Friday, February 29, 2008


1. The big curling news will be announced on Tuesday. Unless it isn’t. But right now, it looks promising.

2. This article just goes to show one more reason why Gordon Pinsent is a national treasure. But they couldn’t get him a seat at the Oscars? Are you kidding me?

3. We are now the proud owners of a new queen sized bed. After spending most of the last three years on a standard GN double, Cathy decided that enough was enough. The bed was small enough that if one of us was sick or tossing and turning for some reason, one of us would end up sleeping on the couch. That someone was normally Cathy as she fits on a couch better.

However, there was still some small adventure with the beds. NorthMart delivered it, but the housing people couldn’t pick up the old bed the same day, leaving us with two beds for an evening. The next morning, around 9:30, the movers from housing showed up. They knocked once and then just came right on in. Fortunately, Cathy was up and dressed. Still. A little more advanced warning would be nice. Or, you know, waiting for someone to open the door for you is also good.

The bedroom actually looks bigger, but I imagine that’s a combination of losing one piece of furniture and the magic of Cathy’s organizational abilities.

4. I have successfully purchased a ticket to see the New York Yankees play the Boston Red Sox on April 16. It’s in BX 602, which if you go here you will see is in the upper tier behind home plate. I’m pretty happy with that, and that I was able to get a ticket for what is always one of the big tickets series. I’m looking forward to that game. Actually, most of the New York trip is getting filled out quickly. I still have decided what museum to visit though – the MET, MOMA or the Hayden Planetarium. Any suggestions?

5. Talking about comics, here are my two favourite silly things comic book related today. The New York Comic Con will be offering up a few “show exclusive” items. Go here for the updated list. But there’s something about the Limited Edition Ghost of Obi-wan Kenobi bobble head doll that’s vastly amusing to me. Somewhere, the Ghost of Sir Alec Guinness is screaming and screaming.

6. And meanwhile, over on Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin has gone through Diamond’s Preview Catalog. If it’s weird and even vaguely related to comic books and pop culture, Diamond lists it in this small monthly bible. Mike’s managed to find thing that even he considers bizarre. I have to say, the Sweeney Todd shaving kit set is my personal favourite, although owning an Operation Hulk! board game is also pretty tempting.

7. Finally, we got our copy of one of our favourite magazines today, Mental Floss. If you’re at all a fan of fun trivia, then you should be picking up this magazine. They also have my favourite leap year story. Three siblings, each born on successive February 29ths. Too bizarre…

Last Five
1. Turn this car around - Tom Petty
2. My music at work - The Tragically Hip*
3. Set the fire to the third bar - Snow Patrol
4. Crumbs from your table - U2
5. When the deal goes down - Bob Dylan

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A lack of updates

It's approaching the end of February, which means we're now dealing with tax related stuff. This is always a joy to deal with, as I'm sure most of you know. And our taxes aren't even that complicated. A T-4 each for both of us, I'm waiting for one for some freelance work I did. And the niggling tax receipts from banks and whatnot. We normally like to file as early as possible. I know we have until the end of April, but we like to get this stuff sent to our accountant as soon as possible. We want our money back right away. Plus, our accountant gets very, very busy in a hurry at this time of the year.

Anyway, this evening was spent sloughing through receipts and forms and trying to figure out where we've invested our money and who owes us paperwork. Not the most fun way to spend an evening, but at least we're reassured that we won't go starving any times soon. And that's something we couldn't say a couple of years ago.

By the way, for those of you waiting for the big news, the wait continues. I was hoping to have something to announce on either Sunday or even today, but there have been snags and setbacks. Now it's going to be Friday at the earliest before I know something and maybe not even then. It's a pain in the ass, but I'm sorry, that's just the way it's working out.

I should also mention that this big secret is curling related. It's not personal. So for those of you emailing me wondering if Cathy is pregnant, she's not. She is not pregnant now, nor will she be in the short-to-intermediate future. We have Boo. That's enough of a cute and noisy package for us right now.

Last Five
1. Monster hospital - Metric
2. Can't you figure it out? - Sloan
3. American skin (live) - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band*
4. Hollywood nights - Bob Seger
5. Only lovers left alive - The Long Blondes

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The problem with being uncensored

While it’s not on my regular blog reading list, I do check in on Nunavut Uncensored from time to time. I’ve always had mixed feelings about the blog. On the one hand, I certainly understand the need some people have to vent about their feelings on living in Nunavut and working in the GN without worry of retribution. And there’s enough precedent out there to show that this is a legitimate concern.

On the other hand, I had a bad feeling about how this blog was going to turn out. And it wasn’t so much the posts. Yeah, people will vent and complain, but there still is a degree of thought process that goes into creating a blog post. More than once I’ve written something, stepped back from the computer and went, “nope” and deleted it. Plus, the blog is moderated. If someone submitted a truly hateful piece of writing, I suspect the moderator would just chuck it.

No, it was always the comments section I was worried about. And this kind of proves my concern.

I’m 38 years old. I’ve been online for more than 15 years now, which I suspect tips me to the “freaking old” end of the bell curve. I got online in ’92 (I blame Kirsten for that) when all you could find was email, newsgroups and MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons. Think of it as a very, very, very primitive version of Worlds of Warcraft). What that means is that I’ve seen a fair amount of crap on my time online. I remember getting roasted in flame wars on comic book news groups, of all bloody things.

And some of it was fun. I admit when I was in my early 20s to getting enjoyment from tweaking people I consider to be idiots at best, exceptional assholes at worst. But some of it was truly hideous stuff and I was kind of glad that I left it behind as I grew older. I’m not saying this kind of bile disappeared as the internet evolved from newsgroups to websites and boards. Of course it didn’t. I’m just saying I got to the point that I stopped going or seeking out places where this kind of thing happens.

I rarely even read the comments section to news stories anymore. Again, if you want to see some truly ridiculous, over-the-top, intolerant and hateful discourse, check out the Globe and Mail’s comments section on any controversial news story, especially political.

This is a pretty long-winded way of saying I knew things were eventually going to get ugly over at Nunavut Uncensored. The premise of the site encourages anonymous comments without fear of consequence. And when you give that people that much rope, they go looking for people to hang.

And how did I know? Well, perhaps a touch of a lack of faith in human nature might have something to do with it. But this isn’t the first place people in Nunavut could go and vent about things in an anonymous fashion. It might be dead now (although there were threats of its resurrection recently) Rantin’ and Raven was a message board where people could say anything they wanted without fear of being known or any kind of consequences.

And man, some of the most vile, personal attacks I’ve ever seen online showed up on that board. I only read it a handful of times before getting disgusted with it, but the shit that used to get posted there. If there was a way to denigrate a territorial politician, they found it. Every scurrilous rumour, lie and half-truth made its way there. Local people doing nothing more than living their lives were often raked over the coals for their behaviour.

