Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Living within your means

Friday, February 27th, 2009

I really like James Bow’s blog – his posts are always well researched and he takes a sensible approach to politics and municipal development that is worth reading. But his post today about Rick Santelli kinda tweaked a mini-rant for me.

I don’t know Rick Santelli from Adam, but he did go so far as to say that he doesn’t want to pay for ‘loser’s mortgages’. I surely agree with James tying that to that fact that the some of the richest people in the US have walked away from the handout table with oodles of cash in their pockets and no guilt about it, and that hypocricy is alive and well in the bailouts.

But. But… I understand the sentiment of not wanting to use tax dollars to bail out people who voluntarily put themselves in debt, who voluntarily bought a lifestyle beyond their means. Sure, the US government and US banks created a bad situation where it was possible to get a 0-down mortgage amortized over 40 years, but it’s up to each person to know whether or not that’s a good idea.

By taking only the government and the banks to task for this mess, it leaves the people who took those mortgages without complicity or culpability – which denies them the power that goes with responsibility and puts them outside of the locus of control in the situation. Every person has the choice to not take full “advantage” of more debt than they can handle–particularly if they are the ones who thought they absolutely needed the big house and the bigger screen tv, and hell, why not if the bank is gonna give them the money.

I am happy as heck for the single mother in Detroit who now owns her own home outright. That’s just a smart investment that SHE made.

But do I want to put my tax dollars toward saving Mr Big House’s ass? No. I do not.

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

I was busy doing wiring and hanging a chandelier on the weekend, so I haven’t had a chance yet to say that Dollhouse, ehem, ROCKED last week in a very wtf kind of way. The primary hunter story was a bit of a surprise and the guy who played the date didn’t overplay it at all, which somehow made it more creepy, and this storyline really comes right at the moral dilemma that is at the heart of the idea of renting out people for pleasure–sexual and otherwise. And then when she turned around and took care of business, well that was very satisfying.

We also got to find out a bit more about Alpha, the rogue who managed to merge a few of the nastier profiles he took on to become some crazy serial slicer with the reflexes of a vampire. Oh, and I *know* who Alpha is, and you have to watch this damn show! I’m not even asking. I’m telling. I was completely entranced while I was watching and it felt good.

————-

And if that wasn’t enough fun, last night was a very special night. We went to a local 5-star restaurant, Langdon Hall, in honour of Ms Melissa’s birthday. The three of us looked smashing if I do say so myself. The menu was pretty heavy on foie gras, beets and tartar, but when you have a chef chef in the back, there can be a lot of confidence in how things will turn out. I had a shrimp starter with some aromatic salsa and this “crumble” that had some spice to it. Very nice. For the main, I had bison with a beet thingy that was actually quite good and foie gras and some sauces and carmelized baby onions. We shared a bottle of “3 Gardens” (Grenache, Sirrah and some other varietal) and it was a big ole rasberry fruit experience–nice since I had game, Melle had beef and Melissa had the vegetarian platter.

For desert, I had apples three ways, and the sorbet was divine. It didn’t hurt that I had an accompanying Highland Park 12 year — they offered to bring me the sommelier to make a scotch recommendation, but they were reassured that I was quite capable of choosing that stuff on my own.

It was a really lovely evening.

No. You can’t move me from the couch.

Friday, February 20th, 2009

For a few weeks, JL has been having episodes of breathing heavy, and not while performing his best imitation of Darth Vader or anything. I took him to the vet’s on Wednesday for an x-ray and his heart looked a bit large for his new svelte self and his lungs were a bit opaque on the film. Classic symptoms of degenerative heart disease.

She booked an ultrasound for this afternoon but I had to drop him off first thing this morning because I had meetings all day. He was suspicious of my movements while I was getting ready for work. Primarily, I’m sure, because the cat carrier was sitting out in the middle of the living room floor instead of being returned to that weird place under the stairs where the cat carrier and possibly millipedes live.

He seemed quite pleased when I finally grabbed my stuff and went out the front door. Little did he know that I was merely warming up the car for his royal highness and cleaning off the snow. When I came back in, he was all, “um, what are you doing here?” His cockiness was his undoing though, since I managed to get him into the carrier before he head a chance to bolt into the closet and hide under the re-usable grocery bags.

The ultrasound shows early-stage heart disease as we expected. He gets to go on a beta-blocker as of next week, and I’m not supposed to STRESS HIM OUT. Yes, because this cat, who basically lounges around the house where he wants and when he wants, and has no siblings nor even anyone to vye for my attentions, and who gets his food and his insulin on a schedule so regulated that the OCD Association of Canada would be proud, this cat needs a lot of stress relief in his life.

I’m of a mind to hide in the front closet and jump out at him as he’s sauntering to his food dish. Arsehole. And a mostly healthy arsehole at that.

And there was dancing, too!

