jamesq: (Default)
I like to send out postcards.  I often don't write much on them beyond "having a great time in X, wish you were here", but people seem to appreciate them.  So much so that they often sen me postcards in return.  As with most presents, I appreciate it, but like to add that it's not necessary.

Anyway, I got this postcard last week:
 
A short little SF story I got in the mail

In addition to being an interesting four-paragraph science fiction story, it was also a nice, real world, mystery.  Namely, who sent it.

Normally, I'd hold [livejournal.com profile] garething responsible.  However, you'll notice there's a postal mark on the card with B3K on it.  That's a Halifax postal mark, and to my knowledge, he hasn't been in Halifax in awhile.  I did have two friends in Halifax two weeks ago, [livejournal.com profile] wendylicious and [livejournal.com profile] mallt .  I quizzed all three and they all disavowed all knowledge of this heinous act.  Wendy and Lisa were especially amusing as they both pointed the finger at each other!

Since no one was confessing, I needed to do a little more work.  Thankfully, I have kept every piece of handwritten correspondence I've ever received as an adult.  In terms of theme and handwriting, this is almost certainly the work of Gareth (his lower-case "t" is especially distinctive).  And if I were to guess, I'm guessing he passed it on to Wendy (60% chance) or Lisa (30% chance) to mail it from Halifax while they were there.  He has other minions out east - [livejournal.com profile] stephtopia's posse - , which is why that doesn't add up to 100%.

As a good scientist I need to acknowledge that I might simply be wrong.  Maybe I got the postmark wrong and it was mailed from somewhere else.  Maybe my amateurish attempts at handwriting analysis were off the mark.  Maybe I've suffered a sever blow to the head and this is all going in the dream world I've created inside my coma.  Who knows?

But I think it was Gareth.  Thanks bro.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that there was nothing stopping me from going to Vancouver for Christmas. I had a standing invitation from [livejournal.com profile] garething and [livejournal.com profile] stephtopia, so I was fairly certain I wouldn't be imposing. I pulled the trigger about two weeks beforehand, and bought my tickets with my frequent flyer points, so the whole thing only cost me about $125, making this a fairly cheap vacation.

My spy was [livejournal.com profile] othelianna, who helped me to make this a surprise visit. I could sleep in her room (she is currently visiting friends and family in her hometown). Also, she would spy for me to ensure they weren't going away to the island for the holiday - I didn't want to be eaten by wolves while trying to get into their home.

Everything was going according to plan, until I got sick immediately before the trip. So on to the GBU

Good
  • The look on Gareth's face when he opened the door Christmas morning.
  • Being able to hang out with him and Steph.
  • Having a nice place to stay.
  • Gareth and I went to see Fury Road - Black & Chrome.
Bad
  • Having the Christmas Crud. This was a fairly bad cold that started in the throat and moved north. At first it was a bad cough, that slowly moved north into the sinuses. As I write this, it's finally going away, so it was a constant theme of the trip. I was chugging cold meds just to function.
  • Steph also had the Christmas Crud. We're really hoping we had the same cold, because getting over one cold, only to get another would suck. She was chugging cold meds just to function.
  • The weather. Sloppy, slippery snow and ice all over Vancouver, and especially bad in upper Port Moody. Drifts higher than Calgary's. It was pretty bad. However, it was excellent weather for comfort food and hot buttered rum.
  • Jon's car. He came to visit on Boxing Day and (long story short) had to do a controlled crash into a snow bank. Abandoned his car overnight after Gareth and I helped him reposition it into an apartment building's fire-lane, which was about the best we were going to do. No tow truck was going to try to retrieve his vehicle off that steep hill. On the bright side, if the apartment building bitched, no tow truck was going to try to confiscate his vehicle off that steep hill. Happy ending: He stayed the night, and the next morning road conditions had improved enough for him to simply drive away, no damage to the car.
Ugly
  • Between illness and the weather, I didn't end up seeing anyone other than Gareth, Steph, and Jon. I certainly didn't want to give any of the Vancouver peeps my cold, and I'm really hoping Gareth hasn't caught it. If he does, I'm blaming Steph.
Meh
  • Being sick, I also wasn't up to the orgy I was planning for Rosie's room. Next time though.
I probably should have cancelled the trip, but it was still good to see Gareth and Steph. Gareth suggested that they might do the Holidays in Cowtown in some future year. I think we should all encourage this.

To everyone I missed - you know I love you, I'll be back.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
"Did you get a Banff park pass?"
"Yes. It's in the car if you want to borrow it. You know where the spare key is."
"Thanks, I feel the need for a road trip."
"Oh, and I mean you can borrow the pass, not my car."
"I have my own car. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to shuffle the bodies away from the house."
"Just so long as you don't go sullying my car with all that forensic evidence."
"Well, not since the last time. Oh, er... never mind."
"Meh. I got the car detailed last month. It's all good."
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
For the past few months, I've been going to Late Night at the Plaza, a live talk/variety show that is, naturally, at the Plaza on Wednesday nights. It's pretty good and a fun evening for your minimum $5 donation.

