Monday, August 28, 2006

Stand-Up Comedy Night @ Baba's

So for the last several weeks there has been a very cool series of stand-up comedy nights going on every Sunday at Baba's. So far they've been hosted by Graham from Sketch-22, he's done all the leg-work of organizing the shows, getting Baba's on board, rounding up comedians and encouraging new people to give it a try.

The attendance has been really good for a Sunday night in Charlottetown.  I've walked in a few times to a packed house.  But even when there aren't so many people, like last night when there were around 20 or so, it's a very 'smart' crowd.  People who've come out specifically to hear stand-up, not a Friday or Saturday night bar crowd who'd rather talk to their friends than hear the jerk up front with the microphone.  Intelligent and edgy peformances have done really well with the audiences, and the loudest applause definitely doesnt' go to the guy with the most occurrences of the word 'fuck' in his act.  Only at Baba's would you be able to reliably get a crowd like that, so I'm glad they're doing it.

Next week Taylor will be hosting it, so he'll have even more of an opportunity to offend people than with just the usual 10 minute act.  Other people have come close but I think Taylor has done the best and moost consistent job of shocking people so far.  He even offended Lorne Elliot by what he says of the look on his face during Taylor's 'abortion joke' when he made a guest appearance.  Awesome.

So everyone should come out next week, and if you think you're funny you should get yourself on the bill.  No experience or anything necessary.  The best ones are just the people who riff on their childhood traumas or social awkwardness.  But the more the merrier, and variety is always good.  I'd still like to see the conclusion to Linda's ventriloquist's acttrilogy that she started.

By al - 10:18 a.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Scanner Darkly

So when I went on Thursday to go see A Scanner Darkly, a pair of older ladies ahead of me in line apparently thought they were going to see An Inconvenient Truth, since that's what they were talking about in line and they didn't seem to be of the target demographic for A Scanner Darkly.

The nice girl at the snack counter had to tell them that thye had come at the wrong time and they could get their money back if they wanted or just come back later ,but they decided to stay anyway. I told the girl she shouldn't have said anything, that if they had come expecting a chilling vision of the future it's not like they'd leave disappointed.

The movie itself was pretty talk-y, and it made you hope that someone will use the animation technique for greater effect in a higher budget film soon. But at least Richard Linklater had better starting material with the Philip K. Dick story than his indulgent, ADD philosophizing of Waking Life.

Keanu Reeves wasn't offensively bad, so that's a relief. Robert Downey Junior was the hilight of the film, and Woody Harrelson just likes talking like a stoner in front of a camera. There were a few too many Cheech & Chong in a post-apolyptic world moments, and it felt cheap when they could have been advancing the story.

Still worth watching, though, and any stab at real science fiction is a welcome one in today's movie industry. I definitely will get it when it comes out on DVD for any extras / making of bits, the best part of the Waking Life DVD was seeing the artists draw over live footage on costom Apple software and tablets.

By al - 4:47 p.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, August 25, 2006

Le Sigh

The rule holds true. Nice things have a finite life span, especially cars. I'll be pouring one out for my fallen homie tonight. I'll miss you Subaru Impreza rear bumper, RIP.

I got rear ended last year for obeying the flashy lights on a school bus. I just got rear ended for obeying a crosswalk. Killing pedestrians is like not cool. In the lady's defense her brakes did fail. Hence hitting me twice. Obeying the rules is gonna get me killed. Le sigh.

Accident #1, 4 days before I was going to leave for 'Nam.
Accident #2, 3 days before Mom leaves to pick up Trang.

I sense a trend.

Coles Notes: Everyone's fine. Brakes failed on lady's car rear ending mine. My automotive baby is hurt but nothing major. Screw Volvo. Subaru's proven itself twice over. Yes I'm thankful to all major and minor religions for sparing the occupants involved and I'm blogging about it cause it makes me feel better.

Le sigh.

By TVT - 6:26 p.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, August 24, 2006

decorating the hallway with my art again

line in the water


Island still life

By Sabrina - 10:41 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment


This is quite a funny quote from Haifa's mayor from a news article talking about the lack of distrust between the city's arab and Jewish communities, a marked difference from the racial tension in other mixed cities like Tel Aviv or Acre.
I asked Haifa's mayor, Yona Yahav, why co-existence works better in his
city than in other mixed Arab-Jewish areas. "I think it's because Haifa
was spared a visit by Moses, Jesus, or Mohammed," he says. "There are no
holy places to fight over. The only prophet among the three religions
who visited here was Elijah, but he is accepted by all the faiths."
The full article is here: Link.

