Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Road to the Oscars Begins

The 2007 Golden Globe nominations were announced today. I am so behind on my movie watching. I've hardly been to the theatre all semester. I've been wanting to see most of the nominees, so hopefully some will be out on DVD in time for me to make some predictions. Currently, the only nominee I've seen is Little Miss Sunshine. A good portion of my time from here on in will be spent catching up on everything I haven't seen.

As for the TV categories, I'm never up-to-date on the nominees because I don't watch as much TV as I once did and the shows I do watch are rarely nominated, so my predictions consists mainly of guesses based on what I've heard from various sources.

Some initial comments:

With two best actor nods, Leonardo DiCaprio, as predicted by some, is truly on the way to becoming the actor of his generation. Scorcese clearly knows how to pick 'em.

How funny would it be if Borat beat out Dreamgirls?! A testament to why I will never understand the justification for lumping comedies and musicals.

Mr. Jolie's nomination means Angelina will likely be making an appearance at the Globes this year.

Helen Mirren is nominated for playing both Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II in the same year.

It appears Eastwood and Scorcese will be facing off again this year as they did in 2005. I'm curious to see who will come out on top this year. I find it odd that neither of Eastwood's films are nominated for best picture, but it doesn't necessarily mean anything for the director category.

Before I get into some serious viewing time, I have one more exam left to write. I will have more extensive comments in the coming weeks.

Friday, November 24, 2006

My new favourite fruit

I have fallen in love with the pomegranate. I don't often get overly excited about foodstuffs, especially those I'm unfamiliar with as I am renowned for my picky eating habits (which I am working to improve upon), but I cannot get over how fantastic this fruit is. It's juicy and jam packed with delicious seeds, and apparently really healthy.

Martha Stewart is all about the pomegranate this month as they are in season during November and December. She has a recipe for Pomegranate Punch on her website, and this month's Martha Stewart Living has the following recipe:

Spiced Pomegranate Punch
Serves 6: Makes about 4 cups

5 pomegranates
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh ginger
1/4 cup fresh orange juice, plus strips of orange zest for garnish

1. Cut pomegranates in half. Extract juice from seeds with a citrus juicer or reamer. Strain in to a medium sauce pan. (You should have up to 2 1/2 cups juice.)
2. Add cider, 2 cups water, the cinnamon stick, and ginger. Cook over high heat until simmering, 5 to 6 minutes. Skim any foam that rises to the surface.
3. Remove from heat. Discard cinnamon and ginger. Stir in orange juice. Serve warm, garnished with orange zest.

I am looking forward to making either or both of these. They sound delicious. So go to your favourite produce dealer and buy yourself some pomegranates today!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Robert Altman died today

"Filmmaking is a chance to live many lifetimes." -Robert Altman (1925-2006)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Call me a Luddite...

"Programming errors and inexperience dealing with electronic voting machines frustrated poll workers in hundreds of precincts early Tuesday, delaying voters in Indiana, Ohio and Florida and leaving some with little choice but to use paper ballots instead." (cnn.com)

"The voting process wasn't always smooth, with precincts in several states staying open later than scheduled because of problems with voter machines." (cbc.ca)

"Ultimately, Bev Harris' research proved that the top-secret computerized systems counting the votes in America's public elections are not only fallible, but also vulnerable to undetectable hacking, from local school board contests to the presidential race. With the electronic voting machines of three companies - Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia - collectively responsible for around 80 percent of America's votes today, the stakes for democracy are high." (Hacking Democracy)

I'll cast your vote for you, Dave...

Exactly how difficult is it to pick up a pencil? I realize that a ballot in a US election can be lengthy what with all the banning of same-sex marriage and the numerous people to vote for, but these voting machines seem to be far more trouble than they're worth and if I were an American voter, I would be very concerned with the validity of election results in light of all the problems.

Call me a crotchety old man, but I'm glad for my pencil and paper ballot. Knowing me, I'd probably forget to take my debit card out of the voting machine.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

At attempt at efficient blogging

Being long-winded results in my not having time to blog, so I'm going to attempt to make brief comments about a few things at once. We'll see how that goes.

