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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

don't quack me up

permalink Tuesday, 10JUL2007:

so after the wrap-up of the alianait festival, i sort of ducked out of sight for awhile, skipping both canada day and nunavut day celebrations to hibernate indoors and try to recharge a bit. when i finally decided to go out on sunday afternoon to pick up a few notions from the northmart, i was puzzled by the fact that the northmart parking lot appeared empty and worried that i might have set my clock wrong and missed its regular closing time. however, i was then waved over to the side of the road by a by-law officer and finally noticed a crowd of people huddled down behind the little pedestrian walkway. spotting john with the cbc camera, i decided to ask him what was up.

serves me right for going out in public ! only an hour and a half before, someone had fired rifle shots from green row in their direction, where their tripod had been set up *on* the pedestrian walkway, and they had to scramble it down and duck for cover. and there i was walking along, merrily oblivious. lucky for me, no further shots were fired and the whole incident ended peacefully a few hours later when the man gave himself up. i used to work down the hall from the fellow, and had even had him over to my place to play poker once. it's such a small town here sometimes ...

saw 'surf's up' last week at the astro and found it a nice way to spend an evening. the mockumentary style was a nice touch and some of the waves almost looked real to a non-surfer like me. the chicken jokes were appropriately awful. i'll go to see 'knocked up' this thursday and then will be caught up on the few movies that have come up here that have any remote appeal for me.

however, i did get a recommendation to check out a series of videos on youtube by 'tuff_fish'. my fave is a mashup of daniel powter's 'bad day' with various tuff_fish audio excerpts (language warning for sensitive ears). i liked the song, so i did a google search for the lyrics and found out that this is the track that is played when someone gets tossed off of american idol, a show that i've managed to avoid ever seeing (made a teeny easier by not owning a t.v. set). i did note that the performer was a canuck, tho, so i added his debut album to my amazon wishlist (need to burnish my cancon cred somehow !).

ip idiocy link of the day (thanks to the stingy investor newsletter for the heads-up):

  • attack of the mutant rice.
    Last November, over the howls of anti-GMO 
    (that's genetically modified organisms) 
    activists, the USDA retroactively approved 
    the Liberty Link rice, known as LL601.  The 
    department said the genes that it approved 
    are similar to those inserted for years into 
    canola and corn, with no apparent ill effects. 
    The experts at the USDA, the EPA and the Food 
    and Drug Administration, all of which bear 
    some responsibility for regulating transgenic 
    food, say the contamination is nothing to worry 
    Then again, the experts also have dismissed 
    repeated warnings that genetically modified 
    crops can't be managed or controlled.  When 
    organic farmers worried that their fields 
    could be invaded by genetically modified 
    plants grown nearby, regulators told them 
    there was nothing to fear.  The biotech 
    industry promised that experimental, 
    gene-altered plants could be grown in 
    open fields and never, ever end up in the 
    neighborhood Safeway.
    i find it ironic that i came across this article exposing these 'oversights' (pun intended) of the u.s. FDA in the same week as the execution of a chinese FDA official for approving untested medicine in exchange for cash. it's hard to imagine that any u.s. official might be held just as accountable should any deaths arise from this contaminated rice or due to any issues with GM soy.

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european waypoints

permalink Wednesday, 25JUL2007:

last nite i finally finalized the travel itinerary for my iminent european tour after much procrastination. i had booked my flights earlier this year in april, but didn't start getting around to the accomodations and potential attractions until late last week.

my first leg will be the most expensive - the flight from iqaluit down to montreal is over half of the entire flight cost. i'm taking the regular first air flight down (hopefully without duplicating the flight attendant incident from my last trip south) and then staying one evening at l'auberge alternative in the heart of old montreal. the next nite i catch the red eye from montreal to london heathrow and transfer from there to the flight to berlin.

in berlin, i'll be staying at the alcatraz backpacker hostel. i'm sure i'll be busy with my brother's pre-wedding and wedding events, but since the berlin on bike tours start in the same neighbourhood as the hostel, i plan on doing both the berlin wall tour and the berlin's best tours if i can.

after recovering from the wedding festivities, i'll be flying out of berlin the next week to london heathrow, transferring to london gatwick and then continuing on from there to dublin. in dublin, i'll be staying at the litton lane hostel, touted as being a former recording studio for U2, van morrison and david bowie. oh, and i must plug the hostel search site - considering i was searching for rooms mere weeks before my travel, i was amazed at the room availability and reasonable prices on offer. highly recommended.

i'll spend a week in dublin taking in some of the sights in the neighbourhood and trying to see if i can spot sinead o'connor lurking. however, since dublin is a poker hotspot, i've already printed off a copy of the Fitzwilliam Card Club's tourney schedule so that i'll be ready to give that a go once the camera finger gets tired.

