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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

the right story to tell

permalink Sunday, 18DEC2005:

after i finally got up around 5:30 in the afternoon, i finished reading neil gaiman's 'anansi boys'. an excerpt from the first chapter is available on neil's website. while there were no jaw-dropping moments of insight, there were many chuckle-inducing bits of cleverness. a tale about surviving and eventually cherishing family embarassments, an explanation about where stories come from and how the shape of the world came to be, tidily wrapped up in the notion that all sorts of strange contrivances can be sorted out with just the right song.

some of the passages that i highlighted:
  • [p.10] "And what kind of man would I be if I forgot [your favourite song]"
  • [p.44] "She said that if a just-married couple put a coin in a jar every time they make love in their first year, and take a coin out for every time that they make love in the years that follow, the jar will never be emptied."
  • [p.82] He had somehow put the karaoke incident out of his mind, placed it in the dark places one disposes of inconvenient things.
  • [p.139] "It's what I always use when the recipe says basil this or oregano that. I can't be doin' with it. You ask me, it's all mixed herbs."
  • [p.175] Life without thinking had been perfectly pleasant - instinct, impulse, and an obscene amount of luck had served him quite well up to now.
  • [p.219] "We can pick up some Jaffa cakes on the way."
  • [p.247] In reality the world is made of thousands upon thousands of groups of about five hundred people, all of whom will spend their lives bumping into each other, trying to avoid each other, and discovering each other in the same unlikely teashop in Vancouver.
  • [p.252] "Now, Anansi stories, they have wit and trickery and wisdom. Now, all over the world, all of the people they aren't just thinking of hunting and being hunted anymore. Now they're starting to think their way out of problems - sometimes thinking their way into worse problems."
  • [p.263] Stories are webs, interconnected strand to strand, and you follow each story to the center, because the center is the end. Each person is a strand of story.
  • [p.292] "If you don't die now and again, people start takin' you for granted."
i also didn't have to look up the word 'nictitating' in the dictionary, as i had already picked it up from my prep for the 'rez sisters' play that fell-thru.

i finished up the book and a few leftovers from yesterday's fête at marjorey's just in time to head up to the astro. i caught bryan in a good mood as he gave me a discount when i paid for a double-header of 'narnia' and 'walk the line'. narnia was well done and much more hard-edged than i usually associate with a disney flick. the CGI critters were not too mismatched with the humans and scenery. it was neat to see how the animals aligned themselves into 'good' and 'bad', especially as i had just finished reading neil's book which had portrayed them as archetypes.

'walk the line' was just as fabulous the second time around, and i'm tempted to pick up the soundtrack in addition to a few of the original johnny cash albums. i know that the story has been hollywood-ized, but the motivations and love story still ring true. as jack relates to j.r. early on, "you can't help anyone if you don't have the right story."

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magnificent creations

permalink Monday, 19DEC2005:

monte called me around 3 in the afternoon, just as i was hitting the snooze button for the nth time. he invited me over to his new house for an evening of fine food, scrabble and a flick (supplied by yours truly). the food by sara was as fantastic as promised and it was followed by some of joanne's homemade rodent treats. getting reaquainted with fidel, i was also introduced to the other furry members of the menagerie, beulah and sahara.

i partially redeemed myself during the scrabble matchup as sara opened up the board just enough for me to get the word 'creation' and score the bonus 50 to get 78 points - half of what i got during the entire game last thursday! that word was then extended by monte *twice*, first to 'creations', and then to 'recreations'. while sara finished 2d with 165, joanne was only a couple of points behind, and monte had been only 3 points back before her final burst over the finish line. notable words on the final board included 'atrium', 'azure' and 'quips'.

after joanne went home to greet her cats and pillow, we watched 'the dancer upstairs'. i forgot all about talking to monte about the proposed investment club, so we'll have to chat about that some other time.

on a sad note, i just found out today about john spencer's passing. he was most recently famous for playing leo macgarry, the chief of staff on 'the west wing'. i somehow didn't notice that the dvd sets were no longer being made available thru my regular comic distributor, so i'll be picking up the dvd's of the last couple of seasons as soon as 2006 rolls around and i can allocate the expense to the new budget year.

