Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday Afternoon Poetry

Poem for a passive-agressive partner

You're pretty when you smile
You're ugly when you don't
If you're smiling, I might kiss you
If you're frowning, then I won't.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Double Delight Oreo Mint 'n Cream: A Review

Today I bought a package of the cookies mentioned in the title.

They tasted good. However, when I tried to twist open the Oreo it did not go very smoothly. There was resistance. Then, suddenly, the icing half of the Oreo flew out of my hands and into the dirty sink, rendering the cookie inedible. This was disappointing. This particular variation of the brand does not live up to the level of quality that I have come to expect from that brand.

Mr. Christie, you made a bad cookie.

Cleared for Takeoff

The RMC math department secretary has told me to contact the instructor of the other section of the course that I had been asked to teach earlier. I assume this means I have passed the security clearance.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Quote of the Day

"In fact, after suffering the spectacle for decades of Canadians trying to make American films, we may have finally seen the obverse: these Americans have made a Canadian film -- quirky, tiny, and seen by nearly no one." -- Frank Moher

Update: Click the Frank Moher link to find out the name of the movie.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Identity Crisis

I have nearly completed a Ph.D. in mathematics. Throughout my enrolment in the program, I had thought that I was an aspiring algebraic graph theorist. I have recently been informed, however, that I am actually an aspiring qualitative matrix theorist.

I don't know who I am anymore.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Back to the matter at hand

Not too long ago One More Epicycle asked what deep country was. I'm at loss myself. Googling for the phrase brings us back to the post in which the question was asked before we get anything close to an answer. As an adjective for country music, deep seems to be used primarily to describe The Be Good Tanyas. So things have come full circle. Deep country is what The Be Good Tanyas play. The Be Good Tanyas play deep country. Not very helpful. Call me crazy, but I hardly think that a band from urban Canada is going to define a type of country music, especially since much of the music on the CD of theirs that I own consists of covers and reinterpretations of traditional tunes.

A bit more sleuthing seems to indicate that deep country is "white man's gospel music". There's at least one song on Chinatown, which I own, that resembles gospel music to me. The Be Good Tanyas being white people, by this definition that song would qualify as deep country, so maybe this is what is meant. The term also seems to be used to describe country music that hasn't been corrupted by Nashville or at least is in an earlier stage of corruption[1]. This too would fit, but it's too vague of a description for me to think that that's what is meant when calling their music deep country.

Whatever was meant by deep country, it's got to be a better descriptor for their music than "like Led Zeppelin" as Conan O'Brien said. Owning one of their albums and having listened to it, I have no idea where he got that from.

Personllay, I'd prefer not to think of The Be Good Tanyas as country music at all, since I like them, but I don't like country.


[1] I really can't stand country music radio, metonymously known as Nashville, on the whole. Occasionally I hear something that doesn't make me want to change stations immediately. Lately though, I've come accross a fair amount of country music that I do like. It crossed my mind that my attitudes toward country music might be changing, so I tried to listen to country music radio or watch country music tv to test that possiblity. But no. I still can't stand it. It's not my attitudes that have changed. It's the music that I have access to. Thank you internet!

Rough Riders vs. Roughriders

People used to poke fun at the CFL because the league, with a meagre 9 teams, had 2 teams with almost the same name, differing only by space. Will people now poke fun at Canada for having our two major political parties being led by people with essentially the same first name in their respective languages?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Water water everywhere...

...how many drops to drink?

There's a common bit of wisdom floating around out there that we're supposed to drink about 8 cups of water per day. I've been skeptical about this wisdom ever since I tried to get those 8 cups one time and was required to leave my desk about 16 times. The 8 cups rule is often accompanied by a number of other dubious claims about water, such as that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, or that water cures certain diseases and ailments .

It turns out that it's "wisdom" and not wisdom. The 8 cups rule is an exaggeration, and we get most of the water that we need from the food we eat. The rest of the claims have no scientific basis.

Snopes contains a great deal of information on other urban myths, and I'm not going to post on all of them. In my experience, however, the 8 cup rule and accompanying "wisdom" is rather pervasive. It even appears on the bulletin boards in the hallowed halls of academia, where at least some of us should know better.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Let the celebrations begin

Once again, a new month is upon us, so I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Month Day[1]. Well, everyone except you.

[1] I guess if I wanted to be consistent with the yearly event that inspired this monthly event, I should call it New Month's Day. But nobody likes pronouncing an "s" after a "th", and I've been calling it New Month Day for, well, months.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tuesday night CanCon

"Writer"
Al Mader
The Minimalist Jug Band
[If only you could hear it--ed.]

I hear you're chasin' the golden egg
Relocatin' to Winnipeg
For a Ph.D. and a career

Well don't expect me to beg
Go ahead and break a leg
But there always a place for you here

And You can always just be a writer
If nothin' else goes right
Scribble your thoughts on a napkin in the morning
And perform them up onstage at night.

And you can always just be a writer
If everything else goes wrong
Take your heart break and misfortune
Transform the into a song

Well I know that poets are annoying
Even the ones who are good
At least they have
an understanding of
What it's like to be misunderstood

And You can always just be a writer
I put your name on the list
Well you're after the girl
with the bleach blonde curls
And the bandages on her wrist

And you can always just be a writer
There's no real shame in that
Well it's a gift that you got
And like it or not
It's not a gift that you can take back

Well Henry and William were brothers
You could hardly tell them apart
But Willy James chose the machinations of the mind
While Hank chose the beating of the heart

And I didn't bother to do any research
But I'd be more than willing to bet
Henry James had the better life
And died without regrets

And they told Henry
You can always just be a writer
If nothing else goes right
Scribble your thoughts on napkin in the morning
And perform them up onstage at night

And you can always just be writer
I'll put your name on the list
Well you're after the girl with the bleach blond curls
And the bandages on her wrist

And you can always just be a writer.

--

Brought to me in audio form courtesy of Steve Fruitman on his CIUT radio show Back to the Sugar Camp.

I bothered to transcribe this quite some time ago in response to an email, the contents of which are also amusing, and appear below.
(I'll link to who sent it,
if he will consent to it.)

