"Come on, Kaylee. We all know I'm the funny one."
-- Hoban Washburn

You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here

Well, the writing’s been on the wall for a while, but I think it’s time to finally call it: this blog is now dead.  I’m about to export the content to a static archive (so we can peruse our brilliant words in perpetuity), but from now on, you won’t be able to comment, and I’m guessing the search won’t work either.

This was a lot of fun to play with, and I hope others had fun here as well.  See you on the interwebs!  While you’re out there, check out my Tumblr: http://autotrophs-began-to-drool.tumblr.com

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We all know that Han shot first

If you haven’t already seen this on the interweebs, check out the Geek and Gamer Girls video, an excellent parody of the extremely ridiculous California Gurls by Katy Perry. There are many references to our favourite elements of geek-dom, and the one in the Lara Croft outfit is Seth Green‘s wife.

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Leaving New York never easy

On our last day of sightseeing yesterday, we did a quick stop by Carnegie Hall, followed by visits to the American Museum of Natural History and the Guggenheim Museum. Pictures are below:

Afterwards, we headed back to our apartment to drop off the souvenirs we’d gathered, and then finally had dinner at the Feast of San Gennaro, which has been running outside our windows all week.

We’re packing up this morning to head back to the Great White North (which is apparently going to be the Great Rainy North this evening). It’s been an unbelievable week here in New York…I’m sad to go, but at the same time I’m glad that I’ll get a chance to rest… :-)

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You say tomato…

I’m sure you’ve all heard that Stephen Colbert testified before Congress regarding migrant workers, but if you haven’t seen the clip – well you should! :) http://www.colbertrally.com/

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I want to be a part of it

Yesterday was our day to start seeing some of the big museums. We spent a couple of hours at the Met (and could have spent a couple of days), and then headed over to the Museum Of Modern Art (MOMA). On the way to MOMA, we had a bit of a treat…the streets were all blocked up for President Obama’s motorcade (I assume heading out from the UN).

Pictures of the museums and the motorcade, followed by some quick visits to the New York Public Library and Grand Central Terminal are below:

Afterwards, we headed off to see an Off-Broadway production of Avenue Q. I always pictured “Off-Broadway” as being somewhat at a distance from Broadway…but we were only a block away from the Gershwin Theatre that we had been at the night before (which is considered a Broadway theatre). The difference actually seems to be the size of the theatres and the cost of the productions.

Anyway, one more day of sightseeing…this week has been a blur and a blast, but I am one tired tourist! :-)

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Concrete jungle where dreams are made of

We made it a bit of a slower day yesterday, mainly because our legs were so sore…oh yeah, and because we had tickets for a Broadway show in the evening!

We started off the day at the New York City Police Museum, learning about the history of the NYPD and in particular about all the changes that have been made since 9/11. Next, we went to the Seaport Museum, which is actually a 12-block area around Piers 16 & 17 (between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges). Pictures below are from these stops:

From there, we headed back towards our apartment, with a few stops on Canal St. for some shopping…but really this is where Kamelot would have been in heaven. For me, it was just an opportunity to pick up a few souvenirs for the folks back home.

After a short stop to rest up and change for the evening, we headed out for our dinner reservations…and managed to head the wrong direction on the subway (for the record, our first subway mishap of the week). This resulted in taking the N train across the Manhattan Bridge, with a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge, so we weren’t all that upset about it. We were a little late for our reservation, but they still had our table for us, so it all worked out. We had a fantastic meal at Plataforma Churrascaria, a Brazilian barbeque near Broadway.

We ended the evening seeing Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre, which was quite spectacular. I’ve seen it at the NAC in Ottawa, but somehow the Broadway version was just a little bigger… :-)

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Right through the very heart of it

On Tuesday, we started off by going back to Rockefeller Center and taking the NBC studio tour. I don’t have any pictures of that, as we’re not allowed to take pictures on the tour. It was interesting to see the studios (the Saturday Night Live studio is tiny!), but if you’ve watched Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip or even 30 Rock, there wasn’t much new information about how television is made.

We then went to the Top of the Rock (the observation level of Rockefeller Center), followed by more bus tours. Those I have pictures of:

We ended the day with a visit to the World Trade Center site, but I don’t have any pictures of that…there really isn’t anything to see yet. The whole area is fenced off while they build the WTC Memorial Park. There’s a little preview site, where they have videos running talking about 9/11, and it really brings back all the emotions of that day. Standing there, you get the smallest sense of how this horrible thing we all saw happen on TV affected the people who live and work here.

After that, we made our way back to our neighbourhood and found a nice little Vietnamese restaurant with fantastic food…a great way to end the day!

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First we take Manhattan

OK, 12-hour stretches of wandering around New York are definitely taking their toll on my feet…we might need to slow things down a bit if I’m going to last all week… :-)

Yesterday, we took a boat over to Ellis Island and had a look around. It was amazing to think of the 12 million people who came through that facility in the years that it was actively used as an immigration processing center. After that, we took another bus tour. Looks like we won’t be able to see the United Nations building on this trip…the security is pretty high for the UN General Assembly, so all tours are cancelled. Also, there are protestors galore out there, so I’m not too keen on getting anywhere close to that mess.

Here are some pictures of Ellis Island, various sights from the bus tour, and then Central Park:

Afterwards, we made our way to the Empire State Building, making sure to get to the top after dark to get some spectacular views of the city:

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These vagabond shoes

Well, the first real day of the vacation (i.e. the one not spent getting here) was a lot of fun. We did three major things yesterday, shown in the three galleries below.

First off, we took a brunch cruise around Manhattan, also running by Ellis and Liberty Islands.

Next, we stopped by the USS Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

Finally, we took a bus tour through parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn (one of three tours we’re planning). It got dark during this tour, so not quite as many pictures.

Today, we’ve got more bus tours planned, and we’re probably going to try and get up the Empire State Building tonight. So I should have more cool pictures tomorrow! :-)

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No place that I’d rather be

So I’m in Manhattan this morning. My mother and I have been talking about coming to New York for a proper sightseeing visit for a while, and we decided this year to go for it. We’ve been to New York a couple of times before, but they were very impromptu visits of only a day or two. This time, we’re staying for a whole week to get a proper feel for the Big Apple.

We drove down from the Great White North yesterday (which is actually starting to become a little multi-coloured, with the leaves beginning their fall display). It was a bit of a long drive, but we got through it fine. Going across the border, I experienced my most thorough examination yet, although it still only entailed a few minutes of questions (I’ve never had the full-bore experience of a border inquisition, for which I may thank some sort of deity). The US border guy asked many questions, often repeating the same questions in different forms to see if he could trip us up in a lie. One sticking point was that I was born in Philadelphia, which made him assume I was a US citizen living in Canada. I had to explain that I only spent my first three weeks of life in the good ‘ole US of A before I made the informed decision of leaving for colder pastures… :-)

Crossing into Manhattan was a bit of an ordeal…the path given to us by the all-powerful Google Maps was to go through the Holland Tunnel, and the line-up to get in was something to see. Of course, we were arriving at around 9:30 on a Saturday night, which I’m told is a popular time to be trying to get into Manhattan…at any rate, we eventually made it, but not after I was cursing many people who were using various tactics to skip ahead in line. Curiously, the Holland Tunnel only has two lanes, but there were fully nine lanes of cars leading up to the entrance…it’s almost like they wanted to design in some guaranteed traffic jams.

Rather than booking a hotel in Manhattan for the week, we’ve rented a two-bedroom apartment…it ends up being cheaper than trying to find a couple of hotel rooms (much cheaper, actually), and we have the benefit of a full kitchen while we’re here. Of course, what we didn’t know about is that the Mulberry Street apartment we’ve rented in Little Italy is right over what is now the Feast of San Gennaro, which will be going on during our entire trip. The feast itself is something to see, but it’s also quite crowded and noisy when you’re trying to get home (there are flashing neon lights literally right outside our bedroom windows). Parking during the Feast is also somewhat challenging, but we’ve found a lot and we’re probably just going to leave the car there for the week. They close down the hullabaloo by about 1am, so it’s not the end of the world, but it’s definitely going to add a twist to our comings and goings this week.

To start off the week, I’ve taken a few pictures of our apartment…I’m sure there’ll be many more pics to come! :-)

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If I go to hell then I hope I burn well

I woke up this morning trying to figure out if I was having a stroke, but it turned out that I was just smelling smoke from Quebecois forest fires.

In addition to hindering respiration throughout Quebec and Eastern Ontario, the visual effects of the forest fires are a threat to Superman’s powers.

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Am I everything you need?

Yup, I’m back. My latest hiatus from blogging has been the longest yet, I think, and it’s been long enough that I even have to do some work to upgrade the blog software and add-ons as well.

Not much is all that new in my life…I’m once again working a little too much, but I’ve moved from the Evil Corporation to the Slightly-Less-Evil Corporation that bought the division I work for. The work to integrate into the new company is what’s got me putting in the extra hours again (sigh).

I’m still sailing…the boat went into the water last month, but it took until a few days ago to get the mast raised so that BogMan and I could actually get out on the river. We actually went for a swim while out last weekend, making it the earliest time of year that I’ve ever been in the Ottawa River. It wasn’t exactly polar bearing, but let’s just say it was cold enough to cause some serious shrinkage.

