Monday, June 30, 2008

I Shoddy This Post

So quite some time ago, in my long lost other blog, I posted about the seemingly Prince Georgian usage of the words "budge" and "verse," which Language Hat was kind enough to blog about as well. Well, I've found another strange usage. When the boys, or for that matter any kid here in town, wants to lay claim to something, they quickly shout out "I shoddy the last ginger ale!" or whatever it is they want to get.

Of course, a search of definitions comes up with the usual, and nothing else. The only exception is a site for a Pokemon game called "Shoddy Battle," but a search of that site doesn't come up with anything to explain this usage. And so I find myself wondering, is this a spontaneous creation, or has it arisen from somewhere else and are others seeing it as well?


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Euro 2008 - The Final

So I'm going to stay with my initial pick, which is that Spain wins the final. I was brutalized for my quarter-final picks, with only one (Spain) out of four correct. I was so busy I forgot to do the semi-final picks, although I would have been right both times.

The fear, of course, is that Germany, a pre-tournament fave, has come into their game, and also that Spain has yet to live down to their reputation and fold like a cheap suit. However, I stand by my belief that Spain is playing like real players this time, not easy to knock over. Also, Germany got lucky against Turkey in the final. And while you make your own luck, I think their defense this time is going to look like they're in another time zone when the Spaniards are out of the field.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Last Night's Sky

Lightning, thunder, portentous clouds, and then it all disappeared and we didn't see a drop of anything. But there's plenty of room in the surrounding forests for flying saucers to hide, so something may yet come of it.


Brennan in B&W

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fun With Graphs

Man, I could be at this site all day. Via Bob Harris, we have GraphJam, in which people make up all sorts of ludicrous and hilarious graphs about everything pop culture, and then some. Well worth your time to go and poke around.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Euro 2008 - Quarter Finals Picks

Well, I got some of my picks right, some wrong, and so here I am to update them, along with some thoughts on what's gone down in a pretty damnfine week of soccer.

In Group A, I picked Portugal and the Czechs. The Czechs, unfortunately, didn't have the legs, and so even though they held the lead until late in the last game of the opening round, Turkey stormed back with two goals in the last few minutes, including an ugly one when Peter Cech, the Czech keeper, dropped what should have been an easy cross. Portugal did end up on top, but Turkey came through for 2nd.

In Group B, I picked Germany and Poland. Oops. Germany did make it, but to be honest, it was a struggle for them, and so they only managed 2nd. Poland were, despite their complaints about the ref in one game, brutal. Croatia, in spite of missing Eduardo, one of their best players, very nicely made their way into 1st, even winning their last game with what was mostly a team of substitutes.

In Group C, I picked Italy and the Netherlands. I got that right, although in the wrong order. The Dutch absolutely dominated this group, with some of the best play I've seen in years. Italy probably got lucky, with how Romania didn't step up to the plate, but sometimes you do make your own luck.

In Group C, I picked Spain and Greece. Greece, the defending champs, didn't win a game. Their play was brutal and even more boring than I remember, and so Russia, who played some exciting ball at times (and since they have a Dutch coach, perhaps that's no surprise), move on in 2nd.

For the quarter finals, I'm picking the following:

Portugal over Germany (even though the Portuguese have the worst keeper of this tournament)

Croatia over Turkey

Holland over Russia

And, after some crossing of fingers, Spain over Italy.

No upsets, based on the standings. But read this for a take on how panicked the Spaniards are at the prospect of facing the Italians. Frankly, if I were them I'd be planning on winning that match and then panicking about the idea that the Dutch were next in line.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Prescience and the Web

I find this quite astonishing, to see that someone was thinking not only of something like the internet but even of a rough equivalent of hyperlinks, decades before that series of tubes was constructed.

Labels: , ,

Friday, June 06, 2008

Euro 2008 Picks

In a recent online conversation with Guy Kay, he asked me what my take was on Euro 2008, next to the World Cup the largest soccer tourney in the world, and so after a minimal amount of thought, I sent him the following:

I think this is the year that Spain, and perhaps Portugal, figure out how to do it right. Spain especially, with a player like Fernando Torres making such a big mark with Liverpool. He hasn't scored as many as Ronaldo with ManU, but he's made his mark in a different way; he doesn't rather suddenly succumb to gravity every time he's tapped in the box. Instead he stays up and, you know, tries to score goals. It'll be a different experience for the Spaniards, and interesting to see if they can pick themselves up in response. I think they can.

