plonq: (Twilight Sparkle Clapping Mood)
May 12th is the day when we celebrate that Manitoba is not a boring rectangle on the map like our neighbours to the west. Happy birthday province of mine; I will hoist an extra beer or two in your honour this evening. Might even grill some wieners if the weather breaks.

People have their own ways of measuring the arrival of spring. For some, it is the first leaves budding on the trees, the first shoots of spring flowers emerging from the ground, the melting of the rivers, or the return of the migratory songbirds.

For me, it is the fresh lines painted on our streets. After months of chaos and asshattery, it is nice to have a return to the relative normalcy of knowing when you are justified in flipping somebody off for drifting into your lane without signalling. They always bring a few little surprises with them too.

"Wait this street has four lanes?"
plonq: (Braiiiins)
Happiness is a tin of sardines in lemon sauce. While that is not the only key to happiness, nor even ranking in the top ten elements of a happy existence, it still added a non-zero, non-negligible amount to my level of satisfaction today.

Another important piece in my interlocking puzzle of contentment is that the weather has finally turned spring-like. Sunday was gorgeous, but even the cool, grey, wet weather we are experiencing this morning is a tremendous improvement over the bitter conditions we have been contending with for months. I daresay I may even forgo eating the hearts of my co-workers for another day.

I was not feeling particularly stabby even before the fish, mind you.

We went to the Easter service at church yesterday, and it were treated to the usual intellectual (if somewhat safe and predictable) fare that I was expecting. "The spirit of Jesus lives on in us, even if he's deader than your first web page on Tripod." When we got home later, we waffled over what to do next (cook up an Easter dinner, have tea,or go for a walk). It was the weather that finally pushed us into taking the third option first.

We both overdressed out of habit, and then made our way down to St John's park. It was nice to find sidewalks that are (mostly) navigable again, and Saturday's stiff winds had subsided to a gentle spring breeze. A pleasant walk was had by all.

I don't know why, but lately I've had pretty good luck with photographing birds. This gull was a little skittish, so I kept my camera trained on him and slowly stalked up on him, knowing that it was just a matter of time before he spooked again. When I thought he was going to panic, I clicked the shutter pre-emptively and caught him right at the, "I'm outa here!" moment. While I would have liked to have caught a little more of his reflection in the water, I am overall pleased with the shot.
Escape Velocity

Just as we got to the bridge, there was an unusual break in traffic. This bridge is normally very busy, so I took advantage of the situation to dash out into the middle of the road for a shot. I did not have as much time to compose it as I would have liked because I saw cars entering the far side of the bridge again as soon as I got out into the road.

I decided to snap a picture quickly and see if I could salvage anything from it later with some cropping. After a bit of cutting and the application of some interesting filters, I decided that it the shot was worth keeping.
Bridge

In spite of her winning smile, the harsh sunlight playing across her at a bad angle just made this a poor picture. I tried salvaging it in software, but my efforts just made it worse with each attempt. I finally gave up, and just started playing with random filters to see what kind of cool effects I could achieve.

I am not quite sure what I did to arrive at this, but I like the result. I have concluded that I am not a good enough photographer to care that much about being a purist, so I don't feel too bad about experimenting with filters and effects.
Lady in Red
plonq: (Dubious Mood)
When it dips to -15 for a low tonight, we will be breaking a weather record going back to 1872 when they first started tracking these things, and it will officially be the latest day in the year when we have seen a temperature that cold.

I am tired of being cold.

Tim Hortons often reserves at least one slot in their doughnut/muffin shelf for a speciality item - usually doughnuts. When I say "speciality", what I really mean is "some variation on a Boston Creme."

Since the start of the month they have been offering up Easter Doughnuts, which are somewhat elongated to resemble eggs, and topped with pink and yellow sprinkles.
Doughnut Deconstruction

I typically avoid these because I am, if not actively shedding pounds at the moment (I blame the cold weather for my current funk and sedentary ways), trying not to pack on any more pounds than I need to. Yesterday I finally decided to try one of these in the name of satisfying my curiosity. Would it be another repackaged Boston Creme, or could these corporate dullards actually produce something unique and different for the occasion?

It was a Boston Creme.

I am not sure how the colourful sprinkles and gooey filling are meant to relate to the supposed death and resurrection of a religious leader, but it tasted good. I think that maybe these are meant to align more with the secular take on Easter. Each doughnut has been lovely crafted by the agile paws of Lepus curpaeums, dashed with magic sprinkles, and then filled with his love.
Doughnut Deconstruction

Though I suspect it is meant to be their own take on the Cadbury eggs, and a means to move more Boston Cremes, I like my explanation better.
plonq: (Ninja Mood)
We went shopping at a big Asian market called "Lucky" this afternoon. While not quite as impressive as some of the places out in Vancouver (like T&T), it still manages to pack in quite an eclectic selection. I love this kind of store, from the Engrish labelling to the products that make you look askance. Three of our favourites (well, four if you count the pigs heads below) are the Mannish Water brand of "Ram Goat Flavor Soup Mix" with "artrificial goat flavor & other natural flavors".

Or the bag of gizzards that were declared to be "vegan". I was particularly fond of the bag of powdered POCARI SWEAT, which billed itself as an "ION SUPPLY DRINK".

They have quite an impressive meat selection in this store - much more comprehensive than any of the major chain stores in town, or even most of the local butchers. I can't speak for the quality of the meat, but there is no part of the animal that they don't sell here.
Pig Heads

We celebrated the start of what promises to be a whole week of temperatures above freezing by draggin the grill out of storage. I thought I cleaned it up better than this when I put it away in the fall, but in retrospect I seem to recall that we put it away in a bit of a rush as part of our preparations for our MWFF trip. We did not want to come home to find it buried in snow.

The grill seems to radiate attitude in this picture, juxtaposed against the stubborn mound of snow as if to say, "It is spring when I say it is spring." I fired it up briefly to make sure all the burners were working, but I am going to head back out there once I have posted this entry to give it some spit and polish before we put it to use on dinner.
Spring
plonq: (Creative mood)
This looks like it is going to be a bumper year for perennials in our front yard. I took the camera out a couple of times earlier this week, and with some new flowers blooming in the past couple of days, I'll head back out there to get some more shots this afternoon.

We broke temperature records all over the province yesterday, with Winnipeg topping the mercury at 31.3 (88F). Tomorrow we're supposed to have a high of 12 (54F) -- which is actually much closer to normal for this time of year. We're supposed to be pushing 30 again on Sunday, then back down to the teens again for Monday. The most consistent thing about the weather here in spring is its inconsistency; I have seen it snow here a day or two after having weather this warm.

First tulip of spring.  Click for a larger version.
This modest little tulip has the distinction of being the first one to open this year. The fancier ones should be flowering in the next day or two.
Your deity loves you, even if we think you're an ass.  Click for a larger version.
This picture looked so much like the ones that you see on those schmaltzy inspirational cards that I couldn't resist the urge to deface it with an inspirational poem of my own.
plonq: (Creative mood)
For some reason I was inspired to write this after seeing this picture in [livejournal.com profile] azraelwings' journal this morning.

A Poem to Spring
In pterodactylic dimeter

Squack! Squack hiss! Skwee squee squack!
Skraaa squack squee! Chomp! Munch munch.

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