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[ 2005 ]



[ 2004 ]

[ 2002 ]

[ 2003 ]

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


1:04 AM , # ,


Monday, May 30, 2005

Sunshine Girl

Raise your hand if you think sticking Karla Homolka on the cover every other freakin' day is a vile way for the Toronto Sun to sell newspapers . . .

8:55 PM , # ,


A Gamers' Manifesto

Funny & timely! [via Slashdot] Bruce Mau should hire this manifesto writer.

5:02 PM , # ,



Yesterday we ran the 10k out on the island and finished in good time. It started raining during the last two kilometres, which was perfect timing. Photos of the day can be found on the Daily Dose.

11:14 AM , # ,


Sunday, May 29, 2005

Massive Cheese

[Groan] I checked it out on Thursday, just to compare the real deal to the negative reviews.

Massive Change: The Future of Global Design, the exhibition curated by Bruce Mau, finished its run at the AGO today. It's as cheesy as the Alvin Toffler books on sale at the exhibit's junk shop and as shallow as the cheap, ugly plates. Imagine an issue of WIRED chopped up and pasted and projected on some walls. Only not as visually interesting. Or as clever. Or funny. And keep in mind that WIRED has been milking that pony for over a decade. So it's kind of stale, too.

Mau claims to have avoided the pitfall of politics and avoided looking at things from a Left vs. Right perspective. But he makes a far larger error -- and it sinks the whole thing -- by deciding to favour "optimism" over "negativity", as though those were the only choices. The exhibit confuses criticism with being negative and so you get Wal*Mart being served up as an example .... of what? Something positive or negative? Implicitly positive but the show doesn't have the guts to come out and say it, so the context is kept intentionally vague.

Every room (there are 11 theme areas) offers bold, optimistic declarations like "WE WILL DESIGN EVOLUTION." Is that even grammatically correct? Evolution is a natural process, if you "design" something, it's no longer evolution, right? The statement should read something like "We will replace evolution with design." More accurate and disturbing if you consider the implications.

But even the pronouncements aren't consistent. While claims of eliminating poverty and "designing evolution" are made, when it comes to War they hedge and wonder 'will there ever be a world without war?' OK, you've elminated poverty and replaced evolution with design ... doesn't it logically follow that war becomes redundant? But the exhibit isn't even sure if war is such a bad thing and may be necessary considering how much it can drive technological change. The exhibit is quick to forgive abuses and suffering if the greater good appears to be served.

At times the declarations are a little frightening. One chunk of text announced that the city is a "triumph over nature" and with the threat of a bird flu pandemic and who knows what else lurking on the horzon, I said a little prayer out of fear of being smited by the alien overlords. Are cities triumphs over nature or are cities expressions of nature, like beehives and termite mounds? Don't ask Bruce. The exhibit states that "Utilizing the promise of design we will minimize unintended consequences and maximize positive outcomes" ... but employing optimism to avoid criticism seems like an express route to unintended consequences (like suburnt naked chickens).

A large chunk of the exhibit seems dedicated to design solutions that are addressing the unintended consequences of design solutions (thought that's never acknowldged). The Segway scooter and some pretty hybrid cars are held up as innovative solutions to several problems ... but the problems themselves were created by design decisions, like the form of suburbia. The "solutions" are only bandaids; the hybrid cars will cut oil consumption but won't solve or ease a host of other problems sprawl creates.

I reached a room where I was asked to vote 'YES' or 'NO' on questions such as, "Genetic Engineering - Should we be doing this?" and that was it, I'd had enough. Such a petty, simplistic attempt at 'being interactive' might have been fun in the 80s, but in the time of the great blogging conversation, it was a ridiculous gesture.

It's a premise worth exploring: When you can do anything, what should you do? (has Mau ever read any sci-fi? Sure doesn't seem like it from this show.) but Massive Change isn't up to the task and demonstrates that, despite all the hype, Bruce Mau has boundaries.

11:29 PM , # ,


But Will Chekov Have Sex With Rand?

Walter Koenig to appear as Chekov in Star Trek: New Voyages fan episode.

7:41 PM , # ,


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Christie Splits

After Christie's farewell/b-day geekout party, Merv & I compared notes over ice cream ...

MERV: It was weird meeting all of those bloggers in real life. It was such a diverse group of characters.

BLAMB: I guess Rannie and Eva were the only people you'd met before. Hey, I got to meet Christie's mom!

MERV: I'd never even met Accordian Guy! And he had his accordian with him. It got a bit confusing, everybody had the same name.

BLAMB: Two Dans (well, Dan #2 who was given a field promotion to Dan #1), eight Evans, twenty-seven Alexes, an Aleks and nine hundred and seventy-three Wills.

MER: But only one Dave. When we first arrived, I talked to Dave for a bit and he asked me if I was single and after I said 'no', he didn't talk to me again for the rest of the night! Ha!

BLAMB: Looking for love in all the wrong places ...

MERV: Maria was hilarious ... I told her that she should change her blog design, make it orange and colourful to match her personality and not so subdued and she said, "You thought I was some dude?"

BLAMB: I can't believe her. I gave her all sorts of good dating advice months ago, and she disregarded ALL OF IT. The guy she was seeing is a complete turd.

MERV: Is Kat really the "most senior blogger" in Toronto?

BLAMB: More than that, she's been blogging since before blogging. She's the earliest of the early adopters. She's the Coelacanth of bloggers. And Nug, who you met when we arrived, is an internet icon: the world-famous Mustard Man!

MERV: You should have brought your camera.

BLAMB: I figured everybody would have had cameras at such a large geek gathering. I thought everyone would have been packing heat.

MERV: What did you think of Dr. J?


MERV: He was standing right next to you and Bob right at the end!

BLAMB: With the beard? That was Dr. J? I had no idea! Crap, I didn't get to talk to him.

MERV: Christie was really trashed at the end.

BLAMB: It was two events in one, so she had to get twice as loaded. And bloggers must party.

MERV: There were a lot of bloggers. That's why it was so weird when that guy walked over and asked, "What's a blog?"

BLAMB: It's probably best he didn't know.

