My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

11 Articles in August 2005

  1. The Brothers Grimm indeed

    I went to see The Brothers Grimm this afternoon with my dad. Actually, I think this is one of the few occasions where I've seen a movie on its opening day. The first thing that attracted me to this movie was its director, Terry Gilliam. I'm a fan of Monty Python (Britain's given us a lot of comedy, eh) and was interested in a film directed by him. Needless to say, it was a mixture of fulfillment and disappointment.

    Spoiler Warning

    The special effects were quite good. I wasn't impressed, as they were nothing innovative, but they were also not cheesy, save for one effect. At the end of the movie, the evil queen is destroyed by shattering her magic mirror. This has the effect of destroying her tower as well as herself. Just as the mirror shattered, so she shatters into several thousand glass fragments. Watching Monica Bellucci's face split like that was very weird and definitely cheesy.

    As my dad remarked, Heath Ledger looked unbelievably different. Hair died black and cut short for the part of Jakob Grimm, I didn't even recognize him. He played the part pretty well. Both Brothers Grimm worked nicely together, and I think…

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  2. Google Talk

    So Google has this new instant messenging client, Google Talk. I downloaded it to try it out. Smartly, Google has used a standard protocol, XMPP, allowing clients such as Trillian Pro and GAIM to connect to it. This means I can supposedly use Google Talk even in Ubuntu.

    How does it stack up to other IM clients? Overall I say it loses, simply because it lacks so many features other clients have. For example, no emoticons. The overall interface is smooth and rough at the same time: it looks good, but handles roughly. However, it is new. I'll give it time to improve and gain features, like Gmail, because it looks good right now and so far Google hasn't let me down.

    Google Talk at least allows a degree of text formatting (using bold and italic) and promises rich text formatting in the future, unlike MSN Messenger. And its call feature (audio conversation over a microphone) is superior to MSN: faster to connect by far, and no 'network issues' whatsoever. Take that, MSN.

    The way it groups conversations into one stacked window reminds me slightly of GAIM but handles better than GAIM. It took a few minutes…

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  3. Depressing

    Tomorrow marks exactly two weeks until the start of school . . . first day back will be right after Labour Day. Kind of depressing when I think about it, since it seems like the summer has gone by amazingly quickly. And no matter how much I do during the vacation, it always seems like it's not enough time to get everything done. Admittedly, it's probably because I like the hours: stay up late into the night and early into the morning on the computer and reading, then sleeping 10 hours and waking up during the day. I can't do that once school begins.

    I'll have to make up a list of school supplies I need . . . figure out if I need more clothes (oh my won't, that be fun) and then comes the day when I actually go to school. This is my first year that I will be busing, which will be a new experience. . . . I haven't received a time table yet, which goes to show how increasingly disorganised and incompetent the school Board is becoming during this "integration" process.

    I can't say that it's all bad. I really like school and enjoy…

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  4. Presenting the new Northwoods League champions . . .

    Woo hoo!

    We won! It was an amazing game, but yes, the short term would be "we are the champions."

    They scored no runs until the last half of the game, where they unfortunately tied with us, 3-3. Everyone on the team was playing excellently (there were some errors, but no more than usual). Justin Bach played third base since Joey Lieberman had departed, and he was surprisingly good for a change, he even got a hit at one at bat.

    First base had some troubles (literally). It was damaged somehow early during the game, and they spent a few minutes trying to fix a bent peg or something. They replaced the base and play continued, but it was stopped again a little while later to fix the base or adjust it or something.

    That wasn't the only difficulty. The umpires made another stupid call, even worse than the third base one. They called a Mallards runner safe, claiming Shaun Williams' foot was off the bag, when it was clearly on the bag! Our coach appealed it, but to no avail.

    Our players are so civil, though. There was one player on the Mallards who had to be restrained by…

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  5. The reign of victory continues

    The Border Cats and their reign of victory continues.

    Although we lost the first of the three games, we have the home field advantage so we played the next one here. And we were awesome! Robbie Johns scored two home runs in two consecutive innings (one home run per inning)! It was amazing.

    High scoring game (8-5) but we managed to keep them from scoring in the latter half. Shaun Williams came in to finish off the top of the 9th. I will say this for the Mallards: they belong in the championships for a reason. While Williams smoked three consecutive batters on Thursday, he struggled slightly on Saturday, allowing two batters on base but finally striking out the third.

    The fans were on their feet during that inning, and the tension was palpable with each pitch. They didn't even bother announcing Williams was going to pitch, the fans knew who he was (and if they didn't, their friends would tell them). Williams was pumped—he only took about fifteen minutes to warm up after the bottom of the seventh when he last was at bat.

    As a side note, my brother won "Guess the Attendance" and got a deck of…

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  6. Border Cats Blast

    My hands hurt and my voice is hoarse from clapping and shouting.

    The Thunder Bay Border Cats have won the Northwoods Northern Division Playoffs! So this means we're going up against the Madison Mallards for the title of League Champions. I'm confident we can beat them (although not necessarily that we will beat them).

