Friday, January 28, 2005

Law of Diminishing Returns

My last post seems to suffer from the law of diminishing returns. That last post was definitely not 1*10^32 times funnier than a regular post. It wasn't even 320 times funnier than a regular post.

I think that while most of those words are really funny on their own,(bumhug,is pure comedy gold!) putting two or more together just muddies the funniness. Apricot pales next to kumquat.

Sometimes, however, two words must be together to be funny. For example, Michael Jackson.

I Am Learning How to Play the Bassoon

Here is a list of words garunteed to make anything you say 10X funnier.

aardvark
apricot
arglebargle
asymptote
babushka
badger
bafflegab
balderdash
balloon
ballyhoo
bamboozle
banana
bandicoot
bassoon
beverage
booger
boondoggle
brouhaha
bugaboo
bumhug
bushwhack
buttocks
cack
cactus
chink
chutney
cock
cockapoo
collywobbles
cookie
cow
crack
Crackle
didgeridoo
discombobulate
duck
easel
filibuster
flabbergast
flapdoodle
foofaraw
functor
fungible
gherkin
gibbon
glockenspiel
gnu
gruntfuttock
gusset
haggis
hats
heebie-jeebies
hootenanny
hornswoggle
Hottentot
hullabaloo
humdinger
hydraulic
inherently
kerfuffle
kiosk
kumquat
Labradoodle
marzipan
mollycoddle
mongoose
moniker
mulligrubs
nifty
nincompoop
noodle
ostrich
paddywhack
palooka
pants
penguin
pickle-weasel
picklepuss
pie
pipes
pock
pollywog
poop
poppycock
potato
pram
puberty
pudding
pumpernickel
rutabaga
sauerkraut
sausage
scalawag
schnoz
scrod
scuttlebutt
shebang
shenanigans
Shih-tzu
skedaddle
Skeet
shuttlecock
skullduggery
smorgasbord
snigger
snogging
snorkel
sock
sombrero
soup
spangled
spatula
spigot
spleen
spoon
sprattle-beam tapioca
tiddledywinks
titter
tomfoolery
tommyknockers
trump
tubthumper
umbrella
umlaut
vagabond
weasel
wedgy
Weiner schnitzel
whangdoodle
wily
wobble
wysiwyg


-Gary Milner

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Princess Bride

Two nights ago Gary and I rented The Princess Bride. I must have seen that movie more than 100 times in my life, but it's one of the ones that just gets better with time. There are very few movies that you can say that about. I'm sure that most movies I enjoyed 15 years ago would be pretty lame if I sat down to watch them today.

-Tracie, "No more rhyming now, I mean it!" "Anybody want a peanut?"

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Attention Girls with Thongs!!

We can see your underwear evertime you bend over! We don't like it! Please stop!

-Tracie, on behalf of everyone

Being Nice

Pity
- Sympathy and sorrow aroused by the misfortune or suffering of another.

compassion
- a deep awareness of and sympathy for another's suffering.
- the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it.

humane
- Characterized by kindness, mercy, or compassion.
- Marked by an emphasis on humanistic values and concerns.

mercy
-Compassionate treatment, especially of those under one's power.
-A disposition to be kind and forgiving.
-Alleviation of distress; relief.

I hope people don't misunderstand my last post. I'm not saying that any of the three groups not recieving the donations aren't deserving, just that people here in North America seem to care more about places where they vacation than places like Iran or most of Africa.

If there is one group of people that deserves pity and compassion it is children of people with AIDS that are also infected with AIDS. You can't say that they brought it upon themsleves. You might as well blame a kid for being born blind.

-Gary Milner

Monday, January 24, 2005

Tsunami Awareness and Student Newspaper Idealism

I recently read an editorial from my old paper the Gauntlet. It was full of youthful idealism. Not that I don't have any youthful idealism or that youthful idealism is bad, just that student papers generally have so much.

The author writes about three tragic problems for humanity and wonders why they didn't elicit the same level of donations as the Tsunami. He suggests that these problems:

In Darfur, Sudan, where tens of thousands killed in some sort of armed conflict,
In Bam, Iran, an earthquake killed 27,000 people,
The African HIV crisis with 24 million infected.

