Sunday, March 30, 2008

Last curling weekend

Been quiet the last couple of days with curling stuff take up most of my spare time. Unlike previous bonspiels where my involvement normally began and ended with curling games, this one I decided I tried to be more involved in the organizing of it. Which is a bit more work than you might expect for this kind of event. There were 16 teams playing, and we tried to make sure that each team got at least three games.

It went pretty well. Only a couple of hiccups. A couple of games got behind schedule and we, um, had to take one person to the hospital...

She was a new player, she was running down the ice wearing sneakers and slipped. That happens, but managed to crack her head on the ice. Fortunately we had some people with emergency training on the ice playing and were able to make sure she was fine. Just a sizable goose egg on the back of her head and a couple of stitches. But it was a bit of a scare for a moment.

As for how my team did, well, not so great. Finished with a 2-2 record. This was also the first time I had curled in about a month because my team didn't make the play-offs in league play. So there was a bit of rust to knock off. Then again, in the past curling season, teams I curled on won two bonspiels, and lost in the final of another one. I won a plane ticket, 100 kg of freight, $125 in gift cards from Arctic Ventures and a handful of smaller prizes. I don't think I have much right to complain about coming up bust this weekend.

Although I did note that one player, Curtis, won his second plane ticket this year. So obviously we're going to have his legs broken before the first bonspiel of next year.

This was the last games of the season. As I type this, they're taking the ice up. Which is always kind of sad. But it wasn't a bad season. Some challenges and organization problems. But I think we've got a good group of people who said at our AGM after the games last night (nothing like keeping a captive audience and holding the AGM before saying who won the plane tickets and Ottawa Senators tickets that Canadian North donated) that they would be willing to help with the club this year. We're looking at getting some new equipment, doing more advertising for events, getting more people involved, setting up coaching clinics...

And, of course, there's the Mixed Nationals in November, which we're still recruiting volunteers for. So yeah, there's going to be a lot going on in the next year.

I know some of you who read this blog look forward to the end of curling season because you get at least a six month reprise from having to read any more posts about curling. Sorry, that's probably not going to be the case this year. I'm afraid you're going to have to deal.

Oh, and about the Women's semi-final game between Canada and Japan...I missed most of it, but people were relaying the highlights to me. And I'll say this about Jennifer Jones. She's good, there's no question about that. But there's the saying that it's better to be lucky than good. And honestly, Jones must have had a horse shoe inserted somewhere this season, because she's burning through luck faster than a SUV using gas on a freeway. Unreal.

Last Five
1. After the rain (live) - Blue Rodeo
2. Highway patrolman (live) - Bruce Springsteen*
3. Separated by motorways - The Long Blondes
4. Down in the ground where the dead men go - The Pogues
5. China in your hands - T'Pau

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Well, that's odd

The writing gods giveth, and then they taketh away. For the last couple of weeks I could look at a story and think of any number of things. This week, not so much. I mean the gods give you a story like this one, about a man who is pregnant, and I can't think of anything original to write about it, other than, "dude, that's fucking weird. Can you imagine what's going to happen to that kid in 15 years when he starts poking around on Google and comes across this story about his folks. That might cause some trauma.

Then again, who knows. Maybe dads becoming pregnant will be all the rage by then.

If you're in the mood for more weirdness, here's a story about how giant squids have sex. The comments section after the story is priceless.

Other stories that have caught my interest, well, there's this one about small record stores in college towns dying off. University students are finding their weird music online and not browsing the racks of their local store anymore. St. John's is not like the town in this story, of course. MUN is practically in the middle of nowhere. The nearest place off campus to do any shopping is Churchill Square, which has very little that's cool or interesting. The only real small record shop left in town is Fred's. And while I worry from time to time it might close up, as it's pretty much the only place in town that has a decent local music collection, it ought to be safe for a few more years at least.

Meanwhile, up north, here's a profile of Kenojuak Ashevak, the famed Cape Dorset artist, who just won a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. And $25,000, which never goes astray.

Finally, I used to review movies once upon a time. I got my start at the Muse. But a little after I got my start, some of my friends created the Bad Movie Review Board. The goal was to find the utter dregs of cinema available on VHS, watch it, review it and then mock it to within an inch of its life. The worse they ever found was Lion Man, a movie so bad that I can't actually find it on IMDB. But I recall it involved twin brothers who had the same lion birth mark, strategically placed trampolines, and extras that looked remarkably alike who tended to die over and over and over again.

Anyway, I mention this because Joe Queenan, a writer I like but haven't read much of lately, looks at what constitutes a truly hideous movie when looking at Paris Hilton's latest. And really, it's hard to argue with his choice for Worst Movie of All Time. I tried to watch it and failed to make it more than 20 minutes. And any movie that destroyed a major Hollywood studio has to be be serious in its awfulness.

Last Five
1. Furnace Room Lullaby (live) - Neko Case*
2. Running on empty - Jackson Browne
3. Rainbirds - Tom Waits
4. Metal heart - Garbage
5. Natural born lovers - Andrew LeDrew

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Regular readers of the blog will know that one of my favourite musicians is Colleen Power. I consider her one of the most fun and clever lyricists in a place where there's an abundance of people who can write really good songs. But Colleen can always get me to smile or laugh a couple of times on her albums. I still do it, even after hearing these songs dozens of times. Plus, I've had the pleasure of interviewing her a couple of times and running into her when I'm in town and she's about as nice and friendly a person as you could hope to meet.

I don't know when her next album is coming out. Hopefully soon since she hasn't released an English album since 2004 and I'm getting anxious for new material. I'm getting hopeful that it's coming soon since The Independent, a St. John's paper, produced the lyrics for a song I've never heard before. They don't say where they got the lyrics from, nor are there any updates on Colleen's website or myspace page.

But regardless, it's typical Colleen, in that it's funny and clever. And, apparently, it's rap, which is a bit different for her. I can't wait to hear it, but in the meantime, the lyrics make me smile. And it's appropriate song for a blog with a title like the one I have.


“What is she doin’ with a Townie?” whispers a voice throughout the song. “What is she doin’ with a Townie?”

