Friday, September 29, 2006

So it's come to this

sleep.. work.. sleep.. work.. sleep.. work..

on the weekend.. sleep .. sleep.. sleep..

I thought it was just the cold I had that was making me tired, but it's been a couple of weeks now and I'm still falling right to sleep after I get home from work, not eating supper, and waking up at about 4-5am when all I can do is just read until it's time to get to work again.

Sure I'm getting a lot of books read, but if I keep this up the outside world could end and I'd not ntoice until it was time to get groceries again.

Rescue please.

By al - 8:54 AM | (5) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, September 24, 2006

State of Champ Car Racing in 2006

For a while, around 1993-1996 I used to follow CART / Indy Cars even more faithfully than I did Formula One, with Nigel Mansell and Mario Andretti, the young, exsciting Paul Tracey and the rise of Jacques Villeneuve there was a lot to watch back then. Plus you had the super-fast ovals and tight street courses to keep the racing interesting, and it was the best racing around hands-down.

Everyone knows CART suffered a lot ever since the split with the Indy 500 owner in 1996, and personally I'm pretty surprised that it's still going on, but here it is on Speed TV, with cars just as I remembered them racing around the great Road America course.I know a few of the names, Paul Tracdey is sitll in it, and some former Formula One hopefuls like Justin Wilson and Sebastian Bourdais. The racing is closer than F1, and passing is a lot more common 0on this track, anyway. F1 cars these days have a huge problem where instead of being able to draft a car in front of you and try nad get a chance to pass, a driver will get caught up in the dirty air from the wings of the driver up ahead and lose speed.The Champ Cars seem to have been tuned to make passing more common, and good for the series organizers for it, too.

Road America is a great classic road-racing course, with fast corners and long stretches, it reminds me of the Spa course in Belgium. Easily the best course in the U.S..

I don't know a lot about the current state of teh drivers standings but it looks like Bourdais has dominated for the last few years.

I was sad to see that Christiano da Matta got into a big accident a while ago and has some kind of head injury for which he's just getting out of the hospital. It's making me think that maybe safety is a cloud hanging over the series, with the memory of Alex Zanardi losing his legs in a huge oval track accident a few years ago and a couple of
deaths in the late 90s.They've basically been running the same spec cars for the last decade, without the investment in safety as the much righer F1. Combined with teh much faster speeds of the oval courses (still by far the fasted in the world) and it leaves me with a little feeling of dread - since I still have a soft spot for the series and don't want its name attached tospectacular tragedy.

The race is about a third over right now, and the cars are still going at each other, not just cdruising and trying to save fuel like in the
1998-era where Honda and Toyota had so much influence that it overshadowed the need for exciting racing. I'm glad this is a spec-engine series now, the Japanese engine makers can spend their hundreds of millions of R&D money fighting for fourth place in F1.

I'm glad to see Champ Cars still going strong, open-wheel racing lost its chance at being the top-draw in America after the Indy-CART split and the rise of NASCAR, but they seem to be slotting into a great
niche and doing what they can to provide great racing while living without huge manuufacturer budgets.

By al - 3:57 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Freakonomics

I've been filling my early-early morning waking hours by reading a lot this week. One of the books that I just finished is Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.

Levitt is most famous for publicizing the idea that the massive crime drop in the 1990s was not due to 'innovative policing techniques' or the booming economy or harsher prison sentences, but rather because of the legalization of abortion 2 decades earlier which allowed many single, low-income mothers access to abortions where before only upper-class women were able to obtain safe, illegal abortions. Without any bias for or against the rightness of the practice of abortion, he spends a chapter in this book outlining the data behind this conclusion, taking each of the popular conventional wisdom explanations and disproving them one-by-one. This raw process of posing a question and going after the real answer, without letting personal beliefs get in the way of finding the real answer.

