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December 2002
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Tuesday, December 31, 2002:

This is the way the year ends...

2k+3 As I begin writing I've got an hour to kill until I leave for my New Year's Eve party tonight, so I figured I'd pen my last weblog entry for the year. I'm still fairly new at this whole blogging thing (and, as I mentioned in my last entry, I had NO idea what a huge phenomenon weblogs were/are until after I'd sorta started my own last month), and I admit I still haven't gotten the hang of it quite yet. I can imagine what a first time visitor might think upon seeing this site: "What is it all about, anyway?"

One of my main complaints about so many sites out there is that they try to be all things to all people, or otherwise just stick the tips of each finger into several different pies. Instead of trying to know a lot about one or two things, they try to know a little bit about a lot of things, with the result being somewhat shallow. Ah, but I'm getting a bit too metaphorical, here. What I mean to say is that I find so many sites out there that simply don't fit into any of the categories in my browser's bookmarks.

Taking a good, long, hard look at my own site, I'm afraid The Time Trust is just as un-categorizable. I've been online for more than two and a half years now, going on three, yet few webmasters out there will link my site to theirs for the simple reason that I don't provide enough content on any one subject to make it worthwhile. My Annotated Captain Carrot and Five Earths Project sites get many, many more hits than The Time Trust does by far because they have focus -- people know exactly what they're going to get.

If I were to make a New Year's Resolution (and I'm not... resolutions are only made to be broken), it would be to begin making The Time Trust what I've always wanted it to be: A repository of wisdom... a place where numerous well-researched and well-written articles on a variety of similar subjects can be found. A site that an internet user can literally browse for hours (or at least skim for 40 minutes or so) and still not have perused everything. An online museum, of sorts, with new exhibitions on a regular basis. That is my dream for The Time Trust.

Posted by Doc Quantum at 8:00 PM | Link | Comment

Monday, December 30, 2002:

What the hell kinda so-called "Blog" is this anyway?!?

For the last time, I'm NOT the Grim Reaper!!! Whew! Sorry, folks, about the lack of updates this week! Although I was online a bit during the holidays, I habitually neglected to write up another weblog entry.

What is a "weblog" -- also known as a "blog" -- anyways? Well, I really had no idea when I began this thing. The only one I'd really been aware of was ol' Wesley Crusher's blog. However, since I started up my own online writing-thing at the beginning of November, I've seen a lot of blogs and a lot of online diaries and noticed a difference between the two. Whereas online diaries are written to describe the author's thoughts, feelings, and daily happenings, blogs are more of an online record of interesting sites the author has visited (of course, the term "blog" has since been used for what really should have been called "online diaries," and as a result the connotations of the word have changed despite the efforts of the old-time bloggers to enforce the proper usage of the word). Unconsciously my so-called "blog" has become a mixture of both.

I've never wanted to write a true online diary -- the thought of revealing my innermost thoughts (or otherwise just bitching about my daily life) isn't something I'm all that keen on doing, though I admire those who can pull this off and keep it interesting. If I do mention anything, it'll be fairly non-personal. After all, I don't use my real name here, do I? However, I'd also feel too constricted simply to list all the interesting URLs I visit daily without more than a sentence's commentary. I know a lot of bloggers do this, but I think I have a bit more to say, y'know?

This being said, I'm not going to be pigeonholed into one particular definition of "weblog" -- rather, I'll just continue my incoherent ramblings the Time Trust way. I hope you'll enjoy the ride!

Father Time Trust 2003 P.S.: Some of the more observant regular visitors to The Time Trust may have noticed some slight changes. The logo at the top left corner of the main page currently has a sort of "New Year's" theme, with a clever play on words. Once I realized that the word "the" can be found in the word "father," the idea of incorporating "Father Time" into the logo was completely irresistable. (Seriously. I turned into Pavlov's Dog for a while, there. )

As well, the DC Comics Calendar page (formerly titled "The 1976 Super DC Calendar") has been updated with a faster-loading font, a look based on the current look of the main page, and -- last but definitely not least -- several new entries have been added. If you have any more birthdates or anniversaries of important dates in DC Universe history, please send them to me (and make sure to mention a verifiable source) so I can put them up.

