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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

settling in on a friday night

permalink Friday, 03NOV2006:

hunter tootoo, the 'unofficial leader of the opposition' in the nunavut legislative assembly was the guest speaker at this month's press club. he was asked to talk a bit about his background and so he related how he had been many places and done many things before settling into his current semi-august position.

from there, john and i hiked up the hill to JF's massive house party. after a long day, i wasn't too keen on diving into the human zoo, so i picked up a cool comic about a fellow's experiences in north korea from JF's shelf and ensconced myself upstairs in the coat room. an occasional person would wander by to chat while waiting for the loo, and that was enough interaction for me.

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'dark age' book club

permalink Saturday, 04NOV2006:

iqaluit broomball chronicles: 04nov2006:

team white: kevin, dan, stephen, jillian, curtis, jane, kerry, chrisd, siobhan, julian
team black: me, mark, tracy, megan, joanne, JFre, yoan, erin, gord, kelvin

a very exciting game with great plays by both teams. team white went ahead first when chrisd passed the ball back to stephen at the red line, who then tossed it up the middle where kerry one-timed it past mark in net. team white went up by 2 when julian deftly passed the ball up to chrisd who didn't hesitate to score. team black didn't give up tho, as megan got her first goal of the season with a diving slapshot to knock in a centering pass from kelvin in the corner to beat kevin on the far side. JFre notched up the tying goal for team white from yoan and gord.

for those who missed the game, you also missed the sight of julian and jillian wearing matching nighties for the first half. late in the game, joanne's stellar debut showing was slightly marred after an encounter with stephen dislodged her visor. curtis, in his 2d game, showed off some deft stick-handling skills once he didn't have to worry about sliding around in sneakers. the game ended up tied at 2, only due to the amazing defensive play by both sides.

in the evening, i finally managed to attend one of the meetings of a local book club (having finally read one of the selected books). we had a good discussion about 'dark age ahead' by jane jacobs, but the consensus at the end of the evening was that the book seemed to be intended more as a provocative kick-starter, rather than an in-depth discussion of the perils that our society is facing. the focus on the ills of the city as the centerpiece of the ills of society was also found to be a bit misplaced, as many of us in smaller communities are also aware of societal deteriorations that her book simply overlooks. that said, i was glad that i had read the book, if only to be able to join in an intelligent discussion with a group of smart, passionate people.

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infernally departed

permalink Sunday, 05NOV2006:

went to see 'the departed' with kevin and were joined in the audience by odile, joanne, vinnie, charlotte, chris and christian. having seen the original HK film 'infernal affairs', some of the 'surprises' were not as shocking to me, but i did enjoy noticing how the film had been tweaked to fit hollywood mores. the violence had been amped up to a point that lost a bit of the grace of the original and jack nicholson rehashed some of his joker material, but otherwise i think the adaptation was successful.

leonardo dicaprio was well-cast in the tony leung kar-wai role and emulated his torment well. tony's performance was still tinged with greater despair, having already spent 10 years undercover. matt damon did ok in the andy lau role, but seemed to have so many masks that you didn't really have a sense of the cornered beast that andy was able to bring. jack was cast as the money man, but stomped all over the subtlety that eric tsang brought to the original. splitting up anthony wong's role into martin sheen and mark wahlberg worked for the modified hollywood storyline, but i think this weakened the impact of the death and thus the mole's despair.

now that i've spent so much time comparing this film to the original on first viewing, i'll have to see 'the departed' again to see if it holds up as its own thing.

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comic daze

permalink Friday, 10NOV2006:

one of the few benefits to being laid up in bed for much of the week has been the chance to dig into my monthly comic book shipment. chief among the goodies that arrived on monday was volume 1 of 'the absolute sandman', an oversized hardcover re-coloured reprinting of issues #1-20 of Neil Gaiman's seminal fantasy series.

image of sandman and titania by charles vess from issue 19

my fave scene is still this one drawn by charles vess from a page of issue #19, which i had used as a door poster one year while living in rez on campus at the UofS. this story is also famous for being the only comic book tale to win the World Fantasy Award for short fiction, since they changed the rules immediately after that. at $125 Cdn, the hardcover was quite a dear purchase, but after turning the last page again, one worth every penny. reading the creator bios at the end, i finally took note of the fact that artist chris bachalo is also a canadian, formerly of portage la prairie. i had been a fan of his work all the way back to 'shade, the changing man', before he went on to garner fame with 'death: the high cost of living' and 'generation x'.

