Sunday, July 31, 2005
Just remember - I'll write on just about any topic, so if there's one that you'd like to see my spin on - send me an email. You know - the one in 'my complete profile' under 'contact'? Yes I take requests.
Now excuse me while I enjoy some tasty blog birthday cake.....
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Friday, July 29, 2005
Thursday, July 28, 2005
If you're like me, you learned to tie your shoelaces under duress. You probably only learned one way to tie them and you still tie them that way to this day. If that's true, you probably suffer from "laces often come undone" syndrome. Well, you don't need to suffer anymore. Ian's Shoelace Site has a collection of most knots complete with instructions. He even explains why some knots are just plain bad and which ones are better. I decided to give the "Ian's Secure Lace Knot" a try and I'll be darned if it works like a charm.
Blogger: Term used to describe anyone with enough time or narcissism to document every tedious bit of minutia filling their uneventful lives. Possibly the most annoying thing about bloggers is the sense of self-importance they get after even the most modest of publicity. Sometimes it takes as little as a referral on a more popular blogger's website to set the lesser blogger's ego into orbit.
More great definitions of buzzwords here.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Looks like Microsoft is trying to play catch-up to Google Maps with Virtual Earth. Too bad it looks like they could only get satellite photos from the 70's. And anything outside the US is only viewable at a scale of 100 miles per screen (See the image? That's pretty much as close as you'll get to Calgary). Dang!
Seriously funny stuff.
I wonder if the insulting minimum wage (currently $5.90/hour in Alberta; which will be raised to $7.00/hour on September 1, 2005) has anything to do with it?
It will now be referred to as "The global struggle against the enemies of freedom".......
We now return you to your regularly scheduled day.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Monday, July 25, 2005
Ummm......is this what
Note: I stand corrected - it's not GM.
Yeah, we Canadians have a decent healthcare system, but it's not perfect. Darlene and I had to wait 3 hours in a walk-in clinic to see a doctor - as there was only one on duty. That's one thing that's wrong with our system.
It was inspiring to watch their expressions as people came in one by one and were told there would be about a 2 hour wait (little did they know). The dramatics that some people used in an attempt to move to the front of the line was neat. One woman insisted she had been waiting at least a whole half hour. The staff noted that most others had been there much longer. This woman was not buying it. She cancelled her spot in line, then proceeded to poll other people on how long they had been waiting. She was not happy with the answers she got and stormed out. One couple made a huge scene about some procedural mix-up that got them moved to the front of the line. It almost made me get up and say, "Hey! If I have a temper tantrum, can I go next too?"
Many folks were smart. They'd sign up, then leave to do some shopping and come back in an hour or more to check on their place in line. Most returned with Chapters book store bags. Which leads me to wonder if maybe Chapters is in collusion with the clinic to drum up extra business....
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Now another mall scent is threatening to oust perfume for the lead in olfactory annoyance - the popcorn kiosk. There is nothing I enjoy more than the unmistakable odour of burnt corn kernels artificially scented with everything from salmon flavouring to pizza essence. I don't even get why these vendors of scorched maize stay in business. Haven't they made it easy enough to make this stuff better at home in the microwave?
Jim Nazium Barb Dwyer Frank Admission Neil Down Faye King
Des Picable Chris Chen Percy Veering Hugh Mongous Mick Stupp Ellen Back
Lee Vitalone Jerry Attrick Sal Monella Phil McCracken Stu Pidass
The last one even appeared in the Telus phone book here in Calgary, for the town of Airdrie a couple years back - I'm not making it up.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Under the logo, the ad has a caption, "See you in the fall!". Instinctively, I cheered aloud, hands in the air.
This could only happen in Canada, folks.....
Friday, July 22, 2005
I suggest we Canadians propose an even more important change. How about Weekend Savings Time? I propose the weekend starts a day earlier and ends a day later.....
Who's with me?
Thursday, July 21, 2005
It seems people may be getting wise to the perpetual
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
It is well known that aliens are among us. Hundreds or thousands of alien races live with us here on Earth. Some are terrified refugees from evil galactic empires. Others just stopped by for a nosh. But they share one thing in common: most terran food is poisonous to them... But the aliens are clever. They have developed Secret Codes that let them know what is safe for their particular race to eat. These codes are on the packages, cans and bottles that you buy daily. They are subtle, however, and you might not have noticed them.
