Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Karmic whiplash

So if you had spoken to me on Tuesday night, you wouldn't have gotten a happy camper. I had been told that my contract was up and that despite being happy with my work, they couldn't offer me the job full-time. In fact, because of various rules, someone else would be starting in a few weeks time.

Just to add to the day I found out that of the five jobs I applied for recently:
1. I didn't get through the screening process on two of them
2. I hadn't heard back on two, which wasn't a good sign.
3. And the final one, which I had an interview lined up, hit a delay which meant weeks, if not months, before I knew anything about it.

Oh, and when we got home, we found out our rent was going up $118 a month starting in September.

So yeah, May 30th will not go down in the annals of history as a good day. I'm thinking about cutting it out of the calendar and burning it, just so I don't have to run the risk of looking at it again. A very bad karma day.

Today, I found out that they guy hired to do my job had a change of heart and doesn't want it. Which means my contract has been extended for a couple of more months. Plus, I will now likely get a chance to be interviewed for the job and have a very good, but not guaranteed, chance of getting it permanently.

I've had some karmic whiplash days before. Where something bad would be followed by something good in a short period of time before, but I don't think I've ever gone through anything like this before. I've been in a daze most of the day because it is a huge burden off my least for a couple of more months. And I'll be better able to enjoy our trip to San Francisco in August. I would have felt guilty spending money if I had been unemployed for two months. Now, while I'm not likely to go on a spending spree, I certainly won't be watching every cent.

I might even rent a convertible for that trip down the coast highway....

The downside is that I won't be home this summer. Which does suck a bit. It would have been nice to have seen my parents, family and friends. There are few nicer pleasures than a cold drink and a book outside of Hava Java on a sunny day. I'll miss that.

But really, I don't know how much my heart would have been into it without a job to go back to.

Wow, that's dumb

It's a bit early yet in this story. All the details aren't out and, most importantly, he hasn't been found guilty of anything.

But if this story plays out the way you thing it might, if he's found guilty, well then, we might quite possibly be looking at the stupidest son of a bitch in all of Newfoundland.

Now, you have to appreciate that there's a lot of competition for that category. Even if you discount all the federal, provincial and municipal politicians, there's still some hefty contenders for that title.

But really, a RCMP officer, chatting with underage children on a computer, at work. That's That's a level of dumb I find hard to comprehend.

I really don't understand trying to lure kids on a computer, anyway. For one thing, I'm not wired that way. I think I'm at the point where pretty much everyone under 21 annoys me. But even if I were, just look at the risk/reward thing. It seems like about two-thirds of the police forces in the world are engaged in some kind of sting operation where an officer is pretending to be a 13 year old girl.

That doesn't even count the reporters out there doing the same thing. I'm becoming convinced that NBC is becoming the Dateline: To Stalk a Predator network. Every week they have one of those shows where they lure some sleazy looking guy into a house expecting to find a young girl waiting for him. Instead, oooops there's a TV camera and a scolding Stone Phillips.

I figure if you're a sleazeball looking for a young girl on a chat room there's a 50/50 chance these days it's a reporter or cop and not a teenager.

Anyway, the point being, this officer, if it's all true, is the Grand Poobah of schmucks. Or the Stupidest Son of a Bitch in Newfoundland. Congrats. Be sure to hang the certificate up in the cell. It'll go over well.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What are the rules, kids?

So let us pause and reflect on what the rules for Fight Club are, shall we? Tyler...

"The first rule of Fight Club is - you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is - you DO NOT talk about Fight Club. Third rule of Fight Club, someone yells Stop!, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over. Fourth rule, only two guys to a fight. Fifth rule, one fight at a time, fellas. Sixth rule, no shirt, no shoes. Seventh rule, fights will go on as long as they have to. And the eighth and final rule, if this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight."

Now, the rules of Fight Club seem pretty simple, especially the first two rules. And yet, there's always somebody out there that can't get them straight, as demonstrated by this article in today's Globe and Mail. By the way, the Lance Welsh pictured defeated and beaten in the photo…no relation. Really.

In recent months, police in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have broken up fight clubs involving teens and preteens who posted videos of their bloody battles on-line.

Earlier this month in Arlington, Texas, a high school student who didn't want to participate was beaten so badly that he suffered a brain hemorrhage and broken vertebrae. Six teenagers were arrested after DVDs of the fight appeared for sale on-line.

Then again, kids these days. Always breaking the rules. The adults at least seem to get it right…

Adult groups are more likely to fly under the radar of authorities.

Menlo Park police hadn't heard about the local club…

See kids, that's the way you do it. Remember, the first two rules are your friends.

You know, it's been a few years since I watched the movie. Since it appears that I'm about to have a heck of a lot more spare time on my hands (karma-wise, today was a bitch), it might be time to plan a daytime movie marathon of films Cathy doesn't normally like to watch. Let's see, what else: Stripes, Animal House, Gettysburg…

Monday, May 29, 2006

Even sadder still

Yesterday I ridiculed the Newfoundland NDP. Now, it's doesn't take a writer of Hunter S. Thompson's level to make fun of the NDP. They are easily mocked. Sometimes it feels a bit like kicking kittens. Sure it's easy, but should you really being doing it? Isn't a sin to pick on the weak and helpless?

And yet, for all the abundant mocking material with the NDP's convention over the weekend, they did manage to do something that the provincial Liberals haven't managed to do. In fact, something the Liberals have managed to fuck up twice in six months. That being to democratically elect a leader.

Sure the NDP only had 112 votes cast for their leader. Which is about 112 more votes than were cast for Reid to become the next Liberal leader.

Yes, yes...the Liberal executive voted on it. And yes, the caucus supported it. But even the most devoted Liberals have to look at this and go "Sweet honourable Jesus, this is what we've fallen to?" Five years ago the Liberals had a bloodbath for the leadership, such was the ferocity and desire to lead the party.

In 2006, a political nobody in Jim Bennett was acclaimed because no one in the party had the guts to want to lead the party against Danny Williams. And months later when the party began to eat itself and forced Bennett out, they get Reid to lead. The man who could have easily won earlier this year if he had run against Bennett, but he didn't want to. But now he's had a change of heart. Now he feels more comfortable debating Danny Williams. Now friends who were advising him to stay far, far away from the leadership are telling him to go for it.

Sure. Right. I absolutely believe that. Clearly it isn't spin control to make the best out of a desperate situation.

It was interesting to read Simon's take on this. He has a lot of respect for Reid. And he makes good points about what Reid has to do in the short period of time allotted to him. Hell, if he could get away with it I'd recommend purging most of the Liberal caucus because fresh blood is clearly needed.

But there is no way Reid is going to be able to shake the taint of this. A bunch of people sat in a room, begged Reid to change his mind and take a job he clearly didn't, and probably still doesn't want. And when he caved, for the good of the party, they declared him leader. No campaign. No vote.

Yes, the Liberals are broke and can't afford a big leadership campaign. But come on, guys. This is ridiculous.

Oh yes, Reid will be confirmed by party members at the convention next month. Too little, too late I'm afraid. I don't care how good a strategist Reid is, Williams is a pretty damn good one as well. And you have to be pretty naive to think he won't hang this around Reid's neck for the next 17 months.

Election 2007 will take place around Hallowe'en, which appropriate as it's looking increasingly like a horror show.

And say what you will about the NDP, they apparently have a better idea of how that whole democracy thing works than the Liberals.

One week in...

I'm sure you're all dying to know the status of the, puppies.

Well, after checking my mail this morning and finding no new pictures of puppies and with Cathy becoming increasingly unhinged without them, I sent a desperate note to the breeder. She kindly sent along fresh photos, satisfying Cathy's craving for several more days and preserving my sanity.

Although there was the promise of a video once they become more active. Dear lord...

I'm not sure there is much difference. A little less pink around the nose and paws. A little bigger. And that's about it. I think it's around 4-5 weeks when they begin to become rascals.

As it appears we're likely going to end up with a female, all of those lovely male names are getting tossed and we have to start from scratch and find a new name. Cathy like Jasmine. I'm not sold, but it's her dog.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

So very sad

Pop quiz, kids. Read this story about the Newfoundland NDP leadership "convention" and then pick one of the answers listed below.

Which is the saddest thing to come out of the NDP convention this weekend?
A. That Nina Patey only got five votes.
B. That only 112 votes were cast all told.
C. That new leader Lorraine Michael (she who received the other 107) believes she can lead a NDP government in Newfoundland.

The correct answer is, of course, C. I can feel pity for Patey, but at least she ran, which is more than I can say of some prominent NDPers in the province. The 112 votes cast is amusing. But thinking the NDP will win a provincial election anytime in the remotely near future is sad in a delusional kind of way. I mean, I appreciate she had to say it, but it's still kind of "Oh really? Well, that's nice. Dream that dream..."

Even if she said that they will form the next opposition, I would have thought it not likely, but certainly not a completely ridiculous idea, especially if the Liberals continue their implosion.

