Archive for June, 2007

Party at My Place

Well, my entire family has gone on vacation for three weeks, leaving me here in terrible solitude. By day I shall sit alone quietly, and by night my only company will be angry Yankees who want their internet fixed.

Fun.

There’s really two ways I see this “being on my own” thing going. Either it robs me of most of my obligations and thus leaves me sleeping most of the day and wasting the rest, or it provides me with so much free time I’ll have no choice but to use some of it productively. I might (*gasp*) even blog more! Or not. It will be interesting to see how this goes.

Even more interesting will be to see how the cooking goes, though. I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.

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June 29, 2007 at 7:53 pm Leave a comment

Good Luck in the Year 52,000

Something interesting I just found out about:

In a few years the European Space Agency plans to launch a satellite/time-capsule into space. The capsule will circle the Earth for 50,000 years, come crashing down in a vivid display of light and colour, and reveal to the coming civilization as much as it can about life in our times. Everyone on Earth is invited to contribute a message to the capsule; it has enough data storage space to hold a four-page letter from every single person on Earth

Fifty-thousand years is an almost unimaginable length of time. The oldest cave drawings are 40,000 years old. The oldest human empires began 5,000 years ago. Just a little over 100 years ago we were still trying to master flight. Look how far we’ve come since then, and think how incredible the world of 50,000 years later would be.

Assuming we’re not wiped out between now and then (let’s face it, there’s a lot of ways we could screw up), this future society would be almost entirely incomprehensible. Language would be difficult. Think about how quickly we devise new words and dispose of old ones, how the “Old English” of just a thousand years ago is entirely incomprehensible to modern speakers. Even if the time capsule arrives, would anyone be able to read it? Societal changes are something to think about, too. Look at the debates we’re having today about cloning and cybernetics and AI with our 20th century technology. The kind of moral quandaries another 500 centuries of technology would create are astounding to think about. We might be able to traverse the universe, create new life whole-cloth, snuff out stars; what would we possibly do with our knowledge?

Even the term “we” is something that deserves great thought. If you asked most people today, they’d hardly regard the cavemen of 50,000 as being part of the same society. In that span of time we’ve grown impossibly taller, fitter, faster, smarter. And that’s just through good old-fashion evolution, combined with some highly improved diets. Imagine when people start augmenting their bodies with technology- it’s already happening in small ways, and could start occurring on a large scale as soon as fifty years from now. Genetic engineering, too, may become ubiquitous. The people of the future might be nothing like us biologically, and even then be further modified with complex blends of technology. Could we really call such a society ‘human’ as we use the term now?

Would we really have something worth saying to them?

Here we are, given the opportunity to put a message in a bottle and cast it out on the cosmic waves, with the hope that 50,000 years hence it will be uncorked and read. But we can’t really be sure we have anything worth saying. What sort of message can shed light not just on how we lived, but on what life in the future should be? What can we say that will matter as much 50,000 years from now as it does today? Is there really a message so universal that it could be understood by anyone, anywhere, at anytime, a message that would be as true today as it would be five-hundred centuries in the past or future?

I assure you, dear readers, that there is such a message. And here it is:

Dear People of The Future;

Poop

~Your Pal,
Jacob

No matter what the age, there shall always be idiots and spammers. I can’t wait to start loading that satellite with the things I have in my Junk Mail.

June 28, 2007 at 3:54 am Leave a comment

Beware of Over-the-top, Exaggerated Bragging

I just need to take a moment to remind everyone how great I am, and how lucky you are to be reading my blog. For you see, you are no longer reading the rantings of some guy on the internet. Now whenever you read this blog, you are observing the musings of an award-winning essayist.

The good kind of award, that comes with a big cash prize.

About two months ago I entered an essay contest on topics of Canadian culture, submitting an essay on why Canada doesn’t need heroes (a good parallel might be Lois Lane’s Pulitzer Prize winning article “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman”, but without being kidnapped by Lex Luthor). This essay, which was incredibly awesome and which I will reproduce here as soon as I can, scored me first place in the contest with a prize of $2000. All said, not bad for three days of work; now if I can just do the same thing every weekend, I’ll make a cool $104,000 a year. Within a year I expect to be able to just sit at home and collect huge royalty cheques from my vast store of writings. In five years I’ll have won every major writing award on Earth, including the Nobel Prize for Literature, and be raking in millions of dollars a year. Before the decade is out I’ll have my own private island, which you might know as “Australia”.

Already I’ve let this small amount of success go to my head. I’m pretty much screwed if I ever get really successful at something.

Editor’s Note: Sometimes, it’s nice to just talk about how great you are. I’ve been doing less and less of that lately, though.

June 22, 2007 at 12:32 pm Leave a comment

Wherein I Try Very Hard Not to Adopt a Cat

I’ve been working overtime at work, so I’m getting home late; around three in the morning. Needless to say, by that point in the morning I just sort of stumble in and collapse into bed immediately. I then sleep forever.

This morning, however, I was surprised to be awoken by loud yelling in my ear. Evidently there was something urgent I needed to see outside. And that something?

A kitten. On our doorstep. Being fed.

Well, shit.

The bugger is impossibly cute. Big brown eyes, sort of beige striped fur, the general cuteness associated with kittens, etc. Apparently it followed my mom and sister home after school yesterday while I was at work. Since then it’s been refusing to leave, probably because we keep giving it food. It seems pretty domesticated and comfortable with people, so it almost certainly has an owner. Now it’s just a matter of trying to find them.

