Nanaimo Bathtub Weekend:World’s Largest Bathtub!

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Now that I have your attention, here is seriously the world’s largest bathtub! :

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You can Google it: World’s largest bathtub Nanaimo and this is the one that actually goes IN the water…

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Pretty neat hey!

So one of Nanaimo’s Mayors, Frank J Ney, decided to give a special gift, Bathtub Racing. I’m sure you’re scratching your head right now… Well, this Mayor dressed up as a Pirate

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The tradition of Bathtub Racing started 51 years ago. Many of us Nanaimoites look forward to Bathtub Weekend, which includes the Nanaimo Marine Festival, Concerts, a Parade, Street Fair, Fireworks and of course the Bathtub race itself. If this peeks your interest, check out the full story here: Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society

One would think after 51 years, they would have it down to a science right? Wrong! This year could have been a lot better. Here is my experience of the 2017 51st year of the Bathtub Weekend Parade, Street Fair and Fireworks.

Saturday morning:

Angela and I were going to meet up with our friend Courtnay on Front Street, ideal spot for the Parade and it was where her bus was supposed to be rerouted to. The reroute was sent to those who subscribe to the notification emails, as well as posted online. Apparently the bus driver didn’t get the memo, went the wrong way, swore, and then proceeded to ditch the bus passengers where he stopped. If Courtnay didn’t already know the reroute route where they were ditched is her regular stop anyways and she wouldn’t have cared. However, she did know the reroute, which made her pretty upset, and not to mention how extremely unprofessional the driver was.

Ok, so after meeting up with an exhausted and frustrated Courtnay we get to our Parade spot, the bus bench under the awning on Front Street; which was supposed to be blocked off to traffic at least about a half an hour before the parade was to start. Not to mention, there weren’t supposed to be any cars parked along the parade route, as police in previous years have ticketed cars that did so.

In other words, the road was NOT blocked off when it was supposed to and no cars were ticketed or asked to move. Yes, we were getting frustrated. There were kids that were partly playing in the road, so we were concerned with safety as well.

Now the parade gets underway. They changed the route slightly, coming from a curved road, which makes no sense when you have trucks pulling floats or trailers (shakes head). Not to mention the gaps between everyone in the parade, trying to keep up coming around the corner. Then that was it. It was probably the shortest parade I’ve seen in a very long time, possibly ever in my life (and I’m 28).

Don’t get me wrong, what they showcased was good, it was just poorly organized, and not enough people were in it, in our opinions.

Here’s the good stuff:

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Carlos O’Bryan’s Neighborhood Pub

 

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Nanaimo Deep Discovery Association

 

 

Zorb Games

 

Brechin Lanes 5-Pin Bowling Alley

 

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Little Tales Princess Parties 

After the parade, we went to Angela’s to rest a bit, and get ready for our next trek out. Which was to stop at the cannons, next to the Bastion for the noon firing and Highland dancers before continuing on towards the mall to grab our pizza lunch. The dancers were something Courtnay looked forward to, since she used to dance when she was younger. The dancers were cancelled, another disappointment.

But, here’s the cannon firing:

We enjoyed pizza back at Angela’s, watched a bit of tv and then decided to hit the street fair. Which would have been better had it been along one continuous street rather than have a big gap (which was the main road)… There were a fair amount of vendors, we just thought they were too spread out which made the street fair look awfully small.

However, the small disappointment there, we did find amusement along the way…

Tiger Lily Farm Petting Zoo:

 

Some of the local shops had street sales, and with those sales came the unique signs, like this one from Funk Your Fashion:

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And this lady makes appearances around town, can’t help but put a smile on your face. 🙂

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We proceeded to grab our free Root Beer from A&W and head back on the opposite side of the street. I pointed toward the little nook of Diana Krall Plaza, which we decided to have a look and found some homemade cupcakes (mine was chocolate and tasty!), I made my one purchase of the day and was extremely glad to support local! I purchased a tank top from a brother and sister business team, who cleverly, I might add, integrated their business card for Van-IsleStyle. 

 

I love the tag that came on my tank! (Reasonably priced I might add, $25 tax included)

 

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On our way back to Angela’s (for our next little break before going back out to dinner), we passed the Flying Fish (self-explanatory..)

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No no, not that, although we did think the Canada mat was neat.

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Cheesy but cute, no?

