Friday, August 31, 2007

Will they listen? Time will tell.....

Message to the owners of the restaurant chain Romano's Macaroni Grill:

COME TO CALGARY! YO!!

Where is it - Edition 35

I found absolutely nothing of interest on the internets today, so I gift my readers with yet another edition of their favourite geohound game.

Name the city.

Click the picture for a bigger view.

Enjoy.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So many ways to say 'fired'

I got a great kick out of going through this dictionary of management jargon. What struck me was the sheer number of words that meant or could mean the firing of employees:

Speak your mind...... tell us where you stand

I love it when politicians speak from the heart. You get to see through the spin and professionally written prose and get a glimpse of just what the person really stands for. For example, Craig Chandler, who is hoping to become the Conservative candidate in Calgary Egmont. He doesn't hold back on his feelings when it comes to people who move here from other provinces....

To those of you who have come to our great land from out of province, you need to remember that you came here to our home and we vote conservative. You came here to enjoy our economy, our natural beauty and more. This is our home and if you wish to live here, you must adapt to our rules and our voting patterns, or leave. Conservatism is our culture. Do not destroy what we have created.

See? Now we know what Craig is all about. It's our way or the highway. Even if the Conservative party isn't doing so well, you must still vote for them. Where have I heard talk like this before? After all, we wouldn't want those pesky Liberals screwing up this finely tuned machine. Because there's absolutely nothing wrong with the state of things in Alberta [choke].

He's just pissed off because during his doorknocking campaign people who have moved to Alberta have told him they intend to vote Liberal. Craig seems to have adapted well since moving here from Ontario....... why can't everyone else? [Laff]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What will they think of next?

Spooky robot arm designed with artificial muscles and bones to work more like its natural relative. The video is bizarre.

Ever wondered what's in a Latte?

OK, this is totally awesome for anyone who's new to the whole 'any kind of coffee drink other than plain coffee' thing.

Coffee drinks illustrated. Now you can know the secret behind the difference between a Caffé Latte and a Cafe Breve. Because we're not all like - Starbucks U professors, eh?

Utter bullshit...... oh am I thinking out loud? Too bad..

The CBC reports that HMV is about to cut CD prices in a big way, especially for the older albums. They quote Graham Henderson, president of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA - the Canadian version of the RIAA) as saying the Canadian government has "sat on their hands and done nothing" to stem the tide of illegal music downloads as compared to "other countries, including the U.S. and Britain, have been able to stem the tide of illegal downloading by updating laws and increasing enforcement".

HA! Dude! Their laws have done absolutely nothing to 'stem the tide', according to the EFF's latest in depth report "RIAA v. The People, Four Years Later".

You know what though - our government will likely buy this pile of BS and offer some kind of ineffectual law, tarrif or some other nonsense move to try and look like something's being done. Don't believe a word of it.

You dare insult me with a Pepsi?

Have you ever been in a restaurant and ordered a Coke where they don't serve Coca Cola? They tend to respond with, "Is Pepsi OK?"

I often wondered what ever got that whole "Is Pepsi OK?" thing started. Are Coke drinkers known to be so brand loyal that drinking a Pepsi is tantamount to treason? What would a server do if you answered 'no'? As in no, Pepsi is not OK. Do places that only sell Coke apologize to Pepsi drinkers when they ask for a Pepsi? I ask because I've never been in that situation.

Do we yield to the birds or the other way around?

I was driving down Crowchild Trail this morning in moderate traffic and saw something I don't recall ever seeing before. A bird (it was too far away to determine the variety - but it was almost as big as a hawk) was flying in formation with the cars. At first I thought it was just a coincidence, but this bird stayed with the flow of traffic for a good several hundred metres, right behind a van, then deked off to the left into a residential area.

Weird.

How do they do it?

I do this not to rub Calgary's nose in it, but as your self appointed Ralph Nader. The price of gasoline in Abbotsford BC................... $0.96/litre. That's a full 10 cents cheaper than here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Trip pics now on Facebook

I just posted a new picture album on Facebook (called Vancouver Aug 2007) if you want to see them.

In case you thought the Great White North didn't exist...

For all you hosers out there - especially my pal Bernie - I found this sign just West of Revelstoke on the way to Vancouver.

I wonder if they have beer, eh?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Zoom zoo....... [re-attach mast] .....m

Both on the way to and from breakfast this morning, I witnessed an electric bus come careening around a corner so fast the mast thingies (a technical term) that connect the bus to the overhead power lines came off. This happened twice. Two different buses. Two different places. I don't really have a point...... I just thought it was funny that I witnessed it happen twice in such a short space of time.

