The Doodle Pad

Spring Travel Not Snow Free

One thing about spring travel north of Vancouver, you still need to plan for snow!

When I drove to and from Vernon I encountered snow flurries on the Coquihalla (Highway 5) and Kelowna connector (Highway 97C). On the trip up it wasn't sticking. On the trip back it was.

All told my trip back was still pretty tame. Nothing close to some of the knuckle biters I've had at Christmas and blessedly no black ice. The road was sloppy and wet, but I had positive traction the whole way. Even so, I passed a jack-knifed tractor/trailer rig and an abandoned car pointing the wrong way. Either it was slipperier early in the day, someone was driving too fast, or they weren't using winter tires. It just didn't seem that bad to me. I didn't even have to refill my windshield wiper fluid!

No pictures of the accidents, too busy driving, but I did snap this picture about 10km south of the Coquilhalla toll booths:

Coquihalla Hwy March 23, 2008

Click on the picture for full size.

Easter 2008

As with many people, my parents and sibs are spread across the province and Easter is an excuse to connect. We typically rendezvous at my sister's place in Vernon (well technically it's Coldstream, but even the locals don't make much distinction) and this year was status quo. Unfortunately my brother and his wife had some issues they needed to deal with and couldn't make it.

As luck would have it I hit Kelowna in time to see niece's dance team perform. Her studio was in a competition and took first place. This was apparently a bitter sweet moment for the team. It's their last competition of their final year. As with many activities, after they graduate high school there's no way to continue in quite the same way. I must say I was a little lost. Their skill was apparent but the dance moves didn't mean much to me. And I was relieved when at least one of the dance teams didn't use a song featuring a female soprano belting out something heartfelt. Is that a teen-girl thing or dance thing?

Vernon happens to sport a couple of good used book stores, The Book Nook and BJ's Used Books. My Dad and I did our usual expedition to see what we could find. It's a good thing we share, because sometimes we're after the same books!

The Book Nook BJ's Used Books

Continue reading Easter 2008

Farewell Arthur C. Clark

Arthur C. ClarkArthur C. Clark is one of three writers whose stories took me from the world of The Hardy Boys to one of infinite imagination. On March 19th Arthur C. Clark passed away.

Growing up 15 miles outside a small BC interior town in the pre-internet 70's meant being a geek was decidedly more challenging than it is today. There were a few perks, like wide open spaces for snowmobiling, mini-bike riding and radio antennas, but few communities of interest to participate in if hunting, fishing or sports weren't your thing. Which is an obtuse way of saying I was often a very bored fish out of water while growing up.

A big saving grace was the public library where I could find the works of Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clark. It was through them I learned about possibilities I hadn't imagined and began thinking in terms of the greater world. Star Trek reruns, cheesy sci-fi TV shows, and late night movies signaled the direction, but it was these authors that guided my journey. Although I've read fewer of Clark's books than Heinlein and Asimov's I feel a stronger connection to Clark. Perhaps because his works bore the closest resemblance to the current world.

Thank you, Arthur C. Clark. You are remembered fondly.

1st Haney Fund Raiser

Fund raising swagTime has zoomed this week, so forgive me for blogging about last weekend on a Thursday!

Had a great time at a fundraiser for the 1stst Haney Scout Group. The closest I've been personally involved with scouting was as a Cub and I remember it fondly; even still have all my badges around, somewhere. The invite came from a friend with kid's in scouting. The event was spearheaded by his wife, and boy did she organize a doozy. For $15 you got dinner, a drink, and a 2-to-1 chance at winning a door prize. There was also a silent auction and loonie/twoonie tosses for booze (No kids at this event and strangely, the adults were enjoying themselves....)

I came away with a set of binoculars from the silent auction and as my bad luck would have it had my door prize ticket number was called when I was in the bathroom. However, some folks left early and left their door prize tickets. My table-mate won two prizes and took pity on me with a set of beer glasses. Thanks, Louise!

Not sure how much got raised in the end. I seem to recall someone saying over $1000 on the silent auction alone, but don't quote me on that. Good cause, good time, good result. Perfect event trifecta!

Movie Omnimbus: Exposing Silliness, Fears, and Naughty Bits

Juno, Genies and the Canadian Content Gorgon

Jason Reitman HeadshotThe Movie Blog posted on Juno not qualifying for a Genie: Canadian Awards "The Genies" Snub Juno and Make A Joke of Itself In The Process.

Turns out the Juno folks didn't even apply: Juno Genie snub explained.

Except the Juno folks didn't apply because they didn't qualify. The Genie PR shill totally dodged Reitman's question regarding why this is the case. Way to face the issue head-on.

In no particular order:

  • Right on Jason Reitman for being proud of enough of Canada to be pissed off in the first place. This can't be a commercial issue after scoring Golden Globes and Oscar recognition, so I believe it's a personal point of pride.
  • The Genie folks totally missed turning this into a pre-award ceremony PR dream by engaging the public in a dialog of what exactly a Canadian film is. All they had to say was: these are the current rules, maybe something is wrong, tell us what you think. The discussion might have even made people aware of some other great Canadian films.
  • The Genie qualifiers need updating to include the gambit of Canadian films from Juno to Away From Her.
  • I didn't watch the Genies, but then, I didn't watch the Oscars, either. I like publicly recognizing good movies, but award shows seem an imperfect way of doing it.

