Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Someone asked me for a playlist change

In the playlist starting today - Hooverphonic. I've heard this band classified as 'ambient pop'.

Yeah..... OK, I'll buy that.

Don't be a "douche-nozzle".......

I have mixed feelings about Sarah Silverman, but this latest stunt is cute in a 'you've got to be kidding' kinda way.

In this clip, she lectures America that the way to increase the odds of Obama winning the next election is for all Jewish kids to go visit their Jewish grandparents in Florida and threaten ummm..... convince them to vote Obama. Because after all - Florida is the official swing state of federal elections in the US.

NSFW (Language may offend)

The CRTC put themselves on the list first... LOL!

Canada now has a national do not call list. It just began today. Two ways to get on it - by phone and via the web.

So, you can guess what happened, right? Yep, the web site crashed from all the people trying to register. The web site is run by Bell Canada. Not that this has anything to do with it. [guffaw]

Monday, September 29, 2008

Will return tomorrow

The US economy is tanking, the bailout was denied, I've got acting class in an hour or so, it's a gorgeous summer err..... autumn day and the sun is going down.

Forgive me if I just don't give a blog and I go outside to enjoy the finer things that matter.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The body is ummm....................... weird

100 cool facts about the human body.

That's really all there is to say...... go read it!

Will tattoos eventually become 'mainstream'?

Darlene and I were talking about the growing numbers of people (especially women) with tattoos in visible places. There was a time that some workplaces would not hire you if a tattoo was visible while wearing traditional work clothing. But I seem to sense a growing moderation of attitudes toward tattoos and there is a point where you won't be able to discriminate against people with visible skin art simply because they are in the majority.

What brought this up is that while we were eating at a restaurant (Joey Tomato's) that sets the stage by hiring shapely young women and dressing them in curve-hugging outfits, I noticed that not one of them was sporting a visible tattoo. I have to assume, based on the average number of times I see art on a young woman, that the only explanation for the lack of skin enhancements is a policy forbidding them on employees.

Regardless of whether this is true or not, I'm guessing there are still places where tattoos are verboten in the workplace - at least they cannot be seen. I wonder aloud how long that type of policy will remain. How long will it take for tattoos to become mainstream?

Patterns from sound

This is cool. Someone put a metal plate on top of a speaker and spread salt on it. Sound causes the salt to move to the regions of the plate that aren't vibrating. As the frequency of the sound is increased, the pattern changes.

Warning: The sound might hurt your ears - be ready to adjust your volume quite low for comfort. Also, make sure your pets are not around while playing this video.

Climate change is a hoax?

Wired magazine has a running gag where they create these tongue-in-cheek looks into our future called Artifacts from the Future. This time it's bumper stickers from 2016.

One of them is pictured here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Putting the "Ice" in Vice President

A quote from Matt Damon earlier this month is the basis for a fake Disney movie trailer about Sarah Palin, the VP running mate of John McCain.

I found it quite humorous.

How many examples are needed to prove DRM is bad?

Cory Doctorow wrote a scathing indictment of DRM using a real world situation that's happening right now with WalMart music customers (sample below). His article also includes the letter WalMart sent their Digital Music Purchases customers.

"Hey suckers! Did you buy DRM music from Wal*Mart instead of downloading MP3s for free from the P2P networks? Well, they're repaying your honesty by taking away your music."

Billboard is better

This is one of the funniest billboard advertisement defacements I've seen in a long time.

Not that I condone that kind of behaviour.....

The defacement reads: "Clearly you're doin it wrong"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Arts not a niche interest

Margaret Atwood wrote an article for the Globe and Mail on Thursday that makes a case for the arts in Canada. She explains why 'the arts' isn't just about galas.

It's a great read. Sample:

"My idea of an ordinary person is quite different. Human beings are creative by nature. For millenniums we have been putting our creativity into our cultures - cultures with unique languages, architecture, religious ceremonies, dances, music, furnishings, textiles, clothing and special cuisines. “Ordinary people” pack into the cheap seats at concerts and fill theatres where operas are brought to them live. The total attendance for “the arts” in Canada in fact exceeds that for sports events. “The arts” are not a “niche interest.” They are part of being human."

Ha ha!