Out of province students no longer have to adjust to Nova Scotia stores being closed on Sunday or any holiday (other than Remembrance Day) for that matter. I'm not surprised at this. I knew it would happen eventually. However, you won't catch me in the grocery store on Sunday. I made that mistake in the summer when Superstore and Sobey's started opening on Sunday, and I will never do it again. Firstly, we went to Superstore, which we normally don't do (I'm a Sobey's fan and always will be) because we had one of their dispoable cameras to develop. First off, the photo lab wasn't open. Then they didn't have any of the strawberries which were on sale. Half the store was closed, so we couldn't get some of the things we needed, and I saw a mouse run across one of the aisles. Clearly, God was sending me a message that either Superstore is dirty and I should stick with Sobey's, or shopping on Sunday is not for me. I'm abiding by both.

Canadian Senators want a raise. The general public doesn't know what the hell the Senate does other than spend money and not spend time in the Senate. Not helping their case is Senator Marie-Paule Poulin who is taking her law degree full-time. "Well, you know, it's that some people go to the gym, but I go to the university to get the little gray cells in shape," said Poulin (CTV News). Speaking as a full-time law student, I spend 22.5 hours/week in the classroom. No average fitness buff spends this much time in a gym each week. As far as analogies go, this is a shit-tastic one.

Another reason to hate Stephen Harper. According to CTV, "Hockey fans are wondering if Prime Minister Stephen Harper unwittingly outed himself as a closet Toronto Maple Leafs fan with his reaction to the team's lone goal Wednesday night." Even if he isn't a fan himself, he lets his son wear a Leafs jersey. Shame!

Stephen Harper loves pussy cats. I saw this on the PM's website and find it amusing, so I thought I'd share.
I will accept witty comments on what you all think Harper might be reading to the kitties

Rona Ambrose is as dumb as a post. At least she has her looks to fall back on. Apparently, climate change is not a top priority of Environment Canada because "Canadians are concerned about growing rates of asthma and cancer from environmental sources" (Ambrose on 05 Oct 2006). I'm of the opinion that not all political decisions should be made on the basis of public opinion. I have a tendency to not place a lot of faith in public opinion, especially on issues like the environment, because I think it's often uninformed and short-sighted. When an issue is particularly complicated, as climate change is, greater weight should be placed on the opinions of experts rather than the typical overweight smoker who drives an SUV and is worried (s)he might get cancer from the environment. The Conservatives have yet to reveal their Clean Air Act. If the environment is of any priority to the government, shouldn't they have had that ready during the election?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sarah Harmer, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, 23 September 2006

While an estimated 50,000 people crowded the Halifax Commons for the Rolling Stones concert, a significantly smaller (as well as drier and warmer) crowd attended a delightful performance by the always lovely Sarah Harmer who is touring in promotion of her most recent album, I'm a Mountain. I had seen her twice before, two years ago at the same venue, and last summer at the Tulipfest in Ottawa, and she always puts on a good show. Her voice is beautiful; her band is fantastic; her banter is engaging; and Jenn and I had front row seats.

In the absence of an opening act, Harmer and her band of four hit the stage just after 8:00 and played until 9:45 followed by a three-song encore (can't complain with a nearly 2-hour set). She opened with "I Am Aglow" and the set list included nearly every song on I'm a Mountain (an album I can't get enough of, by the way), as well as favourites like "Basement Apt.", "Dogs and Thunder" and "Silver Road". It's always nice when an artist plays some unexpected cover songs in a show to keep things interesting. Harmer opted for The Shins' "Gone For Good" and '40s jazz tune "Black Coffee" which really highlighted the talents of her band. To close, the group came to the edge of the stage for a totally unplugged rendition of "How Deep in the Valley".

As I've mentioned before, I enjoy good stage banter in a live show, and Harmer satisfies in this regard. She is very casual and unintentionally funny. Of "Oleander" Harmer explained, "I thought I could use bluegrass music to do something for horticulture, so I wrote a song about a plant." She went on to say that she called in to a gardening show in the greater Ottawa area and the expert advised her that music is very beneficial to plants, especially that of the country genre. Unsurprisingly, she spoke of her work as a "nature nerd" in the Niagara Escarpment where she grew up. She spoke in particular of her work finding the threatened Jefferson Salamander near her parents' home.

