Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Went to see Chronicles of Narnia yesterday.
Ho. Ly. Shit.

It was AMAZING. I didn't honestly think they could pull it off, but they did, in spades.

First off, the setup is perfect. They actually explain and visualize why the kids are fleeing to the country to avoid the WWII bombings of London. They establish the four siblings relationships with each other very well, something that doesn't come across that well in the book. Each of the children were perfectly casted, and have equal billing in the story. Even Susan, who doesn't seem to play much of a role in the book, had personality.

And, hell, the battle scene. O.M.G. Bloodless, but very effective, thanks to the people at WETA. And how can you not love a young king riding into battle on a UNICORN?

The White Witch was coldly and beautifully portrayed by the lovely Tilda Swinton, and Qui Gon... I mean Darkman.... I mean Liam Neeson does a great Aslan.

I was especially surprised by the performance of Mr. Tumnus, whose character I have previously loathed. But James McAvoy was perfectly cast for the part, playing old, young, innocent, jaded, and creepy all at once.

One would think that such a huge production would mean a lot of splashy graphics, but not so with this film, which relied a lot on the siblings' interactions with each other and the strange world they're trapped in. The visual effects for once take a second to the story and acting, and it was a very pleasant thing to know that my impressions of the film were not sole locked onto a particular scene or moment, but on the greatness of the epic tale.

Everyone, go watch this movie. Twice. Then read the books. Again, if necessary. I eagerly await Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What do YOU want for Christmas?

I'm turning into a bitter old woman. Christmas sucks. Not the whole birth of Christ thing, but the thing this "joyful season" has turned into. It's not joyful. Look around: everyone's SOOOO stressed out!

I was at a Dominion's, and it was packed with people picking up groceries. An old man and his wife were driving their cart around and they tried to move it through an aisle and another family was trying to get through at the same time, and the old man FREAKED OUT and his wife was yelling at him about him ripping her coat (I dunno, I think the cart snagged it or something) and he demanded they go home. "Let's go home! Right now!" He yelled at her. And she didn't budge.


I just want to go over there and hug him till I broke a few ribs and sing "Merry Christmas, Mr. Scrooge!" And then break his face.

The stress is electric, I tell ya. It doesn't help that people are jostling and frowning and yelling and being overly sensitive. I mean, really, dose it matter that much that your father-in-law ISN'T going to get that tie he's never going to wear?

Remember how last year on boxing day, half the world woke up underwater? How thousands of men, women, and children were crushed by sluices of water followed by the debris of their lives? How we all watched in horror as thousands of bodies were washed away, into the ocean, never to be named, counted, blessed, or buried?

And closer to home, I might add that New Orleans is STILL underwater, and there's not a damn thing we or the thousands of displaced Americans can do about it (here! have some bottled water!)

Sigh. What do we really want from Christmas, anyhow? I swear, one of these days someone's going to pick up on the fact that there's no love in the holidays anymore, and he/she'll go to the mall armed to the teeth, and start firing into the crowd.

What do YOU want for Christmas?
How about my fiance's life back?
Or my mother's eyesight?
Or my kid's legs?
Sorry, Santa's only got an iPod Nano and some Starbucks gift certificates left. Oh, and a bath set.
Shucks, well, maybe I can get it on Boxing Day.
Sorry, no refunds or exchanges.

Fuck, Christmas is so depressing.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

F*cking Xmas...

I must be getting old. I'm really starting to dislike this "holiday season" thing. It's been reduced to this month-long torture of visiting the mall weekly to purchase over-priced trinkets no one ever needs, gifting them with the pretense that you care about the person receiving them.

Sure, I like shopping as much as the next girl. But not when there are 50 billion other people jostling you in line and in the malls.

And what's with stressed out, frustrated people at the cashier lines? Give the seasonal retail workers a f*ucking break, for Christ's sake, it's the holidays! Why are you getting mad at other people because you didn't have to foresight to buy all your shit throughout the year, and now are reduced to paying full price for a sweater granma will only wear once?

Where's the goodwill and cheer? Where's the spirit of generosity? Yeah, lots of people write cheques to their favourite charity around this time of year, and that's cool, and the homeless might get an extra buck or two and the visit by the sandwich and mitten distributors. But during the rest of the year, the blood clinics are dry, the food banks are empty, and the charity coffers are hollow and dusty.

So here's what I propose: let's make an ENTIRE YEAR a holiday season and eschew December for 12 years. It'll be revolutionary! In a single year, the economy will flourish as people buy up crap they'll never use to give away. When it finally comes to a head, we will develop a re-gift economy, where we keep trading bath sets, baskets of jams, and pajamas until we revert to the barter system. The homeless will earn enough to find a means out of their homelessness. Charities will receive enough to solve whatever cause their championing. And then, we'll all be at each other's throats until only the strongest shoppers are left to victoriously stand on the heap of human bodies, holding up the last Furby doll; surely Darwinism at work.

Then we'll have 12 years of peace. And it will be good.

Okay, rant over. Insane beer-fueled Vicki has left. Marketing Vicki back, but she's beer sleepy.

I had a frustrating day finishing up the last of my Xmas shopping, and let me tell ya, the week before Dec. 25th, not a great time to be anywhere that sells anything.

I cleverly avoided the mall and opted to shop in local stores and small businesses instead. Good thing, too: I went to an awesome little trinket store on Yonge just north of Dundas on the east side near HMV called H2T (Head to Toe) and they had these beautiful gold-dipped enamel orchids from Thailand. Very unique. They're actually real orchids that have been specially glazed and preserved and edged in 24K gold. Everyone, go to this store and buy something! The two ladies working the shop are sisters, 2 of 9 siblings from the Phillippines. What a nice couple of ladies.

Okay, that was my consumer pimp for the week for the night.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

FanFiction Ahoy!

If I'd have known how involved I'd get with writing fanfiction, well, I would have quit my job.
I've published my second story now, along with a few drabbles, and my latest story has gotten nearly 5000 hits and over 100 reviews. That's right, more hits than I get on this blog in a single year in less than 2 weeks.

This tells me a few interesting things:
1) Avatar: The Last Airbender is HUGE. It is especially big in the states, as it is a property of Nickelodeon, makers of Spongebob, and The Fairly Odd Parents, among others.
2) Fans really have nothing better to do than make up stories about their favourite shows/books/movies/games. Yours truly included.
3) Fanfic has a place in the world. Once upon a time it was left to the Lord of the Rings and Star Trek nerds of the world. Now you can write fanfic on just about anything.

On a side note, Harry Potter has a huge fanfic following, but what really freaks me out about that is that one of the recurring shippings (relationship pairings) is... gag... Hermione and Snape.

Oh so very wrong and creepy.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Snow blows

Like most of Toronto, I woke up this morning to a world of swirling white snow and foot-high snow drifts. I got to work late, taking the mostly reliable TTC, but not as late as the regular drivers, who braved the slippery roads to get to work on a Friday.

I don't know why or how Canadians do it, even though I've been doing it all my life. We trek through extreme ends of the weather spectrum just to go to work. We put our lives in danger to go to a job most of us would rather not be doing. Does this make sense to anyone?

Then I heard a conversation in the bathroom that pretty much summed it up for me:

Woman 1: "The drive was terrible. I don't know why we bother, sometimes."
Woman 2: "Yeah."
Woman 1: "But we want money. Boy, the things we do for money."
Woman 2: "I hear that."

