27 December 2008
Aside from the list's obvious faults, it didn't take long for us to turn it into a competition by figuring out how many we had each already read. My middle brother won with almost 100, I came in 2nd with 79. My mom was third with mid-50s and my eldest brother was last with an abysmal 20-something.
My eldest brother would have had a higher number, he argued, if "watching the movie" counted as a half point, and having read the Illustrated Classics version was also half a point. He lost the argument, however. It only counts if you've actually read the book. Sadly, merely knowing the book exists doesn't even garner you a quarter point.
So, have a look at the list, and tell me your number.
24 December 2008
I also have goodish news: I got a job! Kind of. I mean, I'll be doing work and someone will pay me for it, but it's...wait for it...6 hours a week. I'm basically still a TA, although I get to call myself a "lab instructor." It's a start.
I hope everyone has a great holiday season. I hope you spend just enough time with your family to appreciate them, but not enough to tire of them.
Speaking of family, here are some holiday pictures from my (I assume) 1st, 2nd, and some-undetermined-age Christmas.
12 December 2008
This is a completely illogical stance, I realize. I mean, every sport was new at some point. But, had I been around in 1891 when my maybe-ancestor started tossing balls into peach baskets, I'd be all, "WTF, James? Aren't cricket and football good enough for you?"
So when Oz told me about this new sport called Crashed Ice, it just sounded like hockey players racing each other. But as I learned more, I discovered it's hockey players racing each other. Downhill. To the death.
My favourite part, however, is that the course takes over part of Quebec City. Have a look, it's actually pretty wicked:
Much in the same way that badminton is a sport for boring people (e.g., myself), Downhill Hockey Death Race is a sport for the clinically insane.
05 December 2008
Besides, if I gave up reading the news, I wouldn't get to see gems like this: "...It was the third suspected homicide in Edmonton this week." On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being "meh" and 10 being "holy crap, that's alarming" I put that statement at about a 8.9. I mean, if it was any other city (aside from, say, Murderpeg) I would probably be more shocked. If there were three suspected homicides in WhooVille this week, then I'd be surprised.
Also, giving up the news would mean that I wouldn't have noticed the new, creepy trend of murder suspects having Facebook pages. My dislike of Facebook is well documented (by me), and I dislike it even more now that you can look up murder suspects and become their friends (William is feeling incarcerated; See my Arraignment photo album!). I would think the fact that murderers like it should totally count as a Facebook con.
I don't have a logical end to this post, other than the fact that it's nearly impossible to avoid news or information. Oh, and never, ever, ever read the Comments sections on the CBC.ca stories. Ever!
02 December 2008
If you happen to not want a coalition (as is your right, however wrong), then I suppose you could check out the anti-coalition site. If you're so inclined.
Also, this site already has the answer to the question on everyone's lips: Is Stephen Harper Prime Minister?
01 December 2008
25 November 2008
24 November 2008
The bunnies have been enjoying the mild fall too. I think they took their time turning white this year. At one point, I saw a bunny that was mid-change and it looked like a brown bunny covered in freezer burn. So cute.
I'm really going to miss those bunnies. They've provided me with a remarkable amount of entertainment. When I walk through campus, a constant bunny story plays in my head. Recently, there's been some drama in that the bunny ("Steppy") that hides under the stairs of the construction trailer has been stepping out with the bunny ("Busy") that sleeps in the garden outside the Business building. Scandalous!
17 November 2008
But that picture is no longer the best. The new Best. Picture. Ever. was taken by Eva this past week at Lake Louise. We were really, really happy to be there.
The rest of my photos can be seen here, and I'm embedding a slideshow below.
06 November 2008
My BFF hasn't been sleeping lately. She calls it "cancer of the sleep." But I have a new theory about why everyone I know is always tired. My idea is that our ability to sleep, and the good things that sleep does for us, has not evolved as fast as our society. Current sleep is a restorative process meant for the kind of lives we would have lived, say, 300 years ago. Our way of life has changed so much, and so quickly, that Sleep can't keep up and is insufficient to meet modern demands. I think that after a certain age, we all live in a perpetual sleep deficit. There is no way, in our society, to make up this deficit, and it simply grows as we get older.
On the plus side, caffeine comes in many great forms and flavours. I think I'll make a trip to Timmy's this afternoon...
05 November 2008
I had planned to not hope for a positive outcome. I did that last time around and it ended badly. But then so many people were saying that Obama would win, and at some point I got all psyched up for an Obama win. And, for once, America did not disappoint. (Does this mean that we have to stop bashing America now? Because the map still looks fairly Jesusland-y, there's still a lot of red, so they aren't all logical people who make good choices. Some of them are still batshit crazy).
