Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Opus in the Key of C Minor

So, it's over. FINALLY. Tear down the signs, turn off the news, throw out the flyers; in fact, don't even say the word "election". For awhile. June 2007 to be exact. By my count, at least.

So, the Libs are out and the Cons are in. Childcare is out, weekly cheques for $25 are in. Lower income taxes are out, a 6% GST is in. Funding for sustainable infrastructure (like, maybe a bus shelter? for the end of my street? for when it's -50 out?) is out, tax credits for bus passes are in. I guess I'm supposed to buy my own bus shelter with my $144. Hey, I shouldn't complain - that'll buy me a lot of pizza (for the boxes) (also for the pizza) and duct tape.

All in all though, I'm not as upset as one might imagine. In fact, I think that this is one of the better case scenarios, and I'll tell you why.

See in this crazy little thing called democracy, no one party holds power forever, otherwise it wouldn't so much be a democracy as it would be something that rhymes with "vascist mictatorship". So eventually there was bound to be a shift in power. At some point, a Conservative government would form.

Now let's say the Liberals had managed to win this one, despite their campaign (or should I say "campaign"?) (Yes. Yes I should.) and eke out a little minority. That'd leave us with another shaky government, and another election in a couple of years, during which time Harper cleans a few of the visible fundies out of the ranks, takes a few more smiling lessons, and asks his right-wing buddies in the US to leave less of a trail. That, my friends, could have spelled a majority Conservative government ("O-H-S-H-I-T-W-E-R-E-F-U-C-K-E-D").

But right now? The Cons have a tiny itty bittly little minority, they have three socially progressive parties on the other side, and they have a liberal media ready to skewer their every move. And they have, at my best guess, until next spring to do their worst.

And in the meantime, the Liberals can clean house, get rid of any dead weight, find a new leader, and come back to a majority win and pick up all the pieces.

At least that's how it goes in my mind! And also there's this part where Fox un-cancels Firefly and gives me a unicorn. But that's a whole 'nother travel.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Why You Do Me So Wrong? Episode II

Dear contributor to my already obscene amount of personal wealth,

Congratulations on purchasing the single greatest movie trilogy of all time, the digitally-remastered Star Wars Episodes IV through VI. You may have heard that this edition features the cleanest, sharpest footage of these classic movies, painstakingly restored to their original glory. Well, it's true! I had all three films meticulously cleaned and digitized until the droids sparkled and the lightsabres popped. All for you. That's how much I love you, and all the Star Wars merchandise you buy.

You may also have heard that I've updated them...again. Now, based on what little of the outside world I allow to penetrate the sanctified walls of Skywalker Ranch, I have come to believe that a certain rebellious faction were less than pleased by the updates I made when the Star Wars films were re-released theatrically in the late 90s. I believe the term "butchery" was used. You know - a couple of new CGI backgrounds here, a couple of new CGI characters there.What can I say? CGI back then was the Emperor, and I was weak. I was led down the path to the darkside.

Many of you saw the DVD-release as my opportunity to make up to those I hurt the most, my most loyal fans. And so did I! And as I was preparing those DVDs for release, I knew what I had to do. Heed the calls of the fans and release the original theatrical versions with remastered picture and sound and God intended?

No. That would be the easy way out. I had to release a new version, a third version, and prove to all those pimply virgins that when it comes to Star Wars, I am their God, and they'd better like my freakin' creation because it's all they're going to get. If you can't appreciate my unquestionable genius, you can go kiss a wookiee.

Now I know a lot of people out there over the age of 10 have fond feelings for the original theatrical versions, and may tell me that they were just fine as they were, what with the record-breaking financial success, the cultural impact, the landmark achievement, blahblahblah. Look, those first three were good, I'll give you that. But let me ask you this - if Leonardo DaVinci were alive today, would he leave the Mona Lisa as it was just because it was "pretty good?". Because it was a "cultural landmark?". Because there's no need to "update a classic, because classic implies that it's already a timeless creation in its original form?" Hells no, people. If he was here, that lady would not only smile, she'd wave and say "Go buy the Star Wars trilogies on DVD!". Because even DaVinci knows a superior artistic genius when he sees one.