Monday, December 05, 2005


As I delve deeper into the realm of fanfiction writing, I keep coming across words I've seen used, but never understood. Thank god for Wikipedia:

Pwn: The verb pwn (past tense: pwned, pwnd, pwn'd, pwnt) as used by the Internet gaming subculture, means to beat or dominate an opponent (pwned can mean "to be made a fool of"). While it probably originated as a typographical error of the word own, it is now used intentionally by many members of the subculture. The term has become so ubiquitous in Internet circles that it is often used outside of gaming contexts – for example, "He just got pwned in that debate", "The hunters pwnt that bear", "Liverpool opened a can of ultimate pwnage", or "I got pwned on the SATs."

Mary Sue: Mary Sue (or simply Sue) is a pejorative expression for a fictional character who is an idealized stand-in for the author, or for a story with such a character. Originally, the Mary Sue concept came out of Star Trek fan fiction and described an original female character who had a romantic liaison with an established, "canon" character, particularly if she possessed unrealistic or unlikely traits above and beyond those expected of a character in that particular series, or a conventional author surrogate. However, in recent years the concept has developed a wider meaning, so any author surrogate characters can be defined as Mary Sue.

Another definition states that Mary Sue is any original character who possesses unusual qualities, parentage, or appearance — particularly in, but not limited to, science fiction or fantasy, (whether original or fan fiction). By this definition, Lessa of Anne McCaffrey's Pern stories, Vanyel of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series, Rudyard Kipling's intrepid orphan Kim, Ayla of Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series, and Elminster from Ed Greenwood's "Forgotten Realms" novels and RPG setting, are all Mary Sues. Some have gone further, changing previously understood definitions, and have begun to define any original characters in fiction as Mary Sue.

Male "Sues" may be called "Marty Stus", "Murray Stus", "Harry Stus", and/or "Gary Stues", although the original "Mary Sue" term is often considered unisex. A rarer unisex variant is "Airy Ooh". Authors of such characters (of either sex) are sometimes referred to as Suethors.

In fan fiction, Mary Sue characters are usually the original creation of the author, but sometimes "canon Sues" are created by adapting pre-existing canon characters. Conversely, such original or adapted characters are not necessarily Mary Sues. The Peter Jairus Frigate character of the Riverworld series, for instance, is deliberately based on his author but rarely the focus of the story (unlike Tom Sawyer, for instance — a Mary Sue by 2005 standards). However, there are a great number of what many fans think of as pre-existing Sues in canon, particularly in anime, manga, and roleplaying video games (which often include complex stories).

Some fan critics believe that young writers tend to create "narcissistic" Sues and "unintentional" Sues (characters that develop into Sues due to the author's supposed subconscious desires). Some authors now write Mary Sues deliberately as a form of parody.

UST: Unresolved Sexual tension is a plot device employed in movies and books in which two or more of the characters feel sexual longing for one another, but in which those desires are not consummated in any physical action.

The result is that the device creates a goal for which the plot can advance (i.e., toward a resolution).

The device, when used by a skilled writer, evokes tension in the audience because they know something which the characters do not.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

'Tis the Season for Neurosis...

Damn you Paul. Now I'll never hear that song again without thinking of your lyrics.
Ergo I must share: everyone, please go see my friend's web site I've linked to him on the toolbar as well.

A note about Paul: he's probably one of the most brilliant people I know, a contemporary renaissance man. The best way I can describe him is that he's the time-warped offspring of DaVinci and... I don't know, I'm trying to think up a famous brilliant crazy lady, but I can't, except for some reason Virginia Wolfe comes to mind, though I don't know why.

(*Patting myself on the head* "Yes Vicki, that's right, keep having your strange and prophetic delusions, just don't forget to take your pills...")

Anyhoo, Paul's one of the few people I know who can make my brain melt with the use of big words strung together in long run-on sentences... in CONVERSATION.

The other being John, of course. (I love you too, baby.)

There, are you happy Paul? Merry Christmas! I just gave you the Vicki seal of approval!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Kiss of Death

From the Toronto Star:

Girl with peanut allergy killed by kiss
Nov. 25, 2005. 12:16 PM

A fifteen-year-old Quebec girl with a severe allergy to peanuts has died after a kiss from her boyfriend.

According to the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean Le Quotidien, the boyfriend had recently eaten peanut butter.

The girl was hospitalized for several days and died earlier this week.

The stricken girl was injected with adrenaline immediately after she grew ill, but it wasn't effective.

This made me gasp. And then I wanted to laugh, but couldn't. But I laughed anyhow. I just feel sorry for the boyfriend - I mean, how many MORE hangups is he going to have now? Boy, being a teen sucks. Really, really sucks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Like a box of poisoned chocolates...

I had to leave a quick note. My sister and I came up with this while we were in the car.

Fiona (edited): "I hate it when people are ignorant, especially if they believe themselves educated. Ignorance knows no bounds."

Vicki: "Just like love! So ignorance and love do have something in common..."

Friday, November 11, 2005


My first Avatar: the Last Airbender fanfic titled, "The Ho'Wan Island Carnival".

I've already gotten some really nice comments (thanks to all thsoe great reviewers for taking the time to visit my blog, too!), and I'm only about halfway through the story. If I'd known this would be so good for my ego, I'd have started writing fanfics years ago.

Yay for me!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Download this music now!

You have to find and download this piece of music:

Smash Brothers DX Orchestra - Smash Brothers Grand Medley - Super Mario Brothers.

It's just an amazing compilation of all the themes from all the Mario games put together in a lighthearted almost 40's style big band orchestra. You just want to get up and boogey with it.

Trust me, it's worth the download.

It's confirmed: I am a huge freaking nerd

I know I haven't been keeping up with my blogging, but I have a good reason: I've been writing Avatar fan fic.

Yes, I did just say that. FanFiction. The only resort I have to getting exposure for my own creative writing. And let me tell ya, it's been really interesting.

I'm currently working on stories based on Avatar: The Last Airbender (also called Avatar: War of the Elements), a kids anime-styled show on YTV. It's an excellent series with complex characters, lots of good humour, and a real plot, unlike so many of the anime shows on now which are basically half-hour commercials for toys or card games. Avatar is on Saturdays at 11:30 am on YTV, folks. It's only into its first season - I'd recommend downloading the episodes.

I've completed my first Avatar story and I'll be publishing it tonight. (Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar or any of the characters therein - it's something the fanfic community has to say everytime they post.) I've started notes for a second story, which I imagine will go up over the next month.

Most of you are probably screaming, "NEERERRRRRRD!!!" because the only kinds of people who write fanfics are ultra-geeks who only think they can write and often end up writing slash to fulfil some perverse desire they have of seeing two character mack.

So call me ultra-geek. But if I may say so, I can write better than a lot of the authors who've submitted stories to the fanfic archives. (I'd better be able to, it's what I do for a living.)

Besides, the fanfic community can be quite critical and helpful in developing one's writing skills. It's challenging for me to have to write someone else's characters convincingly, too. You can't just make them do whatever you want, no matter how naked you want to see them.

My dream: for someone to pick up my writing and say, "hell, she's good, maybe she wants to help us write this new cartoon series we're working on...."

Any takers out there? I'm in Toronto if you need me.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

What salmon and geese can teach us - OR - More unreasonableness

Maybe I'm getting lazier in my later years, but it seems to me that North America is completely obsessed with work. In North America, work = money = not burdening the welfare system. Conversely, NOT working = laziness = immorality. Therefore, if you are not working, regardless of the reason, you must be a terrible person.

Along the same gripe lines as my previous post on illness (and I'm feeling much better after that one day flu, thanks for your concern), people at work continue to come in even when they're hacking up a storm, or are feverish and have chills. These last two symptoms together are what I use to elicit a "You. Go home. Now." Even when it gets me a cold and stuffed-up mutter of, "I'm fine." Because inevitably, chills and fever at work can lead to vomitting, fainting, violent shaking, etc. And really, if any of that happens on your drive home, how many people will you take to the hospital/grave with you? Also, please do us all a favour and stop spreading your sneeze mist of illness around the office.