By al - 9:27 a.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Greek Mythology Personality Test

The Oracle

33% Extroversion, 100% Intuition, 44% Emotiveness, 59% Perceptiveness

Heuristic, detached, and analytical to a fualt, you are most like The Oracle. You are able to tackle any subject with a fine toothed comb, and you possess an ability to pinpoint nuances and shades of meaning that other people do not have and cannot understand. Accomplishment and realization of ideas are, for you, secondary to the rigorous exploration of ideas and questions -- you are, first and foremost, a theorist. You hate authority, convention, tradition, and under no circumstances do you accept a leadership role (although, you will gladly advise leadership when they're going astray, whether they want you to or not). Abstraction and generalities are your interests, details and particulars are usually inconsequential and uninteresting. You excel at language, mathematics and philosophy.

You are typically easy-going and non-confrontational until someone violates one of the very few principles that you deem sacred, at which point you can fly into a rage. Although you possess a much greater understanding of process and systems than the people around you, you are always conscious of the possibility that you've missed something or made a mistake. You don't tend to become attached to particular theories, and will immediately discard mistaken notions once they're revealed to be incorrect (but you don't tolerate iconoclasts who try to discredit validated theories through the use of fallacies and bad data). Despite being outwardly humble, you probably think of yourself as being smarter than most other people. That's because you are. In fact, in your dealings with people your understanding of their motives is so expansive that you know what they're going to say before they say it, and in world affairs, you usually know what is going to take place before it actually does. This ability would make you unbeatable in debates if only you were a little less pensive about your own conclusions, and a little more outgoing.

Famous people like you: Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, John McWhorter, Ramanujan, Marie Curie, Kurt Godel

Stay clear of: Apollo, Icarus, Hermes, Aphrodite

Seek out: Atlas, Prometheus, Daedalus

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 17% on Extroversion
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 89% on Intuition
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 31% on Emotiveness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 31% on Perceptiveness

Link: The Greek Mythology Personality Test written by Aleph_Nine on OkCupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Currently listening :
No Code
By Pearl Jam
Release date: By 27 August, 1996

By al - 11:41 a.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Monday, August 21, 2006


Couple of Leipzig tidbits I wanted to comment on.

Execs are still yammering about mobile gaming as the second coming. They fail to realize that if you play games on your cellphone you waste batteries to make calls on said cellphone.

Convergence gaming devices that have failed or are failing: Nokia Engage, Sony PSP. Handheld gaming only devices that have succeeded: anything Nintendo makes. Is there a trend?

I still don't understand the fascination with global product launches. They rarely do it with software (easier) so why hardware? You just end up annoying consumers globally when you can't meet demand. In the Xbox 360's case: lots of Japanese units just sitting there waiting to be bought by North Americans.

Sony's got 3 months til launch and they haven't started putting the pieces together yet. If I felt like standing in line for days on end, I'd buy one to sell on eBay. Which I'm sure is the plan for half the people in line.

By TVT - 12:15 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, August 19, 2006

22 sketches in review

Okay, I a sure many of you made valiant attempts to reads Al's review, as Al admits in the comment section it was bit long and had slightly negative side to it. But I am sure many of you read it. There are as usual a few things I agree on, I was not a fan of the killer clown skit, and the roll up the rim skit may leave a bit to be desired, but there were other skits that had me splitting a gut.

I found the opening credits, fun and not complicated, a good way to bring you into the show. I was amazed at the opening in how easy it is to find, closed business in this city, and how I reconised every signed stating, sorry closed they put up on screen.
The skit I will note as the Cumberland street skit (cause I know someone who lives on that street) had me giggling.
My favorite skit of the night was the skate country skit, where I quite literally had to hold myself in my chair. I found it a great bit of fun to see roller skate a gain, punk in jogging pants and a cape, and a quick trip down memory lane with many corny 80's songs many people still secretly enjoy.
The heart and soil skits also found one of the best skits there for making fun of Islanders. As a crowd we tend to find ourselves stuck in another era, and even though the younger generation is desperate to come into a new era the older generation is typically happy, and hate change. This particular skit captured that most beautifully, as well as showing the hard working life styles of a generation ago( you know the one, where they walk 20 miles in crazy snow storms to get to school) and the laziness of the current generation. Well done.
I was only disappointed that there was not more skits of that nature involved in the production, it is fun to make fun of islanders.
As well another skit that sticks out in my mind is the big dick one. Though the dead rabbit fetish was frightful, at best the premise was out right enjoyment.
all in all I really enjoyed the show, though I will admit I think last year's version was better and a couple of skits really could have been a bit better done.
Hopefully next years one will bring some new skits that will have me laughing in my seat and leaving with soar cheek muscles again.
If by chance ideas are running a bit short (I'm sure they are not) in next years white coat skit ( the scientist at sketch 22) should include a surveille of the audience.
I'm sure you could find a few very funny things written on the review that would be great to read up on stage, and might spark an idea or two.

