Archive for September, 2009|Monthly archive page


Saturday, September 26th, 2009

As I mentioned, one of the gifts I got for my BD was a custom-made canvas to go in the “nook” in my living room.

Here’s a long view. I’ll see if I can get a close-up on the morrow.

Doors, portals, scotch and Tom Robbins

Doors, portals, scotch and Tom Robbins

They wouldn’t much like our clothing

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Banner day in K-W: Margaret Atwood was here to promote her new book and kick off Word on the Street, and Cory Doctorow was here being Cory.

The KPL was quite a flurry of activity for Ms Atwood. Her trademark wit came through, and her dry (arid) delivery certainly added to the merriment. Apparently, Kitchener will forever be in her heart associated with spinach salad, since this was the first place that she ever tasted one (long before it was de rigueur, or so she told us).

The reading was interesting. The first passage she read described Toby’s apartment over the meat processing shop and subsequent foray into furries. The second passage was about Ren’s early life with Lucerne and Zeb in the God’s Gardeners quarters. The third was a bit of a sermon from Adam One (Mole Day, a very auspicious day indeed). And then she must have been feeling a little feisty or something, because she actually sang the Mole Day hymn for us.

Atwood was funny and very warm and just this side of absent-minded professor in her embracing of the tweets of twitter. Though with a rapier in her gown (burnished with velvet) for the “host/interviewer” they dragged out from a local tv station who shall remain nameless because that’s how bad he was.

He started off with a fair lob, I suppose – i.e. why is future fiction “so negative” (I’m not sure “dystopia” was within his reach). Atwood gave a little history lesson in both utopic and dystopic world views, touching on 1895, the first half of the 20th century and so on.

So when he asked her what she thought 18th Century people would think about us, she cut him to the quick (we are assuming he thought 1895 was in the 18th Century). Very entertaining for those of us in the room who were not him. And, of course, the only good random answer would be “They wouldn’t much like our clothing.”

After a valiant attempt by him to get in the game, and some more <gentle> mockery from her, he was more than happy to move on to the Q&A.

Can’t say the questions were all that inspired, but Atwood did her best to turn each one into the kernel of an interesting observation or anecdote. Then just like that, it was time for book signings.

Kindly, Melle and Melissa stuck around with me while I waited. Dana and Ashley were a ways ahead of us, so we made them wait too. Though lots of people were getting pictures and such, I was content to tell her it was a pleasure and then move on.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go listen to Cory …yet, but Melle did. AND, of course, I will see him in a few weeks at Perimeter’s q2c Festival.



Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Spent last weekend at Diva Cottage in Wasaga-Vegas. The motley crew this year included 5 women and a rather large dog.

We started off Friday evening with a bit of wildlife education. Namely, two juvenile racoons wandered into our fire pit area while we were there. One of them was very interested in Melle’s feet and wouldn’t leave. So we used our survivor skills: banging pots & pans, yelling “F off, racoons!” and flashing camera flashes. All of which succeeded (finally) in getting them to climb a tree a whole 5 feet away from us.

Of course, a little later once the dog had arrived, and he was sleeping on his bed by the fire, another one tried to mosey in for a look. He went from dead sleep to treeing the scared shitless racoon in less than 2.5 seconds. And not even a bark, just a ridiculously low growl that I’m sure comes in handy when he’s hunting lions on the African steppes or something (he’s a Rhodesian Ridgeback – GORGEOUS!).

On Saturday, he marked the perimeter rather liberally, and we’re sure that contributed to the dearth of racoons that night.

Anyway, there was much drinking and eating, like every 2 hours eating. And then more drinking. And a party game that I totally sucked at because the names were all pop stars and my inner geek/nerd came out so I didn’t know who the hell they were talking about.

We did get some exercise – like, walking on the beach with mugs of coffee *cough* and not wine, as was surmised by the old guy that was yelling at us. And the dog did the most awesome run-by on a few people, which we found hilarious, though it was probably not so hilarious to the recipients to see a 120-lb dog barrelling at them full speed and turning away just inches from knocking them on their asses.

Also, cold. Very cold at night. But I was in charge of FIRE, so we had no fears. The girls seemed to think I was a little to enamoured of putting more wood on, but I think anything under 6 feet is still pretty humble as far as fires go, and I didn’t even use any accelerants.

Got home Sunday afternoon just in time for a nap. Oh, glorious nap.

Fun game for the K-Dubs

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

You have to go to Mill & Courtland to pick up a window, and to the Waterloo Public Library to pick up a book, without hitting construction. Starting point is Weber & Bridgeport. You can even select which location you go to first.

Hint: construction on King, Queen, Belmont, Caroline, Park….

I’m the man! No, I’M the man!

