8.22.2009

hmmm

Dunno how into blogging I am anymore. Too busy, way more on my plate these days. In short:
-Kids are good, growing like weeds, my joy
-Marraige is a constant learning process, with rough spots and smooth spots. Lately though, I have felt more and more in love with my wife, despite any of the rough spots.
-We're moving to Kitchener. We decided we don't want to raise our kids in a city that increasingly shows itself to be broken, apathetic, and depressing. I'm tired of apologizing for this city that i once loved. It breaks my heart, like a lover that turns his back on someone that was once his entire world and dreams. But turn my back I must, for me, and my family. So, we're out of here, as of late Sept.
-Don't know when I'll update this again. Don't know IF I'll update this again.

3.18.2009


It's been forever since I updated. Wow. Life has just been full. Being a Dad is amazing, and I'm sure it will reveal itself to be more wondrous every day, but it's also exhausting.



-Max: His body growth has plateaued for the time being, but his intellectual growth is amazing. He's conversational know, something he wasn't even close to 6 months ago. The kid MAKES JOKES. It's just amazing, to see him put things together, each and every day. He's not out of diapers yet, but he is showing more interest in "the potty", so it won't be long now. Poor kid has had a run of being sick though; he gets sick, shakes it, is healthy for a week or so, gets sick again. Sigh, I think he's inherited his mothers constitution.

-Zoe: Her intellectual growth is also stunning, but her physical growth is astounding. If it wasn't my little girl, it might border on disturbing. She is 8 months old(today!), and already weighs more than 20 lbs and is wearing the same size diapers as Max. She is JUST on the cusp of crawling, should be happening any day now. She is growing her 5th tooth. She has not slept through the night, doesn't nap, as a baby of her age should. But last night, she slept from 9pm to 630am. I'm not saying anything else, to avoid the jinx, but you know what I'm hoping.

-Nisha: Just turned 5. Unbelievable. She's awesome, but I still don't see her nearly as much as I would like. I'm just so swamped with the kids at home, and she lives on the other side of town...no excuse though. We're hopefully getting together for a trip to the ROM in a couple of weeks, so that will be fun.

Hey, if she's 5, that means this blog also turns 5, in the next month or so. Crazy. If anyone is still reading, thank you for your interest.

-Kristie: Poor Kristie. She hasn't had a good nights sleep in 3+ years. Hopefully Zoe sleeping last night means that this will end soon. She has decided not to go back to work, and will be looking into working from home somehow.

-Me: I work, I go home and play with the kids, they go to bed, and Kris and I hang out until bed time. Repeat. So, I live for the weekends, when we can all go out, just to get out.
:Haven't touched my guitar for a couple of months, although I am starting a new music project with my old friend Russell next week. It'll be electronica based, I think. No plan on doing it live, purely for recording and having fun.
:I'm also thinking about writing a script; A few months back, I joked about the Monopoly movie, but the more I think about it, the more I'd like to give it a whirl.
:Finally, also thinking about the Canadian Forces Reserves. Just to prove to myself that I can do it.

I'll try to update more often.


(edited out some pettiness)



1.15.2009

12.24.2008

A Christmas Miracle

Back in 2005, I made a calendar for my friends for Christmas. A David Hasselhoff Calendar. Using my ass-tastic MSPaint skills, and a collection of too-good-to-be-believed photos found in a Google Image search, I brought joy and well being to all.

Now, literally no one asked me to resend it for 2009. So, of course, thats exactly what I'm doing. I wanted to do a new one, but the sublimety of the original just can't be matched. Believe me, I tried. Seems all these other "Stars" have publicists and such, preventing them from, oh, say, posing nude with a puppy balanced on your balls. Fascists.

Enjoy! Please, pass the wonder and awe to all! And Merry Christmas!

(click on the pic to enlarge)














12.08.2008

We're all adults here, right? Can we talk like adults?

In no way, or by any unit of measurement, is Katy Perry "good", or even "adequate". She is boring, derivative, not genuine, and generally all around sucks.

