Friday, October 12, 2018

Curry on.....


Also, they are Canadian

Amazing cover of Ed Sheeran's 'Shape of You' by Walk off the Earth.

Very percussive and uses a lot of unusual instruments.

Small things 12 Oct


  • When the teacher walks up to you during an exam and looks at your paper then announces "Hey everyone please make sure you read the questions carefully...."
  • Whenever a fairly large store closes between July and October, Spirit Halloween executives must be all like "YESSS!!"
  • To think that once upon a time, I used to stand very still, for what seemed like hours on end, in the blazing sun, waiting for a man wielding a stick to walk up to me, and decide whether my uniform looked OK or not.
  • There are folks out there who think Hawaiian pizza is an abomination. More for me I guess.
  • A guy put pics of him and his new bride as backgrounds on his cheques, so he could pay his alimony to his ex-wife with them.
  • In Florida, a man broke INTO prison to hang with his friends.
  • Why when people are giving you change do they insist on trying to balance the coins on top of the bills? They should put the coins in the cup of your hand first, then add the bills.
  • In the days after the light bulb was installed, moths must have gone crazy.
  • Imagine if Jessica Biel named one of her kids "Batmo".....

Scooter!

On our recent trip to San Diego, I witnessed a very new phenomenon that wasn't even a thing just one year earlier. Dockless electric scooters for rent.

There are currently two competing companies offering electric scooters, Lime and Bird. First, you get the app for the appropriate scooter company, connect it to your credit card, then you just need to find a scooter. Based on what I saw, that won't be much of an issue, especially in commercial and tourist areas. Where we stayed in Pacific Beach, scooters by both brands were parked in front of restaurants, stores, bars, hotels and other random places along heavily trafficked pathways and sidewalks.

In the case of Lime, It's $1 to unlock the scooter with the app, then $0.15 per minute of riding. So if you grabbed one and took it for a 30 minutes cruise around, you'd get billed $5.50. The charge would be the same on a Bird scooter.

These scooters go almost 15 mph (almost 24 km/h) and have a range of anywhere between 20 and 37 miles (32 - 59 km). You're supposed to wear a helmet while riding, but I never saw that, likely because the majority of folks using them were tourists. Who carries a helmet with them? Watching people go zipping by on the beach pathway, I noticed that adding these scooters to the equation can make things tricky, considering that there are spots where walkers, joggers, runners, skateboarders, bikes and now electric scooters are trying to share the path. I saw folks who didn't quite know how to ride them safely and saw a few examples of people riding two per scooter, which doesn't look very safe.

There has understandably been some backlash about these scooters in some places. But there are more places embracing them than banning or vandalizing them. In the case of Lime, they're ubiquitous in many California and Massachusetts cities, as well as the expected Seattle, New York, Chicago, Denver, etc. They have also partnered with a lot of universities in the US to increase mobility for students around campus. Bird aren't in quite as many cities, but they're growing and have also partnered with several universities.

You can earn money charging scooters too. Since they're left where they are once they run out of juice, someone has to get them and recharge them. You can sign up to be a charger and they'll sell you a charger unit. Then, you use the app to find out where the dead ones are and bring them to your home (using your own vehicle). Then you charge them and then take the charged scooters to wherever they feel they're needed and drop them off. Based on what I've seen, you get roughly $8 for every scooter you charge. It takes roughly 4 hours to charge a scooter. One guy bought 8 chargers for $40 and was making a few hundred bucks on the side. The trick is, you won't see a lot of dead scooters before 9:00 pm and you have to have them back on the street (where they tell you) by 7:00 am if you want to get paid. Bird pays $5 per scooter.

The pine's always gotta be different...