The biggest change since the last time I blogged is the introduction of a new hobby: Golf! Yes, that sport that I’ve spent many years deriding is now a favourite pastime…let the mockery ensue. Happy Phantom and Kamelot dragged me out last June, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. So I picked up some second-hand clubs and I’ve been slowly learning how to play. I’m definitely not what anyone would call “good”, but I can see some gradual improvement since last year, and that’s enough for now.

At some point, I’d like to talk a little about the Lost finale, but I’m going to let my thoughts on it percolate a little first. I’ve really enjoyed Lost, but the finale wasn’t quite what I was expecting or hoping for. I’m not willing to go so far as to say I didn’t like it, but it definitely left a few things hanging…however, since I’m pretty sure that was a conscious choice on the part of the writers, I’d like to think on it a bit before passing judgement… :-)

Anyway, that’s all I have to say today…I’m back, and hopefully I’ll stick around for a while this time!

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You and me baby ain’t nothin’ but mammals

You know how cats and dogs hide when there are thunderstorms? Well last night one particular lightning strike actually shook our house for a few seconds… I must admit I felt like hiding under the furniture :) This morning we heard the news that the lightning had hit a house VERY near ours and actually knocked the chimney off the roof! So maybe the animals know better than us after all… ;

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Extreme sheep herding.

You’ve got to watch this.

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My life, or something like it….

This reminds me of how the cats react on those days when I fall down the stairs… (yes, it’s happened more than once!)

2009-04-013

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When it gets too much

I was just reading about Ontario’s upcoming Harmonized Sales Tax. I’m not an economist, but I think it’s a little silly to raise taxes in a time of economic upheaval.

However, what caught my eye was one of the user comments on the article…everyone commenting on the article was of course panning the new tax, but I was very impressed with the unintelligible nature of this one comment, and couldn’t help but bring it here for everyone to enjoy:

We don’t need our taxes going up or anything else i can’t afford any more how the heck to the exspect us to feed our self now i won’t be able to as much as it’s going to taxes of everything this is outragous and if they think that we are going to put up with this think again it’ maybe it’s time they decrease their pay of our tax money they get their making us poor and poorer every year it’s our government fault their no more jobs for everyone so now their trying to bleed us dry again time to change our vote and get someone in their who’s for us and who’s not going to raise any more taxes we want tax cuts i can’t afford to pay hydro as it is or innurance on my car or take a bus or gas in the car to go get grociers and is our goverment going to help not likely are they going to pick us up no their going ride in their fancy car with our tax dollars and their fancy houses with our tax dollars and getting paid way too much for doing nothing for us but putting us is the poor house time to take a stand weather you vote or not time to stand up and say enough is enough do away with all this taxes it’s bad enough we got carbon tax which we don’t need to pay get real i pay more in taxes than buying food can’t afford to pay hydro or own vehicle their ripping us of on taxes they don’t give us rise in anything it’s all talk what about tax break what about raising minumin wage to 10.00 and cooks to 18.00 ahour and with benifet also social assistance should go up instead of going for drug needle to give to the druggies on the streets i’m not paying for their habits forget it our goverment corupted in every way, cruel and heartless and a disgrace to our country i’m sure glad their not in my family or relative i’m already imbarressed enough to admit i voted for these crooks sickining

There’s plenty in that comment to argue over, but I think it takes a special kind of skill to write a run-on sentence that long… :-)

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Notes

"When it gets too much" is from Bryan Adams' Run to You, which I chose because of the impressively long run-on sentence that is the subject of the post.

So say we all!

iamadama.jpg My thoughts on the BSG finale are still percolating, but I’m planning on posting a review (with spoiler warnings, don’t worry!) later this week. In the meantime, though, have a look at a fun survey: Which Battlestar Galactica character are you?

Apparently, I share traits with a certain gravelly-voiced Admiral, as you can see at the right. Although I really don’t drink as much as he does… :-)

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Notes

"So say we all" (the Galactica version of "Amen") was used in a very disturbing way in a recent Least I Could Do comic.

Remover of pain and sorrow

Battlestar Galactica is coming to an end, with its 2-hour season finale airing tonight. I was late to start watching it, having not gotten into the show until well into its third season. Once I did start watching it, though, it didn’t take me long to realize that it’s one of the best frakking shows on television, far outstripping the campy original.

Thinking over the four seasons that the soon-to-be-renamed Sci Fi network has provided us, I’ve put together my ten favourite moments from the series. These were actually reasonably difficult to choose, as there are so many other great moments. However, these are the ones that stick out in my memory and exemplify the best the show has to offer.

Spoiler Alert: Anyone who isn’t up-to-date with the current broadcast schedule should watch out for #10, #8 and #1 (I’ve listed the season and episode number with each one). The other ones don’t really reveal any significant plot elements.

10. Cylonic revelation
Crossroads Part 2 (Season 3 Episode 20)

s03e20-four-of-the-final-five.jpg The moment when Saul Tigh, Sam Anders, Galen Tyrol and Tory Foster all realize that they’re Cylons, having been brought together by a haunting rendition of All Along the Watchtower, is one of the best reveals of the whole series. Not only does this advance the plot in new and interesting ways, it puts an entirely new spin on so many scenes from previous episodes if you go back and watch them again. The way this was handled in the episode (and the lead-up to it over the previous couple of episodes) makes the eventual reveal of the last of the Final Five (in the second half of Season 4) pale in comparison.

9. Clash of the Battlestars
Pegasus (Season 2 Episode 10)

s02e11-galactica-and-pegasus-vipers.jpg When Commander Adama decides that Admiral Cain has gone too far in her maniacal adherance to wartime practices, the Vipers from the two ships wind up in a deadly face-off against each other. The launching of Vipers was a great cliffhanger for the end of the first half of Season 2, and the follow-up in the next episode (Resurrection Ship Part 1) is equally as tense. There is a palpable feeling of dread as the last remnants of humanity stand on the brink of destroying themselves without any help from the Cylons. And Starbuck screaming “We’re all friendlies! So let’s…just…be friendly!” on her return from her stealth mission (into the middle of the furball) was great.

8. Kara back from the dead
Crossroads Part 2 (Season 3 Episode 20)

s03e20-kara-returns.jpg In parallel with four of the Final Five being revealed, Starbuck appears out of nowhere on Lee’s wing and announces that she’s been to Earth. Having seen her Viper explode (with her in it) a few episodes previously, Lee is understandably taken aback. This is a great example of what BSG does so well — blending cosmic events with pure humanity. Both father and son Adama have to go through the process of accepting the loss of Kara, which was handled by the writers as if her death had been permanent. Then, in the midst of what seems to be the final catastrophic battle with the Cylons, she re-appears and they have to cope with the ensuing emotional turmoil while still fighting off the invading horde. Pure brilliance!

7. New Caprica Blunt
Unfinished Business (Season 3 Episode 9)

s03e09-adama-and-roslin.jpg On New Caprica, after Baltar’s ground-breaking ceremony, Admiral Adama and ex-President and now-teacher Roslin share a relaxing moment at the party. After the very boring Felix Gaeta takes his leave, they each pull out a previously-hidden cigarette of dubious origin…or perhaps I should say doobious. This is one of the first times we see Adama and Roslin really taking the time to enjoy each other’s company, outside of the occasional piece of casual conversation in between dire moments on Galactica. And it was also just plain funny.

6. Love is in the air
The Hub (Season 4 Episode 9)

s04e09-adama-and-roslin.jpg On the other end of the Adama/Roslin story arc, Roslin finally tells Adama she loves him after having been dragged across the galaxy by the hybrid on the rebel Cylon basestar. This moment of tenderness was very refreshing, after the apparent hardening of Roslin’s personality over the course of the previous couple of seasons. It was also heartwarming to see a proper response to Adama’s impressive (or foolish, depending on your perspective) gesture of devotion, i.e. leaving Galactica in a raptor to wait for the basestar, all alone in the middle of space. And Adama’s response of “About time!” was very fitting.

5. Baltar besot upon
Kobol’s Last Gleaming Part 1 (Season 1 Episode 12)

s01e12-baltar-roslin-and-six.jpg After being elected Vice-President of the Colonies, Gaius Baltar is being briefed by President Roslin and is becoming quite overwhelmed by the amount of information he has to absorb all of a sudden. To make matters worse, the Number Six that only he can see (is she imaginary? hopefully we’ll find out tonight!) is there questioning his love for her and implying that he is chasing after Roslin. He finally explodes at both of them in a blustery tirade, the verbage of which is carefully chosen to address both women at the same time. The scene is particularly funny when Baltar declares that he is not their plaything and both Roslin and the perhaps-imaginary Six respond in unison: “Plaything?”

4. Caprica Six and Baltar
Downloaded (Season 2 Episode 18)

s02e18-caprica-six-danna-and-baltar.jpg When Caprica Six downloads into a new body after dying to save Baltar’s life in the bombardment of Caprica, she finds herself being visited by Baltar himself, who no one else can see. Sound familiar? This connection between Six and Baltar seems pivotal even though it hasn’t yet been explained. I’m very much looking forward to finding out the answer to this particular mystery.

