21 June 2008


I'm a little late in getting to this story, but some babies were born at the Edmonton Zoo, like, a while ago. But their pictures were up on CBC this week, which is why I'm caring about it now. I suppose I should explain that they are red panda babies and they are ADORABLE. Look at some pictures I pulled off Google:

Holy damn they are intolerably cute. And look at the adult - it's cute too! Imagine a species of animal that is cute every day until it dies! Brilliant! I mean, who hasn't looked at a little puppy rollicking about and wished there were some way to chemically stunt it's growth and development and keep it cute forever? Nature always finds a way my friend.

This story reminded me of two things, and (somewhat oddly) both are family related.

1. My brother (the homeless, childless one, as opposed to the one with two kids and two houses)(and I realize that calling him homeless and childless makes him sound like some kind of almost-31-year-old loser, but he's totally not. He's very cool - honest) travelled to Australia a few years back and I remember getting an email about baby koalas. So I went back through my Hotmail archives and found this from 2004:

"...I also went to this koala sanctuary where I got to hold a koala for a while. There really is no denying that they are just about the cutest fucking things on the planet, although I'm not sure the handler would thinks so after it shit on her at least three times. But she's likely used to that."

I wonder how he would rate koala babies vs. red panda babies?

2. My mom has no background in science, and like most people just kind of takes what she knows and makes it her own. She told me once her theory about why baby animals are cute. She thinks they evolved to be cute so that humans wouldn't kill them. Which, if you don't know anything about evolution, sounds like a reasonable idea, right? I should point out that she is technically a genius, although she might also technically be crazy.

17 June 2008

Road Block

I've hit road blocks in my BACI, RIA, VPA, and quantile-quantile-plots. (I love listing acronyms like that because it's likely to impress people who don't know what they are. Everyone else is just like, "Suck it up, Idiot."). So in the interest of no one else doing work I thought I'd post this shockingly graphic workplace safety video. It's just horrible, and damned effective. I, for one, will never cook again.

I can't bring myself to watch any of the others on YouTube, but there are a lot.

14 June 2008

...at night I close my eyes and I dream

This post is dedicated to Cricket, Mika, & Oz. I had lunch with them yesterday, and at some point the conversation turned to piercings (of which I have the fewest in the group, whereas Oz is 90% piercings). Because of them, last night I dreamt about piercings.

In the dream, my cousin Becky was going to pierce my ears, but because I hate needles, she had to put me under to get it done. But when I woke up, my ears weren't pierced, instead she'd pierced my nose and my neck. I had a stud in both nostrils, and studs in my neck, one on each side below the corner of my jaw bone. She said those were "practice" for when she did my ears. She wouldn't tell me how she got the neck studs in. After a while, my chin started to go numb and she had to take them out. The best part about the dream was that it took place at my cabin.

I've got to say it again - I freakin' love dreams. I love how my addled mind puts things together and makes them almost coherent. The dream components make perfect sense. It was about piercings because we'd talked about them at lunch. It was my cousin Becky, because whenever I saw her when I was a kid, she would braid my hair (which my mind linked with piercing my ears). And it was at my cabin, because that was the only time I spent any considerable time with her, because she lived in Alberta and I didn't see her as much as my other cousins.

13 June 2008

This whole eternal-daylight thing Edmonton has going on is really messing up my sleep patterns. I didn't notice the long days last summer because I was in a cool, dark basement apartment. And when I was in the field I was too exhausted to care. Now, though, now it's annoying. I love that it's still light after 10pm, but seeing that my bedtime is 9 (laugh all you want), it's like trying to fall asleep in broad daylight.

Speaking of daylight, I was searching for a journal article the other day, and one of the results was a paper called, "Death in the ICU: The Halifax Experience." And my first thought was that the corresponding paper for Edmonton would be "Violent Death on Busy Streets in Broad Daylight : The Edmonton Experience."

For the last couple of days they've been calling for thunder storms, but so far we've been thunder-less. The risk of thunder storms made me think about the rain at my cabin last week. So, I thought I'd share two videos from my cabin. Both were taken from the screened-in porch, the first during a rain shower in the day, and the second is just a video I took one night because I wanted to record all the sounds.

08 June 2008

Long Post-Vacation Post

I’m writing this from my cabin. I’m going to post it when I return to civilization and internet access. From where I’m sitting at the table in the “great room,” I can see the whitish-gray water of the lake through the spring green foliage. On a sunny day, I love how the lake sparkles through the trees. Today, it’s overcast and raining and I’m taking advantage of the weather to work on my thesis and catch up on my blog.

First things first: Congratulations to Kimm & Tomm who actually, really, legally got married on Friday. It was a quintessential small town wedding. Of the 14-member wedding party (bride and groom included), over half of us went to high school together. The best man (and one of the guests) I went to school with from preschool. Even a member of the wait staff at the reception was in grade school with me. It was also a quintessential Cobourg wedding with pictures at the waterfront, on the boardwalk and in the sand. Kimmy looked great and my hair rocked until it all fell out:

(I’ll post more and better pictures whenever Kimm get them to me.) It was a long day, though, and I think I’ll have to take a break from weddings for a while. As I write this Kimm & Tomm are somewhere off in the Mediterranean, but I have to say, I don’t envy them much because I’m at my cabin.

