Saturday, June 30, 2007

The 'other' class

So I spent the afternoon watching the other Company of Rogues class Essentials of Acting do their last session (final performances). A big shout out to Terry, Andrea, Jackie and Levi. The scenes were impressive. Andrea's scene was a powerhouse - the emotional level was through the roof. The other scenes were awesome too, but that one really stood out and grabbed me by the cajones.

It's just my opinion, but I'm glad I ended up in Stacie's class. I have absolutely nothing against Simon. I just liked Stacie's approach. I'm just going to leave it at that.

Well, that about does it for my run of acting training for now. I've decided to branch into improvisation next. This will be an interesting journey, but will likely begin with volunteering at the Loose Moose theatre.

Stay tuned........

I like to drive....

I watched my odometer turn over 100,000 kilometers this morning. That's around 62,000 miles.

In 3 years, 3 months.

We're adopted....

Quick! What galaxy are you from?

Bet most of you said The Milky Way Galaxy, right? Well, apparently, that's where you'd be wrong. It turns out that we actually belong to the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy, which is currently being ripped apart and joining the Milky Way. This goes toward explaining why the Milky Way is seen in the sky at an angle.

Interesting stuff.


Watch this little video clip, then tell me if you agree that McDonalds is going to have some trouble on their hands for a while if this gets out.

Guy (I'm guessing from France) demonstrates how to get free food from McDonald's............ translation - how to steal someone else's food.

The gadget to end all gadgets is here.... well... in the US

Well, all you gadget-o-philes are probably curious to know how the launch of the much hyped iPhone went yesterday. You may as well start at BoingBoing blog, where the love-in has begun in earnest.

The official web site now has much more in the way of video demos than ever before.

No word yet on who will offer this phone in Canada.

Friday, June 29, 2007

New and improved!

If you know me at all, you would know I'm a big fan of Google Maps. One of the things about this online resource that I was never really keen on is the Get Directions feature. When you plug in a start and end address, you might get a logical route, but it may not be the route you would have chosen yourself. But the process of changing the route wasn't very easy. Until now.....

Google Maps now makes it possible to modify your route by simply grabbing the route. When the hand pointer gets close to the route line, it changes to have the ability to grab a box on the route line. You just drag the route to where you want it to go and Google re-calculates the route.

In my example, the top map shows the default chosen route from Calgary to Seattle via Kamloops and Vancouver. But I chose to change the route to go via Great Falls and Spokane as seen in the bottom map. But there's more.....

Here's an excellent video demo.

The more I think about it, the more sense it makes

Here's a concept worth exploring: Vertical Farming. The idea is simple enough - why waste so much real estate growing crops on one plane (or plain, if you don't mind the pun), when you can stack high tech greenhouses on top of each other and grow food where it's needed?

Read the BBC article for more insight.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Dramatic Cow!

You've seen the dramatic chipmunk (even though it's not a chipmunk, but I digress)........

......... now get ready for the dramatic cow.

The infamous poop plane

In case you hadn't read the story about the now infamous "poop plane", the Continental flight from Amsterdam to Newark that had a bathroom malfunction, I can remedy that for you. The flight's passengers are now known as members of the Pile High Club.......

Warning! You may not want to read this first person account on a full stomach.

Best comment read on a blog this week

In reference to an announcement by IBM of the first supercomputer (Blue Gene) capable of crunching through a thousand trillion mathematical operations every second:

"a thousand trillion -- You know, some people call that a "quadrillion." If I've told you once, I've told you ten hundred times..."

Calling all UK experts

It looks likely that I will be visiting an area in the UK this fall near Bournemouth. I'm just posting this so that anyone with any insight about the area might find it and post a comment.

Do you know much about Bournemouth? How about Salisbury? Portsmouth?

Another one bites the dust....

Tonight marks the last episode of the now cancelled series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Brought to you by the creators of West Wing, it stars Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford.

I really enjoyed this show, so I'm sad to see yet another great program joining the likes of Smith in the TV show garbage bin. Don't even get me started about Firefly......

It all comes together

Last night was my final class of Essentials of Acting at Company of Rogues. We did our final performances of the scenes we had been evolving over the 6 weeks, or in the case of my partner and I - 3 weeks. It was awesome. We remembered all of our lines. We brought the emotional level up. The instructor seemed impressed. I felt really good when it was over. Like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

We were lucky to have the rest of our Epcor compatriots from the Saturday session with us to watch our performances, which was cool. I'm probably going to check out their masterpieces on Saturday afternoon.