3. Sex with Six
Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down (Season 1 Episode 9)

s01e09-baltar-and-six.jpg There is absolutely no plot significance to this scene, but the moment when Starbuck walks in on Baltar having a little afternoon delight with his possibly-imaginary Number Six (who Kara of course cannot see) is just gut-bustingly hilarious. His attempts to brush it off as just keeping up with “the old exercises” only serve to dig himself deeper, especially when Kara has to remind him to do up his zipper.

2. Suspicions Revealed
Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down (Season 1 Episode 9)

s01e09-adamas-baltar-and-roslin.jpg Another moment played purely for the laughs is in the aftermath of a Leoben telling Roslin that Adama is a Cylon. When Baltar announces that his Cylon detector is ready, and Adama discovers that previously-assumed-dead Ellen Tigh is in the fleet, Roslin and Adama end up in a tug-of-war over who will be tested first: Ellen or Adama himself. When the secrets and lies all come to light, the result is an entertaining dust-up in Baltar’s lab while all parties involved try to out-yell each other. This episode also has one of my favourite lines of Adama’s, uttered in his trademark gravelly voice when Roslin asks him to be tested first: “If I’m a Cylon, you’re really screwed!”

1. Jump!
Exodus Part 2 (Season 3 Episode 4)

s03e04-galactica-in-atmosphere.jpg When Adama is faced with the challenge of supporting the human insurgency on New Caprica while the Cylon fleet orbits the planet, he uses the FTL drive to jump Galactica directly into the planet’s atmosphere, launches all of his Vipers while the ship plummets to the ground, and then jumps back out just before crashing. This is not only my favourite moment of the series, it’s one of my favourite science fiction moments of all time. I know this merely re-affirms the degree of my geekiness, but when I first saw this tactic, I literally let out a triumphant yell.

Like I said, there were many, many more great moments to choose from…but I don’t really have time to do a Top 100 list… :-)

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Notes

"Remover of pain and sorrow" is from one of the English translations of the Gayatri Mantra, which is used as the theme song for Battlestar Galactica.

Imitating some lifestyle seen on a video

So after seeing the IMAX version of Watchmen, we weren’t really sure what the difference was between it and the regular theatrical version. I suppose if you went to see the movie at some theatre with crappy little screens there would be a difference, but having already seen the film on one of the Famous Players screens, the IMAX experience wasn’t all that illuminating. The only difference I really noticed is that we only got one preview, but it was for the next Harry Potter movie, so I was OK with it… :-)

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Notes

"Imitating some lifestyle seen on a video" is a line from the song Groundhog Day, which I chose due to the first line of its chorus: "It's just the same shit, different day"...

Don’t criticize what you can’t understand

watchmen_logo.jpg A bunch of us went to see Watchmen when it came out last weekend, so I wanted to share my thoughts on the film.

All in all, the movie was an excellent translation of the comic miniseries, which I enjoyed quite a lot. However, Watchmen isn’t Spider-man, that is, it really isn’t for everyone. I’ve read a few negative reviews, but based on what these critics are saying, they didn’t (or wouldn’t) like the comic either…

Fundamentally, Watchmen is a deconstruction of the superhero myth. The movie (and the comic) tries to answer the question: “If superheroes were real, what would they actually be like and how would they affect the world we live in?” And of course the answer presented by the story is that both they and the world would be pretty screwed up (even more than it has been and currently is).

The movie is a blend of faithful reproduction and adjustment for the medium. There are scenes that are built entirely around having specific shots reproducing panels in the comic. And there are entire plotlines that have been tweaked for either emphasis or believability (or both). Thankfully (at least in my opinion), the whole “black freighter” comic-within-a-comic was removed from the movie. The stark violence and gore from the comic was definitely emphasized in the movie, to the point of even adding some in where the comic didn’t provide any. Our heroes in the movie killed some of the bad guys, even where they didn’t in the comic. I’m pretty sure this was done to bring more focus to the deconstruction (by contrasting this behaviour with the usual “no killing” policy of most superheroes), but I know it left some viewers with a bad taste in their mouths.

One of the changes I didn’t like is that in the comic, there was no team called “The Watchmen”. The title of the comic comes from the quote “Who Watches the Watchmen?” of course, but in the story, this was sprayed on walls as graffiti during the fictional riots preceding the also-fictional Keene Act of 1977 (which outlawed non-sanctioned vigilantism, i.e. superheroes). The title is therefore itself part of the deconstruction. It wasn’t even clear to me when they teamed up in the movie, since the flashbacks followed the plotline in the comic, where the team didn’t actually form (in the scene where the Comedian burns the map). So this change irked me a little.

The effects were as good as we’ve come to expect from these types of movies. Nite Owl’s ship (Archie) was very impressive and Dr. Manhattan’s powers were pretty seamless (even when he was growing or shrinking himself). I don’t remember Doc Manhattan being quite as well-hung in the comic, but I guess these things are bound to happen when you bring a real live actor into the mix… :-) I felt that the execution of the fight scenes with Nite Owl and Silk Spectre were great, as they served to remind us that these are people who survived for years while fighting gangs and other criminals…and they were also a nice reference to the type of hand-to-hand fighting we’ve seen in the Batman movies. After all of the more expository scenes, it’s good to be reminded that oh yeah! these folks really are superheroes.

The movie is long (2 hours, 43 minutes), but at no point does it feel like it drags. I hope more production teams will take note of this…yes, Warner Brothers, I mean you. Particularly in the case of translating a book or a large graphic novel, the movies can be destroyed by trying to stay within the focus-group-friendly 140 minutes (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix suffered from this tremendously). Zack Snyder must have a little juice after 300, since he managed to convince the WB brass to let him keep the extended run time of Watchmen.

Overall, it was an enjoyable movie…but not one for the kiddies! Bogman, Homewrecker and I are going to see the IMAX version of the film on Wednesday, so I might have more comments to add after that.

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Notes

"Don't criticize what you can't understand" is a line from Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin'. I used this both as a nod to the song's excellent use in the movie and as a bit of finger-wagging at the critics who panned the movie only because it wasn't Spider-man.

Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty

OK, once again, it’s been forever since I posted. I had some thoughts to lay down in bytes, so I thought I’d wander over here and do so. And while thinking about that, I decided to get the blog software up-to-date with the latest version of WordPress, and try out a new look-and-feel…like the new colours?

Ottawa Downtown Most of the folks who might possibly read this blog already know that I’ve been living in Ottawa’s centretown for the last few months. While I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the re-discovery of hassle-free apartment life after years of being perpetually behind with home maintenance, being right downtown is definitely starting to wear on me. For anyone pondering a life in the core of the city that sleeps at a reasonable hour, here is what I’ve learned:

  • From Bronson to the Canal and the 417 to Parliament Hill, every outdoor breath you take is filled with cigarette smoke, and the density increases exponentially as you approach any building entrance
  • Many, many people don’t know that you can turn left on a red light at an intersection of two one-way streets (not that this is documented anywhere, mind you) and these individuals become quite agitated if you honk at them
  • When driving across a one-way street, you need only check for oncoming traffic in one direction…and it doesn’t seem to matter to anyone which direction they check
  • During periods of heavy traffic, it is perfectly acceptable to advance into an already-blocked intersection (of course, why would people think otherwise), and if someone ahead of you does not do so, you should honk at them and throw a hairy fit
  • Making a left turn from the right lane with no notice whatsoever is fine if you really, really need to get somewhere
  • On a small street with no lane markers, the most sensible thing to do is stick to the middle, so that those other annoying cars on the road can’t sneak past you
  • The superhero moniker used for parking cops is completely inappropriate…they are much more like the Flash than the Green Hornet
  • The prevalence of Starbucks franchises (seemingly on every corner) is completely understandable once you attempt to buy a latte during regular business hours
  • Despite the many thousands of cars that enter and exit centretown every day, there isn’t a drive-through coffee shop or restaurant to be found, and this phenomenon extends for kilometres in every direction

Hopefully, this accumulated body of knowledge will be helpful to someone out there… :-)

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Notes

"Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty" is from Downtown by Petula Clark, which I chose for the obvious reference to the main subject of my post. I've been enjoying the usage of this song as Juliet's theme on Lost.

What, no comments??

Hard to believe there is NOTHING posted here about the current political craziness in Ottawa. Don’t you people have opinions? :) Personally, I feel pretty strongly that the GG made a mistake today in allowing parliament to be prorogued. I am a fan of hers, and of her office, unlike my hubby who thinks the post of GG is archaic and should be eliminated. I think she just made his argument a little stronger. I feel that Harper should have faced the confidence motion and faced the music in terms of his failed economic strategy and bully tactics. Not that I am saying that I think Stephane Dion is so wonderful… I have respect for the man and for his thinking, but his image as a PM is not all that impressive. However, if I have to choose between someone who consistently fails to listen to the majority opinion in the house (when he doesn’t hold a majority himself) and then accuses those who try to bring him down of being unpatriotic and undemocratic – but speaks English well and handles himself like a leader; and a bumbler who has poor language skills, comes across as bookish, but is definitely speaking the language of the majority in terms of policy, I know who I pick. Those icy blue eyes and that lovable pot-belly will only get you so far, Mr. Harper.