Pepperidge Farm seems to be in the business of taking perfectly good cookie recipes and churning out dull and tasteless replacements. Interesting, isn't it, that they put chess pieces on these packages? Is this wry acquiencense to the grand game that the aliens are playing? On the front of the package, towards the bottom, just next to the net weight, is a curious symbol. You might think that part of it is merely a marking indicating that these cookies are Kosher. Turn it sideways, however, and it portrays a huge alien ship hovering over a planet - perhaps our own? Is the symbol of a magnet inside the planet somehow important to these aliens?
James Doohan, beloved cast member of Star Trek, has passed away at age 85. I had the pleasure of seeing James at Queen's University, where he gave a public lecture on what it was like to be involved with Star Trek. The man (a Canadian no less) could tell a story, let me tell you. He also ran a few reels of Star Trek bloopers. It was very cool.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
I had only moved here to Calgary a year previous and was ecstatic about being here only to be informed that the military base here would be closing and we would all have to relocate to Edmonton (blech!). I knew I only had 4 more years of this nonsense to put up with before I could pull the pin and begin my next career.
5 years ago:
I was just finishing a re-training program to get a piece of paper that said I knew a couple things about computers, because the military didn't give us any recognized qualifications. Little did I know, I was about to get offered a job teaching computers at that very school for the next 3 years. That would be a life-altering experience.
1 year ago:
I was wondering if the company I had just joined the previous December was going to convert me from a contractor to a permanent employee. They did.
Coffee with a good friend.
5 snacks I enjoy:
1. Cozy Shack Rice Pudding; 2. Ice cream; 3. Allsorts Licorice; 4. Poppycock - Just the Nuts; 5. A good, crunchy, juicy red apple
5 songs I know all the words to:
1. Time (Pink Floyd); 2. Great Gig in the Sky (Pink Floyd) Think about that one...; 3. Downstream (Supertramp); 4. Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen) Doesn't everybody?; 5. Planet Claire (B-52s)
5 Things I would do with $100 million:
1. Pay off both of our familys' debts with lots to spare; 2. Buy a house with a view of both the city and the Rockies; 3. Start a small business involving music and gadgets; 4. Two words - Acura RL; 5. Live completely 'off the grid'
5 locations I would like to runaway to:
1. Australia; 2. Germany; 3. London; 4. A nice private beach; 5. In orbit around the Earth
5 bad habits I have:
1. I likes my food too much; 2. I speak my mind; 3. I keep saying the same things over and over; 4. Really corny sense of humour; 5. I keep saying the same things over and over
5 things I like doing
1. Sightseeing; 2. Listening to the surf; 3. Watching lightning storms; 4. Eating great food; 5. Playing with kitties (get yer mind out of the gutter!)
5 things I would never wear:
1. Glitter; 2. Undershirt; 3. Cowboy boots; 4. Toupee; 5. Polka dots
5 TV shows I like:
1. The Office; 2. Smack the Pony; 3. Kids in the Hall; 4. CSI; 5. West Wing
5 Biggest joys of the moment:
1. Darlene; 2. Our house; 3. My job; 4. My car; 5. The internets
5 Favorite toys:
1. My computer; 2. My 20GB Zen; 3. My PDA; 4. My car; 5. Are you seeing a pattern here?
Monday, July 18, 2005
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Niece: Also, I saw a store that had burned.
Me: Really? Was it all black and charred?
Niece: No, there were other colours too.
Me: (fighting back a chuckle)That's terrible!
Niece: Yeah. But at least it wasn't someone's house.....
This girl is 5.
Check out some live samples here.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Thanks to Ernest for inspiration
The names in the following tale have been changed to protect the innocent.
A good friend of mine - let's call him Jack - got introduced to and went out with another friend of ours - let's call her Diane. Things didn't work out. But such is life. They have both moved on and eventually found someone they want to spend the rest of their life with. Now for the cool part. They're both getting married to their new mates. On the exact same day. The weddings were planned unbeknownst to each other. Is that wicked or what? What are the odds of that?