Speaking of The Map, Canada and the US should really get together and come up with a consistent colour scheme for political parties. In Canada, red is good. In the US, red is bad (red as in Republican, not red as in Communist - which they also think is bad). And every time I look at the map I have to tell myself: "Blue is good. Blue is okay. Blue is not Harper." I also don't like the election results map because my geography skills are horrible and it took me an embarrassingly long time to find Minnesota to check on Al Franken's results. Apparently he's tied with the Republican, and it hasn't been called yet. I hope he wins. He's funny.
The CBC also has a map of all the Propositions that people also voted on yesterday. I don't know a lot (or, really, anything) about them, so I find some of them ambiguous, and some of them sad. For example, in California, the majority voted Yes to "Treatment of Farm Animals." What does that even mean? Sadly, California also voted in favour of the gay marriage ban. What does that mean for all those couples who recently married in California? I think they also voted against renewable energy generation. WTF, California? Arkansas voted in favour of adoptive parents. I really wish I knew what these propositions actually were! Missouri made English official. You go, Missouri! It looks like Massachusetts decriminalized pot, and banned dog racing, all in one day. Maryland voted in favour of VLTs. That's bad, they should be proactive and start the gambling addiction awareness campaign today. Awesome, Michigan voted in favour of stem cell research. Two states voted in favour of "defining marriage." Don't we have OED for that? I wonder if the definition will be gay-friendly?
Okay. I'm getting off track. Obama is going to be president, and that is what really matters. And, even more importantly, Palin is not going to be VP. Happy Dance!
03 November 2008
However, in the infinitesimally small chance that some Republican stumbles upon this page before the polls close tomorrow, I would like to ask this person: Is this the man you want running your country?
31 October 2008
I did find, however, the brilliant classroom scene from Hush, where Giles' flair for the dramatic is out in full force:
Sorry for the subtitles, it's the best I could do.
Finally, shout out to Cricket, who would love this clip:
"The first was the brook trout, introduced to the United Kingdom in 1869, followed by the chinook salmon...two easily confused American catfishes, the black bullhead (Ictalurus melas) and the brown bullhead (I. nebulosus), and six centrarchids..."
My initial reactions, in order of occurrence, to above quote:
- Aw! "easily confused" is the most adorable fish character trait ever!
- How do they know they're easily confused? Do the fish swim in circles a lot and bump into things? Do they wrinkle their fishy brows?
- How would you test that in a lab setting? I'll bet they're easy to catch, though
- Oh, wait....I get it
I still maintain that my initial interpretation of the text, while completely wrong, is far more interesting.
30 October 2008
"The enumeration of the pyloric caeca is a simple matter requiring no explanation."
(From the Methods section of: Stokell, G., and Stokell, C. 1938. The structural characters of New Zealand rainbow trout. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 68: 361-372.)
I think they're making some big assumptions about their audience.
So, today I learned about the seedy world of wildlife documentary fakery. How so many classic scenes in famous wildlife documentaries are completely fabricated and do not reflect reality. The worst offender is Disney. (This is hardly breaking news, but I still want to comment on it).
Aside: I remember the first summer Cricket & I worked together, she would occasionally talk about how much she disliked Disney, because they perpetrated lies about nature. The example she gave was about how lemmings will commit mass suicide. She said Disney made this up. I knew next to nothing about terrestrial mammals, but I thought to myself, "How can they just make something up? Wouldn't people call foul? Could Disney be so bold?" Little did I know.
My point is that Cricket was right, and Disney faked the lemming suicides by flinging the little lemmings off a cliff! This baffles me to no end. I mean, if it was a real phenomena in the first place, then faking it would at least make sense (albeit a cruel and evil sense). But if it's something they made up to begin with, then had to devise a way to fake it to make it look real...WTF? I mean, what went on in those pre-production meetings? "Nature is so boring! It needs more death! But not regular circle-of-life shit, I'm talking something more senseless...suicide! This film needs more suicide!"
So, for those of you, like me, that hadn't actually seen it, I give you the infamous footage of Disney's lemming slaughter, filmed on location in Alberta. Because Alberta has lots of lemmings and ocean access (again, WTF Disney?)
26 October 2008
I suggest everyone buy a copy, so that my mom can finally afford to retire. If you want an autographed copy, let me know and I can hook you up. However, I can't promise it will be as adorable as the autograph I got on the original version:
23 October 2008
In somewhat related news, a dead goldfish was registered to vote in the US elections. I say, let the dead fish vote! Maybe the dead fish will be wiser in its choice than most of the American public. (For the life of me, I can't find the article on CBC, but it was real, I swear).