As for my opener on me being lazy, let me elaborate. (Warning: long rant ahead.)

I've been digesting a lot lately on my personal state of careerdom. I hate the idea of playing corporate politics and having to adjust my behaviour and personality to fit the business mindset. I can be cordial. I can be professional. I can be ruthlessly efficient. All the while, I like to insert my own personal humour (however black, bitter, cynical, or true it may seem) into every work day. I call it fun. That's me. That's how I survived high school.

But corporate workplaces don't let you be anything. You have two choices: do your work and shut up, or fight tooth and nail against the status quo. Both options sap the life out of you. You either sit and do your work and hate a lot of days while dreaming about winning the lottery; or, you work your ass off to convince those in authority that you are right, that you know what you're talking about, and subsequently work even harder to prove it and stay in the big leagues.

It's the second one I can't understand. Sure, there are people out there who are lucky enough to love what they do and earn money doing it, but I just don't understand the game they play. Politics and mind games? Work harder for less? Sure, you might get that initial promotion, that incremental raise. You might even be getting paid what you're worth. Good for you, you're happy.

But consider the life of a salmon.

My family used to go out to this place somewhere just outside of the city where we could watch the salmon swimming upstream every fall. We called it "Salmon River." We'd go down to the river's edge via a little trail and pick our way around the dozens of rotting, stinking maggot-filled salmon corpses washed up along the gravel, just to get a closer look at one of Nature's cruel little jokes. I'd quietly cheer a particular cluster of those large green-grey fish on as they struggled against the swift current. I often - and still - wish I could pick a whole bunch up and carry them a little further up the river, where the water was deeper and calmer to hurry on their reproductive way.

And then I'd see a salmon give up, his tiny aquatic heart bursting with the strain of pumping his ineffective little fins against the current. I'd watch in fascinated horror as the twitching fish was swept away down the stream, to wash up on the shore with his dead breathren. And then another would go. And another. But inevitable another fish would take up the spot in the river the late fish had vacated, just like cars in traffic.

There were always more salmon to replace the dead. There are always stronger fish in the pool.

And even if the salmon mades it over the 5-foot-high waterfall further upstream, having avoided the hungry bears and sharp rocks below, they're EXHAUSTED nearly to death. And the likelihood of getting to the spawning grounds is still very, very low from that point on.

So I ask you: are we salmon? Are we trapped in workplaces where we are constantly fighting against a torrent of trials and challenges meant to weed out the weakest fish? Mother Nature plays this same game with all migrating animals: penguins, butterflies, wolves, moose (meese?), birds...

And then I read that some Canadian Geese are starting to stick around for the winter, foregoing the long flight south and back. Scientists are worried this is a signal that climate changes are affecting Nature's design. Others have simply criticized: "Aw, they're just lazy." Which is equivalent to, "Aw, they're just immoral, and will be slaughtered for defying Nature."

Maybe I'm crazy, but I think I'm a Goose. I'll let Nature rage around me, hunker down when I have to, and if I can help it, I ain't flying south. And people around me will judge me to be lazy. Which is to say, I am an immoral person for not working to death.

See? SEE? See how North America passes judgement on the Goose?! Even if it has found a way to survive Nature and her ever-changing moods!

But you know what's crazy about geese? If one goose gets sick or tired and needs to rest, at least one other goose will follow it down and protect it while it's resting. Usually two. When the sick goose is strong again, the group will take off again and rejoin the flock, or join another formation.

Perhaps I am a sick Goose and do not know it... or perhaps I have been watching the Nature of Things too often...

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Welcome to the world of blogging, Denise

I welcome Denise of Xiao Pangzi to my enviable list of blogging peers. This is the same Denise of Ray vs Denise fame, so having the two blogging should prove to be quite interesting when RVD4 comes around.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The hell...?

Gleaned from Marketing Magazine:

Bush, Saddam jolt Mexican drivers

Mexico City taxi drivers beware: International terrorist Osama bin Laden says drive nicely–or else.

A non-profit group promoting civic-minded behaviour in this tumultuous metropolis is channelling bin Laden, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Mother Teresa and U.S. President George W. Bush to convince unruly drivers to change their ways.

The campaign by Muevete por Tu Ciudad–roughly translated as Do Something for Your City–was designed to improve everyday behaviour on the streets of Mexico City, where cars drift through red lights and some police can be paid to look the other way.

Organizers say their billboards and radio spots are designed to jolt the city’s jaded commuters, police and public-transit drivers into courteous behaviour. On one billboard, the image of Saddam warns passers-by: “You can generate chaos: Don’t you double park.” Mother Teresa yells out, “Don’t give bribes to the devil!”

Two radio spots parody Bush and bin Laden. “We are going to exterminate all of those who run red lights,” Bush warns in Spanish with a heavy American accent. “People who ask for bribes are going to be punished by me.... You are going to know what pain is.”

In another ad, the voice of bin Laden warns in Spanish: “I am going to come out of hiding to punish, the way they deserve, taxi and bus drivers that don’t drive well.”

Associated Press

Next on the marketing roster:

"Bad drivers will be put into my special rehabilitation camps - gevalt!" - Hitler
"I will invade the cab and buses of the infidel drivers!" - Ghenghis Khan
"I'm gonna open a can o' whoop ass on the next guy who cuts me off!" - Ghandi

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Yup, that's me at the beginning of flu season.
I do everything I can to avoid getting sick - wash my hands frequently, dress warmly, eat healthy... but as a public transit commuter, I'm doomed to contract someone's nasty cough or cold. There's always that one guy who sits next to you on the train, hacking and blowing their nose in an overused tissue. Question: WHY CAN'T YOU PEOPLE STAY AT HOME?

That's where I was this afternoon, after trudging an hour to work and back once I realized the spinning floor, chills, and rising body temperature had nothing to do with my temporary office space, the previous night's harsh workout, or the oncoming migraine that WOULDN'T. GO. AWAY.

Came home, slept for a few hours in vertigo misery. Feelin' more human now, but I hate having cold, sweaty feet, and how everything you touch when you're sick is so cold it makes you want to vomit.

Maybe it's only in North America that being sick and away from the office is considered a crime. It seems that even with the evolving strains of flu and epidemics like SARS or Legionnaire's disease, or that nasty stomach virus that plagued cruise ships, people INSIST they just have to go to work.

Sure, I know the best way to get rid of a cold is to spread it around, but some of these things kill healthy people. Are employers to blame? Are they putting too much emphasis on productivity, and unintentionally threatening their employees the job security and chances of promotion?

For example, a former employer of mine came down with the above-mentioned stomach virus one winter. And she STILL came to work. I found her lying on the floor, covered in a blanket, feverish, vomitting, and looking pretty close to death. I ask, WHY would anyone come to work in that state? I ended up escorting her to the doctor's office on company time, and trying very hard not to catch the extremely contagious virus myself.

My sister was in a major car accident last year that bashed her up pretty good. Thankfully, only the car was broken beyond repair, and she took a week of rest to heal her swollen face. On the day of the accident, as she called work from the hospital, her boss flippantly told her that her daughter had been in a car accident and had simply picked the pieces of broken glass out of her face and returned to work, like a good little automaton, and hinted she should do the same.

Bitch. Of course, this same boss woman let her cancerous tumour become unbearable before she allowed herself to take time off work to have it treated. People with that kind of attitude are on Darwin's peripherals, and end up getting theirs.

