darkplace Mysterious ways

Last Delivery

Olivia Raymond Buchanan is a fantastic name.

Try it out. It's got history. Dimension. Class and warmth, culture and mud. It's a name that embodies the breadth that I feel my family history contains, and that I try to live up to in my own life, empathizing with people of all walks and trying to walk the line that is best and fairest for as many as possible.

It belongs to my late Grandmother, who passed on Monday night; but it's not the name that I knew her by. She had a special name for family, the confusing and endearing acronym MOG: "Mummy, Olivia, Granny". The pseudonym held so hard that it wasn't until I was an older child - somewhere in the six- to ten-years-old range, that I became aware that "Granny MOG"'s name was actually Olivia.

It even works for my own kids - we just changed it so that she's "Granny MOGG" (Great-Granny).

It's difficult for me to imagine what to write about MOG. In my earliest memories of her, she was my nice Granny with lots of interesting books and toys, at whose house there would often be arguments and I'd usually get chocolate that would make me vomit in the car after we left. Later, I realized that the relationship between my Mum and MOG was tense, and on talking to Mum I found out that there were a lot of ways in which Granny MOG was an awkward person to be family with - especially to be a child of, but also to be a friend or partner to one of her children, or a close friend to her herself. Like me, she was headstrong and liked to argue, and like me at times, she had no sense of how she affected other people - whether by arguing with them on a sensitive topic, or by refusing to share the work of the Christmas dinner, despite a new spectacular catastrophe each year (which could never have ruined those amazing spreads, excepting that she blew each tiny failure into a disaster of its own).

She was a deeply caring person. Everything *mattered* to her, especially the feelings of others, even when she couldn't read them. She was always devastated to find out that somebody was upset with her, and that it was her own fault. As the years went by, her responses changed, from lashing back to breaking down, and it became a lot easier to be around her - it's easier to be around somebody who admits fault than someone who redirects.

MOG was always, always popular with newcomers. She was a charismatic, friendly and polite lady who looked perpetually twenty years younger than she really was, and she *always* had an interesting story, because she lived a fascinating life, globetrotting with my Grandfather Ivan, who died before I ever had a chance to know him. Her adventures as a Nurse, a Teacher, a Mother and a Wife were some charming, others exciting, others still heartbreaking or revolting. I wish I could remember a nice one to write here.

I think that I, personally, got the best that there was to get out of MOG. I enjoyed her company, and her work as a painter. I am frank, and that allowed her to be frank in return - we have had some incredible conversations over the years, about God, about death, about people and about values, and she shared a few stories with me, for better or worse, that she told me she'd never told anybody else, and which I agreed to keep to myself. I am a man, and she always found it easier to get on with men than with women, even among her family.

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bear eat you


One line in Captain America: The Winter Soldier near the beginning of the otherwise enjoyable film leaped out at me, grabbed me by the frontal lobe and started kicking me directly in my sense of disbelief.

"We need a quantum increase in military technology"

I am not sure that word, quantum, means what the movie thinks that it means.

The dictionary defines the word quantum (non-relevant contexts removed) as:


Line breaks: quan|tum
Pronunciation: /ˈkwɒntəm /
NOUN (plural quanta /-tə/)
  • 1 Physics A discrete quantity of energy proportional in magnitude to the frequency of the radiation it represents.
  • 1.1 An analogous discrete amount of any other physical quantity, such as momentum or electric charge.
  • 2 A required or allowed amount, especially an amount of money legally payable in damages:
    the court must determine the quantum of compensation due
  • 2.1 A share or portion:
    each man has only a quantum of compassion

So we're talking about a discrete increase in military technology. A defined increase. To be honest, it starts to sound reasonable - not like the radical proposal that is being discussed. Why don't you just go and ask the world governments for that, [spoiler]? They could hardly say "no".

Comics have a history of taking "sciency" words and abusing them - if you read early Iron Man you'll gain a new appreciation for the power of transistors (they can make explosions bigger! Explosives smaller! Make you fly! etc. etc.) and the miracles of lasers are surely well known by now.