By Sabrina - 8:51 p.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, August 18, 2006


The Mrs. has all her paperwork. She'll be here September 10th. All you MacKenzie peeps are invited to our 2nd wedding later in the month.

*big sigh*

By TVT - 3:53 p.m. | (8) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Taxi Driver Button

Taxi Driver Button
Taxi Driver Button
Originally uploaded by Alejandro the Great.
My dad would have gotten this button when he was driving a taxi for Art's the year I was born.


By al - 7:22 p.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment


Pluto is not a planet. There. 8 to memorize instead of 12 and possibly hundreds. C'mon. How memorable is 2003 UB313? Unless they name it Bob, cause that would be cool.

If they demoted Ceres. They can demote Pluto. Down with Pluto! Don't hate the planet. Hate the system. Er. I mean. Wacky orbital inclination.

Ah nature. How you stubbornly refuse to be categorized into neat little chunks we humans define.

By TVT - 12:25 p.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Memos: Been Quiet Lately

  • Ever been having a conversation about some general topic and then get the impression that the other person is trying to tell you something, but won't be direct about it? Politeness dictates that you can't just ask someone directly if they are talking about you, because you're then implying that they're being sneaky or less than direct. I catch myself doing it sometimes but it's more of a way to annoy someone I don't respect than to say something that's hard to be direct about, since I've found that people tend to hear what they want to. It's very disheartening when you feel like you can't say "ok, this feels like it's getting a little personal here."

  • Evolutionary psychology is bullshit. And it's not science. People act like animals sometimes? No shit. Give me a hypothesis that can be falsified before you go calling your field a science. Apologia for distasteful group dynamics by citing similar behaviour in animals makes me want to vomit.

  • Every single candidate for the federal Liberal Party leadership are completely uninspiring and unmemorable. And none of them seem to be prepared to rock any boats or make any waves when it comes to identifying and seriously doing something about real problems we're facing or will be facing soon. I want to hear a real plan to fight child poverty or rising tuition costs, not some more empty words appealing to centre left voters while proposing notihng of substance. People got tired of the Liberals for exactly that reason.

  • God, I'm boring.

  • I bought an Anglo concertina on eBay a few weeks back, it arrived last week and I really enjoy playing it. It's a lot like a big, hand-operated harmonica. The cool thing about it is that, wihle it's tricky to play music that wasn't written for it, intuitive patterns of keypresses very often make for pleasant-sounding melodies. I'll write more about the way it's played later on.

  • I'm tired.

  • Author David Grossman's son was recently killed in the Israel-Lebanon violence. Stories about individuals among the news stories taht only mention numbers are the most heart-breaking.

  • Thinking about getting a enw Mac so I can go back to writing software for Mac OS X. The obvious choice would be a MacBook, but between my own perfectly serviceable Toshiba laptop and my work laptop, having three is just sort of ridiculous. So I may get one of the enw Intel iMacs instead, since the displays are so nice and they've got a little more horsepower for about the same price, I think it's a good choice.

  • I fell asleep right after coming home from working last last night, and then woke up at 1:30am with my stomach killing me. I've been up ever since. There goes my alarm. Today is probably going to suck.

  • The people who are most hesitant to talk about themselves are always the ones whose stories I want to hear the most.

By al - 6:26 a.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

trying to create the feel of distress

going down the falls

By Sabrina - 7:12 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Local Bands on K-Rock - Sunday, 9:00 PM

From here: Link.
tms wrote: Was checking out K rock's site, and found this

"An interview with JOEL PLASKETT, plus music from Smothered In Hugs, Timothy Chiasson, The Mystery System, Double Ought Buckshot, Rattle Snakin' Daddies, Nikkie, Wintersleep, Carmen Townsend and MORE!"

It starts at 9pm sunday night.
(Links to bands' websites added by me.) It's about time a local radio station realized that people around here actually do make music, and that with modern digital recording equipment it actually sounds broadcast quality.

