Friday, April 28, 2006

I could get used to this....

We don't often get a chance to sample what it's like to live the high life like a wealthy person - unless of course we are wealthy. This is why I relished my stay at the Newport Beach Resort next to the Newport Beach Yatch Club in Los Angeles; the Boulders Resort in Carefree Arizona; and will likely enjoy my planned trip to The Hotel (at Mandalay Bay) in Vegas.

Meanwhie, since I have enjoyed the luxury of a first class plane seat a grand total of zero times, I secretly went giddy when my brother-in-law gave me a guest Maple Leaf Lounge pass to enjoy. Thanks Luc! I write this post from one of said lounges. It's the ritzy waiting area Air Canada Business Class passengers get to wait for their flight. Free booze; free food; free internet; big TVs to watch the latest stock reports........... Seriously, I almost felt guilty enjoying the perks that come along with using such a facility and then I remembered how freaking uncomfortable the economy class seats are. Geez, this lounge should be payback alone for what you have to endure on an economy fare. OK, guilt has passed. Now pass me another appetizer............. and make it snappy!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Studying the safety features of this aircraft.....

Posts may be sparse and intermittent over the next few weeks as my work-travel schedule ramps up to full tilt. I'll be back though - not to worry............

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Not a great idea

I've noticed a trend in government and I'm not sure I like it. User fees. More and more, governments are trying to get a handle on the spiralling costs of doing business by implementing user fees. It makes sense on the surface. If you want access to a particular resource, you should pay for it. This in the interest of keeping taxes to a minimum. It makes financial sense too, because the cost of maintaining the resource is paid by those who use it.

But there is a flaw in this logic. Justifying user fees to pay for something implies that those who want or need the resource are willing to pay or even can afford to pay. But in an economy where the haves and have-nots are separated by a wide margin, this is a naive assumption. What this ideology in fact can lead to is making it so that only the wealthy can afford the resource and/or reducing the pool of users to such a small number that the resource can no longer be sustained. In the case of a luxury resource, few may care. But what happens when it's an essential resource? Think about that the next time your government proposes establishing user fees.

That's sharp

I found this nice tutorial on how to properly sharpen a kitchen knife a home. It dispells a lot of common myths about the practicality of doing this. Nicely done.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

He funny

You either love him or you hate him, but Ze Frank has been amusing some of us for a while. His main site is a disjointed collection of bizarre humour, clips, activities, etc. But now he's got the show, a daily video clip where "Ze Frank thinks, so you don't have to". I have to play catch up and watch the archives, because based on the last 2 shows I watched, this is mucho silly stuff.

Sign I'd like to see

¿Tiene veinteuno aƱos?

From the mind of Matthew Baldwin (aka defective yeti), comes an article about loopholes.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Beaver sighting

I was driving on my way to visit my sister and her family today and saw a beaver on the side of the road. Not road-kill - a real live beaver. It may not sound like a big deal, but it has been a long time since I've seen a beaver in the wild - what with living in Alberta for the last 12 years. No - I'm not in Alberta right now......

Sunday, April 23, 2006

It's ele-mental!

If you've ever wanted to know more about your Periodic Table of Elements, this site does the job with decent graphics. If only we had access to stuff like this when I went to school. Of course, when I went to school, there were no pictures. The teacher had to draw everything............ with charcoal.

My fave quote from the site: Lithium - Lithium carbonate therapy has become standard treatment for manic depression, although its action on the brain is still not fully understood.

"Yeah, let's give this depressed person Lithium. Hey look! They're not depressed anymore. I wonder what it's doing to their brain? Awww, who cares - let's give them more...."

Be warned. This is gonna make you cry...with laughter

This video is (aptly named) Worst Music Video EVER.

1. Check out Adam Sandler's Finnish blond twin

2. Check out the tear-inducing dancers.

Is it a coincidence - or is it an omen?

I know I'm tempting fate by even bringing this up, but - you know......

The Habs have a hot goaltender right now. He kinda came outta nowhere. His name is Cristobal Huet. The Habs also have a hot young center doing them lots of favours. His name is Chris Higgins. Montreal's other goaltender is from Switzerland. The abbreviation for that country is CH.

