Tuesday, July 31, 2007

3 years old - today

Happy Birthday to blog, happy birthday to blog.......

Facebook not so easy to cancel

I guess the geniuses at Facebook have made it extraordinarily difficult to delete an account once it's created.


I actually like Facebook in that it is a fine way to keep in touch with friends. I find some of their applications to be on the dumb side though.

It's not easy being an alien

Here's a cute clip called Lifted, about an alien who just can't get the art of abduction worked out right.

Monday, July 30, 2007

What's in common?

What do these 2 items have in common?

They both contain 120 calories. Look here to see more examples of 120 calories worth of food.

"Dude............ you're freaking me out!"

And I thought human males did some freaky stuff to impress females. Jumping spider males do this whole stomp / hands up in the air dance.

Don't like spiders? Don't watch it.........

Best Facebook friend status message.....

.....seen this week (so far):

"[friend's name] is sweatin' like a virgin at a prison rodeo."


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Loose Moose training

So last night, I shadowed a Moosian ( a member of the Loose Moose company - a Looser didn't sound right) on stage lights. It was wicked. The job itself is fairly easy - technically. But as lighting person, you actually have the power to massage the scene. Firstly, lighting really does affect the look, the mood of the scene. Secondly, the lighting person has the power to decide that the scene is getting long in the tooth and end it. So - timing is everything. Now normally, that could be a stressful responsibility, but the Moosers are very supportive. I took over the lighting for the second half of Gorilla Improv and it was awesome. Many thanks to Steve (the sound guy) for giving me great cues.

This message will self destruct in 5.... 4.... 3....

Have you ever wanted to send a secure anonymous email to someone that self-destructed as soon as they read it?

Will Self Destruct will do that for you. This could be useful to send a tip to the authorities, sending out passwords, reporting fraud to your boss or institution, etc. Use your imagination.

Here's how it works: The recipient receives an e-mail with a link to a one-time secure web page which they will be able to view only once. Once the url has been accessed the message is deleted. You may enter your email address or just simply your name if you wish. If you do not enter an email address or name your identity will be anonymous to the message recipient.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

White Noise is 3 years old!

It's been a long road my faithful readers, but you stuck with me.

In 3 days, this blog will be 3 years old. Over 3400 posts. 90-150 readers a day. And I thank them all. Here's to 3 more years............ at least.

P.S.: If you told a couple friends about the blog, I wouldn't mind at all. No.... really. It's OK by me.

The FCC apparently fell for this....

OMFG! A company in the US gave some rather questionable call letters to 2 of their newest TV stations.

My favourite of the two is KWTF in Arizona. Anna Johns of TV Squad said of the call letters, "Now, this one I like. I think I'd keep it. I'd make my motto, 'Hey! KWTF is happening in Arizona!' "

I'll go you one better Anna. I think the station should recruit TV show stars standing on a set, looking into the camera and saying, "Hey Arizona! K, what the f......" the remainder of the last word trailing off....

Thanks again to E! (Ernest) for the find.

Everyone knows someone like Jim....

Delusional Calgaria Intervention is a cute video about a guy from Nova Scotia who moves to Calgary for the big job and the big money. His friends and family stage an intervention to bring him back to reality ummm..... Nova Scotia.

Thanks to E! for the find.

I could explode!

What an evening. Last night was my first night at Loose Moose as an 'insider'. Some things I learned:

  • Don't bother showing up early - the place is locked until almost pre-show class time.
  • You get to meet a lot of people during pre-show.
  • You play games with the company.
  • You sometimes meet or hear stories about famous people.
  • You can offer to perform with the company during pre-show.
  • After that, the teams (for Theatre Sports) are assembled.
  • Also, the other duties are filled (MC, judges, scorekeeper, etc.).

I know - you're asking, "Whoa dude! Why did you mention famous people? Who did you meet?" We had a guest teacher last night - improv guru Keith Johnstone. This guy invented many of the venue formats you see at Loose Moose.

I took the opportunity to shadow a few jobs for future reference. When the sign up sheet gets passed around, sometimes there's slim pickin's for what's available. I managed to get 2 usher positions in August, so if you go on the 3rd or 17th of August - it'll be me greeting you at the door.