Now hopefully people who don't normally go out and look for new music to listen to hear some good local or Maritime music they likeon this program will begin to request the songs throughout the week, and even *gasp* go out and buy the CDs or see a show. Then the radio will finally create a connection with the community beyond spitting contests outside the ATC. (though that was the most interesting thing to walk into the middle of on my way to work since Pt. Lepreau's last moose visitor when I worked there.)

By al - 8:06 p.m. | (3) comments | Post a Comment

Sweet White Jesus I love “The Boondocks”

Last week I wrote a long post about Sketch-22 where I said that I enjoyed it (I guess I should have put that part in bold..) but saw enough that I thought could be improved that I ended up writing a lot about its flaws.

This won't be one of those posts. This is going to be me gushing shamelessly about the best show I've seen come along in years.

Now, newspaper comics, especially less 'cartoony' ones, have not had the best track record of being adapted to television or movies. I enjoyed the Dilbert TV series, I wouldn't change the channel if it came on, to be sure, but it lacked so much of the satirical edge of the comic that I came off feeling ripped off. I think Scott Adams' representations of characters as animals and monsters actually started to work against him in the expanded universe of the television series. In the Comics, Catbert is evil because he's the director of human resources. The fact that he is a cat is a secret weapon Adams uses, cuteness, to add another dimension to the potential humour of a three-panel strip. But if Catbert did something evil that wasn't HR related, the character would be broken and we would lose interest. In the television series, you stopped being able to think of Catbert as merely the evil director of human resources, instead he was so obviously a cat walking around on a desk that this aspect of his character dominated his evil actions towards the employees and glee at implementing inhumane workplace policies.

The Boondocks is so much better adapted that reading the strip now feels like looking at Anime fan service, just grasping for scraps of new creativity from the author who made such an amazing creation as the TV show.

Some cartoonists were born to be cartoonists, they found their perfect occupation, they never felt too constrained by the few panels a day in which they told their stories, and even when they were to do books they were compilations of strips, or not works of fiction at all, like Scott Adams ruminations on the workplace which are actually quite good.

Aaron McGruder, , it seems, can expand his characters and his world out into a television series and not have it feel stretched too thin nor lose its edge one bit. He even has more freedom to use foul language, show implied nudity and violence than he would be able to get away with in a newspaper strip (the Washington Post once pulled an entire week's worth of his strips because the story arc was about Huey and Riley trying to find a boyfriend for Condoleeza Rice to distract her from wanting to destroy the world.)

This expanded world, by necessity, is filled with a whole town full of extra characters, both of the black and white communities. Thus there is more room for criticizing both cultures, instead of concentrating on one-liners about the Bush administration, an entire plot can be constructed to satirize the direction popular black culture has gone in the US. (Martin Luther King waking up from a coma 30 years after being shot and seeing Black Entertainment Television can be illustrated in a comic, but you don't have the time or the context to build up empathy for King's character as you do when you see him facing an unfamiliar world that is much more visibly alien.)

Riley's idolizing and emulating of hip-hop culture isn't as dominating a part of his character in the comics, at least until you have read it for a few weeks and can see the differences between Riley and Huey's friend Ceasar, instead of just seeing them as ways to set up or deliver a punchline as a contrast to Huey. Riley, and also Grandpa and the neighbour's kid Jazmin, are all given more freedom to pursue their own whims and plots. Riley went to visit a shot rapper in the hospital, and got tied up in a revenge plot, Jazmin is shown dreaming of giving a church sermon about how Santa Claus died for our sins and was resurrected to give the world's children presents.

Another thing that makes the Boondocks TV series so wonderful is that it uses top-quality animation and production techniques, and doesn't seem to cut too many corners. Don't get me wrong, I love that Cartoon Network can produce so much original content, between Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Harvey Birdman and Space Ghost, they have made some hilarious new television where most cable networks build their schedules around re-runs of some well-remembered series from one of the big networks.

unfortunately you can see the Macromedia Flash-based animation bleed through every frame. Characters move smoothly, but not fluidly, it seems. The computer-generated equivalent of the old-school Spider-Man being dragged across a background scene to simulate movement.

The production of the Boondocks is top-notch, by contrast. It looks just as colourful and unconstrained as Futurama did. And they take advantage of the wonderful freedom that the animated cartoon medium grants you, with over--the-top action scenes that pay homage to some classic martial arts movie or anime series, from the way the camera is set up to the expressions of the characters' faces and the swiftness of the action, you feel like you're watching a real cartoon again, after being subjected to so many animated sitcoms in the past few years.

