25 April 2008
Behold my happy thing:
A new book by my favourite author! (Or, at the very least, the author of my favourite book. The "favourite author" designation is very hard to bestow on just one person). It doesn't come out until August, though. So at the moment it's the anticipation of the happy thing that is making me happy.
22 April 2008
I know that it's not uncommon for Edmonton to get snow in the spring. But that kind of snow is usually a small flurry followed by highs above 0 and sun. With those "snows" you laugh and marvel at how it's April and there was 5 minutes of snow. But this is no spring snow fall. This is a 3-day long, non-stop, windy-ass snow dump. This is absurd and unfair. This is some kind of sign from On High that the province should be evacuated and left to its own devices. Nature clearly wants us out of here and I for one don't want to be around when she really gets mad.
At the moment I'm back at my ex-apartment (I moved a few days ago) waiting for the Shaw technician to show up. S/he has 23 minutes left in the 4-hour window in which they were supposed to have arrived. They're picking up the cable phone thing, I don't know what it is exactly. Anyway, so I've spent the afternoon on the floor of my ex-apartment. And, since I don't live here anymore, there's nothing to sit on, or to lay over me to keep me warm (it's -18 outside, and about 6 in here). So, my ass is asleep and I'm very, very cold. And I have this strong, suspicious feeling that the Shaw Tech is not even going to show up. And when that happens I will have to cry.
This is the only thing keeping me going at the moment:
The hand-clapping kills me.
17 April 2008
09 April 2008
Say what you will about Quentin Tarantino, but he has a way of taking songs and attaching them so completely to his movies that no one is ever able to think about them in any other way. Ever again. Like, literally, ever again. So, imagine my surprise when I saw this Telus ad on TV the other night:
Inspired, I can only assume, by this (it was remarkably hard to find a clip of this, and even this one’s been messed with, but you get the idea):
I know what Telus is doing here, but for the love of God, have they even seen Reservoir Dogs? I mean, what possible connection can they draw between bundled internet/phone/cable services and an incredibly bloody movie about a bank heist gone wrong? You just know, it was totally some GenY movie geek at the advertising company that has been waiting for years to do some kind of homage to Tarantino, and this was the best he could do.
It just feels so wrong. I mean, if you’re going to rip off Reservoir Dogs, why not go for broke, buy the rights to Stuck in the Middle with You, and have the macaw tie the cockatoo to a chair and pluck its feathers? (Sorry, was that a spoiler?). On second thought, scratch that. There should be a moratorium on animals acting out scenes from Tarantino movies.
Telus should bring back the bunnies and have them reenact Casa Blanca or something.
08 April 2008
07 April 2008
That evening, our last in the city, we went to see U23D. It was kickass. We did get glasses, but not the old school red-and-green ones. These were just gray tinted and I have no idea how they actually work. But they do. The effect of the 3D does two things: the first is the expected things-hovering-in-front-of-you effect, or things coming out of the screen at you. The second, which I didn’t expect, was it gave depth to everything on the screen. As cliché as it is to say, you really do feel like you’re standing right there. Everything looked so present, even the microphone stand held fascination because it looked so round.
They didn’t play the 3D for cheesy effect. For example, Bono didn’t throw his sunglasses at the audience or anything. In fact, with few exceptions it was gimmick free. There was a couple of computer-generated things where words flew from the screen, but other than that it was a straightforward concert movie. What was special about it is that it looks so real you feel like you can reach out and touch Bono. There were shots where you literally felt like you were a part of the crowd.
I have to commend the people who did the sound editing. The problem with concerts is that the audience begins screaming before the band steps on the stage and doesn’t stop screaming until the band is long gone. They did an amazing job of filtering out the audience and only including them in the soundtrack when it made sense to. The over-all editing was good too. The movie was made from about 4 concerts, but it plays pretty seamlessly as one complete show.
My only problem with it was the length. It was only 80 minutes long. That’s far shorter than an actual concert, and means they have to leave out so many good songs. The highlight of the movie was the performance of Love and Peace, because Larry sings and Bono bangs on the drums. Also because it’s a great song. Here’s a performance from a concert DVD.
And here’s another performance of the same song. Worth watching if only for the way Bono says “lovely” at about the 1:10 mark. (I can practically hear you rolling your eyes, but I truly am this obsessed).
In conclusion. U23D was an awesome movie and I think even people ambivalent to the band and/or immune to Bono’s rock star charm would like it anyway, just for the novelty of it.
Anyway, it has taken me way too long to get around to writing about the rest of my trip, and since my motivation to do stats has suddenly disappeared, I’m thinking now would be a good time.
So, where was I? After Sunday (the Day of Tragedies) we drove back to the city on Monday. That was pretty uneventful. On Tuesday, my mom and I went downtown to the Aquarium. Any pictures I’m about to post probably won’t be as good as you’ll see on their site, but I’m a’gonna post them anyway. The aquarium is only a couple of years old, and is the largest in the world. The collection is pretty standard, with a few surprises, namely the variety of rays and sharks: sawtooth, bufflehead, reef sharks, etc.