In the meantime, we have to look after the cat. And my entire family (except me) is leaving within a week, so if it’s not gone by then I have to look after it myself until it’s owner finally shows up. I really have no idea what I’m doing, so I’m going to ask for help: I know there’s a lot of cat people who read this blog- people with cats, people on the verge of being crazy old cat ladies, and perhaps even the Jacques Tourneur type– so, I need to draw on your collective expertise. What do I feed this thing? How do I look after it? How do I make sure it gets back to it’s home so I can’t stop worrying about it? (For the record, I have no intention whatsoever of keeping this cat).

In the meantime, I have named her Cookie. It was originally going to be Gulliver, but my little sister would have none of that.

Goddamn your, cute cat. You will be the ruin of me.

Editor’s Note: In the end, we didn’t keep the cat. Not because we found it’s owner, though; we wouldn’t let it inside until we figured out what to do with it, and while we were working on that our neighbours across the street started feeding it. It ended up living with them.

June 21, 2007 at 12:20 pm Leave a comment

Mission Complete!

This post is actually from yesterday. I collapsed from exhaustion before I could put it up.

My bones ache, I can’t bend at the waist, I’m running a temperature of 100 degrees, and I’m exhausted beyond belief. Why is that, you ask?

MARATHON!

Yes, today was the day I’ve been bugging you about for months, the day I enter the halls of legend by running in a very long race and beating lots of people. Technically it was a half-marathon; I work later today, which prevents me from destroying myself utterly.

But anyway; I suppose you’re all wondering how I did? Or perhaps you just want me to shut up? Either way, no need to keep you in suspense any longer. I ran the entire race of 13.1 Miles (or 21 Kilometers, for those using metric) in 1 hour, 56 minutes and 20 seconds.

I hereby decree this “Pretty Awesome”.

In addition, during the race I procured seven cups of water, one cup of Gatorade, two wet sponges, and a blister on one of my toes. Other than the blister, this is all from those stations they always have set up along the route of marathons.

The real story of this marathon, though? I got my ass kicked by Batman. I’m not kidding. Twenty minutes into the race I saw the Caped Crusader run past me; I would have given chase, but I knew there was no way I could ever hope to beat Batman. Much later, after I had finished the race, I was told Batman had finished in the top twenty; this may not sound particularly impressive, but you go and run 13.1 Miles in bullet-proof armour and a cape and see how you do.

I’m pretty sure he stopped to avert an armed robbery along the way, too.

So, that’s it then. I’ve completed my race. What next? I plan to keep running, get myself into a full marathon, qualify for the Olympics within the next three years (er, maybe not the last part). Other than the part where the effort involved destroyed me utterly, it was a lot of fun. Now on to the end credits and final screen!


Mission Complete!
Time: 1:56:20
Item: 78%
See you next mission!

June 17, 2007 at 8:22 pm Leave a comment

My Little Sister is Awesome

I am clearly the greatest teacher ever.

In the space of a mere half-hour, I have taught my little sister the ancient and most secret art of bike-riding. Thanks to my steady hand and guidance she’s gone from crashing into trees to racing up and down the sidewalk. I’m pretty sure by the end of the week I’ll have her ready to race in the Tour de France.

This is just my way of saying I’m incredibly proud of my little sister and I find my blog to be an entirely appropriate place to express this. None of you will actually care, but you can feel entirely free to suck it up.

That is all.

Editor’s Note: When I went home this summer, I found my little sister had gotten much better at bike riding. Good enough not to need my help, at least. She challenged me to a bunch of races, me on foot and her on her little bike. It was adorable; she’s such a cute kid.

June 15, 2007 at 12:41 am Leave a comment

Wherein I Complain About my Place of Residence

It is ridiculously hot here. The kind of hot one might cast the most dastardly of sinners in so that they would burn for all eternity. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Catholic church is getting ready to start flying people out, even as we speak.

The important thing to understand about Winnipeg as a city is that, when it comes to weather, it is the most terrible place on the face of the Earth. In Winter the temperature drops to 40 below and stays that way for at least five months on end; they put weather warnings on TV telling you how many minutes you can stay outside without freezing to death. In Spring all the snow from winter melts and the city is flooded, like clockwork every year. It got so bad a few years ago that most of the city had to be evacuated.

Somehow, though, Summer manages to be worst of all. We start off the season with a literal plague of worms; the streets of the city are lined with trees, and very quickly these trees become infested with millions upon millions of cankerworms. You can’t walk down the street without worms dropping on you or pooping on you. Every morning you have to clear off your car windshield because it’s so thick with worm poop that it’s impossible to see. It’s really quite awful.

Around the time the worms start dying off is when the weather really heats up. It’s regularly 100 degrees, with a humidity factor so high that you practically swim through the air. This wouldn’t be nearly so bad, except that my house lacks any sort of air conditioning. Right now we have no less than eight fans on in the house.

The death of worms also marks the beginning of Mosquito Season. Everyone, everywhere always complains about Mosquitoes. In Winnipeg, it is different.

Winnipeg is perhaps the only city in the world where people hold protests to FORCE the government to spray for mosquitoes.

That’s right. Given the choice between a deadly, cancer-causing chemical and mosquitoes, the people of Winnipeg have decided to take their chances with the cancer. Having lived here for four summers now, I must say I agree with them. This is the kind of place where if you set up a mosquito trap, you might catch ten-thousand in a single day.

In comparison, Fall isn’t so bad. At least not until it starts snowing in August. I really wish I was exaggerating about that.

Let this stand as a warning to all of you; if you ever have the opportunity to move to Winnipeg, don’t do it. No matter how good a job you may have been offered, it won’t be worth it.

This has been a report from Hell on Earth

Editor’s Note: One of my friends in Vancouver was so freaked out when I told her about the worms thing that she has more or less vowed never to set foot in Winnipeg. This is the kind of thing the city inspires.

June 12, 2007 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

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