A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

31 March 2006

Do Ya?

Do you ever follow comment links between blogs? If so, you may have gotten here from EE's blog. May I assure my new army of Avid Fans (amazing what a few well-chosen "Paris Hilton Nude"-s can do) that I would never stoop so low as to plant comment spam on another's blog simply to drive my traffic stats.

Nor would I ever be so tacky as to seed my blog with the phrases recommended by the Elf:
"Raincoaster is too proud to seed her blog with the words 'naked pictures of Paris Hilton.' Well, except to point out to the dear boy that he should also have used 'nude pictures of Paris Hilton,' 'Paris Hilton naked,' 'Paris Hilton nekkid,' 'nude pix Paris Hilton,' and, of course 'Perez Hilton Naked!'"
I merely, for the sake of clarity, pointed out that there are no nude pics of Paris Hilton here. Nor will you find video of hot Britney Spears lookalike. And when you see the letters "XXX" on this page, rest assured that it's nothing to do with porn, but either a Vin Diesel (not Vin Diesel porn!) reference or possibly something to do with liquor.

Okay, enough! I think I've exhausted the topic. No more of this gay banter! And indeed, that's another story entirely.

So thanks to the EE for her thoughtful advice, but I just can't bring myself to stoop so low.

Meanwhile, Back at the White House

"Hey! There were Weapons of Mass Destruction after all!"
"Uh--that's Iran, George."
(long pause)
"O-o-o-oh. Um. Hoo boy."

Pictures of Paris (Not Nude)

Caveat: There aren't actually any nude pictures of Paris Hilton here. I repeat, for the benefit of search engine crawlers: there are no nude pics of Paris Hilton here. So don't accidentally send porn-dogs who were looking for nude pictures of Paris Hilton here.

However, there are pics of Metro wearing a hat in Paris (not, I cannot emphasize this strongly enough, not in Paris Hilton).

They love Metro in Paris, though possibly not etc. . . This one is a café around the corner from where Mme Metro and I were staying.

A picture of the famous Metro in Paris. Though not etc. . . Here we see one of the ubiquitous signs indicating an entrance to the underground railway that serves the city very well. Speaking of underground . . .

Went to see V for Vendetta last night.

The individual actors are terrific. Hugo Weaving emotes better in a mask than most actors do in their real lives. Natalie Portman is hereby forgiven for the Star Wars series. The fatwa is withdrawn. The story suffers from the usual comic-adaptation problems, i.e. having to resort to broad strokes and shorthand to express complex relationship chains.

I had only two mildly negative comments about the film. Firstly, the film establishes a co-operative relationship between V and members of the fascist government he seeks to destroy--problematic at best, betrayal of the story at worst. Secondly, V has moments of uncertainty, even self-doubt. The V of the comic is an implacable foe of the regime, dedicated not just to the downfall of those individuals who created him, but to the deliberate and complete ruin of the entire civil structure. No second thoughts, no looking back. He plays the Destroyer, and prepares another to play Rebuilder.

He also claims to have forgotten about love, in the film. In the book, V considers love and music to be central to his purpose. He understands his role, and realizes that there will be a time when he should step aside to let others build where he cannot. Would that modern politicos had that much vision, eh?

30 March 2006

Hiya folks. What's in the news lately?

Well, first, here's Stephen Harper at work. We've cut ties to the Palestinian government.

Hang on a sec--after years of encouraging Palestinians to elect representative democratic governments, we're going to cut off their aid when they do?

I notice, though, that we still seem to be talking to China, despite their threats against Taiwan. Perhaps if Wal-Mart manufactured in Palestine? Or how about if the Palestinian Authority bought a couple of CANDUs from us?

Hamas is a nasty organization, but from statements made by the current crop of leadership nominees it seems as though they may pragmatically, if not philosophically, admit a two-state solution.

Remember--Sinn Fein was the political wing of a terrorist organization--One for which fund drives were run in New York City at one time (Would allowing that sort of thing qualify as state sponsorship of terrorism, by the way?).

