Friday, October 31, 2008

The Boy with Nails in his Eyes

Number 11 in the set of 12 of Tragic Toys for Girls & Boys, by Tim Burton.

Today, it's The Boy with Nails in his Eyes.

The Boy with Nails in his Eyes
put up his aluminum tree.
It looked pretty strange
because he couldn't really see.

Best costume evar!

I don't know how tiring it would be for a child to walk in this costume for a while, but it rocks..... I mean walks.....

Downtown shopping! In Calgary! No.... really...

Coming from Montreal, where the downtown core is very much alive and dynamic and a destination for all who live in the city for more than just work, coming to Calgary was a bit of a culture shock. Calgary has a modern, sleek downtown core. While visitors who have visited from older parts of the world have said things like "the city looks like it was just unpacked" (which is mostly true), the downtown core has a lot to offer. This includes a 6 block long stretch of street converted into an open-air pedestrian mall (Stephen Avenue Mall - 8th Ave SW), the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts, a vibrant Chinatown, numerous hotels and restaurants and a 7 station stretch of the LRT line that is free to make it easier to get around downtown. Even better, Calgary has a +15 walkway system that connects many buildings together on their second floors in a way that it isn't hard to walk a dozen blocks or more without stepping outside.

Although Darlene and I head downtown to shop fairly regularly (on the weekend), I was floored at how many people not only don't go downtown to shop, but don't even know there is some great shopping to be had at a complex starting with the Hudson's Bay Company store at the east end to the old Eaton's store (which became Sear's - which becomes the soon to be Holt Renfrew store) at the west end, with the Scotia Centre, TD Square and the old Eaton's Centre in between. The TD Square and Eaton Centre properties have merged into The Core, and are renovating into a huge downtown mall. Among the new features we can look forward to when the facelift is complete include the largest skylight in the world (at least 2 city blocks long), the Devonian Gardens are being rebuilt and integrated into the complex. This by itself is great news - the gardens are a tropical paradise to escape to which is very welcome in winter. The 3rd level will have several 2 storey facades, lit up by the huge skylight, creating a feeling of an outdoor urban promenade.

Thanks to Ernest for the link to The Core.....

More fun tees to buy!

Someone just started up a new t-shirt store online and asked me to share it with you. Being as I am a huge fan of clever tees, how could I resist?

The name of the site is Rizzo Tees and Rizzo has offered me a coupon code to share with all of my readers to use as many times as you want. The code (3JBEE84C) expires on 12/31/08 and is good for 20% off.

The brackets aren't part of the code......

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Robot Boy

Number 10 in the set of 12 of Tragic Toys for Girls & Boys, by Tim Burton.

Today, it's Robot Boy.

The poem associated with this little character is also quite long. So if you want to read it, you'll find it here.

Wrong on so many levels

Name at least 2 things that are wrong with this photo.

You don't have to stop at 2......

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stain Boy

Number 9 in the set of 12 of Tragic Toys for Girls & Boys, by Tim Burton.

Today, it's Stain Boy.

Of all the super heroes,
the strangest one by far,
doesn't have a special power,
or drive a fancy car.

next to Superman and batman, I guess he must seem tame.
But to me he is quite special,
and Stain Boy is his name.

He can't fly around tall buildings,
or outrun a speeding train,
the only talent he seems to have
is to leave a nasty stain.

Sometimes I know it bothers him,
that he can't run or swim or fly,
and because of this one ability,
his dry cleaning bill is sky-high.

Best meme I've seen in a while

Try this if you're bored. Or curious. Or curiously bored:

1 - Go to The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Random quotations: The last four words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.
If you want to do this again later, you’ll hit refresh to generate new quotes, because clicking the quotes link again will just give you the same quotes over and over again.

3 - Go to flickr’s “explore the last seven days” Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

Put it all together, that’s your debut album.

My band: Greater Coucal.
The debut album: Meaning 'blood sucking parasites'.
The album cover is pictured.

Found at

Not really impressed with the Uncle Burger

I decided to give the new A&W Sirloin Uncle Burger a try.


It's all about image

The new design for the upcoming Pepsi Cola can is quite........... ummm................ web 2.0-ish.


I have no idea how real this is..........

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where is it edition 52

It's time again, to play where is it.

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

Have fun. Play nice.

Mummy Boy

Number 8 in the set of 12 of Tragic Toys for Girls & Boys, by Tim Burton.