RJN, at First Things:

--
Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in six words, which
he did. (I'll get to what he wrote.) Black Book magazine issued the same
challenge to a slew of well-known contemporary authors. Norman Mailer
wrote this: "Satan -- Jehovah -- fifteen rounds. A draw."

John Updike: "'Forgive me!' 'What for?' 'Never mind.'"

None of them come close to what Hemingway wrote: "For sale: baby shoes,
never used."
--

It's lines like that that make me realize I'm never going to be a writer..

Monday, November 27, 2006

Premature Expiration

In all the years that I've had a credit card, I don't think any one of them has lasted to the expiration date. I don't feel like I'm being especially rough with it. I don't make that many credit card purchases, so I doubt that I'm wearing it out on the swipe machines. I'm mystified.

Does this happen to anyone else?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Islands of Confusion

Despite the name, Île-de-France is not an island.

Cognitive Dissonance

"Randy!" she said enthusiastically upon his entering the coffee shop.

Genocide and the noation of Quebec

The recent announcement of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the vote to recognize the Quebecois as a nation, while declaring that the Province of Quebec will never be a nation, reminded me of a vote in the House of Commons in 2003 to recognize the Armenian genocide.

It struck me as odd that the House of Commons would be voting on such a thing. I felt that whether something was a genocide was something that should be discussed and debated by historians, and perhaps legal scholars, and not decided by parliamentarians. What practical implications does it have, other than to put Canada on the record as having voiced its own thoughts on the matter? Offhand, I can't think of anything, but this is well outside the realm of my expertise.

Recognizing Quebec as as nation, in the sense that Prime Minister Harper is using it, strikes me as odd as well, and for the same reasons. The sense he is using it is in an ethnocultural sense. I feel that the national status of the Quebecois in this sense is something that should be discussed and debated by somebody--I'm not sure who--but again not decided by parliamentarians.

Much else has been written on the matter. See Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells.

It is important, as another Andrew points out in the comment section of his blog, to take careful note of the wording. The motion is recognizing the Quebecois, not the people of the Province of Quebec.

Tabuly [1]

In addition to having leftover cilantro, tomatoes, and chickpeas from the soup, I also had some leftover flatleaf parsley. Once again the blogless Erica came to the rescue and recommended a recipe for tabouleh. I followed the recipe pretty closely this time, except that I used a dash of salt instead of a pinch. I just squeezed some ReaLemon instead of fresh squeezed lemon juice until it felt like I had the right amount rather than measuring it out (I guessed right). I used three vine ripened tomatoes instead of one large tomato.

It turns out that bulgur wheat is a specialty item. I couldn't find it among the rice and pasta as I would have expected. So if you can't find it there, try looking for the specialty section, which may be small and hard to find. At the A&P that I went to, the specialty section was only about two metres wide. I would not have found it if I didn't ask someone at the store where to find bulgar wheat.

I used the tabouleh to stuff pita to eat with lunch. It was a great alternative to the usual peanut butter and jam or cheese sandwiches that I usually eat. Note that the recipe (as I made it) was rather soggy, so it is not recommended to stuff the pita in advance to eat later.

As usual, I ended up with leftover ingredients. This time it's green onion. I'm sure there's something simple that I can make with it, but I don't usually use green onion, so nothing comes to mind. I've also got a large package of bulgur wheat. I guess I could make tabouleh again. Any other suggestions?

[1] There are many accepted spellings of tabouleh. This is not one of them.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Redeemer Connection

The man who designed the crest of my alma mater has been awarded the title of Herald Extraordinary.

Hat tip to the blog possessing David Koyzis.

The number of functions from the empty set to the empty set

I cannot read this post without posting something in response. First, I wasn't aware that I act like a mathematician, even when I am not doing mathematics. Second, the only math joke I know[1].

A biologist, a physicist, and a mathematician walk past a house. As they are walking past, they notice that two people walk in, but later those two people walk out with one additional person. The biologist says, "They must be multiplying." The physicist says, "It's an anomoly." At this point, another person walks into the house. The mathemitians sees this and says, "Now there is nobody in the house."

[1] Really, it's better that we don't know that many math jokes. It saves us from embarrassment.

Of all the !@#$ing coincidences

As I mentioned in Monday's post, my parents were in Kingston one week before my dad passed away. Among the things that I talked about with my dad was a country song called "Waiting around to die" [1] I never quite understood his enthusiasm for listening to country music on the radio until sometime in the last four or five years, when he told me that he mostly listened to country music stations hoping to hear something resembling the country music of earlier decades, though he never heard what he wanted. The composer of the song was Townes Van Zandt. The name was familiar, but it didn't sound like something that was recent. I thought that he might be a performer from earlier days of country music that my dad would recognize. Turns out that he didn't. The recording of the song that I had was from the Be Good Tanyas, which happened to among the topics of DSM's post that I read on the day of that sad anniversary.

[Warning: plot spoiler ahead]

Later that day, I watched Prison Break.

If the main characters were real, we'd have something to relate to. At least it wasn't raining in Prison Break.

[1] If the topic weren't so morbid, I might be amused by title of the song, when I asked him about it, and what happened one week later. I should say, however, that the main character of the song has basically given up on life, and his only solace is found in substance abuse. This was not my dad in any way.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Easy Chick Pea Curry

I made the recipe below last week Monday night in order to use up the unused portions of the cilantro, chickpeas, and tomatoes that I bought for the Tunisian chickpea and vegetable soup that I made a couple weeks ago. It was also a chance to use "my" "new" blender.

Rather than the quantities listed below, I used about 14oz (or one half of a can) of canned diced tomatoes, one and a half cans of chickpeas, about two thirds of a bunch of cilantro, and a whole white onion. I don't know what is meant by hot green chilies. I bought three hot yellow peppers (that is what the grocery store called them) but decided to use only one. I think I made the right decision. I also forgot to buy cinnamon and didn't have any on hand. Since I was using larger amounts of ingredients than the recipe called for and had forgotten cinnamon, I was fairly liberal with most of the spices. I was cautious with the salt, and only used the amount given.

It took me quite a while, maybe an hour, to get all of the vegetables ready, in part because I got a phone call in the middle of doing so, but also because I was reading the recipe off of my computer screen which is not convenient, because I didn't want it to be too close to the vegetables that I was chopping and also because it kept going into screen saver mode. Next time it should go much quicker.