It was a vile, unredemptive piece of the internet that I’m not sad to see it gone. Maybe there were good things about it. As I said, I never frequented the board that much, but I certainly didn’t see much of it. For God’s sake, there was a thread making fun of Polar Man. Jesus, the guy is harmless. Why would you make fun of him like that?

Nunavut Uncensored is nowhere near that bad. Not even in the same ball park. Nor do I expect it to be. But I am seeing some of the old hatred, intolerance and other crap that I used to see on Rantin’ and Raven creeping in over there. And I have no time for it. None. I don’t want to get into a “I’m too old for this shit” type of rant, but man, I’m 38 years old. Some of the stuff I saw in one of the last Nunavut Uncensored threads reminded me of high school.

Is there a need to talk about some of the challenges and frustrations that can sometimes hit you while living in Nunavut? Absolutely. I want intelligent discussion about the problems facing Nunavut and how we can go about fixing them. But I'm not sure Nunavut Uncensored is the answer. Then again, I have to admit I don't really know what the solution is right now either.

Last Five
1. Your own worst enemy - Bruce Springsteen
2. Mean Mr. Mustard - The Beatles
3. Medley (live) - The Chieftains*
4. You can't always get what you want - The Rolling Stones
5. You can look (live) - Bruce Springsteen

Monday, February 25, 2008


You know, some of you mock my fixation with curling, but the Curling News linked to me and my traffic goes up by 50 per cent from last Monday. Maybe I should turn this into a curling blog or something.

As for the big news, I still can't announce it. It's frustrating and driving me nuts, but that's the way these things work sometimes. It could still fall apart, although that would make me very sad. But to answer the Curling News, no, my being on a winning curling team wasn't the big news. I have a healthy ego, but I'm not quite that large an egomaniac. This is legitimately a big deal....if I can ever get to talk about it.

Not much else to report today. I had a discretionary day to burn before the end of March so I decided to take it today. So it was pretty much a nice, lazy day around the house. I took it in case I needed to recover from the Furspiel. Lord knows I needed it last year. It took me days to recover. I skipped my next league curling game because I was in so much pain. This time, I'm fine. I'll even curl again tomorrow. Of course, the fact I have to collect my money for winning the Furspiel from the team's Skip has nothing to do with that.

Also, no suggestions on what to do with the cargo I won. Cathy can't think of anything. Maybe some we could get some food shipped up, but probably not. And we thought about the bed, but that would be complicated bit of business. Also, she wants to get it relatively soon. That means we likely wouldn't be able to at least lie on it first before buying it.

So I'll probably just sell it. Besides, the couple of hundred dollars I would get for it would come in handy for the New York Trip Fund.

Anyway, tomorrow there will be nothing about curling on the blog. I promise.

Last Five
1. The Kerry polka - The Wonderful Grand Band
2. Rise up with fists - Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins
3. Look away - Big Country*
4. Stray - The Trews
5. X and Y - Coldplay

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I got to say, it's awfully nice to say that I'm a defending curing champion. Can't recall that ever happening before. We won the Furspiel this afternoon. I think the final score was 13-5, but it was actually much closer than that. It was tied 5-5 after the fifth. It was 9-5 in the ninth with the opposing team drawing for one, but their stone picked up a piece of debris, allowing us to steal four. Which is a crappy piece of luck for them. You hate winning a game like that.

It was just a rough start to the game. I was shooting crap and we had some bad breaks. But we managed to turn it around. And hell, it was a lot of fun. We were curling the same time as the Scotties final was going on, so people taped the score to the windows to let us know what was happening. And the junior teams taped a sign to the window to cheer us on. Of course, their coaches were on the other team, so they might have just trying to tease them. Still, it was a laugh.

And hey, we got a trophy this year. And it's a pretty nice one. One of the guys in the club designed it. It looks like a komitik.

And hey, here's one of the winning team: Ed, Beth, me and Steve.

So, I guess we'll have to try for a threepeat next year.

Oh, and there were door prizes. Thankfully for my future health, I didn't win the plane ticket. However, I did manage to win 100 kg of cargo with First Air. Of course, I have no idea what to do with 100 kg of cargo. I had a couple who are moving this summer offer to buy it from me, so that's an option. Any suggestions?

One more bonspiel left for the year and only about a month of curling left. I'm not sorry to see that winter is progressing along (we're not close to it being over yet), but I always am sad to see the end of the season.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Because you demanded it....more curling

So, because I know some of you have been pining away for more curling related news, here are a few updates.

1. I'm curling in the Furspiel this weekend (no, that's not a typo). The team I'm on are the defending champions and we managed to make it into the final again. We play tomorrow afternoon. There are not as many teams this year, which is kind of disappointing. But that's just the way this curling season has been. It's been a bit harder to round up the bodies. Come October, we might be beating them off with sticks. Bur right now it's a bit of a struggle.

Still, we're in the money. The team that finishes first gets $1,600. Second place gets $1,000. Not bad for a weekend's work. I am hurting a bit, although nowhere near as bad as last year.

2. I've been watching some of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Now, Newfoundland is gone, eliminated in a tie-breaker yesterday. But it's a funny thing. We've been talking about it at the curling club. There are people from pretty much every province in Canada and we're each cheering for our home province. But having spoken to a few of my fellow Newfoundlanders, we're feeling a bit uncomfortable cheering for Heather Strong, the Newfoundland skip.

I don't know Strong. At all. Maybe she's a really nice person. But there were two things this week that caught my ear. In one of them, she lost a game to Manitoba after she has to rush her last shot because the game clock was ticking off the last few seconds. Because of that, she missed and Manitoba was able to take two and win 8-7. After the game she blamed her front end for not watching the clock and making sure they had lots of time.

In other game, she apparently blamed her front end for not making their shots, which was burying them early and getting them in trouble. I believe someone from TSN then popped up the percentage stats and showed they were actually curling a lot better than Strong.

Look, I've been on plenty of teams where I've wanted to kill players for not making their shots. I'm sure there have been plenty of times where players have wanted to kill me for not. But you try not to bitch about it during a game. Especially when you're miked. And hey, maybe you don't got and tell a reporter how much your front end sucks after the game.

Skips, the good ones, have pretty healthy egos as a rule. You need one to think you can call a game better than anyone else and to face the pressure of making the last shot in an end or a game. But if Strong is getting on with this type of things, well....

Not to mention that Brad Gushue certainly seems to have burned every inch of good will in the province since winning the gold medal two years ago. We have some good curlers in Newfoundland right now. I just wish, I don't know, they were easier to cheer for nationally.

