The Greatest Villain of all Time!

No I’m not referring to Nero or Genghis Khan.  I’m talking about Suvudu’s cage match:

Cage Match

The website has selected 32 of the best villains from sci-fi and fantasy literature and film and pitted them against one another in a series of one-on-one cage matches.  You should all run off and vote right now.  I’ll wait.

Suvudu did this about 6 months ago as well, but it wasn’t only villains.   Here

Gamespot just finished a very similar poll with game villains.  Here

This is my favorite poll of the three.  Mostly because I know more about most of the participants.  There are only 5 villains about whom I’m either uninformed or uninterested.

My picks for the final four are:

  • The Mule
  • Gaius Baltar
  • Slake Moth
  • Darth Vader

The Mule is just cool.  He’s from one of the classic sci-fi tales of all time and he single handedly alters the course of an entire galactic civilization.  Gaius Baltar is one of the ultimate survivors.  He is my underdog pick and will advance by being a shameless lickspittle to more powerful foes.  The slake moth is quite powerful, but is simply an animal.  I’m picking it based on my fondness for the source material.  Finally Darth Vader is the Dark Lord of the Sith and it would be a mistake to underestimate the power of the force.

When the Mule and Gaius meet up it will be a classic match-up of those who people underestimate.  Unfortunately for Gaius, the Mule will manipulate him into switching sides for real instead of only for convenience.

Darth Vader and the slake moth will be a much more physical battle.  They both weild forces beyond the ken of most mere mortals.  However Vader can only be beaten in a supreme act of self-sacrifice and the slake moth isn’t capable of that.  I think Vader will likely lose a lim (cybernetic), but the moth will eventually be sliced in half.

So Darth Vader vs. The Mule:

Unfortunately for The Mule, Vader will use Sense Emotion and identify the subtle manipulation that the Mule exerts on people around him.  Realizing the threat he poses, he will use an imperial fleet to blockade the planet the Mule is on from orbit, borrow a Death Star from the Emperor and then blast it to pieces. To paraphrase Hudson, “Blow up the place from orbit.  It’s the only way to be sure!’

I’m sure others have a different view.

BTW, thanks to Craig for forwarding me the link originally!

Cheer Team

Non-news flash: The Edmonton Oilers are starting a cheer team.

Pro, Con or who cares?  I tend towards the who cares camp, but I am interested in the folks that seem to get really worked up about it.

The anti-camp cites a break with tradition, a distraction from the game, the cheer team’s lack of necessity, and, of course, the degradation of women.  The pro-camp seems to argue, “Bah, thanks for your opinion Mr. Scrooge.”

Now, I think I could knock rhetorical holes in all the anti-camp arguments, but the pro-camp is far worse.  They have no argument to attack or support.  Both sides argue their points vehemently…or at least they attack the other camp vehemently.  It seems to me that people just wait for something to get worked up about.

It is probably good for them – expend their bile on the unessential so as to be shiny, happy people for the rest of their day.  I’m sure that that is the way it works!

Don’t tell them about the latest tailings pond tragedy.  I’m sure I’ll get sufficient bile without content as that story develops already.

(Oilers , ducks – there is a thematic tie through the whole post.  Man, am I clever.)

Morning Routine

Wow – I really have to apologize for this post.  We’ll be hitting the mundane minutia of my daily existence.

Back in the GoA days, I used to get up at 7 and arrive at work at 8:15.  The early GoA days.  As I began to work later my start time also moved later until I sometimes found myself getting into work around 9.  So I moved my wakeup time to 6:30 and aimed to always be into work by 8:30.

Moving my wakeup time 30 minutes earlier was rough.  I am not a morning person.  If I were to rank my 5 favorite things rolling over and going back to sleep in the morning would rank high.

My new job has three new qualities: a longer commute (including a short walk), an earlier start time and my earnest commitment not to get in late.  I analyzed the requirements and reluctantly moved by wake-up time to 5:30 am with an aim to leave the house at 7 am.  Correspondingly I’ve moved my bedtime to 10 pm.  Gah!  There are nine year olds staying up later than I.

At 5:30 am my tv turns on.  I started using my tv as an alarm many years ago.  I discovered that it was too easy to hit a snooze bar, but the news would wake me up.  Unfortunately at 5:30 there is no news.  There are infomercials.  I know everything there is to know about Dr. Ho’s Ho Physio belt and pads, Time’s Life’s golden age of country and the Jawhorse.  I find the Jawhorse mesmerizing. I sometimes forget to get up as I listen to the claims in the commercial.