But forming the next government? It's just so silly. Michael will be lucky to hold onto Harris' seat in the legislature. I hope she does, just because having nothing but Tories in St. John's is a very bad situation. Still, I won't be surprised if she loses that seat. It was Harris personal popularity that won him elections, not his party.

Clerks II

I can remember seeing the first Clerks in a theatre in Halifax back in '94 and just being floored by how funny it was. Now, wisely or otherwise, the sequel is coming out at the end of July. It was to be the end of August, but it would have opened the same weekend at Samuel L. Jackson's Snakes on a Plane. Ordinarily, that's not the kind of movie you'd worry about opening against, but since the Internet campaign of the movie has been one of those brilliant rarities you only see every couple of years, I can understand why you would want to avoid it.

There's any number of Clerks II stuff up at You Tube, including a very fun mash between Clerks and Snakes, called Clerks on a Plane. But I did like the one below.

"I am the terror that flaps in the night"

I've never been a massive fan of Darkwing Duck, but I have friends who are. And somewhere, there is a picture of Dups in a homemade Darkwing Duck costume.

But this is just for him. The first season of Darkwing Duck is coming out on DVD.

Unsurprisingly, it's coming out at.....the end of August. Is there something going on at the end of August that I don't know about? Are bad things going to happpen to DVDs in September and everyone wants to get their money before it happens? It's weird.

And also for Dups, some of the best Darkwing Duck quotes.

Darkwing Duck: I am the terror that flaps in the night. I am Darkwing Duck.
Moliarty: Darkwing Duck? Sounds like something I should try with eggroll.

As I said, it's an acquired taste....

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Entertainment news

1. Ever since Brett Ratner was announced as the director for X-Men 3, there have been howls from the collective of geekdom. At least Ratner has the humour and grace to recognize that "online they think I'm the anti-Christ."

But then strange things began to happen. The reviews were not totally horrific, although its Rotten Tomato rating has been decreasing over the past two days. It was more than 60% at one point. As of this writing, it's around 52%. Still, consider what the other big movies of the summer are getting so far. The Da Vinci Code is at 23%. Poseidon is at 29%. MI 3 is at 73%. So it's not doing bad.

The consensus, according to Rotten Tomatoes, is that "Director Brett Ratner has replaced the heart and emotion (and character development) of the previous X-Men films with more action and explosions. The film should still provide ample entertainment, but viewers may truly wish this to be the Last Stand."

But whether or not the studio will let it rest is another matter altogether. Granted, it's only been one day, but apparently the movie is doing better than they could have dreamed. Highest opening ever on a Friday, second highest opening ever behind the last Star Wars movie. It's made about $44.1 million in one day. This is the Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. It could make as much as $150 million over those four days. To put that in perspective, that's almost as much as the final total of the first X-Men movie.

We'll see how it pans out over the coming weeks, but I suspect that a fourth X-Men movie might have just become that much more likely. After all, it's not like there's a shortage of X-Men (like Shadowcat here) to use on the screen if you can't get some of the big name stars like Jackson, Stewart, Barry and McKellan back.

Annoyingly enough, we've gotten MI3, Poseidon and Da Vinci here on opening weekend, but not X3. Hopefully next weekend.

2. Remember how I was talking about the fall schedules of the US networks a week or so ago? Well, NBC apparently checked out the opposition and went "ummm, can we think about this again?" Which is why they completely revamped their fall line-up. Most notably, and the only change I particularly care about, is that Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is moving from Thursday nights at 9 p.m. to Monday nights at 10 p.m.

So it is no longer up against Grey's Anatomy and CSI. That means it stands less of a chance of getting killed before it had a chance. It also means Cathy won't lose her mind on what to watch Thursday nights.

3. I love comic book writer Alan Moore. I consider him if not the best, then certain top three, when it comes to writing for comics. Still, it's going to be interesting to see how his latest project Lost Girls is received. The concept is simple enough. Imagine if Alice (from Wonderland), Wendy (from Peter Pan) and Dorothy (from the Wizard of Oz) all meet up at an Austrian resort in 1913.

Now imagine it's pornography. I'm not being flippant with the word "pornography." Even in this two part interview, Moore calls it pornography. However, it is an attempt to make really good pornography.

I've actually already read a portion of the story. Years ago Moore and artist Debbie Gebbie attempted to publish this with another company. It went bankrupt before the whole story could be printed. I will say that the writing is as intelligent as you would expect with Moore, the art by Gebbie is beautiful and it is every bit as explicit as Moore indicates in the interview.

It's being created to be deliberately provocative. So not only is there lots of sex, but there is the hint that some of the characters in the book might not be 18 when they were...illustrated. Which brings other kinds of attention to the work. Moore addresses this in the interviews and I'll leave it to you as to whether or not you think his defence holds weight.

I'm also not sure if it's going to be distributed in Canada. Diamond, which distributes most comics in North America are apparently not sending it to Canada, for fear that Canada Customs will stop it at the border. So far, both Chapters and Amazon have it listed, but that's certainly subject to change.

Will I buy it? I'm not sure. I'm quite tempted because I own an awful lot of Moore's writing. Hell, I might be in San Francisco when it comes out this August. Then again, these always the risk I could get stopped by Customs coming home and they might have a problem with it. I'll see...the fact that it costs more than $50 Canadian and that I might be unemployed may also play some part in deciding whether or not I'll buy it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Sacrificing to reach the top

I'm not the biggest fan of heights. It's not a phobia, per se. If I have to deal, then I will. And airplanes don't bother me whatsoever. But I don't actively go seeking high spaces for a thrill. I leave that to other, much more silly people.

So the odds of me ever going and trying to climb Mount Everest are somewhere in the slim to non-existent range. Yet, in recent years I normally paid attention to what was happening on the mountain about now. Because of all kinds of factors, there is about a six week window to climb the mountain, starting in mid-April. The rest of the year it is simply too dangerous.

I think my interest began when I read Jon Krakauer astonishing Into Thin Air (I also recommend his Under The Banner of Heaven, which is about crazy Mormon sects). It's been a few years since I've read it, but I recall being floored by just how hard it is to climb Everest, yet the number of people wanting to do this increases every year. A lot of people died the year Krakauer climbed Everest, but you got the feeling reading the book that worse years were to come.

Apparently, this is going to be one of those years.

I had actually forgotten that this was Everest season until my friend Corey sent me this story about one of the sherpas who stripped naked for three minutes on top of the mountain. Now, I always had the feeling that sherpas were crazy anyway. Some of these guys have climbed the mountain dozens of times. Some do it without bottled oxygen. There's been competitions to set the speed climbing record. So somebody exposing what I imagine would be his very, very small and shriveled willie to the elements is not all the surprising, really. I'm surprised some fool hasn't done it before.

But it seems that it has upset people. Everest is considered the Mother Goddess to the Nepali and being naked on top of her, well, that's pretty disrespectful. There's talk of banning him from climbing the mountain again.

You see, I would have thought the tons of garbage on the mountain might be more disrespectful. People take an awful lot of crap with them up that mountain. They rarely bother to take it all back down with them. Especially the oxygen bottles, which are all over the mountain.

However, I also thought all the dead bodies might be a tad disrespectful. This has been a particularly costly year with 11 people confirmed dead, and another three unaccounted for that might bump up the final count.

Also controversial was one of the climbers, who was in clear distress, was bypassed by other hikers on their way to summit (edit I forgot to mention he eventually died). There are all kinds of defences as to why they did that. Some say he was already too far gone to help. Others that they weren't qualified to help. And least we forget, they're about 29,000 feet above sea level. Their brains aren't working all that well at that point. It's little more than primal instinct driving them to the top.

Sir Edmund Hillary, one of the first (I still think some non-Westerner probably climbed it ahead of Hillary) to climb Everest, blasted those who walked past the dying man. And for all their excuses, it is a pretty callous thing to walk past a dying man just so you can get to the top of a mountain.

It's estimated that 300 people will reach the summit this year. Ten years ago that number was 98. As many Everest experts will tell you, it's getting seriously crazy and very dangerous at the top of the world. As if it wasn't dangerous enough as it is.

The reason I mention all of this is that I do have mountain climbing friends. They've climbed Kilimanjaro. They have plans for a mountain in Russia this summer. They have plotted to climb another mountain in South America at some point in the next year or so. And while they've always denied any interest in trying to climb Everest, I often wonder. It's a very big, shiny lure if you have the mountain climbing bug. And, well, these are guys easily distracted by bright, shiny objects.

I said earlier that the people of Nepal view Everest as a goddess. Her name, by the way, is Sagarmatha. And while I thought the garbage was more disrespectful than stripping naked, it occurred to me that all the corpses (and there are a lot. Bodies don't always make it back down the mountain) might also offend the goddess.

Then it occurred to's a goddess. And it's rare to find a god or goddess that doesn't enjoy the occasional sacrifice. If that's the case Sagarmatha must be quite happy this year.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Well that's just silly

So the Prime Minister is no longer giving interviews to the national press corps since he has problems with them. "Unfortunately the press gallery has taken the view they are going to be the opposition to the government," he's reported as saying.

