29 February 2008

Overheard in Edmonton

Guy walking down the street with girl: How do you get pregnant at 19 without being drunk?!

Girl: Exactly!

(I was inspired to share this after reading this site).

Never thought I'd write about the Royals...

I saw on the news this morning that Prince Harry was going to be pulled out of Afghanistan. My first thought was, “He’s in Afghanistan?! I thought he was still picking up chicks in Calgary.” Then my second thought was about Michael Moore’s doc, Fahrenheit 9/11. In it he points out that the American Congress (or maybe it was the Senate. Even after watching 7 seasons of West Wing I still don’t know the difference.) decides to go to war, but they don’t have their kids fighting in it. It’s a much easier decision to send other people’s kids off to their death than to send your own. You don’t see the Bush twins joining the reserves, so you have to admit that to have the person 3rd in line for the throne in an active combat zone is pretty damn impressive.

However, as I watched the news this morning, my new found respect for The Royal Family quickly faded when I realized what the story was about: Prince Harry was being pulled out. Now, I didn’t actually watch the whole story, so I immediately assumed it was because The Family requested it, or felt that his life was more important than the other soldiers he’s serving with. I got really bitter about that.

But I was wrong. I just now read the real story and my new found respect for The Royal Family is back in bloom and my dislike of the media is boiling hot. It seems like the British Military made a lot of concessions and agreements with the media to keep that fact that Harry was in Afghanistan a secret. The media knew he was there, and they were asked not to tell. Obviously, it’s a huge security risk to him and everyone around him if the Evil Doers know that he’s there. But then some stupid media outlet published a story about how he was there, effectively putting his life at risk and forcing the military to remove him. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by such a demonstration of wanton disregard for human life, but I am. Clearly, the people who leaked the story knew what the results would be, they just cared more about the circulations boost, about the benefits to them.

I realize the idea of different media groups banning together to keep a secret from the public sounds very Big Brother, but I think in this case I support the censorship. I have this feeling of walking a very fine line, but I think we live mostly in grey areas and this is one of them. It’s not as if the international media banned together and agreed to not tell the public that, say, all of our meat was infected with CJB or something. That would be bad, and I wouldn’t support that. This, however, was a secret meant to protect the safety of a soldier and those working with him. I don’t think it was deceptive and I don’t think – in this case – that the peoples' right to know trumps the soldiers’ right to survive.

27 February 2008

Go Green or Give Up

As I brought up in an earlier post, the Green Party was left out of the Provincial party leader's debate last week. Ozzy has opened my eyes to the appalling fact that this is common and the Greens are routinely left out of debates all across Canada.

Sign this petition to help put a stop to the exclusion of the Greens. How are we supposed to make informed voting decisions if we don't hear all parties? Even if you don't vote Green, they still have a right to be heard.

25 February 2008

I love Jon Stewart

I was a little bored with the Oscars this year. Jon Stewart had his typical moments of hilarious brillance. I was so very happy when Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová won for Falling Slowly, a beautiful song from the movie Once. You can listen to it here. I love pretty much everything he has done.

22 February 2008

Election Woes

I talk to myself. Not as in, “Hello Ellie, how are you today?” “Why, I’m great Leslie, thanks for asking.” But more as though I’m providing commentary on my actions, and it’s usually negative comments like, “Well, that was brilliant,” and “Oh, crap. You idiot.” Things like that.

I also talk to inanimate objects. Especially my computer. My computer (which, just so you know, is named Mr. Computer because I name everything) usually gets pleading comments like, “Please, please work” and “What the hell! That p-value makes no sense! Stupid SPSS!”

I also talk to characters and people on TV. Or, rather, I talk at them. You know, like when you’re watching a horror movie or something and you criticize the characters for being stupid or whatever.

I mention all this so that when I tell you I spent the better part of my evening last night yelling at the TV, you’ll realize it’s really not out of character for me. Last night was the televised so-called Leaders Debate for the Alberta provincial election. The Green Party was conspicuously absent (maybe Oz knows why) and instead there was this crackpot from the “Alberta Wildrose Alliance” who, through what I can only imagine is powerful black magic, managed to come off as even more conservative than the absurdly conservative Stelmach. (Aside: I remember when Stelmach took office, I heard someone say that he’s even more conservative than his affront to humanity of a predecessor. At the time I thought that such a person couldn’t exist in nature. Damn, was I wrong).

Stelmach and the Wildrose Guy were the targets of my vitriol. I disagree with Stelmach on principle. His answer to everything was to talk about how he’s bringing in more people to Alberta from all over the world. He’s making the population grow. He seems to ignore that fact that most of Alberta’s problems stem from not being able to handle the population as it is, let alone being able to support the influx of people. And the one thing he said that really sticks in my head, and I wrote it down so I wouldn’t misquote him, he said:

“We’ve dealt with the environment.”

What the hell does that mean? Because the first image that popped into my head was of some 7-foot tall henchman ambling into Stelmach’s office, and telling him that “We’ve dealt with The Environment, Sir. It won’t be causing you any more problems,” and meanwhile, The Environment’s been weighted with rocks and tossed in the Bow River. Really, Stelmach, you act as if the environment is some unseemly issue you’d much rather not discuss in mixed company. He’d probably rather talk about gay marriage than the environment.