Are just as worthy a cause but are not receiving donations because of low television ratings. He says, "It is saddening to see how much our sympathies are determined by television ratings."

I don't think our sympathies are determined by television ratings at all. If anything television ratings are determined by our sympathies. I get the feeling that the only people affected by television ratings are television executives and advertisers.

There are also other major factors that affect our sympathies towards these four events. (I'm including the HIV crisis even though it's not really an event as much as a continual epidemic.)

First, is the fact that it affected people who know people. Many people from first world countries were vacationing on the beaches where the tsunami hit at the time of the tsunami. This fact makes it a global tragedy with a local angle.

Oprah Winfrey can interview her renovation guy and friend, Nate, about what it was like to be in the wave. He can give a tear-jerking account about losing his best friend, and he speaks English.

Second the affected region is not an outpost of tyranny, as is Iran. Seriously, if the earthquake had been in a country that President Bush doesn't want to go to war with it would have been a little different.

Third, we have a problem with HIV too. Since the HIV is an ongoing thing, it is harder to see the fund raising that goes into it. You stop noticing the donation boxes at the convincer store and AIDS awareness week stops having the impact that promoters want it to have. Not that the cause is any less worthy, just that it's always there in the background of our consciousness. People that want to do something about it generally want to do something about it locally first. That may or may not be the best way to fight the problem, but that is what happens.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Motivational Posters

We got three new motivational posters today, you know the one's. The have a nice scenic photo and an inspirational word and message below it.

Ours say:
"Be The Bridge-Problems become opportunities when the right people join together.",

"Attitude-The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his live by altering his attitude.",

"Collaborate-Meeting people halfway is the most significant trip we can take. We don't work for each other... We work with each other."

When I got here, I was given strict instructions of where each poster was to be hung by the maintenance man. I said to the ladies, "each person gets the poster with the message they need most. For example you have a bad attitude." April thought that that was hilarious, then I said, "and you don't get along with anyone so you have to get collaborate". The first lady thought that that was even funnier and April gave me a glare. I said, "It's not so funny when the joke is on you is it?"

Then there was hanging them. We have concrete block walls. It takes a long time to drill a hole in a block wall with a drill bit designed for wood. You can imagine the rest of that story.

Those of you that know me, know that sometimes I like to get people's goat's. I'm thinking of changing the order of the photos. I wouldn't even be here to see the hilarity of this little trick, but I can imagine the CHAOS that would ensue. It is almost to easy to get a rise out of any of my co-workers.

-Gary Milner, Being the Bridge

Sunday, January 16, 2005

King Arthur

I rented the movie King Arthur the other day. What a disaster. Let me just say that even the characters in the movie were asking themselves, "Why are we fighting?".

Seriously, when the script says, "Why are we fighting?" it should be a clue that your movie has no actual story.

I hate to call any movie a turd parade, but in this case I will make an exception.

-Gary Milner

A BUM RAP

Last night at about 10 oclock we were in bed watching TV when Jane thought she heard a bum rap on the front door. I looked out the bedroom window to see if I could see a vehicle. Well I could see a vehicle all right and it was the heat.

I quickly glanced at Jane and said, "We're in a tight spot, it's the police."

We didn't know how many times he had to knock so I went to the door in my underwear. I opened the door a crack and told him to wait a minute while I got dressed. I could plainly see that he seemed quite afraid. I went back in the bedroom to get dressed but by this time Jane had her robe on and answered the door.

The cop then says to Jane, "How are you"?

Jane says, "I'm nervous".

The cop says, "Why"?

Jane says, "We're not used to police coming to visit."

Then he asks, "Didn't you call"?

Jane says, "No."

He looks visably puzzled and even more nervous than before because now he thinks were covering something up or trying to give him a snow job.

Then we say, "Are you looking for an address on Seven Persons Cresent."

He says, "Yes".

We say, "This isn't Seven Persons Cresent".