And now, I think I'm about to vomit so I have to stop.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Why name plates on your office door would suck

I just knew this would happen to me someday: it's a good thing they haven't gotten me an engraved nameplate for the door. Yet.

Our department's newest employee's last name: Butt
My last name: So
My manager's last name: Brown

[insert canned laughter here].

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ass whooping

Read this guy's post - firstly, he talks dirty oil rigging terminology.

Then he goes into this story - make sure you go to the link to see the pictures:
A couple from Montana were out riding on the range, he with his rifle and she (fortunately) with her camera. Their dogs always followed them, but on this occasion a Mountain Lion decided that he wanted to stalk the dogs (you'll see the dogs in the background watching). Very, very bad decision...

The hunter got off the mule with his rifle and decided to shoot in the air to scare away the lion, but before he could get off a shot the lion charged in and decided he wanted a piece of those dogs. With that, the mule took off and decided he wanted a piece of that lion. That's when all hell broke loose... for the lion.

As the lion approached the dogs the mule snatched him up by the tail and started whirling him around. Banging its head on the ground on every pass. Then he dropped it, stomped on it and held it to the ground by the throat. The mule then got down on his knees and bit the thing all over a couple of dozen times to make sure it was dead, than whipped it into the air again, walked back over to the couple (that were stunned in silence) and stood there ready to continue his ride... as if nothing had just happened.

Major Major Major Major Ass

(Warning - long, ranting post ahead.)

I am the proud owner of a very stylish, very practical, and very inexpensive Royal Canadian Artillery dress jacket, which I bought at AAA Army Surplus in Kensington Market for $25. I bought this jacket a few years ago, and have received many compliments on it. I even get a few fearful glances as people shuffle away from me. Which is always nice.

Today, I wore my jacket out during my lunchtime walk around Scarborough Town Centre. As I approached the mall, a security guard from the adjacent federal building stopped me and asked if I was a part of the reserves. Though tempted to say yes, I know it's illegal to impersonate an officer, so I said no.

"Well, you can't wear that," he said about my jacket. "It's illegal to wear army uniforms in public."

Huh? But I bought the jacket this way at a store, said I.

"They're meant to take the patches off," said the rent-a-cop. As an afterthought: "I was in the service."

"Uh huh. Well, good to know." I grinned manically and stalked away.

Okay, I understand, maybe you're offended that a little asian girl is wearing nicer clothes than you and didn't have to "earn" them by trudging through wind, rain, sun and snow. Maybe you're bitter that for some reason, you're no longer serving your country and are reduced to wearing a crappy $15 windbreaker from your half-assed security company and toting a giant walkie talkie instead of a grenade launcher.

But C'MON. Don't you have something better to do, like harrass the hoodlums smoking and spitting and fighting on your doorstep? I might add the following:

a) I wasn't impersonating an officer: I was wearing a nice, waterproof, warm jacket.
b) I wasn't in anything CLOSE to standard-issue gear. The velvet scarf and dangly topaz earrings should have given that away.
c) I didn't splatter myself with blood and run in circles screaming "AHHH! LOOK AT ME! I'M IN AFGHANISTAN!!!"
d) Do I LOOK like I could possibly be in the Forces? I'm freakin' 5'2" and weigh 130 pounds. I wouldn't survive the bus trip. I just want to wear practical, affordable clothes, dammit!

Did I in some way offend the entire Royal Canadian Artillery? I proudly support Canadian troops in peacekeeping missions around the world and think the government could stand to throw a bone at its starving military.

So I did my homework (one of the few times - only anger gets me to do research) and guess what? It IS in the Criminal Code under Fraud and Forgery. No need to call the cops yet though: I'm in the clear:

Applying or removing marks without authority

417. (1) Every one who,

(a) without lawful authority, the proof of which lies on him, applies a distinguishing mark to anything, or

(b) with intent to conceal the property of Her Majesty in public stores, removes, destroys or obliterates, in whole or in part, a distinguishing mark,

is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

Unlawful transactions in public stores

(2) Every one who, without lawful authority, the proof of which lies on him, receives, possesses, keeps, sells or delivers public stores that he knows bear a distinguishing mark is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Definition of "distinguishing mark"

(3) For the purposes of this section, "distinguishing mark" means a distinguishing mark that is appropriated for use on public stores pursuant to section 416.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 375.

Selling defective stores to Her Majesty

418. (1) Every one who knowingly sells or delivers defective stores to Her Majesty or commits fraud in connection with the sale, lease or delivery of stores to Her Majesty or the manufacture of stores for Her Majesty is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

Offences by representatives

(2) Every one who, being a representative of an organization that commits, by fraud, an offence under subsection (1),

(a) knowingly takes part in the fraud, or

(b) knows or has reason to suspect that the fraud is being committed or has been or is about to be committed and does not inform the responsible government, or a department thereof, of Her Majesty,

is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 418; 2003, c. 21, s. 6.1.

Unlawful use of military uniforms or certificates

419. Every one who without lawful authority, the proof of which lies on him,

(a) wears a uniform of the Canadian Forces or any other naval, army or air force or a uniform that is so similar to the uniform of any of those forces that it is likely to be mistaken therefor,

(b) wears a distinctive mark relating to wounds received or service performed in war, or a military medal, ribbon, badge, chevron or any decoration or order that is awarded for war services, or any imitation thereof, or any mark or device or thing that is likely to be mistaken for any such mark, medal, ribbon, badge, chevron, decoration or order,

(c) has in his possession a certificate of discharge, certificate of release, statement of service or identity card from the Canadian Forces or any other naval, army or air force that has not been issued to and does not belong to him, or

(d) has in his possession a commission or warrant or a certificate of discharge, certificate of release, statement of service or identity card, issued to an officer or a person in or who has been in the Canadian Forces or any other naval, army or air force, that contains any alteration that is not verified by the initials of the officer who issued it, or by the initials of an officer thereto lawfully authorized,

is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 377.

Military stores

420. (1) Every one who buys, receives or detains from a member of the Canadian Forces or a deserter or an absentee without leave therefrom any military stores that are owned by Her Majesty or for which the member, deserter or absentee without leave is accountable to Her Majesty is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.


(2) No person shall be convicted of an offence under this section where he establishes that he did not know and had no reason to suspect that the military stores in respect of which the offence was committed were owned by Her Majesty or were military stores for which the member, deserter or absentee without leave was accountable to Her Majesty.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 378.

Evidence of enlistment

421. (1) In proceedings under sections 417 to 420, evidence that a person was at any time performing duties in the Canadian Forces is, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, proof that his enrolment in the Canadian Forces prior to that time was regular.

Presumption when accused a dealer in stores

(2) An accused who is charged with an offence under subsection 417(2) shall be presumed to have known that the stores in respect of which the offence is alleged to have been committed bore a distinguishing mark within the meaning of that subsection at the time the offence is alleged to have been committed if he was, at that time, in the service or employment of Her Majesty or was a dealer in marine stores or in old metals.

Hmm. So you can wear army fatigues as long as they don't belong to the Queen and you didn't buy them from her. From what I can interpret, the AAA army surplus store - a private, non-public store - supposedly bought these goods, which were declared surplus and hence no longer property of the Queen, and sold them to me, the private individual who has no idea about where they came from. It's not like I can look at the collar and see if "Elizabeth II" is sewn into it, after all.

Just to be sure, I contacted the Canadian Forces and am waiting for a reply that surely will not come. I have no reason to believe this will get me into further trouble, but I hate having my fashion sense mangled. I think the rent-a-cop was just looking to wave his penis around and yell "I'M A MAN!!! LOOK AT ME!!!"