The rest went smoothly, though I didn't cook the potatoes long enough, and it turned out that I was overly cautious with the salt. Neither of these things were a big deal, however. Once the potatoes were fully cooked and enough salt was added, I was pleased with the result. The recipe doesn't say so, but I ate it with rice, in roughly equal proportion to the curry.

The recipe comes from "From Curries to Kebabs" by Madhur Jaffrey, via the blogless Erica.

2 cups (1 can) chickpeas
2 smallish tomatoes (about 8 ounces), chopped
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3-6 fresh hot green chilies, chopped
1 cup cilantro tops, chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons corn, peanut, or olive oil
1 medium stick of cinnamon
5 whole cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 medium potatoes (about 9 ounces), peeled and cut into ¾-inch dice

Leave the chickpeas to drain in the colander.

Put the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chilies, cilantro, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 5 to 6 tablespoons of water in a blender and blend until smooth, pushing down with a rubber spatula when necessary.

Pour the oil in to a wide, lidded, medium pan and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the cinnamon, cardamom, and bay leaves. Ten seconds later, add the onion and potatoes. Stir and fry for six minutes, or until the onion is lightly browned. Add the paste from the blender. Stir for a minute. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, lifting the lid now and then to stir. Add the chickpeas, the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt, and 1 cup of water. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover, and cook gently on a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Dad

Almost two years ago today, I received a phone call from my brother. Something bad happened, he said. It's Dad. I more or less knew what he was going to say. It was the first time my brother had called me in Kingston, in fact the only time, and the call was at 1:00 in the morning. There was some hope that I was wrong in my guess. That perhaps something happened that merely required a hospital visit. He shortly informed that my guess was right. My dad had passed away. I frantically packed my bags in preperation to go home. There was no point in staying in Kingston for the night. I wouldn't sleep. I called a friend in hopes of having some company for the trip back. He wasn't home, so I left on my own. The trip was uneventful. I had no problem staying awake, due to a couple coffee stops. In my determination to get home safely, I barely had time to feel anything. It wasn't real yet anyway.

By the time I got home, it must have been at least 5:30 in the morning. I had hoped that everyone would still be there when I got there. All but my brother and mother had left, however. My brother had gone to bed, and my mom was still up, flipping through photo albums looking for pictures of my dad, I think. I stayed up for about an hour, and decided to try to sleep with little success. I woke up and walked to the kitchen. When I didn't see my dad, I looked out into the back yard to see if he was there, partly having forgotten, but partly hoping that somebody had made a huge mistake. That's kind of what it felt like for the next few days. Like my dad was still alive. Like he had stepped out for a few minutes, but he'd be back in a little while.

The next few days were crazy. There were tons of people coming to my house. Extended family and people from my church especially. There was a lot of running around too, arranging all sorts of things for the funeral. Visitation took place for two hours in the afternoon and two hours in the evening. There was an impressive amount of people at the evening visitation. People were lined up outside the door of the church according to some sources. Some were there to give support to me or my brothers and sisters, but most were there to remember my dad.

The funeral itself was rather lighthearted. More fun than funeral. My uncle spoke on behalf of my dad's brothers and sisters. My sister spoke on behalf of my mother and brothers and sisters. There was more laughter than tears in both cases. It might seem inappropriate for a funeral, but my dad was inappropriate at other funerals. While everyone else was quiet and sombre, my dad would act as if nothing had happened. So it seemed fitting.

It was cold and rainy that day. Despite that, it was hard for me to leave the grave site.

After that, the long slow process of grieving happens. All I can really say about it is that it wasn't what I expected. I felt exhausted physically, but I didn't feel a great deal of sadness until recently.

I miss him a lot. He had a reputation for being slow and easily confused, though I think the reputation was somewhat unfair. He would chronically forget the names of his children. Well, he'd remember them, but not the right ones. If I heard my brother's name, I was almost certain my dad was talking to me. Occasionally he'd get it right the first time, but change his mind and call out one of my brothers' names (he would always get the gender right. I was never called by my sisters' names). It was cause for concern when my dad would get our names right on the first go, without changing his mind. He could rarely understand my mom's directions for things like when the next doctor's appointment was. These things got worse as he got older. Despite all of this, even at the last time I saw him, he still had a sharp wit, and he was full of random useless facts (now you know where I get it from). He was always looking for ways to help people out, wether they specifically asked for it or not. He could often be heard scheming behind someone's back trying to arrange favours for them. He had a lot to complain about, but rarely ever did, and he was usually cheerful despite all of this. Many were unaware of the problems that he had. He would always encourage people to look at the positive in everything, and he lived by that himself. I have many good memories of times with my dad. Going for walks when we were camping. Going for bike rides when I was a kid. Spending Sunday afternoons sleeping on his lap. Making coffee. Yes. Even something as mundane as making coffee.

In some ways it was a relief for him. He had suffered from lupus for most of my life, though he wasn't diagnosed until I was around 10. It made him tired and achey. He had asthma. He had had a gall bladder operation which nearly killed him and from which he never truly recovered. Later on he was diagnosed with diabetes. It wasn't easy to deal with all of this.

Regrets. I have a few, though they are small in comparison to some others' in the same situation. He and my mom came to visit one week before he died. I wasn't in a very good mood that weekend, and I took it out on him a little bit. I wish that I didn't. I should have helped him out at home more than I did when I visited home. I would hog the tv too, even in the rare moment when something he really wanted to watch was on.

