Monday, December 31, 2007

DVDs I Watched in 2007

Mission: Impossible Season 3 ****
Pixar Short Films Volume 1 *****
Corner Gas Season 4 ****
The Last King of Scotland ****
Battlestar Galactica: Razor *****
Futurama: Bender's Big Score *****
Premonition *
Full Metal Jacket ****
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Season 3 Vol 2 **1/2
A Clockwork Orange *****
The Shining *****
2001: A Space Odyssey *****
Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 5 *****
Queen Rock Montreal ***1/2
The Wild Blue Yonder *1/2
Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who *****
Hollywoodland ***1/2
Stargate SG-1: The Complete First Season ***1/2
Das Boot ****
The Godfather Part III ****
The Godfather Part II *****
The Godfather *****
Grindhouse: Death Proof ***1/2
Grindhouse: Planet Terror ***
Metallica - Some Kind of Monster ****1/2
Once Upon a Time in the West ****
My Name is Earl - The Complete Second Season ****
Batman - Mystery of the Batwoman ***1/2
Heroes - The Complete First Season ****1/2
The Elegant Universe *** 1/2
Take the Money and Run ***1/2
Unforgiven *****
Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice **
Slap Shot ****
The Office - Season Three *****
Jack of All Trades - The Series ***
The Tick vs. Season Two ****
The Simpsons - The Complete Tenth Season ****
Fracture *** 1/2
UFO - The Complete Series ****
300 ***1/2
Octopussy **
The Secrets of Isis ***
You Only Live Twice ***1/2
Zodiac ****
Dr. No ***
Batman - Mask of the Phantasm ***
Moonraker ***
Shark Week - 20th Anniversary ***
For Your Eyes Only ****
Jason of Star Command - The Complete Series ***
Jackie Brown ****
Live and Let Die ***
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Season 3 Vol.1 **1/2
Titanic (1996 tv-movie) **
On Her Majesty's Secret Service ***
Who Killed the Electric Car? ***
Music and Lyrics ***
From Russia With Love *****
Planet Earth *****
The Spy Who Loved Me ***
Mission: Impossible Season 2 ****
Ark II: The Complete Series ***1/2.

Movies I Saw in 2007

I Am Legend ****
The Golden Compass **1/2
Stardust ****
The Simpsons Movie ****
Harry Potter and the Gamesters of Triskelion ****
Transformers ***
Sicko ****
Ratatouille *****
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer **1/2
Spider-Man 3 ***
Pirates of the Carribbean - At World's End **.

Books I Read in 2007

Space Race by Deborah Cadbury ***1/2
The Assault on Reason by Al Gore ****
The Joke's Over: Bruised Memories, Gonzo, Hunter s. Thompson and Me by Ralph Steadman ****1/2
Sixty Days and Counting by Kim Stanley Robinson *** 1/2
Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley Robinson ****
Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson *** 1/2
State of Denial by Bob Woodward *****
Nixon in China by Margaret MacMillan ***
Holding the Bully's Coat: Canada and the US Empire by Linda McQuaig ****
Marley and Me by John Grogan *****
The Making of Star Wars by J.W. Rinzler *****
Cell by Stephen King ***1/2
The Truth (With Jokes) by Al Franken ***1/2
Mammoth by John Varley ***1/2
Heat by George Monbiot *****
Harry Potter and the Mindharp of Sharu by J.K. Rowling ****
1491 by Charles G. Mann ***1/2
Who Let the Dogs In by Molly Ivins ***1/2
The Mess They Made by Gwynne Dyer ****
Outrageous Fortune by Tim Scott ***
Salt by Mark Kurlansky **
The Zenith Angle
by Bruce Sterling ***
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson ****
JPod by Douglas Coupland *****
Field Notes From a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert ****
The Third Chimpanzee, by Jared Diamond ***.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Linus 1990-2006

Linus left us a year ago today.
His person misses him very much.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dr. House Back When He Was Funny

Some classic Fry and Laurie....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Folly and Madness

It is madness, absolute folly and madness.
Strictly economically speaking, it makes no sense for Canada to continue to support a fossil-fuel economy and not embrace a so-called "green" economy irregardless of what the Bush junta in America does. Canada will transform to a green economy because we have no other choice. We will either embrace and welcome it, or fight it kicking and screaming, but it will happen. The economic benefits of making that transition sooner rather than later far outweigh what the Bush approach of denial will benefit the United States. If Bush wants to speed up the fall of the American Empire with his Neanderthal antics, that's his choice; our choice should be to get on with the business of reducing our footprint on the planet. If we don't, there won't be any economy to worry about.
But this idiotic notion that our Environment Minister is spewing in Bali that we can't do anything without the United Stated signing on is vile sputum. Why the government is tying its fortunes to the policies of an increasingly irresponsible and reprehensible fool with delusions of demagoguery is unfathomable to me. It didn't work so well for John Howard or Tony Blair. Why does Harper think it will work for him?
Of course, it would be best for the United States and other major polluters to be on side. But we can't wait for these pig-heaed obstructionists to get their way. The latest estimates are that summer polar sea ice will completely melt in five years and new estimates of sea-level rise are two to three times what they used to be. We don't have a lot of time.
The irony is of course that America will have to transition to a green economy too -- they won't have a choice if they wish to stay competitive in the future global reality.
Canada used to have its own voice in the international arena. It grieves and saddens me that we are now perceived as Bush's boot lickers.

