15 December 2006

Everyday I love them more

It says something about how awesome and fearless U2 are that they use a picture of themselves from the 80s to promote current products. Look at how uncool they look in that picture! Look at the hair. Most people would pay money not to have something like that distributed worldwide.

14 December 2006


I can already tell that this is going to be one of those entries that are short on substance and long on nothingness. Nothingness is one of those words that just shouldn’t be a word. Just because you take a real word and add the suffix –ness doesn’t make it a real word...except that it does, so that sucks.

I’ve been doing journal article searches all afternoon. I’ll enter search terms like “phoxinus” and “diet” and I’ll get such useless responses as The effect of selenium on mercury retention in the offspring of treated hens. It’s a boring activity, to say the least. However, it’s nice when you find those rare applicable articles. The ones that actually use my study species and not a closely related, but different, Genus; or the ones that take place in the same country as my work. That’s reference gold, my friends. Many of my references are from research done in Japan and various Nordic countries. I’m usually just happy to I find a paper from North America.

See, what did I say? Nothingness.

Oh, I wanted to do some shout outs while I have your attention. 1) Shout out to Annie for the post card. [Aside: There’s something amazing about getting postcards from faraway places. My mind gets boggled when I try to think about how many individuals had to do their job correctly for me to receive that. You’d think with small things like postcards, they’re more likely to get lost or mis-sorted or something, but they somehow manage to arrive. Snail mail is really underappreciated. Have you ever really thought about home-mail delivery? How in every city and town in North America thousands of people, everyday, go from house to house delivering mail? It seems like the most inefficient way to do it, but somehow it works. Amazing.] 2) Shout outs to Deb and Oz for posting haikus that were way better than mine. The rest of you that didn’t post haikus get whatever the opposite of a shout out is...a reproachful murmur, let’s say.

I was looking for a Christmas-y picture to post, but I couldn’t find one. Instead I’m putting up a picture of Moby. Aww.

09 December 2006

Spy Daddy haiku

Flipping channels just now, I see that Jane Seymour is guest-starring on Justice. I've only seen this show a few times but have judged it to be a far inferior vehicle for the glorious talents of Victor Garber than Alias was. I find it interesting that the stars of the two shows we watched last summer in the field are now together on another show. Seymour is playing an old flame of Garber’s who recently killed her teenage son. Dr. Mike and Spy Daddy together! What would Sully and Spy Mommy say?

Earlier today, in an attempt to keep awake during that deadly, soporific period between 2 and 3pm, I decided to write a haiku and submit it in a haiku contest. Haiku writing is much harder than I thought it would be. Everything I've written so far is just lame. I'm further handicapped in my writing by the fact that I seem to have a heretofore unknown inability to count syllables in my head. This means that I have to count the syllables on my fingers. This really hinders the creative process.

I would like to invite anyone reading this to attempt to write a haiku and send it to me, or post it in the comments section for all to see. The format we'll use will be the standard 3-line 5-7-5 syllable configuration. Here is an example:

Spy Daddy is now
a trial lawyer. Doctor
Mike murdered her kid.

See what I mean? Lame! I don’t think that qualifies as a haiku, even in the broadest definition of the term. I hope you can do better!

07 December 2006

Happy Feet are Gay Feet

Shout out to Oz for informing me of the stupidest of stupid controversies surrounding the children's movie, Happy Feet. I found a review that is so absurd I had to share it. I don't think this guy even saw the movie. Read the article, then come back here for my rebuttal. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

1. “This may be the darkest, most disturbing feature length animated film ever offered by a major studio.” Didn’t this guy see Pocahontas with its songs about killing the natives? Or Bambi where Bambi kills another deer to win his girl's affection? Those are far more disturbing than a few chase scenes. The movie rating described the danger as “mild peril.” I don’t know what the hell he’s talking when he says the movie leaves people feeling guilty. No single child is going to leave that movie in tears because his favourite food is fish sticks. If it makes adults feel guilty, good.

2. “There’s also scenes of a penguin captured for a zoo and tormented to the point of mental incapacity by unfeeling people… no movie for kids has gone so far in trying to induce guilt for membership in species homo sapiens.” Dude! We should feel guilty about penning animals up so we can pay $30 to stare at them for three minutes. And Mumble wasn’t tormented, he was suffering from a language barrier. And I maintain that movies where the humans actively kill the characters (Bambi, Old Yeller) are far more evil than Happy Feet. I’ll bet the hunter who killed Bambi’s mommy enjoyed his meal, whereas the humans in Happy Feet work to save the penguins (once they realize their folly). And if I could meet the guy who wrote this article - not that I want to, he’s probably creep in person - I tell him that humans are the biggest menace for the lovable penguins. In fact, the biggest menace for every living thing on earth is the human race. I hate, hate, hate, hate people who are so ignorant as to believe that we (humans) have no effect of the world outside our doors.

