On Frozen Pond

So I'm back in Florida Tech after an almost month-long and very well-enjoyed break. (If you don't know where Florida Tech is, Google it; if you have to do that, you probably don't know me, in which case I'm honored you specifically chose my blog to help erase your sanity.) I've gotten a lot of flack for attending school here, on both sides of the border. Back in Canuckistan, the running joke was that I was abandoning the north for warmer winter climes; down here, it's mostly quips about my saying "eh" a lot. (Northerners, even if you don't think you say it often -- as I did -- chances are VERY high you do. I say I'm a proud member of the Eh-Team, and damned be the rest.) But, interestingly, my two worlds have very recently collided.

It snowed, however briefly, over much of Central Florida yesterday.

No, I don't mean someone accidentally dropped a cooler of frozen strawberry daquiri from the party plane; I'm talking genuine, White Christmas-making snow. And while the prospect of watching Floridians panic in anything below a 50F high warms my heart, it sorta negates all those cold jokes. Oh, sure, the highs are still about 30 degrees warmer than home, and it's gonna be 75 and sunny again by the weekend, but trust me when I say it's a different kind of cold down here. A single jacket usually won't amount to crap compared to a bunch of layers of thin clothing. Anyway, Central Florida gets flurries once every few years, but nothing's stuck on the ground since about 1976; usually the only place you see white powder in Florida is on a Miami hooker's back. (HI-yo!) Even my beloved Epcot saw some snow 'till about noon.

I can't tell you how many people I've heard this week making some "So much for global warming!" joke. Let me state very clearly: 1) Global warming affects long-term global climate patterns, and 2) It should be measured on a geologic, NOT seasonal scale. While it's very rare for Florida to have such a prolonged period of often below-freezing temperatures, there are just some things you can't fault Al Gore on. (I plan to do a special climate change rant edition of "LOOD" -- the newly-discovered and very descriptive acronym for the blog -- at some point before we all go underwater.)

Besides, we shouldn't necessarily worry; if we really want the ice caps to refreeze, we could always send Hillary Clinton to give 'em an unflinching glare; it worked for Bill.


And speaking of unrelated topics...

I saw a brief newsflash on the Internets that caught my eye, and after reading further into it, I'm glad it did. Seems that Russia's Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) had a game yesterday that looked more like KGB.

You can skip to the 1:20 mark for the main event, but this chart is probably self-evident:

Summary Of Events
1 0:00 Fight Svitov-Verot
2 0:00 Fight Pervushin-Sugden
3 3:27 Line Brawl 10 players
4 3:27 Fight Svitov-Sugden
5 3:27 Fight Jagr-Verot
6 3:27 Fight Belov-Sapozhkov
7 3:27 Fight Yezhov-Litvinenko
8 3:34 Line Brawl 8 players
9 3:34 Fight Orlov-Zuborev
10 3:34 Fight Khramkov-Klimenko
11 3:34 Fight Bondarev-Megalinsky
12 3:34 Fight Pervushin-Koznev
13 3:37 Bench-Clearing Brawl 28 players
14 3:37 Fight Perrin-Berdnikov
15 3:37 Fight Averin-Komaristy
16 3:37 Fight Ryabykin-Belousov
17 3:37 Fight Vlasenkov-Kolesnikov
18 3:37 Fight Klepis-Batyrshin
19 3:37 Fight Kukkonen-Sergeyev
20 3:37 Fight Ryabykin-Bakhriddinov
21 3:37 Fight Kuryanov-Belokon
22 3:37 Fight Bondarev-Litvinenko
23 3:37 Fight Yezhov-Zuborev
24 3:39 Mini-Brawl 4 players
25 3:39 Fight Klepis-Bobrov
26 3:39 Fight Volkov-Bakhriddinov

Yeah, you read #13 right: 28 players involved. The most amazing part is looking at the times of these brawls: one happening even before the game starts, followed by about 207 seconds of "peace", with 7 seconds of play between fights, then 3, then a whopping 2. Keep in mind those times above are in minutes of play, and the fight stats end abruptly for a reason: literally everyone except the goalies were penalized, and the frickin' game was called FOUR MINUTES in due to forfeit by both teams, with an unprecedented (and non-typo'd) 691 penalty minutes incurred between the two rivals.

Needless to say, I'm pretty sure this new record of 3.16 penalty minutes per second of play will be a VERY long-standing record.



Duct Tape Forever

So I'm sitting in my room out of complete boredom (which tends to happen on days with negative windchill) when all of a sudden I hear a familiar tune playing on TV. It had been a few years since I'd heard it, but it was the comedic dinner bell to my inner Pavlovian dog:


It hit me like Kirstie Alley going after a cake: I dearly miss The Red Green Show.