This happened after about two dozen reporters walked out on a press conference after refusing to submit a list of who wanted to ask questions, so that the PM's staff could decide who gets to ask questions.

The PM also feels the press is out to get him.

Well, of course they're bloody well out to get you. It's the national press gallery. Sometimes it's not being paranoid when you think a group of people are out to get you. It's merely stating the really obvious.

Harper's problem is in thinking they're after him personally. And they're not. The reporters who cover Parliament Hill hounded Prime Minister Martin and did it quite effectively. You may notice he's no longer prime minister. They went after Prime Minister Chretien. They almost didn't need to go after Prime Minister Campbell. And God only knows they threw everything at Prime Minister Mulroney. Bullets, heavy artillery, knives, stakes, crosses, silver, whatever it took. If the Ottawa press corps couldn't come up with something to tag on Mulroney at least once week, I'm sure many of them felt they were falling down on the job.

They're not after Harper. They're chasing after the Prime Minister. It's the position, not the person. If Martin was still PM, they would still be trying to make his life miserable. There's a difference. I can understand why Harper might have a problem recognizing it, but he's going to have to and he's going to have to deal with the national press.

I've met a few Parliament Hill reporters over the years. Nice enough people, but they are all clearly alpha personalities. They are determined and will seriously consider slitting the throat of an otherwise good friend, just because he works for a competing media outlet working on the same story. Trying to keep these people on a leash and make them civilized is not something Harper is going to have that much luck with.

The thing that surprises me out of all of this isn't the racket over Harper trying to control who asks questions and the press not going for it. The thing that surprises me is that a dozen of them agreed on something and walked out of a press conference.

That's the real news because I never thought I would see a Parliament Hill reporter turn his back on a story and let a competitor get it, let alone two dozen of them.

Some sort of balance will eventually be reached. Yes, the media need access to the prime minister. But Harper is going to want to get reelected at some point. Good luck with the whole "not talking to the national press" strategy come election time. It's an awfully quick way to end up back in the opposition benches.

Harper is proving to be a vexing prime minister. Yes, I admire the lack of waffling that was endemic with Martin. The idea of making a decision and then doing something about it is novel after years of Chretien and Martin. Focus. It's kind of refreshing.

But I wonder how long people are going to find that attitude refreshing and after awhile just plain arrogant and aggravating. Harper is getting the same honeymoon that Chretien did in '93. There was no one in opposition ready to step forward and be the next prime minister. And as long as that remains the case, Harper is going to remain prime minister and have deceptively popular poll numbers.

But if (and it's a big if) the Liberals get their act together and elect someone who could step up to the job, then the honeymoon might be over. I hear that some Tories want to engineer an election in the hopes of getting a majority. Becareful what you wish for...

You know it's getting bad when...

...Danny Dumaresque wants to be president of your party. I mean, it could have been worse, he could have been running for the leadership. Danny vs. Danny. Surely one for the ages.

Honestly, Ed. Don't you read a story like this and go, "That's it, I quit. I'm restarting the Rhinoceros Party. It's less silly."

Danny Dumaresque. Dear God...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Da Vinci

It's late and I oddly don't have much that I feel like blogging on. Oh sure, I could talk about last night's finale of House, which was bloody weird. Especially the bit with Cameron and the auto-surgeon device. But really, it wasn't much of a cliff-hanger ("Will Dr. House survive?!" Well, I should bloody think so, it's his show). Nor do I feel right talk about Lost because I missed most of the season, although I'm certain there is enough there to give the devotees seizures for most of the summer.

Oh, by the way, if you want to rewatch season two of House, it will be out on DVD August 22. I probably will, although as I said before, the first third of the season was a mess. But they picked it up nicely once Stacy left the show.

The later part of August is shaping up to be expensive for DVDs, what with House, season two of Veronica Mars and the first season of The Tick. Oh, and this article says that 12 of the 13 episodes from the first season will be shown. One is tied up with legal problems, which is quite annoying. I want all of my Tick, damn it.

Yeah, in case you haven't figured out from the links, I hit quite a bit. Great site if you want info on your favourite TV shows, well, coming out on DVD.

And now, one last bit of culture before I away off to bed. I haven't seen The Da Vinci Code yet, and I remain one of the small group of people in an armed conclave who haven't read the book. Why? I don't know. But I do have a greater understanding of people who are proud to say they've never seen Star Wars, and never will. I always use to think they were mad, but maybe they were onto something.

Anyway, with a book and movie that popular, you knew the porn industry couldn't be far behind. From a link off of Warren Ellis' site, I give you, The Da Vinci Load.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Northern and Geek News

While it's been several months since I was a salaried reporter, I've still viewed myself as a journalist, even though I'm working in another profession. It's just one of those things. Being a journalist kind of stays in the blood. However, I think my skills have now officially rusted to the point that I'm becoming concerned.

Someone got tasered in front of my apartment building and I didn't know anything about it until I heard the news on CBC today. Seems there was a fight in front of the Storehouse bar (which is just below our apartment) on Saturday night around 1 a.m. The RCMP showed up, one of the participants in the fight took a knife and held it to his own throat and threatened to kill himself.

So the police tasered him.

Meanwhile, three stories upwards, I'm playing Civilizations with the windows open because it's warm in the apartment, and I don't hear a thing.

sigh I find that quite depressing. Then again, it could be worse....I could have been the guy who was tasered.

Believe it or not, someone being tasered (I love saying that word, by the way) wasn't even my favourite story from the North today. No, the story about a teacher in Salluit, an Inuit community in northern Quebec, getting in hot water because he taught evolution in school would be the one that does the trick. It's been strongly suggested that he not teach evolution in quite as much detail as he had previously. Go here to read the story.

My favourite quote? "I don't personally accept my children being taught that they came from some species from Africa somewhere. Here in the North there is no such thing as monkeys.", whatever you believe in...That level of ignorance drives me nuts.

You know, I appreciate that I should be sensitive to Inuit culture. But it's science class. You teach science in that class, not religion. Evolution is the reality, no matter what others might like you to believe. I'd mention intelligent design, but since senior member of the Catholic Church have said its ridiculous and Jon Stewart has so thoroughly mocked in this past year, I just can't take that argument seriously.

Honestly, this anti-evolution stuff drives me nuts. The school is in northern Quebec, but Nunavut has also become a lot more religious in the past decade. If a racket over evolution hasn't happened here yet, I won't be surprised to see it occur sometime in the next year or so.

One more reason for me not to be a teacher. If I had a parent come in and say I can't teach evolution to her child because she doesn't believe in it, I may well go mad and do something I would regret.

Anyway, a couple of bits of geek news:

1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season Eight. Really. Honestly. Just not, ummmm, as a TV show. According to this story Buffy creator Joss Whedon is doing a six part comic book mini-series based on what happened to Buffy and the gang in the year after the end of the show. Could be worth a look. Whedon isn't a bad comic book writer. And it's harder than you might think to go from writing novel, movies and TV to go to comic books. Look for it in October.

2. More Superman, this time it's the international trailer. You'll see some of the same scenes as in the older trailer, but lots of new neat ones, including the final shot. And boy, the flying scenes look good.

3. I can successfully change the battery in an iPod Mini. Hardly earth-shattering news, I know, but I'm still quite impressed. Cathy's Mini has always been a bit touchy. I blame the combination of a week in the Dominican quickly followed by two months in the Arctic. So the Mini hasn't been holding a charge well. But I went and ordered a new battery, followed the very bad instructions (at least three typos), successfully replaced it and it now works fine.

Yes, it's a small thing. But as I have no mechanical inclination whatsoever, I think this is quite the accomplishment.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Yes, my fellow lovers of swift, brutal blue justice, The Tick is coming out on DVD on August 29th. Spoon!

Which should be excellent news for a select group of geeks and freaks who I know read this blog. We love The Tick and spent more than a few hours quoting the series. The cartoon, of course. There was the brief live action show, but that always felt wrong. No, The Tick should only be in cartoon form. Well, that and the comic books. But live action? No.

Anyway, if you've never seen it, you're truly missing a treat. I'm not going to try and explain it because, really, any explanation will sound completely retarded. However, Wikipedia does a pretty decent job.

The downside with this DVD, as the article says, is that it appears that not all the episodes from the first season are going to be on the set. Which, if true, is brain dead. I have no idea why studios would do this (other than, you know, for money). People are going to want all the episodes...period. Because the people that are going to snap up this set are going to be the collector geeks. And if there is one thing collector geeks tend to be, it's obsessive completists.

Hopefully, it's just bad wording (although the "Belated 10th Anniversary Edition" on the cover is funny.) I want a complete Tick, damn it. Although it's pretty clear that this is going to be one of these things that Cathy is simply never going to get. I've been reading a few choice quotes and she's just groaned and responded "Maybe this can be one of those things you watch after I go to bed."

