A year and a half ago I got a new iBook. I was able to trade in the old one and get a good discount. So I planned that within two years I would do the same thing again. For the past half year I’ve been noticing that my computer was getting slower. I really should have upgraded the memory. But I figured I would be able to hang on for half a year when I got a new one. Then I found out that Apple was completely changing their chip manufacturer. In a year there would be MacIntels.
It didn’t seem like a good idea anymore to upgrade my computer in November. I would be better off waiting until the new MaIntels came out and get one of those. So now I needed to stretch my laptop out for a longer period of time. I upgraded the memory soon after Tiger came out. Now I’m eyeing the battery. It seems to only hold 25% of its charge now.
But a recent event has made it so that I don’t know if I want to stretch my laptop anymore.
At work, they just got us swanky new PowerBooks. They arrived last Friday and they are sweet! I haven’t had much time to get acquainted, but the number of nice touches make them awesome. When it is in a dark room, the keyboard keys light up. If you attach a Firewire cable between it and an old computer, you can populate the hard drive with all the files in the correct places. The trackpad acts like a scroll wheel if you use two fingers on it at the same time. A love these little things.
I sound like a geek when I say this, but I love the smell of a new computer. A scent that reminds you of new opportunities and faster computing.

I would like to tell my iBook that I still love it, just in a different way.

Baker’s Dozen

Today was long.
For the past week I’ve been hoping that there would be no rain at all. That was dashed on Wednesday. Since then it has been warm, but I could see puddles still lingering about.
Why do I care about the precipitation level?
The Baker’s Dozen relay race was today. Twelve hours to do thirteen laps. Each lap was 7.6km over rough terrain going through thin trails that expect mountain bikes. I had a team of six people, so I had to run the route twice. Thankfully I got out of being the one to run it three times. With my shoulder acting up I don’t think I would have been able to.
The course was fairly dry. Every so often there was a nasty puddle that would require one of three options to get past. I could leap it. I could try and gingerly step around it. Or I could maintain speed and try and twinkletoes along a nearby wall. On the first lap, I made a mistake and got a wet shoe. I changed my socks, and for the second loop I kept dry.
Actually the wet helped. At times it made the hills slightly tacky so I could get a better grip. And some of those hills could almost be considered walls.
Overall, we finished in last place. My team was made at the last minute of people who had been in the trail running clinic and weren’t in a team yet. I believe I was the fastest runner on my team, but I did take the race a little too seriously. For me, in a race, every second is crucial, so when the finish line is in sight I run hell for leather. We have to touch a table to indicate our arrival, and I did that. I just sort of expected that when I’m yelling “Incoming!” people will get out of the way. In her defense, she did move to the end of the table and probably thought she was out of the way. But my first goal was touching the table, with braking as a secondary objective, not the other way around.
The day consisted of a lot of waiting around. It was about four hours between my two runs. But you also want to support the person currently doing the run. So I was outside all day, in the hot sun. I’ve got a nice tan/burn now.
I should try and be productive now. I could go out and see a fringe play. Or I could go to the bar. The latter would be easy because I won’t be running tomorrow morning so I can sleep in. But the fact of the matter is that I am really tired right now. I could put a DVD in the machine and just let my brain ooze away.

Fringe Festival 2005, Part 8

I did go see “Eating Raoul” last night. Got the fourth last ticket too. Not bad for showing up fifteen minutes before showtime.

Eating Raoul
Why do I go see musicals? I don’t like them. Yet every year I seem to get snookered into seeing one. This was more tolerable than most. I was familiar with the plot, having seen the movie, what, twenty years ago? The movie wasn’t a musical, but that never stopped a fringe performer before.
The music wasn’t too bad, and it didn’t stop the plot overly much. The actors varied in ability. The costumes were also, ahem, engaging.
Overall, this was a fringe play. Not the best. Not the worst. Not a waste of money to see, but there are better ones out there.

