Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Over-over-eating: Extreme dining in the 21st century

Someone was high when they whipped up this idea.


You can make reservations to eat dinner at a table that is dangling precariously from a crane. Genius! I wish I was there when they came up with it. "Yeah, then we take 22 putzes, and just hang them up there while they eat." Note the prices are not listed and reservations must be made 2-3 months in advance while they get permits from the city to hang your greedy ass up in the air. How much do you figure a meal like that would put you back? 50 K? 100K? Craziness.

Despite my manliness I find the idea frightenning. Isn't that just asking for trouble? I mean it's dangerous enough as it is, but you'll be the envy of all the chumps stuck eating food on solid ground. They'll be sending evil thoughts skyward to your table. I can see myself eating a hot dog from a street vendor or something.

Me: "They really think they're better than me, don't they? Up there eating their filet mignon and sipping the finest champagne... Wearing their fancy clothes and telling hilarious, rich-people stories!!!" Then I'd toss my half eaten hot dog at them, miss their silly floating table and weep bitterly as I watch my discarded lunch land in a pile of reeking hobos.

Imagine Paris Hilton's next birthday party. Who knows? Rusty links in the chain? I can see her inviting James Lipton and he starts getting rowdy. Jumping around, yelling and being belligerent. Then Dennis Franz makes a disparaging remark about Rosie Odonnel's sexual orientation and they start fighting. You get that crane to swinging and next thing you know you got Jack Black and Monique are singing: "Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Paris Hiltoooooon.... Happy birthday to-" *SNAP* "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
And it lands on a car and explodes in a magnificent fireball. That'll end a meal real quick. Then the next day on Oprah Winfrey when a horribly mutilated Paris talks about the experience she'll say, "You know the worst part, Oprah? The steak was over cooked."

I've been expressing this a lot lately but once again I cannot help but be overwhelmed at the opulence of North American society. You hang people in the air so they can have an expensive meal? Seriously? Not to sound bitter but... what's that??? I often imagine what extra-terrestrials will think of us if they find the remains of our society. "Ah yes, and this is a crane, used to hang people in the air while they ate. We believe it helped them to digest their food."

No, it was just another way for people to quickly burn an embarassing excess of money. Of course who am I to draw the line? I think it would be cool to eat at that restaurant that was built underwater.


That's pretty extravagant. Still, my mind can't help but conjure terrifying images of a shark crashing through the glass and devouring the frantic patrons. "This wasn't on the menu!" I'd cry.

Jen told me a funny story where a man went to the revolving restaurant in montreal. He went to the bathroom and found that it didn't rotate with the rest of the restaurant. When he emerged he was so disoriented he couldn't find his table. And then there's O'Noir where you pay a little extra to eat in the dark.

It's like something out of a science fiction comedy; Restaurants with themes so contrived that it actually makes eating inconvenient, even dangerous. The sky's the limit indeed. I can imagine a restaurant that's on one giant ski, and you eat at a table that's sliding down a snowy mountainside. I'd like to eat a meal, where the table is in this transparent, temperature resistant dome floating on a bed of magma inside an active volcano on the verge of erupting. Or you take this crane idea, except you fasten everyone to their seats and hang everything upside down over a field of land mines with starving lions roaming around. Or what would you think about a restaurant that serves only seafood? Fish, lobster, crab, emperor penguins, shrimp ... I think that would be pretty good. Ah, to be wealthy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Bold and the Beautiful

I remember when I was a kid, we had a strange rule in the house. We weren't allowed to kill ladybugs because my mom found them cute. Spiders however, were sentenced to immediate execution upon being spotted. Where is the justice, I ask myself? Why is one crawling arthropod deserving of death and another the recipient of mercy? It all has to do with human prejudices.

I agree, lady bugs are kind of cute. They look like little jewels. I daresay, they're beautiful. And spiders are pretty awful looking things. Hairy, eerie... gross. Lady bugs trundle along like cute old ladies. Spiders creep along with those 8 hairy legs, weaving webs all over everything. But spiders are a very important part of our ecology, devouring pests like mosquitoes. Ladybugs play their role too, but I can't remember the last time I've had a problem with aphids...

