Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Not Just an Incredible Wimp

For the last month or so, I've been exhausted by any physical activity, even things as simple as walking a block at a normal pace. Such activities have reduced me to coughing fits so violent I've nearly passed out a few times. I've been annoyed with myself for being so wimpy over what I thought was a head cold, but I finally saw my doctor today and and it turns out I have a rare form of pneumonia in both lungs.

Strangely enough, this news makes me happy, because it means there's actually good reason for my incredible lethargy. The bad news is that I can expect a long, slow recovery, as this form of pneumonia is apparently pretty tough to treat.

Naturally I've been resisting Sylvia's entreaties to go see a doctor for some weeks now, weeks that could have been spent on treatment. To her credit, Sylvia uttered not a single "I told you so." Advice to self: listen to Sylvia and stop being stubborn. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Sean vs Yeti

Yesterday Sean and I went to pick up flowers for Mom from Canadian Tire. They're trying to sell this giant garden Yeti for $2500, $500 off the regular price. I mean, I would buy this if I were a trillionaire with a mansion, but I'll bet I'm the only person who's lived in Leduc who can say that. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Top of the World, Ma!

Further to yesterday's post, the whole reason I came up with the idea of building highways up to all the communities of northern Canada came about because I wanted to see if Google street view had an image of a work-related project, and when I lifted up the little man, I noticed that, somehow, there were little scraps of isolated street views way, way up north. I've circled them crudely on this screenshot.
This street view shot was apparently created by some insane volunteers who, somehow, shipped their canoes and Google street view camera rig to remote Banks Island and paddled up the Thomsen River.
And here are a couple of backpackers who somehow found their way to Ellesmere Island, way up near the top of the map, relatively near Alert. But surely they didn't fly to Alert and then walk what looks like at least 100 km to this spot in Quttinirpaaq National Park, did they? Does Alert have a helicopter or something?

Looking at these images makes me feel a weird sense of vertigo, like people aren't supposed to be here - it's just too far away from everything. On the other hand, I can't help but wish I could fly like Superman to visit places like this - I can't imagine such trips are anything close to affordable for the average person. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Project Aurora Frontier

CLICK TO EMBIGGEN this custom map depicting the insane future world of PROJECT AURORA FRONTIER, in which I, Earl J. Woods, as Minister of Transportation, decide that the people of Canada's north have been tragically underserved when it comes to accessibility to the rest of the nation. The red lines on the map are existing major highways. The yellow lines are the ones I propose to build in this brave new world. As you can see, I've build roads to connect every municipality in Canada's north to the more populous regions of the south. So congratulations, men and women of CFB Alert - you can now drive all the way to London, Ontario, should you desire, and vice-versa.

A little research shows that the recently-opened 137-km highway from Inuvik to Tuktoyuktuk cost $300,000,000, which leads me to believe that it costs about $100,000,000 per 46 km of highway in Canada's north. Now, I'm not going to pretend that my attempt to use the length the line from Inuvik to Tuktoyuktuk to create a scale and see the length of the yellow lines I'd drawn is anywhere near accurate, but by my quick estimation, the highway system I propose is at least 1,000 times the size of the Inuvik-Tuktoyuktuk span. Not to mention the fact that I have bridges built across the top of Hudson Bay, the Cabot Strait, etc.

I'm guessing that this project might cost at least $500 trillion dollars. That compares to a mere $144 billion for the entire Apollo program. Indeed, apparently the wealth of every person in the world only adds up to $241 trillion.

Still...heck of a road trip. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Chilling Error

I popped these into the freezer to chill them, and then found myself distracted by conversation with my charming wife. They came close to exploding, but I rescued them. 

Until today, I did not realize that I debuted the same year as The Pop Shoppe. 

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Tweety Burned

This is the way the world ends -
This is the way the world ends -
This is the way the world ends -
Not with a bang, but a tweet

Monday, May 07, 2018

Tedfufu's Captain America

Compiled by YouTube user Tedfufu, this collection of animated moments from the 1960s Captain America cartoon has me metaphorically rolling on the floor with laughter. The combination of choppy, surreal animation and crazed dialogue is a real sight to behold. Enjoy! 

Sunday, May 06, 2018


Not long ago, Turner Classic Movies broadcast The Trial, and I tuned in to watch. To my surprise, this version of the Kafka classic was directed by Orson Welles, and to my further surprise, I thought it was at least as brilliant as Citizen Kane. I'm not going to review the film here, but I give it my highest possible recommendation; cinephiles should really seek it out.

A night or two after watching the film, I dreamed that I encountered Welles on a movie set. I gathered all my courage, walked up to him and said, "Mr. Welles, I'm sorry to bother you, but I just saw The Trial and I wanted to say I thought it was magnificent - maybe the best thing you ever made, and I've seen all of your films." (In fact, I have only seen about half of Mr. Welles' filmography.)

Welles turned ponderously to fix me with his immortal gaze, and spoke in those famously sonorous tones.

"My boy, my boy," he said, taking me in to his arms and crushing me in a bear hug, "Thank you. Thank you for seeing it." I could tell there were tears in his eyes.

I hope someone said that to him in real life. Welles was one of the great geniuses of film, and I'm astounded by the way his career went off course after Citizen Kane. I can only imagine what he might have created if his financers hadn't consistently abandoned him, leaving many projects unfinished or only partly realized. 

Friday, May 04, 2018

The Abandoned Thesis

While cleaning up this image today, I noticed something new about it: there's a paper left facedown on the leftmost chair. Was it mine? Did I put it down to take the photo? Was it abandoned by another student? What was the paper about? Had it been graded? Was the grade decent?

I'll never know! 

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Empty Lecture Hall, University of Alberta

Just before graduating, I shot this photo of an empty lecture hall, goodness knows why. I guess I knew what I was about to lose. 

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

How Much do Musical Instruments Cost?

Just for fun, I'm going to guess first, then Google for real prices:

Earl's Guesses
Triangle: $25
Flute: $100
Acoustic guitar: $150
Electric guitar: $300
Violin: $700
Bagpipes: $1000
Cello: $1500
Drum set: $2000
Upright piano: $10000
Grand piano: $25000
Pipe organ: $50000

Real Prices
Triangle: $65
Flute: $475-$7575
Acoustic guitar: $179-$8000
Electric guitar: $279-$7700
Violin: $315-$7525
Bagpipes: $900-$10000
Cello: $935-$12500
Drum set: $170-$4849
Upright piano: $???
Grand piano: $???
Pipe organ: $???

Well, I was way off on pretty much every guess, and I couldn't even find Edmonton pricing on pianos and pipe organs; I guess if you have to ask, you can't afford it! 

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Extra Special Characters

I just accidentally discovered that I can insert special characters into my blog:

This 🎬is a πŸ‹.

Perhaps not that useful. But who knows...