Even when it isn’t the Jawhorse I rarely leap from bed.  Normally i takes 10 to 15 minutes for me to convince myself to rise.  In the worst case I make sure to be mobile before the news actually does start at 6.  Then its off to bathroom #1 to brush my teeth.  Then the kitchen for two glasses of water.  Then bathroom #2 for the 5S’s (or at least most of them).  When done it is normally around 6:15.  If it is later it means i have to put the foot down and get going.

I find that a warm shower helps though and I’m generally moving quicker once that is finished.  Back to Bathroom #1 to shave and take care of my hair.  Then it is off to get dressed.  Optimally I finish in time to sit and watch to 6:30 news update, but more normally I watch as I dress.

At 6:50 I put on my shoes.  In theory this means I should have around 20 minutes to read some comics, catch the business news and figure out what my goals for the day are.  Often it is 10 to already when I get out to my shoes.  Once shod, I gather my keys and sundry items, slap on a coat and head out the door.

Hmm – what does this tell us?  Well, I was unable to make this subject in any way interesting.  I thought there might be a joke or two on my way through.  Hmm…not so much.  Second, I love to have a routine.  Third, I have trouble sticking to it.  Grr.

Aargh.

Having got that tedious subject off my chest, I’m hoping I can post something interesting before the end of the week.

“I told you that story so I could tell you this one.”

Warning: This post contains recountings of inadvertent bare-assery.  You have been warned.

Note:  My swim club post made swimming sound like a solitary sport.  It is both a team sport and a solitary sport.  Maybe someday I’ll go into that.

These are two of my most embarrassing anecdotes.

Other than swimming competitively my favorite place to swim was Slocan Lake in the Kootenays.  Not when I was young because I was fairly certain I was sharing the lake with the Ogopogo, but once I was older and realized it was likely a harmless lake monster.

We were down at the bay one day on vacation.  There was a nice raft out on the lake for swimming out to and jumping off of.  This day there was also a big log floating in the bay.  It was perfect for reenactments of scenes from “The Log Driver’s Waltz.”  At least it was until I slipped from the log and a protruding branch remnant caught my swimsuit and pulled me under the water as the log rolled.

I wasn’t in much danger.  I pushed out against the log and came free.  I don’t think I even lost my breath.  But I did lose my suit.  It ripped nicely into two pieces.  I had to run out to my towel on the beach – my full moon eclipsing the midday sun.  Fortunately I had only family on the beach… of course that means I can still of it to this day.

At least it was only semi-public though.

Years later, in my second year of university, I went to the West Ed Mall water park with some friends.  Stef was bringing Pauly and I to meet his girlfriend for the first time.  She had come into town with her twin sister.  The way I remember it neither Pauly nor I were hitting on the sister, but as Stef and his future wife were spending time together, we were left to entertain her.  Regardless of our intent our reception was decidedly frosty.

We were sitting in either a hot tub or just the shallow end of the pool when I grew tired of he mostly uncomfortable silence and went to play in the waves.  I was happily diving into the waves and throwing myself over them when Pauly came running into the pool behind me.  He was calling my name, but doing it sotto voce.  When he reached me, he said:

“Todd, you’ve ripped the ass end our your suit.”

He might have said more, but I was already on my way back to the dressing room.  I spent the rest of the afternoon on a lounge chair watching the fun.

I may not have wanted to hit on the sister, but I found that I certainly made no time with her even after revealing my best end.

PR Porpoises

I haven’t done one of these in a good long while.

Back in the 80s I swam competitively for the town club, the Peace River Porpoises.  Other than dodge ball this was by far my best sport.  I was never Alex Baumann good, but I was good enough not to embarrass myself.  Even at the meets I rarely came in first, but I often placed and I made it to provincials one year.

I liked the training though far more than the meets.  Training started in the springtime with dryland.  Aerobics, flexibility and cardio exercises in the MacGrath gym for two weeks.  It was amazing how even during school and riding my bike to a fro each day how out of shape you’d be after winter.  Dryland taught you that.  The highlight of dryland was the final day cross-town run leaving the gym at the far north of town and running all the way to the swimming pool located about 5 blocks from my house on the south side of town and then back again.  his part was great.  The aerobics always had the drawback of feeling a bit like a Jane Fonda exercise tape, but the run was awesome.  It was always my goal to come in first during the run.  No small feat since many of the club were far older than I.