3. The Curling News has more on the Rockstar Curling show in the United States. As silly as it might sound, it looks like it might be a go.

4. I might have some legitimately big curling news to announce. I've been sitting on it for weeks and it's driving me nuts. But with some luck I might be able to announce in in the coming week. Maybe even tomorrow. It's pretty cool, actually.

Last Five
1. He lied about death - Stars
2. Overlap (live) - Ani DiFranco
3. Everybody knows - The Duhks*
4. Little trip to heaven - Tom Waits
5. Doginabag - The Fratellis

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Municipal politics is a very, very silly bit of business. There’s a quote Ricker Mercer made about it years ago that I’ve been desperately trying to remember, but I think it goes something like this: Only crazy people get involved in politics, and only the truly crazy go into municipal politics. Which sounds about right.

In most municipal politics, there is a limited amount of damage a local council can do. Oh, I know, they can still screw things up. I’ve covered enough small town councils in my day to be very much aware of this (one council stopped giving me the minutes to their meetings after some negative stories, resulting in a few angry phone calls back and forth to Municipal Affairs). But the fact is that Big Brother is always there to bail them out. Big Brother being the provincial government.

That’s not really the case with St. John’s. Oh, they’re just as crazy a lot as any small town council. But there’s not much in the way of help coming from the provincial government. A bit of cash now and then. But if you live in St. John’s and need help with something, go ahead and call your local MHA. See how far you get. I’ve said this before on this blog and it’s worth saying again – I had a still sitting MHA tell me once that St. John’s MHAs wouldn’t know the difference between a fire alarm and the phone, both go off that infrequently.

This is a long-winded way of saying that as silly as the upcoming byelections for city council are, they may also be the most important municipal elections in 30 years.

City councils are remarkably stagnant beasts. Once someone gets elected it’s awfully, awfully hard to get them out of there. They generally have to die, retire or fuck-up spectacularly. There’s no political party winds of change to unroost them. Every municipal election the same crowd run and the same crowd normally gets re-elected, by name recognition as much as anything else.

However, this by-election offers a rare opportunity, thanks to some good old-fashioned political greed.

Wells resignation started a predictable chain-reaction. Wells might have been full of crap when he said a byelection for mayor would cost $500,000, but he was right in the sense that when you toss in all the dominos that began to fall when he quits, it will cost about half a million dollars.

So Doc O'Keefe steps down as deputy mayor to run for mayor. That means there has to be an election to fill his job. At least two councilors are thinking about running for that position, which means there has to be a byelection for those empty spots. Not to mention one of the ward councilors is thinking about a run for mayor himself, and that means another byelection.

That could mean five of the 11 seats on council are now up for grabs. Maybe more, maybe less. But that’s a good voting block right there. It might have changed since ’05, but when I covered council, it frequently split 6-5 on controversial issues.

But it’s not just the voting block. City Council is often called “The Bunker” because that ghastly building looks like something the Americans might have built during World War II to fortify the city from German attack. And just as most of that building is set in concrete, so are most of the opinions from council.

But here’s a chance to change that. With so many current councilors running for new positions, there’s a real chance for turnover. With some luck, each currently sitting councilor could actually lose. That could mean five completely new faces on council.

And lord, if there was ever a place in need of new faces, new blood and a touch of youth, St. John’s City Council is the place. It hasn’t been serious shaken up in decades. The animosity, bitterness and nastiness has been locked in. I swear, they should get a member of each organized religion along with a pagan or two to do a cleansing ceremony after the June elections. Just to purge whatever linger negative energy is still kicking around.

It might be a dream, but it is a chance to shake the place up. And it’s the best one the people of St. John’s have had in quite some time. Jump at it.

Last Five
1. Take it on the run - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies*
2. One more night - Stars
3. King of pain - The Police
4. My party - Kings of Leon
5. Italian plastic (live) - Crowded House

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


So let's see what I can dream up this evening...

There was a story a week back talking about how arctic sea ice is expanding this winter as opposed to melting this winter. And given that I can probably count on one hand the number of days since December when it's been warmer than -25 without windchill, that doesn't really come as a surprise.

But it's easy to say it's cold all the time, but here's a couple of things to put it in perspective. First, when I came home from curling last night I had my hands full and apparently I was distracted. That's why I made the cardinal sin of not plugging in the car last night. Now, the car can go unplugged for period's of time with no ill-effect. And this is a new battery, so you would figure it has some zip still in it.

So the answer to the question on how long a battery can last in cold that's around -45 with windchill without being plugged in is: >2.5 hours, but <11 hours. Which is a fairly wide range, but still kind of disappointing. Although not as disappointing as when Cathy tried to use the remote starter this morning and the car didn't work. Or as despairing when I had the sudden flash upon her telling me the car wasn't starting that I may not have remembered to plug it in last night.

No real harm done. I was able to get someone from work to give me a boost, the car is working fine and she's plugged in.

The other bit to deal with the cold is the lunar eclipse happening this evening. When we were driving home at 5, we could see a very brilliant full moon just creeping over the top of one of the hills. That on its own is fairly beautiful and I imagine watching an eclipse turning it blood red or orange would be lovely. I even briefly thought about dragging out my camera, setting it up and getting some shots.

Until I checked the temperature, which currently stands at -46 with windchill. And you know, that's a bit too cold for me to be standing around waiting for the moon to change colours. I rather doubt the camera or the battery that powers it would last all the long either. We'll see. It's 8:20 as I type this. I might change my mind, but I don't see myself standing out there for 20 minutes snapping photos.

If there are photos up on the blog later this evening or tomorrow, then you know I braved it. And that I probably have frostbite.

Oh, and there is one other consequence of the cold - I think it's now been more than two weeks since Boo has been outside. We feel bad, but we've always said -30 is the absolute limit of what we'll take him out in. We'd sooner have him go a little crazy from being cooped up inside for too long rather than seeing what frostbite looks like on a dog.

Last Five
1. Dancing in the dark - Bruce Springsteen
2. Fighting in a sack - The Shins
3. Uptown - Prince
4. Gone to hell - Sean Panting
5. Fame < Infamy - Fall Out Boy

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Cathy's been nagging nagging me (her words) that I haven't written anything in days. I'm just in one of these funks where not only can I not think of much to write about, but what I can think of seems kind of bland. I was going to do something on the municipal elections taking place in St. John's. But honestly, if I can't think of something fun to write about that, then why bother. There will be plenty of serious takes on that particular bit of madness. I'd like to be able to think of something funny to say.

So far, nada.

Although I will point out one thing - Wells was right about this much. His stepping down will likely cost $400,000 or more in elections. Not just the mayoral election; that's silly. But what with the cost of the mayor's election, deputy mayor's election and probably 2-3 councillor-at-large positions, well, that adds up in a hurry.