The rest of the book is a collection of similar questions and answers, explaining why real estate agents do not act in the best interest of their clients — they would rather sell your house quickly then hold out for another week placing more ads and doing more work to sell your house for $10,000 more if it means just a $120 increase in their own commission. He also points out that real estate agents, on average, leave their houses on the market for a week longer than their clients' houses, and sell for $8,000 more. Levitt is always careful to mention that data is corrected for external variables, which does a service for the novice reader who should take away from this book some of the clear-thinking and careful analysis of presented statistics that economists must always employ but the lack of which is counted on by countless polemicists and political writers seeking to advance their agendas with bad data and faulty logic.

The book is very good for someone who isn't familiar with the ideas of economics, and presents some interesting questions and answers, and the writers never go off on any too-heady tangents. Stephen Dubner, a reporter for the New York Times Magazine, probably constructede the bulk of the narrative of the book while Levitt provided the basis for the chapters topics. The book actually reads like a series of articles, where one could pick up the book and read any given chapter and not feel lost. This makes for an exceedingly light read, and that's all the book really seems to present itself as, a source of a few answers to questions that have been hanging around the public consciousness for a while without rigorous answers.

But this is very much a pop-non-fiction work, and to me it felt like I was reading an advertizement for the 'real' book that I wish Levitt had written, which would have been twice as long and had more numbers and tables, and had references right in the text instead of at the end.

Levitt is a true successor of John Kenneth Galbraith, and in fact pays due respect to Gelbraith for pointing out the insidiousness of conventional wisdom and generally expanding the purvue of economics beyond its traditional topics. A couple of Galbraith's books, The Good Society : The Humane Agenda and The Economics of Innocent Fraud would be where I'd point anyone who's read Freakonomics and feels like they've just eaten a meal of Chinese food and are hungry 20 minutes later. Both books extend the science of macroeconomics to include human variables as essential parts of an economic equation.

By al - 7:45 AM | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Wordplay

This is a really great movie playing at City Cinema this week (trailer: Link.), it's one of those documentaries about a little thing that some people take to the absolute extreme and you watch and think and see that this really isn't such a little thing after all.

The film follows three different threads, and takes three different perspectives: the puzzle makers who construct crossword puzzles, with Will Shortz from the New York Times' crossword puzzle being the central figure of the film, some celebrities like Jon Stewart, Bill Clinton and Mike Mussina (pitcher for the New York Yankees), talking about their own love for crossword puzzles, with shots of each of them solving clues and going through the same puzzle in their own way, and the third group are the real experts, the ones who can solve a NYT puzzle in under three minutes, and the annual tournament that they attend.

My favourite part of the film was watching Will Shortz construct a puzzle, picking a themeand deciding what the the 'big words' should be to anchor the puzzle, and how to disguise the theme a little bit by making the words be part of larger words that didn't have to do with the theme itself. Then he had to make those big words fit into a symmetrical diagram, and look for potential danger areas where there were too many consonants or vowels in a row in a certain area. Then there was the entirely separate matter of coming up with clues for each of the words, trying to be clever and incorporate puns, which is an entirely different task than the mathematical fitting of words into diagrams. Also the level of difficulty had to be consistent, either easy for a Monday puzzle or ridiculous for a Friday one.

The tournament was wonderful to watch because the participants were all of the most ordinary-looking individuals, but exactly the kind of smart, witty people you would want to hang out with. (In fact the female crossword champion, Ellen Ripstein, has likely replaced Tina Fey in my head as the image of nerd-girl goddesshood I'd want to marry.)

A few years ago there was a documentary about championship Scrabble players called Word Wars, which followed a similar format to the tournament portion of this movie, in the way it followed the top potential winners and got each person's story as they progressed through the tournament to the final round. What I noticed was that crossword players seemed to be more my kind of people, as it were. The scrabble players seemed more detached, pure math-wizzes or savants or Koreans who couldn't speak English but who memorized the official Scrabble dictionary cover-to-cover and could play and win. The crossword players, on the other hand, had to interpret subtle allusions and discover inter-related words across the puzzle and make all sorts of esoteric higher-level connections and get inside the mind of the puzzle creator. By contrast, the Scrabble players' task was to robotically find the best word from each selection of letters given to them. I don't know if it's been proven or not, but I'm sure a computer could play a very competitive if not dominating game of Scrabble, but if you set a computer at solving a crossword puzzle, the puzzle maker could simply make 1-across be 2 possible words, with the clue being very obvious to a human and baffling to an AI, and the computer would happily put comibnations of letters together so they fit and come up with a perfectly valid but entirely wrong answer.

