31 December 2009
23 December 2009
I totally respect what Al Gore is trying to do, but there’s something about this title card that bothers me and I can’t place my finger on what it is exactly.
Four acronyms I encountered today that basically mean the same thing:
AIS – Aquatic Invasive Species
NIS – Non-indigenous Species
NIZ – Non-indigenous Zooplankton
ANS – Aquatic non-native Species
18 December 2009
I think I have enough notes saved up to take up some of your time and distract you from whatever it is you try to escape from when you read this. Here, in no particular order, are a bunch of things:
12 December 2009
Anyway, the whole point of this entry was to post video from some of the songs they performed, specifically: the best version of One Shot of Happy Two Shots of Sad I've ever heard, and the Costello/U2 mashup of Pump It Up and Get on Your Boots. Sadly, nothing is available on the CTV site, or on other sites (yet).
07 December 2009
The cold weather made me think of a post I wrote a while ago that I still like. It went like this: "If Winter and Edmonton were in prison together, Edmonton would be Winter's bitch." I wrote that in October '06. I often marvel that I lived for almost 4 years in a place where Winter comes in October.
I tend to write a lot about the weather. I think because it's so inescapable, and it's just always there. If you're interested, all my weather-related posts can be read here (newest-oldest).
02 December 2009
23 November 2009
1a. Any of numerous small rodents of the families Muridae and Cricetidae, such as the common house mouse (Mus musculus), characteristically having a pointed snout, small rounded ears, and a long naked or almost hairless tail.
b. Any of various similar or related animals, such as the jumping mouse, the vole, or the jerboa.
2. A cowardly or timid person."
Oh, how delicious. The name for the thing I fear most is also a description of what it turns me into. That's practically poetic.
So, we've got mice in our apartment. You can imagine what that's doing to me. I've only actually seen one once: it came into my room (*shudder*) under the door, and it left again after I saw it and screamed. I was on my bed at the time, and I spent the next hour staring at the spot where I saw it, too freaked out to move off the bed.
I'm currently exploring my options for removal. So far, this is my favourite:
14 November 2009
Now that you're officially smart, Oz, can you answer a question for me? Why does Webmail suck so very, very much?
08 November 2009
06 November 2009
03 November 2009
02 November 2009
28 October 2009
25 October 2009
21 October 2009
I dream of a day when cell phone usage is the new smoking, and can only be done in designated areas, or in the privacy of your own home - unless you have kids, in which case you can only use it on the back porch.
18 October 2009
One thing I love about this city (these cities) is the harbour offers a new view everyday. Some mornings there are cruise ships so massive they dwarf the Islands. Some days, giant ships are raised on stilts.
That ship is the Seajacks Kraken. By the way, Seajacks Kraken is currently my favourite ship name. Ever. It's so fun to say.
As I was taking these pictures, I noticed the three towers way out in the harbour, the best view I could get was this:Then a few days later that structure appeared in harbour. It's right near the Seajacks Kraken now. I don't really know where it came from, or how it got there. I don't have any pictures becuse I took the short way to the library yesterday (Season 3 of Dr.Who was in for me and I had to make haste). But, you can see it on the harbour web cams. (This one makes it look so much bigger than Seajacks Kraken).
There are two cases in the NS courts right now of couples being charged with the murder of their baby. In one case it was assault leading to death, and I don’t think they have a cause of death in the other, but the parents concealed the body for days before going to a hospital.
I can’t even bring myself to use a stern tone with my niece and nephew, so infanticide baffles me.
On a somewhat related note, it’s Conflict Resolution Day and I went to a talk by a woman who works internationally to teach kids how to get along and live with each other. And she told us how her kids went to one of those new-age feel-goodery for elementary school where they learned about “lessons in living.” She said she felt the program really did teach her kids empathy and respect, and that it wasn’t just something they used in school but didn’t take home. Then she started to tell us how her eldest son became the target of a bully when he was in high school (Grade 9 at a “normal” school). And I thought that she would tell us how they resolved this conflict, and I thought it would provide some interesting insight into stopping or preventing bullying. But no. One day the bully knocked the kid down with such force that a main artery was damaged and the boy died. This was about 20 years ago, so she was able to talk about it calmly, but I think a couple of people in the audience were crying. And she never got any resolution. The boy who killed her son was never charged, never apologised, never got counselling. It was a pretty tragic story. She was able to turn that horrible experience into something useful with her current work, but still.
I don’t remember being bullied in elementary school. The school bully was in my class, and I know that his older brother bullied my older brother, but our bully didn’t really pick on girls. It may also have helped that my best friend was his girlfriend for a few years.