Well I’m from around the Bay, but I lives in Town

I’m right on the go, nothin’ gets me down

’cept when I goes around the Bay, they don’t understand

What I sees in me new Townie man


If you can’t get a man get a Townie they say

They always says that I should move back out around the bay

But I likes it here in Town and that’s where I’m stayin’

And the last thing I wants is a hairy-arsed bayman


They won’t let it go, no they’ll never understand

They gives him dirty looks and they won’t shake his hand

Well it’s too bad for them, that’s what I’m saying

Go back to the woods ye bunch of shaggin’ Baymen

Last Five
1. Lust - The Raveonettes
2. Road tippin' - Red Hot Chili Peppers
3. Love rescue me - US
4. Cape St. Mary's - Stan Rogers*
5. Young Americans - David Bowie

Monday, March 24, 2008

Stan Lee

There are plenty of people I want to see or meet at the New York Comic Con. I already have a ticket to see Neil Gaiman do a reading. Frank Miller is going to be signing stuff and I'm tempted to bring something from here to get him to sign. And there are a dozen or more artists I can already think of that I'd love to get sketches from.

But oddly, the news that Stan Lee is going to be at the con is something that gets me excited, in a thoroughly geeky way.

It's not like Lee has really written anything worth reading, well, almost since I was born, really. And lord knows there are plenty of anecdotal stories about how Lee treated some of the artists at Marvel, especially Jack Kirby. And there is the issue of how much credit he deserves in creating some of the biggest comic book characters in the world - like Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and others. People claim he's exaggerated his importance. But he did play a role. And a fairly major one. And let's face it, the characters he created or co-created have been some of my favourites growing up. All right, all right, some of my favourites to this day.

Plus, he's 85 years old. I might have another chance to meet Miller and Gaiman, but realistically, the number of chances to meet Lee are getting more and more remote. So it would be nice to meet him and say thanks.

I'll have to see where he's going to be at the con and what he's going to be doing. It might be enough to just say I got to see him. But if he's doing a signing, well, I'm going to have to find something for him to sign. Probably the Fantastic Four Omnibus I've been eying forever.

I used to make fun of people who tried to get autographs of famous people. It was something that I didn't really understand. Who cares if I got George Clooney's signature on a scrap of paper. Apparently, all it took for me was the proper geeky motivation.

Last Five
1. I'm just happy to dance with you - The Beatles
2. This little light (live) - Neko Case*
3. Alternative to love - Brandon Benson
4. All the trees are here - Hawksley Workman
5. Ways and means - Snow Patrol

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It's Spring! Sort of...

It's actually warmish here today. It's nothing radical like actual warm spring weather....something I've only experienced once in my life, and that was in South Korea. But the temperature is around -7 C, which is about has warm has it has been up here since October. And after a winter of temperatures constantly colder than -30, it feel positively balmy. Remember, if you're in St. John's, 30 C is scorching compared to 0 C. Same theory applies up here.

Today, we took Boo out for another walk in the snow. Here's your weekly Boo pic.

And there was a lot of snow. The warmer temperatures mean that snow is more like than when it's bitter cold. I say we probably got about 20 cm of snow since Friday. Not a lot if you live in Newfoundland, but that's a lot for up here. At least the people with snowmobiles are happy. They've been zipping around town like maniacs.

The other nice thing is we were able to get a window in the apartment open for the first time since October. A blast of fresh air in the apartment is nice. You don't realize how stale the air has been until the fresh stuff starts to circulate.

One thing unrelated to the weather...the last curling bonspiel of the year is happening next weekend. If you live in Iqaluit and you're interested in taking part, let me know.

And why would you want to take part? Aside from the fun and a bar, we're going to have many cool prizes for those who take part...the coolest being four Canadian North tickets from Iqaluit to Ottawa. And they're door prizes, so you and your team can stick up the joint, and you still have a reasonable chance of winning a plane ticket. Plus, there's a bar, so there's no problem drowning your sorrows afterwards.

Say what you will about the airlines up here, they do offer up a lot of free plane tickets. I've won one already (and I'm using it next month) and there are plenty of other places that get free plane tickets. I think the curling club has gotten at least eight free plane tickets for bonspiels this year, plus gift certificates for cargo. You wouldn't see that back in Newfoundland. Not in a million years would Air Canada offer up so many free plane tickets. Or that you would have reasonable odds of winning one. We could have as many as 16 teams, which would be 64 players. So you have a 1 in 16 chance, at worst. If we have 14 teams, where I think we are now, then it's a 1 in 14 chance of winning a ticket.

Try and find those odds in Newfoundland of winning a plane ticket.

Anyway, it will be fun. I'm looking forward to get my last curling fix for the season.

Last Five
1. A bad dream - Keane
2. Give Judy my notice - Ben Folds
3. Back to me - Kathleen Edwards*
4. Favourite hour - Elvis Costello
5. It's a good day to die - Robbie Robertson

Friday, March 21, 2008

Investment blues

So this whole "economic meltdown" that we seem to be in the middle of is interesting. You know, in the way that car wrecks tend to be.

Here's what makes it interesting. The last significant economic downturn, most economists agree, was in the early 90s. And before that it was in the early 80s. The one in the early 80s I barely remember because I was 11 years old and you don't trend to remember these things unless you were hammered by it directly. Both of my parents were working with decent jobs, so iI didn't really notice it, although I'm sure there were tough times for them.

As for the one in the 90s, well, I was in university. So I was expecting to be poor most of the time. I was living at home and able to save money from my table waiting job. I wasn't rich, but I was certainly doing better than many of my friends who were practically prostituting themselves to student aid to get enough money to survive.

And now we have another one on the way. And so far, knock on wood, we're doing fine. We both have good jobs and Iqaluit tends to be a bit of a bubble. The way things are right now, the U.S. is getting hammered, but Canada is managing to duck it, so far. But it'll likely move north and hit Canada. And then at some point it'll move up here and hit us. But right now, things are fine.

I think the difference this time is we have to consider the very grown-up reality of our investments. I never had to worry about how a downturn in the stock market and economy would effect my investments. I had no money for investments when I was in my early 20s (other than my comic books). I still get a kick out of all those commercials that come out at RRSP time that say if you invest a couple of thousand dollars when you're 25, it'll pay off much better than if you start contributing when you're 35.

I don't know many 25 year olds with a couple of extra thousand dollars kicking around to invest, honestly. Most are trying to feed themselves or pay off student loans. RRSP investments are a fantasy.

Anyway, we find ourselves with investments. We have RRSPs. We have a rainy day fund (or a snowy day fund, I guess). I think we're content to let both ride out as is. We don't really know enough about the stock market to start messing around with things. Which is probably shocking, but I suspect we're not alone in that. It's diverse enough that I don't think we're going to lose our shirt.