There is probably more that I could say about my dad, but I've said all that I have to say for the time being.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

No Good Deed

At 11:51 this morning, housemate number 2 asks can you drive me to class, in a quiet, crackly, just got woken up voice. It's only a 10 minute walk, but it's pouring buckets out, and she's already late by 20 minutes. Okay. I'll drive you. I quickly grab my car keys and put on my coat. I do the usual check for my housekeys. Yep. They're in there. Off we go. It's a math class she says on the way there. I'm already late, but I don't want to miss anymore than I have already. I drop her off, turn around, and head back home. I hop out of my car, head into my building, and reach into my pocket for my housekeys. Only, they're not there. What I had confirmed to be my housekeys earlier was a small handfull of coins and my other set of car keys. I can't call anyone, since I left my cell in my room thinking I wouldn't need it. I walk back to the campus I have just driven to so that I can send an email to the housemates from the library telling them to meet me somewhere to lend me their keys. I find an open computer, and log in to gmail. I look up to see a familiar face. It takes a second, but I recognize her as housemate number 1 (you would think that I would recognize my housemate more easily than that, but it's at least the third time I've seen her somewhere and not recognized it was her right away). How fortuitous. I get her attention and explain to her my predicament. I have to hand in an assigment in Jeffery Hall, she says, and then I'm going home. Excellent. I walk with her to Jeffery Hall and wait for her to hand in her assignment. I run into friend of unspecified number. Oh dear. The circles are mixing. I just wanted to help out housemate number 2. I didn't mean for this to happen. How awkward. What do I do? What do I do? Housemate number 1 meet friend of unspecified number, I say. Friend of unspecified number meet housemate number 1. She's in political science, I say to friend of unspecified number who also happens to be in political science. Sorry. Political studies. The awkwardness is averted by them having something to talk about. The assignment is handed in, and we begin the long trek home (it's longer when you have short legs, as she does, or you're walking with someone who does). I am reminded once again that a waterproof coat is of no use to me if it's raining a lot and the water pours off onto my pants. We arrive home, and my pants are soaked. Not to mention that I have lost what must be an hour of work.

No good deed...

Staking a claim

Technorati Profile

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Cool"

An anagram that is cool to a mather such as myself:

Eleven plus two <-> Twelve plus one

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Polkaroo

Hmmm.

Update: The link above refers to the entry titled "Things that make you go hmm."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday Night Poetry

I wrote the following poem in response to having my grammar corrected.

----
I agree that my verbs did not agree.
But did you have to go ALL-CAPS on me?
Was that really the way to be?
You've made me shed an apostrophe :'(
----

I don't think that you can comprehend the pain that I'm right now.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

On Sale

If you've always wanted one, but didn't think you could afford it, now is your chance to get one cheap. That's right folks, the Oxford English Dictionary is on sale! That's right folks! At more than 40% off the regular price, you can get your own copy for a mere $895.00! So... what are you waiting for?

Monday, November 06, 2006

I know what you ate last night.

I made this for dinner tonight. It's tasty. Go make it for yourself.

Hat tip to the blogless Erica.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Borat

Yesterday I went to see the movie Borat.

There were many moments of the movie that made me laugh, which is rare for a comedy. Some of the funny moments were of the fish-out-of-water type, while others were of the I-can't-believe-he-said-that type.

I wouldn't go so far as to endorse the movie, however.

Much of the dialogue was crude. There was a scene which must have lasted for at least five minutes involving the two main characters, both male, wrestling naked with each other [1]. There wasn't much of a plot (how many comedies do have good plots, though?)

I left the movie theatre feeling dirtier than when I came in.

[1] The main characters are supposedly from Kazakhstan, a central Asian country. I recall from travel shows that central Asians have some rituals that involve men getting way too close for comfort by my standards. So perhaps a native Kazakh would not have been so inclined to avert his gaze.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Blast from the Past

Found this old post on gasoline stupidity in the wake of Katrina last year. I'm sure if I read the whole thing, it would echo some of my thoughts on the matter.

Hat tip to Jerry Aldini

La Musique du Quebec

In the summer before I came to Queen's I spent a month in Chicoutimi, Quebec to learn French through the Summer Language Bursary Program. While there, I learned that Quebec had traditional music of its own, comparable to that of Cape Breton. The songs are usually of the call-and-response variety, though not always. The instrumental repertoire contains a lot of tunes that are similar in form to Scottish and Irish traditional music (which generally falls under the ambiguous term "Celtic"), namely reels and jigs (or gigues).

There was at least one wave of Irish immigrants to Quebec and they brought with them the musical traditions that the Irish themselves are now popular for. Some of that stuck and became part of what I assume was a pre-existing musical tradition in Quebec. There are other types of tunes in Quebec such as the quadrille, which probably would translate into something like "square dance", but may not resemble what we know as square dancing (the instrumental component of traditional music, from Cape Breton, Scotland, Ireland, Quebec, or the Appalachian mountains was dance music before it was "listening" music, so a quadrille is a type of dance. Calling a tune a "quadrille" means it was meant to accompany the dance by the same name).

The songs, in my opinion, don't resemble songs in any of the traditions mentioned above in their feel. In modern recordings of the tunes, it is sometimes easy to hear the resemblence to the other traditions, and sometimes it would be impossible to mistake the Quebecois tradition for anything else. In older recordings of tunes, it would be hard for me to pick out what's Quebecois and what's Irish, Scottish, or any other tradition (though I've heard only a few old recordings in any of these styles). The experts say that in the Quebecois tradition the tunes are played with more syncopation (though there are other traditions in Canada with more, and more obvious, syncopation).

The fiddle by far is the most important instrument, followed closely by the accordion. Musical spoons and Jew's harp are frequently heard as well. One characteristic that sets the music apart, by and large, is the foot-stomping that accompanies most of their tunes (again, there are other traditions within Canada where foot-stomping is the primary rythmic accompaniment).

There is much more to the music than I know, or want to bother to explain in a simple blog post. Not only that, it's better to hear the music than to read about. So I will leave you with a few names so you can get a feel for it.

Probably the most popular group within Quebec is La Bottine Souriante, which I found out about through the CBC (hey, they're good for something!). They have been around for nearly 30 years now. Their early music is mostly traditional, though polished up, no doubt, for recording purposes (field recordings of the unpolished music might make you wonder why anyone even showed up to dance). In later years they added a horn section which definitely changes the feel of the music, but nevertheless the traditional character shines through. It would be worthwhile to catch a live show, not just for the thrill of live music, but also to see the dancing that usually accompanies the music. More than once, I've seen live concerts on TV, though only when I'm not looking for them. You can listen to three of their tracks on either of the French or English home pages. Hit the play button at the bottom right of the home page. You can also hear samples of tracks (no complete tracks though) from each of their albums by clicking on the album covers under the discography section.

