Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Busy busy busy...

Sorry everyone, I've been very busy this week. I actually tried to post some stuff quickly yesterday, but Blogger's site was all messed up. Between acting class last night and teaching a computer class tonight, things won't have settled down until Thursday, so see you then at the very worst.

Monday, February 26, 2007

You can run, but you can't hide.....

This bit of news should get the conspiracy theorist paranoid schizophrenics reaching for their box of aluminum foil. Hitachi have invented RFID chips that are essentially the size of dust. The chips are pictured at left, next to a strand of human hair. These things could be embedded in damned near anything, but could also be sprinkled on you and then tracked without you ever knowing. I smell a James Bond scene evolving from this.

Found on pinktentacle.

Off the cuff poetry

By Karl Plesz

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I'm not a poet
What the hell do you want from me?

Photo by Janine Healy

Mmm Mmm good

I wanted to write a review for the restaurant we went to on Friday, but after searching, realized that I already had, back in May of last year. But Bernie composed his own review, so I'll link to that too.

My favourite moment: When the chef came by our table and asked how the food was, Bernie looked up at him and said, "I love you..." The chef quickly moved on to the next table.

The err 79th Annual Academy Awards

For those of you who missed last night's show, it actually wasn't half bad. Ellen Degeneres did a decent job hosting. The casual glimpses of the nominees was a nice, unique way to open the show. Marty Scorsese finally won a director Oscar, which the crowd just loved. Forrest Whitaker won for his portrayal of Idi Amin. Jennifer Hudson got a nod too - I guess losing American Idol wasn't such a bad outcome after all.

For me the most awful part of the show was the token Canadian lead-in show, E-Talk at the Oscars, with our (searching for the appropriate word) host Ben Mulroney. He looked positively desperate on the red carpet, unable to interpret the celebrities' rebuffs as polite rejection. It was embarrassing. The American red carpeteers behaved like asses, but at least they were choreographed to look like they had their collective acts together. Yes - I said asses.

Favourite moment: When Al Gore (who had a lot of fans at the Oscars) who was being egged on by Leo DiCaprio to make a major announcement to the world finally looked like he would do just that - the orchestra cut him off. Perfect.

[sorry dvd - don't know where I got 49th]

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Winterize a-la the hosers

Episode 7 of The Great White North is up. In this episode, the hosers share their tips on winterizing your Canadian car. link.

Is your copy of Windows aware of the new DST?

You know about the change to when DST begins and ends now, right? The question is - does your computer? If you're running Windows Vista, or Windows XP Service Pack 2 with Automatic Updates enabled, you probably are set. But if you want to be sure, go to this Microsoft Daylight Saving Time Help and Support Center and just follow the instructions. It will help you figure out what you need and let you download any updates you will require.

My first brush with Windows Vista

So..... I decided to take the plunge and try installing Windows Vista (Home Premium) on my 3.5 year old HP laptop. The Vista Upgrade adviser (available from Microsoft's web site) said it couldn't be done. Which of course is why I had to try.

I backed up the entire hard drive first, because I wanted an easy way back to sanity if this upgrade didn't work out. Then I installed Vista as an upgrade over the existing XP install. It seemed to install fairly well - I only ended up with 2 issues. AVG (my Antivirus program) didn't want to work anymore, so I just re-installed it and that was fine. But Vista also had trouble making sense of my D-Link Wireless G Buscard network adapter. I tried to let Vista fix the situation, but it seemed baffled. I scoured the net for a solution, trying a beta driver for Vista, but that didn't work. Finally, I just uninstalled the device and re-installed it using my original driver disk. That was it. Odd, since Vista is supposed to support this device. What really freaked me out is that D-Link's own Air Utility doesn't seem to manage the wireless connection anymore. I just switched from wired to wireless network while Vista hibernated and it just works - which the Air Utility would have you believe wasn't happening.

I figured I was going to have problems with VMWare, and I was right. My Ubuntu VM starts, but its ethernet connection is not functioning. I'll have lots of time to troubleshoot that one. Otherwise, things seem to be working. Vista has slowed my laptop a little (it's a Pentium 4 2.66GHz with 1GB of RAM), but I suspect that has more to do with my video hardware than anything else. As it is, Vista will not give me the option to use the Aero interface, so that's an indication that I do not have the video horsepower needed - or at the very least, I may not have the Direct X 9 compatibility. I'll let you know if I manage to tweak this beast into submission.