Eva added in the comments:

My favourtite moment of the night was when Maria met The Armchair Garbageman. Her reaction, without pauses in between, went like this: "OH!!!!! MY!!!!!! GOD!!!!!! You know, I've always wanted to be a garbage officer. One time I saw a guy who was walking his dog, and then the dog went like this [re-enacts dog bowel movements] and I didn't want to say anything, because I'm from the murder capitol of the world!"

Yeah, Maria should really change her blog design

1:27 PM , # ,


Friday, May 27, 2005

Molly Visits

Zack's new pal Molly is visiting for the first time [WMV, 1Mb].

3:00 PM , # ,


This month the Annex Gleaner celebrated its 10th anniversary.

12:03 AM , # ,


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Alice's Nightmare


12:55 PM , # ,


Loaf's End

I ran out of bread, so this mini-sandwich was made from a crusty stump.

Also: Grocery Store Wars. May the Farm be with you!

9:49 AM , # ,


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

He Haunts Us Still

He really does. The combination of a posting about Trudeau and linkage from Kinsella brought in lots of traffic and provided this blog with it's first 1000+ spike. Trudeau was always a proven ratings winner, a traffic jump happened right after we supported Trudeau during the Greatest Canadian nonsense:

All Rex Murphy is unrequited.

The lesson is clear: for blog traffic, Trudeau!

Which reminds me, Christie [above, centre, blurry blob in black right above Trudeau's mug], is leaving. That's right, she (we gave her most of our lives) is leaving (sacrificed most of our lives) home (we gave her everything money could buy). And she's moving to Brooklyn or some such place this weekend. Details about this Friday's send-off can be found on her website ... it's your last chance to hang back and lurk in the shadows, fellas! Dontcha dare miss it!

10:09 PM , # ,


Canadian History Moment

Here, for your own good, is another chapter in the history of Canada.

Trudeau's Long Walk in the Snow, 1984
Brother Lou as Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau


Pierre Trudeau felt the cold winter wind bite through his coat as he walked along Sussex Avenue. February had been a difficult month, so the Prime Minister had left 24 Sussex to gather his thoughts. The only sound was the snow crunching lightly beneath his boots, he paid no attention to the field of wrecked cars around him, casualties of the National Energy Program.

Ghosts of happy families on summer vacation called out from the rusting vehicles, asking if the good times were all gone. "Is it time for moving on?" Trudeau asked himself.

Suddenly, the sound of twisting metal. Trudeau spun around.

There was screeching and clanging as, from beneath the wreckage, a mutant Tiger Mole burst forth!

Trudeau knew the danger of being caught out in the open. Mutant Tiger Moles were notoriously quick. Their keen sense of smell combined with natural sonar compensated for relatively poor eyesight.

The Prime Minister froze and held his breath, waiting to see what the beast would do. The voice of his old adversary, Rene Levesque, cackling in the back of his mind, "You prevented me from separating the country. Can you keep this creature from separating your head and limbs? Ha ha ha!"

The mutant Tiger Mole charged forward. Trudeau ran and weaved through the wreckage, but the mole simply smashed through it in pursuit. Nothing could stop it.

There was one chance. Levesque's mocking scowl again sounded, "What are you going to do? Face this beast?"

Trudeau's eyes glimmered, "Just watch me."

Trudeau pulled a proton grenade from his coat. He spun and threw it into the maw of the mutant. The animal was startled.

Trudeau winked, "Fuddle duddle you."


The mutant slumped. It was dead. Trudeau got to his feet. The close-call had cemented an idea that had been forming in his mind for some time. After serving sixteen years as Prime Minister, he had had enough of the fight.

Trudeau walked back towards 24 Sussex in the quiet snow.

"Let us overthrow the totems, break the taboos. Or better, let us consider them cancelled."


Pierre Trudeau died in 2000 at the age of 81.

This has been your Canadian History Moment!
For more Canadian History, please read Mutant Bear Attack in Upper Canada, 1852.

12:30 AM , # ,


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Close Call

I just got a call from Rannie, Maria and Kelly who are at the SkyDome and saw someone who looked like me on the Jumbotron sitting with a "dark-haired woman". They thought they'd busted me out on a date ... ha ha, nice try but no dice!

8:54 PM , # ,


On the Blogs

Blogebrity has moved up to third place in the Contagious Media Showdown. It's a distant third, but the idea has legs so it could gain if you link and visit. I think they could spark more interest if they launched a crap F-list. Skillzy notes that A Small Victory is complaining that this sort of thing is "ruining everything" . . . which is funny, 'cause I always thought that rabid, semi-reformed warbloggers with an overblown sense of blog-entitlement were ruining everything.

Jett got all smashed up and operated on after running into a tractor. Now she's bionic. Get healed!

Tony has a good rerun about blogger burn-out ... the main point is a good one:

if your blog feels more like a "have to" instead of a "get to" youre writing about the wrong things.

Accordian Guy reveals the true nature of Archie Andrews. Which reminds me, insideout, Toronto's lesbian and gay film and video festival runs until Sunday.

Tomorrow, right here: a very special Canadian History Moment.

1:09 PM , # ,


Monday, May 23, 2005

May 24 in Toronto

Exhibition Place

For tonight's walk, we went down to the Ontario Place to catch the fireworks. [above, left] Don't let the grin fool you, Victoria Day is Zack's least favourite holiday.


11:14 PM , # ,


Love Means Never Having to Cross the Floor

The phone rang. It was Alice.

ALICE: Hey idiot, turn on the CBC. Belinda Stronach is talking about the Conservatives and Peter MacKay.

BLAMB: That's last week's news.

ALICE: Just turn it on! Quick!

I flipped on the tv . . .

[ tv ]

REPORTER: Can you tell us how you came to your decision to cross the floor?

BELINDA: Well, I remembered seeing this graphic once, and it reminded me that in both politics and matters of the heart, all loyalty is unrequited. Suddenly, the path was clear.

[ /tv ]

ALICE: It's your stupid chart again!

BLAMB: Listen, you can't start blaming everything that happens in the world on me, just because people choose to use that graphic.

ALICE: Don't you think you should speak out against the chart? Before someone really gets hurt?

BLAMB: Nobody's gonna get hurt. Hey, I made the C-List on Blogebrity!

ALICE: Blogebr-whu? What kind of name is that? Blogebrity? That's terrible.

BLAMB: I made the C-List!


BLAMB:Uh. That's it.

