Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lesbians shack up, depend on cheating males for reproduction...

   Same sex couples in the wild are more common than once thought, reports Yahoo! News, via
Says the report:What happens when there is a shortage of males and a female wants to have a family?

In the case of the Laysan albatross, females shack up with each other for years and take turns raising offspring, research now reveals.
But wait! Where do these offspring come from? Well:
10 of the 16 chicks that belonged to female-female partners were fathered by males that cheated on their female mates.
Evil lesbian chicks luring men away from their wives. Can you imagine?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday random thought

   I really don't spend much time thinking about American politics, but it occurs to me that the Democrats are in for another four years of bitter disappointment. I just don't believe that a majority of Americans will vote for a woman, or a member of a visible minority.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday random ten(s)

   iTunes keeps doing weird shit. I used to have over 5900 songs in the library, but now it's telling me there are only 5875. Somewhere, iTunes has lost some songs, and I don't understand how. One of the ones I was able to pin down as being missing was track 16 of the soundtrack album from the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Tracks one through fifteen are there, as are seventeen through nineteen. Sixteen has disappeared. I know it was there when I originally copied the CD to iTunes. Now it's gone.
   And I mean gone totally. When I manually go looking in the iTunes music folder, the rest of the files are all there, and track 16 is not. Where did it go? Matthew tells me there are entire albums missing. We're going to have to recopy the discs, which is a total time waster. I hope none of the songs Matthew downloaded from the iTunes store are missing, because we haven't backed them up yet.

Stupid iTunes!

   And now, because I was negligent last week, here are two (2) Friday Random Tens.

May 16/2008

1) Lucky (Boomtang Boys Mix) - Bif Naked
2) Whoa - Midnight Oil
3) Legend - Nelly Furtado
4) Guys and Dolls (Reprise) - Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin
5) The Unforgettable Fire - U2
6) More Today Than Yesterday - The Spiral Staircase
7) Jennifer's Body - Hole
8) Peace Train - Cat Stevens
9) Tourniquet (Live) - Evanescence
10) Growing Up - Bruce Springsteen

May 23/2008

1) Coloured Rain - Traffic
2) Crocodile Rock - Elton John
3) Patio Lanterns - Kim Mitchell
4) Hanger 18 - Megadeath
5) Medley: The Munster Cloak/An Poc Ar Buille/Ferney Hill/Little Molly - The Chieftains
6) What's It Take - Robert Palmer
7) Wasted Time (Live) - The Eagles
8) On The Boulevard - Murray McLauchlan
9) Wake Me Up - Norah Jones
10) Love Reign O'er Me - The Who

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

100 movies - the last 10 (plus 1)

   I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "I don't believe it." But yes, it's true. I have finally reached the final edition of the list of "100 movies I really like." I started this thing over eight freaking months ago (if this had been a list of 100 TV shows I really like, I could have said, "eight frakking months ago" there).
   Now, remember that these movies have been listed in completely random order (actually determined by an online random number generator - no, I don't remember which one), so these are not necessarily my ten favourite movies. They are just the last ten left after I named ninety others.

   (Actually, I have only named eighty-nine others, haven't I? I accidentally listed The Fugitive in both
this list, and this one.) So, here are the movies. Comment on my choices as you will.

Alien - Earlier on this list I named the sequel to this film, Aliens. This is an entirely different creature (heh). In fact, this is much more of a Horror/Suspense/Thriller than a science fiction film. Heck, the audience doesn't even get to see the monster until almost the end of the movie. Also, the alien's method of reproduction falls under the category of most creepy sci-fi concept ever.

Big - Tom Hanks wasn't an unknown, by any stretch of the imagination, but Big was the film that lit the fuse on the rocket his career was to become.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day - What better way to deal with a man who can't act than to cast him as a robot? Heck, it worked for Peter Weller. I originally had the first Terminator movie here, but decided I liked the second one better. Hasta La Vista, Baby!

The Pink Panther - No, not the recent one starring Steve Martin. Are you kidding me? I'm sure Martin wakes up every morning, looks in the mirror, and askshimself, "what the hell was I thinking?" Who decided it was a good idea to remake a movie starring one of the funniest human beings who ever lived? And has that person learned their lesson?
   Seriously, there is no one who could ever match the comic genius of Peter Sellers in the role of Inspector Clouseau.