The picture has nothing to do with the post

Darlene and I were out and about downtown Vancouver today - the sun was out! I still seem to have the power to make the sun come out on my visits here. I don't know if it's my Vancouver bias tinting my perceptions, but this place sure makes Calgary seem conservative by comparison. Vancouverites sure know how to let their freak flag fly.

Overload? Overlord?

This morning I thought I'd get dressed and find the nearest coffee. I didn't have to search far, as the map shows. Those green dots are Starbucks locations and our hotel is right above the 'H' in Homer street. [snort - Homer street - snort] So basically, 3 locations within one block.

Do we really need that much access to coffee? Do we? I ask you.....

We're off to see the Ho'.........

Because we got a late start out of Calgary on Friday, we didn't drive right through to Vancouver, but made an overnight stop in bustling Revelstoke BC (pop. 8700). Saturday morning, the car all packed, I got into the car, turned to Darlene and exclaimed (ready to go get some breakfast), "Off to see the Ho'!"

Darlene's face was immediately overcome with the kind of expression normally reserved for reactions to announcements like "I'm leaving you" or "I killed your family". She said, "How could you say such a thing about (my step-daughter) Lee-Anne?!" who we would be visiting next on our journey. "I'm telling her you said that", she warned.

I said, "I wasn't talking about Lee-Anne...... I was talking about breakfast!" You see, we lovingly refer to Tim Horton's as Timmy the Ho.

Aren't misunderstandings fun?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

This game's in the bag............... NOT!!

Only one other American League baseball team has lost more games this season. So when the Texas Rangers were down 3-0 against the Baltimore Orioles last night, nobody should have been surprised. But I bet they were surprised when Texas staged a comeback...... scoring 30 runs to win the game 30-3! I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when the Baltimore coach addressed the team after that one..............

Ring tone madness

Colour me old-fashioned, but I just don't get ring tones for cell phones. Why would you possibly want to listen to only the first 2 or 3 seconds of a Britney Spears song before having to answer the phone and miss the rest of your supposed favourite song? Hell, why would you want the world to know you like Britney Spears? Are you just begging to be labelled a social outcast? I read a joke on a blog today where the guy suggested he never gets around to answering his phone because he likes the ring tone song too much to interrupt it. Then there's the sound effects. I hear ducks quacking, chickens clucking, wookies roaring, and other assorted sci-fi, animal and bodily function sound effects emanating from peoples' phones. The unfortunate thing is - the people who own these phones tend to leave them on unattended - they never seem to be around when the phone......... quacks or farts or makes that annoying wookie sound. So the rest of us have to put up with the ceaseless din.

I know......... the idea behind personalized ring tones is that you can differentiate when it's your phone ringing versus the person next to you. Except that I don't see a lot of evidence to prove that's working very well. Even when the death-metal ring tone goes off, I still see people scramble to look on their waist, in their purse or pocket or backpack for a brief instant - as if somehow the ring tone fairy played a practical joke on everyone and replaced their docile cell identifier with the offending sound.

So wouldn't it be nicer if we all just had ring tones that sounded like what they are....... a ringing phone? It's what I have. I have no doubt that when I hear a ringing phone going off near me - it's my cell phone. I bet I'd still be able to tell it was mine if everyone had a ringing ring tone too. Besides, I really don't need the whole world to know I like Abba....... [awwww shit!]

Cartoon from soundslikeaphone.com

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hitting the road

Blog posts will slow down a little over the next 4 weeks. They won't go away entirely, but will come in fits and spurts as we proceed on vacation (to Vancouver) and then I'm off to the UK on business.

I'll have my MacBook at both places, so I'll be able to download pictures (more of which could end up on Facebook) and blog about our / my travels.

Google maps gets better

Google Maps is at it again. Now you can embed a Google map into your web page or blog post. What's that you say? You could do that before? Yeah - but not like this.

Take a close look at this embedded map of the Loose Moose Theatre. Unlike before, now you can zoom in and out and scroll around as if you were on the Google maps site! Freaking cool or what?


View Larger Map

How do you do it? Just create the map you want and choose link to this page at the top right of the map. 2 choices pop up - you want the 2nd one.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

WalMart does something nice

Look out iTunes! WalMart now sells music online. And they've undercut your prices too.

Yes, you can buy the mp3s without DRM. So they will play on any device and can be copied to any device too. What a concept!

"There are no restrictions on the number of devices or computers you can copy MP3 files to, or the number of times you can burn MP3 files to CD. Please note that all Wal-Mart Music Downloads are for personal, non-commercial use."