Today, it's Mummy Boy.

The poem associated with this little character is also quite long. So if you want to read it, you'll find it here.

Master carver

Some fantastic pumpkin carvings.

These are all by Ray Villafane.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oyster Boy

Number 7 in the set of 12 of Tragic Toys for Girls & Boys, by Tim Burton.

Today, it's Oyster Boy.

The poem associated with this little character is quite long. So if you want to read it, you can find it here.

Multiple recycle points get little buy-in from consumers

I've mentioned this before but I feel it merits mentioning again in light of recent announcements regarding deposits on beverage containers.

The province of Alberta is complaining that the recovery from recycling dairy containers isn't high enough - apparently only 23 percent of paper milk cartons are recycled and 60 percent of plastics. Until curb side recycling kicks in (no - Calgary still doesn't have it), you bring milk containers to the same recycle depots where you bring your cardboard, paper, etc. So now they intend to add a higher deposit value on the containers and make them returnable to the bottle depot for deposit refund to try and increase the level of recycling. Seniors aren't happy because it adds more cost to their milk and they can't afford to constantly bring the containers back to bottle depots as many seniors don't drive. Unlike pop (soda), which is more of a treat or luxury, milk is a necessity to seniors.

Once again, I have a better idea. With curb side recycling just around the corner (summer 2009 if all goes according to plan), people will still be saddled with having to put some recyclables in their curb side bin while still having to collect and carry beverage bottles, cans and boxes - and now milk containers - to the bottle depot for refund. What's the point? Wouldn't it be better if we could just put everything that can be recycled in the curb side bin at our home? I can't speak for the rest of our city, but I would gladly forget about the refund on my recyclable container deposits if it would be used to pay for the cost of curb side recycling. It just makes common sense. People without cars wouldn't have to try and find a way to cart their massive collection of containers to bottle depots (or throw their recyclables out - which is most likely what they're doing now anyway).

Next, they'll be training circus animals to do this

A chimpanzee learns to ride a Segway.

At first, the chimp only goes forward - it doesn't know how to steer or slow down or stop yet. But after a few crashes it gets the hang of it fairly quickly.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Girl with Many Eyes

Number 6 in the set of 12 of Tragic Toys for Girls & Boys, by Tim Burton.

Today, it's The Girl with Many Eyes.

One day in the park
I had quite a surprise.
I met a girl
who had many eyes.

She was really quite pretty
(and also quite shocking!)
and I noticed she had a mouth,
so we ended up talking.

We talked about flowers,
and her poetry classes,
and the problems she'd have
if she ever wore glasses.

It's great to know a girl
who has so many eyes,
but you really get wet
when she breaks down and cries.

Unique wedding cakes

Very cool wedding cakes.

Can't say much more than that........

"Hey Dookie!"

Remember the "Wassup" guys from the beer commercial?

They're back, but not promoting what you'd think.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Costumes galore

Thanks to a tip from my friend Gord, I surprised Darlene today with a visit to a place that up until a week ago, I didn't even know existed. The place is called Momentum Design, just west of Calgary, across the road from Calaway Amusement Park. The place is a costume design outfit for the movie industry, and not just for movies filmed in the Calgary area. There were outfits from the movies Hell Boy, Blade and many more. The warehouse is bigger than I could imagine, with each aisle having 4 rows of hanging costumes high. I'll tell you, if you need a few hundred authentic looking aboriginal period costumes, this is the place to go. We also saw period pieces from the Victorian era, lots of military outfits, wedding dresses and gowns and so much more. If I had to estimate, there were easily 4000+ pieces on display. The place has been open for a few weeks now too, so I'm guessing much of the 'for sale' stuff has already been picked clean.

I couldn't take any pictures in the store, so there's no picture with this post. They have some stuff for sale, but most of (what's left of) the inventory is for rent only. The store is only open to the public for a few more days, then it goes private again, catering only to the movie industry.

Jimmy the Penguin Boy

Number 5 in the set of 12 of Tragic Toys for Girls & Boys, by Tim Burton.

Today, it's Jimmy the Hideous Penguin Boy.

"My name is Jimmy,
but my friends just call me
'the hideous penguin boy.'"

I made this teliscop myself

A music video from Vlad and Boris (they're Russians [snort]) to Sarah Palin declaring their love for her. Sample lyric:

misses palin!
i want to fly into ur Airspase!
misses palin!
i want to reer my little Head!