1

Hi again!

Hey all, I’ve been so lost in dissertation-writing world that I have forgotten to check this site for awhile. Hello ;)

Here’s my rant of the day. What a brilliant stroke of marketing genius the grocery stores have invented. So first you sell re-usable bags with cool logos on them; and because they are ‘green’, everyone goes out and buys 6. They start using them religiously, and stop using the bags you have provided for free, so your costs go down. Then when the customers run out of stockpiled bags, they have to buy kitchen catchers – which, incidentally, you SELL in your store! ;) How incredibly smart and evil….

Which brings me to my question: Does anyone know where I can buy biodegradable plastic bags?

1

…yes, the goons have gone global / and the CEOs are shredding files / and the democrans and the republicrats / are flashing their toothy smiles…

Slick, from SinFestSinFest Logo'Nique, from SinFest

Presenting my latest favorite Web Comic, SinFest, which is currently on a streak about the U.S. financial woes:

F-ing Libertyà la Guerre des Étoiles.

And not too shy to take on the abortion debate.

p.s. Nearly 3000 strips on archive, giving this site one excellent procrastinatory rating!

1

Interesting idea…

So here’s an interesting article:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/story/2008/09/11/vote-swapping.html

There’s a facebook site set up for people who are struggling with wanting to vote their ideals, yet worrying about splitting the liberal/left vote and thus allowing the conservatives to get a majority. It lets you trade your votes with people in other ridings. E.g. If I live in a riding where the conservatives and liberals are close, but I want to vote green, I trade my vote with someone in a liberal stronghold who would normally vote liberal, they’ll vote green on my behalf, and I’ll vote liberal for them. An interesting attempt to unite the left….

0

Maybe we should all use tin cans and string?

First post to this blog in a long time, and you’d think the first thing I would have to say woudl be related to the upcoming election. But no! I’m I’m pointing fingers at Canada’s telecom industry yet again!! :D

CBC.ca has a special report on the issue entitle Disconnected. Haven’t read it yet, but hope to soon. I’m sure I’ll sympathize with a lot of it.

Further to a pre-movie conversation with the Bird Lady and the Friendly Redhead (we really need to get her on here, by the way…), the Green Party is now invited to debate. Although having read the news reports, I understand a little better now why there was an objection in the first place. Even if the Greens can be considered to be the same viewpoint as the Liberals (although I don’t think that assessment is entirely fair), I still think our PM was being a spoiled brat by saying he’d skip the debate if the Greens were invited. Glad to see he’s put on his big boy pants and reversed that decision.

0

Move over Bananaphone

Yesterday, the Globe and Mail published an article describing how Canadians are far behind most of the world in cell phone usage. Reasons for this include relatively good quality and reasonably cheap service on land lines and that “Canadian’s frugality might stem from the phone operators’ habit of locking consumers into three-year plans in return for heavily subsidizing their handsets”. I almost laughed out loud over that one. OF COURSE that’s the reason – in fact, it’s the main issue Birdlady and I had with getting one when we were discussing our respective mobile acquisitions. Another factor of course is all the extra charges that get piled onto that low monthly rate. What annoyed me the most is that I could get exactly what I wanted in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but had to suck it up and just accept that fact that I was going to get hosed up here.

With luck, this may all be about to change thanks to yesterday’s wireless licence sale. Although the current big mobile companies don’t think much will change, hopefully the new entrants on the scene will start providing more attractive services and less confusing billing.

2

Good job!

BirdLady and I decided to defy both metacritic and rottentomatoes this weekend and see Hancock, the new Will Smith movie that came out last weekend.

The movie definitely turned out to be more interesting than the reviews would lead you to believe. I’m not sure I’d call it a great movie, but it definitely ranks a solid “good”. The key thing that I think most reviewers missed is that it’s not really a superhero movie, just a movie about a superhero (if you take my meaning). Hancock is a superhero who has given in to loneliness and the apparent futility of his immortal life, only to discover the real key to his past over the course of the story.

The effects were pretty good, although many of the flying and action scenes felt like they were zoomed in just a little too much. Will Smith delivers his character with a perpetual sneer that’s almost comical, and I was very pleased to see Jason Bateman in a semi-leading role for a change…outside of the indie world, he hasn’t really been in too many major movie roles. I really hope that his excellent work in Arrested Development is finally being recognized. Charlize Theron is also excellent as always, but I won’t talk about her role too much to avoid ruining the plot for anyone.

I definitely would recommend Hancock for anyone who’s looking for a movie outside of the usual superhero formula. Don’t let the critics scare you off! :-)

0

I guarantee a great big smile

Woo-hoo! Joss Whedon has a new project in the works! Apparently during the writer’s strike earlier this year, Joss decided to put something together to demonstrate to the very dollars-driven Hollywood that show business is supposed to be about fun…and thus Dr. Horrible was born…

Check out the teaser at the main Dr. Horrible site, and then check out the message from Joss about how and why the project came to be…

3

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou, setting vehicles afire…

Wine makers running amok!

0

Pluck away

Well, the Bananaphone reminds me of a clip from a TV show that someone showed me several years ago. I seem to recall I was at the home of soon-to-be-married Footguard and his recenly married roomate TC (at least, I think that’s where I was? What can I say, there was beer involved…) and this British chick was trying to convince us all that a certain English children’s TV show had scarred her for life. The following clip demonstrates how humour injected into a children’s TV show for the benefit of the adult audience can be taken much, much too far… LMFAO!!

2

I’ve got this feeling, so appealing

Anyone who’s experienced an SMP-inspired music-fest chez Grabber and Righteous Guy will appreciate this little ditty:-)

2

Goin’ to the chapel

Well, since the UK had to add “Jedi” as a religion to choose from in their national census, it is only appropriate that someone actually found a Jedi church. Click here for an update on the goings on at the Jedi Church, Anglesey order…

2

Does whatever an iron can…

100_3963.jpg

Well, the boat is now in the water, and the mast is up. You can see the pictures from preparing the boat for launch here and here.

I went to see Iron Man last night with BogMan, the Friendly Redhead, and Homewrecker & beau (he’s gonna need a nickname for the blog). The movie was absolutely phenomenal, and definitely on a par with the other Marvel-based greats, Spiderman and X-men. As this is Marvel’s first foray into financing (and therefore producing) their own movies, I hope this is indicative of what we can expect from future movies as well.

Robert Downey Jr. was the perfect choice to play Tony Stark — he completely owned the role, bringing weight to the emotional and dramatic scenes while still delivering on the comedic moments. Much like most first movies for a comic book character, the entire movie is devoted to the Iron Man origin story. However, unlike Fantastic Four, the requisite final battle feels neither stilted nor tacked-on. It wasn’t quite as phenomenal as the Spiderman climax, but definitely on par with X-men.

The effects were, of course, as mind-blowing as we’ve come to expect from these types of movies. Jon Favreau (the director) seems to have taken a page from Firefly and used a lot of simulated hand-held photography for the mid-air battle scenes (the battle between Iron Man and two fighter jets was particularly well done). And the suit itself looked great…or should I say the suits looked great — there’s a good build-up of prototypes until the final Iron Man armour appears.

Just like with Spiderman, what makes the movie great is the strong focus on the hero character himself. Over the course of the movie, you see Tony Stark develop from a smug and self-righteous war profiteer who loves the ladies into a self-aware and somewhat humbled humanitarian…who loves the ladies. :-)

I am very much looking forward to both seeing this movie again, and to the inevitable sequel. I also can’t wait for Marvel to deliver on the not-so-subtle hint given in the post-credits scene!

Now, if only Warner Brothers would clue in and start diversifying their DC Universe movies beyond just Superman and Batman…actually, make that just Batman, since none of the Superman movies have had anything to do with the character from the comic book… :-(

1

Cats for engineers

I just got this great YouTube link from a friend, and thought all the cat-lovers out there in Idiot-land would enjoy it :) I particularly like the yodeling and am planning to try it tonight!

2

The system is gonna feel so fine

With the spring thaw upon us (and how), my thoughts are once again turning to sailing (not that my thoughts stray far from my boat at the best of times). So, with that in mind, I figured it was time to check on Serenity this weekend, and make sure she survived the winter despite my lack of proper fall prep. Unlike my usual fervour for boat maintenance, I really dropped the ball in November — like everyone else, I was caught very unprepared for the sudden and massive early snowfall, and the boat just managed to get out of the water in time (in fact, she came out on the day of the first snowfall of the winter). Unfortunately, that also meant that I wasn’t able to cover her with a tarp, so she was subjected to the full force of this lengthy winter.

I’m happy to report that Serenity seems to have survived the ordeal without any scars, although the rapid thaw seems to have resulted in a large amount of water leaking into the cabin. The bilge was overflowing, and the water levels on the bottom of the boat had risen to about 5 cm above the floor. So I spent my afternoon climbing in and pumping water over the side (after my breakkie-skipping sleep-in).

