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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

doesn't *everybody* love pretty things ?

permalink Thursday, 03AUG2006:

anne hathaway is *gorgeous* in 'the devil wears prada'.


i did note her performance as jake's long-suffering wife in 'brokeback mountain', but i hadn't seen any of the princess diaries flicks. her struggle in this film to maintain her integrity but still do what she needs to do to get ahead is wrapped up in a nice fluffy (and pretty) cloud of fashion.

yes, the film does make the valid point that fashion designers are creative artists whose art is made even more fabulous by the fact that we can inhabit their creations and make them our own. however, fashion joins with ballet, nascar or wine-tasting as fields for which i personally just don't have any affinity.

stanley tucci and meryl streep both have juicy roles, with story arcs that encompass both pain and pleasure so they can show off their acting chops. but since it was all done to the benefit of the story, and done well, i have no quarrel with that. thus, i deemed the film good enough to watch again this evening, after having watched it already on sunday.

the soundtrack was noticeably good and very efficient at setting the mood. standouts were the opening track 'suddenly i see' by kt tunstall and also alanis morissette's cover of seal's hit 'crazy'. however, be warned that the tunstall track does not appear on the official soundtrack released, so you'll have to pick her cd up separately. unfortunately, 'eye to the telescope' is afflicted with DRM, so i only added it to my wishlist instead of to the amazon order(s) that i made.

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summertime spending spree !

permalink Friday, 04AUG2006:

to herald the looming end of summer, here's what i decided that i 'needed' to acquire from my woefully extended wishlist:


  • the drams: 'jubilee drive' - the drams are made up of a splinter group of members of slobberbone who have decided to strive for a rock sound
  • old 97's: 'hit by a train' - double live best of cd - a great live band, i'm looking forward to seeing if they get captured properly on this disc. they did get a gig as the 'concert band of the month' during the movie 'the breakup'.
  • OST to the movie 'the fast and the furious: tokyo drift' - to get the blood and fists pumping
  • OST to 'the matador' - twas a very fun flick and soundtrack
  • neko case: 'fox confessor brings the flood' - this wasn't available during my raid on megatunes in calgary in june, so i'm finally picking it up now
  • OST to 'old boy' - a korean imported version
  • dead prez: 'get free or die trying' - after seeing them in 'dave chappelle's block party', i need to get me a sample of their action
  • the kingston trio: 'best of' - with the track 'greenback dollar' featured in the film 'thank you for smoking'
  • natacha atlas: 'halim' - an arabic album that includes a haunting tune featured in the movie 'bin-jip (3-iron)' - i almost ordered the wrong cd, but thanks to wikipedia, it's all sorted out
  • kelly hogan: 'because it feels good' - because it would be good to hear more of her breath-taking voice


  • gene wolfe: 'shadow and claw'; 'sword and citadel' - these 2 books collect a story that i was introduced to in comic book form over a decade ago. they had been out of print for a long time, but i guess someone heard neil gaiman lobbying to have them brought back
  • anne carson: 'autobiography of red' - one of the books that were suggested as a potential read for the local book club, whose meetings i never managed to attend - pretty sad, especially since i would've been the only guy present :)
  • paul chiasson: 'the island of seven cities: where the chinese discovered north america' - i just kinda liked the sound of that ;)
  • david kushner: 'jonny magic and the card shark kids: how a gang of geeks beat the odds and stormed las vegas' - as a once fearsome magic deck builder myself and now somewhat poker fiend, i wanted to see how close the parallels were between my experiences and those of the protagonist
  • mike caro: 'caro's book of poker tells' - with a big money tourney on saturday, this book will come too late, but maybe i'll be able to think back and realize where it all started to go wrong ... ;)


  • 'west wing: complete 4th season' - continuing my set (i know some of the subsequent seasons are out, but i can't afford to buy *everything* at once)
  • 'closer' - natalie portman in a nightie - what else is there to say ?
  • 'saving face' - haven't seen this one, but i think this is about growing up asian in north america and the challenges of trying to juggle 2 quite different cultures
  • 'lord of war' (2-disc special edition) - a powerful moral film
  • 'just like heaven' (widescreen) - perky reese won an oscar for her performance as june carter cash, but i think she was just as good in this fluffy little flick
  • 'the matador' - greg kinnear and pierce brosnan as unlikely pals - a great comic farce that still has enough grist to chew on

