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...