Yes, this little slice of awesome was a cornerstone of my CBC-Friday-Night driven childhood. Every school week's end was marked by watching the good ol' boys from Possum Lodge get through everyday Canadian life; hell, I'm actually an honorary member of the Lodge, according to the fan club kit (with OFFICIAL iron-on patch) I still have. There was nothing I wouldn't have given to win the Possum Lodge Word Game, or read poetry while camping in Northern Ontario in the dead of winter. A sample:

It is Winter.
A time to pause.
The driveway is half shoveled out.
But I lay down the shovel
And I stop to enjoy this moment.
After all, this is my first heart attack.

Anyway, there was an hour-long special on the Comedy Network tonight featuring the entire cast with clips from the show. That's when I realized just how much I miss Red & Company; they took impossible handyman tasks and made molehills out of mountains, yet the can-do (and will-do) spirit made you see a mountain in the end result all the same. And they did it for 300 episodes, making them the longest-running sitcom EVER, second only to the Simpsons.

I really can't describe why I loved the show so much. Maybe it's because it was one of the first TV comedies I was introduced to / allowed to watch; perhaps it was the inadvertently sound advice at the end of every show to "keep your stick on the ice" that got me through hockey the following Saturday morning. If there's anything I can thank them for, though, it's giving me the wisdom for getting me where I am today: If something doesn't look like it'll work, keep at it and it probably will; if it doesn't, well, maybe it wasn't meant to work anyway. But you're never a failure, so long as you've got good friends, good health, and a full roll of duct tape.

It also taught me you can make a bread machine out of a dishwasher.

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati, indeed.



Old Dan Reviews: Avatar

I refused to believe all the hype before seeing this 3-hour epic; James Cameron may have done a fantastic job on Titanic (and don't tell me otherwise), but going into a film with no expectations and no synopsis is something I've found to be an extremely refreshing experience, like Sprite for your eyes. (Ed note: Do NOT pour Sprite in your eyes, as it is far from refreshing.)

Ladies and gentlemen, my verdict for Avatar: Ohmuhguh.

See, I think James Cameron succeeded where Michael Bay failed me; whereas Bay deals more with the obnoxious, "pay-no-attention-to-the-thin-plot-behind-the-curtain" special effects, Cameron weaves a web of CGI so fine that you can't help but let your jaw drop at how far cinema has come. Sure, the plot is almost too familiar and formulaic for its own good, but the fact that an entire other WORLD, rich in wildlife and steeped in tradition among its indigenous people, was created solely for the purposes of this film just amazes me.

Come to think of it, I'm almost mad that Cameron & Co. distracted me well enough from the plot. I very much value my film storylines, and Avatar's was admittedly a cookie-cutter "save the environment" message, or as my sister put it, "Fern Gully-esque". But as I said, you can imagine why the movie as a whole took over six years to perfect; this is the only film which I can say has flawless SFX (including a tree-felling scene which makes Burning Man look like Smoldering Twig), and because I saw it in 3-D, I'm inclined to believe that sadly these effects won't be NEARLY as justified on the small screen.

I therefore encourage you, every last one of you readers (there's barely more than one of you anyways, I'd wager), to see Avatar in theatres and especially in that most glorious of dimensions, the third.


P.S. James Cameron also managed to convince a VERY captive audience that early Native American history can be allegorized using tall blue kitty people. So... there's that.


One Small Step For Dan, One Giant Disaster For The Internets

Ah, crap. Now I've gone and signed up for the one corner of the Internet that I had previously left relatively sacred... well, of the parts that still had varying degrees of dignity intact. (Life story.)

Welcome to the blog of Dan Smith, resident fogey-in-chief and Canada's greatest living folk hero. Since I'm sure that people will eventually look back to this first post for an idea of where it all began (to end), I will try to address future issues accordingly:

1) I had no idea she was a cop.

2) Really.

3) To the followers of the new amalgamated social networking site "YouTwitFace": Count on me to BLOW YOUR FREAKING MIND by expressing my displeasure for the Internet in over 140 characters.

4) I will ask Google this week to ban the search "Dan Smith + escort + hacksaw + ditch". I have no idea why this would be of use to me in the course of future events, but it helps to have the bases covered.

5) Refer to 1).

6) To Twihards: Do yourself a favour. Go out and buy a dictionary. Look up "vampire". Note the lack of references to sparkles and the abundant references to decent literature.

7) In the upcoming Stratford Festival stage version of my autobiography, "Get Off My Lawn", I would like the lead role to be played by U.S. President Colbert.

8) Since I assume I will be rich enough to buy a small country when you read this, chances are I already have. Shout-out from the past to all my loyal servants in the Republic of Danistan*.

9) Refer to 5).

That seems about it. I wish you a very happy new year, and hope that you, as I, will welcome our new insect overlords with open arms, hearts and minds.

Tasty, tasty minds.

*The Happiest Li'l Dictatorship On Earth.