Posted by Doc Quantum at 10:20 AM | Link | Comment

Wednesday, December 25, 2002:

"Merry Christmas to all... and to all a good-night!"

Have a good one! Nothing really special today for Christmas Day, I'm afraid. Just a short note to mention that I'm already trying to think of a terrific! phenomenal! exciting! groundbreaking! -- et cetera, et cetera -- site for next month's Website Showcase. I could've sworn I came across a few sites that were good candidates, but of course my faulty memory isn't helping me much. As always, I accept suggestions for the Website Showcase, though as always management reserves the right to decide which one is chosen and all that rot. I've also cooked up a few more logos with holiday themes for the next few months (because, quite frankly, I'm getting sick of the Christmas-themed one), beginning with New Year's, something I'll unveil tomorrow or the day afterwards.

It's a rainy Christmas Day here in Vancouver. There was actually some snow yesterday... for about twenty minutes, before it turned back into rain and washed away. Ah well. Vancouver (and parts of southwestern British Columbia) is the only part of Canada where the grass is always green, even in the dead of winter, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much about the rain that keeps it this way. Would've been nice to get some snow, though. Maybe in January.

Meanwhile, my chapters in the INVASION! story are coming along (see yesterday's blog entry) -- I wrote seven chapters yesterday, and I'm currently writing a few more that will be posted shortly.

Posted by Doc Quantum at 3:06 PM | Link | Comment

Tuesday, December 24, 2002:

The Time Trust's Terrific Treatise on Tolkien's The Two Towers

Been a busy few days. My family got together for the annual Christmas dinner a bit early this year for various reasons, and I've been sleeping some REALLY strange hours lately. As I write this, it's between 3 and 4 in the morning... but I'm actually feeling fine right now. I am a "night owl," after all.

For those of you following my Five Earths Project stories, I've written a few chapters in the ongoing INVASION! round-robin at the Earth-1 Yahoo! Group. My goal is to finish this story this week, and I've got it all planned out. All that needs to be done is write it and write it well. My most recent chapters can be found beginning here.

Now, last week I promised that review of The Two Towers. Well, look no further. Here it is:

Gollum or Sméagol? The Two Towers - The Time Trust's Review

First off, I like those initials.

I took some time off work and even missed the first hour of my night class (last one of the year) to see this film. It was a 4:00 PM showing, so I figured I'd be out by about 6:30. What I didn't take into account was that there were of course about 20-25 minutes of previews before it even started. And the film seemed to be about 2 hours and 50 minutes long (IMDB.com says its running time is 179 minutes, or 2 hours and 59 minutes, so I wasn't far off); that's about 9 reels of film! In fact, I had a morbid fascination as I watched for the reel change every 20 minutes. After seeing Fight Club again recently, I've begun noticing those little oval dots that appear at the top right corner of the screen during every film, indicating a reel change is coming (Brad Pitt's character illustrates this in a memorable sequence of that film). Anyways, this is getting a bit off-topic...

My thoughts on the film: I was at a matinee showing at the least-active Silver City in the Lower Mainland (of Greater Vancouver), so my friends and I got some really great seats. The anticipation for the film was running high, though I needed some coffee to keep me up (not too much, though, or I'd be fighting a losing battle with my bladder -- the movie and previews are almost three and a half hours long!) because I'd only had about 5 hours of sleep that night (don't ask ). By the time the movie started, I felt like cheering simply due to the anticipation, but once it actually got going, I concentrated on following the various plotlines.