But I digress. Why do I bring this up? Because the other day I was woken up at 10am by a rustling noise. Forcing myself out of bed I went to my living room to find a squirrel on my air conditioner. I watched it for a little while. Then it scurried off to a branch on the tree in my back yard. It nibbled off a piece and then brought it back to my air conditioner. This thing was making a nest on my air-conditionner! The temerity!

So I stared at it for a while as it went about it's task, and this rodent had the balls to look right back at me, get another branch and continue building its nest. Almost like it wanted me to go away. I felt like saying, "Well, excuse me! Am I disturbing you? Would you like some help with that, Guy?" Like I'm some kind of punk for this squirrel to just give me the crook eye and start building real estate on my air conditionner? Now, sure, it's almost October, I should have taken the air conditionner down long ago, but I've been busy (see previous post). I find squirrels way too bold. They have this sense of entitlement. What other rodent can just run around willy-nilly at any time of day, right in your face!! They're not even scared of people anymore it seems.


And this is what puzzles me. A squirrel is little more than a glorified rat. You see them all over the place, eating garbage, defecating where they please, carousing... acting like proper vermin! Yet, I've never heard anyone describe a squirrel as anything but cute. They're rats with bushy tails! And yet if someone were to see a rat, they would freak out and try to kill it. If your garden variety snake had a cute flower growing out of its tail would we suddenly treat it like a little ornament of mother nature, with the right to parade around at all times of day, building nests in plain site, staring us right in the eye as if WE'RE the ones who are out of line?! As if WE'RE the ones who fall short of some squirrel imposed standard?! You know what?? F**k squirrels!!!There, I said it.

And another thing; I'm not going to treat a squirrel like it's special just because it has a bushy tail. I grabbed my Mace Windu force FX lightsaber, ignited the blade and started tapping on the window. The squirrel ran away. And then came back like 10 minutes later with another branch! This time I banged on the window harder. This seemed to dissuade him from setting up shop right outside my window. The force was strong with me.

The balls on that thing. I pray thee, to all who read this, enforce justice on all of God's creations, to the dispicably cute squirrel, to the horrificly disgusting spider. All creatures on the earth should be treated with the utmost contempt, regardless of how they look.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Are you my number 7?

I'm nearing the end of my four year graduate program and soon will be known to all of you as Chris Gregg no longer but rather, Dr. Chris Gregg.

The last step of this process is to write my thesis, a process that shouldn't take to long but is... taking... too long. I don't know what it is. I love my research. I love writing. Writing about my research should be a breeze. But it isn't. There's something foreboding about knowing you have to do something that makes it so unnapealing such that almost any activity available seems more interesting. I remember in the past I have learned several songs in other languages (the theme to El Mariachi, Mas Que Nada and Life is Beautiful by M-flo). That was more interesting than say, studying for an exam. Having a thesis due has yielded similar hobbies. A few examples:

1) Writing an article about procrastination: I was making some nice figures for my thesis when it occured to me, "Why should I do something so urgent and so necessary, when I can write about not doing it?"

2) Fiction writing: Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy writing. The order of what I like to write goes, Fiction, Blog post, Thesis.

3) Cooking. I have been cooking up a storm these last few weeks. I've mastered a meal I really like that Jen made for me long ago. Spicy Ginger Shrimp with honey and coconut milk. I also decided that there must be some recipe available online to make fried chicken that tastes just like the colonel's. I found one, but my chicken didn't turn out like real KFC. I also made a Dijon chicken dish with noodles. I pronounce it Dee Jon to sound cool. I've also made pancakes several times.

4) Apple picking. Why buy cheap apples at the local grocery store when you can buy expensive apples from the most remote part of the north shore? Impractical but a lot of fun.

5) Watching Curb your Enthusiasm. I have every episode on DVD and I still can't decide if I love or hate Larry David. He's such a jerk/idiot. Sometimes it's infuriating to watch I want to hit him!! But I always get a laugh.

