27 May 2008

I'm off to celebrate Kimm & Tomm, and after that, should anyone need me, I can be found here:

26 May 2008

I'm a downer, I know

Sometimes I think I need to pay more attention to the world around me. But when I do, I just get mad at what I see and then I go back to living in my head. Take this, something that I think I knew about, but made myself forget (likely because I knew how I would react): this "tradition" that Redwings fans have of throwing octopi on the ice. It's supposed to be symbolic, or something. Does this strike anyone else a rather high-concept metaphor for a sport synonymous with "concussion?" Why not just stick with classic, established symbols of luck? Why be so obscure?

I'm far too exhausted today to write a proper rant about this. I know the world was a different place in the 1950s, when a two brothers could think of no better way to dispose of their excess octopus than throwing it at hockey players. Since then, however, we've kind of run out of marine life and I don't think chucking it onto ice rinks is really putting what's left of our aquatic resources to good use. Do you? I mean, I get annoyed when people use marine life for sustenance, imagine how frustrated this makes me.

Granted, I don't know the population status of any octopi, but I'd prefer fans throw something we know we have plenty of, like.....spiders. Spiders have 8 legs and are probably less smelly to carry around. Or, hey, what about something with, I don't know, red wings? Redwinged blackbirds seem pretty ubiquitous, throw them around for a change.

So, you know what team I'll be rooting for in the alternate universe where I'm interested in hockey. It'll be whichever team doesn't throw marine life onto the ice. Should a case arise where competing teams throw terrestrial animals, I'd probably cheer for the team throwing the least cute animal.

25 May 2008

Apple Wagon! Playmobil!

My current musical infatuation is with this UK band called The Boy Least Likely To. Their songs are catchy and upbeat in a happy-bouncy way. (There's a reason I'm not a music critic, ya'll). Anyway, I was doing some, um, very important research on size-selective predation in salmonids and I stumbled across this:

An entire video made with Playmobil! Brilliant! I used to love those toys! I think finding this was the highlight of my Sunday.

21 May 2008


So I logged onto Blogger to put up a post, and I ended up following a link to a blog after my own heart. Oh, I'm so jealous I didn't think of that first.

From there, I went to this crackpot condoning improper quotation use. He calls them "shout quotes." Ignorant quotes is more like it.

Then after getting frustrated with that display of wanton support of bad grammar and pseudoilliteracy, I went back to the sane blog, and clicked through to here. Which I kind of agree with, in principle. Or maybe more that that, because you can substitute "Ellie" for "white people" in that article and it's shockingly accurate.

Of course, once I landed on a site called Stuff White People Like, I had to check out the full list. Interestingly, Grad School is No. 81. I have to say, I do agree that I like a lot of things on the list (Nos. 13, 25, 35, 38, 50, and 97). However, I disagree with the list on a number of points as well (Nos. 89, 86, 67, 47, and 42). Down with No. 42!

What was my subconscious thinking?

I had a dream about Jeopardy! last night. I've always liked dreaming about TV, it's just like getting a new episode of my favourite show(s), even if it is a nonsensical episode in which I sometimes happen to be starring. Another thing I like about TV dreams is that it's like multi-tasking for the extremely lazy. "You mean there's a way I can sleep AND watch TV?! I'm sold!"

In the dream, it was Celebrity Jeopardy! and they were filming on location somewhere sunny. I don't know who all the "celebrities" were, but one of them was Santa Claus. I only remember one question, and it was the kind that has a music clip to accompany Alex's text. Except they played the clip first and instead of reading the clue, Alex started rocking out to the music and doing the DJ-scratching motion with his hands. One of the contestants - not Santa - buzzed in and guessed "Martin Luther King, Jr.," but s/he was wrong. I remember thinking that guessing MLK when you don't really know the answer is a good strategy for Jeopardy!.

On a somewhat related topic, [in real life] I wonder if Alex gets as frustrated as I do when the contenstants can't answer the questions about Canada. Does he ever just want to throw his hands in the air and shout, "Come on! The Bay of Fundy National Park is in New Brunswick! Everybody knows that!"

12 May 2008

14 Again

(Disclaimer: If you don't care for X Files, this post might bore you to tears).
I shouldn't be allowed to browse online. I need to get that software that parents use to keep their kids off chat sites or whatever. Except I'd set mine to only allow me to use my email and the Science citation database, I can't be trusted anywhere else. When I browse it's inevitable that I'll find something to distract me from my work. Take right now as an example. I was browsing, and I found something that I have to share because the geek in me can't contain herself. This morning I came across the shiny new X Files movie trailer.

I don't think I have the skills as a writer to explain how important this show was to me for 7 years of my life. It was my favourite show, beyond Buffy or any of the really popular shows at the time. It was the first thing I became really obsessed with, and I have no idea why because I had no prior love for Sci fi. I just saw it on TV one night, and it was like I had no choice but to make it the center of my personal universe for the better part of the next decade. People who barely knew me in high school knew I was the girl who loved X Files. To this day, friends still give me alien-themed presents. My mom even wrote an article for a local magazine once about how - during the typical difficult teen years - she and I were able to find common ground in XFiles.

I'm not obsessed anymore, even though I still love the show and I appreciate how awesome it was and how it helped pave the way on network TV for other supernatural/sci fi shows. There are episodes of XFiles that I would argue are among the best hours ever to air on TV (Home, Small Potatoes, etc) and admittedly, it probably had some of the worst hours - especially in it's first (and last) season. But there's no need to dwell and my entire point to writing a post was to direct you to the trailer and to discuss the promo "viral" videos.