after devouring the rest of this month's shipment, i was still dealing with coughing fits, so had enough time to even dig into the looming pile of books that i had saved for such a time. first up was 'birth of a nation', written by aaron mcgruder (of boondocks fame) and reginald hudlin and illustrated by kyle baker.

excerpt from 'birth of a nation'

a massively funny and sad satire of what might have happened if the challenge to the u.s. election fiasco of 2000 had been taken to the limit. positing the secession of a small black disenfranchised city from the united states, the book is idealistic about patriotism, realistic about human nature and optimistic that we have it within us to overcome our weaknesses.

a panel extracted from michel rabagliati's 
'paul moves out'

the last book that i screamed through was 'paul moves out', a semi-autobiographical book by quebec artist michel rabagliati. a heartwarming tale about family, love, art school and 'the sound of music'. the art appears simple, but michel conveys much sophistication with very few lines.

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permalink Saturday, 11NOV2006:

got up in time to take in the remembrance day ceremony at the cadet hall with jane, matt and kerry. afterwards, i went back home for a nap to try to get myself in good shape for my return to broomball after missing tuesday night's game.

iqaluit broomball chronicles: 11nov2006

team white: me, daniel1, stephen, mark, jillian, chrisd, JFra, curtis, julian, dan, kelvin
team black: kevin, gavin, gord, kerry, yoan, marco, JFre, erin, john, daniel2, jane, tracy

we played 6 a side plus a goalie and pushed the nets back, but with 21 people turning out this saturday, all of the speedsters had trouble dancing their way thru the crowded ice. this meant that other people got a chance to shine. daniel2 (sorry, i didn't get his last name) made a very good debut, charging down the wings for team black and gavin's 2d appearance of the season after his debut on tuesday showed that he hadn't lost his mojo over the long break. curtis wasn't able to wear the shoes that he had borrowed for tuesday's game, but even sneaker-shod, he still played effectively.

the first two goals were breakaways, one by mark for team white, followed by yoan for team black. chrisd scored the second goal for team white off of kevin's helmet to go up 2-1, but gord one-timed it past daniel1 to even it up by the half. in the 2d, we saw jillian get her first strike of the season as she beat kevin from the side of the net and nearly got another one on the next rush by team white. we had a bit of a scare when kerry went into the boards at a weird angle, but he got himself up and watched the rest of the game from the sidelines. however, team black did not fold and after brushing off a bruising hit, erin set up gord's second goal to leave the game even at 3 when the whistle blew.

now, here's a bit of doggerel that i wrote to commemorate my sickness this week. squeamish stomachs, beware ...

symptoms of this sickness

lucrching up in the dead of night
heart racing madly thru your chest
brow feverish, knees quivering
mind focused only on release

head throbbing from incessant waves of pain
you commune over the porcelain,
take a bit of quiet time to reflect
attempt to divine some way to get well

finally wake up in peace with the sun
last nite dissolved by a cool solvent draught
tortured heart stoic behind bony bars
until your next unfortunate relapse

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'the departed' is a class act

permalink Monday, 13NOV2006:

with the day off in lieu for remembrance day, i managed to get a few chores done at home while continuing to recover from my coughing jags. in the evening, i went to see 'the departed' again with matthieu and enjoyed it again. the injected notes about the hi and lo class origins of the characters were more noticeable the second time around, and demonstrate at least an attempt to add something more to the mix than what already existed in the stylish HK original.