Tonight, I'm officially shadowing the job of lighting the stage. I sat there last night, feeling like I had just been invited to the circus - backstage - in hopes of learning the craft and becoming one of them. It was totally exciting. Big shout out to Mandy, Brian, Sandy and Amy for accepting me into their group after meeting them on Tuesday night's orientation. It really helps to have a core group of friends you can talk to at Loose Moose.

Great days ahead.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's not funny anymore. The industry is dead.

A mom videotapes her child dancing around the house. Prince's 'Let's Go Crazy' is playing in the background. Mom posts the 30 second video on YouTube. Universal Muisc issues YouTube a take-down notice for copyright violation. I'm dead serious.

Here's the video. Here's the EFF suing Universal for harrassing the rights of citizens.

How much more of this shit are you going to put up with America?

Check on cat = enjoy trendy neighbourhood

Darlene offered to cat-sit for a friend. I like cats and we don't have any, so this is cool. Even cooler, the house is in Kensington, so we get to park in that neighbourhood for free. Which is a big deal, because parking there is not easy - nor is it free.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What climate change?

Floods, tornadoes, record heat waves, wild fires........... you'd be hard pressed to find a news web site that didn't mention extreme weather somewhere in the world.

But we don't have a problem with climate change though, eh?

Democratic debate

The CNN / Youtube Democratic Debate you didn't see.

Many thanks to defective yeti.

Dramatic cat

You knew it was only a matter of time.... right?

Dramatic cat.........

It's about potato salad............ at first...

It seems aliens have landed and been posing as human beings for a long time now.

Don't take my word for it, watch this video. Real people can't do that.

The bizarreness doesn't begin until about the one minute point.

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

Those 2 Mars rovers that were only supposed to last 3 months? Back in January 2004? Still ticking. And now suffering through yet another phenomenon they weren't designed for - the killer Martian dust storm. The bad news here.

But those little rovers seem to be pulling through.

Scooter nerd

You wanted a picture of Karl on the hog.

Do I not come through for you people?

Improv, here I come.....

So... my journey down the improv road began last night. I was officially indoctrinated into the Loose Moose Theatre as a volunteer. That begins the process of working shows at the theatre, which is paid back by allowing volunteers to attend improv classes at the theatre. That can lead to invitations to perform on stage with the rest of the company. It's win-win! I am so pumped.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Brilliant mind

If you're interested in listening to one of the truly great new minds of this age, you need to block off about 50 minutes (maybe not all at once, but whatever). Go watch this wonderful lecture given by Luis von Ahn - the inventor of the CAPTCHA. It's a great story.

KFC - we do chicken when we damned well please

Our neighbourhood is blessed with what I can only imagine is the worst KFC in Canada.

I hate eating there because KFC tastes so greasy these days. But Darlene occasionally bugs me to get dinner there so today I capitulated. What a mistake. I've been in a situation where they ran out of chicken in the past, so I was joking about that as we strolled up to their door.

Well, I'll be damned - they ran out again. We waited behind a half dozen or so other customers and noticed that they were getting rebuffed on some of the things they were asking for. The girl behind the window in the kitchen was whining and complaining about working there, telling the cashier that "They'll get what they get" in response to specific orders for white meat or what have you. She was openly threatening to shut the place down early (like at 4:30pm early), going on about how awful it is to work there and how she needed a vacation.

When it was our turn, Darlene wanted to pay extra for a keel. Only when our order would have been just about ready were we told that if we wanted a keel, we'd have to wait an additional 25 minutes. Say what!? We told them never mind.

Another customer was dining in and asked if they could have a cloth to wipe their table off. The two people working the store rolled their eyes, sighed, making a big deal out of the request. Holy frig people! A customer is offering to do your job - for free!

Another customer was told they couldn't get any white meat in their meal. It was just a sad display of apathy, ineptness and some other bad words I'll think of later. It seems they had the chicken around, they were just too damned lazy to cook it in time. The Colonel must be rolling in his grave.

Darlene realizes we are never going back there. How was the chicken? Mediocre. Not too greasy this time. But I've seen bigger magpies on my front lawn than the chickens that became our dinner......