Shrek - This movie was in the can when when Mike Myers decided Shrek should have a Scottish accent. So he went back into the studio and revoiced Shrek's dialogue for the entire film. At some point after that he walked away from the Sprockets project because he didn't want to release a steaming heap of crap that would make money anyway just because he was in it. That's just the way Mike rolls.

Lethal Weapon - In the best tradition of The Odd Couple. Detectives Murtaugh and Riggs are among the best cop partnerships ever filmed. Also, Gary Busey puts his natural born creepiness to good use as Mr. Joshua, the former special forces nut job/bad guy.

A Beautiful Mind - There had to be at least one Oscar winner on this list. Didn't there?

La Femme Nikita - The American Remake of this film, Point Of No Return, was actually pretty good. Credit where due, director John Badham didn't stray too far from the original. The original, a French film directed by Luc Besson, is described by one IMBD user as, "cooler than a fortnight in Antartica wearing a bikini, drinking chilled vodka with ice-packs strapped to your body."

Desperado - Antonio Badaras is almost as pretty as Salma Hayek in this one. This may be the most cinematographically attractive shoot-em-up movie ever made. Your mileage may vary.

First Blood - I can still see Sly pulling a needle and thread through his own skin (shudder). I think Richard Crenna's costume had an actual board sewn into it in this film. Brian Dennehy elevates everything he appears in. OK, maybe not Tommy Boy.

   That's ten. I have now listed every film that appeared on my original list of 100. The only problem is, that original list only named ninety-nine different movies. So I owe you one. That fact is what has held up this last entry of the series for so long. I just didn't want to try and come up with one more movie to add.
   Circumstance to the rescue. We went out to the theater to see Iron Man last night. Let me tell you, it rocked. The decision to cast Robert Downey Jr. was an inspired one, and he pulled off the role with ease. We totally believed his transformation.
   The special effects were top notch, with special mention due the suit effects. It looks totally real. I thought Jeff Bridges overplayed his part a little bit, and I never quite bought Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, but Downey carried every scene he was in, and was able to lift the film past those deficiencies, and the few slow spots in the story. I highly reccomend you see this in the theater, with the Big Screen, and the Big Sound. It's worth the over-inflated tickets and popcorn prices.

   Also worth mention were the previews preceeding the movie. The new Indy was the most notable, and I suspect we'll be back in the theater before the month is out to see it. The Dark Knight looks excellent, although I'm not a huge Batman fan, so this one will wait until it hits DVD. Also pretty funny looking were Kung Fu Panda, and You Don't Mess With The Zohan, Adam Sandler's latest. Although I suspect we saw most of the funny bits of the latter in the trailer.

   Well, there you have it: one hundred movies I really like. Not an entirely comprehensive list, and were I to compile it again, I would not be surprised to see huge differences in the movies selected. At several points during this process, I have smacked myself on the forehead and said, "I could have had a V8!" Or at least remembered another film that should have been here.
   But then again, I have carefully disclaimed any intention to make this list actually representative of anything other than a bunch of movies I really like throughout the whole process. Just in case you're interested, here is the full list, in the order I originally wrote them down, all those months ago:

