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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter


permalink Tuesday, 06MAR2007:

screencap from cbc north website weather

nope, no photoshop editing here folks. it really is minus 51 here today, and while loose snow is blowing around outside my office window, the frigid temps mean that a relaxing blizzard is unlikely. uggh, feels like my brain is trying to hibernate until springtime finally arrives :( the phone lines are apparently down in iqaluit - maybe they are just sympathizing with our frozen plight ??

so i played an 18-person poker tourney on friday evening and busted out in 14th place. i managed to get back up to even for the session, but only after a total of 12 hours of play. ugly. saturday nite after broomball was spent at the francophone association where they hosted a couple of musicians from burkina faso - the drummer was ultra-intense !

also still continuing with my monday evening radio show 'artofthemix' on cfrt - last night's show featured my 'spring fever' mix, but again, i don't have a podcast available as i still haven't fixed up my pc yet - if only i could let go of the idea of getting a massive high score on 'master of orion2', maybe i'd finally get around to re-partioning my hard drive and getting a final clean install of winxp. no vista for me for now - i'll wait another couple years for them to work the bugs out of it before plunging, and maybe longer if the DRM 'features' (i.e. bugs) still haven't been squashed.

i've also been procrastinating on my taxes, but seeing as i just received another T4 in yesterday's mail, perhaps it's for the best. one of my income trust investments spins off cash that has to be apportioned between 'taxable income' and 'return of capital' which has tax-deferred status. methinks i'll have to do a bit of research to figure out what that all means. i could take advantage of the fact that i have a copy of this year's tax software, compliments of the canadian volunteer income tax program (CVITP), but i'm still masochistic enough to prefer to do my own via spreadsheet and hardcopy. i'll probably still use the software as a backup check, as long as i've used it enough for its intended purpose (to assist low-income earners with completing their tax returns) to allay any of my pangs of conscience.

looking forward to this weekend's banff mountain film festival that we'll be hosting at the astro theatre, tho i may duck out early from the gala on saturday night to catch the northern ramblers at the legion where they are having a new cd-release party. anyway, here's here's the roster of films that we picked to show:

 Saturday, March 10th

   Yes to the No: no-boarding = snow-boarding 
     without bindings
   Mission Epicocity: kayaking in african rapids
   Asiemut: a couple cycling across asia (mongolia, 
     tibet, india)

   Aweberg: iceberg-climbing !!
   First Ascent: Didier vs. the Cobra: crack-climbing          
   The Best of Jo: lego animation adventure by 
     12-year-old film-maker

Sunday, March 11th

   Ride of the Mergansers: bird pic set to 'ride of 
     the valkyries'
   Conflict Tiger: hunting man-eating tiger in russia

   Anomaly: skiing set to music 
   First Ascent: Thailand: rock-climbing over water
   Roam: mountain biking in moab and whistler
   The Thrill Seekers: 'extreme' mountain biking / 

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mixed emotions

permalink Friday, 23MAR2007:

i started off the day by sending off some mixes over the pond for an aotm mix trade with siobhan. i've been an admirer of her musical taste for some time and i'm glad that i finally got around to arranging a trade.

then i popped in to the office to draft up a little speech for joe's farewell. he's leaving us after working up here for 7 years and the place just won't be the same without him. all of the legal community came out after lunch to shower him with accolades. i managed to stay right up to the end of the ceremony before i had to scoot over to the airport to catch my flight down to montreal (where i am typing this now at BattleNet.24)

in the post-security waiting area, i ran into the scientist who had given a talk the night before at the museum about the canadian space agency's vision for space science and how nunavut can be an active part of canada's effort. the best part of his presentation was a 'flyover' of the martian landscape as pieced together from the data from the mars probes to date. with my geoscience background, i still harbour a slim notion that i'll maybe someday head to space for a jaunt.

the flight south was delayed somewhat in kuujuaq as one of the flight attendants suffered a freak fall accident and fell from the plane level down to the ground sans stairway. the plane was grounded until the crew was able to find out from the hospital about whether or not their comrade would need to be medevaced on their flight, so we hung out for a few hours until the word came down that she would be ok. at least our delay didn't match the 24-hour delay described in this week's askthepilot column.

hmmm, what else happened this week - oh, the city's waste committee met on wednesday nite without any city staff (by our request) so that we could air our concerns without worrying about ruffling feathers. with the folks picked for the team this time around, i'm a bit more optimistic that we'll be able to get at some of the details that we'll need to make informed decisions.

on tuesday nite, i pre-recorded my 3-hour contribution to this weekend's radiothon at the francophone radio station. it's to be a 24-hour 7 p.m. to 7 p.m. stretch, and my segment will be on from 3 to 6 a.m. so the rest of the gang can get some shuteye. monday was hosed due to a blizzard, but it cleared up enough in the afternoon for us to gather at todd's for another evening of poker. after my extended loss-less streak dating back to the beginning of the year, on that nite, while i did manage to come in 2d twice, i played 5 straight games without a notch in the win column. this just proves the adage, "what goes up, must come down ..."