ALICE: Actually, a blog tabloid is more appropriate than some of the other activities people have tried, like the Blogshares. Blogging is all about personalityy and ego, not "shares" or economics.

BLAMB: Hey, I saw Quon'dar on the street the other day, what's he doing back in town?

ALICE: Quon'dar? He left.

BLAMB: I tried talking to him, but he got away.

ALICE: Are you sure it was him?

BLAMB: I recognized the shape of his dorsal fin.

Alice was silent. A minute passed.

BLAMB: You still there?

ALCIE: I'll talk to you later.

She hung up.

1:48 PM , # ,


Sunday, May 22, 2005

That Movie About the Space Guys

I was biking around the city, getting things done on Friday and I checked in at the Varsity, there was no line, so I caught a matinee of the Revenge of the Sith. It's much better than the first two prequels ... how could a movie be worse than Attack of the Clones? But overall, it's uneven: I would weight it as being 40% complete crap and 60% good stuff. To get a sense of perspective before I typed this post, I went and watched large chunks of the original trilogy.

Some thoughts on Ep. III and the prequels in general:

Cast & Characters
The cast makes the original trilogy so much fun. Han, Leia, Luke and Wedge have energy and constant banter. Anakin, Padme, Mace and Nute Gunray are dead weight. One review I read observed that having digital sets hurt the actors' performances and watching the old films, it's clear that the actors' performances are much more natural than in the prequels because the actors have actual sets to react to, such as Han always leaning on and hanging off of the Falcon, showing the affection he has for his ship.

While the human cast is more wooden in the prequels, the non-human cast is much more active. For the first half hour of Sith, R2-D2 is so bouncy, it's distracting and annoying. The character who benefits the most from the digital treatment is Yoda, who really comes to life in Sith. If you go back and watch Empire now, you'll be shocked by how much of a puppet he was then and how much of a real character he is now.

Sith's new character General Greivous was not much of a General nor was he particularly greivous. He should have been called Boss Hacking Cough. The characeter wastes time that could have been better spent.

One of the worst parts of Sith is Natalie Portman's character's ridiculous death. At the end, she's clearly dying and someone observes that there's no explanation for it, she seems to have "lost the will to live". So, after being depicted as a tough, smart, principled person during movies 1 & 2, in the end her character is just some doormat who can't live without her man, even though she just had two kids to take care of. Maybe Lucas will do a 'Greedo shoots first' re-edit and fix it so Padme doesn't die as a loser.

If you compare the orginal movies to the prequels, you notice a big difference in the way the stories are told. The orginals bounce around and there are some fun reversals. In A New Hope, there's a scene where Han & Chewie turn a corner and bump into a bunch of stormtroopers. Startled, the troopers run and Han chases them screaming, leaving Luke and Leia standing there thinking, WTF? In Jedi, Luke is pulled right to the brink of the Dark Side and he gives Darth Vader a good thrashing but turns it around at the last second. Events in the prequels, including Sith, simply go from A to B to C to D to ... E! There are no surprises or playful storytelling. This could also be partly a result of digital filmmaking: because everything needs to be so meticulously planned, there are no opportunities for improvisation or happy accidents.

Another thing you notice in the prequels that you don't see at all in New Hope and Empire is the need to EXPLAIN EVERYTHING. Part of the fun of the orginal Star Wars is that you don't quite know what the hell they're talking about part of the time. For some reason, Lucas has decided that everything needs to be clealy explained, such as at the end when Yoda tells Obi Wan that he needs to go off and learn how to become a ghost. Did we really need to hear that? Of course not, that was a stupid thing to include.

Sith wastes too much time on nonsense in the first half and rushes the second half. Jedi is packed with lots of junk, but it doesn't feel as choppy as Sith, which sometimes feels like the Coles' Notes version of a Star Wars movie. There are a few places where Lucas could have lingered longer, instead shots seem to get cut before they feel finished.

There's a lot of digital clutter in both Clones and Sith and very few -- if any- good shots. If you watch Empire now, it's shocking how much better than film looks than sloppy Sith. And you can fully blame it on Kid in the Digital Candy Store syndrome: visually, Lucas lacks discipline. Neither the third Lord of the Rings or Matrix films are as sloppy as Sith, despite being loaded with eye candy.

The Good Stuff
Here's some of the stuff I like about the movie. The romance scenes are good despite the dialogue. All the reviews mention the horrible dialogue but fail to mention that, aside from the dialogue, the scenes themselves are quite good: Anakin and Amidala stand facing one another with this huge cityscape in the background and all the ambient noise is pulled so it's completely silent except for their annoying, yappy voices. Lucas should have just ditched the dialogue and had them stare at one another in pain. That would have worked, sort of like when Luke stares at the sunsets in A New Hope.

Even though Anakin's path to the Dark Side is a bit dodgy and dubious, the light sabre duel between he and Obi Wan is really nice and the film's highlight. Still, watching Luke and Vader fight in Empire and Jedi is much more fun.

The music. Not memorable like in the orginals, but very solid and holds its own through the whole flick. If the rest of the movie had been on the same level as the music, it would have been one helluva movie.

9:21 AM , # ,


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Chasing the Quon'dar

Downtown Chinatown

It was Thursday, so I was running with Mariela.

MARIELA: Did you get a load of those pictures of Peter MacKay? Back home on the farm?

BLAMB: Playing the sap is gonna come back and bite him in the ass someday.

We ran past a Globe newspaper box. MacKay was on the cover looking solemn with his dog.

MARIELA: Back to his roots! In his boots!

BLAMB: He's not so innocent. When he ran for the Tory leadership, he said he wouldn't merge the party with the Alliance [via Spicer] and then he did.

MARIELA: It was practically the first thing he did.

BLAMB: So in a way, it's payback. He's deluded himself into thinking that Harper would accomodate moderates, but Stronach's situation was proof that was not the case. Really, it was MacKay who let Stronach down. So seeing him play the wounded boy is pretty rich.

MARIELA: And Harper is no moderate ... hey, isn't that your buddy, Quon'dar?

BLAMB: My buddy? I can stand that moron!

MARIELA: Did he and Alice get back together?

BLAMB: No. She said he left the city ... and the planet.

MARIELA: Well, that's him. Maybe you should ask him what's up.