The swimming pool I grew up with was an outdoor pool at the edge of downtown Peace River.  Two diving boards, a deep end and a shallow end and a lifeguard chair perched halfway down the side as the deep end started.  It was built without regard to competitive swimming so it was a bit shorter than 25 m, but it had six lanes across when roped.  During meets they brought out starters blocks from which to dive, but during most practices (except days with diving drills) it was just six lanes and the water.

We swam rain or shine.  Thunder was necessary to drive us from the water.  There were endurance drills, speed drills, strengthening drills and form drills.  We swam warm ups and cool downs.  Unless there were sprint drills, you rarely needed to get out of the water.  At the end of your lane (lanes were normally divided by age class) was the list of drills to perform and you just worked your way through them.  The team coach would wander up and down the sides and met kids at the ends to give pointers or advice.

This was the part I really dug.  You’d start with 10 or 15 lengths to do and one by one you’d reduce them to nothing.  Learning to breath during the frontcrawl.  Counting stroked from the flags to the pool end during the backstroke.  Grabbing a flutter board and sprinter with only a flutter or frog kick up and down the pool.

If you miss behaved you were pulled from the pool and made to do bummers.  A bummer was like a push up, but humiliating.  You got in a push-up position, but then raised your bum until your body made an inverted v and then lowered it again.  Beside being very funny to watch they were actually also tiring as they did work your core wen you did 50 of them on a row.

I didn’t have to do bummers that often.  I was a good kid so I only did them when the whole club was punished for not working hard enough. But there were still other little embarrassments.  Most worrisome was the fact that I was at the age where ever once and a while I wouldn’t want to walk to the pool or emerge from it because of uncontrollable tumescence.  I’m not sure how often it actually happened – emerging from the water and grabbing a flutter board or holding my hands in a fig leaf, but it was a constant worry.  Swimming was awesome – the transitions were terrifying.

My other hurdle was diving.  I was a late diver.  I  was pretty convinced that my hands wouldn’t break the water and my head would enter hard and snap y neck.  I think my entire first year I competed without diving.  I’d stand on the blocks and when the gun went just jump into the water and then try and make up ground on the rest of the kids.

Once a week or so the coach would pull me aside for personal diving lessons on the edge of the pool.  I’d hold my arms over my head, crouch down and roll into the pool.  I wouldn’t jump or straighten so my knees normally hit the water first.  You needed to jump in order to get your head in first and that meant commitment.  I wasn’t going to commit to a face smashed into the water.  I remember the day I first successfully dove.  The coach stopped the whole club to give me a round of applause.  Like any fear once conquered diving became both easy and fun.

There were other hurdles to over come.  My strongest stroke was the backstroke (like Baumann).  I had a pretty darn good backstroke.  But it meant a wall approach that was unseen.  6 strokes before the wall (or five or four depending on how strong you were) there were flags overhead.  You saw the flags and began counting.  Just before the wall you did a reverse summersault.  Nowadays the backstroke turn is actually done on your stomach, but back then it was all done from your back.  You hit the wall with your feet and twisted as you came to the surface, your arm beginning its first stroke. A well done turn was very fun, but they were hard.  Miscounting meant you slammed either your wrist or your head into the edge of the pool if you waited to long.  If you went too early the wall would be nowhere to be found and you’d push of nothing (and get DQd in a race).  The flip itself often resulted in a nose full of water.  It was the most technical part of the stroke and I was never great, but it was something I improved at every year.

My eyesight was my final hurdle.  I had near sightedness since the 2nd grade.  But you didn’t wear glasses to the pool.  This led to a number of issues from spotting the pool end, seeing the flags to reading the drills assignments from the board.  I normally had to wait for someone else to tell me what they were or get out of the pool and run to the board and back again.  I also had a bad relationship with the garment bags at the pool.  I lost numerous glasses and watches in those things over the years.  They were coarse and green and had a voluminous appetite for my possessions.

