Staying Shiny

My life as a Uber-geek in a Bridal world

Best Christmas Instructional Video EVER

A friend of mine sent me this video and I just had to share so you can all be prepared to celebrate Christmas in the event of the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse.  Happy Headshots!!

Christmas Traditions

Today is Yule (or Winter Solstice) and I find myself reflecting on what makes the Christmas season special to me.  Everyone has their own traditions so I thought I'd share a few of mine with you.

The Christmas season is really almost all of December in my house.  With so many family and friend parties going on it make for a busy month.  Usually the first big holiday tradition is my grandparents Christmas party.  We get together for dinner and visit and play a few games but the biggest tradition with this part of the family is doing the Nativity.  My grandparents are quite religious and have been doing this as a family tradition for generations.  When I was young, we all dressed up and my Grandpa would read the story out of the Bible but about 6 years ago we put a new spin on the tradition.  My Grandparents live on a farm and have a huge barn.  My Grandpa asked me to take over the Christmas party one year when my Grandma was feeling particularly stressed and I convinced him we should do the party in the barn and make it a live nativity with the animals and everything.  We now do it every year in the barn and have people from all over the town they live in come and watch.  We do it a little different now.  We don't read from the Bible anymore.  In fact, we don't speak at all.  The entire nativity is done to music now and features all different member of my family as actors.  It makes may grandparents happy so we keep doing it every year.

Next is Christmas with my dad and his wife and my half brother.  This tradition involves gifts and tacos and visiting.  Just nice and low key.

On the 21st every year J and I do our gift exchange and drive around the city to check out the great light displays.  We take 6 plates of Christmas goodies with us and when we find a house that we like, we give them a little treat.

Christmas eve is spent at my mom's place.  We eat way to much food, go sledding, eat more food, watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and exchange gifts by the light of the Christmas tree.  I love the sledding and look forward to my brother popping his newest tube every year.

Late that night we pile in the car and drive out to J's parents farm for Christmas day.  There is always the same thing waiting for me when we arrive every year.  A nicely chilled bottle of wine and all the "Santa" gifts to wrap.  I made the mistake of telling his mom that I liked to wrap gifts my first Christmas out there and now 8 years later it's a tradition for me to wrap everything.  Eventually we get a few hours of shut eye before the kids are up and excited.  We open gifts with plenty of coffee (with a little extra Christmas Cheer in it) and the spend the rest of the day gorging on my nephews amazing holiday fare.  I think he's trying to make me fat.

I love the holiday season.  The best part about it for me is getting to spend time with all my family and giving everyone that perfect gift.  Speaking of's time to go give J his gift this year.  I can't wait to see his face when he opens it!

Christmas Album of the Year

I ran across this video quite by accident and thought I'd spread a little geeky holiday cheer.  Enjoy!

Top 10 Shows that were cancelled too soon.

Ever get really in to a new TV show only to have it cancelled on you before it's time.  That has happened to me way to many times.  Here's my list of shows that I would love to have back.

10. God, The Devil and Bob

Never heard of this show?  You should look it up.  Great premise.  God and the Devil make a bet regarding the fate of humanity and now all of creation could be scrapped if one unsuspecting Detroit assembly line worker can't prove that people can be decent.  I just love watching the Devil screw with poor Bob.

9. Twin Peaks

Idiosyncratic characters, sweet music and backwards talking midgets all surrounding the mystery of who brutally murdered Laura Palmer.  I love shows that really make you think and mess with your head and no one has ever done that better than this show!  Why oh why leave us hanging and questioning for eternity as to who or what BOB actually was.

8. Dollhouse

Poor Joss Whedon.  Why do you keep getting screwed over?  I really enjoyed the premise of this show.  It really lent itself to an infinite number of possibilities.  And a killer cast featuring actors from tons of my favorite shows.  How can you go wrong with Eliza Dushku (Buffy), Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica), Amy Acker (Angel), Summer Glau (Firefly) and Alan Tudyk (Firefly) just to name a few.  At least they got a chance to wrap this up, albeit quickly, so at least some of our questions were answered.

