31 December 2010

“This is FUBAR!”

I should give this little review/rant the caveat that I wasn’t really paying attention to the details in this movie (as if I ever pay attention to the details for anything), because mom and I were preoccupied with making fun of everything. We also watched this last in our schlockfest, so I think I had reached some critical crap saturation point and was unable to absorb any more.

29 December 2010

I think Douglas Coupland hates me

People who shun new technologies will be viewed as passive-aggressive control freaks trying to rope people into their world, much like vegetarian teenage girls in the early 1980s

1980: “We can't go to that restaurant. Karen's vegetarian and it doesn't have anything for her.”

2010: “What restaurant are we going to? I don't know. Karen was supposed to tell me, but she doesn't have a cell, so I can't ask her. I'm sick of her crazy control-freak behaviour. Let's go someplace else and not tell her where.”   ~Douglas Coupland

28 December 2010

But…are those even frogs?

My mom came over to my house on Boxing Day and we watched, among other things, Frogs
I think where the movie Frogs fails is that the wildly inaccurate title is also misleading. The movie has ambitions beyond killer frogs, even beyond killer animals on a single island. They hint of a nature revolt occurring around the world, but they don’t ever show any of it, and all we’re left is a wealthy family’s struggle to survive on an island that, I think, is supposed to be in Florida. Of course, I’m probably putting too much thought into assessing why a movie about killer frogs isn’t that good.

26 December 2010

Happy Boxing Day

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I've been at my brother's house for the last couple of days and just got home today. It was a great weekend. On Friday, my work has a family Christmas party, so I invited my family. Eleven people ended up coming: my parents, my aunt & uncle, my brother and his wife and kids, my SiL's sister, and my SiL's parents. It was actually pretty awesome. The kids got their faces painted and saw Santa. I gave everyone a little tour of the building and showed them the fish and lobsters in the lab tanks. After that it was over to my SiL's house for their family's traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner.



I couldn't eat most of the traditional foods (shish kabob, cabbage rolls, dumplings), but I could still eat the borscht and perogies. And the dessert, which is important. And the candy cane martinis, which was even more important.

23 December 2010

Running away and joining the circus is no longer a viable option for me

My SiL is riding the Stop Shopping bandwagon with me. Not because she saw the movie, but because she's a reasonable person. We've decided to stop exchanging gifts among our generation (i.e., between me and my brothers, and her and her sister) and instead we'll just do something together. This is the first year we've implemented this. Sadly, one of my brothers didn't make it out this year, so it was just four of us. We went to circus school. It was really sweet. We got two hours of a little private introduction to the circus arts. We did the mini trampoline running and jumping over things, the trapeze, the ring, the silky bandy things, and the big trampoline. There was also juggling, plate spinning, and diablo lessons too. Overall, I was pretty bad at most of the stuff. I couldn't get my plate to spin, I could only juggle two balls, I did throw up and catch my diablo, but only once successfully. I liked running and jumping over things off the trampoline. Spinning on the ring was fun. And we did this one trick on the trapeze where you wrap your legs around the ropes and then basically do a "Superman" and hang parallel to the ground - I really liked that. I totally don't have the arm strength for the bands, but I was able to jump really high on the trampoline and do all the tricks.

I had intended to take pictures, but just got caught up in everything and didn't get a chance. I was impressed by the abilities of my SiL's sister, she seemed to pick up on everything really quickly. My brother did really well too, and was a very good sport considering every trick we did had unmanly names like mermaid and starfish. I'd go back again, if only for the chance to jump on the trampoline again. But I'll prepare next time - work on my jugglinig skills beforehand. Maybe do some bench pressing or something so I can do the bandy things.

You don’t have to buy a gift to give a gift

Sometimes I wonder if I should even celebrate Christmas, given that I’m out as an atheist. My mom knows, y’all. That’s how officially atheist I am now. I didn’t even know that she knew - I’d been putting off telling her, I didn’t want to upset her. But, despite her growing inattention to detail (so that’s where I get it from), she’s caught on that all her kids are atheists. I told her it wasn’t her fault. She’s pretty liberal though and doesn’t think we’ll go to hell just because we don’t believe in a God (Oh! And my 5-year-old niece heard about God for the first time a few days ago. I don’t envy her parents having to explain that to her). So, this brings me back to Jesus’ birthday. I mean, I’ve gone to birthday parties for people I didn’t necessarily like before, but this is different.


But Christmas is my favourite holiday. I like it because it’s a family holiday. I like when my family gets together in one place because I like my family and it’s fun to spend time with them. Is that horribly cheesy? Whatever. I didn’t always appreciate my family, but I do now. I can’t give up Christmas, so I try to adopt the spirit of it while quietly ignoring the reason for the season. I think this is acceptable. It’s what most people do. And I don’t really care if it’s not.

Crotchety old man eats vegetables and survives

Christmas celebrations are in full swing. Halifax is well on track for another green Christmas. Its actually supposed to rain that day. And we’ve been having really strong winds. Clearly the deity in charge of weather doesn’t get that Christmas should be calm and white, not wet and blowy. No one dreams of tying down their lawn furniture for Christmas, you know?


My parents are in town now, and last night to get them out of my poor SiL’s hair, I took them out for dinner at a vegetarian restaurant that I’ve been wanting to try since I found out it even existed. It’s apparently been in the city for decades. Not surprisingly, I never noticed. The important thing is that I know it exists now. It’s in a new location which happens to be in my old neighbourhood in Halifax, so that’s kind of nice.

15 December 2010

Snakes on a Train

I think I didn’t like this movie because it wasn’t what I was expecting. Although it was written, filmed, and titled solely to capitalize off Snakes on a Plane, it was nothing like that movie in spirit or execution. I can't be bothered to throroughly pick it apart, that’s how underwhelmed I was.

It’s not like this movie can be spoiled, but be forewarned that I’m not going to keep any major plot points to myself.

It starts with a couple wandering through the desert. My thought: where’s the train?

13 December 2010

Preachy Ellie, FTW!

Alej told me that Hali was going to get hit with a weather bomb and when I asked her what that was, she said it was going to be rainy and very windy for the next few days. I said that's not a weather bomb, that's just Halifax. Is Vancouver really wetter? I mean, really? Or do they just complain more? 'Cause Hali is plenty wet.