15 October 2008
I couldn't help thinking about that this morning. The "United States of Canada" isn't as funny as it used to be, especially since we just elected the Canadian equivalent of Bush. Again. Again? Again! This has to be some kind of battered-electorate/Helsinki syndrome.
The good news (and by "good news" I mean, "the only thing I have left to cling to") is that it could be worse. A "stronger" minority is the 2nd worst possible outcome. It could have been a majority, and then I would really be upset. At that point I might have to move to New Zealand with Oz.
And can we take a moment to contemplate the fact that almost HALF (40.9%) of the vote-capable public did not vote. Who are these people who aren't voting? They call it voter apathy. I would call it something less diplomatic, like voter irresponsibility or voter stupidity. How is it possible that they can't care? (Elizabeth May made a good point about how the really poor in the country might not be able to vote because they don't have driver's licences and proper ID. I had never considered that before. If that is the case, Elections Canada needs to come up with more inclusive voting procedures, like some sort of voter-ID card that is free to everyone. I don't know).
I'm very tired now, and sad.
10 October 2008
1. The Barenaked Ladies-esque lyric: "We can change things for the better/not just dress it up with a sweater."
2. The not-at-all subtle bit they did at 2:38 a la Psycho (watch and see!)
3. Bagpipes! How Canadian to have bagpipes in a protest song!
Then, after watching that, I went to AnyonebutHarper.ca which has numerous videos about how Harper broke promise, etc. I'm only going to share this one, because the image of Harper with the kitten is too absurd not to share.
Stephen Harper: Wolf in Wool from AnyoneButHarper.ca on Vimeo.
06 October 2008
For instance, I can see the building I work in:
And I saw this rainbow after a late-afternoon downpour this past summer:
And this sweet full moon (so much better in person):
And, this past weekend, I saw an anti-choice demonstration, it stretched as far as the eye could see:
05 October 2008
What I've realized is that our election can also have ramifications. It's not just about our economy and healthcare and education. It's about how the PM will act on a global scale, particularly when it comes to climate change. Under Harper, Canada has been voted the worst country in the world on climate change by the UN. The worst. Worse than than the Bush administration. Think about that for a minute, all you people who think Harper "isn't really all that bad." Harper is worse than Bush! Think about how much you dislike Bush, then imagine someone worse than him living at 24 Sussex Drive.
I personally know very few people who believe Canada should do nothing to combat climate change. Most people I know care at least a little about what might happen if we continue as we are. And I think most Canadians also feel this way. So why doesn't our leader reflect what the people want? Canadians want to do something about climate change, yet we passively (or worse, actively) elect someone who willfully ignores the wishes of the people in favour of the wishes of the biggest drivers behind climate change. It's such a massive disconnect I can't get my head around it.
And the thing is, that our inaction doesn't just affect us. We know that! Does anyone still believe that the effects of climate change will stay within our borders and not affect other countries? The most recent Canadian Geographic is all about global impacts of climate change. It's not just melting icecaps and warmer winters, people! The insidiousness of climate change isn't in the change of weather, but in what those changes do to people's lives and livelihoods.
So, I suppose my point is that if you haven't decided who to vote for give it serious thought. If you're going to vote for Harper, just be fully aware of what a vote for Harper translates into. If you were in the States 4 years ago, would you have voted for Bush? Are you okay with Harper dragging Canada's international reputation through the mud?
And, please, don't just not vote; not voting against Harper is as bad as voting for him.
Gee, I bet y'all are going to be happy when this election is over and I shut up!
03 October 2008
It’s probably good that I was watching it alone, because I did yell at the TV a lot. Mostly at Harper. I think allowing the Greens into the debate improved it immensely. I was really impressed by Elizabeth May, she was so well read and well spoken. She generally stayed on topic and stood up for herself and her policies. Go Greens! It’s a shame I can’t vote for her.
May also addressed the camera (and therefore “the people”) more than the others. Harper seemed to be staring at a spot on the table for a lot of his responses. At one point I had to yell at him to open his eyes – literally - because he’s so small-eyed and squinty. Interestingly, Dion was the only one (that I recall) who expressed love for this country. The others seemed to want to help the people (or the Quebec people in the case of Duceppe), but only Dion actually expressed that he loves this country and wants to do what’s best for it.
It was pointed out that Harper has no economic plan. When asked about economics (of which he insisted be the main focus of the debate) he rattled off what Conservatives had done, and mentioned “strategic” investments or something (I’m so not an economist). The others had actual plans, that seemed thought-out and such, and Harper seemed to think that saying “We’ll do what we’ve been doing” was good enough, despite the economic crisis even he admits we’re approaching.