Another group is Les Chauffeurs a Pieds. This name is intended as double entendre that, not being competent in French (the Summer Language Bursary Program was only of short term success), is lost on me. The name refers in part to the foot-stomping mentioned earlier. I can't remember the other half of the double entendre, nor do I remember from where I learned of this, so I can't look it up. You can download about 20 complete tracks, a few short samples, and one corrupted file (La Lombardie. I don't reccommend downloading this one for one obvious reason. For those who don't like classic Irish folk song Raitlin Bog, I don't reccommend listening to "Dans ce joli bois". After many listens, I have concluded that it is the French language equivalent of the Irish song (the tune and words are very different), though I still haven't fully understood the lyrics. ). I'm listening to them as I write. (Thanks to Steve Fruitman, host of the CIUT radio show Back to the Sugar Camp, for informing me of this group.)

Yet another group worth mentioning is Le Vent du Nord. I think the CBC can take credit for pointing me to this one too (though annoyingly, they can also take credit for talking to the group more than playing their music, confirming a well known and well worn right wing stereotype of CBC personalities). The band features a hurdy gurdy player, which, to the best of my knowledge, is not usually a component of traditional Quebecois music (it is in French music, so it's not unreasonable that it would be used here). Sadly you cannot hear any complete tracks at their site, only partial. The hurdy gurdy is instrument you hear at the beginning of the track "Les Amant do Saint-Laurent" under the Albums tab. Much to my dismay, I missed a performance of Le Vent du Nord when they appeared in Kingston a year or two ago. It doesn't look like they're going to appear here any time soon, if the calendar on their webpage is any indication.

I'm sure that these groups are only the tip of the iceberg of traditional Quebecois music, but it's a good start. I should also mention that this is probably only the tip of the iceberg in terms of traditional music in Canada. Wanting to learn more about the Quebecois music has prompted me to find out what goes on outside of Quebec. I have discovered that there are lots of musical traditions in Canada, some associated with provinces, some associated with regions, and some with particular cultures within Canada. Most of it is rooted in the European cultures associated with the two major colonizers of Canada, the British and the French. But it is not limited to those. This is a subject for another day, however.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Potted Cactus

The blog address "anonymous.blogspot.com" is still available. This I find surprising. People post anonymously on blogs all the time. I would think by now someone would have wanted to name their blog after their preferred posting identity. Even aside from that, I think it's kind of a cool name. I would take it myself, but how many blogs do I need? (Even one feels like too much... readers may agree). Plus, I just told everyone about it here, and that wouldn't be very anonymous now would it. So, thinking about starting a blog, but wanting to remain anonymous and to reflect that in your blog address? Have at it. I give you permission.

Almost out of nowhere.

"Are you planning on going home the weekend of the 17th?" he asked.
"Yup!" she replied.
"Okay. I think I should go home that weekend." He didn't say why. But when he thought about it he felt a sudden, unexpected twinge of sadness. Seconds later it was gone.
"Awesome. A ride would be splendid."
"Okay. I'll keep that in mind if I decide to go."
"Okay awesome."
The conversation was over, and he began to talk to another friend. That conversation ended too, not long after. That feeling of sadness came back, only this time it was more than a twinge. Tears began to flow. He put his head down on his desk, cradled in his arms to muffle the sound of his whimpering. He was holding back. It didn't last for long though. It was becoming too much. He wouldn't be able to hold back much longer. He got up, left his apartment, sat in his car, and let go.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Academic Milestones

I noticed today that one of my publications has been cited in two papers (by the same author). The papers were written in 2003, and the author gets the journal wrong in both cases (or I've got it wrong, but I don't think so).

I was aware of one of these papers, or a paper on the same topic, a while ago, so perhaps I already knew this. But today it came as news to me.

It's a milestone to me regardless.

Thought for the day

"In our time, after a man speaks the truth, he is then compelled to apologize. And the more obvious the truth, the more fulsome the apologies." - Kevin Michael Grace.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Chapter 22

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom though lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. ¶ And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, an took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. ¶ And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba. ¶ And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying , Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor; Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Arama, And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother. And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.

Quote of the Day

"What's the name of the Quebec horror film? Oh yeah, being part of Canada."

Job Prospects (short term) (Update)

I spoke with the department head of RMC this morning. He told me that he would hire me to teach the course that I mentioned a couple days ago, pending a security clearance.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

Job Prospects (short term)

I spoke with the head of the math department today. It seems very likely that I will be teaching a differential equations and introductory analysis course at RMC in the winter term.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sleep

It will come as no surprise to most who have known me for even a short period of time that I've had troubles with sleep. It just doesn't come to me as easily as it seems to for most. It's a problem that my parents had to deal with even before I was old enough to get stressed out about it. Thoughts of sleep evoke feelings of frustration for me. I simply could not comprehend how some people could like sleep, until I realized that they don't lie awake waiting for sleep as much as I do.

This past Friday, after many years of struggle, I decided to concede defeat to whatever demon it was that was keeping me awake at night. No more futile attempts to maintain a 24 hour schedule. I wasn't going to go to bed until I felt really drowsy, like I would crash once my head hit the pillow. I left my alarm clock off. I wasn't going to wake up until my body decided it had had enough sleep (Oh the luxuries of being a grad student!).

A strange thing seems to be happening. In the past, sleeping in an extra hour meant it took an extra hour to fall asleep the next night. If I wanted to correct this, so that I was getting up at the same time everyday, it meant depriving myself of an hour of sleep the next night. That extra hour of sleep never seemed like enough either. So I thought that I would get into a longer sleep cycle than the natural 24 hour cycle, sleeping longer, and going to bed later and later as a result. Instead, however, it seems that each night, I am getting tired sooner, and each morning I am waking up sooner, all without a set bedtime, and all without setting my alarm clock.

What a truly strange demon that would release me from his sleepless grip once I stop asking to be released. Let's hope the trend continues, and let's hope this demon doesn't construe my hoping as asking.

Quote of the Day

"Denial of denial's one of the first signs of denial." -- Hank on Corner Gas

Friday, October 20, 2006

Recipe to try

This looks like it might be fun to try. I still don't have a blender, however.

