Wednesday, July 30, 2008


This is a re-post from waaaay back in ought five. Still valid though.
Spent a week in Toronto. Yet again, I have been amazed at the courtesy of Toronto drivers. Maybe Darwin was right...all the stupid ones have died off. What they DONT do is let you dawdle along doing the speed limit without tail gating you. Some of the unsafe passing was a little un-nerving.
I was working out our future business with my wife now that the Ren Fest has closed, and we were wondering if we should put time or money into one of the alternative proposals. "I dunno" she said "I'm not sure I want to risk whatever we could mortage...twenty or thirty thousand or so... on a business venture. Just at that moment, a Passant passes up at 90 klicks on a double solid line. A little startled, I checked my dashboard...yup, its a 60 zone and I am already doing 70. "Hmmmm" said I, "that fellow who just passed us is risking at least that much in his nice new car, risking the rest of his life, and risking damage to any on-coming car which might be coming over the hill at us. And for a payoff?
She looked at me....."so what is the connection?" "There are lots of people taking risk every day....huge risks, like that guy. Risk is part of pain no gain....and of course risk can be evaluated. It helps if you don't think about it too closely." That guy is risking everything just for the hell of it.
My daddy used to tell me that you should never gamble more than you can afford to lose. He played crown and anchor, but never passed on a solid line. Like he said, don't gamble more than you are prepared to lose...and if you are going to do stupid things on the highway, or ride on "those" tires, or put off getting the new brake pads, you are not only gambling, but gambling stupidly because there is no payoff.
So what did we decide about our business venture....well for one thing, we decided that we had no control on the variables. We didn't own the show, didn't know how much the insurance would be, didn't know how much most of the expenses were. On the other hand, we had a fair idea of how much we could earn at the show. We have NO IDEA if earnings will exceed expenses. So investing in this show is like crossing on a double solid....we don't know what is coming over the hill at us. Obviously, most of these questions could be answered. For sure, we would earn SOMETHING....but will it be worth the losses?. The last question much can we afford to lose on a gamble. JP Morgan once showed a broker the door when he said "well, this mining venture right here looks like a good gamble". Mr. Morgan replied..."I never gamble" and fired the broker. On the other hand...the broker went on to buy the mine, and made millions, and all his life regretted using the term "gambling" to describe a business venture. I think this venture is looking too much like a gamble. (And in fact, two years later, we feel that we made the right decision to pass on it.)
This whole line of thought came to me when I read a story in the Winnipeg Sun about road rage, it recalled to me our conversation as we were driving. This is kind of funny actually, though of course the results were a little tragic.
Four seventeen year olds out for a drive, were in the drive through at MacDonalds, and for some stupid seventeen year old reason, threw candy at one of the other cars. The other car contained some "baaad dudes" who chased them down, trashed their car with a chain, beat them up and stole their wallets. A most interesting lesson in "consequences". They gambled and lost. They COULD have lost a lot more. Some would say, They weren't gambling at all, they were just being kids. Well, they participated in the high speed chase (that was a gamble that they could get away)....they provoked the conflict (gambling that what they did would have no consequences).....I think it was a pretty cheap lesson all in all.

Monday, July 28, 2008

military "blog"....July, 1944

These are excerpts from the war diaries of the Calgary Highlanders, who were traveling through France on a government expense paid trip back in '44. It puts some of the modern events into perspective....
I was especially taken with the sparsely told but no doubt heartfelt story of the lady with the girl with the hair ribbon.
These are the originals. One of the great joys of living in the nations capital is that the archives are there for anybody to go in and examine. There is a big room, with large tables, and you wear gloves. The plus side is that any item in the archive can be examined. The minus side is that you sort of have to know what to look for since you can't just "fish in the stacks". These original documents will eventually be photographed and then put onto microfilm...when that day comes we will lose a lot of stuff. I mean, on some of the pages, you can smell the cordite smoke which came off the guys hands, and you can see the coffee rings and dusky fingerprints on General Crerar's maps. We will lose this when the photographer is called in.
I got a nice set of photocopies from the Archives, including these pages, and others, relating to the story of the Canadian "Battle for the Scheldt". This was the great unknown battle since Hollywood never really had any interest in it, but of course, the country of Holland remembers Canadians rolling through really well, and sends thousands of tulips every year for people to enjoy here in Ottawa.
Well, anyway, that was how it was mid July around Caen, France, some sixty four years ago.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Maxine's slide....

Maxine's Slide Down the Banister of Life:
1. Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggert have written an impressive new book. It's called "Ministers Do More Than Lay People."
2. The difference between the Pope and your boss is that the Pope only expects you to kiss his ring.
3. My mind works like lightning. One brilliant flash and it's gone.
4. The only time the world beats a path to your door is if you're in the bathroom.
5. It used to be only death and taxes. Now, of course, there's shipping and handling, too.
6. A transvestite is a guy who likes to eat, drink and be Mary.
7. My next house will have no kitchen -- just vending machines and a large trash can.
8. A blonde said, "I was worried that my mechanic might try to rip me off. I was relieved when he told me all I needed was turn signal fluid."
9. Definition of a teenager? God's punishment for enjoying sex.
10. As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The last of them...and the best of them

Larpers. Love the ears.


Aquaman. The scale shirt weighs in at about thirty pounds.
As Brenda says, he is pretty easy on the eyes.

Above is Brenda selling a new cutlass to Captain Jack Sparrow. And me in the mirror.

And a last glimpse of the larpers. Nice folks. Cast spells...vanish when you look at them directly, have a barrel of fun at conventions where their normal dress is considered to "just a costume".

Sunday, July 20, 2008

More Polaris Costumes

The predator above seems to be collecting a very nice selection of skulls.

Theyr are comin' thru the walls Lootenant!