The question becomes....what next? We'll be getting our tax returns back soon-ish. We normally just plunk it into RRSPs. This year, not so certain that's a good idea. For that matter, before Christmas we were thinking about increasing the rainy day fund. Again, not sure that's such a good idea. I'm tempted to stick it in a bank account until things calm down a bit. We won't be making anything off of it, but then again, we won't lose it all either.

I know this means I'm going to have to bite the bullet and actually doing some research into investing. Which I know I should do anyway, but I find it about as exciting as reading computer manuals. But since I have a readership here, presumably with a wide knowledge base, anyone have any free advice to offer up?

Last Five
1. C'mere - Interpol
2. Vince the loveable stoner - The Fratellis
3. Sea shanty - The Pogues*
4. Hammering in my head - Garbage
5. Bullet the blue sky (live) - U2

Thursday, March 20, 2008


This came up on a private mailing list I'm on. We were all discussing with astonishment that Leonard Cohen is going to play in St. John's (and has added shows). I have to admit some frustration that since I moved up here it feels like there have been more cool concerts hitting town that I would have liked to have seen. Fiest and Hawksley Workman being two that I can think of off the top of my head.

By the way, what's up with Cohen playing at a high school? I think he might be able to sell out a larger venue than that, no problem. If he sold out 2,500 tickets in an hour or so, I think he could easily fill Mile One. Or at least the Arts and Culture Centre, where the acoustics are better. And while there are no dates scheduled for Iqaluit, there is a mention that more dates would be scheduled later. I think someone needs to lobby for Iqaluit right now. That might beat the White Stripes show last year for pure weirdness.

Anyway, the discussion on my mailing list was "What are some of the best concerts you've attended?" Now, I don't normally throw out an open ended questions like this to my blog readers, but I am curious. What is the best concerts you've ever seen? And as an added bonus question, because it's usually good in the humiliation front, what was the first rock concert you ever went to?

Because it's my blog, I'm going to cheat and name a few of my favourites:
1. The White Stripes in Iqaluit ('07) – because nothing can beat that for pure weirdness. Plus, it was a hell of a good rock show. Jack White is a demon on stage.

2. Two Spirit of the West shows ('92 and '93) – The one at the Thompson Student Centre (TSC) was perhaps more fun because everyone, including the band I think, was drunk and rocking out. But the one at the Arts and Culture Centre was essentially a greatest hits show because they weren't promoting an album, they were just out touring for the hell of it. And since SPOTW started to suck after '93, it was as good as it gets with the band.

3. The Pursuit of Happiness at the TSC in '93 – memorable for the 10+ minute long version of "I'm an adult now", which is still one of my all-time favourite songs.

4. Sarah McLachlan at the Arts and Culture Centre ('92). My girlfriend at the time dragged me to see the show. I didn't know much about McLachlan, but she put off a fun and entertaining show and really got the audience involved. This was before she got all weepy and preachy. Plus, we were literally front row, centre. We could nearly touch her, we were that close.

5. The Chieftains at Mile One ('03, I think) – Because I've loved the Chieftains for years and had always wanted to see them. Great show, I just wish it had been longer and that the Ennis Sisters hadn't completely blown the encore with the band at the end of the show.

6. Chris De. Burgh at Memorial Stadium (late 80s) – I know it's easy to make fun of De Burgh and the really quite awful "Lady in Red", but he puts off a hell of a concert and always steps up his game when he plays St. John's, which he describes as his favourite place to play in North America. Worth it for when women pelted him with underwear during an acoustic version of "Patricia the Stripper" and he laughed so hard he fucked up the song.

As for my first concert, sadly it was Corey Hart and April Wine at Memorial Stadium back in '84, I think. By the way, Hart was opening for April Wine. "Sunglasses at Night" was only just starting to break big and April Wine was by far the bigger act, unlike the touring joke they are now. Oh, and for the record, Cathy's first rock concert was Samantha Fox at Memorial Stadium in, I think, '89.

And your list?

Addition: I have been chastised by Cathy for not naming her favourite concert of all time. It was Tina Turner live in Dublin during her farewell tour.

Last Five
1. Cocaine cowgirl - Matt Mays and El Torpedo
2. Duchess - Genesis
3. Goodnight Rose - Ryan Adams*
4. Tossed salad man (comedy) - Chris Rock
5. Jamaica Inn (live) - Tori Amos

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Close, but not quite

Apparently I very nearly won the St. Patrick's Day Drunk Dial, but a literal 11th hour call beat me out. Having listened to it, well, it's pretty damn good. Certainly more lyrical and poetic than my ramblings.

So I offer my congratulations to the winner and resolve to come up with something next year to win. And hopefully something that doesn't involve having to do a very terrible Irish accent.

But on the upside, while I didn't finish first, I still got a prize. The winner got a bottle of Screech, which I wouldn't have much use for. Instead, I got a percentage of the profits from the site. Which, because this is the first year Dups has put this online and tried to market it, was admittedly a bit small. So I got $15.

We're trying to figure out how much I could actually buy for $15 in Iqaluit. Not much admittedly. That's why I've decided to invest my winnings into Dups Drunk Dial site. Hopefully this $15 investment will double, maybe even triple in the coming years.

If you're curious about the winners and everyone else who participated, then go here. And while they're dear friends, I wonder if Andrew and Karin weren't on something stronger than booze. If nothing else, the site is a wonderful place for their daughter Amelia to visit in a few years time to discover that mom and dad are she won't have already realized that by the time she turns 13.

Last Five
1. Five days in May - Blue Rodeo
2. Emile's reels - Figgy Duff
3. Winter - Tori Amos*
4. Mrs. Robinson - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies
5. What will we do? - The Flash Girls


There are enough writers swinging by this blog to know this particular truth, but it's probably worth mentioning one more time – just because you're good at one kind of writing, doesn't mean you're good at others.

I learned this particular truth back in university when professors in one department would praise what I had written, while professors in another department would rip apart my writing style. It came to a head towards the end of my degree in history when my faculty advisors, perhaps sensing she was losing me, wrote the following on a paper I submitted. "It's sad to see the lamentable influence of the Muse (the campus newspaper) on your writing style."

That was just one more reason I made the switch about that time from pursuing a history degree into pursuing journalism. Writing for the Muse was fun. Writing history papers had long since lost any appeal for me. It was something I had a hard time wrestling with. Ever since I was in Grade 5, history was my favourite subject. I loved it. In high school, the only reason I didn't get 100% in the course (I pulled a 96%) was due to my teacher docking me marks for spelling because he hated giving 100%. I expected to become a history professor at one point (North Atlantic migration patterns in the 19th century and their impact on Newfoundland was the focus, in case you were curious).