This week the musical guests were Benevolent Like Quietus. Not my cup of tea, but they seemed talented for their genre.

The hosts did their bits about Canadian news and sports, and they were entertaining. Then it got downright weird in a way I hadn't expected.

  • The weatherman was a video short of a guy in a cardboard box.
  • The comedians were some performance art piece by a pair of guys in morph suits slapping each other with paint and telling "jokes" that were all non-sequiturs.
  • There were a number of video promos for assorted Storyhive shorts. I've no clue what the end results are going to be (Literally. I was convinced one of them was going to be about oral sex, but reading the synopsis online just now, it seems to be a retro horror).
  • Last year's Storyhive winner was The Society of Birdwatchers. I was pretty sure this was going to serial killer land, but it was really just birdwatchers who needed to go watch some birds.
I mostly just sat their watching, while mentally going What The Fuck?

It ended on a more upbeat note - They have a competition between two audience members for prizes (brewery tour and Hitmen tickets this week) and this week was really good. They had to get into a homemade hurricane booth with hands covered in honey and grab Monopoly money.

Come to think of it, that was pretty surreal too.

Anyway, it's starting to sound like I'm damning it with faint praise, but I really do think it's a decent 90 minutes and I'm baffled that I can't get others to go with me. Aside from my personality that is. Oh, that and everyone I know has early morning jobs and can't stay out until midnight on a week night. Another benefit of flex time.

But the surreality wasn't over. As I left the theatre, one of the creators spoke to me.

"Thanks for coming"
"You're welcome."
"And thanks for all your support!"
By this point, a combination of oh-god-a-pretty-stranger-is-talking-to-me and an urge to get home to pee was conspiring to make me want to leave, so I basically brushed off the last statement. I mean, didn't the whole audience support it with their donations. I figured she'd say this to everyone, and I was just one of the first ones to the lobby.

"James?"
Well that stopped me in my tracks. I was pretty sure I didn't know this woman. If you know me, you know that these sorts of things always send me into a panic.

"Um. Yes?"
"We were supposed to thank you for all your support during the end acknowledgements."
"Whatever for?"
"You're our biggest supporter on Facebook."
"Good grief, all I've ever done was post a few photos."
Anyway, at this point the combination of social anxiety and full bladder forced me to retreat. I hope I didn't seem too creepy to the young lady. I didn't mean to run out so rudely. Anyway, you should check the show out. By the way, they're playing on my birthday, and I'd kind of like to have a crowd there for that, hint hint. Putting me on the spot won't be appreciated though.

Oh, one last thing, go vote for some stories at Storyhive. The ones the show was promoting (because assorted Late Night creators were proposing them) were:

  • I Love You, Johnny.
  • I Wake Myself Up.
  • Poolside.
You get five votes, so you can spread them around beyond these three.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
I'm looking to buy some original art that I can reproduce as labels for some mickey (200ml) sized bottles. Here is the bottle:
Oh Mickey, youre so fine - youre so fine, you blow my mind - hey Mickey!

I figure the end labels should be on the order of 2.5" by 3.5", which is very close to the size of a business card (3.5" by 2").

Basically, I want patent medicine bottle labels, but with a humourous/surrealist bent. Here's an example of what I mean (Links to the artists, in case you wanted to give them some cash):
Eat me. Pretty please

Another example, though this one might lose a lot of detail if I were to reduce it:
Civilized Octopodiforms properly court their young ladies.

Ultimately, I would want something I could display on my wall, and also apply to about a dozen bottles. I'd need about four different pieces, so maybe four different artists?

Additional points and questions:

  • What's a good ratio for the finished art/label? Twice as big? Four times? Like I said, it should look good on a 2.5" by 3.5" label.
  • I'm a firm believer in artists getting paid, so what's a good price for something like this?
  • Is a month of time reasonable for working artists to complete this? I'm hoping leaving it until late October to start isn't too bad, but I wanted to see the actual bottles first.
Finally, are you interested? Drop me a line.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
When I was a kid, I was in Cub Scouts. That means this all took place sometime between the ages of eight and ten. Call it 1976.

One of the other kids, a little asshole named Darwin, was showing off a project to the group, an electromagnet that he'd made for a merit badge. It was actually modelled physically after one of those big junk yard cranes you see in the movies. You know, something like this:
Eat your heart out Magneto

It had a lantern battery in the main compartment. The crane part was articulated, and the magnet could go up and down on a little line. It looked like model, was fully functional, was painted up really cool, and there was no way on Earth Darwin had done it by himself. I suspect his dad did it while he "helped" by fetching the occasional beer.

