Monday, May 31, 2010

Be careful what you wish for... or don't... or do... not

I personally believe that the worst thing you can do in your life is to waffle. The universe (substitute your omnipotent supreme being of choice) listens to your ramblings, both verbal and non, and bends reality to grant you the fruits of your musings. For this reason alone, it is wise to pick an outcome and stick with it through to its conclusion.

Too often have I witnessed people flip-flopping over an idea or a decision. Example: "I must have him." "He's an ass, I don't want him." "I can't live without him." "I hope I never see him again." "He's the light of my life." This kind of polarity reversal is the cruelest trick you can play on the universe (and consequently - yourself) and can only result in its eventual agreement with you. That is to say, it will flop-flop along with each of your ruminations, enough to drive you mad.

This applies to everything in life. Your career will go nowhere if you keep putting out conflicting points of view on it. But once you focus on your chosen path, the universe has a clever way of aligning the doors, gates and paths to help you attain that reality. If you find yourself waffling..... stop. Convincing yourself of the worst is even better than waffling, because at least you can plan for the worst, once you've convinced yourself and the powers that be that it must happen.

"Any bill that puts restrictions on breaking digital locks makes other changes worthless"

The real story is not just the article itself, but the comments from ordinary Canadians below it. Sort the comments at the end of the article by 'agreed' to get a true sense of why those of us 'in the know' don't want what is predicted in this forthcoming Bill.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Perspective.... forced

I love these forced perspective photos.

Maybe you should too...... [see what I just did there?]

I wanted a 6 million dollar man lunchbox

This collection of lunch box pictures took me back.

When I saw the Space 1999 ones, I lost it.

Alberta..... we be green too

While Alberta may be known for producing dirty ol' oil, we should be proud of the green efforts we're making. Like the Drake Landing Solar Community (DLSC) in Okotoks for example.

This is a master planned neighbourhood of 52 homes that has integrated Canadian energy efficient technologies with solar energy. The DLSC is heated by a district system designed to store abundant solar energy underground during the summer months and distribute the energy to each home for space heating needs during winter months. The system is unprecedented in the World, fulfilling 90% of each home’s space heating requirements from solar energy and resulting in less dependency on limited fossil fuels. DLSC Highlights:
  • The largest subdivision of R-2000 single family homes in Canada, each 30% more efficient than conventionally built homes.
  • A first in the world, 90% of residential space heating needs will be met by solar thermal energy.
  • A reduction of approximately 5 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per home per year.

Starring - nature!

How to forecast weather without gadgets.

Pontiac Aztek..... [check]

Time has put together its list of the 50 worst inventions. Number one starts with the Segway. Poor Segway.... I had such hopes for you. Too bad you turn all who ride you into instant nerds.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Demand fair copyright

My sources tell me that a new Canadian copyright bill akin to the American-styled DMCA [shudder] is imminent. Canadians everywhere who are in the know want to tell those of you in the dark what this could mean if we don't speak up.

The battle is about to begin.

The ultimate proof of man's influence on films?

I found this fascinating: The Bechdel test. It tests movie content and has three simple rules. Can a movie pass by answering 'yes' to all of these three questions:

1) Does it have two or more women in it (who have names) ?
2) Do they talk to one another?
3) Do they talk to one another about something other than a man?

It is said that most movies don’t pass this test, which indicates that movies can't tell a woman's story without there being a man involved. That's really sad, don't you think?

Special thanks to Alice Nelson for bringing this to my attention.

Desk cat

...... needs pens. Om nom nom...

It's goalie cat!

I love the little back paw action goalie cat does on the stuffed toy.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Techno dog...

... is feelin' the beat YO!

My grand-daughter will never know a world without:

  • Touch screens
  • Cigarette smoke-free classrooms
  • Seat belts
  • eBay
  • Electric cars
  • Smart phones
  • Rovers on other planets
  • Mandatory sunscreen
  • High definition video
  • Spoken turn by turn directions
  • Anti-bacterial everything
  • Recycling
  • Any fruit or vegetable – any season
  • Low energy light bulbs

'A' is for 'away team' - the geek alphabet

This is awesome.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"How can broke economies lend money to other broke economies..?"

