I Got My Old Job Back

29 04 2008

At Sears.

Yeah. Just got the call a few minutes ago. I went in to see them on the extremely far-fetched chance they’d want me back for just the summer. They didn’t need me. As I just learned though, a few hours later, somebody up and quit. So they called me.

Epic weight off shoulders.


Dan Horn & Orsen

13 04 2008

Just sharing this great YouTube clip I came across tonight. It’s a very impressive ventriloquist performance by a guy named Dan Horn. Quite impressive, quite funny. Enjoy.

The Last Question

10 04 2008

I first read this short story by revered science fiction writer Isaac Asimov a few years ago. And then today, after having an incredibly busy and eventful day yesterday, I spent a good part of the day relaxing and reading. Lots and lots of reading. From this month’s issue of WIRED and their interesting discussion of Steve Jobs’ controversial business practices, to some online articles about nanotechnology. I also looked up some bookmarked TED talks by Ray Kurzweil (who is also featured in a great WIRED article this month) and British researcher Aubrey de Grey, who you half expect to start screaming “WILSON!!!” at any moment as his volleyball floats away, but is nevertheless quite interesting. If you haven’t seen these yet, look them both up on TED. Anyway, I eventually thought of this story and tracked it down with the handy-dandy Cosmic AC Google. I’m going to post it after a jump so it doesn’t make this page ludicrously long, but do check it out, because it is super-awesome and not very long. According its Wikipedia entry, The Last Question is widely regarded as the best, or certainly a top contender for the best sci-fi short story ever written. It’s also Asimov’s personal favourite.

Do not skip to the end for whatever reason. The last couple of lines are something of a punchline to the story, and are extraordinarily epic. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

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On:culture – The Media Legacy Continues

8 04 2008

Today’s just a day of new presences on the web! Actually, what I’m announcing here isn’t so new, but I haven’t mentioned it on this blog yet. My Media Studies class is now over, but I’ve decided to keep the blog going in the spirit of keeping “research notes”. What purpose these notes will serve is currently unknown, but hey, at least it’s constructive right? I’m trying to keep the blog fairly academic, or say, about as formal as someone wearing an untucked shirt with jeans and a blazer. Chic but sophisticated. You get it.

To make my transition to WordPress complete, I’ve moved all my content to a new WP location as well. This new entity is dubbed On:culture.

I was unsatisfied with the name at first, which is supposed to imitate the way countless essays have had uncreative names like “On [topic]”. I wasn’t feeling very creative myself. But the name’s grown on me, especially since Jon pointed out that “[it] also reminds me of the power button sense of ‘on’, as in ‘plugged in’ and connected. Very good stuff.” I hadn’t thought of this. One could extend this idea to “The Culture of On”, or “The Culture that is On” – that is, plugged in, connected, like never before. Man, that is so fitting. Thanks Jon!

And yes, clearly I’m just a little obsessed with the names of things. That’s just how I roll. (At first I spelled that with an E, which gave me a brilliant idea. Somebody should write an blog about acting techniques called “That’s how I Role”. This would pretty much have to be successful just based on the name alone. Or, the Dungeons & Dragons people could get Jack Black to do some ad for them, where he says, “That’s how I role…play! MAGIC MISSILE HITS YOU FOR 2676 DAMAGE! YOU ARE AFFLICTED BY MANA BURN!” And then there’s the rolling of the dice. Man, the wordplay possibilities are endless!)

Anyhoo. The plan is, I think I’ll let this blog slide back into the more, “So this is what I did today, and what I’m thinking about, and here’s me being silly” kind of posts. Whereas the other blog is something I can put on my resume and be all like, “See, look what I’m doing. Impressive, no?”

So we’ll see how it goes.

Paulosq.com Launches

8 04 2008

My long-time friend Paul just launched his much-anticipated personal website, Paulosq. (Note the fancy splash page animation which I’m sure took quite a while to get just right in Flash.) Check out the site and discover his Photoshop creations, photography, and a weekly recipe. Yes, you read that right – Paul Dickin knows his food. I can attest to this. I’m looking forward to this weekly recipe because he makes the first one, Oatmeal Choco-chip cookies, sound pretty easy. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not much of a chef but I’ve been meaning to learn. Baby steps, right?

Oh, just a heads-up: my sources* tell me that Paulosq.com is a little wonky when viewed in Internet Explorer. But, in the words of the creator, “who uses that crap?”

In other news, I am feeling pretty good. I’m writing my English final, (2 essays in 2 hours on 2 different books each) tomorrow morning at 8:30. The time is not so nice, but I’ll be commuting in from Hamilton, and even though that means getting up earlier still, I don’t mind. I actually enjoy driving quite a bit. Especially with some tunes I arranged myself. My other exam is on Saturday, and then I guess I’m officially half-way through University.

*Facebook News Feed

You’re the Dog Now, Man!

1 04 2008

This is going to be pretty different from the types of posts I usually make nowadays, but I think it’ll be fun for a change.

