Thursday, October 31, 2002


A few months ago, I got an email from a co-worker that I dismissed as spam. I couldn't get this to work, but maybe you can.

Anyway, it goes like this. The story is that there's this family somewhere in the US that think they have a haunted house on their hands. They've seen stuff floating that shouldn't be floating, they've heard voices complaining about the volume of their TV and phantom belching, etc., the whole nine yards. They did some research and found out that a lady used to live in their house in the early 1800's and her husband was a merchant sailer who did a lot of international trade runs. Apperently she was so wretched every time that he left that she sat at the window, day and night, until he came home, safe and sound. On one trip, he was lost at sea and never came home. I guess the romantic idea is that her spirit is still sitting there, centuries later. It's a nice notion, but I think that may be a load of bull.

The family claims that they snapped a picture of her once, but it's really hard to make out. You're supposed to look really closely at the area all around the table for something not quite right. They even pumped in some very, very faint ghostly sound effects on the site to give it some atmosphere. I looked for a few minutes, but I couldn't find anything. Maybe you'll have more luck than I did.

Check out the picture here. Happy ghost-hunting.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Gettin' your Hands All Goopy....No, Not That Way

Feeling festive? Want to carve a neat pumpkin for a party or for the freeloading, sugar-crazed kiddies in their lame-ass no-effort costumes? Check out this link and this one for some ideas on how to make a pumpkin that'll impress everyone but the criminally insane, the jackass teenagers who've been drinking malt liquor and chucking eggs all night and are looking for something to smash, and Barbara Walters. Yeah, yeah, hallowe'en is kinda lame for jaded adult-type-people like me, but I'm a sculptor, what can I do? I carved my first one last night using the saws and I'm pretty impressed with how it turned out.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002


Checking my page stats, here are some of my favourite search queries which brought some poor, unsuspecting web surfers to my less-than-helpful web page. A little window into what people were thinking about at that specific point in time....Maybe one of these people is you!


    pictures monkey lab coat computer: Nothing's funnier to me than the idea of a monkey-mad-scientist playing with his little potions and squealing with glee when the other monkey-scientists get sprayed with hydrochloric acid. No, really. And if he had a little laptop computer, too? Pure gold, baby.

    the chugging monkey: Yeah, I haven't had my fix of monkeys getting sauced on moonshine, me, Google! You're my only hope!

    drunk monkey clothing: Quit it, already! what's with people looking for drunken primates?

    monkey magazine holder: What better way to store your issues of Simian Monthly than a classically-fashioned, bronze-plated monkey magazine holder? Now available from the Franklin Mint.

    monkey movie shorts: Is this a pair of shorts printed with famous monkeys from movies, or short movies featuring monkeys? I can only cross my fingers and hope for the former, because I could really go for a pair featuring that delightful little scamp from Outbreak.

    monkey with a cold: Well, this is self-explanatory. Everyone likes pictures of monkeys coughing up phlegm.

    elvis firefighter helicopter: Uhhhhhhh....yeah. These three words don't seem to go together properly. Kinda like "monkey," "pan-flute," and "helicopter." Maybe I'm onto something here.

    funny helicopter sounds: "PTTTHHHBBBBTTTTTT" and "CHOPCHOPCHOPCHOPCHOP" and "We're losing hydraulic pressure! Hold onto your seats!" Pure hilarity.

    elastic powered helicopter: Helicopters can be powered by fricken' elastics? Good freakin' lord! If only I had known, I would have built one in my garage a long time ago. And yet, this is not a helicopter that I would want to be a passenger on. Fortunately, I think they're looking for a toy.

    crappy helicopter: Well, obviously. Who'd want to learn about cool helicopters if you could learn about crappy ones? Be the first on your block to be able to name all of the crappy helicopters in the world!