My first problem with the film: Despite director Peter Jackson's assurances that there would be some sort of recap of The Fellowship of the Ring at the beginning of The Two Towers, there isn't really anything of the sort, except for a new look at Gandalf's battle with the Balrog on the bridge at Khazad-Dûm from the wizard's perspective. Other than this, the story just picks up where the last movie ended. It must be remembered that The Lord of the Rings is not really a Trilogy after all, though, but one long story broken up into three books. Likewise, this film cannot stand alone but only as the second Act in a three-act play. However, I pity anyone who is not intimately familiar with the events of Fellowship while watching this movie; I really can't imagine how one would follow the so-called "sequel" without that knowledge.

The next problem I had with the film was that, in following the important events of the novel so closely, so many things happen in a very short sequence which comes off as "hurried". After about half an hour, though, I began to notice that either I became used to the pacing, or the pacing simply became better.

The most interesting character in the film was Gollum/Sméagol, surprisingly enough. Once I got past his obvious CGI-ness (which was yet superior to any other humanoid CGI character I've seen), Gollum began to grow on me in a way he never really did in the books. In a memorable sequence the conflict between the two sides of Gollum's personality (Samwise Gamgee called them "Slinker" and "Stinker" in the book) is demonstrated as the good and evil sides try to wrest control over him, with the good side winning out most of the time... at least at first. Gollum on-screen is shockingly animalistic. One almost wants to cringe as this human-like being cowers and crawls around on all fours like a lizard, and Sam wonders why Frodo doesn't just put the poor creature out of its misery. The reason, of course, is that Gollum represents what Frodo will become if the One-Ring is not destroyed, and if even Gollum can be redeemed, then there is hope for him as well.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a special effects extravaganza, a technical masterpiece, and there are some very beautiful sequences in this film. The countryside of New Zealand, where the films were shot, lends itself well to the mythology of Middle-Earth, and although it is not hard to spot where the natural landscapes end and the CGI landscapes begin, everything is bathed in an ethereal light which helps the suspension of disbelief. My favourite special effects scene was the flooding of Isengard caused by the uncharacteristically enraged Ents (walking trees).

This film is not for everyone. As I said, I pity those who aren't already familiar with at least Fellowship, if not the novels themselves. Visually, this adaptation does a great deal of justice to the world Tolkien created in his novels, but not enough time is taken to do justice to the story itself, I'm afraid. I constantly had the feeling that I was watching a "Reader's Digest" version of the story or a much lengthier film at double or quadruple speed. There simply isn't enough time in three hours for the kind of character development as seen in the novels (with the notable exception of Gollum). The Lord of the Rings would be much better off storywise as a mini-series rather than a film trilogy. Still, as a Tolkien admirer and LOTR enthusiast, I enjoyed this film immensely, though Fellowship was superior in many respects.

The fantasy genre for the most part is very hit-and-miss, with only a few masters (such as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis) getting it right -- the rest seem to be all style and no substance. Tolkien, however, had a moral underpinning to his stories which had great consequences as each character made his choices, whether they were between good and evil, recklessness and caution, or bravery and cowardice.

Summary: It's well worth seeing, particularly for the spectacular battle scenes, the camaraderie between Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, and the interaction between Frodo, Samwise and Gollum and the moral questions that arise there, but it lacks heart. It will blow you away as an exhibition of what is possible in cinematography and SFX today, but it fails to do justice to Tolkien's fable-like story. I give it 4 stars out of 5 for that reason.

P.S.: Did another LOTR "Personality Test" -- this one different than the previous. Here were my results:

Faramir

Faramir

If I were a character in The Lord of the Rings, I would be Faramir, Man of Gondor, the humble younger brother of Boromir.

In the movie, I am played by David Wenham.

Who would you be?
Zovakware Lord of the Rings Test with Perseus Web Survey Software

Interestingly enough, when I changed my last answer to see what would happen, the result was Boromir, Faramir's brother. (I've always wondered what happened to Nearamir and Excitamir, the other brothers... okay, stop groaning. )

Posted by Doc Quantum at 3:47 PM | Link | Comment

Friday, December 20, 2002:

No sleep and no beer is driving Homer something-something...