The fact that shes famous in the least, let alone people buying her albums and making her a star, is surely one of the signs of the apocalypse. At the very least, it's evidence of a culture in serious decline.

That is all.

11.17.2008

Go Directly To Jail, for such a stupid idea

artists craptastic rendering

Check this out:

"Monopoly set to pass go with Ridley Scott

If you thought that Tetris, the Movie was a bad idea, wait until you hear about this one

If you listened very closely, you might have heard, coming out of the far west, the faint but undeniable sound of the bottom of a barrel being scraped. I refer to the news, reported recently in the film trade press, that Ridley Scott has signed on to direct a big-screen adaptation of Monopoly.

Yes, you read right: Monopoly. The board game. The one that's been around for most of the 20th century, in one form or another (Parker formally acquired the rights in 1935). Scott, we are told, was originally slated only to produce, for Universal Pictures, but now will helm the film as well, and reportedly intends to give it "a futuristic sheen, along the lines of his iconic Blade Runner."

Just what you imagine when you play, isn't it? Golden light filtering through Venetian blinds. A well-fed owl perched in the corner somewhere. And, just as you're about to put some hotels on Park Lane, your brother-in-law leaning in close to mutter, "Time to die." Oh yes, it's all perfectly congruent with that family classic we've loved for generations. Amazing, it hasn't been made into a movie already

...Bad as this is, it's not the worst that could happen. On the contrary: in their unending search for a ready-made audience and a "risk-adverse spend", Hollywood studios are teaming with games manufacturers to produce more adaptations. Before long we may be treated to such kitchen-table classics as Battleship (also from Universal) and Milton Bradley's Game of Life and Ouija Board (which, in fairness, could be kind of cool).

As one producer friend put it, "Hollywood would adapt a parking ticket if they thought people would come to see it" – a statement confirmed back in May of 2003 when Paramount paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to option Avril Lavigne's single Sk8er Boi. The cash, it seems, went mostly to acquire that "youthful" spelling; the film never materialised.

Make no mistake: Blade Runner is a flat-out masterpiece, Scott's best and most satisfying movie. But applying its rococo-futurist aesthetic to a venture whose lead character looks like this, promises a peculiar disjunction of style and subject.

One possible solution may be to shift genres. And in this respect, Monopoly offers no shortage of options.

How about a period piece? Despite Hasbro's rather Stalinist attempts to rewrite history, it now seems clear that one Lizzie Magie, a Quaker living in Maryland, originally conceived the game in 1904. Then called The Landlord's Game, it was intended to warn of the perils of private monopolies, not to celebrate them. Perhaps because of this stern moral rectitude, Quaker board games remain, to this day, something of a niche market.

Scott has form with historical pieces - Gladiator and his 1977 debut, The Duellists, are particularly fine. I can see Amy Adams as an effervescent Lizzie – and Russell Crowe (who these days is to Scott what DiCaprio is to Scorsese) as a pudgy carpetbagger.

What about a war movie? Again, Scott knows the territory, after all. And during the second world war, the British secret service mobilised the International Red Cross to distribute a special Monopoly edition for allied POWs.While one imagines the actual game-play to have been a little on the grim side ("You've just won a beauty contest. Prize: a night with the Hauptbefehlsleiter!"), the adapted game had its uses – not least, to conceal various items (maps, compasses, small amounts of cash) that could aid the soldiers, were they to escape. Though, frankly, to have included a Get Out Of Jail Free card would have just seemed cruel.

It's not that cinema is incompatible with the blithe pleasures of playtime: think of the obscure rules, the elusive clues, of Jacques Rivette's Pont du Nord, which treats the arrondissements of Paris like a giant board game. Or Anthony Harvey's They Might Be Giants, which does much the same for Manhattan. And what is L'Avventura, after all, if not an extended game of hide-and-seek?

Yet this one has a definite whiff about it, somehow. Still, it might conceivably get made, and if it does, will doubtless cost a fortune – neither Scott nor his "futuristic sheen" come cheap. No matter: whatever the budget, they'll spend it the same way: like it's play money."

