30 October 2011

Today in numbers too big to comprehend: 7 Billion

So, we’re 7 billion strong now. That number is so big, but it means nothing to me. Maybe if I lived in one of the dense countries, but even in the city I live in there are times when I can go out and not encounter another person (although not today, I swear every freakin' Haligonian was at Sobeys). Still, when I think of 7 billion, all I can picture is humanity as this black cloud engulfing the earth.

Oz sent me a link to this BBC page that puts your stats into a global perspective.  I was the 4,510,757,622nd person born on Earth

Wow, BBC infographic, you know me so well.But your use of commas leaves something to be desired.

Which is kind of cool.

This CBC article, however, is somehow less cool. I know it’s supposed to read like a bunch of nifty facts about our population size, but to me it reads more like the beginning of a conversation about how long we can possibly last on this planet, given how things seem to be spiraling out of control. 

29 October 2011

Things I didn't know/remember about Gremlins

I saw Gremlins last night for what might be the first time. I have vague memories of Gremlins-related things, but I don't know if that's from seeing the movie or just from seeing pieces of it over the course of my life. If I did see it, I was (typically, for my family) way too young because I didn't remember anything. It holds up surprisingly well. It's not scary, but it is still entertaining. I was surprised by how much time they devoted to the creatures. The effects weren't up to today's standards - the movement of the creatures were a little stilted, but it was still fun to watch.

28 October 2011

Poltroonish beavers are just too damn unimaginative for Canada.

So ignoble. 

Well, fuck. I hate this side of politics. Isn’t there anything more important we could be thinking about? Me, I’m far more concerned by the idea of us getting nuclear subs than I am about an official animal that doesn’t even appear on our coat of arms. That being said, this totally sounds like something a 10-year-old would propose if she won a Senator for a Day contest. Yes, polar bears would win in a Cute Off, but they aren't the right choice for us.  

The beaver has a strong historical significance. It was a driving force in the settling and expansion of this country. Polar bears, while gleefully hunted I’m sure, did not. I’d suggest cod (to collective sighs and eye rolls, and a chorus of “we know, Ellie. You like cod, geeze”) as an alternative emblem because it played a massive role in the initial settling of North America’s east coast. Although, whether we should be celebrating any animal that made it easier/gave us an excuse to invade a foreign land and claim it for our own is a whole other discussion. 

Resourceful little scamp, isn't he?

The press release, which in the future will be reprinted in the dictionary under “anthropomorphic” said:

25 October 2011

Kiefer Sutherland, animal ethics, killer sweaters, and dirty pillows: something for everyone!

 A theater downtown has been showing older/classic horror movies every weekend for the past few weeks. Being the pop culture junkies that we are, Alej and I have been going to all of them. The first was Lost Boys, the 1987 vampire movie. I had thought it was based on a Stephen King story, but I think I was confusing it with Salem’s Lot. I had never seen either. I don’t know why I never watched Lost Boys, we had it on VHS when I was growing up, but I was probably too busy watching The Monster Squad to care about Kiefer Sutherland as a very giggly vampire. I don’t know if that was intended to be a character trait of these vampires, but they never stop laughing. Those are some happy vampires. It was an okay movie. It had some laughable special effects and lots of cheesy action. It was also apparently the start of the Corey craze that swept the nation back when I was still too young to care.

 The second movie was the original 1970s The Omen. Another one I hadn’t seen. I thought The Omen was pretty good – there was one death in particular that was shocking in that it was so well executed, I didn’t expect that level of quality from a movie that old. Overall though, I don’t think Alej liked it. It moved too slowly for her. I agree, there was a very long, slow build - especially by today’s standards. There was also a very odd buddy-road-trip kind of thing shoved in the last third of the movie. 

Before they play the movies, one of the theatre employees warms up the crowd by telling us facts about the movie. There’s a scene in The Omen where a goldfish bowl breaks and the fish spill out. They did not, to my relief, use real goldfish in the filming of those scenes. However, in another scene, to get some baboons to attack a car, they locked a baby baboon in the car to try and incite the baboons. When that didn’t work, they locked in the alpha male. They didn’t want to kill any fish, but psychological manipulation of primates was okay with them. I know I have a documented history of selective animal cruelty, but if you make the effort for the fish, you should also make an effort for the baboons. That’s all I’m saying.

 I went for a walk along Lake Banook and through Sullivan Pond Park on Sunday and something was off. I was about 45 minutes into my walk when I started to think that something was weird. It was a typical Halifax Fall day: thick clouds with patches of bright sunshine, too cold for just a t-shirt but too warm for a hoodie over your t-shirt. People were out jogging, biking, walking; kids were running wild in the park, there was a gaggle of old people (a murder of retirees?) racing their little motorised boats very slowly through the Pond. Everything was normal, and I didn’t realize what was missing until I heard it: a helicopter. It’s just not a proper Halifax day until you see or hear a Sea King. They fly by my building at work daily, and Saturday when I was walking to the library I saw three. To me, they play as important a role in the classic Halifax skyline as the casino or those twin office towers. I wonder if the new helicopters will fundamentally change the feel of the city? 

I don't have any pics of sea kings over the city, but I have one of me in one, flying over my old neighbourhood. Close enough. 

Change is still bad

I got no feedback on the temporary re-design of my site. Maybe y’all were too busy weeping and writing good-bye cards while staring longingly at screencaps of the old design. Either way, I didn’t like it - it felt like you had to work too hard to read the posts. They should just be there when you open the page, right? So, I’m back to something more traditional (read: boring). Sadly, I can’t seem to get it back to exactly how it was before, so I’ll be playing with the templates some more. Brace yourself for some more change, but far less change than before.  