Later. I'll give you my impressions of Vista's new features.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

If I had my own radio station - Cake

I’m not too thrilled with the kind of rock music that's been made in the last couple of decades. My biggest complaint would be that a lot of the more popular bands sound too much alike – I grew up (1970’s) amongst a very diverse music scene.

There are exceptions however and I feel the band Cake is worth mentioning. Let's start with the album Motorcade of Generosity, with two standouts, Rock’nRoll Lifestyle, which pokes fun at the very fans they would hope to attract, and Jolene. John McCrea’s deadpan talk-singing delivery isn’t original, but I feel it’s done well. This is minimalist rock that isn’t boring. How many rock bands do you know with a trumpet player?

Cake finally became well known through their next album, Fashion Nugget with the single The Distance. But I actually prefer their cover of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. Critics attacked Cake for dissing this song – I don’t see it that way at all - it rocks. I’ll admit the finale guitar solo is a bit cheesy, but I like it anyway.

The next album, Prolonging the Magic, produced another favourite of mine, Never There. The rhythm of this song is quite contagious and at less than three minutes in length, it left me wanting more. Oh my God – is John actually trying to sing on this tune?

Comfort Eagle produced yet another great hit in Short Skirt / Long Jacket – which finally cracked the music video channels and gave them more exposure than the college crowd that had been following them to this point.

Their latest album, Pressure Chief, John McCrea tries another cover – this time Bread’s The Guitar Man. He does that singing thing again too. This album doesn’t have as many stand-outs as on previous albums, but there is one - Tougher Than It Is. It's kind of a tribute to the phrase ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’.

Dr. Suess's Old Man in a Hat

By Karl Plesz

Old man in a hat
Why do you drive like that?
You can barely see over the wheel
Your driver's license we'd like to appeal.
You really should be taking a bus
Why do you insist on endangering us?
With your lack of ability to drive the speed limit
It's a wonder the ditch doesn't have your car in it.
Driving requires quick thinking and good vision
Which might lead us to think you'd have more collisions.
We have nothing against your presence on the road
But is it necessary for you to ramble as slow as morse code?
Do us a favour, you elders of wisdom and pride
Increase the volume of your blinkers and stay on the right side!

Fun with photography

Take a look at these witty photo illusions.

Random Britney Spears quote

"The cool thing about being famous is travelling. I have always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff."

Hey - a lot of folks are talking about this girl lately. Why can't I have some fun too?

Friday, February 23, 2007

DRM.... freedom is just another word for piracy

For people that are still a little confused as to why DRM is such a big deal, go read this excellent Salon article written by Canada's own Cory Doctorow.

Especially those people who argue with me, "Buying your music from iTunes does not stop you from doing what you want with those mp3s."

Stupid....... furnaces!

I have a crappy furnace. I've lived in my house for almost 9 years and have had to call a furnace repair person at least 5 times in that period. That doesn't include cleanings or tune-ups. Most of the time it's a sensor, but once it was the whole logic board and that costs a small fortune. Well, I've spent the better parts of the last 3 days at home trying to get my beastie fixed again and still no joy.

Yesterday, someone had the courage to tell me that I was the unfortunate owner of a crappy model. A known-well-throughout-the-industry crappy model. So I'm at the point now where I should decide - is this money pit worth maintaining for another 8 years or so, or is it time to bite the bullet and buy a new, high efficiency furnace? Not to worry - I'll only be looking at $4500 (installed) for the (supposed) Cadillac of new furnaces, which the boys recommend I go for if I intend to stay in my home for a spell - which I do. The problem is that the newest furnaces can't share the original chimney with a typical hot water heater, they need to be vented through new plastic piping out the side of the house. But..... I can use the original chimney if I decide to upgrade my hot water heater to one of those fancy shmancy (translation - $2300 plus installation) on demand, tank-less hot water heaters - which would need its own plastic venting out the side of the house. These tank-less heaters are supposed to be the cat's meow, except that they don't do well with our hard water. So that would mean getting a water softener (a-la $3000). Man you should have seen how excited they were getting with all this equipment they wanted to sell me.

At least they were nice enough to recommend I wait until summer and try to get a new furnace on sale.