Detail from Edvard Munch's The ScreamI felt like shouting in frustration today, had I the energy to do so. Another tired, lethargic, headache-filled day after another sleepless night. This is driving me crazy. One of my co-workers told me she'd read something about how a relatively large percentage of insomniacs commit suicide as compared to the rest of the population. Sometimes I think I can see why. Don't worry -- I'm not suicidal, and I never will be -- but I can empathise with anyone else who has insomnia like mine or worse.

The Two Towers review is still sitting on my Desktop for the next revision, but I'm going to put it off for at least another day or so. My non-creative reptile brain is definitely in control today. I've been seeing a lot of talk about the film on the web, though. I'm surprised that most of the short reviews I've seen have been wholly uncritical. I mean, I liked the movie, too, but I could definitely see some fairly major flaws... ah, but I get ahead of myself. I'll save the rest for the review.

Meanwhile...

Books I'm currently reading: Spycatcher: The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer by Peter Wright, Former Assistant Director of MI5. The U.K. Government wanted to have this book banned in Great Britain, and as I recall, it caused quite a stir at the time it was published in the mid-1980s. (I think Spitting Image did a skit or two on the subject, as I recall. Speaking of which, that was one of my favourite shows as a kid until CBC stopped airing it, and one which introduced me to the hilarious world of politics. I recall often imitating the Spitting Image Douglas Hurd voice as a kid, though the real Hurd doesn't really sound like that.) Anyways, it's a fascinating "spy novel," made all the more fascinating in that it's true! Wright demonstrates the reluctance of MI5 and MI6 to modernise their operations in the 1950s, causing several blunders, particularly in MI6 (contrary to the James Bond image we have of that organisation). He was involved in counter-intelligence -- hence the title of the book -- on the home front, and was one of the new breed of intelligence officers seeking to make equipment and operations more efficient despite great reluctance. Using the James Bond analogy, Peter Wright was MI5's "Q" -- a scientific officer who eventually moved into intelligence and later rose to the rank of Assistant Director. This book -- if you can find a copy of it -- is not to be missed.

Recommended films on video: The Third Man: Directed by Carol Reed, screenplay by Graham Greene, starring Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles, among others. This has been called one of the greatest films of all time, as well as the best non-auteur film. All I know is that I liked it the first time I saw it half a decade ago, and I immensely enjoyed watching it again recently. The zither music which runs throughout the film is captivating. One of my all-time favourites.

Posted by Doc Quantum at 11:47 PM | Link | Comment

Thursday, December 19, 2002:

It's raining e-mails!

I was planning on writing a review of The Two Towers today, but although I've written a first draft, I think I'll sleep on it and do some revisions tomorrow. Don't worry -- there won't be any real spoilers.

The Christmas holidays have begun. And I've finally had a chance to catch up with my e-mail. I'm telling you, folks, I had about 250 e-mails in my Yahoo Mail to go through today! Luckily, most of them weren't personal e-mails -- which I tend to answer right away anyways -- but instead "Daily Digests" from all the Yahoo! Groups I belong to. It's a good way to keep up with the discussions without having to visit each and every Group manually or receive each and every message as an e-mail, but they can pile up really quickly. It took me a few hours to finally get through them all.

I'm planning on doing a lot of writing over the holidays, as well as some more studying for my night class, which doesn't officially end until the end of January. I'll be back tomorrow with that review of TTT (love those initials!) and a bigger weblog entry (have to keep this page going with fresh material, don't ya know?). Till then, check out the weblog links on the right side of the page to get your blog fix.

Weather update: No, it's still not snowing (although it's stopped raining for the time being and has been quite pleasant actually), and it doesn't look like it's going to. It's warm enough during the day to wear a T-shirt, but in the evening it gets damp and chilly. There's been a lot of fog lately, too. No snow in the forecast, though -- not even at the local ski mountains from what I've seen, sadly enough. We didn't get any snow last winter at all, as far as I recall. But every few years we'll get a shitload of snow blow in just in time for Christmas, or at least in January, so it might still happen.