7. Journeyman

This ill-fated show became a very unfortunate victim of the writer's strike.  I really wish that it had been pitched in a different year so it would have been given a fair shake.  It was like a very serious and dark version of "Quantum Leap" without the feel good life-lessons.  This one was about a man who travels in time without any control over when he will go and has no idea what is happening when it does.  Along the way he keeps running in to his ex-fiance who disappeared earlier in his life.  I love how he was able to convince his wife that he was telling the truth by stealing her wedding ring and burying it under the concrete slab in their back yard.  This one could have gone far.

6. Rome
Another show staring Kevin McKidd (Journeyman).  Poor guy!  At least he has a steady gig on Grey's Anatomy now.  This is the only show on my list that I can actually understand the reasoning behind it's cancellation.  It was just too damn expensive to make.  Every episode was like a feature film in quality, but that's what made it so great!  There are so many stories they could have done and so much history to draw on.  I liked how each season followed the reign of an Emperor and would have loved to see what they would have done with Caligula!  (Look him up!  Crazy dude killed tons of people and made his horse a Senator)

5. Carnivale

Another HBO show.  This was a fascinating glimpse into life in the Depression era following a traveling Carnival and a boy they have taken in who has the power to heal and bring life, but at a price and the Preacher who appears to be a force of Evil.  There is so much going on in this show that it really must be devoured in sequence.  I hate that it ended with so many unanswered questions.  Who was Sofie and what was her relationship to Brother Justin?  How many avatars have there been?  And which side was actually good and which was evil?  Why oh why will we never know!

4. Earth 2

Another show staring Clancy Brown (Carnivale).  This one was about a group of colonists who crash land on a planet they are set to live on and the journey they undertake to get to their designated landing site.  On their journey they meet the original inhabitants of the planet and learn to live with them and each other.  A refreshing Sci-Fi show that doesn't actually take place on a space ship and deserved way more than the 22 episodes it got.

3. The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr.
The genre description of this show says it all.  A Sci-Fi western action adventure comedy staring Bruce Campbell.  What's not to love about that!  Bruce Campbell is hilarious as usual, even with the lack of zombies in this one.  The character Lord Bowler and the horse Comet really make this one worth the watch.

2. Space: Above and Beyond.
.How in the world is this show so under-rated!  It follows a group of marines as they battle to protect Earth from alien attack.  While it may sound like "Starship: Troopers" from it's description it is if far from it.  Serious and in-depth characters really drive this show.  It had great writing and a great ensemble cast.  I loved that you never really got to see the Chigs.  I hate that this one died another Fox screw job "lets move this around time slots and days constantly so the fans can't find it" death.

1. Firefly
No if's and's or but's.  This is the greatest show cancelled before it's time by far and if you haven't seen it what the heck is wrong with you!  This has to be the ultimate victim of a screw job ever.  How can you give a show a fighting chance when you air the episodes out of order and change time slots constantly?  This show has such great writing and amazing actors and funny as hell one liners.  If you doubt that this show should have had a longer run look closely at what happened after it was cancelled.  Name one other show that got a feature film years after it was cancelled due to the fans screaming for it.  Thank you for the memories Joss Whedon and don't give up the goram fight.  Browncoats forever!

The Sing-off

I'm a former Glee-club member and I do love a good choir/ensemble when I hear one.  You can probably guess that I am a fan of the show "Glee" but I have to say, I am really diggin' this season of "The Sing-Off".  I will admit that it wasn't the premise of this show that interested me at first, but one of it's celebrity stars. No...not Nick Lachey.  Ben Folds!  He is one of my favorite singers/songwriters and I have been following him since his Ben Folds Five days after seeing them at the North by Northeast Music Festival. (I won't include the year I discovered them here as I really don't want to date myself.)  I have a bit of experience with acappella music so I truly appreciate how difficult this competition really is.  I decided to blog along with the show tonight and record my thoughts from my armchair judges position while sipping my vanilla rooibos tea.  Enjoy!