Oh - and before someone says "Oh Karl! You should look into getting a government rebate to help pay for your new high efficiency furnace!", I have news for you. They only give you a rebate if you agree to a complete home energy evaluation (cost $200+) and agree to implement any recommendations that those people tell you to do, such as getting all new windows or re-insulating your attic. Sorry - I'm not paying upwards of $2500 just so some dude with a clipboard can put a tick-mark towards giving me a fat $500 rebate from the government. Nope.

OK, I'm done now............

Thursday, February 22, 2007

File under: You can find anything on the inter-tubes

Pictures of women drinking tea. If you're into that sort of thing.

Donne-moi des Pop Tartes

You'll enjoy these hilarious clips from Quebec even if you don't speak French.

Just think of it as cultural indoctrination. Yes, Quebecers really do speak like that.

AAAA Beef!

While I'm plugging Bernie's (my partner in the Great White North II) blog, he posted a review of the Bear's Den restaurant, a place I have yet to try. Sounds like a treat, to be sure.

Ordinary people

Whether you're a fan of the new TV series Heroes or not, this parody - Zeroes is pretty funny.

Thanks Bernie.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Peer into the belly of the Google

Have you ever wanted to see inside the Googleplex? Now you can (well, the NYC one anyway).


I know this is going to sound all new age-ey and stuff, but I consistently prove to myself that everything just works out when you go with the flow and stop worrying about stuff. It just does. It doesn't matter why. Asking why is just one more way to tell the universe "I doubt you can keep making things go right, so please just show me more inventive ways to mess with things so that I have something to complain about". Seriously. Going with the flow is just so damned easy.

I just wanted to put that out there.

How we take this inter-web thing for granted

I was chatting with friends the other day about trying to predict what the internets and how we use them would look like in 10 years, considering how far they've come since just 10 years ago. We started thinking about the typical net-based tasks we do on a regular basis and what we would have had to do 10 years ago to accomplish each task (i.e. without the internet).

So I predicted that in the future we would continue to have what are now considered (somewhat) manual tasks made intelligent by virtue of increased computing power in ever smaller sizes combined with the transparent ability to access anything online. One of the things I foresee is an online personal concierge, a web-based version of a service you can actually pay for now - but interact typically by telephone (I'd love to give you an example, but the name escapes me). A typical interaction with such a service (via voice command - probably through your watch) might go something like this:

Me: Is it going to be mild this weekend?
Online Personal Concierge (OPC): Calgary's forecast is plus four on Saturday and plus three on Sunday.
Me: What about Montreal?
OPC: Minus seven and overcast both days.
Me: Are there any good seats on flights to Montreal on Friday?
OPC: One moment...... A round trip ticket to Montreal onboard West Jet is tentatively booked in your name, departing Friday at eighteen hundred hours and arriving at five to midnight local time. You would be returning on Sunday, departing Montreal just before five pm and arriving at seven pm local time. This trip can only be held for the next ten minutes. Please allow me to confirm or waive this trip before then.
Me: I'll get back to you. Is my usual hotel available?
OPC: Yes. Your usual room type is not available, so the hotel is authorized to offer you a complimentary upgrade to a junior suite, for the usual price. This offer is valid for the next thirty minutes only.
Me: Yeah, yeah, I get it. I'll decide in a few minutes.
OPC: No problem. The Habs are playing at home this weekend. I can get you twelfth row seats behind the penalty box.
Me: I'm afraid to ask. How much?
OPC: Your brother has season tickets that he has waived using because he will be out of town. You will only be charged the standard transfer fee.
Me: Sweet - claim them before someone else does. And go ahead and book those flights and hotel.
OPC: (after a 5 second pause) Done. By the way, your cable bill increased by five dollars a month, effective today.
Me: What a surprise. Thanks. Notify my bank that I'll need to renew my mortgage a month early.
OPC: They have been notified. I will let you know when they have made a renewal offer.

Something like that.

Do I.... or don't I?

The only flow chart you'll ever need.

Absconded from Squoogy.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Barenaked Ladies Rock! (the band..... silly)

In a sign sure to prove they're the everyman and everywoman band, Canadian band The Barenaked Ladies produced a video casting the celebrities of the internet instead of themselves. Cool!

Teens could go to jail for taking pictures

Check this out. It's not illegal for two teens to have sex with each other, but it's illegal for those same teens to have taken photos of themselves while in the act. This is because they have in essence produced and are in possession of child pornography. Read the whole story here. The implications are mind-boggling.

Incidentally, I'm not coming down on either side of this case, I just found the whole thing bizarre.

So you want to be a Canadian?