I really like the debate because it’s the best chance for me to compare the policies of the different parties. And it’s not as if I’m wholly and completely in love with one party. I like the Green’s ideas of reform to ridings for elections to make them more representational. I like the Green and Liberal plans to lower income taxes and increase carbon taxes (which Harper claims will ruin our economy, but which is completely necessary). I like one party’s plan (I think it was NDP?) to forgive student loan debt to doctors who commit to 10 years as a family physician. As well, the NDs seem to be the only group concerned about First Nations issues and want to improve the conditions they live in. The Liberals, Greens, and NDP all seem more interested in preventing crime through better social programs (e.g., improved public education), whereas Harper just wants to be tougher after the fact.
Harper claimed he loves the healthcare system and everyone else was like “Wha!? Hold up! Time out!” because he spent much of his career trying to abolish public healthcare. Jerk. I know a lot of people have selective memories when it comes to politicians, but I hope people will remember Harper’s dedication to taking away our healthcare when they go to vote. The NDP seem the most dedicated to protecting and improving healthcare (preserving that Tommy Douglas legacy), and the Greens are really adamant that we don’t let American private clinics into the country. I can’t remember the Liberal policy – but I’m pretty sure they’re in favour of healthcare.
There was a lot more that I’m leaving out. It was two solid hours of political rhetoric. If you didn’t see it last night, you could probably watch it on YouTube or something. Or you could read about it online. The important thing is that you view all sides and then vote for the party most likely to beat the conservative in your riding.
29 September 2008
Even I admit that title is misleading, I'm really just a Master on The Effects of Stocked Trout and Aeration on Native Fish and Littoral Invertebrates, but who the hell wants to put "M. ESTANFLI" after their name? I'll stick with the original, which makes me appear smarter anyway.
27 September 2008
The first just makes me happy, because I love how the NFLD Premiere is so outspoken in his hatred of Harper. I mean, I don't like him either, but I don't talk about it on national TV and start a web page about how he jilted my province. I wish the site would go one step further and link to voteforenvironment.ca - then the site would be perfect.
And speaking of environment, I finally got around to looking that the Liberal Green Shift plan. I'm all for it. I calculated my benefits, and (based on my current "income") I would get over $200 a year back! Also, I'm one of those people who thinks that gas is too cheap anyway, so I'm generally in favour of carbon taxes and the like.
I think the leader debates are coming up soon. Watch! Learn! Then vote for the non-Conservative person in your riding most likely to win.
25 September 2008
24 September 2008
So, imagine my shock when I discovered that he sold out to NFL. Granted, his song is only really apparent at the end of the commercial, and it's not him singing, but there's this unfortunate country twang in it and why the hell did he agree to this?
The actual song, in all it's unmolested-by-corporate-America glory, is here:
21 September 2008
Although, how is it that these people didn't read their tickets? Were they not asked at check-in "Where are you going today?" (I usually get asked). How did they not notice that the flight they were boarding was going to Canada? Did they not see that they had no transfer ticket out of Canada? Did they think they would get one once they got here? How is it that people can get all the way to Canada from Argentina (or England) and only then think, "hmm, this doesn't seem right."
I suppose part of it is obliviousness - people chronically unaware of their surroundings. And while I think it is impossible to "accidentally" fly anywhere, I would pay good money to know the confluence of events that led to their supposedly doing so.
17 September 2008
One of the best parts about archery is the sound. (Oddly enough, one of my favourite things about badminton is also the sound). It's such a satisfying sound. I used to have this CD that had the archery sound-effects from Robin Hood: Price of Thieves on it. Archery also reminded me of the character Kevin, in the book We Need to Talk About Kevin, as well as Daniel Day-Lewis' character in Last of the Mohicans - which is odd, because I think that character was really good with a gun, not a bow.
12 September 2008
On the American series of So You Think You Can Dance, Mary is merely annoying. She seems to swing wildly between serious, thoughtful, constructive criticism, and nonsensical comments and high-pitch screaming. This is generally okay, since my TV has a mute button. But last night, she was a judge for the auditions of SYTYCD Canada, and she played this act (oh, God, I hope it was an act) that she simply couldn’t believe that these people were Canadian! That this must be some elaborate, expensive, international punking, because there’s no way that people raised in Canada could have any talent.
Come on. I’m so sick of this notion that Canada is some sort of cultural, intellectual, or technological vacuum. Canada is like Mars to people. "Canada can support life? Who knew?!" Did Mary Murphy arrive at the airport and marvel at all the wonders we have? Did she write home that we have taxi cabs and urban centers, and buildings made of stone? Was she shocked that she was able to get cell phone service on this side of the border?
It’s just annoying because certainly, at some point in her career, she met some Canadians who could dance. She was also sitting next to two seemingly successful and (I assume) Canadian judges and she spent the whole night insulting the country. I think one, “I didn’t expect this level of talent” comment would have been sufficient. She didn’t have to keep marveling that kids raised in igloos on nothing more than seal meat and moose milk could possible move so gracefully.