                                                          Photo credit : NBC

Round 1 : Musical Medleys

On The Rocks: This awesome group of college boys is best known for their You Tube video that went viral of them doing Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance"
Elton John Medley - Actually showcased their musicality while still sticking to their goofy college boy roots with little touches like the star sunglasses.  They did seem to rush their tempo a bit but their vocals blended very nicely.

Committed:  This smooth group of Church boys have great sound and even better looks.
Usher Medley - This is probably the first time I've enjoyed their version of modern songs.  To me they just have never been able to break out of their own Gospel roots.  But tonight they seemed to loosen up and have fun.  With that being said, it still wasn't my favorite as I found their gospel music runs ill placed.  They do have an amazing bassist and he was beat on tonight.  I loved Ben Folds reference to "Birth control music".

Street Corner Symphony:  This awesome group of down home Nashville boys are as smooth at silk and fun to watch.
Beatles Medley - Man these guys are incredible!  It was nice to see a few more of the guys showcase their voices with solos.  Their percussionist was amazing and sounded like he was actually rocking a set of drums at points.  I enjoyed the simplicity of their arrangement and think they did the Beatles justice.  They were a little off tempo to start but reigned it in and did a splendid job.

The Backbeats: A recently formed group of great acappella singers with some great members, but occasionally you can tell that they haven't been together for long.
Lady Gaga Medley - Brave choice since OTR is known for doing Gaga.  But these guys are great singers and took that challenge.  They started off like they were on their way to a fire.  Holy fast!  And then slowed down a little to much and then had some pacing problems.  But vocally they seemed fairly clean and I did enjoy how they turned the medley into a mash up.  Courtney, the only female beatboxer in the competition, was amazing as usual.  This chick is awesome! Not their greatest performance but good.

Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town:  This group just isn't fair.  How can you compete with the godfather of acappella music!  It is great to see Jerry Lawson making a comeback though.
Otis Redding Medley - These guys are just too good for words.  Great vocals and an awesome arrangement. Their transitions from song to song were genius and it was great to see a few more guys do some solos. I always love their classic choreography too.  While their pitch was off in a few small spots they are so good it's hard to nit-pick.

After round 1 On The Rocks is eliminated.  While I don't agree with them leaving at this point, I do agree that they don't deserve to be in the final.  Their choice of swan song ("The Final Countdown") as well as their exit speech made me remember why I love these guys!

Round 2 - Judge's Choice

Lets Stay Together - Buttery and sweet and almost a little sugary.  I am warming up to these boys.  Great harmonies and good choice of just staying still and keeping it simple.  Still a little unsure if these guys are ready to win, but kudos and doing so well thus far.

Street Corner Symphony:
Down on the Corner - Great song choice for these guys!  I got so into this one I almost forget to write anything.  That was awesome and I would pay to hear that again! Great vocal and awesome arrangement and I loved the last cord.  These guys deserve a shot to win this.

The Backbeats:
Landslide- Wow this girl can sing and the group was very strong at backing her up.  If these guys don't continue on someone needs to sign Joanna to a contract.  That was an emotional and powerful performance. This is truly the style in which this group excels and I'm glad the judges chose to let them shine with this song. I don't envy the judges trying to figure out who should go to the final!

Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town:
House of the Rising Sun - How do you even judge these guys!  They are too good for words and turned this song into something new and exciting.  Wonderful!  It wouldn't surprise me if these guys take to whole thing and even if they don't...Jerry's back baby!

At the end of Round 2... a shocker!  The judges made the right call and let everyone go through to the final! No one is eliminated.  How could you eliminate anyone when they were all so amazing.  Now it's in America's hands...which means I'm out of a vote as I'm Canadian.  Good luck to everyone.  You are all amazing groups and have done wonders for acappella music.