So I put it to you, my glorious readers - what criteria do you use to determine if a (purchased) title will end up in your collection (money aside)?
Discuss amongst yourselves........
What Willis was talkin' 'bout
If she's really going out with him
How they get the caramel into the Caramilk bar
Where Waldo is
The meaning of life
Should you stay or should you go
Who let the dogs out
Where the beef is
Whether she does or she doesn't
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
It's not politically correct to laugh at terrorist-related stuff, but this stuff is freakin' funny, dude. An excerpt:
At this time, I just want to say to the people of England that even though America still holds the record for the biggest, most giganticest and most eye-popping terror attack, we nevertheless sympathize with you in your hour of pain because you folks always seem to do things in a smaller way that still seems important to you.
Thanks to J-Walk blog.
Monday, July 11, 2005
I stopped into one of the local HMV music shops and bought a pair of music DVDs on sale. The first one "Inside Classic Albums - Fleetwood Mac Rumours" was one I had been looking forward to seeing in its entirety. It was pretty good.
Then I opened the second DVD, "ELO - Out of the Blue Tour Live". That was without question the most awful DVD I've ever had the misfortune of watching. I gave up after 3 songs. The sound was lower fidelity than the AM radio in my dad's old 70's vintage Valiant. The band was actually lip-synching most of the songs and the backing orchestral track was laughable. I've rarely been so insulted. I like ELO and was really looking forward to seeing what they were like in concert (having never seen them myself). Now I think I'm glad I didn't - unless the DVD was a really poor representation of what they were like live.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
There is no free lunch. Nothing comes free without strings attached. You get what you pay for. Well, sometimes free is good and AVG anti-virus is one of those things.
A long time ago I had gotten tired of having to keep renewing my subscription to Norton. McAfee didn't fare much better. I've helped countless people with computer problems and a lot of them were related to the bizarre behavior of both of those products. I had heard about AVG, from Grisoft and gave it a try. I've been using it for over 2 years and it's still running on my systems. I heartily recommend it to all my clients. So how do they do it? I have my theories. They're based on the fact that Grisoft does sell a version of their product - to corporations. It's a smart idea. Let people who can afford to pay subsidize those who can't - or won't. It's not a 100% perfect product - I have had some update issues. But I just keep trying manual updates until the server responds. I have not been infected since using it. I like that it is not complicated to use, unlike other products. If your subscription is about to run out, I urge you to give it a try.
Guess I'm gonna have to arrange more business trips to Gatineau.....
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Microsoft's Windows AntiSpyware (beta) application is no longer flagging adware products from Claria Corp. as a threat to PC users. Less than a week after reports of acquisition talks between Microsoft and the distributor of the controversial Gator ad-serving software, security researchers have discovered that Microsoft has quietly downgraded its Claria detections. Anti-spyware activist Eric L. Howes, discovered the default changes during a recent test that included four Claria applications: Dashbar, Gator, PrecisionTime and Weatherscope. According to the results, four different builds of the Windows AntiSpyware detected the Claria products, but the default recommendation was "ignore." Prior to the recent tests, Microsoft's AntiSpyware tool detected Claria's products and presented users with a recommended action of "Quarantine."
But we're not surprised, are we?
First, let me offer heartfelt condolenceses to all the people of London affected by the recent bombing. I have to say I was thoroughly impressed with the way Londonners handled the horrific situation this past week and the way they shrugged it off - recalling worse problems during WWII and the IRA bombings.
To the people responsible: I guess you underestimated these blokes, eh?
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
If Dr. Suess wrote the script for help desk at your ISP:
(a-la Green Eggs and Ham)
Customer: I need your help to fix my link.
Help Desk: We do not help you if you're a doubter.
We do not support you behind a router.
We do not care what's wrong with your mouse.
We do not fix things in your house.
We have no clue how to filter your mail.
We'll help the Record Industry put you in jail.
Spyware's not something we're concerned about.
That the problem's your fault we have no doubt.
We won't answer questions if you're using Linux.
We can't even think of a word that rhymes.....