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would u broomball thru a blizzard ?

permalink Tuesday, 14NOV2006:

iqaluit broomball chronicles: 14nov2006

team white: chrisd, stephen, jillian, me, jacques, JFra, gord
team black: curtis, dan, kelvin, gavin, mark, joyia, julian

notwithstanding the threat of a looming blizzard earlier in the afternoon, 14 hardy souls made their way to the old arena for the latest broomball contest. among them was joyia, marking her first appearance on the ice. without our usual stalwarts kevin and daniel present, curtis and julian took turns backstopping for team black while i held the line for team white. stephen and JFra made a pretty give and go play to put team white ahead first, but mark quickly tied it up after a sprawled kelvin tenaciously poke-checked the rebounding ball to him from behind my back.

chrisd and gord helped to set up JFra's second goal of the night, but mark responded again with a rocket from the slot after taking a redline pass from dan. team black then went ahead as gavin snapped a quick screen-shot thru my legs, taking advantage of my ill-timed attempt to straighten the net. team white brought matters back to an even keel, tho, as jillian tossed the ball from the side of the net to a waiting stephen who didn't miss from close-range. after that, both teams seemed to settle down and for the last 20 minutes, no further goals were scored as the raging pace finally caught up to the players.

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scoring a shutout

permalink Saturday, 18NOV2006:

iqaluit broomball chronicles: 18nov2006

team white: kelvin, jane, megan, joanne, gavinn, chrisd, yoan, jacques, susan, me
team black: mark, marco, curtis, jillian, erin, gavinw, john, kevin, julian, tracy, gord

saturday's game was a bit of a turkey shoot as team black was peppered by the power forwards of team white. kevin pretty much stood on his head in net as gavinn, chrisd, yoan and jacques peppered him. on the other end of the ice, i was very lucky that my loosey-goosey play did not result in any goals by the likes of mark, marco, julian, jillian or gord. on the notable breakaways, mark's shot rang off the post to safety and marco was stymied when trying to make one too many passes after a 3 on 0 rush.

kevin succumbed partway thru the first half when gavin set up yoan in front of the net. however, for the next 30 minutes or so, that slim 1-0 lead did not accurately represent the action on the ice as team white kept pouring on the offense, only occasionally letting the ball slip into their defensive end. megan, jane, kelvin and joanne all took turns targetting kevin, at times leaving susan as the only player watching the red line. john, curtis, erin, tracy and 'red man' gavinw (in his debut appearance) played a tenacious defence to hold off the white hordes for most of the game, but chrisd finally connected with yoan late in the 2d half to put the game out of reach.

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tying up the sliders

permalink Tuesday, 21NOV2006:

iqaluit broomball chronicles: 21nov2006

team white: kevin, chris, john, curtis, JFra, gavin_w, kelvin, sarah
team black: christian, gord, gavin_n, susan, mark, jillian, jacques, me

before tuesday night's game we had a bit of a huddle to discuss ways to minimize potential injury-inflicting behaviour. from now on, any sliding towards the ball or another player will be treated the same as a high-stick call, by halting play and awarding possession of the ball to the other team.

other potential rule changes that we are considering include calling a 'high stick' when the broom goes above the waist during the wind-up or follow-thru of a shot, and also that opposing players may not park themselves in the goalie's crease.

team white went ahead early on a shot by JFra from the slot after a mysterious lob from the other side of the ice, but mark evened it up after a pass from gavin_n. however, kelvin put team white ahead again with a quick little flip shot after taking a feed from chris behind the net. then it was quiet on the scoring front for awhile as both teams struggled to gain momentum.

after gord kindly swapped me out of net for a spell, i promptly got called for sliding towards the ball - do as i say, not as i do ! jillian made her own sweet slide after racing pell-mell towards the net, just missing kevin, but knocking the net astray. curtis and gord were both offensive threats for their respective teams, jacques and john provided stiff defensive backbones, susan and gavin_w blocked effectively, and sarah and christian both played enthusiastically in their debut appearances.

late in the game, gavin_n took a pass from gord to finally equalize the teams at 2 and that's how we ended.

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up to my ears in pc parts

permalink Thursday, 23NOV2006:

while my pc parts arrived on tuesday, i wasn't able to rope billy into assisting me with the assembly. i was still weathering the sickness that had knocked me out for the past few weeks (and prevented me from doing my radio show on monday), but the fact that i couldn't figure out that i had positioned the power supply upside down was a sign that i was definitely not 100% yet.

however, by the end of the day, we had managed to get most everything hooked in and windows xp installed, so i decided to take the puppy home to tinker with. seeing as i'll be away in montreal over the weekend, i won't have any time to muck with it then, but maybe next week i'll be able to get it back up to speed.

in the evening i attended a turkey supper fundraiser for the local anglican church which is looking to rebuild the famous iglu-shaped cathedral that burnt down a few years back. after that, it was off to the museum to take in their annual AGM and then home to pack for tomorrow's flight. i was able to get enough stuff installed on my computer to pump out a couple copies of my latest mix so i would have something kewl to listen to on the flight down.