Hey, it's not as though Israel's making great strides. I'm glad to see that Kadim is still holding fast, but remember that they're the guys who came up with the Wall.

So yeah, a "principled stand" is a good idea in theory. In practice, it just makes it harder to talk to the neighbours.

More Harper:

Clearly, SH has picked up the George Bush style of democracy: Keep 'em short on information and claim it's your priveledge to be secretive and paranoid. Frightening, really. I mean, surely as the Bushies are fond of saying: "The innocent have nothing to fear"? So what's Harper trying to keep a lid on?

George Bush's main claim to fame at one time was the smallest number of presidential press conferences ever. In his case, though, one might understand it. Have you ever listened to him extemporize?

Canadians must be vigilant against all threats--especially the internal ones. The caretaker Conservative government we wound up with is trying to consolidate its power. Once it's done that, watch out.

I'm fairly sure that Harper's going to keep his sheep suit on for a while yet, but let's try to remember for the next four years and six months (or until this goverment gives way to something more desirable) that he is, in the end, a wolf.

In much better news, Jill Carroll has finally been released. It's nice to see genuine, non-propaganda-type good news from that part of the world.

And me? I'm working through my last two weeks at the current job, trying to prepare for the move. Wishing I wasn't awake at four bloody AM. Still, I'm glad to be having such an exciting time overall, and looking forward to taking up my new proofreading job.

Mme Metro has posted some of our pictures from Paris on her blog, Mastercowfish. I'm hoping to post a couple here in a while, partly 'cos she and I have very different pictures of what's picture-worthy.

I generally feel that vacation pics should contain a human being. MM goes in for "art" shots, witness the two dogs on her blog. I don't own a dog, and my only interest in dogs is to be certain they're properly controlled by the responsible authority (I don't say owners, as many dog owners seem too blinded by their enthusiasm for domesticated wolves to be considered responsible). So I would never have taken a picture of cute (meaning, apparently, endearingly ugly) dogs in cute matching collars.

Still, to each their own. I'm going to steal a page from Raincoaster's Evil Elf and wish you a squiddy good day.

25 March 2006

Say--Who's to Blame for This?

1) Estimated time in seconds 'till NRA trots out "Guns don't blah blah blah".
2) Apparently, the number of guns it's okay to schlep around in your truck.
3) Number of right-wing radio pundits who will blame "reefer madness" but never mention the guns except in sentences such as:
"Of course those loony lefties want us to believe that guns are the problem. But if all the other party-goers had been heavily armed, wouldn't they have been better off? That's what these drugs do to you--they make you forget to bring a gun to the party!"

Just remember kids--guns don't kill people--People with guns kill people. Especially people on drugs.

So just say "No!".

Personally, I'd prefer to say "Hell yeah!" to drugs but "no" to guns. I had hoped that the Martin government could pull it off, but now we have to wait until peace, sanity, and good government are restored by the collapse of the Conservative minority.

Oh--Almost Forgot

On the way home from Paris, flying to Seattle via Detroit, Mme Metro and I met a Japanese student. She first drew my admiration for her ability to out-sleep hibernating bears. She nodded off on the ground at the Motor City airport, then stirred twice on the five-hour flight before landing in Seattle--asleep.

Turned out she was planning on waiting for a bus to bring her home, not an hour's drive from our house. Rather than strand her in the Sea-Tac airport, we decided we'd give her a lift. It was about two hours to the border, but Mme Metro and I had had a twenty-seven hour day by the time we got there, so perhaps I wasn't as concerned as I should have been about the border paperwork required for a Japanese girl on a working student visa. Or perhaps maybe not.

On a tangent: Throughout our trip, the guardians of US soil have been steely-eyed, iron-jawed, heavily armed bullies. No humour, no smile, and no sense that they're performing a public service; just official harrassment, day in, day out. For example: On the way down, the Man on the Line demanded my passport, despite the fact that Canadian citizens are not required to show a passport for entry into the US. When I inquired mildly whether it was required he said: "Well you'll need it to go to France, wont'cha?"