Most of you know about this already, because I've been talking about it, asking for advice, convincing people that I'm serious about it, and staving off mocking older brothers. If I had Facebook I'd just change my status, or something, but I still shun that (down with Facebook!), so I'll write a whole post about it and you have to read it. Ha! Here it is. My big announcement. I'm vegetarian now. Specifically lacto-ovo-vegetarian. The best thing about being vegetarian is that no one can call me a hypocrit for only not-eating seafood and now I can be extra preachy about eating sea food! I have free liscence to never shut up about how guilty y'all should feel for eating fish and shellfish! Preachy Ellie, FTW! (I suppose I should mention that while I do still eat eggs and dairy, I only buy free range eggs and organic dairy).  Here's hoping my soap box can withstand the weight of my smugness!

11 December 2010

Speaking of athiests...

Alej took this photo on her phone at my request and then months past, perhaps even years, but now I have it and can share it with the world.


Based, of course, on the Atheist Bus.  And speaking of atheists, I've been reading this site off and on, and though it found out about this. Maybe I should become more active in my atheist community. And buy a t-shirt. Because I take after my Southern Grandma in the belief that it's not worth doing unless you can get a t-shirt.

This, btw, is my current favourite athiest quote:
I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. – Stephen Roberts

Context is Everything

The new market - officially called the Seaport Farmers Market, unofficially called The Old Market Murderer**- has an International Market on Fridays, where international food vendors sell hot food for lunch and dinner. Alej and I have gone twice. We've had Afghan, Antiguan, and Indian food. We went last night with our friend D, who is pregnant. She's so adorable, she's the happiest pregnant woman I've ever seen. She tells practically everyone she talks to that she's expecting. So, we get our food and grab a table. We were there towards the end of the market hours (which is only 7pm) and Alej and I got full plates of Indian food for $5. Awesome. I believe D got her dinner at the Zimbabwe table. Sitting at a nearby table is a guy who asks us if we're going to share. Alej and I ignore him, while D responds something to the effect that she's pregnant and isn't giving her food to anyone. The guy then says, "great! I love feeding pregnant women." He left shortly after, which I was grateful for because I found his comment to be really creepy.

I was at the new market again this morning, because I had only been there on Friday evenings and most the vendors aren't open then. I wanted to get the full market effect. As markets go, it's very nice. It's really just a big room, I wouldn't say there's more walking space or better flow of traffic than the old market. It definitely lacks the character of the old market, and no amount of green-building-coolness can really make up for that. So, at the market today we saw the guy from last night, and he was the chef at a crepe stand. I turned to Alej and said "his statement seems a lot less pervy now." I was quite relieved.
 


**And neither of these should be confused with the Harbourview Market, or the Alderney Landing Farmer's Market, which are across the harbour. Does HaliMouth really need 4 markets?

04 December 2010

He's so awesome, he's inawesome.

Have y'all ever seen this?



It's what I think of whenever I hear that word. I also think of that movie whenever I get offered lip balm.

I was trying to think of a word for Joss Whedon, and I finally decided on inawesome, because I'm sick of "awesomesauce" or whatever the current word is. By now we all know that They are making a Buffy movie without the inawesome Mr. Whedon. Everyone I've talked to is pretty much WTF about the whole thing. Our Lord and Master released a, typically, awesome response about the whole thing. I've since read that he doesn't own Buffy. At all. How absurd is that? It's owned by Fran and Kaz Kuzui, and they offered him the movie and he turned it down. Rightly so. It's way too soon for a Buffy reboot. Unless it's a movie that carries on from the TV show, there's no point.


But what prompted this post was that I just now learned that Joss Whedon played the role of Numfar in the Pylea episodes of Angel! Those of you who haven't watched Angel (and there should be a big YET after that) have no clue what I'm talking about. I can't post a clip because Fox has scrubbed it off YouTube, but Numfar does the hilarious dance of joy and it's my favourite part in the episode. This is the best representation I could find. Mind you, Numfar's dance is not as funny as Angel's handclappy dance...oh, dude, can you imagine an Angel and Numfar dance off?

02 December 2010

Sweet Jesus! I love SyFy!

I haven't seen Sharktopus yet, but the trailer for this movie seems, in my opinion, to trump Sharktopus in sheer awesomeness. I mean, holy carp, there's mega shark, a giant prehistoric crocodile (shout out to all you under-represented-in-bad-movies herpatologists), and....and...I can't spoil it for you......



...and
....and
...and Urkel!!  Freakin' Urkel in a movie about giant prehistoric sharks and crocodiles! I can't possibly love this more. Unless, say, Bono was playing the herpatologist. Then it would qualify as the Best Freakin' Movie Ever in The History of Everything.

I can't wait to see what they come up with next. I think it will be a movie about giant prehistoric beavers and giant man-eating dragon flies starring, um, Ben Savage as the knowledgeable park ranger and that girl from Degrassi as the entomologist.

29 November 2010

Civic Duty

When I told Oz that's I'd been summoned to jury selection, her response was "but you work full-time." I told her that juries aren't made up entirely of unemployed people. I think your employer has to give you time off to attend, but they don't have to pay you. Some people get paid jury duty leave, and happily I'm in that group, so attending jury selection caused me no hardships.

21 November 2010

Other people's expressions of themselves: The Sequel

One of my favourite blogs is Morons with Signs. It's a collection of protest signs, mostly from teabaggers but also from more traditional whackjobs. I love the site because the stupidity of some of the signs is often wildly entertaining - kind of the same way that Engrish and bad Asian-to-English translations are funny. It's the perfect mix of brazenness and lack of basic English grammar. Some of the more hateful signs on the site make me sad. It helps that the site creator provides some nice scathing commentary on these people.

16 November 2010

Other people's expressions of themselves

Earlier this year, right after I got my car, I saw a curious bumper sticker. It looked home made and said:

"I like my men. Cold. Dead. Sparkly."

06 November 2010

Fall Back

This was originally published on 26 October 2003 by me, on my old blog.

Last night the local news was doing a story on Daylight Savings Time (heretofore known as DST) and how some people were against 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 was showing off her watch and clock collections (my watch collection is way better) and saying 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.

04 November 2010

Suppose nature gave a war...

How did I not know about this? How does Cricket not know about this? This looks like it could possibly be the best worst movie ever.