Full-on Lunacy!

    nude queen's student: A new spin on porn! Lost touch with your chums and roommates from university? Search for them online....only naked! This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    rob schneider's tiny elvis: As I take it, this is a pocket-sized, shrunken clone produced from dead hair follicle cells retrieved from one of Elvis Presley's personal combs, now owned by Rob Schneider. What else could it possibly be? Frightening. I can see this freakishly-small elvis running amok in Graceland, biting the tourists' legs and shrieking for fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches at the top his diminutive little lungs while Rob Schneider shouts "You can DO it!" in the background with a bad spanish accent.

    nude flute pictures: Oooooh, yeah, baby. Take it all off......oh, yeah. Oh, your polished shiny.....and your mouthpiece....I love it when you do that. Would "nude flute" constitute any flute outside of its case? Is there a lot of "flute porn" on the internet? Is there any money in it? I have a lot of questions about this. Weirdest fetish ever, I swear.

    ryan dunn's ex girlfriend: Who on earth is Ryan Dunn? And why would I know anything about his ex-girlfriend? And why wouldn't this savvy web-surfer search for her by name? Sorry I couldn't help you more with your wierd-ass vague web search, there.

    mike patton peeing: I cannot imagine why anyone would want this. It's just wrong. So very wrong. I mean, seriously.


Not one single search for my name was recorded in the past 30 days! I'm so disappointed, people! And yet I recorded "mike patton peeing", fer chrissakes!

...And my search for fame and fortune continues.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Your Homework for the Weekend

    1) Get yourself a nice mixed drink in a tall glass. Choice of booze is up to you, but I recommend a nice-and-classic rum and coke with a few cubes of ice.

    2) Grab a comfy arm chair.

    3) Find a copy of Surfer Rosa by the Pixies and crank it when it gets to "Where is my Mind?"

    4) Chill.

Homework will be graded on Monday. Take it easy....

Okay, Brandy's had Two Weeks Now...

As you may have already noticed from my list of links, Brandy has a blog! A badly maintained blog, but a blog nonetheless! Now that it's been two weeks since she started it, mentioning its exisitence doesn't seem to be too much pressure anymore. You might remember Brandy from idyllic nights chillin' at the Mews / the Trash or the Dank Pit / Heart and Crown. She's hella fun and far, far, far too far away from me now. Miss ya, Brandy!

New pants

I am now the proud owner of these pants, in khaki and grey. OooooOOOOO. I did not buy the shirt and belt that I'd "also like," however.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

And I don't even care--to shake these zipper blues...

Today, my mom has threatened to make me go pants shopping. She says she won't let me keep coming to work in the same two pairs of pants week after week. I'm not sure what the problem is...I mean, sure, they have a few holes in them and in places they're so thin that you can count the change in my pocket, but it's just for work, right?

I don't know what it is about pants. I hate shopping for them. A close second in personal-shopping-hatred is shopping for underwear or socks, but at least sock shopping doesn't take as long and I don't have to keep going into that tiny little Death-Star-trash-compactor-like changing room, that I SWEAR they make smaller the longer you're in there to get you out and buying things faster. It's all a conspiracy, see?

Maybe it's the fact that I have to keep taking my pants off in public. I mean, sure, you have a door or a curtain between you and any prying eyes that might want to stare at your pasty-white hairy legs. But you're still in an uncomfortable, cramped space, whipping off your pants repeatedly and replacing them with a new, stiff, ill-fitting pair in the vain hope of finding something comfortable and flattering.

And what's with pants these days, anyway? If I don't want something that belongs on a parachute, I'm out of luck. But y'know, I might regret passing on them the next time I'm falling out of a plane and I only have my pants to save me. Or maybe something covered in zippers and buckles? You know, just in case I wanted to lash a snow shovel to my leg or suddenly have access to the back of my knee. Or worse still, something acid-washed. Just when you thought the David Lee-Roth's of the world had completely vanished into obscurity, fricken' acid wash had to come back. I'm waiting for the fire and brimstone to start raining down any day now, because if acid wash isn't a sign of the Apocalypse, I don't know what is.

Fortunately, I'm shopping for work pants, which makes things a wee bit easier. But work pants are dull and boring. There's nothing worse than trying on eight hundred pairs of pants that all look the same and not one of them fits properly. I'm thinking something in dull grey or khaki. My enthusiasm knows no bounds.

Maybe I'll just buy some more shirts, instead.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Sore Throat Leads to Stuffy Nose, Stuffy Nose Leads to Head Cold, Head Cold Leads to SUFFERING!

I've been away from work for the past two days because a cold / flu / enduring-crappiness has caught up with me. I'm not at 100% yet, but eventually you have to give in and get back to work, so here I am.