Missed the Fringe

I tired to go see “Never Swim Alone” tonight. Apparently it sold out before work let out, so there was no chance of me getting a ticket. I had an elephant ear while I pondered my plans. I could go see another play? Donna the Dominatrix made a fairly convincing argument to see “Eating Raoul”. Technically I’m not sure if I was listening to her arguments, but she was still very convincing. That starts at 9:30. The reviews on it have been mediocre so I’m not sure.
I’ll try showing up half an hour before showtime. In the meantime I’ll try and be productive.
There aren’t any plays I desperately want to see, just ones I wouldn’t mind seeing. As a consequence, I haven’t been going out to see as many plays. Which is good. I’ve taken the week off from running because of the race on Saturday, so I have had a chance to catch up on all the little chores I have been neglecting. My place is looking tidier than it has been in awhile.

Fringe Festival 2005, Part 7

I think I’m getting Fringed out. I just saw two plays, and although they were comedies, I really didn’t laugh a lot.

I liked it. The creepiest teacher in the world takes over a class. Hilarity ensues. What I found most amazing is that the sole actor, wearing heavy Victorian clothing under hot lights was able to stay standing. He was perfect as a, well, creepy teacher.

Another sketch comedy troupe. This wasn’t as funny as Gordon’s Big Bald Head. They seemed to be trying to make up for the lack of being funny by being tasteless and politically incorrect. Now I’m as much a fan of political incorrectness as the next person, but it needs to be backed up by some actual humor.

Fringe Festival 2005, Part 6

More fringe plays. Better ones too!

Antoine Feval
This play, set circa 1896 London, was by Chris Gibbs, who had previously done “The Power of Ignorance” and it feels like he was channeling the ancestor of the character in the latter play. It wasn’t as funny, but it had a nice dry British humor behind it. He also took the ringing of a cellphone quite well. By “quite well” I mean he was so mean to the person whose phone rang three separate times that the person had to leave. And you’ve got to love a festival that enforces the “No Re-admittance” rule.
Besides that, I think this was my favorite of all the plays so far.

Beneath Solid Ground
This was a nice play. It wasn’t especially a comedy, but there were a lot of smart-alec characters. It appeared to actually be a drama, but it still kept me interested. There was character development and a search for deeper meaning in life. But lets face it. I’m not a theatre critic. I can’t give nice detailed explanations, probe metaphors, or compare to obscure works of Shakespeare. I did, however, like this play, and I would recommend it to a friend. Just don’t expect another Neil Simon.
And the other reason I like it might be that the main mover of events is a computer programmer. He’s really easy for me to relate to.

Fringe Festival 2005, Part 5

A lazy day for me. I didn’t bother going for the run today, because no one else would be there. The Edmonton Marathon was this morning, and that will suck all the other runners into it, either as volunteers, or runners, or people cheering on the sidelines.
Me, I went to see another play.

The Breast Show
This was my token cabaret show. I go to one every year, forgetting that I hate cabarets. At least they are better than musicals. (“Stop the plot! We’ve got a song to sing!”) Anyway, they had great singing voices, but I didn’t care for the songs. It seemed to be a lot of women-power stuff. Although billed as comedic, I don’t think it was. The last half hour got very maudlin as they started reading inspirational letters about breast cancer survivors. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t relate.

Fringe Festival 2005, Part 4

The final play of the day was just seen.

Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie: Washed Up
It’s the Dead Trolls! How could it be bad? Well, they show you. There was a documentary about the fringe being filmed during the performance. This added to the mounds of electronic equipment that the trolls used for their act. So the entire thing was asking for, and it got, technical difficulties. A lot of this was spoiled for me, because last Thursday I browsed to their site and saw a large chunk of what was in the show. The last half was taken up with a long act with puppets on a green screen that was based on name dropping. They had actually gotten their friends Nathan Fillion and Ron Pederson to do voices. But the skit lasted way too long, and wasn’t actually that funny. I also feel sorry for the little girl (presumably a daughter of one of the troupe) that was part of the act. She’s probably been scarred for life.
I want to recommend this as a good show, but I just can’t.

Fringe Festival 2005, Part 3

Another play down.