We tell him where Seven persons Cresent is and he leaves, still looking puzzled and afraid . And that's about all I know about that.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Taxi!

I took a cab home from work two nights ago. As odd as this may sound, I was quite nervous about the whole thing. The only time I have ever taken a taxi was probably 15 years ago and I was with my parents.

The thing I was really worried about was where I would sit. All day long I debated in my head whether I should ride in the front or in the back. Was it customary to sit in the back, or was it a bit rude? What if the driver was creepy?

Well, things turned out fine. At the last minute I decided I would ride in the front, but as I approached the front door, I saw that he had some things on the passenger seat. I got in the back and that was the end of it.

It was expensive, but well worth it in comparison to the alternative.

-Tracie

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Immigration

My Grandparents stopped by my house on the weekend on their way through town. It was nice to see them and to show them our house, even though we won't be living in it for long.

About 50 years ago, my grandparents came to Canada from Germany. They had a small child and another on the way. They put all of their faith in a job at a coal mine that my grandpa had lined up, and all they had was $65. If it didn't work out, basically they were screwed. It took them several days by boat to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and then it took another few days by train to reach BC. They spoke no English and knew no one. My grandma said that at the time she would have given anything for a way back home.

I thought it was interesting that as my grandparents left my house on Sunday, my grandpa told me that I would have a great time in Australia. "For one thing, you speak the language. And for another, you've got some money." My grandma added, "And, you don't have kids".

They have since returned to Germany many times, but say that it just isn't the same and they wouldn't want to live there.

That being said, I feel like any worries I have surrounding my move are insignificant.

-Tracie, Now more excited than ever

Monday, January 10, 2005

Great Canadian Speeches

I've been reading a book called "Great Canadian Speeches". It has 60 or so speeches made by Canadians or about truly Canadian topics. I'm pretty sure they cover around the last 200 years or so.

It is a very interesting read, you can see a progression in the style of public speaking change quite drastically between the 1920's and 1940's. This is apparently due to the invention and wide spread use of microphones and radio. Imagine having to shout to the crowd in order to be heard. Having amplification devices would make it much easier to speak in a more personal tone.

I find that I am enjoying reading the newer speeches a little bit more than the older speeches, but I'm not sure if that is due to being a little more knowledgeable about the topics. It came as quite a surprise to me that among the best older speeches were two by native chiefs. Another particularly good speech was by Nellie McClung satirizing politicians who had been delaying giving women the right to vote. (As an aside, it's an interesting fact that no nuclear weapon had ever been fired before women had the vote.)

I just finished a speech by Trudeau announcing the war measures act and another by Tommy Douglas saying what a bad idea invoking the war measures act was and what a big screw-up the Liberals had made.

Finally, I am getting into debates and events that have happened within my lifetime and that I actually remember talking about, at least a little bit. Things such as free trade with the US.

I'm really glad I found this book, because I am learning a lot about Canada. Things that I would have never known before. It's really encouraging me to read more Canadian history.

Of all the speeches so far, I think Tommy Douglas (The Greatest Canadian according to the CBC) is definitely one of Canada's Greatest orators, whether you agree with the NDP or not.

-Gary Milner

I'll be giving my critique of Tommy Douglas's "Cream Separator" speech in an upcoming post.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round

Yesterday I started work again at the hospital. By started again, I mean that I have enjoyed over two weeks off, and it felt like forever since the last time I worked. As you may know, our old blue civic is no more, and since we have only one car and Gary had it at work, I rode the bus home.

Riding the bus has never been a fun experience for me. When I was in elementary school, I took the bus everyday to and from school. Everyday I sat there, as close to the front as possible, staring forward, feeling that even the slightest turn of my head would make me vomit. One time it did. Poor Jenny.

Well, today my motion sickness is a little better. I can ride all day in a car with no problems, but not on the bus. Don't worry, I didn't throw up on anyone yesterday, but my nausea mixed with the cold mixed with the looooong wait made for a not so fun night.