A special thanks to the Judges for actually picking songs in the Judge's Choice round that actually showcased each groups talents and gave them a fair shot at the finals! (Unlike other reality singing contests that shall remain nameless...)  I can't wait for Monday to see who wins this one.

What's wrong with the world today

J told me about this new reality tv show that made my stomach turn.  It's called Bridalplasty.  The premise of the show is 12 Brides-to-be compete for the dream wedding....and plastic surgery.  Being an intelligent person, I decided to make an informed decision about this show rather than form an opinion based on heresay.  I came across a marathon of the first few episodes on TV last night and decided to watch.

I was right.  This show is sick and wrong.  The women on this show are beautiful and are not in need of plastic surgery.  Perhaps I should state that I am not a big fan of plastic surgery to begin with although I do agree that there are certain cases where it is needed.  I understand the need in cases of trauma or cancer or defects and I even understand in cases of extreme weight loss where the skin is hanging loose.  But I have never understood plastic surgery to "improve" what was already perfect in the first place.  Your man fell in love with you the way you are so why do you need to change?  Everyone has beauty in them and if you can't see that when you look in the mirror surgery is not the answer.  Don't get me wrong, there are the odd cases on this show where surgery would be a benefit to the woman (ie one girl had a lumpectomy in her left breast and is now misshapen while another has lost about 100 lbs and has alot of loose skin that could be tightened) but most of these girls do not need anything.  I actually died a little inside when the one girl with a stunning body and no visible bad areas had lypo on her "wish list".  What really sealed the deal for me was the line they use when a bride is voted out.  "Your wedding will still go on, it just won't be perfect"  If I didn't love my TV, I may have broken it at that point.  LADIES!!!!  If you have found a man who loves you for who you are and wants to spend the rest of his life with you, be happy!  And stay away from monstrosities like this show.

The Good, The Bad, and the WTF??

It has been an interesting week at work.  Although this time of year we are slower at work because people are more focused on Christmas shopping it is by no means uninteresting.  Here's a slice of the week I had.

The Good:  About a month ago I helped a grad girl find the perfect gown and all the trimmings to go with it.  She was so excited.  I found out last week that her home had recently burned down and she lost the dress and everything else to go with it.  Her mom called me this week and asked if we still had any of the stuff that she had purchased so she could replace it for her.  I did some rooting through our stock and found everything she had purchased except for the tiara.  When I told my boss about he situation she contacted the manufacturer and had the piece custom made for the girl and decided that we would replace the pieces for this lovely young girl for free.  I love working for a caring company.

The Bad:  A bride came in to shop for a gown with her terror of a child.  I love children, but this was no little boy.  I think he was a demon.  He ran all over the place, knocked over things, went into the private office area, stepped on gowns and even stole money out of our cash box.  And what did she do about all this....absolutely NOTHING!!  Please brides, we don't mind if you bring your children with you.  We even have a toy box for them.  But if you are raising a demon-child that you won't even try to control please come another day...when you have a sitter or someone with you to wrangle the monster.

The WTF??:  And lastly, I helped a walk-in customer and her fiance search for a gown.  Everything was going very smoothly and we were having alot of fun in the appointment until he asked me if he could speak to her alone.  This isn't an uncommon request, but it usually happens at the end of the appointment once the gown has been found and people want to discuss finances...but we were only 2 dresses into the start of the appointment.  They got into a very heated discussion and he ended up leaving the store.  I took her back to change out of the gown she had been in the whole time and she told me that she must have gotten a text message while we were in the dressing room and he checked it.  Turned out it was from he ex-boyfriend saying how he couldn't wait to see her again and blah blah blah...  Needless to say, she left without purchasing a dress...and I'm not too sure, but i think she left single as well.

Ahhh the drama of working in a Bridal store.  Keeps my life interesting at least.