Alas, she doesn't know the comedic genius that she is passing up.

And now, in conclusion, some of the wisdom of The Tick. Spoon!

- And that's just it, Doc - my mind has always been my Achilles' heel!

- Deadly Bulb. I'm about to write you a reality check. Or would you prefer the cold, hard cash of truth?

- Everybody was a baby once, Arthur. Oh, sure, maybe not today, or even yesterday. But once. Babies, chum: tiny, dimpled, fleshy mirrors of our us-ness, that we parents hurl into the future, like leathery footballs of hope. And you've got to get a good spiral on that baby, or evil will make an interception.

- Gravity is a harsh mistress.

- I'm betting that I'm just abnormal enough to survive.

- I'm taking off the kid gloves, and putting on the very mad gloves.

- Like a great blue salmon of Justice, the mighty Tick courses upstream to the very spawning ground of evil.

- Not baked goods, Professor; baked bads.

- Ottoman, there'll be no Justice of the Peace for you; just a big piece of justice.

- You're not going crazy. You're going sane in a crazy world!

- Breadmaster. Your culinary crime wave has crashed on the shores of justice!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Oh right, holiday weekend

So like any good blogger who needs his ego stroked, I was checking my site stats and had a small stroke. I haven't seen numbers that low since Christmas.

Which is when it clued in that, duh, it's May 24th weekend. It means all the suckers are out in the woods somewhere.

I've never had a particular fondness of the 24th of May weekend. And no, it's not lasting mental damage from previous weekends. I can only assume that's what Ed went through, hence the (quite funny) bitterness involving the weekend.

I'm not claiming to be a genius. Yes, I have two university degrees, but that's hardly a sign of intelligence. It's a sign that I'm willing to spend lots of money to hang out at a university with my friends. No, the sign of intelligence was that at a very early age I recognized that going out and doing anything on this weekend was folly. Forget the cold and bloody well snowed more often than not. Why would you want to go out in a tent in that?

Plus, as Cathy has quite rightly noted, I am not an outdoors person. We went camping for two weeks in PEI and Nova Scotia early in our relationship. I think that might have been the moment that we knew we were going to get married. Because we survived spending two weeks in a tent. I'm not saying there were moments that I wouldn't have done her in for a nice, cozy hotel room with air conditioning (hell is camping in a tent in a heat wave because at least you can bundle up when freezing to death this weekend), because there were. But the important thing is, I didn't. And such is the beginnings of a lifelong love.

Anyway, my May 24th weekend has been messed up for years. Working in community newspapers often means you don't get long weekend. This is the first time I'll have Monday off in at least five year, possibly longer. So it's never been a big deal. But on those occasions where I did choose to mark the occasion, it normally involved going to a coffee shop, getting a nice cup of hot chocolate and sitting by the window with a book. Occasionally I would glance up, see the horrific weather, think on all the people out freezing their asses off in tents or out in a small boat, damp and shivering while trying to catch undersized trout and a bit ole grin would cross my face.

Again, there's a reason why the word "bastard" appears in the blog title, kids...

Currently Playing
Set Yourself On Fire - Stars


So we got word last night that we are no longer the owner of a puppy fetus, but rather the owner of a real, live, honest-to-goodness puppy. Granted, it's going to be close to three months before we can take possession of the dog, but that's hasn't stopped Cathy from going around the apartment singing "Puppy!" all day. Please God, let us get this dog before my wife goes mad, or sends me there in her place.

Anyway, the breeder was kind enough to send us some newborn puppy photos. Don't be confused, these are actually dogs and not small white rats.

There are two females and one male here. No idea which is which. And really, if you can figure it out, then you much better at these sorts of things than you ought to be. We're requested the male, but we don't know if we will get him or not yet. I imagine we'll find out soon enough.

One last thing - more than one person has suggested that getting a dog is a warm-up to preparing to have children. We prefer to think of this dog as a warm-up to getting a Newfoundland Dog in a few years time when we head back down south. They might look like little white rats, but to me they still look cuter than your average newborn baby.

Which explains why it's probably not a good idea for me to have kids anytime in future.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


This is hardly etched in stone yet, but there is a growing possibility that I will be home this summer for a few weeks. This is a change in plan as the next time I expected to get back to St. John's was going to be for Christmas. However, there is some general weirdness and uncertainty happening right now.

The first bit is the increasing unlikeliness that I'll be at my current job once the contract expires in a few weeks time. It's not that my employers dislike me or the work I'm doing. It is the...eccentricities of the hiring system in Nunavut. That Land Claims Beneficiaries got preferential treatment was something I knew and accepted before I moved to Nunavut. That long-term residents (i.e. having lived here for more than one year) also get preference was a bit of a surprise.

It's causing...difficulties in getting certain jobs, including the one I currently have. I haven't lived here a year which means, barring a miracle, they won't be able to hire me full-time.

It is disappointing, but yelling and screaming at people will get me nowhere. It is policy and that's that.

I've applied for other positions and there are possibilities. I have an interview in a little more than a week that has potential. There is also the chance at more casual work. But if nothing is firmed up by mid to late June, I'm likely to head home for July. Why? Because Cathy will be in St. John's for most of that month. So the notion of spending the month of July in Iqaluit, unemployed, without my wife and living in near perpetual sunshine is not that appealing to me.

As Cathy has pointed out "All you will do is spend all your time in the apartment watching TV, playing Civilizations, surfing the Internet and reading a bit." It's mildly annoying how fast wives get to know you, really...

Besides, several people have told me that trying to get hired during July is virtually impossible. Most people that can do the hiring are on vacation or out on the land. Plus, there are lots of summer students doing work and whatnot.

We'll see. I'm beginning to like the idea of going back to St. John's for a month to relax, along with seeing friends and family. Which means I will get a job to throw a wrench into the whole shebang.

Plus, and I know it's silly to worry about but I hate being unemployed. I've saved tons, I've got lots of EI left and once I pass the one year mark it should become much easier to get work here. But it always makes me nervous.

Hell, if I go back to St. John's maybe The Express or The Telegram will throw me some freelance work. I know some of you guys read the blog. Throw me some freelancing, will ya?

Mmmmm, downtown St. John's in the summer. It is, quite possibly, my favourite place on earth. If only they would allow me to shoot the motorcyclists first, though. Then it would be perfect....

Friday, May 19, 2006

Will you still need me...

Granted, I'm trying hard not to take a sick kind of pleasure over watching Paul and Heather McCartney's marriage disintergrate in public. I've been through a divorce (my parents) and no matter how amicable it is, there are still times when you're looking around utterly bewildered going "What the fuck?" an awful lot.

And lord knows headline writers have been having a field day with the split. If there's a Beatles song with the word "love" in the title, then they've either run it as a headline ("Can't Buy Me Love") or a play on a headline ("Love Me Don't" or "Will you still need me, will you still bleed me..."). And since Paul is worth an estimated $1.5 billion and there is apparently no prenuptual, well, this has the potential to get seriously weird before it's all over.

But what I have found interesting is the reaction. Not the one in Canada. If you read the comments section of the Globe and Mail, most people were jeering over it in light of the McCartneys coming to Canada and give us grief over the seal hunt. Oh, as a quick aside, you got to figure HSUS is reeling a bit over this. I'm sure they will still happily take Heather should she wish to come over to witness the seal hunt next year, but who they really want is Paul, because he brings lots and lots of media.

Anyway, during the McCartneys visit, and especially after the "debate" on Larry King Live there seemed to be one common consensus - that, my goodness, Heather seemed to be a remarkably...unpleasent women.

And then you read something like this and you get the feeling that the British must have been saying the whole time "Well, what took you so long? We've known that for ages." The British public, at least, is almost completely on Paul's side during the divorce.

Yes, it's tabloid fodder. And tabloids, instinctually, go for the worst possible scenario because it sells more headlines. So take it with a grain of salt. But more than one newspaper has been reporting that she's unpleasant and was - and I find this staggering to believe - jealous and perplexed as to why Paul was more popular and respected than she was.

Yeah, let's ex-model and activist vs. one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century. Let me think, who would be more important... If that's true, that she didn't understand Paul's popularity, then there is something seriously not connected right in that woman's head.

Anyway, I'm sure this will be in the headlines for many more weeks or months. And as I said, at least the seal hunt gets a break. If Heather comes over to protest next year, I doubt there will be massive amounts of media in tow...

Thursday, May 18, 2006


You know, I love The Amazing Race, but there has been more than one occasion where I've thought "Well, that's kind of fishy..." You even hear some of the contestants gripe that the producers are rigging things. Granted, you hear that on all reality shows, but perhaps a little moreso on the Amazing Race.

Most of the griping was a couple of years ago when Rob and Amber (from Survivor) were contestants. Now, they played about a good a game as I've seen on the show. Fantastic strategy and cunning. But some of the players complained Rob and Amber were getting special treatment. Then again, I remember the last episode, when it looked like they were about to win in a walk, and with the only team capable of catching them staring at the plane as it pulled away from the airport. Only to have the plane put on the brakes and go back and get them.