It was a less-than-perfect end to an as-perfect-as-possible anniversary-celebration-weekend-EXTRAVAGANZA! My evil, lovey-dovey plans all came to fruition, and I made Stacey cry big happy tears no less than three times over the course of the weekend. All in all, a huge success. Stacey enjoyed her flowers and her professional massage and all of the other things I had planned, and I very much enjoyed the present she gave me.

It's very unconventional, but really cool.

I am now the daddy of a real, live Golden Lion Tamarin (the new official mascot-monkey of A Monkey with a Pan-Flute in a Helicopter)! Here's a picture of one (not my monkey, but my monkey looks like this one):

Isn't he sweet? She adopted one at the Metro Toronto Zoo in my name, and the money goes to support my monkey and other monkeys like him for the next year. I'll get a little plaque at the Zoo with my name on it, and sooner or later, a bio-card will arrive with info on my little monkey, pictures, and a semi-monthly newsletter updating me on how the monkey is doing. I don't even know my monkey's sex yet! Stacey tried to make sure that it would arrive in time for the anniversary, but you know zoo undependable.

What's more important than this, though, is that the Golden Lion Tamarin is extremely endangered, one of the most endangered animals in the world, and they're facing extinction in Brazil, where deforestation is threatening the only natural habitat of these beautiful creatures. There are only 1000 estimated Golden Lion Tamarins in the wild and 500 in zoos around the world. For more information on the state of these poor little things, please visit this site, which will give you some background information.

But in the meantime, my monkey will be happy and safe at the Metro Toronto Zoo. Feel free to visit my monkey and his brothers and sisters at the zoo, adopt an animal of your own, or make a donation to the Lion Tamarins of Brazil Fund (LTBF) or another conservation group of your choice.

Friday, October 18, 2002

C'Mon, Frodo Needs a New Lexus, Baby...

All the rumours are true. This November 12th, they're releasing a five-disc DVD set of The Fellowship of the Ring. And it's going to be $80 freakin' dollars?!? For one movie? As so very undescribably cool as this DVD set will be, can it possibly be worth four times as much as the regular release?

Sigh. I'm sure I'll buy it anyway, but that's insane. Just my two cents worth. At least I held out and avoided buying both the earlier version and the extended five-disc version.

Plug Plug Plug

Hey, check out Tara's viewpoint article on the CBC website. Very well written and topical. My heart goes out to you and your friends and co-workers in DC, Tara....

Also, if you aren't reading Jay's blog yet, start now. His polished, funny anecdotal style is an art form all of its own. Hope you keep the updates coming, buddy, because I'm really enjoying reading them.

Man, I sure am lucky to be a part of a blogger community-of-sorts with so many interesting, intelligent, funny people! I thank-you all.


I just found the IMAX theatre listing for Attack of the Clones....and Ottawa isn't on it. Goddamn it. Useless goddamn city doesn't get anything fun. Now what am I gonna do?

Thursday, October 17, 2002

The Way We Were

Remember your first web site? Maybe back in high school or your first year of university? Remember those little dinky annimated GIFs and awful wallpaper backgrounds? It helps that some of them are still out there, preserved, like a little time capsule of crappy web design, circa 1998.

My friend Sara Wisking sent me the link for her old website today....It's in brutally sore need of an update. Unfortunately, she forgot the password! Enjoy it here.

I think she's going to beat the living snot out of me for posting the link. My favourite part is her pet rock, Raoul II....and look for a picture of Sara wearing a hat!

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Muse is Breaking Into North America!

My friend Matt forwarded this article to me today. It looks like Muse is getting things started up here at home with a little bit of grudge-match-publicity, featuring Celine Dion, of all people. Brilliant! In no time, Muse will be a household name. Hope their strategy works for them....and gives Celine a nice tidy ass-whoopin'. I really don't like her. And what's with her neck in that picture? It's all mutated and freakishly long. She scares me.

I Left my Home, I Left my Home, Yeah, Yeah...

I suppose you're all wondering what happened to me this past weekend. Perhaps just a little concerned after ranting about goose conspiracies. Sure you are.

Well, it was as rough as we thought it was going to be. Stacey and I are exhausted, and came back to work yesterday feeling several years older and not at all rested from the long weekend.

Friday was a total washout and I'm real upset with my selfish father. I gave him many opportunities to re-schedule for another weekend, telling him over and over that it was our anniversary, but he insisted on doing it on that evening. Which I guess is fine, family's important, too. If the family was there, that is.