The trip home started at the first bus stop at 19:51, and ended three busses later at 21:35. It was very, very cold. I guessed around -20. Waiting for the first bus was the worst because I was outside for 37 minutes. It was so cold that I started daydreaming that someone would walk by and kill me. It was so cold that I looked forward to the imminent nausea.

Well, the rest of the trip wasn't much better, and when I finally got home I had a moment of silence for those who take the bus everyday in Calgary. Calgary is not a great city for taking public transportation, unless you live downtown.

-Tracie, "Please sir, I don't want to ride the bus anymore"

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Babies + Movies = Crappy Times

Gary and I went to a matinee of The Incredibles the other day. Although we enjoy watching movies, we rarely go to the theatre because we just can't seem to bring ourselves to pay $11 each to watch something we may or may not like. Especially when it will come out on DVD in the next few months.

Anyway, I emphasize the money issue because that is all I could think of yesterday as I sat in front of two mothers holding two 5 or 6 month old babies who cooed, fussed or cried the entire time. What on earth are they thinking? We just paid $22 to come see this movie, and you brought a kid who can hardly hold his head up? I realise that it's a kids movie, but babies?

I wasn't just angry with the mothers, although they were clearly idiots, but I was even more angry with Cineplex for letting them in. It seems like movie theatre companies should know that it's a bad idea. That being said, I didn't complain, I just gave them dirty looks, which I don't think will help in the future.

I wonder if the babies got in free?

Anyway, we did enjoy the movie, but I recommend waiting for the DVD if you haven't seen it.

-Tracie, Movie Expert

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Library Going From Bad to Worse

The library system in Calgary has recently made a change to their computer system. Here in Country Hills, this means that they are wrecking an already brutal system. I have been using the internet for the last ten years, and the 386 we had way back then could at least keep up with the speed I typed.

Before the change over here, it was obvious that the server they were using didn't have enough processing power to handle the number of dumb terminals that are accessible to the public. Now they have added a one hour per day time limit. None of the librarians are computer literate. I don't mean virtually none of the librarians are computer literate, I mean not one of the librarians knows how to work the computers. Which is probably why the world doesn't need librarians. I mean even in our little satellite library, there are self checkouts. All the information I could possibly want is available online, except for books not out of copyright.

Even that doesn't seem enough for there to be a need for real librarians versus kids off the street. I mean what is the difference between Blockbuster Video and a Library. Handling cash at every transaction? Maybe if they hired kids off the street to run the library, they could afford computers that worked and the people working in the library would actually know how to run them.

-Gary Milner

Monday, January 03, 2005

Happy New Year

Tracie's Dad rented a cabin in Elkwater, a small provincial park 45 minutes south of Medicine Hat. It is a pretty old cabin, but we had a great time. The floor was pretty cold, but that counter balanced having the thermostat set pretty high.

I never could understand setting the temperature five or ten degrees higher than you would in your own home. My mother for example sets her house at 21 degrees Celsius, but sets her car at 28 or so. In the summer, the air conditioning in her car is set at 17 or 18.

In any case I guess the weather outside balances the weather inside some what. We got off to a thirsty start at the cabin because the pipes were frozen. I considered it part of the adventure more so than a few of the other people. We got a trickle and then a torrent after a couple of hours with a space heater under the floor.

The board games were pretty fun, but the second day was by far the best.

I learned how to snowboard. Now a lot of people will tell you that you will be really sore and have giant bruises all over your ace. From personal experience I have found this to be totally false. I only fell down four or five times on my first run, and then only two or three on my second run and then only three or four times for the whole rest of the day. Maybe I am a quick learner.

I find snowboarding to be much more fun than skiing, and when it's time to pack your stuff up, you find that you can actually walk in your boots and you don't have to juggle two skies and a pair of poles. Unless you are dating a pair of polish girls and then you do have to juggle the poles.

The night ended playing cranium with Megan Dann and Becky. It was possibly the most pleasant game I have ever played with Megan and I really enjoyed it.

The time in the cabin made me really want to get a cabin. I guess I have to find a lot somewhere near a river or lake and then I can build one.

-Gary Milner, internet superstar