What? They won't treat us like music pirates? Sweet......

[Update] Maybe not so sweet. See first comment........

I got yer Mammatus right here......

You don't need the Weather Channel or your local meteorologist to forecast the weather.

Here's a set of things to help you predict the weather on your own.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The horror!

I'm told this has been around a while. So why is it the first time I'm hearing about it?

The 7Up truck drivers swimsuit calendar. Video (commercial). Pictures.

WARNING! Eye damage may result.

Burning Man 2007

I've never been to this event, but I know a few that have gone and a few more that are going this year (Aug 27 - Sep 3). What is it? Go to the official site and find out. It certainly looks like something you have to experience once in your lifetime.

I happened to go looking on Google maps to see if I could find it without knowing its exact location and discovered quite by accident that the old empty aerial photo has been superimposed with a photo from one of the last event periods, so the shot shows a full house in all of its glory. What a photo.

Where is it - Edition 34

By popular demand, I bring you an express edition of Where Is it? Tim got the last one so fast, the rest of my loyal geo-hounds got whiplash.

So here's another one.

Name the city. Click the picture for a bigger view.

On your marks.... get set.......... go!

[Update] This edition seems to have stumped the players and a hint has been requested. Very well. I will provide 2 hints. It's in Asia. There is a song with the city name in its title.

A costume tip from Darlene

Thinking about getting a cool Halloween costume this year? Darlene highly recommends the ultimate online Halloween Costume store - www.buycostumes.com.

She has ordered costumes from this site 3 times over the last few years and found excellent quality and service. BuyCostumes.com originally shipped to Canada for a reasonable shipping fee but it took up to three weeks to get the item as Canada Customs is a wild card when it comes to receiving parcels from the US. They eventually changed their shipping provider and the costs went up to $49 US to ship any item. Darlene sent a long letter to their customer service and they actually listened! They made arrangements for an alternate shipper just for us Canadians. They even have a special check out menu on their website for Canadians only.

The costumes are of great quality and they have all the accessories, makeup, wigs and shoes to make your costume the best. Try their slightly more expensive “Ultimate” costume line for those that want exceptional quality and fit. BuyCostumes.com have all sizes for all ages! Now that they have changed shipping agents – the costumes are arriving in record time. But please – remember that Canada Customs is still the wild card and your costume CAN possibly take up to three weeks to get to you if it gets caught up at Customs.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Where did the summer go?

Darlene and I were driving around Calgary today and noticed - horror of horrors - the leaves are beginning to change colour! Like - what the hell? It's frickin' August 19th!

"Hello mother nature? This is Canada calling. We'd like our summer back......"

Picture by stuck in customs.

Seam carving

I am looking forward to the day when my image editing software can do this.......

The process basically allows images to be resized without distorting or cropping the important objects in it. A wide landscape can be reshaped to a square without cropping edges or squishing things down. Has to be seen to be believed.

Au revoir monsieur Moose

So, last night was bitter-sweet. Got to hang with my improv-lovin' friends for a while at a BBQ, then it was off to Loose Moose to catch the show. The downside is that this will be the last time I see them or the Moose for over a month. That's because we're going on vacation and then I have a business trip to the UK. So I should be experiencing some real withdrawal by this time next week.

A great big thank you to Amy who hosted the BBQ and everyone who attended for doing so. It was big fun. (I don't think I've ever used those 2 words together in a sentence before........ awesome!)

Speaking of awesome, Gorilla Theatre had a special guest last night - Albert Howell. He's a Loose Moose alumni who's gone on to the big time in Toronto - Canadians may have seen him on TV (he's also part of The Devil's Advocates). Anyway, that was very cool.

Where is it - Edition 33

I'm not suggesting that Where Is It is an addictive game or anything, but one player just bugged me on Facebook to get the game going again.

So there you have it.

Name the city. Click the picture for a bigger view.

Good luck to all.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Crafty......

How to make a CD / DVD sleeve out of folded paper.

I tried this and it works!

No glue or tape required.

The CD is a quarter century old!

The CD is 25 years old today. When the CD was first on the drawing board, the player parts necessary to play them didn't even exist yet. I recall reading about how CD technology worked back in the day and I was fascinated - it truly was a marvel of technology. The original plan was for the CD to hold at least 60 minutes of music, but that was increased to 74 to accommodate the Beethoven's 9th Symphony. The spiral track on a CD is almost 5km long.

When I sold my share of my DJ business to my partner around 1988, I dumped all my vinyl too and replaced my album collection with CDs. The first CD I bought? Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon, naturally.

