Thursday, May 17, 2007

Oh Baby!

A bunch of news outlets were recently publishing reports of a study that linked month of conception to a child's IQ. The researchers figured out that the kids conceived in June through August did the most poorly on standardized tests. Although I haven't read the original article, every report I've seen says that pesticide exposure at the time of conception is at fault - the idea pesticide use is typically high in the summer

And, you know, I'm willing to buy that the first three months in utero are pretty critical to a child's neurological development.

But presumably, they just did this by using the kids' birthdays, which would have also been linked to the test scores. So basically, they just have good correlation between date of birth and IQ. I mean, nobody found a way to measure their actual exposure to pesticides in utero, did they?

What I'm getting at, is why did they pick pesticide exposure at conception? It seems like there could be other good correlates: what about pesticide exposure at birth? Or allergen exposure at birth. After all, working backwards, these kids would have been born in March-May: springtime! Don't people get exposed to all sorts of weirdo chemicals as they prepare their gardens? Moms could easily transfer that stuff to their kids. Or maybe the kids are being exposed to pesticides in breast milk during their first summer.

Or maybe it's something else altogether: people alter all sorts of behaviours in the summer. Maybe they eat different stuff. Maybe they're exposed to more smog. Maybe the heat causes stress hormones to be released into the circulation of Moms-to-be.

Who knows? Maybe I need to read the original paper... but for the moment I'm not convinced.

Image from Petteri Sulonen and licensed under cc-by-2.0

Monday, May 07, 2007

Enviro Feature

My sister just sent me prtty much the most awesome gift she's ever picked out.

It's a messenger bag made out of a movie billboard! It's a NEW product made by a company called ecoist - I've actually linked to them before, although I didn't realize it until I went to their website to see what they were all about.

The billboards are made of thick vinyl - it seems crazy for something that's so impermanent but they're intended for outdoor display and I guess they're designed to look good from the nearby highway in all kinds of weather. The typical lifespan of one of these oversize posters is the run of a movie - after which they they're taken down and landfilled. At least they used to be - now at least some of them are being turned into waterproof totes and bags. Mine has all sorts of pockets - perfect for me, who can already never find my cellphone when it's ringing - as well as a variety of nifty clips and zips.

My personal bag doesn't look like any of the ones on the website - the beauty of this product is that it changes as new movies come out and old posters are used up.

'Course, now I have to go and see a film called "Open Season" to find out who owns the cartoon face featured on my new tote.

Friday, April 20, 2007

probability.earthquake <- probability of coding success?

Over the past couple of weeks I've been learning how to use a new program called Splus. Well, actually, I mostly feel like I'm bashing my head against concrete. It's a statistical software package and I'm trying to code up some nice analyses. Which would be fine if I had any coding skills. I have to say that the help files are spectacularly unhelpful to a beginner.

Anyway, because I'm all new at this Splus thing, I've been reading the "useful tips" that pop up each time I start a new session.

Today's tip said:

"When an earthquake strikes, take cover under a desk or doorway. Try to avoid areas near windows or heavy objects that might topple, and above all, do not panic".

This seems like odd advice to include with a statistical software package. I can only conclude that I'll just feel like there's an earthquake happening in the event that I actually ever get some useful code together.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Media savvy

Erm, so if you pop a few pills your probability of dying is 75%???
And we thought we had an ageing population NOW.

Must confess: I got this from planet procrastination

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I'm a little green with this laptop...

As part of my new job where I actually get paid to do research, I am using a brand new laptop. We are just getting to know each other, and let's just say - there have been a few hiccups along the way.

The main problem is that it is not too sociable. It likes to sleep. That's fine; I like to sleep too after I've been awake for a certain amount of time. But when I wake up the laptop, half of the services stay sleeping. Including the server, internet, and firewall. It's kind of like if I got out of bed and then went and lay on the couch for the rest of the day.

The only solution seemed to be restarting the computer. So I was shutting it down every time I woke it up, which seems ... uh ... a bit counterproductive...

Anyway. We're moving past that little dilemma now and 'lil Lenovo and I are getting along just fine.

Yup, it's a Lenovo. And although I had nothing whatsoever to do with picking it out, I am happy to announce that Lenovo just topped an environmental ranking of electronics firms.

