Sunday, May 31, 2009
For those of you not familiar with the Alberta dynamic, Calgary and Edmonton are sworn enemies, at least in terms of the fact that they always compete against each other. That the province's capital is in Edmonton is a source of competition. As is the fact that Edmonton has more Stanley Cup wins than Calgary. I mean after all - Edmonton is the 'City of Champions'. So this vying for the Expo at the same time strikes me as just another childish competition to take some of the air out of Edmonton's tires. The provincial government is already wondering how they're going to solve supporting one city's bid over the other.
All that aside though, Expo 2017 could be good for Calgary. A lot of things got done as a result of Calgary hosting the Winter Olympics in 1988, such as the building of the C-Train system. Who knows what could come out of preparations for Expo 2017. By then we might have a completed ring road. We might have a C-Train network actually capable of serving all regions of the city - maybe even the airport! We might have the East Village sorted out. I was living in Montreal when it hosted Expo 1967 and it definitely put Montreal on the world map. Expo could do the same for Calgary. The biggest complaint so far is what this might do to property taxes. A side note - 2017 is Canada's 150th birthday.
Message to Calgary Transit: If this city is actually vying to host the 2017 World Expo, you might want to consider making it so that C-Train ticket vending machines accept more than just coins. That's right - no bills and no debit or credit cards either. Oh yes - they have change machines (in some cases), but that is so ancient and limiting a solution as to be insulting. If you're going to try and impress the world, start with your citizens, first.
Which they did. Asking for $60,000 in damages. They got $10,000.
The moral of the story is.... if your policy is to inspect the contents of customers' bags, they have to know at or before point of purchase and you are not allowed to put your hand inside their bags. Or it'll cost ya. Theatre spokespeople said you should leave your purses in your car. Yeah... there's a safe proposition. Calling all criminals!
No word on whether pill-poppin' daughter is grounded.
This is how wedding videos ought to be made. Period.
"Here's a prediction: in five years, a UN convention will enshrine network access as a human right (preemptive strike against naysayers: "Human rights" aren't only water, food and shelter, they include such "nonessentials" as free speech, education, and privacy). In ten years, we won't understand how anyone thought it wasn't a human right."
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Iraq supposedly was just 'hiding' weapons of mass destruction - which turned out (surprise surprise) to not even be true. And the US military machine (led by fearless Dick) decided to invade Iraq.
North Korea on the other hand, not only has weapons of mass destruction, they're testing the muthers and effectively rattling sabres. Not a peep from the Pentagon. What gives? Kim Sung Il a little too scary for y'all?
"Young Conservatives' goal is not to pursue a rap career, but rather get young Americans involved in politics. Young Conservatives is a group with a devout mission to spread the love and logic surrounding true conservatism. Our greatest enemy lies in the lack of understanding of the conservative movement. "
Oh we understand.........
Darlene insisted that when we were going to see Star Trek, that I should buy the tickets online first. This way, we wouldn't have to worry about arriving at the theatre to 'sold out' situation. I reluctantly agreed and signed up with MovieTickets.com.
I bought the tickets and expecting to be able to print the tickets, was rather surprised that it did not offer me this option. The instructions just said 'take your credit card that you bought the tickets with to the theatre and this will get you your tickets. Problem - I did not agree to buy tickets online just so I could wait in another line at the theatre. What's the point (besides a guaranteed seat)?
We get to the theatre and as per the official MovieTickets.com instructions, I chose to use the theatre ATM to retrieve my tickets. I see the ATM menu and it offers pre-purchased tickets as an option. I click it, I swipe my credit card and I get - one ticket.
I bought two tickets, so now I'm thinking, hmmmm.... the screen isn't offering up any clues - maybe I have to swipe again to get the other one. I swipe a second time and .... you guessed it.... it tells me I'm done. Well, I'm not freaking done, I get in the lineup with the regular (smart) people and wait my turn. I'm seriously pissed right now. Once I get up front and see a CSR, I explain my situation and he says, "Oh yeah. Tickets bought through third party vendors don't work in our ATM." Not according to their web site, I counter. Anyway, I end up getting my missing ticket and all is well.
