Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tilt Shift Down Under - Melbourne in Miniature

Some time ago, I posted a tutorial on how to do tilt shift. (It's HERE if you want to read it again.)

Now comes this very cool, tilt shift video of Melbourne, Australia. We can thank Nathan Kaso, a photographer who spent 10 months making this film.

I think this is very cool indeed.

Doug just walked past, looked at it, and commented "Weird."

Each to his own.

I love it.

Ipso facto, Doug is weird.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The World-Renowned Cat Paw Club

A few months ago, I went on a walking tour of Montreal, led by Ingrid Birker at the Redpath Museum.

This was a specialized tour, called the What Building Stones Tell: A Walking Tour Focusing On The Fossils, Rocks and Minerals of Montreal Buildings.  We examined "corpse sediment" like these puppies. (These are not literally puppy corpses. I felt the need to clarify, given the title.)

Sure, there were lots of 500-million-year-old fossils in some lovely old buildings, including some fancy-schmancy stone that is so rare, it was used for our parliament buildings and, lucky for us, a very luxurious apartment building called The Chateau built in 1925. So how did this stone end up in this building if it was so difficult to come by? And also, I discovered, in the Alcan Headquarters just down the street? Turns out the architect had a family connection to the quarry owner in Manitoba. Once again, in old times and new, it's all about who you know.

Who has all the hot Montreal geology gossip you need to know? Booyah! Right here, folks.

But, common woman that I am, the thing that captivated me even more was something called a "cat's paw" brick. Back in 1870 at this local factory, bricks were laid out in the sun to dry. It would appear the brickyard owners had a cat that liked to wander over the wet bricks and leave its mark, as it were.

Old Boris used to leave his mark, but I can assure you, it wasn't a paw print.

If you look closely at the McGill Faculty Club, for example, you'll see many bricks with the cat paw mark on the side wall.

There is even a local group comprised of builders and architects who call themselves The Cat Paw Club. They walk around the city looking for specially marked bricks to add to their list.

Of course, I felt compelled to do the same. And looky-looky what I found, including on the side of the McGill Theology Department.  Coincidence? Or divine intervention?

This is at the corner of Guy and Sherbrooke, on the side of the building where I get my mammograms done. (Insert Joke Here) You can see traces of the old fireplace, soon to be covered up by some new office or condo building.
But if you look closely....
Ta da!
Unfortunately for my family (as was the case recently on a dinner outing) if I am at a prime location and I spy a red brick building, I am now compelled to investigate - down back alleys, along side streets, wherever my intuition and curiosity takes me. Kind of like a four-legged friend I used to know?

Oh, and cat paw bricks are not a recent phenomenon. This Roman brick is over 2,000 years old, and was found at Fort Vancouver in Washington. It probably got here as ballast in a Hudson's Bay Company ship in the 19thC. Read about this special cat paw brick HERE.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Next Piece of Furniture

We need a few new pieces of furniture for the apartment. I still have stuff from back in my student days.

Sure there's IKEA, but Doug wants to go more upscale and check out some of the "grown-up" furniture places.

I found the perfect piece for a corner of the living room that needs a little je ne sais quoi to bring it to life. Understated and elegant, this has proved the test of time. I think everyone needs one of these. Thoughts?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Black Rice Salad

This is grainy, wholesome goodness but with attitude. It's delicious healthy comfort food.

I always make this when I have a big group of people over for dinner because as Murphy's Law dictates, I will invariably make something like Meat Bundles and then half the group turns out to be vegetarian. And yes, I do have a recipe for Meat Bundles and it is awesome (ground beef bundles stuffed with seasoned potatoes then covered and cooked in mushroom sauce) but not if you're a vegetarian.

My friend adapted this from a dish she ate at a local deli, then I adapted my friend's adaptation.

And that is how you birth a recipe.


6 TBSP canola oil
4 TBSP sesame oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 TBSP honey
2 TBSP reduced sodium soya sauce (sushi grade if possible)

Mix in glass container, and set aside.

Rice Salad:

4 cups cooked black rice, cooled
2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
4 green onions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup baby tomatoes
2 cups edamame beans, shelled (I get them frozen)
1-2 TBSP grated ginger (I keep an unpeeled knob in the freezer and grate it just like that)
2 TBSP roasted, salted hemp seeds
3 TBSP roasted black and white sesame seeds (look in the sushi section for jars of them.)

Mix salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add half the dressing and taste, adding more if necessary. You won't need all of it, so it's best to store it in the fridge in a non-corrosive container. It's delicious on green salads, too.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring in Montreal

I'd like to tell you these are growing in my garden.

But that would be a big, fat lie.

I got these for Easter.

They're in a pot in my kitchen.

At least the squirrels aren't decapitating them and chowing down.

Always look on the bright side of your life, dee do, dee do dee do dee dooo. (Hands up those of you who now have a Monty Python brain worm. You're welcome.)