09 September 2008
As for the last poll "Which animal is cutest (over all life history stages)?" Giant Panda won with 46% of the votes. My personal favourite, the uberadorable Red Panda, was second with 23% of the votes. In third was White Bengal Tigers (15%), and the depressed pug and Atlantic cod tied for last. All I still think I'm right.
03 September 2008
01 September 2008
The Republican candidate for VP is scary. And that’s scary above-and-beyond the regular creepiness conservatives usually project. It’s not that she’s pro-gun, pro-life, and pro-destroying the environment for big business. That’s par for the course, no? It’s not that she’s a former beauty queen with only two years of federal government experience. It’s not that her 17 year old daughter is pregnant (poor kid, to have that be international news). It’s not that she (apparently) used to be a commercial fisherman - nothing really wrong with that as along as she didn't sell endangered fish to the black market (although, I have no way of knowing if she did or not).
The worst of it, from my perspective, is a small thing, but it really says a lot about who she is. Of her 5 kids:
- one has a marginally normal name (Willow)
- one has a name approaching unusual (Piper)
- one has the name of a city in the UK (Bristol)
- two have fake names (Track and Trig).
Even giving her the benefit of the doubt for “Bristol,” what the hell is up with Track and Trig? How is Track a name?! And Trig, is that short for Trigger or Trigonometry? While we’re on the math theme, why not a kid named Stats or Al-geo? Or maybe she always wanted dogs named Track and Trig, but she’s allergic and can’t have dogs. I wonder if these names stem from her beloved pastime of hunting animals (my tone is judgmental, while I am not). Maybe I should name my kids after my pastimes? Little Remote and Deeveedee will be so popular and adored, simply because I didn’t name them Karen or Dana.
I can’t help but think that if she doesn’t have the sense to give her children actual names, then do we really want her one breath away from ruling the US? I think even Bush’s kids have normal names! Right? There’s Jenna and, um, The Other One. Regardless, she has less sense than Bush! God help us.
27 August 2008
25 August 2008
I don’t think you could say we dominated in any field, though. We kind of just got a medal here, a medal there. We were most successful in rowing, and apparently we do better with a Coxswain than we do without. It makes sense, to me – a person with no knowledge of rowing – that having someone to steer would just make things easier, you know?
And we got two silvers in Trampoline, which is, like, assisted jumping. How is that a sport? How are half the Olympic sports even sports? I know Equestrian competitors have to be fit (or so I’m told), but really, the horse does all the freaking work. And dirt bikes? How long until stock car racing is an Olympic sport? I’m surprised Golf isn’t (or maybe it is, and I didn’t notice). And handball! That’s a medal sport now. Where are the Olympic tether ball courts? I would kick ass at Olympic Red Rover. Oh! Olympic Red Light Green Light or Mother May I! Olympic Capture the Flag! At my cabin we play an awesome game called “Sink the Corner” where a gang of us (it works best with more than 4 people) stand on the corner of a floating wooden raft. The corner slowly sinks as the raft goes vertical in the water, and the person who doesn’t fall off wins. That would be an awesome Olympic sport (think of the potential for injuries!). I’ll bring it up at the next meeting of the International Sink the Corner Commission.
Let’s see, before my rant on the loose definition of “sport,” I was talking about our medal haul. I think it’s somehow fitting that we got more Silver medals than anything else. Most counties see a Silver medal as a “Not Gold” medal. I think we see it as a “Not Bronze or 4th Place” medal, and really, it’s that happy outlook that makes us who we are.
21 August 2008
Of the two people left, the non looser would be released, and I’m not sure if they knew what happened next, because none of the contestants knew what happened when you lost. But because it was my dream, I got to see. The looser was strung up with ropes at their wrists and ankles and they were ripped apart. That’s way more symbolic than putting out their flame or turning off the light in their fridge (or whatever). It turns out that the producer of the show had a really horrible adolescent school experience and was taking revenge on smart people.
And before you go thinking that my dreams are oddly violent, I would like to point out that it’s genetic. After I told my mom about this dream, she told me about what she calls her “Sniper dream.”
“My sniper dream, surprisingly, predated all the reality shows. It was about a show called Skate For Your Life. They locked 100 roller skaters in a roller rink and put a sniper in a balcony. The last one alive was the winner. It's very much like The Long Walk.”
The Long Walk was written by Stephen King back when he was pretending to be Richard Bachman, and before he started sucking. I would argue that her dream was more like the story Running Man. Hey, remember that movie? I should totally watch that again.