Oh! One more thing about Stelmach before I start bitching about the Wildrose Guy. Apparently, when Chretien was here recently, he commented that Alberta’s natural resources belong to Canada and not Alberta alone. Stelmach didn’t like this. I think if the conservatives have a collective fear, it’s that the Liberals are going to take away their Oil Money. Klein would have fought to the death to prevent this, and I have no doubt that Stelmach wakes up in a cold sweat screaming, “My money! My Oil Money!” My sole conservative friend also seems to live in fear of the day that the Liberals take Alberta’s Oil Money. It’s all so absurd. Someone sometime drew an arbitrary line on a map and Alberta gets oil. It’s not as if it’s some God-granted divine right to money.

Okay, now onto the Wildrose Guy. He has a name, but I’m not voting for him so I don’t need to know it. He was all about privatizing healthcare and making it a competitive business. I hate when people threaten my healthcare. Actually, when you threaten to take away my healthcare I probably feel a lot like a conservative under the threat of losing their Oil Money. I don’t understand the desire to privatize healthcare. Do we want to end up like the States? Healthcare isn’t a business you idiots! It’s an essential service. I know it’s not a perfect system, but that’s no reason to scrap the idea entirely! Other countries make it work, why the hell can’t we?

And the last thing the Wildrose Guy said that pissed me off was that people need to stay home to raise their kids – that’s okay, it’s a valid idea – but he heavily implied that it was a woman’s job. Of course. I don’t know why I’m surprised, but are the Wildrose conservatives so backwards that they still believe the woman’s place is in the home? I believe it’s a woman’s choice if she wants to stay at home or go back to work, but that choice shouldn’t be influenced by a government biased against working mothers.

So, I think I’m a little calmer now. It’s good to get all that off my chest. Everyone in Alberta: Don’t forget to vote!

21 February 2008

Damn Widget

I'm not going to let this go.

They've added new content to the widget. If you click-and-hold the U23D logo, then enter the password ("u23d") at the prompt, you get to watch more concert footage. It's pretty freakin' awesome.

20 February 2008

Dire Portents

On the walk home last night I saw 5 (!) bunnies. I was so happy, because that really boded well for my evening. However, when I got home nothing good happened:

1. I realized that my fridge and freezer had decided to not work anymore, so I had to call my landlord.

2. Then I had to clean my apartment because the landlord said he'd come over and I don't like people to see how messy I really am.

3. Then, my second favourite character on my new favourite show died! And it wasn't even a shocking, on-screen death, it was a quiet off-screen death. I didn't even get to say goodbye. (On the hilarious side, however, is his character bio on the official site, written in this oddly chipper past tense).

So, anyway, back to the bunnies. I'm starting to worry that they have somehow lost their magic. I'm not sure how this could have happened. Maybe there's a Bunny Eden somewhere and some dumb bunny ate the Forbidden Weed or something and they've all been cast out of the magical kingdom and can now only exist as regular Lagomorphs. I don't think I want to live in a world where bunny magic isn't real.

18 February 2008

The important thing

There’s this elementary school here that always has an inspirational saying on its sign board. The latest is attributable to Einstein:

“The important thing is to never stop questioning.”

However, if you don’t know it’s attributable to Einstein, you think he’s part of the saying, and it reads like:

“The important thing is to never stop questioning Einstein.”

Which was how I read it the first time. And my first thought was, “Who the hell are they to question Einstein?” And my second thought was, “Maybe they got mixed up and they mean Darwin?” Then I clued in, smart cookie that I am. However, I kind of like my version better. I think I’ll adopt it as my new mantra, replacing my long running mantra of “The important thing is to not embarrass yourself.”

12 February 2008

Three Things I Hate

1. The Garneau Safeway location. This is probably the worst of the chain locations that I’ve shopped at. It seems to only offer the absolute minimum in terms of variety. If you want anything remotely out of the mainstream, you’re not going to find it there. I’m trying to find a comparison, and all I can think of (that most people won’t understand) is this: the Garneau location is to Safeway as the Bobcaygeon location is to Tim Horton’s. Bobcaygeon is the awesomely-named town that falls before Kinmount on the drive to my cabin. There is a Tim’s in Bobcaygeon that is a popular stopping point for most people on their way north. This is hands-down the crappiest Tim’s location. Ever. I’d say it’s even worse than the one on Whyte where the biker gangs hang out. They consistently run out of food, and one time – I swear – they ran out of coffee. Coffee! The employees like to sit at the drive-thru window and throw timbits outside. It’s all-around bad, and I’m not the only one who thinks so, Kimm will back me up on this (assuming she even still reads this blog…).

2. Bus Driver Groupies. These are the people who know the bus driver, or just enjoy distracting people while they’re trying to work. They stand in front of the yellow line (because they’re so cool) and when you get on the bus and rudely interrupt their conversation with the driver, they look at you as if to say, “This is my bus, bitch.” Yesterday there was a groupie standing in front of the main doors and people had to squeeze around him just to get on the bus. I wonder where these people fall on the social scale? Somewhere below Bartender Groupies, but above Weatherman Groupies, would be my guess.

3. Edmonton. Just ‘cuz.

06 February 2008

Wasting Time

Not much to say right now. I'm in a weird limbo while I try to figure out how much more lab work I have to do before I can condsider it done. I haven't been doing much and therefore have nothing to write about. I thought I'd share a few fun things with you.

I haven't been watching any late night TV during the strike, but I've been hearing about the Conan-Stewart-Colbert feud and it finally came to blows and if you missed it you can watch it here. (Aside, Jon Stewert is, like, 4 feet tall).

This is an awesome video for anyone who is a fan of Matt Damon (the funny starts about 1 minute into the clip).

And, finally, this is how I picture life as a Facebooker.

Hope all this keeps you occupied for a little while, Oz.