We drove up Saturday morning after the wedding. It was an overcast, rainy day but the rain let up enough in the afternoon to go for a very fast swim. More specifically, a jump in the lake followed by a sprint indoors to stand in front of the woodstove. I like the cold water only when it’s warmer than the air. In those cases you get used to the water, and getting out is the hard part. But when the water is colder than the air, and the air is cold, it’s hard to get out.

Sunday was another rainy day. It was passed reading and playing card games. I ruined my pretty wedding manicure in a impromptu Racing Demons tournament. Racing Demons is like competitive Solitaire. It’s one of a suite of Demon games that are the staples of cabin life: Racing, Sleeping, and Fishing Demons. It cleared up in the afternoon and I ended up going for a paddle with my Uncle in my father’s 35 year-old pink fiberglass canoe (in his defense, it used to be red). We were on a hunt for our bridge. A chunk of the bridge floated away in the thaw this year and getting to the island by canoe is quaint but not practical for the entire summer.

We paddled to the end of our arm of the lake and back, scanning the shoreline for the missing span of our bridge. We found the bridge, but not at all where we thought it would be. Luckily, it’s in a place where it’s not likely to be claimed by someone else on the lake. That happened one year, part of our boat dock floated away and my cousin found it later that summer anchored on someone else’s waterfront and she stole it back. Next time more people are here, they’ll haul the bridge back to its rightful place.

Yesterday was nice and sunny (also ridiculously buggy) and we went to a nearby, fairly new, provincial park, the Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve, which is on a huge plot of land that touches at least 4 lakes and was donated to the province by some rich German guy. They have a network of trails that go around the lakes, and to lookouts, and around an old resort. The woods were impassable, however, due to blackfly season, so we stayed on the roads and walked to a few of the lakes and looked at the old buildings. I saw about a dozen toad metamorphs which I felt safe (based on my teachings from Cricket) in declaring an emergence.

(I swear there's a toadlet in that picture).

I haven’t been swimming since that first time. Swimming from the bridge is a hassle at the moment because you have to canoe to the part of the bridge with the ladder. I don’t want to swim from land because every time I walk in the shallows I get fed on by leeches. The boat dock doesn’t have its ladder in yet, but I think I’ll reattach it and swim from there. It’s supposed to feel like 28oC on Thursday. Good swimming weather.


Went into town today. I can’t remember the last time I was in Huntsville; a long, long time ago if my unfamiliarity with it is any indication. The black flies have given way to hordes of mosquitoes. I read a lot today, this environment is just so conducive to reading. Since my trip began I’ve read:

The Touchstone by Edith Wharton
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay.

The Wharton I read because I love her and must read every word she’s written before I die. The Hosseini was recommended to me, and given the lasting impression his first book left with me, it seemed like a good choice. It was sad, but managed to have a hopeful ending. It was not as sad as Kite Runner; I didn’t feel nearly as desolate reading this. The last book was recommended to me by a Cobourg bookseller when she didn’t have the book I really wanted in stock. It won the Giller Prize and I have to say it was beautiful. It really made me want to move to Yellowknife and go on an ill-fated canoe trip through a barren wilderness. Okay, maybe not the ill-fated part, but I totally want to do the barren landscape bit.


It doesn’t feel like 28, but tomorrow is supposed to feel like 36. I get this from The Moose, broadcasting from Bracebridge but calling itself the voice of Muskoka. It’s slightly easier to tolerate than The Dock, which I had to turn off after only a few songs (and, which I initially thought was called “The Duck” which I thought was just a vastly stupid name for a radio station). The Moose is interesting in that it gives the forecast no less than 5 times an hour. It must be aware that weather is the only reason most cottagers tune in.

It is so going to rain. The sky is dark, the wind is chilly, and it smells like rain. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a really good thunderstorm. I haven’t heard a good storm since last June in Caroline.


It’s raining! This is the only place where I truly love the rain. The roof of the cabin is so thin (and practically not insulated) that you can hear that patter of every drop. You can hear the rain increase and decrease in intensity. We have the doors and windows open and the cabin is full of that great spring forest scent. I know I sound like a fabric softener commercial. But it’s such a great smell. If I didn’t have to write a G.D. thesis, I’d take my book out onto the porch and read there. No thunder yet, though.


Today is the nicest day we’ve had since we got here, and it happens to be our last. The rain has stopped (for now) and it’s sunny/cloudy and humid. I went for a swim in the bay. I sat on the dock for awhile first, the bugs weren’t too bad, although I noticed horseflies for the first time today. The water was cold, but I think warmer than last Saturday.

I had this weird, sad dream last night. I was escaping from somewhere with Bret from Flight of the Conchords. We were literally running from The Law and we broke into an empty house at one point, and while we were there, a woman came home and heard us in there. She thought we were her ne’er-do-well husband and she started yelling about how horrible he was and how he ruined her life. We left by the back door and I was so upset about having witnessed such misery.