I especially love the cut-away to the evil monarch butterfly. And how does that frog launch itself through the glass? And are those even frogs? Or are they toads?

30 October 2010

5th Donation

I gave blood again yesterday and it went well. I know - I wasn't expecting that either. It went so well, in fact, that I really have nothing to write about. I went, they took my blood (the technician kept playing with the needle while it was in my vein which made me really uncomfortable), I ate my cookies, and I left. Alej did come collect me afterward, just in case. But I was totally fine. I even walked up a flight of stairs. Fingers crossed this spells the end of my I-almost-fainted-giving-blood stories.

Speaking of blood, Happy Halloween!

27 October 2010

Finally, a printer that won't get phantom paper jams

I've been having no end of printer problems at work. Among other things, it jams every 4-5 pages, and each jam wastes 3 sheets of paper. It's absurd. It bothers me because it's so damn cliché to work in an office and hate the printer with a fiery passion. The printer made me a cliché. That alone should justify me throwing if off the roof. When did I become a character from Office Space?

But this printer...this printer makes me happy. I wouldn't throw this one off the roof, even if it did jam.

23 October 2010

More up?!

On Thanksgiving weekend Alej & I took at little road trip to New Brunswick to go hiking in Mount Carleton Provincial Park. I choose that destination based on the pictures on the Tourism NB website. Basically my criteria were 1) hiking trails and 2) lots of pretty. I have to say, Mt.Carleton had an abundance of both.It also had lakes which enticed us to borrow a canoe and strap it to the roof of her vehicle. Little did we know it is very, very windy there.

16 October 2010

Don't tell Earl about the giant worms

I think this is the movie that started it all for me. I think this is the experience I'm unconsciously searching for when I watch all those bad/good monster/animal movies. This movie is 20 years old now and it stands up really well.  I haven't seen it in 10 years, and even though I watched it frequently in the 90s, I'd forgotten just enough to really enjoy seeing it again. The main difference between this and, say, Shark Attack 3, is that this movie is actually good, whereas the other is good because it's bad.

What movie am I talking about? Have a guess...

13 October 2010

You can have information or you can have a life, but you can't have both - Doug's Law

The new Doug Coupland is available. He wrote it for the Massey Lectures, so it's a novel that takes place over five hours and is being read by Coupland over five lectures.



I don't know what to make of the book yet. I think I want to hear the lectures before I form an opinion. It's very Coupland, though. There are so many echoes from his other works, and this contains themes he's been coming back to in his books since the 90s. It makes me want to reread the entire oeuvre.

11 October 2010

Happy Thankgiving!

I just got back from here:

But more on that later.  For now I hope everyone enjoys their holiday! 

01 October 2010

Ontari-ari-ario

I was going to write a post about my trip to Ontario. I was waiting for Kimm-my to send me the pictures she took at my cabin, but she never did. I figure a public shaming would get her ass in gear***. Where are those pictures, Kimm? Huh?

In lieu of an actual post, I'll just give you the highlights:

  • We had a surprise party for my mom's 60th. It was an actual surprise. At least, she was very confused when she saw my brothers. If she wasn't surprised, she's a damn fine actress. 
  • I got up to my cabin for a few days. I went for a swim every morning. Read all day. Saw lots of chipmunks. There’s been, like, a chipmunk population explosion this year. Don’t you think that "Chipmunk Explosion" would be a really good name for a neopunk high school band from North Bay?
  •  Kimm-my came up to the cabin brought Litttle Edddie. He’s just red-headed bundle of cuteness. And, boy, he can cry - which is also cute because I don’t have to deal with it, or pay for his tuition (ha! Remember that when you tease me about being 30!).
  •  I attended the wedding of ¼ of the Core Four. The wedding was also part of the subsequent ¾ of the Core Four 30h Reunion Extravaganza (as called by me, completely after the fact. Although, now I think we should have named it. And made t-shirts).
  • In addition to the wedding, the ¾ of the Core Four 30h Reunion Extravaganza took us to Canada's Wonderland where we screamed the day away on such awesomely awesome rides as the Behemoth.
  • On one of the rides (one I remember from my childhood), I noticed the manufacturers label on the ride: it was made in West Germany. West Germany! When the ride started and began to make all sorts of creaking noises I began to wonder how much I should trust the craftsmanship of a ride make in a county that no longer exists. I’m still alive, though, so W. Germany didn’t let me down.

An appropriate store name?

26 September 2010

Atlantic Film Festival

Last year at the AFF I saw two movie that were both really good for very different reasons: An Education and Dead Snow. This year, the two movies I saw weren’t nearly as good as those two, but they're worth seeing.

20 September 2010

Cape Split

Yesterday some friends and I got out of the city and hiked the Cape Split trail. I've been wanting to do this since I first heard about it. It's officially on the list of things people who visit me should do, along with tidal bore rafting and the farmer's market. 


15 September 2010

Dusting off the soap box

One of my big problems with the commercial fishing industry is the way the fish are killed. Or, rather, the way they are left to suffer and die. Terrestrial commercial animals are killed as humanely as we know how (short of, you know, not killing them), but fish simply suffocate. Would you eat chicken if you knew someone locked it in a room and sucked out all the oxygen so that it died gasping for breath? No. Even I wouldn't. So why is it okay for fish?

There is research that suggests that fish feel pain (of course they do) and that they may even be sentient. History has taught us sentience won't be enough to keep them alive, but maybe it will earn them a more dignified death. Unbeknown to me, there been a whole group of people in the UK advocating for humane commercial fisheries.  I suppose since my vision of a world where no one eats fish is never going to happen, humane fisheries seem like a step in the right direction. 

The group (Fish Count) has produced a report on the welfare of wild caught fish. They have also generated what they claim are the first estimates of annual world-wide fish catches. It's pretty staggering: 0.97-2.7 trillion fishes.  Now, the fact that it doesn't look like any of this has been published in a peer reviewed journal raises some red flags for me, but I'm not going to let that stop me from telling y'all about it.

09 September 2010

Does it come with crayons?

George W. Bush has a book coming out. I wonder who wrote it? Ha! I'm funny. Really, though, can you imagine what the track-changes looked like on his first draft!?

