Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ee-evil Wo-man.... She's an E-eevil Wo-mannn...

Who is this woman?

Here's a few hints:

1) If you've never read a Harry Potter book, you'll never guess. Neither will you care, for that matter. If you fall into this category, um, well, thanks for stopping by.

2) If you have read the fifth Harry Potter book, you hate her already.

3) If you see all the Harry Potter movies but have never read the books, you don't hate her *yet*, but you will soon.

4) She's not very nice.

OK, that's enough of that. Her name is Professor Dolores Umbridge, and she's a significant character in the next Harry Potter movie, "Order of the Phoenix". Which, unfortunately, we still have to wait until next July to see.

Here are a few more preview photos that have been released:

I must say, now that I *remember* all the stuff that happened in this book, I'm *really* looking forward to the movie.

On a side note, it struck me as interesting that this is the second post about a Harry Potter issue where I used an ELO song as the basis for the title. The last one was "Strange Magic". What is it about Harry Potter that makes me think of ELO??

I'm not sure if I can keep up the trend, in any case. It would be pretty hard to come up with a Harry Potter topic bearing the title "Don't Bring Me Down.... Bruce!" (maybe, if I'm lucky, the final Harry Potter book will have a character named Bruce.)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Please Forgive Me If This Sounds Shallow...

... but I must say this:

I *LOVE* my DVR. Now, yes, it's only a thing, and I love my family more, but I really do love my DVR.

I've only had it for a few weeks, so the honeymoon period isn't even over yet, but I'm certain this is going to be a long-term relationship.

Now, my VCR and I had been through a lot together, and we've had some good times as well as bad times... but all those times are over. After all, my VCR can't pause or rewind live tv, can it? I'm sorry but no it can't. My VCR can't let me watch a show that it's still recording, can it? Nope. My VCR can't pick and choose new episodes of a show I want to watch, and then record it no matter when it's on or what channel it's on, can it? No, no, no, and no.

Oh, and don't even get me *started* on the High Definition channels... that broadcast in widescreen and actually *fit* my widescreen tv. I'm practically DROOLING, waiting for 24 to come on in January on the Fox HD channel. Mmmm.... widescreen Jack Bauer butt-kicking....

I can't type any more. I have to go spend some time with my new special someone. I hope you understand.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Quick Count of Things That Are Broken.... um...yup... Everything.

Our fridge started it. It's been suffering a slow death for many months now. Leaks water, stripping and stuff falling off, freezing things that shouldn't be frozen, pieces falling off or breaking at random... It's hard to see a family member fall apart like that.

Our oven has joined in. It still turns on, it just won't actually heat up. At least not hot enough to actually *cook* anything.

Then my wife broke. A few days ago she couldn't even walk. Herniated disc. Now, she's hobbling around pretty well. Which is pretty good, since I don't even want to *think* how much it would cost to replace her.

Finally, it turns out that one of the kids didn't spill some water on the carpet down in the basement. But denial is a wonderful thing, for a day or so anyway. No, the water on the carpet was actually coming from the hot water heater under the stairs. But let's call a spade a spade, shall we? Rather than "hot water heater", let's call it a "corroded water leaking piece of crap that I *really* didn't want to have to replace right now".

Let's just hope the Appliance Gods take pity on us for the next few weeks. Because I don't think I could take any more. To quote one of my favourite movies...

"I'm a donkey on the edge!!"

Disclaimer: Any comparison between my wife and household appliances is strictly for humour purposes only. What, do you think I have a death wish? And you'll notice that I didn't go for the easy "can't turn her on or heat her up, either" joke, right? So I do have *some* discretion!

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Internet Shut Me Down

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My Little Runaway... Run Run Run Run Runaway...

OK, today was a pretty good day for my teenage daughter.

Let me say in advance, that thanks to her dad's predisposition toward comic books, she had a greater comfort level with comics than the average teenage girl. She has read the odd comic or twenty.