This year’s launch prep should be pretty quick. After all the work I did last year restoring up the hull, I’ll only need to do a quick clean and re-wax, and then add on a coat of anti-fouling paint below the waterline. Maybe this year I can be in the water before the end of April! Assuming the river has thawed, that is… :-)

100_3486.jpg Speaking of the river, I’ve never seen the water level so high. I’ll try to get a picture of it the next time I’m at the club, but this should describe it: if Serenity were in the crane service dock (compared with the shot from last spring at the right), her deck would be higher than the concrete edge of the dock! I know I’m not going to have any worries about running aground this spring…

1

Up against the mini-bar

Well, it took almost four years, but something has finally made me wish I still had cable.

Fans of Jimmy Kimmel (if there are any in our crowd…) will know that he and Sarah Silverman have been an item for quite some time (if you don’t know who Sarah Silverman is, go rent Jesus is Magic as soon as you can!). Sarah laid down a revelation for Jimmy in music video form at the end of January, and it’s absolutely hilarious. Watch it. Really, now. :-)

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Jimmy decided to respond with his own brand of vengeance, which just about had me falling out of my chair laughing. So watch that one now. Yes, again.

All I can say is thank god for YouTube… :-)

6

Dig if u will the picture

While upgrading the blog software, I also decided to install a very cool photo gallery plugin. You can see it in action on the Sailing Photos page (linked above, under the site name). I haven’t quite gotten as far as adding comments on all of the galleries or photos yet, but it’s a start.

This also means that my fellow bloggers will need to learn a new way of uploading photos for their posts — I’ll send an e-mail around with some instructions as soon as I work out the steps myself… :-)

0

Different types who wear a day

I finally bit the bullet and did another long-overdue upgrade of the blog software. This time, I decided the site needed a bit of a facelift as well, so enjoy the new colours! :-)

1

Funny commercials

Check these out – my hubby, commonly known as Evil Genius (so dubbed by Kaveman at our wedding for his nice-guy image (?)… I really should get him on here so he can take issue with my wry humour!), sent them to me. Your healthcare dollars at work ;)

0

It doesn’t show signs of stopping

Well, the massive snow dump has come and gone. Most of the city is actively trying to dig themselves out…I got out reasonably early this morning to shovel out the driveway, only to discover that the plows are apparently too busy on the major roads to get to my smaller road yet. And despite having some very good snow tires, the femtovan is not quite capable of making it through the foot or so of snow that’s sitting on the main road. I don’t know what the official measurement is yet, but I’m pretty sure this was the biggest dumping we’ve had so far this winter…

I read somewhere that in the northern Ottawa Valley, OPP are having to resort to snowmobiles to get anywhere, which I think is pretty cool. Imagine having to use snowmobiles as part of your job! :-) Personally, I’m hoping that we get another couple of big storms this month, so that we can break the snowfall record…apparently the snowiest winter on record for Ottawa is 444.1 cm back in the winter of 1970-1. With the big dump of the last couple of days, I think we’re within about half a meter of setting a new record. If we’re going to have this much snow, we might as well get some bragging rights out of it! :-)

I’ve attached some pics of my street to this post, just for posterity’s sake. I’m sure anyone in Ottawa will be able to show a similar story — snowbanks towering over both people and cars, and pathways completely blocked by snow piled too high to navigate. I never saw the point of owning snowshoes in an urban setting before (other than for the exercise, if you’re into that), but this winter’s got me seriously thinking about it. Maybe then I could actually get into my garage… :-)

4

She’s got me spending

There’s an article in today’s Citizen about Alanis Morissette’s new album, and they quote her talking about wanting to make some fun music like My Humps. So apparently, just for fun, she did a video singing My Humps in her usual style, and it’s absolutely hilarious.

(If you don’t know the original, it’s a very entertaining song by the Black Eyed Peas, and the video can be seen here on YouTube. And before anyone writes them off as yet another bootylicious hip-hop group, rest assured that the Peas are somewhat more well-rounded.)

I just thought the Glebe crowd in particular would get a kick out of this… :-)

1

Dark and scary, ordinary

I know Kamelot will probably love this, but this is hella creepy! “RoomBette La French Maid” in particular is very, very disturbing… :-)

3

Death Star Canteen

Your video reminded me that I’ve been wanting to share this video for a while:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv5iEK-IEzw

He also riffs on James Bond:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fui3H8j6phY

3

And I’m gonna be high as a kite

I’ve been hunting around for this clip for quite a while, after hearing about it for years and then finally seeing it in Comedy Central’s roast of the Shat-man. Family Guy fans will also enjoy seeing what was being parodied when Stewie did his spoken-word rendition of Rocket Man… :-)

4

I still belong, don’t get me wrong

OK, this is now my umpteenth attempt at re-entering the blogosphere (ouch, sorry…). I think I just have to accept the fact that regular updates require me to be a little less theme-y (or message-y, if you prefer) and topical, and instead just focus on the miscellaneous rambling that makes up the majority of the interweeb.

Song lyrics as post headings are not something I’m willing to give up on just yet, however. And before someone inevitably uses the similarity with the Grey’s Anatomy episode naming convention as an excuse to call me girly, keep in mind that I was using song lyrics (with the occasional TV or movie quote thrown in) long before Patrick Dempsey became known as McDreamy. Unfortunately, I can’t do anything to stop you using my enthusiasm for Grey’s Anatomy as evidence of my girly-man nature… :-)

My monumental revelation for today is that I have fallen in love with a new webcomic. I can’t remember if someone (i.e. Kamelot) recommended Questionable Content to me, or if I just stumbled upon it randomly, but I am totally hooked. And there’s literally over a thousand of them in the archive, so there’s plenty to catch up on!

Whenever I read a new webcomic, I always start thinking: “Hey! I could write this shit!” But then I remember that despite my avid fanboy-esque nature, my creative writing skills have always been marginal, at best. While I mentally drool at the idea of creating an ensemble cast of characters to slowly develop over time, I don’t think I could really pull it off. Joss Whedon and Tim Kring have set the bar too high for me… :-)

2

Your tax dollars at work

Yes, this is for real.

http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showtdm/cr/C.R.C.-c.743//showtoc=&instrumentnumber=C.R.C.-c.743

0

But seas between us broad have roared

Happy New Year, everyone! Or at least, those of you using the Gregorian calendar…the rare proponents of the Julian calendar have to wait until January 14 for their New Year’s festivities, and for anyone using the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Rat (4706) does not begin until February 7. Persians (and Zoroastrians) will wait until March 21 for Norouz, and now I’m tired of this multicultural recitation… :-)

I’m desperately trying to avoid making any New Year’s resolutions, as my history with them has been abysmal. I’m much better off just deciding to do something rather than tying it to the New Year…I guess I’m anti-fad in all forms…either that or I just have no willpower at all.

WIth 2007 behind us, however, I suggest everyone go have a look at the Year in Review movie over at JibJab.com. While you’re there, check out some of their earlier works, as most of these are pretty hilarious. My favourites are “What We Call the News” and “Big Box Mart”…

0

Bells on bob-tail ring

(The following is reproduced without change from Apple Zombies.)

This statement of good wishes (“Greeting”) from me (“Sender”) is intended to be generic in nature. “Holiday” is intentionally left an undefined term. This holiday may include, but not be limited to, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Day, Saturnalia, or even Elvis’ Birthday (“Elvis” is a registered trademark of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Memphis, TN). Further, the recipient of this greeting (“Receiver”), may insert his or her own holiday into this Greeting, either explicitly or implicitly, or no holiday at all, if he or she chooses. If Receiver celebrates no holidays during the intended period of Greeting, assumed to be roughly mid-December, 2007 through the first week in January, 2008 (“Greeting Period”), he or she may consider Greeting to be merely general, and a simple wish of good feelings and joy, suitable for any time of year, or no time at all.

Greeting should in no way be construed to guarantee or warrant happiness or other good feelings during Greeting Period, or warrant or guarantee an acceptable holiday. By accepting Greeting, Receiver expressly agrees that he or she assumes the risk for his or her own holiday. Receiver will hold Sender harmless should Receiver’s expectations for Greeting Period and wishes contained herein not coincide.

Greeting is at all times subject to withdrawal by Sender, and it may be canceled or modified at any time, without notice to Receiver. In the event of cancellation, Receiver shall receive no credit or proration for any time left in Greeting Period. Greeting is not intended to be transferable, and has no cash value. Under no circumstances may Receiver in any way alter Greeting, or publish Greeting directly or indirectly without express written permission of Sender. Permission may be withheld for any reason within the sole discretion of Sender, with no rule of reasonableness.

Should Receiver not accept the terms of Greeting listed above, no rights or benefits related to Greeting will accrue.

Should a dispute arise from Greeting, Receiver agrees that jurisdiction and venue will be in the courts of Shelby County, Tennessee. Sender and Receiver agree that personal jurisdiction will lie in those courts, regardless of the location of either party. Greeting will be construed under the laws of the State of Tennessee, without regard to Choice of Law or Renvoy.*

*The above disclaimer is Copyright 2007 by Apple Zombies, Peter Baskind, and Scott Porch. All rights are reserved, and may only be used with explicit permission. For licensing information, contact the author at peterbaskind@gmail.com.

