340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Monday, May 28, 2007

That funky little monkey with the tiniest ears.

I'm writing this while slowly rocking back and forth, rhythmically shifting my weight from one foot to another to soothe my ten-month-old daughter sleeping strapped to my chest. The laptop is braced against a small pile of diapers, I'm exchanging rapid-fire text messages with C via my cell and the iPod is in my left hand, soothing me with the third season of Scrubs. It's oddly comforting to know that I can still get my multitask on.

* * *

Speaking of the little prodigy, did I mention she's walking? No? Maybe I got distracted by her awesomeness: the aura of power she exudes oscillates somewhere between γ (Gamma rays) and HX (Hard X-rays) on the electromagnetic spectrum. It's too early to nail down the specifics, but this new "AB" (Awesome Berlynne) frequency is said to be blinding to the naked eye and indeed may permanently damage the cornea.

First steps at 34 weeks, power-walking from one end of the apartment to another at 40 weeks, whooping your ass at the free-throw line on her first birthday.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Thanks, Pac.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

You have the right to whatever they give you.

Interesting legal tidbit: did you know that, according to both the constitution and the Supreme Court, one is not necessarily entitled to be represented by a lawyer in court? From an article over at Macleans.ca:

Canadians have no constitutionally guaranteed right to a lawyer in all legal proceedings they undertake, says the country's top court.


The high court said that, although it may be easy to sympathize with that assertion, there is no constitutional foundation for the claim.

The entire (brief) CP article is available here (will launch a new window).

The issue was raised by Dugald Christie, a BC lawyer who spent much of his professional career crusading for increased access to legal services; he argued that the huge expense associated with legal action removes the possibility of justice for the poor. In its 9-0 decision, the Supremes disagreed with him, stating that if they supported his arguments, they'd be opening the door to further arguments that the federal government had a mandate to establish a nationwide legal aid system, which just be too damned expensive.

Better by far for justice to remain a commodity made valuable by scarcity.

Friday, May 25, 2007

And yet so little.

One of the benefits of being forced into silent, solitary inaction by circumstance (read: a child with very particular sleeping habits) is the development of a daily time block reserved exclusively for the consumption of media. I can even afford to watch movies which, far from being on my 'must-see' list, only vaguely interest me. Case(s) in point:

* * *

If Nick Love were a little smarter, The Business could have been a brilliantly self-aware, hyper-generic doubleback on gangster iconography, the shallowness of every cinematic representation of 1980s-era shallowness and North America's perpetual motion cultural-regurgitation machine.

Instead, it's just one more boring, vacuous ode to greed, consumption, a loosely-defined criminal ethos and the (ubiquitous in this genre) perils of cocaine. Like Jarhead, this movie cannibalizes its betters and, after 97 minutes of digestion, leaves you with a steaming pile of stolen imagery and Disneyfied cultural touchstones.

Foreshadowing future tragedies (or refuting my entire point, depending on your point of view), star Danny Dyer provided the voice of GTA: Vice City's slimey limey, Kent Paul.

* * *

And then there's Art School Confidential, a shamelessly self-conscious romp through the tiny, navel-gazing world of... well, art school. Neither particularly offensive nor particularly interesting, this movie didn't leave much of an impression on me. The script is fine, the performances decent enough and the satirical barbs are spot-on (even if it is shooting fish in a barrel).

Without any punch or point, Art School Confidential left me dry and shrugging; YMMV.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

29 degrees in the shade.

The idea of four distinct, mutually-exclusive seasons has always been a myth in Montréal: we have summer, winter and two brief, blurry transitional periods (April is muddy, November is sleety). Case in point: three weeks ago I was wearing a heavy, lined leather coat in the middle of the afternoon; now I'm sitting in my skivvies at 10:30 at night, sticky and slightly dehydrated.

I never get tired of summer: during the worst heat waves &mdash with the lethargy-inducing, strength-sapping, headache-fueling mugginess endemic to summers in this city &mdash I still can't bring myself to complain.

After all, the alternative is January.

Naturally, B's loving the weather: trees have buds on them, flowers are blooming all around her like fireworks frozen mid-burst and she can leave the house without being bundled in a quad-layer endothermic exoskeleton. Our new ritual of an evening walk after supper is one of the high points of her day: finally, an opportunity to mingle with the commoners! Watching her smile and wave at everyone she passes is pretty awesome, especially when random strangers &mdash other children, usually &mdash wave back. It's hard to remain completely absorbed in your own private misanthropic neuroses when a giggly ten-month-old is signalling, "hey! Let's be friends, even if only for a second!"

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bring on the CGI and the rubber suits!