Update: I now have a blender.

Stupid Global Warming

Well Buffalo got theirs last week. Now it's snowing in Kingston. Finally. At two thirds of the way into October, it's about time. Whatever happened to the days when it would snow in September, I ask you? Stupid Global Warming.

The Clean Air Act

Stephen Taylor collects various quotes from the media, politicitians, and activists, in which the Conservative government's recently proposed environmental legislation is criticized by applying the formula Harper=Bush [1]. Such a criticism is lazy, at best, but that is not my point.

I recall reading an article quite some time ago in September 2000 issue of The Atlantic from the days of the Bush vs. Gore election campaign of way back when. If memory serves me correctly, in the article Bush, or at least the state government under Bush, was credited with a significant reduction in pollution in the state of Texas, and in particular in one of its major cities, Houston I think. So perhaps, on this file, Harper=Bush is not such a bad thing.

The article is not available online to nonsubscribers. Hopefully I can find a hard copy of the issue to provide the specific details.

[1] It would be interesting to know how representative these quotes are. What percentage of (opinion) articles, press releases, soundbites, and whatnot criticizing The Clean Air Act apply this formula?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fine Malt Lickers

For some fine banjo playing, download and listen to the tracks found here, here, and here, by Arnie Naiman, Chris Coole, and a few others. If you're looking for the car chase music usually associated with the banjo, you'll be sadly disappointed. Most of the tracks feature a playing style known as clawhammer which predates the more popular bluegrass style. I'm not sure if I could explain well the technical difference between the different playing styles to someone who doesn't already know something about finger picking a string instrument. Google will help you find someone who can tell you about clawhammer better than I could.

While the technical differences between the two styles might not be easy to explain, the difference in effect is easy to hear. Bluegrass style is what most people associate with car chases, and can be quite brash. Clawhammer style, at least as it's practiced by these folks, is gentler.

The track "Cold Tea" is bluegrass. All others but "Rambling Boys" are clawhammer. Take a listen, and see the difference for yourself.

The track "Rambling Boys" is in the rarely heard Irish tenor style. Unfortunately, the track is corrupted. It plays, but it doesn't sound right. (I sent an email to the artists quite some time ago to tell them about this, but they never responded. If they read the email, they didn't act on it.)

Defection

Defection

Hat tip to Tim Blair.

"The need to be loved

This is the deepest yearning within each one of us,
deeper even than our need to appear strong and powerful,
or to have a spiritual consciousness of self,
a feeling of the infinite within us.
Aristotle says that when people do not feel loved,
they seek to be admired.
Those who work in the field of publicity and public relations
know well this deep yearning for love and unity.
They use images of beautiful women and strong, handsome men
to sell cars or to draw people to a particular bank.
Our thirst for love, to be "beloved," can be easily diverted
and become perverse through a world of fantasies and images.
We are all more or less broken and wounded in our affections
and in our capacity to relate.

We want a unity of love but are frightened of commitment
and even of relationship.
Our sexual desires can be cut off from committed relationship.
It is as if anguish is planted in our sexuality,
a sexuality that seems to have lost its meaning
and can become a game
where one person -- or both -- lose.

Many people today find true, rewarding love,
yet others are frustrated in love.
Many people with disabilities cannot live a deep, intimate,
faithful relationship in marriage.
Other people have know painful, broken relationships.
For many, marriage has ended in divorce.
Some seem unable to find the right partner for their lives.
For others, sexual relationships are a continual search for a fulfillment
they seem unable to find,
because they are frightened of commitment
and afraid of true, healing relationships.
So many people are caught up in a terrible loneliness,
a feeling of not being loveable.
They live in unresolved anguish, feeling guilty for existing."

Jean Vanier, Chapter 4 ( inspired by John 2:1-12) of "Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John."

What are you reading my blog for?

Go call somebody you know and ask them if they want to hang out.

Don't call somebody you hang out with all the time.

Call somebody you haven't talked to in a while.

Call somebody you don't know very well, but would like to. Maybe even somebody you don't.

But don't read my blog.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Maybe Erica's lying. She never pays tax.

Up until today, I was under the impression that when your gross income increases enough to result in a jump to a higher tax bracket, meaning a higher rate of taxation, it was possible that your net income could actually decrease to the the higher rate, if the increase in gross income was not large enough.

Upon further research, prompted by one whose name appears in the title of this post, I find out that I am wrong.

I'm so embarrassed (I'm also embarrassed that I needed to use a spell checker to make sure that I spelled "embarrassed" correctly).

Quote of the Day

"We know what the Queen's views are. She doesn't have any views."

Via Publius at Gods of the Copybook Headings

What the?

There's an animated Star Trek series?

Friday, October 13, 2006

It could work

Hot chocolate and a little bit of chilli pepper.

Courtesy of the blogless Erica.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Overheard

"I feel like the only thing stopping us [from dating] is that he's so stupid."

Blog Upgraded

I have upgraded to Blogger Beta. If you notice anything different, that's probably why. Labels, a new format for the archives, and some other formatting changes, like font sizes and column widths.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fashion

I have a secret love affair with grammar. It's got me through some tough times. Without the help of grammar, for example, I most certainly would have failed my first 4 years of high school English class. It remains largely unknown that I will curl up in a comfy chair with a grammar textbook (most people only know about the dictionaries) to learn about the ins and outs of the grammar of some foreign language.

That is perhaps why I find this t-shirt to be so amusing.

Jon Stewart

I don't normally watch his show. I'm watching it right now. I know why I don't normally watch it. He's not funny. He's very good at making funny faces. But he's not funny.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Hybrid Cars

If true, the conclusions of this article are surprising.

Hat tip to N.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday Afternoon Experimental Cooking

For dinner today, I cooked myself up some Peachy Sambal Chicken (It's a link to a google search, but every recipe that comes up is the same). The recipe comes from a cookbook called "Let's go Dutch."

The recipe marks a number of firsts for me in terms of ingredients... oyster sauce, sesame seed oil, peaches (I have, of course, had peaches before. Many times.), whipping cream (which I've used in recipes before, but never actually cooked) , and turmeric. I couldn't find sunflower margarine, but if I could have, that would have been another first.