Dance Dance Research

Someone did a study on what aspect of a guy's dance style is most appealing to women. What I wouldn’t give to read their grant applications. This is how they describe the implications of their research:
“If a man knows what the key moves are, he can get some training and improve his chances of attracting a female through his dance style.”
I have nothing against science for science sake. Not every study has to save the world, but this seems like research that will only end up being used in those classes where guys learn how to psychologically manipulate women to get them into bed.

07 September 2010

This may be even better than Death Bed

Do you ever hear about a movie and, like, three words into the description you've already decided you have to see it? Sometimes, all it takes is one word (Sharktopus anyone?). So, when I read about Rubber and the description was "sentient killer tire" I was in love. Finally! A schlock horror movie about my most secret biggest fear. I mean, am I the only one who stares at tires and fears the day they achieve consciousness? Well, me and the guy who wrote this:

Sheet Ellie Says

So, I just read this online
"swearing, by common agreement, is a nasty habit that should be given up by the age of 30."
Okay, I don't agree to anything. You're telling me that in 6 months I've got to whip out my list of Things I'm Too Old For and put "Swearing" on it, right after "Binge drinking" and "Anything by Stephenie Meyer"? Screw that.


I’m of the mind that swearing, when done right, can be both expressive and entertaining. I point you in the direction of Deborah Morgan on Dexter, or the entire movie In the Loop for my evidence. That being said, I know that some people dislike my swearing so I try to keep it to a minimum in certain company. And it's not as if I go around swearing in front of my sibling babies either. I may be crass, but I'm not completely without sense. (Links, btw, are not safe for work. Or Cricket).

05 September 2010

Earl

When I went to bed Friday night Earl was a tropical storm that was going to hit the Bay of Fundy. When I woke up it was a hurricane again and expected to make landfall in Halifax. I love how unpredictable these things are. In the end it didn't get us directly, and - from my perspective - it wasn't that bad. We lost power for the afternoon and evening, but now it's back on and now the sun is shining and it's not so disgustingly hot. My friend's wedding in the midst of the storm turned out really well and ended up being the perfect celebration for them. I don't think the wedding would have been as great if Earl hadn't come. 

03 September 2010

Way to cover ALL your bases, EC


And I totally missed the chance to get a screen cap of it, but earlier in the week one of the projected paths for Earl (via Stormpulse) had it veering through Michigan then up into Canada. That same model now has it hitting Portland before terrorising Quebec and perhaps Labrador. That is now my favourite forecast model. It's called "Extraoplation using past 12h motion." It seems to be based on the philosophy that you can't really predict these things, so why try too hard?

Which brings me to the CBC posting of the week, in an article about how Earl is heading towards NS and people should monitor the weather reports and be prepared (this is verbatim, because the spelling mistakes make it that much better):
" Run and tell the king. The sky is falling"
This is fear mongering like I have never seen before.
All the EXPERTS and their predictions. In accuallity.....they have NO IDEA where it is going. Nowhere likely!!!!!!
Okay, I know EC is being excessive in its warnings (see: above) but fear mongering? And not just run-of-the-mill everyday fear mongering, but the worst this guy has ever seen. I must have totally missed the EC information statement that said "Everyone in Nova Scotia is going to die. DIE!!"

While we're on the topic of fear mongering, sign this petition and STOP Fox News North. Contrary to popular belief, we really don't need our own version of everything the Americans have.

01 September 2010

Yesterday I said it was spontaneous combustion hot. I'd like to upgrade that to shave-off-all-your-hair-and-find-a-root-cellar-in-which-to-curl-up-and-die hot. It's in the 40s with the humidex! And hurricane season is starting. Hurricane Earl is due to hit us on Saturday (what is with all the hurricanes come to NS on weekends? I can't get a free day off work if the city is shut down on a Saturday!). Sadly, Saturday is also my friend Danny's wedding day. They say that one thing always goes wrong at a wedding, I suppose a hurricane would count (aside: at my parent's wedding my grandma's hair caught on fire! They also weren't technically married, but that's another story). I'll keep you updated. Although, if I don't have power I'll be using my precious laptop battery to watch The Wire and not write to you lot. I'm going to go stand dangerously close to my ceiling fan now. 

31 August 2010

It's hot here. Like, spontaneous combustion hot. I just got back from a trip to Ontario, and it was hot there too. When I get time I'll write about our awesome day at Canada's Wonderland, among other things. In the meantime, I have to share this trailer. Zombies are awesome.


15 August 2010

Polkaroo!

I don't actually know anyone who follows anyone on Twitter. That is to say, if any of my friends are twitter-types, I don't know about it. I find the whole thing kind of creepy and perplexing. But, if I were the twitter-type, I'd totally follow this guy.

12 August 2010

When my Grandaddy passed away last year, my Aunt sent me some pictures he had of me from over the years. I had never seen some of them before, so that was really nice. I've been scanning some of them, just so I have a digital backup. I was going to use this picture as proof that I haven't always been afraid of rodents, but it turns out that ferrets aren't rodents. So, I'll use this picture as proof that I haven't always been afraid of ferrets:

03 August 2010

DIY

I think anyone who knows me would say that I'm not the DIY type. I'm not the type of person who sees things for sale and goes "I could make that at home!" I'm not the kind of person who wants a new deck or bathroom and just goes and builds it (theoretically, that is, I don't yet own my own deck or bathroom). I've used putty once in my life, and the only thing I've ever painted was my brother's garage.

So, it came as a surprise to me when I accepted my Aunt's offer of a DIY upholstery project. I own an antique chair that used to belong to my grandparents and hasn't been reupholstered in decades. She also has a chair that needs new fabric and thought it would be a good project for us to do together.


28 July 2010

The ending was a bit of a let-down

I’ve always liked to write. When I was in elementary school, I’d write these long, hand-written novels about families with lots of kids. Back then I wanted a big family, apparently. Then I graduated to stories about young girls dying from various diseases and then in high school I was writing long, hand-written novels that had plots suspiciously similar to my favourite shows and movies. Once I got to University I kind of slowed down, then eventually stopped. Then I started with the web logs and this is what I write now.

