Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bust out the cake.

Exactly one year ago today, I moved all my stuff to Kingston.

Well, not all my stuff, really. I chucked a lot of it in my parents' basement, because I moved from a nice-sized apartment in Toronto to a tiny-ass basement here in Jailtown. (I'm lucky I'm not a few inches taller, or my back would be sore from the endless stooping.)

I recently received a lovely gift of several Aqua Teen Hunger Force DVDs. And I can't... stop... talking... like... Err. During Ladyflash today (that's Thursdays at 2:30 on CFRC, by the way), someone called in and made a request, and I said "Damn, yeah!" to him in conversation. Which is something that a certain vertically-challenged purple Mooninite would say, if they were fielding a call from someone wanting to hear something from the new Stephen Malkmus album. Good thing I ain't talkin' like Carl... and splitting mail-order brides from Chechnya with the milkshake that lives next door.

Oh, god, I've gotta stop watching the Aqua Teens.

Y'know what's a good song? "Wild World" by Cat Stevens.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"Moral decay."

So, the same-sex marriage bill passed in the Commons, and it wasn't even close. I was a bit surprised to read that one NDPer, Bev Desjarlais, wasn't a "yea." (She was then stripped of her titles of Critic for Infrastructure and Transport. Thank you, Jack.)

Something struck me about what was said by Alberta Conservative MP David Chatters. He noted that, since Trudeau's 1969 remark about the government "staying out of the bedrooms of Canada," that our country has experienced a "moral decay," ostensibly linking the two.

Take a look at Dick Cheney. I think the guy might actually be an animatronic robot, the kind you'd see at Disneyland or Duff Gardens. I know he doesn't have a soul, and it's quite a trick the way he parts his hair as to hide the devil-horns. But get him talking about gay rights, and he turns into a rainbow-flag-flying softie.

Cheney has experienced what Chatters (probably) hasn't, and that's having someone close to them have a tough go of it because of the gender their DNA tells them they should kiss. Alright, so Tricky Dick II is a convert, but he's had a close encounter with this sort of thing.

compassion n. sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it

That is... being able to understand that some people live with the threat of getting beaten up for something they can't choose, and working to better those peoples' lives to the best of your ability. Sounds like a nice thing, eh, David?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Take off, you hoser.

One of the myriad tidbits of information I picked up today whilst surfing Wikipedia:

The term "hoser" originally referred to someone who siphoned gasoline on the Prairies during the Depression.

God bless you, Bob & Doug.

Friday, June 24, 2005

StatCounter, I love you.

If you notice the little thingie on the right side of my blog with a number, it's the counter that shows how many people have visited my stupid little corner of the Intar-Web Network. (Yeah, I can't believe it either.)

Through the StatCounter site, it also tells me if people find my blog, or pages on it, through search engines. This is often chuckleworthy, but this one got me:

Someone found this page by searching on Yahoo for the words "japanese beaver". I somehow doubt they got what they were looking for from my blog.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Turn signals, babies, and interviews.

I've seen more of the 401 lately than I would wish on my worst enemy. Shoot, I think I should sign up for the Flying J Frequent Fueler card, if such a card in fact exists.

Something I've noticed over the past decade I've been driving is that American drivers hardly ever use turn signals to indicate lane-changes. Now, I don't know what y'all do back home, but when you're driving our roads, you go by our rules, and our rules say you put on the blinker to show everyone you're changing lanes.

We had a family get-together on Sunday, for Father's Day. I got to see my niece again — she's five weeks old — and she's noticeably bigger and brighter-eyed than she was even two weeks ago, according to my mom (who's holding her in this picture). My grandparents came over, and a good time was had by all.

Of course, my leisurely weekend had to be cut short by something; this time it was an interview to possibly be a facilitator for the next offering of APSC 190, in Winter '06. Seems like a good idea — teach budding engineers things like teamwork and how to deal with real-life scenarios — and I hope I get the gig. Not just for the cash, though (although that'll be nice) — I've been reading this past year about having students take more leadership of their learning, and this'll be a neat place to try that sort of philosophy out.

Yes, I'm an education geek.

But listen to Ladyflash on CFRC (101.9 FM or on the web) this Thursday afternoon at 2:30 anyway. Ladyflash: We May Play Female Artists At Some Point.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Don't you go buyin' the Porn, now.

U.S. Assitant Attorney General William Moschella, in defending the Patriot Act the way it is, said that bookstores and libraries "should not be carved out as safe havens for terrorists and spies, who have, in fact, used public libraries to do research and communicate with their co-conspirators."

(That's it! Lock up all the Danielle Steele novels — Osama bin Laden might try to woo a desperate housewife locked in a loveless marriage!)

I say, get rid of libraries and bookstores; that'll solve your problem, right there. Just feed people the Official News via Fox, and we'll all turn out OK. Shoot, Moschella probably got wood reading Fahrenheit 451 back in the day.

Boos for Ah-nuld.

Governor Schwarzenegger got booed at a speech he gave at a graduation ceremony at a college he attended in the '70s. Seems as if he wants to call a "special election" in November, to the tune of $45 million. (Colour me confused; didn't he get elected in the first place in a "special" election?)

What I found most interesting is that he's apparently been calling teachers, nurses and public employee unions "special interest groups."