Run Fatboy Run

Run Fatboy Run is the latest movie starring and co-written by Simon Pegg of Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame. Something starring Simon Pegg now automatically gets my attention, and based on the Run Fatboy Run trailers this latest movie is looking good . . . except . . . it's directed by David Schwimmer of Friends fame. I hope he's a better director than he is an actor. We'll find out later this month.

Continue reading Movie Omnimbus: Exposing Silliness, Fears, and Naughty Bits

Sleep and the Stolen Hour

Sleepy HeadIn spite of "springing ahead" and "losing" an hour of sleep, I'm really looking forward to daylight savings time (Yes, it comes our way this weekend). We're getting an extra hour of light in the evening - woo-who! But at a cost.

A research team is verifying what most everyone already knows (save, perhaps, some perky early mornly types): Losing that hour sucks. The team lead, a scientist named Roenneberg, is quoted in multiple articles: CTV: Daylight Saving Time upsets our body clocks and Biology News Net: Daylight savings time disrupts humans' natural circadian rhythm. His team must has a good press agent.

As a public service I offer up this article from Reader's Digest: Achieve a Deep, Uninterrupted Sleep - 24 ways to get the rest you need. You won't find me boiling lettuce any time soon, but I'm already down with the heavy curtains and the ear plugs. And although I already figured out it's hard to sleep with cold feet I'm not so sure about a hot water bottle and ski socks!

I've always valued more daylight in the evening than the morning so I have a different solution to this daylight savings thing. Let's never go off it!

Photo by obo-bobolina

Hi Ho, Oh No, Installing I Must Go

Reinstalling and BloggingI'm writing this blog post on my laptop as I reinstall Windows XP on my desktop computer.

Hello Windows XP installer, it's been a long time since we last talked. I haven't really missed you. Installer says: Press "F" if you really, really want to format your hard drive. Sigh. /me presses F.

My old OS instance was sick and had to be put down. I avoided the grim task for as long as I could. Well, too long really. Anytime one has to do this kind of thing at the point of unworkability and not at a time of their own choosing, it's too long.

Damn, I should have picked express format. It must be a cosmic constant. As fast as computers and hard drives get the size of the hard drive gets even bigger to make the amount of waiting constant. Phone rings, my friend asks if it's a good time for a chat. Hell yes.

The machine would not quite randomly freeze up. It wasn't quite dead, it would sort of recover, after a while, mostly, and I could shut it down. At first it seemed to related to having a bunch of applications open. I thought it might be a memory problem, but an overnight memory diagnostic didn't turn up a problem. And it got progressively worse. So I either have some nasty little piece of malware the scanner hasn't picked up or severe registry rot. Or both. So burning it all down and starting fresh was best.

Continue reading Hi Ho, Oh No, Installing I Must Go

TV Omnimbus – Robots Funny, Cute and Dangerous

Robot Chicken

Robot ChickenRobot Chicken Season 3 is on the air in Canada, premiering last Friday on Teletoons Canada (who has such a lame website I'm not going to link to it).

What more needs saying!

Joss Whedon's new show: Dollhouse

Joss Whedon PhotoWith the writers strike now over, information on Joss Whedon's new TV show, Dollhouse, has once again begun to trickle out. The latest news for hungry fans is the dramatis personae.

If you're hearing about Dollhouse for the first time you'll be happy to hear there's at least one TV series slated for Fall 2008 with a good pedigree. I quote the fan site (such is the drawing power of Joss Whedon that Dollhouse already has a fan site) Dollverse:

Dollhouse is a FOX series created by Joss Whedon (Angel, Firefly) and starring and produced by Eliza Dushku. The concept is change; it follows a top-secret world of people programmed with different personalities, abilities and memories depending on their mission.

Ok, the raw concept has been done in any 20 science fiction stories but anyone who's seen Joss Whedon's stuff knows we'll get something unique and quite probably exceptional. I haven't found an official website, but if you're interested in more information.

Continue reading TV Omnimbus – Robots Funny, Cute and Dangerous

D&D Creator Gary Gygax RIP

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) creator Gary Gygax passed away. The game he co-created is iconic. On a personal level, it gave me a lot of very fun late nights with people who are now very good friends. I've never met him, but I feel like I've lost something.

Wired has this piece which is, unsurprisingly, more informative than the AP wire piece: Gary Gygax, 'Father of D&D,' Dies at 69

I like what Raincoaster said: RIP Gary Gygax

Cheeseburger in a Can

Ladies and gentlemen, compliments of the A.V. Club, a culinary review of something only dreamed of in comic books, cartoons and gastronomical nightmares, presenting Cheeseburger in a Can:

Cheeseburger in a Can

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