If you click 'more info' at the right of the video on YouTube, you can even see the lyrics.

A fracas of technical and legal jargon

If the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) did handbags. The article attempts to apply the logic of the digital media industry to the handbag industry in an effort to raise awareness of just how restrictive the industry is about their product.

The words around the red ring are: Don't share handbags. Or we will sue you!

Dots of mystery

Did you know that almost every colour copier and printer prints invisible tracking codes on each printed page? These codes signify which machine produced a document and when. Now folks have discovered where they are hidden and how to see them.

Article here. Video here.

She's fierce

Beyonce wants to change her name to Sasha Fierce.

If I was to change my name, I think I'd pick: Karl Sound. There's only about a dozen people on the planet that would get that and would know why I would pick that name, but...... well..... there you have it.
(It has to do with the fact that I used to supply the music for some outrageous parties back in the day and that was the hosts' nickname for me at the time - David and Sheilaugh Devlin - are you out there?)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Am I too easily impressed?

I went to Calgary's one and only Apple store today, for like the 5th time since it opened in late September. What can I say...... I'm a gadget junkie and Apple has some very nice gadgets.

But today I was there to buy something. Now that my old Macbook sold (thank you to the buyer), I was ready to get the new one. I was hemming and hawing about which one to get and finally settled on the lowest model in the lineup, which has more than enough power for my current needs. The only things I gave up were a back-lit keyboard, a bigger hard drive and a slightly faster CPU. Not worth the extra $300 to me.

Now I have to tell you, the Mac aesthetic is impressive enough, but the buying process in their stores adds even more of a coolness factor to the experience. First of all, any employee that can help you can also sell you a product - right on the spot. They simply log into one of the Macbooks or iMacs and place the order. You fill in your particulars and they fill out the rest. Within seconds, the order is placed and filled and someone walks out from the back room with your product in hand. Your associate then scans the box with their portable scanner and if you're paying electronically, the transaction completes courtesy of the scanner. No line-ups. No bags (in the case of the Macbook anyway). No paper receipt either if you choose to get yours via email.

I thought the box my old Macbook came in was small and compact - the new one is even smaller even though the Macbook is the same size. No wasteful packaging here.....

Staring Girl

Number 4 in the set of 12 of Tragic Toys for Girls & Boys, by Tim Burton.

Today, it's Staring Girl.

I once knew a girl
who would just stand there and stare.
At anyone or anything,
she seemed not to care

She'd stare at the ground,
She'd stare at the sky.
She'd stare at you for hours,
and you'd never know why.

But after winning the local staring contest,
she finally gave her eyes
a well-deserved rest.

Placebos aren't free either....

Half of doctors in the US in a survey said they regularly give patients placebo treatments. By placebo, they mean drugs or vitamins that won't really help the condition. Most of the doctors who did this never let their patients know what was going on - even after the fact and most doctors felt that this is ethical behaviour.

I have always believed that we have the power to heal ourselves in many circumstances and when placebo treatments are successful, this is actually a good thing - I am very much against unnecessary drug use. But the patient has a right to know, once treatment is over, that they got better on their own - that it wasn't a drug that helped them. I also feel that once you've been told by your doctor that a placebo was prescribed to you - and it worked - you should get your money back for the prescription's cost too.

Have any outstanding tickets? Smile while you can

The government in Alberta is going after people who have unpaid traffic tickets. There are over 651,000 outstanding tickets in Alberta worth more than $126 million. If people don't pay after they've been notified, they could have their wages or income tax refunds garnished, registrations suspended or vehicles repossessed.

The province has a system where if you go to renew your registration, if there are unpaid tickets outstanding, you can be denied renewal. But people get around this by putting their vehicles in other folks' names.

Personally, I have no issue with this move. If you want to drive, you have to pay the piper.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Roy the Toxic Boy

Number 3 in the set of 12 of Tragic Toys for Girls & Boys, by Tim Burton.

Today, it's Roy the Toxic Boy.

To those who knew him
-his friends-
we called him Roy.
To others he was known
as that horrible Toxic Boy.

He loved ammonia and asbestos,
and lots of cigarette smoke.
What he breathed in for air
would make other people choke!

His very favorite toy
was a can of aerosol spray;
he'd sit quietly and shake it,
and spray it all the day.

He'd stand inside the garage
in the early-morning frost,
waiting for the car to start
and fill him with exhaust.