Episode Six of Great White North II is uploaded to the tubes. In this episode, the hosers re-interpret the Canadian citizenship exam. link here.

Message to Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis (the original hosers):

If you're ever in Calgary - we want you to appear on our show, eh. I mean - ten bucks is ten bucks....

Monday, February 19, 2007

I should have been a private investigator

Somewhere in my daily inter-tubes travels, I stumbled across a site showcasing Penn Jillette's home, known as The Slammer, in Las Vegas. I thought to myself, I said, "Self - I wonder if I could determine just where in Las Vegas Penn Jillette's home is, just through sheer investigative brilliance." So I set out to do just that.

It took me 20 minutes to find the house. 17 minutes of which was just plain random perusal of aerial photos of Las Vegas, 3 minutes of which was eureka I know exactly how to find it moments of genius. I can now honestly say that I now know, based on an aerial photo on Google Maps, exactly where Penn Jillette lives. He doesn't actually live in Las Vegas proper. Would anyone care to attempt a guess on how I did it?

P.S.: Let's respect the guy's privacy and not blab to the world where the house is if you figure it out, OK?

My new favourite joke

How many lightbulbs does it take for a person who can't tell a joke to screw it up?


Thanks to defective yeti

I know a few people that would love to bring this bad boy to work

Behold the Universal Bullshit Detector watch. It flashes, it moos, it poops… it also tells time! When faced with some B.S., just press the button. People will ask, "What’s that sound?" Just reply, "Oh, sorry, that’s just my bullshit detector going off."

Like a fish out of water....

Sometimes when Darlene sends me to the store for stuff, I have to take a don't ask - don't tell approach to the list. Today was no different. I had two items to obtain - a Cherry Blossom (if you're not from Canada - it consists of a maraschino cherry and cherry syrup, surrounded by a mixture of chocolate, coconut and roasted peanut pieces) and a pack of cigarette rolling papers. This is where the don't ask - don't tell part comes into play. Let me just recap how that transaction went at the convenience store:

Me: (motioning to the candy) Yeah, this ...... and a pack of rolling papers.
Clerk: (pretends to act coy)
Me: Do you have rolling papers? (spying them behind the clerk) Oh yes .... there they are.
Clerk: What kind?
Me: Ummmmm ............. (now the heat is on).......... I don't know...
Clerk: (still coy)
Me: How about the Zig Zags?
Clerk: Which one?
Me: (spotting white packs and green packs) What's the difference?
Clerk: One is white and one is green.
Me: I guess I'll take the white ones.

By this point, I know I'm looking like a total stoner loser, but it's too late. The damage is done. Luckily I don't live nearby and won't have to relive this embarrassment anytime soon.

Yeah - I know what you're thinking...... they're for Darlene's arts and crafts, OK?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Craziness abounds

You know about bungee jumping, right?

Have you ever heard of zip lines? Well, here's the tallest, fastest one in the world (so they say) in South Africa.

Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros

Have you heard of the singing comedy duo from New Zealand named Flight of the Conchords? You will. They're making an HBO special which should air (in Canada) sometime in the next 12 years or so......

You can view some video clips of them. Jenny and Hiphopopotomus vs. Rhymenoceros. Business Time was the first skit of theirs I'd ever seen.

Help desk for books

Here's a fun premise for a skit - when mankind converts from scrolls to books, what would help desk support be like? This Norwegian clip on YouTube captures the idea perfectly.

Found on BoingBoing.

Break out the tums

Happy Chinese New Year! I don't know if it was just a coincidence, but Darlene felt like going out for Chinese food last night - so off we went. We decided to go back to an old favourite of ours that we stopped going to after a bad experience on our last visit. We figured they deserved another chance after 7 years.

We typically order egg rolls, BBQ pork fried rice, honey garlic spare ribs and sweet and sour chicken balls. Let's start with the egg rolls. The restaurant claims they are home made. I believe it - they are definitely not store-bought. But the filling made up less than 50% of the egg roll. Moving on. The chicken balls had white meat in them - a good start. But the batter was more dense and more plentiful than the meat. When we received our honey garlic ribs, we realized they had mis-heard our order and thought we had ordered honey garlic (boneless and battered) pork. They took it back and brought us the ribs. Darlene thought they brought the same dish back because they were indistinguishable from the original order. The server said, "no - these ones have bones". Too bad, that just meant less meat than what we originally had been given. I will not be naming this place only because I know many people who actually like it - oh well - personal taste and all that.... A long time ago, this place had actual honey garlic ribs - you know those long lean bones with just meat on them? Lord, how I crave those ribs. Now all we can find is akin to pork knuckles, coated in batter.