I did things a little differently from what the recipe says (which, I think, is how you should follow recipes. Not that I have the skill and knowhow to do that all the time.) Cream doesn't come in 1.5 cup containers where I shop, so I used a full 2 cups (500mL). To compensate for this, I increased the amounts of most of the ingredients, in a somewhat random fashion. I cubed my chicken breasts instead of halving them (the recipe says it serves 5. Halving two chicken breasts yields 4 pieces. I guess someboday has to do without a piece of chicken.) I used a 28oz (796 mL) can of peach slices with the syrup removed instead of 5 peaches.

All in all, cooking time was about an hour. Preparing the marinade and chopping the chicken probably took about 5-10 minutes, and cooking everything else was probably about 45 minutes. If I do it again, which I probably will, I could probably cut the time down by maybe 15 minutes.

The recipe turned out quite well according to my tastes and in comparison to many other first times trying out new recipes. I was sad when my bowl was empty (ah, but there are many leftovers! Yaay!). The peaches were quite mushy after the 8 minutes or so of simmering. They probably wouldn't have been as mushy if I had used fresh peaches (Maybe those not quite ripe peaches are good for something?) They didn't contribute as much to the overall flavour as I had expected, which was neither good nor bad. It was noticeably spicey, but I could do with something spicier. Next time a lot more sambal and/or pepper is going in.

That's all I'm going to say about it for the time being. Now, I have to clean up!

(Wow! I just reviewed my own cooking. How self-absorbed is that?)

Music, part deux

Thanks to the magic of internet radio, I discovered the name and artist of the song that I was wondering about a few days ago. It's called "Bridge to Nowhere" by Sam Roberts.

Hahaha

I don't even know who David Hicks is, or what he did. But the following quote from this article made me laugh (out loud even).

"Sydney Sun-Herald columnistAlex Mitchell recently urged that an honour be bestowed upon a former Adelaide resident. "Sixty years ago, if David Hicks was a POW in a Japanese or German concentration camp, we'd consider him a war hero," wrote Alex. I'm not sure I get Mitchell's point. After all, if Hicks had discovered penicillin, we'd consider him a medical hero. If he had claws and a great flippy tail, we'd consider him a lobster. "

Now to read the rest of the article so I can find out who David Hicks is and what he did.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Huh

Q: How many bridges have required a constitutional amendment to be built?

A: Apparently at least one.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Not so odd

This story was filed under Reuters' Oddly Enough section. I could have seen it coming from a mile away. Is it really that odd? Perhaps only because the officials themselves did not see it coming.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Recipe for rice bread

I came across this recipe about two or three years ago. It seems to be rather elusive. The original author's website is gone. But thanks to the Internet Archive's Way Back Machine, I was able to retreive it.

Ingredients:
* 3 cups medium or short grain brown rice (Long grain brown rice may be used, but it will produce a much drier bread that looses its moisture within a day or two.)
* 3 cups cold water (Most recipes require the use of a dry cup measure for dry ingredients and a liquid cup measure for water or other liquids. This recipe will work best if you use the same measure for both the rice and the water. It does not matter whether the measure is intended for liquid or dry ingredients, what matters is that the rice and water are equal in volume.)
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder (optional, see recipe instructions)
* Ideally baked in a well-seasoned ten-inch iron skillet with a heavy glass cover (makes a flat round loaf you can slice horizantally for sandwiches). A covered casserole dish of similar size will also work, but the dish needs to be well-oiled, preferably with an oil/soy lecithin mixture or a gluten-free non-stick spray.

Instructions:
1. Place the rice and the water in a large bowl, cover with a light cloth or napkin, and allow the rice to soak in the water for 8-12 hours (overnight or all day). This step allows the grains of rice to absorb the moisture. Since rice grains are seeds waiting for germination they are very efficient absorbers of water.
2. To grind the rice into a batter use either a blender or a food processor:
* If using a blender, place half the water and rice mixture in the blender and blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes. To see if the rice is sufficiently ground, rub a small bit of the batter between your fingers. The liquid should fall away leaving small bits of rice with the texture of table salt. Pour the batter into a large mixing bowl. Repeat the grinding procedure with the other half of the rice and water mixture. If you regularly use a blender for grinding, you may want to soak the rice and water in two half-batches (1 = cups each of rice and water in each batch).
* If using a food processor with a four or more cup capacity, place the entire rice and water mixture in the processor and grind on high for 8-12 minutes. To see if the rice is sufficiently ground, rub a small bit of the batter between your fingers. When the liquid falls away, it should leave a small bit of ground rice with the texture of a coarse salt. Food processors do not grind the rice as quickly nor as finely as a blender, but their larger capacity makes it possible to grind more rice at once and it requires less hands-on attention during the grinding process.
3. After grinding place the batter in a large mixing bowl and cover with a light cloth or napkin. The cover must allow air to reach the batter so that it can ferment naturally with the help of yeasts it collects from the air. At a room temperature of 68 to 72 degrees, you can allow the batter to set anywhere from 4 to 24 hours, depending upon your taste in bread. The chart below gives an indication of the bread qualities at various setting times. At a room temperature of 80 degrees or more, the set ting time will be speeded up by one-quarter to one-half the amount of time.
* 4-6 hours:very mild yeast flavor, add baking powder right before baking
* 8-12 hours: mild yeast flavor, add baking powder right before baking
* 18-24 hours:strong yeast flavor comparable to wheat breads, batter expands because of carbon dioxide bubbles below surface, baking powder is optional
* After the dough sets more than 24 hours it will begin to develop a distinct sourdough flavor.
4. After the batter has set for the desired amount of time, mix in the salt and the baking powder (if using). Place the batter in a well-oiled pan, cover and bake for 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Invention

I thought I had a good idea for an invention.

Merge the segway with a lawnmower. Anyone who's ever used a self-propelled lawnmower knows that turning corners is a tricky thing, and when you're mowing a lawn, there are a lot of corners. The segway technology hasn't really taken off. Both homeowners/landscapers and the segway company could benefit by merging these two technologies. It could make things easier for homeowners/landscapers, while an off-sidewalk usage might help the segway technology to take off. (Lower prices might help too. There's another piece of two-wheeled technology that I can buy for about a hundred bucks, called the bicycle. Rumour has it, the segway profit margins are quite high.)

