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Aemon Stark

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About Aemon Stark

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    Land of Wind and Rain
  • Birthday August 2

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    A Song of Ice and Fire, of course, math, science, medicine, philosophy, history (especially ancient and medieval!)... and, more fun, movies, books, writing, enjoying fine ales, running, swimming, photography, and many other electrifying things

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  1. Aemon Stark

    Canadian Politics: Revenge of the small minds

    Yeah I thought giving attention to that "Wexit Party" asshat on CBC was well beyond reasonable. They seem from the outset to be more alt-right than anything else.
  2. Aemon Stark

    Watch, Watched, Watching: Hunting Minds

    Finally got around to seeing Ad Astra. On the one hand I LOVED what we saw of the world building, especially the the depiction of routine private space travel, moon colonies, Mars base, and such. The plot and character beats mostly worked, though it does have something of a "Apocalypse Now in Space" arc to it. Generally the music and visuals were great. Brad Pitt was very restrained and credible - considering how singular a character he ended up being, the movie could have failed entirely if he hadn't been up to it. And yet the script was fairly bereft of actual tension. While I'll grant that Interstellar is a flawed film, it has a few absolutely standout sequences that stay with me, not to mention unhinged Matt Damon. As a space movie, Ad Astra had even more impressive setpieces and visuals, but it crammed far too much into its running time without developing much tension. The bottom line is that the script didn't quite work. I don't know if that was a directing, editing, or writing problem, but I really felt that I should have, well, felt more. Just too many ideas, stretched thin, and not well enough developed.
  3. Aemon Stark

    El Camino: The Chariot of Destiny (Spoilers)

    I liked this, but it was paced like a TV show. I don't know that Jesse's eventual escape to Alaska was truly a foregone conclusion, but I didn't feel that much tension about it. And I generally love Gilligan's sometimes languid pacing and restraint, but it could have been tighter. That's a lot of caveats. I did enjoy it - and the stuff with the welder (and their initial police masquerade in Todd's apartment) was really well done. When is BCS coming back anyhow?
  4. Aemon Stark

    Canadian Politics: Revenge of the small minds

    I can see yet another splinter group in Alberta away from UCP, especially with a “tough” budget coming.
  5. Aemon Stark

    Canadian Politics: Revenge of the small minds

    The unwillingness to levy even a modest provincial VAT is possibly the most unjustifiable thing ever. Every single time we are treated to how Alberta isn’t “respected” or how it “transfers” billions to Quebec we should answer by highlighting that they pay only 5% GST. They basically feel entitled to the oil based “Alberta Advantage” to pay no PST and use oil revenues to finance consumption. Except when said revenues dry up because, say, the oil prices crash, it’s always Quebec’s fault. And probably those Maritimers and Newfoundlanders who were graciously offered jobs by generous selfless Calgary oil executives. It’s also no surprise that the oil sands have taken the biggest hit from decline in world prices. True enough that there are transportation bottlenecks, but TMX, lest we forget, is about expanding an existing pipeline. More capacity, yes, but the issue is that Alberta’s conventional oil is drying up and bitumen is more expensive, dirtier, and resource-intensive. In the meantime, there’s several billion in new exploration plans for the offshore in NL*. That oil won’t need a pipeline for export either. *Of course NL (which is to say the previous PC government and Danny Williams) has screwed itself over with a hydro mega project but at least we won’t have any emissions from hydro generation.
  6. Aemon Stark

