Rudolph the red-nosed, genetically-altered, reindeer subspecies

We all know the song. We’ve all seen the 1964 Rankin-Bass television special. In our Western culture, we have a story of an underdog, recognized one foggy Christmas Eve for a trait that only he possessed, which saved Christmas as we know it. And thus Rudy the Red-Beaked Reindeer went down in history.
But we live in an enlightened age. We like to know why things happened, not just how. And if you listen to that story — even if you take the Bumble and such into account — there’s just too darned much that we’ve missed. Where’s the reality check, huh? Oh, you’re going to throw that Santa thing at me? Sure, okay, now you’re just being dismissive. We have to face facts, folks. There’s more to this song. Way more.
Rudolph wasn’t a hero. He was a convenient freak of nature.
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True story

As you know, I’m going to be moving back to Calgary in December. The exact timing for that is still being determined, but let’s just go with the broad stroke: we have a lot of stuff that needs to be done as part of moving back.
One of those things — rather obvious to anyone who’s ever been responsible for their own utilities — is making sure that the electricity, gas, and water are put back in our names. And there’s no time like the present to do the research about services, plans, companies, and so forth.
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Los Terribles 2

Well, Monkey, you’ve hit the period of your life that Mommy and I kind of hoped you’d side-step. Until recently, you showed every sign of being a Perfect Angelâ„¢ and not following lock-step with most other children. But perhaps we were being too naïve, too optimisitic. After all, despite my initial (self-mocking) perspective on your conception, you’ve pretty much blown through every expectation.
In fact, up until a couple of weeks ago, you seemed pretty much hell-bent on being the perfect child. I had visions of you always coming to us for permission to watch TV or use the computer, letting us know the moment you found something on the internet that you shouldn’t be seeing, letting us know before you go outside to play with your friends, looking for approval before even thinking about dating, letting us help decide where you go for university…
Well, kiddo, based on your behaviour the last weekend, I’ll be lucky if you let me watch Backyardigans with you. Yeesh.
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WALL-E: What is Disney-Pixar not telling us?

I had an epiphany this morning as I waited for my carpool. I don’t know why it came to me, it just did. I can’t even remember how I got onto the thought. But as I stood there, I had the clear vision:
There are no old people on the Axiom.
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The Network Connection

With all the problems we’ve been having down here, you eventually start to become inspired to find an outlet, a way of bringing forth all your frustrations and desires into a singular vision. For some, it is art, for others it’s the urge to beat the living crap out of something.  
For me, it’s music.  
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Funny things in emails

I got into a fairly typical email exchange with Paul, one of our Release Engineers. Since I’m no longer on Rolex, I wanted to be taken off the email lists. This was how it went down:

Hey Paul,
Now that Torin’s running the Tech show, can you pull me from the Rolex Monitoring alias, please?

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How much of the internet is a waste of time?

So the other day, one of my coworkers starts laughing about how there’s this video out there, two somewhat-scantily clad women with tinfoil-wrapped boxes on their heads, doing a choreographed “dance” to Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
Then it hit me.
Someone — namely these two people — had to spend a considerable amount of time creating this. Thinking up the idea, practising it, filming it (with however many takes to get through the mistakes and undoubted laughter), and editing it.
Then it really hit me.
How much of the stuff out there is a complete waste of time?
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80th Oscars

Well, the annual Oscars show has come and gone again. And I almost missed it this time! It was by mere fluke that I happened to come across the E-Talk Red Carpet pre-show tonight. If I hadn’t caught it during a brief pause in my harried running around, I might have missed the show.
Not that I really would have missed much, admittedly. I have to admit, it was one of the more boring years.
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The Dirty Jobs Drinking Game

Everyone thinks their job sucks. It can be for any number of reasons. But there’s one guy out there who looks for the dirty jobs. The ones that no-one really wants to do, but does anyway. The ones where if the job wasn’t done, the world would (in many cases) come to a halt. They’re dangerous, often nauseating, and usually done by people far more interesting than we’d ever believe.
That’s what Discovery Channel‘s Dirty Jobs is all about. If you haven’t watched it, you really should check it out. It’s one of the few decent things on television, and one of only three shows that I’ll go out of my way to watch (the other two being Dirty Jobs’ sibling, Mythbusters, and ABC’s Pushing Daisies).
But there’s something about Dirty Jobs’ host, Mike Rowe, and the way he handles the content of the show, that really adds another layer. Namely, poo.
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Revenge is Sweet