I love this 'lending merry go round' video clip where Australian comedians Clarke & Dawe highlight the ridiculousness of the European economic situation. The whole Greece thing is just the tip of the iceberg.

Proof there are crazy people: Someone had to make this chart

This flowchart is for all those people who are still going on about their delusion that Barack Obama isn't an American citizen and therefore should not be President of the United States.

Ruined by spawn

This blog, 'shit my kids ruined' accepts photos from parents showing the carnage wrought from their spawn.

I love it. NSFW.

Non-cents (see what I just did there?)

Way back in 2009, I mentioned (probably for the umpteenth time) that I'd like the penny abolished.

Now it seems the Canadian Senate is taking a serious look at the idea.

On a related note, I rediscovered today why I like self-serve grocery store checkout terminals. They take pennies. And I use the opportunity to ditch as many of them as I can.........

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The girl's got soul

As much as I realize that American Idol is musical pablum for the masses, I've had my eyes set on Crystal Bowersox, or Mama Sox as
she's known by her adoring fans.

Although not in the same league as other divas with bona-fide pipes, Mama Sox has that certain something that exudes emotion and she has a presence I've not seen since Janis Joplin was alive.

Speaking of Joplin, Hollywood has been searching for the appropriate artist to play the long departed Janis in a movie about her life and I think the logical star of that movie is now quite obvious. With a little vocal and acting coaching, I think Crystal could do for the Janis Joplin story what Jennifer Hudson did for the musical Dreamgirls.

(I wrote the above part before the finale announcing the winner)

She didn't win. I thought she should have won.

Beat boxing dog

The post title really says it all.

Shat my dad says

You've probably heard the internet sensation that is (was?) 'Shit my dad says'. Well, in a sign that some TV executives may be turning to internet phenomenon for new program ideas, the popular Twitter feed is being made into a TV show starring William Shatner as the dad who says shit.

It will be interesting to see how they screw this one up. They've already screwed up getting the word out as most sites hosting the preview video have blocked the content from being seen outside of the US.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A stereotype gone too far?

I've never been a big fan of playing the NIMBY card and this latest news story is just another example of bias gone awry.

At issue is the relocation of a halfway house in Calgary from a residential area in Victoria Park to an industrial lot in the Manchester Industrial Park. Already, residents who live more than 3 blocks away (and that sounds closer than it actually is) are complaining and will try to block the relocation.

Frankly, I'm tired of this. While I readily admit that I would be concerned if a halfway house were going to move into my neighbourhood, I think we have to start to ask ourselves if this bias against rehabilitated criminals has gone too far? After all, if an industrial area isn't a suitable location for such a resource, what is? How far away does such a facility need to be from parks and homes before everyone is happy? These folks are in fact trying to re-integrate back into society after serving most of their term and proving that they are deserving of serving the rest of their sentence in a halfway house, or Community Based Residential Facility as they're known by the John Howard Society (JHS). Are they going to be able to integrate if their residence is far away from civilization and transit?

I believe a better attitude is to work with the JHS to make sure that residents' concerns are being met and perhaps the JHS could educate folks as to why their residence is such a necessary stepping stone for reformed convicts. But to suggest that being within blocks of homes and a park is a 'temptation' is painting the residents with a very wide and unsightly brush. Let's face it, if reformed criminals weren't allowed to live among us, they would have little chance of success in becoming productive members of society again.

Merci mes Habitants

The hockey season for the Montreal Canadiens is over. The Philadephia Flyers put an end to their Cinderella post season run at 19 games.

I, for one, am a proud fan of the team as they were predicted by many not to make it past 4 games with the Washington Capitals. They beat the Capitals, then beat the defending champion Penguins too. If they take nothing from this season, it's that they can win and beat some of the best teams in the league. I think that in the end, they were out-underdogged by another underdog.