Which got a friend and I talking about, A) How stupid and ridiculous this is, and B) how on Earth the game pieces will translate to the film, and who will inevitably play them. I submit the following, for your dissection and discussion:
Knowing Scott, it'll all be a mix of either metaphors or ham fisted literality:
  • Wheelbarrow - This will be the sidekick, the guy that does a lot of the leg work for the male lead. His last name will be "Barrow", or "Wagon" or something. Maybe a cop, on the inside. Maybe he ends up betraying the hero. Shia Lebeouf.
  • Battleship - A matron of some sort, a loud and heavyset woman that protects the female lead, or the male lead, or both. Comic Relief, in a Mae West vein. Probably Queen Latifah.
  • Sack of Money - Literally a sack of Money. Some sort of Payoff, or Ransom. The conveyance of which will be an exact replica of the playing piece.
  • A Horse and Rider - Most cars are hover vehicles, like in Blade Runner, so all the ground traffic is pedestrian, therefore all the cops are on Horseback.
  • Car - Literally a car. The Hero will anachronistically drive a car, as he is a rebel and out of his time. It will be an exact replica of the playing piece, lending to it's antique quality compared to the hover vehicles, and allowing the Hero to get away from the horseback cops with ease.
  • Train - Literally a train, but probably an urban E or a subway. Perhaps the climatic showdown or ransom handover occurs here.
  • Thimble - The female lead. She is the daughter of a famous politician, but has eschewed that life, and hasn't spoken to him for years, despite his attempts to find her. He needs to find her for some nefarious reason though, and has hired a corrupt detective to search for her, leading to chase scenes. She has been hiding out as a seamstress in a sweatshop. Amy Adams gets to play something gritty for a change.
  • Cannon - The hero. His gun will TRY to resemble the game piece. Leo DiCaprio.
  • Old style shoe - The dirty detective that is chasing the female lead for the politician, but he kidnaps her and holds her for ransom. Russel Crowe gets to play a bad guy again, since he was so awesome as Sid6, and Scott loves him.
  • Scottie dog - Either the females sidekick that gets killed early on(Named "Scottie" of course), or literally a dog, the Hero's. Sara Rue.
  • Iron - The Good cop that originally is chasing the hero, until he realizes he's the hero(near the end of the film, of course). He wears immaculately tailored and pressed suits and shirts, which will be a running gag and source of mocking for the hero. Ben Affleck.
  • Top hat - The Female leads father, a politician. The first time he is seen, he will be wearing a Top Hat. An interesting bad guy turn for George Clooney or Brad Pitt.

11.11.2008

This looks terrible



Valkyrie: from solemn drumbeats to big bangs
In case you thought that the film about the German plot to kill Hitler was sombre and talky, the trailer has made it out to be a Jean-Claude van Damme action special

Anna Pickard


When a trailer begins with a solemn drumbeat, it can only mean one thing. Well, two things. A) We're in the run-up to Oscar season and B) laughs will be few and far between. Trailers for Harold and Kumar movies never EVER begin with a solemn drumbeat, and also never win Oscars. Coincidence? I think not.

In fact, just to labour both points, the first 30 seconds are made up of some of the most dramatic and sweeping statements you'll see in a cinema this year, spoken in sombre, weighty tones by sombre, weighty actors such as Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy and Terence Stamp.

"Gentlemen, we can save Europe from total destruction."

You hear that, audience? You hear that, Academy? TOTAL DESTRUCTION! And they're going to save Europe from it!

"We have to show the world that not all of us were like him."

Him meaning Hitler - not Tom Cruise who still hasn't appeared yet, despite being the one with his name in big letters above the title - and "us" being either "Germans" or "Nazis", it is not clear as yet.

"It is too great a risk." "It doesn't change what we must do."

It all sounds very important, very serious, and is only compounded by the big words on screen flashing between the sombre men.