The one and only time
I ever saw Toxic Boy cry
was when some sodium chloride
got into his eye.

One day for fresh air
they put him in the garden.

His face went deathly pale
and his body began to harden.

The final gasp of his short life
was sickly with despair.
Whoever thought that you could die
from breathing outdoor air?

As Roy's soul left his body
we all said a silent prayer.
It drifted up to heaven
and left a hole in the ozone layer.

Where is it edition 51

Here is edition 51 of my ever popular geo-hunting game.

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

Good luck to all.

The kinds of ideas we need

This is very exciting news on the CO2 reduction scene. A company in California is developing a process that will, similarly to the process plants use, turn CO2 into fuel. They propose they can, with a smidgen of energy, turn CO2 into ethane, propane and methane. To collect the CO2, Carbon Sciences will set up shop alongside refineries and and coal plants and capture their CO2 exhaust.

If this pans out, it could be fantastic for so many reasons.

No love lost

There doesn't seem to be a lot of sympathy for Wall St.

What I'm most interested in is what changes will be made to the financial industry as a result of the current turmoil. Who wants to bet.... nothing?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Junk Girl

Number 2 in the set of 12 of Tragic Toys for Girls & Boys, by Tim Burton.

Today, it's Junk Girl.

There once was a girl
who was made up of junk.
She looked really dirty,
and she smelled like a skunk.

She was always unhappy,
or in one of her slumps-perhaps 'cause she spent
so much time down in the dumps.

The only bright moment
was from a guy named Stan.
He was from the neighbourhood
garbage man.

He loved her a lot
and made a marriage proposal,
but she already thrown herself
in the garbage disposal.


Miss Teen Louisiana skipped out on a $46 restaurant tab with 3 friends. Unfortunately, she also left her purse behind, so needless to say, it didn't take much for folks to find out who she was. The best part - there was a bag of marijuana in her purse. There were 10 days to go before her reign was finished. Poor girl.

An obvious case of 'the munchies'. If you know what I mean.........

There's a moral to this story. When you're a high profile public figure who has to maintain a straight-laced image, let your friends carry the drugs.

Another Ernest tip.

If you're going to impersonate a cop.......

..... try not to pull a real one over.

Because...... you know....... real cops don't take that very well.

An Ernest contribution.

Lunar Squishees!

The country of India just launched an unmanned spacecraft which will land on the moon. India plans to send a manned spacecraft to the moon as well. Once that happens, there's really no reason why the Americans can't send their own astronauts back to the moon, since a lunar Kwik-e Mart will have already been established.

Sorry - I couldn't resist.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Brie Boy

It's coming around Halloween soon and I thought I'd share a little collection I bought one time in Ashland Oregon. They now sell it in Canada, but back when I bought it - about 5 or so years ago, I'd never seen it before. It's a delightful set of make-believe characters called Tragic Toys for Girls & Boys, by Tim Burton. I'll introduce you to them one at a time. We'll start with Brie Boy. This is the first of a set of 12.

Brie Boy had a dream he had only had twice,
that his full, round head was only a slice.

The other children never let Brie Boy play ...
... but at least he went well with a nice Chardonnay.

Ranting on doctors - again - it's not hard

One thing they don't teach doctors in school is customer service. Or maybe they do - but it doesn't show.

For example, if you make an appointment to see a doctor and you're 5 minutes late, the office typically reserves the right to cancel your appointment and still charge for your visit. But if you show up on time and the doctor is 60 minutes late getting around to see you, there are no ramifications for the office or the doctor. Which reminds me of a nice little trick one office pulls. At one time parking at a particular office used to be free. But because of supposed abuse of the parking lot by non-patients, they made the lot pay-and-display. You have to put money in a machine for a set period of time (of your choosing) and display the ticket on your dash. But once you're in the office, especially as a walk-in, you have no idea how long it's going to take to process you through the waiting list or the face time with the doctor. And the office staff are usually of no help in that regard either. So if you realize your time is running out on the parking clock, you need to buy another ticket. But how much time do you buy? An hour? Two? You have no idea. God forbid you are out buying more time when your name is called. I've seen a patient inform the desk staff that they're just going out to buy more parking time, then the doctor's assistant calls the patient's name while they're outside. No answer - the file goes back in the bottom of the pile. Meanwhile, the desk staff are oblivious to what's transpiring even though you left a message with them. Poor patient waits another hour to see the doctor and they don't even know why.