They've released these super short videos of Mulder and Scully talking about each other, and it's weird, and seems aimed at whipping the poor, abused 'shippers into a mad frenzy. I suppose after 6 years we're supposed to just forgive and forget the way they handled the Mulder/Scully thing (after season 7, because up until then it was very well executed). But seriously, I mean everything important in that relationship happened offscreen, and the writer's kept it ambiguous for so long you could tell that they didn't even know what was going on, and I'm still pissed that Scully had Mulder's superhuman-miracle-baby then gave it up for adoption and everyone was okay with this. Ugh. Okay. So maybe I have some residual obsession.

09 May 2008

Bad scientist! No significance for you!

I'm so happy! I had this result in my research that I didn't want because it kind of goes against what I think is happening, and I've been trying to find a way to deal with it for days. Finally, this morning, I figured out a way to explain it away. Not necessarily good science per se, and my supervisor will probably write some comment to that effect when he reads this draft, but for now I'm happy. These types of things don't usually happen on Zero Bunny days.

New Topic.

I had a thought the other day, and given who I am it's a shock I didn't have this thought at least five years ago, but here it is: there aren't that many conservation-themed songs out there. (Of course, the thought I actually had was, "there are so few songs about the perils of overfishing." But I extrapolated so this post would appeal to a larger audience, namely people other than me).

But think about it, can you think of any? There are songs about how our society is crumbling, but are there any songs about climate change? habitat destruction? Endangered species? And Baby Beluga doesn't count because I don't think Raffi had the (probably fireproof) St. Lawrence population in mind when he wrote it.

So, here are some of the lyrics to the only conservation-themed song I can think of, which just happens to be about overfishing: The Downeaster Alexa by Billy Joel.

"...And I go where the ocean is deep
There are giants out there in the canyons
And a good captain can't fall asleep

I've got bills to pay and children who need clothes
I know there's fish out there but where God only knows
They say these waters aren't what they used to be
But I've got people back on land who count on me

Now I drive my Downeaster Alexa
More and more miles from shore every year
Since they tell me I can't sell no stripers
And there's no luck in swordfishing here..."

Can anyone think of any other songs?

04 May 2008

It took 3 years...

and 3 days, but Edmonton has finally managed to impress me with it's heretofore unknown ability for random awesomeness.

Last night, I was having dinner at Mosaics with friends. (Mosaics is one of the few things about Edmonton that I will actually miss. The food is consistently delicious and every time I've been there, the background music has been The Smiths or Morrissey). Part way through our meal, someone comes in from off the street and announces to the room, "The zombies are coming." He said it twice, but with surprisingly little excitement, then left. It was odd and we all thought he was delusional or maybe just inebriated. Then someone said, "There really is zombies!" And, sure enough, there was a herd (gang? school? murder?) of zombies lurching and stumbling down Whyte Ave.

Not to ruin the magic, but apparently this is a thing that people do all over. Like-minded people dress up like Zombies and have annual events. Check out this posting for the most recent Edmonton walk. Apparently they picnicked after heading down Whyte. I love how the author of the post stresses that they "stay in character" and points out that they actually have to pay to go on the LRT, just because they're undead doesn't mean they don't have to live by society's rules.

I think this is so cool. One of my mom's favourite movies is the original Night of the Living Dead and she loves zombie movies. I can totally see her doing the Zombie Walk if she were 30 years younger (and maybe just one degree crazier).

I wonder why it's always the horror/sci-fi genres that inspire people to wear costumes in public places, like Trekkies, or Rocky Horror Picture Show fanatics. I don't see why more genre groups don't do it. Can you imagine a Jane Austen Walk? Or a Miss Marple Walk? Or, um, a Louis L'amour Walk? (Forgive me, my knowledge of genres I don't read is limited to reading the spines of books I shelved when I worked at a library in High School). But you get the point. How much would this city improve if every Saturday in the spring/summer there was another group of people walking around in specifically themed costumes for our enjoyment?

01 May 2008

The good, the disturbing, and the also disturbing

Google has a dedicated search engine just for books!

And if that were the only thing I'd learned so far today, I'd be bubbling over with happiness.

However, I had the misfortune to see a story on Canada AM this morning that was disturbing and, somehow, gets more disturbing the more I think about it. It was about this "500 year old tradition" in (I want to say) India, but I can't remember, whereby people DROP THEIR BABIES FROM A HEIGHT OF 15 METERS. On purpose. FOR LUCK. The babies land on, like, a sheet held taut by a group of people. The footage was of someone dropping baby after naked baby onto this sheet. And the babies bounce once before they're caught by someone and passed off back to Children's Services, I hope because do their parents really deserve them? How? How? How does this sort of tradition originate? Who was the first person who said, "Maybe if I drop my helpless infant from, oh, say, 15 meters, Fortune will smile on me." Seriously! I can only hope this was an elaborate hoax and Canada AM was somehow duped. (There is currently no mention of it on their site).

After the news segment ended, the show went back to the hosts and they were all just staring speechless at the screen and there was like a 5 minute period where they could barely talk. You could tell they wanted to openly condemn such a thing, but they're probably bound by contract not to. And Seamus O'Regan looked angry. Not at all like an affable morning news show host is supposed to look.

As an aside, while I was searching for that story, I came across this story, which is also disturbing, in its own, special way.

*ADDENDUM* The video is up now on the CanadaAM site. There's no permalink though, so I don't think it'll be up for long. And, they specify that the baby drop is for "good health," not just luck of any kind. Because that makes it okay.