Stacey and I showed up at my dad's place to find out that the rest of the family had cancelled on us. I discovered this when I realized there were only three settings at the table, even though I had talked to him an hour earlier and he made no mention of the fact that the others weren't going to be joining us.

My step-mom and older step-brother were in Aurora, helping out another family member in need (which is cool, but dad should have told us). My step-grandmother cancelled earlier that day (which is cool, I don't really know her, but dad should have told us). My youngest step-brother was at a commencement ceremony (which is cool, but dad should have told us). The middle step-brother was HOME, but ate earlier and hid in the basement the whole time we were there (which is NOT cool). Then dad served me re-heated leftover lasagna (and pasta that was too spicy for Stacey) and talked about himself for the next two hours. We left early. I don't expect to go back any time soon.

We tried to recoup a bit by watching Almost Famous, starting a tradition that we may hold far, far into the future. Even the powers of such a brilliant, sentimental, heartwarming movie weren't enough to stem our exhaustion or disappointment, but it sure did help.

Saturday was a between completing the house decorations, visiting the Viking exhibit at the National Museum of Civilization (which was excellent, by the way), grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up after the meal, we didn't get a lot of down-time. We cooked fajitas, a favourite for us when we have's relatively quick, it's tasty, and who doesn't like fajitas? It was a good choice, they didn't last long.

I capped off the evening by meeting up with Mike on the Elgin Street bar strip. It was great seeing him again, although I would have really liked to have spent more time with him and I wanted to show him my new place. Some other time soon, I hope.

Sunday was spent up at the cottage, as promised. Despite a minor spat with Stacey's sister that we had on the way up, it was a nice time. By this point, though, I was getting cranky, and playing a competitive game like Trivial Pursuit didn't help (I get hella fierce at that game). It ended on a contentious note with an unclear answer (Mercury) to a badly-worded question (something along the lines of "what was on the head of the 52 dimes retrieved from Liberty Bell 7?").

There're three interpretations we came up with: a picture of the planet Mercury, a representation of the metal mercury, and my answer, a picture of the Mercury space capsule (kind of like a commemoration coin or something, since Liberty Bell 7 was Gus Grissom's Mercury capsule and the second manned spacecraft the U.S. sent into space). Although there was some arguing about whether "Mercury," as in the name of the Mercury space program, meant the same thing as "the Mercury space capsule", but in the end it was late, and we were all tired, and nobody knew for sure what the answer was, so they gave it to us.

We won, but it was bitter, which didn't make the win feel very good. After the game, I realized "Mercury" could mean the roman winged-god, Mercury, a little too late. In the end, it turns out this was the correct answer to the question. Dagnabbit.

And yes, the bed made its usual "U" shape, much to my delight.

On Monday afternoon, Stacey and I had a brisk walk in Gatineau Park and spent some time enjoying the colours and snapping some pictures. I realized that I don't spend nearly enough time in the park, considering it's so close to home. Sometimes it's hard to appreciate what you've got close-by when there's so much else out there farther away. We capped of the evening with a delicious mom-cooked meal and some familial reminiscing about when we were little, something that usually comes up at Thanksgiving. It was wonderful, but I was so, so tired.

Stacey and I have decided we can't keep doing this. Four families every holiday is too much, and as much as we don't want to disappoint them, our families will have to understand if we can't see everyone every time. It may get complicated, juggling and balancing everyone so everyone's happy, but if it means our continued mental health, what other choice is there? Short of having a family of our own...*shudder*. Not ready for that, not even to use as a regular iron-clad excuse.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

And the Geese Will Inherit the Earth....

This morning, and every morning for the past few weeks, I have noticed gaggles of Geese everywhere. Hundreds of them. All in one place. They're in the fields close to my home, gobbling up the dry remnants of the crops. They're paddling about in the river, all menacing-like, squawking and honking at one another.

I think they're up to something.

They're organizing; I'm not sure for what nefarious purpose yet, but I'm onto them....I have my suspicions. Every once in a while, they'll erupt from whatever dark place that they're congregating in and soar into the sky, forming ominous letters, signaling their intent.


V for Victory. Victory against their target....which, I can only assume, is us. I think the Canada Goose wants this country, the country that bears its name, back in its feathery clutches.