2

I kept my head down and moved on

Yup, I’m back again at long last. It’s been a pretty brutal few months, with typical work weeks of 80 hours or more, so I’ve been absent from the blog as well as pretty much every other form of human interaction. (hmmm, is the blog a form of human interaction? An interesting topic for another day…)

I have to say, I’m not entirely sure why I do this to myself. On the one hand, I do love my job–I find it mentally rewarding and intellectually challenging, and it feeds my need to design elegant solutions to complicated problems. This particular need of mine should be familiar to those who have heard my multitudinous rants about the various governmental or societal organizations that could be more efficiently implemented or managed (always in my opinion, of course). Building the infrastructure and toolset for common process and product measurement and analysis at the Evil Corporation where I work may sound like the height of geekitude (ok, it is), but it does present some very intriguing problems to solve.

However, there is that other hand that I seem to keep ignoring. There’s no way around it, the Evil Corporation I work for is, well, evil. It isn’t like I’ve ever had aspirations of leading the revolution, but despite my oft-voiced protestations of Matrix-ian philosophy (everything begins with choice), there’s just no denying that I work for the man.

So where does that leave me? Well, it’s quite possible that I’m doomed to repeat this cycle of complete immersion in work followed by brief periods of sanity during which I rebuild all of my ignored relationships…and clean my house. But maybe there’s hope that at some point I’ll disregard the Architect’s analysis of the choices before me and dive for the door on the right… :-)

0

I gotta have Faith…

Check this out:

http://hollywoodinsider.ew.com/2007/10/whedon-returns-.html

Joss + tv series = quippy wonderfulness!! Of course it may get canned before it even has a chance, but I live in hope :) .

1

Electoral reform in Ontario

…has me really confused. Oh, I understand how the proposed mixed member proportional system works; what I am confused about is how this is an improvement. OK, I know, I should read the report; and perhaps I’ll find the time to do just that before the referendum. However, I’m pretty sure there is a downside to the proposed MMP, and I’m really not sure what it is.

It also seems to me that MMP still retains the flaws of first-past-the-post, and then essentially give you the right to vote for a party. Given that I usually vote by candiate, not by party, I’m not entirely comfortable with this. I’d rather have a system where I get to rank the candidates; Candicate C is my first choice, candidate A is my second choice, and candidate B is my over-my-cold-dead-body choice. I remember this was one of the ideas that was bandied about when this debate started, but it appears to have fallen by the wayside. I can see that MMP might be a way to get more representation for smaller parties such as the Greens, but I think there are other ways to accomplish this.

Anyway, before I start distracting myself too much from my thesis by reading reports and platforms, does anyone else have any opinions on this?

9

I’m an Auntie!!

Check out my new nephew, Joshua Alexander, born August 20th (ok I’m a little slow, it’s been a rough month…) He’s all arms and legs, not unlike my brother!

0

Speaking of water…

Ok, things like this make me believe that there’s hope for the future yet…

http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2007/09/11/tech-water.html

Of course it will now make sea water a commodity which will lead to a whole new set of problems… sigh. Ok, I think my moment of hope has passed :) .

0

Oh, the water…

Coming back to previous discussion topics, here’s a piece on feasability and dangers of water exports.

0

Following the herd down to Greece

At first glance, this study would seem to confirm the usual male stereotype of always going for the hot chick. However, after a closer read, I think it’s nothing more than bad science.

In order to be able to evaluate a larger sample size, the study was performed in a speed dating environment. And after 20-some couples all went through a speed dating exercise, the study concludes that men make their decisions based on superficial characteristics like physical appearance. Apparently, when given a couple of minutes to decide, men weren’t making their decision based on the woman’s perspective on the sociopolitical outlook of African nations in the context of a post-colonial world.

What I thought was even more offensive here was that the study was concluding that women adjusted their expectations based on their own evaluations of their appearance. The “scientist” states that “They knew what they could get and aimed for that level”.

Listen, I’m not going to try and argue that, on the average, men aren’t more appearance-focused than women, but I worry when studies are engineered to “confirm” that conclusion…

1

…though it doesn’t take an all-knowing deity to figure out that still you wouldn’t want to sleep with me

Awsome song/poetry to share from the Morris Quinlan Experience. (Click on the “NoExperienceNecessa…” link in the player on their MySpace page.)

0

I know the CIA would say what you hear is all hearsay

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but this one definitely warrants a return. It seems that El Chupacabra, the mythical goatsucker itself, has been found in a small town in Texas. Apparently, the recent exsanguinating of many local chickens has been explained by the discovery of three creatures that have not yet been identified. The whole story is available here (and here and here and here, too).

Personally, I’ve never doubted the existence of El Chupacabra, at least not since that one X-files episode… :-)

0

Wouldn’t it be sweet

Limbo & I were discussing something I had heard about artificial sweeteners and how they are linked with weight gain while I was visiting her last weekend. I wasn’t sure of the mechanism, but the following Globe & Mail article does a pretty decent job of explaining the connection. Turns out the digestive tract has taste buds too, and when they detect sweetness, the body responds by releasing hormones to increase the body’s absorption of glucose. “That means that even though a diet soft drink is sugar-free, the artificial sweetener leads to a greater uptake of sugars from other foods that might be in your belly at the same time”. Now if I recall my biochemistry correctly, all foods when digested break down into some proportion of glucose, even meat. Am I remembering correctly?

4

Closer to the heart

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

If any of you are still out there…

Recently, the state of Virginia had to pull it’s tourism add campaign, because it turned out that making the shape of a heart with two hands (connecting thumbs and fingertips) is a gang symbol. I’m not sure which is stranger; the fact that the ad campaign designers didn’t do enough research, or why a gang would feel the need to use a heart shaped hand sign?

In other news, some interesting advice on how to “hack” Starbucks by creating cheaper versions of your favourite drink. A friend of mine used to make herself a cheap ice-cap (or latte or frap or whatever the kids are calling it these days) by ordering an espresso in a large glass on ice, then filling up with cream.

Oh, and for those of you following the intense cell phone debate… yup, I got one from President’s Choice. Just don’t expect it to be on much! :D

0

Whistling in the dark

Somewhere buried in an entertainment gossip column is the news that a new X-files movie is the making, and I’m finding that my feelings are quite mixed. Once upon a time, X-files was my favourite show, and I wasn’t alone. During my undergrad, the bars would be empty on the night it was shown (at the time I believe it was Thrusday nights?) and would have a sizable influx of people about a half hour after the show was finished. However, it eventually declined into the realm of serious loopiness, and by the time the 2 hour finale come along I could barely watch. In fact, I skipped the last 10 minutes, so I honestly can’t say I know how it ended! Fun blast from the past or pathetic recycling? I suppose we’ll just have to wait & see.

2

Bathroom paint

new bathroomHey everyone, while we were staying at my sister-in-law’s mansion two weeks ago, we figured it was a good time to paint the bathroom. After a dismal attempt with a paler green than the Kermit I had already painted it when we moved in, Bird Lady was kind enough to give me some remote colour advice and voila, we are finished! What do you think?

4

Great quotes for the wall

When I was in Michigan, my two close friends were working on a ‘quotes’ wall, and I have a small collection of my own that I haven’t added to much in recent years. However, I found a great Douglas Adams quote today that you all might like, and that is very relevant to my dissertation research. This is by Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and notorious for not making deadlines (the story goes that his editor locked himself in a hotel room with Adams to complete book three of the ‘trilogy in five parts’). And the quote is: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

1

Violent vids and… Toyota?

Apperently, Toyota is now using a violent video game to promote its cars. Right or wrong, I can’t help but agree with the reviewer, that as a piece of advertising, it might just miss the mark… (BTW, I haven’t actually checked the game itself out, as I am at work, but there is a link to it in the article.)

0

So meet me at the mission at midnight

This might have been a much more interesting story if it didn’t come down to some idiot not being able to read the directions on his prescription.

However, I’m very entertained with the article both leading and ending with the Star Trek reference, even though they clearly have to (and do) acknowledge that there’s actually no real connection, other than the green colour of the blood. Although I suppose I should be impressed that the journalist took the time to find out why Vulcan blood is green… :-)

2

Call me baby anytime

Well, trying to meet up with folks at Bluesfest has really got me thinking it is time for me to get a cell phone. I’ve complained for years that I haven’t gotten one because I’m annoyed with the packages / don’t want to sign a contract / they aren’t up front about long distance charges. However, now that almost everyone else has a cell phone, no one wants to make a plan, they just want to play things by ear & call when they arrive. So now I am forced to go with the social flow and *groan* look into buying a cell phone.

I had a cell phone when I was in the Caribbean, and it worked very well for m; Cheap phone, prepaid service that I top up when & if I need to, prepaid minutes that are good for about 6 months, text messaging and voice mail. All I need, really. Since here in Canada I’m not giving up my landline, I just want something similar that I only use when I choose. So I’ve begun a little perusing online to see what is available.

First stop – Fido. OK, they do have the long distance rates posted. Prepaid vouchers are only good for 30 days (unless you buy the $50 voucher, which is only good for 60 days). I don’t intend to consistently use the phone enough for this, I want ot be able to put my phone down for a month withouth losing my money. Also, they don’t mention text messaging at all in the prepaid section. Finally, I’m really confused about the rates. On the one hand we have $1 per day unlimited evenings & weekends + 30 cents a minute daytime. Or, there is 30 cents a minute anytime – for the same voucher. Or are they different vouchers for the same price? Also – when & how does my $1 day start? Does it only kick in once I make my first call of the day?

