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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

friday nite fiestas

permalink Friday, 01DEC2006:

for this month's press club meeting, we were regaled with tables full of niblets instead of the usual pizza and had the premier as our guest speaker. after he left, i accompanied jillian, john and dan over to mike and tracy's instead of going over to kerry's xbox party. with my brain in a bit of a fuzz, i took a couple tokes from a hookah. eergh. i can now no longer claim that i've never smoked in my life, but i can say that it'll never happen again.

as a consolation, i was able to glom onto tracy's copy of gabriel garcia marquez's book 'one hundred years of solitude'. i was ready to huck the book back onto the shelf when i saw that it was an oprah book club selection, but since i *had* heard of the book before that and the author had received a nobel prize, i gave it the benefit of the doubt and dug into the first couple of chapters.

as it turned out, the pages flew by and at the end of the night, i begged tracy to let me borrow it so i could continue to read. let me tell you that this doesn't happen to me often, especially with novels that aren't of the sf persuasion.

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marquez vs. card

permalink Saturday, 02DEC2006:

iqaluit broomball chronicles:

team white: kevin, mark, christian, me, kerry, siobhan, jacques, yoan, gord
team black: jillian, john, chris, sheila, JFra, JFre, luc, sarah

while the awesome franco-frontline of JFra, JFre and luc dominated the action in the offensive zone, team white was better able to convert their fewer opportunities. with kevin backstopping, team white was able to survive the initial onslaught intact. mark and kerry put team white on the board, but JFre responded quickly for team black. the game see-sawed back and forth with another pair of goals from mark and kerry and another response from JFre that, despite a heroic effort from kevin, bobbled over his shoulder to pass over the plane of the goal line before he batted it out.

offensive plays by yoan, JFra, chris and jillian were muscled down by the agressive defenses of jacques, siobhan, christian, john, sheila and sarah. gord's side-of-the-net tally was nearly anulled, but sheila indicated that he hadn't set foot in her crease. JFre responded with a breakaway on the very next rush to complete his hat trick, but that wasn't enough to jumpstart his teammates, and kerry put another late goal in to get his own matching hat trick to close out the game 6-3.

after the game, i stayed home to nurse my sore throat from the previous evening's smoking stupidity and read another third of 'one hundred years of solitude'. all of the family struggles over the generations reminded me of the ribeira family in orson scott card's 'speaker for the dead', which likely means that the borrowing went the other way. marquez is able to relate human truths without the device of alien critters that card uses, but instead uses the storytelling style of his grandmother who blended fancy and reality in a seamless fashion.

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thoughts on solitude

permalink Sunday, 03DEC2006:

after spending most of the afternoon at the office clearing up some of the clutter of the week before, i went up to the astro to catch 'the journals of knud rasmussen', the follow-up film to 'atanarjuat' by zacharias kunuk and norm cohn. this film does not reach the same expanses as its predecessor, but does a good job of showing how the conflict between old ways and new were affecting the lives of inuit in the early 1900's. the inuit members of the audience seemed to enjoy all the extra bits in inuktitut that were lost to the rest of us relying only on subtitles. the most jarring was when the shaman's spirits left him, crying as they departed, and the audience howled with laughter.

afterwards, i went home to finish reading 'one hundred years of solitude'. nearly 460 pages in under 48 hours - a real page-turner. i'm not sure that i would have been ready to appreciate the book before now, but it seemed to come at exactly the right time. its musings on solitude and the messy affairs of humanity were just what i needed. some of the ideas that the book brought to my mind included:
  • if humans lived longer, their daily cycles would become readily apparent to those who pay close attention;
  • the small things don't matter in the long run, but humans have to act like they do or else they will flounder adrift;
  • that it's not necessarily up to us to choose who we'll end up with, but when you find the right person for you, you have to hang on for dear life;
  • that there is nothing wrong with wanting to be alone;
  • that life is simple, and we just make it hard.