Nobody has seen that in real life. So it makes you wonder.

And this season the very telegenic hippies certainly got their breaks. Finishing last twice, only to have both of them be non-elimination legs. And the final challenge last night was a brainy one. And while their main competition, the Frat Boys, certainly were strong, cunning and very competitive, nobody will ever mistake them for rocket scientists.

Still, it was a good season. I enjoyed it a lot. Although I wish CBS would stop moving the damn show all over the place. It's moving again this fall, Sunday nights at 8 p.m. At least I have something to replace The West Wing on Sunday evenings.

The other three networks - CBS, Fox and the CW (formerly the WB and UPI) - have also announced their schedules. As always, go to Zap 2 It for their breakdown on the shows. But honestly, there aren't many. NBC and ABC are the ones that launched the most shows. CBS only has four. Two of them look a bit lame: The Class (sitcom) and Jericho (city isolated by nuclear disaster. Shades of Lost). The other two look like they have potential. Shark has James Woods as a "House"-like lawyer. It also has Jeri Ryan, which is always nice eye candy.

The other show is Smith, with Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen, in a crime drama where a master criminal plans heists while trying to maintain the appearance of a normal life. I'll give those two a look.

As for Fox and CW, maybe something will grab me in the fall. But right now, it looks rather bland.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Their fate is sealed...

I offer this up with no initial comment....Paul McCartney and Heather Mills McCartney to split. The parting is "amicable."

I'll leave it to others to make the jokes. I don't have time this morning, alas, to really get into this as much as I might like.

Studio 60...hurry

Before NBC does its usual thing and demands that this get pulled, go and look at the six minute trailer for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. This is what advertisers and critics saw during NBC's upfront's on Monday.

Ohhhh, that's good stuff. I appreciate it's only six minutes, but that's some smart and funny television...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

How to get your wife to kill you...

I was going to bed last night and noticed that it was 11 p.m. so I went and turned off the VCR. Cathy was taping the season finale of Grey's Anatomy and I figured that since it was 11 p.m. the show was over.

Turns out the clock is about four minutes fast.


I was making supper this evening while Cathy was in the bedroom watching the tape when I heard an anguished scream followed by "I'm going to kill you!" This was followed by Cathy stalking out into the kitchen with a vaguely despairing look on her face. She calmed down quickly enough and actually feels bad about the outburst. Then again, I feel pretty bad about cutting off the last few minutes of her show. So if anyone knows how it ends, feel free to post a quick synopsis of the last few minutes so my wife can sleep easier at night. And I can ease my guilty coincidence.

It wasn't a good day for Cathy and Grey's Anatomy, actually. ABC announced their new fall line-up. I'm not getting into the shows too much because they uniformly look terrible. I might change my mind once I hear a few reviews, but the descriptions of the shows sound awful. They look like the kind of shows that won't last the end of September, let alone make it to a full season.

But in a bold move to try and capture some of that expensive Thursday night advertising, ABC is moving one of their three hit shows (and really, Lost and Desperate Housewives didn't have great second seasons. I gave up on Lost half way through this season) to Thursday at 9 p.m. That show would be Grey's Anatomy.

And what's it up against? Well, that wimp show CSI and NBC's new big hope Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

I hate it when networks do that. They were doing it on Tuesdays this year for awhile. Now it seems they're going to do the same thing next season on Thursday night. There is no way all three shows survive. And since I'm not betting on CSI doing a sudden fold, it's going to be either Studio 60 or Grey's Anatomy.

Cathy is baffled on what to watch. Unless it sucks badly, I'll be leaning towards watching Studio 60. I never did get into Grey's. I find the characters all aggravating. I mean, House is aggravating, but in a vastly amusing way. I just want to smack everyone on Grey's repeatedly and tell them to grow the fuck up. Which doesn't make for an hour's worth of entertainment for me, but Cathy loves it.

As for the rest of ABC's line up, go here and witness the despair for yourself. I doubt if my remote will be stopping very much on that station next season. Oh, and Commander-in-Chief is officially toast. I don't think I've seen a show go down the crapper after such a promising start quite that fast.

Currently Playing
Time Being - Ron Sexsmith

Monday, May 15, 2006

New Shows: NBC

I appreciate that this is a level of geek that many people don't care about, but I always like this week in May when the networks begin unveiling their new shows for the Fall. There's this air of hope. Never mind that most of these new shows are doomed. It's like the start of a sport's season. Everything has the potential to be a winner. At least until you see them play. Then it becomes pretty obvious which ones are winners and which ones are stinkers.

Hey, that wasn't a bad analogy....

Anyway, each network - NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and the new CW (formerly UPN and WB) - will be rolling out their shows this week. NBC was first.

But first, a moment to mourn those that tried and failed, just plain sucked or had a good run and headed off to the corn field.

Done Like Toast
'Book of Daniel'
'Fear Factor'
'Four Kings'
'Three Wishes'
'The West Wing'
'Will & Grace'

I'm saddest to see West Wing go, obviously. But I do feel somewhat sorry for Joey. I think Matthew Perry has a good chance at a post-Friends career if his new show takes off. And he's going about it the right way, hooking up with a good ensemble cast and a fantastic writer.

But you just kind of figure that's it for Matt LeBlanc. Then again, he's got more money then I'll ever see in this lifetime, so I shan't feel deep waves of sympathy for him.

And what is NBC preparing to unleash on us to make us forget such gems as Surface? Well, Zap 2 It has a pretty good breakdown. The most interesting twists are that there is no Sunday night programming. Instead, NBC will be showing football. They also have a football drama, based on Friday Night Lights airing, when else, but Tuesday night.

They also have two shows based on being behind-the-scenes at Saturday Night Live - 30 Rock with the other being the highly anticipated Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Oh, and they're doing weird things to ER. It's going to run straight through from September to December. Then, in January, they'll be running the new drama The Black Donnellys. Which says to me that NBC is just about ready to give up on ER.

I remember being with The Express and wanting to go to this unveiling. Or at least be able to scam something so I could get the advance look at these shows. Alas, never happened.

So which shows look like they have promise and which ones are turkeys? Studio 60 is a lock, I should think. The Black Donnellys has Paul Haggis (of Crash) behind it, so you got to like the odds there. And hell, Friday Night Lights could work as well. Americans are crazy for football. Plus, the movie was pretty good.

As for what smells like turkey, well, I don't think there is room for two SNL knock-off shows on one network during the same season. Raines, features a dour looking Jeff Goldblum (oxymoronic, I know) looking annoyed that he has to be on TV. The Singles Table is a Friends knock-off. Kidnapped looks too much like Prison Break mixed Without a Trace.

And Heroes is a super hero drama. Yeah...they just haven't worked on TV so far. I don't anticipate a new trend starting this year. It also looks a bit like 4400, which is now cancelled, if I'm not mistaken.

We'll see, of course. Predicting things this far ahead is a mugs game. I recall two years ago laughing when I saw the descriptions for Lost and Desperate Housewives. Shows can turn out to be better than a short descriptions and a publicity photo.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Into the West...

The last time I think I was this sad to see a TV show end was with Angel a couple of years ago. Angel died a stupid, premature and tragic death with WB, the network, decided they no longer needed a show about a vampire because they had one in development - Dark Shadows - that they were optimistic over. Besides, Angel was getting long in the tooth, they had enough episodes for syndication and it was expensive so they canned it.

Never mind that the rating were good. Never mind that it was enjoying easily its best season. Never mind that fans were howling blue murder, the killed the show....

...and have regretted it ever since. They admit they made a mistake. Dark Shadows never saw the light of day. They could have easily gotten a sixth season out of it. It would have been good. They were working on some interesting plot threads. Hell, the show basically ended on a cliff-hanger. To this day I'm amazed the police never showed up at our apartment when myself and Cathy were watching it, such was her howl of indignation once she realized how the show was going to end.

West Wing wasn't quite like that. Everyone has known since last December the show was over and done. Most of the cast looked ready to move on. They've had months to cue up the plot threads. And it ended in a good place. If they had done one more season and then ended the show, it would have been weird and awkward.

Still, I wanted more. I guess that's a good thing. Always leave them wanting more, as the show biz saying goes. I just wish NBC had given the show the retrospective instead of repeating the pilot. It's weird that the show's tribute was done by Ellen this week (and was a lot of fun, which is something I never thought I would hear myself say about an hour of Ellen). I wish they had given them two hours, or even 90 minutes, to cue things up. I don't know how an episode so quiet, respectful and laid back could feel so rushed.

I wish we could have seen everyone's reaction to Josh and Donna hooking up.
I wish we could have seen Toby's reaction to getting a presidential pardon.
I wish we could have seen more than the 20 seconds of Sam.
I wish we could have seen something with Josh and the president.

Having said that, they did handle the president's scenes well, along with CJ and Santos.