But tastes evolve. So did my writing style. And it continues to evolve. After enough years as a journalist, I discovered that the news format was beginning to get on my nerves as well. I was having far more fun writing my columns and editorials than my standard news and feature stories. It was probably one more reason that after 15 years, on and off, of being a journalist that I was ready to try something new again.

That writing styles and preferences evolve over time is something that seems evident to me now. It might seem completely obvious to most people reading this blog. But it was confusing and baffling to me at the time. I hoped I might get better over time. I never realized that my interests and tastes would evolve as well.

When people met me, back when I wrote columns with the Packet and Express, one of the first things they used to say is "you talk just like you write." I never knew if that was a compliment or not, but I tended to take it as such. Especially since most people tended to like my columns. When my columns were right, when I was happy with them, I managed to make them funny and get a point across. And that, by the way, is also a lot harder than you think.

I've been blogging now for three years. And again, I'm surprised where my interests take me. I figured the blog would be an extension of the columns I wrote. That I would write something humourous on current events and pop culture.

Again, I confess some confusion as to how my brain works. I think regular readers of my blog would say that's not the way it's been…at least for the past several months. I rarely comment on Newfoundland politics anymore. Same thing with federal politics. I wrote a pop culture column with The Express, talking about TV shows, movies and music. And yet, I'm not even writing much about that lately.

To be honest, I'm not sure where my writing, and reading, habits are taking me. Given the amount I've written about curling lately, perhaps I should apply for a job with the Curling News (not really, no, but if they need an Iqaluit correspondent, they can let me know). I'm still struggling with novel writing, which at times feels very much like trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole. The grand novel remains about ¾ finished and a deeply frustrating experience that I've been dodging lately instead of facing head on.

But the form of writing I've been finding myself more curious about lately has been speech-writing. It's not something I've ever paid that much attention to before. It's very, very hard to craft a good speech and most fall well short of the mark.

The reason for the interest now is two-fold. First, I've had some occasion recently to dabble into the field of speech-writing lately. Obviously, I'm still learning. But I'm curious now about the process. I've never studied it before, never had any interest in it before, but that's changed.

As for the second reason….obviously I'm following the U.S. presidential election and I'm rooting for Barack Obama. I'm also reading his speeches, which are offering me insights into the process. There's more to it than just the words, of course. It helps that Obama is a gifted orator. But this speech yesterday on race is captivating to me. Some are calling it one of the finest speeches about race in the United States in a generation. My knowledge of speeches dealing with race is somewhat limited, and yet I've read this speech several times and have marveled at it. I'm no master of rhetoric, so I'm sure there are nuances I'm missing, but my God, that's a piece of artistry.

There are pieces of writing that you read that change your perspective. I'm not sure how much this has changed my perspective on race in the United States, but it has changed my perspective on speech writing. I'm not saying I'm going to be crafting anything like that anytime soon (or, let's be honest here, ever). But that's the gold standard for me right now in modern speech writing. That's what you shoot for.

By the way, I'm not now dedicating myself to the art of speech writing. I'm just enamored by it right now. And if I've learned anything in recent years, when it comes to writing I seem to have crushes, but there haven't been many times I've fallen in love with a particular kind of writing. So we'll see how long this lasts.

And hey, if it inspires me to improve my writing to the point where I can finally go back and finish that God damned novel, all the better. Because that's a deep love/hate affair going on right there.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke: 1917-2008

Arthur C. Clarke has died. It was one of those "Aw crap" moments when you see the headline flash across the computer. This is the BBC story, the New York Times obit and here is his bio on Wikipedia.

Why "oh crap"? The man was 90 years old and was clearly in declining health. He'd led a remarkable life, the kind most people would be envious of. I suspect he would be pleased to have lived as long, done as much as he had and seen so many changes in the world.

Still, that's a real piece of history that passed away today. And a real piece of my childhood. I don't know if Clarke was the first "adult" author I ever read, but he was certainly one of the first and likely the one who had the biggest impact on me as a kid.

I imagine the first book I read by Clarke was "Childhood's End" a book I thought would be standard sci-fi, how the humans would realize the aliens were bad guys and gang up and overthrow them. Of course, the book is nothing like that. It goes in a direction that my 10 year old brain couldn't have imagined. And it must have had an impact, because I was hooked. I read every single Clarke book I could find at the local library. I checked out copies of the same books to reread them. And when that wasn't enough, I started prowling around used book stores to find copies of the books. Whenever I found a copy of one of his books that I'd never read before, it was a cause of much joy. Hell, I still have most of those books, with the price stamped in black ink on the inside cover from Afterwords Bookstore or Second Page.

And when there wasn't enough Clarke for me, it made me expand my horizons. I started reading other sci-fi authors. Isaac Asimov was the only one who grew to the same cult-like levels for me, but I tried lots.

I even remember being very excited when 2010, the movie, came out in 1984. Just because it was a movie based on a book by one of my favourite authors. A lot of my friends grumbled that it was boring because there was no action like Star Wars, but I loved it, even though it wasn't as good as the book. Dad suggested I watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, but even though I had already read the book, I found the movie deeply weird and not nearly as entertaining as Clarke's book. Both cases were probably some of my earliest realizations that the book is always better than the movie.

My love of Clarke's writing faded at some point in my 20s. Perhaps it was when he began putting out books that said he co-wrote them, when it was obvious he only had the most basic dealing with the writing. The writing seemed flat compared to his earlier books. But then again, he was well into his 70s at that point. Let's see how well I'm writing when I'm in my 70s. But I certainly stopped buying everything he produced. I have a book shelf which has nothing but Clarke and Asimov books on it. Up until I moved to Iqaluit, it had been years since I read any of them. Cathy suggested that perhaps I might want to sell the books, but I could never find it in my heart to do it.

And, you know, I struggled with the allegations 10 years ago that he was a paedophile. It tarnished my opinion of him for a time. And part of me still wonders. He was cleared, the newspaper that printed the story retracted it and that should be the end of the matter. But it does linger a bit, like a faint, bad smell that's hard to get rid of.

But I really do wish I had some of those books here today, rather than in storage in St. John's. I'd like to crack one open and reread and relive what it was like to read something with a bit of wonder and awe. Perhaps "Childhood End" or "Tales from the White Hart" (a lesser known collection of short stories, but I always loved it a lot). Or "Rendezvous with Rama", probably his last great novel. It'd be nice to do that this evening.