This is what's great about crosswords, they combine an acumen for puzzles and the need for vast amounts of trivia knowledge to be able to solve quickly, not to mention the ability to follow the puzzle creator's dance of wordplay and sneakiness. So the crossword players just seemed to be more interesting -- more engaging people than the Scrabble champions.

For nearly a year I would play the Boston Globe's crossword puzzle online every morning, mostly as a way to kill time. I liked it because there was always a baseball question or two and it seemed to mesh with the things I knew and I was usually able to solve it in under 20 minutes. It became less of a time waster as I went on, as I actually did get a lot better at doing the things, but watching someone solve a puzzle in 3 or 4 minutes is something else entirely to behold. That certain crossroads between mathematical and analytical ability combining with knowledge of the world and literature and grammar and language that really makes you feel like the engines of your mind are finally firing on all cylinders. When my sister can simply say '11 letters - to echo' and one can instantly say, with utter certainty, 'reverborate' while someone else looks on, is truly a thrill. And to see that thrill of solving a puzzle and showing off how much you know at the same time be shared by such amazing, interesting people in this film, was a truly wonderful journey in vicarious pleasure.

By al - 11:43 PM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Unfortunate but Entertaining

There's something rather entertaining about breaking your wrist on your dominant hand and being stuck in a cast....

Over the past few days I have had to learn to eat, shower, cook, brush my teeth and do everything with my right hand....

In general the whole situation SUCKS, especially when you live alone and can't do dishes or really cook for yourself...

but at the same time, laughing at myself when it takes me 1.5 hours to shower, eat, dress and do my hair (forget about doing makeup) when it used to only take me 35 minutes or so has provided some diversion for me.

Teaching when you can't write on the board...also interesting. (as is typing with one hand...)

good to know though that I have a built in weapon now if I need it...and should the need ever arise, a place to hide a shank....

By chantal - 8:19 AM | (6) comments | Post a Comment

Monday, September 18, 2006

Memos: Delayed Onset Colds Suck

  • For the last few days I've been feeling extremely tired all the time, needing to get up and go for short walks to avoid nodding off in my chair during the day, and getting home and going right to sleep afterwards, but still mostly sleeping through the night.

    Today I finally developed symptoms of a cold, which is what I suspected I was getting but wasn't sure. I had no energy all day today, the most I managed to do was play Lego with the 3 year-old son of a friend of my parents who was visiting. It's been a while since the words "man, there are never enough long pieces" went through my head but the thought instantly reminded me that that sentiment had crossed my mind many a time when I was a kid. I guess some things never change.

  • What I assume was a new episode of the Simpsons was on tonight. I think they've crossed the line between self-aware poking at their own clichés and just wishing they could put the characters out to pasture. It was the episode where Bart becomes a drummer and Lisa is jealous of his instant success in the jazz world. (switch the names around and replace 'jazz' with 'hockey' and you already know how the plot unfolds, except this one has a tiger.) The only good parts were the sequence with bart playing his drums with a repeated image of himself moving around town, and running into the White Stripes (Jack White is still the most terrifying man in rock.) and the line "What are you doing up here?" "Not smoking reefer." "Yeah, we're all not smoking reefer up here." Then there's the obviouly-long list of hilarious jazz musicians, where you get the feeling the writers just wanted to play for a bit.

  • American Dad still sucks. Full Stop.

  • Family Guy's playing itself out pretty solidly these days, too. The 'funny at first, then not funny, then really funny' joke worked only once, on another show, when Sideshow Bob was stepping on the rakes. When they do it on Family Guy you know what they're going to do right away on the second repetition, which kills the humour.