11 October 2009
I was at the bank to start an RSP. It's like admitting your own mortality, saving for your retirement. I mean, I don't know what I'll be doing a year from now, but I do know that someday I'll be old and useless and no one will pay me to do anything.
26 September 2009
I'm interested to see how it compares to Zombieland.
(**Okay, so it's not the Arctic, it's just Norway, but "Arctic" sounds better).
24 September 2009
Breathe, No Line On The Horizon, Get On Your Boots, Magnificent, Mysterious Ways, Beautiful Day, Elevation, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - Moving On Up, Unknown Caller, New Year's Day, Stuck In A Moment, The Unforgettable Fire, City of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (remix), Sunday Bloody Sunday, MLK, Walk On, One-Amazing Grace, Where the Streets Have No Name, Ultraviolet, With or Without You, Moment of Surrender.
I'm pretty sure some of the isolated screams you can make out in the background are the guy who was seated next to my mom. Apparently when the song started he turned to her and said, "This is my favourite song!" I marvel at the luck of U2 playing your favourite song when your favourite songs has been seemingly forgotten by the world, if not U2 themselves.
One of my favourite moments was the beginning of Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. Bono only had to sing the first line and the crowd took over for the first two verses. Odd, that my favourite parts of a concert are when Bono isn't singing, but there's just something so great about thousands of people all singing together.
So, the music is one good reason to see it twice. Not just to see the songs you would have missed, but to see the songs you love twice.
I have seen U2 six times now, and I had never been this close before. We were closer than the picture really suggests. I could see the muscles clench in Larry's jaw. I could see the sweat on Bono's face. I could see the details of Adam's pants. It's hard for me to find the words, but it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life, to be that close to a band I've idolised for years. At one point, the moving catwalk was over my head and Adam walked over me. I was less than 2 feet from him. I know I sound all creepy and stalkerish but you have to realize this is my version of a religious experience.
Now, that view was not without it's price. We got in line at noon, and sat outside in the sun all afternoon. Then, when the doors opened at 5, we had to run out onto the field and into the "inner" stage to get a good spot. Then we had to wait, the whole time defending our spot against the hordes of other U2 fans. There wasn't much room to move, so basically we shifted our weight from one foot to the other from 5-11pm. When I finally went to bed that night (at about 5am, after driving to my cabin) my legs were throbbing from the pain. Really, a small price to pay, and one I'd gladly pay again.
The rest of the crappy pictures I took with my assy camera are in my online album. I didn't want to spend the whole time taking pictures, which I might have done if I had a half-descent camera, so maybe it's a blessing that I don't.
06 September 2009
I had a point, and it's that I'm uncomfortable with all these book titles that imply women can be defined by the men in their lives:
The Piano Man's Daughter
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
The Zookeeper's Wife
The Time Traveller's Wife
And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. A quick search of Amazon brings up:
The Imposter's Daughter
The King's Daughter
The Pilot's Wife
The Doctor's Wife
The Senator's Wife
The Witch Doctor's Wife
It bothers me how these women are defined wholly by the occupation of the men in their lives. I would never describe myself as the Civil Servant's Daughter. My father's occupation is not somehow a descriptor of my life. I understand that the men in their lives can influence them, but (for example) the Memory Keeper's Daughter would have been the same person whether her father was a photographer ("memory keeper") or not. And, Ahab's wife would have been just as head strong had she never met Ahab. I mean, what the men do are not who the women are and it bothers me. The implication is like the Queen is the Queen, and that's cool and all, but she'll never really be more than the King's Wife.
It bothers me in the same way that bird nomenclature bothers me. We name birds after the male colouration, and the poor girl birds have to live the absurdity of being called the brilliant blue-throated warbler or whatever and they're just brown. Seems wrong, somehow, doesn't it?
05 September 2009
Douglas Coupland books are like Christmas. You look forward to it for so long, and it's great when it finally arrives, but then it's over and you have to wait for next Christmas. Except in CoupLand, Christmas comes biannually, so the wait is even longer.
My shiny new copy of Generation A arrived last week and I actually held off reading it for about a day, because I new once I started I'd devour it in a day and then I'd be left without any new Coupland for years. It's hard being a book junkie, ya'll, we wait so long for our fixes. It's not like I can just go the Dartmouth ghetto and get a new Coupland in a dark alley. You know?