According to Greenpeace, the firm guarantees that it will take back and recycle any obsolete or nonfunctional piece of equipment that bears the Lenovo name. And let me just say that I love that it's a Chinese company leading the way.

Sadly, Lenovo products may still contains a few toxic ingredients - like brominated fire retardants, polyvinyl chloride, beryllium, and pthalates. Yummy. Hopefully it will soon get those outta there.

Apple, the funky-hip-gotta-have-an-iAnything company that everyone seems to love pretty much sucked on this ranking. They got 2.7 out of 10.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Roots loses contact with planet earth.

A couple of weekends ago I was in the Eaton Centre when I was accosted by a young woman at the entryway to the Roots store. Spying our Gore-tex jackets and hiking boots, she correctly surmised that we might be "outdoorsy" types.

She wanted to sell us on this "great new product" that would help us on our hiking trips.

Air in a can. Yup, Roots is willing to sell us a can of 90% oxygen for the low-low price of $60. And once you use it all up, do not fret! It can be refilled for a mere $20!

According to Roots, flipping the little plastic nose cover up, bringing the cannister close to your face and spritzing while inhaling promotes mental alertness, relieves stress, increases energy and ability to concentrate.


Uh, I have so many problems with this.

First - you have eviednce from what epidemiological/clinical studies exactly?

Second - My lungs are perfectly adapted to extract the amount of oxygen I need from the atmosphere thankyouverymuch.

Third - pure oxygen could damage my efficient little alveoli (the bits of my lungs that take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide). The atmosphere is actually made up mostly of nitrogen (not oxygen!) - it's only 20% oxygen. It's well-established that breathing 50-100% oxygen over a prolonged period of time causes lung damage. In fact, there are lung diseases where scarring occurs because of the presence of highly reactive oxygen radicals that are created when the lungs get all inflamed. Yuck. is this cannister of 90% oxygen going to come with a warning label?

Fourth - $60 for something I can (continuously) get for free? You've GOT to be kidding me.

Fifth. Oh and so I'm going to lug this on the hiking trail with me?! Who did the focus groups with the outdoorsy people, I wonder? They didn't manage to figure out that most of us would want to reduce the weight we carry, that we're out there for the challenge and not a quick fix, that creating more "stuff" to send to landfill is unlikely to be our cup of tea.

Sixth - the salesgirl said "wouldn't it be better than breathing in that polluted air outside?" Aside from the fact I'd rather spend my $60 on reducing the amount of emissions I'm responsible for - is she suggesting I just attach this permanently to my nose? (besides, see #3) It's pretty hard to get away from outdoor or indoor pollution in Toronto and please tell me that they aren't really marketing this as a healthy alternative to our dirty air when the energy required to create and fill the cannisters probably caused some of the pollution?

Seventh -
You know how athletes train at high altitude so that they can run faster? That's because there's less oxygen up there, so they are forcing their bodies to make more efficient use of the oxygen they do breathe. Which makes me wonder if overuse of Roots' new product could actually dampen the ability of your blood cells to transport oxygen around your body.

Eigth - are they trying to commodify air? I mean talk about tragedy of the commons. I think the most tragic thing would be that the commons ends up all owned and no longer common. (I'm not even going to get into bottled water here, people. But you can guess what I think of that). I refuse to even think about how someone could own my air.

Ninth - talk about a completely transparent attempt to sell me something, anything, for profit. Roots can take that attitude and shove it.

And ten: I leave this spot and all the numbers that come after ten open - for anyone who would like to add a thought.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I heart HP

I was recently super-impressed with HP. I bought a new laserjet printer to save my sanity while printing all those copies of my thesis. Then, because I had printed so many pages (sorry, trees!), the toner cartridge ran out. ...and may I just say that it ran out well after I expected it to, given the amount of printing I did.

And THEN - when I opened the box for the new cartridge, I discovered that it is SO EASY to recycle the old one. They provide you with a postage-paid mailing label, and you just stick your old cartridge into the now one's box. Which is perfectly designed to fold closed again without even needing tape.

And the whole thing even fit in a regular mailbox. Whooppee! I love it when recycling is easy.

Monday, March 26, 2007

President Happy Owl gets Voted Out


So yeserday I was trying to keep all of Europe in line. I was trying to meet carbon dioxide reduction targets by implementing policies and negotiating with other regions of the world. I did a decent job of reducing CO2 emissions...