  • Saw a couple of good bands this weekend, with most of them being from Newfoundland for some reason.. Friday was The Nordic Beat from Newfoundland playing at Baba's. Then last night was the RollerCoaster tour at The Wave with Mark Bragg (One of Sabrina's favourites, and the reason we went to the show.) and The Novaks and The Museum Pieces from Halifax, who were my favourite of the night. Their drummer is fantastic, and they paint a full sound really nicely.

    We cut out of The Novaks early since they weren't really doing it for either of us. Skratch Bastid was at Baba's last night but ther ewas no getting in by that time, since my name isn't Matt Mayes. So I went over to Hunter's where Rock Ranger from Cape Breton were playing. They're as straight-up a gritty bar-rock band as you can get. The flashing LED badge Sabrina got at The Wave ended up clipped to their singer. The original purpose of the things as they were handing them out at The Wave seemed to be to draw extra attention to girls' cleavage, but this was almost as good.

By al - 1:04 AM | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Not Quite the Same

I had a fun afternoon, a friend asked me to join her for coffee and a walk downtown today, and we ended up in the library. I haven't been inside the Confederation Centre Public Library probably since I was a kid having finished off the last of the science fiction books I could find there and not caring for much else at the time.

It's brighter now, and has more of an open feel than I remember.

My friend said she was looking for books to make a person happy, but beyond that, she didn't know really what she was looking for. So we had a nice time going through the shelves looking for inspiration. She'd pick out a book, ask me if I'd read it, I'd say what I thought of it, and we'd move on like that. I'd forgotten how great libraries were, the idea that you didn't have to think twice about picking something you weren't totally sure of, because you aren't buying it so 'why not?' is so liberating.

The two books I ended up grabbing for her were The Life of Pi, a semi-obvious one but she hadn't read it so I was pretty insistent that she do, and When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops by George Carlin. Neither are strict, no-strings-attached, feel-good stories, but Pi is satisfying in a very deep way, and it leaves you with the ability, in my opinion, to relax and enjoy a good story. It's like a cynicism-ectomy. On the other hand, the Carlin book rips apart euphamisms and social conventions and politics in a pretty unmerciful way, and if one isn't careful, might let your cynicism go up. But a more careful reading of it would leave you understanding the world and people better, and just accepting that we are the way we are and we do silly things and you might as well just laugh.

By al - 7:34 PM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Reception

You're all invited. It's set for October 23rd, Monday at 7pm at the Memramcook Institute. Please let me know if you can attend. And yes, once we're all back together we are sooo playing UNO. Loser takes a swig.

By TVT - 12:49 PM | (4) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, September 15, 2006

Mars Hill

Funny that I don't think to really write about a band until they decide to move away to Montreal, I guess for the last couple of years they've just kind of been in the background, playing once a week or so in the Summers.

They've developed a pretty strong following here, including a lot of people whom you don't see at a lot of other shows.

They certainly have a pretty unique sound, musically they have the DNA of a semi-jam band, but with a vocalist doing fairly involved spoken-word bits. The musicianship over the last couple of years has definitely improved, and I've noticed them experimenting a lot more lately. Last night, for example, seemed to be Pink Floyd night, with a lot of little guitar and keyboard phrases, mostly from The Wall, snuck in during the bridges and made to fit in with the structure of the song pretty well, certainly as well as JSB's hamfisted crowbarring of other melodies into their songs. They sort of gave the game away when the guitar player just did the whole first bit of the solo to Every Brick in the Wall pt. 2, but until then it was pretty subtle and actually quite the treat to listen for the little hints and changes of tone.

They put on a pretty good live show, but I think their recorded stuff sounds a lot better. (Here's their MySpace page with a few songs: Link.) Unfortunately they have a trumpet player, of all things, (if you guessed she's dating one of the other members, go get yourself a cookie.) and that tends to overwhelm the other parts of the band in a live setting. But on their CD it's balanced quite well with the rest of the instruments and I think is more how they intended it to sound.

