29 June 2007

Proper Entry

I suppose it’s time for a proper entry. I’m waiting out the severe thunderstorm we’re supposed to get tonight. I hope it’s everything they say it will be. We had some good storms while I was in Caroline. Nothing makes aquatic field work unbearable quite like a cold, rainy day. Spending all day on a boat, in a downpour, when its 6oC and windy is not an experience to be coveted. Unless your rain gear is magical, you’re going to get wet. Water will drip in through the cuffs of your sleeves, and through the pockets. And since the air is so cold, and you’re hands are constantly wet, eventually you loose the ability to use your thumbs. I don’t know where they go or what happens to them, but you might as well not have any. You don’t know how awesome opposable thumbs are until you loose them.

I don’t really want to write about Caroline, though. I had a great day today. It was warm and humid in Edmonton. The air was almost tropical. I love days like today. I went for a walk, I enjoyed not working, and I had an Italian soda, rented some movies, and just enjoyed my own company after three weeks of the constant company of others.

What I’d really like to do is share a couple video clips I came across in my time wasting today. The first is some news magazine story about Bono. This is relevant to my posting earlier in the month about Bono’s activism. If you’re not familiar with him or his motivations, this might be interesting to you. He touches on some good points about human equality, the idea of Africa as a burden, and poverty.

The second is a much lighter video. It’s Joel Plaskett’s new video for the song Fashionable People. Plaskett is such an adorable geek (that sweater vest kills me) and his charm will surely win you over. I also love that the video looks like it was filmed in a high school drama room. Probably in Clayton Park (but it might actually be the Khyber).

Tales of my death...

...have been greatly exaggerated. Welcome [me] back! I spent the last three weeks clipping fish fins in beautiful Caroline, AB. It was very similar to last year's experience.

I lieu of a real entry at the moment, I'm going to show ya'll a few pictures of my time south.

Check out our sweet crib. Compared to last years tent-camper & condemned-shack combination, this place is downright posh. On my last day there I had the revelation that the layout of this house is like a mirror image of the layout of my parent's house. It was a little weird.
This is a scenic shot of Fiesta Lake, the lake they named after our project. We clipped 14,107 fish in this lake.

These are sweet pictures of caddis fly, dragon fly, and beetle larvae. We'd catch these guys in our traps all the time. We also lots of giant leeches. I didn't take pictures of the leeches because they were bad and ate my fish.

The last lake we sampled had a muskrat. We managed to sneak up on it and get a picture of it sleeping. We named him Adam West.

That's pretty much all I have to share for now. I hope everyone enjoys the Canada Day long weekend.
And I want to send a belated Birthday shout-out to Ozzy. Oz, if you're reading this: the loons on Mitchell Lake are nesting in a different spot this year.

08 June 2007

I didn't vote for him

I found another reason to hate Harper. He has refused to meet with Bono, saying that he doesn’t meet with celebrities or whatever. I should preface this by stating that I’m not bothered because it’s Bono he won’t see, I’m bothered because he’s refusing to meet with an internationally respected humanitarian (who just happens to be the God of my inner world). Given all the criticism he’s getting over fucking up African relief, he should do more to defend himself – like get Bono back on his side.

The CBC website has a comment section asking “Should unelected activists such as Bono have the ear of our prime minister?” To that I respond, “We have elected activists? I didn’t vote for an activist, when was that election?” There are a lot of people commenting that the Prime Minister shouldn’t waste his time (and, by extension, their tax money) listening to Bono and instead should meet with Joe and Jane Canadian to hear them out. I’m sorry, but for issues like African relief, I’d rather give someone from the front lines 20 minutes with Harper than someone from Yarmouth. The real fact of the issue is that the African crisis is so huge, complex, and appalling that it’s beyond our comprehension. Most of us have some idea of what is happening in some countries, but there are so many countries, with so many problems. I think Bono knows more than most people, and if he can convey knowledge to Harper and therefore help affect change… of course he should be able to meet with him. I don’t care that Bono doesn’t pay taxes in Canada, or that Harper won’t meet with me to discuss the Porbeagle fishery. I think someone doing what Bono does - working so tirelessly to help millions of people - demands the respect we would given any humanitarian, regardless of record sales or fame.

Sorry, ya’ll. I realize my argument here is poorly thought out and all over the place. It’s Friday, you’ll have to forgive me.
Today is a 3 Bunny Day. Even though I got attacked by sprinklers on my walk to school, it has been a pretty good day: The Weather Network is all better, I got some work done, and there’s an Iced Cap in my future. It really is the little things, eh?

07 June 2007

Ottawa Sucks (but that's not why Canada is upset)

When I woke up this morning, I noticed that Canada was crying. Poor Canada. She’s been through a lot these last couple hundred years. I assumed she was crying because of Ottawa (Ottawa is always making Canada cry for one reason or another). I was the total sympathetic friend, bad-mouthing Ottawa and shouting out “Ottawa Sucks!” at random intervals to try and cheer Canada up. Nothing worked. Then I realized that she wasn’t upset because of Ottawa, she’s upset because SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THE WEATHER NETWORK.