Anyway, it made me chuckle.
bear eat you

Planescape: Torment Complete

I first played Torment some time in my teens, probably around 1997, and I loved it, but never finished it for various reasons:

- Initially, I reached a part of the game I couldn't progress through, and quit.
- Later, fan-made patches fixed the problems that stopped me progressing, but I was so in love with the game so far that I was worried that the ending would ruin the game for me.

I finished the game about 20 minutes ago, having decided last month that I had to do so before Torment: Tides of Numenera comes out (still a year or two away).

I was underwhelmed by the ending - but that's what 15 years of buildup will do to a story. Having gone back and played through the end a few different ways, it's actually a great ending for the game, if a bit abrupt, and the content before and during the end is awesome.

So, 15 years to finish my favourite game. Not bad!
goblin Oooh

Movember Competition - Win a Montreal-exclusive Assassin's Creed poster!

Hello All!

This is already clearly the most successful moustache I've ever grown. Look at it! It's at least a high-school moustache, maybe even a fresher 'tache. I think the webcam photo actually works in its favour this time - it looks generally darker, although the lighter parts make it less patchy up close.

So, on to our second order of business!

I have here with me a rather neat poster of Ezio Auditori Da Firenzi, from the brand new "Born and Raised with Talent" ad campaign ( http://montreal.ubi.com/en ), designed to raise awareness of UbiMtl within the city. And I'm going to post it to whoever makes the biggest donation to my movember campaign ( http://ca.movember.com/mospace/2361586/ ). Multiple donations by the same person will be tallied, so that you don't ever have to "outbid" yourself, just boost your donation.


You currently have $20 to beat, as that's the only donation I've received so far, due to my lax update schedule.

But wait! There's more! I totally reserve the right to mess with the conditions of this competition - to widen the visibility of this post, for example, or to add extras to the prize if the "bidding" goes up. Also to not get sued for any mistakes I make! The only guarantee is that the prize will go to whoever donates the most, and that the prize will include this spiffing poster.

So get to donating, and start making me think of ways to make this more interesting!

Feyd Rautha Cheeky Bastard


Hazel related one excellent dream to me that she had in the hospital:

"Lil and Michelle came to visit, and while they were looking at the baby Lil smeared milk chocolate on his forehead. When I asked why there was chocolate on his head, she told me that he had been baptized as a Goblin!

Later, somebody bought us a Boston Terrier puppy O_o"

Lil, next time we see you, this is going down.
Gurney Halleck Badass

What's in a name?

I wanted to write a little bit about our choice of name, because it's a decision we had to make at the last minute with no concrete basis. The two main names we considered were, along with two others that we didn't seriously consider at the end, "what if she's actually a boy" names. While both were strong contenders, the name we chose was the one that meant the most to us together.

Howell Davis, the baby's namesake, is one of elanya's favourite pirates, and she's somewhat of an authority on the matter. Hazel loves Wales, and I have several connections to the country.
It's also where we met, and we lived there together for two years. Davis is my 'bachelor name' (I took Hazel's name when we got married) and I jumped at the chance to put it into my child's name in a coherent way.
ZP goblin glee

Belatedly Announcing Howell Davis Hatch,

Not Of Woman Born 24th March 2011 at 3.17am (the labour started at 2am on the 23rd.)

Mother and Baby are both healthy, although of course longpig is still recovering from the surgery.

At 3.435 kg and just under 21in, he is taller and maler than we expected. Reflux folklore wins this round - he has a full head of wavey brown hair. His eyes are dark blue, and he actually looks quite a bit like me in my baby photos! Photos and, if I'm unlucky, video to come soon via Hazel.

Apologies that I wasn't able to post this at the time, because the hospital free computers lock down facebook and livejournal among others.

Hazel's making fantastic progress, already pushing herself way too hard when she should be taking it easy. Most of the time her painkillers work well.

Howell is well on track for all his eating, pooping and peeing. We've had a few problems with the feeding, but it seems to be sorted now.
max vote max

Last Minute Worldwide Movie Night December Poll

I was going to skip out this month, but demands were made!

Polls will be closed early on Tuesday.

Poll #1661003 WWMN December 29th
This poll is closed.

Vote for December's Movie

Escape From L.A. (1996)
The Last Dragon (1985)
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)
Surviving Christmas (2004)