Monthly Archives: February 2012

Everyone like fireworks, right?

I was looking through some folders and found this video of fireworks that I recorded while on our honeymoon last July.  The view is of SeaWorld from the balcony of our room at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina, San Diego.


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Smoke at track level

I finish at the lab after 12 hours, and jog to Queen’s Park Station. I have almost an hour to get to Downsview, which used to be enough time, but it seems like the ride is longer now. It’s probably the new trains taking longer to open and close their doors or something. The wait getting in to Downsview is worse than it used to be, for sure. But I digress. Standing in the tunnel, I start to smell smoke. And I think, “Damnit, I have never been at a stop where this happened before, and I hope I’m wrong about it happening here.” One of the new trains starts to pull in to the station, but just short of reaching the platform it stops. Then it shuts off its headlights. Then a few minutes later it backs up and they announce that train traffic has stopped in both directions at Queen’s Park.

I know this sometimes takes a half hour or more, so I decide to get to St. George, where they are turning back traffic, by another route. I head east on College, planning on catching the next streetcar. As I hear one approach, I start to run, and make it to the stop in time to watch him shut the doors behind the woman who got on ahead of me. The words cannot be part of my blog.

So I get to Bloor and they are still announcing the delay. I think I’m still ahead of the game. By the time the train is passing through Bay, they are announcing the delay is cleared. At St. George I catch a new train. Probably the same damn one.

So now I wait and see if I get to Downsview before 9:30. If I miss that bus I’m going to be so frustrated. I’ll report what happens.

Update: I made it.

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February 11, 2012 · 9:13 PM

Mollie, the Savannah monitor

We lost one of our Ackie monitors to impaction.  Reptilia agreed to take the other on trade for a Savannah monitor.  We got her a few weeks ago, and now I introduce her to you.  Her (well, she’s too young to tell for sure) name is Mollie.  She’s great.  I always wanted an iguana growing up, but I have come to find out that they are quite aggressive.  Mollie is much more suited to a family with young children.

This container is for feeding only.  Her regular enclosure is 6′ long.  Jack has been great about the weird choice of pet.


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The pictures to go with my previous post

I wouldn’t make much of a professional blogger. Here are the pictures I promised earlier.  Plus some others.  At the comedy show I had to take pictures of the video screen because the boys looked like apparitions when I took pictures of them.  I’ll show you what I mean.  Oh, and I included a picture of the snowmen the 2 youngest made.


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Busy Month

Still preparing for the conference the last week of February.  But many other interesting things have happened in recent weeks.  In reverse chronological order:

Went to see a taping of The Rick Mercer Report last night.  Jack and I had to switch places because the camera was coming in over our heads and they were afraid it was going to hit his.  If you watch Valentine’s Day evening, you might be able to find us when they swoop in over the audience.  Pictures to follow.  They are still on my camera and I can’t find an appropriate cable or a card reader in the lab.

Yesterday morning, Mats Sundin (I had no idea who he was)  was in the building announcing a fellowship in his name.  He is donating $330k towards a post-doc exchange between the University of Toronto and Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet to study maternal and early childhood health issues.  One labmate got his autograph on the back of a biophysics paper, and a second can be seen in the background of this interview, starting around 1:10.  I’m not usually a celebrity chaser, but here are some pictures:

The previous weekend, my eldest son and I went to see Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, and Larry the Cable Guy.  I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.  It was worth the drive to Hamilton, for sure.  Here’s a radio station interview with the 3 of them about this tour.

As for the rest of February, today is Dad’s birthday, there’s Valentine’s Day, my niece’s birthday, Family Day, and then the conference starting on the 23rd.  For the conference, I’ve done about 25 data runs at an average of 3 per day.  I have 4 to do today, 3 on Monday, and a couple to redo.  Then I have a calibration to do that will take 3 or 4 days.  And a poster to make.  It’s good to be busy, when the busy actually gets stuff accomplished.

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Our Song

Wordle: Happy Together
If you want to make your own Wordle, go to

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Making every vote count

The vote-splitting that happened in the last federal election that resulted in us having Harper as Prime Minister really upsets me. I have read some of the alternative voting mechanisms being proposed and they sound so complicated. Why not just allow each politician be elected as before, but when it comes time for them to vote on bills in the House of Commons, their vote carries the weight of the number of people who voted for them? Then every vote counts. People who choose not to vote have no influence, as always. But I am sure the politician would be out trying to convince everyone to get out and vote if this happened. If politicians crossed the floor, it could very much alter the political landscape. For smaller provinces, they still have the influence on the number of seats won over who gets to form the government and who is Prime Minister. But if some seats have a few too many people, all of a sudden I don’t think the MP will be complaining. I don’t know how these changes go about, but I think I’m going to try to find out and see if this idea might float.

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Some good results

I have my experiment working again and have replicated previous results.  I’m going to a conference at the end of the month and was getting a little leery.  I guess I worry too much.

Things I would comment upon more fully if I had the time:

Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu stating that convicted murderers should be given enough rope to hang themselves.  Literally.  So wrong on so many levels.

The Shafia family murders and the uproar over calling them honor killings.  This, along with the murder of Andrene Graham makes me rethink my position of not being a feminist.  If you look at page 32 of this, you see that from 2000 to 2009, there were 581 women killed by their spouses (compared to 157 men).  The death on any one of these people is horrid, regardless of gender, but there is a clear bias that more women than men die as a result of family dysfunction.  If instead of women being targeted by controlling males, some other group was targeted for murder by another group on such a regular basis, do you not think there would be more screaming going on?

Saeed Malekpour. I hope the world can make a difference in countries that treat people like this.

Have to go to sleep.  More experimenting tomorrow.  Had to get those thoughts out, though.

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