My picks to get out of the group stages:

Portugal and Czech Republic
Germany and Poland (even though they won their qualifying group, Poland has never made it this far before, so they're a dark horse, I think)
Italy and Netherlands (Aidan will kill me for this, since France is his team, but I think they're in rebuilding mode)
Spain and Greece (tough group, but Sweden are perpetual underachievers and Russia is pretty unreliable)

My quarter final picks, based on the nonsense above:

Portugal beat Poland
Czech Republic beat Germany
Italy beat Greece
Spain beat Netherlands


Portugal beat Czech Republic
Spain beat Italy

An Iberian final, with Spain coming out on top.

We'll see how far off I am.

Aidan's picks:

A - Portugal and Czech Republic
B - Germany and Croatia
C - Netherlands and France
D - Spain and Sweden

Quarter Finals: Portugal and Germany win their side, Netherlands and France win theirs.

Semis: Portugal and France win

Champion: Portugal (Dad here saying holy smokes, Aidan isn't picking France to win it all!)


The Boys at Track and Field Day

Brennan competed in relays and triple jump, Aidan in relays, 100m and long jump. Brennan got 1st in the triple and 3rd in relays, Aidan 1st in relays and long jump and 3rd in 100m. But the story gets, in my opinion, better when the day is pretty much done.

Triple jump had been my "specialty" when I was in school, and so I've spent the past few weeks coaching Brennan on technique, as well as giving Aidan as much input as I can on long jump. Therefore, it came as no surprise to me when Aidan won his competition with a jump of 3.53m, 11cm longer than 2nd, and Brennan won with a jump of 6.11m, which was a whopping 53cm longer than his closest follower. What did surprise me was that Brennan's jump was shorter than what he'd been managing in our backyard, without a sand pit to jump into.

Later in the day, I was helping two of Aidan's classmates with their jumping, and one of them had chosen to start his jump from a board that was further from the pit than what the teacher in charge was recommending. This made sense to me, as the closer board was so close that any child who knew how to stretch out the step part of the hop, step and jump would end up stepping into the pit (or at least right to the very edge) and would therefore have a shorter jump. But both boys managed jumps long enough to put them into 2nd and 3rd (with 7.08 and 7.00m), but they had to wait for one more boy who was just coming over from the 100m final (where he beat Aidan). That boy managed to reel off a 7.21m jump, and once it was settled they all headed off for their ribbons.

I asked the teacher in charge if Brennan could try one more time, just for fun, from the further board. He said yes, and so Brennan tried another jump, which wasn't so good, and then Aidan ran in with another long jump. And then they both tried again, and here's where it gets good. Aidan's long jump was 3.6m, which meant a personal best and another 7cm on top of what he'd done earlier in the day.

And then Brennan jumped. The teacher made the measurement, then muttered "That can't be right" and turned the tape measure over and looked to make sure that the start of it was at the board. I asked what it said, and his answer almost made my eyes pop out: 7.60m. A 9-year-old in grade 3 had jumped almost 40cm further than the best grade 6 competitor, and well over a meter further than I had thought he was capable.

We'll find a track and field club when we move to Saskatoon.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Something Funny To Read

First drafts of the Parables of Jesus.


Your Government Inaction

Based on a variety of reports, I decided the other day that it was time to contact my MP about what might happen with copyright here in Canada. Here's what I wrote:

Dear Mr. Harris,

I have been dismayed to read the continuing news reports about the possible Canadian version of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act). Suggestions that overly large fines might be introduced in spite of many Canadian artists specifically coming out against this tactic is extremely worrisome and tells me that this bill would be friendly to non-Canadian corporations rather than to Canadian creators and consumers. Even worse to my mind, the word that came down last week that border officials would be allowed to search computers and digital devices such as iPods without any sort of warrant tells me that my government is prepared to invade my privacy in order to make large companies happy.