...too bad most of Europe ended up starving. I got voted out because I was so unpopular - and apprently it will take a while to fix the damage I did.

I was playing a game called Climate Challenge. It was put together by the BBC to try and illustrate some of the causes of climate change, the policy options open to governments, and the challenges facing international policy negotiators.

I guess fixing the world's climate problems is kind of complicated. Now that I have a better idea of how the game works I might try again.

Too bad we only get one shot at this stuff in real life.

Friday, March 23, 2007

It is believed that... I'm a delinquent

Ah, my poor sushi-night, I have been neglecting you. Partly, I've ben on a bit of a steep learning curve with my new postoctoral work, but mostly, I confess, I've just been azy.

Today someone actually commented on a previous post despite the site's inactivity... and someone else commented to ME that I hadn't been blogging much.

So here's hoping that I can get my groove back. It's appropriate that it's a Friday - tonight is ALWAYS sushi night! (for clarification, wander back through the archives to the first post ever).

It's also appropriate that I nobody strain their brain on a Friday afternoon. So Let's have some fun instead. Here's the "Dictionary Of Research Phrases", which I pulled from someone's science humour website. And may I say... "This Dictionary has long been known... to exist"

"It has long been known..."

    I didn't look up the original references.
"A reasonable trend is evident..."
    These data are practically meaningless.
"Of great theoretical and practical importance..."
    It is interesting to me.
"While it has not been possible to provide definite anwers to these questions..."
    An unsuccessful experiment, but I still hope to get it published.
"Three of the data sets were chosen for detailed study..."
    The results of the others didn't match my conclusions.
"Typical results are shown..."
    The best results are shown.
"These results will be shown in a subsequent report..."
    Haven't gotten around to it.
"The most reliable results are those obtained by Jones..."
    He was my graduate student.
"It is believed that..."
    I think...
"It is generally believed that..."
    A couple of other guys think so, too.
"Much more work is needed before a complete understanding of the phenomenon can be reached."
    I don't understand it.
"This result is correct within an order of magnitude..."
    It is wrong.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I love that word. Kevtch. KvetchKvetchKvetchKvetchKvetchKvetchKvetch....

Anyway - last night I got to be a part of Canada's first- ever "Complaints choir". The CBC Radio show As it Happens solicited complaints from their listeners, and had them set to music. It just aired.


I could tell you more, but I'll just send you here for the video, and here for the audio (End of Part 1).

(Wrt the video: Click on "Complaints Choir" ... who knows how long it will be linked to this page. After that you'll have to hunt us down on YouTube or something) .

At your service

Today I went and donated blood for the first time in ages. Here I am, living pretty much down the street from a donor clinic, and I'm sure it's been at least a couple of years since I donated. Despite all that, I've made at least 10 donations so far in my life, according to Canadian Blood Services.

I figure I should donate - since I can. The needle pricks a bit, but other than that I'm really not affected by donating blood. One time several years ago I ran all the way to an appointment after donating - there had been a lineup and it took longer than I expected. (I didn't faint. Or really notice any discomfort except a little dampness under the arms!)

Plus, I'm O+, like most other Canadians, which makes me a good donor: anyone who is A+, B+ or O- + can receive my blood.

Most importantly, I once saw someone who'd recently had surgery literally go from ash-grey/barely functional to mildly pink and upbeat after receieving blood. It was amazing.

Incidentally, Japanese people apparently believe that your blood type predicts your personality. According to Wikipedia, I should be ambitious, athletic, robust, self-confident, and a natural leader. (Oh, and Arrogant, vain, insensitive, and ruthless.)

So I guess it comes down to this: I'm superior to anyone who hasn't recently donated, I am confident I will someday get my 50 donations pin, and I will take you to the clinic myself if you need a friend to lead the way. But I might not let you wimp out if we go.

Kidding. But if anyone wants more info, ask! Or see Canadian Blood Services.

Monday, February 19, 2007


I was feeling totally frustrated today because I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing with the project I'm working on. All I can say, is this is a fantastic place to remenisce and have a few laughs. And feel more sorry for Beaker than I do for me.

Poor Beaker. Things just never go well for him.

Image from Beaker and the GermEnlarger

Sorry about the pixillated look of it. It's old-school, ya know?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Me, me, me!

Al Gore, who seems to have been transmogrified from boring political guy-in-a-tie to celebrity environmentalist since the release of his famous documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is dabbling in even more hollywood hype.