Anyone familiar with Harmer's albums knows that she's one of the best in Canadian music today, and her live performance only secures her spot on my list of favourite artists. Snap up any opportunity to see one of her shows.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Metric, Halifax Forum, 15 September 2006

I bought Jenn tickets to Metric for her birthday, so we saw the show last night at the Forum. We arrived prior to the doors opening and felt like the oldest people there. I couldn't get over the number of kids there. Most of them looked about 15 based on the braces and a number of parental units acting as chaperones. When I was 15, kids did not have funky haircuts like today's 15 year olds. I felt uncool and preppy in my American Eagle shirt. I was consoled a while later when the "older" people started to arrive and I saw a few of my classmates.

Initially, we tried to get near the stage, but this didn't last long. Even before the opening act came on, people were being stupid. Then once the music started, it became ridiculous so we shoved our way out of the crowd and realized we have passed the age where one still puts up with the idiots in an effort to get a good look at the band. The opening act, who's name I wasn't able to catch, were pretty good - reminded me a bit of Jet.

Metric hit the stage shortly after 10 and played a mere 50 minutes before a three-song encore. They put on a good show, but spoke very little, which made the show seem even shorter. I tend to rate a live performance on whether a singer sounds the way they do on their album, so in that regard Emily Haines is great, and as Jenn said, "She bangs a good head." We ended up standing pretty far back having escaped the 16 year old moshers (apparently people still mosh...I was unaware), so we didn't get a good look and Jenn had some trouble seeing, but we were still able to enjoy the music. I'd like to see them again in a better venue.

Next concert: Sarah Harmer, September 23, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium (when everyone else will be at the Stones concert)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

You're not right for my record collection, Supernova

This may or may not come as a shock, but I have been a fairly avid viewer of Rock Star: Supernova this summer, and I have some thoughts on the occasion of the finale and announcement of the winner.

This girl should have won. I have thought so since I first watched the show early in the summer, and I am enraged that Tommy, Gilby and Jason picked this guy:

I was so sure Dilana would win and liked her so much, I decided I would go so far as to actually buy Supernova's album. Not anymore. While I liked Lukas at first, I have determined over the last number of weeks that I could not possibly listen to him for more than five minutes at a time regardless of the fact that he's Canadian.

In fact, his nationality is the only reason I'm not completely fed up with the result. This makes Canada two for two on Rock Star. Is Canada the rock capital of the world? Probably not, but Lukas' win does once again draw attention to one of the best things about Rock Star - it's an international competition. Neither INXS nor Supernova limited their search to a particular country, and rightly so, particularly from a marketing perspective. Once the show has aired with contestants from the US (a couple of whom were born outside the country), Canada, Australia, Iceland, and wherever else, the band has a ready made audience around the world ready to buy tickets - further proof that Mark Burnett is a marketing genius. I just don't happen to be a member of that particular audience.

With that, I move on to tomorrow's premiere of Survivor: Cook Islands and all the controversy (again, marketing genius) and entertainment that brings with it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

AIDS Walk For Life 2006

I'm participating in Walk for Life Halifax on Saturday, September 30, 2006. This year's Walk will take place at Halifax Central Commons.

You can help support me by making a quick and secure donation online. Please visit my personal donation page.

Another option is to join team DalOUT and raise money yourself. Do so by visiting DalOUT's Team Page and click "Join our Team".

For more information on Walk for Life Halifax, or to register to Walk, please visit the Walk For Life Halifax Homepage.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ellen to Host Oscars

As if I needed a reason to watch.

From cbc.ca

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Traveling Pants: Newfoundland

This entry will be the first in a series entitled "Traveling Pants" in which I shall document my travels. Over the summer, I earned, among a small group of friends, the nickname "Pants". The reason for this is unimportant. Also, I have neither read nor seen The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, so I don't know how (in)appropriate the title might be.

From August 27-30, I traveled to the west coast of Newfoundland with my parents and sister. This was our first time to Newfoundland, with the exception of a trip my father made to Corner Brook and Deer Lake in the 1970s. It seems odd that we had never gone before seeing as we live so close to the ferry terminal, but better late than never.