Gordon’s Big Bald Head: Bubonic Playground
Nothing like a good sketch comedy show to lighten the spirit. As usual, these shows start out strong and then start losing steam as either the audience gets over-stimulated, or they run out of funny jokes. This one was better than most and kept things fairly good throughout. It wasn’t perfect, but I would still recommend seeing it.

Fringe Festival 2005, Part 2

I like this Fringe Festival. There is a new theatre that is nearly kitty-corner to my condo building. I just bought a ticket for the show there in an hour. Rather than wait in line, I can just go home. Of course there is some benefit to waiting in line, chiefly that you get to socialize with people who have similar interests. But this is just too good an opportunity to be lazy to pass up.
I did just see a play.

Urge To Kill
This was an okay show. I went to it mostly to be supportive of the cast since I know most of them. For a first effort by the playwrights/actresses it was good. It could use some work, and they really need to get the gunshots to actually go off instead of just clicking. The catfight at the end didn’t seem necessary either. Still, if you like the X-Files, this would probably be good clean fun.

Fringe Festival 2005, Part 1

The Fringe Festival has started. I’ve already seen two plays.

Nighthawk Rules
This was a good play. I saw it because it was by Jeff Page who has done several good works in the past. However, it fell into a stereotype that so many fringe plays seem to fall into: Someone decides they are gay or to announce that they are gay. I’m getting really tired of that theme.

Soul Mate
The annual David Belke play. About a year and a half ago I talked to Mr. Belke at the Rio Loco premier party where he described this play. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since. I like plays that feature demons trying to get mortal souls.
Of course, wanting to see it for so long my expectations were a little too high. I enjoyed it, and I would definitely recommend everyone see it. But the ending was too nice and tidy. I think the hero of the tale should have ended up with the other girl. Of course the actor is married to the girl he ended up with, so it wasn’t surprising.

Up in smoke

I think I ran a little too extreme yesterday. My right knee has been bugging me. Fortunately I plan on not doing any running for the rest of the week, so I should be good.
An hour or so before leaving work I noticed some smoke rising in the distance forming an interesting mushroom cloud. It looked like a major fire was happening to the south east. I soon learned that it was a condo complex being built near where I used to live. Unfortunately, Cameron, a co-worker and friend, had put a deposit on one of the units of that complex. Well, it’s gone now. I’m looking forward to what the newspaper has to say about it tomorrow. Arson or natural causes?


There was more trail running today.
The interesting thing about this trail running class is that it never rains during it. If it is raining that day, then the precipitation will stop before the actual run.
The irony is that that doesn’t stop it from being miserable. I’m not trying to use technicalities and say something like snow isn’t “rain”. (For the record, it hasn’t snowed.) For the past week it has been dismal in Edmonton. It has been cold and raining every day. In fact during all of today it was rain. It stopped a few minutes before the run.
The run today was in Hawerlak park and along the river. In the trails. The trails that have been soaking up water for the past week.
Mike, the leader of this crazed expedition, doesn’t care if it is muddy. He recently came back from a race where he was up to his waist in it. So there is no sympathy from that front. And he takes us on the most horrid trails he can find. At one point it felt like I was on a slick skating rink, only to turn around because Mike has found that the trail ahead is completely impassable.
For the record, he is paid to race. I am not.
But today was the last class. There is the race in a week on Saturday, and I’m hoping this city dries out before then. In the meantime I’m going to enjoy the Fringe festival. In theory the weather changes into normal August climate tomorrow. Here’s hoping.