Well, they won't get it without a fight! I have stockpiled rations! I have boarded up my doors and windows! I have alerted my local authorities! Know your FOE.

But, a word of warning! The military had the nerve to suggest that my fears were unwarranted and that I was quite likely thoroughly insane. They called it "my-gray-shun" or some such thing, which I can only interpret as a secret code word for the waterfowl takeover...the army's in on it, somehow. Trust no one.

I'll get to the bottom of this....

Friday, October 11, 2002

My Big Fat Weekend Plans

First off, thanks to Chel and Jay for their kind words. Stacey was very, very touched by the blog entry I wrote this morning.

Second, holy mother of God, this weekend is going to be intense. Let me break down the math:

My parents are divorced + Stacey's parents are splitsky = four Thanksgiving dinners over a three-day weekend, back-to-back.

The festivities begin tonight with an after-work rush hour trek down the 417 to my Dad's place in Almonte for dinner with his family, which includes a step-mom, three step brothers, and (who'd have thought it was possible?) a step-grandma. Does such a thing even exist? Are step-grandmas legal in Ontario? Do I have any responsibility to a step-grandma whatsoever? But really, isn't that a wonderful way to spend our two-year anniversary? Don't worry, we're doing it up right next weekend.

Tomorrow, we have dinner with Stacey's Dad, who we're cooking for. I don't know about Stacey, but I'm a little nervous since this will be the first time we'll be entertaining in our new house. I'm sure it'll be fine, just first time, y'know. Plus we need to decide on a recipe, which will be even harder. He's coming all the way from Guelph: I think we're going to need to feed him with something real. Something a few steps up from Zoodles from the can and a side of microwave wieners, sans-bun, at least. One thing is for sure: the dinner will lack turkey content, in any form. In fact, I'd like to go anti-poultry completely, but we may need to resort to chicken regardless.

Sunday, we're up at Stacey's Mom's cottage, which should be relaxing, but as the third family dinner in a row, we'll be antsy. It's beautiful up there, but I don't think either one of us are looking forward to sleeping on a mattress that literally forms a "U" when you lie down on it.

Monday, my Mom's dinner is the last, but certainly not least, of our Thanksgiving-adventures. By 7:30 Monday, if I hear the word "gravy" again, I'll probably lose it. I've been threatened with turkey, but at least I managed to convince her that it would be a good idea to bake something for dessert from scratch. I'm hoping for pie. I like pie.

So, wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving (for those of you out-of-country, the leftover turkey is in the mail) and matter how stressful your big family dinners get this weekend, at least you don't have four of them to go to. And if you do, I'm so very sorry.

Two Blissful Years

A few years ago, I met a girl. Her name was Stacey.

We had met a couple of times over the summer of 2000 through a mutual best friend, Colin. The timing was awful for us; we kept bumping into one another, but Stacey was dating someone at the time and we kept meeting at awkward times when Stacey was showing up at the bar or party very late after working a night shift.

We'd heard a lot about each other through Colin, but hadn't had much of a chance to get to know one another. In fact, after one meeting, I thought she couldn't stand turned out she was just flustered because she'd had a hard evening. But Colin was certain that we were perfect for each other, even though he had "issues" with getting two of his closest friends together.

Anyway, things started to come together when Colin arranged for the two of us to meet him at the Royal Oak on Laurier along with some other friends. I was already very attracted to Stacey....I had only met her briefly, but she was cute, smart, blonde (I'm a sucker for blondes), and she had this way of speaking directly that was unfamiliar among my friends, almost unique.

I'm not sure how it came up in conversation, but Stacey admitted in front of everyone that I was her perfect type and that she thought I was "hot"....that sure sent my heart fluttering. I know I'm not unattractive or anything, but I don't usually get "hot"....I wasn't sure what to say (Thanks? I think you're hot, too? Let's discuss this next Friday over some dinner?) I think all I mustered was "Really? You think I'm hot? Huh..." or something of that nature.

We walked over to Zaphod's, but Stacey needed to meet her boyfriend (problem!) at another bar. She sort of sheepishly asked me if I wanted to come along, but I decided to stay. I gave her a big hug and smiled and said I hoped to see her again soon. There was a sparkle in her eye when she said the same.