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a nite for the goalies

permalink Tuesday, 05DEC2006:

iqaluit broomball chronicles:

team white: kevin, jokeypah, john, julian, megan, JFre (1), JFra (2), gord, me
team black: mark, jacques, jillian, chris, daniel, marco, luc, yoan

another riot on the ice on this tuesday nite. appearing in her debut this season after a couple seasons away was jokeypah. also, i forgot to mention that luc's appearance on saturday was also his first game since departing partway thru last season. a hearty welcome to luc for coming out to play a couple of games while visiting iqaluit.

after a bit of turmoil sorting out teams at the beginning, it was the JF combo that stole the show as they combined to score a hat trick between them. each of their goals was batted out of the air past daniel. however, those 3 were the only ones to get past daniel as he made some outstanding saves to keep all the numerous other attempts by the JF's (including one notch called back due to one foot in the crease), gord, julian (fanning on his breakaway attempt) and megan (great position play to get 2 scoring chances by the side of the net) out from between the posts. with so much offensive talent out front, john, jokeypah and i contented ourselves with keeping the ball in at the red line.

on the other side of the ice, kevin was less often pressured, but when his defense got lazy, he faced an incessant barrage from mark, chris, marco, luc, yoan and jacques. however, even as kevin was forced to scramble from one side of the net to the other, team black was unable to sneak the ball past him and he earned yet another shutout to recall his glories from the beginning of the season. for much of the evening, tho, it was team white that controlled the action, keeping the pressure on the defense of jillian (playing in her last game before she departs for another continent for 6 weeks), jacques, mark and chris.

at the nav afterwards, JFre made the comment that it's nice to have the turnouts that we've been getting rather than the 2 on 2's that we sometimes played at this time last season.

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staggered, stiffened, scrabbled and slept in ...

permalink Tuesday, 12DEC2006:

what a horrid week. first, we heard news that one of our local lawyers passed away. next, i suffered a mini-relapse of my recent illness and went home with a fever partway thru the week. getting back to work was no better as due to my oversight i sent out something prematurely and then had to send a hurried note to recall it from a whole schwack of recipients. then i go and injure my back playing broomball on the weekend. i tell ya, some days it just might be better to stay in bed (like i did this morning, accidentally sleeping in until 10:30 a.m.). errgh.

ah well, there were a couple of ok moments. i took in the movies 'borat' and 'casino royale' on friday and saturday respectively. while the bond flick made for a nice tonic to wash away the taste of the week, with a nice little poker interlude that i could dig into, 'borat' didn't hammer my funnybone as i had hoped. i did admire its satirical use of documentary film techniques tho. it might not have helped that my back was slowly stiffening into the theatre's seats from my earlier injury. anyway, here's the chronicles for that event among others:

iqaluit broomball chronicles for 09dec2006:

team black: jokeypah, mark, megan, erin, yoan, luc, marco, gord, daniel
team white: JFra, JFre, jacques, helen, john, stephen, julian, christian, me

2 fairly evenly matched teams of 9 players faced off this saturday night. helen made her debut appearance on the ice, with borrowed equipment from the team bag. stephen returned from his weeks-long vacation and jokeypah and luc also appeared for return engagements.

with kevin suffering from dehydration, daniel and i started off in net. first blood went to team white as JFre took a pass from jacques to beat daniel. after about 15 minutes, julian subbed me off, so was the unlucky recipient of yoan's next drive, where he lobbed the ball over julian's arm. winded by my time out front, i happily switched julian back out of the net.

however, just after the half, an untimely rocket soared past the net just as i was getting up from my crouch and my too-quick twist sent my back a-flutter. waiting anxiously for the next stoppage, i dragged jacques into the net and crabbed over to the bleachers to sit out the rest of the match. team black began to pour on the pressure as marco fed mark to put them ahead 2-1. with megan and gord threatening, and daniel again turning in a star performance, team white was rocked back.