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things have to change

permalink Wednesday, 21DEC2005:

got woken up today by a couple of phone rings, neither of which left messages, leading me to believe that the plague of telemarketers has somehow gotten me listed. i got a call last night after 10 pleading with me for funds to support organ donor ops for babies. babies ?? do they have any idea who they even talk to ? anyway, i turned off my ringer and changed my answering machine message which had survived unchanged for the last couple of years. i did make a copy for my pc, tho, so i can replay it for the memories ;)

after a couple of days of hermitting and sort of moving some of the clutter around the apartment, i decided that it was time to venture outside. first i checked in with malaki at ibc to see if we could use their studio for the SOAG production in january. it would be a tight squeeze time-wise, so i suspect that we will stick with the french school.

after that brisk back and forth, i took another nap before swinging up to the astro to catch 'the rocket'. bryan was having a holiday special, where all flicks were $2 admission, with the proceeds going to the food bank. the film emphasized the oppression felt by francophones who could not even speak their own language while playing with les canadiens.

my next stop was the storehouse, where wing night was in full session. i chatted with susan about ip and intl human rights law stuff and stef about her potential return in january. fletcher was thumbs up for the investment group meeting proposal and kerry got the lowdown on the last broomball game of the year. rounding out the party were sara, monte, jane, rachel, olivia and jules (?) who was visiting from ottawa.

  • ip idiocy link of the day: stealing home won the people's choice award for this contest featuring short films on the topic of IP law and its effects on documentary film-making. you can use this link to download the film directly. (right click - save as)
updating this issue, the center for social media issued a statement in late november outlining reasonable approaches to fair use and free speech:
Fair Use is the right, in some 
circumstances, to quote 
copyrighted material without asking 
permission or paying for it.  It is 
a crucial feature of copyright law. 
In fact, it is what keeps copyright 
from being censorship.  You can 
invoke fair use when the value to 
the public of what you are saying 
outweighs the cost to the private 
owner of the copyright.
the site hosts some clips that illustrate what kinds of excerpts might be considered fair use under these guidelines.

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minor disappointments

permalink Thursday, 22DEC2005:

my amazon z-store shipment of the v-roys cd that i ordered back in the first week of november finally arrived in the mail today - yay ! 'fade away' is still my fave track, but the album isn't a one-hit wonder by any stretch. 'sorry sue' is growing on me with every listen:

it ain't really me you want
i'm just the one you're counting on
i had been looking forward to seeing 'fun with dick and jane' which opens tomorrow nite at the astro, but when i found out that it was a $ony movie, i had to reconsider. after $ony's boneheaded and botched XCP maneuver, i'm not really inclined to give them any more of my money. i'll make an exception for 'memoirs of a geisha' if it gets released here, but for anything marginal like FWDAJ, i'll give $ony a pass. good thing 'walk the line' is held over for another week ...

i just ran across this story about b.c.'s so-called 'environment' minister who figures that the best way to save trees is to chop a few down and replace them with a bigger parking lot ! george orwell would be impressed. if the proposed 'solution' is worse than the problem - i.e. a bigger lot will lead to more gawkers will lead to a need for a bigger parking lot / mall, etc. ad nauseum, then i side with the greenies on this one. leaving cathedral grove closed until a more visionary administration, less enamoured with 'traffic safety', can provide an alternative proposal is better than making things easier for forestry traffic. i've stopped at that location each time i've been on the island - it's beautiful, it's majestic and if we don't preserve it, we'll be judged harshly by future generations.

iqaluit is not immune from this irksome 'service' mentality. we have imported southern-style standards for parking lot sizes, resulting in huge expanses of pavement / gravel between buildings, letting the wind whip on thru the whole downtown core at will. there's even talk of banning snowmachines from the city's roadways. making life easier for drivers should not be the top priority. even calgary, canada's oil capital, has seen fit to provide above-ground walkways between buildings to shelter pedestrians from the elements. i'd rather have more businesses / services / residences in a compact core than an emulation of the concrete wasteland that made houston an eyesore when i lived there. humans before cars, for crying out loud !

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another friend is married off ...

permalink Friday, 23DEC2005:

got up in time to head over to the nav where the rest of the office crowd was out to enjoy the nav buffet. i spent the rest of the afternoon browsing thru cenobyte's lovely portfolio of wedding photos. the weather outside looked fab for a saskatchewan winter and the couple, appropriately enough, looked like they were meant for each other. hurray !

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cranium on christmas eve

permalink Saturday, 24DEC2005:

went over to joanne's house for a xmas eve feast of hors d'oeuvres. my favourites were the caribou skewers, the mini-quiches and the gingerbread men. afterwards we had a 3-way matchup at cranium. the winning team was sara, monte and alison, followed closely by odile, john and shannon. pulling up the rear (i had some difficulty spelling platypus backwards) were myself, bella and joanne. at least i was able to hum 'do wah ditty' well enough for joanne to guess ...

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