3. Hmm, which God should the penguins worship? And I assume he was called the Great Guin (as in penGuin), but maybe it was the Great Wind, ‘cause Antarctica is pretty damn windy. I didn’t see the church as a menacing artifact of humanity. I think the giant oil tankers and discarded whale skeletons were the more menacing evidence of humans. A church simply shows that humans lived, worshipped, and died there – kind of like the penguins do.

4. I think it’s awesome that the author waits until the paragraph about the supposed homosexual subtext to mention that Mumble is voiced by Elijah Wood. As if this lends credence to his theory. Is this whole gay thing because Mumble likes to dance and is voiced by Elijah Wood? What if he wanted to play football and was voiced by someone less ambiguous? Would he still be gay?

One thing that makes me question if he even say the movie is his statement that, “An ardent love affair is frustrated for no apparent reason, with the main character’s inamorata choosing a crude, fat penguin she cares nothing about and producing many progeny.” That is so not what happened. There is an exchange between Mumble and the girl while she is standing next to the fat guy and is surrounded by penguin chicks, that goes something like:

Girl: You remember the fat guy? We’re teaching these baby penguins to sing
Mumble: Oh, so you didn’t mate with the fat guy?
Girl: No, I didn’t mate with anyone

Seriously, how could he miss all that? I think this guy is reading too much into everything in this film. There are so many other things that are worthy of and deserve criticism, but this is not one of them (and I realize that criticizing this guy is also not on that list of worthy things, but I couldn’t resist).

06 December 2006

Fish gotta swim, bird gotta dance

Last night I went with Mika and Oz to see Happy Feet. I can't compare it to March of the Penguins, because I haven't seen it yet. The penguins in this movie are singers. They use songs to find mates to “have eggs” with, and they use song to worship the Great Guin, who provides them with fish. Mumble (the one with the happy feet) is born to parents that are just unorthodox enough to feel really guilty about it, and to want their kid to conform. Mumble, however, can’t sing. He can only dance. The old-timer penguins blame Mumble for the shortage of fish and cast him and his heretical dancing feet out. Mumble makes it his mission to find out what’s happening to the fish.

The animation was astounding. I was highly impressed by the impossible cuteness of the baby penguins, and the ferociousness of the leopard seals and orcas. The scenery was also amazing, with the vast ice-scapes and the dark, rolling swells of the ocean. The script was pretty good, and the music was (at times) a little more suggestive than I would have expected from a kids’ movie. The danger scenes were exciting enough that you could enjoy it even though you knew that all the characters would be okay. There was one part that I can’t really describe without ruining a plot point, but it was so depressing I would have cried if the movie ended there. There was also a bit of live action stuff that worked really well and gave it a more real feeling.

The best part of the movie was the moral: stop harvesting fish. Seriously! How awesome is that? The very thing I’ve been preaching for years is at the core of a children’s movie! One of the humans in the movie says, “We should stop marine harvest altogether!” and I cheered – out loud, in a public place – because I was so glad to hear someone else say it for once.

This movie was brilliant, as far as anti-fishing propaganda goes. I mean, what better way to reach the next generation of fish eaters than with an übercute tap dancing penguin named Mumble? I can’t wait until my niece is old enough to eat fish and I can tell her with a disapproving tone, “If you eat fish, Mumble and all his friends will die!”

04 December 2006


So I couldn’t sleep tonight and I found myself watching a silent film, The Ace of Hearts. I only saw what turned out to be the last 5 minutes or so. I couldn’t really figure out the plot. This night-of-the-living-dead-looking guy Farallone was trying to convince a group of equally living-dead-looking men that “love is construction” and that destruction is bad. He was really scary looking. He opened his eyes really wide at the end of each silent sentence. It was…disturbing. The others in the group would have none of his love talk, and wanted to get down to business. Said business was deciding which of them would be the one to take care of a traitor, some guy who wronged them in someway (they called him something like “the man who has lived too long”). The head dead-guy dealt out a deck of cards, and Farallone got the ace of hearts. He really enjoyed this and laughed silently and maniacally for quite a long time. The others wanted to know what was so funny, and he said, “I’ll tell you in 3 seconds.” Then the room blows up. I really didn’t get it. I mean, why was this guy preaching love if he was going to blow everyone up? And what had the traitor done? Is living too long such a punishable offence? And isn’t ace of spades supposed to be the death card? How the hell did this medium take off with such sloppy narratives and disturbing looking actors?

03 December 2006


Okay, seriously? That animatronic baby in the Playstation 3 commercial is the creepiest freaking thing I have ever seen.