The Boondocks isn't a 'true' cartoon in the John Kricfalusi sense, but that's a subject for another post. It does, however, have enough elements of a real cartoon to keep that feeling that absolutely anything can happen in the very next frame.

By al - 3:11 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"There comes a point where it doesn't matter anymore, the rain is coming down with such ferociousness that it has penetrated every layer put on to protect the skin. It beats down on the clothing that anyone out it in will wonder if it will penetrate the skin too. It really doesn't matter at this point, it is impossible to get more wet. Jumping in a lake would probably result in less of a soaking, fingers have begun to wrinkle and eye lashes get heavy with rain drops that drip off like those collected on tree leaves.
The layers of clothing put on to protect from the rain relay have become more cumbersome than helpful and removing them seems like a much better idea than dragging the wet weight of them around. Anyone who understands how this feels will understand how Marlee was feeling."

I started writhing this while I was waiting for a friend at a restaurant, as is normal for me (accept if I am meeting Al) I was early and she was a few minutes behind but the fun part of what I just wrote is what I wrote after that. When I began to write my intentions where much of an adult type story, then as I continued my scribbles I changed the way it was narrated and went on to a childrens type story...I don't generally write childrens stuff so the change becomes traumatic and well it is not my best work ever but here is the rest of my scribbles.

"Now Marlee was a young girl of twelve years of age and had always lived a happy sheltered life. Her parents took very good care of her and her three older brothers and two older sisters played with her when ever she wanted to play. It seem to Marlee she was the luckiest girl in all of the kingdom, until three days ago.

It was three days ago that Marlee decided to wonder down to the meadow and pick some very pretty flowers for her mother, just to show her how much she loved her. Now like may girls Marlee's age she was easily distracted by any number of things. So when a funny little yellow cat waked past her, Marlee put her basket of very pretty flowers down and decided to follow. Marlee decided it would be fun to follow the funny little yellow cat where ever it went.

But as you can remember in many other stories following funny animals can lead to trouble, however Marlee was a little girl in a time long before your grand parents' grant parents where even born, so Marlee never read these stories. Marlee had no story way of knowing what kind of trouble she would find following funny yellow cats.

Marlee followed the funny little yellow cat out of the meadow filled with very pretty flowers and right into a forest with extremely tall trees. Marlee barely noticed the trees until she was deep into the forest she had no idea where she was. Marlee looked up and could not even see the sky through the big leaves on the extremely tall trees.

Marlee who thought she was thought she was a very big girl said to herself she was not scared and that she would be brave and have no trouble finding her way home. Fortunately for Marlee there was no rabbit holes to fall into, but as it was a forest of extremely tall trees there was may spooky shadows to give poor brave Marlee a fright. When Marlee turned to find her way out, she found she did not recognize anything. All the big trees looked only like extremely tall tree and none of them where trees she knew.

Poor brave Marlee began to get upset, she looked left, she looked right, she looked forward and she looked backwards, she just did not know which way was the way out. Marlee was lost. Marlee decided she would try to yell for help but in a forest of extremely tall trees no people where around to hear her call."

That was about as far as I got and in the time I was writhing it I had a thought that I could right the whole story changing the style according to how Marlee, my main character was feeling, so the more child like she would get the more child like the story would be written and as she grew up a bit over the three days, so would the style of writhing. But if character had a bout of childishness, so would the writing, basically the story would portray Marlee through the language used.

In a similar fation to "Flowers for Algernon"

But as most of my writing I am just playing a bit here. While I am away I don't have my story to work on.

By Sabrina - 9:49 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It is amazing how little things make you feel better

What i am really thinking here, is on this short trip I have seen a fair number of people who are my close friends, not all that would be way too much to ask, but a fair number. It has really lifted my spirits a lot. I don't think it is at all about the reason just the fact that I get to see people I care about and hear and see they are doing well.

Simple things like hugs really are the best relief for all that worries your mind. It may not fix it, but it makes it more do able.

By Sabrina - 10:28 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Monday, August 07, 2006


Out in Newfoundland and in many other places I have been I have learned one lesson: You may know a city on foot, but that does not mean you know a city by car.
Today I was wondering around St. John's by car, and realized I use to walk around this place using one way streets a fair bit. I had to make my way around town and try to keep my sense of direction intact (anyone who knows me knows my since of direction is utterly non existant. In all honesty, I have gotten my self completely turned around in Charlottetown. Granted it has been a few years since I managed to do that but hell. Then there is the me lost in the woods story, while I was tree planting...Moral of all the stories, Sabrina is useless at finding her way around town.