Everyone has cell phones these days. It would be simple to take a patient's name and cell number when they sign in and offer them to go do other stuff in the vicinity if they please and the staff will call when there are only 2 people left in front of them on the list. They could make it clear that if the patient is called back into the office and they don't show up within.... let's say...... 15 minutes, they lose their spot in line. Would that be so hard to arrange?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Help Darlene star in a taping of CSI

Darlene entered a CSI contest to try to win a part in the show. I humbly ask you to consider voting for her crime scene picture submission.

Go to this web page and advance until you see the entry by Darlene Taylor that looks like the picture in this post.

Let's go back 30 years

I grew up and went to to a high school (LTMHS) in a town named Deux Montagnes in Quebec (we Anglophones called it by its English equivalent - Two Mountains) just north of Montreal. I started a Facebook group for my high school graduating class a while back. Aside from hoping to rekindle friendships with some old classmates, my ultimate goal is to try and convince as many of them as possible to attend an all class reunion in 2010. One very generous individual offered to scan the pages of our yearbook with each class of 1978 member and post the scans in the Facebook group. The task is complete.

I have not seen these pictures in decades, having messed up on my opportunity to buy a copy of the yearbook while it was still for sale. Yeah, that's me, at 17 years old. I wasn't even shaving at that age......

It's magic

There's been talk of Wireless power transfer with a serious face for about a year now. Now we have a working demo. eCoupled produced a video of a kitchen counter top wirelessly powering a blender using induction. So far, eCoupled has been able to transfer 1,400 watts through the induction coils at 98% efficiency, almost as good as a physical wire. As a bonus, the technology is also able to transfer data, at up to 1.1 mbps, meaning that the primary charging coil can talk to the devices it’s pumping power into and adjust its output accordingly.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This has great potential

Assuming this story is true, it's fascinating and could be a preview of our future. Apparently, the Chinese have made an electric car (for $5500 no less) that is completely solar powered. The solar panels on the roof require 30 hours of sunlight to fully charge the car, giving it a range of 150 km. Of course, you'll need a few days to actually get 30 hours of sun, but keep in mind that this works out to an hour of full sun buying you 5 km of power. This is free car power.

Add a plug-in option, build the panels into the car body and keep updating the solar panels and electric motors as they get more efficient and this could be the future of short distance urban driving.

It's called the HYmotion

Peugeot is working on a new scooter concept that makes it safer and shields the riders somewhat from the elements (safety cage), handles better (2 front wheels), and is more efficient (electric hybrid technology in the front wheels).

How does 118mpg (50km/l) sound?

This would get kids to your house

Here's a video of a great Halloween window treatment.

Just think - none of this would exist if not for the intertubes

Only on the internet - pictures of dogs taken while they're upside down.

It's a new site, so they don't have a ton of content yet.

Heartless bastards!

This should put a smile on the face of any iPhone owners out there. The article is a joke of course, but I found it humorous.

" is still reeling following the news Monday that a local resident, whose name is being withheld by police pending a full investigation, left an iPhone unattended for more than three hours in a car parked in the hot sun."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

When barbers get serious

I got a haircut today. Just when the barber was finished, he turned the chair around so that I faced him, then looked at me with a seriousness normally reserved for times when you need to tell your customer they have a spider's nest living in the back of their head. Then he said, "You know...... you've got a couple of eyebrows that are quite a bit longer than the rest. Would you like me to trim those for ya?"

Amused by the anti-climactic-ness of it all, I couldn't help but laugh and say, "Uh, no. That's OK. I don't mind a few rogue eyebrows."

Roguebrow. Isn't that like the name of a European beer?

But John - you wanted this law......

This is almost too good to be true. Senator John McCain is in a spat with YouTube after many of his campaign's videos were removed as a result of DMCA take-down notices.

But is he reacting by agreeing that the DMCA system is flawed and needs to be repealed / fixed / analyzed? Nope - he wants special treatment. McCain is asking YouTube to exempt him from the provisions of a law that he supported.

I love Karma.

RPM 28

Here's some music trivia:

What American vocalist is buried in the same cemetery as Edith Piaf?

More TSA security theatre

If it seems like I'm picking on the TSA lately, I'm not. It just so happens that I'm finding a lot of great material lately.

Like this lovely article from The Atlantic, where Bruce Schneier (security specialist) manages to foil pretty much every security measure put in place to protect airline passengers.

When will the charade end?