Another Warm Year

According to this BBC report, 2007 is the seventh-warmest year on record, and the second-warmest year on record in the Northern Hemisphere.
The eleven warmest years ever have all occurred within the last thirteen years.

The Top Ten:
1998 - 0.52C (above the 1961-1990 average)
2005 - 0.48C
2003 - 0.46C
2002 - 0.46C
2004 - 0.43C
2006 - 0.42C
2007 (provisional) - 0.41C
2001 - 0.40C
1997 - 0.36C
1995 - 0.28C

Monday, December 10, 2007

Surf Moose Jaw

Props to Louise for sending this one along....

Kayaker Saves Cat!

According to this CBC story, a cat that had been missing from home for 26 days was spotted stranded on a cliff and rescued by a passing kayaker. The considerably thinner cat has been happily reunited with its family.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Speakers On....

...and click here -- if you dare!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Evel - NOT!

Here are some guys who are decidedly not Evel Knievel.....

The Weather Sucks - Continuum

Having set some dubious weather records this year (including the hottest day ever recorded here and the first July ever with seven straight days of rain) Victoria set another one yesterday.
It was the wettest day ever in Victoria -- a one-day rainfall record of 80.6 mm.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Episode V: The Empired Mashed Up

There's some fun stuff going on at It seems they're running a Star Wars photoshop contest: reimagine any Star Wars character as a celebrity.

I kinda like this one - it's subtle....
....although Cheney the Hutt makes a big impression, too. No doubt he's looking for his Jawas of Mass Destruction.
But can anything top this?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Evel Knievel 1938-2007

I'm not entirely sure why a generation of boys growing up in the 1970s would become fascinated with the exploits of a masterful self-promoter who always seemed to be inches away from killing himself live on tv. But we did. And we bought his toys by the millions. I still have mine.
Maybe he taught us, as someone once noted, that how we face death is just as important as how we face life.
I don't know how Robert Craig Knievel faced his death today from his many assorted health problems, but he faced his life with a joyous and reckless abandon. Ride on, Evel....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ice, Hawks, Tunnels -- oh my!

We had another great paddle last Sunday. It was a cold day, but we bravely set out into Portage Inlet. As we rounded the first point, Paula was ahead of us. Suddenly, she started whooping and shouting. "Ice!" she cried. Ahead of us, the Inlet had a thin sheen of ice on top. Paula had barrelled into it and soon the rest of us were into the icefield. Six little ice breakers.

The ice was very thin, maybe 5mm if that, although there seemed to be the occasional section that was a little thicker. What an odd sensation to paddle through ice. We often joke about the water getting thicker when we paddle, but this water was solid! One expects to hear a splash when one's paddle hits the water, but all we heard was a crunch.
Stroke. Crunch. Stroke. Crunch.
We were also scaring all the birds away. Our six kayaks plowing through ice were making quite a racket as we cracked the ice around us, sending flocks of birds hundreds of metres away into frenzied flight. No doubt they thought the demons of hell were almost upon them.

We knew it was cold, but we never thought we'd be out breaking the ice. Karl figured that there must be a small layer of fresh water on top of the saltier Inlet water.

We went up Craigflower Creek and found this tunnel which runs under the Trans Canada nera the Helmcken overpass.

Ooooh, it's pretty scary, eh kids?

The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. As we left the tunnel, we discovered that there were a lot of rocks in the water here, so we had to be careful. We made it through, but it took a little maneuvering.

The navigable portion of the creek ended just beyond the tunnel and the rocks.
So there was nothing to do but turn around and head back through the tunnel. There was a bit of a bottle-neck as we entered....

...but it was a perfect time to practice some doo-wop.

We ended up singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." The Tokens have nothing to worry about.

Back in the light of day, Karl and I were lagging behind the others when he pointed to his right. "Hey, is that a hawk in the tree?"

And there he was, a small hawk that didn't seem the least bit worried about or interested in us.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Long Recovery - Week 52

A year ago on this day, I fell off my bike. I dislocated my left arm, fractured it in three places, broke another bone in my left shoulder, and suffered associated muscle and soft tissue damage. The next day, I had four hours of surgery as a plate and ten pins were inserted to repair my arm which was then re-located into the shoulder and held in place by a strip of muscle that was sown across the socket. Damaged muscle was also reattached. This was followed by five months of physiotherapy.