after that week in dublin, i'll hope onto a train to galway and rent a car from there to drive to clifden. i'm hoping that i can handle driving on the 'wrong' side of the road for a few hours without endangering anyone else. the connemara peninsula is cited as having some of the most majestic scenery in ireland, so i may have to invest in another over-sized memory card for my digital camera. i'll spend the nite at the clifden town hostel before returning to galway to take the return train to dublin.

i'll return to the litton lane hostel for a couple of nites and then i'll head back to london where i will spend a couple of days re-visiting that lovely city. in london, i'll be staying at the astor leinster inn. only after booking the hostel did i check for casino locations, and i was pleasantly surprised to note that the grosvenor victoria casino was a mere single tube stop away from the hostel. oh, my lucky stars !

after blowing all my dublin winnings in london, i will have only pennies left after springing for the trip out to heathrow where i will enjoy the treats of the air canada departure lounge (compliments of a pass from roberta). then it's back over the pond to montreal for a return engagement at l'auberge alt before my return to iqaluit and a smiling matthieu handing me a huge stack of mail at the post office.

i was sad to read today that ulrich muehe, who had been so impressive in 'the lives of others', had passed away. i was really looking forward to seeing him in future films. thanks to's andrew leonard for pointing me towards the blog architectures of control, covering all sorts of mind-altering infrastructure and design.

ip idiocy link of the day:

the u.k. government denied a request to extend the copyright term for music performances, which is a *good* thing. the sad thing is that just about everyone else is going extension happy without thinking thru the consequences to culture.

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hot sunshine in july

permalink Tuesday, 31JUL2007:

so i'm in my montreal stopover today before taking the redeye flight over to europe tonight. the sun is nice and hot, giving a welcome change of pace from moody iqaluit climes. i went to grab a couple bites of unagi from the sushi place by notre dame, formerly nagoya, but now calling itself tatami after renovations and likely new management.

after that delish snack, i took the metro out to the AMC 22 (for free, since there was no station attendant) and caught a showing of the latest danny boyle flick, his sf-themed 'sunshine'. the film featured a multi-ethnic cast of recognizable, but not A-list (i.e. too expensive) actors. cliff curtis (of 'three kings' fame) plays the psychologist who gets a high from staring at the sun. i must sheepishly admit that i had actually mistaken him for kal penn at first. hiroyuki sanada (who i recall fondly from 'the last samurai') played the stoic captain of the vessel who turns to face his doom with silent defiance. michelle yeoh (of 'crouching tiger, hidden dragon', 'supercop' and 'wing chun' fame) plays the graceful botanist who watches in despair as her oxygen garden go up in flames - one of the best images in the film.

cillian murphy (most recently seen in 'the wind that shakes the barley' but also good in 'red eye' and 'batman begins') plays the wide-eyed physicist who controls the bomb and holds the fate of humanity in his hands. chris evans (who i'm told played johnny storm in 'fantastic four') is the brash engineer and rose byrne (who was briseis in 'troy') was very cute as the ship's pilot. i had seen her in 'marie antoinette' and 'star wars ep2', but this was the first time that i really took note of her. anyway, the cast was well put-together, tho if they were meant to represent humanity, the lack of someone of african heritage was a noticeable omission.

the visual effects were amazing and definitely need to be seen on a big screen to be fully appreciated. the plot was straightforward except for the bits featuring the survivor from the previous icarus 1 vessel, which were suitably disturbing. however, the most outstanding element was the sound and music design which were orchestrated effectively in conjunction with the visual feast. the final audio track, according to imdb was 'avenue of hope' by i am kloot, so i have added 'gods and monsters' to my amazon wishlist. however, i'm also hoping that an official soundtrack with the tracks by underworld will also get released.

i also wanted to mention that i had spent the last couple weeks in iqaluit diving in to seasons 5, 6 and 7 of 'the west wing'. i enjoyed the live debate episode and was truly sad during the funeral for leo macgarry. josh and donna finally get together and cj realizes that there is life beyond the white house. i'm glad the series finished on a high note.

on sunday at the northmart, i picked up a copy of a recent cd titled 'in.ngi.u.ti.qat.ta.u.ti.jut' (all one word, with the periods indicating the syllable breaks) or 'songs for each other' which features some people that i know. i berated a couple of them yesterday for not letting me know that this cd was out, with proceeds going to benefit the iqaluit women's shelter. anyway, kudos to molly, celina, emily, jennifer and anna, as well as to stuart, michael, neil and tony behind the scenes. all of the tracks are great, but my faves are anna's two tracks with emily's 'water to drink' a close third.

this cd is kind of a snap shot of who was in iqaluit at that moment in time, and reflects the very transient nature of the music community in iqaluit. michael and molly left iqaluit this month, as did stuart and emily, tho emily promises to be back in 2008 to help run alianait! again. neil and anna were both down south over the past year, but anna returned this month and neil should be back soon. jennifer is now residing in pang. celina and tony will just have to keep holding the fort until another crew arrives to fill in the gaps.

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