It was a good show. It really was. It won't go down in history as one of the classic final episodes off all time, but it was still respectful and well done. And it has a very good last line.

It was a great show. We won't see it's like again (especially since ABC looks ready to pull the plug on Commander-in-Chief). I just hope that Studio 60 is as good. I wonder, given the people involved with the show, how long it's going to take for some West Wing regulars to make guest appearances...

Currently Playing
Eponymous - REM

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Over hill and dale...

Some of the other northern blogs have mentioned that Spring is making its presence felt. That means not only warmer temperatures, but lots of slush and mud.

Iqaluit is certainly no exception to this. In fact, I mentioned a week or more ago that driving was becoming treacherous around town because of the size and scope of the potholes. I suspect there might have been disbelievers out there, thinking I was exaggerating just how many there are and how big they've become. I mean, I use to mock people in town complaining about potholes. "Just pay attention to the road and swerve when you see one."

But there is nowhere to swerve here.

Thus, I offer some photographic proof. The first picture is of the parking lot. As you can tell, it's now become a lake. You may also notice that many of the cars are parked back from the buildings a fair distance. That's so any ice melting and falling off the roof won't impact the car.

The picture below is of the road - the only road, I might add - out of our apartment complex. As you may notice, it resembles a scaled down version of the Himalayan Mountains more than a road. This is what we have to drive over four times a day to get into and out of our apartment complex.

This is hardly the only section of road that's like this. Pretty much all unpaved parts of town have roads that resemble this. And since the majority of the roads in town aren't paved, well, you can imagine how much fun it is getting around. It's actually producing some interesting consequences.

For example, when I went out today and took these pictures it was to get some groceries. Rather than drive, I walked because I didn't want to put the car through the extra torture. Granted, it was also a warmish day (about 4 Celsius) so there was no reason to drive. But really, it was mostly to save the car.

I wasn't the only one. Traffic has noticeably decreased around town the past week. And yes, part of it is the nice weather, but also a lot of people are trying to save their vehicles a trip to the garage to get the shocks and struts replaced. I'm also hearing that some taxis are not running, or not running as long during the day. Part of it is to save the car. Part of it is how painful it is for them to drive around town. Some have hurt their backs, apparently, from going over so many potholes.

If the pictures don't make it clear, then the only was I can describe the roads is to imagine one of the woods roads that honeycomb through central Newfoundland. Imagine those roads, in spring, as the big woods trucks start going over them. That's what the roads are like in Iqaluit right now.

Most people I've spoken with well tell you two things: That yeah, the roads always get bad in the Spring. But that they haven't seen the roads this bad since the time the city employees went on strike.

So what accounts for the horror that is Iqaluit roads. Well, according to this story, the city has no gravel to use to repair roads. Why does it have no gravel? Because the City Council and Feds are stubborn bastards.

I'm sure you can appreciate my perplexity. I'm hardly a geologist, but it appears to me that there is two kinds of ground in and around Iqaluit - sand and very hard rocks. And yet, from none of this can we have gravel. So not only are the roads going to be messed up, but it appears a lot of the construction around town is going to come to a halt as well.

I like the north. I really do. It's not a bad place to live at all once you get used to it, although I certainly understand why some people come up here, last a month and then flee back down south.

But everything that's happening right now with the roads and constructions because there isn't enough crushed rocks when we are sitting on an island that is little more than one big rock....

Yeah, it's just a wee bit silly.

Currently Playing
Songs For Silverman - Ben Folds

More rejected dog names

Highlights from an ever growing list of rejection...

Piqqaluyungmik - Iceberg
Mike Wazowski (although you have to say it like Boo in Monsters Inc)

Cathy's current favourite, subject to change, is Jamieson. It's an Irish Whiskey she's fond of. She used to have a dog named Guinness. The current crop of Inuktitiut names just don't trip off the tongue. Go here if you want to see a list of some of the more popular dog names in Inuktituit.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Photo Friday

I get zero feedback on the posts I put up with pictures, but what the hell...nothing like revisiting memory lane.

This was one of the very first pictures I took with my then brand new Sony DSC-F717. I was living in a great place on Bond Street. I still miss that apartment. One of the best places I ever lived in.

Anyway, I looked out the window on the third floor on a late August day and there was this guy, redoing his roof.

I took a bunch of photos, but this is the one that works the best. It's just the orange jumpsuit, with the Anglican Cathedral roof in the background. It just works for me.

I took the shot just because I thought it looked cool. It only dawned on me a few days later that The Express might like it. We ran it as a filler photo up front. A filler photo is basically what it sounds like. You have a space to fill on a page and no copy to go there. So voila, insert a photo. Or the page is too grey and you want a picture to break it up.

It was a matter of course that we took our cameras with us almost everywhere we went, just in case we saw a picture that we could use as filler. Needless to say, the staff of the Express while I was there always had very understanding spouses.

One other thing...the guy in the picture knocked on my door a few days after the picture ran in The Express. He wasn't upset, he just though it was pretty cool to see his picture in the paper. As for figuring out where I lived, he triangulated the angle of where he believed the photo had to have been shot from his point on the roof.

Bloody engineers...

Photo Copyright Craig Welsh and The Express.

Currently Playing
Sounds Like A Mosaic - Bedouin Soundclash

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Banned dog names

And now, part of an ongoing series of rejected names for the fetus (another 10 days before it's a dog) that we have put a downpayment on.

Today's rejected entry: Oxy.

Think about it....

Gallows humour

In the comments section of a previous post, my friend Pat mentions that, should she ever get called to the Bench, she wanted a gallows. I think she should have one of these plunked on the bench instead.

If nothing else, it might make people think twice about giving you shit in the courtroom. Especially since when you flip the switch, the chair vibrates and the figures eyes light up. Oh, it also says "Is that the best you can do, you pansy?"

Wonderful stuff.

How would I know this? Because I own one, of course. Didn't make the trip to Iqaluit, alas. Cathy had...issues, with it. But it did wonders on my co-workers in Clarenville. I believe my former editor threatened to strap me to a chair herself if I kept it at work.

Never was sure if she was kidding...

Currently Playing
Take A Break - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies

More Air Canada silliness

So there is weirdness and controversy going on regarding Air Canada and St. John's. Big surprise.

The biggest, of course, is whether or not Air Canada is still going to be operating out of St. John's to go to London. VOCM has been all over the place on the story today. First reporting that they were going to going between St. John's and London again, but using smaller planes. Then, there was the story that no decision has been made. I haven't seen any more updates on either VOCM or CBC, so I don't know. I know someone from Air Canada was on Here and Now tonight, but I don't know if they said anything new.

I wonder if Air Canada is reevaluating their decision to run the flight between St. John's and London because of a story that ran in the Toronto Star today saying WestJet was in talks with The St. John's Airport Authority. The plan was to use St. John's as their hub to go to London. Whether WestJet would go to Heathrow or one of the cheaper airports outside of the city is undecided.

I guess the thought of WestJet going international to London has suddenly made Air Canada reconsider the value of St. John's. Bastards. I think I'd sooner hop on a relatively cheap flight using WestJet than use Air Canada.

The other interesting thing I'm hearing the Air Canada official said during the news (via Cathy's mom) was an explanation as to why dogs and cats won't be allowed in the passenger cabin anymore. Apparently, there was an allergic reaction by one of the passengers. Therefore, no more pets.

Now, I could say this is bollocks and unfair and you could label me as an insensitive bastard. That people have allergies and we ought to becareful around them. Think of what they have to go through.

OK, fine. However, here's the thing. I have a wife with a ton of allergies. Seafood, nuts, eggs, soy, bee stings and probably a few others. And she thinks it's bloody stupid. "I've got to conform and adapt to the way things are out there. I can't expect society to change everything just because I have a few allergies. I was taught that at an early age and it's done me well."

We had this discussion a few years ago. There was a mother and her son that were trying to get all nut based treats banned from Empire Cinemas because her son is deathly allergic. And surprisingly we both had the same reaction. "Wow, that really sucks. But that means you don't go see the movies." Seriously, we can't sanitize the world because people have these reactions. It's impossible.

If the person is allergic to dogs or cats, then it's their responsibility to make sure there are no pets in the cabin of the flight. The airlines certainly have the right to tell people "You have to let us know within three weeks of travelling (as an example) if you're taking a pet on with you." But banning them outright...really silly.

And if you don't believe me, believe Cathy. She has to deal with it more than I ever will. And she gets by just fine in life, thanks...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


So I didn't post anything yesterday because my brain wasn't in the right space. It felt like everything I had to write about I had already done. I was still sick, the roads were still full of potholes and the Liberals were still pissing me off.

And today, the sun is shining, the snow is melting and I'm feeling much better. Granted, the roads still suck and I want to feed the Liberals to polar bears, but things seem to be doing much better.