I never let anyone read them. Once I let a friend read part of one and it was so nerve wracking that I never did it again. My writing was so personal to me that I didn’t want to hear even the slightest negative comment. Any criticisms I got would stay with me. For instance, I remember a short story I wrote in Grade 10, and the teacher said the ending was “a bit of a let-down.” That bothered me for years. I don’t write much by way of pure fiction anymore, but I’m still just as attached to my writing. I still find it hard to give drafts of papers to my superiors.

Someone told me about this site called I Write Like. You give it a piece of your writing and it uses “statistical analysis” to see which famous author’s style is most like your own. I had to try it right away. I cut-and-pasted my recent Revenge Willy post and waited a few seconds for my analysis. Imagine my horror when I got the following result:

27 July 2010

I was told there'd be cup holders

I bought a car. I've told most of y'all, but haven't made any sort of official announcement. I suppose if I was being accurate, I'd announce that I will be buying a car for the next 5 years (but it's good debt, right?). At the end of June, I shopped for and bought a car over the course of a week. I rushed it to beat the dreaded HST increase. (Oh, and Ontario: quit whining! We've had HST for forever!). I would describe having a car as "non-stop greatness." For someone who spent practically the last 10 years taking transit, it really is just sheer greatness. It's just...so...damned awesome. Really, the words escape me.

My car is a civic, dark gray, and is a girl. I haven't named her yet, but in my head I think of her as "Car-car," which is what my nephew used to call cars. Actually, he called them "car-car beep-beep," and it was way more adorable in person than it looks on the computer screen, I swear.

I'm currently accepting suggestions for names.

16 July 2010

Revenge Willy

We’re going old school for this one, to a movie that’s even older than me. To a movie that doesn’t have any computer generated effects because computers in those days took up entire buildings and took 2 days to compute the multiplications table. Yes, we’re taking it all the way back to 1977, to a little known (to me) movie entitled Orca: The Killer Whale. As far as my requirement for descriptive titles goes, this one wins points for brevity, but looses points for being inaccurate. It should have been called Orca: The Killer Dolphin or Orca: The Evil Mastermind, I would have accepted either.

11 July 2010

Dear Zachary/The Cove

Alej has this idea that I love sad movies. It's really that I appreciate endings that are real, and things don't always end happily in real life. So a movie that ends sadly, or on a non-happy note, doesn't make me angry. That being said, I really have to psych myself up to watch some documentaries because I know they're going to be sad, and that they will probably make me angry and make me cry. Okay, I have seen some docs lately that didn't make me cry, like  Man On Wire, It Might Get Loud, and Wordplay. However, with other movies, like Sharkwater and The End of the Line it's a forgone conclusion that I will get upset.  So, when I decided to watch The Cove, I knew what I was in for. Dear Zachary, on the other hand, had a compelling trailer and I didn't really know what to expect going into it.

07 July 2010


At the most recent Made-For-TV Movie About Deadly Animals Awards gala (the “Crappies,” as they are affectionately known), Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus took home the Best Fake Science Award. It also won the Best Misrepresentation of the Life of Government Scientist Award, Best Recycling of FX Shots, and the coveted Has No Idea What Oceanographers Actually Do Award. Some of these wins were controversial, and the producers of Kraken have already launched a smear campaign in the press. I’m here to tell you why Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus is completely deserving of these awards.

06 July 2010

Fleet Review

Sorry it’s taken so long to get this up. Deb especially has been asking for it. My pictures are pretty crappy, I admit. I’ve pilfered one from someone at work, I hope they don’t mind…

The weather the morning of the Fleet Review was typical Halimouth: gray and rainy, foggy and cool. A few ships started to anchor in the basin the day before, and it was fun watching them come in.


01 July 2010

For She's a Jolly Good Country

I'm trying to enjoy my Canada Day long weekend and not dwelling on the thought that I should be in Ontario getting ready to see U2.

We're having decent weather for the holiday, not fantastic but not rainy. At least, not yet.

25 June 2010

The British Are Coming

More specifically, The Queen. She'll be in HRM for a few days next week. It's a huge deal. And she'll be coming to where I work ever so briefly. That is, honestly, kind of exciting. Especially for an Anglophile such as myself. What's even more awesome is why she's coming to my office. It's the 100 year anniversary of the Navy, and Halimouth/Dartfax is very much a Navy town. We've been hosting a bunch of events to celebrate, the biggest of which was this huge military game (er, "exercise") and the International Fleet Review.

The Fleet Review is what I'm most interested in, because lots of foreign military vessels will be in port and the public is allowed to get tours of some of them. Also, for the review, these 22 ships will be lining up in neat little rows in the basin and the Queen will be sailing around, inspecting them. That's why the Queen is coming here, she's using our jetty to board the ship that will be doing the inspections. We've been told not to expect to really see her. But we will be able to see all the ships. In fact, I can see them from my desk! The one down side is that the two American aircraft carriers are going to be anchored in the narrows, so I won't be able to see them from my desk. Look back next week for pictures of all the boats in formations.

I decree...

...that anyone who visits me is required to go tidal bore rafting. I went last Friday with some friends and it was incredible. I really didn't know what to expect. I've never done rafting of any kind, and I was told this was not like white water rafting. We were told to bring old clothes that can get wet and dirty, and shoes or sandals that strap to your feet.


24 June 2010

Winnipeg is on fire!

Shout out to Deb for sending me this pic, which she described as "cloudy, with a chance of campfires." I prefer to think more literally, and will continue to operate under the assumption that Winnipeg is currently aflame. I wonder if they have a little ark icon for flooded regions? And what would they show for the ON-PQ earthquake? Little movement lines? A toppled building?

While on the topic of burning, I saw this on the HRM website this morning:
Which just floods my mind with jokes about how some [wrong] people think Hali is like Hell, and even in Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O'Hara tells people she doesn't like to "Go to Halifax" as a more respectable replacement for "Go to Hell." So yes, I suppose it is possible to burn in the HRM.

22 June 2010

Pay attention, Ahab

There is a country, let's call it, I don't know, "Sapan," which thinks that commercial whaling should be legal again (which is quaint, considering Sapan never really stopped whaling in the first place). Obviously, Sapan is still living in the 17th century, back when there were whales left to kill.

It's just so...frustrating. Take the Right Whale as an example. I see the effort of people I know: years of research and data collection. All that work so that in the end, a small area of critical habitat can be identified and labelled an "area to be avoided." All that work so that ships can be asked to please stay away from that area to reduce the probability of them hitting and killing the whales. All that work so that one species has a slightly better chance at survival.