16 October 2011

The Doctor is the Monster

A few weeks ago I went to see Frankenstein at the Neptune Theatre. I read the book years ago and didn't like it, but I wanted to see the play version mostly out of curiosity. I really loved how it was staged. I wasn't too enamoured with Victor's portrayal, and the monster wasn't as gruesome as I would have liked, but overall it was pretty good. I actually don't remember the book that well, but I think the play did change a few things, probably because there's only so much you can do with the play format.

Anyway, after seeing the play I dug out my old review of Frankenstein I wrote in 2003 and thought I'd toss it up for all to see. I sound really angry. I think maybe I took the book too seriously. (Also: spoilers). (And bad language).

You know, I'm only halfway through this, but I think that I can write a review that will rival The Last Canadian in length and bitchiness. Translation: this book is not one that I find especially enjoyable.

Victor Frankenstein is the whiniest little bastard ever. Oh, woe is he! What a child. He works for years - years! - to give life to dead flesh, then gets all freaked out when it works. He sends his monster away because the sight of it pains him. I can't begin to express the irresponsibility of this, not to mention sheer lack of compassion or humanity. He just casts this monster out, and then gets all pissed off when the monster kills his little brother. Hello? What the fuck did you expect, Victor? That the monster would run off into the woods and quietly rot away? Did you think he would cease to exist once you severed yourself from him? Living things don't work that way, once they're alive they just keep on livin'. I just can't get over this. If I dedicated years of my life to that sort of project, then saw the Monster's arm move for the first time, I'd be all, "Dude, I'm God." I would have liked Victor a whole hell of a lot more if he did have a God complex. As he is, he is the most spoiled, selfish, self-absorbed, irresponsible child since Linton Heathcliff (about whom I wrote: "He whines over everything, complains about everything, and is no more a man than I."). Victor is just like Linton, completely girlie in every bad sense of the word.

Shall I go on? After making the Monster (I hate to call him that, but he has no name, unless I give him one...Mr. Monstér. It's french) he is bedridden for months. Bedridden! He’s, like, 24. Again, if this were me, I'd be in Geneva picking up my Nobel money. After Mr. Monstér kills little brother, Victor is mad as hell at him. He's also overcome with guilt which he goes on and on about. And on. Oh, and then he talks about his guilt. It's all about Victor. As guilt ridden as he is, I don't get the sense that he thinks that casting out his creation was wrong, just the actual creation. See? It was his fault that he created the thing, but everything after that instant is the fault of Mr. Monstér, not Victor. I guess the nurture over nature debate wasn't one Vic paid much attention to. So, after Mr. Monstér tracts him down and narrates his sad tale (a few chapters I didn't mind too much, except that Mr. Monstér seems to have Daddy's penchant for self-pity) Vic agrees to build him a bride. Then, what does Vic do? Vic goes on vacation. Again, if my creation demanded a mate and threatened the life of my family, I don't think I'd run off to the Hamptons for a few months before starting work. There is some justice, however: poor little Vic is unable to enjoy his trip.
I was formed for peaceful happiness...[Mr. Monstér] might remain in Switzerland and wreak his vengeance on my relatives. This idea pursued me and tormented me at every moment from which I might otherwise have snatched repose and peace.
Oh, I'm sorry Victor. Is the hideous creature you made while toying with the laws of nature wrecking your repose? Is the monster that you created and damned to an existence of exile and hatred bothering you? I bet your life is awful hard, eh? Poor, poor Victor. I'm sorry that your own thoughtlessness has come back to ruin your life of ease and fortune. How will you go on? All I want in life is for Victor to take responsibility for his actions. I want him to say, “This all could have worked out if I had a) never made this thing or b)taken care of it and treated it like a living being and not a monster to be shunned.” But, I doubt Victor will ever really suffer the consequences of his actions. Or maybe he will, I haven’t finished the book yet.

There was a resurgence of Summer over Thanksgiving. Summer came back and gave us sun and heat for three glorious days. It was remarkable, walking around in sandals and capris on Thanksgiving weekend. Of course, Autumn eventually noticed and dragged Summer kicking and screaming back to it’s watery grave.

Last Friday, however, was another matter entirely. It was so freakin' cold. Alej and I went out to Digby to do a few hikes. Both walks were shorter than we expected. The first was mostly along a beach. The second was a lovely walk through the woods.


Five-year-olds agree: change is bad.

But it's also inevitable. I'm trying out a new blog format. You can change the view by clicking on the options at the top of the blog (Classic, Flipcard, Magazine, etc.). You can also organise by Date and Label. Utilize the comments option and let me know how much you hate it.

Speaking of resistance to change, I think mine is genetic. My SiL told me a story about my niece recently. They replaced their dining room set and were selling the old stuff on kijiji. My 5-year-old niece freaked out when she found out that one particular chair was going to be sold. She cried, and cried, and hugged the chair, and wrote it a good-bye card.

15 October 2011

Urban Living

For those of you who are always asking me about Dartmouth housing prices (Oz) I'm going to direct you to two recent episodes of the HGTV show Urban Suburban, which is a very similar show to Property Virgins, except the home buyers are presented with three urban and three suburban homes and have to choose. Two recent episodes featured Dartmouth as the urban option. I take umbrage at their definitions of "urban" and "suburban" but whatever - you can see my neighbourhood on TV! And, also, my friends A & T's neighbourhood (the one referred to as cookie-cutter).