I went away thinking it was deeply cool. And I wanted to make one too. I wasn't too keen on all the model building, I just wanted something functional. I also wanted something a lot stronger.

This might end up being engraved on my tombstone.

I figured 120V wall current would make a magnet ten times more powerful than a 12V battery. There was only one problem with my reasoning. At no point had I learned that direct current was different from alternating current. Hell, at nine, I might not have even known that AC vs. DC even existed. It was all just electricity.

The Cub Scout manual had directions for making an electromagnet (basically, wrap wire around a handy chunk of metal and run current through it. Those instructions weren't anywhere near as sophisticated as these ones were. We had a lot of junk around the house, since we were pretty white trash. I needed a metal pole, a way to plug into the wall, and some insulated wire. I solved the last two items by taking an extension cord, cutting off the female end and then splitting it down the middle so that there were two insulated wires running out of the prong, ending in two severed wires. I attached the two ends to each other and wrapped it up with electrical tape. I didn't want to get zapped after all.

So now I have a cord that will do nothing but run current from one prong to the other. I wrapped it around the metal pole from my brother's weightlifting kit. It looked like the bolt in those instructions above, except the thing was a yard long.

I put some nails on the ground to test it, and I plugged it in. Several things happened more or less simultaneously.

  • I short out the receptacle with a loud BANG and some smoke.
  • The fuse in the fusebox trips, plunging the room into mild darkness. It was the afternoon, so there was still light coming in through the windows.
  • The pipe I was holding became instantly too hot to hold and I dropped it.
I flipped the fuse back and discovered that the wall receptacle had scorching marks on the bottom. The lower port never worked again. The upper one seemed unaffected, but a wise man would have not trusted it. And I had the wisdom of a nine-year old.

I dropped the experiment though, because to seek help would expose my experiment to my dad, who would have likely whipped my ass (it was the 70s). So I never got my electricity merit badge.

It wasn't until years later that I figured out what I did wrong. Working with electricity when I didn't have a fucking clue? Ok, the two things I did wrong, that and the fact that AC and DC were different things.

When my buddy [livejournal.com profile] garething got into the electrical apprenticeship program, I asked him to help me with some wiring things in the house, and he swapped out the damaged-for-nearly-thirty-years receptacle, and also saw some other horrifying electricity-related things I did in the house. In return for this favour, he made me promise never to fuck around with wiring ever again.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
Two ideas. One is likely already a thing. The second... well, we'll leave it for last.

While attending the Gaming Controversies panel, people touched on the idea of customizable characters. Now this has been a thing for awhile now, but the point the audience member wanted to make was "if you customize your character into a sexual stereotype - is that on you or the developer?". Are developers obligated to be inclusive, or should they respond to market forces? I'm of the opinion that that's not necessarily an either/or scenario. We can be biased while simultaneously ignoring "the market" - i.e. making toys needlessly gender specific when the kids don't care; then using that data to "prove" that girls like pink dolls and boys like blue trucks. Besides, "the market" isn't the be-all-and-end-all of metrics.

The commenter pointed out that one game had a "sexiness" trait that one could use to customize your character. It sounds like it basically increased boob size on the women. Not sure what it would do to the men. Given the number of women I know who appreciate any Marvel actor named "Chris", while simultaneously liking bishōnen, I'm not sure what it would modify. Penis size? Hard to show in a PG game, I imagine.

Why not have your modifiable skills and attributes, in turn, modify your characters appearance, rather than changing their looks directly. You want a stronger character, they look more buff. Smarter? Better choices of dialog. Have the sprites reflect actual morphology. Fast characters look like sprinters; agile ones look like gymnasts, strong ones look like weightlifters or bodybuilders.

As I mention above, I'd be surprised if someone hasn't attempted this already, though maybe not to the extreme I'm describing.

Second idea: Let's say you're playing a Halo-like game where the character is always wearing full body armor. You finish the game and it's time for the big reveal as you stand atop a mountain of vanquished foes as a the sun breaks over the horizon. You pull off your helmet to reveal... A manly white man with blue eyes and a strong jaw!

Assume the game doesn't suck; it gets rave reviews and becomes a best seller.

After the first month, things change. Now there's a random chance they'll get manly white man, or a black woman, or an effeminate Asian man, etc. In fact, all of the visible character traits of the character's face can change. Maybe they're ugly, maybe they're plain or have one eye, or they're tatted up, or have piercings. Their skin and eyes come in any naturally occurring human variation; their hair could be anything under the rainbow. Maybe have ten or so diverse characters with unique looks and back story that players could access online.

