31 October 2008

Candy candy candy candy candy

In honour of Halloween I tried to find a clip from the Buffy haunted house episode, the one with the fear demon, Anya in the bunny suit, Oz as God, and so much other good stuff. But this was the only clip I could find. If we had Hulu in Canada I'd just post the whole damn episode.

I did find, however, the brilliant classroom scene from Hush, where Giles' flair for the dramatic is out in full force:

Sorry for the subtitles, it's the best I could do.

Finally, shout out to Cricket, who would love this clip:

Fish: The hairless puppy

Quote of the Day. About fish introductions in Europe (from: Holtik, J. 1991. Fish introductions in Europe with particular reference to its central and eastern parts. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 48 (Suppl. 1): 13-23):

"The first was the brook trout, introduced to the United Kingdom in 1869, followed by the chinook salmon...two easily confused American catfishes, the black bullhead (Ictalurus melas) and the brown bullhead (I. nebulosus), and six centrarchids..."

My initial reactions, in order of occurrence, to above quote:
  1. Aw! "easily confused" is the most adorable fish character trait ever!
  2. How do they know they're easily confused? Do the fish swim in circles a lot and bump into things? Do they wrinkle their fishy brows?
  3. How would you test that in a lab setting? I'll bet they're easy to catch, though
  4. Oh, wait....I get it

I still maintain that my initial interpretation of the text, while completely wrong, is far more interesting.

30 October 2008

Here is the quote of the day:

"The enumeration of the pyloric caeca is a simple matter requiring no explanation."

(From the Methods section of: Stokell, G., and Stokell, C. 1938. The structural characters of New Zealand rainbow trout. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 68: 361-372.)

I think they're making some big assumptions about their audience.

The Lemming Suicides

Oh, holy hell. I'm sick of learning things I'd just rather not know. I really need to learn to pay less attention to everything around me (which, actually, might take some work because I'm pretty spaced-out as it is).

So, today I learned about the seedy world of wildlife documentary fakery. How so many classic scenes in famous wildlife documentaries are completely fabricated and do not reflect reality. The worst offender is Disney. (This is hardly breaking news, but I still want to comment on it).

Aside: I remember the first summer Cricket & I worked together, she would occasionally talk about how much she disliked Disney, because they perpetrated lies about nature. The example she gave was about how lemmings will commit mass suicide. She said Disney made this up. I knew next to nothing about terrestrial mammals, but I thought to myself, "How can they just make something up? Wouldn't people call foul? Could Disney be so bold?" Little did I know.

My point is that Cricket was right, and Disney faked the lemming suicides by flinging the little lemmings off a cliff! This baffles me to no end. I mean, if it was a real phenomena in the first place, then faking it would at least make sense (albeit a cruel and evil sense). But if it's something they made up to begin with, then had to devise a way to fake it to make it look real...WTF? I mean, what went on in those pre-production meetings? "Nature is so boring! It needs more death! But not regular circle-of-life shit, I'm talking something more senseless...suicide! This film needs more suicide!"

So, for those of you, like me, that hadn't actually seen it, I give you the infamous footage of Disney's lemming slaughter, filmed on location in Alberta. Because Alberta has lots of lemmings and ocean access (again, WTF Disney?)

26 October 2008

Shameless Kin Promotion

I was in Chapters tonight and as I passed the game section I saw this:
Which probably only Kimmy will recognize, but it's a game my Mom and her business partner created. It was originally launched a couple of years ago in different, far inferior packaging. It has since been rereleased by another company and is available for purchase in Chapters stores across Canada and online!

I suggest everyone buy a copy, so that my mom can finally afford to retire. If you want an autographed copy, let me know and I can hook you up. However, I can't promise it will be as adorable as the autograph I got on the original version:

23 October 2008

Give fish the vote!