Sunday, August 27
We took the 9:00 ferry from North Sydney, NS to Port aux Basques, NL. The 6-hour trip was very smooth and we arrived only a bit behind schedule because they were not ready for us at the terminal when we arrived. We proceded to drive 3 hours north to Steady Brook (the highway signs actally read "East" for some reason). We stayed in a cabin at George's Mountain Village at the base of Marble Mountain. It was a very nice, quiet spot. It must be very nice in the winter for the ski crowd that stay there. We took a drive around Corner Brook and at supper at the Crown & Moose Pub, which was good, but not quite as nice as the one at the Delta Hotel in Sydney.

Monday, August 28
In the morning we spent some time in the souvenir and ski shop at George's and we got a better look at the ski hill and some of the larger buildings associated with it, none of which appeared to be open for the summer. We then continued to drive north to enter Gros Morne National Park. For more information on the park visit:
grosmorne.com
UNESCO World Heritage Site: Gros Morne
Parks Canada: Gros Morne National Park
This was where the scenery becomes noteworthy. We stopped in Norris Point, a quaint village we were quite taken with. This is the view of Norris Point from Jenniex House, which serves as a small museum, as well as a craft and souvenir shop, and a coffee shop.


As with many of the smaller places we drove through, it is easy to tell the villages rely on fishing as a means of income because there are a lot of nice new homes, but no sign of any other industry.

A 40-minute drive from the park entrance brought us to Rocky Harbour where we stayed for the next two nights at Mountain Range Cottages. The cottage were new and very clean. We ate supper at the restaurant in the Ocean View Motel. Mom and Dad enjoyed their pasta dishes, but I was very disappointed with my salmon. It was clearly just frozen Highliner fish and I couldn't even finish eating it. After dinner, we took a walk around and visited some craft shops. There was a beautiful sunset on the ocean.

Tuesday, August 29
We woke early with plans to take the Western Brook Pond Boat Tour. From Rocky Harbour, it is a 20-minute drive to the entrance. There is an easy 3km trail walk to the dock. The path is almost entirely flat with boardwalks over marshy areas. Along the way, I took this picture, which is one of my favourites from the trip.


The 2.5-hour boat tour travels through Western Brook Pond, a former fjord (now fresh water rather than salt) formed by glacial movement during the last ice age. The pond is 174m deep. The water has so few ions that it does not conduct electricity, and is very low in nutrients, so it supports very little plant and animal life. The two tour boats are the only boats that run on the pond. One was dragged in by a sled in the winter; the other was flown in by helicopter in parts. The tour is very interesting and provides for some lovely scenery.



The tour guides pointed out this rock formation called "The Old Man in the Mountain". I have done him up Ellen-style with hat and pipe for my own amusement:


In the late afternoon, we drove to the Discovery Centre which provides a nice view of Bonne Bay and a spot for Buchanan-family photos.


We continued to drive up the highway through the Tablelands, where the North American and Eurafrican continental plates once collided, pushing the Earth's mantle above the crust. Driving through, it does not feel like Newfoundland; it looks more like a desert. There is a stark contrast in the rock as can be seen in this photo with the Tablelands on the right and typical Newfoundland rock on the left.

Should I ever get back to the park, I would like to take the guided walking tour of the Tablelands to learn and see a bit more. There is also a boat tour of Trout Brook Pond that I would like to take. We took a drive through the town of Trout Brook. It's not as inviting as Norris Point (looks like it may have come upon harder times). It's really isolated and made Alana appreciate all there is to do in Sydney. On the way back, we drove around Woody Point which also seemed very nice. There is a water taxi between Woody Point and Norris Point.

We went back to Rocky Harbour for supper and at at Jackie's Restaurant & Take-Out. We decided to go there based on the large number of cars in the parking lot and we weren't disappointed. Their homemade fries are delicious.

Wednesday, August 30
Before leaving Rocky Harbour, we discovered a fish plant selling fresh and frozen fish, so we bought a load of salt cod, salt tarbot, fresh cod, mackrel, halibut, and some clam strips. We managed to fit it all in the cooler and pack it with ice for the trip home. On the way back to Port aux Basques, we stopped again at Norris Point and Corner Brook. We also drove around Stephenville and Port au Port peninsula where we saw an alpaca farm.