We jogged after Quon'dar for a minute but he turned a corner. When we reach the next street, he was gone ... until Mariela spotted him again.

MARIELA: He just went into that store!

We walked over to the store and went in. Quon'dar wasn't there.

BLAMB: There's a side entrance. He must have left through it.

We exited the store and spotted him again. I shouted his name, trying to get his attention and he ducked off the street.

MARIELA: He went down that alley.

BLAMB: Do you think he heard me?

We started walking towards the alley.

MARIELA: He must have, he was right there. Maybe he doesn't want to talk to you.

We walked to the end of the alley. Quon'dar was gone.

11:43 PM , # ,


Revenge of the Sandwich

I've altered the sandwich, pray I don't alter it anymore.

10:26 AM , # ,


It's the Music Meme!

I like this one, Jenv passed it on to me:

Total volume of music files on my computer:

Oh geez, I'm not even sure. 18 Gb on this computer, but a lot of that is tv. There's 5 Gb of music on the other machine. And a gig or two on the old machine.

The last CD I bought was:

What's a cd? I bought Yoon's cd a couple of years ago. Oh, I bought some cds for people as Xmas gifts. I can't remember what they were.

Song playing right now:

This Tetris cover (2.2Mb, mp3) I found on one of the sites on that audioblogger list. I've also been enjoying this Kirby remix thing (3.6Mb, mp3), it's very relaxing. Oh, you should also check out the midi file from Marble Madness.

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:

At the moment I'm putting together music for spinning classes, so that's influencing my listening:

1. Ask the Lonely - Journey
This one is going to make my wacky 80s cycling mix ROCK!

2. Valley Girl - Frank Zappa
Another good one that's going to keep the pace up in class.

3. Higher Ground - Red Hot Chili Peppers
I haven't decided if this is an uphill or downhill song.

4. Doctorin the Tardis - Timelords
Cause it's on tv these days and all that.

5. Inside and Out - Feist
Bren recommended this I'm I'm still enjoying it.

People I’m passing this on to:

Er, I dunno ... Nadia, Paul, Kat

There, I'm free!

1:03 AM , # ,


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Well, now we know.

If this is the end of Stephen Harper, good riddance. When voters elected a minority government last year, we weren't just putting the Liberals on notice, we were signaling displeasure with the opposition as well. And what have the opposition done with the time-out? Harper and the Conservatives continued to embrace social conservatism and Layton and the NDP made a deal with Martin that cemented their reputation as spendthrifts and flakes. Both parties have positioned themselves exactly where Paul Martin wanted them.

Consider it in terms of an old, cheesy Hollywood movie. You have two adversaries and one needs to make a decision and that person always stops and says, "No ... that's just what they'd EXPECT us to do." Harper could have done that with the gay marriage situation, when the issue came up and it was time to oppose gay marriage, Harper could have said, "No ... that's just what Paul Martin EXPECTS us to do." Then he could have supported it, moved on and moved the Conservatives closer to the centre.

Stronach is getting criticized right now for being "ambitious" ... but face it, Harper is happy being a loser. Would you want to hang out with the guy?

8:04 PM , # ,



10:08 AM , # ,


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Difficult Second Blog

As I mentioned before, I want a second blog. I really enjoyed having two blogs when I was mucking around with my hot docs blog a few weeks ago. And now I've figured it out ... the second blog will be a PHOTOBLOG!

Just kidding.

Sort of. I'm going to create an image blog in the photoblog style but I'm not going to limit myself to photos. The blog will feature daily images: some photos, photoshopping, illustrations and other graphics (some 3D stuff and other fun). I post lots of pics on my site, but this will allow me to post larger format images.

The second blog will start in late June when I return from blog break. And I'm already craving a third blog. It's like crack.

1:36 PM , # ,


Write It Up

I've been meaning to post a new dating profile on Lavalife, but writing a profile message is a pain, so I've been slacking. Will you write it for me? Leave suggestions in the comments and I'll put together a draft using those and will post the message for you to critique before I put it on the site. Your assistance in this matter is much appreciated.

11:34 AM , # ,


TV Time

Eva compares CSI to real-life. I know why they solve every case: they only make episodes out of solved cases, not unsolved ones. Take that, RCMPer dude!

1:32 AM , # ,


So Bad ... It's Bad!

I'm addicted to the music of a "rock band" called Adema? It's fascinating. This review sums it up:

If you are a fan of Linkin Park , Papa Roach, and other mainstream rap-rock, you will love Adema. However, Unstable is extremely weak, and somewhat painful to listen to. The music is unoriginal and recycled. The vocals are whiney, nasal, and annoying. The lyrics are slang-filled, meaningless abominations. Fans of most music should avoid Unstable like the plague.

Except I disagree that you should avoid their stuff, it's bad enough that I can't stop listening to it (unlike Linkin Park, which is just shopping mall parking lot bad). My favourite is a song called Stand Up; it's lyrics were cribbed from a brochure about domestic abuse:

I tried to stop the cycle for you this relationship is wack
You bastard don't touch her anymore

I have a good chuckle every time he sings "this relationship is wack". It sure is! Wack!

I also really like the Dr. Seuss-inspired lyrics of Skin:

I'd shed my skin for you (I'd shed my skin for you)
What would you want me to do (What would you want me to do)

And Freaking Out is fun because listening to it will make you feel dizzy:

Why am I even trying?
I'm crying out, I'm crying out
I cannot seem to keep from freaking out
Spinning round, spinning round, I've fallen down
I cannot seem to keep from freaking out
I'm trippin' out, I'm trippin' out

Whoa! Keep on "rocking", Adema! Don't let The Man keep you down!

12:42 AM , # ,


Monday, May 16, 2005

Happy to be Back


1:54 PM , # ,


Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Long Walk

Every year we walk a little farther. Yesterday was the longest yet, 27.5 km. It was a tough year and I was irritable and suffering from burn-out last week. A solitary trek to decompress helped.

Zack & I took the subway up to the top of the city to start:

Start: York University
[low res satellite map]

I haven't been to York in a few years and the alumni mail keeps announcing new buildings, so I reckoned the university would make a good location for the start of this year's trip. In the past, I've always started the walk from home and wandered (last year we walk from home to Fairview Mall) and took transit home from the destination, but this year it seemed like it might be better to flip the trip to arrive home at the end, when we're beat.

