Five year trail

Lordy what a wonderful Friday I had! First, it started with getting off work early. I didn’t have the day off, but one of the best ways to start a weekend is to be able to leave work an hour early to get on with your plans! First thing was to go pick up Don and get us over to Kelly’s mom’s place where we were meeting Kelly and Gord. We agreed to meet there by 4:30 and while we were about ten minutes late, Kelly had just pulled up as well so I wasn’t all that worried.

We piled into their Oldsmobile and were on our way to Montréal. It was fun catching up with all of them in one place. It was even more fun sharing the anticipation of the evening we were about to enjoy. You see, we were on our way to the Bell Centre to enjoy an evening of Rush in concert, supporting their Vapour Trails album. It’s been six years since their last album so this was definitely an occasion! The last time we saw them live was July 4, 1997 at the Corel Centre on the Test for Echo tour. This tour they didn’t come to town, but you know what they say about Mohammad and the mountain, right?

With the ticket staring you in the face on the right I feel I have to bring up the issue of the price. I talked to Don about this because I called for the tickets and was surprised at how high the price was. We both agreed though … it simply didn’t matter. When it comes to Rush, if we can in any way afford the ticket, we’re going.

I looked through my collection of ticket stubs and found the very first Rush concert I went to was at the now defunct Maple Leaf Gardens on November 15, 1982. Just a little less than a month short of two decades ago. Wow, that’s something. More than half my life. Back then $12.50 was the price of admission. I saw them later on the same tour, this time on April 5, 1983 at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium and paid only $12.00 for my ticket.

We were sitting and passing time chatting when the house lights went down and the familiar strains of the Three Stooges theme song came over the PA system. It was like the darkness took me back to all the other shows … back to my younger years, to all the people I’ve gone to concerts with and all the good times. I don’t think I stopped grinning like a damn fool until three or four songs had passed.

They played a very wide selection of their songs, and every studio album was represented except Caress of Steel and Hold Your Fire. I was a bit surprised they only played four songs from Vapour Trails, but I have to admit to not being as familiar with that release as I should be anyway. After a five year break, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the guys in concert as for as how they would relate to us, the audience. Happily little had changed in that department and the band was just as goofy and fun as they always have been. If anything, I’d say they were having a great time putting on the show and that always makes for a better performance. Seeing them crack each other up and hamming it up to the crowd makes it about more than just playing the songs.

The ticket was expensive but I have no complaints about what I received for it. The show started at eight and ended at a few minutes to eleven with a ten minute break somewhere in the middle. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been to a three hour concert before!

I think Don said it best right after the show when he said, like a kid who just got off a carnival ride, “That was great! Can we do it again?!”

It’s not about courage

Look out Gwyneth! He might be getting ready to ask you out!

It’s not the easiest thing to ask someone out on a date. No one likes to put themselves out there and be that vulnerable.

With that in mind, it’s with frustration that I read about Gwyneth Paltrow who was recently promoting the forthcoming film Possession in London, England. She complained that no one in England has the courage to ask her out.

Good god Gwyneth, people aren’t psychic. If you want to go out on a date, do something about it. This isn’t the seventeenth century. Certainly I can understand that being a famous actress would make it a bit odd, but no one forced her into it, did they? If you want a date, Gwyneth, the solution is simple … ask someone. It’s what the rest of us have to do.

Celebrities, eh? Some would have us believe that their shit doesn’t stink.

Geocaching

There was just a short story about geocaching on the Discovery channel. Basically, geocaching is using a GPS to hunt for a location in the wilderness. The location of caches all over the world are listed on a number of web sites. Think of it as a cross between a treasure hunt and hide-and-seek. I’ve never been on an actual hunt, but it seems like a pretty cool idea. Check out geocaching.com for an FAQ and a search engine to find the sites near you. While I already knew the basics, it was still an interesting story.

The thing that rubbed me the wrong way about it was they kept calling geocaching a sport. It seems that calling something a hobby or a fun activity is a bad thing. A hobby is child’s play, but the same thing re-labelled a sport is somehow suddenly worthy.

The way I see it, a sport is a game or activity in which teams or people compete against each other and the results are obvious and quantifiable. That means a time, score, or distance. I find this a very useful guide although there are exceptions. Figure skating? Nope, it’s an art form, an artistic expression. I don’t feel that figure skating or ice dancing belongs in the Olympics at all. If they belong there, why isn’t ballet a summer sport? It isn’t and it shouldn’t be.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to lessen figure skating or geocaching in any way. I just think they’re completely mislabeled.

CSI: Science fail

I watched CSI: Crime Scene Investigation this evening. I’ve only seen it three or four times and it looked pretty cool. I mentioned at work that I’d seen it and Daren didn’t hide his dislike of the show. His main objection is that the circumstances are often somewhat far-fetched. While I don’t disagree with that, I guess I don’t have as much of a problem with it. Life is often pretty bizarre at times. What I do have a problem with is a show whose main characters are experts that make all kinds of technical mistakes. Only ten minutes into tonight’s episode, there were two big ones.

First, Gil Grissom states that terminal velocity is 9.8 metres per second squared. What he meant was that the acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 metres per second squared. Terminal velocity is the maximum speed that a falling object will reach given enough falling time. It’s a completely different thing and would not figure into the five-story fall he was investigating.

Second, Sara Sidle states that the safest place in a thunder-storm is in a car because the rubber tires act as an insulator. Although this is a commonly held belief, it’s not true. The reason you’re safe in a (non-convertible) car is that the lightning travels through the metal of the car … and if you’re sitting in a car, you’re not touching any metal despite being surrounded by it. The seat is plastic, fabric, or leather, and damn near everything else is plastic. The tires are a red herring. Although the insulating property of the rubber is obvious, it’s clear that a few inches of rubber isn’t going to stop a charge that went through five kilometres of air to get to the car!

Sure mistakes happen, but these things are not simple mistakes. This is high school level science. I’d suggest that the technical consultant (Elizabeth Devine in CSI’s case) get a boot in the ass, but I know that the corrections she (hopefully) made could be easily ignored or over-ridden by the director or a bunch of others working on the show.