01 December 2006


Reason number 57 why "Leslie" is a bad name.

This guy's name is Leslie:

30 November 2006

Shippers Unite

A few weeks ago I managed to waste an entire night on Youtube. Well, I wasted a few hours at least. It’s such a black hole of crap, it’s hard to find your way out. I did a few searches for characters/shows that I like and was appalled by the sheer number of tribute videos. “Tribute videos” may not be the actual term, but that’s what I call them: when people (teenage girls, really) piece together clips from their favourite shows and set them to music. Predictably, the subject of the tribute is usually male, or a couple (e.g., The Office’s Jim and Pam, Prison Break’s Michael and Sarah, and any other TV couple you could possibly imagine) and the music is the saddest, most angsty song they can find, usually something featuring a piano or acoustic guitar. They’re made by obsessed fans for obsessed fans. Now, I have been (and continue to be) a ‘shipper, and I have an obsessive personality, but even I never went this far. Of course, I never had the technology to go this far. My first real teenage obsession was Keanu Reeves (in 1994), followed a few months later by X Files. I didn’t have a colour monitor on my computer, let alone HDTV and whatever programs these kids use to make their ‘shipper videos. I had to be satisfied with cutting pictures out of magazines and watching appearances on talk shows. However, I think if I’d had the technology, I would be one of those girls piecing together scenes and setting them to music. I’m picturing some great Mulder & Scully moments set to an acoustic version of With or Without You. Sad, but true.

On the irrelevant front, I had a dream last night that trichopterans were growing in my stomach. It was really gross. It reminded me of another dream I had once where I had asparagus-like growths in my nose that were growing down through my palate and into my mouth. Ew. In another part of the trichoptera dream, I was attending Business School with my brother Mike. I was specializing in Environmental Business, and he was too cool to ride the bus with me.

28 November 2006

All we talk about is the weather

It's been remarkably cold in Edmonton for the last week. I use the word "remarkably" because people are remarking on it. A lot. On MSN my friends' have the following comments:
  • escaping the cold in 14 days...

  • -40 with the windchill???OK, this is ridiculous

  • -40*C and the city turns into a goddamn parking lot

  • Too cold for comfort

Sure, we complain a lot but secretly we love it. We love that if we were to go outside this moment we'd have 10 minutes before exposed skin started to freeze. We love that we already have over a foot of snow on the ground and it's not even December. We love that all those freaks in Ontario are walking around in t-shirts in their plus-16-degree weather. Why do we love it? Because we love to play the martyr. As long as it's really, really fucking cold here, we're automatically better than everyone else at a lower latitude and warmer temperature, and that's the majority of the Canadian public. Everyday life is hardest for us at the moment. Just walking to school or work could end tragically. I mean, who cares if Vancouver has to boil their water? In the time it takes them to boil water for a grande decaff whatever, my ears could have frozen solid.

Having said that, a friend pointed out the Environment Canada weather warning map to me earlier today. I sure hope no one is going to usurp Edmonton's throne. We really need this. Without nose-running, flesh-freezing, bone-aching deep freezes, we have nothing.

24 November 2006


It’s -31 degrees Celsius with the wind-chill this morning. Not really the best weather in which to walk 30 minutes to school. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the elevators are out in my building so I had to walk up to my 10th floor office in all my winter-clothing layers. Until the elevators are fixed, I’m not venturing more than 2 floors from my office. It’s just not worth it.

The Bunny Scale has been tested and proven true!!

Incident 1: Yesterday the people working on my research project (FIESTA) had to go down to Rocky Mountain House to give a presentation on our work this past summer. We had to leave the city around 7am to make it to RMH in time for our 10am meeting. We had agreed to meet at Cricket’s house and on the walk over, I saw two bunnies. I took it as an omen that the day would be good. And it was! The presentation went well. Cricket had the hardest task because she spoke first and had to do the introductory material as well as her own material. She handled it well and set the bar high for the rest of us. I went second, probably spoke too fast, and lowered that bar just enough so that Justin could have given a tirade to rival Michael Richards and the audience would have given a standing ovation. The rest of our meeting in RMH went really well, so over-all it was a good day, as predicted by the Bunny Scale.

Incident 2: Today, walking to school I saw one bunny and lo and behold, Cricket brought cookies to school today for our lab meeting. So, despite the fact that the elevators aren’t working, it’s still going to be a better than average day.

21 November 2006

A morbid ending

I think I’m going to start every workday from now on by listening to The Office (US) theme song. It’s only a 30-second mp3, but with it I can create the illusion that I live in a clever and funny sitcom and that nothing that happens really matters, or is even real. I would use the Arrested Development theme, but I couldn’t find it online, so Office it is.