The set up was beautiful. You can basically walk through the fresh and saltwater tanks, so that the fish are above and around you. The jewel in their crown would have to be the whale sharks. Whale sharks! The largest fish currently in existence and they have 4 of them. They only have juveniles, mind you, so if they live to be full grown, they will be very impressive. Not that they aren’t already impressive. I love whale sharks. They’re so beautiful. I’m choosing to ignore the fact that they caught these poor things somewhere near Thailand and flew them UPS (literally) to Atlanta. They’ve lost two already. Given the status of shark populations, I hope they perfect whale shark husbandry very soon.
Here are some videos. The first is the main viewing room for the saltwater tank. Look at the grouper! The main reason I took this, though, was the music they were playing. It was like the music from the dramatic climax of a movie, and they just had it on a constant loop.
These were taken from the walk-through part of the same tank. I suggest you mute this one, because it was spring break and the place was crawling with very, very loud children.
All my pictures can be seen here.
01 April 2008
I’ll start with the good, however. Our Sunday morning activities were extraordinary; prepare to be impressed: we ate brunch at Paula Deen’s restaurant Lady and Son’s. Oh, yeah: I can practically feel the heat of your envy. For those of you living under a rock who don’t know who Paula Deen is (and I was one of you up until the day before I ate at her restaurant) let me assure ya’ll: she’s huge. She’s an Empire. She’s a modern Southern icon. She has a cooking show on the Food Network, she has her restaurant, she has a line of food products, she has a store, and a magazine, and a line of cookbooks. Her two grown sons also have their own show and cookbooks, and her brother has a restaurant too. And when she married Captain Mike, a former river boat captain, it was broadcast on TV. Now Captain Mike has his own brand of love coffee (so called by me because the packaging contains a note from Paula and Captain Mike where they talk about their love for coffee, and their love for each other).
The restaurant in Savannah is wildly popular and there is generally a four hour wait to eat there. We were able to get reservations for Sunday morning, which they lost, but they squeezed us in anyway. They only do buffet on Sundays, but it was – hands down – the best buffet I’ve ever had. It was, of course, very southern and very unhealthy, and very tasty. Let’s see if I can remember what the buffet had: biscuits, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese (real style, not KD), something with mussels, green beans, sweet potatoes, something creamy with zucchini, and hoe cakes, which are like cornbread pancakes. They also served the best sweet tea (“iced tea” in Canadian English) I’ve ever had. It was a great meal.
That was pretty much the highlight of Sunday. Other than that, it was a day of tragedies. The first incident occurred before our brunch and the other two after.
The first. We were driving through the city and we passed a one-way street and noticed that there was a car parked the wrong way on the one-way. It was parked askew, on angle, and had one door hanging open. I said, “Oh, look, an abandoned car.” And we didn’t think much of it. The we ended up circling the block (I think we were looking for parking) and the next time we passed the car there were three cop cars parked around it, with cops all over the place, looking in the car and taking pictures. It was unsettling.
The second, and most major, occurred early in the afternoon. Our trolley tickets were good for two days, so we decided to do the tour again. The trolley passes by the residence of the Southern College of Art and Design (SCAD). As we were passing by, we heard a scream. We all kind of looked around by reflex, and my cousin turned in time to see a girl fall five stories and hit the ground. My cousin said at first her mind didn’t process what she was seeing. When she realized what happened she jumped up and told the driver to stop and call 911. From where the trolley parked, we could see the girl on the ground. She wasn’t moving.
My aunt tried calling 911 but couldn’t get through. Someone did, though, because the cops and campus security responded quickly. We just stood on the bus and watched. Some people were going up to her, but she wasn’t moving and no one was doing anything to help her. The ambulance took longer to get there. We just stood on the trolley in shock, we were sure she was dead. Eventually the driver asked the people on the bus what they wanted to do. Everyone else said to go on with the tour, so we got off then. We just weren’t in the mood. My cousin went to talk to the police, since she had witnessed the fall. My mom and I stood back with the gathering crowd. The paramedics were with the girl and were strapping her to a board and turning her over. When they did there was this horrible cry. I thought it was from one of the people watching, but it was from the girl! She was alive. She survived the fall! We didn’t believe it, but were very happy. Instead of witnessing a death, my cousin had only witnessed a horrific accident. Apparently the girl was leaning against a railing and it gave way. Can you imagine?
The third occurred after we’d gone for drinks to deal with our shock. We were driving out of town and passed a house fire. I’ve never seen anything like it. The smoke was so black and it was pouring out from under the roof. We saw someone run out of the house and gesture wildly at the arriving firemen. We didn’t want to stop or rubber neck, so we just kept going. We felt really bad about all the destruction we were leaving in our wake. We thought it best to sit quietly in our condo and not harm any more people.
The girl is going to be fine, as far as I know. When we drove by the house fire the next day, it was still standing and didn’t look all that bad. I don’t know what happened with the creepily abandoned car, though.