Sunday, July 31, 2005

Beach Week Photoblogging

I have recently returned from the annual family reunion at which my dad, my siblings and everybody's kids (the 12 'cousins') get together for a week each year. "Beach week" is not necessarily held at the beach every year (next year we're thinking about a boat) but this year it was. This photoblog has a few images from our week in a condo (three units on the same floor) in Fernandina Beach, Florida (map).

The condo is rather nice, actually, right on the Atlantic.

... but was under repair so our ocean view was obstructed by scaffolding -- and the occaasional painter. Still, overall it was very pleasant. We had three of the five units on the fifth floor.

Usually we get a photo of everybody but this year it didn't happen. But the following two photos show the crew by generations.

Generation 1 and 2 on the steps of Plae Restaurant at Amelia Island Plantation. (Two spouses are missing.)

The twelve "cousins" waiting to eat at the Downunder Restaurant.

Needless to say one of the main activities for the week was the beach. A few typical, beach-related photos:

Another very traditional beach week activity is Jungle Golf -- an evening activity that is very enjoyable but challenging for the hand-held, natural light photographer. Still, these images give you some of the sense of it.

Generation 1

Generation 2

Generation 3

Fernandina Beach is a small town on the river, just north of Jacksonville. It is one of the oldest towns in the US and has always been approximately the same size (at least as far as the downtown area goes, most of the new construction is a few miles away on the ocean side of the island.) The downtown area is quiet and quaint with small shops and little restaurants.

Waiting outside while his mom shops.

But shopping and the quaint downtown are less exciting for the younger set. They spend quite a bit of time just hanging out in the condo.

Watching TV


Learning Yoga. [If I did that there would be "cousins" looking under the couches to see if they could find Uncle Lee's kneecaps.]

Being photographed by their aunt.

Another feature of Beach Week is the family meeting. One of the topics of discussion is a parcel of land we own near Tallahassee, Florida on which we grow trees. Mr. Boyd, who manages the property for us, and Mr. Boyd, our forester, were kind enough to drive down from Tallahassee to discuss our options in light of the improving real estate market in the area.

Mr Boyd (center) and Mr Boyd (with suspenders) [Oddly, they are not related.]

Each beach week we have at least one meal in a sit-down restaurant where all three generations are present. When we are in Fernandina this will usually be at the Downunder Restaurant. The restaurant is right by the busy main road onto the island and yet is oddly secluded because the road is on a concrete bridge 100 feet overhead. (See cousins photo, above.)

In front of the Downunder.

As you might imagine, the trip to the Downunder is quite a logistical problem. Reservations for twenty must be made. Everyone has to be herded up to the condo from the beach, cleaned up, dressed, transported to the restaurant in multiple cars, counted, recounted and queued up. Even with reserations there is usually a wait to seat a party of twenty.

But it's a pleasnt spot. And we can use the time...

... to spend with our kids who have left home...

... and for cousins to take pictures...

... of other cousins ...

... who they only see a few times a year.

Of course, not all meals involve a table for twenty. There is a nice little restaurant called "Sliders" on the beach were the NC contingent had lunch.

Sliders is a nice place to talk over a cool iced tea.

Or grab a family photo in the lobby. [Note on this photo: To get this exact photo of your family you need to squat down to avoid a reflection of the flash in the shiny oil painting over the bench. To get just the right expressions be sure your pants rip when you squat.]

Looking back over this posting I notice that I have included rather more photos of female "cousins" than the male ones. In the interest of fairness, and also by way of explanation, I will finish with this photo.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

On the right side of this page, among the links to other blogs I suggest you read, is a link for Michael Yon's Online Magazine. Tech Central Station has a brief interview with Michael that touches briefly on his Florida childhood, his time in the Special Forces, his reasons for returning to Iraq as an "independent journalist" (aka. blogger) and his writing. If you are interested in a more personal view of what is going on in Iraq -- the story behind the statistics you hear -- his blog is must reading.

These two recent dispatches are good examples of how interesting his material can be.

Michael Yon : Online Magazine: The Devil's Foyer

Michael Yon : Online Magazine: Empty Jars

Friday, July 22, 2005

Still More Dangerous Things

In his soliloque in the film "Patton" George C. Scott's title character gives a speech about how "Americans naturally love to fight." The scene, with Scott's gravelly-voiced Patton speaking in front of a gigantic American flag, is one of the best known sequences in the history of the movies. It is endlessly quoted and, even more often, parodied. It lends itself easily to parody since it is already something of a charicature -- an exagerated portrayal of a character already bigger than life.

