Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stormchasing with Briques du Neige: Memories of Irene

Despite the great pleasure I take in mocking the media overreaction to Tropical Storm (née Hurricane) Irene, especially when it comes to New York City, I have to say that I do quite enjoy following the storm itself.  It's really quite impressive!  I feel quite privileged being here in Montreal, as I got to get a nice taste of the storm without having to suffer any of its damage.

Though I knew I had to do go for a walk in the storm, I did have an internal debate early this afternoon and got out later than I wanted to.  As it turned out, it was probably for the best, as the majority of the branches that were going to fall had fallen.  There was quite a bit of damage.  I would not have felt comfortable being in the forest in the first couple hours of the storm.  As it was, I felt pretty tense for a lot of the trip.  You can't really relax when the wind is moving like that, even if you know the odds of something happening to be pretty low.  Up on the top, on the south-facing side, the wind was really ferocious.  It came in big, long gusts that drove the rain to the horizontal.  At one point, when I was just before an exposed gap on the trail, it got so loud that I felt the surging seed of panic in my breast.  I suppressed it and calmed myself down, but it was interesting to see how your physiology reacts to environmental stress.  It wasn't going so fast that I felt nervous about losing my footing, but I had to take care.  Maybe getting close to 40 km/h at the highest?  (hmm, the weather site is telling me the gusts can be getting up to 69 km/h!  I feel manly!)

Overall, it was an amazing walk.  Super intense.  The pictures don't capture what it was like to be in it and this is really pretty mild compared to what the people down south got (south of New York, I mean) and along the coasts got, but it still felt amazingly powerful and vast.  I really got a sense that I was hanging out on the fringes of a major weather system that had travelled up the continent to get to me.
Here's a pretty big tree that came down up near the Grandeur Nature field

This guy was up on the battlefield plateau, just next to the field itself and—I kid you not—he was wearing a wizard cape and appeared to be performing magical ceremonies.  After I took this picture, he sprang up and the ground where he'd been leaning was smoking.  Later, I heard a loud bang coming from the direction of the battlefield.

These are the rock stairs behind the sloping field looking down across the main path towards the medieval battlefield.  This picture isn't great, but you can see the water streaming down either side.  Later, as you will see below, the stairs themselves became a waterfall.

The summit!

The wrath of the gods

and here it is live!

Looks like the Tower of Orthanc.  

Some other hearty souls.

Didn't stand a chance.

Here are the same stairs, but seen from above.  I went around.

Charlie oblivious to the carnage in her obsessive hunt for squirrels.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Looking for like-minded Google Plus'ers

Hey, I'm over at Google+ and I'm looking for people who are interested in discussing the kinds of movies we see at Fantasia as well as the topics of Canada and Montreal that get bandied about here.  I'm sure they are out there and it would be fun to have the kind of short-term discussions and sharing of neat stuff that goes on on G+ with them.  So if you are on google+, find me at Olman Feelyus and add me to your book circles or whatever.  If you want to be on, let me know in the comments and I'll try and send you an invite.

It's weird, because I already have lots of people I already know as well as tons of people from the tabletop RPG community in my circles.  But I can't figure out a way to search people by interest and thus find discussions about other subjects (mainly books and movies) that I am interested in.

(I've posted this same thing over at Olman's Fifty, but about books.)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Rant: l'affaire Turmel

Canadians are fucking stupid and the fucking media is largely responsible for this.  How the fuck is it a news story that the interim leader of the NDP once was a member of the Bloc.  This is like the Red Scare.  How did it end up that our media just entirely bought into the Conservative propaganda line which effectively undermines any serious opposition to their power?

What's even more maddening than the retarded reporters and their scumbag editors who are pushing this story to the top of the headlines, are the retarded anglophone Canadians who are on the left who actually consider this an issue.  Check this quote from user "retardo" on the CBC website:

This is really sad for the Federal NDP. They made such gains in the last election, and actually could have formed a govt in 4 years (Providing that Canadians are upset with the Conservatives and the Liberals are still picking bad leaders) This Woman has just destroyed the NDP. They now stand no chance of making any gains outside of Quebec in the next election. They had an opportunity to become a national contender in the next federal election, now they will simply become the regional party of Quebec.
What was the NDP caucus thinking? If Jack does not miraculously heal in the next week they will lose every seat outside of Quebec in the next election.

You really believe this shit?  Seriously?  How fucking stupid and ignorant are my fellow anglophone Canadians?

Here, I am going to spell it out for you.

Quebec separating is not "destroying Canada"
If this worst-case scenario were to actually happen (which it won't), so what?  The only people who will suffer are the federalists in Quebec and they are already so put upon, I can't see how much worse it could be for them.  Otherwise, Canada is still Canada, just minus a big province.  If you cut off my arm, it will hurt like hell, but I'll live and still be me (and I'll still kick your ass).  This "having anything to do with the Bloc" = "wanting to destroy Canada" is simply a logical fallacy and must be eliminated from our national discourse.  It exists because as long as the Bloc is demonized, the left can never unite against Harper and his neo-cons. They know this and that is why they are very happy right now.  I'm not speaking to fans of Harper and his cronies here.  I'm speaking to you fuckstick anglophones on the left who do not know shit about Quebec but are somehow weirdly fearful and angry that there is a political movement here that wants independence.  YOU ARE WRONG.

Quebec won't separate
It's just not a practical reality.  That's why the NDP did so well in Quebec.  So even if you disagree with my logic above, it doesn't matter.  It's simply never going to happen.  Francophone Quebeckers already get the social and cultural benefits they demanded for in la Revolution Tranquille and tons of economic benefits.  The only people who are still complaining are those for whom it is an emotional issue and they are dying off and selling out (cough Jaques Parizeau cough) or remain a small minority too distracted with Turcotte to care.  So stop worrying about it.  It's not going to happen.

Political reality on the ground in Quebec has almost nothing to do with sovereignty
Sovereignty is pretty low down on practical political issues that drive people to vote here (and drive politicians to choose parties).  The economy, the environment and myriad local issues.  The Bloc and Quebec Solidaire never talk about separation these days.  It's just sort of a baseline that you have to say to be a legit party here in Quebec.

I have to cut this short, because I have to get to a Fantasia screening (enfin!), but I think you get my point. Dear anglo leftie who thinks that it is an issue that Turmel was a member of the Bloc: you are an idiot.  Fuck, it was 20 years ago!  Dear CBC: @#@Q#%#$^@#$^ (sorry, I can't even express myself).