Of course passing by Pirate Chips, I just had to get a shot of the Pirate out front, and his ripped flag seems to suit, as long as it doesn’t get any more torn up. I had half a mind to suggest eating there for dinner rather than what we planned. Since I was craving a poutine, and I still haven’t tried their deep-fried Nanaimo Bar!

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We arrived back at Angela’s, hung out for a bit, watched some more tv, then took our walk all the way back into the downtown core for dinner. We then met up with another friend who treated us to ice cream before we headed back to Angela’s to meet her parents to watch the fireworks from her balcony. Of course, I had to get a shot of the other big Bathtub (yes, we have more than one, shocker I know) that was on display in the park among the vendors of food trucks, busy crowd and loud music playing from the beer garden.

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I would have gotten a picture of the smaller tub, but people were already occupying themselves by playing in it. Maybe next year?

Back at Angela’s, the sun was setting in the picturesque harbour:

 

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10pm: Finally the Fireworks!

I realize many people have seen fireworks. However, not many have seen them from a 14th floor balcony and across a harbour. Yes, the fireworks were on a small barge out on the water! I got a clear shot of the reflection off the water! It is gorgeous in my opinion, can’t beat the beauty of the Nanaimo Harbour! It was so nice to avoid the crowds.

 

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(please excuse the conversation in the background of the video, it was shot with my cell phone.. haha not bad eh for a cellular device)

All in all, the day turned out good. We didn’t let the small things bug us too much, and that helped to enjoy the fireworks at the end of the night.

I was just thinking of a conversation we had about city slogans. Nanaimo is known as the Harbour City or Hub City. But I think it should be this: “Nanaimo Hub City, Don’t Pull the Plug from our Tub. ” Or something to that effect. Any ideas?

I think with better planning and more exposure to this great event, we can make it much better! I mean, seriously a giant bathtub that actually goes in the water! Nanaimo has some great things to offer if you ever want to come for a visit!

Oh and if you want to know who won this year’s Bathtub race, check it out here: 51st Bathtub Race Winner

 

All You Need is One Killer Track

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The film: Baby Driver

Not your average heist film. In fact, it’s not even your average “young adult” film either.

Our main character of Baby, Ansel Elgort, who is the driver, hence the title Baby Driver, has a more complexity to his character then one would believe at first glance which we see progress through the film.

Music is another character, in my opinion. As Baby and the music he listens to go hand in hand with what is happening around him. The soundtrack to his life so to speak and of his choosing. The way the playlist is intertwined within the storyline is unspeakably done well. The rhythm and timing flow melodically with the story as if the story were written while the music was playing in the background. (I wouldn’t doubt it actually was.)

The crime boss, Doc, Kevin Spacey, is a neutral character. You don’t seem to hate him but you don’t particularly like him either. Especially after Baby ends up being coerced back into being the getaway driver for a doomed heist.

Debora, Lily James, the lovable waitress Baby falls head over heels for. It’s the headphones on her that first catch his eye, as he’s always plugged into his iPod with his earbuds. Her character doesn’t take away from the story, as many may find a “love interest” can get in the way of heist films or make it cheesy or tacky. She adds a dash of hope for Baby, his escape from the crime world.

Bats, Jamie Fox. All I can say (without giving it all away) is that he’s bat-shit crazy, and I don’t like him.

Our crime couple, Buddy, Jon Hamm, and Darling, Eiza Gonzalez, we don’t mind them, they seem to take a liking to Baby, but then shit hits the fan…

This film will have your heart on your sleeve, your butt on the edge of your seat and toe tapping to the beat. It’s got something for everyone. Action, love, music.

I think many will relate to Baby’s character, always being plugged in, music as a way of life to use as a coping mechanism and used well. I know I do. Can’t drive like him though.

I highly recommend this film and the soundtrack on Spotify: Baby Driver

Perfect Cup of Coffee

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Flavoured Coffee: 

Do as instructed below but leave out the cinnamon and put the pinch of salt in after you put in and evenly distribute your coffee

For Non Flavoured Coffee:

Grab the mug you are going to use and fill with water, the amount of coffee you plan to drink (be sure to leave room for sugar/cream or whatever you may take in your coffee), then fill the coffee maker

Put in the filter, add a pinch of salt

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Add your scoop of coffee

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Push down so it’s evenly distributed in the filter. then add a pinch of cinnamon

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It’s time to turn it on and start brewin’

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Add the desired amount of sugar or sweetener to your mug, I use about a tablespoon and a bit of brown sugar

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Now pour your fresh brewed coffee

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Add your desired amount of cream, I use half and half

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Stir well

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Now this ladies and gents is a REAL “I need coffee stat” selfie!