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Ignatieff and Liberals are poised to call a non-confidence vote next week, sending Canadians to the polls, probably by October 1st.

What a dearth of choice we have. First, there’s Harper, whose Napoleonic arrogance is shown in his narrow-eyed, close-minded leadership.  As most recently evidenced when he stuffed the senate–an instititution he wanted to ban–with Conservative chronies. And there’s Ignatieff, whose arrogance is presented in a veneer of intellectual patriotism that leaves me mostly like I need to take a shower. In fact, proximal contact with either of these guys ought to be followed by a decontamination scrub in one of those biohazard units.

Normally, I’d be jumping at the chance to kick Harper to the curb. But I have no sense that Ignatieff will be much better, except for maybe allowing his cabinet members to talk to the media on their own (though they better have read the handbook ahead of time, I’m sure).

With not much difference on the fiscal agenda (really), I guess Harper will tell us he wants to stay [his] course, particularly since Canada is “pulling out of the recession” at the cost of being a couple billion in the hole, and Ignatieff’s big change is that he knows where China and India are located (and probably has at least tasted the cuisine – Harper’s a plain pork chop and potato guy).

Health care will obviously be on the agenda. Ignatieff claiming that Harper is skulking in the corner and avoiding the issue altogether, especially in the face of American scrutiny as they go through their own crisis. Harper’s response on any issue right now is not to discuss it, but to accuse of Ignatieff of being un-Canadian and power-hungry. The equivalent of offering “you suck!” as a retort at the local debating society.

It’s by no means clear on what the hell will happen if there is an election day – polls showing the leaders in a dead heat as recently as a few weeks ago. Chances of another minority government: high.


Weekend so far

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

In Canada and the US, it’s Labour/Labor Day weekend – the last long weekend of the summer.

Friday night, Melissa, Melle, Andrew and I went to a Psychic Fair – we sat in on a Tarot 101 seminar and I got to draw a card – which turned out to be The Star – so the woman told me that because it comes after the Tower, I’ve “fallen” from a very great height and am moving now toward serenity, which would be alright by me, since I could hang out with Mal and the gang, and River could teach me how to fight, and that would be all kinds of awesome. But somehow, that’s not what I think she meant. My favourite “expert” has the apt moniker of “Crystal Wind”, and how can one argue with that – besides she’s a Certified freakin’ Tarot Reader. Overall, it was excellent entertainment and prime people watching.

Saturday was spent working on the yard – including a trim of the gargantuan bushes at the back of my yard. Basically, I take a ladder and push it up into the bush in a vertical. I have to climb it straight up carrying an electric hedge trimmer and kind of force it into the bushes for stability. There were a couple of times I wasn’t sure if the trimmer and I were going to go up successfully or come down to earth in some spectacular work incident. Then a little bit later, I tried to trim a huge bush near my back porch and I was using an extendable tree trimmer to reach the top. Well, the thing got stuck and yanked back …into the window pane on the porch. It’s an old single pane slider, so I’m going to have to try the Habitat Restore for a replacement, or else my Dad will be ordering some new windows ahead of schedule. Thank the construction gods for duct tape in the meanwhile.

Then today, Melle and I finally got around to going for a hike in Elora Gorge – it’s a conservation area on the Grand River about 1/2 hour outside of Waterloo. Each little trail is not that big, but there’s enough ups and downs along the way to get a good walk in. And we only broke the law twice – once wandering on to private property, and then another that involved an ungraceful scooch under a fence.

From Elora Gorge – August, 2009

Check out the album if you want a look.


Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Finally got around to reading Howard Burton’s First Principles: The Crazy Business of Doing Serious Science.

Primary value of which was hearing about the founding of PI (though through a very thick filter of ego), and confirming my previous characterization of the author, as referenced in the title of this post. ‘Nuff said.


Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

I know I’m WAY late on this one, but if you haven’t seen District 9 yet, you definitely should. I’m on, like, a science fiction trip fantastic recently.

Aliens are marooned in Johannesburg, South Africa and they are forced to live in “District 9″ until a megacorp MNU weaponry company gets the contract to move them away to a “tent city accommodation”. The protagonist, Wikus Van Der Merwe (I leave it to you to decide if he’s a hero), takes up his new appointment as the chief program manager of the evacuation with verve and guileless pragmatism. The barbs of human nature hit you in unassuming dialogue - they are like popcorn! pop! pop! pop!.

As part of his evacuation duties, he meets Christopher and his son, and a canister that spray in his face and changes his life forever.

It’s part corporate promo, part investigative journalism and part cinema verite. Effects are very good too, especially since ILM wasn’t available for most of the production. Thank the gods that Hollywood didn’t get hold of this one.