My mother recently read Ronald Wright's What is America?, a brilliant book about the history of America, both the country and Northern continent. It wasn't anti-American so much as it was honest about that country's history. Here is what she (who was herself an American until 2 years ago) had to say:

Just finished the Ronald Wright book this morning. I come away with a view of America as a huge, grown-up retarded kid, big and powerful and able to impose its will on everyone but nonetheless stupid and given to wrong, damaging decisions. But I love how [Wright] calls those recent Republican presidents disasters, because that's what they were. As a Democrat, I wondered if, in thinking that, I wasn't being unnecessarily dramatic and apocalyptic. But he says I wasn't! (Insert victory dance here).

In somewhat related news, a dead goldfish was registered to vote in the US elections. I say, let the dead fish vote! Maybe the dead fish will be wiser in its choice than most of the American public. (For the life of me, I can't find the article on CBC, but it was real, I swear).

15 October 2008

Remember this?

I couldn't help thinking about that this morning. The "United States of Canada" isn't as funny as it used to be, especially since we just elected the Canadian equivalent of Bush. Again. Again? Again! This has to be some kind of battered-electorate/Helsinki syndrome.

The good news (and by "good news" I mean, "the only thing I have left to cling to") is that it could be worse. A "stronger" minority is the 2nd worst possible outcome. It could have been a majority, and then I would really be upset. At that point I might have to move to New Zealand with Oz.

And can we take a moment to contemplate the fact that almost HALF (40.9%) of the vote-capable public did not vote. Who are these people who aren't voting? They call it voter apathy. I would call it something less diplomatic, like voter irresponsibility or voter stupidity. How is it possible that they can't care? (Elizabeth May made a good point about how the really poor in the country might not be able to vote because they don't have driver's licences and proper ID. I had never considered that before. If that is the case, Elections Canada needs to come up with more inclusive voting procedures, like some sort of voter-ID card that is free to everyone. I don't know).

I'm very tired now, and sad.

10 October 2008

I think Mulroney liked sweaters too

I got a link to this song a week ago, but didn't post it. I'm glad I held off, because now there's a video to go along with it. It's part of the Avaaz.org "Stop Harper - Save the Planet" campaign. It's a protest song by a handful of Canadian music artists. The video is not fantastic or anything, it's lacking the big group-sing quality of more famous protest song videos. The song, however, is awesome for 3 things.

1. The Barenaked Ladies-esque lyric: "We can change things for the better/not just dress it up with a sweater."

2. The not-at-all subtle bit they did at 2:38 a la Psycho (watch and see!)

3. Bagpipes! How Canadian to have bagpipes in a protest song!

Then, after watching that, I went to AnyonebutHarper.ca which has numerous videos about how Harper broke promise, etc. I'm only going to share this one, because the image of Harper with the kitten is too absurd not to share.

Stephen Harper: Wolf in Wool from AnyoneButHarper.ca on Vimeo.

06 October 2008

View from the top

I like living on the 11th floor. When I lived in basements I almost never looked out the window. Most of the time I didn’t even open my blinds. But now that I live in a real apartment I look out the windows all the time. I thought I would share some of the sights from my balcony:

For instance, I can see the building I work in:

And I saw this rainbow after a late-afternoon downpour this past summer:
And this sweet full moon (so much better in person):

And, this past weekend, I saw an anti-choice demonstration, it stretched as far as the eye could see:

05 October 2008

We're important too

I think we Canadians sell ourselves short too often. I know this because I do it. I fret over the US elections (oh! I just flashed on my dream from last night: Obama won! and no one could believe it) because the outcome of that election can have ramifications for the entire world, not just the US.

What I've realized is that our election can also have ramifications. It's not just about our economy and healthcare and education. It's about how the PM will act on a global scale, particularly when it comes to climate change. Under Harper, Canada has been voted the worst country in the world on climate change by the UN. The worst. Worse than than the Bush administration. Think about that for a minute, all you people who think Harper "isn't really all that bad." Harper is worse than Bush! Think about how much you dislike Bush, then imagine someone worse than him living at 24 Sussex Drive.