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Last night, Robin & Cathy and I went to see the SYTYCD Canada tour in Hamilton. I have a few pictures from my Blackberry as proof but then why would I make this up?

While I was fully prepared to be one member of a three-woman cougar section in a sea of screaming, over-sexualized pre-teens, it turns out that the crowd was a bit more diverse than that. More cougars, of course, but also men and boys and mothers & kids. Some of which looked like they *really* wanted to be there.

The eye-candy rating: very high. very very high. These are people who are dancing probably 6 or 7 hours a day right now and doing a 2-hour show every night of the tour. I don’t think I can do justice to the rip of the muscle right above where the delicious Nico’s low-rider, form-fitting pants come to rest. Also, if you want to hear how loud thousands of hormone-driven people can yell, just say “Nico!”. Sure, it was all a bit schmulzie, but the boy’s got abs of hard honey and a mohawk and he’s just a wee bit cocky–yum yum.

Some of the dancing was pretty amazing. I think they did the Mia Michaels ensemble piece very well–in fact, I’d pay good money to watch an all-Mia choregraphed show. Overall, Lisa and Vincent were the most consistent dancers. There were more than a few missed steps with others though (like a “ballerina” who falls out of her pirrouettes – tsk tsk).The broke up the dancing part with little walk-ons and introductions, and some of these people really ought not to speak, at least not in public.

I came away thinking, though, that if they can get that many people to pay money to watch people dance, then it kind of puts a different spin on the fact that our provincial and federal governments continue to slash arts funding in our schools. Arguing that there’s no economic sense in it perhaps doesn’t make any sense.

Sublime

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

I know I’ve been writing a lot about television shows lately but here’s one more post anyway.

Sublime first: BSG is back! I’m totally sucked in again. There was so much revealed in the history of the cylons this last ep, and now that I’m over the idea of Ellen being the final cylon, I’m warming to her being the “mother” of it all. She’s very leader-y as well, which we didn’t get to see so much when she was with Tigh this last time around since she was drunk and/or lecherous for most of it.

Anders’ bullet-triggered flashbacks are giving more “human” layers to the skin-jobs — I think we have a hard time not empathising with them when they clearly have a history of loss and gain and trying to do the right thing same as some of the tribes (and they refer to themselves as “people”). I’m sure Dr John Hodgman is not the cause of the flatline we saw at the end. I think it’s that nasty nurse, as Maggie says. The metaphorical and literal disintegration of the ship is a great sub-plot as well – not only because it is a valid reason for cylon technology to be used in the fleet (after the rebellion and all), but also because I love the idea of the biotechnology (kinda like Moya!). Anyway, I’m back on the BSG train and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

But perhaps I’ve become a bit too enamoured. I was listening to the iPod today on shuffle and Boney M’s “Rivers of Babylon” came on and instead of “Zion” I kept hearing “Cylon”, but in a weird way, it works…

(Boney M are Johnny Cash are about the only musicians from whom I can stand songs on a spiritual theme).

Sublime Second: Ru-Paul’s Drag Race. Seriously, bitches. Cross Project Runway with America’s Top Model at a Karaoke gay bar and the result is fabulous entertainment. Some of these girls are drop-dead gorgeous and some leave a bit too much testosterone tart on the floor. It also features the most honest reality show imprecation ever uttered: “Don’t fuck it up “. Melissa passed along this link to Tom & Lorenzo’s blow by blow on the episodes so far. Ru-Paul has some of the funniest lines going. I’ll definitely be watching this one again.

I didn’t love it

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

As soon as Dollhouse came on the screen, I raised a glass of scotch in salutation and possibly as a gift to the gods that all would go well. It was definitely a thrill just to see the name “Joss Whedon” again on the screen (and the Mutant Enemy at the end made me all happy inside).

However, the middle part was, well, not awesome. I think Eliza showed more than what I was expecting and her range will have to get even bigger as the show progresses. I’m not loving Fred yet–in fact, her first line (I think it was a rhyming saying like okey-dokey) was pure Fred and that was a bit disjarring. The tech guy (Topher?) is rather annoying, and the main plot–the kidnapping–well, I’m just going to say it: I think it could have been on CSI Miami.

There are flashes, though, of what might be awesome. Boyd has some philosophical drive that will definitely continue to clash with the business cool of Adelle (whom I quite liked), and Tahmoh already seems more fully developed than just about anyone else on the show (though the fight scene felt like it was plucked from one of the other versions of the opening ep and plopped in the middle of his FBI raking-over-the-coals).

It’s just so weird to have an overlay of popular television on the writing world of someone who is better than that. I’m hoping that the veneer will be allowed to be sanded away so that we can get to the true grain. Joss says around episode 3 it starts to get good, and I’ll definitely be along for the ride, but I wasn’t jumping up and down at the end.

