggle about some sexual innuendo unintentionally dropped in his path).

No, I’m talking about wrinkles. (Gasp!)

Except I really don’t like to call them wrinkles... because, well... wrinkles are on old people (and they look delightful on everyone... just not me).

And they’re most certainly not related to wrinkles’ lovely, more graceful cousin—the smile lines.

Oh no, these bad boys are the direct result of years, a lifetime’s worth of sarcastic expressions.

Yes, folks... they’re sarcasm lines.

No, that line-covered thing at the subway station is not an art installation. It is a map. GPS hasn't always existed at our fingertips. We learned how to read our maps (skillz, yo), and believe it or not, they didn't sass back at us. (GASP!)

This is my expression when I’m faced with unabashed idiocy, when my barely-there broken filter is struggling to keep back a nasty comment, or I’m frozen with disbelief that someone has survived long enough to learn how to feed themselves...

Shut up, you make this face, too. Admit it.

It's sarcasm at work.

Unfortunately, it’s left furrows in my brow, because, well, stupidity hurts, people. Clearly I am a victim.

How can I avoid making this face? Honestly now, in this world where young people are shocked everyday that the Titanic isn't just a movie, I'm virtually screwed...

Titanic. Not just a movie. Schindler's List? Shockingly also true. And possibly more historically relevant.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Oh Google, never change...

In my spare time I grow planets. And beards—but faster than you do.

Tee hee...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Corset Tutorial

[Note: This post was originally published on The Mrs on February 4th 2012. I've since modified this basic pattern to create the Ebou Dari Widow's corset (won 1st overall at JordanCon 4 in 2012) and Elmindreda's bodice (won a Judge's Choice Award at JordanCon 5 in 2013). So you can guess what my go to will always be for tight costumery... heh.]

No, this isn’t a joke.

Anyone who’s been reading The Mrs for a while knows that there’s been some casual side mentions of my corset-making. Because every girl needs a good corset, and the reactions you get when you say you made it yourself are excellent.

The secret? I’ve made only one. But it was stupidly easy!

Okay, I’m currently making another for a costume for JordanCon, the kick-ass Wheel of Time convention that takes place yearly in Atlanta, Georgia. I may have mentioned before that I’m a teensy bit of a fan. Just a touch.

Just a save-up-all-year-to-make-the-trip-guilt-free kind of fan...

(Seriously, if you like The Wheel of Time series, you must go to JordanCon! It’s small, as fan conventions go, and friendly, and communal, and awesome absolutely amazeballs!)

Ahem. Anyhow. Last year when I was there, I had the opportunity to chat with Pinky Shear, an Atlanta-based costumer. Pinky is my favourite kind of person — an outspoken lady of flamboyant class, and I kinda sorta had a girl-crush on her instantly, simply because she is so personable, talented, and down to Earth. Not to mention gorgeous, and full of vintage fun!

(Unfortunately, I just heard she’d died. Okay, not really. Okay, maybe... Don’t panic, folks. Heather has decided to retire her work-persona of Pinky Shear, and did so with decadent style — she killed off her own character. Ha!)

Anyhow, last April in Atlanta, as I was admiring the beading Pinky (Heather) was doing on a corset, and mused out loud that I wish I could make one.

Her response? “If you can sew a straight line, then you can sew a corset.”

Well I’ll be damned. And guess what? She was right!

She also gave me a couple more gems of costuming advice — for period-looking items, go with drapery fabrics. Your costume will have a richer look and feel.

Also? Instead of tracking down expensive corset boning, use industrial zip ties — yes, those plastic cable ties! — they’re cheap ($6 for 100), more comfortable to wear, easy to manipulate, and machine washable.

Thanks to Pinky’s advice, I went snooping online and found this handy site. It’s a very simple corset pattern generator that will tell you how to draw out a custom corset pattern based on your measurements.

Before we get into this, a disclaimer: I am not an orthodox seamstress. That means I don’t always do things the way trained seamstresses do... a lot of times I don’t bother with patterns and just attack a project. I logic-out my path as I go. Now that that’s said (and any by-the-book sewers have been duly warned of potential cringeworthy behaviour ahead), let’s move on...