To sum things up, the trip consisted of a lot of driving and a lot of scenery. On the agenda should I ever go back: more hiking, and getting Screeched in.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Blockbuster Canada: Part III

After a month, the customer service representative from Blockbuster Canada who had replied to my initial inquiry did not respond to my follow-up e-mail, so I sent it to the main customer service address again and received a response 2 days later. It reads:

Greetings Ms. Buchanan,

Thank you for taking the time to contact our customer service department and express your concerns over some of the Canadian films we carry. Your letter specifically mentions “The Red Violin" and "The Barbarian Invasions" as movies that appeared in our Foreign Film category. I have personally spoken directly with the store managers at the stores you referenced in Ottawa and Halifax to ensure that those movies are immediately removed from the Foreign film category. I can assure you that our direction from Home Office is to never merchandise Canadian movies in our Foreign section, so we appreciate this feedback.

Movies from all over the world, works of both fiction and documentaries are becoming increasing popular in our stores. Now, as then, we are try to offer our clients a wide variety of movies to chose from. It is our goal to be a responsible retailer while not making entertainment choices for our customers. At the present time, we are very proud of the resoundingly positive feedback we are receiving from customers across the country with our new Canadian Festival Collection. This section can be found in our stores across Canada and features some of the best new homegrown films - exclusive to Blockbuster. For more information on these wonderful Canadian titles, please visit us on the web at www.festivalcollection.com

Once again, we appreciate your thoughts and we thank you for communicating them.

Customer Service
Blockbuster Canada


I'm glad someone finally said that store managers are directed to never stock Canadian films in the Foreign section. I'll be curious to see the next time I'm at the Quinpool branch if they've actually moved The Barbarian Invasions. Mostly, I'm impressed that I got a response since I've never actually made an inquiry like this to a company before.

In Defence of Dawn

Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn SummersInventory: 13 Memorably Unpopular Characters From Popular TV (Tasha Robinson, AV Club)

Though I'm not familiar with every character on this list, Robinson is quite justified in her selections. For example, I love just about everything there is to love about Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I (and, I think, the majority of fans) will never be able to warm up to Wesley Crusher. However, I feel strangely obligated to defend the honour of Dawn Summers.

Robinson writes:

When Buffy Summers' "little sister" suddenly appeared out of nowhere in the show's fifth season, furious fans screamed their heads off, assuming Cousin Oliver Syndrome had kicked in. Turned out the writers were pulling something clever and self-aware, and there was a plot reason that no one had ever seen or mentioned Buffy's sister before. But that didn't stop her from being an intolerably shrill, whiny, manipulative, troublemaking little McGuffin for most of the rest of the series.

Yes, Dawn seemed to appear "out of nowhere", but only to viewers, not to the characters.

Yes, some of us screamed our heads off, but only because Buffy fans are extremely protective of the show and were concerned for the well-being of the Season 5 storyline, and when Dawn's existence was explained it took a while to come to terms with the fact that although everything that we had viewed in previous episodes was historically accurate and had really happened, the characters remembered everything differently due to their memories having been altered. In the end, I think the Dawn="The Key" storyline was generally deemed to be pretty neat.

Yes, at times Dawn was "intolerably shrill, whiny, manipulative, [and] troublemaking", but she's a little sister. I have a little sister, and from talking to other people in the same boat, this behaviour is common among younger sisters. I say, good on the writers for realistically portraying a teenage girl who doesn't have any superpowers. And I wouldn't go so far as to say she behaved in this way for "most of the rest of the series". By the end, Dawn was a great asset to the Scoobies who had occasional outbursts.

Dawn's eventual likeability is due in large part to the work of actress Michelle Trachtenberg. She managed to hold her own among everyone's favorite characters. She played the annoying little sister with great accuracy and was later given the opportunity to show of her funny side, for which she got little credit.

If asked to defend Dawn's presence around the fourth or fifth episode of Season 5, I probably would have found it difficult. Now, after three full seasons of progression, I can say that Dawn did not remain unpopular for long and does not deserve to be lumped in with characters like Wesley Crusher.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Blockbuster Canada: Parts I & II

On 31 March 2006, I wrote in my old hand-made blog:

"I recently started writing a paper for my Canadian Foreign Policy class assessing and arguing in favour of the government's strategies in regard to the protection and promotion of Canadian culture, and it has motivated me to write a letter. Last summer while living in Ottawa, Jennifer and I rented from the Blockbuster on Rideau Street. I do not have a Blockbuster membership, and have long been a proponent of my local video rental stores (Sydney Video, and Video Difference in Halifax). While browsing the Rideau Blockbuster on a hot summer day, I noticed The Red Violin was shelved under 'foreign film'. For those of you who don't know, The Red Violin is a co-production of Canada, Italy and Britain, but was written and directed by Canadians Fran├žois Girard and Don McKellar. I believe the CRTC would deem it a Canadian film. I then noticed that other Canadian films are shelved with the foreign films. I had never been motivated enough to complain until now. Here is the e-mail I sent to customer.servicecanada@blockbuster.com yesterday.