Here's what York looked like when I was a student there. Stark and isolated, populated by 60s sci-fi-style grey, concrete buildings. [above, left] The main campus library, a popular location for shooting car commericals. [above, centre] Vanier Residence, home for four years [above, right] Lots of concrete under the Ross Building.

It's still isolated, but the campus is slowly being knit into the city [above, left] a new neighbourhood is under construction on the southern edge of the campus [above, left] Lots of new buildings make the place seem a little less empty, but many of them seem a bit too typically institutional.

[right] Another weekend, another groundhog.

We walked south on Keele to Finch and started walking east.

3km. Finch in this area is the worst kind of suburban hell [above, left] but there are still some hidden gems, like this coffee shop [above, right]. If there's one thing I like, it's sweet Blenz from the country! Mmmmmmm, Blllennnzzzzz ...

9km. The walk across Finch was dull and it started to drizzle. But, bit by bit, signs of life began to appear and at Finch & Yonge [pics look south from Finch, satellite] we reached the northern tip of the Yonge subway line and the city's "second downtown" (this was the first second downtown, but there are more 'hubs' forming at Scarborough Town Centre and somewhere in Etobicoke).

We walk south on Yonge and it's a much better walk than it was a decade ago when this was just another sparse suburban strip. Now it's a bustling street with lots of buildings and pedestrians .

11km. [right, looking north from Sheppard] We stopped at Mel Lastman Square and grabbed some lunch from a hot dog vendor and sat for a minute. Yes, I gave Zack a hot dog, no it was not cannibalism because hot dogs are not made from actual dogs. We continued south where we had to cross beneath the 401 highway, the worst part of the trip because the sidewalk under the bridge is a metre-wide stump with heavy traffic rushing past. The pedestrian crossings are difficult to navigate because no one ever thought people would want to walk all the way down Yonge.

14 km. Hogg's Hollow [satellite] is like a little country village and the residents fight to keep it that way - a few years ago, they fought the city when it tried to put curbs on the road. I'm from an actual country village where they not only put curbs on the residential streets, they paved some of them with three lanes of solid concrete.

17.5 km. South to Eglinton [satellite]. The streetscape in the middle of the photo is only a few years old. The office complex on this corner is one of those 70's style concrete bunkers and the previous streetscape was a wall of solid concrete. Like at York, the renovations have made the street a friendlier place. At this point, it was finally raining for real.

This used to be my intersection in the early 90s. We could have kept walking south, but Straight Down Yonge was the 2003 Long Walk.

We turned and walked West on Eglinton. [above, left] Zack considered pawning his collar at Russell Oliver's. [above, centre] The Eglinton used to be the best place in the city to catch a flick, now it's been renovated into an "event theatre". [above, right] The Beltline Trail is an old railway turned into a wooded trail.

20 km. We walked south, through Forest Hill. A walk through Forest Hill shows you that while money can buy a lot of things, good taste isn't one of them. Toronto has two neighbourhoods where the wealthy congregate: Rosedale and Forest Hill. Renovations and new construction are slowly making Forest Hill tackier and tackier ...

Forest Hill also has a little downtown on Spadina Road, but for all the wealth centred there, the strip is completely unremarkable and not worth a pic.

22 km. At St. Clair & Vaughn [satellite] we stopped for ice cream at Dutch Dreams. Zack was jealous. And for good reason, the cone was good.

We walked south, through Wychwood Park [right], which was a former artist's colony but now is a wooded neighbourhood just off Davenport Road. From here we walked for a bit on Davenport and then down to Dupont to Shaw Street.

On Shaw there's this gloriously overdone house [above, left & centre] A few streets later, we spotted a good use for an old bathtub: stick a virgin in it! [above, right].

The tilting houses of Shaw weren't built on solid ground [right], so now they tilt. A few houses down, some upstart has constructed a brand-new, non-tilting house.

It was getting dark when we finally reached Dovercourt. We stopped in at the grocer, bought Saturday papers, rented a video and went home to rest our weary feet.

End: Home Time: 6 hrs

11:59 PM , # ,


Meet Molly

Merv [currently on blog break] got her pup today. Molly is a Wheaton Terrier.

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Enjoy the 8bit

Depeche Mode performed on GameBoy at 8bitpeoples. [via Tofu Hut's mp3 site list [via Circadian Shift]].

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Worst Episode Ever

"...the final episode is...appalling."

And Jolene Blalock (who played the Vulcan, T'Pol) wasn't kidding, These Are the Voyages, the final episode of 18 years of Trek was a complete piece of crap and only further confirmed that Braga and Berman were the worst things to happen to Trek and the only way to save Star Trek from those idiots is to kill it. This episode is so bad, it seems like it was written that way on purpose as a final "fuck you" from B&B. Here's how bad it was:

Barclay Gets Mentioned
But the engineers get the shaft: no mention for Geordi and Trip dies. And it was the most empty character death, a death without purpose, since Braga killed Kirk on a piece of scaffolding. Tucker's death scene is so awkward and baffling, I'm still having trouble processing the whole thing. No funeral nor is his death really noted by the crew at the end of the episode (and T'Pol doesn't keep a little holographic jewel box projection of him in her spandex drawer).

Rike & Troi Are Older
What the hell? It's a holodeck flashback episode, that was expected, but the action takes place during a TNG episode and we're expected to suspend our disbelief and ignore the fact that the actors are more than a decade older than they were in the episode?

Nothing of Any Consequence Happens
Riker hams (meanwhile, he's in a heap of trouble topside). Archer frets about his speech. T'Pol misses Tucker and he's all, "Whuu-huuuuuhhh?" Tucker dies and nobody seems to notice. Apparently there were other people on the crew ... Takai and Nichols were treated better by Shatner in Star Trek V. At least Farpoint had a point.

So that's it. For me, Trek really ended when TNG ended (and even it had fallen into a rut by sixth season). I thought DS9 was dull and the characters were downers. Voyager was as crappy as The Phantom Menace, only seven seasons long. Enterprise had potential, but only started exploring it during the final season as a last ditch attempt to revive the ratings.

So I won't be missing it .... besides, new BSG in July!