Sleep deprived

On Sunday mornings I get up at regular work hours and go running. So Saturday would be the only day of the week that I can sleep in. But I seem to be unable to do that anymore. Last night I was up until 4:00 in the morning, but still my body decided that I was still on schedule and woke me up by 8:00. That is not enough sleep.
I wish I could say I was up having wild parties, and only decided that, after waking up in a pile of my own vomit, that it was time to go home. But no. I was out playing games until 2:30 in the morning. Then when I got home I got sucked into a few more chapters of “Angels and Demons“. Good book. I’m looking forward to the sequel.
A side-effect of lack of sleep is a real dazed expression in my brain today. I was a zombie going through the motions. I can’t even come up with snappy comebacks at all. I could have spent the whole day doing unproductive things. But this evening I went out to the local Chapters store where there was a special guest.
Mike Ford was supposed to be there tonight. He used to be in Moxy Fruvous, and I loved that band. However, when I got there I found that Mr. Ford was delayed. His train was stuck at Lake Wabanum, site of famous train wrecks and a case history of what not to do if one of your trains spills oil into a summer cottage lake.
So I might be able to see Mike Ford tomorrow. But I did get to talk to an improv buddy. He mentioned some informal workshops that he was involved in. It sounds interesting and it would be nice to keep up the improv skills. However, they are on Saturday evenings. I can barely stay awake, so not tonight. And the next two weekends are Fringe Festival (Wahoo!) which will pretty much nix that idea.

Air Monopoly

I took a break from running today. I have a hunch that tomorrow I will be doing some grueling hill trail training. So I decided I’ll keep myself rested and not run today. This will also give me a chance to catch up on on the little chores that seem to be hogging all my time.
A big chunk of time was used reserving an airline ticket. Now I hate Air Canada as much as the next person, but they are the only airline that goes to Jamaica within my financial realm. I have a reservation at a resort in November that I still needed to get the flight for. I’ve been watching the prices stay at too high a level, until today, when I saw Air Canada was having a seat sale indirectly to the destination I want.
I tried to get to a travel agent after work, but they all close up before I have a chance to get to them. So I struggled through the web interface to get my ticket. Strangely, their site doesn’t support Safari, so I had to use a two year old version of IE. That was painful.
But now I have my ticket. Edmonton, Toronto, Montego Bay and back again. I’m in Toronto for four hours on the way there, but that is at the crack of dawn, so it won’t be that good for sightseeing.

Conflicting emotions

Today I felt depressed.
And I found that really annoying. I’m actually angry about it.
It started last evening, and continued for most of today. When I go over the events of the past twenty four hours, I have no good reason to be depressed. I can only think of one really stupid reason. Hence the annoying aspect.
Yesterday I was in the “Yoga for runners” course. We are supposed to have two yoga classes, but the course is coming near the end, and I haven’t heard anything about them. So I asked a classmate. She told me that they happened earlier and I had missed them. As near as I can tell I never got any notice as to these classes.
So that’s it. That lame excuse is why I feel depressed.
You see why I’m annoyed?


I have plants in my office at work. They made the commute there after the flooding problems I had at home, and I’ve left them there to fend for themselves.
I have had a spider plant for about nine years. It was bequeathed to me by a coworker because his was “oversexed” and kept making more of itself. Mine has a similar personality and little shooters are constantly growing as far away from the mothership as possible.
For the past three Christmases I have been dealing with poinsettias’ too. Two and a half years ago I won one at work, so I took it home where in flourished for about half a year. Then it died. I think it was because one summer evening I left the balcony door open and it got too cold for the Mexican plant.
One and a half years ago I wheedled another one. Not knowing much about them, and forgetting all previous experience, I walked it to the car, unprotected, in the middle of winter. That was enough for it, and it was dead in a week.
Half a year ago, I purchased one at Superstore that looked pretty sickly, having had numerous branches cut off. I have been taking good care of it. It gets sun and water and seems to be doing fine.
I have a love/hate relationship with my two surviving plants. I like seeing them grow, and they are a distraction from work. But they do things that really annoy me.
The spider plant, as previously mentioned, is constantly growing shooters. They depress me, because I see this plant working so hard to spread its seed. But that seed isn’t going anywhere. There is no viable soil in the vicinity, so all that is going to happen is that they will die off. Usually they start withering and the green growing parts at the end start making puppy dog eyes at me. I sometimes put that piece back into the pot where it might get water, but it is completely overcrowded there, so I just get to watch it die.
The Poinsettia was carved up before I bought it. It has been growing well and has created new growths to replace all the cut off branches. But they initially all happened on one side, so it has started getting lopsided. I turned it around and am trying to get it to grow on the other side. But the one branch that is growing there seems to have stalled. Instead, a branch on the other side has decided to get its sun by growing taller than all the others. This compounds the lopsided problem.
At least they aren’t smoking and doing drugs.