We didn't see each other again until Colin's housewarming party at his new (now ex-)place in Hull....she showed up late from work again, maybe midnight. She was tired...but she wanted to be there for Colin. And to see me. You see, she'd recently broken up with her boyfriend....she wasn't planning on starting anything new right away, but there I was.

We found a quiet corner, and I showed her some of the photos that I had taken on my recent trip to the Maritimes. Stacey was so tired, but she stayed awake until the wee hours of the morning talking to me while we were wrapped up in a blanket and Colin was snoring like a buzz-saw a few feet away. We both crashed there, that night....I grabbed a couch downstairs, while she stayed upstairs. I had offered to give her a ride home the next day...when she came downstairs, she said my eyes opened like I instinctively knew she was there and I smiled when I saw her.

I drove her home and gave her my number while we were sitting in her parents' driveway. She called me a few days later, we talked a couple more times, and we set up our first real date.

Two years ago, today, we met in the afternoon at The Nox, a pub on the University of Ottawa campus, for a few games of pool (which we both sucked at, but we didn't care), some bad early 90's tunes on a jukebox, and an auto-frier poutine (with two forks). I had to leave her for a few hours to co-host a punk rock radio show that my friends Tony and Colin hosted...but we'd clicked so well that Stacey and I wanted to see each other again, later that evening. Forget a "second" date, we had two in the same day!

I picked her up at her house and we went to see Almost Famous in a practically empty theatre. It's sort of our movie, now. And then I brought her home and we had a perfect goodnight kiss on her front porch. On the drive back home, I couldn't stop smiling and shouting things like "YEAH!" and "Awesome!" I'm sure I was a total menace on the road, but I didn't care.

It was one of the strangest first dates either of us had been on. And we've been happy together ever since.

Love you, honey, and happy anniversary!

Thursday, October 10, 2002

New Lego Model

There are a TONNE of Star Wars lego creations out there, but not very much in the way of Star Trek stuff, surprisingly, and most of it isn't very good. Here's a model of a familiar ship that first appeared in Star Trek III that's really well done. I'm sure there'll be more coming.

Run For Your Lives! It's....

Choose one of the following scary things:

a) EL NINO!! That's right folks, everyone's favourite scapegoat is on its way back into the hearts, minds, and imaginations of members of the media everywhere. According to Environment Canada, "the new El Nino should send temperatures about two degrees above normal in most parts of southern Canada this winter. There will probably be less snow, too." The horror! Oh, and we should also be ready for "wacky weather." Very scientific, isn't it? The truth of the matter is, this may mean some serious hardships for the drought-ridden prairie farmers in Canada and the US, not to mention a whole pile of other instabilities. It won't be as strong an effect as the last one, though, so save your swim shorts for the summer. And what is El Nino, exactly? Learn about it here.

b) the SPACE SHUTTLE!! Is it me, or has the space shuttle turned into NASA's equivalent of a 1982 Chevette that's still on the road today? It's a piece of space junk. Like a Chevette, the shuttle spends more time in the garage than on the road and costs you a mint every time it's in it's ugly and your friends laugh at you when you drive it. Each Shuttle flight costs $1.5 billion, every mission, and a huge chunk of that is in maintenance to keep these patched-up Junkyard Wars space ships flying.

Not only that, but they recently found out that the shuttles' fuel lines were covered in tiny hairline cracks, which grounded all flights for the majority of this past year (they're flying again now). Then, bigger cracks were found in the platforms, those giant tank-tread "crawler" things that carry the shuttles to their launch pads. In 1999, all flights were put on hold when damaged wiring halted launches for five months. And the computers? I heard that they were overhauled a bit recently, but as of a few years ago, the computer sitting on the desk in front of you is many thousands of times more advanced than the onboard computers that were flying the shuttle. We're talking old-school arcade Pac Man, here.

Some of the NASA engineers are actually becoming scared to work with the shuttles, calling them vulnerable and dangerous. The problems continue. Many of the computers at the Kennedy Space Center's launch control center are up to 20 years out-of date. In the Vehicle Assembly Building at the center, they hung a giant net for catching chunks of crumbling ceiling so they don't tumble onto a space shuttle parked below. A NET!! Rivets regularly snap off the building's exterior walls, the roof leaks through poor attempts to patch it, and the whole building is covered in rust. Is this how the world's most advanced space agency protects their reputation?