Do you notice any similarities between those initials and the Habs' logo?

[play Twilight Zone music here]

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Touched by fate....part 6

People that have made an impact on my life (in no particular order - read the disclaimer here):

Shawn and Glen Drover - the kids-next-door (literally) were the first people I knew to demonstrate a sheer love for music. They were silly (notice a common thread), full of energy, and they loved not only listening to music, but figuring out how to play as well. They both went on to become professional musicians (ever hear of Eidolon or King Diamond?) and currently play in the band Megadeth. I wonder how their fans would feel about them dancing and singing along to KC & The Sunshine Band?

Just what are we getting for $60+ per month?

I often rant about the lame cable channel packages we're forced to buy. You know how it works - each package has some decent choices but each one comes with a collection of real groaners too. To each their own, of course - but I have to pay for a lot of stations I'm not interested in to access the ones I want. Shaw has made it possible to get some of their lineup a-la-carte, but by the time I've paid for so many duds, getting more interesting channels becomes too expensive.

I think it has something to do with the crapola networks that could never make it on their own being subsidized by the ones everyone wants. Well..... enough. It's time to stop keeping sucky cable-TV channels on life support on the backs of good ones. Barring that, I have another option - if everyone had to buy every channel, surely the price of the whole spectrum of offerings would drop, no? And why does the cable company need to charge us more for any networks anyway? Isn't that what advertising is for? We still have stations with advertising. I don't care about ads. Put ads on every channel and make TV free again - dammit.

Friday, April 21, 2006

White Noise defined

You may not like my answer....

I've been asked a few times by both clients and students what I thought provided the best Parental Control & Internet Filtering service. They were often surprised by my answer. A parent. Depending on a program to protect your child from questionable online content is like using a piece of styrofoam to keep a dog in a room. It's only going to work for a few minutes until the dog figures out the secret and anyone on the other side of the barrier is just going to push it aside without much trouble. Filtering doesn't work because it suffers from many false positives, can easily be defeated by your child and web site owners. There are only two realistic choices you can make. One, only allow your child to use the Internet where you can visibly supervise their activity. Two, come to terms with the fact that like every other source of questionable material they can encounter (TV, movies, magazines, books, music.....), all the controls you can dream of placing on them mean nothing when they go somewhere else. The best you can do is offer them guidance.

Update (25 August 2006): Another reason to shy away from formal filtering services is the new political practises of owners of these services. They typically don't take very kindly to any kind of criticism from other web sites, and have been known to respond by blocking those sites by labelling them as porn or any other type of material that is blocked. Any organization that displays that kind of immaturity when they are critiqued do not deserve your business.

Revenge would be mine.....

I'm not one to wish ill toward anyone. So it is with great regret that I make the following statement.

If they ever make a reality TV show where you get to pick a person and conduct torturous acts upon them, I will be trying to get on that show. My target? People who design parking lots at modern shopping malls........

I don't know what big mall parking is like where you live, but at some of our places the lots are maze-like. Major thoroughfares right where the largest volume of pedestrians collect; entrances too short to allow for the volume of traffic typically entering the mall; blind corners making it hard to see (why do the biggest trucks have to park at the 'end' of an aisle?); stalls so small anything bigger than a sub-sub compact crosses both lines; the list goes on and on.

Yesterday I almost got hit twice in the span of 5 seconds (driving very carefully) in a mall parking lot and if it had happened, I would have likely been sacrificed to the 'no fault' rule because parking lots are private property. Grrr!

Petabyte's next

It seems hard drives with a capacity of 750GB are due out anytime. Can 1 Terabyte drives be far behind? Did anyone even foresee Terabyte drives in this decade? Do you even know what a Terabyte is?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Did you finish high school?

Then according to the world's leading scientists, teachers and others, you should know the answers to these questions:

What percentage of the earth is covered by water?
What sorts of signals does the brain use to communicate sensations, thoughts and actions?
Did dinosaurs and humans ever exist at the same time?
What is Darwin's theory of the origin of species?
Why does a year consist of 365 days, and a day of 24 hours?
Why is the sky blue?
What causes a rainbow?
What is it that makes diseases caused by viruses and bacteria hard to treat?
How old are the oldest fossils on earth?
Why do we put salt on sidewalks when it snows?
Extra credit:
What makes the seasons change?