But they still did magnificently. Nobody can argue that. Well done Habs. See you next year.

Less salt = ucky

While in the grocery store, I was offered a sample of V8 juice. Offered both regular and low sodium, I chose the low sodium, having never tasted it before.

It was awful. And by awful, I mean that I could actually taste the vegetables. I guess the extra 345mg of salt (480mg versus 135mg) in the regular V8 makes a huge difference in the taste. It goes to show you how addicted we've become to the taste of salt.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Life is a mirror

...and will reflect back to the thinker what he (or she) thinks into it.

Blog page designers unite..... please!

For the love of all things good and logical, we need blog site designers to pick a forward / back protocol and stick to it. It is extremely annoying when you visit a blog and when you reach the bottom of the page, you have a choice of 'previous' or 'next'. If only they meant the same thing at every site. But they don't. On one blog, previous means going back in time, on another, it means going forward in time.

I don't know about you, but in my mind, 'next' means going forward in time - 'what happens next?'. Previous means what happened before. But not what happened in your browser before, rather what posts were written before. Doesn't that sound logical and reasonable to you?

Blog designers, get a clue.

Open mic nights at coffee shops at risk

It's not just the record labels that try to punish the innocent in an effort to make more money. The collection societies do it too.

What chicken little really said

Misheard story lines.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool"

Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if Sir Ian McKellan did the theme song for The Fresh Prince of Bel-air?

Wonder no more.......

Look who's back...

Well, that was a whirlwind trip if I ever took one. To summarize:

Out of the plane, into my brother's car and off to the Bell Centre to watch the Habs play game 3 (which they won 5-1). Then it was off to friends and then my brother's home for some sleep. Friday tried to relax, lazed out on the pool deck eating stuffed French toast cooked on the BBQ. Then off to the high school reunion meet and greet. Then to the pub. Two words: Occupancy violation.

Next day, family BBQ, then reunion dinner / dance. 4 hours sleep, then on a plane home. I feel like I've been up since 3am. Oh right.... that's because I have been up since 3am (MST).


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Montreal here I come

So, as I alluded to in the last post, I will be putting das blog to rest for a few days while I jet off to Montreal to attend an all-class high school reunion. I'll also have the chance to see family for the first time in..... I can't even remember - a long time. It's been 32 years since I've seen some of my classmates. I know that makes me sound old, but I finished high school when I was 13......

You're not buying it, are you?

When I land in La Belle Province tomorrow, I hope being near will lend some positive energy to Montreal's hockey team, who will be playing their first game at home since eliminating Pittsburgh in round two of the playoffs. I can just imagine that their arena will be electric. Actually, thanks to my brother's birthday gift to me, I won't have to imagine it at all. I'll be in the seats! My first visit to the Bell Centre and my first playoff game. I'm pretty calm about it. NO I'M NOT!!

Anyway, positive vibes all around for everybody and we'll see you again on Sunday.

Conan O'Brien visits Google

For anyone in Coco withdrawal.....

Money on people

People having fun with money.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pardon monsieur, weech way to de 'otel?

If you can't make it to Cannes, you can still watch all the trailers....

The whining continues

The MPAA, never satisfied to maybe curtail illegal trading of content by trying to make the customer want to pay for their stuff, issued a demand to the military in Iraq. They want the military to tell soldiers to stop buying counterfeit DVDs from Iraqi shops.

The military basically said no.

Rendezvous with Rama

The ultimate sci-fi movie that refuses to get made, no matter how much people try.

At least some talented people are excelling in the teaser department.

Can we seriously get this movie made please, without the usual Hollywood ruinization. Is that a word? It should be....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Give it away

Jane Siberry, noted Canadian music artist and overall groovy gal, has done the unthinkable. She has made her entire discography available online. For free.

"Download all Siberry music here.
It is free, a gift from Jane. Take good care of it.
And pay it forward to others."

Ikea afraid of paparazzi... who knew?