Someone mentioned why I was wasn't commenting n the Scotties in the previous post. Well, if you really insist...Newfoundland is off to a good start at 4-1. So I'm hopeful, because I really don't think Gushue is going to do squat at the Brier this year.

And now I must away to work. Hopefully something marginally amusing this evening.

Note: Of course, I misspelled doldrums in the headline because I was half awake when I jotted this off in a hurry this morning. It has since been corrected. The kinder among you just ignored it. Of course, all it takes is one abusive anonymous asshole to point our the mistake.

That comment has been deleted. As will all abusive anonymous comments.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I got this in my email from Dups. This is either pure genius or totally insane. Which is pretty much how Dups can often be summed up on any given day.

Anyway, for your information.

For Immediate Release

St. Patrick’s Day Drunk Dial 2008 Launched

Montreal, QC, Canada – 16 February 2008 – Today marks the world-wide launch of the campaign for the St. Patrick’s Day Drunk Dial, now in its fourth year. The Drunk Dial asks all St. Patrick’s Day celebrants, between March 15th and 17th 2008, around the world to take a single phone number with them as they party and carouse. People from all over the world can call into the telephone number and leave a message. The funniest and “funnest” will be rewarded!

“After three years of fun, we’re going to do the 2008 Drunk Dial bigger and better than ever!” said organizer Dups of Montreal, Quebec.

This year the telephone number is +1 317 644 6963. Dups warns that there will be long distance charges to the United States but should otherwise be a regular phone call for participants. This year, the organizers intend to give away a portion of any advertising revenue from the web site ( as well as the customary bottle of Newfoundland Screech Rum.

Dups also noted the public service that the Drunk Dial tries to provide.

“For years I was one of those poor sots who called his friends late night on St. Pat’s Day after having had a few. One year I became a pariah and there were calls for a public castration for all my drunken dialing. Imagine the friendships and relationships that we are saving!”

St. Patrick’s Day has become an international celebration of epic proportions no matter ethnicity, creed, color or the quality of the Guinness. Said Niall Brown, another organizer:

“I think people can identify with a man who got rid of an infestation of snakes. I mean if you woke up in the middle of the night and your country was infested with snakes, wouldn’t you want to celebrate the man who got rid of them. Heck, I’d have a couple drinks in his honor. I’d even call and tell someone about it, and that’s what the Drunk Dial is all about.”

Whether it’s about snakes, drinking or just a phone call to tell us how St. Patrick’s Day is going for you: have fun and give us a call at +1 317 644 6963.

More information about the Drunk Dial and the rules are available at:

About the St. Patrick’s Day Drunk Dial

The St. Patrick’s Drunk Dial began in 2005 with all of Dups’ friends calling him from around the world on St. Patrick’s Day. Sadly he was too inebriated to remember who won that first year. In subsequent years the reach and popularity of the event has spread far and wide and now we want 2008 to be the biggest year ever! For more information e-mail or visit

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Not a bad Valentine's Day for us at the Chateau. I was smart enough to order flowers for Cathy a couple of weeks ago so I didn't have to face the hordes at Baffin Flowers. I walked in, said I had ordered some flowers, they got them for me and that was that. Took five minutes. As opposed to the line-up winding its way through the store, filled with people (ok, men) desperately trying to get some last minute flowers. And likely being gouged silly. Flowers up here aren't cheap. I saw a dozen mostly dead roses at Arctic Ventures of $50.

Hell, I went into my boss's office at 2 p.m. today and he was desperately trying to order a dozen roses.

So one of the key tricks - order flowers a couple of weeks in advance and hey, your loved one might not necessarily like roses. Cathy prefer gerber daisies, which makes things easier. Roses are a pain in the ass at this time of the year.

Also, I did bother with chocolates. Which might seem strange, but you get your loved one a treat they will like. Cathy's not the biggest chocolate person in the world, so why get them.

So I got....Pringles.

Hey, they're already mostly gone, so I did something all right.

We'll go out to supper tomorrow evening when there won't be ridiculous crowds with over-priced and limited menus. So it might not be a standard Valentine's Day, but it'll still be a nice couple of days.

But for those of you coming here looking for something romantic, well, I've got just the thing for you. Sadly, this comic doesn't really exist, although I wish it did. The poster of Nipsey Russell is a priceless addition. I actually remember watching him on Match Game as a kid.

If you want more, go to this site.

And happy Valentine's Day, where ever you are....

Last Five
1. Crashing down - The Pursuit of Happiness
2. Fashionable people - Joel Plaskett Emergency*
3. Earthquake weather - Beck
4. Stealing my heart - Rolling Stone
5. Soft revolution - Stars

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


It occurs to me that I haven't been talking much about what's happening around town with the two of us.


Ummm, that's because there's really not much happening. I don't pretend to have a firm grasp of Inuit culture, but if I'm not mistaken this was the time of the year that traditionally they didn't go out and about much because it was too damn cold and too damn dark. Well, it might be getting a bit brighter around here, but it's certainly not getting much warmer. It's been constantly colder than -30 for the better part of the last two months. It's not really been the kind of weather where you decide to just go out for a stroll. The poor, poor dog hasn't been outside the apartment in weeks. That might seem cruel, but it's crueler to take him outside in this cold. Even with his coat and boots he can only last a few minutes before he starts doing his little "fuck I'm cold, let's go back inside" dance.

This weekend is promising relatively balmy temps in the mid -20s, so hopefully we can get him out for a decent walk then.

But other than that, we lead quiet lives. I imagine we wouldn't mind getting out and doing stuff, but really, we're kind of comfortable right now. As boring as coming home, watching some TV, doing some reading, playing a few video games and cuddling up might sound to people use to going out to bars, it works for us right now. We're not bored of it, so why change?

So, to sum up.
1. Can't really talk about work. Mine or Cathy's
2. It's too cold to do much outside other than freeze.
3. Too cold for the dog to go out.
4. We're borderline anti-social to begin with unless people kidnap us from our apartment, which they haven't been lining up to do anyway.
5. Have been up north long enough that we're not so much at the point where nothing surprises us, but it does take bit more to jolt us into thinking it's weird. Snowmobiles blasting past us at Mach 2, kids drinking Slushies in -35 and animal skins being stretch behind someone's house is no longer weird. It's the North.

All of which leads to #6.

Not much to blog about, really. Oh sure, there's still news that catches my eye. But I figure I've been a little lax in blogging about things Nunavut related. And this is just to let people know that I want to, it's just that it's a wee bit harder than it was when we first arrived 30 months ago.