As with any government, there are things the Conservatives do that I agree with and things I do not. In that, I suspect I am off the most common variety of Canadian. But this is the first time I've felt obligated to write. I am a blue collar worker, but I also have a secondary career as an author, and my wife is an academic librarian.In these roles, both of us have a strong interest in copyright issues, and we firmly believe that while copyright is a positive thing, it has been carried too far and shows signs of becoming even more onerous.

Therefore, I urge you and the government to give due consideration to this bill and to allow other voices to be heard, rather than allowing it to be pushed through.

Thank you for your attention on this matter.


Derryl Murphy

cc The Right Honorable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister
The Honorable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry

and here is what Dick Harris (or his office lackeys) wrote in response:

Dear Derryl,

Thank you for your e-mail, it is always a pleasure to hear from my constituents.

The Government of Canada aims to protect the rights of creators and the rights of holders. However, as the need to reform copyright legislation was highlighted in the 2007 Speech from the Throne, our government knows it must move forward quickly.

Copyright reform is complex and our Government will introduce a new bill when she is satisfied it strikes the right balance between creators and consumers.

Thank you again for expressing concern in this issue.


Dick Harris, MP
Cariboo-Prince George

So that's it. We wait to see just how the federal Conservatives define striking the right balance.

Labels: ,

Just Sitting Back, Enjoying Some Calvin and Hobbes

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Last Kodiaks Soccer Tournament

As mentioned elsewhere, we were in Edmonton this last weekend for the third of three soccer tournaments for Aidan's team. In Burnaby they played three games and got hammered all three times, and in Kamloops they won one, got smoked in another, and lost a tight one. In Edmonton, the pattern looked to repeat itself, with a tie (leading 2-0 with ten minutes, the boys fell asleep) followed by a 12-0 scorching by a team I remember well from when I was a kid, since I still sport burn marks from every time we played them.

But next day at breakfast I asked Aidan how he felt that day, and his response was "I feel like stopping shots." And true to his word, he got two clean sheets that day, a 5-0 win and a 3-0 win. Since there were five teams in their group, there were no gold medal or bronze medal games, and instead points decided placement. If a team was tied on points, then the next decider would be goal differential. Obviously the team that walloped Aidan placed first (they gave up one goal all weekend), but we had the same number of wins, losses and ties as the team we had tied on Saturday morning.

However. While these teams get one point for a tie and three for a win, they also get a bonus point for every shutout. And so, while the other team had a better goal differential, we had one more shutout than them, and so took the silver.

This being Aidan's last game with the team, seeing how we're skipping town and all, the coaches went and got him a special keeper's jersey and had all the kids sign it, which you can see him proudly demonstrating up above. He's going to miss that team and those boys.

Labels: ,

Fifteen (or so) Long Years

As some folks know, I was married once before. Not much about that time of my life stands out for me, but I did have a marvelous stepdaughter named Zoe, who was in my life from about the age 4 until she was 9, when her mother decided I couldn't see her anymore.

I'm not here to second-guess that decision. Indeed, based on some conversations I've recently had, it may have been the right move. But it sure did hurt like hell, and I've made sure I didn't forget Zoe.

Over the past couple of years I've made some attempts to reach out to her, all through intermediaries of one form or another, but then one day last year discovered that Zoe was on Facebook. The ensuing conversations were of a measured pace, especially as she took careful stock of who I was now and what reasons I could possible have for parachuting back in like I was. But in the end I must have proven myself to be at least marginally trustworthy, and we soon graduated to phone calls now and again.

But the big day was last Sunday, when I was in Edmonton for Aidan's last soccer tournament (and more on that later). Seeing how Zoe had just had her 24th birthday, she agreed to let me take her out for lunch, and then afterward she even decided she wanted to come and watch the last game, as well as meet Jo and the boys and see my dad and sister again.

I was nervous, Zoe was nervous, even Brennan was nervous. But it went well; a slow start at small talk, followed by deeper background, and then finally the remembrance of what it was to be this girl's father. It wasn't the teary reunion I once dreamed about, many years ago, but it was everything it should have been. The little girl I once thought of as mine (although, honestly, shared) is an fine adult now, and that makes me quite proud.

Labels: ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]