Sunday, April 29, 2007

Millionaires on Ice and Other Tidbits.

CD in Play: Elvis Costello, Girls Girls Girls (Disc One)

The Bad Canadian

I am a bad Canadian. Aside from not drinking Molsons, I could care less about NHL hockey. Come play-off time my interest usually perks up, but not this year. Maybe it is the incessant hype, the flag waving, jersey wearing, dumb-ass fans I encounter everyday around work? Maybe it is the television ads trying to blur the line between the team of the Vancouver Canucks and the spectators: that civic, regional and provincial pride center around becoming one with the Canucks? Whatever it is, I am even more apathetic seeing the "Millionaires on Ice Show" than usual.

The Canucks series versus Dallas was pretty abysmal, despite taking it in game 7. Prior to Saturday's game against the Anaheim Ducks, I had been telling the overly zealous that I had odds against Vancouver and was betting them out in four. The reactions ranged from shock to indignation usually punctuated with either "How could bet against my boys?" or "How could bet against our boys?" or "How could bet against us?". I had also asked one guy whether or not the Canucks would be facing the Cleveland Barons or the Kansas City Scouts. (both defunct teams from the mid `70's) I mentioned this to Elijah, a drooling hockey fanatic himself, who gave me a sharp whack across the chest for my blaspheming of the national past time.

I dunno, I just can't get too worked up about organised sports. I actually become a bigger hockey/Canucks fan when I am not living in or around Vancouver itself, for some odd reason, but their is more in my life than hockey.

Photo of Markus Näslund by Matt Howe.

Ex Machina

I picked up two parts of the Ex Machina (DC's page with a downloadable version of issue No.1 is here) comic series from DC's Wildstorm imprint. I am very impressed. During the 90's both DC and Marvel got carried away with the comicmania that had swept up most of North America and quality went downhill. As critical as I am of the 1980's, it was a good decade for comics and much was done then to help the medium "grow up". I'll be collecting Ex Machina and looking at a few other series out there as well. Apparently New Line Cinema has optioned the rights to Ex Machina. Visit EM's creator Brian K. Vaughn's site.
DC has a few series out there that interest me as well. Red Son is a what if..? story from DC's Elseworlds imprint that looks at what the DC Universe could have been had Superman's craft landed in the USSR instead of the USA. Also of interest is Batman: The Long Halloween.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Somewhat modified from Geosomin's site.

1. My 'ex' is still - ... frankly I don't care.
2. I am listening to - Slint, Spiderland.
3. Maybe I should - get off my duff.
4. I love - you.
5. Has done a disappearing act.
6. I don't understand - the religious right or libertarians.
7. I lost my respect for - John Malkovich when I learned what a lunatic he is.
8. I last ate - bangers and mash.
9. My display name is - a pseudonym.
10. Love is - a sucky excuse for a comic strip.
11. Someday - you will all find yourselves under my thumb. Mwahahahahaha...
12. I will always - be bald.
13. I never ever want to lose - my limbs.
14. When I woke up this morning - I watched Robot Chicken and ate pumpkin seeds.
15. I get annoyed at - students who feel they have the right to dictate university policy.
16. Parties - are few and far between these days.
17. My pet - is non-existant.
18. Kisses - are a good way to transmit germs.
19. Today I - applied for a new job.
20. I wish - I was a bionic man.
21. I really want - a bottle of "Celtic Nations".

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Life on Meme

Stolen from Geosomin's site, it is a meme to show signs of life.

1. PICK OUT A SCAR YOU HAVE, AND EXPLAIN HOW YOU GOT: Right index finger, middle knuckle. Playing soccer in Grade 7 when this huge kid from Grade 5 (he was supposed to be in Grade 7 too) knocked me over and tried punching me in retaliation for a slide check earlier on. He pinned my left arm so I was forced to punch him in the mouth with my right. He opened his mouth and I cut my knuckle on his teeth. Looks a bit like a certain type of aluminium cane.

2. WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM? Blood. Ok, no blood just white paint.

3. WHAT DOES YOUR PHONE LOOK LIKE? Zzzzzzzzz. Looks matter not to Magnus, only environmental friendliness. Nokia friendliest of all.`

4. WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? Morphine, PJ Harvey, Sly and the Family Stone, The Police, Fugazi, Mogwai, The Kinks, Björk, DJ Spooky, The Orb, Al Green, Sonic Youth, Johnny Cash, Beethoven, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Ska, Minimalism, Balinese gamelan, Raga...

5. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT DESKTOP PICTURE? Magus not like that question, so he make another. WHO DO YOU THINK WILL WIN THE STANLEY CUP? Magnus not care for piffily organized sports. Magnus think people should play their own sports. Get healthy and not fat like Magnus.


7. DO YOU BELIEVE IN GAY MARRIAGE? No, but if they really want to get hitched they should have the option to do so on a Civil level. Religions should be protected from individuals who would try to use the issue to manipulate the legal system and get the law to force changes on religious practice and conviction.

8. WHAT TIME WERE YOU BORN? 10:23AM, right on time.

9. ARE YOUR PARENTS STILL TOGETHER? On a molecular level, yes they are... just not with each other.

10. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO? Jesus and Mary Chain, The Sound of Speed.

11. DO YOU GET SCARED OF THE DARK? Not particularly


13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOGNE / PERFUME? Destroy the perfume industry utterly, with extreme prejudice.

14. WHAT KIND OF HAIR/EYE COLOUR DO YOU LIKE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX? Brunettes and red heads with green, grey or blue eyes. But I don't really care. I am beginning to like blondes again.

15. DO YOU LIKE PAIN KILLERS? Someday there'll be a cure for pain... no, life is suffering so embrace pain as your constant companion. Of course when a migrane comes along I change my tune completely.

16. ARE YOU TOO SHY TO ASK SOMEONE OUT? Yeah, I'm fragile.

17. FAVE PIZZA TOPPING? toss up between olives and mushrooms. It was smoked oysters as a kid.

18. IF YOU COULD EAT ANYTHING RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Pumpkin seeds, and whadaya know...

19. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU MADE MAD? My Father, he who is of little patience.

20. IS ANYONE IN LOVE WITH YOU? No. Plenty of people love me, but no one is in love with me. I'm kind of like a cactus.

Friday, April 20, 2007


CD in Play: the dollar store jesus, assorted rehersal outakes

Whilst I really want to get my teaching certificate and teach in either Wales or the western areas of England, (also open to Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man) I still would really love to spend some quality time in Iceland.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dedicated to Mr. P.T.C

Robot Chicken on Terrorism

Tron a la Robot Chicken

The obsession continues.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Silver Fingers of Kim Chi in the Ecosystem

CD in Play: various, Studio One Ska

Give Yourself the Finger, Pal

If you ever wanted to give someone the finger, was it David Suzuki?

This was written in silver ink on a green garbage can lid on the corner of Homer and Robson. I was on my to Pete and Deanna Chattaway's place in downtown Vancouver and I came across the remnants of a demonstration at the Vancouver Art Gallery. From what I could gather, the demonstrators had been demanding immediate cuts to the carbon emissions and for Stephen Harper to seek out alternatives to fossil fuels. My guess is that Dr. Suzuki was one of the speakers at the demonstration.
What does it say about us as a species when we can so loath the people who want to help preserve us as a species? I know libertarians will rant alleging that Suzuki obfuscates the truth about climate change: that he's a neo-Luddite playing fast and loose with the facts. I saw Suzuki speak in August 1989 and he was talking about climate change. Suzuki had given us 10 years to turn things around before we caused large scale, irreparable damage.
He talked about the misunderstanding that people had about the "Greenhouse Effect". People had assumed it would just mean that temperatures would increase cloud cover, which would make the world warmer and more humid. From there we were told the Ice Caps would melt and the world would be a much smaller place. What Global Warming really means is that we will see much wilder shifts in our weather patterns. We will see an increase in drought conditions and we would see more severe flooding. These will have consequences in terms of land usage and food production. Sounding familiar? Sounding like a UN report on the effects of climate change?
Of course, Suzuki wasn't the first person I had heard this from. As far back as 1980 I can remember my Dad going on about climate change and how the "Greenhouse Effect" would never be like what people were commonly assuming it would be at the time. People thought my Dad was a crackpot back then and a few hold-outs still think that. But it seems that the Old Man was right as was Suzuki, who's around seven years older than my Dad.
Even if human beings and our related industries aren't a contributing factor to climate change - who can argue that the emissions produced by burning fossil fuels and the tonnes of waste and by-products produced as the result of our endeavours aren't harmful? Only the willfully ignorant. If you are willing to argue, please suck on your tail pipe for a while and tell me how you feel. It takes an incredible will to stay unfocused and unaware of the side effects of pollution on the ecosystem. It takes dogged determination to not look our world as it is in the face and see what is happening all around us.
See this article from the New York Times, dated 02.02.07.