And Sapan wants to go make killing whales for profit legal? There is no sense in that.

Sign the petition if you haven't already. Please.

15 June 2010

If you have a short attention span, this post is for you

I saw Zombieland on Friday. I was looking forward to it, especially since someone told me they thought it was better than Dead Snow. It was so not better than Dead Snow. Frankly, I thought Zombieland was lacking in that fundamental zombie-movie ingredient: zombies. Seriously, where were all the zombies? The zombie threat felt so weak. There seemed to be entire areas of the countryside that were zombie-free and I’m surprised there weren’t more survivors. There was one awesome scene after they arrived in Hollywood (I don’t want to spoil it), but it felt like the entire movie was written just so they could have that one scene. More than anything, it made me yearn for Shaun of the Dead.

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08 June 2010

Anybody Can Be Cool... But Awesome Takes Practice

My mom is a big fan of AbeBooks. I’ve ordered from them a couple of times, they’re really good for out of print, harder to find books.


I was browsing the site the other day (looking for, of all things, stats books) and I came across their page dedicated to weird books. Weirdy, weirdy-weird books. The first thing that comes to my mind when I see books like these is not who reads them, but who the hell paid for the rights to publish them?!

What will happen to arcane books like these if the publishing world goes digital? (and, while on the topic, what will happen to my love of giving and receiving books as gifts? Will you just email someone a link to a download and say “Happy Birthday”? Down with e reading!)

My favourite titles, in no particular order, are:

Anybody Can Be Cool... But Awesome Takes Practice (I should know)
Blessed are the Cheesemakers (Here here!)
50 Ways to Use Feminine Hygiene Products in a Manly Manner
Jewish Chess Masters on Stamps (Is there enough there for a whole book? Shouldn’t that be, like, a pamphlet?)
What to Do When the Russians Come (Useful, should the DEW line fail us. Also, is the use of "when" just the author being alarmist? or confident?)
50 Sad Chairs
Nuclear War: What's in It for You?
The Pop-Up Book of Phobias (What if your phobia is things jumping up at you from the page?)

And the award for Best Cover Art. Ever. Goes to: Soldier Bear

Isn't he cute? Helping out at the front, carrying ammo for the other soldiers. I'll bet during those long nights in the trenches, he keeps spirits up by performing funny little bear-dances. But, really, shouldn't he be wearing a helmet? With holes for his ears? Don't you just want him to lumber off the page so you can give him a hug?

01 June 2010

Bloodletting

I tried to give blood again yesterday. I suppose it’s good that I can’t donate more than once ever 56 days, or y’all would be getting sick of hearing about my bloodletting woes. This was only my 4th time. To recap, the first time went okay (ish), the 2nd time resulted in my now infamous healing trip to the library, and the 3rd time was awesome and I felt okay, and Alej walked me back to my cubicle afterwards to make sure I did hurt myself.

I was totally optimistic about this time. This was going to be anther positive experience to add to my list. After this I wouldn’t even need to worry about the presyncope of my past, it would just be a funny story to tell people when blood donation came up as a topic at dinner parties. My conscious brain, however, seems to hold no sway over my physiological responses. This time, I didn’t even make it through the entire donation. They pulled the needle out of me after only a few minutes.

28 May 2010

Not Enough Time In London

We added some time in London onto the end of our Scotland trip. We had to go through Heathrow anyway, and it was pretty easy to get a 24h layover.  We arrived at the airport around 10. We had to collect our bags, then catch the train to the city. There were two trains going into the city, and the difference was about 15 minutes at twice the price. Needless to say, we took the cheaper train (Heathrow Connect, for those of you who might need it one day).



27 May 2010

Holy smokes

I'm not usually a compendium of YouTube videos (not usually) but this also came up in my training and I'm bound by genetics to love anything with Dueling Banjos in the soundtrack.





The music somehow makes him seem even stupider. How is that possible?

We did the pool training with immersion suits today. It was fun, we put on the suits, jumped in the pool, and climbed in and out of an impossibly small 4-person life raft. The zipper on my suit split and it filled with water. Thank God we weren't doing this exercise in the Harbour. The split was from my chest up to my neck and the instructor couldn't get the zipper down over the split, so he whipped out his pocket knife and said, "Do you trust me?" As if I have any choice not to trust the man with the knife to my neck. He cut me out of the suit.

Tomorrow we're supposed to play with fire extinguishers and flares. Fire fun!

26 May 2010

My favourite email scam at the moment is one offering compensation to email scam victims. Oh, so delicious.

I'm taking a marine emergency training course at the moment. It's the entry-level emergency training, so it's all pretty basic and tomorrow we get to play with immersion suits in the pool. I'm starting to think that I watch too much TV, though, because when he asked us to brainstorm marine emergencies all I could come up with were pirates, terrorists, and giant squid. 

I also learned about the existence of this. It's funny.

23 May 2010

Isocline of Death

"At the tide line a woven mat of weeds and the ribs of fishes in their 
millions  stretching along the shore as far as eye could see like an isocline 
of death. One vast salt sepulchre. Senseless. Senseless."

A few weeks ago I read Cormac McCarthy's The Road for one of my book clubs. I hadn't picked up a McCarthy since a failed attempt to read All the Pretty Horses years ago. The Road has been drifting around on my mental to-read list though, because I knew it was post-apocalyptic, and I tend to love stories that take place during and after the apocalypse. The notable exception to this is the horrible piece of "writing" that is The Last Canadian. It was a weird bit of synchronicity that as I was reading The Road I got a comment on this blog from someone who had found my Last Canadian review on my old angelfire site (that review was from 2003! I keep meaning to take that site down). That message served to remind me of how bad this genre can be in the wrong hands. Fortunately, McCarthy has the right hands.

21 May 2010

Scotland Day 10: Last Day

I didn't actually take any pictures on our last day in Scotland. It was a glorious day - hot and sunny (hot by Glasgow standards, which is warm by most standards). In the late morning we had coffee with a friend of C's who was a natural born Glaswegian. His accent was a little hard to understand at times, but he was so nice and funny. He also had one of those scary-breed dogs, a boxer I think. I don't care how many people tell me that they're gentle and sweet, I can't help buy picture those scary-breeds snapping and attacking. Give me a good, calm Golden or Lab any day.