Generation A is pretty damn great. It didn't evoke the emotional reaction from me that Hey Nostradamus! does, but it made me think more than his other books. Or maybe not. I find that Coupland is so deft at describing and explaining human behaviour that all his books make me fairly introspective. This book is being marketed as the next Generation X, but aside from the story-telling aspect (in both books the characters gather together and tell stories), it didn't remind me of Generation X at all. If anything, it's a next step from Girlfriend in a Coma - an end-of-humanity story done Coupland-style. Both that and this book have elements of science fiction in it, but where Girlfriend in a Coma was apocalyptic, Generation A is more dystopic.
And here is a video clip of Coupland (there are more clips available on iTunes, which I suppose means I need to download iTunes now).
04 September 2009
"Hurricane Bill is barely gone and now we’re watching Hurricane Candidate Danny (although I’m sure he prefers being called Dan). Danny, being completely unoriginal, is planning on hitting us roughly the same time of the week that Bill did. I officially dislike Danny because even if he doesn’t come with us, he’s going to screw up the swells enough that I can neither dive nor surf this weekend. Alej & I have been planning on a dive/surf weekend all summer and stupid Danny has to go and ruin it. [In the end, my last minute work road trip ruined our plans. I suppose I owe Dan an apology].
Here is a list of the storm names for 2009:
Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, Wanda.
Why are Hurricane names so soft? Henri? Mindy?! And there was a Hurricane Larry last year! Are they allowed to recycle the names? Why not Hurricane Luther? Luther is a vaguely evil-sounding name. Why don’t they use names that are inherently more aggressive? Some suggestions: Adolf, Butch, Crowded-places, Dalek, Evil, Father, Gangrene, Hurricane (as an homage to Major Major), Interest, Jerk, Khan, Luther, Mouse, NSF, Oppression, Patton, Q, Rat, Schmurricane, Taxes, Ursula, V, Wolfgang, X, Y, Z. "
So there you have it. I couldn't think of many good hurricane names. Those pesky end-of-the-alphabet letters are hard. Any ideas?
23 August 2009
1. The main "Bill" in my life is so un-hurricane-like that I find the name "Hurricane Bill" to be completely absurd. Like "Hurricane Cricket" or "Hurricane Fiesta."
2. The Kangaroo-BBQ was literally that, courtesy of A and her boy T, an Aussie ex-pat. It's a very red meat, kind of beefy. I know, I know. My stance on what animals I will and won't eat is messed up. Last night I ate a kangaroo steak, but today I refused to eat a Caesar salad because of the anchovies in the dressing. But I have to put the fish first!
03 August 2009
I bring all this up not just because I plan to read them all (somehow, someday), but because my beloved Douglas Coupland is writing the book about Marshall McLuhan. I'm sure most people in my generation know of McLuhan because of the heritage moment: the medium is the message and all that
Then, there are a few of us who can't hear that name without thinking of the Ballad of Marshall McLuhan. That's because a few of us had a 10th grade french teacher who, really, probably wasn't meant to be a teacher. He would play us the same Radio Free Vestibule CD, over and over until we had it memorized. (This same teacher let us use an english-to-french translation program to write our term paper. I think I got the second highest mark in that class and I barely even know french).
The Ballad of Marshall McLuhan is an infectious little song celebrating all that Marshall did for his people. I don't know how to embed music files in blogger, but you can listen to it here. It's really worth a listen.
29 July 2009
Who am I kidding? The trailer made me teary.
And if that trailer made me sad, this next one isn't going to go well:
Oh, god. I read the book that inspired the movie and I got angry, but I didn't cry. But that really short scene of the person hitting the swordfish with a mallet...and the finning...I can't take those things. I'm going to have to be careful when I watch those, I'll have to make sure I'm in a mood to weep my way through another doc about our abuse and misuse of innocent marine life.
On a lighter note, I wonder if there's some marine documetary law book out there that stipulates that Boris Worm must be interviewed. He's in all these things!
24 July 2009
This is pretty much how I would describe the last few weeks, and our forecast for the next few.
08 July 2009
Do we have them and I'm just drawing a complete blank? I mean, most of my knowledge of Canadian history comes from the Heritage Moments, and I don't think those covered this. So rather than wait for the flood of comments this post is sure to elicit, I looked on Wikipedia, and whoever wrote that didn't come up with any more Canadian folk heroes than I did, although we do apparently have our own variant of Paul Bunyon named "Taylor Bradshaw" (speaking of, what's the deal with Bunyon. Was he just a really big lumberjack, or did he actually do something?)
I wonder why we have such a paucity of folk heroes. Is it because we never suffered the kind of oppression that breeds them? Or that we just brought the old ones with us from our various homelands and didn't invent new ones? Is it just because our country has such a short history relative to the old world? Did we not need folk heroes?