The only Company of Rogues class I'm even remotely interested in now is the Meisner course. I just have to figure out how to fit it into my schedule. This fall is going to be more hectic than ever and I'm hoping to do some volunteering at Loose Moose Theatre to get my foot in the door for improv opportunities.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's Wednesday Night.....

...... so I won't be blogging up a storm until tomorrow. It's the final night of acting class. That means final performances.

I fired my costume designer. Yeah right - if only I had a costume designer....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sometimes it's not safe to dance

Darlene just got back from a retreat in British Columbia. On her way back home she made a pit stop in Banff.

While walking through the storied, narrow halls of the Banff Springs Hotel, she managed to walk right in behind a woman, who had just come out of their room with her husband. So here they were, the wife, Darlene and the husband, walking down the hall and of course because the wife was out front, she had no idea a stranger had joined them - she thought her husband was the only person behind her.

So, thinking they were alone, this woman started to dance. A real sexy bump and grind kind of performance. Darlene's trying so hard not to laugh and turns around to look at the husband. He just shakes his head as if to say "Don't say anything". Just as the woman is about to get the whole act out of her system, her husband says "I guess she doesn't realize that someone else is behind her..."

That's when the woman spins around and a look of horror comes across her face. She is screaming and exclaiming pure embarrassment. To which Darlene says, "Oh..... don't be embarrassed - you just made my whole day."

"Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about... your mother"

Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the release of the movie Blade Runner, one of my favourite movies of all time.

I just love everything about this movie, the actors, the visuals, the music..... I know I've seen this movie at least 40 times and I'm still not tired of it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Star Wars special (parody)

The Robot Chicken Star Wars special in its entirety. (the quality isn't great, but you'll get the drift)

This is a classic folks. Slot some time aside for this - it's 25 minutes long.

If you liked Spinal Tap and Best in Show....

I finally got around to watching For Your Consideration last night. If it doesn't ring a bell, it's the latest in a long line of quirky comedies by the folks who brought you Spinal Tap, Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman and A Mighty Wind.

It's not an exciting movie. There are no car chases or girl on girl kiss scenes.

[whispering] Are the readers still here? [whispering stops]

But if you really pay attention, there's some instant comedy in this film that can catch you off guard. There were a few times when I laughed so hard, I had to stop the movie so as not to miss anything.

Like when one actress character says, "I hurt my back. I fell over the side of an escalator."

Or when another character played by Eugene Levy sprays his foot with some anti-fungal spray, then looks at the can and says to his woman assistant as he hands it back to her, "I can't believe you keep this in your purse."

Kicking ass one second at a time

I got a chuckle out of this clever video made with just 2 hands.

Or like commenters on Fazed videos said: "This kicks like 10 asses per second per second" "10 ass-hertz"

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stupid censors

My blog was analyzed and they rated it PG. That's because they found the words Viagra and sex in the text.

You children are not safe.............

Get your blog rated here.

I could have a lot of fun with this

Who wants a free theremin lesson?

Sure you do......

Here's a theremin related post from last year.

Ever heard of the Broadcast Treaty? If you're lucky, you won't have to

I may go on at length about my disdain for the entertainment industry with regards to copyright abuses and how they have ignored the desires of their own customers, but this is really only part of the story.

Many people are not aware of the back room manipulating and deal making that has been going on that would create an entity that would make copyright look ineffectual by comparison. In other words, if you think you have few rights as a user of content now........... wait for it.

You must read this wonderful synopsis of the Broadcast Treaty and what it would mean if it ever got passed. It also tells the story of how organizations like the EFF are fighting like mad for you and me to prevent this abomination from ever seeing the light of day.

What I meant was.....

This is an excerpt from an actual conversation a friend had with a pharmacist recently. He was asking her (in curiosity only - no really) about the differences between drugs that help with sexual dysfunction:

Friend: "What's the difference between Viagra and Cialis?"

Pharmacist: "Basically, Viagra's 'assistance' works right away, but only lasts a few hours, whereas Cialis gives you that 'assistance' when you need it and lasts for almost 2 days."

Friend: "Two days! ..............that's certainly more bang for your buck."