    Canadian Politics: Revenge of the small minds

    Either the Bloc or the NDP could hold the "balance of power" since individually they could give the Libs a majority (coalition or informal). Not sure what you mean here. This election isn't all that unlike 2004, aka the last time the Liberals led a minority government. The math was a lot more precarious at that time, however, as the Liberals + NDP = Conservatives + Bloc (minus speaker). So arguably this should be a more stable Parliament provided people cooperate some. Yes. They've never done better than ~10 seats since 1988 (essentially since the Bloc burst onto the scene in 1990). I admit I'm a bit disappointed in the NDP results (it seems that this may be largely about Scheer's dramatic under-performance in the GTA), but I think Singh pulled this around from being a disaster quite effectively. The result was similar to Layton's first election in 2004, except that the "balance of power" math adds up much more easily this time. There were also some nice bright spots with Jack Harris' return in St John's East and 25-year-old Mumilaaq Qaqqaq in Nunavut. As for the others, I don't know that this will teach the Liberals much humility - though they did actually lose the popular vote to the Conservatives! Scheer himself should consider his days numbered. He's not much more than a milquetoast Harper and his Ontario results are dreadful. I'm not a fan of Peter Mackay but someone like him would be a better face for the party. The Conservatives also should try to be about something other than Alberta/Sask oil interests. The Bloc evidently will continue to be a spoiler, though whether this represent a high water mark for them is unclear. And I'd say the Greens under-performed some of the wilder expectations, with status quo results on Vancouver Island, a seat in Fredericton, but a much more modest increase in popular vote. Not sure they'll do as well next time when Greta Thunberg won't be contemporaneously touring the country. Elizabeth May would do well to make room for new people.
  7. Aemon Stark

    Canadian Politics: Revenge of the small minds

    (Citation needed) The NDP voted repeatedly against the Harper government during the minority governments of 2006-2008 and 2008-2011. The same cannot be said of the Liberals under either Dion or Ignatieff. The situation in 2008 is actually fairly interesting in light of the recent ruling of the UK Supreme Court, namely that prorogation to thwart the will of Parliament (e.g. with a confidence or Brexit vote...) is unlawful. That also means that it wouldn't have mattered what the Governor-General decided - the Royal Prerogative does not extend to acts which counter parliamentary supremecy. In that light, we would have had a PM Dion, Deputy PM Layton, and Duceppe and the Bloc agreeing not to bring them down. What's notable about the "coalition crisis" was that Harper and the Conservatives were trying to fan the flames of illegitimacy at that time - not unlike Scheer's comments about how the party with the most seats has the "right" to govern via "modern" convention (to say nothing of his endless other lies).
  8. Aemon Stark

    Canadian Politics: Revenge of the small minds

    Actually King lost his seat in 1945 despite otherwise winning the election. I don't know if Meighen is among the worst or more that he was hardly there long enough to do much.
  9. Aemon Stark

    Airports/Airlines Thread: Title Will Be Landing Soon

    I was just there this week. It is the first and only airport I've experienced which actually closed the taxi pickup line for renovations. We had to crowd onto a bus just to get a cab... I generally find US airports to be really inconsistent. Some are surprisingly "downmarket", not least of which is Orlando which has annoying trams between terminals and fairly limited A/C in areas too. Canadian airports were mostly privatized to locally-based non-profit authorities and few if any terminals haven't been renewed in the last 10 years. Otherwise airlines are alternatively great or awful. Most of my experience on Air Canada is good - it tends to be much more comfortable than Westjet and there are a lot more flights/routes in case of cancellations. However... I had one trip planned recently to Boston to meet my dad. This required a connection in Halifax... which was delayed so that I would miss my connection. Eventually both the original flight and the Boston flight were cancelled for "maintenance". I was able to salvage my plans (kinda) to fly to Toronto and drive from there, but it was a huge pain and I ended up driving back and forth to the airport three times to get things sorted out. They did at least take responsibility for all this and rebooked me without any added cost (along with the somewhat ungenerous 20% coupon for another trip). Of course I've had numerous weather-related delays in the past as well, but this is Canada after all...
  10. Aemon Stark

    Canadian Politics: Revenge of the small minds

    I like to think of him more as Ryan-the-Temp from The Office. Though Ryan had an MBA... As near as I can tell, they're appealing the ruling. Insofar as who "they" are, it's the current government/cabinet. We do not have "caretaker" governments as only Parliament is dissolved during an election - the government carries on.
  11. Aemon Stark

