Sunday, December 31, 2006


Three posts in less than an hour - I'm prolific! That last item in my last post reminded me of a posting on Brad's blog. Is there a difference between point zero zero two dollars and point zero zero two cents?

Drive, Hike, Repeat

Took the dogs to Norvan Falls again today, but took a slightly different route. Last time I took the by-the-river path to the clearing; this time I took the more demanding up-and-over trail to the clearing. On the way back, I took the by-the-river path from the clearing to the parking lot. I expected falling snow, as rain was forecast for Vancouver, but there was no precipitation of any kind during the hike. I had told my mom about calling out "no bears" last time, she said that it'd probably be cougars if anything. I was even more on edge today, every sound getting 100% of my attention, even though I was aware that it was the nonsounds I should be concerned about, this being cougar country, they are surely a quiet hunter. Left the car @ 10:53am, returned to the car @ 3:06pm.

- Locked -
Looking for

When I got back home, Biscotti said that she had just gotten home after taking the kids, 9 and 4, for a walk. She told them it would be about a 20 minute walk, then walked with them to Trout Lake, around, and back, arriving back home two and a half hours after departure. I love it!

She's since gone out, and just called me from Future Shop at Metrotown. I asked her to return my Nellie McKay cd, not cuz I don't like it - far from it - but because three people made sure that I got it for Christmas. So she gets in the customer-service line at 4:20pm, with the store closing at 5pm. After Biscotti waits 10 minutes, the people in line are told that the person currently being helped will be the last person for the day - they don't think they will be able to help everyone before the store closes.. At this point there are four people ahead of Biscotti who have all waited a considerable amount of time. Why not cut off the line, and help everyone that is already in it? There's still half an hour! Person says "it's management - but we open at 9am tomorrow". One guy was quite upset and was making an issue of it, waiting to talk to someone higher up. Biscotti thought screw it, other stuff to do, and left. Well done, Future Shop, excellent customer service.

Up Up Up

base camp

Friday, December 29, 2006

Norvan Falls

Took the dogs to Norvan Falls today. A splendid outing. There weren't many people, which surprised me, it being a sunny Friday. And then after the clearing, approximately halfway to the falls, the dogs and I were very very alone. Eerily so. I did some "no bear" calls (okay, a lot of "no bear" calls) and clapped my hands many times, much to the confusion of the dogs, as that is how we call them from a distance. It was also after the clearing that a few snowflakes fluttered lightly to the ground. I guessed it hadn't snowed there in a while, as the path, where there was white stuff, was icy as heck. Got to the falls, admired it, then turned to head back. Not five minutes later and it was full-on snowing; the path back now covered in a fresh dumping. After starting the post-clearing path, I didn't see anyone until almost back to the clearing when I passed two guys headed to the falls. I sized them up; yeah I could outrun them, no more bear worries. It continued to snow until I was nearly back to the car. It was beautiful.

I made good time, if I do say so myself. Can't give you on-the-trail exacts, but at 10:31am I was at Clark & 12th in east Van, en route to the parking lot at Lynn Headwaters, and I was back inside the car, post-walk, at 2:20pm. From the various websites I just browsed, the trail distance is either 14 or 15 kilometres and the duration is either 4 or 5 hours. I walked briskly and would break only for a minute or two every half hour or so to let the dogs get a drink from a creek. Now I'm knackered, so are the dogs.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Mmmm, Road Apples

I went for a run with the dogs out at UBC aujourd'hui. The dogs are great at staying with me. When we come upon other dogs, they say a quick hello then catch up with me quicksmart. At one point they got a bit ahead of me on an open stretch - they did so a couple of times, but this is a specific time - and found themselves a mound of road apples. I realized right away, but it took me roughly five seconds to get to them, by which point they had devoured several mouthfuls each. For the uninitiated, road apples is horseshit. Leftover turkey anyone?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Perp Deer Bell

Merry Christmas! Happy Boxing Day!
Now onto business...

After watching last night's 1 vs 100 - that's right, I watched it - I was left to ponder the concept of idiocy. And the failure of the American education system. All because of one question:

Santa just successfully parallel parked his sleigh!
Which part of it is now perpendicular to the curb?
A) Passenger-side door
B) Driver-side door
C) Back end

Readers, please lock in your votes... Now, most contestants on this show have been pretty good, which is to say of high intelligence, at least concerning the questions ask. I consider the question above to be one of, if not the, easiest questions yet asked. The contestant's gut told her the answer was C), unexcitingly, and I awaited the next question. But then she said needed to think for a moment. After thinking for a moment, she ruled out B) and C). What the heck had she been thinking about? How to make lasagna? She then locked in with A), somehow convinced that when a vehicle is parallel parked, its passenger-side door - and yet, at the same time, not the driver-side door - is perpendicular to the curb.

Of course, as I hope you all know, she was wrong. And it gets better. Of the 99 mob members who also answered the question, 54 also got it wrong. Which means that 55 out of 100 seemingly educated people didn't know what perpendicular means. 55%. That is incredible.

Here's a fun game for you, courtesy one of Biscotti's sisters: Reindeer Tipping. Use the arrows on your keyboard to run around, and when a reindeer is sleeping - watch for zzzzzzz's - run into their side to tip them. 50 points for a regular tip, 100 points for Rudolph! Watch out for hazards, including Santa chasing you with a shovel. If he beats you with the shovel, game over. Let me know how many points you can get, and I'll tell you my high score, give or take a few hundred.
Edited December 27th 2006 at 8:46pm: I cracked the top 1000, twice. Click the high scores link and look at the top right corner. Also made #673. Believe it. You can see it.

