I did something stupid

Tonight I did something potentially stupid, but it was awesome.

As I was leaving the office (March at Terry Fox: map) this evening around 8:30 PM I heard a noise in the area beside the building and it sounded like “Baaaaa.”

I thought to myself ‘was that a goat?’

I put my things in my car and looked around. I looked through the woods and saw the nearby Indian restaurant. I thought, would the restaurant have a pet goat? Or maybe it was tomorrow’s lunch.

Then I heard it again. “Baaaaa.”

I listened into the wind. I thought maybe I’m hearing something else further away, partially muffled by the wind. Like children playing in the distance.


Nope, that was close. It was coming from the woods. I could hear rustling in the trees. At first it sounded like something stepping very cautiously and carefully. There was more rustling and suddenly two shapes burst out of the woods into the grass field in front of me.

It was a coyote and a deer running straight towards me.

Coyote (capture from video)
Coyote (capture from video)

Then I did something potentially stupid. I stepped closer to get a better look at the coyote.

At first I thought the coyote was chasing the deer. Then I realised, no, it was the deer chasing the coyote. A moment later I could see a baby deer running across March Road towards the Alcatel-Lucent building. It barely made it across the road safely. The mother deer had been protecting the doe. It was the doe I had been hearing.

The chase looped through the grass right in front of me three more times before the coyote finally left, defeated by the determined doe.

I managed to get a few seconds of the chase on my iPhone but only remembered later that I had a Canon DSLR and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in the trunk of my car, just metres away.

Star Wars Identities

Han Solo encased in carbonite
Han Solo encased in carbonite

Today, Rosa, Lemin and I went to Montreal to see the Star Wars Identities exhibit at the Montréal Science Centre. I had seen a posting about the exhibit a few months ago and was interested in going. I was pleasantly surprised when Rosa suggested we should go.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, as the posters were not clear on what the exhibit was really about. I thought it was an Star Wars-related art show. Instead, it was an exhibit about the factors that contribute to making each of us unique – genetics, upbringing, culture, religion, schooling, friends, work, and so forth. The used the Star Wars universe to show how these different contributions shapes each of us. That was a little hokey, but I still was excited by the exhibit because of the displays.

The exhibit had dozens of original costumes, equipment, art work, models, story drafts and even full vehicles. The exhibit had the original C-3P0, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Maul, and Darth Vader costumes. Darth Vader was my favorite because of his iconic status.

The exhibit also had Akankin’s pod racer, a few other vehicles and some of the smaller creatures and remote controlled robots. There was one of the
Yoda puppets, and the eyes of the Jabba the Hutt puppet – all that remained of the original.

Darth Vader
Darth Vader

I was glad to go. I really enjoyed the first three movies: Star Wars:A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and (less so) The Return of the Jedi. As with so many, I liked the characters and the simple but meaningful story. The simple special effects, costumes, models and matte painting compositing created a believable and interesting universe. It was run-down, not shiny and perfect like the Star Trek utopian future (and I’m a Star Trek fan too!).

But I have some real issues with the direction of the Star Wars franchise starting with the first prequel, The Phantom Menace. I think that many of the new plot lines broke the believability of the universe, at once introducing unnecessary supernatural elements (the virgin birth of Anakin Skywalker) and breaking the supernatural elements that existed before (explaining The Force in biological terms with midiclorians). The stories were muddled, the dialog was awful, and while I don’t hate Jar Jar Binks, I think the animation for the character was terrible.

For a really great breakdown on everything I found wrong with the three prequels, I would suggest the Plinkett video reviews from RedLetterMedia. They are long, and have some disturbing parts, but really get to the points I raise above, with supporting videos showing the issues with the movies.

PS: Han shot first!

Rosa's new car

Rosa's new 2012 VW Beetle
Rosa's new 2012 VW Beetle

Rosa bought herself a 2012 VW Beetle. It was possibly one of the first Beetles sold in Ottawa. She’s so happy! It’s a beautiful red colour – her favourite. Now our cars match.

To The Woman…

To the dark-haired woman that blew by me on Cresthaven Drive this morning in your SUV,

Get Bent!

You are going to kill some child in my neighbourhood. I think this is the second time you’ve passed me at high-speed on our narrow, winding suburban streets. If I could, I would ensure that your licence is taken away.

No Love,


The Snow Returns


It snowed this evening. It has been 183 days since the last snowfall in Ottawa.

I put the snow tires on my car on Friday and on Rosa’s car earlier this morning.

Magical Mystery Tour

In the last few days, I watched videos of two Beatles movies Let It Be and Magical Mystery Tour on YouTube. I have a copy of the former on VHS somewhere, but I have never seen the later.

I think Let It Be is much maligned for the tensions in the group, but aside from one not-very-big spat between Paul and George, it’s really not as bad as others have made it out to be. And the Beatles (with Billy Preston) actually seem to enjoy themselves at times when they are playing some classics or during the famous rooftop concert.

My thoughts while watching Magical Mystery Tour? “This is unwatchable.”

Eskimo Roll – Fail

Today, I went kayaking again. After the roll I had last weekend, I thought I should learn how to do an Eskimo roll so that I don’t have to get out of the kayak if I were to roll over.

So I pulled up every video I could find on the internet. However, I found it very confusing. I tried to mime the motions while watching the video, but I just couldn’t quite figure out the motion in three dimensions (and while the perspective rotates with the kayak).

After an hour of watching videos and practicing in my basement, I loaded up my kayak drove over to the Rideau River and went for a paddle. This time, I also brought my GoPro Motorsports Hero HD camera, formerly used for our Team00 in-car racing footage. It came with a suction cup that allowed me to mount it on the front of the kayak, pointing back at myself. I wanted to see what kind of footage I could get and also to record the roll I would attempt later.

I wanted to try the roll at the end of the tour, as the water was cold and I didn’t want to get wet and cold in the strong wind – that is a recipe for hypothermia. I paddled downstream for a little while, then returned back upstream to the dock where I departed.

It was windy and the water was cold. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to try this. I also didn’t want to freak out any bystanders, so I waited until there was no one standing on the dock.

After about 30 minutes of thinking about it and working up the courage, I gave it a try.

My first (and only) attempt was a complete failure. I rolled the kayak then, while upside down, I leaned forward, and quickly rotated myself and the paddle to try to flip the kayak back upright. This didn’t work so I exited the kayak instead of trying again. My day was done.

Kayak-Eskimo roll from Richard Muise on Vimeo.

The water wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be, but I immediately got out of the water and brought the kayak and all my gear back to the car to dry off and get warm.

I will have to take a more advanced kayak course to see how to do this, because I cannot figure it out by myself.