The vocals are decent, it's pretty impressive to see the vocalist, Devin, do his thing for a couple of hours and usually, but not always, remember all the words to the fairly lengthy lyrics. However, I am definitely the type to not listen to a songs lyrics or really pay attention to them as anything more than another instrument. The vocal delivery is quite laid-back, sort of the equivalent to a lot of alternative rock singers who had a rather blasé posture and deliberately moderated energy. Definitely more of a spoken-word attitude than a crowd-rousing M.C., but it let the instrumental parts gain more prominence in leading the crowd, which seemed to work pretty well.

Last night will probably be the last time I'll see them before they leave, though they're doing a big goodbye gig in Emerald or some such place. It'll be interesting to hear how they fare in Montreal.

By al - 6:56 AM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bill Hicks: Outlaw Comic documentary

This is via James Madore, the full thing is available on Youtube in 8 parts, it's a great overview of how Hicks' comedy evolved over time, a sense which you don't quite get when you just go on a downloading binge like most people do when they first discover the rare gem that is his performance and insight.

Bill Hicks Outlaw Comic Documentary 1 of 8

Bill Hicks Outlaw Comic Documentary 2 of 8

Bill Hicks Outlaw Comic Documentary 3 of 8

Bill Hicks Outlaw Comic Documentary 4 of 8

Bill Hicks Outlaw Comic Documentary 5 of 8

Bill Hicks Outlaw Comic Documentary 6 of 8

Bill Hicks Outlaw Comic Documentary 7 of 8

Bill Hicks Outlaw Comic Documentary 8 of 8

The first time I ever heard Hicks talk about the Gulf War it barely registered that he wasn't actually talking about the most recent invasion and occupation of Iraq, the similarities were so complete. It made me realize that I, at 11 years old when the first Gulf War happened, have no memory of any voice piping up to say anything against the war, no one questioning any actions of teh US or exposing the lies spread by PR firms hired by the Kuwaiti government to sell war to American legislators and citizens. (Link: How PR Sold the War in the Persian Gulf - Center for Media and Democracy) Most ghoulish in this context was how Dennis Leary, who got famous after he blatantly stole some of Hicks' best material and aped his ranting style wholesale, would do material that cheered on the war in the most dull-witted way possible, by echoing the lizard-brain enjoyment of watching war coverage on CNN while sitting in one's living room, without the uncomfortable bite of feeling like one is being satirized. Leary turned Hicks' dangerous act into safe, reinforcing of conventional wisdom and the status quo long before Dennis Miller ever found the easy money that comes from telling white people what they want to hear.

The most unique part about Bill Hicks the human being, though, was the hopefulness that would come out in his later years. The idea tha people aren't bad at their core, but our potential is being held back by our institutions, but that we have the potential to come together and feed the hungry and explore outer space together as one people. The idea that people had value as individuals made his criticisms of society even more urgent, because you don't have the idea that we deserve our fate or that we brought it on ourselves.

By al - 11:22 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Trang is here

That is all. *stupid silly ass grin* I'll be back later after much catching up. Toodles. Happy happy joy joy.

By TVT - 10:05 PM | (6) comments | Post a Comment

Those 90s Shows

You know what "Tiny Toon Adventures", "Animaniacs", "Pinky and the Brain" and "Freakazoid!" all had in common? They were all not very funny most of the time.

They were all shows where I fell in love at first sight with each, the concepts were all very clever. Hipper, younger versions of Looney Tunes, a megalomaniacal mouse, a wacky superhero with a teenage computer nerd alter-ego, and some whatsits being random, they were all shows that had a lot of potential, and you could see that Stephen Spielberg had a touch in adding the little extra twist to make them initially stand out.

But where the conceptcreated so much hope and shone with potential, the execution of each show seemed to fall flat more often than not.

Take "Tiny Toon Adventures" as an example, though a lot of what I'll say applies to the rest. They never allowed themselves to simply do something funny or make a joke without being totally self-aware that they were "doing the pie in the face bit" or going through the motions of parodying Goldilocks and the Three Bears or some other fairy tale. While the idea that they lived in the land of cartoon clichés was a cool concept, and did make you think about how the Looney Tunes creators cartoons would have come up with the original cartoons, it also put Tiny Toon Adventures into a box where they would go for the exploding cigar joke that's already been done, make a knowing reference to the fact that they weren't being terribly original, and move on to Babs doing a straight Joan Rivers impersonation for no reason. This had the effect of putting the range of possible events and twists into a box where easy references were the path of least resistance over having to come up with a new gag or joke.