Coupland, Munsch, McDonald

Douglas Coupland basically cleaned out his basement and donated the contents to UBC. Apparently he’s got a touch o’ the hoarder and decided it would be healthier to give it way than to eventually die from some disease caused by the gaseous chemicals released when comic books decompose. He got a tax break for it, and I’m really curious to find out how they appraised all his stuff, and how much they deemed it worth. Some of the stuff would clearly be worth some money (handwritten first drafts, unpublished books(!!!)), but other stuff merely holds interest for the most obsessed of fans (grocery lists, post-it notes). I don't think the intention is to make a Coupland exhibit right away, but when they do I will totally do see it.

Robert Munsch is a manic-depressive, recovering alcoholic and cocaine addict?! I'm betting he wrote I'll Love You Forever during a depressive phase, because that is the saddest kids' book ever written. Unless someone's written a kids' book about puppies dying, this book is sadder. I can't read it to my niece without wanting to cry.

Have you seen the McDonald’s commercial with the little boy in the wheelchair and he’s in a car playing with a toy shark? The first time I saw that commercial, I saw the shark and I heard the little boy say, “Are we going to help them now, or after we eat?” and I was so surprised that McDonald’s was getting into shark conservation. They’ve never really made any sort of environmental overtures before, so the fact that they were starting off with shark conservation made me really happy. It’s a very important cause, and the awareness that McDonald’s could raise would be considerable. Then a few seconds later I realized the “they” the little boy was helping wasn’t sharks, but was, in fact, sick kids. That toy shark was very misleading. Or maybe my mind just works wrong.

15 May 2010

Am I a bad person because I totally love those Ally commercials where that guy teaches cute little children the harsh realities of our world?

Scotland Day 9: Hill Walking

On Saturday, our second last day in Scotland, we went for a hill walk. Scotland is known for it's walks, and hill walking is a really popular pastime. It encompasses anything from low-level walks and mountain climbing. And, despite what Oz told me about Scotland being full of frustrated mountain climbers, there are mountains, called Munros.


11 May 2010

Scotland Day 8: Yes, there's still more to write about

Friday was another day spent in Glasgow. I woke up feeling 100% better, then I made the mistake of eating and by the afternoon I was feeling crappy again.

We went shopping a this huge pedestrian street called Sauchiehall (pronounced "sucky hall," as far as I could tell). I bought five books. Books there are so cheap, even after the conversion. And there was deals: buy one-get one, and 3 for 2! How could I not buy books? (I already read one of them, The Book Thief by Markus Zukas - it was fantastic, and sad but not in a soul-crushing way).

We had afternoon tea (aka, lunch) at The Willow Tea Room. I didn't take many pictures that day, but lucky for me Alej got a picture of lunch:

06 May 2010

Scotland Day 7: Fever and Nausea in Edinburgh

At some point, between Wednesday night and Thursday our whirlwind pace caught up to us. Alej got a fever and some sinus issues, I got nausea and sinus issues. We weren't going to let that stop us from going to Edinburgh. We took the subway to the train station. Glasgow has a subway system that is ultimately idiot proof. It's two big loops, going in opposite directions - so technically any train you catch will go to the station you want, but if you pick the wrong direction it will take longer.

The train ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh took about half an hour. I spent the journey alternating between sleep and panic that I would throw up.

03 May 2010

Scotland Day 6: Na[i]sm[y]th Day!

I've long considered my surname to be Scottish. This is mostly because someone told me it was, and the person in my lineage who first came to Canada came here from Scotland. And, in my defense, I did see it in book of Scottish surnames once, translated as "knife smith" - that's so not what they told me at the family reunion. Sadly, however, it's not a common enough name to be sold on key chains and shot glasses in the tourist shops. Too bad.

We walked past the public library on our way to our first stop. The library is in a beautiful building, complete with sculptures and pillars (Alej's picture turned out better, so I'm posting that one).


30 April 2010

Good-bye, Mr. Computer

I decided a week ago to get a new laptop. My laptop has been dying a long, slow death for about the last three years. But now there's lines on the screen and I just can't take it anymore. It's bad enough that only one speaker works and that the letters have rubbed off the keys so none of them are labelled anymore. I could deal with it's plodding slowness and the CD-ROM drive that only sometimes works. But lines through the screen are the last straw.

Here's the weird thing: I think my laptop knows its days are numbered and is in revolt. Since I decided to get a new one, this one has gotten even crappier. The internet browser has taken to opening itself up in dozens of windows, causing it to crash. And my downloading speed has dropped from "Lame" to "It'd be faster to write and film my own shows."

Of course, now that I've written this, my laptop knows that I know. It's on to me. The screen could snap shut on my hands at any moment, crushing my phalanges.** Well, listen up Mr. Computer: this infantile behaviour only makes it easier for me to get rid of you, so it looks like your little rebellion has failed, you five-year-old obsolete piece of plastic. 


** That will totally be a scene in the inevitable and anxiously awaited for (by me) remake of Maximum Overdrive. 

29 April 2010

Scotland Day 5: Road Trip Day 3: The Rain Gods Hate Us

Tuesday was the only day where I can honestly say the rain got in the way of our plans. However, it really only ruined one thing for us, so it's not that bad.

We had breakfast at the B&B. I tried blood pudding. It was salty. After breakfast we put on our rain gear (because, being past/present field biologists, we had all brought rain gear) and walked down into Oban for a coffee and to take some pictures. Alej did most of the picture taking since her camera is waterproof, whereas mine is merely pretty. I asked her to take a picture of this for me:

28 April 2010

Slow News Days in Small Towns

I'm no stranger to small town newspapers. My mom works for one and when there's no real news to write about, she usually writes about really old people and the things they've accomplished, like playing the piano or having big collections of things. That's what's great about small towns: there's an over abundance of old people (and pretty much nothing ever happens).

I was on a course last week in a summer town in New Brunswick. The instructor was supposed to come from London, but was unable to leave the country because of the volcanic ash. Instead he taught the course via internet video conference. On the second-last day of the course, a photographer from the local paper showed up to take our picture. I didn't get a chance to see the story, but I did get a copy of the picture.