The Walking Dead:Review

I've been waiting until the end of season one to officially review this show.  I am a big fan of the comic and have been reading it for a long time so when I found out they were making this, I was stoked!  And a little hesitant.  I was worried that they would ruin things by going too far off the rails.  I am glad to see that they didn't.  For anyone that has read the comic you know that there is alot of things that have happened in this season that didn't happen in the comic.  The CDC thing for one.  And Shane still being alive for another.  I have read and watched a few things on this show and understand the logic behind their decision to go away from the cannon.  They want to keep it fresh and new for people that have read it and I think they have done an excellent job of that.  I love the balance of the new elements with the major elements from the comic staying intact.  The characters are who they should be.  They have stayed very true to the ones in the book and had breathed life into the characters that I love...and love to hate.

Andrew Lincoln is fantastic as Rick Grimes.  He captures the angst and weight of the character who is trying to keep his family and a group of survivors together in a world gone mad.  I am glad I read the comic so I know where things are going and I can see how these actors are breathing life into the emotional journey their characters are on.  Jon Bernthal is fantastic as Shane and I can see why they decided to keep his character around.  While I find the entire cast excellent I have to say the stand out for me has to be Jeffrey DeMunn who is amazing as Dale.  He has made a character that didn't really resonate with me much before one of my favorites.  I love his quiet strength and vulnerability.

I can't wait until next season when they get to the farm, but more than that....the Jail.  The wait is killing me.  Come back soon Walkers.  I give this show a resounding 4.9 out of 5 head shots.

The perfect gift

Christmas is coming and I have had a really hard time coming up with any ideas this year.  I just wasn't feeling inspired...until the last couple of days and know I feel like I'm on a roll.  The best part is, they are uber-geeky and super sweet gifts!

For my sister and brother-in-law:
Weekend passes to Calgary Comicon.  I am totally enjoying turning them into geeks.  last year we took them for one day and drug them into the Battlestar Gallactica forum and now...they have watched every episode and my sister even called me a little while ago and was so excited that "the Old Man" was on CSI:New York that she had to share...and then called again when "Starbuck" was on CSI.  I love turning her into a fangirl!  

For J:

The R2D2 Astromech Droid Robot.  When he saw this, he yelled in the store " can bring me beer!!!"  Yes this amazing voice activated droid has a built in drink holder so he can bring you a nice cold beverage.  I can't wait to see his face on this one!  It's gonna be epic.

Ok so maybe I'm not really on a roll.....but I got 3 done so that's something.  Just 7 nephews, 3 neices, 3 brothers, 3 sister-in-laws, and the parents to go....geek inspiration don't fail me now!

Geek overload!!!

I am so excited.  They have started announcing confirmed guests for the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo for 2011.  I was stoked when I heard William Shatner was coming...and Jonathan Frakes...and Mike Mignola....but I almost had a stroke when I saw that the god of all Zombie flicks is coming!
That's right!  George A. Romero is coming!!!  I am going to be on pins and needles until I get to this thing in June!!  SQUEEEEEEEE.  Ok must contain the geek.  Time to go to work.  Must resurrect the fashion.  But geek side is winning out by far!

Thanks for making my day!

This morning I was waiting at the bus stop to go to work and was thinking to myself..."Here we go again.  Another cold and snowy day means no customers at work and I still haven't started Christmas shopping and I have so much to to and..."  Round and round my brain went and I was beginning to think this was going to be a crappy day when a car drove by and stopped at the light right in front of the stop.  I was so caught up in my thoughts I didn't even notice at first until I heard his stereo start blaring.  At first I was annoyed and then I realized what song was playing.  He was blaring "Eye of the Tiger" so loud that even with his windows rolled up against the cold I could hear it clearly and suddenly my day got a little brighter.  I had a good day today.  My co-worker offered to help with my Christmas shopping by doing some running around for me when I can't.  I even did a good deed by finding a cell phone in a snow drift and managing to track down it's owner and return it.  He was very grateful.  And then I got an unexpected phone call from a friend I haven't seen in forever with a dinner invitation.  I think by making my attitude a little more positive first thing I was open to seeing things a little better today.  Thank you random guy in the red car blaring a kick ass tune at 9 in the morning.  You really did help make my day!