But the oddest impact was to my starts.  I was always last off the blocks and I blamed my eyesight.  I couldn’t explain it because I also would have sworn that I dove when the gun went off.  However, I must have been, in part, taking my cue from the sense of movement on the blocks to either side of me.  You were supposed to look at the point where you wanted to enter the water, but I didn’t have a clue where that was.  It was only a blur.    I was always the last competitor off the blocks.

So my folks bought me prescription goggles.  When everyone else got to the edge of the pool for a breather and a chat, they flipped their goggles up onto their forehead.  Not me.  I left them on so I could see who I was talking to.  My ability to judge distance became much better.  Sight is awesome.  I highly recommend it.  And they did help my starts as I said they would.  Yay!

I’ve spent a lot of time on little issues with swimming, but I want to be clear.  I loved the water.  I liked the smell of the chlorine and the brittleness of my hair after two hours in the pool.  I liked the exercise.  I loved the feeling of going fast during the backstroke.  I liked the satisfaction of pushing hard and being the first to finish the drills.  Or of slacking off and being the second last to do so (not last though – that earned bummers).

I liked swimming in the sun and getting a burn until you developed a tan.  I liked swimming in the rain and wanting to do another drill just to stay warm and not get out into the cold and the wet.  I liked competing against the club members who were better than I.  I wasn’t a huge fan of meets, but I liked doing well.  (Meets were two hours of driving at 5 in the morning to get to the neighbouring town and then a day of sitting around being bored until your six heats came up one at a time.   Winning was great, but losing meant that you could sometimes go home early…I never wanted to lose, but it wasn’t a horrible consolation.)  I loved a reward of a popsicle or creamsicle from the vendor who often hung out in the parking lot.

And I just liked swimming.  Good times!

Notes sans theme

So I saw this fellow downtown with a Hitler moustache yesterday.  I thought Hitler had besmirsched the Hitler moutasche for all time.  I found myself thinking, “If those aren’t skeevy anymore, I could rock a Hitler moustache.”  But I’m pretty sure they will always be skeevy.  I know I felt skeevy for even having that thought.

I also got a scooter yesterday.  I think it should work out, but I think there are five issues to resolve…

  1. Most importantly – it is just high enough.  Barely.  I’ve only tried to stand up on carpet.  Other surfaces may not provide enough traction.  I should have tried in the parking garage last night when the guys were still here.  I wonder if I can get another two inches of seat height somehow.
  2. My knees spread out while riding.  I’ve not sure that I’ll fit through doors.
  3. I’m not sure how to attach my walker to the device.  I might need to ask for some aid in rigging something up.
  4. I haven’t looked at how it is parked in the garage, but I wonder how I will extricate it.  I might be able to squeeze in to get on, but I doubt I’ll be able to return it to its location…
  5. I won’t be able to get it into my apartment.  I’m pretty positive that opening doors while riding is not easy.  Parking it in the garage is fine.  However, charging it will be tricky.

Powershell is a very annoying language.  In theory it is very neat.  See it treats everything as objects.  A string stored in a variable isn’t just a string.  It is a string object.  When you make a pipeline it passes the objects from one cmdlet to another.  However, I have a tough time getting it to cast the objects into the types I want.  It is supposed to just work, but I found that you need to learn to cast and to learn all sorts of tricks to coax one object to become another.

[Mom stopped by and then I went out for dinner… it is now much later.]

It made me wish that a string was just a string.

I also watched the Karate Kid today.  That movie got a bad rap, but I didn’t feel it was too bad.  It wasn’t awesome, but I thought it was a decent redo of the original.  The kid was alright and Jackie Chan was not bad.  I like the Smith kid better than Ralph Machio, but Morita was better than Chan.  The jacket bit wasn’t as classic as the original four tasks, but it was less slapstick.  The bad Kung Fu master was incongruous because they played him exactly as the previous Californian bad guy and it didn’t feel true, but I thought that was the largest flaw in the show.

That is all for now.

Take care.

Happy Thanksgiving

As I write this Casey is lying unconscious through the commercial break.

I wasted an entire weekend watching HBO shows.  Treme rocks.  That was good tv.

Otherwise I made a list, visited a Dr., learned some SQL, and bought a new board game.  I didn’t even finish those things that needed to be done Friday.  I’ll be working on my list all week.  Nuts I say.

We had steak for Thanksgiving dinner tonight.  I was good steak.  My Mom was happy as the steak took much less time to prepare and clean up.  Actually Tim did the steaks.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  Take care.