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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Kingston, Ontario Part 1

So this past weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to visit my amazing friend, Stef. This visit was long overdue: Stef and I were both in Ottawa this summer and spent most of our time together, but she left this September to go to law school. I'm so proud of her and I was really excited to see where she was living and how she was liking Kingston. I have to say, she did a really good job leaving me with a good impression.

Kingston is such a gorgeous city, and you really get a sense of the history of the area by the architecture of the buildings and parks. Queen's University reminded me slightly of the University of Guelph, because the buildings on campus were very similar to some of Guelph's older buildings like Mills Hall and Johnston Hall.

Stef and I spent our time walking around much like we would do in Guelph and Ottawa. I seemed to have picked a great weekend to visit, because there were many things going on around the city. Here's some of the highlights:

Stef and I enjoyed some Tim Hortons while catching up in a park.

Stef posing by some of the buildings on campus. Guelphites - doesn't this look like our campus? There were even vines on some of the buildings! 

Stef kept telling me that I had to see the "Harry Potter Library Room." When we got in the elevator, she couldn't remember what floor it was. Coincidentally, the room was actually named the "Harry Potter" reading room so it was easy to find.  

One thing about Queen's that I liked was the abundance of student space. At Guelph we only have one library (if you exclude the OVC library), and in the past few years it's been really hard to find study space on campus. At Queen's there was a large library as you'd expect, but each program seemed to also have their own library for their students to study in. 

For supper, Stef and I found an adorable crepe and panini shop on Princess Street called the Geneva Crêpe BistroWe settled down there for some delicious food and maple lattes. It just so happened that the Santa Claus parade was taking place that night, so we got to watch the beginning of the parade from inside. 

After eating we went outside to watch the end of the parade. Kingston is hardcore when it comes to their parades! I couldn't believe how many companies had floats or cars. There were even some floats with bands playing, and a group of cheerleaders doing boosts!

I think the best part of the parade was the massive military tank that led the way for Santa himself. Nothing like a giant weapon wrapped in christmas lights to scream Christmas, right? What else can you expect from Kingston?  

The night was wonderful. Stef and I went back to her apartment after the parade ended, and we cuddled together to warm up and shared stories.

Part 2 and more pictures will be posted soon!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Post-Halloween Blues

So Halloween was last week, and I think I've been on a bit of a post-Halloween depression. Does such a thing exist? Because if it does, I would be a textbook case.

I love Halloween. I think it's my favorite celebration of the year. It's a time to dress up and be something you're not, eat candy, and get spooked. I also find it gives you something to look forward to as the weather gets darker, colder, and gloomier.

It's also a time when people with morbid fascinations can feel free to express them. I for one have a huge fascination with zombies and enjoy casual strolls through graveyards (you can ask a boy I dated once; I forced him into a graveyard on our first date).

This Halloween was amazing. It was my first time home for Halloween in four years, which meant I finally got to have trick or treaters again (they just don't come around students houses!). A coworker was kind enough to lend me some Halloween decorations that he had brought into the office, and I used them to completely revamp our usual Halloween setup.

This year we were one of the coolest houses on the block thanks to my coworker. We had the whole side of the house covered in cobwebs, an amazing skull displayed in a ritualized fashion in the front window (and back-lit by a blinking red strobe light), and best of all... we had a smoke machine! I hid the machine under a stool by the front door and passed the controller through the window so we could control the smoke from inside the house. We would turn it on whenever we spotted approaching trick or treaters. Pamela also dressed up as Ghostface and menacingly glared out of the front window.

Unfortunately we didn't get many trick or treaters since our neighborhood has a lot of mature families these days, but we still got a number of compliments on our decorations. Here are more pictures for you guys to enjoy:

For the inside of the house I kept things simple. I left the hallways dark so the strobe light and candles in the window would look as noticeable as possible from outside. Several candles were used to illuminate the front hallway so we could still hand out candy to kids. 

As some of you might remember, last year I had quite an ambitious Halloween costume of turning myself into a Fembot. Well, this year I was just as dedicated, except this time I wanted to make a costume that I could also wear to Comiccon next year. The final decision? Poison Ivy. 

It was a time-consuming project involving cutting lots of leaves, getting glued and burned, and enduring blisters. Perhaps I'll write another post later on the things I've learnt from the process in case someone else is interested in making their own Poison Ivy costume.

Now you might be wondering, "Amanda, who the hell is that scary cartoon man beside you?" I wouldn't blame you. Well, I went to a costume party this year and ran into someone at the party who was Two-Face, also a villain from Batman. We were both excited and wanted to get a picture with each other. However, I  have no idea who this kind gent was, so to protect his privacy I've pasted Two-Face's face into the photo.

Somehow I managed to go the whole night and completely forgot to get my friends to take a picture of just my costume, so unfortunately this is the best I have. No worries though, if I wear it to Comiccon as planned then I'll be sure to get a lot of pictures.

Well that's it for now, this is a long enough post...can you tell I love Halloween? How was Halloween for you guys? Anyone else pull off an impressive costume?

I hope it was a fun and safe night for everyone!