Next stop, Rogers. They seem to be a little clearer with their prepaid rates, and they are upfront about long distance, but again the vouchers are only good for 30 days – unless I pay $100 bucks, then they are good for 365 days. An intriguing option… but will I use it enough in a year to justify dropping 100 clams right off the bat? Text messaging appears to be a separate monthly plan; why can’t my regular voucher also pay for texting?

Bell Mobility: Again, text messaging is a separate monthly fee, although at $10/month it’s outrageous. Furthermore, there’s a $3.95 system access fee that will be charged per month… presumably whether I use it or not… And again, prepaid cards expire within 30 or 60 days.

So, I can’t say I’m impressed with my options so far. Any ideas what other companies I should be checking out?

It’s a sad day when you can get more satisfactory service in St. Vincent and the Grenadines than you can here… I may not get that cell phone after all.

12

and you who dream of liberty; must not yourselves be fooled; before you get to plea for freedom; you’ve agreed to being ruled

“The Supreme Court should not be expanding incursions into privacy and liberty – that is Parliament’s job.”

-Criminal Lawyers Association vice-president Frank Addario (from an interview quoted on the Globe and Mail website’s “Police search justified, Supreme Court rules” story by Kirk Makin, July 6, 2007 at 10:57 AM EDT)

1

The first rule of Fight Club… is you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry

Edward Norton is the next Bruce Banner! And other 2008 summer blockbuster sneak peeks

1

The *other* other white meat…

I have to admit at first glance I was going to send this link to Happy Phantom, but knowing her fondness of the little critters and her lack of support for my ‘we should eat bunnies’ campaign, I think it’s best if none of us mention it to her. The festival includes prizes for biggest, best dressed, and tastiest.

1

I’ve done it again…

So, I’m in the paper, check it out!

3

I need a hero

Top ten superhero moments in the movies. My fave is #6 (I love wolverine!) What would you add?

3

Start me up… not.

I’m sitting here at work trying to put in a full day’s work like a good little silly servant, and Word just crashed and told me some nonsense about being unable to retrieve my file and to re-insert my floppy disk. How quaint. I haven’t used a floppy disk in years! :D

1

Opinion poll

So the results of the Ipperwash inquiry are in, and the commissioner took the time in his 1500 page report (Dear God!) to point out that he thinks Mike Harris did in fact utter the ill-worded slur. So I’d like to ask all those PAI members out there: How many of you think Mikey did it? And as a follow-up, how many think it is appropriate for the commissioner to even give an opinion about whether it was said or not? My own position: Yes, and no, respectively.

5

They say Eve tempted Adam with an apple…

Babies cavorting with T. rexes? Oh… dear….

9

Good… Bad.. I’m the guy with the gun. Tra la la.

Evil Dead: the Musical. Gotta see it! :)

4

Kitty at my foot and I want to touch it

Allow me to introduce you all to my new babies! The black and white one is Salvador, after Dali (he looks like he go into the paint) and the other one is Eric, named after the other friendly redhead we know. (Which reminds me, we need to get her on here…) Both are boys. Anyway, the Friendly Redhead brought them too me quite by surprise one Sunday evening, and they’ve been hapily taking over and turning my life upside down ever since. Both are champion purrers! Kaveman’s already smitten…

7

Since I found Serenity

Not only did I get the decorative stripe finished and the masking tape off, but last night I decided it was finally time to make Serenity’s name a reality. Happy Phantom had supplied me with the vinyl lettering for the name last year (a fantastic birthday present), but I never got around to actually slapping the name on the side of the boat. Once the decorative stripe was finished, it seemed the perfect time to clean and polish the hull between the two portions of the stripe, and apply the name. I was a little nervous about screwing it up, but it turned out to be pretty easy to do, and I’m extremely pleased with the results!

Overall, things are coming along quite nicely. I’m going to do a run down to Gelcote International today to pick up a gelcoat repair kit for the one major crack (in my rudder), and to try my hand at fixing some of the more minor ones…since colour-matching with gelcoat is pretty tricky, I’m just going to do a test repair on a reasonably small area now. If it works out, I can do some more repairs next year (there are a number of spots on the hull with some crazing that could be spruced up).

Once the name was applied to the boat, I spent the rest of the evening continuing the cleaning and polishing. You can see in the picture at left that the hull is definitely glossier now, even in the lower-light picture (the sun had start to set by this point).

I’m about 2/3 done with the cleaning and polishing, and I’m almost out of my cleaning liquid. Since the Chandlery has run out (everyone’s cleaning their boats this week), I ordered some more from Pride Marine in Kingston a couple of days ago…it should show up today so that I can continue with the cleaning tonight. My goal is to finish (or nearly finish) the cleaning and polishing tonight, so that I can start waxing on Sunday. Then, I can pick up the motor from being tuned up on Monday or Tuesday, and hopefully be launched by the middle of next week!

I’ll be working on the boat again tonight, but then taking a forced break for a couple of days. Tomorrow night is the opening for Spider-man 3, and Saturday is the official Launch Day at the club (members aren’t allowed in the yard when the commercial cranes are operating). Plus, the Littler Miss is getting right with God on Saturday as well, which I’m told will take up a good chunk of the day… :-)

8

My fantasy has turned to madness

OK, I’ve actually decided not to paint that stripe just above the waterline. Once I got it cleaned up, I realized (and confirmed with one of the other boatowners) that the stripe is actually coloured gelcoat (the outer glossy layer of the fiberglass hull), and not paint. If I were to paint over it, there’s no way I’d get it as smooth (paint always has a texture). So, I have to choose between a little oxidation streaking if I don’t paint or a textured paint job that will eventually chip off if I do. And since I get to return about $75 worth of paint & supplies if I don’t, I think that’s where I’m leaning… :-)

It’s a little hard to see, but if you click on the picture and look at the larger version, you should see the progress I’m making on cleaning and polishing the hull. The foot or so just above the waterline (the burgundy stripe and the few inches above it) have been cleaned and polished (but not yet waxed) and you can sort of see that it’s a lot glossier than the stuff above it (based on how much is reflecting). I now just have to do that on the rest of the hull (i.e. I’m about 20% done the cleaning and polishing). And then, I have to wax the whole thing…sigh…

(One of the other boatowners commented that he believed boats should be sold every five years, since most owners only do this once or twice before they stop caring…)

You can also see at the top of the picture the masked-off area where I’m painting the decorative stripe. I should be able to take the masking tape off soon, so I’ll have a better picture to show off the wonderful job I’ve done (he said, optimistically).

And, at some point, I’m sure I’ll think about actually sailing this boat again… :-)

0

Don’t have no master suite

OK, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but what better excuse to get back into it than my boat! :-)

With yesterday’s lovely afternoon weather, I finally got out to the boat to do the anti-fouling paint below the waterline (the copper-coloured bottom in the picture at right). A friend from work (who’s also a sailor) brought his pressure-washer and we spent the afternoon alternating the support pads on the cradle so that we could wash and paint the entire bottom of the hull. The copper colour will fade as the boat sits in the water, but it was just gleaming in the afternoon sun yesterday!

I’m also redoing the decorative striping along the side of the hull, just below the deck. It had been done previously with blue vinyl tape inserted into the inset stripes (and a couple of stars), covering up the original paint, which was apparently red. However, the vinyl tape was peeling and generally looking crappy, so I pulled it all off and then cleaned, sanded, and cleaned it again. After I took the picture posted here, I then masked out the inset area and put on the first coat of paint (which should look a whole lot nicer than the tape). I didn’t have my camera with me yesterday, so I had to resort to using my phone to take the picture…I’ll post more pictures as I get further on.

After I finish with the painting, I’ll need to deal with the topside hull (the part above the waterline). There are a few cracks in the gelcoat that need repair, and the hull is generally dull and grimy, so I’m going to clean it and then gloss it up with some rubbing compound, and then wax the whole thing…needless to say, my shoulders are not going to be pleased with me this week! :-)

I’m also debating painting the stripe just above the waterline (above the anti-fouling paint), as it’s looking pretty ragged…but we’ll see how the week goes. I’m hoping to launch next week, so I may leave some stuff for next year.

0

What a deal!

Earlier today I hosted my very own garage sale, I even made it a street sale for my neighborhood, and it was a rousing success! Pretty much everyone who knows me knows I love garage sales, and I’m no stranger to haggling (and it’s still fun from the other point of view). We had a great turn-out, part of the reason I organized the street sale was because I thought more people would show up and boy did they ever!

As usual I suprised mum by pulling a two hundred dollar profit for the day, she of course did her usual “it’s not going to work” approach to supporting me in my endeavors. Apparently when highly medicated I am both social and ambitious. And all it takes is a handfull of pills everyday… works for me!

0

We share the same biology, regardless of ideology…

Anyone seen Harvard’s Inner Life of the Cell yet?

(And here’s the longer, narrated version, for the geeks.)