Checking off a list of pop culture touchstones is not the same thing as being funny.
The writers also seemed to have the habit of writing over the audience's heads, but not in a way that adults found some subtle reference incredibly funny while it slipped by a child viewer's attention unnoticed, rather they tended to use the audience's lack of sophistication as an excuse for lack of depth in their satire.

Subtlety was never the order of the day with this show, even when they did reference something that your average viewer wouldn't be familiar with, like a skit where a character chases after a kite that has a life of its own similar to The Red Balloon, the heavy and unflinching style shift told you that they were doing something that you don't recognize, but maybe should, so you'd better keep your mouth shut about saying it's not that funny lest someone accuse you of not being smart enough to 'get it'. This is a crime of lazy writing committed by many a show written for adults, to be sure, but it seems a little more unfair when dealing with such a young audience.

As for the other shows, "Pinky and the Brain" was too repetitive, "Animaniacs" took what I just said about Tiny Toons and magnified it tenfold, being painfully self aware and never letting the fourth wall back up for a second, and "Freakazoid!" tried to tell me that Ed Azner playing a character that looked like Ed Azner was somehow a joke in itself. No. It's not.

Granted, each of these shows had their moments, and if they ever get around to releasing "Freakazoid!" on DVD I'll definitely buy it, but I really must confess that my memories of the show were more of my excitement at first seeing them and imagining what they could do with these brand new cartoon shows than for how they each turned out.

By al - 9:55 PM | (5) comments | Post a Comment

O.K. Cola Sucked

Crystal Pepsi was actaully pretty good.

Also, while in the Newark airport I had a cup of coffee and an American Coke, to compare to Mexican Coke which is glorious, and if you took a sip of American Coke and then a sip of coffee the taste of ashtray suddenly filled your mouth. I'm pretty sure I discovered some dark secret that day.

But now I understand why poor Mexican families will save up for a week to buy a bottle of Coke, and why they made a Coke executive president of the country.

By al - 3:52 AM | (10) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bye, Schumi

Michael Schumacher just announced that he is going to retire at the end of the year. He was never my favourite driver, and I still consider the incident in the last race of 1997, where he tried to drive Jacques Villeneuve off the track, to be the best example of his true colours, I have to admit one thing: When I was at the Montreal race in 2002, when Michael had won, and he was doing his victory lap, and his car came around the hairpin to where Ming and Tuan and I were sitting, and he slowed down a little and revved his engine just in front of where we were, I was cheering as loudly as anyone.

Formula One will be missing something without him.

By al - 11:48 AM | (2) comments | Post a Comment

A Car is a Steel Cage

.. At least it is when it comes to arguments. You can't escape, you're stuck in it and things come to a head a lot more easily than in a situation where one person can decide to just go off and do something else. So yesterday on the way to my grandparents' place, when the topic of Israel came up I sort of knew things weren't going to end well.

Israel is one of those few lovely topics that can sharply divide two liberal types who would otherwise agree completely on things. Now, my usual philosophy is to say that you are entitled to whatever opinion you may feel comfortable with, but you are not entitled to your own facts. In fact, I don't really have an opinion on the broader Israel / Middle East issue except to say that everyone is wrong enough that no one can be seen as the good guys.

It was mentioned that Hezbollah was hiding weapons inside apartment buildings, unfortunately this idea was born as a planned excuse for levelling civilian areas longbefore any proof was ever unearthed for such tactics, but do Hezbollah fighters hide in civilian areas? Salon’s Mitch Prothero says “basically, no“:

Although Israel targets apartments and offices because they are considered “Hezbollah” installations, the group has a clear policy of keeping its fighters away from civilians as much as possible. This is not for humanitarian reasons — they did, after all, take over an apartment building against the protests of the landlord, knowing full well it would be bombed — but for military ones.