Hello:

I have noticed while browsing the shelves in a number of Blockbuster Canada locations that Canadian films are shelved in the Foreign Film section. I realize that Blockbuster is an American company and in the USA, Canadian films would be shelved in this section. However, I question why Blockbuster Canada considers films created in this country to be "foreign". Is there some sort of shelving policy that designates where Canadian films are to be shelved? If so, where can I find such a policy?

Thank you for your time.


I received a reply just shy of 24 hours later, which reads as follows:

Greetings Lisa,

Thank you for taking the time to write. Blockbuster Canada proudly supports Canadian films. We do not give direction to put Canadian films into the foreign language section. If we could get the name of the film, or at least the store where you found this, we will correct this error.

Canadian films are not pulled together separately from all other titles, as we proudly feel that all customers should browse these titles, not just customers wanting to rent Canadian specific movies.

Customer Service
Blockbuster Canada


This isn't a completely unsatisfactory response, but i do intend to follow up. When I have the time, I plan to go to the Blockbuster on Quinpool Road and check out their foreign film section. While I don't think they need to go so far as to have a section devoted to Canadian film, it would be nice if they somehow acknowledged them (a Canadian flag sticker on the case, for example). I would also still like to know who deems a film "foreign" (ie. the store manager or the distribution company). And if we're going to get technical, all those big Hollywood movies that they advertise in the windows should be in the foreign film section seeing as we don't live in America."

Last weekend I finally got around to going to the Blockbuster on Quinpool Road, and today I sent this response to Blockbuster:

Hi Jezrin:

Thanks for your quick response to my initial e-mail.

The first store where I noticed a Canadian film in the foreign section was at the Rideau Street branch in Ottawa. They shelved The Red Violin in the foreign section though it was written and directed by Canadians and is a co-production of Canada/Italy/Britain. I am now living in Halifax, so I visited the store on Quinpool Road to see if their shelving was similar. The only Canadian film I noticed in the foreign section was Les Invasion Barbares. Though this is considered a Canada/France co-production, it represented Canada when it was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.

I don't think it's necessary that your stores have a Canadian Film section, but it would be nice if Canadian films were somehow acknowledged (a Canadian flag sticker on the case, for example). I would also still like to know how the individual stores deem particular films "foreign". For example, at the store on Quinpool Road, it seemed like all the foreign films were also foreign language films. Does this mean a British film (the Monty Python films, for example) are not foreign? Is it up to the store manager or does the distribution company specify if they'd like the film shelved a particular way?

Thanks.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Carol Off Joins As It Happens

http://www.cbc.ca/story/arts/national/2006/05/18/aih-host-off.html

I was very sad when I heard a while back that the CBC's Mary Lou Finlay was retiring, and thus leaving my favourite CBC Radio show, As It Happens. Since I started passivly listening to the program when I was in elementary school, I had grown accustomed to Mary Lou and her co-host Barbara Budd. I tend to be resistent to change in matters such as these, but was very pleased to read that Carol Off will be joining as Budd's new co-host come Labour Day. From what I have seen of Off on The National, I'm sure she will maintain the parts of AIH that listeners have come to expect.

What I love about AIH is their uncanny ability to mix hard-hitting interviews with much lighter, often bizarre stories from around the globe. I like variety in my news programming. For example, while they will keep me up-to-date on global politics, last week I heard an interview about a band of modern day German Robin Hoods who steal groceries and claim they plan to give them to children and the poor.