Last Five
1. History to the defeated - The Weakerthans
2. Because of you - Tony Bennett and k.d. lang
3. The chain - Fleetwood Mac
4. Love like that - Mark Bragg
5. Hit me baby, one more time (live) - Travis

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Back on station

With the writers strike just about over, shows are gearing up to return. I thought most of the shows would be a write-off for the rest of this season, but no, some of them are going to be coming back. For the complete list of what is likely to come back over the next couple of months, try this TV Guide list.

It'll be interesting to see how much damage this strike will do to the TV programming. There's not many shows on that list that I watch on a regular basis. I watch House, Chuck, Pushing Daisies, Bones and The Amazing Race on a regular basis. CSI and Numbers every now and then. And after that, not so much.

I suspect I'm probably not alone, and the strike has cost the networks and shows a lot of viewers. It's never a good idea to remind people that they can do just fine without watching TV shows.

Out of the shows I regularly watch, only House is coming back before the end of May. And probably only four episodes. Which kind of sucks as House has been really good this year. They're holding back Chuck and Pushing Daisies and relaunching them in September. And I don't know when the the next Amazing Race will air.

So really, we won't be watching much in the way of regular TV shows until September. I think we'll be just fine. We've survived so far quite easily. And I suspect we're not the only ones.

Last Five
1. Room with a view - Spirit of the West
2. The boys of summer - Don Henley
3. I got trouble - Christina Aguilera
4. Something beautiful - Tracy Bonham
5. The shadow government - They Might Be Giants*

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rock stars

So by a mile my favourite news story of the day is this one from The Toronto Star talking about a reality TV show in the United States on.....curling.

Yes, I know, I know. However, it's kind of a clever idea. Participants try out, the ones selected get a shot at the the U.S. qualifying tournament for the 2010 Olympics. Maybe it doesn't speak well for my chosen sport where a bunch of people will no training or skills in the sport will have a shot at making the Olympics after a few months of coaching and practice. But it's an undeniably catchy idea. Most people by the time they hit their 30s can pretty much forget the Olympic dream. But here's a show giving them the chance. An average person who could go from never playing the sport to the Olympics in a few months.

Hell, I'd like that chance. Sign me up for some of that action.

I also love the idea of a celebrity host. The fact that Bruce Springsteen might get together with a few of his buddies and throw a few rocks makes me very happy. That Bon Jovi also plays is not quite as thrilling, but still kind of amusing. I think the producers are dreaming in technicolour if they think they're getting Springsteen to host, but hey, Bon Jovi would kind of work.

You know, I'm going to be staying in New Jersey when I go to New York in April. It's a hell of a lot cheaper to stay there than in Manhattan. Maybe I should see if Bruce or Jon is up for a game.

And while on curling, this is one more for the anyone in Iqaluit. Well, if you want to travel up here for a curling bonspiel, we'd love to have you. But honestly, I don't think we can make it profitable for you even if you were to win.

Anyway, the Iqaluit Furspiel - the biggest curling bonspiel of the season in Nunavut - runs from February 21-24. The entry fee is $100 per person, but you get a fair amount for your money. First, you get a 1 in 16 shot at the grand prize, which will be a minimum of $2,000 per team. You also get access to the Racquetball club upstairs, which has a bar and restaurant. The fee also gets you a chance to enter a Skill's Competition, which is worth at least $200 for the winner. Plus there will be other prizes given away throughout the weekend, including door prizes, which require no skill whatsoever to win. We promise.

Oh, and there will be a meal at the end of the bonspiel, which is included in the fee.

So that's a pretty good bonspiel. You get at least three games, lots of fun, plenty of prizes up for grabs, access to a cool private club that your ordinarily wouldn't be able to get into and lots of food.

So if you're interested in taking part, drop me a line. We'd love to see some new players there.

Last Five
1. You come in burned - The Dandy Warhols
2. Dirty laundry - Don Henley
3. Cry - The Trews
4. Put your records on (live) - Corinne Bailey Rae*
5. Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite - The Beatles

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I've been watching the Grammies on and off all night. And it feels more like I'm watching the Grammies from the 80s. Morris Day and the Time? Really?

Having said that, watching Tina Turner and Beyonce do "Proud Mary" together was one of those sit up on the couch and say "holy fuck" a lot. I just checked Wikipedia. She turned 68. She not only looks amazing, but her voice is still incredible. We should all be so lucky to look as good as she does at that age.

Hmmm, that reminds me, I don't actually have any Tina Turner on my iPod. I might have to go and remedy that problem in the next couple of days.

Hopefully something more interesting to say tomorrow. The weekend of sloth apparently has dimmed the creative juices.

Friday, February 08, 2008


I think we're aiming for a low-key weekend at the chateau. Cathy's had a fairly....draining week. And while I haven't had as tiring a week, it's had a few moments. So I suspect it's a return of the weekend of Sloth. Which means I will be doing nothing more energetic than playing some Wii or a game of Civilizations.

Actually, the one thing I need to do is start going through my iPod. As Cathy has pointed out every time something she hates comes on the iPod (which happens quite a bit given our divergent musical tastes) there is quite a bit of "debris" there right now. And she's right. I have Christmas music that needs to go. I think most of the Badly Drawn Boy I have is getting the heave-ho. I still have entirely too much Tori Amos. And as much as I might like to believe otherwise, I do have to accept the sad reality that not everything Tom Waits records is really worth keeping.

Plus there are lots of other songs and albums that need to go. So that will likely take a few hours during the weekend. However, since there is stuff going, I'll likely add a few new things. The short list includes new ones from Magnetic Fields, The Raveonettes, Bob Mould, Hawksley Workman and Sia.

However, I am happy to announce that I have a new favourite pop song. Favourite pop songs don't work for me the way they used to. I'd hear something on the radio, really like it and listen to it whenever it came on, or pop the CD on. But with the iPod, I tend to listen to things on shuffle. That means it can take weeks or months for even a new song to catch my attention. But for the last few months it's been "Bank Job" by Barenaked Ladies. It's not an epic or earth-shattering song. But it is a clever and amusing little pop song. And you know, they're hard enough to find that you ought to appreciate them when that happens.

This isn't really a video for the song. It's one of the guys singing, um, well, in the bathroom.

But the new favourite pop song is by The Weakerthans and it's called "Tournament of Hearts." And man, any band that can combine a song about a weekend curling bonspiel and a messed up and failing relationship earns my respect. And it rocks. The Weakerthans are one of the bands that I'm embarrassed to have not discovered them earlier than last year.

This is a clever and catchy song. And again, there is no video (and boy, is this an obvious song for a video. And with the actual Tournament of Hearts coming up in a week or two, it's a good time to release one), but there is this clip, where you can just listen to the song.

So a weekend of music and the odd video game. Oh, and Cathy has just reminded me, I also have to keep her from going insane. Which will require a bit of work. But still, a relaxing weekend in the offing.