Why not do this from the start? Because it needs to get past that initial promotional/review stage with none the wiser. The reveal should be a surprise to the people who could use a little surprise in their lives.

The players have a feedback option that includes "I'd like to complain about how the main character looks in the finale". They click the button, which opens a MessageBox:

For the last 60+ hours, you've played a genetically enhanced super soldier wearing powered battle armor in the far future. Does it really matter what they look like underneath?
No game designer would ever do it of course, because profits. Still, I can dream.

And if they wanted to play it again, they could do so, choosing a character they haven't played yet.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
About once a month, I get together with LA and [livejournal.com profile] thekillerb69 (BB) for lunch. Earlier in the week, I sent out an email to them to see if we were still on for lunch. And I decided to quote Macbeth, just for shits and giggles.

Me
When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
I was expecting, at best, someone to quote the next line of the play - "When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won." - I didn't get that. Instead, I got something much better:

BB
We can gather on the 17th plus three,
Should timing work and we're all free.
LA informs us, in a non-rhyming fashion, that she'll be downtown.

BB
Downtown is good, I have a car.
At U & Me, we'll wreck the bar.
If that doesn't work, I have a plan of attack,
We'll feast like kings at Booker's Clam Shack!
JQ
While crabs, not clams are what I savor,
Patio resting is what I favour.
The Bank & Baron is a fine choice I’ve found
Good drink, good food, on the 8th avenue ground.
BB
The food looks good and the prices are right,
shall we meet around noon for our gastric delight?
LA
It was imprecise to say
"Downtown" is my aim
The Beltline is actually where I will be

And downtown at mid-day
The parking's insane
So a Beltline patio seems to be key

Lounge du Laurier
or Avec win acclaim
And Boxwood completes my proposal of three

But wait - why do we debate?
It's BB's day, to choose and pay.
JQ
In the end, it was to Blowfish we went.
High end sushi was BB's money well-spent.
Next month I would be quite the prick,
if I made everyone respond via limerick!
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
[livejournal.com profile] devoidofthought: I think you should put bedbugs into her stuff.

[livejournal.com profile] quixote317: Her stuff is crap. The only thing of value were a pair of glasses and her greasy rabbit vibrator. And ain't no one going to want either.

I suppose I could fashion a head out of her panties and use the vibe as a big nose. Then I could place the glasses upon it as an objet d'art!

Oooh, I could take a picture of it and tag her on Facebook!

[livejournal.com profile] devoidofthought: That was brilliant. And I think you're trying to kill me. I was attempting to eat something while reading that. It didn't work out well.

[livejournal.com profile] quixote317: My work here is done.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
...You'll dream up some decidedly odd ideas.

I was thinking that you could very easily make a Mad Men themed version of Kill Doctor Lucky called Fuck Don Draper.

The object of the game would be to get Don alone somewhere in the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce offices and engage in some skoodilypooping. You'd have cards representing Don's various conquests on the show (of which there have been many) and you'd play them when your token and Don where in the same room, unobserved. The other players would try to thwart it with cock-blocking cards of various numbers.
"Don and I are in the conference room together."
"Sorry, I can see you through the glass partition."
"I'm moving Don to his office and playing the Faye card."
"Nope. I'm cock-blocking you. I guess Pete Campbell knocked on the door."
It's a game sure to offend the whole family, as it should.

Next up, the Mad Men drinking game. The object is to simply match the characters drink-for-drink. Caution: may cause alcohol poisoning.

NonTrad26

Dec. 9th, 2012 10:35 pm
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
Yesterday was the 26th Annual No-Traditional Christmas Dinner party that [livejournal.com profile] catalytic hosts. It was well attended, crowded and a lot of fun. I may have drank too much (no seriously, I was about two drinks past where I wanted to be, whcih meant I drank nothing for the last two hours of the party.

The best part for me was having people call me to find out where I was and also voicing gratitude that I had come. It gave me a warm feeling.

So why was I late, it was because I was wrapping my present for the gift war.

Step one was the present. I ordered a bunch of stuff from ThinkGeek when I went to Vegas (cheaper delivery to Las Vegas than Cowtown). I had a bunch of Geek Points (their customer loyalty program - like I can get half of this stuff anywhere else). Sadly, the program isn't that good - it's easy to get the points, not so easy to actually use them. If I could redeem more than one item in an order it would be a lot more useful. Anyway, despite already having a Star Trek bathrobe (that I actually don't use - it's for those sorely rare occasions when I have a guest in my bedroom), I decided to get another to give someone as a gift. It was basically "free".

Pictures of the wrapping job within... )

Total cost of materials: About $20, which is what the guideline for the presents were, so my free-but-expensive present ended up costing exactly the right amount, but got me some compliments. Bonus: [livejournal.com profile] catalytic ended up winning the housecoat and seemed to be happy with it.