But I'm still fuming about the whole 'this wasn't very convenient but I had to pay extra' situation and contact MovieTickets.com for satisfaction. They do not respond. So I call to get a response. Their solution? Submit the complaint online a second time. Not 'let us help you right here and now'. So I hang up..... slightly in shock.... and compose a second, slightly more aggressive complaint. Within minutes, I get a reply that says, "According to our records, the transaction was successful. We are referring (passing the buck) this matter to the theatre for refund." To which I replied "Thank you for answering this time. Of course your records show I got my tickets. The machine pretended to give me 2 tickets, but only one came out. That extra surcharge I paid really paid off! Thanks for your great help. Thanks for nothing. This has been the most inconvenient movie ticket purchase event ever."
The very next day, my credit card was blocked for security reasons. Yes, I know - it may not have anything to do with my purchase, but it sure added some extra salt to the wound. Needless to say, I will not be buying any more tickets from that company.
Friday, May 29, 2009
"Right now, in Geneva, at the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization, history is being made. For the first time in WIPO history, the body that creates the world's copyright treaties is attempting to write a copyright treaty dedicated to protecting the interests of copyright users, not just copyright owners.
At issue is a treaty to protect the rights of blind people and people with other disabilities that affect reading (people with dyslexia, people who are paralysed or lack arms or hands for turning pages), introduced by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay. This should be a slam dunk: who wouldn't want a harmonized system of copyright exceptions that ensure that it's possible for disabled people to get access to the written word?
The USA, that's who. The Obama administration's negotiators have joined with a rogue's gallery of rich country trade representatives to oppose protection for blind people. Other nations and regions opposing the rights of blind people include Canada and the EU."
The point? Cory explains:
"I don't often ask readers to do things like this, but please, forward this post to people you know in the US, Canada and the EU, and ask them to reblog, tweet, and spread the word, especially to government officials and activists who work on disabled rights. We know that WIPO negotiations can be overwhelmed by citizen activists -- that's how we killed the Broadcast Treaty negotiation a few years back -- and with your help, we can make history, and create a world where copyright law protects the public interest."
Listen to his talk here. Scroll down to Part Two.
Or watch this video, which sums up his latest theory about the economy and oil's effect on it.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
On Monday, I had to go downtown for an interview. I got there way too early and after seeing the 50+ person lineup at the Tim Horton's in the building where the interview would be, I chose to go to a place further afield which I knew would have a shorter lineup. I found a less crowded Tim's and purchased a hot steeped tea. Knowing I still had a bit more time to kill, I strolled along Calgary's famous downtown pedestrian street - Stephen Avenue Mall.
With 15 minutes remaining before my interview, I decided it was time to get back to the site of the meeting. As I passed through the building lobby, I spotted two men walking by and instantly thought I recognized one of them from high school in the Montreal area, whom I had not seen in 31 years. I called out "David?" He turned. I said his last name. He said "Yes...?", not quite recognizing who I was yet. I told him my name and his eyes went wide. "Holy crap! I haven't seen you in like....... since high school!"
He had to run back to work, but I gave him my contact information in hopes that he would call and we could catch up. A lot of things had to line up just right for this to have transpired. Interview in the same building. Perfect timing. My ability to recognize him with a couple seconds of exposure. I almost passed on the opportunity to call after him.
The picture is not him. I have no idea who it is. I just wanted to post a goofy grad photo.
Representatives of AT&T helped Allen fans at 2 events by showing how to send 10 or more text messages at the press of a single button, known as power texts. There was nothing similar to supporters of Adam Lambert, who finished 2nd in the competition. Since then, angry Lambert fans have flooded online resources with messages crying foul.
Here's my conspiracy theory: Fox will never let an openly gay person win.
Some suggest the figures are even more insulting when you consider the other bonuses that will be paid over the next 3 years (it's complicated).