Answers here. I knew the correct answers to 6.

Oh my God!! They killed Spongebob!

You have to try these....

Darlene is a wonderful baker. She's a natural. Her latest game is to take recipes from the web and tweak them a bit. I get to be the tester. Mmmm....... Anyway, this latest creation was so good, I just had to share it with you - with Darlene's blessing of course.

Banana Streusel Muffins – makes 6 muffins
1 cup flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 egg
½ cup sour cream
1/8 cup melted butter or margarine OR ¼ cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup ripe bananas
½ cup walnuts
1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cold butter
¼ cup finely chopped pecans

Mix streusel ingredients cutting in cold butter one tablespoon at a time and set aside, it will have a dry crumbly texture. Mix muffin ingredients and pour into greased muffin pans. Sprinkle streusel mixture equally on top of each muffin. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes until set (or until knife comes out clean and streusel topping is medium brown and crispy). Let cool in muffin pan on top of wire cooling rack for 20 minutes so muffins can finish setting and bottoms don’t get soggy, then remove from muffin pan. Best eaten warm with butter. Let remaining muffins cool completely on wire rack before sealing.

Excuse me... uh... miss?

So...... errr....... I guess the 287's closed?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

10 random tunes on my computer:

Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees
Travis - Why Does It Always Rain On Me (heard of Travis? Awesome music)
Split Enz - 6 Months in a Leaky Boat
New Radicals - You Get What You Give
Royksopp - Beautiful Day Without You (this group is like adrenaline to me)
Porcupine Tree - Buying New Soul (the 'other' Pink Floyd)
Kate Bush - Nocturn (from her new album)
John Lennon - Mind Games
Cheap Trick - Ain't That a Shame (Live)
Jacksoul - Still Believe in Love (possibly the wittiest soul tune ever written)

Best take on the whole gay marriage thing.....

Defective Yeti strikes again........ The Buddy System. Funny stuff.

I'm thirsty......... look at that cow.....

Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these things here, and drink whatever comes out!"

Bird Flu hits Florida

Photo by Julian Humphries.

Free Trade is a farce

"Say goodbye to most if not all tariffs", they said. "This will be beneficial for everyone", they claimed. Well, many years have gone by and I'm not sure who benefits from Free Trade between Canada and the US, but it sure isn't consumers.

Softwood lumber? That's just the beginning. I go to various stores looking for various goods that are imported. "Oh, we no longer find it feasable to import that anymore - duties and import fees are too high." This is why I can't buy a decent pair of Doc Marten's or Dansko shoes anywhere.

Just today, we got a poster in the mail from the US. It's worth $23. Thanks to agents of our beloved government, we owed $7 before we could possess the parcel. Duties? Nope. Excise? Nope. It was a $5 handling fee and about $2 GST. Handling fee. What they really mean is 'you didn't buy something that earns us duty, so we'll charge for the annoyance of opening the parcel for nothing fee'.

It's not that funny...... but I laughed out of reflex

In case the picture gets squeezed too much by Blogger, the caption reads:
Robert Smith should do a cover of Coldplay's Clocks, so when he sings "Am I part of the cure or am I part of the disease", we can say, "Oooh! We know this one..."

This and more cartoons here.

No orc can keep me from you....

Although I have never played the game, I am aware of just what a phenomenon the computer game World of Warcraft has become. Remember Dungeons and Dragons? It ain't got nuthin' on WoW folks.

So it should come as no surprise that fans of this online adventure would serenade each other with Wow-tinted sonnets........ like this one.

Excerpt: Why do we need to go out to have fun? Everything we could possibly want is right in WoW. Fine dining, theater, romantic sunsets—they're all there. The outside world just costs money, and I don't have a magic breastplate to protect me from people's stares. Come with me so I can treat you like the princess you are. Please, baby, if you leave, you will increase by 32 percent the chance of doing direct damage to my heart. Please reconsider.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

And I thought we had it bad......

See the rest of the table here.