But it is worth remembering that things like Scott's Patton speech stick one's mind because they include a fair measure of truth. I was reminded of this by the recent news coverage of the efforts to recover a Navy Seals team that had gotten into trouble in Afghan-Pakistani border. The story broke when a helicopter went down carrying a load of special forces types who were being brought in to support the recovery effort. One member of the Seals team was reported to have been recovered alive and then two bodies were recovered. That left one member of the four-man team unaccounted for. The local Taliban leadership issued a statement that the Seal had been captured. The conventional wisdom was that the Taliban story was false but it was troubling, nonetheless. When word finally came that the body of the Seal had been recovered and that "He had died fighting" it was oddly a relief. At least he had died doing what he wanted to do.

The kinds of things that Special Forces troops do are dangerous, no doubt, but people do dangerous things all the time -- just for fun. My initial idea for this posting was to compare the risks of Special Forces ops to various "extreme" sports, but the necessary data is difficult to assemble. People who are into extreme sports are seldom interested in compiling statistics about the risks involved, and is is reassuring, actually, that a bit of casual Googleing will not come up with statistics about where our Special Forces are deployed, and what they are up to.

But, despite the fact that I can offer no mathematics to justify the assertion, I will still hazard the observation that if Special Forces Operations were considered as an "Extreme" sport, it probably wouldn't be the most dangerous one.

If you look at the progression of dangerous sporting activities over time you find that improvements in equipment, training and technique do not necessarily make the sports safer. Instead, you find more people attempting more difficult activities. As the gear gets better people add to the difficulty of the things they attempt to hold the risk approximately the same. The idea is to find the edge of what is possible -- to see what you can do.

An example of this would be the use of gas mixtures for cave divers. The new equipment allows a diver to spend more time at greater depths with more compact equipment. This makes it safer to go into the same caves they have been diving in for years -- but it also makes it possible to explore caves that could not be explored before. Cave diving remains a dangerous sport but there are more caves available in which to practice it.

There are a certain number of people who are attracted to these relatively dangerous activities, not so much because they are dangerous as out of curiousity to see what sort of things are possible. During peacetime they are the ones who climb Mt. Everest five times or get into ice climbing -- sports that are quite dangerous, even with the best gear and training available.

Military service offers gear and training of sorts not generally available to civilians, and occasionally, an opportunity to see what can be done with them. It provides an outlet for those who occasionally like to spend some time on the edge of things with the added appeal of doing something that is generally considered needful. If you die when when the weather turns bad on your fifth climbing of Mt. Everest most people will think you are an idiot -- who needs to climb Everest five times? But if the remnants of the Taliban spot your parachute on the Afghan-Pakistani border your mom may get a call from the President.

People who rather like to live on the edge can tend to be a problem during peacetime. They are the natural warriors. A nation cannot survive long without them but they will never really fit in. Civilization needs them but they, themselves, are difficult to civilize.

Americans love peace. We spend a lot of time saying so to reassure our friends and allies. But, our enemies should be aware that we are OK with warfare, too. It gives an element of our society useful things to do. Dangerous things, to be sure, but they will seek those out anyway. And if you kill yourself in an avalanche snowboarding from a helicopter people will think you are a putz. But, if you are killed watching a mountain pass looking for Al Qaeda activity they will think you are a hero -- because you are.

Update: 28 July 2005

Here are a couple of paragraphs from Paradise a recent posting on A Day In Iraq -- a military blog written by "Michael", a young infantryman in Iraq. Michael's unit has been redeployed from a relatively comfortable location in one of the more peaceful parts of Iraq to a new location where there is considerably more for them to do.

In some demented way that anxiety is also what made me want to come here and out of the comfort zone that was Baquba. That boredom and comfort was nice because it came with the security of knowing you’re in a relatively safe place, which in turn pretty much guarantees a safe return home, something that all of us want in the end. When all is said and done, all we really want to do is go home to our wives, children, family, friends, and all the good things we take for granted in the land of the USA. But I didn’t sign up for this gig and get stop-lossed for over a year past my enlistment to be bored and comfortable, rotting away for another six months trying to retain a little sanity in the mountain of bullshit that was Baquba. We have purpose now. It’s good to have a purpose, a mission. As far as I’m concerned the mission in Baquba has pretty much been accomplished, something that you’ll rarely hear about in the news. Not that there isn’t still work to be done there, but it’s just not the kind of work I signed up for.