"A long and deep study of user behaviour in the UK by a Cambridge prof confirms that when an honest person tries to do something legal that is blocked by Digital Rights Management technology, it encourages the person to start downloading infringing copies for free from the net, since these copies are all DRM-free."
Your honour........... the defence rests.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
OK, how about played on an Accordion? Before you laugh, go watch the video. This guy is good. Try to last past the 6 minute mark. His finger work is amazing.
So... you're stuck in rush hour traffic for 5 hours ...held up by police who have shut down the bridge in front of you because there is a man threatening to commit suicide. What is one to do? Well, frustrated driver Lei Juan-Sheng in China got past the police barricades, climbed the bridge, got right up close to the guy, offered to shake his hand and then pushed him off the bridge. The jumper survived, it was only a fall of 8 meters.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
.... come on.... you guessed it.... updating their Facebook status! Now authorities know the couple on the lam are in China.
I will here to fore refer to the entertainment industry as 'the Big E'. With apologies to my friend Ernest.
[update] CBC news carried this story. An even more interesting display of solidarity exists in the comments to the story itself by readers.
[update 2] Not only did the report from The Conference Board of Canada plagiarize material from the US copyright lobby, it ignored conflicting evidence from an independent legal expert they paid.
[update 3] They recanted. Boo ya!
Monday, May 25, 2009
"Time travel in a Terminator movie is like plumbing in a porno: a very loose excuse to get to the action."
Regarding an attempt to construct a time line that makes sense in the Terminator movie franchise.
This video was a great start to my day. I'm sure you could easily find more.
In Olivia's case, she loves playing with various sized food containers. We have a low drawer in our kitchen that she loves to open and she grabs each one and flings it out onto the floor. She loves trying to figure out which lid goes on which container. That will keep her occupied for minutes!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Darlene's review: "It was good." She's a woman of few words. OK..... my turn. It was fun. It was action-packed enough and lacking the typical clichés to appeal to young movie goers that may have panned Trek in the past, but still throws enough nods, winks and nudges to put smiles on the faces of old die hard Trekkies.
In an unmistakable example of synchronicity, we returned home to witness our chimes in the back yard casting a shadow on the deck that looks remarkably like Enterprise.
There was a pair of actors who once starred on a sci-fi show together. One went on to portray a starship captain and the other a humanoid robot clone intent on destroying the human race.
Who were these actors and what show did they star in together?
Hint: Its first episode aired 20 years ago.
Once you think you have the answer, check the comments - I'll place the answer in the comments.
No, I don't smoke anymore - quit since June 1999. Which means that next month, I'll have been smoke-free 10 years. I need to celebrate with a nice cigar. Just kidding.
The only reason we know about this 'secret library' is because the student went on Yahoo Answers to ask if what they were doing was legal.
The books that are so awful that they have to be hidden in an empty locker? (partial list follows)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- The Canterbury Tales
- The Divine Comedy
- Paradise Lost
- The Godfather
- Interview with the Vampire
- The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
- Animal Farm
- The Evolution of Man
- the Holy Qu'ran
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
- The Picture of Dorian Gray
- Lord of the Flies
- Bridge to Terabithia
- East of Eden
- The Brothers Grimm Unabridged Fairytales.
Click on the image for a bigger view. Place your guess in the comments.
It seems my geo-sleuths are having difficulty with this one. Hence, a clue. This country is named after a coast.
[I moved this up (twice) in the order of posts as a reminder that this puzzle has not yet been solved - or even guessed]
Saturday, May 23, 2009
reserving spots for owners / workers / customers is kinda pushing the limits of reason. I recall one time some colleagues of mine arrived at a strip commercial space and the driver purposely ignored the 'reserved for [insert name of business]' sign and parked in the empty spot. Within 10 seconds, someone came out of the office and scolded the driver that they had better move before the police were called. The driver stood fast and basically said, "go ahead". The parking Nazi for the property found the driver within minutes and after a short discussion, seemed to back down after a suggestion from the driver that there was actually no way to enforce the 'designated parking' rule without involving both the tenant and the property owner - which is fairly difficult to arrange under most circumstances. So the vehicle stayed put over lunch.
