Happy Birthday, Catherine! And to her niece Emma, too, here in St Louis.
They are siblings, and very affectionate.
I’d just like to say that this is my 1001st blog posting. Yesterday’s wee rant hit the big M.
I’m averaging 1.068 posts/day.
It seems that, every time I fly to the US, I get to be chosen as the randomly searched guy. I try not to look too terroristy, but it seems those security folks just love to pat me down. Thanks, but they’re not really my type. They also always look in my shoes, which are always teh stinky, tee hee.
Flying into Washington, to the ridiculously-named Reagan International (I much preferred the old name, as in: dull, duller, Dulles), not merely was I the designated Mr Random (comme toujours), but everyone who flies into DCA has to go through the pat down anyway. So I was searched twice, within five minutes. Oh, and you have to get to your gate super-early, as they hold you for ages in a windowless room, as a sort of this-is-what-it-feels to-be-a-bad-person simulation.
I noticed that someone was knitting. Not merely could they have flipped out and killed people with the needles in the Knitting Ninja style, but they could also have stood up in mid-flight and announced, “This plane goes to Cuba, or I knit the Holiday Robin Motif o’ Doom! Bwahaha!”
When I got my checked luggage back, I saw that they’d opened it, searched it, and left a little note to the effect of: “If anything is missing or broken due to this search, we are so not liable! Have a nice day!”
Welcome to the War on Terror, folks. Make sure you’re extra scared when you travel. And if your travel plans include terrorism, please ensure you don’t go via Reagan International.
Have a good one, and hope the batteries run out before your patience does.
It’s raining here; a lot.
If I stood on the bow-backed chair, I could reach
The light switch. They let me and they watched me.
A touch of the little pip would work the magic.
— Seamus Heaney. Electric Light
and also Airtricity’s Christmas e-card
2005 was a pretty good year for music, but you had to dig for it. My maximal list, in alphabetical order:
- A Hawk And A Hacksaw — Darkness At Noon
- Animal Collective — Feels
- Beck — Guero/Guerolito
- Bright Eyes — Digital Ash In a Digital Urn/I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
- Caribou — Marino Audio: yes, it’s a promo. A combination of the audio tracks from the Marino DVD release and the 2005 tour CD, I much prefer it to The Milk of Human Kindness.
- The Decemberists — Picaresque: I know all the hip kids had it as MP3s last year.
- Dressy Bessy — Electrified
- The Fruit Bats — Spelled in Bones: folk, with just the right tinge of bubblegum
- Malcolm Middleton — Into The Woods: anyone who can sing about the existential possibilities of Falkirk High station, and also about love & chips, is deep into the Scottish psyche.
- Of Montreal — The Sunlandic Twins
- Kate Rusby — The Girl Who Couldn’t Fly
- Sigur Rós — Takk …: and yet I still don’t know what they’re singing about.
- Sufjan Stevens — Illinois
- Teenage Fanclub — ManMade
- Vashti Bunyan — Lookaftering: don’t dismiss this as merely fey hippy nonsense; it’s beautiful fey hippy nonsense.
We like them, they like us:
- Dan Jones — Get Sounds Now: Catherine’s elementary school friend rocks out
- Lazerlove5 — Flicker Mask: fine funkiness from a fellow feg.
Excellent compilations from 2005:
- Ivor Cutler — An Elpee and Two Epees
- Charlie Poole & The Roots of Country Music — You Ain’t Talking to Me
Some excellent tracks, but not entirely memorable as albums:
- Devendra Banhart — Cripple Crow: I’m a Child is crazed genius, but lose the Spanish lounge music, eh?
- Eels — Blinking Lights And Other Revelations
- Jennifer Gentle — Valende: I Do Dream You is the perfect garage punk song.
- John Parish — Once Upon a Little Time
- Sleater-Kinney — The Woods
- Wolf Parade — Apologies to the Queen Mary: what was with the lumpen first few tracks?
Next year, look out for The Lollipop People’s We Need a New F-Word. I like their offensive avant-cabaret noise more than I should.