Funny joke read on another site today:

"Whenever I see a man with a beard, moustache and glasses, I think, 'There's a man who has taken every precaution to avoid people doodling on photographs of him" – Carey Marx

Mental math

Have you ever met someone who could do various kinds of math in their head really fast?

Here are some tricks that may help explain why.....

Another post about bacon

Now here's an American election tee I think could rally a few million supporters.

Donuts and Bacon '08..... Taste we can believe in.

Doctor problems

A friend and I were discussing the family doctor situation in Calgary and they told me something that made my blood boil. The doctor they're seeing is in an office with many other doctors, but they were assigned a doctor that was still seeing new patients at that time. Now although it can be said that you can choose whatever doctor you want, that may be technically true, but not true in reality, as the doctor has to be accepting new patients in the first place. But it gets worse.

Let's say that over the course of a year you come to the realization that this particular doctor just isn't working out. The reason doesn't matter, let's face it, if you can't relate to the doctor and, more importantly, if they can't relate to you - you're not going to receive the best in treatment. Well, that's what happened in this situation. So, my friend decided to try another doctor in the same office at a time when the original doctor was unavailable. Doctor #2 was someone the patient could relate to from minute one. The patient started making appointments to see doctor #2 instead. But doctor #2 kept insisting that in this particular office, and considering who the patient's original doctor was, the patient must stop making appointments to see doctor #2.

Some time passed, the original doctor was still not making a good connection with the patient, and then the office announced that doctor #2 was officially taking on new patients. My friend thought, "Great! Now I can switch doctors." Nope. The office would not let the patient switch, even though things are not working out - due to conflict of interest. In fact, word around town is that if you already have a doctor, it's unlikely a second doctor is going to agree to see you.

This is just so much B.S. As a patient, I should have the right to find a better doctor if the one I'm seeing just isn't working out. Hell, if you know my own story from this blog, then you know I've already exercised this right once, when my last doctor wouldn't take me off of meds that I didn't need. I think the problem in this country right now is that we are so short of doctors, that they have developed this attitude of 'my way or the highway' - because they can. There's really no competition. And it sucks.......

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Burns like a snake

Mercury Thiocyanate looks quite bizarre when it burns.

Uh, don't try this at home - the materials and fumes are quite poisonous.

Google causes accident

Found at J-Walk blog. ROFLMAO!

"Does Google have insurance for this?"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Only 93 shopping days 'til Xmas

Remember the good old days? When Christmas stuff didn't come out in stores until.... like.... November? Read on J-Walk's blog:

"I went to Costco today, and they're already selling Christmas stuff. Only 93 shopping days left."

That's nothing. During the 3rd week of August, we received the Sear's Christmas Wish Book catalogue. Seriously.

Sit on your balls.....

..... for $2950. No wait..... that didn't come out right did it?

I purposely posted that for all the 13 year old boys out there. And those who appreciate that type of humour.

But seriously, that's some chair, huh?

This is an election campaign, right?

I would think that during an election campaign, a party leader wouldn't be eager to defend a funding cut to a potentially vocal community, but that's exactly what has happened. Although the ruling minority Conservative government made the announcement of cutting $45 million to culture funding back in August, before the election was called, the Prime Minister just recently defended the cuts, saying "I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see … a bunch of people … at a rich gala all subsidized by taxpayers claiming their subsidies aren't high enough when they know those subsidies have actually gone up, I'm not sure that's something that resonates with ordinary people."

I think that really hit a wrong nerve with some folks. Artists across the country have mobilized to condemn this stereotypical attitude. Time will tell..... For the record, I consider myself an ordinary Canadian and I do not feel that the arts community get their fair share of funding. In fact, I find arts funding to be deplorable. [sarcasm filter on] But that's just me. I'm sure the majority don't agree... [sarcasm filter off]

Gee...... between Bill C-61 and now these funding cuts, artists and those that support them the most are really getting a kick in the crotch from this government.

[update] I changed out the post picture after stumbling across this lovely specimen courtesy a friend in the arts. Thanks R.N. (Now with link to picture source)

Add to the urban dictionary?

My colleagues and I coined a new word at work today. It would be best if I just used it in a sentence:

This problem has gotten assponential.

Feel free to use it in your daily lexicon.

P.S.: This word only has one entry in Google (a rare thing to achieve). But not for long.......
[rubbing hands together]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm pumped!

As I mentioned before, I volunteered to assist my former acting teacher conduct her current acting class for adults. To my surprise and delight, she accepted.