The more I think about it though, the more I wonder how fair it is to designate parking for anyone (handicapped not included), when quite often I see designated spots sit empty most of the day while customers scramble for the few remaining spots in a parking lot. Readers - your thoughts?
It's freaking hilarious. On modern nicknames:
"They’ve driven the Buick out of Stupidville and arrived safely in Assclown County, folks. I mean really, if I had ever asked my old dad to call me “Phat A” he would have brained me with a pair of ice tongs and changed my nickname to “that idiot boy.” And he’d have been right to do it."
Especially photos. It's been discovered that photos posted on social networking websites can often be viewed even after they are deleted. Read more here.
Friday, May 22, 2009
The current day page is here. The archive is here. I started looking back over the month of May and found May 7th's instruction to be rather interesting. And not just that one either.....
I realize that the domestic car companies aren't selling as many cars as usual, but I'm curious... where are all the GM and Chrysler owners supposed to go to get their cars serviced now? I'm betting that the remaining dealerships aren't equipped for the onslaught of extra clients they'll be facing.
The import car makers could easily use this as ammunition in their newest ads. "Hey! Come on down to Maclin's Toyota! We're not closing any dealerships....."
The journalists also spoke with American representatives from Toyota and Honda. The Honda rep said that they tried a hybrid version of the Accord, but it just didn't sell. Their conclusion is that America wasn't ready for the Acord hybrid. I beg to differ, as the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry hybrids seem to be doing alright. So why did the Accord hybrid fail? Simple. It didn't offer the added economy that drivers were looking for from the hybrid model. Honda made the mistake of building a V6 Accord with hybrid added, but the hybrid technology was tuned for performance - not economy. Had they built an Accord hybrid with a 4 cylinder, tuned for economy, they might have done better. Keep in mind the extra cost of hybrids. Consumers won't be able to justify that extra cost if the benefits don't outweigh that extra cost.
But the proof is in the numbers: (these are 2007 model year figures)
Each row shows the model, then City mileage, then Highway mileage, then the increase in City mileage over the regular version of the car
Toyota Prius 60 51
Toyota Camry (4 cyl) 21 30
Toyota Camry Hybrid 40 38 90%
Nissan Altima (4 cyl) 23 31
Nissan Altima Hybrid 42 36 83%
Honda Civic (4 cyl) 25 36
Honda Civic Hybrid 49 51 96%
Honda Accord (4 cyl) 21 31
Honda Accord Hybrid 28 35 33%
So as you can see, switching to a hybrid model of each car earns you an increase in city mileage of at least 83%. But not the Accord. An increase of 33% as compared to the other models is poor justification to spend the extra $5000+.
And that is why the Accord Hybrid failed.
Yeah. This is what I like to refer to as 'free bad publicity'.
The back of the (totally unrelated) van says, "Verizon sucks... can you hear me now?!"
Thursday, May 21, 2009
- New Family in Town
- 45 Minutes from Harlem
- Teenage Wasteland or The Kids Are Alright
- Please Stand By
- Not the Cosby Show
- Woozle World
- Life and Stuff
You get a nice look at Hubble and a nice shot of planet Earth too. Magnificent.
But there were some great long songs eh? Including, but not limited to:
- Hey Jude - The Beatles
- Bela Lugosi's Dead - Bauhaus
- Layla - Derik and the Dominoes
- The Message - Grandmaster Flash
- In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly
- Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Autobahn - Kraftwerk
- Purple Rain - Prince
- Svefn-g-englar - Sigur Ros
- Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who
- Dogs - Pink Floyd
- Voodoo Chile - Jimi Hendrix
Jesse: "You give me a waterboard, one hour and Dick Cheney and I'll have him confessing to the Sharon Tate murders."