Sometimes the words don't come out quite right........

[sniffle] [cough]

I will not let my cold ruin my entire weekend.
I will not let my cold ruin my entire weekend.
I will not let my cold ruin my entire weekend.
I will not let my cold ruin my entire weekend.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The best medicine

Last night I decided to get a dose of laughter and attended the Improv Theatre Sports at the Loose Moose Theatre. One of my classmates from the Epcor acting class back in the spring had mentioned that he volunteers at Loose Moose and as a result gets to participate in the improv games from time to time. I invited whomever had free time to come on down and check this thing out. I ended up going with Harriet's hubby Phil. I'm sick with a summer cold but I didn't care........... I was in need of some ha ha.

It was great fun. Both Phil and I had low expectations going in. Improv is hard work and these folks worked it out. There were some pretty funny moments created there. What totally blew me away was that many of the games we played at the Epcor Intro to Acting for Adults class were being played on the stage right before my eyes. It was a cool feeling - "I know that game!!! I've played that game!!" I had no idea that I was going to see those activities again so soon. Nor did I have any idea that we were leaning so much into improv in that class.

One thing is for sure - I'll be going back. Who knows, maybe some day I'll be one of the junior improv players on that stage....

Friday, June 22, 2007

If I had my own radio station - Talk Talk

This is a band whose first (self titled) album is in fact my least favourite of the bunch. This is a group that eclipses many genres, which in this day and age is a rarity. Their second album, It's My Life, has a few original surprises even though it still has that new wave flavour of the time (1984). The opening track, Dum Dum Girl, is a clever bit of pop. It's my Life was the first hit on this of the ocean and displayed enough longevity as a pop song to be covered by the likes of No Doubt.

Then came The Colour of Spring, which spawned the hits Life's What You Make It and Give It Up (two of my absolute favourite songs ever) along with a few other memorable tunes like Living in Another World and Happiness is Easy. By this time, Talk Talk are certainly no longer a new wave band.

Spirit of Eden is probably 4 times as different from the album that precedes it as Colour of Spring was from It's My Life. The pop feel is gone - this is bordering on jazz-ambient. Desire starts out slowly with atmospheric guitar, sax and piano, then builds with some soulful organ while Mark Hollis' unique voice chimes in and grabs hold of you before rocking out. Then the cycle repeats itself to great effect. I Believe in You continues the trend, the instruments as percussive as they are musical. The organ work alone is genius, starting at about the halfway point in the piece. This would be the perfect soundtrack album for a late summer storm.

If the jazziness of Spirit of Eden meets with your approval, then the follow up album Laughing Stock will please as well. Only this is even more 'out there' than before. Ascension Day is a glimpse of the wonderful work on this record. This is what I think U2 would have sounded like if they grew up in New Orleans.

These last two albums are some of the best music Talk Talk have made in their entire careers, yet this stuff doesn't see the light of day. Well, if I had my own radio station, this would be in regular rotation, my friends. Yes it would....

Another edition of Where is it?

You know it.... you love it.... name the city.

Click the picture for a bigger version.

Good luck all around.

Mark my cupboards....

Am I the only one who thinks this is a really creative idea for kitchen decor? This clever homeowner painted their kitchen cabinets with blackboard paint and voila - kitchen surfaces that you can decorate with chalk!


Bigger picture at apartment therapy. Found on boingboing.

Don't bite off more than you can chew....

A postal worker in Calgary was attacked and bitten quite badly by a pair of dogs (part mastiff) this week. The dogs' owner defended herself, saying that she needed the dogs to feel safe in her home and that the postal worker must have spooked the dogs. The dogs were not tied up, nor were they licensed. I am not against any breed of dog - even the nastier breeds can be trained not to attack. The bottom line is that you have to take responsibility for your pets. If they are prone to attacking people on your property, they are in essence an uncontrolled weapon. A lot of people don't understand that in Canada, you do NOT have the right to unleash (figuratively or otherwise) a weapon on someone, even if they are trespassing on your property.

I am amazed at the attitude of dog owners like this. As it is, the owner is going to get some hefty fines, perhaps lose the dogs and likely will not have mail delivered to their home again. I hope it was worth it.

I can only imagine what the car drivers were thinking

I was on my front porch last night and saw this kid from the block riding this ultra-cool electric powered mini-kart. I had to get it on film.