Posted by Doc Quantum at 7:55 PM | Link | Comment

Tuesday, December 17, 2002:

Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg...

I just realised today how close it is to Christmas. Is Christmas Eve really only ONE WEEK from now?!! Please postpone! I'm not ready! I'm not ready!

Well, there's not much I can do about the way Christmas has just snuck up on me (and some friends I've spoken with) the way it has. Just have to make the most of the time I have to get everything done.

Santa Claus is an honourary Canadian!When I was a little kid, Christmas meant a lot to me. Of course, the presents were cool, but it was more the atmosphere of the holidays than anything. Christmas had a way of making me feel secure somehow, surrounded by my family and the traditional decorations adorning the walls. As I grew older, it still meant a great deal to me, but things changed somewhat, especially once my parents were divorced. It definitely made things much more difficult. For instance, since I became an adult, I haven't spent any Christmases with my father, who lives in another province altogether, but I do have my mother's side of the family to spend Christmas Eve with.

After my grandmother died a few days before Christmas just a few years ago, I really got soured on Christmas. I didn't want to take part in anything to do with it, and this lasted for a couple of more years afterwards. Now, I'm fairly indifferent to Christmas. It's just another holiday to me, and I find myself just going through the motions. It has ceased to have any spiritual or religious significance in our society, which is more a reflection of our culture than anything. Besides, my faith is year-round, not just something to be dragged out at Christmas and Easter. The spirit of giving should be likewise.

The Christmases I enjoy now are the ones where children are present -- they're the ones who really make the holidays special for me. Sadly, I don't see my nieces and nephews very often because they're in another province, and the only kids around this year will be my cousins' kids (who I really don't see at any other time than Christmas anyways). I suspect that, one day in the distant future when I'm married and have children of my own, my attitude towards Christmas will change. Right now, though, it's just another day off...

(P.S.: Goin' to see The Two Towers tomorrow afternoon! Of the three books in the trilogy, I found this one the most difficult to get through -- though I've read the entire trilogy about six or seven times since I was a kid -- and I hope that the adaptation is smooth and effective, and that it does Tolkien justice. Got my fingers crossed...)

Posted by Doc Quantum at 10:31 PM | Link | Comment

Monday, December 16, 2002:

I passed the test(s)!!!

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers will be released on Wednesday -- -- something I've looked forward to for months. I'll be going to the afternoon matinee on Wednesday with a group of friends, and I have already bought my ticket to what will undoubtedly be a sold-out show in case you were wondering.

Haven't been doing much writing, or anything, this weekend. My health's not too good right now. I'm not sick with anything like a cold or flu, as far as I'm aware, but I'm extremely lethargic from day to day. The only time of the day I have any energy at all is after midnight (hmm... maybe I'm turning into a vampire or something ).

Thanks to my newfound 'e-friend' Dr. P for his timely advice for my blog, as seen in his comments on my guestbook, The Time Trust Feedback Shack (thanks, Dr. P. Woodgnome!). I heartily agree that content is what's most important in a webpage, and I have some ideas for what this daily blog will become in the far-flung year of 2003. Meanwhile, I've added a few new "gimmicks" on the page that should make things interesting: I've got a Javascript code near the top of the page which presents a new quotation (out of 100) each time the page is reloaded, and I'll be adding more as I find them, as well as correcting mistakes or weeding out a few that get tiring after a while.

In honour of the new Lord of the Rings film, I found (or re-found) a "personality test" which professes to determine "Which Lord of the Rings character are you most like?" I've taken this test before, and I actually came out with the exact same results this time as last:

Celeborn of Lothlorien
What LoTR Character Are You?

You are most like Celeborn. You are normally a quiet person. Who needs to talk when actions speak louder that words? You are pretty popular, but your fame isn't that big of a deal. What's more important to you is making the world a better place.

Interesting... if a bit limited. I found that several of the questions did not have the answer I would have given had I another choice, so I basically had to toss a coin between them.