Now, the first time I remastered those movies, that was a mistake, sure. I was eager to jump on the CGI bandwagon. But on the bright side, it did give me the much-needed experience to create the world's first fully-animated character in that unanimously-adored fellow, Jar-Jar! And, when all of you flocked to the theatres, I knew I had a hit. So, no more location shooting for me! No more focussing on narrative and character development! Wacky creatures, slapstick comedy, dialogue more unnatural than most porn films (and I should know), and action sequences which look like they were designed by the ADHD kid next door! And, most importantly, all the CGI you can cram in! THAT'S what makes a great movie!

And those movies gave the know-how to finally give you the version that you've all been waiting for. That's what all my closest advisors tell me. "Yes", they say. "Put in that scene with Jabba the Hutt in Episode IV where Han calls him "a terrific human being" because it was originally filmed with a fat man, but why let that stop you?" Or, "Yes, I think that Hayden Christensen should be in Return of the Jedi, at the very end. Please don't fire me." Or "Yes, what all those movies need are new CGI-aliens all over the place, in random scenes, for no apparent reason, I agree completely, please don't throw me into the digitally-altered pit of the Sarlacc like you did with that guy who kept quoting to you from fan letters that started with "Dear Imperial Asswipe"."

So, enjoy your Star Wars Original Trilogy Version 3.0 DVD box set! And for those of you wondering how I sleep at night after all I've done to a treasured part of our cultural mythology, the answer is "on a pile of money, surrounded by many beautiful she-droids".

May the Force Be With You!

George Lucas

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Elect this!

What better way to celebrate one's 62nd birthday than by watching the televised English leaders' debate? Maybe some Matlock and a nice bowl of creamed corn...

Anyway - such was my night, with much-appreciated birthday wishes coming in by phone, interspersed with my shouting random things at the TV, while DD went on with his evening, wondering if and when he would have to use the straightjacket.

I can't help it though - politics get me riled up. Actually, it's not really politics, but the fact that politics oftain contains two of the things that rile me up the most:

1)Rhetorical speech filled with fallacies of reason, instead of logical and enlightening dialogue; AND
2)Lies and the lying liars who tell them

Like a certain person who I won't name here but let's just call him CreepyMcSmilesalot, and his OUTRIGHT LIE that a transit tax credit will encourage more people to use public transportation (and I say this as a public transituser. Not just a sometime user, but a five-times a week, rain or sleet or snow or heat at the end of my street with no bus shelter for me...or my feet).

Oh, and also on the "things that keep Floyd up late at night" is the fact that we might have to endure the SSM "debate" (I use the quotations marks because it's not so much a debate as one side putting forth reasonable, human-rights based arguments, and the other side going "It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, lalalalalalaaaaa I can't hear you!") AGAIN. If it comes to this once more, I might just have to pull my eyeballs out and pour rum directly into my brain.

Actually, let me just get these out in the open right now - let's see, what do my notes say (yes, I took notes...don't judge me...No, YOU'RE analog!). Alright, the issues that bugged me the most (in chronological order)

1)Harper's creepy smile. Okay, that's not really an issue, but it's on the list because SERIOUSLY DUDE get a mirror because your mouth is saying you're going to stand up for Canadians, but your dead eyes and half-smirk says "Right before I devour these puppies, heh heh!"

2)The notion that Quebec will be offended by people voting for the Liberals because it shows people don't care about the sponsorship scandal. I honestly don't understand why Quebec is pissed off at the rest of Canada over this - they were Quebec members of the Liberal Party who misappropriated funds. So to paint with broad brush strokes, the sponsorship scandal was about QUEBECORS taking money from a fund designed to KEEP THE COUNTRY TOGETHER and using it to buy shiny things, or whatever, and QUEBEC is mad at the rest of the country for this? Because the Liberals tried to bribe Quebec? And failed because a bunch of Quebecors were corrupt? Does...not...compute...

3)Peter Mackay! Oh Peter, subject of many a page girl crush...(hey, have you seen the other male MPs? We're not working with much, here) what has happened to you? Now, he wasn't mentioned by name, but they brought up the subject of question period, and Layton and Martin were all "blah blah blah question period is an uncivilized shouting match" and Harper was all "blah blah blah you won't answer our questions" and I was all "that's because a certain deputy leader in a certain only has one questions to ask and that's "When will you resign?"". Seriously, P-Mac, you need to get a new trick, because it's really tiresome that everytime you stand up you're demanding someone's resignation. I pity the poor restaurant server who has you at their table: "My soup is cold! When will you resign!" "But sir, you ordered the gazpacho!" "This whole restaurant is corrupt! When will you all resign!"