stephen had quite a few opportunities, but being rusty, wasn't able to convert any of them into goals. the JF combo was also stymied by the defence of mark, erin and jokeypah. christian, john and julian all took turns trying to make something happen, but they couldn't get the tying goal and mark swooped past helen to make a final successful charge against john in net to finish team white off for good with a final score of 3-1.

a close game of scrabble on sunday over tea made for a pleasant way to kill some hours while a near-blizzard blew outside. we both got just under 300 points, but my unplayed 'J' finished me off at the end. afterwards, i indulged myself by finally cracking open my dvd copy of the original 'star wars' film and testing out the dvd software on my still-coming-together pc. alas, i was still not able to record my monday evening radio show, where i showcased 'sleep when you're dead' by a fab mixer named cabell.

two nurturing surprises of the week included kelly hogan's cd 'because it feel good' and a graphic novel 'stagger lee' by derek mcculloch (apparently an ex-pat canadian in california) and shepherd hendrix. hogan's haunted hurting tunes made some late nights at the office bearable. standout tracks included '(you don't know) the first thing about blue', 'i'll go to my grave loving you' and 'no, bobby don't' [show everyone what a fool i was]. meanwhile, i had picked up the graphic novel as brad's crooning version of the classic tune had become a must-hear at the nav karaoke evenings. while i had expected an entertaining 'true crime' tale, i was unprepared for the high level of scholarship and storytelling presented by the creators.

quoting from the afterword:
Like any version of Stagger Lee, this 
book is a mixture of fact and fiction.  
While its wholly fictional characters 
are a distinct minority, it should not 
be confused with a work of history.
that said, the book makes what history there is come alive, with shifts in times and perspectives that were nearly cinematic. the list of over 30 songs that they disclosed as their 'soundtrack' for their project would have made for a worthy accompaniment and i'm hoping they can deal with all the copyright crap to put something like that together for next year. i'd give up a stetson to get a copy of it !

anyway, if you want to pick the book up for xmas, it's available for under $15 from amazon. the creators have also set up a blog where they detail their ongoing marketing tour, including a stop in st. louis where the historical events took place. i also came across a nice exclaim! review of the book.

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figuring out how to play

permalink Friday, 15DEC2006:

went for another poker evening at cyndi and jim's, but unfortunately, it was not to be my night. i finished 4th of 8 in the first round and then busted out on the bubble in 3d the next 2 tries. with my wallet emptied, i decided that it was time to head home. the evening's failed efforts managed to drop my annual poker proceeds into the red, but at less than $10 per month, i figure that i'm still holding my own.

at home, i began a less expensive, but just as riveting session of master of orion 2 that went until 5 in the morning. mostly a variant of civ, the addition of the invasive and overwhelmingly advanced antarans was a nice feature. after losing a good dozen colonies to those rampaging maniacs, i finally started seeding colonies left right and centre. after a few hours, i figured that i had a handle on things, and especially the *differences* with civ, sufficient that i knew i could quickly resume play after getting some much-delayed sleep.

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taking the good with the bad

permalink Saturday, 16DEC2006:

in the early afternoon, i stopped in at the parish hall to attend a memorial service for the local lawyer who passed away last weekend. being a non-religious type, i did feel a bit out of place as others sang hymnals with great rigour and recited passages from memory from the book of common prayers. a bit disconcerting, but seeing as i was there to pay my respects, i somehow survived the cognitive disconnect. while many of us only knew him as a lawyer, a couple of memorials revealed that he had come to the north over 30 years ago as one of the (hudson) 'bay boys'.

later, at the risk of re-injuring my sore back, i suited up for broomball, but it was to no avail as i ran into kevin on my way to the old arena and he turned me back. it seems that a 3 on 3 hockey tourney had eaten into our ice time, and no one had thought to pass that info on to us broomballers. while disapointed, that did leave us with more energy for the first annual broomball xmas party that mark was hosting later in the evening.

before heading to mark's, i got to enjoy a fine staff xmas supper at the francophone association. doug and JFra did an outstanding job on the meal which featured turkey and huge slabs of prime rib. a few speeches followed the feast and then the gang participated in a few good-natured games, including attempting to open an excessively packaged item with only a fork and knife, trying to get the foil wrapping off of some chocolate squares while wearing oven mitts, and finally re-rolling a sizable ball of yarn while wiggling your knees. good food, good company, and good fun !

