First Post (27FEB2005)
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ramblings of an information troubleshooter
settling in on a friday night
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.
'dark age' book club
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
'the departed' is a class act
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
would u broomball thru a blizzard ?
iqaluit broomball chronicles: 14nov2006
team white: chrisd, stephen, jillian, me,
jacques, JFra, gord
team black: curtis, dan, kelvin, gavin, mark,
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.
scoring a shutout
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
tying up the sliders
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 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.
up to my ears in pc parts
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.
a promenade of royalty
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
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
fave lines: "thank you for forcing me to
eat your cookies", "don't touch that phone !"
and "i want you".
- 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.
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.
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
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.
broomball on a cold tuesday nite
iqaluit broomball chronicles:
team white: JFra, daniel, jillian, julian,
kerry, sarah, jacques
team black: JFre, john, gord, mark, siobhan,
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
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.
another season, another mix ...
i uploaded my latest mix to aotm today
after finally working out the liner notes.
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.
heroes for sale
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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