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Showing posts from July, 2009

Ram Johnson: Part 1, Spiders

The man who kneeled over the dead Caucasian woman's body was about six feet tall. He likely weighed in at a powerful 220 pounds. His head was shaved bald and his skin complexion was such that it was hard to tell if he was a very tanned Caucasian or a light-skinned Hispanic or African-American. His nose had been broken enough times that it was fairly flat and always seemed to be at a slight angle. Sometime in the past, he had received a scar to his face that started mid-forehead and sliced down, skipping over his right eye, and ended just above the right corner of his mouth. The scar wasn't deep and was faded now, but still a visibly lighter line on his otherwise darker skin.

He stood up from surveying the woman's corpse and looked around the alley in which the body had been found. His clothes were all neutral colors, high quality material and stitching, but nondescript. No labels or little alligators or initials on the dun-colored, button-up shirt. His brown khakis were sim…

Lounge Lizard

We are traveling to SoCal in September. On the way there and coming back, we have a 2 hour and a 3 hour layover in Toronto. My wife once had an upgraded ticket on a trip out to see me and she used the Air Canada VIP Lounge and loved it. So, we wanted to use that service again if possible (you can with standard fares for an additional fee per person).

The strange thing is that Air Canada will not accept you purchasing a VIP Lounge pass if your destination or starting location airports do not have a lounge. Since we are in the small town of Saint John, NB, our airport does not have a lounge. So the fact we are WILLING to pay this additional fee means nothing to AC, they will not accept our money or give us the pass.

This has irritated my wife more than once, and today she found the rule, sent it to me, and asked me to call and argue with them about it. Rather than argue, I took a different tact.

When Mike, the AC representative who fielded my call came on the line, I said, "Mike, I ha…

Bourne vs. Bourne

As people who frequent this blog can attest, I love the Jason Bourne movies starring Matt Damon. I think they are, both individually and as a whole, one of the best all-time action/adventure movies/series in cinema.

Because of this, I decided to have M procure for me the original Robert Ludlum The Bourne Identity to read. I usually prefer to go from book to movie, but in this case I had no interest in the writer or books until after seeing and enjoying the movie.

What a different experience the book is!

Outside of reusing names and the general theme of "American spy with strong covert/combat skills gets amnesia and then has to figure out who he is and what he's doing" the books and movies are radically far apart.
In the movie, Marie is a student in the wrong place at the right time for Bourne to hook up with her and inadvertently endanger her by bringing her into his world.In the book, Marie is a Canadian with a Doctorate in finance who works for the Canadian government t…

Second Week Money Totals for HP:H-B Prince

After seeing the movie, and then reading comments from a wide selection of fans and non fans on blogs and among my group of friends here, I went on record by telling M that I felt that the movie would drop by "between 60 and 65% in its second weekend." I just got the preliminary numbers from Box Office Mojo and it is currently listed in second place in its second weekend and dropped... 61.5%. Only about 1% off from being the worst drop of any HP movie to-date (Azkaban dropped 62.7% in its second weekend -- but, ironically, is considered by many to be the best film in the series now. Ah, hindsight, you are so perfect).

A lot of people are in essence saying the same thing I did: the book was exciting enough, was fairly "cinematic" already, and the story and culmination is such a strong lead in to the last book, that the changes made took most if not all of that away. A lot of people are also questioning what they will do in the two movies for book seven with the chang…

HP: Half-Blood Prince

*** Absolutely Chock FULL of Spoilers about Half-Blood Prince. Don't read if you don't want to know ***

I am a Harry Potter fan. I've read the books a few times each, and really enjoy the movies, having seen each of them (except the newest one just released) a number of times each.

I have defended the movies to my friends who have argued that too much is cut out, that they don't understand the choices made, etc. I have argued that the Potter books are so full of his every day life that it would be boring to have too much of that put on film. I have debated that focusing more fully on Harry, Hermione, and Ron, to the point of even changing which characters in the books do certain things in the movies so-as to keep the focus on them, makes for better cinematic storytelling. I have, however, lamented some of the changes and wished to see, for example, Hermione's quest to free the house elves, among other subplots in the novels that haven't made it to the movies.