If anyone knows of a great Chinese food place in Calgary that serves high quality food (but most especially real honey garlic ribs), please let me know. We have yet to find such a place lately.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

They have a drug for everything

Awesome mock drug web site for Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder. Havidol (you can have it all - get it?).

I love it.

Weak rant

I have a bone to pick with eBay. When I place a new auction online, I should be able to search for it and find it within a couple of hours. But in a growing number of cases, that just doesn't happen. I listed 3 new items two days ago. The first two items were searchable right away (within 30 minutes). But the third item took many hours to show up. I asked eBay about and they said it takes a while for their indexing bots to get everything. Yeah - I get that. But over 4 hours?

Sorry, that's the best rant I've got today. Pretty sad, eh? I guess life is grand.

Andy Rooney I am not.

Like a Karl in a music sampling store

I found a decent new source for test driving new music. It's called SeeqPod. The concept is dirt simple, this site seems to be scouring the web for music samples and making them available via search. Type in an artist's name, like A Northern Chorus (who have been recommended to me) and hit Search. Any hits are returned in the left pane, where you can click the green Add to Playlist arrow to queue them up. Then use the built in player to start listening to them. I've had this list of artists that were recommended to me getting out of hand, it was so long. SeeqPod has made it possible to start weeding this list down, after sampling a variety of new music - in many cases very obscure music.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Which one will be the next POTUS?

The Democratic race is going to be very interesting. I've often wondered how America would react to the possibility of electing a woman as President. But it turns out we may also find out how America would react to the possibility of electing a black person as President. Who knows, maybe you're looking at the future President on the left and her Vice on the right.

Interesting times ahead.

Some great rants

The best of craigslist is always great for a fun read. In case you don't have the time to peruse this gem of a web site, allow me to present some recent highlights:

Fellow Costco Shoppers
Merry Maids: we ain't THAT merry...
Open Letter to Toronto Subway Transit Riders
Helpful tips for the Employed Urban Potsmoker
The Office Refrigerator

It's all about the chocolate

Well, the beginning of the chocolate holidays are upon us. I refer to the chocolate holidays as those holidays in which chocolate has somehow become entrenched.

They are: Valentine's Day, Easter, Admin Professionals (aka Secretary's) Day, Mother's Day, your anniversary, Hallowe'en, Advent (not so much a day as an excuse to eat chocolate almost every day in December) and of course, Christmas and Hanukkah.

Photo by rent-a-moose.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Just curious

I have to ask - how many of you have noticed that there's a changing tag line just below the title of this blog? (I try to change it daily)

Don't feel bad if you didn't. I was just wondering if anyone was paying attention.

And now... back to you!

Sometimes, no news is good news..........

Here's what a day with no news might look like.

Where is it - Edition 16

You know the drill...

Name the city.

Click the image for a bigger version.

Place your answer in the comments.

I'm in a nine lives state of mind....

I'm very suspicious about the legitimacy of this video - Nora (the cat) acts like the piano keys are covered in catnip.

But it still looks freaking hilarious how this cat plays the piano.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Great analogy Cory

Quote from Cory Doctorow on the latest news regarding AACS (the technology that prevents HD (or Blu-Ray) DVDs from getting copied):

AACS took years to develop, and it has been broken in weeks. The developers spent billions, the hackers spent pennies.

There is no future in which bits will get harder to copy. Instead of spending billions on technologies that attack paying customers, the studios should be confronting that reality and figuring out how to make a living in a world where copying will get easier and easier. They're like blacksmiths meeting to figure out how to protect the horseshoe racket by sabotaging railroads.

The railroad is coming. The tracks have been laid right through the studio gates. It's time to get out of the horseshoe business.

Special Valentine's Day tee design

How to pack for a cruise

[this post has been updated - 25 Feb 2007]
(as dictated by Darlene - who just returned from a cruise from LA to Mexico)

Carry on luggage: (on the way there) airline ticket; passport; itineraries for flights, hotels and cruise; contact numbers for lost credit cards, etc; emergency numbers at home; reading material; medications in original bottles in a single ziploc bag (a must); prescription glasses and sunglasses; watch.