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suddenly i see !

permalink Sunday, 06AUG2006:

slept in until the afternoon and woke up to a blisteringly blue sky outside. i decided to hop onto my bike to take in my long-contemplated tour of iqaluit's new 5000's sub-division on the ridge above the arctic college past the power plant. boy was i out of shape ! after only a brief 10-minute climb, my legs were howling with the strain and it took me a good 15 minutes to catch my breath. good thing i had the view to consider as i paused.

view of frobisher bay from 5000 loop
i continued around the 5000 loop and noticed a sign that said 'no trespassing' so, of course, i went to take a boo. as i clambered up over the rocks, i was astounded by the sight of an immense civil engineering project. i knew that there was a dam that provided the water supply for the city but somehow i imagined that it was farther out of town. i've been here almost 5 years and that was the first time that i've ever seen it !

view of iqaluit's dam
after all those afternoon exertions, i treated myself to a poker nite at todd's where i promptly lost half my chips on the first 2 hands to the 2 ladies at the table. after a quick rebuy, i was taken out by the 3d lady who had joined the table. so much for lady luck :(

however, as i waited around for a sidegame to start up (to no avail as it eventually turned out), i was able to finish reading tim eldred's graphic opus 'grease monkey'. a very charming book that melds great comedic moments with weighty speculations about life, love, space combat and forced evolution. also of note was the atypically snarky head librarian ;)

page excerpt from grease monkey featuring snarky librarian
given my dilemma over the kt tunstall track 'suddenly i see', i hit upon the brainwave of accessing my aotm compatriots. after sending off a couple of inquiry emails, i was successful in arranging a 3 for 3 trade with lis in scotland for some mixes, 1 of which included the tunstall track. she was even kind enough to send me a preview of it so that i could bop around to a cleaner version than the one that i had managed to munge from the virgin uk video site.

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globular visitations

permalink Thursday, 10AUG2006:

visited 10 countries (4%)

create your own visited countries map

here i thought i was a globetrotter, but i'm still just a tadpole on the journey of life. mexico and egypt were thanks to my seismic job, but most of the european hits were covered by an ef excursion undertaken with some of my grade 12 classmates. i also dropped in to visit my sis in shanghai and travelled with her and one of my brothers to yunnan.

visited 28 states (54%)

the (dis)advantage of having resided in the u.s. for 3 years was that i made plenty of extended road trips home from texas. the california visit was due to an SEG conference in san francisco and the d.c. one was a campus challenge contest.

create your own visited states map

map of provinces and territories visited
visited 12 provinces / territories (92%)

since there was no corresponding page for canadian provinces and territories, i mocked this one up for now. i left out any islands that i hadn't visited (e.g. queen charlotte, ellesmere, cape breton, manitoulin, etc.). the only jurisdiction that i have not visited yet is pei. i do have to admit that yukon was a mere helicopter touchdown just inside the toe of the territory, and new brunswick was via a train pass-over.

i've been to tofino on vancouver island, fort st. john in northern b.c., and all along the highway up to fort liard in the nwt. besides the airport stopovers, i've spent one evening in yellowknife due to mechanical. also grande prairie in northern alberta, on both sides of saskatchewan from lloydminster to creighton, 200 metres deep in the nuclear mines of pinawa and driving north in the dark, exhausted and groggy, on the twisty road along the ontario side of the lake of the woods. i've done the ms150 charity bike ride from lake huron to london and back.

quebec visits have mostly been urban adventures in montreal and quebec city, tho my train ride from ottawa to halifax to visit my sister did cover a lot of ground. however, i was also treated to an overnight stay in kuujjuaq in northern quebec due to weather in iqaluit. the CALL 2005 conference allowed me to knock newfoundland off of my list last year. my residency in iqaluit (plus a 1-day visit to pangnirtung) accounts for baffin island, and back on the west side of hudson bay, rankin inlet has been the victim of numerous airport visits.

provoking profiles

permalink Thursday, 17AUG2006:

when i was down in calgary in june, i signed up for a membership at my favourite gallery in that burg, the triangle gallery of visual arts, maintained by the calgary contemporary arts society. every time i've visited their premises, i've found the exhibitions to be thought-provoking and so i figured it was time to show my support. subsequently, the gallery contacted me about being profiled as a member for the inaugural issue of their newsletter ARTiculate.