Jeff (who just landed a gig with EA) has Trek character drawings here and here ...

12:11 AM , # ,


Friday, May 13, 2005

Bad Advice

If you think you're the next Dan Savage or Carrie Bradshaw, make sure you don't sound like Mel Tillis. Here are this week's offenders, an idiot and an asshole.

First, the idiot. Is This a Date? [via lindsayism & others ...] by Rachel Kramer Bussel was printed in the Village Voice and asks the question, "Is this a date?":

I'm fine with just being friends; it's the ambiguity that drives me mad. The most frustrating part is how quickly I become enamored. I'll admit to dirty daydreams about throwing down with each of them. I want to know what makes these smart, cute guys tick; going only halfway is such a tease. I try to contain myself, but it becomes a balancing act between admitting my infatuation and possibly earning a second, real date and protecting myself emotionally.

A common pitfall for wannabe sex columnists seems to be a complete lack of empathy for both their readers and people seeking advice. Rachel Kramer Bussel's take on every situation is "how doesn't his affect ME?" and her take on men lacks depth. No wonder she can't get past the first date. And it's hard to believe anyone could seriously ask that question after all the "He's Just Not That Into You" marketing hype we've endured over the past six months. Clearly, from the article, the guys in the "maybe dates" described just "aren't that into her" but she's too thick to notice:

We sat very close and the mood was intimate, but that was it; he walked me home and I haven't heard from him since.

Wow, that "never heard from him again" is such an ambiguous signal; what's with men, anyways?

Meanwhile, broken hearts are for assholes as some anonymous man demonstrates in Male Seeking Dating Tips, appearing in this week's NOW:

So what is my market value now? Have I depreciated? Should I invest in high or low risk, "high" being a hot, horny, psycho girl and "low" being a stable, sweet, long-term businesswoman?

When it comes to being shallow, Bussel is a lightweight next to this guy. Read the column, there's more of that drivel and worse:

On the ride home, I hear my father's words: "Hang with a cripple, learn how to limp." Am I ready to learn to limp?

What makes the writer especially annoying is how he throws his ego into as many paragraphs as possible, not-so-subtly making it clear that he is a Somebody:

... he tells me to try Internet dating. I'm skeptical, to say the least, and more than a little scared. I have a very high-profile career, and I don't know if I want secretaries across the city gawking at my headshots.

See? 'Cause secretaries are losers who are beneath him!

That last sentence nails him as a true asshole: he feels the need to tease us with the knowledge that he's "very high-profile" but he's too chickenshit to a) sign up for internet dating, and b) sign his name to a tame column that isn't a big deal and doesn't spill anything personal. But he provides some concrete evidence as well:

A few ladies later, they look at me like an enemy of all female kind, reminding them of guys in their past who didn't hang around. So now I'm not only single and have no female "wing persons," but I'm sleazy, too!

If your women friends are no longer willing to help you hook up, that's a damn clear signal. The column ends on a dismal note:

Then, in the high of all this online foreplay, it happens. I have a date!

Isn't that awful? Some poor woman (but not a lowly secretary!) is actually going on a date with the jerk. Or maybe it won't be a date. Who can tell?

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

It's Back

This sandwich uses its powers for good, never for evil.

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Monday, May 09, 2005

At the Movies

Merv tells the story of her hike with the dogs. Rabbits, a turtle and guest appearance by me. And it's a sunny, sunny day.

Tonight I caught The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at the Varsity. It's the first non-documentary I've seen in the theatre this year. And it's complete rubbish. It's an awful, awful movie. It's not funny or fun, it's poorly written and the ending is preposterous and offends the spirit of past versions. Avoid at all costs.

I figured it was going to be crap right from the start when they had a "musical number" with the dolphins. Even though the narrator clearly states that the dolphins' goodbye is misinterpreted as a trick that involves whistling The Star Spangled Banner, that song isn't referenced at all in the dolphin song they came up with. And that's the start of a long trend of missing every comic opportunity through the whole flick.

Speaking of movies that miss their opportunities, I rented Garden State on the weekend. Actually, I downloaded it during the week but once I was at my parents', it made sense to just rent it and get it over with. That meant I got to watch the DOWNLOADING IS EVIL ad they stick at the start of rental DVDs. It's an odd message considering how much bad behaviour Hollywood movies tacitly endorse.

Garden State is interesting because it's starts out as a "first film with potential" and slowly but steadily fades to a "complete piece of crap" by its final half hour. Several comic and dramatic possibilities are introduced in the first part of the flick but none of them are milked. And the "finally off the drugs" premise is ludicrous. For the last part of the film we're treated to some hackneyed plot resolution and romantic dialogue so bad, it must have been ghost written by George Lucas.

Some of the scenes also didn't make much sense and were difficult to follow, such as when the knight arrived for breakfast. Why this one was the darling of Sundance is beyond me, must have been a slow year with a lot of Natalie Portman fans in attendance. Given five or ten years, Portman could eclipse Gwenyth Paltrow as the US film industry's most annoying actor if she tries really hard and keeps eating her Wheaties.

Mitigating factor: at least the maturity level and laziness of the script imply that Zach Braff really did write it, unlike Good Will Hunting which was ghost-written by William Goldman (he denies it for obvious reasons but if frik & frak are such Talented Mr. Screenwriters, why didn't they ever write a second flick?).

During the festival, I was hanging out one night with some people including a few filmmakers and one of the young filmmakers (an obvious film geek) said something about how impressive it was that Damon and Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting and I mentioned the William Goldman thing and they were shocked -- shocked -- that I would suggest such a thing. I dunno why they were so defensive, it's Goldman's worst movie.

Here's the final score: avoid both Hitchhiker's Guide and Good Will Hunting, both movies are unredeemable. Garden State survives on Zach Braff's charm, so if you like Scrubs, you might enjoy it.

2:14 PM , # ,


Sunday, May 08, 2005

Carefree Highway

Highway 401 between London and Toronto

CARO: You cut some large chunks out of Zack's fur.

BLAMB: He went on a hike with Merv, they walked through some burrs and his coat was tangled. The only way to get them out was to chop 'em out.

CARO: He looks sad.

BLAMB: He doesn't care about the fur, he just wants to spend more time on the farm. He doesn't realize that summer is beginning and he'll be spending lots of time outdoors.