NASA's funding, however, has barely risen since the mid-1980s. NASA estimates it'll cost $600 million to fix the infrastructure serving the shuttle program (that's without repairs to the orbiters). And this is all to slap a gigantic band-aid over decrepit space junk rather than spending the money to build a newer, safer, and more economical launch system. I recently discovered that development project for the next generation Space Shuttle, the Venture Star, was canned by the US government without any kind of notion of if and when the project would be started up again.

The current failure rate for systems on the shuttle is 1-in-500. When you consider that there are human lives involved and several tons of highly-explosive fuel, that kind of rate is atrocious. The shuttle doesn't even have a proper escape system, in the event of an accident. And yet, NASA expects to keep using the shuttles for another two decades! Insane!

I think another Challenger disaster is going to happen all over again. And what is congress gonna say? "Whoopsie! I didn't know the technology dates back to the 1970's! Silly Me"?!?

Oh, but by the way, Atlantis docked with the ISS today, delivering a $390-million, 13-tonne aluminum girder to the station. Why should a simple girder cost $390-million? Beats me, but it sounds like someone took NASA for a RIDE, there, boy. Maybe they should be spending less money on the girder and more on THE FREAKIN' PIECE OF JUNK that's getting it there!

So, uh, watch your heads. Or something.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

My Burn Has Given me Superhuman Mutant Powers!

It's true. I now have the power to spin around in my chair for a WHOLE minute without getting dizzy.

So who do I contact to get my spandex suit and utility belt?

Getting the Second Degree

I burned my arm last night. Bad....second degree burn. Burned it on the oven door when taking our delicious, steaming Delisio pizza outta there. I didn't even get a chance to make some lame "It's TAKE-OUT, goddamn it!" "No, it's not, it's DELISIO, you feeble, slack-jawed neanderthal!" jokes before it happened, which makes the burn even harder to bear. But there's one small consolation: now I have a neat Tyler Durden-esque bit of melted skin on the back of my arm that'll leave a sweet scar. Score.

Two blogs in one! I also have my very first cell phone now. Sure, it's an electronic leash, but it plays this neat little pinball game and has a ring tone like one of the themes from Rocky and Bullwinkle. And it's swanky and light, which is nice. One day, they'll build a phone that will do our taxes, clean out the cat litter, and launch small death-ray satellites, all at the touch of a button. And that phone will scare me.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Listening to The Vines, Feeling Fine

Just wanted to say: working from home RULES! But dial-up sucks.... But I have candy and sammidges and as much diet coke as I want! But I'm locked in my house because a contractor has my house keys.... But I'm in my pajama bottoms!

Verdict: today is a pretty good day.

Time for some more candy!

Monday, October 07, 2002

I Want to be Famous, Too...

Wow. Yet another person from my highschool has managed to make a bit of a name for least, it looks like she's about to. Clair Reilly-Roe is my age and we had a class or two together....I doubt that she'd remember me, though. But she's pursuing a career as a pop-star! More power to her, I hope she succeeds. She certainly has the pop-star "look" nailed, that's for sure...the pictures of her are gorgeous, although it's hard to recognize her as the same person. And she's already had a career as a pro snowboarder! Wow.

Unfortunately, the site's kinda broken and the audio links on her web site don't work.....If you've heard of her or have any of her music as MP3s (hey, it's a small world), let me know, because I'd like to check her music out. And check out her site. I think she might be going places. (plug plug plug)

Meanwhile, I'm still looking for my own way to make my millions and be adored by the masses. Any minute now....wait for it....

Home, Home on the Range

Things are almost back to normal. Stacey and I were well-oiled machines this past weekend, transforming the cardboard-and-carton-tape wonderland that was our new home into the masterpiece that it is today. All evening Friday, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday, our house was a flurry of activity, featuring a soundtrack of hammering, sawing, vacuuming, drilling, and the occasional bout of loud swearing. Drilling is my new destructive source of fun. There's something very relaxing about plugging things fulla holes. Plus it makes that angry growling noise. Pure bliss. But putting up shelving makes me swear and froth at the mouth, despite all the drilling involved.