“You can be a member of Hezbollah your entire life and never see a military wing fighter with a weapon,” a Lebanese military intelligence official, now retired, once told me. “They do not come out with their masks off and never operate around people if they can avoid it. They’re completely afraid of collaborators. They know this is what breaks the Palestinians — no discipline and too much showing off.”

(via The Poorman)

The Israeli army had such poor intelligence into Hezbollah positions and operations that even if Hezbollah were hiding in among ivilians, Israel would have had no idea which apartment building(s) in a town might have contained Hezbollah installations and which were just full of families, so levelling one or another would have been done at random and again becomes a war crime.

This is, of course, the problem when a conventional army tries to go up against a guerilla force using conventional tactics, and it always fails. That Israel was blind to the US's failures in this regard speaks volumes, but when you have the best weapons American aid money can buy and you have a paranoid desire to strike back as hard as you can when it, the fact that entire cities were flattened and the two captured Israeli soldiers that set off this conflict are still not recovered is a sad inevitability.

Now, of course Israel has every right to defend itself, and no doubt it oculd still easily win any conventional war between armies in the region, but my final assertion was that perhaps Israel should consider acting in its own best interests. When you create chaos, you provide the breeding ground for extremism, and demonstrating the ability to be brutal and indiscriminate will harden your enemy, since in his eyes you forfeit your own humanity when you strip it from others.

By al - 7:39 AM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, September 09, 2006

another one

Happy Birthday Peter!

hope you are having a great day.

By Sabrina - 10:30 AM | (6) comments | Post a Comment

Streaming Music Videos

I got introduced to YouTube a few weeks ago. One of the competitors at Slemon this year posted in-car video of his and his co-driver's runs there, then I got the bright idea of searching for J-Pop music videos. . . . I'm quite surprised how recent some of the video are. It's funny how easy I can find J-Pop music videos, yet trying to download J-Pop MP3's is such a pain.

On a slightly disturbing note, I was visiting Greg last weekend and he was really into Dance Dance Revolution and J-Rap. Like, hardcore gangsta J-Rap.

By Ming - 4:05 AM | (4) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, September 08, 2006

swimming accomplishment

okay, so everyone is aware of my swimming life, it is jsut part of who I am

This year we have been trying to start up a Master program for those of us who are over 18 years of age...an adult program.

We wanted 15 people to register...we go those...now selfishly we want 20 or 25 people to register.

I hope it works out well.

Anyone interested just check out the charlottetown recreational guide...we are listed there or try going down to the Cari and pick up one of the brochures...Yeah.....come swim with me

sorry I couldn't help but advertise I am so excited to have the program up and going now...it's been a long summer of email and meeting ect.

Sabrina

By Sabrina - 8:45 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

All is right

I have finally finished the slow, purgatory hell that was my last job.

I was starting to feel like I was a ghost visitor on this blog since over the past year if I did have time to hop online at work I only had a few minutes to do so ( the joy of working with 38 teachers while sharing 5 computers...) and outside of work I couldn't be bothered to slip into a pc room and tolerate the blaring sound effects of dozens of different games at the same time.

Now I have started my new job and it seems like everything is being made right.

I heart my new school. I heart my new apartment. I invested in a laptop (I REALLY heart my laptop and looking into the legalities of marrying it) AND I have internet at home now.

I've missed participating here in the Hallway and looking forward to and hoping to do more posts...

...now if I could only find something interesting to say...the rest of you buggers set the bar pretty high... ;o)

By chantal - 6:48 PM | (3) comments | Post a Comment

Playing Dumb

The way I'm training my cat to stop asking to be let outside is to assume that when she's standing in the back porch meowing, that what she wants is to be picked up and put on top of the dryer. Hopefully soon she'll just get disgusted with how stupid I am and give up.

By al - 5:28 PM | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Factoid:

I like blatantly copying latching on to a bandwagon if it gets me an audience.

By TVT - 4:32 PM | (3) comments | Post a Comment

Fact:

People who find me attractive automatically assume that I'm gay.