There was supposed to be a picture of a nice — if low-res and a bit squinty — sunset over McLean’s Mountain on Manitoulin Island here, but 1&1′s webmail isn’t too good on attachments.
Update: Here it is:—
(The vertical lines are guy wires, btw)
It would seem that someone has done this before, but using a different approach. I did search the forums, but there were no stations in the community overlay — honest, guv.
My M500, previously very reliable, now seems to crash every time I switch it on.
A real BBC News headline: Cold Weather Hits Scots Fixtures
<insert obligatory kilt-related humour here>
So, what would you think would be “The clean air choice of Earth Day Canada“? A bicycle, perhaps? Some kind of renewable energy? Some really brilliant Canadian enviro-social development, like a biodegradeable donut?
Nope, a car; the Toyota Prius. Last time I checked, it still used petroleum (with its high environmental and geopolitical toxicity). It still causes gridlock; I see Priuses (Prii? Your moon-pie eye!) inching along the Gardiner from the GO train with all the other wretched junkers. The way I see it, it’s not looking like part of the solution. It’s a bit like having an official assault rifle for the the International Day of Peace.
Toyota also give out $5000 Toyota Earth Day Scholarships. I mean, that’s nice and all, but it’s hardly giving back. If you look at all the scholarship materials, it’s carefully arranged so it looks like the event is called Toyota Earth Day, with the ‘scholarship’ on the next line. Nice cooption. Good greenwash.
Had to do some field work near Zurich yesterday, and it was way snowy. Only by having the world’s longest serial cable could I stay warm inside the truck while I did diagnostics.
After seeing the various nifty web-enabled transit maps, I realised I had the data handy to get things started. A while back, I georeferenced the TTC Ride Guide, and digitized all the station locations. I cleaned them up today, and in the hope of being useful, here are the files:
These are simple three-column CSV files, stating latitude, longitude, and station name. They should be in order of stations. Locations are probably within about 50m of real life, but don’t bank on it.
I’ll get these into more useful formats soon, like GPX and KML. For now though, if you can use ‘em, go ahead and do something.
I was stranded in London (Ontario, that is) last week due to a fuel pump failure in an elderly Subaru. Looking for some breakfast, I followed my nose to the most amazing smell of fruit pastries.
… and wound up next to the Kellogg’s factory. I suspect Pop Tarts. A low trick.
My best music of 2005 list isn’t ready yet, so here are my Great Pencils of 2005:
- Faber-Castell 9000 — 125 years old, and still the smoothest writer out there. Still alarmingly expensive; I can buy 8 tri-writes for the price of two 9000s
- Ticonderoga tri-write — a great low-fatigue triangular pencil. Writes smoothly, sharpens cleanly, and keeps its point well
- Lee Valley HB — there are just nice British-made pencils
- Staedtler Mars Lumograph — the efficient German drawing-office pencil
- Dixon Primary Printer — meant for little kids, this chunky pencil works for big hands too. Unfortunately, it’s round, so it rolls off the desk.
The Papermate Mirado Classic just missed the cut. It’s a whole load of pencil for very little money, a sixth of the price of the Faber-Castell. Yes, it’s a yellow American office pencil with an eraser, but so’s the tri-write. Maybe I’m getting more used to this continent.
A yellow Chevrolet Corvette soft-top was having a really hard time going up Kennedy Road this morning. It was moving no faster than walking pace, and the back end was fishtailing out at every possible opportunity.
After picking up my UK passport form at Bay & College, I walked to Spadina Subway. Not far, you’d say. It is if you go via College all the way to Dufferin, and back. 7.3 km, I make it, from the amazing Gmaps Pedometer. I went via Canada Computers (where I got a fantastically quiet Vantec case fan) and Soundscapes (where, of course, I bought too many CDs).
And you know why it was such a long walk? I was looking for a Timmy’s. Sad, isn’t it? It would seem that Little Italy is almost totally free of Tim’s. Yes, I know I could have had fantastic espresso and some kind of pastry there, but I wanted Tim’s, and I was prepared to walk for over an hour in sub-zero temperatures to get it, dammit.