I wasn’t sure what kind of contribution I would be able to make to the class, but I was looking forward to participating nonetheless. Last night was the second class and I had a blast. Needless to say I put in a shameless plug for Loose Moose. Not only was I able to help, but I even shaped the direction the session would take, offering suggestions that worked out really well. In one exercise, the students were put into groups of 3 and asked to pick out a portrait from a selection of pictures. Then their task was to figure out who that character was and what they were all about. My suggestion was to keep them in their groups of 3 and have them do ‘speaking in one voice’, where they would take questions about the character (in character) from the rest of the class (the audience) and have to answer in one voice, taking cues off of each other. It was fun for them to perform, even more fun to watch, and helped reinforce a number of fundamental acting / improv concepts.

I can’t wait until next week.

nano nano!

A company in California claims their nano technology will extend the life of a rechargeable lithium ion battery up to five times and will result in a 400% capacity increase for regular alkaline batteries.

This is huge news if it turns out to be true and can be brought to market at a reasonable price.

I predict they will get some of my money....

It looks like Calgary will be getting its first Apple Store, at Market Mall.

It opens Saturday.


Ernest once again provides the tip.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Finally, some more quality programming come to Canada

Good news for Canadian fans of HBO, the American network Canadians most often say they would like to see offered in Canada.

Corus and Astral Media announced today that they will launch HBO Canada in October. The channel, free to subscribers of Movie Central in Western Canada and The Movie Network in Eastern Canada, will carry HBO shows not already carried by the aforementioned networks. Because the channel is a Canadian incarnation, Canadian content is a requirement.

Thanks to Ernest for the tip.

Stupid.... licensing...... regulations.......

I just found something out today that kind of threw me. I was under the (false) impression that you only needed a regular car license to ride a scooter, if the scooter was under 50cc.

Nay nay! Having a Class 5 license in Alberta allows you to ride a moped. Mopeds are defined here and there are a few more requirements, the least of which (and the only one my scooter doesn't meet) is weight. It has to weigh less than 55kg and my scooter weighs in at 74kg.

So all this time I (and likely many other scooter drivers in Alberta) was extending a myth upon our fellow riders. So you actually need a motorcycle license to ride my scooter. Luckily I have one. Someone hoping to buy my scooter does not.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

How a rumour becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy

A rumoured shortage of gasoline in Nashville prompted folks to panic and fill up all at once.

Which of course resulted in gas stations running out of gasoline.

Google Maps..... now with addressing guideposts

Google Maps has added a new feature, they've put numbers on the streets in map view as a guide to where street addresses should be.

There's just no stopping these guys.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Stealth feline

For the 138,726 people who haven't seen this yet....... I present.................... ninja cat!

Or..... if you prefer......... red light green light cat.

Cat attacks printer

A cat decides the printer needs to be attacked.

I love the little sound effects they threw in there....

It's a little warm

I think my computer may be running a little hot................

What do you think?

P.S.: It's not really my computer....

Oh no! Not one of their serifs!

It's kinda goofy. But in a cute, almost humourous way......... the Font Conference. Will Wingdings save Courier and Curls MT? Best Line?

"You're insane.... nobody uses Microsoft Works!"

Now you see it.....

I guess the Hubble space telescope (which is on its last legs - or so I'm told) discovered something weird. Hubble saw something brighten for about 100 days and then fade away until nothing was left in view.

Of course, they haven't considered what it really is - the remains of Alderaan, destroyed by the Imperial Death Star..........

Imperial bastards!

Friday, September 19, 2008

If the RIAA had their way, all consumers would admit they're criminals

Ray Beckerman, the infamous American lawyer who defends clients against the RIAA, is being attacked by the RIAA for being vexatious.

They especially don't like that he blogs about how he dismantles their claims against these clients.

A plea from one consumer to the people of Calgary Centre-North

To the constituents of Calgary Centre-North:

In the last federal election you elected Jim Prentice (Conservative), who went on to become Minister of Industry. In that capacity, he introduced a controversial piece of legislation, Bill C-61, which has become known by its critics as the Canadian DMCA.