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closing out iqaluit broomball for 2006

permalink Tuesday, 19DEC2006:

iqaluit broomball chronicles: 19dec200:

team white: christian, gavinw, alastair, kerry (2), julian
team black: me, jokeypah, curtis (1), JFre (1), dan

10 stalwarts showed up for our closing broomball game of 2006 at the old arena in iqaluit on tuesday nite. while our numbers may have flagged a bit, our enthusiasm did not and jokeypah joined the boys for a more 'gentlemanly' game than we've seen in awhile. the particular absence of certain instigators was duly noted ;)

with no subs, we all had to conserve our energies, but not kerry. he came storming out of the gate and got 2 goals on curtis in the first 5 minutes of play. before this turned into a rout, jokeypah and i stepped into the netminding duties, freeing up curtis for some offensive action. however, the scoring dried up and for the next 30 minutes, both evenly matched teams scrambled from one end of the ice to the other.

curtis seemed to be just one step shy of some opportunites set up by JFre or dan. gavinw had a few stumbles in his borrowed shoes until he decided to play in net for a spell where he made some awesome stops. christian made some nice streaks in the offensive end to join kerry, leaving it to julian and alastair to cover the defense. JFre was the first to break the logjam as he stuffed the ball in behind julian in net to put team black on the board. he also made the pass to curtis beside the net which resulted in the tying goal.

with only 7 minutes remaining, both teams renewed their efforts to get the go-ahead goal, as singularly demonstrated by kerry when he hit the ball from one side of the ice around the boards behind the net and caught up to it at the other side of the ice before anyone else could reach it. however, it was not to be and the game ended up tied at 2. so that's it for broomball for 2006, but we'll resume play on saturday, jan. 6th in the new year !

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knowing the difference between 'good' and 'great'

permalink Wednesday, 20DEC2006:

the first day of my annual december leave arrived and i gladly set my alarm for much later in the morning. as it happened, i awoke to an interesting piece on cbc's 'the current' about the 'attack of the standing ovators'. the link is to a realaudio media file, but when i get back from my southern trip, i'll convert it to mp3. anyway, it seems that a gent at some event, while enjoying the 'good' performance, was not inclined to stand up to applaud it as an 'exceptional' show and was heckled / pressured by another audience member to get onto his feet. he politely declined, but she still wouldn't give up.

the rest of the piece discussed where this impetus for 'praising mediocrity' might come from and what some of the implications would be. some felt that the audience members, after paying exhorbitant ticket prices, felt the need to justify those expenses by deluding themselves into believing that they got their money's worth. another take was that our society has become much more willing to heap praise for effort rather than execution (polite liar syndrome). the final reason that caught my ear was that audience members more often want to feel like active participants in an event and that a standing ovation to close the evening is an easy way to punctuate that 'i was a part of this' thought.

the result of this mentality is that certain words have lost some of their previous gloss. while 'interesting' doesn't mean bad, it no longer provides any sense of enthusiasm and 'good' is now seen to damn with faint praise. in fact, there's nothing wrong with using 'good' to mean good.

so, while i was tempted to start giving my annual rundown of my top films viewed this year, i think i'll let that percolate a bit more, especially seeing as i'll be down south and might catch a few more indie pics before year-end. however, i can safely say that the leading candidates right now are 'stranger than fiction', 'thank u for smoking' and 'the devil wears prada'.

anyway, i did manage to get up in time to make my lunch engagement with constantin. we had sloppy joe's at the northern lights cafe over a game of chess. while i showed some gumption in our first game in a few months, in the end, constantin was able to turn the tables on me and beat me in a pawn-to-queen race. ah well, at least it feels like i'm getting better, and that's a 'good' thing. ;)

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