Anyhow, you can buy the badges, swords, and other artillery gear at stores. Army surplus is sold by the Crown Assets Distribution Centre. So unless the Canadian Gov't wants to hang onto all its dust-collecting surplus, Mr. SecurityMan can kiss my brass buttoned ass.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Project Guttenberg

I'm surfing the net and I'm suddenly realizing I could have save a couple of hundred bucks in university if I'd just gone and downloaded all the free e-books for all the classic literature I had to read. Among them, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer... just check out the top 100 list at Project Guttenberg.

The only limitation is that these can't be downloaded directly onto my Palm (as a prc. file). However, downloading a free word processor, then converting the txt. document lets me read and access them easily. And you can still bookmark important passages and make notes right on the thing. The only real problem is when the prof says "turn to page...." But if you never buy the right edition of the class books anyhow, this shouldn't be a huge deal if you want to save money.

All this makes me wonder why professors aren't encouraging students to jump into the modern age of mobility and get a cheap PDA for use on campus. I mean, spending $14 on a copy of Dracula is just ridiculous, and spending weeks looking for a used copy in Toronto ain't a walk in the park, since so many of the good used bookstores are now gone. Even used copies of easy-to-find classics in campus bookstores can run you up to $10.

So here's a business idea for any aspiring entrepeneurs out there: get your hands on older, used and refurbished handheld PDAs, load them up with free software and a collection of classics off the net, and sell them or lease them on campus for a small profit - say, $50 for the year, $100 for keeps. Just think: these kids won't have to carry three or four books at a time either. Hooray for unbulky bookbags!

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Saw it last night, up here in Ottawa. Wow.
Being a Firefly fan, the film was everything I expected and a more. Sadly, it makes me pine even more for the lost TV series. I find myself ths morning standing at the edge of a great void. I don't want to spoil it for other Firefly fans, but there's change, and Joss being Joss, he never makes it easy or transitory. It just happens and you're left reeling and wondering what the hell just happened.

The uninitiated will still enjoy this movie - I think that their lack of intimacy with the characters may make them appreicate it even more. Good writing, good fx, well-developed characters, a driven plot; all the things Hollywood seems to be lacking these days.

I was told that there were fans who came out of this film saying it was "just like walking out of Star Wars back in 1977." A statement like that will inevitably ruin it for anyone, I think, because that's the kind of pumped-up expectation that makes a film fall short of its goals. Of course, I wasn't even alive in '77, and Star Wars is on a whole different level of film. But Serenity sure was cool.

With all that said, I command you all now: go see this film. Go see it, think about it, then watch the Firefly DVDs. Cuz' dammit, I want my Firefly TV show! Waah!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming


These pictures of the first live giant squid ever captured on film reminded me of something else:

"The figure, which was finally passed slowly from man to man for close and careful study, was between seven and eight inches in height, and of exquisitely artistic workmanship. It represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence, and squatted evilly on a rectangular block or pedestal covered with undecipherable characters. The tips of the wings touched the back edge of the block, the seat occupied the centre, whilst the long, curved claws of the doubled-up, crouching hind legs gripped the front edge and extended a quarter of the way clown toward the bottom of the pedestal. The cephalopod head was bent forward, so that the ends of the facial feelers brushed the backs of huge fore paws which clasped the croucher's elevated knees. The aspect of the whole was abnormally life-like, and the more subtly fearful because its source was so totally unknown. Its vast, awesome, and incalculable age was unmistakable; yet not one link did it shew with any known type of art belonging to civilisation's youth - or indeed to any other time. Totally separate and apart, its very material was a mystery; for the soapy, greenish-black stone with its golden or iridescent flecks and striations resembled nothing familiar to geology or mineralogy. The characters along the base were equally baffling; and no member present, despite a representation of half the world's expert learning in this field, could form the least notion of even their remotest linguistic kinship. They, like the subject and material, belonged to something horribly remote and distinct from mankind as we know it. something frightfully suggestive of old and unhallowed cycles of life in which our world and our conceptions have no part."

-- "The Call of Cthulhu", H.P. Lovecraft

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

LED lightbulbs


They come in three different sizes, including a spotlight, and the cot to run one for 12 hours everyday for a year starts are only 80 cents (US) per year. Cost: $29.99 (USD) to $49.99 (USD) each. Now if someone (I'm looking at you, John) could just figure out the math and savings on these bulbs....

No, I'm not going to do it. I'm lazy.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Welcome to my hell

Today I've added Carly to my inestimable list of blogging friends. As the first among my peers to have a baby, and with my morbid fascination and consummate fear of having children, I value her upfrontedness about the gestation of a mini-human within her uterus.

A sample, if I may:

"It's hard to know what you're feeling when you don't know where anything is located. Because, really, have you seen what happens to the inside of a woman when a uterus starts to expand? Please tell me where the hell the organs go...

"Sometimes I feel pokes or taps just north or east of the belly button -- just like someone is poking you in the arm, except is inside the stomach. Other times it's like my belly is farting. Or is it my intestines? Or the actual place where food is going?"

People pictures

This is probably the third commercial I've seen where huge groups of people wearing the same coloured jumpsuits walk in formation to create a giant picture advertising something. And yet, this one is way better than the original British Airways ad or the current Coke ad.

Courtesy of my little sister Jenny. Her sense of humour isn't mine, but sometimes we agree on the neatness of things.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


You know something's wrong when you almost pee yourself with excitement at the newest Harry Potter trailer. As was the case for me today.

I went for a $4.25 matinee show of the Corpse Bride at Rainbow Cinemas Market Square and watched this perfect succession of trailers: Wallace and Grommit, Chronicles of Narnia, and Harry Potter. (Then there was some trailer for a Kevin Costner/Jennifer Aniston flick. Eew.) You could hear a discernable WHOOOOSSSHHH in the theatre: it's the sound of an audience being left breathless. This fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - or "Harry Potter goes to the Olympics" as I call it - is my favourite from the series. I can't wait to see it on screen. Because dragons and mermaids are the only things I need to make it great.

I'm bouncing in my chair trying to decide whether or not to slake my jones for HP by reading the Goblet of Fire again...

Meanwhile, in other great things to watch news, Corpse Bride was very enjoyable, sad and wistful as most Depp/Burton films tend to be. Lovely visuals, hauntingly comic beauty... not as oogie as The Nightmare Before Christmas, and certainly less memorable songs. Still, all in all, a good afternoon flick.

My two picks for the year, Mirrormask and Serenity, are starting on Friday. John will have to endure both with me, as I clutch his sleeve in the theatre while emitting a high-pitched "eeeeeeeeee!!" noise of glee.

Meanwhile, to get your Harry Potter fix, watch this trailer (I know, it's on a French site, but the trailer's in English with subtitles); this trailer (the one I saw today); and the teaser trailer (You can only watch the full screen version if you have iTunes). If you don't have goosebumps by the end of it, try watching the Narnia trailer.

Friday, September 23, 2005

So love me, love me, love me, I'm a Socialist

You are a

Social Liberal
(76% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(21% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Someone stole my candy bowl!
I was packing up the show booth today and I turned around for a minute, and my bowl of candy was gone!
I curse him! I curse ever piece of candy the thief eats! May all his teeth fall out, and his hair thin! May his fingernails grow curled backwards so he has a hard time typing!
Who the HELL steals an ENTIRE bowl of candy?! Dumb fuckers. I hope he drops the bowl and it breaks and he stoops to pick it up and someone bumps into him and causes him to fall face first into broken glass so he gets all mangled and can't get reconstructive surgery and is called meat-face from then on. Dumb fucker meat-face stoopid head.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Damn convention centres...