    Canadian Politics: Revenge of the small minds

    I have Telus for my phone and 10 GB of data. It's not super cheap but not bad and since I use it for work it's deductible. A few years ago the Rogers people came to my door and I agreed to switch from Bell Aliant. I signed up. The next day Bell Aliant called me to see what they could do to keep my business - and I got free HBO/Crave/TMN plus an additional credit for 3 years... I feel like that's the only time they respond. And I'm glad I never ended up down the Rogers path. Scheer is a fool and yet another one of those careerist hacks who's never done a thing of value outside politics.
  12. Aemon Stark

    Star Trek: Picard

    Even Garak appeared in only 37 episodes. I saw Aron Eisenberg in 2014 when he came to St John's.
  13. Aemon Stark

    Best Sitcom Episodes Ever

    I forget what else happens in the episode, but the one soon after featuring Peterman's return features one of my favourites among his memorable lines: "Kudos, Elaine, on a job... done." "What about my stock options?" "I think not."
  14. Aemon Stark

    Best Sitcom Episodes Ever

    Don't forget "Steve Guttenberg's Birthday". For Community it's either "Remedial Chaos Theory" or "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design".
  15. Aemon Stark

    Best Sitcom Episodes Ever

    This is a hard call, but I figure I'd list a few from Seinfeld, Frasier, The Office (US), and The Simpsons: Seinfeld: There are too many to choose, but generally I prefer some of the earlier less "zany" episodes that focused more on things like waiting in a Chinese restaurant. So obviously "The Chinese Restaurant" is on my list, along with just about anything with Jerry's parents since they remind me so much of my grandparents. "The Pen" is a highlight there, along with the multi-episode arc from early season 4 involving "The Wallet" and "The Watch". While I'm at it, most of season 4 belongs on this list. After the off-kilter opener with the trip to LA, we go right into "The Pitch" with Jerry and George's NBC pilot and the introduction of Susan (Biddle) Ross. Later we meet George's parents for the first time (Estelle in "The Contest" and Frank - played by John Randolph! - in "The Handicap Spot"). This season also has recurring characters like Russell Dalrymple, Joe Davola, and a very real and spectacular Teri Hatcher. Other highlights include "The Movie", "The Bubble Boy", "The Airport", "The Outing" (not that there's anything wrong with that... ahhh the 90s), and "The Junior Mint". Frasier: Most any episode prior to Daphne and Niles getting together are best. While it was a well earned plot point, a lot of the tension in the show went out the window - and we ended up with way too many appearances of Daphne's mother at the expense of, say, Bulldog or Lilith. My favourites though are the "real-time" episodes. Season 1 ends with "My Coffee with Niles" where each Crane brother asks the other whether they're happy - the whole episode occurs at Nervosa as they shift from table to table to escape rain and hovering crowds. I don't know if they did it again until season 6's "Dinner Party" but it was worth the wait with an entire episode devoted to the planning of the titular party - it goes wrong before it even gets off the ground, unlike so many other prior "successes" (see "The Seal Who Came to Dinner", "Taps at the Montana" and many more). Another favourite is a "A Lilith Thanksgiving" where Frasier and Lilith endeavour to get Frederick into the fanciest, most elite private school in Boston. The Office (US): Fortunately this show still had lots of life in it even after Jim and Pam got together and I second everything said about "The Dinner Party". Hunter's music may be the best part, babe. Otherwise I love essentially every episode in seasons 2 and 3, most especially "Booze Cruise", "The Injury", "Casino Night", "A Benihana Christmas", "Grief Counseling", "The Convict", "Business School", and "The Job". The Simpsons: It's hard to believe this show has been on for 30 years, particularly since I haven't watched new episodes at all for the better part of my adult life. But seasons 2-7 or so remain classic and essential viewing, especially things like "Flaming Moe's", "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk" (Or rather Burns verkauft den Kraftwerk...), "Homer at the Bat", "Kamp Krusty", "A Streetcar Named Marge", "Last Exit to Springfield"... well all of season 4. Looking through IMDB it's pretty hard to single out things in season 5 either. I generally am not aware of the existence of many episodes after season 12 or 13 (after 2002...). For Arrested Development, I think I'd go with the ones where they go to Mexico to find George Sr. Mainly because of the Ann jokes (who?). And, honestly, I can never watch Jurassic Bark again.