Things I learned lately 12 Oct


  • In the 3rd quarter of 2018, Tesla sold 69,925 vehicles in the US. Mercedes-Benz sold 66,542. According to Atherton Research, Tesla was just 1,754 vehicles shy of knocking over BMW. Atherton expects Tesla to surpass BMW in US sales in the 4th quarter of 2018.
  • "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want published; everything else is public relations." ~George Orwell
  • In Romania they sell vodka in juice boxes with a straw. (pictured)
  • Columbia House CDs were special budget pressings that often did not include all of the inserts and booklets that came with the retail copies.
  • The price of gas in the UK is 128 pence, or $2.23 per litre.
  • Jupiter now has 79 known moons, 12 more than we knew of before. Jupiter's moons are like opposite lanes of a highway. Some moons orbit in the same direction as Jupiter's spin (prograde), and some, farther out, orbit in the opposite direction (retrograde).
  • The 3D printed gun that was shown in the Netflix sci-fi series Lost in Space is not science-fiction any more. It exists. And it's legal in the US.
  • Content reviewers at Facebook eyeball around 8000 posts a day for around 10 seconds each, trying to determine which ones don't meet community standards.
  • It takes 2.1 litres of crude oil to make 1 litre of gasoline.
  • Sunscreen lasts about 3 years before it expires.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Worst road trip ever

Imagine this. You're taking a road trip in a 5 seater car. Each seat is filled with a version of you from different points in your life. One of you strikes up a conversation:

FrontPassengerMe: "But if I'm you, and you're me....."
Chorus (except for DriverMe): "Then who's driving the car?"
DriverMe: "DAMMIT. I WILL TURN THIS CAR AROUND!"

(Feel free to enter your own story in the comments)

If you're young, you probably don't know what this is

You might even say it's over your head......

Small things 28 Sep


  • If nobody comes from the future to stop you from doing it, how bad can it be?
  • If a professor brags about how hard it is to pass their class, then drop it. They should not be proud of being bad at conveying information. Thousands of dollars in tuition to fail? Nope.
  • If you lose a sock in the dryer, it comes back as a Tupperware lid that doesn't fot any of your containers.
  • Actual marijuana store names pitched to Alberta's AGLC: Strainbows; Grandpa's Finest; Starbuds; Merry Guanas; Haute Box; Gramsterdam; Let's Be Budz; Mary Jane on Penny Lane; Buddha Farm
  • The moon's probably wondering why humans haven't been back since 1972.
  • Tape cassettes had an A side and a B side. So, it's logical that its successor would be called CD.....
  • Cookies with raisins in them are like trojan horses, especially when your mouth is expecting chocolate chips. 
  • On the weekend of 22/23 September, The Predator took first place at the box office and The Nun took second. Someone said, kind of like the Catholic Church's priorities......
  • Water is a drink whose flavour is its temperature.

This is funny for so many reasons


Things I learned lately 28 Sep


  • Before the English referred to the season autumn, they called it harvest.
  • The US government has banned its employees from using Huawei and ZTE phones and tablets because it believes in a high risk of covert exploitation by the Chinese government. If China has the ability to monitor device content and use, this is an extreme security risk to government employees and what they know / do.
  • The Munich International Airport has both a brewery (pictured) and a skating rink inside.
  • New York City has painted at least 6.7 million square feet of rooftop white in the past nine years. (To reflect heat)
  • 99% of wasabi sold in the US is fake. The majority of wasabi consumed in the US is a mix of horseradish, hot mustard, and green dye.
  • Only eight restaurants in the entire US serve real Kobe beef. Kobe beef costs more than $20 an ounce, so if you're purchasing something supposedly made of Kobe beef and isn't absurdly expensive, it probably isn't.
  • QAnon, a group of right-wing conspiracy theory followers, believe that some elites, including celebrities, Democratic Party leaders, and the deep state, are the source of all evil and that Trump — with help from secret allies including special counsel Robert Mueller — will expose and defeat these forces. Lately they posited that Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg are pedophiles and that the Mexican cement company Cemex is helping to run a child sex ring.
  • The biggest market for red wine in the world, is China. By 2019, China will consume 4.3 billion litres of wine. That's billion. 75% of that will be red wine.
  • When you played into that Columbia House free CDs scam, the artists didn't get any royalties for the free CDs.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Small things 21 Sep


  • Keep calm and negotiate NAFTA. (Actually worn by our Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland while visiting Washington DC, negotiating NAFTA)
  • If millennials have the power to destroy entire industries, maybe they should start with the student education loan racket.
  • I imagine that our early ancestors felt a bit of relief when after they had plucked the last bit of meat off the bones of their latest kill, someone arrived with a fresh kill for them to eat. I can totally relate. It's the same sense of relief I feel when after scraping the last bits of peanut butter out of the jar, I crack open a new jar and dive right in.
  • My answer to the question "Would you like a receipt" is based on nothing and randomly changes.
  • Most burgers can't hope to live up to burger advertising photos. Ads portray burgers as flawless specimens. It's not right. Burger shaming is now a thing..... 
  • If you put up a sign saying "Post no flyers", don't be surprised to see 'no' everywhere.
  • "I'm about to get so tanned you guys." -Icarus's last words

Celebrity throw pillows


Free range gasoline!