Monday, July 23, 2007

Up is down, left is right, clockwise isn't.....

OK, this illusion is freaking me out. Apparently, the spinning silhouette seems to change direction all by itself. This is the kind of trick my brain wants to play on me that's just not nice. If I can't trust my brain to tell me what direction the silhouette is really spinning, what can I trust it to tell me? Huh? What I ask you?

Maybe there's really 2 Häagen-Dazs ice cream bars in the freezer, but my brain only wants me to see one......... yeah!

Motorist apathy motivates citizen to action

We have a rather dangerous confluence of 3 streets (wow - I never thought I'd ever use that word in a sentence) right in front of our house that includes a school zone, a playground zone and a blind corner all rolled into one. The problem is that nobody pays any attention to the playground zone sign, or any stop sign in the area for that matter. Well, I've had enough. So I've been hitting the streets getting signatures to ask the City to investigate the situation. Nobody has turned me down so far.

Of course, I haven't asked those punk-ass kids who drag race up and down the road almost nightly.

Lego my art

Some amazing Lego art from artist Nathan Sawaya.

CNN report here. More creations at Nathan's web site here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"Maybe I'll just read the last page...."

Hilarious commentary on the current Harry Potter book frenzy going on right now.

Defective Yeti writes a funny mock 'your order shipping from Amazon' notice. Nice job Matthew.

Warning: possible spoilers......

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Where is it - Edition 31

The geophiles are hungry. I can sense it. They want more. And more they shall have.....

Guess the city.

Click the image for a bigger version.

Bon appetite.

When are we going to wake up?

If the Copyright Board of Canada had their way, Canadians would pay a levy not just on recordable CDs, but on anything that could be used to store music in digital form. That includes iPods and other media players, computers, SD memory cards, etc.

This of course presumes that the music on everyone's electronic devices is all pirated content.

Message to the government of Canada: my tax dollars should not be spent on propping up the failing business model of a dinosaur industry that refuses to adapt its sales strategy according to the wishes of its customers.

Imagine if oil companies could sue people who operate windmills or solar panels, because the oil industry wasn't getting their due........

10 mph - Seattle to Boston in 100 days

Here's a documentary about some guys that geek ummm..... ride their way across America on Segways. Could be good for a chuckle.

I know they're cool and all, but is it just me, or do people who ride these things just end up looking like dorks?

Nothing is a 'waste of time', but 'nothing' is a waste of time

Allow me to get a little philosophical on you for a few moments. That statement in the post title is a powerful one. Nothing is a 'waste of time' simply means that every thing you choose to try in your life is aworthwhile adventure, an important experiment, a valuable life lesson. It matters not if you don't succeed at everything you try - it's just not likely for everything to work out perfectly. But you will find that some things work out quite nicely and it's after these victories that you should reflect and consider, 'Imagine if I had not given that a try'. Which leads to the second part, 'nothing' is a waste of time' - in other words, sitting around waiting for life to happen is a fool's errand.

The job I currently enjoy wouldn't have manifested if I had not submitted that resume in the year previous. I would not have met Darlene if I had decided not to go to that party in 1987. I never would have met the dozens of great people I taught computers to (many of whom have become great friends) had I not listened to Darlene's advice and signed up for the CA Program at ABES (NAIT) in 2000. I wouldn't have had the opportunity to act the fool at Law Day this year had I not signed up for acting classes last fall (which in turn led to meeting a whole new group of people), which will end up contributing to my getting on stage doing improvizational theatre some day.

Words to live by........


In light of my impending trip to the UK in September, I'm thinking this English to American dictionary might be useful.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Best web find this year

I have just discovered the most amazing resource for bloggers. It's called Picnik.

I use a variety of applications to manage the visuals that I like adding to my posts. I use a screen capture utility to capture the part of the image in my browser window that I want to use for my blog post. Then I use Irfanview and/or Paint to edit the image, resize it and save it as a high quality .jpg file.