We were at IKEA the other day (yes, spare me the lecture) and were seriously checking out some kitchen cabinetry kind of stuff. I had grown tired of typing details of sizes and whatnot and so began to take pictures of labels and assembled units. Well, faster than you could say photo Nazi, some keener in yellow comes storming over yelling 'no pictures!' Puzzled, I froze, then looked to this authoritarian furniture jockey with a look of bewilderment. She continued, 'No pictures of the prices!' I slipped my iPhone back into my pocket.

But internally, I'm thinking: WTF!? I could have just as easily written those prices down. What gives? But I didn't want to verbalize my logical argument for fear that I might get escorted out of the store. That would have been embarrassing, no?

This is the picture I took. It's my own (not-quite-so) private symbolic rebellion. Aww look, the price is barely visible. Darn.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chuck is the reason

Google, you auto-complete me.

My guess is the studio won't be pleased though

One movie theatre's dig at Terrance Howard, who declined a repeat performance in Iron man 2 due to unsuccessful salary negotiations.

Is this what it may come to?

I for one welcome our new whale overlords...

I still love poo..... I mean Pooh

I love the little meaningless personal stances we take in contrast with our spouses. To Darlene, it's "poop". I say "poo". I love the sound, but I especially think it's cute that Darlene doesn't. So "poo" it is. Us guys have to take a stand on something dammit.

Well, thanks to our just turned 2 year old grand-daughter Olivia, I have to amend my stance, so as not to confuse the poor girl.

Poop is in the potty, Pooh is the bear.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My MP expenses rant

There's two points regarding elected members of Parliament (MPs) that raised an eyebrow for me.

I saw a poll that asked, "Should MPs be allowed to have a second job?" My answer to that poll is an emphatic "NO!" Last time I checked, elected politicians in our federal system made $157,731. That's a base salary, you make more if you hold a certain position as well. For example, a Minister makes an additional $75,516. It is my belief that this includes expenses. Those salaries are frozen by the way, to account for the recession and all. So, considering how much we pay these folks to represent us in government, I'm willing to go out on a limb and suggest that they should focus their energies on that task.

The other issue is that the Auditor General, Sheila Fraser, asked if her office could do a "performance audit" on annual spending by both the House of Commons and Senate. They responded "NO!". I think if this were put to a referendum, the taxpayers would vote to open the books.


Who dat eatin' a pizza?

I actually want to try one

The biggest drawback of owning an electric car? Eventually the batteries run out of juice. If you're not at an electric pit stop of some kind, it's game over. Chevrolet created the ultimate compromise for the times. Power the wheels with electric motors, but include a gas powered generator on board for when the batteries get low on juice. This allows you to have an electric car while providing an on-board backup system. If you travel less than 40 miles (64km), the gas engine will never come on.

Never in my life did I think I would hear myself say this, but based on what I've been seeing about the new Chevrolet Volt, I think they're on to something.

Friday, May 14, 2010

"There haven't been no Jews?"

Remember that scene from Inglorious Basterds where Colonel Landa is interrogating the Frenchman at his home?

Here's a parody on that scene only this time, the Colonel is a grammar Nazi.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Back packs aren't people

I love this poster.

In case it isn't legible:

"Who whoa whoa stop the presses... breaking news!
Backpacks aren't actually people!
It's true! Science has proven it!
So the next time you're on transit,
and people need a seat,
Move your inhuman bag.

"Rent the car next door"

Aside from the cost of ownership of a vehicle, one of the biggest drawbacks of ownership is regret. By this I mean regret over not always having the exact type of vehicle you need at all times. For example, although I have a fairly economical car, there are days that I wish I had a truck like my neighbour. Or a van like my other neighbour. Or a gas miser car like yet another neighbour. Even though those days are not frequent, in the back of my mind, I know that permanently owning a vehicle and keeping it to yourself is not always very effective. And I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Enter companies like WhipCar. The idea is quite similar to that of Zipcars, where you don't 'own' any car, you just own a share in the fleet, which you can rent from on a scheduled basis at a cost much lower than full ownership. That's an idea that is growing at a fast pace, by the way. But the idea of completely ditching your vehicle and relying on an available vehicle (and completely relearning vehicle culture by only getting a car when you absolutely need one) is one that a lot of people wouldn't be willing to make. But what if you could keep your vehicle - whatever it may be, and rent it out to people who need it, when they need it (when you don't need it)? This is the new paradigm emerging into the short-term rental business.