4 neat things about Calgary

The latest Meme: 4 neat things about (your city here):

The +15 walkway system. Over 16km of indoor walkways connecting downtown buildings on their second floors. (Check the map)

The view of the Rocky Mountains. Not quite visible everywhere in the city, but where you can glimpse them, it's dramatic. And they're less than an hour away!

It's the only big city I know with the small town heart. People just naturally hold doors open for you everywhere you go. Seriously.

Nose Hill Park. Dubbed the largest municipal park in Canada, this over 1100 hectare park is smack dab in the middle of the city, just northwest of downtown. It has very few trees, which is natural habitat, as Calgary had hardly any trees before people arrived. Needless to say, dogs love the place too.

We've been dragging the luggage around a while

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Defrost this......

A new technology - PETD could make it so vehicle windshields defrost in mere seconds. The new film could also be used to de-ice aircraft surfaces and help keep freezers frost-free for much less energy. Kiss that ice scraper goodbye.........

Monday, April 17, 2006


Sometimes the elements of a picture come together in such a way, you'd think the Gods themselves had a part in their creation.

And sometimes you get this. The sign actually reads "The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery".

Denmark + Fatty food = prison

Fast food is not the same wherever you go.

McDonald's is healthiest in Denmark and worst in the United States, reports a Danish study comparing levels of trans fatty acids. A large meal of chicken nuggets and french fries at McDonald's in the United States contained 10.1 grams of trans fatty acids, while the same meal in France contained 5.9 grams and just 0.33 grams in Denmark. The low Danish levels are the result of low-fat legislation introduced in 2004. Under the new law, no more than two percent of fats in foods sold to customers can be industrially-produced transfats. Food producers violating the law risk two years in prison.

Read the whole story here. So if you ever hear the fast food giants tell you it can't be done..... think again.


You know you're addicted to your computer when..............

Bunnies............. ending it all

People keep posting these Bunny Suicide cartoons (illegally of course) and they get taken down soon enough. So go see them for yourself while they're still available at this site.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I don't get it....

Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?

Happy Easter everyone

Let's talk about stuffing (dressing)

I've often wondered how to properly cook stuffing outside the turkey. There are many reasons to do this:
  • You may want to cook more stuffing than will fit in the bird
  • Stuffing the bird is not extremely easy
  • You may want to start cooking the bird before it has completely thawed, ergo you can't remove the removables from the cavity
  • You may want to ensure that the stuffing is cooked properly (165F) and that often doesn't happen when cooked in the bird
  • You may want to cut down on bird cooking time or temperature (stuffing adds to the time)
Well, I pulled it off and it was marvelous. I prepared the stuffing as normal, then plopped the whole mess into one of those Hot Bags made of aluminum foil. Before I put it in the oven, I used a baster to remove some of the turkey juice and moisten the stuffing. Iused about 3 or 4 basters full of juice - it can dry out fast cooking in the bag. I only folded the bag once, to make sure the thing could breathe. I put it in the oven next to the bird for about the last 80 minutes at 325F. It came out done, a little crispy around the edges in fact (just the way I like it). So if you like your stuffing less crispy, go for 60 minutes instead. Note: those Hot Bags are not leak-proof. Sit them in a pan or something so juice doesn't leak all over.....

Saturday, April 15, 2006

You can't miss.....

Here's a fun take on the key holder device. His and Hers key holders, each with their own special key that you insert into the holder to hang your keys. Cute.

Ammo for road warriors

Shame it's so expensive, but as with anything else - that won't last. Samsung finally enters the realm of Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPC) with the Q1. Check out the measurements: 23x14x3cm. It has a 40GB hard drive, a 7" touchscreen, 512MB RAM and a CPU that sips battery power. No sign of an optical drive though.

They keep going.... and going.....

Did you know that Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity are still kicking? These rovers were only expected to last 90 sols, but have surpassed 786 sols. Right now, Spirit is nursing a non-functioning front right wheel. So it has to drive in reverse, dragging the broken wheel behind it.