Last Five
1. Was it just another love affair - Eurythmics
2. D is for Dangerous - The Arctic Monkeys
3. I Palindrome I - They Might Be Giants
4. Cold, cold ground - Tom Waits
5. Offend in every way - The WHite Stripes

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Such a shame

So I got a note the other day asking me to join a Facebook group. Now, normally I delete all invites to do things on Facebook as a matter of course. Just because Facebook has too many applications or groups to join and I think my head would explode trying to keep up with them all. However, this group was called "Force Andy Wells to Resign as Mayor of St. John's!!" And just to show the creator of the group was, like, really serious, you'll note the two exclamations points at the end of the group name.

So, on a lark, I joined. I just checked and there are now 313 members and it's growing. There are plots being made on how they might get Wells to step down as mayor. Marches, petitions and protests of various kinds. All because Wells is staying on as mayor of the city, even after accepting a high paying job as Chair of the Public Utilities Board. Wells has taken notice of these protests, both on Facebook, on VOCM and other forums and offers up about the kind of opinion you would expect from him.

(A brief paragraph for those not familiar with St. John's municipal politics - it's the most insane form of politics in Newfoundland. Nothing, not federal or provincial, comes close to it. That's because you will find nothing more nasty, cut-throat and mean-spirited in the province. Hell, perhaps in Canada. And Andy Well has been on council for 30 years, so that should give you some idea of what kind of human we're dealing with.)

Now, I like to think that after spending about three years covering City Council I have a greater than average knowledge of the way Wells' mind works. We'll leave it for other to judge if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But I have this bit of insight.

So I not only knew he was going to stick around when this racket first broke a couple of weeks ago, but I also know this - you're not getting him to quit. That Facebook group could reach 100,000 people and he will not quit. You could form a human chain 10 people deep around The Bunker (City Hall) and chant that he has to go or die and it would not make a difference.

Why? Because when most politicians resign or change their mind on something controversial they do it out of shame. The public has guilted them to the point that whatever sense of morals of shame they have kicks in. Granted, politicians have high shame thresholds, so it can take awhile, but they'll get there eventually.

Andy Wells has no shame threshold. Andy Wells does not feel shame. At all. I don't know if the section of his brain that can feel shame was destroyed in a stroke, or killed off in a childhood injury of some sort. Perhaps it's a genetic defect and he was born without a sense of shame. But he doesn't possess it. There are immutable laws of physics that I believe can be broken before Wells would feel shame over a course of action he took.

I've heard him say the most unbelievably cruel things to councillors and to members of the general public. He's called them fools, idiots and senile. And those are the nice things. I've watched women upset with a lack of proper water and sewer in their area of town show up to council ever week for months wearing t-shirts, carrying posters and yelling at him. And he not only withstood their attacks, he managed to make them look bad for having the gall to complain and criticize him. I'm astonished there wasn't blood spilt over issues such as Mile One Stadium, the water treatment plant and selling Memorial Stadium to Loblaws. He was called everything in the book and still, no hint of remorse or shame reared its head.

I'm not saying what people are tying to do right now in ousting Wells is a bad idea. Even if there is a cost associated with the by-election (which I think Wells is exaggerating), there is simply the ethics involved. Wells made a big deal about the mayor's position being a full-time gig and requiring a full-time salary. And he's renouncing that. I don't think he should hold both jobs. I don't think he should quit as mayor. I think he should turn down the PUB job and stick with the job he promised to do back in 2005. And if he wants to quit so badly, for no good reason, then he should have to foot part of the cost of a the by-election. I honestly don't know why he ran in '05. All it's seemed like he's done since then is to try and find another job other than the one he was elected for.

But let's face it, the idea of turning down the PUB job is fantasyland. It will never happen. Because Wells has no shame. Not only that, but he will try to make you feel ashamed for question his motivations. It doesn't always work, but he has a much better success rate then he really ought to.

That's why I can't conceive of what it would take to get him to quit. I'm not saying don't try. I just don't know what you could try that would work. Really. How do you shame a man into doing the right thing when he has no sense of shame. He wouldn't know shame if it kicked him the crotch and laughed at him.

So good luck with it. But don't be surprised if Wells is still there in September when he could quit without causing that expensive by-election he's so concerned about. Hell, don't be surprised if he runs for mayor again in '09. Crazy? No, just shameless.

Last Five
1. You won't succeed on Broadway - Spamalot*
2. Stars and planets - Liz Phair
3. Let your loss be your lesson - Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
4. Whole thing's ruined - Drive
5. Twisting by the pool - Dire Straits

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

It's super!

While the Super Bowl brought in record numbers, I’m really curious to see what the numbers will be like for Super Tuesday this evening. It’ll be a bit harder to judge, of course. The Super Bowl was on one channel in the US. I can’t even begin to calculate how many channels will be covering this event. But I think there will be a lot of interest. There are 22 states with delegates up for grabs.

I confess, I’m tempted to blow off curling this evening. Aside from the fact that I’m feeling like crap and I can’t really afford to take any sick days this week (without getting into details, I suspect there will be an event this week that will make my life a complete hell), the results from Super Tuesday states begin coming in around 7 p.m. Granted, I won’t be staying up late to watch all of it. California polls don’t close until 11 p.m. EST and with about half the votes being sent by mail-in ballot and those are apparently the last ones to be counted….well, I don’t expect California to be called until a few minutes before I wake up on Wednesday.

This is all on the Democrat side, by the way. As Cathy’s been interested in the primary battle, I’ve been explaining things as best I can understand. As usual, American elections are far more complicated than they really need to be. Republicans have the relatively simple “winner takes all” formula. If McCain polls more votes in California that Romney or Huckabee, then he wins all the delegates.

But for the Democrats, there are contrived formulas based on congressional ridings, jurisdictions and state-wide results. Which can make for bizarre results. If I’m not mistaken Clinton won the popular vote in both Nevada and New Hampshire, and yet Obama got more delegates. And this is all before the convention, where there will be “super delegates” – people who were not voted for by the people, but still have a vote based on their position within the political party.

So why pay attention to something this complicated? Because it is fascinating shit. Because for all the hundreds of polls and thousands of pundits, no one can tell you with any degree of accuracy what is going to happen this evening. They’ve been wrong as often as they’ve been right. Obama wasn’t supposed to win Iowa, but he did. He was supposed to win New Hampshire, but he didn’t. He was supposed to win in South Carolina by maybe 5-10 points. He won by 27.

And as much fun as it is watching the results come in and trying to figure out what it all means, it’s almost as entertaining watching all of these highly paid pundits explain how they managed to get it completely wrong….again.