There is plenty of work to be done here though. There are full blown cut your head off terrorists running around this place, which is why I was looking forward to coming here. I can’t explain why, it’s just the way it is. I like to think we’re kind of on the front lines again, with the enemy right around the corner. Some people like to argue that we’ve brought terrorism to this country simply by our presence here. I hope so. Where would you rather terrorists be, roaming the streets of Ramadi or roaming the streets of main street USA? The difference is that we have lots of big guns and people that enjoy using them, especially if they’re really pissed off about eating the crap they serve us here, being served portions that would leave a small bird hungry, living on top of each other, having to burn our shit, or pissing in a tube stuck in the ground that takes a certain amount of talent and precision to actually make it in the tube.

It's an interesting couple of paragraphs full of tensions between conflicting ideas. Michael has clearly found a balance that works for him. He looks forward to going home -- but in the meanwhile, there are lots of big guns at his disposal and the satisfaction of a job to do.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Talkative Tetrad

So, why is it apparently so difficult to make a decent film about the Fantastic Four? I have seen the previous (unreleased) attempt and I can say that the new film is twice as good as that one. But saying that is to damn with very faint praise indeed.

A number of my friends have taken the tack that the trailer for the film constituted fair warning and that, armed with sufficiently low expectations, the film can be a pleasant surprise. I guess I buy that. Properly viewed, the film can be fun. If you haven't seen it yet, do so by all means. Don't let me stop you. When you go, be sure to turn off your cell phone and your cerebrum as these can interfere with your enjoyment and annoy the people around you.

Truth in blogging requires me to admit that I have never been much of a Marvel Comics fan. Even back in the "Silver Age" of comics, and my youth, I tended to like DC Comics titles and characters more than the Marvel equivalents. This tended to be a somewhat lonely experience as most of my friends were into Marvel. I couldn't really blame them -- at that time Marvel was a much more creative enterprise and DC was languishing is a prolonged dry spell -- but, nonetheless, while all my friends wanted to be Spiderman I wanted to grow up to be the Batman. That's probably the key to my problem with the Marvel universe: You don't have to grow up to be a Marvel superhero...

All you have to do is get bitten by a radioactive spider or zapped by a cosmic storm... and talk a blue streak. One of the things that puts me off about Marvel characters is their chattiness. In the DC universe more than twenty words in a word balloon is a pretty good indicator of bad-guy status, but Marvel heroes just chatter away. I often find myself rooting for the villains because, although they might be evil, if they were to rule the Marvel Universe there would be more to look at -- and less to read.

So, my biases being nicely confessed, I can get on with The Fantastic Four movie -- a film which should have been better because Marvel has demonstrated that their products can be made into far better films. This wasn't always true. Before the year 2000 Marvel Enterprises had a fairly impressive string of movies they had produced, some for television and some for theaters, and they were all crap, in various degrees. The My Little Pony movie was one of their better films, which goes to show what I am talking about here. Then they screwed up and released the first X-Men movie and the bar was permanently raised. Then came Spiderman and X2 and a couple other films -- Daredevil, Hulk, etc. -- that were not as good, but were still masterpieces by Marvel's pre-2000 standards. Fantastic Four falls in the gap between Marvel's new and old quality standards. It is not a good as, say, Daredevil but is somewhat better than The My Little Pony Movie.

The rest of this review contains spoilers, I suppose, but I wouldn't worry about it. Fantastic Four presents the origin story more-or-less exactly as it has appeared many times in the comics. The writers expected the audience to know the plot going into the film -- several bits depend on it -- so the more you know about the plot going into the film, the more your experience of it will be what the writers intended.

The production quality on FF was decent, for the most part. There are a few continuity holes that I suspect represent special-effects sequences that were omitted because they were too cheesy to use. (We briefly see VonDoom's rocket sitting on the pad but we don't see it take off -- we just cut to it docking with the space station.) But those holes are easy to overlook because the rest of the script has very little actual plot to tie the scenes together anyway.