And, since we're on the subject, here are the results of a few other "personality tests" that I have taken for my (and your) enjoyment...

Kermit the Frog

You are Kermit!
Though you're technically the star, you're pretty mellow and don't mind letting others share the spotlight. You are also something of a dreamer.

Heh-heh-heh. This fits me more than you may know. Interesting factoid: I have never had very many stuffed animals, but one of the most cherished of the ones I do have is my Kermit doll (especially because of the Velcro strips he has on his hands and feet which cling to anything Velcro would cling to), adding a note of irony to these test results.


Pepe le PewWhich Cartoon Character Are You?

You are Pepe le Pew (without the smell).

You are a lover. Romance, flowers, and wine are all you need to enjoy yourself. You are serious about all commitments. A family person. You call your Mom every Sunday, and never forget a birthday. Don't let your passion for romance get confused with the real thing.

Oui, oui, I can zee it! (Pardon my "French"...)


Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Which Star Trek Character Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

You are Captain Jean Luc Picard. You are balding, short and a bit bookish. However, against all odd, you make a very good captain. Your love of archeology and a straight uniform have made you one of the best "text-book" captains in Starfleet history.

Oh... kay... that's cool, I guess... This is especially ironic considering the "Earl Grey -- hot" joke I made in my last entry. (Damn! I wanted to be Kirk!) I dunno where he gets the balding and short bit, though. I've got a full head of (short) hair and I'm average height for a man. I even got a score of 9 out of 10 at HotorNot.com a year ago! C'mon, I'm serious!


Carl SandburgWhich Poet are You?


You are Carl Sandburg

You see the world in a different way than your peers and are able to find beauty in the most unusual places!

Take the Which Poet are You? Quiz - brought to you out of boredom and pretention!

That's alright, though I must admit I'm largely ignorant of poetry. Too... poetic for my tastes. I'm a huge reader, but most of my reading tends to be historical or fictional prose. I did enjoy the poetry I read in my last English class, though, if that counts for anything.

Strangely enough, I was also Sylvia Plath and Maya Angelou for this reason:

"If you see more than one poet listed below that is because you displayed an equivalent amount of traits of more than one poet. Just pick your favorite one to show the world or list them all!"


The Animal in You Personality Test

This lion seems to be up to something...You are either a Bear or a Lion personality.
But you may also be a Fox personality.

Everyone knows foxes love karaoke...NOTE: Although you share characteristics with these animals, you are ONLY one of these personality types.. Read the descriptions of each animal to determine which one you are.

So hard to decide... but I think I'm split between Lion and Fox, with a little bit of Bear.


And finally...

Sergei Rakhmaninov

If I were a Dead Russian Composer, I would be Sergei Rakhmaninov.

I lived in the early Twentieth Century and was well known for my compositional, conducting, and piano skills, yet I am melancholy despite this talent. My famous works include my nearly-impossible piano concerti.

Who would you be? Dead Russian Composer Personality Test

Huh. Go figure.


There was one other test that I took: Which Simpsons Character Are You? I'm a bit hesitant to show my results, but I guess I'll relent:

I'm so like Homer!
I'm Homer, who are you? by Lexi

'I'm like Homer Simpson'?!? Mother o' Mercy, I hope not! Hmm... now that I think of it -- could that be the reason all those people are laughing at me behind my back?!!

"Don't laugh at me! I was once like you!"
-Homer Simpson

The moral of the story? Celeborn notwithstanding, I'm nearly always the star of the show! Kermit the Frog, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and Homer Simpson can't be wrong!

Posted by Doc Quantum at 5:42 AM | Link | Comment

2002-12-12: Having some sleeping problems again lately -- (I think it has to do with the latest bout of rain the last couple of days). The only thing that keeps me up once I wake up is coffee... but if I have too much of that, especially on an empty stomach, it can be bad. A few years ago I had to stop drinking coffee as I began having serious heartburn troubles. Up until then I had been drinking about 5 or 6 cups every working day just to stay awake in the morning, and I also ate all the wrong foods. I had to learn the hard way about nutritious foods, as my youthful metabolism which burned up everything I ate in my early 20s and kept me thin has begun to slow down. I'm still in good health, but I definitely have to watch what I eat these days. I try not to drink too much coffee any longer, and I definitely don't have it on an empty stomach any more, but I really need it most days lately just to stay awake during the daytime. I mix it up with tea, though. "Earl Grey. Hot."