1:Bull Durham
2:Star Wars
3:Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
4:The Maltese Falcon
5:The African Queen
7:Raiders of the Lost Ark
8:Blade Runner
9:The Rock
12:Back to the Future
13:Moulin Rouge
14:A Knight's Tale
16:The Fugitive
21:The Hunt for Red October
22:The Incredibles
23:The Iron Giant
24:Jurassic Park
25:Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
26:Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
27:The Matrix
28:Monsters Inc.
29:Pink Floyd: The Wall
31:Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
34:The Legend of Bagger Vance
35:This is Spinal Tap
36:Hard Core Logo
37:A Beautiful Mind
38:The Bourne Identity
40:The Transporter
41:The Terminator
42:School of Rock
43:Men in Black
44:The Last Temptation of Christ
45:Ice Age
47:Ocean's Eleven
48:The Green Mile  
49:Agent Cody Banks
50:Titan: AE
51:Die Hard
52:Beverly Hills Cop
53:Cast Away
55:The Lion King 
56:The Nightmare Before Christmas
57:They Live
58:The Wizard of Oz
64:Ferris Bueller's Day Off
65:Saving Private Ryan 
66:Hang 'em High
67:High Plains Drifter
68:The Sixth Sense 
69:Little Miss Sunshine
70:Toy Story
71:Twelve Monkeys
72:Casino Royale
73:Blood Diamond
74:The Road Warrior
75:True Lies
76:Apollo Thirteen
77:Chicken Run  
78:Close Encounters of the Third Kind
79:E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
80:La Femme Nikita
81:Shanghai Noon
82:The Fugitive
83:Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
85:The Pink Panther
86:Rain Man
87:Ruthless People
88:Shakespeare in Love
89:Mrs. Doubtfire
90:True Grit
92:Benny and Joon
93:The Untouchables
94:Soylent Green
96:The Fifth Element
97:First Blood
100:Lethal Weapon

really 100:Iron Man

<< previous ten

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

As if millions of elbows cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced

   I was on my way out to take the dog for a walk when my wife stopped me at the door. "You should," she suggested, "take a hat, and a jacket, and maybe an umbrella." She looked up at the rapidly greying clouds scudding across the sky. "I've got a bad feeling about this," she said.
   "Oh, so what," I asked. "You've got The Force, now?"
   "No," she answered. "I've got The Arthritis."

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Friday (Saturday) random ten...and more

   Here are the first ten songs randomly selected by iTunes to refill my iPod yesterday afternoon.

1) Unknown Soldier - Breaking Benjamin 
2) It's a War In There - Dar Williams
3) In The City - The Eagles
4) Wild Is The Wind - Bon Jovi
5) Please Don't Ask - Genesis
6) The Least Of My Troubles - Paul Nicholas
7) Liars - Ian Thomas
8) Accidents - Alexisonfire
9) Desert Elysium - Ottmar Liebert
10) I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) - Genesis

   Over the past few weeks, as I've been updating my iPod, I've noticed the occasional pairing of songs that seemed somehow...apt. It was brought to mind by the ironic juxtaposition of the first two items in this week's random ten list. It might be, like the above example, a noticeably interesting pairing of song titles, or it might be two songs that seem to go together content wise, or it might be two songs that contrast or clash stylistically - enough so to make me take notice; to say, "heh."
   Not sure what to call the phenomenon. I thought of 'peculiar pairings,' or 'curious couplets,' but if you've got another idea, let's hear it. Anyway, I may point out the occasional serendipitous occurence of this event from time to time. You know, when the things happen to strike me.

   Other peculiar pairings in this week's iPod listing:

You And I, by Queen, followed by Entre Nous, by Rush.

Caroline, by Fleetwood Mac, and Gal Yuh Good, by Shabba Ranks

Just Reality, again by Shabba Ranks, followed by Not Dreaming About You, by Edward Bear

And I got a bit of a chuckle out of the 125th and final song in this week's list: sixteen seconds of Queen's Another One Bites The Dust recorded backwards by Matthew when he was bored and playing around with Audacity a few weeks ago. 

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Day off

   I spent the bulk of today doing some work out in the yard. I installed a solar powered light in the shed, so we can see if we need to get something out of it at night. I also installed some ropelight along the fence bordering our patio, to add ambiance when we are sitting outside during the evening with a glass of wine.
   Of course it all sounds so simple when I say it like that. In reality it was anything but.

   The first thing I did was dismantle our old patio unbrella, which entailed removing the set of lights attached to its spars. I then put up our new patio unbrella, and spent about twenty minutes trying to reattach the light set to it. I managed to stop myself just short of stomping on all the lights, and ripping the umbrella to shreds with my bare hands, and decided to leave that task to my wife, who actually has some, you know, patience.