As the people who voted for this MP, you should be fully aware of the laws your representative is trying to get passed. The press is doing an incredibly lousy job showcasing what is wrong with this law and how strong the opposition towards it is, but thankfully, there are dozens of informed online resources that indicate what the deal is with this bill and its ramifications. Bill C-61 is flawed in a variety of ways. It was created with no consultation with the people it represents or affects. It changes some reasonable consumer activities into illegal consumer activities.

The implications of such a bill being passed are:
  • Citizens cannot retain recorded programs for extended time.
  • Consumers cannot make backups of DVD's.
  • Consumers cannot circumvent any digital locks.
  • Transferring of media owned by the purchaser allowed only once per device.
  • Consumers cannot record shows broadcast with "no recording" flags.
  • Consumers cannot unlocking their cellphones for any reason.
  • Teachers and other education professionals can no longer guarantee fair dealing use.
  • So much more.......
If you re-elect Mr. Prentice, you are sending a message that you are OK with this. I am convinced that if you understood the proposed law fully, not only wouldn't you support it, you would make sure your MP understood your position clearly too.

Please keep this in mind when you vote October 14.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Where is it edition 49

Jim nearly begged me to put up a new Where Is It?

How could I refuse? Click for a bigger picture. Guess the city.

Do I really need to explain the rules anymore?

[update] I didn't think this one would cause such trouble. A hint: this city is within 500km of another 'Where Is It' city.

Great Gig in the Sky

One of Pink Floyd's founding members, keyboardist Richard Wright, died 3 days ago of cancer. I only found out about it today (thanks Jim).

He was 65.

I was saddened when the Floyd broke up, but found solace in the fact that Richard played with David Gilmour on his latest solo album, even touring with the band. Unfortunately, now their work together has ended.

The playlist now sports classic Pink Floyd - in memory of Rick.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Maybe they stole it to fund the war on Iran?

Some punk who attended the RNC had more than $120,000 in money, jewelry and other belongings stolen from him by a woman in his hotel room. Yes, there's more to the story - it involves a video clip of the same guy being interviewed at the convention itself.

In case you felt a little bit of pity for him.

Economy Haiku

Lending fortunes to poor folks
House of cards tumbles

That was my feeble attempt at Haiku - on the sub prime mortgage crisis and its aftermath.

New G & T logo leaves me feeling Grumpy & Tired

The Grand & Toy warehouse is just a block or so away from where I work. The other day I was out for a lunch-hour walk and spotted that their warehouse was sporting a new logo.

It's so Web 2.0

What the heck was wrong with the old logo? Does every company feel it needs a new logo these days?

You can view a bunch of logo redesigns (25 pages of them) here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Moldy sandwich bags

Having a problem with thieves stealing your sandwich at work?

Keep those pirates at bay with these sandwich bags that make your sammy look like a penicillin factory.

The giant pile of money story

I've posted links to explanations about the sub-prime mortgage crisis before, but now I found a great radio show that goes into great detail what transpired to make the crisis possible. It's a fascinating listen, but of course will eat up about an hour of your day. But seriously, if you've ever wondered just WTF happened, the full episode is it.

Weird science.... I mean Wired Science

Do you like science? If you do, you'll probably go gaga over these wacky science videos at Wired Science.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sorry Chuck, we was wrong

Charles Darwin is going to receive an official apology from the Church of England for rejecting the theory of evolution 150 years ago.

The Church admits that "....Christians, in their response to Darwin's theory of natural selection, repeated the mistakes they made in doubting Galileo's astronomy in the 17th century."

Required listening for consumers

An almost hour long radio documentary "Who Owns Ideas", hosted by the CBC, it's a great primer for the notion of 'copyfight' and helps understand why this issue is so vitally important in our present and future culture. If you have an hour you can spare, I highly recommend you give it a listen. Especially if you're voting in the Canadian Federal election.

Some highlights:

Original copyright law allowed for works to be protected for 14 years. Now, copyright law extends to the life of the creator of the work.... plus 70 years.

Major commercial players are anti-copyright when their industry is in its fledgling state, 'stealing' anything they can get their hands on. Once they become entrenched and profitable, they are pro-copyright. This is born out by both the entertainment and software industries. It's not about protecting creators, it's about maximizing profits.

Major content producers (like Disney) have profited from the public domain, but refuse to contribute to it, extending the copyright of icons like Mickey Mouse every time its copyright is about to expire.