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a promenade of royalty

permalink Sunday, 26NOV2006:

after the board meeting and a couple of nights of feasting, i decided to make it a leisurely sunday. the night before, i had pored over the movie listings and decided that the cinema du parc lineup didn't grab me as strongly as the last time i passed thru town and the music / video festival at ex centris seemed a bit too erratic. since it dawned overcast, i decided to forego a hike up mount royal and hit the AMC 22 instead.

while i had tried to include enough downtime between films, i missed the first gap by about 15 minutes, so i went down the street a couple of blocks to take in a sushi lunch since my fave nagoya was closed over the weekend. anyway, i had intentionally arranged the first three films to reflect the royalty theme, but it turned out that all 5 ended up featuring royal elements of one sort or another.

first up at 10:30 was 'marie antoinette', sophia coppola's follow-up to the amazing 'lost in translation'. this movie was just as filled with ennui, but somehow set amongst the frivolity and extravagance of life in the court of versailles, i found it hard to garner much sympathy for the plight of the young royals. the theme of a young woman who becomes a queen too soon was carried over into the next film, but the strongest link for me was when my sushi lunch was delivered and i saw the modern version of all those dainties laid out fashionably on a tray. decadence aint just for royalty anymore ...

anyway, after that timeout, i made it back to the AMC for 'the queen'. this film lives up to the hype of helen mirren's portrayal. just like 'm.a.', this queen feels herself bound by the shackles of protocol and having cocooned herself for so long, she fails to meet the expectations of her public during a week of mourning. however, she's not the young queen that M.A. was, and wisely accedes to the advice of her modernist P.M.

similarly, in 'the last king of scotland', it is again the advice of an outsider that is accepted over those close at hand. forest whittaker's portrayal of idi amin was breath-taking - his changes from charming host to paranoid tyrant occur between heartbeats and you understand how different people could have such widely differing opinions based on which man they meet. there is a minor sub-plot with a doctor's wife played by gillian anderson, but the only good bit gleaned from that was that 'good' people can make normal people feel like shit. the final lesson of this film is to be careful who you trust.

next up was darren aronofsky's labour of love 'the fountain'. the royal touch here was that rachel weisz plays queen isabella of spain in one of her incarnations. i found the jumping back and forth quite a bit harder to follow than in his previous films, tho reading the graphic novel version a few days later filled in some of the gaps. however, the film was visually stunning and does remind us to live the life you have, rather than try to live forever without any aim other than staying alive.

to close out the day's marathon session of 5 films, i chose the light-hearted 'stranger than fiction'. will ferrell is hit-and-miss with me, but he definitely scored a bullseye with this one. i hate when he begs for laughs, but here he holds his excessive tendencies in reserve and makes a much better withdrawn guy than steve carrell's still-manic portrayal in '40-year old virgin'. of course, including the luminous maggie gyllenhaal in the picture was a stroke of genius and emma thompson was superb as the inspiration-obsessed writer. the royal touch in this film ? queen latifah ! she played her supporting role well as did dustin hoffman, giving this film almost an overabundance of talent.

and actually, the film is close to being my fave film of the year (and is probably creeping up the charts even now). so many bits resonate with me:
  • that you should live the life you've always dreamed about today instead of waiting for whatever is holding you back;
  • that you should pay attention to the details that make you happy;
  • that human stories are either comedies or tragedies and its up to you to decide how yours plays out;
  • that no one has control over their eventual destiny, so why worry about it.
fave lines: "thank you for forcing me to eat your cookies", "don't touch that phone !" and "i want you".

beyond the features, a couple of the previews also caught my eye. i enjoyed the ones for will smith's 'the pursuit of happyness', naomi watt / ed norton's 'painted veil' which showed off a cameo by anthony wong, and 'namesake', featuring kal penn (of 'kumar' fame) who plays a character that finds out the history of his name. music tracks that caught my ear included 'the book i write' by spoon from 'stranger than fiction' and clint mansell's re-teaming with the kronos quartet to backup 'the fountain'.

after all of that, i took advantage of the late-nite urban amenity of a chinatown restaurant open after midnite to sate myself with scallops and snowpeas.