Today, the arm feels okay. It is not 100%, and likely never will be. However, it does what I need it to do. I can ride my bike, I can paddle my kayak. I remember sitting in Emergency, doped to the gills on morphine and looking down at my busted shoulder, resigned to the fact that I might never kayak again. I thought that that was a cruel move by fate to let me discover a new sport that I love, only to take it away from me.

Fortunately, that’s not the case. It doesn’t seem to hinder my kayaking at all. In fact, strength and mobility seems quite normal if I keep my arm below shoulder level. It is only when I lift it above shoulder level that mobility issues arise. I can’t lift it straight up over my head anymore. I can only get it to about 75 degrees. I can cheat it, of course, and twist my torso a bit so it looks like I can get full range, but I know I can’t actually achieve it. It doesn’t hurt or anything, it just simply stops and won’t rotate in that direction anymore. My strength has not yet returned to normal. Lifting heavy boxes over my head is an adventure.

Occasionally, I can go for a few hours and forget about it, but most days the shoulder consistently reminds me that it ain’t quite right anymore. It almost constantly feels tight. And it is. It doesn’t sit right in the socket the way it used to and the strip of muscle that was sown across pulls it in hard. If you look carefully, my left shoulder is slightly narrower than my right shoulder. One of the chronic conditions left behind is that I get some slight chafing in my left armpit because the arm is held in so tight. I have to remember to let the arm hang away from my side so the armpit can dry out.

My shoulder gets sore and gets stiff. The muscles, particularly the muscles at the front of my shoulder, are fighting a battle with the stronger muscles of my back. The front muscles, which have all been tightened due to the accident, want to pull my shoulder forward and in, a folded-in slouch in other words, while my back is trying to keep things straight and upright. The front muscles ache fairly regularly, not enough to be painful or debilitating, but enough to remind me that major trauma occurred here. The same is true of the stiffness, which is mostly like a dull background noise, a persistent irritant like a buzzing bee that remains just out of swatting range.

I shouldn’t complain considering that at this time last year my left arm was in four pieces. And I’m not. But sometimes I feel like an alcoholic who faces his recovery every day. I was hoping that after a year I wouldn’t be constantly reminded of my injury, but it looks not to be the case.

But time heals all wounds, and hopefully my shoulder and I still have plenty of time together.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Results of a Useless Experiment

The Spuzzum Institute, working under the auspices of the famed Professor Angst Philben and his colleague Dr. Herman Lemmonjello, has concluded, after seconds of scientific study, that a boxed set of each of Stargate SG-1 season 1 and season 2 when dropped from a height of almost a metre and a half (equivalent to the distance from the top of a kitchen cabinet to the kitchen counter) will break an egg should it land on one.
And quite spectacularly, too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Holy Buck!

Yesterday while out paddling in Esquimalt harbour, Paula suddenly saw something and pointed. "What's that swimming in the water?" she called.

We looked over and there was something swimming. Our first thought, of course, was that it was a duck or a seagull, but it was moving too fast. Our brains were trying were trying to match shapes we were familiar with to this totally unfamilar shape. Dog? Cat? Ocelot? Hippoptamus? This picture is blurry, but it gives a sense of the puzzlement we felt as we tried to figure out what we were looking at. Finally, I said, "Deer!"

I was close.

It was a deer, alright.

A big buck with a big rack.

If you've ever wanted to see a big buck shake himself dry after a swim, here's your chance.

I'm no good for estimating the size of this guy, but he was big. And fast. If we had been racing in the water, him swimming and me in my kayak, I'd be hard-pressed to think that I might win.

Just when you start thinking that this kayaking business is getting ho-hum...oh yeah, more seals and, I'm so booored of that scene....nature gives you another gift.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

VCon 32

We spent last weekend at VCon 32 in Vancouver. We had a, um, interesting ferry crossing. 20 minutes out of Swartz Bay, the ferry slowed down and then made an usual sharp turn south. The ferry had lost an engine and was to continue to the Tsawwassen terminal on its remaining engine, but the captain didn't want to take it close to shore through Active Pass on only one engine, so he changed course and we went down around Pender and Saturna Islands which I had never seen before. Needless to say, we were well over an hour late, but we got to see dolphins playing and a really cool rainbow.

The hotel was nice with a good view. Here we see Stephanie breaking into her car.

Paula seemed to be wide awake with her eyes open....

...while local best-selling and award-winning author Dave Duncan was quite excited to be photographed.

Karl and Stephanie man the Neo-opsis table.

Even Roy put in an appearance. Man, now I know why it's called the Red-eye flight.

Still, he was a satisifed customer.

Some people just get so wrapped up in their books.