Two stories on CBC.ca this morning stuck out for me. The first is that Calgary has passed a bylaw that makes it illegal to, among other things, spit, fight, urinate or defecate in public, or put your feet up on public property. It’s amazing that these things are such a problem that they need laws against them. Those opposed say that the law is unfair to homeless people, who have no choice but to do those things because they have no private place to do them. The article I read interviewed a high school kid who thought the law was discriminating against everyone. He was defending his right to sleep on public benches:

“That's unfair even to [people like] myself — that I can't sleep on my public bench.”

Because of all the rights you could possibly loose, being able to sleep on a public bench is probably the worst. And what does he mean by “my public bench?” Isn’t that an oxymoron? Calgary should really just pass a bylaw outlawing idiots.

The other article was about stab-happy Edmontonians. I’m not really bothered that Edmonton has the highest [per capita] murder rate in Canada. Wait. Let me rephrase that. I am bothered that Edmonton has the highest per capita murder rate in Canada, but I don’t fear for my life when I walk down the street. It seems that most of the murderers know their victims, or that it’s a drunken-bar-fight situation. No one has any motive to kill me (that I’m aware of) and I don’t get into drunken bar fights as a rule, so I don’t think I’ll be killed anytime soon. A shocking number of the murders are teens killing other teens. One recent murder was of a pregnant woman by her husband. Men who kill their pregnant wives have to know they’ll be caught, right? Do they honestly believe they can head up the search parties and throw suspicion off themselves? I heard once (on Oprah) that the leading cause of death among pregnant women is murder by their spouses. Alarming, isn’t it?

20 November 2006

Is it just me?

Has anyone else noticed this relationship?

This Time Last Week Monica and I were in Burnaby, at the mall there (Metrotown) hanging out with Julie (she of the previous post) and Chanty (she that was my field assistant this past summer). That was the last full day of my trip. It was a much funner [sic] trip than I make it sound. In fact, it was all sorts of 'tastic. It was funtastic, fishtastic, raintastic, foodtastic, and the most important one of all, nakedmantastic (eh, Monica?).

19 November 2006

Big Bird

I suppose I should write about the weekend portion of my trip. On Saturday we went to Granville Market. What struck me most about the market was the size of the sea gulls. I have never seen gulls that large in my life. They looked as though one more french fry or half-eaten spring roll would cause their skin to split and a whole new species of super-gull would emerge. You know how North America had a whole bunch of incredibly large animals that were wiped out by the first peoples? I bet the sea gulls at Granville are close to the sizes our Homo habilis friends encountered when they first crossed the land bridge.

Also at the market we saw one of the actors from the play we saw the previous night.

On Sunday we went to the Aquarium. Our friend Julie is an assistant trainer there and we got to see her do a beluga show, and feed the sea otters. The belugas are unbelievably lumpy. I didn’t take many pictures, the ones I took of Julie and the whales are really dark because of the downpour that day. I’ll post one anyway.

17 November 2006

Walking in his footsteps

Shout out to Annie for starting her own blog. Her geographic location alone guarantees that it’ll be more interesting than mine.

This Time Last Week I was doing work. Poor Monica had to suffer through 5 hours of classes, so I accompanied her to UBC and worked in her office while she partook of the learning. It was raining that day, real, heavy, fat drops of rain. What I saw of campus didn’t impress me as being majestically beautiful or anything. I’ve been told that spring is the best time to see the campus, that’s when it’s at its most beautiful. I saw a building (library, I think) that is used for establishing shots on Smallville. I also saw the clock tower that was on an episode of X Files where digital displays were telling people to kill. If I was 14, that would have been so awesome, and I would make some comment about treading the same ground as David Duchovny…but I’m over that. (Aside, after 6 days there I totally understand Duchovny’s wanting to leave Vancouver after 6 years).

Friday night we saw a play. I found out about this play while tripping around online. It’s last performances happened to coincide perfectly with my trip, and I emailed Monica all frantic and asked her to get tickets. The play was Life After God based on two of Douglas Coupland’s books: Life After God (short stories) and City of Glass (non-fic about Vancouver). It was essentially a series of monologues held together with a plot about a 15 year high-school reunion. I recognized the typical Coupland themes in the play, and there was one line that I remember specifically from the book. It was about how as children they “floated in swimming pools the temperature of blood and the colour of the earth seen from space.” That line has always stuck with me. Water was a recurring theme throughout the play (it is Vancouver, after all). I don’t think the play would work if performed in any other city; it’s too Vancouver-centric. They talk about the Grouse grind, the city-wide health-and-fitness obsession, the movie industry, living on the hill, the mountains. There was also a fair amount of nudity. I didn’t think it was gratuitous. In one of the scenes, I assumed they were at Wreck Beach (a nude beach), so that made sense. What really surprised me was the dancing. Monica asked beforehand if there was going to be dancing and I laughed and said, “No!” But there was dancing, and it was interpretive dance, which I really don’t care for. I felt that the dancing took away from the play, rather than added to it, but what do I know?