I'm still doing some tinkering with my webpage, as some of you might notice. More links have been added on the right side, and the ones at the top have been updated and condensed. Plus, I replaced the three big snowflakes with a cool little snow applet just over my logo. It's very hypnotic.

Still looking for feedback on this page. Anyone reading this -- I'd love to get even the briefest of notes on my Guestbook... it lets me know whether anyone's out there or not! Thanks to those of you who have sent me e-mails, as well. It's very appreciated!

Looking at some of the other weblogs out there (can't bring myself to call them "blogs" just yet), I'm a bit jealous. So many of them look so very professional. I strive to give The Time Trust a professional look, but there's only so much one can do with HTML, y'know? I'd also like to put more pics on my pages (maybe some cartoon strips as well), but the GeoCities loading speed isn't exactly up to par with the sites with dedicated servers -- but it's free, so I shouldn't be complaining.

Haven't been doing much writing, either, but my night class wraps up for the year after next Wednesday, so I'll have some more free time to work on it.

Doc Quantum


2002-12-11: I added some snowflake effects, though they only appear at the top of the page. I hope they don't slow the loading time too much. Figured I'd do something for Christmas, though I doubt it will snow much locally.

There's a misconception out there about Canada that the entire country is the same. It's not. This is a BIG country, people, and weather patterns north of the 49th parallel vary widely. Vancouver, where I live, has mild temperatures all year round, due to the proximity of the ocean and those wonderful warm air currents that come up from the California area. It does snow once or twice in the winter at sea-level, but it's usually gone within a day or two. The main type of precipitation we get here is rain. And that keeps the grass green all year round. It's a beautiful city.

The great thing about Vancouver, though, is that we're surrounded by the coastal mountain range. It's only a matter of driving some 45 minutes to reach one of the several ski-mountains on the north shore, the only place one is likely to find snow in Vancouver.

I miss the snow, though. I grew up on the prairies, where winter begins early and ends late. There, in Saskatchewan, it snows like crazy, just like the Canadian stereotype. I remember as a kid the snow on my front lawn piling up taller than me! I used to dig tunnels through them and even attempted to make an igloo once or twice. Snow at Christmas is something I was very much used to, but since I've lived in Vancouver, I've had to put up with snow-less Christmases almost each year (though there have been a few exceptions). I'm crossing my fingers that we'll get some snow JUST before Christmas which will disappear JUST after Christmas, since the drivers here just don't know how to drive in snow (or rain, for that matter )!

Doc Quantum


2002-12-10: Want to find a great way to waste some time? Check out Yahoo! Games. I don't quite yet have the courage to attempt to play in a tournament against other online players (due to a bad experience I had a few years ago when I attempted to play a game of chess against a highly-skilled and FAST opponent online, only to lose in a matter of a few moves and then have that loss compounded by the ultimate internet backhanded slap: "u suck" ), but the other games there have proven fascinating. It's literally been years since the last time I checked out Yahoo! Games, so I was pleased to see the new additions they have there.

The games I found most addictive were Diamond Mine, Text Twist, What Word, and Collapse. Try them at your peril!

I remember seeing some site which had the old Atari arcade games online, but I lost track of it, and I don't have the URL bookmarked any more. I think they had Pac-Man and several others. I am of the Atari generation (I'm in my late '20s), and I spent many hours as a kid playing all those classic games in the mid-80s. Anyone have any idea what happened to that site? E-mail me or let me know about it via my Guestbook! Thanks!