while the profile on p.8 is marred by a few typos and isn't what i'd have written about myself, most of the underlying facts are correct. the gallery's own Welcome-Nunavut exhibition from 1999 is also worth checking out online. heather will be glad to see my plug for a performing arts facility.

someone in calgary doing the stuff that i do here in town probably wouldn't stand out, but the museum administrator admitted that it was the fact that i was from nunavut that encouraged them to select me for their first member profile. at the storehouse in the evening to help celebrate the tardy matthieu's birthday, jillian remarked on this curious phenomena where what people are doing in far-flung places sounds so exotic to us, and yet the stuff we take for granted up here in the north is grist of interest for others elsewhere in a similar fashion.

pulling rabbits from hats

permalink Saturday, 19AUG2006:

so i'm posting this today after a nice long nap. why was i so beat ? well, after playing 13 hours of poker until 8 in the morning, i'd say i deserved a spot of rest. yes, it was another friday nite poker tourney at todd's with 14 degenerates making appearances. i busted out 2d in the main game and had to wait around for the sidegames to redeem myself.

my worst bad beat occurred in the first sidegame. i had Ax when A7x came on the flop. when another 7 hit on the turn, i went all-in and was called by todd who had pocket 10's. he had only 2 outs, but caught one of them when another 10 showed up on the river. the worst bad beat in my favour was during a later omaha hi sidegame where i had an AKxx and an AA4 showed up on the flop. patrick went all-in and i called, only to gasp and groan in despair as he gleefully turned over pocket 4's for a flopped full house. a blank showed up on the turn, but the K on the river delivered me the nut full house to knock patrick out. redemption was finally mine for all the times patrick had done the same to me !

my best hand of the night was when 3 nines showed up on the flop and i slowplayed the last 9 in my hand. after much delay, gord declined to pay me off. i debated whether or not to show my hole cards, but in the end, i couldn't resist. i should probably not have shown my cards tho, as he ended up finishing me off when we got down to headsup play after spencer dropped out.

so, it was a roller-coaster evening for me, as i hit the rail twice and needed to be spotted enough to buy-in to the subsequent game. i also managed to get myself back up to even twice and maybe a tiny bit ahead for one brief period. however, after 10 games of poker play, how did i end up ? EVEN STEVEN ! so, i can either be negative and wonder why i spent so much time for so little gain, or i can be positive and be amazed that i could play and have fun for that long and not have to pay a cent. of course, if i had actually lost money, the latter option would have degenerated into the 'oh, i would've spent that much going out to the legion / astro / storehouse / frob anyway ...' :)

anyway, before my day-long nap, todd, patrick and i wandered over to the nav to get some breakfast. i advised jennie that this would probably be the earliest that she would ever see me awake. the western ('denver' in sask. speak) omelette was magnificent and i went to bed on a full tummy.

image of bust of zatanna pulling 
something out of a tophat upon awakening, i finished off my comic order for the month. the major highlight was a hardcover reprint of the first 20 issues of sandman. i already have a complete set of the previous stand alone hardcovers. so why am i willing to outlay another $99 u.s. for this volume ? well, quite a few of those original issues were marred by the fact that new 'flexographic' printing presses were introduced to allow a wider colour palette. however, the colourists of the day were still used to the 4-colour templates that had been used for half a century, so many of the initial results with the new presses were hideously garish. this will be the first set of reprints where dc has actually seen fit to re-colour those original efforts.

other notable items were a character bust of zatanna (a female magician in the dc mythos), a softcover version of darren aronofsky's graphic novel 'the fountain' which will be released in conjunction with his film this fall, and the re-launch of dc's 'omega men' space-adventurer / sf series. finally, before ordering a reprint of the european series, 'the killer', i did a bit of research online. on a dutch site, i ran across 'the killer' interactive flash comic which added evocative sound effects and some interesting mouse-over / click events that surprisingly did not come across as cheezy or insipid. there were also a few places where scattered 'tracks' or scratch marks were digitally added to give the impression of a film reel print being screened. very kewl.