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I get the perfect cup every time. Well almost.. Some times there’s too much cinnamon but that’s okay, it doesn’t ruin the whole cup. My flavoured coffee of choice lately has been Van Houtte Irish Cream and my regular has been Nabob Organic Reserve.

 

As Long As It’s Edible

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Instagram and Pinterest are two of the biggest forms of social media when it comes to “pretty” edible delights. But what about those of us who are average ? Yes we can make or attempt to make a lot of those recipes but they don’t usually turn out as “pretty.”

So what’s wrong with that? Nothing I say! As long as it’s edible, preferably good tasting, it doesn’t have to look professional.

Here are a few of my creations. *Please note, I don’t tend to specifically measure my ingredients so be sure to gage on your own accord.

First is my take on a healthy cookie.

Banana Chocolate Walnut Cookie:

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F

Ingredients:

  • Bananas
  • peanut butter chocolate protein powder
  • quick oats
  • chopped walnuts
  • dark chocolate melting wafers
  • olive oil

Mash bananas well. Then add the protein powder and stir thoroughly.  Add the oats and walnuts and mix. Add a touch of olive oil (so it won’t stick)

Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Spoon out the mixture onto the sheet. Mine made a full batch of 12, then I had enough for about 7 more cookies. Flatten out each cookie blob with one dark chocolate wafer in the middle. Bake for about 10-15 min. I check every 5 min or so just to make sure they aren’t burnt. You can always bake a little longer.

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Next recipe is a little more sweet but who says you can’t indulge right?

I call it “Maple Pretzel Blob”   Unless someone can let me know a better name ??

Ingredients:

  • Maple marshmallows
  • mini pretzel twists
  • a touch of margarine or  butter
  • walnuts
  • small handful of dark chocolate wafers

In a bowl, maple marshmallows and touch of margarine or butter. Melt in microwave. Be wary it can melt over the bowl and be a bit of a sticky mess. Mine was manageable though. Mix as best you can once melted. Add the pretzels, walnuts and wafers and stir. Pour mix into a parchment paper lined pan. Put into the fridge to set.

(told you it looks like a blob! but a tasty blob!)

Next is homemade chips!

Spicy Tortilla Chips:

Preheat oven to  350 degrees F.

Line parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • tortillas cut into pieces
  • spices (any that you want to use)

In a bowl add spices to olive oil and stir. Drench or coat lightly the tortilla pieces and place on the cookie sheet. Bake until desired crispness.

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For tasty homemade nachos I shredded some cheese 0006810089386over these chips and melted in the microwave.

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See I’m not a professional by any means but I can make tasty things, even if they don’t look “pretty!” How about you?

Small Town Comicon for a Cause!

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Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada isn’t known for many things, aside from the Nanaimo Bar desert, the international Bathtub Races, Diana Krall etc.. What should be added to that list is a newly popular, ever-growing FREE Curious Comicon!

May 6, 2017 was their 3rd year, and biggest turnout so far! Curious Comicon takes over the entirety of Country Club Centre, helping make it a free event, as well as help the businesses in the shopping centre, not to mention the home of Curious Comics Nanaimo, who put on the event.

Curious Comics is Vancouver Island’s premier comic book shop with three locations in Victoria, Langford and Nanaimo.

Web: Curious Comics

The purpose of Curious Comicon is to make Free Comic Book Day a whole lot bigger, bring together some amazing local merchants, get kids and parents geeking out and the biggest goal, to help raise money for the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.

Children’s Wish grants wishes to children from ages 3-17  with life threatening illnesses. It’s the largest and only all Canadian wish granting charity.

This was my very first convention EVER! For it being small-scale in comparison to other cons, I was overwhelmed! It was great to see kids and parents dressing up together and sharing the love of imagination. My Free Comic Book Day haul:

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Yes, that’s a small bar of soap in the photo. I got a free sample from Quadra Island Soap, which had really cool Pokeball bath bombs which contain a little toy inside! (Didn’t have any cash or else I would have snagged one!) We we only allowed to choose three free comics, so I made my choice wisely. Vampirella, because I’m kind of vampire obsessed, Guardians of the Galaxy because duh the sequel is out in theatres ( it kicks ass by the way), and Zelda for the nostalgic( watched others play the game, never got to myself but always fascinated by it).

I attended this Comicon with two other companions. Here is what they thought of Curious Comicon:

Courtnay had this to say about her experience: ” I really wasn’t too sure what to expect from it because I’ve never been to a proper convention or anything close, really, but it was a lot of fun getting to geek out over all the fandom stuff around other people who got it and didn’t act like I was weird for loving or getting excited about things like that. I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat.”

It was super cool seeing kids as well as adults in cosplay. It’s a great sight, seeing parents encouraging their children to dress up, and vice versa. Already they have something in common that they can both be passionate and excited about, and it just warms my heart knowing that geeking out at these kinds of conventions are more and more becoming the common norm. It’s something I never saw much of growing up and I wish that had been happening more back in the day,” says Angela. 

When we were getting ready to leave, we seen a mom arrive, with a home-made costume, in which Angela got really excited. (in case anyone doesn’t know from the photo, this is Sailor Venus from the Sailor Moon Series)

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Here’s Angela’s Free Comic Book Haul:

Comics all 3

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Here is the link to the Nanaimo Bulletin’s piece, interviewing Mike Drummond of Curious Comics: Nanaimo Bulletin on Curious Comicon

I cannot wait until the next Curious Comicon, in which I hope we can make it another huge success!!

 

 

 

Petunia PuddleDuck

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I had the chance to ask Miranda Turner a few questions about her unique pets, including a very special duck named Petunia.

When did you decide you wanted a pet duck?

“It was sprung on us without warning. Back in 2010, Patrick [now husband] and I were volunteering at the World Parrot Refuge and had become very good friends with the owner, Wendy. On our weekly visit out, Wendy came over and asked us if we could help her with something. Some people had surrendered their parrot but only on the condition she also take in a duck that their dog had attacked. The poor thing only had one wing and could never be released into the wild. But due to strict wildlife regulations, it is ILLEGAL to have a wild duck, and she was afraid of word getting out about this duck. So we brought it home and named it Ducky. After a bit of research we found out ducks do best in pairs or groups and that’s where it all began.”

*Nanaimo does have bylaws in place regarding wildlife such as rabbits and ducks (poultry), with restrictions, such as limits as to how many of each you may own, and fines associated with breaking these laws. Check your area’s bylaws regarding ownership of wildlife before considering having them as pets.

What kind of animals do you have and how do they all get along?

“We currently have cats, dogs, 1 parrot, ducks and rabbits. My special needs cat doesn’t get along with most of our pets and other than that, pretty much everyone else does get along.”

Do you find it rewarding?

“I’m happy to rescue any animal that I can. Nearly all of our pets are a rescue in one way. The most unusual of the group is our dog, Cyrus, he came here to Vancouver Island from Kuwait(yes, the other side of the world). We were only supposed to foster him, but he got along so well with out other dog and all our pets that we decided to keep him. The only down side to having all these wonderful pets is it’s hard to go anywhere. Everyone has to be let out to run around during the day and then put away for safety at night, and it can be tricky herding ducks. The rabbits and parrot require a special diet, and then there is the constant cleaning up!”

What kind of adventures has Petunia been on?

We got her when she was about a week old. She was given up by her owner because she had Wry Neck Syndrome (torticollis) and would need extra care to hopefully cure it. And thankfully with some liquid Baby vitamins and some love she made a full recovery in 24 hours!! Petunia is what I call a 50/50 Imprint. She thinks she’s people and will follow me everywhere but she will gladly go spend the afternoon outside with the other ducks, doing ducky things.”-Miranda’s Facebook photo album of baby Petunia

“Petunia is a pretty spoiled Fid (fur/feather kid). She gets to go paddle boarding up at Westwood Lake as part of her therapy for her arthritis (she can barely walk but swims like a fish). She has been out to Alberta at least twice to visit family. As a baby she got to go to the Velodrome in Victoria to watch Patrick. She gets to go to the ocean to eat baby crabs and swim in the summer when it’s warmer out. Last year we checked off one of her bucket list items which was to ride a Ferris Wheel with West Coast Amusements when they came to Nanaimo. I just found a helicopter company in Campbell River that said they would let her come out for a helicopter ride, but until I get it in actual writing I won’t get my hopes up.”

Ferris Wheel Adventure

What kind of challenges do you have as a duck owner? and as an owner of many animals?

“The biggest challenge is finding a vet. I have about 5 different vets I have to use because not everyone deals with bunnies, or ducks, or is available when we need them. Although, lucky for us, we did manage to get a bit of training from our time at the World Parrot Refuge, myself growing up on a hobby farm, and Patrick’s first aid training, so some things we can deal with ourselves.”

Has anyone ever told you having a pet duck is crazy?

“No one has ever told me a duck shouldn’t be a pet. Most people are so surprised and think it’s great, especially when we are out at the lake and she follows along behind me or is asleep on the paddle board. I do get a few people who tell me when they were younger they had a pet duck or grew up on a duck farm and how much they miss having them around. I also get people telling me how tasty ducks are and that I should just eat her.

Having a pet duck or pet poultry has really evolved over the past few years. I am friends with Nettie, the owner of Party Fowl on Etsy. She makes custom duck diapers so your duck can roam around the house and there is no mess. I know Carla and Daniel, [who] recently became an internet sensation after accompanying Carla on a flight in the U.S. as her therapy pet.  Carla Fitzgerald Check her out, she’s a pretty awesome lady and Daniel is an amazing duck.”

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to have a pet duck?

“Pet ducks are awesome, just like dogs. But they require more attention and maintenance and it’s a lot harder to find a vet. If you think dog hair is annoying, wait until your house turns into a snow globe when they molt! Adopt don’t shop! There are hundreds of animals locally waiting to be adopted and YES that includes ducks! If you can’t adopt, volunteer at a local shelter, they always need support!”

Check out Petunia’s Facebook page: Petunia PuddleDuck

Check out Miranda and Petunia’s Etsy page: The PuddleDuck Store

Check them out on YouTube: Petunia PuddleDuck

 

 

I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing

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Taken from, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing is an independent Canadian film. It has ranked ninth in the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time, by the Toronto International Film Festival, in 1993, with director Patricia Rozema being the first female director on that list.

Seeing a feminist approach and the artistic intentions, Canadian film critic, Thomas Waugh, describes Rozema as “the most prominent of English Canadian lesbian filmmakers.” Refusing to define her films as “distinctly feminist,” in an interview in 1991, Rozema insists that “gender is a category that does not interest her.” But in 1993, Rozema acknowledges the feminism in her films, saying, … “it’s in their foundation.”

The script explores two things which are very admirable of this film; the imagination of the viewer through fantasy which intertwines with the curiosity of Polly’s sexuality.

Through the art of staging, director Patricia Rozema has created a layered world co-existing through the eyes of Polly Vandersma; the simplicity of the art gallery and Polly’s bachelorette apartment compliments Polly’s fantasies and images through her photographs; each is strategically placed to enlighten and inform the viewer of what is going on around Polly and what is inside her head.

Through cinematography we not only see through Rozema’s camera lens, we see through Polly’s; not only to watch her take photographs but be her taking the photographs as we become aware of the surroundings in which Polly finds interesting and artistic.

Sheila McCarthy’s performance not only captivates the viewer but also compliments the film as a period piece (initial release Sept 11, 1987); her on screen chemistry with her co-star Paule Baillargeon (Gabrielle, museum curator) dares to tease the viewer into believing they may end up as lovers.

The special effects of this film are incredibly simple, delving into the minds of the viewer it lets them use their imaginations; Gabrielle’s painting, shown as white light, leaves the viewer puzzled at first glance but lets them decide for themselves to picture what they wish the painting to be.

The repetition and on and off screen of Leo Delibes’s “The Flower Duet” helps to set the tone and mood of the film; it guides the audience in and out of Polly’s fantasies and helps to penetrate the minds of the viewer.

This film does a very good job in capturing the period in which it was filmed; special effects such as Polly’s flying scene, the clothing/hairstyles, music and filmed with a 16-millimeter lens are clear indicators. I enjoyed watching Polly’s curiosity in things through her photographs and through her relationship with Gabrielle and watching Gabrielle and Mary’s intimate relationship because it gives a sense of innocence. Polly is 30 years of age but the way in which she is presented and presents herself shows her as more child-like. I liked the confessional aspect of the film, it was an effective use of storytelling and in the end, is tied together in the present after she is finished her confessional. The fantastical elements pull the viewer into wanting to know and explore what exactly Polly sees. The very ending made me want to know what world the three characters of Polly, Gabrielle and Mary were going to explore.

Overall, this film helps to unleash the artistic, curious open minded desires in the viewer.

*If the narrative of the film was not done through Polly’s confessional would it still have the same impact? Also, if Gabrielle’s (really Mary’s) painting were a painting instead of white light would that take away from the fantastical element of the film?