20 August 2008
The first is rather poignant, especially for me because my dreams tend to be run-of-the-mill surreal. In it, the younger of my older brothers had joined some kind of religious group, I think he had become Quaker. As part of his conversion, he had to renounce, and never again have contact with, his family (a bonus, I’m sure, in his eyes). It was a rainy night, in Cobourg I think, and he was on a sidewalk, waiting to cross the street. I was coincidentally inside a building right behind him. We saw each other, and I made some kind of gesture meant to convey that we loved him and missed him - I didn't try to talk to him through the glass. Even though he was not supposed to acknowledge his family, he gave a slight nod of his head to convey that he understood. Then he crossed the road and was gone.
The second is great, because it demonstrates how even my subconscious loves pop. I was in a bar, with some friends (no one I recognized), and my aunt Shelia and her friend. It was a pub, all low ceilings and dark wood. I think we were celebrating something, and since I was the only one with family present I suspect that something had to do with me. My aunt’s friend was leaving, so I got up to say goodbye. She gave me a hug, and told me in a confidential tone that I should go visit my father. I said, "Now isn't a good time, I've been drinking." And I gestured to my spot at the table, and a half-empty 2L bottle of Pepsi. She left with no further argument.
The third is more surreal. Later on, at perhaps the same bar, I noticed Edward James Olmos sitting at another table, and I thought that was freakin’ cool. I pointed him out to all my friends, I think I called him Commander Adama (even though, he's actually an Admiral). It was unclear if they knew who he was. Later on (after a long while of Pepsi shots, I'm sure) Edward James Olmos comes riding by on what looks like a sickly, starving bear. The bear is harnessed with a saddle and everything. After he passes I realize that he was actually riding a sloth. And the sloth had really long claws. Even in dreams, Edward James Olmos kicks ass.
16 August 2008
In reality, we're really good at women's wrestling, and guys rowing without a coxswain. Yeah, you heard me, with no coxswain. That means no one is steering the boat! They're just rowing out there all willy-nilly, and we came in second! That's some serious shit right there. Suck on that rower's who need a coxswain!
15 August 2008
Because there's something in the water that stunts our athletic development? Because we're too polite and don't have that "kill 'em all" competitive spirit? Because Canada has a small population to draw from and mathematically a smaller number of athletically gifted people? Because Canada doesn't worship athletes the way other countries do,and don't support them well enough? Because even at our very, very best we're still only 4th on the world stage?
I mean, Summer sports have never been our forte, but its so bad that people are making fun of us! I'm told the medal count will pick up in the second half of the games, and I hope this is true. At this point, if we can tie with Azerbaijan, I'll be happy.
On a related note how awesome is it that Walking is an Olympic sport? I, for one, would like to see competitive stretching, or murder checkers. Those are events I'd stay up for.
11 August 2008
08 August 2008
The whole lot of us! Wow.
This definition is brought to you by the kind of people who would protest at the funeral of a victim of a violent, gruesome crime with not a thought for his family or friends. The kind of people who would also protest the funerals of soldiers. The kind of people who actually believe that this random act of violence was committed because we let private citizens of the same sex enter into legal marriages. The kind of fundamentally fucked-up people that are completely devoid of the humanity they are trying so vehemently to protect.
I’ve been annoyed with the Judges of late, though. Ever since they stopped having any say in who stays or goes, their judging has become little more than flattery and, at times, undeserving praise. Katee & Joshuer could have tortured cats to music and Nigel would tell them, “That was very entertaining! Thank you!” and Mary (*shudder*), she would just stand up and scream for a good 6 seconds while people’s ears started to bleed. Then the guest judge would talk about how “street” that routine was, or about how much she loves the performers and how beautiful the cat-torture was and how it took the show to a whole other level, or how they just rode the subway car of Self-Awareness and transferred to the busline of Expression before getting off in Awesome Town. All the while, the performers would be panting and nodding while cats mewed in the background.
My point is that it was nice the few times the judges actually offered something constructive other than, “You’re beautiful and that routine was fun!”
I’m not sure what I’ll watch at night when I want to relax, now that this show is over. This and Burn Notice are the only new programming I’ve been watching this summer. Of course, according to the back-to-school commercials, summer is almost over. It makes sense, since the sudden nice weather we’ve been having here feels like Summer’s hot, humid, dying breath.
Also, today is Edge's birthday. Happy Birthday, The Edge!
05 August 2008
2. Another thing that makes me happy. Re-issues of U2’s first 3 albums: Boy, October, and War, complete with alternate mixes of classic songs (Four versions of Two Hearts! Five versions of New Years Day!) and songs I’ve never heard of before (Angels Too Tied to The Ground!?). You can listen to War (one of their best albums ever) here for free, but the rest you have to sign up, but then you can listen for free, which is what I’m going to have to do while I save up money to buy them all.