This is a film based on a comic book so there's not much point picking nits. But, then again, why not? Here are a few that bothered me:

Setup: The film opens with Reed Richards trying to convince squidzillionaire, Victor VonDoom, to help with Richards' project to study a cosmic space storm of a sort which may have triggered the creation of life on Earth. Richards wants to use VonDoom's space station for the research since its shielding will protect the researchers from the storm. My problem: Why does VonDoom have a space station to lend out? This could have been fixed with a few words. If Richards had said "your agricultural research space station" or "your low-gravity manufacturing space station" it would have been enough. But, without any shred of back-story the space station exists only because the script calls for it.

Setup: Richards miscalculates the speed of the storm and it arrives nineteen hours and fifty-nine minutes ahead of schedule. One of the crew is outside the station in a spacesuit and there isn't enough time to get him back inside the station (and its shields) before the storm hits. Richards goes to VonDoom and demands that he abort the mission. VonDoom refuses and attempts to activate the shields while Richards runs off to try to get the team member inside before the storm hits. My Problem: Ignoring the fact that Richards is supposed to be smart and "The storm is accelerating!" doesn't seem enough reason for his time estimates to be off by a factor of 150, what, exactly was Richards expecting VonDoom to do when he demanded that he "abort the mission?" Unless VonDoom could just say "Holodeck: End program!" and make the storm disappear, its hard to think of any way that "aborting" the mission would be helpful.

Setup: The mission to study the cosmic space storm goes badly but everyone somehow gets back to Earth. (See speculation about problems with rocket effects above.) Shortly afterwards VonDoom's financial empire collapses (which makes him cross with his bankers, providing him with someone on whom to try out his new super powers as he gradually turns into Dr. Doom.) My Problem: VonDoom's financial problems should have been set up before the fact. The odd compression of the film before and after the space station scene give us no opportunity to see VonDoom spend any money on the project or make his investors any promises about it. Again, this could have easily been fixed. One scene with his banker saying "You madman! If this project fails you will be ruined!" would have been enough. But that scene isn't there and without it VonDoom's financial problems can only be seen as a mechanism for maneuvering the plot around a difficult corner.

I could go on but, as I said, there is no real point picking holes in the plot of a movie based on a comic book series -- the holes are going to be there but if you like the characters you will choose to ignore them. That is the other problem with the Fantastic Four: with the exception of Ben Grimm, aka The Thing, the characters are either unlikable or uninteresting or both. I attribute this, in large part, to the fact that the characters super powers are related to attributes of their personality: Reed Richards, Mr Fantastic, is always stretching and reaching, trying to expand his knowledge of "science"; Ben Grimm is solid and down-to-earth; Sue Storm, the Invisible Girl, is reserved, quiet and self-effacing but with hidden reserves of strength; Johnny Storm, her brother the Human Torch, is hotheaded, hot-tempered and spontaneous; and the villain, Victor VonDoom aka Dr Doom, is steely and power-hungry. The cosmic storm gives them super powers that reflect these personality traits.

The film expends so much effort establishing these character traits that there is very little room left to make the characters likable. The Human Torch is particularly repugnant. At the beginning of the film he is a rich, spoiled, narcissistic, out-of-control punk with a noticeable sadistic streak. As the film progresses he matures into a rich, spoiled, narcissistic, out-of-control punk with a noticeable sadistic streak who can burst into flames, fly and shoot fireballs out his ass. He surrounds himself with sexy cars and fast women, but since he has a body temperature of 209 degrees and an unfortunate tendency to catch fire when he gets excited, he is not likely to have many second dates -- but we don't care. He's a dick. And Mr. Fantastic is a spineless bore. The invisible girl is barely there and even The Mighty Thing -- the only adequate character -- isn't powerful enough to carry the dead weight of the rest of the film.

Of course the "personality-trait determined super-power" thing can be done and still have likable characters. See "The Incredibles" for how it can be done very well, indeed.