3D millipedes

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Went to see Coraline 3D last night with the gang, and now I have 3D glasses circa Risky Business that I could have used for the watching of Chuck 3D a couple of weeks ago but they didn’t get the timing right, now did they? It said on the package that I should not stare directly into the sun while wearing my new 3D glasses, but that makes me think that maybe I ought to try it – what’s NASA trying to hide up there anyway??

Anyway, Coraline was beautiful – I was especially enamoured of the exteriors: the waving grass, weird flowers, dirt. And there are impressive bazoombas! Everything on the screen is handmade. The story was primary, but I don’t think I stopped the “how beautiful is that?” moments throughout. It wasn’t too too scary for kids, I don’t think. If anything, it would be their own imagination that would supply that extra level of fear. At least I saw no little people running from the theatre or hiding behind their parents.

However, I had my own fear factor in the basement tonight–there was a millipede-centipede-something-with-a-gazillion legs with it’s hind end trapped in a spider web under the tv stand (and let me say I was quite happy that my poor cleaning skills made sure that sucker wasn’t moving around somewhere where I might put my hand or sit down or something). The damn thing was still wriggling around with all of its 70-hundred legs and I was worried that it would break free before I figured out how I was going to kill it without having to touch it.

I decided on the 2-step method:

  1. Spray it with a household cleaner, hoping that would temporarily stun it or blind it or something.
  2. Hit it with a hammer.

Note regarding the 2-step method: household cleaner also dissolves spider webs, allowing whatever is in them to get free, and scurry across the floor. Hit fast and hit hard.

Oh, and before I forget, last week’s BSG was much better. I felt the characters breath again, and the editors seem to have laid off whatever crack they were smoking in the previous 2 eps. Don’t ever piss of the President. She will cut you.

Devastation

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

One time, when we were driving up north through Algonquin – I’m guessing it would have been the early 80s – we were diverted to the side of the road because the park was on fire. The flames were close enough that there was soot and smoke drifting over the car. Everything smelled like a bad campfire, but I knew that there was something more than that going on.

While we waited, we noticed up ahead that the firefighters and police officers were pulling back vehicles to create a path across the highway. And then we heard it. It was kind of like this cartoon I remember of a bunch of animals running through the forest together (was that Bambi?) Anyway, just like that, the animals came running from one side of the highway where the fire was across to the other side. I definitely saw several deer and I remember some rabbits. But since it’s all fused up with the cartoon, I’m not sure if they would have been able to herd a skunk.

Anyway, I can still smell that fire some 30 years later, and I can’t imagine how long it will take the people in Australia to get past the devastation of the fires and the lost lives there, and I think about all of the wildlife on the farms and in the forests that weren’t able to get out either. I can’t seem to get this image out of my head. And the big picture shows you just how massive it is.

If it was an arsonist who is responsible for some of these fires, then I hope there is swift and mighty justice on their ass.

scothneat on wordle

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

I think I write way more about books & authors than I thought I did (and say “apparently”a lot):

Wordle

scotchneat on wordle

scotchneat on wordle

Nuggets

Friday, February 6th, 2009

JL seems to be doing well on the new insulin, and since he hasn’t been throwing up (knock on wood), he’s found a new pastime–namely, leaving little poop nuggets strewn about the house like the magical droppings of the Great Bunneh. I can’t figure if it’s senility or a genuine need to debase me some way that means picking up bodily expulsions.

My shoulder is still out-of-joint so I tried to do some home PT last night which involved hanging by one arm on my gravity bench and then doing some tricep pulls using a full paint can. I’m pretty sure that P-90 doesn’t go for such hardass training. Up next, I’ll have to ask someone big and burley to pull my arm though I’m not sure they’ll like the popping noise I expect might happen.

I didn’t get around to blogging about last week’s BSG, and the next ep is imminent. I’m still disgruntled. I let out a squee when Starbuck came out and shot the buggers who were after Lee, but then it seemed to fall back into weird editing and I still think Gaeta is just not believable as the head of the insurrection – he always looks like he’s constipated. And there’s no way that Starbuck and Lee would leave Adama and Tigh to fight “bad guys” on their own. I can only hope that they were climbing onto a catwalk for a better shot when the doors are breached.

Read this awful article from Rolling Stone on Joss & Dollhouse. Unfortunately, if the words be true, Mr Joss is not coming back to tv if this gig fails. It makes me want to throw a shoe at the Fox execs all over again. I, like everyone else in the Jossverse, will be watching next week and praying like hell to the Nelson gods that it is good, and that enough of the people like it.

Apparently, my uncle of the “work overalls” fame wants to make a return trip in a few weeks to meet my Dad here. I have no idea what they will get up to, but I’m sure it involves dust, dangerous tools and some personal injury. If I get a fully working bathroom out of the deal, I’ll be happy.