And besides RJ is lamenting the fact that Newfoundland bloggers appear to be slacking off because the weather is getting nicer. And he might have a point. It's not just the fewer blog postings on the NL blogroll, it's fewer people actually visiting. The number of people visiting my blog have dropped about 20% in the last three weeks. So I'm assuming it's people going out and enjoying the weather.

The other option is that people think I'm dreadfully boring and are staying away. So yeah, it's the weather. Totally.

It might also be people hitting that three month wall. Lots of new bloggers start off full of fire, but after three months they start running out of things to write about on a regular basis. We shall see.

The other thing about May, the nicer weather and decreasing blogging is the wrapping up of the TV season. This is probably the fewest number of shows I've ever followed, so it's not being as big a deal for me. There were some shows, like the X-Files, where you would be going mad all summer wondering how they were going to resolve the cliffhanger.

Is any show going to do that for me this May? Doubtful. West Wing wraps up on Sunday and I will mourn its passing, I'm still pleased to see it go out on a high note. I am pretty pissed at NBC for canning the series retrospective. Why? Because the series stars wanted a lot of money. I appreciate some people might grumble at the cast for wanting lot of money, but the hell with it, give them the money. I sincerely doubt NBC will lose money on it.

That 70s Show gets a 90 minute farewell. West Wing gets a repeat of the pilot and the last episode. A pretty classless way to deal with one of their most acclaimed shows.

What else? I watch NCIS, although I always feel like I should be slightly embarrassed to do so. The crimes are normally a bit lame, but the character interaction is what sells me. Although there are aspects to the show that frightens me sometimes. Last night, one of the characters browbeats a nurse into breaking the rules for her by contacting Condi Rice. Characters are routinely doing that. Breaking the rules, stretching or even abusing the limits of their power and authority, but all for what they perceive as the greater good. I get the feeling it's a show that George Bush would like a lot.

I don't know if House is going to end with a big bang, but I am grateful for the second wind the show caught about half way through this season. The first half was awfully mediocre. The House-Stacy love story, Cameron possibly getting AIDS from a patient, Cameron sleeping with all felt very flat.

But there's been more zip since, well, since American Idol started airing before the show. Weird. I don't know why. But the mysteries have been better and House has been more entertaining. And since they're setting up the possibility of Cuddy becoming pregnant with the Spawn of House, I'm vastly amused at its potential.

I don't know if the hippies will win on The Amazing Race, but the producers are certainly doing everything they can to keep them in the game as long as possible. Finishing last twice when there just happened to be non-elimination legs. Just a coincidence, I'm sure. But it's just as well, the rest of the players are pretty unlikeable.

Online scuttlebutt says Terry actually doesn't win the latest Survivor, that Danielle does. Which would be a crime. I haven't watched every Survivor, but I've watched enough to know that I've haven't seen many tougher, with the odds stacked against him longer and still be in there. Then again, fair rarely has anything to do with deciding Survivor winners.

As for CSI, it just keep chugging along. I'll watch the finale. I doubt it can top last years, but we shall see.

Currently Playing
Greatest Hits - Dire Straits

Monday, May 08, 2006

Oi, what schmucks

Is it ok for me to seriously hate the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador right now? I've had my moments of disliking the Liberals over the years. Lord knows I saw enough boneheaded stuff when Tobin and Grimes were in charge. And yeah, that was worrying because they were running the province. But the opposition was normally half-way competent so there was at least the odd racket if something truly demented was being contemplated.

But the Liberals right now...I don't know. When was the last time there was this level of incompetence by a political party? Seriously. There must be a political scientist or Newfoundland historian out there that can point out a political party acting this dumb.

It was bad enough the Liberals let Jim Bennett win the leadership without even so much as a hint of a challenge. That was pretty gutless. Then, three months later (surely God, that has to be a Canadian political record) the long knives come out and they do him in. But not before the fiasco with Kelvin Parsons.

You know, I kind of respected Parsons a bit. Thought he wasn't a bad guy. But honestly, if this story is true (and he doesn't seem to be denying it), that he offered to resign for a judge's seat and that, just for icing on the cake, his son would run in his abandoned seat for the Conservatives, well, that's a spectacular piece of scumery. You stab your party in the back, cost the taxpayers money on a useless byelection and get your son a job. Not bad for a day's work.

And all of that, all of that, would be bad enough under normal circumstances except the premier of the province just announced plans to undertake what is quite possibly the riskiest venture in the history of the province by developing the Lower Churchill on our own.

Dear God. I mean, that statement terrifies the hell out of me. The number of things that can go catastrophically wrong with trying to do Churchill solo are unimaginable. What we need is a strong opposition to question and hammer away at the Conservatives, to make sure that this makes sense. And that if it doesn't, that they break the deal. A good opposition can do that. They have in the past.

The Liberals right now couldn't break a piggy bank. Helpless, pathetic, ill-organized, stupid and selfish. This is Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. Dear Christ.

I hate them. Fiercely. Because any group behaving as stupidly as the Liberals are right now doesn't deserve to live.

And yes, I know the NDP are still there. I'm trying hard not to think that the sole hope for protecting democracy in Newfoundland is the NDP. It's almost as depressing a thought as where the Liberals are right now.

At this rate the Liberals are going to be wiped out in the next provincial election, a mere 18 months away. Which is the worst thing that could happen to the province - Danny Williams in charge with no opposition.

But you can't blame the people of the province if they decide to pick a government that seems half-way competent vs. an opposition that can't find its ass with both hands. But it's still a terrifying thought. No good can come from that. Then again, considering the quality of Liberals currently in office, no good can come from voting Liberal either, apparently.

Currently Playing
Greatest Hits - Gordon Lightfoot

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Random notes...

1. This flu is getting seriously annoying. I'm feeling better than I did yesterday, but I was pretty miserable so any step upwards is a good thing. Part of the reason, I suspect, is that I finally got a half decent night's sleep (part of the charm with this flu, along with the sore throat, fever and coughing, has been my back muscles locking up). I broke down and bought some NyQuil (insert your Dennis Leary routine here) and that seemed to have helped.

I'd call it 50/50 on going to work tomorrow. I hate losing too much time at work, but going in looking like a plague carrier does no one any good either. It's funny, I normally get off easy when it comes to getting sick and Cathy is usually the one who gets hammered. She's bounced back much quicker than me on this bug.

2. So to cheer things up, we apparently decided to spend money...mainly on finally booking the tickets to San Francisco. We've been stretching out buying the tickets over several Visa bills to ease the pain somewhat. Plus we were hoping for a seat sale, which never really materialized. And since it is now less than three months until we go, we figured now would be a good time to book. A week in San Francisco and a week for going to Disney and the San Diego zoo. It's going to be fun.

Cathy is a little annoyed about one thing, though. Two tickets from Ottawa to San Francisco return...cost less than her ticket from Iqaluit to Ottawa (I managed to luck into a seat sale). Travel out of here is just insane. Did you know Canadian North and First Air are two of the most profitable airlines in North America? Big surprise.

We're also flying United...just because Air Canada is pissing us off that much. We were going to have to buy meals on Air Canada, the cheap bastards. It's a goddamn eight hour flight. It also looks like Cathy is going to have to fly WestJet when she goes home at Christmas because of Air Canada's ridiculous ban on allowing pets to travel at that time of the year. As of October, they're not even allowing them in the cabin, even if they're small enough to fit under the seat. Air Canada....making travel as inconvenient as possible. Wankers.

3. It makes me sad watching West Wing these days. Only one more left and they're all so good. I'm glad the show is going out on a high note; it deserves it. And they're tying up most the characters nicely. Tonight's episode with CJ was great stuff, with her trying to figure out what she wants to do next. And we even got to see Toby again, for what I assume is probably the last time. And even 30 seconds of Charlie. But it was all the little moments that make it work. The entire bit with the billionaire (a Bill Gates rip, I assume) and her staff telling her to "ask for some of Montana." Her scenes with Toby. The bit Danny at the end, including "there's apparently a grammatical error in the constitution." "You should get someone to look at that." "Toby's on top of it."

It's all fun, fun stuff. No Josh and Donna, though for the the second week in a row. I'm curious if they eloped while on vacation.

4. The name "Benji" came to me as a name of the dog. Terrible unoriginal, but it's probably going to end up looking like a Benji eventually. Right now it's, well, a fetus. We have paid a lot of money for a downpayment on a fetus.

Life is odd, sometimes.

Currently Playing
Greatest Hits - Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Day of the beast

It's still a month away, but already the lead up to what is sure to be one of the strangest days of the year is beginning. That day being June 6. Or, just in case you didn't know and can't work the math - 6/6/06/

Yes, it's the Day of the Beast. I'm not anticipating apocalyptic evil, so much as apocalyptic silliness. As might be expected, some religious groups and anticipating the Rapture will happen that day.

Of course, the remake of The Omen is being released ton June 6. And in a real sign of evil, Ann Cloutier has a new book coming out.

But this is probably my favourite story I've read so far. Some women in England, and I'm sure in America as well, are considering C-Sections so they're child won't be born on June 6. Others are embracing it, threatening to call their sons Damian should they be born on the big day.