So nice to see they're making sure I've got it . . .

I note with happy exemption here the lady in the Detroit booth, fronted by a friendly sign reading in seven languages "Hold BOTH fingertips of your INDEX fingers against the pads. Look DIRECTLY into the camera" (a key feature of one of the respectful and tolerant policies of "Keeping America Open For Business" or whatever the slogan of the department of Fatherland Insanity is). Unlike any of her companions, she grinned broadly, wished Mme M. & I the best in our marriage, and waved me through after simply checking my passport. I'll never like their supercillious, sneering, bullying manner. But at least they're on the watch. At the Detroit airport I saw numerous men more darkly-complexioned than I, and a number of women in chador steered out of the main line to the "Extra-harrassment" line. But at least some sort of effort is being made.

Which brings me back to the Canadian border. I was bit nervous, carrying a fully-documented (or maybe not) Japanese stranger in the back seat. I needn't have been. The guy in the booth was a clean-cut aryan-looking bugger, with one of his steel-toed work boots propped on the counter between us. He was having a conversation with a friend who stood in the doorway. I proffered the passports and permits.

"How long y'been gone?" he asked diffidently, making no move for the different-coloured passports.
"Uh--Us," (I motion to myself and the Mme) "about two weeks, her," (motion into backseat at Sumi) "about three."
"No." He still hadn't looked at any of the paperwork.
"Okay," he said "drive on."

I drove through, looking for another point where we would be challenged, our passports read electronically, possibly the car searched. I was still wondering if I'd taken the wrong road--were they chasing me?--when we popped out onto the highway homeward.

"What the hell was that?" I asked my travelling companions "Are they working to rule or something?"
But answer came there none.

One thing is certain, if this is the sort of work they're doing, then the last thing I want is for them to have guns. Besides, if they're just going to let anyone at all through, when is it ever going to be an issue?

The Voodoo Knife Block
Now why didn't I think of that? Red on red doesn't make for easy viewing, so I went looking. Turns out it may not be that original an idea. Check this out.

We're home. Watch for more pics in this space, and at Mastercowfish, Mme Metro's blog.

21 March 2006

1) In this internet age, one must still press the "shift" key to access the top-row numbers on French keyboards. Instead, the default setting gives various accented vowels and punctuation marks. Yet the "dot" (known to those of us with college degrees as the period) also requires hitting "shift". On the other hand, the quote marks simply require a tap of the "3" key--or in English, 3"3.

Does this imply that the French never use the period? Must read some Balzac in the original, perhaps it's all a single sentence?

2) The Euro may be worth a bunch of Francs. France seems to have taken up the Euro the way Canada has absorbed the Systéme Metrique--You know, where you drive miles out of your way to save a few pennies on a litre of gas? And cheese priced by the kilo is actually sold by the pound?

Some French people still clearly think in Franc, but most speak Euro.

3) By all visible signs, headphones haven't the huge popularity here that they have at home. Few people on public transit (of which the largest element is named the "Metro"--I'm flattered) are to be seen either tuning out (exception--one something-teen absorbing a film from her laptop on the train to Chartres yesterafternoon) or speaking loudly of personal matters into their cell phones. Mostly.

In fact, the French appear to speak quietly in any circumstances. Despite a (from what I can see) undeserved reputation for rudeness, I suspect that were this internet café to catch fire, myself and Mme. Metro would be hied hence with a whisper-ish "Escuzons-nous, monsieur et madame, mais le café est au feu. Vueillez sortir dans la prochain cinq secondes?"

This was brought home with some force by a chat with a really nice guy from California while queing to get into Sainte-Chapelle. His voice seemed to boom off the mediaeval stone with the resonance of a loudspeaker. Of course he was also seventy-odd, so deafness may have been a factor.

Also observed on public transit, people don't seem to catch one anothers' gazes quite as directly as at home, yet they seem to have a sense of smaller personal space.

4) EVERYONE £µç/ing smokes! Indoors, outdoors, and between doors. Today, Mme. M. saw a guy butt out his cigarette on the floor of a café as he received his change from the owner, who had just sold him a fresh pack.