However, no one could have predicted her reaction to "Runaways." Well, except maybe my cousin Steve. Since he started all this.

Around a year ago, Steve loaned me a few of his digest collections of this comic called "Runaways". He said that my older kids, and particularly my oldest child, might get a kick out of it. (It's a neat story about a bunch of teenagers thrown together by the discovery that their parents were a group of super-villains poised to take over the world. They strike out on their own, and the story goes from there. They dress and act like normal teenagers, rather than the regular musclebound spandex-clad comic book types.)

How right he was. She *loved* it. She read his digests over and over until we bought her copies of her own. Then we started buying the monthly comic once she was done with all the digest collections.

Flash forward to a couple of weeks ago. The folks at Strange Adventures (aka the world's greatest comic shop) told me about how there were several notable comic creators jetting into Halifax for the 'Word on the Street' book festival.

Including a young man named Adrian Alphona. Who draws... Runaways.

Let's just say that there was no fear that we were going to miss Word on the Street this year. Which was, by the way, today.

Not only did she get to meet the artist, she got to flip through his personal sketchbook, see his designs for past storylines, had one of her digests autographed, and... coolest of all... get a personal sketch that he drew for her featuring her favourite character in the book.

All of which was pretty awesome. My number one son and I were there too. (He signed a comic for me as well... duh). And he posed for this picture with the kids:

Nice young guy. And Canadian, to boot. All in all, a pretty awesome day.

(Note to my cousin Steve: You definitely called that one.)

p.s. This is the sketch. (I had to 'borrow' it from her bedroom as she slept.)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Two Household Appliances Engaging in a Pleasant Conversation

If you read anything further into this... well, don't blame me for your own interpretation. *I'm* not getting dragged down into the gutter with you!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Get Your Brain Ready for This Post.... @r3 ¥0u R34d¥ ¥3t?

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!t'$ ©4ll3d H@x0R, 0r l33t$p3@K. H4x0r !t$3lf !$ 4 ©00l w4¥ 0f $4¥!ñg "H4©K3r".

!t'$ pr3tt¥ u$3ful f0r $w34r!ñg 0ñl!ñ3, w!tH0ut g3tt!ñg ©4ugHt b¥ $p3ll ©H3©K3r$ t00.

"bl4ñK3t¥ bl4ñK p00p¥ p00p p00p!" $33 wH4t ! m34ñ??

$0, $!ñ©3 ! d3v0t3d 0ñ3 bl0g p0$t t0 t¥p!ñg !ñ j!v3, ! tH0ugHt ! b3tt3r g!v3 H4x0r 3qu4l b!ll!ñg. @ñd ñ0, ! d!dñ't 4©tu4ll¥ t4K3 tH3 t!m3 t0 t¥p3 4ll 0f tH!$ 0ut m3t!©ul0u$l¥ !ñ H4x0r ©H4r4©t3r$. ! ju$t u$3d 4 tr4ñ$l4t0r 4t 0ñl!ñ3©0ñv3r$!0ñ.©0m.

p4rt¥ 0ñ, dud3!

If you're having brain problems, here's what I said in boring old english:
You know, sometimes I wonder if I'm not a little obtuse. I've seen people creating screen names with numbers that look like letters, and stuff like that, but I never realized that this crazy way of typing actually has a name.

It's called HAXOR, or LEETSPEAK. Haxor itself is a cool way of saying "hacker".

It's pretty useful for swearing online, without getting caught by spell checkers too.

"Blankety blank poopy poop poop!" See what I mean?

So, since I devoted one blog post to typing in jive, I thought I better give Haxor equal billing. (And no, I didn't actually take the time to type all of this out meticulously in Haxor characters. I just used a translator at

Party on, dude!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Eager Beaver

Tonight was the first Beavers night of the year. I must say I wasn't terribly excited. Sometimes it feels like a bit of a chore.

Then I remembered that it was my little guy's first ever Beaver night.

That perked me up a bit. I couldn't help it. He was so excited.

Here's the picture of the new little beaver, the stodgy old leader dad, and the "old" beaver who likes to come and help even though he's been in Cubs for over a year.

And you know what? It was a great night. And little buddy was *so* happy. Kind of reminds me why I do stuff like this.

And hey. We get to have a Halloween party next month. But I don't think I'll go with the Ballet Dancer of Death this year.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"Cut Own Hair" Gland?

So what is it about five-year-old boys?

They hit school, suddenly have free and easy access to scissors, and suddenly decide that they it would be the height of fashion and independence to cut their own hair?

Because this is the third time I've had a five-year-old boy, and I'm pretty certain that this is the third one to cut his own hair.

Is it a special gland that kicks in at this age or something?

Luckily he didn't totally mangle it. If I take him for a *real* haircut it will probably be mostly ok.

And he doesn't even have an imaginary tiger to blame it on...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Down with the Count

No, not "Down FOR the Count".... though that's what I could have called my experience of the last week. I was basically the walking wounded. Sick but dragging my butt around, basically doing essential services. Work, come home, get kids to bed, sleep. That was about it. Didn't need those six pounds anyway.

But now, I'm feeling better. Except for the "holy sh*t, I think I just expelled a lung" cough that hasn't let go of me yet.

No, "Down WITH the Count" is the name of this post.

Since it's Saturday.

And Saturday is junk food day. What is "junk food day" you ask? Allow me to explain.

Starting life as a child who grew up eating, with very few exceptions, two kinds of breakfast cereal (Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies), I grew to be an adult who recognized that kids should have another food group that they get to eat from once in a while: the CRAP food group.

Meaning, what I call junk cereal:

Froot Loops.

Lucky Charms.

Corn Pops.

Sugar Crisp.

Frosted Flakes.

Alpha Bits.

Reese Puffs.

And, of course...

The grand-daddy of them all...

The Godfather of junk cereal....


So, I chose Saturday morning as the one morning a week where the kids could eat junk cereal. The rest of the week they can eat boring stuff like oatmeal, waffles, and plain Cheerios.

We've had the "Saturday is junk food day" rule since... well... a LONG time. Back when we only had one or two kids. I can't remember for sure.

And things have been pretty consistent all this time.

However. something has changed. A NEW contender has sprung from the mists to make a play for Saturday morning dominance in our household. Actually, an OLD player with a new twist. One of those things where you might say, "That would never work! Who would want to eat that?!?" Yet, somehow, the incongruity has not dampened the popularity of this newcomer among the youthful voters. This old-yet-newcomer called....


The problem, for me, is that while the cereal itself is chocolate, the marshmallow 'charms' are still multi-coloured. That just doesn't work. Count Chocula, while it has progressed over the years from little brown marshmallow bits, to ghost shapes, bat shapes, and other less scary shapes, has remained true to its chocolate theme.

So, for the sake of the children, I will support their wishes and continue to bring that leprechaun into the house, despite my concerns over the 'wrongness' of the whole thing.

But, as I'm sure you understand, and many of you will even agree with me...

I'm down with the Count.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Be Careful What You Wish For

Yeah, remember my last post, when I asked what could happen to me next? I forgot to suggest another likely candidate.

Getting sick.

Which I did. From, let's see... Friday night, pretty much through Sunday night.

And how was YOUR weekend?


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fall. Ing. A. Part.

That's me. Falling apart.

Is it 40? Why didn't someone tell me?

In the last five days, I've:

1) Developed some kind of thing in my eye that needs special drops. I thought I was treating it ok by myself with polysporin, but by the time I woke up this morning and found my eye crazy-glued shut, I figured I better get a professional opinion.

2) Bit into a piece of popcorn and did SOMETHING to one of my molars. Since then, anything I eat or drink that is cooler than, I don't know, ONE degree below room temperature makes a nice little ZING of pain through my head. Very pleasant.

3) On top of that, a JU-JUBE, for God's sake, a harmless little ju-jube, effectively and efficiently removed a filling from one of my top molars. So now I have a huge gaping hole in one of my upper teeth.

What the hell's next?

Ear infection? Ingrown toenail? Herniated testicle? (shudder)

I'm almost afraid to find out.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Last Shall Be First, and the First Shall Be Last

Or something like that.

Anyway, the thrust of it is that my LAST child started his FIRST school year today, and my FIRST child started her LAST year of school today (yeah, well, I mean *regular* school, don't get me started on university or anything...).

So here they are on this momentous day of firsts and lasts:

Which I have to say I find pretty cool.

Also a little weird. Because it does cause me to realize...

1994 doesn't seem too long ago:

In fact, for that matter (though I admit I'm stretching it a bit), neither does 1971:

However, I feel compelled to add:

Let's hope that many more milestones come down the pike before I will see my first *grandchild* heading for their first day of school. Many MANY many.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Boldly Going... and Much Prettier, to Boot!

Yay. It's like a favourite room getting a new coat of paint.

Star Trek is being re-released in digitally enhanced format. Now, the Enterprise flying through space won't look like a dinky driving over black paper with white spots!

I don't mind these kind of tweaks. I didn't mind it when they did the "special editions" of the Star Wars movies (though I still don't think Greedo needed to shoot first), and I won't mind it with Star Trek either.

I mean, really, which would you prefer:

I'll take clean and detailed over old and crappy any day. (Until I'm old and crappy myself, that is!)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Is Sex More Fun in Japan?

Maybe the title of this post is misleading. (However, I bet it gets me lots of random hits over the next few weeks, just like my "Nudity and Sexuality" post did... apparently 'nudity' is a very common word for internet and blog searches... I'm pretty sure that 'sex' is right up there too!)

Anyway, I really can't say if sex is more fun in Japan. However, I *can* say that condom packaging is more fun in Japan! Take a look at this collage of condom packages from a Japanese company:

(click it for a larger view)

Are these crazy or what? The "Kit Kat" parody called "Kit Sack" kind of made me laugh, but that one with the little cartoon cat girl caressing the big pink... um... thing made me go "um."

Do you think these are really intended for adults? Young-at-heart adults, I guess. I would have thought that someone did them as a joke, except that I saw the real website where you can buy them.

What's even funnier is when you read a translated version of that page, and hear what some of these things are called (or at least translated to)! Things like "The Chicken and the Position", "The Actual Condom of the Rubber", and "The Enormous Stick"!

If you want to see a translated version, go to
and then paste this website into the 'translate this website' field:
... then tell it you want it to translate Japanese to English, click the 'translate' button, and you're good to go!

... However, I do think they missed a golden opportunity to design one like Pikachu or Jigglypuff called "Poke-me, Mon"!!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Baked Like Me

Yugh. My new job also includes taking turns (with my two cohorts) carrying the "after-hours emergency support phone". No real biggie, I used to carry a pager or cell phone at my last job too.

Except once in a while, that kind of lifestyle will give you a little kick in the n*ts just to remind you who's boss.

See, the phone rang last night. Just shy of 3 a.m. The problem was one of those weird things that doesn't resolve quickly. So, at 1240 pm, somewhere under ten hours later, the problem was resolved.

And holy crap, am I tired. I'd be asleep right now if I wasn't making a couple batches of macaroni (and... um... blogging).

I'm not quite at the "being awake is making me want to puke" stage, but I might be there soon.

So, before that happens, I bid you good night. Afternoon, morning, whatever. Even *I'm* not sure.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Venus Kid Trap... Guaranteed to Work!!

Try this, as a fun experiment to attract children:

Step 1

Throw an old mattress out on your lawn.

Step 2

Stand back.

Step 3

Observe the number of children that are inexplicably drawn to jump, bounce, leap, flip, and karate-chop the mattress for an extended period.