4)Mandatory minimum sentences - here, just read this.

5)THERE IS NO FISCAL IMBALANCE AIIIEEEE AH! AH! AH! (punctuated by hitting the couch). Okay, here's the scoop. The so-called "fiscal imbalance" is a term used by the provinces (ahem, QUEBEC) to describe one of two things either a)That the federal government has more money than the provinces (this is the Quebec definition); and b) when the provinces pay more to the federal government when they get back (ahem, Ontario). And in response:

a)The federal government has more money than the provinces because it is federal. It has 30 million taxpayers versus whatever number each province has. Suck it.

b)It's not the provinces giving money to the federal government, anyway, it's the TAXPAYERS in that province. If you can't balance your books, raise taxes or cut programs or just TRY HARDER - don't whine that you don't want to raise taxes because it'll hurt your re-election chances. Aso, suck it.

Shit - this is already a pretty long post and I'm not even halfway through my notes. So here's the rest, without editorializing:

-Swingers: H (n) L (y) (denotes my belief about which party leaders are and aren't swingers, based on their reaction to the question about swingers clubs, although likely not for lack of trying, if that creepy dead smile is any indication) (also, Duceppe's answer to that question was the best, talking about the importance of social evolution built on principles, and it makes me wonder how often Mrs. Duceppe has heard that speech in their bedroom: "Gilles, I'm not sure about this..." "But cheri, it is simply a natural part of social evolution!")

-GST cut boo (seriously, cut my income tax, please - I save on GST already by not buying lots of crap)

-Students, tradespeople, people who ride buses, people who's name starts with the letter "T", my aunt Bertha (from when Harper starting naming Canadians who will benefit from his tax platform - I may have paraphrased a bit)

-Shout outs to Cutler, Easter and Loubier (the only three candidates who got one, to the best of my knowledge).

-Artificial growth..... (honestly, I forget what this one was about. But it probably had to do with Harper)

-Quebecors are polite! (Heh, Martin telling Duceppe not to interrupt him...one of my favorite moments of the night...honestly, I wish those two crazy kids could make it work! Just a couple of guys of good ol' QC).

Alright - so I thought taking notes would help me organize my thoughts, but as is often the case, I was dead wrong. Or it could be that I thought a stiff drink would help, but maybe my co-worker is right - maybe 11am is too early.

Aw, hell - not during an election, it isn't.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesss

oh yeah...that's the spot...

Election Post #1 (of what is sure to be many)

Alright, there's just under three weeks left in this campaign, and I can't fight this feeling anymore. Must...post...political...commentary...

So - the Cons are in the lead. Apparently. Oh, sweet Jebus, why have you forsaken us?

All blasphemy aside (and good thing, because who knows what that'd get me in a Stephen Harper government), if the one statistics course that all Communications students were forced to take has taught me anything, it is that polls are, at best, educated guesses, and at worst, flawed reports no better at predicting outcomes than cow shit bingo.

(Aside - whenever we have our beer/cat asphyxiation meeting, remind me to share the stories about what happens when Arts Students and Math Collide, As Witnessed by an Arts Student Who Also Took Physics 12 With Mr. Agnew, He Who Does Not Tolerate Fools, William!)

So - less than three weeks left, and as my handy spies in Vic City have reported (thanks guys!), outside of the surreal bubble that is Ottawa, nobody really gives a fart about this campaign.

But I hope that you all are going to vote! Vote or...well, not die, because I'm not Whathisface Coombs. Maybe a good solid wedgie. I've updated my sidebar with all sorts of election goodies, so proscratinate freely - I do! Also, if anyone has any questions, about the election or a political party or why Harper was a fear-mongering hypocrite when last time around he was all "Even if the Liberals don't win the most seats, Paul Martin's still going to try to form a government" (answer: Because the incumbent PM's supposed to - check out the "Term" section), then please post them!