I got some Jesus-on-the-cross dress-up doll magnets!
jamesq: (The Claw!)
I don't normally suffer from insomnia. I've heard friends who do suffer from it describe it and it certainly doesn't sound like what I get occasionally, which is "can't fall asleep in a timely fashion". It's very rare for me to be woken up for any great amount of time in the middle of the night. Strange noises will wake me up (I'm hyper-sensitive to it), but once I've identified the noise I generally fall back to sleep.

Maybe it was the vacation, maybe it was sleeping in a strange house, but I went to bed at about midnight and woke up around 3 am. And I couldn't get back to sleep. In my groggy state I decided that, since I was on vacation and didn't need to be anywhere the next day (at least until the evening) to have an adventure. I got up, got dressed and left the house.

Now this was a time of day when even the late-night clubbers and bar habitués have gone to bed. The city was, aside from people who had to be up, deserted. My travels included the Commercial/Broadway area and (after a quick cab ride) downtown Vancouver.

What did I see? A handful of other people walking around late; Lots of Vancouver municipal workers running around maintaining things (changing lightbulbs, fixing signage, emptying trash). Mostly what I saw was empty side streets. Oh, and the inside of a Tim Hortons, where I had a breakfast sandwich.

I did this until dawn, at which point the first commuters where entering downtown. I took that opportunity to take an empty train back out to Commercial and went back to bed. This time I slept until the crack of noon.
jamesq: (Villain)
[livejournal.com profile] somejauntypolka posted this picture to her Facebook:
Who's a pretty Princess?

I was inspired! It helps if you picture the skit with Batman's rogues gallery as the Mounties.

I never wanted to be Bruce Wayne in the first place!
I... I wanted to be... THE BATMAN!

Skulking from alley to alley! Striking fear into the common criminals of Gotham City! With my sidekick Robin by my side!

Two-Face!
Riddler!
Clayface and Killer Croc!
The Penguin!
And of course, the Joker!
We'd sing! Sing! Sing!

BATMAN:
I'm the Batman and I'm all right.
I sleep all day and I work all night.

VILLAINS:
He's the Batman, and he's all right.
He sleeps all day and he works all night.

BATMAN:
I beat up thugs. I scowl a lot.
My cave is a laboratory.
Alfred does my shoppin'
and stitches up my injuries.

VILLAINS:
He beats up thugs. He scowls a lot.
His cave is a laboratory.
Alfred does his shoppin'
and stitches up his injuries.
He's the Batman, and he's all right.
He sleeps all day and he works all night.

BATMAN:
I beat up thugs. I whip myself.
I like the smell of leather.
I put on bondage clothing
and get rough trade in bars.

VILLAINS:
He beats up thugs. He whips himself.
He likes the smell of leather?
He puts on bondage clothing
and gets rough trade in bars?!?
...
He's the Batman, and he's all right.
He sleeps all day and he works all night.

BATMAN:
I beat up thugs. I wear ball gags.
I get suspended by my bra.
I wish my Dom were Catwoman
just like my dear Papa.

VILLAINS:
He beats up thugs. He wears ball gags.
Gets suspended by his bra?!?
[talking]
What's this? Wants to be dominated? Oh, My!
He should have said something sooner! We could have switched!
[singing]
He's the Batman and he's all right.
He sleeps all day, and he works all night.
He's the Batman and he's all riiiiight.
He sleeps all day, and he works all night.
(with apologies to Terry Jones, Michael Palin, & Fred Tomlinson; and also to anyone into BDSM - I keed, I keed)
jamesq: (Default)
One of my wee traditions relating to Quad War is to take highway 36 back to Calgary (it's a lot less aggravating than highway 2) and stop in Killam for ice cream.

The last three times I went there the urinal in the men's room was out of order. It had a black trash bag wrapped around it to keep people from using it. The last time I went through I noticed that the bag was dusty. Hypothesis: It's not that it's coincidentally broken around the same time each year, it's that they never fixed it at all.

So I made a little note to myself and hid it in the urinal. Nothing much, just "James Q was here, August 1st, 2011." I also told a handful of people about it. This was in 2011 and I figured I'd check to see if it was still there in 2012.

I was a little late getting there this year due to having to get a flat tire fixed in Wainwright. Still, we stopped and I went in to check. Here's what I found:

Gaze upon the urinal... OF DOOM!

If you can't read the writing, this new note reads:
Blailith & Magda were here
August 6th, 2012
Hi James!

Possibly the most amusing thing that could happen in a men's room without involving a US Senator.

Underneath that note was the remains of my own, earlier, note. It was a little water (not urine, I hope) damaged, but was still legible. Hypothesis proved: They have no interest in fixing the urinal.