Turns out I'm not the first to come with the idea. That's not such a bad thing, is it? If a bunch of people think it's a good idea, then maybe it is a good idea [1]. But the idea came from the comments section from some web site. Nothing good ever comes from the comments section (though I must admit I spend a fair bit of time reading comments).

So maybe my idea wasn't so good.

[1] Turns out I've had lots of ideas in math that I later find out have been done already, sometimes by some of the greatest minds in math. It's good to know that, at least sometimes, I think like a genius. Sometimes. What about the rest of the time? That's an open question.

Neologism

The two of you who know me well know that I like to make up words. They're not usually made up out of nowhere, but rather in some context where, perhaps due to an unconscious aversion to using the space bar, I've decided that one word is better than two (or more) and something must be done about it.

Today I decided that I will post my made up words here. Tomorrow I might decide not to. In any case, here goes.

photoquote : to copy a photo from someone else's web site and use it on your own. "That picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head sure has been photoquoted a lot."

People have been using other's photos in print media for a long time now, so the word could be used in that context too. But the ease with which it is done on the internet makes the phenomenon much more rampant.

The word has been used on other web sites to mean apparently different things. For example, a quote about photos or photography. Personally, I think my definition is better. Personally.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Music

While I was in Hamilton this past weekend, I was listening to the radio (something I don't normally do in Kingston). I heard a song that I liked, but neither time that I heard it did they annouce what the song was or who it was by. You wouldn't happen to know the name or the artist, would you?

One month since the last post...

...still nothing to say.

Friday, August 18, 2006

New Post

New Post

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Overheard

"He doesn't go to the AIDS conference. He doesn't go to the out games. What does he do all day?"

Monday, July 24, 2006

Overheard

"The GST cut is such a waste of time. Why couldn't they take that money and spend on something good like bicycle paths?"

Friday, July 21, 2006

For all you foodies out there...

A recipe I'm sure you'll want to try at your earliest possible convenience.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Oh me oh my

Oh me oh my

And the following comments!!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

It was fun while it lasted

A few days ago, I was the number 2 hit if you googled for idiot strings.

Now I'm nowhere to be found.

Bummer.

Not that I should expect more. Hardly anyone knows I'm here.

Diversity and Terrorism in Canada

Somebody says something stupid.

Somebody says something smart.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Life is SOO Good!

There are no contact lenses stuck in my eyeball.

Could life get any better?

I think not!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Happiest day of my life!

So, after only two weeks of running a blog, I'm already the number 2 hit on google if you search for idiot strings.

Not bad eh?

Though I'm not sure what would inspire someone to search for idiot strings on the 'net, unless they're trying to find my blog. And I'm not really sure what would inspire someone to try to find my blog either.

Stuff on Sale

Have you ever wondered why stuff goes on sale?

I never gave it too much thought, except that sometimes things go on sale when they've been sitting on the shelf too long. Or, perhaps, the store that we're shopping at wants to be nice to us (to entice us to come back of course).

I recently made a couple of purchases of items that were on sale. Neither of these items would spend too much time on the shelf, so that is not why they were on sale.

Not too far back I bought a whole bunch of soap on sale. When I used it, I noticed that it didn't lather up quite as well. I blamed it on the wash cloth, which was wearing out. But the soap ran out eventually, and I had to buy new soap. When I started using the new stuff, I noticed that it lathered up better than the previous four bars.

More recently, strawberry jam was on sale, so I bought two jars instead of just one. I noticed that the jam seemed runnier and had less fruit than before. I chalked it up to the fact that, around the same time as the jam purchase, I decided to store my jam in the cupboard rather than the fridge and that the change was due to the warmer temperature of the jam. As with the soap, that jam got used up, and I purchased some jam that was regular priced. Sure enough, as I'm sure you've guessed by now, the jam was not as runny and had more fruit.

So in two cases, I bought something on sale, and in both cases what I bought on sale was of lower quality than the same regular priced items before and after they were on sale.

Coincidence?

More Crunchy than Soggy

Over at PomoChristian admin lists ten features of so called crunchy conservatives from an endorsement by Adam Daifallah of Rod Dreher's book Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-Loving Organic Gardeners, Evangelical Free-Range Farmers, Hip Homeschooling Mamas, Right-Wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan to Save America (Or At Least the Republican Party.)

I'm not as crunchy as he is. But I'm pretty crunchy.

Geez. Why didn't I just link to Dreher's blog to begin with, and hat tip to PomoChristian.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Happy New Month Day!!

What did you do to ring in the new month?

New month resolutions?

I hope you're not too hung over from the new month eve celebrations!

Monday, May 29, 2006

World Cup Merchandise

I want to get some Dutch soccer merchandise--t-shirts etc.--, so I went to sportcheck.ca to see what they had to offer. They only had stuff from five teams, Germany, Italy, England, Ireland, and one more that I can't remember at the moment.

Do you know if the actual stores are better stocked than the online store? Do you know of any Canadian stores, especially in Southern Ontario, that would carry stuff from all teams?

Am I the only one who thinks it's lame that, as the world's biggest soccer event approaches, the biggest Canadian sports store that I can think of doesn't sell related products? Yeah, I know. Professional soccer's not that big in Canada (on the other hand, soccer is the most popular little league sport--even more popular than Hockey!). But it's the WORLD CUP! Get a clue folks.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hockey

If you're Canadian, even from Calgary, you'd better be cheering for the Oilers!

Blogging Blogging in my Blogging pool...

I started a blog.

I don't know why.

Most of the blogs I read are political blogs. But I don't think I want to write a political blog. I hardly like talking politics with people I know and who I agree with. Why, then, would I put my thoughts out there for people I don't know and probably disagree with?

Blog about my life? I barely find it interesting. I pity the one who does and comes here to find out about it.

I'll figure something out.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ontario Spring

It's springtime in Ontario, and I don't know what to wear.

This has nothing to do with fashion.

It has to do with temperature.

It seems I'm either wearing too much, or not enough.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Hello World

Hey Everyone!

I'll have more to say later.