Some people don't care where they get their gasoline from. Others always get their gas (when possible) from the same brand of gas station every time. I'm one of those latter people and I'm not sure exactly why.

My brand of choice is Shell. For any readers here who are not Canadian, my other choices are Petro-Canada, Esso, Mobil, Husky, Mohawk, Co-op, and Costco. Some places in Canada also have Texaco, Chevron, Ultramar, and Sinclair, but not in Alberta. I didn't mention any brands that aren't considered top-tier.

Why Shell? I like the logo. No, but seriously, I guess I drank the koolaid that suggested Shell made better gas. Their commercials always went on and on about how their gasoline was formulated with the best detergents and based on racing fuel. It's nitrogen enriched! I'm sure they aren't the only ones, but they said it first. V-Power! Shell was also the first brand to suggest that they are getting oil in the most ethical way possible. So, free-range gas, if you will. By the way, if you want a good laugh, search YouTube for old Shell commercials. But seriously - free range gas...... isn't that hilarious? [tap.. tap] Is this thing on?

But the most influential thing that kept me with Shell is the Air Miles rewards program. Shell gives Air Miles for purchases. I collect them. There's a reason the Air Miles parent company is called Loyalty Inc. What made buying Shell gas even better, for a while anyway, was the tag you could get. If you registered with them and gave them your credit card info, they sent you a chip-embedded RFID key tag that you used to pay for your gas. Tap, fill, done. Then they took the tag away. That was very disappointing. So, did I leave Shell?

Nope. Now I insert the credit card, tell it how much gas I plan to buy (for pre-authorization), plug in a PIN number, wait for authorization, remove the credit card, insert my Air Miles card, and only then can I start pumping gas. First world problems.

I still buy Shell whenever I can and fly a few free flights from time to time. Trivia: Jiffy Lube is owned by Shell. So is Pennzoil.

This is how unfriending worked pre-internet


Things I learned lately 21 Sep


  • Chevy Chase in college, at Bard, had been in a band with a pair of classmates, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, who would go on to form Steely Dan.
  • La Belle et La Boeuf Burger Bar in Broisbriand Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, posts a letter on the windshield of cars left in the parking lot overnight (who obviously did not drink and drive). The letter invites them to come in and enjoy a free small poutine (pictured) for being responsible.
  • The Tesla Model 3 got the highest 5 star safety rating from the NHTSA.
  • The Apple iPhone XS, which costs $1379 and up (in Canada), does not come with a fast charger, it only comes with the cheapest 5W USB adapter. The 30W adapter is only $35 more.
  • SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that they plan to livestream the 2023 mission around the moon in real time, in HD virtual reality. He said, "It'll feel like you're there in real-time minus a few seconds for speed of light." He also anticipates SpaceX's Starlink satellite system to be operational by then, which should aid in the broadcast, particularly when the moon is between the Earth and the spaceship.
  • There is a site that is tracking the false things President Trump has said (2321 and counting). 
  • There is a site that has tracked everything Trump has done since taking office. 
  • It took Puerto Rico 328 days to restore power to the entire island.
  • The average regular worker would have to work for 167 years to earn as much as a typical CEO earns in one year.

Friday, September 14, 2018

More nonsense about creativity (I kid - it's definitely not nonsense)

I think that as adults we have a duty to keep reminding our children not to fear being wrong. As Sir Ken Robinson said, children don't learn creativity, they are born with it. They will try anything because they don't fear being wrong, or making a mistake.

The problem is that the school system teaches them that being wrong or making a mistake is bad. If you learn that making a mistake isn't good, you eventually stop taking risks. You meander through life. The school system educates the creativity out of you, unless you attend a school that promotes creativity above all else.