16 November 2006

Organ Donor

This Time Last Week, Monica and I were attending the Body Worlds exhibit at Science World. If you haven’t heard of this, it takes a while to fully appreciate it. The exhibit consists of 20 or so bodies and even more organs and bones on display. The bodies are frozen in various forms of movement (ballet, skateboard, track and field). The thing is, they aren’t recreations, they are actual human bodies. They’ve been preserved via a process called plastination that makes the tissue plastic-like, odourless, and apparently very pose-able. For most of the specimens, they have removed the skin and dissected the muscles and organs to display certain features of the human anatomy. The ostensible goal is educating the public about human anatomy. It’s hard to describe what it’s like to see all those humans with their skin removed, muscles flayed open, penises (peni?) sliced in half (in one case, at least). They still have eyes, teeth, eyebrows and the fine hairs on the skin (when they have skin). I was only really bothered when they left the skin on. This one specimen had strips of skin left on, and that bothered me. It was all very interesting, but I’m not sure it sits well with me. The bodies were all anonymous and from willing donors who, for whatever reason, wanted to be part of the process by which the public is educated about the human body. The main goal is education, but given the cost of exhibit I can’t help but think that someone is benefiting financially from all this. There was a display showing what the release forms look like, and the kinds of rights donors have to decide what their body is used for: public display, sale to educational facilities, etc. There was an example of a filled-in form (with the names scratched out) and the guy’s reason for donation was that he spent a lot of time in his life getting in shape and taking care of himself and when he dies he doesn’t want that to go to waste. So he had himself preserved as plastic for giggling schoolgirls and idiot schoolboys to gawk at before they run to the cafeteria or gift shop. I guess the question that sticks in my mind is Why don’t you donate your organs, if you’re so damn healthy? Granted, he might not be when he dies, and I’m sure not all the bodies in the exhibit were eligible for organ donation. But what about the ones that were? I can’t help but think about lives that could have been saved if it weren’t for the vanity of others.

Anyway. After the exhibit Monica and I went to Gas Town to see The Steam Clock. It’s a clock that runs on steam. I wish I could say it was more exciting than it sounds…but it’s not, really. It was pretty, though. We ended up in a bad part of town and walked quickly away to the polar opposite of the bad part: Robson St., which was all expensive shops and the like. We had gelato then went home.

15 November 2006

This time last week

I will get around to putting up details about my trip to Vancity. I was thinking of doing it in a week-long series of “This Time Last Week” pieces.

This Time Last Week I was at the airport, possibly even boarding my plane. I flew West Jet and had a plane without TV. I don’t mean that we didn’t have individual sets, but we didn’t even have those assy mini-screens that extend from the ceiling every 10 rows or so. Luckily I had a book to read (Brick Lane, which I have since finished), so I suffered little. Monica met me at the airport and we took public transit back to her place. I found the Vancouver public transit to be very stressful, but more on that later. We ate dinner at a great Mexican place called “Hola Churros” which translates roughly to “Hello Dessert Pastry.”

Back to the present, I finished a book last night called Night by Elie Wiesel. It was the saddest book I have ever read. I was reading it in the terminal waiting to board and I had to put it away because I started crying. I won’t be reviewing this book because I think to do so would be impossible and even wrong. How could you possibly critique a personal account of living in the concentration camps during WWII? I just wanted to mention it so that those of you who have never heard of it can seek it out and read it. It’s tragic, beautiful, heartbreaking, and unforgettable.

08 November 2006

[This is actually from yesterday]

It’s been a soul-crushingly boring day. I spent two hours finishing a sample I started Sunday, the highlight of which was a piece of chironimid pupa. Then I spent the rest of my day cutting-and-pasting. Grad school really is just kindergarten for adults, isn’t it? I was calibrating the catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) values on some of my lakes with their forage fish population estimates. It sounds boring because it is. Thankfully, I leave early today and tomorrow’s only a half-day because I’m going to Vancouver.

I’ve been wanting to write about the Bill Bryson talk I attended last week. I’ve been unable to come up with anything interesting to write about (not that that usually stops me: see above). His presence is not what you would expect and he has the weirdest accent that is a combination of British and New England. He talks a bit fast, but when he reads he has a really nice speech rhythm. He was very funny and knew how to work the crowd. And he handled the stupid questions from the audience very well.

02 November 2006

Shut up, Victor!