BTW, some of you may notice that the page looks a wee bit different today. Not really much has changed, although I added the "Online since August 2000" line, as well as revising the Search Engines list. And I also added a long-overdue section for links to Weblogs and Friends' Sites. Check them out on the right side of the main page.

Doc Quantum


2002-12-09: I've been immersing myself in the history of the Cold War over the past week. It's a very fascinating part of world history, indeed.

I also finally read a book I picked up at a library sale several years ago: John le Carré's The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. I believe Graham Greene when he said it was the best spy story he had ever read. This isn't James Bond by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, Le Carré paints a picture of what espionage was more or less really like, as an aging agent is manipulated by his own side and the enemy's in what amounts to the "Great Game" of espionage. I may take the time to write a review of the novel, but in the meantime, check out the Amazon.com review of the book.

Meanwhile, I've also written a new chapter for the ongoing INVASION! crossover story at the Earth-1 fanfic group. This story was intended to be a "summer crossover" story, and for the most part it was, but it's dragged on a bit longer than that owing to my busy schedule. (Sorry, guys! ) This story needs to get done before Christmas, though. In truth, it's all planned out already -- all that needs to happen is for it to get written, and written well.

I've also been doing a lot more thinking about the Earth-X and Earth-4 stories I mentioned in my last blog entry, and I think I've come up with some very workable ideas, though I won't really be able to work on the Earth-X history until February. But it looks like that history class is really paying off in relation to these story projects -- I have a better understanding of the various politics involved than I had ever had before.

P.S.: Thanks to everyone who's stopped by my page recently. November 2002 was the busiest month so far! Thanks again, and please come back regularly.

Doc Quantum


2002-12-04: Man, I can't believe how much real life has been interfering with the time I spend on the internet lately! The history night class I'm taking is going very well for me -- so far my mark at this midway point is A+! Needless to say, I'm very pleased with that.

The only downfall to it is that it's left me very creatively spent. All my creative energy has been going into this class and the various essays and exams involved, not to mention the many hours of study I devote to it which have given me that A+.

It was a bit of a scramble to think up a site for December's "Website Showcase," but Snopes.com definitely deserves as much exposure as possible, even though I'm sure a great many people out there have already seen it.

Haven't done any writing lately, either, I'm afraid. As I said, my creative energy is going primarily into this intense history class. But I have come up with a few ideas for a couple of the Five Earths Project sites. For the Earth-X group, I've got an idea to write a story in a "history textbook" format which details the alternate history on that world in which the Nazis won World War II. Based on the few "clues" given in the comics and my reinforced knowledge of World War II, I've been getting some ideas on how the Nazis could have exploited certain battles or events to their own advantage. The difficult part will be trying to write the history from the late 1940s to the late 1960s, as this will have to be mostly speculation. I'm definitely not looking forward to dealing with how the Nazis on a Nazi-controlled Earth would deal with the "Jewish Question" -- it brings this fan-fiction project to a whole new horrifying level I'm not sure I really want to deal with. I do have some thoughts on it, though. Hope I don't mess it up.

For the Earth-4 group, I hope to continue soon the "Superpowers" story I began there a month or so back, as I've got some ideas on how to exploit the real-life situations of 1986 to "renew" the Communist threat and heat up the Cold War, so to speak, as that's the general theme we founders and writers agreed upon for that world. So far Leonid Brezhnev has lived longer on Earth-4 to remain the Soviet leader in 1986, but his health is failing and possible successors are ready to take over. Will it be the more moderate Gorbachev as in the real world (albeit somewhat later), or will a Communist hardliner who idolises Stalin be the one picked to revitalise the Soviet Union? I think you can probably guess which one will win...

So there you have it. Those are some ideas that are so far churning only in the back of my mind but which I hope will see the light of day. As soon as they get written and posted, I'll keep you, my weblog-reader audience posted as well. Here's hoping I find some time and energy to do some more writing.

Doc Quantum

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Last updated on December 31, 2002 | E-mail The Time Trust | Copyright © 2003 Doctor Quantum Inc.