    Tonight's game was absolutely amazing. St. Cloud scored in the first inning, but then we scored two runs at the bottom of the first and duplicated this feat in the second. Our players made some amazing plays. Don't even get me started about the umpiring. . . .

    Take, for example, the bottom of the seventh. Slide into third base, safe by a mile, and the third-base umpire calls it so. But the River Bats coach comes out and starts arguing, claiming that our man was out. Soon enough, all six of the umpires are conferencing and they reverse the call. I mean, really! So our coach argues with them more, and meanwhile the River Bats coach should be tossed for the way he's arguing with those umpires. The entire stadium of loyal fans shouted "Safe! Safe!" but apparently it didn't do any good. Our…

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  7. VSNS Lemon 3.1 has arrived

    Well, it's here. After a lot of work, I've finished VSNS Lemon 3.1. Some of the biggest changes include an RSS feed (as seen on this site) and a fix to a couple of nasty bugs.

    As usual, it's available for download if you're crazy enough to try it, eh. If you need help (or find a bug) feel free to email me.

  8. Taming of the Shrew

    Theatre in the round is cool, especially in a small cozy one. You can really see the actors up close. The Taming of the Shrew was really good, I loved every moment of it. The actors were talented and played their parts convincingly without overplaying them. My favourites were Petruchio and Tranio. And when Vincentio and fake Vincentio met, it was a classic moment.

    The most interesting part of the evening came after the play, however, which was the last performance of hte production. At the end, under a spotlight with a bouqet of flowers, the actor who played Petruchio proposed to the actor who played Katherina (and she accepted!). It was a great moment.

    I hear, in other news, that the Border Cats won their last regular game even though they had probably been partying last night. Goodbye, Robbie Johns! To the playoffs we go!

  9. Border Cats win! Going to the playoffs!

    All right, I'm not usually this excited about sporting events. But having your own college league baseball team in your city is pretty cool. Watching them win is even better.

    So the Border Cats are going to the playoffs! Won their spot tonight in a game of 8-3; they'll be facing off in a best-2-of-3 series against last half's winner, St. Cloud River Bats. I'm confident they'll win against St. Cloud and will go on to play against the South Division winners (most likely the Madison Mallards).

    It was the last regular season game I'll see. There's one more tomorrow, which will be a tribute night to Robbie Johns, number 23, our catcher. He's been with the team (in various positions) for all three of its years here in Thunder Bay and is a great catcher and strong hitter. They'll be retiring his number. I wish you the best of luck, Robbie.

    I won't be able to attend the game, unfortunately, because I'm going to see a performance of The Taming of the Shrew with some friends.

  10. Grand Marais and back again

    I got up slightly before 7 AM today, which is a feat unto itself. Bathed, ate, went online for a little. We left before 10, gassed up at the prohibitively expensive gas station, and were on our way.

    I took the time to work on Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which is a very good book. Crossing the border wasn't difficult, although there was a long lineup. Then we were in the US of A, travelling along Minnesota highways. A land where metric is only a word and everything else looks the same as Canada. . . .

    It was the last day of the Fishermen's Festival, so everyone in Grand Marais was out to see a parade going on later that afternoon. When we arrived, my brother and I skipped rocks for a while before my entire family went window shopping. We navigated our way down to the Angry Trout Cafe, a restaurant where we always have lunch because of their tasty fresh fish.

    I had fish and chips (Lake Superior Herring). My brother had the same, only with Alaskan Cod as the fish. My mother had something . . . and my dad had Malaysian peanut soup, although…

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  11. Curse you bots! Curse you!

    It appears my site is the site to be . . . if you work for a pharmaceutical company, that is. For the past few weeks, bots (or really bored but motivated people... ) have been spamming my blog with comments. Some advertise dieting drugs, a few poker . . . but it was getting very annoying.

    I've added a small verification feature to my comments to hopefully avoid them. If not, I shall have to summon up a flock of illiterate pigeons.

    In other news . . . Bordercats are doing fine. They lost the game I saw today (fast game!) but I'm confident they will recover. We have impressive fielding, but our hitting is only so-so. And unfortunately some of our best players are leaving before the end of the season, such as Jonathan Diaz, a most awesome shortstop who makes great game-saving plays.

    I should go to bed, tomorrow I must get up bright and early. We (my family) are going on a road trip to Grand Marais, Minnesota. Living close to the border does have its advantages, eh. The trip there and back will be somewhere around 3-4 hours, so I'll have time to finish some…

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About Me

I’m a 26-year-old math and English teacher back in Canada after two years teaching in England. In my free time, I read books! When I’m not reading, I’m writing, coding, or knitting.

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About this site

I started coding websites, in bad HTML on Geocities, in 2004 in a fit of whimsy. Since then I’ve learned PHP/MySQL, coded my own blog software, and rebuilt this site several times. With the exception of the blog, it’s currently running on the exquisite Symphony CMS. This website is hosted by HawkHost

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