Best post read on another blog this week...

Matthew of defective yeti posted about an inappropriate joke he told to friends and got alternate punchlines suggested that were just as funny as his own. The joke was "I like my pizza the way I like my women."

The best alternate punchline was "So hot the top slides off." Well, that was my favourite anyway.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another grand slam weekend of comedy

Busy weekend coming up. I'm working the door at Loose Moose tomorrow night. Come on down if you're looking for some laughs. Micetro Improv starts at 8pm sharp. BBQ with my new improv buddies on Saturday afternoon, followed by a night at Loose Moose as spectators.

It's not an AC/DC decal......

There's a battle going on in Calgary. City employees who want to show their support of the Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan have been told that they cannot affix decals to their city vehicles. For a while it was allowed, even encouraged, but that time was supposed to be temporary and now those who want to continue showing their support are being told they cannot.

I've had to think really long and hard about this issue, because it really opens up a can of worms. If we allow government vehicles to sport ribbons showing support for the troops, why not support for cancer research? Support for our Winter Olympians in 2010? See where I'm going with this? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there's no easy answer. I guess the question we should be asking ourselves is if we allow the troops decals, are other causes OK too? If they are not, that's a problem.

Anyone want to chime in here?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Zoom zoom!

I'm thinking back to a time (1999) when it took me anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to download an mp3 (from IRC). Now I can do it in 20 seconds.

I love progress.

Medical ink

Tattoos showing anatomy on the outside. Kinda cool. In a whacked-out sort of way.

Smash! Click

File under 'you can find anything on the internet':

Photos of ceramic figurines in the middle of being shattered............ as art. I kid you not.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The weaseliest weasels in all of weaseldom

God forbid if the RIAA came after you for supposedly sharing music and you refused to pay their mafioso settlement organizations. Yet, if you go to court and they lose, they may do like in this case and not pay what's owed to you.

Shame on you. If this isn't proof that absolute power corrupts, I don't know what is......

BARK!!

I like dogs. OK...... I tolerate them. As long as they're not shitting on my lawn, drooling on me, jumping on me with their dirty paws, or peeing in my house, I'm generally OK with their presence. But there are 2 dogs in my immediate vicinity that are a source of great angst.

On the one hand, there's this one dog whose owner refuses to keep control of it. So we have dog poop on our lawn and when the dog sees me, it wants nothing more than to run toward me at full tilt, ending in a non-stop game of "let's see if I can actually jump into this guy's arms because I like him so much". The owner rarely keeps him on a leash and thinks the whole thing is a big joke. A few neighbours have complained about the dog, but this wily owner manages to evade being caught by the by-law enforcement people.

On the other hand there's a dog who won't stop barking. In this case, the owner just plain doesn't look after the dog, partly due to health problems. So whenever the dog is out (which is at least 12 hours a day) - it's bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark. Bark at the people who go by, bark at the dogs being walked to the park, bark at the dogs in the park, bark at the sun coming up, bark at the sun going down, bark at the rain............

It's maddening. I will be very glad when both of these neighbours are gone.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What if Digg existed in 1995

Digg (if it existed) in 1995.

Hilarious......

Has Facebook gotten too grandiose?

When I signed up for Facebook, I thought - "Wow, cool! I can keep up with friends, find people I haven't talked to or seen in a while....." I also appreciated that you can post unlimited pictures. Just an all around decent social application. Then I started getting requests to add all these extra applications. I went along with it until I realized I was taking an online application that was using up some of my online time and evolving it into using up a great deal of my online time - with nothing extra to show for it except the ability to lick, throw bombs at, review movies for, tattoo, IM or get the horoscopes for people.

Pass. I've uninstalled pretty much all the extra applications and left Facebook as clean as the driven snow. About the only application (that don't ship with Facebook by default) I like is iLike. Call me old fashioned.

"I was robbed! They sold me fake drugs, man!"

They say drugs affect the reasoning part of your brain. Fake drugs seem to do the same thing:

A woman was arrested after she called police to help "get her money back" after she was unhappy with the crack cocaine she purchased.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Yummy

Who doesn't love the smell of fresh baked bread? Every time we've been passing by this new(ish) bakery in Calgary, the crowds there kept indicating there's something good going on inside. So today, we stopped in to one (we have 3 in Calgary). Cobs Bread is a chain of bakeries in Ontario, Alberta, BC and Washington State (for now) that makes some awesome breads and treats. Treat yourself and give it a try.