IN THE WORLD'S DARKEST HOUR - WHILE OTHERS FOLLOWED ORDERS - THEY FOLLOWED THEIR CONSCIENCE

"They" being the brave Nazi officers (which feels distinctly odd to type, but bear with me) and other members of the German resistance who plotted to kill Hitler. And ultimately failed, but that's not the point right now.

At 30 seconds in, the Cruise-ter is finally revealed to us, in all his dramatic glory. He's wearing a uniform - because everyone loves a Cruise in uniform, right? Surely evidenced by the fact that he's worn so many now, he's like a one-man Village People.

By one minute in, he's got a matching eyepatch. And, as he becomes quickly entangled in the plot to assassinate the F├╝hrer, he rocks that eyepatch as only an All-American Hero can. Yes, I know he's meant to be German. They're all meant to be German, but, sensibly, they're not all performing in cod German accents - that would be dreadful (although quite funny, an entire film with serious actors shouting, "VE HAFF VAYS AFF TRYING TO SEV EURIP FROM TOTAL DESTRUCTION!") - so they're all performing in their own accents. Which is all well and good, but it's just a sightly unfortunate coincidence, then, that everyone who has spoken up to this point has had a cut-glass English accent, and suddenly Cruise's Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg bowls up and is as German as mom's apple pie.

Anyhoo. Back to plotting to kill Hitler.

"Any problem on earth can be fixed with the careful application of high explosives" is a piece of advice I plan never to pass on to my gynaecologist, but it is apparently part of the complex assassination plan, as explained to Cruise by another American-accented German resistance figure.

And with that, things start blowing up. After an initial trailer, released last year, that made the film look a little too theatrical and talky for potential audiences, they remade the trailer to focus more on the actiony aspects of the plot and less on the quiet "plotting" bits that might scare people off.

And thus the rest of the trailer is made up of big bangs, firing squads and aeroplanes, causing some concern that one of the most interesting and difficult stories as yet untouched by mainstream Hollywood might just have been turned into a roister-doistering Jean-Claude van Damme special.

That, of course, can't be true, for if it was, where would Cruise be hoping to pull his Oscar from? And hope he surely must. So, there are scenes of heart-wrenching family partings, dire warnings and tense meetings with Hitler himself. You begin to develop a cold sweat and wonder how it all might end ... or you would if you weren't aware that the July 20th plot ended in confusion and failure, with Hitler being merely scratched and living almost another year, 200 members of the resistance executed, and the movement falling apart. Still, no reason to ruin a good story, eh?

And, perhaps to muddy the water just a little, cause a little ripple of confusion and make us feel like we might not know what's going on after all, mingled in amongst the bangs are little scenes that might or might not mean nothing at all. My very favourite moment is one minute 53 seconds in. In it a woman sitting in a typing pool raises her hand. Why? What reason lies behind this? We may never know. It's brilliant. Completely mysterious, utterly inscrutable, yet clearly one of the most important hand-raisings in history, and one of the best moments in the entire film, as it's been included here. I don't know who she is, I don't know what she's doing, I just know it is, by default, brilliant. Someone give that woman an Oscar.

Obama bama bo bama...

... Banana nana fo fama
Me my mo mama
YO MAMA

I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the US election, as improbable as that seems considering it was all anyone seemed to talk about for the last month. I liked the charisma of both candidates equally, but I know very little about their platforms, or how they differed from one another. I inherently mistrust politicians, and believe their campaign promises are worth the paper they're written on, and I don't give the average American the credit for the intelligence to understand half of what those politicians are talking about anyways, so charisma seems as good a measuring stick as anything.

So, I liked each guy equally. But when McCain chose Palin as his running mate, it almost seemed like he was trying to throw the thing. Mind boggling.

So, yeah, cool that Obama is in. I never thought I would live to see a black president. Amazing. It really is a sign that the USA might be changing for the better. And it gives hope to millions of disenfranchised Americans, and that can only be a good thing.