I'm working at a convention in a booth for my company right now, and I've got a real beef with the Convention Centre. First off, they charged $2.00 for a can of coke I could have gotten outside at a hot dog stand for $1.00. Their food is ridiculously expensive: a crappy congealed-cheese pizza with a coke and a bag of chips cost $10, their sandwiches started at $5, and their pasta was undercooked and disgusteing. On top of this, they don't let you bring in any outside food, so I had to sneak it in.

Not only are they grfiting show attendees with their crappy food scam, but they screw show exhibitors too. You have to pay for EVERYTHING, from furniture to electricity to housekeeping costs. First there's the booth rental, then the furniture, display units, computers and electronics, phone, internet service - you name it, they charge for it. You can't bring your own laptops unless it's a specific part of your exhibit, you can't provide goodies for attendees unless you buy it from them, and you can't move any of your equipment into the centre yourself - they have a union do it for you. Worse yet, I was told they intentionally jam cell phone signals so that booth sponsors have to buy phone lines if they want to make calls.

What a scam great business convention hosting must be.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Comic Book, The Movie: A Review

First off, let me say that the only reason I picked this up was that it was on sale at Blockbuster in their previously viewed section for $9.99. It looked like it would be a fun romp into the world of fandom, much the way Trekkies was. Starring and directed by Mark Hamill, it features interviews with some of the fanboy world's greatest icons, including Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, Hugh Hefner, and Bruce Campbell. That seemed well worth $10 and an hour and a half of my time.

PREMISE: Basically, it's a documentary, only without any real facts. It plays out a bit like a reality TV series with well-placed cameras capturing "ad-lib" dialogue. Hamill plays Don Swann, a high school teacher and authority on fictional comic book hero called Commander Courage. Courage is a war-time Golden Age hero much in the style of the old Batman and Robin. Hollywood is developing a script for a film adaptation, only they're changing it to Codename: Courage, a ruthless mercenary type with big guns and a boobette sidekick. Swann is hired on as an expert on the subject, and is horrified to learn of his childhood hero's imminent remodelling. The Hollywoodites, along with a motley crew of fanboys and weirdos, heads to the real-life 2003 San Diego ComiCon (or nerd mecca, as I call it) to promote the film. Hilarity ensues.

JUDGEMENT: It's kind of weird for the ad libness of it all. I've never enjoyed watching reality TV either - the way people talk in front of a camera gets under my skin. The production values aren't great, either - I guarantee you it was barely Clerks' budget. But what made this really special was that - to put it in Hamill's words - it was the biggest love letter to fanboys and fangirls everywhere. It captured everything any nerd ever wanted to say about any comic book ever made into a movie. It didn't once make fun of the fans - in fact, it completely regarded them with respect and a certain amount of awe. After all, not everyone would walk around a show floor half naked with a blue wig, wings, and crazy makeup. If anything, it made more fun of the Hollywoodites, arrogant, rude, coffee-cigarettes-and-cocaine producer-types whose grip on reality was more flaccid than that of the Comicon attendees.

Once I actually got through the whole thing (I had to watch it in two sittings), I found I rather enjoyed it. It was smart, and after a certain point, was quite refreshing, even if it did look like a high school production. Or a Rogers Cable 10 show.

But that's hardly the best part. What was really, REALLY great about it was that all the actors are "the most famous people in Hollywood you don't know." They're all voice actors, people you know from cartoons, commercials, movies, and what have you. The second disk includes a panel of the stars and others in the voice talent industry - the "Justice League of voice acting" as one fan put it. It's an amazing gathering - Spongebob Squarepants, Pinky and the Brain, the Hollywood movie voice, Fry from Futurama, The Tick... and these actors have done just about everything under the sun in cartoons and animation.

That's where the movie's wicked sense of fun, irony and drama comes from. You're watching this motley crew of people you've never seen before, thinking to yourself, jeez, did they just pull this guy off the street and put him in the film? They're walking around the world's greatest gathering of nerds, geeks, fans, sci-fi, horror, anime and fantasy nuts, surrounded by Klingons and devilmen and Japanese kickass schoolgirls, and they're standing right next to iconic indentifiers. At one point, Hamill and the crew walks up to a table where three guys are sitting and asks to join them, but they tell him to go away. The three men at the table: Hamill's co-stars from the original Star Wars trilogy: 'Peter Mayhew' (Chewbacca), David Prowse (Darth Vader), and Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett). Billy West (aka Fry) is standing by a giant poster for Futurama. And you'd never know, looking at the guy, that he was this icon.

This movie completely rekindled my dream of becoming a voice actor. Cuz there's no way in hell my face would ever make it on any screen.
Look out Vancouver, here I come!

Ooh, SNAP!

Glimpsed from Danielle at What's in my Head: Michael Moore disses CBC.

From Mike's mouth:

"CBC has locked out its union workers, an action that is abhorrent to all who believe in the rights of people to collectively bargain. Why the great and honorable CBC is behaving like an American corporation is beyond me.

The CBC is planning to show my film, "Bowling for Columbine," this Sunday evening. I do not want my film being broadcast on the network unless it is willing to let its own workers back in to work and promises to bargain with them in good faith. That is the historical tradition of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and I expect no less than for them to continue this tradition of respecting its workers and their union."

Sunday, September 11, 2005


This is me standing next to my parents' new security system: the man-eating sunflower.

I don't know why they let it get so big: I guess it falls into their Darwinian way of gardening. Maybe you're familiar with it: it entails not removing any weeds and letting just about anything that pops up mature, just so we can see what it is. (We've discovered cannibis can grow that way sometimes.)

And in case you think I made this up like the guy with the giant cat, I couldn't photoshop this even if I wanted to. Trust me on this. It's real.

Just so you get an idea: I'm 5'2". And the flower hasn't yet bloomed yet, and will probably grow taller before it does.

Entering the analog world!

Oh Brave New World that has such gadgets in it...!

I've recently acquired an old Palm IIIe, courtesy of my good friend Lantz, on which I am downloading out-of-print eBooks - specifically the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. It took me three hours or more to figure out why it wasn't working with my computer, but John solved my problem in 30 seconds. I don't know how he does it, but it's just another reason why I love him so much.
So I went ahead and purchased the first 5 novels online cuz heck, I'm going to read them. And it's great! I even downloaded some freeware games to pass the time. Why I didn't get one before is beyond me!

Yeah, I could have bought a brand spanking new Treo, say, with its own digital camera and MP3 player with all the bells and whistles, but why spend $200 to $400 on a device where I'll only use maybe 10% of the functions, when I can get a device where I'll use 80 to 90% of the functions for practically free? Betamaxing myself? I think not.

So my message of the day is this: if you want to cheaply enter a paperless society, get yourself an old PDA. You can get them refurbished cheaply at a lot of independent stores for under $50 in most cases. You can get adapters if you don't have the right serial port, rechargeable batteries, and download almost anything you want for free off the net. Not only will you save a bundle in trees and paper, but think about the other environmental benefits: you're keeping ewaste out of the landfills by reusing, and you're saving gas and energy in shipping, printing, and manpower costs. That, plus you're promoting the open sharing of information over the Internet. Cool, no?

Friday, September 09, 2005


Just came out of a showing of The Brothers Grimm. Good idea, bad execution. At first, I blamed the studio, as the film had this doesn't-feel-rightness about it. It didn't grab my attention, it barely registered, and the first two acts are a bit haphazard in terms of editing: it showed all the markings of a this-movie-should-have-started-this-way-but-had-to-be-shortened-and-we-
had-to-keep-all-the-action-sequences-in decision by a producer.