(I am not affiliated with Cobs Bread........... yet)

A night with good friends

So last night we hosted another gathering of the Epcor gang (I like the sound of that). Terry, Scott, Heather, Andrea, Levi and Georgette came by. A big thank you to those who came. There was a lot of comparing notes about the courses and auditions and projects we were involved in. The conversation was rife with talk about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. Heather announced that she's engaged and found a new job close to home. Georgette told us about her latest trip to Spain. Scott lamented about someone he has a crush on. Terry told us about his upcoming stint at Heritage Park and his trip to London. Andrea told us about how she met William Petersen in Rhode Island at one of his plays.

We even watched the first episode of the original (Brit) series The Office. Next thing I know, it's 1am and the crowd filed out pretty much all at once. Weird. Anyway, it was a great time. Next time it's my turn to host, I'm thinking about using up some comps and treating the Epcor gang to a free night at Loose Moose.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Blimps are pretty pimp

I love the occasional stupid distraction (remember Weebl & Bob?). Well, here's the next one - Blimp (by the folks who brought you Weebl & Bob).

My fave part? Where it shows a periodic table of elements and declares: 'Hydrogen is kept so far from Helium in case Helium kicks Hydrogen's ass'

Das ist unglaublich!

If you're any kind of science geek, you may want to buy this. An engine.......... made of die cut cardboard, that runs off of the heat from a cup of coffee. Or the cold from an ice pack. Ultra-cool!

German site.

BoingBoing post with the best parts translated.

Plastic scourge

If you've been paying attention, you already know that one of the drawbacks of plastic is that it isn't biodegradable. Years ago there was talk about how the plastic in our landfills will outlast us.

That's not the half of it. Plastic that hasn't been recycled isn't ending up just in landfills. Salon has an enlightening article on what's happening here. (Pop up ad alert)

What troubles me the most is this trend:

...San Francisco and Oakland outlawed the use of plastic bags in large grocery stores and pharmacies, permitting only paper bags with at least 40 percent recycled content or otherwise compostable bags. The bans have not taken effect yet, but already the city of Oakland is being sued by an association of plastic bag manufacturers calling itself the Coalition to Support Plastic Bag Recycling.

Give me a bloody break! Is this what our society has come to? First it was the clean air act in California being sued out of effectiveness by car manufacturers (which led to the recall of the ever popular EV1 electric car showcased in 'Who Killed the Electric Car'), now plastic bag makers hope to derail sensible measures to clean up the environment? I for one am not impressed.....

I'm psychic

A class full of international improv students has been studying with Loose Moose for the last 2 weeks and last night was their last hurrah - they exclusively made up the cast of Micetro Improv. Before the competition started, I made a friendly prediction (not wager) with a couple of people (not part of the group) on who I thought would win. There were 14 competitors and I chose 2 possible contenders for the last person standing. Amazingly enough, the 2 people I chose were the last 2 standing at the end of the evening and one of them went on to win. I was totally impressed with myself for that prediction. Oh - they were both women.

The show was fantastic.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Taking the day off

Major house cleaning in preparation for a gathering of actors this weekend.

I'll catch up tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Is the internet really that bad for kids?

We have this stereotype of how awful and unsafe the internet is for kids, but it seems educators are asking to give it back to students.

This BoingBoing post is enlightening as is the article it links to.

Toyotas are irresistable....

Best ad seen in a while: Selling Toyotas in Scotland.

Too funny.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My 8th MacBook report - iTunes

Having been a fan of 3rd party music player applications like Winamp for Windows (in place of the default and DRM-ridden Windows Media Player), I was wary of the default music player that is part of the Mac OS - iTunes. But I made a promise to myself that I was going to give the inherent applications a try, so I copied my entire mp3 collection (2265 songs and counting) onto the MacBook to import into iTunes. The process was uneventful, if not lengthy - it seems iTunes does a measure of processing on the songs it imports into the library. After I was playing around on the MacBook for a while, I noticed that a lot of hard drive space was in use that I couldn't account for. At first, I chalked it up to my video project, but even after that was finished and deleted, I still couldn't account for all the used space. By accident, I discovered that when you import music into iTunes, it actually copies the files into a particular folder. So I ended up with 2 copies of all my music and didn't even realize it. Once I realized that peculiarity, I just deleted the original files and presto - there was all my space back. Just a tip to any new Mac iTunes users.

As far as usability is concerned, no problems to report yet, but I don't buy my music from the iTunes store, so I shouldn't have to deal with any DRM woes. I'll let you know if I discover anything else worth reporting about iTunes.

Gene pool

My latest motivational poster.

You like?

Where is it - Edition 32

Name the city.

Click the image for a bigger view.

Good hunting.