Worse, if children fear being wrong, they will stop challenging established theories and principles. Has every scientific theory stood the test of time? Absolutely not. It's a wonder that scientists have the courage to challenge what they were taught.

We need to remind our kids that nobody is 'absolutely right', nothing is completely 'figured out'. Our message to them needs to be 'challenge everything'. Embrace failure. Take risks. Help evolve the ideas of others, especially if they don't match your own ideas. Create. Anything. Nothing is finished. And there is no such thing as good or bad art. Art simply is. Whether you connect with it or not is just subjective. It was important in the mind of its creator and that's all that matters.

Incidentally, all of these messages are relevant to adults as well. The problem is finding adults who can still believe it. And if you do find them, send them to improv class.

This was inspired by a classic TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson.

Small things 14 Sep


  • All odd numbers have an 'e' in them......
  • Toast. Someone took a bite of some bread and said, "Cook it again..."
  • Toast II. Someone went to cook some bread again, and someone said, "Wait. Dip it in this egg and cinnamon mixture first, then fry it."
  • Toast III. Someone took some toast and said, "Awesome! Now I have something to mop up my runny egg yolk with." (Incidentally, do you think I could find a picture of someone using their toast to mop up their runny egg yolk? Nope)
  • Mars is the only known planet inhabited solely by robots. In fact, you could say it was invaded by robots.
  • Idea: instead of burning your Nikes, give them away to the homeless, or veterans.
  • Scrambled eggs come from crazy chickens.
  • Not that long ago, parents told their kids not to trust everything they read online. Now they be like, "Did you know that the democrats have a pedophile ring operating out of a pizza joint in DC?"
  • I wonder what kids think when their parents tell them that their imaginary friend isn't real, then take them to church....
  • Dyslexics hate it when they mean to write Santa for a puppy, but they end up writing Satan instead.

Voices as instruments

I have always wondered how the song 'I'm not in love' by 10CC was made. It became one of the top 5 songs of my youth, partly because the sound of the song was mesmerizing. That backing choral sound that seemed out of this world. How did they do that?

Well, here's the story. The boys basically recorded a bunch of vocal harmonies and played them back like a voice synthesizer, but using the mixing board sliders to play the notes. Incredible. The entire song follows the story in this clip.

Star Wars vs Calvin & Hobbes mashup


Things I learned lately 14 Sep


  • Edmonton installed noise level sensors, some of which had LED displays showing decibel levels. That led to a competition from drivers trying to get high readings to display. The city has since disabled the displays.
  • The author of 'How to murder your husband' was arrested for murdering her husband.
  • The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is supported by about 200 friction piles that go 45m deep into the earth and are 1.5 m in diameter.
  • The Burj Khalifa has a restaurant, the At.Mosphere, on the 122nd floor. Because it's so high, it can't use natural gas, so it uses a Spanish charcoal oven.
  • 233,698 rail cars of crude oil per year are required to make up for each oil pipeline not built.
  • Elon Musk has essentially said that the 3 Laws of Robotics (or AI for that matter) that was showcased in Isaac Asimov's science fiction books doesn't actually exist. Those famous rules that protect humans from AI and protect AI from humans have never been formally adopted by anyone. And the problem is that the only people with the authority to get to understand where AI capability is, and what needs to be done to prevent it from getting out of our control, don't feel the need to do anything right now. Of course, Elon thinks this is bad and that people need to start working on this now, because AI is going to become smart enough for us to have to deal with this topic sooner than most people expect. The biggest reason governments need to be proactive in this realm is that technology advances far faster than governments can react to those advancements.
  • 2 underground nuclear bomb blasts were set off in Mississippi in the mid 1960s.
  • New Zealand has banned foreigners from buying property there. There's a housing crisis believed to be caused by Chinese investors, which have driven up prices. Australians, and people from Singapore are exempt from the ban. New Zealand is being perceived as a good place to escape to if the world 'changes'.
  • In South Korea, they sell a banana-a-day 5 pack (pictured), where each banana is a different ripeness, so you can eat one each day at the optimal ripeness.
  • Heineken is developing marijuana infused drinks, as are most beer and alcohol makers. I'd like a Heineken Blackberry Kush please.....
  • In related news, Corona just invested $4 billion in the Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth.