So far my trip is going great. It is so fun just to run into everyone. It has been about a year and I believe this will be our last big hurrah, since it doesn't matter who get married next, it is unlikely that there will be anyone who is Marrying another member of the crowd. A little sad but oh we knew it would happen.

I managed to drive across the entire island of Newfoundland and learned that I don't tend to stop if it is just me. I had no choice but to stop a couple of time for gas and to go to the bathroom, but out side of that, I did pretty much drove straight, I left Port Aux basque around 9:30 and landed in St. John' around 6:30.

After my 9 hour drive I went to a bachelorette party. Found myself on George street. When I realized I was way too tired and had to go back to the place I was staying, I left the bachelorette party and found the bachelor party, they had the groom dressed like a smurf it was crazy, all the other member of the party had smurf hats on, it was awesome. I walked into the crowd and signed the groom neck, then they realized I was there and I got more hugs in like four minutes than I have had in weeks. It was so sweet. I couldn't help but laugh.

yesterday was a morning run and the bridal shower and that was a food fest...But good, followed by me finding my friend Erin and having a barbecue with her family.

Today involved, sleeping in until 9 then going shopping down town, getting my first parking ticket ever :(. Then when Erin went to work, I shopped some more and then met up with of my school crowd for a barbecue and video games...The bango game is hilarious and the Mario cars I really suck at.
Then when it was a bit later I met up with another friend, I went to England with way back when and we had dessert at a little place called pasta plus and chatted. It was so great.

By Sabrina - 11:10 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Memo to Lou Dobbs

Dear Lou,

I am honstly trying very hard to take your protectionist rhetoric at face value and to give you the benifit of the doubt that you're not a racist.

However, today you described Israel's military actions as "Israel's lightning ground offensive in Lebanon." Now, when you want people to not think of you as a racist, I would advise against evoking 'blitzkrieg' when delivering your teaser headlines.

By al - 7:12 p.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, August 06, 2006

My face on TV again

Some of you may have seen my face on the CBC, in one of three instance. Once a few years ago, during the strike at MUN, A few months ago for a swim meet and a few weeks ago as a chemist.

First I should remind everyone I am in Newfoundland and calling my cell will cost you Long distance. I will return on the 12th.

Anyway, today I was at a bridal shower, my reason for being in NL, today and as you arrived, this German woman was doing a documentary on traditions. On your way into the shower you were asked to say who you were, how you know the couple and your wishes for the couple (the couple are going to get a copy in the end). As well on the way through the door the woman noticed my tattoo and asked if she could video tape me walking away. I agreed.

Anyway, if by chance you are watching a purple ankh walk away or if you know me and can recognize the face...You can say you know that leg :)

By Sabrina - 9:45 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Bit Sketchy

OK, so here's where I write about what I thought of Sketch-22 this year. I enjoyed the show last year, but saw areas where they needed to improve, themes they seemed to naturally talented or insightful exploring, and very much thought that they had a lot of potential.

So I was of course looking forward to this year's show, to see where they would take their act and their writing. had the idea to go this week since we hadn't had the chance to shoot the shit in a while, so this was a good excuse to get together and bitch.

OK, I'm going to mention a few specific skits and jokes now, so if you haven't seen it yet you may want to skip the rest of this, with me simply saying that it's worth watching, and I enjoyed myself, but there are a few areas where I think they could have done a better job, and that they were certainly capable of doing so.

The first skit was a video, about a third of their skits were projected onto a movie screen with the rest being live on stage. Not a bad concept, and it gives them some material that they can show on the web that looks better than just a taped live show. The first part was a little back story cooked up about how Harmony joined the group this year. Basically she magically replaced the guy who left the group through an accident at an ATM. Then they go into the "whaaa? a girl!?" routine, which leads into her doing a musical act making fun of Charlottetown to the tune of New York, New York, to prove that she had something to say, basically.

Now, as a lead-in to the song it was OK, but I think they could have had more comedy potential if they actually talked about the real process they went through looking for a female member. Maybe they could have done a bit where they broke the news to Rob that he wasn't quite cutting it when they needed an attractive female character, and that his cross-dressing talents were better suited for old ladies and dykes. When you know they actually went out looking for a female member and then pretend that one just appeared eliminates the seed of truth that can make for memorable humour.