I'm glad he made it to 2001, even if the world is a pale shadow of what he imagined it would be in that year. But I keep thinking how nice it would have been if he could have made it to 2010.

One final thing, Clarke's Third, and most famous, Law states: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. To that I'll add "Any sufficiently advanced writing is indistinguishable from magic." And for years, that's what Clarke was for me every time I opened one of his books.

Last Five
1. Walk of life - Dire Straits
2. Haiti - The Arcade Fire
3. Mystify - INXS
4. Smoke it - The Dandy Warhols
5. Tougher than the rest - Bruce Springsteen*

Monday, March 17, 2008

Oh Danny boy...

Something for those of you celebrating St. Patrick's Day, today. You can never go wrong with Muppets.

And don't forget, the line's are still open over at Dups' St. Patrick's Drunk Dial competition. By all accounts my call blew the doors off the place, but it's not too late to try and come up with your own bit of fun. Once the competition closes, I'll put up what I said.

Oh, and if you want to hear us talk about the Drunk Dial, go here. Although I should note that this is all Dups. They list me as one of the co-founders, but I'm not. Merely a source of inspiration.

Last Five
1. Gloria - U2
2. I'm finding it harder to be a gentleman - The White Stripes*
3. Helpless - k.d. lang
4. John Henry - Bruce Springsteen
5. Say hello, wave goodbye - David Gray

Sunday, March 16, 2008

God, that was dull

I really do love curling, as is probably amply evident by the amount of time I talk about it on this blog. But honestly, when you have Brier finals like the one I just watched, I can understand why people find the sport as exciting as watching paint dry. What a dreadful game. I think it was the worst bit of curling I've watched all week. It wasn't just all the mistakes both teams were making, but they both played so conservatively. They each had so much respect for each other than neither one of them wanted to go in and mix things up.

You know when you have people yelling from the stands "Boring!" that you're in deep trouble. I had to drag Cathy's comatose body from the couch and put her to bed. I'm hoping the coma isn't permanent and that she wakes up in the morning. Otherwise, I'll be calling the CBC and the CCA tomorrow and be quite annoyed that they managed to put my wife in a coma.

On top of that, Martin won, which pretty much assures more boring curling at the World's. Cathy will be glad about that, at the very least. It means I'll likely miss most of the World's. It'll be too dull for words.

On top of that, the commentators seemed like they were half in a coma. It was the last game the CBC is going to air, and it really felt like they were punching the clock. Even when Howard gives them a gift at the 5 end break by blaming some of the picks of the rocks by one of the Alberta's players bad habit of kneeling on the ice (the warmth of the body melts the ice a bit, causing flat spots), they didn't even follow up on it when they interviewed Martin afterwards.

Boring, boring, boring....


Last Five
1. Your ex-lover is dead - Stars
2. Conquest - The White Stripes
3. Jodi Rae - Colleen Power
4. Hard bargin - Ron Sexsmith
5. Jacksonville - Sufjan Stevens

Boo on ice

So with the temperatures creeping up in the balmy mid -20s, and no wind today, I decided to take Boo out for a walk. The poor dog has been cooped up inside the apartment most of the winter because it's been too cold to take him outside for even a few minutes.

The result has been, well, I won't say psychotic episodes, but certainly prolonged bouts of exceptional binkiness. For example, we might be sitting on the couch and the dog will start running from the living room to the bedroom barking for no reason for about 10 minutes. Cathy has been throwing his stuffed fish so much we think she might have actually injured her elbow from doing it.

He needs to get out more and with the weather becoming something other than bitter, freeze your ass off in less than five minutes cold that's likely to start happening more.

Today Cathy took the car and went to a scrap-booking class. So rather than drive up to the Road to Nowhere or go the Sylvia Grinnell Park, I just walked five minutes from the apartment and out onto the ice covering the bay. And Boo has himself a fine old time running around like a maniac, bouncing through snow drifts and chasing after imaginary things.

Here are some of the photo highlights.

Last Five
1. Atlantic Blue - Ron Hynes*
2. Under my thumb - Rolling Stones
3. Two shots of happy - Matt Dusk
4. So here we are - Bloc Party
5. Diamond ring - Sheryl Crow

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Drunk dial

Just a friendly reminder as some of you get geared up for the big St. Patrick's day weekend, that my friend Dups has his St. Patrick's Day Drunk Dial website. So if you're drunk this weekend, or even just feeling particularly witty and in the mood to harass Dups (you should always be in this mood, by the way. The man craves abuse) then check out his website and give him a call. The contest runs from now until March 18.

There's also prize money involved – potentially up to $1,000 – for the funniest drunk dial call. And it's also worth checking out some of the past winners. The one from last year, the Queen of England, was particularly funny.

Anyway, go and take part. I already have something in mind. I don't think I'll be getting drunk to make the call. I'm really not much of a drinker (when you can count on one hand the number of times you've been drunk in your life, I think it's safe to say that), but since this idea leapt up in my brain, I have to do it.

I'll link to it or put up the rough version of what I'm going to say on St. Patrick's Day. In the meantime, have a fun St. Patrick's Day. And don't forget to call and drunk dial Dups.

Last Five
1. I would die 4 U - Prince
2. Street spirit - Radiohead
3. I always fall in love - Chris Picco
4. La cienega just smiled - Ryan Adams
5. Little earthquakes (live) - Tori Amos*

Friday, March 14, 2008

Poor loser

Despite the fact that nothing is really going to happen for the better part of five weeks, I still keep paying attention to the long, slow 401-level pile up that is the Democratic nomination. Granted, the Spitzer disaster this week took some of the focus off the race.

For those wondering, Cathy's reaction – "there's no way in hell I would be standing up there next to you if you did that." To which I don't blame her. It took a special level of narcissist to ask his wife to stand by him on a national stage while admitting he slept with a $4,000 an hour hooker. And with stories coming out saying he spent enough on call girls the past decade to put one of his daughters through Harvard, well, he should be grateful she's not on stage behind him with a large baseball bat.

Anyway, the nominee race has turned into a sadly predictable knife fight. The problem with that is Clinton is very good at a knife fight, while I suspect Obama isn't. Let's put it this way, they both might have knives, but Clinton made sure her's is a bit rusty and she rubbed in it shit beforehand, so that any cuts get infected and fester.

