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Jonathan Coulton & Paul and Storm concert 2011

At the end of May we went to the Jonathan Coulton & Paul and Storm concert again! (Here's my post from last year.) Myke joined us, and we had delicious pho beforehand too.

Great fun again - some old favourites, and some new songs too, including the first time the Portal 2 ending song was performed live, anywhere! But my favourite new song was this one:

Though maybe I'm biased because of the ukelele?

PS - On the way to Ottawa, JoCo & Paul and Storm were pulled over at the border, had their cars searched, and fined $1,000. Whut! So it was very wonderful of some audience members to supply them with Smarties and licorice. Storm realllllly likes licorice :)


Ferret House Rules

1. Each and every morning, patrol your house and check the location of all toys and stolen items. If the Feng Shui of the collection does not please you, move items as necessary. The balance between closet, couch, bed, and corners must be perfect.

Chi peekaboo

Note each ferret has their own opinions of perfect so some hissing and toy-tag may result. Fun! Celebrate with a war dance afterwards!

2. Try to stick your nose or head into any opening or gap: the space beside the fridge, discarded toothpaste boxes, bottles, hoses, the gap under the radiator....

Do not be concerned if your head doesn't fit: try a few times to make sure. Scratching may help

If you can fit your head in, squeeze all the way in. Time to explore! Or thrash around if you get stuck. 

3. Bite any crinkly objects, including but not limited to: plastic bags, paper bags, shampoo packets, bags of chips or other food, tampons in wrappers, Ziploc bags of small items your human wants to keep all together, and candy bars.

Shaking your head violently while biting down to KILL KILL KILL is encouraged. Celebrate with a war dance afterwards! 

Mangled remains of Bandit treat bag

Talented ferrets who can open zippers on purses and backpacks will gather more plentiful rewards!

4. Bite any rubbery objects, including but not limited to: screwdriver handles, toothbrushes, pens, headphones, earplugs, flip-flops, and the rubber foot on the big human's cello whenever he brings it out to make a lot of noise. 

5. Anything you do not have time to bite now, scoot it under the couch. If humans begin watching you closely, you may need to move the items to the closet. If they approach and staring back doesn't work, slowly back away towards the nearest hidey hole

Egg-like or sized objects should be stolen then scooted around in 3+ circles before you hide it under the couch. 

6. Carry off any stuffed animals or soft objects to hide under the couch. If the toy is so big you can't walk with it in your mouth, keep trying.

7. Shoes are a personal favourite for some ferrets. If some poop-brained human puts on your shoes to wear, indicate your ownership by firmly biting down on the toes (both toe of the shoe and the toes in them). Eventually even persistent humans will give up once the shoes have been perforated with hundreds of tiny teeth marks. 

It doesn't matter if the shoe is larger than you are.

8. Water is fun to drink - and play in! Splashing and dunking your head under is highly recommended. For large water dishes, be careful to not inadvertently fall in as it is VERY COLD. Celebrate with a war dance afterwards!

Let's all have a drink!

9. Towel rides don't really seem to go far, but are irresistable. War dancing on the towel while it's moving is wonderful!

Spunky supervising shower

10. Every few months the humans will place you in a basin of warm water and give you a bath. Even though this is not so cold, it's not so fun. Evidence is inconclusive but we feel that DOG-PADDLING as fast and as hard as possible will get you out of the bath sooner.

Ferret bathtime

Celebrate with a vigorously rolling around in your favourite smelly spots, then a war dance afterwards!

11. After a hard day's work, have a nap in a new and unexpected place. Remember to look as cute & innocent as possible so not to be blamed for anything.

Inspired by this paragon of explorer ferret excellence:


Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas, happy winter holidays, and best wishes for a new year =^.^= Leroy snoozing on Boxing Day

Leroy's 1st Birthday!

Today Leroy turned one year old, according to his Humane Society birthdate guesstimate. The Humane Society sent us a Happy Birthday note!

Leroy's 1st birthday: slurp!


How we carved our Halloween pumpkins

In 1,467 easy steps.


Pumpkins, in daylight

First, don your pumpkin carving outfit. Hey, four pumpkins did take the entire afternoon. I tied back my hair with a pirate headscarf. Ahoy, ye Cucurbita!

We also purchased one of those cheap pumpkin-carving kits you see at Canadian Tire, the drugstore, and everywhere else. (This one but it cost less.) It worked really well. The only thing I wished we had was a chisel of some kind. The tools we found the most useful (not in every kit) were:

  • Wide-edged seed scoop/scraper(pictured below).
  • Saws. One broke so it's good to have at least two. (Or one good quality one.)
  • Plastic "drill": sort of like a wood drill bit or extended Phillips screwdriver with a point

Sean chopped off the the pumpkins. The messy bit was my job: scooping out the seeds and stringy stuff. I used a big serving spoon to pull out the heavy lumps of seeds. The little orange scoop that came with the kit was too small for seeds, but amazing for scraping out the stringy fibers.

Scooping out seeds

Pick out and print your patterns. For some of the pumpkins, we found photos of lit jack o'lanterns we liked on the Internet (including Flickr). I opened the images in an image editor (the Gimp but you can use PhotoShop), converted them to greyscale, turned up the contrast, then inverted them. This gives you an image with dark areas for the parts to cut out.

Planning to carve

Tape the pattern to the pumpkin so it doesn't move around.

Below is the Totoro pattern we tried. Sadly, this was the trickiest pattern (involving carving layers) and this pumpkin turned out to be murderously unripe and hard to carve.

Totoro Terror

Use the pointed end of a drill, needle, pencil, or something else sharp to prick along the edges of the pattern. When you are done, it should look like this under the paper:

Pumpkin pattern pinpricks

For the Cheshire cat the paper actually slipped a bit - make sure the pattern is taped down well! You can see one eye runs into the ear... I fixed it when carving but any little misplaced pinholes may show when the pumpkin is lit.

Take the saws and start to carve. You can use a chef's knife for large areas but frankly they are less accurate and more awkward (and so dangerous). The little saws are fast and neat. Avoid twisting them too much or they might snap. We tried a dremmel: didn't work too well and was messy (see Sean's shirt?).

Sean working on a pumpkin

Afterwards, neaten up the edges with a paring knife or the saw. The scraper can remove any loose bits inside.

Skulls pumpkin

Create a hot air vent in the lid: we used a dremmel to drill a starter-hole near the stem to hide it. Then I used the other tools to widen the hole. We also cut a notch in the back of the lid while it was sitting in place, to make it easy to line up the lid.

Ta da!

Halloween pumpkins 2010