Alcohol = Speech impediment

Indubitably - Innovative - Preliminary - Proliferation - Cinnamon

Specificity - Scandinavian Constitution - Passive-aggressive disorder - Loquacious Transubstantiate

Thanks, but I've had enough to drink - No sex for me - Sorry, but you're not really my type - I'm not sure I could keep an all dressed pizza down right now - Nah...... no one wants to hear me sing

Touched by fate.........part 5

People that have made an impact on my life (in no particular order - read the disclaimer here):

Jon Watson - the only guy I know who can keep my brain (the geek part) functioning at full tilt. Jon only has one speed - FFx4>>>. It's like taking speed without the side-effects, and I love it. Remember the name, you'll likely be hearing it more often in the next decade. First in Linux and podcasting circles, then - who knows..........

Friday, April 14, 2006

This is what a dying dinosaur sounds like......

This will probably not play in big media news - which is unfortunate, because it's significant. Several independant record labels pulled out of the CRIA (basically RIAA - Canadian branch).

"it has become increasingly clear over the past few months that CRIA's position on several important music industry issues are not aligned with our best interests as independent recording companies"

More details here.

Hybrid scooter

I knew it was just a matter of time before hybrid technology seeped into the world of scooters. Vespa is introducing (looks like Europe only - for now) 2 models of gas - electric hybrids, the LX50 and the bigger Piaggio X8. Not only do these scooters benefit from a boost in efficiency and power from the electric motor, you can choose a low-speed all electric mode for cruising through places where gas engines aren't allowed. The batteries can charge from the gas engine or be plugged into 220V to recharge in 3 hours. This is a nice trend that I hope continues.


The Internet has made it possible for a number of events not only to happen at all, but to begin to flourish, with word getting out to the masses. I'm talking about the kind of events that would never be mentioned in the big media - Burning Man, pillow fights, guerilla drive-ins. So if you have no plans on Easter Sunday and you can find your way to San Francisco, you might want to enter into the annual Bring Your Own Big Wheel race. Ever heard of Lombard Street? That's the venue. Check out the site and watch the video.

Sync 'em up

Every once in a while, Microsoft comes out with some interesting software that is very useful. Kudos to them when they even make it free (as long as you're using a genuine copy of Windows). In this case, I'm liking this thing they have called SyncToy 1.2

If you're like me and try to keep various folders synchronized between 2 computers, this baby does the trick. You create folder pairs, name them, then choose what kind of synchronization you want. You can then select any pair anytime you want and run the synchronization.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

You left the kids where!!??

My new entry

I was just wondering.....

Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane?

My idea of public service announcements

I found these 10 Friendly Pickup Lines for women to use on men. The problem is, they're redundant. A woman could say almost anything and it is likely to work as a pickup line. What would have been an even more relevant service would be to list some useful 'put down lines'. So here goes: (these may or may not work depending on how desperate the guy is)

1. Did you pick out that outfit or did mommy dress you?
2. If I were to start telling you about my last boyfriend, how long would it take before you went away?
3. I could eat you up. No really - with a nice Chianti and all that........
4. What I really need is a man who would gladly clean my bathrooms.......... all 4 of them.
5. Oh my God! Do you know who you remind me of? Richard Simmons!
6. Do you dye your hair? No? That's impossible. You really have grey under there, don't you?
7. [Do your best Fran Drescher (The Nanny) annoying laugh impression.............. often]
8. Well, I have to get home to the family soon. Who? Oh, just my 6 kids and mom.
9. Is that how you talk normally? It sounds like you're faking an accent.
10. Are you gay? (that's a little nod to Darlene - it didn't work on me though)

Gag me

Imagine taking a bottle of water, putting in some strips of cardboard and letting the cardboard dissolve and disintegrate in the water until all there was left was a tasteless pulp. Got it? Good - now you have a good idea what V8 with 75% less sodium tastes like. Bloody awful....

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Touched by fate .... part 4

People that have made an impact on my life (in no particular order - read the disclaimer here):

Tim Wallin and Bill Kellar - two of the most outstanding human beings I know. They're fun to be with, honest, hard-working, reliable and humble.

I should aspire to be like these two guys.

This way, you may not be liable......

I have an awesome idea for a t-shirt slogan for parents to get their kids to wear to school:

"The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his/her parents."