On my old site I did book reviews. These were generally pretty lame, but a few are (I think, at least) pretty fun. My best reviews were written for books I didn't like. I think I'll showcase some of my favourites on this site, for the benefit of those who missed them the first time around. Today I'll be reprinting my review of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, more-or-less in it's original form. This is probably my favourite review. I was so bitchy when I wrote it.

You know, I'm only halfway through this, but I think that I can write a review that will rival The Last Canadian in length and bitchiness. Translation: this book is not one that I find especially enjoyable.

Victor Frankenstein is the whiniest little bastard ever. Oh, woe is he! What a child. He works for years - years! - to give life to dead flesh, then gets all freaked out when it works. He sends his monster away because the sight of it pains him. I can't begin to express the irresponsibility of this, not to mention sheer lack of compassion or humanity. He just casts this monster out, and then gets all pissed off when the monster kills his little brother. Hello? What the fuck did you expect, Victor? That the monster would run off into the woods and quietly rot away? Did you think he would cease to exist once you severed yourself from him? Living things don't work that way, once they're alive they just keep on livin'.

I just can't get over this. If I dedicated years of my life to that sort of project, then saw the Monster's arm move for the first time, I'd be all, "Dude, I'm God." I would have liked Victor a whole hell of a lot more if he did have a God complex. As he is, he is the most spoiled, selfish, self-absorbed, irresponsible child since
Linton Heathcliff (about whom I wrote: "He whines over everything, complains about everything, and is no more a man than I."). Victor is just like Linton, completely girlie in every bad sense of the word.

Shall I go on? After making the Monster (I hate to call him that, but he has no name, unless I give him one...Mr. Monstér...it's french) he is bedridden for months. Bedridden! He’s, like, 24. Again, if this were me, I'd be in Geneva picking up my Nobel money. After Mr. Monstér kills little brother, Victor is mad as hell at him. He's also overcome with guilt which he goes on and on about. And on. Oh, and then he talks about his guilt. It's all about Victor. As guilt ridden as he is, I don't get the sense that he thinks that casting out his creation was wrong, just the actual creation. See? It was his fault that he created the thing, but everything after that instant is the fault of Mr. Monstér, not Victor. I guess the nurture over nature debate wasn't one to which Vic paid much attention.

So, after Mr. Monstér tracts him down and narrates his sad tale (a few chapters I didn't mind too much, except that Mr. Monstér seems to have Daddy's penchant for self-pity) Vic agrees to build him a bride. Then, what does he do? Vic goes on vacation. Again, if my creation demanded a mate and threatened the life of my family, I don't think I'd run off to the Hamptons for a few months before starting work. There is some justice, however: poor little Vic is unable to enjoy his trip.

I was formed for peaceful happiness... [Mr. Monstér] might remain in Switzerland and wreak his vengeance on my relatives. This idea pursued me and tormented me at every moment from which I might otherwise have snatched repose and peace.

Oh, I'm sorry Victor. Is the hideous creature you made while toying with the laws of nature wrecking your repose? Is the monster that you created and damned to an existence of exile and hatred bothering you? I bet your life is awful hard, eh? Poor, poor Victor. I'm sorry that your own thoughtlessness has come back to ruin your life of ease and fortune. How will you go on?

All I want in life is for Victor to take responsibility for his actions. I want him to say, “This all could have worked out if I had a) never made this thing or b) taken care of it and treated it like a living being and not a monster to be shunned.” But, like all little rich boys, I doubt Victor will ever really suffer the consequences of his actions.

Or maybe he will, I haven’t finished the book yet.

01 November 2006


I put my dog (technically my parent's dog, but I picked him out) on Puppywar and of the 7 battles he's had, he's lost 5! How cute is the puppy that beat out my Moby? I want to find those 5 people who thought Moby was the least cute and beat them up.

30 October 2006

Beautiful Outside

If Winter and Edmonton were in prison together, Edmonton would be Winter's bitch.

28 October 2006

Suck it up, Clock Boy!

I love my Daylight Savings Time Rant. I think of it everytime I change my clocks. It originally appeared on Lusex Pi on October 26, 2003. I'm going to present it here in it's [almost] original form.

Last night the local news was doing a story on Daylight Savings Time (heretofore known as DST) and how some people were opposed to it. They interviewed this one lady who was against DST. She had big, big red hair and looked like a cat person (if you know what I mean). She showed off her watch and clock collections and said that she refused to turn her clocks back. Well, that’s just great, Honey, but no one cares. You’re not making some grand social statement by not setting your clocks back, you’re just being childish.