Lex and Zack relax under the willow.

CARO: Are you done your fitness instructor course?

BLAMB: I passed the last exam and now I have to apprentice for a month and then I'll be done. It's been a long trek, considering we started in January.

CARO: Then what happens?

BLAMB: Looks like I'll probably take over a spinning class. I've already started working on music for it.

CARO: And how's the blog?

BLAMB: It had a good run this season even though it was a little low-key, but I had a sense of that at the start when we talked about it on the train. The winter seasons are always slow ... heck, last year I took a four month blog break and didn't even run a winter blog season.

CARO: So what's happening now?

BLAMB: This season is winding down and then I'll go on blog break for a couple of weeks in June. Just enough time to recharge and come back with a smashing summer/fall season!

CARO: I can't wait!

BLAMB: You don't even read it!

CARO: Um ... I'm just happy for you!

11:59 PM , # ,


State of Crap

Glencoe, Ontario

Merv took me to see a large snapping turtle she found earlier in the day.

MERV: What kind of car is that?

BLAMB: It's a Toyota. The rental company keeps trying to pawn off GM models on me, but I specifically ask for non-GM models.

MERV: Why?

BLAMB: GM cars are freakish. They're not logically designed; I can't stand them. There are articles in the US papers this weekend reporting that GM is in financial difficulty and they're blaming the situation on everything except the fact that their cars are complete crud.

MERV: There's the spot where the turtle was. It's gone now.

BLAMB: Yeah, it probably didn't hang around after you and the dogs disturbed it. Ugh, that water stinks.

MERV: I read on your blog that you're not excited about the new Star Wars movie.

BLAMB: They're trying to generate buzz by getting people like Kevin Smith to rave about it and claiming Speilberg cried during the movie. I trust Speilberg's opinion of a Star Wars movie about as much as I'd trust the Olsen Twins with my laundry.

MERV: So what's going on back in Toronto?

BLAMB: They're still boycotting Blue Man Group.

MERV: Yeah?

BLAMB: I didn't even know that Blue Man Group performed at theatres. I thought they were some sort of Wal*Mart touring gimmick and only performed in their stores. I didn't think it was supposed to be something serious.

MERV: You're thinking of STOMP.

BLAMB: They're not at Wal*Mart.

MERV: Sure they are.

BLAMB: No, they're in those trailers for THX or Dolby. If there was any justice in this universe, some alien superbeing would force STOMP and Blue Man Group to fight to the death. Actually, they could throw in Lord of the Dance for good measure.

MERV: It's a sunny day!

BLAMB: It sure is!

11:57 PM , # ,


Country Weekend

Finally, a trip out of town. More to come ...

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Friday, May 06, 2005

Super Sci-fi Geek Out

This sci-fi round-up is long overdue ...

I was worried about waiting a whole year for a new season of Battlestar Galactica, but the new season starts in July! Frakkin' eh! It's not like that time when we had to wait a year and a half for new episodes of Six Feet Under (which starts its fifth and final season in June).

All over the internets, people seem giddy and hopeful that the new Star Wars movie (Episode 3: A George Lucas Digital Autobiography) isn't going to suck. Even Kevin Smith weighed in after seeing a preview:

"Revenge of the Sith" is, quite simply, fucking awesome.

Listen, when you're leaving the theatre in a few weeks the only thing you'll be thinking is, "it's quite simply fucking awesome that a movie is capable of being such a complete and total piece of shit." What's worse is that Lucas is compounding the abuse by launching not one, but TWO Star Wars-based tv series. I think one series is called Young Ewok Adventures Chronicles and the other is called THX Cantina Sing-a-long Variety Hour with Frank Oz.

Despite having a strong final season, the 2-part Mirror universe episode of Enterprise was kind of crappy. Maybe George Lucas wrote and directed it. The mirror universe politics were pointless and boring and only highlighted how little the ensemble's characters have been developed. It was high on the lame, low on the wanking. If you're gonna have a wanker episode, WANK GODAMMIT! Mitigating factor: in the scene when Captain Forrest burns up, we see that he really is made of cardboard.

Sam Raimi has Evil Dead plans. Will Ferrell is starring in a Land of the Lost movie. If you were looking for one, there's your reason to live. Have you been watching Doctor Who? Very good revival.

So, I got caught up on the Smallville episodes I missed. Just make the freakin' Fortress of Solitude already before the series becomes a Fortress of Suck-itude. Funny joke, eh? The show is starting to drag ... really drag. The first few seasons had a good pace, but now it seems stuck. And they really screwed up the Lana character with all of that witch crap. If I want witch crap I'll watch Touched by an Angel reruns. The Lana/Clark relationship was much more interesting when she was just a dumbass going nowhere. As soon as they made her "special", it killed the tension. I think I wrote about that already. Well, it's worse now.

I seriously tried to watch Firefly but I dunno, it seemed sort of lame. And by "sort of lame" I mean "my eyes glazed over, I started to drool and woke up three hours later in some field". So don't ask me why they made a movie out it. You don't see Strancynski making a movie out of Crusade.

Ok, I gotta take Zack out for a pee. If I get popped, I blame society. You can find sci-fi news and reviews at Bureau42.

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Guns, Guns, Guns

College & Lansdowne last July, even though the Tigers were playing that night and you should never miss a game.

I slept through last night's gunfight. The police woke me up this morning and asked if I'd "heard anything" and I asked, "Like what?" and the cop said, "You'd know if you'd heard it." Later, I heard that the shooting started on our corner and continued all the way up the street to the House of Lancaster (you'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy) where one person was killed.

I can't stand the guns and I don't think that all levels of government have done enough to dissuade criminals from choosing firearms, especially in urban settings. The big problem with guns is the innocent bystander factor ... innocent bystanders are less likely to be harmed when criminals use knives or machetes or brooms. Perhaps the justice system needs to offer a reward system, granting points to people who choose murder methods that spare bystanders. That would recognize both the consideration they've shown and the greater level of skill required to commit the crime. Burglars are often considerate, such as the person who broke into the Volvo and chose the smallest window to smash to minimize the damage, surely muderers are capable of the same level of consideration.

One thing that might help is declaring the whole city a gun-free zone, like some towns in the Old West. There is absolutely no practical reason to have a gun in this city.

