Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sources of Joy for November 25, 2014


Aside from my usual sources of joy - Sylvia, family and friends - two products of popular culture are making me happy today. The first is Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off," which I've been bopping to for days, and the second is Andy Weir's debut novel The Martian, which I read over lunch yesterday and today.

I know Taylor Swift's been pretty famous for years, but until "Shake it Off" I don't think I've listened to any of her music. Now I'm going through her back catalogue, because I find this track catchy (I love the horns) and strangely sweet and uplifting - the same feeling I get from The Martian, a very uplifting story of humanity's can-do spirit and our propensity for pulling together in times of crisis.

So thanks, Taylor and Andy, for brightening up the last few days significantly. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

99 and 4/10ths Dead

In Stephen King's The Stand, an experimental flu virus, Captain Trips, kills 99.4 percent of Earth's population. That made me wonder how many people would be left on Earth of the events of The Stand happened today. Simple math reveals that out of 7.276 billion, 43,656,000 would survive Captain Trips, scattered all over the planet. That number of survivors could entirely repopulate Argentina with a couple of million left over; it couldn't quite repopulate Ukraine.

It's only natural to wonder how many Canadians could be expected to survive. The answer: about 200,000 people, or a little over the population of Regina, Saskatchewan. Of course all Canada's survivors wouldn't be concentrated in one place, so let's imagine how many survivors there might be in each province and territory: 

Nunavut: 191
Yukon: 203
Northwest Territories: 249
Prince Edward Island: 841
Newfoundland and Labrador: 3,087
New Brunswick: 4,507
Nova Scotia: 5,531
Saskatchewan: 6,200
Manitoba: 7,250
Alberta: 21,872
British Columbia: 26,400
Quebec: 47,418
Ontario: 77,111

It's pretty sobering to imagine being one of 200,000 or so survivors in a country as vast as this one. Supposing that the electrical grid would take a little while to collapse, I suppose survivors could find each other by frantically posting on Twitter or making YouTube videos, since there's be virtually no competition for being at the top of the new content lists. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Top of the Evening



Last night our D&D plans went south, so like the grownups we are, we decided to spend the evening discussing comic book movies and playing with tops. A good time was had by all. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hitchcock Update

I have now seen 34 of the 50 films in the Alfred Hitchcock canon. That's 68 percent of them, and I've seen everything from 1938 onward. Now I'm working my way back to his earlier works.


The Pleasure Garden (1925)
The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)
The Ring (1927)
Downhill (1927)
The Farmer’s Wife (1928)
Easy Virtue (1928)
Champagne (1928)
The Manxman (1929)

Blackmail (1929)
Juno and the Paycock (1929)
Murder! (1930)
The Skin Game (1931)
Rich and Strange (1931)
Number Seventeen (1932)
Waltzes from Vienna (1933)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
The 39 Steps (1935)
Secret Agent (1936)
Sabotage (1936)
Young and Innocent (1937)
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Jamaica Inn (1939)
Rebecca (1940)
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)
Suspicion (1941)
Saboteur (1942)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Lifeboat (1944)
Spellbound (1945)
Notorious (1946)
The Paradine Case (1947)
Rope (1948)
Under Capricorn (1949)
Stage Fright (1950)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
I Confess (1953)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
Rear Window (1954)
To Catch a Thief (1955)
The Trouble with Harry (1955)
The Wrong Man (1956)
Vertigo (1958)
North by Northwest (1959)
Psycho (1960)
The Birds (1963)
Marnie (1964)
Torn Curtain (1966)
Topaz (1969)

Family Plot (1976)