27 April 2010

Scotland: The Motion Pictures

I swear, since I got back from my trip, Blogger has not been giving me the upload video option. Suddenly today the option has reappeared (along with the spellcheck option which I was sorely missing).

So, here are some videos I took in Scotland.

The first is a waterfall near Loch Lomond.

video

The second is  panoramic view of the mountains:

video

And some scenery near Loch Cluanie

video

Scotland Day 4: Road Trip Day 2: Lochcarron to Oban

I forgot to mention that we had dinner in Plockton on Day 4, and Alej had the haggis. I should also mention that there were appetizer portions she was eating. It wasn't like every meal she had in Scotland was haggis. I had a taste of them all. The one in Plockton was better than the one at the Stag's Head.

The B&B we stayed at in Lochcarron was run by a really nice lady named Kirstie. She put hot water bottles in our beds. What a sweetheart. There's nothing nicer on a chilly night than a hot water bottle. I'm a total hot water bottle convert now. I'm going to buy one for myself.

Monday morning C had to do some sampling for her work. That worked out well because it was raining and we wouldn't have wanted to be outside anyway. We had lunch at an awesome little Bistro in Lochcarron. I had the best squash soup I have ever had (and they say nobody goes to Scotland for the food. "They" obviously never had squash soup at that little bistro in Lochcarron whose name I can't recall).

22 April 2010

Scotland Day 3: Road Trip Day 1: Glasgow to Lochcarron

Our road trip began Sunday morning. We started in Glasgow (A on the map below) and our final destination was Lochcarron (G). Along the way we stopped in Fort William (B; such a disappointing Scottish town name), Loch Ness (C), Kyle of Lochalsh (D; now that's a Scottish town name!), Isle of Skye (E; we were there for only a few minutes, but it counts), and Plockton (F).


View Larger Map

This trip took us past Loch Lomond again, and much further north into the proper highlands. I admit, I had the highlands pictured all wrong. I was really expecting it to be more on the hilly side, not so mountainous. I was pleasantly surprised by the landscape that greated us  - snow capped mountians!

Like any self-respecting mountain highway (and I use that term in the 2-lane, no shoulder, warning signs that say “On Coming Traffic In Middle of Road” sense), it had lots of look outs and random monuments, more often than not populated by tourist buses. Aspects of it definitely reminded me of driving through the Rockies. The highlands, of course, can’t be compared to the Rockies. The highlands are breathtaking in their own right, though.

Scotland Day 2: Loch Lomond

On our second day in Scotland we drove up to Loch Lomond, which is just north of Glasgow. All the guidebooks said this loch would kick Ness's ass in a Loch-Off, so that's saying something.

View Larger Map
The drive up the Loch was pretty quick, the roads (as I've mentioned before) were tiny, and in some places, tight bends in the road were light-controlled because there wasn't enough space on the road for more than one car at a time.

20 April 2010

Mis-Reading Of The Day

I misread "propane fireplace" as "profane fireplace."

That's my kind of fireplace!

Scotland Day 1: The Arrival

My first day in the UK began at about 3am Halifax Time, when Alej woke me up to tell me they were serving breakfast on the plane. We took an overnight from Halifax to London. That's good, because you can sleep away the long plane ride, but bad because they serve you breakfast about 2 hours before you land, so you really only get - at most - 3 hours sleep before you start in on UK Time. But whatever - it was my first flight across the Atlantic and it's not like I couldn't buy coffee in the UK, right?

14 April 2010

Hello Jet Lag!

My recent lack of posts has not been due to laziness, as it usually is. As some of you know, I've been on vacation. A proper vacation, full of flight transfers and foreign locals and people who hate tourists. I didn't write while I was away because I'm not one of those people who likes to advertise on the internet when they'll be out of their home for extended periods of time. Call me crazy.

Anyway, I'm fresh off 11 days in Scotland and 1 day in England. It's 5:15am local time and I'm wide awake. I'm only four hours ahead, but apparantly that matters to my body. I suppose it could be worse.

Eventually I'll write all about my trip, but for the moment just let me share something with you. In Scotland and England they drive on the left-hand side of the road. This is common knowledge, and I've seen it on TV and movies, but a small part of me always suspected it was one of those things made up by Hollywood. Like, one day, someone decided that the UK wasn't different enough from North America, so they were like, "let's say they drive on the wrong side of the road! It's like instant-Bizarro world!" But they really do drive on the wrong side of the road! It's not a myth like the Lemmings!


And, in Scotland at least, the roads are tiny. You could easily reach out the windows and touch passing cars, or the hedges along the side of the road. There's no shoulder really to speak of, and some roads are one track, so you have to pull over for oncoming traffic. And these aren't backwater gravel roads, but paved and maintained coastal arteries. With bridges! One track bridges!  I tried to get pictures that would show the smallness of the roads, but I don't think they really capture the claustropobic atmosphere.

27 March 2010

Bibliotard

I suppose it's a good thing that I'm not so jaded that nothing surprises me. I'm glad that I can still see this book in Chapters and be surprised that they actually made it:


Page 1: It's called Climate Change, you idiots.

Do Not Engage The Highly Toxic Snakes

Last night I watched Snakes on A Submarine. I shit you not. Except it doesn’t want to be associated with the Snakes on a [Insert Preferred Method of Transportation, Preferably Something Confined That Needs Pressurization And/Or Travels At High Speeds] so it’s called “Silent Venom.” Whatever. I for one am a fan of the overly descriptive movie title, so I’m rechristening this 22 Mysteriously Mutated Snakes on A Submarine Under Attack By the Chinese Starring Luke Perry. That’s right. Did I not mention Luke Perry was in it? How could I leave out the best detail?

25 March 2010

Fish Cake

In honour of Flannery O'Connor's birthday, my roommate made this awesome fish cake.

I had no idea Annie was such a fan of Southern Gothic. 

19 March 2010

14 March 2010

“The loss of the fish was basically akin to the loss of soul.”

On the bus after work on Friday, Alej and I had the following exchange:

Alej: What are you doing tonight?
Me: I’m watching the documentary The End of the Line.
Alej: Are you going to cry?
Me: Probably

And I did. Three separate times. The first time was less than four minutes into the movie.

For those of you who may not know, The End of the Line is a documentary based on a book by the same name. Both explore the overfishing crisis, the state of the world’s fisheries, and their grim, grim future.