Archive for May, 2010
Friday, May 21st, 2010
I recently watched a documentary, released on Tuesday on DVD, called Waiting For Armageddon. It’s the scariest movie I have seen in a while. You see, Jesus is coming back to Earth (and soon, too – don’t make any long-term investments or start a family). When he does, there will be a War To End All Wars that will take place in Israel near some temple. The Jews and Christians will be on one side, everyone else will be on the other. Jesus will show up, do some magical stuff, win the war, then the Jews will stop being Jews by converting to Christianity, and Jesus will take all the true believers up to heaven with him while the rest of us will be Left Behind to…I guess…clean up the mess after this big war is over.
The scary thing about the film is not Armageddon, the Rapture, or the Second Coming of Christ. It’s that 50 million Americans believe this nonsense. There are many in this movie who lament the fact that they won’t see their kids graduate, or that they will never be married, because the Rapture is so very imminent that they just plain won’t have time. A frightening thought, that this many people could be this much crazy about this many things.
Then, I saw this Alabama attack ad. A genuine, real attack ad on Bradley Byrne, who is running for State Senator. The ad actually attacks him for believing in evolution. I think Bill Maher said it best on Real Time:
Is this really the way Americans are going? Please tell me Canada isn’t even close to this insane. I am desperately hoping that the worst thing our religious extremists can do is shut down Ontario’s sex education program. I’m holding my breath.
Friday, May 21st, 2010
Last week, on vacation, I took a trip down to New Brunswick with my wife to visit friends. I think it speaks volumes about our relationship that we were able to drive 14 hours there on Friday and 14 hours back on Wednesday without killing each other. Even when I fell asleep and woke up to a police pursuit. (Turns out the cop was after someone else – whew!) Even when I fell asleep again and woke up to find that we were way off course, somewhere in the middle of Quebec City. And even when I was subjected to a number of songs from the Glee soundtrack back-to-back. All was good.
Here’s my advice to potential cross-country travelers though: Speed in Ontario, and only in Ontario. When you enter Ontario, the speed fines are posted on one of those helpful billboards – speed limit is 100, going 120 will get you a 95 dollar fine, 130 will get you $125, and so forth. That’s what I’m used to. Well, not that I have had a lot of speeding tickets. But I know the numbers. In New Brunswick, it seems like a place where you can go faster, because the speed limit is usually 110. Usually. Sometimes, it drops suddenly, for no apparent reason, from 110 to 100. That’s where the speed traps are set up.
In New Brunswick, fines are different. If you’re going 125 in a 100 zone in Ontario, it’s a $95 fine. In New Brunswick, it will cost you $292. That’s right. Two hundred and ninety-two dollars. I was going 126 when I was pulled aside by the police. The cop told me that since I was from out of town, and thought the speed limit was 110, he would go easy on my and give me the fine that I would have received had I been going 105 km/h. Which was still one hundred and seventy-two dollars. When I got done there, and entered Quebec, I saw that going 140 would net me a fine of $695. I went slower. It was nice to get back to Ontario.
Before I did get back to Ontario, however, I had to drive through Montreal. It was Wednesday night. It was about 6:30. Game 7 between the Habs and Penguins was about to begin. We were IN Montreal already. This is the difference between taking a road trip with your wife and taking a road trip with your buddies. Since I was with my wife, I suggested that we stop, find a bar, take in Game Seven and hopefully party with the rest of the city when the Habs won. I was, of course, sure the Habs would win because I was listening to a Montreal radio station that was very convincingly homerish. I even suggested that she could be the one who had a few drinks at the bar we would certainly find, and that I would magnanimously drive the rest of the way home afterward.
As we drove past the Bell Centre turnoff, we decided against it. My wife was tired, she just wanted to get home, and I was too tired to press the point any more than making a fairly weak suggestion. Much as I would have loved to get my second wind, after 12 hours in the car, and go party, I couldn’t muster the energy to make a rational argument for doing so. I say this is the difference between a road trip with buddies and a road trip with the wife. Had I been in the same situation with my buddies, I wouldn’t even have asked if they wanted to stay. I would have just pulled off the highway, and into the parking lot, and that would have been that. And they would never have complained, because I was the one driving the car, and they know full well that gives me absolute authority over where we end up. No discussion necessary.
I suppose I couldn’t have afforded to eat and drink and party anyway. After all, I had very recently become $200 poorer just by driving. Might have been cheaper to take a plane. And a plane wouldn’t have stopped in Montreal for me either.