And, of course, the characters, being Marvel characters, do jabber on endlessly. Other reviewers have described this line, or that line, that they liked and the lines are in there and they are OK, I guess. But, at least for me, they tend to get washed away in the flood of excessive dialog. Which brings me to another theory I have about the difference between DC and Marvel. When DC runs out of ideas there is nothing. The characters go through the motions but there is no life in them. They basically stand around, remembering better days and wait for things to get better. It's a wasteland -- a desert, devoid of life. When Marvel runs out of ideas their plots become gossipy soap-operas and the characters all talk incessantly to hide the fact that there is nothing going on. I prefer the DC nothingness -- it's quieter and there is less humidity.

But there is one Marvel character I do like: The Black Bolt, the king of the Inhumans.

His voice is an uncontrollable super weapon and he is voluntarily mute to avoid the possibility that he will destroy the world. All the other Marvel characters spend most of their time trying to talk one another to death. Black Bolt never does -- because he could.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Good News from Iraq (from Reuters -- Believe it Or Not!)

The thumbnail on the left is a link to a Reuters photo I found on Yahoo News. It is remarkable in that it is from Reuters and, as far as I can see, it is presents "Good News from Iraq" albeit in a rather small portion.

Even the caption is largely positive:

A U.S. soldier hands out crayons and coloring books to Iraqi children in Baghdad July 5, 2005. According to military officials, soldiers often go out on missions to talk with the people who live in the sectors they patrol. The soldiers say they are simultaneously reaching out to the local populace and scouting for anti-Iraqi forces. (Namir Noor-Eldeen/Reuters)

Since I complain often about the wire services, and especially about Reuters, it seems only fair to credit them for the occasional item of which I approve. And today, at least for a few seconds, their lead photo was an example of balance.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Nicole Kidman Weekend.

This weekend turns out to have been something of a Nicole Kidman film fest. Last night my wife suggested we see Bewitched -- a lightweight romantic-comedy with Kidman and Will Ferrell. This came only a day after I hit our local second-run multiplex to see The Interpreter (with Kidman and Sean Penn,) which I had missed on its initial release.

Seeing these two films back to back it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Ms. Kidman, as well as being unusually easy on the eyes, is a competent actress. Canny type-casting could put a weaker actor into either of these roles with some success, but not both. The roles are too different.

Bewitched is a light, fluffy comedic fantasy about a struggling, not particularly talented film star (Ferrell) who lands a role as "Darren" on a revival of the TV show "Bewitched". At the insistance of his agent, who is worried about the billing, the role of "Samantha" is slated for an unknown actress, who, as it turns out, is a real witch (Kidman) intent on experiencing normal, mortal life. Bewitched is charming, I thought, and is a very pleasant way to spend 90 minutes in a cool theater on a warm summer evening. Ferrell was well cast and funny, as usual, and Kidman did a fine job as the all-powerful and yet innocent and vulnerable young witch. Michael Caine was fine as her father. Shirley MacLaine was uneven as Endora. Steve Carell's Uncle Arthur was suitably over-the-top. I was pleasantly surprized by the film. One does grieve a bit for the eight bucks one spent for the ticket but that is not the movie's fault. It's a bit sad, I think, that today's entertainment industry makes pleasant, inconsequential little movies so hard to sell.

The other Kidman film I saw, The Interpreter, is a different film and a different role for Kidman. It is also a fantasy -- an alternate history story set in a parallel universe where the United Nations lives up to its hype. Kidman plays an interpreter at the UN who is an expert on African languages. She returns to the sound booth after hours to collect some personal items she had left at her station and happens to overhear a few words from a conversation going on in the darkened hall below in an obscure African language. What she hears suggests a plotted assasination at the UN. A secret service agent (Penn) is called in to investigate and he quickly figures out that the interpreter is not telling everything she knows. Kidman is very good in the film -- as is Penn. The film is well made and very well written. It is set in a Liberal fantasy landscape, to be sure, but, within that setting, it is tight, interesting and compelling.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


It's time to confess: I don't keep my consumer software as up-to-date as I ought to. As a software developer I know how difficult it is to deal with a user who is still running a version of your software that he downloaded three years ago, just before you released a version that fixed a big bag o'bugs.

But as a consumer it is hard to argue with the "ain't broke - don't mess with it" doctrine, especially in light of the fact that the Software Installation Package Developers Union appears to be controlled by Satanists.

From time to time, either bothered by guilt about running out-of-date software or tempted by a new feature, I decide to upgrade something. I almost always regret it.