Want to add to the shenanigans? Go to the Stop Spot Drive-In in Killam and add your own note. I'll read it next year.
jamesq: (Default)
I came across this image on Facebook. Had a look online to find an original to post here and decided to use the one with cleavage. I just gotta be me.



Let's have a look at the list shall we. You can broadly divide it into three categories: 1) non-christian beliefs, 2) Fun things, 3) WTF.

The list has quite a few oddities. I mean, it's not noteworthy that a list of satanic influences written by humorless Evangelical reactionaries would include New Age religions, Rock music or fornication. No the odd thing is some of the WTF items on the list, the evidence that this was written by a committee of people who didn't know what half the things on the list actually are, and the loopholes.

Let's look at those!

First up, Lycanthropy. Leaving aside that this, along with Vampirism are fictional conditions (i.e. the list could also prohibit dying your hair octarine). If you actually believe Lycanthropy exists, you must also subscribe to the belief that you get it by surviving a werewolf attack. Surviving a wild animal attack is apparently not the Christian thing to do. God help you if you ever contract Rabies.

Which does suggest that the people who composed this list are pretty credulous. As an Atheist, I can say that I've found no evidence to support Eastern religions. As a skeptic I can say I've found no evidence to suggest that there's anything to Ouija boards. As a humanist, I can say that postmodernism is a useful philosophy for improving the human condition. But then, I'm just another hapless pawn of Satan.

But come on, you wouldn't include Lycanthropy unless you thought it actually existed. And if you think Lycanthropy is real, you likely think the other non-christian woo on the list is real too. You think there really are people predicting the future, talking to spirits and raising the dead. No evidence of this is necessary of course, because if you hold one belief up to scrutiny, you might start doing the same with others. That's a ticket for the bullet train to damnation.

The list was either made by a committee, or was assembled, piecemeal over time. That's why you get things like New Age religions and Wicca on the list simultaneously, or two entries for Rock music and heavy metal music. It also suggests that the authors thought these things weren't just subsets, but entirely different.
"Can you believe that guy - before the party he screws her, then after the party, he takes her home and bonks her too."
"Screwing and bonking are the same thing."
"They are?"
"Yeah. What did you think they were?"
"I just thought they were... different somehow."
Paraphrasing some dialogue from a dimly remembered movie. Can anyone remember the actual movie? Pretty sure it was an 80's teen sex comedy.

Anyway, I imagine a church basement where items are being suggested for inclusion. Sometimes things get repeated for emphasis ("Rock music is bad, but heavy metal is especially bad"). Sometimes it gets included because people don't realize they're not that different. sometimes they get included because it's on one person's bad-thing list and the others don't actually know what it is. Postmodernism? Sounds weird, let's say we're against it. Trilateralism (a minor ultra-right-wing bugaboo from the united-nations-has-black-helicopters zone)? Must be from Satan.

What I really love are the loopholes and omissions. Omission number one has to be professional sports. It's been on every other list of this kind I've seen, so why isn't it here? Maybe the Author is a big NFL fan.

Lots of drugs are on the list, but it's certainly not comprehensive. We know the author isn't Mormon or Muslim since caffeine and alcohol didn't make the cut. Heroin and Crack are A-OK though!

There's a couple overly-specific prohibitions. "Marihuana & Pot Parties" are bad - I guess smoking a joint by yourself is OK. "Twilight films" are from Satan, but the novels aren't? Kristen Stewart is not my favorite actress, but claiming she's Satanic is a little harsh. Remember kids, God has no problem with you reading Twilight while getting wasted on weed. So long as it's by yourself. Don't analyze it on TV Tropes though - that would smack of Postmodernism.

Coming up with a score is difficult. I mean, I know Trilateralism exists, but do I have to actually participate in economic talks between North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim for it to count? I used to believe there was something to Tarot cards, but now I just own a few decks because I think they're pretty. Does that count? I've never fire-walked, but it's on my bucket list - Do I count it? Should fornication count against me if potential partners keep turning me down?

Lets go with 10-20. 21 if someone tricks me into watching Twilight.
jamesq: (Fools)
About ten days ago on a Saturday morning LA and I participated in City Chase. Our team name was, of course, Grätüïtöüs Ümläüt. Here's a quick recap with some hints for future City Chases:

We started at Eau Claire plaza and endured a lot of talk from the MC. A coworker and his race partner were honored for winning last year and also for raising about 3K for charity.

The race started when the MC announced that "security guards on Prince's Island have the clue sheets". This triggered a mad dash by all involved. LA and I second-guessed ourselves and went to one of the remoter parts of the island on the assumption that they'd be spread out. Nope, they were all smack dab in the center at the major crossroad of the park.

advice: During the opening announcements, you'll be in a large area that can fit everyone. It will likely be next to a big empty area where they'll hand out the clue sheets. Be at the border between the two if you can.