His doc is already nominated for an Oscar (and so is Melissa Etheridge for her song "I Need to Wake Up", which was featured in the film), but he's already moving on. He's become a concert-organizer.

He's putting together a series of global concerts set to play (and air) over a 24-hour period on July 7th. Sort of like the Live 8 thing that happened a couple of summers ago.

This concert's called Live Earth. Good title.

It's part of a broader campaign called "Save our Selves". I'm hating that title.

It sounds a little too inward-focused and way too cheesy. Sort of like, "I'm only doing this because I'd just hate it if the sea levels rose and the carpet in my beachfront mansion got damaged".

I mean, yeah, I don't want to be personally affected by climate change either, but I'm also a little concerned about those folks living in the low-lying areas of Bangladesh who have no voice whatsoever.

Apparently the concerts will happen in Shanghai, Johannesburg, Sydney, London and cities to be announced in Japan, Brazil and the United States. The countries with the cash. And a lot of the CO2 emissions. And the political clout. Nice for us that we can "Save Our Selves" if we decide to.

I'm being cynical - lots of people are concerned about global effects - but this title implies that we would only want to address climate change if it might hurt us personally - as opposed to harming other people, or the community at large. Thank goodness that any actions people in the West take to save themselves can't be reserved for the West alone - by definition, they'll have global effects.

Proceeds from the concert will go to fight climate change. Whatever works I guess.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mm, lard from sewage

I always figure that one reason why most of us don't always buy organic food is the pricetag - I mean, other than availability, there doesn't really seem to be any other good reason to choose non-organic. You know - that"normal" food that cann often be mass-produced, sprayed with pesticides or fed hormones?

But in China, those that can afford it are willing to pay lots of cash for organic - as much as ten times the cost of the so-called "normal" food. That's because over there, there's not much regulation going on and even less capacity to monitor what's actually happening. For example, there are 200 million farms of 1-2 acres each. That's a lot of farms to visit.

The lack of oversight is probably how lard made from sewage and recycled industrial oil was being sold there.


The guy who was doing that has been arrested - and other crackdowns have happened after meat from sick and dead animals was sold to consumers and duck eggs were found to contain a cancer-causing dye. These are examples of people who are delibeerately trying to sneak some terrible stuff past the system. But if they can swing it - who knows what stuff is getting into the food supply unintentionally?

Pesticide soup, anyone?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A grand day!

Things that make me happy:

#1 You can call me doctor! Well.. almost. I defended my PhD thesis last week and somehow managed to get out of the whole deal with only minor revisions to do. Once those are complete and my advisor signs off on the whole deal, I'll be Dr. Happy Owl to you. Heh.

#2 My sweetie got me the best Valentine's Gift Evah! That's right folks, he got us a clean air pass: he offest a year's worth of CO2 emissions from our car. AND got me some fair-trade, organic chocolate. I don't think it gets better than that, ladies!

#3 Inkling Magazine. I love them. They seem to like me.

#3 Snow, so much snow... Combined with the tooth-cracking cold we've been having here, it's really winter. Gives me hope that there will still be snow around if I ever have kids and want to take them tobogganing. PLUS we went x-country skiing last weekend, ya'll. Now THAT was fun.

#4 And, well - hey, look, I'm back on blogger. It's been a while. But life got wayyy less stressful after that pesky defence thingy, so hopefully I'll be able to get back to regular posting. ON with my Sorels and OFF I shall toddle to the LCBO - 'cuz someone around here deserves some nice wine with dinner tonight.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Only skin deep?

Nobody would ever call me a slave to the cosmetics industry. I just can't be bothered to spend the time doing my makeup and putting goo in my hair - especially since I work mostly from home.

Also I often have only the vaguest notion of what the various lotions and potions are actually supposed to do (Uh, "antioxidant rescue serum"? "Skin Polishing Enzyme Treatment"? I recognize all the words in these names but still have no idea of the specific purpose of these things).

Maybe it's a good thing I'm not too fussed about them. It turns out that lots of cosmetics contain pthalates - chemicals that have been shown to mess with animals' hormone systems. Scientists aren't sure whether they could affect humans or not - but in rodents they cause reduced fertility, increased risk of breast cancer, cause premature puberty, and have even been related to bahavioural changes.