Today, I was going through some of my photos from my recent trip to Alaska and I wanted to correct the color-balance on one of my photos. I opened the (rather decent) editor program that comes with Kodak's Easy-Share system and I couldn't find the color balance tool. Drat! It's kind of handy -- just point at an object in your picture that you think is gray and hey-presto! it is gray and all of the other colors in the picture are adjusted, too. (Assuming you'r picture contains a gray object.) So where was that tool? I remember using it on my laptop. Oh, yes... I remember. My laptop is running the new version of Easy-Share. Time to upgrade.

I downloaded the installer for the latest version (5) of EasyShare and started it up. It clicked and whirred, downloading the rest of the software, uncompressing it, monkeying with the icons on the desktop, and when the little green bar got to the right side of the window... it died.

Ok, I'll bite: what does Kodak have to say about my problem?

Translation: Well, that didn't work. Try making some random changes and try again. (Yes, they do suggest logging in as an administrator but I alreasy am running as an administrator.) Notice that the help note is only a week old? Maybe they're working on this one and have more advice if I just ask so I click the link at the bottom of the page...

Did I mention all the Satanists working in the software installation industry?

To be fair -- this message came from my browser (FireFox) and not directly from Kodak. I also tried the page with IE, but it is hard to capture a screenshot that shows that your browser has locked up.

UpdateLater that day.

OK, I tried one more thing. Windows was able to find an uninstaller to uninstall the fragments left behind after the failed upgrade. I uninstalled and then restarted the installer. I let it run while I mowed the grass.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Canada Day (one day late)

Yesterday was Canada Day. As it happens, I was recently in Victoria, BC and I thought I would write a bit about it in honor of Canada Day.

This was the year that my lovely wife and I did the Alaska Cruise thing (swell!, and thanks for asking) and one of our six-hour stops was Victoria. We had signed up for an excursion to Butchart Gardens and our Grayline bus driver met us at the docks. His name, as I recall, was Bruce and he was our tour guide on our way to the gardens, which were some miles out of town. He told us about the places we passed as he drove. Bruce seemed a nice fellow: he had a pleasant voice and a decent PA system and was a pleasure to listen to. He was either reciting bits from a Grayline script for the town tour or was quite the Liberal (or both).

Most of what he pointed out to us was some sort of public works project -- government housing for the elderly and the disabled, an abandoned department store building that the government was trying to buy and turn into a library, a part of town where the residents were expected to grow $2,500CN of produce each year and sell it at stands in their yards, a recycling center, a large park where you couldn't buy an ice cream bar because business was not allowed, organic farms and a dairy that produced hormone-free milk, a city-owned recreational lake somewhat out of town but reachable by free public transit, a piece of land near town where the government would rent you a plot large enough to plant a garder for $50CN a month, and large tracts of land on which, by law, nothing could be built.

Butchart Gardens is lovely. If you are ever in Victoria you should plan to see it (and plan for more than the two hours our excursion allowed us). The garden was made from a played-out limestone quarry by the wife of the last man to ever make a profit in Victoria, as far as I can tell. He was in the concrete business and he made quite a bit of money a hundred years ago. According to Bruce Mr. Butchart's son tried, at one point, to sell the gardens to the government for one dollar but was turned down and only later hit on the idea of charging money to all the people who came to see it.

Bruce had (sensibly) allowed a bit of extra time for people to return to the bus and since we were relatively prompt he was able to take the scenic route back to the boat. He showed us parts of downtown Victoria, including the narrowest street in the world (less than four feet wide) and chinatown. We also saw the area near the inner harbour that is leased from the "First Nation" (PC Canadian term for "indians") and will revert in 100 years.

With its temperate climate, Victoria is the retirement capital of Canada. It's a rather expensive place to live so it is mostly the well-off Canadians who retire there (more millionaires per-capita than anywhere else in Canada.) This stream of wealthy retirees provides most of the money that funds the city's projects and the shortfall is made up by stip-mining the fossil wealth laid down long ago by the now-extinct capitalists who once lumbered through its streets.

I used to work for a Canadian company and have spent quite a bit of time visiting Canada. Canadians are very proud of their country and will tell you all the things they think you should admire. They are earnest and sincere, but especially when talking to Americans, they always sound a little bit sad.

So, to our friends to the north, Cheer up, ay? and have a Happy Canada Day!