In my internet search for heroes I came across this site selling figurines of three different Canadian legends. If you click on the link to look at the latest photos it mentions that they've recently re-sculpted the head of Sir Wilfred Laurier. Awesome!
07 July 2009
I could put up more. Who are these people who have all this time to make these videos? I mean, I'm really, really good at not doing work when I should be (e.g., this blog: 2006-present) but it never occured to me to make a video about bug-picking or mark-recapture equations. However, just hop on over to YouTube and enjoy videos about population growth equations and apoptosis (among other things).
I also stumbled upon some funny little one-liners, that were mostly about geologists (Annie, you've probably heard most of these, but I really liked the last one).
Love a Geologist and feel the earthquake
My rocks are gneiss, don't take 'em for granite
All my faults are normal
Geologists make the bedrock!
So many beds, so little time
Geology is a load of schist!
Subduction ALWAYS leads to orogeny
How many geologists does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but hundreds will apply.
And I've saved the best for last (This one will be making me laugh for days):
06 July 2009
I bring this up because a student in my lab directed me to this most awesome documentation of oceanic field work. One thing I learned when I used to do field work (I miss you Mitchell Lake!) is that things will go wrong. Something always goes wrong, whether you mislabel a bottle, or forget gear back at the house, or toss your notebook with a summer's worth of data into the drink (I'm looking at you, Cricket) - things never go according to plan. As the video says, anything less than success is normal.
The story behind the video is here.
04 July 2009
He played a good mix of new stuff and old. And the audience, for the most part, seemed like big fans of his work and sang along with gusto. Since it was a free concert, meters from the beer tent, there were people who could barely stand, or control their urges to rush the stage. Some idiot jumped on stage, and was hauled off, no less than 4 times. By the end of the concert, security gave up and he sat on the stage and watched the fireworks with the band.
The fireworks were surprisingly short, I heard on the radio the next morning that they were only 8 minutes long. I didn't care, though, because I finally got a JP autograph to go with my picture:
I wonder if I have the foritude to become a proper stalker? Perhaps I should hang around the Commons next week when he opens for McCartney?
(I can't take credit for the pictures, so thanks to the photographer!)
02 July 2009
Old people in scrimshaws. Tanks.
Fifers in tights and Napoleon hats.
Crazy people on motorcycles.
And, most importantly, lots of pipes and drums!!
About partway through, it struck me that this parade of military and police bands and performers from around the world was the way we'd chosen to celebrate Canada Day. On a day that could be all about us, we had an international parade. That's what makes this country so great.
My sister-in-law and I were fortunate enough to luck into tickets to see the actual Tattoo that afternoon, for it's opening performance. We were even more lucky (and surprised; and under-dressed) in that the tickets were part of a DND reception and we ended up sitting in the VIP section, two rows behind the Premier, the Lieutenant Governor, and I think the guy who runs the Navy.
The show was fantastic; I'm a complete sucker for bagpipes, and drum bands, and people in uniform marching in elaborate formation - so I was in heaven. There's just something about the ceremony and aesthetics of it all that I really like. And the music, the sound of hundreds of instruments and two choirs and a couple of tenors...the effect is quite spectacular.
The first act ended with a tribute to the Highway of Heroes in Ontario (for those of you unfamiliar with this, see here for a really good news story featuring my home town). That was tragically sad and I certainly wasn't the only one crying.
My favourite parts were anything with the bagpipers and highland dancers. The crazy guys on the motorcycles (Hamburg Police Motorcycle Team) did some crazy shit - like headstands and balancing on one leg. The Paris police gymnastic team had great muscle tone. The Canadian military had an obstacle race, and a race where they took apart - and then put back together - a WWII era jeep.
That's not to say that it was all great. Some of it left me scratching my head, like when the Royal Fire Brigade Band from Malmo, Sweden started playing lesser-known ABBA songs. Or, the musical choice of the Motorcycle Team - Celine Dion and Enrique Iglesias?! One thing I found particularly distracting was the sceptre for the Wehrbereich Musikkorps 1. For most of the marching bands, the leader had a fancy sceptre, but for the German's it was this massive, shiny, be-tasseled flag holder (the only picture I have is from the parade, and is a bit fuzzy):
And there was one person whose job it was to carry that around. All day. I mean, is that an honour or grunt work? What happened in that person's life, in their childhood, adolescence, in their education and adulthood, that lead to them being to one to cart around the thing with the giant tassels? I can't fully explain how these thoughts consumed me whenever that band was performing.
So, that was my awesome Canada Day-day, and at somepoint I will write about my Canada Day-night.