The song itself was well-done. I still have Harmony's voice in my head, she's got quite a pair of lungs, to be sure. The song had them running around town and singing about empty shop fronts and making fun of the laments of downtown shop owners who blame the big box stores for the fact that no one wants to buy their overpriced macrames and such. Very nicely done, and it certainly resonated with anyone who's been watching Charlottetown's fitful growth attempts over the years.

The next bit was a little disappointing, it was a pretty well-worn premise of a guy getting accosted by a wacky neighbour in a costume pretending to be a supervillain. I can just imagine the writing session for that one, "Hey, I bet if we dress you up in a funny costume and have you talk like an evil cartoon character, the jokes will write themselves!"

No they won't.

And here's where I first noticed that the writing was a little thin on the actual funny lines and jokes. There was mostly back-and-forth between the characters reinforcing the premise, yes this guy is wacky, yes he is obviously only pretending to be tough. This is all pretty familiar territory that basically reminded me of every other Radio Free Vestibule skit ever written. There was a funny little nod to the SNL land shark skits, but aside from that the lines were pretty dry.

The scene on stage with the apartment, though, was just something of a segue into another filmed scene where two members in costumes chased each other around town. This was enjoyable, but again nothing unexpected once you take the premise as a given.

The next memorable skit was a filmed sketch where they were showing a reality show / contest involving the people who were fighting over the Roll Up the Rim to Win prize from the thrown-away cup had to live in the SUV that was up for grabs, and the last one left would be the winner. Now, this one started of so, so well, and I won't give away the joke because it made me laugh so much seeing it. And the interplay between the characters was very good, you could see that the characters reacted to each other in individually different ways, and there was a lot of potential there for interesting directions to go in with characters trying to annoy each other to the point of driving one out.

Unfortunately the last half of the skit was the most predictable ending they could have thought of. Have the fat guy eat the other ones. Wow, never heard of that one before, guys. You know, sometimes the first idea you come up with in a brain storming session isn't always the one to go with.

OK, I'm getting harsh and I don't mean to be, I don't want to give the impression that I hated it,because I didn't. But it's just a little frustrating to watch something that I can see could be improved a lot with just a little more control and refinement.

The fearsee / evil clown sketch had some funny Murphy allusions in it, and the female character with a story to top everyone else's stories was a good character, but the skit didn't really have a point to it beyond 'haha, let's kill everyone.'

In the end when the lights were going down and only the clown was visible I was hoping for at least some sort of monologue to tie everything together and give the action some meaning, but there was nothing.

My favourite skit they did was a two-part family drama about a fellow who was a farmer and a fisherman, and who thus owed two huge chunks of money to the bank, and who didn't accept that one of his sons was gay. There were some very insightful themes in this bit, like the notion, taken as a given, that you can't make money either fishing or farming, so to do both, even if you did both well, was a monumentally bizarre idea.

The real strength of their show is pointing out the unspoken weirdness that is taken as normal on PEI. Also, dropping in a reference to the Legion is always funny. Always. Punchy the punch-line computer out-did himself with that one.

Speaking of Punchy, they did the catch-phrase skit again this year, but I sensed a bit of self-satisfaction underneath it. They turned up the house lights, and were specifically watching as people laughed at the phrase 'suck my cock' repeated over and over.

Soon after that Graham did a 9/11 bit, and the dead silence of the audience, save for me laughing at the fact that no one else was laughing, was pretty palpable and contrasted with the laughter at the deliberately unfunny catch-phrase bit. The arrangement of the two skits right after one another seemed conscious to me, and felt like they were trying to prove some kind of point. I don't know if they're quite big enough yet to start making the audience the joke the way Stephen Colbert did at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, where he did something similar, telling a racial joke which would get lots of laughs and then sharply criticizing Bush, who was sitting right next to him, and only getting uncomfortable, muted giggles. In that case it was brilliant, but in the catch phrase skit, unfortunately laughter is contagious and people will laugh when everyone around them is laughing, and if the actors on stage are projecting a lot of energy.

This is another point about the material, it works in a live audience environment a lot better than it would without it. Often a character having a fit or yelling replaces a punch line or unexpected twist or joke as the culmination of a scene. People get into it but I didn't really find a lot to take away from most of the scenes, especially the resolutions.

Something I loved was the Mr. Dress Up In Dresses bit, the characters were deep, the off-the-wall parts were played straight and thrown at you without pause, the lobster character was hilarious, and god damn the puppet show was gold. This was my other favourite bit.

In the end I think that they could really benefit from a director, a critical eye to tell them when something doesn't work, tell them to alter an ending or speed up the pace of some scene, and to be a guiding hand for the floor work and line-of-sight issues on stage, which is not something you can take for granted, unfortunately.