And then there's the whole Michigan/Florida seating debacle. Personally, I don't think they should get a seat. They violated the rules, they knew the consequences, and the candidates all agreed to stripping them of representation. But now that Clinton is behind and that this could hurt the Democratic nominee in Michigan and Florida come the fall, they're talking about seating them.

The best suggestion, in my humble opinion, on how to deal with the matter, other than not giving them any damn seats like they were told was going to happen, is this one. By all accounts, Clinton hates it, Obama hates it and Florida really hates it, but it works for me. If all three of them hate it, it generally means they're on the right track. Besides, I'm all about anything that suppresses Florida from voting. Yes, it's undemocratic, but that state has shown a real ability to fuck up democracy at a much wider scale. If they were confining their mistakes to just their state, that would be one thing. But do you really want to give them the ability to fuck up who can be president twice in eight years through their inability to run a proper election?

Anyway, here's hoping that Al Gore, John Edwards and Bill Richardson stand up on a platform at some point in the next month, point to Obama and say, "this is the person to lead us" and end this foolishness.

One last thing, I really liked this column from the Huffington Post. Certainly helped put some things into perspective for me.

Last Five
1. I am over it - The Dandy Warhols*
2. The good in everyone - Sloan
3. I'd like to - Corinne Bailey Rae
4. Jacob's ladder (live) - Bruce Springsteen
5. I can see for miles - The Who

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Con update

Well, it's a little more than a month until I head to New York. Not that I'm counting down or anything. I've been doing my best to try and not get on Cathy's nerves by talking about all the things I'm going to be doing and planning. It's not that she's upset with me going, it's that I've probably been a little negligent in the Italy planning trip. Which is a fair enough point. I've asked now when I can take my vacation this summer so hopefully I'll back on that by the end of the month. Then we can get to work on when we're going, how long we're staying and what we're going to try and do.

And budget for it. Italy for 3-4 weeks is going to be a bit on the pricy side.

As for New York, well, more details about the con are beginning to come out. I'm resisting the urge to buy a VIP pass or one of the "Ultimate Experience" packages, just because they cost anywhere from $200-$500 extra and I can think of better things to spend the money on. I did drop $20 to see Neil Gaiman because I've always been a fan of his, plus the money goes to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which I consider to be a worthwhile expenditure of money.

But there's also other guests there I'd like to meet. Frank Miller (300, Sin City) is going to be there signing stuff. Do I bring something along for him to sign? I have a very nice, leatherbound copy of The Complete Frank Miller Batman I'd love for him to sign. The cast of Hellboy and its creator, Mike Mignola, are going to be there.

Plus, I'm beginning to get some idea of what I'm walking into. This con is going to be a madhouse. Which is fine. I think its just a matter of managing my expectations.

The one thing I really want is to get some sketches from artists. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but it's not unheard of for people to go with sketch books. I wasn't sure about the etiquette involved, so I emailed a well-known comic book columnist and asked if he had any advice.

Boy, did he ever. In fact, he spent pretty much all of his last column addressing my questions and concerns. That was awfully nice of him and his answers were thorough. At least I have a better idea of what to expect.

I thought I might get bored spending three days at this con. Instead, I wonder if I'm going to have enough time to get everything done.

Now I just have to make sacrifices to the gods to make sure my flights get out. You wouldn't think you'd have to worry about blizzards in mid-April, but given the lack of major storms we've had this winter, I'm getting worried that we're karmically due. On the other hand, maybe Newfoundland is just absorbing out quota for the year. Jesus but you guys are getting pounded this year.

Anyway, tomorrow, something that has nothing to do with either comics or curling, I promise.

Last Five
1. Wake up dead man - U2
2. Start me up - The Rolling Stones*
3. From here you can almost see the sea - David Gray
4. This little light of mine (live) - Bruce Springsteen
5. Sister Jack - Spoon

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Slow roll out

We're getting some media coverage about the Mixed Nationals, but not as much as I would have hoped for, given the unique venue for the event. But I imagine it will gradually roll out. There's a lot of stuff going on right now, what with the Arctic Winter Games drawing most people's attention in Nunavut, and the Brier captivating most of the attention in the curling world right now. Plus, we have months to build up the excitement around this event.

For those curious, here is the press release about the event.

Nothing else much really to report, other than these two other things., completely non-curling related bits of news:

1. Dave Stevens died of leukemia. Who, you might ask? Well, he was a top notch illustrator, the creator of the Rocketeer. You might remember the movie from back in the early 90s. I bought it late last year, because I remembered liking it when it first came out, but was curious to see how it aged. It holds up pretty well, really. And I remember liking the comics quite a bit at the time. I think I have some of the comics still back in St. John's in storage. It would be nice if someone came out with a collected edition of all his Rocketeer work. There's some fun stories and great art that Stevens put out.

2. And now for something completely silly. I include this because, sadly, I am a big enough geek on stuff like this. And we rewatched the movie a few weeks ago and I caught myself wondering the exact same thing - exactly how much time passes during The Empire Strikes Back? This guy wonders the same thing. I have no idea, but the movie makes it seem like it might only be a week or two, but really, it could easily be a year or more.

Last Five
1. Three little indians - Mark Bragg
2. Santiago de Cuba - The Chieftains*
3. Find your grail - Spamalot OST
4. The ballad of John and Yoko - The Beatles
5. It's only love - The Beatles

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Big Curling News

So the thing I've been sitting on and teasing for several months finally got announced today. The first news story I've found on it is here, but I'm sure there will be more as the day progresses. It's already catching a lot of people by surprise.

Basically, it's this. Iqaluit, Nunavut will be hosting the 2009 Mixed Curling Championships. Now, bear with me a moment while I explain this. Because it's taking place during the 2008-09 curling season, they're being called the 2009 championships. The actual date of it, however, is in 2008. Specifically November 9-16.

That means some of the very best curlers in the world are going to be coming to town for a week or more. It's going to be a great chance for people in town to see some amazing curling. But, just as importantly, it's a fantastic chance to really boost the sport in Nunavut. A lot of the details are still to be worked out and announced, but certainly one of the main focuses is to get youth involved as much as possible.

As for whether or not Nunavut will have a team there, that's still in negotiations. Because of the way the tournament is structured, neither the NWT or Yukon play individually. They have a tournament to decide who represents The Territories. Our hope is to get a team in that play down.