3. Something that was inevitable. I watched Battlestar Galactica over the weekend. Just the first miniseries. Apparently there’s like four seasons and a bunch of movies as well, so I have to do a lot of catching up. I say it was inevitable, because its science fiction, and while I don’t usually go in for the more militarish sci-fi, I usually give it a chance. Except Star Trek, I just can’t bring myself to watch Star Trek. Or that one where they travel to different dimensions (although, I did like the original movie). Battlestar Galactica was pretty good. It had Callum Rennie in it, and I just love him on principle. It also had Presidential Hopeful John McCain in a starring role! Of course, it wasn’t really John McCain, but it might as well have been.
4. Something surprising. Not everyone loves The Dark Night. I kind of agree with some of this guy’s assessment, although I didn’t hate it. Batman’s growly voice was very annoying, but the Two-Face makeup was wicked gross and I wanted to look away even as I was so fascinating that I had to stare at it. Over all, I think it was on par with Hellboy; although Dark Knight had a better story, Hellboy was more visually interesting.
5. Something that freaks me out. Ew, ew. Ew! (*shudder*). I hate eye-things!
Anyway, in the dream, the creek that runs through the property had flooded, and there was enough water that people could boat down the road. I was on such a boat – it was big, flat-bottomed, and I think had gun turrets. It was daytime, and the water was so clear I could see down through to the road and the grass on the shoulder. I could see minnows everywhere and there was someone watching over my shoulder telling me what they were, and I was getting really annoyed because I already knew what they were. Then it was dark, and we were hunting for some kind of water creature that had been terrorizing the area. Every so often I would see a dark form dart through the water. I think the hunt became too intense for me, or maybe the boat was attacked, because I jumped ship and ran home. The road was bone dry, despite the flooding, which was convenient, and as I ran home, the theme music from the Bourne movies was playing in my head.
Now that I think about it, not a very eventful dream. Oh well. It gives me an opportunity to share this map that Kimmy made for me a long time ago (click for a slightly larger version).
31 July 2008
I think I had it right in early 2002 when I stopped listening to, watching, or reading the news. At the time my brother was overseas and one morning I awoke to news of a helicopter crash in Afghanistan and that was the end of my relationship with the news media. Sure, I was woefully ignorant of the world around me, but ignorance was bliss. Since then, I’ve returned to a fairly regular routine of reading CBC online and watching the occasional newscast. But, aside from being well-informed about just how awful the world is, reading the news has no benefits. Over the last couple of days there have been two especially brutal stories that just leave me feeling ill and thinking that a news moratorium might benefit me immensely. Everything about these stories makes me want to hide out in a couch-cushion-and-bed-sheet fort with my favourite stuffed animal circa 1989 (Share Bear Care Bear) and never, ever grow up to the reality of our world.
The first was this story about a man who attacked a woman in her home here in Edmonton. You know, for all my complaining about crime in Edmonton, I’ve never really felt unsafe here. But then this story comes along and freaks me out. This guy broke into his neighbour’s apartment through the balcony after a night of drinking and drugs, and held her captive for hours. (I check to make sure my balcony doors are locked, like, five times a day now, and I live on the 11th floor). He’s claiming his mental condition is to blame, but when the woman was able to call 911 for help, he calmly told the operator it was a crank call. Holy god, that is the most frightening aspect I think. Imagine what she went through to make it to a phone and get through to help, only to have him do that (911 resonded anyway, however). Also, he apparently bet his friends that he could “break into the woman’s condo and rape and kill her.” I don’t care how drunk you are, when your friend with supposed mental problems starts talking like that, you lock him in a room or something. The guy is currently on trial, but that seems like small consolation.
The second story appeared this morning. I told Kimmy that is was unbelievable and she questioned that, and we agreed that it should be unbelievable but somehow it isn’t. The headline says it all, “Man decapitates passenger aboard Greyhound bus in Manitoba: witnesses.” And a little detail I just now noticed: the bus was coming from Edmonton. Of course. The article reads like something written by George Romero. I’ve been thinking about it too much already today. It’s too disturbing to discuss any more.
How shall I spend my time, not that I can no longer sleep, or read CBC?
29 July 2008
The joke here is obvious, and I don't know which is funnier, that he did it "unwittingly" or that he used a dolphin.
For some reason, this movie reminds me about Patton Oswalt's bit about the movie Death Bed (caution: strong language). Of course, since I'm posting that I should link to my two favourite Oswalt bits: KFC Bowls and Dukes of Hazzard. Again, I'm giving you fair warning about the language, if that kind of thing bothers you.