But the USA is in such a shambles, it's hard to see how he can fix it. He has so much hype to live up to, and there's only so much a president can do in a democracy, while still keeping his promises, and appealing to those that voted for him. How long before he has to make some tough decisions? How long before he starts getting called "Uncle Tom"?

I really want to be optimistic, I do. I wish I could get caught up in the zeitgeist, the Obama-mania. But I just think that the USA I hooped, no matter which guy was elected. I believe they are a Neo-Rome, and like all empires eventually and inevitably do, they are on the down slope of their power, influence, and affluence. Thank W for ushering that in, the Neo-Caligula, with his hedonistic economic orgy of the last 8 years.

So would that make Obama the new Nero? Does he play the fiddle? Or will be be playing basketball while Rome burns? Attacks by Islamic forces contributed to the fall of Rome, as did attacks by the Huns and Vandals(or Russia, for our purposes).

(Students of Roman history will know I'm way off on the time lines for these allusions. Call it creative license, in order to make a point)

Again, I really hope I'm wrong about this. Mainly because Canada is so tethered to the USA, and if they sink, it will be nigh impossible to avoid drowning in the backwash. And that's if they don't try annex us and our mineral and water resources in an attempt to stay on top.

But I digress(ha, no kidding). I wish Barack the best of luck and I hope he can live up to the hype. I never thought I'd see a black man in the oval office, so the impossible is possible after all.

Oh. Oh no.

Look! It's College and Clinton on a Saturday afternoon*.



*or Brampton/Mississauga pretty much 24/7

11.06.2008

YAY SCIENCE! The solution to/cause of all of life's problems.

Chemicals from test tubes may be fouling experiments, scientists say
Last Updated: Thursday, November 6, 2008 3:12 PM ET
CBC News


Researchers in Alberta have discovered that two chemicals used in the making of plastic test tubes and other lab storage units can leach into experiments, interfering with some results.

University of Alberta pharmacology researcher Andrew Holt said previous research suggests the leaching compounds, and their presence in other plastics, do not pose a health hazards, as do other contaminants such as bisphenol A.

But the findings, published in Thursday's issue of the journal Science, could have an indirect impact, as they raise the prospect that the leaching compounds may have compromised thousands of medical and pharmaceutical experiments.

At best, such interference would introduce extraneous or scattered data, forcing experimenters to waste time and money retesting experiments. And at worst, it could mean papers could have been published based on faulty results, or that current research might be impacted by those results.

Holt said he doesn't have any examples of papers that might have been published or experiments that may have been delayed by the leaching. But the sheer amount of work done in health research suggests the problem could be widespread.

"We do know that of our less than 20 research groups here at Alberta, at least three have experiments whose results could be affected by these compounds," he told CBC News.

"There are tens of thousands of research labs doing life sciences experiments around the world," he said. "It seems reasonable to suggest a percentage of these may be affected as well."

Two compounds affected results

Holt said while the scientific community has generally accepted that using plastic equipment reduces the likelihood of experimental success, few efforts have gone into identifying the substances at the root cause of introduced errors.
The two compounds, a disinfectant called DiHEMDA and a lubricant called oleamide, are both used in the manufacturing process of disposable plastic labware, including test tubes, to improve their sterility and reduce stickiness, respectively.

The researchers made their discovery while attempting to assess the effects of ammonium chloride on the activity of a human enzyme, called monoamine oxidase B, or MAO-B. While the results showed the ammonium chloride had a very weak effect on the enzyme, the results varied widely during each test.

After all other possibilities had been exhausted, the researchers came to the test tubes themselves, and using mass spectrometry they were able to isolate the two leaching compounds, both of which, as it turned out, were strong inhibitors of the enzyme.

Further study revealed inconsistencies in the appearance of the chemicals in the plastic equipment. For example, 1.5 ml test tubes from one company had no effect on the experiments, while 0.5 ml test tubes from the same company (but a different manufacturing plant) had a potent effect on the enzyme.

Money would have been wasted

Holt said he estimates that the research group spent over six months of solid work trying to determine the cause of the anomaly at a cost of $60,000 in federal funding through a Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant