Monday, February 28, 2005

Perry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

I like this one, although I don't know if it classifies as a "good" cabernet sauvignon. It's more fruity and less tannic than most, if not all, other cab. sauvs I've tried, so it's easier to drink and more compatible with my vegetarian diet. It also seems to leave less of a stain on my mouth and teeth. But since these are all factors that differentiate it from the typical cab. sauv., it might just not be a good cab. sauv. Maybe I just don't like cabernet sauvignon that much?

The Smart Set Conspiracy

Last year I bought a pair of pants from Smart Set. They were size 13 and fit perfectly. Then, over the period of a year, I lost 20 lbs. After my weight loss, the size 13 pants were too big, and I found I couldn't really wear them to work because they looked silly.

So last week I went to Smart Set to buy some new pants. I tried on several pairs, and the ones that fit me best were a size 13. They fit perfectly.

No, I did not gain back 20 lbs. The old size 13 pants are still too big, the new ones still fit perfectly. Smart Set made their sizes smaller, thus negating my weight loss! If I didn't have the old pants to compare, I would have assumed that I had gained the weight back!

I hope they don't do this again next year. I can't afford to lose another 20 lbs, and I would hate to be sized out of an entire store!

More highly appropriate quiz results

English Genius
You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 77% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!
Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

Hey! If you liked my test, send the link to your friends. They don't need to be OkCupid members to take it.
The Commonly Confused Words Test
Test statistics:
Compared to users who took the test and are and in your age group:
100% had lower Beginner scores.
100% had lower Intermediate scores.
100% had lower Advanced scores.
100% had lower Expert scores.
With respect to Beginner, users aged 45 to 49 scored highest.
With respect to Intermediate, users aged 45 to 49 scored highest.
With respect to Advanced, users aged 45 to 49 scored highest.
With respect to Expert, users aged 45 to 49 scored highest.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Translation Degree Conspiracy

I have a conspiracy theory: translation degrees are not really for teaching people to be translators. Rather, they're for culling all the people who are not suited to being translators.

I've found in my own education that I learned far more in practica and in the workplace than in the classroom. After all, in an average day at work, I translate more than I did in a whole semester of class.

So what's all this classroom time for? So that all the students who lack the temperment or mindset or target language fluency to be translators will either flunk out or drop out from frustration. They introduce us to concepts that cannot be translated the same way word-for-word and inherent structural differences and phrases that are never translated the same way twice and "translate the meaning, not the words" and "there is no one right answer" in order to frustrate us. Arbitrary grading and one prof's standards contradicting another prof's standards simulate the vagaries and fickleness of different clients. Exercises and tests are designed not so much to test our knowledge, but to give failing grades to people whose language skills are just not good enough, and to give the highest grades to the students whose work would need the least revision in a practicum.

It's not as bad a trial by fire as something like boot camp or med school, but it's intended to make people who are less likely to be good translators not want to be translators.

Serendipitous nail colour

There are two shades of nail polish that I generally wear on my fingernails, depending on the condition of my nails. These are Revlon Quicksand, which is a neutral matte, and Sally Hansen Prima Donna, which is a sheer frosted neutral, with a slight hint of glitter.

Today as I set about doing my nails for the coming week, I noticed that I was running low on both colours. I typically do two coats, so today I decided to do a coat of Quicksand followed by a coat of Prima Donna.

They look so good together! Quicksand provides a smooth monochromatic base, so you can't see where the pink and white parts of my nails start and end like you usually can with Prima Donna alone. And the frosting and glitter of Prima Donna reflect light in a way that is not perfectly smooth, which helps conceal any flaws that occur better than the flat plastic matte of Quicksand.

The result is neutral, shiny, and slightly metallic looking. The casual bystander might not notice that I'm wearing nail colour at all, but the look helps conceal the uneven length and quality of my nails and hide any flaws that might occur, while looking kind of shiny and funky should anyone care to look. If I were to go to a formal event or a rave or appear on television or have to go to a funeral, I would not need to change my nail colour at all. It's the perfect camouflage!

What would you do if you were Paris Hilton?

The discussion of the moment: Suppose you had all of Paris Hilton's money and connections, but also her potential (through said money and connections) for attracting media attention. You haven't yet done any of the stupid things Paris Hilton has done so far - you're starting with a blank slate - but you have her full "famous for being famous" potential. What would you do with this power?

I would:

- pursue advanced academic studies in areas that interest me, but avoid as much as possible TA work and publishing
- use my money and influence for political ends
- try to avoid media attention as much as possible
- if I could not avoid media attention, I would publicly boycott things for political purposes and take advantage of this unwanted media attention as a platform for my political statements

Things They Should Invent: Dream Drugs

They should invent recreational drugs whose purpose is to make you have more interesting dreams and remember your dreams. The drug would have no effect on your waking life, and may or may not contain an agent to help you sleep. All it would do is make your dreams anecdote-worthy, and make sure you remember them. I'm not really the target audience for recreational drugs, but I would SO take a drug like that!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Things that worry me about the recent federal budget

The recent federal budget contained a provision for National Defence to hire 5,000 new regular troops and 3,000 new reservists.

Question: where do they intend to get these people from? I've never heard of the military turning down any qualified willing new recruit, and it's not like they have a hiring freeze or anything - I pass by my local recruiting centre every day and it look like they've always been trying to actively recruit. This terrifies me. While I am an anti-military pacifist, I am very desireable to the military on paper, what with my communications and technical experience. Might I be forceably seconded to the military? If I lose my job, might I be denied employment benefits and other social assistance if I refuse to betray my principles?

It just occurred to me that this is something I should be asking the minister of defence.

Benches are the window to humanity

My local supermarket is in a mall. Outside the supermarket (but inside the mall) there are some wooden benches. Everyone heads straight for these benches as they leave the supermarket and uses them for various things. For example, today I left the supermarket, walked over to a bench, and put my purchases on the bench as I changed my hairstyle and put on a hat and cleaned my sunglasses and located my gloves, all in preparation for going outside. On the other half of my bench, and older couple was sorting through a dozen or so grocery bags so that the bags and the weight would be distributed evenly between the two of them. On the bench next to me, a mother made funny faces and noises at her baby in an attempt to prevent it from bursting into tears at the dread prospect of being put into a snowsuit. Next to her, a supermarket employee sat with his head cradled in his hands, trying to decompress before his 15-minute break ended.

Someone should make a short film made entirely of clips of people at these benches.

Rules for phoning me

1. You must say hello as soon as I say hello. Otherwise I'll assume you're a telemarketer and hang up.

2. You must know my first name. Otherwise I'll assume you're a telemarketer and say you have the wrong number.

3. If you ask for Mr. or Mrs. Mylastname, I'll tell you you have the wrong number. Mr. and Mrs. Mylastname are my parents, and they don't live here.

4. If you call right back after I hang up or tell you you have the wrong number, I won't answer the phone. If for some reason you're actually genuinely calling for me and have inadvertently tricked me into thinking you're a telemarketer, leave a message on my voicemail and I'll call you back. If you don't leave a message on my voicemail but instead keep ringing my phone, I'm not going to answer. I might just get annoyed and turn the phone off.

5. If you call my cell or work numbers (which have call display) or leave a hangup on my voicemail, I may or may not call you back. If you want me to call you back, leave a message. If you don't want me to call you back, do your phoning in such a way that you won't leave evidence behind.

6. If I don't recognize and can't find out your phone number and you keep leaving hangups on my voicemail, I reserve the right to blog your phone number.

A situation when you need animal testing

I was just reading the FAQ for Mane and Tail products. Mane and Tale originally made products for grooming animals, but some of these products are now commercially available for use on humans. I use their hair detangler and it's quite good, because obviously a horse is not going to put of with a lot of tugging to detangle its tail, so this stuff had better make the tangles fall out really quickly.

Anyway, according to their FAQ, they don't test on animals. This makes good sense for cosmetics for human grooming, but if I were buying this stuff to use on my horse or my dog, I'd want it to have been tested on animals first, to make sure my own pet doesn't get hurt!

I need moisturizer

The skin on my top eyelids is painfully dry and none of the moisturizers I have can help for several hours at a time. Can anyone recommend a really good hardcore moisturizers that's safe to use around the eyes?

As I was writing this, I was also considering using my hand cream around my eyes, but I'm not sure if it's safe to do so. I looked at the package, and there were no warnings, but there was an 800 number. I wonder if the 800 number is actually staffed 24/7 by people who are experts on the product and can answer all my questions. Has anyone ever called an 800 number on a product package?

Friday, February 25, 2005

Concha y Toro Trio Merlot Carmenere Cabernet Sauvignon

This wine is interesting because it is a blend of three varieties. I can't tell you a whole lot about how effective the blending was because I don't know anything about carmenere, but the blending cancels out the unpleasant tanin of the cabernet sauvignon, and the overall effect was a smooth, velvety wine that is very adaptable. It has complemented everything I've eaten with it, and I think it would stand up well to mulling or mixing or being made into sangria. Although there are cheaper wines on the market, so if you're going to mix your wine with all other stuff anyway, you may as well get something cheaper.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Highly appropriate quiz results

France Modern (trois fleurs-de-lis)
You are 'French'. In the nineteenth century, it
was the international language of diplomacy.
It is a 'beautiful' language, meaning that it
is really just a low-fidelity copy of Latin.

You know the importance of communicating
'diplomatically', which for you means both
being polite and friendly when necessary and
using sophisticated, vicious sarcasm when
appropriate. Your life is guided by either
existentialism or nihilism, depending on the
weather. You have a certain appreciation for
the finer things in life, which is a diplomatic
way of saying that you are a disgusting
hedonist. Your problem is that French has been
obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

How to decide whether you should have children

A writer to The Vine asks how one goes about deciding whether to have children.

With the caveat that I'm a confirmed non-breeder, I have some thoughts.

First, if you have to ask that question, you shouldn't be having children right this instant. Wait until it's "Well, duh, of COURSE we're going to have children! Any other course of action would be ridiculous!"

Then, go through the following checklist:

1. Picture yourself when you're old. Are there adult children or grandchildren in the picture?
2. Suppose your child is born with a physical, mental or developmental disability that will result in them needing your care for the rest of their life. Are they still just as welcome?
3. Think of the worst phase of your life so far. With the knowledge and experience you now have, if your child goes through the same thing, would you know how to help them and make the experience much easier than it was for you?
4. Think of all the mistakes your parents made, and all the mistakes your partner's parents made. Between the two of you, do you a) agree on what things were mistakes and b) agree on how to fix these mistakes?
5. Using all your favourite gross generalizations and secretly-held prejudices, think of the identifiable group of people that you dislike or hate the most. (It could be Freedonians or people with purple hair or gredenza manufacturers or clarinetists who use size 2 1/2 reeds or people who stand on the left of the escalator). Your child grows up to be a member of this group. Yes, despite the wholesome environment you provided and the fact that you breastfed and taught them to read when they were two and used the Ferber method and never ever let them eat processed sugar, they grow up to be one of THOSE PEOPLE. Could you deal with this in a way that would satisfy Miss Manners?

If you answered no to any of these questions, then having children is not for you. If, at some point in the future, the answers to all these questions becomes yes, then you can look into having children.

Things that are fun to say

1. Un ananas n'a ni nid ni ninas
2. Googlez-le!
3. Gdansk
4. Lubilabym (which should have a line through the second l, but my computer can't do that)
5. Chibougamau

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Things I've done that you haven't

The meme is to write ten things that I have done that you may not have. I don't know if I actually can, but here goes an attempt:

1. Attended three different universities within a span of five years
2. Had an intricate discussion with co-workers about the precise methods used in torturing prisoners (purely for professional reasons, not out of random speculation)
3. Been legally forbidden from repeating something I heard on the radio
4. Celebrated my great-grandmother's 100th birthday
5. Downloaded a piece of software for the express purpose of preventing panic attacks
6. Become fluent in and then completely forgotten a language
7. Written a computer program (based on a model from a book, not off the top of my head) at the age of five
8. Tilted my head back and sat on the ends of my hair
9. Encircled my right wrist with the thumb and middle finger of my left hand, then pulled my entire right hand through that circle without breaking contact between left thumb and middle finger
10. Stayed in a hotel for two weeks entirely at my employer's expense

Monday, February 21, 2005

Mysterious voicemail messages

On my home, work and cellphone voicemails I've lately been getting a lot of voicemail messages that either sound like hangups or like a person's cellphone accidentally dialing a number because it's been jostled in a pocket. The strange thing is that these appear to be coming from a toll-free number. Whenever I press 5 to see who the call is from, it says "866-785-0030". This number is ungoogleable and doesn't show up in reverse lookup, and what with the strep throat and all I haven't yet been up late enough to call back and see what it is (I don't want to reach a real person, I want to reach voicemail or a menu). It's all very bizarre. I wonder if it's a kind of marketing ploy - they just leave these random accidental-sounding messages and wait for people to call back and see who the hell they are...

The problem with education funding

I have mentioned this in the past in other venues, but I think it's time to mention it here.

The problem with the current student aid model is that the "financial need" of unmarried students is calculated taking into account their parents' income. This is inappropriate because the vast majority of post-secondary students are legally adults, and as such are not entitled to support from their parents. Many parents do give their adult children some help during their schooling, either through financial contributions or by providing a place to live, but it is inappropriate to base policy on the idea that unmarried adult students will necessarily and under all circumstances be supported by their parents. The students, after all, are legal for a reason.

What is needed is a model where student financial need is calculated based on the student's means only. If a parent chooses in reality (not hypothetically) to help out their adult child by giving them some money, then the student's financial needs will be less, so the student will need less of a loan and have a smaller debt load upon leaving school. That's fine. And if the parent chooses not to help their adult child at all, the student can still get enough financial aid so that they can survive through however many years of schooling are required, no matter how much money their parents make. But for governments to go around mandating a certain level of parental contribution by basing student aid policy on this level is like making parents legally required to give their children a down payment on a house as a wedding present.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Shake Hands with the Devil by LGen. Roméo Dallaire

This book is a day-by-day account of the Rwandan genocide as told through the eyes of the Canadian general who was leading the UN peacekeeping mission. We all know about Rwanda and I really have nothing to say in the face of a firsthand account, so instead I'm going to write about my reaction to the book.

It's been ten years since the Rwandan genocide, and in that time I've read a lot of news articles and firsthand accounts, and even handled on one or two Rwandan refugee statements in my professional capacity, so I came into this book with a good idea of what to expect in the way of atrocities. It turns out the book didn't present any new atrocities that I wasn't already aware of, so I found myself having the strange and inappropriate reaction of "This isn't as bad as I expected!" It is bad, of course, and should be seriously upsetting to any sane person who did not know what to expect, but because I had learned about all this before - and done my crying, mourning, freaking out and having nightmares when I first learned about it - I found myself in the shameful position of sitting on the subway reading descriptions of atrocities with complete sangfroid. I'm not sure yet how I feel about that.

The second strange reaction I had to this book was I found myself comparing General Dallaire's authorial voice to that of Roger Caron, which is a completely inapt comparison. I think it's because both men were so heavily influenced by their institutional surroundings. In some parts of the book, the fact that Dallaire is so imbued in military culture comes through very clearly For example, he refers to "deploying" a map, in a completely non-military concept, to describe the act of opening it up on a table. In another part, he realizes that some soldiers are more interested in preserving their own lives than carrying out the mission, and he seems to react with complete incomprehension - like he cannot understand why on earth someone would want to preserve their own life when there's a mission to be accomplished. (Yes, I can see how that attitude would make his job more difficult, but I would think the human condition would at least explain the self-preservation instinct).

Overall, it is not an enjoyable book - not because it's a bad book, but because it's difficult and, well, about genocide - but it is an important one. If you choose to read it, the best thing you could do in respect of the book and it's author is make sure you're wearing your critical thinking hat throughout the whole thing.

Note to self

Here is the Cross Country Canada commodities list


One of the nicest feelings in the world is when you wake up in the morning unsure if you need more sleep or not, so you lie there in bed for a while waiting to fall back asleep, and you don't because you've slept your fill.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Delicato Merlot

Despite the name, this wine isn't delicate. It's rich and complex, and, unlike many rich and complex red wines, manages to be so without tannins! It tastes like chocolate and vanilla and various dark red fruits. It's like a velvet dress in a very dark shade of red that looks almost black unless the light strikes it just so and shows off the depth of the red. This is why I love Merlot!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

One of the great mysteries of life

Why do supermarket conveyer belts always get narrower as they approach the cashier, so your groceries get all smushed together? Why not keep them just one width? If the wider width is too far for the average cashier to reach, why not make them the narrower width all the time?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A plea to all TTC riders

Today I was sitting on the subway, reading a book and minding my own business. This guy got up out from his seat and put his backback on. As he swung it over his shoulder, a metal whistle that was hanging from his backpack on a foot-long lanyard swung around and hit the metal pole just inches from my head. A few inches over, and it could have hit my face or chipped my tooth or broken my glasses or blinded me. So please, please, I beg of you, anyone who rides the TTC, look at all the things you have hanging off your backpack and think "Would this injure someone if it hit them in the face?" If it would, please put it inside your bag or at least on a shorter string of no more than four inches!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

My own version of Star Wars: Episode III

It seems my subconscious mind has written its own version of Star Wars: Episode III. Last night I dreamed I was watching it on DVD, and I've previously dreamed I was watching it on DVD, and both times it was the same.

It starts with a dramatic action scene where there are all these flying droids (like the thing Obi-Wan grabbed onto and flew out Padme's bedroom window in the beginning of Ep. II) and each droid was assigned to track down and destroy one Jedi. A lot of Jedi were killed, but the scene culminates with Anakin destroying like six of these droids and saving the Jedi Order.

In this movie Anakin has two younger siblings, a boy and a girl, possibly twins, and they're enrolled in the Jedi Academy. However, the leaders of the Academy have become corrupt (my dream represented this by having them look like a film crew and spend all day showing the students movies instead of teaching them to be Jedi) so Anakin has to perform a daring rescue to free them from the Academy and then he has to put up with two small children tagging along for the rest of the movie.

I don't remember the rest. All I know is that it wasn't at all following the plot points that need to happen in Episode III. I just find it interesting that I've dreamed the movie in the exact same way at least twice.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Random observation

Have you ever noticed that the people who are loudest about calling for "debate" on an "issue" are always the people who most want everyone to just shut up and blindly agree with them?

Saturday, February 12, 2005

I'm such a toddler

I don't know if I'm tired or hungry.

See, I slept for 14 hours last night and woke up at 12:30, but since about 2:30 I have felt tired. I don't know if that means I need a nap or food. I tried to have a nap but didn't fall asleep. And I just had some fruit but I don't feel much better. And my eyes are tired. I don't know whether I should be lying in bed and resting or putting on my glasses and making soup.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Watch me revert to adolescence

I'm now on Pondocillin, which really messes up my hormones. So for the next couple of weeks BEWARE! I will be about as cool, rational, and zit-free as a 13-year-old!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Not dead yet (but getting there)

I'm sick, possibly with strep throat, so don't expect much blogging of substance for the next few days. Right now I find it hard to focus on or think about anything but staying warm and drinking juice and counting the seconds until I get to sleep next. I think my teeth are rotting from all the juice and sugary lozenges, but we'll deal with that later. I have to continue going to work until the end of the week because I have a huge project due on Monday and my team's workload is such that no one can cover for me. So two more days of floating through my texts in a DayQuil-induced happyland, then a weekend of sleep and more sleep, and then hopefully I'll be better. If it gets worse I'm getting antibiotics, and if it's still around on the weekend I'm getting antibiotics

Monday, February 07, 2005

Les Jamelles Mourverdre

They say this wine goes with junkfood. I don't have any junkfood right now, but it makes me crave junkfood. Basically it's a smooth, unassuming red that would go with a lot of things. I had it with dark green veggies and it was good, and I think it would go with a lot of other stuff too. Except now I want junkfood instead of veggies.

MSN problems

My MSN won't connect. Is anyone else having problems right now?

I'm such a spaz!

I recently heard that the word "spaz" is apparently offensive. I've never heard of this before! I've spent the better part of my life bandying this word about like any child of the 80s, using it to mean "clumsy" or "flakey", usually in reference to myself. Anyone know how, why or to whom it's offensive? I never intended to go around casually using an offensive word!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

How to tell when a quiz is inaccurate

I don't usually post quiz results, but this one is just too funny.

It's called 20 Questions to being a Better Person

I got 99.85%.

You are a pleasure to be with and a pleasure to be. Your friends do not envy so much as admire you, and you lead your life with grace, honor, and dignity. This site is humbled to have you take a test on it.

Which brings one to wonder, what are you doing goofing off on the Internet?


This is why I don't like football

I turn on the TV to watch the Simpsons. Not surprisingly, the football is still going. They start the clock, go for 15 seconds, then stop. Then they start the clock, go for five seconds, then stop. So in five minutes of real time, they've played for 20 seconds.

The Ability to Forget by Norman Levine

This book didn't do much for me. It's a collection of short stories, all of which are decent stories by themselves, but as a collection it's too repetitive. Almost all the stories centre around what feels like the same character, who is clearly based on the author. They don't contain much in the way of plot, focusing more on bittersweet melancholic description. Again, this is perfectly fine, but it gets repetitive when the whole collection is like this. One story stands out: "The Man with the Notebook", where the subjects of a writer's stories all die shortly after he writes about them. But all the other stories are easily forgettable.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Why I love my neighbourhood and other stories

Today I dropped off a prescription at the drugstore, went to the bank, library, post office, LCBO, grocery store, back to the drugstore to pick up my prescription, and back home. I did all this in under an hour, and all on foot. I am so glad I live where I do!

Meanwhile, Leah McLaren seems to have confused with reality. I'm glad she waited until I in my own apartment (and out of full-time school) to do this - if she'd done it when I was in school full-time and living with my parents or even in res, my parents would have freaked out into a fit of over-protectiveness. It makes me feel sorry for students who have protective parents who read the Globe and Mail. Really, I think the target audience of is high school students - I've been in post-secondary education since the site was founded, and it has always been quite clear that neither I nor my friends are the target audience.

Strange dream

I had a dream where an anti-same-sex marriage lobby group (now on earth do I hyphenate that? Perhaps I should just say a group lobbying against same sex marriage) bought all the public washrooms in the city where I grew up. They proceeded to knock down the walls between the men's and women's washrooms, and rearrange the cubicles so there were two toilets in each cubicle. They then put either a men's or women's washroom symbol on each cubicle. So the result was a large unisex bathroom with specific cubicles designated for men or women, and each cubicle containing two toilets. Apparently this was supposed to symbolize everything that was wrong with same-sex marriage. I don't know what my sub-conscious mind was thinking, but my conscious mind can't work out the symbolsm of that.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Brilliant Ideas that will Never Work: Maturity Test

It was mentioned in passing in a newspaper article I read recently that adolescents typically don't have a fully developed sense of consequences because of physical differences between the adolescent brain and the adult brain.

I'm not sure whether I believe this, but suppose for a moment it's true:

Then shouldn't they be able to invent a kind of brain scan to measure how mentally mature a person is? Makes sense, doesn't it? Now let's extrapolate a bit:

Different people mature at different rates, so there are probably some 16-year-old who are ready to function as full-fledged adults, while there are others who shouldn't yet be trusted behind the wheel of a car. So instead of using arbitrary ages for adult privileges, you just go in for your quarterly brain scan starting at age 9 or 12 or whatever's appropriate, and you receive your adult privileges based on the results. So people who are ready can vote at 14, and people who aren't have to wait until they're 25. They could even use it for adult privileges that are traditionally administered by the parents as opposed to the state. For example, an adolescent would go in for a brain scan, and when they come out their parents would be informed that the teen is now old enough to set their own bedtime or date or stay home alone overnight or whatever.

The only problem is the potential consequences for sibiling rivalry...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Why the sex industry is squicky

I've always found the idea of the sex industry kind of squicky. Although I don't actually find it morally objectionable, thinking about it always made me want to shudder and vomit and curl up under the covers and cry.

I just realized why.

I have no problem with the idea of a person trading sexual services for money. I wouldn't do it myself, but the idea doesn't bother me at all.

What bothers me is the thought of people who aren't sex workers themselves making money from the sex industry. Pimps and strip club owners and porn producers who get to wear as much clothing as they want and have physical contact only with people they choose, but still make money off the backs of sex workers who have to expose themselves to and/or be pawed by any random customer, even if it's their high-school tormenter or their high-school principal or their parent's friend or their child's friend or their next-door neighbour.

Maybe people should think about that before they patronize the sex industry. I can see how a person might be okay with their money going to a sex worker, but perhaps people should also ask themselves how they would feel about most of this money going to Jabba the Hutt.

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

This book tells the story of how the Oakland A's used baseball statistics to build a successful team and challenge the conventional wisdom that a team's success correlates directly with how much money it has.

Sound dull, eh?

Well, it wasn't, and that surprised me. I mean, I wasn't on the edge of my seat, but the author managed to take three subjects I'm not at all into - baseball, statistics and economics - and make a compelling story. He avoided throwing numbers around too much and instead told the backstories of all the people involved, their background and family life and what they thought about things, and the end result is actually quite readable.

One interesting thing is that the book ends at the end of the 2002 season with Billy Beane, the man behind Oakland's novel approach, leaving to work for the Boston Red Sox. I seem to recall something about the Red Sox having a rather good season sometime thereafter?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Post your time-wasters here!

I have a friend who has to stay awake all night on Tuesday for medical testing purposes. I promised her some addictive online games to keep her busy. I have a couple, but I don't know if it's enough to get a person through a sleepless night. Do you know of any addictive online games, or other websites that are very conducive to wasting one's time? If so, please post them in my comments here!

I just hope he doesn't call 911 on me...

I was playing a web-based computer game. The phone rang. Without pausing the game, I picked up the phone. It was a quick wrong-number call. Just as I was finishing up telling the guy that he had the wrong number, I "died" in the game, triggering a sound effect that sounds like a bunch of small children screaming "NOOOOOOOOOO!"

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Only in Polish

Scene from Polish class:

A student is writing a sentence on the board. He starts writing one of the words in the sentence: "dzw..."

The prof interrupts. "No, that's incorrect. You can't start a word with 'dzw'. It would be impossible to pronounce."

The student takes a step back, looks at the board, and inserts the letter R. "drzw..."

"Yes, that's correct," the prof says.

(Incidentally, the word in question was "drzwi", meaning door.)