2

It’s a demon, a dancing demon…nah, something isn’t right there

It was bound to happen sooner or later:

http://www.buffysings.com

Apparently there are dates being planned in Canada in August and September…who’s in?? :)

6

The hail storm tumbles, The rail line rumbles…

“Well, Good Friday is the day Jesus died and we call it Good because He died for our sins and we uh… needed that. And now, every Easter Jesus comes out of his cave and if he sees his shadow we get another year of debauchery.”

-Brett

1

We become oblivious to the obvious…

http://www.shutdownday.org

I dare ya! ;)

2

Gamers Unite!

A new & interesting theme for a video game.

0

A better theology of sex

No, this guy is not an idiot – in fact, I think he should be applauded. Unfortunately, the fact that so many people are at odds with him just proves how many idiots there still are out there.

0

Skinny bitches…

Madrid’s fashion week banning ‘overly thin’ models (and the fashion shows that followed their lead…) might be old news but the Participaction post kinda brought it to the forefront of my brain. The policy came after four brazilian models died of eating disorders, and Madrid fashion industry is now trying to incorporate the word ‘healthy’ wherever they use ‘beauty’. They’re using the BMI to determine what is appropriate, which some might consider flawed but seeing as they set the minimum BMI at 18 (which is still technically considered ‘underweight’ but trust me its pretty damn hard to even get down to 18.5 which is the low end of ‘normal’) and they did indeed have to turn away girls who were so far under that they couldn’t gain that much weight in time (including one girl who didn’t even get over 16), well, I’m not complaining.

All the same, models are really upset about giving up being underweight. Giselle Bundchen (a Victoria Secret model) has been quite vocal on the subject, blaming families instead of the media for eating disorders, adding that some people (refering to herself I assume…) have the genes to be a model (if that doesn’t start massive commenting on this post then I don’t know what will). She tries to get away with it all by comparing anorexia problems to how big a problem type 2 diabetes is, but since the policy was created to combat anorexia primarily inside the fashion industry I think someone should quote the stats to her as to how many models suffer from type 2 diabetes. By the way, she had to gain 14 pounds to make the minimum requirements for a show in milan. She’s 5’10″ btw.

3

memory, all alone in the moonlight…

I found myself reminiscing about Participaction with my students in class the other day, and realized they probably were not born when it was at its height! Anyway, I had brought it up as an example of a pro-active, government-initiated health promotion program that is being resurrected. Then I got an email announcing the ‘official’ relaunch, and I thought I might share some commercials with all of you! :)

4

Don’t want steak an potatoes…

An interesting article on the latest trend in Asian Frankenfoods.

1

People are, indeed, idiots

Check out this sign, everyone! I thought it was perfect for the Blog :)

And the website where some of these came from is pretty funny too. Have a look at these t-shirts! I love the white one on the right. But THIS ONE takes the cake! (ha ha)

3

I can be your hero baby!

For those of you who have been enjoying Heroes on TV, here is an interesting look at un-caped crusaders in comics.

0

Attack of the Norwalk

It’s been a busy week! I am the lucky bastard in the family who DIDN’T get Norwalk virus. First Morgan, and then Jamie 48 hours later, were hit with it. I’ll skip the gory details except to tell you that it comes from BOTH ends (simultaneously in Jamie’s case). Jamie had a fever of 101.3 and lost 12 pounds (has gained some back in water) and Morgan’s little Buddha belly is a bit smaller now. Check out the shiner though, from a fall face-first on the hardwood floor at daycare! (Her eye isn’t swollen though, I’m just a gifted photographer who can catch her kid with one eye shut). Ah, the toddler years. :)

7

She’s back

Hey you remember me! it’s the chick who can’t spell who forgot that I was a blogger on this site..cause yes…I am people so there for I am an idiot.
I’m over in the states yay boarder jumping!
Likin the nice weather. it was in the 70′s yesterday but unfortunately it’s down to the 20′s tonight. I’m at work…Not excactly my favorite place on the planet…between here and hell i think i’d rather be in hell. at least they have heat there! I’m so friggin cold! and it’s a well known fact that i don’t produce any heat what so ever. the only way i can get heat is to suck it off some poor unsuspecting person…like Kamin. which unfortunatly is hard to do over such a large distance…by the way kamin when are you coming to visit me? I’m lonely.
anywho i should get going. just lettin ya know i’m still alive. and yay i now have something to fill my unfufilled hours with! can’t believe i still remembered my pass word.

3

Cause when the feelin’s right I’m gonna run all night

I decided to close off my weekend yesterday with a visit to the gym, egged on somewhat by my mother (she can be very nagging inspirational when she wants to be). However, it turns out that when you don’t exercise for over a year, and then hit the gym, pain is the result. The gym has been absent from my routine long enough that I apparently needed a reminder of this phenomenon.

Of course, idiot that I am (remember the name of this site?), I returned this morning for more punishment. The best part about working out in the morning is that it’s followed closely by several hours of sitting at a desk at work. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of standing up from your desk around 11 am after a 6 am run… :-)

And then, after all that, I came home tonight to the daunting task of clearing my 70-foot driveway as a result of winter finally arriving. Thankfully, the 20 or so centimetres of snow was mostly powder, so it wasn’t too heavy, but my legs are just about ready to fall off now.

The goal is to hit the gym again tomorrow…we’ll see what happens when the alarm goes off at 5:15… :-)

10

Spiderman’s Hammock

For those of you with fond childhood memories of the Hinterland Who’s Who segments, please enjoy the latest edition, the Canadian Wood Spider. I just love the Canadian Wildlife Service, don’t you?

;)

3

Men weren’t meant to ride with clouds between their knees

I don’t normally do all the crap quizzes that seem to permeate the net…but how could a comics geek like me not do the Superhero Quiz?

Apparently, my best match is for the wallcrawler himself:

Spider-man: 85%
Superman: 65%
Green Lantern: 55%
Iron Man: 55%
The Flash: 50%
Robin: 45%
Hulk: 45%
Batman: 40%
Supergirl: 35%
Catwoman: 35%
Wonder Woman: 25%

I’m not sure whether or not to worry that I’m a 25% match for Wonder Woman… :-)

And of course, how can you have a Superhero Quiz without a Supervillan Quiz? Here are my matches for villains:

Apocalypse: 60%
Magneto: 57%
Dr. Doom: 55%
The Joker: 51%
Juggernaut: 49%
Lex Luthor: 47%
Riddler: 47%
Dark Phoenix: 42%
Mr. Freeze: 40%
Kingpin: 39%
Green Goblin: 37%
Venom: 34%
Two-Face: 33%
Poison Ivy: 32%
Catwoman: 31%
Mystique: 17%

I guess I’m glad to see that I’m not a very good match for any villain, but I would have thought Kingpin would be higher up on my list than he is…and how is Mr. Freeze even on my list at all?! :-)

10

It affects your occupational performance

Ugh…this returning to work thing after almost 3 weeks off is pretty painful. I’ve never actually taken so much time off work at once (in the almost-fourteen years of employment at the Evil Corporation), and now I can see why — the return is almost as painful as the before-vacation stress!

The amusing thing is that, while I had no problem getting up early last week (when I had a full schedule of sitting on my ass), I’m having issues getting up early now. I think my brain is revolting at the idea of returning to work… :-)

Anyway…for the Joss Whedon fans in withdrawal, I was surprised to find a well-written fan fiction site recently. The unofficial Angel Season Six is well worth reading. I think the writers have captured the voices of the characters very well, and the storyline is very reminiscent of Seasons 2 through 4 (and the better parts of Season 4, at that). I’m only at the fifth episode, but so far none of the characters are having inappropriate sexual relations:-)

4

Kitty at my foot and I want to touch it

Ok, I love kittens and everything, but these photos just look to freakish for me…

4

Building castles in the sky

The big news this week is that Righteous Guy and The Grabber have a new member of the family to celebrate! The Littler Miss was born Tuesday night at around 8 pounds, 1 ounce. I stopped by yesterday to see how everyone was doing, and managed to get a few pictures of the visit.

It’s easy to forget how tiny they are right at the start (I’m trying to avoid phrases like “right out of the gate” :-) ). SMP is tiny herself, but she of course has almost 17 months of growth on the new little one. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how she reacts to her new baby sister.

The Grabber and Righteous Guy are now ahead of the average Canadian fertility rate (by about 0.39 children). I think that deserves some kind of prize! :-)

6

Another postcard of chimpanzees

Somedays I just love my job.

Kaveman has for some reason decided that I will be the recipient of cards about primates flinging their waste products. He has sent me not one but two birthday cards about apes flinging poop, but also managed to find a Christmas card this year that referenced this simian behaviour! (Who’d have thought there’d be so many of them out there?) he claims that this is because there are so few funny cards out there that are appropriate for a man to send to his platonic female friends, so being the resident biologist, I get the cards about, well, monkey poop. A flimsy excuse at best, say I…

But art truly does imitate life; right before Christmas, I recieved a query from one of our regional officers. He had detained some samples of monkey urine, and wanted to know if they were controlled by CITES because primates are endangered, and did the importer of these samples need to produce permits for them! :D After I laughed myself silly, I realised I actually had to find out the answer to this seemingly silly question! Thankfully, the answer was “no”, but it took me an hour and a half to find out.

6