Lastly, a posting I posted in February got rudely ignored. Maybe it was a little out of season. My bad. I link to it now with low expectations, but I do believe it is worth checking out. Jingle Bells Reversed.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Stop! It's Overkill!


exclamation mark - the sign (!) used in writing after an exclamation.
exclamation - 1. the act of exclaiming; outcry; loud complaint or protest... 2. an interjection.

Today I got me mitts onto a school newsletter. On the front is a message "from
the principal". It is three paragraphs long. The first paragraph consists of eight sentences, seven of which end in an exclamation mark. In the second paragraph, there are three sentences; all three end in exclamation marks. The third paragraph has two of its three sentences ending in exclamation marks. Total: twelve of the fourteen sentences have exclamation marks.

It's a bit excessive dontcha think? Halfway through the first paragraph the exclamation mark has lost all meaning. And what of the two sentences that don't have exclamation marks? If they all had exclamation marks I could at least pretend I'm reading an Archie comic.

Monday, December 18, 2006


A wonderful Christmas gift for a baby in your life. Me, I recently received a Creative Zen V Plus for my birthday. Been slowly adding songs and will be adding pics and videos soon too; wondering if I can add internet videos. Anyone out there know?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy Day

We got our car back today! Tomorrow we're going to Lynn Valley. Right doggies? Right doggies!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Rudolph the Scot

Today I found out firsthand that one has not experienced Christmas until one has experienced the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer being played on bagpipes five feet from one's ears.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Postcard from the Dentist...

According to a postcard that arrived from my dentist yesterday, my last name ends with an m and my next appointment is on January 12th, 2006. Alright.

Car update: Today is December 8. Our parked car was crunched on October 8. Two months. Good times. Maybe we'll get it back sometime in 2007. Fuck.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

December 6 2006


Saw the new Bond flick, Casino Royale last night. Was very impressed. The Bond flicks I've seen in the past, namely GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, have required too much suspended belief. Casino Royale was a mostly-believable fun adventure, and I was impressed with Daniel Craig as double-o seven. Often times, with his facial expressions and Bond-required one-liners, he reminded me of Fox Mulder.

Bio @ UBC

I'm not taking biology @ UBC, but my brother's friend is and my brother informed me of an interesting tidbit after I vented to him about my prof's not-lax-suddenly-turned-lax late assignment policy. The prof of this second year biology class had an incentive for the students where, if the mark they got on their final exam was 20% better than the mark they got on their midterm exam, the prof would disregard their midterm exam mark. Enough students complained about it that the prof (or department?) abandoned the incentive idea. My bro said he crunched some numbers and figured out that Person A could do better than Person B on both exams, but Person B could do 20% better on their final than on their midterm, and therefore wind up with a better mark than Person A.


I flickr'd yesterday. More pics can be seen.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Safety Measures Are Unsafe

Selections from this page:

Tear down the traffic lights, remove the road markings and sell off the signs: Less is definitely more when it comes to traffic management, some European engineers believe.

They say drivers tend to proceed more cautiously on roads that are stripped of all but the most essential markings — and that helps cut the number of accidents in congested areas.

"It's counterintuitive, but it works," said urban planner Ben Hamilton-Baillie, who heads the British arm of a four-year European project, Shared Spaces, to test the viability of what some planners call "naked roads."

Since 2004, some roads in the eastern English town of Ipswich, as well as towns in Germany, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands have been stripped of signs and signals — and authorities have been tracking the results.

"Drivers have started to act like people again, and they are relating to one another in a much more civilized way," Hamilton-Baillie said of the Dutch town of Drachten, where traffic lights were removed from the town's Laweiplein Square in 2003. "They have even developed their own hand signal to communicate with each other."

The square now buzzes with 22,000 vehicles a day, including dozens of buses from a regional bus depot. The buses, which used to spend an average 53 seconds traversing the intersection, now cross it in 24-36 seconds, officials say.

And in 2004 and 2005, there were only two accidents involving injuries, compared with 10 in 2002, four in 2001 and nine in 2000, records show.

The "naked streets" program has attracted interest in the United States and some American urban planners have visited Drachten to see how it works.

Hamilton-Baillie, who taught at Harvard for a year in 2000-2001, said "there is quite a lot of theoretical interest in the United States ... but there are no schemes on the ground that I know of ... With all the planning considerations, it takes a lot of years to get one up and running".

Psychologists have argued that a plethora of traffic signs confuses motorists, who ignore about 70 percent of them anyway. And a long list of rules makes drivers resentful, they say, adding that if allowed to interact freely, they become more cautious and more civilized in their behavior.

In Ejby, in central Denmark, planners are banking on this and have removed traffic signs and redesigned parts of the town center. "Some of our towns are now sign forests and motorists get confused," said Peter Kjems Hansen of the town's technical department.

jblue here - It was the Westender's Curious Times section that tipped me off to this; Andreas Ohrt related this to a study which showed that wearing a bike helmet increases your chance of being hit by a car because drivers give you less room if you are "protected" by a helmet. This must be the reasoning of the people who bike helmetless along busy narrow streets (I think of 12th Ave in Vancouver) during rush hour. I'd like to point out to them that a bike route is a block or two away, but those are often filled with shortcutting drivers who ignore road rules - and bicyclists - for their own benefit, making those "bike routes" potentially more dangerous. At least on a main road there are witnesses should anything happen.