Sunday, 14 September 2014

I Heart Regina

For a city that most people think of as the cultural back-water of Canada (and that’s only what the polite people say), it’s surprisingly full of art. Since I’ve moved here I’ve gone to see theatre three times (twice in theatres - it counts okay - and once live), fallen in love with Gothic/Tudor-revival architecture, and been surprised at the wide range of art and fashion books at the library. But what’s most impressive is that there are little pieces of artwork hidden in plain sight all over the city. Some places it is expected - parks, war monuments, statues of politicos (at least that’s who I assume they are, since I never remember what the plaques say after reading them) - but it’s the little touches of beauty in the least expected places that really get me, so I’m going to share some of my favourites with you. 


For a city that is dead flat, they’ve done a remarkable job at maintaining the tree-lined avenues. The arching branches remind me so much of my heart-city Victoria that I feel much more at home. 


One of the bridges in my neighbourhood is following the example of New York, and is starting to amass a collection of love-locks. A little bit overly-romantic for my cynical self, but for some reason I still like it. 


Apparently I can’t escape the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, since I walk by this post on my evening walk every day. As much as I’m not into the Olympics, I really like the cut-out style of type here as it’s very classy and minimalist. 


This building downtown has a whole bunch of little guardian gargoyles (though they look more like brownies to me), and I can’t help but smile every time I see them faithfully guarding their building. 


Most of the statues in the city are of the normal variety - marble, bronze, etc - but this group of copper people are a step away from normal in that they’re only half there. At first glance the eye tries to fill in the missing pieces, but the brain knows something is off, and when you realize that they’re not whole there’s definitely a “wow” moment. 


I found this adorable wire elephant hiding on the North side of the central library branch, and was instantly charmed. There’s also a grasshopper and a dinosaur in other parts of the city, but the elephant is my favourite!


I’m a total sucker for old-school lampposts, so I was absolutely delighted to see them scattered all through the paths of Regina’s main park. I can’t wait until the first snow comes so that I can do a Narnia/Snow Queen photoshoot all wrapped up in elegant furs!


The bridge on Albert Street has a whole bunch of artistic touches, but my favourite are the decorative support posts that line each side. It’s surprising how well the colours have stood against the elements, since I’ve never seen anyone repainting them. 



As the sign says, I really do heart Regina, and I’m sure that the longer I live in the city the more unexpected touches of beauty I will find and the more I will grow to love it. If only the winters were slightly less cold… 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Working Overtime

I know I’ve already Tweeted, and Facebook-ed, and Social Media-ed the video that our team at the Archives put together for a digital exhibition at the Legislative Assembly building - not to mention that my boss beat me to the [blog]punch a few days ago - but I’m really proud of the video and feel the need to shout from the rooftops again. Okay, maybe not shout from the rooftops, since it’s a lot of effort to scale a building and I dodged the radioactive spider, but at least a little explanation of our efforts and achievements are due. 

So the story starts off in late June. The boss had just returned from his vacation in Europe, and we in the Preservation Management Unit and Digital Records Program were steadily working away on a variety of projects. I was waging war against our new OCRing (optical character recognition) software and forcing it to cooperate with our newly digitized microfilmed newspapers (another big project that’s scheduled for launch in November), but when our team was given the opportunity to create a four-year exhibit to commemorate the Great War the boss said yes (we followed suit) - and then started cooking up some wild ideas. 

We’ll find diaries of Sasketonians who lived during the war years, he said.

We’ll scan a whole bunch of never before exhibited materials, he said. 

We’ll research artists, and photos, and make a giant banner (or two), he said.

We’ll get a giant high-definition television, he said.

We’ll make a display of archival material that we can change every year, he said. 

No. We’ll make a MOVIE, he said.

All in four-and-a-half-weeks, he said…

And so we did. Research was conducted: the diaries of soldier-bros were found (seriously, they are brothers), regimental escapades were laughed over, interviews with the 46th Battalion were discovered (otherwise known as the Suicide Battalion), and reams of photos & diaries & scrapbooks were scanned. A voiceover script was written, people were cajoled into reenacting diaries and speeches, a storyboard was constructed, and video segments were parsed together. 

And at the end of it all we wound up with an unsurprisingly fantastic video and accompanying brochure (hello, we’re awesome, and we don’t do things half-assed) that went live on August 4th at the Legislative Assembly Building during the re-commemoration ceremony. Our exhibit will be up for the next four years, with the current instalment lasting until next Spring when it is replaced by a second exhibit of materials which focus on the war during 1915. 

If you’re in Regina you should definitely check it out live (the experience is practically cinematic considering the size of the television that was donated by Radio Centre), and if not you can always check it out on our YouTube channel which I’ve embedded below!


***update: we couldn't upload the HD version of the video until our account was verified, but it's live now so you can revel in the full visual/auditorial brilliance! (It really makes a difference with the newspaper pages, since you can read the smaller type-sets)

Sunday, 24 August 2014

40 Days & 40 Nights


No, this isn’t a post about the Josh Hartnett movie from 2002, but this post is about giving something up. Namely my biggest vice: shopping. 