Oh, God. I didn’t know what to do…they changed their displays, and they’ve got this stupid background and the stuff is hard to read, and at about 6am this morning the screen froze and IT STOPPED WORKING. I couldn’t find out my local forecast! We didn’t know what the UV Index was, if it was cold, windy, sunny, or raining. No wonder Canada was a wreck. Oh, Canada. I see your tears and I raise you a crippling panic. A country this large can’t survive without a weather network. How else am I going to know what the weather is like in Gander? How else am I to learn about automated dog washes? I plan my entire day based on what I see on the Weather Network while I eat breakfast. What pants to wear, which jacket, shoes or sandals, how I’m going to wear my hair (no bangs with wind speeds greater then 11km/h). My entire day hinges on the Weather Network and without it, I’m lost. Lost! If you need me I’ll be at Canada’s house eating ice cream and watching guilty-pleasure chick flicks.

05 June 2007

For the love of random

There’s a great sense of joy and relief in finally doing something you’ve been putting off, isn’t there? For example, I tend to put off dishes (because at some point in the last 12 months I’ve developed this inexplicable aversion to washing dishes) so that when I finally do wash them (generally, Sunday nights) I’m so happy afterwards. Not only can I see my counters again, but I know that I won’t have to wash any more dishes for a good seven days.

And while I’m on the subject of domestic things, does anyone else ever think about how futile grocery shopping is? I mean, you go through all the trouble of going to the store and buying food; the food gets eaten or goes bad and you have to go shopping again. It’s this never ending cycle and whenever I’m in line at the grocery store and I think about all the grocery store line-ups I have in my future... well, it’s a little depressing. Like when I walk to school in the mornings and I think about how many more times I’m going to make that walk. It’s possible that I might die of boredom someday between 82nd and 83rd Avenues.

In the continuing vein of being random….

I was reading through my copy of Legendre and Legendre and pulling out two-year old post-it note page-flags and one has “Sun Tzu” written on it. Why I jotted down the author of a war treatise on a post-it in a book on environmental modeling is beyond me.

In closing, I want to send friendly kick-in-the-butt reminders to Cricket and Annie to update their blogs already!

03 June 2007

Sting is a sexy bitch

At some point during my adolescence, I resigned myself to the fact that there were bands I was just never going to see live in concert. Among them, The Smiths, INXS [fronted by Michael Hutchence and not some talent-contest winner], and The Police.

So, imagine my surprise way back in February when I heard a rumour that the Police reunion tour was making a stop in Edmonton, of all places. Then imagine my excitement when I saw a commercial on TV validating that rumour. I was, like, 3 when the Police broke up. I’ve seen Sting live, but I never, ever thought that I’d get the chance to see Sting, Copeland, and Summers playing together as if it were 1979 and they didn’t have 2 decades of possible animosity and ruined friendship behind them. Never!

Well, my friends, fairy tales can come true. The paper says that 30,000 people attended last night’s show. I don’t believe that. The stadium was not sold out, and looked sadly ¼ empty. It was at an outdoor venue, which I’ve been to for day-long festival-type things but not for a single-act show. It took getting used to, the lightness. It was weird that it was still daylight when they came on. But, really, I didn’t care that much because it was the freakin’ Police!

After Copeland banged his giant gong, they opened with Message in a Bottle. The audience was pretty good for the most part, there were times when they seemed apathetic, but they always came back alive for the big songs. People freaked out for Roxanne. Hell, I freaked out for Roxanne. It’s such an awesome opening, and so distinct. As soon as it starts you’re holding your breathe and waiting for Sting to belt it out: “….Roxanne.” I know people who hate that song, but I have to say they totally rocked it. And, damn, is Sting in good form. I don’t know how old he is, or how old any of them are for that matter, but they were bitchin’, I could totally imagine it was 25 years ago. Even when they sang Can’t Stand Losing You – which is essentially a goofy break-up song – it didn’t seem absurd.

It was such a great show. To hear all those awesome songs, to hear the infamous eee-ooo’s, and they jumped! Just like they used to! With no apparent regard for broken hips or lost toupees! Those guys were total professionals. I’m not so cynical as to think they reunited for the money, but I was still pleased when, at the end of the show, Sting and Copeland hugged. At least those two don’t hate each other.

I think the one dark spot on the otherwise awesome night was this total jerk in the audience. Our seats were at the bottom of the first level, a few rows up from the railings that separate the seats from the floor area. This douche spent the entire show leaning against the railings, watching the audience. I was totally geeking out and Cricket was dancing too, and I’m pretty sure he took pictures of Cricket and I with his cell phone. What an ass.

01 June 2007

NWT Road Trip: Part IV: The Long Road Home

We left early on Sunday to head back to Edmonton. We stopped along the way at Louise Falls.

The drive back was longish, but not horrible. We had one unsettling incident when we stopped for lunch at a turnout and an old guy pulled in and we thought he was a)watching us; b) sleeping; or c) dead. (It was most likely a then b).

There has been much written, and so many movies made, about epic road trips, about the lure of the open road. I don’t care how alluring the road is, everyone gets lulled by it eventually.

I realize I haven’t had many observations about NWT. The weather was unsettlingly gorgeous – hot even. The sun did set, but not for long – like it was just running to the other side of the earth for smokes and would be right back – so that it was a bit light even very late at night. Some highways there are just gravel roads, which is quaint but maybe impractical. They call garbage dumps “Nuisance Grounds,” which is just so awesome, it sounds like a place you would take raucous children. It’s so sparsely populated, you can go hours without seeing another car. They have the best license plate in the history of license plates (but you probably already knew that). It is so beautiful in the south-eastern part of the Territory that we were in. The landscape is vast, and relatively untouched. You can almost imagine what Canada was like before it was Canada.

Now I have only to travel to Manitoba, Newfoundland & Labrador, Yukon, and Nunavut and I will have been in every province and territory.