H…

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

After moving here, I found a decent, but not great, bicycle to allow me to get back into riding. Riding is one of the few exercises that doesn't generally get my RA in a bunch, so it is a good exercise to continue.

After getting the bike, but well past the 30 day return policy limit, I started to discover some issues with the bike I bought. I should have guessed, as I had to go through and tighten nearly every nut, bolt, and screw on the bike after getting it home because the man who put it together wasn't, shall we say, a pro.

The biggest issue with it was that my shifter didn't work right. Sometimes it would shift the gears off the sprockets and either onto my foot/pedal or onto the pedal crank on the other side. It also didn't quite line up with the gears and would shift multiple sprockets with on press of the shifter.

I tried to fix it myself, but shifters have always been touchy things and I don't know enough about them to do much. Soon it turned to winter and bi…

Banned?

Here is the thing I don't get: The NFL knew that a drug frequently used by players to make their team-dictated weights contained an ingredient that it a) had banned because it could be used to help mask steroid use and b) was not listed on the drug. They KNEW this, yet they did not issue any sort of directive to the Player's Association or the league doctors informing anyone of this fact.

Step in some players who, by all accounts, are pretty upstanding players. They have never tested positive for anything in the random and scheduled drug tests during their career to-date. By all accounts, they were simply trying to lose some water weight (the drug's primary use) and did everything right in doing so; they went to their team doctor and "verified" that the drug in question was okay to use. Since the ingredients list did not contain the banned drug and the NFL had not listed that drug on the suspect list, the team doctor said yes.

Those players then tested positive for…

Wood-Fest Update

I got the first load of wood down to a very small section. I was doing other tasks around the house during the hottest part of the day on Friday and Alex apparently chose that time to come, dump the trailer full of wood, and take off. So when I next walked outside to, I had hoped, finish what was there, I instead walked out to a completely full pile of wood.

"Fuck," I said, and walked back into the house, took off my gloves, and did other things. I was expecting it, I knew more wood needed to be hauled and stacked, but it still was disconcerting to have that pile "miraculously" renew itself while I was busy doing other things.

Saturday was DnD, so that was out. Well, okay, I had the late afternoon, and since the sun doesn't set here until about 9:15 pm, a few hours in which I could have stacked wood. But Saturday was my "play" day for DnD, so I didn't choose to. Sunday I wanted to hit it, but it rained most of the day. After getting so sick from bei…

Wood-Fest '09

Alex dropped off two loads of wood, each approximately 1.5 cord, to go with the half a rank of wood left over from last year. Should be about right. The big problem is that now we need to haul that large-ass pile of wood into the house and get both the dehumidifiers working overtime to dry it out.

This isn't that big a deal; we figured out a system that worked pretty well for us last year. I hauled wheelbarrows full of wood into the house and M stacked it as high as she could, then I came along and stacked the rest of the way, as needed. This year, however, I won't have much help from M as she's working and would only be able to assist on the weekends, which are pretty full of things to do as it is.

We bought our own wheelbarrow. Got a nifty one with two wheels, self-stabilizers, and bumper on the front. That way we don't have to borrow Alex's again (plus, we could use a wheelbarrow for various other projects during the year).

I started today by moving the existing ha…

Grill

Our existing grill is not worth salvaging at this point. If M's memory serves her well (and it usually does), that grill is somewhere around 14-15 years old. It just has so much wear and tear on it now that it would cost us nearly as much as a new grill to get it up and running again.

So, we're looking for a new grill. We have researched, decided on our price range, and have shopped around. We finally found a grill at Home Depot that fit our needs, was within our budget AND on sale (so putting it from the higher end to the lower end of the budget), had coated racks (top and bottom), and was made in Canada. Perfect.

We have now attempted to purchase this grill three separate times from Home Depot. We have had poor service (except for partially on this last trip), and Home Depot just doesn't seem concerned about our business. They say that there are 13 of this unit on PEI, yet the SJ store sold out of the two they had the first day of the sale and it is marked as "no auto…