Stuff the rest of your carry on with socks; hose; underwear and bras; dress shoes (1 pr); comfy sandals (1 pr); deodorant / toothpaste / toothbrush (in their own ziploc); a rolled up gown; shirt; capris; etc. Try to make your carry on contain the bare essentials for survival for a few days - just in case your main luggage gets lost. A tip on packing the gown - turn it inside out, lay it lengthwise and fold it across its width twice, then roll it up like a towel and store it in a large ziploc. In fact, if you notice a pattern here, put as much stuff in big ziplocs as you can - sorted by related items. It makes finding little things so much easier and keeps messes off important things like clothes. It also makes it so that when security empties the carry on (and they will), it won't get screwed up. You can put all bras in one bag, all socks in another.... you get the picture. Keep the documents in the same place all the time so you aren't scrambling to find them when
needed. Make sure every piece of luggage has a tag with your name, etc.

Carry on luggage: (on the way back) Try to stuff your carry on bag with dirty laundry instead of all the emergency clothes and shoes. security and customs is going to rip it apart anyway - may as well make their experience as memorable as possible - who knows, they may move faster.

Main luggage: business cards with email addresses to give out to your new cruise friends; mp3 player with earphones and extra batteries; wallet; a pen; American money (and some from your own country too - while you're still in country); health care cards; driver's license; phone card; tweezers; razor; nail clippers; separate medications - immodium, gravol, antibiotics, pepto bismol, tylenol or ibuprofen, scopolamine (over-the-counter sea-sickness patch); shampoo and hair products; brush; comb; elastics; hair clips; curling iron; hair dryer if you have medium to long hair (cabin dryer not sufficient); sunscreen; 2 bathing suits; cover-up; laundry tabs; pyjamas; underwear; bras; socks; flip-flops for by the pool; light jacket; capri pants; camisoles with built in bra; dark panty hose (2); second evening gown (optional); mid length evening skirt; dressy tops; white cotton button-up blouses; dress pants; undergarments for formal wear; jeans; floss; mouthwash; hand cream; face moisturizer.

Make a packing list in advance so you don't forget anything and you cross it off as it gets packed.Wear your heaviest, warmest clothing en route (rather than having it packed) and your comfiest sneakers. For a 7 day cruise, there are normally 2 formal evening dinners, 2 business casual dinners and 3 casual dinners. Don't hesitate to wear the same gown twice. Bring only one pair of dress shoes in a colour that can be worn with every dressy outfit. Most useful clothing item - camisole with built in bra. Second most useful - capri pants. Third most useful - Miraclesuit bathing suit. More on all 3 items at the end of the post.

Make your own hand-made itinerary, listing your name, contact info, every place you'll be on each day of the trip (hotel, ship, flights) with dates, numbers, etc and have a copy in every piece of luggage. That way, if anything gets separated from you, the baggage handlers are instructed to look inside for clues as to where you are. Get whatever needs shaving taken care of (Darlene suggests waxed) before you go, because there is absolutely no chance in hell you're going to do it in your cabin bathroom. The shower is the size of a coffin (with a flailing curtain) and the bathroom is the size of a shower that will be soaked by the end of your shower. Try to bring luggage that can fit inside each other (when empty) because there is almost no room left once you stock your cupboard-sized closet with all your clothes - especially if you're sharing a cabin. Packing clothes can be simplified by
putting a pants / shirt combination on each hanger (use foam coated hangers to prevent the clothes from slipping off) and dividing the total amount of hangers in half. To pack - simply grab one pile of hangers (with clothes on them), fold the entire stack in half and drop it in the suitcase. Repeat with second suitcase. This also makes unpacking fast, because you just pick up the stack, unfold it and hang it up in one smooth motion. Packing the clothes on hangers also solves the problem of there not ever being enough hangers anywhere you go.

Now back to where to get 2 of the 3 ultimate clothing items. I'm going to tell you where to get the camisole and the Miraclesuit:

The first item is the Bali® Behind The Scenes™ Underwire Lace Trim Camisole or the Bali Behind The Scenes Tailored Camisole with Bra Inside- No need for a separate bra beneath this Bali camisole. There's an underwire bra sewn inside, offering full support and coverage. So, you'll never have to worry about show-through or struggle with unsightly bra straps. Wear it on its own or as a sleek first layer under a light gauzy cotton shirt. You can find this on Ebay, from Essential Apparel, or from One Hanes Place. It comes in black, white or ivory – buy one of each – it is worth it! You may want to measure and be sure of your exact bra size for this camisole or find the size of your favourite fitting bra. For hints on measuring your correct bra size go to Bare Necessities. I find that this Bali camisole comes true to size - as in no surprises. There is also the Sassybax: Torso Trim Camisole - again from Ebay or from Bare Necessities.