6) Looking for jobs. After finishing my thesis, ideally I will find a job that will provide me with much cash. Cha ching. Will I be employed as a researcher, a teacher or manager at la Belle Province?

Can you guess what job I'll end up doing! Post it on the site! In a few months you can say, "I knew Dr. Chris Gregg would end up working for the British Secret Service, not unlike James Bond."

Please visit my blogs frequently and add comment. Perhaps answering comments posted by YOU can be my #7 favourite activity to do aside from thesis writing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A mini Big Bang

So, they recently fired up the Big Bang Machine. "What is a Big Bang machine and why should I care?" you may be asking.

Well, the Big Bang Machine is a 6.4 billion Euro monstrosity that will hopefully recreate the conditions that began the universe. They're going to collide some particles, protons and then some stuff will happen, Big Bang-like stuff (or so they assume) and if they observe a particular particle called a Higg's Bozon, then they will know their theories about "the beginning" of the universe were correct. If they don't observe this particle then they were wrong about some things. And like good scientists they would be happy to be surprised. It means scientists will have more stuff to study. You should watch some of these videos they're interesting.


Why should you care? Well, with a food crisis going on in the world and the dissapearance of fossil fuels and the increase of certain diseases, people are desperate to know how the universe began. One day we'll be able to tell a starving child dying of AIDS that everything that exists came about as the result of a big explosion called the Big Bang. Certainly the child won't understand the details of what this all means. In fact, his or her most pressing question might be, "Can I PLEASE have a sandwhich?" But... who cares? As long as scientists know some stuff.

I love how knowing more about the big bang does absolutely nothing practical for me or anyone, whatsoever. I guess it's nice to know these things but that's a lot of money and there are lots of problems in the world these days. Where are the big advances in Biology and Agriculture? When is the last time someone has spent that kind of money trying to cure a disease? Of course, when we run out of food and fossil fuels, and our atmosphere is so dense with pollution we won't be able to see the sun, maybe these people can make a new universe for us to live in.

All sarcasm aside, I love physics and stuff. I just don't think this experiment is worth the expense, whatever the outcome. I mean, there's such a thing as priorities. What good that money could have done for people who are really in need. Luckily for physicists, no one has or ever will ask me for permission to build a Big Bang Machine.

That being said there are a small group of people out there who believe that the Big Bang Machine could create black holes and eventually destroy the earth. That's one way to end human suffering.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

6 pack

In the last year or so I have been working out at a gym that is appropriately named "Pump". It's where I go to pump my guns. More or less. I do a fairly lazy workout, a bit of running, I work a few muscles and after about 45 minutes I go home.

For better or worse one of the trainers there caught me doing a very simple exercise in a very bad way. He promptly upbraided me, "No, no NO! That's totally wrong. You're going to kill your d**k! do you want to have children? I have GRAND CHILDREN older than you. Trust me, I've been doing this a long time. I'm not just saying stuff for the sake of... you know, talking."

Me: "You had me at, 'I'm going to kill my d**k.'"

Surely if there's one way to get a guy's attention, it's to threaten his d**k somehow. I had one free appointment with a personal trainer so I asked him if he was free and made an appointment. The man is now 65 years old, with great grandkids. He was Mr. Canada and Mr. USA. The workout was more intense than the lackadaisacal visits to the gym that I usually indulge in. It was good fun, a great workout. He focused a lot on abs. "This exercise is for your 6-pack!" he said, "I know you young guys like to show off to the ladies with ya tight shirts."

Well, I don't know about tight shirts, but six-pack couldn't hurt anything. For the most part I was able to do lots of the exercises and got tired toward the end. He only expressed true disgust with me when I couldn't do a particular exercise that works out your triceps. Oh, man, I could barely do a few on the second lowest weight.

But that's what it's all about. I'll improve right? And hopefully with his training I will learn the proper technique, thus keeping my d**k safe and ensuring that I will have a seed that will outnumber the stars.