28 July 2008
And I wasn’t disappointed! Seriously, it was better than I thought it would be and it wasn’t completely crappy! I know it’s been getting dreadful reviews, but I don’t care. For me, the excitement of seeing the characters again was enough to get me through the slowish scenes and not-so-interesting subplot. The truth of the matter is that I even if this movie is as horrible as people say it is, I’m probably not able to recognize it as such.
I’ll try not to give much away, in the off chance that this glowing review should convince anyone to see it (and yes, I’m going to see it again. Roll your eyes all you want). I made a point of not reading the reviews, or watching too many of the previews beforehand. I wanted to be surprised. The previews were hard to avoid, but let me tell you they are ingenious. The movie is not at all what you would expect based on the previews – score one for the Fox marketing monkeys. The story was less paranormal than I expected and it was more about human monsters à la Donnie Pfaster than paranormal monsters. There were some funny moments, and references to past episodes. And Chris Carter made me happy by acknowledging William. I was worried they would conveniently forget that Scully gave her kid away like 9 years ago. There was also a reveal near the end that elicited an audible reaction from the audience, myself included. I think I may have actually squealed and clapped my hands.
There was one thing I absolutely hated – it struck me as completely unrealistic and bothered me to no end. At one point Scully decides to use stem cells to treat a patient of her's, but she clearly knows little about the procedure. So, to research it, she Googles “stem cell research.” What kind of doctor uses Google for their research!? Maybe the hospital she works at is so poorly funded that they can’t afford medical journals, but that’s no excuse to treat your patient with information from Wikipedia.
In conclusion, I think the key to enjoying this movie is a moderate level of adoration for the series, and sufficiently low expectations. I also suggest watching the closing credits, if just to be reassured by the fact that, even though he didn’t appear on screen, Frohike was at least involved in the production of the film. Actually, the credits are this weird ode to water in all its forms. It’s very odd, but at the end of it there is something worth sticking around for.
25 July 2008
21 July 2008
Of course, I romanticize. Every summer of FIESTA has been fun and awesome in it's own way because each has been so different (and even though I'm generally neophobic, I appreciate that). And 2005 wasn't all that halcyon. Is there an antonym for halcyon? Because that was back when Cricket's idea of a "day off" was to only sample 2 lakes. I'm sure if I were to publish my journal from that time it would be full of entries like,
"July 4, 2005
So damn tired. Cricket dragged me to 6 lakes today and it was hot and gross and my waders have 90 rips in them, which doesn't even matter because I fell through the floating mats on Kidney AND Yellowhead anyway. Damn, I hate Kidney. And I only caught 4 frogs!"
You get the idea. So, to honor those golden days and in tribute to Cricket who is no longer with us (in Alberta, that is. She's not dead or anything), I'm posting an album of 2005 photos. These predate digital cameras, ya'll: these are scanned in from actual film photos! Gasp! And some of the pictures are discoloured from all the times Cricket fell through the floating mats and her camera got wet. Good times!
The album contains the classic picture of me looking stunned:
And one of Cricket looking all of 12 years old:
The rest of the album can be seen here.
19 July 2008
11 July 2008
A few shout outs to end the week. The first to my cousin Corey who graduates from the police academy today and becomes a member of the DeKalb County police force. She's a cop! I still have trouble believing it.
The second shout out is a Happy Birthday to Ang, whom I've known since pre-birth. Ang, if you read this, you still need to email me pics from Kimm's wedding.
The third is to Celine, who knows me way too well, and sent me a coaster that she stole from a coffee shop in, I assume, Fairbanks. Thanks, Celine!
08 July 2008
Th pictures Annie sent were - I think - about the Giant Panda conservation centre that is trying to save the species. So apparently, there was an earthquake and the pandas were all afraid and the workers at the center rescued them and fed them:
I'd like to commend them on their very high worker-to-panda ratio. After they were rescued, the pandas were all happy and playful:
They love to frolic! Extinction be damned! But then, and this is where the narrative of the photos fell apart for me, because suddenly it seemed as if the pandas all gave birth at the same time, and suddenly there was like a baby panda infestation:
Maybe they aren't all babies, but I'd say they're young'uns at the very least. Look at them all! I think the myth of the endangered Giant Panda has finally been put to rest, don't you?
Then the really cute pictures started:
That last one is a fake, right? That's some kid in a panda suit or something, because that "I didn't touch the bamboo" pose is unreal. But, really, where did all those baby pandas come from? Are pandas born in litters? It just seems like a lot. So many, in fact, that every worker at the center gets two to take home and start their own breeding program:
Although, I'm still not sure Classic Panda beats Red Panda, because the Red Panda are still ubercute as adults, whereas Giant Panda adults are merely normal cute. In the spirit of democracy, I'm gonna post a poll and we can settle this once and for all.