"We hear all this stuff about how we need to educate kids about copyright, so that they can be on the right side of the law when they use copyrighted works. But the fact is that if you need a formal education in culture in order not to break the law..... there's a problem with the law."

"There have been lots of digital lock schemes for movies and music etc., but nearly all of them can be cracked, so that the material can easily be copied. Newer copyright laws make doing this illegal. These digital locks can prevent legal copying. Fair dealing allows us to study, criticize and comment on copyrighted works, but digital locks prevent this. They put manufacturers in charge - not the law. We have a copyright system that isn't working to prevent illegal copying, but it does prevent legitimate use."

Industry Canada released figures that suggest that the biggest downloaders were in fact some of the music industry's best customers.

Hey Americans - check this out...

Just a couple of days ago, the gasoline price in Calgary went from $1.30 /litre to $1.39 /litre in one fell swoop. It's actually more elsewhere. Convert that to US figures and that works out to an increase of $0.32 cents per gallon. So imagine if you woke up Saturday and your gasoline was up $0.32 cents per gallon. Or put even better, imagine if it cost you $4.97 per gallon - for regular - which is the equivalent of our price right now, even taking the exchange rate into account.

Oh yeah - they're blaming this hike on hurricane Ike.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Eat! Eat!

Darlene and I hadn't strolled 9 Ave. in Inglewood for a long time, so when we walked through that lovely little neighbourhood yesterday, we noticed an eatery that we had not been to yet, let alone heard about, called Eat! Eat! As we stopped to check it out, we started drooling as we read the menu posted outside and promised each other we would go for breakfast - today - which we did.

Like most other places around town, the venue is small, cozy and requires a bit of a wait to get a table, but we didn't wait long. Once seated, we were reminded of why we drooled yesterday as we scanned the menu, looking for the perfect way to try their breakfast. Darlene had the French Toast served with maple pecan butter, which she loved. I had an ordinary eggs breakfast with sausages on the side. The home fries are real. The food is good. The menu has great variety - we're going to have to come back for lunch and maybe early supper some time.

What really sets this place apart though, is that they know how to run a customer-oriented business. Too often we've found ourselves at a trendy diner only to find that the service is lacking. Not at Eat! Eat! The people who work there are friendly and it's obvious they really enjoy serving their customers. And that - even more than the ambiance and the food - is enough to bring us back.

Eat! eat! is located at 1325 9 Ave. S.E. in Inglewood.

A movie so good, even the poster offends people

More news on the Zack & Miri Make a Porno front. The MPAA not only censored the movie, but even the movie poster! The replacement poster is pretty funny too though. Just another funny story that will certainly end up in any one of those 'An evening with Kevin Smith' performances....

Geek Media has the whole story with both posters.

Found at BoingBoing.

Sometimes the internets are just cool

You know how I go on about cool t-shirt designs? Or should I say - cool designs on t-shirts.

Anyway, I found this way cool search engine just for t-shirts called Please Dress Me. Type in a key word and it scours its database of t-shirt glory for you. I typed in monkey and got (among other things) this beauty right here. I loves it. Viva la Evolucion!

One stop shopping babe. Is that cool or what?

For the records, this post contains 6 instances of the word cool.

Where in the world did you get that?

If you're into antiques at all and you live in the Calgary area, you might want to give Where In The World Did You Get That?, an antiques mall in Airdrie, just north of Calgary.

This place is huge - 14000 sq ft - it's a former Canadian Tire store converted into an antique mall that hosts somewhere around 55 individual antique vendors. Darlene was looking for old rhinestone jewelry and boy did she hit the jackpot.

They're located on Edmonton Trail South, on the west side of Highway 2. They're really hard to miss.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oh... you mean stop HERE...

It occurs to me....

If you need a sign that indicates where the stop line is at an intersection......... maybe the stop line needs some work, no?

Vacation planning

We've never been to Mexico. Correction - I've never been to Mexico - Darlene has, via a cruise she took with her sister.

This winter, we're looking at Mexico as a destination. I've heard so many bad things about Cancun, it now has a permanent stereotype embedded in my brain and I'm purposely steering clear of it. The place that has me most intrigued actually is the Cabo San Lucas area, down at the tip of the Baja peninsula. We've been reading reviews of some hotels there and heard that in general, food can be really expensive. So basically, we're looking for an all inclusive resort, that isn't a dump. If anyone has any experience in this, I'd like to hear from you.