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
I’ll be running the half marathon on May 30th during the Ottawa Race Weekend. It seemed like a neat challenge when I signed up for it, and I’ve been training for a couple of months to be able to run 13 miles (21 km) by the time the thing comes around next Sunday. I was told earlier this month that in order to run a big race like that, a runner should be able to complete that run two weeks before the actual race. Which is what I was doing yesterday. Here’s the video:
A lot of people in the building stopped me to congratulate me after I managed to finish this run. Which was nice, but I really didn’t feel any sense of accomplishment. Instead, I felt stupid. Why? Why would anyone voluntarily choose to do something like this? I should have realized right away when Esther recruited me to do this that it was a dumb idea. Running is dumb. Two and a half hours, 21 clicks, and my cardio held up fairly well. I have been training mostly on cardio for these past few months, which made sense to me. And I thought all it would take was the mental fortitude to keep going. In a sense, that is true. It’s all about the brain and being able to tough through something like this. But it never occured to me that my body would shut down so completely.
The final 3 miles of this run were excruciating. Absolute agony. Bushtukah outfitted me with this outfit, because I was complaining about knee pain while I trained. So they gave me better shoes, and my knee pain is gone. My foot pain is gone. I have no back pain any more either. But I have never run this far in my life, and my hips gave out completely half an hour before I finished. Yesterday I couldn’t walk. Last night I couldn’t sleep. I soaked in a tub for an hour, I stretched for an hour and I laid down all day yesterday. I still can’t walk today.
Big thanks to Bushtukah for the shoes, which worked great, and the clothes. Which make me look like some kind of creepy flamboyant teletubby. Something funny – watch closely in the video, and you can see a tiny little grey strip on the bicep of the bright-ass pink shirt. Know what that grey strip is? Reflective tape. You know, just in case I’m running in the dark, and the cars can’t see me…
I have heard from many people about this thing called a “runner’s high”. Where you run and run and run and eventually hit a point where you no longer feel it and can run forever. I always tell those people that I have never felt this. They always respond that obviously I have never run far enough. Well, now I have. I ran for two and a half hours. And I did not feel this “runner’s high”. Every single step of this run was an effort. And the last few thousand were agony. I hate running. I hate it with a passion. And as of May 31st, when this race weekend ends, I will never run again. Ever. Not one step. If I’m being chased by a bear, I will not run. I will stay and fight the bear. Running isn’t just overrated, it’s ridiculous. It’s for skinny people and masochists, and I am neither!
Oh, and nice job by Robin Harper on the video. This is almost exactly how the run looked.
Thursday, May 6th, 2010
Yes, OK, Iron Man 2 is obviously opening this weekend in theatres. And that’ll be pretty big, I guess. But there’s a Canadian movie opening as well, competing for your movie dollar against the big blockbuster. On Saturday May 8th at 9:30, the Mayfair theatre is going to be showing GravyTrain. Local (Ottawa native) film maker Tim Doiron and his partner April Mullen will be in attendance at Mayfair screenings of the movie on Tuesday the 11th (9:00) and Wednesday the 12th (9:30). The film opened in Toronto last week and was held over for an extra week before coming to Ottawa. Mullen and Doiron previously collaborated on the mockumentary Rock Paper Scissors: The Way of the Tosser, which had surprising success.
The trailer for GravyTrain:
That’s Doiron and Mullen starring in the film, as they did in Rock Paper Scissors. This film also features the smoking hot Jennifer Dale and the reasonably funny Tim Meadows and Colin Mochrie. Daniel Lanois composed original music for the soundtrack, and the film is being distributed by Alliance Films here in Canada. I realize that almost every movie goer will be seeing Iron Man 2 on the weekend, just thought I’d throw out this option as well – something local, something Canadian, and possibly something cool!
Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
Muffin was a dog. Not a good dog – she was old and cranky and sour and barked at everything. But she was my dog, and she had cancer, and I’m very sad today. My wife took her in yesterday to be put down, because I was too big a sissy to be there. Apparently, most of the people who go in to have their pets put down are women, because men are too emotional about such things. Who would have thought?
I strived to make her final day a good one. I tried to cripple a squirrel so she could finally catch one, but she wasn’t really able to run any more, and squirrels no longer interested her. I thought about killing that crow that makes fun of her in the back yard, but because Muffin was no longer barking I couldn’t tell which crow it was. And even though she had stopped eating, I gave her bacon so she could lick the grease off it.
We inherited Muffin about four or five years ago when her owner died, and she has been good for the family. About six months ago, she survived our first death panel, when we decided that paying a ludicrous amount of money to fix her teeth was a better option than not. Now though, she had cancer in her mouth, and it was spreading rapidly. We discovered it on Friday, and by Monday it had grown noticeably, and she had stopped eating and being feisty and obnoxious. She was 16 years old, she’d lived a good life, and she will be missed by our whole family.