Cat Lady then went on to say that DST causes stress to people and that by eliminating it, we could relieve a bit of stress in this stressful, stressful world. How tightly wound (no pun intended…) are you that setting your clocks back one hour (or ahead one hour) is stressful? Most people love the Fall Back because it means a free hour of sleep. To be fair, it’s possible the Cat Lady has a super-stressful job, like deactivating nuclear weapons in airtight rooms full of nerve gas with holes in her biosuit. In that case, I can empathize.

There was also an interview with a Clock Shop owner who had to reset all the clocks in his store. Poor baby! It’s not as if he wasn’t aware of this when he started his business. He wasn’t like:

Daylight savings time? What’s that?"
[someone explains it. This takes awhile: there are
puppets and a flow-chart involved

"You’re not fucking serious! Oh, man! This is too
stressful! I knew I should have joined the bomb squad."

Clock Boy said he’d be getting lots of calls over the next couple of days from people who didn’t know how to set adjust their clocks. Yeah. Two things with that: 1) It’s your job! Suck it up, Clock Boy! 2) Who doesn’t know how to change their clocks? (And as I write that I realize the answer is, sadly, lots of people. For example, I bet you $20 that when I go home at Christmas neither of the clocks in my parents' vehicles will have been changed. Really, people, read the manual already!)

Now, I understand it can be time consuming setting your clocks back, especially if you have a digital clock that only counts forward. For example, last time I reset my clock at 12am, so I had to push the “hour” button 23 (!) times to make it say “11pm.” It took almost a minute out of my life! Whose time is that precious (I’m talking to you, Cat Lady) that you can’t spare one minute (or less: analog watches take mere seconds!) to set back a clock? What do you do after a power failure when you have to reset the hour and the minutes? Do you just curl into a corner and die? What about traveling in different time zones? (Don’t tell me you’re anti-time zones too). Do you have to book time off work at the Bomb Lab to de-stress? Do you check yourself into a hospital suffering from exhaustion? GROW UP.

Of all the things in this vast, screwed-up world that you can be against, DST shouldn’t even be an option. Entire species are vanishing everyday, we are literally killing the planet with our very existence, everything we eat causes cancer, there are children in 3rd world countries dying of diseases that are treatable and/or curable, children in our own country can’t read, our military couldn’t defend a hockey net, and you pick Daylight Savings Time as your personal crusade? Are you completely lacking a moral and social conscience? Are you so devoid of awareness that this strikes you as a grand injustice? Read a newspaper, watch the news, look outside and then tell me that DST is what’s causing people stress in this world.

27 October 2006

Battle of the Popular Canadian Science Popularizers

I went to a talk last night given by Jay Ingram. Jay Ingram is one of Canada’s most famous Science Popularizers. I was thinking that if I didn’t hate public speaking, and if I wasn’t ignorant of every discipline other than my own, that I’d be a great Science Popularizer.

Jay’s talk was pretty awesome. It was about consciousness, specifically if animals possess consciousness. It was a refreshing talk in that it was just another Power Point presentation. Power point was involved, but it was really only used as a tool to show us pictures. The rest of the time it was just Jay Ingram talking. He’s a great talker. He was exactly as he is on TV. He’s got such a unique voice, and he organizes his talk very well, and uses interesting and thought provoking illustrations. I think I’ll probably buy his new book.

There’s a website called Fametracker that does this thing called “2 Stars 1 Slot” where they pit niche actors against each other (e.g., Battle of the Blonde Cult TV Stars Turned Movie Scream Queens: Kristen Bell vs Sarah Michelle Gellar) and at the end they pick a winner. I was wondering what the result would be if they pitted Jay Ingram against David Suzuki: Battle of the Popular Canadian Science Popularizers. I think Suzuki would win, because he’s more well-known. His show was on CBC, whereas Ingram’s show is on Discovery Channel – which is cable. You can get the CBC in the furthest reaches of Canada. His popularity was proven when he was voted the 5th Greatest Canadian, and Ingram didn’t even make the Top 100. Suzuki beat Alexander Graham Bell! This is how much Canada likes Suzuki. At this point I don’t think Ingram would stand a chance. That doesn’t mean he’s not great, he just needs to wait until he’s further along in his career before he challenges Suzuki. If it was just me, and on this page it is just me, I’d probably pick Ingram.

26 October 2006

The Bunny Scale

There’s this awesome book called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. I read it years ago, but never reviewed it. Anyway, the main character is an autistic boy and one of his quirks is he predetermines, each day, what kind of day it will be. He counts the cars on his way to school, the number of cars of a certain colour correspond to the kind of day it will be. I’ve decided to do the same based on the number of bunnies I see on my walk to school. One of the cool things about U of A is the hares (or, maybe, jack rabbits – I forget) that run wild on campus. Based on nothing at all, I’ve devised the following scale.