They're maybe falling into a bit of a bubble themselves, since their shows continually sell out and people in the audience laugh and enjoy themselves, they don't think that there is a lot that they can work on to make their show even better. Which is a pretty common problem with productions and endeavours that happen on PEI, once something is 'good enough' it's just important that it is there. This attitude is something they've made fun of themselves, so that they are falling for it is rather ironic.

By al - 6:34 p.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I think they're trying to one up Snakes on a Plane.

I like it. Cheesy. But not cheesy enough. Die Hardest would have rocked, had it actually been used instead of With a Vengeance. How 'bout...?

Die Hard 4:
Hardly Dyin'
Attack of the Sequels
Bruce Almighty

or my personal favorite Super Die Hard IV': Turbo EX+ Alpha Champion Edition.

By TVT - 4:19 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Human Spambots?

Getting something curious lately in the blog comments -- bland, innocuous comments left by people who at least have read the post, so they know what the subject is, and leave as their link a URL to a commercial or spam site, obviously with some sort of affiliate program attached.  This will probably end up being harder to fight than electronic spammers, they’re like the people who get involved in pyramid scams where you have to sign up new members continually.

It’s pretty well-known that Blogger inserts ‘nofollow’ attributes into links from blog comments, so they don’t affect Google’s pagerank of the linked-to site.  Which means the poor bastard cruising blogs and posting meaningless me-too comments is just doing it in hopes of the one or two clicks they might get from each post.  Almost makes me feel bad for the poor housewives clicking away trying to make an extra dollar or two.

But I’m still going to delete them when I see them.

By al - 11:39 a.m. | (3) comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

From The "I Should Have Known Better" Dept.

I've written before how bad my luck is. Well, about a month ago my computer decided to delete my accounting spreadsheet and the program I use to synchronize my backup copies decided to follow suit. Having years of financial data disappear in a matter of minutes was pretty frustrating. It took me about a month to get my books back in order (actually finished balancing everything before the weekend). I got a bit lucky and found an older copy of my file on my mp3 player which was only about a month out of date and I quickly copied it to a secure location.

So, Jody got a new computer case and I was transferring the internals over the weekend. Now the case is one of those nice ones with a front audio panel and front USB ports. Not a big deal, except Jody lost the manual (or it was at my place, either way. . .) So, instead of just leaving the front ports disconnected until I found proper documentation, I decided to guess at the wiring and everyone knows how things turn out when that happens.

I fried my 1GB flash drive. As with any other time I lose a drive, it's not the cost of the drive that bothers me. It's what was on the drive that bothers me. My flash drive contained the only copy of my "new" accounting file (I disabled my file synchronization program until I figured out how to prevent the last incident) and a few other files I wanted to keep track of.

Lucky for me, regenerating the data was much easier this time around (I already had most of the missing data on hand). It's still a pain in the ass retyping all that information. Why I decided to guess at jumper positions, or use my "good" flash drive, or not backup the data first. . . .

By Ming - 2:29 p.m. | (4) comments | Post a Comment


Look. If you've got a belief system and it works for you. Great. I respect that you believe in the Christian God and that woman was birthed from a rib. In the same way that I also think Yggdrasil, the Brahma/Shiva cycle, and the lovably dysfunctional Greek pantheon are neat.

I fully admit that science is a belief system. The difference being, we're able to question our belief system. This is good. Cause each observation yields new clues and leads to further questions. That's how progress is made. Heck. Nothing is set in stone in science. But without it, we'd all be handing out papyrus instead of conveniently bickering about it on the interwebs.

"Americans just aren't gullible enough to believe that they came from a fish"

To which I reply: Some folks think too highly of themselves, believing that Homo Sapiens belong outside of the entire animal kingdom. There's a danger in that, a certain disconnect with nature. Please. If you think we walked with dinos. Kindly. Back it up.

I believe in God. It's an entity that is the quick answer to the question "Why?". Why did life start? Why does the universe exist? Why do we kill each other? Why am I here to ponder why?


See how simple that was? But I's ain't here for the simple. I want to peek behind the curtain. I want to see with His eyes. And that's what makes the world so fascinating to me. If ever the day comes when my child comes home from class and tells me teacher said "evolution is only a theory". I'd say, yes Son (or Daughter), it is only a theory. Then I'd explain the scientific definition of the word theory. :)

Bill Nye: SCIENCE!!

By TVT - 1:03 p.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

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