The other item I want to tell you about is the Miraclesuit swimsuit. It is more expensive than most but actually lives by its claim that you can lose 10 pounds in 10 seconds with this suit. I looked fantastic on the cruise in my suit as it took the 10 pounds off instantly! Miraclesuit has many styles to choose from for your own size and figure type and you can save a fortune by purchasing these on Ebay by doing a search on ‘Miraclesuit’ and you can also buy them at Cyberswim, the store with the most selection online.

Another clean joke

Q. What is a pirate's data storage media of choice?


Yeah, I'll just leave you with that for now.........

Monday, February 12, 2007

Somebody called the poe-lease!

After the last few years, I wasn't really looking forward to this year's Grammy awards. I was afraid it would be another rap-a-thon and although I have nothing against the genre, it's just not for me. So I was pleasantly surprised at the great performances this year. The Police re-united. John Legend, Corinne Bailey Rae and John Mayer performing together. Mary J Blige. Even Ms. Aguilera did a fine job. It was classy.

If I owned a t-shirt store, it would sell tons

More fun t-shirt designs for sale at Busted Tees.

In case the words come out too small, they say (from left to right) "Don't drink or drive", "Boring (using the Nascar logo)", "Sex - do it for the kids", "Sweatshops - another day, another dollar".

Never be wanting for an apple fritter again

I found very little of interest on the inter-tubes today. People must be running out of things to say. Either that, or they're too busy shovelling snow. I've got enough on my plate anyway, Darlene just got back from a cruise, so that will make for a good listen. She promised she will be giving me material sufficient for a 'how to pack for a cruise' post. Tomorrow, I'm giving an Ubuntu seminar, so things will be lean for a couple days.

Meanwhile, I found the most excellent mashup for Google Maps. It shows where all the Tim Horton's donut / coffee shops are! Sweet! And I do mean that literally...... It also shows the location of Starbucks. But we won't hold that against it, will we?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Peace versus Hate

Witty, if not controversial tee design.

No kids... no marriage

Here's an interesting tact. Make a government (Washington State) see the folly of banning same sex marriage under the pretence that marriage exists for the sole purpose of procreation by introducing an initiative that would make procreation a requirement for legal marriage. In other words, if marriage exists for the sole purpose of making babies, then people shouldn't be allowed to marry or stay married if they're not making babies. It's almost funny, but it is a serious issue.

If I had my own radio station - Jon & Vangelis

If you’re looking for something different, let me take you back through the musical archives. Back to 1981, when Jon Anderson, the vocalist from Yes with the unmistakable voice joined forces with one of the most innovative music composers of our time – Vangelis. If the name Vangelis is not quite familiar to you – think soundtrack to Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire.

I enjoy Vangelis’ work in its own right, but the pairing of Jon and Vangelis is like a fairy tale book come to life as music. I like to describe Jon & Vangelis as if an alien civilization stumbled upon our music and tried to interpret and re-create it. Take The Friends of Mr. Cairo (the album) for example. The title track is reminiscent of a Hollywood B-movie soundtrack, but it has an emotional component that wants to make you forgive its cheesiness. Even if you find it all too much, State of Independence is a classic tune. Don’t take my word for it; the song has been covered by such artists as Moodswings, Quincy Jones and Donna Summer.

Store excess wind energy in cold storage

The European may have figured out a way to overcome the issue of the uneven availability of wind power. The concept makes use of cold storage warehouses. The idea is that it requires electricity to keep cold storage warehouses cold enough to freeze their contents. So why not use wind power at night (which otherwise would be wasted, since electricity demand is low) to drive the temperature in the storage down a few more degrees. Then, during the day, the storage can let the temperature warm back up to nominal, which means they're not using any electricity at all during that time. In effect, the cold storage warehouses act like a kind of energy battery, in that they store energy in the form of coldness, which alleviates their need for power during the day - making it available to others, while reducing the demand on the grid.

Genius, those Europeans are.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Where is it - Edition 15

It's time once again to play where is it. The rules are simple - name the city (answer in the comments). Click the picture for a slightly larger version.