I personally know very few people who believe Canada should do nothing to combat climate change. Most people I know care at least a little about what might happen if we continue as we are. And I think most Canadians also feel this way. So why doesn't our leader reflect what the people want? Canadians want to do something about climate change, yet we passively (or worse, actively) elect someone who willfully ignores the wishes of the people in favour of the wishes of the biggest drivers behind climate change. It's such a massive disconnect I can't get my head around it.

And the thing is, that our inaction doesn't just affect us. We know that! Does anyone still believe that the effects of climate change will stay within our borders and not affect other countries? The most recent Canadian Geographic is all about global impacts of climate change. It's not just melting icecaps and warmer winters, people! The insidiousness of climate change isn't in the change of weather, but in what those changes do to people's lives and livelihoods.

So, I suppose my point is that if you haven't decided who to vote for give it serious thought. If you're going to vote for Harper, just be fully aware of what a vote for Harper translates into. If you were in the States 4 years ago, would you have voted for Bush? Are you okay with Harper dragging Canada's international reputation through the mud?

And, please, don't just not vote; not voting against Harper is as bad as voting for him.

Gee, I bet y'all are going to be happy when this election is over and I shut up!

03 October 2008

Moral obligations

I had it all planned out. I was going to watch the Leaders’ Debate and during commercials I would flip to the VP debates in the states. It sucked that they were on at the same time, but I would find a way around it. What I didn’t know was that there were no commercial breaks in the Leaders’ debates and I had little time to flip to the VP debates – so I missed the Palin-Biden showdown. I did, however, get to see a very interesting 5-way debate between the intolerable Harper and numerous opposition parties.

It’s probably good that I was watching it alone, because I did yell at the TV a lot. Mostly at Harper. I think allowing the Greens into the debate improved it immensely. I was really impressed by Elizabeth May, she was so well read and well spoken. She generally stayed on topic and stood up for herself and her policies. Go Greens! It’s a shame I can’t vote for her.

May also addressed the camera (and therefore “the people”) more than the others. Harper seemed to be staring at a spot on the table for a lot of his responses. At one point I had to yell at him to open his eyes – literally - because he’s so small-eyed and squinty. Interestingly, Dion was the only one (that I recall) who expressed love for this country. The others seemed to want to help the people (or the Quebec people in the case of Duceppe), but only Dion actually expressed that he loves this country and wants to do what’s best for it.

It was pointed out that Harper has no economic plan. When asked about economics (of which he insisted be the main focus of the debate) he rattled off what Conservatives had done, and mentioned “strategic” investments or something (I’m so not an economist). The others had actual plans, that seemed thought-out and such, and Harper seemed to think that saying “We’ll do what we’ve been doing” was good enough, despite the economic crisis even he admits we’re approaching.

I really like the debate because it’s the best chance for me to compare the policies of the different parties. And it’s not as if I’m wholly and completely in love with one party. I like the Green’s ideas of reform to ridings for elections to make them more representational. I like the Green and Liberal plans to lower income taxes and increase carbon taxes (which Harper claims will ruin our economy, but which is completely necessary). I like one party’s plan (I think it was NDP?) to forgive student loan debt to doctors who commit to 10 years as a family physician. As well, the NDs seem to be the only group concerned about First Nations issues and want to improve the conditions they live in. The Liberals, Greens, and NDP all seem more interested in preventing crime through better social programs (e.g., improved public education), whereas Harper just wants to be tougher after the fact.

Harper claimed he loves the healthcare system and everyone else was like “Wha!? Hold up! Time out!” because he spent much of his career trying to abolish public healthcare. Jerk. I know a lot of people have selective memories when it comes to politicians, but I hope people will remember Harper’s dedication to taking away our healthcare when they go to vote. The NDP seem the most dedicated to protecting and improving healthcare (preserving that Tommy Douglas legacy), and the Greens are really adamant that we don’t let American private clinics into the country. I can’t remember the Liberal policy – but I’m pretty sure they’re in favour of healthcare.

There was a lot more that I’m leaving out. It was two solid hours of political rhetoric. If you didn’t see it last night, you could probably watch it on YouTube or something. Or you could read about it online. The important thing is that you view all sides and then vote for the party most likely to beat the conservative in your riding.