When the temperature falls to -21 degrees with the wind chill, and the sky dumps 15 centimetres of snow on the ground, that’s when a young man’s fancy turns to…
Some months ago, Chris’ and my collective birthday to be exact, our friend Teak decided that he would give us each a small token of … well, sugar. Specifically, a lunchbox full of it. When I opened my little gift, candy spilled all over my desk. How he managed to get the candy in there and the lid shut is beyond me…
Needless to say, when word of Teak’s birthday came roaming around, Chris and I started thinking. Initially, it wasn’t anything mean or nasty, but then Chris joked about getting even with Teak for the months of sugar. (I still have some of mine.) It wasn’t too long before the joke turned serious, and it was time to execute.
Step 1: The plan.
This was perhaps the easiest part. The basic principle was sound: Get one of Teak’s desk-side cabinets (they’re a little over two feet tall, about one and a half feet deep, and a foot and a quarter wide — I don’t have a ruler, so these are estimates). Empty it. Then refill it. With candy. The trick, of course, was to do it when Teak wasn’t around (he’s been in the office late a lot, so working around that was a bit tricky).
Step 2: The supplies.
Sugar. And lots of it. In short, a trip to Costco, about the only place we can get such huge quantities of glucose goodness without completely breaking the bank. There’s a lot to consider when buying for a stunt such as this. You don’t want full-sized chocolate bars — they’re too big. Halloween ones would have been perfect, but those haven’t been in the stores for almost a month. You also have to be careful not to get too much of one thing. For example, too many M&Ms, although perfect for something like this, means you need more of them. Also, you want variety.
This meant we had to carefully choose our ammunition. I wish I’d remembered to bring the list of things we bought, but it’s along the lines of:

  • Four boxes of sour gummies (including cherry and watermelon flavours)
  • Two small tubs of more sour gummies
  • One tub of marshmallow rats (yes, rats)
  • One large tub of sugar lollipops
  • One small tub of Chupa Chups (lollipops)
  • One box of Blue Whales (gummies that taste like those blue freezies)
  • A couple packages of marshmallow peaches
  • Two huge bags of M&Ms (peanut variety)
  • Two bags of Jelly Belly jelly beans
  • One container of candy necklaces
  • One tub of Double Bubble gum (the ones with Bazooka Joe comics)
  • Three boxes of chocolate and caramel Rice Krispie squares (about the healthiest thing we threw in)
  • One large bag of Werther’s (sp?) caramels

There’s probably more, but we were having too much fun shopping for this stuff.
Step 3: The prank.
I was in the office again this weekend, partly because I had some work to do, partly because I’m overhauling my personal website (coming soon to a URL near you), and on Sunday, because I had to know when Teak wasn’t here anymore.
Around 6:30pm, I took a short trip upstairs. First good news: Teak wasn’t there. Second good news: Neither was anyone else. Best good news: The poor fool had left his cabinet unlocked. A little after 7:00, Chris called to say he was ready to have fun. I whipped over to the apartment, picked up my roommate and brother in mischief, and returned to the office.
The security guard was puzzled to say the least when we walked in with two huge boxes overflowing with packages of candy. We went upstairs to the Creative Services floor, and found that the lights were still off. (I’d turned them off when I’d inspected the floor earlier.)
The first thing we had to do was clean out his cabinet — the lower part, anyway. Teak had a lot of files, which would of course get in the way when trying to empty the various tubs, boxes, and bags. Fortunately, there are other cabinets which weren’t in use. A simple transfer, and we were on our way.
Almost … first, we had to line the lower bin with waxed paper. We didn’t want to make a total mess.
Then came the fun part — filling the drawers. Taking several containers, we started pouring. Mind you, this isn’t some random thing — you have to do it carefully. You don’t want to make a parfait of candy — you want a nice, even dispersion. We had to mix a few times to get the right distribution. But the end effect looks … nasty, actually, and the smell’s quite powerful.
Filling the lower drawer, we proceeded to the upper drawer (filling it with mostly small stuff, including M&Ms, and finally the top bin (which sits under the seat), also nice and full. The surprising part was that we’d had leftovers. We’d originally thought we didn’t have enough, and worried that the joke would only be partially realized. But ’tis better to have too much and do the job right than not have enough and do a half-assed job.
[flickr]photo:4336923348[/flickr] [flickr]photo:4336177183[/flickr] [flickr]photo:4336176767[/flickr] [flickr]photo:4336176305[/flickr]
The final touch was on Teak’s computer. Like most of our Designers, he has two monitors (one is usually for seeing the artwork, the second for all the tools). Chris made up two images that were placed on the backgrounds of each of the monitors. One read “Sugar is sweet.”, the other “Revenge is sweeter.”
I couldn’t stop giggling the entire time. I so wanted to put up a camera and videotape Teak’s arrival this morning. I so wish I could have seen the look on his face.
Ah well, all’s well that ends well. At least until Teak tries to up the ante. If he’s smart, he won’t — starting an arms race with us is … foolish.
All I can say is: There’s always room for…