With Pickik, you don't need any of that, you just need your browser. You go to the Picnik site, upload a photo from your PC (if it's already there) or dig right into your Facebook, flickr or Picasa account for a photo. If the photo you need is on a website, just enter the URL of the page into Picnik and it will deliver the images (or whole web page) up for you to capture and edit. Once you have the image in your focus, you can resize it, crop it, fix the exposure, colour, remove red eye, sharpen. If you feel even more creative, you can add effects like Sepia, Vignette, etc.

You can even add an extension to Firefox to add right clicking into Picnik right from your web page. Awesome!

Once it's out of beta, the advanced features will only be part of their premium offering, but for now, it's all free. Maybe the best new web application released this year.

Rock music trivia

If you were born after 1970 or are not familiar with music prior to 1980, you may as well skip over this post entirely.

I refer to bands whose members eventually leave to join or form other bands as 'seed' bands.

Can you guess the name of the band whose various members left to help form or join with Foreigner, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Bad Company?

I have posted the answer in the comments.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Not just a pretty face....

I was in an establishment today that had a sports channel on one of the TVs. At the moment I started watching the telecast, they were airing some kind of bikini / model contest. I make this assertion based solely on the visuals - Vegas Hooters Hotel poolside locale, bikini-clad models - as the volume was turned down.

I'm usually not distracted by these kinds of programs, because the results are usually quite predictable - some combination of most flesh displayed, most developed breasts and/or vacuous facial expression assures a victory. But this competition seemed to be taking things to a higher level. It seems the contestants were being asked to display some hidden talent to differentiate them from the crowd.

The first girl demonstrated her ability to bring her arms together, elbows touching, hands pointed downward. Don't laugh - it's not as easy as it sounds - try it yourself. She seemed quite proud of herself and so she should be.

The second girl coyly displayed her hidden talent - she could stick out her tongue and lick her nose - but not the tip. No, she could actually lick her nostrils - both of them in fact. Incredible. It looked like the contest had shifted.

But a third girl had yet to unleash her super-power on the assembled crowd. She got out a mini break dancer's mat and put it on the ground. Then she put her head on the mat as if she was going to perform a head stand. But then she did the unexpected - she walked her feet around her head, keeping her head securely grounded to the mat, never allowing it to turn. She made her way completely in a circle, to the amazement of the judges. She was instantly declared the winner.

You can't just have a great body and a pretty face to win these bikini / model contests anymore. Or so it seems......

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Where is it - Edition 30

Name the city.

Click the picture for a bigger view.

Good luck to all.

All your iPod are made by us......

I personally think that while the rest of the world is sleeping / squabbling / having fun, the Chinese are slowly building the next empire. While we weren't looking, they have managed to modernize, become world leading producers of merchandise and build megalopolises that rival Tokyo and New York (Shanghai - 10,840,516).

Here is a BoingBoing portal to stories about the Chinese industrial manufacturing complex. A must read.

Brain sex profile

You may be a man or woman in body, but does your brain tend more toward male characteristics or female? Take this series of tests to find out.

I came out dead on average male brain (50 on the scale of 100 on the maleness meter).

When going green translates to going small

It's one thing to change your lifestyle to conserve energy and adopt a greener footprint on this planet.

Dee Williams decided the best way to achieve that was to scale her home down. Waaay down. To the size of a large playhouse. 84 square feet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Emotional feedback on a timeless wavelength

I'm going to see a band tomorrow that I've waited a long time to see - Rush.


It's not that hard

Have you ever learned how to navigate using the night sky? Could you even identify a constellation if you had to?

This site may help.

Polaris was my friend many a time during a night patrol while in the military.

It's weird to watch

If you'd like to see the state of robots, specifically ones with four legs, check out the Big Dog, made by Boston Dynamics.

Note how the thing rights itself when guy tries to kick it over.

Stop the insanity....

The TSA are not qualified to save us from our own shadow. Don't take my word for it. Here's yet another example of the law being laid down by clueless dolts who manage to make police officers look like rocket scientists.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Dude....... I need a hug

Here's the scene:

A group of friends is finishing a dinner on the back patio of their home. A hooded man slides into the yard and points a gun at the head of a 14-year-old girl.

"Give me your money, or I'll start shooting," he says.