Aside from the fact that they're both British shows, Primeval and Extras couldn't be more different: the former lacks everything that makes the latter such a critics' darling: the humour is broad, the dialogue is unabashed expositional gobbledygook, each episode's plot telegraphs itself during the opening credits, the characters are laughably generic stereotypes and instead of awkward, nuanced social dilemmas, the protagonists are plagued by gargantuan, bloodthirsty, prehistoric beasts.

Natuarlly, we can't wait for the second series of Primeval.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Too much?

In stark contrast to Entourage, Extras follows the lives of a pair of lowly "actors" (I use the term in the broadest possible sense) as they struggle against misfortune, the vagaries of celebrity and their own colossally poor judgment.

Ricky Gervais' post-Office pet project drew wide acclaim during its two-season run and it, like The Office, is de rigueur viewing for the hipster set. Unfortunately, the show relied too heavily on the "star-of-the-week" gimmick for its laughs: with a few notable exceptions &mdash Kate Winslet, Patrick Stewart and Orlando Bloom all shine &mdash the guest stars don't mesh well with the regular cast and the humour feels stilted and forced. C and I watched all twelve episodes and we agree: with the above exceptions, the show is a tepid little wankjob.

However, Kate Winslet is hilarious.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Has her own weather system.

Even with the pediatric nurses regularly filling in little booklet the hospital provided us, it's still hard for me to fathom B's growth: she's a colossus. Her soft skull skirts the stratosphere and every hesitant step sets the very earth a-tremble. Eighteen months ago she was a single-celled organism and now, with one sweep of her massive palm, she can pull down a shelf of first-edition graphic novels. Life: it's a miracle, but it has no respect for genius in the comics medium.

Every stage of her development has been photographed, filmed (most mediated baby ever) and discussed with friends, family and health professionals, and yet it still seems like she went from baby chick to roc overnight.

I'm trying to teach her to say "fee fi fo fum" but it keeps coming out as "ba ba ba".

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hug it out.

B naps best when she's snuggled inside a carrier strapped to my body, so I spend two to four hours a day doing deep-knee bends with a 20-pound weight buckled to my sternum.

Our little cream-coloured iGod rides shotgun during her siestas and it's not only kept me sane, I think I'm actually more in the media loop than I was a year ago.

To wit: I finally had a chance to watch the first two-and-a-half seasons of HBO's critically-acclaimed fluff, Entourage. Loosely based on executive producer Mark Walhberg's experiences in Hollywood, the show chronicles a young star's rise to fame and his misadventures in the company of his three closest friends.

The show is quick, light and frothy and isn't trying to say anything about, well, anything. I probably wouldn't have kept watching if it wasn't for Jeremy Piven, who's a revelation as the hyperaggressive, motormouthed agent to star Vincent Chase. Much like Oliver Platt's relentlessly self-destructive lawyer in the otherwise staid Huff, Piven burns up the screen with his predatory, type-A narcissist. He's the only reason I kept watching the first season and even now, when I'm somewhat invested in the characters and story, he's still hands-down the best part of any given episode.

Far from brilliant, Entourage is nevertheless quick, glossy, snappy, often funny and usually finished before you know it.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Head to head.

In the mood for a little conflict? Neither of these videos feature any literal bloodshed but they're both knock-down, drag-out battle royales:

Friday, May 04, 2007


Pacanukeha forwarded this fascinating article on a Stanford research team's findings when they hooked a tai chi master up to sophisticated motion-capture gear. The money quote:

Jessica Rose, an orthopedic surgery professor at Stanford, could not believe her eyes.

Tai chi master Chen Xiang, sensor balls taped to key body joints, was demonstrating palm, elbow and fist strikes so fast &mpersand and with such force &mpersand that the sensors kept flying off his body.

And then she glanced at her computer screen, where Chen's movements were mirrored by an animated stick figure. Like a light-footed dancing skeleton, the figure's grace was undeniable. And frightening. The explosive power of the strikes was stunning - 400 pounds of force generated by Chen's body accelerating from 0 mph to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds - faster than any Lamborghini out on the street.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Keep the lid on.

If anyone else has seen Jarhead, can you explain it to me? Rather, explain why it was necessary to produce an un-ironic rehash of every two-bit war flick released in the last 25 years?

I don't get it, I really don't: this paper-thin melodrama offers no new insight into war, its purveyors, victims or profiteers; there's no "seat of your pants" battle scenes; no oily fetishization of the toys for the techheads... really, why did anyone bother showing up on set?

I didn't dislike the movie &mdash Gyllenhall and Peter Sarsgaard are both pretty good &mdash I just really didn't get it: we've all seen this movie already.