Then I realized it was just poorly written. It figures, though: the writer, Ehren Kruger, used to be an executive assistant at The Fox Network. His other titles include the screenplay for the Ring and the Ring Two, Scream 3, Arlington Road, and yes, that marvel of cinema, Reindeer Games.

It's a rental folks. Don't bother wasting $10 at the theatre.

There was also a 5-minute "short" that aired before the film began: it was a musical urban version of Romeo and Juliet sung by Mary J. Blige and sponsored by H&M.

To director David Lachappelle (no, not the guy from the Chappelle show): gimme back my 5 minutes. The short starts with a hispanic Romeo getting gunned down in front of black Juliet's apartment, and her rushing out to save him. Then it goes into a dreamy "how they met and got it on" montage, all while Blige croons and bellows and nearly screams these really long, obnoxious vowels. The scenes lead up to Romeo being killed in a drive-by shooting and Juliet sobbing over his body, lip syncing to Blige's wail for nearly 2 minutes.

At this point, the audience is so fed up with the flick they're just laughing and talking over it. Thankfully, Juliet holds up Romeo's cell phone and a police officer shoots her, thinking she's pointing a gun at him and making the audience cheer at the sudden silence.

The scene dissolves back to R & J cozying up topless, wearing jeans, in bed.

And then the words show up: brought to you by H & M denim. At which point the audience hisses and boos.

Note to all marketers out there: Romeo and Juliet may be one of the most well-known plays, but it's really, REALLY saccharine. Also, the main theme of it is infatuation, so what you're really saying is, the buyer would give up anything for this pairs of jeans, but they're really not worth dying over, so don't bother attaching yourself to them because they'll just fade and die on you.

Wasn't it enough that H & M had lots of cheap clothes that were moderately worthwhile? You didn't need to advertise, really.

This is "Breaking" News?

Hell, I know little of politics and even I thought this was a given.

From John, via Daily Kos.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Holy crap, I was right!

Remember that bitter rant I went on about New Orleans?
Guess who got the contract to clean the city up!

Granted, John spotted this first.

Home Safe

Just got back from the big Ottawa-Toronto drive. Boy, does my ass ever hurt. Maybe I'm not used to driving for a long time, but are my gluts supposed to be sore? I didn't think I was clenching them particularly - I was so relaxed I was afraid I'd fall asleep at the wheel. How do truckers do it?

Missing John already - he's back in Ottawa now and I'm here, alone, and bereft.

I howl in anguish:


Meanwhile, I must go and make sure the car is fed before I go to bed tonight - I will return the beast tomorrow morning and I don't want to wait in line for gas. For the record, it's a Toyota Camry, and it was an excellent drive unlike the crappy piece of Chevrolet Cobalt I drove earlier this week. I also discovered the joys of cruise control - I think it went a long way to helping me save gas - it took less than half a tank (35 L) to get from Ottawa to Toronto.

Okay then, going to drown my sorrows in $1.30 gasoline. No wait, that doesn't make it better...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Blogger spam

Damn you, Blogger. I'm starting to get blog spam - people asking me to visit their crappy ass websites. I may be a marketing whore, but gawdammit, this is ridiculous. It's not even directed at a target market! I guarantee you I don't want or need to see "black pussy". Really. And I don't want all my friends to have to register to post a comment! They really don't need to!

A plague on the spammers of the world... a plague on both your houses!


An open letter from Michael Moore:

Friday, September 2nd, 2005
Vacation is Over... an open letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush:

Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.

Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?

Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!

I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?

And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!

On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.

There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.

No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!

You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.


Michael Moore

P.S. That annoying mother, Cindy Sheehan, is no longer at your ranch. She and dozens of other relatives of the Iraqi War dead are now driving across the country, stopping in many cities along the way. Maybe you can catch up with them before they get to DC on September 21st.

Get off your asses


NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- As his city skidded deeper into chaos, New Orleans' embattled mayor accused federal officials of dragging their feet while people are dying in deplorable conditions.

Mayor Ray Nagin's voice cracked with anger and anguish Thursday night in an interview with New Orleans radio station WWL.

"We're getting reports and calls that [are] breaking my heart from people saying, 'I've been in my attic. I can't take it anymore. The water is up to my neck. I don't think I can hold out.' And that's happening as we speak."

Nagin said the time has long past for federal authorities to act on their promises.

"You mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to authorize the resources that we need? Come on man," he said.

"I need reinforcements," he pleaded. "I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. This is a national disaster.


The tempers of those waiting for food, water and relief from relentless heat continued to boil Friday as they waited for help to arrive, some in shocking conditions that were only getting worse. At least one large explosion rocked the city early Friday.

In the radio interview, Nagin's frustration was palpable.

"I've been out there man. I flew in these helicopters, been in the crowds talking to people crying, don't know where their relatives are. I've done it all man, and I'll tell you man, I keep hearing that it's coming. This is coming, that is coming. And my answer to that today is BS, where is the beef? Because there is no beef in this city. "

Nagin said, "Get every Greyhound bus in the country and get them moving."

Nagin called for a moratorium on press conferences "until the resources are in this city."

"They're feeding the people a line of bull, and they are spinning and people are dying," he said.

"I don't know whether it's the governor's problem, or it's the president's problem, but somebody needs to get ... on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now," Nagin said.

"They thinking small, man, and this is a major, major deal," he said.

"Get off your asses and let's do something."

The mayor said except for a few "knuckleheads," the looting is the result of desperate people just trying to find food and water to survive.

Nagin blamed the outbreak of crime and violence on drug addicts who are cut off from their drug supplies and wandering the city "looking to take the edge off their jones."

My thoughts on the N.O. situation: Why, you ask, is it taking so long for federal or state help to arrive? Are they afraid for the safety of aid workers? Is it an administrative situation that says they can't release emergency food and water?

Unfortunately for me, being so cynical, my thoughts tend to some venture into extremely dark places.

My dark and horrible theory: the people who most desperately need help are some of the poorest people in the country. Many of them are black. If the government lets, oh, say about 100,000 or maybe 200,000 die off, what happens? The average median income in the country goes up! Besides, New Orleans was a pit of sin, and deserved to be washed away by God, cleansed by the same great flood that scoured the earth and left only good Noah and his descendants to populate the world once more! If these people weren't smart enough to leave in the first place, they deserve what they get! Anyhow, it was only darkies and some drugged-up white trash who drowned in their dilapidated houses! Just think of the urban renewal we could do once all the corpses have been cleaned up! Why, if I ever get a third term, I could get my buddies in Haliburton to come in and put up a shiny new set of condos! Maybe even a summer house for me! This isn't a problem, it's an opportunity! Now where' are my galoshes?

Gawd, if only I could spew enough venom to kill all the stoopid people in the government...

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Ironing is Delicious

Gleaned from

Plagiarism wrong, piracy okay believe many university students

Many Canadian university students, who would be indignant if someone plagiarized their own work, apparently have no qualms about acquiring and using pirated software, a recent survey reveals.

The Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST) that conducted the survey calls this a double standard. But others beg to differ.

Among other things CAAST measured behaviours and attitudes towards software piracy of 3,000 college and university students across Canada. This sample group included 500 students identified as computer science majors. Half the students surveyed admitted to acquiring software without paying for it.

When asked how they would feel if someone plagiarized their work, 87 per cent said it would be a serious issue. Only 40 per cent feel the same about using pirated software.

This apparent disconnect is stronger among computer science students. Eighty-three per cent feel very strongly about someone stealing their own intellectual property, yet nearly two-thirds admit to downloading commercial software from the Internet without paying for it – compared with 46 per cent of students in other fields.