When I was very young, there was this segment that would come on Sesame street where this girl was on the beach with her dog. The girl threw a frisbee, and the dog would leap and bound through the surf and catch the thing in mid air, and bring it back to the girl so she could throw it again. At the time I thought this was the coolest thing ever ever and decided, as most little kids do, that I wanted a canine companion so very badly. And like many parents are wont to do when their children pester them to get a dog, my parents relented and arranged to adopt one from a friend of theirs.

Buster was a somewhat troubled cocker spaniel who had apparently gone through many owners, one or more of whom had likely abused him. We never knew this for sure, but it was apparent in his hyper-anxious temperament and general grumpiness, which I witnessed for the first time as we were taking him home, the two of us sharing the back seat. I attempted to pet him at my mother’s suggestion, at which point he issued me a low growl and a dirty look, and we were already off to a rocky start. Buster was never my Old Yeller, (although he did get old and he certainly loved to yell,) or my Lassie or my dog Skip, which wasn’t his fault. In fact, I probably made things worse through my juvenile actions such as “taking Buster for a walk” which meant, “taking Buster around the corner, tying him up to a Stop sign and sitting down for 20 minutes to play Pokemon Silver on my Gameboy Advance.” Alas, I was young, I needed the money. Of course, I regret this now. If I’d known what Buster’s fate would be, I’m sure I would have treated him better. He fell victim to Glaucoma, an affliction common to his breed, and had to have an eye removed and its lid, which soon became convex and rather eerie-looking, sewn shut. Now random encounters with children in the street sounded like, “Hey, cool d- OH WHAT’S WRONG WITH HIS EYE, DEAR GOD” and you had to feel sorry for both parties. Buster’s unusual cyclopsic condition combined with my preteen enthusiasm for swords also gave rise to a joke among my friends that it was I who maimed him so, in an overenthusiastic display of my prowess as a warrior. Anyhow, when he started to go blind in the other eye, despite daily administration of expensive eye drops, we knew the time had come to put him down, and that was that.

Unsurprisingly, then, for a certain period of my life I didn’t consider myself a “dog person” at all. Yet, I was fond of my friends’ dogs, and even enjoyed looking after them when my friends were out of town. And this is where the unexpected twist in the story comes along.

See, for the past several months now, I’ve been seriously entertaining the idea of getting a dog of my own once I graduate. It’s gone from the point of musing about it absent-mindedly, to being a full-out plan. Plans change, of course, but for now I have something pretty stable worked out. I have a breed picked out, several names, and a reputable breeder that I’ve contacted in regard to price. Yet, unsurprisingly, after doing so much reading about different breeds, mostly on Wikipedia, there are several that appeal to me. It’s all got me thinking I’d probably like to own a few dogs over the course of my lifetime.

Of course, this is all very speculative and everything. I could end up changing my mind before I’m even done school, and anyone who knows me knows how often I actually go through with the lofty plans I come up with while avoiding school work. But for now, this is what I’m thinking about, and I’m having fun talking about it.

Top Choice: The Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Seriously, just look this guy. (Actually, according to the photo caption on Flickr, this dog is a she, named Eowyn. Mega props on the Lord of the Rings reference.) What’s not to love? Yes, they’re the dogs that the queen has. No, they are not pansies. The Corgi, despite its small size, (although they’re not that small) is actually a herding breed. These guys are intelligent, have quite a bit of energy, and are pretty affectionate. These are traits found in a lot of breeds though, and I’ll admit that I mostly just think they look awesome. This is my favourite breed, and the one I plan on getting when I’m done school. In some email correspondence with a local breeder named Sue Neave, I found out that a puppy’s going to put me out about $1400, and the price will probably have increased in another 2 years. This seems like a pretty insane amount of money to me right now, but then, it might not look so unrealistic once I actually have a job.

Here are some names I like, separated by gender/breed. Mind you, I’m fairly certain I want a male Corgi, although I really don’t know how much freedom people have when they buy dogs from breeders. I guess you kind of have to take whatever’s in the litter. I’ve basically been compiling this multi-gender list in regard to what I was saying earlier about having a bunch of dogs over the course of my life.

Male Corgi Favourites:
Solo (yes, after Han)
Beta (this is the name of Will Pate‘s dog, and I like how geeky it is. I may have to steal the name or think of something similar.)
Kappa (kind of random, but it’s the name of Cillian Murphy’s character from the movie Sunshine and I like how it sounds.)

For other breeds…
Brego (horse that saves Aragorn when they think he’s dead)
Ridley (Scott)
Alpha (I should have Alpha and Beta at some point)

Generic female…
Lothlorien (shortened to Lorien – don’t laugh!)

And lastly, some other breeds I like, for that “one day…” dream. At first I was going to do a writeup on each one of these breeds, and have nice lush pictures from Flickr, but I’ve grown tired of writing this post. But seriously, search some of these breeds on Flickr, especially if you’re not familiar with what they look like. People take some really epic photographs of their dogs, I kid you not. I think all these breeds are fantastic.

Siberian Husky
Brittany Spaniel
Miniature Australian Shepherd
Shiba Inu
Border Collie
Flat-coated Retriever