I am back at work after a four day absence. I won't say it was a relaxing four days as it was filled with misunderstanding, cancellations and a leftover double helping of stress. I was asked by a casual acquaintance if I would rather be back in South Burnaby dealing with addicts, shoplifters and the homeless? To be honest, during final exams at any rate, the answer is yes.
It is quiet today, almost calm. One woman who works here just returned from China and has brought me kim chi flavoured chips. There was also rib-eye steak flavoured chips, but someone else claimed those. And I bet that if this post does get comments, it'll be about the chips. (or crisps for our friends in the UK)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Swedish Chef, Robot Chicken Style.

Robot Chicken is show created by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich. I find it funny most of the time, although it has crossed a couple of lines for me. I think it is availible on DVD now.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Vengeance is Ours, Sayeth the School Board?

CD in Play: King Crimson, Red

Everyone should read newspapers from out of their area. Be it from another province, state, district or country. I try to read the Guardian Unlimited online from time to time and today I am glad I did. The Guardian had a story on students who make false accusations against their teachers and students who use the cell phones to catch their teachers in bad moments. As a someone contemplating moving into secondary education (Grades 11 and 12) I have had concerns over both issues.
Here in British Columbia, (and the rest of Canada) I have heard little on the debate other than a few news items. I doubt that there is much political will to tackle the issue. It seems that bodies within the United Kingdom are a little more anxious to take action. A Teachers Union in Belfast is calling to have students who bring false accusations against their teachers banned from schools and for parents of these students held liable for costs incurred over the course of the investigation. Draconian? Yes, but it its is a place to start.
False accusations can stick with you for the rest of your life. Sometimes an acquittal of abuse charges is less black and white "guilty" or "not guilty" and can be as damning as the Scottish Verdict of "not proven". Students need to be held accountable for their behaviour and need to account when they have stepped over the line. Sometimes children are not products of their environments - good chickens can lay bad eggs and vice versa - but most often times it could be safe to say they are. Parents need to be held accountable for their childrens' missteps, at least to acknowledge a responsibility to help fix the problem.
Perhaps the Belfast union's demands are too severe, but it is a good starting place to find a middle course that satisfies everyone. As for students with cell phones... we didn't need them in my day, they don't need them now. Students use camera phones to bully their peers and to harass their teachers. It is time to do something to protect peoples' rights in the places where they go to work and study. I have been wondering when a film of someone goading me at work will pop up on You Tube.