Such views and actions, says a piracy prevention expert, are both skewed and shortsighted.

These students aren’t considering the implications to their own future livelihood, according to Debbi Mayster, communications manager at the Business Software Alliance (BSA), CAAST’s American affiliate. “It means fewer dollars are available to the software industry to put into research and development, and hence [fewer] jobs for software developers, engineers and programmers.”

The survey’s findings are alarming, says Mayster, and indicate a need to change unethical attitudes and behaviours in university students. “These are our future business leaders. We need to raise awareness now, before they enter the business world.”


Still Alive, part 2 & 3

Incidentally, as my last post proved, yes, I am still alive after my time on the highway. Although I imagine there are some angry people driving on the roads right now because of me.

In my eyes, I'm doing alright in the piece 'o crap car Fiona calls the "Toy Car". It tends to drift a lot so I feel like I'm adjusting all the time. Still can't park for nuts - good thing I go to work early and pick a lonely, far away spot in the lot.

Nearly hit someone yesterday coming off the Bloor/Bayview exit. I guess lots of people have those "almost hit someone" stories though. As long as I don't have a "hit someone" story, I'm good.

I'll be returning the car tonight, or tomorrow morning before 9am. Can't say I'm unhappy to see it go: I was feeling the "owner's burden" and worrying someone would break into it to steal my box on Kleenex. Mostly, I'm looking forward to reading on the subway again - it takes me 40 minutes to get to work by car, and I'd rather spend that time in relative comfort as a passenger for an extra 20 minutes going by TTC.

Also, with gas prices hitting close to $1.20 at the pumps, I'm not keen on needing to fill the tank. On that note, I've never pumped gas, so wish me luck and hope I don't set myself on fire tonight.

I'll keep you all apprised of my imminent demise.


Gleaned from on the destruction wreaked by Katrina:


  • Deaths: At least 100 in Harrison County, home to Biloxi and Gulfport.
  • At least 900,000 customers statewide were without power, utilities said.
  • The storm obliterated hundreds of waterfront homes, businesses, community landmarks and condominiums.
  • Water swamped the emergency operations center at Hancock County courthouse, which sits nine metres above sea level. The back of the courthouse collapsed.
  • "I can only imagine that this is what Hiroshima looked like 60 years ago," said Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour after touring the destruction by air.
  • Now, not to lessen the carnage that is currently Mississippi, but Hiroshima looked much different.

    The difference:

    Now, if he'd said Mississippi looked like Indonesia after the Tsunami, well, maybe.

    Just an irksome quirk for the day.

    Monday, August 29, 2005

    Still Alive, part 1

    Got the car today - a Chevrolet Cobalt. It's blue and shiny and came with interior and exterior spiders. If those things had appeared on my hand while I was driving, I would have skidded off the road and crashed into a tree just to get them off.

    I seem to be faring okay on the road, but I think I've carried over some of my bad pedestrian walking habits over to driving. Such as zooming ahead to get around other people. Not checking my blind spots on occasion. Stopping too abruptly. That kind of thing. One wonders why the province thought I was road worthy.

    John said I drove fine, and his confidence feeds my own. I will take this glorious opportunity to announce how much I love him. Tomorrow we celebrate our 5th year together as a couple!
    John! I love you! Kisses and hugs and shnuggles! [*shnuggle shnuggle shnuggle shnuggle shnuggle*]

    Tomorrow will be the real test for me - driving alone on the 401. If all goes well, there will be a second part to this blog.

    I reiterate my warking to you all: Everyone, stay off the roads.

    Friday, August 26, 2005

    The blogging rundown

    As I am working full time for an IT company and don't really feel like sitting in front of the computer at the end of the day, things have been piling up in my brain that I've been meaning to blog about. So briefly, I'll go over each topic in a few words:

    Birthday - awesome. I had shrimp cocktail and lobster at Cyrano's steak and seafood restaurant on King St. E. I highly recommend it - it's a nice change over the Keg or some other steak chain that charges too much for meat.

    Gifts - Mostly money - YAY! But as previosly mentioned, got a really cool wind-up Bender robot toy from big sister, and a hilarious gabbling giggly Cookie Monster toy from John that we saw at Buskerfest last night. It goes "HEL-LO!" and "HU-HAW!" and "HA-CHA-CHA!!" in Cookie Monster's voice. I'll never get tired of it.

    Battlepanda - John is guest blogging for one of his regular blog reads at Battlepanda. It's nice that someone recognizes his smarts and talents and is using them to their full advantage and gain. (To regular author of Battlepanda: hands off, he's mine.)

    Homolka - Please, god, why won't it stop?

    Driving - John's going back to Ottawa next weekend and I'll be helping him move. The rental car we got means I'll have to drive it home to Toronto, otherwise it'll cost something ridiculous like $400 for two days. So everyone is duly forewarned: I haven't ever, EVER driven by myself, and certainly not on the highway, AND I haven't driven since I got my license more than two years ago. So stay off the roads. I mean it. I've been playing Grand Theft Auto Vice City, and that's probably how I'll drive. (John will testify, however, that I drive too tamely to play the game properly. After all, I stop at all the reds and ask how to turn my signals on.)

    Happily, I've managed to rent a car for next week starting Monday, and I'll be practicing driving back and forth to and from work. I'm not really worried about driving as much as parking. So again, everyone, stay off the road and make sure to reserve three parking spots for me to use. I'll need them. And if I never post another blog, assume the worst and glean whatever insight you can from my pathetic musings.

    Anniversary - John and I will be celebrating our 5th year together on the 30th. I can't believe we still talk to each other in baby-I-luboo-schmoo talk. But at least we can fart in each other's presence now. Not that any of you needed to know that, but, well, sharing is good. Because if we don't talk about it, the stigma will endure. Free farts!

    Weddings - Yet another friend's wedding tomorrow. I'm hoping I won't have to go to another until next summer: these events are costing me a bundle.

    End of Summer - CNE's open, Back to School shopping's in full swing, and all the summer merchandise is quickly and quietly being replaced by Christmas stuff. Use that patio as much as you can, folks, it ain't gonna last.

    Stupid People - Haven't encounted any lately, except for JerkFace McStupidDouchbagerton, who definitely deserves to be set on fire and roled in salt thereafter.

    Ray vs Denise 3, THE APPRENTICE - it's exactly what you think. Last year it was RVD: The Appalling Race. This year, they divided their group of friends up into two teams and spent the day trying to outdo each other in sales and marketing ideas, including 1) hunting for recyclable cans in a hotel dumpster filled with vomit, broken glass, and they did it without gloves; 2) buying the most economical lunch; 3) developing a marketing plan to an existing restaurant. Yes, this is the kind of stuff my sister's friends do for FUN. Make PowerPoint presentations and develop business plans. Ooh. Fun. The best part was when they got stuck in the hotel elevator for an hour. Now that's television!

    Jason & the Motorcycle - Fiona's friend Jason got into a motorcycle accident and broke his ankle right after he came by and showed all his friends his shiny new bike. I'd point and laugh, except it's not funny. He's one of three people know who own motorcycles. Let's see how the statistics hold up for motorcycle injuries...

    That's it for now. I've earned some time off with this long post.

    Thursday, August 25, 2005


    Whoever said Toronto gets clement weather wasn't around last Friday (Aug. 19/05).
    As it was a slow newsday, the extreme storms were headline news for the evening. No kidding: these are photos of Finch Ave. (W or E, I'm not sure) as the storm passed from an apartment building. Apparently, it's going to cost $5 million to rebuild the road and over 4 months to fix. Danielle has these pictures too.