Before you complain about your online hell,
Just be thankful you're not with AOL.
I'm sorry - I know this is in the poorest of taste, but when I saw it I burst into laughter. It is kinda funny, in a weird, perverted sort of way - no?
Disclaimer specifically targeted to all animal loving people everywhere: I do not condone the abuse of animals. I do condone the exercise of a sense of humour - even if it's a bad one....
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
OK. It's bad enough that movie admissions cost what they do. It's even worse that some munchies and drinks will set you back the cost of a full meal at some fine restaurants. They make you sit through a lengthy stream of commercials and movie trailers, which seems to be getting more lengthy every visit. Then they insult our intelligence by lecturing us with anti-piracy pleas (hey stupid! we're the people paying to come watch the movie, remember?). If you show up early for a movie in an effort to get a decent seat, you used to have to sit through amateur movie star bio slide shows while Top 40 blared through the front speakers. Now some theatre chains are making people sit through unbearable interviews with stars interspersed with TV commericals blaring at full blast.
I know nothing compares to the experience of sitting in a decent theatre to watch a film on the big screen with awesome sound, but if this keeps up, people are going to start to show their disdain the only way they know how - stay at home and wait for the movie to come out on DVD. After all, by the time you get the babysitter, maybe parking, pay the tickets, buy the concession treats - who wants to mortgage the house only to be subjected to ads, ads and more ads?
Unless I am totally out of the loop and unplugged from the current lingo, I think I may have coined a new phrase.
A project I am working on had developed an anomaly, which I subsequently re-tested to prove it was in fact just that - an anomaly. Upon being questioned if further testing would uncover any more wrinkles, I responded without thinking, "Don't worry - this baby is permanent press!"
There ya have it - new phrase for the masses. Just remember where you heard it first....
Monday, July 04, 2005
I hear car manufacturers (especially in Europe) have been doing whatever they can to shake the image of the diesel being a stinky, noisy engine. In fact, my sources tell me diesel has made an astounding comeback in the EU and is poised to do the same in North America. This commercial about better diesels won the British Television Advertising Award's best commercial this year. The tune is catchy too.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Well that was quite the show wasn't it? Live 8 will go down as the concert of all time methinks. There were too many highlights to list in this post. But I'll try to share what were the defining moments for me:
- The Pink Floyd reunion. That they could put their differences aside for this speaks volumes.
- That the Spice Girls couldn't put their differences aside also speaks volumes.
- The Neil Young closing of the Canadian concert was classy.
- The Canadian crowd booing the introduction of Celine Dion live in Las Vegas was.... ummm.... interesting. Why would they boo you Celine, why?
- The Who. Now they can say they've gotten back together how many times?
I've been a little hard on red light cameras lately - to the point of wanting to abolish them outright. But there's a good reason for it. I don't think the average yellow light gives you enough time to stop for the red in every case. When I know I'm approaching an intersection with a red light camera, I tense up. Sometimes I get paranoid and speed up to get through it before the change starts. If the light turns yellow, I mash on the brakes to make sure I can stop in time. 'Cause I'll be damned if I'm going to pay a $270 fine.
Well, I have thought up a solution. It's a fact! You know how some intersections have a set of warning yellow lights a distance before the intersection that blink when the lights at said intersection are about to change to yellow? I propose to apply such a warning mechanism right into every set of traffic lights. The normal cycle of a traffic light is green, yellow then red. The improved cycle would be green, green with a flashing yellow, followed by just solid yellow, then red. This gives the motorist plenty of time to slow down for a change to a red.
Friday, July 01, 2005
Happy 138th birthday Canada. You're pretty good lookin' for an older chick. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
- I love our liberal tolerance of things / people / cultures.
- We're friendly.
- So much of our great land is still wilderness and/or uninhabited.
- We did not attack Iraq.
- Our crime rate is very low.
- We're likely the only country who has or ever will successfully take the White House.
- We have a wonderful health care system (especially when you compare it to others).
- We produce some of the best comedians in the world.
- Our air and water is still relatively clean and we want to make it cleaner.
- We invented hockey!
- We don't take ourselves too seriously.
- Did I mention we're friendly?
- We're so small, we know everyone by name