The clue sheet had puzzles describing each of the Chase Points that we had to go to. There were 37 ("Thirty-seven!") of them IIRC. There were some odd groupings you had to do, and also some "do this or that, but not both" situations where teh chase points were very close to each other (for example, two where a block away from each other on Kensington Road).

We hunkered down and started solving the puzzles, which required middling knowledge of the city and some google-fu. Make sure you have a smart phone. It took us a little over half an hour to have solved the majority of the clues (we only got one wrong, owing to neither of us having ever been to Flames Central) and have a semi-optimal route chosen.

advice: Take a snap-shot of the clue sheet and email it to a helper, then bolt to one of the mandatory check points!

Our route? Start at the University of Calgary and work our way back. So it was onto the train to go to the northwest.

Chase Point 1: At the UofC, near the library tower, we had to do each of the following:
  • skip rope simultaneously with your partner.
  • Run a soccer ball through pylons.
  • kick the soccer ball to each other through the pylons.
  • Leapfrog with your partner.
  • Solve a four-piece puzzle.
The difficult part for me and LA was the difference in our heights, she being wee and me looking like Herman Munster. We managed it though.

Chase Point 2: We ran down to the Volleydome (just south of the University in Athletic Park) and got to play another team in beach volleyball. We lost 5-2, but had fun.

On the way back to the train we stopped at DQ for ice cream treats. Any race where you can have ice cream in the middle is a good race. Sadly, I dropped my cone before I could finish it. Oh well, it was just going to get into my mouth anyway.

Chase Point 3: At the North Hill Fire Station there were two possible chase points. One was for anyone who had raised $50 for charity. We qualified, so we got that. The other point was for doing a bunch of fireman stuff - dragging hoses, carrying a body, that sort of thing. Unfortunately, they only had a few fireman on hand to supervise and one or two sets of equipment. This led to a long line that wasn't really moving. Someone said "40 minute wait", which I can believe, except I think that number was a guesstimate. We skipped that one, even though it looked like a lot of fun.

advice: We should have rushed to this one first and beat the lineup, solving other puzzles along the way (after all, we had to go there anyway to get our charity point). Failing that, raising $150 instead of $50 would have got us the point and allowed us to skip to the head of one lineup! This would have been a good choice for that.

Chase Point 4: We took the train down to Riley Park and found a fitness setup. You had to pick a snack from a list. They then told you how many calories was in that snack (it had things like a Mars bar, doughnut, muffin, bag of chips, etc.). Once you had a calorie value, you and your partner had to burn that many calories. They had a bunch of exercises there that you could do (examples: fifty sit-ups burned 40 calories, thirty 10-pound bicep curls burned 15 calories). This, more than anything else, contributed to my being stiff and sore the next day. I chose the Mars bar, since I know donuts and muffins have no standard sizes and can be as big as you like, but a Mars bar is constant. We had to burn about 350 calories.

Woof!

Chase Point 5: We headed south to Kensington road and had a choice of two chase points (we could only do one of them though). We went to Pages book store (the one beside the Plaza theatre) and were instructed to go to the upper level and find some "visual poetry that is neither part of a book or on a bookshelf" and identify the creator. A lot of second-guessing and we finally found artwork on one of the windows made up of a maelstrom of letters.

Chase Point 6: At the Kensington Running Room we had to find five differences between two mannequins, the mannequins being decked out in an assortment of merchandise. LA found four of the differences, despite my having the brilliant plan of taking pictures of one of the mannequins and using it to compare to the other (they weren't beside each other in the store).

We had now run through most of the convenient northwest chase points.
LA: Why don't we take the loser-cruiser to Inglewood?
Me: What's the loser-cruiser?
LA: The Bowness-to-Forest-Lawn bus.
Me: Of course!
Chase Point 7: Once in Inglewood we went to 4 Cats art store to do some finger-painting. We had to use three methods of getting paint onto a canvas and "recreate" some pollock-style art on the wall. One of the methods had to include popping a water balloon with paint in it (not much paint, thank Groo).

Now we had a dilemma, we could go to the nearby chase point at Fair's Fair Books, but that would mean missing the bus back into downtown. Or we could catch the bus and hit a chase point in downtown on the way down to 17th avenue. The bus was coming in two minutes, so we opted to skip Fair's Fair.

rant: Why does the city only run the #1 bus (the "loser-cruiser" referenced above) every 30 minutes on Saturday? Every time we were on it it was standing-room only - hell it was "move to the back of the bus so others can get on" crowded. That's not even including the handful of race participants. This bus is clearly being used and used well - crank up the frequency Calgary Transit!