So wait - the stuff that we wear to make ourselves appear more sexy might interefere with the natural processes that regulate our reproductive system and sexual function?

That's messed up.

Friday, January 26, 2007

A lot of hot air

Apparently the "origin of man" isn't the only "controversial" topic that must not be taught to impressionable young minds these days . A father in Washington managed to prevent his daughter's science class from watching Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

Apparently Frosty Hardiman thinks that it's Anti-American because it "blam[es] our nation -- the greatest nation ever to exist on this planet -- for global warming". Well, uh, it doesn't say that the US are the only ones on this planet who are emitting CO2, but it does paint a pretty grim picture of the American approach to the problem so far.

Hardiman managed to get it stopped because teachers have to obtain permission from the school board before they present "controversial" materials in their classes. I can't really imagine denying a teacher permission to show this particular (Oscar-Nominated) documentary.

Perhaps the issue of climate change is still under debate. I don't buy that, but even if I did, there would still be a benefit to showing the video - and discussing it. No kid is going to learn much if they're never allowed to question the status quo. Nevermind that the documentary is full of geography and showcases the beauty of our planet. And it introduces an important political figure in an accessible way.

Could he really, possibly, believe that his kids are probably better off watching stuff like American Idol?!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Meno Mosso

Just want to point y'all in the direction of a new blog that promises to be loadsa fun for anyone with an interest in classical music and/or jazz... and downright educational for those of us who wish we knew more.

Gettin' my Religion...

Stereotyping is a bad idea. Folks, this is not news, but we all do it sometimes.

For example, I've been equating Evangelism with right-wing politics. Let's face it, I've been equating evangelists with right-wing Christian nutbars.

But it turns out that a bunch of evangelists in the U.S. are on the climate change bandwagon. The National Association of Evangelicals is collaborating with the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School. Together, they are trying to convince the U.S. administration that they really need to do something about global warming.

It sounds like such a strange combination - and yet Harvard is potentially bringing a powerful segment of US social culture - one which was probably instrumental in Bush's election wins - into the climate change game.

And maybe what we need here is for politicians to get some climate change religion. If we could all just believe that climate change is really happening, that Manhattan could end up under water, and that 50% of species worldwide might die, wouldn't it be obvious that something should be done?

It's time to take global warming to heart, Bush. Don't worry, I know you've already taken Jesus into your heart - but I suspect He'll make room.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Moving Mountains

Apparently it is actually possible to move mountains - or, well, enough of them to have a noticeable effect, anyway.

The Swedish town of Kiruna is located on Kiirunavaara mountain. More to the point, it's above an iron ore min that is the economic driver of the town, supplying most of the local jobs. You might expect a sad story about how the mine will soon clase and the little Arctic town will die, precipiotating the demise of a way of life...

But no! Fear not. There are still 800 million tonnes of crude ore in the ground. While there's no danger of running out of ore to mine just yet, it seems that enough has been taken away that the foundations of the town above it are becoming unstable.

So they've decided to move a big chunk of the town away from the mining area. They picked the new site just this month.

Sounds like a costly endeavour - and it is - on the order of ~4.3 billion US dollars, not including rerouting the railway and roads. To move about half the building in the town by about 4 km. But I guess the income from the mine must be worth it, since it sounds like there aren't too many Kirunians making much of a fuss... or should I say, undermining the mayor's plans...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I spy, with my little dime...

Last week the US issued a warning to US defense contractors about Canadian coins that might contain radio frequency transmitters inside them. The transmitters could presumably be used to track the movements of the people carrying them (no hints about which coins had the transmitters).

It all sounded very odd to me. After all, if the person being spied on was staying in Canada, you'd think they might spend the coin without knowing it - which makes it, er, a little tricky to follow the person who doesn't have it anymore. And if they ended up back to the US - or in any other country, you'd think they would empty their pockets to avoid carrying around the useless coin. So you'd probably be tracking the location of the dresser in their bedroom.

I guess you might get an idea of where these defense contractors live - but that's about it. I don't think you'd be guaranteed to find out anything about where they go day-to-day over the long term.

Well - lately, the US has retracted their claim about the transmitters. There seems to be no statement affirming that the transmitters weren't there. It's all so bizarre. Perhaps the Americans were just mystified by our two-toned currency?

I would like to think someone was doing some nifty study in Canada about where our currency goes while it's in circulation: "The Wonderful Journeys of Fred the Quarter or Terry the Toonie" sort of thing.