AIH and I got off to a bit of a rocky start. When I was 8 years old, I began taking fiddle lessons on Thursday evenings at 6:45. AIH airs at 6:30 - the very time Dad and I would get in the car to drive to my lesson. So, every Thursday I would hear the theme music and not much else. At that age, the music did not appeal to me, so I became disgruntled at having to listen to it every week. As I grew older, things changed. I would hear some more of the program on the drive home, and actually started listening to it and enjoying it. My fandom has reached a point where sometimes my friend Claire and I like to sing the theme music in the cafeteria. We are both CBC geeks.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Of Mullets and Men

Like most people, every time I see Tom Hanks lately, I can't help but ask myself, "What's up with his hair?"
During his opening monologue on Saturday Night Live this month, Hanks was asked this very question by an "audience member". Before seeing The Da Vinci Code, I was worried the 'do would distract me for the entire film.

Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle has written a delightful article on the subject, based on the theory that Hanks's cut is a mullet or some close derivation thereof. Also, props to Hartlaub for pointing out that Kyle McLachlan is sporting a very similar coif, which I feel looks equally horrible on him as it does on Hanks.

This is saying something, as MacLachlan would generally be regarded as a more handsome man than Hanks, and even he can't pull of the bad hair. Let's compare, shall we?

Handsome:

Not Handsome:

Handsome:

Not Handsome:

Amusing as it is, I'm not so sure I buy the mullet conspiracy, at least with regard to Hanks. While he seems to be growing it out a bit more (as seen in the above photo), the screen captures available from The Da Vinci Code paint another picture of the haircut. I don't think it's as long in the back as Hartlaub would have us believe. CBC's Alison Gillmor dubs the 'do and "academic mullet", but I have never seen a university professor with hair like this. Even those one likes to think somewhat hip tend to keep their mane under control. Nevertheless, something is happening here that should not be ignored. Perhaps it's a less common aspect of the male mid-life crisis - both Hanks and MacLachlan are creeping up on 50. If this is the case, we can look forward to an eventual trimming of the locks. In the meantime, I call upon the men of Hollywood and the world to look upon the hairstyles of misters Hanks and MacLachlan and learn from this experience.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ch..Ch..Ch..Changes

I have decided to succumb and begin to use my five year-old Blogger account on this site. The days of manual archiving are gone. My embrace of Blogger will also serve as a marker for a new and (hopefully) improved version of my slow-to-evolve web presence, which I hope to speed up over the coming months.

"What can we expect?" you ask. Well, here is a short list of items I already have planned:
  • the continuation of my investigation into the shelving policies of Blockbuster "Canada"

  • a style sheet? maybe

  • a rant about wal-mart that I wrote a while back, but have not posted

  • hosting of my photos on an outside site, so I don't have to spend time lining them all up with tables (in spite of how much I love tables)

  • the proper use of capital letters (if you hadn't noticed already)

  • more frequent posting? maybe
Now, I really need to finish writing my Jane Austen paper. It's been going rather well this afternoon.

Friday, April 14, 2006

While I should have been writing my term paper...

...I appear to have solved my problem. I got Blogger to update with FTP to my port5 site, so this blog is now integrated into my other page. Now the big changes can start happening. First, I need a new layout. Then I need to work to make the Blogger template match my main layout. That's the part that scares me most.

I always knew I could get Blogger to update on an outside site, I just forgot how to do it.

On this happy note, I should start reading Such is My Beloved.

Am I Ever Going to Actually Use Blogger?

As evidenced in my profile, I have had a Blogger account since December 2000. That was over five years ago, and I have never actually made much use of it. I preferred to create my own pages and update everything by hand, which was sort of fun. I had an account at mailsync.org during high school. Then that site disappeared without warning, so I currently have a page at lisab.port5.com, which I rarely update, but overall have put quite a bit of time into. If I do decide to make use of this account, I plan to keep that account open and use it for supplemental materials beyond the scope of Blogger.

Even if I don't use this particular blog, which would be a personal one with no set topics for discussion, I do have plans for another. I would like to have a blog wherein I and a select group of my arts-inclined friends would comment on anything artsy, mainly film, television, books, and music. Look for the early stages of this in the coming weeks after I finish my school work.

In the meantime, I am trying to finish my BA (I won't actually consider myself a first-year law student, as it states above, until I graduate in May; I just couldn't think of a better description). The end is drawing near. Right now, I am writing my term paper for my Jane Austen seminar. I also have to do some revisions of my Honours thesis, and study for two exams that I have on Friday and Saturday of next week. I should get on that...