  • ip link of the day: wikipedia introduces wikicite to help ensure the reliability of their articles. this ties in with my belief that a reliance on attribution, and not ownership, will be a better method to ensure creators' rights. this initiative will also help reduce plagiarism by increasing users' awareness of the need to responsibly cite sources. now if only more mainstream online journalists and writers could start doing the same thing ... it's one of the reasons that bloggers have gained credibility at their expense since you can always check their links to get to the sources of their info and fact-check them yourself.

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fishing for meaning

permalink Tuesday, 22AUG2006:

another crown lawyer was called to the bar this afternoon, and for a change, instead of going to the other type of bar to celebrate, his colleagues decided to set up a fishing derby instead. they joined the plentitude of folks already gathered by the sylvia grinnel falls.

crowd of fishers at sylvia grinnell falls

lone fisher at sylvia grinnell falls

lone fisher casting below sylvia grinnell falls

and lookie here below, my first use of youtube !

matt holding fish caught with first cast of new rod

after watching other people load up on fish, i continued biking off-road along the 'beach' into the sunset.

the flats beside the sylvia grinnell river

links of the day:
  • another tale of someone busting his online poker cherry

  • and here's the youtube video for 'hurt' as done by the incomparable johnny cash:

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we just lost a planet !

permalink Thursday, 24AUG2006:

my reaction to the news that pluto had been demoted was to contemplate the following skit:

Science Officer with BigEars (SOB): 
scanning the planet now sir.

(long pause)

Irritable Captain Klad in Yellow (ICKY): well ?

SOB: (turns and raises eyebrow) something
is wrong sir.  the planet has disappeared 
from our charts.

ICKY: what ?  it's right up there on the 
viewscreen !

SOB: yes, sir.

ICKY: explain !

SOB: it would seem that ensign thomas just
upgraded our systems to micro$oft $tarchart 
version 5678.  that object on our 
viewscreen is no longer a planet.

ICKY: (dismissively) well, just go back to 
the previous version.

SOB: i'm sorry, sir, but Starfl_IT Regulations
state that we *must* use the latest version.

ICKY: can't we just call it a planet so i 
can gallivant with the native girls ?

SOB: i'm afraid not, sir, we'll have to 
wait for Starfl_IT Command to send us
a helpdesk ticket.  

ICKY: *sigh* (buries face in hands).
okay, i give up already.  your 
sabbatical to the pon-far resort is 

SOB: scanning the planet now sir.
for another take, see this argument against planetary discrimination.

i spent the evening watching 'clerks 2'. it wasn't too deep but made for a nice nostalgia kick. i like that kevin smith still has a soft heart for lovable losers.

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palatable performance reviews

permalink Monday, 28AUG2006:

feels like i've almost got my legs back under myself after all the goings on of the past few months. on saturday evening, i delivered a birthday mix to emily at the coffee house. liner notes for 'dancing around a dream' are on artofthemix. the tracks can be downloaded from yousendit.

from the high school, i went over to cyndi and jim's for an evening of cards. i eked out an 11th hour rally to climb back into the black (actually 3 a.m. would make it a 7th hour rally, but please allow me *some* rhetorical license). my secret weapon ? chicken poutine, no onions, from the snack, no lie.

i slept in until later on sunday afternoon and then went berry-picking on the hills behind the courthouse and along federal road for about 90 minutes. i'm not a collector, i just graze. the sky was overcast, so i didn't bother bringing my camera. lucky for you, i took some photos last year.

this afternoon, i managed to unleash the first online version of the CALL/ACBD Salary Survey on the membership. hopefully it will get a good response rate so we can quit processing piles of paper surveys.

in the evening, i attended the nunavut electoral boundaries commission community meeting at the parish hall. only about half a dozen people showed up, including a newspaper reporter, an MLA who i assisted during the last election and one of his election opponents. the consensus was that regardless of the actual boundaries, the citizenry really want opportunities to hash things out with their MLA. just because you don't happen to live in a specific MLA's electoral district does not mean that they should feel free to ignore your concerns.

this ties in with my bugbear about how the government should have picked up the tab for its own satellite in 1999. videoconferencing, GPS, broadband internet, remote communications, search and rescue - all of these areas would have benefited and the territory would have leveraged its vast distances to generate an innovative advantage rather than continuing to see the environment as an obstacle. and you really don't want me to get started on small-scale windpower and solar power generation.

links of the day: from bruce schneier's crypto-gram, i followed a link to the improv everywhere mission website. my fave missions were:

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