I wish they could have had stuff like this when I was a kid...........

Thursday, June 21, 2007

One of these things is not like the others......

Here's a map of every country that has not adopted the metric system.

Those would be the ones coloured red....

Cue the dramatic music....


Our second to last acting class was last night. My acting partner and I had the script all worked out. Not bad for a couple of dudes who only had 2 weeks to rehearse versus everyone else's 4. Oh... but we found a way to screw up - yes we did. It wasn't bad though, even though we mentally tossed out a whole page of lines, we recovered so beautifully, the instructor / director didn't even notice (so she says - I think she was just being nice).

Next week we perform the scene one last time.......... with verve. My classmates from the Saturday class are invited to watch our presentation and we're invited to watch theirs too. Should be awesome.

I got my Company of Rogues t-shirt. Now I can go around pretending like I'm this artist-type dude. I'm such a poser...........

[singing] Duh - duh - duuuhhhh! [singing stops]

Oh my freaking God! Why can't I stop laughing at this 5 seconds of classic online video?

There's gotta be a way to make this an animated gif or something for my Facebook.........

I don't know which is worse....

What is it about airlines and their amazing skills at pissing off customers? Read about:

The slumber party plane and

The lavatory overfloweth.

OK, let's get this over with....

Can I assume you've all seen or heard about the final scene from The Sopranos?

How about The Parrot, a parody of said scene, using baseball mascots?

OK, how about Hillary Clinton's parody of said scene?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The longest day is this weekend tomorrow....

It's after 11pm. I just got out of acting class and there's still the most awesome deep blue dusk on the horizon.

It rocks to be at a northern latitude in summer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm pissed about #40 though.....

A list of things a man should never do after age 30. It's dumb, but it has a few funny bits.

I do 7 of the things anyway.....

Alternative uses for Olive Oil

This is a pretty good list.

I had no idea...........

Practise safe lunch

My latest motivation poster.

Photo by whatwhat

100 things in 100 days - number 1

1. I currently live within 100 metres of the Trans Canada Highway.

Which makes it very easy to get around Calgary. I'm still amazed how fast I can get to the 4 quadrants of our city from where I live.

This concludes the 100 things in 100 days feature. Aren't you glad?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Nothing more to see here...... move along...

The internet was closed today for renovations. We are sorry for any inconvenience that may have caused. The internet will re-open tomorrow at the usual time. If you had a reservation, we may be able to fit you in later this week. No rain checks.

The internet is now hiring - all positions. Apply within.

The internet isn't really closed. It never closes. I just have a big headache and I found nothing of interest on the tubes today.

100 things in 100 days - number 2

2. I am the eldest of 3 children.

I have a sister Heidi who is 9 years behind me and a brother Robert who is 10 behind me. I used to make a habit of trying to entertain these two when I was younger. Well, I guess in a way, I still do.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Need motivation not to get in an accident?

Have you ever wondered how your car would do in a crash? Consumer Reports' web site has videos showing many models.

It's all very clear to me now....

If you're looking for the ultimate What the hell happened in the Sopranos Finale analysis, you don't have to look any further than here.

I still say you can make of it what you will.

I'm a sucker for blond jokes....

A blond calls her boyfriend and says, "Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get it started."

Her boyfriend asks, "What is it supposed to be when it's finished?"

The blond says, "According to the picture on the box, it's a tiger."

Her boyfriend decides to go over and help with the puzzle. She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table. He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says, "First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a tiger."

He takes her hand and says, "Second, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then.."

He sighed.........

"Let's put all the Frosted Flakes back in the box......."

100 things in 100 days - number 3

3. I'm a pretty good spellar. really - I am.

I used to be in spelling bees as a child. People still come to me asking how to spell stuff. Do I make mistakes in my writing? Yes. But it's not because I can't spell. It's because I'm dyslexic.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Damn I love technology....

If you would like a glimpse into what the internet might offer you in the next few years, you might want to watch this video.

I believe right now that we cannot begin to fathom what the internet is going to make possible in our lives 10 years from now. You can argue all you want........... it's pointless.

Mind................ going.............

Lately I've been aware of a change in how I perceive things. I mentioned this in passing last August, but I feel it necessary to mention it again.

I don't know what it is, but you tend to look at things differently as you get older. I find myself noticing and appreciating things that I would have ignored in my 20's or 30's. I'm not even sure it's that I never noticed these things when I was younger, or whether things take on a life of their own.