So. First thing’s first. Gather your supplies...

- no more than two meters of fabric are needed (enough for the outside, and a inner lining)
- industrial zip ties (lots)
- masking tape of some kind
- plenty of wide ribbon to trim edges, and at least another two meters for lacing
- grommets and a grommet setter (and a hammer)
- any decorations or trim for hand-sewing
- matching thread
- paper to draw out your pattern
- ruler
- chalk pencil

I think that’s it. And forgive the photography... these shots are stolen from my Facebook album from last summer.

The pattern above is taken directly from the corset-pattern-generator site.

Carefully cut your fabric as per the site’s instructions. When you're cutting out your fabric, ensure the centre line of your pattern lines up with the fabric's pattern — or it'll be a big waste. I, erm, had enough material to cover “accident insurance” the first time around, and let's just say it was a good thing I did...

Zig zag the edges to prevent fraying, then match up the ends (wrong sides facing out) and straight stitch them together. I liked both the right (gold background) and wrong (green background) sides of the fabric. Turn your corset right-side out (yes, you’ll be working on the right side for the rest of this), machine stitch the top of the corset before moving on to the boning.

(Heh heh — boning. I am far too immature to be a corset-maker. I giggled the whole freaking time...)

Now for your industrial zip ties. Cut off the end and tape them together to reinforce their strength. Use your fabric to check how long you want each zip tie, but remember to leave a centimeter or two at the bottom for when you sew the boning channels shut.

Start with the boning to strengthen and reinforce the grommets, so you’re working with each end of the corset. Use the chalk pencil to mark how wide the pocket needs to be, and sew from the top of your corset down, leaving the bottom of the channel open to insert the boning.

Decide the layout for the boning. The corset pattern generator site has a nice diagram for layout purposes.

Carefully sew the channels for the boning, and check to see that the boning actually fits. Pins will keep the fabric in place. Make sure to always sew in one direction (from top of corset down, or from bottom up) to keep the fabric from twisting and shifting. Leave the ends of the channels open.

Pin and machine sew wide ribbon along the top of the corset, then fold it over onto the other side and hand sew it with a blind hem stitch to finish the edge. I’d recommend carefully machine sewing the side you want to be the right side of your corset (the side everyone will see when you’re wearing it), and hand stitching on the lining side.

Insert all the boning into the channels and pin and machine sew the ribbon on the bottom of the corset.

Edges DONE!

Mark grommets and place evenly. Use your hammer and grommet setter to cut through the fabric and set the grommets. Easier than it sounds, truly!

Grommets all done!

Now this would be when you hand sew any decorations (trim, beads, whatever) onto your corset!

All laced! And because I like to set the bar high — yes, it's reversible.

Total cost? About $15-$20, plus time (maybe 8 hrs total? That sounds like a lot, but it felt much quicker). I bought most of my supplies at a Fabricland super sale (this particular fabric was clearance, less than $5/m).

Add another $10 for the grommet setting kit, but the tools can be used in the next project. Also, there's enough zip ties left for another project, maybe two...


Not bad, if I do say so myself!

Okay, so, maybe so far I’ve only got to wear this (legitimately) at Hallowe’en, but I’ll tell you this: it was great to see the kids’ eyes light up when I answered the door to hand out candy. And I even had one father thank me for showing his little girl that women can dress up for Hallowe’en without showing tons of skin and still be absolutely beautiful!

I may have thanked him, closed the door, and teared up a bit — it was so sweet!

In short: totally worth it.

This year? This year I found this site, so this year I’m making the whole dress... ::grin::

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

TANGLED SOULS by Jana Oliver - Book Review

Rating: 4/5 -  A satisfying read that’s worth every word.

Title: Tangled Souls

Author: Jana Oliver

Format: ebook


Genre: paranormal romance, mystery

  Nevermore Press

Landed in my hands:
purchased myself

(from the author’s website):

Wiccan Gavenia Kingsgrave’s psychic gift, the ability to talk to the dead, comes with strings attached. As a Shepherd, she escorts them into the hereafter, but not all the souls want to cross over, and some can be downright vicious. When her latest case involves a heart-breaking hit-and-run victim, Gavenia is stressed to the max. The last thing she needs is a no-nonsense private detective on her tail, even if he is a handsome Irishman.