We're so close to done, now. The living room and dining room are sorted out and decorated, and the furniture is all in place in our offices and the bedroom. All of our boxes are unpacked except for a handful up in the offices. A few more pictures need to go up on the walls and it'll be home sweet home. I think the new place is proof that no matter how nice your stuff is, it'll never look nearly as good as when it's in a house that's just as nice. Or when your furniture's in someone else's house in place of their furniture, just to freak them out a bit and think they're in the wrong house. Man, that'd rule.

I made my first evening-commute downtown to meet some friends on Saturday, and being out of taxi-homeable-range is a pain in the ass. I decided to leave the busing to a later date and drove downtown, and I guess I got used to being so close and being able to taxi, because I'm terrible at being the DD now. It was HARD. Everyone else was having a blast and getting bombed, and all I had was my little pack of gum....

Oh yeah, that's because I quit smoking. I threatened it way back when, and I went through with it, true to my word. Stacey and I have been smoke-free since October 1st. And that's HARD, too. It's the right thing to do, but being amongst all my smoking friends made it all the harder. If you're gonna be around me, be forewarned: I will call you "chimney boy" or "captain black-lung the pirate" or "Stinky McSmokerson" just to make myself feel better. At least for the first few weeks, that is. Quitting allows for a bit of hypocrisy, doesn't it?

Anyway, we went to the Dom, which I've mentioned before as being one of those places where it's really tough to be the sober one (yet, I managed, somehow). But there was a wicked band playing, very Strokes and Hives influenced, that I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, their name wasn't memorable enough, and I forgot it as soon as we left the bar. They're from Cambridge, Ontario, though, I know that much. They just looked like they were having such a good time on stage and it really clicked for me. The other people at the club didn't really seem to be paying attention, but I was. My hat's off to you, band-that-I-can't-remember-the-name-of!

Then we finished up the night with an impromptu trip to the dance floor at Zaphod's and an after-hours walking tour of downtown Ottawa with my friend who was very drunk and wasn't feeling too cheerful. We walked past restaurant after restaurant, and even got a menu at a few of them before leaving, but never could find one that my friend was happy with. I never did get my end-of-night poutine, but I was there for my friend, and that's what really matters.

Oh, and by the way, a big THANK-YOU to Jay for changing his para-psychadelic morphing blog template. Maybe now my retinas will have a chance to heal themselves. Oh, and if you'd like some friendly support for your self-improvement mission, drop me a line, since I'm doing the same kind of thing right now.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Anyone miss me?

It's finally over. Stacey and I are moved in. And what a relief....not a moment too soon. Every muscle, joint, and bone in my body is sore. I was actually looking forward to work this morning (shudder) because it meant I could sit down for a few hours and rest a bit.

Where to begin? The house is wonderful. We're very happy with how all of the furniture has slotted into place (meaning: it fits! Hoo-ray!). The layout is unfamiliar and has some weird little quirks, but we're slowly getting used to it. It's starting to feel like home, although we've still got a long way to go with the unpacking and decorating. I'm just happy that my home theatre is up and running in an "interim solution" kind of way and that I have a corner to curl up in and sleep.

But our worst fears have been realized. The commute is awful. All of those people who said "psssssh! You can get downtown from there in half an hour! No sweat!" were wrong, so very wrong. I left quite early this morning, and even then, it took an hour for the whole trip....two hours a day on a bus, round trip? What, are we communists, here? I demand a high-speed bullet train from my front door to my place of work, thank you very much, transporting us in comfort and style while we light cuban cigars with gold-tipped matches made from pure mahogany. Yeah, that's the sugar, baby.

Still, I'm holding on to the idea that the house is a lot nicer and more peaceful than before. No more buses and constant traffic 24 hours a day. No more screaming and swearing 6-year-olds playing (and sometimes urinating) on our front lawn. No more crashing and shrieking heard through the walls when my neighbours are arguing. No more wading through rotting vegetables and soiled diapers to get to the dumpster when it's time to do a garbage run. No more chain link fence or featureless brick wall as our only view out our bedroom window. No more 4-block loop to get into the parking lot from the other side of the median. It's all a rich tapestry.

Now, back to the real world. It's funny how you can re-surface after an absence and find that so many things have changed....CBC let Ron MacLean go? The US is going to declare war on Iraq? Stocks around the world (including mine) are getting hammered? You can buy beer in plastic bottles now? Friggin' ELVIS is at the top of the charts again?? It's a whole new world....