Thursday, June 23, 2005

New Kid on the Blog

I used to live across the street from Rick Mercer. I saw him at the video store once (on the ground floor of the South Park & Victoria apartment building in Halifax; don't remember what it's called). And shovelling his front steps and sidewalk after a big snowstorm a few years ago (what a good citizen).

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Gratuitous post, just because I can...

It is time to get off the computer (I've been doing some work from home this evening as I had to leave early today for an appointment) and set me down with a tuna-melt sandwich and read. In other words:

It is time to get through The Council of Elrond.

I stopped reading Lord of the Rings about 1 1/2 weeks ago because, well, that's a darn long chapter and I hate having to interrupt chapters partway through. I just haven't had a chunk of free time long enough to tackle it. (For the record, yes, I have read LOTR before.) But now, it is time. Especially since War of the Worlds is coming out soon, and while I can't stand Tom Cruise as a general rule, I'm going to have to see it, but first, I have to re-read the book* (it's a rule I have about GOOD BOOKS that are made into movies). But reading LOTR and WotW at the same time would just be wrong. I'm sure Rebecca would agree (the Queen of Multiple, Simultaneous Texts - I don't know how she does it).

In other news, I had an interesting meeting today with people from my soon-to-begin new job (not yet announced - I'm waiting for Day #1). And it looks like, if I play my cards right, I might be able to get my hands on some copyright work - very exciting! (Yes, I am a nerd.)

* Random complaint: If you type in "war of the worlds" (with NO quotes, mind you) to the search engine at Chapters, you get lots of hits but NOT the obvious choice by H.G. Wells classic. I demand smarter search engines that understand what I think! (God. I sound like a librarian already...)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Mop Boy and Bat Girl out on the Town

In honour of our (hopefully) bat-free future, the superintendent having boarded up the gaps in our windows, tonight Randal and I decided to go see the new Batman movie. It just opened today. Batman Begins stars Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader himself. It is a prequel to the other Batman movies and shows how Bruce Wayne came to be the Batman the citizens of Gotham City know, love, and sometimes fear.

I'm not a huge Batman fan. I haven't seen all the previous Batman films. Batman, yes, but it was a long time ago. Batman Returns, I have seen either the whole thing or at least good portions of it. Ditto for Batman Forever. And I'm pretty sure I've never actually seen the last one, Batman & Robin.* I did grow up watching a lot of the old Batman TV series in reruns, starring Adam West** - WHAM! POW! BIF!

Batman Begins was pretty good. It feels a bit long, but is actually only just over two hours. Bruce Wayne's formative years, including his time in the Far East (where else did you think he learned his killer moves?) take up a good chunk of time at the beginning, but it's just about right. Then he gets down to the business of setting up crime-fighting shop in Gotham City. The movie is dark but, from what I remember, Batman with Michael Keaton is much darker. Christian Bale is quite good.*** The only thing I have seen him in previously is Reign of Fire - not the finest film, though it was entertaining. I have heard he was quite good in American Psycho but I haven't seen it myself. Katie Holmes was slightly better than your average starlet in this sort of role, though somewhat out-of-place. Anyway, for the most part, all the actors were quite good (even including Liam Neeson, though I was a little worried when I first saw him in the film).

The story isn't airtight - as Randal pointed out, a microwave emitter that vaporizes water would probably fry us all too in the process - but there are some nice touches. How the Bat Cave is developed. How Bruce Wayne is pushed to pick up the gauntlet. Why the symbol or idea of "Batman" is chosen. It even flows well into the next (or first, if you will) Batman movie, as it becomes known that the Joker is on the loose.

That's it. Go see it. It was good. Tell me what you think.

* And from what I understand, I don't think I want to either, even (yes, Robert, I do have my limits) despite the presence of "Chris O'Donnell's cute butt in rubber".

**PUT YOUR SOUND ON AND CLICK ON THAT LINK!!!!!! You will smile, I guarantee it!

***His butt also kicks Chris O'Donnell's any day, so there.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Despite outward appearances, this ain't Malaysia...

When I was in Malaysia last summer, one of the things I did was visit Gua Telings (Ear Cave) in Taman Negara, the large national park in peninsular Malaysia (a few hours' drive from Kuala Lumpur). Gua Telings, or "Bat Cave" as it is often fondly called, provided me with an unforgettable 90 minutes (or so) crawling through this incredibly small series of caves (I have heard the skill required described as being that of Spiderman-like contortions, and that's no joke) that is home to many bats. I am afraid of bats, at least in confined spaces. Outdoors where they can swoop around and be free without me having to worry about them landing in my hair - fine. But as a general rule, I like to keep my distance. However, I bravely picked my way through the caves, past the bats, and soaked up my fair share of bat-shit, plus got some great photos along the way. It was great.

So. Fast forward to June 4, 2005, approximately 11 months after Gua Telings. Saturday night, downtown Ottawa, 1 a.m. The location is not a cave but rather the more mundane location of the bedroom. We are lying in bed. Randal is reading, the dog and I are dropping off to sleep. We hear a soft ffwwit-fwit-fwit sound from the kitchen. I look at Randal, he looks at me, Rion looks at both of us.

"Shall I check it out? Probably something fell," I say.

"If you think..."

"Well," I respond, "if you're not fussed about it, neither am I."

So we remained in bed.

Not more than 60 seconds later, a BAT comes flying into our room. I shriek and do my best duck-and-cover routine under the sheets. Randal jumps up, says, "I got it!", and I hear him grab the dog and hustle out of the room.

Time passes. Eventually, after an eternity, I peek out from under the sheets. Though I do not have my glasses on, I shriek again, "I can see it! It's behind the door hanging off!!! Augh!" The bat suddenly decides not to remain behind the door (who ever thought they were attracted by the sound of shrieking girls - now all those Hollywood thrillers make sense to me) and starts looping wildly around the room. I shriek some more and duck back under the covers. Apparently at this point, the dog, who had been put behind a (small but normally effective) barrier in the living room so he could not interact with the flying rodent, decided he must jump the barrier and run to my rescue. So did Randal, thankfully, and he saw the bat swooping around the room and the dog staring up at it, tongue lolling out, tail wagging wildly, just watching it. A new playtoy!

Rion was removed from the room once more. And Randal, now clad in jeans, rainjacket, work gloves, and a Burmese conical rice-paddy hat, brandishing a mop, gets to be the Hero of this story. First, he propped open the balcony door (luckily, the balcony is off our bedroom - very convenient for bat-removals). Then he got the bat to settle down on the mop. I didn't see any of this, of course - I was busy sweltering with heat (it was REALLY hot that night) and shaking with fear under the sheets and duvet.

He tried to get me to peek out to look at the bat on the mop - apparently it was really cute. I flatly refused. Good thing, too - the bat chose that moment to swoop off the mop-head and dove right for where my head would have been had I decided to look. I screamed some more (I felt it swoop). A few minutes (and much under-cover sweating) later, he had the bat on the mop again, and ushered it out the door and back into the wild.

We figure it came in through the kitchen window. We have screens, but the windows are old and there is a gap of a few inches between the inner window and the outer screen. Needless to say, first thing Monday morning I called up the superintendent for the building and he will be coming by hopefully later this week to block up that gap so that we have no more nightly visitors.

So if you have any bats in your apartment, you know who to call. Hint: Not me. But I know this guy who has a routine down-pat, complete with Asian rice hat - this is our second bat in this apartment (I was absent for the first, thank god).

And now, I am off to a (hopefully) bat-free sleep.