Now that would be cool.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


...does anyone aside from me find it funny that the Globe and Mail's Report on Business section abbreviates to "ROB"?

But anyway, the ROB - and the front page of the main section actually, today is all about Apple's new "Phone". Computer. TV. Blackberry. Whatever it is, I have to say it looks pretty good. Despite trying very hard to resist the pull of "cool" that Apple's been exerting with all its nifty i-products, i-have to admit that this little gizmo is pretty smart.

There is no need for a number pad, since everything is done using a touch screen, so its entire face can be used to display video. It can tell whether you're holding it in "portrait" or "landscape" orientation and adjust the picture automatically. If you're listening to music and someone calls, it tuns down the volume automatically. It comes with either a 4 G or 8 G hard drive, and is equipped with a web browser, and built-in wireless.

And it even knows when you're bringing it close to your head so that you don't accidentally use the touch-screen with your earlobe.

'Course, at the moment it's still $500 USD which is way too much for me to spend on something that basically gathers a bunch of servicesI already have into one place. And seriously, the last thing I need is to be able to check my email more often.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

With this dress...

This weekend I've been sorting photos from our wedding. And I have to say, damn, we all looked fine! I sort of laugh when I think back to me choosing my wedding dress. I went to the bridal salons surrounded by a gaggle of girls - which was way too much fun. I stared at photo after photo of weddng dresses on the internet. I logged on to bridal message boards. In short, something quite odd happened to me - I became obsessed with "the dress".

But I also agonized over the whole concept - I was so conflicted about wanting a traditional white dress - and about spending so much money on something that I would only be wearing for a day. I was pretty happy when I found a floor sample that fit me, looked great - and was 70% off to boot. It assuaged my guilt about "buying in" to the whole fancy gown deal.

Yesterday I took it to The Bride's Project, whose tag line is "Finding a cost-conscious option for brides, while helping children with cancer". Basically, people (and some salons) donate their wedding dresses, which are then resold to brides who don't mind wearing something that's been used. Or not. Some of the dresses are new... All of the dresses are a steal of a deal.

And all the proceeds go to support Camp Quality, which helps kids affected by cancer go camping, or else to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Breast Cancer Foundation. So the whole thing is totally awesome.

My only regret... has nothing to do with giving away the dress. I loved it, but I do not feel sad that it's gone. Nope, my only regret is that I didn't know about the Bride's Project in time to go shopping there in the first place.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Canadians are HOT

Apparently the environment has topped Canadians' list of things to be concerned about. They've decided that it's more important than health care or the war in Afghansitan.

I'm slightly flabbergasted. I always have the feeling that we sort of care... when we have a moment and only if it doesn't cost us anything. But whatever, I hope it lasts long enough that the government moves on it.

Yesterday's cabinet shuffle - putting John Baird in charge of the environment portfolio - appeared to send a message that Harper is listening. But I'm a little nervous that this Canadian concern is only going to last as long as the abnormal weather. If it actually snows next month, will we all forget how wierded out we are by the current warm temperatures?

Plus - there has been talk of an upcoming election - which could garner big promises from all the parties - or could just put everything on hold once again while all the politicians wander around their ridings trying to make nice. Maybe wI should give us more credit, but I worry that by the time an election is over, the collective Canadian consciousness will be focussed on something entirely different.

Could it be?!

I finally have a defense date. For my doctoral dissertation. Yep, in five weeks minus a day I'll be sweating it out in front of my committee trying desperately to answer their questions. And be articulate at the same time.

I'm partly exhilarated and partly terrified

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Paid announcement...

We spent yesterday afternoon at the movies. It felt like celebrating the New Year by embracing advertising. Lovely.The theatre feels like an amusement part, with flashing lights, overpriced candy and popcorn, and even a bar (after all, who wouldn't want to relax after seeing a movie by having a drink in a loud, tacky, teenage-filled hallway, right by the lineup for the bathrooms).

Worse, the movie started a fulll 25 minutes after the advertized time. We were inundated with ads for cars, perfume, and video game consoles. Normally I don't mind the previews, but really, that's just another ad - and I was sick of waiting for the film I paid for to start.

Supid theatre - I paid $12 to see a movie. Not the commercials. It's completely scandalous that they can get away with showing them at all.