   I tackled the solar shed light next, which went something like this:

Hold up solar panel to mark position of holes.
Put down solar panel.
Walk into house to get pencil.
Attempt to sharpen pencil by whittling at it with a utility knife.
Watch as a three inch piece of pencil lead slides out and falls on the floor.
Attempt to sharpen other end of same pencil.
Watch as the remaining three inches of lead fall out of pencil leaving me holding a six inch long, wooden straw.
Root around in tool box for another pencil.
Examine new pencil, and wisely decide it is sharp enough.
Walk back out to shed.
Hold up solar panel to mark position of holes.
Put down solar panel.
Walk into house to get level.
Walk back out to shed.
Hold up solar panel to mark position of holes.
Find that level will not fit between the solar panel and the eaves of the shed.
Eyeball it.
Mark position of holes.
Get out cordless drill.
Discover battery is dead.
Put battery on charger.
Find the spare battery is OK.
Take drill out to shed.
Go back inside to get drill bit.
Discover drill bit is too large.
Go back inside to get smaller drill bit.
Drill pilot holes.
Attempt to install screws.
Go back inside to get screw driver...

   Get the picture? I'm only halfway done by this point. Suffice it to say I was successful in turning a simple, fifteen minute job into a two hour, profanity ridden exercise in frustration and futility. But the shed light works now.

   Next chore was the rope light installation. Should have been a piece of cake. I was warmed up. Almost all of my tools were already outside. Hah! Never underestimate the perversity of our world.
   Opening the ropelight package, I discovered that Noma had thoughtfully included everything I needed to perform the installation. OK, almost everything. There were twenty little plastic clips for mounting the rope to the fence. There were twenty little screws for mounting the clips to the fence. As I attached the first clip, I discovered a fatal flaw in the directions. Each clip, it seems, required two screws to hold it up.

   Now, I don't claim to be a math wizard, but it's pretty plain that something here doesn't quite add up.

   There appeared, to me, to be three options. One, I could only use half of the clips, at double the spacing. Picturing saggy ropelighting, I dismissed option one immediately. Two, I could use only one screw per clip. However, that would allow the clips to rotate away from level, resulting in an uneven run of ropelight along the fence. Maybe good enough for me - heck, I would have just draped the stuff over the fence posts and been done with it - but not good enough to impress any guests we might be entertaining (I thought to myself in an attempt to channel my wife's opinion on the situation).
   Accepting with resignation the thrid option, I trudged out to my car, and drove down to Canadian Tire to buy more screws. Arriving back home a half an hour later, I discovered that the screws I had bought were too large, and would not fit through the holes in the clips. Hanging my head, I plodded back down the driveway to the car again.
   Back home, this time with the right sized screws, I was optimistic, and prepared to bang out some pretty damn awesome looking ropelight. Until I discovered that I did not have a screw driver in my tool box that would fit the new screws. It seems they required the use of a Robertson screw driver, size zero. Size zero? What the hell is size zero?
   When Mr. Robertson invented his screwdriver and screws in 1908, he made them in three sizes, #1, #2, and #3, denoted by their green, red and black handles respectively. Virtually every toolbox in Canada has a set of those three tools in it. In fact, most people I know have several "red-handled robertsons" kicking around. But who the hell uses a size zero? I didn't even know what colour that was, until I reluctantly dragged my ass back to Crappy Tire to buy one.

   It's yellow.

   So, it's now almost five-thirty, and I'm trying to juggle getting the ropelight installation finished, preparing dinner, and cajoling Matthew into doing his homework, instead of wasting time watching videos on YouTube. Just as I tighten the last screw, and snap the last length of ropelight into the last little plastic clip, the first raindrops start to fall. This is getting to be an annoying trend.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Here we are now, entertain us

   Matthew and a few of his friends have formed a band. They call themselves Tomorrow's Yesterday, and they played their first 'gig' last night at the annual school Arts Night. Considering they've only been rehearsing for a week, they did pretty well. Hell, they rocked the joint.

   And now here's the Friday Random Ten:

1) The Mummers' Dance - Loreena McKennitt
2) A Journey In The Dark - Howard Shore
3) Journey - FM
4) Animal Zoo - Spirit
5) Sleepless (Intro) - Jacksoul
6) Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
7) Shake It Up And Go - B.B. King
8) Dreamer - Supertramp
9) Roadside - Rise Against
10) My Box In A Box - "Bunny"