“It’s a double pleasure to deceive the deceiver”

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Atomic Blonde is one of those films that still needs work in some areas but is still really well done for what it is… An action/spy film noir set in 1989 featuring a strong female lead.

For me, I had to see it a second time to see what I missed the first, and really focus on the details.

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I found what I missed, and then I seen all the pieces come together like a jigsaw puzzle. I had an “oh” facepalm moment.

This film is based on of the graphic novel “The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston. Which now I need to get my hands on to compare how the film stands up to the original work.

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I got so excited about this film that I started writing my review on a Tim Hortons napkin…

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I have to say, with all the films (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Baby Driver) recently having soundtracks that really not only suit the film and style and era but are a real part of the film, Atomic Blonde is definitely one of those.

My number one compliment to the soundtrack is the inclusion of the German songs, not only are a lot of the ’80s era music from Germany, the original song is actually in German, and to feature the original tracks in this film are a massive homage and extremely respectful to the artists. Major Tom, by Peter Schilling, is his tribute to David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Most North Americans probably haven’t even heard the German version, but you’ll know it to hear it.

Being set in the ’80s, it’s very important that the music be from that era and they nailed it on the head! Not to mention the score has a ’80s feel to it as well as it sounds a bit (in my opinion since I listen to A LOT of ) industrial German. The composer, Tyler Bates, did an incredible job and has the credentials to back it up, working with Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, worked on the Guardians of the Galaxy, and John Wick.

Speaking of John Wick, the director of this film, David Leitch, is uncredited as a director of a few scenes of John Wick, in which you can tell he pulled the style. Since both films are spy thrillers. His next film is Deadpool 2.

Leitch did well in his direction of this film. But I’m curious to see the director’s cut, because there were a few spots in which the film seemed like it was going to end but then it kind of paused and kept going. I’m not sure if this was intentional or if there are more scenes that were cut that perhaps tie into the choppiness that is the theatrical version.

A few other good things I will say about the inclusion of things in this film is the actual footage of a quote by Regan at the beginning, “We don’t mistrust each other because we’re armed; we’re armed because we mistrust each other.”- Ronald Reagan; and the actual footage of MTV anchor Kurt Loder, after the Berlin wall came down.

 

Characters:

Charlize Theron: Atomic Blonde herself Lorraine Broughton

She did well as her character but something about the blonde hairstyle just didn’t quite sit right. As the main focus of the film she brought a badass tough girl, no bullshit attitude but still with human emotions and perhaps flaw? as a spy this may be part of a tell… as you’d think most spies would have to keep their emotions in check. I won’t give away anything, but say this, pay attention to every detail you can in this film if you really want to figure it out. 😉

James McAvoy: David Percival MI6 Agent

As Broughton’s Berlin contact and superior, he’s also got some skeletons hiding in his closet. Can the audience see them in plain sight? He’s a rat bastard you like to hate, mostly due to his cunning grin. McAvoy does an incredible job playing this character and pulls off the “[h]andsome, late 30’s, disastrous Sinead O’Connor hair.”

Sofia Boutella: Delphine Lasalle

Without giving away exactly who she is, I’ll say that she’s naive and innocent, a bit of punk rock meets Flashdance. But unfortunately Boutella tries a bit too hard to pull this persona off, which is a shame since she did really well as Jaylah in Star Trek: Beyond. The style looks good on her, but, I feel the character isn’t fully developed. Perhaps the director’s cut may shed some light?

I loved this film, as much as it’s not completely fantastic. I think it’s the ’80s era and the fact it’s centered around the Cold War and the Berlin Wall that intrigued me the most. Since well, my favourite band Rammstein grew up behind the wall, I’d be curious to know what they think of the film.

 

 

Canada 150 Parksville Sandcastle Competition

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I’m sure many people have heard of sandcastle competitions or maybe some haven’t. Either way, the competition that happens every year in Parksville, BC, I think, has some of the best talent in the world.

Of course, for 2017, the theme is Canada 150. There was no shortage of Canadian icons and creative spirit.

The Parksville Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition has been happening for the past 35 years and going strong! It is the only competition in Canada in which Canadian artists can qualify for the World Championship of Sand Sculpting.

I am not the greatest photographer so my photos aren’t professional but I think I did ok. You can obviously tell which I like best. I couldn’t get all the detail for some of them, as some sculptures have 360 view.

To get this out of the way, (mainly because I don’t particularly like Justin Beiber) but here you go, fans, Beibs as a Beaver in sand!

Justin Beaver

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An ode to one of our explorers, Jacques Cartier 

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Canadian Mosiac

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David Suzuki & Terry Fox

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Sculpture of Sponsors:

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Happy Birthday Canada

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No shortage of Animals..

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And my favourite!!

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These are very unique..

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I do hope that Canada does well in the World Competition, since you can tell we have some amazing talent!

 

 

 

 

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!!