We got downtown and discovered that what we thought was a chase point wasn't. We had got the clue wrong (which hurts more for this pair of geeks). We headed down to Melrose Cafe with less than an hour left in the race. Maybe we could finish if the chase point was a quick one. It wasn't.

Chase Point 8: At Melrose Cafe, the lower level was taken up by a martial arts school. What school you might ask? Ninjas! However, before we got to the ninjas, we had to cool our heels for a half hour in line. A line that went right by Melrose's bar. Any race where you can have a pint of ale in the middle is a good race.

We had to go through a bunch of ninja exercises to qualify for the point. Having read comics and watched movies throughout the 80's I had a bad opinion of ninjas (specifically the Westerners who learned it) as pretentious goofballs. Our guide did a lot to lift that bad opinion though. It seems like a fairly egalitarian martial art, and that pleases the socialist in me. We had to run through some obstacles, demonstrate our ability to skulk, sneak, dodge sword thrusts and missiles and finally we got to throw some shurikens! This was probably my favorite of the chase points that I completed.

This does suggest that the local SCA could get involved - volunteer to do a checkpoint where people put on armour and tabards and did quick one-off combat with Nerf weapons. Maybe not though - the ninja stuff was decidedly non-contact. Oh well.

We now had ten minutes left to get back downtown and check in before the 4pm deadline. We weren't going to be getting those last two chase points. We were a few minutes late, but were told before the race that they would have the finish line open until 4:15. This turns out to be incorrect, they finished at 4 on the nose and we missed check in, so there is no record of our team finishing.

All the race participants got treated to a free drink at Flames Central. Sadly that venue isn't quite large enough for everyone; neither LA or I were able to get seats as we were amongst the last people to get there.

City Chase was a blast and I recommend it to everyone. Vancouver peep: It's in your neighborhood on August 25th!
jamesq: (Cowtown)
It's not that I've been unaware of my upcoming participation in City Chase, it's just that every other time it's come up it hasn't taken up more than about 10% of available brain resources. I was either in the middle of a work problem, or daydreaming, or something.

"Want to do City Chase with me? It's in three weeks."
"Sure. Hey, is that a squirrel outside?"
Later.

"If we fundraise $50 we get perks during the race. [coworker] is doing it to and says he'll donate $50 to ours if we donate $50 to his. Can you do that? BTW, it's in two weeks."
"Sure". *does it* "Gosh Kate Beckinsale is attractive."
Later still.

"I've paid our registration and you took care of the donation, so that means you owe me X. Don't forget it's next Saturday."
"No problem, here's the money. I like pie."
Today.

"CITY CHASE IS TOMORROW?!? WHY DIDN'T ANYONE WARN ME!!!"
I am officially in an anxious panic. Not a bad anxious panic you understand - this is the same sort of thing I get before going a trip to somewhere I've never been, or before a race. Still, it's making me all jittery.

So a few things:

  1. Lots of my coworkers are doing this too (there are six pairs) - I attribute this to one of my coworkers winning last year.

  2. There are a handful of spots left if you want to come out. I hear it's a lot of fun. You like having fun don't you?

  3. I might call you up and pump you for information.

  4. Want to donate? I doubt it will make a big difference to my team's standings at this late date, but it will make a big difference to the people the charity helps! Do so here!
The team name? Grätüïtöüs Ümläüt of course!
jamesq: (Default)
Here's some pictures of the jelly shots I made for [livejournal.com profile] othelianna's party:

Vodka - it's what's for dinner!
You too will be on your side after a few of these
Double Rainbow!  What does it mean?!?

I got the recipe here.
Mine aren't as bright because I added a fourth layer of grape to the top on account of my pan being larger (and therefore each layer was thinner). They are very sweet though, due to the Whipped Cream Vodka I used.

It helps to have an awesome photographer as a roommate. Thanks [livejournal.com profile] nosarious.

Sigh

Aug. 10th, 2011 11:54 am
jamesq: (Villain)
It would be ridiculously easy to troll [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political if one were so inclined. Thankfully, while I'm 99 kinds of asshole, being a troll is not one of them.
jamesq: (Villain)
[livejournal.com profile] thebrucie: http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/08/04/first-look-superman/
[livejournal.com profile] quixote317: You know who would make a better Superman? Nicolas Cage.
[livejournal.com profile] conejita_diabla: I will cut you...
[livejournal.com profile] thebrucie: KILL YOU!!!
[livejournal.com profile] quixote317: Good. Use your aggressive feelings. Let the hate flow through you.
[livejournal.com profile] thekillerb69: What's the matter? I think James has a valid point. Nick has a strong history or portraying super heroes. His work in Ghost Rider alone should make him a shoe in, he was set to be Superman in Tim Burton's film and even named his kid Kal-El. The man was born for the part!
[livejournal.com profile] conejita_diabla: *hiss*

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