0 bunnies: An average day – nothing special will happen
1 bunny: Better than average – maybe someone will bring cookies
2 bunnies: A good day – I’ll only think of quitting my program once or twice
3 bunnies: An exceptionally good day – I’ll get work done and there will be lots of fun emails
4 bunnies: A Perfect Day - I’ll run out and buy a lottery tickets, only good things can happen
Dead bunnies: A bad, bad day – I’ll go home, crawl under the covers, and cry.

I want all my U of A friends to feel free to use this scale. Those of you in other places should modify it for your locations. Kimmy, you can count moose. Anna, you can count sea gulls in the harbour during your ferry ride. Annie, you can count…wildebeest or hyenas (are there wildebeest and hyenas in Cape Town?). Julie, Monica, and Chanty can count the seals in the Vancouver harbour. Celine and Danny, I don’t know what kind of animal you’d count in Scotland…cute boys with accents, I guess.

24 October 2006

I've got the will to drive myself sleepless

I had a sleepless night last night. It wasn’t entirely devoid of sleep, but it came pretty close. It all started when I fell asleep on my couch around 8. I woke up in time for Prison Break at 9 (thank goodness I didn’t miss a single, precious minute of Wentworth Miller staring at things), but the damage was done. As far as my circadian rhythm was concerned, I had my sleep for the night. So, I watched Heroes after that. I can’t decide if I like that show yet, but the Hiro character is beyond adorable so it’s not painful to watch. I went to bed at the reasonable hour of 11, but couldn’t sleep (see above), so I read my book. It’s a nice, lovely book by Bill Bryson called A Walk in the Woods. That was my second mistake, apparently, because there was a description of a murder in there that pretty much guaranteed that I wouldn’t be sleeping. It wasn’t even graphic, it was just really creepy and so very, very applicable to Cricket and I (and others) living in the middle of nowhere like we did for the past two summers. It was not the kind of thing I should have read before bed, because I tend to take these things and run with them. And I ran with it until about 2 am. Surprisingly, I don’t feel more tired than I usually feel. Maybe 4 hours is all I really need.

23 October 2006

Things I shouldn't have to tell you

I was going through an old notebook and I came across a list I made of improper quotation uses. This is a pet peeve of mine, when people use quotations for emphasis. That’s not what quotation marks are for! I shouldn’t have to tell people that! I got these from signs and advertisements and I wouldn’t have written them down if I didn’t see them. Tell me there isn’t something inherently wrong with the following.

“Hair” straightener

Buy one get one “free”

Vacation “on Lake Placid”

“Please” do not squeeze us, we are fragile

“Babysitter” available

God is here for “you”

And my absolute, all-time, favourite:

Become a commercial “pilot”

19 October 2006

Watch More TV

The other night I had noodles for dinner. Not because I particularly wanted noodles, but because I wanted to eat noodles with chopsticks. I should really stop picking meals based on their entertainment value.

As I was watching CSI: NY (the only CSI worth watching) the other night, it occurred to me that I could totally write for that show. The dialogue is so…basic. I think the writers put all their effort into coming up with clever crimes that they have no energy for anything else. It’s all evidence-collection-montages and puns. I could script that. There are easily 10 minutes of montage in every episode, and practically every other line is some cheesy pun. Come to think of it, I could probably act in that show. All I would have to do is manipulate laboratory equipment and wear a lab coat. That’s essentially what I do everyday any way (the days I make it into the lab, that is). If I was really going to analyze it, I’d have to say I watch it for Gary Sinise (who, due to a clause in his contract, gets the most puns-per-episode) and Carmine Giovinazzo (because how can you not like a guy with a name like “Carmine?”).

I’ve been thinking about what my inaugural picture should be and I finally settled on this classic. I’ve always felt this epitomizes field work. It’s important to note that I’m probably wearing at least three layers, and that I had been working in the rain for most of the day. I thought about cropping it, but I like the Bonaparte’s Gull in the background.

18 October 2006

R.I.P. Lusex Pi

For about five years I've been maintaining a site on Angelfire. I started the site one evening when I was bored and unemployed. I put a lot of time into that site. My html skills were lacking, but I managed to crib enough code from other sources to piece together a passable site. I kept it going on and off. That site and I had a great relationship (except for the freakin' pop-ups). Lately, however, I've noticed that the magic is gone. I just don't enjoy keeping that site running. I love writing, and I still want to get my word out to the people (or whatever) but I don't like that particular medium.

Instead I've decided to try the blogging-for-dummies route. It's less work for me, so I'll be more inclined to post more. Also, it has comment functions, so it's interactive for my friends.

I will keep the old site up so that the reviews are still accessable, but will not be adding anything new to it. I'll keep doing reviews, though, I like writing those too much to stop.