Marc Emery’s sacrifice

Recently, Marc Emery, the head of the B.C. Marijuana party was arrested and is threatened with being extradited to the States. There he might be sentenced to life in prison.
My gut reaction is that this is wrong. Marijuana shouldn’t be illegal, and I think a large portion of the Canadian population would agree. Our laws against it have been getting more and more lax. And I don’t like the idea of the US enforcing their laws/beliefs in a sovereign country.
But, my brain thinks otherwise. However much Mr. Emery disagrees with the US policy on marijuana, the fact is that he broke their law by mailing seeds to them. How is this different from growing the marijuana in the states, sending it to someone, and then fleeing to Canada? If he had only sent the seeds to places in Canada, I don’t think there would be a problem, but he broke the US laws on US soil.
If we don’t extradite people for breaking another country’s law within that country, then we open ourselves up to a lot of stupidity. Would the average Canadian be happy if a terrorist blew up the CN tower and then crossed the border into the States and stayed there scot free? Probably not. By the same token, if someone within Canada was smoking medical marijuana, he should not be arrested because he was breaking a US law.
So, I think Marc Emery is going to have to face the facts that he is a criminal in a country he effectively conspired against. His sacrifice will keep important treaties going.

For the record, I don’t smoke pot. I don’t even drink alcohol.

Responsible running

Surprisingly, I was responsible this morning.
I woke up, read the paper, crammed a ritz cracker and three wine gums down my throat and called it breakfast. Then I actually went out and ran. I even did seven hills, though it took fifteen minutes to run to said hill. Then I came home, tried to gather my energy, and made myself French toast.
All is right in the world.

Oh wait. Work!
Ha ha. No. My company, since we released a product yesterday, decided to give everyone the day off. Score!
This does leave me at the tender mercies of any telephone solicitors. I think we have a reverse outsourcing going on. I just got solicited by a man with a thick Texas accent. Since Canadians are telephone harassing Americans, I guess turnabout is fair play.

Runtime error

Well I feel dumb.
I had the trail running class today, in Terwillegar park. However, I apparently can not tell the difference between that park and Hawerelak park. It shoud be easy. One is a nice park that is on my route home from work, the other is a park I’ve never been to accessible only by the don’t-drive-it-on-a-scooter-and-certainly-not-during-rush-hour highway known as Whitemud drive.
i.e. I went to the wrong place.
My running this week seems to have taken a total nose dive. I did run yesterday evening, but I stepped incorrectly at one point and my ankle seems to be a bit whinier than usual. So maybe it is good that I didn’t run.
The new plan is to run tomorrow morning, doing some hill training, before breakfast, then come back and make French toast. That sounds like a good plan, but knowing me lately, I won’t be doing it.

Wednesday Summary

It’s been awhile since I updated. So let’s recap.
As predicted, I didn’t run on Sunday. In fact Sunday was singularly unproductive. I didn’t even leave the condo, despite it being a beautiful day. I feel a little bad about that, but it was as pure a day off as there can be.
Monday was also a holiday. I had planned to go to Heritage Days, the Edmonton equivalent of Winnipeg’s Folklorama. It’s held in Hawerelak park and only for a long weekend. I’ve come to the point where I just absorb the essence of the festival. And that essence is to go there, eat food, and avoid looking directly at the culture.
However, the plan got derailed slightly. In the morning I was feeling the need to continue relaxing. I also noticed I hadn’t been reading lately. I guess I haven’t wanted to start any novels. So I grabbed one I bought a year and a half ago and thought I would read a few chapters before going to the festival. Of course, being me, I finished the book that day. I did go out to see the last few hours of the festival, which meant skipping the evening run. In my defense, I did most of my reading outside and got a nice sunburn.
On Tuesday, at work I discovered that I had had a dentist appointment that morning. They had phoned a reminder to my work the day before, so I only got it when it was too late. Oops. Continuing the medical drama I got an appointment for someone in authority to look at my shoulder. That will be in November.
Reduced waiting times my foot!