Former homicide detective Douglas O’Fallon possesses his own psychic gift, one he’s denied for years. Hired by a wealthy client to prove that Gavenia’s a con artist, he is skeptical of the witch’s claims she can speak to the dead. If he finds her gift as genuine, then he will be forced to accept his own. When their two cases intersect, opposites attract. But will they be able to set their differences aside long enough to outwit their foes – both the living and the dead?


I find I gravitate to a lot of young adult titles. Admittedly, it was one of the reasons I picked up Ms Oliver’s The Demon Trapper’s Daughter (and because I was familiar with her name from JordanCons past). It was refreshing to read a story where the main characters were more established, where their personal histories were more cluttered with baggage.

It was a nice change of pace to have characters second guessing the actions of others, but also having enough self-awareness to recognize and debate whether they might be unwilling to trust someone based on their own demons, not the actions of the other character in question. It was a tidy muddle that served to increase narrative tension. As an over-analyser, I could definitely relate.

Tangled Souls was a great book to pick up for a change of pace between epic fantasy reads, letting me reset my brain as it were. And it excites me because I’ve enjoyed Ms Oliver’s Demon Trappers series so much that I was holding my breath, hoping I’d fall in love with her other characters, too. Sure enough, Gavenia and O’Fallon are an idiosyncratic pair that feel genuine—exactly what I was hoping for.

And I’m not going to lie: I got teary at moments. Oliver has managed to tug at the heartstrings again. And because that’s the case, I’ll be picking up more of her work—she’s solidified herself as a good read in my books.

She has another series I have yet to check out called The Time Rovers, and I'm looking forward to reading her take on time travel.

Monday, September 2, 2013

One fish, two fish, not so blue fish...

Okay, so there were two fish... then [::mumble::] I broke one...

Everybody now, say it together: This is why we can't have nice things!

Truth, though... I bought these two fish for $0.25 each at our local ReStore, then promptly broke one while washing what-I-thought-was-dust-but-was-actually-milky-finish off it.

Milky finish doesn't wash off, you say? Well, if you scrub hard enough, you can break a tail...


I got them to join this guy in the boys' suicidal smiley erm, sunshine yellow bathroom. He's from our trip to Cancun. I began painting him poolside, and brought him home to finish the job with my dollar store acrylics that've been lying around the house for oh, a few years at least.

This photo doesn't do the yellow justice. Imagine a smiley face decided to blow his brains out, and the gore was absorbed into our bathroom walls. Evenly. That almost gives you a good idea...

But these this fish needed some help.

First thing I did was take our dollar store acrylic paint that's been kicking around here forever and painted him white (about three good coats). And forgot to take a photo.

Second oops.

Then I used a pencil to trace the lines following the shape of the fish to block out the areas of colour (I used the photo of his previous design as a guide), and chose my rainbow palette to go with the lizard that had been finished with the same paints post-Cancun.

Then I painted.

Top left: There's about four layers of each colour to get a good coat.

Top right: Using a Sharpie marker I traced the lines, and referred my photo of the fish's original paint job to get the details right. And what's great is if you make a mistake you can repaint that section to erase and begin again once it dries.

Bottom left: I used an acrylic sealer to create a glossy coat. Multiple thin coats are best.

Bottom right: My brain went, "MORE SHINE!" and I got overzealous with my glossy needs. I put too thick a coat on ze fish, and some of my Sharpie lines began to bleed. Look at his eye—he's crying. So tragic...

Third oops.

Meh. All in all, it's a $0.25 fish (okay, $0.50 fish if you count his broken brother), that was given new life for a kids' bathroom thanks to dollar store paints that I already owned. Cheap project? I'll say...

Full disclosure: I left this project on the kitchen counter, paints and all, and whenever I went in there for any reason that day I'd layer on more paint. Between priming him white, painting, detailing, and spraying the glossy topcoat, it took me three days to upcycle this little guy.

Now to keep trolling second hand stores. Planning to add to our rainbow menagerie, one species at a time...