Now, those of you who know me know that I don’t abide by any form of organized religion, least of all Christianity (don’t even get me started), so during the Lenten season I don’t bother giving anything up for the 40 days before Easter. Besides the tradition of Fat Tuesday (any excuse for a pancake feast) I don’t see the point of giving up the things that I love. My vices are pretty non-harmful and are generally under control so being told that I should give up something “just because” doesn’t really fly with me. 

That being said, in 40 days I’m going on my first passport-stamp-able international adventure (my 12-year-old trip to Disneyland came before the 9/11 drama of children needing passports) with my BFF to Las Vegas, mostly for the point of shopping. Come on, this is us, and shopping is what we do when we’re together (as well as driving everyone around us insane with our extrapolated weirdness). Most people go to Las Vegas for gambling, showgirls, and conventions, but besides the practically mandatory Cirque du Soleil show, we plan to shop until we drop. 

We’ve already started working on our plan of attack - shuttle buses to the Premium Outlet Mall(s), second hand book stores, and everything in between - so by the time we get there we’ll be able to hit the ground running. Or not running, since shopping the way that we do is a marathon rather than a sprint. That being said, I figure that there’s not really any point in doing any shopping in the meantime, since anything that I find here I can find in Vegas (and likely for a fraction of the price), so I am making a conscious decision not to buy anything besides groceries (girl’s gotta eat!) for the next 40 days & 40 nights. 


Will I make it, or will my shop-a-holic tendencies take over? I’m betting that I can (I’ve done it before for a lot longer), but a lot can happen between now and the beginning of October…

image from Tumblr

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Heat Wave


Most people greet summer with cheers along the lines of “Woohoo, let’s go boating, bitches!” 

My reaction sounds more like “Ugh, what did I do to deserve an early trip to Hell?”

Sure my trip to the hottest place in the Universe is guaranteed (my throne is waiting) & I may have grown up in the only place in Canada that is officially designated a desert (cacti, rattlesnakes, and 40°C are the norm), but that doesn’t mean that I handle temperatures above 20°C well. Starting in early May I refuse to wear closed-toe shoes (don’t even say “sock” to me), daily showers multiply (thank goddess my apartment doesn't water meter), and constant litany of complaints accompanies every drop of sweat that the climbing temperature causes. 

Common phrases include: 
“If only public nudity was acceptable and I didn’t have morals” 
“You can’t make me go outside.”
“Why didn’t I buy a real air conditioner last year when they were on sale?”
“I’m only going to the mall [again] because they have air conditioning”
“Goddamnit, that’s a third tan line, even with the SPF 110!”

But the most common phrase out of my mouth is always “Is it Autumn yet; I miss _____.” (Fill in the blank with variations of my winter wardrobe/hot food/sleeping properly/not sweating off my make-up).


Thankfully we’re only a few short weeks away from Labour Day and the onset of another Saskatchewan Winter. Oh joy for the lack of heat, but then again I’ll likely be complaining about that too. (As my mother always said: “If [you] got paid to complain, you wouldn’t have to work ever again!”) Until that happens though, you can find me planted in front of my fan, with an iced tea with lime in one hand and a bowl of ice cream in the other. 

*Antistar dress in the style of Emilio Pucci; Windmere fan

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Throwing Bricks

Being a tourist isn't normally how I like to spend my weekends (books, movies, and a rousing bout of shopping are the norm), but this weekend I decided not to be my anti-social self and tag along with my fabulous coworkers on a trip to the historic Claybank Brick Plant. I won't bore you with the story of the place (you can read all about it on their website), but suffice to say I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting a setting it is and a great opportunity to break out my fancy new digital SLR camera!

The entrance house, with explanatory plaque

The clay for which the plant made its bricks has many interesting textures

I think that Catherine has found her dream house!

Donald, at the top of the clay bank
(apparently climbing is allowed)

Rafters inside the plant

Who knew that brick textures could be so numerous and interesting?
This is just one of the examples

Paula on her way inside the giant kiln
(Don't worry, it hasn't be active in years)

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Sandals & Sherbet: a Sunday Shoe Story


Some days it's just too hot to do anything but lounge around and eat sherbet. 
Welcome to summer,  
the time of year when we sweat and curse because there's only so naked we can get in public.

Aldo "Lansing" sandals in silver mock-snakeskin; 
Icing nail polish in neon green; 
President's Choice Blue Menu sherbet in Key Lime

Sunday, 29 June 2014

You Know You Have too Many Shoes When… (a Sunday Shoe Story)

…you’re trying to upload all the photos (112, if you’re wondering) to your brand new Shoe Gallery section, and it takes forever.Then again, I haven’t run out of storage space yet, so HAH!

But yes, the Shoe Gallery has gone live, and it’s taking up (a lot of) space in the panel/bar/menu/thingy right there at the top of this page - all for your amusement, dear readers, so go check it out! 

It used to live exclusively on Facebook (as a chronologically ordered photo album) and my hard drive, but since some of you don’t have access to either of those sources I figured that I should share my shoes with the world. That’s why you all read my blog anyways, isn’t it? Wait, you’re not here for the shoes? Well, too bad, shoes is what you’re getting. 


If you want, I can give you Dead Shoes (as in shoes that I used to own, but wore out/gave away/ruined/etc) too, but I haven’t decided whether to upload those. What do you lot think: are we into Dead Shoes, or do we only want Live Shoes?