Everyone freezes, including the girl's parents. Then one guest speaks. "We were just finishing dinner. Why don't you have a glass of wine with us?"

The intruder has a sip of their Chateau Malescot St-Exupery and says, "Damn, that's good wine."

The girl's father tells the intruder to take the whole glass, another offers him the whole bottle.

The robber, with his hood down, takes another sip and a bite of Camembert cheese. He puts the gun in his sweatpants.

"I think I may have come to the wrong house," he says before apologizing. "Can I get a hug?"

One guest stands up and wraps her arms around the armed man. The four other guests follow.

"Can we have a group hug?" the man asks. The five adults comply.

The man walks away a few moments later with the crystal wine glass in hand. Nothing was stolen, and no one was hurt.

Sounds like a great movie scene, huh? Except that it actually happened........

Das schmeckt sehr!

German food. It's the ultimate comfort food. Germans know how to make a great meal and they insist on making it from scratch. Darlene said we have to try the Waldhaus restaurant in behind the world famous Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. We decided to start easy, instead of booking the main restaurant, which has limited hours and a menu (and prices) fit for a King, we opted to mosey (there I go with that word again) on out to the Waldhaus Pub. Longer hours, casual dress, an outdoor patio overlooking the scenic Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course and the lovely Bow River valley, near Bow Falls. The menu is not purely German - it's dominated by standard pub fare, but they have goulash soup. Now Darlene has lived in Germany twice in her lifetime, so I feel she is qualified to speak on the authenticity of German food. She claims their goulash soup made her pine for the Fatherland.

Doing my part for climate change

On days Darlene doesn't feel like using our scooter, I've been taking it to work. Today I only had a 1/4 tank left, so I decided to fill up. It was the first time I filled this scooter up with gas so far.

Total price.......... $3.68

[pinching the scooter's cheeks and talking in baby talk]
"Who's a good little scooter.......... yes you are!!"
[pinching and baby talk stops]

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Some relief from the heat

This picture taken from my porch of tonight's sunset using the wee l'il cam built into the screen of my MacBook.

A wicked thunderstorm just whipped through. Things have cooled off nicely.....

See a synopsis of the Mars Rover Mission

Here's a great animated summary of the Mars Exploration Rover Mission.

Very cool.

Can't afford a digital camera? Oh yes you can....

We've decided.......... OK I've decided that our household needs 2 digital cameras. I'm going to the UK on business in September and I must have a camera. But that leaves Darlene camera-less and she won't have that. So I had to convince her that we need 2 of them. Future Shop made it easier to do the convincing.

I went searching on their site for an inexpensive camera and found a bunch of refurbished Canon Powershot A410 cameras. It's only 3.2 Megapixel (only), but it'll do the job just fine. It has all the basic functionality of my original camera, plus only uses 2 AA batteries instead of 4. It ships this week. Cost? $90 my friends. That's a steal.

The stability of a car, the fun of a motorcycle...

A friend was showing me this new vehicle available in Canada. It's made by Bombardier (the makers of the ski-doo). No wonder it looks like a ski-doo with wheels.

It's called the Spyder. This thing is actually for sale now - I saw a couple out front of my nearest motorcycle shop (Bow Cycle). They look bizarre, but I bet they're fun to drive. They cost around $19,000.

Yet another online trivia quiz

Do you think you're smarter than a 5th grader?

Here's your chance to prove it.

Based on the Fox TV show.

Geek humour

Ethernet (n): something used to catch the ether bunny

Saturday, July 14, 2007

No news is ... impossible

Give half a proverb to a kid.............. watch the result. Some highlights:

There are none so blind as ... Stevie Wonder

Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and ... someone yells, "shut up!"

If you lie down with dogs, you'll ... stink in the morning

A miss is as good as a ... mr

My obsession with Periodic Tables

I found a new periodic table...... of the internet!

It's broken up into categories (search engines, web comics, social networking, etc) with each block containing the sites URL, symbol, and Alexa rank.

It's kind of like a pale purply pink

You know, there are some colour names that I'm just not in touch with. Like puce. If you asked me to describe the colour puce, I wouldn't know what to tell you.

Until now. Behold - the list of colours. That's puce in the picture.