All I know is, I'm glad our new puppy is being born before that. There's nothing worse when you're cute little puppy turns out to be a hellhound.

Bye bye Energuide

I've been resisting the urge to comment on the Prime Minister's purging of environmental programs. I think it's safe to say that no federal department has been hit by cuts so hard as Environment. But you know what, fine. If the new PM wants to reevaluate some of these programs and determine how effective they are, maybe that's not a bad idea. After all, it wasn't without precedent for the Liberals to be spending money hand over fist on questionable things. And to be giving money to questionable agencies.

But cutting EnerGuide for Low Income Houses program is just baffling to me. A program designed to help low income people retrofit their houses. Not just to curb greenhouse gas emissions, but also to make the homes more efficient so that the owners won't spend so much on heating their homes.

As a caveat, I've interviewed Bruce Pearce several times. He's a heck of a nice guy and very passionately committed to this idea. His theory is why would you give someone a $200 home heating fuel rebate every year when for a few hundred dollars more, you can help them fix their homes, thereby allowing them to save thousands over many years.

It always made a heck of a lot of sense to me, but perhaps I'm missing something. I recall asking Finance Minister Loyola Sullivan why they didn't do something like what Pearce was suggesting rather than doing rebates. He just shrugged it off and said they were examining it. That was a couple of years ago, so I'm guessing they didn't like the idea.

I'm not naive...I know giving people a nice check is a way to win votes and make people. I'm also sure there is an element out there who believes the government should just give them tax breaks or whatever and let people make up their own mind on whether or not they want to make energy saving home renovations.

But this was a good program. It would have helped a lot of people struggling to pay the bills. And it would have been good for the environment. So it's baffling to me why you would get rid of this program.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Free Comic Book Day

So the predicted flu landed on us today with the impact you might expect. Of course, we're being affected in different ways. Cathy cough is worse and she's aching all over. My symptoms are more feverish and my back has locked up tight. Cathy is trying to sleep it off...I'm trying to sweat it out. We'll see who wins.

A note for those of you in St. John's (or really, anywhere in the world that has a comic book store) is that tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day. Which is pretty much what it sounds like. No, you can't walk into a store and grab whatever you want for free. But you can go in and look at a selection of free comics that major and independent publishers have provided.

The site has what is available, but some of the highlights include: Archie, Donald Duck, Justice League Unlimited, X-Men/Runaways, Star Wars, Conan, Owly, Amelia Rules and lots of others. Most of the comics are for kids, although you might find some not suitable for younger readers. So you might want to check them first.

I encourage you if you're in St. John's to go to either Downtown Comics or Timemasters. Downtown Comics is on Duckworth Street, next to the new hotel and the KFC. Timemasters is on Kenmount Road, next door to the Wendy's. You can find some nice comics there. Judging by the list, if you have kids I'd really recommend Owly and Amelia Rules for girls. There'll be plenty of super hero stuff for boys.

And while you're at the shop, take a look around and see if there is something else you want. These comics are free for you, but the stores are charged. I've been at too many of these events where a mom or dad comes in with their kid, stocks up on the freebees, and when the kid wants to take a look at what else might be there, they drag him out of the store. It seems awfully rude to me. Besides, I was dragged out of too many comic stores when I was a kid. I hated it. So anytime I see it happen to a kid, I always want to grab them and say to the parents "Let them look around. All they want is to look at reading material."

For that matter, look around yourself. Take a look at the graphic novels. There are plenty worth buying and taking home for a read.

And I have found a few gems at these Free Comic Book Day events. Owly is a little too cute for me, but I can't deny that it is exceptionally well done, and every kid I've ever seen pick up and issue falls head over heels for it. I found Amelia Rules and did fall head over heels. Seriously, pick up the freebee and see if you're aren't asking about the trade paperbacks shortly afterwards.

It's a good day. Go and check it out...

Thursday, May 04, 2006


So myself and Cathy are getting to experience a rare treat - we're both getting sick together. We've been together 4.5 years and while we've both been sick before, I don't recall both of us starting to feel like crap on the same day. So if this develops as I suspect it will over the next few days, with coughs, aches, swollen heads and whatnot, our wee little apartment is going to become plague central. Charming.

Bad timing as well. Tomorrow was going to be my department's IQ (Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit ) day. Basically once or twice a year, at the discretion of senior management, the staff go out on the land and learn a bit more about our home, Inuit traditions, culture and knowledge. I don't talk much about work, but I've always thought this was a pretty good idea. Despite the efforts of the Government, more than half of government employees are non-Inuit. They are trying to get that number up, but it's likely going to be many years away.

So until then, why not have days like this where we can learn more about the culture and traditions. I've been looking forward to this day for weeks.

So last night I was really not amused to feel something brewing. It's gotten worse today. Spending a day outdoors in sub-zero temperatures, riding on the back of a snowmobile is probably not a great idea. We'll see how I feel, but I suspect I'm not going to be able to go.


I was able to get out of the office for an hour today and go to the Trades Show in town. It's one of the big event days in Iqaluit. I think kids like it because most of the businesses with tables have good swag or at least draws. I've been busy the last few days so I literally got there just as people were taking apart their tables. Which kind of sucks, because I would have liked a better look that the 10 minute dash I got.

But the good side is I hit a table that had some nice sculptures that they didn't want to have to pack up and take back to Pangnirtung. They're small, and I'm sure they had some really, really nice stuff there earlier in the week. But these two pieces are quite nice and I got them half price. We haven't bought much in the way of artwork since we've been here. We figure we've got a few more years in Iqaluit, why rush and buy everything we see. We're being quite picky. But these were nice, and the price is impossible to beat.

The hunter is made of stone (not sure what kind) while the rest (oar, boat, harpoon) is made of caribou antler.

At half price this was $60. By the way, most of this can come apart. The hunter can come out of the boat, so can the oars and harpoons. I've been told that this is a sign of good craftsmanship, that the artist didn't feel he had to cheat by gluing things together.

This is to give you and idea of how big it is.

While Cathy likes the hunter, she isn't as in love with this piece. The bird (a falcon, I think) is glued on top of the inukshuk, which is a bit of a cheat, apparently. But there is something about it that just grabs me.

The inukshuk is made of stone, the bird of caribou antler. It's about the same size as the hunter in the kayak and was $50. Considering the craftsmanship involved, it's a steal.

Not quite sure what I'm going to do with these two pieces. I could give them as gifts, but I might just bring them to my office. It's always nice to have some art in the office.

Currently Playing
Lucky You Are - Colleen Power

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Small valleys

God as my witness, I will never complain about the potholes in St. John's again.

No kidding, the annual plague of potholes that pop up every April, the ones that people spent weeks bitching about, the ones that people flood the Open Line shows over and say this is further evidence that St. John's City Council is run by morons...

Pussy stuff.

No shit. There is a shortcut we normally take coming home from lunch to avoid the congestion at one of the intersections. I glanced down that road, which is not paved, on the way to work this morning. It was fine.

By lunch time there was a pot hole big enough, and filled with enough water, that when we drove into it, the water covered a third of the door.

That was followed by another five minutes of trying, unsuccessfully, in finding a path of least resistance through the potholes. It was like doing moguls, except with a Hyundai.

Apparently this happens every spring in Iqaluit. The snow and ice get soft enough to start forming ruts everywhere. And where it melts, it erodes away the dirt road. However, it's all still just cold enough to make having one of the city trucks come along and smooth things impossible because the ground is too hard.

I never really understood why people had the big ass jeeps and pick-ups in Iqaluit. Sure, some of them are towing snowmobiles, ATVs or lugging around lots of stuff. But there are just as many driving them because they can.

But now I understand. They have them for spring. You might only need them for three weeks out of the year, but right now I would kill to have a 4 by 4. I just hope the Accent can handle another couple of weeks of this. It's sounding pretty unhappy with the shock torture right now.

Other than that, the weather is getting a bit milder. It's still staying below 0, but it is hovering between 0 and -10 most days. It is kind of nice, really. I mean, I'm ready for the snow to be gone, but it's fine enough weather for the Arctic in May.

The other thing is, of course, the daylight. Sunrise was 4:03 a.m. this morning. The sun will be setting in about an hour, at 8:59 p.m. That's just about 17 hours of direct sunshine. By the time you throw in the very long dusk, you're closer to about 19 hours of daylight. And it's another six weeks until Summer Solstice. We won't get 24 hours of daylight, but it'll be close enough to not make much of a difference.

I'm doing fine right now. A fairly regular sleeping pattern. We declare night at 9 p.m. and try to block out as much of the daylight as possible.

Cathy, however, is already starting to buzz. She normally goes to bed around 10. She's been lasting to 11 or later. And she's hyper. I love her dearly, but the next few weeks ought to be interesting.

Then again, if the potholes keep getting bigger and Cathy keeps buzzing like this, I can probably drive Cathy to work in the morning...