This rule applies to both men and women.

By al - 3:48 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I like you...

.. But I don't like the way you are when you have an audience.

I'm sorry.

By al - 6:52 PM | (5) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Thanks Bini...

We'll have to make sure it isn't a replay of Jones House and make sure we don't get ourselves kicked out of our hotel...

Love you lots,be happy and laugh often!

By chantal - 7:01 AM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Chantal

Hey girl. I hope your day has been bright and filled with fun.

I can't wait for Las Vagas.
I bet we can show that town a thing or two.

By Sabrina - 9:13 PM | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Blog Droppings

- Exactly how friendly is getting shot at? And how many more incidents do we need to get the hint? If I were in the forces and you told me we'd be backed up by US warplanes I'd call in sick.

- Obligatory Steve Irwin post. I'm anxiously awaiting Discovery Channel's Croc Hunter Snuff Film Special. My only regret is that he didn't die from something more mundane. I'm sure Hollywood has the rights and the film is set to premiere next year. I'm all for homegrown talent, so... A lavish Peter Jackson production in New Zealand (of course) starring Paul Hogan, Mel Gibson, or Russell Crowe (take your pick). Oh. And the animatronic anaconda from Anaconda, along with Jon Voight and gratuitous Fosters product placement. You have my 7 bucks.

- I get all my relevancy through Transformers, videogames, and automotives. So you're not in my radar until you decide to make an evangelical videogame and it shows up on a blog. This is the scariest game I've ever seen. And I've played Silent Hill. Spookay. Methinks this'll get less public outcry than Grand Theft Auto 4.

- Thanksgiving. Mark your calendars.

By TVT - 11:18 AM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Happy Birthday Sabrina!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BINI!!

I am still holding out hope that we will be able to celebrate in 2 years time in Las Vegas in grand style sweetie...

Working on it, I promise....

Cheers and may the next year be filled with lots of love, laughter and friendship!

By chantal - 10:02 AM | (4) comments | Post a Comment

Monday, September 04, 2006

Local Entertainment Update

Haven't posted in a week, so I thought I should make a little update. Taylor hosted stand-up comedy night last night, and it went really well. There weren't a lot of people there, but the BEP concert and a party out in the country sapped the potential audience quite a lot. He was also hurting for acts to the point where he asked me to do something, admitting how desperate he was in the process. That said, I have been keeping a running set of notes of stupid little contradictions and hypocracies and humour that I could turn into an act one of these weeks, if you're good I might tell you which day exactly.

Fortunately a few people came through at the last minute, and there were two new people who hadn't done it before up last night, one doing a really raunchy routine that made me curl up in the corner and wimper for a while, and another girl who told some pretty hilarious stories making fun of Americans from the Deep South.

Also the returning acts, James Madore and Dave Nicholson, told some new stuff and refined their older material so that the jokes hit better and were better timed. I'm starting to feel like a film director, who can watch a different cut of a movie and see it in a whole different way, hearing someone tell the same story but emphasizing different parts or punching up the humour, where normally hearing the same joke a second time is sheer tedium.

Fortunately there is a lot of new material each week, and you know, when I turn on the Comedy Network and they're showing stand-up at some off-hour, I realize that the stuff Taylor and the rest do is easily funnier than that garbage most of the time.

On another note, I'll be hosting trivia at the Churchill Arms tomorrow. Good thing I have the day off today becasue it can actually take a while to come up with good questions that can keep a room full of highly trivial people entertained and challenged without ticking off the rest of the room with the obscurity levels. I've not been good at updating the trivia blog in the last while, but I'll try and keep that up as well.

But yeah, people should definitely come out to trivia tomorrow. Bring 2 or 3 people and have a team. Also the curry at Churchill Arms is still better than the Royal Tandoor, which I got bored with pretty quickly. (The most exciting part of that place is the stampede that ensues when ever they bring out the bread.)

So between Taylor and I we're starting to corner the market in nerd entertainment in this town.

By al - 8:47 AM | (2) comments | Post a Comment

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