For the record, the consensus among the pundits that I’ve read seems to be the following…the Democratic race won’t be decided this evening. Clinton will likely end the evening having won more delegates, but the closer Obama is, the better the “moral victory” will be. If he’s within 100 delegates of her by the end of the evening then he’s done well.

As for the Republican consensus, well, McCain is supposed to pretty much put the final nails in the coffin of Romney and Huckabee this evening.

Tune in tomorrow to see how what excuses the pundits use when the results don’t actually match their predictions.

Oh, and just because I enjoy what an anti-spectacle this is compared to what’s happening in the United States, Newfoundland Liberals are going to the polls today. To select a candidate in the federal riding of St. John’s East. The battle is between former provincial cabinet minister Walter Noel and real estate goddess Debbie Hanlon. Voting is between 4-8 pm at the Holiday Inn and St. Michael’s High School on Bell Island.

It’s all democracy, folks. No matter if some of it is less spectacular than others.

Monday, February 04, 2008


So, after a longish wait, mostly because of the weather, we finally got our big Chapters order today. And what does about $200 in Chapters gift certificates get you? Well, a coffee table full of amusement, that's what. Oh, and one of the reasons it might have been delayed was that the box was beaten to shit. Canada Post thoughtfully put the taped remains of the box in a baggy and gave it to me. Miraculously, none of the books were damaged.

And no, the dog isn't part of the Chapters order. His Fluffiness decided to swing by and see what I was up to standing up on the couch.

Anyway, that's a fairly large order, even by my standards. And it's going to have to hold me for a bit. First of all, I'm going to have to adjust the bookshelves to find room for all the extra books. And secondly, I have to start budgeting money for the New York trip, which as you can tell from the new widget on the side, is a mere 73 days away. And really, if you're going to a comic book convention, budget in spending a healthy chunk of money.

Besides, that's a good deal of geeky goodness right there on that table. It ought to keep me occupied for awhile. Plus, I still have a bookshelf and a bit of more geekiness to tide me through the long winter. Not to mention Wii games I haven't even gotten around to playing yet.

So much geek, so little time.

Oh, and on a completely unrelated note, I found something I want online. This is to add to the magical list of things I want to have when space and money are no longer an issue and I've done suitable amounts of good charitable works to not feel like scum for wasting lots of money on silly things.

It's this.

I found it on Boing Boing and this is the site for the company that sells them. You have to call to inquiry about the price, always a sure sign that if you have to ask, odds are you can't afford it. Plus, as commenters on the thread point out, trying to clean it would likely be a bitch. Not to mention I'm not sure how you would oxygenate the water. That's apparently important if you want the fish to live more than a few hours.

Still, that is one seriously snazzy aquarium.

I like the idea of have a fish tank. They're not the most interactive of pets, but I find a nice aquarium very relaxing. It's a lot of work and I would need to beef up on my knowledge. I couldn't keep betta fish alive about 10 years ago. But a good aquarium is something I wouldn't mind having one of these days.

It's just not practical up here. trying to get the fish up would be a severe nuisance. I've been on First Air flights with kids sitting in seats with little plastic bags filled water and a deeply disturbed goldfish on their laps. That's a hard way to get a fish to Nunavut.

So yeah, we'll wait until whenever we head south to get some fish. And probably a normal aquarium. Oh well...

Last Five
1. Wings - Josh Ritter*
2. Ocean of noise - Arcade Fire
3. Lay down beside me - Alison Krauss and John Waite
4. All the ladies - Amelia Curran
5. I'm just happy to be here - The Pursuit of Happiness

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl ads

I'm honestly not that interested in the Super Bowl this year. Neither is a particular favourite team of mine so I have no one to really cheer for. Still, it's the Super Bowl, so I'm watching. However, I think I'm more interested in the commercials this year, so for those of you who can't get the US commercials (one of the perks of Nunavut, Global or NTV don't cut in with their commercials. So here's what I think so far. I'll see how long I can update this evening. I've never done a live blog before.

Break #1
Bud Light #1 - Something with a guy who can breathe fire, but also has a cat allergy. Kind of lame and I think they aired it already somewhere else. Eh.
Audi - A riff on the Godfather involving sports cars. Still didn't do much for me.

Break #2
A Diet Pepsi Max ad (really?) - Starts off cute, with people bobbing their heads trying to stay awake but once you figure out what the product is and everyone starts dancing, it loses some of its oomph.
Sales Genie - That was a couple of million well spent. Not at all.

Break #3
Bud Light #2 - Wine and cheese ad. Funny, finally, with people smuggling in beer in hollow pieces of bread and cheese.
Under Armor - Dude, go easy on the steroids.

Break #4
Brdigestone tires - screaming animals as a car is about to paste a squirrel. That was pretty funny.
Doritos ad - she's pretty and can sing, but nothing great.
Unhitched - a new show from Fox. Looks awful.

Break #5
Wanted trailer - Can't go wrong with a Morgan Freeman voice over. Could be fun.
Gatorade - Boring.
Go - Eh
Dell - Yes, because a Dell computer will have people jumping your bones. So far, these commercials are pretty crappy.

Break #6
Fed Ex - First laugh-out loud commercial. Giant, mutant pigeons gone wild. Something like Cloverfield, really. - And back to the not funny. Circle of death with Gondor.
Tide - Talking stains. That's annoying.

Break #7
Budwiser - Hank the Cyldesdale to the tune of the Rocky music. With a dalmation for good measure as the trainer. And a high five at the end. Cute
Iron Man trailer - OK, that was fucking cool. I need to see that movie now.

Break #8
Corolla - ferocious badgers. Mildly entertaining.
Leatherheads trailer - Could be amusing, but it's a choppy ad with bad voiceover.
Garmin - Napoleon using a a GPS to get to a fight. Cute enough, but nothing earth-shattering. They are useful devices though.

Break #9
Career - Ok, the heart popping out of the chest was an interesting visual. Cute ad.
Life water - What the fuck? Was that Beyonce? Dancing lizards to Thriller? Jesus christ...

Break #10
Yukon Hybrid - Boring. And stuffed with pompous talking.
Bud Light #3 - Guys using accents on babes. Bud Light hasn't had much luck this evening, really.

Break #11
Narnia trailer - You know, I knows I should be interested or excited by this movie. And the effects look fine. But still, it does nothing for me.
Planters - A woman using peanuts as perfume and men going nuts (pardon the pun) for it. Funny.
T-Mobile - Charles Barley and Dwayne Wade, with Wade learning the drawback to be on Chuck's Fave 5. Pretty funny.

Break #12
Pepsi - You know, 30 seconds of watching Justin Timberlake getting the crap smacked out of him is quality entertainment for me. Good.
Doritos - Using Doristos to get a mouse, with not quite the effect the guy was hoping for. Surprising and funny.