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champagne birthdays

permalink Monday, 27NOV2006:

so after getting off the plane, i scouted the local gift shops looking for something to offer jillian for her champagne b'day. however, instead of the supper that she had planned, she decided on a movie nite instead, so we headed up to the astro with tracy, JFre and yasmina to catch 'babel'. i had purposely skipped the 'b' movies in montreal (babel, borat, bobby and bond) as i had been sure that bryan would be able to bring them in.

anyway, there was a tie-in to the previous day's barrage of movies as brad pitt and cate blanchett had been the original stars cast in 'the fountain' before the projected costs got too high for the production company. the movie did cover the expected ground of mis-communication, but i'm not sure that the effort to tie all of the threads together was effective. the time-shifting was a neat little filip, but while the acting was competent, there was little meat to the story and little reason to care. however, i must say that inarritu's segment of the bmwfilms series starring clive owen was my favourite, so i'll hope that his next film provokes more satisfaction.

at the time of my champagne birthday, i would have been in my 2d summer working in calgary for mega-oil company, living up in north hill in a basement dive on my own. i'd work 9-5 in a shirt and tie at the office downtown, then take the c-train home, get changed into a short-sleeved, blue-striped shirt, put on a hair net and head back to the mall to work a shift at mrs. vanelli's pizza and italian foods. for much of that summer, i never had to cook supper as i was able to scarf down the leftover pizza at the end of each nite instead of letting it go to waste. on my birthday, i probably would've gone over to my aunt's place and had a supper there with my cousins. but i don't really remember - summer b'days always seem to fall thru the cracks.

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broomball on a cold tuesday nite

permalink Tuesday, 28NOV2006:

iqaluit broomball chronicles:

team white: JFra, daniel, jillian, julian, kerry, sarah, jacques
team black: JFre, john, gord, mark, siobhan, curtis, me

14 players showed up this cold tuesday night to warm themselves up playing a spot of broomball. daniel stood between the posts for team white while gord, mark and i took turns trying to fill in for the absent kevin.

JFre struck first for team black on a breakaway, but then had to be content with assists for the rest of the game. mark made it 2-0 for team black after a nice setup by curtis. a third strike by team black was anulled by a crease infraction. JFra finally put team white on the board by taking advantage of my turnover to storm on mark in net. gord soon restored team black's cushion, but julian responded with his own rush to make the score 3-2.

kerry was still nursing his sore shoulder so wasn't able to deliver any of his usual rockets. curtis played his first game with both feet shod in proper broomball shoes. sarah, jacques, john and siobhan played solid defense as usual, while jillian showed some tenacious ball chasing by successfully harassing three consecutive team black players in front of their own net. however, team white was not able to even the score and a few minutes before the buzzer, mark put the game away with his second goal to close the night out with team black ahead 4-2.

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another season, another mix ...

permalink Wednesday, 29NOV2006:

i uploaded my latest mix to aotm today after finally working out the liner notes. it's called 'another season passes by you ...'. a lot of the songs on the mix were ones that i had on repeat over the summer and then i kneaded in a couple more tracks to reflect more recent events. i'm pretty happy with how it flows and the lyrical tie-ins, but i suspect that it'll be a mix that i'll only put on when i'm in certain moods.

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heroes for sale

permalink Thursday, 30NOV2006:

went to see 'flags of our fathers' tonight at the astro theatre. the movie was much as i had expected, which was a relief after the letdown i felt after watching clint's 'million dollar baby'. nothing new or extraordinary, just a tale told plainly with few tricks up sleeves. adam beach was great as the indian soldier who refuses to accept the mantle of 'hero' that is thrust upon him. anyway, i'm looking forward to seeing the film portraying the japanese view of the same events that will be released next spring. maybe that one will deliver something more substantial about the omnipresent propaganda that drove the war to its bitter end.

as i was leaving the theatre, bryan asked me if i was glad that i hadn't been over there, and i readily answered 'hell, yeah'.

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