Friday, September 07, 2018

They spelled Krasinski wrong.......


Small things 7 Sep


  • Fwiw, Nike doesn't care if you burn their stuff once you bought it........
  • To the owner / CEO of any business who is complaining about minimum wage being increased, I would challenge you to live off of that hourly rate for one month without touching other money you have banked. I'll even grant you not having to cover your mortgage with those earnings. Bet you can't do it.....
  • Elon Musk is short for Elongated Muskrat.
  • Some talk to you in their free time and some free their time to talk to you.
  • My favourite part of texting is when you keep seeing the 3 dots of the other person typing, for like 17 times in a row, and then when they finally press send you see "OK".
  • A vanilla soy latte is basically a 3 bean soup.
  • When a spouse gets up for work the other spouse still in bed probably thinks, "YES!! Now I get to spread out and relax......"

I guess it isn't classified anymore......

When you spend 20 years in a military trade that puts you in contact with things you're not allowed to talk about because they're classified, it's pretty weird when you see pictures of some of those things on the internet.

Like this front panel of an equipment I'm not supposed to talk about. In fact, I have no idea what it is. Yeah. No idea whatsoever. It definitely has nothing to do with military research of alien spacecraft. No, really. It doesn't.

LOL. I could tell you what it is, but then...... you know.......

Burn.....

In light of the fact that Nike chose Colin Kaepernick in their latest ad, and that people said they would burn their Nike stuff......

Things I learned lately 7 Sep


  • Jeff Bezos makes the equivalent of $4 million. Per hour.
  • A reporter asked seasoned yacht crew that were at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat show, if they were rich, would they buy a boat. The answer, overwhelmingly, was 'no'. Owners can expect to pay 10% of the purchase price annually on operating and maintaining a yacht.
  • The most commonly spoken language in Coney Island is Russian.
  • Aproximately 60 million electric bikes were produced in 2017. In France, 1 in 5 bikes sold are electric; in Germany, it's 1 in 3; in Holland, it's 1 in 2. (pictured: the French made Moustache Lundi) 
  • Boscombe Pier, located in Bournemouth UK, has a mini golf where the golf balls are made of fish food and at the 18th hole, they fall through into the ocean and dissolve.
  • Phrases that don't mean what they used to: riding shotgun (is just what it sounds like - helping a stagecoach driver by being ready to shoot at any would be robbers); highway robbery (you're literally being robbed); painting the town red (for real, as in willful property damage); read you the riot act (if this was happening in 1715, the police were one step from arrest you for being part of an assembled group of 12 or more); baker's dozen (started by bakers who wanted to avoid getting their hands chopped of for selling small or low quality bread); deadline (a line inside of the area where Federal prisoners of war were kept during the civil war. If a prisoner attempted to cross the line, they would be shot).
  • Amazon is in the running to buy the Landmark movie theatre chain. Don't know if that would include Canadian Landmark brand cinemas.
  • The American Legion would prefer if Trump spent the money for his big military parade on veterans. The parade has been pushed off to 2019 for now.
  • It is not a good idea to drink your own pee as a survival strategy.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Chicken samich


Small things 31 Aug


  • Imagine a President who suggests that if you impeach him, the stock market will go crazy and a lot of people will lose their money; and if the Democrats win midterm elections, there will be violence. Rule through fear and intimidation.
  • "Who is this clown?" is a pretty good insult, because 1. you're calling them a clown, and 2. you're saying they're not even a well known clown.
  • In Canada we have the "using 'sorry' unnecessarily" jar.
  • I'm an Adobeist. I converted my family to PDF.
  • Daylight savings should not happen at midnight, it should happen at 4:00 pm on a Friday. That would make it 5:00 pm and everyone gets to go home early.
  • I have a dad bod. Or as I like to call it - a father figure.
  • Youtube. Your child's first words might be "Don't forget to subscribe."
  • If I live to be 100 and people ask me how I did it, I'm going to make something wacky up. 

Domino's review on Yelp


Happy birthday is so last year

There's a growing trend to stop singing 'happy birthday' to someone on their birthday and instead completely demolish the birthday boy/girl's favourite song.

I like this trend and I'm hoping it grows exponentially.