When I took Zack out for his walk this morning, we bumped into a neighbour who is relatively new to the neighbourhood and he remarked, "The neighbourhood is going downhill." I pointed out that, in fact, the neighbourhood has improved considerably since I moved here six years ago. The junk dealers are gone, the rundown houses are being renovated and the intersection at Lansdowne is a bit less seedy than in the past and the crack dealers from Bloor don't trickle down here as much as they used to. Other than the prositutes and johns leaving the mess in our alley, we're doin' swell!

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Your Guide to Internet Dating

College & Dovercourt

Anita has been having success with the online dating and since it's been several months since I was last online, I asked for a refresher course at our monthly fitness class beer night.

BLAMB: Internet dating! What's good? What's bad?

ANITA: There's a wide range of guys; that's good. It's nice having lots of different options.

BLAMB: When a guy responds to your ad, what turns you off?

ANITA: No picture. If a guy doesn't have a picture, I won't reply.

BLAMB: I also can't stand it when people use blurred pictures that make it impossible to see what they look like.

ANITA: Some guys are full of shit and you can see it in their profiles. And some have run out of chicks in Intimate Encounters are are trying to lure those of us in Dating.

BLAMB: I have a friend who met a string of guys who misrepresented themselves on their profiles. They mostly lied about age and height. She couldn't figure out why they thought they'd be able to get away with being four inches shorter than they said they were.

ANITA: And when you're responding to an ad, don't write too much. We don't need a friggin novel, just the main points!

BLAMB: I never know how much to write ... and there's only so much time in the day! What else have you noticed?

ANITA: Some of the guys have been heartbroken and are a bitter, bitter party of one.

BLAMB: Er, that would have been me a few years ago. So what's good?

ANITA: Smiles! Send a smile, receive a smile. But I don't undertsand why guys in Vancouver are smiling at me.

BLAMB: Maybe they failed geography.

ANITA: Then how come they can operate a computer?

BLAMB: Myabe they're free spirits who open themselves up to every possibility.

ANITA: I just want to go on dates.

BLAMB: So that's it? Any other advice for those joining in on The Spring Dating Experience?

ANITA: It's important to be open and remember, you can't tell 'till you meet them in person, so I'm all about a FEW emails and then let's meet!

11:00 PM , # ,



Over on my Hot Docs Festival Blog, things are winding down and packing up.

I really enjoyed having two blogs over the past two weeks, so I'm trying to figure out a reason for a permanent second blog. Send along any suggestions.

4:40 PM , # ,


The Real Blog Dating

Sugarmama is back! She's dating again. And that reminds me that it's time again for my own Spring Dating Experience. I'm taking this week to catch my balance and next week I'm getting back on Lavalife (SM calls online dating "embarrassing" ... I call it good business) and getting into whatever trouble I can find. Last year's Fall Dating Experience far exceeded expectations, so it's time to shake things up some more.

This year I'm adding something new to the mix: blog dating. Many good things have come from the blog, so it's crazy not to use it as a dating resource. I've tried finding dates for other people, now I'm going to try and blog up some dates for myself.

Here are the blog dating instructions:

1. Think of all of your friends, relatives and co-workers ... combined, all of you must know hundreds of available women. Maybe millions.

2. If you know someone who might be suitable, show them this blog. 99.999% of women will look at it and say, "FREAK." Part of this experiment is gauging the blog's effectiveness as a date filtering mechanism.

3. Email me at

So get out there and do my work for me! And one last condition: I will only go on dates with celebrities if I'm allowed to mention it on my blog. Going on dates with celebrities is pointless if you can't blog about it and I will no longer agree to those terms.

btw, if you or someone you know would like help finding dates through this blog you are welcome to join in the Spring Dating Experience! We should all do the Spring Dating Experience together ... why don't we pool $5 each and the person who goes on the most dates gets the pot.

12:25 AM , # ,


Tuesday, May 03, 2005


I was reading the weekend Globe and there was an article about novels set in Toronto and this excerpt from Seduction by Catherine Gildiner appeared:

"303 Crawford. That be in the action. You goin' to see the city, you go there."

A cab driver says that to the novel's main character. And it explains a few things. My last address before living here was ... 303 Crawford. And we had a break-in while living there and no wonder, if the city's cabbies are telling everyone that's where the action is!

11:15 AM , # ,


Monday, May 02, 2005

Hot Docs - Closing Night

The Royal Ontario Museum

Hot Docs 2005 ended last night with a big party at the ROM (information about museum renovations are here). This year's festival was a great success with increased attendance across the board. And now, after working and over-working for three months, summer is here and I can turn back into a pumpkin and veg.

I continued my personal Closing Night Party tradition this year: introducing myself to at least one minor Canadian celebrity. Last year it was Lorraine Segato, this year it was Valerie Buhagiar from Roadkill & Highway 61. People I would like to meet in the future: Carling Bassett, Cory Haim, Louis del Grande, Cara Pifko ...

After the party, a bunch of filmmakers and staff went to one of those karaoke bars where you sit in a room and sing. As you know, it's not my karaoke ideal. I think public humiliation is a key element of the karaoke experience, but, when you're at a place like the Gladstone, there aren't as many opportunities to sing ... so the little rooms have that advantage.

What the hell did I sing? I don't even remember ... wait ... Burning Down the House and I provided some backup vocals on the Barbie Girl song. All that without the added bonus of public ridicule.

After the after party, an even smaller group went and had an after after party. That's when we got to see the weirdest video of the whole ten days when Tanya the art director from FLARE made us watch a CBC music video from the 80s in which she appeared decked out in Molly Ringwald duds and "sings backup" for some really creepy-looking singer. My god, I've been out-hammed!

The sun was starting to rise when I arrived home, warm and safe, and thought of all the fun friends I met at the Canadian International Documentary Festival. The End.

10:57 PM , # ,


Peaches Passes

Peaches the Cat (1986-2005, pictured with Merv back in February) passed away today.

She would have been nineteen this summer; I've known her for half my life! She was a very friendly (well, unless you're a mouse, bird or bunny), talkative kitty who had bunches of extra toes on each foot and a bizarre appreciation of underarm odour.

She lived a long, lazy life on the farm and also spent a few years living with me in the city. She'll be missed.

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