These things move slowly sometimes. It's taken months to get to this point. And up until this point, Nunavut's only representation in national curling events has been the participation of our junior teams at the Arctic Winter Games and the Canada Winter Games. In my dream world (and I'm speaking for myself throughout this entire blog, by the way, and not for the CCA or the local curling committee), it would be great if we could have a team in this year's territorial play downs or next years. Follow that up with the junior teams playing at the national tournament in a couple of years, and then maybe, just maybe, sending men's and women's teams to the Brier and Scotties territorial play downs sometime shortly after that.

There's going to be a lot of work that needs to be done in the next couple of months. Cathy and I have already sat down and discussed the commitment that's going to be need. And we both agree this is such a unique opportunity that it would be silly for me to pass up a chance of getting involved.

However, if you're in town and want to volunteer or help out, drop me a line or leave a message on the blog. And if you're from away and want to know more about the place, feel free to ask away. I'll answer any questions you might have.

And sorry, folks. That means a lot more curling discussions in the coming months. You're just going to have to deal....

Last Five
1. Miami - U2
2. Happy - Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins
3. Stupid now - Bob Mould
4. The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot*
5. This is the last time - Keane

Sunday, March 09, 2008


I know I've said it before on this blog, but honestly, I'll take the cold at this time of the year compared to all the snow they're getting "down south." Although I enjoyed reading in the Globe and Mail on Saturday that Toronto and Montreal are both on the verge of setting snow fall record. Toronto is at 178 cm; the record is 207. Montreal is at 317 cm with the record being 383 cm. I don't have the exact number in front of me, but Ottawa is apparently near its record, which is over 400 cm.

And part of me can't help but feel those are pretty wussy records. Then again, I survived the great, unending snow fall of 2000-2001, when St. John's and area got something around 660 cm of snow in one winter. I remember trying to drive in from Clarenville to St. John's one weekend and seeing a particular outcrop about an hour outside of town that was impassible. A DRL bus was buried under 10 feet snow.

Still, it sounds like a bad winter all the way around in the rest of Canada. And yeah, the cold sucks. Never kid yourself that -50 is a breeze to deal with. And there are going to be days in April when Toronto is going to be 20 C and it's going to be -20 C up here and the bay will be frozen solid. But man, it's just the cold you have to deal with up here. No slush. No spending hours leaning on a shovel digging out. Even a blizzard up here normally only gets 5 cm of snow. No worrying about being killed by maniac drivers when you're trying to walk on streets because the sidewalks can't be cleared (Maniac snowmobile drivers is another matter).

Yeah, there's something to be said on weekends like this for the simplicity of just plain cold.

Tomorrow, the big curling news.

Last Five
1. Maneater - Hall & Oates
2. Lilly Bolero/The White Cockade - The Chieftains
3. Best for the best - Josh Ritter
4. You look so fine - Garbage*
5. Trust me - The Fray

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Monday, apparently

I've been told the Big Curling News will be announced on Monday. I really hope so because if I announce that I have "Big Curling News" one more time and then have to backtrack and say that, in fact, the news has been delayed again I'm just going to give up on the whole thing.

Still, it looks promising and I'll be very happy when it's finally announced.

Right now I'm spending a quiet Saturday night relaxing, flipping back and forth between Road to Perdition and watching Brad Gushue predictably get his ass kicked by Glen Howard at the Brier. Oh, and being the hard core boozer that I am, drinking chocolate mint flavoured Bailiey's. All in all, not a bad was to spend a Saturday evening. I think I shall get back to it.

Last Five
1. Monsters - Band of Horses
2. Hot knives - Bright Eyes
3. I wanna be loved - Elvis Costello
4. When I'm up (live) - Great Big Sea
5. Jesus was an only son - Bruce Springsteen*

Friday, March 07, 2008

Bugs and Daffy

So my wish that the Democratic race would come to an end on Tuesday obviously didn't happen. That means six more weeks of winter. Or severe political bickering.

The thing is, once the Wyoming caucus is over on Saturday and the Mississippi primary on Tuesday, it's going to be the better part of six weeks until the Pennsylvania primary. That gives lots and lots of time for things to get very mean. And very silly.

For example, my friend Corey sent me this link from the New York Times. Yes, it's from a month ago, but get used to more of this level of this silliness. They have lots of space to fill and lots and lots of time where nothing is going to be happening.

However, I can top that. For pure silliness, I defy you to top this one - Obama is Bugs Bunny, Clinton is Daffy Duck. And it will only get weirder from here. Then again, I prefer the weird to the outright evil that's likely about to spring forth from both campaigns.

Two more links for you this evening. The first is political also. Myself and plenty of other people have noticed the similarities between this electoral campaign and the last two seasons of the West Wing. Apparently, there might be a reason for that.

And this is a non-political link that I found interesting. One of our favourite songs in recent years has been Hallelujah. Which version, of course, is a matter of personal preference. We like Rufus Wainwright's version. However, if you want a complete history of the song, how many people have covered and how the popular cover version right now really has little to do with Cohen's original, you might like this post.

Last Five
1. Punish the monkey - Mark Knopfler
2. Instant karma - U2
3. I guess that's why they call it the blues - Elton John
4. Take me for longing (live) - Allison Kruass and Union Station*
5. Reading in bed - Emily Haines and the Soft Skelton

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What to do with 10,000 comics

All right, fine. I'm a sap. But honest to God, I read this story about the University of Minnesota receiving a major donation of comic books for its library and got a bit misty. First of all, it's a lovely piece of personal writing. In hack hands, this is a couple of quirky paragraphs about some guy donating thousands and thousands of, you know, comic books, to a university library. Who cares, right?

But this writer puts the collection and what it's meant in perspective. Comic books have shaped their family for decades. She doesn't understand the appeal, and that's fine. She still recognizes their importance and what it's meant for her husband and children. And it's some lovely writing she uses to get that point across.

Simple, emotional and poignant. It works.

I think it also stuck a chord with me because Mr. Borger has people who appreciate what his collection means and recognizes the role they've played in all their lives. I like that because I'm not sure I've ever had it. This isn't a shot at my parents and Cathy. I love my parents. I love Cathy. But they've never understood why I love comics so much. My parents barely tolerated my collection, especially when I entered my teens. The only way the whole thing didn't mysteriously "disappear" one day when I was at school was my assurance that the comics would be worth something one day.

As for Cathy, well, she was introduced to them when I wasn't doing as good a job of keeping them organized as I should have. They were piled all over my work room. I'm not sure if she ever would have grown to have liked them, but she certainly didn't get off on the right foot with them. Also, and we just had this discussion...she reads trashy romance and vampire novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. She doesn't expect me to understand why or try to convert me to them. It's just what she reads. She doesn't see anything grand or romantic about it. Nor does she understand why I seem to have the view about comics.