Let's face it, our vehicles spend more time in the driveway or garage than on the road and there are likely many people who would gladly make use of it for a nominal fee. How about renting your own vehicle out to complete strangers for a price you set, but organized through an online service. This article explains the technicalities of the concept. The biggest obstacle to this new kind of car sharing idea is the mentality of thinking of a car as a personal possession rather than a tool to be shared.

By 2016, studies suggest there could be 4.4 million car sharers in North America. I could easily see myself being among those numbers.


It's like Pacman, but with hockey teams......

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I couldn't imagine a place that could make it better

Cora's Breakfast and Lunch, a franchise out of Quebec, is a very popular place around here. The one nearest us at Northland Village Shops always has a lineup going out the restaurant door and winding back and forth near the west entrance to the mall. Yes, it's that good.

Sunday morning I managed to catch Darlene up earlier than usual and pounced on the opportunity to drag her... umm butt out to Cora's before the lineups got out of hand. It was Mother's Day too, so we expected things could get crazy pretty fast. As we arrived in the mall parking lot, we could see that there were quite a few cars already, so I dropped Darlene off right at the door so she could get in faster. Good thing, as others were literally running from their cars to get to the door.

Anyway, we made it just in time before the lineup started, so that was awesome. I opened the menu and noticed a picture of a stack of fresh blueberry pancakes. Oh my. I was so excited, all I could do was point to the picture when the server took our order. Turns out the blueberry pancakes have been on the menu forever, but only recently did they show a picture in the menu. GOOD MOVE!

Anyway, they were fantastic. As Cora's specializes in fresh fruit sides to go with most of their offerings, who better to make pancakes with fruit in them? They were extraordinarily filling. I couldn't eat it all. That's right - Karl Plesz had trouble finishing what was on his plate. Mind you, I did fill up on most of a bowl of fresh fruit, so there.

Things overheard on 'bring your kids to work day'

“Your boss doesn’t seem evil”
"Are you sure Patricia is a woman?"
"I thought you said you work hard all day"
“This toner is pretty tasty”
"George said you don't work overtime... so where do you go Dad?"
“The chair spins too fast, so it’s not my fault that I threw up”
“The woman in this picture on your desk isn’t Mom”
“Bob smells kind of weird”
"This is why I go to school?"
"My dad says he got a raise, why didn't you guys?"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The ultimate example of CYA

Air Canada let a mentally challenged man get onto a plane with just a credit card and a Costco customer ID. He boarded in Calgary and landed in Ontario. Doug has minor cerebral palsy and operates at a 13-year-old level.

When Doug disappeared, a little investigation on the phone recall and computer usage led to a realization that he had flown to Ontario to visit someone he'd met on Facebook. Air Canada wouldn't confirm if Doug had tried to buy a ticket or board a plane. Once the Mounties got involved, the airline confirmed that Doug bought a ticket and was in the air.

Air Canada says passengers must provide two pieces of government-issued ID to board any flight. [Doug must've been a Gold Star member............]

Once Doug landed, he tried to buy a ticket back home, but Air Canada wouldn't sell him one because he didn't have two pieces of government-issued ID. [So much for the Gold Star status] The family says Air Canada hasn't been in contact with them. They tried to fax a statement to Air Canada that Doug signed saying the airline could share information about what happened with his parents. Air Canada replied: "We can't accept that faxed statement unless Doug includes two pieces of government-issued ID."

Who needs facts?

When you can make stuff up, who needs real science? I love this dinosaur poster.

More great posters here.