Break #13
Toyota Tundra - seen it before. Eh
Then a bunch of local ads which I won't comment on.

Half-Time Show
I like Tom Petty. Really, I do. But Tom is really pretty mellow for this kind of event. And after Prince's show last year, this is quite the come down. Can we have Prince back?

I skipped the ads that ran during the half time show. Much of it was local stuff anyway.

Break #14 - Well, it was more amusing than the one with the circle of death earlier.
sales -Wow, how much money is sales genie wasting during this super bowl. This one is with pandas. Still very, very lame.
Vitamin water - Shaq as a horse jockey. Pretty funny.

Break #15
Bud Light #4 - It's all right, but Bud Light isn't having a great Super Bowl. Caveman and the wheel. And that is a pretty sucky bottle opener.
Ice Breakers - Carmen Electra. Nothing memorable about it.
Bridgestone - Bridgestone is having a pretty good Super Bowl, unlike Bud. A guy has to avoid a deer, Alice Cooper and Richard Simmons.
Career Builder - Disney is probably warming up it's lawyers, with a pseudo Jimny Cricket singing away, with unfortunate results.

Break #16
Genesis car - standard car ad.
Wall-E trailer - Like there was any doubt I was seeing this movie anyway. Still, pretty funny, although I could have done without Woody and Buzz in the ad. Not really any need for them there.

Break #17
Jumper trailer - That movie looks like it could be fun.
E-Trade - A baby making stock tips via YouTube. Cute and funny, especially the ending.
Bud Light #5 - Funny, but the last three seconds kind of ruins it.

Break #18
NFL ad - cute enough, abut a guy who was bagging groceries and ends up making it to the NFL
Time Warner - Boring and unmemorable
First Niagra - Boring and Unmemorable

Break #19
Sunsilk shampoo - Wow. Really. You spent millions to get that ad up? A few famous people and their hair.
Coke - Macy Thanksgiving Day parade balloons battle for a bottle of inflatable coke. Featuring Underdog, Stewie and Charlie Brown. Cute and amusing.

Break #20
Coke - An ad featuring pundits. Right before Super Tuesday. It works and is cute enough, even though I suspect mroe than a few won't know who they are.
Sequoa - Hey, an unsucky car ad. That's noteworthy in and of itself.

Break #21
You don't mess with the Zohan trailer - Like you could get me to see an Adam Sandler movie anyway. Looks awful.

Break #22
E-Trade - the baby on YouTube is back. Not as funny as the first one. Or as surprising.
Taco Bell - Yeah, that was stupid and boring.
Gatorade - Wow, that was a boring as watching a dog drink water. Oh wait, it was a dog drinking water.

Break #23
Jackie Moon trailer and Bug Light - Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Will Farrell did a movie like this awhile ago, but with NASCAR?
Genesis - I think the polls tomorrow will say your car ad sucks.
The Moment of Truth - Mildly amusing, still wouldn't watch that show if you put a gun to my head.

Break #24
Victoria's Secret - Well, that ought to shut down the higher brain functions of most men watching.
Amp - "Do not try this at home." Do you think?

Huh...most of the last quarter was commercial free...that was nice. And hey, the Giant won. Didn't see that coming at all. The first three quarters were kind of boring, but the last quarter was pretty good football.

And that's it. I'm signing off.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Getting rid of bloodsuckers

Sometimes you just have to be careful what link you decide to click on and follow.

Warren Ellis is notorious for this. If he has a link that reads "Don't Look" then for the love of God, don't look. It normally features some horrific piece of body modification that would make even some of my more crazy friends (Hi Mireille) go "Dear sweet honourable Jesus, why would you want to do that?"

Still, every now and then he stealths one by. Like this one, for example. called What I Killed Today. It's a veterinary worker detailing what animals he or she had to euthanize that day. Which, I know, sounds horrible and morbid, but I honestly think it's just that person's way of trying to deal with their job. A job that most of us, if you love animals at all, could never do. It's not exploitive and it's oddly touching in some ways. Still, be very, very careful following that link.

But that was the way the day went for me yesterday. I kept clicking links and accidentally going to terrible things. Another one of them took me to Megan's blog. Harmless enough. Except on her blog there was a link to an Eye Weekly article on Rebecca Eckler. And then I followed the links and read, even though I knew I shouldn't.


Now, I don't like Eckler. There's not much I can add to what I've said about her here. I've tried harder in recent years to just avoid things that annoy me. That's why I don't read articles on Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan. I understand that by not paying attention to Britney Spears I'm putting the U.S. economy at risk, but that's a sacrificing I'm willing to make. Life's too short to spend time paying attention to things that aggravate you.

That's always been my view of Eclker. She's an annoying, no-talent hack. She thrives not so much on people who read her stuff, love her and want to be just like her, but more on people that find her annoying and can't believe people keep printing her writing.

So despite my vow that I wouldn't read her stuff, I did read the Eye magazine article and the thing she put in Macleans recently. And yeah, I got a big blast of why I don't like her. People who criticize her anonymously are cowards. Those who put their names to things ripping her are failures trying to build themselves up using Eckler as a foot stool.

I mean, there's no middle ground on a statement like there. She's either an idiot for not seeing that contradiction or a genius for putting that out there, knowing it will drive people insane. Either way, it does indicate a fairly high level of bitchiness.

However, there was one thing that Eckler was right about in that article. The people who obsess over her are nuts. The ones who keep her going. Just like a vampire needs blood, Eckler needs people who hate her. And not just hate her, but read all of her stuff to keep their hate going and reaching frantic levels. Because as long as they keep reading, hating and ranting, magazines will keep printing her.

It's such a simple, basic bit of information that I don't understand how people don't get it. If there's no hate, then editors have no reason to keep her around, because lord knows you wouldn't read that crap based on its merits.

It's not people like me that keep Eckler going. I only have a casual hatred of her. I can safely say that the only time I've thought of her in the past six or seven months is whenever I check Statcounter and see that yet another person has linked to the article I wrote about her last year. Sadly, that article still gets me several hits a week.

Look, what you need to get rid of Eckler is the same thing you need to get rid of most vampires. Sunlight. And I don't mean tossing her into the sun. I mean people need to get outside, get some sunlight and read something that doesn't drive them nuts. If enough people do that, you'll be surprised how quickly, albeit with some screaming, hissing and probably acrid smoke, the bloodsucker will disappear.

Now if something could only be done with Spears, Lohan and Hilton....

Last Five
1. Biggest fan - Brandon Benson
2. The saints are coming - U2 and Green Day
3. What's my name? (live) - The Clash
4. Song to Woody - Bob Dylan
5. How to be dead - Snow Patrol