Also - speaking of hypocrisy - check out the "They'll Go Neg" ad for a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black from the fine minds at the Conservative War Room. It's like "Gee, how can we get Canadians to think that Paul Martin's going to eat a puppy?" "Gee, I don't know...wait a minute! Let's dress a little puppy up like Martin, and then have Stephen eat it!" Seriously, marketing guys - if you're criticizing someone for something you think they're going to do, maybe that criticism shouldn't take the EXACT FORM OF WHAT IT IS YOU'RE CRITICIZING THE OTHER GUY FOR THINKING ABOUT DOING. Just a little tip from one communicator to another.

Alright...that's it for now...but not for long, I'm sure. Oh wait, before I go - check this out. It'll be especially handy come next Monday night!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Beware the sun, and other things I have learned about winter in Ottawa

Six years of Ottawa winters, and it still gets me at least once every season. The sun, that is – all bright and glowy and shiny and raining down the UV rays and Vitamin D, calling out to me with its tendrils of burning gasses – “Come on out!” it says. “Look at me, all fiery and not obscured by so much as a single cloud! Leave your toque, your scarf, your thermal underwear, and come enjoy my life-giving light and warmth!”

And so I do – and instantly freeze all the way to my ovaries because DAMN! I keep forgetting that in this town, Sun=Cold Enough to Freeze the Bells off the Peace Tower.

Not so back home. In Victoria, sunny meant just what you’d think – a warmish day, at least, maybe cold and breezy in the evening, but certainly nothing to panic about. Only now, six years later, has it gotten through my permafrosted brain that Sun no longer equals Nice Out, that Sun=BAD!, that a sunny day means that I can look forward to those moments at the bus stop where I forget what it’s like to have feeling in my hands or feet.

Now I can’t even spell meteorologist (or can I? I’m too lazy to spell check) let alone explain what they do, so don’t expect some sort of in-depth analysis of why it is SO MUCH FREAKING COLDER on sunny days versus cloudy ones. I just state the facts, I don’t/can’t explain them. Stephen Harper’s gaining popularity in the polls, the sun makes things colder – don’t ask me to give you the why and how!

Another thing I have learned about winter is that West Coasters walk differently than the rest of the country. Every year, I slip and fall on icy sidewalks/streets at least three times. These incidents range from the minor (as in “smile abashedly at the concerned strangers”) to the spectacular (as in “write up contract for share of $10,000 American’s Funniest Home Video prize with random stranger with camera phone”).

And apparently, the reason for this tumbles are that I don’t walk the right way. My more winter-wise friends are constantly telling me to “Walk this way!” (not to be confused with Steven Tyler, who also tells me to “talk this way”). “This way” is apparently lightly and gingerly, like the sure-footed mountain goat, who sure as hell would be extinct by now if the mountains had the same snow and ice build-up and crazy aggressive drivers that Ottawa does.

Which brings me to another thing that I have learned about winter – nobody gives a shit about pedestrians.

Not the plows, that constantly dump snow from the sides of roads onto sidewalks, or pile it up and the edge of the crosswalk so that my walk to work more closely resembles the 200m hurdles. Not the sidewalk sweepers, those mini-plows with major attituded that barrel up and down the narrow walkways spraying salt and sand on everyone without slowing or stopping for foot traffic, thereby forcing pedestrians to leap for the safety of the snowbanks (aside – terrible, terrible aside – the first year I arrived in Ottawa, the body of an elderly woman was discovered in a snowbank on a busy downtown street – it was suspected that she had tried to get out of the way of one of these sweepers and fell into the snowbank, laying covered and unnoticed until she froze to death – not to be crass, but winter is serious business around here). And certainly not the drivers who refuse to let me cross the street to get to my house, and leave me standing on the side of the road, a mere 150m from warmth in the -20 or less weather while they cruise along in their dangerously unsafe SUVs.

Other things to know:

-The best way to keep warm is to gather all the clothing you have, and then wear it.
-If you can avoid going outside, then do so. Invent games, activities, or friends to keep you sane. If that fails, well, you might be crazy but at least you're warm.
-Do not, under any circumstances, think that you can just "run out" and get the mail/empty the composter/bring out the garbage without wearing your full winter gear, or years from now you will be the icy centrepiece of a museum exhibit entitled "Frozen in Time - 21st Century Humans and the Mindless Chores that Killed Them"
-Always keep a Tauntaun with you in case you need to slit open its belly and sleep in its guts.
-Actually, that about covers it.