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yet another montreal movie marathon ...

permalink Wednesday, 28MAR2007:

thanks to the vagaries of northern flight schedules, i had a couple of extra days in montreal in conjunction with a board meeting that someone else is paying for. sweetness. so, while i did take some time to enjoy sushi in the sunshine, i spent a couple of days entombed within the caverns of the AMC 22 and the Paramount to gorge myself on the delectable delights of metropolitan-style cinema with a pair of triple-headers.

first up was 'the namesake' at 10:35 on saturday, directed by mira nair and starring kal penn (of 'harold and kumar' fame) as the youngster caught between the worlds of his immigrant parents and the woolly wilds of america. like 'bend it like beckham' before it, the poor youth is a troubled soul, but the real heart of the story is the one of the parents who had moved for a better future for their children - the mother who trained as a singer and then put it aside for decades while her children grew up. the movie made me think about the sacrifices that my parents made during their journey to canada and how i've benefitted. the film didn't really hold up as a movie for me, however, but the reveal of the taj mahal was breath-taking.

next up was the oscar-award winning film, 'the lives of others' at 12:40. this was my favourite 'serious' film of the weekend, with both Ulrich M?e and Sebastian Koch impressing me in their roles as the idealistic Stasi agent and the equally idealistic playwright. while the subject matter was inflected with typical cold war espionage paranoia, the characters themselves burst with life amidst their restrictions. every major character displayed both empathy and cruelty at different points in true human fashion. the title for the book on sale at the end, 'sonata for a good man', would have been my preferred title for this movie.

the final flick of the day was a little british film called 'cashback'. after reading the blurbs online at cinemaclock, about a young insomniac art student who goes to work in an all-night grocery store to kill time, i was surprised to see the medium-sized cinema packed with a much older audience of people than the college-age crowd that i had expected. the film was actually pretty funny with lots of piquant coming-of-age bits. the best were the 'paused' scenes that examined one of my favourite daydream fantasies. of course, the tale being about an 'art' student, the film had to feature figure models in various states of undress. it was only after stumbling out of the cinema that i got an explanation for the weird crowd - when i looked up to see the bare breasts emblazoned on the movie poster in the lobby ;)

the flick freakout continued on tuesday, starting off at the downtown paramount with what ended up being my fave film of the whole session, 'music and lyrics' at 16:15. i haven't been a huge fan of hugh grant's 'aw shucks' movie persona, but here it was combined with a 'gone to seed' cynicism that was almost refreshing when drawn up against drew's typically bubbly ingenue. i find drew quite endearing in this manner, especially since 'the wedding singer'. plus, like 'that thing you do', any film about music-making that actually gets me to hum along, instead of wanting to pull my hair out running from the cineplex, gets my thumbs up. light, fluffy, and predictable, it was a delightful hors d'oeuvre before the heavy main course to come.

next up was 'the wind that shakes the barley' at 19:05, back at the AMC after a short trip on the metro. i've been meaning to visit ireland for some time now, and since my bro is getting married in berlin in august, i figured that that might be as good a time as any. anyway, this film didn't do much to highlight the cheery side of ireland. i'm not suggesting that every second scene should have featured a jig, but you know there must have been some reason why they all wanted to preserve their own culture so badly. give us a taste before you blow everything to disillusioned smithereens. maybe i just couldn't buy cillian murphy's character's change of heart. or maybe the movie's version of the eponymous traditional tune didn't hold up to the version that i had walked in with - sinead o'connor's 'Oro Se Do Bheatha 'Bhaile'. disjointed music combined with disjointed storytelling - how disappointing.

the final picture in my montreal film marathon was 'la vie en rose', (titled 'la môme' for u.s. audiences) at 22:05 at the AMC. the biopic of the life of edith piaf was very intense and the actress who portrayed her, marion cotillard, deserves whatever awards are given to her. her sprightly insouciance (yes, i had to use a dictionary for that one) and bold musical delivery were a pleasure to watch on screen. however, if i had to deal with an edith in real life, i would've dunked her head in the barrels of champagne that she constantly ordered - talk about being a handful. this was a long-ish pic, so probably not the best one the night before flying home, but it's definitely worth watching.

returning home today, i rushed over to the astro to catch 'black snake moan'. the music was fabulous and the story about self-control (or lack of it) was nicely set up. both samuel l. and christina ricci got to chew up some scenery. the highlight for me was the bar room jam session where samuel and co. just hammer the rhythm into the floorboards. sweaty, sexy and sublime ...

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