Is he fucking serious? Have I entered Bizarro World (or perhaps Rand McNally) where the crooks chase the cops, hamburgers eat people, and unions are considered special interest groups? Shoot, man, I feel like I'm back in the throes of the Common Sense [sic] Revolution.

This dovetails nicely with the preface of my latest Thomas Frank book, One Market Under God. (I'll return it to Stauffer as soon as I'm done with it, I promise.) In it, he talks about how, in the '90s, there occurred a weird twist to the public's take on how things should be done in the business world. I'll quote from pp. xiii-xiv:

[The prevailing idea became that m]arkets are where we are most fully human; markets are where we show that we have a soul. To protest against markets is to surrender one's very personhood, to put oneself outside the family of mankind.
    This is why [economist Jagdish] Bhagwati could claim that Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike, had conscientiously "taken a stand" when he fought union sympathizers on campus, but that those who criticized his use of sweatshops were "captive to unions," incapable of thinking for themselves. This is why, in the culture of the nineties, CEOs were "leaders" and union chiefs were "bosses," regardless of the fact that unions are often democracies while corporations are almost always dictatorships. This is why it is thought to be an act of heroism to denounce government regulation from the heights of Davos but an act of cynicism to go on strike against new management strategies in Detroit. ... This is why workers who join unions are robots while workers who trade stocks online are getting in touch with their humanity.

Maybe I should read more fiction.

In completely unrelated news, the completely awesome Tricky Woo are coming to Clark Hall Pub this Friday, the 17th. I am not going to be in town for this, so you must all promise me you're going to the show and letting TR rock you right up your corn-chute. Because they will. Oh, lord, they will. For six bucks (cheap!). Can you say no? Of course you can't! So get your ass to Clark, Pedro!!!

Monday, June 13, 2005

I'm such a geek.

I'm a geek because I love stuff like this. (Thanks, 'nee, for the link.) The one disturbing thing on the page, though, is the wind speed given in miles per hour. C'mon, engineers, get with the 18th century and use metric already!

In completely unrelated news, I finished my thesis proposal and sent it off to my supervising profs. I'm hoping to make any revisions by the June 29th ethics deadline, but if not I'll be around most of July as it looks like the Great Western Sojourn is out of reach of my bank account. This will facilitate proposal-editing, colloquium-scheduling, and softball-playing.

Now to return my empties. I'm such a delinquent.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Send this one back.

Oh, good god damn it's hot.

Environment Canada says it's 23°C out there.

I think they're full of excrement.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Productivity, KEXP, CFRC, and ankles.

I think the "summary title" works well. We'll just stick with it for a while.

Wonder of wonders, I've actually been able to nearly finish my thesis proposal. It's coming along alright, and there are only a couple of holes to fill in before I send 'er off to my supervisor for approval. It'll bounce back and forth a few times before things get settled enough to send it off to ethics for review (fingers crossed for the late-June deadline), before largely pissing off for the rest of the summer.

Currently on KEXP: "Bulldog" by the Beatles, off Yellow Submarine. Not being overly familiar with this album (it's the only post-Rubber Soul one I don't own), I'm pleasantly surprised by the tune. Kinda like finding a ten-dollar bill in your winter coat the first time you put it on in the late fall, or picking up Slide Show by the Super Friendz for five bucks at Sonic Boom to find that it's basically another mid-'90s Sloan album. (That's a good thing.) At any rate, I'm now a KEXP member.

Shameless self-promotion: Ladyflash on CFRC — 101.9 FM, or on the Intar-Web Net — which I'm substitute co-hosting this summer, is now on Thursdays from 2:30 to 4:00 pm, shifted back an hour. If there's something you'd like to hear, email me and I'll see what I can do. (There's a vinyl copy of 2112 lying around that I'm just itching to play, by the way.)

The ankle is getting better, and I'm planning on gingerly testing it tomorrow in a softball game (if it doesn't rain). Caution is the key word here.

And "milkman" is the safeword.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Mosquito bites, Thomas Frank, and breakfast-burgers.

A luxurious weekend was spent at the cottage of Ryan. Beer was drinked, meat was eated, and lounging was do'ed. (Irregular verbs, sadly, were part of the festivities.) I counted them up this morning, and I still have five major mosquito bites. The A-positive, man, the little flying critters love the A-positive.

This weekend, and into today, I started and finished Thomas Frank's excellent What's the Matter with Kansas?, which chronicles how the conservative wing of the Republican party managed to gain so much power. One of the great ironies is that their candidates profess to be "regular folk" and talk about how much they look out for the little guy... meanwhile, they vigorously give giant tax cuts to the rich, and supporting Big Business at all costs — meaning they're all too happy to let companies ship jobs overseas, and the ones which are left are of the Wal-Mart calibre (low pay, lousy benefits, awful conditions). It's out on paperback; I can highly recommend. Very thorough end-notes, documenting sources out the wazoo. This I like.

(Oh, and it also bitch-slaps Ann Coulter at several occasions, which gave me an ideological boner the size of Topeka.)

Out at the aforementioned cottage, one Mr. Riz managed to scarf down not one, but two breakfast burgers. Photographic evidence here; he polishes off the first as the second awaits his insatiable appetite.

And now, back to the thesis proposal. It's not that it's a huge undertaking, it's just this inertia. I... can't... get... going. Maybe I need coffee.

Screw it. I'll just watch Jon Stewart instead.