When all else fails, call the "Love Guru". Counterpoise that violence!

Wonder woman unmasked. Prettier than I expected!

Another Jedi Knight.

Sid, looking vicious.

Ripley's cargo manipulator. Works too!

Transformers. Gotta love em.

Anybody see my mummy?


And Green Arrow never looked so good!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More Polaris Hall Costumes

Adam and his steam punk look. I think he does it best of those I have seen.

A tough lady.

Just as tough but without the attitude. Dig the skeleton hand...the last guy who took liberties.

My the booth next door. Arn't they a sweet couple?

Auditions for the new BlueWomanGroup went well.

And even Hellboy showed up.

Captain Jane. Prrrrrrrr.

And even cool tattoos. Those are always exciting.

As usual, click on these images to see them in their magnificent glory!

Polaris 2008

Just got back from "Polaris", the renamed Toronto Trek convention. The hall costumes were pretty stunning, and I have lots of pictures. Let these ones of a remarkable black on black costume whet your appetite.

click on the images to enlarge.

Monday, July 07, 2008

New Classes started

This is the first summer I have ever run classes....normally we take all of July and August off. But yesterday, we got a fantastic seventeen sign ups for the summer programme at the Community Centre. All Right!

Of course the only real problem is the heat! For reasons of economy, the community centre has put all its air conditioning into keeping control of the humidity created by that big hot indoor pool across the hall! There is not a lot left over to chill the people working out in the side rooms. It would be nice if we could open a few windows or doors, but "that would defeat the air conditioning". Really? WHAT air conditioning? All means that people cannot wear the full armour that Jeff is wearing in the picture....that would just lead to heat stroke. But they can still train the skills. And the heat is not all bad. Warm muscles train better and smoother than cold muscles.

Shayne took a dozen students aside and trained them into the most basic of moves, and will be the only one to deal with them next weekend while I am away. The creation of integrated classes (very knowledgable students alongisde total beginners) is trickier than it looks. Fortunately, I have enough tricks up my sleeve that I can share to keep the advanced students interested, and the basic class is full of very excited students that are doing really well. And I guess if I have achieved that, then I have achieved my goal.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Web Site of the Week

This week's Oh My Gosh cool web site has got to be Grog's animated "knot tying" site. Not quite sure why I like knots so much....and its not like I have on obsession with learning new ones....I only know about a dozen myself, but I do like to use a knot correctly and well. And some of these knots can give you real bragging rights for the show off in all of us, and some....well, like the knot in the illustration, seem to be designed mostly to keep you occupied on long sea voyages.
Grog wants to get people to know how to tie these knots, and his site has all these knots where when you click on them, they tie neat and simple steps. You can go back and follow it through again and again with just a simple mouse click.

Please visit Grog's site.....

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Why I hate hotmail

Many of the people that email me do so from hotmail accounts. Which is fine, except that I cannot reply to (bless their little Seattle coffee based hearts) has decided that very few other email programs will be allowed to reply to their subscribers. I had hoped that perhaps there might be a live person who could jigger the hotmail system to allow me in. No such luck.
This is the FAQ from their web site....

Q. Does Windows Live Hotmail operate an “allow list” that I can get on?

A. No. An allow list is essentially a “free pass” which allows e-mails from certain senders to bypass junk e-mail filters and other precautions. Windows Live Hotmail evaluates all inbound e-mail for malicious content. You can find out more about our filtering processes here.

and when you go to the link, you get this....

Q. How do I avoid having my messages marked as potentially dangerous?

A. To help prevent your messages from being identified, as possibly fraudulent:
• Always use valid, reputable URLs. Make sure it’s clear where the recipient will be taken and whether the destination is a valid website.
• Use the standard URL format. Avoid using IP addresses in the URL. • Where possible, publish your Sender Policy Framework (SPF) records. For more information about publishing your SPF records, visit
• Do not link to known phishing sites.

The key was in the second line up....."avoid using IP addresses in the URL". Since I use the email supplied with my domain ( this is automatically flagged as a spam site.
Actually, it is flagged as a "this guy is not a hotmail customer so we are not letting him in" rule. Well, so thats it then! Its not a "security" thing, it is a marketing ploy to get people to join hotmail.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The stranded Scot

A Stranded Scot

A Scotsman had been stranded on a deserted island for over 10 years. One day, he saw a speck on the horizon. He thought to himself, 'It's certainly not a ship.' As the speck got closer and closer, he began to rule out the possibilities of a small boat or even a raft.

Suddenly there emerged from the surf a wet-suited, black-clad figure. Putting aside the scuba gear and the top of the wet suit, there stood a drop-dead gorgeous blonde! The glamorous blonde strode up to the stunned Scotsman and said to him, 'Tell me, how long has it been since you've had a cigarette?

''Ten years,' replied the amazed Scotsman. With that, she reached over and unzipped a waterproofed pocket on the left sleeve of her wet suit and pulled out a fresh pack of cigarettes.He took one, lit it, and took a long drag.

'Aye,' said the man, 'that is so good I'd almost forgotten how great a smoke can be!

''And how long has it been since you've had a drop of good Scotch whiskey?' asked the blonde.

Trembling, the castaway replied, 'Ten years.

'Hearing that, the blonde reached over to her right sleeve, unzipped a pocket, pulled out a flask and handed it to him. He opened the flask and took a long drink. 'Tis like the nectar of the gods!' stated the Scotsman. 'Tis truly fantastic!!!'

At this point the gorgeous blonde started to slowly unzip the long front of her wet suit, right down the middle. She looked at the trembling man and asked, 'And how long has it been since you played around?

'With tears in his eyes, the Scotsman fell to his knees and sobbed, 'Sweet Jesus! Don't tell me you've got golf clubs in there too!'