Gotta go, for the same reason as last time, more-or-less.

Play nicely.

18 March 2006

Okay, So I Have To Gloqt.

I mean, "gloat". Unfortunately I'm sitting at a French internet cafe, with a French keyboard, set to "Anglais". This means that about half of the letters I usually use are in the wrong place, and of course there's no way of telling for sure what's going to hit the screen when I hit the key.

The Person Formerly Known as "The SO", now known as "first order of business--come up with new name for SO" . . . Hmmm.

Okay, so Mme Metro (it'll do until I can come up with something better) and I are honeymooning in Paris. It all began with the wedding (harp sound effect, screen blurs . . .)

(Screen resolves into a loving couple holding hands before a crowd of thousands on the steps of St. Paul's, but since the Missez and I got married outdoors before a few friends we re-dissolve to . . .)

Very similar loving couple gazing into each other's interior aqueous chambers, holding hands before a small gazebo.

Officiant: And do you, SO, take Metro to be your etc etc?

SO: I do (Immediately smacks Metro across the face).

(I have witnesses--including the sometime reliable Evil Elf over at Raincoaster).

This odd behaviour was excused by some faint mention of an insect hanging about where it wasn't supposed to be. Personally I think she just wanted to get ahead of me, in case I turned out to be a partner-beater.

It was a smallish wedding. But, just in case, we'd arranged to have it outdoors. In March. In Canada. I also undertook a complex operation to delay\derail our witnesses, involving a strategically placed moose. Still, very few people took the hint. In the fading light you could have mistaken our fierce grip on each others' hands for devotion rather than clinging together for warmth.

The dinner was terrific (thanks, Garry), the music was great (thanks to Les, Curtis, Patrick & Geoff), and then the new Mme Metro ran off to Seattle, me hot on her heels. It's much cheaper to fly from Seattle to Paris. There's this "cattle" class they don't have in Canada.

So here we are. The new Mrs. Metro wants to go now, to do what honeymooning couples usually spend most of their time doing in France. It seems she just can't get enough of it.

You were thinking "eat", right?

06 March 2006

I haven't been around much, I know

You'll have to forgive me. It's not that I don't want to post, it's only that I am at the moment extremely busy living life to the fullest.

Foremost among my current projects is my upcoming marriage to the SO. It takes place at a local park on Saturday, and represents the completion of my second-longest project to date, although in all honesty I should point out that the SO has done most of the work. I just sit back, sign cheques, and watch the magic happen.

The longest is my job search. As my Avid Fan knows, I have been looking for writing work lo these many moons--just slightly less long than this blog has been around. Last week I drove roughly eight hundred kilometres to interview for a Proofreader/Editor position.

I love the look of the job, the location, the other workers--everything in fact except the timing. They needed someone last month. Due to project #1 above and the ensuing honeymoon, I can't be there until April (mid). I find out today whether I need to relocate. I hope I do. Penticton is a lovely town of only thirty-six thousand or so. And despite the Indian name for the place ("A place to live year-round"--translated by the Chamber of Commerce as "a place to stay forever") they get real, cold, snowy winters too, not this "will-it/won't-it" rain thing we're having (all the more nerve-wracking if you're planning an outdoor wedding, as the SO is).

In between these two projects, I am trying to find time to finish getting the engine back into the Nash Metropolitan for which this page is named. Yesterday I finally bolted it in with minimal loss of life (some skin cells on my knuckles made the ultimate sacrifice, as did a couple of threaded inserts in the bellhousing). I hope to have it running within the next three days.

But I also need to finish editing the world's worst-written book. A boring, pseudo-scientific treatise on the study of reincarnation. It may have lost something in the translation, but I doubt it. It's poorly organized, and tends to drive the reader mad by, in the best tradition of truly scientific writing, acheiving "detachment" by stamping out any trace of excitement in the content. I have 130 pages to finish reading and correcting extensively. By Thursday night.

So you'll forgive me if I don't blog. Or is it too late to say that?