Bad Monday

CD in Play: King Crimson, Red. The United States of America, eponymous

Exam Stress Isn't Just for Students

Good Friday was followed by Bad Monday for me. Not that Friday was any less stressful, but it was the end of the work week. Of course it has been bad Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as well. Students on campus are in exam mode, which means that they ar even less considerate than usual and my antipathy toward them is correspondingly greater. The move stuff around all over the place and don't put it back. They write of the tables, on the walls and on the windows. They move things with a promise to move it back when they are done and then sneak off campus. They move things and place them in such a way as to be hazardous. They block stairwells, elevators entrances and fire exits, but haven't a clue as to what they are doing wrong. Some will move things back if ask them. One guy actually volunteers quite willingly, but most grumble and like to point out that this is not why they pay tuition. Some even tell me I don't have the right to make them do anything. These are the same people who complain to us that they never seem to have enough chairs and tables in their classrooms come exam time. One guy got me so angry this morning, I exploded into a string of vulgarities and profanities. I really try to avoid profanities.
I'm not the only one getting a hard time. One co-worker was seething after his shift on Monday and is still pretty choked. Another co-worker has been looking at Help Want ads ever since last Thursday, because of the stress. It makes me wonder how much I actually want to become a high school teacher. Granted, as a teacher I would have much more authority, but the level of maturity in this bunch is unfathomably low. Maybe I should concentrate on becoming an Art Teacher - be one of the good guys for a change. Anyhow, I am taking tomorrow off and have been advised that I can take Friday off if I want as well.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

CD in Play: Morphine, The Night

Holy Friday, Great Friday, Long Friday, Big Friday, Passion Friday, High Friday, Friday of Lamentation - it's the Easter long weekend. Enjoy the weekend. Happy Easter and as an Orthodox friend of mine will surely say to me on Sunday, Christ is risen.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The 19 Heighties

CD in Play: John Coltrane, A Love Supreme

With all do respect to Afrobev and his love of my most loathed decade.
I hated the 1980's. As a pre-teen and a teenager I couldn't wait for them to end. For me the 80's reeked of politicians like Brian Mulroney, Ronald Regan and Margaret Thatcher. The USSR lack stability as did the US President. Programmes like The Day After, If You Love this Planet and Threads (*shudder*) scared the hell out of people and made the end of the world seem imminent. Star Wars had gone from being a childhood fantasy to a pre-pubescent/early adolescent nightmare filled with rail guns and killer satellites. John Lennon was murdered. Health cuts, education cuts, my mother's ever decreasing salary and pastel colours everywhere. It was sucky, saccharine things like Rainbow Bright, My Little Pony, Teddy Ruxpin. Cartoons could no longer just be cartoons, they had to have toys and vice versa. Gigantic shoulder pads ruled the day. Corvettes and Mustangs became boring cars. The 80's gave us Tiffany and her concerts in shopping malls, Rick Astley, New Kids on the Block and Richard Marx. It was a dark time for Canadian music as well - Glass Tiger, Frozen Ghost, Loverboy, Parachute Club, Luba, Platinum Blonde, Honeymoon Suite, Helix, Headpins, Toronto. And I do not care what anyone says - Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance" sucked than and still sucks today.
But not to be a total downer here, there are things that came out of the 80's that I liked. Some of those things I still like to this day. So, what did I like? (these are things I became aware of during the 1980's)
The Police, U2, Transformers, Sonic Youth, Fishbone, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Expo 86, 1982 Stanley Cup Final, basketball camp, Galaxy Rangers, Metallica, Witness, A Fish Called Wanda, the 1987 Buick Regal Grand National, BMW's Paris-Dakar series, the Granville Island Brewing Company, Living Colour (the band), Van Halen, Magnum PI to name a few things. The late 80's were different as my musical tastes were changing and bands like Van Halen became completely irrelevant. By 1990 I became aware of some of the cooler things that the 80's had to offer. And while the 80's was pretty corporatised, I have to admit that it was never anywhere the corporate nightmare we have seen grown up all around us since about 1997 and 1998. Having gone to church through almost all of the 80's, I'd say the only Christian bands worth their weight in salt came were from around that time. Bands like Daniel Amos, their side project The Swirling Eddies, the 77's and Adam Again. Maybe a couple of others, but that's about it.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Snow is Good for the Soul

CD in Play: Fugazi, In on the Kill Taker

It is April 2nd and it is snowing outside. Heavily. Saturday was cold and sunny. I loved it. Sunday was cold and sunny in North Delta andfrigid and stormy in East Vancouver. Hail, sleet and icy wind. I loved it. Today in Surrey it is cold and snowing. I am grinning from ear to ear. Heat lovers have had it pretty good the last little while, make 2007 a year for people like me. Here's to a long cold year, may it neever rise above 18º C.