It might have something to do with life priorities. When you're young, it's the goal-driven experiences that matter most. It's not the journeys, it's the destinations. But as you get older, the attitude shifts - the destinations can wait - you're going to enjoy the journeys just as much if not more. Could it have something to do with an increased awareness of our mortality that changes our perception? Maybe. All I know is that my perception has changed and it's not even a focused perception, but a more abstract way of looking at things - almost like the awareness you would have (so I've been told) under the influence of mind-altering substances.

Party time!

I met with a few of my acting classmates from the Epcor Centre courses last night. This post is for their benefit, whether they made it or not.

It was nice to see everyone that was able to make it. That included Terry, Levi, Scott, Harriet and myself at Angelique's place. A big thank you to Angelique for hosting the get-together - you definitely have a place conducive to hosting such a gathering. We had lots of munchies, too much probably. Levi - those cream puffs were evil!

We discussed our separate classes on Wednesday and Saturday - compared notes. We also talked about what we had gotten out of all the classes to date and where we saw ourselves going next. Then we settled into a game of Act One, like last time. Terry was in good form, getting a lot of answers correct. We wrapped up around 12:30am.

I need to get out more. I was so excited to have a group of people to talk to that I found myself interrupting a lot to get my two cents in. I was even starting to piss myself off - but I was just so damned excited to see everyone. To those in attendance - I'm sorry.

Anyway, it was great. I can't wait for the next one. And to everyone in an acting class right now - break a leg!

100 things in 100 days - number 4

4. I've only lived in 4 cities in my life so far. Montreal, Kingston, Edmonton and Calgary.

Montreal is such a cool city. I've already presented my thoughts on it on this blog. Kingston is where I spent 15 years of my military career and my years from age 19 to 33. It is also where I met Darlene. It's a very youthful city, Lake Ontario and the 1000 Islands are spectacular. The best part - its proximity to Montreal, Toronto, New York, Ottawa, cottage country.... the list goes on - many within a 3 hour drive. Edmonton was nothing spectacular. Since I only worked there (1997-1999) and left to go home to family on weekends, it represents nothing but work to me. Calgary is my new home since 1994 and it fits very nicely. I would be quite sad to have to leave it permanently.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sofa King busy! (say it in your head)

I know.... I know. I'm not blogging as profusely as usual. Not to worry, it's a temporary lull. This week has just been out of control and I won't get my life back until Saturday.

Meanwhile, I bought tickets to see Dave Thomas (no - not the Wendy's one) and his brother Ian Thomas perform in October. You may know the Dave name from SCTV et al. Non-Canadians have likely never heard of Ian Thomas, but he was known for some songs on the radio in the 70's and 80's. Anyway, they are both very funny guys and together will be even funnier. I lucked into 3rd row seats and am taking my Great White North II acting partner Bernie to the show.

Anyway folks.......... have a great Friday and we'll see you all tomorrow.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Great idea - except that it won't work

The city of Calgary is still 18 months or more away from having curb side recycling in place. Meanwhile, the recycling depots that currently exist aren't keeping up. There have been reports of overflowing bins at many neighbourhood depots with the extra material being left on the ground because the city can't keep up. Some areas are getting ticked off. Meanwhile, the city is now exploring garbage bag limits, capping the number of bags you can put out for collection at 2. You would have to pay for tags to put out more than 2. Ric McIver goes so far as to suggest that this is a plan that should be put into action sooner rather than later.

Message to Ric and others who share your opinion: How about you wait until Calgarians actually have a working recycle infrastructure in place? Because under the current system, those that bring their recyclables to the local depot are often greeted with full bins, and those who are without vehicles cannot be expected to cart their recyclables off to the depot and pare their garbage down to the 2 bag limit, yet it's these folks who would be penalized the hardest.

The fact is that even once curbside recycling is implemented, the city has admitted that it cannot service most condos and apartment complexes (although I don't understand why), so these residents will still be at the mercy of the local depot. A bag limit is a good idea in principle, but until Calgarians have a way to reduce their garbage in a way that offers equal access to everyone, it will not be fair. And we haven't even discussed the fact that in many jurisdictions where bag limits were imposed, it resulted in cheaters dumping their extra garbage on other peoples' property to avoid paying the tag fees.