She has a point, I guess. But I do considering something special about growing up and reading comic books. They were a comfort to me during a lot of crappy, lonely and depressing times.

At some point I'm going to have to make some decisions about my comic books. We've been up north for more than two years and I haven't bought any single issues during that period. It's all been collections (graphic novels). I'm pretty happy with the way that's going right now and it will continue when/if we move back south.

However, right now I probably have in excess of 10,000 individual issues sitting in storage at my father's house. The last time I was there, dad was storing his wine in the same space as them, which caused me to freak out at him a bit. Then again, I haven't treated the collection well in recent years. I wasn't bagging and boarding them all like a good collector is supposed to, simply because the budget wasn't there. Really. Bags and boards add up in a hurry when you have to buy as many I would have needed.

Anyway, what to do with them? The thought of donating them to MUN, similar to what this guy did, has its appeal. My collection isn't as historic as I suspect Mr. Borger's is. I know I bought a lot of crap in my day. But I do like the idea of them being read on a regular basis. I started collecting when I was seven years old. I still have comics from that period of time, although they're obviously beaten up pretty badly. Those comics have brought me a lot of joy and contentment over the years. The idea they might do the same for lots of other people is quite enticing.

Having seen what I can do with eBay and at bit of effort (I've probably said it before, but Cathy's engagement ring, and my first digital camera, were bought by selling about 300 comic books over the space of a couple of months), I'm sure Cathy and my parents would be happy to see me sell them all.

But I'll have to figure out something to do with them as keeping them all is probably not viable in the long run. Suggestions?

Last Five
1. Sweetness - The Trews
2. All you need is love - The Beatles
3. 11 O'clock, tick tock - U2
4. Lonely song - Ron Hynes*
5. Ladies and gentlemen - Hot Hot Heat

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Let it be over

Dear God, but I want the Democratic primary to be settled tonight. Don't get me wrong, this has been fascinating to watch. I've been utterly uninterested in Canadian politics for the past couple of months because of it. The prime minister is in a scandal where members of his party might have tried to have bribe a dying man with a life insurance policy during a critical vote? Yawn. What's the latest on Hilary and Obama?

It needs to end now so I can stop cruising U.S. political websites, trying to glean pieces of information on the latest twists and turns in the race. I'm burnt out. The thought of this continuing on to Pennsylvania six weeks from now or, God help us all, to the Democratic Convention in September fills me what can only be described as "fear and loathing".

I have no idea what's going to happen this evening. I suspect by the time I go to bed, I still won't know the final tallies. Some sites are saying it could take a week until the final numbers are known for Texas. The way this race is being conducted makes me wonder if the Democrats who came up with this way of doing things are alcoholics, drug users, mentally crippled or some combination of the three. But I just need it to be over now. I'm burnt out.

And I think America is starting to reach that point as well. I've been cheering for Obama in this race. And I hope he wins this evening. But I think even people who were cheering for Clinton to win might be at that point now. The idea that this drama could continue for weeks and months will fray and destroy the nerves of even the most casual political observer. So unless Clinton pulls off some massive surge and takes three of the four states up for grabs this evening by surprising margins, I hope she throws in the towel by the end of the week. Read the landscape, see that it's not good to continue and call it a day. The math is not supporting you.

Or at least I hope that's what happens. Otherwise I'm going to have to check myself into a clinic and get help for excessive political blog reading.

Oh, and in a partially related note, I like this blog post from Andrew Sullivan. He was considering allowing comments on his blog, but decided to let readers vote on it. And by a 60-40 margin, they decided against it. There's some good reasons there as to why there should be no comments. Having read my share of political blogs and news stories in the past few months, I voted to not put up comments. I like the idea of a well-informed, articulate man presenting his opinions and willing to put the opinions of others up on his blog, whether they agree with him or not, as long as they are intelligent and well-reasoned.

I've read too much lately where the comments section is a minefield of trash and partisan sniping. Sullivan has his biases, but he's pretty fair. And I think he made the right call. So did his readers.

Oh, and no, there is no big curling news today. See, I told you it would get delayed again.

Last Five
1. Mirror in mom's room - Jenny Gear and the Whiskey Kittens
2. Waiting for nothing - Hot Hot Heat*
3. All the small things - Blink 182
4. Poor little lamb - Tom Waits
5. 5:15 a.m. - Mark Knopfler

Monday, March 03, 2008


It's the day before the Big Day. Will I finally announce what this big deal is I've been hyping up beyond reasonably expectations? Got me beat…no one is telling me anything, so I wouldn't be surprised if it got delayed again.

But no, it has nothing to do with the Brier. Sorry Clare. No prize for you. Although two guys from the club are going to the Brier next week. I'm somewhat envious. I went to the Brier in '95 and I had a blast. Granted, I had a media pass, which helped. Covering big events like that with a media pass is always more fun. And you get nifty swag.

Anyway, sorry for the absence on the weekend. It turned into a severe weekend of Sloth. Other than picking up some groceries, having lunch and renting a movie, I don't think we left the apartment this weekend. Which is pretty spectacularly high on the lazy list, but it just devolved into one of those weekend. Plus, I started a game of Civilizations, so there went about 10 hours of my weekend. It's busy work killing off the Aztecs, French and Japanese, let me tell ya.

The temperature has slowly been getting warmer, but it's also been getting windier. So that means the days when it's only -25, the wind has kicked up so the wind chill is back down around -40. We are hopeful for a nice day at some point where the sun is out, there is little wind and it's around -20 or so. Then we'll go for a nice walk and I'll take the camera out for some pics without worrying we (me, Cathy, the dog and camera) will all freeze solid in less than 30 minutes.

Anyway, a couple of last things before vanishing. This link is for Jen (and welcome back to the North). Given how often she has those strange cat pictures up on her page, I thought she might get a kick out of this. Some of the pics are funny, although some, like this one, is quite terrifying. That dog also looks like a cleaner, less scruffy version of Boo.

And for reasons I won't get into, this causes me amusement. How this critter went from this:

To something a bit more in keeping with his wild nature. Pity about the glass. I'm sure the kid would have made for a lovely snack.

Last Five
1. Gloria (live) - U2
2. The ghost of you lingers - Spoon
3. Bottom of the world - Tom Waits*
4. Avalanche - Ryan Adams
5. Babylon - David Gray